The DM’s guide to uber-villains

Table of Contents

D&D icons discuss their lifestyles

Expy, my red dragon friend and mascot, met an uber-villain recently. They talked about being D&D icons and decided to share their lifestyle with us, hoping it will help us mortal dungeon masters handle villainy correctly.

1 – Stats

I do not need a stat block. I’ll be toying with powerful nobles and merchants (and your PCs) from the shadows.

2 – Minions

I keep my hands clean at all times. Minions do my bidding.

3 – Credit

Henchmen may work for me but I always take personal credit for their success, and blame them for their failure.

4 – Associates

I cannot let a minion, or organized group, be associated with me. I will sever ties with henchmen quickly.

5 – Silence

I do not like to talk. It keeps me from listening and learning about my allies and enemies.

6 – Emotions

I cannot allow myself to care for others. Do not care about me, either. If you are enamored with your favorite uber-villain you will want to reveal details about his whereabouts to your friends (who happens to be your PCs, my enemies). My heart is made of stone. Yours must be too.

7 – Shining dimly

I shine, but never outshine my allies and enemies. I am not considered a prodigy – just competent.

8 – Reputation

I guard my reputation jealously. My spotless reputation opens doors and deflects blame.

9 – Attention

I court attention by seeming mysterious. I am easily noticed, but not easily read. It is human nature to be intrigued by, and attracted to people they cannot figure out.

10 – Home, sweet home

I let others come to me. I do not go to them.

11 – Arguments

I win arguments through action, not rhetoric.

12 – Dependence

I keep my friends, allies, and especially my enemies dependent on me. Once I establish an expertise, a position of power, I use it as leverage again and again.

13 – Honesty

Selective honesty and generosity lower the defenses of my enemies and keep my allies unwary.

14 – Finishing the job

When my enemy is down I crush him.

15 – Presence by absence

I will disappear If my allies and enemies do not acknowledge me. I want my presence to be felt and needed.

16 – Unpredictability

I perform, and publicize, random acts. My thought and action patterns cannot be known.

17 – Commitment

I commit to my goals. I never commit to others.

18 – Suckers

Play a sucker to catch a sucker. I seem less intelligent than my interlocutor whenever it is reasonable.

19 – Sweat

I work at night. I never run. I never sweat. All my accomplishments seem effortless.

20 – Shortcomings

I ignore and disdain the things I cannot have and the goals I cannot reach.

21 – Gifts

I am weary of gifts – they hide obligations. I let someone else receive gifts in my stead, shifting the obligations away from me.

22 – Success

I do not let success go to my head. When I reach a goal, I stop reaching.

13 thoughts on “The DM’s guide to uber-villains”

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  3. Joey…

    In game they had no clue. They thought that was just how the player was because he had etiquette as a skill so he was usually the face of the party. A couple said they thought something was up but worst case was they thought that he was just being a rouge and trying to take a little extra off the top. To try to keep it a surprise when we only have one player doing something kinda important I either speak with them alone or they pass me a note telling me what they are doing and I pass back my response. Best part was that we had a character that nobody liked that much in the party so he was used as the scapegoat for a lot of the excuses. Most of the party had to keep a eye on him while they were in town to keep him from trouble. Got to love the *Kinder Wildmage* as a distraction

  4. I am starting to work on my new 4e campagin, and I want a uber villian, always just out of reach of the players, until a later leve anyway. I will try to work alot of these into the creation of him/her. Hardest part of me, is the waiting game, I have a hard time keeping cool secrets…well secret for too long.

  5. One of the PCs weas the uber villian. Damn that was sneaky. Not all members of a party get along, but damn that is just so evil and twisted it is sweet. Did any of the players see it coming?

  6. Yes, Yes , Yax…it all un-folds before me…my ill nature is a process and it will be complete

  7. Ahh I remember My first uber villan i had he started out in the party. always took credit for the achievements unbenounced to the other player since he was the face of the party he had the looks the Chr. everyone liked him but he had one of his allies hire the party for a mission where he had a trap set up. He caught the party left them for dead, robed them etc…, went back to town and killed his partner to cover his tracks :) now we have a Villan that the party can relate to and really hate. when they tried to use their fame or go back to the towns where they had visted before to look for clues hardly no one would help them cause they were just visiters the might hero was their ex-friend… their friend was the one that took all the credit remember, so why should they help you find their savior :) that was my uber-villan twist.
    *we had two ppl in the group that usualy led the party so i took one aside and made him a villan that way it wouldn’t hurt the party when he left*

  8. Yep. I agree. You can’t do everything at once, but it’s possible to combine all this deviousness into one character.

  9. The best villian is one you get to combine all of these traits. Start from teh shadows and then work your way tot aking credit int he forefront and making it look easy by not breaking a sweat

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