Portrait of a Villain: Mnemesyx, the Twice Fallen

Written by Paul King

Concept/Archetype: demon-possessed enchanted item
Keywords: demon, possessed, ritual, spirit-infused, item, enchanted
Race: demon
Profession: corrupting influence

“These abilities I bequeath unto you. Powers for the powerful. To possess them, all you have to do is let me in.”

Background

Mnemesyx was a demon who, in an age long past, rallied to forces of hell to him in an attempt to rule all of demonkind. The other demon lords, in a rare display of solidarity, put aside their differences and united to cast him into the mortal plane. Enraged but undaunted, Mnemesyx studied the world to which he was exiled and came to realize that great power lie within it. He determined that, should that power be gathered and guided correctly, one would not only be able to rule this world, but have the strength and reach to rule others – thus might he achieve his revenge on and dominion over the demons who cast him out.

He set about drawing the races of the world to him through subtle manipulation, having learned that growing in power too rapidly would only draw unwanted attention to him. Years passed and his influence spread, and as his influence grew, so, too did his power. It was not long, by the reckoning of demonkind, before Mnemesyx had the strength and influence to overthrow his first mortal kingdom, an act which the other rulers and kingdoms perceived as being a localized coup. From there, his seat of power was established and his influence began to creep across national boundaries.

One of the neighboring kingdoms was ruled by a wise king, one who was not blind to subtle invasion of his land. He sent agents of all types – wise men, magic users, and mighty warriors alike – to discover the source and nature of the invisible threat that stole across his land. Many were killed upon their discovery. Others fell under the demon’s spell and defected from their king and country to follow a new ruler. Afraid to risk any more of his nation’s brilliant minds and fighting men in the face of what would surely soon become a full-scale invasion, the king send word to lands yet outside the demon’s influence for mighty warriors and brave souls who might infiltrate the demon’s capital and slay him, ending the threat of war and worse beyond should his power continue to grow unopposed.

A party of heroes, career adventurers, heeded the call and set out on a mission to do nothing less than save the world. Successfully infiltrating the hostile nation under the guise of joining the demon’s forces, they tried to learn as much about their adversary as they could – eventually uncovering the demon’s true name and history. The party’s wizard, the human Zauric, contacted the infernal realm, hoping that they might be interested in once again helping to overthrow a hated foe. A demonic emissary presented the wizard with a ritual for binding Mnemesyx to his physical form, allowing him to be mortally wounded. What was not revealed was that, upon the destruction of the demon’s body, to keep Mnemesyx from manifesting back on the infernal plane, his essence would then be bound into an inanimate object.

As the ritual stripped the demon’s spirit from its mortal shell, it attempted to flow into the sword, but was repelled by the enchanted blade. The demon’s spirit then flowed into the next closest object – the warrior Brogan’s helmet still clutched tightly in its hands. When Brogan retrieved the helmet and placed it upon his head, he was assaulted by the demon’s spirit. Battered and beaten as he was by the harrowing battle he’d just finished, the warrior stood little chance of resisting the attack. The warrior was overtaken by Mnemesyx and slew his friend and the only other survivor of the battle. In the end, the warriors succeeded, but at great personal cost. Only one returned alive, and he a man forever changed.

The nation Mnemesyx built soon collapsed without the demon’s physical presence and his followers disappeared into hiding. Historical records to not record what happened to Brogan or where he went after that battle, and people were eager to forget the shadow of evil that lurked on their doorstep. But the demon still resides in the helmet, guiding its owner, drawing people to it, seeking and testing them not only as followers, but looking for an ever more powerful host with whom to conquer the mortal realm, longing for the day when he might march back into the infernal realms and have his revenge.

Motivations & Goals

Mnemesyx is driven by a singular desire to rule over everyone and everything. Regardless of the situation or setting he finds himself in, he is constantly looking to get into and maintain a position of power. Revenge would be a close second on the list of motivations for Mnemesyx. If he ever fails in his grabs for power, someone is to blame and he will go to any length – short of sacrificing the power he currently wields – for his retribution.

Adventure Hooks

  • The PC’s encounter a military recruiter in town. He is signing mercenaries up for the army. The king, guided by a mysterious presence, is amassing his forces and looking to overthrow a weak neighbor, bringing them under his rule.
  • A town’s mayor has passed an unpopular ordinance, resulting in higher taxes. Seizing upon their discontent, a mysterious warrior has appeared among the townsfolk, exhorting them to unite under his banner to overthrow the local government. The city has become divided at to which side to follow, tensions have escalated and the threat of violence has become very real. The PC’s, just passing through, are cornered and told to make their allegiance to one side or the other known.
  • The PC’s happen upon a lynching in a small village. The villagers are looking to kill a man who was once part of a group thugs and bullies who preyed upon the weak and venerated a mysterious warrior who was going about preaching ‘might makes right.’ Eventually, it was determined that he was not ‘worthy’ or strong enough to be a member and had to flee for his life. Unfortunately, his former victims have little sympathy for him and are more than happy to vent their anger and frustration on a former tormentor.

Combat Tactics

When he inhabited his own physical form, Mnemesyx was a powerful demon who did not shy away from a fight against any foe he deemed inferior. When faced with an opponent who could not be directly overpowered, he would wait to strike until his opponent was in a vulnerable position – however long that might take. This might involve allying himself with his foe or evoking a false sense of loyalty.

When someone Mnemesyx deems worthy puts on the helmet, he will immediately launch a strong mental attack, attempting to overwhelm and possess them. Should he fail, he will not launch such an attack again, but begin putting thoughts in the wearer’s head, granting special abilities with the promise of more power to come if they will agree to ‘work with him.’ The goal of this being to get the potential host to lower their mental defenses enough to launch another assault on their will. As a possessing spirit, will attempt to use the strengths of his host to their greatest effect. He will not think twice about sacrificing his host to achieve his goals.

Should the wearer be considered weak or ‘unworthy,’ the helmet will try to mislead the wearer into increasingly dangerous encounters with more powerful enemies who might decide to take the helmet for themselves.

If the helmet is destroyed, the spirit of Mnemesyx will immediately be transferred into another metal item in the vicinity – priority given to a weapon first, armor second, and jewelry last – unless bound into it’s container by a special ritual and then physically destroyed, at which point he will manifest back in the infernal realms, surrounded by a great many demons who will be very unhappy to see him. It should be noted that the powers Mnemesyx confers will relate to the object he is currently inhabiting.

Creative Commons License

Mnemesyx, the Twice Fallen by Nevermet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.nevermetpress.com/contact.

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