Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stream of barely-conciousness - Villiany

I'd like to have a really good villain.

I want a Darth Vader (sans prequels) in my games.

Despite owning more than one tome detailing how to stick a nefarious ne'er-do-well into a game, I've never succeeded in doing so. The enemy has always been the environment, and those what dwell within it.

Wait, wait, wait...

I take that back.

I DID have a villain once. In a Travellers game.

They called him: Squa'ti Mu.

Henchmen just called him "The Mu".

He had an awesome plan, the player's had bought into it hook, line, and sinker.

Big badness. Fate of the galaxy. Betrayal. Moral dilemma. High drama.

But my players quit playing.

Was it rail-roady? I don't think so. Manipulative? Definitely.

I first decided what Mu's goal was - to become Emperor of the Known Universe - then gave him a plan to accomplish that goal. Traveller's character creation system is tailor made for inserting plot hooks into each character's background, and so before play ever began, everyone had a reason to hate him.

All I had to do was give the players an opportunity to move against him. This, of course, was something Mu anticipated, and planned for.

Plans within plans within plans within plans within plans.

I find that is hard to make players invest positive emotions in NPC's. Encouraging character's to feel fondness for an NPC is hit or miss.

Hate, however, flows easily.

Provided your characters give a shit about anything.

Just have your bad guy destroy he/she/it, and/or otherwise bomb in and shit in the player's Post Toasties.

1 comment:

  1. If I could remember even half of the awesome campaigns I've seen fall apart due to scheduling conflicts with other less important things (like employment and dating), I'd be at least 33% more bitter than previously indicated. (And would have to have consumed far less alcohol in my teens and early twenties.)

    And yes making players hate NPCs is far easier than making them love or even politely tolerate them. It's why the Darkside is lazier and easier to staff. Plus, using force lightning and mind-choking underlings... FUN!