(UPDATE: At Michael Curry and Donovan Morningfire's suggestion, I've upped the Duelist to Villainy 5 (Str 4, Inf 1) and the Brawler to Villainy 6 (Str 6, Inf 0). Thanks for the feedback!)
For my own 7th Sea game, I wanted to have some quick and ready "beginner level" Villain templates to throw at new and inexperienced Heroes. Not the major Villains of the 15-20 Dice Villainy level that may take an entire campaign to defeat, but some less-powerful lieutenants, henchmen and agents that the players can meet, test their mettle against and develop rivalries and plot threads against for future sessions without getting thoroughly trounced in their first sessions.
So I tried to come up with some general, easy-to-use archetypes that would be easy to tailor to different Heroes' strengths, weaknesses and personalities. I've posted some ideas below. Since I haven't had a chance to test these yet, I'd welcome other GMs and players to weigh in on how suitable you feel these are against small groups of starting players (say, 1-4). And if you have ideas for sample Villain archetypes of your own that you think are good for beginner Heroes, please share!
I'll include the stats, my fictional inspirations for each archetype, and my general intentions on how I want to use each Villain for feedback. The various Advantages, Disadvantages and Arcana are just examples and can easily be changed to tailor to a particular GM's preference. Thanks, and please let me know if you like these and find them helpful.
The Arrogant Young Duelist: Villainy 5 (Strength 4, Influence 1)
Advantages: Duelist Academy, Fencer
Virtue: Wily (The Fool); Hubris: Proud (The Sun)
Fictional Inspiration: Jussac ("The Three Musketeers"); Humphrey ("Stardust"); Gerard (Disney's "3 Musketeers")
Notes: This is a very low-level Duelist Villain designed to give beginning swordfighting players chances to get into single combats and gain confidence trying out the Dueling rules. The Arrogant Young Duelist is designed to be an annoying but persistent rival to starting players. If a Brute Squad of Guards shows up to arrest or harass the players, it will likely be led by an Arrogant Young Duelist who is their junior officer. If a novice player is trying to start a romance at a gala masked ball, an Arrogant Young Duelist can show up as a rival for the object of the player's affections. The Arrogant Young Duelist can even be used as a rival to a player who's joined a heroic organization such as the Rose and Cross-the snobbish member who belittles the Hero and challenges him/her to prove the player isn't truly worthy of the organization.
The Arrogant Young Duelist is designed to be more of a challenge to a Hero in a fight than a typical Brute Squad, with a Duelist Academy and the Fencer Advantage to give a bit more 'oomph' in combat, but relatively low Strength to keep the Duelist's Wounds and Raises low and remain fairly easy to defeat. The Wily Advantage allows the GM to have the Duelist escape to face the Heroes another day ("I'll get you next time, Musketeers!") while the Proud Hubris can be played on by heroes to ensure the Duelist doesn't gain an advantage of numbers ("Too scared to face us without your thugs backing you up, eh?"). While he's may be more of a challenge for non-Duelist Heroes, don't forget, he's not all that tough or clever and susceptible to Pressure, Come Hither, a couple of pistols pointed at him, etc., etc.
The Fearsomely Strong Brawler: Villainy 6 (Strength 6, Influence 0)
Advantages: Boxer, Large, Hard To Kill, Slip Free
Virtue: Victorious (The War); Hubris: Indecisive (The Hanged Man)
Fictional Inspirations: The Giant Barracks Guard ("The Mask of Zorro"), The Underground Torturer (Disney's "The Three Musketeers"), Fezzik ("The Princess Bride")
Notes: The Fearsomely Strong Brawler is what every Brute on a Brute Squad aspires to be when they grow up. He's the Villain who crashes through a door just as the players are turning the tables in a bar fight and starts throwing full casks of ale at the Heroes. Or who shows up bare-chested in the dungeon where our Heroes our imprisoned and takes a cue from the main Villain to start turning the enormous wheel on the torture device. The big, strong, not-too-clever menace who makes the Heroes wince in anticipated pain before wading into a fight with the Brawler. Like the Arrogant Young Duelist, he may appear leading a squad of Brutes, or looming menacingly behind a higher-ranking Villain as an intimidating bodyguard.
The Fearsomely Strong Brawler is designed to give a reasonable combat challenge that doesn't rely on Dueling. His Strength is good, and Boxer and Large mean he can roll 7 dice in combat. Hard To Kill gives him an extra wound level, making him a bit tougher to take out quickly, and Slip Free reflects him using his mighty strength to snap any bonds that hold him. The Victorious Virtue is designed to make him even more formidable in combat, allowing him to lay a Dramatic Wound on someone once per Scene. But the Brawler is not meant to be invincible. His Hubris reflects the fact that he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and players should be encouraged to come up with non-combat ways to outwit or confuse him to give them an advantage. If you wish, a kindly or attractive character might show friendliness or compassion to a more sympathetic version of the Fearsomely Strong Brawler, awakening a long-forgotten goodness in his heart and turning him to the Heroes' side in an important Scene.
The Seductive Spy: Villainy 6 (Strength 2; Influence 4)
Advantages: Friend at Court, Fascinate, Poison Immunity, Second Story Work
Virtue: Subtle (The Moonless Night); Hubris: Star-Crossed (The Lovers)
Fictional Inspirations: Milady De Winter ("The Three Musketeers"), La Donna/Alessandra Di Santi ("The Alchemist In The Shadows" by Pierre Pevel), Illista ("The Phoenix Guards" by Steven Brust), Angelica De Alquezar ("The Adventures of Captain Alatriste" by Arturo Perez Reverte)
Notes: The Femme Fatale. The Handsome Lecherous Scoundrel. The Seductive Spy is designed as a foil and opponent for socially-focused new Heroes to encounter and clash with at masquerades, dances, and gala parties. The Spy uses charm, good looks and a total lack of scruples to infiltrate the highest levels of society and steal secrets, blackmail nobility and cause all kinds of trouble.
The Seductive Spy can be trickier to defeat, because the Spy doesn't rely on combat prowess. Instead, the Spy will use Fascinate and Friend at Court to manipulate others into thwarting the Heroes...perhaps by exposing them as uninvited guests ("My dear Comte, how DID these...peasants...gain entry to your manor without invitations")...or getting a swordfighter to issue a challenge to embroil the Heroes in a fight ("You dishonored this lady, dog? I will meet you outside in 10 minutes!")...or even inviting a Hero to a convivial rendezvous and then drugging them with Poison Immunity ("I'm so sorry darling...I put the sleeping draught in BOTH glasses of wine. I've spent six years building up complete immunity to the drug myself. Ta!")
Depending on the needs of your campaign, the Spy can be a ruthless, deadly agent with an angel's face and a black heart, or a charming rogue who delights in the Heroes' company even as the Spy's schemes give them grief. However, the Spy isn't invincible. The Spy is noticeably weak at physical confrontation, and if unable to manipulate any bystanders into fighting or obstructing the Heroes on the Spy's behalf, is likely to beat a hasty retreat (or call on a senior Villain for legal assistance/bail money). Also, the Spy's Star-Crossed Hubris gives the GM opportunities for a dashing Hero or Heroine to awaken genuine (if reluctant) romantic feelings, causing the Spy to waver from the original mission and maybe even double-cross the Spy's masters if a romance blossoms with a player character. Of course, the Spy should waver a few times, betraying both the players AND the villains more than once before settling on a side!