View Full Version : Villains, Tricks, Traps, Twists & Surprise Endings

Tony Misfeldt
07-20-2009, 12:22 AM
Just like the title says, I want to know about any interestling villains, traps, and twist endings. They could be things you've come up with as a DM, things you've experience as a player, or things you've read about.
Here are some of mine:


The Seven: The Seven are a thieves guild which I have set in The Forgotten Realms. Feel free to adapt them to whatever campaign setting you're using. Members of The Seven are recognized by the number 7 branded onto some part of their anatomy that's not readily seen (the back, shoulder, thigh, etc). They are lead by a group of seven spellcasters, each named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

GLUTTONY: Gluttony is the head of the seven spellcasters. The other six leaders all pay him tribute, so he has his fingers in many pies. He is a Neutral Evil human male 20th level mage with an extraordinary INT and WIS score. As one would expect from someone named Gluttony, he is morbidly obese (think Jabba The Hut in wizards robes). Don't make the mistake of underestimating him because of this though. Between his spells and his selection of magic items, he's a match for most any wizard in all The Realms.

GREED: Greed is a Neutral Evil half elven 18th level Specialty Priest of Mask, God Of Intrigue. He's as good with a knife or dagger as many of the rogues under his command, maybe even better. He's in charge of all the cutpurses, pickpockets, and catburgalurs in the guild. His extraordinary WIS and exceptional DEX make him a formidable adversary, as does his selection of enchanted weapons and armor.

SLOTH: Sloth is the head of the guilds league of assassins. He's a Neutral Evil human male necromancer of 16th level. In addition to his mortal assassins, Sloth also has an army of undead at his beck & call. He is physically very weak and frail (much like Raistlin of the Dragon Lance setting) but very formidable magically. His INT and WIS are every bit a match for Gluttony's, but Gluttony has more powerful spells and magic items.

LUST: Lust is the head of the guilds illegal brothels and street harlots. She is a Chaotic Evil alu-fiend enchantress of 12th level. Her specialization in charm spells makes her less capable in magical combat, but her demonic heritage and magic items make her a formidable opponent. She has exceptional INT and CHA (and COM if you're using that stat as well). Because her ladies often double as spies and assassins, she has a close allegiance with Sloth and Envy.

ENVY: Envy is the head of the guilds spies and information brokers. He's a Lawful Evil gnome diviner of 15th level. Due to the lack of offensive and defensive spells in a diviners repetoir, he has a close alegiance with both Sloth and Lust. Also, Lust's ladies often double as spies and assassins, and Sloth finds Envy's information very valuable in his assassinations.

PRIDE: Pride is the head of the guilds legal fronts, gambling houses, fencing and smuggling operations. She's a Neutral Evil bard of 14th level. She has exceptional INT and WIS, and extraordinary CHA (and COM if that rule is being used). This causes a bit of a rivalry between her and Lust.

WRATH: Wrath is the head of the guilds thugs, muggers, and extortion rackets. He's a Chaotic Evil cambion evoker of 12th level. He has exceptional INT but pretty poor WIS. While Sloth is a scalpel, Wrath is a great ax. Between his impressive mastery of evocation spells, his demonic heritage, and his impressive collection of magic items, he's probably the most feared of the seven spellcasters. Only his fear of Gluttony and Sloth's power keeps him in line.

The Talons are another thieves guild I've come up with. Their calling card is leaving three deep scratches that look as though a large taloned creature had clawed the wall, door, person, or whatever is marked. Members of the guild can be identified by the set of three scars which look as though they'd been clawed by a taloned creature. Their top assassins all use a bladed gauntlet that has three blade protruding from the knuckles (much like Wolverine's claws in X-Men). The authorities have find it impossible to find their leader and main hideout. The reason for this is that they all look for the hidden fortress and the guilds leader in the cities that the guild is known to be active in. However the guild leader doesn't live in a city at all. She isn't even humanoid. She's an adult green dragon living in a hidden lair in the middle of a deep dark forest nearby. Her lair is also guarded by an entire tribe of orcs, as well as several ogres, verbeegs, and hill giants.



This sword, for all intent and purposes, is a sentient Sword Of Life Stealing +2 (I made it a longsword, but you can make it whatever type of sword you prefer for your campaign). The sword has the following abilities:

Intelligence: 19

Wisdom: 19

Communication: Speach and Telepathy

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Known Languages: Common, Elvish, Drow, Dwarven, Duergar, Gnomish, Svirfneblin, Orc, Goblin, Demonic, Devilish, Draconic

Constant Powers: Know Alignment, Mind Shielding

Special Abilities:
A) Cast Charm Person by touch 3 times/day.
B) Cast ESP for one round 3 times/day.
C) Cast Clairaudience for one round 3 times/day.
D) Shape Change into any humanoid form of similar height and weight at 12th level ability 3 times/day.
E) Dimensional Door once/day.

The Curse:
Every 20 hit points drained by the sword slowly starts to turn the weilder into a succubus/incubus. It starts off subtly, improving stats, AC, granting immunities to certain weapons and spells, etc. Eventually the characters alignment will change. Once it becomes Chaotic Evil, the change is complete and he's a demon and forever an NPC. The changes that are made are as follows.

1) Charisma improves by +1/20 hit points drained by the sword to a total of CHA 20 (1st/2nd Ed) or CHA 25 (d20).
2) Comeliness (if that optional rule is used) increases by +1/20 hit points drained by the sword to a total of 20 (1st/2nd Ed) or 25 (d20) before adjustments for race & CHA.
3) Strength increases by +1/20 hit points drained by the sword to a total of 18/01 (1st/2nd Ed) or the d20 equivelant. If the characters STR is already greater than 18/01 then his STR score will go up to the next highest level, up to a maximum of 19 (1st/2nd Ed Hill Giant Strength).
4) AC improves by 1/20 hit points of life energy drained by the sword to a maximum of 0 (1st/2nd Ed) or 20 (d20) before adjustments due to DEX, etc.
5) Gains immunity to weapons not of +1 or greater enchantment.
6) Gains immunity to fire and fire based spells.
7) Casts Charm Person at will.
8) Casts ESP at will.
9) Casts Clairaudience at will.
10) Shape Changes into any humanoid of similar height and weight at will.
11) Casts Dimensional Door once per day.
12) Alignment changes from Lawful to Neutral.
13) Alignment changes from Neutral to Chaotic.
14) Alignment changes from Good to Neutral.
15) Alignment changes from Neutral to Evil.

Getting Nasty:
The swords main goal is to corrupt champions of good. The preferred champion for corruption are obviously paladins, but any good aligned warrior will do. In order to corrupt the warrior as quick as possible, the sword makes contact with its weilder. It does this by invading his/her dreams. It appears to the weilder as his/her ideal mate. The sword will then offer the weilder a partnership. The sword will promise its weilder anything their innermost heart desires. Fame, fortune, power, women, the ability to make their enemies tremble in fear at the mere mention of their names. Anything to get the weilder to agree to a partnership. If he/she agrees to the partnership, and the agreement is sealed with a kiss, then every time the weilder uses one of the swords Special Powers from that moment on is the equivelant of draining 5 hit points of life energy. Thus 2 Charm Person spells, 2 ESP spells, 3 Shape Changes, and 1 Dimensional Door is the equivelant of draining 40 hit points of life energy and will increase the weilders CHA by 2 (and bring him 2 steps closer to becoming a demon).

07-20-2009, 02:20 PM
One of the more successfull twists to an adventure i ran was as follows.

After arriving in town, the heroes did what most adventures do...head to the Inn to find out whats happening. There they were approached by a agent of a local sage, Rothgar the Unwell. He hired them to help guard Rothgars keep against a band of evil thugs trying to steal from his keep.

They accept.

When they arrive at the keep, they find it old, and broken down. The top has been blown off, the keep doors are broken, the drawbridge is stuck down...you get the picture.

The sage meets them and offers to pay a handsome sum for one nights of protection against the bandits. But warns them not to disturn the ritual he is performing in his lower rooms, or they won't get paid.

Evey time i run this adventure, the Heros have a blast coming up with different ways to defend the keep...I let them do it all.

Then after the sun is down, they start to see movement in the woods, and in particular a small shape slinking across the fields to the keep.

It doesn't take long before the keep is under siege, by forces, trying to get in.

The twist of course is that the Forces trying to break into the keep are made up of Paladins, Clerics, a halfing theif, and a wizard. All of good alignment.

Everytime, the guards win, with the paladin in particular killed. Of course, right after the battle is when the DEMON being summoned by the EVIL SAGE below appears.

---Always a good adventure to unsuspecting characters of GOOD alignment. And amazing how Detect Evil is seldom used on an NPC offereing to give you money.

07-20-2009, 02:25 PM
I made an ending where the adventurers had the choice to sell an amulet and get filthy rich, or they could replace the amulet and restore the town. I'm too lazy right now to go into detail though.

07-21-2009, 10:27 AM
I currently have two NPC's in my game I use for story plots. Both came from an asylum that burned down (you can read it on my blog). They were actually an after thought but the PC's were drawn to them so I gave them more significant roles in the story. The true enemy of course are the Mindflayer masters controlling the city but the PC's may find these two key to their victory.

The PC's rescued a 4 year old girl that speaks only with telepathy and contains very powerful lantent psionic powers. They sort of adopted her and now I use her for story starters by giving her dreams and visions. She be part of a major story arc in the future.

The other is an escaped criminal call Ikam Vaas, who is a powerful insane Psion who enjoys eating brains and mind swaps other beings to communicate (and taunt) the PC's. I have one PC actively trying to hunt him down and he just misses him after his carnage. Ikam has agreed to help the PC with information if he continues to get close enough to capture him (like a game).

Baldwin Stonewood
07-21-2009, 11:43 AM
The term "villain" depends on who is telling the story and the POV, I suppose. In my current campaign the "villain" is Lord Strikemore, a Paladin pirate hunter. He commands 6 ships, make that 5 since the PCs managed to steal his command ship last session, and his mission is to rid the seas of nasty, lawless pirates. Especially, the ones that recently misappropriated his ship.

07-21-2009, 12:53 PM
The term "villain" depends on who is telling the story and the POV, I suppose. In my current campaign the "villain" is Lord Strikemore, a Paladin pirate hunter. He commands 6 ships, make that 5 since the PCs managed to steal his command ship last session, and his mission is to rid the seas of nasty, lawless pirates. Especially, the ones that recently misappropriated his ship.

Don't forget his pals those dirty dwarves. Spreading lies and disrespecting the drunks god.

Besides I heard him say that we could borrow that ship.:biggrin:

07-23-2009, 09:48 AM
My tabletop Tsojcanth game has come to the conclusion of the original game module. At the end, the party has come to find out that the Margrave had actually sent them to retrieve the 3 artifacts so that he could use them in his plan to oust the March of Bissel and become the ruller there. The party did obtain all 3 artifacts, but on the way to Bissel, a large Drow force was able to get the Prison of Zagig form them, thereby leaving them with just 2 artifacts (Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn and the Demonicon of Iggwilv). When the campaign resumes (after I get everything wrote up for it), they will be trying to track down the Drow and take back the Prison of Zagig. Of course, they have no idea where to find the Drow, but I have a plan that will start them in the right direction.

07-23-2009, 10:42 PM
My favorite traps are gritty and usually set by kobolds. Glass smashed in front of trip wires. Swinging heavy objects placed above kobold height which they can set off during a fight. Flammable powder with a tendancy to cloud up a small room that happens to contain a flame snake. (That one is fun because PCs invariably attack the snake causing it to breath fire and scorch them all. :biggrin:

Most of them aren't lethal but definitely mark my kobolds as devious and annoying.

I had a group of kobolds that had trapped a rust monster in a deep pit. They would raid people and whatever metal objects they didn't need they would feed to their pet/prisoner for entertainment. They ended up knocking a paladin in the pit wearing his shiny plate mail. He managed to take out the rust monster wearing his under padding and weilding a kobold bench (log). The very same log two kobolds had used as a ram to knock him into the pit. :biggrin:

07-24-2009, 09:22 AM
He managed to take out the rust monster wearing his under padding and weilding a kobold bench (log). The very same log two kobolds had used as a ram to knock him into the pit. :biggrin:

How did the rust monster get into his under padding?

I'm tempted to say that surprise endings are not a surprise anymore.

I have one set up for the Saturday face tot face group. I'm not saying anything more than that Well not exactly an ending, but one of the players is obsessing over a bit of detail that was designed for him to obsess over It is not anything he thinks it is.

07-27-2009, 04:40 PM
I think the best twist in any game I've ever been in was when my Druid companion looked up from her sheet with a gleam in her eye after we'd been pinned down in a cave with only us left alive and dire bats trying to kill us and said "Can I just talk to the bats?" Eventually she surmised that the bats didn't like our light, we put it out and my character with darkvision led her through the rest of the dungeon unmolested. We did almost die from laughter though...

07-28-2009, 01:27 PM
I got one:

Normal size group in a dungeon, one hears a sound and so they rush to next room and start killing what they think is the boss while the rest are still in the same room killing (or rekilling) zombies and skeletons, then that one player comes back and is like "What happened to you?" and the rest of the group is like :mad:"AAAAARRRRGGG!!":mad:

Tony Misfeldt
07-29-2009, 04:01 AM
Here's one I thought of but haven't used yet. The party goes into a dungeon crawl which is supposed to hold "The Worlds Greatest Treasure". After working their way through an elaborate labrynthe filled with devious traps and dangerous monsters, they finally come to the treasure room. What they find is a vast library filled with thousands upon thousands of books, scrolls, maps, clay tablets, etc, etc. There's no gold, no jewels, no magic weapons (though I might ad a few spell books and magic scrolls to the treasure). The library is bigger than the New York library where the movie The Day After Tomorrow took place, and it is packed with books but has not one gold coin. There's nothing in here worth anything to anyone who isn't a sage or a scholar.

Another twist ending that I did use was a wealthy merchant hired the PCs to investigate who's been attacking his caravans. All he knows is that whoever is making off with his merchandise has the ability to petrify. After a long journy they soon discover that the merchant was in fact a slaver, and the person responsible for the attacks on his slave caravans is a medusa with a good alignment. It turns out she doesn't like being a medusa and wants to become human, but the only spell she can cast on herself that can do that permanently is a Wish spell, which she can never cast because her INT is only 17 (this was a 2nd ed campaign). So she sends the PCs on a quest to find her a very powerful Ring Of Wishes, which has only one charge but is more likely to succeed on things where wishes only have a chance of success.

08-02-2009, 11:09 AM
My favorite villian/twist is a 1st level adventure that I have run many times. The adventure seems normal, the king ask the players to save his daughter from the goblins that kidnapped her. He says please bring her back, if she is dead please bring back her body. So the players go through the adventure normally until they meet the princess. She was not kidnapped she went to them. Generation after Generation the princess is kidnapped and of course the goblins have there way with her so she has a child that is part goblin. The princess hates her human side and imbraces her goblin side. She looks human because the king pays good money to make his daughter look human. If the players kill her they have to bring back her body and then the king gets her raised. She does not turn in the players but instead says "Yes they saved me". One time that twist almost gave one of my new players a heart attack.
My favorite trap is a pit that is filled with gelatinous cubes.

08-02-2009, 11:12 AM
Generation after Generation the princess is kidnapped and of course the goblins have there way with her so she has a child that is part goblin. The princess hates her human side and imbraces her goblin side. She looks human because the king pays good money to make his daughter look human.

Nice twist. I'll have ot keep that one in mind.

08-02-2009, 01:42 PM
One of my favorite traps is something that at first seems very benign...two barrels. One is filled with a glowing blue liquid and the other with a glowing red liquid. The red acts as a minor healing potion and the players can fill flasks with it. The blue will temporarily enchant weapons. After the players explore, or ignore the barrels, they are attacked by some castle/dungeon dweller. The danger is that when the two liquids combine they explode. Sometimes adventurers will dip something into both barrels prior to any fight and wind up with a nasty surprise.

08-02-2009, 04:19 PM
My first character defeated a demigod and then the gods came down and they gave him immortality.that was awsome.