When you think of ‘a really powerful bad guy’, how do you imagine them? Someone with a lot of money? Status? Pawns?
Power can be a lot more than someone with a lot of resources… Let’s look at some of the different types of power:
- Physical power. Someone with great physical strength. Their power is best demonstrated in a physical fight. They use total dominance and aggressive, scare-tactics to maintain their position. If they lose a fight, they lose their influence of fear…
- Intellectual power. Someone with a vast quantity of knowledge. Their power is in the information they have, and how they decide to use or apply it.
- Coercive Power. This is power attained through the punishment of those who don’t comply. The power accumulates when others actively try to avoid bringing a punishment upon themselves.
- Informational Power. This person knows things the other characters want or need to know. They can exercise their power by purposely withholding information, or only giving it in the way they specifically choose.
- Legitimate Power. Someone in a high position, whether it be in government, the military or any standard work place. Their power is in their rank - without their title, they lose everything that comes with it.
- Generational Power. This person comes from a long-line of powerful people. All of their power is in their reputation, so they must uphold it if they wish to be respected as their ancestors were. This power can also manifest as a bloodline power or ability.
- Expert Power. The best of the best, this person is hailed as the most knowledgeable in a specific field. Therefore, they hold onto power not only through intrigue and recommendation, but by consistently proving they are better than any of the competition.
- Ownership Power. This person only has power because they have claimed ownership of everything they command.
- Reward Power. Someone who can offer special treatment or material items as a reward for desired behaviour from their subordinates. If they have something that is heavily sought-after, then their power grows all the more.
- Referent Power. This person may have very little that entitles them to power, but the way they are received by others demands respect and reverence. In essence, they are worthy of power only if those who ‘worship’ them continue to believe they deserve their admiration.
When you imagine a ‘tyrannical despot’ character, you’re automatically taking from this list more than one form of power. That’s not to say a character can’t possess more than one type… but the despot character is a very specific one, along with the kinds of power they can exercise.
A despot maintains legitimate power - more often than not - by forcing their way into the seat (otherwise they wouldn’t be despotic). Since they fear their title cannot retain their power alone, they begin to exercise other types of power to keep their status. So, for example, reward power to those they want to keep close, coercive power to those who look like they may not be loyal to the cause, etc.
When you find yourself thinking up an antagonist, try to think about what other kind of powers might be in their reach.
Ultimately, in a story, there is The Big Bad. So, in Shaman King, although Yoh and his friends go through the tournament facing-off against a lot of different Shamans in one-on-one/group battles (arguably, mini-antagonists with different extents of power), the ultimate bad guy is Hao, who plots to win and use the legitimate power that comes with that to reform the world into a Shaman-only place.
Hao isn’t the Shaman world’s equivalent of a CEO or national leader; all he has from the list above is generational power and great physical power based on the fact that his spirit ally is nails as hell. He isn’t already the Shaman King… it’s something he is shown to work his way towards becoming.
You don’t always have to create the character to be at their peak from the very beginning. Even those without great legitimate power can hold something over the heads of your main cast in order to antagonise them throughout the story.
Power comes in all forms, and it’s not always, ‘the most powerful and influential person in the world’. Alongside Hao, there are other great and powerful shamans in Shaman King that hold power over Yoh and the other characters in some way. Just look at Lyserg, who becomes completely taken over by the X-Laws even though they’re not in a leadership role; they win him over by claiming expert power and using Iron Maiden Jeanne’s referent power as a poster for their ‘worthiness’.
Additionally, the shaman world coexists with the real world and even though the humans still have powerful representatives, those people have no influence on the story’s events.
I think all you really need to do here is think about new ways of creating your ‘really powerful bad guy’ by re-establishing the types of power they will need in order to do their job as your bad guy. When you start to think about making the biggest, baddest of the lot, scale the character down a little and think about other ways they could influence the lives of your other cast members. Basically, take away all of their resources and re-imagine what they would have to use and/or do to exert the power you want to give them.
Nobody is saying this character can’t become the biggest and the baddest… but they don’t always have to start out that way.
I hope this helps… Followers, any additional thoughts?
This is meant as an information resource for creative folk, not a complete guide. Be sure to supplement this with additional research. Find the rest of the series, including the previous posts on clergy, nobility, divination, spirit animals, mythical creatures, medieval punishments, armor, and common terms of medieval life.
Once the writer has determined whether they are dealing with a band of warriors or a trained army of soldiers, the next thing to do is decide how the units are laid out hierarchically, as well as what they’re called.
Let’s talk about: army hierarchies. Troops can be arranged in any manner of ways from the type of weapons they are trained in, length of service, level of training, or any number of other ways. The most frequently used method is that of training level. The more training (generally corresponding with how long they’ve been in service) a soldier has, the higher rank they are, the more power they wield. This may or may not have any link to how many weapons they are trained in. A veteran may be exceptionally skilled with a lance from years of being part of the lancer’s cavalry, but may not have any training with, say, crossbows, long bows, compound bows, daggers, halberds, battle scythes, etc.
Green troops refers to soldiers who have little or no training, or sometimes well-trained soldiers with no field experience. They may (or may not) have good skill with their weapon and are able to march, but they have not been exposed to real action. Without strong leadership and steady units on their flanks, green troop units are likely to break under any sort of duress. (Take the Maryland militia during the Battle of Bladensburg in the War of 1812 who broke and ran when rockets were fired over their heads.)
Regular troops will make up the bulk of a professional army. They have arms and maneuver training, with some limited action experience such as border skirmishes or putting down riots. They are likely to stand their ground during normal battlefield threats with proficient leadership, and they can be very reliable.
Veteran troops boast extensive training with considerable experience. They almost invariably have a history accompanying them and are likely to reenact their past glories via storytelling, rituals, or pageants. They may have special privileges, wear special devices on their uniforms, carry extra well-made weapons, or have extra pay. Veteran troops often function as officers for units of regular troops. (For example, the legionnaires of the Roman Empire were veteran troops with their legion’s history displayed on standards that were carried into battle.)
Elite troops are the best of the best, and they form their own units. They are not always found in armies, but are a prized commodity when they are present. Elite soldiers may be leaders of veteran troops. (A great example is the Sacred Band of Thebes, the two-hundred man unit that died defending their city against the armies of Alexander the Great, who later wept for their valor.)
Heroes, while more warrior than soldier, have extensive training, experience, and frequently come accompanied by magical abilities. These may take the form of supernatural strength, magically enhanced weaponry, magical companions, etc. They are known to lead veteran or elite troops—sometimes even entire armies—or to function independently.
Superheroes, demigods, demons, deities…all of these and more come after the above, if the writer so chooses or the world calls for them. Anything is possible, there just needs to be a plan.
Let’s talk about: things for writers to take note of. These are not rules. They’re more of guidelines, anyway. Historically, even elite troops have broken inexplicably while green troops have stood their ground under harrowing circumstances. Considering these things, truly dramatic scenes can be crafted.
Let’s talk about: naming troops. Units and troops can be broken up in a variety of ways and named according to all kinds of conventions. They may be named for the type of armor they use (Greek hoplites were named after their hoplon, a large, round shield.), a particularly esteemed commander (Sharpe’s Rifles or Arikon’s Winged Lightning), a town the soldiers are from (the Mill Village Militia), a weapon they specialize in (Lance Corp), a guardian (“White Wolves”), etc. Literally the possibilities are endless.
Let’s talk about: types of troops. Given that all of this is subject to the whim of the world the writer is using, the following information is simply basic historical examples. From these, writers can glean inspiration and a feel for how they might like to section up their armies.
Infantry: The most versatile arm of a military force are foot soldiers. They can operate under the greatest variety of conditions and with the least expense and equipment. Such troops also tend to be the least glamorous or rewarded of any sorts of soldiers.
Heavy Infantry: As heavily armored as possible (which, depending on the culture, may be very heavy indeed) with close-combat weapons and sometimes secondary hurling weapons. They are trained to fight toe-to-toe with the enemy in close formations. (The Roman legionary would be one example. They were armed with javelins, short-swords, and daggers; the Greek hoplite, armed with armor-crushing weapons like battle axes, maces, and flails also counted.)
Light Infantry: Wore light or no armor, or perhaps only shields and helmets. Typically, they served as skirmishers, launching missiles at the front ranks of an enemy force before close combat, dispatching wounded soldiers on the battlefield, or chasing down retreating foes. (Examples include the velites of Rome who were armed with javelins; the pletasts of Greece who were also armed with javelins; and the pindaris of India who sported pikes and other miscellaneous weapons.)
Missile Troops: Typically wore no armor and could not engage the enemy in close combat. Such troops were often among the most highly trained in the army. (The Balearic slingers of the ancient world and the English longbow-men of the Middle Ages were a few.)
Cavalry: Chariotry was the first effective form of cavalry. Forces of chariot troops conquered much of Asia and India in the second millennium BC. Chariots are even more limited than horses in the kinds of terrain they can operate on, however, and once horses were bred strong enough to carry an armored man, more maneuverable individual cavalrymen eclipsed chariotry around 500 BC.
Heavy Cavalry: Used swords, spears, and axes; wore heavy armor; and fought in close formation, often stirrup to stirrup. The horses of such units were often as heavily armored as the men, equipped with bard of quilted cloth, scales, mail, or plate. (Examples include the Byzantine cataphractoi; the armored knights of the Middle Ages; and the Mamluk slave soldier of medieval Egypt.)
Light Cavalry: Wore little armor and were used to skirmish against, harry, or pursue the enemy, usually using missile weapons such as javelins or bows. Prior to the introduction of the stirrup, most cavalry were this sort. (The Mongolian mounted archers, who could fire accurately from the saddle while moving at a full gallop, are the best example of such troops.)
Tomorrow we’ll talk about some common terms to refer to more specific types of soldiers.
P L E A S E
[ PAGE THEME: FANFICS PAGE 02 ]
- unlimited amount of fics
- masonry grid layout
- filtering script
- unlimited filter tags
- (hidden extra tags)
- 800x250px header
second fanfic recommendation page, I’ve put little tips into the code to simplify it as much as possible, but if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask!
tell me if anything’s wrong with the code ok thank you!!!!
HALCYONRPH CHARACTER PSD #5
This PSD can be used with either images or gifs, provided you understand how clipping masks work. It looks best with images that contain a lot of blue and/or grey, though, in my opinion. The font used is Nexa Bold. If you use this PSD, please like or reblog this post and credit me where appropriate. Don’t hesitate to drop by my ask if you run into any problems!
TEXTURE PACK #05
- contains 20 mixed textures + 1 png frame
- various sizes (mostly 500x600)
- please like/reblog if downloading
- enjoy! [zip] :)