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Exemplars of Evil: Deadly Foes to Vex Your Heroes (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) Hardcover – September 18, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786943610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786943616
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.7 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ROBERT J. SCHWALB is a staff designer and developer for Green Ronin Publishing. His design credits for Wizards include the Player's Handbook(TM) II, Tome of Magic(TM), and Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells(TM) supplements. Robert lives in Tennessee with his patient wife and pride of cats.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By B. Aikens on November 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When i first heard about this product i was really looking forward to delving in and finding more out about some of the classic villains in dnd that i have never had a chance to really run a campaign with. However, upon purchasing this book i was surprised to find all original content without (strahd, lich queen. etc...). This was disappointing but since i already own the return to castle ravenloft and am hoping to end up with all of the redone classic return to... books it was not a product killer for me. There are 8 ready to run supervillians in this book that can be dropped into almost any campaign. Each one has a stronghold and various allies and minions. Overall this book should save me some time as i am usually too strapped to design all of my villains like i used to do. At the very least this might actually allow me to play a bit more often than i do and give the next campaign i run a villain worthy of a party of heroes. Anyway, i recommend the product for dms who are strapped with time or for any dm that needs a little creative kick in the behind. Its not a perfect book but it is a good one. However, pick it up used or at a discount most wotc books its normal price tag of 29.95 is not worth it. I luckily was able to pick it up fairly cheap used.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sean Edmison on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure what I was expecting here, but this book wasn't really it.

Chapter One provides 32 pages of rules and guidelines for creating villains, including villanous archetypes, plots, and schemes. It also provides the obligatory score of new feats (such as Evil Brand, which provides bonuses to negotiations with evil creatures, or Mask of Gentility, which makes it harder for the PCs to read the villain's true intent) and some new spells (such as Alibi, which plants a false memory of the villain, or Friendly Fire, which lets the caster redirect an incoming ranged attack). There were some interesting tidbits in this section, but nothing that really triggered an "Aha!" moment. I felt that a lot of this material was just filling out an outline, but that it wasn't given enough space or detail to fully develop.

The remaining eight chapters detail specific villains, complete with encounter locations, henchmen, allies, and so forth. If you've picked up any of the recent modules, you'll be familiar with the general format. There are brief descriptions (on the order of a few paragraphs) as to how to set each the villain into Eberron or Faerun. Some of the villains are interesting enough, though I think it would be a big stretch to see a given DM use even two of them, much less all of them. (And, after having read about Obould Many-Arrows in the the Hunter's Blades books, do I really need another smarter-than-your-average orc orc leader aspiring to create an empire?) I do see some value for new DMs just to see examples of fleshed-out bosses, just to demonstrate the concepts set out in the first chapter, but I doubt that an experienced DM is going to get a lot out of this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To me, the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons supplements fall into one of four classifications:

Core Books which are required for play

Books which are not core, but are so well designed as to be essentially core.

Non-core books which are entirely optional. They may be well designed but are fringe enough that you can get by without them no matter how good they are.

Non-essential books. Look lets face it...WOC puts out a lot of books that are simply too specialized and simply not necessary but they put them out because there are a lot of completists who will buy anything they out.

Exemplars of Evil (Examples of Evil?) falls into the third category. It's well designed and written and there are some great examples of evil villains provided but it's hardly required reading. I think most DMs revel in creating powerful and evil villains for their campaign and like to do them their way. But if one is in a pinch or is struggling to develop their villain, then this can be a useful book. The first 32 pages of the 160 page book contain the guidelines and concepts for creating truly rich and memorable villains.

The villains can be one of several archetypes (think framework or foundation). These can be the thoroughly wicked Disturbing Villain; the Faceless Villain who is hidden and yet everywhere at once; The Rival who is tied to a particular player character, ala The Joker tied to Batman (although I supposed the Joker could easily fit into the Disturbed Villain as well). These are just a few of the archetypes with which you can begin to construct your arch-baddie.

Once you've established your archetype foundation you need to figure out your villain's motivations. Does he seek wealth? Power? Immortality?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Patel on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think this was a surprisingly good book as I expected something much less interesting/creative. While I agree that new and/or limited-time-available DMs will get the most out of this book. I believe it has some very interesting ideas. I particularly like the villains that could tie into the upcoming Elder Evils book but even the others had interesting motivations such as the schizophrenic "drow" or the githyanki revolutionary.

Many villains in here are well detailed in terms of motivations such that I can see them becoming recurring villains that the PCs will be excited to not just fight but also learn the stories behind these fleshed out NPCs.

It's not the greatest D&D book ever made, but I think those who would find created villains useful will be happy with the purchase.
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