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D&D 3E
On the wings of a quandary 
28th-Mar-2008 09:30 am
I've just started running City of the Spider Queen as a filler module to keep the group going until the 4th edition rules come out this summer. I'm already kind of iffy about 3.0/3.5 in the first place due to WoTC pointing out how some aspects of the game system don't work out as well as originally planned, but let's not go there... I only mention that to say that I'm kinda not overwhelmingly committed to running the campaign in the first place, and just want to get together with my friends and game without it being a royal pain in the neck and a huge amount of work.

So, no, the issue isn't the older game system, and no, the issue isn't converting a 3.0 module to 3.5. The issue is that my son is playing a MindBender and has managed to charm the leader of the second pack of Drow guards lurking on the web. Yes, they get a bonus vs. enchantment. Yes, they have SR. I know that. You haven't seen how my son builds spellcasters. {shudder} He's got him charmed for ten hours, during which time he plans to interrogate the heck out of this drow and find out everything the drow can tell him about what's going on and all that stuff.

So, what do I tell him? This drow knows a lot.

I've broken it down to one basic idea: D&D modules are either hack 'n' slash dungeon crawls, or they're mysteries. I'm thinking of writing up a "What This Guy Knows" doc for each of these; in the hack 'n' slash doc, he tells them where the drow are, what they're up to, why they're there, and, generally, spoils the next big chunk of the module for the players, which shouldn't be a problem for them if all they want to do is roll dice and kill things (this is not a facetious statement--my players are kinda funny about their motivations sometimes). The other doc, the "it's a mystery" doc, would be a "I'm just a dumb soldier with a 14 INT who for some reason doesn't know anything but my own four walls and hey, look! shiny!", with the justification for lack of detail being that the charm spell doesn't, or shouldn't, require him to spill his guts and, given a long-term conversation, for his friend's own good he would rather spend his energy convincing his friend to leave the drow alone because it really is pretty darn dangerous down there. "I'd tell you, but then you'd want to go see the bad guys, and I can't allow that, so, even though you say you can handle the adventure, I'm not going to tell you."

Anybody have any thoughts or ideas or suggestions?
28th-Mar-2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
If it is a standard charm, the Drow would basically trust him as a friend, but that doesn't mean he would nescessarily tell sevret information. A soldier with any decent discipline will no not to reveal too much about troop positions and other secrets, even to friends.
29th-Mar-2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
I agree. Now if it was a domination that'd be another matter.
28th-Mar-2008 03:13 pm (UTC) - I think you're on the right track
If you know that your kid (raising him right, I see!) is going to exploit charm person to this effect, then you're probably on the right path in preparing some snippets of information to dole out to the players. Stonewalling is frustrating and leads to grumpy players.

What you can do to liven it up is remember that drow are mistrusting and deceitful, even to people they like. Even if we can presume that the guards are being honest, there's absolutely no guarantee that all of his information is accurate. Give him hints and foreshadowing with a couple of red herrings thrown in. This makes the ability useful, but not game-breaking since they won't know which info to trust and which to discard.
28th-Mar-2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
Or, you could let this one leader be "helpful" by saying, "I can't tell you that information, but talk to my commander." And then walk them into a larger band of Drow if they take the bait.

Edited to add: You can make said commander a Cleric of Lloth. Hellooooo will save!

Edited at 2008-03-28 03:20 pm (UTC)
28th-Mar-2008 03:49 pm (UTC)

Thinking about it about. Don't TV shows solve this buy the old "It's a trap!" plot device?
28th-Mar-2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Depending on where the party is at, you might be able to have the interrogation interrupted by a "rescue party". Drow don't love their own, but they value the prevention of a comrade spilling any secrets. It could be a true rescue or they rush in an shoot a poison dart into the guy. That depends on how important he is to the plot.
28th-Mar-2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Mix of things maybe.

The drow knows a lot, but the drow doesn't quite know everything he might have gotten in the module. I know that some of the drow baddies in this one are undead - maybe this guy knows about them and can spill where they are, but doesn't know these seconds in command are actually undead. I'd suggest that he be able to point out more drow and more areas that people could go to for information. And I remember possibly allying with the stone giants being a big thing in this module - maybe he could point out trouble with them, as a lead for the characters to be interested in them as possible allies?
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