Over on his blog today, Coyote recounts how a one-off villain became a recurring thorn in the side of his live gaming group. It happened by accident.

Named Karius, he was supposed to die, in the approved Foozle fashion. However, he managed to escape, where no escape had been planned in advance. Coyote then brought him back later, with an escape plan, and once again, Karius slipped away.

By now, Karius was a permanent fixture. Coyote always gave him a reason for staying alive, and for the players to hate him with a passion (Karius, not Coyote; at least I hope it was just Karius ;)

To quote from the blog: “This gave my friends an incredible emotional hook into the campaign – they hated the guy, and hated him all the more because they had possessed the power to kill him several times, but it had always been too inconvenient to do so.”

Imagine that: you have the power to kill Foozle, but it would be too inconvenient. I’ve never seen anything like that tried in an CRPG, at least not that I can recall.

For almost the entire game, as I pointed out in Foozle The Invisible, the main troublemaker is behind the scenes. You only come across him at the end, for the usual “big finale fight”.

What if you came across Fooz several times in the game, and actually could take him down – only terrible things might happen if you did. Wouldn’t that make blowing him away at the end more satisfying? Maybe, like Coyote’s group, you’d actually come to hate him for being so difficult?

For that matter, what if you killed him early on nonetheless, and then spent the remainder of the game cleaning up whatever mess was caused by his demise?

And what if he isn’t really dead (or maybe is resurrected by friends), but he goes into hiding to recuperate, and then shows up in the sequel? Wouldn’t that make your involvement all the more personal? It certainly is a lot better than the “your happy little village was trashed by Foozle’s forces”. The “happy little village” you saw five minutes of at the start of the game. Ho hum.

Yeah, the inconvenient Foozle. There’s a villain you’d love to hate. It’s time for someone to bring him around.

Accidental Nemesis on Coyote’s blog