I’m tired of evil wizards and undead necromancers.

Every D&D “adventure path” from the Against the Giants Series down to Rage of Demons ends with a final confrontation with a demon prince or demigod  like Demogorgon,  Orkus. or Lolth.

Fun. But demon princes can get ho-hum.

And how many times does Tiamat/the Dragon Queen get to be an ultimate villain?

Or how many times has Tharizdun failed to unravel the universe, always playing second fiddle to Cthulu?

Vampires and liches are all right. But overdone.

In my book, supernatural is out; human is in.

The arch-villain for my next campaign has to be human. He or she may have supernatural powers, but those are secondary to his or her motivations.

Maybe he’ll be a vicious bastard like The Kurgan in The Highlander, immortality optional. And I can do a decent impression of his voice: “I have something to say! It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”

Or how about an egotistical emperor like Xerxes in the movie 300 who has proclaimed himself a god. Did you know history records him being even more psychotic and full of hubris?

No really. Read Herodotus. He has the Hellespont whipped and then cries about the mortality of mankind.

And then there’s Elric: the ultimate anti-hero.

Although he’s not quite human, he can be source of inspiration in that he’s a traitor and a villain to his own people. In fact, because of he power of his evil sword, Stormbringer, he betrays and slays nearly everybody around him.

Betrayal hurts. Betrayal burns. Dante placed traitors in the lowest depths of The Inferno.

My villain won’t, however, be under the influence of a evil sword. My villain will somehow betray the PCs at a crucial point.

The cruel irony is that I’m thinking about making my villain a paladin of sorts…

And no, he or she won’t become a “fallen paladin” because of his betrayal. The characters just aren’t pious and dedicated to “the cause” enough.

What do you think would make a great villain?