Please enjoy the tenth submission for our latest contest: Your Best Worst Villain! See the rules and prizes here!
He goes by many names, none of which are real. For he truly has no name. The party called him “The Masked One.” This man was just an unassuming prankster from North Star before he decided to break into the tomb of the Magic Academy’s head wizard with his friend. What he found there was a piece of ancient white and ruby armor, bound with the spirit of a very powerful Drow warlord from many years ago. It was a mask. A flat white mask with rubies instead of eyes. It called to the prankster and when he put it on, he was possessed by the power-hungry and murderous soul of the Drow. He killed his friend in cold blood and took up residence in the tomb, hidden from the rest of North Star. Besides a great thirst for murder and power, the mask also bestowed the prankster with powerful psychic abilities and a genius personality.
He spent the next few weeks stalking what he believed would be his next powerful allies, the PCs. He sent each of them a note with a riddle on it, leading them to another place, where a test and another note was hidden. And thus the trail continued, leading the players to be staged for murder and even to perform the lute in front of an audience that included the Masked One (none of them were bards). Eventually the players were lead to the entrance of the Masked One’s hideout, where he was going to offer the players a position of power in his new council. One of my players pretended to accept, fooling the Masked One’s psychic abilities and earning his trust. This would be his downfall, for the player set fire to his library and stole the mask, leaving the prankster confused and eventually crushed by the falling shelves (all part of the Mask’s plan).
The players then decided to make a party and pursue a life of adventure, their task – find and destroy the rest of the warlord’s armor. It wouldn’t be easy, for the armor couldn’t be destroyed by any normal means. They decided to carry the Mask in their pack, keeping it covered to protect themselves from its irresistible power. This was not enough to protect them, though. One of the PCs (who was leaving the group anyway), became the next victim of the Mask’s persona, faking her death and appearing to the players again. She left the same notes and riddles, this time to use the players to gain the final pieces of her armor. They picked up the gloves and the boots on their journey, lead by the Masked One who used death threats to motivate them. Since the possessed PC was a druid, she also led the players with a mysterious raven, her old animal companion. The players considered the raven to be a friend, but it was only another tool of the Masked One.
The final confrontation came once again at North Star, where the identity of the new Masked One was revealed in a huge labyrinth underneath the city. The druid had regained minor control over herself and led her body to the PCs where they removed the Mask after a long battle. They discovered this Mask could only be destroyed with the sword of the Drow warlord’s rival, a human hero from North Star. Once they received this sword from the Lord they were able to smash the mask to pieces, releasing the mind of the drow warlord. Unfortunately for the PCs, the armor and the amulet of the ruby armor remain.
This is my greatest villain that none of my PCs forgot – the Masked One. The notes that he left them that seemed to predict their every action (I printed some of the notes as I sat there to respond to their actions) and the personality of the riddles and the traps made him very memorable. The Masked One was also a catalyst for many adventures for the entire campaign and a big plot twist when their druid friend became their greatest enemy.