I apologize for this being brief. I'm still under the weather. Before I got sick, however, I started watching through the Friday the 13th movies. I'm currently up to about 8 - and eagerly awaiting getting to Jason in Space - but watching the movies, bad as they are objectively speaking, has also been educational in a way. See, I had this image in my head of who Jason Voorhees was, how he worked, and how terrifying he was in that regard. So imagine my surprise when in Part 2, 3, and 4 that wasn't really the Jason I got. Today I want to talk about that.
The Original Undead Juggernaught
When most people I've asked describe Jason he is large, powerful, walks everywhere, and absolutely relentless. You can hit him with a car and he won't stop. You can drop a building on him, and he'll come back for you unphased. The fun thing is, this isn't really the Jason you get in Parts 2-4. In Part 2 Jason doesn't even have his hockey mask, he wears a burlap sack over his head with one eyehole cut out.
In 2 and 3 Jason is basically a big guy in a shirt, pants, and boots. He runs after people on occasion. he staggers when he's hit. He's taken out in the first couple movies with something as simple as a blow to the head.
However, as the movies go along Jason becomes more and more that monster we think of when we hear his name. As the special effects for movies became better he showed more of the damage he'd taken, and thus looked even more like the fiend that movie goers love so much. And that got me thinking about villains in RPGs.
Recurring Villains Can be Fun
Recurring villains can be a lot of fun. Like Jason, you have enough encounters and you build up a mythology and background. You get a relationship between the characters and the villains and it can lead to more interesting stories.
Of course, as your game goes along your PCs will grow stronger, better, more capable, and thus so to should your villain. They should bear the marks of previous encounters. Develop new defenses and strengths, but keep the core of how they operate.
What if the PCs Kill Them?
Well, death is often a bar to recurring, but it's not always. D&D and fantasy games with magic are full of ways to bring people back from the dead, so why not do it with villains? Supernatural games can just have it happen as a matter of course. Heck, even Sci-Fi games can have the person come back in some kind of cybernetic form.
There are other methods as well. Siblings, cousins, friends, and others can all come looking for some revenge while picking up on old MOs.
Have fun with it.