Lord Sabotage, “tearing teams apart”, Rochester MI, 2014

Villains make the adventure real for heroes.  They surprise moments of strength for heroes and sweep them deeper into a world of mystery, story, and challenge.  Heroes must combine powers and bring their best to defeat the villains subtle and often absurd plans.

Pandemonium, displays her powers of chaos in a monologue, Pine Ridge, SD, 2012

Villains parody the “shadows” of heroes, in both cunning and hilarious ways.  They are foils to heroes, meant to bring out the best in them.  They confabulate with other villains and lead heroes through a series of tricky adventures and plot twists. Villains might be seen challenging heroes into hilarious debates, action packed outdoor adventure games, setting traps and telling compelling yarns.     

At some point, villains weaken and allow heroes to transform them in a memorable way.  They each do this in a way that fits the villain’s personality, story and teaching.  Villains are transformed into a better version of themselves.



Note: Heroes go through “villain training” to prepare them with nonviolent ways of defeating villains.

Mindbender, transformed by compassion, Rochester MI 2015

Mindbender, introducing his fellow villain with obvious powers, Montana, 2018

Master Villain

* chief villains of a Quest or Invasion

* orchestrate in collaboration with chief hero to hold the story together and pace each adventure with real time feedback

* they have the master plan, lead other villains

* this villain is larger than life, in the past has taken forms of cultural tricksters like Iktomi, the collective “shadows” of the kid group like the case of the “Discourager”, or something outrageous like Mindbender making a baby army.

Masquerade, blocks the trail and confuses heroes, Pine Ridge, 2010


* Composed from specific representations of hero’s shadows, like “Miss Irresponsible”, “the Big Interruptor”, etc.

* They follow the lead of the Master Villain, but may be up to their own tricks.  They are transformed one-by-one throughout the adventure to build momentum

* They may or may not lead challenges, but always join with the villain team to add tricks and quips and layers of challenge.

The Team of Total Downers add a general downer spirit as the Master Villain takes “all the fun out of the fun run”, Highland, MI 2017

The Horde

* Hordes make up a general category of villains

* Often bring comic relief, support villains as they lead challenges

* play small parts like luring heroes with video games, blocking a threshold, adding “strength in numbers” to villain challenges.