Capturing Villains

Sorry for the late post this week. I was out on Isle Royale with no phone or internet service. Hopefully I’ll have some good gaming stories for that soon.

In my game, we joke that the party is basically a murdering machine… we roam the countryside and massacre evil-doers. In the real world, vigilantes can’t just go around executing people. Even in movies and books, there are generally few lethal fights. Sometimes the bad guys go scurrying off, permanently defeated. Othertimes the villains are tied up and left for the nearby and incorruptible authorities to pick up.

When my group feels sympathetic towards the last standing enemy, instead of killing him, we tend to make them forswear villainy and set them up to be a reformed community member. But generally we choose to kill him to save the hassle.

What I want to try is next time we know we’re going after the bad guys, is to notify the good and trustworthy constable so we have backup to arrest and cart away the bad guys after we’re done. That way we can be heroic without having to deal with the logistics of prisoners.

We actually did this once during Keep On The Shadowfell and it worked out pretty well, although I think the DM was annoyed that we brought along a half dozen NPCs into the dungeon.

Another neat thing would be to create an item or ritual that we can use on defeat bad guys to transport them directly to our campaign’s Azkaban or Arkham Asylum. We don’t know about such a place yet, but it sounds like a great adventure location.


8 thoughts on “Capturing Villains

  1. Thanks for sharing Mike!

    I am always interested in ideas such as this to throw in some alternative options for adventuring. Perhaps I could persuade my group to try something a long this line in the future as well. The killing of evil creatures in our current campaign isn’t looked down upon as badly as a normal one because our setting is a world almost total controlled by evil lords who are oppressing the local villagers across the lands to begin with.


  2. Nice idea!

    Actually it just gave me an awesome idea for an adventure – the party is approached by a trustworthy seeming NPC, perhaps someone they already know, who has just such an item – one that transports defeated evil creatures to some sort of magical prison – and wants them to use it.

    Several adventures later the party learns they’ve been pawns all along! The NPC is villianous and all the creatures they’ve “captured” have been recruited into his evil army so that he can (insert evil plot goal here)!!

  3. Ugh, don’t remind me about pitying villains. A couple games ago, we (stupidly) took pity on a drow couple, and now we’re slaves in a city that’s nearly impossible to get out of and trying to escape through the Underdark. 😦

  4. Within my campaign world (which is a homemade one) most communities prefer to see justice done with their own eyes (and hands). To this end, most notorious villains have bounties on their heads, and substantially larger ones for bringing them in alive. If they are just dead in the woods, the townsfolk are never quite as sure of the villain’s demise as when they have strung him/her up themselves. This provides lots of adventure hooks (especially to a cash-strapped party).

  5. @Spring,
    Well you’re not supposed to pity Drow. Goblins, Imps, Frost Giants sure, but not the dark elves.

    How often does this backfire on the PCs? That is the villain escapes (either during or after his prisoner time with the PCs), or the townsfolk don’t pay?

  6. Lol. Since Spring IS one of my players, I guess denying that it ever backfires isn’t going to work. With the villains? Plenty. But the townsfolk always pay. If they couldn’t pay, they wouldn’t have offered a reward. That just wouldn’t make sense.

  7. I’ve wondered how to play out capturing an enemy, especially in a hostile setting where we can’t let him get away to tell his friends.

    A Dragonbron Paladin, especially, isn’t going to let you kill someone who’s helpless, right?

    We’ve hand-waved it so far, but these are some good ideas.

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