In part 1 of The Smart Villain, we gave two general approaches to how smart villains are handled in game. In parts3 and 4 we’ll discuss the smart villain’s lair, and in our final part, we’ll take a look at the smart villain’s gear. This time we’re discussing, in depth, some community based strategies for your smart villain to employ. To the smart villain, community is of great importance. Not only does the community serve as an information network and a resource base, but they’re a source of minions, a standing militia, and a reputation booster. Here’s a variety of ways that your smart villain can make use of their community:
- Make many allies: Smart villains are often portrayed as surly, withdrawn and egotistical, but it takes little in the way of resources time, or brainpower for your average smart villain to make friendly overtures towards anyone and everyone in their local community that may be of future use in some capacity or another. Judicious use of false identities and other ruses may be necessary when courting factions or individuals opposed to the villain or their more public allies, but the more allies a smart villain has, the more friends, favors and resources they can call on when needed.
- Foster goodwill: Many smart villains keep a low profile, but suffer eventual defeat after the heroes were tipped off to their nefarious nature by a third party. Much like gathering as many allies as possible, a smart villain should try to foster as much goodwill as possible, so that most members of their community scoff at questions of the smart villain’s integrity.
- Informants and Spies: With all their allies in the community, smart villains have ready access to informants and spies to size up any potential threats and alert the smart villain to their presence. With snitches in every corner of their community, smart villains should not only never be surprised by the arrival of opponents, but they should have at least some knowledge of their capabilities as well.
- Double Agents and Saboteurs: Since the smart villain has allies in and controls many of the services and freelancers in his community, it’s easy for them to soften up threats by having their saboteurs and double agents ruin the PCs gear, disturb their rest, or outright turn on them at inopportune times.
- Thugs and Traps: With even less subtlety, the smart villain can simply have allies that are difficult to trace back to them attack threats or entrap them. This can be literal traps and attacks or they can be more exotic, such as legal troubles or similar hoops.