In the Immortal words of Henry Galley on episode 146 of the Digital and Dice Podcast: "To make a villain, write a protagonist. And then make him a cunt."
Using this idea as a foundation, we can build on it to design villainous characters that are compelling and relatable. As Henry also mentions, most the best villains are flawed. They're human, at least in some regard. While they may be werewolves or demons, they still have some spark of familiarity with humanity that is somewhat sympathetic, even if it is twisted and warped beyond recognition.
Looking at the character of Mr. Strings, (which was featured on the first episode of the SGO files,) we see that one of his defining features is a sort of perverse kindness. A decidedly unwholesome friendliness. But the core trait is that friendliness. So twisted and warped that it becomes horrific. Mr. Strings just wants to have friends. What's so wrong about that? And hey, he's good with kids, so that's another positive trait he has going for him.
While we could easily pick a human vice and blow it out of proportion to make a typical villain, I think it would be more interesting to follow Mr. Galley's line of thought and make good people and then take their positive traits and push them into a place of darkness. On that note, I'll be using the model of the seven heavenly virtues to paint one potential path for villainly. Without further adieu, let's begin:
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. For those who are interested in reading further, I suggest checking out the article "Character Development- Fall From Grace" on my personal blog to explore the road characters might take to transition into evil. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.