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Dr Archeville

Villain PCs (and Killing and Other Related Stuff) in FC PbP

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It has recently dawned on me that we focus to much on telling PC Villains what they can't do, and not what they can. There also seems to be some severe dissonance in what different people expect Villain PCs to be able to do. "Fight heroes" is of course one option, but PvP is not and should no be the be-all and end-all of characters here.

Most superhero RPGs have people playing the heroes, and have them in a largely reactionary role. Stopping bank robbers, foiling world domination plots, and so on, reacting to things the Ref throws at them. Which is how most superhero comics work: focusing on the heroes and their reactions to threats. Villains are a different kettle of fish, though. They are by nature more proactive. A villain doesn't wait for a hero to become available before robbing a bank, a villain just robs a bank. There's also the issue of the different rules villains play by. Even in the campiest of Silver Age stories, villains can get away with more than heroes can, even though in the end they're always caught. Villains do villainous things, they cross lines no hero should cross.

Which makes for some thorny issues here, in a game where folks can play as either hero or villain. Some have expressed that having one set of rules for all characters -- like "No Killing" -- ties some villains hands, and even if the characters don't know that such rules are in place, the players do, so some heroes may show less concern when a villain is rampaging because "no one can die (outside of GM Fiat)".

The other choice is to have two sets of rules, one for heroes and one for villains. Problem there is in making sure the two sets are balanced with each other, so that either choice is (more or less) equally acceptable to players. Villains could have more leeway in what they can do, but face tougher consequences.

What role do you see PC Villains playing? Why do you play a Villain, and not a Hero? What should a PC Villain be allowed to do here, and what should a Villain not be allowed to do (at least not without consult/approval/backing from the Refs)? And what should happen if a PC Villain is beaten/captured by PC Heroes?

Speaking of consequences of villainy, there's Captain Knievel's trial. This was largely done as an experiment to see how a supervillain trial might work in a PbP game, though I am in no way surprised it turned into a big shoot-out. What do you think of the trial? Is it something we should ever do again?

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I guess it's fitting that I be one of the first to react to this. It is my trial after all. I complain about it all the time. But in truth, I love it. Captain Knievel is probably one of the single most developed characters that I have ever played. Because of that he is one of my favorites. The reason he has become so developed is because of the threads he's been in. I don't dare forget the changes he went through under Dr. Archeville's scrutiny in the HIT lecture.

The only problem that I have with the Trial is how long it is taking. This tied with the rules about our FCPbP Canon Timeline makes it difficult if not impossible to start threads that occur after the Trial in time because I have no clue what's going to happen to my character.

This is of course the problem with the experimental nature of the trial. It could simply be a problem that won't stick around because in the future we will know how to handle these things better.

That being said, I feel I must once again reaffirm my support for the trial thread. It's great. I love it. I develops characters, it's interesting, it's fun. It's also slow.

Before the trial thread occurred, I was given the option of what could almost be considered a "get out of jail free card". Essentially I was the one who made the decision on whether or not Knievel would be put on trial or not. One of my other options was that he could escape from the police escort while en route to the police station, etc. I opted for the trial for two reasons. I wanted to see what it could do for the character, and because it had never been done before, I thought if it worked out it would make this place a much better place to play. I must say that overall I am pleased with the results :)

I think that if that same option is offered to any one else in this situation then there should be no problems.

Two different rule sets for heroes and villains? Sure. But what would they be? That's the problem.

(11:08:33) Electra: I'd be more in favor of letting the villains do more serious lasting damage if there were lasting consequences. If no PC villain can be benched for awhile to go to jail, and they can't be thrown out of the setting, and they can't be killed, then you're stuck with murderous lunatics running around and not a doggone thing you can do about it.

I agree with that. Although it is a very hero centric point of view, and I play one of the more prominent villains on this site, I agree. I would be uncomfortable with saying "My PC can do whatever he wants and you can't stop him." Mostly because I know how much it would suck to be on the other end of something like that.

I think that villains should be allowed more freedom, but only if it befits their disposition. I'll use my own character as a case study.

Point number one: Captain Knievel hates mutants and meta humans. He hates them with every part of his being. However every time he fights one, he only leaves them with a few bruises and then lets them run along home. I think it would be more appropriate for Captain Knievel to do lethal damage to those that he knows are mutants. On the other hand, his opinions regarding those that are not mutants are largely uncaring. He won't even attack civilians unless the become wrapped up in any collateral damage he might be causing. So as far as killing civilians goes, he all but "wouldn't dare". It's just not him.

Point number two: Captain Knievel is a doer, not a thinker. He doesn't have a planet destroying death laser mounted on the moon. His overall threat level should be measured in city blocks rather than entire cities or whole worlds like some more famous villains can be. He might level a building here and there, but usually it isn't on purpose. He doesn't plan to end the lives of countless people (unless they are mutants).

Conclusion: The trial worked out pretty well as far as experiments go. How about another one. Allow players with PC villains to come up with a code of conduct for their villains. I view this as a sort of "expanded complications" section to be added to their character. These should be a point of discussion between players and refs. This should be a separate process from the initial character approval. This way it won't take any longer for the player to get into the action. Until their code of conduct is solidified, they can simply follow our standard silver age rules that have been in place for so long. I would encourage these codes of conduct to be a discussion between everybody on the site, not just the villains player and the judges. I find the other players here always have valuable input and opinions. Lets use them.

This procedure obviously requires players to be open to the ideas of others. Anyone who has already gone through the character approval process here should have displayed that ability already. Come up with a few ideas of and adjusted code of conduct for your villain. Post it, let others look at it, and revise it according to their ideas and opinions. We're all adults here, I think we can be fair about this. After a villains code gets approved, it can go on their character sheet beneath the complications section.

As always, I would love to hear what others have to say.

All the best,

Q

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largly used to enforce a "No killing" rule on villians. I think that may be a mistake and this should be left more to consequences. If you kill you just "flagged" yourself as being killable. This means that if you take things to that level and you are ever caught your character is done start over with a new one either the hero taking you out or the state will end your murderous ways permanent like. Immortal? Inescapable prison either way the character is out of play. This is the risks game. The second part of consequences is standard villiany, Robbery, assault, Property destruction, etc. These things are much more minor but still have consequences if caught. Problem is that we want people to be able to participate in the game not sit stewing in prison for months with no threads. But a revolving door prison where you are back on the streets in a week or two isn't effective on a an IG or OOG level. So the question is should Players of Villians be punished for thier Villian being caught? If so loosening some of the rules on avoiding being caught might be in order a few PP on a emergency Teleporter or diplomatic immunity (Ala DOOM) can go a long way.

Variety, really what we get here as far as villians go is pretty limited, We certainly get a variety of descriptors but basically they are the crazy anti-authority property destroyers, very little motivation of greed or even really meglomania (arguably they all have a healthy dose of this but they still don't have minions). I think this is both due to the restrictions on killing etc as well as a known dislike for the summon/minions power and "bathroom masterminds". We don't get the really murderous Kill All X types, nor do we get the carefull planners really, The one area that I think is underexplored in general is good old fashioned greed and there certainly isn't a rules reason behind that IMHO.

I don't really have a solution to the Variety issue honestly some of it is certainly just player preferance and "bathroom" anything is not exactly exciting unless a fair leeway is give the player to construct elaborate plots for the Heroes to solve but that really more like GMing a thread than playing a character.

I do think that it really comes back to what kind of consequences we want for villians. Are they knocked out of play by losing? What do they "get" in return?

I will also say that Heroes are just as tied if not more so by no killing than villians in many ways mostly because the villians often "deserve" it more. In every thread where Ace has faced a villian I have come away going "You idiot you should have just smothered X with a pillow. The world woudl be a better place." Especially when the villians are going to easily escape and go back in play. But that is what led to the Iron Age which is not what we're doing so I stick to the hero code and do the dumb thing ;)

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I will also say that Heroes are just as tied if not more so by no killing than villians in many ways mostly because the villians often "deserve" it more. In every thread where Ace has faced a villian I have come away going "You idiot you should have just smothered X with a pillow. The world woudl be a better place." Especially when the villians are going to easily escape and go back in play. But that is what led to the Iron Age which is not what we're doing so I stick to the hero code and do the dumb thing ;)

"These so called 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex world of Jet-Powered Apes and Time Travel." ;)

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I would like to add something else I just figured out how to articulate:

(12:14:58) angrydurf: (whispers) The Villian code seems like a pretty solid idea. My only real concern is that as soon as we allow villians to start down the darker path its hard to keep up the Hero code without being an idiot

(12:16:01) angrydurf: (whispers) Then we have the slow slide to Iron Age

(12:19:02) quotemyname: (whispers to angrydurf) I don't know about that. All the heroes have to do is believe that they are loftier individuals by nature. This is something that batman strives to prove. Just because the joker is a cold blooded killer, doesn't mean that batman has to sink to his level. And the joker has one of the most memorable examples of a "revolving door prison"

(12:20:48) quotemyname: (whispers to angrydurf) I'm fine with the heroes "always being there to stop me" as a villain, as long as it means I get to keep playing. even if I have more options like killing. I am more interested in actually playing the game, than I am interested in actually winning it. It's the epic struggle between good vs. evil that makes this genre great.

(12:21:11) angrydurf: (whispers) Yea the Joker is also the #1 reason Batman is a Tool. It really depends if the revolving door is still in for villians that kill etc.

(12:21:13) quotemyname: (whispers to angrydurf) As joker said in the movie, he and batman are perfect for each other. they will be playing this game forever.

Basically: By all means, beat me up and send me crying back to mommy. I'm fine with losing every battle as long as I get two things. One: Let me play the character how I think he should be portrayed (within reason of course), and Two: Let me keep playing him as long as I want.

IMHO the worst thing you can do to a player is say: You got beat. Roll a new character. *pauses at the odd sound of Gygax rolling over in his grave* Especially in a setting like this one. The character approval process takes long enough as is :P

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"These so called 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex world of Jet-Powered Apes and Time Travel." ;)

Absolutely, which is why I don't. That just gets harder to explain away with superior morality when the Jet Powered Ape is a killer and likely to do it again.

I agree with quote actually that not taking a character out of play is an important part of the equation. We all like our characters and want to be able to keep playing them. I think however the entire concept of justice becomes a joke when wanton murderers are back on the streets in days. Thats a problem. Heres the core thing I think that you should have the option of doing whatever you like with your character it just has consequences Villain or Hero. If Knieval begins an ethnic cleansing campaign against mutants then gets caught he's SOL dead or imprisoned forever and out of play. Important part "IF he gets caught." This means that he'd have to be seen killing then after that be taken in to the authorities. But same goes for Heroes. Cross the line and kill a villian (Or bystanders caugh caugh Arrowhawk) and your Bona Fides are revoked and likely you are arrested/incarcerated or hunted down.

Having it both ways shouldn't be an option frankly. If you want to play a crazy murderous mutant hater, or ageless soulsucking mage fine but you are not going to be kept in a minimum security prison that you waltz out of if/when you get caught.

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I think some of the problems with the villians and their play time sometimes is the hard line between heroes and villians. Unless the two are engaged in a throw down slug fest, they don't interact. There are no Magneto-Prof X chess matches or even Spiderman's relationship with the Osborne's alter egos.

I actually really like Malice's new take on Dark Star, to illustrate that point. There's no question that Malice is a certifiable nut job and bad guy but his delusions about DS open a lot of possible interactions other than "Two men enter, one man leave" scenarios.

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It's exceedingly aggravating to deal with villain PCs who waltz consequence-free out of cardboard prisons.

The problem is, most of the ways of dealing with that problem have their own share of problems.

Taking the Trial thread as an example, the inconvenience and annoyance there has been focused in the wrong direction. Captain Knievel has spent a short, consequence-free time in minimum security (we didn't even get a thread out of his time in the slammer) while _quote_'s been the one stuck without a chance to roleplay his character in any meaningful way. This seems like a solution that satisfies no one. We should be making life tougher for the bad guy, not making life tougher for the bad guy's player. :)

(In retrospect, I think we should have gone ahead with the Suicide Squad plotline directly. Make them UNISON Solos, if necessary, charged with eliminating foreign terrorist metahumans.)

As someone who argued in favor of the "no killing" rule, I have to speak up for it again here. Freedom City is a universe grounded in the assumptions of comic books, but it rises above the limitations of the genre in several meaningful ways. (It's not misogynist or racist the way many 'mainstream' comic books can be, nor does it have a revolving door on the afterlife or freeze in time.) What's most important for what I'm saying is that there are no Jokers. There are no invincible psychopaths who run around like petty demigods of death who are then imprisoned over and over again in easily escapable prisons by heroes who they make look like childish fools every time they fight.

The "no killing" rule is our bright line that keeps out the Joker-wannabees, that keeps our game from being an excuse for villain players to act out the most depraved fantasies from their ids while those playing heroes are left as powerless milksops unable to stop them. I don't want to see threads where villains are running around massacring police officers and deflowering cheerleaders, with no consequences for them whatsoever even if they are caught. We have the Non-Canon boards if you want to indulge in an orgy of destruction.

Put aside genre conventions; we're playing an RPG here, not writing a comic book. If the heroes (one set of PCs) don't get to kill you or make you suffer any lasting consequences, you (another set of PCs) don't get to kill them or make them suffer any lasting consequences.

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This is... severely limiting my ideas for Shadow Academy.

Which is all the more reason to be having these discussions -- so we can figure out what we want to do, what we can do, what we're okay with allowing others to do.

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Okay I had this idea while brainstorming.

First of, we judge a villain based on what he or she does. Based on his or her actions, they gain villain points.

The catch, however, is that the Player won't be able to use said points till AFTER the villain is captured and imprisoned.

The more he does, the bigger reward the player gets... but that reward can't be used till after the Villian is captured. At the same time, If a Villain still have active Villain points, then they can spend one (or more depending on the mods) to break out early or escape capture all together.

I got the idea based on the old MSHRPG, where if you played a villain, you gained Karma depending on the level of your crime.

This way, you get rewarded for being a villain, then get compensated for getting arrested.

This is a rough idea, but I think I'm on to something here.

EDIT

Alright I found the Karma list from MSHRPG. The source is from the players hand book, which can be seen here

So anyway here's a partial list for those of you not in the mood to browse:

Action Reward

Violent Crime -- Stop/Prevent 30

Violent Crime -- Arrest 15

Destructive Crime -- Stop/Prevent 20

Destructive Crime -- Arrest 10

Theft -- Stop/Prevent 10

Theft -- Arrest 5

Robbery -- Stop/Prevent 20

Robbery -- Arrest 10

Misdemeanors -- Stop/Prevent 5

Misdemeanors -- Arrest 5

Violent Crimes are Crimes involving damage to people, and include murder, assault, and kidnapping. The game does not consider attacking a hero a crime.

Destructive Crimes are violent crimes directed against property as opposed to people. Arson, bombings, riots, vandalism, attacks on super-powered heroes, and rampages fall under this catagory

Theft is Removal of property without threat or injury. Shoplifting, Pickpocketing, Break-ins and Embezzling are thefts.

Robbery is Theft with violence or implied violence. Mugging, bank robbery and store stick-ups are robbery. Whereas theft is done without target's knowledge, robbery involves face-to-face confrontation.

Misdemeanors include all minor crimes, including gambling, carrying concealed weapons, possession of drugs, and driving offenses.

So yeah, my idea is that we rank each of these instances and if a Villian attempts one of the above (there's more but it's a time typing it all at the moment) the player gets rewarded. He gets captured while doing it, he gets a reward as well (similar to a hero getting a hero point for a setback)

EDIT part 2

Forgive me, the ideas keep coming.

As I looked this over and re-read the thread there is something else to consider: What particular crimes will be allowed and what particular crimes is a PC going to do?

In short, take my newest PC for example:

Mervyl is capable of Destructive Crimes and Robberies.

In short I'm saying that Mervyl isn't likely to commit Violent Crimes (outside of kidnapping) cause he doesn't kill outside of self defense. He's not likely to commet theft cause he isn't 'sneaky' (he's more of a confrontation like person, hence it'll become a robbery), etc.

By saying what crimes your character is likely to do, it will make the Mods classify you MUCH easier and act accordingly (counter-measures). Plus we can make a running tally on how many 'Violent' PC's we have.

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Put aside genre conventions; we're playing an RPG here, not writing a comic book. If the heroes (one set of PCs) don't get to kill you or make you suffer any lasting consequences, you (another set of PCs) don't get to kill them or make them suffer any lasting consequences.

I totally agree.

Okay I had this idea while brainstorming.

First of, we judge a villain based on what he or she does. Based on his or her actions, they gain villain points.

The catch, however, is that the Player won't be able to use said points till AFTER the villain is captured and imprisoned.

The more he does, the bigger reward the player gets... but that reward can't be used till after the Villian is captured. At the same time, If a Villain still have active Villain points, then they can spend one (or more depending on the mods) to break out early or escape capture all together.

I got the idea based on the old MSHRPG, where if you played a villain, you gained Karma depending on the level of your crime.

This way, you get rewarded for being a villain, then get compensated for getting arrested.

This is a rough idea, but I think I'm on to something here.

So like you have a static pool of "Crime Points" or something since its different from a VP it needs a different name. that can be cashed in when you get beaten/arrested in order to escape prison? I like that idea.

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Honestly, this entire debate makes me think that PC villains never should have been allowed in the first place.

Seriously. Villains should have always been NPCs. That way, all players AND their characters are held to the same standard. Players who want to "play" villains can GM threads for other players, where they temporarily play villain NPCs, among others.

I would be totally in favor of turning every PC villain into a Tier 3 NPC (so only the original player can GM them), and giving them power points (and credit toward Gold/Plat Status) equal to what they've earned with that villain so far toward building a new PC Hero.

If, however, you insist on continuing to let players be villains, then this issue needs to get sorted out. And I REFUSE to play in a game where the heroic players are held to a double-standard. If PC villains have the option of killing, then PC heroes should have the option of killing them once they've crossed that line. I agree with AA that one of the best things about Freedom City is the lack of any characters with Joker Immunity. And if we start giving Joker Immunity to the PC villains while still binding the hands of the PC heroes, then I'm switching sides ASAP, because it'll become clear which side the bread is buttered on.

The other option is to forbid PCs from killing, be they heroes or villains. Villains have to make a show of "trying to kill you," beat you just short of death, then come up with an in-character excuse to leave you, or drop you into an "inescapable deathtrap." The problem with this approach is that there are entire character types who become unplayable. Ronin leaps to mind. The guy is a professional mercenary. Some of his jobs will be assassinations. If he can't kill people, he has a serious problem.

It's a tough choice either way, and either way, there will be dissatisfaction and frustration. I want to tear my hair out and beat my forehead against my keyboard every time one of you Silver Age Fanboys whips out that quote where Superman trashes The Authority over their methods, thinking it's the ultimate argument against the Iron Age. It's not. Those no-nonsense solutions don't hold up in a world with talking monkeys, but they're required in a world where mass-murderers barely have time to get a cup of coffee during their stay in a revolving-door cardboard prison. You can't have it both ways. If the heroes are bound by Silver Age restrictions on their conduct, then the villains should be, too. Which makes them pretty much harmless. If the villains get to pull Iron Age depravity, then the heroes should get to put them down like the rabid animals they are. In fact, they SHOULD. Any approach in the "middle of the road" is an exercise in someone trying to have their cake and eat it, too, and it's doomed to failure. If you're going to enforce real-world consequences on us, then we should get to use real-world methods, and vice versa .

I also think this whole Trial mess locking down Quote's character hangs a lampshade on the problem with Archeville's obsession with forming a coherent timeline. Because the comics we're supposedly emulating...don't adhere to a coherent timeline. For the last 20 years, there have been anywhere from 3-5+ ongoing monthly Batman titles being published every month. While the editors keep a very general idea of the chronology in their head for major events, do you really think they bother fretting about whether Batman foiled The Penguin's bank robbery in Detective Comics #X took place before or after his fight with Calendar Man in Shadow of The Bat #Y? No. Of course not. The same could be said for Superman, Spider-Man, or the X-Men.

I think, at the most, the timeline should indicate which month particular threads took place in. It certainly shouldn't be as specific as pinning down the day.

Knieval's trial was a foregone conclusion. Only the details were a mystery. We knew he wouldn't be killed, because you don't want this game turning into a bloodbath. We knew he wouldn't be taken out of circulation forever, because you don't want anyone to lose their character permanently. So one way or the other, he would have gotten out of jail. Quote could easily have been playing him in new threads while the trial thread sorted itself out and we eventually learned the specific events behind his INEVITABLE escape.

The idea of a prison sub-forum where incarcerated villains can play in or run threads is a good idea.

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I have to say I really don't like the idea of a pool of power gained from commiting crimes. Its an additional and kinda wonky thing to keep track of. Especially accross multiple threads.

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When you try to not just excuse, but rely upon some of the cliches of the Silver Age, but you look to subvert others in favor of realism, it doesn't seem fair, and your choice of which tropes to excuse and which ones to subvert feels arbitrary.

I don't want arbitrary or unfair. I want consistency.

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I think the real decision to be made is if we want a Silver (Or bronze) age game or not. There are a ton of Silver Age villina concepts out there there were years of comics with some of the more memorable villians that came out of the silver age. If you really can't make a villian that fits that maybe tthis isn't the game for you Same goes for heroes.

If we let villians start to kill etc then there are two options available really we scrap this whole Silver/Bronze concept and go Iron and have a bloodbath in every thread as the Heroes and villians go all out on one another or we have the "faceless state" clean up the mess and if you're a murderer you lose your character when you get caught (to death penalty or life imprisonment in inescapable prison)

Niether of those are really options I personally espouse so I think by far the simpler answer is make a silver/bronze age villian that has a code of honor and won't kill/maim/rape/destroy/whatever.

I have to also agree/disagree with Shaen on the Villians never beign allowed as PCs. On the one hand he is right they shouldn't have been in my opinion, on the other hand they have been and there are a not insignifigant number of players who have them and would want to keep them so its too late to really change that.

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I think it's definitely the case that we want a Silver to Bronze Age style game. Putting aside the parts of Silver Age stories that haven't aged well, in Silver Age stories the bad guys always lose! :) The Bronze Age is an era when real-world concerns actually made an appearance in the genre, and that's certainly something we want here. Though I personally am actually fairly tolerant of the Iron Age, opening the door to it around here will let in a flood of Bloodfysts and Pouchguns faster than you can say "Liefeld's BAACK!" And no one wants that.

Being a historian, I feel the need to do research. It's interesting that at the end of that infamous Justice League story Doc and Shaen called back to, Gorilla Grodd winds up violently Mental-Blasted and trapped in the Phantom Zone for five months RL time, and then disappears again for another RL year. You know, that's actually not bad; and that's in comics specifically designed to ape[1] the Silver Age with a Modern Age feel. If a captured bad guy spent five RL months in prison (maybe with a prison thread, or a Suicide Squad thread), then reappeared for a thread thanks to a breakout by his cronies, that'd be fine by me. ;)

I'm content with the code of conduct we have for villains. I don't think we should inject content from the Marvel Superhero RPG into Mutants and Masterminds. I do think we need a better way to handle PC villains. If we are going to have them, and we are going to allow non-choreographed PVP, I think we should give the villain players a chance to do something with their characters even while they're facing incarceration. (Whether that's a prison thread, a 'Salvation Run' thread, a Suicide Squad thread, or even by an "Almost Got 'Em" thread where they all flashback to their greatest hits.) If you don't like facing incarceration, don't play a villain. :)

(And hey, I like the timeline. It appeals to the historian in me. Better to be too rigorous than not enough.)

[1] That's right, I went there! :D

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You say you're satisfied with the current code of conduct required by villain PCs on this site.

Most of us aren't clear on what exactly that currently is.

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Alright, guess it's timed I chimed in, seeing as how I'm an active villain and a ref.

First, let me just make this statement: I love gaming here. This is one of, if not the single greatest gaming communities I've been a part of. And without exception, I consider all the regulars here to be friends and I have naught but respect for them.

That being said, playing a villain can be frustrating. People are of the mind that the heroes should win, and whenever that's not the case there's some resistance to that. Most of the time, it's something small, and can usually be glossed over. Ace and DS each getting a HP for Malice's powerstunt in Trial being the most recent example in my mind. I had to power stunt an effect to hurt DS at all, and Ace wasn't affected at all. You don't give out HP just because the other guy did good. Events like this sting a bit, but after a while you get down off the cross, use the wood to build yourself bridge and you get over it.

The most egregious of examples to happen to me was my very first game here, which was a simple 1 on 1 fight with Emissary. MarkK's reaction to the end of the thread was enough that I didn't visit the board for a week, and nearly quit right then and there. Thankfully, this experience was very much an outlier of my time here.

Here's the thing though, so long as villains are active participants on the boards, the chance that they'll win is always there. It's part of the package of being a PC; sometimes things go your way. But, by the same token, people are taken aback if the PC heroes ever loose. The only thread I can think of ever where the heroes lost was Welcome to the Modern World. The only consequences for the heroes who lost was that Spartan had a slightly longer walk home and Arrowhawk needed a shower and he had some arrows stolen (which he pretty much has an unlimited number of, and Malice got no mechanical benefit for it). Being forced to flee the scene due to the police arriving before the seldom heard victory music played is another one of those before mentioned frustrations.

I'm going to say this again for emphasis: I love gaming here. This is one of, if not the single greatest gaming communities I've been a part of. And without exception, I consider all the regulars here to be friends and I have naught but respect for them.

My point is, that if the villains aren't "allowed" to succeed SAY IT. I'm like quote, I really don't care if Malice ever really wins. Look at Malice's goals for Pete's sake. He's trying to convince the world that the shining paragons of virtue that regularly put their lives on the line to save the hide of other people are the bad guys. He'd be hard-pressed to do that even in an Iron Age game, let alone Silver or Bronze. He's never, ever, ever going to succeed. It's like watching an old episode of Looney Toons with the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. You know he's never going to catch the bird, but watching him try over and over again is damn entertaining. But, the secret to it, is that he gets close.

How about an example closer to home. Everyone go on Youtube right now, and search for any animated series, Justice League, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Static Shock, Batman Beyond and then search up any episode, and watch it. Okay now I'll summarize that episode. First, the villain successfully implemts stage one of his newest scheme (usually stealing a McGuffin), and probably beats the hero in the process. Secondly, there is some other drama going on in the hero's life that highlights whatever character flaw they had in their previous fight that caused them to lose the match. Thirdly, the hero learns more about the villain's nefarious scheme, and goes to confront them. Fourthly, the hero defeats the villain in their climatic showdown, and stops their scheme "before it's too late". Finally, the villain gets carted off to jail (or the equivalent) and the hero learns some valuable about manners, or friendship or something, and the status quo is restored.

All I'm asking for while playing a villain is that I walk into a thread knowing 2 things; 1) I will lose and my schemes will be foiled and 2) I almost had him. Give me those two things and I'll be good. My preferred play style is that of the Butt-Kicker or Slayer. When I play a character, I like to play up their abilities, and I get a rush when they do really good. That's why Atlas is so strong, and why Malice has such a large weapons array. So, as long as I get to something cool at least once per thread I'm good. Look at Massive Explosion. I was sitting on an absolute mound of Villain Points, in a situation where going out guns blazing, taking as many of them with me as possible, is not only a viable strategy, it was also what everyone expected of me, but I turned it down and went quietly. Why? because I was already coming off a victory. I entered the Arrow Strikes home as the previous winner, and Arrowhawk the looser.

What would've happened if Arrowhawk hadn't blown everything sky high? Best case scenario ends with several sections of my base being blown up, worst case is that the fight goes upstairs and he figures out who I am. Malice would have most likely lost everything in that thread anyway, and I'm okay with that because it was his time to lose. If I walk into a thread knowing that I'm going to get my butt kicked, I don't feel cheated, no matter what the rulings are. But if I walk into a thread thinking I could potentially win, and there's a shady call or two...

Alright, I think I'm rambling at this point, and if this gets much longer I won't be able to submit it as a single post. I hope I conveyed my position properly.

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I seriously question whether Hero Points for setbacks should be given in strictly PvP fights at all. If they are given, they should be distributed equally to both sides as setbacks come up.

Now, if the heroic PC does something that stalls or impairs their ability to win the fight in the interest of acting heroic, like when Twilight Gryphon took some hits from Captain Knieval while stopping the billboard from falling on the innocent bystanders on the street, that's another story altogether.

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I'd be annoyed at the turn this conversation has taken, but I've also noticed that the shadiest calls are the ones where my characters are inconvenienced. So, my sympathies! ;)

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand. The Trial thread was a worthy experiment, but I don't think it's something we should repeat. Let the bad guys go to prison if they're caught, but give them things to do while they're there. If you don't like jail, don't play a bad guy, or play a bad guy who only fights NPCs. Or take the time to plan out the consequences of fights so they're more than just mindless PVP, the way Evi, Alder, and I did in Hard Day's Night. That's the easiest character creation suggestion I can make.

As far as what villains should and shouldn't do, not killing is one of them. Maybe it's more an issue of what villains _should_ do. Villains should monologue. Villains should have character flaws besides being insane. Villains should have redeeming qualities. Villains should have capers besides "I'mma beat people up!" They should scheme and plot. They should rob banks. They should steal things. They should plant a bomb and threaten to blow up the entire building if not given ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Villains should be...interesting. Belphegor is interesting. Malice is interesting. (Some of the PC villains are interesting too, but never let it be said I don't play favorites.) Villains should be like them. :)

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As the longest running active Villain on this board, I think I should share a thought or two. :)

A lot is being said here about killing. A lot of the conversation seems to be about PvP threads. My character hasn't killed. I didn't make him a killer. My character doesn't really do the PvP as he isn't a very "flashy" villain either. Most of my threads have been solo stories examining the character's lifestyle. I've had bad luck in getting other players to play with.

For the most part, I enter a thread with a few ideas in place. If it is a story that I've started, my villain is going to win. Period. He's not going to get arrested. If the story has a hero in it, I want to have a third factor present so that we can work together. Fighting directly with PCs can cause too many problems.

Like most other players, I like to win. If the story is one where I have dreamt up the plot, then I'm going ot make sure my guy comes out on top. He may get bruised and hurt, but he's not going to suffer for it. Why should my villain be forced to pay for his crime in every thread if the heroes can survive every encounter with the NPCs villains? PCs should be more powerful than NPCs. Because this is a game, I do realize that the dice may not go my way but I'm not going to allow dice to ruin the story I want to play in.

Now, what do I do when entering a thread with other PCs? Who gets to "win"? Well, I prefer to have the PCs work together instead of working against each other. Have a third factor appear where the PC villain and the PC hero can team up against. I know PvPs are fun, but that's where things can get very iffy. Two heroes or villains sparring tend to work out just fine. Both take lumps and can walk away with no problems. It's only the hero vs villain PvP that cause problems. That's why I think those threads need to have a code of play in place. If the dice has one win, then what happens? Talk to the other player and agree at the begining, before the story gets too far.

Killing. I'm of a split mind on this one. I see no problems with villains killing generic NPCs and not getting caught doing it. Of course, this is in a solo thread which is used to further the development of the villain and is done out of the spotlight. Killing NPC police officers or civilians, no. That is against the main theme of the board. But if you decide to make Hero Joe for a one shot story that he gets wiped, cool. I'm against killing PCs, major NPCs, or non-powered NPCs. You just don't do that or you call on real trouble. Crossing that line will call everyone down upon you.

I agree with AA's last statement.

Villains should have character flaws besides being insane. Villains should have redeeming qualities. Villains should have capers besides "I'mma beat people up!" They should scheme and plot. They should rob banks. They should steal things. They should plant a bomb and threaten to blow up the entire building if not given ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Villains should be...interesting. Belphegor is interesting. Malice is interesting.

Villains need to have more to their characters then a lust for showboating. Making sure that we develop that side is important in a RPG.

EDIT: As for timeline and clapping a player down after getting caught. I don'T think we need to do that. Having the player make threads that happened before getting caught still works or in the far future ( about two to three months after getting caught) should be fine.

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In my very first adventure on this board, Doktor Archeville's PC villain Belphegor tortured and murdered an entire family of innocent people, just so he could steal their house. The NPC villains he then diverted our attention to murdered around a dozen people for fun.

In six months, I have yet to receive a satisfactory explanation for why this was OK when PC villains who don't belong to Staff Members have been reprimanded or rejected for less.

I would even accept "It was part of the learning process and we've decided we're not going to do it again," if that's actually the case.

The player base looks to the Ref team for their cues. Whether you like it or not, the funky-colored names are our example for what is and isn't wanted or allowed here.

Cake. You can have it. Or you can eat it. It's not fair to try and do both. And it's even worse to tell the players "Do as I say, not as I do."

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While I can't speak for Doc, Shaen, that thread was several months ago on a board with a different culture than the one we have now. While I've not been paying perfect attention, I haven't seen Belphegor or Doc's NPC baddies going on any killing sprees lately. You can't expect people, even people with the best of intentions, to have perfect consistency all the time here on our hobby site that we're involved in for our spare time. What we're trying to do now in this thread is hammer out some player-and-Ref expectations so that we don't have any further problems like that.

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