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A Treatise on Villainy
#1
This is a lecture that one of my friends wrote on a different RP board. I think it would be good to keep in mind for anyone who wants to make a villainous character.

Quote:A Treatise on Villainy

Evil is harder than it looks. A truly effective villain is much, much harder to play than a hero, for a number of reasons:


The Rule of Power
A villain has to be significantly more powerful than the hero at the beginning.

To some, effective villains come off as overpowered. They have the superweapons, or the army, or the empire. What many fail to understand is that the villain HAS to have this advantage at the beginning to be effective! A villain the same power or less than the hero is entirely pointless: The audience is left wondering why the hero just doesn't deal with him and leave it at that, since he clearly has the capability to do so. Thus, at the beginning the hero MUST be weaker in some form than the villain. The villain can be more powerful by simple, brute strength (The Juggernaut), intelligence and technology (any mad scientist), political prowess (Evil Archchancellor), minion amount (Despot), or any number of other reasons, or a combination of several reasons. The exact reason is irrelevant: The result is all that matters. A significantly more powerful villain leads to greater satisfaction and pride in his successful defeat.

The SNK Boss Corollary
An EXCELLENT villain cannot be TOO powerful!

An OVERLY powerful, undefeatable villain leads to frustration and anger at the player! The villain must show at least the possibility of being thwarted or destroyed, lest the heroes rise up in revolt and exit the building, stage left, bound for less irritating fun. Avoiding the temptation of the unstoppable force of a truly overwhelming villain is tough.

Striking a careful balance between these two points is the most key factor in creating an effective antagonist.

The Rule of Reason
A good villain has to have a reason to be one.

A villain with no point might as well jump down a well: He'd be more interesting down there. Any decent antagonist has to have a reason to be “evil”: Popular choices include insanity, revenge, conquest, and simple instinct (Be careful with this one! A bad instinctual villain just comes off as stupid and irritating.) You can even make the reason fairly undefined, as long as it's clear that there IS a reason in there somewhere.

The Mithos Corollary
An EXCELLENT villain has a GOOD reason to be one!

While almost ANY pretext can theoretically be used, it's usually a smart idea to find one that makes sense in context with canon and character. As Jhonen Vasquez aptly put it, in reference to one of his mass-murdering MAIN CHARACTERS: "{I} find the blurriness of it all much more appealing than making him go nuts over being pantsed in school once. 'YAAAARGH!! I have been pantsed!! I kill like the damned now!!' That's just not done."

The V Corollary
A particularly good reason can turn a villain into a semi-heroic character.

A very well written and motivated villain can come off as more heroic than the people he opposes. In some cases, this is a good thing: However, in other circumstances this is to be avoided because it detracts from the tone. The decision is really based on the context of the character.

The Rule of Terror
A villain must be a truly frightening force.

A non-scary villain is like a non-moving car: Occasionally amusing, but useless and a bit of an obstruction. Unless you earnestly intend to simply play him for laughs (In which case find a comedy RP or something) don't bother creating a villain that is purely funny and never effective. A villain that taunts his prey or acts hilariously antisocial is fine: One that is never, ever actually dangerous and terrifying has no reason to exist.

The Rule of Stones
The villain is the proactive force.

A villain creates a situation which the hero reacts to. This is because heroes are an inherently reactive force: Without a target, they have nothing to do. Thus, as a villain, a writer must act FIRST.

The Evil Empire Corollary
…Except in cases where he is already established

…Unless he is writing a villain who is the status quo as a ruler or despot, in which case the hero can revolt against general tyranny without direct prompting (Though usually some is still required. Heroes have a lot of inertia.)

The Rule of Mice and Men
VILLAINOUS PLANS DON'T ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED. DEAL WITH IT

Part of using an interactive realm is that sometimes someone will do something that throws your carefully crafted plan off-kilter. Don't waste time whining: It's unseemly and crude. Deal with it and act like you (and your character) planned for it all along. Or, if your character is a non-planner, punch through it. Either way, it'll make you look cooler. Even in a non-interactive realm, it's still a good idea to make the plan screw up in at least a couple of ways: Otherwise, you make the villain too omniscient and ruin the suspension of disbelief. (For both good and bad examples see Death Note, and look for any instance with the line "Just as planned.")

The Rule of Megalomania
Not all villains will be on the same side.

Another villain is still a threat to you. Do not disregard another villain because of a hero's presence. You can and will squabble over the same objectives, interfere with each other's plans, and often end up beating the hell out of each other just as much as the hero.

The Paranoiac's Corollary
Just because another villain shows up doesn't mean he's trying to steal the show!

On the other hand, two villains don't necessarily mean one is ACTIVELY trying to interfere with the other. The main target is still the hero/objective: The other villain is just an obstacle in the way.

The Legion of Doom Corollary
It is possible for villains to cooperate without backstabbing each other!

Keep this in mind. If your objectives can be accomplished with the aid of another with nothing to gain from making you fail, don't reject the other writer's overture out of hand just because you fear him stealing your scenes/betraying your character. It is perfectly possible for villains to get along, no matter what the comics say (Sinister Six my ass. More like “Big Squabble with a Name.”)

The Rule of Subtlety
A villain CAN be on the “good” side
It is possible to have a villain on the same side as the technical heroes.
The Kratos Example
The villain may have a personal or plot-related interest in one of the heroes and thus is helping him along.
The Enemy Mine Example
The villain may be forced by circumstances to fight a greater threat with the cooperation of the “good” side.
The Knight Templar Example
The villain can be a hero gone too far: Foul methods to create “good” deeds. May technically appear as the exemplar of good.

There are many other methods and reasons for the villain to join or seemingly join the “good” side. Look into them: They're excellent for the creation of extreme tension.

The Rule of Death
The Final, and HARDEST rule to accept about being a villain: The villain always, always loses.

It matters not his power, or his legions, or even his immortality: The villain always ends up losing the war. He may win battles, he may complete objectives, he may occasionally even leave a hero dead in the ground… but he will never, ever be the victor in the final analysis. This is the hardest reality for any writer to accept, since the villains are often so awesome the hero looks silly… but otherwise, the audience, and in this case, the other players, feel horribly cheated. There must be resolution, after all: Whether or not they'll admit it, almost everyone prefers a happy ending where the villain gets his just desserts. (Except weird guys. Like me.) The loss doesn't necessarily have to be a final one; he can get away, vowing to return; he can get sealed into a can; he can switch sides; he can even do the whole “Now I am more powerful than you can ever imagine!” thing if you feel that way. But the point is he cannot win the final battle with the hero(es.) Ever. (Unless this is suddenly a horror movie, which it's not.) Attempting to make the villain win in any permanent fashion makes the entire hero-loving population of the field (i.e. almost everyone) fluctuate between giving up and sobbing and trying to murder you with a spoon. Don't do it.

The Turks Corollary
The villain must win SOME of the battles.

A villain who never wins even minor skirmishes, however, soon degenerates into comic relief and silliness, violating the Rule of Terror. (See: Cobra Commander.)
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#2
A very nice guide for villains, hopefully Tobala will be able to build up to a great villain; he's had a hard time...leaving the tavern and going out into the wilderness.

::Makes an oath to Tobala:: You will be leaving safety! Pack your stuff, you're leaving the tavern.

-Buh ah dun wan--

Now!

-Feh, elfeh gonna be takein' meh seat!

No seat for you! Out of the tavern now! ::Picks up a broom and beats Tobala out of Drudaen::

And now, to find someone to luer people out of the cities and bars...
::Distant voice::
Come play with us~
[Image: Signature125.jpg]

"Stop and restart...forgive, never forget and never live any life buried in regret."
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#3
The last bit sort of got to me. "You lose, because if you don't, the good guys will throw a temper tantrum?" Kind of promotes bad guys to allow bad behavior among goodies.
...
As perplexing as that sentence sounds to me. Still, I'm letting a little nit distract me. Tell your friend 'well done'.
Paint. (It's red now!)
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#4
This guide is pretty good. Yes, the bit about the hero's pitching a fit OOCly is something that usually does happen quite a bit! Sadly, people just can't wrap their brain around the concept that sometimes bad people get their way.

There are some points that nessicarily do not apply, however for the most part this is very well put!
[Image: desc_head_freemasons.jpg]

△Move along.△


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#5
I thought the guide was great. Who ever wrote this has a really magnificent voice and I implore you, Scout, to ask this friend of yours to hook up on this server.

I was planning on some new Characters when the server starts back up and this guide has deeply changed how I plan to go about building one of them.

I would give more praise, however, my gratitude can not be contained within mere words.
[Image: walrus_family_affair-2.gif]
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings" - Lewis Carrol
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#6
Great guide.

Now, I'll make super villains, who always fail, and make it story.
[Image: irontrooperx.png]
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#7
This is pretty cool (just got a chance to read it)
Should be coupled with http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html (though that one's more about the humor)
˜★Sketch Blog
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#8
I enjoyed the entire guide in all honesty, and will be keeping the information in mind.

When I return (Again!)
"My companions' feelings have been etched onto my body.
I'll change this eternal darkness to light!
Heaven and Earth...
One body, one soul!

Chouginga, Gurren-Lagann!

I'll show you...
The power of mankind!"
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#9
I know that this is kind of a necro-post, but especially with recent events, I'd really love if this were made into a guide proper.
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#10
Useful post.

One such thing mentioned was "The Rule of Megalomania" that caught my eye instantly, and I was pleased. Far too much am I hearing about/seeing CotH "evils" trying to rally all other "evils." Aside from it being meta-gamey, it also doesn't fit the role of the Villian.
☃ This is my snowman. He's there to remind me how much I hate the snow.
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#11
Scout Wrote:...but especially with recent events...

Is this directed at me in particular? I don't mean that in the "I'm offended" manner, but if it honestly is.

I never considered myself the best roleplayer in town and am always keeping an eye out to improve.

If you meant me, then I'd like to hear some specific points of concern for me to work on.

If I'm being an egocentric, paranoid silly again... Well, don't mind my egocentric, paranoid silly.

You know how my phenotype tends to be, think the world revolves around us...

...That every kid in the school's going to notice the new blemish on our person...

...That every comment of even vague relevance is one just for you...
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#12
LostStranger Wrote:Is this directed at me in particular? I don't mean that in the "I'm offended" manner, but if it honestly is.

I never considered myself the best roleplayer in town and am always keeping an eye out to improve.

If you meant me, then I'd like to hear some specific points of concern for me to work on.

If I'm being an egocentric, paranoid silly again... Well, don't mind my egocentric, paranoid silly.

You know how we are, think the world revolves around us...

...That every kid in the school's going to notice the new blemish on our person...

I think it was more directed at the "good" guys that ganged up on y'all. Especially the part about letting villains be powerful and suceed now and then.
[Image: tumblr_nfm4t0FZcT1rtcd58o1_r1_500.gif]
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#13
It's directed at everyone.

To elaborate, I think that the general way villains and heroes have worked has been flawed for some time. This is something that goes back as far as the Circus and Autumn having their first spats. To be honest, everyone has grown soft and complacent, as evidenced by people being so unwilling to let their characters die, even with our almost terrifyingly lenient resurrection policy. This is World of Warcraft, after all. People die.

People also get resurrected. Death is not permanent in Azeroth. You shouldn't be afraid OOC to take your character out of Booty Bay, because all you're doing is denying yourself opportunities. The almost absolute best RP I've had has been when I've allowed myself to go past my boundaries of my comfort zone, only shortly beneath when I have RP where I act like a person instead of a character.

So why not have RP somewhere else? Why not be bold, and lead your character into the icy wastes of Northrend, where death is a sure possibility? Death is powerful, yes, but it's not immutable. And, you have to remember that we play the heroes of Azeroth, not the common folk. A hero doesn't confine themselves to a single town. A hero blazes trails.
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#14
^ This. Hopefully everyone will follow Scout's advise. We need diversity!
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#15
Couldn't have put it better myself Scout. Thanks for the guide by the way, I remember reading it a year or so back when I first got to the server but forgot about it until now. It's always nice to go back and read a helpful guide.
"Every gun..."

[Image: Jonah-Hex-Counting-Corpses-Flaming-Leap.jpg]

"...Makes its own tune."


~ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ~
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