Villain’s Moves

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This is a a list of “moves” the antagonist can make. Ways for them to make heroes’ lives more difficult, create problems for them, fight to put their evil plan back on track.

  1. Personally confront the players.
  2. Send minions after the players.
  3. Hire a rival team of adventurers or thugs to go after players..
  4. Send an assassin.
  5. Send a spy.
  6. Set a bounty on their heads.
  7. Set a trap.
  8. Setup an ambush.
  9. Take hostages.
  10. Threaten an NPC players like.
  11. Frame players for a crime, declare them traitors/outlaws.
  12. Give players quests (by pretending to be nice or through intermediary) that get them to commit crimes.
  13. Reveal player’s secrets, crimes they have committed.
  14. Get your minions into various positions of authority.
  15. Gain control over people in positions of authority (by threatening or bribing them).
  16. Convince authorities/police that players are evil.
  17. Make the public dislike the heroes.
  18. Have a “dead man switch” that will hurt people or destroy something valuable if the villain is killed, set your base/hideout to self-destruct in the event that you are defeated or are forced to use your escape plan.
  19. Know some information valuable to the players (like where hostages are kept, where the treasure is hidden), so players can’t kill them, and must negotiate.
  20. Set a time-bomb. Something horrible will happen unless players do what they’re told.
  21. Possess/blackmail/threaten an innocent person into doing their bidding.
  22. Pretend to be someone else to deceive the players.
  23. Befriend players to use them and betray them later.
  24. Kidnap one of the players.
  25. Join forces with another enemy of the players.
  26. Plant false clues, create decoy trails.
  27. Frame someone else for their crimes.
  28. Kill hero’s mentor/ally.
  29. Foster rivalries, mistrust, disorder, confusion, infighting among players or the public.
  30. Hire people to commit crimes while pretending to be someone else to create mistrust/conflict among two parties. (Example: the bandits “from another country” attacks “local merchants”, Start a plague in an uneducated city and have the “foreign merchant” sell snake oil cures, “native patriot” kills a “alien anarchist, etc.)
  31. Put difficult choices in front of the heroes (like forcing Batman to save one of the ferry boats, to save Harvey Dent or Rachel).
  32. Take away resources from the players (steal their items).
  33. Give people the wrong idea about his powers/weaknesses.
  34. Push player’s buttons, play on heroes’ flaws, temptations, fears.
  35. Develop a good public image, make friends in the government, be beloved by the public.
  36. Seduce player’s allies to the dark side, convince/threaten them into betraying players.
  37. Attack someone by stealthy means (kidnapping, etc.)
  38. Influence a powerful institution (change a law, establish a new rule)
  39. Lay a Curse on the heroes.
  40. Use the heroes for their own ends (setting the heroes on the trail of a rival or a mutinous underling, having the heroes slay a “troublesome beast” that happened to be guarding dangerous knowledge the villain wants, sending them to defeat his rivals).
  41. Hire body doubles or create clones of yourself. Leave the heroes always wondering if they captured / killed the real villain.
  42. Give the heroes legitimate quest that take them far away from villain’s plans/objectives.
  43. If near defeat, shift the blame to someone else (pretend to be mind controlled or coerced into doing the evil stuff) to buy a chance to escape.
  44. Run away from the confrontation.
  45. Make persuasive arguments that make player’s question whether they’re on the right side of the fight.
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