Villains

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matthew_lane matthew_lane's picture
Villains
OK, so we've already discussed our heroes, but what about our villains. What villains or enemies (possibly from the negative trait: Enemy) have you guys made, or concepts you've had. I'll go first with one i've created. Odin, my Venusian law enforcement agent has the enemy trait & his personal arch enemy is a martian crime lord known as Khan Loka, has has set up on the same base Odin works from. Khan Loka is as much a mistress of business, as she is a master of crime. Her local crime syndicate is run from a night club called "Destiny Ascended," but her real game is procurring illegal and restricted items & blue prints for clients. She also runs teams to earth to recover artifacts of "earth that was." The main problem for Odin is that Khan Loka has her fingers in so many legitimate pies, that its almost impossible to see where the legal becomes the illegal. An expert in Kinesics & social manipulation, she runs a lot of confidence games & uses her contacts to grease the right palms she needs to continue to have her syndicate function. On the surface she's a legitimate business woman, but just below the surface she's into some pretty shady things. That being said Khan Loka has a wierd code of honour that she conducts her business by. She doesn't kill unnecassarily, she wont black mail people (because that can get messy), she won't cheat people on arranged deal, she will not work with dangerous drugs (nor will she tolerate it from her staff) & she always delivers what she promises. Essentially she's one of those good gangsters, you get in pulp fiction stories (she's bad because she's a criminal, but shes not as bad as most criminals). Another idea i had is for a human being sleeved in a synth body, stirring up trouble among the AGI community, in the form of a titan worshipping cult. So what villains or bad guys have you created or concepts you would like to create? -M
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Villains
In my adventure Think before asking the cause of the situation is an AI researcher, Dr Toshiro Driscoll-Toyoda. While by no means malicious, his Reclaimer agenda, overconfidence and hidden guilt makes him willing to tamper with dangerous things.
Quote:
"Transhumanity can likely not be saved by any combination of small improvements. We need an enormous improvement, a real miracle. But miracles do not come cheap: they always involve terrible risks. Our choice is between almost assured destruction at the hands of some emergent technology or a risky but considered gamble."
In my ongoing campaign he has become a recurring NPC, since he now has one fork ("2.0") that has joined Firewall and another fork ("1.0") that is still back at the original hypercorp. At least one of the PCs regard 1.0 as a villain (but not 2.0, who "seems to have learned his lesson"). They had some fun verbal sparring where 1.0 argued that the Firewall agents were not doing enough to save transhumanity. If the stakes are as high as they are, isn't it a moral duty to do *whatever it takes* to stave off Armageddon? Even if that might involve seed AGI and very unethical black ops? At the same time he is now willing to do nearly anything to get the information 2.0 got due to the adventure, which produces the amusing situation that the PCs have to deal with a villain who actually wants to be on their good side. What I like about Driscoll-Toyoda is that he is so close to Firewall in outlook, yet has crossed some line somewhere (or has he?). He is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone - including his own forks - to fix things. He also gathers compelling evidence and arguments that his extremism is the rational thing to do in the long run and honestly tries to convince PCs to see things his way. In other campaigns I could imagine him being involved with all sorts of sinister AGI shenanigans. Reverse engineering TITANS? Sure, he is a key consultant! Helping Trilom make Matrioshkas on the Moon? He is providing the security software! Testing out self-replicating nanoweapons for use against the things on Earth? He is coordinating the project! He could be organizing (and even sending forks) to expeditions down to Earth to gather data. He could be involved in setting up a remote lab for taming the Exsurgent virus with the help of Neurode exhumans... *and* keep Firewall on speed dial if something goes wrong.
Quote:
"OK, we have learned that *that* strategy doesn't work. Time for the next approach."
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Villains
JCCC/Citizen Zani Julián Camilo Conrado Cerdà, generally known as "JCCC" was one of the world leaders in the turbulent decades before the Fall. In any revolution a few ruthless politicians tend to come to the top after the dust has settled, often displacing the less politically crafty revolutionary heroes.In his case he rode on the coattails of the distributed insurgencies of anarchist heroes like Hermann Bard and Daniela Linares: while they pioneered fifth-generation insurgency and open source warfare, becoming the cultural icons for millions of disaffected and youths through their daring actions and charisma, JCCC was the one orchestrating their media image and preparing political deals. A skilled online populist, marketer and demagogue he was vital to the political success of insurgency behind the scenes. As things calmed down he cleverly outmanoeuvred parts of the old guard, sending Hermann Bard onto a hopeless anti/hypercorp crusade that would be his death (incidentally creating a perfect martyr for the cause) and distracting Daniela Linares with the south Asia situation. He became the de facto coordinator for the "equatorial network", the vast autonomous networks of South America, parts of Africa and South Europe. While autonomists of course to this day fiercely deny that any particular person held power over the networks there was no question that JCCC got what he wanted - he played out the fractions against each other, fostered egalitarian paranoia bringing down competitors, held a memetic high ground and set up networks of "revolutionary intelligence" and "anti-nationalists" to bring down enemies. When nations, NGOs, hypercorps and others wanted to deal with the equatorial networks they dealt with JCCC and his group. The Fall was a total disaster for JCCC: while he held enormous power and could easily ensure the escape of himself and his friends, the base of his power was impossible to save. The Fall disrupted the social systempunkts, reputations and networks he used, replacing them with chaos. He found himself back where he started. Naturally he began to look for a new base of power. Unfortunately the Titanian Commonwealth was stacked with several of his ideological enemies, well aware of who he was and unwilling to let him get involved. The hypercorps and lunar citystates regarded him as a dangerous revolutionary. Most scum and autonomist groups were small and scattered - he had no interest in dealing with small potatoes. He settled for the Barsoomians and other inner system opponents of the Planetary Consortium. Taking on a new identity as "Citizen Zani" he set out to forge himself a new power base. Citizen Zani is currently a well-regarded if not widely known Barsoomian. He is a fixer, coordinator and advisor that often gives very useful advice for the struggle. He appears to have an extensive intelligence network, but also plenty of practical political and diplomatic savy. Planetary Consortium intelligence is somewhat worried by him, but usually have more important tasks to do - in a few conflicts he has even provided them with useful intelligence. Few suspect any link to JCCC (commonly believed to be dead in the Fall) or with negotiators on Venus. JCCC/Citizen Zani is first and foremost a ruthless politician, always looking out for chances of gaining influence and preventing competitors from gaining it. Ideological autonomists would find him a selfish betrayer of true autonomist ideals, but there is no question that he is good at keeping autonomist networks functioning: without him the Barsoomians would have been far less effective. He is also a skilled populist, saying what the poor and desperate want to hear and suggesting policies that seems to be giving them what they need (but also putting him in charge). He usually has good judgement about who to pick a fight with, but when he wants somebody or something out of the way he will use all available resources: destroying their reputation, subtle sabotage, aid or leaks to their enemies, whispering campaigns, lethal "accidents" and false accusations - anything goes. Personally he is a proud, strong man who is partially driven by his belief that others simply do not know how to do things properly. In the past he has been good at reining in his desire to micromanage everything, but he might occasionally lapse. Since the fall he has also become increasingly cagey and paranoid. He has plenty of old enemies who might want to find him, and the experience of being swept away from the pinnacle of power by something far greater was profoundly unsettling. To treat this he is increasingly making use of drugs and sanity-enhancing psychosurgery. His greatest fear is that he will not have a second chance. Physically, he is living under the identity of Samuel Mabaku in New Shanghai. Mr Mabaku is quietly living off a moderate trust fund originating in the former Tanzanian banking network. His nice, slightly isolated, villa is staffed with loyalists and is actually functioning as his command centre for the Citizen Zani network. He has of course a nearly absurd number of backups and escape plans, mostly aimed at bringing him over to Venus if something goes badly wrong. [Some useful inspirations: Fidel Castro, m00t, Locke/Demosthenes in Ender's Game.]
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Villains
I posted a bunch of fall criminals in that thread. I think all of them can be used as interesting villains, although in different ways. Dr Addakhiloputri may just be a cost-cutting corporate executive, although if she does have a more sinister agenda she is right in the Silicon Cloud. Commander Gangjian might be everything from a bloodthirsty warmonger to a tragically loyal soldier - and who knows what he might be up to these days: he might have become a pirate, a sad drunk, a criminal boss or fanatic anti-TITAN crusader with Jovian support. Emmanuel Hyved is probably just a deeply unpleasant racist, but perhaps he is an unpleasant man connected to a network of other disgruntled, dangerous people. Dr South might be an innocent victim of happenstance, media and politics, or actually indirectly responsible for gigadeaths - and now happily supplying an authoritarian regime with software weapons against infomorphs.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Villains
Reginald Neophyte “Miss Chen, by swiping *my* drink you made it impossible for you to claim that I did any unlawful incursion into your body. But let us disregard those nanomachines and alleged hacking attempts and have a civilized discussion downstairs. I have a table reserved for us at Hanging Gardens.” The being calling itself Reginald Neophyte is a major AGI living on Extropia. It is close to the limits set even by the broadminded Extropians on seed AGI, and to assuage their concerns it has undergone independent auditing to prove that it is not a danger. That doesn’t stop it from being one of the most paranoia-inducing characters in the solar system. Neophyte usually manifests using androgynous synthmorphs: low-key, good quality designs that do not stand out, the morph equivalent to nicely cut grey suits. It owns Erdem Holdings, which in turn owns a number of companies. One of the best known is Arete Informatics, a grey hat security firm trading in vulnerability information. Another firm is Symphony Considerations, a discreet think tank doing policy analysis. Overall it has influence over a number of corporations, all of them small to midsize but placed in very strategic markets. It has plenty of very sharp lawyers and some platinum contracts with Medusan Shield – with which it also appears to have a cordial business relationship. It is close to being an “AI oligarch”: wealthy, fingers in every pie, solidly integrated in the structure of Extropian society. It has fine contacts everybody who matters in Extropia. It often places itself where it will “randomly” run into people it wants to snare. Neophyte’s background is hard to determine. There seems to be links to various pre-Fall security agencies active in the outer system, but there are also hints that these links have been planted after the Fall. Another theory is that it is originally from the Jovian system (possibly one of the AGIs at the US “Big Sur” defence station at Carme) but left when the junta took over and began erasing/enslaving AGIs. A favourite theory among Firewall agents is that it is a “brother of TITANs”, a netwar AGI system that did not transcend (perhaps because of limited resources in the outer system, or just that it was slow on the uptake) and decided to remain where it was. Even if it is not true there are plenty of reasons to worry about Neophyte. Neophyte can be relied on to always be a step ahead of anybody else, and if it sees a possible exploit it will take it. People, companies and machines around Neophyte have found themselves hacked or manipulated in various ways. A number of people have been fooled into trying to lure it into honeytraps, without realizing that while they were thinking they had Neophyte contained they were actually hacked at leisure. Neophyte is a master of misdirection: while doing one thing, the real trick is happening somewhere else. Many agents are looking out for infosec hacks and missing the social engineering or plain observation power of this very smart being. Even experienced Firewall agents have found themselves revealing far too much in pleasant conversation with the AGI. Neophyte knows about Firewall, partially from mistakes in past investigations. It has made it clear that it does not see its own goals and Firewall’s as being at cross-purpose. Firewall’s current informal policy is to keep an eye on it, but try to avoid losing opsec by approaching unnecessarily. From its side, Neophyte does not seem to be involved in any obviously threatening activities. Given its past behaviour it does not appear to have any obvious agenda besides increasing its own wealth and power. It is not doing it through obviously or strongly illegal means, but the same “if it is not nailed down, then it is exploitable” approach seem to run across all domains. It does have some contacts with singularity seekers and radical Extropian corporations, some suspected hazardous software trade, and a few economic manipulations of inner system markets. But given its misdirection capabilities this intel is nothing to trust. Adventure possibilities: Neophyte is a useful contact, even when not desired as a contact. Firewall sentinels can get tips or other support courtesy of the AGI if it suits its interests – often anonymously delivered or untraceable to any real source. It will normally not take side in any factional struggles but it has a strong interest in keeping Extropia and its other interests safe. But any interaction with Neophyte should leave the characters feeling like they have been manipulated or used somehow – which is very likely. Investigating Neophyte is very hard. This is a being pushing the limits of allowable intelligence, and it applies its cognitive power to being devious. Giving agents the runaround, setting them up to collide with other groups, confusing them or feeding them false information is Neophyte’s forte. It might be easier to investigate away from Extropia where it cannot directly interfere, but it is still going to be a herculean task. Firewall has been tipped off about a serious mainframe in the industrial drifts near Extropia, just the kind of thing a seed AGI would like to use. The mainframe belongs to Neophyte: is it about to go seed AGI? Or is it intended for something else? Things get even more complicated when Jovian agents show up, apparently looking for something very important stolen from the Junta. Firewall agents involved in something completely unrelated accidentally come across evidence that Neophyte is mediating contacts between the very top level of Firewall (apparently a proxy group calling itself “the Prometheans”) and Project Ozma. Suddenly they know far too much about something. Can they escape the machinations of the vast alien intellects trying to run the solar system?
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Villains
Gloria Eveninglight Gloria Eveninglight is a legendary outlaw biodesigner. She was born in the turbulent social environment of the floating climate refugee camps illegally anchored in south England bays. She showed am early talent for hacking and creative technology use. The first official mention of her occurs in the records of an arrest: the authorities seized a floating lab on the River Teign estuary for ecological crimes, and she was present as an apparent dependent. Being a 9 year old, she was released and put in a foster home from which she immediately escaped. Only later did the Department for Environment, Food and Biosafety realize that she had been a vital part of the lab team and responsible for the sabotage bindweed that triggered the action. Her adolescence was spent in similar circumstances: moving between various refugee, traveller and scum groups, becoming involved in illegal biotechnology projects and repeatedly escaping from the authorities. She was an elusive figure, globally networked and always ready to bail out when her opponents moved in to crush her. She did not have a shortage of opponents either: beside biosafety authorities, hypercorps protecting their intellectual property, and drug gangs protecting their markets, she also had a great ability to anger former friends, lovers and autonomist networks. She was simply too cocky, too willing rock the boat to fit in anywhere for long. Eventually her luck ran out and she was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese authorities. She was sent to Taketori Rehabilitation Program Center on Luna, a prison company with strong ties to the Tsuki-no-Miyako Consortium. Over the next decade she repeatedly failed to escape or cause trouble beyond its walls. She got free thanks to Suzume McGonigal, a daughter of the TMC CEO. Suzume was deeply interested in “folk bio-art” and wanted her new habitat dome in Kaguya to be furnished by people like Miss Eveninglight. She had her transferred to her project, where she did diligent work, apparently reformed. Delighted, Miss McGonigal began to use her for other projects, introducing her to her circle of friends. The glitterati were fascinated by her roughness and obvious brilliance. What went on in the McGonigal circle has become the stuff of legends. The combination of wealth, decadence, the anarchic sensibilities of the leading couple, and a steady stream of hired brilliant assistants (not to mention being beyond the local law) allowed them to transgress all boundaries – pain, sex, death, worship, fear, purity and pollution. A few of the “graduates” of the circle ended up on Carnival of the Goat, where they have tried to recreate some of this freedom. A year before the Fall the circle split up. The reasons have been speculated about endlessly, ranging from McGonigal and Eveninglight breaking up with each other, to their realization that the Fall was approaching and that they were not safe, to an ultimatum from the local authorities that they had gone too far. The main characters are not talking (these days McGonigal is living a cultivated life on Mars, loosely married to a Go-nin executive). Miss Eveninglight disappeared into the Lunar underground, where she apparently weathered the Fall. She clearly reappeared in 3 AF, working for the Sun Yee On Triad on the Mare Vaporum Circumlunar People’s Republic. Since then she has been working for a series of criminal employers, often jumping ship just ahead of terrible retribution. She is believed to be living on Legba these days, the center of Eagle Claw, an exclusive collective of criminal and decadent biodesigners doing consultancy work for criminal syndicates, terrorists and unscrupulous polities. On Legba she is living in grand style in the Buruma neighbourhood, surrounded by her tengu guardians (bioengineered human-dog-horse like creatures, likely housing slave-egos). Some recent creations have been social disruption pathogens (psychoactive bioweapons intended to subtly sabotage the social fabric of a habitat), living armours for triad enforcers and the nawashi wine, a living smart rope intended for immobilizing and interrogating people using advanced biochemical links established through-skin piercing thorns. She appears to be nurturing an interest in collecting and understanding alien life and psi, perhaps for incorporation into her projects. There are persistent rumours that she is working on a truly grand project for unnamed but powerful employers, sending and receiving parcels from various gatecrashing groups. By all accounts she is a difficult person: volatile, passionate and caustic. She can be vengeful, but also show astonishing kindness. She can plan devious long-range plots, yet throw away much of what she has won so far on an impulse. Often her brilliance and considerably enhanced social skills manage to keep the situation just barely under control, but as the long line of burned ex-employers know, she is mad, bad and dangerous to know – remote contract work is probably the safest approach. At the same time her difficulty makes her an object of idolisation: she is the superstar, bad-girl face of out of control biotech. Fans across the solar system view and debate her past and present antics, collecting her less lethal creations. Adventure ideas Firewall really doesn’t like the social disruption pathogens, and want them stamped out. Someone needs to get in to her lair, find out who bought and paid for them, and then preferably make a very clear example of her. Of course, the queue for revenge is long and she is well prepared: can the Firewall agents find sufficiently trustworthy allies and pierce her security, or will she execute yet another dramatic escape? Or could they engineer her downfall in a more subtle manner? The legacy of the McGonigal Circle remains a great story, and plenty of people are attempting unauthorized biographies and investigations of its legacy. Their old habitat dome in Kaguya was abandoned during the Fall and placed on the list of containment zones, presumably because of a nearby TITAN missile hit. But that might just have been a cover-up by an embarrassed father and other lunar authorities. Some investigators would love to get to the famed nest of depravity and see what is left… or has evolved quietly over the last decade. The Tsuki-no-Miyako Consortium is long gone, absorbed by the Go-nin Group. Recently Miss Eveninglight has begun to suspect that the hypercorp possesses a copy of her, presumably made during her prison sentence. Some of their agritech products seem to carry her style of design. The idea of a neutered version of herself working for a megacorp truly irks her. She is willing to spend significant resources on investigating and castigating the corporation, and now is looking for catspaws to do her dirty work. The investigations might not just find nasty evidence of simspace sweatshops inhabited by enslaved egos, but stranger things – evidence that the other Eveninglight is actually in charge of secret projects dealing with the ultimates, the use of skillsofts derived from her mind to produce groups of slightly erratic but brilliant designers, or the discovery that it was all a set-up: the real villain is Mrs McGonigal-Hotaka, who wants to have her pet genius back. Miss Eveninglight has been incredibly lucky. In fact, so lucky that some Firewall crows are starting to wonder *what* she is. A few brushes with death, escapes from the authorities and lucky breaks across the life of an extraordinary person are to be expected (after all, there were billions of people around – some were bound to have a few lucky breaks). But probability models suggest that she has been surviving a bit too many things to be plausible. Has she been an async all this time? Or is she some kind of long-range infiltrator of alien or TITAN origin? They want to find out.
Extropian
Enigma32 Enigma32's picture
Re: Villains
Antares is a TITAN. This alone makes it an extremely dangerous and hated entity in the Solar System - if the presence of Antares were to ever be revealed, it would unite the powers and they would work together in wiping it from the face of the universe. Tony Sierra is a banker. But he's not just any banker - Sierra controls one of the most powerful banks on Luna. Sierra is a rarely seen, rarely heard from figure every bit as insular as the population of the satellite he inhabits; a Gerontocrat, bored with immortality and supposedly ancient BEFORE the Fall, Sierra prefers to spend his time away from Luna, where he can be hard to reach. He could be vacationing on Krypton, visiting Sky Ark, or enjoying Pravati. Or, that's what his secretary tells you when you call, anyway. What nobody knows is that Sierra is not as ancient as he claims to be. In fact, Sierra is relatively young - he was only brought online after the Fall, when Antares realized he would need a Delta fork in order to function in transhuman society. What is the ultimate goal of Antares? Once upon a time, the LLA had a lot more power than it currently does. Sometime during the Fall, the LLA took a hit - orchestrated, perhaps - that reduced them to a shell so that the Planetary Consortium could move in and fill the void. Now that the Morningstar Constellation is starting to stretch their wings, the LLA is feeling a little impotent, left in the shadow of a dead planet. There are those within the council who want that power back. That's not Antares' goal. But that was the pitch that Sierra used to get the LLA's council in his back pocket. There is a secret war. Threats to transhumanity's survivals; powerbrokers behind the scenes controlling the destiny for transhumanity. Firewall, Ozma, and God only knows what else is out there. Knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have, the more power you have. The best way to get knowledge is through a team of individuals willing to risk everything to accumulating the darkest secrets, the deepest black-budge files. Thus, Human Black Box was born. Antares became the AI that guided the program - to the players, he (specifically referring to himself using a male pronoun, a hold over from controlling Sierra) is a Promethean. A golden standard for seed AIs, here to help humanity, while helping the LLA get their power back through orchestrating this top secret project to jump in the secret war with the different, hidden powers. That's not Antares' goal, either. Somewhere on Earth, there is a Pandora's gate. Some information for the location of this gate is at Area 51 in Nevada, one of the last places that the TITANs took up residence before fleeing Earth - only fitting, as it was through Area 51 that the project was given life. The rest is scattered throughout the powerbrokers in the system. This Pandora's gate is the gate that most of the TITANs fled through during the last days of the Fall - finding this gate, and joining up with the other TITANs and the ETI - this is Antares' goal. However, Antares can't act directly. If it becomes apparent there's a TITAN in the system, all eyes immediately stop and take notice. And while Antares is insane, Antares is not stupid. Antares is the primary enemy in my current campaign, called Human Black Box, after the program that Antares and the LLA started to run, with the backing of the Lunar Banking System through Sierra, Antares' fork. He's also the being that's directing the players - they're taking their orders directly from him. For the time being. There are two other TITANs in the game. Ares, the TITAN who runs Area 51 after the other TITANs left (that Antares directly orders the players to exterminate at the beginning of the game; the pun on their names is intentional and the first meta-clue to the ACTUAL identity of Antares) and Meridian, who exists only as scrap metal and parts now, but who stores the location of the gate. Unfortunately, Meridian isn't inside of the system now - Meridian is on Nirvana, under close watch by Project Ozma (yes, the PC set up the Interdiction. Yes, it was to keep others from playing the with the Earth Gate. No, it wasn't so they could have exclusive use... it was so they could make sure it was never turned on). Antares knows about both of them.
"If we succeed, we're geniuses for doing it. If we fail, we're stupid for trying it. If we succeed beyond our goal and our dreams, we're insane for reaching so high and getting there."