Welcome to the October 2011 Edition of No Assembly Required, a monthly column that provides DMs with a ready-to-use monster for a Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition campaign. The monster can of course be adjusted for other gaming systems as well. Each monster in the series is displayed complete with Stat Block, Lore, Tactics, Power Descriptions and potential plotlines that a DM can use in a campaign. The first entry in the No Assembly Required series, Esau, Exarch of Tharizdun, posted last month and is ready to unleash havoc on any Epic Tier party. This month, I present a monster for the Paragon Tier, Aurora Izel.
Of special note is the spectacular artwork provided by Grant Gould. He previously designed the mascot for my blog, Iddy the Lich, and now will be illustrating each monster in the No Assembly Required series. He also developed the sweet logo above for the column. Visit his site if for additional artwork and commission information.
And remember to visit This is My Game each month for a new monster presented in No Assembly Required. Batteries Included!
Over the last two years, I created numerous NPCs and monsters for my homebrew campaign. I designed evil wizards, duplicitous shapeshifters, aging tavern owners, faithful holy mentors, shady rogues and petty criminals. Each character was fun to create and inhabit at the table. However, I realized something after reading commentary from Sarah Darkmagic and others – all of the NPCs and monsters were male. I had a severe lack of diversity in my campaign world!
I was shocked that I had fallen prey to this stereotype. I decided immediately that I needed to populate my world of Cydonia with greater diversity, including more strong women that existed outside of a tavern serving drinks or being a damsel in distress. I first created a Priestess of Pelor to engage one of my players regarding an important quest. Soon thereafter, a complex female shifter became involved with the party by first being a villain, then a hostage. She assisted the party throughout another adventure, and forced the party to decide on the morality of killing her, locking her in jail or allowing her to escape. After much discussion, they agreed to release her. Because of the party’s action, she will likely appear later in the campaign.
As the party neared Paragon Tier, I decided to create a major female villain. Her story took many turns before the party finally reached her at the top of her tower. She developed from a simple plot device to a complex – even tragic – figure. More information is available elsewhere on how to use exploration to present Aurora’s origin. Enjoy Aurora Izel, and please contact me with any questions or feedback.
Aurora was a half-elf born in a small rural community centuries ago and raised by deeply religious parents who worshipped regularly at the local temple. Her parents moved away from heavily populated areas before her birth because they were concerned about the growing corruption and discord thriving throughout the lands. Her parents were loving, but adhered strictly to the teachings of a local priest, Brother Nizine. The poor rural community turned to Brother Nizine and the fellow Clerics of Pelor to keep order in the area and protect from outside threats. Aurora accepted the teachings while she was a child, but a new force entered her life that changed the course of her life.
Aurora had many friends throughout her early life since she went to school and worked in the fields with the same group of children from the time she could hold onto memories. But her sense of perspective about the world grew when a new family arrived to town, including a girl her age, Faraye. Faraye spent all of her life traveling with her half-elf parents as they sold their merchant wares. The family quickly made their home in Aurora’s small town as they decided to retire from the noise and growing unrest in the kingdom.
Aurora was fascinated by Faraye, and they quickly became friends as Aurora drank in Faraye’s descriptions of her life in cities and adventures of traveling far and wide. Faraye spoke of wonders that Aurora could not imagine, but it was the stories of the various lifestyles throughout the land that intrigued Aurora the most. She learned that everyone did not live by the same dogmatic code preached by Brother Nizine and other Clerics in town. It opened her mind and she began – from her parents’ point of view – to rebel.
After spending several years questioning her feelings about the direction of her life, Aurora discovered two things. The first was that she wanted to leave her home and soak in the outside world. The second discovery was the fact that she had fallen in love with Faraye. While the first truth motivated her, the second truth scared her to the core. Throughout her young life, she was taught by Brother Nizine and others that love can only occur between a man and woman, while all other forms of love were the foul temptations of demons and evil gods. Aurora wondered if she was being tricked by her emotions, and for months she locked her feelings away.
But Aurora was unable to hide her feelings as much as she liked, and while finishing work in the fields, Faraye approached her with a gift – a pair of warm fur boots. An unspoken moment passed between them as the sun dipped below the western hills. Faraye gave Aurora a gentle kiss, and at that moment, Aurora knew her love for Faraye to be true and not a vile temptation or act of defiance.
The two girls acknowledged their love for one another and made preparations to leave town to escape the constraints of the small town. Faraye was convinced she had learned enough from her merchant parents to make enough money for survival, and wished to leave town immediately. But Aurora hoped to speak with her parents and inform them of her decision before leaving. As Aurora waited for the best moment to inform her parents of the decision to leave town, the couple felt emboldened by their plans, and they became less cautious about demonstrating their affections for each other in public. On the eve of their departure, the two were basking in the glow of their love in Aurora’s bedroom when her parents, followed by Brother Nizine, burst into the room.
Aurora’s father was furious while her mother was weeping and wailing. Brother Nizine condemned Aurora’s actions and led Faraye out of the room. Aurora was not ashamed, but terrified that she might not be able to leave with Faraye. Aurora never imagined the consequences of her love for Faraye, as Brother Nizine decided to make an example of the “outsiders” for the villagers of the small town. He decreed that Faraye and her parents were sent to the town as minions of evil and temptation. He preached that Faraye spoke the languages of demons and corrupted innocent souls like those of Aurora. Faraye was tied to an altar, and Brother Nizine spoke incantations in a language Aurora could not understand. After he finished, he held a ceremonial dagger aloft to the heavens and plunged it down in Faraye’s chest seven times – once for each god she had defied with her actions.
The unspeakable horror crippled Aurora. She barely noticed Faraye’s parents attempting to retaliate against Brother Nizine and also being killed for their devilish corruption. Broken, she wept for a lost amount of time. She recalled Faraye’s desire to leave town immediately, and blamed herself for not listening to her. She fled her town but was lost quickly in the wilderness. She would have likely died if not for being found by a passing caravan of traders. Aurora was left by the traders in an unknown city.
In the following months, Aurora roamed around the city living off of scraps but eventually fell prey to a local cult. They provided her with food and shelter, and she slowly accepted their teachings that decried the religious underpinnings of society. She pledged her complete faith in the Cult of the Elder Elemental Eye. Aurora’s isolation and disillusionment transformed into a boiling rage to seek revenge for the death of her love, Faraye. She operated in the cult for many years before she learned of the legendary Temple of Elemental Evil.
She set out alone on her quest to find the Temple of Elemental Evil and harness its power. She searched for the location of the Temple for many decades while experimenting with the power of the Elemental Chaos. Her experiments on herself and others further poisoned her mind and shattered whatever remnants of her sanity remained. She became corrupted by the Elemental Chaos and is currently building an army to storm into the plane and locate the Temple of Elemental Evil.
History DC 20: Aurora Izel is referenced in criminal documents as the perpetrator of several violent crimes. The documents detail a crazed half-elf woman storming into a small rural village and murdering numerous Clerics before burning a Temple of Pelor to the ground. Witnesses reported that she screamed, “You killed my love!” throughout the massacre.
Religion DC 29: Aurora Izel is known as one of the many members of the Cult of the Elder Elemental Eye. She left the civilized world to find the famed Temple of Elemental Evil. She is feared to be creating an army to storm into the Elemental Chaos and take over the temple for her personal goals, although many believe that she has already succumbed to the unstable elemental powers and is dead. Her hatred for Clerics of Pelor and other religious figures is said to be the primary motivation for her current actions. She is believed already dead
Aurora In Combat
Aurora is preoccupied with her experiments relating to harnessing and controlling the powers of the Elemental Chaos. She does not seek out contact with the adventuring party, and can only be found at the top of a ruined tower where she is creating a large rift between the planes. She has populated her tower with those imbued with elemental powers – survivors of her experiments on humanoids. Her Chaos Warriors (see Dungeon Master’s Guide 2, page 125-126) are loyal and beyond assistance from the world. She has recently recruited more powerful Archons and other elemental creatures to follow her orders.
Aurora is barely able to contain her personal corruption from the decades of experimentation with the powers of the Elemental Chaos. She controls her powers poorly and her behavior in combat is unpredictable. She will keep her distance from the party for as long as possible while allowing her Chaos Warriors and other elemental creatures – such as Archons – to offer her protection.
Aurora’s Elemental Instability creates an unpredictable zone for any who challenge her at close range. She begins combat by casting Poison Cloud to target as many enemies as possible to slow their advance. She uses her Burning Hand on a solitary close-range foe or Chillfire Blast if numerous enemies approach here – even if her allies are in the line of fire. Her years of exposure to the Elemental Chaos have allowed her to fire a Chain Lightning Bolt quickly from her staff each turn. She uses Lost in Chaos when threatened from close range, and the elemental power she wields explodes through Shattered Heart when she is killed.
Elemental Instability: As you approach Aurora, you sense that she is barely containing the elemental power she has harnessed. Elemental powers roil around her and cascade onto you. The elements continuously shift as they bombard anyone nearby.
Burning Hand: Aurora reaches out with her left hand, which is wreathed in fire, and searing flames are released from her hand and ignite your body on fire.
Chillfire Blast: Aurora levels her staff and burning hand in front of her body. Her body lurches and a blast of cold from her staff combines with the fiery energy from her left hand. The elemental forces collide in a spectacular shower and rain agony on anyone unfortunate enough to be in the path of destruction.
Poison Cloud: A corrosive substance seeps out of Aurora staff and forms into a sickening greenish orb. She launches the orb in your direction and it splatters against you and your friends. The poison eats and your senses and your actions slow down as you choke and cough while the fumes irritate your lungs.
Chain Lightning Bolt: Aurora twirls her staff over her head, chanting repeatedly, “Help me kill them, my love.” White-hot sparks appear at the headpiece of her staff and a fierce bolt of lightning strikes out and slams into you. The lightning passes through your body and seeks out other allies as you all feel the force of Aurora connection with the Elemental Chaos.
Lost in Chaos: As you press in to finish Aurora’s deranged quest for power, her form disappears into swirls of elemental energy. The fantastic array of colors travel across the room and she once again appears – ready to unleash more attacks against you.
Shattered Heart: Aurora staggers from your final blow. Her brilliant blue and green eye return to their normal hazel color. She surveys the carnage around her, and looks at the party, “I was wrong. All these years, I was wrong. Thank you.” She drops to one knee and her staff falls from her hand, “Faraye, I return to you, my love.” As her final words fade, the elemental forces she has attempted to tame explode from her body. The force of her contained energy is enough to knock anyone near to her onto the ground.
Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. The Id DM is a psychologist during the weekdays. He DMs for a group of fairly loyal and responsible PCs every other Friday night. In the approximate 330 hours between sessions, he is likely anxious about how to ensure the next game he runs doesn't suck.