Best Villains of our Last Campaign
Throughout our last campaign, which lasted for three and a half years, we had some amazing villains that blindsided us with their potential for destruction and revenge. This is not including some of the gods and higher entities we dealt with like dragons and djinn. They all had unique motivations for their actions and, for many, you could see the hard decision they made that got them to where they ended up. When painting these miniature, I tried to embody their personalities in them as much as possible.
One of my favorites, and perhaps the most tragic, villains was Malthazar. His mortal name was Magister Styx. He was the high judge for the city of King’s Crest on our homebrew island. Answering only to Regent Phillip himself, he was a powerful man in charge of many of the functions of the city. His tragic story begins when he falls in love with Urstil, a powerful mage in the city and member of the city council. In reality she is a high elf in disguise. When he realized he would die before she did, he went mad with the need to find immortality. When she would not help him achieve his goal, he turned to dark forces that gave him his wish. It became imperative for the party to stop him.
Dezu was such a messed up person. Even while he was human and alive he was a slave trader. He was the one who captured Milo and forced him into a life of thievery. He also hunted halflings for sport, reveling in their short stature and unwillingness to fight back. When Milo escaped, thinking he had been the only one captured, he unknowingly left his brother and parents in Dezu’s clutches. It took years for him to free himself of the guilt after killing Dezu and running away. Dezu was bad enough, but when Null began to accept human souls to reanimate, he comes back as a Death Knight with the sole intention of murdering Milo. He almost succeeds but Milo was backed up by his friends and they managed to bring him back from the edge of death.
Happy Jack was another tragic villain. We played the one shot for Happy Jack’s Funhouse, available on dmsguild.com for just under $7, and he was supposed to be a bastard descendant of Strahd Von Zarovich from Barovia before he became a vampire. He was spirited out right before the barriers closed around the land. He used to be a happy person, running a traveling circus to bring joy to children since he had not been happy as a child. I used one of the Strahd minis I bought at my local game shop to paint him. I thought it fitting since he was a descendant. Morgantha, the main hag we never managed to kill in Barovia, turned him evil over time and finally he began abducting children to recreate Barovia and take over as its new lord, under the watchful gaze of the hag of course.
This villain was a dark Wizard that led a rogue group of magic users. They believed that power was necessary to grab at any cost. When they fought in the Oasis, Aleera killed his wife and co-leader of the group in a duel. He had not been expecting it and almost flew into a murderous rage. After seeing that he alone could not defeat the party he teleported out, leaving his comrades behind and his dead wife. He is a huge thorn in the party’s side, especially since he ends up joining the group put together by the Queen of Ash to fight the party. He casts spells that kill many of our fellow fighters on the final battle in the Feywild. He was evil to his core but his dedication to his dead wife is so powerful and beautiful in its own way.
Sane was one where you both felt sad for him and not. He was a gnome that was born without magic. He apprenticed under the famous enchanter in our campaign, Asterisk, but soon found that he could not manage even the simplest enchantments. At first he was adamant that he could master the spells but when Asterisk removed him from the apprenticeship he went mad. He began researching ways to create objects with magic without having to cast spells. He went so far as to enslave the earth spirit, Terra, to give life to his constructs. This allowed him to sow chaos in the northwest of the island. Trade routes were disrupted, depots and checkpoints were destroyed, and hundreds of people killed. The party ended up having to kill him to break his hold over Terra and stop him from using hundreds of earth elementals to destroy King’s Crest.
Yora Baleard was one of the smartest and most fun of the villains. She began her career by taking over the baddest crime syndicate in Novos. She made her bones forcing people to do her dirty work by enforcing shady, one sided contracts skewed in her favor. If people refused, they were killed as an example. No one defied her openly until Hepolita refused to go through with her contract. She was ordered to kill Milo, another member of the group, but when she got to know him she found she could not. She came after them in King’s Crest and was almost successful in killing Milo but still failed. The next time she came, she was prepared. She trapped Milo with cursed chains and summoned Dezu to try and kill Milo. Even with her death imminent, she cast a death curse with her last breath to bind Milo’s hands and make them the instruments of his own destruction (DA on sleight of hand checks and other hand related abilities) which, for a rogue, can be a death sentence.
Our final villain was the succubus at the Oasis. We never got her name but she was a badass. During the battle, she ensnared Kaladrax with her charm and almost left with him in tow. A jealous Aleera managed to stop it but she was still upset about it for a while. We never fought her openly again but throughout the campaign she was seen in the background of the scenes. Like when the party is in Waterdeep and Kaladrax is served by a pink haired barmaid. She was always stalking him, biding her time until she could capture her target once more. Once a succubus marks a target, she does not let him or her go, ever. Even now that Kaladrax is traveling the cosmos with Aleera, I always think that perhaps a flash of pink happens at the corner of their eyes every now and then. This is probably the worst thing, not knowing when or if someone will come after you.
All of these villains were once mortal and became villains through various circumstances. I love evil that can also be sympathized with because most times, villains are like that. Everyone can believe that they are doing the right thing while committing terrible acts. Some are motivated by love, others revenge, and for peace as they define it. It doesn’t mean they are justified, but it does lend a bit of humanity to them.
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