BBEG means "Big Bad Evil Guy" and refers to the villain of a campaign. My question is, where did it come from? How did it get made, and who popularized it?
Trollbill1 first used the term
According to the (archived, community-made) D&D Dictionary of Terminology, it was coined during a discussion on a Wizard's message board back in 2001, by a poster called trollbill (who also wrote the post that kept the etymology on record in the link).
Big Bad Evil Guy [BBEG] (term): An arch-villain, -nemesis, or -foil used by the DM, often in a recurring role, as the climax to an adventure, story arc or campaign.
Etymology: D & D Message Boards, term first used in the thread Honesty vs. Story.
The beginning of that post (Honesty vs. Story) ...
Okay, here's the scenario:
You have just spent the last 10 game sessions building up Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) in a grand story arc that has the PCs truly salivating for his blood. Finally, the PCs get to confront him. You've built BBEG up, using some nasty power play options, into a truly nasty opponent. The scene is set, the PCs have waded through the minions and it is time now for the final climactic battle with BBEG and his personal guard.
1 Not sure who trollbill is, but that's the attribution and origin based on some research.
As the aforementioned trollbill, I would just like to comment that when I had first used the term, it was just something that popped into my head, so at the time I assumed I had heard it before. Later, after seeing newb's to WotC's message boards constantly asking the meaning of common terms over and over again, I decided to create my Lexicon. BBEG was one of the common terms newbs would ask about so I added it to the Lexicon. When I did the research for the etymology of the term, I was actually surprised that the earliest reference I could find of the term was one of my own posts. Now, if anyone else can find an earlier reference, I'm fine with that, but I did try to be honest in my research. As far as the term being influenced by 'The Big Bad' from Buffy...yeah...probably.