Making a villain monologue possible...?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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What are some rules appropriate ways to allow NPC villains to get their monologues off without someone just shooting at them part way through

Yes I know it is not realistic but they are informative and fun !

So far I have used a lesser version of astral projection (maybe incorrectly?). What are other ways ?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Speaking is a free action. Just break it into chunks for during combat.


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Val'bryn2 wrote:
Speaking is a free action. Just break it into chunks for during combat.

Doesn't even need to be chunks. Let the villain belt out Hamlet before init if that's the cut of his jib. Perk of being GM is being the guy in charge of deciding when free actions reach into unrealistic territory.


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If your players are enjoying it, they won't interrupt. If they aren't enjoying it, you're probably only going to upset them by forcing them to listen to something as helpless bystanders, and that's why they are shooting first. (Also don't roll initiative, since that basically forces them to shoot first so they don't waste their initiative roll)

You could also just... ask your players to let you monologue because you enjoy it and they'll learn good stuff. This isn't really something you need rules for.


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Yeah. I pretty much agree with all of the above. Just have your villain pontificate naturally. If the players try something sneaky, just say "ok, but roll initiative first" and then finish the speech.


Val'bryn2 wrote:
Speaking is a free action. Just break it into chunks for during combat.

This is how the Circle of Eight mod for the Temple of Elemental Evil video game did it with Lareth. On the first round he joins the fray he says "As you will die soon anyway, I will tell you a little of what you have stumbled upon." then his next act he says "This place is but an outpost for [...]" and so on. One thing to note is that Lareth is beyond a hoard of low level enemies and the players aren't high enough level yet to have serious AoE spells while the geography (he starts behind an L-bend) prevents throwing ranged attacks at him early so the risk of the players rushing him before he can complete it isn't too big.


If the "speaking is a free action" rule is too unrealistic, you could set it up so he is somewhere relatively safe as he gives it (such behind a wall of force.)


My villain's monologue actually provided bonuses to his minions, he just stood behind a decent number of mooks and let them do the fighting.

Grand Lodge

You could always do some cheese with Major Image, Magic mouth and other various illusion spells to let him monologue without actually being there.


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PFRPGrognard wrote:
Yeah. I pretty much agree with all of the above. Just have your villain pontificate naturally. If the players try something sneaky, just say "ok, but roll initiative first" and then finish the speech.

If the players try something sneaky, the villain MUST say "You sly dog, you caught me monologuing!"

Dark Archive

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There is one really easy way to have villain monologues:

Point out to players that if they try to attack villain in middle of speech, they don't get surprise round, but have to roll initiative normally. Because nobody is so stupidly absorbed into their speech that they stop paying attention to their enemies :P

That way, you don't reward players for interrupting the speech. So only reason why they would do that is that they DON'T want to hear the speech in character or out of character. So if they do want to hear the speech, you don't penalize them for letting villain finish their speech.

Another thing is that you should NEVER let villain do "But my speech is at end, so here is a spell before combat!" without having villain roll initiative as well, if you do that, you again just penalize players for listening to speech.

(this is honestly simplest way and it works. Everything more than this is over thinking it)


I'm lucky in that I rarely have anyone interrupt the monologue. But if they seem like they might, I borrow a rule from the old TORG game where you could play the Monologue Card and the rest of the players were forced to wait until it was over.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It is easy. Just ignore the players when they try to have their character interrupt and keep on monologueing. Until the bad guy is done with detailing out his evil plan, initiative is not available.


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house rule it:
if the BBEG monologues, there is no surprise round. if the players interrupt the monologue, the DM gets surprise round.

EDIT: whoops, that's what i get for not reading the entire thread first


Have you looked for more organic ways to communicate the content for the monologue? Imo if a GM wants to monologue they should join a theatre group.

Dark Archive

Decimus Drake wrote:
Have you looked for more organic ways to communicate the content for the monologue? Imo if a GM wants to monologue they should join a theatre group.

While people call it monologue, more often its really more of dialogue where villain and pcs talk to each other :p The "If you give PCs surprise round for attacking in mid of conversation, they feel like they should do that" applies in both cases.


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You could always have your villain monologue with Perform(Oratory) in conjunction with Bardic Performance: Fascinate

Anarchy_Kanya wrote:


My villain's monologue actually provided bonuses to his minions, he just stood behind a decent number of mooks and let them do the fighting.

...Or Inspire Competence


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Lanathar- now that i'm more read-in to what your looking for, try this.

Cast Mirror Image - if the PC Attack w/o you getting to finish your dialogue and giving them valuable insider information, that's okay because you
Cast Project Image, too. While their busy killing Images you get to preen all you want. Just remember, you have to see where the Projected Image is.
Which can be done from afar. For instance, with a Crystal Ball.


I like the Kitty's bardic performance suggestion.

A few other options for you: magic mouth, decoy familiar, direct it at someone else and kick it off with valuable info, wall of force, voice carries over long distance.


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Not everything needs rules beyond, "I'm doing this for fun/story reasons." Speaking is a free action.


I've used assorted illusions, and had them do the talking.

Even if the party figures out it is an illusion, it's still effective at communication. As a bonus, sometimes the party burns a resource before they figure out what is going on.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Several APs have villains use project image to talk at the party without interruption. Doing it during combat is nice if your players don't like to sit still for monologues. I would caution against using GM fiat to protect the monologue, as telling players "you cant do that because I say so" is an easy way to lose players.


Don't actually perform the monologue in character (although that is more fun and immersive). Instead, simply tell your players the highlights of the monologue (perhaps while slipping into and out of character for added effect).


If the Villain needs to monologue, just do it. If PCs try to interrupt, tell them to hold on till you finish the box text. If they insist, shrug and say OK. Then at the end when the failsafe activates and they all get blown up you shrug and say "well, he was trying to warn you that if you killed him his base would explode but I guess you didn't want to listen".

on a more serious note, as GM your word is law. If the gunslinger shoots the bad guy in the middle of it? the bullet richochets. the fighter charges? can't seem to get close to him. caster does a spell? it fizzles out halfway there. Don't abuse the fiat, but don't be afraid to use it when called for. the PCs need to understand that you're there to have fun too, and if that calls for a bit of monologueing occasionally? They need to learn to deal, find a new game, or GM themselves.


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One Idea I had was that the villain could be an idea, rather than any individual creature with a stat block.

Here is the set up: An organization of bards, each acting out a clearly and thoroughly defined "character", each acting as if they were that character. They are trained to understand the character's thought processes, and they understand his motivations and methodology well enough to keep him consistent.

Maybe that "character" was a real person at some point. But he has moved to make himself 'immortal' through the continued performance of the bards.

This, of course, gives you an excuse to simply forget about any character that the players kill off, and then have someone else make a dramatic entrance and make a snide remark.


My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD


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Chad Nedzlek wrote:
If your players are enjoying it, they won't interrupt. If they aren't enjoying it, you're probably only going to upset them by forcing them to listen to something as helpless bystanders, and that's why they are shooting first.

Sometimes most of the players are enjoying it, but one player enjoys trolling the GM more.


^Sometimes most of the players are enjoying it, but one player enjoys trolling the other players more.


I am Nemesis wrote:

Lanathar- now that i'm more read-in to what your looking for, try this.

Cast Mirror Image - if the PC Attack w/o you getting to finish your dialogue and giving them valuable insider information, that's okay because you
Cast Project Image, too. While their busy killing Images you get to preen all you want. Just remember, you have to see where the Projected Image is.
Which can be done from afar. For instance, with a Crystal Ball.

wanna make it more interesting?

Have the BBEG also wear a Cloak of Displacement- 50% to miss the Mirror Images


Ryze Kuja wrote:
My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD

This is why illusions are great.

Hopefully the players waste a few spells and burn limited x/day stuff’ since there is no save before they interact with the illusion. Even afterwards, the monologue can continue. A successful save does not end the illusion.

Another good way to monologue is a polymorphed/disguised NPC acting as a proxy for the BBEG. Almost guaranteed to have the PCs waste resources if they jump the gun.

A low-level simulacrum also works as a proxy.


I am Nemesis wrote:
I am Nemesis wrote:

Lanathar- now that i'm more read-in to what your looking for, try this.

Cast Mirror Image - if the PC Attack w/o you getting to finish your dialogue and giving them valuable insider information, that's okay because you
Cast Project Image, too. While their busy killing Images you get to preen all you want. Just remember, you have to see where the Projected Image is.
Which can be done from afar. For instance, with a Crystal Ball.

wanna make it more interesting?

Have the BBEG also wear a Cloak of Displacement- 50% to miss the Mirror Images

This was FAQed.

You check if images are popped before you check miss chance.

Also: you just gave the party a cloak of displacement.


@Volkard Abendroth

  • You check if images are popped before you check miss chance.
    while i missed this was FAQed, i did not give the party a Cloak of Displacement.

    observe:

  • 1st I, as the BBEG, Locate the Interlopers to my Domain using my Crystal Ball, meaning i am far, far away from the intruders
  • 2nd I, as the BBEG, don my Cloak of Displacement,
  • 3rd I, as the BBEG, Cast Programmed Image,
  • 4th I, as the BBEG, Cast Mirror Image
  • 5th I, as the BBEG, I monologue, like a BOSS!


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    Here is a good blog that addresses this topic; A big takeaway is do you have an agreement with your players that the villain can break simulationism to monologue just for the sake of the game telling a story.

    If the party shoots the villian during the monologue are they;

    • Not interested in the narrative?
    • Afraid their buffs are running out or the villian is stalling for reinforcements?

    Now this all assumes the monologue is followed by a fight. Having a monologue that is not followed by a fight is harder, make it clear that 'now is not the time' by getting the monologue out of the way before the party is strong enough to challenge the villain.


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    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD

    Why would you give them a surprise round? Both parties are aware of their opponents and know that combat is inevitable.

    Shadow Lodge

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    In the movies, villains often monologue to stall for time so they can get in position and spring their dastardly trap upon the moronic hero who stands there listening. This has already taught your audience that listening to the villain's monologue is foolish. So you are working against common sense to convince your players to listen.

    If you want them to listen, you need to teach them that it's OK to do so. Don't punish your players for listening. If you monologue and then say oh 2 minutes have passed and your spell just ran out, they will never listen to another monologue again, because you just taught them that was a mistake. A monologue should be just that, the villain talking. They should not get to do anything. If the villain gets to act during their monologue, even just moving, you're giving them free turns outside of initiative. Again, this is punishing players for listening, so they won't. Similarly, if you reward players for interrupting by giving them surprise rounds or free actions, then they will learn to always interrupt you.

    The best way is if you can engage your players in a conversation instead of monologue, then you also avoid the I'm bored lets fight response as well.


    Give the BBEG the high ground, like the scene in The Rock where the SEALs enter the shower room...

    Complete death trap if they twitch a finger aggressively.

    He talks, they retreat alive, or die.


    Make a customed up continous version of Mage's Decree (you can just make a custom magic item for it. Alternatively use several scrolls or a wand of the standard spell if you prefer comedy), and hold the monologue via speaker system while the PCs are approaching, maybe even during combat with the couple of last pre-boss encounters.


    You can't make a Wand of Mage's Decree (unless Pathfinder 2nd Edition changed something about this) -- it is at least 5th level, and 6th level for most casters.


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    blahpers wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD
    Why would you give them a surprise round? Both parties are aware of their opponents and know that combat is inevitable.

    This was going to be my point. It absolutely does not give a surprise round. It initiates combat

    Thanks for all the points. A fun mix between illusions and just hand waiving the actual "rules"

    The point to focus on is the one mentioned about not punishing players for listening to monologues (e.g. letting spells run out or letting enemy allies appear. Have it effectively not count towards or within initiative at all)

    One of the more well known actual play podcasts had this point come up recently where before a boss fight the GM told the players not to cast anything with duration of less than 5 minutes (not sure where that number came from). It is not clear whether there was any reason for this beyond wanting to do a monologue. There may have been and there may not

    (My personal view is that rounds per level spells are supposed to be in combat spells even when they last 10+ rounds - because a round is 6 seconds but 6 seconds is not always a round. Therefore casting those starts initiative)


    If there's one thing GMs mustn't do to break the immersion is to "prevent players from acting during cutscenes". If they can technically act during your villain's speech, don't forbid them.

    I see a few options:
    - Have the PCs captured and brought to your villain.
    - Have the fortress equiped with "speakers"
    - Have the mission to infiltrate the fortress while the villain is talking to its troops.

    Dark Archive

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    I vaguely recall a third-party necromancer spell that allowed a necromancer to speak through his mindless minions, so that he could talk to the party fighting it's way through his horde of skeletons and zombies from many rooms away. If the undead speaking 'dies,' he can just pick up the conversation from one that hasn't been destroyed yet.

    Something similar could be done with constructs, or even living minions, or doors or walls, using magic mouth spells (or, at higher level, programmed illusions), so that each room you clear, or each new tier of threat you face comes with a new 'speech.' (Which can get amusingly weird if you enter a room out of sequence and get a 'chapter' of the speech meant to come after one you missed...)

    Another option would be to take hostages. Until the villain is done speaking, he holds a 'captive audience,' and when he's done, he chivalrously allows them to flee the room (and opening himself and his minions up for attack, as they are no longer hiding behind hostages, holding blades to their throats).

    They don't necessarily have to be living hostages, if something precious and breakable is handy. "I'll drop the Shiny Bling of Surprising Fragility if you take another step, heroes!"

    And when he finishes, he sets it down behind him into an adamantine chest. "Just kidding. I'd never destroy such a one of a kind artifact. It will fetch a pretty copper after *I kill you!*" (Or he drops it and laughs, because it was a cheap replica, and the real Shiny Bling is already in the chest, secured for transport!)

    Having your villainous monologue delivered by mind-controlled or possessed innocents is another option (or even just paid 'criers' who have no idea that the message they are delivering is an evil monologue, although the wording might have to be clever to hint at the naughty, but sound innocuous to the hapless speaker). The PCs have to put up with your jibber-jabber unless they want to leave a trail of bodies on the way...


    VoodistMonk wrote:
    Give the BBEG the high ground, like the scene in The Rock where the SEALs enter the shower room... Complete death trap if they twitch a finger aggressively. He talks, they retreat alive, or die.
    Set wrote:

    I vaguely recall a third-party necromancer spell that allowed a necromancer to speak through his mindless minions, so that he could talk to the party fighting it's way through his horde of skeletons and zombies from many rooms away. If the undead speaking 'dies,' he can just pick up the conversation from one that hasn't been destroyed yet.

    Something similar could be done with constructs, or even living minions, or doors or walls, using magic mouth spells (or, at higher level, programmed illusions), so that each room you clear, or each new tier of threat you face comes with a new 'speech.' (Which can get amusingly weird if you enter a room out of sequence and get a 'chapter' of the speech meant to come after one you missed...)
    Another option would be to take hostages. Until the villain is done speaking, he holds a 'captive audience,' and when he's done, he chivalrously allows them to flee the room (and opening himself and his minions up for attack, as they are no longer hiding behind hostages, holding blades to their throats).
    They don't necessarily have to be living hostages, if something precious and breakable is handy. "I'll drop the Shiny Bling of Surprising Fragility if you take another step, heroes!"
    And when he finishes, he sets it down behind him into an adamantine chest. "Just kidding. I'd never destroy such a one of a kind artifact. It will fetch a pretty copper after *I kill you!*" (Or he drops it and laughs, because it was a cheap replica, and the real Shiny Bling is already in the chest, secured for transport!)
    Having your villainous monologue delivered by mind-controlled or possessed innocents is another option (or even just paid 'criers' who have no idea that the message they are delivering is an evil monologue, although the wording might have to be clever to hint at the naughty, but sound innocuous to the hapless speaker). The PCs have to put up with your jibber-jabber unless they want to leave a trail of bodies on the way...

    i like both of these idea's.

    1st one [VoodistMonk] is do-or-die
    2nd one [Set] is more sophisticated, in its own way
    kudos to both of you!!


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    blahpers wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD
    Why would you give them a surprise round? Both parties are aware of their opponents and know that combat is inevitable.

    Long story short, it's because we're a bunch of Star Wars nerds, and Han shot first, and Han got a nat 20 in the surprise round. XD XD

    Shadow Lodge

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    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    blahpers wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD
    Why would you give them a surprise round? Both parties are aware of their opponents and know that combat is inevitable.
    Long story short, it's because we're a bunch of Star Wars nerds, and Han shot first, and Han got a nat 20 in the surprise round. XD XD

    Translated to pathfinder rules, this is a case of using the bluff skill to get a surprise round.


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    gnoams wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    blahpers wrote:
    Ryze Kuja wrote:
    My players almost always interrupt the monologue because they know that I'll give them a surprise round lol :P My poor villains XD XD
    Why would you give them a surprise round? Both parties are aware of their opponents and know that combat is inevitable.
    Long story short, it's because we're a bunch of Star Wars nerds, and Han shot first, and Han got a nat 20 in the surprise round. XD XD
    Translated to pathfinder rules, this is a case of using the bluff skill to get a surprise round.

    Rule of Star Wars does trump RAW, after all. : D


    If they have true seeing I would have the villain be behind a wall of force/ in a forcecage. If the PCs destroy the wall/cage or teleport inside with the villain he would instead attack immediately.


    I am Nemesis wrote:

    *]3rd I, as the BBEG, Cast Programmed Image,

    Both the cloak and the Mirror Image are redundant at this point.

    The only thing that stops your illusion from talking is a successful Dispel Magic, or equivalent.


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    "Look - I have to put up with all your characters' bombastic pronouncements during the game, so shut up and listen for once. Nothing's going to happen until I allow it anyways, so you might as well settle in."


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    Matt Filla wrote:
    "Look - I have to put up with all your characters' bombastic pronouncements during the game, so shut up and listen for once. Nothing's going to happen until I allow it anyways, so you might as well settle in."

    "My first wizard died when you had a goblin shot her with an arrow while she was giving her tragic backstory".

    "Carol, you are the reason why I make spell casters use an egg timer to limit how long they can look through the rule book for spells in combat. You aren't any faster while monologuing."


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    Recently my players fought an Aboleth. I simply had it telepathically implant its monologue into their heads in an instant. This doesn't create a weird situation of them just listening to it, but still gives them all the needed information.

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