Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seeding (Recurring?) Villains

After my teaser post on the subject of making easier work of bringing recurring villains to your favorite fantasy game, I reconsidered my choice of making an example of the stable of villainous leaders to be found in the pages of TSR D&D module A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade. In fact, why don't I just share some things I actually pulled off a few years ago?

I think it all goes back to the concept of re-purposing published adventures and working in your own material - plots, characters, whatever. I have run campaigns in which I created quite a bit of material from scratch, but more often I have connected published material into a series of adventures to form campaigns. My guess is that is how many game masters do things.

A few years ago I used the Shackled City and Age of Worms adventure paths from Dungeon Magazine (these were 12-issue series published between 2003 and 2006), intermixing the low- to mid-level adventures with others that suited my taste. Both revolved around conspiracies and worked out well with the kind of campaign I decided to run. I just tweaked them as needed. More importantly - and making my point, I hope - is that some of the really great adventures had some excellent one-shot villains that weren't really expected to last beyond a memorable showdown or they were sideshow baddies who had no specific plans beyond the current adventure. I wanted to make some of these guys really memorable, because I thought their strength of despicable character would resonate well with the campaign. In short, with some tweaking, I could re-purpose some of the villains and give them a prelude to their glorious stage exits when the players finally met them in battle.

Next time, I'll give some examples of how I reworked some villains and how they made a bigger impact on our games.

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