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Old 03-30-2020, 11:28 PM   #11
Johnny1A.2
 
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
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.
Javert is a classic exemplar of a virtue becoming a vice when outside its proper place and degree (both are critical).

JRRT tells us that Sauron himself was ensnared, in part, because of virtue out of place and degree. Sauron hated inefficiency, sloth, waste, he liked order and efficiency. He was impatient, though, and lacked humility to temper his real gifts. Even as late as the forging of the Rings, JRRT said at one point, Sauron's intentions were not 'wholly evil', but his unwillingness to accept the limits on his own role and judgement led him back into the habits Melkor had taught him.

JRRT also said that, had Gandalf claimed the One Ring for himself and successfully wrenched control of it entirely away from Sauron, Sauron would have been laid low just as he was when the Ring was destroyed...and Gandalf would then proceed to make himself a far more onerous dictator than Sauron, because his righteousness would have become self-righteousness, he would have tried to compel righteousness beyond any proper role of a state. JRRT says Ring-Gandalf would have made goodness itself seem hateful.

A bit like Javert, actually.

Another Javert-like villain potentially useful for gaming inspiration: Colonel Jessup from A Few Good Men. Another case of virtues twisted into vices.

On a less philosophical note...anybody remember the old Knight Rider TV show from the 80s? Well, David Hasselhoff sometimes played a dual role, as virtuous Michael Knight, and his 'evil twin' Garth Knight. Yeah, the hackneyed evil twin bit...except that it's a little more complicated.

Garth Knight was the actual biological son of Wilton Knight, the genius who created Michael's indestructible sapient car. Michael 'Knight' was actually a man named Michael Long, who had been shot, left for dead by another bunch of villains, and rescued by Garth's father. Wilton gave Michael plastic surgery to repair his ruined face that left him a physical double of Garth, and gave Michael 'Knight' control of the supercar and leadership, more or less, of his father's legacy (along with his father's lawyer).

So from Garth's POV, his father rejected him, to the point of leaving him to rot in an African jail while he gave a stranger his estate, his status, even his face. In effect, from Garth's POV, his father took his identity and gave it to Michael Long.

Little wonder Garth hated Michael with an almost insane intensity.

Now in Garth's father's defense, it should be noted that Garth was rotting in an African jail for good reason, he was guilty of a whole mess of offenses, including it's fairly strongly implied rape and murder. In fact, Wilton seems to have bad luck with family in general, after his death his widow becomes a menace to the good guys too. It kind of looks like Wilton was so betrayed by his family that he more or less went out and 'adopted' a replacement son in the form of Michael.

Hasselhoff gets ragged for his acting talents sometimes, but when he played Garth he did manage to give an impression of cool calm...with rage and physical violence boiling away ready to come out at the slightest provocation.

It was an interesting spin on the evil twin trope, and I think Garth could be the seed for a very interesting NPC opponent.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

The Scarlet Empress from the Exalted Creation's Empire manages to play the roles of both Darth Sidious and Anakin Skywalker at the same time, which is a pretty cool impression for a character only described in absentia through second-hand accounts.

McKenzie's right-hand man Wesker from Goliath Awaits, pushing the Eutopia Justifies the Means trope in a covert manner; a modern take on an evil vizier, I suppose.

Kane from C&C of course. Fanaticism-inspiring charismatic unaging (and possibly immortal) visionary.

'Weaver' from the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Verging into anti-villain territory. Ruthless, but also fine with allying with heroes as well, so long as the desired goals are being pursued.

Vaas from Far Cry 3. Insane, charismatic, fun to watch OOC, scary IC.

Kreia from KotOR2. Somewhat eccentrically charming, and constantly misleading or confusing until the final chapters.

Raymond Reddington from Blacklist. Charming, affable, ruthless mastermind who is fine with aligning with the self-identified heroes and pulling them down almost as a side effect.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:36 AM   #13
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Niska -- Firefly -- another of those crime bosses who sound reasonable, but are in truth bat*&#$ crazy
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Old 03-31-2020, 06:18 AM   #14
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The Penguin has evolved into an interesting figure. Batman's sane foe. Penguin is still deadly, but his focus is different. He a string puller and a team builder. He has many of the strengths of both Bruce and Alfred.

By the ways, the TV version of Kingpin from Daredevil is a great model villain too. The way sanity and madness, laudible ambition and brutal vice towards that ambition, get balanced, or fail to balance, is fasinating.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:16 PM   #15
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Dr Caulder is easy enough to steal for an AtE game, or even for a fantasy game... All his plans, up until the moment you fight and kill him, may have been complete victories because all he cares about is the data from his twisted experiments... Hell, he may still win even if your PCs win, after all, death is so... Fascinating...
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Old 03-31-2020, 10:16 PM   #16
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From the Lost In Space movie in 1998, I submit the movie version of Dr. Zachary Smith, played by Gary Oldman. He's like the bumbling Dr. Smith of the old 60s TV show the same way a .357 Magnum is like a pellet gun.

He maintains some of the mannerisms, but he's cold, calculating, sociopathic. He's entirely aware that his actions are evil, and doesn't give a rat's ass. If you pay him enough he'll do it. But he's very intelligent, knows exactly how to press people's buttons. He knows how to make himself just useful enough to not execute, while making no secret of looking out for #1.

The degree to which he's a villain is debatable, but Captain Ahab is certainly a useful model for one sort of opposition NPC. He's esp. useful for that NPC who is technically on your side, but who you have to work against anyway. A bit like Feanor, he's driven by a passion for revenge that consumes everything good in him.

From the old Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman shows, I offer the paradoxical Dr. Franklin, played by John Houseman. A brilliant scientist, he successfully created lifelike robots able to fool people into thinking them real, with human-like reactions, and weather control technology.

The interesting thing about him is his personality, which is contradictory. He's a misogynist who respects women and knows how to use male chauvinism to his advantage. He genuinely respects some of his opponents, and is not without a peculiar sort of honor. He's murderous and ruthless, but never sadistic. When he realizes that his plan had been defeated, he releases his hostages unharmed, since harming them would now serve no purpose. I could easily imagine him as the template for an interesting NPC foe.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

Jango Beck, from Norman Spinrad's novel Passing Through the Flame. The book is set in the 1960's California music industry, and Beck is a record company executive. His trick is simple: whatever you try to do against him, he's anticipated and your actions will benefit him. Eventually, the protagonists realise they should leave him alone.
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Old 04-01-2020, 02:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Jango Beck, from Norman Spinrad's novel Passing Through the Flame. The book is set in the 1960's California music industry, and Beck is a record company executive. His trick is simple: whatever you try to do against him, he's anticipated and your actions will benefit him. Eventually, the protagonists realise they should leave him alone.
IME, that kind of villain in a game gets rather annoying fast. In a novel, it works; in a game, if the PCs have zero chance of succeeding, why even bother having the game?

IMO, this is the worst kind of villain to use in a game.
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Old 04-01-2020, 07:40 PM   #19
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I miss Lazarus Smile. I can't even remember the title of the game he was in except that it came out the same time as Vampire the Masquerade, and lost out to it because it was the same basic idea but less pretentious. Lazarus Smile was a spirit that inhabited recently killed corpses and was a serial killer targeting supernaturals Jack the Ripper style. The supes know who they're dealing with because of the knife and the constant creepy smile.

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Old 04-11-2020, 04:17 AM   #20
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Default Re: Villains worth Stealing!

I haven't watched Star Wars rebels, but a friend showed me the scene were Grand Moff Tarkin shows up and admonishes Grint and Aresko, two imperial officers, for their repeated failures.
I quite like hat type of character, cool and collected, so complete in control at least of himself. For another example, I would give The General form Saints Row 2.
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