I request your advice in portraying my first, real villain character


Warning: this thread is about a character for a Way of the Wicked Campaign. However, I do not wish to have the campaign spoiled. Thank you.

A GM of mine has started a Way of the Wicked campaign. We're 4 players, with a 5th, seemingly on the way.

I come to the Advice board today, seeking your input in portraying my character. I'll start by presenting the character, and then I'll be more precise about the advice I seek.

NOTE: The background describes the zealots of Talingarde as Iomedae worshippers, rather than Mitra worshippers. This is because the GM runs Talingarde as an island west of Avistan.

Melkor, statblock:

Male human Cleric of Asmodeus 1
LE medium humanoid
Init -1 Senses Perception +6
Languages Taldane, Infernal, Elven, Draconic
AC 9, touch 9, flat-footed/ 10 (-1 dex)
HP 11 (1HD+3)
Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +7
Defensive Abilities -
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee unarmed strike +3 (1d3+3)

Ranged -
Special Attacks Channel Negative Energy (30ft burst; DC 13; 1d6 dmg) 5/day
Spells Prepared (CL 1; Concentration +6)
1st – Sanctuary (DC 16), Charm Person (DC 18)(2), Murderous Command(DC 18),
0 - Create Water, Detect Magic, Enhanced Diplomacy
Abilities Str 16 (+3), Dex 8 (-1), Con 16 (+3), Int 16 (+3), Wis 20 (+5), Cha 15 (+2)
Base Atk +0; CMB +3; CMD 12
Traits Sacred Conduit, Consorting with the Dark Powers, Veteran Forest Guide, Pride(Drawback)
Feats Arisen(Story Feat), Selective channeling,
Skills Appraise, Craft, Diplomacy +6, Heal, Knowledge (Arcana) +8, Knowledge (History) +7, Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Planes) +8, Knowledge (Religion) +7, Linguistics, Perception +10, Profession, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +7, Survival +7.
SQ Aura (Evil), Channel negative energy (DC 13;1d6), Domain(Evil-Devil; Law-Slavery)
Combat Gear Other Gear Gear not carried
Encumbrance light 76 lbs. medium 153 lbs. heavy 230 lbs. Weight Carried 0 lbs.
Domain spells (Evil:Devil; Law:Slavery): 1st – Command, Charm Person; 2nd – Align weapon (Law/Evil); 3rd – Suggestion, Magic Circle against Chaos; 4th – Order’s Wrath, Unholy Blight; 5th – Dispel Good, Dominate Person; 6th – Hold Monster, Planar Binding; 7th – Blasphemy, Dictum; 8th – Unholy Aura, Shield of Law; 9th – Summon Monster IX (Law/Evil);
Hell’s Corruption(Su): You can cause a creature to become more susceptible to corruption as a melee touch attack. Creatures touched take a –2 penalty on all saving throws and must roll all opposed skill checks twice, taking the worse result. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your cleric level (minimum 1). You can use this ability for a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Touch of Law(Sp): You can touch a willing creature as a standard action, infusing it with the power of divine order and allowing it to treat all attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and saving throws for 1 round as if the natural d20 roll resulted in an 11. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Scythe of Evil(Su): At 8th level, you can give a weapon touched the unholy special weapon quality for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your cleric level. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level, and an additional time per day for every four levels beyond 8th.
Master’s Yoke(Su): At 8th level you can attempt to assert your dominance over any visible creature within 30 feet by declaring the target your property. The target can resist this effect with a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Wisdom modifier). If the target fails the save, it is affected as if by dominate monster for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your cleric level, save that the target can choose to ignore any order you give and instead take 2 points of Constitution damage and become staggered for 1 round. You can use this ability once per day at 8th level, and an additional time per day for every four levels beyond 8th. This is a language-based mind-affecting effect.
Put to Purpose(Arisen Story Feat, Changed): While returning you from the dead, your god filled you with dark purpose and malice. His words still echo in your head “Dominate, Subjugate, Command”. Benefit - The DC of your mind-affecting and compulsion spells increase by +2. Goal: You meet in person and hear the words of your deity. Completion: You gain a +2 bonus on saves vs Death effects and Fear effects, in addition the DC and dmg of your channel energy ability increase by 2;

Melkor, Character summary:
Concept: Power-Hungry megalomaniac and Asmodeus worshipper, in a holy land. Affably Evil trope.

Personality: He is well-mannered, well-spoken, pleasant company, and unscrupulously, unappologetically evil. He does not consider what he does wrong, and has only the vaguest respect for the moral counterargument to his behavior. He’s driven and ambitious, but not foolhardy, and he’s generally not good at taking chances, without some form of insurance. He’s thorough and very devoted to his gods, and while he obviously prefers calculated action, he won’t shy away from brute-force solutions, if they seem likely to succeed; especially if he gets a chance to showcase the superiority of his god, in doing so. With that said, he can be quite petty, jealous, and greedy, and holds very long grudges.

Motivation: “My god is all powerful, and by extension, so am I. I am better than those I behold, and unless I act with uncharacteristic stupidity, I will overcome them, and subjugate any I please. With my superior mind and the might of my god, I will take what I please, and control the rest. And when I possess everything, and when I am finished enjoying it, I will offer it all up to Asmodeus; and he will reward me with even more.” – Melkor

Melkor, Background - made with the Ultimate Campaign BG tool:

“Melkor Whitewalker!...” “It’s Melkor” “…Melkor, you stand accused of devil-worship, blasphemy, attacks on holy mother church, sedition, heresy, war-crimes against the kingdom of Talingarde and its people, and of consorting with dark and terrible beings! You are sentenced to be burned at the stake for your crimes against humanity and this kingdom, so decrees the court! Do you have anything to say?” “…The sentence of a court is meaningless, if they cannot enforce it” “Get him out of here!”

28 years ago, the zealots of Iomedae made the final charge against the non-believers of Talingarde, dealing the decisive blow against the Asmodean cult, and putting the last of the heretics to the sword. Or so they thought. The events that followed are too numerous to fully describe here, but the events that transpired with respects to a certain family is not.

Tharyn and Isha Whitewalker were Knights of the Aleriun, and both raised swords in their goddess’ name during the religious cleansing of Talingarde. Little did they realize that their great valour and tireless pursuit of righteousness, put them in the gaze of creatures beyond their understanding. When the family was graced with childbirth, Isha Whitewalker gave birth to twins: Melkor and Castiel Whitewalker. But as the mother held the children in her arms for the very first time, an angel of the celestial realms appeared. It told the whitewalkers that their valorous service, and self-sacrifice had not gone unnoticed, and that their children would live happy, fruitful lives. At this, the angel laid his hand upon the secondborn, Castiel, but before he could touch the firstborn, a devil of Hell appeared. The angel raised his fiery sword, but the danger of hurting the children was too great. The devil said that the Whitewalkers had indeed not gone unnoticed, and that by the powers of hell, their children would work to destroy what they had fought to create. The devil touched hand upon the children, but its vile influence could not taint the holy radiance on Castiel. Melkor however, was tainted by the touch of the devil, and was prophesized to carry the banner of Asmodeus’ black crusade, back into Talingarde. At this, the devil vanished, and the Whitewalkers wept for their firstborn child. The angel told them, that they had to watch their children carefully, for the eyes of hell were on them, and that they must never know of the dark fate that had touched the family.

At the age of 14, both twins were the older brothers of 4 younger siblings: Zhayelle of 11, Thurel of 10, Vynia of 7, and Flora of 4. The Whitewalkers were a happy family, and none of its members were as close as Castiel and Melkor, despite their eternal feuding. One wintermorning, the twins snuck outside, in the early hours, to watch the deer across the river from where they lived. Only Melkor was not satisfied, and tried approaching the deer, despite his brother’s warnings. But as he neared the middle of the frozen river, the ice gave way, and Melkor fell into the icy blackness. And there, alone in the darkness, his body screaming against the burning cold of the winter-waters, Melkor Whitewalker died, and his body was carried downstream, beneath the sheet of ice.

Understandably, his parents were both overjoyed, and quite disturbed, when their soaked and freezing firstborn, knocked on the door again, that very same evening. He was sick for the longest time, but eventually, he regained his strength and was able to get out of bed again. Only something had changed. Melkor Whitewalker had drowned in the river, that wintermorning, and only Melkor had come back. He became distant, avoiding the company of his siblings, and began speaking out against his father. The parents had their fears, but they could never begin to guess what the child was feeling, or fathom the power and malice of the disembodied voice, that had pulled their son from the Darklands, and thrown him on the riverbank a mile downstream. For no uninitiated mortal can fathom the words of Asmodeus, or the vile purpose they sow in the hearts of his chosen.

Melkor started having nightmares, every night, and no herbal cure or divine ministration would put it to rest. Darkness crept over him, and in the late hours, when it was just him and the voices, a vile purpose was awoken in the child of the Whitewalkers. As a student, Melkor was brilliant, he was strong, and healthy, but his isolationist ways worried his parents, who finally saw no alternative. They sent him off to the Abbey of 4 valleys, praying that the holy power of Iomedae would cure him from whatever was festering in him. It did not. The young man’s malice was boundless, and although he grew to become both well-mannered and socialable, shedding his isolationist ways from one day to the next, he had nothing but scorn for the Abbey and its ways, preferring to immerse himself in ancient documents and the gardens, and completely neglecting any holy duties. One fateful night, Melkor, now a man of 20, left the Abbey of 4 winds, sneaking out in the dark of night, and disappearing into the wilderness.

Chasing a vision of dark and magnificent purpose, Melkor traversed the mountains, entering the wildlands of Caer Bryn. There he found an ancient temple, overgrown and abandonned, dedicated to the Dark Prince. Here Melkor came into contact with Avaxiel, a bonedevil trapped in the writings of the temple. After learning what he could, Melkor struck a deal with the fiend, and in return for its freedom, Melkor grew in both power and knowledge, gaining understanding of things vile and terrible, and with a rusty iron pentagram found in the temple, Melkor would wield the dark powers of Asmodeus.

As a cleric of Asmodeus, he walked the forests of Caer Bryn, showing himself to the woodsmen of the barbarian tribes, greenskins and beastpeople of the forest. With the aid of Avaxiel he tricked and manipulated first a few creatures, cultivating rumours until his mere presence would instill silence in the folk of the woods. He then began expanding his influence over them, influencing the mind of leaders, and empowering them to subjugate their enemies, through the miracles of Asmodeus. Spoiled food would turn good, polluted water would turn pristine, by the powers of the Dark Prince, one tribe would get the benefit over another, with the leaders of the tribes under the influence of Melkor, they rose in strength above their enemies, and many tribes joined the fold. Finally, Melkor put them to his purpose, using his puppet soldiers to raid villages in the heartlands, and desecrate holy places and shrines to Iomedae the commoner-goddess.

But his plans were stopped early, by a decisive and sneaky attack from the inquisitors of Iomedae. After his disappearance, his family had prepared for the worst, enlisting the help of the witch-hunter Balin of Karfield. After years of tracking his movements, and gathering rumours of unsettling movements in the western wildlands, the crafty crusaders had prepared to strike fast against Melkor, who was not prepared to deal with the attack. Before he knew it, he was in irons, and on his way to Branderscar.

[i]“It will not end here”[i/] Melkor said to sir Balin as the gates of Branderscar began to close between them. [i]“This is just the beginning”[i/].

And that is basically Melkor. However, while I have a clear idea of what I want him to be, actually doing it, expressing it, is a different matter. What to do and not to do, how to speak and act? How to deal with a situation where I am firmly in control, and how to deal with a situation that is out of my control? Expressing megalomania, despite an affable personality. What plans to make, how to make them. How to properly play someone like this, when I undoubtedly face people who are superior to me in terms of power and personal strength? These things I find tricky. I believe I will grow into this character, as I play him, but I'd still appreciate the advice of this board. I have yet to be disappointed by the creativity of these boards, and so I ask for your own take on my character, and any helpful hints, tips, and tricks you could possibly spare my first real villain?

Thanks in advance


The first question is to ask the GM what the tone of the evil will be, and how mature the situations are going to get, and how the GM expects you to play them out.

Tone: As villains, are you guys expected to act more like the Caesar Romero Joker, or Heath Ledger Joker?

Mature content: As villains, acts of villainy are called for. Is your GM expecting you to be Skeletor or Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb?

How events play out: As an example, let's suppose during your career, you end up kidnapping someone. Do you:

A) Gloat maniacally and insert your captive into an elaborate yet entertaining deathtrap with the possibility of escape, a la Dr. Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery?


B) Maintain an air of mystery and confusion as you torture your victim in multiple ways, including but not limited to physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually, a la Ramsay Snow torturing Theon Greyjoy in A Game of Thrones?

Only after you talk to your GM and he sets the tone for the campaign will you be able to adequately choose your character's measured responses.

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Nice write up! I think you have done the hard work of considering motivations, history, and relationship with his god. The first thing I think is supremely calm and understated. The kind of calm that comes from such thorough confidence that he is in control of a given situation that there is no reason not to be at ease. You are the rock that the waves of lessers break themselves against. Not only are you just that good at everything you do, but you are also secure in the knowledge that you will stop at nothing to get what you want. You are an agent of order in that you make the rules that bring order... Your order. No need to try to be evil. You simply pursue your own ends without regard for anything but those ends.

You can be delightful, sincere, and charming when you are getting what you want or in pursuit of what you want. You just get what you want at whatever cost by whatever means. You might prefer means that are socially acceptable, if time and your mood allows, but sometimes you might prefer to be very direct and cut through pretense that there might be some other way than your way.

And woe to those that are present when you lose control, when you legitimately think that you might not get what you want. Then, you quickly and violently put things right. No fuss. Still calm, but vicious to the extreme.

Maybe examine several characters played by Gary Oldman.

We're going with a bit of a dark streak. The group has decided that there are very few limits to the level of depravity our characters are permitted to show, as long as we do not detract from the campaign and narrative.

Thanks for the compliment :)

Your suggestions are very much appreciated, and I agree that a good way to radiate being in absolute control, is to keep calm and understated. Thank you.

If I can ask, if you were to give 5 pieces of advice to this character, 5 pieces of advice to help him pursue his goals, what would it be? :)

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Everyone you meet is your tool to achieve some end, now or later. An anti paladin is a hammer who feels best hammering things. Help them hammer exactly what you want them to and everyone wins.

Don't expect others to be you, they can't possibly hope to live up to that. They will likely work towards some petty evils without focus and you should let them so long as it serves your ends.

The foundation of society is not the illusion of good and evil, but the structure of masters and servants. Being a master, support the structures of other masters, after all, one day you may take their place and you want a well run ship.

Don't try to be evil, just be you. You will be nice to common people. You will strike deals with masters of varying moral outlooks. You will be trustworthy and loyal. All of these things are tools to manifest your destiny, just like public displays of your displeasure, sending in the hounds of war, and twisting the words of a poorly conceived agreement.

Never forget that you are right. A divinity speaks through you because he knows you are right. Not everyoneis cut out to be a master and they know it. Be bold and act. Every bold focused action is the hammer shaping your destiny.

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Don't expect others to be you, they can't possibly hope to live up to that. They will likely work towards some petty evils without focus and you should let them so long as it serves your ends.

This, right here, IMO, is the core of any LE character.

They are always calm, always in control. They're better than everyone else, and they know it. Otherwise, how could they be so calm and in control among the lesser beings that roam the earth?

Especially in the case of the Asmodeus worshiper, they have seen the truth. They know what reality is really like, and what the correct path is going forward.

However, part of that understanding is an awareness that the lesser beings will never be up to your standards. Pity them, but don't hold contempt for them. Even unorganized, frivolous individuals can fill a space as a cog in the great machine of Asmodeus' will, and you can respect them for that, at least. As long as they remain useful to you. When that is no longer the case, perhaps they should be disposed of.

vazt has got it pretty well covered. my general advice is "dont be a dick unless warranted in some way, since being an eventual overlord with a 0% public approval rating breeds unrest and potential assassination plots", which he addressed.


as for advice on a "smart" CE character, rather than LE: look at the webcomic Darken: the MC is an antipaladin of asmodeus.

he's fairly controlled--if competitive and a bit impulsive, but gives enemies no quarter under any circumstances--you draw a weapon at him and you'd best expect someone to die. betrayals are dealt with immediately and permanently (usually by killing said betrayer), no second chances, no forgiveness. and when you get him angry, you'd be have either a quick way to appease him or a prepared teleport spell.

i find CE characters work best with a fixation of some sort that motivates them (generally this would be revenge, but anything works--you'd be surprised at how often noble goals can drive one to great acts of evil), that they work towards at every opportunity and will ride a wave of crushed skulls and shattered spines to reach it if necessary.

Speaking of overlords, read the Evil Overlord List. Take it to heart.

Rynjin wrote:
Speaking of overlords, read the Evil Overlord List. Take it to heart.

+1 to this. read the sublists for minions as well if you find the time.

Dark Archive

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Sound advice here.

Please remember not to take your suave, methodical brand of evil too far. It is one thing keeping an eye on the big picture, but if the whole party play the evil overlord style of debonair and sophisticated evil it can be dull too.

Remember, you are a horrible person. Your mental stats are astonishingly high so it may not apply to your character, but small acts of unpleasantness help. For instance, an NPC offers help and the evil chracter uses the advice and doesn't thank him. For an evil overlord, that may be a demonstration of power, but for most evil people (with less good Int and Wis scores) it is probably just becuase they are horrible, selfish people who don't consider the value in other people.

Your character doesn't consider what he does wrong. Okay, he is not stupid and has understanding of comparative morality, would it not be more interesting if he is fully aware but has chosen to try to rid himself of such weak notions? He is a scholar, a cleric of the genius and devious Asmodeus, he is not blind.

You are all the most beautiful people :D

What great advice! How well it clings with my ideas, that I could not write down!

I really -do- appreciate you taking the time to advice me in this matter :)

And yes, The Evil Overlord's list is, of course, mandatory reading :)

We begin playing again tonight, and I feel more than ready now, so thank you. I am sure there will be times in this campaign where I get floored, and where I will have no idea what to do, but hopefully I can fall back on some of your excellent advice here. Or else, I might be back to ask you again.

Thanks for delivering :)

While I understand if you've spoken your piece and leave this thread, I'd actually appreciate it if you (Captain K. AndIMustMask, TempusAvatar, and Rynjin) could offer up a few strips of advice akin to those presented by Vazt?

Whether you do or don't, you've already been of great help.

Thank you

a few of my general go-to's:

-dont look the part: make it hard for people to notice that youre the bad guy. walking around like a hot topic advert wont help when people are looking for who's been robbing those graves.

-go the extra mile: building good contacts is just that--good. it helps to get people to owe you, be it in money, favors, safe-houses, etc.

-take an interest in the community: helping fund some positive sectors of the location (such as hospitals, schools, farms, etc.) can help give you a positive appearance for the natives--they'll be more likely to serve you when you've done good things for them--even with all those secret rooms full of experiments you've had added into the "renovations"...

-get to know your future servants: its best to build at least a cursory knowledge of the main players in the local infrastructure, such as the captain of the guard, prominent merchants, the mayor or head council, any people of particular influence. while ingratiating yourself to them is unnecessary and suspicious, you can at least introduce yourself and get a feel for them. those who will impede your plans should be carefully ostracized or quietly removed form the equation--quietly mind you, lest you draw suspicion onto yourself.

-dont trod on the commoners: the simple peasants and farmers are the backbone of your future empire--grinding them down will only make your servants resent you, which leads to pesky distractions like attempted coups and other nonsense, instead of working towards your glorious empire's future. you'll find that most commoners don't particularly care who's leading a nation or why, so long as they aren't impacted personally.

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