He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city, He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans.
Professor James Moriarty D&D 5E
3 plus ones
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- Do you have any tips on playing strategist characters like this so that they don't come across as dues ex machina or annoyingly omnipotent?49w
1) Foreshadowing: As in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories and subsequent works, there should be lots and lots and lots (and lots) of foreshadowing for who this mysterious figure is. To avoid being annoying with that various minions should know very little concrete information that if anything alludes to a clue (usually they die before revealing anything too good, if I remember correctly).
2) Deceptions: Body doubles, red herrings and false trails, willing patsies to take the fall for this or that bit of evil-doing, and apparent but mysterious deaths. The first and last are going to be cheesiest so use them lightly.
3) Get in their face: If you're playing a game in a desert of barbaric nomads, that's probably not right for Professor Moriarty. In an urban setting or something, socially provoke the PCs--he should send them invites to parties, torturing them at social events with the knowledge that he is diabolically evil and that they cannot prove it (yet, anyway).
4) Environment: Professor Moriarty should really (until perhaps his final end) be the one that really chooses where the party meets. Perhaps they THINK they have chosen the location, but even then it will be part of his plans. Include trap doors, chase sequences and death traps (with mooks to slow the PCs down), and secret doors. I'd include many avenues of escape, roll randomly to determine which he takes, and then have the party decide--quickly, perhaps with a bit of deduction first--which to follow. I'm kind of an impartial bastard as a GM but someone friendlier might be kinder about it. :)
5) The Long Game: Professor Moriarty is not a one-off villain and should be introduced early in the campaign as someone else (a socialite; banker, professor of __, take your pick), his true identity slowly revealed as the adventurers discover that more of the crimes they encounter lead back to the shadowy figure of Professor Moriarty. To be blunt--take your time with him and don't let yourself feel rushed for revealing the party's true nemesis.
I hope that helps. Thanks for checking out his build and commenting! :D49w
- Thanks so much for the detailed feedback! You gave me a lot to think about and work with, as well as validated that I'm not currently doing it all that badly right now. I'm a pretty new gamemaster, and I tend to second-guess myself a lot, so that confidence boost really helps. But I'm also going to take your advice to help refine my process that has been largely guesswork so far. Thanks very much for your time and attention!49w
- well written. If I may permitted to interject a point. Moriarity is extremely intelligent but needs an audience that can appreciate his schemes for what they are, a worthy opponent. An intteligent PC might fill this role, especially one that is not connected to or an integral part of the society to which Moriarity belongs.49w
- A worthy point! Added a bit to the page there :)49w
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