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Caedrel
A song from the sixties
(5/17/03 4:26 am)
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Why has Varachan turned good?
I've been wondering about this for a while - my party has had one garbled contact with V, and a PC turned NPC is now in his care. But I'd like to know more about why he's turned to good all of a sudden.

The module describes him as being well on the way to surpassing the older Hedrack when his previously non-existent conscience woke up, and now he's turned Good - what happened? Options I can see are (a) something happening slowly in him over time, (b) a revelation coming through some sort of event, or (c) a bit of the former with one of the latter finally pushing him over to the side of angels.

Regarding (a), I can see V being primarily concerned with power - not caring how he gets it or what he does to get there. The cult suits him well, rewarding with power, but the darker aspects bother him. When he fully realises that the bad guys are wanting to destroy the world, he thinks about what's good in it, and he repents. Not brilliant - he must have done some pretty horrible things to get where he is. But maybe he's had to work with Firre for an extended period of time, and seen just how bad it gets.

With (b), maybe it's a particular prisoner whose outlook affected him - whose grace and dignity under unspeakable torture showed him that there were some things worth fighting for. But he'd know about Thrommel, and seen how even the noblest fall from grace - which isn't exactly supportive of V changing directions...

In other words, I'm having a hard time constructing a feasible explanation for V's change of heart. I'd like to have one, though.

And just an as addendum to this, by turning away from Tharizdun, he no longer has access to any spells. Would he have retained his previously prepared spells long enough to cast the glyph on his chest with the pass phrase "Tharizdun shall never be free"? Or should all of those spells have gone *poof* - but then, how would V have cast the glyph on his chest to protect it?

Your insights and feedback would be much appreciated!

Trithereon
A robot with powers
(5/17/03 7:15 am)
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Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
For Varachan to become a former cleric of Tharizdun I think he'd have to be insane and buy into the "free Big T. and destroy the world" philosophy at some point. The questions become: Why this crazy desire to see an end of not only his own existance but that of the entire world; and why the change of heart?

There are some who fall so deeply into despair that they'd willing destroy all that they have once loved to exact revenge. These people feel betrayed and bitter to such a degree that it drives them insane. Simple suicide for these people is not enough and they devise plans to kill as many of their once loved (and innocent bystanders) as possible when they finally do decide to make the "final cut". They take insane glee at the thought of this ulimate revenge. They have not conscience as they hate themselves just as much as they hate those they destroy.

Who says that Thrommel has fallen from grace by his own actions. Vampires are spawned and can be forced upon unwilling victims. Indeed, I'd think that most vampires are unwilling spawns. Thrommel was Lawful Good but upon dying from the evil negative energies inflicted upon his helpless mortal soul he become transformed into undead and his alignment is forced to Chaotic Evil. There is no choice. It happens. Once undead there is no choice to go back as the spawned vampire isn't 100% Thrommel. There is enough of the ex-paladin's consciousness to remember his past but there is that negative energy that now inhabits his souless form. That is the vampiric "Thrommel" is not Prince Thrommel. If the vampire was destroyed the real Thrommel could be True Resurrected and his paladinhood restored as his evil was not chosen but inflicted.

If you accept that premise then V's alignment shift would not be disuaded by the presence of Thrommel. However, you must determine why a voluntary shift in alignment DID occur. I don't see why your plan (b) couldn't work with the cavat that Thrommel is innocent of his own transformation.

Of course, there are plenty of people out there that rule that the "always chaotic evil" alignment of vampires is optional.

Seravin
A cup of coffee
(5/17/03 1:33 pm)
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Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
There is of course the old Helm of Opposite Alignment trick.
Perhaps he recovered the helm as part of some share of treasure thinking it was something else. Perhaps he was given it by some person who had a vested interest in either destroying his power base within the temple or trying to turn a highly placed member of the temple. YMMV

Or perhaps in a recent encounter he recieved a Heal spell from some non-Tharizdun source, curing his Insanity and letting him see clearly for the first time.

Or perhaps he had to sacrifice the one person he really cared about for the glory of the temple. She/He is gone now but it open Varachan's eyes on the ultimate cost he was about to pay. Perhaps Varachan was a minor noble in the Furyondy court. He could very easily have admired Prince Thrommel, but with his own prospects of inheritance small he was easily recruited by the Temple of Tharizdun in return for power. Now the temple has Thrommel and they broke this good man. It probably wasn't easy or pretty, but eventually they did so. Worse, they wouldn't let Thrommel stay dead. That might be enough to give Varachan an epiphany of the cost.

deafdungeonmasterRIT
A robot with powers
(5/17/03 10:52 pm)
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Maybe this will help..
See Varachan is Saul from New Testament.. the one that have been persecuting Christan people in the beginning and to the point that he was struck out by Jesus who proclaims "Saul, Saul, why are you presecuting me?"

See this as Varachan but only in guist of Pelor's avatar who have totally changed Varachan's soul. This probably acheive by one of the prisoner that he used to torture.

SSShadowcat7
A song from the sixties
(5/18/03 8:05 pm)
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Re: Maybe this will help..
I'll go ahead and add what I did IMC.

On top of his 12 cleric levels (now ex-cleric levels) I gave Varachan 4 sorcerer levels. Then I added 1 level of the Dragon Disciple (silver) PrC. How did he turn into a Dragon Disciple? What led him to that path? Who knows. IMC this was a rather spontaneous change in his body physiology which took him by surprise, but in the process his way of thinking started to change as well.

I have not fleshed out where this change came from, mostly becasue I have not had to. His interactions with the party have not revealed this part of his nature, and they have not questioned him too closely on his change of heart.

Sure, adding 5 levels on to his alrady 12 levels of cleric boosts him quite a bit. But he is not really an opponent, and without the powers & spells from those cleric levels he is really just a 5th level character with a bunch of hit points and better saves. Once this phase of the campaign is over I plan on him regaining his clerical powers somehow (probably with the party paladin's help) and becomming a powerful, recurring NPC on the PCs side. And it'll be interesting to add levels to him as time goes on and see how he progresses.

Zenon
A song from the sixties
(5/19/03 4:57 am)
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Re: Maybe this will help..
IMC, Varachan was a hard bitten, nasty SOB (much like Hedrack in the original ToEE). He worked hard, killed lots and worshipped the EEE.

Eventually when he was promoted to the OF, he was told the truth - the EEE was Tharzidun.

This started the change in Varachan. It cracked the armor of his faith, much like what happened to Lareth. But Varachan concealed and glossed over the minor crack, but it was still there.

During his course of being Hedrack's second in command, Varachan was filled in on "the big picture", the freeing of the Big T.

This accelerated the change in Varachan. He might be hard bitten and nasty, but to kill the whole world? The crack widened.

Anyway, the plan seemed pretty far-fetched and didn't look likely to ever come to fruition. It required a whole bunch of things the cult just didn't have at the time: One of the Orbs, the Elemental Power Gems, access to the Old ToEE and the nodes, the "Champion of Elemental Evil", etc.

Tymerian's party assaulted to OF and failed. Serveral were captured (including a Cleric of Pelor, the skeleton of whom is chained in the silenced room above Thrommel's coffin). While undergoing questioning with Varachan present, the cleric of Pelor questioned Varachan "Why? Why are you doing this?".

The words stuck. It was no spell, just the catalyst to start the reaction that had been building in Varachan.

Then things started changing in the OF. Unariq sacrificed himself to discover the way to create another Orb. Plans were laid to excavate the old Temple. The search was started in earnest for the Champion with possibles being tested. The end of the world was now in sight, no more was it just insane planning, it was looming on the horizon.

This completed the change in Varachan. In a moment of lucidity he turned from Tharzidun. Losing the madness that comes from T worship, he was able to see clearly for the first time in years and didn't like what he saw. As a self imposed pennance, he turned himself into a deep undercover force working against the cult's plans. He resigned himself to being found out and killed eventually, but he just hoped to be able to throw a big enough monkey wrench into the cult's plans to derail them.

A monkey wrench that looks suspiciously like the PC's....

The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(5/19/03 6:57 am)
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Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
very nice way to explain varachan's change!

consider it "borrowed" ;)

Andorax
A guitar
(5/19/03 7:19 am)
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Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
Zenon, that's almost exactly the approach I was taking with it.


I'm sure you've heard tell of teenagers who fall in with a "bad lot". They hear about all these bad things that the others do, and think it's "cool" for a while, but when they're actually confronted with taking part in it, there are some who realise it's not as cool as it sounded, or that they didn't really think they "meant it".

Something akin to this. Varachan didn't think they would ever actually succeed in freeing Big T, but when the pieces started to fall into place...the Orb, the Champion...he began to realize that this is for real, and that there's not going to be anything left to have power OVER.


Oh, and as for the glyph thingy...I know it's a bit of a stretch, but I allowed him to continue using clerical items, even spell-activation and spell-completion items (such as the scroll and wand he's listed as having), even though he can't directly cast anymore.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Infiniti2000
A guitar
(5/19/03 7:50 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
Andorax, from a rules perspective, I don't think that's a bit of a stretch. I think that's the intent. After all, he's still a cleric, but without spells. Those spells are still technically on his list. Anyway, without that capability, Varachan would have easily been found out by now.

Dragon Mage 1E
A song from the sixties
(5/19/03 8:17 am)
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Re: Why has Varachan turned good?
IMC I did not have Varachan turn good, but just come his evil senses and not want to destroy everything he had gained. After the party released him he returned to Iuz and is now fighting with the party. I wanted the party to see how dramatic the situation was, with good and evil working together. Plus I like the moral dilemma for the LG party members.

Currently they are facing off with Imix together. Varachan plans to steal the orb and give it to Iuz.

"What the curtains?"

deafdungeonmasterRIT
A robot with powers
(5/19/03 4:58 pm)
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Hmm
Didn't Hedrack once serve IUZ?

IF so, is that how Hedrack and Varachan have a common cause?

How do you think Triad will react to Varachan? How does Varachan see doomdreamers?

Aside from PC, who are Varachan' closest allies?

Dragon Mage 1E
A song from the sixties
(5/20/03 6:27 am)
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Re: Hmm
I do not recall whom Hedrack worshiped in the original TEE. However, IMC Hedrack (who is still alive) blames Varachan for the failure of the outer fane in stopping the PC's. Hedrack has been scolded for this failure, much to his dismay.

The only commom cause they did have was big T. That is no more.

By the time anyone in the cult could do anything about Varachan the PC's were attacking the inner fane and giving them bigger concerns. Varachan sees the cult and the DD's as insane fools. So much power going to waste. He may be evil but he is not stupid.

I seem to recall the module mentions a Iuz spy watching the old temple. I do not recall the name (as I changed it IMC), but that is his only other ally now (except for a sucubus planar ally).

Varachan must destroy the cult and their plans to have a chance of any life in service of Iuz. He has tried to muster humaniod forces dressed as cultist to attack Homlet in hopes of drawing larger forces into the fight vs. the cult and relieve some of those fighting Iuz.

"What the curtains?"

Andorax
A guitar
(5/20/03 7:44 am)
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Re: Hmm
In the original ToEE, Hedrack was a priest of Iuz. Lareth was a priest (?!) of Lolth.

I think one of Hedrack's "issues" is that he's too good at his current job. He wants to be promoted to Doomdreamer status, he's a far more powerful and capable cleric than most all of them (in fact, I believe he has the most pure "cleric" levels of every NPC in the adventure). He's being overlooked for DD promotion because that means they'd have to find someone else to run the Outer Fane, and Hedrack's just too %)#) good at it.

Perhaps Varachan's "revelation" came when he was about to be granted DD status himself, and Hedrack did something to undercut his promotion (out of jealosy and resentment). Varachan did some digging to find out why he wasn't becomming a Doomdreamer, and discovered just how close to attaining their "ultimate goal" they were.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

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