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What is your idea for a villain/antagonist? Share your idea/thoughts

Corrupt-Canine

Active Member
I've been thinking about what kind of villains or antagonists there should be in a story, and what they should be like. I had an idea for a few, one that's like some Elderich Abomination creature, and another perhaps medieval.
You have any thoughts or ideas? You have some? (Music) Themes? How they're portrayed? What makes them threatening? Show me your ideas. Have an image of them? Share it.
I will put mine's here when I have more time.
 
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Casey Fluffbat

E. Fuscus from the discount section
I'm pretty good at coming up with terrifying characters. But I'm not sure if you want something with actual expression, or leaving that as an afterthought and putting the appearence of the antagonist first.
 

Corrupt-Canine

Active Member
I'm pretty good at coming up with terrifying characters. But I'm not sure if you want something with actual expression, or leaving that as an afterthought and putting the appearence of the antagonist first.
Well I'm thinking more towards details then the image.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
For the medieval idea, a great way to make the villain strike a chord with the reader/viewer is to have them garner some sympathy for their condition or their cause. It makes them relatable. To go along with that, unless you're going for some over the top evil, have them believe they're doing the right thing or are justified in their actions. Make the reader question who is really in the right, or whether they would make the same decision. It's a great way to add depth to "evil" characters.
 

Yakamaru

Woof? Woof
villains*
 

DravenDonovan

You can call me Oni~
Like what @Jarren said, making a villain who people can have a love/hate relationship with is difficult, but more appealing. No one is truly fully evil. What one person finds as an evil act, another may be able to justify it.
There could be a villain who knows that the only way to save a world is to burn it down so it can grow again, anew. There would easily be protagonists who don't want to see that happen, but not because they don't agree, deep down, that the world needs it, but because they have loved ones that they can't stand to live without.
They believe there has to be 'another way', but perhaps the villain used to be just like them, and could never find that 'other way'.
You also have the villains who have been ridiculed all their lives. Perhaps they are something that people hate, if just half of that something, and no matter what the villain does, no one would see them as anything other than their genetic makeup. So, if that is all people will see, than they might as well be what they fear.
There are assholes who are just asses for the sake of being an ass. They get power hungry and are keen to abuse said power.
Maybe even have a villain who is just evil because they lost something close to them and they want to die to be with said person, but their pride refuses for them to die any other way than the warrior way. They know if they can just piss off the wrong person(s) than someone would be able to kill them.
 

Jarren

You can't just quote yourself! -Me
Alternately, perhaps have the hero follow their own moral code and have them use it to justify (in retrospect) more and more terrible actions until, eventually, they realize they've become worse than whatever they set out to conquer and they themselves are really the villain. Just another take on the "sympathetic villain" trope.

A thing to keep in mind is that no "evil" person in history (that I'm aware of) thought of themselves as evil. Nobody wants to believe they're a monster, and the things the human mind will do to justify our own righteousness are rather fascinating. Even things WE didn't do are categorized or rationalized, if we agree with the perpetrator's point of view or the circumstances that led them to their actions. How do you think regimes like the Nazis or ISIS have gained followers or legitimacy? It's very easy to tell ourselves we'd never become that terrible, but it's easy to fall into the trap of "us vs them" or "the ends justify the means." Tapping into that is very powerful when portraying an antagonist, as it makes the reader/viewer examine themselves and see where similar emotions might exist within themselves.

@DravenDonovan brought up some good examples of how people can fall into these traps. The thing to do, though, is to not make it obvious to the audience what is happening until that particular character is too far down the rabbit hole to reasonably pull a 180. Keep in mind the character's motivation for what they do and think of what they're willing to do for it, or how they'll escalate what they're willing to do. Are they spurred by fear of something and trying to escape or destroy it? Did they lose someone or something? Is there an injustice they see or a tyrant they feel needs to be brought down? Where they wronged, or are they just broken and looking for an outlet for their pain? Use this kind of thing to your advantage so that when the protagonist meets the villain (even if it's themselves) and looks them in the eye, the observer is looking into themselves. The antagonist is ultimately human (or dragon, alien, sentient fungus, demonic, or whatever you're using for your big bad) and doesn't just sit, stagnant, plotting the demise of the hero. They're living, breathing, feeling people and they have lives and stories too.

-----

With regards to the elder evil and eldritch abomination theme, there's power in holding off the reveal. Keep the setting as grounded in reality as you are able for as long as absolutely possible, while dropping more and more hints throughout. The world should be understandable and relatable with something just slightly off. Ideally, the reader shouldn't really be able to put their finger on it at first. When the reveal comes, whether or not the observer is expecting it, something they didn't fully understand should just click. It should be important and change things fundamentally. For a good example of this, read the Dunwich Horror or the Shadow Over Innsmouth, both by H.P. Lovecraft.
 

Yakamaru

Woof? Woof
Could try doing a villain that has a questionable moral compass, and the character themselves know it. An incident occurs due to his/her moral compass that has an enormous impact on the villain, someone dying perhaps that the villain loved or were the very least a fan of, because of his/her negligence/moral compass, and instead of continuing down his/her path normally, they instead go into full depression and question themselves and their moral compass for weeks, and end up with the fact that their moral compass is wrong, and decide to turn a new leaf. No one believes them of course in the beginning, and it takes a long time and much effort to make others understand that they've genuinely changed for the better.

I enjoy these kind of stories, as it tend to take on a more unique perspective.

To quote Paarthurnax from Skyrim: "What is better, to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"
 

Zipline

Noodle Fish
"What is better, to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"
I was the second one.
are you sure?
no one would blame you if you turned back and did not try to look at my secret noodle formula
guess there is no stopping you
Back in the day I was expelled from many many schools and sent quite a few other children to the hospital. So I moved states and these days I am grossly over polite irl in an attempt to make them think I am a nice guy and have ceased "nearly" all questionable behavior. Except every few nights to a few weeks I maaaay "parkour" over fences and into areas I am not supposed to be and possibly take back an undetermined prize based on what I can carry while not looking suspicious.
usually something to do with food such as noodles preferably
 
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Yakamaru

Woof? Woof
I was the second one.
are you sure?
no one would blame you if you turned back and did not try to look at my secret noodle formula
guess there is no stopping you
Back in the day I was expelled from many many schools and sent quite a few other children to the hospital. So I moved states and these days I am grossly over polite irl in an attempt to make them think I am a nice guy and have ceased "nearly" all questionable behavior. Except every few nights to a few weeks I maaaay "parkour" over fences and into areas I am not supposed to be and possibly take back an undetermined prize based on what I can carry while not looking suspicious.
usually something to do with food such as noodles preferably
I like the latter one better, to be honest.

There's not much effort or issue with already being good. Changing oneself take a lot of effort and energy.

~Edit~
Personally I were pretty much just a prankster at times when I was a kid. Though there were morons all over I genuinely wanted to beat into oblivion for their complete and utter garbage behaviour. Good manners stopped me every time, unfortunately. Not to mention their USELESS parents that allowed their garbage behaviour, even encouraging it at times.

That shit took a 180 degree turn real fucking quick once we decided to tell our parents at the same time, and that they should do something about it, as we were sick of this crap behaviour from certain individuals. The trash ended up swapping schools in like 2 weeks afterwards, as there had been a parental meeting with the trash's parents included. Apparently the trash's parents disagreed with what they were doing was wrong, so they moved about three/four hours north of here to cause mischief. Got even more flak there from what I hear.
 
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Corrupt-Canine

Active Member
Alternately, perhaps have the hero follow their own moral code and have them use it to justify (in retrospect) more and more terrible actions until, eventually, they realize they've become worse than whatever they set out to conquer and they themselves are really the villain. Just another take on the "sympathetic villain" trope.

A thing to keep in mind is that no "evil" person in history (that I'm aware of) thought of themselves as evil. Nobody wants to believe they're a monster, and the things the human mind will do to justify our own righteousness are rather fascinating. Even things WE didn't do are categorized or rationalized, if we agree with the perpetrator's point of view or the circumstances that led them to their actions. How do you think regimes like the Nazis or ISIS have gained followers or legitimacy? It's very easy to tell ourselves we'd never become that terrible, but it's easy to fall into the trap of "us vs them" or "the ends justify the means." Tapping into that is very powerful when portraying an antagonist, as it makes the reader/viewer examine themselves and see where similar emotions might exist within themselves.

@DravenDonovan brought up some good examples of how people can fall into these traps. The thing to do, though, is to not make it obvious to the audience what is happening until that particular character is too far down the rabbit hole to reasonably pull a 180. Keep in mind the character's motivation for what they do and think of what they're willing to do for it, or how they'll escalate what they're willing to do. Are they spurred by fear of something and trying to escape or destroy it? Did they lose someone or something? Is there an injustice they see or a tyrant they feel needs to be brought down? Where they wronged, or are they just broken and looking for an outlet for their pain? Use this kind of thing to your advantage so that when the protagonist meets the villain (even if it's themselves) and looks them in the eye, the observer is looking into themselves. The antagonist is ultimately human (or dragon, alien, sentient fungus, demonic, or whatever you're using for your big bad) and doesn't just sit, stagnant, plotting the demise of the hero. They're living, breathing, feeling people and they have lives and stories too.

-----

With regards to the elder evil and eldritch abomination theme, there's power in holding off the reveal. Keep the setting as grounded in reality as you are able for as long as absolutely possible, while dropping more and more hints throughout. The world should be understandable and relatable with something just slightly off. Ideally, the reader shouldn't really be able to put their finger on it at first. When the reveal comes, whether or not the observer is expecting it, something they didn't fully understand should just click. It should be important and change things fundamentally. For a good example of this, read the Dunwich Horror or the Shadow Over Innsmouth, both by H.P. Lovecraft.
(Sorry for late reply.)
Wow, those are some very useful points for a lot of story writing. I'll keep them in mind and read more about it.
 

Tao

Hare Boi
I'm writing a fantasy novel and my villain has the same motivation as the protagonist but has different methods, believing the ends to justify the means.
 
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