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Minor Villain problem

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Trick, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Trick

    Trick Auror

    The problem isn't minor, the villain is.

    I've been building towards introducing a minor villain and now that I'm there I realize I have no idea how to portray his personality or what type of manner he'll actually have.

    The basics:

    He is a crime lord described in a rant by one of his thugs as: "... the bloody kingpin! The chief racketeer! He owns the docks, the brothels, the bars! He's the bleeding keeper of crime!"

    He is a member of a race that is a minority where he lives. They have red skin, not apple red more vermillion. They are involved in trade almost exclusively but only because they are but a sample of their race and only their merchants travel to the mainland from their large island home.

    Instead of sticking to honest trade, Ikthar Sargesh turned to crime early on. He is financially brilliant but not necessarily physically imposing. I think of him more as the brains than the brawn.

    He must be ruthless and without compassion but that does not mean he can't have a pleasant manner.

    Lastly, I imagine that he built his empire of crime through well placed bribes and well timed hits, eliminating the competition and making himself invaluable to important people.


    My questions are, how do you imagine first meeting this man? what physical characteristics and facial expressions might you expect? And what kind of personality came to your mind when you read his backstory?

    I've thought about making him a type of fun uncle character who remains sort of creepy, like all of his enjoyment is a facade. I would also add in a razor wit and frighteningly quick temper. Just too unsure to proceed.

    Thanks all!
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  2. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

    Without having read your "spoiler alert," I'd say that I'd expect to meet him in one of two places. Either in a well-furnished upstairs room in one of his (many) bars, or out and about somewhere as he's on his way to a meeting with someone (likely someone who owes him money). I would expect him to have cold, observant eyes that make one shiver - as if he's examining you as an object with strengths and weaknesses rather than as a human being. I would also expect him to not be very remarkable of face or countenance; the sort who'd blend in with a crowd rather than leaving an impression wherever he goes. He probably wouldn't reveal much emotion, but would probably have a small courteous smile that would contrast the hard glint in his eyes. Likely, he would dress in nondescript, comfortable clothes that would still be expensive, and his weaponry (dagger, etc.) would be of highest quality.

    Those are my initial thoughts after reading your description, but it also wouldn't really surprise me if you wrote him completely differently. It's your world!
    Trick likes this.
  3. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Thanks for your impressions. I think he's been bouncing in my head so long that my original idea of him faded away.

    I'm hoping to use bits of any suggestions I get to build the personality. While I'm doing that I'll get a feel for him and let him evolve accordingly.
  4. Mara Edgerton

    Mara Edgerton Troubadour

    I think a lot depends on the circumstances of that first meeting. Is he trying to impress the protagonist (or whomever it is he's meeting)? Is he afraid of the protagonist? Does he see the protagonist as a potential ally or as someone who might get in his way?

    Does Ickthar always think he's the smartest guy in the room? (Heck, maybe he's often right about that.) Does he have a hard time disguising his arrogance, even when he's trying to impress someone?

    Does he have a taste for finery? If so, by all means dress him up for this meeting, regardless of circumstances. Or is he indifferent to clothes? Perhaps he's a stereotypical math-head who takes little trouble over how he dresses. Or maybe he always dresses in black so that everything will match without him thinking about it, à la Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park.

    Does he speak with an accent? If so, is he self-conscious about it? Or does the accent emphasize how exotic he is--maybe he knows that and plays it up.

    So, um, in short--ah, I can see many plausible traits for him!

    *I have not looked at the spoilers yet.*
    Trick likes this.
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    To be a criminal kingpin and hold that sort of organization together, he must have 3 traits - cunning, ruthlessness, and charisma. I envision him as being like an old fashioned don, a "family" man, dressed expensively but in an understated fashion with lackeys scrambling to provide him with the best of everything. He would seem to be open and warm, greeting everyone in a friendly manner, while at the same time always be thinking, calculating, plotting 3 moves ahead of everyone in the room. He is the brains of the outfit, not the brawn, but he is also not afraid to get his hands dirty if need be - he just knows that plausible deniability is good for business.
    Trick likes this.
  6. Trick

    Trick Auror

    The protagonist is eleven. He has accidentally stolen from one of Ikthar's establishments and sold the goods to one of his pawn shop/fences. The job was done so well that Ikthar assumed it was done as an insult but when he finds out it was a kid without a greater motive he decides that any kid who could pull that off should work for him, whether he wants to or not.

    Yes he does (and yes he is). I would say no but that's largely because he's got very little impressing left to do. He's on the top of the food chain now. Only some politicians and very wealthy bankers are above him in wealth and influence but their circles differ so they leave each other alone.

    I think of him as having a personal servant pick all furniture and clothing for him to save him the annoyance. He might give instructions like, "Go buy me a nice coat, one of those high collared ones." and the rest would be up to the manservant. And he better get it to him quickly. If he is embarassed by being out of fashion in a public setting, I would think the manservant might take a long walk off a short pier.

    I imagine that Haeburn Islanders (the folks with vermillion skin) would have an accent something like a Romanian who moved to England at a young age and lived several years in a rough part of town, if that helps get it across. He is not self-conscious about it but I can imagine others not understanding him due to accent would make him frighteningly furious.

    The lackeys scrambling fits like a glove. I have not, though, envisioned him being a family man. Too selfish, I guess? Not really sure. But I understand you mean it in a different sense, I feel like the mafioso 'family' man is based on the concept of an actual family and I picture Ikthar as a one man show. Maybe I'll have him take a shining to a particular prostitute who he might love but mistreats. That feels like him to me.

    This! Yes, this fits. I want him smiling and shaking hands with someone whom he may decide to poison in five minutes.

    I could definitely see him doing a little torture in the basement when something is particularly important or someone is more difficult to scare than usual.

    Thanks! This has been very helpful! Even just questions for me to answer about him have started the juices flowing, I feel I'm almost there.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  7. Lucifer

    Lucifer Acolyte

    I imagine him being nice and becoming, polite, but showing his darker side when/if the protagonist declines his offer.

    Something like meeting a professor for the first time. All smiles, a certain gleam in the eye. When he turns, a blank threatening smile before a contorted face that spells out danger for those who deny his will.
    Trick likes this.
  8. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Thank you, this blurb helped me quite a bit. It gave me the image of a nearly bipolar reaction from Ikthar that I'm going to use in the scene.
  9. Lucifer

    Lucifer Acolyte

    Very well indeed, glad to be of assistance.
  10. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    Bipolar is always fun for villains, or if he's deliberate about staying in control only sometimes. Anything that gives visitors the sense that "maybe he won't hurt me, maybe he won't --ohmigod."

    When that whiplash starts defining the whole character, of course, you get something like this.
  11. Addison

    Addison Auror

    The first thing that popped into my head when you said he was short and the brain not the brawn was Kaos. (He's the antagonist from the Skylanders games.) Of course you may/most likely have a different idea.

    Ooh! Lord Farquat! The Prince from Shrek!

    Sorry, I just finished a baby sitting gig and have kid-games on the brain.

    But until the hero meets the villain maybe you can use his minions as a sort of...undercurrent. We don't know where the villain is, what they look like, when he'll strike. So the workers could be like the two skin crawling notes and the villain is Jaws. Something else I just thought of is that, upon seeing mini-evil, the hero underestimates their power and gets a painful slap of reality.

    Again this is just my opinion. My child-brained, dinosaur-cookie-rushed opinion.

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