The Most Hated BBEG

5 April, 2010

A few months ago, when our group was ending Heroic tier, I was worried about creating a new Big Bad Evil Guy worthy of the PCs’ attention. I will share with you the formula and results.

Currently in early Paragon, the party first brushed with Theseus in late Heroic. The warning signs were there. The enemy army was being led by a shape-shifting mercury dragon. Further, he was also doing the really irresponsible sending of his most powerful minions, more to harry the party, rather than eliminate them.

He came, alone, high and mighty in human form, on the pretense of negotiation, even though his forces were clearly winning. As Theseus was surrounded by enemies, he rammed the PCs even more out of their comfort zone, even for a social encounter. Clearly outnumbered, he subtly taunted the PCs and their forces. As negotiation would be extremely beneficial in their state, the group decided that it was worth it to listen to him for a while.

NOT JUST ANOTHER BAD GUY

Theseus is the only NPC I have ever used in my 4 years of DMing that spoke with “thee”s and “thou”s. He is the only NPC that I’ve used an overtly high-pitched and nasal tone of voice for. Also, he’s the only NPC who constantly and consistently shifts moods and tones of voice in and out of violent. He’s studied the party, knows their names, their strengths and weaknesses.

After about half an hour of trying to bargain, Theseus revealed that he would only accept the slaughter of every man, woman, and child in the ruined fort. Then he did the Terminator II thing, turned into quicksilver, and fled. The optimized paladin was so pissed.

It was like this, right?

It's been awhile since I've seen T2.

After Theseus’ forces were utterly crushed by the PCs, he showed up two missions later, seeming to follow their movement. At one point, almost without warning, he dropped a very unlucky PC who ran into him alone, and ate a multiple hit combination attack with a very critical hit involved. At another point, he informed the party about an ambush group, who by all logical reasons should have been on his side. He cooked the party a delicious breakfast with seemingly no ill effects as a result. Soon after, the party discovered that Theseus slaughtered a powerful group that were definitely, without mistake, on his side and subservient to him, leaving blood trails, mangled corpses, and the nearly unidentifiable corpse of one PC’s adventurer-daughter.

It’s agreed upon in the party that a fight with Theseus would be incredibly taxing, he’s that powerful. He’s arrogant, he has a funny voice, and when he unsheathes his swords in human form, there is a bloodbath. Two of the PCs have extremely personal vendettas against him. He asks the party riddles. He cannot be killed by mundane means. He has a really powerful escape method that he abuses.

He’s unpredictable.

THAT IS A HATE-INDUCING BBEG

It gets worse. Hilariously worse. Do you remember how I said that Theseus knows the party well? And do you remember how I said that his voice is nasally and high-pitched? You see, his most pronounced characteristic is suggesting violence at the most inopportune moments.

The novelty of it all has made some of my fun-loving players jokingly suggest actions and speak phrases for Theseus. Of course, it’s using the “Theseus voice”.

I use them.

The funniest possible, uncharacteristically peaceful and helpful actions get suggested, like “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if Theseus made us breakfast?” become realities, in-game.

While Theseus is having a personal conversation with a PC, a player of another PC chimes in, in the Theseus voice, “OR I CUT OFF YOUR LEG!” and it becomes Theseus’ real threat.

And I won’t even delve into the sick and twisted fears that they believe Theseus may have the gall to inflict upon them and their loved ones…

It goes beyond a step from the storytelling suggestions in the DMGII. The character of Theseus is nearly entirely based on the players’ worst fears. Different from every other NPC I’ve used… Theseus’ actions would not be so radical without the players input. After a few Theseus encounters, out of session, I’ve asked a few players directly and honestly, “what do you expect Theseus to do?” I might talk in a different post about that, but my players are a very pessimistic and sadistic lot.

In the latest mission the party’s in, they drop Theseus’ name on every important character, just to see if they get a reaction… Is Theseus really going to show up in the mission? Or does he show up only because that is what they fear?

He’s unpredictable.

-Lancar

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One Response to “The Most Hated BBEG”

  1. I may possibly steal this! It’s really brilliant how it’s a hilarious and frustration-inducing BBEG

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