This project is an extension of a Stretch Goal unlocked in a previous Kickstarter, in response to numerous backer and interested-party requests.
The intent here is to publish a 5E/Fifth Edition version of the Villainous Compendium, which is currently in development for the Pathfinder rules system.
The Villainous Compendium ("VC") is a 300-500 page full-color PDF and hardcover book containing dozens of instantly-usable Villains, dozens more Henchmen, supporting NPCs, maps, Quests, and more.
If you're a DM/GM, this book will save you time and enhance your gaming sessions. If you're a player, this book will give you inspiration, particularly for villainous PCs. If you're just a hobbyist, or a writer, this book might give you inspiration for storytelling.
Each villain is a ready-to-play, novel-caliber NPC with background, motivation, description, and more. Lairs, hideouts, and other full-color maps round out each villain as its own full-featured chapter.
Enough rich content to fuel dozens, perhaps over a hundred, gaming sessions, immediately usable at your fingertips!
Villainous Compendium By the Numbers
- 375+ complete Statblocks.
- 35+ Villains.
- ~60 Henchmen.
- 30+ Quests and stories to fuel 30-100 gaming sessions.
- 60-200 full-color Maps describing Lairs, Hideouts, and Quest-related areas.
- 150+ Rumors and Lore related to the villains.
- 300-500 full-color PDF/hardcover pages.
The Villainous Compendium is slated to contain over 35 Villains, and 58 Henchmen and associated NPCs, for a total of over 90 characters.
Each NPC gets the "Quadded Statblock" treatment: four complete statblocks for the character, supporting a wide range of difficulty levels and challenge. The goal here is that the book's crunch is instantly usable for ANY gaming group, no matter how many PCs or what their level is.
In all, you get a minimum of 375 complete statblocks.
Check out the free PDF on Quadded Statblocks here... that booklet is written using Pathfinder language, I take the same approach for 5E.
Here's another example from the Dark Obelisk 2 adventure book (5E edition):
Each villain is intended to be a full-featured character you can drop into your gaming sessions immediately, with zero additional preparation.
The content provided for each and every villain should support 1-3 dedicated play sessions... so the book itself should support 30-100+ gaming sessions!
Each villain is a 10-50 page chapter unto themselves, and has all of the following:
- Complete statblocks, including Quadded Statblocks to support a wide variety of difficulty levels.
Background, motivation, appearance, combat behavior, and other "non-crunchy" character description.
- 0-4 Henchmen, each with full Quadded Statblocks.
- 1+ Quests dedicated to the Villain and/or her henchpeople.
- Full-color maps for a lair, hideout, or Quest-specific area. Each Map comes in both GM and Player-redacted formats, and you also get ultra-high-resolution image files for each and every map to use in VTT or other gaming apps.
- Hooks to use to provide motivation or to get the PCs engaged.
- Rumors & Lore to fuel character interest, give the Villain a real-world feel, and provide further hooks / incentives for engaging.
Villain Preview: Belsinquer
A Halfling transmuter, obsessed with the legendary but impossible ability to polymorph anything into anything else at will, he seeks a mythical brazier whose fumes imbue the inhaler with this gift for a fortnight.
Though he will stop at nothing to fulfill this lifelong quest, he still needs must pay rent and keep himself fed in the meantime==thus his mercenary leanings.
From time to time he’s held the position of vizier or sage, lending his voice and presumed wisdom to the powerful, but in each case, his extracurricular obsession eventually landed him in hot water, and he had to make haste lest he find his head atop a pike.
Villain Preview: Orrorox the Oracle
He’s not a good wizard; in fact, all he can remember at this point is Control Weather and some self defense spells.
But it’s enough to maintain a complete stranglehold on a primitive and remote village. He is their chief, their god—but his abdication of responsibilities has made his followers weary; the situation is ripe for an uprising when the PCs stumble upon the situation.
Villain Preview: Vitaponna Requelle
A half-elven product of a raid gone horribly violent, this mercenary fighter turned caravan guard ruthless in the extreme, lending her talents out to the truly desperate or similarly evil for all manner of rape, pillage, torture, or worse.
Rumors are that she’s been in league with necromancers, cannibals, and demons, but that ultimately, her exorbitant fees are worth it, for she and her murderous company are cruel but competent.
Villain Preview: Ylgronne the Brazen
A powerful, massive half-orc, she is a particular and practical sort of mass murderer: under the banner of adventurer or mercenary, she will form a band of like-minded opportunists to plunder a dragon’s hoard, or a goblin’s cave, or some similar hoax.
Once in the cave, her trap is sprung, and one by one, her fellow adventurers befall a terrible fate. Afterwards, she collects the loot from the bodies, burns or sells the corpses, and makes haste to another town, lest she be recognized.
Villain Preview: MacCratchen
A wily yet hermetic gnome, tall and lanky for his type, who keeps a home and quasi-fortress in a mountainside half destroyed by volcanic activity called Stonehaven.
Henchman: A harpy with rogue levels who acts as a scout and occasional hunting companion.
Villain Preview: Gurtholemeux
Underhanded bardic rogue who ventures from town to town, selling his myriad talents to all comers until he gains enough confidence and wealth to assassinate a wealthy mark and escape to his next city.
Henchman: Rogue who gets hired as a servant for banquets so he can scout out the wealthy targets in advance. Like a half-elven catering temp with an ulterior motive.
Villain Preview: Portell the Butcher
This dwarf thinks of gore the way much of his stereotypical kindred think of stone: obsessively, professionally, and with great skill. He’s been labeled a cannibal, and with good reason; he himself would consider his preferred meal to be an homage, a ceremony, a sign of respect toward those with whom he celebrates his talents. A fighter by skill and a cook by trade, he’s been known to set up shop for years, selling pies or other savories of unsavory origin to unsuspecting customers.
Henchmen: Cooks, “Food Gatherers” who will cull the weak, inebriated, or otherwise vulnerable and who would not go missed.
Villain Preview: Jassandra
A portly human Druid Ranger, lazy yet knowledgeable; she makes as though she’s a wildlife enthusiast and activist but in truth she cares naught for he forest and instead prefers the dwellings of the idle rich. Has a particular talent for, and habit of, coaxing scions into giving of their estate, often to the bone.
No Known Henchmen or Associates
Villain Preview: Emmeretelle
A shockingly compelling bardic illusionist, she often courts heiresses, either to seduce them directly, or to pimp them out to the seedy. Has no soul or compulsions about using any one, for any thing; she views everyone else in the universe as disposable to her own aims and in her darker, drunken moments believes that she’s the only sentient person in the realm, and that everyone else is more or less a thoughtless drone, programmed by God to serve as tests for her talents.
Henchman: Figmentte, her right-hand woman and sometimes lover, a Rogue who acts in whatever capacity her mistress requires: wingman, third wheel in a threesome, good cop/bad cop, “the ugly one”, “the pretty one”, or as an independent agent from whom her mistress culls a percentage of the take. It’s a kind of weird sub/dom, mercenary, apprenticeship kind of relationship.
Villain Preview: Drogdon the Ashamed
This tiefling antipaladin bears the trimmings of the devout, but is wracked by guilt and regret over incidents long past that were neither his fault not truly his own memories. He has a particular form of degenerate brain disease which causes him to take on the worst memories of those he heals with magic; worse still, Drogdon himself is aloof to this condition and truly believes the acquired memories to be his own, no matter how outlandishly counter to his own experience they are. Bearing this curse, he takes out his frustration and psychological malaise on any who question his motives or faith, in so doing unwittingly serving the interests of a deity diametrically opposed to the one whose sigil he bears on his vestments.
Henchmen: The Will: This group numbers between 2-8 depending on whether Drogdon is leading a “crusade” or mission, or simply going about his day to day business. Each is fanatical, often damaged, either emotionally, intellectually, or physically; they seek solace and answers and confidence in the assured perfection of purpose of their master and the manner in which he goes about his work.
Henchmen: The Anointed: Basically the same as The Will, but having risen in Drogdon’s favor and having demonstrated an aptitude for greater purpose. Antipaladin. There are between 0-2 of these following Drogdon at any time.
Villain Preview: Dronskilla
A mammoth-sized half-orc with a knack for beastmastery, she keeps to herself in the highland ice caves... occasionally venturing into a local settlement to restock raw materials for her cape and furs of choice, skinpelts.
Henchmen: Keeper: Between 0-3 of these at any time: typically mutes, loners, or others for whom solitude is preferable to people... but safety and security of purpose is preferable to wandering or starving. Count as Rangers.
Villain Preview: Nekshuss Malark
Seeks perfection in all its forms, but ultimately is disappointed when there are faults or frailties .
Henchmen: Perfectants: Clerics also dedicated to perfection, but ultimately more to Nekshuss than to their deity or their purpose.
Villain Preview: Joquandus
Tiefling witch / necromancer who only animates and Used what he himself (or his minions) slay; their compounding approach to grave robbing has bled several small villages dry.
Henchmen: Cullers: Sickle-wielding foot troops who prey upon the weak in society.
Henchmen: Robbers: Grave-robbing Rogues who steal loot as well as corpses, preferably fresh.
Henchmen: Hoods: Scythe-wielding warriors who fancy themselves minions of Death itself, and view Joquandus as either an incarnation of Death or its lieutenant.
Villain Preview: Galameux deRhune
A dashing Halfling cavalier who puts on airs as a Robin Hood styled vigilante, but ultimately is in league with oppressors and uses the goodwill of his patrons to undermine their plight and crush any resistance. A sort of mercenary anti-Batman.
Henchmen: The People’s Goodwill: Bards, fighters, and antipaladins who pretend to drop the "anti" prefix, these lieutenants enforce Galameux’s will, enhance his prestige and following, and gather funds to fuel his war chest.
Villain Preview: Axillar the Penitent
A perpetually penitent believer, his faith is tested constantly by the desire to disobey, to give in to hate and lust and all manner of horrid things. In our world, we'd call him bipolar, or borderline: psychopathic and sociopathic, but able to emulate sympathy if it serves his terrible interests. He's caught in a constant loop of sinning horribly, and then committing unspeakable acts of self-destruction as a misguided means of atonement. Long abandoned by his professed deity, his manner of deed is so random and changing that no other god will have him. In his heart of hearts, the part of him that remains most human realizes this is likely to be true; this occasional moment of clarity serves only to deepen his depression and murderous conviction. There is nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose, who is absolutely certain in his belief that doing wrong will make things right again.
Henchmen: The Penitent Glad: Self-mutilating minions who take their master’s actions as gospel and to a degree far beyond his own practice, they are all delusional, insane, or otherwise mentally corrupt. Fighters, Clerics of evil and chaos.
Villain Preview: Owynne the Wealthy
All that glitters may not be gold, but if you accumulate enough that glitters, some of it is certain to be valuable. So thinks Owynne, the gnomish ruffian-turned-crimelord who is on a lifelong quest to gather as much wealth as possible, a goal that is by definition never satisfying. Her obsession with coin, gem, jewel, and mastercraft has gained her a wide reputation as a ruthless trader, a qualmless negotiator, and a woman of no idle threat--voiced or assumed. Rumor has it that her latest collection is not of items, but of people: any who betray her are jailed and put on display in a macabre array. The trouble is, "betray" has a loose definition, and with Owynne, it's one whose boundaries are blurring by the month. It's to the point where each and every negotiation results either in a lopsided deal far to the gnome's benefit, or to imprisonment of the offending trader.
Henchmen: Gemguard: Fighters and Clerics who guard Owynne herself and her treasures.
Henchmen: Cruelguard: Barbarians and antipaladins who guard those who have betrayed the cause.
Henchmen: Glinters: Rangers and Bards and Rogues who seek out targets to steal, murder to get, or trade to obtain.
MacHummop the Mazemaster
This sage engineer enjoys enormous favor with a fruitful city, due in large part to having designed the path through the mountain that yields the only access to it. He controls access, however, via elaborate traps, not unlike Jigsaw in the Saw films.
Henchman: Puzzleling: Rangers and Rogues tasked with setting traps, maintaining puzzles, and otherwise doing the grunt- and dirty-work of their master to effect his designs.
Henchman: Enforcer: A barbarian brute who enforces the “rules” of the “games”: MacHummop will send one of these underlings to punish those who play outside his guidelines or seek to “cheat”.
Villain Preview: Gottrack the Vibrant
Lithe and burly, charismatic half-orc who has made a career out of personal training. However, in addition to being a Fighter 3, he’s an Illusionist who hypnotises his clients, either to take physical advantage of them, for social favors or influence, for monetary gain, or to acquire secrets and information. He’s involved in a black market for such services as well.
No known henchmen or associates; operates alone
Villain Preview: Vollem the Inscriber
Basically a Personally Yours service for damned near anything. On the surface, it’s for keepsakes, or to mark a personal item with your name to prevent or deter theft. Deeper and darker is the cadre of more nefarious services offered: magic runs and inscriptions that cast spells on the unwitting victims or users. Love potion kinds of effects are particularly popular, as are compulsion and Command types of effect.
No known henchmen or associates.
Villain Preview: Druthall the Evoker
An evoker specializing in demolition sorts of spells and effects, his services are in demand from the mining and construction industries. Clear this space, defoliate this land, destroy this rock, tunnel through this mine area: but also slightly more mundane services like create a wall of stone here, temporary defenses here, etc. Siegeworks and demolitions are much in demand whether there’s war or not. His sinister nature is that he’s also something of a union assassin: management hires him to produce worksite accidents that inadvertently slay key leaders of resistance and union kingpins. Caught in the splash damage in such contracts are handfuls or dozens of relative innocents, but Druthall feels no blood on his hands: he’s a mage for hire, and the client is responsible for his work.
Henchmen: Primer: Druid, focuses on destroying life in an area.
Henchmen: Swathcutter: Wizard, focuses on destroying materiel in an area.
Villain Preview: Murtence the Vile
A poisoner, curser, and all-around disgusting hag, Murtence was once royalty who gave it all up over a quibble with her family. Of legendarily stubborn stock, she turned to a life of isolation and evil rather than admit fault and ask for forgiveness. A plot point might well be to attempt to broker a reconciliation between Murtence and her former family, only to discover in the endgame that she had been evil from the start, and the “quibble” mentioned was actually her murdering her twin sister when they were quite young. Her parents are terrified of her, and indeed, during the endgame, Murtence attempts to slay them in betrayal.
Murtence’s Mother & Father: Aristocrats with perhaps a touch of wizarding ability.
Villain Preview: Wutherford the Collector
He’s a collector, but of a particularly weird brand: he collects the most valuable and treasured element of others’ collections. The rarest or costliest doll, the glass that was only produced in a certain now-defunct city, the armor produced by a long-dead smith of legend: he delights not in the possession, but in the theft, and in the knowledge that his items are the agents of misery in those with the means to collect and know. Though this may be a somewhat mundane and lame-sounding obsession, Wutherford is a sociopath with no compunction or limit as to what he will do to acquire the things most beloved.
Henchmen: Trinket-Fixer: Rogue who often does the dirty work of thievery.
Henchmen: Lens: Spies who scout ahead and case the joint, design a plan, etc.
The pledge levels here offer the 5E PDF version of the Villainous Compendium at a discount compared to the Pathfinder version.
There's three reasons for that:
- Pathfinder is much more crunch-heavy and rich than 5E, so the resulting statblocks are much more "valuable" in Pathfinder than in 5E.
- The book will be authored in Pathfinder format first, then converted to a 5E edition. Each and every NPC will be recreated from scratch, and immediately accurate and useful as in the Pathfinder edition of the book, but there are more restrictions in the 5E SRD than there are in PFRPG's.
- You'll note that the hardcover pledge levels aren't discounted compared to the Pathfinder edition. That's a reflection of the fact that printing costs are printing costs, and don't really have much to do with the above factors!
- UNLOCKED! $2,000: Faction Details for All Villains: Each Villain will be a part of one or more Factions, with links and hooks into the broader campaign setting of Aquilae. Although the Factions involved are specific to the realm of the Dark Obelisk adventures, they're easily adapted to any campaign setting.
- UNLOCKED! $2,500: Quest for Each Villain: Each Villain is guaranteed at least one Quest. This is a 1+ page adventure tidbit that could on its own easily consume an entire adventure session, written specific to the MO of each Villain.
- UNLOCKED! $3,000: Map for Each Villain: Each Villain is guaranteed at least one Map. This may be a lair or hideout, their residence, or linked to a Quest.
- UNLOCKED: $4,000: Multiple Maps for Each Villain: Each Villain gets at least two Maps: One for their hideout/lair, and one or more for their Quest.
- UNLOCKED! $5,000: Artifact Villain: At least one artifact villain will be included in the book. This is a semi-sentient item whose influence has the power to corrupt its owner over time. Thanks to those backers who suggested this as a concept.
- UNLOCKED! $5,500: Villain Relationships: Links between several of the villains, how they might operate together, rivalries between them, and hooks and seeds as to how to run adventures involving more than one villain, will be included. Thanks to those backers who provided the inspiration for this concept.
- UNLOCKED! $6,000: The Crime Family: A dash of mobster, a sliver of witch coven, and a drop of thieves' guild: A new Faction will be added to the book, complete with a few pages' of descriptive detail, and multiple NPCs. Thanks to those backers who provided the inspiration for this concept.
- UNLOCKED! $6,500: Second Artifact Villain: I actually had at least three really solid ideas for artifact villains, so here's an opportunity to capitalize on that. :)
UNLOCKED! $7,000: Third Artifact Villain.
- UNLOCKED! $7,500: Crime Family Flesh-Out: Additional family members for the crimelord matriarch, her offspring, advisers, and hangers-on.
- UNLOCKED! $8,000: Godlike Villain: Inspired by backer suggestion, a villain with very strong powers, who fancies themselves a god.
- $8,500: Second Godlike Villain.
- $9,000: Chromatic Compound of Cunning and Cruelty: Okay, the alliteration of the name probably needs some work, but it's a work in progress.
Following what I hope will be a successful Kickstarter campaign, I'll offer BackerKit surveys to collect shipping information etc. You'll also have the opportunity to change your pledge level, and/or designate Add-Ons.
Below is a planned list of Add-Ons... final list and pricing subject to change.
- Character Compendium 1 for Pathfinder: $20 PDF, $35 hardcover
- Character Compendium 2 for Pathfinder: $20 PDF, $35 hardcover
- Artifacts & Artifice, Volumes 1 & 2: $40 PDF, $85 hardcovers
Dark Obelisk Adventure Path Catch-Up
(Dark Obelisk 1: Adventure Book,
Dark Obelisk 1: Dramatis Personae & Bestiary,
Dark Obelisk 1: Premium Atlas,
Dark Obelisk 1: Players' Guide,
Dark Obelisk: Berinncorte Basecamp,
Dark Obelisk: Berinncorte Basecamp Premium Atlas,
Dark Obelisk 2: Adventure Book,
Dark Obelisk 2: Players' Guide,
Dark Obelisk 2: Atlas FlexTale Encounter Generator):
$150 PDF, $325 hardcovers
For Character Compendium 2
If you are already entitled to the Villainous Compendium (Pathfinder) in any format, most likely due to your involvement in the Character Compendium Kickstarter, you will automatically be receiving the 5E version of the Villainous Compendium in PDF format for free.
If you pledged in that campaign, or the DO1 Expanded Pregenerated Characters Kickstarter (what a mouthful!), and if you'd like the hardcover as well, simply pledge at "Returning Hardened Villain" for a discount.
If you're already entitled to a hardcover of the VC, and would prefer the 5E version instead of the Pathfinder version, direct-message me as to your preference and I'll switch things.
Risks and challenges
Time. I can guarantee that it'll be completed, and worth the wait and worth your pledge dollar; I cannot in any way guarantee *when* it will be delivered! Any dates listed or mentioned are guidelines, like the Pirate Code... they shouldn't be taken as written in stone (or indeed, too seriously!).
IGS strives to make the best possible indie RPG gaming products we can. As a result, we tend to err on the side of "late but great": an excellent product when it's done, as opposed to an okay product immediately.
The good news is that the books we've already published, and the ones that are currently being worked on, include tons of monster content that will be leveraged for this project.
So barring a natural disaster, I can pretty much guarantee this will happen. It's just a matter of how long it takes me to finish!
As with everything else I do, how long it takes is a function of the competing elements of my life: three kids, a family, a full-time day job, stupid bodily requirement to get more than 3 hours of sleep a night... that sort of thing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)