The more fearsome and menacing your cultivated image becomes, the more likely you are going to have people fleeing from you. The vast majority of them are beneath your notice, but there will always be one or two who represent something of value to you personally — whether it be a matter of knowledge, wealth, or sentiment — and you may well find yourself devoting more effort in chasing after these than you might expect. There are a few basic commonalities to all chase situations that you can prepare yourself in advance to make the experience less pell-mell scattering and more of a focused surgical sweep
- The mind of the hunted. It is a truism that the ground covered by any manhunt is the ground of one's mind. As the relentless stalker, you need to find out everything you can about the psychology of the target, habits, traits, and patterns, combined with an assessment of the level of creativity and resourcefulness you think the individual is capable of mustering. If you are pursuing two persons, the possibilities increase by more than double, for their two minds are augmented by a common will belonging to neither, even if the two are at odds, which might lead to a surprising path not in line with either one of their individual preferences.
- The perimeter. The world is a big place (the Solar System and the galaxy even more so), and the more places you can rule out from your search, the better. The cunning will employ every means within his or her ability to throw your search awry by planting false clues or doubling back. If the perimeter is very restricted, the manhunt may degenerate to more of a stakeout situation.
- The pattern. The coordinator of a manhunt needs to establish an overall scheme that keeps the various elements from interfering with one another and which leaves no likely hiding place unprobed. Popular search patterns include the spiral, the wave, the clockface, the coordinate grid, the buckshot, the lawnmower, and the confocal ellipse.
- Dogs, helicopters, and search teams. Depending on how stealthy your manhunt needs to be, you may need a few of these or a vast number of them. One which is far towards the covert end is generally called a tail instead of a manhunt, though this is often not completely clear-cut.
- Psychic friends. A talented master of disguise may elude trackers who rely on scent or sight, but the imprint that a given mind impresses on the ether is considerably more difficult to fake even by the most adept. On the other hand, the high difficulty level of obtaining a lock on one and only one mental trace, perhaps one not even within visual range, makes this an advanced technique not to be entered into casually.
- Apprehension strategy. It is more than embarrassing to go searching for an individual and being unprepared for the moment of capture. If it is a dead-or-alive scenario, make sure your search teams have what they need to bring either of these alternatives to pass. If it is one where the target needs to be brought back in reasonably good shape, on the other hand, you need to arrange for the proper kind of restraints (whether physical, chemical, or telepathic) so they cannot properly execute the I'm-going-down-but-I'll-take-as-many-of-you-with-me gambit.
Strokes of genius
- Identity hacking. Your quarry may have had a chance to disguise his or her appearance, whether through plastic surgery, trans-species spaceshifting, or heavy application of cosmetics.
- The cold trail. Everything might be going just great in the manhunt, with a sense that your side is making steady progress in running someone to ground, when all of a sudden it becomes clear that somewhere you have taken a wrong turn and the object of your chase is not where you presumed.
- Advanced capabilities. When you are up against a formidable renegade of some sort it helps to have some superior detecting abilities up your sleeve, whether this be a gadget of alien origin or perhaps a government official you have paid off secretly.
Traps for mere fools
- Falsified footprints.
- Getting lost in the crowd. Crowds of clones are the worst.
- Mutant transparent spectral forms.
- Chaotic intersecting sweeps.
Precious and needful
- Magnifying glass.
- Amphibious strike force. Take care to keep their skins wet.
- How to serve man
- How to flee your pursuers
- How to lie to someone's face
- How to exploit advanced technology
- How to oppress the meek
- How to prank your adversaries
- How to run an institution of higher learning
- How to escape from shackles
- How to betray your master
- How to make a cluestick
- How to stop time
- How to read minds
- How to break up with someone
- How to clone an army
- How to recruit and retain henchmen
- How to remember the five rules of good shapeshifting
- How to worship an evil god
- How to summon spirits of the dead
- How to understand warrior maidens
- How to lead barbarians to their doom
- How to entertain zombies
- Image credit 07/365 DÃas - Crystal Ball by * Iris Laguna Photography *
- Image credit B'elton John by SuperFantastic
- Image credit MANHUNT SHEFFIELD flyer by threedeeglasses