No Assembly Required: Errich “Sliver” Torrap

Welcome to the November 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. Visit This is My Game each month for a new monster presented in No Assembly Required. Batteries Included! This month, I present a monster for the Heroic Tier, Errich “Sliver” Torrap.

Of special note is the spectacular artwork provided by Grant Gould. He previously designed the mascot for my blog, Iddy the Lich, and is illustrating each monster in the No Assembly Required series. He also developed the sweet logo above for the column. Visit his site to learn about commission pricing and view galleries of artwork.

Errich “Sliver” Torrap

Development

Every once in a while, it is fun to create a villain who is outside the lines of good and evil. It has been enjoyable to roleplay characters whom are painted liberally with shades of gray. A complex villain can set the scene for interesting roleplaying opportunities before, during and after combat. As my players were advancing along the Heroic Tier, I wanted to change the vibe around the table and introduced a few new characters with questionable motives. The characters were suspected scoundrels and pirates, and it led to numerous adventures on the high seas.

"Sliver"

One of the characters I created was a Dragonborn pirate known only as “Sliver.” My plan was for Sliver to be – for lack of a better word – cool. The party first found Sliver in a brothel enjoying the nightlife with a motley crew of associates. During the party’s first meeting with Sliver, I even played hip-hop music in the background to shift away from the typical fantasy fare. Sliver is the type of NPC that will buy a round of drinks for the party and then later perhaps try to steal from them. He’s charming, clever and in command of the room.

When discussing the design for Sliver with Grant Gould, I told him the following, “He should look like a rock star. I think of his look as a combination of Jack Sparrow, Drexel from True Romance (link very-NSFW) and Bob Marley.” My biggest concern was the wooden blade would look silly, but Grant did an awesome job of making the blade seem lethal and cool.

Origin

Errich was born into a middle-class family as the youngest of two hatchlings. Over time, he developed a strong desire to take a different path than the other males in his family. His father, Daedra, lived proudly with honor as he devoted his time, skill and resources to the Nockmarr Clan. Daedra was a veteran of the Rovarian War, which forced the defeated Nockmarr Clan into exodus. The Nockmarr Clan suffered many hardships during their journey but eventually established a home along a coastal region, which they called Stone Harbor. As the town grew into a thriving community, Deadra took a leadership role in the creation of an organized militia to keep the outlying areas clear of dangerous creatures and ensure that internal conflicts did not spill into the streets. Errich’s older brother, Shiv, followed in Daedra’s footsteps and joined the militia, which quickly evolved into the law-enforcement force for the growing city of Stone Harbor.

The safety provided by the security force soon attracted other races. Errich was drawn to this diversity and he strayed from the teachings of his Nockmarr Clan. His parents prayed daily to Bahamut for protection, but Errich missed the hardships suffered by his parents in the years of war and relocation. Errich felt the ideals of honor and justice according to Bahamut were too restrictive and he wished to expand his horizons through other teachings. His expression of ideals and values, which were quite different compared to his parents’ views, led to many a conflict in his developing years.

Errich felt like an outsider in his own family. His older brother, Shiv, seemed to be another version of his father, and Errich never developed a strong relationship with his mother who often worked odd hours to ensure the family had enough gold to keep a roof over their heads. Errich continued to stray from his clan and the teachings of Bahamut; he fell in league with whom his father termed, “The dishonorable crowd.” Errich engaged in a number of activities – truancy, fighting, destruction of property, and theft – that were frowned upon by his family.

Errich’s conflict with his family reached a breaking point near adulthood. By this point, Stone Harbor had become rather metropolitan and numerous negative elements operated within the city. His father took on the task of building a special unit to tackle the influx of illegal-potion trafficking within Stone Harbor. A group of Tieflings teamed with evil and opportunistic Dragonborn to funnel illegal potions into the city, which resulted in an increase in crime and poverty. Many skirmishes broke out within the city, and after months of investigative work, Daedra and Shiv discovered the location of the cartel’s stronghold. A group of Daedra’s top officers gathered and an attack was launched on the cartel’s compound. Errich knew nothing of his father’s plans for that night – and he would never speak to his father or brother again.

Unbeknownst to Daedra and his officers, the cartel was alerted to the raid by traitors within the Stone Harbor security force. Daedra and Shiv were cut down in a battle that ended quickly as they stormed directly into a trap. Errich returned home that night and learned the news from his mother. Errich had differences with his parents but had never prepared himself for the possibility that his father, of all the warriors remaining from the Nockmarr Clan, would fall in battle. He never had the opportunity to explain his beliefs and the direction he was taking his life. He would never have the chance to convince his brother that he was not trying to offend his clan but needed to find his own way in the world. He attempted to console his mother and she tried to put her life back together, but there was now a giant hole in her heart and her previously golden eyes were now a dull gray.

The pall over the Torrap household was too stifling for Errich to endure. An investigation into the night of the raid on the Tiefling cartel revealed details regarding the treachery within the security force that furthered Errich’s disillusionment with the honor code of his Dragonborn brethren. Errich internally vowed to avenge the deaths of Daedra and Shiv, but had never applied himself in the martial arts.

After much thought, Errich decided that he needed to get away from Stone Harbor and his Nockmarr Clan. There were too many reminders of his previous life there – every corner of town refreshed the memories of time spent with his father and brother. He yearned for a unique perspective away from the overbearing nature of his clan. He set out from home in the hopes to make a better life for himself. He agreed to work on a freighter departing from the port at Stone Harbor.

Errich quickly realized that life outside of Stone Harbor was treacherous. The seas were filled with enemies including dangerous beasts, and many members of the crew succumbed to sickness and disease. However, Errich gained a sense of peace on the water that he never knew on land, but his work as a lowly crew member was not lucrative and his pockets remained empty. As he ran short on gold, he instinctually returned to the skills he developed as a teenager. These were skills honed from daring friends who carried out small misdeeds such as petty theft. Errich was charismatic and adept at knowing just what to say in order to keep himself out of greater peril. Errich was fond of saying to his friends in the old days, “It’s easy to pass a test when you already know what the questions will be.” These adolescent skills took on remarkable importance now that he was forced to survive and claw out an existence for himself.

He combined his love of the sea with his natural talents by joining a crew of pirates passing through town. His skills in stealth and thievery made him a valued member of the crew, and he quickly made a name for himself amongst those that ride the waves in search of their fate. Errich became deadly with a short sword, and could easily outmaneuver and overpower foes in one-on-one combat. But even Errich could not remain unscathed on the open sea. During a raid on another vessel, the violent battle attracted the attention of a kraken. His life was spared only because the kraken focused its fury on the opposing vessel. As Errich and the crew attempted retreat, a tentacle lashed along the deck; his nimble reflexes allowed him to dodge the kraken’s tentacle by flipping backward as he scrambled to the deck of the ship. But the tentacle smashed into a mast on the ship; the falling beam crushed Errich’s right arm below the elbow.

His arm was amputated, and a crude wooden peg was latched to his forearm. Never lacking in resourcefulness, Errich designed the prosthetic to become a weapon. He crafted a fortified sharp blade of wood and solidly latched it to his right arm. He learned to combine slashing and piercing with the wooden “peg” with his repertoire of short-sword attacks. His crewmates took to referring to him jokingly as “Sliver.” Errich embraced the nickname to the point that few people now remember his proper name.

Sliver is pleased with his pirating lifestyle. He continues to use his skills as a rogue to make a comfortable life for himself. When not onboard his ship, The Deception, he is an active participant at local taverns and brothels, and can often be found holding court with crew members and other unsavory characters in those locations. He loves fine food, good drink and attractive females. He is quick to find humor in a situation and his charms are effective on most people who interact with him. Sliver continues to search for the individuals behind his father’s death, and believes his self-indulgent lifestyle with other criminals will lead him to answers. However, his sense of nobility and honor has been compromised as his associations with gangsters and villains grow in frequency and strength.

Lore

Streetwise DC 15: Sliver is the name of a suspected pirate. The massive Dragonborn is rumored to be young and often found enjoying the nightlife of whatever town he happens to be in at the moment. His name is derived from the wooden peg that has replaced with right forearm, which required amputation after an accident at sea. His ship is believed to be The Deception, which often carries out raids along the coast.

History DC 20: Sliver likely hails from the Nockmarr Clan of Dragonborn, which is a line of proud warriors that were defeated in the Rovarian War. The Nockmarr Clan relocated to the settlement of Stone Harbor, which became a nest for outlaws from other races. Gang wars over the illegal-potion trade were fought throughout the streets of Stone Harbor. Many Dragonborn from the Nockmarr Clan were slain. It is believed Sliver fled town after members of his family were killed during the gang wars.

Sliver In Combat

Sliver considers himself to be fun-loving and carefree, but his prowess in battle is well-known and well-earned. Sliver is never far from other crew members or associates who will join his cause in battle. Sliver is adored by the crew members of The Deception, who will fight for him as long as the odds are reasonable in battle. When pressed into combat, Sliver will maintain a keen sense of the battlefield and use his allies for an additional advantage.

Sliver will begin the battle by using his Acid Breath to hamper as many foes as possible. He will rely on his Slash and Dash tactic to manuever into flanking positions for Lack of Honor and use his Short Sword and Wooden Blade to inflict damage. He will balance focusing attacks on the biggest threat while assisting his allies and using Wooden Blade to inflict ongoing damage on as many enemies as possible. Sliver will use his breath weapon once again when Rot Got recharges the power when he is first bloodied.

When Sliver’s allies are in a favorable position across the battlefield, he will rally them with Drinks On Me Tonight. He will use Survival Instincts to shift away when suffering numerous attacks, and use Sea Legs to remain standing when enemies attempt to knock him prone. When Sliver is near death, he will attempt to bargain with the party. He will offer his services to the party in exchange for his life, and will attempt to tell the tale of his father and brother’s death to earn compassion.

Power Descriptions

Slash and Dash: For such a large physical specimen, Sliver is surprisingly agile as he swiftly strikes in one direction and before his stroke is complete he tumbles in other to prepare a second attack. He strikes from all angles with his short sword and wooden blade.  

Short Sword: Sliver’s weapon of choice is adorned with an aquamarine gem at the base of the blade. The sharp blade is inscribed with Draconic language, “I have not forgotten.” He wields the one-handed blade expertly and penetrates your defenses. 

Wooden Blade: Many foes have mistakenly believed Sliver is compromised in battle because of his amputation. The resourceful Dragonborn has crafted a wooden blade, and he deftly stabs with the weapon. The fortified blade pierces armors and leaves a gaping wound that will not be easily healed.  

Acid Breath: Sliver’s propensity for alcohol and other substances have resulted in his breath being a foul concoction that burns the skin upon impact. The vapors from the breath water your eyes and make it difficult to see clearly.

Drinks On Me Tonight: Sliver raises his arms and a fierce growl erupts from his mouth. He calls out to his allies, “Fight to the end! The drinks are on me tonight!” His allies rally to his aid and each attack quickly as Sliver’s growl has distracted you from the action.

Rot Gut: Your blow results in a grievous wound for Sliver. The attack also seems to have disrupted his digestive track as he vomits a bit of bile – most likely the remnants of his most recent alcohol binge. He snorts a spray of acid and you sense that his rotten stomach can produce another wave of acid breath.

Lack of Honor: Sliver nimbly moves around the battlefield to attack you from behind. As you are distracted, his attack drive deeper into your flesh, which cause larger wounds.

Sea Legs: You attack Sliver and expect him to drop to his knees from the force of the blow. However, he quickly recovers and remains on his feet. It’s likely that his many years on the high seas have granted him a greater sense of balance.


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.


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About The Id DM

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.
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