5 Tips To Creating A Truly Evil Villain

From JohnnFour

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0014

Numerous, Non-Lethal Attacks

My new villain does not have the resources to completely wipe out the character party and still keep her other plots and plans going. So, like the mosquito, she is going to use many non-lethal attacks upon exposed areas to drive the characters as far away as possible.

Examples of her intended attacks?

  • Use her minions to destroy weaker allies (i.e. those 0 level villagers the characters seem to love so much)
  • Attack the henchmen so the party must carry its own stuff
  • Prevent the PCs from getting rest (and therefore healing) at night (i.e. strange noises, ambushes, forest fires…)

Expected Surprise Attacks

Meaning, the players will know she’s out there, but they won’t know when or where her next attack will be until she’s already drawn a pint of blood.

More examples:

  • Bribe immoral villagers and friends to betray the PCs
  • Spread nasty rumours about the characters so they cannot convalesce in nearby villages or towns (i.e. they carry the plague, murderous troublemakers, seeking young daughters for wives)
  • Send sneaky minions to poison the PCs food
  • Endear herself to the PCs’ friends and family

Make the PCs Do Things They Don’t Want To

How many of us enjoy slopping on Off! and other chemicals? Or what about sitting inside behind screen doors on hot summer nights?

My villain is going to earn the party’s eternal enmity just by forcing them to change their plans, modify their behavior and do things they don’t want to.


  • Block paths and roads with fallen trees
  • Flood the PCs’ village by damming a nearby river
  • Cause the PCs to post extra guards at night
  • Make the PCs check all food and provisions for tampering

Create An Annoying Itch Afterwards

Imagine how you would feel if your worst enemy performed some heroic deed and saved your friends and all you heard from them forever after is how “so and so is such a great person” and how “so and so is so brave and beautiful”?

What would you do if you found that your trusty steed has been permanently marked or branded with insults about you, in bright white paint on its rump?

It wouldn’t take much for my villain to cast a single spell and shape the stone of a local mountain into a likeness of herself to remind everybody how great she is. That would itch!

Lethal Danger To The PCs Without Risk to the Villain

Mosquitoes potentially carry deadly diseases. That element of risk turns them into true villains. And, so what if you kill one? There’s a thousand more with empty bellies buzzing closer…

It’s the same with my new villain. She has a small horde of minions whose lives she is perfectly willing to throw away. She has also done her research and knows that it is against the morality of the PCs to kill her in cold blood. Her style is to work in the background and let her flunkies do her dirty work. This means she can live in the same village as the PCs, go to the same parties and flaunt her presence without risk of retaliation.

That’s evil!

Graphic of section divider

Discuss these game master tips in this thread at the official Roleplaying Tips community forum.

Comments are closed