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Basic Information

An archetypal role for a mythical creature or villain in which it seeks to abduct humans for a variety of purposes. In many cases the hero of a tale (like the PCs perhaps) then has to rescue the abductees from bondage. In other cases the victims are gone forever (eaten perhaps) or only freed when the captor becomes bored with them.

Motivations for abduction may include slave taking, hunger, lust, scientific curiosity, identity theft or the desire to punish some crime or breach of taboo by the abductee or their relatives. The abductor may also demand ransom, or wish to force the abductee's loved ones to perform some action in return for release, although this is more common with human abductors than mythic archetypes. In some cases, the abductor may take their captive to replace a relative or dependant that they have lost - whether the abductee has any connection to their loss or not - and a few abductors take someone they intend to turn into their heir or successor1.

Creatures with the abductor role include:

See Also


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The PCs will usually be in the role of the rescuers, trying to save the abductee.
  • It's possible for the PCs themselves to be abducted, but they generally won't like it. If you want a plot in which the PCs find themselves in a villain's clutches, be sure to give them some means to effect their own escape; or at very least something to accomplish while they're waiting.
    • Let's face it; sometimes the dice do not roll well. If the players do something stupid, and/or botch all their rolls and are at their enemy's mercy, instead of having them simply be killed, you might consider having their enemy capture them instead. This will give them an opportunity to live to fight another day.
    • This can also work in games where PCs are more used to being the toys of fate such as Call of Cthulhu. Players who don't expect to win can be pleased to survive.
    • The abduction could be a campaign start: "you all meet in a prison" - specifically the holding area of a alien spacecraft.
    • It can also work to give the PCs a look at the Big Bad or the Dragon early on in the campaign when he captures them with overwhelming force (possibly stamping on one of more NPCs that they know are more powerful than they are).
  • In a more ambiguously-themed campaign: The PC's themselves are the abductors! They have been hired by their patron to capture someone. Perhaps a criminal who needs imprisoning; perhaps a runaway princess who needs to be returned to her family.
    • A men-in-black campaign might qualify as well, or anything else where there is a masquerade to be preserved.
    • A sci-fi campaign might well require members of a primitive alien species to be studied prior to formal contact - the away teams from your version of the Enterprise might end up abducting random aliens.
  • Any single gender species or organisation might well reproduce by abducting and transforming children.
    • Realising that, say, hags reproduce by abducting human girls might make killing them much less straightforward.
    • This was, effectively, how the Ottoman Janissary Corps recruited - having the sons of non-muslim families kidnapped (a process known as devschirm) and raised as Janissaries.
  • Expanding on that, taking your enemy's children and raising them to hate him is a particularly devious plan.
    • As demonstrated in Animal Farm … and, for that matter, in the later seasons of Angel.
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