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D&D 3E
Question about evil humanoid-like people. 
16th-Oct-2007 08:28 am
Adoration
I say humanoid-like because it doesn't necessarily have to have the humanoid subtype.

Anyway, I'm in a bit of a pickle. Usually, I just make up monsters completely from scratch - thus, I'm not very familiar with D&D monsters (and there are entirely too many MMs to search through). This time though, I actually need a creature that is recognizable as evil.

Here's the summary.
The campaign world is primarily based on the six elements - Water (LG), Fire (CE), Air (CG), Earth (LE), Light (TN), and Dark (TN). There are orbs representing at least four of these - the four classical ones. The water orb, however, has been stolen by a being that is capable of actually directly accessing its true power and has royally screwed over the planet as a result of that - along the lines of tainting all of the water on the planet where anyone with a Good alignment needs to have the water blessed or heavily diluted with something like alcohol.
That part is unrelated though. What IS related is that the party (who was actually directly responsible for the above event) is going to be trying to obtain the Air orb themselves so they can hope to fight against the being with the Water orb.

What does this have to do with my question? Well, the High Priest of Air is of an originally evil origin. Something that is obviously evil and NOT a freaking Drow. For an example of the type of thing I was thinking of, a succubus (I threw out that idea for other reasons though). I want the PCs to distrust this person, at least a little bit.

Requirements:
Must be some race that is either nearly always evil or always evil. I don't care whether that is LE, NE, or CE - however, LE and CE would probably work better.
Must be some race that is humanoid in appearance - nothing larger than medium or smaller than small, not looking grossly disfigured, et cetera.
Must be intelligent. The being is going to have a very large amount of int and wisdom, bare minimum.
Preferably something with a low LA. I try to make NPCs the way people make PCs and not hand wave over the rules unless it is something minor. However, if it does have a high LA, at least having it be a creature that I could conceivably knock out some abilities to drop the LA. For instance, dropping several of the Succubus abilities and reducing the hit die. The reason is that it is going to have a very large number of Cleric or Cleric-like levels, and I'd prefer it being sub-epic (or at most marginally epic).

Anyone have any suggestions?
Comments 
16th-Oct-2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Firstly, multitudinous Drizz't fans the world over are shaking in impotent fury at the suggestion that Drow are always evil. Welcome to 3rd edition, in which we have non-evil Drow, non-evil undead, and non-evil lycanthropes.

Second, if you have always run your campaign the way you describe, why would there be any race in your game system at all which is universally assumed to be evil?

Third, in your mainstream, fantasy literature-based campaigns, demons, devils and undead are almost universally evil, and even in D20, colored dragons are still universally evil. Since you have set fire & earth to be the evil elements, it would seem reasonable for there it be some variation on fire/magma/medusa/gorgon/red dragon.
16th-Oct-2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
That'd be why I said "almost always evil". :P

Anyway, no, there isn't an existing race that is recognized as outright evil - all of the base races are labeled as neutral or at best Lawful-like or Chaotic-like. Orcs come close (replacing the default half-orcs), leaning towards evil, but nothing that is outright evil.

I don't know of any humanoid-like fire based creatures though...
16th-Oct-2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
... re-reading, I didn't make my point clear.
I'm playing off of their metagaming knowledge instead of their regular in-character knowledge.
16th-Oct-2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
The race which immediately springs to mind as fitting that criteria would be rakshasa, though admittedly not as a priest of Air.

Next in line, a half-dragon (chromatic) of some sort, or a draconian...
16th-Oct-2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oooo, didn't even think about templates.
16th-Oct-2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Second the Rakshasa
17th-Oct-2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Third the Rakshasa
16th-Oct-2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
If you were first looking at a succubus, Tiefling is an easy bet for you. They are fiend-humanoid crossbreeds, CR 1. The Tiefling is a +1 level adjustment. They have small but recognizeable demonic characteristics -- maybe red eyes and horns, or something like that, they are all different.

Recognizeably evil, low CR, maximum flexibility. Just stack on some wizard/cleric levels and you're set.

JT
16th-Oct-2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Mind flayer.

No, seriously. Of the classical elements, air is affiliated with thought and rationality. Reed Richards is the poster boy for high Air scores and low Water (emotional empathy) scores.

So, who knows more about thoughts than an Illithid?

16th-Oct-2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
There's actually precedent for less-than-evil illithids, if you count Spelljammer novels; that's a good notion too.
16th-Oct-2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
http://www.penpaperpixel.org/tools/d20monsterfilter/

Just select "humanoid" under type and hit "Filter Monsters." That will give you a list of all the humanoid (types) in the SRD. Plus, it's a nice function for finding monsters inside the MM.

Anyway, the classic evil humanoids are the kobold, goblin, orc, gnoll, hobgoblin, bugbear, and so on. Those are generally low-level fodder, but with levels... But I'd probably second the recommendation of throwing a template onto something.
16th-Oct-2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
When you mean "evil", do you mean chaotic evil? Hobgoblins, goblins, and orcs are all lawful evil. As are kobolds. Personally, I like lawful evil rather than chaotic evil. Chaotic evil tends to be about sheer wanton destruction and doesn't play well with itself (that is, one chaotic evil critter won't play nice with another chaotic evil critter). Lawful evil will band together to bring down others for self-aggrandizement. They will even use the law to their own twisted purposes. Like framing a lawful good defender of righteousness of a horrible crime and discrediting him in the eyes of the law to disable his efforts to bring them to justice.

You have those elemental associations - why not use your base races and add the elemental qualities for the alignment scheme you've set up from Unearthed Arcana? I think a hobgoblin would be a good race to use. I use them a lot when I want an evil humanoid race to pit my PCs against.

Then again, I think that the tiefling is a good start, too.
16th-Oct-2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
My first thought was harpy, honestly, but that doesn't do much for the int and wis you want. Could be an exceptional case, though, and with levels you get ability adjustments.

Why not some form of genie? I know they're outsiders, but they're all pretty much evil and elementally themed. This one could have developed a connection with his element such that he is now good, or something like that.

Also, yeah, the flayer would be cool. The only problem with having a good mind flayer is the question of diet. To survive, they must eat the brains of sentient beings. How you can do that and still pull off good, well, I have no idea. It has been suggested, however, that a good mind flayer could only eat the brains of the evil as a paladin only slays the evil, but then mind flayer society has no concept of "evil" at all, and is quite above moral quandaries.
16th-Oct-2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
That flayer quality you mention here stands out to me because I have seen them for a long time as a sort of sublime enemy, whose goals are so truly alien, so alien to us that I considered a story arc revolving around flayers that had people disappearing on a regular basis, and the PCs investigate the disappearances only to find out that mind flayers have been harvesting people's brains to sell to their fellow mind-flayers as a snack food, packaged and wrapped and everything - for profit.
16th-Oct-2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
You do know that faced with the qualifiers of "smart," "typically evil," and "low LA so that most of the abilities will come out of character levels," I am going to give an enthusiastic "GNOLLS FTW!" answer, right?
16th-Oct-2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
What about Kenku? They're birds...

Or a Vampire. Can't really go wrong there...

Or even some variant of the swanmay that turns into a vulture, or raptor of some kind.
16th-Oct-2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
Aw, man, why didn't I think of Kenku? Damn, that's good.
16th-Oct-2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
What about Genasi? They are humanoid with your choice of the four elemental properties (air, earth, fire, water). There is a LevAdj, but IIRC it is 1 or 2, easy to deal with.

Now if only I could remember which book they are in...
16th-Oct-2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
Monsters of Faerun, p 71.
(Deleted comment)
16th-Oct-2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
That was my first thought too.
16th-Oct-2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
Hell yeah mah homie.

Githyanki are awesome. And evil. Usually.

(although an evil Githzerai would also be awesome. Githzerai aren't Good-leaning, they're Lawful-leaning. Or Chaotic-leaning. It all depends on the edition and/or setting. :V)
17th-Oct-2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Something that is obviously evil and NOT a freaking Drow.

Err, I thought they got rid of that silly "drow are evil" thing and turned them entirely into the angstier-than-thou premiere PC race! :P
17th-Oct-2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
____s aren't evil! They're just misunderstood!

My personal favorite evil race is Human. I don't care how evil that demon over there is, nothing quite matches an evil Human for villain factor.

But you want a "classically" evil race. You want something, basically, that people will have racist bias against. And a priest of Air.

My recommendation is Yuan-Ti Pureblood. They benefit from being a) widely recognized as evil as hell, b) widely recognized as very clever and subtle, so even a "good Yuan-Ti" could maybe be running some sort of double-agent scam. For bonus points, have the guy try to pass himself off as human, but have the PCs figure it out early somehow. (Maybe they catch him before he's put on his ceremonial headdress and see the scales.) And why is a snake-beast an air-worshiper? Think Quetzalcoatl.
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