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Top Ten Villains in RPGs

RPGs (Role-Playing Games) are a popular genre in the gaming industry. They allow players to immerse themselves in fictional worlds, take on different roles, and interact with various characters. While RPGs are often praised for their compelling heroes and protagonists, they feature some of gaming history’s most memorable villains. Here are the top ten villains in RPGs:

  1. Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI) Kefka is a nihilistic clown and the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI. He’s responsible for ruining the world and is infamous for his chaotic and unpredictable behaviour.
  2. Arthas Menethil (World of Warcraft) Arthas is the tragic hero turned villain in the Warcraft series. Once a noble prince, he eventually succumbs to darkness and becomes the Lich King, a powerful undead ruler who seeks to destroy all life.
  3. Dagoth Ur (The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind) Dagoth Ur is the main antagonist in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. He’s a powerful sorcerer who seeks to become a god and rule over the world of Tamriel.
  4. Lavos (Chrono Trigger) Lavos is the extraterrestrial parasite and final boss of Chrono Trigger. It’s responsible for the destruction of the world and seeks to consume all life energy.
  5. The Master (Fallout) The Master is the main antagonist in the original Fallout game. He’s a mutated human who seeks to create a new world order by turning humans into super mutants.
  6. The Adversary (The Wolf Among Us) The Adversary is the unseen villain in The Wolf Among Us. He’s responsible for the corruption of Fabletown and seeks to maintain his power and control over the residents.
  7. The Reapers (Mass Effect) The Reapers are the main antagonists in the Mass Effect trilogy. They’re ancient machines that seek to harvest all advanced organic life in the galaxy.
  8. Luca Blight (Suikoden II) Luca Blight is the main antagonist in Suikoden II. He’s a bloodthirsty prince who seeks to conquer the world and is responsible for the deaths of countless innocents.
  9. Mother Brain (Metroid) Mother Brain is the main antagonist in the Metroid series. She’s a sentient supercomputer seeking to control the galaxy and is responsible for creating the Metroids.
  10. The Darkspawn (Dragon Age) The Darkspawn are the main antagonists in the Dragon Age series. They’re a horde of monstrous creatures that seek to destroy all life in the world of Thedas.

In conclusion, RPGs have given gamers some of the most memorable villains in gaming history. From Kefka to The Darkspawn, these characters have left a lasting impression on players and contributed to the genre’s success. And if you’re looking for a BBEG for your next RPG campaign, you could do worse than to use one of these fiends as a template for terror to inflict on your players!

How to Write an RPG One-Shot

Are you a fan of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and want to write your own one-shot adventure? A one-shot is a self-contained RPG session that is designed to be played in a single sitting, usually lasting a few hours. Writing a one-shot can be a challenging but rewarding experience that allows you to flex your creativity and storytelling skills. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to write an RPG one-shot, from brainstorming ideas to creating memorable characters and encounters.

Brainstorming Ideas

The first step in writing an RPG one-shot is developing a compelling idea to capture your players’ interest. You can draw inspiration from your favourite books, movies, or TV shows or create something entirely original. Here are some tips to help you brainstorm ideas:

Consider the Setting

Think about the type of world or setting you want your one-shot to take place in. Do you want it to be a medieval fantasy, a sci-fi space opera, or something else entirely? The setting will influence the type of characters, encounters, and plot you create.

Choose a Theme

What message or theme do you want your one-shot to convey? Is it about redemption, revenge, or survival? Having a clear theme can help you stay focused and create a cohesive story.

Create a Hook

A hook is something that captures your players’ attention and draws them into the story. It can be a mysterious artifact, a dangerous foe, or an urgent quest. The hook should motivate your players to engage with the story and take action.

Creating Characters

The next step is to create memorable characters that your players will care about and want to interact with. Here are some tips to help you create compelling characters:

Make Them Unique

Your characters should have distinct personalities, motivations, and quirks that set them apart from each other. Avoid creating stereotypes or one-dimensional characters.

Give Them a Backstory

A character’s backstory can provide context for their actions and motivations. It can also create opportunities for plot twists and character development.

Consider Their Role in the Story

Each character should have a clear role in the story, whether it’s the hero, the mentor, or the antagonist. Make sure their actions and motivations align with their role.

Creating Encounters

Encounters are the events and challenges your players will face throughout the one-shot. They should be engaging, varied, and balanced. Here are some tips to help you create memorable encounters:

Vary the Challenges

Encounters should vary in difficulty and style to keep your players engaged. You can include combat encounters, social encounters, puzzles, or a combination of all three.

Create Interesting Locations

The location of an encounter can add depth and atmosphere to the story. Consider creating unique and interesting locations that reflect the setting and theme of your one-shot.

Consider Consequences

Each encounter should have consequences that impact the story and the characters. This can include gaining or losing items, allies, or information.

Creating the Plot

The plot is the backbone of your one-shot. It should be engaging, well-paced, and have a clear resolution. Here are some tips to help you create a compelling plot:

Have a Clear Goal

The plot should have a clear goal or objective that the players are working towards. This can be finding a lost artifact, stopping a villain, or surviving a dangerous situation.

Include Plot Twists

Plot twists can add excitement and unpredictability to the story. They can also challenge the players’ assumptions and force them to think creatively.

Provide Choices

The players should have meaningful choices throughout the one-shot that impact the story and the outcome. This can include deciding whether to take a certain path, ally with a certain character or make a crucial decision.

Creating the Game Mechanics

Game mechanics are the rules and systems that govern the gameplay of your one-shot. They should be easy to understand, balanced, and immersive. Here are some tips to help you create effective game mechanics:

Choose a Game System

There are many RPG game systems to choose from, including Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Savage Worlds. Choose a game system that fits the setting and style of your one-shot.

Balance the Mechanics

Make sure the game mechanics are balanced and fair for all players. Avoid creating overpowered characters or encounters that are too difficult to overcome.

Include Mechanics that Match the Theme

Consider including game mechanics that match the theme and style of your one-shot. For example, if you’re creating a horror-themed one-shot, include mechanics that create tension and fear.

Writing the Adventure

Now that you have all the elements in place, it’s time to write the adventure itself. Here are some tips to help you create a well-written adventure:

Create an Outline

Create an outline of the adventure that includes all the major plot points, encounters, and game mechanics. This will help you stay organized and ensure that the adventure flows smoothly.

Write Descriptive Text

Use descriptive text to set the scene and create an atmosphere. Describe the characters, locations, and encounters in detail to immerse your players in the story.

Include Dialogue

Dialogue can bring your characters to life and create memorable moments. Write a dialogue that matches the personality and motivations of each character.

Edit and Revise

Once you’ve written the adventure, edit and revise it to ensure it’s clear, concise, and well-written. Ask a friend or fellow RPG player to read it and provide feedback.


Writing an RPG one-shot can be a challenging but rewarding experience that allows you to flex your creativity and storytelling skills. Following these tips can create a memorable and engaging adventure that your players will love.


  1. What is an RPG one-shot? An RPG one-shot is a self-contained RPG session designed to be played in a single sitting, usually lasting a few hours.
  2. How long should an RPG one-shot be? An RPG one-shot should last between 3-5 hours, depending on the complexity of the adventure.
  3. Can I use pre-made characters in an RPG one-shot? Yes, you can use pre-made characters or allow players to create their own.
  4. Do I need to have a game system to write an RPG one-shot? It’s recommended to choose a game system that fits the setting and style of your one-shot, but it’s not strictly necessary.
  5. How many players should I have for an RPG one-shot? An RPG one-shot can be played with as few as two players and as many as six or more, depending on the game system and adventure.

Rise of the Runelords – Episode 38

After saving Turtleback Ferry from the legendary Black Magga, the Saviors of Sandpoint kicked back and relaxed. They grabbed some towels, bought some drinks with cool umbrellas in them, and caught some sun on the beach.

Maybe in Bizarro Land, but not in the mean streets of Turtleback Ferry! (Editor’s note – that should probably be ‘mean street’. I mean, there can’t be more than one road through the village.)

The mayor/religious leader of Turtleback Ferry, Maelin Shreed, was concerned about the dangerously rapid rise of the river’s water levels (not to mention the introduction of massive sea serpents into the residential ecosystem). Being situated downstream of a mighty dam that holds back several cubic miles of water, Mayor Shreed was interested in the status of said dam. He hired the heroes to brave the tribe of trolls who had taken up residence inside the dam known as Skull’s Crossing, and find out if they were in danger of being washed away.

Trolls are bad. What the Saviors of Sandpoint found at the dam was much, much worse. Find out how worse in Rise of the Runelords Episode 38 – So Many Skulls!

Rise of the Runelords – Party Time

Image by Paizo

My players and I have started our new Pathfinder campaign, Rise of the Runelords. It’s always been a well-received adventure path, but with the release of the Anniversary Edition, it is now considered one of the best.

It starts off with the players getting together for something called the Swallowtail Festival in the town of Sandpoint. The party, like most good parties, ends with fire and carnage. But until things go south, I wanted my players to enjoy themselves at the festivities.

What is a festival without games, am I right? And games is what I wanted the characters to get involved with (even though they ended up really not caring one way or the other). Still, good games really help set the festive mood.

As luck would have it, the community minds over on the Paizo forums came up with some extra games for the players to indulge in. Games such as:

The Devil Hunt

Do you have what it takes to bring down the infamous Sandpoint Devil and keep him from menacing the surrounding area? Take a shot and see. This is an archery range setup on the beach down by the Lighthouse. Two large targets, with silhouettes of a scary looking winged horse on them, are set up 50 yards away from a firing line. The bull’s-eye is about where a horse’s heart would be. There are bigger concentric circles around the bull’s-eye.

One copper piece per play. Using the longbows provided, fire two arrows at the target, scoring the best one. Hitting a bull’s-eye wins a small pie. Hitting anything else wins progressively cheaper trinkets for each band outside the bull’s-eye, with nothing for a miss. Hitting AC 20 gets a bull’s-eye, each band out side that is AC 18, AC 16, AC 14, and AC 12.

This game is being run by Jodar Provolost (CG male human Expert 1/Ranger 3), an older balding Varisian with black hair, a big thick black mustache, and a noticeable big belly. He is a mediocre carpenter, but is considered one of the best hunters in Sandpoint. He is friendly, but has lots of bad jokes, and particularly likes telling his (untrue) stories of his encounters with the Sandpoint Devil. The pies have been provided by Alma Avertin from Sandpoint Savories. They aren’t her best work, but they are good enough for what they are.

Sheriff Hemlock has asked Jodar to quietly make note of anyone who scores a bull’s-eye, or gets both shots in either of the center two circles, so that he can later approach them about joining the militia. Jodar asks anyone who wins his or her name and then announces quite loudly “Attention! Insert name has done Sandpoint a great service. He or she has slain the Sandpoint Devil! Here’s your pie!”

If you’re planning on running this Adventure Path, check out the link above for ideas to bring more games and merriment to your players… before it all disappears in a bundle of fire and teeth and blood.


Second Darkness – Episode 51


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In our latest Pathfinder campaign session, the Guardians of Golarion retrieved the dragon shard which contained part of the soul of Zalatas, Herald of Tharzduun and the Breaker of Chains. However, there were parts of the ancient temple yet to explore. And explore they did, discovering blood, magic, and naked drow along the way.

What the Hells am I talking about? Check out the summary of our Second Darkness campaign, Episode 51 – Uneasy Allies!