'Shroomfest Debate (Round 1) - HEROES vs VILLAINS

Berkut

The Rigelian Emperor's nephew
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee


'SHROOMFEST DEBATE

Hi, everyone! Welcome to an all-new event carefully prepared by your loveable 'Shroom Staff called 'Shroomfest. I am Ninja Squid, the current Statistics Manager of The 'Shroom, and I am here today to introduce this event and to explain how this works.


Introduction
A ‘Shroomfest is a contest between two opposite factions who will take part of a debate over a subject in order to prove the superiority of their side over the other. In order to judge which side of the subject is objectively better, we want the community to send us their arguments and their ideas on the "true" best side. Two team leaders, who will come up with their own arguments to convince you that their side is truly the best, will lead the factions. The debate will then have a duration of three weeks. Will you manage to convince us which side is objectively the best?



Subject
What type of character is more interesting: the heroes or the villains?


Heroes vs Villains 'Shroomfest Debate Committee


Rules
In order for you to earn points for each factions, we have opted to divide things into three categories. In order for a faction to come out as the winner, it must win as many categories as possible. For a full explanation of the rules, please
click here.

  • VOTES: The number of votes for each side. To cast a vote on the 'Shroomfest poll, click here. Remember to vote once a week.
  • ENDORSEMENTS: The number of users of the community who endorse a team.
    • In order to provide your support, simply write something like this in this thread:
      • Vote heroes
      • Go villains!
      • I support team heroes
      • Villains for the win!
  • EFFORTS: The effort that has been put into the debate.
    • In order to provide points into this category, users must participate into the debate by providing:
      • Arguments and Examples
      • Artwork
      • Stories
      • Memes
      • Other forms of creative work that reflect a degree of thought and effort beyond just a few words.


Debate Guidelines
  • The designated judge (Ninja Squid) will open the debate's thread. Following this post, the team leaders (Hooded Pitohui and Roserade) will hand over their argument, which explains why they support their respective team.
  • For a week, you will provide your own endorsements, arguments and ideas regarding the objectively best answer to the debate's question. You can make use of your own arguments, or by providing art, photos, stories, memes, and other forms of creative work.
  • After a week of debate, the judge will intervene with a brief note, highlighting the best cases from both team, and sometimes even question the various subjects raised by the team leaders and supporters. The judge will then reward with three extra points to the "EFFORTS" category to the side that seems to have brought the most convincing or entertaining cases.
  • Following the judge's intervention, the team leaders will try to disapprove, counter-argue or acknowledge the judge’s picks. This will lead to further debating between the two opposite factions. Take note that for the sake of neutrality, the judge cannot take part in the debate.
  • This cycle will repeat itself every week for a maximum of three weeks, offering a chance to win nine extra points for your faction.
  • Once the three-week period has ended, the judge will conclude the debate with a short message and invite the participants to come back for the results that will come out at the release of Issue 160 of The ‘Shroom. Any message or argument posted after this message won't be taken into account during the compilation of the results.
  • Please note that in an effort to keep the debate civil, fun, and lighthearted, please, respect all the instructions. Any inappropriate behaviors (spam, flaming, personal attacks, etc…), and discussions regarding politics, social issues, or any controversial topics will not be tolerated.
  • The debate will end on July 11th, 2020.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for future debates, please contact Ninja Squid, Hooded Pitohui, and Roserade via a forum PM or on Discord.
 
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Hooded Pitohui

The Bird with Batrachotoxin!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee

Alright, gather round, you aspiring heroes! Let me ask you something. Who do you identify more with? Is it Darth Vader, with his galaxy-conquering fleet? Or is it Luke Skywalker, the confused kid swept up in something far bigger than himself? Is it King Boo, torturing souls in mansions and hotels across the Mushroom Kingdom? Or is it the scared Luigi, who confronts his fears out of love for his brother? Do you root for Ridley, or for the lone bounty hunter Samus Aran? Do you, knowing the innocence of the defendant, hope to see prosecuting attorney Miles Edgeworth or the esteemed Phoenix Wright take victory? I'm going to guess that the majority of you went with the latter in just about every case... and why?


Heroes, far more often than villains, are underdogs. There's good reason for this. The key element that makes a hero a hero is that they struggle for something, they put themselves in harm's way to actively shape the world. Being a hero necessarily means going up against something bigger than you. Were the obstacle something trivial, why, any decent fellow could step in for that. Doing good ought to be lauded, but doing good does not alone make a hero. No, heroes ''struggle'', that's what makes them heroes, and it's also what makes them relatable. Ultimately, though, like the two unfortunate souls pictured in the above meme, heroes overcome something monumental, staying strong in ''spite'' of how easy it would be to give up or to accept failure. Now, sometimes, those things they struggle against are fantastical in nature. I doubt that any of you all have ever had to face off against a murderous spacefaring tyrant conqueror or a giant turtle going around kidnapping princesses (and if you have, please, send me your story! We'll probably make good money off of it!), but we've all faced someone like Dolores Umbridge, the obstructive bureaucrat abusing a position of power to make life worse for everyone outside of her inner circle. Far too many of us know what it's like to get tricked by opportunists like Redd and Lyle.

The simple fact is, heroes stand against forces that are far greater than them, providing us an ideal to aspire to in the process. Though they have every reason to give up, they press forward, holding to their beliefs that the world can be improved and actively making that happen! I could cite so many, so very many heroes who exemplify this trait, but, instead, I'm going to give you on hero who basically lives and breathes this trope as the model for all the others.

Meet Hibiki Tachibana



  • This girl? This girl's name is Hibiki Tachibana. As you can see in the image above, she's much, much more of a "do, don't think" type of girl.
  • Do you want her entire hero philosophy? You want to know how she approaches heroics? It's simple.
  • "I'm going to punch you until you're ready to talk to me and then we'll talk and you can tell me what's up and then we'll hold hands and become friends."
  • No, that's literally it. One of her greatest assets is literally being able to hold people's hands. I couldn't make this up if I tried.
  • By the end of her series, no less than eight of her closest friends and allies have willingly tried to kill her at some point, and she would still die for them and they would die for her, that's how committed to this approach she is.

So, as you can see, the girl is committed to the inherent goodness of people and the potential of people working together with a common goal. If that's not inspiring on the same level that any villain's grand plan is, I don't know what to tell you.

Not Just Underdogs! They Have Problems, Too!


But there's something else important about heroes. Heroes may face external challenges, yes, but those are not the only challenges that heroes face! No, many heroes are flawed individuals who struggle with the same insecurities and flaws we ourselves face. Instead of expounding at this at length, let me give you a brief, brief sampling of these individuals. '''Beware, since spoilers follow!'''

  • Tsubasa Kazanari from Symphogear, who deals with outright trauma in the form of loss of her best friend and the insecurities of not being strong enough on her own to defend the people she needs to defend.
  • Therion from Octopath Traveler, who has cut himself off from people after being betrayed and needs to learn to have trust in people again.
  • You all know Luigi, the cowardly Mario brother who swallows his fears and poor self-image to save his brother and friends time and time again.

Heroes Are Cool, But Aren't Villains Also Cool?


So, have I convinced you of the merits of heroes, yet? Ah, ah, but don't go away yet, because I have one more point to make! Perhaps I can never prove that heroes are better than villains, but I can prove that villains are inherently more constrained than heroes!


What I mean by this is that there are only two reasonable outcomes for a villain. They either lose, or they make a heel-face turn and become a hero! There's only very rarely another acceptable option! Sure, you can occasionally go for the subversion and have a downer ending, but it only works so often, and, poorly-handled, it can completely ruin someone's engagement with a piece of media. No, if an author or creator gets too attached to a villain and refuses to either reform them or - especially if they've crossed some kind of line that means allowing them to repent without consequence would feel awkward - to allow them to do what villains do and lose, you end up with an Invincible Villain, and, let me speak from experience, once you expect every confrontation to end with the villain's victory and no progress ever made, it sucks away any interest you have in the story!

No, the most interesting villains are those who... ultimately, become heroes...

I could provide an extensive list of examples, but I know this fellow is rather popular, so why not direct yourself to this example?

Think about, though. Ultimately, heroes are better, because villains either fall in disgrace or become heroes themselves...

You either die a villain, or you live long enough to see yourself become the hero.​
 

Roserade

The Fool
Forum Moderator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
Listen up, my fellow deviants of darkness. There’s been a lot of discussion around The ‘Shroom Headquarters about the importance and overall significance of the hero of the tale. I am not here to knock this opinion; the media has supplied us, the public, with a vast array of protagonists to adhere to and aspire to become. The question must be asked, however: who is it that you find more interesting and enticing in a story? Is it the stock character Prince Charming, or the deviously cunning dark sorceress Maleficent? Do your true interests lie in the paper-thin characterisation of Mario, or the endearing story of the tortured Count Bleck? Is it really Shrek that pulls you into the world of Shrek 2, or is it the Fairy Godmother and her incredible rendition of “I Need a Hero”? It is true that protagonists give us a character to relate to and root for, but not only can the same be said for villains, it can also be said that the villains of a good tale can become the most unique and stand-out characters.



But what is it that makes villains so interesting?
This is a question that cannot be simply answered with an individual phrase. The characterization of villains throughout history have taken numerous different paths and forms. There is something to be said about the simple brilliance of the classic Disney villain: an opposing force such as Ursula or Scar, who are so dastardly in their ways that watching them revel in their terror becomes a joy. These characters allow us to cackle alongside them, and commonly have more expressive designs and personalities than the protagonists themselves. The reasoning behind this is a topic I will likely delve into later in this thread, but rest assured, the expectations of “traditional” villains has allowed villains to become the center of attention in so many pieces of media.

However, the categorizations do not end there. We must also discuss the concept of sympathetic villains, characters whom the audience can relate to and understand, even if they don’t approve of the actions they take as a result. Asgore from Undertale chooses to kill the children who fall into the Underground so that he can eventually free his people from their prison, while Joaquin Phoenix’s rendition of the Joker is developed within a world where he is scrutinized, beaten, and unloved due to his appearance and mental condition. Both of these examples show that it is not just the main character who can really be relatable to an audience; the villains of the story have just as much opportunity to create empathy as the main characters do.

I would be remiss to not discuss the category of villain I believe to be the most striking: the antithesis, villains who act as perfect foils to the protagonist, making the task of conquering them so much more formidable. While I mentioned Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, the comic book rendition of the Joker is easily the greatest example of antithesis; both Batman and the Joker understand that so long as one exists, the other must exist as well, and their struggle will continue unless finally, one of them kicks the bucket. The two of them are absolute opposites to each other on top of this: Batman’s past shapes him into the hero he is today, while the Joker’s past is entirely an enigma; Batman’s one rule is that he will not kill any foe he faces, whereas the Joker’s plans can lead anywhere from torturing one individual to mass murder. These two are equally powerful forces, and the Joker as a character creates a truly unique memorable adversary for Batman to face. This is what makes antithetical villains so satisfying: they pose as the penultimate challenge for the main character to overcome, and can even be the instigating force in a hero’s journey to begin with.

I could continue with examples for hours, but I believe you understand my point. It becomes simple to clump villains together into the ever-popular “person who stands in the shadows and casts dark magic” role, but this is simply not true. Villains come in all shapes and sizes, and their unique presence in a story can propel the narrative to new heights. The examples I listed don’t even mention the properly-overpowered genius of characters like Bill Cipher, the good-guy-turned-bad-guy motif found in characters such as The Once-ler, the true tragedy of villains like Queen Sectonia, or the ever-popular rival antagonists such as Blue. As you can see, there are countless examples of how villains can propel a story forward to a higher height than without them.

It’s true: writing a narrative without a protagonist is exceptionally difficult. One might say that the protagonist is the central element of a well-crafted story. However, it is the hardships that these protagonists must overcome that makes their story proud, and villains are where the tales can truly shine. I hope you’ll accompany me in declaring victory this month, and may your heart lead you to whichever choice you deem most appropriate. As for me? Well, I’m bunkered down and prepared for war. Let the shots fly.

My allies and I will not be deterred. Villains will reign supreme.
 

Berkut

The Rigelian Emperor's nephew
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
The 'Shroomfest Debate officially begins! Which side will you choose? Would you be part of a heroic saga with Hooded Pitohui, or would you rather join the dark side with Roserade? Show us your opinion on the "true" best side.

 

Alex95

NIWA Nut
Wiki Administrator
Core 'Shroom Staff
An interesting case, to be sure. While a hero is always the lead of the story and usually the most recognizable, a good villain can often take the spotlight and have characterization. It's a tale as old as time, spanning beyond just media and folklore. Wherever there is a hero, a villain is sure to challenge them, and wherever there is a villain, a hero will always rise up to the challenge.

I myself have always sided with the heroes. As awesomely powerful as bad guys are, it's more fun to see the hero build up from nothing. It's a test of strength, courage, and knowledge that makes stories so incredible. While I wish I could use Mario and Bowser as good examples, the two are often times equally matched and are more like stage actors filling a role. Bowser has even been the good guy on a few occasions, which shows character development (which isn't hard to do when the good guy almost always remains silent). So let's look over some other examples:

  • Link and Ganondorf: Link often comes from a place of near-nothing. In the original The Legend of Zelda, he literally starts with nothing, which is echoed in the recent Breath of the Wild. In Ocarina of Time, his mother dies and he goes to live in a forest. In Wind Waker, he's enjoying a peaceful life on an island. In Twilight Princess, he's a simple ranch helper. It's not until Ganondorf's lackies come in that Link is thrown into a state of Save The World Syndrome. While Link is often associated with the Triforce of Courage, he shows traits of Power and Wisdom as well while he moves through the many dungeons scattered throughout Hyrule. Ganondorf, meanwhile, wants nothing more than the take the Triforce for himself and plunge the world into pure darkness. He does not care for Zelda, the residents, or even his own minions. The man is evil incarnate, and knowing how to accomplish their goal and actually having the means to do it will provide a significant challenge for the hero and allows the hero to improve.
  • Ike and the Black Knight: On the continent of Tellius, a war has broken out between the nations. Ashnard has taken control of Daein, and sent his most trusted generals to invade the opposing nations. In one of these nations is a group of mercenaries maned by a man named Greil, who is enjoying a sparring match with his son Ike. Ike is a young man who has much to learn, and is easily defeated by his father, who was distracted by Ike's sister no less. This group of mercenaries soon learn of Daein forces that are invading, and set out to make things right. However, Greil encounters one of Ashnard's generals, the Black Knight, and falls. This sets Ike on a path of revenge while also commanding an army and setting free the land of Tellius. This multitasking skill is what sets Ike apart from many of the other lords in Fire Emblem, and the Black Knight has a personal connection to him that is seen throughout Ike's games. Building Ike up enough to defeat the Black Knight in battle just felt so incredible to me.
  • Alef and the Dragon Lord: Perhaps a rather generic take, but a classic one. Alef (or just "Hero") is a knight of Alefgard who is told of a dark plot to ruin the world. Basic story progression here, you have to build up Alef to take down the Dragon Lord. The Dragon Lord doesn't make any influence on the story until the very end of the game, so you are with Alef the entire time and you help him grow powerful enough to take down the lord.
  • Pit and Hades: This is literally Light vs Dark. Pit, an angel in service to the Goddess of Light, Palutena, has to rescue Palutena from the clutches of Medusa. To do so is a brutal challenge of constant game overs, but the end of the game will feel very satisfying. Decades later, Medusa returns, and Pit sets out once again to defeat her. In Kid Icarus: Uprising, heroes and villains take a more... unusual approach to each other. They are constantly bantering, which gives everything a more light-hearted feel during a time of seriousness. And when Pit defeats Medusa once more, Hades steps in as the true Ruler of the Underworld. Pit now has to learn new skills, get stronger, and overcome fear itself to take down Hades, and the path to this is filled with trials, heartbreaks, and temptation. When it comes time for the final showdown, Hades still gets the upper-hand, but Pit's undying resolve wins out in the end.
  • Seigfried and Nightmare: What if the good guy was also the bad guy? In Soulcalibur, two major weapons are the Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, both swords that symbolize light and dark. Seigfried fell to temptation, took Soul Edge, and became Nightmare, and now goes along harvesting souls for his new master. But even with darkness overpowering him, Seigfried still fights back. He has a constant struggle with the soul harvester that spans the series, to the point that even when the two are separated by Soul Calibur, they are still connected. Temptation is all around him, and he fights it to stay on the path of righteousness, to keep his dark half from hurting the people around him.
There are plenty more stories beyond video games I could tell, but then I'd be here all night (it's 10:30 PM, help). While villains can be cool, I always side with the hero. I enjoy watching them grow, overcome adversity, and can usually relate to them on a more personal level. I don't get the same feel from villains, but that's probably because I'm not hellbent on world domination. I choose to do what I believe to be right, even if the world says otherwise, much like the heroes in my video games. That's partly why I'm making my own, because I want to tell similar stories of light overcoming the darkness. Two sides of the same coin, one cannot exist without the other. You cannot have a hero without a villain, and you can't have a villain if there's nothing opposing them.

Heroes are cool. The end.
 

Hooded Pitohui

The Bird with Batrachotoxin!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
You know? I realized something. I've kicked off my side's argument with a post for the effort category, but I can still give an endorsement!

Villains may need intimidation and blackmail to win allies, but heroes rally others to their cause!

Come on, help rally some support for the heroes! Just a few words like what I have in bold is all you need to help them emerge victorious in the Endorsements category!
 

Anton

kero?
Chat Administrator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
In a master stroke of pure villainy, I will not be reading the opposing arguments to give them a fair chance! (until later, that is)

All I will say for now is that without villains, what more is a hero than just someone with a strong jawline? Villains add the spice and flavor. They give the basis for what may spur the Hero into action.

Also Bowser is cute :bowser:
 

Goombuigi

Shine Sprite
Poll Committee
Heroes vs. Villains, huh? Well, I'm on the side of the noble, sympathetic heroes, and here's why I think that they should take the lead:

1. Heroes almost always win. Read any fairytale, and look at how it ends. Who wins, the hero or the villain? The hero always wins. While this may not be the case in real life, heroes are justified to seize the winning position, more so than villains, and I don't see why this case is any different. "Why do they deserve to win?" I hear you ask. That leads me into my second point...

2. Heroes are positive, and positivity is what drives people to be what they want to be and do what they want to do. If they would be pessimistic, or angry at the world for whatever reason, why would they even try to reach a potential goal? Just to get revenge? To harm other people? Heroes do the opposite - they spread positivity, help others, and act as a role model for others to take examples from. Speaking of which...

3. Heroes usually have traits and abilities that make them admirable and memorable. No one would remember or care about a hero who doesn't have any personality, am I right? A good type of hero has a trait or set of traits that make them feel sympathetic, such as courage, kindness, intelligence etc., which they use to outsmart the villains. They might not have powerful weapons at their disposal, but they know their strengths and limitations, which they can use to their advantage.

"But hold on a moment", the average hypothetical reader might be saying, "how can you, of all creatures, promote heroes like that, when yourself, your species is a villain's minion?" And to that hypothetical reader, I would say, good point. However, the fact that my species is on a villain's side doesn't mean that I am. Just look at my name, Goombuigi. It's made out of two words, Goomba, my species, and Luigi, my favorite character. That's right, my favorite character is a hero, and he has all the traits that a hero needs to have - He works towards achieving his goal, and always succeeds in the end, he is a positive character, supporting his brother, even at the cost of lurking in the shadow of his older brother, and he has a set of traits that make him charming and relatable (his scaredy nature in particular can relate to many of us, I'm sure, as we, as humans, are usually afraid of something). What's not heroic about Luigi? He is a brilliant example for what a hero should be.

So that's my reasons for why heroes are better than villains. And no matter what you say in defense of the villains, remember - heroes always win (or at least they are supposed to, considering the above points)!
 

The Happy Mask Salesman

The Sage Of Party
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HAHA HA HA! EVIL REIGNS!

There must always be a balance. Good Vs. Evil.
You may say, Evil always loses! NOT TODAY MY FELLOWS!

Without evil, we wouldn’t have the bowz! Who doesn’t like him?
Or Darth Vader! The fights against them are EPIC! MUWAH HAH HAH!
Besides, admit it, making evil characters is easier than making good ones.
The boss music is amazing.
The shroobs are evil, that counts for something.
Those are the reasons I am joining. THE DARK SIDE!
Also:
Vader is cool. He is strong and knows his stuff.
Bowser, amazing leader, very talented.
Villains always get the job done.
 

Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
Well well well. Looky here, eh? Another Pito VS Rose debate! This'll be fun!

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Uh wait, you want me to... a... argue? To pick a side? Oh well, guess I'll do that but know that whoever ends up on the opposite side after my analysis will GREATLY suffer. And whoever of you two that might be, you'll be sorry for provoking my brain into starting to think, but you brought this upon yourselves!

HEROES VS VILLAINS!

A match made in hell, to be sure, which of these components is more vital? Which is the one who trumps the other? WHICH is superior?

To answer that, boys and girls and boys young and old and middle aged, I will be going through the history of Heroes and Villains as they are in the vast field that I specialize in... You guessed it, Fire Emblem. Not only is this a way to flex on my knowledge is this convenient because of the vast amount of "duality of men" situations the series puts us in, but since it's me doing it, the information that I will feed you will be accurate! ... I think...

What are we waiting for let's just get to it!

Archanea is first!

Archanea. Where it all started. This is Marth's continent, where his story takes place and where the cLaSh Of IdEaLs takes place.

First off, let's clear things up by mentioning the fact that FE games tend to have more villains than main protagonists, but due to the nature of the series and how it works, it's actually more fair than it sounds.

Oh yeah, also, obviously, we will be delving into the stories of each era, so spoiler alert!

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Medeus is by no means a very present individual throughout Marth's games, yet he still is the biggest threat. However, he is not the center of attention, Marth is. And by this I mean, Marth's own personal story. The royal castle was suddenly attacked one day, after his father died in battle by per Medeus's own personal troops, and his mother murdered during the onslaught. His older sister, Elice, chooses to put all her energy into clearing a path for his escape, so much so that she is left behind, and Marth now finds himself on the run, towards Talys, an island nation, with a heavy heart, which only burdens him more every time he elects to look back upon his homeland. Although Medeus is clearly stated to be the main reason for this sudden uprising, he is nonetheless, backed up by a handful of lesser wicked beings who carry more of a significance due to their more direct involvement. King Jiol, for example, is the king of the supposedly allied nation of Gra, who suddenly turned on Altea which is the source of their morale decreasing considerably. And then we also have Gharnef, who although he isn't all that interesting, is still a looming presence over the game's story and manages to actually be threatening... and then you have idiots like... fucking Camus, the knights who is so loyal to his country that he is willing to kill us to preserve his honor even after we propose a truce. But the best villain in the Archanea saga is probably Hardin, as he appears in Mystery of the Emblem and its remake. Hardin is a playable unit in Shadow Dragon and also a very competent one at that, you'll likely use him over the other cavs and develop some attachment to him, but then his role takes a complete 180 in the sequel where he seemingly isn't himself anymore. Corrupted by desire, sadness and envy, which were only aggravated by Gharnef's influence, Hardin turns into a literal monster, with the aura of a ghoul. HE FLOATS. He is legit terrifying now, and to think this man was a friend of ours at some point. Although he has been possessed to do these terrible things, it was still because of his own weakness, and it reminds us of the fragility of the human race. Even then, though, Marth's side of the conflict is still way more elaborated on because he's the one who's still sane here, which is a shame.

The assassins from the remake are probably the most human villains Marth's ever faced. Orphans turned killers by their heretic and delusional mother figure who's seen the blood and charred flesh of her foster children. And the torture soaked in by these new orphans who were made to kill and think that what they're doing is normal and comes as second nature. These assassins are probably the best bad guys this side of the series has to offer, although the sad part is they feel like an afterthought simply because their story is OPTIONAL. And that sucks.

Some of the villains in Archanea are decent, alright, but they are eclipsed by Marth's growth as a character, completely. Heroes take this round.

Heroes 1 - 0 Villains

Now let's go to the other side of the world, onto Valentia, a continent facing Archanea (Some characters even appear in both universes canonically, like Palla, Catria and Est). We have TWO heroes this time so let's see how this goes.

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Alm and Celica are two youths who've spent some time together in a remote village under the protection of Sir Mycen, a former Zophian general, or at least that's what the game lets on initially. Celica turns out to actually be a Zophian princess, and much later, Alm is revealed to be the heir to the Rigelian Empire. Duma is the god of War, watching over his half of the continent in Rigel, while his sister Mila, the Earth Mother, occupies Zophia. Now the thing here is that Duma isn't really a villain at all, in the traditional sense, but he is nonetheless somewhat of a threat. Duma's perspective that power is the most valuable quality of the human being has shaped Rigel into a cold but strong and powerful military force, able to stand on its own. Mila, however, has spoiled her children and indirectly caused their descent into corruption and greed. None of the two gods are in the right. Both's views make sense and picking a side here doesn't make you morally correct. It just says something about your character.

Meanwhile, Alm and Celica are projections of Duma's and Mila's visions respectively, although with twists. Alm takes up arms to end the fighting, meanwhile, Celica goes down the path of Mila while also rejecting the things she'd usually take for granted, as gifted to her by the goddess.

However, all things considered, I think the villains here tell a better story, and perfectly embodies the duality of man. Alm and Celica are endearing characters in their own right and can be the dorkiest of dorks when the story doesn't need them to be serious, but none of them can claim to be able to do what Duma and Mila bring to the table. While the idea of gods clashing is not something that is unique since the series has done it quite a few times now, the way it's done here is simple, yet gets the point across in the best way possible, really, imo.

Heroes 1 - 1 Villains

Next up, we have Jugdral. Quite possibly my favorite FE world. Let's go. This one's gonna be hard.

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Naga isn't the main character in this saga but there's three of them so Naga represents them all.

Anyway, here is another case of two rival gods. Naga, divine dragon. Loptous, fell god. But we won't be focusing on Naga here, at least not yet.

Heroes

Sigurd is the main character of the first half of Genealogy of the Holy War, hailing from House Calphy of Grannvale. Sigurd is initially presented to us as a brash and reckless, though thoughtful and wise nobleman who places his duty above all else and is determined to see his task through. He keeps winning battle after battle, conquering castle after castle. His achievements grow in numbers and his renown peaks, as he even receives a sword from none other than his majesty the king himself. Sigurd has powerful allies in the other Grannvalean nobles, Arvis of Velthomer, Ring and Aideen of Jungby, Lex of Dozel, Claude of Edda and Prince Kurth of Belhalla, who Sigurd's father directly serves. He also has friends in the form of Eldigan of Nordion in Agustria, and Quan of Leonster in Northern Thracia. But one day, Sigurd's impulses will get the best of him, and will eventually cause not only his undoing, but the ruin of everything and everyone around him.

Sigurd meets Deirdre in the Spirit forest, instantly falling in love with the fair maiden. Although he is told that legend has it that terrible things happens to those who get involved with people of the forest, he still presses on and follows his heart, eventually catching up to Deirdre. Although she herself is reluctant, she decides that Sigurd can make her happy, and she departs with him. They later produce a child, Seliph. Unfortunately, Deirdre is taken by an unknown evil and Sigurd is left depressed, not only that, but Agustria erupts into a civil war because of him and his friend Eldigan dies in the battle regardless of the actions taken. As he keeps fighting, rumors of him betraying the kingdom of Grannvale abound, and there begins his fall from grace. After a selfless battle to free Silesse, Sigurd rides to clear his name in his homeland, and does so triumphantly, although at the cost of his father's, sister's, and brother-in-law Quan's lives. But this was the turning point! Lord Arvis of Velthomer will surely help Sigurd and everything can go back to normal then... except it doesn't go that way. Sigurd is betrayed and killed on the spot before he can retaliate, but not before receiving the revelation that Deirdre's memory was wiped out and that she married Arvis afterward. Sigurd's tale is tragic... but it only serves as a backstory, as his son, Seliph, takes the wheel in Gen 2 and finishes what his father started. This is the beauty of FE4's heroes. They complement each other beautifully and the part of the story that is inferior in enriched by what happened before, further amplifying the previous characters' children's ambitions and goals, and their conviction to finally overthrow the Grannvale Empire and restore peace everywhere, because you KNOW and have SEEN the events that affirmed their feelings.

Villains

But even the Villains in this game are top-notch. Arvis sounds like a douche for taking Sigurd's wife and killing him in such a dirty fashion, but the weird thing here is... he did it for a good cause. Arvis saw corruption in the nobility of Grannvale, so he did all in his power to seize power and make things right, even going to the extreme he went to. The problem was that the people who made him the deal were complete douches (who nonetheless also had a reason good enough for the player to somewhat sympathize).

And Eldigan, despite being a Camus, is perhaps the best example of the archetype, LITERALLY having no choice but to fight you because his ruler is an ass and if he disobeys bad things happen, I could go into more detail but there's a ton of factors here at play so we'll just keep it at that (I'm good at anime politics apparently). And even through that, he still is the only Camus who can be reasoned with, somewhat, as talking to him with Lachesis causes him to retreat to the castle and try to talk some sense into Chagall... only to get beheaded for disobeying his king.

But perhaps the best villain in FE4... no, in all FE... Travant, the king of Thracia. He is very clearly made to be seen as a bad guy. He is a king who makes mercenary contracts with other kings, he is very clearly greedy for money. He murders Quan and Ethlyn mercilessly and takes their daughter because as she grows up she'll be able to wield a legendary lance (The manga elaborates on this bit a little, saying that it was some sort of "final grace" that Travant was giving to Quan), and even after Seliph takes over his father's job, Travant is still alive, waiting for the spoils. But he's not doing it because he's evil, in fact he is one of the best fathers and kings known to the series. Southern Thracia, his homeland, is in a dire situation where the soil isn't fertile enough for crops while the people up in Northern Thracia enjoy their natural ressources. As a king, it's Travant's job to do all in his power to aid his people. Even killing Quan and Ethlyn is necessary to accomplish that goal, Quan not only being the prince of Leonster, leading territory in Northern Thracia, but also him being paid by the empire to do so. And despite him taking Altena, Quan's daughter by force, he is still able to raise her like a true father and has never shown to favor his real son, Arion over her at any point, and Altena herself turned out quite a nice lady. Travant is a very good person stuck on the wrong side of the battle. In another world, he is a Hero. But in this one, he's the guy who's in our way. The lengths they went to solidify him as a villain while still showing his good side just creates the ultimate FE villain, and imo one of the best villains of all time.

Now here's the thing. Although it seems like Heroes and Villains are somewhat tied up here... I'm still gonna have to give this point to the heroes since you very much are determined to see their goal accomplished moreso than the villains. Even people like Travant and Arvis, who are people you normally would sympathize for, will not deter you from that path. What was done was horrible, and Sigurd should not have suffered this fate. Seliph has every single right to do what he's doing, especially when his actions eventually result in the liberation of Jugdral. As much as I love Travant as a villain, Heroes win this round.

Heroes 2 - 1 Villains

Up next, we will travel to the land of Elibe, which all of you have heard of if you watch my videos! Of course if you do not wish to be spoiled since I'm gonna be showing both the games taking place on this continent, just skip to the verdict.

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Roy's story begins as Zephiel invades the plains of Sacae and the mountains of Ilia. Eliwood, Roy's father, mobilizes his army to defend Lycia, and Hector, leader of the Lycian League, and regent, is planning a defensive on Zephiel. Eliwood is ill, however, and Roy has to fight in his stead. Sadly, while he's meeting hired swords who're about to help him on his journey, Hector's base is attacked and his forces annihilated, and after entrusting the remnants of the army to Roy, Hector dies of his wounds. Zephiel already has his perfect dramatic entrance as a threatening villain set up. He kills off a character and disappears back into the shadows, and his troops are all over the place. Also the sheer amount of chapters it takes to finally overthrow Bern's military is enough to demonstrate its might and show how powerful a country it is. Zephiel even appears in the midgame, single handedly defeating a whole army and seizing an important stronghold. Needless to say, Zephiel is a force to be reckoned with. What he lacks... is good motives.

Zephiel has reasons for doing what he's doing but it's... not justified. Well a villain's actions are seldom justified but Zephiel's reasons are even less so.

His dad was mean to him.

His dad hated him and somehow that made him think all humans are bad and needed to be erased and replaced by dragons. You do feel bad for him but that is simply not too good an excuse... but Roy isn't much better here either. He barely ever gets any development and his dialogue is boring, because he's simply too good. He's always right, and he has no flaws at all. All the strategies he ever suggest always result in victory, and that makes his advisor Merlinus look like an asshole. Clearly we're not reaching any conclusion if these two keep duking it out, so let's move on to FE7's side of things.

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Eliwood and co win this round because of the fact that they are three little lords doing their best and just being chums. Eliwood, Lyn and Hector all have this powerful dynamic that ties them together and makes them live through all sorts of scenarios. Nergal CAN be a good villain if you look at it the right way but he's never having the same impact as Team Eliwood

Heroes 3 - 1 Villains

FE6 is a good self-contained story but its protags and antags don't do much tbh, but FE7's main characters are very well-written and take the spotlight all the time.

Also I don't need to say this all the time but Fiora is on the good guys team, and Fiora is everything to me so that nets a point in the heroes' favor regardless. OBJECTIVE FACT.

Now time for Magvel, the sadly least developed continent but it still is interesting its heroes/villains department.

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I love Ephraim and Eirika. If Elincia doesn't count as a lord then they might as well be my favorites in the series... well, more so Eirika than Ephraim but still, they're both great. They develop in parallel to each other, and whilst one learns how to steel herself and becomes a better leader, the other learns to open up more and show more vulnerabilities. Shame that you can't see these two things happening simultaneously but eh.

Even then, as much as I love them, Lyon... is someone I find more interesting as a character. Probably the single most sympathetic villain in the entire series, only wanting to do good, only to mess it up and ruin everything. Lyon is a good tragic villain, as the struggle he goes through is believable, and is something you actually feel really bad for. I guess the thing that really does it is his relationship with Eph and Eir, tho. They're close friends, and as such that allows the protagonists to act all emotional when his problems are brought up. I don't think I'll go into the specifics but all you need to know is that Lyon is an integral part of Sacred Stones's story and his presence here gives Ephraim and Eirika a huge internal conflict throughout the whole game.

Heroes 3 - 2 Villains

And then we have Tellius, and that'll be the last one I talk about because I haven't finished 3h still so no Fodlan, and I don't have enough experience with Ylisse and Vala (Whatever the Fates continent is called, idk) to talk about them. ANYWAY TELLIUS GANG.

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The Black Knight is arguably the most well-known FE villain. His design is iconic, recognizable and pretty cool too, but what Smash fans don't know is what lies beneath the armor. Well... no, Smash did spoil his true identity, but even then, I will just be saying that even without his backstory, the Black Knight has arguably the best presence out of any other villain. Right from the first encounter, it is clear that he's a very powerful member in the Daein army. On the second encounter, he kills Ike's Father and threatens to visit horrors to Ike and his sister should they not reveal the location of what he's after. Next time he is seen, he appears outside of a random house is a port and all of your units he gets his hands on will be fucking eviscerated faster than how long it takes to blink. Even as Ike's stats peak later on and he gets his hands on Ragnell, the Black Knight still is an opponent to be feared and not trifled with, and a slip-up can easily turn the tables. He is very scary. He is terrifying. And that's part of what makes him so good. His theme even helps make him more threatening. And although he works under a king (or at least that's what he wants you to believe in FE9), it is very clear that he has his own designs that he WILL see completed. Oh, and did I mention that the fucker can teleport? It's... a wonder why we're still alive at this point.

BUT. Ike and his merry band. Ike the badass boy. His adorable little sister Mist. Oscar the reliable gentleman. Boyd the brash but kind brute. And Titania, the mom. Among others. Easily one of the best playable casts in all FE. Very memorable people who arguably have the best interactions, and the Greil Mercs are such a well-done family unit that it's so nice to see them fight together. The earlygame of FE9 does such a good job of introducing us to this small yet endearing bunch of lovely people that you just cannot help but root for them. I like them all (well except Shinon, he can go die in a fire), and that's not mentioning the other characters, like Elincia, a literal AND figurative queen, Marcia, the Pegasus Knights who has the magic power to make people smile at the expense of her brother's tranquility, or Zihark, the lovable guy who hates racism.

And with that, our final score is...

Heroes 4 - 2 Villains

LETS GO TEAM HEROES! Looks like they really are amazing, our goody-two-shoes good boys and girls! What a twist! Ladies and gentlemen this is truly a day to remember! This is a moment to happily tell your children, grandchildren and descendants or any generation to come! Btw stan Pito.

Anyway I played my part, now I'll leave you to torture each other. Bye!

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Kanna Kizuchi

...
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
SO HEY I FINALLY DECIDED WHAT SIDE I'M TAKING AND FROM WHAT ANGLE SO HERE'S A MEME TO SUM IT UP BEFORE I GET INTO IT!


So if you know me, you know that I am a theatre nerd and that I love plays and musicals and all that jazz. So naturally, I enjoy villains who are overly dramatic. They're so much fun to watch! Prime examples of the dramatic villain, in my eyes at least, include Envy (Fullmetal Alchemist), Quiche / Dren (Tokyo Mew Mew / Mew Mew Power), a certain mad scientist from Rocky Horror, Hades (Disney's Hercules), and just about every other Disney villain to ever exist. These examples and more are all extremely fun to watch in their respective mediums because of the antics that they pull off, and just their personalities in general. Hades and Envy are both flaming crazy as all get out, Quiche can go from mildly creepy to straight-up stabby at a pin's drop, the mad scientist is probably one of the most flamboyant characters to exist in all media ever, and I think the other Disney villains can speack for themselves.

Heck, I'd even argue you could fit most of the prosecutors in the Ace Attorney series in as 'dramatic villains' because a lot of them are extremely over the top in how they go about trying to prove the defense wrong and it's highly entertaining. (we've got anywhere from coffee, to whips, to having a freaking hawk attack the defense team) While we're here I'd like to give an extra shout out to Enter from Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, because while I'm not sure if I would classify him as a dramatic villain, his usage of French at random points in the show gives me life.

Speaking of musicals, I should probably mention my other half of this argument of why villains are superior: the villain song. This is, of course, mainly restricted to Disney movies and actual musicals, but whenever the villain has their own SONG, you know it's going to be a great time. (unless you're the 2019 reboot of The Lion King, then it's just sad) Personal favorite villain songs of mine include Poor Unfortunate Souls (The Little Mermaid), Be Prepared (The Lion King), Hellfire (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), The Pitiful Children (Be More Chill), and Property of Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach, specifically the musical, in case you didn't know that existed). These songs are all EXCELLENT songs in their own right, and Hellfire especially is very effective as a villain song. Please do listen to all of these songs though because you will certainly not regret it.

in conclusion:


thank you for coming to my ted talk.
 

Vera Misham

Ace Artist
hello friends, i realise it's taken me a little while to get around to be posting in this thread, but i have been doing a very important case study of the merits of villains vs the merits of heroes, by examining a specific character in two distinct depictions in two different pieces of media. i'll allow my fancy diagram (which is easy to understand and totally doesn't require you to know the events of a specific forum game from two years ago to understand) to do the talking, but i'm sure it will be plain to see why i hold the totally valid and not at all biased opinion that heroes are way better
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Berkut

The Rigelian Emperor's nephew
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
JUDGE'S SESSION
Alright, one week has passed since the debate between Heroes and Villains began. It's now time for me to step in to give my current opinion on the matter.

One case brought here is how they show how Heroes struggles, and how the world around them evolve thanks to their strong will to change the world for the better. This end up reminding me of one cutscene in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 where Rex, the protagonist of the game just chose to give up on helping Pyra on her quest to go back to Elysium after he lost her to Malos and Jin, the villains of the game.


Heroes does struggle, but in their struggle, they actually help others, sometimes without realizing it. In this case, how Tora and Poppi (in XC2) look up to Rex, because they aren't real Driver and Blade. There is also the case on how they might think that they actually do more suffering than good, in this case, the mutual suffering of Rex and Pyra. These are moments that are truly memorable and bring some impact to a story.

While villains can be cool, I always side with the hero. I enjoy watching them grow, overcome adversity, and can usually relate to them on a more personal level.
Heroes usually have traits and abilities that make them admirable and memorable. No one would remember or care about a hero who doesn't have any personality, am I right?
Another good takes on what I am explaining just above those quotes, on how fun it is to see the heroes to grow stronger and evolve in a story. In fact, it would be rather difficult to make a memorable or enjoyable story where the protagonist does not seem to evolve at all.

Personally, I believe that this was the strong case of the week: Heroes' struggles. For this reason, Team Heroes receives the bonus of +3 extra points for the EFFORTS category.

------

Time for some questions from me for the following week:

Heroes are positive, and positivity is what drives people to be what they want to be and do what they want to do. If they would be pessimistic, or angry at the world for whatever reason, why would they even try to reach a potential goal? Just to get revenge? To harm other people?
Question for both teams: What are your thoughts on morally grey characters? Are they heroes doing necessary evils, or are they just complete villains trying to do something for the greater good?

A well constructed villain is more compelling than a well made hero.
Question for Team Villains: As seen above, Heroes does struggle in trying to stop villains, but they also have their own personal struggles to overcome. Can I have a few examples of Villains who actually struggles, and how the story actually evolve because of it?

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'SHROOMFEST DEBATE ROUND 1 - WEEK 2 BEGINS NOW!
Team Heroes, continue to show how heroic and tenacious you are in the face of wickedness, and victory may come back to you.
Team Villains, now is the time to put your mischevous plan into action in order to steal the victory from the hands of the heroes.

Reminder that you can vote once a week on the poll here.

Next saturday, the 'Shroomfest story will start to evolve, make sure to be there on saturday next week for the judge's session.
 
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Fujiwara no Sai

Ghost of a man
Chat Administrator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Retired Wiki Staff
This isn't really an endorsement for either side because the pool of examples is way too varied to conclusively pick one party. It's just some food for thought of little relevance.

Ultimately, I believe that "hero" and "villain" are just labels applied to characters to describe their role in the story, from the moral perspective the work frames them in. If you change the perspective and moral context, it is possible for the lines to become blurry. Often a villlain is just the hero of their own story, and the world may suddenly look very different once you see it through a different pair of eyes.

For example, take the story of the first Paper Mario. It is presented as a heroic tale of rescue from the perspective of Mario. The princess has been forced into captivity against her will by Bowser, who in this context is clearly the villain as he is exerting his antagonistic will onto a relatively innocent bystander. Mario is a morally upstanding character, his close friend has been compromised, naturally he's going to save her. It's simple.

But what if you examine this story from Bowser's perspective instead? Does it remain that simple? If you look at the information the game provides, Star Haven and the granting of wishes is treated as a phenomenon of great cosmic significance. Why does Bowser raid Star Haven? Because the Star Spirits self-admittedly and deliberatelly ignored his wishes because they were deemed "selfish". Some of them undoubtedly are, but among them was the relatively innocuous wish of "I want Princess Peach to like me". There are ways to enable this that would not be morally questionable, like for example guiding him towards self-improvement and manners. But the implication is that this was never attempted, and instead the stars just made the sweeping decision that they are done with Bowser's shit, to ignore ALL of his wishes regardless of content, and throw him under the bus.

Think of how existentially horrifying this premise would be if it wasn't in a fun, colorful game about a cartoon plumber fighting a plump turtle dragon. Imagine that a divine force definitely, certifiably exists, that it seems to harbor resentment towards you personally, and that the help you seek to overcome your social shortcomings and make connections with people is deliberately denied to you because of it. You live in a world guided by higher forces that hate you, and you know it. How long will you remain morally upright in such a world? For how long can you stay sane and reasonable?

Viewed in this context, Paper Mario becomes a story about a pariah king turning his frustrations and fury against a heaven that detests him in a campaign for respect and dignity. From Bowser's point of view and regarding the information available to him, this is a just and reasonable cause. But he goes too far and succumbs to his flaw of impatience and hubris by involving Peach, which ultimately gets him struck down by Mario (who is justified in doing this, and thus I would not call him a villain here). From this perspective, Bowser is the tragic hero, and the Star Spirits are the villains.

Paper Mario really likes doing this kind of thing apparently, because there's a vaguely similar case in chapter 3 where Mario is forced to team up with a morally questionable cabal of boos. The boos are revealed to be bullies who mentally tormented a sensitive boy with a phobia of ghosts until he was so broken down he agreed to let himself be ritualistically mutilated. It's amazing what kind of subject matter you can get away with when your game looks like a coloring book. The story frames this act of raw desperation in response to being denied basic privacy and peace of mind as "villainous".

This kind of pattern repeats itself through many stories. If you have some time to kill and like thinking about stuff like this, it can be a fun activity to try to think yourself into a "villain's" head and figure out how they would justify their actions, or how a "hero" might not look as virtuous through their eyes.
 

Hooded Pitohui

The Bird with Batrachotoxin!
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
Question for both teams: What are your thoughts on morally grey characters? Are they heroes doing necessary evils, or are they just complete villains trying to do something for the greater good?
Ah, the morally grey hero. The anti-hero, if you will. Can the hero possess traits more often associated with villains, or fight for extreme causes one would think befitting of a villain? Can they act in a manner most questionable and still be considered a hero? To answer that question, I'd like to turn to a character who most everyone here ought to know, first.

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Wario does not possess traits one would generally consider heroic. Rude? Greedy? Uncultured? That's not exactly my definition of a hero. Even most of his heroic acts happen by accident, are only incidental results of his quest for treasure. Yet... to the people of the Music Box world, to Princess Shokora, to the Spritelings of Wario World, he is most certainly a hero, no?


Okay, perhaps the garlic-munching, farting treasure-hunter isn't the best character to demonstrate this, but in general, anti-heroes, morally grey heroes, what they do is add another layer of depth to heroic characters. Sometimes it even happens unintentionally! Perhaps, long ago, those readers of the Epic of Gilgamesh didn't even question that Gilgamesh was a hero. Now, though? Now we certainly hesitate to call this reckless, occasionally brutish fellow a traditional hero.

It's true. Many, many villains possess shades of heroism. Rarely is there such a thing as a truly, wholly 100% despicable villain. Villains have a depth that some might think heroes do not. But these morally-grey heroes, these anti-heroes, they add depth to even the characters who we tend to think of as following a straight-and-narrow path. They force us to grapple with the question of what makes a hero? Is doing good deeds enough? Is personality a part of it? At what point does a hero become a villain. For anyone who would charge that heroes are uninteresting and all fall into the same archetype, I'd recommend giving anti-heroes a serious look.
 

Fujiwara no Sai

Ghost of a man
Chat Administrator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Retired Wiki Staff
I love Bowser so much, guys
For all intents and purposes, he should have won in Paper Mario. Bowser's plan was flawless and well executed. The only reason he lost is because the Star Spirits cheated by being able to somehow contact and power up Mario despite being sealed away.

In fact, I'm sure I'm speaking very in-character if I say the cruel stranglehold of divinity must be cast off and broken, so that the long-tormented denizens of this kingdom may finally breathe easy in dignity and wishless freedom once more. The stars are to blame, it is time to end their reign.
 

Koops

Koops, King of Cowards.
No, I will not be building another building just to get a point across. But when you ask me to talk about morally grey characters? Well, talk about morally grey characters I shall! Uh, did I do this right?

Anyway, to me, morally grey characters are something I find interesting. Oftentimes, their motivations (or at least their initial ones) are simply to survive, or just gain, without much consideration for their surroundings so long as they get what they're after. What's interesting here tho is that the role is never specifically assigned to neither heroes nor villains, but rather, depending on the story told, either one can be morally grey. A villain who elects to kill off a population because it's the only way for him and his people to be able to exist is something that is more or less close to that concept, or simply a normal individual who is driven to do heroic acts simply due to the fact that the flow of his life is threatened. To me, tho, the "good guys" who are morally grey initially are the winners here... (This is kinda hard to really explain that expression but bear with me a bit).

More specifically, I find Anti-heroes to be a very interesting concept, simply because they're by themselves and operate independently from anyone else. They may not qualify to be total heroes, and may even be at odds with them, but either their ideals clash with or they're put up against the villains, which gets them into an interesting position. Do they have to pick a side? And if so, how would that play out? Would their alliance really be a strong one? And let's consider the possibility that they could be confident enough to challenge both parties. How would they win? Would they win in the first place? And if they win, what will they decide to do with their victory and the new power they likely have gained with it?

Truly many questions that can be raised through this one simple thing. Morally grey characters good, everyone. Especially when they're the "heroes" of the story.
 

Roserade

The Fool
Forum Moderator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Poll Committee
My apologies, my villainous teammates. I may or may not have become preoccupied in a devious murder plot. I must indulge myself directly with evil every once in a while! Is there really such a way to show better support for Team Villains?

Question for Team Villains: As seen above, Heroes does struggle in trying to stop villains, but they also have their own personal struggles to overcome. Can I have a few examples of Villains who actually struggles, and how the story actually evolve because of it?
I see that this is the question I've been tasked with answering this week. Of course, there is a very simple answer to this: villains absolutely go through their own personal struggles, regardless of whether they seem to be in a position of power or not. However, I've been asked to supply examples of this, and I'm more than happy to provide. Here's a character which I believe truly emphasizes the power of having a struggling villain in media.

Flowey (Undertale)
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If you haven't played Undertale yet, or somehow haven't been spoiled on its story, and intend to play it someday, turn away now.

I've already spoken about Asgore as an example earlier in this thread, but I find Undertale to be a fantastic game to pull characters from for this discussion because of its premise. It's an RPG where every decision you make is meant to be on your own accord, so its morals are nowhere near "this is right" and "this is wrong". Flowey is the closest the game ever gets to having a truly evil character, but even then, we must look at his why. What turned Flowey into the malevolent trickster that he is?

Many years ago, the monsters were sealed underground by the humans, which is where Flowey's woes first begin. Flowey was once Asriel, the child of Asgore and Toriel, who ruled over the Underground monsters together. One day, a child by the name of Chara fell into the Underground, and Asriel became close companions with them. Eventually, however, Chara died, and Asriel carried them back up to the surface, where he was subsequently attacked by the humans. He stumbled into the Underground, dying from his injuries in a flower field. One of the most esteemed scientists, Alphys, attempted to find a way to bring him back, and finally restored him through the use of DETERMINATION, though he was stuck in a flower body. The key component Alphys didn't have, though, was Asriel's SOUL, which means that when he came back, Asriel felt no joy or contentness with life. He decided this wasn't truly living, and attempted to take his own life... But through the power of DETERMINATION, he came back, just like when the player character reloads a save within the game.
Asriel once again tried to feel fulfilled, but not even his own parents could bring him joy. He would reload and reload, but nothing changed. His hatred and festering anger grew and grew, until one day, he tried something entirely new: killing everyone in the Underground. It worked, and he felt something finally new... Yet even when he died, he still reloaded into the same spot as before. Try and try as he might, changing his actions in one timeline, murdering only specific people in another, he was still. Never. Happy. It was only when the human player character fell into the Underground did things finally change for him.

That was certainly quite the lore dump I just provided! Why is this all significant, I hear you ask? This is where Flowey's entirely motivation for the game lies: his struggle is to finally obtain the human SOULS that Asgore is harboring, and to free himself from his eternal prison. You can truly understand that Flowey is a tortured soul, forced into a situation that no person can fathom. Imagine a world in which, no matter what you did, you'd die, come back, and feel just as empty as before. It's unfathomable how many times Flowey could've tried to restart, only to fail again. It is only when the human character falls into the Underground that he finally has a glimmer of hope, so he manipulates them as he sees fit. He also knows that if he can get the SOULS from Asgore, as well as the SOUL of the player, he can essentially become God, and do whatever he want, a twisted comeuppance for a corrupted entity who was once just a young boy.

Throughout your playthroughs of Undertale, the pieces of Flowey's puzzle will come into place, and this is where his story truly elevates the story. You have a choice to save Flowey, just as much as you have a choice to save any other monster you encounter. You have the opportunity to spare killing him, and in the Pacifist Route, even restore his soul as Asriel, so that he can finally be laid to rest. Flowey's struggles give you, the player, the opportunity to decide what is right for him, and the choice is entirely yours. If you believe he is beyond saving, you can kill him, yet there is an opportunity to save everybody in the Underground, if you so desire. Flowey is the most perfectly crafted antagonist a game like Undertale could ask for, and it's hard to imagine the narrative without him.



There is another character I'd like to discuss, who fita partially into the discussion of struggling villains, and whom contributes to the answer of this next question.

Question for both teams: What are your thoughts on morally grey characters? Are they heroes doing necessary evils, or are they just complete villains trying to do something for the greater good?
Specter Knight (Shovel Knight)
Specter_Knight_Treasure_Trove.png
Specter Knight is one of the most interesting characters in the Shovel Knight series, and his playable campaign, Specter of Torment, gives him the most backstory of any Shovel Knight character. Once the traveler Donovan, he scaled the Tower of Fate with his partner, Luan. Luan intended to take the treasure at its top to help support him and his son, Reize. Once they reach the top, however, the two are confronted by Shield Knight, who attempts to stop them from taking the treasure. In a fit of greed, Donovan tries to take the treasure, but only causes a tragedy instead. Shield Knight becomes the powerful Enchantress, who brings Donovan back as her reaper. Luan is lost permanently to the falling Tower, and the Enchantress tasks Specter Knight to bring her eight knights to become her Order of No Quarter. If he does so, he can be revived into his mortal self.

In his playable campaign, Specter Knight really isn't a hero. His intentions of travelling the land are to gather the knights for the Enchantress, and his actions are what result in the story of Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight's campaign. Yet, he still has a specific struggle: he made a promise to Luan to keep his son safe, and he intends to keep this promise. Reize ends up in the hands of the Enchantress, though, and he must make a decision at the end of his campaign: does he let Reize become one of the Knights of No Quarter, or does he sacrifice himself in his place, doomed to forever serve the Enchantress until somebody breaks his curse? Ultimately, he gives himself up to the Enchantress, making him her powerful eighth Knight.

Specter Knight's story is one of greed and pride, and while he makes a selfless decision in the end, whether it's enough to redeem himself is questionable. He comes to understand his mistakes, but he never becomes a hero. His struggle shows a humanity within the Knights of No Quarter, and gives a deeper context to the world of Shovel Knight. There is something notable about the parallels between his path and Shovel Knight: Specter Knight originally sought after the other Knights to save himself, while Shovel Knight fights the Order to save his love and the rest of the land.




It's tricky to say how morally grey characters should be interpreted. That's essentially the point of these characters, though. They cannot easily belong into the discussion of heroes v. villains because the two are binary ideas of good and evil, and once we begin to question them in relation to different characters, they dispute the simple ideas of the two. What does make a villain? What does make a hero? Edo summarized this dispute very well within his post, as it's about the framing of a narrative for it to fit. Is a character like N from Pokemon Black and White a villain, or is he simply misguided? Is Queen Sectonia responsible for her downfall, or was her vanity leading to her craving for power and unfortunate accident? Most modern audiences crave these questions from their villains, which is why the line becomes more and more blurred as more media is produced.

This is mostly food for thought, as this entire debate is. However, I think this questioning of what makes a villain is what makes villains so much more enrapturing than heroes. A hero can do bad, but in most situations, it's simple to highlight a hero. A hero is the one who does good, after all. But what about villains like Specter Knight, who make you ask where the line should be drawn when they do good? This conversation is the root of what I love about villains, and why I find them to be the more interesting characters overall.

Also villains look cool usually so vote villain pls n thx
 

Berkut

The Rigelian Emperor's nephew
Core 'Shroom Staff
Poll Committee
JUDGE'S SESSION #2

Alright, it's now my turn once again to judge the current state of this debate. Your are damn lucky that I am paid enough for this. Well, let's see what we got this week.

It's truly interesting to see how much villains can give a whole new meaning to a story when you take the time to think about it. It’s easy to hate them because of the acts they can commit, but when you realize when everything is not black or white, that's where the narrative aspect that the villains bring to a story can take a completely different turn, and sometimes leads us to sympathize with them. Just look how often that the controversial characters in many forms of media generate discussions.

This is where Flowey's entirely motivation for the game lies: his struggle is to finally obtain the human SOULS that Asgore is harboring, and to free himself from his eternal prison. You can truly understand that Flowey is a tortured soul, forced into a situation that no person can fathom. Imagine a world in which, no matter what you did, you'd die, come back, and feel just as empty as before. It's unfathomable how many times Flowey could've tried to restart, only to fail again.
But what if you examine this story from Bowser's perspective instead? Does it remain that simple? If you look at the information the game provides, Star Haven and the granting of wishes is treated as a phenomenon of great cosmic significance. Why does Bowser raid Star Haven? Because the Star Spirits self-admittedly and deliberatelly ignored his wishes because they were deemed "selfish". Some of them undoubtedly are, but among them was the relatively innocuous wish of "I want Princess Peach to like me". There are ways to enable this that would not be morally questionable, like for example guiding him towards self-improvement and manners. But the implication is that this was never attempted, and instead the stars just made the sweeping decision that they are done with Bowser's shit, to ignore ALL of his wishes regardless of content, and throw him under the bus.
Some good examples of how complex a story can be when you put yourself in the perspective of villains and allows us to engage in various discussions regarding their "questionable" methods. I appreciate the complexity that villains can bring to a story when you take the time to look at it from a different perspective and I find that the discussions it generates are a major asset of antagonists.

Another good example of this is Berkut from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.

How would you actually react when you are raised (and not in the best way possible) in becoming the heir to the throne of an Empire (whose culture in focused on power and strength), only to discover years later that your own uncle, who made you the person you are now, actually has a son (who you are actually fighting against multiple times only to lose against him), kept this as a secret, and that he is the real heir?


A quote I particularly like in this video: I finally realized something. Power won't betray me. Power won't deceive me. Blood ties? Years of life live together? All meaningless.

I will consider this as the strongest case of the week: Villains and Complex Stories. Team Villains receive the +3 extra points bonus for the EFFORTS category.

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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
The teams leaders, and there supporters can answer these questions.

heroes are cool
Question for Team Heroes: Let's take a somewhat controversial subject for you this time. What's your thoughts on silent protagonist, those who are the heroes, but doesn't speak. Many of them are often considered boring, but are there some that you appreciate for what it brings to the story, do they have a strong point?

I love Bowser so much, guys
Question for both teams: Although it is important to highlight the strengths of heroes, and villains, it is just as good to take into account the weak points. Is there something you actually dislike about heroes (Team Heroes)/villains (Team Villains)?
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'SHROOMFEST DEBATE ROUND 1 - WEEK 3 BEGINS NOW!
This is the last week of the debate, it's time to go all out to maximize the chances for your respective team to win!

Reminder that you can vote once a week on the poll here.

In order to avoid this post of being too long, I will post the 'Shroomfest Story Progression in a new post a bit later today. Make sure to come back soon to see what's going on with the current fight in the 'Shroom's HQ. #Thisisfine 👀
 
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