Sunday, July 20, 2014

Relations: other villains

As I talked about in my guide to villain sidekicks, fraternal association works much better with heroes than with villains, because heroes tend to have compatible goals and villains do not. Despite that, many villains can and do work with each other for their own reasons. Here are a few key tips to interacting with your fellow villain successfully.

Respect is key

Every villain relationship is based around respect. Sometimes it's mutual, other times it's not. But villains who don't respect each other are eventually going to squabble, and then fight, and that is how relationships end.

You may not like your fellow villains, but you might still need them. If so, find something about them that you can respect. Their technique, their soliloquy, their power, even their enemies. Find something to latch onto that you can get on board with before you ever talk to another villain.

Trust is expensive

Every bank you rob is a bank your rivals can't hit. Every dollar that goes to the police budget thanks to your shenanigans is a dollar spent to lock up your fellow villains. Every death, accidental or otherwise, poisons the public against all villains, not just the instigator. In short, villains don't trust each other because we always run the risk of making each others' lives harder.

Like I said in the introduction, relationships are a balance of risk vs. reward. With other villains, you can mitigate the risk by creating trust. Open your communication with any of the following:
  • Territory agreements - where your turf begins and another villain's turf ends
  • Mutual non-aggression agreements
  • Information exchange - police tactics, hero weaknesses, and so on
It's instructive to note that these sorts of things are how both gangs and nations interact. And people ask me why I distrust government.

Power level matters

If you're a novice Stage 3, and you're thinking about interacting with a veteran Stage 4 or even the rare Stage 5, you aren't dividing territory. You're offering your services as a powered henchman. In my opinion this is the worst thing that can happen to an aspiring villain. If you're okay with this life, stop reading my guide and get out.

Even if you don't personally like the more powerful villain, you should show him respect. If you disagree, pick a fight. I'll come visit you in the hospital and you can tell me how it worked out for you.

So how do you manage relations with more powerful villains? By carving out a niche that the more powerful villain doesn't care about, and sticking with that niche. If the senior villain in your area doesn't do kidnapping or prefers not to mess with the police or whatever, learn how to do these things well, and start doing them. If the senior doesn't do these things, you've got a career unimpeded by his presence. If the senior discovers a need for something you do, they'll hopefully come to you - and if so, even if it's not as equals, it's as peers.