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  1. #1
    Community Member delsoboss's Avatar
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    Default D&D 3.5 ed - Ways to Unconsciousness

    Hey all,

    i want ideas on how to make players character unconscious or otherwise remove them from action in a near definitive way that doesn't involve death. (examples: Flesh to Stone, old style hand to hand non-lethal beating)

    It must be by the rules (no "So you go to sleep? Hmmmkay you don't wake up"), it must not involve death or anything fixed only by wish or miracle or divine intervention, it should involve the use of environmental effects, spells or supernatural abilities but not rare or artifact items or highly improbable combinations of things.

    If anyone is interested in the why and how:
    Player characters are high level do-gooders that are on a spree of successes and sometimes forget they can fail so i throw something unconventional at them to keep things interesting from time to time. So far i already betrayed them using npcs a couple of times, i have made one boss escape the fight and another time they got the information they where seeking stolen from under their nose. In each one of these occasion they felt bad for failing (partially or totally) their quest and found more drive and determination to proceed in the campaign.
    This time they'll get a beating from a powerfull evil outsider that's the boss behind more than half of the things that happened in the campaign and was their boss in another campaign, so it's a mix between a cameo appearance of a known npc and a way to tell the players that they still got a lot of work to do.

    Thanks for your ideas.

  2. #2
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    forcecage + antimagic field?

  3. #3
    Community Member delsoboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cru121 View Post
    forcecage + antimagic field?
    Uhm, certainly could work but a combination of no save spells may convey the message in the wrong way.

    For example 1 of the 3 players in question will be choked up until he fails his constitution test and passes out at 0 hp.

  4. #4
    Founder & Hero Vordax's Avatar
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    A hot or cold environment would cause non lethal damage (oops you just got transported to Risia). Endure elements is a spell that gets around this, but if its not memorized it may work for you.

    Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. - Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Community Member delsoboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordax View Post
    A hot or cold environment would cause non lethal damage (oops you just got transported to Risia). Endure elements is a spell that gets around this, but if its not memorized it may work for you.
    Yeah, thought of that too: probably an overpowered succubus would make the encounter as hot as she is.

    No problem with how long it takes, while she chokes one of them she can slice and roast the others so only a small percentage of their hp needs to be taken care of with the non lethal damage.

    Thanks!

    Anything else?

  6. #6
    Community Member Niv-mizzet's Avatar
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    One of my most fondly remembered encounters that I ever created involved a 10th level bard and his 6hd ogre + 4 barb class levels vs a full 6man party of 9th and 10th level PC's. His only advantage was that he (and the ogre) were at home in the terrain.

    It was a several day trip through the mountain cliff paths, so he harried them from afar with a minimum level wand of fireball at night. Almost immediately, a few people failed their real life int check and split up from the rest to find him.

    He ddoors himself and the ogre right to an isolated person, and makes quick work of them.

    That guy never rejoins the party that night, but as a character trait, the bard didn't like killing, only beating (and yoinking stuff) so the party member was left unconscious a little ahead of the party. They find him the next morning.

    With that condition ready, he attempts a full-on encounter. He uses Hallucinatory terrain a bit ahead of the party to make the cliff path look like it continues straight when it in fact curves inwards, therefore hiding a good 100ft drop to another path, where he has placed several very wordy warning signs with sepia snake sigils inscribed ahead of time. (I wrote the signs on paper, and when a guy was down there, but the papers on the table and said 'the signs say these messages on them' and waited for him to physically read them IRL before using the snake sigil. Humorously enough, the message ended with warning him to avoid reading oddly placed signs. )

    Part 2 of this encounter's plan, the bard hides in the hal. terrain, and concentrates on major image. When the party gets within range, he makes an image of his ogre friend chasing the guy they found stripped of stuff that morning (who has been awoke and healed, and has some second-hand gear on.) and of course, the images are ON TOP OF the hallucinatory terrain trap. The bard has their major image friend point at his REAL counterpart in the party and shout "its him! he's right by you!" Its not me!"

    party instantly KO's their own party member of their own free will, while one guy charges the major image ogre. He of course falls and finds the set of signs, reads a paper from the table when i mention it, and gets encased in the sepia snake sigil effect.

    A more normal encounter then followed with two people down. The bard liberally used confusion and other mind affecting silliness, but thanks to some good rolling on the party's behalf, the bard gave up when his life-long ogre friend was about to be killed.

    And thus ends my tale of 2 npc's almost completely destroying a force that has them outgeared, outnumbered, and is on the same xp level. Hopefully that helps with some ideas. :3

  7. #7
    Community Member donfilibuster's Avatar
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    An evil outsider have plenty of options.

    First and most useful is posession, which is covered in various books but basically works as expected.
    That's a specific feature of evil outsiders specially powerful ones.

    There was that movie that began with "Let me tell you about the time I almost died."
    That's very much how it works

    Remember that possession is more common to take over objects (can't resist) than creatures (can resist).
    Lesser fiends may generally control objects directly, then those that can possess creatures can also animate objects without riding them.
    Only powerful fiends can control creatures without riding them, specially those that are known for it like succubus.

    BoVD and Fiendish Codex just raise the CR by two, meaning any fiend that qualifies can do it.
    The Fiend Folio offers a prestige class of six levels, so other fiends can gain that ability if they fill the requisites.

    Don't forget boots of anchoring if the party have access to banishment

    Also use spells and tricks to confuse players and obscure the fiend's true presence.
    One is for the fiend to carry a magic jar as a decoy when the PCs try to detect magic or evil.
    It'd be hiding in plain sight, they detect great evil but would appear centered on an evil magic item.
    Naturally dispels will appear to not work hinting that the item is powerful.
    And the fiend can counterattack or spoil the efforts, making the threat bigger.

    As far as evil spells go, there's a few extra strong darkness spells to cover a villain's escape.
    Regular light spells won't pierce them, only the exalted counterparts.
    The ones from BoVD that counter the light spells from BoED work well for this.

    Fiends can also rely on summons and pull forth cheap minions whenever needed.
    Remember a fiend is pretty much powerless to get into the material plane on their own,
    but once they break in they are pretty much free to act as they please.
    They can indeed help other fiends into the material plane, and need not bind or make deals with anything they invoke.

    A good one for emergencies is the spell in BoVD to call a bunch of dretches, the equivalent of the BoED that calls a bunch of lantern archons.
    Dretches can be weak but as far as fodder go they can be too many, and are cheap to call repeteadly.

    After all that's what minions are for, to play meat shield and cover the villain's ass while they escape.

    Finally there's the risk that the PCs get spied continually, making the villain prepared for everything they bring.
    It must be made obvious that the villain knows the PCs plans, otherwise it'd seem the DM is not playing fair.
    Once the PCs are aware they must be taking steps every time at everything they do, lest bad things keep happening.
    Last edited by donfilibuster; 08-30-2012 at 06:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Community Member delsoboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niv-mizzet View Post
    snip
    Interesting story.

    I found out that the encounters where the enemy doesn't engage the PCs head on but uses subterfuge and unorthodox tactics are the most entertaining.

    Quote Originally Posted by donfilibuster View Post
    snip
    I hadn't thought about the possession ability, this opens up new scenarios since before the confrontation there is a friendly powerfull npc ... uh ... "involved" with the succubus, i could use the possession ability to split the fight in two phases: the first against the possessed friend to soften the PCs and the second with the villain herself.

    If the PCs are softened enough before, the succubus is in for an easy humiliating victory, exactly what i needed, need to think about this.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Community Member Chai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delsoboss View Post
    I found out that the encounters where the enemy doesn't engage the PCs head on but uses subterfuge and unorthodox tactics are the most entertaining.
    This.

    Especially when its comes time to teach a few min maxers who are good at trivializing the game a lesson or two in humility. Doing it in a way where they cant rules lawyer and metagame their way out of it immediately is where the fun is.
    Advocating repeated nerfs in the name of "balancing the game" then complaining about how DDO is moving away from D&D, is a direct contradiction in logic - D&D 3.5 (what DDO is based on) is not a balanced game. We can either have a balanced clone MMO with homogenized classes, or we can have a D&D game. We cant have both.

  10. #10
    Community Member ~Nick_C76's Avatar
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    Would Imprisonment (the spell) be a bit much? Old enemies are the best enemies...the PC's hate it when an former thorn in their side sticks them yet again.
    On Argonessen, you may call me:
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  11. #11
    Community Member delsoboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_C76 View Post
    Would Imprisonment (the spell) be a bit much?
    Even ignoring the fact i personally dislike using "save or s**k" spells on my players, in this case Imprisonment is too quick.

    They'll know they're toasted the moment they realize who she is and she will play with them until they all pass out because she is an evil mean chaotic b***h.

    This encounter will not be balanced, it needs to be a completely rolfstompfest that makes my PCs remember they still have a lot to fight to get to the top and it needs to give them new drive to pursue their goals.

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