Hey guys and gals, Im in the third game of our campaign and was thinking about having a baddie who always showed up at the worst times to screw with my players. The first encounter i have down, but how do i go about fleshing him out as a character?
I prefer the 3-line NPC method. For the most part, this keeps things relatively flexible and surprisingly easy to handle.
Appearance - This is the description you read to your players, such as "A masked man wearing a jester's hat suddenly appears from the shadows, accompanied by a soft jingle of bells. He keeps his hands folded behind his back. Whether as a gesture of respect or an attempt to hide something, it is difficult to tell."
Portrayal - This is the part where you write a blurb about who the NPC is and why he does what he does. For example, "The mysterious jester is actually the court bard of the king, here to ensure that the PCs are appropriately challenged. He also enjoys teaching heroes a lesson in humility by spreading their "lesser-known" deeds in songs and ballads."
Hook - This is where you describe how this NPC should encounter the players, be it active, passive or recurrent. Something like, "The players notice that children of a village they have never been to are singing rhymes that describe their latest exploits. This is starting to be a trend, whatever they go."
Though I use a similar technique for NPCs I find writing a reacting villain requires a little more effort then just the three points. After I know that the villain will be recurring, I'll generally flesh them out. Tvtropes has a decent page with some tips and tricks to help flesh out villains.
I've found out in my DM adventures that my players do not react the way I expect them to, so I understand your troubles lol. I've spent many nights brainstorming fun NPC's and coming up with backstories and whatnot, but when I introduce them they ignore me. Later, when going through the town, just to add flavor, I'll say that there are beggars and cripples on the main street. I had nothing prepared for them, but my players decided that the only way the game would continue is if I turned all those beggars into NPCs and gave them more information than they'd ever asked. Pretty funny how players find a way sometimes haha
I though smartly was like ill give him Dimension door to bamf out with. Then its all rape him (our Druid loves to stick ANY appendage of hers in any hole she can)and a head caving in like a melon senerio.
Death is never permanent in a fantasy story. Especially for the recurring villain. So many lovely ways to return. Maybe he had already created a phylactery to become a lich. Or swore his soul to Orcus for the chance to kill those who killed him. Maybe another adversary of he PCs had him resurrected, and now those two are allied against the party. Maybe the villain's evil deity has decided to punish him for his failure to defeat the party by cursing him to be killed by them again and again, only to return to life each time, compelled to go after the party despite knowing that he'll just be killed again, essentially becoming the Agrajag to the party's Arthur Dent.