Is anyone else getting tired of "Patriotic" villains who serve evil for dumb reasons?

Says the person who made a blanket statement about all antagonists who follow a certain checklist in an as always obnoxiously obtuse and long-winded form.

You miss the point. Your own “logic” as you laid out in your previous post is nothing but your own idea of justice and righteousness, no characters will follow your idea of it to a T or even the writers own ideals. This is why we have conflict in stories to begin with, characters with different ideals and truths. It makes sense that you disagree with some characters actions, it doesn’t make sense however that instead of appreciating the fact that you do and that being the point of the character you lash out against it and ask “why are these people so dumb aren’t YOU tired of it???” Expecting people to nod and agree because you believe you have the only valid interpretation.

This has yet to be given concrete example by you, as well as any other point you bring up. You fail to ever introduce examples for what you’re talking, only vaguely gesture at a few options, perhaps our of fear that those options are indeed justifiable to everyone else and that you yourself just failed to get a reading on them? This also has no relevance to the rest of the post.

Once again treating characters as perfect logic boxes rather than people with complex emotions and clashing ideals within their own heads. Someone like Camus who previously refused to join the players army did so not only out of loyalty to his country but also to ensure the safety of Yubello and to an extent Nyna, he is a tragic figure because in different circumstances with such outside factors not having influence over his decision making he would join your army. We see as much in both SoV and FE12 where both times he joins the players ranks with little fuss. He’s shown to be deeply loyal and it makes sense for him to refuse to join you the first time around, we see the exact same loyalty after Alm reveals his brand in SoV, its an ingrained part of him.

The rest of this is again entirely pointless as it does absolutely nothing to better your argument. Unless you want to ship of Theseus this argument into one about villains who heelturn into getting tragic elements to their character introduced ala Sombron? Although in that case it’s just a matter of writer’s intent because I’ll tell you one thing Sombron himself is not meant to be sympathetic but that’s missing the forest for the trees. It’s not the argument at hand.

3 Likes

I think that some of your criticisms come more from the way a lot of Fire Emblem plots are constructed rather than from the Camus characters in a vacuum. Fire Emblem plots often start with fairly grounded war storylines where the actions of each side are defined by their alliances and interests, but then the final act throws most of that out and has the remnants of Enemy Country trying to revive an ancient evil. Once the antagonists go from being a country with conflicting interests from the protagonist country to cultists trying to end the world, any relatability the opposing side had is lost.

It’s questionable whether the Camus characters even know about the evil cult controlling the country they serve in most FE stories. And even then, it’s much more common for people to rationalize something than it is for them to change. You don’t have to agree with a character’s decisions or think that the things they value are worth valuing to appreciate them as a character. Personally, I think chivalry and finding purpose in unquestioning service to an individual are silly and that someone would have to devalue themselves to live such a life. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a character who holds values different from mine as long as the character’s values are well communicated and they act in accord with them consistently.

10 Likes

This right here is the problem. The evil cults of evil destroying doom of dragon revival that just destroys pretty much all FE stories.

If the stories stayed grounded and/or weren’t hijacked by cult-kun, Camus archetype wouldn’t feel so half assed imo.

3 Likes

This was already a complaint addressed by Permafrost.

Please do not pick and choose what parts of someone’s post to pay attention to.

The subtext that well-written characters like this have in common is that their loyalty is to an individual or subset of the “enemy team” and not to the entire thing. They aren’t working in favor of the evil cult, because they aren’t loyal to the evil cult.
Brunnya is loyal to Zephiel and not the evil cult of dragons that want to wipe out humanity, and even directly confronts him about his alliance with them. Levail is loyal to Zelgius and not the evil cult serving Ashera, and fights you at Zelgius’s command, not Ashera’s. Selena is loyal to Vigarde and not the evil cult puppeteering his body to resurrect the demon king, and repeatedly attempts to rationalize why Vigarde would be acting as he is rather than admit that something might be wrong. Camus is loyal to Grust and not the evil cult running Dolhr that resurrected Medeus and is trying to take over the world. The king of Grust allies with Dolhr and Camus is thrust into service for them despite his personal objections. Because he is loyal to Grust and not Dolhr, he repeatedly undercuts and works against Dolhr, including being personally responsible for Nyna escaping to Aurelis, for which he is imprisoned and tortured for roughly a year. Even after this, on at least 2 occasions he directly works against Dolhr and directly aids Marth. It is only when Marth marches on Grust that Camus falls in battle defending it, because that is what he is loyal to, not the evil cult.
In all of these cases, there is at least 1 degree of separation between the character and the evil cult. I fail to see how you would come to the conclusion that these characters are responsible for the atrocities committed by other groups that you also fight unless you’ve either skimmed their dialogue and made assumptions about them or are unable to comprehend a worldview more complicated than “they are the bad guys, therefore they are all bad in the same way and amount”

7 Likes

Doesn’t really change the fact that the existence of such a comically evil thing pretty much make Camus worse than they already are. They should at the minimum realize something is wrong with their ruler and not just follow stuff blindly

1 Like

Brilliant idea, why doesn’t every grunt just leave and not fight at all? Why are we fighting? There is clearly one correct side, plain as day.

5 Likes

I mean yeah, they do realize something is wrong with their ruler. Did you even read Sme’s post where she cites examples?

…and even directly confronts him about his alliance with them.

…and repeatedly attempts to rationalize why Vigarde would be acting as he is rather than admit that something might be wrong.

…is thrust into service for them despite his personal objections…

7 Likes

I’m not sure it has been said on this thread, but personally what I find the most recurring flaw of the ‘Camus’ archetype is how bad the worldbuilding and characterization of the country and nobility system is handled, if sometimes even handled at all!

Personally, the best ways to go about it to go on a logic dive into what would make a Camus stay on the villain’s side?

  • They are blackmailed

Much like how FE7 Lyn Mode Boss Eagler or Mustafa from Awakening (wow, lyn mode and awakening being used in writting advice?) was handled, Lundgren/Gangrel held their families hostage so they had to fight back.

  • They are alienated

This one is more dark, and I’ve seen it being pulled off well in romhacks before. Someone who isn’t evil, but also doesn’t see the evil in the country/house/cult he or she serves, often reluctant in the actions they have to do, but still do “for the right reasons”. A good way to illustrate this is to have the character be indoctrinated since a child or, in some way, they ended up falling for the teachings of some charismatic villain. This not only shows the political power that the villain has, but also the impact it has on the innocent men who could, in another life, be friends of the protagonistic army, as well as showcase the social problems that the nation/house/cult have.

  • There is deeper grey morality involved

This one is more general for near infinite ways to make a character incorporate the Camus archetype without making it seem forced or dumb (which it most often is). Perhaps the “good guys” did something bad to him or closed ones in the past, and he is then sworn on vengeance, maybe some battalion diverges from the main army’s ideals and commits some crime which further instigates aggression from the enemy, and further motivated the Camus to stay with the bad guys. Maybe the “bad guys” aren’t as bad as they are portrayed, since perhaps they don’t kill civilians, only subdue villages and pieces of land for their economic growth, this crosses the line of what is morally acceptable, but not enough to push the Camus to the good guys.

The lesson to take is that so many antagonists are written as one-sided super evil demons deluxe, and immersion is broken when people still follow the evil king/evil demon, it’s not like we have in real life examples of tyrants being deposed and executed for their excessive evil, and why wouldn’t a cult worship some evil demon that would kill them in an instant? That sounds realistic and believable!

On a serious note, it’s best when there is logic and realism involved, even in a fantasy setting, because that’s what makes us connect better with the setting and characters, don’t make them dumb for the sake of advancing the plot, specially the generic soldiers, why should the canonfodder allow themselves to die on a moments notice to the protagonist army who have been stomping them for 22 chapters? Think of these things before making your story, folks!

4 Likes

For those still skeptical, Jill from FE9 (and FE10) is an interesting character to analyzes to understand the Camus archetype, because her story show how the weight of society is very strong on individuals and their actions.

Basically, Jill at the beginning is a young and die-hard patriot soldier of Daein, she is totally moulded into the propaganda and way of life of her country, under King Ashnard. But due to fortunate events, she is leads to relutanctly join the Greil’s Mercenaries. Due to what she experiences during their travels, she began to question her former narrow view of the world.

But it was easier to do when the Greil’s mercenaries where fighting in the southern sea for their survival, or in the Empire due to political infighting that the Band have to gone through to gather military support. But things get very hard for Jill when she and her new companions invade Daein. Sure, Daein and it’s tyrannical king are the bad guys, and the Crimean Liberation Army are in the right. but it doesn’t change what Jill have to do, and how she is seen by her fellow countrymen: she is a despicable traitor for the people of Daien, that joined a brutal military campaign that will bring death and misery to the Kingdom, and multiple characters spit it out to her face during this campaign.

And all those contradictions can end up being too much for the young Jill, in one of the most brilliant idea of any Fire Emblem : when you confront general Shiharam at Talrega, if you sends Jill to face her father (which is a very horrible things to do, and you are warned beforehand that it is a very bad idea) she can defect and join her father’s side. She have progressed a lot as a person thanks to her comrades of the Greil’s Mercenaries, but if their bonds aren’t strong enough she can be overtaken by the consequences of her actions. And even if she stay strong, or didn’t joined the battle, the following events are very hard for her to endure.

So in some ways, it explain why Camus and other characters that fall into this archetype are like they are, many Fire Emblem make it easy for characters to join player sides. but in reality, especially for characters with military backgrounds (who weren’t trained to question much what they are told), it’s a really hard things to throw away everything you lived up for until now, in the middle of a war, and face the socials consequences of your actions.

6 Likes

“Man, why are enemies patriotic or have underlying motives to fight a war and die for it?”

“Wait, what do you mean my units should be able to betray me if I’m losing the war? What do you mean ‘it’s just fair’?”

5 Likes

Well, I kind of agree with some of the people here. We’ve had enough of apocalyptic shit. Maybe some normal political story would be cool. So here’s my very vague and stupid idea.

I totally don't know what I'm doing

Wouldn’t it be fun if more games were created where a villain would just be a common and intelligent man who tries to ascend higher ranks to change the society ? With diplomacy, quick wit and genius he did reach the top.

He wishes to eradicate the corrupt and arrogant nobles who abuse their power on commoners. In his quest, where he gained much power, he slowly gets corrupted and becomes the person he hated the most.

He believes that more land should be under his rule so that he can rid the world of corrupt and powerful people. He waged war which unintentionally resulted into thousands of civilian casualties on both sides. He doesn’t realise how and when it happened and he destroyed the very people he wanted to save. No apocalyptic bullshit and dark big demon. Just a man who plotted his way to pinnacle and became corrupted by hunger of power.

In his last moment, he realises that how he betrayed himself.

(Roswell kind of became from a generic villain to somewhat important but I think he was more of a meme).

7 Likes

You’re the one missing the point I made and trying to make a personal fight out of a discussion about video game characters. I’m not interested in that, and no matter how many times you harass and attack me, I never will be. Grow up and stop embarrassing yourself.

It can be logical for a story to feature characters that do what their irrational views and beliefs compel them to do, of course. But that’s not what I’m talking about here, of course.

An argument could be made that a strong empire is justified in conquering and enslaving its neighbours, because “If they weren’t inferior nations, why did they get conquered? The best ruler should rule all, and the best ruler is obviously whoever is the most successful at conquering by any means necessary. If you’re enslaved by one empire you won’t be enslaved by another, or getting into wars on your own!”. Yes, a character raised by an evil empire could certainly argue that “Survival Of The Fittest” justifies anything. For him to be proven wrong in his own story, his nation must be defeated by a nicer nation with standards, a nation that nurtures and trains the weak and helps them prosper instead of crushing them, a nation that proves strength can come from more than fear and overwhelming force.

But a villain that goes mwahahaha and wants to destroy the world is the laziest antagonist possible. There is no justification for this.

You’ve probably played Fire Emblem Awakening, yes? Walhart is an idea. The Walhart arc explores an idea. Validar and Grima are monsters who go mwahaha and that’s it. Not even an attempt at justification like “Validar saw so many bad things happen in his lifetime, he decided the only way to stop bad things from happening is to destroy the world so nothing happens”.

Servants of Grima are not interesting. It would be ridiculously jarring if Chrom started weeping over a random slain soldier of Gangrel, let alone a random slain slave of Grima.

Honestly a game where your less devoted units will abandon or betray you for doing poorly sounds great. Especially if certain units would betray or abandon you for saying yes to certain decisions, while others betray/abandon you for saying no to those decisions. More FE fangames and FElikes should have meaningfully different Paragon and Renegade routes.

1 Like

Oh my I did not mean to make it seem like I was attacking you. I may think your ideas about storytelling and characterization are comical but I wouldn’t ever make it into something personal. Just some guy who makes long posts isn’t someone who should be harassed.

You made a post I disagreed with, I made an attempt to deconstruct it. You argued against that deconstruction, so I responded. This isn’t harassment so if we’re talking about embarrassing then please grow up yourself.

Stop trying to make this personal. I disagree with your ideas, I don’t hate you.

And are these characters who don’t have irrational worldviews and just stay on the enemy side for the hell of it in the room with us right now? /J

In all seriousness please please PLEASE give some examples. I can’t keep responding to vague statements loosely tying back to concepts of characters.

This is a blanket statement. Take Plegia for example, in the past they were actually persecuted by the previous Ylisse king and as such, has a way to play at justifying themselves to the masses.
This is a vague idea of a retort and doesn’t actually say anything in response to my argument.


We’re still talking about Camus like people right?

Yeah I’m just not going to touch this. This isn’t the topic at hand.

Not every story needs to have morally complex characters. It’s actually more childish to believe that every character must be some sort of morally gray or ambiguous to be realistic. Sometimes there does just exist nasty people who want to watch the world burn, there are many examples of this in our own world. We don’t need to understand why Validar is evil, we simply need to know that he is, and that is OKAY.

It’s a time tested character type and it WORKS.

Yeah it would be weird if Chrom wept over a random soldier or grima slave. Which is why he doesn’t. What’s the point here exactly?

1 Like

It can actually lead to a very frustrating and/or unforgiving gameplay loop, making a game hardly iron-mannable as a mistake caused by RNG can snowball into losing a chunk of your army. While on a conceptual stand-point I can probably work something out, you’re probably going to only be able to feasibly pull this out through a miriad of factions that would leave the story too complex for basic understanding.

And also, y’know. Would you really put Generals in charge that you know that would betray you? Yeah that seems like a lowkey oversight.

Additionally, you should consider the following - and that is - enemies that instead of betraying their lord and join you instead (which is hardly an event on real medieval-era wars, and on events where it does happen it often is due to a different enemy rising up), you should ponder about deserters.

If the people are discontent with the events and with how the war is going on, or they don’t have what it takes, or there are higher strings attached, they can simply run away and leave - not join you, because of course, they are still the enemy, but simply escape away, and then again, propaganda has always been a thing. You’ll always call X Empire the “Evil” one because that’s the perspective of the story, but the people fighting on that side don’t think that “We are the evil guys”, they think that their home is being attacked - and must defend it for their values, loved ones, and so forth.

Historical romances like the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (from where Dynasty Warriors gets based on) would be something loosely more close to what you’re looking for.

1 Like

Good luck with that buddy.

I’ve tried when dealing with this guy before. He will never give you any such things as a concrete detail on any of his statements.

Given some of his other topics, I don’t particularly think this will actually amount to anything constructive since OP just routinely drops a thread when he gets any real pushback from too many people.

It seems to me he wants an echo-chamber rather than any serious critique or advice.

2 Likes

Now as for my take on this, separated for “brevity”.

The only reason you could justifiabily have this thought is due to a desire for any given Fire Emblem game to suddenly stop the story for about 2 hours to break down the “evil” nations entire political structure and military theology while also explaining the motivations and goals of any officers of note long before they could even remotely be relevant.

You don’t want Fire Emblem, you want a bleeding D’n’D campaign with a Game of Thrones backdrop.

There is anyways going to be issues with how Fire Emblem does these “Noble Soldier” types due to how it’s chapter structure and character focus works.

From how I see things you’d want the gameplay style of somthing like Total War.

I honestly could REALLY iron more of this out but my eyes are killing me and I don’t want to write a post even longer then the OP’s just for him to cherry pick through it for whatever statements don’t fall in line with whatever logic he thinks he has.

1 Like

okay-okay reading this was fun, I don’t have very strong opinions about this character archetype but I do have an opinion about something:
WHYYYY do the camus always look like wayyy more handsome and beautiful than like all the other “evil” guys? like okay take fe8, Selena looks cool and you wanna recruit her, meanwhile we got caellach and crazy wyvern guy lookin like they ain’t slept for 8 months, like okay i mean I know it’s the whole bla bla to make the villains look evil but like we’re comparing esmerelda over here vs quasimodo.
Just saying shouldn’t is be more realistic if there were some HOT badguys? just realistically, yknow garon be crazy cause his top generals are mr twoface and mr clean went gone wrong. just saying, like where are our narcians?

6 Likes

To be honest i would love that but that’s because im a weirdo who likes fantasy politics more than actual fantasy.

3 Likes