Faking surrender?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


How would faking surrender work? I assume a bluff check opposed to the enemies sense motive?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, but with the added step of checking if it matters. Goblins, ogres, etc are likely to see you surrender, and claw your eyes out anyway.


Honestly, If times get really dire and you find yourself fighting somewhat intelligent foes (obviously not giant spiders), consider actually surrendering.

Our party in one group did this once when our two caster/healers went unconscious. Outmatched, and not looking for a TPK, the fighter, and my Inquisitor surrendered.

Any reasonable DM would recognize this as a perfect opportunity for pathfinder Shawshank shenanigans and took us prisoner instead of wiping us out.

The next two sessions that we had, were some of the most memorable. Our higher level characters, stripped of their magic, weapons, and items were reduced to the resourcefulness of low-level commoners again!!! Trying to gnaw our ropes, sneak around and gain intel from other slaves, and eventually break free. Very refreshing for both DM and players.

I know it doesn't directly answer your question. Otherwise faking would just be a bluff.


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Faking surrender and getting found out makes you the new favored enemy for all professional and semi-professional soldiery. If the institutions of surrender go away, soldiers lives get worse. Also, no one can trust you to be left living, so your lives get worse. Since most toe-sucking D&Ders don't understand things like ransoms and related pay-offs, this is moot for many gamers. It isn't so much about honor, but about survival.


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I reckon the economy of the game causes a few problems here - so much of a character's stats coming from their equipment, a lot of players would rather fight to the death and roll up a new character, than surrender and play a character who's lost all their gear


JulianW wrote:

I reckon the economy of the game causes a few problems here - so much of a character's stats coming from their equipment, a lot of players would rather fight to the death and roll up a new character, than surrender and play a character who's lost all their gear

I'd personally do suicide by monster rather than recalculating my entire sheet without gear bonuses. I'll make a new guy coming in with the rescue team, thanks.


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To return to the original topic, certainly bluff vs. sense motive would be used to see if you fooled them or not. How useful fooling them would be would vary though.

In a place/society with a strong tradition of honorable surrender it could certainly give you the element of surprise when faked a surrender, but of course anywhere like that it would also come with a severe negative reputation if ever found out.

In a place without such a tradition, even if they believe your sincerity about surrender, they are likely to take precautions and wait until actual significant measures have been taken to reduce your capability to fight. Whether they believe you or not, they will remain alert until the cuffs are on sort of thing.


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Daw wrote:
Faking surrender and getting found out makes you the new favored enemy for all professional and semi-professional soldiery. If the institutions of surrender go away, soldiers lives get worse. Also, no one can trust you to be left living, so your lives get worse. Since most toe-sucking D&Ders don't understand things like ransoms and related pay-offs, this is moot for many gamers. It isn't so much about honor, but about survival.

And the reverse holds equally true. Had a player who while not a "murder hobo" pretty much always fought with no quarter offered (or accepted). And as a result foes who might otherwise have surrendered (and given over intelligence, ransom or the like) fought to the death. All his fights became fights to the death and surrendering or faking it would have become problematic due to his reputation.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
JulianW wrote:

I reckon the economy of the game causes a few problems here - so much of a character's stats coming from their equipment, a lot of players would rather fight to the death and roll up a new character, than surrender and play a character who's lost all their gear

I'd personally do suicide by monster rather than recalculating my entire sheet without gear bonuses. I'll make a new guy coming in with the rescue team, thanks.

There was a campaign a while back that I was thinking of joining, but didn't. There was a point where gear was stripped (a full 1/5 of playtime if I remember), but it was "okay," because you were handwaved to still have numerical bonuses. I looked at the Occultist I was going to run, and stayed well away from that group in the future.


To answer the above posts: I would assume faking surrender is mainly something only the badguys would do. That said, I could see a dishonorable anti-hero type character doing it.


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If it's faking surrender and letting your opponent disarm and bind you then I wouldn't bother with rolls (unless there's some sort of divination magic at work) because at this point there isn't really any difference between fake surrendering and just surrendering. If players were to surrender, get taken back to the enemy camp and once they were there decide to launch a surprise attack against their captors I can't imagine any GM going "nope, your character's can't do that because you didn't specify they were only fake surrendering when you surrendered".


I can't really see how faking surrender would be advantageous against any opponent bright enough to understand the concept.

To fake the surrender you would have to declare you are surrendering and make an action that indicates that you are surrendering. Ie you would at best have to take the total defence action if not drop your weapon(s). Attacking and then surrendering in the same round is not going to be taken seriously by anyone.

If the surrender is accepted then you will be required to throw your weapons away and assume a disadvantageous position, such as kneeling or prone. At the same time your opponents will assume advantageous positions and ready attacks.

If the surrender is not accepted then you have lost a round's attacks.

I cannot see how faking the surrender helps as at best you lost a round of attacks and at worst have placed yourself in a tactically inferior position.


Hugo Rune wrote:

I can't really see how faking surrender would be advantageous against any opponent bright enough to understand the concept.

To fake the surrender you would have to declare you are surrendering and make an action that indicates that you are surrendering. Ie you would at best have to take the total defence action if not drop your weapon(s). Attacking and then surrendering in the same round is not going to be taken seriously by anyone.

If the surrender is accepted then you will be required to throw your weapons away and assume a disadvantageous position, such as kneeling or prone. At the same time your opponents will assume advantageous positions and ready attacks.

If the surrender is not accepted then you have lost a round's attacks.

I cannot see how faking the surrender helps as at best you lost a round of attacks and at worst have placed yourself in a tactically inferior position.

Dollars to donuts people are presuming that the bard can just raise his arms and shout "We surrender!" and a 50+ bluff roll later all the bad guys will just sheathe their swords and declare job well done right before a surprise round triggers as the party declares they had their fingers crossed and resumes shanking people.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Hugo Rune wrote:

I can't really see how faking surrender would be advantageous against any opponent bright enough to understand the concept.

To fake the surrender you would have to declare you are surrendering and make an action that indicates that you are surrendering. Ie you would at best have to take the total defence action if not drop your weapon(s). Attacking and then surrendering in the same round is not going to be taken seriously by anyone.

If the surrender is accepted then you will be required to throw your weapons away and assume a disadvantageous position, such as kneeling or prone. At the same time your opponents will assume advantageous positions and ready attacks.

If the surrender is not accepted then you have lost a round's attacks.

I cannot see how faking the surrender helps as at best you lost a round of attacks and at worst have placed yourself in a tactically inferior position.

Dollars to donuts people are presuming that the bard can just raise his arms and shout "We surrender!" and a 50+ bluff roll later all the bad guys will just sheathe their swords and declare job well done right before a surprise round triggers as the party declares they had their fingers crossed and resumes shanking people.

Or you are led away to their previously unknown camp or fortification, perhaps reunited with the hostages you were hired or asked to find and rescue. Yes they bound, gagged and placed hoods over you but hey you are heroes and found them and now 'plan B' goes into effect. Or perhaps the groups Tracker was hiding nearby and now has nice fresh new tracks to follow that you know will lead you to the hostages/leader. Or the familiar or ...

Unless of course you consider such subterfuge to not be 'faking surrender'.


Why on earth would any of that happen if the entire point is to fake a surrender? The entire point of faking a surrender is to take advantage of the current battle by having the enemy lower their guard when they go to take you in (stab the guy going to tie you up with your hidden knife, throw a fireball at them as they bunch up to discuss the matter, etc)

Getting bound and gagged and dragged off is what happens when you actually surrender (or let yourself get captured) and most definitely isn't what most people are thinking of when they ask this sort of thing.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Why on earth would any of that happen if the entire point is to fake a surrender? The entire point of faking a surrender is to take advantage of the current battle by having the enemy lower their guard when they go to take you in (stab the guy going to tie you up with your hidden knife, throw a fireball at them as they bunch up to discuss the matter, etc)

Getting bound and gagged and dragged off is what happens when you actually surrender (or let yourself get captured) and most definitely isn't what most people are thinking of when they ask this sort of thing.

No it isn't what most would think of when asking about "faking" surrender which is why I included the last sentence in my post. But is it any less 'fake' if you know your chance to escape is essentially 100% even if bound, gagged, stripped and hooded? It's a bluff, a ploy to gain some advantage either way. I answered the question in Hugo Rune's post ... namely why allow yourself to be taken prisoner since taking any of the steps prior to that puts you at an apparent serious disadvantage.


I think there is a difference between faking a surrender and genuinely surrendering with a plan. In the latter case, the bluff DC is so low given the convincing proof and that you are believed enough to be captured, that it is not worth rolling sense motive. Rather the capturing group leader will follow established protocols, if any. So the GM should have predetermined the precautions that the capturing group will take.

One example where Kayleroth's fake surrender might be relevant is in the case of a split group with the other part failing to reach position (eg flanking) in time. The fake surrender is intended to buy a few rounds for the other group. The problem with this is that without metagaming the original group does not know how long the other group will be. If the ambush eventually occurs then the original group will be surprised along with the enemy and after the surprise round the enemy are likely to deal with the tactically disadvantaged original group first as it will be easier than dealing with the other group and certainly better than being trapped between two groups.

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