"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Complete Book of Villains, Entropy

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist."

That may not be the best line to open the post with but how bad can it be to quote "the Usual Suspects" in a post about villains. In some movies it is the villain that makes the story. They may not be the main character but they end up making the story. From Keyser Soze to Hannibal Lecter to Khan we find villains that we love to hate and in some cases can even root for.

In a long term campaign one thing that is needed is going to be goals for the characters long term. In most cases the journey for the goals will not be enough. They will need a long term adversary that is going to be one of if not the major obstacles along the way. That is where a well done villain comes in.

The Complete Book of Villains is one of those special supplements that cross system and genre in their usefulness. I have found myself looking back to this even when not playing D&D or AD&D. With this you can create a villain that will be able to replace the quest. The villain you create will not be the big baddie at the end of the dungeon that gets killed at the end. They will become the long term nemesis that players will talk about after the game is over.

One of the problems with this book though is that it gets sold short. It helps create great villains but doesn't get used for the creating other great NPCs. With just a little creativity the book can be used to help create any type of character. I have even read of this book being used by fiction writers to help them flesh out characters in stories. It was pegged as one of the five old school products for new school DMs at the RPG Athenaeum.

There may be other products that I would put in a list of cross system & genre musts but this would be on my list as well. This would probably be at the top of that list. Some of the Gygax Builder books would also make that list. The Complete Book of Villains could be released again today without being system specific and be a big seller. Below is a the Table of Contents for the book. I strongly suggest you find a copy of this and pick it up.

CH 1 - Defining your Villain
CH 2 - Henchmen, Flunkies & Lackeys
CH 3 - Villainous Organizations
CH 4 - Introducing Your Villain
CH 5 - Delivering the Goods
CH 6 - Monsters Into Villains
CH 7 - Advanced Villains
CH 8 - Creative Villainy
CH 9 - A Compendium of Villains
CH 10 - A Catalog For Villains
Villain Tables

From the back of the book:

There is no little enemy -- French proverb

A paranoid warlord, a bitter drow priestess, a power-mad archmage, a sly dwarven assassin - not all the characters in the AD&D game went the way of the heroes. Villains - beings dedicated to committing evil - are the most dangerous of all foes, and thus the most useful of all tools that a Dungeon Master has to create a memorable campaign. This book presents the most complete guidelines ever offered on creating villains for role-playing games. Miss this advice at your own peril!



Level: Sixth
Range: 6"
Duration:  6 Rounds
Ares of Effect: 6" Radius Sphere
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 6 Segments
Saving Throw: None

When this spell is cast the magic user causes any spell cast in  the area of effect to act as another spell. This will also have an  effect on magical devices that are triggered if they are used in  the sphere. Items that have a constant effect will not suffer from  the changes.

When a spell is cast the DM will need to determine what level the  spell being cast is and then roll randomly to determine what the  effect is. The spell will still be removed from the list of spells  that individual may cast but the effect will not be what they  want.

Another effect of the spell is that the caster not perceive that  the wrong spell is cast. They will see the effect they expect in  addition to what really happens. The same will hold true for effects from wands and other triggered devices. The entropy will  affect any spell caster that enters into the area of effect  including the caster of this spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the  write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the  80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other  than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be  slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of  spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :)  Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on  me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please  let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.


Tim Shorts said...

Book of Villains is a great book. It is simple, but very useful even for writing fiction.

Mystic Scholar said...

Anything helpful in writing fiction is good for me. What is a DM, if not a story teller?

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