- This is a group for players who wish to make villains and find followers or who want to play followers/goons that are reusable and replaceable.
- Villains should have brief but realistic goals to ensure that there is potential closure on their schemes.
- Villains should not become too invested in success or failure to ensure that there is no grudge from the side of the storyteller.
- Villains should always allow their enemies to fail forward, escape, or otherwise succeed in removing themselves from lasting harm should they wish to, ensuring that they always understand that this is an option they can take. This is to ensure there is no grudge from those participating in your villainous deeds.
- Villains are not just villains. They have goals related to the lore, tone, and stories of the world and its inhabitants.
- Villainous characters should not interfere heavily with the storyline of other antagonists. Becoming an unending mercenary army for another group is more bothersome for your partners in storytelling than fun. With that said-
- Have fun. Always.
This is no critique on anyone in particular. Because it's the same reason people don't go attack them in their little enclaves. No one wants to lose so much investment against stacked odds. And often, if you're engaging, the odds are going to be stacked against you unless you take action when nobody is online.
So that's the problem. Trepidation and investment create stagnancy. The solution comes from what I wrote above, ideas that I've bounced around in some group chats.
A discord group. Maybe a guild in game represented specifically as a means of OOCly recognizing which people are IC and up for a scuffle, which people you can count on to have some motive that provides a point of contention for those who seek it. This group would be full of people who wanted to play both the role of throw away goons and followers of various types, builds, races, and personalities and those that wanted to play enigmatic leaders with which to spin the narrative.
What would this succeed in? It would mean that there would be driving forces acting against others who could be in the world or come to points of danger and contention where both sides didn't have to worry about being OOCly inconvenienced upon losing. For a character that you've accepted is executed upon capture when you made them, you can only see how far you can go before you can bank in that clout. And for a hero that will fail forward or be given a story of escape or of their (oocly) voluntary capture and what comes with that? You get your story. It would also mean that you'd only need the major villain and a few other people who could slot in their own faceless/brief-stint characters in with them to start something instead of requiring eight people to have a good schedule match up.
What would it need to do this? General staff permission to run characters that are almost entirely NPCs, disposable, and re-usable and a player bought and run location to host these scenes when they require some specific esoteric location like a compound, bunker, or anything you can't get in a city or campfire.
What are some examples of what this group would be used for?
Any idea for an antagonistic group that you want to see play out to its reasonable end could be used. A group of mechanation hunters who want to capture and ship off mechs using older methods of transportation would be a good starter idea for how frequently its referenced by characters and how infrequently it's realized in actual storytelling and gameplay. Their failure would be almost assured eventually, but it would provide some narrative for a nice rescue mission or jailbreak after a few too many mechs are imprisoned and go to break out. Inversely, being a group of mechanations rebels that have taken themselves out of Karaten to try to collect the arms and cash to fund their hometown revolution might resort to crime, creating a more polarizing conflict in roleplay between Order and Chaos instead of just Good and Evil. Their failure or success brings closure, as even if they do manage to win their fights or meet no realized resistance as they try to rob a bank or whatever else might be decided upon, they'll be gone back to where they've come from and out of IC hands.
A few of them write themselves. Some public manifestos posted on the forums of some group of Reapers who condemn the use and capture of spirits in possession and cursed weapons one day and then a few days later roll out your would be army of spiritualists who try to force exorcise people. Things get out of hand, and failure means deportation or execution after they resist the guards heavily. Or redrayders.
Any of this would provide compelling resistance. Sometimes it would be insurmountable. Other times? You might get a group of 4 together that can beat would be heroes for a time until you decide that your characters fade away into wherever they've come from. Anyone who loses can lose forward, gaining a story of escape or otherwise victory over insurmountable odds in the clutch moments.
Or maybe people do grow too attached to their goon or villain characters, and they reform or defect into a character with a realized backstory, a criminal history, and something compelling behind them. The power of friendship and all of that.