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Villain Critique Thread (Because Its About Damn Time!):
Two Christmas worms
edited 22nd Jan '13 2:44:40 PM by SeptimusHeap
Well, let's give this thread a kick in the caboose with a villain who is not really all that villainous. For your critiquing, I give you Cerne Abbas. Be brutal. >=( ===== Name: Cerne Abbas Age: Approximately 4.54 billion years old by current figurings. Personality: Some of his favorites past-times include trying on new clothes and seeing how dashing he looks in the mirror. Being "approximately 4.54 billion years old by current figurings" (sic) Cerne has been around the block a few times. He's experienced many kinds of death, everything from murder to The Black Death, and never let it get him down. He remains upbeat and cheerful in nearly every situation, and it takes alot to annoy him. Abilities: As an Anthropomorphic Personification he is effectively immortal. He can be killed, but in the end, he's nothing but a projection used to interact with the world, and can be brought back at his own leisure (though thanks to Time Dissonance, it will take a lot of time). He possesses an extensive set of abilities that might be considered supernatural were he not, in fact, nature incarnate. These range far and wide across the scale, from telepathy and telekinesis, super-strength, teleportation, energy manipulation, whatever you can think of. Weaknesses: General unwillingness to do any of his own work not-withstanding, he may possess a vast array of abilities, but he doesn't manifest with the intent to use them in mind, so his body usually won't be capable of withstanding the forces he's capable of bringing to bear (it's all well and good to be able to theoretically lift five tons, but that won't mean he has any of the necessary Required Secondary Powers to perform such a feat unless he specifically had them in mind the last time he incarnated), leading to its death and an (at least) three month gap till he can reappear, at which time whatever conflict caused him to get himself killed will probably have blown over. Goals: To continue living in the manner to which he's become accustomed. He also desires to see life grow into its potential, so he has no problem with following the at times morally ambiguous Motivation: He does what he does because it is his purpose for existing. He would not "be" if not for the gods, and he follows the orders of the gods, if with some sarcasm, always without hesitating. Role in the story: The Dragon, I suppose. He's the Big Bad's go-to guy. Backstory: That could take awhile. I'll give and extremely abridged version. There was a time with all that lava...or is it magma...let's just say "really hot stuff". Those early days. Then middle middle middle and BAM! Dinosaurs. He loved the dinosaurs. Really kooky lizards and junk and stuff. Then when he wasn't paying attention apparently there was this huge fuck off meteor came and killed all his lizards. He didn't like that one bit. Then more middle. Then BAM! Humans. And then the other races. Then the gods left and he was forced to take control of stewardship of nature personally, where previously he was content to let the god of nature do that for him. Lately he's been working on keeping the various peoples of the world engaged in an endless pissing contest to keep technological progress from going too far too fast. Relevant Tropes: As per usual I group them by some sort of category rather than alphabetically.
edited 28th Jan '13 1:58:39 AM by Eagal
The madness is catching.
Well, I'll give critiquing another shot. I'm not really sure how to portray cosmically old characters (not having met any of them). I can't offer any specific critique, but just a suggestion to keep in mind that a being that old/practically immortal probably has astronomically different ways of thinking and acting. I'm a bit puzzled by his actions. If he loved the dinosaurs that much, and has incredible power (albeit somewhat undefined here) why didn't he do anything to save them, or at least protect a few? He seems quite god-like, and I didn't see anything in the profile that made me think he wouldn't do that. The same thing goes for natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. 'Endless pissing contests' between humans seems inimical towards loving all life as well. If he wants to avoid being worshiped, why would he want to be the center of attention? And how does he do that if he just delegates tasks to his lackeys? He could like going amongst people incognito/with a fake identity, but it isn't very specific. That's about all. Hope it was helpful.
As to the dinosaurs, at that time there were still gods running the show and if the god of nature decrees that the dinosaurs should die it, it is not for him to question. In any event, he was focusing on something else at the time and didn't notice they had died out until it had already happened. As to what actions he takes that might contradict his love of life, as specified under Sink-or-Swim Mentor, he may love people but that doesn't mean he's going to help them. Disasters, man-made or otherwise, are just a part of life. If everything was sunshine and lollipops there wouldn't be any point to the whole thing in the first place. So they survive and grow stronger for the experience, or they die. Mother Nature (or Father Nature I guess, though his gender isn't set in stone) does not cry over spilled milk. He grieves over every falling leaf but does not do anything about it because shit happens. It is not for him to intervene. As to why he wants to be noticed but not worshiped, being the center of attention and being worshiped are not the same thing. Worship comes with the expectation of intervention. People look to their gods to guide them through their lives and when their lives all too frequently turn to complete shit, a vast majority of them will blame those very gods. Being noticed is not the same as being the target of everyone's hopes and dreams and travails and problems. Just because he loves you doesn't mean he wants to hear about what a bitch Becky in gym class is, or how miserable your life is because you only have a 100" television instead of that 101" television. In short, what benefits may exist in godhood are not worth the drawbacks.
edited 28th Jan '13 1:33:39 PM by Eagal
The madness is catching.
If he's an anthropomorphic personification of the planet, he's going to get worship regardless of whether he does anything or not. Not to step on any toes, but people are quite willing to worship things that have never responded (such as cults). If there's an obvious godling, people will worship it, and that will greatly affect the religions of the world. I'm still confused about your villains motivations. He cares greatly for all life, but doesn't ever do anything about it, yet he's fostering conflict to prevent technology from advancing too quickly and delegates people to carry out his plans. He seems quite contradictory in his behavior, which might be fitting for an immortal being, but he comes off as something as a hypocritical ass. Which, for a villain, is OK.
As to the worship: yes there will be people who worship him whether he wants it or not. He discourages worship, but he can not indefinitely suppress it. As to his status as an "obvious godling", he is a curiosity in a world where superpowers are a thing. When men fly through the skies, a (n admittedly strange looking) man who more obviously commands the loyalty of a "super" or two than shows any indicattion of power himself is unusual but hardly groundbreaking stuff. As to his motivations, he cares for liife but rarely lfts a finger to preserve it. As I said, sink or swim. If you can swim you don't need his help, if you sink you don't deserve it. His actions in slowing down advancement are not his plans, but those of his superior, whom I believe I mentioned. As to being a hypocritical ass, well he's not the first immortal to fit that bill in either in my work ( he learned from the best as it were) or in fiction in general. Though if you asked him, he'd deny being anything but a totally innocent little lamb who is being so cruelly accused Also, not hypocrisy (saying NO ONE should do x while doing x). Double standard (YOU should not do x. For me it's ok)
edited 29th Jan '13 3:43:08 AM by Eagal
The madness is catching.
I apologize for making assumptions. I don't know your story's 'verse, what's 'typical', ect ect. I'll back away from my story questions and comment on his character: He just doesn't seem that compelling to me. So far, he comes off as an uncaring, lazy, all-powerful asshole who's alleged compassion only goes until he might be able to do something; he uses the whole 'sink or swim' thing as an excuse to avoid doing anything. He's limited by powers greater than him, yes, but he's not limited in interacting with others and becoming the center of attention. If that's what you're going for, that's a good thing. But he doesn't click with me on a deeper level.
Ain't no thang. Really it's more my fault for not making his role in the setting more clear (although it wouldn't kill you to be able to read my mind >=( ) Danke for your thoughts. :)
edited 29th Jan '13 8:09:14 PM by Eagal
The madness is catching.
Glad to be of service, and apologies for any abrasiveness.
BFS EnthusiastI wanted to see popular opinion of this guy, mainly because he's going to be making a return to canon after being retooled.
Ok, first off, I like this Wolfang guy's backstory like how he was a moral child growing-up in an amoral environment and the whole "really thousands of years old because of time travel shenanigans". That stuff's pretty cool. The big problem, I think, is that he sounds a little to invincible, almost perfect. Like he's weaknesses basically boil down to "he's just so evil" which is kind of boring. And all the tropes that relate to him make him seem almost untouchable. "He's an "ambitious, determined, patient and resourceful" Magnificent Bastard who can Corrupt The Cutie like nobody's business and then deliver a crazy sick burn via Reason You Suck Speech and he does it all For The Evulz all while coming across as Affably Evil Wicked Culture Casanova". You see where I'm getting at? It seems like his history is way more interesting and less contrived than he is. Ok, so here's a villain I got. He's going to appear in a 20 to 40 page comic which details his life called "Atlas and Boom Boom". He's an Astro Boy-esque robot; the whole comic is an Tezuka homage. Due to the length of this story, I couldn't really give him a really complex backstory or goal but I tried to do what I could. Name: Atlas Age: Somewhere between 2 and 4 Personality: He's a hot-headed, fun-loving optimist with a pretty good sense of humor. He's also very self-absorbed and takes pride in his strength. He's also pretty stubborn and often, kind of a brat. Abilities: Can fly, is extraordinarily strong and has cannons in his arms. Weaknesses: He really doesn't want to hurt the main character: Boom Boom. In fact, he really loves her and considers her the only family/friend he has. He's also MUCH weaker than Boom Boom; like it's not even close. His sense of self-importance is something of a tragic flaw. He also doesn't really have much in the way of "plans". He's not all that smart. Goals: He wants to become a super villain as a way of establishing himself as an individual. He was made to be a hero so he's trying to be a villain as a way of creating his own identity, completely opposite of what his creators want him to be. Motivation: As a robot, he's expandable and replaceable. He doesn't like that. Role in the story: Hero for the first few pages, primary villain for the rest of the story Backstory: The government of New Neo-Tokyo X create Atlas to deal with giant monsters, alien invaders, evil robots and other large threats that put the city in danger. For a short period of time, he was seen as the city's greatest hero until the government create his "sister" Boom Boom. The two got along wonderfully and had many adventures together until Atlas was damaged. He found-out (or rather, came to the conclusion) that he is suppose to be replaced by Boom Boom. Eager to prove himself as an individual rather than a "rent-a-hero", he became a villain and killed the people who created him and Boom Boom. Because of that, Boom Boom must stop him but she's programed so she can't destroy him. Relevant Tropes:
BFS EnthusiastExactly what I was a little worried about. Mainly because I was thinking of adding one of his more common weaknesses, but I did not know how to say it, given what it is is rather confusing. In as far as him being contrived, it is somewhat intentional, given that he patterns himself after whatever villain is in the stories of whoever he is harassing this week. Ultimately, though, its an act. His true, violently petty and unimpressive self really shows through if you truly inconvenience him. As far as that villain you submitted, it seems he could have been a great hero at one point or another, and I like the contrast he might show in being all nice and stuff to Boom Boom, and then doing something nasty due to the Lack of Empathy. As a whole, he sounds rather like a selfish Robotic Psychopath that has the potential to be somewhat frightening if played the right way.
edited 9th Feb '13 3:36:50 PM by NickTheSwing
BFS EnthusiastNow for the last one, simply because I wanted to see what others think of this reimagination of an even older villain.
edited 30th Oct '13 5:42:03 PM by NickTheSwing
Reverse the CurseI'm curious to see what kind of reception he'll get. Name: Richard Karling (I prefer it to be pronounced in the German manner, but as long as people keep reading my stuff, I won't complain either way), Duke of Karling. The fact that his last name is the same as the place he rules over is a sign in-universe that his family is one of the top five oldest in the country; he's actually more closely related to the founder of the nation than the current Emperor, which is a major plot point. Age: Hm. Y'know, I'm not actually sure. Let's say about... 240? Ish? It's sometimes hard to keep track with body-hoppers. His current body is about 50 when the story takes place. Personality: A perfect gentleman. My ideal casting choice (were he not deceased) would be Cary Grant. His temper runs cold rather than hot, making him a patient, calculating asshole rather than an openly violent one. He's a greedy control freak with a bit of a superiority complex; in a man less powerful, they would be called delusions of grandeur. As such, it's easy to see why he has a weakness for younger women with sharp wits and sharper tongues. Much younger. Abilities: He knows a ton about alchemy and magic in general, particularly their medical and engineering branches, and is an excellent military strategist. He's a body-hopper, too; he was Duke of Karling back when the Second Civil War was drawing to a close, and for the past two centuries or so he's been repeating a pattern of marrying a magically-powerful woman, having a child with her, and eventually overwriting that child's mind with his own upon his 'death'. Charismatic and handsome in that salt-and-pepper way, he's been a soldier in damn near every single one of the lives he's lived, so he's a very good fighter at all ranges, and as Duke of Karling he's the ceremonial head of the armed forces even before whatever life he happens to be living reaches that position in fact, as he almost invariably has. Even in those few lives where he doesn't achieve that post, he always acquires and keeps the respect of those under his command very easily. Being the nearest living blood descendant of King Orion (Arthurian analogue of the setting) and one of the richest men in Eranme, in addition to all of the above, means that if he enacts his scheme to overthrow the Emperor and restore the Royal Family, it is very, very likely he will succeed. The Imperialist faction holds sway mostly in the cities, and the population overall is mostly rural. Weaknesses: Because he genuinely believes he's doing the right thing and many of his motivations stem from his moral convictions, it's difficult for him to understand why people who by all rights should agree with him would object so strenuously to his methods. He's often especially blind to the 'failings' of those he harbours affection for. It wouldn't be entirely unfair to call him emotionally-retarded; he's got a lot of 'compassion' and 'nobility' in the broad strokes, but he'll gladly torture any individual who gets in the way of his vision. He has a bad habit of only noticing potential where he wants to notice it, which is how he knows Dare, one of the protagonists, is going to be a big deal, even as he almost completely ignores Allie, who's potentially an even bigger deal than he is and who ends up directly responsible for the failure of his scheme. Hell, he's so convinced she won't amount to anything that he hires what is basically a fucking ninja to be her main instructor and chaperon, because he happens to owe her father a favour and he doesn't think she'll be able to learn anything that would make her a threat (to be fair, Allie's dad is... um... let's just say it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility that his daughter would be an idiot and leave it at that). He knows a lot about medicine, sure, but he doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows. See also his latest son Aaron, whom he accidentally made a magical cripple via genetic fuckery, and Nim, whom he accidentally bred so close to her Sylphese ancestors that she can switch sex at will like they could, a trait he never notices and which keeps him from tracking her down until she finally shows up for the climactic battle. Also, he actually thinks and has always thought he's King Orion reborn, as foretold in prophecy. His cunning plan doesn't come from a cynical power-hungry heretic; it comes from a zealot. He's a hypocrite who claims to trust fate and yet constantly tries to railroad it. By far, his biggest weakness is that he probably isn't powerful enough to get past the kill-the-gods stage of his plan. Way to jump the gun, asshole; you think you can grind for a couple hundred years and suddenly be king shit of reality? It doesn't work that way! Goals: Karling is so obsessed with becoming King of Eranme that he enacted a two-century-long gambit in order to have a shot at it. Ideally he would also like to bring all the women he's ever loved back to life so he can have a harem, but the man knows how to prioritize. Motivation: He desperately wants to bring back the Astral Age of Eranme; he's appalled at complete loss of status and respect magic-imbued minorities like Undines and Salamanders have endured, the corruption, all of it. He believes it's his destiny to kick the Emperors out of power and return the kingdom to its former state of constitutional monarchy. Role in the story: He gathers the pages of the Book of Bryn, in which was sealed the final battle between the gods and King Orion's armies, and plots to release the conflict so he can play hero and fulfil the prophecy of ending the eternal battle and mounting the throne. This is villainous because, well... it's a battle between gods and mankind. The legends say it spanned the full length of the islands. We're looking at a civilian casualty rate in the hundreds of thousands, if we're lucky and the war doesn't engulf the planet and open second fronts with the non-crazy-asshole pantheons of other nations. In order to better fit the prophecy, he researches the families with the most Sylphese ancestry (Our Elves Are Not Merely Different, But Extinct), gains genetic samples, and clones Nim, a girl as close to a true Sylph as any human is likely to get, just so he can check 'Sylphs come back and he is bros with them' off the Orion-reborn list. Continuing in this vein, he tries to check off the 'can grant his followers dominion over fire and water' requirement by kidnapping Salamander children and medically torturing them to figure out how to transfer their powers (firecalling and empathic-reception/projection) to normal humans. The only victim of this procedure to survive is minor-character Rahu, who keeps a damaged form of his empathy powers but loses his firecalling. Unfortunately for Karling's plans, firecalling (as opposed to using spells which make use of fire) is incredibly fucking dangerous if you aren't fireproof in the first place. Luckily he manages to catch wind of and track down a family of magicians with barrier powers, and affix Rahu's firecalling to the latest baby in the line, Dare. This makes him indirectly responsible for the bakery fire that puts Dare's mother in a coma and leaves the kid alone in the world with no means of support. Karling takes her on as a ward and pays for her mother's medical bills, on the condition that Dare enrol in the Imperial Military College's Magical Institute. As she gets older, he starts to consider her a candidate for his next wife, because he's a creepy asshole that way, and when you're effectively immortal you look at the whole romance thing a little differently. Meanwhile, to earn the support of one of his old classmates, the Count of Calyxvale, he fakes a ritual that he says will reincarnate the Count's beloved older sister into the baby girl his wife is pregnant with. Said little girl is Allie, and because the Count is the magical equivalent of a stage parent, she starts at the College around a year before Dare's little accident. Throughout the actual story, he secretly gathers the last few pages of the Book of Bryn, tries to track down the gang of thieves (led by Nim) who're trying to get hold of the pages first, subtly woos Dare, executes a conspiracy to discredit the Imperial family, tries to assassinate Allora but underestimates her, and basically makes Ikari Gendo look like an involved and hands-on parent when it comes to his son Aaron, who is really good at basically everything but magic and giving a shit about other human beings. Up until the climax, of course, when he converts Aaron into a hollowman (a magical-deadzone-emanating warrior) so the kid can play Dragon before our heroes get to the actual boss fight. Karling gets so caught up in his big showdown with Nim, declaring that he still loves her and other such rot, that he doesn't even notice Allie creep up to where the Book is lying and take it. When she starts tearing out pages, he turns too late and gives Nim an opening in which to kill him dead. Backstory: His grandfather was a scholar of no great power, who didn't believe in legends and collected pages from the Book of Bryn as a curiosity. When Karling was a little boy playing in the library, he found the pages, and they spoke to him, saying he was destined to unite them and fight the battle within, and become King of Eranme. As you can probably guess, the asshole gods in the Book tell every magician who picks up enough pages that they're the sodding reincarnation of Orion, just so they can have a chance to get loose and go back to godding. Karling, being a little kid, took all this at face value and dedicated his life to restoring the Astral Age. And as you can tell, he did a bang-up job. Relevant Tropes: Meh, I'll fill 'em in later.
edited 15th Feb '13 6:42:47 AM by FurikoMaru
...can still biteSounds interesting. But if he wants to restore the status of the Undines and Salamanders, why would he torture them? And his motivation seems to boil down to "a book told him so".
A pair of Love Interests. For other characters in the same universe, go here or here. Name: Padma (later Queen Ashura) Age: child to adult Personality: The High Queen, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. She is very aggressive, but also capable of keeping a cool head when she needs to. Also very intelligent and a Manipulative Bastard. While she is not above using occasional flirtation to get her way, she absolutely refuses to sleep with men to get what she wants, and prefers to use her brain instead. Abilities: As a child, she was a thief and beggar, the experience of the latter which gave her skill in manipulating people's emotions. She is also one of the "true" priestesses of Fate, a Seer who can see possible futures and even give blessings or curses without having her power interrupted by the Deus ex Machina. Weaknesses: She is a low-born woman in a very Blue Blood male-dominated setting, has a nasty habit of harboring grudges, and often jumps to conclusions. As queen, she also doesn't have much combat experience in either fighting or leading. Goals/Motivation: Revenge for her older sister's death. Role in Story: Anti-Villain Backstory: Padma was born the second daughter of a poor family. After her parents died when their older daughter was still a teenager and Padma was still a toddler, the older daughter tried to support both of them via prostitution, although she eventually works her way up to courtesan, but runs into trouble trying to leave the profession. Padma wouldn't learn of her sister's profession until much later and at a young age falls in with a group of thieves, but later becomes involved with the Fate priestesses. She ends up using her thief skills to gain her powers without going through a ritual that makes her subject to the Deus ex Machina that controls Fate. This makes her a "true" priestess, although the priestesses under control of the Deus label her "the Heretic". Meanwhile, her sister gets some "high profile" clients and is eventually killed in a political scheme. After learning of her sister's profession and realizing that the cause of her death goes all the way up to the country's royalty, she uses her abilities to blackmail, lie, cheat, and back-stab until she actually ends up overthrowing the existing monarchy and becomes queen herself. In the process, she ends up a rival of a Cersei-like character who uses sex to work her way up the social ladder, something Padma finds disgusting due to her background.
Name: Karna (named after the character in the Mahabharata) Age: teenager to adult Personality: A Proud Warrior Race Guy who is a lot nicer than his appearance and reputation suggests. However, he has a very dominant personality and can be very hot-tempered when slighted. Abilities: He is a demi-god with Super Strength, Super Speed, and Super Reflexes. Like his namesake, he is also a master archer. Weaknesses: He has terrible luck. Goals/Motivation: To get the Dei ex Machina to recognize him. Role In Story: The Dragon and Love Interest to Queen Ashura. He also serves as the noble The Rival who is inevitably killed by The Hero because he's on the wrong side of a conflict, like his namesake or Hector in The Iliad. Backstory: He is the son of a Deus ex Machina (although not the Top God like the father of The Hero) and a peasant mother. Because of the other Dei's bigotry against the peasant class, he was never recognized as a half-god by them, and Fate was turned against him. This made him very bitter and he attempted to make a name for himself as a mercenary to either force the Dei to recognize him or at least spite them and their plans. At the age of thirteen, he was raped by a noblewoman. This gave him a very different view of women than most of the men in the setting. After becoming exposed to the practice of raping women during conquests, his similar experience made him sympathetic to them, and thus ended up developing a respect for women, that coupled with his good looks, ended up turning him into somewhat of a Chick Magnet. While he will respond to a woman's genuine distress, he gets very angry if he thinks a woman is manipulating or seducing him, and absolutely refuses to submit to any female authority figure.
edited 17th Feb '13 2:31:42 PM by shiro_okami
Reverse the Curse
Sounds interesting. But if he wants to restore the status of the Undines and Salamanders, why would he torture them? And his motivation seems to boil down to "a book told him so".He doesn't actually give a shit about anyone but himself. He just tells himself he cares about the element-calling folk because it fits the legend. I think one of his big issues is the fact that even before the Book came into it, he's just always assumed that he should be in charge and 'fix' everything. Side effect of having been born a bright child into power and wealth. He was always bossy; the gods just gave him an outlet for that bossiness, legitimized it.
BFS Enthusiast...I never got a review for my newest submission.
eh, I'll go over it. I really like the name Parallaxus, sounds rather spacey, and not of this earth. its a little hokey though, but it fits the character perfectly. he seems like a very fun character, though not really villianous, just weird and chaotic. he seems more like the fun catalyst to villians than an actual threat himself. I would like to know what a "chimera-dragon" is, and since he's not human, maybe what he looks like. I'd assume very much a dragon, butis there anything special about him physically from the standard dragon design? you say he's an Eldritch Abomination, but beyond his raw power how does he fit that? I hate for my questions and comments to sound nitpickey, but he really seems interesting and enjoyable character and I hope this comment was what you we're asking for
BFS EnthusiastExactly the feel I was going for with his name. And, essentially, a Chimera-Dragon looks like a western idea of a dragon, but with four wings, four eyes, four claws, and a tail ending in a mace-head like structure. As far as why he is an Eldritch Abomination, he can create new life from nothing (supposedly impossible in universe), when he gets really freaking mad, his wing beat summons thousands of extradimensional demons, and his roars start breaking the barriers between dimensions.
edited 19th Feb '13 12:16:13 PM by NickTheSwing
Thunder, Perfect Mind@shiro okami: There is an interesting symmetry in the respective views and emotional baggage of the two characters that I find appealing. The root of Karna's issues is a particularly interesting reversal in some respects, although I do think that you might want to be careful with how you treat his assault and how it affected him as a character. I also find it just a touch uncomfortable to describe the character as a "chick magnet, " for reasons that I hope should not be too obscure. Also, I think that you might want to explain what you mean by dei ex machina here, given that you seem to be using a somewhat different definition that usual here.
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edited 4th Mar '13 12:14:29 AM by JHM
The Harbinger of StrangeI'll go back over the thread and provide some feedback on other posts, but this post has been sitting in a tab in my browser since last night and I want to get it out there.
Name: Multiple. This character is more or less God, which I imagine, for the purpose of the story, as an all-encompassing intelligence with many different personalities. The villain of the story is one of these personalities, a devil figure called Vaul Kizer. Age: Impossible to determine. He has been around since before the Big Bang, making him at least as old as the universe. Personality: Vaul Kizer is megalomaniacal, but understated. He is, in my mind, very much a cousin to Lucifer of Christian theology—not the sassy kind that makes pop culture references, but cool-headed and menacing, the kind of character that is always in control, even when he's not. He wields fear like another limb. His underlings are constantly afraid of him losing his temper, though he never does. He is manipulative, able to intuitively know and exploit a person's innermost desires to get what he wants. He's charming and seductive, with no objections to using his (conjured) looks and sex appeal to sway people. He is also not technically a "he", but a genderless being merely mimicking a male devil figure from an alien culture. Abilities: Vaul Kizer challenges woolly-minded mortal notions of being and perception in every way. A glimpse of what he and his realm really are (or are not) would cause all but the most intelligent to Go Mad from the Revelation. He is potentially a universe-shattering Reality Hacker, but he is currently in an underpowered state due to being out of touch with his universe for so long. (If this is hard to grasp, imagine you design a video game, then leave it alone for a while. When you come back, you discover that, although much about your creation is familiar, you've forgotten the controls.) He has a vast army at his command with far-reaching influence; a foot in every camp. Just about every significant group or organization on every planet in the Xiron Galaxy has a Kizerist agent in its ranks. When he condescends to take physical form, he's able to take any shape. Weaknesses: All of Vaul's weaknesses in the story come from his lack of understanding of the universe. Although he created the universe, he's forgotten how to control it and has had to relearn his god-like powers. He finds concepts such as non-omnipotence and physical limitations (such as being trapped in a single moment in time and being able to maintain only a limited number of bodies and/or consciousnesses) difficult to comprehend. He sometimes appears distracted, as though trying to hold a conversation with the person in front of him while on a phone call—this is due to cause and effect messing with his perception of his "selves". There are some things he cannot do—not necessarily because it's impossible, but because the alternative is simpler. For example, time manipulation. Because his native realm is timeless, it's easier for Vaul to manipulate time from there instead of entering the material universe and painstakingly "rewinding" time by manipulating the data that comprises the universe. Such an act would take a near-infinite amount of processing power and is far beyond Vaul's current abilities. His preferred method is to set a plan into action and sink back into his realm, then "wait" for it to unfold, like someone working in trial-and-error fashion at a very fast pace. Pull one thread and examine its effects in the future. If it doesn't work, or the outcome is somehow undesirable, roll it back and try again. (Note: Time travel was never going to be a thing in my story. It's icky and I didn't want to do it. But I realized someone with the ability to disassemble matter on a mathematical/informational level might feasibly be able to control time as well, "simply" by recalculating the positions of all the contents of the universe and "rewinding" them to an earlier point in time. Anyone outside the area of effect for the rewind—i.e. the universe—would be immune to its effects and thus retain knowledge gained during that time—and voila, time travel. However, as there are infinite pasts, the calculations for the rewind have to be very precise. Forward time travel in this manner would also be possible, but no less complicated.) Goals: Eventually, a total takeover of the universe (perhaps more of a "multiverse"). He's been given a task by the other gods (there's both one god and many gods; it's deliberately paradoxical) or personalities to take over one of the many realities in the universe as a test of his abilities before a real, all-encompassing, multiuniversal takeover can be attempted. He's starting in the Xiron Galaxy. Motivation: Vaul feels that God isn't truly godlike because it has neglected the universe and the lessons it was trying to teach itself. It can never create great things if it doesn't understand the simple things first. In his mind, conquering the universe and making it his own will be to gain understanding of it. He tends to think sideways like that. Role in the story: Vaul is actually a very minor presence in the story, mostly only showing up to direct his lieutenant, Zarius, who fills in for him as the leader of the Kizeric Army while he hones his reality-warping skills. Officially, he is in charge of the invasion which hits the occupied worlds of the Protectorate, the sole spacefaring civilization of the galaxy. Backstory: Vaul's backstory is pretty much the backstory of the universe. Before creation, God imagined itself and came into being ("I think, therefore I am"), but lacked purpose. It wanted to think about things, and had nothing to think about, so it created the universe. (The actual "creation" story in my universe is much more complicated and metaphysical than that, though. I don't want to ramble too much.) For a while God watched the universe, and then it got bored, so it went off and did some other stuff for a while. One of its personalities got interested in the universe again, then discovered it no longer had any power over it, so it entreated the others to try and take it back. They said, "OK, but baby steps—one reality first." Relevant Tropes:
edited 20th Feb '13 12:34:18 PM by Alma
Eventually, all of TV Tropes will become... Wait for it... ALMA-ssimilated! - Zarek
...can still bite
Also, I think that you might want to explain what you mean by dei ex machina here, given that you seem to be using a somewhat different definition that usual here.The Celestial Bureaucracy of the setting is very similar to the Greco-Roman one. The dei ex machina are the resident Jerkass Gods, Physical Gods that appear human but have their Life Energy linked to Humongous Mecha (in an otherwise Medieval Fantasy setting) that they use to travel from their realm to the human realm, meaning that they are literally "gods from the machine". They also have a habit of sleeping around with human nobility (or those descended from them), although sleeping around with poor peasants is considered a no-no. One of these gods actually does fulfill the trope, making him a Deus ex Machina in both the literal sense and the trope sense at the same time. However, they are not the most powerful entities in the setting. There is a class of entities above them, Fate being one of them.
edited 20th Feb '13 5:50:12 PM by shiro_okami
edited 21st Feb '13 8:17:10 PM by TheMuse
Thunder, Perfect MindPlease, people, this is a "critique and share" thread, not an "oh look at me!" thread. When you share your character descriptions, please preface your descriptions with criticisms and questions for the last person or people to go before you. This is supposed to be reciprocal... Of course, my motivation for this complaint is a touch selfish, but seriously, peeps, there are rules. I'm not quite sure if Kizer technically fits the definition of Eldritch Abomination. While driven by somewhat alien logic, he still has a clear, conventional motivation as an antagonist. The motivation in question has some interesting aspects to it, particularly in how it riffs on the role of Satan (the not-evil version) in the Book of Job in a very sideways fashion—and I do like that—but this being said, I'm not sure that you have made this fellow alien enough to drive home your point. When you have a being literally thinking on a cosmic scale, their logic isn't just going to be just a little hard to grasp. This "villainy" must encompass all that is, was and shall be, to some degree. Writing that is hard, but to be believable, it's kind of necessary. You need to convey bigness. God-robots in the High Middle Ages with references to ancient Indian religious texts. Huh. You may be just as insane as I am. Congratulations. While a character like this has the potential to be rather interesting, she feels... flat, and gratuitously evil in a way that isn't particularly appealing. The ruthless will to survive is only an interesting motivation if what it drives the character to do is interesting. Don't get me wrong: I like gratuitous evil when it's done properly. But doing it properly requires finesse: The character must either be sophisticated or charismatic enough in execution to be engaging; or else elemental, alien or inhumane enough to be an agent of pure terror. Anything less is just no fun to sit through. Maybe your character is the charismatic type, but I can't tell that through your description.
edited 22nd Feb '13 10:25:30 AM by JHM
Thunder, Perfect MindP.S. I have added some fairly important details to my submission that I had overlooked on the first go. If you read it before, do another quick scan before you comment.
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