View Full Version : Favorite villain types

2007-11-15, 09:16 PM
What kinds of villains do you guys like to see, either through movies, books, videogames, or your own writing?

Personally, I've always thought "chessmaster" or "puppeteer" type villains were awesome, and those are the kind that I usually write.

One that I'm currently working on (I'm not gonna get too specific, 'cause I might eventually post the story on these boards) is a brilliant planner, manipulating events on a national or even international level so he can achieve his (slightly humbler) objective. And this is all without the assistance of any powerful object or macguffin.

So what are your favorite kinds of villains?

The Extinguisher
2007-11-15, 09:27 PM
I like a variety, but my all time favourite is when the villian is the hero.
I don't mean dark and brooding or anti-hero, I mean when the hero of the story is the villian.

But I've also been a fan of the evil empire as well.

2007-11-16, 12:09 AM
I like the insane over the top evil villains of all varieties.

2007-11-16, 12:14 AM
Insane over the top evil chessmasters for me.

2007-11-16, 12:57 AM
Magnificent bastard 4evar.

2007-11-16, 01:07 AM
I prefer Magnificent Bastards as Heroes.

2007-11-16, 02:58 AM
Insane villians. Could even be minor insanity, but it's the bloodthirsty, creepy, psychotic villains that send shivers down my spines and delight my every nerve. (Examples include Gaara of the Desert (Before redemption) and Mayuri Kurotsuchi)

You know the ones I mean...they don't just make you hate them...they make you worried whenever a favorite character of yours gets near them, because you KNOW something horrible will most likely happen to said character or maybe even just plain out kill them. Bonus points if they make everyone around them scared or actually scare you.

Though I'll admit puppetmaster is nice too.

2007-11-16, 03:06 AM
I like it when the villain is an abstract concept, rather than a person

If the villain is a person I like it best when you don't know who they are till the last moment.

2007-11-16, 03:23 AM
I like tragic villains that you can sympathise with - ones where they have what could be regarded as a noble objective and their actions from their perspective can be justified, but somewhere their character flaws cause them to cross the line somewhere. I like it if when you put yourself in the shoes of the villain you could easily see yourself going down the same path.

Redclock would be a prime example from Order of the Stick (which is why he's my favourite character).

2007-11-16, 03:26 AM
Well, I like my villains smart...but then again, I like all character types smart.
I guess I also have a thing for villains that are not completely bad. Much better to have a bad guy with some amount of goodness in him. Keeps things interesting.

2007-11-16, 03:26 AM
Magnificent Bastard (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagnificentBastard). Proving that if you are stylish enough, the crowd will you love despite near anything you do.

Also, I tend to like The Chessmaster (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheChessmaster), Manipulative Bastard (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ManipulativeBastard) and Master Of Illusion (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MasterOfIllusion). Basically, any villain who tend to screw people without any direct confrontation. To quote The Song Of Ice And Fire: "Which is more dangerous, the dagger you see or the hidden one?".

2007-11-16, 03:50 AM
I have always been a fan of the grand masquerade. When the 'mian villian' is a trusted friend, or even your superior. Such often tend to be working for what they see is right, but using unethical means to achieve it...or trying to do good, but have to cover past association...whatever the story.

When the king's advisor is taken away in chains for helping to start a war, he is a spy...characters might wonder after a while why he was never executed...then they later learn that the whole war...in fact plenty of the wars was the king's idea...his way of cleaning out overpopulation to avoid a famine while at the same time clearing out dangerous rivals, blooding the army, and creating a booming war industry. Without the wars, the kingdom might have fallen into a slow rot and crumbled under dispair, but through manipulated war and many assasinated as pretense and to keep secrecy...the kingdom went through 'trying times, but came out strong.

That is probably why I always loved Kingpin, Luthor, and other villians that were right there...masterminding everything, capable themselves, and trusted by just about everyone..until they found out.

Kinda like 24 season 5...oh snap, the secretary is in on it...he's plotting behind the president's back...oh tripple crap...the president is in on the plan. (next season)...oh Mother %$#%$#, you mean the guys who got away were with his brother...and his dad?

2007-11-16, 03:52 AM
I like Knight Templars (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main.KnightTemplar). There is something really interesting in a villain who works for a cause he believes to be righteous.

2007-11-16, 04:14 AM
I like Knight Templars (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main.KnightTemplar). There is something really interesting in a villain who works for a cause he believes to be righteous.

yes...a good 'villian' type...few things are as scary as someone who will do anything 'for the greater good'...for such a person, your well being, or even the well being of millions is outweighed by the potential good of others in the long run.

2007-11-16, 04:50 AM
I like a variety, but my all time favourite is when the villian is the hero.
I don't mean dark and brooding or anti-hero, I mean when the hero of the story is the villian.

Me too.

In fact it's part of a story I'm thinking of, where a Villains guild consisting of a female Overlord, an eight-year old child prodigy and a lazy and apathetic mage go on a romp across the land to screw up the world as they can.

I generally like villains that have a sense of humor and yet is capable of some good ol' fashion evil (that's why Xykon's one of my favorite characters from anywhere).

Villains that are capable of doing tasks themselves through brute force but instead use either style, trickery or get others to do it earn a few badass points in my opinion.

2007-11-16, 05:37 AM
Oh...probably one of my all time favortite villians...The Mayor of Sunnydale from Buffy the Vampire slayer in season 3.

He was an evil Mr. Rogers...man I loved that guy...

2007-11-16, 05:48 AM
I prefer the no nonsense types who won't rant away their world plans at the supposedly "captured" hero but rather plant a piece of lead between the heroes eyes.

Realistic heroes are the best.

Ed Sigma
2007-11-16, 06:27 AM
I like the utterly ammoral mad scientist type, like Baron Frankenstein as played by Peter Cushing in the Hammer films, the sort who are only interested in their project, and just want to see it through, and just don't care about what morally dubuious things they have to do, how many lives get ruined or who they have to murder to see it to success. Of course, this often comes with the point that they don't always think through the long term consequences and as such karma ends up biting them on the arse in the form of their own creations, a nicely satisfying way of ending it.

Mad Mask
2007-11-16, 07:20 AM
Like Trazoi, I like tragic villains. For example, a woman that lost her husband and want to avenge him, killing everyone in her way. Or a noble who will goes out of lenght to find the cure for his little daughter. Or a loved one that kills everyone that threaten the hero (even imagined threats).

2007-11-16, 07:43 AM
I've always had a soft spot for the Evil Counterpart, the "there but for the grace of God" type. Faith, Martel, someone-from-every-anime-in-existence-but-especially-Knives...no Mirror Universe types, though. That's cheating.

2007-11-16, 08:44 AM
I prefer my villians to be holy crusader types. Not those out just for power, but who actually are seeking to do good....just a little misguided.

2007-11-16, 09:00 AM
Hateable is the main requirement, and style I take on a case-by-case basis. I'm big on Magnificent Bastards, but the plain sadists - Kefka, Bellatrix - come to the forefront as well.

2007-11-16, 12:33 PM
I'm a fan of the Chessmaster/Planner archetype...the ending of Watchmen still gives me chills to think about how smart The Villain (don't want to drop any spoilers) has been.

I also like the "we used to roll, then he went crazy" villains--Grindelwald from Harry Potter is one of the first that springs to mind.

2007-11-16, 12:45 PM
Magnificent Bastards, by their very nature, are among the most excellent villains. Panache is a vital commodity for any character

The villains who believe themselves the hero are generally the most dangerous--the Operative being a case in point. Often goes hand in hand with the Affably Evil type.

And of course, villains who are at least a bit Genre Savvy are always a delight--as are the ones who are deliberately Genre Blind.

2007-11-16, 01:00 PM
The absolute insane to the point beyond human understanding are always fun
I also like the magnificant bastard.

The most interesting villains for my taste though, are the ones you can almost see yourself turning into if put in the same situation.

2007-11-16, 01:05 PM
Villains like The Operative in Serenity.

2007-11-16, 02:57 PM
the only villians I like is the sexy-dressinleather-female villians

2007-11-17, 05:49 PM
I like villains who are venal, physical, and laid back by nature. One of the best examples of this is Sabretooth, the villain from X-Men and the archenemy of Wolverine. He's powerful and cunning, but has no real ambition other than to enjoy himself (by slaughtering people, hence his profession as an assassin). That isn't to say I only like that one type of villain; pretty much all the different kinds you can think of have something to recommend them. Something about a guy who's strong but unambitious and lives only for his own pleasure is compelling, though. (Tetsuo from Akira is another example. He's got the virtual power of a god, but does nothing with it other than to take obscene amounts of drugs and capture unfortunate girls for his own debauchery.)

I pretty rarely play villains in RPGs, but when I do they tend to be this type. Whatever their powers, they'd rather use them for immediate gratification than do something as bothersome as take over a kingdom or run a criminal empire. They tend to live moment-to-moment, doing whatever they wish but sometimes living by a personal code of honor or pride.

2007-11-17, 06:02 PM
I like villains that aren't totally evil, or can be liked or even seen as an almost moral person, if not for big flaws. Like Magneto, or Dr. Doom. Sure they twisted, black, deformed hearts, but at least they have them.

Magneto was a jew who survived the Holocaust. Dr. Doom treats his people well, even if he does it through a police state.

2007-11-17, 11:39 PM
First, I like the ones who are arguably right. Light in Death Note, for example; he's murdering a lot of people, but he may be able to wipe out crime entirely. The Operative in Serenity, as mentioned before, is the same way.

Second, I like the untouchable slaughter-god types. That is to say, the ones who massacre people and run away before anyone can come after them. The Cyborg Ninja from Metal Gear Solid is arguably an example of this.

Dave Rapp
2007-11-18, 12:19 AM
Well let's see...

You've got your soldier villain. The ones that fights the hero with his fists (metaphorically, of course). They're cool and all. If you make them powerful enough, you get to the point where you worry for the hero any time the soldier villain is around. But they also get old, and fast. Eventually the soldier villain has to die, or else they just get boring. These, I like. They're your Darth Vaders, your Agents, your General Geviouses, your Nazguls, your Death Eaters... you get the idea. Every story needs a cool Soldier villain but they're not really enough for a whole story.

Then you've got the behind-the-scenes chessmaster. The one manipulating all the soldier villains, and sometimes the heros as well. They're the real threat, but you have to keep them secret from the audience until it's time for them to go... because the hero never meets the chessmaster face-to-face more than once, or else they just become soldier villains. For this reason I don't like behind-the-scenes chessmasters. This is Palpatine, Moriarty,

Then you've got your Satans. The villains who are too big, too powerful, too bad for the hero to take down. They just have to deal with them, and do their best to stay alive. You don't beat a Satan. Either you help a bigger hero to defeat a Satan, or you find and exploit the Satan's one weakness with the help of your friends. Satans are you Saurons, your Death Stars, your... I dunno, Apokarimon. The problem is that some writers end up pitting the Hero against the Satan at the end, which turns them into some kind of mutant Chessmaster/Soldier hybrid. Satans are only cool when handled properly. I can't stand it when a writer messes up a cool Satan!

I'm really just thinking aloud, so disregard all the above. My favorite villain type? The personal archnemesis. The one that the hero despises and somewhat loses control when fighting. The one that drives the Hero to rage and stuff. Basically the villain that almost makes (or actually does make) the Hero lose what makes them a hero. Best example I can think of is The Joker.

2007-11-18, 02:22 AM
Personally, as my first writing of a villain, I have chosen a misguided, slightly insane megalomaniac with an entire world of machinery literally at his beck and call:smallamused:, but I am not making him personally high power enough to definitely take down my hero every time. I like my villains as people, who are either misguided, hard-done-by or made insane by life circumstances, especially when a writer pits them against heroes that are the opposite side of the same coin. Traumatic life, but either righteous or accepting (and slightly cynical) rather than self-righteous and revenge-bent.

The other must in a villain is that she/he/it has the ability to make the hero cry. Whether in fear or shame or whatever, they have to have the ability to make the hero feel something big and gut-wrenching. But that's just my view.:smallsmile:

The cold, calculating, manipulative b****rd is also cool.

The Extinguisher
2007-11-18, 03:12 AM
The Operative in Serenity, as mentioned before, is the same way.

I liked The Operative because he knew what he did and was were completly evil and made no attempt to conceal or stop them. He did do it for the greater good, but he never once thought he was doing good because of his goals. That takes some level of malice and badassery.

Although I do like the ambigious villian types. The type that don't seem villian, and are possibly the good guys in the whole thing. I do that often when writing governments and corporations. They seem vaguely evil to the protagonists, but they could just as well be the good guys.

2007-11-18, 05:10 AM
I think I like the slightly insane cessmaster type the most, who plans everything for a higher scheme, but when he reveals it everyone is like "wait, you were doing this all for what?".

Oh, the Magnificient Bastard is also great, especially if you combine these two types.

2007-11-18, 06:02 AM
Grey villains. Villains who actually have a motive, and who aren't all simple and evil. If you get what I mean.

2007-11-18, 02:11 PM
Yeah, I like all types of Anti-Villian, with a nice dose of Chessmasters.

2007-11-18, 02:21 PM
I like 2 kinds of villains best and both are Chessmasters--behind the scenes, managing everything, the most you ever get is a name and maybe an occasional appearance without much personal power.

The 1st Chessmaster I like is the Gray one. The heroes finally get to the bottom of who is running the show, manage to find the big bad guy, and when they hear about what the villain's trying to do, they've got a real choice to make. Better still if they're tragic figures and a little bit warped.

The 2nd one is the cold-hearted, sociopathic, sadistic, pretty damn warped Chessmaster. Maybe in the past he had morals, but if he wanted to survive he had to do away with them. I love the villain whose main motive is making the hero suffer, not because he hates him, not because he's been ruining his plans to make the world a better place, but because he enjoys it.

2007-11-19, 09:38 AM
The chessmaster is a great type, but the truly marvellous villains are the ones who can't conceive of doing anything else.

Take, for instance, The Riddler from Batman. He started out for revenge, but now his villainy is performed (and performed is the word) simply for the love of the game between him and Batman.

For a slightly mind blowing thought; for an opponent who can play at that level, if Batman didn't exist, it would be necessary for the Riddler to invent him.