Randimaxis

"Villain Victorious" Scenario

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When I was a kid, I absolutely adored my Super NES - there were very few games I passed up, simply by virtue of wanting to experience them ALL.  I'd done so much with games, that I felt like I was growing a bit jaded and bored with video games in general... and after so many years of gaming, my interest was beginning to flag.  After all, the story was always the same, right?  Bad guy makes a move, good guys wipe them up.  End of story, close curtain, applause.

But in 1994, that changed.

I had already been a fan of Watchmen (still just a comic book series back then), and was fascinated by the idea of the heroes FAILING.  It was mind-blowing, and I ended up writing out a number of different things based solely on that premise.  But, as much as I'd seen it in comics, I was still not seeing it in any of my beloved video games...

Then, I picked up a game that changed that for me: Final Fantasy III.

To this very day, Kefka will ALWAYS be my all-time favorite villain.  Why?  BECAUSE HE SUCCEEDED.

He stole power, ousted the one who'd started the whole thing, LITERALLY became a god, then proceeded to reshape the world as he saw fit.  The heroes in the game FAILED to stop him - and it cost the world almost everything.

I'd say that makes him the baddest villain ever, hands down.

In that vein, there are a number of villains who, IF they ever actually won, would most certainly bring about the equivalent of Hell upon their worlds... and heroes would be weak, starving and on-the-run almost constantly, in addition to their seemingly hopeless plight.

THIS is where the "Villain Victorious" alternate universe comes in.

 

What happens when, say, Discord is triumphant in his bid to take over Equestria?  Let's say Twilight never HAD her epiphany, and ended up leaving Ponyville to return to Canterlot with her proverbial tail between her legs?

Or perhaps, what if Queen Chrysalis HAD pulled a fast one on the collected ponies of Equestria, and Twilight continued to linger in the cave with Cadence as the Changeling Queen spread her influence over the entire Crystal Empire... and possibly beyond?

Maybe Flim & Flam actually DID beat the Apples, and the once proud Sweet Apple Acres became nothing more than a factory cranking out cheap, scuzzy cider... to say nothing of the Apple family's displacement?

Or, if you REALLY wanna change things, we can say that Nightmare Moon was NOT defeated by six random ponies, and instead she rules over Dark-questria with an iron hoof, leaving the ponies within cowering in shadows - can you picture it?

 

The point is that ANY of these scenarios can occur - the possibilities are endless.

Creating a world based on the idea of a villain succeeding will take more than just "here it is", because something like that will require you to rebuild (in some cases, LITERALLY) the entire known world; ad-libbing the scenario is NOT recommended.

BUT, with a few of the right questions to ask, and a couple of character changes, you too can show folks what would happen if the heroes ever fell from the sky in defeat.

 

First, you have to choose a villain.

No, this is not always an easy thing.

Villains have certain rules that they're supposed to follow - at least, without the GM becoming the Stanley Kubrick of roleplaying - and choosing which one to put forward into your narrative leads to questions you should ask, like how would they affect the world if they beat the heroes?

Chrysalis, undoubtedly, would attempt to rule everything from her false throne... but Flim & Flam wouldn't WANT to rule; they only want more bits.  At the same time, it's obvious that Nightmare Moon would plunge the whole world into darkness... however, who knows WHAT someone like Discord would do if he ever became victorious? (It must've been pretty bad to get locked in stone for his previous escapades.)  Depending on the kind of story you'd want to tell, you can pick a villain that matches that idea. 

Dystopian Equestria?  Might get that with Chryssi. 

Want a place where bits make the pony?  Flim & Flam, at your service. 

ANYTHING GOES?  *snap*  Discord's your guy. 

Make sure to work the narrative magic in the proper direction, too.  After all, if you choose to nominate Nightmare Moon as the star villain of this world, then you probably would rather focus on HOW the eternal night has affected crops and colors in the world... but you probably don't want to have an entire arc about Changelings; that would be better done under Queen Chrysalis.

 

Second, we bring the world the villain has created into focus.

The world tends to reflect what's put into it; with Celestia & Luna in charge, things are peaceful and harmonious... well, MOST of the time, anyway.  But that's because their influence reaches all the way across Equestria - and they embody the idea of a fair and just rule.

Villians, do they do that?  *snicker*

So, a world ruled by a villain should reflect that particular evil, as well.  After all, we're talking about a world that has effectively bowed to the villain's whims, in lieu of heroes available, and therefore has a visible stain on what would normally be a happy life.  The size and shape of this proverbial stain truly depends on HOW successful you wish the baddies to be.

Maybe Flim & Flam DID win with their Super-Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000... but all they did was take over the farm, kicking out the Apples and taking over?  Then things might be a good bit bleaker around Ponyville - doubtless - but Canterlot might not be affected very much, and Yakyakistan not at all.

Of course, if taking Sweet Apple Acres from the Apples was just the start of their soon-to-be-massive contraption empire?  They would have based themselves from the farmland they acquired, then slowly began making profits & buying up land - perhaps even displacing ponies to take their homes!  Eventually, even with Canterlot and the Princesses trying to present a nice front, bits would become the new law - anyone that doesn't have 'em, doesn't get 'em.  Perhaps they DO as they were seen to have done in an alternate dimension, and have the farm razed to the ground, build factories, and turn Equestria into an oppressive, steampunk-type world full of greed.

Ooooooh... *points to arm* goosebumps!

The bottom line: a world conquered by a villain will tend to shape itself around that villain - and players will appreciate the differences as long as they make sense... except for Discord, because what fun is there in making sense?

 

Third, define the opposition, and how it fits into the world.

NOBODY likes the rule of a villain; there will always be resistance to any form of tyranny.  That being said, the condition of such can be quite varied.  Many villains worth their salt hunt down and destroy opposition, so most of them will be at least somewhat secretive... but the levels necessary should be dictated by the evil at hand (hoof).

Rebels against Chryssi would have to be SUPER-secretive and THOROUGH in their methods of recruiting, else they become infiltrated by Changeling spies... or perhaps they already are, which is why they never seem able to succeed.  However, if it was a faction standing against ol' Discy, it truly wouldn't matter WHAT the resistance does - he's too powerful to really be effective against, so everything they do would seem pointless.

Remember that your players are supposed to make a difference in this world - it's okay if the opposing forces aren't effective, because that's supposed to be what your PLAYERS accomplish.  Make them the reason the rebels start succeeding... because if they're succeeding on their own, then there wouldn't be a villain-ruled world, right?

The other thing to consider is how the resistance is DEALT WITH; are they exiled, executed... or possibly far, FAR worse?  These things should be not only considered, but planned for - at least minimally.  This way, if the players seem to be having trouble defending themselves from this world, then you can always have the resistance help them out.

 

With this kind of basis, you can now move on to working with your players to fit into the world you've ruined created for them.

Unless you are doing the whole "you get teleported/phase shifted/magically blasted into this dark world" scenario, then one would assume they came from THIS world.  That being the case, your players should try to write their characters to fit into this new and sinister existence.

If Nightmare Moon were in charge, then there might be an angry farmer (no sunlight) who might stand against her... or perhaps an ex-royal guard (no Celestia) would take up arms against the threat.  Maybe even a displaced Party Professional (no mirth) would join the fight, or even a griffon or diamond dog would have a chance at helping out, because they miss the sun too?

Helping your players craft characters that fit into the world can help you define it better, as their input could possibly bring up ideas or possibilities that would make the impression of your world much firmer than OCs who simply transferred over from (insert your OC's homeland HERE). 

 

With the above in practice (and more that I'm sure you can come up with on your own), you can build and populate an entire world where things are bleak, ponies are depressed or enslaved, and the entire story feels as though it's about to teeter off the edge into oblivion... which is where the players come in to save the day. 

Hopefully.

Who knows?  There may be some day in your future that you find yourself part of a ragtag group of refugees, fighting to free Equestria from the vile grip of the wicked King Sombra...  *wistful sigh*

Now... go out there and twist those worlds like fresh pretzel dough! 

Excelsior!

 

 

 

  • Brohoof 7

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(edited)

I like this idea, I kinda imagine like a team-up of Villains winning , resulting in a world where Equestria is split and each Villain moulds their own domain over time. 

Edited by Vulcan

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