First off, I would feel remiss if I didn’t finally give a major shout out to the website Pixabay, from which I have drawn most of the images from this blog so far. If you’re interested in doing something like this, please swing over and check out their vast library of open source photography. Pixabay is awesome!
Now, onward to The Borderkeep!
I’ve written a great deal about the various benevolent, and not so benevolent, npc’s that you might use in an adventure set in the Borderkeep. As I was playing the newest installment in the Destiny franchise, however, I started thinking. Villains. Specifically, the recurring villian. Any of you who have ever planned your own campaign, written your own villains with inspirations like Tywin Lanister, or The Man in Black, or even characters like Kefka and Sephiroth, then you know what it means to attempt to recreate that feeling you get when, around every bend and turn, the heroes are hounded by what seems like an insurmountable force.
If you have, then you’ve realized the same basic truth that I have . . . Realistic recurring-ness is reeeeaaaaalllly hard in a game that, at its most basic function, relies on random chance. We’ve all been there. You have the evil genius, who has finally chosen to make his presence known. He has am escape route, he has minions, he has every opportunity to get away free and clear, when,
Ranger: “Dude! Nat-20!”
The party starts cheering, because they know they’ve already done a ton of damage to this guy . . . And this, well, this must be the culmination of all their cleverness and hard work. At this point, you have two options; let him die and then pull a finial fantasy nine and toss in an even worse threat that just has to feel contrived, or have him escape deus ex machina style, which is even worse than the other option.
Well, here are some simple tips that I’ve learned along the way. First, never have your villain present himself in a vulnerable position unless you are absolutely ready for the possibility of his or her death. Second, the gaming world is a wide, weird place. If you want to, give the villain an extraordinary ability that helps him escape, but make sure your players see him use it BEFORE he uses it on them. Third, every good villain has equally diabolical minions, with their own fleshed out personalities and machinations . . . That, despite their usefulness and utter evil effectiveness, will inevitably be sacrificed like the pawns they are in the Gillian’s epic game of chess against your pc’s. I could go on sooooo very long about this topic, that I think I will, right after I write character biography 3, on the mysterious court wizard!
I hope I was helpful! Please click like, or even better, leave a comment, question, or request behind as you go. Get the word out, and visit my partner blog, Tales from the Borderkeep, and our parent website, The Borderlanders, and as always, don’t fall for the kobold pit trap!