Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Villains also gain doubloons for use against the party. They also gain Villain Points, which are used similarly to the doubloons, but which have a special selection of uses. Uses only available to villains. Only sergeants, pack leaders, “named” NPCs and other cut-above enemies are allowed to use Villain Points or doubloons.
Doubloons: As a group, the villains draw three doubloon tokens from the bag every session. These doubloons are in all ways like the PC’s doubloons, with two exceptions. When a villain uses a Red doubloon as a Red Token, the party does not benefit. If the DM ever draws a Legend token from the bag, he immediately returns it to the bag, and the villains get one less doubloon for that session. The only way the villains may gain more doubloons per session is for the party to use a Red doubloon as a red token. When your characters spend a Red doubloon as a red token, the DM will immediately draw a token from the bag for the villains. The doubloon is placed into a villain’s stack, and may be used for any unique villain the party encounters. The number of doubloons the villains have in their stack will always be disclosed when asked about.
These tokens, like those for the PC’s are lost at the end of a session if unused, and the DM will draw 3 new coins from the bag at the beginning of the next session.
Villain Points: In addition to the doubloons, each elite villain gets a non-replacable allotment of special villain points. Each villain receives personal points, usually equal to one villain point per level, or hit dice, of the character or elite monster. Most common villains have no villain points. The villain’s personal points are unknown to anyone save the DM.
Furthermore, the DM may spend a villain’s personal points for non-elite villains. This can be done in one of two ways. First, at the beginning of a session, the DM may reduce any number of elite villain’s point total permanently. These points are placed into a ‘Villain Pool’, and may be used any enemy at any time. These points are spent on a one to one ratio. This pool carries over from session to session. The number of points in the villain pool are never disclosed to the players. This villain pool only empties at the conclusion of a story arc.
Secondly, during the adventure, if the DM wishes to have his elite villain aid her henchmen, he may reduce the number of the elite villain’s point total permanently, spending them immediately on behalf of her henchman. The villain must be present and able to see the henchman she is helping. These points are spent on a two for one ratio. Note that the DM may spend villain pool tokens on behalf of enemies who have no personal villain points of their own.
In addition to the normal Doubloon usage, the following are abilities usable by villains:
Dastardly Escape [1-2 Villain Points, or a red or blue doubloon – if used for non-elite enemies, these points must come from the villain pool unless an elite villain is present]
This ability allows an enemy (one) to escape to fight another day. The way it works is as follows – at the start of a round, the GM announces this ability’s use, names the NPC to benefit from it and spends 1-2 points or a red or blue doubloon. At the end of a number of rounds equal to 3 minus points spent, that NPC receives a story escape, unless the PCs somehow thwart it first. A red doubloon acts as one villain point, and a blue doubloon acts as two villain points, for determining the number of rounds until escape. Villains “rescued” in this way are usually not unharmed, and almost certainly deeply unhappy, but still, they escape.
Enraged [2 Villain Points – if used for non-elite enemies, these points must come from the villain pool]
Spend tokens to increase all damage die types by one level for one type of enemy currently engaged in combat. (Any monsters that enter later do not receive this benefit unless it is activated again.) 1d4 becomes 1d6, 1d6 becomes 1d8, etc. This includes any spells or spell-like abilities used by enemies. Against a large group of enemies of the same basic type, a subtype may be specified. For instance, if the PCs are fighting 35+ drow, for the sake of balance the Enrage may have to specify drow soldiers, drow priests, drow arcanists, etc. This effect lasts until the end of combat.
Hulking/Armored/Bloodthirsty/Wicked [1 or 2 Villain Points – if used for non-elite enemies, these points must come from the villain pool]
This ability adds one of three things to a single powerful enemy or group of weaker enemies:
- Hulking: 1 Villain Point = +10 temporary hit points; 2 Villain Points = +15 temporary hit points
- Armored: 1 Villain Points = +2 dodge bonus AC ; 2 Villain Points = +4 dodge bonus AC [this bonus lasts for 1 round per villain’s level or hit dice]
- Bloodthirsty: 1 Villain Point = +3 to base attack bonus; 2 Villain Points = +5 to base attack bonus [this bonus lasts for 1 round per villain’s level or hit dice]
- Wicked: 1 Villain Point = +1 to effective caster level for save DCs/caster level checks; 2 Villain Point = +3 to effective caster level for save DCs/caster level checks [this bonus lasts for 1 round per two of the villain’s level or hit dice, minimum one round]
No more than two Villain Points can be spent on each variety of this power per encounter. The temporary hit points will not stack.
Malign Intervention [4 Villain Points or a blue doubloon]
This ability must be announced before taking the first hostile NPC action in a round. For that round, the first player character to spend a token, has the token’s effects negated. They may use tokens normally in later rounds, and once that token ability is negated, all other heroes may use tokens normally without further penalty during the round. The DM may still spend tokens or Villain Points normally during this round.
This Isn’t Over! [2 Villain Points – may not be used for non-elite villains]
Spend Villain Points when a monster hits the ground, bleeding out or dead. It immediately rises back up (provoking AoOs), with half of its starting hit points. However, it cannot use any special abilities, only basic attacks. If it’s a spellcaster, it may cast any spells it still has memorized, but previously used spells are still expended. A given NPC may only benefit from this ability once per encounter.
Reinforcements [1-4 Villain Points, a red doubloon spent reduces the amount by one Villain Point, a blue by two – may only be used by elite villains]
Spend a variable amount of Villain Points to add one or more “reinforcements” to the villains during the encounter already in progress. How powerful, well-positioned and numerous these NPCs are depends on the tokens spent. As a rule of thumb: 1 Villain Point brings cannon fodder or “weenie” monsters; 2 Villain Points calls up slightly stronger “goon” monsters; 3 Villain Points brings PC-equivalent or “challenging” monsters; and 4 Villain Points calls up “deadly” monsters that are more powerful than the PCs. These costs may be adjusted by circumstance – “goons” that appear in a particularly difficult spot to handle may cost more, for example, while “deadly” creatures that won’t arrive for a considerable time may cost less. Despite the name of this ability, this does not always represent the enemies calling for aid – it could also represent monsters that wander into the encounter without any direction from (or loyalty to) the bad guys. However, it should be noted that these monsters are never friendly to the PCs, and only a legendary hero token can be spent to make them so. Red (giving the villains a draw from the bag), or blue hero tokens could be spent to make them unfriendly to everyone instead of simply the PCs. The PCs will always be their first and primary target unless other factors intervene, however. The DM may not spend more than 6 tokens on Reinforcements in a single battle, and cannot use this ability again for a number of rounds equal to 1 + tokens spent after it has been activated. This ability does not include summoned monsters.
Vicious [1 Villain Point or 1 Golden Doubloon]
This ability takes off the proverbial kid gloves. All manner of dirty tricks are now permitted, such as giving a coup de grace to held PCs, using insta-kill poisons, etc. Note that this doesn’t mean PCs must die or the NPCs can’t fight dirty without this benefit; this just alerts the players that the NPCs are about to fight dirtier than coked up $2 hookers in a Tijuana mud pit full of angry weasels. This ability lasts until the end of combat.
Act as a Golden Doubloon [2 Villain Points]
Use one Golden Doubloon ability, normally only available by spending the appropriate token, subject to the same rules and restrictions. Only the abilities of Golden Doubloons may be used this way. A particular NPC can only use a specific ability once per battle when used by spending Villain Points.