Big Hero 6 – Greatest Disney BBEG?

Another Disney movie with a mystery villain. If you’ve seen Big Hero 6, you know who we’re talking about and we can discuss their potential as your Table Top Games big baddy. If you’re not up to speed, go give this cracking movie a watch and come back to us.

Warning Given

Presence – 4 out of 5

Robert Callaghan plays the role of villain well, when he’s present. When he’s out on the prowl, he’s an intimidating creature. His anger and frustration combined with a complete disregard for rational action in his desire to get his daughter back make him unhinged in a competent way.

I’m a big fan of villains that chew the scenery, especially in a Table Top RPG. However, a villain that can play the good guy, sidle up and smile at the heroes, is a very interesting story in itself. Robert is a friend, mentor, father figure of sorts, and its not totally out of character. If it wasn’t for tragedy, the man would be good guy. That makes catching his lies so much harder, and the reveal from your Callaghan-based BBEG will be all the more hurtful.

Atmosphere – 2 out of 5

Another human villain means no region-altering powers, no otherworldly presence, no magical aura. So this area will be a struggle. When he’s wearing the mask, Robert’s nano-tech certainly changes the world around him, it has an atmosphere of its own, but that’s not really him as the villain adding to the atmosphere, its the gizmo. If you build the gizmo into your own TTRPG villain, as a fantasy or future weapon, then you could bump this score up.

The other reason I score him so low is that this villain is trying to be covert, his use of the nanotechnology is assumed to mostly happen off screen. How he appears in the adventure, when the characters see the gadget at work, is very much up to you. Either way, when he’s not around, the world isn’t really impacted.

Omniscience – 4 out of 5

Robert Callaghan is a genius. Not many Disney villains can really claim that title. ‘Evil genius’, maybe, but the thing about evil geniuses is that they’re are very rarely smart. They had a big idea full of science and ridiculous concepts, but they do not act with intelligence. Callaghan is a genius and acts like it.

If you’re going to build a villain like this into your adventure, they should be used as a plot device, and their actions should be based around a much clearer understanding of what’s happening in the world compared to the adventurers.

Henchmen – 0 out of 5

It’s just Callaghan. Technically you need a second character to be the more likely villain for this guy to sneakily Bid Bad his way around, but they need to be separate (or opposite) to him for the trick to work.

Threat Level – 4 out of 5

I didn’t give Jafar 5 in this field because, despite all his power, he lacked the intent to kill. Whilst Robert Callaghan isn’t a cold blooded murderer, his negligence and reckless violence makes him randomly dangerous. He tries to hold the heroes back at the end of Big Hero 6, but he shows on more than one occasion that he’s not particular focused on pulling his punches. Even against children.

So why is he missing out on the 5 out of 5 too? For one, the tech he’s using isn’t designed to be lethal. It can throw things around and hit people hard, but it’s not the most effective offence. Secondly, we once again have a gizmo that a human is using to be threatening, but Robert on his own lacks a deadly edge.

Finale – 4 out of 5

A reoccurring theme of this score over the last few weeks is that the finale does not always revolve around the BBEG in a Disney movie. They are present for a final spectacle, but they may not be a large factor in it, or have contributed anything to the outcome. This isn’t always a bad thing, having your final boss be more of a distraction in a bigger, world-altering event. Nevertheless, the point of a true BBEG is to bring something to the table at the end of it all.

Here Callaghan does a little better than some we’ve reviewed recently. He’s the one crafting a portal to another dimension, using his little robots to throw the good guys aside and generally causing a lovely amount of chaos. The nanites are such a complex weapon for the heroes to overcome, there’s a nice verticality to the encounter, and it all ends with a dive into another plane of existence, which is always a good detail in a TTRPG encounter.

Two reasons he doesn’t get the last mark. Firstly, the challenge isn’t that high. In the movie, most of the challenge came from the characters own insecurities. If you were copying Callaghan into your campaign, you would need to boost the risk involved, unless you heroes are also struggling with their own confidence. If your players have not made characters that need to ‘find their inner strength’/’learn to think around the problem’, they could hit Callaghan harder than these students do at first.

Secondly, Callaghan is a secondary story beat compared to the Hiro-Baymax relationship. Your Robert-Callaghan-inspired BBEG with provide an amazing backdrop to the end of the adventure, but if you also include that final sacrifice at the end of your adventure, then he his not going to be the most memorable moment in the finale. An excellent villain, but not the focus.

Final Score = 3.00

This stat block is a placeholder.
Robert is a run-of-the mill human, and so his stat blocks reflect that, with some extra hitpoints for sturdiness.
I’m going to need to sit down and work out how the Microbots would translate to D&D. They might need their own stat block…

I’m so glad I put ‘Henchmen’ in as a category. So many wonderful villains, comparing as a stand alone thing would be tough, and finding the ultimate one to turn into your BBEG would be even tougher. But in a campaign, your villain benefits from having lesser bosses and goons to throw in the party’s way.

Some villains could make great BBEG all on their lonesome. Strahd von Zarovich is a prime example. That tricksy vampire doesn’t need anyone by his side. However, if Strahd was the only big threat in the story, we’d be less enthralled by the adventure.

Callaghan is a great ‘support BBEG’. If you know you’ve got players who like to develop and heavily roleplay their characters, looking for a hero(es) arc, a villain like this provides a great adventure without fully stealing the limelight. Beat the science-powered, mad scientist to stop them ending the world, become better people and friends doing so.

Disney VillainScore
Jafar3.83 👑
Lyle Tiberius Rourke3.66
Robert Callaghan3.00
Gaston LeGume2.66
Cruella de Vil2.00
Queen of Hearts1.33
Edgar Balthazar0.75

Thank You For Reading

The other Disney BBEG contenders are right here.

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Author: Rufus Scott

I am a long term Gamer, a full-time History Teacher and a part-time geek. I enjoy writing about the positive aspects of gaming, especially when it comes to education. My posts are sometimes nostalgic, occasionally irrelevant, largely meant to provoke further discussion. I'll sometimes punctuate these whimsical ramblings with a random comment on gaming and/or teaching.

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