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View Full Version : villain needs idiot-proofing (3.5)



thubby
2010-08-15, 07:06 AM
so my idea for a villain is this:

the bbeg is a powerful illusionist (wizard in the level 15 range with BBEG superpowers) after generic villainous goals.

his partner is what makes this interesting. he's very low level (3-5, depending on how squishy he can stand to be) but with a power. whatever he believes is reality IS reality (within his general vicinity). so if he thinks he sees the bogey-man, it's suddenly trying to eat him.
this ability has driven him all kinds of insane, so the illusionist is basically the one doing all the work, with the partner being a tool.

my intent is to have the party figure out the connection there, then do something like use their own illusions against the wizard (the challenge being he's better at illusions), kill the partner (which has moral implications), or separate them (with the wizard's wards and such, its a logistics problem)

but before i go scribbling plot-lines and dungeon layouts, I'd like some input from someone who isn't me. in premise, is there anything that would make this a bad idea? would this reality warping get one side instantly destroyed by some obscure spell, ability, or loophole?

Eldan
2010-08-15, 07:09 AM
There are a lot of ways this could backfire, really.

The party convinces his partner that the illusionist is a good guy.
The party convinces the partner that there is a lot of treasure in the room next door.
The party convinces the partner that they are famous an invincible heroes.

vegetalss4
2010-08-15, 07:15 AM
There are a lot of ways this could backfire, really.

The party convinces his partner that the illusionist is a good guy.
The party convinces the partner that there is a lot of treasure in the room next door.
The party convinces the partner that they are famous an invincible heroes.

it can also go wrong the other way.
the wizard convinces the partner that he killed the party with a death spell.

thubby
2010-08-15, 07:25 AM
it can also go wrong the other way.
the wizard convinces the partner that he killed the party with a death spell.

that's why i mentioned in his immediate vicinity. at the very least he would have to perceive the actual party.

Analysis
2010-08-15, 09:23 AM
Maybe give this a well-defined mechanic? Perhaps illusions cannot be disbelieved, even by their creators, in the presence of this person, and all illusion effects are considered shadow effects with 100% pseudoreality.

jiriku
2010-08-15, 09:35 AM
my intent is to have the party figure out the connection there, then do something like use their own illusions against the wizard (the challenge being he's better at illusions), kill the partner (which has moral implications), or separate them (with the wizard's wards and such, its a logistics problem)

Input: This is a very clever idea, and your basic premise is rock-solid. Unfortunately, I'd give you maybe 1 chance in 10 of getting your intended solution to work. The challenge is that your plan is basically, "My intent is to have the party do X, then do Y, then do Z." You're thinking like the author of a novel or a movie script in which you can reliably control the protagonists' actions. Your players can't be controlled so easily. They are all but guaranteed to miss the connection, charge in and attack the wizard, blow up the entire castle with barrels of alchemist's fire, or do something even more improbable that you could never have anticipated.

A more realistic goal would be to keep your villainous plot as-is, lay some hints that the problem can be solved by doing XYZ, then batten the hatches and prepare for anything, because you never know what players will or will not do.

Lysander
2010-08-15, 11:55 AM
Perhaps you can limit the insane guy's power so it isn't as open ended? For example, it could be limited to replicating Shadow Conjuration but up to 9th level conjuration spells. That way you don't need to worry about him unmaking the world,. or turning your players into deities, but still have him create a wide variety of magical effects and monsters.

137ben
2010-08-15, 12:26 PM
Yes, I agree that the partner makes things too uncontrollable. They could tell him every other villain in the game doesn't exist...then tell him that he is dead.

AtlanteanTroll
2010-08-15, 12:36 PM
He could also think he himself is invincable, and since he's always with himself, he could easily make himself a god.

DracoDei
2010-08-15, 01:03 PM
I agree on a power cap... but I wouldn't limit it to Conjuration. Shadow Evocation and such should also be on the list... but that makes it allow a Will save every time (which is bad I think). I would limit it to Wish 1/round without XP cost and as a free action, and only able to effect things that are within... oh say 200 feet of him (and any physical objects or creatures vanish when they leave his LOS while more that 200 feet away from him, otherwise the BBEG has infinite money, equipment, and low level magic items if he can work it right). I would be very wary of what happens after the party wins (unless that is the end of the campaign),

thubby
2010-08-15, 05:23 PM
A more realistic goal would be to keep your villainous plot as-is, lay some hints that the problem can be solved by doing XYZ, then batten the hatches and prepare for anything, because you never know what players will or will not do.

that pretty much what im trying to do here

137ben
2010-08-15, 08:24 PM
What level are the players at when they encounter this villain?
If they are all level 1, DracoDei's idea of wish 1/round may be a bit powerful...but might work if replaced by LIMITED wish. If they are level 30 then even with wish 1/round, a level 3-5 would be obliterated.

thubby
2010-08-15, 09:07 PM
for limitations, i do like the wish idea. gives it a good mechanical grounding. but i was also thinking his ability would be limited (or enhanced) by what he understands.
he couldn't bring in a full powered dragon because as far as he knows, dragons fly, shoot fire, and eat your face, but don't go around casting anti-magic fields. or on the other end, a troll he makes might regenerate faster.

edit: i was thinking the campaign would start at 12ish and end around 20. and yes, i intend this villain to be the last one for the party. post-game world wrecking is acceptable.