Thursday, November 18, 2010

Villains, S&W Style

We all need villains or at least someone to go up against the players.  This is a low level group of well organized highwaymen.  They are not outright evil and they do have some morals about who they steal from and those they hurt.  I often like providing rivals shades of gray to make them more rounded and interesting.  Having a notorious group of robbers who will not harm women and children provides a quality maybe not expected.  The stats provided and equipment are straight out of the Swords & Wizardry rulebook. 

Borsko Brothers
These five brothers are the sons of Kord the Brigand, one of the most infamous outlaws in the kingdom recently captured and executed without trial.  The local nobility did not want to give sympathizers a chance to free the charismatic criminal.  The five brothers Malcolm, Shifter, Willem, Ash and Nickolas have taken up their father's mantle.  The brothers are solemn, strong and intelligent.  They are serious about their business and plan their heists in great detail.  They have escape plans prepared if something goes wrong and plans should one or more get captured.  Because of their cautiousness and extensive planning, their plans usually succeed.  The brothers have killed, but will avoid it if possible.  They will not attack women or children unless attacked themselves.  They conduct themselves professionally trying to put their victims at easy.  Or in the case of an armored patrol, they will attack quick and hard to demoralize the guards.

2nd level Fighter
S: 13, I: 14, W: 9, D: 9, C: 10, Ch: 10
HP: 10, AC: 4 (15), Dam: 1d6+2, SV: 13
Equipment: +1 chainmail, +1 spear

Malcolm, the oldest, has developed a small, but effective group of informants.  He gets the latest information on caravans departing or arriving.  He also has a handful of city guards on his payroll.  Malcolm pays them well to keep them faithful.  He lives by his father's credo no being greedy that is better to sip from the people pockets so they never go empty instead of taking it all at once and pay your men first.  When jobs are discussed among the brothers and if there is an argument Malcolm is deciding vote.

4th level Thief
S: 13, I: 12, W: 10, D: 14, C: 8, Ch: 6
HP: 10, AC: 3 (16), Dam: 1d4+3, SV: 12
Equipment: +2 leather armor, +1 ring of protection, +2 dagger, Boots of Elvenkind

Shifter is the most experienced of the group having been in the thieves' guild for a few years before going independent with his brothers.  Although the guild was not pleased he had kept them content by feeding some of the information on possible jobs the brothers do not have the resources to do.  Shifter has a few enemies within the guild, namely a man called Red Wind, his former partner who resents Shifter's leaving.  Shifter is excellent at entering and leaving a place without being noticed.  Shifter is not well liked because of his abrasive personality, picking out every small negative detail or creating one when none are available.  Even his brothers threaten his with violence after so long.

3rd level Fighter
S: 13, I: 12, W: 9, D: 8, C: 13, Ch: 8
HP: 21, AC: 4 (15) or 2 (17) w/shield, Dam: 1d8+2 w/sword or 1d6 w/bow, SV: 12
Equipment: +2 Chainmail, +1 Shield, +1 Longsword, Bow, 20 Arrows

The quietest brother.  Like the others, he is intelligent, but will only speak if there is a flaw in a plan.  Willem is the brother they send if killing needs done.  He approaches every job with a cold detachment that sometimes bothers the other brothers.  He doesn't care for the money or luxuries they earn, only to keep his sword sharp and his armor in top condition. 

2nd level Thief
S: 13, I: 11, W: 10, D: 15, C: 12, Ch: 13
HP: 6, AC: 5 (14), Dam: 1d6, SV: 14
Equipment: +1 Leather Armor, Short Sword

Ash is the brother with the most personality and is often the one who scouts a place.  He is very likable, often buys people drinks.  His weakness is the women.  He can distracted by a wink or a sway of a woman's hips.  Malcolm has taken him to task about this a few times and even have set him up to show him the dangers of his obsession.  Ash is serious because his brothers are always serious, but likes to have a good laugh when they are not around. 

3rd level Fighter
S: 16, I: 7, W: 9, D: 11, C: 14, Ch: 11
HP: 21, AC: 0 (19) w/axe or 3 (16), Dam: 1d8+4, SV: 12
Equipment: +2 Chainmail, +3 Battle Axe*
*This is the Battle Axe of the Betrayer, the +3 bonus is for to hit, damage and to armor class.  It is a cursed item and it slowly works on the wielder's mind making him paranoid especially those closest to him.  So far Nickolas has been able to resist the axe's powers, but he is beginning to believe Malcolm is plotting to kill him.

Nickolas is the brute of the brothers.  The youngest and largest.  He does not look like the others and becomes angry when someone mentions this.  He was trained to use the axe by his father's best friend and fought one season with the mercenary company, The Blood Wolves.  He still has many friends in the Blood Wolves and will hire them when a job needs extra muscle.  He is unaware of what the axe is doing to him.


  1. This is a great collection of villains. I love the cursed axe that makes the wielder paranoid. Perfect for adding tension and drama!

  2. Thanks Christian and LI. I like to set up group with subtle dramatics. This group here I wanted to make a smart, low end group who are methodical with their approach and yet still have a set of moral guidelines. And of course I always love throwing in a wildcard, like the axe to add to the group dynamics.

  3. Pity poor old Mother Borsko when she receives the terrible news that all of her sons have been put to the sword by a rabble of adventurers! A bitter day in Borskoton...

  4. I liked this post, it was a good read! Thanks for sharing.