In my plot I have a big bad obvious "dark lord" type villain... who is the pawn of the hidden evil mastermind. Basically said mastermind created a threat to ensure that everyone bands together to fight it, and elects him Supreme Chancellor (not literally) to fight the apparent big bad. I'm trying to pull off a big reveal that they have been pulling the strings the entire time.
Of course the players took one look at the friendly NPCs who offered support and said out loud "I don't know they are not behind the whole thing".
I feel like the meta plot might be way too easy to scope out so I have been going out of my way to throw suspicion off the mastermind. I'm worried that it will take away from the bond I'm trying to form between the players and mastermind. And if I totally throw suspicion off I'm worried it might seem like the twist is unfair.
Here are some key elements of his motivations that might help.
- He believes that the world is in danger and that he is the only person who can save it, by seizing control.
He is, by design, too smart for his own good, and right for the wrong reasons.
He knows one of the PCs has a secret that they themselves don't know the scope of. He has helped them keep the secret, and desperately wants to know it himself, but since there was too much heat on him I have not had him offer assistance in figuring out the player's past.
- He is starting to despair that the "forces of good" can actually carry a victory against his straw man, who he intended to be much easier to defeat.
- My original intent was that if he believed the good guys could not win he'd "die" and take direct control of the bad guys, who would suddenly fight to win. And likewise if he believed the players could not only win but also save the world he would likewise "die" and not be bothered to care.
Is there any way to save the plot without angering the players?