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Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness

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An antagonist can be classed on three orthogonal parameters:

This is a method of quantifying the second one.

Note that this does not cover any degree of sympathy; rather, it covers how probable their success is. To expand on this scale's orthogonality to the other two: it is entirely possible for a Complete Monster to fall at 'credible' or even 'low' on this scale (for example, a monster who is merely chief henchman to, say, Ming the Merciless); and it is possible to have a villain who bats at the level of Superman, but is so dumb that most of his threat comes from the fact that his plans will inevitably fail in a spectacular way.

Further, please do not add in Villainous organizations, groups, or nations to the Examples section at High or Infinite levels, and be particularly aware of Fan Myopia.


The villain succeeded in his evil scheme, but it wasn't destroying the world at all, it was... to step on a flower?!? Or alternatively, there's no villain at all.


The villain can be safely allowed to foil their own scheme.


Rarely succeeds, but only because heroes take action.



May succeed without realizing it, so heroes must be especially cautious.


Almost always succeeds when not thwarted by a hero and have a decent number of victories under their belt even against the heroes; expect them to get a secondary goal completed even when they lose.



The villain will always win, and the heroes will always lose, even if the heroes should by all rights win. This may be due to the villain being truly all powerful, or the heroes being utterly incapable of confronting them in the first place, let alone stopping them. At best, the heroes could delay or annoy the villain, but the villain will triumph in the end regardless and the heroes can only evade or escape the villain once its goals are met. On the rare occasion that you can kill them, it's still part of their plan or you're just too late. Note that this is not just The Bad Guy Wins, rather it must be Inherent in the System that the villains win and the heroes lose. If the villain triumphs by chance or ill luck on the hero’s part, they are probably High or even Inadvertent.