August 30, 2003

Game WISH 62

Perverse Access Memory: WISH 62: My Favorite Villains

Ginger asks:
Describe three of your favorite villains from campaigns you�ve played in or GMed. What makes them good villains? Why are they your favorites?

A good villain can make or break a RPG game. Sure, the PCs are (usually) the heroes...but its the mustache twirling villain (or if you prefer, the Lady DeWinter) who brings them back again and again and again.

And considering the wide range of games I've run and been in...its tough to pick three, but I will give it a stab.


Dara, from Dreams Made Flesh..
In this con game I ran back at ACUS 2001, Dara had warped time and space to her own ends, using Tir as a means to do it. The Player Characters found themselves with unexpected mates, and Dara on the Throne of Amber.

Oh, but it was such fun! Far from being a stereotypical villainess, Dara was genuinely concerned for the well-being of her modified realm...those mates being a means to unite Chaos and Amber (since they were all Chaosians). Little details, too, like having poor Corwin on a leash behind the throne were just too rich to ignore. Until Ad Astra came along, it was the only ACUS game that the players expressed any interest in a sequel (although, sadly, its not likely to happen...but I might re-run it one day).

Umbrood, from Empire of the Gleaming Banner.

Okay, so its not a villain in the singular sense. But as an adversary...anything which can give me nightmares months later is a visceral opponent to face. Inhuman, alien, almost Borg-like in its desire to consume and assimilate all opposition, the Umbrood forever marked Archard when he encountered them. I also like to think his skills and abilities in Dreaming received a boost by the desperation engendered in trying to discern and foil their plots, as they were far more visible in that realm, than in the waking world.

Omphalos, from Strange Bedfellows

Yes, here I toot my own horn again, but I like to think that I've created a memorable Villain in the universe-spanning conquerors known as the Omphalos.

Multifaceted, long-term planning, antagonistic, and extremely skilled, the Omphalos have ranged across the entire map of my game, and remain as an omnipresent threat. I gleefully tied in a backstory by a character who mentioned she had been hounded by a NPC for a long time...and made him into an Omphalos forward scout. And the encounters with them, in their world and without, have been dramatic. Forest fires in Arden...swordplay and derring-do in the Black Zone...illusion and mysticism in an encounter with a Chaosian...and of course the Omphalos world itself, an amalgam of magic and technology in uneasy co-existence.

The name, though, is perhaps not my best choice, since many players...and even at least one player character, has referred to them as the "Oompa Loompas".

But SB would not be SB without them. And the PCs haven't even really met the *real* Omphalos heavy hitters...yet.

Posted by Jvstin at August 30, 2003 11:29 PM