1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Open What Makes a Good Original Villain?

Discussion in 'General Role Play Discussion' started by Pokemon Fanfiction Novels, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. All stories contain settings, characters, themes, and conflicts. Every roleplay I've ever seen that lasted longer than a week had the first three aspects down. My theory is that the fourth, conflict, separated the long-term games from the short ones. Sure, it's important to have members who are loyal and committed from the start, but there needs to be a challenge that constantly keeps them hooked, in the form of a worthy antagonist.

    Since this is a topic that many roleplayers have considered in one way or another, I imagine it's been exhaustively discussed on a bunch of other forum boards. I could just do some independent research, but I very much prefer to mull it over with you guys, think through it in real time, get to know a couple of you better in the process.

    BTW, this is here in the General Roleplay Discussion, and NOT somewhere else, because I'm talking specifically about a roleplay villain. RPs are shared stories, and thus, the villain is also shared. This means he has to be rooted in a certain villainous theme, yet be malleable enough to be used by the multiple authors of the same story without losing a recognizable shape. Or . . . should only ONE player ever control the villain? See, it's questions like this I'd like to use this thread to explore. For those of you who'd like to talk it over with me, I've got a few questions that may help prompt your response (not that you have to use them). For sake of clarity, let's assume that the RP participants are all ready to play their story to the end, even if it goes on for over 100 pages.

    -Should one villain oppose the players, or a group? When is either more appropriate than the other?
    -Should the original poster alone control the villain? If not, how much control should the players get?
    -How well should the villain personally know the players from the start?
    -Should the villain have a particularly conservative or liberal leaning? That is to say, how deeply should he challenge players' ethical philosophies?
    -Is it possible for a villain to have selfless motivations without being fanatical or misguided?
    -Are there ways a villain can be defeated time and time again, and still be seriously considered a threat?
    -What are the most plot-effective ways for villains and heroes to gain intelligence and counterintelligence on each other?
    -Do people prefer a villain who is a smug asshole, or one with a mild-mannered temperament?
    -How does a villain effectively fluctuate in power level, strength/weaknesses, and evil plans over a prolonged period?
    -What are the special "rules" in play, if any, when interacting directly with the villain? (I know, it largely depends on the situation.)


    I can probably think of other questions, and if so, I'll add them. For now, this will do. For the record, I've been toying with the idea of making a genie/jinn villain. He grants wishes, as one might expect, but takes sadistic pleasure in using humanity's fallen nature against them. It's personal every time. It's his reason for living; he might literally die of boredom otherwise. He's smart, a master of disguise, and almost omnipotent, but has at least one previous client who is determined to kill him off somehow. I bring this villain up, not to draw attention to him, but as an example of the kind of thing I think many people would want in their common enemy.

    So . . . let's talk villains.
     
  2. -Should one villain oppose the players, or a group? When is either more appropriate than the other? I would say one villain would fight one person, but a league would fight a group. You wouldn't see Mr.Freeze fightning the justice League.
    -Should the original poster alone control the villain? If not, how much control should the players get? I would say the poster would control in direct confrontation, but with other, lesser, villains, like henchmen, players get control.
    -How well should the villain personally know the players from the start? The villain would know the players decently, as most villains research their enemies before battle.
    -Should the villain have a particularly conservative or liberal leaning? Not really. That is to say, how deeply should he challenge players' ethical philosophies? A villain is like a normal person. Their policies, though, follow a more evil side not shown in Conservative or Liberal.
    -Is it possible for a villain to have selfless motivations without being fanatical or misguided? Yes one can. Some villains are thought of as villains due to them breaking the law. Think of this. A criminal mastermind plans to steal a top secret object because he knows that the use of it would be worse If he left it.
    -Are there ways a villain can be defeated time and time again, and still be seriously considered a threat? The Joker. Always beaten just barely, and always coming back. But growing stronger each time.
    -What are the most plot-effective ways for villains and heroes to gain intelligence and counterintelligence on each other? The black market. What one knows about another. A villain would use cash and rep to gain knowledge, a hero would use force or a more subtle way to get it.
    -Do people prefer a villain who is a smug asshole, or one with a mild-mannered temperament? I prefer a smooth talker. One who twists words around and skirts around the law like that, only to become very powerful at the end.
    -How does a villain effectively fluctuate in power level, strength/weaknesses, and evil plans over a prolonged period? A villain is mainly seen as unstoppable until the end, where one major weakness is shown. Like superman. Kryptonite could kill him (get it right bman vs sman) but it's very rare. This causes major problems for the hero.
    -What are the special "rules" in play, if any, when interacting directly with the villain? (I know, it largely depends on the situation.) Traps and other Henchmen. No villain would go/do something without a backup plan or a way to fight hero's off. (Unlike scooby-doo)
     
  3. Hmm... I'd say most of this would vary depending on the type of villain (be it manipulative/sociopath, or just plain sadistic). Though it's always interesting if the villain is the unexpected at times, little plot twists like that are intriguing. Then again, those are my opinions. Beware, as this is ALOT of information. I've done my best to make this as less boring as possible. Now for the questions:

    Disclaimer: I do NOT own any pictures present in this post.

    [​IMG]
    It depends on the villain's motives. Are they specifically out for one person for revenge? To exact something they see as unjust in their view??

    [​IMG]
    Get it? Control freak? I crack myself up sometimes... It wasn't that funny.
    This is sort of an iffy. There are occasions where Roleplay Hosts allow people to create a villain as long as they have permission from the original poster. If the original poster has an idea of the main villain, their motives and how they work, it should be them that controls the main villain. Minor villains -- rogues, or as Glaceon said above "henchmen" -- other players can control them as they aren't a major factor of the story.

    It depends on the villains motives. Are they specifically out for one person for revenge? To exact something they see as unjust in their view??

    This is sort of an iffy. There are occasions where Roleplay Hosts allow people to create a villain as long as they have permission from the original poster. If the original poster has an idea of the main villain, their motives and how they work, it should be them that controls the main villain. Minor villains -- rogues, or as Glaceon said above "henchmen" -- other players can control them as they aren't a major factor of the story.

    This isn't that much of a huge deal as a villain can already know the players or just be targetting them for other reasons. For example:

    I've provided a summary at the bottom of this spoiler if you're trying to avoid show spoilers.

    1st Example
    The relation between Naruto and "villain"/"anti-hero" Sasuke. These two have known each other since Team 7 and. in a way, act like brothers. Though Sasuke betrays Naruto for his own reasons and they constantly encounter/fight each other in the series sequel, Naruto Shippuden.

    2nd Example
    In RWBY, which if you haven't seen you should it's AWESOME (just a suggestion, anywho..), the main antagonist isn't revealed until Season 3. Until that time, the series introduces a variety of villains most notably Roman Torchwick from Season 1. Roman is basically like a Mafia boss (lul) or stereotypical villain/robber, who recurs throughout the series leading a group called the "White Fang". He is first encountered by one of the show's protagonist, Ruby Rose, who merely fights him after he robs a man's store. This means they don't have a true connection on a personal level, though they have motives to fight one another.

    If you haven't read the spoilers, it means you have yet to see these shows. So, I'll just provide a small summarization. Villains and Heroes can know each other through being relatives or old friends, it all depends on how the author tries to connect both characters. Plus, Heroes and Villains can have unknown relations through just trying to do the right (depending on either character's Point of View).

    So either way, the villain can know the players personally or just merely encounter them. If you happen to make the villain know the player, make sure it makes some sense that the reader knows what's going on.

    Again, this one is an iffy. The stereotypical villain can just be conquering the world for their own benefits in their own philosophies and ideals OR just be in it because. For challenging a players' philosophies... Hmm... That seems like something Marvel does often. I suggest looking at past Marvel movies about the villains' philosophies.

    Yes, actually. Hmm, I'd give an example though I'm afraid it's not appropriate on this site to mention the storyline of. Let's just say, villains can be selfless with their motivations though it is possible they will sort of lose their minds trying to fulfill them by being blind to the truth.

    Yes, how do you think animes like Naruto and Fairy Tail worked out (I'm being sort of sarcastic here, don't take it the wrong way XD)? Villians can be reoccuring and still seen as a threat. Notable villains like Orachimaru (Naruto) or the Humunculi (FullMetal Alchemist) can reoccur through some reasons (healing factor, had a successful retreat, faked their death in some way). They may still be weak once they occur depending on how they survived their last encounters though they may still have dangerous plans hatching in their minds.

    Hmm... I honestly don't understand this. Though if you mean via spying or something when you say intelligence that is how wars are won in reality. Same with games like chess, sometimes you can just anticipate a move. In a way, playing strategic games against the same person repetitively, over time, you and your opponent would become familiar with each other's moves and plans. You'd be aware of each other's motives For example, Person A has a habit of using his pawns and knights the most against the queen. They will use the pawns as baits then counter with their knight when the pawn is gone. Person B is playing against Person A and is aware of their habits, so they have set up a bishop to counter the knights after losing their queen. Person A is used to this and... This can keep going on and on, honestly. Reading one another is like a flippin' dance.

    This depends. Do you want your villain to be loveable and memorable, or just a complete jack*** that everyone wishes would jump into the Bottomless Pit? Most notable villains, like Loki, can be loved by the audience, just in the same manners as people hate a hero. It really doesn't matter in my point of view, but it's your choice if the villain should be loveable, yet evil or a complete ***hole.
    [​IMG]

    This question is pretty... Uh... There's really nothing effective. Villains can be weak, yet cunning, or (stereotypically in comic books) strong and unintelligent (brawn over brains). Their plans can take as much time as possible as there are villains whose plans can take months to try and get into effect. Commonly in media involving a protagonist/antagonist, they can be delayed by other matters (most notably, the protagonist would interrupt it).

    As you said in the question. This largely depends. This would be up to you depending on the villain, as soon as you fully piece together your antagonist I'm sure this would come to mind on its own.


    This information is all coming from someone who watches too much tv, reads too much, and plays too much video games. Don't trust me that much on antagonist building as English is my worst Core Subject. Heh... Well, I hope I at least helped in some way.

    In the end, I'd suggest checking reading sources about villains, they may be more helpful than a Sophmore's own opinions XD
     
  4. Thanks for your feedback, Absol, Glaceon. Sorry about the late response, but I sliced open my finger with the potato peeler, and it's somewhat cut into my typing ability (if you like a pun). So, from what little I've heard so far, perhaps I should be thinking groups of villains after all. Like, in a good versus evil story, perhaps one of the conditions of the joining profile should be, "bring your own nemesis." The question then becomes this: except for the Original Poster's plot-driving villain, are the additionally-introduced villains fair game for common control? Or are they then above "henchman" status?

    Man, deciding to delve further into a "group" of villains really changes up the thinking process. Well, it's why I asked that first.

    So, it seems that every new player to introduce their own villain ought to have history with their nemesis, while the rest of the players should, in theory, have a fresh start with the baddie each time. Okay, on to the next point: ethical leanings. One thing I notice that is consistent among villains in nearly all walks of life is OBSESSION. They have no peace, because they must see their objectives through. I've never liked the idea of ruling for ruling's own sake: there has to be a reason for their need of power/money. If only Scarecrow were king, the world would be a perpetual scientific Renaissance. If only Ra's Al-gul (or Bane) were king, the world would be rid of sin. If only Harvey Dent were king, the world would be objectively fair. If only Joker were king, the world would be free and damn fun. See what I mean? And this gets into my question about the possibility of being selfless WITHOUT being misguided. Absol, you mentioned villains losing their minds or being unable to see the truth, but I consider those both to fall under "misguided." Glaceon, you spoke of a villain breaking the law to prevent something worse, but then, is this really a "villain" we're talking anymore? Robin Hood, Sly Cooper, and Batman fit this description. Perhaps they're Chaotic Good, or Chaotic Neutral, or antiheroes, but I wouldn't call them villains. Itachi Uchiha made one of time's most interesting "villains" because he turned out NOT to be one in the eyes of the show. I'm thinking bad people who kill bad people are the only true types that can be both selfless and genuinely villainous, but I could be wrong.

    I'd like to comment on the other things you guys brought up, but I also don't wanna post a massive wall of text, and that's what this is rapidly becoming. Again, I appreciate you taking me up on this. Perhaps someday, this board might feature a roleplay with the best villains and conflict anyone's ever seen.
     
  5. Nice idea. I'm up for a villain rp. (Kinda one myself.)
    Also: are the additionally-introduced villains fair game for common control? Or are they then above "henchman" status? Well, depends. I would say that direct confliction with the villain would be controled by the poster, but posts involving lessers would be allowed with at least some discussion with others it might involve and that it rolls with the villains main plan. (Also, to comment more, use spoilers. Takes up less space)
     
  6. Glad to help. This was a great opportunity to see what most stories deal with when having antagonists.

    Welp! I'll be glad to participate in that Roleplay if you ever get a chance to. Just tag me or something if that's the case, I'd be happy to join. :3
     
  7. Y'know, if we're talking interesting antagonists, some of the most sophisticated creations out there aren't humanoid. If any of you are familiar with the SCP Foundation, you understand that the Devil You Don't Know is a hell of a lot scarier than the one you do. Has anyone ever attempted an SCP Containment Breach RP on here? It's pretty high-brow, but maybe some of us are into that.

    To continue in my responses to your feedback, I see Glaceon immediately considered Joker a good example of a villain who keeps coming back stronger, and Absol went further, listing contingency plans. For me, the most important take-away from this is to make sure that the villain has backup plans from A to Z. Uncreative, deus ex machina out-of-your-ass escapes make for boring enemies and hollow victories.

    As to the whole counterintelligence game of chess, this may well be another argument for giving every hero their own villain. At least one person in the party will know what drives the baddie, where he can most likely be found, and what he'll be doing in the next few hours. Thus, everyone gets to take point somewhere in the narrative. Well- assuming that the joiners always choose to have relationships with their villains. Even if they don't, the villains' creators can always "lead" their fellow RPers on as necessary.
     
  8. If we go by chess, then we say that every villain has a way to counter the hero. Like how Bane was used to counter Batman in brute strength, or Bizzaro to Superman. And the villain always has unquestionable superiority to the hero every time.
     
  9. Unquestionable superiority? Er . . . you'll have to elaborate on that one. More often, I find the case to be initial superiority, since the villain has the luxury of time and planning, and the hero only gets to respond when he's already got an advantage. Anyway- to continue the conversation:

    Glaceon prefers a smooth talker, while Absol could go either way, when it comes to the question of villain temperament. When I asked this, I had the first two rivals of the pokemon games in mind: Gary and Silver. We love to hate those guys, just like we love to hate Geoffrey and Malfoy (and Kim Jong Un), because they're smug-ass pricks. I believe that humanity has an objective sense of right and wrong, at least on a basic level, because we collectively can't stand the idea of letting arrogant jerks win. It hardly matters what level of intelligence you are; this gut-level indignation hits nearly everyone. That said, I actually agree with Glaceon in my preference for a mild-mannered villain. Smug assholes are easy to create, as long as they have a reason for their pride. The mild ones are subtle and clever, and make me a lot more paranoid that they aren't as "beaten" by the hero as they initially appear. Their motives are also more complex, and they tend to be more sympathetic in the end, more human, more real. Naturally, they're harder to create and maintain, so I'd recommend that only experienced RPers attempt their development.

    Regarding the whole villain "fluctuation of power" thing, I was thinking of Gandalf's words about the nature of evil over time when I wrote it. "Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again." Glaceon said the villain should be seen as basically unstoppable until the end, but the way I see it, "the end" should be the end of an episode or a mini story arch, not the big story itself. Otherwise, why bother with the question about the villain being a threat after "being defeated time and time again"? Absol then reminded me that the setting is ever-shifting, and there are always factors in the world that expose weaknesses or delay master plans. I don't know how something that obvious slipped my mind, but hey, this is why I made this thread. It gets me thinking: in what clever ways has a villain almost won in the past, and then failed because of a minor oversight or a shift in the balance of the world?
    -Sauron never considered that anyone would destroy his One Ring rather than try using it against him.
    -The Empire employed a Death Star architect whose wife they killed, motivating him to create a weakness undercover.
    -Voldemort "hid" his horcruxes in valuable objects because he was too prideful to use plain, common stuff.
    -Giovanni neglected to bring his best pokemon with him on business trips, allowing Red to keep defeating him.
    -Saturos lost to Isaac and friends in the Mercury Lighthouse because its water mana interfered with his fire powers.
    -The Covenant lost to the UNSC military because they only imitated technology, whereas the humans were innovative with it.
    -Pennywise fell against the Losers because of an established supernatural "rule" that made him weak against collective courage.

    See, THESE are cool and memorable, because they didn't rely on the cheap and worn-out excuse that the heroes just had "deep, untapped potential" that they pulled out of their asses at the last second. This tells me that the villain's undoing needs to be considered right from the start, rather than simply making his level higher than the good guys until the end of the story. I know that it got a little off-topic from the question of "how does a villain's power fluctuate," but it's making me think all the same. I hope you guys are also benefiting from this little meditation session.
     

Share This Page