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Mad scientist NPC

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June 4, 2005 6:45:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
"mad scientist".

He's got oppressed Minions, who love and fear him, and who he abuses
terribly. He's got various monsters and horrors locked up in and
around his lab -- not locked up very well, of course; they're going to
break loose once things start shaking. He's got an Ultimate Monster
he's working on (it's a variant of that spell-eating ooze thingy from
MMIII). And he tends to snarl, cackle, and say "FOOLS!" a lot.

I have a plot outline. PCs visit the Mad Scientist's stronghold;
they're coming to warn him that an assassin is after him. (True. What
they don't know is that the assassin is a ghost, but never mind that
now.) They meet and have a chance to interact with the oppressed
Minions (who are actually nice enough, in their monstrous way) and to
tour the lab a little. They meet the MS, who of course sneers at them:
"FOOLS! No pathetic sneak-thief can POSSIBLY interfere with my great
etc. etc."

Then the assassin starts letting the captive horrors loose. Wackiness
ensues, as PCs, minions, and MS scramble to react.

Climactic scene: the MS will capture the assassin. Alas, the ghost
will promptly possess one of the Minions, who will attempt to release
the Ultimate Monster. If the PCs can stop this, they win. They will
get little gratitude from the MS, but a whopping story bonus.

More likely, the UM is released. It will promptly devour the MS, whole
and howling, then ooze out into the night. (It will drop into the
nearest canal, where it will become a recurring menace.) The lab
somehow catches fire (oh, come on... the lab has to catch fire) and the
PCs are left to rescue the Minions and salvage what they can.

(Plot complication: the Ultimate Monster's development is being
financed by a radical splinter group within the local Wizard's Guild,
which wants a Final Solution to the Sorceror Problem. Unfortunately,
the beast is unfinished, and can't yet distinguish between the
different sorts of arcane spellcaster. The MS' answer to this was MORE
POWER, which is not going to work out so well; the final result is CR
14 or so, but more like CR 18 to arcane spellcaster types. The wizards
will not be happy... I digress.)

The MS supports himself by designing monsters for unscrupulous
customers, and has Underdark and even occasional extraplanar contacts.
He lives in a town that's slowly sinking into a swamp. The town was
once a major trading center but lost a war and was annexed by a much
larger city. Its trade was choked off, but it ekes out a living as the
place where you go to do stuff that's illegal in Big Town.

So, I have a scenario. While some parts of it are worked out in
detail, some are not, and I welcome suggestions.


1) The MS is a wizard with a few rogue levels (both for the skill
ranks, and because he used to work with the Assassin's Guild.) Assume
a wizard who can cast up to 6th level spells. What sorts of things
would he have lying around his lab?

2) I have a couple of Captive Horrors worked out already, but there's
always room for more. Note that the MS is around Rog 2/Wiz 11, while
the PCs are 7th-9th level. So things that are around EL 5-9 seem about
right. What sorts of things would be different and interesting?
Potential plot hooks are welcome, BTW.

3) Key to the scenario is that the MS, though powerful, is fragile...
he's old, has a low Con, and less than 20 hp. I have to keep him alive
long enough for the climactic scene. In particular, I have to keep the
PCs from losing their temper and attacking -- they're good, and he's
flagrantly and obnoxiously evil -- and I have to plausibly prevent the
assassin from killing him, even though he's going to be trying really
hard.

Suggestions welcome. Thanks!


Waldo

More about : mad scientist npc

Anonymous
June 4, 2005 9:13:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 4 Jun 2005 14:45:43 -0700, "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:

>1) The MS is a wizard with a few rogue levels (both for the skill
>ranks, and because he used to work with the Assassin's Guild.) Assume
>a wizard who can cast up to 6th level spells. What sorts of things
>would he have lying around his lab?

Various body parts of various creatures - things ranging from "eye of
newt" up to "leg of demon" and such.

>2) I have a couple of Captive Horrors worked out already, but there's
>always room for more. Note that the MS is around Rog 2/Wiz 11, while
>the PCs are 7th-9th level. So things that are around EL 5-9 seem about
>right. What sorts of things would be different and interesting?
>Potential plot hooks are welcome, BTW.

The Captive Horrors were all created from living people; the PCs
recognize some of them.

>3) Key to the scenario is that the MS, though powerful, is fragile...
>he's old, has a low Con, and less than 20 hp. I have to keep him alive
>long enough for the climactic scene. In particular, I have to keep the
>PCs from losing their temper and attacking -- they're good, and he's
>flagrantly and obnoxiously evil -- and I have to plausibly prevent the
>assassin from killing him, even though he's going to be trying really
>hard.

The MS has some sort of magical dead man's switch implanted inside
himself that activates something really nasty. The only way to get the
switch out of him is to kill him. Any attempt to remove it will set it
off. The PCs are aware of all of this.
--
auric underscore underscore at hotmail dot com
*****
A reasonable penny would assume that the control came from its own will,
influenced perhaps by God's will, assuming it were a religious penny.
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 3:14:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1117921543.050668.14750@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a
> classic "mad scientist".

You know, I'd forget arcane levels and go for Druid levels. Make him
CE or NE and create a 'Perverted Druid' prestige class. After all,
he's creating perversions of nature.
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
June 5, 2005 8:37:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Quentin Stephens wrote:

> You know, I'd forget arcane levels and go for Druid levels. Make him
> CE or NE and create a 'Perverted Druid' prestige class. After all,
> he's creating perversions of nature.

Good thought, but it doesn't quite fit the milieu. (N.B., there aren't
enough good "Druid Gone Bad" PrCs.)

Besides, I'm playing this guy as, well, classic. My Life With Master,
kinda thing.



Then Auric wrote:

> The Captive Horrors were all created from living people; the PCs
> recognize some of them.

That's a bit more Grand Guignol than I'm aiming for. I want the CHs to
be scary, threatening, and interesting. Not necessarily gross-out,
though (and I've got the sad/sympathetic aspect already covered with
the Minions.)

I'd also like to get a "what the hell /is/ that thing" reaction at
least once. Preferably with something that's legitimately found in the
MM!


Waldo
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 4:50:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:

> 1) The MS is a wizard with a few rogue levels (both for the skill
> ranks, and because he used to work with the Assassin's Guild.) Assume
> a wizard who can cast up to 6th level spells. What sorts of things
> would he have lying around his lab?

You might want to check out "Chaositech", and have the MS be a
Chaositechnician. Chaos-shaped creatures, mutants, and creatures
"enhanced" with chaositech items and surgery could work very well. And
he wouldn't even need any wizard levels -- he could even be an Expert
and qualify for the PrC (and surely the assassin's guild has use for
Expert contacts).

The PCs in the game I run recently captured just such a mutant skaven
chaositechnician of Clan Moulder. Good stuff.


> 2) I have a couple of Captive Horrors worked out already, but there's
> always room for more. Note that the MS is around Rog 2/Wiz 11, while
> the PCs are 7th-9th level. So things that are around EL 5-9 seem about
> right. What sorts of things would be different and interesting?
> Potential plot hooks are welcome, BTW.
>
> 3) Key to the scenario is that the MS, though powerful, is fragile...
> he's old, has a low Con, and less than 20 hp. I have to keep him alive
> long enough for the climactic scene. In particular, I have to keep the
> PCs from losing their temper and attacking -- they're good, and he's
> flagrantly and obnoxiously evil -- and I have to plausibly prevent the
> assassin from killing him, even though he's going to be trying really
> hard.

He's a mutant with weird anatomy and therefore immune to sneak attacks
and has a strong bonus to his saves vs. poison. The assassin doesn't
realize this at first.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 4:55:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:

>
> Quentin Stephens wrote:
>
>
>>You know, I'd forget arcane levels and go for Druid levels. Make him
>>CE or NE and create a 'Perverted Druid' prestige class. After all,
>>he's creating perversions of nature.
>
>
> Good thought, but it doesn't quite fit the milieu. (N.B., there aren't
> enough good "Druid Gone Bad" PrCs.)
>
> Besides, I'm playing this guy as, well, classic. My Life With Master,
> kinda thing.
>
>
>
> Then Auric wrote:
>
>
>>The Captive Horrors were all created from living people; the PCs
>>recognize some of them.
>
>
> That's a bit more Grand Guignol than I'm aiming for. I want the CHs to
> be scary, threatening, and interesting. Not necessarily gross-out,
> though (and I've got the sad/sympathetic aspect already covered with
> the Minions.)
>
> I'd also like to get a "what the hell /is/ that thing" reaction at
> least once. Preferably with something that's legitimately found in the
> MM!

Chaos-shaped Chaos Beasts...?

In their recent foray into Clan Moulder territory, my PCs encountered
rat swarms, mutant rat swarms, dire rats, advanced dire rats, advanced
mutant dire rats, horrid rats (Eberron), an advanced mutant horrid rat,
slime moles (Darwin's World), rat ogres, an advanced chaos-shaped rat
ogre, an advanced mutant two-headed rat ogre, and probably one or two
monstrosities I'm not remembering right now.

Chaositech is definitely the way to go if you are running Clan Moulder
in D&D. Clan Skryre as well.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 7:21:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <1117921543.050668.14750@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
peggoliathy@yahoo.com says...

> My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
> "mad scientist".

Have you seen the fleshwarper PrC from Lords of Madness? It's a wizard
who's into grafting various monster parts onto himself and others.

While your mad scientist might not like experimenting on himself, you
might tweak abilities that really require that (I'm not sure if there
are any?)...

It's might be a neat way to have goblin servitors with tentacles, dogs
that fly and spit acid, that kind of stuff.

Otherwise, aberrations in general are appropriate as a mad scientist's
experiments. Hook horrors, chuuls, carrion crawlers, gibbering
mouthers... Also all oozes and all "hybrid" creatures like the owlbear
(excepting those with a strong mythological background, like centaurs or
griffons).


--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 9:03:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 5 Jun 2005 04:37:58 -0700, "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Then Auric wrote:
>
>> The Captive Horrors were all created from living people; the PCs
>> recognize some of them.
>
>That's a bit more Grand Guignol than I'm aiming for. I want the CHs to
>be scary, threatening, and interesting. Not necessarily gross-out,
>though (and I've got the sad/sympathetic aspect already covered with
>the Minions.)

I was thinking more along the lines of horror, although you might get
some "interesting" reactions from the PCs:
- Look, what's that?
- It's a bunch of... things...!
- Wait, some of them almost look like... people!
- What? No, I don't think... MOM?!?!
<g>

>I'd also like to get a "what the hell /is/ that thing" reaction at
>least once. Preferably with something that's legitimately found in the
>MM!

Instead, how about "what the hell has been *done* to them?" A mad
scientist might try to create monstrosities from scratch; an *evil* mad
scientist might view people as raw materials, or at least as a good
starting point. After all, the hard part - bringing them to life - has
already been handled by someone else.
--
auric underscore underscore at hotmail dot com
*****
You may now log in to life. Password:
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 10:07:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1117971478.864686.274160@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

>> You know, I'd forget arcane levels and go for Druid levels.
>> Make him CE or NE and create a 'Perverted Druid' prestige
>> class. After all, he's creating perversions of nature.
>
> Good thought, but it doesn't quite fit the milieu. (N.B., there
> aren't enough good "Druid Gone Bad" PrCs.)

OK then how about digging out some old copies of Imagine? IIRC there
was an issue about this sort of thing which would be right up your
street. Come to think of it, the spells in the articles would be in
the Encyclopaedia of spells that TSR put out.
Anonymous
June 5, 2005 10:15:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1117971478.864686.274160@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> I'd also like to get a "what the hell /is/ that thing" reaction
> at least once. Preferably with something that's legitimately
> found in the MM!

Then you might want to look at monsters like the chimera,
thessalmera, thessalhydra, gorgimera, et al.

Just a thought, but you might want him to have created some useful
monsters as well: perhaps he's created hippogriffs?

Going further, perhaps he's done a Saruman and created his own race
of intelligent servitors, only they're not necessarily evil, giving
the PCs a dilemma: do they slaughter them because they're monsters,
or let them live?
Anonymous
June 6, 2005 2:46:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> I'd also like to get a "what the hell /is/ that thing"

To the pain!

> reaction at least once.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
June 6, 2005 7:52:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Quentin Stephens wrote:
>
<snip Return to the Island of Doctor Moreau>
>
> OK then how about digging out some old copies of Imagine? IIRC there
> was an issue about this sort of thing which would be right up your
> street. Come to think of it, the spells in the articles would be in
> the Encyclopaedia of spells that TSR put out.

It was Imagine magazine #21, and the article was "Monsters, Magic and
Menageries" (pp. 42-45).

The spells were:

Age Animal
Animal Magnetism
Clone Animal
Distort Life I
Distort Life II
Distort Life III
Hasten Growth
Opening the Living
Revelation of Auras
Ritual of Twaining

All of these spells except for Ritual of Twaining can be found in this
file:

http://web.archive.org/web/20031002101225/http://www.fa...


Arivne
Anonymous
June 6, 2005 6:50:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
> "mad scientist".
>
> He's got oppressed Minions, who love and fear him, and who he abuses
> terribly. He's got various monsters and horrors locked up in and
> around his lab -- not locked up very well, of course; they're going to
> break loose once things start shaking. He's got an Ultimate Monster
> he's working on (it's a variant of that spell-eating ooze thingy from
> MMIII). And he tends to snarl, cackle, and say "FOOLS!" a lot.

Ooh! I wish I was in that campaign. Some cliches are just too good
not to use.

> 3) Key to the scenario is that the MS, though powerful, is fragile...
> he's old, has a low Con, and less than 20 hp. I have to keep him alive
> long enough for the climactic scene. In particular, I have to keep the
> PCs from losing their temper and attacking -- they're good, and he's
> flagrantly and obnoxiously evil -- and I have to plausibly prevent the
> assassin from killing him, even though he's going to be trying really
> hard.

Perhaps he has a dim but incredibly strong and loyal servant who would
gladly crush the PCs if they try to harm his master, and will therefore
be the first to be devoured by the Ultimate Monster. Would also be a
nice warning that the UM is really not to be messed with.


mcv.
Anonymous
June 7, 2005 5:18:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Behold! for "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> spake unto the multitude
thus:

>My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
>"mad scientist".

This looks awsome fun, BTW.
snip

>1) The MS is a wizard with a few rogue levels (both for the skill
>ranks, and because he used to work with the Assassin's Guild.) Assume
>a wizard who can cast up to 6th level spells. What sorts of things
>would he have lying around his lab?

The 1e DMG was great for this, listing all the suitable dungeon
dressing you could want (alembics, retorts, thuribles, bookstands,
etc).

Otherwise:
* Big pentagram on the floor
* cliche black tallow candles and stuff
* cabinet of material components
* cabinet of Eye of Newt
* surgical equipment
* assorted books and scrolls of Ancient Wisdom and Things Man Was Not
Meant To Know
* forge
* fire-and-acid resistant gloves, goggles and/or apron
* self-operating bellows (or maybe operated by purpose-build
strong-but-stupid Creature)
* Masterwork alchemical gear and tools
* Reagents (some of which can be used in combat, eg pots of strong
acid, poisons, alchemists fire, antitoxin,
* Wands of Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant
* Spare spellbook of useful stuff
* Cabinet of Spare Parts (limbs, heads, eyes, etc), some of which are
already alive / animated, as per the other Horrors. The door is not
very securely closed, and will come open if it gets bumped (as it
will). So the Spare Parts will come out and get in the way. The UM
might assimilate them. Or the assassin might possess one of them,
going almost unnoticed until it fumbles at the UM's cage.
* Big vat of slime (spare material for UM. If the UM gets to it, it
grows...)
* Big bin of rejected parts
* Decanter of Endless Water or equivalent plumbing
* Rejected creation(s) locked up but alive, for future recycling

>2) I have a couple of Captive Horrors worked out already, but there's
>always room for more. Note that the MS is around Rog 2/Wiz 11, while
>the PCs are 7th-9th level. So things that are around EL 5-9 seem about
>right. What sorts of things would be different and interesting?

A Homunculus is a useful and easy assistant of the right genre, and
will need protection (if it's killed, the MS takes 2d10 hp damage).

Flesh golems are the obvious thing, perhaps as prototypes for the
magic immunity of the UM. Build them out of assorted nonhuman parts
for variety. Likewise half-golems.

More oozy prototypes, though I'm not sure what good these are as
servants.

>Potential plot hooks are welcome, BTW.

One of the Horrors has the Brain of a Little Old Man (tm), and he
spouts Rumours (tm) which the PCs get to hear as the MS is showing
them around his wondrous creations. He's otherwise quite mad and in
the body of a 6-legged carthorse. As the MS boasts: "Better traction
for pulling wagons. More intelligent too so doesn't need a driver.
Very efficient. It's the way of the future. You wait, in five years
everyone will want one. It even breathes fire to keep the camp warm at
night and frighten the wolves away, as well as telling old stories."

Or for added pathos, it has the brain of a Cute Little Girl who wants
her rag doll.

For added Plot, one of the monster's legs has a unique tattoo marking
it as that of the Mysteriously Kidnapped Crown Prince. It could be
recovered and resurrected, for a huge ransom. Of course the UM might
eat it instead.

>3) Key to the scenario is that the MS, though powerful, is fragile...
>he's old, has a low Con, and less than 20 hp. I have to keep him alive
>long enough for the climactic scene. In particular, I have to keep the
>PCs from losing their temper and attacking -- they're good, and he's
>flagrantly and obnoxiously evil -- and I have to plausibly prevent the
>assassin from killing him, even though he's going to be trying really
>hard.

This is fairly easy. Stoneskin, Protection from Energy, Mirror Image
or some other appropriate buff should do it. After all, you're driving
the attacker so you get to pick the right buff. Otherwise Gaseous
Form, Blink, Dim Door, Bigby's Hands or similar defence should keep
the assassin away for long enough.


--
Jim or Sarah Davies, but probably Jim

D&D and Star Fleet Battles stuff on http://www.aaargh.org
Anonymous
June 7, 2005 5:18:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jim Davies wrote:
> Behold! for "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> spake unto the multitude
> thus:
>
>
>>My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
>>"mad scientist".
>
>
> This looks awsome fun, BTW.
> snip
>
>
>>1) The MS is a wizard with a few rogue levels (both for the skill
>>ranks, and because he used to work with the Assassin's Guild.) Assume
>>a wizard who can cast up to 6th level spells. What sorts of things
>>would he have lying around his lab?
>
>
> The 1e DMG was great for this, listing all the suitable dungeon
> dressing you could want (alembics, retorts, thuribles, bookstands,
> etc).
>
> Otherwise:
> * Big pentagram on the floor
> * cliche black tallow candles and stuff
> * cabinet of material components
> * cabinet of Eye of Newt
> * surgical equipment
> * assorted books and scrolls of Ancient Wisdom and Things Man Was Not
> Meant To Know
> * forge
> * fire-and-acid resistant gloves, goggles and/or apron
> * self-operating bellows (or maybe operated by purpose-build
> strong-but-stupid Creature)
> * Masterwork alchemical gear and tools
> * Reagents (some of which can be used in combat, eg pots of strong
> acid, poisons, alchemists fire, antitoxin,
> * Wands of Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant
> * Spare spellbook of useful stuff
> * Cabinet of Spare Parts (limbs, heads, eyes, etc), some of which are
> already alive / animated, as per the other Horrors. The door is not
> very securely closed, and will come open if it gets bumped (as it
> will). So the Spare Parts will come out and get in the way. The UM
> might assimilate them. Or the assassin might possess one of them,
> going almost unnoticed until it fumbles at the UM's cage.
> * Big vat of slime (spare material for UM. If the UM gets to it, it
> grows...)
> * Big bin of rejected parts
> * Decanter of Endless Water or equivalent plumbing
> * Rejected creation(s) locked up but alive, for future recycling

* Warpstone

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous
June 7, 2005 10:08:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

peggoliathy@yahoo.com wrote:

>My PCs are about to visit a powerful NPC who is, simply put, a classic
>"mad scientist".

"What is a 'scientist' and what is 'science'? Is it a new type of
alchemy or astrology?"
!