A villain's nature: Maniac or Stoic?:

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An accurate depiction
I've run into a bit of a dilemma when designing one member of a trio of antagonists. He serves as The Brute, appearing early on and doing reconnaissance against the protagonists in preparation for a more open attack against them; in the process, he gets tangled in the politics of the region and butchers the village that's been providing aid for the heroes. When he reappears, it's shown that his commander barely keeps him in check, and only tolerates his unrelenting sociopathy because the man is a good fighter.

At this point, I'm trying to decide which characterization would be superior for him. He serves as a foil to one of the antagonists, a decent man who is corrupted by revenge and drawn into a world heís not used to; he also counters the main protagonist, who exhibits a slightly different form of bloodlust, which is much more tightly controlled. All three of these individuals are human minds uploaded into specially engineered military machines.

On one hand, I can play him as a complete stoic who does his job in a completely stoic and professional manner, concerned solely with efficiency and minimal damage to the war effort. That would identify him more with the second antagonist, who is often more concerned with saving his comrades than with his own safety, and would let him act as something of an Evil Mentor. Alternatively, I can make him a manic Psycho for Hire who gleefully butchers everything in sight, and therefore compare him to the protagonist, who has a strict moral code yet enjoys battle. That would also highlight the distinction between the power the villain the villain feels from killing to the thrill the battle itself gives the hero.

Tropers, which villain would catch your fancy more? Or is there a third option that could serve even better than the ones Iíve suggested?

This is this.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
I say go for The Stoic. People expect the loose cannon with the triple-digit bodycount to be a frothing, Axe-Crazy maniac, which is why a cold, professional type who just happens to really, really like killing is far more creepy and interesting.

Let me put it this way. What would you find scarier - some guy who's gunning down innocents by the dozen whilst laughing maniacally, bullets spraying everywhere, or some guy who's gunning down innocents by the dozen with a quiet, peaceful smile on his face, using short, controlled bursts to make sure not one shot is wasted?

edited 13th Mar '11 11:50:08 PM by Iaculus

What's precedent ever done for us?
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
As long as you don't overdo it, a maniac can be extremely disturbing.

You can write an Affably Evil but batshit insane psycho.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
The Puzzler
Morgulion, what do you think about having your villain be stoic most of the time, but gradually lose control to his more manic side while in battle?
Has ADD, plays World of Tanks, thinks up crazy ideas like children making spaceships for Hitler. Occasionally writes them down.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Thing is, that's kind of common. The beast within, and all that.

Call it personal preference (because it is), but I'd like to see a few more villains who enjoyed the many and varied depravities of war in a more calm, controlled manner, like having a rather pleasant meal or watching a particularly beautiful sunrise. Savouring it, in short, but without the all-too-familiar 'MWAHAHA THIS IS AWESOME AREN'T I EVIL?' unsubtlety. It'd be good for emphasising the alien-ness of their mindset, the fact that they don't even realise they're crossing the lines that they're crossing, and that, to me, is probably the scariest kind of villain.
What's precedent ever done for us?
6 JHM14th Mar 2011 07:14:17 AM from Neither Here Nor There , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] I have one villain in my story like that. He's really something to behold in that he is quite delicate in his utter atrocity. Of course, each one of the (primary) More-Than-Five-Bad Band of the first arc has their own style...

An accurate depiction
@Eldritch: That's also a thought that's crossed my mind, and it would probably be in the cases when he's fighting and losing, although he would moments where the stoic facade breaks and he he shows his Ax-Crazy side before clamping down again.

SO in general, it does seem that the Stoic is favored, and I do think that'll be the dominant trait of his personality, with the occasional crack or two. That'll let him play a father role to the soldiers under his command, giving an interesting duality to his nature.
This is this.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Might be nice to play him as a Military Maverick who seems to have a far better grasp of the situation than his superiors. Then The Reveal hits, and you find out the real reason the brass don't like him...
What's precedent ever done for us?
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Total posts: 8