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The various enemy groups within City of Heroes display many tropes in their own right.

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     Major Enemy Groups 

The biggest villain group of the setting, and one found through all level ranges. Villain Players work with/for Arachnos, while Heroes must defeat it at every turn. Arachnos rules the Rogue Isles utterly, and constantly send forces to attack Paragon City. Their leader is Lord Recluse.
  • Animal Motifs: As the name suggests, Arachnos has a spider theme - the only members that don't are the Mu Mystics.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Captains and Widows project stat boosts to all local soldiers, in-game this is due to Lord Recluse observing the situation through a Psychic Link and giving step-by-step instruction on what movements to anticipate, making soldiers react according to a super genius, so fast that it’s all basically intuitive.
    • This is also a base function of the Arachnos Arbiters, but for societal issues instead of combat.
  • Bad Ass Normal: Most of the rank-and-file soldiers are regular humans just with really good military training and support, yet they can still take out entire teams of super-heroes, NPC or PC, if their opponents underestimate them.
  • Better Living Through Evil: According to NPC chatter, a few Arbiter and Operative quest givers, Arachnos covers medical expenses, pays well, comes with company housing, free schooling for the children of soldiers, a generous retirement plan, sick days and even three weeks of paid vacation a year! There is a reason Arachnos never needs to draft anyone or use propaganda. Just... don’t let them down.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: One of the very, very few Card-Carrying Villain examples. With all the psychic, mind-control and possession powers out there, Arachnos keeps itself from being compromised by making psychic-conditioning requisite to receive a promotion into the upper ranks. Needless to say, they edit out any dissenting thoughts against Lord Recluse while they are at it.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Arachnos Widows and Fortunatas.
  • City Guards: Some Arachnos mooks serve this role in the Rogue Isles, while the Arbiter Drones are invincible guardians of safe zones.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Half the time they are fighting other villains it is for this reason. In combinations with their Darwinian outlook they feel villains who can't be proper villains should either learn to be or die.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Has both male and female minions, though the NPCs are gender segregated, with female 'Widow' assassins and 'Fortunata' psychics, while males are Wolf, Bane and Crab Spiders. The player epic archetype Soldiers of Arachnos has no such restriction, however.
  • Evil Virtues: They strongly encourage at least a couple of these in their troops.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: They do this for no less than three different recruit types, The Mu, The Seers and The Destined Ones. Current Mu scry for other descendants of their line with magic in their blood to be indoctrinated into their cult. Seers scan for anyone with even a slight sixth sense - who when found are bought-off/taken from their parents (if any) to an Arachnos psychic education facility. Both of the above detect the Destined Ones (the players), who are scouted out ahead of time as being in possession of far more agency over their own fate than the average thug; Hence they are sought out and given the grand tour.
  • Five-Man Band: The leaders of Arachnos form one of these.
  • Food Chain of Evil: They form this in the Rogue Isles. Gangsters, Psychic Robots, Nazis, Body-hopping ghost wizards and aliens are all suitably afraid of these guys. Every single new zone you enter will have Arachnos on the upper if not top tier of it's threat level to keep the other villains in line.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Sure, the base description of the Arachnos Seer Network doesn't sound too impressive - it is a psychic network used by Fortunatas and Seers as a telepathic communication method. But the true power of this is witnessed in Grandville, where the network is revealed to have four uses as the Care-Bear Stare version of a Psychic Block Defense, a Psychic Link, a Hive Mind and an Intrinsic Vow; All of which have been in effect the entire game. Ever wonder why Fortunata's are so hard to use control moves on once they have a chance to make their heads glow like that? That is why, you are literally going up against a small country of psychic wills at once!
  • Intrinsic Vow / More Than Mind Control: The Arachnos Seer Network is used to edit any thoughts of treachery against Lord Recluse and enforce loyalty. This is not only public knowledge, it is voluntary. Soldiers and Fortunatas understand when they swear to serve Arachnos they are agreeing to be psychically bound to said oath. Truth is other than having any secret plots or resentment against Lord Recluse literally erased, said troops are more or less left with their free-will intact.
  • Nay-Theist: Arachnos have made religion illegal in the Rogue Isles; Specifically because Lord Recluse is a actual demi-god so pledging loyalty to any full god is essentially national treason.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: There are a few psychopaths in their ranks, but by in large they fit the trope perfectly, they do amoral- well... EVIL things, entirely for their own benefit and not to cause pain.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Figuratively and quite literally. Nearly all their ranks are people who are professional villains specially cause Lord Recluse is paying them and rewards an odd mix of personal ambition and the ability to follow orders.
  • Standard Status Effects: Arachnos has one of the widest selections of control and debuff effects spread between its many enemy types.
  • Social Darwinists: It's their primary outlook, heavily enforced by Lord Recluse. Arachnos lives and dies, literally, by enforcing that the weak need to either accept the strong as their masters, or die defying them. One of their de-motivational-posters even proudly proclaims "Obey and live".
  • The Player Is the Most Important Resource: Their seers have foreseen the "Destined Ones" otherwise dime a dozen villains who specifically will achieve great things (referencing the advantage a P.C. naturally has over .N.P.C.s). They break you out of jail and give you the grand tour of evil specifically because they consider you this. Although that said they do intend to put you through...
  • Training from Hell: Arachnos doesn't want pre-destiny to make you soft. After all how will you get strong enough to be an asset if no one opens fire on you from time to time?


A heroic organization created to strike back at Arachnos in the Rogue Isles, Longbow serves as a major thorn in the side of Villain players in all level ranges.

  • City Guards: Can occasionally be found patrolling Paragon City in this role. They also respond to villain incursions in Mayhem Missions.
  • Equal Opportunity Good: Has both male and female members, with no distinction or separation between them.
  • Gatling Good: 'Longbow Minigun' mooks.
  • Kill It with Fire: Longbow uses flamethrowers. The description of their flame-using mooks notes they try not to use those in front of TV-cameras.
  • Knight Templar: They can fall into this upon occasion, with a few members in particular being somewhat prone to it.
  • That One Attack: At high levels, Nullifiers, the only Lieutenant mob available to Longbow, gains an autohit, resistance debuffing, wide area Sonic Grenade. The debuffs stack from multiple Nullifiers.

The Circle of Thorns

The denizens of the ancient, mystical, and badly-designed city of Oranbega, constantly kidnapping the people of Paragon City for use in their various dark rites... or just to kill outright, if they should happen to be part of the unfortunate third of the world's population (!) that happens to be of the bloodline of their ancient enemies, the Mu. The most popular rite, of course, being a Type 3 Demonic Possession, where the ancient Oranbegan takes the body of the unfortunate victim and the body's former owner gets stuffed into the Library of Souls.

  • Black Magic - The Circle's stock-in-trade. When your leftover magic paraphenalia tends to include bloodstained altars, skulls, demons, and displaced souls, you're probably not on the side of sweetness and light.
  • Deal with the Devil - The Oranbegans were cursed when they made a deal with some demons to keep from being wiped out in an ancient war. Or, more specifically, when they failed to keep their part of the bargain. Which was to... well, basically feed... every last man, woman, and child of the enemy country to the demons. Unsurprisingly, they found they couldn't go through with it- the deal had been made in desperation- and so got cursed. Cue some twelve thousand years later, the Oranbegans having gone somewhat insane in the intervening years, and trying to rectify their 'mistake'. Unfortunately, their enemies were apparently a rather fecund bunch, and some two billion people can claim Mu ancestry. This doesn't seem to have deterred the Oranbegans.
    • Another example would be the original Circle of Thorns, which was something of a Aleister Crowley-like group of evil Gentlemen Sorcerors, who discovered the ghosts of the ancient Oranbegans and cut a deal with them for power. Of course, they merely ended up becoming their first hosts.
  • Goddamned Bats: Spectral Daemon Lords are a Lieutenant rank mob that is infamous for its high damage output and even higher accuracy debuffs that they deal out, especially by way of an autohit aura. The problem is that they start spawning at a level where reliable controls and accuracy buffs are unavailable to many players, and are one of the reasons the Circle one of the most avoided enemy groups. Their "upgraded" version, Nerva Spectral Daemon Lords come much later and are actually weaker, but are no less annoying due to being visually identical to normal Nerva Spectral Daemons.
    • Earth Thorn Casters also are known to cause the players' ire with their strong defense debuffs, especially the autohit Quicksand. Thankfully, they only appear in a narrow level band of five levels or so.
  • Power Degeneration - The Oranbegans are apparently somewhat rough on the bodies they steal, burning them out from the inside, which explains why they almost always look very old. It does not, however, explain why they appear to be universally male when many of their victims are quite clearly female...
    • As of issue 21, human Circle minions are about fifty-fifty in the gender ratio as part of a group-wide cosmetic overhaul, so maybe it just took a while to take.

The Rikti

The original main villains of the setting. The Rikti are an alien race actually, modified humans from an alternate reality who launched an unprovoked actually instigated by Nemesis invasion of Earth which was only narrowly repelled, and during which many of the city's heroes were killed. It is into this vacuum that the player heroes must step.

  • Alien Invasion: Ultimately subverted.
  • Alternate Universe: Their real origin.
  • Colon Cancer: Rikti Communication: Imperfect.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Rikti are increasingly divided between the Traditionalists, who seek to end the conflict with Earth, and the Restructuralists, who aim to totally alter their society in the name of fighting on.
  • Killer Space Monkey: The Rikti Monkeys, little psionic pests.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Rikti are transformed humans from another dimension and are divided into two opposing factions, one of which wants to make peace with the humans. These two are major reveals in the original Rikti arcs but the Vanguard ones mention them offhandedly.
  • The Remnant
  • That One Boss: Elite Boss-rank Rikti Magi only appear in one place (when players assault a downed Rikti Mothership en masse), but their wide-area damage and control abilities make them the single largest threat to the raid.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens

The Vanguard

Less of an enemy group, since they are only rarely fought by either heroes or villains; the Vanguard is an organisation which works with both Heroes and Villains in order to repel the Rikti.

  • Demonic Spider: A rare example in that it's on purpose. Vanguard mobs have strong resistance and defense debuffs, powerful attacks and several hated powers, but the players only fight them a few times.
  • That One Attack: The Curse of Weariness, a debuff inflicted by Vanguard bosses. Even after several nerfs, it severely weakens an affected character, lasts several minutes, and doesn't go away on death. There is an (expensive!) item that removes it. The original version neutered your character for half an hour.

The Praetorians

The original high-level enemies of the setting, the Praetorians originate from an alternate reality which is close to a Mirror Universe - the greatest heroes of Paragon City are the cruel and tyrannical rulers of Praetorian Earth. They are greatly expanded on in the expansion Going Rogue, which allows new players to begin playing as a Praetorian.

Paragon Police Department

The brave protectors of Paragon City, the thin blue line. Despite the numbers of superheroes within the city, the police still have an important role to play as investigators and first responders, directing heroes to where they can be of most use and tidying up after the heroes have taken down the most dangerous threats. The hero Blue Steel is closely associated with the Department.

To battle the strongest of villains on their own terms, some of the force also gain access to superpowers themselves, with Psychic Detectives and Powered Armour putting in appearances, while other cops choose to merge with alien Kheldians to gain powers.

  • Goddamned Bats: Ask any City of Villains player about their most hated PPD mob and odds are good, it won't be any of the aforementioned psychics of powered armor or alien hybrid cops. It'll be either the SWAT Equalizer, or the SWAT Ghost, mobs that are limited one of each to a spawn and only appear for the middle half of the level progression. The former fires an autohitting glue grenades that slows any player to a crawl long, long after the mob is dead. The latter launches a blind grenade that, if it hits, neuters a character's ability to fight and survive, again, for a long long time after the mob is dead.
    • This was best evident in Issue 19, when Heroes were first exposed to Rogue PPD, including the Ghosts and Equalizers. The villains' schadenfreude at their complaints of difficulty was delectable.

Soldiers of Rularuu

The massive dimension-consuming monstrosity known as Rularuu the Ravager was sealed within the Shadow Shard by the Midnight Squad in the Sixties; the various abominations that form his army now roam that prison freely, seeking ways to aid their master's escape.

  • Demonic Spiders: The sheer variety among the soldiers is a threat in itself, but most characters will find that at least one of the types is a particular threat to them.
  • Faceless Eye: The Watchers are massive floating eyes with toothy, chompy eyelids.
  • Large and in Charge: Rularuu is the biggest villain in the entire game, at a massive 100 feet.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: If Rularuu escapes, he will destroy the world.


Back in the Eighties, an alien probe was discovered in Australia. Its message, when translated, warned of a terrifying planetary devourer that had already consumed the world of the warning, and was now headed for earth. An international team of heroes was formed to combat this entity, now named 'Shiva'... and they were entirely successful, destroying Shiva with a nuclear rocket at the cost of their own lives.

Shortly afterwards, however, the island of Bloody Bay within the Rogue Isles was devastated by a meteor shower; worse still, strange radiation was emitted by the meteors and horrific fusions of human corpses and blue protoplasm arose from the cemetaries. The devastated island was abandoned - until it was discovered that the meteor shards could provide superpowers. Now Arachnos and Longbow fight over the island... but the monstrous Shivans are still there. Are they trying to reconstitute and consume the world?

With the launch of Freedom, another Shivan attack entirely destroys Galaxy City; the Shivans are steadily becoming a much more obvious threat.

     Villains of Paragon City 

The Hellions

One of the earliest villain groups. The Hellions are a fire-themed gang of demon worshippers and the arch-rivals of the Skulls.
  • Deal with the Devil - A possible source of their flame powers.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil - Once all male, their ranks recently expanded to include the Girlfriend From Hell, demon-summoning women who terrify most of the troops.
  • Kill It with Fire - Their main motif. Their bosses are the fire-wielding Damned.
  • Man Behind the Man - They're being manipulated by the Warriors.
  • Moveset Clone: In a sense with the Skulls. The organizations are nearly identical aside from the bosses and the different groups' resistances.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? - The Hellions don't really seem to have a leader, so their storyline is never really resolved - players just move on to more threatening villains once they outlevel them, leaving the Hellions to terrorize the citizens of Atlas Park for ever more.

The Skulls

Another starting gang, the Skulls have a death motif instead of the Hellions' fire. Their leaders are the negative-energy-controlling Bone Daddies.
  • All There in the Manual - According to bonus information, the leaders of the Skulls are the Petrovic Brothers, who never appear in game.
    • As of Issue 25 they do appear, and they're pretty tough.
  • Darkness = Death
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil - Issue 25 changes the Skulls' demographics to about 50% female.
  • Fantastic Drug - The Skulls sell and distribute the drug Superadine.
  • Memetic Mutation - Go. Hunt. Kill Skuls.
  • Moveset Clone: Powers-wise, the only difference between a normal Hellion and a normal Skull is that Hellions are resistant to flame but weak to cold, while skulls are resistant to negative energy but weak to energy.

The Lost

Paragon City has a homeless problem - they seem to be forming an army, occasionally venturing forth from the sewers to smash and destroy. And some of them don't even look human any more... because they're being transformed into Rikti as part of a desperate recruiting drive by the survivors of the war. The Lost gradually look more and more Rikti-like as the levels move up, before being replaced entirely at around security level 30.

The Clockwork

Surprisingly cute clockwork robots of death.
  • Brain in a Jar - The Clockwork King. Also eyeballs in a jar.
  • Clock Punk - Visually, at least.
  • Flight: Some of the Minions can fly thanks to propellers.
  • Mecha-Mooks - Subverted, since they're really animated by a powerful psychic.
  • Shock and Awe: Every single one of them can do this in some form, but the most common is blasts of it.

The Outcasts

An elemental-themed gang of angry mutants based in Steel Canyon and the Hollows.
  • Ascended Extra - Their leader, Frostfire, has become rather more important on his own with the events of 'Going Rogue'.
  • Canon Fodder - The Outcasts are angry (in part) because of discrimination against mutants. This is never mentioned again.
  • Disc-One Final Boss - Frostfire is one of the earliest Elite Bosses in the game.
  • Elemental Powers - Their hat. There are four varieties of Outcasts for every rank and level band, one each for An Ice Person, Dishing Out Dirt, Kill It with Fire and Shock and Awe.
  • Face–Heel Turn - The Outcast's leader, Frostfire, was originally an aspiring hero, and fell from grace when the system punished him for his destructive enthusiasm. However...
  • Heel–Face Turn - ...As of Going Rogue/Issue 19, Frostfire is having second thoughts about villainy.

The Trolls

A gang whose abuse and overuse of the drug Superadine has led to their gaining green skin, great strength, and a large amount of stupid.
  • Hulk Speak - "Me have body by Superadine!"
  • One-Winged Angel - During regular 'Troll Rave' events, a number of trolls will further transform into massive, Hulk-esque Supa Trolls due to ingesting uncut Superadine.
  • Super Serum - Superadine is a highly addictive drug that grants massive strength, durability and accelerated healing. It's actually a modified version of WWII Super Soldier serums.


Followers and creations of the Mad Scientist Dr. Vahzilok, who is obsessed with finding a way to "cure" death, no matter how many people he has to cut up to do it.
  • Action Bomb: "Enbalmed" minions can explode, doing a lot of damage.
  • Body Horror: The "Eidolon" bosses are intelligent reanimatees, and it's mentioned at one point that they're still rotting. Without regular skin and organ replacement, they'll decay away.
  • Deadly Doctor: Vahzilok himself, and his still-living followers.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're produced by Mad Science and cybernetics, not magic, and they don't count as 'undead' for effects that target that.

The Family

Basically, The Mafia without the romance. Despite dressing (and arming themselves) like they've just stepped out of The Untouchables, they're drugrunners, kidnappers, murderers, extortionists and just flat-out thugs who have managed to stay competitive in a world of capes and nutcases via Super Science, moxy, and flat-out mean.
  • Cool Gun - For some bizarre reason, the wiseguys of the Family use... Tommy Guns. In a game that is explicitly set in the present day.
  • Super Serum - The drug that makes the Trolls big, green and crazy is one of these, and the Family are the ones that make it. They're also the ones that have perfected it, at least to an extent, and so their higher-ranking members have gravity-controlling powers and Super Strength.
  • The Consigliere - And named as such, too- although there seem to be rather a lot of them running around for them all to be the number two in the organization.
  • The Don - Harry Frost.
  • The Mafia - In both looks and M.O.

The Tsoo

An Asian gang empowered by magical tattoos, the Tsoo infamously served as something of a wake-up call for new players. Their variety of Boss-level enemies is impressive.

They later reappear much stronger in the Dark Astoria Incarnate content, as proud warriors seeking to protect the world from the evils lurking within Astoria - but not willing to work with anyone else to do so.

  • Degraded Boss - Several of the Tsoo bosses have become mere minions by the time they reach Dark Astoria.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang - Subverted rather oddly. It's definitely an ethnic gang, but how many North Americans have even heard of the Hmong people group, much less automatically associated them with organized crime?
  • Goddamn Bats - Even once someone is more used to them, the Tsoo have a variety massive arsenal of annoying tricks. Pretty much every member of the group can inflict Standard Status Effects, including the minions, which can lead to situations where even those who are normally largely immune to them, like Tanks and Scrappers, have their defenses overwhelmed.
  • McNinja - Why are there so many Chinese/Laotian/Vietnamese dudes running around with distinctly Japanese weaponry?
  • Power Tattoo - Inverted- the power comes from the tattoo, rather than the other way around.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different - And are here to punch you in the face.
  • Shoot the Medic First: The best way of dealing with Tsoo Sorcerors, made annoying by their tendency to teleport away.
  • Standard Status Effects - The Tsoo are somewhat unique, at least in the lower levels, because nearly all their members, from the lowest to the highest, have at least a minor way of messing with their opponents (i.e. you) beyond just punching them in the face, including such fun as dropping your accuracy, defense, damage, and speed through the floor, stunning you, putting you to sleep, holding you, and knocking you all over the map.
    • The most evident cause of this are the Yellow Ink Men, which are the same as lower level Enforcers, but now with the ability to psychically hold or sleep enemies. That alone wouldn't be so much of a problem, but the Yellow Ink Men replace all Tsoo minions come lvl 20, at which point even melee characters tend not to have mez protection.
  • Tattooed Crook - Fairly obvious.
  • Technicolor Ninjas - A large portion of their ninja-esque mooks are explicitly colour coded!
  • Took a Level in Badass - From an early/mid-level enemy group to Incarnate tier in a single leap.
  • Wolverine Claws - Presumably of the Ninja-weapon Nekode variety.

The Freakshow

A gang of cyborg anarchists. They were formed after a Crey employee stole the formula for yet another experimental Super Serum; this one granted incredible healing, allowing him and his followers to experiment with dangeously advanced cybernetic augmentation. Now calling himself Dreck, he and his followers love to smash and destroy, while also being on the lookout for opportunities to further enhance their modifications.
  • Auto-Revive: The Freakshow's hat. At all but the lowest levels, every single Freakshow has a chance of standing up after being defeated. Because they give XP and Inf both times, the playerbase largely doesn't mind.
  • Cyber Punk
  • Demonic Spiders: The Super Stunners, added in a recent update, have endurance draining powers. What makes them particularly nasty is that the other boss-class Freakshow are the Tanks, who are visually very obvious; by contrast, Super Stunners don't look terribly different from the other, weaker varieties of stunner freakshow.
  • Healing Factor: All Freakshow (but the lowest level ones) have a strong but effectively one-use healing power, Dull Pain.
  • L33t L1ng0: Th3y t3lk 1n th15.
  • Piñata Enemy: For a long time, Freakshow enemies gave out more Inf and XP than others of the same level, to compensate for their ability to stand back up and Dull Pain. However, since they effectively had a chance to give out the reward twice, and were not the most dangerous of enemies, the playerbase at large embraced them as the best risk to reward ratio mobs around. They've since been reduced to normal rewards, but are still considered easier than average.

The Warriors

A street gang with a Classical Mythology theme, who use medieval weaponry.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: They follow the Might Makes Right school, allowing competition amongst the ranks to determine leadership.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: Aside from the Circle of Thorns and their direct competitors, the Tsoo, this gang runs the magical items black market. It's also how they acquire so much mystical power-ups for their gang.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: They eschew using firearms and other high-tech weapons in place of all manner of ancient weaponry: broadswords, battle-axes, maces, longbows, etc. These may or may not be coupled with magical enchantments.
  • Klingon Promotion: While less lethal than other examples, as figureheads are either usurped in trial by combat or just arrested and sent to jail, new leaders are always rising from the rank and file.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Beyond their bracers and urban warfare camo clothing, the Warriors are visually known by their red headbands.
  • The Worf Effect: By the time you actually fight them, they're usually being pushed around by the Freakshow.

The Council

A shadowy paramilitary group with vast resources, bizarre superscience, and an alliance with strange aliens. The Council took over from a group of Nazis known as the Fifth Column after an internal coup (though the Fifth Column has recently been making a comeback). Their leader is known as The Center.

The Fifth Column

Die-hard Axis infiltrators left in the US after World War II, the Fifth Column only expanded since then in their efforts to Take Over the World, until a vicious Enemy Civil War resulted in it mostly being absorbed into the Council.

Sky Raiders

Once an elite special forces unit, the Joint Command Special Threat Response Battalion suffered terrible casualties in the Rikti War. Blaming the heroes of Paragon for the losses his team had suffered, field commander Colonel Duray took them rogue, becoming a group of airborne mercenaries specialising in attacking heroes.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Jump Bots.
  • Motive Decay: Colonel Duray believes that the increased dependence upon heroes will lead to rule by a superpowered elite. To avert this end, he has lately allied with the Praetorians - soldiers from a parallel world ruled by a superpowered elite.
  • Piñata Enemy: Their low damage output combined with lack of a dangerous gimmick outside of their mobility (which doesn't do much) and their deployable force field generators (which are easy enough to interrupt) makes them easy punching bags for the players.

The Carnival of Shadows

These circus-themed villains are psychic young woman who have fallen under the influence of the powerful psychic Vanessa DeVore, along with their mind-controlled slaves. Their only interest is in their destructive and decadent revels.
  • Psychic Powers
  • That One Attack: The Mask of Vitiation, used by Ring Mistresses and Dark Ring Mistresses. A highly accurate debuff that neuters a player in several critical ways. Fighting one of those bosses is often a Luck-Based Mission.
  • That One Boss: In addition to the above, Master Illusionists. While their damage output is moderate at best, they summon several (as much as six) pets, throw out heavy controls and accuracy debuffs, and worst of all, they spend half the time completely immune to counterattack with no way to stop it, all the while being perfectly capable of attacking themselves.

Banished Pantheon

Worshippers of evil gods that were... banished, centuries ago. Their human worshippers are relatively few in number... unfortunately, they also have hordes of zombie minions, as well as animated masks and totems that serve as avatars of the gods. Shortly after the Rikti War, they managed to take over a bustling commercial district of Paragon known as Astoria and sacrifice everyone within it. Its now called Dark Astoria.

Even as things in Dark Astoria got worse the Banished Pantheon remained, in the process becoming more powerful as they become channels of Mot's will.

Crey Industries

A corrupt supercorp responsible for most of the world's technology.


The Prussian Prince of Automatons, the cunning manipulator known as Lord Nemesis is one of the oldest villains in the setting, battling Statesman when he was just starting out. His Steampunk robots and soldiers remain a threat to stronger heroes to this day - but the greatest threat is, as always, the incredible cunning of Nemesis' twisted mind. He can create impressively lifelike Nemesis Automatons as well as warbots.
  • Cool Gun: The guns wielded by Nemesis troops are as anachronistic as his robots.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Goddamned Bats: Nemesis Snipers spawn in normal missions. They have insanely long perception ranges, and will attack you from several spawns away.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Occasionally, a seemingly harmless civilian will make comments indicating that they're actually a Nemesis Automaton; a few heroes - and potentially even player characters - have been driven into madness and villainy by the belief that Nemesis androids are everywhere.
  • Steampunk


A super-secret black ops paramilitary force within the intelligence community, Malta fears the 'wildcard' nature of supers and seeks to bring them under its control. Originating in a conspiracy forged by high-ranking spies after the 'Might for Right' Act was ruled unconstitutional, the Malta Group itself is almost never seen. Its Operatives, on the other hand, are an all too common threat for powerful heroes - skilled Gunslingers, massive robotic Titans, and the terrifying Sappers, who wield a rifle capable of blocking superpowers.
  • Demonic Spiders: Sappers can take down a hero from full endurance to nothing in one attack chain. Tac Ops have extremely long duration area stuns. Gunslingers have very high damage outputs as well as strong single target controls...
  • Goddamned Bats: ...Titans have very high resistances to all damage types and controls. Engineers summon gun drones that have high HP and give no reward for being destroyed.
    • ... you'll notice the two above lists contain between them every Malta enemy type bar one.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Hercules Titans are only about 8 feet tall, but the Kronos Titan is 50 feet tall.
  • The Man Behind the Man: They play this role in several story arcs in the mid-high levels.
  • Super Registration Act: A law of this sort (written into game lore two years before Marvel's Civil War!) is a major part of there backstory.

Knives of Artemis

An elite group of all-female assassins linked to the Malta Group. Their use of caltrops can be especially frustrating.

Devouring Earth

Once merely a fanatical radical environmental group, now they've mutated into hideous monsters bent on destroying humanity. Their minions are animated trees, rocks, and giant fungi. The Praetorian version of Hamidon came perilously close to wiping out the human race.
  • Animal Wrongs Group
  • Asteroids Monster: Rock- and crystal-based DE sometimes leave behind smaller minions when destroyed.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Hamidon, a mountain-sided amoeba who's the single toughest enemy in the game, definitely qualifies.
  • Organ Drops: The Hamidon's unique cellular structure contains very useful power-enhancing elements.
  • That One Attack: Guardians can summon a small Quartz crystal. It buffs the accuracy of all nearby Devouring Earth to astronomical levels. A defense-based character has seconds to destroy it before instant death. On a lesser note, Sentries summon Cairns, which make other Devouring Earth highly resistant to damage until destroyed. Including Quartzes.
    • For control-heavy characters, there is also the Fungi summoned by Fungoids, which makes nearby Devouring Earth nigh-immune to controls.
  • The Virus: The Will of the Earth, a strain of telepathic bacteria created by Hamidon.

     Rivals of the Rogue Isles 


Why did it have to be snakes? The starter villains of City of Villains are the giant, intelligent serpents known as the Snakes, monsters who lurk in their network of tunnels and kidnap people to feed to their young. They are generally disliked by the fanbase for being somewhat overused in the early levels, in comparison to the variety with early Heroes-enemies.

Rogue Isles Police

The noble thin blue line protecting the citizenry... or not, within the Crapsack World that is the Rogue Isles. The Rogue Isles Police are straight up corrupt and brutal - no wonder that most corporations prefer private security - though whether it really counts as corruption when its entirely understood as their entire purpose is something of a puzzle.


The Rogue Isles branch of the Family have a few problems. Don Marcone was recently arrested, causing the organisation to split between those who view his arrogant son as the rightful successor, and the Mooks, who believe the true heir is his Consigliere, Guido Verandi. Since Lord Recluse believes that Might Makes Right, he is happy to let them fight amongst themselves to determine which is the stronger... especially since the Family was getting a little too powerful for his liking anyway.


A undersea race of living coral, they were disturbed by increasing sea pollution and ultimately declared war on the surface races. Mostly seen in game are the Hybrids, humans mutated by the coral into fishy beings, with Captain Mako's sidekick Barracuda being one of these.
  • Green Aesop: Largely ignored - the villains don't really care, and just see them as a threat to be destroyed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Their actual storyline is barely explored in the game, though it keeps reappearing in a confusing fashion.
    • The Artifact: Coralax were at one point intended to be an Archetype, but this never panned out. This is likely why their story is so haphazard, yet seems to be internally consistent.


A group of high-tech burglars armed with sonic rifles and jetpacks.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Several character mention how odd it is that a man who can turn things to gold by touch feels the need to commit crimes.
  • The Unfought: Their leader, King Midas, is mentioned a few times, but never appears in the game.


Fanatical anti-technology crusaders, often found picketing Dr. Aeon's offices in Cap au Diable.


The proof that the Luddites have a point - these creatures of electricity (also known as 'Cap au Diable Demons') will occasionally spawn from the Power Transfer System and wreak havoc. Villains who test their strength against them are advised to be careful - every time one hundred of these creatures is destroyed their essence will combine to form a Giant Monster known as Deathsurge.

The Scrapyarders

A coalition of angry blue-collar workers in Sharkhead.
  • Badass Normal: Despite not having any superpowers, it's not at all uncommon for them to give an unprepared villain a severe beating.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Their requests are sensible and they fight the villains, but are themselves often thugs and cons.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Scrapyarders are named after a hero called Scrapyard, who was killed by Mako; his ghost can occasionally be found wandering around leading a horde of Scrapyarders.


A 'private security organisation' that actually serves as vigilantes within the Isles, battling against all the villainy they can find. They attack using bows and arrows, and some of them have jetpacks. As their weapon of choices hints, they're actually bankrolled by Justin Sinclair, aka Manticore.
  • Annoying Arrows: Painfully averted - their attacks are very powerful.
  • Airborne Mook: Wing Talon, Wing Fang, and Wing Sting Agents.
  • Private Military Contractors: A more heroic example than most, given that they are only contracted to fight Arachnos.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: So, the bow-wielding crime-fighters who take their name from a flying, venomous, mythical monster and think that the organisation aligned with the setting's main hero group don't go far enough in fighting Arachnos is bankrolled by the (super-wealthy) bow-wielding crime-fighter who takes his name from a flying, venomous mythical monster and thinks that the main hero group doesn't go far enough in fighting Arachnos...huh. Didn't see that one coming.
  • Trick Arrow: Not to extremes, but stronger members do have a few.

Legacy Chain

A magic-focused hero group that seeks to battle mystical villains and see that magic is not misused. They appear surprisingly infrequently. They are a mixture of sword-wielding Muggle guards and magic-using blasters with a variety of elemental powers.


Sonic-powered demons that infest St. Martial, eager to collect the soul of the popular crooner Johnny Sonata, who made a deal with them for his fame and now seeks to break it. While he hides within the mystically warded Golden Giza casino, they ravage the island.


Monstrous and mutated spider-like beings that infest the caves and tunnels beneath the Rogue Isles capital Grandville. They were actually created as part of an Arachnos experiment to replicate Lord Recluse's powerful abilities, but it didn't work.

     Factions of Praetoria 

Praetorian Police Department

The PPD keep order within Praetoria, and on the surface appear to be noble and honorable protectors of the utopian city, armed with advanced nonlethal 'force' weaponry. Some of them even fit this characterisation! Unfortunately, the rest of them run from zealous followers of Emperor Cole to corrupt bullies happy to abuse their power.

Most of them are openly resentful of Powers Division, the elite superpowered idols that Praetorian player characters are new members of.

At higher levels, they tend to be superseded by their elite division, T.E.S.T.

  • Badass Longcoat: The Interrogators, it's even mentioned in their descriptions that this is just part of their intimidation factor.
  • State Sec: Although the PPD is openly seen keeping order, it also has some more sinister divisions. It can also 'disappear' people.
  • Powered Armor: Used by T.E.S.T.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves and Power Fist: Their special power gauntlets let them hit things hard in melee or at a range, and a closer look reveals keypads and display screens implying they have more functions than just smashing.


Psychics drafted into the "Seer Network" by Mother Mayhem, this giant Hive Mind of sorts continously scans the minds of preatorian citizens looking for criminal intent. Breaking seers out from the Network is one of the main goals of the resistance.
  • Enemy Scan: At higher levels they can do this to you. Similar to the Blaster Epic and Arachnos Soldier power Surveillance, it also debuffs your damage resistance and defense. (Since, obviously, NPCs are not interested in your stat blocks)
  • Psychic Powers
  • Detect Evil in a sort of combination with Spider-Sense
  • Mook Maker the Seers stationed around the streets of Praetoria will teleport in squads of PPD if attacked
    • Or if you just walk past them claiming to 'Detect hostile thoughts'. Given how Praetoria works, it seems even mind reading psychics need to be Properly Paranoid.

The Syndicate

Due to the existence of the Seers, "normal" crime is very rare in Praetoria (the crime that exists is, essentially, either state-sponsored or highly organized) The Syndicate has its own cadre of psychics to hide themselves from the Seers' gaze, and they're a conglomerate of pretty much every remaining criminal gang there is. They have infiltrated (depending on your POV) either most of the corporate world in Praetoria, or its criminal gangs. Their style is very much The Matrix or Vampire: The Masquerade inspired: Trenchoats, katanas, dual-wielding guns...


The tunnels beneath Praetoria swarm with a horde of creatures known as the Ghouls - zombie-like monstrosities that defend 'their' territory fiercely and occasionally attack the city above once their numbers grow large enough. Since the ghouls serve to make the tunnels unsafe for the Resistance, there is little interest in wiping them out entirely, only in keeping them contained. And for their part, the Resistance seeks a way to utilise their underground neighbours as well...

  • Goddamn Bats: They can be deeply annoying for some archetypes, since they appear at a very early level but can still pack quite a punch, especially in large numbers. And they tend to appear in large numbers. To make matters worse, they frequently spawn as ambushes, often at the worse possible time, while some of them lurk 'above' dropping down. All of this can lead to an unwary player finding themselves battling a very large number of Ghouls at once - and at a low enough level that they won't have many attacks to fight them with - all the while their healing aura makes them difficult to put down at any speed.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Horribly averted - Ghouls release a healing aura upon death, which can make packs of them annoying to deal with.
  • Underground Monkey: At higher levels, they are replaced with 'Failed Experiments' - similar-looking, and just as territorial but far smarter; they are the products of Praetor Berry's mad science.


The destroyers are a gang of drug-addicted psychos who (true to their name) seems mostly interested in causing destruction for it's own sake. They combine military-grade weaponry with Fixadine-enhanced super-strong brawlers. It is later revealed that the Destroyers are actually remnants of Marauder's old followers, that he's set up to use as a training wheels for new Powers Division members. They're pretty much the Praetorian version of the Trolls and Freakshow.
  • Demonic Spiders: A basic, and thus common enemy, you will run into, without fail, every mob, is a Blast Master. Armed with explosives that have a high chance for knockback (when even melee toons aren't likely to have knock back protection) and able to create multiple patches of fire that deal damage overtime make them difficult for anyone to deal with. To make things worse, they have no special flags like the Malta Sapper and multiples can spawn in a mob.
  • Super Serum: Fixadine
  • That One Boss: Destroyer bosses, Big Dogs, are nearly immune to control effects, making them a right pain for any Dominator, Controller, or even any character that relies on stuns or knockdown for survival.

Praetorian Clockwork

Unlike their Primal counterparts, Praetorian Clockwork were created by Neuron and Anti-Matter to do all sorts of work. They're omnipresent in Praetoria, doing all sorts of work. The Resistance likes to smash or reprogram them whenever they can.

They even have a counterpart to the Clockwork King of Primal Earth: Metronome, a kind of psychic 'ghost' capable of possessing multiple clockwork, and seeking vengeance for his death and a new, powerful body.

  • Goddamn Bats: Their basic attacks, even at low levels, reduce regeneration. In large groups, it can be strong enough to prevent natural healing entirely, at a level when a character is unlikely to have an active heal yet. As if that wasn't enough, they deal nearly purely Energy damage, which is very rarely resisted at low levels, and due to their lack of melee attacks, are hard to herd for AoEs.
  • Robo Speak: When speaking with humans, in addition, the clockwork has their own "code" language. Which can occasionally be quite funny.
  • Shoot the Medic First: A valid tactic, as Clockwork L Ts can either heal (Mender/Repair Bot/Repair Companion) or resurrect (Builder/Fabricator Bot/Construction Companion) other Clockwork, including bosses.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Scrub bots with plasma weapons!
    • Possibly justified since Praetoria is a paranoid police state, and at any time these things can be used as impromptu riot control. Admittedly, their official description (done as an advertisement) actually list this as a positive feature when being sold to the private sector.
  • Underground Monkey: At higher levels, the normal clockwork are replaced with the advanced variants designed by the two rival mad scientists, Neuron and Anti-Matter. They gain an attack or two in the process, but are otherwise unchanged.
    • Also possibly justified since Neuron has a history of stealing ideas and inventions from Anti-Matter (it's even one of his missions) and the latter has supposedly stolen tech from Primal Earth himself.


Warworks are basically military-grade Clockwork, bigger, badder and packing more heat.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The choice weapon of the Mark-VI "Victoria" when they're not using their Eye Beams
  • Boobs of Steel: The Mark-VI "Victoria" bots are a literal and standard example. Shy of a Warwalker, they're the hardest hitting machine in the Warworks, among the toughest, they can stealth for Assassination strikes and are actually pretty stacked in the upper torso chassis.
  • The Faceless: War-walkers do not have any apparent face besides a reflective triangle on the center of their head.
    • Though if this were ever confirmed to be their eye, it would qualify them instead as Cyber Cyclops.
  • Humongous Mecha: The War-walkers, especially Goliath-class.
    • Actually, considering all but the Mark-VI "Victoria" are taller than most players can make their characters, the whole faction pretty much applies.
  • Kill Sat: Actually Averted. The War Walkers have devastatingly powerful (but easy to avoid even without dodge based defensive powers) Orbital Lance attack. But if you are able to see the animation, they're simply firing laser blasts up into the air that arc back down and hit you.
  • Mecha-Mooks

Imperial Defence Force

The official army of Praetoria, mainly fielding "lethal" versions of the PPD's force weapons, as well as rockets, drones, combat psychics and big hulking robots - Warworks are actually a part of this group.
  • Awesome Backpack: Heavy Troopers have a big, bulky backpack that unfurls into a set of four six-tube rocket pods. Heavy Commanders and Commander Duray slap a pair of plasma miniguns onto that.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Heavy Troopers and Heavy Commanders have a rotation of no less than four attacks that each fires a volley of spiraling rockets, resulting in a near-constant onslaught.
  • Powered Armor
  • Tricked-Out Gloves and Power Fist: Like the Praetorian Police Department and T.E.S.T. most of the IDF make use of these to empower their punches, fire energy blasts at their opponents, and looking closely at them shows keypads and displays on the inside of the arm, suggesting they also can function as some form of PDA

The Resistance

In the tunnels underneath Praetoria hide the Resistance against Cole's regime. Sympathisers and secret members can be found on the surface, too, in the most unexpected places - noble journalists attempting to uncover the darker secrets of the government, PPD detectives who have grown to hate the corruption...

But not all of the resistance is so noble. Some of them are little more than terrorists, seeking to cause destruction for the sake of vengeance or in the belief that disrupting the utopian facade of Praetoria will awaken the citizenry to the truth behind Cole's regime.

  • BFG: The Heavy Barrels wield mobile artillery cannons
  • Guns Akimbo: Resistance Officers
  • Goddamn Bats: All Resistance deal out heavy defense debuffs from their massed machinegun fire, combining it with good DPS from their power punches. This results is very high damage output.
  • Enemy Civil War: Some of the Warden Resistance arcs sees the player battling against the more zealous terrorist elements of the resistance; loyalists also get the chance to see the divisions within the Resistance.
  • Powered Armor: It's somewhat thrown together, but it certainly seems to serve them well enough. It's also what allows the Heavy Barrels and Heavy Hands to have the strength to pull off their jobs.
  • Power Fist: Their gloves allow them to sheath their fists in energy, the Heavy Hands tend to take this this further.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Like any proper La Résistance, its members tend to only have the dissatisfaction with the state, the willingness to do SOMETHING about it, and uniforms in common with one another.

The Forlorn

Former ghouls restored to sanity by the Resistance, the Forlorn have headed to First Ward in an attempt to find their own path.
  • Expy: Former 'ghouls' with their minds, haunted by the memories of the atrocities they committed? Even their name is reminiscent of the Forsaken.


An elite brigade drawn from the upper ranks of the Praetorian Police, the Direct Urban Strike Team is using First Ward as a training ground, killing everyone they see.
  • Fun with Acronyms: An obvious case, but a Resistance member refers to them as the Dimwitted Urban Strike Team instead.
  • Redshirt Army / Mooks: They're initially presented as a serious threat to the player but are wiped out en masse by the real threats of First Ward.
  • Palette Swap: in terms of appearance, they're T.E.S.T. officers with a camo pattern, though they're much more unique in terms of their powers.


First Ward is swarming with these terrifying and insane ghosts, which can possess people with ease. Discovering the source of these spirits becomes an important goal for the player.
  • Body Snatcher: Their specialty is taking over living beings. One almost manages to pull it on the Player Character.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Even by these standards, the Apparitions are weird: They're personality fragments of living Seers, severed and discarded by Mother Mayhem as part of their introduction into the Seer Network.

The Awakened

Mother Mayhem's experiments aren't always successful, and don't always produce happy Seers. The Awakened are the failures - twisted horrors driven over the edge by their uncontrollable psychic powers.
  • Body Horror: Most notably with the Suppressors, who have enormous head tentacles.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Awakened psychic attacks are accompanied by a discordant mess of oscillating sounds.

Carnival of Light

The Good Counterpart of Primal Earth's Carnival of Shadows, the Carnival of Light is a noble group of mystics seeking to save Praetoria. Unfortunately, there is dissension in the ranks, with a splinter group believing that they should be prepared to take the war to Tyrant.

Carnival of War

The aggressive and extremist counterpart to the Carnival of Light. Although not necessarily hostile to players, they do have notably short fuses, and tend to view people as enemies quite easily.

The Midnight Masters

The Praetorian version of the Midnight Squad was slaughtered a few years ago by a traitorous former member known as the Midnight Master, who reanimated them as his undead slaves.

After the death of Master Midnight the undead mages regained their minds and will. They lead the investigation into the growth of the Night Ward from the Midnight Mansion.

  • Evil Counterpart: To Primal Midnight Squad; in addition, the Midnight Master is Praetorian Percy Winkley.
  • ultimately Subverted by the group as a whole once free from Master Midnight's control. And not much later, even Master Midnight regains his sanity after being brought back to life.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare
  • Laughably Evil: The Midnight Master is a dorky self-proclaimed 'dark lord' with an eye for the ladies... who slaughtered the entire Midnight Squad of Praetorian Earth.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Once the Praetorian Midnighters are free from Master Midnight, they treat being sapient undead as this and go about business as usual.

Talons of Vengeance

Ancient, mystical horrors and servants of the Furies; according to legend, the Talons would appear when an oathbreaker goes unpunished, unleashing a tide of rage and blood that could wipe out whole countries. And now, they have appeared in Praetoria, apparently under the command of the sorceress Serene.
  • The Chessmaster: Almost everything that happens in First Ward is part of Serene's plan to summon the Furies.
    • The Night Ward too.
  • Evil Counterpart: Serene is the Praetorian War Witch.
  • The Virus: Those with anger and vengeance in their hearts can be corrupted into more members of the Talons. This is bad news for the Carnival of War.


The guardians of the veil that shepherd souls onward - but the drudges aren't carrying out a mystical duty. Instead, they're selfish and cowardly, working for the Wax that sustains their existence and viewing both the living and the dead as a resource to be exploited to this end.

Animus Arcana

The various spells and enchanted artefacts that protect the Midnight Mansion have become alive and intelligent with the death of Master Midnight.

The Black Knights

The ancient guardians of the Eternal Prison have come to Night Ward seeking Black Swan, but a schism within their order has made them vulnerable to exploitation by those seeking to breach the prison and unleash the ancient horrors within.
  • BFS: Black Knights LOVE this troupe as among the first NPC group to make use to Titan Weapons.
  • Black Knight
  • Goddamn Bats: Eternal Guards are basic minions who are commonly encountered and often in large numbers due to the limited size of the group. Oh, they also can taunt you like Tankers, Scrappers, Brutes, and anyone with a taunt power and for much the same reasons: to keep you from being able to attack the heavier hitters.
    • Prior to a patch, Multiple Eternal Guards could taunt juggle one player, and because you cannot attack anyone who did not last taunt you but it did not automatically change your target, it meant by the time you found who did, you were taunted by someone else off screen. All the while the rest of a mob could bury you in DPS.
  • Irony: Pendragon has an affair with the Black Queen, the wife of his leader, he only narrowly avoids disgrace because Bedwyr takes the fall for him. Also doubles as a Mythology Gag
  • Lawful Stupid: They will follow their Queen no matter what... Even if she tells them to do exactly the opposite of their job and open up the Eternal Prison, they do not change allegiances until AFTER said Queen reveals she's really the Big Bad in disguise.
  • King Arthur: In case you can't tell, Arthurian myth is kind of a theme going with them when two major members are named Pendragon and Bedwyr.
  • Simple Staff: Actually a bit more fancy than most things players have right now, but it's basically got studded mace heads at each end.

Spirit Stalkers

The minions of the monstrous shadowhunter, and the embodiment of savage nature. The spirit stalkers are beasts and huntsman who prey upon the spirits of the dead.


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