Much as I love many Chinese historical costume dramas, some of them may be a bit light on worldbuilding. Usually little details like, where do all these bad guys get their ninja-esque training, deadly composite poisons, and hidden weapons? Much less all the Mysterious Ancient Texts that heroes and villains alike end up consulting. Someone had to write those books! Meaning someone had to do research into hundreds of ways of formulating a four-component deadly poison that’s totally harmless if you’re only exposed to one component… eep.
In short, your bad guys are the tip of a very pointy spear, and there ought to be a lot of support forces behind them.
Of course, they could have stolen a lot of it. Training, weapons, and all. Previously legit soldiers, apothecaries, and mercenaries going rogue happens.
And yet. There’s always such a variety of bad guys, and they’re generally well-supplied with knives, swords, needles, smoke bombs, etc. It almost makes you wonder if there is an Evil-Mart out there. (And if the gluten-free bread is good.)
In your world, where do your villains get their weapons, training, and other elements of Doom? You don’t have to explain it all, sometimes readers just want a pulpy Adventure fighting the Forces of Evil. But if you do put some thought into it, that could lead to whole new stories in the world to explore. Consider the skills involved in making undetectable poisons, and whether or not any crimelord is dumb enough to stiff them on the bill. Can your hero track a bad guy to his suppliers by the metal alloy of the paralyzing needles? Are certain components for flash-bombs and the like expensive, or downright illegal, because the reigning monarch has just had it with yet another Caped Avenger prowling the capital?
Also consider the possibilities for involuntarily dragging in some Average Guy to heroic adventures by way of their day job. Say, polishing needles, or grinding specific herbs – or making suspiciously, awfully hard steamed buns.
There’s a scene in Enchanting Phantom where the poor scholar tries to eat a bun, fails, tosses it away – and it knocks someone else in the bar out cold.
Bad enough in most places. But this is a jianghu bar.
Cue bar brawl, and a dazed scholar slipping out the back – to wind up in even more trouble, of course….
(I dunno if his pen was ever mightier than the sword, but his steamed bun sure was!)