View Full Version : I need villain help!

2008-12-16, 11:58 PM
I was reading through some of the Giant's old gaming articles and I ran across this (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/rTKEivnsYuZrh94H1Sn.html). The villain workshop seemed like an excellent way to design a villian and base a campaign around, so I decided to make a villain using these steps.

I started out with a Half-Dragon, but no other preconceptions. I wanted revenge with a mix of greed and jealousy to motivate him. I decided to have him want revenge on the humans who killed his dragon father and took over his domain years ago, but the twist would be because he was plotting to take over the domain until the humans destroyed his plans.

I know that I want Dave (lets call him for now, but its just a filler until I come up with a real name for him) to be jealous of the human rulers for taking what "should have been his". The current goal I have in mind for Dave is to personally slay every warlord (there are many that made kingdoms in the campaign world's past) and take over all of their domains in order to enslave the humans that they rule, but here's where the problem occurs:

While reading through Mr. Burlew's article, I saw how the Fire King had to hatch a plan in order to complete the ritual that would give him the power to take over Hell. I cannot think of some intermediate step that Dave would have to take to slay the warlords and gain control of their land. What would prevent him from raising an army and just going after the kingdoms one-by-one? Or just assassinate the warlords one-by-one?

I know that I could probably come up with SOMETHING, but most of my ideas have been practically memorized by my players at this point. Could anyone help me come up with an intermediate step like a ritual (to use the Giant's example) that Dave would need to go to significant lengths to complete in order to acheive his final goal?

Thanks in advanced for your creativity. I really appreciate it!

2008-12-17, 12:02 AM
A conqueror is not necessarily legitimate, especially if he's a freak. What if he's discovered how to craft a rod of lordly might (or if those are present normally in your campaigns, a rod of ridiculously lordly might or equivalent) that will allow him to actually magically annex the loyalty of conquered kingdoms to their slain warlords?

Better yet, what if this item functions via absorption of souls, and a subplot villain (some really vile undead) wants it very badly?

2008-12-17, 12:03 AM
Well, how about the steps needed to raise an army big enough to take the warlords outs. Sure, you could just do it, but you could have him work to raise that army and at setting the warlords against each other to weaken them.

2008-12-17, 12:09 AM
Think of what it would take to topple one national government after another. It's like Risk: after two successful campaigns, you'll be lucky if your forces are spread thickly enough to keep from being overrun themselves.

A villain with that plan will have to be able to overcome many of the problems that arise when you start needlessly slaughtering and enslaving millions of a specific race. For example, after the first attacks, other human empires will look at Dave and think "Dude's gotta go" while they sign peace treaties, unite under one banner, don fire (or whatever) resistance 1000 and proceed to kick the everloving might out of the half-dragon's army remnants. It's like Casablanca, except without everything but the Nazis.

For best results, use epic magic. More to the point, consult the DMGII. (waits til the booing/apathy dies down) There's a section about magic rituals, one of which involves awakening the orc and half-orc blood and causing the entire orcish nation to go on a killing rampage. As long as they slaughter 100HD per whatever scale each month, the ritual keeps going and the slaughter continues. Dave could make use of this to weaken the human lands with absolutely no cost to his personal armies except for those costs associated with the ritual and sweep up the rest of the mess. Win Win Win for him, especially since the orcish remnant will fight amongst themselves when the ritual ends, taking care of that loose end.

Xanatos ftw.

2008-12-17, 12:11 AM
Better yet, what if this item functions via absorption of souls, and a subplot villain (some really vile undead) wants it very badly?

Hm, I'm intrigued by your soul absorption idea, but could you elaborate on how that would work?

2008-12-17, 12:15 AM
The item would allow Dave to draw power from the soul of his slain victim, giving him greater Charisma and maybe the ability to mimic the warlord he's killed. Also probably gives him extra hit points, overall toughness etc.

In this fashion, people would adapt to Dave's sitting on their leader's throne because he scans the same, since he's got captured soul powering him and polishing his aura. It gives him power, but may slowly drive him to insanity.

Really, there's just so many fun ways you can go with this one.

2008-12-17, 12:26 AM
That definitely sounds really cool, but the thing is I thought of the whole "working in a subtle manner" to turn one nation against another method, but I've used that idea so much before that my players basically guessed that that was what I was doing on the 3rd adventure of my last campaign.

I'm trying to think of an original, more overt method of having Dave complete his goal. Any ideas?

2008-12-17, 12:29 AM
Like I said, the other way is that he sucks souls after conquering, then enslaves the whole nation and keeps on going. Like an infestation.

Brutal, crushing and near-unstoppable.

Or, get him to acquire a pet dragon. Frightful Presence enough cities, you have your work cut out for you.

2008-12-17, 12:42 AM
Hmmm, sounds good, but that seems like more of an "endgame" plan that Dave will somehow work towards. I was thinking of some steps he would have to take in order to get this soul-sucking rod.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the PCs would be forced to go after some method of negating the rod's effects. I don't know. I still think there should be some portion of the campaign where the PCs are trying to stop Dave from acquiring the rod (or whatever he uses). What obstacles do you think Dave should try and overcome to get his hands on this thing? Any ideas?

2008-12-17, 03:26 PM
What obstacles do you think Dave should try and overcome to get his hands on this thing? Any ideas?

Maybe the soul sucking rod could be in the hands of another group of monsters/villains who are using it for other purposes (perhaps they are too busy using it to extend their own life for them to go and steal Dave's plan, or maybe they are simply addicted to sucking souls in a similar way to a human being addicted to a drug).

If this group of monsters (or lone monster) possessed enough friends in high places or were suitably powerful enough then Dave couldn't just charge in and grab the rod: he'd have to create a plan round the problem.

Also, if this rod has bad side effects then Dave may want to find an expendable minion to use it for him, and if this is the case then Dave may want a magical item or spell that would guarantee the loyalty of this minion, or Dave might want something to protect him from the rod's side effects (some form of potion maybe?).

2008-12-17, 03:33 PM
Dopplegangers can be fun, or if you really want to be sneaky use that orc ritual thing, but have Dave look like a good guy in terms of trying to stop it. It's always fun to see PCs try and take down someone beloved through out the land.

2008-12-17, 05:25 PM
Building on Twin2's idea, what if he tries to pull a Senator Palpatine? Rouse an external threat (Orcish Horde Ritual FTW!), then position himself to lead the coalition of nations assembled to fight the threat. He could have some means of pulling the plug on the threat when he's ready. The threat hits, knocks off a smaller warlord, everyone goes "Oh no! Save us!" He takes lead of army, pulls the plug on the the threat at a critical moment and then crushes them. He's seen as a hero, proclaimed to collective throne, and then mercilessly subjugates all the poor dumb clods that just crowned him and disposes of the warlords who conquered his kingdoms for him. Alternately, he can arrange for them to meet brutal ends on the battlefield as he consolidates his power.

Step 1: Position self at head of one of warlord's armies
Step 2: Supply external threat with super powers to make them really big threat
Step 3: Rouse threat.
Step 4: Maneuver self into leading combined armies against threat
Step 5: Lead combined armies in resounding victory over threat using the secret backdoor on the bad guys' super powers
Step 6: Get proclaimed king by one and all.
Step 7: Dispose of other inconvenient warlords.
Step 8: PROFIT!

PCs could come in at this from any number of directions. Maybe they've scented the help that the threat are getting, and are trying to trace its source? Maybe they're trying to pull the plug early? Maybe they're working for another warlord and are thus fighting alongside the villain? Maybe they're working under him? Maybe they need to work with the threat to prevent his rise to power?