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Why do manacles suck?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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So I can buy a pair of manicles for 15 gp, or a length of rope for 1gp. The dc for escaping manicles is a flat 30. The dc for escaping being tied up, is 20 + CMB. At level 6 the dc of my character tying someone up would be equal to them in manicles... At level 11 it will be equal to masterwork manicles. Why would anyone buy manicles for a ton more gold? Seems like a flaw in the pathfinder mechanic to me.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Sometimes they'll try to break out instead of wriggling out. That changes the odds.


It's just the relative value of the items. It's not related to their effectiveness.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Because the people using them in game, mostly deputies and sheriffs don't have amazing CMBs, meaning manacles are better?


Gunn wrote:
So I can buy a pair of manicles for 15 gp, or a length of rope for 1gp. The dc for escaping manicles is a flat 30. The dc for escaping being tied up, is 20 + CMB. At level 6 the dc of my character tying someone up would be equal to them in manicles... At level 11 it will be equal to masterwork manicles. Why would anyone buy manicles for a ton more gold? Seems like a flaw in the pathfinder mechanic to me.

Rope weighs a lot more..

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Oh, also, if you use them on a daily basis (like if you're a jailer), it's a lot easier to get someone in and out of manacles than ropes.


Yes, maybe manicles are better for puny npcs. but when i look at equipment, i think about how players can use them, not npcs.


Manacles also take one action to put on.

You don't always have time to take 20.

Also not everything needs to break down to a game mechanic. It is easier to use manacles.

RP wise, a jailer would not take the time to tie up and un-tie somone everytime they had to move them.


Putting manacles on someone is faster and easier.


Gunn wrote:
So I can buy a pair of manicles for 15 gp, or a length of rope for 1gp. The dc for escaping manicles is a flat 30. The dc for escaping being tied up, is 20 + CMB. At level 6 the dc of my character tying someone up would be equal to them in manicles... At level 11 it will be equal to masterwork manicles. Why would anyone buy manicles for a ton more gold? Seems like a flaw in the pathfinder mechanic to me.

By level 6, you are already superhuman in your abilities (just not Superman-level superhuman). It makes sense that by that point, you can do thing no normal person can do.

That majority of people in the world would be level 1-3, where manacles are the better choice.


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Sometimes you're in a hurry. <wink, wink, nudge, nudge>


Thefurmonger wrote:

Manacles also take one action to put on.

You don't always have time to take 20.

Also not everything needs to break down to a game mechanic. It is easier to use manacles.

RP wise, a jailer would not take the time to tie up and un-tie somone everytime they had to move them.

Not to mention that rope frays, rots quicker in damp environments, rots quicker in arid environments, and is far easier to cut that a set of manacles made from even the crudest of irons, to say nothing of the steel likely used in a set of masterworks.

Also a question, anyone have any idea what the DC to break out of multiple sets of manacles would be (you know, like an escape artist who gets three sets stacked up his forearms, plus a pair of ankle shackles; or a prisoner shackled hand and foot, or a big guy who they stack two pair on his wrists because they are afraid he can break a single set?


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I had a long post, but the internet ate it. So sad.

The solution that my group devised is to buy masterwork manacles (DC 35) and a suit of splint mail with two locked gauntlets. Escape Artist is subject to the Armor Check Penalty (-7 in the case of splint mail). They buckle in their prisoner, locking both hands on bladeless hilts of old broken swords, and then manacle his arms together behind his back.

They make him sleep in the getup. Next day he is fatigued, and his Dexterity takes a -2 penalty.

Total cost? 216 gp for the splint mail and locked gauntlets, 50 gp for the masterwork manacles.

It will take a pretty epic character to reliably be able to escape from that (a 15th level character with 15 ranks in escape artist, a Dex of 28, and applying the Skill Focus feat to Escape Artist) only has a +30 to his check. After the penalties from ACP and fatigue, he is +22. And has to roll a 13 or higher to wiggle free. Or roll a 12+ on the first day (before he gets fatigued).

Works for us.

Master Arminas


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That might violate the Geneva Convention.


Cheapy wrote:
That might violate the Geneva Convention.

It is a good thing that most fantasy nations are not signatories to the Conventions, then. :)

If you are concerned about someone breaking the manacles, then pay for adamantine. Hopefully there will be adamantine manacles in Ultimate Equipment, but until then I ruled it that they cost 500 gp and bump up the Break DC to 33.

Note: Spellcasters of any type (even Paladins and Rangers) get gagged as well. Sometimes two or even three sets of manacles are used (wrists, ankles, and elbows, with the wrist manacles chained to a belt by short lengths of chain).

Master Arminas


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My casters usually carry around Masterwork manacles that are arcane locked because the "we should keep it prisoner instead of killing it" scenario always seems to come into play at some point or another.


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master arminas wrote:
I had a long post, but the internet ate it. So sad.

Lazarus is your friend. I've had it for three years now and have not once regretted downloading it.

master arminas wrote:

The solution that my group devised is to buy masterwork manacles (DC 35) and a suit of splint mail with two locked gauntlets. Escape Artist is subject to the Armor Check Penalty (-7 in the case of splint mail). They buckle in their prisoner, locking both hands on bladeless hilts of old broken swords, and then manacle his arms together behind his back.

They make him sleep in the getup. Next day he is fatigued, and his Dexterity takes a -2 penalty.

Total cost? 216 gp for the splint mail and locked gauntlets, 50 gp for the masterwork manacles.

It will take a pretty epic character to reliably be able to escape from that (a 15th level character with 15 ranks in escape artist, a Dex of 28, and applying the Skill Focus feat to Escape Artist) only has a +30 to his check. After the penalties from ACP and fatigue, he is +22. And has to roll a 13 or higher to wiggle free. Or roll a 14+ on the first day (before he gets fatigued).

Works for us.

Master Arminas

"Is it true what they're sayin', he's some kinda vampire?"

"They don't have a name for what he is."

:D


Don't manacles also require a lock to keep securely shut?

That's always been my impression based on the wording, and has made them, due to the high cost of locks, extremely unappealing to me since D&D 3.0.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Don't manacles also require a lock to keep securely shut?

That's always been my impression based on the wording, and has made them, due to the high cost of locks, extremely unappealing to me since D&D 3.0.

They don't require it, but most have them.

Quote:
Most manacles have locks; add the cost of the lock you want to the cost of the manacles

So that adds 20 to 150gp to the cost.


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If the GM keps insisting the bad guys blow off your expensive manacles all the time, is it poor form to start breaking prisoners arms and legs with a cheap hammer to prevent it continuing as a habit?


Shifty wrote:
If the GM keps insisting the bad guys blow off your expensive manacles all the time, is it poor form to start breaking prisoners arms and legs with a cheap hammer to prevent it continuing as a habit?

I like the way you think.


My groups tend to use little bindings at all... Just keep the captured people beaten deep into the nonlethals and have a means of transporting them (a wagon?) and they'll be too busy with the whole "unconscious" thing to try and escape.


Using the Book of Vile Darkness obviates the need to keep prisoners at all... just convert them into tasty buffs (and corpses).

:)


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Don't manacles also require a lock to keep securely shut?

That's always been my impression based on the wording, and has made them, due to the high cost of locks, extremely unappealing to me since D&D 3.0.

Locks can be picked. Historically (ah, that dreaded word), manacles were not locked until close to the modern era. Watch some old Westerns with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood and you will get a good view of manacles in action. You will notice they don't lock those manacles . . . they rivet them shut with a blacksmith. Or weld them. Not a very pleasant experience to be sure.

In the field, there are many things that a party can do to take the place of locks. Anyone with Craft (Blacksmith) can--with a little time--heat up some rivets or weld the manacles shut. A druid with heat metal alleviates the need for a forge or a roaring fire even. Arcane lock can secure the manacles with even a simple lock. And if using the locked gauntlets/splint mail approach, the lack of a lock doesn't matter--because the prisoner cannot use his hands.

Master Arminas


Level 6 as far as i understand is already a pretty heroic character, and then we are only talking about full BAB classes. I mean for scale: a level 6 fighter is supposed to be able to take an ankylosaurus or an ettin one-on-one in an open fight. So at that point you should expect them to be pretty damn good at the stuff that comes with their levels, and for a full BAB class that is CMB and consequently the ability to tie stuff up. the majority of people is probably still not going to beat manacles with their rope skills even at that level, and I would assume most regular humanoids in the world are in the low-level quarter.


Well if you find someone in manacles you can sell the manacles for more value as treasure. You would want to sell them as valueable treasure.

Shadow Lodge

Shifty wrote:
If the GM keps insisting the bad guys blow off your expensive manacles all the time, is it poor form to start breaking prisoners arms and legs with a cheap hammer to prevent it continuing as a habit?

Me break skulls instead. They no run then.


master arminas wrote:

I had a long post, but the internet ate it. So sad.

The solution that my group devised is to buy masterwork manacles (DC 35) and a suit of splint mail with two locked gauntlets. Escape Artist is subject to the Armor Check Penalty (-7 in the case of splint mail). They buckle in their prisoner, locking both hands on bladeless hilts of old broken swords, and then manacle his arms together behind his back.

They make him sleep in the getup. Next day he is fatigued, and his Dexterity takes a -2 penalty.

Total cost? 216 gp for the splint mail and locked gauntlets, 50 gp for the masterwork manacles.

It will take a pretty epic character to reliably be able to escape from that (a 15th level character with 15 ranks in escape artist, a Dex of 28, and applying the Skill Focus feat to Escape Artist) only has a +30 to his check. After the penalties from ACP and fatigue, he is +22. And has to roll a 13 or higher to wiggle free. Or roll a 12+ on the first day (before he gets fatigued).

Works for us.

Master Arminas

Don't forget Touch of Fatigue. It's a cantrip so you can "take 1" on the enemy's saving throw. That gives them fatigue the first day and lets you lock down Paladins with a mercy to clear fatigue at the greater penalty.


A set of manacles/handcuffs is only so hard to pick. The device is the same in the hands of someone barely quallified to put them on, or someone who's been using them day in and day out for decades. I don't do a ton of real life lock picking, but I've messed around with it enough to know someone dedicated to the skill, even at the novice levels, is going to breeze through the vast majority of locks.

Tying someone up on the other hand involves a bit of skill, and it's easier to see the difference between someone who has no idea what their doing and someone who's been doing it a while.

Something I would try and factor in more is sound and time. Getting out of handcuff's isn't overy hard, but doing it while being observed and having the observer not know what's going on can be neigh impossible.


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And that is why I heartily recommend locked gauntlets, Fraust. You can't pick the lock if you can't use your hands. For evil characters, amputation also works, but can be somewhat messy.

And for those who love old movies, remember the James Garner western/comedy, Support Your Local Gunfighter? When he knocks out the gunslinger who is determined to shoot him, he takes a cast iron skillet and slams it down on the guy's trigger finger--and there is a sickening CRACK sound. And at that point, his Deputy asks him . . . "Wait. He's wearing his gun in a cross-draw holster--on his right hip. He's left handed, Sheriff."

And James winces, picks up the skillet again, and we hear a SECOND crack.

After which the deputy kind of looks at James, and says--sheepishly--"Uh, I got confused. He is right handed after all."

Morale of the story: your prisoner can't pick the lock if he can't use his hands. However you want to make sure of it.

Master Arminas


The Armour option also imposes Arcane Spell Failure.


I always add akwardness to my mancacles or tieing folks up. Wrist to anckle behind the back, I find really effective.


Master Arminas...that's a good point, and something I've used before. I don't recall the specifics, but I know back in second I came up with the idea of putting a hot iron rod through a prisoners clasped hands and leashed that to a chain before. At high enough lovel there's the simplicity of shanking them, throwing the corpse in a bag of holding, and raising them once you get them where you need them.

Mostly I was just trying to explain why the manicals had a static DC, but the rope was variable based on skill.

Shadow Lodge

Used them twice in today's society game. Great way to subdue a caster that you need alive!


Fraust the best reasoning I can say on it has been pointed out already.

After being in the boyscouts I still can't tie a decent knot or lash worth a plugged nickel. But i can use hand-cuffs without issue. However I have seen guys who could take rope and tie knots you would be avised to cut off long before trying to wriggle your way out of them.

Just my 2 cp


My character has a pair of master work manacles.

they were mostly for role play reasons as the character is kind of the high justice of the kingdom.

Today however my GM pit me against a creature with some pretty nasty abilities and in frustration I simply grappled the creature, pinned him, then used the manacles to bind him (I assumed it was the same as tying him up but the escape DC would be based on the manacles not my tie up roll.)

its not something I would normally do and it kind of pissed the GM off so after killing the monster I figured i would not do it again.

Unfortunately the next creature we faced had lots of charm type attacks and DR and a fast heal ability.

her charms, compulsions and other effects essentially took every one out of the fight but myself, and I could not use my main weapon due to a suggestion spell.

so after attempting to use trip, which did not stop her bardic performance, and a non magical heavy pick, which was crap against her DR5/cold iron and fast heal 2, I had to resort to grapple > pin > manacle again.

the GM was not amused.

I see a random band of manacle wielding, grapple focused, sodomist in my future.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Last time I used manacles, I was a rogue and was after a thief gone rogue from the thieves' guild. After finally grappling the jewel thief, I pinned him and slapped some manacles on him, yelling "I've got you now Lupin!!". My GM bust out laughing for 5 whole minutes and we enjoyed the good laugh.


Gunn wrote:
Seems like a flaw in the pathfinder mechanic to me

Ehhh isn't a metalworked item supposed to be more expensive than rope? Even if it wasn't, I feel like the 14gp difference shouldn't have a backbreaking effect on any party past level 1, and even for a bunch of baby chars, manacles seem a little more proof against more abstract escape attempts (such as using open flame to burn ropes or, idk, dipping bonds in milk to entice rats to chew through? Well, maybe not that last one, hahaha).

Anyways, I don't think it's a flaw in the pf mechanic, or at least not a really serious one.


Master Arminas...I really like your idea with the splint mail armor and locked gauntlets. However, you do not address the struggle that would be required to force someone to don the armor or to forcibly don it on them. Usually, one is placing manacles on an uncooperative victim and that is hard enough. How hard would it be to try and forcibly don splint mail with locked gauntlets on someone? ....and a 15th level NPC or PC would be near impossible unless you happened to be a 14th level Hunter (AEG Mercenaries) and knocked them unconscious. Even then, it takes a normal (conscious) person 4 minutes to don splint mail armor.


I would guess that manacles are better against really strong opponents?

I mean you can burst out of rope bonds with a DC23 strength check

So sone of the bigger monsters aren't going to gk up against 20 + your grapple cmb.

So maybe that is the purpose?


I can only imagine the splint mail and locked gauntlet idea working after you have already caught and captivated your victim. In other words, manacles could be used in the act of captivating (i.e. grappling) and the splint mail would be the next step to keep them subdued after you have them. I was just wondering how you could possibly use the splint mail/locked gauntlets during the initial act of capture. If there are any ideas I would be open.

I use the grapple rules for "tie up" on page 200 of the CoreRulebook for the manacles. This of course requires a successful grapple, then a successful pin and then use the manacles in place of rope OR successful grapple and then use the manacles with a -10 penalty to the combat maneuver.

An optimized 14th level Hunter from AEG Mercenaries (one of my favorite bounty hunter classes) however could knock a victim out and then potentially place the splint mail and locked gauntlet on them with the manacles while they were unconscious for the 2d6 minutes that is specified on page 32. I just wonder how long it would take to don splint mail/locked gauntlets on an unconscious victim??

Andoran

The same way rules for Garroting someone in 3E sucked. They offer a option so they can say they offer it. Then make sure that no one will use or waste money and resources buying the item. Or using the ability. Think if it as a item tax.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If some other joker is trying to free my prisoners, anyone with a knife can cut rope bindings. Not as many carry lockpicks and that takes longer. Nothing says I can't use manacles AND ropes.


What, you guys don't have your own permanent non-detectable greater demi-plane dungeon? Thats where I throw all my non-spell casting captives.


Claxon wrote:
What, you guys don't have your own permanent non-detectable greater demi-plane dungeon? Thats where I throw all my non-spell casting captives.

So worthless folks? *wink* Its the caster slaves who are valuable.


Scavion wrote:
Claxon wrote:
What, you guys don't have your own permanent non-detectable greater demi-plane dungeon? Thats where I throw all my non-spell casting captives.
So worthless folks? *wink* Its the caster slaves who are valuable.

Those I kill and use speak with dead. Too much liability.


Oh, and for anyone interested, Adamantine Manacles can be found in the D&D Dungeonscape book page 32. Can only be broken with a DC 52 Strength check!!


Claxon wrote:
Scavion wrote:
Claxon wrote:
What, you guys don't have your own permanent non-detectable greater demi-plane dungeon? Thats where I throw all my non-spell casting captives.
So worthless folks? *wink* Its the caster slaves who are valuable.
Those I kill and use speak with dead. Too much liability.

But think of the returns when you sell them to be devoured by an Illithid or something. Dem Juicy brains


Cogitator wrote:
Master Arminas...I really like your idea with the splint mail armor and locked gauntlets. However, you do not address the struggle that would be required to force someone to don the armor or to forcibly don it on them. Usually, one is placing manacles on an uncooperative victim and that is hard enough. How hard would it be to try and forcibly don splint mail with locked gauntlets on someone? ....and a 15th level NPC or PC would be near impossible unless you happened to be a 14th level Hunter (AEG Mercenaries) and knocked them unconscious. Even then, it takes a normal (conscious) person 4 minutes to don splint mail armor.

That actually makes it better. The armor would be donned hastily / incorrectly. It actually makes the penalties worse.


It takes a week, but the Collar of the True Companion will keep any prisoner under control.

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