The Generic Villain on Impersonation
Posted by Ravyn on August 28, 2011
Last week’s riff on disguises covered ones that weren’t so much meant to be someone we weren’t as to not be who we were. Sometimes, though, we can’t get away with something quite so—heh, heh—generic. Instead, we have to appear to be someone who already exists, and that requires another set of complex factors beyond the challenges of a simple disguise. What, then, does an impersonator need to remember? Know. Your. Target. If you’re going to imitate someone, you’ll need to be very familiar with how they work and what they do. Verbal tics, skills, necessary jargon, an understanding of their history—make sure you know what they know. Neither should you forget to keep track of what they don’t know, either: we have a long history of impersonators getting caught by answering questions with things the people they were impersonating had no business knowing. Know where your target is. You can have a perfect disguise that’s already fooled everyone around you, and know everything about your target, but all your plans will still go to hash if the real target pops up right next to you. Preferably, you have control over your target’s whereabouts (I’ve always been rather partial to “unconscious in a hammerspace pocket”, myself, but in the dungeons or under close guard in their own wine cellar will do in a pinch), but even if you don’t, you should at least try to keep tabs on what part of the country they’re in so they don’t come swinging in hard on your heels when you least expect them, and if possible, find ways to ensure that they stay wherever they are. For the love of the Dark Powers, stay in character! It should go without saying that when in public, you should act exactly as the person you’re impersonating would. But don’t neglect your face in private, either. For one thing, staying in character even when nobody’s around to see you keeps you in the habits you need in order to avoid your cover being...
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