Thursday, 22 October 2015

NPC - Sabine the Hordemaster

Sabine the Hordemaster

You hear them before you see them, shuffling, groaning, rattling against their chains. The smell comes next, rotting flesh, damp and old, dried blood. Then you see them, shambling zombies, chained together, stumbling and shoving against each other as they follow a black-robed figure who strides ahead of them, skull-topped staff in hand. She tips her hood back and grins as she approaches, teeth white against her dusky skin, almost-black eyes alight with mischief. "Sabine," she introduces herself, extending a hand gloved in tough, thick leather, "I hear there's work going hereabouts."

Sabine Tuelle, often known as Sabine the Hordemaster or Sabine the Necromancer, has an affinity for necromancy, particularly in raising and controlling mindless undead, such as zombies and skeletons. Luckily for the region she grew up in, she also has a love for the finer things in life, and no interest in becoming undead herself, at least not yet, so she has found a niche in order to turn her talent into a profit, animating the corpses of condemned criminals in order to sell their labour to any company or individual that can afford her. Whilst unscrupulous lords, masons and merchants are happy to pay for cheap labour that's completed quickly, both religious figures and local labourers object to the shameless abuse of necromancy, the defiling of the dead and putting living workers out of a job.

Whilst she does use the necromantic arts and has a somewhat ruthless sense of business, Sabine isn't evil in the classic sense, rather an opportunist who sees her current line of work as the best means to put food - admittedly expensive food, usually paired with an appropriate vintage - on the table. She's intelligent, has a sharp sense of humour and is capable of comporting herself with grace and authority when forced to defend her line of work to those who might confront her because of their own sense of morality, usually pointing out that, unlike using oxen or other beasts of burden, her beasts aren't alive, won't di-e from overwork and don't feel pain. Of course, if push comes to shove, she's capable of wreaking havoc with her magic and her loyal undead, though she tries to use such power only as a last resort.


Medium Humanoid (Human), True Neutral
Armor Class 15 (Sabine casts mage armor twice a day)
Hit Points 38 (7d8)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 10 (+0) DEX 15 (+2) CON 12 (+1) INT 18 (+4) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 12 (+1)
Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +4
Skills Arcana +7, Persuasion +4
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Orc, Goblin, Undercommon
Challenge 5 (1,800XP)
g. Sabine is a 7th-level Wizard. Her spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attack). Sabine has the following spell prepared:

Cantrips (at will): blade ward, chill touch, fire bolt, message
1st level (4 slots): burning hands, expeditious retreat, mage armor, protection from good and evil
2nd level (3 slots): arcane lock, gentle repose, misty step,web
3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, magic circle, sending
4th level (1 slot): blight

On a normal day, Sabine can be assumed to have cast mage armor once at dawn, and once more in the afternoon, and cast animate dead three times (once with a 4th level slot) enabling her to maintain control of her zombies for 24 hours. She'll use the Wizard's Arcane Spell Recovery ability to regain these slots if she has the opportunity to take a short rest, and keeps a 3rd level slot free in order to cast magic circle and keep her zombies at bay should anything awry occur, but otherwise uses a mix of evasive and aggressive magic to keep enemies in one place long enough for her zombie mob to take care of them.

Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80/120. One Target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.

Sabine's Zombie Mob is held together with sturdy manacles, keeping them closely together and limiting their speed. However, their main strength is in their durability and stubborn ability to shrug off killing blows. The zombie mob will follow Sabine's instructions, only lashing out when commanded to or if someone approaches without Sabine around to command the mob. 

Zombie Mob

Large swarm of Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 8
Hit Points 80 (10d8+30)
Speed 15ft
STR 19 (+4) DEX 6 (-2) CON 16 (+3) INT 3 (-4) WIS 6 (-2) CHA 5 (-3)
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages understands the languages it knew in life but can't speak
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie mob to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie mob drops to 10 hit points instead.

Swarm. The mob can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Medium humanoid. The mob can't regain hit points gain temporary hit points.

Slams. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature within range or in the mob's space. Hit: 12 (2d8+4) bludgeoning damage, or  6 (1d8 +2 if the Mob is reduced to half it's hit points or lower.

Using Sabine

  • Sabine could be a flavour NPC used to reinforce the fantastic nature of the setting, reminding the players and the PCs that they are in a fantasy world that doesn't necessarily have the same morality or rules of our own.
  •  The PCs could be hired by a local union of labourers or a religious figure to destroy Sabine's Zombie Mob and run the necromancer out of town.
  • After recieving threats from labourers or religious authorities, Sabine could hire the PCs on as bodyguards to protect her and her "workforce" from attacks whilst travelling between jobs.
  • Sabine's Zombie Mob could be set loose on an unsuspecting town, causing the necromancer to try and convince the PCs to help her recover the mob before they cause too much damage, without destroying the mob entirely. 

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