How do you write fights with your Big Bad?
Assume he has no desire to be captured and no desire to die.
If you want him to reappear later, the "lel he escaped!" excuse gets old and not believable quickly (look at Batman).
Basically, I'm asking what do your Big Bads do when/if cornered? A hopeless final charge doesn't seem likely for most people intelligent enough to be a Big Bad, nor does suicide or simply surrendering to the party's whims.
Always with a back up plan for the BBEG, always. Whether it's using a macguffin to collapse a ceiling, using a magic portal or just running faster than the group. You can have him be defeated, only for the party to either see a henchman drag him out or for him to be ressurrected, even stronger by another, temporary BBEG. Having players try to stop him from coming back and failing can be a great motivator, especially if they see what his armies have wraught.
Most important is to keep them infrequent. Oftentimes it's better to send a powerful underling than the big guy himself. If he's more of a loner you can still have him summon demons/deploy scary drones/whatever then escape.
That way you don't have to have him pull the teleport escape option so often.
I'm a fan of him leaving after his underling engage the enemy. If one or two PCs engage the BBEG and he just woops them and walks off, it really makes them eager to fight him when the time comes.
OP here. This is what I'm working on right now.
I'm using a published scenario.
The party encounters the evil scientist in his basement lab. According to the published scenario, he's supposed to kick over a container of small abominations to distract the party, and then he kills himself and turns himself into a powerful mindless zombie to attack the party.
It's a common trope, but to me, it seems silly, he has no motivation to do anything except try to escape, especially not kill himself, yet, the only way out is through the door the party is standing at.
I'm thinking maybe while they are distracted he tries to escape through a tunnel or something, only killing himself if there is no hope of escape at all, but then I realized that it's exactly the same scenario as before, with a tunnel. I'm not sure what to do.
It's supposed to be a one-off, but I just don't like the ending at all. Everything else is great.
>Assume he has no desire to be captured
But captured BBEG's are so much FUN.
Add a backdoor or an elevator. Maybe have the room in the floor ascend or descend. Maybe have that partially dissected body partially disect him before moving on towards the players instead of having the scientist become the mindless zombie.
I once had a villain that had a really high use magic item score, and a bag of holding full of magical umbrellas. When he needed to escape he'd use whatever was around him to either make himself go faster, or the players go slower.
For example, when they first fought him he was on top of a large building. After the party took out his flunkies, he jumped off the roof and cast feather fall.
When they attempted to corner him in a forest he cast mud to stone at their feet, in a basement he used stone to mud, then mud to stone.
Grease on a nearby ramp, ice on the ground, wall of iron, create water, silent image. There are a lot of ways for a villain to escape if you think about what abilities you could give them. Hell, in a less restrictive system than D&D there are probably even more options.
I think it's an even sillier trope to assume every villain has an escape method prepared. Why would he be assuming people would show up at his lab? Presumably he doesn't want people to find him. And since he's clearly cornered, he decided to go down swinging. Alternatively, have him make the zombie they're supposed fight in some other way then make a run for the door. One of the PCs will probably kill him, but hey, he did what he could. It's not like he has to get away, especially if you have no further plans for him.
Players usually appreciate getting to off the big villain.
My Big Bad was cornered and out-manoeuvred on the field of battle, she ordered her men to retreat and issued a code phrase, in exchange for her surrender. The party kidnapped her and they're shitting themselves about what the phrase means.