The Unluckiest NPC

roguerouge

First Post
I need your help vetting an NPC that I'm going to be using. He's going to be an antagonist to my PC, but not one she should kill. I want this guy to be memorable, sound in terms of game mechanics, and to force my player to make a difficult moral choice. Should she help him commit suicide or should she try to save the champion of her own goddess's worst foe?

The Background:

During The Winnowing, the other demigods chose heroes and villains that represented the best of their domain. These mighty mortals are to increase attract believers to their faith and thus demonstrate the demigod’s worth to the skeptical pantheon.

All but Loki, that is. The demi-god of bad luck chose one utterly normal human. He serves as an object lesson on the power of ill fortune to ruin any man’s life. This man’s long and miserable life demonstrates why Loki is to be appeased, propitiated.

Ayebar was that man.

Ayebar has lost more jobs than he can count. He’s inadvertently ruined marriages, bankrupted employers, and gotten friends fired. He’s been hungry, beaten, mocked, and spat upon. He’s been shipwrecked and enslaved by pirates. He’s caused several industrial accidents.

Ayebar never means to harm anyone or cause chaos. These things just happen. Because Loki makes sure of it.

Loki sees to it that Ayebar survives. It wouldn’t do for him to die before another town learned that it never pays to forget Loki.

Now, which of these two builds is the better for this concept?
 

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roguerouge

First Post
Ayebar Jaxx, Doom Magnet
Neutral Male Human “Sorcerer 9”

Note: Ayebar does not actually use arcane spells nor does the blood of dragons flow through his veins. The class benefits represent Loki’s efforts to keep him alive in his misery. The “spells” function as powers under Loki’s control, not his, and are as likely to affect him, his allies or his enemies. They’re designed to cause the maximum amount of chaos, but designed to make the origin of the ill fortune mysterious, unprovable and untraceable. Mortals are to look on Ayebar as inexplicable omen of disaster, as a victim of circumstances beyond his control, and as unfortunate in the extreme, but not someone intentionally spreading ruin.

Stats:
STR: 12
DEX: 8
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 14
CHA: 16

HP: 30

FORT: +5 REFLEX: +2 WILL: +8

Skills: 36
Climb -2, Craft (alchemy) +1, Craft (carpenter) + 1, Craft (blacksmith) + 1, Craft (stone masonry) + 1, Craft (pottery) + 1, Handle Animal +4, Perform (ukele) +4, Knowledge (local) + 1, Knowledge (religion) + 1, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) + 1, Knowledge (nature) + 1, Knowledge (geography) +1, Profession (guide) + 3, Profession (cook) + 3, Profession (sailor) + 3, Profession (porter) + 3, Profession (gambler) +3, Profession (stable hand) + 3, Profession (farmer) +3, Swim -2.

Feats:
1st Human: Aura of Clumsiness: All natural ones force fumbles. Gain 1 ill fortune roll per day, which is an immediate action that forces the target to take the second result. (It could be bad luck for you or for them.)

1st level: Arcane Disciple: Chaos domain

Flaw: Feeble (-2 on STR, DEX, CON ability and skill checks)

Flaw compensation feat: Klutz: Expend ill fortune roll to force second skill check. Gain 1 ill fortune roll per day.

3rd level: Retributive Spell: 1 spell targets attacker when damaged +1 CL

6th level: Extra Known Spell (Gust of Wind)

9th level: Jack of All Trades

Fluff: Whenever a spell goes off, all within 30' have a fleeting taste of copper on their tongue.

0th known: 8
Daze: Humanoid creature of 4 HD or less loses next action.
Flare: Dazzles one creature (-1 on attack rolls).
Touch of Fatigue: Touch attack fatigues target.
Prestidigitation: Performs minor tricks.
Stick: Glues an object weighing <5 pounds to another object
Mage Hand: 5-pound telekinesis.
Open/Close: Opens or closes small or light things.
Resistance: Subject gains +1 on saving throws.

1st known: 5+D
Backbiter: weapon strikes wielder
Distract: Subjects –4 Concentration, Listen, Search, Spot
Grease: Makes 10-ft. square or one object slippery.
Hold Portal: Holds door shut.
Ray of Clumsiness: 1d6+1/lv Dex damage to target
D: Protection from Law: +2 to AC and saves, counter mind control, hedge out elementals and outsiders.

2nd: 5+D
Blur: Attacks miss subject 20% of the time.
Gust of Wind: Blows away or knocks down smaller creatures.
Karmic Backlash: Any creature damaging you exhausted for 2 rounds
Mindless Rage: Subject compelled to attack you physically for 1 round/level
Touch of Idiocy: Subject takes 1d6 points of Int, Wis, and Cha damage.
D: Shatter: Sonic vibration damages objects or crystalline creatures.

3rd: 3+D
Dispel Magic: Cancels magical spells and effects.
Slow: One subject/level takes only one action/round, -1 to AC, reflex saves, and attack rolls.
Unluck: subject remakes all rolls, uses worst, for 1 rd./level
D: Magic Circle against Law: As protection spells, but 10-ft. radius and 10 min./level.

4th: 2+D
Backlash: Subject takes damage if it uses spells against another creature
Bestow Curse: -6 to an ability score; -4 on attack rolls, saves, and checks; or 50% chance of losing each action.
D: Chaos Hammer: Damages and staggers lawful creatures.
 

roguerouge

First Post
OR...

Ayebar Jaxx, Doom Magnet
Neutral Male Human “Sorcerer 6/Hexblade 3”
[Ayebar does not actually use arcane spells nor does the blood of dragons flow through his veins. The class benefits represent Loki’s efforts to keep him alive in his misery. The “spells” function as powers under Loki’s control, not his, and are as likely to affect him, his allies or his enemies. They’re designed to cause the maximum amount of chaos, but designed to make the origin of the ill fortune mysterious. Mortals are to look on Ayebar as a victim of circumstances beyond his control, unfortunate in the extreme, not someone intentionally spreading ruin.]

Stats:
STR: 12
DEX: 8
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 14
CHA: 16

HP: 36

FORT: +8 (Mettle) REFLEX: +5 WILL: +11 (Mettle)
BAB +6

Skills: 36
Climb -2, Craft (alchemy) +1, Craft (carpenter) + 1, Craft (blacksmith) + 1, Craft (stone masonry) + 1, Craft (pottery) + 1, Handle Animal +4, Perform (ukele) +4, Knowledge (local) + 1, Knowledge (religion) + 1, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) + 1, Knowledge (nature) + 1, Knowledge (geography) +1, Profession (guide) + 3, Profession (cook) + 3, Profession (sailor) + 3, Profession (porter) + 3, Profession (gambler) +3, Profession (stable hand) + 3, Profession (farmer) +3, Swim -2.

Feats:
1H: Aura of Clumsiness: All natural ones force fumbles. Gain 1 ill fortune roll per day, which is an immediate action that forces the target to take the second result. (It could be bad luck for you or for them.)
1: Arcane Disciple: Chaos domain
1 Flaw: Feeble (-2 on STR, DEX, CON ability and skill checks)
1 Flaw compensation: Klutz: Expend ill fortune roll to force second skill check. Gain 1 ill fortune roll per day.
3: Retributive Spell: 1 spell targets attacker when damaged +1 CL
6: Extra Known Spell (Gust of Wind)
9: Jack of All Trades

Class Features:
Hexblade’s Curse: -2 to everything for one target
Arcane Resistance: CHA to all saves
Mettle: Save vs. Fort or Will leads to no effect always

0th known: 7
Daze: Humanoid creature of 4 HD or less loses next action.
Flare: Dazzles one creature (-1 on attack rolls).
Touch of Fatigue: Touch attack fatigues target.
Prestidigitation: Performs minor tricks.
Stick: Glues an object weighing <5 pounds to another object
Mage Hand: 5-pound telekinesis.
Open/Close: Opens or closes small or light things.

1st known: 4+D
Distract: Subjects –4 Concentration, Listen, Search, Spot
Grease: Makes 10-ft. square or one object slippery.
Hold Portal: Holds door shut.
Ray of Clumsiness: 1d6+1/lv Dex damage to target
D: Protection from Law: +2 to AC and saves, counter mind control, hedge out elementals and outsiders.

2nd: 3+D
Gust of Wind: Blows away or knocks down smaller creatures.
Karmic Backlash: Any creature damaging you exhausted for 2 rounds
Touch of Idiocy: Subject takes 1d6 points of Int, Wis, and Cha damage.
D: Shatter: Sonic vibration damages objects or crystalline creatures.

3rd: 1+D
Unluck: subject remakes all rolls, uses worst, for 1 rd./level
D: Magic Circle against Law: As protection spells, but 10-ft. radius and 10 min./level.
 


AuraSeer

Prismatic Programmer
I like the first build, but I wouldn't call Ayebar a sorcerer himself. That opens up too many weirdnesses in the game mechanics. Instead, give him a class and level of his own, and assign those powers to some ineffable "divine presence" that uses them through his presence.

If Ayebar is himself a sorcerer, you get weirdness like having him unexpectedly lose his standard action whenever a spell goes off. Or if he puts on plate armor, does the magic start suffering arcane failure? Or if he intentionally stays up all night, do the powers fail to reset? That doesn't seem like what you want.

I would say instead that some divine servant gets to use powers through Ayebar. That servant dwells in its master's planar domain but has a clairvoyance-like ability that lets it always know what's going on around Ayebar. The servant has the spellcasting ability of a 9th-level sorcerer, which resets at a certain time each day regardless of whether it or Ayebar have rested. Ordinary mortal magic cannot block the scrying effect or the spellcasting, but there's the potential of interference from some artifact or another deity.
 

Shin Okada

Explorer
He is not powerful but always survive, right? If so, why not give him Surviver prestige class in Savage Species. Those 5-level prestige class gives +0 BAB and no spell casting progressions. But give him very good saves (+4/+4/+4), Improved Evasion, Uncanny Dodge and Damage Reduction 5/-.

I can't think of any ways to emulate that unintentional unlucky aspect. Hexblade and Luckstealer can curse others intentionally. But those abilities do not match to the fluff.
 

hornedturtle

First Post
I'd go with the lv 9 commoner. And have a black cat follow him around. One sent by Loki and that actually causes all the trouble for him.
 

Ruslanchik

First Post
Both of your builds give him a Charisma of 16. That is pretty darn high. When I was reading your description of the poor fellow I thought, "This guy is the perfect candidate for a 7 or 8 CHA." I would definitely give him less CHA.
 

roguerouge

First Post
He is not powerful but always survive, right? If so, why not give him Surviver prestige class in Savage Species. Those 5-level prestige class gives +0 BAB and no spell casting progressions. But give him very good saves (+4/+4/+4), Improved Evasion, Uncanny Dodge and Damage Reduction 5/-.

I can't think of any ways to emulate that unintentional unlucky aspect. Hexblade and Luckstealer can curse others intentionally. But those abilities do not match to the fluff.

Hm... I'll have to take a look at the survivor class. But the thing to remember with these non-spell-casting builds is that he needs to be able to cause chaos, not just survive it. How's he causing failed skill checks and such? Is that the Aura that's doing it?

I want to make sure to have a mechanic for that for when he meets my PC, so that everything's fair. 'Cause, let's face it, this is designed to be a humorously frustrating NPC.
 

taliesin15

First Post
Both of these builds reminds me of the film The Cooler starring William Macy--the plot is a casino keeps this schmuck around because he brings bad luck to gamblers--whenever someone is on a winning streak, they bring the Cooler in to stand next to him, so the winner goes bust.

Course, then Macy as the Cooler falls in love, and now he is no longer unlucky, which ultimately brings bad luck to the casino owner and I won't give away anymore of the plot than this.

This also reminds one a bit of those Thomas Covenant books.

Since many campaigns have a prevalence of NPC commoners who are superstitious (natural in a world with magic one would think), I think some kind of meditation on the phrase quoted by Umberto Eco "Superstition brings bad luck" comes to mind. IOW, maybe one way Ayebar or others deals with the bad luck is to try to cease being superstitious, maybe even avoiding magic?

And yet, The Cooler paradigm suggests a way the PC you have in mind might effectively be able to harness Ayebar's bad luck. I'm particularly interested in what sort of alignment you have in mind for Ayebar. It would be highly ironic if he is either Good or Lawful, a joke Loki would no doubt relish. He can't help himself no matter what.
 

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