How Do Your Villains Escape?




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  1. #1
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    How Do Your Villains Escape?

    Hey all,

    When you have a primary villain that you want your PCs to encounter but not fight to the death, what methods do you put in place for the villain to attempt to escape?

    Now, I'm not talking about DM "magic" to make sure they escape, and the old "Contingency Spell Teleport" gets old real quick.

    What I'm asking for is a good tactic to allow escape, while giving the PCs a chance to thwart it and put an end to them once and for all.

    Any ideas?
    Last edited by MojoGM; Friday, 12th September, 2003 at 07:57 PM.
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    The back door, the jumping into the rushing river, even turning himself over to them. It does not really matter as long as the players can't find a body that they are sure is him!
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    Send a horde of minions at the PCs to tie them up while slipping out the back door.

  • #4
    Generally? Over the charred, smoking ruin that was once the PC party.

    Alternatively, the villain doesn't escape. Unless the PC party then proceeds to go to great lengths to try to make sure he NEVER returns, if I so decide it would be amusing to for him to return, and I don't do this often (if the PCs could beat him the first time, clearly, we need a better villain), he does so. The return of the villain should be performed in a subtle manner, leaving it up to the players to suddenly realize it's HIM AGAIN. Don't bother trying to figure out a readily explainable cause of why he has returned: Your players will do it for you, and you just have to steal their cue. That's actually one of the greater DMing secrets: You don't have to think of something, if the players will do it for you. Nothing has to have a predetermined solution until the player thinks of one and tries it: If you like the solution he came up with, make that the correct solution and allow him to succeed. The player thus feels better. If you don't like it, then it doesn't work out, and the players will keep trying.

    Anyway, back to villains:
    Alternatively, have a woefully inept villain rather than an effective one. Although thwarted by the heroes, see to it that he dies in a way where no body can be recovered. Have him reappear, like a bad comic-book villain, over and over and over. Great for comedy value.
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    If the fight is within the BBEG's lair, he should have some ways of escape open.
    Triggered cave-ins in corridors are nice as are combinations of invisibility and an illusion of him running away through the door.

    Also he could take a knocked-out party member as hostage or threaten, that other hostages will die, should he be killed. Of course, that could be a bluff, but are the PCs willing to take the risk?

    Maybe some completely different danger arrives (eg the demon breaks out of the pentacle) and in the confusion the BBEG escapes or has to work together with the PCs to contain the menace.

    Evil folks usually love to double-cross, what about a rival teleporting in and proceeding to fight the BBEG with mucho fireworks driving him away temporarily while the party can only watch.

    Finally there are nice containment spells like wall of force and the like, which can imprison the PCs or keep them out long enough to call upon help (after the arrival the BBEG flees after dismissing the wall/sphere).

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    Never count on having your BBEG escape. And never bend the rules to ensure it. This undermines the legitimate efforts of players, who could be expending non-renewable resources in their attempt to pursue/catch him.
    I have the darndest time keeping my villians alive once the players catch up with them, personally.

    Teleport, blink, DD, etc all work well, but are predictible. They can be sneaky and go invisible, then cast open/close on a nearby door to pretend they've fled.

    You could be facing an underling who's been disguised to look like the BBEG.

    If your BBEG meets an early demise, don't forget his brother/nephew/father/mentor/ally who can take the mantle of BBEG and come seeking revenge. Also, don't forget Raise Dead type spells. Hey, if the PCs use them, why not the baddies?
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    Well I could just walk over to you and tell you this but...

    A couple of my thoughts are...(btw, this is for his OTHER gaming group...I'm not cheating!) :

    Use either a change self (or potion , if one exists) to either turn him into an animal that would not be noticed in the heat of battle. A badger or something.

    Or use the mirror image spell to make them think he's hurting, while the real him gets away.

    Or, use magic to turn someone else into HIM (not sure what abilities he and his people have) so that he doesn't show up at the battle at all...

    What better way to escape, than to make his enemies think they've got him, and got him good, when he was never even there in the first place...

    ....um...just don't ever, you know, use any of these diabolical ideas in the game I PLAY in...

    ~S
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  • #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dakkareth

    Evil folks usually love to double-cross, what about a rival teleporting in and proceeding to fight the BBEG with mucho fireworks driving him away temporarily while the party can only watch.


    -Dakkareth
    Wow, that's a bad idea. Parties hate "only watching".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakkareth
    Finally there are nice containment spells like wall of force and the like, which can imprison the PCs or keep them out long enough to call upon help (after the arrival the BBEG flees after dismissing the wall/sphere).
    I like this . I was also thinking of something along this line as well, but wasn't sure how to word it. It would be quite evil.

    (see line from my lastpost about not using any of these ideas against the PCs in your game that I play in...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfleet
    Don't bother trying to figure out a readily explainable cause of why he has returned: Your players will do it for you, and you just have to steal their cue. That's actually one of the greater DMing secrets: You don't have to think of something, if the players will do it for you. Nothing has to have a predetermined solution until the player thinks of one and tries it: If you like the solution he came up with, make that the correct solution and allow him to succeed. The player thus feels better. If you don't like it, then it doesn't work out, and the players will keep trying.
    oh yes...I use this one a lot.

    I can't count how many times I've thrown something out there, with no definitive explanation in mind.

    While the party goes back and forth with it, I suddenly hear an idea I like and it becomes the reality.

    Makes me seem like a genius and the players feel good because "HEY! We were right!"
    We Must Believe in Free Will, We Have No Choice.

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