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Handling Detect Evil / Sense Motive on a plot-twist character.


Beginner Box


I am putting together my first RPG campaign from the ground up with the BB . As part of the story I am going to have an honorable Captain of the watch NPC sending the players out on various tasks fending off the members of a small time bandit gang. Soon the masked crime lord who oversees the gang will start interfering with the characters and will eventually have a final showdown with the players. Here the bandit lord will reveal that he is the Captain of the Watch and has actually just been using them to further the interests of the bandit gang under the guise that they had actually been helping the town.

ANYWAY, How should I handle it if the player characters get suspicious of him early and end up casting an effective detect evil spell on him or near him looking for something else, or a random sense motive check. I don't want them to find out too early that his alignment is actually Lawful Evil, but I don't want them to feel like I wasn't playing by the rules.


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

Consider changing the plot a bit so he's being subtly controlled?


Maybe beef up the Captain's Bluff skill, and make the DC high on the Sense Motive / Detect Evil roll so the PCs have a very slim chance of succeeding.


Anyone trying to do what the Captain does would have an Undetectable Alignment spell slapped on when acting in an official capacity. Of course, it's a little suspicious to be under the effect of such a spell, but less suspicious than actually being evil. Mind Blank would also work - and be much less suspicious to have active as a captain of the guards - but it's much harder to get access to so depends on the captain's means.

Alternatively have the headquarters of the watch (where they meet him to get missions) be covered with antimagic measures. This is especially plausible if the prison cells are in the same location.


If the BBEG is 5th level or lower he WILL NOT show up on a detect evil spell (unless he is a cleric/paladin, undead or an outsider).

If he is 6th level and above he should be able to afford a non-detection item.

Have his bluff up high and make the test for sense motive opposed - so they are rolling against his roll + bluff.


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

I'm not sure that's the case for the beginner's box, 8th. It might be, but that'd be weird since most things in the entire game will be 5th or lower.

Would have to double check though...


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

"You can sense evil creatures in range. On the round you cast
this spell, you sense if there are any evil creatures in range. On
the second round, you know how many there are. On the third
round, you know exactly what creatures are evil."


Cheapy wrote:

"You can sense evil creatures in range. On the round you cast

this spell, you sense if there are any evil creatures in range. On
the second round, you know how many there are. On the third
round, you know exactly what creatures are evil."

If the spells in the box are no different to the spells in core - 5th level and under are undetectable.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You could have him expect to be detected and have him hypnotize himself into making the players do the tasks. And the hypnosis doesn't wear off until all the tasks are completed.


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

I quoted the spell in the BB. It's different.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I don't really know the solution to avoid magical detections. With regard to bluff vs sense motive, I'd suggest pre-rolling his bluff check (or a few of them, just in case).

In my experience, players have a hard time factoring out the knowledge that you rolled a dice before telling them they dont detect any deceitful conduct on his behalf. If you know the target number before they roll and they fail, you can tell them swiftly that everything seems to be as it appears without arousing undue suspicion.

The alternative is to roll all the time whenever the players make a sense motive check (whether the NPC is lying or not) which is equally possible but becomes a pain, in my view.

Shadow Lodge

Consider giving him multiple personalities. When the lawful good personality is in control he is in office and when the lawful evil personality is in control he is setting “himself” up to lead the PC astray. Think Tyler Durdon in Fight Club. The evil personality actively works to sabotage his lawful good alter ego and the PCs. The evil personality is aware of the good personality and alters his reports and assignments so he truly thinks he is doing good and the good personality is none the wiser. This makes the alignment issue super simple. The Captian is lawful good when the PCs meet him; end of story. As they get closer to ending the story you can even play with them walking in on him as “evil” captain and when he notices he faints and wakes up good as part of the transition.

Just a thought.


Let them. IMHO, you're making a mistake by saying what your story is *and* how you want that story to end. Just have your story and it's up to the PCs to decide how it ends.

He's the Captain of the Watch. Even if they figure out he's evil, they can't just kill him. The city government, hopefully, would lock them up for that. Now the PCs need to gather evidence. Is it just the captain or does the evil go higher? Do they refuse missions letting the captain know they are on to him? Instead of killing the merchant the captain sends them after, can they smuggle him out of the city?


A lawful neutral BBEG can and will do most of what an LE BBEG will do. Just don't make him into a sadistic bastard, just fluff him as someone driven by greed. He is forced to kill, struggling with internal moral conflicts. Gray characters makes for better villains anyway.


Obviously, the best way to have the BBEG not risk fumbling a bluff check, is to simply not have him lie to the PCs. He is giving them tasks to handle, and if they really start bugging him about the motivation behind particular tasks, it's probably none of their business (and sense motive might, at best, pick up on him being somewhat evasive about it).

And finally, if the plan is to have the PCs continuously exposed to the BBEG (even unknowingly) the most important thing you can do is to have a contingency plan in case the PCs DO somehow manage to figure out he's up to no good ahead of time.

Players are awfully good at 'breaking' the plot open in this way. So be sure you're ready if it happens.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My groups have house-ruled that "detect evil" detects SUPERNATURAL or MAGICAL evil, not MUNDANE evil. That's really not much of a change, since simply mundane evil auras aren't detectable unless the NPC in question is 5th level or higher anyway.


Eh.... Even is he is evil, that doesn't mean anything right? It doesn't mean he is the BBEG, just that he is a self-interested dude. He is the captain of the guard, an official function with real authority, and he is doing his job well as far as the PCs should know. Even an evil baron can be a good ruler.

ADDIT: Basically, avoid using the cliche 'all evil is stupid evil'. If the PCs are prejudiced and start acting against him without evidence of his evildoings, have the authorities back the captain. Make him outwit the PCs, perhaps even planting evidence on THEM, making their arrest look good for him! If PCs resist they can expect to become pariahs, hunted by the law. That should make things more interesting.

Qadira

Retread the sense motive skill, it's not that useful.m make the villain neutral something instead of evil. Give him a interesting reason for his actions.


Umm.... I may be confused. Where does it say detect evil doesn't work on 5th level and below? I always thought it worked on everything/everyone.

Shadow Lodge

The standard rules have a table that states that anyone lower than 5 HD (aside from outsiders/paladins/clerics/undead) have no aura, period.

GeneticDrift wrote:
Reread the sense motive skill, it's not that useful.

Sense Motive directly counters Bluff in addition to the uses. Anyone who is lying needs to use the Bluff skill. Sense Motive lets you know when someone is lying.

Qadira

Serum wrote:

The standard rules have a table that states that anyone lower than 5 HD (aside from outsiders/paladins/clerics/undead) have no aura, period.

GeneticDrift wrote:
Reread the sense motive skill, it's not that useful.
Sense Motive directly counters Bluff in addition to the uses. Anyone who is lying needs to use the Bluff skill. Sense Motive lets you know when someone is lying.

And if they are not lying....the pcs probably won't hit the right questions if weird situations are happening. Especially if they are just mercenaries butting in and get thrown out or ignored. Being quiet works very well against sense motive any commoner can do it.

Also if you catch a lie you still don't know why they lied or what the truth is.


Sense Motive does more than just catch lies:

Quote:
You can also use this skill to determine when “something is up”

So it could be used to tell when the Captain has got ulterior motives when he assigns the PCs a task or omitting important information. (That's the full Pathfinder rule, not the Beginner Box version of the skill. Don't know if they are different.)

The Detect Evil 5th level and lower issue is a Beginner Box issue. In the Beginner Box, there is apparently no restriction on detecting evil. In the full rules, you have to be higher than 5th level.


I must be blind! I cannot find the lower than 5th level stipulation anywhere. Can someone PLEASE tell me book and page number. I would greatly appreciate it, because I am going crazy.


Mr Dice Guy wrote:
I must be blind! I cannot find the lower than 5th level stipulation anywhere. Can someone PLEASE tell me book and page number. I would greatly appreciate it, because I am going crazy.

Core rulebook, pg.266.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe the problem is that the Beginner Box's simplified version of detect evil doesn't have the 5th level stipulation?

(It is easy for people to see these topics and not realize that this is a thread with questions about the Beginner Box rules ;) )


Rotolutundro wrote:
Mr Dice Guy wrote:
I must be blind! I cannot find the lower than 5th level stipulation anywhere. Can someone PLEASE tell me book and page number. I would greatly appreciate it, because I am going crazy.
Core rulebook, pg.266.

....sonofa....

Thank you.

*Shaking head walking away in stupor* ....I never knew.... I just never knew.... all these years....


SlimGauge wrote:
My groups have house-ruled that "detect evil" detects SUPERNATURAL or MAGICAL evil, not MUNDANE evil. That's really not much of a change, since simply mundane evil auras aren't detectable unless the NPC in question is 5th level or higher anyway.

What he said. Also some classes like Clerics and Paladins have "auras" or something. Clerics because they are usually associated with some god or cause like Good. Paladins because even if they don't have a god are strongly aligned and have some kind of connection to something beyond the world.

Having those two classes like that goes back a ways (I think it was 1e where Paladins could be turned by evil Clerics).

Anti-Paladins, Blackguards, etc have similar traits. Whereas an evil sorcerer wouldn't detect as evil.

This has all been handled many ways over the years, including in many of the games I've played. SlimGauge and his group have the best way of handling it in my opinion.

Some people live for wonkery though. I mean it's entirely possible for a Paladin to go into a town, rotate 360 degrees and detect evil. And odds being what they are he is going to find some, and that is a philosophical matter I personally don't care to deal with in my fantasy. Is it a violation of some code to detect evil? If you are good you might care. If you are evil you probably don't have that rule in the first place.

And if you do find evil then what? Boycott the evil town Blacksmith everyone thinks highly of? Are you going to warn people he is evil before leaving town?


Have him not talk to the PCs directly? He is the captain of the watch, he is a busy man.

Instead of foiling the paladin player with meta and stuff, which us just plain bad GMing in my book.

Andoran

Just remember, there is a difference between lying and simply not telling people everything.

Or the easiest method of all for a DM fudge results and tell PCs actively sensing motive he seems on the up and up to them. Its your story and they have no idea how talented this guy is at hiding his tells unless you have a character-sheet and they metagame it.

Heck maybe the guy really does have a good bluff, maybe he came to power through his charismatic prowess or simply has a naturally silver tongue, maybe even has class levels in rogue or another class that trains bluff such

Of course this all hinges on the PCs even suspecting his isn't on the up and up.

Osirion

I would imagine Rings of Mind Shielding would be very popular in any setting where intrigue is a fact of life.

In fact, I would argue that any noble not taking precautions against mind reading either has nothing of value or is an idiot. For much the same reasons, anyone in this situation should be skilled at bluffing as a simple matter of survival.

Would YOU trust state secrets to somebody whose mind was an open book?

Andoran

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There's a few ways you can go about this. The easiest way to to make the captain not-evil. Mind-control has been mentioned, but he could also just be greedy or easily mislead by a more nefarious party. This has the advantage story-wise of allowing for a double twist - the party is betrayed by the captain, then assisted by him when he realizes he's bit off more than he can chew.

However, if you want him to be Evil, the top of the chain, the guy in charge, you still have options. Instead of a sudden reveal, go for the slow boil. Maybe the captain brings the PCs in to find a traitor in the watch, and after they find the traitor (i.e. the captain's patsy), he is killed in jail by his "cellmate". Later, the PCs raid a villain's lair, only to find a cache of alignment-concealing scrolls or oils, to be sold to an unknown party. Slowly, the party begins to realize that they've been used to wipe out any criminal organizations not answering to the captain. When they confront him, he issues warrants for their arrest and bounties on their heads.

Without their support structure, the party must fend off both well-meaning watchmen (the captain sends fanatical, but neutral and good-aligned men after the party, knowing they'll be at a disadvantage), and vicious bounty hunters and hit-men. Only one man can prove their innocents and show how far the captain's corruption goes - but he's a man the party arrested while working for the captain, and he too has a bounty on his head. The party must prove themselves to this witness, and defend his life while they escort him to a higher authority. Will they manage to survive? Will they forever be hunted? WHO KNOWS!

Thanks. I think I have my next campaign outlined now.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Another way (might be more mature than the players) is to just let them detect evil.

"What, you say I'm evil? I'm anything but. Are my methods ruthless? To some yes. Usually the ones who complain are in the dungeons for their crimes. I treat my men well and I keep my city safe. Who are you to question how it is done? What secrets might you be hiding?"

Best of all, everything could be true.

Aside, why is he sending the patsies, er, adventurers, to harrass his bandits? Seems ineffecient to the LE part of me.

If he's aware of a flunky attempting a coup, then sending the suckers, er, heroes, to eliminate the rebels, disgrace their leader, etc etc. he culls the herd and keeps his hands clean. "I've not done anything to Bill, even though I knew he was plotting against me. He can't even protect you from a band of vagabonds calling themselves heroes. So do you really want to follow him?"


Some ideas:

1. Give the city a mixture of alignments. Paint the city as a dangerous place, where the Watch has to sometimes act with a firm hand.

2. Make the other Watchmen of mixed alignments. Even a LG or two. In public, BBEG's firm and sometimes ruthless...though the ruthlessness often happens behind closed doors, I imagine, where most aren't aware of it. Because of this, the other Watchmen can 'speak up' for their Cap's honesty and so forth.

3. Make allegiences and sprinkle in a false lead. There could be a NE Watchman who the Captain warns the PCs to 'keep an eye on, we all do, because he's too ruthless.'

This expresses the Captain's dedication to a form of honor, and shows him 'placing trust' in the PCs. It also throws a distraction--that is, THIS GUY is actually the evil one! And I need your help with his undisciplined and dark ways!

4. Remind the PCs that DE can ping on evil 'intent' as well and play this up in a way that creates a grayspace. Have a drunken noble's aura darken as he thinks of punching a homeless man in the face, for example. In other words, make DE useful, though have it ping more often and in flavorful ways. I'm not sure if the aura distinguishes all of the time between alignment or intent. ...If it doesn't, that's some gray area you could play with. Perhaps the captain's aura twinges as he's looking over a list of crimes. He's very angry/upset at what he might have to do, right?

5. Building on 4, play up some of the tragic hero. Have him stomping about, angry when he gets a report of xyz murder, etc. He's really upset that someone moved in on his territory, but he could choose to bluff it as tiredness of the City, anger for the relatives of the deceased... That would be an easier Bluff check than an outright lie.

Cheliax

Previous thread here


If the captain of the watch is found to be evil, it is hardly a twist when he turns out to be in league with the enemy, is it?

Also, levels. He needs to be lv5 or 6 before he detects as evil.

And no, Ruggs, Detect Evil does NOT react to intent. It detects the presence and degree of evil. The way the new Detect Evil works I'd say that it validates the "smite makes right" approach, because you are at a stage in life where you have grown powerful enough to not be a "victim of circumstance", and should have had ample opportunity to turn a new leaf... but you didn't. You remained evil, and now you are corrupted, and thus an enemy of good.

Reminder: Pathfinder is NOT, I repeat _NOT_ a game where moral relativism is even a thing. Evil is in cahoots with the gods of evil and the dark lords of the hells, who are made stronger by the corruptions and depravities of mortals. This is not something that can be justified by culture, circumstance or perception. If you are evil, you are an enemy of good, and good is charged with destroying or redeeming you, in order to protect the weak from YOU.

So whenever I play a paladin: Faint aura of evil; regard with extreme suspicion, never accept their presence in a position of power. Moderate or higher: Smite on sight. Look at the way the Detect Evil works, and consider what manner of evil you must have done to achieve that level of power, and I think most would agree that moderate evil is enough to warrant smite on sight.

"But, evil clerics detect as moderate already at level 2." Yeah. Evil clerics die on sight. They are the worst of the worst, and should never be allowed to live.

Of course, if you do not play in Golarion, or houserule heavily, this does not apply.


Sorry Kamelguru your advice is play style rather than rules assistance. We play Golarion very differently to your absolutist style... Best talk style in another thread.

What I would like to know is what the wording is for the BB version of detect evil and if it is different.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kamelguru wrote:
"But, evil clerics detect as moderate already at level 2." Yeah. Evil clerics die on sight. They are the worst of the worst, and should never be allowed to live.

That may work fine out in the wilderness or in a dungeon. But go up to someone in the middle of a city and practise summary justice like that, and your Paladin is going to be in trouble.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Sorry Kamelguru your advice is play style rather than rules assistance. We play Golarion very differently to your absolutist style... Best talk style in another thread.

There is no ifs and buts about what evil is in the game. It is stupid, sure, but it is wholly absolute, with only 9 possible moral perspectives, and you gain a concrete numerical figure that represent how reprehensible you are, if you are sufficiently powerful to influence the world rather than be passive (LV5+, where people stop being even remotely realistic and start becoming borderline superheroes). At this stage in life, you have taken the evil path enough times to gain FIVE levels, which means you are morally bankrupt.

And if you choose to be evil, the rules reward you with an aura of evil. If you serve the dark forces directly (antipaladin/cleric), you gain that aura earlier, as your vile rituals to please your dark masters nigh instantly taint you.

This is not stuff I am making up, or houseruling. This is how the spells work. Sure, you can choose to view this differently, but the fact is that people who register on the Detect Evil spell are so far past the point of rationalizing that you carry an aura of evil. Of course, the evildoers might well delude themselves, and more importantly; others, into believing that this is not the case and whatnot. But the GAME MECHANICS reveal you to be wholly evil.

If you want a different approach, that is completely fine. But as the rules are written, that is how things work.

LazarX: As my paladin would see it, having an evil cleric operate openly in a city would mean that the whole city is suspect at best. I assume we are talking about Cheliax or some such highly corrupt place, where evil clerics are allowed to operate, due to devil influences ruling the land, and the goodly forces are hunted? Because evil clerics are not commonly allowed to roam the streets of anywhere respectable.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kamelguru wrote:


LazarX: As my paladin would see it, having an evil cleric operate openly in a city would mean that the whole city is suspect at best. I assume we are talking about Cheliax or some such highly corrupt place, where evil clerics are allowed to operate, due to devil influences ruling the land, and the goodly forces are hunted? Because evil clerics are not commonly allowed to roam the streets of anywhere respectable.

Most countries in the greater scheme of things aren't "good" or "evil". Most rulers and towners don't have the Paladin's inherent sense of alignment. And also "openly evil" is an extremely ambigous term in the way you use it. A person can be all sorts of actively subtely evil without getting themselves ridden out of town on a rail if he's Smart Evil, especially if his would be opponents have the NPC level of Lawful Stupid. So it really depends a lot on what kind of "open" and what kind of "evil".

Asmodean clerics in Cheliax for instance don't preach about murderng babies or slaughtering angels. Their exhortations would be more along of triumph of order and strength over weakness and altruism... If you were to attend a Cheliaxian service, it would probably feel no different than say an Ayn Rand gathering.

So yes, if your Paladin walks into town and does a detect evil on a cleric, dealing summary action on said cleric on no more basis than "He pinged on my radar" would probably get you hanged in Thrune. But then again you'd probably find yourself in a similar amount of trouble if you did the same in Waterdeep. And you'd be guilty of murder in the Dragonstar Empire. It's one thing to confront an Evil High Priest where out in the wilderness there's nothing but you, him,and each other's allies. It's another to just break out wanton violence in a city street. Simmilarly the Evil High Priest is just as constrained. He can't afford to do open butchery in the city market either.

That's the effect of civilization, it tempers everyone's actions.


Actually, I would never run Waterdeep so that there is an evil faith that get to operate there (with exception of Umberlee, as the sailors would be too afraid to make port in a town without a temple). It is run by the Lords of Waterdeep, headed by Peirgeiron Paladinson, who is a lv16 [u]paladin[/u] and other people who all stand with him against evil that threaten the city in the guises of Skullport, Undermountain and so on.

Heck, even thieves guilds could not hope to exist, as the hobby of Khelben Blackstaff (Wiz27) was to blow them up.

In most every AP, adventure module and so on, evil faiths are invariably hidden away, and their followers take extreme caution to conceal themselves. And for a good reason, if you ask me.


Kamelguru, I think you forget something important here. Let's say a priest of Abadar decides he prefers channeling Negative Energy rather than Positive Energy in order to smite the ennemies of his church rather than heal the faithful (or the paying customers).

Channeling negative energy is evil. Therefore at level 2, you're going to smite that priest of one of the most widespread, accepted and important religions of Golarion ? Well done, you're now a criminal and good luck justifying yourself. "He's evil" ? Sure he is. Did he do anything wrong ? no. Did he abide by the law ? Yes. Did he hurt anyone he shouldn't have ? No. Did you ?
Yes.

Now, let's take it one step further. An evil illusionist uses a simple spell to give a commoner an Evil aura. With your Detect Evil ability, you detect the aura. And smite on sight. Congrats, you just murdered an innocent.

And there's no justification for what you've done. But it doesn't matter anymore to you, because you're not a paladin any longer. An Evil aura is a sign that something is amiss and worth investigating. "Smite on sight" is never, ever acceptable.


Also smite on sight is a style of play rather than technical rules question and should not be cluttering up this thread.


The Emortal wrote:

I am putting together my first RPG campaign from the ground up with the BB . As part of the story I am going to have an honorable Captain of the watch NPC sending the players out on various tasks fending off the members of a small time bandit gang. Soon the masked crime lord who oversees the gang will start interfering with the characters and will eventually have a final showdown with the players. Here the bandit lord will reveal that he is the Captain of the Watch and has actually just been using them to further the interests of the bandit gang under the guise that they had actually been helping the town.

ANYWAY, How should I handle it if the player characters get suspicious of him early and end up casting an effective detect evil spell on him or near him looking for something else, or a random sense motive check. I don't want them to find out too early that his alignment is actually Lawful Evil, but I don't want them to feel like I wasn't playing by the rules.

Sense Motive doesn't reveal alignment. Only at best offer clues that that something is amiss. As for your alignment problem, a potion of undetectable alignment costs 50 gp and lasts 24 hours. Thank your friendly neighborhood bard.


Kovalis wrote:

Kamelguru, I think you forget something important here. Let's say a priest of Abadar decides he prefers channeling Negative Energy rather than Positive Energy in order to smite the ennemies of his church rather than heal the faithful (or the paying customers).

Channeling negative energy is evil.

That is not how it works. You need to be evil in alignment yourself.

Quote:
Now, let's take it one step further. An evil illusionist uses a simple spell to give a commoner an Evil aura. With your Detect Evil ability, you detect the aura. And smite on sight. Congrats, you just murdered an innocent.

To do this would require an elaborate ruse, as there is only ONE singular spell that can do this (Misdirection) and a VERY powerful evil illusionist/powerful evil item, as he does not detect as moderate evil+ until high levels.

Quote:
And there's no justification for what you've done. But it doesn't matter anymore to you, because you're not a paladin any longer. An Evil aura is a sign that something is amiss and worth investigating. "Smite on sight" is never, ever acceptable.

Correction: Smite on sight should be reconsidered in large towns where everything is not what it seems. Most Detect Evil mileage is had in dungeons, travel in treacherous lands and other places where the forces of good are required to vanquish evil. And if you as a paladin ALLOW strong evil to persist, you should fall. Iomedae does not accept "Well, I know he radiated strong evil, but what if someone was faking it?" when your inaction allow souls to be corrupted, innocents slaughtered and fiends brought into the world.

Remember that I _VERY_ clearly stated that faint aura was NOT cause for smite on sight. Moderate is where you should consider smiting as soon as you determine that it is the person and not something he is carrying that is evil. Anything stronger is either a fiend/undead in disguise, or a direct, willing servant of the dark gods, and there is no valid excuse to suffer them to live, except being in an evil land, like CHeliax, where evil clerics run the show, and striking against them would make the people suffer.


Guys please don't ruin a rule question thread with a debate on how the game should be played. If you want to have that debate start a new thread.


To get back on track: Undetectable alignment and Misdirection are the only two spells to conceal alignment. A potion of one, or a friendly/conned/intimidated bard for the second will work miracles.

Otherwise, you might also debate how EEEEEEEvil you want your captain to be. If he is a frustrated person who does no see any way to solve all his problems by staying on the side of the law, that is a Lawful/Chaotic question, not a Good/Evil. A neutral person can do some morally questionable stuff, as someone who is EVIL usually finds some pleasure in doing evil, or at least callous indifference to the suffering his actions causes.

You can make an antagonist neutral, and just have the players motivated to stop him because they hear that (unbeknown to the captain) there is something more nefarious lurking in the shadows. And voila, you get a twist villain in a twist villain. *Inception horn*

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Actually, the conned bard would be pretty easy. "Sometimes I need to go under cover, can you keep that spell on me so they don't ping me with detect law?"

And he's not lying. :-)

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