Over at a blog called “Out Of Mana”, Megan has a post on what could be called “a fate worse than death”. For the hero, of course.

She points out that the best (worst?) villains don’t want to kill the hero. They want to make him suffer, and suffer greatly, usually through some form of personal loss.

Most Foozles in RPGs are trying to kill us off. But always a distance. Typically, we’re just fighting through their hordes of cannon fodder. It’s rare that Fooz marks us out for special attention. He/she/it may send some bounty hunters our way. Or possibly some “high-level minions”. That’s about all.

This brought to mind the fact that there is hardly ever any real personal factor in our journey to the “big showdown”. As I wrote in Foozle The Invisible, the “Big Troublemaker” is hardly distinguishable from any of the “mini-bosses”, and is one reason why the final fight is often a letdown.

Of course, in a game, it’s not easy to create real personal involvement. Yeah, we could have the “Foozle wrecked your village and enslaved the survivors” story. However, since you didn’t really live in that village all your life, and don’t have any real relationships with anyone, it’s hard to feel any strong emotions about it.

There are ways around this, especially if Foozle is made a personal antagonist. Someone who hates you, not as the hero, but as a person. There’s nothing like hate and spite to drive someone to doing really nasty things.

If that could implemented properly, the game would be more than just the usual “hackfest to victory”. Foozle would be a real opponent, one that we could truly loathe and want to destroy. And we’d have more to fear than just death. Maybe much more.

Dearly Wounded on Out Of Mana