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Old 03-29-2020, 01:58 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default Villains worth Stealing!

What it says on the tin, this is meant to be about villains in fiction, TV, film, Comics, and other media and/or history, worth modeling a villain or antagonist on. Although I'll have to wait a day or two before posting useful links, I ask those posting to add links to descriptions of the villain in question and evidence of why they are copy worthy or can be copied. Most twist villains are murder to copy, especially the murderers;-)


I'll go first. May I offer Servalan, the big bad from Blake's 7. She turns convention upside down and sideways. She's as calm and focused a villain as you'll find. Her vast supply of feminine charm she uses as a potent weapon. Although she hired thugs to do her dirty work, she mainly attacks through social manuvers and careful planning. Anyone running an NPC villain based on Servalan would do well to reread Stoddard's GURPS: Social Engineering, it will pay off.

By the way, if rewatching Blake's 7 to study Servalan, also look at Roj Blake. He devolves into a fairly interesting villain himself.

Now, who do you nominate?

The promised links: First to Servalan and then to Blakes7. And this music video explains it so well Servalan "Killer Queen"!
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

You can post any villains you think are worthy of being used as models for NPC antagonists. I want you guys to get in on the act.
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Old 03-30-2020, 12:51 AM   #3
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Helmuth, from E.E. Smith's Galactic Patrol. Thoroughly bad, but in an efficient, effective, intelligent way. He's the sort of man who, if he'd grown up in a sane society, would be a hero. He's actually a more dangerous opponent than many of the later, higher ranking Boskonians Kimball Kinnison would defeat, it makes me wonder if the Arisians didn't arrange for Helmuth to go down early because he was too dangerous to be allowed to gain more power.

John Marcone, from The Dresden Files. A mobster, but one with a few redeeming features (not many, he's definitely still a bad guy), but like Helmuth, intelligent, capable, and efficient. Totally unsentimental, doesn't waste time monologuing or with meaningless chit-chat, won't hesitate to shoot you in cold blood if you give him backtalk, but not sadistic about it.

Actually, he and Helmuth have some traits in common.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Far more personally corrupt and perverse than either of the previous two, but still dangerously intelligent and effective. His effectiveness is somewhat reduced by his personal corruption, though.

Arguably Feanor, from Tolkien's stories. He's a classic case of 'madness makes the villain', but also a good exemplar of just that sort of villainy, driven by passion out of control of conscience and humility.

Which is a tendency. The most effective villains tend to be the ones who still have some good in them. As corruption proceeds, evil tends to be self-defeating because the very behaviors it produces work against itself.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Khan Noonien Singh is one of my favorite villains. He is very intelligent, but lets his pride and his need to prove himself better than his enemies get the better of him constantly. The scene in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan where Kirk goads him into giving up his tactical advantages by saying "Khan, I laugh at the superior intellect" is... so good. I'll take him over Darth Vader any day.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:01 AM   #5
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Hans Gruber, Die Hard -- a villain with wits and a touch of class

Mayor Wilkins -- Buffy. A man who keeps his promises. Clean, neat, polite, and utterly ruthless

Problem with several of the witty villians is keeping them alive long enough for the PCs to appreciate them -- PCs have a habit of shooting first and riffling the body. Also hard for the PCs go appreciate hands-off masterminds unless you have, in effect, cut scenes.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Bester from B5. A classic "I am the law" villain.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Javert. He is "a compound" of "respect for authority and hatred of rebellion," Hugo writes, "but he made them almost evil by his exaggeration of them". A supremely tragic figure, he finally cannot reconcile the existence of a good man who is outside the law, and commits suicide.

Yes, spoilers for a 160-year old book.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

The Deaf Man, from the 87th precinct novels of Ed McBain.

Smart, manipulative and absolutely ruthless.

I used him in a Shadowrun Campaign twice. The first time, the pc stumbled over his henchmen and spoiled his caper. The second time, he was out for revenge.

Unfortunately, my players were a bunch of lousy cowards genre savvy and refused to accept the challenge. They gave the information to the cops, fled the city and hid into the deepest hole they could find. So, they were not killed or blamed for the next caper, but their reputation took a nosedive.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Helmuth, from E.E. Smith's Galactic Patrol. Thoroughly bad, but in an efficient, effective, intelligent way. He's the sort of man who, if he'd grown up in a sane society, would be a hero. He's actually a more dangerous opponent than many of the later, higher ranking Boskonians Kimball Kinnison would defeat, it makes me wonder if the Arisians didn't arrange for Helmuth to go down early because he was too dangerous to be allowed to gain more power.

John Marcone, from The Dresden Files. A mobster, but one with a few redeeming features (not many, he's definitely still a bad guy), but like Helmuth, intelligent, capable, and efficient. Totally unsentimental, doesn't waste time monologuing or with meaningless chit-chat, won't hesitate to shoot you in cold blood if you give him backtalk, but not sadistic about it.

Actually, he and Helmuth have some traits in common.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Far more personally corrupt and perverse than either of the previous two, but still dangerously intelligent and effective. His effectiveness is somewhat reduced by his personal corruption, though.

Arguably Feanor, from Tolkien's stories. He's a classic case of 'madness makes the villain', but also a good exemplar of just that sort of villainy, driven by passion out of control of conscience and humility.

Which is a tendency. The most effective villains tend to be the ones who still have some good in them. As corruption proceeds, evil tends to be self-defeating because the very behaviors it produces work against itself.
I liked Morden better than Bester

Aycharach from Dominic Flandry. He really had a cause but was so cruel as to render it meaningless. Not just in the exigencies of war. On one occasion he psionically enslaved an ethnicity for reasons that had nothing to do with that. Despite that he had a beautiful physical appearance and more than a little charm.

Dukat from DS9: He had alongside his cunning a weird mixture of charm and "All-about-me" attitude.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post

Dukat from DS9: He had alongside his cunning a weird mixture of charm and "All-about-me" attitude.
Dukat was compelling because he was so dead certain he was the hero of the tale making only necessary choices. His self-righteousness made him a terrifying mirror to any hero. The living embodiment of Yeat's "the worst are full of passionate intensity."
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