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How to Build a Prison for a Sorcerer?


Advice

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Assume a very large city, with a learned gentry, and probably a magical college. The ruler would occasionally have need of imprisoning those for whom you can't take away their spell book; sorcerers and the like. How do?

In a general sense, a monarch could rule "Well, she's too dangerous, just hang her." but prisoners can be useful in the long run, and adjudicating certain spells for individuals could become expensive. Give me ideas for an institution that can safely house those of magical blood for an indefinite period of time.


Remove the hands, tongue and eyes. Possibly rupture the eardrums too.

It can all be fixed later via magic.


Kill them, animate them as something harmless and stick them in a box. They can't be raised until the undead is destroyed.


Or as per the above.


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

Cast create greater demiplane and create a plane with the dead magic trait.

Take your prisoner there with plane shift. Then eject yourself out with sheer force of will as a standard action (something only the creator can do). Your prisoner is now forever trapped. Unless you choose to similarly eject them.

EDIT: On re-reading the spell, I guess you would need to create and defend a permanent portal lest you be trapped as well. *sigh* Still, a sorcerer of any level would have a hard time getting past a golem or a team of well-trained guards without his magic.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

What's that psionic power...Fuse Flesh? If that can be made permanent or reliably prolonged...

I'm a big fan of the 3rd party spell be a tree for this sort of thing. Followed up by wood shape to remove the mouth.

...admittedly that heads into I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream territory.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Had this idea saved for both a mechanized dungeon and a culture for whom space for prisoners was at a premium.

1. Petrify the prisoner.

2. Record the exact nature of the prisoner and their form.

3. Stone shape the prisoner into an easily stored form: cube or cylinder are probably ideal for filing away.

4. Keep the recorded nature, appearance, name, crimes, etc. of the prisoner carved or tagged into the reshaped form.

5. Store away for later.


Feeblemind

Taldor

Take some normal iron prison cell guarded by normal armed guards. Cast or pay for someone to cast Hallow or Unhallow depending on how your system is orientated and then link in Silence, Dimensional Anchor or Invisibility Purge to taste. Silence probably would be the most cruel and effective. These won't cover every possibility but it is very effective in most cases and if your not building a prison for a specific person it should be enough. This is assuming the organization didn't just make a custom spell that makes a permanent antimagic field in an area, or you introduce like a magic draining rock or bars or whatever.

(Not sure why everyone went for cripple, mutilate and/or murder the prisoner off the bat there. A little scary guys...)


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Feeblemind has no expensive component and prevents spellcasting. It lasts indefinitely and can be reversed reliably, without lasting harm and without expensive components by casting Heal. Feeblemind the prisoner and keep him in a comfortable locked room; Heal him if you need to interrogate or ransom him. This does require a moderately high-level spellcaster on staff, but it's not like the more baroque methods being suggested are exactly cheap.

A less effective but more budget-conscious and lower-level solution, particularly if you expect to have high prisoner turnover, is a set of manacles enchanted to inflict silence on their wearer. It won't stop a sorcerer with both Still and Silent metamagic, but it'll effectively shut down the majority of spellcasters.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Shoot him up with Wisdom-damaging poisons until he drops. Then whammy him with varied bestow curse spells until he can't even think about casting a spell. For extra security, after sending his Will save into the crapper, baleful polymorph with a misfortune leader.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Oh yeah, feeblemind. Good call if you have level 5 spells available. Might still have to worry about bloodline abilities, though.


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Benly wrote:
A less effective but more budget-conscious and lower-level solution, particularly if you expect to have high prisoner turnover, is a set of manacles enchanted to inflict silence on their wearer. It won't stop a sorcerer with both Still and Silent metamagic, but it'll effectively shut down the majority of spellcasters.

And dress him in an old suit of heavy armour for the extra Arcane Failure.

Hey its cheap you wanted right?


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manacles of -cha to bring their cha down to 10


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Sadly, no arcane failure from armor if he's got Still and Silent.


blahpers wrote:
Oh yeah, feeblemind. Good call if you have level 5 spells available. Might still have to worry about bloodline abilities, though.

Yeah, but with 1 Int he's not likely to get much more clever with them than shooting his lightning ray at the walls. On the whole he'll likely be less of an escape danger than an imprisoned normal non-spellcaster with his wits about him would be.

Shifty wrote:
And dress him in an old suit of heavy armour for the extra Arcane Failure.

Anything that gets around the manacles preventing somatic components will also ignore ASF. It might be useful to keep the Feebleminded guy from accidentally hurting himself with his magic claws or laser eyes or whatever bloodline tricks he's got.


Well that sucks :p

In a cheap economy then it probably pays to be a cheap prisoner.
Otherwise they might just have to execute you rather than chance you being too slippery for their containment.


Wouldn't binding the hands, and gagging the mouth essentially prevent a caster from casting ANYTHING?

Since Somantic, and Verbal components cannot be used?

I should think a Sorcerer doesn't need a special prison.


CommandoDude wrote:

Wouldn't binding the hands, and gagging the mouth essentially prevent a caster from casting ANYTHING?

Since Somantic, and Verbal components cannot be used?

I should think a Sorcerer doesn't need a special prison.

A sorcerer can take Still Spell and Silent Spell as feats, and thus get around those problems. I'd also add a blindfold to keep him from establishing line of effect or otherwise screw with aiming some spells, but even that isn't enough to stop a dimension door spell with those feats attached. I like the feeblemind and petrification ideas personally. Of course, if you've got a high level caster or two around, things like trap the soul and imprisonment become options too.


Have the prison unhallowed every year. Then dimensional lock the whole place.

Also makes a prison break harder to do, which is possibility. High level sorcerers tend to have high level friends.

A particularly paranoid type might have a contingency planned for 'if I am captured by you', but you can work around things like that with bounty hunters.

"No disintegrations"


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Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Seriously, though. I can't stress the ridiculousness of a few choice bestow curse spells. They're permanent and very open to creative usage. Even one of the examples makes them unable to do anything in a given round 50% of the time. Drop one that lowers his Wisdom by 6 and another that specifically targets his Will save. Then start the fun.

Start with simple number stuff. Drop another that lowers his Charisma by 6. Drop more that lower his other stats by 6. Drop more that penalize each and every one of his other checks. Drop one that makes him have to roll concentration checks twice and take the worst result. Repeat for other checks.

Then get creative. Drop a curse that makes him sneeze violently whenever he tries to cast a spell or use a bloodline ability, triggering a concentration check (see above). Drop a curse that makes him seize up in pain whenever he attacks someone. Drop the mania/phobia madness on him for various actions or things you want him to avoid (remember, you can inflict any of the madnesses via bestow curse). And for interrogation, drop a curse that makes him really, really want to blurt out the truth when asked a direct question. ("This pen is rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrBLUEBLUEBLUEBLUEBLUE")

I didn't even warm up my imagination here. And it's available at level 5 for clerics.

Edit:

By the way, I got 99 problems but Still Spell ain't one:

Spoiler:
Turns out bestow curse can inflict any minor spellblight--including this one:

Ritualistic Obsession

A spellcaster afflicted with ritualistic obsession adds unnecessary gestures to her spellcasting activities. Any spell without a somatic component (even a spell cast with the Still Spell feat) now requires one, and any spell that already has a somatic component requires two free hands rather than one. Spell-like abilities now require a somatic component. The extra complexity increases swift action casting times to a standard action, standard action casting times to 1 round, and 1 round casting times to 2 rounds. Other casting times are not increased. The extra focus does serve to increase the efficacy of the caster's spells. All save DCs for spells and spell-like abilities that have their Casting Time increased with ritualistic obsession are increased by 1.

Ritualistic obsession is cured by any effect that removes insanity. Creatures that are immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to ritualistic obsession.


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

Per the Sanity and Madness rules, bestow curse can afflict someone with a single type of insanity, such as amnesia. Do you know what amnesia does to a person? Not only does it inflict a –4 penalty on Will saving throws and all skill checks, it also causes the amnesiac to lose all class abilities, feats, and skill ranks for as long as his amnesia lasts (along with the traditional loss of memory of identity, skills, and past history).

Once you've got all you need out of a prisoner through interrogation, I can't think of a more effective way of stripping someone of their power.

EDIT: You could cast it twice to give someone permanent achluophobia (fear of the dark) and ahotophobia (fear of light) in order to make them perpetually frightened. For good measure, strike them down with agoraphobia too. Then they will CHOOSE not to leave their safe little prison.


Binding metamorphosis in a zone of silence (hallow) should do the trick.


Ravingdork wrote:

Per the Sanity and Madness rules, bestow curse can afflict someone with a single type of insanity, such as amnesia. Do you know what amnesia does to a person? Not only does it inflict a –4 penalty on Will saving throws and all skill checks, it also causes the amnesiac to lose all class abilities, feats, and skill ranks for as long as his amnesia lasts (along with the traditional loss of memory of identity, skills, and past history).

Once you've got all you need out of a prisoner through interrogation, I can't think of a more effective way of stripping someone of their power.

EDIT: You could cast it twice to give someone permanent achluophobia (fear of the dark) and ahotophobia (fear of light) in order to make them perpetually frightened. For good measure, strike them down with agoraphobia too. Then they will CHOOSE not to leave their safe little prison.

Amnesia is probably my favorite idea so far. Especially if you are going for a more humane approach to keeping them prisoner.


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

*Casts bestow curse*

"What's happened? What's going on? Who are you? Where am I? WHO am I? Why won't you let me go? Why are you doing this to me? Too many questions. Too many questions!"

Yeah...not really all that humane.


Ravingdork wrote:

*Casts bestow curse*

"What's happened? What's going on? Who are you? Where am I? WHO am I? Why won't you let me go? Why are you doing this to me? Too many questions. Too many questions!"

Yeah...not really all that humane.

All the more reason why I love it. The illusion of humane. Leaves some nice adventure hooks. What happens to prisoners that are dealt this curse? What if the prisoner truly was innocent of the crime? What if they suddenly remember everything? Is this really humane and justified?

Too many questions indeed.


The amnesia solution is basically begging for them to regain their memories and abilities gradually and overthrow you. The narrative weight of it is nearly unstoppable.

Cheliax

flesh to stone is a simple and elegant solution


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Name Violation wrote:
flesh to stone is a simple and elegant solution

A prison filled with basilisks...

Imagine how wicked that would be. Definitely mining that idea.


Use Flesh to Stone on them when they’re asleep, that way they can be stored or hidden pretty safely with a minimum of fuss.

As a bonus they’re significantly less likely to seek revenge on you for being cursed, feebleminded, poisoned, turned into a newt, or held for long periods of time in a silenced or unhallowed area. That is of course assuming that they’re still sane after the experience.


Spell blights


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... Antimagic Field in his cell/on his manacles?

Sczarni

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Mad Beetle wrote:
... Antimagic Field in his cell/on his manacles?

Seriously... Anti magic Field+Permanency so that they always have a cell to put a Caster in. I don't think its a stretch to assume prisons would have some way to imprison casters in a world where magic abounds.


Yeah but antimagic fields are boring ;)

Andoran

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Odraude wrote:
Yeah but antimagic fields are boring ;)

And of dubious legality, rules-wise.

It's not on the list of Permanency spells, after all, and is normally cast on a person (the caster) not an area.

And even if it is allowed, judging by the prices to Permanency other stuff, it's likely around 15k per Antimagic cell, which might be a bit much for some jails and/or jailers. Or for a 3rd level Sorcerer.

I'd allow it in a heartbeat, because it's so thematically perfect, but there are reasons to examine other options.


What if the cells in the magical security wing were all lined with a mystical/otherworldly metal/mineral/stone/material that eats/supresses magic? Or maybe all magic used in the certain parts of the prison is instantly dispelled by magical wards.

Have golems guard the halls.

The Maximum Security wing is actually in Hell, guarded by Devils under contract. If someone breaks out, the portal to the place closes down and a dimensional anchor hits the whole wing. First devil to take down the escapee´s get the soul.


Keep the powerful magical prisoners in a chemically induced coma until they are needed.

Voodoo Dolls.

Steal their souls an place them in soul jars.

Magical parasites that drain all magic out of the victim to sustain itself.

Iterrupt all rest for spellcasters every 3-4 hours with a light beating to keep them from regaining spells. Also keeps up morale for the prison guards.

Shadow Lodge

Straight jacket, ball gag.

For higher level casters you're going to have to dish out a bit more on a specialized cell. Something based on an anti-magic field or dispel magic might be necessary.

Alternatively you could build your prison in a magic dead zone like the mana wastes.

I'm presuming this prison isn't run by a totalitarian regime headed by a psychopath, which some of the above posts very disturbingly seem to presume.

Shadow Lodge

bracers of antimagic, 300k to make.

Andoran

Mad Beetle wrote:
Iterrupt all rest for spellcasters every 3-4 hours with a light beating to keep them from regaining spells. Also keeps up morale for the prison guards.

This is called torture, and so Evil. Also, it won't necessarily work. Sorcerers need 8 hours of rest, not sleep. It's debatable whether lying there while being beaten would actually disrupt this. I'd be inclined to say it wouldn't, though fighting back would.

Hecknoshow wrote:
Alternatively you could build your prison in a magic dead zone like the mana wastes.

The Mana Wastes are actually really bad for this. They're usually a dead zone, but magic works there sometimes in unpredictable ways and at unpredictable intervals. So he could regain his powers at any time.


Bestow Curse with, "You may not cast magic within the wall of Sorcelator Prison." Done. It works for all magical classes. You could handle warriors with a nice, "You may not strike another creature while in Sorcelator Prison." Finally, to make it indefinite, "You cannot try to leave Sorcelator Prison."

I don't suggest using all three curses at once, though it could make a nice example out of some powerful villain. Still, none of the curses are game breaking. They are situational, reversible, simple, and straightforward.

I like that the rules are easily manipulated by a clever party or villain, but powerful enough that an unprepared incarcerated individual could not easily force his way out. The prison would still need conventional defenses to ward off would be rescuers, but the incarcerated would find it incredibly difficult to escape unaided.

Shadow Lodge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
This is called torture, and so Evil. Also, it won't necessarily work. Sorcerers need 8 hours of rest, not sleep. It's debatable whether lying there while being beaten would actually disrupt this. I'd be inclined to say it wouldn't, though fighting back would.

From personal experience, being beaten up while not fighting back is not restful, though I agree on your point about it being evil(extremely evil).

An explosive collar set to detonate if it detects magic casting from the wearer would be could. I'd call that a special coup de grace or similar effect as the wearer is effectively helpless against it. Probably install a remote trigger as well.

Andoran

Hecknoshow wrote:
From personal experience, being beaten up while not fighting back is not restful, though I agree on your point about it being evil(extremely evil).

Wasn't saying it was (as I too know from one notable experience), just that it might count for spell purposes, since the definition of what kind of 'rest' you need is really shaky.

I'd allow it, anyway, for thematic reasons. :)


Mike Lindner wrote:
Feeblemind

Yeah, feeblemind is a great option.

With int 1, no one is capable of planning their escape.

And if you want to make really sure, slap a cheap poison with 1d3 int or cha damage on top to send them into coma/unconsciousness.


Could 1 not secure the area with some sort of anti-magic field.

Or enchant the cell with permanent dispel magic. So whenever a magic is casted, the cell would dispel it.

Jesus, there's an aweful lot of inquisitor torturer in this thread huh. :p

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Ultimately... the only sane answer.

"Just Shoot Him" "I'll go upstairs, get my gun and we can both shoot him. It'll be a father and son bonding experience."

Unless you're keeping a mage on ice, or have the luxury for a super prison, ultimately you're either hanging, stabbing, or burning the "witch".

Keeping one a long term prisoner makes no sense at all.

IF you're going to make use of one, you sign him up right then and there. Consigning one to long terms of prison (and torture has some have suggested) is merely breeding an arcane enemy over the long term.

If it's a really dangerous mage, you kill him and perform Soul Bind on the corpse so that no one can resurrect him.


There is also a witch hex, that holds a person alive in a block of ice forever or until the ice breaks/melts.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Yeah but antimagic fields are boring ;)

And of dubious legality, rules-wise.

It's not on the list of Permanency spells, after all, and is normally cast on a person (the caster) not an area.

And even if it is allowed, judging by the prices to Permanency other stuff, it's likely around 15k per Antimagic cell, which might be a bit much for some jails and/or jailers. Or for a 3rd level Sorcerer.

I'd allow it in a heartbeat, because it's so thematically perfect, but there are reasons to examine other options.

When you are a GM, SCREW THE RULES! Who cares if it's not rules-legal. I'll make the whole gosh darn world an anti-magic field if I want to :P of course, mages won't be happy, but oh well.


you all got great option to make spellcasting impossible, but isn't the reason for emprisonment that the person is alive and mentally normal, so he can think about what he did wrong and comes out a reformed man. Or else we could just put all our real world prisoners in an artifial coma.

also the antimagic field, how do you cast it on the menacles/room? It's a spell centered on "you", and I guess no spellcaster would like to polymorph himself to a room or menacles just so he can antimagic field the prisoner.

the create greater demiplane spell seems by far the best idea to me, however it is expensive and you need to be able to have a lvl 9 spell cast. Have golems as guards, in an dead magic area they are most likely the most powerful creature you can possibly control.
most other good ideas involved not-nice (to not get into an alignment derail) acts (cutting tongues or killing).


Cheap solution - gag him, remove his spellpouch, bind him.

If you can afford feeblemind, antimagic field or what not, start with a abadars truthtelling - would he accept an atonement and change his aligment to something good? If so sell enought of his items to get the 2500 - cast atonement and let him go...

That is if your a good guy.

Flesh to stone - he might die...
Feeblemind - seems a bit cruel.
Silence - isolation is enough to drive a man mad - silence would be worse...

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