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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    One of my players recently created a thievish character who enjoys causing trouble at the expense of the more morally upright characters. Now, when he wants to do something behind the other players' back, such as stealing the paladin's holy symbol, we've found it hard to keep his secret when the paladin's player can SEE him whispering to me and then watches make SoH/Spot checks.

    We've tried index cards, same problem.

    The players will just go, "I check my inventory" and discover what happened. They never really get mad at him because he is harmless, but I'd really like to be able to pull off some secrecy. Any suggestions?
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Sounds more like a metagame problem to me. While 'oh, the party jerks at his antics again, everyone check your pockets' is a fun and harmless example, the players shouldn't be doing that - they're missing out on some RP opportunities. In the event of wanting some real inter party espionage, you might want to instigate the note passing. Just ask any party member what they're doing, tell them they see some note nestled away, anything. Make hidden spot checks for them. Get the distrust a brewin.
    Last edited by PLUN; 2009-07-22 at 04:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Yea sometimes the RP is a lot more fun. One of the funniest moments I've had in a campaign before was when my rogue stole from the party wizard succesfully, he only had 50 gold but I managed to steal it all. So later that day he tried to buy something and noticed that his money was gone. He immediately stormed over to the bar I was hanging out in buying beer with his money and demanded:

    Wizard: "I need my money back now."

    Me without thinking: "What for?"....."Crap!"

    I had to give the money back and the paladin kept an eye on me from then on. But it was lots of fun anyways, no clue how to help your problem but this thread reminded me of that. Thanks for the nostalgia
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    I read the title of this thread and thought of something completely different.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    And the paladin didn't just turn you into the authorities when you took his holy symbol? Or if Miko-typed, stabbed you in the eye while pontificating?

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    The sneaky player should start handing out blank notes to you.

    Maybe spend a minute writing it out, and when he hands it off, all the card says is:
    "This is a decoy note. Just grin and ignore it." Followed by a listing of 15 random items . apples, chair, bannanas, grapes, soda, comic book, etc. It might be too obvious if he just writes 'blah' 15 times in a row. People pick up on patterns like that.

    This way, the other party members can metagame all they like, but they'll still get paranoid when they keep checking their stuff, and nothing has gone missing.


    As a DM, I think I'd actually go along with this. To the point of looking at each individual player like I'm assigning numbers, then rolling a d6 to determine who gets affected/targeted. Worse, roll a d6, then a d20 and write something in your notes.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by kc0bbq View Post
    And the paladin didn't just turn you into the authorities when you took his holy symbol? Or if Miko-typed, stabbed you in the eye while pontificating?
    Not all paladins are Lawful Stupid. If the rogue is harmless and only plays pranks, why react in such a way? Now, if what he did actually harmed the other partymembers, or gave then trouble, that'd be a different matter whatsoever...

    And I second the blank notes idea. It works very well.
    Last edited by Tengu_temp; 2009-07-22 at 05:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Not all paladins are Lawful Stupid. If the rogue is harmless and only plays pranks, why react in such a way? Now, if what he did actually harmed the other partymembers, or gave then trouble, that'd be a different matter whatsoever...

    And I second the blank notes idea. It works very well.
    Besides, who keeps their Holy Symbol in a state where it can be easily stolen? Keeping your important possessions secure is just common sense. Anything that is small enough to be slight-of-handed, should probably chained to your person and/or locked at all times.
    Last edited by Mr.Moron; 2009-07-22 at 05:21 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Moron View Post
    Besides, who keeps their Holy Symbol in a state where it can be easily stolen? Keeping your important possessions secure is just common sense. Anything that is small enough to be slight-of-handed, should probably chained to your person and/or locked at all times.
    Probably a low-level Paladin who doesn't actually need it for anything but likes to keep it around.

    Blank cards are only the beginning. Make sure to include beneficial actions on your notecards, too.
    Last edited by Guancyto; 2009-07-22 at 05:28 PM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geesi View Post
    Probably a low-level Paladin who doesn't actually need it for anything but likes to keep it around.
    Maybe. It's good practice though. If you can't even bothered to keep a symbol of your faith properly secured, what hope do your other possessions have? You're just begging to come back with no possessions after one 5-minute trip through the rough part of town.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Heh, might make a good trick if you've gotten on the rogue's good side.

    Party Member: "My priceless keepsake, it's gone!"
    Rogue: *hands it over* "Keep it more secure next time, x y and z will help."
    Last edited by Guancyto; 2009-07-22 at 05:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Moron View Post
    Besides, who keeps their Holy Symbol in a state where it can be easily stolen? Keeping your important possessions secure is just common sense. Anything that is small enough to be slight-of-handed, should probably chained to your person and/or locked at all times.
    I've already found the two excellent places to hide it, one mechanically, the other is more of an RP.

    1.) Mechanical ; Smelted to the chest of my plate!
    2.) RP : on a necklace, under my clothes when not needed.
    Last edited by EleventhHour; 2009-07-22 at 05:39 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    We always just made the party thief responsible for all party treasure. Any treasure we had in our inventory, he had better be able to produce it (of course, the cleric kept the books). The thief was free to "steal" anything he wanted to volunteer to carry, for all the good it would do him.

    EDIT: passing notes is a surefire way to derail a game. It should be forbidden except in games like Paranoia (or some Call of Cthulhu games) where that sort of nonsense is the point of the game. In that case, ask for a note from every player every 20 minutes, write something on each note, and return it (players may not show the returned notes to each other).
    Last edited by Skorj; 2009-07-22 at 05:46 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by herrhauptmann View Post
    The sneaky player should start handing out blank notes to you.

    Maybe spend a minute writing it out, and when he hands it off, all the card says is:
    "This is a decoy note. Just grin and ignore it." Followed by a listing of 15 random items . apples, chair, bannanas, grapes, soda, comic book, etc. It might be too obvious if he just writes 'blah' 15 times in a row. People pick up on patterns like that.

    This way, the other party members can metagame all they like, but they'll still get paranoid when they keep checking their stuff, and nothing has gone missing.


    As a DM, I think I'd actually go along with this. To the point of looking at each individual player like I'm assigning numbers, then rolling a d6 to determine who gets affected/targeted. Worse, roll a d6, then a d20 and write something in your notes.
    I like these ideas as doing stuff in secret at the table is more difficult than online.

    Also, the thief character doesn't have to steal now. He could pass a note saying "I'm going to take this guys stuff in 5 minutes." After the paladin checks his pockets and realizes everything is there he'll let his guard down for when the actual thieving occurs.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Not all paladins are Lawful Stupid.
    It's not lawful stupid to boot someone when they start stealing from the party. Unless they're irreplacable for some reason, after a while you'd just get rid of someone like that. Lawful stupid would be to kill them for it.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by kc0bbq View Post
    It's not lawful stupid to boot someone when they start stealing from the party. Unless they're irreplacable for some reason, after a while you'd just get rid of someone like that. Lawful stupid would be to kill them for it.
    Yeah I'm somewhat in agreement with this. Why journey with someone who is always stealing from you for their amusement?


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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by kc0bbq View Post
    It's not lawful stupid to boot someone when they start stealing from the party. Unless they're irreplacable for some reason, after a while you'd just get rid of someone like that. Lawful stupid would be to kill them for it.
    I agree with that, but from the original post I got the impression the thief is not stealing here in malice, for personal gain or similar reasons - he's just playing harmless tricks at the others, and returns the trinkets he stole once they find out. There might be a slippery slope leading from such behaviour to actual inter-party stealing, but in itself it's harmless.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    E-mails and between game conversations. Consider some sort of pre-arranged discreet signal. Pretty soon his party will be paranoid every time he scratches an itch .

    That or just make note passing more common so they don't notice it as much. Send the PCs a lot of notes about what they're particular character knows about a situation and let them roleplay the relaying to others rather than saying "Ok, I tell that to everyone else." Even when it isn't secret information. Maybe combat just started and they can only say so much within 6 seconds. Or just for the sake of practicing more note-passing. I dunno, figure it out.
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    I did something similar with my first rogue. A short time after sovereign glue-ing the party paladin's tankard to his breast-plate, I successfully pick-pocketed him. Being the meta-gamer he is, he immediately went into interrogation mode. Fortunately, I passed my bluff checks. He later became quite popular at the local thieves guild.

    I'm pretty sure I used notes to the DM with what I was doing.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Set up a dead drop in the restroom or kitchen.

    If everyone has laptops, say you found this cool character sheet manager and everyone plays with laptops (or at least an excuse for the thief and the DM to do so)

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    The way I see it, there's three steps here:

    1. Point out to the thief that stealing from the people who have his back in a fight is not a particularly bright idea. Note that if the rest of the group decides to attack him, or hang him out to dry - or, seeing as how there's a paladin in the group, just hand him over to the authorities - he's got no room to complain, because he started it.

    2. Tell the rest of the group to stop frickin' metagaming. They should not be acting on things that their character has no way of knowing. You are within your rights as DM to say, "No, you don't do that, because it's obviously motivated by OOC knowledge that your character does not and cannot have"... at least in cases of such blatant metagaming as reacting to a passed note and failed Spot check with, "I check my inventory." Though you should only deploy that kind of heavy-handing DMing sparingly, as a last resort.

    3. Make it more difficult to metagame even unwittingly. Encourage note-passing by everyone, and do it yourself. Ask for skill checks at random for any reason or none. (Spot, Listen, and Sense Motive are the best candidates for this, though others like Survival or random Knowledges can be good, too.) Periodically roll dice for no reason at all, look at them, possibly ask someone what one of their modifiers is, go, "Hmm," and then carry on with what you were doing.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    We're talking pranks here, right? I mean, if for no other reason than to keep in practice, right?

    Have him start doing Sleight of Hands to add things to other players inventories. Doesn't have to be valuable, just reinforces the idea that the rogue is doing this either as a joke or to keep his skills up.

    I do agree with this metagaming condemnation, though.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Campbell View Post
    3. Make it more difficult to metagame even unwittingly. Encourage note-passing by everyone, and do it yourself. Ask for skill checks at random for any reason or none. (Spot, Listen, and Sense Motive are the best candidates for this, though others like Survival or random Knowledges can be good, too.) Periodically roll dice for no reason at all, look at them, possibly ask someone what one of their modifiers is, go, "Hmm," and then carry on with what you were doing.
    This is the best way to terrify your players. Just roll some dice, ask what order the party is marching in and then ask one of them what his will save modifier is.

    If you really want to make it interesting, ask nonchalantly if he has any particular defenses against mindrape or domination.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Just to echo the consensus -- one of the funniest moments I've ever had in D&D was when the newcomer Rogue thief character picked the big drunk Fighter's pocket ... but the Fighter noticed, and his response was to retaliate in kind. He had 1 rank in Sleight of Hand, but he rolled a natural 20 on his SoH check and the Rogue bombed his Spot check. The Fighter ended up with his own money back and more. When the Rogue eventually realized what had happened, a great friendship was struck up between the two characters.

    ... if you can call an alliance a "friendship" when it's got such large, healthy levels of mistrust in it.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Campbell View Post
    1. Point out to the thief that stealing from the people who have his back in a fight is not a particularly bright idea.
    Yeah, this is a big one. Minor pranks are one thing, but not everyone finds getting their stuff stolen amusing. Unless you're really sure that they'll take it as a joke, it's not conductive to long-term survival.
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Since it didn't seem to be mentioned: how do the other players feel about this? Are they okay with one party member taking stuff from another, or do they feel this bothersome and annoying?

    From the fact that they all check their inventory after the DM-rogue whispering, I'd say it's the latter.

    Why do so when it's clearly not what the players want? Unless you started off the game with "I expect a lot of intrigue, distrust, and possible party infighting" it may not be what the party was expecting. Unlike "real life", the party doesn't get a real choice with who they work with. They may kill Bob the Theif, only to recruit Joe the Theif under rather flimsy RP choices. (Or can the party veto incoming members, under the decision that they would never accept them within RP guidelines?)

    If the party decided to kill off Bob the Theif every time he started talking to the DM, would it be acceptable at the table?

    Anyways, there are a number of solutions already if you want the theif to be successful; I don't really have any new ones to add.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Well, as I said, the metagame element means its driving into 'running gag' country. It paints to me an 'oh, Bob!', almost sitcom like event where everyone knows who did it, because they're buddies. If they used that metagame element to 'premptive strike' and attack the thief because of something their characters don't know for certain, I can almost guarantee you someone is going to get upset. It'll probably be the DM.

    Personally, i don't approve, because most characters don't have a real REASON for it. Chaotic stupid. Which, admittedly in a particular light hearted genre is a darn fine alignment to be. When it's greed, that's worse. Greedy? Adventurers a good job. However we're coworkers, and in 9 parties out of 10 we'll be coworkers who try hard to evenly split the gains of our labour. We risk our lives and gain that privalge. The evil party members can manage this - so can a thief. You don't want that system? Leave. You probably lack a good motivation to actually BE in the party other than to rob them, and are a huge pain best suited as an NPC.

    Maybe they have a reason. Maybe they owe a lot of money. Now i'm po'd, but it's because they didn't tell me. Or they valued their own skin or their brothers skin or whatever over mine. What they do when caught is now very, very important. See, now i'm annoyed in character, and we are really getting somewhere. As a player, I could argue this is a very good place to be when i'm in the mood for betrayal and conflict. I'm a lot more receptive to a PC thief who has motives beyond 'for the lulz' or 'because I want it'.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by PLUN View Post
    Well, as I said, the metagame element means its driving into 'running gag' country. It paints to me an 'oh, Bob!', almost sitcom like event where everyone knows who did it, because they're buddies. If they used that metagame element to 'premptive strike' and attack the thief because of something their characters don't know for certain, I can almost guarantee you someone is going to get upset. It'll probably be the DM.

    Personally, i don't approve, because most characters don't have a real REASON for it. Chaotic stupid. Which, admittedly in a particular light hearted genre is a darn fine alignment to be. When it's greed, that's worse. Greedy? Adventurers a good job. However we're coworkers, and in 9 parties out of 10 we'll be coworkers who try hard to evenly split the gains of our labour. We risk our lives and gain that privalge. The evil party members can manage this - so can a thief. You don't want that system? Leave. You probably lack a good motivation to actually BE in the party other than to rob them, and are a huge pain best suited as an NPC.

    Maybe they have a reason. Maybe they owe a lot of money. Now i'm po'd, but it's because they didn't tell me. Or they valued their own skin or their brothers skin or whatever over mine. What they do when caught is now very, very important. See, now i'm annoyed in character, and we are really getting somewhere. As a player, I could argue this is a very good place to be when i'm in the mood for betrayal and conflict. I'm a lot more receptive to a PC thief who has motives beyond 'for the lulz' or 'because I want it'.
    But it's not chaotic stupid because, from what the DM is describing, it's completely harmless.

    Until the Paladin can turn undead and cast spells what use (in game terms) does he need his holy symbol for? Realistically I'd be pretty annoyed if someone kept yanking a trinket of mine but it's not causing any harm so the most I'd do is say "Hey, please stop."

    This is different if the thief was snatching important items like healing potions or a weapon. When you're in the thick of combat and you reach for your sword but OOPS sword not there then it dives into malicious territory.

    In short, someone who puts mud in your helmet or steals your socks is completely harmless. Annoying but harmless. Someone who snatches your gold or weapons should be dealt with immediately.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Given that we don't know the level of the chars, the paladin could be able to cast spells/turn undead, so it changes from "harmless" right there.
    Last edited by Kylarra; 2009-07-23 at 01:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Being sneaky with five other people watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Campbell View Post
    3. Make it more difficult to metagame even unwittingly. Encourage note-passing by everyone, and do it yourself. Ask for skill checks at random for any reason or none. (Spot, Listen, and Sense Motive are the best candidates for this, though others like Survival or random Knowledges can be good, too.) Periodically roll dice for no reason at all, look at them, possibly ask someone what one of their modifiers is, go, "Hmm," and then carry on with what you were doing.
    I want to second this point as well. I actually participated in a D&D game where it was almost a competition over who could be the biggest magnificent bastard. Strangely enough, the game ran incredibly smoothly with almost no interparty conflict. Everyone had their own scheme, and either did not care about the schemes of the other party members or did not interfere so no one would have reason to interfere in their schemes.

    So we had a situation where the city-hating druid did not care about the guild rogue altering the conditions of a vital trade contract. The rogue in turn enlisted the aid of his guild in order to aid the elf ranger in her quest to find her long lost brother, and so the elf did not rat out the human psion who was working with the aforementioned rogue to assassinate the thieves' guild leadership so the two of them could take over. It really was a beautiful thing.
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