TV Tropes Needs Your Help
View Kickstarter Project
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here
and discuss here
Just For Fun: How to be a Complete Monster
So you wanna be a supremely heinous villain who has no redeeming qualities
? Here are the steps.
- Be a villain. This one should go without saying. If you started out as a good person but became evil later on, you damn well better do an impressive exercise in grade-a villainy, because even then it's a stretch to undo all those pesky, previous noble acts of yours (look to Griffith/Femto for inspiration).
- Let the heroes come into your trap and kill them. Painfully. Maybe using an actual Death Trap.
- Break the Cutie or kill The Woobie. For a better result, keep The Woobie alive, but make his/her life a living hell consciously.
- Kick the Dog. Especially if the dog is adorable. If you have a dog, kill it and/or torture it as soon as possible. Bonus points if it's a cat instead.
- Don't have a Freudian Excuse. If you by any chance have an excuse make sure your depravity far outweighs your excuse.
- Be a Social Darwinist. If there's someone out there that's weaker than you, then kill them. If you encounter a group of people that happen to be less powerful than yourself, then it's genocide time. Bonus points if you're being a Hypocrite about it (say, demanding mercy when you've been defeated yourself).
- Team Evil is not one big happy family. Your minions are tools, not friends, so use them and dispose of them as you see fit, especially if they've been nothing but loyal to you. Kill them for the slighest failure, murder them for sport, eat your dragons, it's all fair game in your book. Any appreciation you do have for them can only reflect on how deliciously evil they are.
- Go way beyond the darkside of your own will. It's delightfully more heinous than being coerced to kick dogs or doing so because it's literally what you are and shows what an utter bastard you are.
- Love your Breaking Speech and for extra ommph tell the heroes they suck in the process. Don't be swayed by anyone's appeal for good.
- Mind Rape your victims. This can lead to loss of all hope, destroy their remaining sanity or put themselves out of their misery rather than be put to torture by whatever you have in store. They might even capitulate and join your side. Some ways to psychologically break your victims:
- Enjoy every part of your evil acts. Or better yet, be completely reasonless in evil.
- Laugh at your victims' misery, especially at their lowest.
- Forget about standards, children should be no different than adult from your point of view unless you have a special treatment for them.
- Be a Self-Made Orphan by killing your family for no real reason. Or you could kill them for an incredibly selfish reason, like them punishing you for something bad you did.
- Make sure your favorite sound is 'screaming of other people'
- If you're ever in charge of a military, make sure to not care about the lives of your own forces. Go ahead and frequently send them on deadly missions for almost no reason at all.
- War crimes? War fun! If you're leading The Evil Army yourself, forget about winning and just go on endless campaigns of Rape, Pillage, and Burn, the more civilians get killed the better. Be proud of your boys! The people you killed today are the finest human beings you will ever meet.
- Dine on Endangered Species; especially cute ones. Alternatively, dine on human flesh, the younger the better.
- Love the sight of people in despair. Even better: Actively drive people into despair, make it your hobby or something! Take good, noble, virtuous people, and try to drag them down to your level by systematically destroying their hopes, dreams and ideas while also brutally killing everyone they hold dear.
- For extra bonus points, try dragging them down to your level.
- Have no guilt for your actions because it's much more fun to have immense joy in your misdeeds and not regretting a single one.
- Consider taking up sociopathy. If you're not lucky enough to be born with it, try to dull your empathy enough to be close.
- Torture the hero with the Agony Beam. Better yet force them to watch as they have their loved ones tortured and killed before their eyes as they cave into despair.
- Have the hero and their loved ones raped. Bonus points if they're Forced to Watch and/or are very young. If you want to top even that, make a hobby out of it.
- The same goes for killing. The more, and the crueler, the better.
- The logical extreme of that is to expand this to everyone. You just hate humanity or even every living thing so much that you'll turn the world into a graveyard or destroy reality itself to end them completely.
- You could also opt to use your murder hobby in a more productive way: become a gun for hire or a professional torturer. This way you get extra points for getting lucrative benefits out of all the people you happily kill for your employers, but be wary you don't fall into the Hitman with a Heart type.
- Systematically kill off the hero's friends one by one in front of their eyes as they are helpless to save them.
- Cold-Blooded Torture is a must for captured victims, its best to show the hero the results once you're done. For better results, have them suffer an And I Must Scream fate.
- If you ever had friends, betray them in the worst way possible just as things are looking good.
- Is there someone that still trusts you? Do they still believe that there is goodness in you? Then act like they're right, like you're really a redeemable person, then betray them at the worst moment.
- Speaking of Hope Spot, give the hero's party one, just so you can take it away just to make their last hold of sanity fall apart.
- Honor? Fuck honor! Anything goes if it means achieving your goal! You could pretend to speak for honor and good while perverting them for your diabolical ends.
- Genocide is fun! Laugh gleefully when you push the Big Red Button cuz regret's for losers. The race you terminate should always have many unique, sympathetic members who stay dead; merely alluding to or claiming you did it is not enough.
- Be nasty about everything you do. Not the murdering type? (Wuss!) Just be mean to everyone. Remember, burning down an orphanage can be justifiable. A nasty word in the right place or the right ear, however, can earn you the fandom's hate instantly.
- Being a Jerk Ass all the time won't make you seem truly evil as you need to be? Then play the Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk card! By pretending to Pet the Dog by helping people, your purpose of making them easier to erase and fill them with hopelessness.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good? Yes and no. Passing yourself as a harmless good guy is one of the most effective tactics in the Complete Monster's arsenal. Just don't get too absorbed with your harmless good guy attitude. But ultimately, you must always keep in mind that Good only existed to be played like a puppet and tossed when it's of no use anymore. Don't even think that these good wusses are great because they could understand that stupid thing called 'goodness', evil is where it's at!
- Be Dangerously Genre Savvy. Learn some psychology — not only will it make it easier to Break the Cutie, but it won't let you fall into the trap of not understanding the heroes.
- It's never good to be too recklessly evil or you might hurt yourself. Plan out your actions meticulously to ensure your victory and lack of consequences. Sometimes, being "good" to that one Woobie makes you finally crushing her under your heel all the more satisfying.
- Your Evil Plan must involve horrific pain and/or death for many, random, Innocent Bystanders. If your target is focused on one person then others might get the wrong idea and believe that you can be redeemed. Of course, you can target one person, and wipe them off the map along with whole village/town/kingdom they happen to be in at time. Just make it clear that you don't care about that little collateral damage. You can say it's unfortunate that those people are in your way, but not because they're necessary sacrifices, it's because you don't value those lives.
- If you have a grand plan for conquest, make it as selfish or sadistic as possible. Screw "the ends justifies the means", you have no good intentions period. Force humanity to be your slaves, toys or both. If you're feeling ambitious, try to expand your reach as far as possible, so you can have the joy of The Powers That Be grovel and cry at your feet(and if The Powers That Be are good? Even better!)
- Don't feel the need to remember every evil act you commit. Evil acts should be such a daily thing that if someone call you out for it, you can just say you forget and add up with "Oh, must be Tuesday." However, you should always remember your greatest crimes. For example, you should remember how The Hero's spouse pitifully begged to spare their life and their child and how their pleas fell on deaf ears, how their sister keep calling their name as your mooks had fun with her, how their comrades died horrifically as you killed them, and how much fun you had as you slaughtered everyone in their hometown. So you could later tell them with delightful detail.
- Be fully aware of right and wrong. The morally unaware don't know any better, and the morally alien are being good in a different way. Having a sense of right and wrong the same as everyone else means your actions have even less justifications, since you know better. Being a Card-Carrying Villain is a good way to show this off, since it proves how comfortable you are with being a Complete Monster and that you'll never change your mind.
- Be completely and utterly selfish. If someone decides to punish you for your crimes? Whine and moan about it, preferably while destroying that someone's lives. The hero's about to kill you for all you've done? Beg and beg until they decide to give you mercy, and since you only use mercy as a tool kill them when you've been spared. If none of this works, spend your last moments insulting them for not saving your life; yes, you know you deserve it, but then again It's All About You and you alone.
- Kill the most beloved character in the series in a massive traumatizing way, this will cause not only the characters to hate you, but the fans as well.
- Joy is a lie, anything but misery and despair is just a delusion for the masses. Embrace nihilism, and none of that pansy Nietszche Wannabe stuff either.
- Furthermore, as an alternative to the idea that you enjoy evil, take no pleasure whatsoever in what you do. You do not enjoy the suffering of others, you just feel such hatred, disgust, or some other motive for them that your cruelty is limitless. Maybe the entire world fills you with so much revulsion that you think it deserves nothing but the worst tortures you can imagine. Evil doesn't feel good necessarily, because that would provide you with the implicit motive that you do evil because it feels good in the same way people do good because it feels good to them.
- Brush up on philosophy. Not for qualifying as Wicked Cultured, which shouldn't be a motivation anyway, but because there are some excellent ways to induce misery in the world through words alone. In essence, think of philosophical subject matters as a means of enhancing your beloved Breaking Speeches. Here's a few good tropes to start with:
- Straw Nihilist: Being able to articulate a logical argument that truly strikes to the core of what someone claims to believe in, tearing it apart as the worthless, empty, useless facade it truly is, is a skill of undeniable power.
- For Happiness: AKA Utilitarianism. Learn how to make this sound so childish and so primitive, guilt-tripping anyone who fights for peace, love, and etc., especially if you make it clear that one person's happiness and gain will always result in another's sorrow and loss.
- Humans Are Bastards: Don't just claim it, prove it. Drive less strong-willed people (bonus points for former heroes, Triple Evil Score for a friend of the protagonists) to lives of selfish evil through your methods and use them as proof that any given monkey can become a rotten piece of filth. Take pointers from 1984's Room 101 methodology.
- Black And Black Morality: Do your best to paint everything as this.
- Moral Dissonance: If the heroes are slaying evildoers or minions and are proud of it, mockingly point out that they've never really cared about redeeming anybody. They're just killing people because they're annoyed by those people. Not So Different is the obligatory follow-up.
- Take subtle ways up, that look like good deeds but truly aren't. A master of this fools the idiots around them into believing they're trustworthy, while doing nothing but ensuring that despair propagates and the status quo's problems see no resolution. A good Evil Plan for Dystopia Justifies the Means is a worthwhile goal for any Complete Monster, but don't let the big picture distract you from little bits of misery to wring from the lives of others either. Give a little paltry coin to the homeless now and then, if you can. Not to save them, of course, but to preserve their wretched lives of misery and despair. When you hear the cries of homeless, hungry children, you don't want that to END now, would you? Death is mercy, let them have none.
- Be quiet as opposed to a Large Ham. Never raise your voice, or just maintain a monotone register even as you're tearing people limb from limb. For one thing, a shrieking Villainous Breakdown will quickly undo everything you worked so hard to foster. For another, it just makes you seem that much more unsettling and scary, to be so confident and composed at all times. Pairs well with But for Me, It Was Tuesday, mentioned above.
- Or alternatively, at times, being a Large Ham is very fine. After all, the more people know you're enjoying your evilness, the better. Especially when you do your Evil Laugh. Especially when you're the ridiculing, mocking Troll type.
- Death need not be the end of your despair-inflicting on others. If a particular soul has passed on and is out of your grasp for torturing, perhaps dabble in necromancy to make sure "eternal rest" is anything but. Special mention goes to yanking the spirits of another character's Dark and Troubled Past out like dirty laundry. If you can resurrect a protagonist's dead baby sister as your tortured, unliving vessel of misery, why in the world wouldn't you? That said, make sure you can send them back at any time and keep it under control. The Power of Love might be a bit whiffy for you, and giving a hero the chance to make peace with a fallen loved one would be a disastrous backfire. On the other hand, Yank the Dog's Chain can be wonderfully employed.
- On that note, be Genre Savvy about that irksome Power of Love thing. Namely, remember that Love Makes You Evil too, and that many a villain's career started with a broken heart. And hey, if you can teach people to be jaded, cynical, and even hostile to the idea of expressing love, you've done your part in making the world a colder, sadder place overall. Go you!
- Exploit the local Martyr Without a Cause too while you're at it. If you can induce a Senseless Sacrifice in them, not only is it probably hilarious to you in some way but you've also struck a powerful demoralizing blow against their friends and allies. Can be extrapolated into a Breaking Speech to exploit the ensuing survivor's guilt, blaming the sacrificial lamb's friends for being too weak or uncaring to stop the act.
- If people know about your true nature, ideally without being able to prove or act on that knowledge, that's your chance to make them live in constant fear.
- Call out any and all Double Standards, Hypocrites, and What the Hell, Hero? moments. If anyone is qualified to cruelly taunt a hero over their failings, it's you. However, be sure to emphasize that they didn't have a choice. No, it wasn't their fault. No heinous act is ever their fault...
- ...And everyone wants to be a hero, after all. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn't it? Turn that road into a one-way bullet train. You can manipulate people with utter ease if you convince them that they'll be doing the right thing and be honored for it. For example, sparing you is the greater act of heroics, because a redeemed villain is better than a dead one, and a valuable asset at that. Which of course you'll turn right around, as mentioned above. Another example would be encouraging Smiting Evil Feels Good, and enthusiasm to a cause, while being fully aware of He Who Fights Monsters syndrome.
- If you're in a series with supernatural elements of faith, brush up on your Antitheism and/or Misotheism. It may not be appropriate or accurate in all circumstances, but being able to mock a pious character that their deity has either abandoned them or was never there in the first place is a good nerve-rattler.
- Now, there ARE people who could consider the former a redeeming trait. So for the sake of brunting that problem, be sure to practice arguing that the unfaithful are cowardly and lack any ability to believe something not explicitly spoonfed to them. Don't play favorites when addressing demographics, though The Cutie is always a juicy target.
- Base your Breaking Speech victim selection criteria on cold pragmatism rather than anything else, by extension. If a Boring Invincible Hero is around or an Incorruptible Pure Pureness character blunders into things, well that just means their less ironclad friends and family will be more ripe for you. On the other hand, if a Purity Sue or God-Mode Sue happens to be present, one of the most vile things you can do is encourage them.
- Engineer things so that a neutral, Unfettered, or otherwise risk-taking character learns a smattering of The Dark Side's ways, perhaps by helpfully providing the hero(es) in question with some knowledge of yours in the dangers of the subject. Not only do you seem helpful and a warning mentor figure, but you introduce the idea that a suitably desperate situation would merit the use of The Dark Side for a good purpose. One slippery slope later, and you'll have engineered a tragedy with nobody the wiser, some characters perhaps even trying to console you and assure you it wasn't your fault!
- If you are caught in a situation where there is no hope for you, brag endlessly about you evil deeds and tell your killer how you feel no remorse and wish you could continue to commit evil acts.
- Finally, since you're out to be sickest bastard possible, the crowning achievement is to make even other villains wince at the sheer height of your depravity. Obviously they're nothing but amateurs to you. Become The Dreaded.
- Oh and a good tip here, if you simply wish to succeed on all of the above, do not be in the same world with Kenshiro. Because this man will find you, shove off all your Breaking Speech or whatever and in 100% chance, You Are Already Dead, annulling majorly all of your efforts there.
Now go out there and be the biggest, most successful bastard in the verse!