Villains

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Which D&D products (or other) would you recommend I look at for inspiration, tools and the like for creating villains.

I've DMed for over a decade now and I've had a fair share of memorable (for some reason the crazy ones tend to be more memorable), some cheesy and some boring villains.

I need some ideas to spice things up a bit.
None. Go to movies, shows, and books for your inspiration. Steal liberally.

Better yet, ask your players what kind of villain they'd like to face. I bet they'll surprise you with how mean they'll be to themselves.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Which D&D products (or other) would you recommend I look at for inspiration, tools and the like for creating villains.

I've DMed for over a decade now and I've had a fair share of memorable (for some reason the crazy ones tend to be more memorable), some cheesy and some boring villains.

I need some ideas to spice things up a bit.

I agree with Centauri about stealing liberally.   With a little dressing, it's unlikely your players will notice the source.

One currently recurring NPC in my campaign is a gnome inventor who reluctantly works for a criminal organization.    A level 1 party could easily defeat him, but he builds excellent constructs and always apologizes when forced to release them on the party.    I like him because he's physically and emotionally weak, yet he's a threat.

What are some of your / your players' favorite villains?
Super-genius masterminds, like Light Yagami, David Xanatos, or the Joker?
Unpredictible loonies, like Xykon, Jack Torrance, or the Joker?
Unrelenting forces of nature, like Cthulhu, Slenderman, or the Joker?
People that were broken by evil people and devoted themselves to even worse evil, like Carrie, Dexter, or (probably not) the Joker?

Yeah, this is the kind of question where creative writing sites in general would be useful.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

None. Go to movies, shows, and books for your inspiration. Steal liberally.

Better yet, ask your players what kind of villain they'd like to face. I bet they'll surprise you with how mean they'll be to themselves.


Plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery
-Charles Caleb Colton 
or, "Bad artists imitate.  Great artists steal."  -- Pablo Picasso (maybe)

My favorite villain right now is a vampire who the characters came in contact with while he was in a weakened state.  I didn't like the whole A vampire can rest in soil for three nights to make that his new grave soil thing from MM 1, so I made it so that a vampire deprived of his grave soil would continue to weaken and would eventually take on a Nosferatu-like appearance.  The PCs were investigating a string of disappearances and came upon him in his weakened state, allowing them to survive the encounter before he fled to lick his wounds.  What I really enjoy about the vampire, Vraise, is that he is the missing son of the Baroness, who employs the PCs, and once that connection is made obvious the PCs are going to have some tough choices to make.  Do they pursue killing him and alienate themselves from their patron?  Do they remain loyal to their patron and risk the further loss of innocent life?  Do they surreptitiously gain entry to the Baroness's summer home and kill Vraise making it look like the work of Shadar-kai vampire hunters?  And what of the fact that the vampire hates and fears the return of Orcus and will soon be contacting one of the PCs while she is alone to warn of and give assistance to the PCs in an attempt to defeat a cult of Orcus?

The other not-so-villainous villain that I've had fun with is the ghost of a man who was burned at the stake for attempting to buy a slave while in possession of bindings and torture devices.  The PCs have learned that the man was actually obsessed with the loss of his daughters a few years prior and was actually planning on putting said bindings and other nastiness in use on the slave-seller to find out more about an underground slaver ring.  The ghost is vicious and has the whole town afraid to even light candles at night (since he appears from mundane fire sources) but everyone he's killed has been linked in some way or another to the slaver ring.  
Surely you mean

Plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery
-Chiba Monkey



Very nice.
or, "Bad artists imitate.  Great artists steal."  -- Pablo Picasso (maybe)

My favorite villain right now is a vampire who the characters came in contact with while he was in a weakened state.  I didn't like the whole A vampire can rest in soil for three nights to make that his new grave soil thing from MM 1, so I made it so that a vampire deprived of his grave soil would continue to weaken and would eventually take on a Nosferatu-like appearance.  The PCs were investigating a string of disappearances and came upon him in his weakened state, allowing them to survive the encounter before he fled to lick his wounds.  What I really enjoy about the vampire, Vraise, is that he is the missing son of the Baroness, who employs the PCs, and once that connection is made obvious the PCs are going to have some tough choices to make.  Do they pursue killing him and alienate themselves from their patron?  Do they remain loyal to their patron and risk the further loss of innocent life?  Do they surreptitiously gain entry to the Baroness's summer home and kill Vraise making it look like the work of Shadar-kai vampire hunters?  And what of the fact that the vampire hates and fears the return of Orcus and will soon be contacting one of the PCs while she is alone to warn of and give assistance to the PCs in an attempt to defeat a cult of Orcus?

The other not-so-villainous villain that I've had fun with is the ghost of a man who was burned at the stake for attempting to buy a slave while in possession of bindings and torture devices.  The PCs have learned that the man was actually obsessed with the loss of his daughters a few years prior and was actually planning on putting said bindings and other nastiness in use on the slave-seller to find out more about an underground slaver ring.  The ghost is vicious and has the whole town afraid to even light candles at night (since he appears from mundane fire sources) but everyone he's killed has been linked in some way or another to the slaver ring.  



"I steal from everyone." -Matthew Woodring Stover, in response to an interview question about which writers influenced his ideals and style.
DMing for 10 years means you've seen a lot of PCs. Especially if you've been with the same group, it can be really fun to base a villain on a PC someone played in a previous game. Maybe he turned to the dark side, or maybe he was pretty evil even in the previous campaign...
The best villains are the ones with complex motives who aren't completely evil.  Whether they're sympathetic in some way or Eldritch Abominations, they're great.