Need help with good antagonist for evil campaign

Hex_Toliver

Villager
I'll just jump right in. I'm DMing a 5e game right now that i'm calling Evil Queens. The game is in a setting of my own design, a continent known as Greater Vauxri, sometimes known as the snake weed nations. Greater Vauxri is a land that is in constant turmoil; multiple nefarious factions fight for control of it's borders, constantly destroying and betraying one another only to be replaced by a new up jumped warlord with conquest in their heart. A major war for Greater Vauxri occurred 50 years ago snuffing out major game players leaving Greater Vauxri with only 11 factions left in control. These factions came to an uneasy truce, all exhausted in resources, they struck a deal and divided up the land to control. The 11 now fight one another on a smaller and more subtle scale not daring to break the truce, but the hatred and machinations boil just under the surface.

An organization known as the Cabalith rose out of the ashes of the great war, determined to unite the nation so that they may accomplish more than their petty squabbling, take over the know world. The Cabalith believes that the key to uniting these opposed groups is by taking down the last shinning beacon of good in Greater Vauxri, the Primellia Valley. The Primellia Valley is a massive swath of land with varying geography, from it's frost bitten peaks, to its bogs and coast, and its lush bountiful hills and forest. It's protected not only by the gigantic daunting mountain pass known as the great expanse but powerful holy ley lines that line it's border. The ley lines keep any non good being from crossing into the valley, ultimately isolating them from the rest of the world for about 500 years.

Our villainous pcs are given mysterious pendants by the Cabalith that have chosen them, giving them the ability to cross the border, as well as show up as good whenever alignment is detected. They are tasked with corrupting the land and it's people, destroying the main 5 lords and ladies of Primellia, and finding a way to dispel the border ley lines.

Alright I know that was long but i wanted to set the scene. One of the things i need to more fully realize are the Primellians themselves. I'm somewhat modeling them after Scandinavians, but only vaguely. I want to make them superstitious, obsessive about harmony and virtue, xenophobic, monotheistic, and a myriad of cultural taboos and nuances. Something to make them good antagonist for our villains, who might not just be out right fighting them and trying to destroy them with subterfuge. Does anyone have any good ideas?
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
The empire in Frank Herbet's Dune saga with Leto II Atreide as king. Other suggestion is reversing roles. Do you remember a parallel earth in DC where the League of Justice are villains, and villains there are the good boys? Now let's imagine something like this factions from History in real life, for example Spanish Empire conquering Africa and Great Britain invading the new world.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
As an infiltration mission I'd imagine one of the great challenges for the PCs would be to maintain cover and avoid detection. At the first sign of evil managing to creep into their lands the Primellians will do something to track down the culprits. A natural antagonist could be a master detective type character that leads a crack team of investigators trained specifically for this kind of emergency. Perhaps this character is one of the lords or ladies that has dedicated themselves to the protection of their homeland at all costs. Or if you want a more down to earth every-man they are a common born but very talented member of the military. Regardless this person must be relentless! This is the person that the party must be paranoid that they are always around the corner.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Our villainous pcs are given mysterious pendants by the Cabalith that have chosen them, giving them the ability to cross the border, as well as show up as good whenever alignment is detected.
Do go read up on how alignment is detected in 5e. Which is to say... it isn't. "Alignment" is no longer a thing beyond a general descriptor of behavior - it is not a thing with mechanical impact.

For example, the spell "Detect Evil and Good" now reads: "For the duration, you know if there is an aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead within 30 feet of you, as well as where the creature is located. Similarly, you know if there is a place or object within 30 feet of you that has been magically consecrated or desecrated."

So, a PC could be Chaotic Evil, and the spell would detect nothing at all, unless they also happened to be an actual, legitimate fiend from the lower planes.

Alright I know that was long but i wanted to set the scene. One of the things i need to more fully realize are the Primellians themselves. I'm somewhat modeling them after Scandinavians, but only vaguely. I want to make them superstitious, obsessive about harmony and virtue, xenophobic, monotheistic, and a myriad of cultural taboos and nuances. Something to make them good antagonist for our villains, who might not just be out right fighting them and trying to destroy them with subterfuge. Does anyone have any good ideas?
Well, here's a thing you'll want to think about - strong xenophobia, superstitions, and cultural taboos may be a thing you think of as lawful, but they have something in common - fear. Fear, historically, often leads to people being hurt for no good reason, which is not Good. Xenophobia and superstitions lead to old women who have done no harm to anyone getting burned at the stake, and such.

If this is supposed to be a place that really is a "shining beacon of good" then all those things must actually lead to positive outcomes for people. Think on how that happens.
 
An organization known as the Cabalith rose out of the ashes of the great war, determined to unite the nation so that they may accomplish more than their petty squabbling, take over the know world.
Sounds lawful evil-ish...
The ley lines keep any non good being from crossing into the valley, ultimately isolating them from the rest of the world for about 500 years.
Wait, "isolating?" Are there no good beings left in the rest of the world?

Either way, whether they have a trickle of good immigrants or not, they should be feel very safe and be pretty complacent after 500 years.

I want to make them superstitious, obsessive about harmony and virtue, xenophobic, monotheistic, and a myriad of cultural taboos and nuances.
That doesn't sound too shining beacon of good, at all.

.?.

Is there going to be a 'twist' at some point, like, oh, hey the Primellians are actually evil, they just have the nicest real estate? Ooh, or the whole huge, bountiful/verdant, place and it's 'holy' ley-lines are magically supported by misappropriating mana from the rest of the world?
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Check out this series of 7 books that kind of parallels what you're trying to do here.

Way of the Wicked

It is a LG kingdom and the PC's are evil trying to bring down the whole thing and put in place... kind of like Cheliax from Pathfinder's Golarion, a kingdom devoted to Asmodeus.

It's great fun, I'm playing through it right now in a game I'm in.

Anyway, it should give you some good ideas on how to set up your Good kingdom.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Replying out of order, because reasons.

Alright I know that was long but i wanted to set the scene. One of the things i need to more fully realize are the Primellians themselves. I'm somewhat modeling them after Scandinavians, but only vaguely. I want to make them superstitious, obsessive about harmony and virtue, xenophobic, monotheistic, and a myriad of cultural taboos and nuances. Something to make them good antagonist for our villains, who might not just be out right fighting them and trying to destroy them with subterfuge. Does anyone have any good ideas?
I'd remove the xenophobic trait and instead make them welcoming. They know that only good can cross the barrier, so they likely assume that anyone inside was born inside, and thus good (because only evil exists outside the lay lines, so sayeth the priests). Since it's monotheistic, I'd set them up with a powerful church, possibly based off the catholic church's hierarchy (who may in fact be the true rulers, not the 5 lords/ladies). Love the idea of giving them a lot of superstitions, taboos and cultural nuances, because the players will have to figure them out to avoid suspicion.

A google search of various cultural oddities would be invaluable. I like the simple suggestion that no one will ever enter a home without being invited (based on the vampires of old, but the original reasoning forgotten). Various omens and signs might be common as well.

Our villainous pcs are given mysterious pendants by the Cabalith that have chosen them, giving them the ability to cross the border, as well as show up as good whenever alignment is detected. They are tasked with corrupting the land and it's people, destroying the main 5 lords and ladies of Primellia, and finding a way to dispel the border ley lines.
I'd probably set this up as an infiltration and espionage, with the party entering near an isolated farm or small village. The party can attempt to learn about the culture to attempt to blend it, and if they get found out (which is likely due to the various superstitions and taboos), it's fairly easy to eliminate the witnesses.

Eventually they'll expand their travels in the valley, but rather than trying to corrupt the land, I'd suggest attempting to sow the seeds of distrust and rebellion instead (potentially corrupting the people to evil instead). The church probably controls the ley lines, possibly at set temples across the land or perhaps at a central Rome like cathedral/fortress. The lords/ladies are going to be very powerful and hard to kill, and for a twist, the church may actually be the true power behind the lords, making them mere figureheads.

Overall seems like a great concept. Good luck!
 

Eltab

Explorer
Inspector Javier (Les Miserables) is the detective who never gives up chasing you.

Try this concept: within the Church of Good, an archbishop is calling for a Crusade to liberate some /all of the land from the grip of Evil. He may have modest goals (annex a border city or a province) or think he can conquer the whole continent in one fell swoop. More dangerous to Evil if he can build new ley lines wherever he wants, using them to cut off some area from reinforcements.
There are other factions that want to fortify the current frontiers, or just ignore the outside world, or send evangelists to turn the souls of mortals to the Good (and coincidentally cause rebellions and disruption in Evil society).
The PCs are supposed to encourage the Crusade to adopt foolish goals and shut down any modest plans that could succeed.
 

Hex_Toliver

Villager
First off thank you everyone who replied, first time on this forum and I appreciate it.

The empire in Frank Herbet's Dune saga with Leto II Atreide as king.
Great source to draw from, love that series, and Leto is someone with the vibes i'm going for.

A natural antagonist could be a master detective type character that leads a crack team of investigators trained specifically for this kind of emergency.
I haven't thought of this sort of role but it makes perfect sense for another antagonist, I think i'm going to make them an inquisitor type from the church.

For example, the spell "Detect Evil and Good" now reads: "For the duration, you know if there is an aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead within 30 feet of you, as well as where the creature is located. Similarly, you know if there is a place or object within 30 feet of you that has been magically consecrated or desecrated."
Oh yea, my bad. So not to change too much, i think i'm going to go with the consecrated/ desecrated bit, and all Primellians detect as consecrated and anyone else desecrated.

If this is supposed to be a place that really is a "shining beacon of good" then all those things must actually lead to positive outcomes for people. Think on how that happens.
Hmm, yea that is something to take in account, from a suggestion I think i'm going to take out the xenophobia, but keep the other bits. I think the Primellians will hold the staunch belief that their harmony/ cultural practices is what aligns the ley lines and keeps them safe, something to that affect.

Wait, "isolating?" Are there no good beings left in the rest of the world?
So there are still good people in Greater Vauxri, they are just an anomaly as their continent is so harsh that being good often puts you at odds with surviving in a cut throat society. For a little more backstory there were 6 major lords and ladies of Primellia, but the 6th Lady, the Lady of the Hollow, over saw death rites/ burials/ and grief was vilified as supposedly she was conducting necromantic practices and trying to complete some evil ritual of unknown origins. After the other lords and lady's defeated her, a magical backlash rippled out from her castle, the Castle of the Hollow, corrupting a few things of sorts, specifically the pilgrim road Under Hope that cut through the mountain pass. This has made it near impossible for anyone to take that road as it is now maligned with monstrosities.

Is there going to be a 'twist' at some point, like, oh, hey the Primellians are actually evil, they just have the nicest real estate? Ooh, or the whole huge, bountiful/verdant, place and it's 'holy' ley-lines are magically supported by misappropriating mana from the rest of the world?
I think i'm definitely going to have something subverting their shiny holy status but i'm not sure what yet.

Check out this series of 7 books that kind of parallels what you're trying to do here.

Way of the Wicked
Good resource to look at

I'd remove the xenophobic trait and instead make them welcoming.
Love that
A google search of various cultural oddities would be invaluable. I like the simple suggestion that no one will ever enter a home without being invited
Great idea
I'd probably set this up as an infiltration and espionage, with the party entering near an isolated farm or small village. The party can attempt to learn about the culture to attempt to blend it, and if they get found out (which is likely due to the various superstitions and taboos), it's fairly easy to eliminate the witnesses.

Eventually they'll expand their travels in the valley, but rather than trying to corrupt the land, I'd suggest attempting to sow the seeds of distrust and rebellion instead (potentially corrupting the people to evil instead). The church probably controls the ley lines, possibly at set temples across the land or perhaps at a central Rome like cathedral/fortress. The lords/ladies are going to be very powerful and hard to kill, and for a twist, the church may actually be the true power behind the lords, making them mere figureheads.
All good material, but yea, they will have a base of operations, the formerly ruined Castle of the Hollow, so they will be trying to spin some angle from that. Haven't figured out how the ley lines work- but I do like the idea of the church being power players as well, though i think i will keep the lords/ladies strong as well.

Try this concept: within the Church of Good, an archbishop is calling for a Crusade to liberate some /all of the land from the grip of Evil. He may have modest goals (annex a border city or a province) or think he can conquer the whole continent in one fell swoop. More dangerous to Evil if he can build new ley lines wherever he wants, using them to cut off some area from reinforcements.
There are other factions that want to fortify the current frontiers, or just ignore the outside world, or send evangelists to turn the souls of mortals to the Good (and coincidentally cause rebellions and disruption in Evil society).
Ah, that's amazing! Perfect for making them a more aggressive enemy, love the bit about being able to create new ley lines, as this could be a great way for the party to start getting the evil factions to take their mission and what they bring to the table seriously.
 
I think the Primellians will hold the staunch belief that their harmony/ cultural practices is what aligns the ley lines and keeps them safe, something to that affect.

So there are still good people in Greater Vauxri, they are just an anomaly as their continent is so harsh that being good often puts you at odds with surviving in a cut throat society. For a little more backstory there were 6 major lords and ladies of Primellia, but the 6th Lady, the Lady of the Hollow, over saw death rites/ burials/ and grief was vilified as supposedly she was conducting necromantic practices and trying to complete some evil ritual of unknown origins. After the other lords and lady's defeated her, a magical backlash rippled out from her castle, the Castle of the Hollow, corrupting a few things of sorts, specifically the pilgrim road Under Hope that cut through the mountain pass. This has made it near impossible for anyone to take that road as it is now maligned with monstrosities.
I wonder if that couldn't tie into the ley lines?

I think i'm definitely going to have something subverting their shiny holy status but i'm not sure what yet.
Well, they're out of balance if they're no longer respecting death rites & grief. An old-school TN druid would hate these guys.
 

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