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Path of the Archvillain

by David Knott

The first of the four Entropic Paths to Immortality that I will describe is the Path of the Archvillain, which is the path selected by those who are opposed to the Sphere of Thought. Since the opposed Path of the Epic Hero favours the fighter, thief, mystic, and halfling classes, the Path of the Archvillain favours spellcasters. Followers of this path seek power at any price and will betray anyone or anything to get what they want, and they typically attract the attention of their Immortal sponsor by murdering heroes who have spells or magic items that they want.

Quest: The Archvillain must quest for a Major artifact from the Sphere of Entropy, which will be genuinely lost or in the possession of powerful "good" heroes who must be defeated to recover the artifact.

Trial: The Archvillain must track down and bring about the permanent destruction of an artifact of the Sphere of Thought, which will of course bring him into conflict with minions of that Sphere.

Testimony: The Archvillain must find and train a successor who is dedicated to the same ideals, and that successor must gain at least 12 levels in the service of the Archvillain. Given what I said earlier about the ideals of an Archvillain, it is obvious that the Archvillain's successor will find it hard to resist the temptation to betray his master. The Archvillain must also create a legendary item of power with effects that cause great destruction, corruption of the user, or other effects that support the cause of Entropy. He must then arrange for this item to fall into the hands of his successor and then, when his successor attempts to use that item against his master, destroy that successor in a spectacular manner.

While this phase of the path would seemingly offer no adventure hooks for heroic adventurers, it is likely that an Archvillain may approach a promising player character and attempt to recruit him as his successor (as per Darth Vader's attempts to corrupt his son Luke Skywalker). Any player character foolish enough to accept such an offer should immediately be "tainted" for his association with Entropy and suffer increasing penalties until he becomes an NPC utterly dedicated to the cause of Entropy. However, even after being reduced to NPC status, the successor to an Archvillain will continue plotting against his master.

Task: The Archvillain must perform some nearly impossible evil task such as driving the dominant religion in a non-Entropic nation underground or creating an Entropic artifact that will corrupt or drain life energy from at least 1000 people once it is completed. Generally, this task will have such horrific consequences that heroic adventurers will do anything they can to thwart completion of the task.

An Archvillain who completes all of the above requirements becomes an Immortal in the Sphere of Entropy with a special interest in stifling Thought.

Archvillain: It is cheating for an Archvillain to create as his original magic item a cursed item that will destroy his apprentice as soon as the latter steals it. In fact, the Archvillain must ensure that the apprentice has the opportunity to learn all that the Archvillain himself knows about the item, as the Archvillain's challenge is to defeat the apprentice armed with that item and fully capable of using it against his master.