Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

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Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby JThunder » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:47 am

They say Batman can beat anybody with enough time to plan, right? (It may or may not be true, but let's go with that as my premise.) So I want to create a villainous mastermind who is a brilliant strategist but isn't especially trained in any fields of science. I want to take super science gadgets out of the equation. The villain also isn't going to have any powers. I'm thinking he's someone who is a forward-thinking young man (teenager?) who thinks the world is an unfair place and has decided to make some changes... and he doesn't care about who gets hurt in the process or how things get done, just so long as they get done.

Of course, my problem is that I'm neither a teenager nor a super intelligent genius type, so I'm having difficulty coming up with ideas for just what he would try to accomplish and how he would go about it. Aside from his own smarts, his only other resource is likely to be minions. I'm thinking he's really smart and knows exactly how to manipulate people... throw in some lofty goals to get them behind his cause and they'll follow him blindly. (Probably more teens who share his beliefs even if they wouldn't have thought to go about achieving them in the same manner.)

Since he's just getting started, he has to start small in his bid to right the wrongs of the world... so he'll be limited in scope to local stuff before scaling up to citywide threats, then national plots, and possibly global schemes if he gets that far. He'll also probably need to fund some of his operations, which will require basic plots like robberies and scams, most of which will be carried out by the minions following his carefully laid out plans.

So... any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas to contribute? I'm thinking of calling him Think Tank or Brain Trust, but that will be more of a nickname given by his loyal followers. He'll simply prefer "Brad" or possibly for the sake of ominous public statements, "The Righteous Usurper of Authority."

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby poodle » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:00 pm

It slightly depends on the age of Brad. There are lots of little steps he could take, as he is a super-villain I guess he can be kind of amoral.
Step 1. learn how to con people and make money
Step 2. Use money for popularity and bribery, this could be money from drugs. A smart kid can learn how to make drugs pretty easy, even if it is only speed or acid.
Step 3. Learn how to blackmail people.
Step 4. Use blackmail and bribery to aquire influence in high and low places.
Step 4.5 Hire a good lawyer, a good accountant and a good PR firm.
Step 5.Start setting up businessses for more power and influence. A few options might be bail bondsman (contact with criminal class), financial advisory service or loan sharking(contact with financial class), security and alarm services (good for getting permission to carry firearms and access to exotic firearms), high-end accountancy firm (to make money disappear), junkyards (erratic income that is easily explained making it possible to get your illegal gains put through the books, propery investors (another great source of income), gun shop, Garage.
At some stage he would need some skills. Performance, diplomacy, intimidate(psychological), knowledge:behavioural sciences, Bluff, perform: oratory, and maybe computer science or knowledge: law and whatever else you feel is appropriate.

I picture a kid who is about as morally developed as a shark. He is happy to use dirty tricks to sleep with the cheerleading squad, and blackmail teachers to get good marks. He is class president, captain of the debating team and whatever would look good on a resume. He blackmails his opponents and any teachers who see through his mask. He has no problem with selling drugs to the other students (see step 1 and 3) but is way too smart to get caught, and he never uses the stuff himself apart from to be part of the 'in' crowd. Once out of school, he uses the information and evidence (hidden cameras) about fellow students drug habits to blackmail parents. If he is really smart he knows that he doesn't need to go to college, he can buy a fake degree on the internet. He might do a law degree to make himself look squeaky clean, then the world is his oyster.
He can either a) go the obvious route and be a public figure (public defendant, civil servant) in the public's eye, or b) the subtle route where he just quietly makes money and control in the background. Either way he will build up a reputation as an upright responsible young man who is friendly and charming. If the heroes do ever find out about him he will have so many cut-outs and go betweens that they can't touch him and if they do his PR company and lawyers will have a field day.
Steps 1 and 3 can be swapped in order.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:00 pm

I believe something like that was the origin for Anarky. Later, they jacked up the science-factor of things, including him loading discs to learn fighting styles, but before that, he was a teenager who'd decided the current system needed to be taken down.

The first thing I thought of was it being a guy who simply saw the connections. Society is going to collapse and either he's going to reap the benefits while the world's still around or he feels that his actions will solve the problem. Heck, he might even be right albeit misguided in whether his solution is the best one. Take, for example, Mister Fantastic from the Civil War saga where he was utterly convinced that the math meant that superheroes had to be jailed and regulated.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby Doctor Devious » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:26 am

Professor Moriarty, minus the maths.
Or, dare I say it, Doctor Devious... ;)

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:37 am

Hmmmmmmmm. I have answers to this quesiton, but people rarely like the answer.

See i think you might be thinking about intelligence incorrectly. Intelligence isn't actually worth much, which is why i look down my nose at people who brag about having an IQ of above 130. Firstly "bullhit" & secondly " so what?"

I had an IQ test a few years back & scored 125. 125 is low end "gifted"... An yet, at the time I was still completely unemployable, as i had no practical skills. An yet an engineer is likely to score only 100 points on the same test... An yet i know nothing about engineering. Because IQ is essentially useless without some sort of framework to apply it to.

My suggestion is take the intelligence of your character & do something intelligent with it. Have the character spend 2 years training his body, developing crime fighting skills, learning to fight in 4 different styles, learning human biology (so you know what is easiest to break on the human body & how best to approach breaking it) & learning as much as he can about criminology.

Then give him an arsenal of modified technology that can be purchased in the real world... Echimera sticks, taser glove, ninja smoke bombs, etc.

At least thats my suggestion... Because Intelligence on its own is nothing to brag about & in MnM its completely useless, unless coupled with something else.

I hope that helps.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby JThunder » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:20 pm

That doesn't help. Learning different fighting styles and gearing up in high tech equipment isn't the character I'm looking to make. Thanks anyhow, but I'm trying to make a guy who's smart enough to know better than to get personally involved in his conflicts... but is still egocentric enough to want to get close enough to watch his planned chaos unfold.
Last edited by JThunder on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby JThunder » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:26 pm

As for everything else... I myself am not especially brilliant, nor do I personally have the vision or ideas I want the character to have. That's why I'm looking for suggestions. Looking down on the system, fighting the system... where does someone who has no powers but lots of mastermindish influence start to hack away at it? What kind of goals should he have and how should he be going about them in a way that may put his minions in harm's way but leaves him personally in the free and clear (mostly, I still want the heroes to be able to get a clue and eventually track him down).

As for the intelligence thing... okay, let's say he's not just super IQ boy and does have some smarts, but they aren't in science. His book-learning comes in the areas of political science, psychology, strategy, and street smarts. He should be good at picking apart a system, finding its weak spots, and then manipulating people and other factors into scenarios that get things done.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:46 pm

JThunder wrote:As for the intelligence thing... okay, let's say he's not just super IQ boy and does have some smarts, but they aren't in science. His book-learning comes in the areas of political science, psychology, strategy, and street smarts. He should be good at picking apart a system, finding its weak spots, and then manipulating people and other factors into scenarios that get things done.


Sure, you could build that but i'm not seeing how thats a super hero or a super villain... Its more like every single first year college student, before all the crippling debt & academic failure sets in. :lol:

I suppose you could aways do the intersect 2.0 route. A variable effect that allowed one to access essentially in skill set necessary, including skills & advantages. But again that not really a super hero or a villain.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby poodle » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:43 am

so does he want to fight it from within, nerdboy for president, or from without, kill them all my pretties.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby Forged » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:19 pm

What about a journalist gone bad? The kid is really smart and has a chip on his shoulder, but instead of using gadgets and science, he uses the media to ruin heroes. Maybe he does smear campaigns, maybe he does interviews and makes them look bad. What if researches heroes and puts reports of their locations powers(and weaknesses) for villains to find? He could get certain existing villains to work together. Or put effort into making every 2-bit villain try to take on the hero he hates, wearing them down. Maybe he sets heroes against each other.

Smart villains tend to be:
A) Scientist/inventors or Magicians
B) Puppeteers
C) Evil Batman

You don't seem to want A or C, so B is one of the only ways remaining.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby prufock » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:59 am

saint_matthew wrote:I had an IQ test a few years back & scored 125. 125 is low end "gifted"... An yet, at the time I was still completely unemployable, as i had no practical skills. An yet an engineer is likely to score only 100 points on the same test


Not sure where you get this notion. IQ is correlated positively with both level of education and income. Engineers tend to be college graduates and make pretty good money. Engineers are likely to have an IQ well over 100.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:34 am

prufock wrote:Not sure where you get this notion. IQ is correlated positively with both level of education and income. Engineers tend to be college graduates and make pretty good money. Engineers are likely to have an IQ well over 100.


Thats not how IQ works.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby Doctor Devious » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:51 am

Be careful on the direction of cause / effect before dissmising a sub-population bias in a general population based metric.

But back to the question: If Prof. Moriarty isn't enough of an example, how about The Penguin? Ozymandias? Two-Face? Kingpin? Alex Wilder? Red Skull?

So there are indeed a few, many more if you count the "powerless" mob who start wearing battlesuits at some point or other. My list above gernerally don't (to my knowledge - I'm sure one or two might have done so in passing, but not as a trend), though they often pay/intimidate/blackmail scientists to create weapons for them on a story by story basis.

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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:57 am

Doctor Devious wrote:But back to the question: If Prof. Moriarty isn't enough of an example, how about The Penguin? Ozymandias? Two-Face? Kingpin? Alex Wilder? Red Skull?


I wouldn't say that any of the comic book examples are really intelligent, let alone super intelligent. Penguin is more cunning then intelligent. Two-Face isn't even cunning, he was just good at his job. Red Skull i'd also put in the cunning camp (awareness over intellect).

Ozymandias certainly fits into my "do the smart thing" concept, as stated earlier: Learn the skills necessary to do the job you set out to do.
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Re: Super intelligent villain who isn't a scientist?

Postby Pól Rua » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:24 am

Make him really good at the humanities. Psychology, Sociology... things like that. Give him a crap-ton of skills like sense motive. Buy powers as 'human abilities so advanced as to become superhuman'.
Telepathy can be bought as reading body language, micro-expressions and hearing tone in a person's voice.
Precognition can be built into someone who can think 25 moves ahead of his opponents.
Mind Control could be built as someone who uses techniques of psychology and manipulation to make someone do what they want - much like the character Tao from Stormwatch, who could persuade people to kill themselves with reasoned argument.
Various Affliction effects could be built along the same way - paralyze people with indecision, stun them with psychology - the possibilities are endless.
Then have him manipulated the mass media and the general public. In 'Watchmen', Ozymandias predicts that a trend of slightly eroticised nostalgia and romance will give way to a shining sense of futuristic optimism and changes his marketing strategies accordingly. Your villain could do the same thing, targeting the heroes indirectly with a rising tide of popular opinion, or indirectly via the government, media or through their secret identities.
Have him work through an array of catspaws - various agents, henchmen, underlings and pawns.
Like Moriarty, have him be an invisible spider at the centre of a web of conspiracy. Unseen, unknown, only visible by the effects of his sinister genius.


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