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.

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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

  1. Rich and greedy and spends money to hurt others
  2. Bullies others
  3. Gets undeserved rewards
  4. Responds badly to being questioned
  5. Disregards or punishes those who disagree
  6. Oppressive and controlling
  7. Says one thing and does the opposite
  8. Frivolously changes mind
  9. Eats, spends, consumes when others are hungry, poor, without
  10. Punishes innocents
  11. Supports inequality
  12. Rewards unfairly
  13. Cares not the effects their words and actions have on others
  14. Makes unfair rules and laws
  15. Doesn’t follow their own rules
  16. Lies for self-benefit and believes their lies after awhile
  17. Is above the law and cannot be punished
  18. Switches sides – traitorous
  19. Lazy and makes others do all the work
  20. Chooses sides for bad reasons
  21. Distrusts everyone and constantly tests for loyalty and obedience
  22. Has others fight their battles
  23. Uses blackmail and extortion to get their way
  24. Rejects and abuses the rights of others
  25. Doesn’t take responsibility for their decisions or actions
  26. Suppresses freedoms
  27. Makes offensive jokes
  28. Plays favourites to evil or incompetent minions
  29. Enforces their twisted version of normal
  30. Endangers others frivolously
  31. Indifferent to the struggle they cause others
  32. Does not listen to reason and makes bad decisions endangering others
  33. Sacrifices others for their own ego or vanity
  34. Physically, emotionally abusive
  35. Spoiled and pampered and lashes out when demands not met
  36. Keeps others as toys or decoration
  37. Values appearances over character
  38. Must kill to feel good about themselves
  39. Starts or supports war
  40. Responds well to gifts and flattery
  41. Expects adoration and punishes when not given
  42. Has short fuse, temperamental
  43. Flirts or seduces to get their way
  44. Stays unpredictable to keep others off-balance
  45. Hurts other purposefully
  46. Supports anarchy and destruction
  47. Destroys property punitively
  48. Bribes others to do their bidding
  49. Endangers others capriciously
  50. 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.