Top 5 Bad Guys Who Wouldn’t Work in an RPG

I don’t know about you, but I generally love bad guys. I’ve never really worked out why, but I always wanted Darth Vader, Jason Vorhees, Sauron or whoever else to win. Just to see what would happen.

It’s probably why I like being GM so much – I get to play the bad guys and find out what happens.
Consequently, I try and use my favourite fictional characters in different guises. Many of them are tropes, but they are also good inspiration. There are some of my favourites which just don’t work though.

So, in the spirit of presenting varied reading, here is my top 5 list of entertaining fictional characters who wouldn’t work in an RPG.

5 – Q (Star Trek: TNG, DS9, Voy)
Q is both the first and last enemy encountered by the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D during in Star Terk The Next Generation. His role remains a mystery throughout TNG and is only explained in the excellent finale, All Good Things… He makes return appearances in DS9 and Voyager, expanding the lore regarding his race but in much more sympathetic roles.
Why He’s A Bad Enemy: Omnipotent, all powerful, able to manipulate the entire universe at a whim and a mischievous temperament to boot: Q’s powers read like the power trip of a bad DM and render him nigh on undefeatable.

4 – Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I)
The weakest character in the most reviled of all 6 Star Wars films, Maul existed solely to look badass on PR material and provide the deus ex machina to give Obi-Wan a chip on his shoulder. He had nearly no lines and about ten minutes of screentime.
Why He’s A Bad Enemy: The ultimate two-bit looser bad-guy. As he stands, he only exists to be killed. No background, no development, nothing.

3 – Frank-N-Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Transsexual alien with his own cloning project, ghoulish servants and one hell of a clothing line. Amazing singer.
Why He’s A Bad Enemy: Not too hard to use in a sci-fi setting, but I dare you to use him in your next D&D campaign.

2 – Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal)
A egomaniac serial killer and cannibal, Lecter is one of the most memorable horror movie characters of the 80s and 90s. Despite being a mass-murderer, he actually manages to retain the role of anti-hero rather then all-out villain.
Why He’s A Bad Enemy: Lecter spends most of his screen time helping the FBI and not that much actually being a bad guy. When he is a bad guy, he takes it to a whole new, charming level, which, quite honestly I don’t think can easily be conveyed in an RPG.

1 – Scorpius/Harvey (Farscape)
Scorpius and Harvey, his counter-part implanted in the head of main-character John Crichton, are very possibly the best sci-fi enemy of all time. Scorpius is creepy and unhuman on his own (despite being a forehead alien), Harvey adds to this though some of the best black humour which has ever graced the small screen. Harvey causes Crichton to slowly loose his mind, his ship and just about everything else in his life.
Why He’s A Bad Enemy: You want to try inserting a character into the mind of a PC? It’s a great idea in theory, but in reality it’s impossible without the GM practically controlling the PC.

Let me know if you have any idea how to work any of these guys into a campaign 😉

Impressions: Battlestar Galactica

Lets just start by stating the obvious: I’m a latecomer to the Battlestar Galactica scene. This would be because since 2003, the media and my friends have been conspiring to get me to watch the damned series. I don’t like being told what to do.

This would be why I’ve never watched Lost, Dexter, The Wire, The Sopranos or several other vastly hyped post-2000 TV series. On the other hand, I simply don’t like Buffy, Babylon 5, 6 Feet Under and several other vastly hyped TV series which I have bothered to watch which doesn’t encourage me to watch over hyped new TV series unless they are related to my interests (The West Wing, The Daily Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm) or contain the magic words “Trek” and “Star” in the title.

In the interest of disclosure, I have seen all of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series as well as it’s awful follow-up, which saw the crew getting to grips with life on Earth circa 1980. It left a mixed impression – by and large I found the entire thing hysterical.

Anyway, my (very late) impressions of the first episode:

Things I like:
– Adama Sr is wonderfully badass.
– The new Robotic Cylon and Battlestar designs are amazing.
– Dr Baltar looks very like Mirror-Bashir from DS9.
– Space Combat is actually realistic compared to Star Wars/Star Trek etc where ships act as if they were aircraft within atmosphere. Weapons, explosions etc make minimal noise which is also more realistic and adds to the drama.
– Doing with Humanoid Cylons what Stargate SG-1 should have done with Human-Form Replicators.
– No Instant Reset. The most annoying thing about Star Trek Voyager was the instant reset button being pressed at the end of every episode – never any long term damage, no psychological impacts, endless parallel time lines. It’s annoying and a sign of flawed writing. It’s nice seeing the flip side of that coin without the deus exs introduced when Enterprise tackled similar problems.

Things I don’t like:
– Shaky camera isn’t cool, it’s annoying and it doesn’t add to realism.
– The new Basestar designs are horrible, but the old versions were a bit too Millennium Falcon.
– Too many Humanoid Cylons. Humanising enemies reduces the fear factor (see also: Star Trek’s Borg, SG-1’s Replicators).
– The Number 6 in Dr Baltar’s head is too much like the Crichton/Harvey relationship sans the black humour that made it such a good plot device in Farscape.
– There is only one true Number 6, and he is trapped in The Village.

Overall, I’m left with a positive view. Despite still having a very fixed view of what Cylons should look like.