Low-level chaotic antagonists for your players to burn at the stake….
(Or how to make friends and immolate people)
In advance of September’s release of Disciples of the Dark Gods, I thought I’d have a crack at putting together some villains for your characters to immolate.
These two are low level scum, none too subtle or dangerous, and are suitable for cornering in their feeble lairs and burning at the stake in one convenient session.
Adraniss the panderer: Malfian servant of Slaanesh
Adraniss was always a problem child. Intelligent, quick witted and creative, he had the misfortune to be born in the miserable slums of Hettra, a minor hive on Malfi. He never knew his father, and his mother died young in making the conventional hurried transition from joygirl to addict, to corpse.
Forced to beg on the streets from an early age, he rapidly discovered that there were those who, in defiance of Malfian law, would pay good money to enjoy his youthful company. His psyche was twisted and scarred during this harsh and abusive induction into adulthood, leaving him a thoroughly dangerous and mercenary individual absorbed only by his own wishes and desires. Were it not for a chance encounter in his late teens, Adraniss would, like his mother, have probably become addicted to one lethal underhive slum-drug or another and rapidly descended into subhumanity and then death.
But he was saved this fate (in order to be damned to one even worse) by Vedectra, a highborn Malfian Slaaneshi cultist. Travelling through the Hettran slums in search (literally) of fresh meat, Vedectra chanced upon Adraniss and convinced him to join him for a simple monetary exchange in a local hostelry. Vedectra was amused to discover that Adraniss was intrigued, rather than repelled and horrified by his client’s inclinations, tattoos and brandings. Adraniss was rapidly inducted into Vedectra’s cult, and seared with the marks of the Prince of Excess.
However, Adraniss barely had time to learn the initial Rituals of Debasement and the secret signs of the cult when the Inquisition descended upon Vedectra’s followers like wolves upon sheep. Terrified and forced to flee, Adraniss took flight to Scintilla in hopes of establishing himself in safety.
Arriving with nothing, Adraniss used his hive-bred wiles to quickly prey upon his fellow immigrants, his attention falling in particular upon the naïve and vulnerable of both sexes. Now he has a small stable of drug-addled joyboys and joygirls who he pimps relentlessly in the Sumpston sector of the Sibellean underhive. He has rapidly built up a vicious reputation as a cutthroat and panderer, a reputation enhanced by dark rumours as to his bizarre taste for torture and self mutilation.
Adraniss has the usual pale skin, lank blonde hair and watery green eyes of a Hettran Malfian. He is of average height, slim but well muscled and aged in his late 20s. He wears his hair to his shoulder, and enjoys the affectation of wearing the pale purple dress leather stormcoat of the 25th Hettran PDF regiment over sallow silks and velveteen britches. He is anonymously good looking, but his face rapidly twists into a memorable snarl of utter contempt when crossed. Underneath his garments he is heavily scarred in ritual Slaaneshi patterns, and a significant portion of his torso is tattooed with hideous, if incomplete, images of slaughter and suffering.
Adraniss the panderer
WS BS S T Ag Int Per WP Fel
30 29 37 29 36 30 33 30 41
Skills: Awareness (Per), Barter (Fel), Blather +10 (Fel), Deceive (Fel) Carouse +20 (T), Chem Use +10 (Int), Common Lore (Hettran Underworld) +20, Common Lore (Underworld) (Int), Forbidden Lore (Slaaneshi rituals and practices), Intimidate +10 (S), Speak Language (Low Gothic)
Talents: Melee Weapon training (Primitive) Pistol Training (Las)
Weapons: Hooked knife: (3m; 1d5+3R, Primitive), Laspistol (30m, S/3/-; 1d10=2E, Pen 0, Clip 30, Rld, Full, Reliable)
Gear: Hettran PDF stormcoat (Body 4), Drug injector (reused a number of times) 5 hits of some filthy underhive drug. 500 thrones.
Personality and motivation: Adraniss is intelligent, but damaged, lazy and self indulgent. When under pressure, he is capable of acts of great cunning, but when free to pursue his own agenda, he tends to relapse into minor acts of self-destructive brutal depravity. He cannot restrain himself for long, and that is likely to be his undoing. He is a sadist of the worst kind, enjoying torture both mental and physical. However he is ultimately cowardly, and is terrified of the Inquisition, having seen their handiwork before. His main response to danger is to flee, but he will fight viciously if cornered. He lacks the ambition to ever be a great or truly lethal cultist. He has no long term plans other than to impose his will on the weak for as long as he can. As such, he is a minor threat, but dangerous enough, in his own way…
Followers: Adraniss is a minor cultist of Slaanesh, and he never completed his training but his patron, the heretic Vedectra, was, during his short life, a magister magus of great power. He taught Adraniss one ritual, the Ritual of Debasement. This enables a cultist to make a total slave of another human being through the prolonged use of drugs and mental torture. Adraniss has only had the time so far to inflict this horrific ritual on three of his stable, and they now would willingly die for him to keep him safe or to amuse him. These three (two sickly looking young women and a short, androgynous young man) travel with Adraniss everywhere. Use the dreg profile, but give them knives and stub pistols. Adraniss also has a wider stable of joyboys and joygirls, based in his hideout, but they all hate and fear him, and wouldn’t lift a finger to save him from the pyre.
Hideout: Adraniss resides in the 13th floor of an abandoned hab block in the Sumpston sector of Hive Sibellus. The entire floor is given over to him, his clients and his stable of addicts, who are sold to the depraved denizens of the hive on a half-hourly basis. The 13th floor is about 1500 square feet of jumbled small rooms and hallways, covered in depraved graffiti and scattered with drug paraphernalia and human waste. Filthy mattresses litter every corner, many with addicts passed out on them. In the heart of this cesspool, Adraniss lives in a cluster of rooms littered with cheap cushions and adorned with artwork stolen from the depths of the Sibellan underhive, each uniquely “enhanced” to suit Adraniss’ obscene tastes.
Adraniss is such a nasty piece of work, players will love turning him into little shreds. The trick is coming up with a good excuse to point them in his direction! Three quick hooks:
• The player’s Inquisitor is contacted by his opposite number in Malfi, who is chasing the only survivor of a cult he’s just wiped out. The players are set on the track of this survivor, who was last seen departing on the St Gerasmuss, a transport bound for Sibellus. His physical appearance is passed to the players, and the Captain, when questioned, reveals that their passenger left for the Sumpston sector of Hive Sibellus. Now it’s just a case of following the trail of addicts…
• Or you could try a CSI-style approach. The players are contacted by the Precinct Judge of the Hive Sibellus Sumpston Sector Adeptus Arbites. He calls them into the morgue-reclamator chamber and shows them the body of a young, undernourished woman. “Nothing out of the ordinary, eh?” he asks. “Another Hive-scum drug addict overdose, I first thought. But look…this is why I called you in.” And he reveals that someone has carved the rune of Slaanesh on the woman’s back with a knife, an inch deep, while she was still alive. The players will have to track down the young woman’s identity, find out where she died, and who was responsible. All roads lead to Adraniss…
• Or Miami Vice…The players are tracking down the local links in a vast drug supply chain. They soon find that a new dealer is in town, an immigrant from Malfi, who is feared and loathed by all the locals because of his hideous reputation for torture. Apparently, he may be the next link in the supply chain, a chain that seems to stretch back to Malfi…
Sanny the ranter: deluded pawn of Tzeentch
From certain perspectives, hive cities are nothing more than a collection of intersecting streets. If one is minded to view the metropolis through the eyes of a demagogue, there are millions of corners from which passers by may be harangued and abused. Any many see their world in this way. Naïve visitors to the hives are overwhelmed in short order upon arrival by the sheer ferocity and volume of the invective directed at them by hawkers, preachers, and bawds from every angle, in dozens of languages.
But occasionally, an individual is born who sees the connections between the streets in terms deeper than the purely financial. For those with the witchsight, street corners have mystical, magickal qualities, linking worlds and dimensions invisible to those whose perspective is purely mundane. For those prepared to leave mundane morality and sanity behind, there is power on the streets, power that can be tapped and manipulated.
For over twenty years, Sanny has wandered the streets of Hive Sibellus. To the casual observer, he is a typical hive dreg: scrawny, bedraggled and filthy. His bloodshot, rolling eyes, shock of greasy hair and wild, stabbing gesticulations mark him among the mentally ill. In civilised societies, such unfortunates are treated with kindness and mercy, but in the great hives they are ignored and cast aside to perish or to abuse others, depending upon their nature.
Sanny was in his early teens when the visions first came. At first accompanied by blinding headaches and later by voices whispering on the edge of hearing, they showed him strange connections between places and times, weird invisible strands of energy that drifted through the city and muttered instructions in dead languages in how to channel these forces for his own ends.
Sanny’s moods and rants soon became unbearable for his poor family, and he wandered onto the streets, never to return. He now lives off the uncertain charity of the hivedwellers, and off scraps of food the rats and bloodroaches are too slow to ****** from the gutter. He is an inconvenience to the Sibellians, an embarrassment. But he may also be their doom.
For Sanny is a pawn of Tzeentch. He is a nascent psyker, the most dangerous of humans, especially dangerous in his case, for the depth of his insanity conceals a malign purpose not fully understood even by him. Tzeentch has opened a tiny conduit in his mind between the real world and the warp, a conduit only possible where the vessel is already irrevocably maddened.
Now Tzeentch drives Sanny to wander through the city, making tiny adjustments to the flow of warp energy around him in order to fuel the growing gateway in his head. To the uninitiated, Sanny appears to be simply engaging in random acts of peculiar behaviour: suddenly stooping, picking up and empty ration-can, walking ten paces, and placing it at a precise angle next to a streetlight: shouting at a startled pilgrim, or rocking in a certain way at a certain time. But everything he does is designed to increase the flow of warp energy generated by the living masses around him into his own mind, where it is stored, awaiting a final, horrific release…
Sanny is as thin and skeletal as a gantry crane, and is invariably wrapped in a soiled grey longcoat and clothed in mismatched rags obviously plucked from the sewers. He is pale and hairy, with a long beard and matted black hair. His eyes are his most striking feature, being reddened and sore like angry wounds, but yet wild and startling. His age is hard to determine, but if he were cleaned and groomed, he could be in his late 30s.
Sanny the ranter
WS BS S T Ag Int Per WP Fel
18 18 27 29 32 30 25 40 5
Skills: Awareness (Per), Carouse (T), Chem Use +10 (Int), Common Lore (Underworld) +10, Forbidden Lore (Tzeentchian Magickal energy channeling) Secret Tongue (Daemonic) Concealment (Ag) Intimidate +10 (S) (Int), Speak Language (Low Gothic)
Talents: Melee Weapon training (Primitive), Strong Minded, Unshakeable Faith, Psy Rating 2
Weapons: Filthy shiv/knife: (3m; 1d5+3R, Primitive),
Gear: Rags, collection of old newspapers, wheeled trolley piled high with empty bottles and moth-eaten blankets.
Psychic powers: Sense Presence, White Noise, Inflict Delusion, Forget me, Visions, Channel Magickal power, Warpgate (see below)
Unique psychic powers:
Sanny is unique: he has been given a special gift by Tzeentch, a gift that will – one way or another – one day destroy him.
Focus time: 20 full actions
Other requirements: The caster needs to accumulate 999 Tzeenchian Magickal energy points to use this power.
This is a special psychic power focussed upon the caster. Once activated, it causes the caster’s brain to swell and expand in his skull, bleeding out of his eyes, mouth and ears. The cranium splits, and the brain, writhing and reforming like melted plastic, curls into a circular shape about 20 feet wide. A weird light emanates from the centre of the circle, and then reality splits wide as if it had been stabbed from within, and thousands of Tzeentchian daemons pour out, slaying everything in sight, and probably dooming an entire planet to a hideous death. The caster is, needless to say, slain, and his soul damned forever.
Channel Magickal power
Focus time: Half action
This is a simple Tzeentchian power that allows the caster to accumulate and store magickal energy to power deadlier rituals. Once cast, the user gains an insight into the flow of psychic energy in an area about a mile square, and also receives a general idea of how this energy can be redirected. Redirection can take place using simple ritualised behaviour, the form of which is largely irrelevant, and which is typically personal to the user. Once redirected, the energy is stored in the user’s mind, which rapidly drives them insane, at the rate of 1 insanity point for every Tzeentchian Magickal energy point per day. Once irrevocably insane, the user becomes a pawn of Tzeentch.
Each time this power is cast for the first nine years, the caster gains 1 Tzeentchian Magickal energy point per month. After this period, the rate begins to increase to 1 point a week. After a further 9 years, the rate increases to 1 point per day.
The more Tzeentchian Magickal energy points the user stores, the easier he is to detect by other psychics. Once the user accumulates 250 Tzeentchian Magickal energy points, a psychic receives +5 to his psyniscience test to detect him, and +5 for every further 100 points after that. Once he gets to 900 psychic points, a user is like a blazing light to other psychics, and can even cause spontaneous nosebleeds and headaches in “normal” humans within 100 yards.
Sanny has accumulated 412 Tzeentchian Magickal energy points over the years. He’s almost half way there…
Personality and motivation:
Sanny actually has no motivation himself: he has become a total cipher, a conduit for Tzeentch’s malign purposes. Sanny maintains enough sanity to feed, dress and care for himself (to a primitive level) but little more than that.
He is impossible to intimidate or interrogate, but retains enough self control to resist capture and fight to defend himself, and will not hesitate to use psychic powers to this end. Players meeting him in a social setting should be left in no doubt that he’s irrevocably insane, but if they try to capture him, they should wonder if he’s been faking all along. In fact he hasn’t: he IS mad, but Tzeentch doesn’t want his pawn to fall into the Inquisition’s hands just yet…
Sanny is a tricky adversary to use properly: he combines tremendous potential danger with relatively little present danger. Yes he’s a moderately powerful psychic, but he’s also a schizophrenic homeless guy with no friends or resources. The trick is letting the players slowly realise what they’re dealing with, and what the stakes are. Here are a few suggestions:-
• You could use Sanny as a foreshadowing device in other adventures. Whenever the players wander through Hive Sibellus, have them see him acting strangely and ranting at passers by. Perhaps have him grasp a player and hiss deluded (but creepily accurate) prophesies at him/her. What you should avoid doing is letting any psykers in your party anywhere near him during the early stages of the adventure: save him for when parties have split into groups, and have him harass the non-psykers in an entertaining fashion until they’re used to him and look forward to seeing him again. Then suddenly have a psyker spot him for what he is (using psyniscience) and let realisation slowly dawn on the players that they’ve been allowing a potentially vast Daemonic incursion to fester right under their noses….
• Or you could try a more direct approach: have the Hive Sibellus astropathic choir sense that something is rotten in the city, and have your inquisitor send the acolytes scurrying into the underhive to track down the source of the disturbance like psychic bloodhounds…
• Or just present him as a random encounter to players to spice up an existing adventure: “Hey…that guy’s a psyker, and he reeks of the warp! Get him!”