An observation on the nature of the typical layout of Good Vs Evil wars. Comments and examples welcome.
The symmetry of the battle.
Whenever good and evil come to blows their forces tend to line up along the same basic pattern as each other. For every Champion of Justice there is an Equal and opposite Spawn of Darkness. This is most apparent when the enemy is from a mirror universe but we even see shades of this when The Empire is hunting La Résistance. Observe this archetypal fantasy example:
|Force of Light||Army of Darkness|
|Is ruled by||a Good King||an Evil Overlord|
|Has an army of||Stalwart men||Bloodthirsty monsters|
|With squads of||Elite Guards||Elite Mooks|
|Who are led by||a Hero of Legend||a Heartless Monster|
|Backed up by||His second-in-command||His second-in-command|
|With advice from||Sage advisers||Crackpots and Madmen|
|And a little help from||The Big Guy||The Brute|
|With "other assistance" from||The Chick||The Dark Chick|
|With a bit of help from||a Mystic Sage||an Evil Sorcerer|
|And||the blessings of the High Priest||the preaching of a Sinister Demagogue|
You get the general idea.
The single difference.
There is only the one unbalancing factor in this war. There is but one factor that unsettles it. The Power of Friendship. No I am not kidding, come back, I am being serious here.
Someone, more often than not The Hero, has a plucky sidekick. A chirpy, happy, nice and optimistic character who may be a little irritating or more than a touch silly. Even if there is a toadying sycophant or loyal attache he lacks the loyalty of a true Friendship originated Sidekick. But at some point or another you will have a situation where the Sidekick will be able to save the hero, throw him his weapon at the last minute or, at a pinch, die to show the hero that he has fallen from grace.
Let us do the math here. The Inverse Ninja Law ensures that the armies and the elite minions will have equal sum total power. So we can cancel them out.
The Evil Overlord has skills that are in a different area to Good King but ultimately they increase their side's power to an equal degree. The Five-Man Band and Five-Bad Band are able to stand against each other and the magic and religion is only ever a buff to the base line in any case. So the sidekick is the unbalancing element.
Here is another proof:
Let Ruler = R. Let Army = A. Let Elites = E. Let 5 Man/Bad Band = B. Let Magic = M. Let Preaching = P. Let Sidekick = S.
M(P(RAEB))+S > M(P(RAEB))
Therefore the good guys win.
Any advantage, no matter how small, is worth taking and that any possible ally is vital. The instances where the villains win are often catalyzed by betrayal or the incomplete assembly of the good side. The Sidekick does not guarantee victory, but it does allow the heroes to gain advantage when both sides are fully formed.
It might be interesting to isolate a potential villain with a close, genuine friend, and drive them both to evil together. The fact that Love Makes You Evil may help but we need to be careful that we still have room for a Dark Chick. Examining this effect in Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain driven situations may also make for valuable research.