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Adding a Jason-like Villain to your D&D game

Written by MythicParty - Published on November 14, 2015
Triskaidekaphobia Day?

Triskaidekaphobia Day?

In honor of Friday the 13th, we’re taking a look at the horror franchise that spawned 12 films while making people scared of goalies. Although there are usually dozens of villains in any given campaign, the majority of bad guys in adventures are often quickly dispatched.  Worse, they’re frequently forgotten.  However a D&D incarnation of Jason Voorhees is neither: by definition he’s essentially an immortal death-dealing machine, the combination of which should make your players sweat. Here’s how you can include a fantasy version of Camp Crystal Lake’s worst swimmer.

Step 1) Believable backstory: So a young disabled boy drowns at summer camp because the horny staff aren’t paying attention. In the second movie he has grown up and returns from the near dead to seek vengeance upon, well, pretty much everyone including by #10 people in space. Revenge isn’t always the best cold dish, its a solid character motivation. If one of the PCs inadvertently causes the death of someone innocent- and doesn’t take this tragic event seriously enough via a realistic restitution, congratulations! They’ve just given you the ideal setup for an unstoppable murdering monster.

Step 2) Signature Symbol: Freddy Krueger has a razor glove, Michael Myers has his William Shatner mask, and Jason of course has his iconic hockey mask.  Give your Jason something similar. It doesn’t have to be a weapon or even magical but it should be immediately identifiable. Don’t think of this item as a talisman or wizard-like bonded object, yet rather the ‘visual signature’ of your particular Jason. Big bonus if you can actually find this icon to have with you in RL as a prop for tableside display.  Bring it out from behind the DM screen whenever your version of Jason appears and watch your players eyes widen.

Step 3) Plenty O’ Power: Jason is credited with 158ish on-screen kills.  That’s a lot of XP even if most of the bodies came from 0 Level commoners displaying 8 WIS. He manages to murder using all manner of simple weapons and all manner of improvised weapons and of course his own hugely strong hands.  Basically anything around him can be turned into a damage-dealer. Oh, and don’t forget how he not only tracks people down but completely sneaks up on them, after sometimes setting traps.  Your Jason should have all sorts of ways to dole out damage, as well as numerous ranks in various abilities to help him do this damage.  Think multiple classes with the lowest Level still higher than the PCs. You want them to be rightfully scared of this thing.  A good guideline for the design is the goal that if they’re not running, they’re not living.

Step 4) Recurring Returns: For defense not only is Jason immune to pain, but he can shrug off bullets, fire, electricity, and toxic waste. And he can breathe underwater because then he can survive outerspace. Should the party manage to drop him, even hacked apart Jason just later returns to kill again. In the Friday the 13th canon, Jason was literally blown to pieces.  However his heart caused demonic possession bringing his spirit back and back and back.  Moreover, each time this parasitic snake demon destroyed the host. So the cliche cutting off the head/burn the body/scatter the ashes actually only makes things worse.  If they try a more metagamed ‘we-nuke-the-site-from-orbit’ tactic, let them think they succeeded only to show them down the road how wrong they were. Its up to you if there is a way to permanently end your Jason.  After all, there have been 2 movies in the franchise with the phrase “The Final” & both were anything but.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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4 Responses to “Adding a Jason-like Villain to your D&D game”
  1. Mike says:

    I just held my first dungeon (castle) game: as a beginner DM, i wasn’t sure exactly how strong my first ‘evil’ character should be (how high should his AC be? How many hit points should he have? Is he too strong or too weak???): what i did was, i gave him a guessed at AC and hit points that i thought maybe wouldn’t be too strong… someone they could probably take. But my secret weapon was: if they defeated him too easily (which, really, they did) I added: “As he is falling to the floor, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a blood red stone and touches it to his lips. He is fully healed!”
    Man… should have see the reaction to that, lol! But it did help them pull together further to defeat him. It only lasted not even 2 hours, but was a lot of fun because it was more about fun than rules (still VERY much learning the rules).

    Maybe in the near future, i will try a Jason (Jason Bourne?) character… something to definitely throw at a team that seems to be getting cocky!

  2. Sean Holland says:

    I do like most of this article especially the signature for the enemy.

    However, the reoccurring returns needs to be handled carefully, if you just make all of their efforts to kill the enemy pointless and worthless, you are just going to end up with pissed off players. You need to give them understandable reason why the enemy keeps coming back and ways to slow it while they learn how to destroy it for good.

  3. Darkwarren says:

    I agree with Sean. There needs to be an eventual end to this recurring villain – the party needs closure. There’s a reason that the franchise went from actual horror to campy horror – you can no longer suspend disbelief that this guy is going to stop being a problem.

    But I’m now curious as to how one might stat out Jason Voorhees. A zombie? Revenant? Fighter and barbarian levels?

  4. Mike says:

    Just allow your team (after frequent running encounters with Jason) to find a ‘Dragon Glass’ shard (or whatever) that they can finally kill him with.

    Let ‘Jason’ die, and he becomes an Elven King who gives the team a gift, or helps them somehow….

    Not Endless problems… endless possibilities…. (just a lot of running in the mean time). :)

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