Villain Tip: Do Evil For Good
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0957
RPT GM Strider Starslayer gives us this quick tip on how to make bad guys your players will hate:
Villains live by a more esoteric code.
For example, in my own campaign the villain wanted to defeat five demons who were going to destroy the world.
That’s a good thing.
However, he used everything from human sacrifice to self mutilation to killing things that he loved in attempts to defeat the monsters.
Those are bad things.
Leading such a strange life left him with permanent psychological problems. He was a sadist and enjoyed catching people to torture them.
Thanks for the tip, Strider.
Do you have a villain who’s not quite cutting it in your game?
Using Strider’s tip, let’s try this.
Give the bad NPC a good purpose. Make it a purpose the characters would love to support.
Then give your villain a terrible trait. Manifest this trait in gameplay as downstream effects caused by the villain’s actions based on this trait.
After a few encounters your players will hate the villain and want to stop them.
Stuck for a bad trait? Here’s 1d50:
1d50 Terrible Villain Traits
- Rich and greedy and spends money to hurt others
- Bullies others
- Gets undeserved rewards
- Responds badly to being questioned
- Disregards or punishes those who disagree
- Oppressive and controlling
- Says one thing and does the opposite
- Frivolously changes mind
- Eats, spends, consumes when others are hungry, poor, without
- Punishes innocents
- Supports inequality
- Rewards unfairly
- Cares not the effects their words and actions have on others
- Makes unfair rules and laws
- Doesn’t follow their own rules
- Lies for self-benefit and believes their lies after awhile
- Is above the law and cannot be punished
- Switches sides – traitorous
- Lazy and makes others do all the work
- Chooses sides for bad reasons
- Distrusts everyone and constantly tests for loyalty and obedience
- Has others fight their battles
- Uses blackmail and extortion to get their way
- Rejects and abuses the rights of others
- Doesn’t take responsibility for their decisions or actions
- Suppresses freedoms
- Makes offensive jokes
- Plays favourites to evil or incompetent minions
- Enforces their twisted version of normal
- Endangers others frivolously
- Indifferent to the struggle they cause others
- Does not listen to reason and makes bad decisions endangering others
- Sacrifices others for their own ego or vanity
- Physically, emotionally abusive
- Spoiled and pampered and lashes out when demands not met
- Keeps others as toys or decoration
- Values appearances over character
- Must kill to feel good about themselves
- Starts or supports war
- Responds well to gifts and flattery
- Expects adoration and punishes when not given
- Has short fuse, temperamental
- Flirts or seduces to get their way
- Stays unpredictable to keep others off-balance
- Hurts other purposefully
- Supports anarchy and destruction
- Destroys property punitively
- Bribes others to do their bidding
- Endangers others capriciously
- Gossips and ruins reputations
Give this technique a try (Good Intentions + Bad Trait = Bad Actions) and let me know about your villain and how they played out.