DM Help: Why would the BBEG want a baby?


4th Edition


I'm prepping a scenario, and I'm stumped on a motivation for my BBEG. Long story short, the party will return to their village just in time to see it burnt to the ground and the BBEG's Dragon headed out of town with a crying baby. It'll set the tone and give the PC's an immediate and personal goal, especially if the kid is someone's sibling (likely).

There are some cliche motivations I could use, such as:


  • the kid's soul will be food to sustain bad guy's immortality
  • the kid is a chosen one prophesied to overthrow the bad guy
  • it's a Tuesday
  • bait to entice the party into following him
  • simple evil ritual human sacrifice type deal

I'd like to come up with something more creative, though. Specifically, I'm thinking some kind of Lovecraftian, cosmic horror reason. (I also considered a time travel scenario in which the kid will do something useful in the future, but that's pretty cliche, too. Then I thought perhaps the kidnappers were from the past, but that seemed pretty ridiculous.) Unfortunately, my creative juices just aren't flowing right now. Why would an evil entity want one specific baby?

Help!


Because babies are the perfect midnight snack. Tender, not gamey, and won't give you indigestion like a whole adult would.

Also, maybe as a vessel for the bad guy's entry into our plane? Always good to have an excuse for the party to fight a baby.


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Its actually the BBEG's bastard child?

Came into town 12-15 months* ago in disguise, after a brief affair** with a lady in town vanished without a trace, and has come back for "What is his"***.

*You want the baby to be 3-6 months old. Younger than 3 months and they're still tiny, fragile, prone to illness etc and may not actually survive a long flight on dragonback. That and they look kinda alien (Hint: Pretty much all babies in movies/shows/etc are 3 months old, even when they're supposed to be newborns). Older than 6 months and they get a lot more alert and attentive, and crawling usually kicks in at 8-10 months. And then they try to eat everything in the room.

**As a plus, if the baby is a (half) sibling to a PC, said PC get's the rare opportunity to literally call the BBEG a mother******.

***As for what the BBEG wants a child... could be any number of reasons. Isn't planning on going the undeath route and wants to leave a legacy. Wants an apprentice that doesn't "Fail Him For The Last Time" like the last dozen or so. And so on.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

If you're going for horror, perhaps the baby could turn out to be the real villain? (Revealing itself as such just after being "rescued").


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Stormageddon! Dark Lord of All!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

To raise as a spy/sleeper agent.

Or maybe the Dragon decided to show mercy and save the child.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe the BBEG has an old body, and needs to transfer its mind into a brain that is still pretty much a tabula rasa. Then it can use its Lovecraftian majicks to polymorph into a non-baby form. Or use Non-Euclidian temporality to age into adult form quickly.

I walked at 6 months, so maybe go for the 3 month old.


Sundakan wrote:
Because babies are the perfect midnight snack.

Ogres call them Scream Melons.

Juicy with a delicious "pop" when you toss them in your mouth. They are easy to gether; they're usually right next to open windows. And they announce their location!


If you want to use time travel shenanigans, the child could be the BBEG. Still cliche, but it could be fun with them being a sibling to a PC.


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(Riffing on Steve Geddes' response above)

The BBEG doesn't want the baby.
The baby wants the BBEG.

Striding through the burning ruins of the town, BBEG hears a wail. It... calls... to him. He spies a baby, wrapt in swaddling, on the steps of the town church. The mother lies nearby - trying to reach the sanctuary with her infant when his minions killed her.

Cruelly, he smiles. He walks over to the baby. She looks up at him. He is transfixed. Her eyes... so blue and clear... and yet so old and wise and safe... The eyes remind BBEG of his mother's eyes - the last time he felt clean and good and right in this world. He cocks his head to one side, entranced. A great strange feeling wells up in him. He knows he must protect this child at all costs.

His mind is not his own.

He calls his dragon. He carefully gives it the precious cargo. "Fly. Fly and keep her safe."

He turns back to the mayhem, so he does not see the reflection of the burning hamlet in the baby's eyes as she rises in the dragon's talons. He does not see the image of a single sacked village give way to endless reflected vistas of torment and destruction, innumerable consumed worlds, shining from the baby's tiny black pupils...

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Bad guys can want families. A baby can be trained however you want. Just because one is a bad guy, doesn't mean that one cannot want a legacy. Someone to inherit your empire when you're gone.

A lot of tryrants were strong family people.


Not every BBEG is going for or has a clear path to immortality, so BBEG wants to raise his successor.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The magical cloning vats used to create your Legions of Terror require a fresh template.


Maybe he just likes kids. Seriously. Why bother with your own when there's a ready selection all around?


Jiggy wrote:
The magical cloning vats used to create your Legions of Terror require a fresh template.

That's how they get you. The magical cloning vats are dirt cheap, but the babies run out every two months and cost a fortune to replace. Feh.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

All portents showed the BBEG that this child will become a major deity. This is the best opportunity for the villain to leave an eternal mark on the universe


Another darker use of course would be your BBEG is trying to become a lich. The original recipe did require a baby... And a dragon (wyvern actually, but close enough).


The child will come to be possessed of a rare power that would be beneficial to the BBEG

The child is one of a select few capable of reproducing with a God. And thus can help birth demi deities to increase the divine power of [insert deity] when child is of age.

She ra


The baby isn't actually a baby but rather a good dragon that has polymorphed into one. Let the dragon fight begin!

Sovereign Court

The baby is a reincarnation of a god (or something darker and weirder). Only the BBEG can twist/realize the true potential out of it.

Or

The baby has never aged, and has been a baby for decades. The baby is keeping some temporal anomaly in check by its very existence, and reality could unravel if anything ever happened to the baby. The BBEG wants to research this, for evil, gain, or some other insane motive.


Thank you so much, folks; these are some great ideas.

Xeximar wrote:
Another darker use of course would be your BBEG is trying to become a lich. The original recipe did require a baby... And a dragon (wyvern actually, but close enough).

Where would I find details? That sounds interesting...


The Lovecraftian entity that the BBEG wants to contact can only speak on the mortal plane through the lips of a baby.

Sovereign Court

You could go the Willow route. Not only is it prophesized to destroy the BBEG, but it needs to be killed in a magic ritual in order to not be reborn again. (hence taking the baby instead of just stabbing it)

Then it turns out that the baby themselves doesn't stop the BBEG, they're just the catalyst which has the PCs do it.


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The BBEG was a good guy, then discovered a tome of lost lore, which put him in contact with a Great Old One. The BBEG then went on to do some horrible things.

When the BBEG discovered the means to travel back in time, he did so to stop himself from getting the tome.

So he sends his Dragon to grab himself as a baby and bring him to himself as an adult, with the goal of preventing himself from ever contacting the Great Old One.


The BBEG abducts children to brainwash them and train them as his minions.


Tormsskull wrote:

The BBEG was a good guy, then discovered a tome of lost lore, which put him in contact with a Great Old One. The BBEG then went on to do some horrible things.

When the BBEG discovered the means to travel back in time, he did so to stop himself from getting the tome.

So he sends his Dragon to grab himself as a baby and bring him to himself as an adult, with the goal of preventing himself from ever contacting the Great Old One.

Ooh, I like that one, too.


Sebastrd wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:

The BBEG was a good guy, then discovered a tome of lost lore, which put him in contact with a Great Old One. The BBEG then went on to do some horrible things.

When the BBEG discovered the means to travel back in time, he did so to stop himself from getting the tome.

So he sends his Dragon to grab himself as a baby and bring him to himself as an adult, with the goal of preventing himself from ever contacting the Great Old One.

Ooh, I like that one, too.

You say the Baby is related to one of your PCs.

That makes for some added fun if you build up the story of trauma that lead him to be twisted by the Great Old ones.

Maybe the Older PC sibling sacrificed his life to return his baby brother to sanity and he blames himself for that death. Maybe he even delt the final blow and the shock is what made him halfway sane. Or maybe killing the PC is one of the things that drove him to the Great Olds ones in the first place

or twisted his insanity to seeking a way to save the older sibling PC by killing himself in the past.

The villain is terrified of confronting the PC, terrified that he might kill him again and loose that last thread of sanity keeping him on his current path. He's willing to do anything to avoid confronting the PC while he seeks some means of anhilating his own existence.


No one mentioned the plot of Tangled yet? The baby has a special magic power that the BBEG wants, but has to keep her alive and healthy and happy to use it.

Then there's the options. You could go the route that movie did, and have the BBEG raise the baby as his own, but in a controlling, emotionally abusive way that only provides enough love and affection to keep the kid sufficiently healthy and willing to provide the magic. The other option would be to have the BBEG actually go all out on being a loving, caring parent -- while still doing bad stuff that the PCs want to stop.


To raise an heir, they scryed out the child in the land most suited to being raised to take their place and have stolen them to raise as a replacement.
Basically the kid is going to grow up at 25 point buy or something and the BBEG is having an evil midlife crisis, sure they've built an empire that will last a thousand years upon the crumbling skulls of their fallen foes, but what's the point if there's no one around to pass it on to?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The baby dreamed the BBEG into existence on the Dreamlands and through the interference of the GOOs, he was made whole. This works well if the baby had been keeping the related PC up at nights with his/her night terrors, which the baby "thankfully grew out of".

The BBEG wants the baby to suffer fear and dream allies into existence to help conquer the mortal plane.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

-The baby is the illegitimate child of the king/highpriest/whatever, and the BBEG wants ransom/extortion material.

-the baby is said to be the next whatever-is-equivalent to the Antichrist in your setting.

-a hag has returned to retrieve her changeling child.

-the baby is actually the BBEG's child in the first place but was stolen by the parties currently claiming to be the parents.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Sundakan wrote:
Because babies are the perfect midnight snack.

How terrible are we that that was my first thought?

How about the child is not a child at all. It really is a powerful key to unlocking a series of magical defenses, keeping a magical demon at bay?

How about the baby is really a dead god reincarnated?

How about the bbeg is really the father/mother?

How about the dragon took the child without the bbeg's knowledge?

Any of these work for you?


Raynulf wrote:

Its actually the BBEG's bastard child?

Came into town 12-15 months* ago in disguise, after a brief affair** with a lady in town vanished without a trace, and has come back for "What is his"***.

*You want the baby to be 3-6 months old. Younger than 3 months and they're still tiny, fragile, prone to illness etc and may not actually survive a long flight on dragonback. That and they look kinda alien (Hint: Pretty much all babies in movies/shows/etc are 3 months old, even when they're supposed to be newborns). Older than 6 months and they get a lot more alert and attentive, and crawling usually kicks in at 8-10 months. And then they try to eat everything in the room.

**As a plus, if the baby is a (half) sibling to a PC, said PC get's the rare opportunity to literally call the BBEG a mother******.

***As for what the BBEG wants a child... could be any number of reasons. Isn't planning on going the undeath route and wants to leave a legacy. Wants an apprentice that doesn't "Fail Him For The Last Time" like the last dozen or so. And so on.

As bonus points, his motivation for reclaiming his bastard child is that he wants give the child a better life with all of the opportunities and luxuries that his wealth can provide. He could even, given the opportunity, prove to be a loving and caring parent who will try to shelter the child from the darker side of his life (a common movie trope with the children of mob bosses).

Remember, it is often the methods rather than the objectives that make a character villainous.


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
How about the child is not a child at all. It really is a powerful key to unlocking a series of magical defenses, keeping a magical demon at bay?

Instead of a baby, it's a teenage girl.

And her name is Dawn Summers.


Norman Osborne wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
How about the child is not a child at all. It really is a powerful key to unlocking a series of magical defenses, keeping a magical demon at bay?

Instead of a baby, it's a teenage girl.

And her name is Dawn Summers.

And she's 50-feet tall.


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Because it reminds him of the babe.
What babe?
The babe with the power.
What power?
The power of voodoo.
Who do?
You do.
Do what?
Remind me of the babe.

Sovereign Court

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Are we playing Changeling the Lost all of a sudden?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A disturbing idea from a campaign I played in a few years ago:

The BBEG's plot required that he sacrifice his own offspring to complete it. We came across a place where he had imprisoned several women for that purpose, killed the BBEG, and rescued the women and their soon-to-be-born offspring.

But suppose that the BBEG had not been around to be killed at the time? Then the plot described at the beginning of this thread could have followed that encounter.


Thanks again for all of the ideas. The gaming community is always so generous and ready to help; it's a quality that too often goes unnoticed. I've nailed down exactly what I plan to do, based on the ideas here and at a couple other forums along with some material shamelessly borrowed from Lovecraft's "Azathoth" and a couple other places. For those that are interested, here's what I've decided to go with:

Before age fell upon the world; when grey cities rose under smoky skies;
Before the sunlight pierced the shadow; when twisted phantoms walked the earth;
Before vain life and futile hope; within the depths outside of time;
There sleeps the Thing Within the Void.

The village of Aisa's Crescent is home to a secret society called the Sentinels of the Silver Choir. The Sentinels are an ancient order sworn to prevent the release of the Thing Within the Void (Atropus, from Elder Evils) from its extraplanar resting place. In ages past a lunatic cult worshiped the Thing from their temple fortress, which sunk into a crescent-shaped ravine that opened in the earth below it (The Sunless Citadel, heavily modified). The Sentinels guard the secret of that ancient fortress, through which the Thing might be unleashed upon our world.

As the campaign opens, the PCs, young residents of Aisa's Crescent whose parents are all members of the Sentinels, are about to be inducted into the order. Their initiation will involve spending the night on the shores of the enigmatic Grimpond, where they will each receive a vision in their dreams - either past, present, or future. One PC is a half-elf, and is the half-brother of another PC playing a high-elf. One of them will receive a vision of the very immediate future - the sight of Aisa's Crescent burning, followed by a figure in black marked with a strange symbol (a blackguard). The vision will end as the figure in black turns to look over his shoulder and briefly reveals the face of the PCs' mother.

Upon the party's return to Aisa's Crescent, they will find the scene from the PC's vision unfolding. Above the din of the raging fire they will distinctly hear the sound of a bawling infant - the PCs' baby sister. The figure in black, on horseback, will be accompanied by a group of very large, cloaked humanoids (ogres). Perception checks can reveal the mother's face as she briefly looks over her shoulder, the nature of the large humanoids, and a gemstone pendant on a chain/string around the neck of the lead ogre (a hag's eye).

The mother works for a coven of hags. The eldest hag is nearing the end of her life, and they need the child to either extend the hag's life or replace her. The mother might secretly be a hagspawn, but definitely has her own agenda and serves the hags only temporarily.

The PCs will now be faced with the prospect of either resigning the baby to her fate or leaving the Sunless Citadel unguarded.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I see what you did there:
Lunatic cult, crescent-shaped ravine

Are you concerned they're going to call it Asia's Crescent?

EDIT:

I think one of the Superstar rounds of yore had a large, cloaked humanoid monster you might want to consider if you want to mix it up a bit vis-à-vis the ogres.

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