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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I was sitting at my desk the other day trying to design a compelling villain for my players, and not just the villain, but all his cronies. The games my group likes to run are heavy in both story and combat, and I need my enemies to reflect that.

    So I sat thinking about how I could make the Bugbear lieutenant of my Gnomish drug lord interesting and menacing, both fluff and crunch wise. It dawned on me to turn to you fine people of the GITP boards, and then I realized, why stop at this one character? Why not work together to build a series of widely varied villains and organizations as a community, that can be picked up by any DM and adapted for use in their campaign world.

    So that is the purpose of this thread, a Community Villain-building project. All are welcome to contribute any and every idea, and once a plurality has been reached on any given topic, we move on to the next aspect, until we have a fully-detailed baddie.


    Tl;DR --- Community Villain Building Project

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Reserved for Finished Baddies

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Reserved for whatever

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    How do you want to start?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mentalist View Post
    How do you want to start?
    I would say that it would probably best to make a generic concept for a villain, and then add in statistics, minions, backstory, fluff, etc., most likely starting with the bugbear lieutenant.

    So, any ideas on where to go from there?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    I was primarily questioning, what premise he had so far. I'd think Fighter/Rogue mix, more thuggish than sneakish. Possibly with power attack.

    Sort of a sergeant by nature, in command but not the big leader. Believes in both negative and positive reinforcement among his men, awarding extra loot and beatings depending on behavior.

    I'd like stats from there before I add to it. Give me a point -buy or array?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mentalist View Post
    I was primarily questioning, what premise he had so far. I'd think Fighter/Rogue mix, more thuggish than sneakish. Possibly with power attack.

    Sort of a sergeant by nature, in command but not the big leader. Believes in both negative and positive reinforcement among his men, awarding extra loot and beatings depending on behavior.

    I'd like stats from there before I add to it. Give me a point -buy or array?
    Sounds LN to me. Definitely good fodder for a mid-game mini-boss.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jallorn View Post
    Sounds LN to me.
    Lawful something, I think he's capable of being anything on the moral axis as of yet.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Interesting villains usually defy convention in one way or another. What's stereotypical about a bugbear thug? What can we turn around to make him more compelling?

    Ideas:
    • Bugbears are hairy - But this guy, he had most of his fur burnt off after a fireball spell went off near an alchemist's workshop. Covered mostly in scar tissue, he keeps his flesh hidden.
    • Bugbears are sneaky - But this guy, he likes wearing heavy plate armor and using the biggest, spikiest weapon he can hold, often dragging it behind him as he walks, sparks flying off of cobblestones.
    • Bugbears are evil - But this guy has a soft spot for kids. He rarely goes five minutes without some urchin or orphan greeting him or running up to him for a piggyback ride.
    • Bugbears are undisciplined savages - but this guy is pretty diplomatic, in his own way. The group is caught off guard when he makes a very persuasive argument/threat/deal.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyudra View Post
    Ideas:
    • Bugbears are hairy - But this guy, he had most of his fur burnt off after a fireball spell went off near an alchemist's workshop. Covered mostly in scar tissue, he keeps his flesh hidden.
    • Bugbears are sneaky - But this guy, he likes wearing heavy plate armor and using the biggest, spikiest weapon he can hold, often dragging it behind him as he walks, sparks flying off of cobblestones.
    • Bugbears are evil - But this guy has a soft spot for kids. He rarely goes five minutes without some urchin or orphan greeting him or running up to him for a piggyback ride.
    • Bugbears are undisciplined savages - but this guy is pretty diplomatic, in his own way. The group is caught off guard when he makes a very persuasive argument/threat/deal.
    I'm a fan of the first and second one especially. The physical description is nice in any situation to define him and separate him from other cronies while giving him a "I've lived through worse than you" kind of feel.

    The heavy armor and dragging of weapons is a nice concept too but it would definitely be best if this character was a repeat encounter, preferably with the PCs forced to retreat the first time they fight him so that they have an immediate response to the sound again if they here it. That way it encourages some planning, since they've had experience fighting him before and been pushed back.

    Also if he's part of a drug ring could he possibly weaponize the drugs against the PCs or give some to his low soldiers to make them "rage". I think it would be hilarious and dangerous to give a spellcaster any potent drugs, no idea what kind of drugs your evil guys would have though and whether they'd be willing to use them anyway since that's their profit they'd be wasting.

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I like where this is going. Okay, I say there's got to be a catch to the kids thing. Maybe they're orphans because he specifically killed their parents, or their mules and spies for whatever crime ring he's got going. He still genuinely loves them, he just has no problems with using them in reprehensible ways.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre View Post
    I like where this is going. Okay, I say there's got to be a catch to the kids thing. Maybe they're orphans because he specifically killed their parents, or their mules and spies for whatever crime ring he's got going. He still genuinely loves them, he just has no problems with using them in reprehensible ways.
    I dunno. That sours it a little. The point, there is that nobody's 100% evil. Just about everyone has genuinely good traits, and in this event, the bugbear's kindness might work for him when the children interfere in the battle just when things go in the favor of the PCs. Combatants the PCs can't/aren't willing to hurt.

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I've always liked those diplomatic villains. It really messes with the PCs when their target suddenly questions them instead of counterattacking.

    Maybe the bugbear turned his head from the fireball, protecting his hair on one side of his face.

    A bardbear/bugbard would be kind of cool if its singing/playing was fluffed a little darker or more evil. That could directly play into his loving children, too, as orphans and such would love music to occupy their day. Everyone loves music, anyway.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I have a Bugbear with a focus on lots of unarmed strikes lieing around if you want the stats. CR is around 12, I think. I haven't finished it yet (need the racial stat adjustments and I think he still needs skills and equipment), but I could certainly do so if you want a hand-to-hand brawler. A bit of refluffing can have him as anything from a frost-covered juggernaut from the freezing wastes to a refined fighter using pressure point strikes whilst in a state of supreme focus. Interested?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyudra View Post
    Interesting villains usually defy convention in one way or another. What's stereotypical about a bugbear thug? What can we turn around to make him more compelling?

    Ideas:
    • Bugbears are hairy - But this guy, he had most of his fur burnt off after a fireball spell went off near an alchemist's workshop. Covered mostly in scar tissue, he keeps his flesh hidden.
    • Bugbears are sneaky - But this guy, he likes wearing heavy plate armor and using the biggest, spikiest weapon he can hold, often dragging it behind him as he walks, sparks flying off of cobblestones.
    • Bugbears are evil - But this guy has a soft spot for kids. He rarely goes five minutes without some urchin or orphan greeting him or running up to him for a piggyback ride.
    • Bugbears are undisciplined savages - but this guy is pretty diplomatic, in his own way. The group is caught off guard when he makes a very persuasive argument/threat/deal.
    I like 3 and 4, they break the most common cliches of all lieutenants, not just bugbears.
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    How about 2, 3, and 4 together? You would have a good starting character outline and you could just fill in stats, motives, alignment, etc.
    Kinda see this guy as not so much evil as patriotic or just doing his job, he should probably be a recurring character. He seems like the kind of villaign that could become an ally or at least help the PCs as a means to help himself or his loved ones. I wouldn't make him totally good though somewhere in the neutral zone.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Personally, I'm seeing someone who's probably always antagonistic, but is always quite polite. Affably Evil, essentially.
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I agree with Strudel110 the combination between a menacing hulk and a suave diplomat is interesting combination.
    Also the idea of the "Bugbard" is good, but instead of music I suggest children rhyme-song-things which in battle can be super scary (giant hulking spiky brute + creepy song = your PC's going "RUN FOR IT!")

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nopraptor View Post
    I agree with Strudel110 the combination between a menacing hulk and a suave diplomat is interesting combination.
    Also the idea of the "Bugbard" is good, but instead of music I suggest children rhyme-song-things which in battle can be super scary (giant hulking spiky brute + creepy song = your PC's going "RUN FOR IT!")
    Playing even more on the Bard aspect, how about having him keep some bard stereotypes, which make him even stranger? I.E. Bards are stereotypically foppish and womanizing. I, for one, like the idea of an outrageously dressed, charming bugbear who nonetheless is a terrifying, violent enforcer.

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I see your point but by making a villain too bardish you sort of inject him with stereotypical qualities which we were trying to avoid, granted, a Bugbard is very unsual but if that all that he is (a Bugbard) I think it tips the scale between unique and gimmicky

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    give him weapon proficiency (Improvised), make him carry a large cradle around. Have him smash the players with it, and (this may require grapple and throw checks) throw it up into a tree, with the player in it. Then have him start singing "rockaby baby".

    Rockaby Baby
    In the tree top
    When the wind blows
    The Cradle will rock
    When the bough breaks
    The Cradle will fall
    And down Will come Baby
    Cradle and all


    then have him smash the tree to bits, so the guy takes a fair bit of falling damage.

    This may not be possible, considering the combined throw/grapple check, but whatever.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Wow, the storms here knocked out the internet for a while and I have been unable to get on until now. The responses I'm seeing are fantastic, I'm glad you all are interested.

    So it would seem that so far we have a Lawful-something scoundrel of sorts. I myself am picturing an evil Han Solo-esque character based on what I have read so far.

    As far as him being somewhat foppish or womanizing, it would make sense to go with either extreme in the context of my game world, but we could always aim to keep it neutral. The drug lord he works for is very much that type of character. He is suave and gentlemanly the vast majority of the time, but he is somewhat sadistic. He delights in using the addiction spell to make his enemies addicted to Luhix, Agony, or 'Mana' (A drug in my campaign world that boosts arcane casting abilities at the cost of horribly crippling physical effects), then he sets them free, knowing full well they will be forced to turn to him in order to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

    So, he could either, in my mind, be exactly like the man he serves in that respect, or go completely the opposite route and be emotionally isolated, unmoved by temptations of the flesh or heart. However, I personally like the suave bugbear idea more myself, and I think that would be the best campaign neutral solution too.

    So in the interest of avoiding a simple Bugbard without any real depth, what if he perhaps damaged his voice in some way? Owing to some spell or trauma, his vocal cords are damaged horribly. He speaks through the use of some sort of magical construct or trinket worn around the neck. It gives him a haunting, almost robotic voice. He owes his ability to speak, and therefore sing, to the drug lord, so he feel he owes a debt to the man who gave him his 'life' back?

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    are you by chance israeli ? (were having a whole lot of storms here too)

    the whole voice thing just screams Darth Vader so if your party is familiar with him make sure he doesn't become "Drath Bugbard" in their eyes (from experience once a villain gets a nickname he loses alot of evil cred)

    also I thought of the guy as something kinda of like a Big Daddy from Bioshock
    and his bardliness can be expressed in repeating children rhymes as battle hymns or if you would like to take him in a more "human" direction the I think what you suggested is sweet too

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Are you kidding?!
    "Darth Bugbard" is a name that just SCREAMS epicly awesome.

    man, anything that draws a nickname from Vader GAINS evil cred in my eyes.

    He wouldn't have the ominous hissing click, but Darth Bugbard is already shaping into an awesome villain.
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    If we're going for a vocal deformaty, why not incorporate the fireball idea from earlier? You would have a fantastic contrast between his bestial, scarred exterior, and his suave tongue.
    Note: I only have experience with playing and DMing D&D 3.5... make of that what you will

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    For those of you how haven't seem In Bruges, go away now and come back when you've seen it.

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    On the kids angle, possibly rather than having him adopting them [which would get stupid quickly], having him have the same code as Harry does in the film, meaning that he punishes people much more harshly for breaking the rule "the kids are alright" than he does for crossing him.

    You'll die either way but woe betide you if you've hurt a child...


    I'm also going to voice that having clanking great armour is not a good way to do business as a drugs-dealer's henchman, so suave and well dressed might be best, especially with a chain shirt sewn into his duds. If you wish to avoid the sneaking stereotype.

    Just remember; a good lieutenant is always there to deliver a message. It just happens that sometimes the message is bullets!
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Nopraptor View Post
    are you by chance israeli ? (were having a whole lot of storms here too)

    the whole voice thing just screams Darth Vader so if your party is familiar with him make sure he doesn't become "Drath Bugbard" in their eyes (from experience once a villain gets a nickname he loses alot of evil cred)

    also I thought of the guy as something kinda of like a Big Daddy from Bioshock
    and his bardliness can be expressed in repeating children rhymes as battle hymns or if you would like to take him in a more "human" direction the I think what you suggested is sweet too
    I like the idea of him having some strange deformity, in a way that is not commonly seen, but the more I think about it, the harder it becomes. It is certainly unusual, but it makes it that much harder for him to come off as charming or 'suave'. So, I think we should have a vote of sorts. If you are for the vocal damage, or against it. [Also, I'm from the the west coast of the states, sorry ]

    Quote Originally Posted by Aniu View Post
    If we're going for a vocal deformaty, why not incorporate the fireball idea from earlier? You would have a fantastic contrast between his bestial, scarred exterior, and his suave tongue.
    I like this, and if we decide to go with the vocal deformity I strongly second this idea. It ties things together very nicely.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
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    On the kids angle, possibly rather than having him adopting them [which would get stupid quickly], having him have the same code as Harry does in the film, meaning that he punishes people much more harshly for breaking the rule "the kids are alright" than he does for crossing him.

    You'll die either way but woe betide you if you've hurt a child...


    I'm also going to voice that having clanking great armour is not a good way to do business as a drugs-dealer's henchman, so suave and well dressed might be best, especially with a chain shirt sewn into his duds. If you wish to avoid the sneaking stereotype.

    Just remember; a good lieutenant is always there to deliver a message. It just happens that sometimes the message is bullets!
    Sounds good to me. The idea of this hulking creature dressed in fineries and smooth-talking his way out of run-ins with the city watch with subtle threats is very intriguing. All while carrying out a personal vendetta against any who harm the children.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    Personally, I think the deformity could easily be a little gimmicky. I'd expand, but I've only got a little time.
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I vote in favour of the vocal problem.

    If you give him a quasi-robotic voice, then that makes the nursery rhyme battle hymns all the more worrying to a PC. That means that they are more likely to try to run for it the first time they see (and are inevitably trounced) by him, instead of trying to fight it out to the bitter end in a misguided assumption that, since they're nearly dead, he must be too. Also, having bizarre and highly memorable quirks like the voice issue means that the PCs will recognise him for the recurring villain he is and accept that they won't necessarily be able to beat him.

    More than anything else, though, it's cool. Darth Bugbard shall strike terror into the hearts of all who her is rasping, rattling (yet strangely persuasive) voice!

    On a practical note, it's not as hard as you'd think to make him suave and charming despite vocal difficulties. If he's a bard, he probably has high Charisma and Dexterity, which will enable him to pull off all of the non-vocal aspects of suave. For the vocal parts of suave, you just have to change how the charm works a little. If, instead of him being voiceless without it, you make the rasping rattle his voice without the charm, then the charm can restore him to a normal voice in polite company (lieutenants of major drug lords would, presumably, rank highly enough in the organisation to also have acquired social status outside of it). The rasping rattle can just be his street voice. Also, if no-one other than him and the gnome know about the charm (the PCs can probably find out on a spell craft, spot, listen, or similar check), then he could use it as a really good way to seem innocent and puzzle the PCs. They hear him as a wierd robot voice when they first encounter him in a street fight or drug bust (or whatever suits), and then are completely confused when they hear him at a fancy party (or some such thing) and encounter his fabulous bard's voice. You could probably (if it so suited your campaign) devote an entire session into the party figuring out what is going on with his bizarre contrasts of donations to the orphanages coupled with brutal murders, and spectacular bard-ness coupled with robot voice.
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    Default Re: Build-A-Baddie Workshop

    I have little to say in regards to the build, but with regards to the children thing, I think it's awesome. I kinda see potential for a "one man's hero is another man's villain" sort of thing you might want to use--perhaps the bugbear and his underlings (and possibly, but not necessarily, the gnome drug lord) are seen has heroes among the city's poor and criminal classes, while being hated by the rest of the society, which bears the brunt of their violence. It'd be interesting, from a PC perspective, to see the enraged populace and the results of the violence the bugbear and his men commit, only to venture into the Theives' Quarter and find that the bugbear is hailed as a hero and nobody is willing to help them.

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