King Carter started out as a seemingly minor character way back in episode 5. His main role in that episode was to deliver some information about Thoril’s bite and tell them about the witch in the Yemgar swamp. That’s it. From there (and based mostly on character decisions) he became the racist, hate mongering tyrant he is today.
It started simple enough, with the death of Lucius Meridian (The previous mayor of Overdale) after an argument with Malchus over the use of slaves in The Tournament of Champions. From there, Carter was appointed as the interim mayor and began bumping heads with group 1 after a short time over the use of excessive force within the city. It wasn’t long after that Zannon decided he wasn’t going to give up his spot as mayor, citing a need to clean up the city and he was the only person for the job. He also began to show off his xenophobic nature toward the group, especially Thoril, who at the time was a vampire.
After a particularly bloody battle within town against The Black Hand (a gnome who was behind most of the organized crime in Overdale) that left him, and his entire crew dead, Carter had had enough. He wanted the group to leave town. The group tried to state their case but Carter had cut himself while opening letters and Thoril’s blood lust kicked into over drive. He lunged at the mayor and nearly tore his throat out before Rodswell tackled him to the floor.
After that, the group was forced to run north to WinterHaven as fugitives. In a meeting between the two cities, it was decided that the group would not venture south near the city again and in return all of their crimes would be forgiven. Having nothing left to gain in the immediate present and a possible treasure awaiting them in Drock’s Tomb, the party headed to the extreme north to find fame and fortune.
In the 17 years that the group went missing, Zannon Carter achieved several things.
- He banished anyone from the perimeter of the city and forced people to either live within the walls or leave the general area.
- He turned Overdale into a police state and stopped people from leaving or trading freely with other nearby cities.
Without interference from the once troublesome party he became more bold and flat out banned anyone but humans from living in Overdale.
- He managed to fend off an invading army of uniting cities and towns by creating a Warforged army that he still controls to this day.
- Afterward he proclaimed himself King and changed the name of the city to “Overwatch” as a reminder that he would remain vigilant against another uprising of the lesser races.
That’s what you know. Here’s some stuff that you may not know. Zannon was meant as a one off character. His job was to pop in and spout some lines about the swamp and the witch and then pretty much disappear. That changed the second I heard Rob interact with the current mayor and push his buttons. After the heart attack scene I decided to go a whole different angle. While Lucius was a fat bastard who was totally complacent at his job and that could have been a bit of fun to play, Zannon was a way deeper character in my mind. Before I introduce any character into the world (even the most seemingly bit part player) I always have at least 3 things for them.
A full name.
A job or trade.
A purpose and small backstory.
Those 3 things are all you need to build something special as long as the players react to them in some way. Carter went from a bit player to the embodiment of all that is evil in just under a year of play time.
But here’s the thing, Zannon Carter isn’t evil. At least not just to be evil. You see he is a racist and he is a bad person and he does do evil and incredibly terrible things but he does them for what he perceives to be the right reasons. He truly believes that he must do these horrible things in order to preserve his society. He’s not just building a better city, not anymore. That ship sailed when Overdale was attacked. After that Carter became increasingly paranoid about another strike and decided that he must change the entire world for the better. He tortured and murdered his own people if they were even faintly suspected of trying to leave the city or being in collusion with the lesser races.
The army that attacked Overdale was mostly made up of a coalition of races from all across Theria. Elves, Dwarves, Tielfings, Humans and many others joined the fight. They all saw the potential threat that Overdale posed. Many had family members living within it’s walls that they could no longer see due to the cities lock down. Carter saw this as a reinforcement of everything he believed that non humans were. Violent aggressors that threatened his way of life.
I’m betting that many people would guess that Hitler was the main influence for Carter but that would be wrong I’m afraid. While there could be many parallels drawn from The OverWatch to the Nazis (Such as the lock down and racism) and certainly a few drawn from King Carter to Hitler himself, my main influence for Zannon was a little more innocent.
Scar. That’s right, Scar. From The Lion King.
He was manipulative and greedy. He had a silver tongue and charisma. He was a perfect villain. Carter differs in a few key areas though. He keeps the silver tongue and charisma (which he needed to talk an entire city into his plan of locking them away from the world and teach them to be afraid of it) but his motives are more ambitious than simply attaining food and power for the sake of it. He wants to change the world and rule it. Plain and simple and nothing short of total victory will due. He’s ruthless and will kill anyone in his path to attain that goal. WinterHaven is in his sights because of both proximity and their harboring of what he views as lesser races. Should they fall he would keep going until every town and city in Theria had been conquered. The question is, can the players stop a force that has been mustering for 17 years without some serious losses of their own?