When a narcissist attacks, her goal is total destruction. She wants to bring her target to her knees, and she wants to ruin her life. She attempts to break up her target's friendships. She also wants to ruin her target's reputation. If all of this unfolds in a social setting, the ultimate aim is to drive her target away, and to make her feel so unwelcome that she'll leave. Sometimes, these sick, sinister personalities even attempt to end someone's marriage.
The workplace is where much adult bullying takes place today. A workplace bully wants her unfortunate victim to end up in the unemployment line. When this happens, your career is at stake. In America, about 75 percent of the time, a target must seek work elsewhere, either because she's fired or because she decides to resign. Also, once someone is targeted, it's not unusual for the situation to disintegrate into mobbing.
Why do otherwise "nice" people participate in someone else's hate campaign against an innocent person? For one, they aren't so nice and they may have their own personality issues. Malignant narcissists and other disordered souls often cluster together. Adult bullies also know just what buttons to push, in order to convince others to play their twisted game. Ironically, even though these predators don't possess the full range of emotions, they are very good at knowing how the rest of us think. In a group of people, they are able to pick out those who will automatically support them. The rest they work on, until just about everyone else caves and offers no resistance when they see someone else being mistreated.
In other words, long before the battle plan becomes apparent to the target, a narcissist has already chosen her loyal foot soldiers.