OK sure. I get it. You’re a very-talented writerly GM. There’s a three-novel deal in your future. You’ve got a complex, multidimensional villain with a backstory and a sympathetic motivation. All the bells and whistles. No doubt they’ll eventually get a spin-off series. But you know what your players want? They want to thwart evil-doers. They want to be big damn heroes.

Welcome to the third and final part of our partnership with Hypertellurians, a science fantasy RPG set in the future of old. In this episode, we’re all aboard an interplanetary pleasure cruise with Argencia the Silver Sorceress, with the Power to Crush Men. Yes that whole thing is her name. And yes, she’s the kind of villain I want in my games.

Fully realized villains are great and all, but there’s something to be said for the mustache-twirlers and maniacal laughers. The sultry temptresses and the are-we-the-baddies bastards of the multiverse. I’m talking Skeletor. I’m talking Ming the Merciless. The Wicked Witch of the West. Freakin’ Jeremy Irons. These are the very bad dudes that love all that delicious evil. They have no problem chewing the scenery and strutting their black-caped stuff. And if you’ve never tried a full-on bad guy, trust me when I say you’re missing out.

Just last session I found myself faced with a wonderful opportunity. My players had just defeated a medusa cult. The walls of the boss chamber were formed from ~1500 petrified bodies, and they decided it was their duty to rescue all the victims.

“But we aren’t taking any chances,” said the party paladin. “If we’re spending a few weeks to cast break enchantment so we can invite all these people to settle in town, I’m using detect evil on all of them.”

Sometimes you’ve got to take the lead from your players. And if they were expecting evil, they were going to get evil.

Her name was Minerva Grim. Once she was saved from a stony fate, she proved to be something of a moral quandary. Minerva had wide and staring eyes. An unsettling laugh. A long shock of white hair. I may have had a certain inspiration in mind.

“Do you know what year it is?”

“Ooh, let me guess. Are all my friends and loved ones long dead?”

The party collectively blinked. “Probably?”

“Ha! Good riddance. I never liked my loved ones.”

The party found themselves in something of pickle. Minerva detected as evil, but she couldn’t be killed because she’d committed no crime. She couldn’t be banished because that would make her an instant enemy.

“Why don’t you join one of the adventuring parties in town?” suggested the party, thinking that their allies could keep an eye on her.

“Ooh… You mean I’ll have my very own band of strapping heroes to bend to my will?”

It’s hard to deal with a bad egg when you’re a good egg. The party knows Minerva is bad. She knows they know. And I am very much looking forward to cackling like a fiend, feigning innocence, and trying my best to do just-enough-evil to not get executed on the spot. It’s going to be a fun game of cat and mouse, and I like that both Witch and Argencia would be proud.

So what do you say, folks? Have you ever run a full-on villainous villain, complete with bad one liners and imperious sneer? What manner of nefariousness did you get up to? Tell us your tale of over-the-top evil down in the comments!


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