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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2012 :  16:40:56  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

So she's insane. But then again, what villainess isn't?
Hey, there are lots of female "villains" who aren't insane. I myself have written several. (Though I confess I have also written several villains, male and female, who are pretty whack-a-do.)

Though I suppose it depends what you mean by "insane." Are we talking motivations or actions?

The "insane female villain" is kind of an unpleasant narrative trope. I much prefer villains (male or female) who have understandable motives and do things that are well-planned or at least have some logical basis. I've written some crazies in my time, no lie, but I thought in most cases they were largely rational villains except for when it came to their specific neuroses, phobias, and implacable hatreds.

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3594 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2012 :  17:19:26  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How do you folks (meaning everyone at Candlekeep) handle insane villains in your games? Are they pitied by the good folk, or simply put down like rabid dogs?

To me, someone isn't truly a villain if they are mentally ill...though that line of "mental illness" is a very fine one that can be confusing.

To me the TRUE villains are those that cause others to suffer intentionally (whether sick in the head or not)...not just someone who has an evil alignment.

As an example: a Merchant could be Neutral Evil, willing to do all sorts of things to turn a heavy profit...but still shy away from murder or the actual harming of others. He could still be a "bad person" with an evil alignment...but that doesn't mean the Paladin should whip out the Holy Avenger and yell "Evil must die!"

AD&D for me!
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31696 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  01:51:37  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

How do you folks (meaning everyone at Candlekeep) handle insane villains in your games? Are they pitied by the good folk, or simply put down like rabid dogs?
For me, it depends on the villain. And the attitudes of the goodly folk, really.

I've had few good heroes who have pitied their enemies. But, at the same time, I've had villains who have made sincere attempts to reach out to the heroes at a last moment of clarity -- before their life is ended -- only to have the heroes end the threat regardless.

I tend toward the murky-end of the relationship between good and evil characters -- heroes and villains. I've had evil heroes, and good villains and everything in-between.

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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  02:26:16  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauranil

Thats not necessarily true. I mean look at Erevis , he would still be a highly skilled thief and assassin even if Mask had not chosen him. Though Admittedly he wouldn't have ascended to godhood or saved the world.


Well, most priests depend heavenly on their priestly magic. See what happened to drow priestesses when Lolth temporarily abandoned them?

quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

How do you folks (meaning everyone at Candlekeep) handle insane villains in your games? Are they pitied by the good folk, or simply put down like rabid dogs?


I don't game... In my books, villains tend to be on the precipice of insanity, but not completely insane.

quote:
Originally posted by Erik Scott de Bie

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

So she's insane. But then again, what villainess isn't?
Hey, there are lots of female "villains" who aren't insane. I myself have written several. (Though I confess I have also written several villains, male and female, who are pretty whack-a-do.)

Though I suppose it depends what you mean by "insane." Are we talking motivations or actions?


My villains are either too composed or too wild. They are calculating, but all the time, they're on the brink of 'losing it.'

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 01 Jun 2012 02:36:15
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Thauranil
Master of Realmslore

India
1591 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  15:53:01  Show Profile Send Thauranil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

How do you folks (meaning everyone at Candlekeep) handle insane villains in your games? Are they pitied by the good folk, or simply put down like rabid dogs?

To me, someone isn't truly a villain if they are mentally ill...though that line of "mental illness" is a very fine one that can be confusing.

To me the TRUE villains are those that cause others to suffer intentionally (whether sick in the head or not)...not just someone who has an evil alignment.

As an example: a Merchant could be Neutral Evil, willing to do all sorts of things to turn a heavy profit...but still shy away from murder or the actual harming of others. He could still be a "bad person" with an evil alignment...but that doesn't mean the Paladin should whip out the Holy Avenger and yell "Evil must die!"


Thats a fine line. To use a non realms example the Joker is completely evil and is most certifiably insane as well.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31498 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  20:24:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know that I'd use an insane villain... It's too clichéd, and an insane villain wouldn't be as much fun as the one that you understand and can sympathize with. It's one of the reasons that Dark Chekov (Bester) from Babylon 5 remains one of my favorite villains: yeah, he was overly willing to use people and otherwise do whatever it took to achieve his goals, but his goals themselves were sometimes laudable.

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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3594 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  20:48:03  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I don't know that I'd use an insane villain... It's too clichéd, and an insane villain wouldn't be as much fun as the one that you understand and can sympathize with. It's one of the reasons that Dark Chekov (Bester) from Babylon 5 remains one of my favorite villains: yeah, he was overly willing to use people and otherwise do whatever it took to achieve his goals, but his goals themselves were sometimes laudable.



Dark Chekov!

Yeah, Bester was actually a cool character!

I like "villains" that THINK they are doing good...it places the PCs in a difficult position sometimes.

My favorite villain played by a DM of mine was a Paladin! He thought it was best to bring law and order to the land...and we, the party, had to oppose him! He had launched a Holy Crusade from the Emirates of Ylaruam against the Soderfjord Jarldoms because so many lawless individuals used that land as a base for piracy and freebooting (as well as run of the mill banditry and brigandage).

AD&D for me!
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
851 Posts

Posted - 01 Jun 2012 :  20:51:46  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Two of my earliest FR books had major female arch villains, Cassandra from Azure Bonds and the Shadowsil from Spellfire; so I guess I've never been overly concerned with a lack of female bad guys in the Realms. The Matrons in the early Drizzt novels also filled in the niche of super power evil ladies quite nicely, I found.

The balance may also stem from lack of writing females as physically dominant, so they are stuck to mages (Cassandra and the Shadowsil) or priestesses (Matron Malice or Triel Baenra etc.). Not many female rogues or fighters have been written on the evil side as being all powerful like say Kitiara was in Dragonlance (one of my favourite characters in fantasy).

Edited by - Seravin on 01 Jun 2012 20:52:37
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31696 Posts

Posted - 02 Jun 2012 :  01:16:23  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I don't know that I'd use an insane villain... It's too clichéd, and an insane villain wouldn't be as much fun as the one that you understand and can sympathize with.
Insane characters, handled appropriately, can add a new kind of depth to the typical campaign. Especially if you have PCs that wish to sympathise, or, even, just try to understand the psychology behind what has made a villain this way. Of course, it also helps to have a rules-set that helps to define both the scope and management of the insane character.

And, again, this is coming from my experiences with the Call of Cthulhu game system, which is pretty much the best example on the RPG shelf, for games that really recognise the potential of bringing insane characters into any campaign.
quote:
It's one of the reasons that Dark Chekov (Bester) from Babylon 5 remains one of my favorite villains: yeah, he was overly willing to use people and otherwise do whatever it took to achieve his goals, but his goals themselves were sometimes laudable.
Funnily enough, I've got a clone of Manshoon who is unashamedly based on Bester -- he even serves as a member [with ambitions to one day rule] an organisation of telepaths and other psionic specialists, that Fzoul once founded, to help watch over the seditious populace of Zhentil Keep.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2012 :  01:56:04  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I don't know that I'd use an insane villain... It's too clichéd, and an insane villain wouldn't be as much fun as the one that you understand and can sympathize with. It's one of the reasons that Dark Chekov (Bester) from Babylon 5 remains one of my favorite villains: yeah, he was overly willing to use people and otherwise do whatever it took to achieve his goals, but his goals themselves were sometimes laudable.


An insane villain may be interesting at times, given his unpredictability. Joker is enough proof of that. (Actually, I like Joker way better than Batman.)

I myself don't use insane villains though. Just those who are on the brink of it. And my villains are usually manipulators, not all-out brawlers.

------

What about a female who has no magic, no combat skills, no special weapons, but possesses a strong will, is fearless and uncompromising, and excels at manipulating people, kings and slaves alike? [Someone like Dame Vaako from Chronicles of Riddick] Do we have that kind in the Realms? I think Mirabeta, the late Overmistress of Orulin, comes close (except that she wasn't exactly fearless).

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 19 Aug 2012 07:15:01
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1614 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2014 :  23:06:28  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sheesh, I keep running searches and coming across these interesting polls so please forgive me for (yet another) scroll resurrection.

I voted for a Durthan, though I would find it more interesting if a Hathran became evil (NOT through some artifact though) and acted as a spy for the Durthans.

That said, I've always wanted the Shadowsil to return and become a major evil in the Realms.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2014 :  12:26:02  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

Sheesh, I keep running searches and coming across these interesting polls so please forgive me for (yet another) scroll resurrection.

I voted for a Durthan, though I would find it more interesting if a Hathran became evil (NOT through some artifact though) and acted as a spy for the Durthans.

That said, I've always wanted the Shadowsil to return and become a major evil in the Realms.
If you haven't yet, read The Masked Witches and Prophet of the Dead by RLB. They both show a good interplay between the two witch factions in Rashemen, among other things, that is.

Note also that during the Witch War, the durthans have been practically decimated. Or mayhap you're referring to a different time line?

Every beginning has an end.
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1614 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2014 :  14:08:49  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I haven't read those novels (I more or less stopped reading FR novels for a few years) so I'm not referring to any time line...just musing on what I would find interesting. I will look into reading them soon though.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2014 :  14:51:50  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Aye, and I highly recommend them not just for Rashemen lore, but more so because Richard knows how to keep readers glued to his books. (If you're interested, you may read my spoiler-free reviews in the Novels section.)

Every beginning has an end.
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Tarlyn
Learned Scribe

USA
304 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2014 :  17:20:25  Show Profile Send Tarlyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

The balance may also stem from lack of writing females as physically dominant, so they are stuck to mages (Cassandra and the Shadowsil) or priestesses (Matron Malice or Triel Baenra etc.). Not many female rogues or fighters have been written on the evil side as being all powerful like say Kitiara was in Dragonlance (one of my favourite characters in fantasy).


I don't think there are a great deal of warrior/rogue villains in general regardless of gender. That might have more to do with the lack of female warrior/rogue baddies then any other factor.

Tarlyn Embersun
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Owesstaer
Seeker

Luxembourg
28 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2016 :  16:23:00  Show Profile Send Owesstaer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why bother with the Baenre-lasses when you can have Lolth?
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1614 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2016 :  06:53:53  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Voted 'other' because...BRING BACK THE SHADOWSIL! She's the only interesting female villain the Realms has ever produced in my opinion.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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moonbeast
Senior Scribe

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2016 :  19:13:48  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The one cliche I hate is that Vilainesses tend to be stereotyped as "evil and sexy".

I don't really understand the sexy stereotype. Why does she have to be attractive and have a big cleavage? Or why does she have to look like a bondage queen? If it's clear to the Heroes that she is the source of evil and villainy, then the main goal would be to kill her, burn her, cut her head off, chop her to pieces, end her existence. Are the typical Heroes supposed to be dum-dums that fall for her good looks?

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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1614 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2016 :  19:39:17  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't realize all female villian's were 'sexy' but in the case of the Shadowsil I found her interesting because, 1) She was created by Ed, 2) She was a former apprentice and lover to Elminster, 3) The little we saw of her led me to believe she wasn't all 'evil' so much as she had a flawed view of the world...the reasons for which I always wanted to understand.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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BrianDavion
Seeker

71 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2016 :  02:02:30  Show Profile Send BrianDavion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

The one cliche I hate is that Vilainesses tend to be stereotyped as "evil and sexy".

I don't really understand the sexy stereotype. Why does she have to be attractive and have a big cleavage? Or why does she have to look like a bondage queen? If it's clear to the Heroes that she is the source of evil and villainy, then the main goal would be to kill her, burn her, cut her head off, chop her to pieces, end her existence. Are the typical Heroes supposed to be dum-dums that fall for her good looks?






a lot of the time it's just an old fantasy trope that comes with it proably comes from needing a sexy female to put on book covers etc.
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Adhriva
Learned Scribe

USA
144 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2016 :  02:27:33  Show Profile  Visit Adhriva's Homepage  Send Adhriva an AOL message  Send Adhriva a Yahoo! Message Send Adhriva a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No actually. Take it from someone who has illustrated a few book covers in their illustrative career - the writers rarely (I'm tempted to say 'never') make apart of the story with the cover in mind. Often, they only have minimal input in the cover and that is handled by the publisher.

The trope actually got it's roots in averting a fairy tale trope where beauty also represented purity and goodness. By inverting it in literature, a dangerously deceptive element is created. There are other factors too - the 'bad boy' element (although with a change in the genders involved) also comes into play. People like that which is attractive and dangerous - like fire....or red heads (we're a category of danger unto ourselves). But this appeals more to just the reader, often it's an appeal to the the hero as temptation as well - both in terms of seductive, and in terms of showing mercy they might not necessarily show (often portrayed as a failure of due justice instead of the subtle sexism it usually is). Finally, it's an additional resource of the character to put their plan into action. It provides a sexual element when they often 'sell their soul' in a physical form, in part as a way of showing how far they're willing to go and employ every resource they have available.

It's a trope I wouldn't mind getting rid of, I'd love to see more types of villains (and heroes for that matter - of both genders even) then the young and sexy, but book covers have nothing to do with why they show up in modern literature.

Professional illustrator and comic book artist.
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Edited by - Adhriva on 12 Jun 2016 02:35:15
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31498 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2016 :  05:39:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the funniest things I ever saw with the evil sexy woman trope was one of the abilities that a particular character had in Warmachine.

For a while, the majority of the female characters in Warmachine were very top-heavy and had significant amounts of cleavage...

And one in particular was a Satyxis named Skarre. The Satyxis have large horns coming out of their foreheads, and Skarre used these horns in a particular attack... called "Great Rack."

Either someone was being juvenile, or inadvertently created one of the biggest potential jokes in all of minis-based gaming.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
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Gyor
Master of Realmslore

1310 Posts

Posted - 12 Jun 2016 :  15:27:05  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Shar, Lovatar, Tiamat, Lloth, Bashbeba, Talona, Umbrelee, seriously all the best realm villianesses are Goddesses.
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