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The logical extreme of the Obviously Evil motif. These are the people who seem to think having an evil alignment means doing nothing but evil every waking moment, even out in broad daylight. Like, say, stabbing a peasant while several high-level town guards are watching for no reason other than you were bored. If the other party members are lucky, this sociopathic insane behavior will extend solely to the NPCs. If the other party members are lucky, that is. The Stupid Evil character is frequently the type who will betray and murder his teammates on the flimsiest of pretenses (even if he'd gain no advantage in doing so), simply because it's EEEEEEVIL.

Oh, and they get angry when they have to suffer consequences for their actions, like guards and bounty hunters after them. It's All About Me. If a Stupid Evil person has a choice between accepting a reward for accidentally finding a dog or killing the reward giver they will choose killing every time. (Somehow figuring out how to do both requires systematic patience and intelligence that isn't part of being Stupid.)

Similarly, the D&D sourcebook Book of Vile Darkness spent a good while detailing how to run an evil character without being a mass-murdering lunatic; but it does give tips for that, too, since even cartoon supervillainy has its place.

Sadly, if a Computer RPG offers an "evil" path, it's usually Stupid Evil, and it involves committing completely random acts of violence just to get those precious Karma Meter points required to unlock the top tier evil abilities. Only relatively recently did they start adding options for players who want to play sneaky evil characters, with opportunities to manipulate other characters into doing your bidding, or even cooking an Evil Plan. Sometimes, however, this is played anyway because of the Rule of Fun. Watching the ensuing chaos from randomly attacking people is sometimes fun, even if the novelty soon wears off.

This is different from Complete Monster, usually; those monsters almost always have some kind of goal, desires or something else that they're willing to commit atrocities for; Stupid Evil means doing it when it is both pointless and stupid, although the former sometimes does actions that ate considered this and earn a fitting Karmic Death.

It is notable that this is, along with Chaotic Stupid, is often given as an official reason in a work for why the forces of evil haven't completely destroyed the forces of good yet: They're too busy behaving like this, usually towards other evils to focus on uniting against good and conquering the world. There's often a conscious concern on the part of the good guys of this fact.

Compare Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, Stupid Neutral and Stupid Good, as well as Complexity Addiction. Contrast as well Pragmatic Villainy; a villain who is evil only when it benefits them more. Chaotic Evil is the alignment most likely to be reduced to Stupid Evil, for some reason. Threw My Bike on the Roof often overlaps with this.

As with other tropes about characters being evil, No Real Life Examples, Please.

Examples of Stupid Evil include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Hansel and Gretel, the insane twins from Black Lagoon. After being hired to perform an assassination, they proceed to abduct and torture a bunch of random mooks for sport, and then murder the person who hired them, not because he was planning on betraying them, but because they just felt like it. They then decide to go through with the assassination anyway, even after it's pointed out to them that they are no longer being paid. It should also be noted that their target makes a policy of surrounding herself with some of the most deadly soldiers in the world, is a world-class markswoman in her own right, and is justifiably considered within the series to be the most dangerous woman alive...and the twins try to take her out armed only with an axe. It turns out exactly how you'd expect.
    • Another example is Chaka from Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise, who got the bright idea of kidnapping the daughter of his boss, a Yakuza. This incurred the wrath of not only Ginji Matsuzaki, her hulking samurai-sword wielding bodyguard, but Revy as well. Needless to say, his fate was not pleasant.
  • The Apostle Wyald in Berserk, A berserker who put so much effort into being a vicious sadist that he tried to kill Griffith, the one person he was absolutely not supposed to kill. When he's called on it, he mouths off to his superior, Zodd, who tears Wyald in half for being such a moron.
  • Particularly in the manga version, pretty much all of the characters of Ranma One Half have moments of acting like this, particularly if "Smart Evil" threatens the status quo. Two of the most notable examples are Soun Tendo stealing a cure for Ranma's curse with the intent of blackmailing him into wedding Akane with it, only to blab about it in front of Genma Saotome, who promptly stole it... and Nabiki's attempt to sell Ranma Saotome's engagement to one of the other members of his Harem during her stint as his official fiancee, only for the girls to spontaneously decide that it would be better to simply kill her rather then pay her price. If it wasn't for the fact Ranma is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, she would have been killed, making this an example of Stupid Evil on the parts of both parties.
  • Ribbons in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 blows up his own allies, and replaces them with worthless kamikaze machines, that are a complete waste of technology and time and only seems to make him look even more evil for using such machines. Most of the atrocities his puppets committed early in the second season including blowing up a country or two were committed for no solid reason.
    • Given Kataron's ineffectiveness. Without the Meisters, Ribbons can do what he well damn pleases as resistance will be effectively taken out in about a couple of years.
  • Lolly and Menoly of Bleach. "Let's beat up the human girl our boss told us to specifically not hurt as she is useful to "the plan" for no reason other than we're jealous! Then, let's act surprised when our immediate superior mauls us up for it. Ooh, ooh, and then we can hate her EVEN MORE despite the fact she took pity on us and SAVED OUR LIVES!!! And we can try it AGAIN, only this time let's have our OTHER immediate superior kill us!!
    • Although the last part - the Ungrateful Bastard part - is explained by Fridge Brilliance: the two Arrancar were terrified of Orihime after she used God-like abilities to bring them back, since they are creatures of death. Still pretty stupid, though.
    • Arguably, Aizen himself falls into Stupid Evil territory when he attempts to kill Harribel, with his justification of getting rid of those he considers weak seeming completely ridiculous given that person was still one of the strongest on his side and, more importantly, that this was in the middle of a battle where his own forces were severely weakened already. He should have just waited until at least the battle was over.
    • Aaroniero Arruruerie was obviously far superior to Rukia and could have killed her essentially immediately. Instead he feels the need to pointlessly mentally assault her. The only possible reason is that he's just really sadistic. But what's the point?
      • Zommari is similar, his body control powers are so broken he could have killed Byakuya with little effort, but was so full of himself and explained everything about his powers in such painstaking detail that he ended up dead.
  • The buffoonish Complete Monster Genma of Darker Than Black has a scene where he uses his Instant Armor powers to dismantle a truck and then amuses himself by beating up the protagonist while transformed into a human mech. This wasn't the brightest idea for two reasons: First, the protagonist was interested in the MacGuffin in one of the trucks, and Genma showed him which was the decoy. Second, when the protagonist starts escaping, Genma's first reaction is to get in the truck to pursue him, but then he does an Oh Crap when he remembers he just disassembled his mode of transportation.
  • Paul from the Pokémon anime trained his Chimchar vigorously enough that it was legitimately exhausted enough not to be able to battle the next day. We know this because Nurse Joy, a medical professional told him this. So what does he do? He forces Chimchar to battle anyway, and then when she turned out to be right, he was, for some reason, disappointed by this and left Chimchar, thinking it was simply too weak. This led to Ash taking Chimchar into his care and raising it into one of the strongest members of his team.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, both Lust and Envy fall into this, loving to inflict pain so much that they can't resist "twisting the knife" and antagonizing the heroes, even when it is foolish to do so. In some ways, Lust is the worst of the two, as while Envy is a deranged psychopath, he at least generally avoided trying to kill humans who were "sacrifice candidates", whereas Lust was inexplicably unconcerned about this.
  • Kid Buu from Dragonball Z. Left untamed, he will destroy everything, even the afterlife.


Comic Books Edit

  • The vast majority of Comic Book villains between 1930 and 1980 qualify, especially the ones made during World War II, where they really needed to convince the nation that the enemies of the USA were all dog-kicking, baby-eating, nuclear-war-mongering bastards.
  • Special mention should go for The Joker, where this seems to be his power. For the most part, however, The Joker is simply Chaotic Evil bordering on Chaotic Stupid. The Joker's M.O., in fact, can be summed up as the definition of this trope. Only replace "evil" with "funny".
    • Of course, The Joker is sometimes considered a Genius Magnificent Bastard. What is not up for debate, however, is that he is 100% insane.
  • Superboy-Prime also goes from Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds to this, as he's a psychotic teenager with the Hair-Trigger Temper to end them all, though with a very strong Freudian Excuse. That notwithstanding, he flies off the handle at the slightest provocation and responds by destroying everything in sight and killing anyone who looks at him funny.
  • Norman "Green Goblin" Osborn, had the world as his oyster during Dark Reign, with him in charge of the US security, the Avengers replaced with a team of villains loyal to him, and all the regular heroes incapacitated or wanted fugitives. But he just had to defy the President and go rogue and attack Asgard for some reason, losing everything and getting the good guys back in power in one day.
    • The fact that the Norse god of mischief tricked him into doing it explains but does not excuse his behavior.
  • The Monitors in Countdown to Final Crisis, whose plan makes no sense, accomplishes jack shit other than pissing off a bunch of other villains, and involves grandstanding to cover for The Mole even though there's no one for them to grandstand for. Then again, this is Countdown to Final Crisis.
  • Mammoth of the Fearsome Five:

 Psimon: So who do we blow up first?

Mammoth: I want to destroy the United States for putting us in jail all those times!

Psimon: Shimmer, please explain to your brother that it's a bad idea to nuke the United States. Where we are.


Fan Fic Edit


Film Edit

  • Evil Bill and Evil Ted from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. They try to run down cats while steering their time-traveling phone booth, just because.
  • The Umbrella Corporation in the Resident Evil film series seem to live and breathe Stupid Evil. Their actions are geared entirely towards nothing more than propagating the existence of a deadly, uncontrollable virus that has no discernible practical applications.
  • A big problem in Johnny Mnemonic. The thought of an evil Mega Corp profiting from distributing a cure for a deadly virus affecting half the world's population lacks the real oomf villains need so they try to suppress it, instead. However, even though they have no plans on using the cure in any way for themselves or their own benefit, they still want to go through the very specific trouble of cutting off and cryogenically preserving Johnny's head (the only remaining source of the data for the cure), even though they could just shoot him or completely destroy his head, and the cure would be permanently suppressed, anyway.
  • The Wishmaster films, in a big way. The Jerkass Genie actually has motivation for his job: once the person who releases him makes three wishes, genies will be freed from the hell-dimension they're trapped in and rampage across the Earth. He time and again proves not just to be Obviously Evil, but also a unique combination of Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid. He could simply trust that the person who released him would have three things that they wanted to wish for (and odds of that are pretty high), but instead, he insists on causing mayhem and destruction whenever someone makes a wish (particularly random people who aren't the person who can free the genies with three wishes), ensuring that whoever actually did free him will never make their three wishes.
    • It's justified, although it tends to depend on the movie. In all movies, granting somebody's wish effectively allows him to take their soul when they die (and the interpretations of these wishes usually end up with the person making the wish dead), in the third movie, it's mentioned that he needs 1000 souls before he can achieve his goal, although this detail wasn't present in the first two movies.
  • Helena Bonham Carter's version of Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies borderlines on this. She's portrayed as an insane character who delights in petty acts of vandalism like shattering windows and setting houses on fire. In the books, she's described as much more serious - she's considered insane only because of the level of her devotion to Lord Voldemort.


Literature Edit

  • The Forsaken from the Wheel of Time series pretty much ran the areas they were in charge of during the Age of Legend into the ground because the only thing they were capable of doing was fighting. Asmodean, a relatively weak Aes Sedai, was made one of them because he only did things like kill all of his musical rivals, instead of feeding everyone to trollocs. When they were released from their prison, they didn't do much better. Most of the times they are seen holding the Idiot Ball, because they don't seem to understand that they can hold off on being evil for one day. Rahvin allows Morgase to escape because he's too busy brainwashing people so he can have sex with them, and Sammael does such a poor job running Illian that the nobles hand the country to Rand as soon as he kills Sammael. There are implications that they were picked by the Dark one precisely for being people with huge issues.
    • And all the less important Darkfriends (anyone who pledges himself to serve the Ultimate Evil) are even stupider. They spend slightly less time committing evil than their Forsaken masters, but only because they're too busy dying like flies. If they're not being ordered off into suicide missions or being executed for failing other impossible tasks, they're being stabbed in the back by their rivals or casually tortured and killed just for being in the wrong place when somebody important has a temper tantrum. And to add to the Stupid Evil of it, they all earnestly believe that they'll get the immortality and infinite power they were promised even though the Ultimate Evil hasn't given that to anyone in over three thousand years.
    • Jordan himself noted that much of the Forsaken's behavior and group dynamics are based on Nazi internal politics, a group notorious for being really good at out backstabbing one another and not so good at running things. Of the Forsaken only Ishamael cum Moridin has a deeper more philosophical understanding of the nature of oblivion and the Dark One's seeming true goals, arguably he is the most dangerous because he isn't selfishly evil and is much more deeply nihilistic.
  • Draag, the Dark Paladin in Game Night by Jonny Nexus, plays Stupid Evil to the hilt, as his answer to nearly every problem is either A) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and stab it or B) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and torch it. The opening chapter has the GM/God of the world having to rewind time several times as Draag first stabs a gatekeeper before he can tell them the riddle they need to solve to get past, and then stabs the gatekeeper after he delivers the riddle, but before they can answer. Then, once they do solve the riddle, he kills the gatekeeper anyway.
  • Clandish "Cybomec" Consto in Stationery Voyagers. Astrabolo of the Yehtzigs is even worse.
  • The scorpion in The Scorpion and The Frog is the Ur Example.
  • Joffrey Motherfucking Baratheon. Crown Prince and later king of Westeros, and a spoiled brat with way too much power. Throws his royal weight around whenever he possibly can, openly mocks everyone regardless of their standing or authority, has a friend of Arya's killed as vengeance for Arya making him look like an idiot, sends an assassin after Bran Stark armed with a valyrian steel blade that no assassin would have, which leads the Starks to start suspecting the Lannisters of treachery, and orders the Execution of Ned Stark, sparking off a gigantic Civil War.
    • Also Ramsay Bolton. His father discusses this trope in A Dance with Dragons, pointing out the foolishness of his son's openly cruel ways.
  • Tak from Stephen King's novel Desperation. It murders an entire small town for kicks, despite needing a fresh supply of human hosts in order to survive. (To make this even more absurd, the town in question is in the middle of the desert.) The characters even come to this conclusion when they question its actions.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Sylar and Elle of Heroes: Elle is bored on their first mission date and decides it would be fun to kill the rental car guy. Sylar gets one after killing four people in broad daylight and then not even trying to hide all that blood.
    • Also, Peter Petrelli during his brief Face Heel Turn phase after absorbing Sylar's ability and its corresponding psychosis. In comparison, Sylar, for his part, is perfectly capable of faking normal if it will advance his long-term goals, or even of occasionally showing mercy if the mood strikes him. Evil Peter, on the other hand, had No Indoor Voice and was instantly compelled to decapitate every single person that he met after he gained Sylar's craziness.
  • The Master of Doctor Who seems to want to take over the universe for the fun of it. In "Logopolis," he not only accidentally kills octillions of people, he draws attention to himself by randomly killing a policeman and The Doctor's companion's aunt. This is caused by extreme Flanderization he went through soon after his first appearances.
    • The Rani calls him on this: she just wants to rule one planet, beneficently if she can get away with it -- but what are you going to do with the Whole Universe?
    • The new series attempts to rectify this by making the destruction of his homeworld and his species in the Time War the motivation to take over the universe, and giving him a Freudian Excuse as motivation for his more psychotic actions. Its success is debatable. Although he still enjoys killing lots of people just for the hell of it.
    • Alternatively, this has led to the completely serious fan theory that the Master is evil simply to get the Doctor's attention, in the manner of the stereotype of a boy pulling the hair of a girl he likes. After all, why would he consistently target the Doctor's favourite planet?
    • The most likely explanation, offered by the new series, is that while he claims to want to conquer the universe and have big plans, he is simply driven to acts of destruction by the pathology that started when he looked into the Time Vortex and the sound of drums filled his head.
  • Any vampire who, knowing who she is, attacks Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead of running away from her. Newly-turned vamps who are unaware get a break.
  • In detective shows, anyone who commits a crime when they're aware that the famous detective is in the area.
  • In the CSI episode "Bad to the Bone", the killer is close to this (he's shown to have a short temper and be extremely violent). He steals poker chips (and never cashes them in despite having thousands of dollars worth), starts fights (in which he beat a man several times his size to death with his bare hands) and then walks into a diner covered in blood to wash his hands and order a sandwich. He's killed when he decides to try and stangle Grissom when he's swabbing his hands for blood residue and dies in the ensuing brawl with the police (his sister, and only surviving family member, is relieved he finally got himself killed). The rest of the episode is devoted to the team finding the remains of one of his victims in his garden.
    • While he's not the only example in the series, he's the only one who doesn't have the excuse of being on drugs or a stupid kid.


Professional Wrestling Edit

  • Any ally of a heel wrestler challenging a face champion for a title who will enter the ring and strike the champion for no apparent reason, thus getting their partner disqualified (though this actually makes sense if the heel is the one who is champion, since a champion can get disqualified and still keep the title). Sometimes the interfering ally will weakly try to justify this by claiming to have wanted to "help" his friend, which is not only completely ridiculous but kind of insulting as well, particularly if the challenger who was just "helped" is the interferer's superior.
    • Of course, since Professional Wrestling matches are completely scripted, actions such as this are more for added entertainment than due to genuine spupidity.
    • More recently, the ally will usually at least try to wait until the ref's back is turned to do something. Of course, also recently, the ally will usually fail in their effort and end up getting their ass kicked.
  • Kane kept falling into this pattern of behavior when he was trying to get John Cena to "Embrace the Hate" in the course of their recent feud. Although his long-term plan was to poison relations between Cena and the "Cenation" (his fans in the stands) and then between him and his friends Zack Ryder and Eve Torres (and this plan proved partially successful), Kane just could not restrain himself from attacking and maiming Ryder (or further maiming, since he had already put Ryder in a wheelchair) simply because he could, which only shifted attention away from Cena's ambivalent relationships with his allies and motivated Cena to oppose Kane all the more.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Warhammer 40000 has examples of this one.
    • The forces of Chaos (appropriately enough) make some pretty questionable tactical decisions from time to time, including sacrificing hundreds of their own cultists for purely symbolic reasons (as opposed to sacrificing hundreds of cultists for perfectly practical reasons, like summoning daemons, bigger daemons, and really really big daemons to attack their opponents). In addition, infighting between various Chaos factions has spelled the ruin of more than one attack on the Imperium.
      • A specific example: Kharn the Betrayer is such a bloodthirsty, frothing Ax Crazy that even his fellow Ax Crazies don't want to get anywhere near him. This is because he has a tendency to slaughter friend and foe alike when his blood is up. At one point, when the World Eaters (Kharn's legion of Chaos Space Marines) were attacking an enemy force of Emperor's Children (another Legion of Chaos Space Marines), a blizzard so terrible even the genetically-enhanced and daemonically-powered Super Soldiers couldn't take it descended and forced both sides to retreat into shelter. In a fit of rage, Kharn burned the World Eaters' shelters to the ground and proceeded to run around in a psychotic frenzy, slaughtering anyone that came within chainsaw-axe range. Both Legions suffered such horrendous casualties that they were never again able to take the field as a unified fighting force, and are now reduced to fighting alongside other Chaos warbands as shock troops. This is represented in the tabletop game by Kharn's special rules: if you roll poorly to hit in close combat, where any other character would simply miss, Kharn instead hits someone on his own side. Oh, and the quote at the top of the page? The quote on his page in the Chaos Marines Codex.
      • Don't forget diverting shock troops in extremely rare and strong armor, even by Space Marine standards, from a strategically important battle to take out an enemy propaganda station run by a dozen unarmed monks, then annihilating it from orbit while the shocktroops are still inside. Chaos commanders seem to have a collective inferiority complex or something.
      • It should be noted that the symbol for Chaos is an arrow that points in eight different directions
    • Dark Eldar love torturing stuff. Technically, they do have a reason, as they do it so that an evil god their ancestors ended up creating won't eat their souls, but let's face it, they just love torturing people for fun (especially when you consider that doing stuff like that created the thing in the first place). So much so, in fact, that their vehicles are designed for swooping in, grabbing prisoners, and zooming off into the sunset at the expense of all else -- including armor and crew & passenger protection, though not necessarily firepower.
  • Drow elves in most D&D campaign settings. Being forced to live underground, surrounded by swarms of magic-eye-beam-firing, mind-controlling, acid-spewing and other nastiness-causing beasties? Sure, why not worship an insane demon and turn your own civilization into a Social Darwinist nightmare so you expend three-quarters of your energy fighting yourselves?
    • It helps that in most settings the Drow have an Ax Crazy Goddess who rules their society DEMANDS that they constantly double cross each other. She is specifically described as "constantly watching for signs of too much cooperation."
    • Of course, the Drow are far from alone amidst evil D&D monsters and villains here. In fact, some of the most blatant examples are human (many of the Forgotten Realms's Zhentarim come to mind) -- in this case, their individual evilness may be unconsciously or deliberately played up because they have no convenient "monstrous" traits to clearly mark them as Obviously Evil otherwise.
  • Intentionally employed in the Paranoia RPG system, where all of the player characters are supposed to be stupid evil and the "plot" is just an excuse to put them all in one room while they try to out-backstab each other. Not only that, but they're all at the mercy an omnipresent Lawful Stupid NPC, Friend Computer, so that have to try get away with being Stupid Evil while acting like they're Lawful Stupid.
  • The Skaven of Warhammer Fantasy are very much Stupid Backstabbers. While this serves a useful purpose in ensuring only the strong survive, this isn't saying much since Skaven take the We Have Reserves and Zerg Rush approaches; on the other hand, their tendency to turn every minor engagement into a five-way leadership battle is pretty much the sole reason apart from sheer troop inadequacy that they haven't taken over the entire friggin' world. Seriously, in one of the Gotrek and Felix novels, Thanquol could have won by page 200 if he hadn't been sending the heroes to eliminate his rivals out of fear for his position.
  • Lampshaded in the Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade supplement Infernalism - The Path of Screams: "Here comes my Dark Lord! Booga-Booga-Booga!" "No, you don't - taste my steel!" SPLAT! End of story, right? Not if you do (Infernalists) justice." That passage goes on to describe complex and intelligent motivations and behaviors for Infernalist antagonists.
    • World of Darkness as a whole seems to always have a Stupid Evil faction for the players to fight against (or join). In Vampire, we have the Sabbat, who want to rule over humankind openly, ignoring that the Camarilla, their opposing faction ALREADY basically rules the world. In Werewolf, we have the Black Spiral Dancers who would really really like to help the Wyrm destroy the universe. And finally, for Mage, we have the Nephandi who want to help Demons/The aforementioned Wyrm/Every other otherworldly abomination destroy the universe basically for the lulz.
    • The New World of Darkness has its share as well, most notably Belial's Brood in Vampire: The Requiem
  • Subverted with Exalted and the Infernals... most of the time, anyway. Even after offering their souls to the Yozi and merging with a demon, most Infernals are at least practical in their quest to turn Creation into a living hell. That being said, Infernals are expected to be paragons of demonic will while they are in Malfeas, and participate in baby-eating contests and the like.
  • The Rakdos from the Magic: The Gathering Ravnica bloc are this intentionally. They even draw a great deal of their strength from mindless slaughter, which is also reflected in their representative gameplay mechanic (Hellbent).
    • The Gruul might also be either this or Chaotic Stupid, depending on who you ask. They have good reason to be pissed, though: Backstory tells that when the guilds were first formed, the Gruul were put in charge of "protecting nature." The problem is that Ravnica, their setting, is a plane-wide city, so between having much of their purpose being co-opted by the other Green-based guilds, or just eliminated by urban planning, they were eventually cast down as a guild. They didn't take it well.


Video Games Edit

  • Arcanum is a perfect example. Most evil actions fall into the stupid evil category. For example, you recover a wedding ring for a person who offered you 200 gold for it, the wedding ring is worth 30 gold in the pawn shop. The good option is to sell him his ring for 200 gold, the evil option is to murder him (and not get any money since he doesn't carry it on him). Almost every single morality choice in the game is of a similar vein.
  • The textbook video game example is Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins. She's supposed to come off as merely practical and ruthless--but given that she actively suggests you screw over other people who you need to defeat the Blight, encourages betrayal and being a prick to people whose aid you need, and in general, just being a snarky asshole, she comes off as Stupid Evil.
    • The most blatant example of this may be the fact that Morrigan, an apostate mage who has lived her life on the run from the Templars, approves of helping the Templars kill off Ferelden's entire Circle of Magi...because they allowed themselves to be shackled by the Templars in the first place.
  • Completely Averted in Planescape: Torment. You can try to be Stupid Evil, but this just gets you a visit from Sigil's resident Physical God, the Lady of Pain. You get many, many chances to be a highly intelligent Manipulative Bastard, bordering on Complete Monster, though, and probably the smartest of your previous incarnations, the Practical Incarnation, was easily both.
  • Can be played straight, Averted or even Subverted in the first two Fallout games. While it's quite possible to go through the games killing nearly everything that breathes, many of the "evil" sidequests can be accomplished without wholesale slaughter or dog-kicking malice, and many of the "good" sidequests can be solved with needlessly violent acts as well. Need to get a hostage from the slavers? Don't bother negotiating a deal that benefits everyone, or seducing the leader. You can just kill them all! An evil-pacifist run isn't entirely impossible, just annoyingly difficult.
    • To be specific, in Fallout 2 the most ideal ending for New Reno, where it stops being a Wretched Hive and becomes somewhere you'd actually want to live, is gained by wantonly killing everyone save the Wrights (and not becoming a made man with the Wrights, since this will lead to the Wrights using the military tech in the Sierra Army Base to create a military dictatorship).
    • Or you can simply cloak and dagger tactics to eliminate the heads, each being a case of being Hoist By Their Own Petard (Each New Reno head have a way to die without pissing off their fellow family members.
  • A common criticism of Fallout 3 is that, while the game allows you to play "good", "neutral" or "evil" characters, the Karma system much more frequently gives you "good" points for completing quests. It's virtually impossible to become "evil" or even remain "neutral" by playing just the main quest. Therefore, the only way to be recognized by the game as "evil" is to be an unthinking sociopath, literally going out of your way to be a dick, paying no attention to what you're actually supposed to be doing, and in the process engaging in numerous acts that are unnecessarily risky. In other words, the same thing as Neverwinter Nights mentioned below.
    • Some of the main quest "evil" choices make no sense even from the perspective of immoral self-aggrandizement and can only be justified by misanthropic, psychopathic stupidity. The extra caps given for doing the evil options are usually a pittance and in many cases even major rewards aren't worthwhile. What's more valuable? A house in a well placed settlement on several major routes throughout the wasteland (good reward) or an apartment on the extreme edge of nowhere that is under siege by ghouls (evil reward)?
  • Fallout: New Vegas is much better about how evil you really can be, but still a bit stagnant. Legion playthroughs and quest chains amount to about 1/3 of the content of a NCR or House friendly Courier. Granted, New Vegas also reduces the importance of Evil Karma, but at the end of the day you'll probably end up mindlessly gunning down every NCR soldier you can, followed up by gunning down most civilians who are happily aligned with NCR.
    • New Vegas also featured Fallout 3's weird bits of random karma for killing certain NPCs. In particular before being patched, killing randomly encountered(fixed location, but they respawn) Fiends would give you something ridiculous like +100 Karma per kill. If you've spent the entire game as the sickest bastard in the Mojave, your first trip down the west side of outer New Vegas can turn you into a saint in as little as two shoot outs.
  • Street Fighter M. Bison. Not only does he aspire to Take Over the World, not only does he routinely tell the hero that Soon I Will Be Invincible, he also routinely betrays his own freaking underlings, most of whom would be perfectly happy serving him if they continue being paid (Balrog) or if they get to keep fighting/killing (Sagat and Vega). Incidentally, Bison's lackeys usually turn against him and kill him in their (generally non-canon) endings.
  • Guilty Gear: I-No is a dumbass who frequently causes huge messes in the name of That Man. Not only do said messes more often than not have nothing to do with what he wants, but he usually has to clean up after her. As such, it's really quite surprising that he even still lets her work for him.
  • Most of the things you have to do to get 100% corruption in Overlord are just For the Evulz and grant no practical benefit. The most Egregious being the last peasant-killing requirement, which can only be reached by repeatedly reloading one of the town areas to spawn more villagers to kill.
    • The sequel's 100% destruction path is the same. Among other things, requiring you to kill off all the people in your own towns instead of making them work for you. Since the game is not that serious, however, it's not that much of an issue.
      • In the original overlord you had evil vs good, where evil is a mix of a lot of destruction with a little domination. In the sequel you are evil, and your meter is "destruction" vs "conquest". Enslaving people is "conquest", slaughtering towns is "destruction". In the sequel you are not actually forced to be stupid evil if you don't want to.
  • Many of the options for "Closed Fist" in Jade Empire fell under "Kill people or trick them into killing others or themselves just because you can." However, more memorably and in something of a subversion, many of them actually offered the opportunity to provide interesting justifications; you might not just kill the fox spirit protecting a forest because you could, but because her weakness in allowing evil to taint it was a sign she wasn't fit to guard it anymore... or have a girl who was about to be sold into slavery kill her would-be buyer to teach her that freedom is worth fighting for.
    • It is worth noting that if you get your Closed Fist meter to maximum, the dogs which can be seen walking around the city become targetable. Yes, once you're pure dang nasty evil, you really can Kick the Dog. When you kill them they drop health powerups!
      • It is further worth noting that if you're in the city where these dogs are you could also find a chi(health & chi) and focus altars that instantly restore their respective energy bars. Even if you get into a fight near a dog but far way from any altars you can force enemies to drop any powerup on death. Thus, this action is purely For the Evulz, serving no purpose and offering no benefit to the player.
  • In the game Harvest Moon DS, to marry the Witch Princess, the player has to kill 50 animals (which cost a lot of money to acquire, and then make the player a lot of money in return), litter in the road and poison the stew pot at a festival (which makes everyone else in the valley hate you, naturally), and pass out from overwork 100 times (which costs time and money, again, as passing out will cause you to go to bed immediately and lose half of your gold). Surely there are easier ways to prove that she's evil besides making you play the game horribly to make her like you?
  • The Demon Path of Soul Nomad and The World Eaters. Once you beat the game normally, the New Game+ option opens up to play the game evilly. And boy can you. As a baby-killing, genocidal monster whose only goal is to kill everyone in the most painful way possible, the characterization lies not in you but in the previous timeline's villains who have to deal with you being Eviler Than Thou. Some actually turn good in this timeline, having joined forces with the heroes opposing you and discovering they like it. Others are still evil, but are scornful of the pointlessness of your actions or are eventually driven mad just by being around you.
  • Lilarcor from Baldur's Gate II is Stupid Evil personified, seeking only to kill everything the party meets -- and he's a sentient sword, with a personality apparently based on a fantastically stupid hick, which fortunately means he's incapable of doing anything on his own.

 Lilarcor: I don't know what you were expecting, but as a sword I'm pretty one-dimensional in what I want.

  • The Baldur's Gate series in general. Most often, the 'evil' dialogue and quest choices have you acting like a big Jerkass to everyone you meet, for no good reason. And the rewards are usually worse than if you'd taken the 'good' path.
  • Mass Effect is a notable exception to the "evil or equivalent is always Chaotic Stupid" tendency in CRPGs. The evil-equivalent options tend more towards I Did What I Had to Do or even Lawful Stupid. Even things as subtle as taking a more aggressive or reckless tack in conversations can earn you a few points for it. You do tend to have to kill more people on this route, but you tend to kill them because it's the most expedient route or "lawful" option, while the good-equivalent emphasizes restraint, helping those in need, and finding a peaceful and equitable solution whenever possible.
    • Renegade Shepard does, however, engage in a great deal of Insane Troll Logic on occasion to justify racking up those renegade points.
    • A low-score Renegade Shepard may be the best example, as not only will their overly aggressive dialogue fall flat on its face and fail to intimidate anyone, the only way to really get a low score in Paragon or Renegade is to alternate answers. It's no wonder s/he can't intimidate people, s/he probably just made some compassionate overtures, then said something bigoted, then over threats and then back to compassionate.
  • Neverwinter Nights (and its related expansions) works like this when it comes to the Good/Evil alignment axis. It's almost impossible to gain evil points unless you kill anyone who looks at you a little bit funny, regardless of the number of witnesses or your own personal credo. Meanwhile, performing any kind of altruistic act -- even for nefarious or selfish purposes -- will have you racking up the Good points.
    • Unfortunately, this is one of the major weaknesses of alignment in NWN, in that most characters end up as dog-kicking evil, or good. Almost no subtle, selfish evil, and it's very hard to maintain a neutral character over a long (series) of modules.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer introduced a mechanic of "soul consuming". Your character is given the option to suppress the urge (lawful & good points on alignment meter) or indulge in it (evil and chaotic points on alignment meter). Suppressing / consuming happens at regular intervals of real time. Indulging actually increases the rate of hunger generation, should you indulge, your hunger will grow enough to consume your own soul, ending the game permanently and requiring that you restart the entire game from the beginning or a far enough ago save where you can still salvage it via suppression. The consume path is thus nearly impossible to play to completion unless you do a speed run. This means almost everyone suppresses and are 100% Good/Lawful despite being utterly evil in their choices. A patch was released to resolve this situation by making suppression not affect your alignment.
  • The Mastermind of Mastermind World Conquest, whose goal is to destroy the Earth since he thinks it's the same thing as World Domination. He's also a big example of a Bad Boss, who takes more joy in executing Patsys than he should.
  • As mentioned above, RPG video games can push this to the point of ridiculousness. In the case of Knights of the Old Republic, it seems to be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: no sane light-siders like Carth or Bastila would stay with someone who kills every single NPC just because they can, but for the player, it's justified by their pursuit for Dark Side Points.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II presents much more variety in dark side options, such as convincing a mother to sell herself into slavery so she can be together with her daughter. In fact, the game recognizes two kinds of dark side acts: "cunning", which represent a Manipulative Bastard and which your teacher Kreia approves of, and "psychotic", which correspond to Chaotic Stupid and which Kreia scolds you for. There are other party members who do approve of psychotic acts, though, like the assassin droid HK-47.
    • On the other hand, there are moments when you are forced to learn how bad Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Stupid are by the mechanism of only giving you those options. No matter how subtle a villain you are, when a beggar asks if you have any spare change, your only options are giving him money or threatening to kill him. Which means it's lecture time from Kreia, and she won't be telling you to just keep walking and avoid eye contact.
    • In The Old Republic Overseer Tremel will actually call you on this during one of the opening quests for the Sith Warrior if you decided to kill a spy that the Empire had taken prisoner instead of taking the light side points by sparing her life in return for her service to Imperial Intelligence. If you kill her Tremel basically tells you to never waste someone who could be of use to you.
  • The Combine in Half Life 2 are the Lawful Evil version. They invade Earth for the sole purpose of consuming all its resources (including draining the oceans) and using humans as cannon fodder soldiers, and while they're there they implement a needlessly brutal totalitarian regime in which the "civil protection" forces have "beating quotas" and any captured "Anticitizens" are transformed into the horrific Stalkers.
  • The Ilwrath in Star Control 2 are the epitome of "TORTURE AND BLOOD AND DEATH, BAH HAH HAH" Stupid Evil. Turns out there's a reason for it, though -- the Umgah have been interfering with their culture for generations as a practical joke.
    • You can even momentarily confuse them in a conversation by pointing out that they self-identify as "evil", yet it is the preferred behaviour in their society, meaning that acting "evil" is actually a good thing in their value system, and therefore them calling it evil is a paradox.
  • While calling anyone is Touhou evil is inaccurate at best, there are still those that fall into this trope (Stupid Antagonism?), causing mayhem for petty reasons (if they have any at all) in spite of the miko with impervious Plot Armor that will not hesitate to beat the living crap out of them. The best example is Utsuho, who goes mad with power and has ambitions to Take Over the World almost immediately upon receiving her powers from Kanako.
    • In Utsuho's defense, she was stupid before she was evil.
  • If you decide to venture down the path of Corruption in Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, you'll end up doing things this way most of the time. For example, the very first atrocity to commit is to blow up the city gates thus leaving it unprotected...OR you can walk ten meters aside and open the gates with a switch. Every time corruption points are awarded for lingering with a mission, rest assured that you will have to actually wait for the timer to expire twiddling thumbs two steps away from the objective. Tainted wargear is just moderately better then the "clean" one so it'll be more like "damn, Cyrus' corruption level is low! Ok, what can I give him to fix things up?" And powers of Chaos, while great, have such long cooldowns it makes them essentially Too Awesome to Use, so they too will be mostly used for they corrupting potential.
  • Joe Barbaro from Mafia II, I guarantee it!!
  • There is a mission in City of Villains that invokes this trope. When checking on a Arachnos base, the agents you come across are spouting Stupid Evil lines. This is your first clue that something is wrong, as most Arachnos agents are Punch Clock Villains. Then, when you defeat one and it blows up, you figure out that they're Nemesis Automatons, which are known for being perfect replicas, until you look closely.
  • Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater is this trope incarnate. When he captures Big Boss, and "interrogates" him, he actually manages to reverse interrogate him, as Big Boss is too busy being beaten half to death to say anything, and Volgin is busy disclosing the location of The Philosopher's Legacy. Later, when he and Snake are preparing to fight to the death, Snake asks what that is exactly, and Volgin tells him for no discernible reason.
  • Admiral De Loco from Skies of Arcadia. Unlike the Big Bad, he's not in it to make the world a better place, and unlike some of the other admirals he's not a Punch Clock Villain or in it for the fringe benefits. He just plain likes burning things and hurting people, and working for The Empire gives him plenty of opportunity. While he is clearly bugfuck insane and often lets his passion for pain and his vendetta against Vyse get in the way of making the right decisions, his position as the chief of Valua's research and development division is the only reason they don't just jettison him. And nobody gave a damn when his ship blew up in the Vortex after his last battle.
  • Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat is obsessed with conquering other realms, and merging them into Outworld, so that (being the megalomaniac tyrant he is) he can not only cause devastation during his invasions, but exploit and oppress survivors for his own egotistical gain. He's treated as the personification of evil in the series. Problem is, as indicated in his ending in Armageddon, he conquers everything in the universe, destroying all land, seemely destroying all life too. And with nothing else left to conquer, he is left alone forever... to essentially grow mad with bordom.
    • Moloch's ending somewhat counts as well. Yes he is a lumbering, towering, destructive demon from hell, but his non canonical ending in Armageddon reinforces that stereotype by telling that he would gain so much power and rage, becoming the ultimate destroyer, but in his stupidity and haste to unleash his power straight away, he destroys all portals to escape the realm he is in, and thus is unable to inflict his wrath upon other worlds.
  • In the Lost Chapters version of Fable, the evil option of the final choice is this. The options are either A. Throw an evil talking mask into the lava (Good) or B. put on the talking mask that tempts you with power and obviously just wants you to put it on so it can possess you (evil). Guess which option is the smart one and which is the really, REALLY stupid one. Come on, guess.


Web Comics Edit

  • In Looking for Group, Richard started out like this. In fact he's still like this a lot. It helped with him being undead and a powerful sorcerer, not having to suffer any real consequences for his actions - although the other party members certainly did.
    • Recently revealed all his Stupid Evil acts DO have a point though. When he murders innocents for no reason he gets to keep his inability to feel pain or be harmed.
  • In Dresden Codak, Dmitri's "Dungeons & Discourse" character is a Stupid Evil "Dark Kantian" as a parody of Kantian philosophy.
    • "I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility."
  • Belkar from Order of the Stick is a great example because he's not just evil in a stupid way, he's evil because he's stupid. When Vaarsuvius cast a wisdom-boosting spell on him, he swore off evil and needless killing. Then V dismissed the spell and he ran off to kill things. However, he's recently had a vision/hallucination of Lord Shojo which has seemingly convinced him to avoid this; if he's a bit more selective with his carnage and act as if he's playing by everyone else's rules (in his word "faking Character Development"), he can get people to stop hating him and possibly even get them to do what he wants.
    • Considering the setting (Dungeons and Dragons), Belkar is eerily effective at times compared to more intelligent and less stab-happy people.
      • Belkar may also be smarter than he looks, as shown when he did a pretty effective job of dismantling Miko despite her ridiculous combat proficiency. He is defeated off-camera.
        • Of course, then he was just as stupid as you'd expect when the little hole in his resurrection plan is pointed out.
  • Subverted in the RPGamer comic Knights of the Dinner Table, where player Sara Felton becomes evil because of a cursed object, but acts, as she points out, definitely not Stupid. And she likes it.
  • Black Mage from ~8-Bit Theater~, who puts the "sociopath" back into Heroic Sociopath -- and removes the "heroic" for good measure. His apparent solution to every problem is "kill everyone, starting with the people I hate", and it seems the only reason he hasn't put this plan into action is that he doesn't know where to start.
    • He also has a flowchart.
    • Kary is also this, considering she blows up her own minions just for fun and to prove that she is evil. Later, she blames the Light Warriors for killing her minions despite admitting that it was all her fault.
  • Minor villain, Jaxon, in Dominic Deegan is in the middle of a chaotic and extremely dangerous wilderness when he decides to stab his boss and go hunting for a monster that completely outclass him. Later, while wounded, he decides to attack the unscathed main character. He's either classic Stupid Evil or just suicidal.
  • Bangladesh Dupree of Girl Genius has to be beaten unconscious so she stops trying to kill the guy trying to keep the airship they're on from being destroyed. Her attempts to follow orders inevitably add a lot of "kill people" between the lines.
    • In all fairness to that first example, she was dazed, delirious and barely awake, and he had recently broken her jaw. And he did that because she attacked him when she saw him dragging her unconscious boss through the halls.
      • Bang also (surprise) see Klaus as some sort of a fatherly figure, so the first time she could as well be protective. In her case it's sometimes hard to tell motivated violence from unmotivated. She's the girl who complains about orders to not burn any towns and then adds "even if a town really needed burning".
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic when princess Dewcup tried to join the Drow because Evil Is Cool, she got a thing or two mixed up.
  • Jack Noir (the alpha version, anyway) recently took a hard right into this trope via a Jail Break-like imprisonment sequence. He ends up beaten senseless by a gang of burly Prospitians.


Web Original Edit

  • Sailor Nothing does a great Lampshade Hanging on Stupid Evil with the Yamiko, as lone-Punch Clock Villain-in-a-race-of-dog-raping-psychos General Cobalt finds out the hard way...
  • By one definition, "There is a fine line between Chaotic Evil and incompetent Lawful Evil."
  • In his regular editorial for the Role Playing Public Radio podcast, Tom Church explained that part of his hatred for the Star Wars RPG is the insistence of players on playing Sith while unable to grasp the concept of quiet, calculating menace that makes them such appealing villains in the first place. "Would you like to go out for some babies later this evening?" "Why yes, that would certainly hit the spot."
  • Team Four Star's abridgment of the Dragon Ball movie The World's Strongest, found here, turns the entire conflict into the work of Dr. Kochin, whose plans to restore the movie's original villain, Dr. Wheelo, from being a Brain In a Jar to having a body of his own, are rendered both unnecessarily complicated and, well, evil by his seemingly inexplicable insistence on making everything a matter of abduction, violence, and, on the outside, "first thing that sounded good" thinking.

Western Animation Edit

  • In one episode of Samurai Jack, Aku promises a genius scientist to spare his village if he will make some super-robots to destroy the title character for him. The scientist does so. After they are done, Aku decides to "test them" by destroying the scientist's village for no reason whatsoever. This naturally leads to said scientist giving Jack the means to defeat these robots. Aku threw Villain Balls around a lot; there were many occasions he successfully caught Jack but ultimately came out short due to his sadistic tendencies, be it stalling his execution in favor of a Cool and Unusual Punishment or doublecrossing a Noble Demon that has the means to his escape for the sheer kick of it.
    • Which is Fridge Brilliance as Aku is constantly portrayed as the physical embodiment of evil. This means that his nature compels him to do Stupid Evil things even though forgoing them temporarily would allow him to solve his problems faster.
      • It's telling that Aku went for the direct killing blow exactly once, having beaten down Jack, pinned him with a massive claw, and was in the process of skewering with his own blade. Sadly (for Aku anyway) the blade simply goes 'plink' against Jack's skin, leaving Aku so shocked that his eyeball flames poof out. Turns out that, since Jack's blade was forged to fight the ultimate evil - AKU HIMSELF - it couldn't hurt those who were pure of heart.
  • Almost all the Captain Planet villains seem to have no other desire in life than to pollute the planet for the sake of polluting the planet. It's rare that the villain is actually trying to accomplish another goal with pollution being an unwanted (or even wanted) side effect.
    • Plunder, with his endangered animal hunting, seems to have basic greed as his ulterior motive as he seeks to cash in on his extreme poaching. This is the most sense that any villain makes on that show, and even then it's as one-dimensional as it gets.
      • Even then, Plunder already has enough cash to finance any business he feels like and yet he consistently chooses those that will lead to a superhero and his teenage hit squad wrecking everything for him seemingly just so he can be an asshole to the environment.
    • Though Sly Sludge was just out for money. In one episode, he was almost a good guy, legitimately disposing of toxic waste for profit, although he didn't realize that his method, a shrink ray, would undo itself after a certain amount of time.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Admiral Zhao of the Fire Nation invades the capital of the Water Tribe; while there, it's revealed to him that there are spirits present that represent elements in nature and that harming them will have dire consequences for the world -- not just the Water Tribe, the whole world (Fire Nation included). So what does he do? He decides to kill the Moon Spirit for no other reason than spite and pride. Gee Zhao, you think having the Moon might be a little important? He of course dies a Karmic Death when he once again chooses spite over common sense.
  • In the Grand Finale of Transformers: Beast Wars, Megatron picks up the Villain Ball by deciding to kill the entirely helpless human village before the armed Maximals, and was attacked while waiting for it to recharge. To add insult to injury somehow the attack failed, and it appeared the only ones who died were Quickstrike and Inferno.
  • Dr Robotnik of Sonic Sat AM leaned into this in later episodes. The guy savored polluting the earth and was vehement on destroying all sentient life or robotocizing it into a mindless slave, leaving him the only free willed being on earth, par his nephew and subordinate, who he was proved to find rather dispensable as well ). He also fell into other cliched Villain Ball, capturing Sonic frequently and putting him in an easily escapable Cool and Unusual Punishment, and regularly abusing his potentially dangerously skilled minions (in the comic adaption Snively did indeed alter Robotnik's devices to kill him as revenge).
  • Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races is on the low end of evil, always wanting to cheat to win, but finds himself, despite pulling ahead numerous times, stopping to try and sabotage the racers ability to race, despite having a huge lead. In the unaired pilot for Wacky Races Forever, Dick gets ahead, takes a nap, has a conversation with his boss, disobeys a direct order to win because he's got it in his head that this was a coded message telling him to do the opposite, and then drives toward the other racers to try and drive a giant cheese wedge into his opponents... despite being only a few feet from the finish line. Dastardly openly declares it's because he can't win fairly, he has to cheat.
    • Though this was almost subverted in one episode where Dastardly, at the end of his rope, decides he's going to win fairly, and immediately blows past all the racers....only to stop to sign an autograph for Muttley, costing him the race.
    • There was another instance he almost won, but he just HAD to extend the nose of the Mean Machine to make sure he gets in first, resulting in him getting disqualified. Another time, he's one of the racers tied for the lead, untill he hears it will be a photo finish, causing him to immediately stop, get out of the car and pose.
  • Invader Zim veers between this and Chaotic Stupid:

 Zim: I put the fires out!

Tallest: You made them worse!

Zim: Worse... Or better?

  • Lampshaded in Justice League Unlimited: The Flash, stuck in the body of Lex Luthor (don't ask), has to keep up the charade of being Luthor in front of a gang of supervillains. The problem is, all-around-good-guy Flash has no idea how to act like a bad guy, much less one as suave as Luthor, which leads to this exchange as he's walking out of the bathroom:

 Dr. Polaris: Hey, aren't you going to wash your hands?

Flash (in Luthor's body): No. Because I'm evil!

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