Big Bad/Tabletop Games

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"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Big Bad is the one who turns out to be behind several other seemingly independent threats.

The RPG fandom likes to use the full Big Bad Evil Guy name or its initialism "BBEG".

  • For the upcoming Mortasheen RPG, the genocidal, anti-monster, kill-all-mutants city of Wreathe counts as this in general. For a specific individual the computer A.R.E. best counts as this
  • Abbadon the Despoiler is perhaps the best example in Warhammer 40,000, though he's by no means one of the real Big Bads, which tend to be Cosmic Horror grade gods, forces, and the like.
    • The entire Chaos faction seems to be the overall Big Bad of the setting.
    • There are plenty of others. Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka is both bigger and badder than most of the people on this page, while the C'Tan, among other things, are responsible for making humans fear death.
    • As well as the Horde of Alien Locusts that consume entire worlds. And so far only sent scouting fleets into the galaxy with background implying they have eaten their way across the universe. Crapsack World anyone?
  • Dr. Methusala. This guy is so much more powerful than any other character that the book suggests you treat him as an event, rather than have go into straight up conflict with him.
  • Divis Mal from Aberrant is probably the biggest candidate for being a Big Bad, though there are definitely other threats out there.
  • The Warhammer Fantasy setting also has its share of these guys, notably Chaos warlord Archaon (Abaddon's fantasy counterpart), Malekith the Witch King, Grimgor Ironhide (Ghazghkull's fantasy counterpart), and the Skaven Council of Thirteen.
  • From the Mutants and Masterminds setting Freedom City, Darkseid-expy Omega may qualify as a possible Big Bad, due to his desire to drag the entire universe into the Terminus with him. There is also the mysterious Man of Wealth and Taste, Mr. Infamy, who grants wishes, for a payment to be specified later. His calling card sure has a lot of sixes on it.
  • In Blue Rose there is Jarek the Lich King, who isn't just the worst villain around, but actually one of the few truly evil characters in this very idealistic setting. In a world where most antagonists are misguided, or weak-willed and fallen to temptation at worst, Jarek is just plain bad to the bone.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, it was formerly Yawgmoth before he got wiped from existence.'s a three-way tie between the remains of Phyrexia, the Eldrazi, and Nicol Bolas.
  • Exalted has the Deathlords, ghosts of powerful First Age Solars --pinnacles of super-human achievements-- who now serve the Neverborn. Arguably, the biggest and baddest of them all is the First and Forsaken Lion.
    • The Ebon Dragon embodies the principle of Big Bad-hood and is running the plan to reclaim the world with Scarlet Empress as his thrall. And he was one of the creators of the world. In fact, he created the God of Heroism solely for the purpose to define his own existence.
    • Chejop Kejak can be seen as the Big Bad for the returned Solars. The Sidereal old man engineered the Usurpation of the Solar Deliberative! ...Well, he had his reasons.
  • The Big Bad in Dungeons & Dragons varies between settings and editions, but the recurring casts is Asmodeus (a Satan stand-in), Vecna (the god of the liches), Tharizdun (the god of Omnicidal Maniacs), Orcus (a ridiculously powerful undead lord), and Lolth / Lloth (the goddess of the eeeviiilll Drow).
    • Tharizdun could be seen as the Bigger Bad, because as of 4th Edition he is responsible for the current evilness of all of the above villains except Vecna, and in Demonomicon it is explicitly stated that the shard of evil he created the Abyss with gave him a huge power boost. Since he was already a god this makes him the most powerful being in the setting, strong enough that the level cap of 30 isn't high enough for the characters to fight him.
    • In terms of overall campaigns, Vecna's one of the more common, and it's implied that his ascension to godhood was one of the key factors in the storyline changes between 2nd and 3rd editions.