Messing with the PCs heads. In a good way!


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In my current game (which is completely OP gestalt Pathfinder/3.5 with sci-fi elements tossed in), the party is working on finding the masterminds behind a revolution. They blasted their way into one of the revolution strongholds that was hidden in the city sewers.

Having done so, they have discovered that several of the revolution leaders are actually demons in disguise. The demons all have special amulets that are identical.

In creating the background of the revolution and their command scheme, I was utilizing the 'cell' structure of real world terrorist groups. To spruce it up in a fantasy type setting, the group calls their individual portions 'hives', i.e. compartmentalized like a honeycomb.

The party captured a NPC that I had put in place to offer them information by way of an inspired rant by a true believer in the cause. They gagged him so they wouldn't have to listen to his exposition. So, I inserted some pamphlets detailing the revolution's cause so they could at least get some idea of what was going on.

At this point, a group of babau demons (still disguised with illusions) attacked them. When I realized the CR of the combat was in TPK territory (1 PC down, 1 hiding, 2 others at less than 1/2 HP and all NPCs still up and in good shape), I had the NPC leader order 2 of the others to 'warn the rest of the hives that we've been found.' This led to those combatants greater teleporting out, TPK averted in a believable maneuver.

The PCs are now convinced that there is a 'hive queen' running the revolution and that wearing one of the NPC amulets will plug them into the shared hive mind, so they are afraid to even put them on.

Which is how a minor word choice on my part has totally messed with the party's heads and sent them off on a wild goose chase for a non-existent demon hive queen in the city sewers while being afraid to use powerful magical amulets that could aid them in their cause.

I count this as a GMing victory. Has anyone else had fun in-game misunderstandings like this?


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Gerrinson wrote:
Has anyone else had fun in-game misunderstandings like this?

All the time. As a game that is mostly played in our heads, you would think that the players would be really paying attention to the GM's words, asking questions on anything they are confused about, etc.

I've noticed many times, however, that the players will be talking about something unrelated to the game when I am reading a room description or giving information via an NPC. As such, they will miss something that to me is fairly obvious.

One minor thing that sticks out is that the three gods in my current campaign are known as the Father, the Mother, and the Son. I explained this to the players early on, and then a few sessions in, one of them said something like "I thought these guys worshiped the Sun."


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Neat.

It's your campaign of course, but I might actually take that and riff on it. If they're expecting a hive queen -- give them one! Re-skin those demons as insectile horrors from the Great Beyond, acting on the orders of a terrible hive queen intent on turning the city/nation/planet into her personal domain. Then they can feel clever for having worked it out.

I just kind of like it when the players tell me what they want this way.


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Tinalles wrote:

Neat.

It's your campaign of course, but I might actually take that and riff on it. If they're expecting a hive queen -- give them one!

I'm thinking about doing just that. They've already stopped two C'thulu-esque events already (well, one actually WAS C'thulu) so there's plenty of precedent for insane horrors from beyond the walls of this plane.


I actually do this on purpose. If a party doesn't have a trap finder, the first dungeon they come to is empty. Completely, utterly empty. But there are traps every so often that use ghost sound to make it sound like enemies are present, are destroying magical items and other goods, and are fleeing the PCs. It utterly, completely screws with their heads!

I always let them know what's going on by having them find a book at the very end that details how to make ghost sound traps.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

When I was running a certain PFS scenario that took place in a museum, I placed some minis around a room of stuffed hunting trophies. So there was a mini for a stuffed chimera, a stuffed dire bear, etc. I patiently waited while the players all moved their characters into position, ready for the exhibits to come to life.

Then the enemies came out of the walls.


Gerrinson wrote:


Which is how a minor word choice on my part has totally messed with the party's heads and sent them off on a wild goose chase for a non-existent demon hive queen in the city sewers while being afraid to use powerful magical amulets that could aid them in their cause.

Maybe you should've change the scenario a bit to actually include this hive queen.


Abyssal Lord wrote:


Maybe you should've change the scenario a bit to actually include this hive queen.

I'm thinking about it. This just happened at Saturday's game and we don't play again for 2 weeks, so I've got time.

Technically, they were warning the other 'hives' so I could even make more than one hive queen.

Mwa hahahahaha!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

*ahem*

Yeah, good idea...


Gerrinson wrote:
Abyssal Lord wrote:


Maybe you should've change the scenario a bit to actually include this hive queen.

I'm thinking about it. This just happened at Saturday's game and we don't play again for 2 weeks, so I've got time.

Technically, they were warning the other 'hives' so I could even make more than one hive queen.

Mwa hahahahaha!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

*ahem*

Yeah, good idea...

Sometimes it is actually better to make it up as you go along.

Liberty's Edge

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For hive-queens, you could try succubi who are hell wasp hosts who are in control of themselves and the hive. Could be a strange and interesting encounter.


You could also go with fungal queens reflavored to work with vermin instead of plants.


pendothrax wrote:
For hive-queens, you could try succubi who are hell wasp hosts who are in control of themselves and the hive. Could be a strange and interesting encounter.

Watch Invasion of the Bee Girls or The Wasp Woman once too many times? :-)

Sovereign Court

Or..OR you could customize a monster or build one from scratch...


Don't forget Honeybee Inn!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTY5MQ4Tjg

Sovereign Court

Bunnyboy wrote:


Don't forget Honeybee Inn!

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