5E Villains that are supposed to escape - Page 2
Page 2 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 60
  1. #11
    Member
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    406
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle, but actually has no means to escape combat-mechanics-wise (grappled, etc.). Would you just force it and just override any combat rules and switch to narration mode or just let the villain die if he can't get away through combat means, making the players miss out on potentially fun pursue scenes?
    Well, I never 'break the rules' to ensure the escape, but I do have a wide list of contingencies available. The big rule here is, keep it new and keep it organic. If the same method is used every time you have a villain escape, it does break your verisimilitude (especially if it's multiple times in a single campaign), but players can build up this distaste for it even if it's over multiple campaigns. Also keep in mind, there are -many- ways for a villain to escape and the players not even know it.

    As others have mentioned, giving them a magic item to perform an escape (misty step, dimension door, etc) is a simple way.

    Sometimes, however, it's best to let the party go ahead and kill the villain, because escaping from a weak mortal coil is a far better escape for some. The villain can return as a spiritual being (wraiths are always fun), or even a physical undead using whatever lore you desire. His body could be discovered by a Necromancer and be naturally reanimated (those are always a great plot twist - the players encounter the person they could have sworn was dead, can't visually tell if he's undead or not - wonderful player expression on that one).

    Just keep the means of escape fresh with each particular encounter need, and make sure its logical to the villain. If I'm grappling a badguy cause he looks flighty, and he manages to disappear with a crunch from his mouth and a grin on his face, I know he was prepared - moreso than me, and that's perfectly fine. It gives me more fuel for later, and I'm sure many characters are on the same wavelength, provided every villain doesn't pop ye-old tooth capsule.
    XP Arvok gave XP for this post

  2. #12
    Member
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    431
    If you want a villain to get away in a scene, then plan the whole encounter for him to get away. Once he's stuck in combat you're probably burked as the PCs have a ton of ways to ruin your day. Have your villain pull the lever to collapse his hideout and vanish through a door, or whatever. If the PCs manage to ruin your day anyway, then good for them, you have some writing to do.

    You can't put him in combat unless you're ok with a pretty clunky deus ex machina to vanish him at an appropriate moment. You can heighten the stake by putting some innocents in peril and make the players pick - try to save the townsfolk/damsel/friend/etc or try to pursue the villain. Or just put the players in peril via the collapsing/exploding hideout. Either way, you aren't getting into combat, and you're presenting the players with a dynamic choice (or choices). Good stroytelling, good drama, and mostly your villain gets away.

  3. #13
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    2,067
    It's one of the things I really hate is when the villain escapes by DM fiat. If the players counterspell the dimension door or otherwise foil the villains escape the plot should change to accommodate it.
    XP Xaelvaen, MarkB, Imaculata gave XP for this post

  4. #14
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    4,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Arvok View Post
    If the villain is supposed to escape but the players are too smart (or lucky) for the published module to work, then you need to figure out a way to make it work for the story (if you're planning on using the villain again). This doesn't mean you need to cheat, just come up with a solution that's logically consistent for your world. If the PCs capture him and turn him over to the authorities, they eventually learn that he has escaped. If they kill him, one of his associates/followers/admirers has him resurrected. If that's not possible, then one of his apprentices/family members/love interests takes his place as antagonist and now has an added reason to hate the PCs.
    I kind of like the idea that if the PCs kill off the BBEG an impostor/second in command takes over. Or the BBEG was just a figurehead and by killing them off the real power behind the throne needs to take a more direct approach.

  5. #15
    Member
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    dark rural wet rainy Britain
    Posts
    496
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle, but actually has no means to escape combat-mechanics-wise (grappled, etc.). Would you just force it and just override any combat rules and switch to narration mode or just let the villain die if he can't get away through combat means, making the players miss out on potentially fun pursue scenes?
    I do not run modules. However, if the module is well written there should be some sort of explanation as to how the villain escapes. In my game if I want a villain to escape during a specific scene I plan it so the villain is there is taunt and harass the characters.

    A medusa turns one character to stone then calmly walks away leaving the players to decide to chase or save the stoned character from being smashed to bits by one of the medusa's minions.

    An enemy officer fires a missile weapon from an elevated position at the characters, then rides away as the players begin to defeat his intervening pikemen.

    If cornered then the villain might offer to parley unless faced with the murderhobo players who have garnered their reputation. Then it is all out battle.

  6. #16
    Member
    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

    the Jester's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Shingletown, CA 96088
    Posts
    22,885
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle, but actually has no means to escape combat-mechanics-wise (grappled, etc.).
    That's a great example of poor adventure design. Never unfairly rob the pcs of a well-earned victory. Contrived "he gets away no matter what" stuff is great for a novel, but D&D is a game.
    XP iserith gave XP for this post

  7. #17
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    San Jose/Santa Clara, CA
    Posts
    15,177
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle, but actually has no means to escape combat-mechanics-wise (grappled, etc.). Would you just override any combat rules and switch to narration mode
    In 5e, that's not even a switch or an override, it's just making different rulings. The villain tries to escape, the DM narrates successful escape, the players try to stop him, the DM narrates failure, the party tries to track or pursue him, the DM narrates the pursuit taking them to a side-encounter or dead end.
    Perfectly orthodox 5e play dynamic.

  8. #18
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    8,631
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle, but actually has no means to escape combat-mechanics-wise (grappled, etc.). Would you just force it and just override any combat rules and switch to narration mode or just let the villain die if he can't get away through combat means, making the players miss out on potentially fun pursue scenes?
    I would do one of two things:

    • If I noticed the issue while prepping, I'd give the villain a reasonably reliable means of escape (note that "reliable" is not "foolproof" and the players can still kill the villain if they foil the escape plan). Then I would come to ENWorld and gripe about poor module design.
    • If I noticed the issue mid-combat, I'd shrug and let the villain die, then do what I had to do to get the module back on track. After the session, I would come to ENWorld and gripe about poor module design.

    I won't say that I never fudge things as a DM, but these days I do it very conservatively, and only to tweak the pacing of a combat (usually if I realize I've given the monster far too few hit points and the combat is going to be an anticlimax). Fudging to deprive the players of an honestly earned victory is way over the line for me.
    Last edited by Dausuul; Friday, 21st June, 2019 at 06:12 PM.

  9. #19
    Game Masticator
    Lama (Lvl 13)

    DMMike's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    2,302
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I was just wondering how you handle it when the module says that a villain escapes when he is about to lose the battle . . . just let the villain die if he can't get away through combat means
    Bloodthirsty PCs, much? You'd better help out your excellent adventure module writer by giving the villain a nice failsafe - like only she knows which well a PC's family member is stuck in, or the villain's thrall lights an orphanage on fire somewhere if she dies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    I kind of like the idea that if the PCs kill off the BBEG an impostor/second in command takes over.
    Yup. The PCs sure captured the villain. The adventure is won! Now let's finish him off...wait, is he WEARING A MASK!?
    Modular, open source, free role-playing rules: Modos RPG
    modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com
    Tweets: @MichaelTwtr
    Laugh Oofta, Dausuul laughed with this post

  10. #20
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Medellin, Colombia
    Posts
    6,332
    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    Never force a villain to escape. The villain only escapes if the players let him get away.
    If a module says that a villain escapes, that is a dumb module. Ignore it.
    I agree. That is just bad adventure design and you'd think professional adventure writers would realize that by now.

    Sometimes things that happen in the movies just can't easily be replicated at the table. Be happy when it does, but plan that it won't.

Similar Threads

  1. Can you use escape artist to escape evards black tentacles
    By Shawn Bowers in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Wednesday, 27th December, 2017, 04:53 PM
  2. Need help with a captured villains humorous escape
    By GHammy26 in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: Friday, 14th August, 2015, 03:14 PM
  3. How Do Your Villains Escape?
    By MojoGM in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: Wednesday, 3rd December, 2003, 07:15 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •