Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Villain Codex (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Villain Codex (PFRPG)
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Miscreants and Malefactors

Villains are at the heart of every great adventure—scheming, plotting, and causing mayhem—but creating a convincing and detailed group of antagonists is no easy task. Pathfinder RPG Villain Codex serves up 20 groups of vile miscreants waiting to menace your player characters and foil their every plan. Inside this time-saving tome, you will find a wide variety of foes, from a scheming regal court to a sinister doomsday cult, ready to challenge characters of any level. These villains come equipped with a host of new rules elements to give them the edge against players and fit into nearly any campaign!

Villain Codex is an essential addition to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This imaginative tabletop game builds on more than 15 years of system development and an open playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Villain Codex includes:

  • Complete sections for 20 villainous organizations, including a power- hungry arcane society, a greedy merchant caravan, a fleet of scandalous pirates, a creepy secret society, and a wily thieves’ guild. Trade blows with the serpentfolk-worshiping monks of Fang Monastery, match wits with the sly bandits of the Merry Outlaws, or defend civilization from the wild druids of Nature’s Scourge!
  • Information on each organization’s history and structure, along with plot hooks to get the players interested in confronting the group.
  • New rules in each villain section, including feats, spells, and magic items.
  • A wide variety of new stat blocks for all organization members, using each villain section’s new rules.
  • Premade encounter groups, allowing Game Masters to quickly make use of the villains in every section.
  • ... And much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-906-6

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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Another "must have" book?

4/5

I have all the stat-block books of the RPG line (except from Bestiary 6 =/ ). They are a must to me, as I don't want to expend my time creating foes again and again, and when I do create them, its good to have some examples.

There are dozens of NPCs in this book, with all sort of different classes (from hybrid classes to occult classes, or just the classic ones as well).While the classic NPC Codex arranged the many characters in it by "character class", this one arranges them by "Organization". The characters are all built to suit a sort of villainous theme, from evil cultists to secret society members to vile arcane scholars to evil druids. There are even pirates and thieves!

Villain codex has new gears, new spells, and some other options - the NPC Codex doesn't. These options to customize the villainous NPCs are also arranged by "Organization". You can also easily rearrange the members of the many Organizations to make new organizations, and the book gives some guidance on how to do this. Like this, you can use this book to insert many different foes in your campaigns "on the fly" (they are all ready-to-go NPCs, just like the NPC codex). Its ease to change their race, some class options, and the flavor, so you can adapt them to any setting or adventure.

Concluding:

The main point of the Villain Codex is, as with any "stat-block" book (Bestiary, NPC Codex, Monster Codex), to provide GMs with characters that are ready to be used on the table. There are some of options that can be used by players as well. You can somehow look at the characters in it to see how you would build your own Villainous NPCs, or maybe player can look at them and see how they would develop their characters class build.

Many are the ways you can use this book. I have it, and I use it all the time.

Unfortunately, I will be taking one star out of the five I wanted to give this book, as I believe we could get more high CR/level villains, to use as really powerful main antagonists in our campaigns. The most powerful ones in the book are CR 14... Powerful, but not so powerful.


Villain Codex should be called NPC Codex II! Indispensable for GMs.

5/5

When I first picked up the NPC Codex, I thought it would be what the Villain Codex would eventually become. Conversely, when I picked up the Villain Codex, I thought it would be what the NPC Codex was. Fortunately, both are great books and I may even prefer the Villain Codex as a GM, as it gives us a great selection of generic NPCs that will pop up in a variety of scenarios.

Combine this with the NPC selection of the Gamemastery Guide and your GM will have everything they need to bring the NPC faces of their campaign world to life. This book belongs on every Dungeon Master's shelf.

Indispensable.


Great book

5/5

As a GM, love it. Good fights to throw at your players abound, and there are even a few new feats / items that may come in handy for players too.


Not bad but was hoping for more

4/5

This book is not the best put out by Paizo as far as utility goes but it’s also far from the worst. To start with this book is essentially really a DM only book. The format is near identical to the Monster codex which is nice because it’s a familiar format. There are some new magic items and spells and feats and so on but ultimately they are of little use to players and especially little use to good aligned player character. The book is broken up into factions the first page of each faction tells you basically their backstory and evil mo. Then there are about 5-7 pages of “villains” who are part of this faction there are 2 per page and this is sort of where my issue with the book comes in. These NPC villains have no life in them, they have no flavor text about the villain and what makes them tick. This has come up with me a few times in the past especially with bestiary 5. I like the flavor text because it gets the imagination going and helps with coming up with some creative stories or encounters. My example is the Wyrwood in bestiary 4. The description of that monster alone is enough to set the mind racing with ideas for entire campaigns, societies, villains and heroes all from a description that is 2 short paragraphs. This is just lifeless stats over pages and while they are fine for what they are it over all takes away from the book as a whole to me. Also each entry does not have its own image to go along with it. I hope that they remedy this with the pawn set which is supposed to be coming out but I will be making sure I look out for a review on that before purchase I can promise that. I will say that some of the evil organizations are very interesting and things that really you could build entire adventures around and there are handy adventure hooks in the book as well to this effect. Finally at the back of the book are about 2 dozen more organizations with small paragraph descriptions of how they function just to give you some more food for thought which I did appreciate. The art that is present in the book as always is beautiful and that is one of the best things about the pathfinder books. They have the best art of any RPG out there.


A Fun Toybox With a Few Flaws

4/5

And make no mistake, this, like many of the "Codex" line of RPG books, is a big ol' toybox. It seriously feels like dumping out a massive bin of old-school mix-and-match action figures onto the floor and playing Knights vs. Spacemen, or Cops & Cowboys. This is one of the best possible reasons to buy this book.
The groups are all either tried-and-tested fantasy tropes like the mercenary gang, doomsday cultists, douchebag guards, brutal slavors, or tribe of barbarians, possess that flare for reinventing classic fantasy stories that Paizo is so well known for such as the regal court or merry outlaws, or a mix of both, such as the Demon Knights and Death Cult. Want the evil queen from Snow White? They got that. Ever wondered what it would be like if Robin Hood were a jerk? They got that. Felt like tossing in some generic snake-themed ninja bad-guys for that 80's action flick feel? They got that.

That having been said, the book isn't perfect. There are two main issues with the book, though I admit that one of them is simply a matter of taste and may not be an issue at all. Firstly, whoever contributed to this book really, really, really loves rangers. Seriously they're everywhere. I understand that they are a fairly easy class to adapt to many villainous roles such as slavor, merc, cultist, tracker, assassin, etc, but it would have been nice to see more variety. Secondly, the book is missing some essential information when it comes to the goodies you can take from it. As an example, the book presents a very fun and flavorful new oracle mystery, but totally misses writing in the final revelation for that mystery, which will hopefully be fixed with the book's second printing.

Over all, aside from some small gripes and editing issues this book is great. At least half the fun of these sorts of books is reading about the plot hooks and suggestions for the various villains, and Villain Codex does not disappoint in this regard. As always, the ten dollar price tag for the PDF makes it an even more attractive option as well. This is a definite must-buy for those who like compilation books, are like me and get slightly lazy when it comes to building NPCs, or just want some springboards for generating minor and major story arcs.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

Two-Weapon Grace, p.224:

This feat allows Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace and Starry Grace to work with TWF. It even grants half dex mod to dmg with the off-hand. Was the intent to also allow Precise Strike swashbuckler ability? My opinion is yes, as this is clearly a swashbuckler oriented feat so all deeds should work with it, but I'm not sure my opinion is in accordance to the RAW.

I'm worried that the feat cuts off access to Precise Strike, which is one of the main swashbuckler deed.

You add what the feat says, which does not include precise strike. Precise strike is a damage fixer for the low damage of the single-handed fighting style, so ideally we will never publish something to use it with other styles that already do higher damage like two-weapon fighting, archery, etc.
Funny. Just last week a feat was released that allows precise strike with two handed glaives :)
Hence "ideally"; there was also almost an archetype that added it to bows a while back.

Oh, my! Archery + Precise Strike would be really effective.


Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see a Allies Codex someday

I thought that was what the NPC Codex was for...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see a Allies Codex someday

Well, Paizo is doing that hardcover 'Adventurer's Guide'.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Well, Paizo is doing that hardcover 'Adventurer's Guide'.

That's a book for Golarion-Faction themed character options, not a book of NPC's.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see a Allies Codex someday
I thought that was what the NPC Codex was for...

One of the key differences is having a theme to the group that makes certain concepts work way better. For example, pulling one or two of the Demon Knights out of context just makes them kind of weird NPCs, but having each of them together in a group makes for a cool organization (or at least I think it does).

Having a Bright Crusade, or Wizard's Guild, or Temple of Light would make for a cool and thematic set of linked NPCs. Such a book could be very neat, and provide another source of NPC stat blocks that can either act as allies or be easily inserted into adventures when a stat block doesn't make sense to include but could be useful.

Liberty's Edge

Eric "Boxhead" Hindley wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
I'd like to see a Allies Codex someday
I thought that was what the NPC Codex was for...

One of the key differences is having a theme to the group that makes certain concepts work way better. For example, pulling one or two of the Demon Knights out of context just makes them kind of weird NPCs, but having each of them together in a group makes for a cool organization (or at least I think it does).

Having a Bright Crusade, or Wizard's Guild, or Temple of Light would make for a cool and thematic set of linked NPCs. Such a book could be very neat, and provide another source of NPC stat blocks that can either act as allies or be easily inserted into adventures when a stat block doesn't make sense to include but could be useful.

This.

Shadow Lodge

doc the grey wrote:

Crap, how did I not notice the final revelation for the Ascetic was missing?

Anyways I have other questions.

1.) How is the Vile Admiral getting all of this bonuses with the Cutlass? It's a slashing weapon and doesn't get any of his finesse bonuses from swashbucklers finesse, he lacks Slashing grace, and even if he had said feat it only works while wielding the weapon one handed. Am I missing something?

2.) The Cad in Secret Society can't wear heavy armor and lacks a feat to return his proficiency, so either his atk needs to be +11/+5 or their armor needs to be changed. Also, how does he and the Rake have 22 STR and 22 DEX respectively without having an enhanced stat array? Is this supposed to be the potions from before combat factored in and if so why isn't there a before buffs listing like with every other character like the barbarians, the experimenter, or the eminent spellqueen?

3.) How does the halfling rogue Guttersnipe have a 30ft. movement speed? The build doesn't list any changes such as whether it has fleet of foot or not so I'm wondering if that's something that is just unlisted now? Also, with an STR of 6 & a chain shirt + mwk rapier he should be booking it at 20 ft and be encumbered.

Aside: If the guttersnipe is supposed to be masquerading as a homeless woman how the hell do they conceal that rapier? Wouldn't a dagger or something smaller be much less conspicuous?


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
doc the grey wrote:
doc the grey wrote:

Crap, how did I not notice the final revelation for the Ascetic was missing?

Anyways I have other questions.

1.) How is the Vile Admiral getting all of this bonuses with the Cutlass? It's a slashing weapon and doesn't get any of his finesse bonuses from swashbucklers finesse, he lacks Slashing grace, and even if he had said feat it only works while wielding the weapon one handed. Am I missing something?

2.) The Cad in Secret Society can't wear heavy armor and lacks a feat to return his proficiency, so either his atk needs to be +11/+5 or their armor needs to be changed. Also, how does he and the Rake have 22 STR and 22 DEX respectively without having an enhanced stat array? Is this supposed to be the potions from before combat factored in and if so why isn't there a before buffs listing like with every other character like the barbarians, the experimenter, or the eminent spellqueen?

3.) How does the halfling rogue Guttersnipe have a 30ft. movement speed? The build doesn't list any changes such as whether it has fleet of foot or not so I'm wondering if that's something that is just unlisted now? Also, with an STR of 6 & a chain shirt + mwk rapier he should be booking it at 20 ft and be encumbered.

Aside: If the guttersnipe is supposed to be masquerading as a homeless woman how the hell do they conceal that rapier? Wouldn't a dagger or something smaller be much less conspicuous?

Small character with 6 Strength's carrying capacity is 15 lbs., a rapier for Small characters is 1 lb., and a chain shirt for Small characters is 12 1/2 lbs., so just those two should still be under? Even tossing in a Small sized peasant's outfit, that would only be half a pound, though I'm just going off what you said rather than with the book in my hands.

Shadow Lodge

Luthorne wrote:
doc the grey wrote:
doc the grey wrote:

Crap, how did I not notice the final revelation for the Ascetic was missing?

Anyways I have other questions.

1.) How is the Vile Admiral getting all of this bonuses with the Cutlass? It's a slashing weapon and doesn't get any of his finesse bonuses from swashbucklers finesse, he lacks Slashing grace, and even if he had said feat it only works while wielding the weapon one handed. Am I missing something?

2.) The Cad in Secret Society can't wear heavy armor and lacks a feat to return his proficiency, so either his atk needs to be +11/+5 or their armor needs to be changed. Also, how does he and the Rake have 22 STR and 22 DEX respectively without having an enhanced stat array? Is this supposed to be the potions from before combat factored in and if so why isn't there a before buffs listing like with every other character like the barbarians, the experimenter, or the eminent spellqueen?

3.) How does the halfling rogue Guttersnipe have a 30ft. movement speed? The build doesn't list any changes such as whether it has fleet of foot or not so I'm wondering if that's something that is just unlisted now? Also, with an STR of 6 & a chain shirt + mwk rapier he should be booking it at 20 ft and be encumbered.

Aside: If the guttersnipe is supposed to be masquerading as a homeless woman how the hell do they conceal that rapier? Wouldn't a dagger or something smaller be much less conspicuous?

Small character with 6 Strength's carrying capacity is 15 lbs., a rapier for Small characters is 1 lb., and a chain shirt for Small characters is 12 1/2 lbs., so just those two should still be under? Even tossing in a Small sized peasant's outfit, that would only be half a pound, though I'm just going off what you said rather than with the book in my hands.

*peruses book and checks math again*

You are correct ^-^. Also, the Guttersnipe seems to be wearing a mithral chain shirt, which drops the weight considerably so the character seems legit.

That said, the mithral chain shirt and the masterwork rapier make the image of them pretending to be beggars as the books says seem even more off. Like, I have no idea who's going to think this dudes homeless and broke with that sword the size of a cat tucked up in his cloak.

Sovereign Court

Mark Seifter wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

Two-Weapon Grace, p.224:

This feat allows Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace and Starry Grace to work with TWF. It even grants half dex mod to dmg with the off-hand. Was the intent to also allow Precise Strike swashbuckler ability? My opinion is yes, as this is clearly a swashbuckler oriented feat so all deeds should work with it, but I'm not sure my opinion is in accordance to the RAW.

I'm worried that the feat cuts off access to Precise Strike, which is one of the main swashbuckler deed.

You add what the feat says, which does not include precise strike. Precise strike is a damage fixer for the low damage of the single-handed fighting style, so ideally we will never publish something to use it with other styles that already do higher damage like two-weapon fighting, archery, etc.
Funny. Just last week a feat was released that allows precise strike with two handed glaives :)
Hence "ideally"; there was also almost an archetype that added it to bows a while back.

Mark, what do you think of this 'FABIO style' I just thought of in another thread? ;)

STR-based swashbuckler, with long luxurious hair, billowing shirt and oiled muscles, and uses glaive with: Weapon Focus (glaive), Power Attack, Weapon Specialization (glaive), Bladed Brush (for the sweet Precise Strike damage) THAT way, I can get: (not counting magical stuff)

FABIO STYLE: glaive dmg + STR*1.5 (two-handed weapon) + 9dmg from Power Attack at 8th + 8dmg from Precise Strike + 2dmg Weapon Specialization
= glaive dmg + STR*1.5 + 19

...not bad, considering you now also have some other feats to play with as you haven't gone the dex dmg tax way.

NOW, are there *any* ways to swap out the free weapon finesse from the first level of swashbuckler? (archetype? retraining?) :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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doc the grey wrote:

*peruses book and checks math again*

You are correct ^-^. Also, the Guttersnipe seems to be wearing a mithral chain shirt, which drops the weight considerably so the character seems legit.

That said, the mithral chain shirt and the masterwork rapier make the image of them pretending to be beggars as the books says seem even more off. Like, I have no idea who's going to think this dudes homeless and broke with that sword the size of a cat tucked up in his cloak.

I believe one of the longstanding factors of mithral is that it is thin and light enough you can wear clothing over it (see Lord of the Rings).

While there's no written rule for it, rapiers can conceivably be concealed in an adequately long enough cloak, especially as the blades are possibly flexible and definitely very narrow. As a GM I'd allow it with a -4 Penalty to the Sleight of Hand check (which effectively becomes a -2 after the baggy clothing bonus is applied, and I wouldn't allow it unless large/drapey/baggy clothing was involved).

Also, it could be that the designer forgot that rapiers are not actual light weapons, which all can be concealed according to the rules with Sleight of Hand--they just work like them as regards Weapon Finesse. If you're not willing to handwave as above but you want to use the stats, just switch the rapier to a short sword, which can be concealed since it's a light weapon (it's a good few inches shorter than a rapier and could be hidden by a well draped cloak or wrap).

Sovereign Court

Mark Seifter wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

Two-Weapon Grace, p.224:

This feat allows Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace and Starry Grace to work with TWF. It even grants half dex mod to dmg with the off-hand. Was the intent to also allow Precise Strike swashbuckler ability? My opinion is yes, as this is clearly a swashbuckler oriented feat so all deeds should work with it, but I'm not sure my opinion is in accordance to the RAW.

I'm worried that the feat cuts off access to Precise Strike, which is one of the main swashbuckler deed.

You add what the feat says, which does not include precise strike. Precise strike is a damage fixer for the low damage of the single-handed fighting style, so ideally we will never publish something to use it with other styles that already do higher damage like two-weapon fighting, archery, etc.

Thanks for the answer Mark! Quick follow up: does Two-Weapon Grace (TWG) allow for the use of Two-Weapon Rend (TWR) using DEX*1.5 instead of STR*1.5? (noticed that TWG helps you qualify for TWR, but TWG is about granting DEX dmg to things, yet TWR is tied to STR)

Thank you!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Alex Mack wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

Two-Weapon Grace, p.224:

This feat allows Fencing Grace, Slashing Grace and Starry Grace to work with TWF. It even grants half dex mod to dmg with the off-hand. Was the intent to also allow Precise Strike swashbuckler ability? My opinion is yes, as this is clearly a swashbuckler oriented feat so all deeds should work with it, but I'm not sure my opinion is in accordance to the RAW.

I'm worried that the feat cuts off access to Precise Strike, which is one of the main swashbuckler deed.

You add what the feat says, which does not include precise strike. Precise strike is a damage fixer for the low damage of the single-handed fighting style, so ideally we will never publish something to use it with other styles that already do higher damage like two-weapon fighting, archery, etc.
Funny. Just last week a feat was released that allows precise strike with two handed glaives :)
Hence "ideally"; there was also almost an archetype that added it to bows a while back.

I sense the Crane Style treatment in Bladed Brush's future.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

I'm curious why appearance of life from Horror Adventures has the [evil] descriptor, but appearance of life, greater from Villain Codex does not.

Also, why don't the outbreak or virulent miasma spells have the [disease] descriptor?


So, I'm slowly reading through this amongst other things.

Does anyone else think that the spellmaster (page 12) looks like Noomi Rapace as Lizbet Salander and the shadowcaster (page 84) look like David Tennant, or is it just me?

Silver Crusade

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Oh, man! I was paging through a friend's copy of this the other day, and I am filled with a manic urge to stick the Regal Court in a River Kingdom somewhere, have the Cruel Musketeers in their logical position relative to it, the Corrupt Guards as the city watch, either the Merry Outlaws or the Ruthless Brigands (or both, competing!) in the woods around, the obligatory thieves' guild, and set up a scenario where some major player therein makes a move that disrupts the delicate balance between them and just let the PCs do what they will about the results.

Of course, that would probably end badly; I find players rarely do well with a true open scenario that doesn't have a side that they're predetermined to come down on. :P My local store says the book is out of stock; when is that expected to change?


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Now we need Inner Sea Villain Codex in the campaign setting line.


I like this book. The villain group pose lots a great ideas. However, I note that for most of these groups, even the mooks start with three or four levels in a PC class. If I'm building my evil organization, I would combine the creatures in here with critters from the NPC Codex.

Designer

pennywit wrote:
I like this book. The villain group pose lots a great ideas. However, I note that for most of these groups, even the mooks start with three or four levels in a PC class. If I'm building my evil organization, I would combine the creatures in here with critters from the NPC Codex.

You probably want to either blend those in (and some of the sample encounters do so as well) or use some of the weaker organizations as fodder / a front for the stronger ones.


Why does the Mad Seeress on page 183 have no ranks in Spellcraft?

Her archetype is largely concerned with counterspelling, but as far as I can tell, she is not capable of identifying a spell during her readied action to counterspell.

Dark Archive

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So I just today learned that setting generic Secret Society faction from this book got canonized in 2e :D Do you think some of the other factions might be potential to make it? The secret society was most unique of them yeah, but I have soft spot for quite lot of them

Which ones you would like to see canonized in Lost Omen settings if the possibility existed? :3 I've always wanted to use factions from this book but I haven't had opportunity since I mostly run aps rather than setting generic games

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