LESSON Creating Great Villains

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS' started by October Knight, Nov 30, 2011.

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    Villain Workshop
    By: [MENTION=2857]Fluffy[/MENTION] and [MENTION=162]October leche[/MENTION]

    The epic battle between good and evil rages on! Whether it's a one on one fight to the death, or a race for world domination, the Evil antagonist is a key element to a good story. When we Role-play, it is a common occurrence to have a surplus of heroes ready to die for their respective causes, but once in a while someone plays a Villain. It seems like an easy feat: Cause chaos, terrorize society and make the 'good guys' life a living hell. However, when we look a little deeper, and dissect the brain of histories best Villains, it proves to be quite challenging.

    Here is a Guide that will help you get into the evil role, as well as tips on how to role-play a 'good' villain:

    Types of Villains:

    Here is a list of classic villain types. While most of these are pretty bland descriptions, it is easy to pick one and make it our own when developing a villain character. While these are only a few of the many different types of villains, I think they are the most prominent.

    The '80s horror' Villain - Strange and demented, usually deformed and possibly missing an eye. His hygiene is poor, as is his mental capacity. He lurks, creeps and staggers in the dark. His motives are usually simple, kill, maim and hurt everything and everyone. A character like this most likely had a very tragic story resulting in his current situation. Good examples of these types would be Jason Voorhies or Mike Myers. Totally inhuman monsters can fall into this category as well, Examples? Venom or Carnage could fall into this category too.

    The 'Gentleman nemesis' Villain - Often times a genius. Well educated and worldly, with undertones of malice and insane reasoning. Think 'The most interesting man alive's' evil half brother. While he is charming and well spoken, in french, Spanish and a touch of Latin, he is also a vicious killer, with a heart of solid ice. His agenda is usually that of greed and power laced with deep rooted revenge. Also, World domination. Examples of the gentleman would be Sebastian Shaw, Lex Luther and Kingpin.

    The "Super Villain" Villain - The classic stereo type when we think of Villainy. He/she has super powers and most likely (But not always) a secret identity. A super Villain is the polar oposite of such classics as Batman and Super-man. Their motives (Aside from doing everything in their power to destroy the super hero) usually lies within destruction of a city, or bring unpleasant death to thousands. They often times hold key elements of a master mind Villain as well. Good examples of a Super Villain would be The Hobgoblin, Magneto, and Poison Ivy.

    The "Master mind" Villain - Who can also be closely related to the Gentleman Villain, in the sense that they are highly intelligent. The prime difference would be that a mastermind always has one main motive. He has one thing that he is working towards, an elaborate plot to cause mayhem in one way or another. The best example of a Mastermind villain would be Ra's AL Gual, Batmans Iconic foe. Like any good master mind, he has one supreme goal that he holds above everything else. Besides Ra's AL Gual, Dr. Doom is another good example. His 'Masterminded mayhem' is usually always focused on world domination. World domination is a popular achievement among Mastermind Villains.

    The Reverse Good Guy:

    Spin that boring do-gooder 180 degrees! Flip the script, so to speak. Getting into the head of a villain can be as easy as looking at what the protagonist does and simply reversing it. You can do this on as large or small of a scale as you want. If your super hero leaves a tip when he gets coffee, maybe the villain steals all the tips (And then throws scalding coffee in the baristas face). If the good character helps a little old lady with her groceries, maybe the villain would kick her ass and snatch her lunch meat. It sounds like a simple concept, and it is for the most part, but reversing the role of a typical good guy can be a good way to develop your Villain into something truly evil. It is also a good way to get you in the evil mindset while playing a baddie.

    Adding Realism:

    This may seem a little contradictory of the above segment, and it is. However, if you think of these key points as different levels of depth when creating a villain, it will help you build and develop a nicely textured villain. character.

    As I stated above, sometimes getting into the head of your villain can be as simple as reversing a do-gooders motives/actions/characteristics, however doing the bad thing every time -all the time- will most likely leave you with a character as bland as unsalted rice. To really create a believable, realistic baddie, think about this: While most villains are evil at heart, they often have something they love, something they hold dear. While most of the time it is an unhealthy obsession, to the villain, it is still a passion. Maybe your villain has a pet of some sort, one that he/she loves very much. Your villain goes out of his way on a daily basis to provide for it, although he may be in the middle of a truly diabolical plot, he still makes it home every morning to feed his pet and give it a bath. A key thing to remember is that beneath all those bad deeds, your Villain does have a heart. While he may see the word through convoluted glasses, he is still a person.

    A Villain's History:

    No person is born to be villainous. The people in their lives influence them to turn to the dark side. Think about whether they were raised by someone evilly aligned, or something happened to change the character's morals. Was your villain, perhaps, offered power in exchange for loyalty? Did something tragic happen to change them forever? Did they become obsessed with an idea that no one else supported? Were they envious of a favoured sibling, so they entered a dark rage and murdered them? Whatever the reason, it's something great. A villain is most likely sensitive about their past, too. The sight of a person who reminds them of a now dead loved on might put them into a blind rage, or interfere with their diabolical plans. Even something as simple as an object could cause it. This could make for some wonderful drama, as well as opportunities for readers to learn more about your bad guy.

    What Drives the Evil?:

    There's always something that makes your villain do what they do. There's a variety of options: Hatred for humanity, thirst for power, organized goals, bloodlust, greed, revenge... Usually, this connects with their history. An element of their past is fueling their desire to conquer the world, or make massacre on the innocent, or overthrow the good natured king. When creating a bad guy, ask yourself: Why do they do what they do? Once you answer that, there's some extra beef for their profile. That makes a character more interesting, instead of "Oh, s/he slaughters just for the hell of it." Baddies like that do exist, however there's still reason for it. They're psychotic, probably. :D Psychosis can most definitely be their evil drive. Or, perhaps they just went insane during a solitary confinement?

    Method of Mayhem:

    Generally, how are evil plans put to action? This would be kidnapping, killing, mind controlling, robbing, etc. A villain's method of mayhem is what makes them so infamous, too. It's what will label them as that merciless killer or greedy bastard that kidnaps the children of wealthy families, to demand ransom. When they're put on a Wanted poster, they are wanted for ____. You get the idea, I'm sure. Of course, they can be known to do several different bad deeds. The more the better, actually! Well, not better... More like eviller. If you have a goal to make everyone in the world hate you, then you'll want multiple methods of mayhem.

    Hopefully, this guide will make villain roleplaying easier, as well as more fun. Understandably, putting yourself into the shoes of someone evil aligned can be a challenge. When writing something that involves epic conflict between good and evil, remember that your bad guy deserves some of that extra attention. Where there are well developed villains, there are good stories. :)
    #1 October Knight, Nov 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2013
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