Villain Classes

Villain classes are a concept introduced in Mastering Iron Heroes. Basically they're simplified classes meant to be used for creating NPC opponents; see p.17 of that book for more information. Here are the basic principles I'm following for villain classes for D&D:

Yes, this is a watering down of the 3E philosophy of having one rules framework for everyone and everything. It's also a return to the 1E/2E approach where monsters were built differently to PCs. As long as it enhances gameplay, it's all good.

In addition, I'll mention here that The Book of Nine Swords provides a very useful mechanic by which to ration out special abilities per encounter. While the classes in that book are probably too complicated to serve as villain classes, the maneuver system is still flavoursome, flexible and highly diverse. Giving villains maneuvers makes them more unpredictable and interesting than they would be otherwise, so that's what I've done. The darkmage doesn't have maneuvers, but it has spells which should provide more than enough diversity and flexibility for anyone. The sorcerous warrior has spells and maneuvers, which has the potential to be very powerful if used intelligently.

Here are the villain classes that I've come up with so far. The first four classes share a common set of ability progressions: 10-14 (x2), 12-16, 12-20, 14-24 and 16-28, arranged to suit each particular niche. The fifth class is essentially an NPC fighter/wizard, which has slightly higher ability scores but slightly lower-level spells/maneuvers. Some of these classes also have variants.

Last modified: 29 May 2007

Back to D&D page