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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Diana, Feb 27, 2010.
"Well, I'll support you."
By a ‘good antagonist,’ I mean a character that is memorable compared to the normal clichéd “necessary” evil that leaves you with an unmemorable 2D figure.
This is a list of what one should take into account about trying to create a antagonist that isn’t your anime or cartoon super villain. This loosely follows Shakespearean logic on the topic of antagonists:
*They try to control events outside of their control or own powers.
*They think that free will allows them to do whatever they want with no consequences from karma or the fates.
*They will lead to their own downfall, often by their own mistakes, not directly by the hands of the hero.
*Must be easy to relate to. You can’t just have someone or something that wants to blow up the world. They need a unique reason behind their actions and why they do what they do. They have to enjoy what they are doing.
*Is intelligent and can have face to face discussion with the said hero. However try to avoid the anime style of wall to wall taunt of why the said antagonist is doing what they are doing.
*They will stop to rethink about why his/her plans failed, not go into a blind rage and repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This is all too many times done in animes and other melodramas.
*Said antagonist is charismatic, cultured, and is eccentric in some way. Only has a subtle aura of menace. In your day to day life, you aren’t going to find a Lex Luther type hiding and plotting in public. They are normal human beings.
*Has violent outburst, but only at key times and when practical.
*Is a quick thinker and is thusly able to read emotions of others. This way, they can outwit, outplay, and out move a hero when they need to. Because of this the antagonist respects and is respected by the hero. Thusly, they will win every once and awhile.
After this, it depends on the genre, terrorists make good villains because they help keep you in suspense until they are stopped. The very ideal of “for the greater good for humanity” is what empowers villains. They are doing what they believe is best for their people. Asmodeus’ Dayne in Project Genesis is a excellent example of an ideal villain. He does what he believes is for the best interest of the nation; however, to the causal reader of the plot, he‘s an eccentric man that is symbolic of all the wrong of the state. Using one of my own antagonists for example, Rane is a well respected figure in her society; however, her quirk is that she was overcame by a series of horrible events that have made her demand revenge for something that was not in her control
Another memorable villain can be someone that you know in your day to day life, like a neighbor. A perfectly good person can be corrupted by their own twisted sense of what’s right and wrong. Just because some one is “so nice,” doesn’t mean that they are a good person. Good and nice are two separate things.
Betrayal of trust is the most common theme in villainy and it works out very well. Holy men that turn members of their own faith over to the dictatorial state are a good example. These tend to be emotionally vulnerable people with motives that you can understand and if not some what agree with in the end.
A villain will often have some quirk that makes them interesting, even something that in normal circumstances would be considered endearing. Another good example would be leaving flowers for a victim at the scene of their death or a letter asking for apology for their behavior. This will make them more human, than over the top.
Finally, it depends on your world view. If you are religious for example, then you might base a villain off of things that violates some dearly held tenant of your faith or the targeted audience’s. Take an overly zealot person, they will hold onto a belief and may even help society in some ways, but their fundamental thought is in violation of fact or normal reasoning. You might want to use a seemingly admirable person who does good works and contributed with society until the acts that lead to their downfall.
In Summary: The opponent of the protagonist should be able to achieve their goals. They should never be push overs for the protagonist. Wooden dolls don’t make memorable opponents.
Probably the longest list that tells you how to be a good villain.
However, if you want my opinion...let Swifty play the villain and it's all good. >.>!!!
I say the best, or worst, villians are the complete and utter psychopaths. Like a combination of the Joker in Dark Knight and a typical horror movie villian.
Someone who not only enjoys inflicting pain, but enjoys feeling it as well. You can't intimidate someone who just laughs when you hit them, or cuts and burns themselves for fun. They also need to drag out how they kill someone, enjoying watching them squirm and writh in agony.
They need to be violent in ways no one would expect. They should prefer knives and sharp objects. A good villian should be unpredictable. If someone thinks they're going to kill a person, they should kill someone unexpected.
When they talk, a good villian should have a powerful and influential personality. They should make their enemies scared when they speak, being a master of pyschological warfare. They should be constant walkers on the ugly side of life.
I think the best way for a villian to fall is for them to underestimate the will of their enemies, and even their intended victims.
Now...Why so serious?
"I look at it like it's your birthday today. We can do almost whatever you want."
My favourite villains, and the ones I often play, are the utterly dedicated ones. Often these are polite, well-educated and adjusted men and women, not blood-thirsty psychopaths or 'HAHAHA MR BOND, SHALL I REVEAL MY EVIL PLAN' stereotypes. However, they believe in something, and they believe in it hard, meaning they are capable of just about anything.
These are the sort of guys who are prepared to murder entire settlements, torture people for information and kill children, because in their eyes what they are doing is just and the right thing to do. They might realise what they are doing is deplorable by most of society; they might even lament this, and what they have to do.
But they don't stop. Ever.
One of my favourite examples of such a villain is Serenity's 'Operative'; an unamed agent of the Parliament sent to bring in River Tam. He's relentless, ruthless and utterly dedicated to his cause, yet shows remorse for his actions, stating at one point that there is no place in the Utopia he wants to create for a 'monster' like him.
What I like about these guys is that as much as they are ruthless villains, you also get the sense that they are human beings as well. And that's important in antagonists; they're all the more scary if you can empathise with them.
I love the villains that you almost feel like you can understand their reasoning.
Where it's like: I LOVE THE HERO.......Oh snap.... That's so sad.... so... this guy's the villian?..... Oh man.... I can see myself doing that if "" happened to me...
Okay, I see your guy's point. It is better that way. I guess I was just going with that the psycho's are so fun to watch.
Eh, Psychos are also more interesting also since they aren't as pathetic as some sympathetic villains can be. :P
I tend to prefer two types.
The straight up(mostly) pure psychotic evil villain like Kefka. They're twisted and they feel more realistic than villains who evoke sympathy with sob stories about how they weren't loved or how someone important to them died. Look at most of the twisted people in real life, do they have reasons for what they were doing? Can what they are doing be justified? No, they are simply twisted, deluded or mentally unstable. They also can be total monsters. Ex: Osama, Hitler, etc.
They make the best villains since you hate them and ultimately root for them to die and thus it feels satisfying once they finally perish. Take Harken from ICSYL2 for example, even some of the players around the time he was introduced wanted to have a chance to have their characters kill him off.
Sympathetic villains honestly just feel cheap and are so over used to me. I tend to avoid them. They have become stale, even a certain HORROR movie by Rob Zombie tried to pull this off. A movie where you're supposed to be fear the bad guy, not feel sorry and cry for them and want to hug them. Fist of the North Star is also guilty of this to an extent, although I love it. Just makes it a bit cheesy.
So instead. I prefer the Anti-Villain archetype. Basically, a villain with some noble goals and ambitions. They don't fall into the same holes as sympathetic villains. They aren't usually motivated by some typical sad back-story about how their parents didn't love them, etc. They usually want to change the world in some huge way or accomplish something else that is personally important to them but are willing to do sometimes questionable or messed up things to achieve them.
They also are most interesting since they can start off as heroes but become Anti Villains if they have trouble achieving their goals through "good" means. They are also generally more unpredictable, they can change sides or continue fighting until death. They may know things the heroes don't and perhaps their ideas are not all twisted and wrong, just their means might be.
Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content)
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from Chrono Trigger.
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from Tales of Phantasia.
I had a lot of fun with my Anti Villain Roy in ICSYL2, he was a hot blooded Anti Villain. He was one of the Monarchs of the Underworld, he seemed like a savage monster in combat but in actuality, he was a double agent. He infiltrated the bad guy's group so he could free the slaves Harken kept. He went very far with the act, beating up the heroes and fighting them to his fullest before revealing his true intentions.
He was not perfect, he was still rather villainous in the way he killed the United Surface Army troops and some of his beliefs were not the most morally correct. But he did all this mostly for his daughter's sake, so she would grow up in a better Underworld not having to live in fear any longer from soldiers from the surface coming to terrorize them or from Harken's minions. He had good intentions
They make entertaining characters and they're. They don't come off as weak or pathetic, as a matter of fact, they are much more interesting opponents because they usually believe 100% in what they are fighting for. They can be more tragic and easily more likable than villains just given cheesy sappy back stories.
For me there are definitely two types of Villains I enjoy.
The first type of villains is the crazy one that is also seperated into different categories. I've had personal experience playing with the Crazy Disgusting type of villain which was named Harken. This villain was truly done well as he had the mentality of ruling over what he wanted and having the power to back it up. The villain also wants to always aim higher and in some cases succeed. Harken did succeed however, the heroes naturally came together and destroyed him. He was the villain you love to hate and with that made him fit the role.
The other villain I love is a spin off of the cliche "I'll destroy everything" villain. This villain's name is Shinigami. He had most things the cliche villain does, smarts, power, ability to kick the hero's ass whenever he wants. The thing that made him different was the fact that he needed the hero. He was almost like a mentor trying to push him ahead by making him struggle. A keen and devious plan was interworked throughout all 2700 pages or so (that's normal not Iwaku pages). He was a fun one to play and a fun one to fight.
Something like this. I like it when villains are something like an avatar of nature or divine wrath who can't be easily stopped in a direct confrontation by the heroes.
My opinion may vary on whether or not a villain is portrayed as indestructible, depending on how it's executed.
I like villains that are evil because they ENJOY it! You always see these badguys that have really good reasons for being assholes. Something bad happened to them, lost someone, or some other complicated reason.
It's refreshing when you get a badguy who just loves being a murderous douche for the sheer enjoyment of inflicting pain on others!
If it sounds like I'm bashing your opinions, I'm not. xD I prolly just phrased my questions too accusingly. :)
Does the hero always have to succeed ?
What do you think of villains that win in the end ?
What are you thoughts on being sympathetic with the villain? If you can forgive them in the end, are they still the villain, though ?
LOL> At least give a few reasons why Swifty is so villainous ! :)
Hahaha. I love your idea of a villain. It's close to mine :)
But I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on a villain's voice ? their attire ? [ i.e The Joker is entirely ridiculous and weird (compared to normal people).]
In that way, isn't the villain sort of "helping" the protagonist ? Doesn't that defeat his/her villainous purpose ?
Why do you think villains are scarier if you can empathize with them ?
Why is understanding their reasoning so crucial ? Why would you want to understand the villain ? Whats your definition of villain ?
"They make the best villains....they finally perish"
I LOVE THIS SENTENCE. Its so true.
Is the satisfaction what makes the horror so thrilling ?
"He was the villain...fit the role" LOVE THIS SENTENCE <3
Did him needing the hero make him seem weak ? as a villain ? as a connotation of evil ?
Well I never really fully explained why Shinigami needed other people to preform his devious plans other than himself and his, I guess you would call them, "Incarnations."
Basically with Shinigami you needed to understand that he was an entity that was had all the basic aspects of an entity seperated. The reason for this, well a stupid mistake by being a different type of villain soooo long ago. (And inadvertantly creating new villains from that XD) Basically Shinigami himself was the embodiment of his spirit, or you could call it a ghost and each of his incarnations were another part of him that needed to be defeated by another to make the incarnation become raw energy to form what they were supposed to be. (Don't worry if you aren't following but believe me it does make sense.)
So Shinigami was seperated as such.
1. His spirit/ghost.
2. His heart/soul.
3. His mind, knowledge and experience in the art he practiced.
4. A physical body to keep all of it in.
With him not able to complete these tasks he set out in using others. In some regards it made him seem weak like when he tried to possess someone to complete research on developing a physical body to handle all the spiritual stress/spiritual pressure/spirit energy/etc.
Then in other parts he seemed like the strongest thing you ever would face in an RP. He rightfully was able to take on all about 8 of the main characters we choose and even able to keep fighting the final one standing at full strength.
But this secret hidden agenda, he was more like that background villain that finally shows his true colors near the end. You know he's there and has to be dealt with but never gives you the chance to slaughter him.
Sakura, you are awesome for actually taking the time to read everyone's arguments (thoroughly, I might add) and respond to them.
Villains are scarier when you can empathise with them because it means you understand their actions. Actions that can often be quite disturbing and horrific. That's why I don't find psychopaths terribly frightening; their reasonings are alien, you are unable to connect with them. With a villain you can empathise with, you can see the logic in what they are doing.
Hence why they're scary; you see a bit of yourself in them, you find yourself relating to a monster.
Yes, yes, I get that a lot from Case Closed and the murderers. Your watching the show and when the main character starts deducing things and starts accusing the murderer they get all defensive. Then youre feelings towards them are all "Well this guy is obviously and asshole."
But after they give up they start telling you the back story as to why they did it and you start feeling sympathetic and start comparing how you would react to such a situation. It really is quite amazing how close you come to murdering some people.
One case I felt the most connection to was Mountain Villa Murder, you guys should check it out if you feel like indulging into some mystery.
See, that's what I was going with! If you have a villian who's cruel "just because", what happens when you piss them off? You don't want to screw with someone who's scary when they're happy.
Does attire really matter?...I guess. It would be nice if the villian was wearing average street clothes. It kind of gives you the idea of like what Grumpy was talking about. If they look average, anyone could become this deranged!
As for their voice...Are you talking literally or metaphorically? Because I think what they say should be like what they do: slow, deliberate, and with the hint of a laugh, like scaring someone was getting them off or something.
As for how much voice or control they have over what's going on: I think it should be so subtle, no one else in the story knows it's there. Again, like the Joker. People think they have the upper hand, that they're in control, and suddenly he turns everything over on its head, proving that the only one who really knows, who really has a say in what's going on, is him. Someone who can pull the strings without anyone seeing, basically.
Wow, sounds very creepy x.X
But it's nice to see that Shinigami has such a detailed embodiment. Which makes me wonder, based on your experience with Shinigami (and other villains), do you think that a villainous background/backstory is important to being a villain ? Does a villain need to have a history and (if possible) a supernatural aspect for him/her to be evil enough for your tastes ?
I think I shuddered at this thought. >.<
But wow, you're totally right. The more you can relate to an villain doing terrible things, the scarier it is because you could be that villain... Oo woah...x3
Well said. And well analyzed. I like the thought of deceiving people into expecting one thing, but pulling out a total trump card. "pull the strings without anyone seeing" It's villain puppetry at its best. :)
I thank you, and I feel vindicated.
I'd say sophistication. I can never really take the 'crazed psychopath' as a true villain... they're more like a common enemy for the heroes to overcome. Sure, they commit atrocious crimes... but you never really have to think about 'am I doing the right thing' when going after them.
With the intelligent, sophisticated villain, I feel like I'm really matching wits with someone who may be my equal... maybe even someone superior to me. There's a real sense of accomplishment to opposing them, defeating them... or even working for them. In some cases, it would even feel 'good' to be defeated by them!
They're the sort of villains that stay behind while you're in the death trap, explaining exactly what it's going to do (while enjoying a fine glass of wine)... then they leave - they fully expect the Heroes to escape, and have even given them the means to do so in explaining what's about to happen. There's a rivalry involved between a Hero and a Sophisticated Villain that's just incredible to watch play out.
Works best if the Sophisticated Villain is going against a Smart Hero or Heroic Scoundrel, I think.