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Evil protagonists from fiction - or 'Examples of how to play the bad guy without being a total jerk'


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From my perspective, both of them are real jerks (to use the thread title descriptor and not my preferred choice). Especially the former.

At different points they can be, certainly. They go through phases for sure. But they cooperate quite a lot with both each other and with other folks.

Some of whom they eventually betray, but hey, if I had a game with those two as PCs I'd call it a huge success.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Again; antagonist.

We want protagonists.

Think Carol from TWD when she goes full evil.
Dr Doom is the Protagonist, he’s the Hero of Latveria who those fools with Reed continue to torment. He’s lead his own books
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
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Léon (The Professional): LE

An emotionally disconnected French assassin who values few things: his professional reputation & skills, his houseplant, and the 12 year old girl he teaches his skills. She becomes the most important thing in his life. Eventually, he rescues her when she “goes rogue” trying to kill the corrupt DEA agent who orphaned her..and completes her mission.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Kull would be another possible candidate, I think. It's been a while since I've read the stories, but I don't remember him having quite the heroic streak that Conan does.
Kulls brooding and cerebral, but I wouldnt say he’s evil.
Unlike Conan, where we follow his whole career, readers only experience Kull as King; he is an unproven, world weary barbarian who has taken power in a fading, decadent kingdom where he can trust no one. His actions are perfectly rational given the murderous deceptions and evils he faces in Valusia
 
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Esau Cairn

Explorer
At different points they can be, certainly. They go through phases for sure. But they cooperate quite a lot with both each other and with other folks.

Some of whom they eventually betray, but hey, if I had a game with those two as PCs I'd call it a huge success.

Maybe it's that "I'll-make-meth-and-destroy-other-people's-lives-to-save-myself" thing that makes him a jerk. YMMV.
 









Considering people thought she was the hero until the end, perhaps Daenerys Targaryen counts? I've been rewatching Game of Thrones and she reads very differently now in earlier seasons.
She explicitly said on several occasions from as early as S1 that one day she was going to slaughter tens of thousands, rip down castles, and burn everyone to death.

But for her advisors (Jorah, Barristan Selmy, Tyrion) she would have burnt and massacred a lot more people, and a lot earlier as well. She was always going for the 'kill them all' and was always talked down by Good aligned protagonists.

She did mostly listen though, and I had her pegged as CN for most of the early seasons.

That changed rather dramatically from the moment she arrived in Westeross.
 

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