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Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Campaign Structure / Recurring Villains

Villain Goals

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 37
Just as PCs have goals, so do your villains. A recurring villain might have a vision for what the world should be and a step-by-step plan to get there. A plan gives you a clear way to progress the plot, and an underlying goal guides you in deciding what the NPC does if their plan goes awry. It can be especially helpful to contrast the villain’s goals with those of the PCs. If a PC wants to establish a trade network, maybe a villain plans to get rich robbing caravans or merchant ships. If a PC plans to found churches to a deity, a villain could worship one of that god’s adversaries. Just like with PCs’ goals, show how the villain’s goal has impacted the world, even in small ways. Try to find ways the villain can make a difference even if the PCs are successful against them. A villain will look ineffective if the PCs foil every single plot or plan. For instance, the villain might turn a memorable NPC to their cause, set an institution ablaze, or invade a village. All of these outcomes can have memorable, long-lasting effects even if the villain’s ultimate plan fails.