Big Bag Evil Guy. It’s a term many gamers are familiar. No matter what Table Top Roleplaying Game you are into, there’s usually a big bad waiting for the players at the finish line. If they’re a decent BBEG, they’ve probably shown up a few times to give the team a bad time (but in a good way). There may have been a few bad guys/gals along the way, but there’s often that one Big Bag that outshines the rest.
Today, and for the next few Mondays, I’ll be asking the question:
Which Disney villain should be the BBEG in your TTRPG?
This is partly because I’ve watched a few Disney movies with my daughter recently, partly because I’ve been enjoying the board game Villainous, partly because I’m always thinking about new scenarios for the games I’m running, and partly because I like having these silly thoughts.
But before we can get going, how do we judge the ‘Best BBEG’?
Very few Disney stories are alike, and very few games follow the same story. So it’s difficult to directly compare each villain. We need some criteria to score out Disney baddies in terms of their BBEG potential. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Take away all the powers, the armies, the lair, and a villain can still be awesome to behold based purely on their personality and projection. Either by silent exuding menace or loudly and aggressively chewing the scenery, a Disney character with a strong demeanour can be everything you need for a roleplaying game.
5/5 = super strong personality, dominates every scene they are in.
1/5 = very weak personality, hardly present in the story, mainly there for comic relief.
Wherever you have a powerful villain, the world around them is usually affected. This score will be a measure of the lair/domain the villain resides in, as well as any environmental effects they add to the tale.
5/5 = the world is entirely corrupted by them, and their lair is magnificence
1/5 = they add nothing to the environment
Also a measure of their general intelligence, a sign of a good villain is how much they know, and how canny they are. A villain that knows everything about the characters is a dangerous (and usually very frustrating opponent) that the players won’t quickly forget.
5/5 = almost total omniscience, they know all the characters and what they are doing, highly intelligent.
1/5 = clueless about the characters and the world, barely sentient monster.
A good BBEG should be able to gold their own, but a great BBEG will bring an iconic entourage with them. As the Dungeon Master/Games Master/referee, you want to throw some memorable fights at your players long before they go after the main villain, and some Disney baddies have a wonderful assortment of characters and monsters. Some, on the other hand, are surrounded by incompetence.
5/5 = one or more memorable and dangerous minions.
1/5 = awful, incompetent minions
0/5 = no henchmen
You could call this the ‘power’ category, but I think it needs to be broader than that. A good villain can be dangerous regardless of strength or magic, simply by how they use the skills and resources at their disposal. Some Disney villains are meaner and more conniving. Some villains will stop long before they kill the party, whereas others won’t stop until all their enemies are dead and gone.
5/5 = powerful being with lethal intent
1/5 = the party are hardly in danger, more of a nuisance
After all is said and done, after all the planning and scenery chewing and name-calling, a great BBEG will have a satisfying final encounter. Whether it be actual combat or another sort of set piece, its important that the villain go out with a big, flashy bang.
5/5 = epic end fight/scene, spectacular on more than one level.
1/5 = villain exits in a minor scene lacking excitement.
So each time I address a villain, I’ll give them the six scores out of 5, and take an average. We’ll start building a leader board until we go through every Disney villain.
This will not be an assessment of how good or bad the villains were in general. We’re not going to talk about my favourite, or the best villain of all time. I’m intending to identify the ideal villain to add into (or to create a monster in their image and add into) your table top game.
Next week, our first villain up for inspection will be Cruella De Vil! After that, we’ll go alphabetically. That means we’ll finish with Zootopia, unless Disney brings out another ‘Z’ movie in the interim. See you next Wednesday!
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