Things You Might Want to Know When Being the Bait

Some problems can be solved just by kicking down the door and wreaking havoc, but not always. When the enemy is still faceless and their whereabouts unknown, or when going directly after them would only lead to more trouble, sometimes it’s best to be the trap, letting the enemy come to you. But being the bait is itself tricky business. Here are a few things you might want to know before you put the bullseye on your back and walk into the street.

What does the enemy want? No trap will work without the right kind of bait. Bandits and ne’er-do-wells, for instance, might be looking for the rich, the vulnerable and/or the stupid; a spy could be looking for someone particularly credulous and guileless; rivals in a feud might be looking for signs of affiliation with their opponents. It’s easiest, of course, if you already know the enemy’s target—and if you have or are the enemy’s target, so much the better. You can skip worrying about this step and focus on getting out of there all right.

Which brings us to the second question: what happens when you make contact? Yes, most being-the-bait situations tend to end in “combat ensues”, but not only is that a tad vague, it’s not all of the situations. You might get recruiting pitches (plus or minus offers you cannot refuse), social maneuvering of various sorts, complex traps… you name it. If you can’t be sure of what you’re going to be on the wrong end of, your best shot is to consider what you know of the enemy’s objectives and how their tactics might fit into them. That leads us to the next step.

Where are you setting your trap? One of the biggest advantages of being the bait is that you can to some degree choose your battlefield: while you may not be able to get the opponent to strike at you at exactly the time and place of your choosing, they can’t attack you somewhere you’re not, either. Being able to avoid confrontation in specific places by avoiding those places gives you a limited veto. Your best shot is a place that your opponent will consider suitable—no glaringly obvious disadvantages, a few advantageous features—but that also gives you a tactical advantage, like one or more good escape routes or features that blend well with your skills and plans.

What else do you have? Most people who play bait don’t do so alone—it’s just not sensible. If you’ve got allies to back you up or special items to give you an advantage, know how they can factor into your plan and how to use them. Consider also how much your opponents might know about these resources, and how to hide what they might not know about or trick them with what they do. In situations like this, the one with the greatest element of surprise is usually the winner.

What’s your backup plan? Baiting a trap isn’t just tempting Fate, it’s actively hitting on Fate. Something is bound to go wrong. If you discover that the enemy has the advantage, what are you going to do? Make sure you have and know how to use a few surprise tactics and at least one escape route. Some people go a slightly different route, and just make sure that the trap will be sprung regardless of how they’re doing; if you’re particularly overmatched or the type for stupid heroics, that might be your best shot.

Being the one to bait the trap takes a lot of courage, but a good plan can make it safer and a whole lot easier. Think ahead!

Stay tuned for more Things You Might Want To Know When!

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