A rich backstory?
A thirst to prove themselves, to explore?
A righteous cause?
Or…something shiny that will either buy them many nice things or help them kill stuff better.
That being said, you probably shouldn’t troll your players by making “friendship” the final reward.
Like any good complication in a story, they take things from “This can be easily done” to “We have a problem”.
So what do the Mayor of Townsville, J. Jonah Jameson, and King Arthur have in common?
…No, the answer is NOT facial hair!
It’s that they legally command the services of some of the most terrifying weapons of mass destruction in their world!
Besides, ever since that anime made King Arthur a girl in their lore, facial hair is not a sure thing. Unless you’re talking dwarf women (sometimes).
Mind-control. The only thing you need to win a war of words.
In this corner, the ideas of the characters we’re supposed to root for! It’s what they stand for! It’s clearly the solution to the current problem!
In the other corner, the ideas opposed to them! Reasons and justifications for OTHER things!
What’s the handicap? Is it an even match? And IS THE REF LINING THEIR GLOVES WITH WEIGHTS? Or SLOW COUNTING WHEN THEY’RE KNOCKED DOWN?
When two ideas clash in a story, is it a REAL MATCH? Or a bout of PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING?
Because there may be an I in Evil, but there is no Me in Team.
Cool headquarters, check. Diabolical plan, check. Doomsday weapon, check. Elaborate death traps, check.
Now all I need are a legion of disposable goons to do my bidding for me! It’s not going to do itself, after all!
…You don’t expect me to do my OWN bidding, do you? Now go see what that weird noise in the vents was, henchman. I have to explain the reason for your meaningless existence to the internet.
“Sorry, I’m flattered, but I’m in a committed relationship. BEGONE, THOT.”
Love is in the air!
If you’re a writer, it means rich interpersonal drama for the heights or depths of emotion.
If you’re a fan, it means one thing: SHIPPING.
And if you’re a fictional character, well, love actually…sucks. If it’s not the love triangles, the deaths, or the fact that fictional characters are emotional wrecks, it’s the executive team deciding a breakup will boost viewership.
Are they spellslingers? Hack-and-slashers? Do they have a giant robot at their command?
The adventurers go in to meet with the enemy. Based on intel, it’s apparently a lich at the head of a small army of hobgoblins. He’s a sorcerer, but he apparently has a high level cleric under him as well. And as initiative is rolled, the question is:
What do you, the GM, make the lich do?
In other words, Robin goes where Lois Lane can’t.
But wait, that can’t be right! Everyone knows comics are made for 20-to-30 somethings with massive feelings of entitlement about their theories and perceptions!