1. ocean blue

    ocean blue New Member

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    writing a fantasy villain

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ocean blue, May 17, 2018.

    Hi! New member here!
    (Please feel free to let me know if I've made some mistake in where I put this thread, or how I tagged it, or anything like that. I'm still learning the ropes.)

    I'm writing a fantasy story (just for fun, basically; I don't plan on publishing or anything) and I'd like some outside feedback on the main villain. The entire premise of the story is (intentionally) pretty generic and stereotypical, so I'm not overly concerned about making him SUPER original and unlike anything ever seen before, but I'd also like to avoid making him flat and predictable.

    I should probably preface this with a brief explanation of my fantasy universe's magic system. Basically, magic is based on probability: whether or not someone is magical is entirely random, and the magic works by simply causing EXTREMELY unlikely events to happen spontaneously. If that makes any sense.
    Magic is highly "chaotic" and will often (but not always) drive a person insane if they are born with its power. Such a person is known as a "chaos magician" (working name). They are highly unpredictable and have utterly no conscience, making them very dangerous.

    Anyway, here goes:

    The main villain is a chaos magician, but not just an ordinary one. He's a Nightmare, (another working name) which means he can enter people's minds and control their thoughts. Such a creature is extremely dangerous, and extremely rare; a Nightmare has not been seen for nearly one hundred years.
    But this is where he starts to become kind of uninteresting: his main goal is to destroy the entire world... and that's about it. Where's the depth? What's his motivation? I want something more interesting than just "he's crazy!"

    Any thoughts? What might drive a person with extraordinary magical powers to try and kill everyone he knows, including himself? Even if he has no conscience and enjoys causing pain, I can't see him sacrificing his own life to achieve his goals.

    By the way, this character's name is Corravessh. I think it sounds pretty sinister, but if you have any thoughts on that, please let me know.

    Thanks for bearing with my pretentious and uneducated attempt at a new thread!
     
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  2. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Senior Member

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    First of all, welcome to the forum! I've enjoyed my short stay here and I hope you will as well.

    Secondly, I've always been a fan of the fanatical villain, someone who is so dedicated to one single thing that they're willing to do just about anything to see it through. For yours, I can see the villain believing that magic is the root of all evil and it must be completely eradicated, or some variation of that. For example, Syndrome from The Incredibles, who believed that Supers needed to be destroyed and that everyone should be able to have a super power or two; as well as this one villain that I can't remember that believed that super heroes were stunting the growth of humanity and that they needed to be destroyed. So maybe try that and see how you like it?

    Anyway, good luck!
     
  3. Subject24

    Subject24 Member

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    Maybe giving him a past would help. Corravessh had some sort of troubled past that twisted his heart and mind into a deranged lunatic bent on the destruction of all life everywhere. Expirimented on because of his powers/abused made fun of by his parenta, classmates, people of society/ possibly taught by some sort of manevolent teachers of the dark arts to hate things... Idk, he could have a million reasons to hate the world. Just would need to find one that fits for what you want from him in the story

    That history would also be good for developing how exactly he got his powers, and what his powers are..
     
  4. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    Maybe he was raised by a culture that glorified violence and "going out in a blaze of glory," but he's alienated everyone around him and been alienated from them in return, leaving him with a desire to fight to the death against the world but nobody in the world for him to fight for?

    Maybe the culture promised that he was entitled to special treatment ("Men are human beings, women are almost-human-shaped arm candy and bed candy, men are allowed to sleep around but women are not, and Alpha men are able to seduce a different virgin every night, even though this leaves the Beta men with only 'low-quality' women who don't save themselves for one man the way they're supposed to"), but he has not been given the "things" he was promised because the world doesn't work that way, and he's angry at the world for making him promises that it isn't keeping?

    Maybe when people that his society have deemed "like him" commit mass murder, the society's thoughts and prayers go out to the perpetrator – "he was such a good, quiet boy" "how he could've been driven to do this is a mystery" "people should've been nicer to him" – instead of to the victims? Especially when people deemed "not like him" are branded as subhuman thugs whether they're the perpetrator of violence or the victim?

    This isn't as unrealistic as it sounds.
     
  5. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Senior Member

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    While I believe that a good chunk of that response should be in a political part of the forum instead of what is meant to be more neutral, this is actually a pretty good idea.

    Like, imagine the villain found out that they were a Nightmare, as you call it, and decided that he had no choice but to become a villain? I'm all for free will, but peer pressure's a bitch. So, the main story of this kind of villain would focus around his desire to be shown respect/affection/etc., but eventually gave up and deciding to take that respect/affection/etc. by force. It even kind of makes sense. If you consider that this particular type of magician would inherently be mentally unstable, it could totally make sense that frustration at the world for spurning him for no good reason could cause him to want to destroy it.
     
  6. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    what about having the villain not thinking he's the villain? That he can't help but go into peoples thoughts. Perhaps this is just a subconscious reaction they have? Over time, people start fighting back through their thoughts kind of a bit like when snape teaches harry to fight back when voldamort enters his thoughts? Then he realises that people are turning on him which drives him to become the villain?
     
  7. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    My favorite motivation for world ending is:

    "People are (negative adjective) and the only way to make a perfect world is to get rid of them."

    And of course the perfect world motivation lets him wanting himself gone to make sense, because he used unclean methods to create his world.
     
  8. Azuresun

    Azuresun Active Member

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    Maybe the world needs to be destroyed (from his point of view) for everyone's good? Here's some takes on it I've seen done semi-convincingly.

    From the RPG Feng Shui: The Jammers want to destroy chi, regarding it as a malevolent force that eliminates free will and makes it possible for tyrants to utterly dominate the world. Succeeding in their goal might destroy the world or turn everyone into soulless zombies, the Jammers think it's worth the risk.

    From Dark Souls: The Age of Fire has been extended well past the point where it should have expired, and unnaturally extending it is causing a deep rot in the world that's making everything degenerate in a long, painful decline. One of the possible endings is to mercy-kill the world in the hope that whatever follows, it can't be worse than the way things are right now.

    From the webcomic Order of the Stick: The world is under threat from a spatial anomaly which threatens to utterly unmake everything. Some of the gods are arguing that it would be better to destroy the world in an apocalypse so that it can be remade (and the souls of the mortals killed will be delivered to their afterlives), instead of risking utter annihilation.

    From the RPG Mage: The Ascension. Humans are awakening en masse to their magical potential, and the fabric of reality can't handle that many people reshaping it at once. The player characters are actually the ones trying to destroy the world, so it can safely fly apart into multiple small realities that can handle all of these awakened wills. The villain seeks to stall the process, so the new world will be stillborn.
     
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  9. ocean blue

    ocean blue New Member

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    It's funny that you mention a "culture that glorified violence" because ever since my earliest my earliest conception of this character, he's been part of a warlike desert civilization (loosely based off of both the Gerudo from the Legend of Zelda franchise and the Fremen from Dune).

    This could definitely be a part of his story: he was brought up thinking that violence was normal, and the best way to get what he wanted. But now the world has turned against him; he's seen as a monster, and forced to live in isolation. Cultural systems of honor demand that he use violence to defend his name, but how do you use violence against an entire social system that treats you as subhuman?

    In Corravessh's demented eyes, there's nothing left for him to do but destroy everything and everyone he knows. The world has denied him the right to walk as a free man, so the world has to pay. He's got basically nothing to lose, so he's willing to sink the metaphorical ship even if he has to go down with it.

    (He's already in immense pain. Maybe he can't cure that pain, but at the very least he can make the whole world feel it, too. And if he dies trying--well, death is hardly worse than what he's got right now.)
     
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  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Ever since I first heard this song, I've spent years trying to create a character around it:

    I think you just did :)
     
  11. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    "You don't really understand an antagonist until you understand why he's a protagonist in his own version of the world." Came across this quote early on in my writing process and love it. Put yourself in his head. Maybe he doesn't think what he's doing is bad. Maybe he sees destroying the world as good, as saving it somehow.
     
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  12. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    Bit like Thanos in Marvel's infinity wars? or raz-el-guld in batman dark night?
     
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  13. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Exactly.
     
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  14. raine_d

    raine_d Active Member

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    The thing to remember is that no real (or believable fictional) character believes that what they are doing, or intend to do, is actually evil; their reasons may be twisted, but even the most monstrous people in history genuinely though they were doing what was right (belief, of course, is absolutely no excise).

    He wants to destroy the world? Why? What are his reasons for thinking this is the right (or at least most desirable) thing to happen?
     
  15. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Does anyone have any actual evidence that no bad deed is ever done as an intentionally bad deed? Do you think there aren't any people who don't recognize that their actions are selfish and or cruel?
     
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  16. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Senior Member

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    Bowser knows that he's the bad guy. Just let that one sink in. :p
     
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  17. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    These people do exist in real life, but they are the dumb criminal who get caught in a day or two. In both stories and real life, the mastermind/kingpin usually thinks that they are the good guy.
     
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  18. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I think the sentiment is more accurate as "most people don't believe their actions are evil". There are people who will recognize the deed is bad, but rationalize it as being for positive ends. There are people who revel in evil. And there are people who reject the idea of good and evil, and people being such, entirely.
     
  19. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Member

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    I would guess the simplest way is to say that he's been into so many people's heads and seen all the rot that he's convinced there's nothing but rot in the world and that by destroying it he will end the suffering that takes place in the world. No more people will have to be poor, suffer abuse or live in grief after senseless catastrophies wrecking their lives. No more suffering, no more pain, just peaceful tranquility.
     
  20. ocean blue

    ocean blue New Member

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    A lot of people have followed the path of "he's doing it for the greater good of the world" (or at least what he thinks is the greater good) which I really like. But I also like the idea of him just taking his anger out on the world for the way it's treated him, so I don't see him really justifying his actions with "I'm doing this for the betterment of humanity". He doesn't care about "balance" or "saving the world" or "ending suffering". He just wants revenge.
     
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  21. GrJs

    GrJs Member

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    You could have him sane at the beginning and slowly self destruct bringing everyone around him down with him. Perhaps he’s struggling with the insanity and trying to stay sane but what he is, is giving people a reason to treat him like shit and the more he descends into madness the more people reject him and he acts out because he really just wants help but nobody wants to even try and the more unstable he gets the more his retaliation becomes more encompassing until it seems logical for him to destroy everyone because they’re the problem, not him.

    To contrast this, you could show at the beginning a scene of him getting discriminated against and at first accepting it, then another it causes anger but he does nothing, then a small petty escalation and so on and so forth. Until he burns the world.

    Make it about his journey down the rabbit hole rather than finding a reason he wants to destroy everything. It just gradually becomes an acceptable idea as he fails to fight the insanity. Tell us his story.

    Or, think about all this and have a protagonist who doesn’t understand why he’s doing what he is but decides to stop him regardless. If he doesn’t have a definable goal then you’ve got a very unpredictable villain on your hands. But if your protagonist was a friend.... :( (I made myself sad thinking that last one)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  22. Beloved of Assur

    Beloved of Assur Member

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    Indeed. While "viligante takes revenge" kind of stories are popular the author could also make a different twist in that the viligante takes a revenge that's really over-the-top and becoming as bad or worse than the people who mistreated him from the start. If you're so inclined you could run with a kind of "vengeance is not justice" kind of theme to the story. No matter how many bad guys the antagonist kills, he never gets back what he lost, and no matter how careful he is, the body count of innocents and bystandars just continue to rise as he continues with his personal crusade for vengeance that should heal his wounds, but they never seem to heal no matter who much bad guy blood he sheds.
     
  23. ocean blue

    ocean blue New Member

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    That's a good idea. Because I don't see my villain just waking up one day and deciding to kill everyone. He slowly slides down the slippery slope of "accepting the discrimination" to "anger at his tormentors" to "small petty acts of vengeance" and before long he's wound up at "murder" and not long after that "destroying the world".

    This parallels his descent into madness as his mind is slowly consumed.
     
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  24. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Guess it depends on how you define "bad." I know that I have personally, once or twice in my life, said something hurtful as revenge for something and been glad that I was hurtful. In those cases where I didn't need to set an aggressive boundary because I could walk away with no ill effect on my life, I still said what I said.

    I heard someone talking about Jung's idea on the shadow, and how the shadow reaches all the way down into hell, for all of us.

    It's easy for me to imagine someone else acting out what I described with more than words, or with less cause, because of some rationalization that protects their own sense of self worth. A lot of criminals have FANTASTIC self-esteem.

    I don't know you.

    I don't even know your name.

    You deserve it because of ___.

    You deserve it because you are ___.

    You deserve it because you are reaping the benefits of ___.

    It would have happened anyway.
     
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  25. ocean blue

    ocean blue New Member

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    True. My antagonist's idea of vengeance slowly changes from "revenge on the specific people who tormented him as a child" to "killing everyone he knows, because they're all responsible (in his mind) for supporting the corrupt social system that treats him as subhuman".

    He commits larger and larger crimes against the world that has treated him so unjustly, but they never seem to grant him any sense of retribution or revenge. By the time he's decided to send the world up in flames, he's lost the ability to recognize that he's become a greater evil than the unforgiving world that created him. If that makes any sense at all.
     

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