Will this antagonist end up as friend or foe?
Tharaxus grew up in an orphanage, never knowing his parents.
He was pious and eagerly joined a church at a young ago.
Unfortunately, he wasn't that strong and was often sick.
So he needed protection and help from the others, and he wanted to protect them in return.
One day, as he was walking alone on a forest road, he was approached by young woman,
claiming to be a messenger from his God.
She offered him a wish, and he choose for power to slay his enemies, meaning immense strength and constitution.
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She was a devil or hag, for example a Night Hag.
When he dies she gets his soul. While he's alive she can temporarily remove his soul and make him her puppet.
If she dies, his soul is automatically lost.
To reverse the deal, another deal can be made with her, if the PCs have something she wants.
The wish was granted and he had immense strength. He quickly discovered that his strength was cursed, he could no longer heal people and any damage/condition he takes is transferred to an ally within 20 squares with lower hit points than himself.
It takes a difficult Arcana check to notice this.
This also meant he couldn't protect his allies in battle.
Despite this, he quickly rose in the ranks of the church and local militia, keeping his condition a secret except to his closest friends.He chooses to use his strength to bring civilization to the world and to protect the people in his city. His plan is to fight other reputable races without using his curse (no cheating) to bring them over to his side.
He plans to challenge their leaders to a duel.
This works well with races that live in tribes that respect or fear strength like Dragonborn, Goliaths, Kobolds, Goblins, etc.
Stories about his invincibility soon emerged, when he fought alongside allies that could absorb all damage dealt to him.
He didn't want to be a leader or have stories about his invincibility spread but others gladly did this for him.
Usage in a campaign
When the PCs meet him, he is in the local militia, probably as a leader or some kind of hero.
So how can Tharaxus be an antagonist?
He has different goals and different ways of obtaining them.
He doesn't condone lying, cheating, thievery, vigilantes, etc.
He wants to protect the inhabitants above his own life or soul.
The PCs may put his life above some nameless inhabitant because he's a powerful ally.
Or their lives above some nameless inhabitant.
At first he views the PCs as unlawful grave robbers. This image of them can improve or worsen over time.
Just because he values the law and humanoid life doesn't mean he is a nice person all the time.
Especially if he sees the PCs like people who only do things for themselves and loot, he isn't that nice to them.
Tharaxus Level 16 Human Paladin
Initiative +9 Senses Perception +15
HP 300; Bloodied 150
AC 32, Fortitude 32, Reflex 27, Will 30
Action Points 1
Saving Throws +5
Greatsword, +23 vs. AC, 1d12 + 14 damage
Holy Strike (At-Will), +23 vs. AC, 1d12 + 14 radiant damage
Divine Pursuit (Encounter), +23 vs. Fortitude, 2d12 + 14 damage, target is pushed 4 squares and Tharaxus shifts next to target
Decapitating Strike (Encounter), +23 vs. AC, 4d12 + 14 damage
Arc of Vengeance (Encounter; Close burst 1), +23 vs. AC, 2d12 + 14 radiant damage
Smash (Recharge 5 6), +23 vs. Fortitude, 2d12 + 14 damage, target is pushed 5 squares; if target ends next to a solid square it takes 10 additional damage
Blade of Justice (Encounter; target hit Tharaxus last turn), +23 vs. AC, 4d12 + 14 damage
Curse of Law (Encounter), +27 vs. AC, 1d12 + 14 damage, if target is marked it is weakened and dazed as long as the mark lasts
Divine Challenge (minor): Tharaxus gains a +2 to attack and 8 additional damage on his attacks against a marked target. If the target attacks without including him it takes -2 to attack and 10 radiant damage.
Tharaxus always has Bless Weapon activated: +1 to attack; +1d6 to damage (already included in stats)
His attacks crit on a 19 or 20 roll.
Example encounter (level 14)
The PCs face him solo in a fancy dinner room, with several locked doors.
Behind one of the doors are several allies of Tharaxus that absorb and heal damage.
Human Cleric NPCs can be used for this.
Their ability to absorb damage is limited, Tharaxus will try to stop fighting as soon as possible.
He'd rather surrender than having them die.