Last time we talked about the Archetype of your new villain character and we discussed fine tuning that type with working out where they were on the scale of good to evil and what their personal method of villainy was. We also took a look into consequences and that is where today’s post evolves from. When playing a villain that you want to use in roleplay as a bad-guy or antagonist for other PC characters you need to be very aware of one very crucial thing; Community Manners.
More Articles in the Venerable Villains Series: Venerable Villains Series Index
That means how you interact with the community or whatever sections of the community you are playing antagonist for. And if you dismiss the idea as unimportant or irrelevant you run the very likely risk of destroying your roleplay, their roleplay and creating a bad atmosphere and reputation on the server that could stay with you. Antagonists by rote, if they are doing their job well, hurt people, offend people, ruin their plans and destroy their gains. That is what makes them villains. But unless you as the player cultivate excellent Community Manners, then you can be perceived as being responsible for all that, let me explain.
People often turn their backs on planning because it feels false, it feels like you are ruining the surprise element of the roleplay by planning it and if you were to script everything to a T then that is exactly what you would do, but you don’t have to be intensely over done in your planning. Planning is important but it does not have to be encompassing of the full picture. If you are creating a Villain for a particularly guild or storyline then you should catch up with the person leading that guild or storyline and lay out some basic planning.
Give them an idea, loosely, of what your character is like and what kind of things he will likely do, for example if your Villain is or isn’t a killer, let them know that, but there is no need to say who or why or how, those are the details that make the RP enjoyable so keep them to yourself, but do give the leader some advanced warning of the nature of things they can expect. If your villain is temporary or not, they need to know this so they can gauge their reactions and yo can both decided upon a few possible and preferable outcomes, so that when things wind to a climate and the story comes to its end everyone can enjoy it and no one is getting unwelcome surprises.
When you are doing your loose planning as noted about be aware that you have to be reasonable, at least OOC. You cannot create a madman killer that is going to butcher people with reckless abandon and then also state that you want to keep the character and you want to keep him playable so they cannot kill you or arrest/capture you. Because if a bad guy was running around killing with abandon, people would not accept that easily, they would rise up and kill him or lock him up forever, there is just no two ways around that. So unless you have some clever plot device in place to avoid it, be aware that the severity of your crimes has to balance out with the level of punishment/consequences you are willing to accept.
If the character is a throw-away villain you don;t mind killing then by all means you have something of a blank slate to do with as you will. If however you are rolling the character because you have a personal desire to play them you might want them to have a little more durability and a longer lifespan. So in those cases you need to lean for crimes that are more easily covered up in the long term and no as serious if and when caught for them.
When it comes to the community if you are rolling a bad guy you need to understand that you are really only as clever as the next player and if their player catches you out, catches you in the act or however else they manage to unravel your master plan you need to be able to roll with that in good humour, without getting worked up and angry. It’s all part of playing and roleplaying in an MMORPG, you cannot predict or pre-decide how and what other people are going to do and they might just catch you out, that’s their prerogative.
And when they do catch you out you need to be able to face your reasonable consequences like a champ, OOC that is, IC your character can cry and scream like a little girl, but OOC you need to be able to roll with the punches and face the consequences as that will earn you credit for being genuinely invest in the role and the story and not just in your characters personal success as too many Bad Guy players are.
This is so important and while everyone knows the bits above about planning and consequences even if they don’t strictly adhere to them or agree, this one is less well know but so vital to a good working partnership of antagonist and protagonist. It has to be give and take. Because of the nature of MMORPG our characters and story-lines are not played 24 hours a day, there are some things that have to occur off screen, for example I bet you don’t roleplay your character eating their three meals a day, pooping, washing, and such things. For the most part we assume all that is done off-screen while we are not playing. So there has to be some suspension of belief and often people use that and in many cases fairly to assume things happen, and that is all fine and well.
You run into trouble when you are playing a villain if you assume that he can pull off the perfect crime every time, and anyone looking into them or trying to catch him fails at every turn. That’s not fun for the protagonist, and admittedly them catching you in the first round would not be fun for you either. So there needs to be give and take even more so in longer story-lines and plots, the bad guy can’t be winning all the time and nor can the good guys.
Think about it, even just personally, or plan it with their leader, or create a system. Maybe you roll for one out of five mistakes and they have to similarly roll to see if they find it. Maybe you know where your bad guy slipped up and they ask you about what they are looking into and if they stumble on it you tell them. It has to be a give and take system or else both parties will get swiftly bored and stand to gain nothing from the encounter.
Communication is key. It is everything no matter what kind of character you are playing. Communicating with whoever you are playing with never hurts. It is all the more important for people playing criminals and villains. As mentioned above communicate with the guild or story leaders when your villain is involved in their plots, keep everyone aware of whats going on and use it to generate the most fun and engaging roleplay you can. But even on a smaller level, if your Bad Guy is not the criminal mastermind, murdering nutcase type, if they are just your everyday street thief or drug dealer, communicate.
If you are going to engage someone else in roleplay that affects their character drop them a whisper before hand, macro it even, just to very quickly and briefly check if they are cool with that. Some people might not be. Some people might be playing characters that have fast reflexes and if you rob them of the chance to react you take it upon yourself to harm their character concept and that’s not cool for anyone. Admittedly these days it seems everyone is Lightening Jack when it comes to reflexes, but it is what it is and if that is the character they have rolled it’s not on you to take that away from them and giving them an OOC heads up before hand can make it much smoother for everyone involved.
I know for me personally if someone doesn’t whisper me and give me a heads up, then when they jump me with an emote I panic and I just drum up something generic to get it done before they flee. If they flee before I have even had time to write up my emote I basically ignore it having happened at all because they were clearly not at all interested in engaging in roleplay. If however they drop me a line before hand to mention they are interested in doing whatever it is, I will take my few minutes to try and think up something engaging for that roleplay, like for example instead of a pouch of coin they end up with a pouch of X that could then open other story-lines. It is also just good manners.
What do you think? Have you ever had good or bad experiences with people playing Bag Guys?