By Lord Mhor
Running role-playing games well is not easy. Here are several adjustments that can make your RPG sessions and villains more interesting:
1) In all your sessions, focus on behaviors, attitudes, and agendas rather than mechanical rules-crunching. Any game system becomes boring if it isn’t backing up good stories. Make the RPG experience more than numbers and shopping for artifacts through the use of plot and animated narration.
2) Make the villain’s presence felt long before a direct encounter. Use rumors, hints, innuendos, spy networks, and mysterious mishaps to build tension. Reveal ever-deepening layers of your plot through signs and portents Let it build.
3) Make loss for the player characters in premature direct conflict almost guaranteed. Drive them to build up and improve to survive the main confrontation.
4) Provide memorable minions for the villain. Let each one clearly demonstrate an aspect of the villain’s agenda. To build drama, you can have a main minion mistaken for the real mastermind.
5) Arrange multiple escapes for the main villain once direct conflict ensues, with return forays to keep the characters focused. Even if the villain is killed in a fight, have minions cart off the body and arrange a reanimation. The villain returns as a vampire or lich. If the body is destroyed, they come back as a disembodied spirit of some sort bent on revenge. If you’re running a science fiction game, there’s nothing quite like having the villain’s brain return in a monstrous robotic horror of some sort.
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