View Full Version : DM Help High stakes intrigue help

2019-07-12, 08:25 PM
So, my players have uncovered a plot to assassinate the viscount of the city they're currently in and know that the assassination is going to take place at an annual masquerade ball for all of the major power players in the city. However, they don't have any evidence to present to the guard and so have decided to gain entrance to the party and stop the assassination themselves. If they make too many social blunders they will be kicked out of the party and the assassination will go ahead, (think the wicked eyes and wicked hearts quest from Dragon Age: Inquisition). I have two questions, I've not really run this sort of thing before and I am struggling with coming up with interesting encounters/interactions for them to deal with, and secondly, how can I track their approval amongst the other guests in a more organic way than just marking their successes and failures. Any advice would be much appreciated!

2019-07-13, 11:01 AM
I'm running a session slot like this sometime this week. What I am using to track NPC opinions of the players is a rules supplement from DMs Guild. It is called Social Combat. However I'm not using the full rules, as I feel it would slow the game down. I'm just keeping track of NPCs views on issues.

The Glyphstone
2019-07-13, 11:32 AM
Try having NPCs at odds with each other, rather than just treating them as a single collective. So they might insult Lord Jones, but if he is enemies with Lady Smythe, successfully charming Smythe would also cancel out their failure with Jones. Being seen chatting with Lady Smythe might earn them an easier roll if they meet Baron Furst since he's a long-time friend of the Smythe family, but it'll penalize their roll with Earl Warren because he's secretly in love with Smythe and jealous of anyone else around her.

Or in other words, treat the party not as a 1v1 "fight" (PCs vs. Social Norms), but have lots of different competing factions and interests. The goal of the encounter isn't simply to win enough Social skill checks, but to interact with people and figure out where the best places to apply leverage will be (servants and wait-staff are a fantastic way to get gossip, if your players are smart enough to be friendly and/or bribe them).