Sunday, June 8, 2014

Life at Stage 2

Earlier in the guide, I recommended that you be at least Stage 3 to embark on a life of villainy. Some people just can't wait, and many up-and-coming villains will be fighting Stage 2 heroes. So let's talk about life at Stage 2.

Everyone reading this guide should remember what it was like growing up. Broken bones would set themselves. You'd do better than your peers at school, in sports, and so on. You were better looking, faster, stronger, and generally more awesome. What I want to talk about is the people who don't make it to Stage 3. These are the kids who avoided getting into a life-threatening accident, the ones who didn't take a bullet or get in a car wreck or whatever.

The basics of Stage 2 heroism and villainy look pretty similar. You'll see some common points:
  • Body armor. Yes, you won't permanently show bruises or suffer from broken bones, but do you really want to be hurt to begin with? Of course not.
  • Exploitation of mundane advantage. Know all those brooding vigilantes of the night? They work at night because it's an advantage that serious powers can usually cover. They encourage a fearful reputation because it's an advantage. Vigilantes with guns are effective because guns are effective. A good Stage 2 super knows how to leverage the environment and his available resources.
  • Secret identity. Some Stage 3 and up supers don't bother, but a day job is still a necessity at Stage 2. They still have to eat, sleep somewhere, and so on. That means money, and that means a job. If they were lucky enough to inherit money, that money is still legal and aboveboard and leaves a trail.
Remember that Stage 2 makes for superior physical and mental traits. Stage 2 supers are typically successful in their chosen field - business, politics, or whatever. A lot of villains who are being harassed by a Stage 2 vigilante have gone after especially successful members of their community, with mixed results. On occasion, a villain has even kidnapped their nemesis and didn't even realize it.

Don't count on being able to identify your target through injury, either. A lot of villains have tried this. They'd break a specific bone or leave a scar or something. Two days later, the millionaire industrialist they suspected would appear at a charity ball, free of any such injury. Word to the wise: even at Stage 2, supers heal quickly.

Some villains say it's bad form to know a hero's secret identity. Others will firebomb their nemesis' home given half a chance. You have to figure out how you feel about this yourself, mostly because karma can come back and bite you hard if you cross this line. All I will say is: if you need a trump card, this isn't a bad one. Just don't play it until you're out of better options.

Tactics for fighting against a Stage 2 hero:
  • Wear him down. Sure, if he's armored, weaksauce attacks may not seem useful. You want quantity, not quality here. Eventually he'll get tired, or frustrated. Even if his body is capable of going on, his heart won't be in it.
  • Negate his advantages. Look for the things he leverages - darkness, fear, whatever - and commit crimes at times and places where those are not helpful to him.
  • Network. Most Stage 2 supers are similar, as mentioned. This means most villains who fight them will have a common collection of tactics for dealing with them. Talk to your fellow villains - if you can - and find out what specific advice they can give you.
  • Timing. With a secret identity, a Stage 2 hero won't be able to fight crime 24/7. Try to get a sense of his schedule, if he keeps one. Plot his appearances on a map of the city, do crimes in different parts of town, and look at his response times. Hopefully you'll be able to narrow down his location.
I've got my own specific advice for specific heroes I've fought, but I'm saving that for the premium guide. Sign up today to pre-order "Mr. Big's Playbook"! I'll have Paypal links up soon, promise.