“By their actions, villains provide job security for heroes.”
Chapter 4 fills in a couple of blanks from the Adventure Design chapter, specifically, making your NPCs. Mind, this is all still words more than numbers, we get further directions to Chapter 9 to fill out the maths. Right now, it’s table time again, along with some basic stuff on followers, hirelings et al. None of that is in any great rules depth, it seems these things are best left to the table if they want complexity (or more likely, in a future setting book designed around Leadership. That would be my guess). Of note, the idea of having different levels in the party crops up as an aside again. This is a change. Never really seen it happen in real life, but I’m not against the idea.
Let’s roll on some tables to get a detailed NPC then.
Appearance 7, missing teeth
Abilities. High, 1, Strength (add a descriptor, like brawny). Low, 6, Charisma (erm… Boring as a descriptor)
Talent, 19, skilled dancer
Mannerism, 4, slurs their words (as per missing teeth I guess?)
Interactions, 4, rude
Useful Knowledge, left to DM (pull this from your adventure design notes perhaps?)
Ideal, choice of six charts, dependent on alignment. I’ll go with Chaotic, 6, whimsy.
Bond, 7, protective of a sentimental keepsake
Flaw/secret, shameful or scandalous history
Ok, that’s loads to work on. I’m thinking about an exotic dancer/wrestler from the wrong side of the tracks, possibly the goblinoid side. Imagine a Mata Hari type character, but with broken tusks. Or something.
What I do like about this is that in fewer than five minutes I’ve got a character with more oomph than many a PC I’ve encountered! I’d need to roll up a few more, but I can already see a pretty interesting set of characters, possibly a weird new party coming from this.
Next, villains. These are given a massive table to roll on, as befits their importance to the adventure.
Scheme, wealth, marry into it.
Method, torture, the rack
Weakness, falls when an ancient enemy forgives it’s past actions
Ok, so the table might be massive, but the results are fairly pithy. Add this onto the top of your NPC results and you’ve got your main antagonist. Yeah, that works. And I think this rounds out the adventure design quite nicely actually. If anything I’d like longer tables as I’m not sure how much I’d get from these in the long term. But for now, they do a bang up job of getting something down on paper.
Last thing, there’s a bit of crunch in the Villainous Class Options, which include the Death Domain for nasty clerics, and the Oathbreaker option for (anti) Paladins. DM gets the baddies, players get to suck it up.