Reusable villains: how? (Another "101 ideas" thread)

rounser

First Post
Couple of ideas...

Gnomitech getaway contraptions may be worth a try, such as alchemical rocketpacks or helipacks for fighters, or batman/spiderman contraptions for rogues (maybe a self-winching crossbow harpoon rigged with customised immovable rod ammo). Then there's always the "I'm holding a thermal detonator" trick, gnomitech style. Of course, it helps if the villain is a gnome...

A rogue or fighter who appears with several clones of himself/herself is another option. The PCs may be able to stop one from getting away, but three? Perhaps every time the villain turns up, there are more clones than last time, not to mention that the villain can be in many places at once. That should get the PCs vaguely worried...
 
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kenjib

First Post
Here are some that don't rely on magic:

At lower levels without barbarians and monks in the party the run and endurance feats are still useful for escaping.

The villain can be politically entrenched such that the heroes need irrefutable proof of his villany before they can act openly against him. Perhaps he is the court wizard, or chamberlain. Perhaps he is a very influential and well respected senator.

The villain knows a secret or holds a key that the players need. For example, only the villain knows where he has hidden the key that opens a forbidden book of lore needed to banish his more powerful master, or the players are lost deep underground and the villain knows the only path out.
 

corzican

First Post
Best Friend/Greatest Foe: The party's enemy turns out to be the best friend of a party member, perhaps even a relative. They may be cursed or forced to be wicked, but then again they may just be naughty. Any time they meet, though, the villain takes it easy on the PC. Not really worth it if the PC's would stab their mother in the back then reanimate her to clean their clothes . . .

Use of Delaying Exposition (Ex): The villain uses her natural ability to spout out all the evil details of his plans to her advantage. As she tells all, her minions come up behind the PC's, catch them flat-footed. Will Save to resist.

Escape Route Traps to fit your Players: All villains have their escape routes laid with traps along the way to stop the advancement of the heroes. My personal preferences on obstacles are ale houses and brothels.
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
Being a family member - Mom, I told you to stop interfering in my life! One of my best villians was the mother NPC of one of the player characters.
 

Psion

Adventurer
Here's a few I don't think anyone has mentioned:

- Villain knows the terrain better, and can lead persuers across traps, knows secret hiding spots, etc.

- Villain really doesn't do anything wrong, at least that the party can prove or knows for sure. This might not stop a CN party, but lawful and good parties might have reason to wait until they know for sure.
- As above, but villain is not really a villain, but a red herring -- but still irritating as hell. Think Snape. :)
 

kibbitz

First Post
Hand of Evil said:
10) Never let the PCs see the villian die or find a body...Death blow and the villian falls from the castle wall into the raging river. Death blow, the mountain shakes, lava flows, the PCs have to run for it, leaving the villian behind.

11) Public office - damn it Jim! He is a congressman!

12) Surrender - I give up, I will allow myself to be taken and see what the King has in store for me! Sir, paladin, I repent and wish go to trial, protect me until the church finds just punishment for my crimes. (note: this is an alignment issue and deals a lot with what is defined as evil in your games).

13) Magic - Item takes the soul of the villian, later to be released into another boby or henchmen raise the dead on him.

No #10 reminds me too much of Murdoch from MacGyver :eek:
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
Likeable - The villian is likeable. He could at one time been a henchman, but he is a nice person, lot of fun, even helps out the PCs every now and then but is their oppenent more times than not.

Works well as a swashbuckeer, highway man, lots of flash, smiles, and such, never kills the PCs, may tie them up, even seduce one or two or three of them.
 

Psion

Adventurer

Likeable - The villian is likeable. He could at one time been a henchman, but he is a nice person, lot of fun, even helps out the PCs every now and then but is their oppenent more times than not.

A bit of a tangent, this reminds me of what someone was saying about Sagiro's story hour... how some of the bad guys had goals that, while the PCs could not afford to let come to pass, the PCs could at least undestand what their reasoning.
 


Deadguy

First Post
I know several people have mentioned ways in which a character can escape. I merely want to add that it is a good idea for a recurring villain to be smart. If he's smart enough he legs it before the PCs catch up with him. Rather than the climactic fight which the villain loses and then tries to escape, let him realise before the PCs reach him. Instead of fighting him, let them fight the henchmen and then find clues as to the boss.

The problem of trying to recreate the film/novel trope of the "we shall meet again!" villain is that the trope only works because the writer has the power to stop the hero from pursuing. The only plausible one I have seen that doesn't stretch believability too far is to have other things that the PCs must do rather than pursue the villain. Rescuing hostages has been mentioned, but there's also things like preventing the trapped demon being released, disabling the device that will destroy the town, stopping the eruption, etc. If they still prefer to chase the villain, just make sure that the XP award reflects their failure to complete necessary tasks.
 

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