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Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Encounter Design / Dynamic Encounters

Recurring Villains

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 51
Not every villain dies the first time the PCs defeat them in combat. Some may escape, perhaps through teleportation, misdirection, or with other ploys. When a villain escapes and lives to fight the PCs again another day, it’s good to have that foe learn from their past failures. In their next encounter with the PCs, give them additional minions, spells, or other defenses designed to counteract the strategies the PCs used against them previously. Even if the villain doesn’t escape, they might have other tricks up their sleeves, rising again to oppose the PCs. They could well return later in the adventure—or they might come back immediately for a second battle, so long as there is a proper justification for doing so. For example, a previously living necromancer might rise again as an undead monstrosity bent upon destroying the PCs, or defeating an otherworldly villain’s outer shell might reveal its terrible true form.