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Old 05-16-2019, 04:09 PM   #1
Tigrah2k
 
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Default A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

I'm trying to reason out a solid design for a villain who could challenge the hero I've been designing. I see a lot of theoretical information on what makes a good villain, supervillain, and master villain, but not a lot no the nuts and bolts for creating a good character to counter the hero. Has GURPS released anything that would address this, or does anyone have a rule of thumb for this situation?
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Old 05-16-2019, 04:24 PM   #2
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: A super hero question

There's not a formula for it. (Formulas in other games, like D&Ds Challenge Rating, don't really work, either.) Tactics and situation matter.

A better approach is just to look at the abilities on each side and compare them. Damage vs. DR and HP. Some magic vs Will. Money and social position vs the same. How much the villain knows about the hero, both abilities and personality. If an opponent is a mindless mook, play it that way, not as an optimized rule master. Conversely, if it's a smart villain, do have it make better choices, and think of some tactical surprises ahead of time.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: A super hero question

GURPS Supers can be some help with the narrative but there is no tactical Supers book. Supers is actually the hardest genre for GURPS because it magnifies GURPS in so many ways. The hardest part for most is that GURPS is front loaded with a lot of time spent on character design and that is even more so in a Supers campaign. Supers are versatile and each tends to be very individual.
I think the Supers genre can be handled really well in GURPS but its definitely the one that requires the most work by the players and communication between players, each other, and the GM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:05 PM   #4
mr beer
 
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Default Re: A super hero question

There are many ways to challenge the hero. You could reasonably challenge a lot of superheros with a comparatively cheap villain build focussing on Wealth, Rank and Allies for example.

If you mean via direct combat, look at what the hero does and either do it similarly or use abilities which sidestep theirs.

What kind of campaign are you looking at? What type of challenges will your hero be overcoming?

You could post your hero build and see what people suggest.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: A super hero question

Speaking as someone currently running a superhero game, challenging the heroes is very much an art as each character is different. What is a challenge to a Super ST +10/+100 scrapper with Claws (Armor Divisor (infinite)) and IT:DR /2 is different from what challenges a telepath with Mind Reading, Mind Probe, and Mind Control (Mind Tricks), and both are different challenges from the guy with DR 170 (Hardened 4) and IT:DR /100.

And challenging the brick without pasting the telepath is more a matter of low-damage, high-penetration attacks than high-damage attacks.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

A good villain isn’t made, they evolve. Also, they need to be the hero of their own stories. The best villains are reflections of the heroes they’re supposed to be the nemesis of.

Mechanically, there isn’t a formula to make a great villain—it’s not mechanics. There is no advantage or disadvantage that you can give an NPC that ensures they will be a great villain. There’s no collection of skills and attributes that makes them memorable. That’s all on the GM. It’s Role-Playing.

Gravitas was a megavillain in my Super San Diego setting. While he was a villain, he’s really only the nemesis of Shimmer. She has a deep hate for him. Not because of any, specific, thing he’s done, but because he’s willing to go further to protect those he dubs “innocents” than she is. He thinks nothing of wiping out an entire army, or even a nation, to protect “innocents.” To stop an alien swarm from expanding, he destroyed an entire star system, wiping out billions.

Shimmer wasn’t willing to do that. Gravitas was.

He’s not irrational. As he prepared to destroy another world to prevent a spread of the swarm, the manifestation of Pink (a deific-level megasuper) caused him to stop and engage the swarm at a local level as he knew how powerful Pink was, and her presence meant they had a better-than-average chance to defeating the swarm.

Oh, and to add more to this, Shimmer recently witnessed another person do the same thing, but had a much more personal view of the event. She was able to see the battle raging and could see that the Hero who destroyed the world did so only as a last option, and had done as much as they could to save as many as possible. Something Shimmer hadn't tried to figure out if Gravitas had done or not . . .. So, it's important to revisit events the villains have done, from different points of view.

On the other hand, a well-written and defined villain may not be a villain.

Asmodeus (yes, based on The Asmodeus) was meant to be a multi-arc villain. However, the party was able to negotiate with him very early on and agree that their ultimate goals weren’t at odds, and, if he’d help them, they wouldn’t, actually, be in his way.

So, he went from a Villain to an antagonist, and, ally. And he’s recurring to the point that they count on him for various background support. Betraying them would, ultimately, cause problems for his ultimate goal, so the Devil has been one of their staunchest and most reliable allies.

TL;DR:
The best advice I can give you is to create compelling villains. When your party seems to become fixated on one, focus on making them better. Find out what your party likes and doesn’t like about them and go from there.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:29 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigrah2k View Post
I'm trying to reason out a solid design for a villain who could challenge the hero I've been designing. I see a lot of theoretical information on what makes a good villain, supervillain, and master villain, but not a lot no the nuts and bolts for creating a good character to counter the hero. Has GURPS released anything that would address this, or does anyone have a rule of thumb for this situation?
The most important question to answer when you want to make a challenging villain is "What kind of challenge do you want to present?" If all you want is a character who can hold his own in a brawl then what you need is a character who has defenses against the hero's standard attacks that can completely soak an average damage roll while at the same giving it an attack that is slightly better than the hero's defense with an average roll.

But of course that isn't the only kind of challenge. I have a character named Unbekkant who will go down with one punch from all but the weakest superhero, but he's impossible to kill or keep captive. He simply vanishes to reappear another day with new schemes and new technology until you figure out what the trick is and find and destroy the means by which he does it.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:17 PM   #8
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

For example, a villain with Illusion (Cosmic, Cybernetic, Independent, Mental, Reliable+10, and Stigmata) will be a threat to the vast majority of supers (considering that the ability costs 200 CP, they should be a threat). Unless the characters have Immunity (Mind Control; Cosmic) or Mind Shield (Cosmic), the villain is going to tear apart their minds with their illusions, even if they are robots or zombies. With Cosmic Talent 4 and IQ 16, such a villain would be rolling an average of 20 damage per turn, regardless of the Injury Tolerance of the character, unless the character also has Injury Tolerance (Cosmic).
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

The worst villain one group I was in ever faced had Appearance (Handsome), Charisma 3, Photogenic, Wealth (Filthy Rich), Propaganda-16, and Intolerance (Superheroes), even those registered in the state as private investigators (the main legal enforcement powers source for supers).

How do you fight the propaganda machine when you're built for punching foes in the face and massive property damage?
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: A super hero question { Challenging Antagonist }

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
The worst villain one group I was in ever faced had Appearance (Handsome), Charisma 3, Photogenic, Wealth (Filthy Rich), Propaganda-16, and Intolerance (Superheroes), even those registered in the state as private investigators (the main legal enforcement powers source for supers).

How do you fight the propaganda machine when you're built for punching foes in the face and massive property damage?
Well, the Illusionist would simply torture him with his own mind until he took his own life, but superheroes would definitely have trouble fighting against such an opponent. Of course, the mundane villain would probably be the unwitting puppet of a supervillain...
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