Page 507 - Villains Anonymous

23rd Oct 2014, 6:00 AM
Villains Anonymous
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Oct 2014, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Okay, I had to make one more. I think we're more or less out of the woods now, though.

Story time! Tell a story about a recurring ex-villain. Sometimes the antagonist of the moment doesn't stay that way later on. They might become allies, or at the very least neutral NPCs. Tell a story about such characters in the comments.
Notice: I've moved and am now between jobs, so any donation via PayPal at the top or my Patreon page would be greatly appreciated.

49 Comments:

Specter 23rd Oct 2014, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Recurring villains.

Well, usually it's one the PC's. It's kind of sad really.

One particular DM has one of us PC's just try to go on some evil mastermind plan to do something... well, evil. Most just take 2-3 sessions going on a killing spree, taking half the party with them. Other's do about 7-10 sessions going on an elaborate crime spree of theft and vandalism, with their own hired help. But all of those usually end in death and mayhem for the villain of those campaigns, no guarantee to life or anything.
Breakfateschain 23rd Oct 2014, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
I played a 4e Artificer for almost 2 years, and I got to say, they SUCK mechanically. Not to mention, they're the ONE class in 4e that they never improved or gave more options to in later books
Zrab 23rd Oct 2014, 6:18 AM edit delete reply
And yet they were somehow one of the most fun classes in the entire game.
CWO 23rd Oct 2014, 9:41 PM edit delete reply
No, but your opinion is valuable to us. Please stay on the line and our next available agent will assist you.
Raincloud_Man 24th Oct 2014, 4:42 AM edit delete reply
And yet in 3.5 they were so overpowered that they bordered on broken.
Magic items at low level? We has them.
Obscure spells needed for crafting that blood crystal golem? No problems!

First crafting project? Gloves of +use magic device, class and player restricted. Cheap and OP.
Disloyal Subject 24th Oct 2014, 3:29 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I do love 3.5 artificers. A Dwarf with a bayonetted crossbow and a small fortune's worth of potions of Glibness was one of the characters I was always sad I never played, but parts of him got subsumed into the Half-Dwarf Archivist questgiver/DMPC for my setting's introductory campaign.
Raxon 23rd Oct 2014, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
I have a recurring villain for you. Xovox. Xovox was a troll named Grunch that got sucked into a lawful sane version of the far realm. It twisted him, and he emerged as a perfectly symetrical being of law. He was lawful evil, and ranted to take over the world, but he wasn't a fascist, he was a bureaucrat. He wanted nothing more than to pave the whole world, and turn it all into middle management for the filing realm.

As you can imagine, Raxon took this as a very, very serious threat, and despite nany clashes over the years, Raxon was never really able to destroy Xovox. In the end, Raxon could only imprison Xovox in a prison requiring an endlessly looping system of paperwork to be released.

Truly, he was a villain worthy of the legacy of Raxon.

...crap. I misread that. No worries! I have just such a story! Allow me to tell you the woeful tale of Caleb. Caleb was similar to Raxon, actually, in that he was an avatar. Caleb was the avatar of fire. There's an actual scientific concept he was the mortal avatar of, but it manifested as fire, since such sciences hadn't been discovered yet.

Caleb was really powerful, even by avatar standards. Raxon met him while he was running with The Mage Hand Brotherhood. Think KKK mixed with scientology. They believed that nonmage humans were worthless, and should be eradicated, to make way for the true children of the gods. Sorcerers were held in the highest regard.

Now, Caleb was only 18 when he was approached by this group. He eagerly joined, and participated, in their activities. He honestly believed and fell for their propoganda, that he was the only kind of person who deserved to live, and that he and others like him were the chosen, true people, complete with extremely nutty creation myths.

He first met Raxon in battle, and needless to say, there was a clash of ideals. The brotherhood wanted to forcibly recruit Raxon, and sent all their strongest members after him. Caleb was among the ones that lived. Those that survived the battle were tested. Upon their return, the Brotherhood presented them with a child that was totally unable to use any kind of magic. A null. Those that tried to kill the child were executed by a disguised Raxon on the spot. Those who refused were abducted by Raxon, and put in places where they could become more well adjusted and stable individuals.

In time, Caleb understood the horrible teachings of the brotherhood. He became a force to be reckoned with, fighting them off at every turn, and often turning to Raxon for advice and aid. Eventually, Caleb the black settled down and had a child with an orcish lady he had managed to befriend and woo. Their child grew into one of the most noble and powerful paladins the world had ever seen, but that's a story for another time.
Seanpony Renaud 23rd Oct 2014, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
Fuck recurring villains! My friend's world has basically a demon herald named Xenu and not only is pretty epically powerful (his bosses aren't really the sort of thing you fight so much as prevent or abandon plane of existance. Though one time we said fuck it) he's also a gorramned troll.

We had a party that found out that Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are right, money is the best super power. We basically bought our way through entire quests, sure the treasure just barely covered our expenses but we just wanted our little fiefdom safe. Well when it came to be time to do something big the asshole attacked the Senator's council, caused a war with a nearby kingdom and which robbed us of both our ability to direct the military at all and the merc guild was suddenly very busy.
Digo 23rd Oct 2014, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
Bureaucrats make excellent villains in my opinion. They surround themselves with influential people that can make the PCs live a hellhole of a life for messing with them. There is also that deniable plausibility when they manage to keep up alibis. Keeping them in jail is hard and killing them only turns the PCs into fugitives.

Course some murder-hobos wouldn't see it as a problem. :o
Raxon 23rd Oct 2014, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Agreed. They can be terribly frightening enemies. That is exactly the reason Raxon is best suited to cutting through their horsecrap. Think about it. Raxon is neutral good, in that he obeys laws he agrees with on principle, even if those laws screw him over. But the moment there are laws that cross lines, he totally disregards them. That's part of why he was a Hero, and not a champion.

That's part of the reason his moon base diplomats are directly ordered to refuse offers of diplomatic immunity. His moon base is the size of a very large country, and can handle over fifty million people with a massive surplus of food, power, and space. It may have less than a hundred people on it now, but soon, soon it will have immigrants. Those immigrants will become the first lunar race.

I think Raxon will make their skin blue, and literally create a new race of humans. MWAHAHAHA!
Digo 23rd Oct 2014, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
My most beloved reoccurring Ex-villain was Miluda, a witch who was playing around with ancient dragon artifacts to gain greater magical powers. She succeeded and became immortal, at the cost of most of her sanity.

The PCs defeated her a number of times (killed her even, but her immortality was one that she would completely regenerate given enough time). Eventually she realized being immortal SUCKED and gave up her plans, which involved controlling a portion of Hell's army. She wasn't a good person after this, but managed to formulate a drug that would control her manic sanity slips.

She was quite helpful to the PCs when they needed info on dangerous artifacts, and in one case joined them when they needed to raise a defense force to counter an army of hobgoblins that siege'd a capitol city. Nothing like having a near-epic level wizard at your command.

Which brings me to the OTHER most belived ex-villain-- a vampire named Elena. Elena was turned vampire as a child and she grew up resenting her vampire lord. Eventually she killed him, got her freedom, and then used her vampirism to control a prominent city. The PCs managed to defeat her plans on creating a filter that would allow vampires to walk during the day and actually convinced her to just focus on being a good ruler to her city. They helped her with this and she became a better person for it.

Well, Elena and Miluda met at one point because of the PCs and became fast friends. Two high-powered immortals who were abused in their childhood and who screwed up their lives thanks to bad powers... Elena joined the capitol city defense only because Miluda joined and those two were a hilarious couple whenever they were together.

And because they were not good guys, but simply non-evil, their unaligned tendencies required the PCs to visit them often to ensure they didn't do anything crazy. Which they did. all the time. XD

The most hilarious of these shenanigans was the 'Kitten Farm' they tried to build. The PCs thought they'd be okay, at least up until they realized that kittens are not 'planted' and watered like carrots.
Raincloud_Man 24th Oct 2014, 4:48 AM edit delete reply
It is surprising that more vampires doesn't do this. I mean, with their abilities they can just cut straight through most of the bureaucratic BS that other rulers have to contend with, and a happy and secure village means an endless food supply, vampire lords have both the means and motivation to keep their subjects as happy as they can be.
TheFreshDM 23rd Oct 2014, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
I happen to have a current organization I made up in my campaign called The Scarlet Letter. They were a organization focused on chaos and anarchy and (unbeknownst to the PC's) the resurrection their ancient god whom the other gods sealed away for certain things he did. However perhaps I made them a bit too recurring at a time at one point they showed up and one of my friends immediately recognized their telltale give away (their grey cloaks and odd hol symbol)and mentioned: "Oh god not these guys again what are they Team Rocket?!" It has since become a tradition that since they've become so recognizable by the group that as soon as I prepare them to appear the Team Rocket theme plays.
Disloyal Subject 23rd Oct 2014, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Instrumental, or with Jesse & James' "Prepare for trouble!.." spiel?
Mykin 23rd Oct 2014, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
I tried doing that with my spellthief actually, but I've said all I can about him. Outside of that, I don't have any stories on that subject really. I might think of one later on but we'll see.

...Well then, looks like we were wrong about Zecora and Fluttershy. Now I get to wait patiently for the moment they drag Luna over to her house repeatedly in an attempt to get her involved in the campaign somehow. Better prepare the popcorn for this one.
Disloyal Subject 23rd Oct 2014, 10:30 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Well, we can infer that Tabitha's playing Luna while Rarity's decommissioned. What I'm wondering is how I remembered Zecora being out for community service when it hadn't happened yet; I could swear I'd seen this page already.
Digo 23rd Oct 2014, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
Glitch in the Matrix?
Mykin 23rd Oct 2014, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Mykin
EDIT: I wrote this post and, despite my intentions and best efforts, it sounded pretty mean spirited and jerkish. The more I read it, the more I ended up not liking it, so it's gone. Such stuff doesn't need to be here. At all.

So I apologize for any hurt feelings or offenses taken with what I had here previously. I promise to try harder to not be an idiot in the future.

That said, Disloyal, I think you either have Deja vu or the ability to see into the future. If it's the second one, I'd suggest trying to see if you can profit from that.
Newbiespud 23rd Oct 2014, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
Newbiespud
Not to sound rude or anything, but it might've come from this very comic.
Raxon 23rd Oct 2014, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
@Newbiespud Oh yeah, I remember that strip! That was the one where some jackass started a haiku thread, and then I had a psychotic breakdown, and all you guys went mad, and I had to kill and eat you until I starved, because I was all out of nachos.

Typical day, really. I see you people go mad all the time.
andreas002 24th Oct 2014, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
andreas002
What I'm more interested in is from where the name Tabitha comes for Rarity's player.
Raxon 24th Oct 2014, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Rarity's voice actor. Tabitha St. Germain.
Disloyal Subject 24th Oct 2014, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Yes, her. Just calling her "Rarity's player" seemed impersonal, and besides, she's not playing Rarity right now.
...well, now I'm wondering what you posted before, Mykin. Heavens know I've deleted a thing or two where I retroactively decided I'd crossed a line, but I'm thick-skinned and insatiably curious. Lay it on me.
No, Spud, that wasn't it. That sparked my assumptions on the new PC, but I recalled Zecora being out on community service, and the party's reactions - I distinctly recall this precise page. I'm going to assume that you keep a buffer and site-code shenanigans somehow made it visible early for a brief time. Raxon and Mykin's alternative that I'm dipping into nonlinear perception of time is too inconvenient.
Raxon 24th Oct 2014, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
I, too, am curious, though I have never deleted a post due to it crossing any lines. I did edit one where I posted the wrong link and it was pornographic, though.
Trance 23rd Oct 2014, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Not sure how much this one counts as an ex-villain, but.

In this one short-lived game we encountered 2 would be enemies at random and made them both party members, when at least one of them was actually just a random encounter.

First, there is Silver, this lone orc wielding a big sword and talking in common jumped out of the woods while we were traveling and attempted to rob us. Now there were only 2 party members at the time, but we were both rather competent at what we did and neither of us was exactly what you'd call good. So the orc seems nervous as he's trying to rob us and we immediately start pointing out what he's doing wrong and giving him pointers, the orc sits down dejected and tells us his story, his parents named him silver because they wanted him to be rich and raised him to speak common because it would have more opportunity for him, thing is they didn't realize that silver wasn't even worth much. Seeing as he wanted glory and we were on a quest we offered to let him come along and become a great hero. Silver happily joined the party as our muscle (we were both casters), and was happy for the rest of his days.

Then there was Sean, we ended up finding his wand and he tried to kill us in our sleep is how we met him. He was a kobold cleric and I woke up after bursting into flames in my sleep due to a cursed ring I'd recently put on, so I woke up seeing this kobold in our camp and promptly took him hostage. After hearing he was a cleric I offered him his wand back if he could get the cursed ring off my finger, since all he really wanted was his wand. He got the cursed ring off by cutting off the finger and then healing the finger back onto my hand. We were in need of a healer so we gave him the offer to be on his way or join us and we soon had a kobold who quickly became best of friends with my evil elven sorcerer. We proceeded off to woo the women and backstab our enemies together for the rest of the campaign. There was also something about Sean having an item the other player character was looking for but I gained his trust by never telling him about it.

Given this was a campaign where we both conspired to kill each-other quite a bit and fought over a key that let us control what amounted to a demi-god until the key was taken away by our boss. That game did not turn out well, I don't think it even had a proper end.
Disloyal Subject 23rd Oct 2014, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
That sounds like a fun campaign, poor end notwithstanding. Random encounters are my favorite way to introduce PCs, though I usually take the lazy route and have them all meet in town - at least 2 of them in the tavern.

I don't have many recurring villain stories. The closest House Excelsus has are rather alarming allies like the quadrupedal chainsword-tailed DX-84i stealth drone Nan'sha'is (We're told it looks like a tuk'ata, but the description, particularly the torso-mounted gun, remind me more of my beloved Loxatl.) or, now in the epilogue, Castellan Dietrich of the Black Templars. He was a little upset that we're packing so much pre-Heresy Astartes equipment - Scimitar jetbikes, Volkite weapons out the wahzoo, even a freaking Battle-Barge for our flagship. (Finders, keepers!) The DX-84i, who introduced itself to us as "Deepthroat" for some reason, was always on our side - it worked for our employer, though it made no secret of its willingness to kill us should orders change or we went off the rails of the assignment. At first we only ever heard it on comms, shortly before or after encountering roomfuls of butchered enemies (tech-thralls and Tyranids, mostly), but in the final episodes we met it, and our employer - an sanctioned Xeno interstellar crimelord.
Dietrich, on the other hand - well, he's our ally too, in that he's leading the Crusade that's called upon us to purge a planet that's fallen to Chaos. (We've encountered allied forces of Khorne and Nurgle thus far, as well as an isolated pocket of the homebrew Hellstar Cult.) We still don't particularly like him, especially my character; after seeing his men gunning down men, women, and children in some out-of-the-way farming village where the heretics were keeping a stolen targeting matrix, Ophilia was perfectly willing to pretend not to see anything when the Black Templars were being overrun by daemons. Everyone else gave them supporting fire, though (and used fate points to not miss badly enough to hit the Space Marines) so I took the opportunity to take some potshots at them... And we all missed so horribly that it became a point of honor for me to save them anyway and prove we could shoot straight. Four humans with heavy weapons mowing down hordes of daemonic hounds with heavy weapons and saving a large number of Space Marines earned us a great deal of goodwill with the Castellan; they'd taken heavy casualties while we were firing over their heads, but our fire support let them recover their dead and wounded - which is a big deal for Space Marines; aside from not wasting the vast amounts of training and equipment invested in them, they carry gene-seed of their Primarch that needs extraction by one of their Apothecaries should something actually manage to kill them. Now the Black Templars will be directly supporting our Knights' charge on the main Hive the heretics are holed up in... Meaning, as far as I'm concerned, that we have more opportunities to antagonize each other by mistake.

I guess Kel'leigh the succubus from My Little Inferno: Evil is Magic counts; she was a rival fiend we fought for the contract rights to Equestria. She showed up anyway, and with 2/3 of the party missing, we decided to cut a deal with her. She did expectedly try to kill us, but was willing to be talked out of it pretty easily, especially with some halfhearted badmouthing of her rival among us (one of the players who'd sadly had to quit).
Raincloud_Man 24th Oct 2014, 4:54 AM edit delete reply
Wait, wait, wait... He "got the cursed ring off by cutting off the finger and then healing the finger back onto my hand."?

Healing doesn't work that way in DnD, in order to grow back any body parts (Including teeth) you need a Regenerate spell, and as far as I remember only druids can cast those.
Raincloud_Man 24th Oct 2014, 4:56 AM edit delete reply
Huh, so clerics *can* cast that spell too... I had no idea.
*Going to play cleric when his Aventi wizard bites the dust*
EricStarstorm 23rd Oct 2014, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
I once encountered a villain named Black Rose. She was a Dark Elf warrior, with heavy armor, a greatsword in one hand, and a tower shield in the other. For the longest time, I and the other players believed that she was the main antagonist of the campaign. She was ruthless, cunning, and powerful (we always lost whenever we fought her). Imagine our surprise, then, when it turned out that she wasn't really evil at all--she was being used as a puppet by the TRUE antagonist, a warlock named Hadrian. His mind control had the side effect of granting Black Rose far greater power than she actually possessed. We beat Hadrian with her on our side as a DMPC, but he managed to escape with his life. Fast forward to a later part of the game. We had a late arrival to the group a few sessions prior to the final conflict, and she was given Black Rose to play as. After that...well, let's just say that fighting Hadrian went a lot smoother than fighting BR did.
Kynrasian 23rd Oct 2014, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Kynrasian
Well, our lich villain was our ally for a while. We didn't trust him, and rightly so, but there it is. He got us information we wanted, several times in fact, but the truce had to come to an end at some point.

I don't know if it makes me as bad as him for planning from the beginning to turn on him once he'd outlived his usefulness to us.
StarshineDash 23rd Oct 2014, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I remember one time we had a very ancient undead blackguard (fallen paladin) enemy who was working with an even more ancient lich to try and turn what was still left of the world into a necropolis until our party managed to defeat him in battle after about a year of trying in RL time.

It turns out he had been under a geas to slay the lich for centuries but as he was undead he couldn't touch the phylactery. He just 'kept up the act' in order to test heroes that came along and find ones that could survive the labyrinth the lich had placed around his phylactery. He still committed horrible atrocities and had resigned himself to never being able to rest in piece because of what he'd done.

tl;dr: Fucking paladins man.
Gindranis 23rd Oct 2014, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
I tried giving my party a villain that would turn good near the end. Slight problem was the party policy of killing first, answer awkward questions later.
JackobolTrades 23rd Oct 2014, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
In a campaign of Pathfinder, the party had disrupted the trade of some very powerful artifacts. The smuggling cabal didn't appreciate that, so they sent their best merc to best the party. Enter Armbrost, an Orc Siege Mage that carts around a ballista and uses that as his main weapon.

Armbrost tormented the party endlessly, leaving notes to remind them that he was around, killing pets and allies and almost killing the PCs, only being narrowly defeated before teleporting away each time. The party eventually learned to fear the sound of a quarrel whistling through the air.

Finally, though, the party took down the cabal and ended their trade of dangerous artifacts. As they left the stronghold, they found Armbrost waiting for them outside. They prepared themselves for another harrowing battle, being almost out of spells and heals, but were surprised when Armbrost congratulated them on a job well done, apologized for harassing them (as he had been hired to dissuade them from continuing rather than to kill them) and told them that there were no hard feelings.

When the barbarian decided that yes, there were hard feelings and charged Armbrost, he simply teleported away again, leaving behind a note that contained his contact information. Now the party hires him if I give them more than 1 plot hook at a time, and doesn't feel like doing the more mercenary of the lot.
Kira 23rd Oct 2014, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Did i share my story about the clown yet? Leader of a rouge group of thieves and assassins who the actual thieves guild couldn't touch because he #1 knew all their secrets #2 was epicly powerful and finally #3 was a vindictive jackass that they couldn't risk crossing until they were certain they could finish the job

The GM made him as a "joke" at the start a group of bandits attacked us while we were low level lead by a man in warpaint and laughed maniacally from out of range while we fought his henchmen the battle was long and hard we won and he just walks off we try to chase after but climbing really slows you down.

in and out of character we wonder what just happened who it could be why and such so much so the DM makes him a recurring character.

we fought him so many times eventually we learn of who he is tracking down the leader of the thieves guild who commissions us to raid his giant ass fortress

we plan for weeks we split up into 3 groups.I do my thing alone being the sneaky bastard of our team the fighter paladin and cleric charge the gates while the wizard launches fire from the mountian ready to be called to the fighter group with a spell we have ready when they get in.

I litterly snowboard down the mountain jump off a rock then use a glider to carry me down onto the rooftop a drop from the glider sneak attack assassinate a guy and start causing chaos telling the fighters and wizard to start their thing dividing the clowns forces

After a lot of rolling and shit tons of luck we meet each other and head to the clowns room.

before we even fight him hes demoralizing our characters with our deepest secrets the literally sends the cleric into a quivering mess reminding her that her parents were murdered by her (not even an accident she meant to do it) the fighters are reminded that their inaction cost the lives of their entire clan

the paladin and me are unaffected for the most part the paladin because one to "atone" and my character is emotionally numb we start the battle get him down to half or so when he pulls out his trump card a custom made weapon for the game the everliving knife instant kill heals the user and rejuvenates the user removing all negative effects related to age and adding a +2 to all rolls when it kills someone he uses it on himself and begins laughing again stabbing himself with it is killing and healing him in an eternal cycle it turns into a game of grab the knife to kill him

SUCH A LONG BATTLE the short of it is the cleric gets herself runthrough but pulls the knife from his body he screams in rage and charges me the roof blows up and 4 epic level assassin's jump down and impale him ending him for good.
Disloyal Subject 23rd Oct 2014, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
A rouge group, eh?
It's actually standing canon for any and all 40K games I GM that Rogue Traders are required by an oft-forgotten clause of some obscure Administratum document to always stock at least a bare minimum stock of rouge with their trade goods at any given time.
Grant 23rd Oct 2014, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
I was pretty cruel to my DM on this one. There was a slaver that we had fought before that appeared before us, reformed, and we were supposed to accept him and use him as a friendly NPC.

Unfortunately I pointed out that he was a slaver, had tried to murder the party and had never been under mind control or blackmail. So I convinced the party to just steal his ship. Pretty sure his third appearance, as a good-aligned cleric trying to kill us, was to get back at me.
Dragonflight 23rd Oct 2014, 11:29 AM edit delete reply
I've had a handful of recurring villains in various games I've run. I think I mentioned this one once, though, but she's worth mentioning again. The necromantrix known as Sanili.

In my gameworld, there had been a world-shattering incident about 100,000 years previous which literally *changed* the world. A previous race of beings were rendered extinct, along with most of the 1,000 Younger Gods. Over time, those deific souls reincarnated, and at the time of the game, most of them were in play. They didn't know who they were until they found and actually touched the religious icon associated with their previous life, but they had tremendous skills and abilities related to their former incarnation, even if they didn't know it.

Sanili was a necromantrix who made a bargain with a Demon Lord. This particular Demon Lord didn't want to rule the universe, and didn't care about souls. He just wanted to learn everything there was to know in Creation about Necromancy. So he would freely pass out his latest inventions to petitioners, on two conditions. One, they had to use them frequently, and Two, they had to tell him what happened.

Sanili was using one of his latest inventions. A scythe which imparted to anyone she killed the ability for the resulting undead to cause anyone they killed to rise as the same kind of undead. Think about this for a moment. Creating a fast army of skeletons and zombies is one thing. But imagine if she uses this thing to create a Death Knight, and then tells it to go into a nearby town and slaughter everyone? Next night, her army has several *thousand* Death Knights.

The PC's had to stop that, so they found her, and... recruited her. They were almost all good aligned, but they reasoned that a necromantrix this powerful might have a get-out-of-death-free card arranged in advance with the Demon Lord. So killing her would only make her a recurring problem elsewhere. So they instead took her with them.

The paladin kept a close eye on her the whole time she was with the party, and regularly threatened her with horrible fates (like Magic Jarring her soul, thus preventing whatever deal she had with the demon lord from resurrecting her,) and so on. She didn't really reform as much as simply change her style of behavior. She no longer killed innocents for experimentation, because she simply couldn't get away with it. But the PC's didn't object to her using her power to help the innocent by turning her creepy powers on the *monsters*...

Eventually, she found her artifact, and the PC's (after some deliberation) allowed her to touch it, and regain her godhood. As a result of their intervention, the Goddess of Death on their world went from Neutral Evil to straight Neutral, with "playful" tendencies around the PC's. She was still cruel and powerful, but she enjoyed showing off to an appreciative audience. Several PC's even went to her for advice and help a few times, which was beyond funny.
JSchunx 23rd Oct 2014, 12:35 PM edit delete reply
I've got one. Early in the main campaign I've run with my group, they met a group of orcs, one of whom was a rather scrawny fellow who proclaimed, in very broken common, that he was the smartest among them. The original intent was for the party to take this group of orcs out, since they were raiding the countryside for food, but our party leader latched onto this orc, learned just why they'd started the raiding (turns out they'd been ousted from their original home by a pack of gnolls), and together, they charged back to the orcs' home, killed all of the gnolls, and maneuvered this orc into the new position of chieftain of his tribe, and at the same time told him about the PC's parent organization, the League of Freedom, a rather all-inclusive group, based around the strength of the individual, whatever form that strength may take, rather than conformity. The orc was informed that he and his tribe could join the League, and instead of raiding for food, they could instead begin guarding it from other raiders, in exchange for food, a deal which the orc believed to be in their best interest.

Fast forward a year or so, and the PCs are embroiled in a border skirmish with a neighboring country. The League's primary representatives in the area meet up with the PCs, and it turns out that said reps are the same orc and his tribe. Turns out that he is in fact very smart, and his earlier broken common was only because he'd never actually had a chance to learn it properly. Now he's a chaotic neutral fighter/rogue with 17 intelligence, leading a tribe of orcs following his example. Together with the PCs, they almost effortlessly routed the enemy forces from the area.
Specter 23rd Oct 2014, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
Specter
I once saw a villain come back time and time again more powerful then the last, at the worst possible times, to (pretty much) ruin the good guy's day.

...

Oh, wait, that's like every thing I've seen that had a recurring villain.

Well, that won't stop me from showing you guys this 4 part-er series.
Sidnoea 23rd Oct 2014, 7:02 PM edit delete reply
Can someone remind me when Zecora came up before? It must have been too long for me to remember.
Grant 24th Oct 2014, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
It starts here: http://friendshipisdragons.thecomicseries.com/comics/195

It was a quest where they had to figure out what they would do with her and the in-universe DM got mildly rebuked for a certain reason, though to be honest I've done the same in the past and considered it just fine. PCs always need to carefully interpret information they requested.
MCSE 23rd Oct 2014, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
Frak reoccurring villains. It is just another way a GM says, "remember how you won last time? Well, surprise! You didn't."
Grant 24th Oct 2014, 2:48 PM edit delete reply
I find it fine if they escaped the party or had a plausible way to come back.
Raxon 24th Oct 2014, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
I prefer the idea that the villain is from a very large family, and when you kill one, the next one takes over.
Malroth 25th Oct 2014, 2:06 AM edit delete reply
One homebrew scifi campaign, the goblin racial ability was called "Like a cockroach" anytime a goblin died, another identical one with the same name, stats and gear would show up wherever the first goblin's friends were the next day, explainations varied from indescribable lucky escapes, evil twins, alternate dimension copies, time travel, clones,identity theft, or the fact that all goblins look the same to everybody else.
SongCoyote 23rd Oct 2014, 10:25 PM edit delete reply
As the original topic was recurring EX-villains I have but one tale to tell....

Long ago I ran a game where the main entity causing trouble in the background - and this was very much unbeknownst to the players - was a rather cautious Lich. He was an ex-Cleric of an evil but not overtly violent god (the details escape me at the moment) who definitely played the long game.

For actual game-years he sent out sorties to explore the world around him, and eventually became aware of the PCs and started tracking their movements through spies and agents. He tested their mettle and resolve in various ways, all without being discovered... until finally he slipped up and left evidence of his machinations.

The party carefully traced him back to his lair, and finally they found him. He was ready, though, and knew their strengths and weaknesses from long study... so to put it simply, he was mopping the floor with them and was quite prepared to kill them all.

And then... a classic thing happened: the wizard pulled out a Wand of Wonder and, with little recourse left, pointed it at the Lich and activated it.

Now, this was no ordinary Wand of Wonder. It was *gasp* a home-brewed Wand of Wonder, with its own table, including a secondary Special Effects table you could roll on if you rolled 00 the first time. So, naturally, that's what happened.

I peered at the Special Effects and called for the roll. Of all the things I've forgotten about this adventure, I still remember quite distinctly reading the result as "37-38: Target becomes Lawful Good. No save."

It was so joyfully, obnoxiously ridiculous that I let it stand.

Filled with remorse, the Lich ceased trying to kill the party and became a helpful ally. He gave them a great deal of information, helped with magical research, and while he never adventured with them, he was a resource they appreciated.

Slowly, though, the effect began to wear off... and he never told them until it was far, far too late. But that, as they say, is another story....
Disruptunity 24th Oct 2014, 2:17 PM edit delete reply
so i was brought into a group that had been going on for a long time of 12 sessions and they gave me a leveled unaligned spell sword. we had a paladin that sense motive on everything including a chair but never the party as we all wanted to reach the same goal and a cleric of heal everyone and a thief that acted like robin hood. so after a few campaigns we found that all the baddies were all working for the local lord of the land and that he was some kinds of vampire-day-walker. we cornered him in his own throne room and after an hour of real time combat he falls leaving us almost dead and out of heals of any flavor. the DM is about to tell us our reward and loot when i announce that i am attacking the cleric with my sword of true strike and the table erupts in a unimaginable numbers of "YOU WHAT?!" the paladin and thief run over to stabilize the cleric only to have me flank and take down the paladin and the thief. they looked at me in utter horror and ask why only for me to say "i sit on the throne and say 'Just as planed!'" they luckily still let me play with them after that but have always kept their guard up even at the end of campaigns.
mycroftxxx 24th Oct 2014, 5:54 PM edit delete reply
oooh! I have the best story. In one of my favorite campaigns, I managed to convert a recurring villain into an ally by derailing the plot.

This game's concept was stolen from "Keepers of the Flame". Haven't read the book, but the basic idea is that a party of players is converted into their respective characters and launched into a fantasy world. Players were bamboozled by an archmage who had ended up in the "real world" and was trying to manage an ascension back home through weaponized D&D as a portal framework.

My character was the first "local" to join the party. He was a slacker mage who ended up being the highest-level non archmage to survive a local cataclysm that targeted spell-users. That was a fun first session.

Eventually, the party ends up becoming the de facto group of low-level troubleshooters for the the local government. A coup is staged in the more-traditionally feudal neighboring kingdom and we eventually get assigned to deal with it. Well, actually we're sent as cover for the two high-level assassins who are tagging along. The leader of the coup is a fellow former college student who was also sent through the same portal on a later(!) occasion, but arrived ten years before the party. He outclasses the party in every particular way you care to imagine, but he's theoretically a kindred spirit, so they hope to cure him of this "insane" desire to play emperor and join up with their plans to push for a magic/science/tech college. The assassins are there, of course, to kill his ass.

One final point before the story gets going - my character had a large running debt to the mage's guild. We didn't have a party cleric, so we tended to use a lot of healing potions. I could "borrow" things like that, but was running a pretty lopsided account at this point. I got warned about it in-game and was handed an unlabeled ring. I was told to identify it for the guild since it was found in the cheap-crap vault without a label.

This DM played smart, to whit - the city run by former adventurers was scryblocked, had earth-elementals stashed in the walls, and was a bad place to invade all-around. I figured that if the DM figured these were reasonable precautions, they were. So, when I remembered the ring in our travels and finally identified it - and was handed a note that said "Ring of 1 wish", I kept quiet about it in and out of game, assuming that the bad guys already knew where we were and were watching.

And, to some degree, I was right. We get up near the place we were headed and are met by a larger force that extends a polite invitation to dinner in the castle. We accept and over dinner a discussion of various groups future plans takes place. The party had brought a literal "cure insanity" scroll with them and used it with the permission of the evil mage, curing him of lifelong bipolar disorder and not effecting his plans at all. The discussion continued, going more and more badly for the party nas they were handily outmaneuvered by a much smarter opponent and DM.

I knew what the ring was for, of course. The guy running the D&D portals had finally figured out what he was doing wrong and had written himself a god-level charcter sheet before sending himself through. There was a pretty big war going on back home that the assassins would have been really helpful for if it weren't all teleportation-blocked. I was going to use the ring for a hail-mary play, just not the one I was supposed to use it for.

I had been listening, but not participating, in the discussion between these various outworlders. I could see that they were losing the debate, and that combat was going to start in no more than a couple minutes. We were probably going to win, and probably going to take some serious damage that we couldn't afford right now.

So, I interrupted the player who was talking with "I have been listening to all of the things you've planned. I just feel like I can't trust you. I wish you had a conscience." I then told the DM that I took off the ring as it disintegrated on my finger. The DM asked me what I was talking about, before getting the most horrified look on his face when I said "of wishing."

After a fifteen minute break while the DM rewrote the rest of the campaign, we got back in the game to find that the bad guy appeared to be paused. He wasn't moving, or reacting, or doing much of anything until the tears started falling out of his eyes. After a little while, a different man awoke and did what needed to be done to peacefully transfer power back to the king and came to join us at the college that we were founding. He stayed to help the party until he was killed by a lich years later.

The _actual_ bad guy? Epic battle scene, of course. Just not a part of this story.
Rokas 25th Oct 2014, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
Not sure if it's a recurring ex-villain, but in the game I played with some friends we found a "brain-tape" (basically a copy of someone's entire mind) that had the mind of the person whose form and intellect formed the basis of an entire series of murderous androids hell-bent on exterminating all sapient biological life forms. Turns out the people who copied her kind of corrupted her image and she turned out to be a nice person... who ended up taking over one of those android bodies and used it to infiltrate and destroy a moon-sized space station (not original, but still fun) that was set to go HALO and kill everyone. Then she became a member of our ship's crew and we got her a new body.

So yeah, interesting times. Sorta-villain, maybe? I dunno.