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Bad Guys! Running the Game #15

7991 ratings | 355273 views
There are lots of ways to make cool bad guys, these are just a couple. Stuff I've learned over the years. Here's the fiction I sent the players after Craig's monk Domnall died. An example of using shifting points of view to create drama. http://www.squaremans.com/Domnall.pdf If you want to help support the channel, come by my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Matthew-Colville/e/B004TS39K2/ Better than Patreon because you get a book! :D Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/mattcolville
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Text Comments (692)
Blood-Lord (6 days ago)
Does anyone have a link to good adventures? I'd love to expand upon these adventures!
Improbabilities (2 days ago)
Blood-Lord the project Matt talks about in this video, helping people find adventures, is alive and well. https://www.adventurelookup.com/adventures/
do you play pathfinder?
Katie Chatelain (11 days ago)
I have a bad guy whose goal is to destroy tiamat, not bad in principle, but in practice he is destroying everything else because he doesn't know how to control his weapon.
Marachime (13 days ago)
I love how confident you are as you RP bad guys. I always worry if I get too IC my players will think it's /me/ that's evil (which is only partly true!)
Shiolet Music (15 days ago)
My boyfriend just recently told me about your channel since I've been playing D&D for the longest amount of time amongst our friends. So I've been watching a LOT of your videos and they are very helpful !! I've also just ordered your books, and he and I can't wait to read them ! Love your videos !
krxZGB (24 days ago)
You are an inspiration Matt. Thanks for all the neat videos and for the motivation to get back to D&D. It's been a couple of years since I played and I started in 90's as a kid. Old-school FTW :)
Cameron F (26 days ago)
Never say no to the Belgariad series and the Malloreon series. Some of the most satisfying fantasy characters to ever hit a page :)
Twitch Monks Archive (29 days ago)
your "Head Abjurer" sounds more like the "Head Conjurer" tsk tsk, learn your schools of magic Matthew, your fun is wrong.
tatuira93 (1 month ago)
Isn't concealing one's identity/faith/religion, against the Paladin code of conduct?
Tam Roberts (1 month ago)
aww I knew the badguy buyin bodies was the black company. Love that Book series.
Kiilian Lemberg (1 month ago)
Definitely going to steal some of these ;)
Vincent Miller (1 month ago)
9k words per minute but I can still understand you thanks for the videos.
Ben W (1 month ago)
Heeeeey someone else who's read the Belgariad! great books.
DevilJinKazama (1 month ago)
The Dragonborn Death Cleric that I'm playing in a game first saw play as an Evil NPC, a low level BBEG for the party to track and fight. I gave the DM permission to use the character, as I wasn't thinking I'd get to play it at that point in time. I've given her some ideas on what they might try to do, one of which was disguise themselves as a helpful NPC while they go clear out a tomb full of undead. Then, near the end, the BBEG stabs the PC in the back of the marching order in the back, shoves them into the room with the [Insert horrible undead monstrosity you've come up with], and locks them in, so they need to find another exit, or kill the beast. Meanwhile, our BBEG runs off to fight another day. Sure, they might think it's cowardly.. But it's also very pragmatic. Use what works.
Anthony Corrigan (1 month ago)
I love warlocks, I rarely use my spells, I rely on my cantrips most but keep my spells in reserve but I will encourage other characters to rely on my healing (I'm a celestrial warlock) before the cleric because if we get a short rest I get them back so my spells are more contigencies than my first choice, first choice is blast with eldritch blast and I have built my character as utility (psudodragon, devils site ect)
Beardur (1 month ago)
So you basically thwarted the plan of your players and killed one of them because you didnt want to end the battle too soon?
Tim Wirshing (1 month ago)
We did the mole thing in SWN. Worked wonderfully.
NiownEd (1 month ago)
I create my "story arc" then steal, hobble together, make up my own stuff to fill that story arc. That's why sometimes older players will ask me is this such and such module from waaaaaay back when (the late 80s) I'll reply with a smile "some of it, but it ain't the way you might have played it."
Dan Conley (1 month ago)
I am 100% stealing this for my current campaign into. Thank you Matthew.
Beady :3 (2 months ago)
Tar Hogar. Garathor.
Solonly (2 months ago)
15 videos in and i seem to not have enough bookshelves for the books you reference! :)
damian3182 (2 months ago)
Big props to Eclipse in the background! A+++
Landon Warrior (2 months ago)
Referencing that "The Black Company" for the win. I have to go reread that now.
Chet McGovern (2 months ago)
"steal from stuff no one has ever heard of, and you are a genius" I'm stealing that idea about stealing wizards. It's genius.
shikatsu (2 months ago)
I am nerdy enough to know that red gold is a bad Idea, but I am also a fan of that enough to start trying to Silk my way to the top, and @Matthew Colville How do you run grand destiny type plots?
Joe Rogers (2 months ago)
Been playing D&D 20+ years and I love your videos. You do the work of Blibdoolpoolp!
FloBotsInc (2 months ago)
k so question , what do the coins do? other then let him know where u r ?? i mean , why was the inn keep freaking out so bad ? or dose the inn keep know what hes up to ??
Horkslair (2 months ago)
One of the best "I wish we hadn't let this bad guy get away" moments was when the party, now 8th level comes back through Daggerford to see how things were coming along several years after going through the Scourge of the Sword Coast module. Imagine their horror when Duchess Pencheska has them all arrested by the town guards and thrown into jail for capital crimes that happened years ago! But, but... This "duchess" is a SUCCUBUS! We ran her off! We warned the duke about her! Man, it was a real shame that they were talking to a charmed duke who was hopelessly smitten with the hot babe who had just recently come to town. So, now the PC's are outlaws with a death sentence hanging over their heads because they let a bad guy (Or girl as this case is) get away. RULE NUMBER ONE when dealing with bad guys. CONFIRM THE KILL! RULE NUMBER TWO ... Make sure THEY STAY DEAD! After the party escaped, they had to flee the area while they plotted their revenge against the succubus duchess Pencheska, and quest to clear their names of these horrible charges. I guess Pencheska still hasn't learned the first two rules of dealing with bad guys either!
Horkslair (2 months ago)
"As writers, we're only as good as the obscurity of the references we steal from" I hope you don't mind, but I will be "honoring" this phrase regularly in the future. Naturally, I will lose track of where I got this phrase, and soon people will think I came up with it. Such is the lot of those who are truly inspired in their creativity. Well done good sir... Well done. <slow clap>
TheMarkc1643 (2 months ago)
Richard Starr (2 months ago)
I love the black company, but steal most of my ideas from thieves world! I tell my players I'm stealing from the black company though.
John van Capel (2 months ago)
I have a rule-of-thumb in my home games when it comes to antagonists and moral stances. Namely, if there's any moral ambiguity to the problem-to-solve, I make sure that there is an optimal outcome that "feels good", and give ample opportunity to find it. Half the time this is a somewhat diplomatic solution, but just as often there's simply an overarching evil that the party can fight instead. Meanwhile, if there's no moral ambiguity to the problem? No need to make it more elaborate than it is. Kill the guy who's sacrificing people to Orcus in a bid for arcane power, and you solve the problem optimally.
Casey Hayes (2 months ago)
Hey Matt! I love your videos and they really helped my feel more confident in running my 1st campaign! We're in a homebrew setting of mine, where two different countries are at war. Monarchy vs. Paramount Union (Like European union), Aggressive Imperialism vs. Peaceful Coexistence. Order vs. Freedom, Will vs. Whim. In total I have 9 players, split into two parties i do every alternating weekends. One party of four, in the Monarchy country and one party of 5 in the Union country. Most of them haven't played but they are having a ton of fun. I wrote a TON of stuff before hand, built an 18,000 mile long hexographer, wrote tons of lore and history that I know will never be used (i just wanted to have it all available of course.) But watching your videos made me realise a few mistakes i was making but I also noticed similarities in how you play your game to mine so that made me feel like I was doing something right! Thanks Matt!!!
DownwithMarx (2 months ago)
I don't know if you still read and respond, but how do you know your players are ok with one player undermining the goal of the party, as with the mole story? It's a great reveal but could piss off the others, especially the wizard. Is it ok because it's the end of the campaign?
Rodney Lopez (3 months ago)
The Belgariad (and the Mallorean) are my favorite fantasy novels of all time!! So glad to hear someone else who has read them!
george cobaleanu (3 months ago)
fledgling warhammer fantasy GM here! so im working at this chaos plague cult and their evil plot to unleash a zombie plague. building up to a scary and disturbing confruntation with the mutated BBEG that bursts out of a glowing tumor growing from a tree made of conjoined plague zombies that the cultists were supposed to infuse with chaos magic for three days; but no...they get a dog, sniff out the escaped BBEG to the big bad evil headquarters where i tell them they are severly outnumbered and the cultists have fortified. "we climb the wall and jump in!" :O i never pull any punches so out of sheer blind luck (the cult sorcererer fails 5 spells out of 7 and they never get crited while also criting the cultists twice), the 2 PC's kill the 6 cultists and find the tree with the dormant UNmutated not quite BIG yet evil guy and chop him to gory bits....i even had this awesome soundtrack from heart of the swarm trailer to play for the duration of the battle. What could i have done different without modifying the plot and pulling another identical BBEG out of the hat, or something similar that would basically screw the players out of their miraculous and unlikely victory?
Richard Wages (3 months ago)
another great lecture prof. Colville
Mark Walker (3 months ago)
I love your vids Matt. Alot of it cements what I already do with some great ideas and enhancements/insights. Thanks mate
Nikki S. (3 months ago)
Hi! I'm relatively new to the whole DnD world, only having played half a dozen times, and I'll be hosting my first session next Thursday. I'm so excited! Mostly thanks to you I've now got a little boy to rescue, a dungeon, riddles, fights and a (hopefully epic) Bad Guy lined up for my new players. None of those are exactly like yours, but your tips and tricks are fantastic and a great help - and I probably never would have dared to do this if not for your videos. So thanks!
gdoggcasey (3 months ago)
Shout out to The Belgariad and The Mallorean for a series that is pretty obscure at this point but is one of my favorite series of all time. The characters in that series are awesome. So when you were talking about your red gold, I was already thinking of the Murgo gold :D
John Spencer (3 months ago)
These are amazing ideas and examples! Thank you for this video.
Andrew Sokolovic (3 months ago)
Little did he know a bit less than 2 years later he raised 2 million bucks to publish a book about a somewhat smallish part of the game overall. Good job Matt C. you really are a wellspring of good for the game.
David Griffin (3 months ago)
I recently came across your channel, I look forward to the rest of the playlist.
Frank vd Klift (3 months ago)
Dear Matthew, I just started watching an am wondering. Are the levels or "books" as you call them of one of your cool campaigns downloadable somewhere? I would love to see one cool campaign to learn the game somewhat better. Thanks in advance :-)
Nick Williams (3 months ago)
Ha! David (and Leigh) Eddings! Loved that stuff when I was a kid. The flaws are a bit obvious now, but one thing is for sure: David Eddings wrote _great beginnings._ He set up such great stuff. Mystery. Drama. A real sense of the ancient. Okay, later on he'd shit all over that and it would be all aboard the choo-choo train to the almost-but-not-quite-deus-ex-machina-ending, but still. The beginnings were _great._ Honestly, I've really _got_ to play a farmboy PC whose childhood was haunted by a mysterious rider in black. Who never seemed to cast a shadow ...
Jason Irrgang (3 months ago)
Thanks for this! I replaced a really boring enemy reveal scene that I just couldn't get right and decided to have the PCs find the main enemy camp. Instead of a mook (my original plan) they'll find one of the villain's heavies.
Grady Elmore (3 months ago)
Wait, I'm confused. How do you get the players to feel like they're doing what they want to do in a module like Night Below?
Eric Vyskocil (3 months ago)
I'm in the midst of writing and planning my first campaign as a DM, and at the end of a low level story route, you have to try and save a couple of famous hero's daughter from the local baron. Pretty standard stuff and you think she's not that memorable , except she will die. And the baron escapes. And the rest of the campaign you have to find her family who are spread throughout the kingdom finding these adventurer parents of hers to tell them the bad news. And then the baron resurrects her with a cultist ritual and she comes back to life evil becoming the actual endgame villain who tries to destroy the capital city. I sweasr I don't know what I ripped off, but I must have. What is it?
Arch Gothard (3 months ago)
Read the link about the Monk being brought back. That is some good stuff!
Travis Truppner (4 months ago)
I just started this video, and haven't seen the answer in the comments, but I'm strongly guessing that his shirt says 'RUN D&D' instead of 'RUN DMC'.
Nathan Jolly (4 months ago)
My friends and I did that when I was 13. We ran D&D based on AD&D 2e and the older books. We mixed and matched and we had fun. Not only that, we attracted the attention of a six year old girl my best friend's mother was babysitting. She wanted to play, too. So at first, we just had her rolling dice while we sat back and told stories. She was more than happy to as long as she was listening to the story. After a few days of this, we made her a character. My character discovered he had a long lost sister, and so I had to keep her safe, which was plot armor in the negative double digits (this was the THAC0 days when low AC was good). She did get to fight, as a small creature using a dagger like a short sword, it was adorable if not exactly effective. Fortunately she seemed to be invisible to enemies and AoE magic always missed her. Funny how that worked... okay, maybe she wasn't playing, I guess it was the D&D equivalent of giving your sibling the controller that isn't plugged in. But she didn't care, she had fun, probably more fun than either of us. Thank you again for this series. I've DM'd a couple times before, doing one-shots that sucked but we had fun, and I'm trying to get serious. I had my first session 0 last Saturday. Got my best friend who has been a player with me in my main group for a few months, and a mutual friend who has never played before, and they rolled characters. He's going with a half orc barbarian which should be easy; she's going with a celestial warlock (XGtE), so I got some homework now. I've never dealt with warlocks, so she's saying she has a familiar or something, I gotta know how that works. I'm actually gonna start with your goblin temple one-shot.
Camron Mahler (4 months ago)
DMing my first session of my first campaign ever Sunday, wish me luck Matthew!!
Matthew Colville (4 months ago)
You're gonna ace it!
ThePoisonSword (4 months ago)
So, I'm a little confused. If Caloril the Vile is a worshiper of Orcus, and this is the same setting that has the Invincible Overlord, how does that work? I thought the Overlord did not allow worship in his realm. Or is this something that the players discover during the session?
Razzrazz90 (4 months ago)
The idea of stealing story points subtly to use in DnD has practically been bread and butter for me. I've taken from things like Wizard of Oz, to Gremlins, to freakin' actual cannibal Shia Labouef
KBash (4 months ago)
Lord Soth from the Dragonlance series?
Alpha Kodiak (4 months ago)
Off topic: There's a Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death video game. It's a good example of "old, but gold", you should definitely check it out if you want some more Judging.
Titto86 (4 months ago)
I'm here because of Reddit. Hi, Reddit.
Matthew Colville (4 months ago)
I just got off the phone with Reddit. Reddit says "hey."
Clark Storz (4 months ago)
Ever think about ruff outline a book idea but run it as a campaign in two separate party's then fill in the details between the two games without letting the PC know
TheLegendOf Arthur (4 months ago)
"As a DM we don't keep strict track of time..." Unless you're me, who is super obsessive about time in my games and spends ages writing home rules about how long certain actions take just to make sure I get it right... I have problems, OK?
Dervish DervishDervish (4 months ago)
And you got “the dark tower” from Stephen Kings... the dark tower LOL
Ade Provis (4 months ago)
I’ve been asked to run the old school BECMI Red Box introductory adventure for one of my groups. The villain was going to be Bargle but I’m thinking that some of my older players will remember the original villain so he should now be Kaleral The Vile instead. Thanks for such a wonderful hook 😎
Ezukei (5 months ago)
Omg lol, I thought I was the only person who read the belgariad, that series and it's following series are amazing
Sean Douglas (5 months ago)
Matt, you made my week by mentioning The Belgariad. It was my gateway to fantasy.
zduda1990 (5 months ago)
GREAT Belgariad reference! I knew it as soon as I heard the red gold bit :) Not too often you hear a reference to Garion and his crew.
zduda1990 (5 months ago)
also - thank you so much for this series. It's helped me hold my first DMing session this past weekend with nary a hitch!
SammersM (5 months ago)
Haha, I tried something very similar; chuck the heroes in front of a powerful set of baddies, but my friends are all blundering idiot characters who tried to go starting a fight
Igna M. Gavier (5 months ago)
"I want more people running D&D" Well, you did it!
Benjie Milan (5 months ago)
Over the past few days I've been watching this playlist to help prepare myself for a party of 8 that I brought together to DM, and I have never DM'ed, but these videos have really help!
Kyle Nott (5 months ago)
The idea of putting a high level bad guy against a low level party and having him show how much more powerful he is without killing the heroes is always a good one... until the dice betray you. My very first D&D-type game (it was a star wars version, don't remember the name) my DM did exactly that, even going one step further and having one of us (me) encounter them alone so it was 1v1. All good, great tension, great build up, great reveal........ then i rolled 6 natural 20s in a row for my attacks while my DM couldn't roll higher than a 3. Lv1 character beats two Lv10 bosses all by himself. We had a good laugh over it, but ultimately it ended the campaign in the first session.
Ross Wood (5 months ago)
Matt. Love the videos. Thank you for inspiring me. Start my first major DM session this Sunday. I believe it was in this video that you mention making another or a 'next' video about the intricacies and nuances of D&D that new players should know going in to the game. Did you make that video and I am just missing it? Also, if I don't have a lot of friends who have DM'd, who would you suggest bouncing ideas off of for where to take the quest/adventurers next after their initial quest line? Thank you so much.
Katherine Webb (5 months ago)
Thank you these videos have helped me greatly. I was doing a one-shot for my friends and because of your videos I wasn't as nervous to DM. I've learned lots.
CJets23 (5 months ago)
Love the Belgariad
Yamcha Dragonball (5 months ago)
I like chaotic good villains.
Grant T B (5 months ago)
Run D and D shirt: https://www.guerrillatees.com/blog/some-of-our-favorite-funny-dd-t-shirts
onemadhungrynomad (6 months ago)
it absolutely is possible to know all the rules, though probably not for a regular person. for certain kinds of high functioning autistic people, absolutely not a problem to know all the rules of numerous systems.
Arty Queen Tael (6 months ago)
I understand that the video is over a year old at this point in time. However I would love to know what you think of how david eddings did Polgara, and Belgarath.
Matthew Gallaway (6 months ago)
I like how fast you talk. It appeals to my ADHD
MalevolentDivinity (6 months ago)
Also why Kefka's such a memorable villain. He eventually becomes a world destroying and reforging nihilist god, but he starts out routinely dealing with the party at low levels. Sometimes you're running away from him, other times he's running away from you/poisoning castle water supplies, and sometimes he's sending an army of magic soldiers at you. But early on, you get to know him. So that when he pulls a coup d'etat, you accept that he's now a force to be reckoned with and you really wanna end him.
Siegmeyer of Catarina (6 months ago)
I hope you know that I immediately purchased both of your novels, as someone who has been hunting down your patreon for quite a while now. Keep up the good work!
Lord FyreGamer (6 months ago)
Me and my friends recently started playing dungeons and dragons your videos are helping us learn how to play better
Derek Williamson (6 months ago)
You mentioned that you often have your bad guys retreat, and i was wondering what you do about experience in those situations. i know that in all the games that ive played, my fellow players and I are always very excited to get experience from our fights so that we can grow stronger and have a reward for having a great battle. From my understanding, if the enemies flee, there is know reward. How do you do it?
Alastrine :D (6 months ago)
Can we get a episode on how to run an evil empire?
Japan Tarko (6 months ago)
After 3 years he betrays everyone, that is fucking insane.
Dusty Saddle (6 months ago)
I'm buying your books even tho I hate reading
Larry Reddecliff (6 months ago)
Your bad guys are real A-holes, in my book, wow, never thought of using someone else to make the moves/decisions, wow, what a great idea!!
Larry Reddecliff (6 months ago)
You mention David Eddings Belgariad, if you liked it Matt, look up if you have not read the books, The Guardians of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg, https://www.thriftbooks.com/series/guardians-of-the-flame/40725/?mkwid=sSZLll4oZ|dc&pcrid=160335364704&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&gclid=CjwKCAiAxuTQBRBmEiwAAkFF1oqA_05c3sKGrr1z0HjhEjesqAeKUGoN0e-m2bBpq_4nAKBEs9o9ABoC5uwQAvD_BwE
viper2000jr (6 months ago)
i'm trying to make joker slaad
Stick Hippy (6 months ago)
Half human half goblin? eugh...
Stick Hippy (6 months ago)
Why would you be anything other than DM? 'Uh, the bad guy has a death move that make your character mine...he uses it...your character is mine' (takes sheet).
JM (6 months ago)
I have 3 main bad guys In my campain: The king of wispers (A Shadow), Faindell the fallen (A Death Knight) and High King Harold (A Gnome who turns into a Lych)
maaderllin (7 months ago)
KALAREL. I, well my character Ke'Faëarg, hated that guy. We found him and killed him. It was Ke'Faëarg who dealt the last blow, the killing blow. We were in the temple in the keep, next to the portal to the shadowfell. Ke'Faëarg tried to chop the head off of Kalarel's dead body and claim it as its rightful war trophy (I kept note of every single head Ke'Faëarg kept as trophy), but Orcus' hand got out of the portal and took the body of its servant away. My DM brought him back, transformed by Orcus into a vampire lord
Pressthebigredbutton (7 months ago)
i like the old bait and switch next town is gonna be a pretty big city and the mayor of this town is setting up traps and accidents occasionally for his citizens to give the corpses to the necromancers. the heros will unknowing be set up for one such death all for a reverent to save them at the last minute. however it will appear that the reverent is evil because he will kill a citizen that is a mole sent to ensure their deaths. the mayor will send the players to kill the revenant and hopefully they will be able to figure out what happened. i love D&D
Pressthebigredbutton (7 months ago)
as a channel with less than a million views a video i should be safe stealing your material right? XD
Sami Ollikainen (7 months ago)
Oh man, I had forgotten Belgariad. Damn I need to read those books again.
Stratixphere (7 months ago)
YES, The Black Company is awesome! Binge watching all your videos now.
The Beholder (7 months ago)
"There must always be a Redcap..."
Trevor Dowding (7 months ago)
There is an old movie called Spore and it's about a guy who is killed and sent down to Hell. He then has to do the devils bidding. This makes a great campaign because the Heroes have become bad guys to the NPCs
inf82nd (7 months ago)
I've read the books a few time and downloaded( Itunes) audio book listen to it once. Books from back then were very fresh and a good read. Read "the Iron tower"
U1timate1nferno (7 months ago)
In my group, we have a trend. Basically, we have 3 DMs and each campaign takes place in the same world. 2 are two sides of a newly created Noble house and are trying to rise from a lesser house to a truly great house. The 3rd campaign, which I'm a player of, is a sequel campaign. It takes place 300 years later in the industrial revolution. PCs in the campaign are descendants of characters in the other 2 and it creates a cohesive world. I'm going to be the 4th DM in this world and I'll be having my campaign take place another 200 years later, in a Cyberpunk campaign. My whole deal is that this once kind and noble house has fallen by not being ruthless enough in the rise of corporations. Then I plan on throwing in a plot twist. I'll have a file addressed to the bad guys and at the end it will be signed with the last name of their noble house. Now their descendants are the bad guys. Problem is, they don't know who. It was just a letter, and the only other name was Syphon, and all the know is that they're the head of technology division of this band of bad guys, and their main goal is to steal the magical power of mages.
Shawn Cottrell (7 months ago)
In the books Tree beard is a kind of leader figure responsible for his people but shows genuine concern for all the world. The cut tree scene does not exist in the book and in fact the ents quickly choose war not only for the deaths of the trees but to protect middle earth. He is neutral good only if you ignore that he doesn't encounter lawful or chaotic choices to display chaotic or lawful tendencies. Nothing convinces the ents in the books and actually they are unusually hasty to agree to besieging Isengard which is a huge change the movies made, I'd think Colville is aware of that however.
D L (7 months ago)
For the "after the video" questions: I know this is late, but maybe someone else is having trouble making their warlock good I only have one thing to say. Build around Eldritch Blast, and get nothing but utility spells. You will end up being a ranger with amazing CC (and more damage) but more interesting narrative possibilities depending on what Pact you choose.

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