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Background information about the Overlord for reference and the curious. Information subject to elaborations and updates as necessary.




The short explanation of the Overlord in any incarnation is that he’s a walking parody of the archetypal Dark Lord, and that the whole series of games is a parody of fantasy stereotypes.

The basic explanation of Lord Gromgard (don’t call him ‘Little’, he hates that) is that he was the overlooked youngest son of a land mismanaged and abused into ruin by the forces of Good(ish). That is, until he discovered his destiny and became the Overlord. Tired of getting the short end of the stick to the face and also not very mature about it, he gleefully revelled in his newfound power and the chance to get back at the world.

He also started learning about responsible management before he was out the castle gate. After all, you can’t conquer the world if your stronghold’s on fire, your underlings have been squashed and there’s nothing to eat.

To his bemused chagrin, his serfs don't seem to be fazed by their new management. Maybe it’s because they knew him before he could walk, maybe regular halfling raids breed a special kind of pragmatism, maybe it’s just that in the Lands of Legend it makes near as no difference. Whatever the reason, his Evilness is usually  treated as an interesting quirk of the gentry and little more. The spiky armour, the flinging of lightning, the horde of rampaging minions concern no-one: it certainly hasn’t stopped them calling on their dark master to slay the weevils, weed the pumpkin fields and transport village drunks back to their wives.

All of which he dutifully does. Because... because it's practical, you know.


Physical description: Unsurprisingly, he’s normally seen in grey-black plate armour. With spikes (they’re not very big yet). He’s surprisingly small for a Dark Lord – not much more than five foot under the spikes and with a hint of the gangly to his frame beneath the armour. He's a growing boy. His face is always covered, usually by his helmet, with an extra cloth mask underneath so that his only visible feature is a pair of glowing yellow eyes (red when he’s out of armour). He carries a wicked-looking axe at least half the size of his own body and may radiate Evil in a short but noticeable radius around him, if you’re attuned to such things. When he speaks, his voice is dark and ominous and evil-sounding, with a bit of an echo at times.


Canon history: Since the days of the Black Baron, the last Overlord, Evil had fallen on hard times. Embarrassed by their family legacy, the Gromgard line had put in a lot of effort to whitewash the castle and their history, going so far as to seal away the throne room and the surrounding chambers. Since then, they too had fallen on hard times, with the Duke, our young Gromgard’s father, being a well-meaning but inept ruler who was struggling to keep the wolf from the door and the halflings from the pantry. Young Gromgard’s mother ran off with a local noble while her husband was seeking glory on a quest to save the blighted realm. His elder brother and sister, the twins Grenville and Gerda, were both domineering, self-centred characters with their own particular flavours of unpleasantness.

On the dawn of the youngest Lord Gromgard’s sixteenth birthday, the Duke left on another last-ditch quest to save his country from ruin. The twins left to visit their non-human friends, vaguely hoping the brat would manage to get himself killed while they were gone. Instead, he received a surprise present: the key to the old throne room and the Castle Heart, where the armour of the Overlord was waiting for him… along with Gnarl (Minion master and chief advisor). The minions of Evil had had their yellow eyes on the young lord since his birth, just waiting for this day, and now his true potential was revealed to him.

This turned out to be pretty good timing. At that moment the castle was being infiltrated by rampaging halflings. The new Overlord had to drive them off and hastily rescue the Red Minions to stop the castle from being totally burned down, then deal with the traitorous court jester who led them. After which he had to track down and retrieve the Castle valuables stolen by the less loyal servants as they fled the attack. Finally able to focus on enjoying his new power, he visited the local town of Meadowsweet and met L’il Red, a small and very disturbing child who led him around the forest in circles for two hours, then turned into a werewolf and tried to devour him.

The Overlord released the children she was keeping for afters and followed up on their tip about a shady gingerbread salesman. He’s still not sure why, given the last quest, but they did hint he’d find some Minions there. As it turned out, the man was working for Doris the Witch, sending her children whose teeth she harvested for the Tooth Fairy. The Overlord was forced to fight his way through her gingerbread soldiers (candycanes – the lesser known bludgeoning weapon) and into her gingerbread cottage. Her secret ingredient turned out to be essence of Blue Minion, using their regenerative power to regrow children’s teeth as soon as they fell out for an infinite supply.

Some well-placed rockets later, Doris bailed for less Evil climes, and the Overlord was left pondering the discovery that this whole gold-generating scam was Gerda’s doing. His sister was in fact plotting an invasion with her dwarven pals, which was convenient because Grenville and his elf chums were planning much the same thing. Having defeated a wave of man-eating flytraps and destroyed the hothouses to rescue his Green Minions, the Overlord turned his sights to preventing his siblings from conquering his land. He and his minions (dressed as dwarves) killed the elves’ leader Erasmus (who wasn’t fooled, but it’s not like he could tell anyone). Then (dressed as elves) they put paid to Widget, leader of the dwarves.

Convinced that their mistrusted allies had turned on them and assassinated their beloveds, Gerda and Grenville led elf and dwarf in the first of many bitter wars with each other. And thus, disaster was misdirected and Greenvale was saved from the forces of Good.

Of course, it helped that neither Grenville nor Gerda knew what their little brother had become while they were out. And now he’s just waiting for the day they come back to check…


Wait, hereditary evil? Yes. It’s an alignment, not precisely a philosophical thing. Evil is a force of nature, a side, a political tradition and what you are because you are. It’s just one that thinks violence and vice can be quite fun provided they don’t get in the way of staying on top. Or perhaps is just a little more honest about the cost of its rule. Or perhaps just really likes black and spikes. In any case, the qualities that made the Black Baron a prime candidate for Overlord seem to have been passed to his great-nephew. Whether they were ever genetic is another debate.

What stage of technological development is this world at anyway? Whatever is funniest. If there’s a joke to be made about chamberpots, they have ‘em. If Gnarl wants ketchup on his broiled phoenix, he gets it. The dwarves have force fields, the elves have genetic engineering and a suspiciously Roman-looking Empire will rise to power centuries in the future. The cultural patchwork can probably be attributed to all the wars and magical disasters, if you want an in-universe reason.


Powers:

Returning from death: due to his connection to the land, this Overlord can canonically respawn from the nearest waypoint gate if his physical body is destroyed, though his fatigue and magic are not replenished by the process. In addition, any minions that were with him previously will not return.

Minion control: the four Minion tribes are bound to serve the Overlord and absolutely devoted to this duty. They’ll happily run into battle, walk into flames or commit suicide to help him regain his health and magic reserves. He can directly control an entourage of up to twenty minions, guiding their actions mentally – but at this point it’s safer to say he can accurately point and loose them on a target. They usually guess right about what he wants them to do with it…

Alternatively, he can use them as walking bombs, setting them to self-destruct and launching them at his targets for varying effects according to the minion he uses. The Overlord can bring his minions with him or summon more from the nearest spawning pits when he’s on his own lands. The Nexus is not his own lands. Additionally, if the Overlord is killed outside of his castle, his Minions will die with him. The difference is, they won’t come back.

Spells: The Overlord currently knows a number of spells, some of which are bloody hard work drain his energy continuously and others which just have limited duration.
- Petrify – because sometimes it helps to force your enemies to stand still.
- Slow – does exactly that to whoever he's pointing at..
- Frenzy – sets every minion in his entourage to ‘beserk’ for as long as he can maintain it.
- Energy Spike – the ability to zap something.
- Chain Lightening – the ability to zap several somethings at once.
- Transmogrify – turns the target into a sheep for thirty seconds or so. And only sheep. Black rams, actually. He’s not sure why.
- Shield - currently only protects him,but maybe he'll learn how to extend it some day.
- Energy Drain – effectively a healing spell which converts his mana reserves to physical regeneration.

Other: He has an axe, which he knows how to use, and use well – for a sixteen-year-old. He’s a noble’s son, but he’s no master of arms yet.

He’s able to collect the life force of creatures he kills and use it to create more minions. They quite enjoy helping him with this. He can also teleport freely within his own lands – off the track he can manage an emergency teleport back to his own castle, though the main difference between this and dying is it doesn’t heal him on the way. And is less disturbing. He can also sense Evil energy as it’s released from a dying foe and absorb it for his own.

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The Overlord

June 2013

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