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D&D Villain Team Ideas- How to create a campaign from bad guys





In D&D or any other role play game, some really exciting possibilities lie in the interplay between different villains, especially if they are D&D or RPG villains with different power levels, objectives or beliefs.


A coalition of bad actors might come together to carry out a plan of conquest, sometimes with connections to the players, or you might create a hierarchy, where henchmen villains serve a boss.


You might even create a situation where some villains are at war with others and the PCs find themselves in the crossfire and even have to ally with one side or another in order to survive.


This in turn could lead to some very interesting outcomes as one side in the civil war either triumphs or is able to extract certain concessions from the heroes in return for their help.


The Villain Hierarchy

Creating a complex villain hierarchy in D&D or any other role-playing game can add a lot of depth and intrigue to your campaign.


A villain hierarchy refers to the different levels of power and influence within a villainous organization, with each level being occupied by a different villain or group of villains.

One way to build a villain hierarchy is to have a "big bad" at the top, who serves as the main antagonist of the campaign.

This could be a powerful sorcerer, a ruthless crime lord, or a malevolent demon. The big bad is the ultimate goal for the players to defeat and serves as the primary driving force behind the campaign.

Beneath the big bad, you can have a number of "lieutenants" who serve as the main adversaries for the players.

These villains might be the leaders of different factions within the organization, or they might have different specializations such as assassins, necromancers, or warlocks.

They could also be different races such as dragon, demon, or other creatures that are powerful and have a specific abilities.

These lieutenants provide the players with challenging and varied opponents to fight against, and they can also serve as potential allies or informants if the players are able to defeat or capture them.

At the next level, you can have "henchmen" villains who serve as the minions of the higher-ranking villains.

These could be groups of bandits, cultists, or other low-level enemies that the players will encounter on a regular basis. They can also serve as cannon fodder for the players to practice their combat skills on.

Finally, you can include "foot soldiers" who are the most basic level of the hierarchy and serve as the grunts of the organization.

These could be low-level monsters, hired thugs, or other low-powered enemies that the players will encounter frequently.

It is also important to consider the relationship between the different levels of the hierarchy. The higher-ranking villains should have some level of control over the lower-ranking ones, and they should be able to call upon them for aid or reinforcements if necessary.

However, there should also be opportunities for the lower-ranking villains to challenge or even overthrow their superiors if they are able to gain enough power or support.

This can create interesting opportunities for the players to exploit or even create factions within the villain organization.

Creating a complex villain hierarchy allows for a variety of different challenges and opportunities for the players. It also allows for a deeper and more nuanced narrative, as the players will have to navigate the different levels of the hierarchy in order to defeat the big bad and save the day.

Additionally, it also gives the players the opportunity to work their way up the hierarchy, taking down the lieutenants and henchmen before finally reaching the top.

The villain hierarchy can also be used to create a sense of escalation, as the players will encounter increasingly powerful and dangerous enemies as they work their way up the hierarchy.

Creating a complex villain hierarchy in your role-playing game can add a lot of depth and intrigue to your campaign. It allows for a variety of different challenges and opportunities for the players, as well as a deeper and more nuanced narrative.

It also allows the players to work their way up the hierarchy and encounter increasingly powerful and dangerous enemies as they progress.


Villain Coalitions

Building a villainous coalition in D&D or any other role-playing game can add a new level of complexity and intrigue to your campaign.

A coalition refers to a group of villains who come together to achieve a common goal, often with each villain bringing their own unique abilities, resources, and motivations to the table.

One way to build a villainous coalition is to have a central villain, often referred to as the "mastermind," who serves as the leader and the primary driving force behind the coalition.

This villain could be a powerful sorcerer, a ruthless crime lord, or a malevolent demon who is seeking to gain ultimate power or control over the world.

The mastermind serves as the ultimate goal for the players to defeat, and the coalition serves as the primary driving force behind the campaign.

Beneath the mastermind, you can have a number of "partners," who are other powerful villains who have joined the coalition.

Each partner could have their own unique abilities, resources, and motivations for joining the coalition. For example, one partner might be a powerful warlord who is seeking to expand their territory, while another might be a powerful necromancer who is seeking to gain access to forbidden knowledge.

These partners provide the players with challenging and varied opponents to fight against, and they can also serve as potential allies or informants if the players are able to defeat or capture them.

In addition to partners, the coalition could also include "associates" who are lesser villains who have joined the coalition for various reasons.

They could be a group of bandits, cultists, or other low-level enemies that the players will encounter on a regular basis. They could also be a group of mercenaries or hired thugs who are working for the coalition.

It is important to consider the dynamics of the coalition when building it. The different villains should have different motivations for joining the coalition, and they should have different levels of power and influence within the coalition.

This can create interesting opportunities for the players to exploit or even create factions within the coalition.

The players might also have to navigate the different levels of the coalition in order to defeat the mastermind and save the day.

For example, they might have to defeat the partners before they can reach the mastermind, or they might have to ally with one partner in order to defeat another.

Additionally, the players might also have to deal with the associates, who could serve as a distraction or as a way to gain information about the coalition.

Creating a villainous coalition allows for a variety of different challenges and opportunities for the players.

It also allows for a deeper and more nuanced narrative, as the players will have to navigate the different levels of the coalition and the different motivations of the villains in order to defeat the mastermind.

Additionally, it also gives the players the opportunity to work against different parts of the coalition and taking down one by one.

In conclusion, building a villainous coalition in your role-playing game can add a new level of complexity and intrigue to your campaign. It allows for a variety of different challenges and opportunities for the players, as well as a deeper and more nuanced narrative.

It also allows the players to work against different parts of the coalition, taking down one by one. The coalition also creates a sense of escalation, as the players will encounter increasingly powerful and dangerous enemies as they progress through the coalition.


Examples


The Hierarchy


Big Bad: A powerful dragon named Arcanax who seeks to conquer the kingdom and enslave its people.

  1. Lieutenants:

  • A group of dragonborn warlords who serve as Arcanax's top generals and lead his army.

  • A powerful necromancer named Vayne who serves as Arcanax's chief advisor and helps to raise an army of undead soldiers.

  • A group of elite dragon riders who serve as Arcanax's personal guard and carry out his most dangerous missions.

2. Henchmen:

  • A group of kobold bandits who serve as Arcanax's scouts and raiders.

  • A cult of dragon worshippers who serve as Arcanax's spies and assassins.

  • A group of giant-kin mercenaries who serve as Arcanax's shock troops.

3. Foot soldiers

  • A group of goblin archers who serve as Arcanax's ranged support.

  • A group of orcs who serve as Arcanax's melee fighters.

In this example, Arcanax is the big bad, who serves as the ultimate goal for the players to defeat. The lieutenants serve as the main adversaries for the players, with each lieutenant providing a unique challenge for the players to overcome. The henchmen serve as the minions of the higher-ranking villains, and the foot soldiers serve as the grunts of the organization.


The coalition

  1. Mastermind: A powerful sorcerer named Zoltar who seeks to summon an ancient demon and use its power to conquer the world.

  2. Partners:

  • A powerful warlord named Gorgoth who seeks to expand his territory and increase his power.

  • A powerful necromancer named Vayne who seeks to gain access to forbidden knowledge and immortality.

  • A powerful dragon named Arcanax who seeks to enslave the kingdom and its people.

3. Associates:

  • A group of bandits led by a rogue named Raven who seek to gain wealth and power.

  • A group of cultists led by a priest named Malice who seek to bring about the end of the world.

  • A group of mercenaries led by a leader named Grim who seek to gain fame and fortune.

In this example, Zoltar is the mastermind, who serves as the leader and the primary driving force behind the coalition. The partners serve as other powerful villains who have joined the coalition, each with their own unique abilities, resources, and motivations for joining. The associates serve as lesser villains who have joined the coalition for various reasons. The players will have to navigate the different levels of the coalition and the different motivations of the villains in order to defeat the mastermind and save the day.


Sample adventure


Pulling together the ideas we've outlined above, here is a sample aventure outline (which would actually make an amazing campaign), featuring the evil Arcanax


Title: "The Dragon Lord's Conquest"

Background: A powerful dragon named Arcanax has assembled a massive army and is seeking to conquer the kingdom and enslave its people. The players are a group of adventurers who have been tasked with stopping Arcanax and saving the kingdom.

Act 1: The players are sent on a mission to infiltrate Arcanax's stronghold and gather information about his plans. Along the way, they will encounter groups of kobold bandits, cultists, and giant-kin mercenaries who serve as Arcanax's henchmen.

Act 2: The players discover that Arcanax has formed an alliance with a powerful necromancer named Vayne, who is helping Arcanax raise an army of undead soldiers. The players must defeat Vayne and put an end to his necromancy in order to weaken Arcanax's army.

Act 3: The players learn that Arcanax's lieutenants, a group of dragonborn warlords, are planning to launch a massive assault on the kingdom's capital city. The players must race against time to gather allies, prepare defenses, and stop the warlords before they can destroy the city.

Act 4: The players finally confront Arcanax himself in his stronghold. Along the way, they will have to discover a device that can critically weaken the big bad. They are helped to find this item by Vayne, who has long sought to supplant Arcanax and the PCs must enter into a murky alliance or be destroyed by the dragon.

Act 5: The PCs are victorious but Vayne is able to enter the necrotic dimension of Thule and be united with his true master, the god Vangon. The PCs might have defeated a dragon but they now have a dark deity to contend with, thus springboarding everyone into a new adventure or campaign.


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