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Playing a 'good antagonist'?
Tips by everyone, for everyone

Continued from the 2016 June Town Hall meeting:

Sometimes being an anti-hero is a double edged sword but if done correctly, it lends to the grim theme of the game that you are helping to display with the portrayal of your character. If you want to become an antagonist, be ready to endure defeat and loss and be ready to dispense defeat and loss to others in the long run. I'm in the top 10 PCs waxed by other PCs. This series of events made me angry as fuck IRL. I can shamelessly say that I became so attached to my character that I cried out of spite at least once. Yet, looking in retrospective, it's a very fond experience that will forever shape the way I play my character.

Following this, it's important to understand the importance of having antagonists in the game. They help to create conflict, grudges, and they -oppose- the protagonists (i.e. the 'good guys'). This leads to cooperate competition, and THAT is the spirit of Sindome. I feel odd pleasure in having fellow characters unfold the grim past that justifies my character's behaviour and actions. For this reason, I strongly encourage EVERYONE to take a heavy approach on character development because Sindome easily allows for it. The dome is relentless, and its consuming pace is something that YOU should RP appropiately. Before stepping in the dome, your character is probably a sheltered kid living in a fairy tale. Then, before you realize, they've probably had to kill/been killed, rob/been robbed, lied/been lied to, etc. This series of events will either force them to toughen up, or to succumb under the pressure.

Now that I've clarified this, a series of events and plenty of overwhelming RP has defined my character. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your guilt and punch people in the face with their own emotions and it's good in the long run, even with the implied initial grief. Being an antagonist is an interesting experience I'd recommend simply because the RP it creates. For this RP to happen, your character must have a goal. A goal to satisfy a need, inspired by their history, or simply to prove their ideologies. Stick it up to The Man. -Be- The Man. Be determined to find an explanation, or to find someone. If you want to move mountains, be CONVINCED you will move mountains. It PAYS OFF.

I will try to explain my point with the aspects that have been mentioned in the Town Hall meeting.

Have deep seated reasons for doing what you do that you slowly reveal over time as people get to know you. A crushing backstory.

This is mostly refering to what I previously explained. The process of becoming an antagonist is always related to something that shocked your character and marked the before and after in its life. Be it via your IC actions and interactions with other characters (yay!). Sometimes, this is inspired only by their @history (meh). Most of the time, you'll be at loss for this to impact your character deeply, and if you are emotionally attached, you may? suffer grief. Sindome is not about winning or losing. Slowly revealing this backstory to the characters you meet will make them admire you, fear you, or use that same grim backstory against you. All in all, you must have a justified reason to be the antagonist you are.

Don’t be a dick to everyone, just some people

The pure evil archetype is a cliché, it's boring, and predictable. Your character is also a person, with feelings and emotions. Be bold. Be unpredictable. Have friends, because having ONLY enemies will get you waxed real soon. Convince other people of the badass you are and how you aren't afraid of anyone or anything. Being a good antagonist isn't about being a jerk just because you can, it's being a jerk to those who step in your way and oppose to your goals. Have a motive for everything you do, and if someone is being a hinderance for you, make them regret it!

Punch people in the feels, not just their wallets

My character is in a position that allows them to hurt people's wallets easily, yet, I sometimes chose to not do it because I can probably milk out some more RP taking an alternative approach. Be bold. Become someone's arch enemy just because you also had an arch enemy who got in your nerves, and you want to make someone else feel that way. Kill them over and over (or hire someone to do it), give them thrill, don't be afraid to try and perm them (obviously, if justified). Make them fear you, make the player controlling them reason a bit and think "I better not fuck with this dude." Be snide, rude, and don't simply call it a day by stealing their stuff. Hire someone to keep messing with them and make their life miserable if they deserve it.

A good antagonist doesn’t need to be seen, or even known. Work through others to accomplish your goals.

This varies a lot on your character's approach and goals. What I do agree absolutely on is that you have to involve other players. This leads to more cooperative competition.


BE BOLD AND HAVE A PURPOSE. Don't be afraid to break the Law when doing it, just make sure you don't get caught. Or, use the Law for your advantage. Or do it and put the dirt on someone else. Find a way. Be convicted of your abilities to reach your goals. Never hesitate, never pull back. Inspire fear or respect on those you encounter, and demonstrate you are someone to not fuck with - even if you aren't that skilled in combat.

Anyone else?

Don't be cartoonish if you want to last long. Be real.

The real villains are the norms of apathy, hatred, and greed.

I wanted to expound on this a bit and say this is a really good post for several reasons, number one:

"The pure evil archetype is a cliché, it's boring, and predictable. Your character is also a person, with feelings and emotions. Be bold. Be unpredictable. Have friends, because having ONLY enemies will get you waxed real soon. "

Especially the 'be bold' part.

My problem is enemies, and being afraid to make enemies. I would advise that even with a sociopath type character you need be smart about how you deal with them. If you go through the game without any conflict and get everything you want handed to you, you're going to get bored. A lot of times, people can be an enemies or obstacles without them even knowing too.

Holly's right: "Pure evil" is not an archetype at all.

The characters who are villains have their own motivations, and, from their own point of view, they're doing what's right (or necessary).

I can't remember where I red it somewhat-recently, but I read somewhere that "insanity" as a character archetype is nothing but twinkery with a bad excuse. In other words, it's too easy to justify playing a violent, aggressive, pain-in-the-ass character who just diesn't give a fuck by saying "she's insane, it's all IC". I'm not saying that there aren't IC ways to play insanity. But too often it happens because the player doesn't want to roleplay sanely from an OOC point of view. They make eir character give no fucks because they OOCly don't give a fuck about consistency, vulnerability, or, most important, believability.

Antagonists have to be believable. You know why movie, novel, videogame, and comicbook villains do what they do, right? Oh, you can name one where you don't know? Then I can name a shitty antagonist in a shitty story. I bet you didn't actually like that story even if it's crossing your mind while you try to see if there are holes in my thought process.

Also, "antagonist" doesn't need to mean "villain", especially since, as a player, you're going to need allies. Before your villainy and power grows so great that your character doesn't need allies and can draft minions and meatshields aplenty, they're going to need to spend a long time building that position with the willing cooperation of others. That means the character might seem like a villain to some but won't be a villain to all.

This is the promise and beauty of Sindome and cyberpnk, right there, actually. And of noir and of postmodernity. Grayness.

Sorry, Villa, you're the one who first brought up the unplayability of the "pure evil" archetype, not Hlly. So you're both right - they agreed with you.
I'm surprised this post hasn't earned some Academy Award, I think it's awesome.
To me, a good antagonist means one thing. Someone who isn't in it to win, but instead, to ensure that everyone involved has a good time.

This doesn't mean I expect people to throw away victories for the sake of making their enemies feel good. It's a very subjective thing. But in general, if an antagonist makes me go "Damn, that was cool!" even as I'm getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter, they did a good job. If I want revenge, partly because I just want to RP with this guy more, then they did a good job.

A few ways I do this, or try to;

Know your enemy. What kind of player are they? What do they consider fun? Combat? Political maneuvering? Punching them right in their emotions? Tailor their experience to what you think they'd like.

Go big. If you can do something while making a big statement, do it. Steal their prized possession and mock them. Kill their friends. Ruin their good name, and make sure they know it was you.

Pick on someone your own size, or larger than you. If you're Max McFacerip and you think a good antagging experience is ripping faces off of people with less UE and equipment than you repeatedly, you're wrong. Try and choose a target which could theoretically rip your own face off. That way, you aren't bored with your continued assured wins, and the enemy doesn't feel like they've been bullshitted.