Recently one of my player's character died trying to solo a winter wolf, since the next session is pretty much the last available day he can play with the rest of the group I've decided to let him build and play a villain. Have any you guys done this? Ever get positive results?
I'm only doing this because I trust this player.
In my old, old 2nd edition group my character was assassinated by a player-run NPC. It was great, actually, and really worked to the strength of the adventure, which involved one of the groups we ran afoul of who had finally decided to come after us for revenge. It was set up well by the other player who, like your friend, was only able to play during that adventure for a short stint.
Of course, my character managed some quick thinking that ultimately led to his resurrection, so that may be why I never got busted up about it. I was more upset when the laggards in my adventuring troupe used Speak With Dead to ask me where they were supposed to be traveling to =0
If your initial set up or the player is him/herself quite devilish (i.e. effective), it could sour the attitude of the other players if they're not laid back or open to that sort of thing.
In my first ever 3.5 campaign, I made a blunder by leading our necromancer to a place where Necromancy was illegal.
What followed was a tale that went from level 2 to the mid-30s, with him as one of the main villains starting at about level 6.
It was amazing. Basically what I did was that when we were plotting, we'd go in another room, or talk outside of the game. Then once he secured his villain status, I just let him set up his own story while the party was doing their own thing, and when we wanted to have him show up, we'd have him show up and do something.
Man, when he had me take our paladin into the other room and I pretended to be the paladin's god while enacting a memory modified interrogation that led to him going on a "holy quest" (actually a geas/quest casted on by the villain) that led to the death of the entire royal family and destruction of the god's most powerful artifact.
I've seen it done, with a good player and a good GM, it was just for one session, but excellent fun...
Let them all play villains and try a Dungeon Keeper scenario.
On topic: I frequently let my players create villains with entirely positive results. The trick is keeping everyone on the same page.
Actually, play THIS dungeon keeper scenario.
Way of the Wicked is the best AP currently published. Go ahead and read the reviews. It's really THAT good.
I remember once my druid was replaced by a doppleganger. Off line the GM had me build a doppleganger rogue.
Then I ran a few sessions trying to play the part of a druid while looking for an opportunity to betray the party before they got to the queen.
It went pretty well.
You have to be careful to make sure the villan isn't one that could have decent chance of killing a bunch of the PC's though.
I was in the group that made that mistake once with betrayal by a high level evil cleric. After a fight when the group has expended many resources and is expecting to be healed (so they are not resisting any spells) he managed to take 2 out of the fight before they even realised a problem existed. Killed 2 more before he was stopped. The single PC left had no chance to finsih the mission or even get the others out for cure/raise. he didn't really even have a good chance to escape with his life by himself. The GM was really taken aback by how it went down. We bassically did a rewind and pretended the fight never happened. But then of course the group wasn;t surprised and did a bunch of sense motive checks to catch him before he really got started. Kinda ruined the whole plot arc.
I had a party that was captured by a Half Red Dragon, who had dry brushed his red scales with gold paint, and convinced them he was on their side before dropping the boom.
They had chances to avoid the capture, but each chance was low percentage... but as DM, I was hoping to capture them and a lot of times, that doesn't work out based on the dice or whatnot.
I like to follow the dice and alter the story to suit the randomness of what happens. That's sort of how things work in real life.
Anyway, the capture worked out, and when the PC tiefling was taken off and interrogated, they sent back a changeling in his place, with all the PCs gear on, who'd watched the interrogation.
The player got to play his evil double, with the promise that his PC wouldn't miss out on any gear or EXP due to his switch.
The player had played his tiefling as suspicious to begin with, and the party Aasimar cleric was highly worried about his intentions.
During a fight, the changling cast a magic missile into the back of the Aasimar's head. Even though the player KNEW that the PC was a rogue and couldn't cast spells, he assumed UMD or something, and started pointing and yelling that he knew it all along!
The party won the fight, and the Aasimar brutally and happily beat down the disguised tiefling.
Just as the tielfling double was getting pounded and reverting to his original form, the actual PC came through the door and saw the Aasimar beating what he thought was the PC to death.
It was a good time all around.
We used it to complete character arcs where the Aasimar went on a journey to atone for his mistrust, and the tiefling came to realize how his behavior was affecting people.
By the time 2-3 more levels had passed, the two of them were getting along fine.
Let them all play villains . . . The trick is keeping everyone on the same page.
Mostly this. My group quite often plays moral deprived characters, and it works well as long as the players, not necessarily the characters, have been warned.
In fact, one of my favorites was one where it was just two player in a 3.5 game. I was a whisper gnome beguiler and my friend was a half minotaur barbarian. We ended up working for a Rakshasa. Good times.
I played a villain for a few sessions in our current game. She was an imp magician bard who was a cohort of my urban druid. My character was flavored as a warlock, and she was his familiar. He had an low Int and Cha (rolled) and the running joke was my character was actually her familiar. She tricked him into signing a contract for his soul, reasoning that since he was a tiefling he was damned to hell anyway and would be better off with his soul in her care.
When he died, the contract was fulfilled and his soul went to her, increasing her size and giving her the giant template. Since we were in the middle of the "dungeon" the GM let me upgrade her CR to be a full PC and play here. What made it even more fun was there is a paladin, with another paladin as a cohort and the cohort gave him an ultimatum; either the imp must go, or her.
Needless to say, there was to be a showdown eventually. We both tried to get the mcguffin, but he was quicker to act. He told he would allow her to leave because she did work with them for a while (lawful alignment playing into this part). She activated her invisibility and ran around, causing mischief; I had her pull a lever to fill the basement with water, then used a wand of rusting grasp to disintegrate the lever. We were locked in the room/area but she had boots of dimension door so she exited WITH A MAJORITY OF THE PARTY'S MAGIC LOOT.
I think I had as much fun with her as I did my actual PC.
All in all, it went very well and led to a lot of interesting roleplaying.