Voice suggestions are provided for each NPC.
MetastusMetastus is not immediately hostile to the party, but he is not a pleasant man.
The mage Metastus is infatuated with disease, both its infliction and its treatment. He appears as an older man in a dingy, off-white cloak with sparse hair to match. His skin is pallid and parchment-like, and he has no mustache or beard because he has no lip or chin, their having rotted off in some failed experiment years past.
His knowledge of sickness has won him many wealthy patrons through his treatments. In their turn he has extracted many favors and subjects. He never willingly lets a patient perish, but he will also infect a subject with an unknown strain in order to test the efficacy of his treatments.
He meticulously records all phases of his patients' endeavors. The results of his experiments are usually shared with colleges and hospitals through the land. He is eager to hide behind this fact when defending anything which might be interpreted as a depredation. He adopts an air of clinical detachment during these times but just below the surface he enjoys dancing people along the line between life and death.
Voicewise: leave Professor Farnsworth and Peter Lorre in a sauna for a few decades until they melt together and forget their lips.
MetastusMedium human, Lawful Evil
Armor Class 12 (15 with mage armor)
Hit Points 40 (9d8)
Speed 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
9 (−1) 14 (+2) 11 (+0) 17 (+3) 12(+1) 11 (+0)
Saving Throws Int +6, Wis +4
Damage Vulnerabilities fire
Damage Resistances piercing and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Skills Arcana +6, Medicine +6
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Elven, Orc, Deep Speech
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Spellcasting. Metastus is a 9th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following wizard spells prepared:
- cantrips - acid splash, light, mage hand
- 1st (4 slots) - charm person, grease, sleep
- 2nd (3 slots) - ray of enfeeblement, web (of sputum)
- 3rd (3 slots) - dispel magic, stinking cloud
- 4th (3 slots) - black tentacles, noxious form
- 5th (1 slot) - contagion
Equipment: slippers of spider climbing, wand of the war mage +1, cloak of protection (+1 AC and saves)
He is infectious. If he is slain he can use a reaction to infect one person with a disease that will slowly turn the victim into him (Constitution save to resist). It will manifest first as the ability to cast some additional spells he knows.
2645 GP, 110 PP in a chest in his lab.
Noxious Form: 4th-level wizard spell. As gaseous form, but a creature who enters your space or starts its turn there are affected as if by stinking cloud and take d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier acid damage. You are unaffected by stinking cloud while in noxious form.
Spellbook: Memorized spells plus stinking cloud. The necessary course of treatment to preserve Unction's seething life.
Nutch-NutchHomunculus (MM 188)
Metastus' familiar. Balloon-like, with tiny wings, a puffy face, wiggly hands and feet, and an unfortunately placed stinger. Deflates into a snake-like creature with grabbly spindle claws.
Voicewise: Like a farting helium balloon.
DratheNothic (MM 236)
Equipment: Cloak of Elvenkind
Metastus' companion of many years. The mage provides it access to any libraries he is welcomed to. In return, the creature plies minds encountered for secret, shameful sicknesses of a family which can be used as leverage in negotiations.
It has gazed at the mage in his sleep and enjoyed what it found in those gray dreams.
Voicewise: Only speak while inhaling and pretend you've got sandpaper next to your gums.
UnctionOrog (MM 247) except:
AC 20 (plate and shield)
Equipment: sword of vengeance - longsword, +7 to hit, reach 5, d8+5 damage.
martial adept - d6 superiority die. goading attack, pushing attack (PHB 74)
parry - reaction - adds 4 to AC against one melee attack that would hit. must see attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.
Probably challenge 3?
This orog was offered into Metastus' service by a tribe of orcs whom he gifted with a maddening plague which allowed their warriors to crush a neighboring tribe before their lungs exploded. Their ravening spirits inhabit his gleaming bronze blade.
He has long stopped questioning the motivations of Metastus' company and is confident he and the mage together can face down any threat. However, an open display of hostility means he'll try to throw the offenders off the nearest ledge or alert his companions if none is available.
Metastus knows Unction has no sense of honor and so has, over the years, set up a complex system of disease and treatments within the orog to ensure his loyalty. Without a seemingly random administration of herbs and extracts known only to the mage, he would die a painful and gasping death within days. With practice and desperation he has learned many techniques to protect Metastus' life as his own.
At the moment he abides a suppurating throat affliction requiring a Constitution check (DC 10) to voluntarily make any noise louder than a whisper - a failure stuns him for a round as he hacks up volumes of loose, bloody phlegm.
Voicewise: Grisly-wet, like a raw steak has taken offense to your ability to move around without its consent.
AubertGuard (MM 347) - Neutral. Immune to disease.
A simple farmer whose village was struck by an unusual plague to which he was apparently immune. Metastus offered to save his kin in exchange for his servitude, and he readily accepted.
The process has been gradual - several villagers have been hauled to the band's camp for extended treatment, and drift in and out of weak consciousness. Aubert devotes every waking hour to their care
Aubert hates Metastus for the depravities he has seen, and himself for his part in them, but will take up arms to defend the mage as the last chance to save his friends and family.
Voicewise: 90% stuttering misery, 10% shrieking indignation.