The characters of the twelfth adventure path, Reign of Winter
Yes, the Baba Yaga. Born centuries ago on "our" Earth in the depths of Russia, she accidentally stumbled across one of the fae, which whimsically decided to tutor her in witchcraft and set her down the path to becoming a demigod-like witch. Travelling between worlds in her Dancing Hut, she came to Golarion centuries ago on a whim, establishing the kingdom of Irrisen, "the Land of Eternal Winter", on a whim. To rule it, she set up a matriarchal magocratic dynasty comprised of female descendants of hers — this time for a more practical reason. Baba Yaga sustains her youth by consuming the Life Force of one of her many female descendants, and returns to Golarion every century to take the current Queen of Irrisen as her latest meal. When the adventure begins, the current Queen, Elvana, has conspired with her kinsman Rasputin to overthrow Baba Yaga and take her place, forcing the party to be responsible for saving Baba Yaga.
- Age Without Youth: Deliberately invoked. Baba Yaga knowingly waited until she was a withered old crone before she became immortal, because she didn't want to be distracted by pleasures of the flesh or other youthful foolishness. This hasn't prevented her from having many children since.
- The Archmage: 10th-rank archmage, besides being a 20th-level witch.
- Enemy Mine: She's actually one of your allies in Reign of Winter, as well as the key to stopping the Endless Winter caused by her daughter. One of the AP's goals is to free Baba Yaga so she can set up her next heiress.
- Evil Is Petty: In Baba Yaga's Hut, the players will find the doll that helped Vasilissa the Beautiful, that Baba Yaga captured and has tortured since her passing.
- Evil Old Folks: She's well over a millennium in chronological age and, by deliberate choice, a withered, haggard old crone. She's also far and away one of the most villainous, wicked and cruel beings in the adventure path she appears in.
- Eviler Than Thou: She's managed to make herself a very dangerous enemy in Kostchtchie, Demon Lord of cold, giants, and revenge. He was mortal when she first met him.
- Evil Virtues: She returns respect given to her freely, admires those capable of self-reliance, and keeps to the letter and spirit of a bargain.
- Eye Scream: Only Baba Yaga knows the recipe for destroying her Dancing Hut. One of the ingredients? Her left eye.
- Faux Affably Evil: She's a dangerous, powerful old crone who nonetheless treats her lessers (translation: everybody) like a kindly granny addressing misbehaving children.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She started out as just a young girl who was lost in the Russian wilderness while gathering firewood, who was taken in by a fey creature who taught her witchcraft. Centuries later, she's a spellcaster with the power to rival demigods.
- A God I Am Not: The whole reason she left Earth was because she was sick of people begging for her aid; she feels like having to deal with prayers day in and day out would drive her mad. That said, in terms of actual power she's on about the level of minor gods or Demon Lords and Archdevils.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: She and all of her daughters.
- Gonk: Her design is deliberately grotesque. Her backstory claims that she made herself this way on purpose to discourage those asking for help.
- Greater-Scope Villain: All of the evils of Irrisen are as nothing compared to Baba Yaga, an insanely powerful 20th-level mythic spellcaster.
- Immortality Immorality: When she became immortal, the last tiny shreds of her morality left her.
- King Incognito: The most powerful woman in the universe is... a batty crone with peasant garb and a broom.
- Life Drinker: She maintains her immortality from draining the life from her daughters.
- Never Mess with Granny: Never, ever, EVER. At CR 30 (the same CR as Cthulhu), Baba Yaga is the most powerful humanoid in the Pathfinder universe.
- Noble Demon: The prices she asks for help are set as high as possible, and she makes no bones about the fact that it will cause more problems than it solves, but if paid, she (grumpily, but honestly) holds up her end without question.
- Offing the Offspring: How she sustains her immortality.
- Outside-Context Problem: Baba Yaga was born on Earth and travels across countless worlds. She has nothing at all to do with the affairs of Golarion, and her conquest of Irrisen was totally unexpected.
- Pragmatic Villainy: While wholly evil, she is deeply indebted to the PCs at the end of Reign of Winter. Just about the only request she won't grant is ending Irrisen's eternal winter; she'll even leave Golarion forever if they ask.
- Public Domain Character: One of the Big Bads of Russian folklore.
- Shout-Out: To Greyhawk, where she also had a daughter (Iggwilv) who became a witch-queen. She's explicitly noted in Pathfinder to travel to many different worlds, and The Witchwar Legacy mentions a daughter of hers with a name (Tashanna) similar to Iggwilv's alias (Tasha). Artifacts & Legends also mentions a female wizard named Louhi who claims to be Baba Yaga's daughter; in Greyhawk, Louhi was another one of Iggwilv's aliases.
- Sorcerous Overlord: Of Irrisen, though she rarely visits.
- Start of Darkness: According to a folktale in Lost Sea Legends, Baba used to be a helpful adventurer on Earth, but as her fame grew, more and more people came to her to solve their problems as a first solution, no matter how large and harmful the price was. She grew disgusted with how lazy and indolent sentient life was, and grew misanthropic and selfish, vowing to herself to help nothing and no one unless they were fine with destroying themselves, and to find the flaws with everything.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: When you look at Baba Yaga, and then at any of her daughters, you really have to wonder how they're related. Even their taste in clothing is radically different — Baba preferring slightly ratty Russian peasant garb while her daughters make the most of their royal post in Irrisen with elegant, tailored gowns. Justified in Lost Sea Legends, where it's said she was a lot more comely in her youth but spite ruined her body.
- Wicked Witch: She's the archetypal ancient, hunchbacked evil old crone scheming and working wicked magic over a cauldron. She's also a 20th level witch in-game, and easily the most powerful and successful witch in the Pathfinder universe.
Once again, the Rasputin. Secretly a son of Baba Yaga, left behind on Earth after he was born. Rage and envy at being abandoned by his birth-mother led him to conspire with his distant female sibling, Queen Elvana, to overthrow her. Appearing in the fifth adventure of the path, Rasputin guards Baba Yaga's prison and seeks to claim her near-divine mantle for himself.
- Back from the Dead: The Bolsheviks killed him, but because of the powerful destiny ahead of him, fate itself wouldn't let him stay dead.
- Badass Beard: Doubling as a Beard of Evil, Rasputin still has the iconic beard.
- Bastard Bastard: He's the Big Bad of Reign of Winter, and Baba Yaga's estranged son.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: He's the estranged son of Baba Yaga.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Of the Reign of Winter adventure path, along with Elvanna.
- Faking the Dead: The body in his tomb that was burned by the Bolsheviks is actually a magically-created simulacrum.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Had Elvanna not intervened he probably wouldn't have amounted to much.
- Historical Domain Character: The actual historical figure who lived near the end of Tsarist Russia.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Has very obvious blue eyes, and isn't too kind of a person. Also counts as Occult Blue Eyes.
- Implacable Man: He has to be killed three times before the "threads of fate" binding his soul to his body break and he stays down for good.
- Kavorka Man: In this story, he seduced the Tsarina to conceive Anastasia.
- Rasputinian Death: Naturally, the players will have to dish one of these out to kill him.
- Parental Abandonment: He was abandoned by his real mother, Baba Yaga, leaving him bitter and hateful.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Gender-inverted. Again, he's Baba Yaga's son and... well, he's not exactly the most conventionally handsome of men, but he's still far prettier than she is.
This Irriseni woodswoman is more than willing to help the PCs in their quest, despite the tragedies fate has thrown her way.
- Action Mom: She's a mother of three at the age of 26, and a skilled ranger who regularly traverses the dangerous wilderness of Irrisen on weeks-long trading journeys and later guides the PCs to their attack on the Irriseni capital — and potentially follows them beyond that on the rest of their adventure.
- Break the Cutie: She lost her husband at a fairly young age, just lost her daughter shortly before the beginning of the adventure, and if the PCs aren't on the ball she can lose one of her sons too. Life is not kind to this woman.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Nadya shows remarkable strength over the course of the story.
A female winter wolf who guards the Howlings Gate, appearing in adventure #2: "The Shackled Hut". She can become a potential ally of the party if approached right, but the party has to get past her to get into Howlings regardless.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Her human form is far from ugly, but her natural form is a giant wolf, which may turn some players off.
- An Axe to Grind: She wields a +1 greataxe when in human form.
- Becoming the Mask: A variant; like all winter wolves in Howlings and Redtooth, she greatly enjoys being able to take on human form and especially in indulging in more human comforts. One way of securing her allegiance is promising to help find a way for her to assume human form even when she's not in Howlings or Redtooth.
- Breath Weapon: A conical blast of freezing cold, as is standard for winter wolves.
- Canis Major: In her true form, she's a bear-sized she-wolf.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Yes, she's a savage, ice-breathing giant wolf, Don't mean she doesn't need affection, too!
- Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Averted. She explicitly has no loyalty to Queen Elvanna, nor is she a member of the Winter Guard, and this is why she's willing to throw her lot in with the party if they approach her in the right fashion. Also, she's disinterested in her job, and thusly if all else fails she happily looks the other way and lets the party in for a decent (30gp a head, minimum) bribe.
- Gone Horribly Right: If a PC using the rimepelt to disguise themselves as a winter wolf uses Diplomacy to persuade Greta to let the party in, she automatically becomes enamored with them and starts flirting.
- An Ice Person: Being a winter wolf, she has freezing cold bite and Breath Weapon attacks.
- If It's You, It's Okay: While initially angry if the truth about the rimepelt comes out, she's initially annoyed, even mildly angry, but comes to term with it quite quickly and has no problems continuing the relationship afterwards.
- Interspecies Romance: She will unwittingly try and enter this if she believes a PC to be a fellow winter wolf. Nothing explicitly forbids a PC trying to woo her from the start without the rimepelt, either, and it's noted that winter wolves in Howlings and Redtooth do occasionally take human lovers.
- Love Redeems: It's explicitly noted that Greta's "worldview can expand, and even her alignment can change over time" if she has someone special to give her a reason to do so.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She's currently single, and wants to find a mate. Thusly, she's quick to offer a sincere, flirtatious and less than innocent offer to a PC she thinks is a fellow winter wolf about going for a cup of tea or spiced wine together. Her entry in the "Friends, Allies & Lovers" sidebar even explicitly notes she has "romance on her mind".
- Woman Scorned: Whilst she will accept honest rejection maturely and gracefully, misleading her or standing her up can make a serious enemy of her.
The former mistress of the Pale Tower, one of the great-great-granddaughters of Queen Elvanna.
- An Ice Person: Like all of the Winter Witches of Irrisen, she specializes in using ice magic.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In her own way, she truly loves her apprentice, Radosek Pavril, and she's confident of his loyalty. When he dies at the party's hands, she is filled with grief and becomes determined to avenge him.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: A thoroughly evil, merciless character with a wintery motif to her spells and appearance.
- Hot Witch: A beautiful and talented, if evil, spellcaster. She even has the Witch class.
- Sinister Scythe: She wields the enchanted sickle Emberchill.
- Starter Villain: She's the first major villain whom the heroes are working against: she's the one spearheading the invasion in the Border Wood that they're investigating and commanding the initial forces set against them, and she's the last one who has to be defeated before entering the Dancing Hut and closing the first theater of the adventure.
- Start of Darkness: When she was seven, she offered a female cousin a momentary act of kindness. Said cousin repaid her by breaking her arm. Nazhena was told that her pain was her own fault, and if she wanted justice, she would have to take it herself. That specific incident wasn't the only "lesson" she learnt at her ancestor's court, but it was a very typical example of what her childhood at court was like and of the kind of upbringing that started her descent into malice and cruelty.
A native-born Irriseni Ulfen, Solveig grew up seeing the horrors heaped upon her people by the rulers of Irrisen, until her family was smuggled over to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings when she was twelve by the Heralds of Summer's Return. Growing up, she absorbed much of her ancestral heritage, but she was forever marked by her childhood, and eventually travelled to Cheliax. There, she became invited to a small, private congregation of Milani worshippers and immediately converted to the Everbloom's faith. For four years she attempted to undermine the Chelish government, but her combination of a striking physical appearance and bold, brash behavior made her stand out too much; she was forced to flee the country to evade Thrune inquisitors. Since then, she has established herself as the leader of a cell of the Heralds of Summer's Return in Irrisen. When the party encounters her, she is dealing with a personal crisis; she fled Cheliax on behalf of her lover, a Chelish opera singer named Bella Belvorica, who recently arrived in Whitethrone and was taken prisoner by the dragon Logrivich. Though she tries to remain professional, she is quick to suggest the party should rescue Bella.
- Being Personal Isn't Professional: Won't admit she wants Bella to be saved because of her former relationship with the Chelish woman, instead couching it in terms of "Bella's remarkable talent not being collateral damage in a world so thirsty for beauty". A successful Sense Motive check does reveal that she has a more personal interest in Bella's rescue.
- Carry a Big Stick: Wields an Everbloom's Rose, an enchanted Morningstar popular with the clerics of Milani.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Had to break up with Bella because of the enemies she had made as a rather foolish anti-government agent in Cheliax. Privately hopes that, if she can save Bella from the dragon Logrivich, the two can be together again in Whitethrone.
- Straight Gay: Unless actually convinced to reveal the information, the party probably won't realize she's a lesbian until she kisses Bella upon their reunion.
- Unequal Rites: Her Hidden Priest class archetype allows her to disguise her divine spellcasting as arcane spellcasting, which she uses to pretend to be a sorcerer. This is essential because divine spellcasters, especially those faithful to the goddess of uprisings and revolution, aren't welcome in Irrisen.
Bescaylie and Efrixes
A Triaxian Dragon Legionnaire and her Dragonkin partner who form the party's welcome wagon to the alien world.
- Blade on a Stick: Bescalyie has a lance, Efrixes carries a glaive nearly as long as he is.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted. Unlike true Dragons, the colors of a Dragonkin's scales have no bearing on their alignment.
- Dark Is Not Evil. Not so much Dark, but the first reactions of most D&D/Pathfinder players to a Red Dragon coming their way is not likely to be a positive one.
- Interspecies Romance: Efrixes is platonically in love with Bescaylie.
- Kill It with Fire: As a Red Dragonkin, Efrixes has the usual Breath Weapon.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Dragonkin are roughly forty feet long and have opposable thumbs. They come in all the chromatic and metallic colors, but can be any alignment.
- Punny Name: Be'scalyie.
Commander of the Drakelands' army attacking the fortress of Spurhorn. The players may fight her, or even join her.
- An Ice Person: An ice-breathing Silver Dragonkin with an ice sword.
- Light Is Not Good: As before, her scales tell you nothing of her nature. Silver dragons are normally paragons of justice and nobility, but Malesinder... not so much.
- Merging the Branches: Whether you side with the Drakelands or the Dragon Legion, you will eventually have to fight her.