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Long-distance villainy

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Bedrockbrendan:
I ran another long distance villain. Worked quite well. I definitely think letting the players know they are going up against an opponent who is another player and trying to actively win helps (both in terms of being upfront about the arrangement and in terms of giving them the sense that this is an consequential clash).

Spinachcat:
BB, this is an awesome idea.

Give us a breakdown about how it played out from the PC hero side. How did it affect their gameplay? How evil did your PC villain get? Or did you have some rules on how evil he could get?

Also, how did you allot new resources to the PC villain as the PC's killed his minions?

Bedrockbrendan:

--- Quote from: Spinachcat;932725 ---BB, this is an awesome idea.

Give us a breakdown about how it played out from the PC hero side. How did it affect their gameplay? How evil did your PC villain get? Or did you have some rules on how evil he could get?

Also, how did you allot new resources to the PC villain as the PC's killed his minions?
--- End quote ---

I handled it slightly different in each situation, because these were campaigns that were years apart (so my style and the groups style varied each time I implemented it). But the last big one I did, I allowed the villain to emerge naturally in play from one of the early sessions (so I already established what group he belonged to and what resources he had access to). Then I handed that PC to another player who wasn't involved in the campaign. I gave showed him a map of the region, explained what he knew and what his goals were, assigned him resources (he had X number of minions, a boss who tasked him with retrieving a manual and sword, a stipend, etc). He told me what he wanted to do in between sessions, and I implemented it during sessions. One thing I did was closely track his and the player's movements. So I had a map on the table during play and used color-coded pawns to indicate the party, the villain NPC, the villain NPC's minions. This map was behind a screen, so the players didn't know exactly how things were playing out. This was important, because it really showed me how a villain who isn't present would have to operate on an information network and try to anticipate the party's movement. I think one thing it resulted in was me actually playing my villains more believably. One thing that came up a lot, was his minions being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Logistics were really important. But over time, he got better and started coming up with more clever schemes for moving his men and intercepting PCs. One approach he took was dividing his men into groups of two or three, and sending them to wait out in likely inns or villages that he knew the players would pass through. This ended up being more fun on my end, because I didn't know which group the players would face and the player divided his forces in interesting ways.

One thing I did in each case was tell the party they were going up against a player who was actively opposed to them. This made the conflict a little more intense and let everyone know punches weren't being pulled. So I think it was more exciting but also a little more nerve wracking for people.

DanDare:
Excellent article. I've done this a few times now. Its great because the villain behaves in ways I would not have considered. I don't ask for contingencies, just agendas, specific actions, and general mode of operation and style. I report back after a session and my remote villain players gives me their reaction and changes. Its great.

Bedrockbrendan:

--- Quote from: DanDare;1120018 ---Excellent article. I've done this a few times now. Its great because the villain behaves in ways I would not have considered. I don't ask for contingencies, just agendas, specific actions, and general mode of operation and style. I report back after a session and my remote villain players gives me their reaction and changes. Its great.
--- End quote ---


Thanks. This is an old one

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