Jump to content

Villain Campaign?


Skyriter1
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys and gals!

As my friends and I learn more about the game, they have shown interest in being the villains as opposed to heroes. With that being said, are there any campaigns out there that have this in mind? I think I came across one about aliens killing all the heroes so the villains have to step up in order to save earth, but cannot find it anymore.

Any and all help is much appreciated, thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, saw the game a year or two ago in my FLGS.  The idea was, the aliens come to Earth to help us against another alien race.  As soon as our heroes defeat the alien menace, the "kind" aliens killed all the superheroes who attended the victory party.  This only a few antisocial heroes and the villains to free the earth.  Never saw anything from that line from that game company after that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tried it with two different groups; can't recommend it. (inspired by a then-new game whose name escapes me-- was it super villains?  Anyway, it was a brittish import, and like the cars, only bits and pieces made with finest British craftsmanship would be seen falling off of it randomly.  Seriously: terrible game.  Dont know why trying it again on Champions running gear seemed like it would help (though, for the record, it really did)). 

 

 

In my own--and because this is the internet, I must actually take the trouble to write this disclaimer out longhand, less I be crucified by the perpetually hard of thinking for claiming some sort of expertise:  this is, by every single thing I have said in the very first sentence, poorly-researched and completely anecdotal...! - - 

 

Yeah; I know the folks here are above the curve on reading comprehension, but I've done some surfing tonight, and I swear to you people are getting dumber the longer they're out here.....   :(. I have also learned the there are levels of stupid that can scar you just for observing from the sidelines.... 

 

Anyway, back to happier things like memories of gaming and sharing them!  :)

 

In my own experience, players _love_ this, once they get their mindset shifted to it.   They love it _way too much_!   :lol:   even your least-immersive, most wallflower player will totally get into being the villain in remarkably few sessions. 

 

A couple of things:

Being the villain is a level of freedom.  I didn't really think that through until it was too late.  It is "Me!" time all the time for each and every player, because the villain simply ignores the rules (societal and conventional: not the game rules). 

 

Think you've outsmarted the guy bent on burning down the eastern seaboard and steered him in roughly the direction you want him to go?  Nope!  Hell just scale down and start knocking over liquor stores.  When that doesn't work out, they'll settle for random acts of terror and casual street murders, no matter what lofty ideals they held at the char gen party..... 

 

And absolutely do not expect cooperation,  at least not for more than a session or two.  At first, uniting against the big bad seems like a necessary thing, then they realize that if they feed each other to the big bad, they can still run away, have less competition, and take all of dead guy's stuff! 

 

Or even worse: uniting with the big bad.  They really like to do that, figuring to double-cross the big bad once the big bad wipes out the competition or provides a massive powerup. 

 

Essentially-again, in my experience--it brings hack-and-slash murder hobos to the table, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep it in there, no matter what you do. 

 

The worst part, though, had to be the reason that both games were scrapped: eventually, one (or more) of them _will_ make a play for big power (I still remember you, Davien!) , and it devolves to very unfriendly player-versus-player stuff that takes a _while_ to smooth over. 

 

 

Your mileage will, I hope, vary, but I'm never going to do it again. 

 

 

Duke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not run a game, but my suspicions run very strongly along the lines Duke outlines here.  That is precisely what I expect to see in a supervillain game and recommend against it unless you want infighting, betrayal, and your game to go completely off the rails.  People have a very dark side in them and when able to let that loose without consequences or real-life application it can get very ugly, very fast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the years I've allowed myself to get talked into so called 'villain' campaigns. As a rule they all started as small heists and rapidly rolled into full bore mass murder hobo.  And then the wailing and crying when they were captured. 

 

Villain campaigns sound great, especially nowadays when superheroes have pretty much disappeared from comics, being replaced by all the murder hobo idols like Deadpool or the craptacular revisionism of Harley Quinn.

 

Villain campaigns are almost impossible to run for a GM.  They are usually just sandboxes without the luxury of being able to just drop a mob of monsters from the Monster Manual and randomly rolled 'treasure'.  And the run of bank/armored car/ jewelry store heists gets boring. 

 

If you take the time to actually work up a detailed heist, in other words requiring a modicum of planning a bit of actual danger, it suddenly becomes nothing but the common cry of the fake gamer murder hobo munchkin 'railroading' delivered in a weasily nasal tone.   Now I have experienced a real actual railroading GM.  And 99.999999999% of what the wankers call railroading isn't.  But I am getting off topic.

 

Bottom line.  If you and your players think their 10th level party repeatedly butchering 20 goblins is the hight of fantasy RPGing, then you may well love a villain campaign.  But if they enjoy a little bit of actual adventure and thinking, a villain campaign tends to run dry very very quickly.

 

Just an opinion of course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get where you're coming from, you want to run a game your players will actually like.  The question is; will you like to run the type of game they want?

 

If the answer is yes, go for it.  Murder and pillage away.  

 

I joined a group of D&D players in highschool who were all playing evil characters.  It was a real culture shock for me because the backstabbing, lying and outright hostility between players was unlike anything I had seen before.  Tell them to be prepared and to have backup characters because an NPC or player may end up punching their ticket.

 

Play how you want, just go in eyes wide open... this will probably cause some friction between people IRL, problems in game, and lots and lots of player driven drama.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a short break of 4-6 missions toward a goal, these can be very fun. Think "The Sting" or "Ocean's Eleven" or even "Die Hard 2 or 3". The players have to work toward a common goal and cooperation is essential to success.

 

As an ongoing campaign, I don't recommend it.  Even if the players don't fall upon one another, dark things will creep in. You may find out things about your friends and associates that you never wanted to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ran a short one. Went fine.

 

Had a method to keep the party together and at least semi-friendly (all their powers were from the same source and were only 'stable' when all of them were in fairly close proximity).

Didn't get deep enough in to it to get to the sandbox type stage.

Still in the "on the run" and dealing with various other factors (hunted due to escape from prison, other 'villain' group, FedGov stuff).

 

I liked running it and would run one again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a superheroes game you need a certain level of cooperation and genre-obedience.  For example, "Don't kill, even if it would immediately solve the problem.". 

In a supervillains game, you need a much higher level of the same thing.  The players and characters need to be on-board with certain codes of conduct.  No betraying the party.  This much killing is acceptable.  Let the GM know what crimes you're planning far enough in advance that he can prep.  So on and so forth. 

A villain game cannot function if it means "Do whatever you want, you're EEEEVIL!".  A villain game can function if it means "You're supercriminals.  You do supercrime together to get rich.". 

Basically, play Shadowrun and not "Joker and pals do New York" and it'll work out. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent!

 

While most of us have had very different results, it is truly refreshing to see a success story, even if it's about the bad guys.  :D

 

If can evaluate it objectively, how much would you say the pressure of being "on the run" helped keep the players from exploring the "all things villainy" aspects of their characters?  If you, how long do you think your players would have been happy playing the "on the run" angle?

 

How do you feel that the tentpole of "powers are only stable when we are together" influenced them to not become a collection of individual "me first" type bad guys?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TranquiloUno said:

I ran a short one. Went fine

 

9 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Excellent!

 

While most of us have had very different results, it is truly refreshing to see a success story, even if it's about the bad guys.  :D

 

I second this.  Good to see someone pulled a good game out of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Excellent!

 

While most of us have had very different results, it is truly refreshing to see a success story, even if it's about the bad guys.  :D

 

If can evaluate it objectively, how much would you say the pressure of being "on the run" helped keep the players from exploring the "all things villainy" aspects of their characters?  If you, how long do you think your players would have been happy playing the "on the run" angle?

 

I pitched a pretty strong origin story for them all. It was a near future setting that didn't have supers until the accident that creates the PCs (and the opposition). So, again, it wasn't a long campaign, and I think the on the run, new supers, wanted criminals stuff definitely constrained even the parts of the campaign I was wanting to get to, which was, like Gnome BODY (important!) says above, mostly Shadowrun\Ocean's 11 with powers.

I was hoping to make it past that to the point they'd start their own super-villain plots but we only got as far as them taking over most of the drug trade in Las Vegas and heisting a single experimental regeneration device (which was partly improvised due to my getting a headshot on a PC during an encounter with some SWAT folks).

 

I expected to keep them at the on the run stage for another session or so. They'd always be wanted criminals (probably) but they'd started to acquire resources but they'd acquired enemies\opposition to go with it (shadow government faction and the mad scientist(s) responsible for the origin story). 

 

 

Quote

 

How do you feel that the tentpole of "powers are only stable when we are together" influenced them to not become a collection of individual "me first" type bad guys?

 

 

 

I would guess fairly strongly. The pitch was the classic, "You're a death row\other prisoner trading time off your sentence for being a test subject" + "mad science experiment goes horribly wrong" (you saw that coming tho, I'm sure).

So while they were all convicted criminals in some way there was no requirement they be Hideously Evil or Deeply Villainous.

 

Also it was fairly low powered (rather than the classic attack\defense\movement setup it was more 1-2 of those and maybe 1-2 other minor features) and they all had DF of some kind. So they had less ability to blend in, less ability to solo or go solo (even apart from the Dependency on being in proximity to each other). I think they might have had a Susceptibility to attacking each other too or something just to lay it on extra thick. Don't remember now. 

 

AND, crucially, I had a good group of players. So that always makes things easier. 

 

I'd guess, based on the players and the characters they created, and without the close-proximity thing that the group would have broken up in to a couple of sub-groups based on character outlook if we'd hit the sandbox phase of things. The Magneto type (who also had super Int) was most likely to evolve in to a classic supervillain. I don't think the others were that ambitious. But they'd have made a good thug squad. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

A game I ran a few years back had the PCs turning into villains. 

 

The game was meant to be more or less normal heroes, somewhere in the bronze age of comics for feel. The heroes do the usual hero stuff and are working toward accreditation with PRIMUS.

 

One day they are getting a tour of Stronghold with their PRIMUS contact. The PCs suddenly decide to rescue one of the inmates in return for cash. Seriously, it just happened. They see Dreadnought on the internal security screens. The players have a quick quiet chat then go into action. The team mentalist distracts the on duty guards by "suggesting" they all take a few moments to look away from the screens and adjust their socks or whatever. One hero/villain can teleport and is invisible to cameras. He makes use of the distraction to teleport in and make Dreadnought an offer, freedom for cash. Dreadnought is suspicious but quickly agrees anyway, he doesn't want to be in prison. And then he is teleported away.

 

From there the players decided they liked being bad guys. I warned them, GM to players, that there were potential repercussions if their clandestine activities came to light. They were cool with it and the campaign continued.

 

Alas the game didn't go much further, half the players moved to another country. But I think it could have worked.

 

Like running an evil DnD game you, the GM, has to keep in mind that the PCs need a reason to work together. So give them one. A common enemy. Revenge. Safety in numbers. You should also point out to the players that being bad guys doesn't mean that everyone secretly hates everyone else. Plenty of criminals have people they care for. Have the villains genuinely like one another, or at least respect one another professionally. Lastly point out that intra-party fighting is fine - as long as all players are okay with it and as long as it doesn't prematurely end the game.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, drunkonduty said:

Have the villains genuinely like one another, or at least respect one another professionally. Lastly point out that intra-party fighting is fine - as long as all players are okay with it and as long as it doesn't prematurely end the game.

You made me snort my drink.  That was funny.  Players wanting to play villains and not revolving around back stabbing and wholesale murder hobo/destruction. 

 

Almost like claiming White Wolfs WoD doesn't revolve around PvP and liberal amounts of backstabbing.

:rofl:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Spence said:

 

Almost like claiming White Wolfs WoD doesn't revolve around PvP and liberal amounts of backstabbing.

:rofl:

 

 

I guess it's my turn to be the odd man out, a d to be fair, we only played for six months or so before the novelty of politically-driven plots wore off, 

 

But we really didnt have any PvP issues.  This was 1st edition VTM, if that makes a difference.   By the rules of that game, all players were "younger" generations, and nearly immediately formed a crossclain alliance (to be fair, these were good, experienced players) and set out to stage a bloodless coup against the powers that be.  

 

In the end, it didn't work (you have seen a lot of different angle when you've been in charge for a few centuries, I suppose), but it never devolved the way the villain campaigns did. 

 

After hearing about the successful villain campaign above, I suspect this is because right out of the gate they had a goal that was going to take constant cooperation to achieve.  Never having achieved it, they never had a reason to turn on one another or move on to other goals. 

 

Honestly, the read I took away from VTM and other WoD titles (at least the early ones, before I got sick of all the politics) was essentially (nothing may change the status quo, which is a serious downer to play under. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

In the end, it didn't work (you have seen a lot of different angle when you've been in charge for a few centuries, I suppose), but it never devolved the way the villain campaigns did. 

...

Honestly, the read I took away from VTM and other WoD titles (at least the early ones, before I got sick of all the politics) was essentially (nothing may change the status quo, which is a serious downer to play under. 

VtM and other WoD titles are (at their cores) games of personal horror.  As an example: Vampires steadily edge closer to the beast as they lose Humanity/Road/Via …. or if they manage not to do so, Gehenna eventually arrives, resulting in the rise of the Antidiluvians (who then devour their childer).  i.e. Those games aren't about winning or heroics or anything else.

Using Vampires as an example, again, VtM is ultimately about dealing with derangements, loss of humanity, youngsters and elders, alike, trying to eat you, and such -- and the story that arises from such things.  Hence the game (VtM) being about personal horror. (Political machinations are just minor distractions/hobbies/entertainment one engages upon whilst whiling away the centuries. :))

I kind of liken it to Call of Cthulu -- where all characters tend to end up either dead or insane.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

I guess it's my turn to be the odd man out, a d to be fair, we only played for six months or so before the novelty of politically-driven plots wore off, 

 

But we really didnt have any PvP issues.  This was 1st edition VTM, if that makes a difference.   By the rules of that game, all players were "younger" generations, and nearly immediately formed a crossclain alliance (to be fair, these were good, experienced players) and set out to stage a bloodless coup against the powers that be.  

 

In the end, it didn't work (you have seen a lot of different angle when you've been in charge for a few centuries, I suppose), but it never devolved the way the villain campaigns did. 

 

After hearing about the successful villain campaign above, I suspect this is because right out of the gate they had a goal that was going to take constant cooperation to achieve.  Never having achieved it, they never had a reason to turn on one another or move on to other goals. 

 

Honestly, the read I took away from VTM and other WoD titles (at least the early ones, before I got sick of all the politics) was essentially (nothing may change the status quo, which is a serious downer to play under. 

 

My exposure was when VtM first hit.  The people playing it were the first and only RPG group I ever saw that was banned from a game store.  Not because of the game itself, but the people playing it. 

 

First off they became really belligerent, not just in game, but all the time. 

 

Secondly, they all took to wearing long heavy coats and all black clothing.  It was in Memphis TN in the summer, you know 99.9999%+ humidity at 110° after the sun was down.  This and an apparent lack of a basic concept of personal hygiene led to their ejection and the shop stopped carrying the line.

 

To this day the thought of WoD makes me want to gag.

 

Now I am fully aware that not all WoD players are unfamiliar with bathing.   But the experience coupled with the almost fanatical need for every WoD player I have personally met to stab all the other players in the back has prevented me from trying it. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

VtM and other WoD titles are (at their cores) games of personal horror.  As an example: Vampires steadily edge closer to the beast as they lose Humanity/Road/Via …. or if they manage not to do so, Gehenna eventually arrives, resulting in the rise of the Antidiluvians (who then devour their childer).  i.e. Those games aren't about winning or heroics or anything else.

Using Vampires as an example, again, VtM is ultimately about dealing with derangements, loss of humanity, youngsters and elders, alike, trying to eat you, and such -- and the story that arises from such things.  Hence the game (VtM) being about personal horror. (Political machinations are just minor distractions/hobbies/entertainment one engages upon whilst whiling away the centuries. :))

I kind of liken it to Call of Cthulu -- where all characters tend to end up either dead or insane.

 

I'm guessing that personal horror is the intent that wasn't actually written into the books :winkgrin:

 

Currently I have been running horror almost exclusively. CoC, ToC, Delta Green, Nights Black Agents, Down Darker Trails and so on. 

 

My personal experience with WoD games observed is that I never saw any horror at all.  When I was in a shop with an active WoD game I was able to recruit players all the time to play horror as in CoC because they would flee the political morass and regular need for new PCs because of betrayal and backstabbing death.

 

Intellectually I fully understand that the game is probably good and not all about politics and PCs killing each other. But since 80'whatever it was to the present, on the East Coast, West Coast, between, Korea, Japan, Europe and the Middle East.  Everywhere I have ever seen it played, it was all the same game.

"Ha ha ha, Donna has to make a new character again.  Bobs Bruhaha whatsit killed her again...."

 

I love horror and have driven insane or killed many PCs.  But I have never been able to enjoy a game that, intended or not, centers on PvP kills.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Spence said:

I'm guessing that personal horror is the intent that wasn't actually written into the books :winkgrin:

 

Currently I have been running horror almost exclusively. CoC, ToC, Delta Green, Nights Black Agents, Down Darker Trails and so on. 

 

My personal experience with WoD games observed is that I never saw any horror at all.  When I was in a shop with an active WoD game I was able to recruit players all the time to play horror as in CoC because they would flee the political morass and regular need for new PCs because of betrayal and backstabbing death.

 

Intellectually I fully understand that the game is probably good and not all about politics and PCs killing each other. But since 80'whatever it was to the present, on the East Coast, West Coast, between, Korea, Japan, Europe and the Middle East.  Everywhere I have ever seen it played, it was all the same game.

"Ha ha ha, Donna has to make a new character again.  Bobs Bruhaha whatsit killed her again...."

 

I love horror and have driven insane or killed many PCs.  But I have never been able to enjoy a game that, intended or not, centers on PvP kills.

That's sad to hear, as my experience with VtM runs 180 degrees from yours.  I guess it's a matter of ST's.  TBH, I'm super picky about WoD ST's … and have tended to long-running games with a handful of what I consider really good STs for whom imagery and story pertaining to one's dehumanization … trump combat, politics, maneuvering, etc.  Not once have I seen PvP kills.  Keep in mind, I only play tabletop, never LARP.   (LARPs, I hear, tend to be really backstabby and PvP-like.)

Ok, this is way off topic, so I'm done with the tangent.  It was fun while it lasted, thanks Duke, for the left turn!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Spence said:

You made me snort my drink.  That was funny.  Players wanting to play villains and not revolving around back stabbing and wholesale murder hobo/destruction. 

 

Almost like claiming White Wolfs WoD doesn't revolve around PvP and liberal amounts of backstabbing.

:rofl:

 

 

Oh I've seen evil parties descend into mean spirited PvP back stabbing very quickly. I've been a willing participant in the mess. I was young and insecure and being a dick (as were my friends.) I'm aware of the sort of mean spirited PvP stuff that goes on at World of Darkness LARPs. Never joined in WoD LARPs myself, but I have friends who have. The stories they tell give me shudders when I think about the immense amounts of effort people put into being dicks. Do they not realise that, if you don't want to hang out with certain people it is easier to just walk away?

 

But mature people who want to explore a different dynamic are quite capable of playing "bad guys" without being dicks to one another. I've offered some suggestions above as to how this can be achieved.

 

Also, I don't feel any of this is off topic. It's all about how to handle evil/monstrous PCs, the good and the bad.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Spence said:

I'm guessing that personal horror is the intent that wasn't actually written into the books :winkgrin:

 

I thought this was the actual tagline?

Like so: https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-masquerade-storytelling-personal-horror/dp/B0006QV6WY

 

I remember this specifically because as a teen I was riding back from a LARP with a friend and his mom and remember saying re:VtM, "It's a game of personal horror!", and friends mom was all, "Well we certainly can't have him playing THAT!", which I thought was a bit odd considering we'd been a couple teens running around in the wood all weekend with strange adults. ;D

 

1 hour ago, Spence said:

 

Currently I have been running horror almost exclusively. CoC, ToC, Delta Green, Nights Black Agents, Down Darker Trails and so on. 

 

My personal experience with WoD games observed is that I never saw any horror at all.  When I was in a shop with an active WoD game I was able to recruit players all the time to play horror as in CoC because they would flee the political morass and regular need for new PCs because of betrayal and backstabbing death.

 

I don't recall any backstabbing in any of the WoD games I played in. VtM, WtA, MtA, or Hunters Hunted.

 

 

1 hour ago, Spence said:

 

Intellectually I fully understand that the game is probably good and not all about politics and PCs killing each other. But since 80'whatever it was to the present, on the East Coast, West Coast, between, Korea, Japan, Europe and the Middle East.  Everywhere I have ever seen it played, it was all the same game.

"Ha ha ha, Donna has to make a new character again.  Bobs Bruhaha whatsit killed her again...."

 

Conversely I've never seen this personally and have only heard of one player, an odd guy, who was routinely staking other PCs, and I think that was more the player and his character than anything to do with the game and was at least partly driven by munchkin tendencies on the part of the player. He was also part of a VtM game that ran for years and years, pre\post this player, so even in the single instance I've heard of it didn't do anything to the enjoyment\continuation of the game for the rest of folks.

 

 

1 hour ago, Spence said:

 

I love horror and have driven insane or killed many PCs.  But I have never been able to enjoy a game that, intended or not, centers on PvP kills.

 

 

 

 

Very strange. Never seen this in VtM or WoD generally. Certainly nothing even close to resembling "centers on PvP kills". Like...at all.

 

Interesting to hear your comparative experiences. :)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...