Hook of the Month
Another month, another domain ! Err, no, this month, we'll focus on a NPC - the infamous Jacqueline Montarri! How did you use Montarri and the Red Vardo Traders in your game, or what cool idea to feature this NPC in your game?
Third ed. info: Gaz 1
I have always thought it would be interesting if she somehow gathered and worked with some of the calibans who escaped I'Morai in "Carnival of Fear". Lots of strange talents.
Joël of the Fraternity
I wonder if she kept Madame Eva's head?
I've used Jackie a couple of times. At one point I wrote an elaborate backstory for the headless horseman in which he was a young man who fell in love with her in one of her disguises. He spied on her and discovered her true nature, and instead of being repulsed, he became even more obsessed. He started covering up for her, throwing detectives off her scent, and finally presents her with heads as a means to win her heart. His sister discovered his grisly secret, and just before he killed her, she cursed him to hunt the world over for heads, but it would never win him love.
That's hopelessly condensed, but suffice it to say that Jackie could wear the HH's sister's head and command him to go after people. She hates to do it, but if a group really hacks her off, she'll sic the HH on them. One member of the Carnival IMC was the sole survivor of such a group, and the only one who knew her secret. The Twisting made him into "The Stone Oracle"--basically an Olmec-style head with arms and legs. A side effect of this tranformation is that he has no neck, and therefore can't be beheaded.
Another time she used this IMC was for a one-shot Halloween adventure which featured Jackie as an assassin sent by the Living Brain to a dinner party in Dementlieu. When one of her victims was discovered prematurely, Jackie summoned the HH to throw the party off track. It took them a while to figure out that there were two head-choppers around instead of one, but they caught her eventually.
The Guillotine Necklace
The Guillotine Necklace is a necklace set to fit a medium sized character of slightly smaller build (the size of a woman that Montarri would consider suitable as one of her victims). It is a black leather strap lined with beautiful diamonds, one of which is in the shape of a heart. It ways just under one pound.
When this Necklace is donned onto someone, a clockwork device automatically activates. Prior to putting the Guillotine Necklace upon a victim, Jacqueline rewinds the device to set off within two weeks of being donned. When this device triggers, a diamond tipped blade decapitates the wearer cleanly. Despite looking frail, this necklace has an AC of 30, a hardness of 12, and 35hp. The DC to break open the necklace is 35, as is the DC for the escape artist check to get out of it. Getting between 20-30 on this check causes the necklace to trigger. The necklace has a spell resistance of 29. In short, it's damned hard to get off once its on. The Guillotine Necklace is opened by a small silver key currently in Jacqueline's possesion. When its in the hole, turning the key left releases the necklace. Turning the key to the right triggers it (righty-tighty, lefty-loosy). This item goes hand in hand with the following Adventure Hook.
This works best with at least one female character in the party. It could alternatively be used for a favorite female NPC, but this would not have the effect of one of the PCs lives being at stake.
One night after camping in the woods, the PCs wake up to see Jacqueline's Red Bardo Traders casually camped out with them. Previously that night (while the party was sleeping), Jacqueline slips her Guillotine Necklace on the female PC with the highest Charisma score. If one of the players is watching for the party, Jacqueline's Red Bardo Traders hit him/her with a tranquilizer dart.
When the players wake up, Jacqueline explains the nature of the Guillotine necklace now around the PCs neck, putting emphasis on the fact that she currently has two weeks to live. Jacqueline then explains that if the Party finds her head, she'll take the necklace off of the PC. If they take too long, then the severed head would simply go missing one night. "The last girl to play my game hired a Lamordian Dwarf specialized in clockwork traps to help her escape my necklace. I must say, these lips of hers suit me nicely, don't you think? Don't bother trying to find me once you find the head; I'll find you. Unless of course, you notify any of the local authorties here of my presence." Before leaving back with her goonies into the woods, Jacqueline walks up to the victim PC as says: "I've got a fresh case a make-up that would look just spledid with those eyes of yours." And so now the PCs MUST find Jacqueline's head before the Guillotine Necklace triggers.
Jacqueline Montarri learns of the Telling man and she becomes convinced that he has her original head.
The Red Vardo traders actually have their own subplot in my current campaign, so this is timely. The PCs and the Red Vardo traders are both hired to lcoate the same object. (Whether this results in a rivalry between the two groups, or the two groups joining together and splitting the profits, or even Montarri offering the PCs membership is pretty much entirely dependent on the party's general ethics and how much of her true colors Montarri is willing to show.) This happens more than once, and the two groups eventually come to have a level of respect, grudging or otherwise, for each other's abilities. This eventually ends in one of two ways:
(I'm leaning toward option 1 because my PCs have more than the usual number of pretty young ladies, but who knows?)
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Send your adventure hooks to Joel@fraternityofshadows.com