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


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Stasiscell wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
TOZ wrote:
I find it amusing that RD's players accuse him of railroading, while the second half of this thread's title is saying what they were supposed to do.
So when I tell you the goal is to reach 4th level it's railroading?
yes yes it is if you tell me that the only way i can reach level 4 is by doing a hand stand for 2 hours.

I kinda feel like the pathfinder RAW leveling does feel a bit railroady. I'm playing in my first PFS game (smuggler's shiv? i think, pirate chick on the first book) and the way exp id handed out is f&~%ing miserable. If we don't hit the checklist of exp worthy things, we get nothing at the end of a night. It just feels like a grind. Hunting around for enemies to kill, making sure we check everywhere for traps because we don't want to miss any exp. It feels less like a game and more like work. I'll probably never play in a PFS event again because it's not fun.

When I DM, i generally give between 15% ~25% of what's needed to get to the next level. People level about every 4~6 sessions. I do it because the party gets to make decisions on what they want to do, and not based on what they think will net them the most exp. WHen you start making decisions based on exp, it's not really a game anymore, it's a series of math problems.

I say this because of RD's reaction to what his party did, the encounter feels a little bit like a PFS encounter. It feels like the party only gets exp if the children live and are rescued. So much exp for saving the children, exp if you kill the devils, exp if you kill paegin.
What if the party decided paegin and the devils were worth the exp, and didn't care about the children? Oh, but the children saving is where all the exp was, so you get squat for your actions if you kill them.

Silver Crusade

Did anyone try and use Bluff? "Give up, we have you surrounded, there are other members of our group that have taken up position behind you, let the children go and we will let you go."

Did anyone try and use Intimidate?

Silver Crusade

I think the term "railroading" needs to be scaled back a bit. A DM shouldn't be afraid of being told he is "railroading" his players into doing something. If I create a campaign based on slaying a dragon in the end and I let the players know ahead of time what the goal is then as a DM I expect the campaign to go in that direction, sure it can vary where that direction takes a side route but in the end I expect the dragon to be slain or something equivalent. Now if I create a "sandbox" type campaign then that's telling the players that they can go where ever they want.

A DM should be able to create specific campaign goals without being referred to as a "railroader".

Not every campaign is about the players doing anything and everything they want.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The easiest way to prevent railroading is to let characters walk away from the campaign goal if they choose to.

Shadow Lodge

gnomersy wrote:
I honestly doubt that since RD said that he expected his players to do something unexpected...

Be careful what you wish for...


I don't think i've ever started a campaign where I told the players what the endgame is. That definitely does seem like a railroad.

I think it feels different for players where, as the campaign comes to a close, they realize they have to defeat a dragon, rather than being told, okay, this campaign is going to be about slaying said dragon.


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Having the players embark on a campaign to slay a dragon is not railroading.

Deciding beforehand that the players are going to succeed or fail, no matter what, and then fixing the game on the fly to make it so, is railroading.

Repeatedly running the players through scenarios in which there's only one way out or they die also counts as railroading.


@Kakitamike: you missed my point entirely. If your groups first response and only response is frag the friggin children they have been recruited to save, they are doing it out of spite. Its not even trying, its simply saying F U dm. If they had tried to come up with a plan to rescue the kids, and it went horribly wrong or some thing to that effect. Ya that would be different. That would be reasonable. Instead they chose the most evil thing possible in the situation. And why, to have laugh at the dm's expense and because they don't think there would be any real consequence. If players chose that course in my game, it would get pretty grim fast. I'd let them do it, kill the kids in all it's gruesome detail. Then have them hunted by heroes and armies as if they were as evil as cannibalistic gnolls. Ce le VI.

The point in my examples are not about realism, its about storytelling. You don't take actions that end the story. And that was what the players did. They did not try to cone with anything. That's my point, if they are going to simply self destruct the game cause there isn't a simple stupid way to handle it they need a break. That's what I mean by give them some time. To clear the heads, and think like they are. In the situation, not like its a friggin computer game or something.

And frankly, the problem with many RPGs is that its murderhappy. I mean seriously, not everything kills just because they can. Seriously. In the heat of battle, ya, but hell, even orcs and gnolls can use slaves, bargaining chips, etc. If everything leads to kill or be killed in every situation your game seriously lacks imagination. Just sayin.


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You know, I enjoyed playing Neverwinter Nights 2 a couple of times, but after that, the plot characters got so annoying. Didn't you ever want the game to let you turn around and say, screw it Nasher, you are a freaking idiot--and attack him? Or Sir Nevalle? Or that fat hag ambassador from Luskan later in the game?

Where am I going with this?

I think that RD has structured his game like NWN-2; it has a plot that must be followed. You can't kill the kids you are rescuing--and you don't get the next mission until you rescue them. Every once and while, that sort of game is okay, but the choo-choo ride gets boring fast.

A highly structured adventure is not always the way to go.

Master Arminas


Why would the PC's think the death of the children would be worth having heroes and armies sent after them if them being taken in the first place wasn't worth that kind of investment?

And given, I haven't read every single post in this thread, but I got the impression the PC that started the attack did it because he liked to kill things, not to spite the DM. I remember the DM saying he thought they did it out of spite, but I thought that was a judgement call, not a player being asked and saying they did it out of spite.

Also, I'm confused by the computer game reference. Most games I know give you all the time in the word to ponder every action you make, which is what your first example was calling for.

I was saying that calling a timeout in the game because you don't like the decision the party is making, is undermining the choices the party makes.

Think of it this way. If the party had thought about it and figured the best course of action was to surrender, to trade their lives for the kids, would you still think they should end the night early so they could think about their actions?

Silver Crusade

Kakitamike wrote:


That seems like a pretty condescending thing to do to a party, but I guess that depends how much time you let a party makes decisions as a group in the middle of combat. GIving a party a week (or even a couple days, since I don;t know how often they play) to come up with a plan that they'd really only have maybe 10 minutes to do (how long's it take to let them get across the bridge?) is really babying your party.

The one counter-point I'd make to this, is that the PCs (especially at higher levels) are presumed to be highly experienced veterans of many life-or-death battles, have been working together for quite a while, are probably quite good at handling high pressure situations (or they'd be dead already)... all of which are things that most players aren't.

Letting the players have more time, so that they can figure it out-- is a not entirely unreasonable simulation of how much better their characters probably should be at thinking, planning, executing on the fly under pressure than the players are.

EDIT: on the other hand-- the players are not facing a real life-or-death and/or "really grave consequences" situation-- to the players, it's still just a game-- so that does mitigate against the need for allowing a little more time as well.

Silver Crusade

master arminas wrote:

You know, I enjoyed playing Neverwinter Nights 2 a couple of times, but after that, the plot characters got so annoying. Didn't you ever want the game to let you turn around and say, screw it Nasher, you are a freaking idiot--and attack him? Or Sir Nevalle? Or that fat hag ambassador from Luskan later in the game?

Y'know, I had the same reaction to some of the NPCs in Diablo and Diablo II (especially Griswold, Jerhyn and Deckard Cain-- it was great getting to kill undead Griswold in D2).


Do you really think the players are using there head when they choose to frag the kids???

Nevermind the bad guys, kill the kids. Really???

That's an f u.

Had they tried ANYTHING, and the kids were an unintended consequence I would not have an issue with the players. This was a laugh at the dm's expense. It would be funny to say it and have a laugh and get back to the game. It is another to do an action NO ONE other than a mass murdering megalomaniac Ala Hitler or Stalin would do. Whether you feel RD was railroading or not, the actions the group chose are not in character, because enjoying killing THINGS is a far cry from murdering kids. Even most muredererd in history don't cross that line and people become so outraged about child deaths in general. It a line few consider crossing.

And I don't think it was railroading in set up. If the characters tried other options and still REQUIRED SURRENDER then you have a point, but RD never said that he required that as an outcome, expected them to act heroic, ya, but who wouldn't. Anything would have been a better choice than fragging the kids.

RD, it sounds like you have a bad apple or two in the bunch, might need to have a talk and with it or toss it and do without a player. You don't need that kind a player...


@Kakitamike: my video game reference is to the idea that all evil guys are murdering lunatics and that all evil guys must be killed. Its an immature black and white view point that is extremely unrealistic and overly used in games.and other media.

I mean lets look at this for a minute. The BBEG take a bunch of hostages, and is using them to bargain. And yet your idea is that surrender is autodeath? Really, why take hostages in the first place? Obviously killing things is not the primary objective with this BBEG.

People in games don't like surrendering because it means they were defeated, just like many players refuse to run when they should. Its about ego. The need to win at all costs cause this a game and they don't want to be beaten by the dm. They forget that while its a game its really about storytelling. Just saying...

In that scenario they had plenty of options, none of which include intentionally fragging the children over the villain. Hell even fragging the BBEG with balls of fire and killing the kids in the process makes more sense, and that's my problem with the players. It was simply an F U DM.


master arminas wrote:

You know, I enjoyed playing Neverwinter Nights 2 a couple of times, but after that, the plot characters got so annoying. Didn't you ever want the game to let you turn around and say, screw it Nasher, you are a freaking idiot--and attack him? Or Sir Nevalle? Or that fat hag ambassador from Luskan later in the game?

Where am I going with this?

I think that RD has structured his game like NWN-2; it has a plot that must be followed. You can't kill the kids you are rescuing--and you don't get the next mission until you rescue them. Every once and while, that sort of game is okay, but the choo-choo ride gets boring fast.

A highly structured adventure is not always the way to go.

Master Arminas

I got that feeling in NWN 1. I go around and find all this evidence that somethings really wrong with that "spoilers omitted villain". I've gathered the reagents, aquired a reputation as a hero albeit a minor one. At which point I hand them over and say "By the way blah, blah, blah I have concerns." Following which Nasher pats me on the head and replies "Yes, yes I'll deal with it now be a good little girl and go play over there." Following which I went to other authority figures and got told "Yes, yes I'm sure Lord Nasher know's what he's doing." So I go and sit in the corner, the ritual is interrupted, adventures happen and I return to find an innocent man is executed because of his "treason." What about Nasher's ignoring the person he had investigate telling him who the traitor was and that bad things were going to happen if he went ahead with his plans? That's railroading I was ignored by the major figures so the main storyline could happen.

@Katkimike
Bear in mind the PC's are the heroes being sent after Paegin if they go bad and start slaughtering the children they become a threat similar to him. This would mean that new heroes/armies would be sent after Paegin and them because they are a major threat to the Empire. Ex-military heroes gone bad with the power to wipe out small towns that's something you divert major resources to stop.


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Netherek wrote:
I mean lets look at this for a minute. The BBEG take a bunch of hostages, and is using them to bargain. And yet your idea is that surrender is autodeath? Really, why take hostages in the first place? Obviously killing things is not the primary objective with this BBEG.

When I said 'trade their lives for the kids' i meant, put themselves in the kids position, so the kids could go free, not literally trade their lifes. I did not mean autodeath, but I can see how that could of been unclear.

The question I was trying to pose was, would you still make the party stop and wait a week if the choice they made was heroic and would save everyone involved, and most likely live through it?

Also, i guess it's hard to speak what the player's intentions were when all we have is the GM's view to go on. You see it as a GM F U, whereas i give them the benefit of the doubt they may be frustrated with the choices the GM is putting them against. Heck, it could be both.

I remember back in a 2nd ed game, back when we had to go train once we had enough exp to level, before we got the benefits of the next level. It took a number of weeks to train equal to the level you were going to. I think the party was all around either 8th or 9th.

We had been out in the wilds for a while. We were all well over the level cap. We eventually found our way to some elven village. By that point we had almost enough experience to level twice. Our second night in the village, the daughter of the town's ruler was kidnapped by a vampire.

After about an hour of deliberating, we said F it, we're going to go train. The GM was like, but the girl will die, most likely become a vampire, the threat will only increase. Some of us felt bad, some of us didn't care at that point, but we said we wanted to level, and we were sick of being stuck at the level we were at. So we let her die, and went back home to train.

I think that was the last campaign where we had to train between levels. The GM aid afterward that he hadn't realized it was such a big problem.

Sometimes GM's aren't even aware of things they do in a game that aggravate a player. It's no one's fault. You just have to talk about it afterward and figure out where things went wrong.

Everyone here has spent countless pages talking about what could of happened in the situation, but I think RD's group now needs to spend some time talking amongst themselves why it happened.

Silver Crusade

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Netherek wrote:


People in games don't like surrendering because it means they were defeated, just like many players refuse to run when they should. Its about ego. The need to win at all costs cause this a game and they don't want to be beaten by the dm. They forget that while its a game its really about storytelling. Just saying...

An awful lot of folks playing RPGs don't like surrendering because they take more of a realistic view of what should happen once you've been captured, instead of a BS "sunshine and butterflies" gamer's view, that maybe the bad guy's going to boast and give away all his plans, and then the bad guys will totally screw up on basic security measures so that you'll get to escape and retrieve all your gear. No, what really happens is it depends on who you're fighting-- but if you're up against terrorists and criminals, you will most likely end up murdered-- fairly quickly, before you can become a significant risk to the group that took you prisoner. You may or not be interrogated and/or subjected to brutal torture first, depending on whether or not they think you have information they need to know, and/or whether or not they're just plain vindictive that way.

If the enemy you're fighting is an honorable adversary who respects his foes, accepts honorable surrender and is known (or reasonably expected) to treat his prisoners decently-- y'know, someone who has the inclination, possibly backed up by good reason, to conduct him/her-self according to the "Laws of War"-- surrender is a much more viable, potentially acceptable option. Even then-- it's better to escape and evade capture, than surrender-- because being a POW (or similar such "forced guest" awaiting ransom by honorable medieval standards) still sucks-- however, surrender is an even more viable option, if it is a medieval/renaissance-style society with a strong tradition of capture, good treatment, and ransom for nobles & knights fighting other nobles & knights in battle, and you're a knight and/or belong to the noble classes-- in that case, capture might not even suck that bad-- it's part of the usual routine.

However-- such honorable foes don't take children hostage and threaten them with death in order to force your compliance. Although in various such noble societies there was some ritualized exchange of "hostages" (usually under more polite terms) to guarantee good behavior on the parts of various nobles towards their overlords-- it was never conducted in the kind of brutal "surrender or I murder the children" way that Paegin and co were doing in this scenario.

BTW-- in real life, the Code of Conduct for the United States Military includes this:

U.S. Military Code of Conduct, Article 2: wrote:


I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

It's something we take seriously, for lots of very good reasons. It's not just a video-game thing. And personally, I'd probably slash my wrists if I was out of bullets, rather than surrender to Taliban fighters or Al-Qaeda inspired insurgents-- even if they had hostages and were threatening to kill them (not least because I don't think my surrender would save the hostages)-- should I expect less from my characters, who are supposed to be far better than an ordinary soldier like I was before I retired from the military?

Now-- I agree with you, if I'm reading your thoughts correctly, on the ego-trip (and other problems) regarding why many players don't run when they should. Withdrawal and retreat are options that are usually possible, should be considered if the odds are stacked against you and/or the fight is not going your way; and it's very very rare to find situations where it's really better to stand and fight and go down swinging, than retreat and live to fight another day (sometimes, especially for the really heroic types-- situations may arise where it's better to stand, fight and die than retreat-- usually as an individual matter where your sacrifice is what's making the difference in allowing others to escape and/or succeed in accomplishing something worth the sacrifice you're making).

As noted above-- Surrender is usually bad, not just in video-games, not just in RPGs, but in reality as well; however, people who are too stupid to consider running away when they're outgunned, deserve to get killed for their manifest stupidity.

(In RD's example-- I already mentioned, many posts ago, that withdrawing and allowing Paegin to escape-- for now (buying time and planning for a rescue effort later in a better location)-- was something that should have at least been considered by RD's player-group.)

Silver Crusade

Kakitamike wrote:

I don't think i've ever started a campaign where I told the players what the endgame is. That definitely does seem like a railroad.

I think it feels different for players where, as the campaign comes to a close, they realize they have to defeat a dragon, rather than being told, okay, this campaign is going to be about slaying said dragon.

I like to give players an idea of where I see the campaign ending up just to set expectations. How they get from where we start to where we end is controlled by player choices and how they affect the game world. I also give them short term goals. The method of reaching those goals is entirely up to them and how they reach those goals can have short and long term effects. They feel like their choices have real effects and consequences and I can still follow a general story concept.

At the start of my current campaign the players were sent to clear out the account of a long dead man. This fellow was a former Chelish governor of Andoran and he skimmed a lot of gold off the tax rolls. So the current government feels it is their money and sends people after it. So the group was sent to do that and given some general information to help. That general information lead to a certain conclusion in how to resolve the game. It also had hooks for other methods. They chose a different path and enjoyed the heck out of it.

So in summary you can point them in a direction if you let them choose how they make the journey.


@Finn: I agree with everything you said, spot on. I don't think surrender is first option anyone should make, one thing that I apparently have different in my group is we played a lot of Conan and Darksun, so slavery was common. So in that light, surrender was a viable last ditch way out. If you had a chance to flee or had the means to continue the fight then do so, but sometimes the enemy gets the drop on you, just like you can on them.

The thing about the scenario is like you said they could withdraw, inform the villain that if the children die that there is nothing to stop the heroes from killing him, etc. There was a host of options that didn't mean surrender, or killing the kids.


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Good Stuff.

But referring to the last part about withdrawing based on my understanding of why the children were taken wasn't it done in order to kill them as revenge for humiliating defeats of the gnolls by the townsfolk? I mean it doesn't say as much but why else grab a dozen kids it's not like they're useful for anything.

And if like me you leap to the assumption that they're going to be killed or sacrificed to demons or eaten by the gnolls or whatever then withdrawal is essentially equivalent to them dying in the firefight.

Silver Crusade

Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.

Um, yes but usually these involve fake chains, illusions, hats of disguise, etc. Worst case, the captured character is a monk who leaves all their gear with their friends.

This kind of surrender...not so much. In fact, probably never.


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karkon wrote:
Kakitamike wrote:

I don't think i've ever started a campaign where I told the players what the endgame is. That definitely does seem like a railroad.

I think it feels different for players where, as the campaign comes to a close, they realize they have to defeat a dragon, rather than being told, okay, this campaign is going to be about slaying said dragon.

I like to give players an idea of where I see the campaign ending up just to set expectations. How they get from where we start to where we end is controlled by player choices and how they affect the game world. I also give them short term goals. The method of reaching those goals is entirely up to them and how they reach those goals can have short and long term effects. They feel like their choices have real effects and consequences and I can still follow a general story concept.

At the start of my current campaign the players were sent to clear out the account of a long dead man. This fellow was a former Chelish governor of Andoran and he skimmed a lot of gold off the tax rolls. So the current government feels it is their money and sends people after it. So the group was sent to do that and given some general information to help. That general information lead to a certain conclusion in how to resolve the game. It also had hooks for other methods. They chose a different path and enjoyed the heck out of it.

So in summary you can point them in a direction if you let them choose how they make the journey.

They stole the money and went on a long acid/drinking binge with a troop of hookers didn't they?

Silver Crusade

3.5 Loyalist wrote:


They stole the money and went on a long acid/drinking binge with a troop of hookers didn't they?

They stole the money as planned but then ripped off the people they bribed to help them.

Silver Crusade

Dabbler wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.

Um, yes but usually these involve fake chains, illusions, hats of disguise, etc. Worst case, the captured character is a monk who leaves all their gear with their friends.

This kind of surrender...not so much. In fact, probably never.

The spell casters still have their spells, just drop the equipment on the ground and not over the bridge. PC's aren't helpless when they don't have their equipment.


shallowsoul wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.

Um, yes but usually these involve fake chains, illusions, hats of disguise, etc. Worst case, the captured character is a monk who leaves all their gear with their friends.

This kind of surrender...not so much. In fact, probably never.

The spell casters still have their spells, just drop the equipment on the ground and not over the bridge. PC's aren't helpless when they don't have their equipment.

Assuming they can cast without materials and for some reason the enemy is standing 10 feet away all the time.


OK, so if you think the kids are likely to be killed do you?

A. Frag the bad guys and hope you save some of the kids...

B. Frag the kids first, then bad guys know we mean business, and strike a super intimidating bad ass pose.

Option B makes perfect sense if you're the Ginyu Force. Or something you smart off for a laugh. I know I'd probably say something to the effect of B if I'm not smack in the middle of character acting, laugh, and then really do something that was in character and govwith the scene.

I can't say what I'd do as a player as I am not in the game following the events but I don't destroy the mission. At the worst I'd attack and hope I can save some, not kill them off first. Just sayin

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Shoot the hostage.


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


Assuming they can cast without materials and for some reason the enemy is standing 10 feet away all the time.

There were both a summoner and a sorcerer in the group. The former had spell-like abilities (which could arguably be stealth-activated) and the latter had Eschew Materials.

Both were able to cast spells or spell-like abilities without their gear.


Ravingdork wrote:
gnomersy wrote:


Assuming they can cast without materials and for some reason the enemy is standing 10 feet away all the time.

There were both a summoner and a sorcerer in the group. The former had spell-like abilities (which could arguably be stealth-activated) and the latter had Eschew Materials.

Both were able to cast spells or spell-like abilities without their gear.

And yet again we come to the question, did the players know that you were ready to play the evil genius as a complete idiot and leave their hands unbound so they can make the gestures as well as leave them without any guards who would interrupt their spells with attacks of opportunity?

Also do they know you would allow spell like abilities to be activated in stealth, do they think you would hit them with the -20 penalty for talking while attempting to use stealth, and does the Summoner have the points in stealth to make that even vaguely possible to succeed at?

@ Netherek - I entirely agree I wouldn't shoot the hostages but neither would I ever surrender to attempt to save them because that is above all a terrible idea. And I don't see the solution RD insists exists, therefore I'd choose A but I'd highly expect all the hostages to die in the process. Which is why I'd bring their corpses back to town and hire a high level cleric to raise them from the dead or some such.

Silver Crusade

gnomersy wrote:
Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Good Stuff.

But referring to the last part about withdrawing based on my understanding of why the children were taken wasn't it done in order to kill them as revenge for humiliating defeats of the gnolls by the townsfolk? I mean it doesn't say as much but why else grab a dozen kids it's not like they're useful for anything.

And if like me you leap to the assumption that they're going to be killed or sacrificed to demons or eaten by the gnolls or whatever then withdrawal is essentially equivalent to them dying in the firefight.

Gnomersy--

Good points.

My thought on withdrawal wasn't going away and coming back on an entirely different, much later day-- as the results should probably be what you predict. I did (and to some extent still do) think that temporarily withdrawing, trying to get ahead of them (or sneakily trail them) and find a better spot for a hostage-rescue effort was a viable option (and/or withdrawing for a little bit just to buy some more time to work out other options)-- but it does make me think that if Paegin and co are just going to use the bridge as the spot for the murder/sacrifice/whatever, then even the most temporary of retreats isn't a good option.

Although-- I would tend to think (and I didn't read this into the explanation of the bad guys' actions) that there's more going on than just killing the kids for revenge (if that had been all that was intended), Paegin and co would have killed the kids in the village, instead of kidnapping them. Sacrifice/ritual murder/etc., requiring more time and/or a site away from the village to carry out, could have been part of the intent all along, though...

Silver Crusade

shallowsoul wrote:
Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.

Ummm.... yeah, sure.

Sometimes this works (in more rational universes where people's actions make sense and the enemies are not total morons)-- for individuals who allow themselves to be captured by the enemy... but not for whole teams to allow themselves to get captured, without known/reliable/capable back-up staying out of the enemy's grasp to support their plan and/or rescue them if necessary.

This also only tends to work, if: A) the enemy is known to respect surrenders and not simply kill the newly captured heroes on the spot or after a brief but nasty brutal interrogation (something I don't think would apply to Paegin and co) or B) the enemy has or is given really good reasons why the person giving him/her-self up must be kept alive and (relatively) unharmed (something that IMO doesn't apply with Paegin and co-- the kids are temporarily being kept alive to keep the heroes from curb-stomping Paegin and co on the spot-- once the heroes are in Paegin's hands, there's no-one immediately there to come down on him for wasting the PCs).

A tactic similar to this is often seen, in reality, where negotiators will exchange themselves for hostages, in order not just to free up hostages but also to get themselves right in close to the criminals/hostage takers in order to more effectively negotiate face-to-face (safe passage for negotiators passing enemy lines during warfare is usually considered to be a somewhat different sort of arrangement not actually involving surrender-- although it does still place the negotiators at the opposing force's mercy if something goes wrong). However, such negotiators are a few individuals-- the whole rescue team/effort backing them up is not surrendering, and most likely, they're not even lowering their guns.

Some other variations on "getting closer", "inserting a spy in their midst" and such may be viable in a realistic view-- but again, it depends on the enemy desiring and/or having really good reasons to want to keep you alive-- if you don't have that, then surrendering at all-- is effectively committing suicide.


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
gnomersy wrote:
Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Good Stuff.

But referring to the last part about withdrawing based on my understanding of why the children were taken wasn't it done in order to kill them as revenge for humiliating defeats of the gnolls by the townsfolk? I mean it doesn't say as much but why else grab a dozen kids it's not like they're useful for anything.

And if like me you leap to the assumption that they're going to be killed or sacrificed to demons or eaten by the gnolls or whatever then withdrawal is essentially equivalent to them dying in the firefight.

Gnomersy--

Good points.

My thought on withdrawal wasn't going away and coming back on an entirely different, much later day-- as the results should probably be what you predict. I did (and to some extent still do) think that temporarily withdrawing, trying to get ahead of them (or sneakily trail them) and find a better spot for a hostage-rescue effort was a viable option (and/or withdrawing for a little bit just to buy some more time to work out other options)-- but it does make me think that if Paegin and co are just going to use the bridge as the spot for the murder/sacrifice/whatever, then even the most temporary of retreats isn't a good option.

Although-- I would tend to think (and I didn't read this into the explanation of the bad guys' actions) that there's more going on than just killing the kids for revenge (if that had been all that was intended), Paegin and co would have killed the kids in the village, instead of kidnapping them. Sacrifice/ritual murder/etc., requiring more time and/or a site away from the village to carry out, could have been part of the intent all along, though...

Not to mention a bridge in the middle of a forest isn't traditionally a spot for sacrificing a dozen kids. Nothing to catch the blood, no alters to sacrifice them on, no arcane runes/diagrams/etc to draw their souls out of their bodies. If the ritual could be accomplished with a snap of the fingers it'd have been done at the village and if it takes time you can pull back and watch to ensure they move off before you do.

Silver Crusade

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Shoot the hostage.

Y'know, Spetsnaz units really do consider this a perfectly reasonable tactic. Shooting the hostage in the leg, in order to ultimately save the hostage's (and many other people's) lives in the process? As the TV Tropes entry notes, risky-- but it actually has been done in reality (although the entry skips that, I think), is a little less risky if you're a passably good shot and careful about where in the leg you shoot the hostage (don't put a bullet in the upper thigh-- there's too many major arteries and veins to bleed out through in the upper leg, that thin out as you go lower, and it's rather difficult to put a tourniquet on it if necessary for an upper thigh wound). This is also much less risky with military and/or competent real police personnel than the trope makes it sound-- because military and police personnel are trained in first aid, and are not going to be waiting for the paramedics and ambulances to arrive to handle the necessary basic measures to reasonably assure that the wounded hostage is going to live. This probably works much better in a fantasy setting where you've got clerics and other magic healers to patch up any damage even faster.

Non-lethal shooting of hostages should not be off the table-- if the consequences for not taking the shot are worse. If you have non-lethal weapons/options, using those to neutralize hostages is actually a pretty good option (in game and in reality). However-- I really don't think this excuses "tossing a lethal grenade deliberately into the middle of the group of hostages", which is what casting those lethal AoE spells on the hostages amounted to (of course I don't think your post was suggesting that either :) ).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
gnomersy wrote:


Assuming they can cast without materials and for some reason the enemy is standing 10 feet away all the time.

There were both a summoner and a sorcerer in the group. The former had spell-like abilities (which could arguably be stealth-activated) and the latter had Eschew Materials.

Both were able to cast spells or spell-like abilities without their gear.

And while bound and gagged, the FIRST thing that any sane captor will do to a spell-casting prisoner?

Shadow Lodge

Dabbler wrote:
And while bound and gagged, the FIRST thing that any sane captor will do to a spell-casting prisoner?

If, for some reason they need to be kept alive, the removal of both hands and the tongue is recommended.

Silver Crusade

Kthulhu wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
And while bound and gagged, the FIRST thing that any sane captor will do to a spell-casting prisoner?
If, for some reason they need to be kept alive, the removal of both hands and the tongue is recommended.

Yep. If you're evil, you don't care about their comfort and well-being, and in this game-- you've got various mind-reading spells and abilities (that your devilish allies can easily use on your behalf) to handle the interrogation. They don't need to be able to speak...


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
And while bound and gagged, the FIRST thing that any sane captor will do to a spell-casting prisoner?
If, for some reason they need to be kept alive, the removal of both hands and the tongue is recommended.
Yep. If you're evil, you don't care about their comfort and well-being, and in this game-- you've got various mind-reading spells and abilities (that your devilish allies can easily use on your behalf) to handle the interrogation. They don't need to be able to speak...

Technically speaking with the right training they don't need to be able to speak, geasture or have the components to fireball said interrogator either.

Silver Crusade

Liam Warner wrote:


Technically speaking with the right training they don't need to be able to speak, geasture or have the components to fireball said interrogator either.

You're right-- so, the BBEG should kill the spell-casters immediately. Save the fighter (and maybe the Paladin) for interrogation.


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

Good thing there aren't rules for dismemberment.

...

Right?

;P

Silver Crusade

Ravingdork wrote:

Good thing there aren't rules for dismemberment.

...

Right?

;P

I submit Vorpal weapons. Granted its the head but you can pop the head off a skeleton and it still keeps functioning.

I also submit Regeneration which is used for these specific circumstances.

Silver Crusade

Well the mistake is to try and apply real life instances into the equation. US military,spetznaz,IRA, it really doesn't matter, as soon as you get close enough you act. What real life doesn't have is initiative. All you have to do is start the initiative order, see who may need to hold their action until a better time comes up. It's not really that difficult at all.

Silver Crusade

I can promise you that the PCs would have been better off going this route than dropping a fireball into the group, besides aren't most devils immune to fire?


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

@RavingDork:

I cannot fathom why you'd suddenly change the children to an illusion. (Yes, I understand that you don't want the children to actually be hurt.) But by changing them to an illusion you reinforce the idea in the PCs that it was an "impossible" situation and therefor (like the illusions) not really real.

If instead some children died, possibly pleading to the heroes, the "realness" of the situation might have sunken in.

I do think that repercussion for actions should happen, but at the same time the action and repercussion should be intrinsically linked then and there. Having to engineer a story that weeks later (after a trial or whatever) brings about the repercussion is just too weak.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Once you ruled that it was an illusion, you really lost all rights to punish them for the act.

Don't be a DC. Don't re-retcon your original retcon.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Well the mistake is to try and apply real life instances into the equation. US military,spetznaz,IRA, it really doesn't matter, as soon as you get close enough you act. What real life doesn't have is initiative. All you have to do is start the initiative order, see who may need to hold their action until a better time comes up. It's not really that difficult at all.

OK, so exactly what spells and abilities will they use now that they are unarmed and within arm's reach (or near enough) to the foes that they could not have used when still fully armed and functional? The bad guys won't let go of the kids (if they ever planned to) until they have the casters all tied up, so the situation is the same as before - save for them being unarmed and close up.


I take it, RD, that you expected the PCs to surrender and had contingencies for such? I can appreciate that. Not every encounter is supposed to be a winnable frontal assault. It doesn't really sound like diplomacy or intimidation was going to have any real effect on the outcome, but maybe that's incorrect.

I would just say be careful when building adventures that suppose players will surrender to an evil force. You really have to know your players very well before attempting such a thing. I would say that's probably why you don't see such encounters built into AP's or modules. It's a very tricky thing to pull off, and requires trust between a DM and the players.

Silver Crusade

shallowsoul wrote:
Well the mistake is to try and apply real life instances into the equation. US military,spetznaz,IRA, it really doesn't matter, as soon as you get close enough you act. What real life doesn't have is initiative. All you have to do is start the initiative order, see who may need to hold their action until a better time comes up. It's not really that difficult at all.

Real life doesn't have a die roll for initiative. :P

To think that seizing the initiative in combat doesn't matter in real life-- would be a display of such overwhelming ignorance, that I'm sure that's not what you mean by "real life doesn't have initiative"-- firefights are often decided by which side got in the first accurate shots. On a larger scale, a lot of military planning and training, and a lot of the effort in actual operations, involves ensuring that your side has the initiative and the other side is stuck with having to react to your attacks before they can try to do anything else.

On the other hand-- yes, if you're speaking of game mechanics and what actions (in game) will work better than others for accomplishing a particular purpose or goal in this situation-- okay, break out the game-mechanics, not the real world examples with weapons the characters don't even have.

However, since much of this thread has been about motivations and morality and the 'whys' behind the actions-- if one likes realistic fiction (and in this case-- even in total fantasy settings, likes reasonable, understandable 'human' motivations and feelings displayed in the story), it's not a mistake to bring up and apply real life instances into the equation as part of that discussion.


I find it kind of humorous with the talk of dismemberment. The Inquisition was notorious for heinous acts against there prisoners, though usually after they got to where they would torture them.

And frankly, just cause the villain says he'll kill the children doesn't mean he will. Think about it, they are his shield while they are alive. To kill all the children removes the very thing protecting him. So while he might demand and hope you surrender, its a stalemate. So roleplaying is what was needed. Not fragging the kids.

I think we all agree on that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The party sounds mildly evil under the D&D alignment system. As such, I think you should attempt to motivate them as you would a LE group.

If a LE party is contracted to bring back children alive, then they will attempt to do just that. Otherwise, they don't get paid. Performance Contracting seems the best way to go.

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