Dark Background

As a DM it’s important to give your villains realistic and interesting origins. But unless the players know this backstory, they have precious little impact on the campaign. Conveying this information is the tricky part. Very often it’s stored in journals or info dumped by NPCs. At best, journals are a lengthy handout, and at worst they’re an endless bit of read aloud grey boxed text.

Skilled DMs might instead reveal this information via visions. Scrying magics or ritual pools can give a glimpse of the past where the players can ask questions. Interactive flashbacks are even better because they actively involve the players, which is rule one of being a good DM.