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D&D 3E
Mundane ways to take out the mage 
6th-Feb-2007 07:32 am
So I'm running a low-magic (read: low-wealth) game. The 4th level PCs have managed to make a few enemies, one of which is going to send some people after them to "detain" them (not necessarily kill them). The enemy knows the PCs have spellcasters, and so will want to be able to deal with that.

Any thoughts on tactics? I'm thinking a small group of thugs (rogues and fighters) and maybe one counterspelling caster ("I have a wizard too!"). But any other ideas that could make for an interesting encounter?
6th-Feb-2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
What about some kind of shrieking arrow. You shoot the arrow into the mage and it starts making so much noise that they can't concentrate? Swarms of bugs thrown at them, beanbag shot, pelting them with arrows?

I once used a crossbow modified with a "goop ball" that would cover someone's face in a quickly hardening ball of goop (required a called shot -4, and would wear off in 2 rounds).
6th-Feb-2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
Is the caster a wizard?

Steal his spellbook.
6th-Feb-2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
Sorcerers--no spellsbooks.

Besides, that only keeps him for learning new spells tomorrow. That doesn't keep him from fireballing you today.
6th-Feb-2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
True, but stealing his spellbook at night before he can prep spells is a great way to attack him in the morning. :]

Sorcerers do tend to nix that idea though.
6th-Feb-2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
Alchemical items are cool. Maybe something like a tanglefoot bag, but full of itching powder. Automatic 50% spell failure chance. By the same token, swarms can distract the hell out of any mage, and the concentration checks could just get worse and worse. In a low magic world, you aren't thinking about how to counter magic with more of it, but how to stop the guy from moving his arms all funny and spouting off gibberish.

Maybe just a burly dwarf fighter whose feats are all wrestling-oriented? You could have him gag the wizard, which means no spells with verbals without silent spell and a hefty level increase.

Also, bolas. No one ever thinks about it, but they're extremely useful for stuff like this.
6th-Feb-2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
I was hoping for alchemical item suggestions. Itching would definately be good :) Will probably also have people use grapple, just cause.

Mmm... bolas. Once they try and run away ;p
(Deleted comment)
6th-Feb-2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, thunderstones. You could, optionally, have archers with thunderstones instead of arrowheads, putting a -2 to the attack roll (maybe more?) and a similar deduction to damage, plus the thunderstone's sonic boom thing.

I mean, alchemy is a skill, with nothing to do necessarily with magic. In a low magic world, it would make sense that people would be progressing towards science and alchemy to make up the gap. So make the most of alchemy. Thunderstones work, and I believe that there's some more alchemical items in the Complete books, Scoundrel and Adventurer particularly. Also, I think somewhere there's a list of alchemical items used by ninjas, some of which would have to be useful. Perhaps also check some of Monte's Malhavoc stuff, definitely Arcana Unearthed and maybe Iron Heroes.

I'd give you more useful info, but I'm at work, away from books. I'll check later, though.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Feb-2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
And I just got CS! I'll have to check out the reqs at home--was it +2d6 or less?
6th-Feb-2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
strong sleep poison... then gags, blindfolds and restraints (or what I call a fun Saturday night... ba dump bump).

Seriously though; if they're going after known spellcasters in a relatively magic poor world, they would use mundane methods at their disposal to catch them... so rogues dealing nonleathal sneak attack damage or trying to knock them out and 'capture' them.

good luck...

6th-Feb-2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
Monks. They can deal non-lethal damage without penalty, have the best saves, evasion (since the party is 4th level).

Once someone is pinned you can, at your option, prevent them from speaking.

Round one, tanglefoot bags and thunderstones.
Round two, initiate grapples
Round three, monks twist wizard into a bitch-pretzel.
6th-Feb-2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
Steal spell component pouch.
Grapple and pin.
Monks with stunning fist.
6th-Feb-2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
4th level sorcerer? I don't think they need any help in killing him, spellcasters are dramatically weaker at lower levels. A rogue is easily enough to take out such a character. Just try to have the enemy group have the element of surprise.

If you want it to be a unique experience, use unique tactics - but there really isn't a need to go spellcaster-specific at that low of a level. Bolas work effectively against fighter and caster alike, as do surprise rounds and sleep spells.
7th-Feb-2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
If you really want to be a bastard you can throw in an Occult Slayer :D they seem to do the job quite nicely.
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