Roleplaying Ideas E-newsletter #1167
How will we outsmart our gamers? It’s all their brains in opposition to ours. Absolutely the percentages are in opposition to us.
Nevertheless, right here’s a neat trick we are able to carry out to make our villains smarter and our adventures extra crafty.
We take a look at the potential plots and actions our poor villain would possibly take and group them into three buckets.
Every bucket varieties a serious step towards the villain’s victory.
Very often I’ll decide the buckets first, after which fill them with acceptable evil actions. However generally I’ll brainstorm an inventory of actions and accomplishments after which pile and file them into three teams that make sense.
I name this strategy 3-Step Villain Plans. And I simply produced a tutorial for it within the Journey Constructing Grasp Recreation Plan, which will likely be opening up once more early this 12 months.
This pondering can be just like 3 Spherical Fight plans. Summary to understand the entire image, then element specifics for the win.
Our purpose at present is to determine three buckets that, when accomplished, will convey our fantastic villain final victory.
3-Step Plans For the Win
Why would we do that?
Properly, we get a number of wins:
- It’s a easy AI we are able to set-up to assist us compete with our gamers’ massive brains
- It makes our planning a complete lot simpler
- It makes our prep sooner
- It offers us incredible flexibility as a result of we’re pondering in massive phrases, so minor setbacks by these pesky adventurers don’t defeat us
- We’re retaining it easy so we are able to let the gamers make it difficult
And observe you could put as many sub-steps in our buckets as we like. We simply group them into three buckets or phases for the explanations above.
The three-Step Plan Strategy
To create a 3-Step Villain Plan take into consideration what main achievements the villain must impact complete victory.
They should [get this] to [do that] to in the end obtain [the thing].
We then fill every bucket or Step with duties for minions, evil deliverables, and diabolic components. It’s right here the place our 5 Room Dungeons and adventures happen!
So quite than making an attempt to boil the ocean with a fancy and detailed plan positive to fail contact with the characters, we as a substitute give attention to the key issues our good villain needs to perform together with any concepts on how that may occur.
Then we await gameplay and react to occasion decisions.
Between classes, we replace our buckets with any new concepts and based mostly on what’s working and what’s not.
On this method, we now have a versatile, simple, but efficient path to villain victory.
Under are three buckets I typically construct for my 3-Step Villain Plans.
There’s nothing fancy right here.
It’s fairly easy.
But, I hope you see how this strategy leaves you with an ideal recreation plan that’s simple to prep and stays versatile as gameplay wends onward.
Step I: Basis
On this part, our type villain gathers sources wanted for victory.
They may want specialist minions (assassins, spies, CEOs, and many others.), an elite unit of guards, a military, and so forth.
They may want particular components reminiscent of all of the items of a magic merchandise, 47 dragon eggs, and the deed to a mine.
This stage additionally entails establishing key areas. Headquarters, secret ritual locations, ammunition dumps, or army staging areas.
The wonderful thing about our bucket technique right here is we are able to add components throughout the journey as we consider them.
For instance, if the gamers destroy the headquarters underneath development, the villain can react by beginning a brand new one, thus making your recreation dynamic.
One other boon: the villain can undergo partial defeats by the hands of the participant characters and this doesn’t derail our journey.
“These jerks would possibly’ve stolen the dragon eggs, however I’ve nonetheless acquired my military!”
Step II: Impending Doom
With Basis laid, our resourceful villain has what they should start the subsequent part of their evil plan.
This part can be run concurrently with useful resource gathering, in the event you like. Strike whereas the iron is sizzling.
I name this bucket Impending Doom as a result of our beloved villain begins to wield the sources they’ve gathered.
This creates ripples, portents, and struggling.
These indicators alert the characters to one thing better afoot.
The occasion won’t even know there’s a villain in Step I. They had been busy coping with early machinations siloed by weak stage bosses.
Now they confront extra highly effective stage bosses who conduct raids, commit sabotage, and activate brokers who’ve infiltrated key organizations and governments.
To the gamers, it seems like many various fires that should be put out to avoid wasting the area.
Step III: Execute
We now enter the ultimate part.
Our pretty villain is able to pull the lever and win their most interesting victory.
We should presume the gamers have stopped a number of evil plots by this level.
So the beleaguered villain’s determined. They may even be contemplating one final dangerous motion to win all of it.
Nevertheless, we nonetheless have a number of villainous sources we are able to convey to bear as specified by Basis or presumably acquired throughout Impending Doom from agent missions.
We must also apply most strain on the occasion at this level.
Family members and even total communities get threatened. The water provide’s poisoned. The military besieges the final maintain of Good. The villain holds the ultimate piece of the magic merchandise. The ritual begins.
On this Step, the villain Executes their remaining actions to attain win-state.
Can the PCs cease them and save the world?
Give It a Whirl
Open up Marketing campaign Logger or seize some pen and paper and take into consideration your villain.
Even when mid-campaign, we are able to create a 3-Step Plan to shine our journey and add readability on what opposes the participant characters and why.
If caught, strive my steps:
- Impending Doom
Fill every bucket with actions the villain and their minions can take to finish that Step. Then flip your favorite actions into 5 Room Dungeons to play out.
Replace your 3-Step Plan between classes as your GM Fog of Struggle recedes additional with every occasion victory or defeat.
Do that technique out and let me know the way it goes!
For just a few extra ideas, try Fast Plot Design: How To Create A Villain Plan First Draft.