Please enjoy the fourth submission for our latest contest: Your Best Worst Villain! See the rules and prizes here!
Vice is a sadist who loves torture, especially the torturing of children. He is a recluse who lives deep within a natural labyrinth located within the heart of the nearby mountains. Vice never emerges from the caves to hunt his victims or obtain sustenance; instead, he commands a small army of wraiths and shadow fiends who do this for him.
The local legend told by villagers states that once every full moon, the ghosts of the damned come from the mountain and take the naughtiest of children where they are never heard from again. This is only partially true, however, since Vice turns the dead children into undead servants who perform mundane tasks for him and allow him to practice his art indefinitely on dead subjects.
Because of Vice’s reliance on undead minions to do his bidding, the villagers have enlisted the aid of several cleric orders to help ward off the undead. The clerics have been partially effective, in that they have been able to reduce the frequency the kidnappings occur as well as reduce the number of children taken per visit; however, Vice merely sends increasing numbers of undead to the village to keep the clerics occupied while other minions whisk away their true targets.
Sensing his prey would eventually pack up their belongings and leave, Vice was able to gain the favor of Erythnul, who in turn assisted Vice in placing a curse over the village to trap anyone who enters the area inside the region, including Vice’s mountains. Vice now has a stable supply of victims and, thanks to trade routes, a continuing supply of travelers and adventurers.
When Vice is not torturing his victims, he is perfecting his torture devices and techniques. He knows it is inevitable that adventures will locate his lair and attempt to put an end to his misdeeds, so he has created several trapping mechanisms into his torture devices.
A prime example is his “hanging rock” device. The device functions with the weight of about 8 to 10 children, all who have nooses around their necks. The nooses are all connected to a rock that is suspended on the ceiling out of view of the device in a neighboring room. If a child leaves the device, the weight of the rock becomes harder to bear for the remaining children. Once enough children have been released, the rock will become too heavy for the children to support and kill the remaining children with a combination of violent hanging and massive head trauma (from being yanked up to the ceiling).
Vice’s favorite technique is weakening his victims to the point of near starvation. Then, when the victim is in this weakened mental state, he establishes a mental link with the victim in order to manifest the person’s greatest fears. He will do this until the victim is on the verge of death, at which point he dispels the illusion and provides basic healing and nourishment for the victim, so the process can be started again until the victim literally loses their mind and becomes insane.
The few adventurers who have traveled to his lair have all met a slow but painful demise at the hands of one of his many traps. Vice has placed several “non-lethal” traps throughout his lair. These traps are not designed to kill those who stumble on them instantly; however, they are designed to, literally, trap someone within them so the person will either starve to death or die from exposure to a disease or festering wound.
Should adventurers actually make it through all of Vice’s trials and outsmart his traps, they will find him in his private chambers at the center of the labyrinth. A necromancer by trade, Vice is, surprisingly frail and is incredibly physically weak. Vice can certainly hold his own though as he is never truly alone in his chambers; his undead servants are but a summons away and his “inner demon” is always looking for an opportunity to manifest itself and taste fresh blood.
Before he became an outcast, Vice was a cleric of Pelor. During a routine exorcism, the cunning spirit he was exorcising was able to possess him. Vice, sensing the possession, fought and self-exorcised the spirit, or so he was led to believe. Slowly over the next several weeks, he began to descend into paranoia, hysteria, and madness. The evil spirit was able to convince him that he had died and everyone around him were evil spirits trying to drag him to the underworld to commit unspeakable deeds to him as payback for exorcising them. Thus, by torturing, killing, and eventually raising his victims from the dead, Vice believes he is actually destroying the evil spirits and resurrecting them as good spirits. When Vice manifests a victims fears, he believes he is making the evil spirit confront whatever horrible deed was done to them in life and conquer it, thus letting go of all of their hatred and becoming entities of peace.
Image by _dado