I remember being at a friends party when i was a kid, and sitting through all these party games where they were giving out prizes, and I got nothin'. After complaining that I never won anything (I was pretty morose as a child too) I was promptly award a prize for the best dancer for shaking my butt in time to Madonna.
Not sure what the moral of that story is. I don't think I've won much since, certainly not on the lottery. Did win runner up prize with a scientific poetry competition based on my PhD, but that's the closest I've come. Anyway, last weekend, I actually won tickets to see Naruto: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow at a special showing in a swanky cinema in the centre of London (it had ice in the urinals! Simple things please simple minds...). I'm a fan of anime, and Naruto is such a great series. It follows a group of young ninja going through training, each with their own abilities (and their own backstory, which usually amounts to them being outcast/ostrcised/ridiculed as a child and struggling for acceptance). Naruto the main character is a bit of a clown but has a nine-tailed fox demon trapped within him, which grants him great endurance to make up for his lack of skill. It's all great fun, and that's what I love about anime.
Watching the film got me thinking. I find a lot of anime is great inspiration for D&D - their heroes and villains often have great abilities that are fun to mimic - and Naruto is full of these. Ninja that control puppets to attack foes, one afflicted with a disease whose bones can grow out of his skin to attack people, a ninja bound to his dog companion who can share a human-dog hybrid form with his pet. All fun to base characters on in D&D, and to provide unique memorable challenges.
Something I've been thinking about is trying to make some of the boss fights in Dark Avenger more distinct along these lines - something to bring in new tactics. Chapter 2 has the PC confront a military fort, where all the best warriors are stationed, so I'm keen to make some memorable enemies with abilities different/beyond that standard class ones. And maybe something to throw a players usual tactics back at them - it's always great when your standard attacks don't work, and there's that little bit of panic as you desperately try something new to counter this.
In D&D, dragons are a good example of this. You fight through lower critters, where your tactics matter less, and all of a sudden you're faced with a huge monster, with many, varied attacks, that need different resistances. It offers something that toe-to-toeing with a lvl20 fighter doesn't. Prestige Classes go someway to offer the standard humanoid villain something like this. But I'm going to have to look into scripting something....
So - people have their favorite memorable villains - in D&D or in film? Any exciting encounters to regale us (me) with?
EDIT: Woohoo - as I post, just topped 5000 downloads for Dark Avenger - got there eventually!