In The Libertarian Gamer: Spycraft, Part 1, I discussed the basic outline of the campaign and possible heroic organizations. But what’s a hero without a villain?
Fortunately, when you’re running an espionage game, there are plenty to choose from! The traditional mad dictator, hellbent on world domination via some sort of super weapon, is natural choice for a first season enemy. Making them later-day Nazis is even better — yeah, it’s cliched, but if you need uber villains with horrific toys, it’s hard to go wrong with the Fourth Reich.
Regardless of what their motivation is, I think a good anti-libertarian villain has to be obsessed with tyranny and the imposition of an agenda through the use of force. They should also be interested in undermining republican ideal while simultaneously espousing collectivist agendas (be they religious, Marxist or something in between). This gives rise to all manner of ideas:
The “Evil” Non-Government Organizations
When you think about it, NGOs make the perfect bad guys. They are, by their own definition, independent of any government while simultaneously antagonistic towards corporations. They often have diverse bases comprised of fanatical followers, and its hardly a stretch to turn them militant.
Imagine an NGO with a publicly-friendly face — a la Greenpeace — but which has a darker side that fuels numerous anti-corp, anti-capitalist terrorist organizations around the world. Groups like Earth First!, but with a bigger budget.
Like I mentioned earlier, Nazis are always good villains (there’s a reason why they show up in two Indiana Jones movies) and provide for an excellent black-and-white campaign. There’s a tendency with Nazis, spawned in no small part by the Indy films, to introduce mystical elements, but I’d downplay that.
While Hitler was undeniably interested in mysticism, the Third Reich’s technological innovations were concrete and real. If I did a Fourth (or perhaps Fifth?) Reich story, I’d focus on the super-weapon line. The order might be organized along mystical lines, but at its core it would be a technological organization.
I’m not a tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorist, but you don’t have to be to know that the government’s engaged in some less than savory activities in the past. I wouldn’t throw my PCs at the United States proper, but I could easily see them engaging in shadow fights with numerous black-op organizations within the government, perhaps rogue arms of the CIA or NSA.
Or, better yet, some secretive group within the government whose eventual goal is the establishment of a new tyrannical order within the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. As for the exact nature of that new order, a connection to the United Nations would work well — shades of the New World Order — as would the fundamentalist state that liberals are always fearing will arise.
And finally, there’s the evil corporation. Yes, I’m not such a diehard liberation that I can’t postulate the formation of a corporation that’s truly evil — one whose products and services are merely a stepping stone to world domination. The PCs would be charged with taking down this corporation, both through battling its covert footmen and publicly discrediting it. Think Enron with its own spy network.