Antagonist Advice :

Total posts: [9]
Greetings all, I’ve hit a brick wall (well not the usual way) about a story I’m developing. The short of it is that I’m having a hard time coming up with a satisfying and believable antagonist.

And here’s the long of it:

The premise is deliberately simple: Earth was drafted; this would normally be the main source of conflict but I’d like to see it more as a narrative device linking together the stories of a cast of Loads and Loads of Characters

The tech is as such, the aliens put us into ambulatory tanks that inductively provide Cyber Space so that everybody’s time is divided into VR and VR + Remote Body at varying speeds, humanity being less of an operators than observers. There are tanks, artillery, planes, Space Planes, spaceships, tankettes, etc. all operating under various degrees of autonomy. They in turn are controlled by something akin to Carrier Battle Groups (IN SPACE!).

Aesthetically I've combined a lot of elements from several sources.
  1. Books: the New Kashubia Series, Bolo, Infinity Beach;
  2. Films: Surrogates, The Matrix, Skyline;
  3. Music videos: Immortal from Cruxshadows , Larger than Life from the Backstreet Boys , and I'm still looking for #3;

Originally the enemy was going to be invisible zombies (stupid aliens made of darkmatter) however, it’s not very satisfying since beyond being dang near impossible, all that would be required is a lot of stupid robots with big shot guns (auto-cannons with grapeshot style munitions), then I though perhaps I could do a Elves vs. Dwarves thing and have the “good”-guys be utilitarian soldiers while the “bad”-guys would be Warhammer 40000-ish blinged out warriors; all of the factions squished into one group. This also seems lazy. Lastly, there was an idea for a Civil War like setting or denizens of the army that were driven mad by the disconnection from physical life. Neither idea really seems appropriate.

So, if all that was TLDR I need bad guys, HALP!

edited 26th Sep '11 1:18:51 PM by GiantSpaceChinchilla

Well, first question:
  1. why was Earth "drafted"?
  2. And why should we listen to this authority?
  3. What makes whatever cause we're being pulled into (apparently against our will, since that's what "drafted" means) so dangerous that...
  4. Our "benefactors" needed us?
  5. We would fight on their behalf and not team up with their enemies?
  6. Significant enough that these obviously-advanced and talented aliens would need our help?

If you can answer these issues, you've pretty much got half of the makings of your baddies right there.

edited 15th Sep '11 11:05:21 PM by KingZeal

Hopefully this comes off as being coherent
  1. Whoever drafted us needed a lot of observers for their machines.
  2. While drafted probably isn’t the best use of the word since we aren’t part of their government(s) It’s better than the alternative.
  3. A war of some description, while the scale hasn’t been decided it will probably involve the efforts of the entire local group before the story ends.
  4. The machines are self replicating to some degree, however either because of it being a feature of the setting or “the drafters” tech level the machines aren’t super strong AIs, otherwise they probably would have left us alone.
  5. Not sure really, depending on the enemy it could be a case of “first come first serve” or “because they’d eat us”.
  6. They need us, and all of the other draftees, to work in symbiosis with their machines. They probably have drafted and/or volunteer forces among their own species.

Hope that helps.

edited 26th Sep '11 1:19:45 PM by GiantSpaceChinchilla

You could probably get by having them fight some Horde of Alien Locusts, Cosmic Beings or otherwise Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
I don't think I'll go with the Horde of Alien Locusts idea as it's pretty close to the original, invisible aliens bit.

a Cosmic Being or rather Dimension Lord might work, but I don't think that Sufficiently Advanced Aliens would go well in the verse. I'm trying to stay around the 4-5 mark of the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness and as far as the Three Kinds of Science Fiction, it would vary from character to character.
6 jagillette28th Sep 2011 10:52:49 AM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
It seems to me that some of your ideas up to this point have been pretty good ones, specifically that one about "watchers" that have been driven mad by their imprisonment inside war machines. The protagonists forced to mow down these rebels would have to face the fact that, essentially, they're fighting themselves, and that one day they'll be on the other side of this conflict being mowed down by the next generation. The entire conflict could be the perpetual state of things in the 'Verse; soldiers are created, eventually go crazy, and have to be exterminated by new soldiers. Or at least the protagonists will predict that it will become the state of things. Whatever conflict originally created the necessity for "watchers" will eventually pass into history. This idea could even be combined with the Elves vs Dwarves idea; the Watchers that survive the wars long enough to eventually go crazy are the ones that earn all the medals and awards and decorations. They get honored for their obviously superior skill in combat, which gets more and more refined with age. Maybe whatever interface the drafters are using makes Watchers immortal, so these guys are actually really really old.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
Thank you.

I do think I'll use some of your advice; I particularly like the recurrence bit. But it just seems off to me to have such a feature in place. I think what will end up happening is that in the Alike and Antithetical Adversaries department I’m going to end up with Heterogenous Heroes vrs Heterogenous Villains. while the teleoperated machines are a uniting factor, the drafted (or whatever I end up calling them) come from various planets and the antagonists will just be numerous.

think that will work?

8 jagillette29th Sep 2011 05:21:48 AM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
Sure. Heterogeneity (is that the word I'm looking for?) means you can add more variety and depth to both the heroes and the villains.
Terror Management Theory
Perhaps your antagonist seeks benefit by keeping the madness cycle going and your protagonist is aiming to break it once and for all.
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Total posts: 9