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  1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    The Villains: What's my motivation?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Edward, Nov 28, 2007.

    In my story I've got a group of seven super powered, Machiavellian villains. They're called the Sephiroth, after the Tree of Life, the seeds of which gave them their powers. Their personal motives are diverse, though mostly based around the various ways they were shafted in a war twenty years ago.

    The problem is their group motive, the MacGuffin if you will, seems dreadfully cliche. They banded together a few years after the war to find a way to never have to fight another war again. Of course, in doing so they've created a sovereign nation and amassed an army of their own.
    [This is were the cliche starts. Though, I guess amassing an army is a cliche from the real world]
    The Sephiroth created a clone of the world's Adam and Eve to use as the keys to open the gates to Eden and become Gods and use that power to restart the world as they see fit. The main part of the story concerns the homunculus clone thing of Eve getting for lack of a better word misplaced, and the various misadventures of the guy who finds her crashed in a forest and the other people who want to keep her away from the increasingly desperate bunch of superpowered crazies.

    The problem is that destroying the world seems so cliche, but there's not much else I can think of that would be cause to keep the girl away from them. Even if you look like someone's dead daughter, they aren't going to be willing to put their life on the line just so that you don't have to do something less than bring about the apocalypse. Which, the apocalypse always seems to be the root of most every epic fantasy tale and their mother.

    The characters separately aren't that bad, each is loosely based on one of the Seven Sins, and all of them have their own reasons for wanting a new world to be created: One lost everything he owned because of the war, one was raped and set on fire by soldiers, one had her family killed, one was paralyzed, one was soldier who lost his entire troop, one's the clone of the Adam type, and one's just a drug addict and sociopath (every group needs one). It's just as a whole that the problem arises.
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I personally don't mind cliches to an extent (Just needs a twist to make it different).

    I think that the way you have it set up is interesting and good enough, with the religious allusions and references. Without more detail, or actual writing you won't be able to tell if it really seems cliche but to me I think its perfectly fine. Destroy the world is classic and my favorite kind of evil scheme.

    I might add, the term Sephiroth and the ten parts of the tree of life, comes from the Kabbalah, which Jewish. The Seven Deadly Sins are Christian. The Kabbalah is usually not considered part of Christian doctirine and likewise the New Testement is not recognized in Jewish canon. More so, there are only Seven Deadly Sins and ten parts to Sephiroth. It seems odd (Factually and numerically) to mix the two together. Don't let that diswade you though. Its a minor thing and I think putting them together makes the story more interesting.
     
  3. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Have it that they don't want to destroy the world so much. Sure they'll change it but they might actually make it for the better, and most people won't cease to exist.
    Just the people who piss them off.
    The person or persons who find Eve, accidentally pissed them off. Now if he/they want to survive they have to thwart the evil guys plans.
    So when the bad guys are telling everyone how good the world will be when they make some tweaks they mean it. The world will be paradise. Unless you got in their way, in which case all bets are off.
    And they hold grudges.
     
  4. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Yeah, I did mix a lot of religious references in there. Besides the two heads being Kether and Tiffereth, the references to the actual Sephiroth are just it being the physical tree. The others are named after Christian angels, except for the clone, who's named after Ask from Norse mythology (though after a few annoying things, I changed his name to Ash).

    Actually, I noticed after a while that all the villains are Judeo-Christian in design, and all the heroes are
    Norse in design. It was unintentional, but I like it. I did add a few on either side though.

    Well, that's sort of how I have it, they'll be making the world a better place, but to do so they'll end up killing a lot of people, and have already done quite a lot of killing (this forms a subplot, Ash starts feeling sorrow for the various wetwork he's done for Kether. Which, in turn makes Ash's nursemaid and lover launch Embla out of an escape pod in an effort to keep her away from them)

    That still doesn't seem insanely cliche?
     
  5. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Here's a theory. It's not the cliche-level of the villain that matters, it's how the major characters react- if they clench their ever so many jaws and take up the Big Gun of Bullet Shooting and go to war in reply, that makes the cliche nasty. If, however, they decide not to fight back- to just survive and try to keep the Eve-Clone alive, fighting a running battle against an enemy that cannot be beaten (I'd make the assumption that these Sepiroth are going to be along the lines of Forces of Nature instead of people), then you might have something interesting.

    Here's an idea. Try and line up the characters under some system of their own- you've got three major characters (the hero, Eve, and the Sepiroth group); perhaps modelling them off of some three-part system would help you to de-cliche them. For example, my flavour of the month is the Id-Ego-Superego group. Sepiroth could be based on Wants, the Eve on Feelings and the hero on Thoughts. You know. Multiple readings of any text- always good.

    By the way, you can reconcile the Seven-Ten thing by placing three major characters in the other three slots- there is a set of Three Virtues you could use: Faith, Charity and Hope (there are other virtues but those form one set) which I know slot into the tree somewhere. Keep messing with it; it'll fall into place eventually.
     
  6. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I like B-Gas's idea.

    Maybe you could have some sort of internal dissention within Sepiroth itself where one or two of them start killing the others to steal their powers?
     
  7. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, mostly they don't. Only one character wants to cut straight to the killing, and that's because Raphael of the Sephiroth caused him to go into a berserker rage and kill his own family. Mostly it's survival with the occasional aid from an army when there's a reason to.
    Nah, I'm actually fine with the Sephiroth group only being seven generals. There are more to the group, they're just people who don't matter. The Engels (the private army they've assembled) are about 3,000,000 strong. Besides, Faith, Charity, and Hope don't really fit with the Seven Sins.
    Well, there's no Sylar or anything, but there is some dissension amongst them. Raphael (the one based on Gluttony) is a sadist who enjoys manipulating people, Ash hates what he does and hates Kether to the point of outright violence (Ash is Wrath), Raziel (greed) doesn't actually care about anything but Cassiel (the Sloth one. She's paralyzed...) and what he owns, Tiffereth (Lust) only wants Kether to love her (Which, he does, but she just thinks it's because she has the power of... infatuation), Uriel (Envy) is nihilistic and uses her powers to cause grief due to little more than schadenfreude, and last but not least, Kether (Pride) is a tortured bastard who sits up many sleepless nights due to a) wondering if he's doing the right thing b) if the world even deserves to be 'saved' instead of outright destroyed and c) because Sephiroth is like an airplane that's being held together not by rivets and welding, but with duct tape and string.


    At one point I was going to have a second, shadowy group called the Aesir who were ex patriot Gods, and the whole thing with the Sephiroth becoming gods was just so that the Sephiroth would open the gates to Eden for them and the Aesir could return home, not caring much about what they'd leave behind (when the cats are away, the mice will play). But that's convoluted even for me.
     
  8. chaoserver
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    If you make a plot sound like more than destroying the world(better yet if you don't say verbatim that the world will be destroyed) your all set I think. If the individual motivations are believable the motivation of the whole will be as well.
     
  9. ANT (Bar YOSEF)
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    ANT (Bar YOSEF) Contributing Member

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    It sounds intresting. Could another motivation be to be worshipped maybe???
     

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