"If a man dedicates his life to good deeds and the welfare of others, he will die unthanked and unremembered. If he exercises his genius bringing misery and death to billions, his name will echo down through the millennia for a hundred lifetimes. Infamy is always more preferable to ignominy."Even in the world of tabletop gaming, there still exists some completely despicable villains. Below are some of the worst and most atrocious bastards ever to roam the table top. Hope you roll well.
— Fabius Bile at the Desecration of Kanzuz IX
Source: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
Source: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
The following have their own pages:
- Battle Machines: Carman Skiric destroys communities on planets he wants to capture because, in his eyes, people exist only as a resource, somewhere below energy and metal. The only reason the Earth and Sol governments have him as the commander of their armies is that he is so utterly terrifying that many foes just give up, rather than have him come down and fight. He's also ax crazy and his personal mech wields four chainsaws, he uses them because, quote, "I like to see the expression of dawning realisation on their faces, right before I tear them apart".
- Chronologically speaking, first there's Stefan Amaris, the Usurper. He's the lovely bundle of joy who overthrew the Star League, executed everyone in the Star League Court, killed everyone in the Vatican before burning the place down, and a whole laundry list of deeds including genocide and sterilizing planets.
- Katherine Steiner-Davion was arguably a fine politician when first presented, but a combination of author fiat and other factors led up to the revelation that she'd hired an assassin to kill her own mother, her brother, her other brother's girlfriend, and her own boyfriend. All for political gain. After the rest of humanity started catching on to her game, she became the focal point of a civil war that wrecked both of the nations she ruled, sold out the nation she had the most loyalty with to the Clans (in an attempt to kill her brother and some mercenary outfits that weren't on her team) and finally - after being deposed - escaped with her Clan allies and created a test tube baby with her rival brother's DNA and her own who would hopefully go on to cause more havok in the Inner Sphere at a later date. Even her aforementioned son couldn't take it. He ends up killing her after she advocates murdering an ally, to protect her own position. Especially since maintaining her position may get him and his Clan destroyed.
- An even earlier example is Star League General Amos Forlough, who helped conquer the Periphery during the Reunification War. While his actions against the Taurian Concordat, which included saturation level orbital bombardment and WMD deployment, may have been justified due to the fact that they were doing the same things; his actions on the Outworlds Alliance front went way too far. The Alliance barely had a regular military and so they used irregular militia to fight back with bombings and sniper attacks against his troops. He responded by killing 10% of the population of every planet that resisted (roughly 12 million people across the Outworlds), left many more without homes or shelter and sentenced his own subordinates to death and hard labor if they refused to carry out these atrocities. Little wonder why he is known as "The Butcher" and "The Baby Killer". The worst part is that he was never brought to justice and received some of the Star League's highest rewards for the victories he achieved.
- Deadlands: (Jasper) Stone, the Harrowed responsible for bringing Hell to Earth, was originally a Confederate officer with a reputation for cruelty and brutality. When he became the servant of the Reckoners, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Stone ruthlessly killed any who could stand in their way, hunting down and murdering countless heroes. Stone does everything of his own free will for his hunger to take lives and to see Hell on Earth enacted, and is so bad that even the manitou animating his body terrified of his evil.
- Dragonstar: The red wyrm Mezzenbone is the first chromatic emperor of the Dragon Empire after five millennia of good-aligned metallic rulers. Like most of his kind he's cruel and regards non-dragons as cattle at best, but even among his Always Chaotic Evil kin he stands out for his catastrophic plans for the galaxy. During the Dragon War between chromatic and metallic dragons that left many worlds devastated in its wake, he was first an important wyrm in the chromatic Asamet Kingdom and then its leader after its first king mysteriously died, and while most abhorred the tragedy of the War, Mezzenbone reveled in the slaughter, planning to annihilate friend and foe alike and rule the remains of a lifeless universe as a god. He only changed his mind when he realized the War would claim his life too if it escalated further, and agreed to the truce that would form the Empire only because he knew he needed the 5,000 years until his guaranteed ascension to the throne in order to ensure his scheme would unfold flawlessly. In the present day of the setting, forty years after his coronation, he has introduced a number of controversial acts including forming a drow Secret Police, supporting worship of his patron deity the Destroyer, and brutally assimilating new worlds into the Empire. When he believes the time is right, Mezzenbone will unleash everything at his disposal, including systems-destroying superweapons and magical artifacts of untold power, and completely shatter all possible opposition to his scheduled omnicide.
- Feng Shui:
- Curtis Boatman, one-man reason that the Architects of the Flesh are unplayable, is the source of basically everything wrong with the 2056 juncture that isn't his ostensible boss's fault, from Abominations to the surveillance state. Unlike his boss, he is about as far from sympathetic as possible-he's described in-game as a bloated, corrupt, and utterly selfish jerk whose own motive is his own profit, and is personally responsible for several sadistic experiments. His laundry list of crimes included the Uber-kids, tricking normal people into accepting The Corruption of Arcanotech and then accelerating it deliberately so he can have perfectly loyal Super Soldiers, keeps an entire greenhousse complex of Black Market Produce for himself (even his boss, Bonengel, puts his money where his mouth is and buys real food honestly), plans to betray Bonengel because Boatman likes the Crapsack World with himself at the top of the pyramid as it is (and Bonengel had a Heel Realization a few years before and has become Necessarily Evil), and despite the Buro wanting equality at all costs, he's a huge bigot responsible for the rampant homophobia in the 2056 juncture. Most damming of all is the Fisher Kingdom aspect of chi mastery over a juncture-2056 under Architect rulership is his ideal world. Look at the utterly dystopian future and realize what that says about him.
- Ming I, the worst of the Four Monarchs is a user of warped shadow magic who willingly replaced her arm with an Artifact of Doom to hurt people more, knowing full well she'd effective be urged to render people Deader Than Dead. In her native timeline, she ruled over the Aztecs and then took the Human Sacrifice thing to heights even they found abhorrent, learning how to use the blood of virgins to extend her youth, only being allowed to remain because she cowed them into believing she was a god who killed or enslaved all of theirs. What puts her in the rank of Boatman up above, however, is three little words: Industrialized Mind Rape.
- Iron Kingdoms: Toruk is the Monster Progenitor of the dragon race, although he considers his progeny the only thing that might pose a threat to him and desires to destroy them all. To accomplish this he becomes an Omnicidal Maniac against every other race. He turns a whole set of island nations into a mix of undead and mutants to serve as his army, all with the intent of slaughtering as many of the inhabitants of the mainland as possible to make a bigger army.
- Legend of the Five Rings: Hantei XVI, known as Otomo Okucheo before his ascension and also known as the Steel Chrysanthemum , is the most violent and tyrannical Emperor that Rokugan ever had. He was ambitious even as a young child, when he arranged for the murder of his brother to prevent him from being made Emperor. His atrocities ranged from the disastrously grand, such as creating a Secret Police force to hunt down traitors and political dissidents; to the disturbingly petty, such as torturing a woman to death for protesting his widespread use of torture, and then naming her as a minor goddess of Torture. He ruined a political opponent's reputation and career, just so he could claim the man's daughter as a concubine. When that daughter refused to bear Hantei XVI a child, he had her imprisoned in her own room and forced the matter. The final straw, however, was ordering the execution of his own mother, because she dared to protest him killing all of his siblings so they couldn't contest his claim to the throne. This final act was enough to make his entire guard, horrified by what he had done, turn on him, assassinating him in spite of the fact that they would all need to commit seppuku afterwards. Back from the Dead more than 500 years later, Hantei engineered the 12-year-long War of Spirits in order to try taking back the throne. After the War, as one of the conditions of the treaty, Hantei tutors the son of an opponent. Planning to attack his student in order to cause the treaty to be broken and war to break out again, Hantei, while beating this student, is killed by his own fiancé, who has grown to care for this student.
- Magic: The Gathering: Of all the threats faced by Dominaria and the rest of the Multiverse, these are the worst:
- Yawgmoth, the first Big Bad, was born a normal Thran in Dominaria during the reign of the technologically advanced Thran empire, about 5,000 years before the birth of the inventor Urza. He was banished for his unorthodox beliefs regarding diseases and healing, but returned to the capital city of Halcyon to treat Glacian, the renowned engineer and inventor, who was suffering from an unknown illness after being attacked by an exiled leper named Gix. Though Yawgmoth was by trade & profession a medic, his ways went towards an unnatural fascination with the mechanics of the body. This fascination led to experiments with plagues and poisons, several of which caused widespread death among the various races that he had visited. Yawgmoth was also slowly draining Glacian's soul to fuel his own power. Yawgmoth later learned about planes from the wizard Dyfed, until he subdued her and gave her to his followers for dissection. Ruing his own realm, Yawgmoth plotted further conquest, corrupting and killing other heroes and innocents. When he invaded Dominaria, he killed millions of innocents before he was destroyed.
- Nicol Bolas, one of the next Big Bads, is an elder dragon Planeswalker over 25,000 years old who loses his near-limitless power when the nature of the Planeswalker Spark is changed, and dedicates himself to getting it back at any cost. A master of red, blue, and black magic, Bolas excels at breaking minds and bending people into submission. He collides the five worlds of Alara into each other in an attempt to absorb the energy released. On Zendikar, he manipulates three Planeswalkers into setting free the Eldrazi Titans. As New Phyrexia grows on Mirrodin, he sends an envoy to reach out to the blossoming parasitic plane in the form of Tezzeret, a Planeswalker whose mind Bolas has broken and enslaved. He travels the Blind Eternities, endangering one world after another with each scheme in his quest to regain omnipotence.
- Ob Nixilis is a human Planeswalker who in his mortal life was a cruel, despotic tyrant, bent on conquering his home plane. Eventually defeated by his enemies, Nixilis sacrifices his last loyal soldiers to summons demons who fulfilled his heart's greatest desire: the death of all life in his plane. Despondent over having no one left to rule, his Spark ignited and he began wandering the Multiverse and scouring the life from every plane he came across. After turning into a demon from using the Chain Veil, Nixilis fled to Zendikar to use its mana to remove the curse but lost his Spark instead. Nixilis was willing to destroy Zendikar itself to regain his power and tried to devour Zendikar's soul, and, failing that, finally regained his Spark by absorbing the hedron network keeping Eldrazi titan Ulamog imprisoned. As a final act of spite toward the world he hated, he awakened the titan Kozilek to ensure Zendikar's doom. Driven by his lust for power and conquest, Ob Nixilis was willing to raze the Multiverse to regain the humanity he never had.
- The Freedom City setting of Mutants & Masterminds is home to some fairly repellant villains, but none quite as bad as Wilhelm Kantor or Omega.
- Wilhelm Kantor, alias Overshadow, is a Nazi warcriminal and Evil Sorcerer turned international terrorist. As a member of the SS and the Thule Society, Kantor learned that he was the reincarnation of Tan-Aktor, a Treacherous Advisor to the Egyptian Pharoah Heru-Ra. Sacrificing twelve of his men, Kantor regained his past memories and powers, then went onto become the true mastermind behind the Nazi Ubersoldaten program. When Schwartzpanzer was crippled in combat, Kantor sacrificed him to increase the power of his own personal assassin, Nacht-Krieger; when the war ended Kantor would use the ritual suicides of his SS and Thule Society colleagues to further empower himself and Nacht-Krieger. Kantor went onto kill almost the entire roster of the Allies of Freedom, left Nacht-Krieger to take the fall, and set up the terrorist group SHADOW. He has since attacked world capitals with armies of clones, tried to get the USA and USSR to nuke one another, poisoned municipal water supplies, and attempted to use Omega's power to take control of space/time. In the meantime, he has kept himself alive, first by bodyjacking clones of himself, and later trying to take over the body of his own son, Ragnarok. Evil on a grand scale and a petty one (once using a terrorist attack just to ruin an enemy's retirement party), and with a bad habit of throwing his "friends" under the bus when it suits him, Kantor is out only for himself, and is as bad as even a Nazi can get.
- Omega is the setting's resident Omnicidal Maniac. Once the heroic king of the first race of mortals, Omega realised that entropy was going to destroy the multiverse, and decided that he wanted to be on the winning side. Turning on Unus The Creator, Omega stole the Doom-Coil (the very device Unus had designed to fight against entropy) and reprogrammed it to spread entropy, feeding his own universe into it as fuel. In the process he defeated Unus, slew most of the other gods, and completely surrendered to his own hatred. Omega now travels universe to universe, corrupting and recruiting the greatest heroes of each 'verse into his army, before annihilating their home dimensions. He transformed the greatest physician of one universe into the sadistic Physician Friendly, promised to spare another hero's people only to turn them into mindless drones, and not only destroyed The Centurion's homeworld, but then tracked him to Earth-Prime, killing him and nearly wiping out Freedom City in the process. Concerned only with expanding his own dead realm (the so-called Terminus), Omega's goal in the extinction of all life across the multiverse.
- Curse of the Crimson Throne: The followers of Zon-Kuthon, God of Envy, Pain, Darkness, and Loss tend to be a nasty bunch, with a penchant for torture and self-mutilation. Yet not a one of them—including quite possibly Zon-Kuthon himself—has ever come close to the level of atrocity perpetrated by Kazavon, Zon-Kuthon's one-time Champion. Essentially Vlad the Impaler in the form of a sixty foot Blue Dragon, Kazavon disguised himself as a human mercenary and offered to help the nation of Ustalav drive out the invading Orc hordes. Upon his victory, Kazavon set himself up as the dictator of the borderlands area, where he ruled with an iron fist, torturing to death all those who disagreed with him, including many of the soldiers who had served him faithfully up to that point. When his employer tried to rein him in, Kazavon flayed the man alive. He would go on to achieve truly special heights of depravity, holding torture parties, and orgies involving the undead, spreading his influence throughout the entire area, and having entire villages impaled for his entertainment. Kazavon was eventually killed by a party of heroes, but the madness didn't stop there. The pure evil of his soul contaminated his skeleton and threatened to resurrect him. The bones were crafted into seven Artifacts Of Doom and hidden throughout the country; contact with even one of them is enough to drive the wearer down a path of madness, murder, and ultimate self-destruction. When Queen Ileosa, Big Bad of the Adventure Path dons the crown, Kazavon influences her to murder her husband, turn Korvosa into a Police State, unleash a plague against the city's poorest citizens, and drain the lives of thousands in an effort to gain eternal youth (in reality, the spell will just resurrect Kazavon).
- Second Darkness: Allevrah Azinrae was once an Elven cleric of Nethys, God of Magic, and a hero in the nation of Kyonin. That was before she, with the aid of the Demon Lord Abraxas, conceived of a plan to exterminate the drow. When the fellow members of her Government Conspiracy refused to go through with the plot, Allevrah murdered her critics, let her rage transform her into a drow, and fled to the drow capital of Zirnakayinn, where she murdered the matron of House Azinrae and took it over. Desiring revenge on Kyonin, Allevrah plans to drop a meteor on the capital; if successful this plan will wipe out Kyonin and trigger an ice age that will kill most life on the planet. After a failed attempt at using the city of Riddleport as a test target, Allevrah retreats to the Land of Black Blood below Kyonin, where she prepares to summon her meteor. She also allows her lover (who is terrified of her) to perform hideous experiments that reduce the victims to masses of screaming black liquid, cuts deals with an aboleth mind rapist and a neothelid, feeds prisoners to ropers, and orders her troglodyte henchman, Ornn, to eat a charda colony's children if they do not cooperate with her. Driven solely by hate, Allevrah shows just how far even the best person can fall.
- Pathfinder's evil deities can be a bad lot, but none are quite as horrible as archdaemon and Horsewoman of War Szuriel. A former paladin, Szuriel became a conquering empress who had every member of her former faith crucified in revenge for her excommunication. Following her death, she became a daemon, and murdered her way to the top of Abaddon's hierarchy, eventually slaying the previous Horseman of War and taking his title. In her new rank, Szuriel represents war at its most terrible, celebrating societal breakdowns, scorched earth campaigns, and ethnic cleansing, and counting Insane Admirals, General Rippers, and Sociopathic Soldiers galore among her most devoted followers. Hiring out her daemons to those who pay the most, Szuriel inevitably turns on her employers, after forcing the campaign to degenerate to the point where mutual genocide is the only way it can end. Forging weapons in the heat of burning human souls, and revelling in violent excess, Szuriel demonstrates what happens when a Physical God adopts the mentality of the most sadistic Psycho for Hire.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Before Archaon destroyed everything and the Continuity Reboot of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, this duo wreaked havoc:
- Nagash the Undying is an immensely powerful necromancer whose end goal is to kill every living thing in the world and resurrect them all as his undead slaves. The firstborn son of King Khetep of Khemri, Nagash coveted power and immortality right from the beginning. He first learned dark magic from a group of Dark Elf captives he was interrogating. As a reward for this knowledge, he had their leader blinded and her tongue and hands cut off, then buried alive, and the rest executed. When his brother was crowned King after his father’s death instead of him, he took power by entombing him alive. He ruled Khemri through fear and brutality, building a massive pyramid from slave labor. It took an alliance of Kings from other parts of Nehekhara to finally end his reign of terror. Later, he regained his power, and after failing to conquer all of Nehekhara, he decided that if he couldn’t rule it, no one could. He proceeded to wipe out the population by getting the Skaven to pollute its main water source and using his dark magic to cause death and decay across the land. If this wasn’t enough, he planned to resurrect the dead as his slaves, but his plans were thwarted when the Skaven, who feared his power, helped Alcadizaar slay him. Despite his apparent death, Nagash still lives due to his dark magic, and, feared by all who know of him, is arguably the greatest threat to the Old World in existence.
- Gorthor the Beastlord, the most infamous of all Beastman warlords, amassed a reputation that was dark even by the standards of his depraved, Chaos-tainted race. Murdering and skinning the Bray-Shamans of every tribe that opposed him—an act even other Beastmen would consider taboo—Gorthor made their hides into a hypnotic cloak that enabled him to unite all the Beastmen of the Middle Mountains under his banner. Pouring into the Empire, Gorthor's horde devastated Ostland and Hochland, leaving millions dead and depopulating both provinces for decades to come. Finally halted at Hochland's capital, Gorthor razed most of the city, intent on leaving no one alive. Having vowed to exterminate humanity, Gorthor died in combat with the Count of Hochland, leaving behind a name that still evokes fear in man and Beastman alike.
- Warhammer 40,000 is a dark and brutal place to live. No side is truly in the right, with most not even remotely in the "good" territory of the Well-Intentioned Extremist. That said, there are a few villains that stand out in terms of evil:
- Ezekyle Abaddon, known as The Despoiler, is the heir of the fallen Primarch Horus. Abaddon is consumed with hatred for all that lives, even his former master, and seeks nothing less than the extermination of all he can manage while uniting humanity under the dark banners of Chaos. As the only man with the support of all the Gods of Chaos, Abaddon has united the forces of Chaos under his banner no less than thirteen times in the Black Crusades. During these ventures, Abaddon storms the galaxy itself, burning and destroying all he can until the forces of the Imperium inevitably defeat him. Abaddon hardly minds as he is able to destroy and kill in great number, something he loves more than anything else. Willing to send countless numbers of his own to their doom and living only to destroy everything he can, Abaddon is the champion of Chaos and is one of the most evil and brutal beings in all of the dark world of Warhammer 40,000.
- Fabius Bile is what you have when you cross a Mad Scientist with the dark powers of Chaos. Bile traverses the Galaxy more than any other member of the Traitor Legions for the purpose of experimenting whenever and wherever he can. On the world of Dimmamar, Bile changed the atomic composition of the air until the population was forced to ingest his transformative serums or slowly suffocate. He earned the name "Manflayer" in the Bray system for skinning those who opposed him to make a cloak of human skin, the survivors still alive to carry the garment behind him. Bile injects poisonous strands into every gene pool he can, with some experiments wiping out life in entire sectors. A sadist with a god complex and scientific curiosity, Bile is feared and hated by all who know his name and actions.