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So Your Heroes Have Been Captured aka Dealing with the Inevitable

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  • So Your Heroes Have Been Captured aka Dealing with the Inevitable

    Ahhh . . . another week, another session, another post.

    During the latest session of my group's ongoing campaign (dubbed Freedom Fighters neXt), we had a lot of fun times. There were evil robots, evil cyborgs, evil super scientists, gang wars, and deep conversations on nighttime balconies. Secrets were revealed (your half-brother was a supervillain!), morality was challenged, and our resident half demon speedster even surrendered control of his body to a demon lord. And it all took place on the moon!

    All in all, a pretty busy day. And at the end of said day, the heroes were defeated.

    Now finally in clutches of the infamous Mob they have been battling since episode 1, when they wake up in captivity next session it will be up to me as the GM to justify why these criminals haven't just shot them all in the head yet and are going to be stupid enough to put them in a James Bond-ian deathtrap which will give them ample oppurtunity to escape. And don't worry I do have a plan, but the whole situation got me thinking about what we, as GMs, do once our heroes have been captured.

    For me personally, it largely depends on the villain. Torturing psychopath? Well captured heroes are probably going to have a rough time. Street level super-thug? I'll put them into a situation more embarrassing than lethal. Mob crimeboss who operates on a lunar colony? Well spoilers for my next session, but I'm thinking pack the heroes into a shuttle and shoot them off into space with a ticking time bomb onboard.

    But what about you guys, my fellow GMs? What do you do when your players have found themselves at the villain's mercy? Do you have any fond memories of a particularly spectacular deathtrap? How much monologuing is too much monologuing?

    Let me know what you think!

  • #2
    Re: So Your Heroes Have Been Captured aka Dealing with the Inevitable

    Always depends on the villain, but the deathtrap scenario isn't really about killing the heroes... it's about putting the fear of death --and the villain who defeated them-- before they die.

    * Murdering Psychopath: Why wouldn't he just kill the heroes? Because they're heroes and the psychopathic side of him may want them to suffer more by allowing them to know he's headed off to kill a bunch more people while they can only watch helplessly on the view screen provided by the villain, knowing their time will come as soon as the villain finishes whatever gruesome task.
    * Megalomaniac: The heroes must bear witness to the villain's evil genius, even if the last act they see is his effort to kill them with some clever deathtrap. The villain's ego is so great that it must be satisfied first before any need for vengeance or pride.
    * Sadistic Monster: The villain won't even care if the heroes die; for him it's about watching them suffer. So their deathtrap should be epic and torturous.
    * Villain Who Needs an Alibi: The villain wants the heroes dead, but he can't stick around and watch them die because he has to be somewhere else when it happens so he can deny responsibility later when other heroes start asking questions.
    * Squeamish Loser: This villain wants the heroes gone permanently but doesn't want to think about it, and certainly not watch it happen. This is the kind of guy who would launch them into space where they'll eventually starve or suffocate or freeze or collide with an asteroid or any number of certain death scenarios that he doesn't have to know. For all he knows, they'll even survive the journey and just wind up trapped somewhere... it doesn't matter so long as they're gone.
    * Honorable Archenemy: The "good" bad guy who doesn't necessarily want his enemies dead, but feels like he must make the effort once they've been defeated and captured. He secretly wants them to survive so he can do this again and again until, ultimately, the heroes fail to escape. Then he'll feel bad about losing his greatest foes... so he'll make sure to extend the same sporting chance to the next heroes he meets.

    I'm sure there's more examples to work with, too.


    • #3
      Re: So Your Heroes Have Been Captured aka Dealing with the Inevitable

      Originally posted by Jexxen View Post
      Mob crimeboss who operates on a lunar colony?
      Trust me, after that whoppen, I don't think there needs to be a justification of anything.


      • #4
        Re: So Your Heroes Have Been Captured aka Dealing with the Inevitable

        Enterprising Supervillain: Why kill the heroes when they're so much more valuable alive?
        Possibilities, possibilities... mahwhahahah!
        • Auction the privilege of killing them off to other villains.
        • Force them to compete in the underground fighting pits / intergalactic gladiatorial arena / etc.
        • Brainwash them into superpowered slaves.
        • Study them in a laboratory to figure out how to duplicate their powers, or use their unique traits to do other nefarious experiments.
        • Compel them to go on morally grey missions to take out your rivals after locking them with exploding collars.
        • Interrogate them about the rest of Team Good Guy.
        • Turn one of them into a double agent and then let them all think they've escaped, securing an inside man at the heart of Team Good Guy.
        • Clone them to make the world think their heroes have turned on them before swooping in as their dark savior.

        Subordinate Supervillain: Lock them away until the Real Mastermind who was !!!PULLING THE STRINGS ALL ALONG!!! can decide what to do with them. Bonus points of the Real Mastermind is, himself, an Enterprising Supervillain.

        Reciprocity: Killing the heroes might be a good idea in isolation, but the potential backlash is too great. Maybe there are unwritten rules between heroes and villains with lines that you just don't cross, or maybe one of the heroes is the relative of a real heavy hitter.

        Out of respect: Heroes save a lot of people. Maybe the heroes, or their teachers or parents, saved someone close to the villain. Even the most hardened supervillain might spare the life of the hero who stopped an asteroid from wiping out the city where his child goes to school.