Campaign Concept

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Me along with a group of 6 others (DM included) want to try something a little different. A campaign where the Villian is a player character played by yours truly. We think that a little PvP action would be the stuff of legends. We'd already established that the villian is going to be a legal point build 4e character leveling equally with the heroes. Now we're trying to establish other things such as; 

How much influence do I start with? (Minions, Captured cities, etc.)
How can i gain more minions who will answer to me.
Can i have more notable minions such as war generals or in-house repair men.
How much wealth do i start with? (Property, Weapons, Armour, etc.)
Do I gain a steady flow of wealth?
Do I know of the heroes of the realm and how? (Probably can roll for it)
What motivates me? (I can be a good villian, but I personally don't have a proper motive to stick to.)

Answering these questions and any other tips/suggestions to help establish me would be appreciated.
This is a concept that is much better in theory than in practice.

This nPC is going to have his ass handed to him the first time he encounters the party. PCs are horribly underpowered when compared to equal level NPCs. Look at the hit points and damage output of a level 5 PC versus all of the level 5 NPCs. The PC has the advantage of healing surges and party unity.

If you are the DM, this will be a weak opponent for the party.
If you are a player, this will be a short-lived endeavor.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
This villain PC idea can work.  So you're not the DM, but just playing a villain?  You should ask your DM if you can just have this stuff.  It's all for a story, and you plan on eventually being defeated by the PCs, right?  I'd say the DM can allow you anything you need to play your part.

As far as being able to actually challenge the party, minions are key.  Your question of "how can I gain more minions who will answer to me?" well...  how do you think all villains get minions?  Go to a dungeon setting where there are some intelligent evil humanoids and show them your awesome power.  Trick them, intimidate them, promise them power and riches as long as they do your bidding.  Keeping them under control might be a problem.  Goblins, kobolds, orcs, and the like aren't the most disciplined folk.  On the other hand, maybe you can use undead somehow.  If you can find some sort of item that allows you to raise dead and control them, that would be perfect.  Undead always follow orders.  That's why they are so popular with the baddies.  You can also just use other non-monstrous lackies.  Pay some mercenaries, get some henchmen.  Hey, you could even start a cult.  There really are tons of posibilities.

This is a concept that is much better in theory than in practice.

This nPC is going to have his ass handed to him the first time he encounters the party. PCs are horribly underpowered when compared to equal level NPCs. Look at the hit points and damage output of a level 5 PC versus all of the level 5 NPCs. The PC has the advantage of healing surges and party unity.

If you are the DM, this will be a weak opponent for the party.
If you are a player, this will be a short-lived endeavor.



Perhaps you're right.
Maybe a 18 16 16 14 12 10 point build (distributed at my liesure) and an extra 5 hp per level to boost him to where an apropriate villian would be.

Nevertheless, we can find a balancing point where the villian, himself, can stand. What we're looking for is the answers to thoes other problems that spring up. 
If you want the VPC to stand up against them alone.  You could always have him find some sort of souce of evil power.  Like there was a dungeon that was locked away, and protected because there is an evil book which, upon reading, grants the reader enormous power.  You plan on having this guy be defeated by the party anyway, it's not like you're cheating so you can "win" D&D.  It's just a storyline idea, and could exist in your world.  once reading this book, you can give him powers to raise undead, or summon demons/devils, or whatever you want to use as minions.  You can also justify giving him more hp, bonuses, saves, anything.
 So you're not the DM, but just playing a villain?
It's all for a story, and you plan on eventually being defeated by the PCs, right?




Yes, that is correct. I am the villian. The DM is playing referee, interpereting my actions and the players responses.

No. In the true fasion of PvP, I don't "Plan" on getting beat anytime at all. This is why I felt it nessisary to get a few other opinions for restrictions and allowances. Gods help them should I swing them a few TPK's.
There is a d20 Modern supplement for the pre-Modern era - it covered things like Indiana Jones and the 3 Musketeers - which included several feats you will want to investigate closely.  One allows you to recruit minions.  Another gives you a Sidekick.  3.x also had the Leadership feat, which let a PC captain of a ship get a crew of NPCs without a lot of in-game hassle.  The supplement also included a prestige class which allowed you to take all these feats and become The Godfather.

How can you build a base of power?
- Persuade people to follow you.  Needs a high CHR.  Think of any politician or rabble-rouser.  Play an Ardent for variety.
- Raise the undead.  This ties you to the Necromancer stereotype, though.
- Summon devils/demons.  How much collateral damage to the world will you accept?  You are also pretty much stuck with being a Wizard.
- Threaten people with brute force.  Brutal Scoundrel Rogue, maybe (whichever one gets to sneak attack with maces).  This is limited in its effectiveness because you have to keep going back and reminding the people to be afraid of you, over and over.  Besides, your targets will hate you afterwards and might look up some heroes to deal with you bothering them.  And gods help you if your victims all get together at once...
- Religious uses/abuses.  Start a cult of your personality (David Koresh).  Or summon some angels to do your will.  Warlock's Curse could be re-fluffed here.  I have an avenger concept who seeks revenge for a past wrong (mob of slaughter & plunder) - and is not at all picky about who he hurts.  Note that most people will react VERY badly to somebody displaying the Unholy Symbol of a god of evil.

A possible villian PC personality:
The Avenger mentioned previously is intended to play with a group of PCs through Heroic tier.  During this time he gradually descends into madness.  At the beginning he goes berzerk in combat but recovers when the fighting stops.  His Oath might involve the phrase "shedding of blood".  Later, anybody who looks like they might be a member of the group he avenges himself on (a culture - pirates?) will be treated with extraordinary prejudice.  He might commit reckless homicide against helpless bystanders to get at his foes.  Anybody can be rationalized to be a secret member or agent of "that group".  By the time the group is ready to become Paragon, he should be dangerous to anybody who happens to be in his vicinity and the PCs will have to deal with him.  (He thinks he is worshipping the god of Vengeance; this is actually Asmodeus in disguise, or possibly the Evil god of Madness whose name is never spoken.)  By that point, I'm going to model him on the kind of people who cheer on terrorists.  Power of Madness + the L9 burst 10 power = a room full of suicidal minions (who might be a market full of innocent civilians not minion-as-in-enemies), and could be the Act that will bring the PCs down on him.

Best complements I have yet received:

Show

Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

Show

Active:

LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

AoA Dwarf Guardian Druid8 Narvik from House Wavir

Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign

BRJN, your comment was very enlightening. Thank you.

He seemed to get the intention as well. I was going to control the villians actions in and out of combat, making the DM referee.
Personally, were I ever to play a villain, I would be suave in the best possible way.  It might be neat to inter-twine the villains story with the PC's in that, perhaps the PC'swork for or with the villain(you).  How often does everyone hear as a DM that it always makes it more interesting when the PC's find out the person who they thought was their friend was actually the one who was tearing them down the whole time?  Now if the rest of the group knows you are the villain (which I believe it sounds that way, thus they are cool with this idea) it will bit a bit hard for them not to metagame some.  However, you could cure that by creating a little deception by saying you wont be playing a villain any more but perhaps a benefactor for the group...

Regardless, being the villain means high charisma to get cohorts.  You should either have a decent-sized group of minions at your beck and call already or have the wealth to get them quickly.  Even if you do have them, you should have a steady flow of income from somewhere.  Whether its fencing stolen goods, slave trade...something.  Villains dont get powerful by being stupid either.  If they dont have to dirty their hands, they shouldnt.  Someone else should always take the fall.  As far as leveling up though, there may be a chance for some intimidation amongst the ranks to keep everyone line.  Additionally, if you go the route of staying close to the PC's, adventuring with them might get you some levels as well. 

Maybe as the villain, you are the lead of a small cell of theives guild within the city and are looking to make a name for your group...  The Night Stalkers or some such...  Meanwhile, the PC's are involved in helping the local guards rid the city of some bounties out on murderers, and somehow their worlds collide through this process.

Again, being suave, maybe as the villain you are a local noble who has a multitude of vassals, and secretly are in control of the local assassins guild through funding that you give.  The income from being a noble is easy enough to maintain that steady flow on income.

As far as motive, it just goes from what kind of villain you want to be.  If the PC's come to your world threatening it, your motivation to interact with them should be to either immediately remove them from your world, or manipluate them in to removing something greater from your world.  Perhaps another noble needs to be dealt with, and you lets the PC's know what "evil things" that noble does, and so the PC's needs to wreck his farms in the country and do such things to bring that rival down.  Perhaps being part of the theives guild, you want the assassins guild taken down or out and the PC's can be one outlet to make that job easier...  If you merely want the PC's out of your life immediately, either you put contracts on their heads or do something to bring them down.  Meanwhile the PC's find a note on a would-be assassin with their names on a kill list.  Plenty to go on from there.  Politics always a great idea to shove PC's versus a villain.

Overall sounds neat, though I would be hard pressed to try this within a group.  Hard to give everyone a spotlight from what I see personally.  That is why I would find a way to for the PC's and supposed Villain to interact within some reason.  Additionally, should that interaction occur, is the villain trying to get the PC's on his side, do his dirty work, or why?  If in seperate countries/cities, how do they come to know each other?  That could be one of the harder play offs...  Good luck though, hope some of this rambling helps.
Perhaps another noble needs to be dealt with, and you lets the PC's know what "evil things" that noble does, and so the PC's needs to wreck his farms in the country and do such things to bring that rival down.


From the other PCs' point of view, I wouldn't wreck the farms - the peasants haven't done anything bad !  But I might try to get the title(s) or fief(s) for myself.  Then I can live the easy life while the bad guy is poor and miserable.

Best complements I have yet received:

Show

Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

Show

Active:

LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

AoA Dwarf Guardian Druid8 Narvik from House Wavir

Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign

Definatly work this out with your DM. But You might prefer to start off as a low power-no power Villain. All you are really doing is playing the roll of the NPC BBEG - A roll usually dealt with by the Dungeon Master.


If the DM decides to let you play the BBEG you will likely start out at low level - and have to build your own web of conspiracies. Hire twenty woodsmen and wagonmasters and begin harvesting a forest vital to the PCs village. Firewood is 20,000lb per acre so a square mile of forest from which the PCs village gets its firewood is worth 5cp/20lb? Thats 32,000gp of fire wood per square mile of forest. Your plan gets you 25,000gp in income for what ever your plan is and puts you at odds with the PCs interests. While they beat up your Orc Woodsmen, you go snatch their families as hostages.
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html
Among other things, I plan on feeding the DM all of my actions in envelopes, so my actions won't be revealed too early by the DM until they become relevant (My DM's tend to have a problem with dispensing info like it's a filing cabnet and everyone has a key). As well as empasizing more towards a PVP method, rather that just the guy with the villian ball.