My schedule this semester means I don't really have much time to work on painting my models, much less getting games in. So sadly I don't have much in the way of wargaming information to bring you. No real theory I can tangibly grasp and reproduce for you on how I play warmachine or how you should. What I can do is talk about my own Miranda because I've swung back around to the idea that I might be able to DM.
I'm trying to figure out how to tell a story with players and create a fun gaming experience. I've got a taste for a good antagonist in any story, so I think I'll start building the world from there. The best way I can discuss what I'm considering is to look at some antagonists I've loved in other media, so spoilers ahead. But for anyone who's interested in RPGs and are willing to brave the spoilers, what do you like in your villians?
Now, as I see it there are serious and comical villains. I prefer a serious villain as the antagonist of a campaign, but a comical villain can be endearing in their own way. I put a lot of emphasis on the villain's role in the campaign because most heroes' stories revolve around defeating some villain or threat to their world. If that threat doesn't feel sufficiently threatening to the players, some of the motivation for the players is lacking. There's value in RP and character interaction, my favorite part as a player, but most parties are initially tied together by their desire to overcome their antagonist. In a second campaign or if the players coordinate in making up their backstories, characters can have some reason to be and stay together without a villain to defeat, but I digress.
The last thing that makes villains my favorite is being a Magnificent Bastard: smart, genre savvy and able to manipulate those around them. Heroes tend to be characters who are willing to get their hands dirty and put themselves at risk for what they believe in. In contrast, these villains know how to use their allies and enemies to reach their goals. They're hard to ever count out, even if they're dead, as they seem to always have planned one step ahead of our heroes. They don't always win, but they'll always give the heroes a run for their money and have a damn good time doing it. They don't reach the cartoonish levels of pure villainy, but they do enjoy what they're doing and are as unrepentant as the heroes.
So that's my thoughts. I've tried to layout what I think makes a good villain, but I'm sure I've left out something vital. I'm trying to craft a better world to go with the villain(s) than I did last time, but that's going to take some time to pull off. Until then, what's your views on antagonists? What makes you just want to fight one?