I would be remiss if I had not mentioned that one of the greatest sources of villains in Mage: the Awakening would be the mages themselves. Perhaps more than the Seers of the Throne, Mages are capable of committing some of the most disturbing of atrocities in their Hubris. Unlike the Seers, the Awakened community is well aware of what they are, of their gifts, of the fact that in many ways they stand apart from most of humanity as their superiors.
It’s this kind of Hubris, coupled with a very human weakness that other Mages are the most dangerous of the villains that the Player Characters can face. Unlike the Seers, they’re not died to some sort of unfathomable mystic agenda. Unlike the Banishers, they can’t hide behind the reasoning that they’ve somehow gone insane. These Mages are aware of what they’re doing, and have the free will to make a choice, and chose to do their atrocities anyway.
Mages are only human, and yet they are more than any human can hope to be. This alone causes a ton of problems as human frailty often wins over the ideal wisdom of an Awakened Mage. That being the case, Mages can use their magic for the pursuit of everything from wealth, sex, love, power, influence and revenge. A jilted lover could formulate a spell to bind another person’s affections to him permanently. A man with a serious hate-on for his boss might find it trivially easy to destroy the man’s life, one facet at a time using any of the Arcana without even being imaginative.
Honestly, nothing serves better as an exercise for someone to think of what could make a vicious Mage villain than looking into a mirror. Taking a moment to examine your life, and look back at those moments when you truly wished ill or misfortune on someone. Now think about what would have happened if you had the means to actually do it with a thought.
While this might seem rather self-righteous, let’s go back to the fact that nobody really thinks that they’re villains, or bad people. As many Psychology students will agree, man has an amazing capacity to justify their actions, good or ill for the sake of absolving themselves of guilt.
Of all the villain types, the other Awakened, that are not somehow coerced or insane are the ones that strike me as the most dangerous of all. They’re deliberate, clever and convinced that what they’re doing is the best course of action. If anything this makes them a perfect match against the PCs since they share no advantages over them, and don’t suffer from any other debilitating conditions.