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Kurt Schniederby Marco Dalmonte
Okay, since we're talking about demigods and powerful villains, I just thought it could be the right opportunity to introduce you one of the best five villains I've ever created IMC. This guy was the focus of a major epic campaign just a few years before WotI (and it was tied to WotI), and its deeds have also caused another great campaign in those same years but with another group of players (the campaigns I play with different gaming groups tend to be all related). Do not be afraid (well, no, actually BE afraid ;)) of his stats and powers: there's a good story behind them. Up to now, my players still think he's the coolest villain they've ever battled. ;)
(note: the numbers before the slash refer to Kurt's characteristics when he was still a mortal, the numbers after the slash refer to his demigod status)
AC: -2 / -7
Lev: M23 / HD: 23+
Hp: 60 / 150
THAC0:11 / 4
ST: M23 / M23
Mv: 15(5)/ 60(20)
# Att: 1 / 2 fists or 1 spell
Dam: var / 2d6+5 per fist or var.
Power Points: 250
Str: 10 / 22 (+5)
Int: 18 / 29 (+7)
Wis: 12 / 26 (+6)
Dex: 17 / 28 (+7)
Con: 15 / 27 (+5)
Cha: 10 / 20 (+4)
Bracers of Defence AC3
Ring of Protection +3
AC 0 + dex bonus
Hit only by +3 weapons or better
Hit only by those who are "hasted" twice
Regenerates 10 hp/round
Regenerates 25 Power Points/round
Immune to normal cold, heat or electricity
Power Points & Spells
Kurt Schneider is a typical representative of the Schneider family of Aalban: tall, lean, with light blue eyes and once long blond hair which have now turned snowy white after the transformation. His gaze is piercing and somewhat mocking, often accompanied by a malicious grin that gives his pale visage a dangerous enough look. He's lean but well built, and when he enters physical combat (something he never liked in his mortal life), his body shows powerful muscles tightening under the skin, giving the opponent the impression of a titanic strength flowing in a human body.
He always favours white garments, usually white long sleeved robes with a black belt and black boots, even though after his transformation he doesn't really care if he's dressed or naked, since he doesn't fear weather and doesn't care about others' moral opinions anymore. Now HE is the one telling them how to behave.
Born in Leenz (Principality of Aalban, Glantri) in AC 960, Kurt was the first son of Dietrich Schneider, an important nobleman who served the House of Ritterburg in the military. The father decided from the beginning that his son would have followed a different path and at the age of six sent him away to Glantri City to attend the Great School of Magic and become a renowned mage. Indeed, Dietrich was a mere fighter and couldn't hope to gain more influence in the politics of the Principality than that which he already had. He knew that the only way to ascend the ranks of nobility was to be a magic-user, and so he wanted Kurt to become one, in order to have the opportunity to acquire a small dominion for the family in the future.
During the school years, Kurt distinguished himself in the fields of alchemy and monster anatomy, earning the attention and the guidance of Herr Rolf Graustein, at those times teacher at the Great School and arcane researcher in his free time. Kurt assisted Herr Graustein in many experiments both inside and outside the school, and from him he inherited the passion for Alchemy (becoming an initiate in the Secret Craft of Alchemy) and for Creation of new species. His personal project for graduation was the creation of a stone golem, which he finally completed in AC 980. Despite the fact that he graduated a bit late in comparison to his classmates, he was never considered inferior to them by Herr Graustein, who understood the genius of his mind. The two continued to work together for a bit until AC 982, when Herr Graustein was called to Schloss Ritterburg by his old time friend Jaggar von Drachenfels, now the Prince of Aalban. The new Prince needed the genius and the experience of Herr Rolf to devise new plans to improve the army and his own dominion, and Kurt was thus forced to abandon his mentor and returned home. There he stayed for a few years, helping his father in daily administration of their land holdings. Dietrich steadily filled the youth's mind with visions of power and greatness about his future as a mage and landlord, and from his father Kurt also inherited the thirst for power as well as the love for his land, Glantri. In AC 985 he decided to travel the Principalities to wise up a bit on how the things worked in the other parts of Glantri and in the following five years he teamed up with his cousin, Ernst Jaeger, and his friends, accumulating knowledge and treasures during their adventures in Glantri, Wendar and Darokin.
Kurt returned home in AC 990 and was greeted with honours by his family, but his return was somehow dulled by another event: the birth of his younger sister Heike Schneider. Seeing all the affections and attentions of their parents devoted to the child, Kurt retreated into his magical studies to find satisfaction and self-fulfilment. With his fortunes he built a lonely tower in a secluded valley between Graez and Morlay and began experimenting with magical brews and monsters. In all these years, he had been cherishing only one dream: the creation of an "Uebermensch", an exalted creature he will have used to lead Glantri to the conquest of the nearby lands, eradicating the humanoids and the Ethengars that threatened his country. In AC 993 he published an important essay ("De Arcana Combinatio") concerning the alteration of living tissues by magical crossbreeding, which prompted long academic debates at the Great School of Magic. In AC 994, as a result of his work, Herr Graustein contacted him and proposed his former student to take part in a secret experiment under the direct supervision of Lord Jaggar von Drachenfels. Kurt immediately accepted, eager to work with his old mentor and to show his ability to the Prince.
This way Kurt began to work on the so called "Project Eclipse" with a team of highly experienced scholars and wizards at Schloss Ritterburg: their ultimate goal was the creation of an army of nearly invincible demi-golems Jaggar wanted to use to exterminate the enemies of Glantri. The wizards had been working on this secret project, financed by the Prince of Aalban, since AC 985, but so far the samples produced had not met the requirements established by Prince Jaggar. Kurt took the opportunity to continue his studies and helped the other wizards to create new crossbreeds. But even though each new sample could be considered powerful and certainly had unique peculiarities, they didn't seem able to avoid certain vulnerabilities which made the demi-golem easily defeatable. Around AC 997 the guinea-pigs and the voluntaries for the experiments (captive humans, demi-humans and monsters) were alarmingly low in numbers, and so Jaggar, advised by Herr Doktor (as Rolf Graustein was called at Castle Ritterburg) hired a group of thieves and gypsies to travel around the Principalities and the free lands of Glantri and kidnap suitable victims, returning at the end of each semester to Schloss Ritterburg to deliver the prisoners. The victims should have been non spellcasters (since Jaggar resented using other arcanists) and possibly boast a good stamina to resist the experiments. Again on Herr Doktor's advice, Jaggar put at the head of this group Dervargas, a "human" being created in laboratory by Herr Doktor and utterly loyal to him, in order to prevent any treachery on the thieves' part. Thus the (in)famous Itinerant Carnival of Dervargas was created, and with his many attractions (some of which were in fact magical experiments of Herr Doktor gone awry) began to travel Glantri kidnapping people here and there on a regular basis. However, since they never kidnapped more than a person every six months in each village, the disappearances never worried the local authorities.
In spring of AC 1001 Kurt Schneider made the discovery that literally changed his life. During the usual explorations near his tower (where he went back about once every three months to find new components and consult his library), inside a small cave he found a strange mineral that showed to have amazing properties. Indeed, once combined with specific alchemical substances and melted, it stimulated the cerebral cells to the point that the imbiber of this alchemical solution could shape the reality around himself without exploiting spells or usual spell-powers. After the first experiments with animals, Kurt was able to distillate a potion that would have rendered permanent the effects of the "Gottstein" (Godstone was the name he gave to the mineral), and he secretly tried it on a Boldavian girl, Tatyana Miroslavic, held prisoner in Schloss Ritterburg. However, the potion was still unstable despite Kurt's efforts to improve it, and the girl wasn't able to control the immense powers that she began to display. Alarmed and fearing the other wizards could discover his parallel experiments, Kurt tried to kill the girl to eliminate any proof against him. However, thanks to her mental powers Tatyana was able to escape the dungeon and reached Glantri City. There, she found refuge by some Darokinian mages members of the Dragon's Den (a renowned wizards' guild in Darokin IMC -DM), and they took the girl under their protective wing after discovering her mental powers. Then they helped Tatyana flee the Principalities hiding her in their caravan directed to Darokin City (apparently, she was impervious to any Teleporting attempt).
Kurt Schneider was furious and determined to kill the girl, who could have caused him great troubles in the future. So he conjured up a creature of the Nightmare Dimension, a Kru'gar (Nightmare Stalker), and bound him, ordering him to kill Tatyana. The kru'gar soon located the girl and trapped her dream-self into a dreamscape where he slowly began to terrorise her (since he feeds on his victim's fears), killing her mind bit by bit. Seeing Tatyana's mental sanity fading away with each passing day, the wizards of the Dragon's Den contacted Stefanius of Thyatis (Demetrion Karagenteropulos) and asked his help to cure her and to teach her how to master her uncanny powers. A group of trusted adventurers (the Company of the Continual Light - my PCs, DM) was hired to transport Tatyana from Darokin to Thyatis City, where Stefanius was waiting for them. They had to carry her across Darokin and Karameikos by horse, since she could not be Teleported and feared both flying and the sea (and the wizards of Darokin clearly instructed the party not to scare her..). However, during the trip they were assaulted by a group of bandits hired by Kurt to dispose of them, but they managed to kill them off also thanks to Tatyana's mental powers. In Karameikos they discovered the nature of Tatyana's bad dreams (the kru'gar) and confronted the creature in their dreams, but they were able to defeat him only after one of them (Tatyana's lover) enlisted the help of a nightmare hag for a personal price (but that's part of yet another long campaign -DM). When they arrived in Thyatis however, Tatyana's mental illness was far too bad to be cured, and she finally gave off to her powers while in the County of Vyalia, sowing destruction behind her. Only her lover's self sacrifice prevented her from annihilating herself as well as the whole group, trapping the two souls inside the girl's conscience. In the end, however, he too was saved by the direct intervention of his Immortal Patron, Korotiku, who put the girl into a cataleptic sleep before it was too late, laying her to rest in a crystal coffin in the Outer Plane of Mirage.
(this was the first adventure of the campaign, "A Girl In Danger" - DM)
Kurt thought to have eliminated the girl and so he proceeded with his plans, now working secretly on his parallel experiment without notifying the fellow wizards. However, he needed more wealth and resources to further his studies, and so began to steal gold and materials (and slaves) provided by the Prince of Aalban for his ultimate goal. After some years, his colleges began to notice the disappearance of components and guinea-pigs and after some investigations a couple of them discovered Kurt was behind the thefts. Kurt was near his long sought goal and couldn't allow the petty mages to hinder him or worse, to denounce him to the Prince, so he decided to kill them by making it look like an accident.
At this time (AC 1003), the Company of the Continual Light was in Glantri investigating the mysterious disappearance of a priest of Ixion on behalf of the Patriarch of Corunglain. The priest was an infiltrate who migrated to Glenmoorloch in AC 1001 after experiencing a vision from his patron and was working under cover to convert followers to Ixion and discover information on Glantri's rulers for the church. He was reported missing at the beginning of AC 1003, when his monthly report didn't arrive, and the Company (owing a debt to the Patriarch) was sent to investigate. The Company, after first suspecting the Lord of Klantyre for being behind the priest's disappearance, were finally led by a mysterious stranger on the right path and discovered that the Itinerant Carnival of Dervargas was behind the priest's and many other Glantrians' disappearance. They retraced the Carnival's trail and arrived in Graez, where they managed to capture Dervargas and forced him to tell the truth. When Kurt Schneider spotted their arrival at Schloss Ritterburg, he thought to use them as scapegoats: they were caught exploring the manor and immediately after the tower where all the wizards were conducting their experiments exploded. Only Herr Doktor managed to survive and the Company was captured. Kurt Schneider fled to his tower and went to work to complete the potion that would have made him an "Uebermensch". However, after interrogating the Company and thanks to Herr Doktor's testimony, Jaggar von Drachenfels was able to discover Kurt's treachery and marched towards his tower to kill the traitor, together with his army of demi-golems and followed by the Company. Kurt had not the time to test "der Götterblut" ("the Gods' Blood", his potion) and so he drank it just when the Prince's troops started attacking his tower. The Götterblut proved to be a veritable potion of immortality and Kurt was transformed into a powerful demi-god.
After defeating the small army, Kurt and Jaggar engaged in personal combat, and the Prince was forced to Teleport to his castle when he saw his attacks easily absorbed by Kurt Schneider. Kurt soon followed, as did the Company. In the ensuing battle Schloss Ritterburg was destroyed by a massive wave of energy unleashed by the demigod, who thought to have killed all the members of the Company who were inside as well as Prince Jaggar. However, Rheddrian Benekander intervened with a Time Stop, rescuing the members of the party, while Herr Doktor teleported to Glantri City and there proceeded to Clone Jaggar following his Prince's orders. Kurt then flew southwards and began exterminating all the most famous companies of adventurers of the Known World to be sure that none would have challenged his power in the future. He wanted to show to the Old World his might and to unify all the countries under his rule: all the rulers who dared refuse his will would have been slain.
In the meantime, Benekander (who turned out to be the mysterious stranger who helped the Company in Klantyre - by this time my PCs didn't know he was an immortal, for them he was only Rheddrian, DM) and the Company of the Continual Light tried to devise a plan to stop Kurt, and the party understood that only somebody with his powers could defeat him. So they went to Vyalia and Rheddrian created a Gate to Mirage to free Tatyana from her slumber. There the party (without Rheddrian) discovered that the curative powers of an artifact known as the Jewel of Roan could have helped them revive the girl, and they set forth to retrieve it. Travelling for days across a seemingly endless desert where their magic didn't function, two of them (the only survivors) finally arrived at the City of Brass, where the Jewel was said to be hold, and retrieved it after confronting its guardian. The Jewel was in fact blessed water, and with it they were able to raise their companions and Tatyana as well, curing her of her madness.
The party returned to Mystara thanks to Tatyana's powers and tracked down Kurt, who in the meantime had killed all the most famous adventurers found in Darokin, Karameikos and Ierendi (the death of the Kia'i in Ierendi also caused a civil war between the wizards of Honor Island and the Council of Ierendi, but this is another group's campaign -DM). They caught up with Kurt Schneider right after he had killed Thincol Torion and all the gladiators of Thyatis and engaged in a duel above Thyatis City. Caught by surprise by Tatyana's return, he teleported to Glantri hoping to elude the party and regain his powers, but she tracked him and followed him together with the Company. In the last battle, Kurt was finally killed while Tatyana was holding him still using her mental powers: he exploded in an immense wave of energy, and in that explosion Tatyana disappeared as well. (This was the end of the whole campaign titled "Man or Immortal?" -DM)
The Truth Behind
Actually, Kurt alone couldn't have created such a powerful Potion, and indeed were it not for Hel's secret intervention in the final preparation, the effects of the Götterblut would have been only temporary. But Hel was toying with Kurt ever since his discovery of the Gottstein and wanted to use him to cause further mischief inside the lines of the Fellowship of the Star. Indeed, by AC 1000 the funds given to the Project Eclipse were doubled due to Étienne's own meddling in the affair. He had discovered Jaggar's military project and joined his secret efforts in prevision of a possible war with Alphatia and Ixion. On his part, Ixion was sending priests inside Glantri to monitor his rival's actions, and the poor priest kidnapped by the Carnival served to ignite the powder keg. Benekander just happened to be monitoring the area when he saw the PCs investigating, and he threw himself in the thing as well. This whole fact also made the PCs suspect something was brewing in the years before the WotI.
As for the Civil War in Ierendi and the consequences of Tatyana's lover's pact with a nightmare hag, well, these are different stories.. ;)
Currently Kurt Schneider is only a soul without a body. Having been destroyed but not in the proper way (see below under Powers), he is now forced into incorporeal state in the (Border) Ethereal, while he regenerates his strengths to reform a new body. Currently he cannot be seen nor detected by anyone, and he himself is in suspended animation and has no power over himself. He is virtually non-existent in the Multiverse... but this is going to change in only 25 years. When he will reform by AC 1028, things are going to get really nasty for Mystara... again.
Kurt can use his Power Points to create every magical effect available to the Sphere of Entropy at the same Temporary PP costs (see old Immortal Rules Set). He is not aware of the other ways of using Power Points (i.e. Power Attacks, Probe, Immortal Spells of WotI rulebook, etc..), but this doesn't mean he cannot cast them once he learns how to do it. Also, he can use his PP in a very peculiar way, one the Immortals are not allowed to by their nature: to unleash waves of destructive energy. These waves are considered as a magical attack like the breath weapon of an Immortal Dragon, but they are subject to A-M areas. He can use all the PP he wants to create the wave (up to his maximum current PP), and all those caught in the wave must make a ST vs Spells to halve the damage. The wave may be directed at a single target (always hits) or be a cone of 27 mts maximum length and 9 mts wide at the outer rim. He can also project his PP wave around himself in a 27 mts radius, automatically hitting all those within this range. (Imagine a 250 hp wave.. my PCs have dealt with it.. - DM)
If Kurt is reduced to 0 Hp but retains 100 PP or more, his body is disintegrated, causing an explosion in a range of 1 mt per PP left for 1d100 points of damage (save vs spells to halve). His soul is trapped into an incorporeal stasis in the Ethereal Plane while he gathers the strengths to reform a new body in 1 year for every 10 PP he possessed. If he's reduced to 0 Hp and has 99 PP or less remaining, then he's forever killed.
PS: the characters of Kurt Schneider was inspired by main character of the manga "Bastard!" while Tatyana Miroslavic was mildly modelled after Tetsuo from the anime "Akira".
It is interesting (to me at least) to note that I first created Tatyana and her adventure as a stand-alone, and then invented the whole story about Kurt and this campaign to explain her powers and background. Well, it turned out to be damn good, both from the DM's and the players' point of view. The trickiest thing was on the PCs' part was understanding that they couldn't possibly win alone against Kurt and had to awaken Tatyana. I said this was tricky because the two adventures were played not one after the other, but with many others in the middle (2 gaming years passed between them) and their memories tend to be vague sometimes. Fortunately enough, this time they got the link.