The latest Infamous Adversaries line addition is by far the best so far, and quite frankly, is going to be hard to top. This is one seriously creepy, nightmare inspiring NPC to unleash upon a play group. Ischadra, Grandmother of Assassins is a soulbound corpse doll….yeah, let that sink in….a doll, that kills. Now, we’re not talking Hollywood cheeze here, no freaking Chucky dolls, oh no, this little lady was crafted from the skin of corpses, she was built to house the soul of killer resurrected for the purpose of trapping her within this construct….shame for the clerics who performed the ritual that she was better than they were. I’ve been patiently waiting (OK, almost patiently) for this book since I first saw the cover art awhile back, and I’m happy to state, this character does this artwork justice. She is everything twisted and wrong you could ever want as a GM, seriously. A timeless assassin honing her skills through out the generations hiding in plain sight as an ugly little doll. Communicating telepathically she bonds with children she chooses for various reasons, either to train to eventually hand over to the assassin guild in whom she is in league, or as a cog in the vast information network she has built, or even to use a child as her means of gaining entry to a target. This little lady is so not one you want to ever offend, ever.
As always the TPK guys bring forth not just one incarnation of their adversary of choice, this time giving us CR 14, 17 and 20 versions of Ischadra. And yes folks, even an immortal killer doll needs a support cast, and oh what a support cast she has. The demented doll maker, and part time homicidal maniac, Japareth, who operates as a trusted friend and combat medic (hey, she might break a part, lol)…
or Noni, the little girl who currently carries around this demented toy. Example stats are given for no less than four different levels of assassin for the faction known as the Order of the Ebon Hand. Keeping tabs? We get a killer doll, a psycho dollmaker, the kid who currently carries the doll, the faction to whom the doll is aligned, sounds like a pretty good package deal, right? Well, there’s more…how about the God of Murder, yeah, hows that for more? An NPC, her support cast, a new faction and a new deity to add to your campaign world. Need more? Not a problem, how about hooks, Ischadra’s seriously pimped out pigsticker, what you assumed she killed with a typical off the rack kind of blade? NO! Her’s is all kinds of ugliness, wrapped up in a sinister illusion…and let us not forget her soulstone, that which allows her to exist in the first place. Any GM worth their salt has encountered and dealt with a soulstone (or something very similar) by now, but how many of us have handled one personally blessed by God of Murder himself, hmmm? Oh yeah, she’s that kind of wicked, blessed by her god, literally.
I could get into the editing issues, of which I saw truly only a few minor things…some justified text areas could have benefited from a condensing or text spacing to avoid huge space gaps….The Spectral Host statblock has it’s header bar in the middle of the italicized descriptive text….and the occasional spell name that should probably be italicized ( I think there were two, total). But honestly, two words non italicized (not an issue when you consider the words are both in the right section and anyone can look at them and realize what they are), justification causes spacing issues, pure and simple. I personally hate them, but I understand it happens, and doesn’t change anything regarding content…so, out of the three things I listed that leaves one actual screw up, and that was a header for a statblock ending up in the middle of that statblocks description….alright guys, put out your hands, I’m gonna have to smack you…no, no, I’m sorry it had to come to this, but take it like men dangit!
Seriously, a solid character design, and that’s what products like this are all about. Giving us, the consumer, something to not only challenge our players, but scare the living crap out of them. And yes, there are Hero Lab files to support everything in here, so for the Hero Lab users in the house, there is much love here.
Final thoughts on this are a resounding yes, you must show Ischadra some love and buy this, otherwise she might come visit you next. A well earned 5 out of 5 guys, and a must have in the arsenal. Well done!