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Heroes murdering innocent children (that they were meant to rescue)


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Honestly, your game just seems to have a lot of player and GM burnout, and I have not bore witness to a game where the GM goes around punishing the characters for actions they felt were unavoidable that has actually continued. I guess you might as well have fun with the end of your campaign.

So you kill the kids because you felt the battle was unbeatable? You would have been better off walking away.


shallowsoul wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Honestly, your game just seems to have a lot of player and GM burnout, and I have not bore witness to a game where the GM goes around punishing the characters for actions they felt were unavoidable that has actually continued. I guess you might as well have fun with the end of your campaign.
So you kill the kids because you felt the battle was unbeatable? You would have been better off walking away.

I wasn't one of the players.

Any time it's GM vs the players. The GM can always win, and the players are relegated to being slogged through some misery time until they just quit. Maybe the players are just having "stuff come up" because anything in life is better than playing through fantasy misery...


I think the best option might be just to move on -- it is rather pointless to try to punish the players for something that only one of them thought he was doing. By retroactively changing the kids into illusions, the DM gave the player who blasted them plausible deniability about what he did. So he should get a pass this time.

If this was a one time incident that happened because everyone was tired, then no harm/no foul -- just make a point of ending your games earlier in the future.

On the other hand, if that player has been making a habit of doing things like that, consider letting the chips fall where they may next time -- then the consequences of their actions will become meaningful.

I am not sure what anyone is expecting of the paladin here. He may have seen his ally casting a spell, and he may even have known what the spell was -- so far no problem, since he would have no way of knowing how the ally would target the spell. He would have been momentarily horrified to see the kids fried, then relieved that they turned out to be illusions. He would have no reason to doubt that his ally knew they were illusions unless he thought to ask for a Sense Motive skill check -- and even then he might have been fooled. Without actual fried kids, the paladin has no clear moral dilemma to deal with.

Of course, past actions of said ally could have already pushed him into "consistently offends the paladin's moral code" territory -- but only participants in the campaign can judge that point accurately.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would say (having just read the OP) - that if that is the honest way the players saw it, then no problem. Greater good and all that. Evil for me would have been just walking away.

Sometimes being a hero doesn't meaning winning a battle, but rather the war.

S.


This thread should be locked....
No one is going to agree on anything at this point.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

No no, I think we can still come to an agreement, with just a little more time!


TriOmegaZero wrote:

Note that the bridge did not 'explode in fire'. Also, how could the kids see what was going on?

Ravingdork wrote:
The real children were found further off in the woods, tied and gagged, and guarded by only a handful of gnolls.

I've gone back and read the details on the encounter spread over the first 5 pages.

You're right, it started with black tentacles, then blast spells.

Also, night time, so even if the kids were only a little ways away, they couldn't see clearly.

RavingDork. You said this villain was known for keeping his word and that is why the PC's should have trusted the terms of the surrender to be honored. By retconning that the kids were an illusion, you show that the BBEG was not being true to his word and in fact planned to release illusions of kids in trade for the PC's. The fact that the kids were illusions reinforces that the PC's made the right choice (since surrender would not have freed the kids.)

I'm curious, since the kids were illusions, the tentacles should not have attacked them, as they only attack creatures in the area. (I'm not 100% on this though.)

In the end, with how it went down, I would say there isn't really recourse or reason to punish the characters, they reacted appropriately for if the kids had been illusions, and got a lucky guess (thanks to GM). I would talk to them OOG about this, and consequences of such things in the future. Just to make sure you're on the same page with them.


20 more pages, go!

But really, if the characters believed they were killing children, it could very well be an evil act. If they had reason to believe if they walked away then what happened to these children would happen to others then it could be seen as 'losing the battle to win the war' and equal out in the cosmic scale. Though, from what I remember of the OP (it was weeks ago I believe when I first read it) they just went in and blasted away. I would rule evil. "You're all sick f+%@s. Hand over your character sheet." Muwahahaha. I wouldn't do *that* but I would at least do an alignment shift on the person who cast fireball.


shallowsoul wrote:

That's such a cop out. You can play the "DM's an A-Hole" card everytime you don't get your way.

There is nothing wrong with the children knowing what went on.

If the kids have the ability to see through the fourth wall, or just have omnipotent knowledge then they probably don`t need the PC`s help in the first place.

As described, the kids have no way of knowing of the players conversation that lead to the decision, that the kids did not even see. If suddenly the kids turn on their rescuers, inform the town/empire what they witnessed through the fourth wall, and have the power to convince the empire to take action against the PC`s... then that is either a DM just arbitrarily screwing their players, or this is a story arc in an of itself (demon possessed kids dominating empire officials, or perhaps the children were the bigger BBEG all along).


Paladin should be fine on this specific instance. He had no intention of killing defenseless children. He also sounds like a pretty mature player if he's willing to have his character get stripped of his powers for a trigger happy summoner. Kudos to that guy.

The summoner, however, (if I'm reading these posts correctly, piecing together what happened) should be detected as evil now. He/she knowingly cast a spell to extinguish innocent life. Good protects life, evil destroys it.

Impossible situations in the player's eyes are usually because they're missing something/haven't thought things through. If you're using hero points, remember they can spend a point to get a hint from you, the GM, about what to do next.

The retcon probably wasn't a great idea, but hey, we have days, weeks, months to pick apart a decision whereas you probably only had a minute or two. Mistakes happen. Go too hard on them and they cry "D-bag DM", go too easy and they rampage across the campaign world without any fear of retribution. It's a delicate balance, and you're never going to strike it perfectly.

--My .02


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tarantula wrote:
Also, night time, so even if the kids were only a little ways away, they couldn't see clearly.

Sure they could. The PCs brought a light source onto the bridge. Just because they were in darkness themselves doesn't mean they couldn't see into the light a short distance away.

Tarantula wrote:
RavingDork. You said this villain was known for keeping his word and that is why the PC's should have trusted the terms of the surrender to be honored. By retconning that the kids were an illusion, you show that the BBEG was not being true to his word and in fact planned to release illusions of kids in trade for the PC's. The fact that the kids were illusions reinforces that the PC's made the right choice (since surrender would not have freed the kids.)

I'm well aware of this point.

Surbrus wrote:

If the kids have the ability to see through the fourth wall, or just have omnipotent knowledge then they probably don`t need the PC`s help in the first place.

As described, the kids have no way of knowing of the players conversation that lead to the decision, that the kids did not even see. If suddenly the kids turn on their rescuers, inform the town/empire what they witnessed through the fourth wall, and have the power to convince the empire to take action against the PC`s... then that is either a DM just arbitrarily screwing their players, or this is a story arc in an of itself (demon possessed kids dominating empire officials, or perhaps the children were the bigger BBEG all along).

What are you talking about? I've given reasonable explanations for how the kids could have reliably witnessed the events, and I shall continue to do so: The bridge was 90 feet long. The party was on one side, Paegin was on the other, with the illusion and war party in the middle. Only Paegin and the PCs were talking--which means they would have have been shouting back and forth.

Frankly, with the PCs bringing a light source onto the bridge at the start of the battle (in round 1 when the first spell failed), and them having to yell their back and forth to one another, I'd say the kids have a fairly good idea of what was happening. There was absolutely nothing to obstruct line of sight, just a few branches of tree line and one or two burly gnolls.


Ravingdork wrote:

Sure they could. The PCs brought a light source onto the bridge. Just because they were in darkness themselves doesn't mean they couldn't see into the light a short distance away.

I'm well aware of this point.

If the kids could see, then you can have the heroes standing in town drop over the next few days as the kids tell about having seen themselves on the bridge, attacked by the black tentacles the heroes are known to use. (I'm sure this isn't the first time since a few of the party know the spell.)

Well, that BBEG is dead now anyway. Did the party know he was LE? or just E? If they knew he was just evil and not lawful, then maybe make him NE and in the future show that lawful characters do stick to their word.

Or, like I said, just gloss over it, have an OOG convo with the characters as to the direction of the game, and next time, stick with the consequences, whatever they are.


RD, what happened to the 'one or two burly gnolls' keeping watch? Did they flee? Did they fight? Did they kill off any of the kids and have a snack?

MA


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
master arminas wrote:

RD, what happened to the 'one or two burly gnolls' keeping watch? Did they flee? Did they fight? Did they kill off any of the kids and have a snack?

MA

They got great cleaved to death before they could kill any of the children (which they damn near did).

Though all the gnolls were killed before they could act on their initiative (which was just 1 point below that of the fighter), it was described as follows:

With the illusion destroyed by the flaying black tentacles upon the bridge, a muffled cry shot out from the far treeline. The fighter, Hihachi, charged into the crop of trees in a frantic flight to get to the children in time. The gnolls, seeing the intruder upon their territory, quickly drew long serrated daggers and swiped for the nearest childrens' throats. Before their blades could land, however, Hihachi threw himself into the lot of them like a missile. The group of fierce warriors fell over together into a tumbling brawl and gnashing of teeth, from which only the fighter emerged moments later.


Ravingdork wrote:
Frankly, with the PCs bringing a light source onto the bridge at the start of the battle (in round 1 when the first spell failed), and them having to yell their back and forth to one another, I'd say the kids have a fairly good idea of what was happening. There was absolutely nothing to obstruct line of sight, just a few branches of tree line and one or two burly gnolls.

Opps, my apologies. I had missed that the PCs (the fighter?) were able to get to the bridge/war party itself on round one. I assumed that the hostages (illusions) would have been killed should the party make a move as drastic as charging into battle. Although I suppose it would make sense now that they wouldn't start killing hostages... since it turned out that they did not actually have any hostages on the bridge.

However, even if the children saw what they did, I still think it silly that their word would have any meaning upon the ears of anyone with any sort of power. Nor could they read the minds of the PC's (or the players) to gather their intentions. And even if it did, the PC's have a rock solid defence due to the fact that they only hit what were illusions, so that they could get a better hit on the enemies. They ended up as heroes that saw through the deception of their enemy... or that is at least what the story will be.

Also, earlier wasn't it was stated that this Paegin was a very worthy adversary, and a previous encounter had been really tough for the PC's? Perhaps that could have played a role in their escalation in tactics. I can think of a few examples of such a thing happening with my Rogue Trader group, where the situation can appear (and more often than not actually is) very dire, and drastic measures would be taken to address these, scary encounters. Although yes, Rogue Trader and a Heroic Fantasy game (extra emphasis on the "Heroic") are much different settings, however the idea of breaking your morals by escalating the situation to very drastic strategies can apply to both systems. Perhaps Paegin was too scary a BBEG for his own good?


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Surbrus wrote:
Perhaps Paegin was too scary a BBEG for his own good?

That's totally possible.

Once the game was over and Paegin was done for (forever), I let the players see his stats. One player even commented "wow, he's not very dangerous-looking at all, is he?"

None of the PCs would ever fail a save against one of Paegin's spells unless they were really unlucky (and his single highest level spell known was contact other planes). What made Paegin truly dangerous was that he was never alone, his abilities synergised with those of his minions, and he was a tactical genius.


Ravingdork wrote:

Sure they could. The PCs brought a light source onto the bridge. Just because they were in darkness themselves doesn't mean they couldn't see into the light a short distance away.

The bridge was 90 feet long. The party was on one side, Paegin was on the other, with the illusion and war party in the middle.

During the game I finished running... oh... about four hours ago, one of my players pointed out that light ain't that bright.

"Torch: A torch burns for 1 hour, shedding normal light in a 20-foot radius and increasing the light level by one step for an additional 20 feet beyond that area (darkness becomes dim light and dim light becomes normal light). A torch does not increase the light level in normal light or bright light."
"Everburning Torch: This otherwise normal torch has a continual flame spell cast on it. This causes it to shed light like an ordinary torch, but it does not emit heat or deal fire damage if used as a weapon."

If the light source was at one end of the bridge, it wouldn't even illuminate half the bridge.


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panos71 wrote:

If the light source was at one end of the bridge, it wouldn't even illuminate half the bridge.

Actually, it would illuminate MORE than half the bridge, though much of it would be shadowy concealment (visually speaking, they would be shapes rather than fine detail).

Also, it's a good thing that the everburning torch made its way to the center of the bridge, else you might have a point.


Question, if the kids can see the party why exactly can't the party see the kids? For that matter why can't the party hear their whimpering and muffled cries? Seeing as you arbitrarily added the kids to the surroundings and now want to punish the party for their heinous "crimes" you may as well give them all a perception check to have noticed the falsity of the situation by noticing the true kids and therefore be off the hook scott free.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Were the children violated before they were killed? Because if it was just a straight kill, nobody should complain. I mean, killing children, what's wrong with that? You walk up, snap the neck and walk away. Hardly anything evil or morally questionable here. Hey, why is everybody looking at me that way?


gnomersy wrote:
Were the children violated before they were killed? Because if it was just a straight kill, nobody should complain. I mean, killing children, what's wrong with that? You walk up, snap the neck and walk away. Hardly anything evil or morally questionable here. Hey, why is everybody looking at me that way?

Well the spell chosen WAS black tentacles so I'd say yes they were violated.

Gorbacz wrote:
Question, if the kids can see the party why exactly can't the party see the kids? For that matter why can't the party hear their whimpering and muffled cries? Seeing as you arbitrarily added them to the surroundings and now want to punish them for their heinous "crimes" you may as well give them all a perception check to have noticed the falsity of the situation by noticing the true kids and therefore be off the hook scott free.

The kids were on the bridge and seen by the party till they did things with tentacles and the DM retconned them into the safety of the woods.


Liam Warner wrote:

Well the spell chosen WAS black tentacles so I'd say yes they were violated.

The kids were on the bridge and seen by the party till they did things with tentacles and the DM retconned them into the safety of the woods.

Hey hey don't mix up those quotes! I never said anything that inappropriate!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gnomersy wrote:
Question, if the kids can see the party why exactly can't the party see the kids? For that matter why can't the party hear their whimpering and muffled cries? Seeing as you arbitrarily added the kids to the surroundings and now want to punish the party for their heinous "crimes" you may as well give them all a perception check to have noticed the falsity of the situation by noticing the true kids and therefore be off the hook scott free.

Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.

The kids cannot be heard because they are (1) bound and gagged, (2) intimidated into relative silence by their captors, and (3) the PCs/bad guys are either too far away, yelling loudly, or in the midst of combat (depending on the time frame) to be able to hear soft whimpers and muffled crying.


Ravingdork wrote:


Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.

The kids cannot be heard because they are (1) bound and gagged, (2) intimidated into relative silence by their captors, and (3) the PCs/bad guys are either too far away, yelling loudly, or in the midst of combat (depending on the time frame) to be able to hear soft whimpers and muffled crying.

Out of curiosity do the rules actually support this or are you just making up excuses for what you want to have happen anyways and if that is the case then are you really surprised that your players feel like they're being forced to do what you think they should be doing aka railroading?

Also being bound and gagged does not necessarily mean that you're quiet and particularly in the case of children intimidation doesn't do that trust me go walk up to a kid and then punch him in the face and yell at him to shut up and I highly doubt that's what will happen.


Ravingdork wrote:
gnomersy wrote:
Question, if the kids can see the party why exactly can't the party see the kids? For that matter why can't the party hear their whimpering and muffled cries? Seeing as you arbitrarily added the kids to the surroundings and now want to punish the party for their heinous "crimes" you may as well give them all a perception check to have noticed the falsity of the situation by noticing the true kids and therefore be off the hook scott free.

Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.

The kids cannot be heard because they are (1) bound and gagged, (2) intimidated into relative silence by their captors, and (3) the PCs/bad guys are either too far away, yelling loudly, or in the midst of combat (depending on the time frame) to be able to hear soft whimpers and muffled crying.

I still dont know how the kids were not killed. A fighter type runds how far, beats hostagetakers holding action?

I think you should let the players play and the dice decide what happens. Its a game, not a morality play.


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gnomersy wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.

The kids cannot be heard because they are (1) bound and gagged, (2) intimidated into relative silence by their captors, and (3) the PCs/bad guys are either too far away, yelling loudly, or in the midst of combat (depending on the time frame) to be able to hear soft whimpers and muffled crying.

Out of curiosity do the rules actually support this or are you just making up excuses for what you want to have happen anyways and if that is the case then are you really surprised that your players feel like they're being forced to do what you think they should be doing aka railroading?

Also being bound and gagged does not necessarily mean that you're quiet and particularly in the case of children intimidation doesn't do that trust me go walk up to a kid and then punch him in the face and yell at him to shut up and I highly doubt that's what will happen.

Yes, I'm just making it all up. My players have no options open to them whatsoever EVER. I take GREAT pleasure in leading them to believe otherwise, before taking it all away time and time again, continually crushing their hopes of ever being able to do anything important in MY story. Despite this OBVIOUS abuse, I have continued to GM games for my players for YEARS (and will continue to do so for many years to come) because I have so expertly instilled into them a perverted form of Stockholm syndrome. I'm a irredeemably horrible person and you're a perfect saint.*

The Vision and Light rules are quite clear in their range and limitations.

The Binding rules show that children (and in fact most people) have a difficult time escaping, or even moving. Being tied up makes you helpless. Being helpless generally keeps you from doing anything except taking mental actions.

The Distraction/distance penalties to Perception rules show that is is highly unlikely, that anyone would hear the muffled sounds of children over a hundred feat away while fighting for their lives.

The Intimidate rules clearly state that, with a successful check, the victim does WHAT YOU WANT.

None of what I've said isn't clearly supported by the rules. The very fact that you would even question my explanations makes me think that either you don't know the game very well, or you are actively trolling my thread.

Of the 250 odd posts you've placed on these forums, nearly 40 of them are in this thread trying to prove to everyone that you are "right" and that I am somehow "wrong." If your intent is to troll this thread by trying to vilify me, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.

* Sarcasm.


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Franko a wrote:

I still dont know how the kids were not killed. A fighter type runds how far, beats hostagetakers holding action?

I think you should let the players play and the dice decide what happens. Its a game, not a morality play.

There were no readied actions as you cannot ready actions outside of initiative order. Since a (brief) discussion had started between the two parties, and no one was in combat (much less initiative), none of the gnolls near the illusion had readied actions (and why would they if it's an illusion) whereas the gnolls in the forest were not part of the bridge combat and thus had not rolled initiative (much less readied actions).

For everyone to not be in initiative, and for the bad guys to have readied actions to kill the children--now THAT'S railroading. Not only that, it's illegal.


Ravingdork wrote:
Franko a wrote:

I still dont know how the kids were not killed. A fighter type runds how far, beats hostagetakers holding action?

I think you should let the players play and the dice decide what happens. Its a game, not a morality play.

There were no readied actions as you cannot ready actions outside of initiative order. Since a (brief) discussion had started between the two parties, and no one was in combat (much less initiative), none of the gnolls near the illusion had readied actions (and why would they if it's an illusion) whereas the gnolls in the forest were not part of the bridge combat and thus had not rolled initiative (much less readied actions).

For everyone to not be in initiative, and for the bad guys to have readied actions to kill the children--now THAT'S railroading. Not only that, it's illegal.

I thought there was at least two rounds of spell casting before there was at least one round of someone summoning in reinforcements, To not have the hostage-takers daggers at the throats of some children makes the scene sound like Monty Python and the search for the holy grail.


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Franko a wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Franko a wrote:

I still dont know how the kids were not killed. A fighter type runds how far, beats hostagetakers holding action?

I think you should let the players play and the dice decide what happens. Its a game, not a morality play.

There were no readied actions as you cannot ready actions outside of initiative order. Since a (brief) discussion had started between the two parties, and no one was in combat (much less initiative), none of the gnolls near the illusion had readied actions (and why would they if it's an illusion) whereas the gnolls in the forest were not part of the bridge combat and thus had not rolled initiative (much less readied actions).

For everyone to not be in initiative, and for the bad guys to have readied actions to kill the children--now THAT'S railroading. Not only that, it's illegal.

I thought there was at least two rounds of spell casting before there was at least one round of someone summoning in reinforcements, To not have the hostage-takers daggers at the throats of some children makes the scene sound like Monty Python and the search for the holy grail.

If it helps, think of the gnolls in the woods as a separate encounter, an encounter that did not even begin until the fighter entered the tree line. Until the very end of the first battle, the heroes didn't even know there were gnolls (or children) hiding in the trees.

Since the encounter had not started, there was no initiative order, no readied actions, nothing. When the fighter came charging into the area, they all rolled initiative as normal.

I found that the tension that built up from the fighter player hoping and praying that he rolled higher was much more fun and exciting than "they are all dead thanks to the gnoll's readied actions--you never had any chance whatsoever regardless of your actions."

I find it ironic that people accuse me of rail-roading, then unintentionally suggest that I do exactly that.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013

I get what you are saying RD. I can see the gnolls in the woods being indecisive about running or staying and killing.

I think we have hashed over several times what people thought went wrong in this scenario. Have a talk with your players and see what they say.

Sometimes no matter how well you know your group everything still blows up.


Ravingdork wrote:
Franko a wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Franko a wrote:

I still dont know how the kids were not killed. A fighter type runds how far, beats hostagetakers holding action?

I think you should let the players play and the dice decide what happens. Its a game, not a morality play.

There were no readied actions as you cannot ready actions outside of initiative order. Since a (brief) discussion had started between the two parties, and no one was in combat (much less initiative), none of the gnolls near the illusion had readied actions (and why would they if it's an illusion) whereas the gnolls in the forest were not part of the bridge combat and thus had not rolled initiative (much less readied actions).

For everyone to not be in initiative, and for the bad guys to have readied actions to kill the children--now THAT'S railroading. Not only that, it's illegal.

I thought there was at least two rounds of spell casting before there was at least one round of someone summoning in reinforcements, To not have the hostage-takers daggers at the throats of some children makes the scene sound like Monty Python and the search for the holy grail.

If it helps, think of the gnolls in the woods as a separate encounter, an encounter that did not even begin until the fighter entered the tree line. Until the very end of the first battle, the heroes didn't even know there were gnolls (or children) hiding in the trees.

Since the encounter had not started, there was no initiative order, no readied actions, nothing. When the fighter came charging into the area, they all rolled initiative as normal.

I found that the tension that built up from the fighter player hoping and praying that he rolled higher was much more fun and exciting than "they are all dead thanks to the gnoll's readied actions--you never had any chance whatsoever regardless of your actions."

I find it ironic that people accuse me of rail-roading, then unintentionally suggest that I do exactly that.

This is not an accusation of rail-roading. To me, its a logical conclusion of the setup as you have described.

And, respecfully, they did not have any chance whatsoever.

Have you talked to the gamers, as a group, and resolved this issue to everyones satisfaction?
Are you still going to contine this game? Are you and they having fun?


Ravingdork wrote:
Meh.

I'm not trolling I'm asking questions which you haven't satisfactorily answered. Unless you want to hear "Dude RD totally just do everything you want you're awesome!" The primary need for someone to give you useful input is to have all the pertinent information.

Also using the argument I've GM'd longer than you therefore I'm obviously good at it holds no merit one way or the other.

Furthermore the lighting rules are quite clear "In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are effectively blinded." Given that the children were outside the range of the illumination they were effectively blinded therefore they cannot see what is happening on the bridge. Now the reason I asked the question is because there is always the possibility that I've missed something somewhere and because the RAW doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me however the way it's written indicates that to be the case.

Binding has nothing to do with your ability to speak.

Interesting that you would raise the rules pertaining to intimidation did you in fact roll in order to intimidate each child? Did you follow the rules as they are written pertaining to the difficulty to intimidate increasing each time you repeat the action?

Furthermore intimidation requires 1 full minute of conversation with the target did this happen before the party arrives or do they do so when they see the party there, if so conversation is audible and therefore decreases the difficulty to successfully hear what's going on.

Also just because the DC is high doesn't mean it's impossible as far as I can tell the DC is no higher than 35ish assuming there is whispering going on, that is not necessarily outside of the realm of possibility at their level and so they should get to make a check.

And lastly the fact that you aren't rolling to perceive the party seems rather one sided since seeing a visible creature is normally DC 0 +10 for distance +5 for distraction +5 for terrible conditions(being bound and on the floor in the dark on the forest floor isn't too great) oh and +4 for being blinded DC 24 check is a tough one for a level 1 commoner. About as tough as the check for the party to hear the guards and kids so why is it okay to hand wave the one that ends in your preferred outcome?

I also have no idea why you think the number of posts I've made on this forum has any relevance to our conversation here.


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gnomersy wrote:


I'm not trolling I'm asking questions which you haven't satisfactorily answered.

I've done everything to accommodate you. How am I not satisfactorily answering your questions? Is it because I haven''t come out and said you're right? Well, guess what? If I don't believe it to be true, I'm not going to say it.

gnomersy wrote:
Unless you want to hear "Dude RD totally just do everything you want you're awesome!" The primary need for someone to give you useful input is to have all the pertinent information.

You can offer useful input without coming off as accusatory.

gnomersy wrote:
Also using the argument I've GM'd longer than you therefore I'm obviously good at it holds no merit one way or the other.

Now you're putting words in my mouth. When did I ever say anything of the sort?

gnomersy wrote:
Furthermore the lighting rules are quite clear "In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are effectively blinded." Given that the children were outside the range of the illumination they were effectively blinded therefore they cannot see what is happening on the bridge. Now the reason I asked the question is because there is always the possibility that I've missed something somewhere and because the RAW doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me however the way it's written indicates that to be the case.

If you really believe I can't see something in the light "over there" because I'm in the dark "over here" and am thus blind--well, there's not much more for me to say to you on the matter. It seems clear to me that we have different ways of looking at the rules.

gnomersy wrote:
Binding has nothing to do with your ability to speak.

It does if you are gagged.

gnomersy wrote:

Interesting that you would raise the rules pertaining to intimidation did you in fact roll in order to intimidate each child? Did you follow the rules as they are written pertaining to the difficulty to intimidate increasing each time you repeat the action?

Furthermore intimidation requires 1 full minute of conversation with the target did this happen before the party arrives or do they do so when they see the party there, if so conversation is audible and therefore decreases the difficulty to successfully hear what's going on.

The children had no less than 10 minutes to be intimidated prior to the encounter. That seems like plenty of time for a dozen kids to become terrified of what their many captors might do to them if they misbehave.

gnomersy wrote:
Also just because the DC is high doesn't mean it's impossible as far as I can tell the DC is no higher than 35ish assuming there is whispering going on, that is not necessarily outside of the realm of possibility at their level and so they should get to make a check.

Actually, when the highest the party can obtain is a 32 Perception check, then yes, a DC 35 IS impossible. I did not both rolling any such checks because I knew this.

If the situation changed at any point that the DC would become easier I would have made checks at that time. Nothing really changed throughout, so I didn't.

gnomersy wrote:
And lastly the fact that you aren't rolling to perceive the party seems rather one sided since seeing a visible creature is normally DC 0 +10 for distance +5 for distraction +5 for terrible conditions(being bound and on the floor in the dark on the forest floor isn't too great) oh and +4 for being blinded DC 24 check is a tough one for a level 1 commoner. About as tough as the check for the party to hear the guards and kids so why is it okay to hand wave the one that ends in your preferred outcome?

The kids are in darkness and are being kept quiet, the party is in the light and yelling/being loud. It IS one-sided precisely because of those circumstances. It is FAR easier for the children to perceive the brightly lit, loud heroes than it is for the heroes to perceive the children in the pitch darkness 100 feet away.

gnomersy wrote:
I also have no idea why you think the number of posts I've made on this forum has any relevance to our conversation here.

You don't understand how your continual disparaging remarks could be construed as trolling?

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter 2013

gnomersy wrote:
Also using the argument I've GM'd longer than you therefore I'm obviously good at it holds no merit one way or the other.

RD was saying that he had been DMing for this group for years therefore they must enjoy it, though he put it in a sarcastic way. It holds sway in that his style generally seems to work for his group because we know every group is different.

Whether he is objectively good is not something claimed by his statement.

Shadow Lodge

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So the bound, gagged, and scared witless kids were able to fully see and comprehend that the PCs killed the illusionary kids, but their gnoll guards managed to remain blissfully ignorant during the entire event. Is that what I'm to understand?

Seriously, RD, at this point, due to your retcon, the PCs are the heroes. If you wanted to vilify them, then you should have just let the kids that died be the actual kids, instead of an illusion.


Arkadwyn wrote:

I definitely would not have taken that route. I would have let the players massacre the children, and when they arrived back at town there would be officials there to arrest them. It would be easy for someone to have been scrying on their efforts, or for some passing woodsman to have seen them commit the atrocity. I also would have shifted alignments of the players which could definitely have caused issues with their deities, especially for any cleric in the party.

I think they can and should face the consequences of their actions, this is an RPG after all, not a board game so any whining about you "not being their Daddy" is just that, whining. the whole point is to pseudo-replicate a real world wherein actions have consequences and the where displeasing the gods have very real, visible, and directly attributable effects. think about how Hera reactes to Hercules...

If some children die in a dangerous forest, who hears it?

The problem with the, and you rock up and the officials and all their guards are here to arrest you, is that it just doesn't make much sense to me. Sure a forester can see them, but that forester can also be seen and apprehended before they get back. If they are being scryed on when the massacre took place, why are they being scryed upon and why weren't these resources on other problems for the empire/is it even in range of a scrying wizard? This was deep in the back-woods.

I really like npcs to react naturally, especially to something evil that the party does, but just because they kill children (although in this case they actually didn't, just illusions) the authorities of the land should not instantly know about it. That is the type of poor programming that you see in computer games. Do something and everyone knows. If there are no surviving witnesses, they should be able to get away scott free, at least until they have to make bluffs for their stories and explanations on what went wrong.


Kthulhu wrote:

So the bound, gagged, and scared witless kids were able to fully see and comprehend that the PCs killed the illusionary kids, but their gnoll guards managed to remain blissfully ignorant during the entire event. Is that what I'm to understand?

Seriously, RD, at this point, due to your retcon, the PCs are the heroes. If you wanted to vilify them, then you should have just let the kids that died be the actual kids, instead of an illusion.

Exactly, Kthulhu gets it. I've made a point on the children earlier, as have others that the angry dm is not the children. They are separate actors and shouldn't have the position of a dm offended at the party's immoral choices. The children will be scarred by the kidnapping, and glad to be back home. They will not be riding off to the court of the emperor and may take years to appreciate what if anything they saw on the bridge.


Really my last question on this post...
Did the mage or the Paladin make there saves vs. will? I'm assuming that a big dramatic negotiation would qualify as an interaction? Which illusion spell was it?

I think the more you spin this, the worse it looks. Talk to your gamers, find out where it stopped being fun for everyone, fix it, and enjoy.

Silver Crusade

gnomersy wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.

The kids cannot be heard because they are (1) bound and gagged, (2) intimidated into relative silence by their captors, and (3) the PCs/bad guys are either too far away, yelling loudly, or in the midst of combat (depending on the time frame) to be able to hear soft whimpers and muffled crying.

Out of curiosity do the rules actually support this or are you just making up excuses for what you want to have happen anyways and if that is the case then are you really surprised that your players feel like they're being forced to do what you think they should be doing aka railroading?

Also being bound and gagged does not necessarily mean that you're quiet and particularly in the case of children intimidation doesn't do that trust me go walk up to a kid and then punch him in the face and yell at him to shut up and I highly doubt that's what will happen.

Ever stood in front of a car with it's headlights on in the dark? Could you tell who was inside? Ever stood on stage with bright lights in your face? You can't make out who's in the audience. Ever watched someone from behind shrubs? You can see them but they can't always see you.


Ravingdork wrote:
Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.
Ravingdork wrote:
At the center of the bridge are the dozen or so children, all surrounded by vicious, bloodthirsty gnoll infantry. With them, also, are a number of near-wild hyenas, a quartet of dire hyenas bearing heavily armed and armored elite gnoll cavaliers, a pair of barbed devils, and the sorcerer at the back.

I understand what you're getting at from a realist perspective rather than a strictly by the rules interpretation. But it seems that the kids' line of sight to the light source was also blocked (by gnolls and hyenas and gnolls on dire hyenas and devils and a sorcerer). If the PCs had no chance of seeing the kids in the treeline, I don't think the kids could see the PCs through the horde that stood at the center of the bridge.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A fair point, panos71.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:

What do you think? Do you think this is a good way to set an example of what to do/what not to do? What would you do in this bizzare situation?

I think it is a good way to teach your players to always do what you expect them to do and never go out of the script you already have in your mind.

In other words, you are punishing them (the players, not the PCs) for trying to demonstrate free will.

Even using the illusion thing is only belittling their choice. Though you may believe that you are salvaging things, you are in fact depriving them of having any true impact on what happens in your story.

Did you not mention in another thread that you had players saying you were "railroading them" ? Because this is what you are doing here.

I believe that you need to talk with your players, ask them what you are doing wrong and really listen to them and change your ways so that you can all enjoy building a memorable story together.


Sad but true raven.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Been reading this thread for quite a while but before I add my two cents I have a question or two (apolagies if they have already been asked and answered)

1 When the devil started to summon was that before or after combat began.

2 What was the gnoll force comprised of?

3 How much of the enemies capabilities were the players (Ic and Ooc) Aware of?


Pretending the situation wasn't ret-conned, the kids were with this group of baddies up till the bridge, and at some point moved to their wooded location. They would have either been right there, or been within easy sight/hearing of the casting of the illusion/illusions, and would have been able to at least see that a new group of smallish humans much like themselves suddenly appeared in their midst. The children were there for a while, the PCs weren't. Lets then assume they were too far away to have identified those illusions as themselves (I think it's a reasonable assumption to make), but just as other children. Even if they were silently sobbing and being threatened, when spells started going off they would have seen PCs casting into the new group of kids, and the kids disappearing along with the big bad guys.

If they were old enough to understand what magic and illusions are, they should be able to figure out that no one but the bad guys were hurt because of how the illusions did/didn't react to the spell (even at the distance where you can't identify faces, it should still be pretty easy to tell the difference between a child in humans clothes, and a gnoll/worg in their gear while they are being tossed about), if not, then the big bad tentacles just 'ate up all those kids!'

@ gnomersy as far as rules go, tied up = pinned. Generally pinned doesn't allow speech, so being tied up also doesn't.... again, generally.

Also, there is a massive difference between someone standing behind or within a light that is directed at you (modern flashlights, head lights, etc) and someone standing in like that is soft, and dispersed, like a camp fire... When focused, light is definitely blinding when your eyes are adjusted to the dark, but when dispersed, it is ~very very easy~ to pick out details (considering "normal" light levels) within that area while standing in darkness some distance away.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Robodruida wrote:

Really my last question on this post...

Did the mage or the Paladin make there saves vs. will? I'm assuming that a big dramatic negotiation would qualify as an interaction? Which illusion spell was it?

I think the more you spin this, the worse it looks. Talk to your gamers, find out where it stopped being fun for everyone, fix it, and enjoy.

Maybe you have missed it as it was said only a few times, but the kids being an illusion was a retcon to cancel the kid slaughter made by the black tentacles. The kids where the original thing during the 1 round negotiation with the BEEG (and not the kids, so no interaction with them too).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
panos71 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Kids cannot be seen because they are kept hidden in the dark, behind a tree line. The heroes CAN be seen because they are standing in the light. Line of sight is not always two-way.
Ravingdork wrote:
At the center of the bridge are the dozen or so children, all surrounded by vicious, bloodthirsty gnoll infantry. With them, also, are a number of near-wild hyenas, a quartet of dire hyenas bearing heavily armed and armored elite gnoll cavaliers, a pair of barbed devils, and the sorcerer at the back.

I understand what you're getting at from a realist perspective rather than a strictly by the rules interpretation. But it seems that the kids' line of sight to the light source was also blocked (by gnolls and hyenas and gnolls on dire hyenas and devils and a sorcerer). If the PCs had no chance of seeing the kids in the treeline, I don't think the kids could see the PCs through the horde that stood at the center of the bridge.

More often than not medieval-like bridges are at the same or lower level that the banks of a river. High embankments were pretty rare and the land at the sides of a river did tend to be at higher level.

Only in the heavy regimented rivers of today you tend to have high embankments and bridges well above the banks of the river.

RD set up could be different, but I tend to visualize a bridge on a profound chasm as at a lower level than the surrounding forest.
Sure, the retconned kid visual was far from perfect but they could probably see or hear most of what was happening.


Stubs McKenzie wrote:

@ gnomersy as far as rules go, tied up = pinned. Generally pinned doesn't allow speech, so being tied up also doesn't.... again, generally.

Also, there is a massive difference between someone standing behind or within a light that is directed at you (modern flashlights, head lights, etc) and someone standing in like that is soft, and dispersed, like a camp fire... When focused, light is definitely blinding when your eyes are adjusted to the dark, but when dispersed, it is ~very very easy~ to pick out details (considering "normal" light levels) within that area while standing in darkness some distance away.

Ah I see I haven't been tied up in PF yet so haven't reread the rules recently.

Also while I absolutely agree on how light functions in reality I don't think the rules support common sense as far as lighting is concerned since they are written centered on the character. Now given I don't have anything against RD for playing it the way it makes sense (I'd probably do the same) But it's the reason why I'm asking him if he's following the rules or just deciding that things happen the way he wants.

Also for RD - It is much easier for the kids to see them on the bridge (the yelling isn't helpful since it's a visual check) but it is at least 11 lower in terms of DC that's a pretty huge difference but just because it's much easier doesn't mean the kids should automatically succeed.


They saw everything, they know everything, they will tell and the pcs will lose. Cool story bro?


Ravingdork wrote:

In a sense, Paegin was like Osama Bin Ladin, a terrorist, with various cells throughout the nation wreaking havoc. When the Emperor had, had enough, he sent out his entire military force to hunt down the bandit cells that were bringing harm to his nation's infrastructure, and set the PCs themselves to hunting down Paegin specifically (since they had experience dealing with him in the past).

Had they all died, someone else would have been sent after him. Whatever actions they took, they were just as aware of this fact as Seal Team Six was aware that if they failed to stop Osama Bin Laden, someone else would have. The President wasn't just about to let him go just because he lost a few heroes.

I don't think bringing in the War on Terror makes the case that what they did was wrong. America/Israel/and friends wouldn't pass on the opportunity of taking out a known terrorist just because they surrounded himself with civilians. If Osama Bin Laden had surrounded himself with a ten children, all we'd have gotten was a dead Bin Laden and ten dead kids.

I don't know enough about Paegin, but I assume as a BBEG, he's doing pretty nasty things, probably things that involve the destruction of whatever nearby village and even more dead children. Just attacking Paegin and his Gnolls while they were vulnerable with the knowledge that the kids were in trouble was a perfectly reasonable response. Perhaps not the best response depending on their spell array, but a perfectly reasonable, non-evil response.

You're fully within your rights of enforcing the Paladin code on your Paladin (reasonable and non-evil do not by themselves equate Paladin-approved), but punishing the rest of the party seems unnecessary.

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