How to play a Vigilante in PFS?


Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

The Exchange ****

Ok, I can't figure this one out.

a Vigilante has a Secret Identity - I mean it seems to be part of the core of the character class that they are "two different people", and no one else knows this... and yet when they sit down at a table with 5 total strangers, everyone knows the "Secret".

How do we do this?

This is my biggest hurdle for running this class. Say the Social Identity attends the VC briefing. Then is involved in the "investigation" part of the scenario. That finishes up with the discovery of the BBE - and the PCs move to the Dungeon Crawl part of the adventure and ... Social Sam wonders off, but we pick up the Masked Man.... And no one notices or even asks "Hay, what happened to Sam?".

I've seen one player who just had his Vigilante in it's Secret Identity all the time, and never used the Social Identity... but that seems to be sort of half playing the PC to me...

I've considered running my Vigilante as a "Crazy Guy" with two personalities that don't know or like each other. Then all the other PCs would "know the Secret" and my 'toon would be the clueless one...

anyway, in PFS how are other players handling this? How do they run a Vigilante? or are they just ignoring it?

Scarab Sages ****

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

The Red Raven/Aric of Halvon pregen says that he may share his identities with his allies in the Society. I go ahead and do that if the other party members suspect that I am two people. Often I will stay in one identity for the scenario, chosen by reading the description.

Dark Archive *****

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I only use the social. He can still use his Vigilante talents, but everyone knows he's a little different.

Which they should have already figured out anyway, considering he's a zombie walking around claiming to be a Pathfinder.

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What I've been doing is telling my fellow Pathfinders, at the beginning of the adventure, "Hey, I'm not much use in a fight, I'm pretty hands off. If we end up heading to a dungeon, break into a warehouse, or something similar I'll stay back and send some additional support." That way I've established beforehand what to expect. As a taldor nobleman I'm not at all breaking character by not wanting to go into dangerous situations. It's kind of like being a venture captain who is a little more hands on.

It also helps that my vigilante identity is significantly different from my social...

**

These are great suggestions!

The Exchange ****

MrBear wrote:

What I've been doing is telling my fellow Pathfinders, at the beginning of the adventure, "Hey, I'm not much use in a fight, I'm pretty hands off. If we end up heading to a dungeon, break into a warehouse, or something similar I'll stay back and send some additional support." That way I've established beforehand what to expect. As a taldor nobleman I'm not at all breaking character by not wanting to go into dangerous situations. It's kind of like being a venture captain who is a little more hands on.

It also helps that my vigilante identity is significantly different from my social...

This one I might be able to use...

(my Vigilante PC is a GM baby so far - so this isn't set in stone yet... still in flux) My Social side is Cheliaxian (minor) Noble - but my Vigilante is Kitsune... I just wish I could put them in two different Factions

Scarab Sages ***

There was a thread a while back similar to this. I posted in it when I was working up my Vigilante. I’ll try to track it down and post a link.

My Vigilante has three identities. I’ve managed to work all of them in, though usually I will stay in one for the scenario. He had his “origin” story recently. He was in his social/noble identity, but the situation necessitated some sneaking around at night. We were in Taldor, and he didn’t want to be recognized, so he brought an opera mask and wore that. At the end of the scenario, when the villain found a safe haven in Oppara, he realized that with that level of corruption, the city needs someone to patrol it, like a phantom in the night. He looked down at his opera mask, and became... The Phantom of Oppara!

Anyway, it was pretty fun to have his origin story happen in game, and it happened on the scenario that leveled him to the point he actually has useful Vigilante abilities. So that worked out.

He has three identities, because he’s a Dhampir and I took the Guise of Life Social Talent. So his IDs break down like:

Lucius Calas:
A Human Taldan noble and member of the Sovereign Court. He is very concerned with the politics of Taldor and supporting Princess Eutropia. He wields a Seven Branched Sword, which he became proficient in while studying at a monastery in Tian-Xia. He claims to be a decendant of the Orlofsky family of Brevoy. During introductions, he’ll explain that he has an “allergy” to positive energy, an unfortunate result of his noble birth. He’s good at diplomacy and hits pretty hard flurrying with two-handed Power Attack (1 Level of Unchained Monk).

Barnabus Orlovsky:
His real/normal Social ID. He’s a Dhampir born to a human member of the Orlovsky family 125 years ago. His father also had Guise of Life, and his mother didn’t know his father was a Vampire (and Vampire nobility, even). When she was abandoned at the altar, she was devastated. When Barnabus was born, and it was discovered that he was a Dhampir, she was shunned from her family. She blamed her would-be fiancé, and took Falayna as her patron/deity. She fled to Tian-Xia to a monastery devoted to Falayna, and that’s where Barnabus was raised, away from the world to hide his true nature. Eventually, long after his mother’s death, he discovered his ability to pass as Human and returned to the Inner Sea, determined to claim his heritage. He manufactured the Lucius identity, claiming to be a distant decendant of his mother while she was in Tian-Xia. Barnabus is more dour than Lucius. This is also the ID I use the least.

“The Phantom of Oppara”:
The Phantom stalks the streets of Oppara at night with his magical lasso to punish those who deserve it. I haven’t been able to run a full scenario with this ID yet. 3rd level is when he got the noose ability from Hangman. Basically, he grappled with the noise and pins, then either subdues or sinks his fangs into the target. Some scenarios I’ll play the whole thing in this ID. Some I’ll start as Lucius and change whenever we’re going somewhere dangerous. He’ll let the group in on who he is when that happens.

With all the level dips (1 Scaled Fist UMonk, 3 Strangler Brawler, 7 Hangman Vigilante), he’s not going to have Quick Change until 11th level, so any change will be a slow one between sections of the scenario. But I like having the different fighting approaches for different IDs. Even if it ultimately will mean spending extra gold to enhance the sword. He can still grapple if needed in his social ID, and the only Social Talent that will require the Social ID is Social Grace. So he can pretty much use everything he has no matter which ID he’s in, and he’ll have the sword and Flurry for when grappling isn’t a good idea.

Scarab Sages ***

HERE is the thread I was referencing. It started back in 2016, but I necro’d it a few months ago.

The Exchange ****

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wow... I just had a concept...

Spend the PP to take a Vanity - say Porter. Gain a Porter that "looks like that Vigilante - The Porter"... so, whenever you need to be in full Vigilante Mode, the vanity porter disappears and the Vigilante takes the stage.

I have to give this some thought...

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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Here’s the advice I gave in that earlier thread:

I like the difference between the identities but in order to avoid constantly demanding that the GM revolve the flow of the game around your need to change identities you really have four choices:

1. Pick an identity and stick to it.
2. Let your party in on the "secret" and trade identities when it looks like combat but not refuse to use vigilante abilities in your social guise.
3. Have a way to trade identities quickly and unnoticeably. Usually this means being at least 7th level (quick change) and being good at sneaking/invisibility.
4. Send your "companion" to do the combat stuff. This works well if you have a high enough Charisma to have multiple followers and just claim you want "my squire" to go in the dungeon.

*

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This really only works if you don't mind having a character that happens to be really bad at secret identities, but you could simply run around in your social identity most of the time and then whenever trouble arises, 'disappear' and 'reappear' except the only difference is that you're wearing a goofy black mask or something; ie. it's totally obvious that you're the same person but persist in playing dumb when people try to point it out :3

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

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When looking at this, I think you also need to consider the out of character aspect as well.

Although it is certainly tempting to not let the other players in on the secret, it probably works better to just announce Out of Character what is happening. That way everyone is 'in the know' and you don't have curious players poking at things.

Doing it this way also allows you to play it up campy. Have the social ID run around a corner, suddenly the vigilante ID comes out saying the other one said their help was needed. Everyone at the table is in on the joke, allowing people to laugh about it.

Scarab Sages ***

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Good point. I do give an out of character explanation (if I remember to). Especially when I point outwhere his wand and potion are in case he goes unconscious and needs healing.

***

On my Vigilante I went with the option that if he's on a mission, it's as his vigilante persona, and the social persona is largely his downtime face when he's doing day job things.

I recently earned a boon for con GMing that let him join the Liberty's Edge and now his social aspect is a member of the Review Council. And such a prestigious position can't be held by someone getting his hands THAT dirty.


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Lady Ladile wrote:
This really only works if you don't mind having a character that happens to be really bad at secret identities, but you could simply run around in your social identity most of the time and then whenever trouble arises, 'disappear' and 'reappear' except the only difference is that you're wearing a goofy black mask or something; ie. it's totally obvious that you're the same person but persist in playing dumb when people try to point it out :3

You can actually pull of He-Man and She-Ra with the Magical Child Archetype:

"My name is Adam, Scribe of the Society, this is Rincer, my fearless friend. Wonderful secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said, "By the Power of the Decemvirate! I have the power!"

"Rincer became the mighty Battleclaw, and I became He-Can! The most powerful Vigilante in the Society!"

You run around as "Scribe Adam" and then, when combat is about to start, suddenly remember that you need to go get more scroll ink or something. You leave, and then make a dramatic entrance as He-Can!

"Hello there brave members of the Pathfinder Society! Need a hand?"

Stealth away when combat is over, transform back, rush up, "Oh I ran into He-Can on the way here, he said there had been a fight why don't you all tell me what happened and I can add it to the notes!"

Shadow Lodge *****

A vigilante works well as a skilled fighter or a rogue with actual talents. The two identity thing.. not so much.

*****

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There are reportedly phone booths on every corner in Kaer Maga.

Scarab Sages *****

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Unbegreiflich wrote:
There are reportedly phone booths on every corner in Kaer Maga.

Not again...

If the doctors could please take a placard and hold their date of departure over their head we'll get you sorted in chronological order...

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

BigNorseWolf wrote:
A vigilante works well as a skilled fighter or a rogue with actual talents.

As a stalker, they can’t disable magical traps. Magical traps are very common.

If you want to be able to do that you need to multiclass with something that can handle magical traps.

Shadow Lodge *****

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BretI wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
A vigilante works well as a skilled fighter or a rogue with actual talents.

As a stalker, they can’t disable magical traps. Magical traps are very common.

If you want to be able to do that you need to multiclass with something that can handle magical traps.

My characters buy 4 scrolls of arem zeys focus and it usually lasts their careers.

Dark Archive *****

The Overrunner goes on missions for the society. Sometimes a dwarven milkman happens to show up in town and do a bit of business while the party is gathering information.

Shadow Lodge **

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
My characters buy 4 scrolls of arem zeys focus and it usually lasts their careers.

Aram Zey's Focus is a criminally overlooked spells. And by that I mean that it's usually overlooked by the criminals that should be using it.

Liberty's Edge ***

Bulette Man is intrigued by the Overrunner and would like to invite him to talk shop over milk sometime.

Scarab Sages ***

SCPRedMage wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
My characters buy 4 scrolls of arem zeys focus and it usually lasts their careers.
Aram Zey's Focus is a criminally overlooked spells. And by that I mean that it's usually overlooked by the criminals that should be using it.

I agree. It’s a great spell.

It’s also not a given a Vigilante is going to be able to use it at lower levels in a timely manner. It’s a DC 23 UMD (plus a DC 24 check if you don’t have a 12 in the appropriate casting stat... INT, I think). If you’ve invested in UMD it won’t be long until that’s not an issue. If you’ve got a +5 or so at first level, it may take several rounds to get the scroll to work, which increases the chance of a mishap.

But disabling traps usually takes place out of combat, so it’s worth having it as an option.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
nosig wrote:

wow... I just had a concept...

Spend the PP to take a Vanity - say Porter. Gain a Porter that "looks like that Vigilante - The Porter"... so, whenever you need to be in full Vigilante Mode, the vanity porter disappears and the Vigilante takes the stage.

I have to give this some thought...

I was thinking about building a Multi-classed Faceless Enforcer with Armiger's Panopoly, and the porter carrying around the armor.

I think i disregarded that possible build as the archetype looses a lot of the available Talents for some not-so comparable abilities.

Dark Archive ****

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The way I play mine is that she’s the daughter of my Venture Captain Seeker character, Roasa Del Noire and hides under the ID of the Steel Rose in the field. Brawn Del Noire is just a field scribe who helps out some times. The Steel Rose is a hooded warlock that occasionally shows up to throw lightning about and help out various teams of ‘trouble shooter’ pathfinders..you know..the ones who shot trouble

Mostly she explains it to her team mates that her mother did worse in her day but she worries about her daughter, so Brawen hides under the ID so mom doesn’t recall her to Lanmasss, which according to Brawen is ‘boring unless you like intrigue like mom does..k

Shadow Lodge *****

The PFS faq on what stat you need to use a scroll is kinda borked. The text says int, the example says int or charisma.

Scarab Sages ***

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The PFS faq on what stat you need to use a scroll is kinda borked. The text says int, the example says int or charisma.

Agreed. I've run into table variation with some GMs letting Charisma count, and some requiring Int or Wis (for stuff like breath of life). One check at DC23 is still tough for a low level character. Having to make a second one at 24 is tougher. Having to make both on the same attempt to activate makes it very unlikely. 1.5% for the earlier mentioned +5 bonus, vs a 5% chance to mishap. Although I guess you would only potentially mishap after you've successfully emulated the stat, so .5% of the time.

Point being, it may not be the best solution at low levels or if you don't want to take UMD. Otherwise, I definitely make sure I have access to it on my Sorcerer, who has enough in Disable Device to get disable most traps, and can just dispel tougher ones (eventually).

Shadow Lodge *****

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Well, keep in mind that you only need to disarm the trap if its going to do something other than HP damage or blow up something valuable. Otherwise, summon monster 1 or Paladin Mine detector and wand of CLW.

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Many traps will also alert the opponents to your presence, which can be just as bad as any other effect.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

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I have a Magical Child. At the beginning of the Scenario, when it is just Pathfinders in the room, my social ID (An old male gnome jeweler) hands out contracts to keep his trade secrets about his profession. It happens to include the secret id of the Magical Child (Young girl gnome)

Shadow Lodge **

Hillis Mallory III wrote:
I have a Magical Child. At the beginning of the Scenario, when it is just Pathfinders in the room, my social ID (An old male gnome jeweler) hands out contracts to keep his trade secrets about his profession. It happens to include the secret id of the Magical Child (Young girl gnome)

You... you do know that the Transformation Sequence only magically assists with changing into your vigilante identity by making it quicker, and doesn't actually involve any illusion (other than maybe the lights/sounds/theme music) or polymorph effects, right? I mean, even after switching into your vigilante identity, your character is still physically an old male gnome, even if he's trying to disguise himself as a young girl; you'd suffer the -2 Disguise penalty for disguising as a different gender, and a -6 penalty for the three age category difference (Young -> Adult -> Middle Age -> Old).

Shadow Lodge ****

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Suggestion: go anti hero

I have a pre vigilante class "vigilante' that might give some ideas.

Character started out as my summoner's herold vanity/daughter (other "twin" daughter was my squire) who adventured in the summer to to pay for his daughters first class Taldan Education.

My character "played hooky" in the fall and joined the Silver Crusade (rather than Daddy's Soverign Court) because Paladins are naive and a little unskilled in figuring things out, and she could beg forgiveness if they did figured it out (some of the values have since stuck) and with an 8 wis, this seemed like a great idea. Besides, going on adventures let her earn money for really awesome shoes and a great wardrobe!

If I were to do a variation of this as a real vigilante, I'd do a NG "good girl" social identity and a CN vigilante identity. I might buy her as a vanity another PC. This could be really twisted with something like a splinter soul social gray paladin ID and CN Callistran Zealot vigilante id (and if anyone knows how to make that work for PFS, I'm impressed).

I could come up with a lot of variations of this type of anti hero vigilante.

Shadow Lodge *****

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BretI wrote:
Many traps will also alert the opponents to your presence, which can be just as bad as any other effect.

Its not like most PFS parties let you sneak up on anyone without at least one sir clanks a lot tipping them off. Or that the bad guy won't be behind a closed door with a readied action surprise round no matter what.

The Exchange **

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I currently have one PC with vigilante levels (this one).

Her vigilante identity is her normal identity, that of a ruthless (CN) undine pirate with her own vessel (ship vanity) named the "Nereid's Kiss."

Her social identity is that of a (N) Osiriani information broker (bought the vanity for that as well).

She also has the many guises ability due to her archetype so can assume the form of various mundanes. She often uses these disguises for infiltration purposes.

She's open to her fellow Pathfinders that she can disguise herself as mundanes, but doesn't connect her vigilante and social identities.

Shadow Lodge *****

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When using disguises to infiltrate the enemy, always remember to set a safeword with the party before hand

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SCPRedMage wrote:
Hillis Mallory III wrote:
I have a Magical Child. At the beginning of the Scenario, when it is just Pathfinders in the room, my social ID (An old male gnome jeweler) hands out contracts to keep his trade secrets about his profession. It happens to include the secret id of the Magical Child (Young girl gnome)
You... you do know that the Transformation Sequence only magically assists with changing into your vigilante identity by making it quicker, and doesn't actually involve any illusion (other than maybe the lights/sounds/theme music) or polymorph effects, right? I mean, even after switching into your vigilante identity, your character is still physically an old male gnome, even if he's trying to disguise himself as a young girl; you'd suffer the -2 Disguise penalty for disguising as a different gender, and a -6 penalty for the three age category difference (Young -> Adult -> Middle Age -> Old).

That would bring the disguise bonus down to a measly +12 before ranks, charisma and modifiers.

Dark Archive *****

I have two vigilantes in PFS:

One never uses her social identity, because the Pathfinder Society doesn't know about it (she's been sent to finishing school in Absalom, but regularly plays hooky to do unladylike things like go adventuring in dungeons and throw bolts around).

The second one I play in conjunction with my husband, and while we don't in character come right out and say we're vigilantes, we also don't try to be coy about the identity changes when they happen (most people pick it up on the first change). We always go to the briefing in our social identities (a halfling and human from Cheliax), because it makes the Liberty's Edge PCs cringe (but our vigilante IDs are very obviously Liberty's Edge, so once the others figure it out they're happy). There are some scenarios where we never change though, just because we don't need to.

Shadow Lodge **

MrBear wrote:
That would bring the disguise bonus down to a measly +12 before ranks, charisma and modifiers.

The real issue is that imitating a voice (such as an old gnome male trying to sound like a young girl) is a Bluff check, not a Disguise. You could pick up a mummer's ruff to help out, but that'll take up your neck slot.

The main reason I brought it up was to make sure there wasn't any confusion about Transformation Sequence doing something it doesn't say anything about doing (specifically, actually transforming the character like a polymorph).

Shadow Lodge *****

imitating a voice also comes under disguise.

"I am a young girl and not a young gnome" would be a bluff check.

Disguise Is More Than Visual::
Though the skill as
presented in the Core Rulebook focuses on the visual
aspects of disguise that a character prepares, later rules
(such as the vocal alteration spell; see page 248 of Pathfinder
RPG Ultimate Magic) have made it clear that there are other
aspects, including voice, mannerisms, and phrasing. The
trick is to distinguish between the use of the Bluff and
the Disguise skills. Generally, Bluff checks cover telling
actual lies to support a disguise, whereas Disguise checks
cover the other aspects, such as imitating mannerisms
and speech

Dark Archive ***

Heh, as a newly created PFS Warlock Vigilante (in 2017 for PFS Online Gameday 6), I admittedly tend to downplay or sorta handwave that whole "secret identity" part as being that of just one Wayang among the many already present in the Pathfinder Society; I suppose it could be counted as being something similar to Terrytoon's/Bakshi's The Mighty Heroes, where we see our heroes change into their heroic forms from their unspecified day-jobs/secret id's in the Opening/(Untitled Sequence but the majority of their actual speaking parts in the episodes are mostly in their costumed identities.

While Thundercloud does have the Magical Transformation sequence ability (thus having the potential to be your bog-standard magical...erm, lad; kinda nsfw?), he tends lean more along the lines of one Trans-Lux/Oriolo's The Mighty Hercules- complete with special effects and sounds from wearing his stylized signet ring. ;)

P.S. Of course, Minuro/Thundercloud still has some anime influences (also nsfw?) too, just in a slightly different genre than the usual Mahou Shoujo. ;)

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

OK, would you believe that an old, cranky Gnome jeweler goes around as a little girl fighting crime?

***

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

When I think of the magical child archetype, all I can think of is purry purry prisoner, from One Punch Man.

As far as my Vigilante goes, she has busted out her social persona a few times (and in one module got into a cat fight with a cat burglar)!

Her social persona is a half-orc merchant; by night, Wraith stalks the streets of Absalom, looking for criminals to break the backs of.

****

BigNorseWolf wrote:
BretI wrote:
Many traps will also alert the opponents to your presence, which can be just as bad as any other effect.
Its not like most PFS parties let you sneak up on anyone without at least one sir clanks a lot tipping them off. Or that the bad guy won't be behind a closed door with a readied action surprise round no matter what.

Challenge accepted : my high AC ranger I think hits +20 stealth or more while underground, which is really useful if you want the scout to be able to take a hit.

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RealAlchemy wrote:


Challenge accepted : my high AC ranger I think hits +20 stealth or more while underground, which is really useful if you want the scout to be able to take a hit.

Your stealth bonus is not the crux of the matter.

First of all, you have a large number of things which will completely negate stealth. Scent, blindsight, scent, life sense, tremorsense, scent.

Mechanics aside, the stealth rules have a large number of conditions you need to meet and doing so runs into more table variation than a second hand ikea store. Creatures don't spend a whole lot of time in locations where they have impeded vision, which you need to even try the stealth checks in the first place.

Then, you have the fact that advanced dungeons and dragons is not the only ADD in many gamers lives. you've got about 3 minutes to sort that all out with the DM before the other people at the table get bored and say "okay screw this i'm moving up..."

and then you have the worst enemy of the invisible character: the shut door. It doesn't matter what your stealth check is, an opening door is pretty easy to notice.

and THEN if you get a surprise round on the party, you get a surprise round, but sir clanks a lot loses a round and a half moving up to get to you.

It can be useful with the right combination, but it is going to vary a LOT.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Probably the best experience as a PFS vigilante occurred during Masks of the Living God. I spent the week in my social identity spreading renown about EL OSO, THE SPIRIT OF ANDORAN. By the time the module reached the climax, everyone in the temple knew who I was when I appeared as my vigilante identity and the guards became terrified.

***

I struggle with the idea of a Vigilante in PFS. It's why I play one in a home game.

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