The Anti-Sedition Force

Hell's Rebels

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So my PCs had a rough start to Hell's Rebels. Like, a REALLY rough start. They... did not win their first few fights. Or they won on a technicality, and "generously allowed their enemies to leave with their lives"... read: Would have died if they tried to press for a kill. In fact, they have had so many enemies either trounce them or simply manage to escape with their lives, that I have decided to have their rogue's gallery form a five-man-band dedicated to taking them down.

So as they start Book Three, Kossrani, Scarplume, Blosodriette, Nox, and Varl Wex have, with Barzillai's blessing (and training, and supply-ing), formed an elite counter-rebellion task force called the Anti-Sedition Force. Thus far, Kossrani has scuttled one of their boats while they were away from it, Scarplume attacked and disabled one of their teams, and Wex framed another team for murder. They operate using the same basic tactics as the rebellion: Never attack the PCs directly, strike where they are weak, and then disappear. Watching my PCs scramble to deal with this rogue element while they tackle all the other missions book 3 throws at them has been a lot of fun. :)

I'm hoping to tap you guys for ideas: How can I mess with my PCs? I have some more ideas for things to throw at them, but collective intelligence is always more fun. :P What are some good ways these guys can really be a thorn in the players' collective sides? My plan is ultimately for these guys to be the group that attacks the PC's hideout in book four.

My suggestion is to be very careful going down this rabbit hole.

I know things like this are fun for a number of people, but it can lead to a whole mess of problems.

First problem is the derailment. If I was a PC, I would call for a hard stop on all our activities until we discover who is interfering so successfully with our efforts. Seriously, this campaign would go nowhere until the side quest was dealt with. And if we were pushed to continue the main story line, I would hate every second since it would be removing all semblance of player agency.

Second is a DM getting overly attached. It is easy to get attached to a plot device/villain and find yourself bending over backwards to get them involved in things or protect them. The main DM of my group has two characters that were involved in every single AP from Second Darkness to Jade Reagent. These guys were basically Dr Who and the Master (I think, I don't like Dr Who). They were not DMPCs they were just an added story line to each AP, and they pissed me off every time they appeared. Seriously, I hated every second they were involved. I understand he enjoyed them, but they got old fast.

Third problem is one of the most common problems that DMs face in these situations. You are the ones in charge of supplying the world to the PCs. A room doesn't exist to a PC if the DM does not tell them. The room does not have any furniture unless the DM tells them. The room does not look suspicious to a PC unless the DM gives them some reason to think this room, that has only a single wooden chair, is somehow suspicious.

Do not get me wrong, you do not need to kiddie gloves you PCs when it comes to them investigating, but you MUST remember this very important fact (all capping it cause seriously this is important):


Seriously, this point comes up all over the boards for different reasons.

Just remember to A. Have fun and B. Make sure you players are ACTUALLY having fun.

Don't let the last sentence in you post influence you if your players want to dedicate themselves to finding and wiping out this Anti-Sedition Force. Just because you want them to attack in book four, don't cripple you players agency so that it happens.

Not saying you will or won't, just giving a reminder that should be given a whole lot more on these boards.

Agreed. As a PC, I'd devote all our resources to dealing with a team that sunk our boat and took out two teams.

Also, the PCs had better win or I'd start to wonder if it was PC vs. DM, rather than the DM being a neutral storyteller. Three losses after losing to all of those people previously would not be satisfying.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I appreciate the words of caution, but my players are proven masochists. I ran them through Way of the Wicked, came up with every possible thing I could to screw them over short of outright cheating, and the only times they started complaining was when I started softballing them. XD They love being presented with a difficult situation and having to "clever" their way out of it, and they know that I let clever work.

I'm absolutely going to give them plenty of chances to devote resources to stopping these guys (among the dozen other things they have on their plate at the moment...), but they will be disappointed if I don't play these guys at full capability.

...Also, a large part of the evil team's success so far has been the same PC getting three natural 1 Secrecy checks in the same session... the rest of the players are seriously considering not letting that player roll Secrecy anymore. :P

Three natural 1s huh? Ouch.

You know your group better then I so if you say they are masochists, far be it from me to deny it.

As to how you can mess with them:

1. Violence perceived is more effective than violence committed. Do they have friends and loved ones? If so, have your villains drive home that they CAN get to them at any time they want. This will so fear.

1b. Have the Anti-Sedition Force make the names of known supporters public.

2. Target local businesses that may be helping them. Do they come to certain shops for supplies? The PCs now find that their favorite shop keep has been replaced by a Thrune loyalist who finds their purchasing of weapons questionable.

3. Do NOT take hostages. Seriously, hostage taking is a defensive move and puts you in a position of weakness. You (the hostage taker) now depend on the survival and well being of the hostages to keep you alive and safe. If you harm/kill them, the are guaranteed to be wiped out.

With that being said, refer to point 1 as to how to make the fear of hostages a thing.

Also, friends and families of NPC supports are easy targets.

4. Make their failures public. If your rebellion puts people in danger, the number of people who support it will drop. As above, if someone is found supporting the rebellion, the friends and families of those people pay.

5. Finally to really mess with them, if the PCs do not realize who the Anti-Sedition Force is, you can ignore point 1 and just target the families of support.

Think about it, the PCs think they and their friends/family are safe, the NPCs see that the PCs have not been targeted and begin to question whether or not the PCs have their best interest in mind. NPCs start leaving since the danger is too great. Then once the PCs have minimal support, the ASF goes after their friends and family. Now the PCs have no support and are in a place of weakness.

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