Villain for Hire

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Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:39 pm

I'd like to make an offer and a proposal:

Source for this (maybe) brilliant idea.

One of you play, scheme, and orchestrate the actions of a villain in one of the games I'm running.
(You might even be able to MAKE that villain yourself, or with help from me.)

Some stipulations & clarifications:
  • You cannot be a player in that game (duh).
  • You gotta really know the villain and be invested in having him be a really memorable bad guy.
    • What does the bad guy want?
    • How is he gonna get what he wants?
  • Your "bad guy" doesn't have to be a black hat per se. Perhaps he's motivated by revenge after having been deeply wronged himself, but justifies his actions to himself some way. You get the point: he doesn't have to be simple, and I'd actually prefer he not be.
  • I gotta keep you abreast of developments in the game so you can react, plan, and scheme accordingly.
  • At the end of whatever time period is appropriate, I pay you EP (personally, not the bank) a sum we agree upon at the end of that period.

What do you think?

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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Captain Cardea » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:24 am

This is an awesome idea! I love this! It kind of evens out the playing field as well. The GM isn’t deciding what the villain is doing he is adjudicating the action. I am very interested in the ideas on how this could be implemented

I think/ would like to see a bank (per quad) available to group GM’s to use for this. Not saying they have a player run ever bag guy but maybe a continuing arch nemesis. Maybe the GM has a range he can offer based on how often that bad guy was involved in the quad.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Dark Lord » Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:07 am

I think this is a good idea, worth checking out.
I also think it dovetails a bit with a concept I was discussing for PW over the holiday break.

If the initial experiment goes well, I think it would merit full discussion as a more formal proposal for a permanent addition to the site's menu of options.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Captain Cardea » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:13 am

@ DL, It feels slightly sinful reading that thread, I got the gist of it from the first couple posts though.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby CS High Command » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:39 am

This is a wonderful idea I've seen home GMs make work before and I think its awesome. I have a buddy who did this for a group he was running for when I was in another state.

I am all in!
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Aegis of No Retreat » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:46 am

How do we make this happen?

Does each group have a GM Villains thread where villain characters are developed/deposited? How then would their contributions to the plot end up getting fed to that group's active GM?

Speaking for myself, the presence of something like this would actually be a fun creative outlet for some of my munchkin-y evil character designs without the need to go through the tedious process of developing the character and leveling it up over time.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:27 pm

Aegis of No Retreat wrote:How do we make this happen? Does each group have a GM Villains thread where villain characters are developed/deposited? How then would their contributions to the plot end up getting fed to that group's active GM?

Well, I'm glad this has been well received, and this is a great, PRACTICAL question.

I have a couple ideas. Y'all tell me which seems the most practcial.

Option 1: Villain sub-forum
Board index » The Nexus: Discussion & Recruitment Forums » GM's Guild » Villains
    Each GM's villain gets its own thread. The GM responsible for RPing that villain keeps the villain up to date if any changes occur, and the two GMs involved keep in close correspondence about what's happening in the game, how the villain would act, scheme, etc. both proactively and reactively to the players' actions.

Option 2: Individual villain threads
    Each Group forum has its own villain thread; same as above, but localized in each group forum.

Any other ideas?

Here are the villains I need:
  • A PFRPG villain
  • Boss Dutcher
  • A powerful adversarial figure in the Battletech Universe
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Aegis of No Retreat » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:12 am

In my opinion, this idea is an opportunity to dramatically add to the living story that we are collectively building here at EU. But it should be done in a deliberate manner so that it serves as a resource rather than a burden for GMs (and administrators).

There are those of us that sometimes get the itch to create (either characters, concepts or organizations) because we have a vision for this cool thing or that (I believe formerly Orbital Master had some legendary spurts of creative drive).

Currently, we have two options:
  • Create a character, get it into a group, play and level it up developing it in the direction of that vision.
  • Become a GM and somehow integrate that concept into the plot. Perhaps for only one mission, but hopefully along a more lengthy story arc with recurring appearances (like SNAFU’s Rusty Pete uber-TechnoWizard)

The “Villains for Hire” idea holds the promise of a third option that would add content to EU’s collective lore. Well implemented, it would also enable the conversion of such creativity into a fungible commodity.
  • Create Villain (NPC) characters, concepts and organizations. Deposit it into a repository that can be utilized as a resource for active GM missions.

My vote would be to implement “Villains for Hire” or “Villains Marketplace” (VM) as a central repository accessible by GM/AGMs and Villain Creators (VC). <see Proposal>

Proposal

Build a “Villains for Hire” dimension/forum. Villains Marketplace (VM)
  • Villains for Hire summary thread [sticky] <== Showing current villain deployments. Updated at minimum every Quad by VM Dimension Master.
  • Villain Request/OOC thread [sticky]
  • Each “Villain” is allocated its own sub-forum. <== This is more akin to designing a new merc group. But may be most easily identified (and should be named) according to the group leader. (e.g. Colonel Lyboc (Coalition States), Freddie Two-Fingers (Black Market Gun Runner), or Edwardo Sanchez (Pecos Bandit Leader)).
    • Villain Catch-all thread [sticky] <== Includes Organizational Structure, Organizational Resources, Standard equipment with stats, Generic stats for henchmen.
    • Character sheets (as per standard creation with equipment and background) for Wild Cards within the organization.

Modifications to EU
  • Required: VM Dimension Master (ideally non-Augur) <== I presume this is required to create/modify forums rather than just thread creation. If this is not true and sub-forum creation can be allocated via permission categories then a VM DM is optional.
  • Optional Villain Creators (VC): Additional AGM-equivalent accounts for non A/GM players that wish to contribute (permissions in VM dimension/forum, but not G.M. Forum)
  • EP Funds made available via Augur (Central EP Bank) for GMs to pay 1-2 EP to “hire” a villain (or two) per Quad. GMs recommend EP dispensation similar to AGM evaluation.


How it works:
  • GM/AGM/VCs can contribute to the Villain repository at their leisure. VM DM generates sub-forums, grants permissions and settles disputes as needed. Content can be developed at their own pace and updated as needed (typically within their own sub-forum). It is recommended that after involvement in a PC story arc, updates are made (e.g. Leadership/Henchmen changes due to unexpected “openings”, modifications to organizational resources like loss of secret lair)
  • GMs that see a Villain they want to integrate into their plot can make a hiring request.
  • Requesting GM and Villain GM/AGM/VC coordinate (via PM, Hangouts etc.) throughout the mission, the latter providing insight as to how the Villain would respond to PC actions.
  • Every Quad, GMs can recommend EP dispensation to Villain GM/AGM/VCs. Recommendation: Each GM can recommend up to 2 EP (non-accumulating) each Quad for Villains hired by them.
  • Well-written Villains may be involved in multiple story arcs simultaneously (and therefore receive proportional compensation)


Questions:
  • Why is EP involved?
    • This is a reflection of the EU content creation aspect of this work. Similar to how there are payouts to gear statistics, creation of Villains and recommending how they would behave to GMs should be rewarded.
  • Won’t this explode the EP market, flooding it with too much EP, therefore degrading my own hard-earned EP?
    • EP is only dispensed when a Villain is hired and involved with a GM for a quad or more. Given the limited number of PC groups and that each GM of a PC group is limited in their EP recommendation, the impact on the EP marketplace should not be institution-breaking.
  • What happens when a GM/AGM/VC flakes?
    • If the Villain GM/AGM/VC flakes, the source material is still there for the Hiring GM to utilize. And the Hiring GM will simply not make an EP recommendation at the end of the quad. If the Villain in question was an important one (e.g. Colonel Lyboc (Coalition States)), Villain ownership may be transferred to another GM/AGM/VC that volunteers for such duty. In which case EP dispensation can be recommended for the new Villain owner.
    • If the Hiring GM flakes, the replacement GM will make the EP dispensation recommendation. It is the VM DM’s duty to actively maintain the VM summary thread.
  • What if the Hiring GM lets the PCs kill my Villain?
    • This can happen with Villains. The likelihood may be lower with increased planning with the GM in advance. Like many story arcs, the recurring villain should intelligently have escape plans that you can work out with the GM in advance. If it happens, have fun with it and re-imagine how the organization will shift or change as a result.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Captain Cardea » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:43 am

I like Aegis' ideas, I think the more simple the better though. Also, I like the idea of keeping it under the individual threads in the GM forum. I knw me personally, I don't go into the threads I play in. If a thread was all encompassing it would require every villain to access. No fun knowing everything about your arch nemesis. But, We may get players that aren't A/GMS that want to play villains and don't need access tot he GM threads. So a new "Dimension" would be good, My thoughts would be to make some separation of groups to keep honest people honest. This could also be used so the villain can actually post their actions similar to a player post. Then the GM can use that how they see fit. Just some thoughts.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Dark Lord » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:49 am

Comments:

1) Putting details about the villain out there has the potential to spoil things for any players of the GM who are also active on the GM side of things in general. I'm talking less stats or other crunchy details, and more the mere fact of their existence.
2) How much "screen time" do villains actually get? There's usually a big climactic battle at the end of an adventure or campaign, of course, and maybe some intermediate chortling or introductory encounters, but I question whether there's really enough for a villain player to do to be employed on a multi-quad basis.
3) For the general principle of this idea to really be feasible, some thought needs to be put in how best to coordinate GM and villain posts. Are the villain posts there purely for flavor, or will they be dictating the NPC's actions as well? If the latter, problems could arise from poor coordination- it'll bog the game down if a villain post comes four days after the GM post. Is it reasonable to require villains to post within 24 hours of their GM? Will the GM be required to give notice a couple of days in advance of their post so that the villain has time to prepare?

I would counter-propose with a similar idea, but organized around short-term rather than long-term involvement. IMO, successful long-term villain-GM collaborations will arise organically- born from a GM's plans to use the same villain repeatedly and from the same player taking an interest in and doing a good job of playing them. If the system tries to focus on building that sort of thing up it will have to contend with people leaving, or opting not to resume their role. Instead, I'd like to suggest a "bounty board" for villains- a thread in the GM forum where GMs can post some basic, OOC parameters for any positions they're looking to fill. At the moment, all I'm thinking there are some rough estimates of the time commitment- whether the villain is expected to be recurring, how long the NPC is expected to be needed (a full adventure? once scene? one quad?). Any IC details would be kept with the GM's notes, and can be PMed to any villain players who don't have access to the GM forum.

I''d also argue that a shorter-term focus lends itself better to XP, not EP, being the primary mode for compensation. XP rewards for playing a villain can follow the same guidelines as those for playing a PC- 250/week for meeting expectations, 125/week for exceeding them. These can be set out by the GM via fiat as with PC rewards, or evaluated based on a poll of all players (and the GM I think). I think minor EP could be doled out for doing the villain's character sheet/stat block and any other organizational details, but that sort of thing is currently under the purview of AGMs (at least some of them) and I don't know that that necessarily needs to change. Now that I think about it, I wonder if this isn't something that should just be folded into the AGM's responsibilities.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Aegis of No Retreat » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:17 am

Thank you for the feedback.

Apologies for not making my vision clear.

I was under the impression that the purpose of Villains for Hire was for collaborative input into the GM process. As such, these Villains would not actually be played by their creators. But merely that if/when a GM hires them, the creator could converse with the GM about the sorts of tactics they would use.

-----------------
GM - "Looks like the PCs are going to try to breach the temporary camp you set up."

VC - "Alright, keep in mind the presence of the moat with laser-alligators and the four plasma turrets in the towers. Also, if they drive the APC up to the portcullis, they'll trigger the pit trap with zombies inside."
-----------------
or
-----------------
VC - "I think it might be a good idea to ambush the PCs en route. There are 2 old-style SAMAS that can strafe and get out without fear of too much retaliation."

GM - "Naw, I don't think that is reasonable. The PCs worked hard to obscure their movements, so it is unlikely that the Villain would know their current location."
-----------------

So the presence of the Villains stats is meant as a resource the GM can use.

@CaptainCardea In my mind, the idea of putting them in the individual group thread within the GM forum would reflect a Villain specifically designed for a particular group. This would reflect a more direct: (GM): "I wish to commission creation of X villain". And said villain is created.

I guess I had envisioned Villain story arcs that would live and grow with EU over time through my proposal.

But I will agree that it is considerably more work. So if the Cabal wishes to implement a direct Villain commission transaction, I understand.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:10 am

Yeah, I don't really see much value to a collection of statted out villains.

The bestiary, like the armory, has value because those are all common beasts & baddies. Not unique villains.

It's not the collection of stats that I want at all. I can work up that stuff with a moment's notice using the NPC template.

I want another person with a different perspective from my own to engage with me about the story and how their archvillain would pull strings, effect the game, etc.

On further reflection, I think this could likely be better accomplished through Hangouts or Discord chat than through forums at all--which would also mitigate any security or accidental exposure concerns.

I'm definitely not looking to create another system so much as a web of GM relationships.

Example:

    In Rifts: Humble Origins, the player group's long-term goal is to take over the Black Market syndicate in Merctown.

    Thus, Boss Dutcher is clearly the perfect arch-villain NPC against which the players will be operating. He's canonical, already statted out and explained in detail.

    But I'm often terrible at looking at things from within a game from the villain's perspective. An outsider with a different perspective is often invaluable to me in this regard.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Captain Cardea » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:35 am

So an outside view of the game, The interaction of the villain would be wholly and only with the GM example of thoughts.

PBP,

Villian follows along with group story arc and provides feedback from character prospective how the villain would react. This can be through hangouts, Discord or even PM. They could provide inspirational thoughts, speech, maybe even write out some actions. The level of interaction determined betweent he villain and the GM. The GM awards EP based on how much usage they had of the villain.

Roll 20,

The villain listens to the game they may be involved in, in the background they communicate their thoughts with the GM. The GM could have them interact for verbal/audio flavor or not. The GM would award EP based on usage amount.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:44 am

Actually, you describe what I had in mind for both in your PBP description.

GM to villain player: so, here's what's happened recently.
Villain player to GM: okay, well let's look at how this effects the villain's plans. (Discussion)
GM: right, so what is villain going to do in response?
Villain: proposes scheme

The villain isn't even "on stage" at this point. He's behind the scenes pulling levers cuz he has his own goals, the players have theirs, and sometimes (maybe frequently) the players' goals are at odds with the villain's goals.

If the villain is "on stage," it's either the final(?) Epic battle, or maybe the players aren't up to challenging him yet, or perhaps they don't even know he's the mastermind yet.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby CS High Command » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:50 am

I recently had this sort of give and take with my AGM for the CS group. We would discuss what is happening, and he'd give me ideas (it's a REALLY good villain that is equal parts Batman and Scarecrow). I ran the adventure and ultimately decided what the villain did, but I used Ryan's input on the issue. Now ideally as described above, the villain would be more of a player than a couple of GM's collaborating, but the base concepts are the same.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:55 am

My games and their villains:

Roll 20
    Fantasy: Eastern Territories
      Not established; position open
    A Time of War: Niops
      Two villains established; positions taken
    Rifts: Humble Origins
      Boss Dutcher (head of the Merctown Black Market syndicate); position open

Explorers Unlimited
    HU2: Galactic (on hold)
      Legatus Julia Flavia; position open

In case you wanna find a villain too...
Code: Select all
[u][b]The platform you use[/b][/u]
[list]Your group/setting
[list]Your villain's name (if established); [color=#008000]position open[/color][/list][/list]
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby CS High Command » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:56 pm

Augur wrote:Explorers Unlimited
    HU2: Galactic (on hold)
      Legatus Julia Flavia; position open


Hey, wait a minute.... :P
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:29 pm

CS High Command wrote:
Augur wrote:Explorers Unlimited
    HU2: Galactic (on hold)
      Legatus Julia Flavia; position open


Hey, wait a minute.... :P

What? She's the 1st SOG's archnemesis. It's perfect.
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Re: Villain for Hire

Postby Augur » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:09 am

My games and their villains:

Roll 20
    Fantasy: Eastern Territories
      Not established; position taken
    A Time of War: Niops
      Two villains established; positions taken
    Rifts: Humble Origins
      Boss Dutcher (head of the Merctown Black Market syndicate); position taken

Explorers Unlimited
    HU2: Galactic (on hold)
      Legatus Julia Flavia; position open

In case you wanna find a villain too...
Code: Select all
[u][b]The platform you use[/b][/u]
[list]Your group/setting
[list]Your villain's name (if established); [color=#008000]position open[/color][/list][/list]
"The older I get the closer Lloyd comes to making sense." ~Uncle Servo
"Well, you have been Lloyd-pilled for years." ~ Bahb Silunt
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