Need to create a villain or ten for your Dungeons and Dragons (or Pistols and Tomahawks) campaign? I’ll walk you through how I’ve done it, and let you see three examples from my homebrew world. Let’s get cracking!
First, I went through and considered the Why of each character, before I’d even thought of a name. Why do these villains feel involved in this world? Why are their actions going against those of the PCs? What ideals do they hold? What are their eventual goals?
For those of you creating your own – consider using the Dungeon Master book for ideas, but also look to various other fantasy, sci fi, and historical fiction resources to consider. Conquest, power, privilege, recognition, vengeance, all are easily built into a story.
Once I’d decided on that, I decided on the relationships. Having three disconnected villains makes the story disconnected. Having the villains connect builds much more of a ‘video game feel’ but also allows for the PCs to gradually weaken the villains over time through actions against different components of their system. If your ‘bad guy empire’ relies on magic, a secret police force, and the army (perhaps like mine) then you need a leader of each one, so that the PCs can weaken the empire to eventually topple it. Just like how prosecutors go after the low level guys to get them to flip on the higher up ones in a gang or mob, so might the PCs pull apart a nation through smaller, targeted actions.
Finally, consider their own powers and abilities. I’ve given each of my villains a character class, since I’ll probably be making them up to match the PCs when they encounter them. At first, they will be much more powerful, but at the PCs grow, they will eventually match the Villains in power. Then we’ll talk about minions! But first, here’s some examples.
Host of Villains
Empress Regent, the Lady Calypsa
Human Female, Fighter, 60 Years Old
Regent of the Panomian Empire in the name of her nephew – Emperor Panomet. Cold, calculating, and an undying vengeance against the Telin Empire, whom she blames directly for the death of her sister, Empress Ilune, and her consort, the Consort-Prince Erik.
General Xion Sharim
Human Male, Cleric, 50 Years Old
The head military officer of the Panomian Empire. Passionate and fiery, with a keen tactical mind, but a watchful eye on the morale of his men. A survivor from the last war, and the general responsible for the surrender of the Adrholian army, He retains the trust of the Empress, some say through means of the heart, and of his men.
Arch-Necromancer Tris Mularik
Tiefling Female, Wizard (Necromancer) Age Unknown
With the ranks of the Panomian Kingdom’s army depleted by desertion, loss of territory, and casualties from the last war, the Empress Regent was forced to turn to an alternate source. The Arch-Necromancer Tris Mularik, head of the Black Circle, approached the Lady Calypsa with an offer she couldn’t refuse. Legal protection, acknowledgement, and recognition from the crown in return for the unspeakable – an undying host of warriors to supplement the Panomian army.
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