D&D Campaign: The BBEG

D&D Campaign: The BBEG

We’ve created a town, determined the magic level of the town and of our game by doing that, and we’ve come up with a hook. So who is the BBEG in this game?

First off, what is the BBEG? BBEG, if you don’t know what it stands for, means the Big Bad Evil Guy. The BBEG is also going to be the person or deity or monster that is causing the issues that your party faces in the campaign as planned thus far. It’s possible that your game could end up having several BBEG, but each one would be a separate arc, and we’re planning one arc that could be your whole campaign unless you decide to continue playing more.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

So, what makes a good BBEG? Some evil tyrant trying to rule everyone? Sure, that works. A mistaken wizard who believes that the person who killed their family is the king? Yup, that works too. Is it the Queen who believes that the only way to save her people is by kidnapping the youngest child and making them part of a weird cult to appease the gods? Yup, that also works.

This is one area where you can really decide how you want to take your game. The easiest thing to do to create your BBEG is to think about what type of game that you want to run again. We’ve limited our game to this smaller area, so that probably precludes some of the ideas that I’ve come up with. But a crazed wizard in the woods is always interesting.

I’m going to create what I call a mind horror that is going to be my BBEG. The Mind Horror is going to be an intelligent monster that has come into the area and is looking to gain control of the lands so that it can create a breeding ground for more Mind Horrors. So if the players actually bother to talk with it and interact with it more than just try and kill it, they can possibly come to an agreement where it will stop killing people.

Now with the BBEG, you want to hint at them early on, but your players shouldn’t come across them until later in the game, probably still before they can actually handle it, but not that much before so the BBEG doesn’t just murder your whole party in one shot. So you have to set-up stuff before your players are at that level that they can deal with.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

These are the smaller story arcs that the players get to play through that teach them about the BBEG and getting an idea of what sort of monster they might be facing again. So you most likely will want to have several of these arcs prior to them facing off against the BBEG. I’m thinking that my Mind Horror is going to be set as someone they face off against at level 10. Depending on how I do it, I think that I’d want about 3-4 arcs for the PC’s to have to go through before getting to the BBEG arc.

So in some order the arcs would go like the following:

Something strange going on in the mine. Most likely the workers are coming back crazy and some of them are murdering each other. The PC’s can go and investigate. First it’s thought that it’s a goblin tribe, but the players will find out the same thing is happening to the goblins. The players can then explore underground and determine eventually that it’s going to be a tainted under ground stream.

There’s also going to be a cult that is following the Mind Horror around that comes into the town. They are going to be causing problems because of killing of livestock, generally causing a malaise to come over the town and plants and animals are dying off. They are doing something to prepare the way for the Mind Horror to take over the land.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

We’re also going to have a Grima Wormtongue situation where the Wizard is going to be influenced by a new adviser into doing more and more destructive and crazy things. So the players are going to have to figure out who is causing the problem, but then will have to figure out if they decide to deal with it as a Wormtongue problem, how to get the Wizard back to normal, or deal with the Wizard as well and create a power vacuum.

Then we’ll have a situation where there are mindlings that come out of the mines and caves in the mountains. Basically they are weaker versions of the mind horror and are setting up nests in the mountains.

This would probably be somewhere in the middle. Wormtongue part would probably be the last one before they have to face off against the Mind Horror. There would also be some overlap between these things as well. Probably the earliest thing that would actually have happened is the Wormtongue situation where the Wizard is being influenced, and that’s why the wizard wants the gems. The Goblins/Mine issue might be the first thing, but the cult would start moving into town and influencing things while that is going as well.

You can see how it can become a bit to manage, but the multi-leveled story and multi-arc story gives it a better feel. And I don’t need to plan out all the way to level 20, or even all the way through the arcs until I get closer to them. Maybe the players decide they want to continue the campaign, while that can happen with introducing a new and bigger bad guy.

You can also see how I’ve tied basically everything into the small area. It doesn’t matter where the Mind Horror has come from, because it’s there already. They don’t need to go anywhere else to deal with it besides a few days out of the town at times. Maybe the next arc is more epic. Now that the PC’s have a name for themselves the Queen of the land will send them on a mission to deal with a rogue dragon up in the mountains? Or maybe it’s to infiltrate another kingdom and deal with a problem that they thought was just a normal king, turns out to be a dragon who now wants to wipe out the kingdom they are from. But that’s how you can build stories on top of each other. You could even tie it together barely by saying that the reason the Mind Horror moved to this location is because the dragon forced them out of the other kingdom.

So what do you think of the story thus far. I’m not sure there is a ton more that I would do to create this game, but I will talk some more about creating the specifics of the town and surrounding area in a later article.

What are your thoughts on the BBEG I’ve created? How do you create a BBEG?

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