After I'd posted my initial entry for my Hall of Infamy, I started to work on the second half for today's post. Today's goal is to define four "mid-level" regional villains for the setting. I'll post the basic capsules of information for your consideration:
Lord Barabos, Admiral of the Unliving Armada
When warriors die a particularly gruesome death, some have been known to return to this world as an unliving revenant driven to complete their unfinished personal business. In the case of the pirate known as Lord Barabos, this task is more prolonged than most. Unknown to the public at large, Barabos is the eldest son of an island sovereign, exiled by a corrupt uncle who enjoyed the power of his regency during Lord Barabos's age of minority. Driven by vengeance, Lord Barabos means to take back his homeland with an invincible armada of undead, march into the palace and take his rightful place as sovereign, now that his father has past. Until then, Lord Barabos continues to gather an unliving armada of animated corpses and unliving sailors under his tattered banner.
Render-Lord Kytun Jandor, Tarthani Pirate Commodore
The Render-Lord Kytun Jandor is perhaps the most successful, or at least the most well-known, Tarthani pirate in the region. While Kytun Jandor is a rather greedy and vain pirate commander, bards frequently sing stories that hint at an honorable heart beating within his chest that yearns for redemption. Truth be told, though, Kytun Jandor understands the value of appearances. He often releases lyricists and singers he has captured if they swear to sing of Kytun's redeeming qualities. He will occasionally disguise himself and follow such prisoners into port upon release, to insure that their songs are flattering to him.
Sorcerers of the Sanguine Sea
While several benevalent orders of sea-mages exist on the Isles of the Saharan Sea, few compare to the martial prowess and nautical blood magic practiced by the Sorcerers of the Sanguine Sea. These vile spellcasters jealously guard their knowledge of sea magic, and have even launched raids and strikes against neighboring islands to slay other magical practitioners demonstrating knowledge of nautical magic (and steal their libraries, as well.)
Vax Zagros, Lord of the Kelshani Slaver House Obfaril
Even among the devil-men known as Kelshani, Vax Zagros is considered a bloodthirsty and sadistic slaver. Lord of House Obfaril, Vax Zagros loves to raid islands for potential slaves, with a particular fondness for both pleasure slaves and gladiators for the Arena of Souls in Devil's Cove. It is rumored that he keeps the most violent prisoners for his own personal hunting, a practice he occasionally opens to other nobles with similar tastes and coin to spare.
You may be able to catch a few of the inspirations for some of these lesser villains. For example, Lord Barabos is inspired by a combination of the first Pirates of the Carribean movie and the classic story of an exiled prince returning home to claim his birthright. Kytun Jandor is actually based on the concept of a villain with a car salesman attitude toward marketing and self-promotion. The Sorcerers of the Sanguine Sea were loosely inspired by the Crusades and the concept of a magical jihad, as well as a desire to find a place for the sword-mage concept within the context of the setting. The idea for Vax Zagros came from the events of a previous campaign, which in turn were inspired by The Most Dangerous Game. In all cases, of course, each character took on its own life as I started writing down details. I'm sure that they will continue to grow and evolve as I integrate them further into the Isles of the Saharan Sea setting.
With this selection of villains, I wanted to insure that I had a wide variety of experiences to offer up to the players. For example, if the players decide to pursue a more courtly or political game, the machinations of Master Peleon Nightshade and his rogue ninjas should be a lot of fun. Before I'm really done with these guys, I'll assign them two goals, one being short term and one being long term, and detail some of their resources, so that I know what they have to work with once the game begins. Oh, and I'll come up with some Sandbox Encounter write-ups for each faction, to make it easier to pull them out and present encounters on short notice. Chances are, you'll be seeing some of that work here as time moves forward.