Hello everyone, long time no speak! I used to be here a lot a few years ago but life got a bit crazy. Setting up a new campaign now and wondering on if anyone has some good examples of villains outside of the typical ‘wants power’ or ‘wants eternal life’ kind of vibe. What usual villains have you used in your campaign?
If we look at the DC comics one example could be Mr Freeze trying to save his wife so he does evil things.
Lots of thieves guilds start off as taking money from the rich to give to the poor or to help themselves as they are poor but that does eventually descend into a version of power.
Anyone have some ideas that are a bit out of the norm?
Post by dmslythytoves on May 11, 2022 19:10:03 GMT
I struggled with the same idea as I was in the early stages of my homebrew campaign. One of my players is very experienced, another is well versed, but the rest are pretty new. But they all consume a lot of media, so the classic villain motivation is pretty immediately obvious to them.
Here's my villains' various motivations:
Entitlement: Fealdis ger Malorick, high-elf bard. The Buoyant City Malorick believes that Rathfa is too broken, and is seeking to “finish” the job so that everything can be made new. His thinking is far beyond most, and while many would assume he is crazy for believing in such wives-tales, his demeanor is polished and confident. If he can only collect enough scale to locate and destroy the final pillar. -Captain: Zylren - cold, cruel, merciless, blends in with normal people frighteningly well. -Henchmen: Personal Retinue
Power: Vorbami Smelthead - dwarf ranger - On the move Angry at the way the sentients of the world are working together, Vorbami is working to drive the races apart. He feels no particular hatred towards any race, but believes in his soul that potential has been lost, and that ideas must be refined in the fires of each individual’s race. The competitive edge amongst peoples has been lost, as only war brings forth greatness. -Henchmen: Snavely Dosch
Fear: Rygh and Myrx - they don’t want to die, and will seek anything to protect themselves - Capswitch -Henchmen: Hunters of Capswitch, tough survivalists
The DC reference made me think of the Joker, and the desire to sow chaos rather than much else. Its harder to pull off in some degrees, and easier in other. Having something cohesive to plan out long term? Not so much. Being able to flow with whatever the players choose to do? Of course!
Longer term goals is another way to go. You really set me down the DC path, because my first thought it Vandal Savage and a person that has plans that span out millennia instead of years or decades. They can easily be at odds with the party, or helping them depending on what they stand to gain from the interaction.
I'm sure there are more, but will need to come back after my brain stops focusing on DC villains, haha.
Post by dmslythytoves on May 12, 2022 14:38:30 GMT
Another thing that comes to mind is an element of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. Yes, I know Tolkien has a huge influence on fantasy/D&D in general. That being said, I love the fact that, as many of stated in meme and media, Sauron never imagined that anyone would want to destroy the One Ring. Consequently, all of the BBEG's actions were driven by a desire to locate the Ring or build an army large enough to defeat whoever would OBVIOUSLY be using the Ring.
If we extrapolate, you could end up with an antagonist working towards a goal based upon a misunderstanding of the motivations of the party. What if you have a classic bunch of cultists working to resurrect an ancient evil, and the party wants to stop this. But the cultists have been smart enough to frame the party as villains themselves, and a sect of paladins are now hunting the party. You now have two groups of enemies, one real and one mistaken.
Alternatively, I believe there was an episode of the DMB discussing villain motivation using core concepts to build upon: fear, anger, hurt, sadness, etc. Basically, all of the emotions we associate with negativity can be the drive of a bad guy. Conversely, you can twist 'good' emotions: love to obsession, joy to joy in something unpleasant, peace to peace regardless of the cost, justice to justice at all costs...wow, now I'm just picturing versions of the Joker and the Punisher...
Thanks guys! Yes I was listening to the episode as I wrote this it went over the joker and similar. I think Sauron does come under power though as he does everything for power in the end?
Didn’t get the notifications you guys had responded though as I was away camping without service!
I was also suggested Moriarty who mainly messes with Sherlock for the fun of having a worthy competitor more due to being bored more than anything.
We could have greyer versions of villainy also such as a group destroying a forest for more farmland as they are struggling to provide for themselves but what is the forest is it’s own living being, or just has others living in it. Survival could certainly be a good motivation that can drive people to do horrible things but then you have the well is it really their fault they are put in such a situation angle as well which could be interesting also.