Today’s character is the real star of Crem, yesterday’s port town. He is a powerful NPC, perhaps the villain for a chapter in a campaign or for a short campaign. Though he is highly unoptimized, he has a lot of money and henchmen, not to mention his status. This is the first character we’ve done that doesn’t follow a simple class progression. Instead, he jumps around, a Druid levels 1 and 2, a Fighter levels 3-5, and a Thief levels 6-8. He rolled attributes well above the average and they were not rearranged at all, so he is a well rounded character with a lot of potential.
Backstory and Levels 1-8
Milius grew up in money, but it was hardly the lap of luxury. His family’s wealth was from their trading monopoly in Crem, the coastal town built around their manor, docks, and the coastal keep. He grew up in the cold town on the northern coast of the echoing see, being taught under his father’s hand to run the family business. His mother, a brilliant hunter and expert climate watcher, raised him to love the manor’s gardens and take pride in pruning his own trees. She also gave him his first dog, a half-wolf mutt she expected him to tame. She continued to push him, teaching him archery and survival. Milius much preferred his mother’s training to that offered by his father.
During a winter in the capital, Milius made the acquaintance of Claire Rintius, daughter of a low ranking noble studying at the mage academy. He courted her, wowing her with his knowledge and reasoning ability. He asked her hand in marriage and in the spring returned with her to Crem for the wedding. Their daughter was born shortly thereafter.
When his parents fell ill and moved permanently to their winter estate in the South, Milius took over their shipping in Crem and the surrounding area. He had learned his father’s lessons, but had not taken them to heart like those of his mother. The business began to face competition from other merchants pushing into their part of the Echoing Sea. Seeing himself struggling to maintain his monopoly in the area, Milius turned to his mother’s teaching for a solution.
As a child he had played in the tunnels beneath the manor and had even found the sinkhole outside the city. He had found the connection in the keep dungeons. When he could not stop traders infringing on his monopoly, he took on the alias Captain Mel Harkin, bought a ship, hired a crew, and took to pirating his competitors, using the caves north of the keep as a staging area. He enjoys the thrill of hiding his operation under the keep’s nose. His ship is the greatest naval power in the North Echoing Sea and as of yet goes unchallenged.
Strength: 16, Constitution: 18, Dexterity: 17,
Wisdom: 17, Intelligence: 17, Charisma: 12
Abilities: Marksmanship V, Long Shot III, Blade Dance III, Kick II, Call Animal II, Natural Empathy IV, Gather Followers II, Climb III, Swim II, Jump II, Lock-picking I, Pick Pocket I, Arcane Knowledge I
Skills: Weapon Skill IV, Stealth II, Diplomacy I, Riding I
How to explain Milius Crem as a character… Since he’s an NPC I’ll do it in the order a party of players will perceive him.
Most likely, unless they approach by sea, the players will first meet Milius Crem the merchant. He’s diplomatic and charming, he handles a horse well enough, and he’s rich. His abnormally large and abnormally loyal dog might raise a few questions, but his impeccable sense for weather patterns might explain why fewer of his ships disappear than those of his competitors.
If they happen find the tunnels and run into him down there, with petty enchanted lock pick in hand, he is able to pass through locked doors and composes himself well in the shadows. Perhaps this is the first time they see him as an enemy and he flees or beats them off until they can build strength.
In the decisive encounter with him, however, they will see his sails before they see him. Maybe they’ve connected him to the pirates, maybe they haven’t, but they’ll see his ship, manned by payed henchmen pirates (mostly drunks and soldiers, a few brawlers, fighters, padfoots, and thieves) but commanded by Milius and his loyal Gathered Follower, a level 5 fighter first mate.
With Climb, Swim, and Jump, Milius is as comfortable on the ship as his men. He knows weather six hours in advance thanks to Natural Empathy IV, allowing him to out maneuver even faster ships with a little luck.
Eventually, however, the fight would come. With a the heaviest bow recommended for his strength (80 pound, rolling 2d6 for damage) and Long Shot III, he has no penalty for targets less than 240 feet away and can fire at targets up to 720 feet (two soccer fields) away with a -8 penalty To-Hit (only -1 after Marksmanship and Weapon Skill).
When boarding or boarded, Milius fights with long sword and dagger. Using Blade Dance he rolls 3d6+20 for his attacks and parries will blade dance and deals 18*1.6 = 28.8 damage to any enemy unable to stop either of his attacks. Against a single foe, he remains formidable with his high dexterity, weapon skill, and periodic kick.
All in all, Milius would be an interesting villain, first to discover, then to chase, and finally to fight.
How would you go about fighting this villain? How would you use him as a Master Weaver? Did you like seeing a character like this? Let us know below.