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

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    Dec 2017

    Default The best Villain you've ever made

    For me I realized my players had a habit of amicably doing whatever task they were asked to do. We ran from level 1-20 over the course of a year. The story was pretty simple, there was an evil emperor being a jerk to everyone and the PCs joined the resistance.

    In the final showdown the Emperor simply talked to them. They had never met him before that moment he'd always just been a disembodied power of assumed evil. The emperor described how he was running his kingdom legally and that taxes were necessary, that his army kept peace except when the resistance interfered. He then pointed out how every mission they carried out was illegal and how it compromised the security of his kingdom. He then finished by saying they were to be arrested and fairly tried.

    2 of the 6 players were honestly convinced that the emperor was actually in the right and joined the emperor in the final battle.

    Now in actuality the man was a tyrant abusing his power, but I played him so charismatically that he was able to draw 2 party members to his side.

    It was probably my favorite encounter. I'll never forget when one player took a moment and said "holy crap.... He's right. We're the bad guys!"

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    My main villain is industrialization. The party must fight in vain to stop the irrepressible march of progress.
    I'm working for the Empire. But don't worry… I'm not going to garrote you!

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Quote Originally Posted by Douche View Post
    My main villain is industrialization. The party must fight in vain to stop the irrepressible march of progress.
    Sounds very Tolkien-esque of you

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    My best villain is probably one of the members of my Evil organization in my longest campaign yet.

    He was sent to spy on the group, and became the secretary of the noble in the group.
    The noble loved him, because he was the only one who treated the noble with the respect he was due.

    When they were sent on a diplomatic mission over the sea, the were given a magical staff to communicate with their own nation. Who was in charge of that staff? The secretary.

    When they had captured one of the members of the Evil organization and he promised to tell them everything he knew, who was put in charge of the security when the group had to leave? The secretary.

    This went on and on, they were sabotaged, discredited, and didn't get all the info they needed, and they never suspected the secretary!

    Unfortunately, the campaign fell apart before completion, but he was memorable, for me at least

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    I had a campaign once that slowly turned into an evil campaign. The PCs became the best villains, plotting their evil deeds and creating their own lair from the conquered remains of civilization. It started out like normal but the PCs worked together to create an evil force worthy of a 1-20 campaign build-up.
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    are you asking us to do research into a setting you wrote yourself?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    DMG 3.5e page 41:
    "If a player behaves in a way you don't want them to behave, talk to them about it. If they continue, stop playing with them. "
    By RAW, you have to stop playing with the guy.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jay R's Avatar

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    The best villain I've ever played was not my own invention.

    I occasionally run Flashing Blades, a game set in France in the time of the musketeers. I play Cardinal Richelieu as Dumas wrote him -- the suave, quietly menacing villain played by Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, and Peter Capaldi, not the frothing madman of Tim Curry.

    In every scene, no matter where, I know exactly which person present is Richelieu's active agent, and which other person is quietly observing to report back to him. He is always ready for any eventuality. And he always found a way to make use of anything the PCs (or anybody else) did.

    Once, in an episode set in the Caribbean, the PCs had stolen a ship and decided to become pirates. Two days later, they reported to a French agent who met them on a private beach, warming himself at a fire. He had a sealed letter for them, from Richelieu, congratulating them on the capture of the ship. [They knew that it was impossible for word to have gotten back to France and a reply sent back in those two days.] The letter also warned them not to use their ship against French shipping, and provided them the itinerary of a rich Spanish ship.

    [One PC made the equivalent of a spot check, and saw the remains of several similar sealed letters burning in the flames. Richelieu had long since provided several warnings/opportunities for them, depending on what they did.]

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    d6 Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    The best villain I ever made was by just putting my players in an open world and building things around them, slowly they killed things, saved things...you know, player stuff. I just waited until one of them had a fight with another party member and became the villain. He ruled an area through fear as a warlord and the part ended up trying to stop him from conquering the region. The best villain you can make is to make a player a villain.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGirl

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    I've always found that the best villains come from exaggerating a trait that would otherwise be welcomed by the party.

    My personal favorite was a neutral good (variant of a) Grey Guard, who chose to pursue the greatest good for the many, even at great cost to himself. The big party reaction came in from the Radiant Servant of Pelor recognizing that he couldn't be certain he could have acted differently in the Grey Guard's shoes, but still acting to stop him in the hope of finding less monstrous ways to avert the evils they both fought.
    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    are you asking us to do research into a setting you wrote yourself?

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    My best villain was a fence the party had used as an unwitting pawn against a rival organization, who used a mishmash of bribes, contacts with weird individuals, both magical and mundane, and his access to strange magical items, many malfunctioning, some straight up cursed.
    Their rivalry came to a head in an abandoned sewer system converted into a safe house, where half the furniture were some kind of mimic, half the treasure was cursed, and all of the henchmen had their own motivations and goals (some even knowing the players, and only fighting them to repay debts), wielding strange and unpredictable magical items.

    They ended up fighting the fence under a barrage of insults, beset from all sides by magically animated tables, sofas and ottomans, only winning against what had started as a joke villain by the skin of their teeth.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Probably my best-received villain was a charismatic, ambitious lord who had goals in strong alignment with the party and most other NPCs. However, while most of his allies were trying to just do that right thing, his whole schtick was doing it for self-gain. He solidified a ton of power and support and catapulted himself to near-Kingly status, and only became an antagonist after the PCs snooped around and realized he was also doing seedy stuff to solidify his position, and ultimately threatening his hold on his position by virtue of knowing too much.

    Ultimately they beat him up, brought him to jail, and after receiving a trial he was executed for high crimes and treason.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Thumbs up Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    My best villain would have to be Swarmula. She was basically a huge mass of grotesque tentacles with the upper body of a woman. She was imprisoned by an evil cult in a cave. She is immortal, anytime someone kills her, she "respawns" a few days later in her lair. The cult had an initiation ritual and defeating her was part of it.
    My friend's character, Rufus, had defeated this monstrosity, but, rather than killing her, he instead made a deal with her. Rufus would find a way to sabotage the cult from inside their ranks, and figure out a way to free her so she could spread her endless tentacles across the world, essentially causing an apocalypse. Rufus, being Chaotic Evil, was okay with this. Especially since she promised to allow an island safe from her tentacles, an island with his very own castle on it. He has yet to achieve this however. Happy Ending?...

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Seharvepernfan's Avatar

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    I've got a few BBEG's that I came up with that I really like, but none of them are especially special. One, for forgotten realms, was a half-orog/half-fiend (glabrezu) barbarian/sorcerer/spellsword who amassed a horde of orcs backed up by an army of orogs, as well as elite underdark mercenaries (duergar, drow, etc) and a number of demons and other powerful beasts (like a red dragon) and went to **** up the silver marches.

    Another is an elf mystic theurge lich witch in my homebrew setting, who is the lead witch of a rebel nation like the forsworn in skyrim, and creates all sorts of plagues, curses, and monsters to throw at neighboring borders to expand her own territory and fuel her own power. She creates a slenderman at one point and seeks to merge with the world tree by binding zalgo.

    One, is a conqueror known as "the warlord" who leads causes a volcano to erupt in one nation via powerful magic, then gates her army in after the ash has settled. She used an army of skullcrusher ogres as shock troops, werewolf bugbear spec ops w/barghests, and a horde of regular green humanoids as the mass of her forces. She laired in an old lead mine had powerful crystals that granted her control over elements (and elementals); she used the fire one to erupt the volcano. Turns out she's a beautiful little human sorceress, who uses enchantment to get these powerful warriors to follow her, while throughout the whole campaign people expect "the warlord" to be some big black-armored brute.

    Quote Originally Posted by Douche View Post
    My main villain is industrialization. The party must fight in vain to stop the irrepressible march of progress.
    I read this then looked at your name and had a hearty chuckle.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    The best Villain you've ever made
    Probably the city of Zhentil Keep.
    Not an individual, but a society where powerful people with common interests control and manipulate everything and everyone, under the patronage of a (reimagined) god of tyranny who loves that kind of thing. Villains tended to be cogs in the machine rather than classical BBEGs you could swing a sword at and save the world.

    It was a bit of a social experiment, where I wanted to run a non-standard evil campaign and see how players reacted to roleplaying neutral and good characters living in an evil society.
    Railroading took the form of inducting them into the local penal legion, so they wouldn't run off right away. There was also a pronounced psychological element in manipulating and coercing.
    It was interesting to see how, as they grew more powerful and found their place in the pecking order, how they eventually forgot about their plans to escape.

    I posted my campaign notes on Candlekeep if anyone has a spare couple of hours to waste.
    http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19649
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Olga the Loneliest Ogress.

    A one-off joke encounter that ended up being fairly memorable. The party attacked some ogres, some of whom ran away while another sat down and cried. The ogres had just given two sacks of gold and Thag's younger brother to Olga as tribute. Thag offered to owe life-debt to the party if they would resuce his brother.

    The combat involved a couple cries of "No grapple! Bad touch!" from a couple party members as Olga tried to carry them off to her cave.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Fate/destiny/prophecies. The vague metaphysical version of it as well as the anthropomorphic representation of it.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Thorg. He started as an Orc warlord that the PCs where trying to track down, intended as a minor villain that the PCs wouldn't directly confront for a littlewhile. He became the focus of a campaign and on of the few villains my players still talk about to this day.

    The first time they encountered him they had been searching for the location of an orc camp so that the city they where operating out of could know how long they had until the orcs would arrive. The PCs tried to fight their way through the camp to assassinate him only to find out that he was arround level 10 while they where level 3. They started to run away and the Paladin in the party prayed for help, I let them roll a d%, on a 97+ they would get it. They rolled a 98 and I had the Paladin's father show up, a Dire Bear that some how had 20 levels of paladin. This completely changed the fight as the Bear Paladin's first attack tookaway almost half of Thorg's health. Thorg's next turn was a full attack on the paladin that scored almost nothing but critical hits and the epic paladin was knocked out, though he had bought the PCs enough time to escape.

    The next time the PCs encountered Thorg was a couple of sessions later, they had decided to try and rescue the captured bear paladin and infiltrated the orc stronghold he was being held at, inside an active volcano. He engaged the PCs in a fight on a platform over a lava pool as the orc shamen where performing a ritual on the captured bear paladin. His actions delayed the PCs long enough that the shamen succeeded in their task and he killed the bear paladin, absorbing his power and becoming the first anti-paladin in the setting. The PCs attempted to kill him again and after a few rounds of it not going well they started withdrawing. To cover their escape the party fighter and gunslinger began sundering the supports that suspended the platform over the lava until he disarmed the fighter and the paladin had to rescue him. The PCs managed to destroy the last of the supports before he killed any of them and he fell into the lava below. The players breifling celebrated until he managed to pull himself out of the lava, covered in burns and missing his legs and an arm.

    By the time the PCs encountered Thorg again he was using magical prosthetics and wearing a suit of black armor. He was leading a massive army of orcs to attack the city the PCs where in and the PCs where doing everything they could to kill him. The entire night was spent on a single massive battle with the players breaking out everything they could to protect the city and slay him, until he finally lead a force in breaching the walls of the city where he confronted the PCs directly. There where several rounds of fighting that ended with the party fighter knocking him out. The PCs decided that it was to dangerous to kill the anti-paladin thanks to how paladins worked in the homebrew setting we where playing in and instead the Paladin and Fighter decided to lock him up and make sure he could never escape.

    Now my players refer to him as Orc Vader, thanks to the combination of being an evil paladin, being dunked in lava, and his black armor, which is probably funnier as I didn't intend any parallels and it just sort of happened.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Ninjadeadbeard's Avatar

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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    One of my players, despite a lot of warnings as to the general population's opinion on the matter, wanted to play a Necromancer. While at first he tried to be scholarly about it, after only a few sessions it became clear to everyone that he was probably completely unhinged and a threat to, potentially, all life in the universe should be be allowed to live long enough.

    He was only level 4 by the way. This blatant, staggeringly obvious murderhobo had one advantage against everyone else: he apparently had the luck of the Divine, because no one was able to stop him. Attacks missed, spells failed, and in the end he took off with a minor Big Bad to become a true Necromancer. The player retired the character at this point, and I decided to roll on some quick and dirty tables I had on hand to determine his fate.

    I could not believe his luck. Basically, as of now, Nikolaus the Necromancer has spent the last half a decade rising through the Necromancer ranks, wealing and dealing and balling harder than anyone has ever balled before. His basic survival strategy is to make as many bad deals and bargains as he can for power, and then leave town without a forwarding address. He's up to his eyeballs in debt with Demons, Archfiends, the Undead Gods of Eldritch Horror, and the local (strangely even scarier) Tsar. The Fey don't even listen to this guy anymore. He's just constantly ruining everything around him, juggling a dozen different plots and mayhems through improvisation alone. Which was all in character anyway, as far as I and my player were concerned. I even had him show up a number of times as a side character or minor villain to see if his winning streak would end. But the players kept on either missing him entirely or accidentally helping his shenanigans play out.

    And they hate him. Oh, they hate him so much I've been a little worried whenever they realize (always too late) that they had just walked by him or accidentally forwarded one of his insane schemes to keep ahead of his debt collectors (read: horrible monsters). I mean, they start laughing about it after a few minutes, but the initial reactions can be volatile. And it's now just sort of a game between us. I sneak Nick into every adventure and they try (so far failing) to catch him and turn him into stroganoff.

    At this point, unless the players can finally figure out how to kill Nick soon, he's gonna end up some sort of Lich God, and my ability to stat someone like that is gonna get real strained real quick.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Jun 2016

    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    Cylcinder fallen general of Tiamat .

    This is a ghost of a proto Dragon that wanders the realms trying to entice adventurers to seek out magical artifacts made from his body . All artifacts assembled can raise him from the dead .
    Cylcinder is so ancient that he is some sort of missing link now hence proto dragon . He is maroon coloured . He has a terrible hatred for humanoids . Mightiest of Dragons almost Tiamats Rival in power

    He fell out out of favour with the Dragon goddess possibly for being too zealous at killing her humanoid followers , She and her host dragons made war with him . A 100 year epic struggle claiming the lives of tens of thousands of dragons that shook the universe to its core . There were other chromatic coloured dragons now extinct because of that war .
    Eventually numbers overwhelmed him . Tiamat tore him to pieces and scattered his body parts over the realms which were found by ancients and forged into artifacts .

    If Cylcinder gains his body he will rule the forgotten realms , cleanse the humanoid disease with fire and blood and eventually challenge the goddess for rulership over all evil dragons .

    Now he just has to find a group of suckers stupid enough to find all the artifacts ......
    Last edited by Pugwampy; 2018-01-05 at 01:56 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: The best Villain you've ever made

    In a vein similar to the OP, my best villain was a clone of the God-Emperor created by a - possibly benign - rogue AI. It was a huge project, spanning many millenia: Collecting DNA from every strain of humanity, and seeking within it the traces of the divine Emperor, in order to finally reconstruct him.

    So what are the players to do? They face the most clear and present threat to the Empire since Horus - but it's actually the Emperor himself, reincarnated.

    So half the players sided with the Emperor - but lost. But the only surviving PC was then asked by the rogue AI to become the next clone-Emperor, and accepted.

    It was a huge mess =)

    The best villain that was ever in one of my games was Ento Endymion - a PC, cleric of Lathander, who completely surprised everyone when he turned evil, and brought his own temple down on his congregation. During a fight against another BB too. Another huge mess. But the chase after Ento was propably the most memorable roleplaying of my life. We hated that guy so very, very much (the player of Ento took over as GM for that - abviously, almost).

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