View Full Version : Creating a GitP Villain

2007-03-07, 07:44 PM
So basically, I was looking over the Giant's "Villain Workshop" and mentally followed the steps. To my [not so] surprise, I actually kind of liked what came out.

So. Campaign idea: grounded in a large archipelago [think Earthsea / British Isles / Indonesia / Caribbean] loosely set in a mid-Anglo-Saxon type time period. A lot of emphasis on fighting, belief in preserving self through honor and glory, arts highly praised, etc. [just some nice, down-and-dirty, honest, and rugged savagery with a good amount of actual culture mixed in]

OK, so the villain:

Step X: Race
This actually came kind of quickly and built on the pre-concieved character. Elan. Nice psionic immortal. The villain is a Psion (Shaper).

Step One: Two Emotions
Main motivating emotion: Amusement. The villain is not a bad guy out to cause trouble for every single person. He just seeks amusement; however, what's amusing to him may not be amusing to everyone else [when you've been around a couple hundred of years, wouldn't your sense of amusement become twisted?]

PC Reaction Emotion: Hate. This was the easiest part out of the whole process. The only real way anyone who's motivated our PCs to fight them was because they did something to piss the PCs off. The only forgivable thing to the PCs: doing something bad to them and getting away with it.

Oh, and definately stolen from someone else's post: whenever the PCs do ANYTHING semi-important, no matter what, they'll get a letter from the guy saying 'thanks for advancing my plans.'

Step Two: Villain's Past
Why does this elan seek amusement above all else? Just because he's immortal. He's been around a few centuries: plenty of time for past grudges to pass away, insults be forgotten, loves lost, interests fade, etc.

It changes someone's perspective when they've existed for so long. We see it in our own elders who haven't lived nearly as long this villain. After making yourself immortal and giving up everything to do it, when you finally get bored with life you don't go just ending it.

So, the villain seeks to amuse himself, and the world is his game.

Step Three: Villain's Scale
Well, originally when the PCs first encounter the villain, he'll be a small scale pit fight owner. From the cheering crowds collecting money, organizing grand battles, handing out trophies: nothing too villainous. However, as the PCs become a major part of the pit fights, he'll send them on a quest for some type of powerful weapons [suited to the PCs].

I'll let the super-PCs have fun dominating anything and everything for a while, then have the villain destroy said weapons. This will piss off the PCs enough that they'll take any plothook to kill the man. When they eventually do, they'll see the blaze with light [psionic energy], corpse change shape, and distort till it resembles someone else, not the villain.

Later they'll encounter the villain again, and the same thing will happen.

The villain's real scale is the world and a few planes, but the PCs will take a while to work up to that point.

2007-03-07, 07:44 PM
Step Four: Villain's Goal
To set events into motion that lead to change and revolution [more than just political]. It's like carefully constructing a large tower of blocks and pushing it over. Or messing with an ant pile.

The villain's true headquarters are located in a 'plane' that is more or less the garbage dump of the multiverse [called 'Nexus' for lack of a better name]. A planar anomaly that everything sooner or later dumps into, it's easy to find your way in but half-impossible to get out. From here he sends his 'Shadows' [more on that later] do build things up to set into motion. War, disease, famine, annihilation, you name it.

His current large plan is creating a gate between two planes and starting a war between two worlds, making it appear to both sides as if both are invading each other.

Step Five: Villain's Needs
The elan will need to be able to enact multiple plans at once coherently, be discreet, and find a way to open semi-permanent and permanent gates between worlds.

First this will either require one large or multiple small organizations. Using his 'Shadows', the elan will utilize several small organizations unknowingly working towards the same ultimate goal.

To open the gates, he'll need some extremely large energy source or find another way. As a large energy source would take too much work and attract too much notice, he needs to find another way. This is where Nexus comes in. He'll need to find a way to use the planar currents and energies of Nexus that naturally lead to Nexus and shift them to connect the worlds.

What all of this amounts to is time. Now, he's likely been working on this for quite a while now, say somewhere between 75-100 years. By now he's laid all the needed foundations, has his organizations, and is only a few years away from starting a multi-planar war. He hasn't quite worked out how to use Nexus's energies, but is close.

Also, to avoid too much notice, whenever the villain does something big he usually waits a while before moving again, often faking death.

Step Six: Obstacle's
Already explained was the need for a way to open the gates.

Alluded to was the fact that he needed to find a way to create multiple small, dependable organizations.

Other than that, he has to try to do as much as possible without being overly noticed. It would spoil the fun if everyone knew he was behind everything [at least until it was over], and he quite frankly doesn't have the power to hold back worlds bent on revenge.

Step Seven: Projecting influence
The villain uses his 'Shadows' to do his bidding. As a high-level Psion Shaper who's been around for a long time, he's created a few tricks, the most useful being his Shadows. By synthesizing a being with ectoplasm and shaping the result[process still in the works; effectively, the villain creates clones of himself], the elan can create a being in his image who is completely obediant and fully independent. In this way the villain creates agents resembling himself to work his influence in the worlds.

Eventually the Shadow loses stability and breaks down, often in a burst of energy that reveals the original creature [This also happens when a Shadow is killed].

When a Shadow breaks down, the villain is mentally sent all the knowledge the Shadow accumulated while existant. Furthermore, at anytime the villain can peruse the information in a Shadow, and cause it to break down whenever he wishes.

Step Eight: Resources
Of most note: his Shadows and time

However, both of these are counterintuitive up to a point. The creation of a Shadow is an expensive and draining process, taking up a lot of time and energy. Also, the Shadow is only as strong as the orignal host, meaning the stronger the Shadow needed, the more work it takes to take down that being.

And as for time: the whole point is to amuse the man. If he spends all his time waiting around, then he'll get bored. So yes, while he has time, he prefers not to use it too much.

Other resources: vast intelligence [high level int-based caster and all], vast reach [though relatively small influence politcally], and vast wealth. Not to mention an assortment of powerful items.

2007-03-07, 07:45 PM
Step Nine: No Heroes
In the beginning, heroes or no heroes, plans would proceed normally no matter what. Create strongholds on different worlds, spread false prophecies, research powers. Basically pushing the right points to stir the pot.

It's only when heroes who are able to affect worlds and planes come in that plans can be affected. In light of that, much of what is sown continues on even without his influence; the most amusing accomplishment is the one where one move is made and everything dominoes.

With no heroes, the villain will be able to find a way to create a warp using Nexus as a intermediary that will allow a permanent gate to be open between two worlds. Prophecies already have been spread on both sides of a 'Great War' and 'Crossroad of Fate' determining annihilation or exultation. Warmongering has been going on for years on both sides, readying both for the coming time. Using small strike forces, the villain will attack both sides and put the blame on the other.

Step Ten: Boundaries
The elan won't cause himself misery. Often he will abandon entire plans just because they've gone sour.

Also, he won't needlessly show himself.

Other than that, he won't weigh the odds too heavily on one side compared to another. All is done in the pursuit of amusement, so fair struggles are preferred. He won't wipe out enemies just because they've foiled his plans: instead he will continue to let them mess with his small plans while he continues his large one. Indeed, the attempt to stop him is amusing in and of itself and he will divert his enemies onto lesser plans on purpose.

Step Eleven: Personal Threat Level
This Elan is a high level psion shaper [level 15-20]. However, his Shadows can range anywhere from wimpy to strong. Unless a confrontation is needed or unavoidable due to cirumstances and the Shadow's powers, he is likely to just drop a few astral constructs and leave. Due to the Shadow's power fluctuation, any type of encounter can be set up for the PCs to fight.

Step Twelve: Minion Treatment
On all levels, the villain has set up the system so that people do what he wants them to because it is profitable to them. He makes it their best interest to follow his best interest. Whether offering money or power, or solace or refuge, the villain keeps people loyal only by keeping his interests theirs.

Step Thirteen: Visual Quirks
Most of his Shadows are made to escape notice. They look plain, and don't have outstanding features. However, all carry a staff set with crystals resembling one that the villain has[only the villain's has acutal powers].

The villain himself is a well-muscled man with tattoes of legendary beasts on his torso and face that change in accordance with his mood. He is clothed in hardened and softened ectoplasm, giving him an unnatural appearance. He also has many piercings.

Step Fourteen: Theme Music
Some nice, low, string instrumentals with a little piano for accents. Mid-paced, giving him an eerie feel.

Step Fifteen: Name
His Shadows have different names, but his is Aven [AI` - vehn] Ashcroft.


That concludes the villain. Comments?

2007-03-07, 07:51 PM
Hrm...looks good. If you want the PCs to really understand how far his sense of amusement has gone, it would be good for him to yawn alot during pit fights, fall asleep, etc. Also, since this villain is just bored to the point of borderline insanity, a passionate rant on how and why he did this (when the PCs are to the point where they discover his true power and intentions) would be appropriate, IMHO.

Judging from how well thought out this was, you probably already have ideas like this or better, but a few suggestions never hurt.

2007-03-08, 08:05 PM
Pretty good. I would say that you should have him comment on his joy of watching others fight when they meet him at the pit fights.