So, this month’s RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by KJ Davies from “In My Campaign”. He has invited us to talk about the Movers and Shakers in our campaigns and I started last week talking about my most recent Eberron campaign in my last article, so this one will be focusing on my Ravnica one, featuring a world-spanning threat that grows faster than the heroes can realize what they are facing. Let me introduce you to the Sliver Apocalypse.
Based on Dan Brown’s Bertrand Zobrist from «Inferno» and Jane Goldman’s Richmond Valentine from «Kingsman: The Secret Service», our mastermind villain and ultimate antagonist is a Simic viromancer who is convinced that the Guildpact as it was created is drawing too much of the magical energy suffusing the world. His plan can be summarized as a 3-step madman to-do list.
- Convince commoners that the Guildpact is flawed. For this, he’s planning to reveal the secret tenth guild during the Decamillennial.
- Engineer a predator species that is able to decimate the population. For this, he’s getting biosamples of the most dangerous monstrosities many adventurers can hunt for him.
- Release a savage apocalypse which only powerful individuals will be able to survive and endure. His creation’s lifespan is limited to just a few days after they reach maturity.
An evil-utionary biologist
Some mad scientists use their twisted intellect solely for personal gain, but not Doctor Nebun. For him, his genius is the only thing that can save Ravnica from impending doom. To him, the city’s population is stuck in an evolutionary rut, and it’s up to him to put it back on the proper path so they can continue to evolve. He seeks to create a new world based on superior members of the common races, but ultimately is planning to develop the Ultimate Life Form with the power of magic and science, with a twisted but genuine desire to improve the humanoid condition in the world. Obviously, he subscribes to both a social Darwinism and a Machiavellian «The Ends Justify the Means» philosophies.
Regardless, and maybe because of his dedication, Doctor Nebun is more than willing to break laws, engaging in experimental alterations upon other beings, and risk adventurers’ lives for the higher goal. His creation, the slivers, are no exemption. No matter how much or strongly he is opposed, he will never be able to identify himself as the the villain.
Doctor Nebun also qualifies, but to a lesser extent, as a Plaguemaster, that is, a character who delights in disease and pestilence. Typically a Plaguemaster’s physical form is just as ravaged by disease as his victims, but this is not the case. What Doctor Nebun plans is to use a synthetic plague to cleanse Ravnica from what he considers irresponsible and unworthy individuals. If discovered, he’ll justify his point of view into starting the Apocalypse, but he won’t show any remorse nor empathy.
A few years ago I created a D&D version for the slivers (the original article in in Spanish), and I’m still in the process of updating them to 5e. I’ll probably use the tools available in D&D Beyond. Join me soon to have an exclusive look unto them. Until then, allow your villains to love it when their plan come together.