I'm considering creating a multiple session campaign with the arch villain posing as a victim of one of his lieutenants, that is conveniently rescued by the party, then joins them as a follower. Through quests that are bestowed by his trusted captain, acting as the parties patron, the party will eliminate the villains rivals only to be betrayed in the end.
I intend to create this campaign to extend to upwards of level 20. Including many mini side adventures.
First question, how plausible can it be for the all powerful villain to accomplish this? Do I just swap out a stat block when he pulls off his betrayal? I was thinking I could introduce him in order to fill a melee gap in the party.
Could i give him a true form? For instance when he is a follower make him into a human fighter or rogue then when he is off doing his villainous deeds he transforms into a something else with a different stat block with different spells/abilities?
Should I make him heavily integrated into the party? Possibly try to get to have a romance with a pc? When he makes his betrayal try to convert some of the pcs to his cause for the final confrontation?
How can I give plausible reasons to have the villain in disguise temporarily leave the party to carry out his villany in secret without raising pc suspicions.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.
Well, as far as him leaving the party, it's pretty easy: they get to town, he asks for his pay and goes. Not everybody wants to die horribly in a dungeon somewhere.
Heck, say you want to have an adventure in a town or city - he asks for his share and wages the day they get there. That way, the PCs can run around Adventureville and even run into him here and there. Maybe even beg him to come back, and he's the one turning them down... but maybe he could give them a hand if they did him this one little favor...
And it's your campaign. You can insta-level him, or do whatever you want. Have him be a shape-shifted zombie-demon-dragon if you want. Whatever works.