The Generic Villain Returns from Sabbatical

Let’s face it, even villains need to take breaks (or through no fault of their own end up as Sealed Evil in a Can—most of these principles still apply). I’ve already talked about what to do if you’re on vacation, but what about when you get back? Just because some of us have deputies who will keep the minions moving doesn’t mean we all do, and even the best delegated replacement might get a bit… lax.

First off, figure out how much you’ve actually been set back so you can react accordingly. If you’re giving the same degree of response to one of the less time-critical plans being a day behind as you are to, say, finding out that the heroes have located your secret base, talked their way in and run off with all the phlebotinum and not even a casualty on their side to show for it, you have a bit of a problem. (Unless, that is, the response is a calm exterior and a day’s solid work on figuring out the exact causes and means of mitigation, then a steady round of briefing the minions and providing situation-appropriate censure to those responsible for the failure. In that case, carry on.) If you come back, and all of your plans are still on schedule, make your approval known—and if your people are ahead of schedule, find out who did it and reward them appropriately. (Consider also a party. Minions love parties, enough so that they can easily be deputized to handle all the setup themselves and leave you to focus on the important matters.) Make sure your check includes making sure all necessary materials are stocked and/or in working condition; there is nothing more embarrassingly dangerous than pulling out nonfunctional firearms or discovering on the battlefield that someone has switched your healing potions with possibly poisonous tinted water.

Inventory your enemies and allies. The longer you’ve been gone, the more important this is, but we need to remember that even if it’s only been a week’s break, it’s not impossible that something has gone horribly wrong for a key ally. It’s better to find out early than to expect the usual summoned reinforcements from the Dark Priest Across the Hill only to discover that they’ve been killed, redeemed or overly swayed by the urge to backstab you and that the reinforcements are either absent or destroying your flank.

Next, take whatever you usually do to up minion morale and remind them of the importance of the mission and do it. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it works. Heck, I’ve known some people who used raising enemy corpses as zombies, and some who’d even managed to pull off old-school decimation (though I recommend against that one unless you really know what you’re doing, as arbitrary killings have an obnoxious tendency to backfire).

Last, do something to further your plans. You may have rested up, your organization may be on schedule, but you personally have probably lost a lot of momentum, and it wouldn’t be surprising to discover that your organization is working harder against friction than it needs to. Getting something done makes it clear to both you and them that you are back onto the pre-sabbatical schedule and rules, and gets you back into full-on domination mode.

And then? Do what you do every day. Make [your chosen area of planned influence] tremble.

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