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Old 07-19-2022, 08:11 PM   #1
b-dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Default Pathetic Boss Monsters?

Does anyone use pathetic boss monsters? I tend to like them the best as enemies because they seem to be easier to DM. Instead on an almost omnipotent evil lich that desires to control the world and turn it evil I would instead have a once pathetic wizard who wanted to be a powerful mage even though he was poor at magic. He ended up resentful of the other wizards who could do magic much easier. Eventually the wizard in desperation made a pact with the Infernal and was granted magical power and transformed into a lich. Then he gathered bandits and goblinkin to raid mage guilds and steal magic items and then of course built a dungeon to hide out in. The wizard that is now a lich is not overly intelligent just self centered and full of false pride. He can be baited by the PCs by them declaring that the lich is not good at magic and so on. The lich is desperate and has guile but he makes mistakes and his dungeon has flaws in it. If the lich is in dire situation he will beg and plead for his unlife because he knows that the Infernal has his soul once he expires. He will negotiate and offer magic items but he will quickly betray anyone who deals with him. In short the lich is pathetic, he is just a nasty self centered guy who has been granted magical powers due to a pact with the Infernal. This is in contrast to the traditional evil mastermind lich that waits in a dungeon for the PCs to arrive. The fact that the lich I am writing about is pathetic makes him more dangerous because he will use all his abilities to the maximum and also because he knows that when he is slain his soul will be in Hell.
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Old 07-24-2022, 04:07 PM   #2
agentdenton
 
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Default Re: Pathetic Boss Monsters?

I'm ok with the big bad being powerful and in some ways pathetic too, I mean Darth Vader fits that bill to a T. He was a kid born into slavery to a single mother on a latrine pit of a planet, the jedi saw him basically as a tool to be taken, indoctrinated and used by them, Palpatine clearly locked onto him and began manipulating him from what? 8,9?

Vader really was a pathetic victim of people around him seeing him as a tool and manipulating him towards their own ends with irrestible power since he was a child. And yes, the holy jedi used him too.

Kylo Ren…'nuff said.
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Old 08-04-2022, 03:21 PM   #3
b-dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Default Re: Pathetic Boss Monsters?

I guess for me it seems that movies and stories need mastermind bad guys to create suspense and foreboding. But in RPGs the mastermind would realistically annihilate the PCs right away with ingenious traps and tricks and also ambushes at times of vulnerability. The pathetic bad guy has some power but not necessarily super intelligent. He may have made a few sneaky traps in his dungeon but he will for the most part be in his dungeon not really devising diabolical plans to harm the PCs. He will likely have one or more of the 7 deadly sins like pride where he thinks his dungeon was so well designed that no PC could overcome his traps. Or maybe he is greedy and spends his time counting his treasure and admiring the works of art he has collected. Or maybe gluttonous where he has servants make him delicious meals and if he is a monster then maybe the meals come from the people in the countryside near his dungeon. And so on.
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Old 08-04-2022, 08:01 PM   #4
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: Pathetic Boss Monsters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
He will likely have one or more of the 7 deadly sins like pride where he thinks his dungeon was so well designed that no PC could overcome his traps. Or maybe he is greedy and spends his time counting his treasure and admiring the works of art he has collected. Or maybe gluttonous where he has servants make him delicious meals and if he is a monster then maybe the meals come from the people in the countryside near his dungeon. And so on.
Most of my villains definitely have flaws. I usually design them as characters (whether on a formal sheet or just in my head). One of the greatest strengths of GURPS/DFRPG is the disadvantage list. So many evocative possibilities there to create well-rounded characters.

Another thing I keep in mind are any unusual advantages that the PCs have. Maybe the villain has never dealt with a druid, so they’re vulnerable on that front. Etc.
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