Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Stat Blocks - Maurvurr's Mercenaries

From L to R: Lothrannen, Maurvurr, Helmviper & Qlarra
A Quick Aside

(30Aug14) If you want to know how Maurvurr's Marauders did in combat with my level 6 party of four PCs, the session report is <here>.

My primary recommendation as a result of that combat is that Helmviper be given at least one more leader-like power or aura. The bonus to initiative really wasn't enough.

A Further Aside

I finally got around to creating a new stat block for Helmviper which appears below. I gave him a single new power - it's probably overpowered! - but I think it would have given Maurvurr's Marauders a bit more staying power and it also makes Helmviper seem like he deserves the (leader) tag.

Maurvurr's Mercenaries

The dwarf, Maurvurr, is known as a renegade and a traitor who sold out his own clan and, as such, is hated by the dwarves of the Savage North. He has, however, carved out a successful career as a mercenary up and down the Sword Coast and is thought to be based in Luskan.

There are further rumours that Maurvurr and his lieutenant, Helmviper, are Zhent agents with strong ties to Darkhold but also to the Dead Rats. As for the other two members of this little band, Lothrannen is an elven archer who fled the Eldreth Veluuthra after falling in love with Qlarra, a drow warlock. The four form Maurvurr's Mercenaries proper but their numbers are often supplemented with sellswords hired in Luskan or Waterdeep. The group is very careful to cause no trouble in Waterdeep and it suspected that they may also have at least one bolthole there.

Maurvurr's Mercenaries fulfil their contracts carefully. They are expensive but they take great pains to fulfil a contract's conditions to the letter. As a result, despite their reputed links to the Zhents and Maurvurr's reputation as a traitor, they are well-regarded in the role they have carved out for themselves.


The dwarf is the leader of the band but, in combat, he surrenders tactical command to Helmviper due to his frequent inability to control his anger when he is in combat. Fortunately, he is wise enough to see that the same temper that lets him face down a squad of angry sellswords often doesn't provide the best result in a combat engagement.

His fighting style is unorthodox and reflects a youth spent too deep in mines encountering hook horrors in plague proportions. 

Maurvurr is angry, determined, greedy but his word is his bond and he expects the same from those he deals with.

While Maurvurr is very much the public face of Maurvurr's Mercenaries, and his angry, gruff negotiating style seems to be an effective way to win the best contracts, combat involving the Mercenaries always revolves around Helmviper as the tactical commander.

Helmviper is a former Zhent swordcaptain but he left that organisation - on relative good terms, it should be noted, thanks to his relationships with certain Banite members who protected him on the understanding that he was available to them from time-to-time - because, as a devout Banite, he simply could not abide the chaos that surrounded so many of the Cyricists in high leadership.

In many ways, Helmviper carries himself as a paladin of Bane. He has a black hand on a red oval background tattooed over his heart and he is devout in his prayers to the Black Lord which he often accompanies with flaggelations from a small scourge he made himself using fragments of a broken longsword of a Cyricist strifeleader he slew for putting his soldiers at risk during a Zhent engagement.

Despite his devotion to Bane, of perhaps because of, Helmviper sees himself as a follower with a strong duty to support his commander. He would never betray Maurvurr and, similarly, he is also very protective of those under his command. At the same time, if they fail him or the group he is ruthless in dispensing punishment.

And here's the updated version. As noted above, I only made one change: I added the rallying cry power to grant temporary hit points and a saving throw whenever the Marauders suffer a setback (bloodied, critical hit, 0 hit points. Frankly, it's probably good enough to be an encounter power but the Marauders need a bit more staying power and I think this might have given that to them. Or not. The PCs really just demolished them.

Anyway, it's included here for the sake of completeness and also because I wanted to include a leader power I can steal for other monsters/NPCs.

The elf, Lothrannen, is a former native of the Neverwinter Wood where his clan was one of several who formed a cell of the Eldreth Veluuthra. He has a strong and pathological hatred of half-elves to this day - "Abomination! Filth!" - but his respert for Helmviper means he is not as racist toward humans as he once was.

His band captured several drow one day who were exploring near Sharandar. One of those was Qlarra and, in the course of his time as her guard, Lothrannen fell in love with her as she did with him. Of course, such a relationship was forbidden within the Eldreth so the two soon escaped the Neverwinter Wood and fled to Luskan where they met Maurvurr and Helmviper. They have been part of Maurvurr's Mercenaries ever since.

Qlarra was born in Menzoberranzan but not of a noble family: her family were outcasts living in the Stenchstreets of the Braeryn. Her life up to early adulthood involved episodes of pure horror but things improved once she started hearing the fey whispers of the great spider known as Yorbrix.

In due course, these whispers led her to the path of the warlock and thus a path of power. As her power increased, so did her confidence which then led her to a new life with Bregan D'aerthe including travel to and from the surface world. It was during a surface world expedition that her band was ambushed by wood elves in the Neverwinter Wood and she and others were taken prisoner. To her complete surprise, she found that she fell in love with one of her guards, Lothrannen, but for the two of them to be together, they would need to escape the Neverwinter Wood. This they did and eventually made their way to Luskan where they ultimately became part of a group of mercenaries with the dwarf Maurvurr and the human Helmviper.

Qlarra is very happy with her life on the surface world and never wishes to return to the Underdark. However, she frequently has nightmares of drow coming to take Lothrannen away so that he may be sacrificed to the Demon Queen of Spiders.

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