Distressed Damsel
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Basic Information

Heroes do not exist in a vaccuum. Every Hero is but one corner of the Mystic Trinity of Plot: The Hero, the Villain and the Victim, who must be rescued by the Hero from the Villain's, uh… villainy.

Thus, when we reduce the plot to its purest form, we have the Distressed Damsel: the girl tied to the railroad track, the maiden held captive in the tower, Andromeda chained to the rock.

It's common for the Damsel, once rescued, to marry her hero, or at least give him a nice big smooch.



Game and Story Use

  • PCs hate being rescued. They hate it. Never put a PC in a situation where he or she must be rescued by an NPC. It will annoy her.
    • Unless, you can find some way for the PC to be instrumental in her own escape.
  • The Distressed Damsel works much better as an NPC.
    • She could be a romantic interest for the PC; or perhaps rescuing her will make her a romantic interest.
  • If the Distressed Damsel is going to be a recurring NPC, she needs to have more to her than just a victim status, or the schtick is going to get old.
    • "Sorry, I gotta go. Lois is dangling out of a helicopter again, dammit. You'd think she'd learn to buckle up by now."
    • "Dawn's in trouble - must be Tuesday…"
    • An NPC Damsel who is competent in her own right most of the time and only occasionally needs being rescued is less likely to wear out her welcome.
      • Or, more traditionally, she's always getting into danger and needing rescuing, BUT she's a really good kisser!
      • Can serve as the "action detecting dog" by wandering into whatever trouble happens to be about, or a patron who has a tendency to overreach and then hire the PCs to dig her out.
        • For a campaign set in the 1950s-60s, how about Anne Warbucks as a "patron in distress"?
  • Although the victim in distress is usually a Damsel, it doesn't always have to be; especially if the Hero is female.
    • Just ask Steve Trevor.
    • If you want to play it for laughs, make the male kidnap victim as effeminate as possible.
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