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Old 08-12-2004, 11:55 AM   #1
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There's certain characters I just can't play, because I'm not evil enough. I admit it. People who know me will agree. My feelings get too entwined with my characters to play an unfeeling and sadistic character. I can play a *violent* character with the right motivation. I can play a *shady* character. But I can't do heartless and sadistic well.

On the opposite end of the scale, I know some guys who just plain *are* sadistic. They're unfeeling bullies in real life, and that comes out naturally in their roleplay. It also usually comes out in their behavior on OOC channels and such.

To get to an actual point though, how do those of you who play a sadistic and unfeeling character but aren't really very sadistic yourself approach doing so? How do you torture, mame, and kill the innocent, the helpless, the captives? Or even the minion who's stepped out of line, or competitor who's come into your grasp?

What happens when a newbie stumbles into things? How do you take appropriate action for your character, and yet help the newbie player learn and want to come back?

There's two parts really to this, I think. One part, of course, is your personal ability to not follow your heart but follow the IC heartlessness of your character. But the other half of this involves the OOC interactions...both being liked OOCly while playing an unliked character, and the OOC effect of having to damage or destroy another player's character whose story you really don't want to see end, but ICness demands it.

Such a character doesn't have to be the epitome of evil in his society either. It could be a well-respected but brutal slave owner in a 19th century game, for instance. He may be polite to everyone but the slaves. But RPing brutality to the slaves, particularly if the slaves were not created as slaves but on a game where wars or other methods allow a free PC to be forced into slavery, requires some ability to disconnect player feelings.

My own method of handling this is that I rarely try such a character, and usually falter after a while when I do. I'm interested in how others pull it off, because I've seen some very well played.
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:19 PM   #2
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I don't think it's a matter of being evil enough, as a player. I've dabbled in my share of villains, so I speak from some experience: It's about putting yourself in the mindset of a villain, with all the proper justifications and motivations to explain away the "evil" behavior. I share the opinion voiced by others that the best way to play a villain is to not think of them as a villain, but simply as a selfish individual who thinks that they are a hero in their own way.

Colin Neidermeyer, my brutal xenophobic ex-military officer turned king, didn't think of himself as evil. He blamed aliens and other offworlders for all the problems that befell Earth (and he *was* right, from a certain point of view). He considered aliens less than human, untrustworthy, and part of a recipe for the destruction of his civilization. And, given his background as a demanding, unforgiving military commander, he didn't brook any kind of foolishness from his followers. During his existence, Neidermeyer boiled tiny Nemoni aliens, forced a soldier to break his own fingers for bungling a mission, and ordered another soldier to punch himself in the mouth for being a smartass. He gave another underling a choice between breaking his own fingers or being shot - when the underling refused to break his own fingers, Neidermeyer shot him dead.

The player at the keyboard certainly recognized Neidermeyer's actions as evil. But when you're playing a role, whether it's a hero or a villain, you must walk a fine line between detaching yourself - you aren't your character - and investing emotion in the role. Look at actors playing villains in movies. The best villains are played by actors who demonstrate for us that the character isn't acting out of purely psychotic, unwarranted malice. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as an example, Khan Noonien Singh pursues Captain Kirk and the Enterprise not because he's a burly villain who just wants to twirl his mustache and mwahahaha! at the screen. He wants revenge for the death of his beloved wife and Kirk's abandonment of Khan's people on a planet doomed to disaster. So, if you're playing a villain, it's best to play one who has appropriate motivations for the behavior (even if those motivations have been distorted totally out of proportion).

As for how a "bad guy" deals with newbies - well, there's only so much slack one can cut. But I've tended to have my villains interact primarily with the more experienced roleplayers - the ones I *know* can handle the sometimes violent, abusive behavior. With unknown quantity players, the best I can do is try to make it abundantly clear they're treading on dangerous ground. Then, if they still fail to get it, they suffer.

For example, a guy once showed up on the Tomin Sirocco cruise liner, trying to hit up Neidermeyer for investment money in an art gallery. Neidermeyer didn't know the guy. Had no reason to trust the guy. So, after making it clear he was less than enthused about the idea of investing, Neidermeyer ordered a couple of his minions to drag the newbie off, break a couple of bones and shake him down for his money. Neidermeyer then took over the art gallery. But the newbie got out alive.
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
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Usually I just kinda remember how much fun it was, when I was around 9 years old, to tug the legs off of daddy long legs spiders and watch the heads bounce around.

And then I pretend the characters that my character is torturing, are all just humanoid daddy long legs.

Don't EVEN tell me you never did that kinda sick stuff when you were a kid. I refuse to believe it. Never even THOUGHT about using a magnifying glass in the sun to find out how long it took for an ant to catch on fire? Puleeaze - admit it. If you never had the guts to do it, you KNOW you thought about it a few times.

Or how about moments as an adult when you'd fantasize about stripping your boss down to his fart-stained underwear and hanging him by his feet from the 20th story window of your office building?

If you've always been the victim and never the bully, you certainly would have experienced desires to cause excruciating harm to the bullies, in the most disgusting ways you can think of.

Even if it was just a fleeting though that made you feel can draw on that thought - that one wisp of consciouslessness...and exploit the crap out of it with a mud character.

EMBRACE YOUR INNER VILLAIN! You know you want to.

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Old 08-12-2004, 07:30 PM   #4
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I'm with Brody on how to play "villains." My characters never think of themselves as villains, they think of themselves as perfectly good people. Oh my dwarf wants to destroy the world? There's a perfectly logical explanation for that

As for how I live with myself. I started playing a particular mud and within hours I was killed by another player. It was my death that made me go back to the mud a second time, and a third time and a fourth time and a fifty-third time I enjoy playing in one city as opposed to another because I think one of the cities has more conflict then the other city. Conflict is what makes it exciting and is what has kept me coming back. If I get killed by a player, my immediate thought is "oh wow!" If I get screwed over by a player my thought is to say to a friend "I'm actually getting cheated out of my money by an elf " So whenever I go to do something bad, I just remember the excitement I get when it happens to me. Unfortunately there are 2 roles I can't ever ever play. A rapist or a rape victim. No matter how much enjoyment I get out of playing racist, specist pricks, I can't play either of those roles.
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