I’m in a worldbuilding mood at the moment and, amongst others things, that brings me to deciding on an antagonist. It’s been a very long time since I saw any of them as cut-and-dry evil and have a strange liking for some ever since William Shakespeare entered my school curriculum.
Yet, when it comes to creating them, I find myself favouring “unhinged” as a part of their general makeup. Honestly, I think my muse finds me doing the whole “figuring out why they are like that” as part of her daily entertainment. That or just enjoy torturing myself.
With them being immortal, I found it all too tempting to handwave the reasoning behind why they’re bat-shit-crazy, but – surprise, surprise – having reasons gave them more depth. In every case, it’s an old reason that also moulded them into what they are now.
To be fair, I’ve also got a non-bat-shit-crazy version of this agonists. She’s less fun.
This just may be my go-to villain as I’ve quite a number of these (about … five, I think) and plans for others to crop up in some sequels. I think the logical motivation needed to make a villain like this work is what makes them believable. Yeah, some aren’t any less bat-shit-crazy than the deities, but without the all-powerfulness to get things done, that’s when things get interesting for me.
On the other hand, I’m not sure why it’s practically always a noble (and sometimes set against someone of equally noble birth). It just seems to fall that way.
Of course, there are other types of villains and obstacles along the way (no need to make things too easy for them). But I’ve nowhere near the same number of them as I do the above types.