Forgery / Linguistics as a tool against a waring kingdom?


Hello all!

My party is defending our kingdom against a cruel neighboring ruler who has declared active war against us. We are at the point of devising an offensive, which would primarily involve the party itself as our armies are better served defending against his greater numbers. As a group we have been trying to brain storm some ideas to use what limited resources we have against him.

And that is where my tengu comes in. He had previously saved the kingdom diplomatically by leveraging his linguistics skill to forge official documents. Basically party overlooked some red tape, but he was able to slip in some "logical post-notarization edits" that were not detected and fulfill the requirements. While not as maximized as I am sure he could be, at level 14 he sports a 32 linguistics modifier, before any assistance from magic or circumstance bonuses from tools or such (skill focus, tengu bonus, trait bonus, int, etc). He has access to the standard +2 tools, and some competent NPC help for aid bonuses, as well as party spells. We have also gotten our hands on some of the enemy kingdom's bounties (for our heads) so we have examples of what their work looks like (for forgery mods, etc).

My curiosity as a player, however, is to find some solid hook or idea to use this resource against our enemy. I've thought about sort of pen and paper version of a DDoS attack, flood their bureaucratic system with ridiculous bounties such as "1 gp for 100 fish bones", or "1sp for the return of this bounty". We want to hamper him, but not harm his people, we are focusing our attempts as more liberation over conquering.

Basically, what if any other mass forgery ideas does anyone else have, or have used in their games? GM will entertain some of my ideas, but out of respect I don't want to fluff it and say "I do some badass forgery stuff" and just roll the dice. This grift needs some class!

Thank you in advance for any ideas you may have!

do the old 50 pizzas order prank but with the army.

forge large orders of useless supplies for his army. if the merchants can't trust him pay for his orders they would be reluctant to supply him with stuff he does need. army with supply problems can't really mobilize effectively. he can't be supplying all of his army needs all by his own men. some things must be bought whether it's food\lumber or other things.

the bonus is you do not need to steal and forge documents from the army which might be alert for espionage but from the merchants (steal a supply order document or get a good look at one and use that to forge others.) same goes as for who it is you present the order to. not a military person but merchants who again should be somewhat easier to fool (or at least easier to escape from if caught red handed).

" you want us to supply you with 50 wagons of wheat you first pay up for all them 'silk ropes and mittens' you ordered"

another form of this is forging false construction orders. which might divert important construction personal into useless projects (and again give him financial problems and trust problems with construction workers)

"why again are we building a wall in the middle of nowhere?!"

so you are soliciting (the online community) for viable strategies?

hmmm... I'd say the GM may have plans through adventuring.

Many mis/dis-information campaigns rely on sloppy procedures/emotions/having a key to trusted processes/etc and are generally a delaying tactic and to spread confusion and thwart effective coordination.

If you issue a plethora of False papers of one type people will just start ignoring them and the authorities will have to make them harder to forge or create a new document. Obviously silly documents are ignored as is. People are not computer servers, even imaginary models of one.

Still, it is a game and no matter what you make some rolls and the GM has NPCs respond with rolls of their own... it's a skill challenge. How you frame that challenge is up to you. It is probably best to have a series of skill challenges within a part of an adventure.

Operation Mincemeat was one of the allied deceptions used as a prelude to the Normandy landings. It involved a fake messenger and falsified documents. That might provide some ideas you might like.

Your Linguistics bonus is really impressive. Here I thought my Arcanist12 with a +21 was good! He's in a War for the Crown campaign, so I am with you on the kingdom-level intrigue.

Your ideas are sound, and if the GM is cool with it, should be great. But if it were me as GM, I'd look for more direct actions on your part. Forge military orders. Deceive the attacking kingdom into putting their forces in the wrong places, or at the wrong times. Planting multiple contradictory orders will add confusion, and at a minimum will slow down whatever the army is supposed to be doing. Make the attacking king think that his generals are plotting against him. Or more subtly, convince the generals that the king suspects them of disloyalty and they'd better get out quick.

If you're focused on the DDOS-type attack, you probably want to convince the populace of the other kingdom that their king and/or army are working against their interests. Send all the agricultural areas messages saying the army will henceforth be purchasing foodstuffs at 50% of previous rates (i.e. much less than it costs the farmers). Announce the upcoming War Tax that will be far more than anyone currently pays (bonus points if you can convince the nobility that it will hit them especially hard).

Key to this is not just what your character can create as a master forger; it's what kind of spy network you have in place in the other kingdom. Good luck!

All valid uses. An attack like you're describing (at least using DDos terms) is meant to shut down operation by flooding a system so it can't process legitimate claims. This can certainly happen for a short time, but that method isn't likely to be really effective in this situation.

The kind of forgery you're talking about might work against a business or other entity where the paperwork could be coming from anyone. For example, if you forge a bunch of coupons to a store, then pass them out to everyone (obviously one person showing up with 50 wouldn't work), then the store has to scrutinize all of them regardless of who shows up, thus slowing down as they screen everyone and upsetting people with the (unknowingly) forged coupons (even though the business isn't under any obligation to accept them), still causing bad will.

This could also work with some official and government stuff, such as wanted posters and such that are just put up on boards and posted around town. Obviously the person who's job it is to put them up probably just knows they aren't official, since they didn't do it, but that won't stop others from making that mistake before they're taken down.

But for military and other official things, there's usually ministers or actual representatives that order things and handle the important stuff. A general might receive a letter from the king, but he's not just going to look at the letter. He's going to look at how he got the letter, who delivered the letter, etc. Did it come from an official or known messenger? Such messengers and couriers normally also carry seals (which could be stolen or forged). They'll also look at the orders. If they're absurd or out of place, like moving an entire army (which is a lot of work logistically and wouldn't just happen), most generals can get confirmation unless their king or society is known for rigid punishment for failing to follow an order.

Forging documents is usually good for sneaking into a place, like a border pass, or something, but any real significant aspect will likely have confirmation and a chain of custody and then magic to verify it if the two parties aren't close enough to feasibly send messages via courier.

Also, most such orders will probably be duplicated (and encoded). To ensure that they get through and obviously to keep someone from just reading the plans if they catch a messenger. So it would be unlikely if they only got one copy, and it would also be strange if it wasn't encoded. So now you'd probably need to also crack and figure out the code used, but also have different, appropriately disguised messengers (or one that kept changing disguises over the course of days).

Not to stymie the attempt, I'm for it. Just remember, you can't just airdrop some stuff over the town from the sky. Someone will notice, even if not everyone does, and they'll mention it, which will probably make most people question whatever it is.

Like mentioned, people aren't computer programs. They aren't just going to shut down and need to be rebooted. If something doesn't make sense they'll usually work around it unless their whole society and system is rigid and has volumes of procedure that must be adhered to semi-religiously. Sure it would cause some disruption if a bunch of fishermen showed up at the Town Hall asking for gold pieces, but most people will know something is up without a good reason or also stories of someone else actually getting such a bounty. Such things would be announced via town criers and others and, when a bunch of people showed up, they'd be turned away and people would realize it was a hoax and they might be upset at the bureaucrat, they'd mostly be upset about falling for it... and then they'll either realize it was your kingdom, or the opposing kingdom will and use it against you... which will hurt your reputation or at least their opinion.

That's what skill checks and luck rolls and such are for though, it could work, just remember that in such situations it's not necessarily safe from blowback. Also, would be horrible if suddenly your kingdom was swarmed by fishbone golems and your lakes and rivers are filled with spiny menaces all because you gave someone an idea and whole bunch of materials to work with.

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