Articles By Author - Stephen Rowe

Memoirs of a Lich: Foreshadowing, Part 1

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. Let’s say you’ve put time and effort into erecting the perfect deathtrap. The protagonists run through your maze of horrors like well-armed rats, finding you within the center. You let loose a villainous laugh and throw the big switch on a gigantic technomagical gizmo with tons of cool special effects. You start monologuing about how it’s going to simultaneously make you a thousand feet tall and turn a god into an...

Memoirs of a Lich: Master

Dear Master, This is Ivlysse. A thousand and one apologies for this woeful invasion of privacy. Ivlysse wishes his master to know the many clever defenses and ruses surrounding his most unhallowed thoughts, displaying despicable creativity and humorous irony. Master has truly outdone himself! It is doubtless only his master’s mighty influence that allowed humble Ivlysse to bypass them all unscathed. Surely, were Ivlysse a common imp, he would...

Memoirs of a Lich: Armies

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. What’s the first thing every wannabe dark lord does? Why, amass themselves a big ole nightmare army. Today we are going to talk about why they are stupid. Whether it’s a bunch of immoral orcs or crumbling skeletal legions, armies, for some reason, always seems to be step one of everyone’s three-part plan for world domination. Step two is usually marching the dread legions on the last spark of hope and light. Step...

Memoirs of a Lich: Dungeons (Part 2)

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. Our first attempt at a dungeon was a total cringeworthy disaster. I remember we were going for high-concept, double-“ironic” situations and social commentary. There’d be a fight against a hill giant, and then in the next room, his family held up signs saying, “Where’s my daddy?” and “Who is the real monster?”  Most of it wasn’t even particularly clever with the...

Memoirs of a Lich: Dungeons (Part 1)

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. We’ve gotten surprisingly comfortable in our role as proprietor of the Red Door Market. (Bemmea’s best magic items supplier for the burglar on a budget!) However, the whole reason for this diary is that we’ll inevitably return to our first and greatest love. Even now, we find it difficult to fully escape the allure of unlife’s simplest pleasures… the precision engineering of a...

Memoirs of a Lich: Restraint

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. We like to joke, but being an awesome antagonist is a big responsibility. You are always going to be vastly more powerful than the burglars wandering into your villainous clutches. You can’t only entertain yourself. You have to think about what’s going to be enjoyable for the dopey meatsacks too. Seems counterintuitive, right? Which brings us to today’s topic: restraint, or why you can’t...

Memoirs of a Lich: Clerics

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. After thousands of years of careful study and experimentation, we’ve come to the conclusion that magic is insane. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than swinging a sword around, and if it wasn’t for magic, we wouldn’t be the lich we are today (literally). That in no way makes it any less full of obviously arbitrary restrictions and exploitable loopholes. Unfortunately, it is the only game...

Memoirs of a Lich: Gods

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. We once gave serious consideration to godhood. I think we were rare because we didn’t assume it was amazing. Unfortunately, most (un)holy books are propaganda puff pieces, so we went more direct to the sources. Basically, we murdered an awful lot of outsiders to learn a few vital secrets. Oh, that reminds me of a fun fact: a bell doesn’t ring every time an angel loses their wings (that’s the saying, right?). It’s...

Memoirs of a Lich: Gear

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. After thousands of years of murdering teams of well-outfitted adventurers, we’ve amassed quite the stockpile of junk. I am pretty sure we’ve got a closet somewhere so precariously stacked with portable holes and bags of holding that it unintentionally qualifies as a magical trap. At this point, anything we stumble into that’s less than a minor artifact isn’t really worth an identify spell,...

Memoirs of a Lich: Arcane Bonds

Dear Ivlysse, This is Osvaud. As my imp familiar, you are the only individual other than myself even remotely likely to ever read my diary. So I wanted to set aside this personal heartfelt message for you. Every young apprentice must decide if he or she is going to permanently invest arcane power into a paltry bauble or a living creature. Once this all-important choice is made, it can’t be unmade. Out of all the options in the multiverse, I...

Memoirs of a Lich: Lairs

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. As you read this, you are hopefully safely ensconced within the comfortable confines of your unassailable fortress. You are probably leisurely floating randomly through the Negative Energy Plane. Take a second to appreciate that vaguely soothing feeling living creatures equate with having their soul maimed. Now, admire the fine hand-crafted force effect construction. There’s a good reason most of your valuable...

Memoirs of a Lich: Monologues

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. Do you recall every single time some buffoon with a holy aura gave us a lecture on the error of our ways? How about all the rivals cursing our name with their dying breath? Yeah, I don’t either. It all basically blends together into an annoying mishmash after the first few dozen. Now, here’s the important part. That’s how we sound to everybody if we don’t properly prepare. Which brings us to...

Memoirs of a Lich: Monsters, Part 2

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. Here’s a status report on the murdering 13,680 commoners in 24 hours idea: totally doable but not nearly as fun as it sounds. The paralyzing everyone for appropriate placement actually makes it practical but also “incapacitates” any potential fun. They all look dead, so then, it feels like you’re walking around clawing a bunch of unresponsive corpses. We’d basically be doing it just to...

Memoirs of a Lich: Monsters, Part 1

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. A sign of a mature villain is recognizing that there are only so many people you can personally kill in a day. Now, I know what you are thinking (you painfully literal dingbat)… “Oh, I bet I can pump negative energy into 13,680 commoners in 24 hours if they all stand less than 30 feet away from each other.” First, good work accounting for that 5.0% of the time we somehow miss. Second, you are well...

Memoirs of a Lich: Relationships

Dear Osvaud, This is Osvaud. We’ve avoided this topic for a while mostly because it is crazy awkward but also to make sure any voyeuristic adventurers were dead ten times over before reading about our love life. If you are one and you somehow managed to get this far… you are seriously messed up if you keep reading. Think of it this way: how uncomfortable is it going to get later on when we are trying to kill each other? Although… maybe...

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