The Generic Villain Works Around Being Age-Appropriate

Last week, I talked about all the things not to do if you know that those watching you across the Wall are generally (or at least generally supposed to be) young. I know a lot of you are thinking, “Why would I want to operate under all of those limitations? Won’t that mess me up?”

You think those little things are limiters? Have you looked at some of the greats?

One thing you can do is just get really, really good at not being obvious about spilling blood. If you’re in a nonvisual universe, you’ve already got an advantage there, and if you’re in a visual… well, a lot of the time the laws of both physics and metaphysics will bend over backwards to keep it from being an issue anyway. Besides, the issue isn’t so much you being there as you reveling in the stuff so—all you have to do is not crow over the blood too much, refrain from the urge to lick your blade, and fight for efficiency rather than for pain and showy spurting (your optimal move is one single backstab—which was your optimal move anyway). It’s not that hard. If you must be violent, try to make sure there’s a wall other than the Wall between yourself and your Watchers—if you need people to die but don’t have to do it yourself, and the targets aren’t Named, find someone competent and let them handle it. (Note: if the target is Named, they’ll probably survive, but hey, it gets the action quotient dealt with without getting your hands dirty.) And—well, let’s just say you actually have an excuse to use those Bond-villain deathtraps that could never possibly work.

And that presupposes you absolutely must have violence. You can be evil without running around killing people; you just have to be a little more subtle about it. Attack their reputations. Their livelihoods. The sources of their power. Their self-esteem. Oh, and if you must do as much physical damage as possible, don’t forget their buildings and others structures. (For those who are trying not to admit to being bloodthirsty, note that a death inside a building is Tragedy and Collateral Damage.) Have you considered the joys of involuntary transformations? Shoving people into stasis fields? Marooning them somewhere? Even if you’re never allowed to smack them with a single sharp object, you have dozens of options; use whatever limitations you have on violence as a way to spur your imagination. Clever villains get remembered. Memorable villains survive.

If all else fails, bear in mind that age-appropriate Hands of Darkness have gotten away with a lot, sometimes even in full view of their Watchers. (I am sure you can think of at least three examples from the animated movies of your childhood.) It’s all about presentation and execution—and come on. We’re evil. We’re stylish. We’re smart. We have how things look totally covered—and if we can pull this off, we get to be people’s childhood nightmares completely legitimately. What’s not to like?

Leave a Reply