Friday, November 4, 2011

Colorful Characters 4: Baron Ika of the Treebreaker Tribe

Ika of the Treebreaker tribe was born twenty six years ago. Like all goblin children, Ika was raised in an environment where her ability to bite and claw the other children was the only thing which ensured her next meal. Early childhood served to hone a goblin's devious instincts, and had the added benefit of making Ika tough-as-nails. By the time she was a year old, she already had a reputation among the other children for being absolutely fearless.

When Ika was four, she and some other children were hunting snails in a small copse of trees not far from the village. Quickly bored by their task, the other children decided to test Ika's fearlessness. They set fire to a bush, and told Ika that if she ran, she was a coward. They then scuttled off to wait just outside the treeline, and come up with jeers and taunts to throw at Ika when she eventually came out.

The fire spread from tree to tree, and the goblin children continued to wait. The fire eventually drew other goblins as well, and the children told them about Ika's test. Not being a particularly nurturing race, most of the adults started trying to come up with jeers of their own. But Ika never emerged. As the fire smoldered, the goblins returned to their village, believing the young fool to have died.

Ika had, in fact, remained in the flaming death trap much longer than she should have been able to survive. But, as the fire became omnipresent around her, Ika's need for self preservation overrode her need to prove she was tougher than any of the other goblin. Badly burned, and coughing violently from smoke inhalation, she stumbled out of the cluster of trees on the opposite side from the one the other goblins were waiting at. And it was there that the hunting party of Baron Greegorg found her.

Greegorg of Stok was a human lord who could best be described as arrogant, amoral, and cheap. So when he found a coughing young goblin child separated from the rest of her tribe, he saw it as a golden opportunity to improve his small castle's plumbing. So Ika, biting and scratching the whole time, was thrown in chains and taken to Castle Stok where she was forced to clean the stables, chamberpots, and even the dreaded brown chute, for six years. In that time she had ample opportunity to observe the baron, and the goings on of human lords.

In the seventh year of Ika's slavery, a human she had not seen before approached her while she was dumping shit from her small cart just outside the castle walls. He asked her if she would like to be free, which she said she would. He then asked her if she was willing to kill, and she answered that she was eager to. The man went on to explain that he was an assassin, and that he had been hired by a rival to kill baron Greegorg. But the deed had to be done that very night, and he had no means of entering the castle.

Ika smiled a devilish smile, and told the assassin about the brown chute. A long shaft, angled at 45 degrees, which ended five feet off the ground on the castle wall, and began in the Baron's own bedchamber. An easy entrance for an assassin with the fortitude to brave the slime and the stench. The man grimaced and told her he would come for her if he was successful. Seven hours later, the assassin returned, smelling horribly, and freed her.

Able to determine her own destiny for the first time in over half her lifetime, Ika didn't quite know what to do or where to go. The assassin, whose name she learned was Blavid, offered to allow her to travel with him. And so, for some years, Ika aided him in his work as he traveled about the kingdom. She was not quite as subtle or skilled as the assassin, but her strength in combat proved to be a significant asset to the human.

During the fifth year of her travels with Blavid, he and Ika were helping a merchant dispose of some competition when she recognized the village they were in. It was one which her clan had raided shortly before she had been enslaved. After the mark had been slain, Ika bid farewell to Blavid so she could return to goblin kind. He, having grown fond of the little green woman, told her to look him up if she ever needed anyone killed.

It took nearly a fortnight of traveling and searching, but Ika found the village she had been taken from as a gobling. Reintegrating with her tribe was not easy, though. Her fellow Treebreakers were suspicious of her. So many goblin children die as a matter of course that few even remembered her. Those who did remember her story were unsure if the goblin standing before them was indeed Ika of the Treebreaker, or just a tribeless goblin looking to infiltrate their village.

Shunned by her people, Ika determined to prove herself the only way a goblin can: through violence. She recalled a tale from her childhood of a blade of legendary strength, used by Treebreaker chieftains in generations past. According to the tale, it rested in a dangerous crypt deep in the forest of Umulgar which bordered the Treebreaker village.

Ika offered a gold to one of the village elders to tell her where the crypt could be found. With that information in hand, she set off to find the sword. She braved the many wolves and the giant spiders of the forest to reach the entrance to the crypt. Within she faced further danger from deadly traps, and undead goblins. Through all these, Ika survived. And when she pulled the sword called Gorgok's Tongue from the pedestal on which it rested, she felt its power sear her skin and rattle her bones. When she returned to the surface, she found that she was a changed goblin. Her contact with the sword had awakened a latent sorcererous power within her.

Armed with her newfound talent and her mighty blade, Ika returned to the Treebreaker village. She arrived just in time for a post-raid feast. The goblins were dancing and eating and drinking; all of which Ika interrupted by cutting off the chief's head. And, as the head rolled across the ground with half a chicken head still hanging from its jaws, Ika shouted, "Ika is leader now! Ika is baron of Treabreakers!"

The tribe did not attempt to block her ascent, and have prospered in the many years which she has led them.


Baron Ika is more worldly than most goblins, and has a great deal more pride. Her self-bestowed title of Baron is a good indication of how she sees herself, and how she thinks others should see her. She is a goblin to be feared, and she knows it.


Baron Ika always tries to cast Mage Armor on herself before combat, raising her AC to 24 for an hour. If she's unable to do so before combat, she will use her first action during combat to do so.

Ika keeps her spells in reserve, and attempts to attack the weakest character whenever possible. Her preference is to quickly kill this character, then use her sword's ability to raise them as a skeleton to assist her. If she is accompanied by other goblins, which she most often should be, she directs them to attack more powerful party members to keep them distracted.

If Ika is reduced below 75% health, she will begin to cast Magic Missile when it is convenient. She will use one of her potions at 50% health, but save the rest in case she needs to flee. If reduced below 25% health, she will use a withdraw action to attempt to escape and hide from her attackers. If they are too persistent in attempting to find her, she will prepare an ambush.

Thoughts On Use

Baron Ika works well as a boss in a first or second level adventure. If you were so inclined, however, she could be the sidekick or lieutenant of a boss in a level 3-5 adventure.

Baron Ika of the Treebreaker Tribe (CR 3)

XP: 800
Female Goblin 3 (Fighter 2/Sorcerer 1)
NE Small humanoid
Init +7; Senses Perception +1, Darkvision 60ft

AC 20, Flat Footed 16, Touch 15 [10 + Armor(4) + Dex (3) + Amulet(1) + Size(1) + Dodge(1)]
hp 29 (2d10 + 1d6 + 6)
Fort +5 Ref +3 Will + 1 (+1 vs. fear)

Speed 30ft
Melee Gorgok's Tongue + 7 (1d10 + 5/19-20 x2)
Ranged Dagger + 5 (1d3/x2)
Sorcerer Spells (CL 1st; Concentration +3 (+7 when casting defensively); Spell Failure 20%)
1st (4/day)--Mage Armor, Magic Missile (two missiles)
0 (at will)-- Bleed, Mage Hand, Message, Detect Magic
Bloodline Elemental (Fire)
Bloodline Powers
Elemental Ray (5/day)--Ranged touch attack, 30ft, 1d6 fire damage.

Str 15 (+2) Dex 17 (+3) Con 15 (+2) Int 12 (+1) Wis 9 (-1) Cha 14 (+2)
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 16
Feats Improved Initiative, Dodge, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Combat Casting
Skills Intimidate(+7), Perception (+1), Ride (+10), Spellcraft(+5), Stealth (+9), Survival (+4)
Languages Goblin, Common
Gear Gorgok's Tongue, Chain Shirt, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, 10 daggers, 3 potions of cure light wounds, 12 gold pieces.

Weapon: Gorgok's Tongue
Aura Faint Necromancy[Evil]; CL 4th
The hilt of this goblin-sized greatsword is engraved to look like a goblin's head, with the ears forming the cross guard, and the hair wrapped around the grip. The goblin's mouth is open, and the waving blade extends from it like a tongue. This is a +2 Greatsword. Once per day, a creature killed by Gorgok's Tongue will rise as a skeleton under the wielder's command as the Animate Dead spell.

It is very unusual for a blade of this quality to bear the markings of goblinkind. And, in fact, it was not crafted by goblins. A century ago, an evil halfling wizard conquered several tribes of goblins and forced them to raid nearby towns. He had this blade crafted as a gift for his most effective goblin chief, Gorgok of the Treebreaker tribe.

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