Lotus Dragon Thieves


Savage Tide Adventure Path


Why are the Lotus Dragon Thieves so hard to break? The module says that getting info from them requires the PCs to change their attitude from Hostile to Helpful.

That's DC 50. Basically impossible for low-level PCs even with Aid Another and a very generous circumstance bonus.

Even Intimidate won't work as it can only make an NPC act as if Friendly.

Are these members fanatics or was this an oversight?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

They are indeed fanatics. You're not supposed to be able to talk them out of being what they are. The best way to make them helpful is to use charm person, and then use a Diplomacy check to finish them off.


It would be a bit anticlimatic if the PCs were able to just self-destruct the Lotus Dragons by swaying one or two members. A hardcore invasion is way cooler for the players.


Thanks for the clarification, James. It wasn't clear in the module that they were fanatics. Probably one of many things you had to trim for space.

Reflex for Half wrote:
It would be a bit anticlimatic if the PCs were able to just self-destruct the Lotus Dragons by swaying one or two members. A hardcore invasion is way cooler for the players.

I wasn't referring to swaying the thieves to the PCs side. According to the module, "Any captured Lotus Dragon has an initial attitude of hostile; he won't reveal the location of his guildhall or any other information unless his attitude can be made helpful." It goes on to list what the thief can tell the PCs about the guildhall.

My players were trying to just get info from a defeated guild thief about the rest of the complex after they had already started their invasion. They felt extremely frustrated that they were unable to coax the information from the thief or intimidate him into spilling the beans. I had not painted the guild as a fanatical organization when the group was gathering information about their whereabouts, so the difficulty they encountered (after some very good roleplaying and rolls) felt out of place to them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Vyvyan Basterd wrote:
Thanks for the clarification, James. It wasn't clear in the module that they were fanatics. Probably one of many things you had to trim for space.

Actualy, nope. Nothing was cut for space here. Saying their initial attitudes are hostile is pretty much all that needs to be said. The reason why I went on after that to point out what a PC can learn from a LD thief is because charm person or trickery (say, if one of the PCs tricks a LD thief into thinking they're working with the guild with some high bluff checks) can still get things out of them.

If, on the other hand, your PCs do a particularly good job roleplaying diplomacy or intimidation, a few bonuses to the rolls might be in order. You might even allow multiple checks to influence attitudes more than once; in this manner, if the PCs have enough time (like in a controlled interrogation) they might be able to make a captured thief helpful by working their way up through the attitudes with multiple checks made over several hours or even days.

And in the end, keep in mind that at 1st-3rd level, the PCs aren't necessarily supposed to be super tough. They wouldn't be able to defeat a giant at that level without luck, so they shouldn't be able to talk a career thief who grew up doing what he does out of being disloyal.


James Jacobs wrote:
Actualy, nope. Nothing was cut for space here. Saying their initial attitudes are hostile is pretty much all that needs to be said. The reason why I went on after that to point out what a PC can learn from a LD thief is because charm person or trickery (say, if one of the PCs tricks a LD thief into thinking they're working with the guild with some high bluff checks) can still get things out of them.

True, my group definately couldn't take advantage of bluffing them after beating up a whole room full of sleeping guild members.

James Jacobs wrote:
If, on the other hand, your PCs do a particularly good job roleplaying diplomacy or intimidation, a few bonuses to the rolls might be in order.

They would have needed roughly a +12 roleplaying circumstance bonus to succeed.

James Jacobs wrote:
You might even allow multiple checks to influence attitudes more than once; in this manner, if the PCs have enough time (like in a controlled interrogation) they might be able to make a captured thief helpful by working their way up through the attitudes with multiple checks made over several hours or even days.

Diplomacy is one of those D&D rules that seems to be vague. Sounds like you and I play the skill differently. I used to run it the way you mention, but it didn't mesh with the skill description. The PHB states that retries are not recomended because you can only push someone so far and you could make their attitude worse. If you allow the Initial Attitude to change with a successful Diplomacy check, there is little chance of anyone with even a few ranks of the skill to worsen the NPCs attitude.

James Jacobs wrote:
And in the end, keep in mind that at 1st-3rd level, the PCs aren't necessarily supposed to be super tough. They wouldn't be able to defeat a giant at that level without luck, so they shouldn't be able to talk a career thief who grew up doing what he does out of being disloyal.

I think this boils down to me not painting the picture of the guild and its members very well. Reading the Hostile->Helpful bit in the module unfortunately didn't register in my presentation. Oh well, maybe other DM who haven't gotten this far yet will learn from my mistake. I think if I had presented this better my players wouldn't have been surprised by how tough it was to get information from them.


It makes sense that their initial attitude would be hostile and that they'd have to be helpful to give away secrets of the Lotus. Imagine a group of thugs busting in on a member of the Mafia and trying to persuade him to break his silence about his family.

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