In general, I’d like to start providing more material on this site that’s usable in your game. To that end, I’m going to endeavor to post recurring, column-esque posts that run along common themes. You’ve already seen the first “Setting Seeds” post; I plan on continuing that series in the future. This post marks my first “Villain Profile” post. More in this series will come, and I will also try to add variety to what I post by including additional series.
The Mockers are more than a single villain; they are a villainous organization with a few main villains at the top. The Mockers are a thieves’ guild; they operate out of Fallcrest in my own campaign, but they can operate out of any medium-to-large city or town. As the moniker of “thieves’ guild” would suggest, they do a lot of stealing. They fund a variety of criminal activities, from simple theft and burglary to extortion, bribery, prostitution, drug-running, and–at times–murder.
The Mockers have a reputation for being extremely mercenary. That is, while they work for themselves frequently and line their pockets with the fruits of their endeavors, they also hire themselves out to powerful individuals who need their services. They have an extensive information network, which is attractive to the wealthy and powerful. They also employ a number of very skilled burglars and second-story men, who are often contracted to steal things from other rich and powerful people. Occasionally, they are also hired for assassination. This is rare, but not because the Mockers have any particular problem with it from a moral standpoint; rather, it tends to attract a lot of attention, so the price is commensurately steep.
At the top of the organization is Kalder Red-Eye, a tiefling who passes himself off as a much less influential crime boss. Most people in Fallcrest know Kalder is a petty criminal with aspirations to a much greater position; he exploits the weak and destitute. The reality is that Kalder is the head of an extremely powerful criminal syndicate that is thoroughly integrated into Fallcrest’s infrastructure. Kalder enjoys being underestimated, as it gives him the element of surprise on his opponents.
Kalder is an ambitious and calculating man, and is almost completely amoral. He doesn’t go out of his way to hurt people or cause misery, but doing so is often a byproduct of his profession, and he has no particular problem with that. Where Kalder comes from is a bit of a mystery; most people just say that he’s always been there, doing what he does. Few can remember when he first appeared, and this is likely intentional. Kalder deliberately does not use his true surname, even though his persona is quite public; his father was a farmer who lost everything because of a gambling habit, and he wants no one to know this about him.
If Kalder has weaknesses, it is likely his overconfidence. Kalder believes himself to be superior to most people that he meets, and while he doesn’t make a habit of underestimating his enemies, he is an arrogant man. He also has an over-developed sense of opportunism; often a slim chance of a large payoff is enough for him to commit resources to the job, and this can sometimes blow up in his face. Finally, as befits someone of his amoral viewpoint, his loyalties are extremely flexible. He’ll hire the services of the Mockers out to nearly anyone, even someone who one of his minions just stole something from last week. While he’s usually subtle enough to get away with this, sometimes it gets him into trouble.
The Mockers, and Kalder, are appropriate for heroic-tier characters. Kalder’s likely not the true villain, but he probably works for the true villain, even if it’s not obvious for a while. The Mockers are designed to be an omnipresent low-level threat, constantly harassing the players and getting in their way, but rarely posing a truly serious threat to anyone–until the villain hires them to do something really evil.