Antagonists and PvP
From WoD GothamMage Status, Camarilla Status, how we tabulate Generation, etc. that they really set players on a path that encourages PvP.
Why? Because conflict and challenges are the stuff that fuel stories. If there's no challenge, there's no reason to act and if there is no reason to act then nothing happens and if nothing happens then there's no story.
Conflict resolution of all types is at the core of every story no matter the medium. Anyone who has taken a creative writing class is aware of the big four of all literary conflicts: Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature, and Man vs Society.
When we talk about Player vs Player we are talking about player driven Man vs Man conflicts that are the creations of players.
- An excuse for wanton violence and mayhem.
- A license for players to be immature combat monkeys.
Player vs Player in World of Darkness: Gotham
Player vs Player is a great source of dramatic tension and infinite well of story hooks if players develop meaningful IC rivalries. Some intense stories are built off the relationships between protagonists and antagonists and they are just as important to your characters as their friends, lovers, and family – sometimes even more so. Understand because of this that they are critical for the life of the chat.
These Player vs Player conflicts are extremely useful to STs as we can manipulate the setting behind the scenes and use the conflicts in our stories. They give us a source of inspiration and help us to deliver plots that are more meaningful to your characters because they have a personal and emotional stake in them.
We can make up villain after villain to throw against you guys, but it will never be as meaningful without the ongoing conflicts between player characters. We can be the big baddies in the background, but you guys need to step up and be the stars.
So we need you guys not to be afraid of not getting along IC because you think that will make you unpopular OOC. WoDG staff understands that playing an antagonistic player character can get you ostracized by your fellow players. We thank you for taking the risk. To other players, you need to suck it up and be good sports when faced with antagonistic player characters. No whining about what this one did to this one or the other, etc. Whatever you do, don’t hold IC conflicts against each other OOC.
It really has no place here in WoDG and we will have a zero tolerance policy towards such shenanigans. We NEED our antagonists! In fact, when next you see an antagonist player. Give them a big hug. They need it.
On the other hand, players of antagonists need to understand that there's a difference between a compelling antagonist and a dime-store black hat. You will have to be square with it if your character is overtly antagonistic and finds other characters reacting poorly to it. Just because you are putting yourself out there, doesn't mean that others have to make their characters your doormat or automatically brain fart to help you make an implausible plan of action plausible. You're still responsible for your character like anyone else and you have to play smart.
Note: The exception to this is of course if such role play is spilling OOC into the creepy-stalker-or-sexual-predator-harassment-zone those types of situations you definitely screen shot and report ASAP.
10 Tips on Role Playing the Antagonist
- Recognize that everyone is a villain. Even the most moral of characters will do something that they aren’t proud of. All characters are flawed. While some characters are more devious and wicked than others, there are no black hats and white hats. Complex characters wear various shades of gray.
- Every villain needs a good story. Dr. Horrible and Dr. Fate didn’t become legends of villainy overnight! Ground your villain in a real and compelling story. Give your villain the awesome back story he deserves and the character motives to go along with them.
- A villain is not evil, just misunderstood! The best villains don’t think that they are villains. No villain wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee aren’t I a fearsome villain!” To the consummate villain, what they do is perfectly moral and sane. It’s everyone else who is at fault. Anything wicked they do is justified as necessary, accidental, etc.
- Avoid clichés. Twirly mustaches are so yesterday! As satisfying as the gloating monologue is when you have your protagonist in your evil clutches, why give that blasted do-gooder a chance to escape when you can just kill them and gloat over their corpse? Being an overt scumbag doesn’t make your character badass or effective. It just makes your character cheesy, obnoxious, and easy to rally more do-gooders to a hero’s banner for the purposes of disposing of your character’s stupid ass.
- Be subtle. The subtle black hat is an effective black hat. Nothing outs a villain faster than an in your face methodology. Overt twirly mustaches give those do-gooders a clear target. Nothing will kill your aspiring villain’s evil plots faster than an alert hero who sees your character’s n00bish activities coming a mile away.
- Two faces are better than one. Three faces are better than two. Villains should never be taken at face value and every villain needs at least one good façade if he’s going to be a subtle villain. A villain can even be…NICE! Inorite?! Who’d have thought? Nice villains can appear nice on the surface to dupe their marks and serve their nefarious ends. Those do-gooders won’t know what hit them!
- Be patient and develop a winning strategy! Every villain needs a winning strategy. Let’s face it, being wicked in the face of so many do-gooders is a pretty hard gig. It takes courage and tenacity to embark on a life of villainy! It also takes some brains and patience. Remember that RP article? Well it applies to the villain too! Have some patience and discipline and give your plans some time to come to fruition. Nothing spoils a prestige faster than a villain that can’t keep a lid on it because he’s overeager and impatient. What’s the point of going through all that hard work only to sabotage your own villain?
- Divide and conquer! While we’re on the subject of façades, subtlety, and strategy… A good rule of thumb is to divide and conquer. The evil mastermind that finds a way to create discord without getting caught so that those do-gooders start fighting amongst themselves is an arch villain worthy of admiration and respect from his fellows. The more those heroes fight amongst themselves, the less notice they have of you. Besides, how fun is it to watch those do-gooders destroy themselves?! Mwuhahahahahaha!
- Good does not equal stupid! The minute your villain underestimates his foe, is the moment that your villain should dig his own grave. Don't underestimate the enemy or expect them to play stupid so your villain can be more effective. Those do-gooders will RP just as hard back at your character and that’s great. As much as villains hate to admit it, villains need a good hero. After all, if we didn’t have our nemeses, who would there be left to admire our handiwork?!
- Don’t be inhibited. Letting OOC inhibitions into your acting kills a villain’s credibility. These villains live in a game whose genre is HORROR! We forget that at times. Because World of Darkness: Gotham is a RPG in the horror genre, scenes can be gruesome and deal with some pretty harsh and mature themes. It’s not for the squeamish and all the little heroes out there understand that and accept that as part of bringing characters into World of Darkness: Gotham. They are expected to handle whatever you can bring and if they don’t want to have certain depictions described in gory detail, it’s on them to let you know in their wiki pages what they prefer to fade to black. It’s not on you to guess or to hold back. The team doesn’t condone censorship so go for it! No one will judge!