Share your best experiences with MU* villains/antagonists here!
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum/please move it to the right one if it is in the wrong one!
I'm curious about people's experiences with antagonistic/villainous characters here. This is specifically about individual characters, not necessarily enemy groups or an antagonist plotline, though those may also apply.
Was it a GM/DM/ST character, or maybe a player ST character, or another PC?
Was it a one-off scene, or a chapter, or maybe a full story?
What was the most memorable thing about the character?
What made the experience great ICly?
Did anything make the experience great OOCly?
Do you wish anything was done differently, or feel like it could have been an improved experience?
Do you have anything else to say about it?
On the flip side, were there any really bad antagonistic characters you had issues with? This is for constructive purposes, not for Hog Pit purposes, so please try to frame any issues generally and with how to improve it in mind.
My favorite antagonists on a game were the pirate Changelings (CtL) on The Reach (PCs). They brought a sense of fear to a group that was supposed to, by theme, be constantly fearful, but weren't. Although many people dramasploded OOCly about it, it was the only time I've ever played Changeling on a MU* and felt like the characters were being played the way Changelings were intended to be played. Having someone bring you into the game world like that was a boon for the sphere. Unfortunately, most players couldn't see that.
Most antagonists I've encountered are of the Big Bad variety. They're evil and invulnerable NPCs. They do horrible things to other NPCs, which is supposed to make you fear them, but they never do much of anything to PCs. And after a prescribed amount of time - or a few scenes to get the magic weapon that can kill them - they just get killed off easy peasy by PCs, most of whom never even get scratched. Even when the Big Bad could have taken any number of steps to prevent the PCs from getting aforementioned magic weapon, they don't. There's no real challenge, no real effort involved. Just a grind of scenes that force RP (forced RP is the worst thing evar) to get to the inevitable conclusion of the storyline. To me, that's a bore.
I think most of mine come from factional, consent-based con-death games so this is probably going to sound trite for some people who really consider 'antagonist PCs' to be capable of killing a PC.
But I think some of my best antagonist PC memories are from my time playing Rock/Megaman at Megaman MUSH. For a really long time, I played Rock and one player played Bass (Rock's counterpart in the Robot Masters group), and we had a really awesome rivalry and a lot of fun times.
- It was a PC. For the longest duration that I played Rock (about 2 years) the same player played Bass. He also worked with the rest of his faction (and the other villain faction, the Mavericks, though in more limited scope) to make the antagonist parts of the game fun.
- Long-term. The characters we played were diametric opposites IC and we really enjoyed playing that.
- The fact that the character was able to be an unending source of IC antagonism and conflict, without that falling over into OOC. He really grokked the theme as determined by Megaman MUSH's staff, and he was a very epic villain; he didn't need purple prose or multi-page poses, he was able to concisely and effectively portray his intentions, malice and antagonism without resorting to overused. And when we found something neat to pull from other media to work in, we did so.
- The fact that we could have a huge IC rivalry and the fact that we were able to take it multiple directions, with a lot of nail-biting IC tension of the actual rivalry. Some of the things, like Bass' attack on the Maverick Hunters' outpost that ended up with me and Bass faced off, essentially re-enacting the Buffy vs. Angel scene from the end of Season 2 of Buffy was a scene I remember to this day. And the fact that he was a source of not just physical antagonism, but social antagonism -- Rock was very naive and dating a human girl and Bass was always a source of social and mental antagonism because of that. It was great to have philosophical discussions about that type of thing as 'combat banter' while we were trying to blow each other up.
- The player's chill attitude and ability to separate IC and OOC and keep it that way. The antagonism never went OOC. We were always talking to each other about things we did, things we wanted to see, little tidbits that one would have noticed in the other during the last battle or in, say, news reports and observation/spying since. We worked together to make it really epic, and it was, not for just us but for the rest of the playerbase -- setting up a scene where, say, Rock falls and is nearly beaten to give the spotlight to other PCs, or setting up a scene where we're supporting other PCs and giving them opportunities to interact with, and sometimes beat, the 'big bad' of one of the factions.
- I think it was fine. It's really one of my litmus tests for 'we can fucking hate each other IC and be buds OOC' type of situations.
I've had this type of relationship with characters at lots of games. The player of Deathsaurus when I was Optimus Prime at TF: Generations; Rock and Bass (and to a lesser extent, Sigma) at Megaman MUSH; my tenure as a villain who had major goals at Beast Wars MUSH (Aftershock, who fucked with the Maximals REALLY hard...), and to an extent the same PC at my own BW game (Aftershock, but also a tenure as Megatron); and particularly as Gavin/Gate at X-Men Evolutions (the transition from an X-Man to a member of the Brotherhood, through the lens of a disaffected teen who was really affected by Genosha as a mutant prison/slave camp was really epic, and the players of Wanda and Pietro, and Kitty and Storm and a bunch of OCs on that game were really stellar).
I think the biggest 'antagonistic' issues I've ever had were, when playing an antagonist, you get the 'I'm a good guy/had a good application/have good stats so I must win all the time!' type situations, which is more of a player attitude thing than a game attitude thing. There was a player who I worked out some neat stuff for a plot I ran as a player at Beast Wars MUSH, and he was super hateful OOC gloat guy when he 'won the big fight against Aftershock' and was hyper bitchy when he lost a fight. It wasn't a good situation, and he was eventually pfired from the game.
#5 on that list seems really important. Not the ic/ooc separation (though it is needed and nice), but that constant, steady feedback by page and the frequent idea tossing for what you and Bass wanted to see or wanted out of an intense scene.
It was really just the nature of the game, at least from my experience, back then and in that circuit (mind, this was 1999-2002ish, if not a little earlier). You played and sure, you'd have people who weren't really interested in building things OOC as well as IC, but the majority... well, OOC communication and OOC friendship was the norm. Even if you were characters who would tear each others heads off ICly.
It was also helpful that a lot of stuff was coded so things like combat were 'you use a command, the system calculates, and you pose accordingly in a fight' and that the game promoted OOC communication for stuff like that, even with the randomness. It was just 'how it was done' back then and in those circuits.