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Your heroes are only as good as their villain counterparts make them. so how can I make a truly great villain?


Advice


I'm looking for help with ideas to really make the party hate my bbeg. I don't necessarily mean builds, but they are welcome suggestions but also actions, character flaws and strengths etc. I want a villain that years from now the players still remember and hate him. Thanks in advance for any ideas.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Any NPCs the party has gotten to liking? Kidnap them.

Ruin villages for no good reason. Speak in detail about the weeping women, orphaned children, and devastation and bodies.

Have the bad guy employ torture. Get a temporary stronghold after taking someone captive, and have him leave behind obvious clues that torture took place (including the disgusting body of the victim).

Target Good (aligned) people for no other reason than they're Good. Low-ranking members of a good church (particularly Sarenrae or Shelyn) are good choices.

Take hostages (preferably children) and when the party backs off, have him kill them and escape anyway. (For this one - don't cheat out the party, but have escape plans in mind based on their abilities. Always have a backup escape plan).

Have him leave behind cryptic clues that show that he knows who they are, down to details and secrets PCs have hidden away (he has several high-powered clerics aiding him).

Have him spread a rumor in a town the PCs have come to love and see as their home, and the town forces them to leave their home (or tries to arrest/hang them for some made-up crime).

Be as evil as you can be.


As a GM, I always look over my players character sheets and create villains based on the pc's particular skill set. In the current campaign I'm running one of my players is a young female gunslinger who stumbled upon her gun by accident. I came up with the backstory to how the gun was lost in the first place, and the person who want's it back. He's an mercenary with a huge scar running down his face and a big ass chip on his shoulder.


Whatever you make, make it durable. The villain must be really hard to finish off for good, so you can have a lot of ood fights with the same evil git showing up again.

Liches, Grave knights and ghosts will come back to "life"
Everyone else needs a way to escape to fight another day.

Grand Lodge

Make the BBEG a snarky, arrogant, prick, continually pestering the PC's.
He might have a spy slip laxative into their food, steal their clothes, or destroy the bridge the PC's needed the cross. The idea here is that the BG is too arrogant to think that the PC's can beat him, but he makes their life miserable anyway.

Shadow Lodge

Your PCs might find that they hate the BBEG more if he was pretending to be their friend up until he betrays them mercilessly in some way.


One of the many villain types I personally love to hate, are the kind that has control over law enforcement, nobility and royalty either through blackmail, money or something else. Imagine the players getting the run around from their own Queen, merely because big bad evil guy has her in his back pocket. Hell, maybe the Queen's a simulacrum under his control and the real queen is being held captive by BBEG.

There is also the mad scientist. Now, it depends on how dark you want to go, but I could see the BBEG kidnapping NPCs that the PCs have gotten to know and like and turning them into twisted monsters through experimentation. For added effect one could have the NPCs original voice come from the monster just before the final blow.

If you want something to effect the PCs directly then give BBEG some power over them directly. At the beginning you could say they each have a rune or oddly shaped scar somewhere on their persons. Through this rune / scar, the BBEG can easily push powerful illusions and enchantments through the rune / scar. Few things tick a player off than a BBEG saying, "Kneel." and the PCs being forced to do so.

There are others of course, but needless to say there are a lot of routes you can go to make a hated villain.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Third Mind is on to something. Authority figures make great villains - and they don't even have to be truly evil! I ran a campaign (almost 10 years ago now) where the Mayor of the town (I don't even remember the town's name anymore) was always on the PCs' case - they couldn't blow their nose without getting a fine or being arrested for some minor law. Not a true BBEG, but a real stickler for law and order and always trying to pin stuff on the PCs. My players still bring up "The Mayor" to this day.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Brambleman wrote:

Whatever you make, make it durable. The villain must be really hard to finish off for good, so you can have a lot of ood fights with the same evil git showing up again.

Liches, Grave knights and ghosts will come back to "life"
Everyone else needs a way to escape to fight another day.

Of course in a fantasy game that way to fight another day could be to die and be "reborn." In the Shackled City AP my players really hated when they finally killed a particular villain only to have him come back from dead more powerful than before.

Infernal pacts, Ghosts (or similar undead), minions with access to ressurection all provide the possibility that the villain could return even from death.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Yep. Way to make PCs HATE a villain is for him to escape them, even once.

Cheliax

1. Have him harm children. This is ticket #1 to BBEG hate.

2. Have him either seduce/coerce/force people the PCs like/love to actively work against them.

3. Have him kick a puppy. Or a basket of puppies.


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There are many ways to properly do a villain.

1. The Understandable Evil: A villain who is evil but at least some people will see him as a hero, some people in the party might even believe in his cause but they do not like his methods.
Ex. Magneto

2. The Evil Psycho: A villain who does not really care about much other than just causing pain, killing and making people's lives hell. Harder to predict and almost impossible to understand, he does it all simply because he wants to.
Ex. Joker

3. The Power Hungry Evil: Evil for the sake of gaining more power, all they care about is control over others and influence. They will lie, cheat, steal, murder or anything else it takes to gain what they want.
Ex. Handsome Jack

4. The Egomaniac Evil: A person who is so arrogant that they can never see themselves as being wrong, they have to be correct, so everyone else is wrong. All those who believe something different, or disagree have to be eliminated.
Ex. Dr. Doom

5. The Diametric Evil: Evil simply because it is opposed to good. No bigger goals other than to simply make things more evil and to destroy things that are good or holy. Evil because they hate things that are pure.
Ex. Many Blackguards.

6. The Evil Genius: Evil because nobody else can see the big picture, or because only they really understand how it all works. They are the evil simply because it is effective.
ex.

7. TheEvil Mastermind: Evil in the sense that they control everything, they want to plan out the pieces like an evil chess master and watch the game play as they have set it up for.
ex. Kingpin

8. The Evil Scientist: Science is the most important thing in the world and you can not learn all you need with you have morals and laws holding you back. Evil because sacrifices must me made.
ex. The villain from Bioshock

9. The "Greater Good" Evil: A villain who does what they do because they think it is the right thing or what is best for the person/world/universe but really what they do is just evil.
ex. Zoom

10. Mindless Evil: Evil because it is their nature, they do not plan things out to be evil, they do not even have a concept of good or evil, they simply do what their base urges tell them to.
Ex. The Tarasque

11. The Charismatic Evil: Evil and is great at getting others to see things their way. Evil that can persuade others into seeing them as being good. Deep inside though they are still evil
Ex. Hitler

Find the evil that works for your party.

If most of your party are LG and very boy scout like. then a good villain for them might be a LE villain who shows them that not everything is as good as it seems and that they need to open their eyes. Or even a CG villain who tempts them into thinking that the ends justify the means.

Personally I like the understandable evil guys who are a threat across the board: Physical, mental and social.

Ex.

For a long time I had a standing villain in a campaign named Mr. White.

He was a genius, a manipulator and a political villain who could back it all up with some amazing combat skills.

He set things up to raise up the ranks of the military as a war hero. He was instrumental in the deciding battle in the war, he infiltrated the enemy camp and found their battle plan, and walked them straight into a trap.

He was a hero, who was loved by all. All except his own troops who found him to be a little shady.

Soon the old King grew sick and died, leaving his more dictator like evil son in charge. So the the "war hero" led the revolt against him and freed the nation from his clutches.

It did not take too long for the party, who were from his old military unit, to start noticing that he was always in the right place at the right time, or was extremely lucky.

Eventually it was a campaign to uncover his secrets, without tipping him off, and to out him as the villain he is.


An orc-eating baby (or is it the other way around; I always get that mixed up)

Not just violence, but completely random violence, that he doesnt even grasp as to why its evil. and when explained, simply doesnt care.
The guy that torches an orphanage just because its blocking his sunlight.

Always talks down to the PCs, especially when he's losing, but escapes before they can kill him.

Has a "cheezy" cantrip he spams; I had one villain that had a "create slime" type spell, it would create a glob of slime that flew at you; acid orb cantrip, with no damage or penalty, just a gross slime covered you. Man did that piss off my players lol

I combined the 3 on my list into one guy; my players threw a party the day they finally killed him.


Eric Sparrow.


Wow that's alot of replies. Thanks guys. I find that really drawing them in will be hardest to start with. they're neutral, very self centered. Always. Hard to drag them out of that. So I imagine I'll have to target them to build some anger, or something.


Ishpumalibu wrote:
Wow that's alot of replies. Thanks guys. I find that really drawing them in will be hardest to start with. they're neutral, very self centered. Always. Hard to drag them out of that. So I imagine I'll have to target them to build some anger, or something.

If they are all self centered it is easier, just have the main villain rob them and make them laughing stocks of their town/city/kingdom. Self centered people hate it when they loose their toys and are made fun of. Even better if they do not see it coming and have trouble pinning the blame on someone.

Or just go with one of the ideas from my dissertation on villains above.


Yes. If they are very self centered, then the BBEG needs to make them fail, make them laughing stocks (as whisperknives) had said.

You could go the Mister Mxzyptlk route. For those who don't know or don't remember he's basically an all powerful trickster from the superman comics and cartoons. Essentially what I'm getting at for this particular BBEG is one that always screws the players over at the worst times. (Not exactly what Mxzyptlk does, but I got an idea from him.

Players trying to sneak past a small horde of goblins with weapons? BBEG pops in, bangs a pair of metal pans together right behind the PCs, laughs and pops out.

Players need to speak with the queen about an important matter? BBEG appears right before the queen comes into the room, turns the parties clothes a bright frilly pink dresses and the queen starts laughing at them as does the captain of the guard and others who have accompanied her.

All animals in the area have been enchanted by the BBEG to urinate on the PCs like they're fire hydrants whenever they stand still for more than 3 seconds.

PC reaches into one of their pockets to give a guard the papers to get into the city, he does so, not knowing that the words have been altered to a love story from that player to the guard.

There are a lot of things a magical prankster villain could do. Add to his love for pranks the fact that if he gets bored he'll simply try to kill them and you have a BBEG. This will effect them directly, effect their egos and possibly their health. Hard not to hate a character that makes almost everything go wrong for them.

Just an idea.


Though, with my last suggestion, you'll probably want to space out the prank events a bit so as to not overly annoy the players.


Yeah, that's what I meant I guess he'll have to target them directly since kidnap/murder of innocents won't change much. Though I suppose I could also go with a crime they could stop but don't in front of witnesses to tarnish their reputation and have the bbeg, make a group of adventurers to get the pc's mercenary jobs and whatnot. Thanks you guys have helped allot. Now I'm going to have to start fleshing him out.


Third Mind wrote:
Though, with my last suggestion, you'll probably want to space out the prank events a bit so as to not overly annoy the players.

Not sure if pranks are the way to go, that is more toward the annoying villain side and away from the respected villain side.

More like rob them blind and make them look bad doing it, or you could just frame them for a crime, that way their rep is ruined and they lose stuff.


Whisperknives wrote:
Third Mind wrote:
Though, with my last suggestion, you'll probably want to space out the prank events a bit so as to not overly annoy the players.

Not sure if pranks are the way to go, that is more toward the annoying villain side and away from the respected villain side.

More like rob them blind and make them look bad doing it, or you could just frame them for a crime, that way their rep is ruined and they lose stuff.

True enough my last suggestion wasn't one of a respectable villain, but he is definitely one that can be hated. However, I was just putting villains that can easily be hated down, without focusing on him being respected. Could make him induce fear pretty easily though.

BBEG get's bored with screwing with them and starts doing crazy things like, the mad scientist suggestion I put up. Turning their friend NPCs into disgusting and aggressive creatures trying to kill the party.

Anyways, like I said, not necessarily to everyone's tastes, but fairly easy to hate the evil magical trickster. Good luck OP.


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My 2 cents? Have the Villian actually win one, no flubbed rolls, just... A single solid win for the bad guys through better useage of abilities & tactics. They hate that even more than the Villian that got away.

Spoiler:
The first game I ran a game was a Saga Edition SW game and they came up against a, soon to be recurring, villian. They were interrogating a senator they had defeated & captured the previous day. Midway through the interegation, a Sith Lord(one guess at what he was named) disposed of 2 Knight NPCs who were in the room before turning to towards the senator.

Though he was only a "challenging" encounter, he was very optimized(SAGA doesn't really have gear per se, so build strengh's everything) and managed to not only hold them off, but he killed the senator, and he even ended up saving 2 of the players from an agressive player whom nearly killed everyone else in the room just to try and get the guy.


They HATED him winning. And though they completely redeemed themselves in a later encounter, his continued survival and influence on the campaign was a driving force of the game. They even had a pet name for him, "Darth Ballsack".

Andoran

Villians that see themselves as the good guys are the best. Sometimes they actually are the good guys, or are champions for a good cause that happens at odds with the goals of the PC's.


Usually most of my villains tend to be either two types: Joker or Darkseid.

Joker: Completely insane, mass-murdering, f***-head. Completely unpredictable and you never know when or how he will strike. Also, may have a very cynical/twisted philosophy to back up why he is right and the PCs are wrong.

Darkseid: Never truly loses. Even when the PCs have him on the ropes and they think he is down and out he always pulls out something that leaves them reeling in the end. Usually, these guys find something the PCs hold very dear and takes it out, usually right before or as the PCs defeat him.


Learn the character's back stories. Involve the villain in that. My latest campaign I had the villian as a ruthless monster doing whatever it took to save the world. While the PCs were runnign for theier lives from the horrible things he caused. Then at the end one of the PCs got to choose the allow the villian to save the world in the long run or give another PC godhood and eventually doom the world. It was epic, the world got smoked.


Ishpumalibu wrote:
make the party hate my bbeg.

He creates Simulacra of the party, dresses them in fetish wear and exactly what he uses them for, is best only hinted at...

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There's nothing my players hate more than to be wrong. I often work hard to make them trust someone and then have him/her turn on the party. Always works. They are furious when they realize they have been betrayed or just duped.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

VRMH wrote:
Ishpumalibu wrote:
make the party hate my bbeg.
He creates Simulacra of the party, dresses them in fetish wear and exactly what he uses them for, is best only hinted at...

Happened in my STAP campaign. A certain NPC in Scuttlecove made a simulacrum of the paladin unbeknownst to him. When the party negotiators showed up to talk to her again, there's the paladin simulacrum wearing nothing but some peacock feathers....

Sczarni

Ishpumalibu wrote:
Yeah, that's what I meant I guess he'll have to target them directly since kidnap/murder of innocents won't change much. Though I suppose I could also go with a crime they could stop but don't in front of witnesses to tarnish their reputation and have the bbeg, make a group of adventurers to get the pc's mercenary jobs and whatnot. Thanks you guys have helped allot. Now I'm going to have to start fleshing him out.

If you really want to create a sense of animosity between the BBEG and your PC's think of ways that you can mess with the characters that will be offensive to the players personally...

For example, I have a friend who I play with that is a bit of a Redneck. He's got a mild case of homophobia. In one campaign the Players character had a love interest that was an attractive female Elf who was pretending to be their friend (in fact it started out that she really was their friend).

The female Elven NPC was actually one of the BBEG's top level henchmen (henchwoman?).

Anyhow I let it slip/revealed to the characters that this Elven damsel was formerly a male half-orc that had been reincarnated as an elven female by the BBEG after he fell in battle (unfortunately it didn't fit in the story that the PC's had killed the half-Orc - that would have been even more awesome).

My buddy was so offended by this that his PC reacted exactly as I expected he would and it made for a very memorable villain. It was compounded by the fact that the rest of the players (not characters) teased him mercilessly about it.

People with hang-ups and prejudices are often the easiest to mess with. If your friends have quirks - play on them (or prey on them as it were).


Krodjin wrote:
Ishpumalibu wrote:
Yeah, that's what I meant I guess he'll have to target them directly since kidnap/murder of innocents won't change much. Though I suppose I could also go with a crime they could stop but don't in front of witnesses to tarnish their reputation and have the bbeg, make a group of adventurers to get the pc's mercenary jobs and whatnot. Thanks you guys have helped allot. Now I'm going to have to start fleshing him out.

If you really want to create a sense of animosity between the BBEG and your PC's think of ways that you can mess with the characters that will be offensive to the players personally...

For example, I have a friend who I play with that is a bit of a Redneck. He's got a mild case of homophobia. In one campaign the Players character had a love interest that was an attractive female Elf who was pretending to be their friend (in fact it started out that she really was their friend).

The female Elven NPC was actually one of the BBEG's top level henchmen (henchwoman?).

Anyhow I let it slip/revealed to the characters that this Elven damsel was formerly a male half-orc that had been reincarnated as an elven female by the BBEG after he fell in battle (unfortunately it didn't fit in the story that the PC's had killed the half-Orc - that would have been even more awesome).

My buddy was so offended by this that his PC reacted exactly as I expected he would and it made for a very memorable villain. It was compounded by the fact that the rest of the players (not characters) teased him mercilessly about it.

People with hang-ups and prejudices are often the easiest to mess with. If your friends have quirks - play on them (or prey on them as it were).

I had considered this but they're all really easy going people and highly educated. If they have any prejudice it is only because of roleplay.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

2 Quick thoughts on this one:

1. Body jumpers (ex. trap the soul casters) who exclusively use children or loved ones of party members is always good to get some emotional "oomph" out of players. Squick factors vary from group to group, but having them do horrific things while in the borrowed body can also cause all sorts of trouble.

2. In a similar vein, using shape changers or illusion-users who emulate the PCs in compromising or illegal activities will also work to make sure PCs quickly hate the NPC in question.

-TimD


TimD I think your body jumper idea could probably work, if not just for the fact it will be so hard just to actually get to the enemy.


Personally, I'd just start thinking what kind of character and actions puzzle me most when in in films and literature. There's definitiv one kind of antagonist I despite most - the rich, famoues, attractive, selfish and arrogant guy; and that's the sort of character I'm currently pestering my group with.

I think a good villian needs a few aspects thought of:

1) He should be a recurring NPC. Nothing you just drop in and let the group kill him, but someone who's always in the background and whenver something bad happens to the group they start wondering whether it might have something to do with their old 'friend'.

2) He abuses the group. Maybe the 'friendship' between the group and the villian is established during a quest where the group is doing some sort of job for him, of course, with a certain lack of information and 'truth' about their mission. Nobody likes to be lied to and betrayed. This works perfectly.

3) He should be someone who has a certain reputation, maybe a royal man, handsome, young and beloved by many women yet and arrogant, snobbish a&!~!~%.

4) He should be meddling in all sorts of area; he has connections to the government, friends in all areas of life and is someone who is hard to grasp. It ain't any hard job to bring down a well-known murderer but it is very tough to deal with a person who is beloved by many and 'appears' to be within the boundary of law.

5) Give hints of his action. I think a good villian is a villian who might be pushed back and who's actions and plans might be sabotaged by the group, but in the end, the group will have a hard time to actually bring him down. Just think of all the villians from Marvel comics and such - the heroes might deafeat them but this doesn't mean that they're ever finally 'defeated'. I would remeber the group that they have pissed of serveral powerful men; maybe they see a banner of the villian, in a letter his name is mentioned and such. He doesn't even has to appear in order to be a pain in the ass.

This is at least MY favourite sort of villian. Someone you know who's doing evil but then again, you just can't get your hands on him. Maybe a politican, a judge or a rich, noble man. Personally, I'm no fan of 'fantasy' villians such as Lichs and such because at least I cannot really connect to that. I expect a Lich to be evil and that won't be a great deal for my.

I would really consider what upsets the PLAYERS. From my observations, what upsets many people is when the villian is doing something which is morally wrong but legal.

Lets take the slavery as an example, the treament of black people during the course of the US history. It is something nowadays would consider utterly wrong - yet again, it was legal for a long time and when you nowadays see movies dealing with that topic, you'll often have a hard time to sit still in your chair.
Another example would be where someone actually did something evil and the group knows that but still, they have to keep it secret for be bigger good. Maybe the current king is actually a fraud but what should the group do: tell everyone about his true origin and risk civil war as they dethrone the current king - or should they keep this secret, even though they know its wrong. And obviously, the king would brag about that in front of them!

Or, even more easy: watch Game of Thrones and pay attention to Joffrey and just ask yourself again and again, "What makes this brat such a great a%%~%&&?". Joffrey is just this sort of villian I love; powerful, arrogant and you just can't get your hands on him because he isn't just some sort of slaver or murderer but someone up the upper 1000s.


Hit them where it hurts, and make it personal.

Thats right snap the fighters prize weapon. Burn the mage's spell book and kill his/her familar. Rob the thief blind. Profane the cleric's alter. Kill/maim the PC's family members.

Bare in mind that thies are all considered d!@& moves!


Ishpumalibu wrote:
TimD I think your body jumper idea could probably work, if not just for the fact it will be so hard just to actually get to the enemy.

One of my most popular villains was inspired by the 1990s Michael Fox movie "The Frighteners". (Actually a fine little movie, poorly publicized and much neglected.) The idea was, the ghost of an evil assassin was trapped inside a knife. Eventually, the knife was picked up by an ugly, bitter woman... who happened to have latent sorcerous powers. The sorceress and the ghost teamed up, as the ghost set out to get revenge on the *many* people around the city involved in his death.

The ghost was an assassin with sky-high Stealth /and/ the ability to body-hop. He liked toying with the PCs and mocking them. The sorceress (who nobody knew was a sorceress) tended to lurk around nearby to help him out in a pinch. The two of them gave my poor PCs conniption fits, but they were memorable opponents!

Doug M.

Andoran

Attack their pride.

Have them attack the BBEG while they are still low to medium level. Have him just wipe the floor with them. Have him walk away while they are lying around bleeding from their wounds while stating that he has more important things to do than teach incompetent adventurers their proper place.

He might also threaten them to come back one day and kill all of them (and their loved ones) if he ever feels like it.

My party has invested a lot of resources in foiling the specific powers of the BBEG that did this to us. When he comes back, we will be ready.


Frighteners was cool. I remember that. For it's time it has great sfx.


Whisperknives wrote:
Third Mind wrote:
Though, with my last suggestion, you'll probably want to space out the prank events a bit so as to not overly annoy the players.

Not sure if pranks are the way to go, that is more toward the annoying villain side and away from the respected villain side.

More like rob them blind and make them look bad doing it, or you could just frame them for a crime, that way their rep is ruined and they lose stuff.

Steal one of their coin purses and dont let them catch thye guy.

They'll destroy your world trying to get revenge.


Recurring villains that they cant kill for whatever reason: noble connections-raw power etc. That is smarter than them and a real douchebag about how dumb they are. Always one step ahead gives great monologue and shows up again even after you've killed him because the guy they got was a decoy. Also give him memorable henchmen with unique twists


The guy who always escapes.

I think I might go with a foe who is designed to annoy them to death.

Gayblade the Bold, a Bard who specializes in escapes, character assassination, and convincing others to do his dirty work.

I can see him now, dressed like a musketeer from The Three Musketeers, reddish blonde hair with drooping handlebar moustache. He's got a +1 Flaming Rapier and a perfumed handkerchief. And a lute he is quite good with.

He never fights when he can run, and he always makes sure he can run. Douchebaggery, framing others for his many crimes, it's all in a day's work.

Cugel the Clever would be proud of him.

Shadow Lodge

Something I've been doing is giving each player a Rival. Each Rival is tied in with the character backstory, and it really brings out good roleplaying and character development, as well as the addition of some great NPCs. I highly recommend it!

(I wrote up something about it here)

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:
Yep. Way to make PCs HATE a villain is for him to escape them, even once.

Or even make him someone they CAN'T kill with impunity. The examples above of authority figures are good illustrations of this. It makes it all the more satisfying when the PCs circumvent whatever protection the BBEG has and can finally bring him to justice, frontier or otherwise.


Great ideas guys! I really like the stealing items from then, in fact this would give me the chance to use the chase mechanics! Since the pc's can fly it might make it less challenging though. Unless I can make the bad guy go in a cramped area, or underground or something...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I recommend not making a villain until your heroes are a little more powerful. I enjoy playing the villain quite a bit, and there isn't much more evil you can do than with a powerful lawful evil enchanter. You can cause so much damage to anything the players do. Geas their npc friends to fight them to the death.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Algodor wrote:
I recommend not making a villain until your heroes are a little more powerful.

Oh, I don't know about that. Some of the best villains are on screen from Act One. They don't have to be directly interacting with the PCs, but their actions could be on display. My favorite example is Kefka from Final Fantasy VI.

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