Friday, April 3, 2015

Look Out! Here come Motivated Villains 2 & 3

Social Acceptance and Madness

The first post and series explanation is here. In one sentence, I'm creating villains whose motivation falls outside the usual acquisition of money & power or revenge. In two sentences, one villain is motivated by the desire for social acceptance, and the other by the voices inside his head.

The Loser

Ranjit Lloyd-Kurnikov 8677AD Age 34 Army General Cr 2,000,000+

Gambling-2, Medical-1, Carousing-3, Gun Cbt-2, Admin-1, Hunting-1

I am the very model of a modern major general!

General Lord Ranjit Lloyd-Kurnikov was once the rising star of the military and aristocratic circles of the Alliance of Dormarc. He had good looks, the right background, the right schools, and was a hit at all the right parties. 

Not long after Lloyd-Kurnikov got his promotion to Major General, the Alliance went and had a war with the Five Worlds Coalition. Lloyd-Kurnikov went forth to do battle – and make an utter fool of himself, displaying a staggering lack of talent for leadership or strategy. He resisted coordination with other generals, lost strategic points, got several commands destroyed out from under him and even got units lost so that they never arrived at the battle.

His subordinate officers eventually staged a kind of coup, put Lloyd-Kurnikov under arrest and removed him from command. The war dragged on, but did turn around for the Alliance. During this time the new generals fought both with the Coalition and with the Alliance High Command over reinstating Lloyd-Kurnikov.

Eventually the war with the Coalition came to an end, but the political and social war over Lloyd-Kurnikov's part in it rages on to this day. He has his ardent supporters, and the Generals have their faction contending for the hearts & minds of the Alliance people over who was right.

Lloyd-Kurnikov retired from military service not long after the war, and spent a few years as a public figure, arguing in defense of his war record. Later he withdrew from the spotlight, and managed to raise a mercenary battalion, which works mostly outside of the Alliance.

He has a new reputation now – for total overkill. Lloyd-Kurnikov's Black Watch battalion works “by any means necessary” for an obvious victory, including refusing to take prisoners, refusing to negotiate, and scorched earth tactics. Civilians and non-combatants get no reprieve. The Black Watch wins battles, no doubt, by being as brutal as possible.

Lloyd-Kurnikov is driven to prove to the Alliance military and the galaxy at large that he is a winning officer. He isn't picky about the tickets he takes, and collateral damage means nothing to him. Even his own mens' lives matter less than winning.

He is convinced that by winning decisively he will prove that the Coalition war was not his fault. No one around him dares mention the War, unless it is to praise him or tell him how badly he was treated by his subordinates.

PCs who come from the Alliance, or the Coalition, may have heard of Lloyd-Kurnikov, and any PC with SOC of 9+ or EDU 7+ will have heard of him. It is up to the PCs to decide what they think of him. A PC who takes a firm stance on Lloyd-Kurnikov should run into NPCs who take the opposite view, incurring a -DM on any reaction rolls. PCs who really champion the cause could pick up secondary enemies from the other side as word gets around.

The PCs can encounter Lloyd-Kurnikov in several ways. First and simplest, they may be on a planet where the Black Watch is fighting, and find themselves in Lloyd-Kurnikov's way. Whether or not they have any connection to the group the Black Watch is fighting, if they're in the area, they are targets.

If the PCs have military backgrounds, they might get an offer to join the Black Watch; or to join a unit being raised by one of Lloyd-Kurnikov's former subordinates. This rival officer may even be out to capture Lloyd-Kurnikov, and bring him to trial, this time for war crimes.

The PCs may come through an area where the Black Watch has been, and get involved in clean-up or rebuilding efforts. Patrons who want revenge against Lloyd-Kurnikov for his brutal ways may approach the PCs, and ask them to capture or kill him. 

The Loony

Harlan Muldoon 677866 Age 38 Ex-Navy Lieutenant Cr 20,000

Ship's Boat-2, Admin-1, Gunnery-1, Mechanical-1, Navigation-1

Well, he seems like he's good at his job . . .

Muldoon is a good pilot, operating a charter service in the Utah system of the Thrainian Confederation. His service record indicates acceptable performance, but he was denied promotion by reason of some erratic behavior. He left the service shortly after his promotion was denied, and now runs routine flights between the planets and moons of Utah.

Unfortunately, Muldoon is paranoid megalomaniac, who might also have multiple personality disorder.

He's often flown too close to objects in space and to other ships, nearly causing collisions, but he always recovers, and when the authorities question him he's got an explanation that leaves him in the clear. He is overconfident in his navigation skill, so any near-miss is always someone else's fault.

The PCs will probably encounter him by chartering his shuttle to get around the Utah system. The trip will not be uneventful. A PC who examines the shuttle during the trip may (9+) find a note left by a previous passenger - either a warning of Muldoon's madness or a clue to where the poor unfortunate (or his gear) ended up.

If he's not cutting it too close, he will chart long, meandering courses that take hours longer than is necessary. Any PC navigator who points this out will trigger an angry response.

Muldoon will not let anyone else touch his engines, fearing sabotage. As he is not a very good engineer, his shuttle is not in the best repair. Any trip with him will be characterized by groans, rattles, thumps and other disconcerting noises. PCs with Engineering skill may identify the cause of some noises on 8+, but Muldoon will not heed their advice. The referee must decide on the threatened severity of any correctly identified sound.

At the least provocation, he might just dump all of the PCs cargo into space because he thinks it's dangerous somehow. He might seal the passenger compartment and start pumping all the air out. He could divert to another location, and perhaps maroon the PCs on an outer planet. 

In summary, Muldoon is not a threat to the galaxy as a whole, or even the people of the Utah system at large. He is a very real threat to PCs unfortunate enough to charter his services. Referees should not put the PCs in "instant death" situations, but "imminent death" where quick thinking and quick action alone can save them. 

photo credit 1: Metropolitan Museum of Art 
photo credit 2:<a href="">pilot in spe 2</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a> 

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