Spoiler: Villain Texture
Step X: What is the villain’s race or class?
Harley Zorzo is an Evil Shapeshifter – a shapeshifter so called because they can only turn into “evil” races, i.e. anything humanoid. This came from ancient philosophy that anything human is fallen and evil. They’re also naturally predisposed to rebelling against humanity, due to nurture.
Step 1: Start with two emotions.
1. Shame – Harley is a villain because she’s ashamed of what she’s done. In part, she also believes she has no choice in the matter, that she was born evil and has no ability to change that. Her experiences only reinforced this in her mind.
2. The heroes should be able to feel that they can easily become villainous if they’re not careful. Harley is the type of villain that could easily be a hero if things turned out differently. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and she became a villain. They should feel that they, too, can easily become villains if they’re not careful.
Step 2: What events in the villain’s past brought about this emotion?
Harley, from birth, has wanted to be a hero, to be a holy knight like her father, Sir Zorzo. Unfortunately, as she was born an Evil Shapeshifter, her father found out that her mother was also an Evil Shapeshifter. So, her mother (_____ Martinez, who later became known as The Shadow Queen) locked him away and raised Harley. Harley went to her father’s Holy Order and became a holy knight, claiming to be her long-missing father’s daughter, which was totally true. Unfortunately, another knight was jealous of her strength and set a trap for her that would kill all her men in her squad. She foiled his plot, but had to use her Evil Shapeshifting powers to save them. So, he slandered her (because she’s of a race that’s discriminated against and is known for Evil), she was put on trial and found guilty of oathbreaking. Her half-sister helped her get out of the dungeon, and Harley became the head guardian of her mother’s newfound kingdom. Later, a raid by her old Holy Order, allied with several kingdoms, finally broke down the kingdom and The Shadow Queen’s family slipped out into the night, leaving Harley with feelings of shame for having betrayed her fellow guardians. Later, she became a travelling entertainer, started a revolution to bring equality to all Shapeshifting races (and played a huge role as a commander and an assassin), sought redemption, found a holy sword, felt redemption was impossible for her, and she returned to how she was before (only she avoided her mother, disagreeing with her mother and her half-sister.)
So, she is ashamed of her inability to be Good as well as her past deeds.
Step 3: What is the villain's scale?
Originally, Harley was to be just a minor villain with heroic tendencies. (She is redeemable, by the way, though it will be difficult) However, surprisingly quickly, Harley became the leader of the largest villain group known to the Nexus – AMEN, the Association of the Malicious, Evil, and Nefarious. So, she just got upgraded quickly.
Step 4: What is the villain's goal?
Harley’s original goal was to simply go on with life. She felt she was incapable of being Evil, so she wanted to become, in her own right, Evil. She has this goal because she felt that, if she had simply never desired to be Good in the first place, she wouldn’t have any of the problems she had. Now, she still has that goal: to be Evil without going against her conscience. In addition, she wants to be able to protect her friends – fellow members of AMEN – and not let them down.
Step 5: What does the villain need in order to be able to achieve this goal?
Wow, this is a hard one. How does one become Evil without going against one’s own conscience? A big way to do this would be to continue as the leader of AMEN. Going out of her way to help them along with their schemes would also be helpful. Really, I don’t know exactly what to put here. Do villainous things without being outright bad? I have no clue. This is one of her weaknesses – so far, she doesn’t have a clearly-defined goal.
Step 6: What obstacles must the villain overcome?
The first obstacle she had to overcome was the Sword of Goodness which she had; fortunately, she got rid of it at GLoG due to sheer luck. She has to overcome her conscience without outright breaking it: she has to find ways around it. All the other Organizations which hate AMEN – WATCHTOWER, NO, HALO, Riverside governments, etc. have to be periodically overcome.
Step 7: What is the villain's primary means of projecting influence?
Harley Zorzo, while she does have some personal power, it is extraordinarily little in comparison to most other denizens of The Nexus. While she loves disguises, she hates manipulation. So, really, all that’s left for her is to be a leader in order to achieve her goals.
Step 8: What are the villain's resources?
Quick-thinking mind which can understand tactics and strategy
Good leadership and disguise skills
The ability to shapeshift – meaning disguise, using any biological power (electricity, fire, etc, and all that that implies: if I can justify it biologically, she can do it).
A ruby amulet which can create ice bursts
A scabbard (her father’s) which has been surrounding powerful magic for enough time that it has become “sanctified” through ambient magic – it is especially effective (and causes explosions) upon contact with evil outsiders, undead, fae (including elementals), and so on.
The training of a knight, a musician, and an assassin
Most of the resources and manpower of AMEN, so long as she remains the leader of AMEN.
Step 9: If no heroes were to interfere, what would the villain's plan to achieve this goal be?
She would go along with AMENite schemes, while occasionally going through personal business, and…who knows what else.
Step 10: What are the villain's boundaries?
Harley will never betray or turn against someone she sees as a friend; every one of them is necessary. It’s, actually, surprisingly easy to be on that list. She also won’t discriminate against them, understanding how it feels. She’ll avoid killing when possible.
Step 11: What is the villain's personal threat level? In other words, is the villain a danger to the heroes if encountered personally? How much of a danger?
In personal conflict, Harley is effective at some combat, but she’s not packed with magic out the wazoo. If she can’t avoid the combat, (or if she “deems it necessary”), she’ll take to the combat. She should be roughly equal in power to the average hero; however, certain circumstances can cause her to have advantages and others, to have disadvantages.
Step 12: How does the villain treat his minions? How do the minions feel about the villain?
Harley treats her minions well – preferably that they’re her equal, or even that they’re better than she is. If one is in danger or something, she’ll go out of her way to get them out of danger. How do the “minions” feel about her? I have no idea; it depends on how the other players react. I suppose they’ll find her friendly, but not mind-controllingly powerful.
Step 13: What are the villain's visual quirks?
Harley has a permanent scar on the left side of her face. She loses or fails more often than she succeeds. She has complex thoughts that make little sense when taken out of context. She rarely uses something actually lethal. Her favorite weapon is the scabbard which belonged to her father, which she uses as if it were a sword.
Step 13a: What would the villain's theme music sound like?
I don’t know. I’ll have to come up with this later.
Since it’s a song I’m listening to right now, I’ll have to guess Lindsey Stirling’s Elements.
Step 14: What is the villain's escape plan?
Running, disguising, escaping. I don’t really know what would be the best way for her to escape.
Step 15: What is the villain's name?
Harley Zorzo, titled The Obsidian Butterfly. Her original name was Harley Martinez, but she took her father’s last name, Zorzo, and cast away her mother’s last name, Martinez. The Obsidian Butterfly is a title she earned while as a knight and it remained with her when she headed a revolution.