Way With Worlds: Heroes and Villains – Forget Good And Evil

Wrong Way Sign

It seems that we often end up discussing Good and Evil when we are talking Heroes and Villains, antagonists and protagonists, and often for pretty good reasons. Let’s face it Good Versus Evil is a prime conflict and element of many stories, and we want to read/play/experience interesting characters.

However, after awhile, it seems that it really becomes boring and trope-ridden. We talk Good and Evil but don’t think about it, signifiers are thrown around randomly, and titles like “heroine” or “villain” seem to stand in for actual moral issues. It’s mummifying good and evil, propping up heir bodies, and treating them as marionettes.

A friend of mine once noted that smoking was always used as a sign of evil in media. That was an example of how sometimes good and evil just becomes a pile of signifiers.

So when we think Heroes and Villains, here’s a bit of a challenge of you.

Stop thinking Good and Evil.

Start Thinking Why And How.

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Way With Worlds: When Good and Evil Collide and Exchange Insurance Information

When Goats Collide

We’ve talked Utopias, their rarity, and how and why to create them in our worlds. We’ve talked Dystopias, their commonality, and why to create them anyway despite their near-omnipresence. I’d like to discuss a related, similar issue in worldbuilding – what happens when “good” and “bad” parts of the setting meet.

It’s an area near to my heart because stories and games, tales and legends, are often written on the borders, the liminal spaces, the transitions. It’s where the richness grows, when things cross over.  Even a conflict or a difference is a chance for rich worldbuilding and storytelling.

Also because mostly when the Good and the Bad collide it’s often implemented in a manner that’s terrible.

So, let’s start out with what often goes wrong when Light and Dark decide to unload a can of whupass. Sometimes you have to put up the warning signs before someone goes off the worldbuilding road.

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