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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    In last night's session, the PCs got within sight of an enemy fortress in mid-afternoon, and decided to camp out until nightfall, at which point they'd try to infiltrate the fortress.

    One of my players missed my description of the forest thinning out and the fortress sitting on a plain. He chose to cast Leomund's Tiny Hut to camp in; the sudden appearance of the Hut drew attention from the fortress.

    Initially, a Warmage came out to investigate, assuming that it would be a matter of a Fireball or two to eradicate the PCs. The PCs, instead, killed him.

    So that's the set up so far.

    I'm thinking next session is going to open with the PCs emerging from the Hut and finding it surrounded (since we hadn't realized the Hut was transparent from the inside, we've decided it now isn't; at least, this one isn't.) by enemy soldiers, who will call for them to surrender peacefully.

    If they go peacefully (and I hope they will, but I'm not counting on it) they'll be disarmed and imprisoned prior to a kangaroo court trial over the death of the Warmage. Hopefully, the execution scene (the PCs will be hanged on a gallows one at a time) will inspire some Pirates of the Caribbean-esque heroics.

    Playgrounders, what do you think? I feel like this provides them with opportunities to escape and perform some heroics, while also keeping the threat of death over them. I don't want to kill the PCs if I can help it, but at the same time it seems like they've kind of brought this on themselves, or at least, the Gnome Bard brought this on them.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    Milskidasith's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Here's an idea: Have your PCs even decided if they are going to keep resting or not? If the guy said he was from the castle, then they should probably leave because resting would be stupid.

    Also, why not use Rope Trick? It's a lot safer.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    They had decided to keep resting. I even asked them, "Are you sure you want to do that?"

    They didn't use Rope Trick because our arcane caster, the Gnome Bard, wasn't particularly well-prepared this session, and only had a handful of spells he knew the particulars of.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Prepare for a TPK, or a running battle. I doubt the party is going to stand for surrenderring, unless you give them a very good reason.

    Unless you've got someone who doesn't get caught, there won't be anyone to perform those PotC style heroics, and even then they have to get into the place and succeed at the heroics. You'll end up loosing a member or two, and POing players. If you are threatening to execute the party, you do it all at once, and save or kill them all.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Here's kind of what I'm thinking right now:

    The enemy soldiers sent to capture the PCs will use disarming tactics and nets if the PCs refuse to come quietly.

    The PCs will be disarmed and spend 24 hours in a jail cell while the gallows to hang them all at once is being constructed. The jail cell will be watched by five CR 1/2 soldiers -- the party is level 4.

    The jail cell is simple to break out of (lift the door off the hinges), and the cell is even in a tower whose construction makes defending themselves from reinforcements simple. And the fortress isn't even really big, so there aren't all that many reinforcements available.

    If the party somehow fails to escape and still ends up dancing the hemp fandango...I shrug, and say, "roll up new characters."
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    RogueGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    It depends on how you, as a DM, want to handle the game. Realistically, with the situation the party is in? Odds are good they'll all end up hanged. That's what would happen logically in the reality of the game world.

    However. It is a game, one that all involved would like to keep playing, so you'll need to make a decision. Do you fudge reality a bit in the interest of allowing play to continue?

    If you go with the former attitude, stat up the soldiers who are surrounding the hut, and then all the reinforcements who come running when the PCs start fighting their way out (which they probably will do). Don't go out of your way to make the prison easy or difficult to get out of, just make it a normal dungeon for where they are. And if they can't escape or talk their way out of execution... well, that's that.

    With the latter attitude... personally, if I were DM, I'd let them escape. For some reason the reinforcements from the fort don't arrive. The players get bloodied up and chased off, recognized by the surviving soldiers, etc. It'll make their assault on the fortress harder, but they'll live to do it. And the game will continue.
    "Experience is a good thing. You should hit it." - Lathandar to his Paladin, in response to her prayers for advice on what to do about a Holy Liberator

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Couple of questions.

    1) Were the players clearly in an open field when the spell was cast? If so at what range from the fortress were they?

    2) What sort of spot check modiifer did you give the fortress inhabitants to notice a 20' radius object (likely purposefully colored to blend into the background) at what I assume was near-maximum visual range?

    3) How did the players know that a Warmage had approached if they could not see through the hut? Or did he enter??

    4) During the fight, did the caster never leave the enclosure? If he had the spell would have ended, so you can freely assume that if the Bard participated in the fight that the spell effect was ended.

    5) Why would the enemies wait until morning? The spell has no way of keeping them out.

    Best way to deal with the situation, admit you screwed up and restart at the point where the Hut was cast. Sure, it was a foolish decision to keep resting, but the events leading up to the fight with the Warmage were pretty sketchy to begin with. Did you even ask where they intended to rest, or did you assume it was going to be in full view of the guards? Most groups, if correctly prompted, would have retreated back to the woods (assuming they were nearby, otherwise they'd find a spot where the view from the fort was obstructed to rest). It was your responsibility to remind the group of thier current surroundings, not to play "gotcha!" when a perfectly understandable mistake was made in regrad to the current orientation and location of the party.

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    HamsterOfTheGod's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Escape or be killed is not the only cliche option.

    How about these:

    Throw them to the lions. PCs thrown to lions or other monsters/forced to fight each other gladiator style/hunted by lord and his minions. They must survive while trying to figure out how to escape.

    You must atone/I admire your audacity/I only pretended to kill you because I can use you. The PCs are quested/geased to perform a service for the fortress lord.

    Combination. PCs must prove strength by combat trial and the get geased/quested.

    The PCs are transported to a penal colony/labrynth/slave mine/pirate ship/other plane from which they must escape (not a 1 session affair).

    Also be prepared in your scenarios or the ones above, the party can get split at several points.
    Last edited by HamsterOfTheGod; 2009-08-11 at 12:03 PM.
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    Milskidasith's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    They get mostly hanged by Lord Veti... not that guy from Discworld, but somebody like him, and then get quested sounds like a good option.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Reinforcements will not come running to aid the detachment sent to capture the PCs. There are four PCs at level 4; a Fighter 3/Ranger 1, a Ranger 4 who has favored enemy: Goblinoids, a Cleric (who for some reason has a higher STR then WIS), and a Gnome Bard. They'll all be at full health for the fight against the detachment.

    The detachment consists of 10 CR 1/2 Hobgoblin warriors armed with scimitars and shortbows, wearing studded leather armor. Accompanying them is a level 4 Hobgoblin Sergeant (Fighter 2/Marshall 2) and a Bugbear Fighter 2.

    If the PCs make mincemeat of this detachment, so be it, and maybe they'll wise up regarding what they're doing. In this situation, I may call for some Idea checks and Survival/Know: Geography rolls to let them know that there's an underground river in this area which joins a nearby (aboveground) river not far from here, and the fortress must get fresh water from somewhere, so it might be possible to sneak in through a well.

    If they get captured, they're taken to a prison inside the fortress (consisting of a single 10 x 10 foot cell inside one of the perimeter towers). The cell can be escaped from, the guards killed and their position defended against reinforcements who would logically be coming from other perimeter towers/the main keep. They've already killed the sole magic-user at this fortress, so that's one less complication.

    I'm kind of in a bind, Rhiannon; I've been running my campaign in the second style you describe, and some of my players have complained about enemies not using intelligent tactics. So I want the Hobgoblins to act in the logical manner, but given the PCs' recent track record, that seems like a fast track to Noose-land.

    EDIT: Gah, people posted while I was writing. Let's see here...

    Keshay: That might actually be a really good idea. Last night's session was played under abysmal conditions -- extremely high humidity making us all feel nauseous, the Bard's player had almost no idea what his spells did and I didn't have access to the SRD to double-check because I was surprised by a lack of wireless, and there were several people entering and leaving the room and insisting on having unimportant side conversations ("So how much of a commission do you get working at Radio Shack? Have you seen Coraline yet?") with the players despite polite requests that they hold off until later.

    Going back and redoing the end of last night's session under better conditions as a means of starting next week's session would probably be best.

    HamsterofTheGods: Interesting ideas, and ones I may use later in the campaign.
    Last edited by Brauron; 2009-08-11 at 12:15 PM.
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    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    As a rule of thumb you don't take the entire army out to raid one hut. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be just a small unit outside waiting for them in the morning. Maybe eight 1st level warriors, two 1st level adepts, and a second level fighter.

    Not an easy fight, by any means, however one that a fully rested party of fourth levels with some crowd control should have no trouble dealing with.

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    HamsterOfTheGod's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcand View Post
    As a rule of thumb you don't take the entire army out to raid one hut. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be just a small unit outside waiting for them in the morning. Maybe eight 1st level warriors, two 1st level adepts, and a second level fighter.

    Not an easy fight, by any means, however one that a fully rested party of fourth levels with some crowd control should have no trouble dealing with.
    "Redshirt or not, I'm not going out there chief. They just killed the warmage."

    OP, don't worry about how the fortress inhabitants would react or how many of them are actually there. Rather, think of this as a game opportunity, despite the PCs poor choice of tactics.

    If you want it to be a combat, then make it a fair fight with appropriate CR. You can even make it a running fight by having successive waves of stronger parties come at the PCs until they get to point X on the map.

    If you want them captured, then send a force that will capture them fairly, that is using the rules to give your NPC force sufficient advantage to insure that at least some are captured if they don't manage to escape.

    If they are captured, then you can either setup a simple escape like you suggested or make the trial, capture and "punishment" more opportunities for RP. Let the PCs defend themselves. Set up a high level lord in the fortress. If he is evil, he might like watching the PCs fight his pet monsters. If he is in need of services, he is not beyond using the PCs for his purposes. If he is good, maybe he wants the PCs to atone. Anyway you cut it, there are lots of opportunities here for side treks before you get back to your main campaign arc. Well that's my two cents anyway...
    Last edited by HamsterOfTheGod; 2009-08-11 at 12:23 PM.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Darcand: That's not the full garrison of this little fort. About a third, actually.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by Brauron View Post
    Darcand: That's not the full garrison of this little fort. About a third, actually.
    I figured as much, we were both writing at the same time and I just didn't bother deleting my post after reading yours.

    In regards to your other issue, if the players feel that you aren't throwing smart enough enemies at them, start throwing smarter enemies at them, but do it in small doses. Instead of a whole swarm of Hobs and some bigger muscle give them 2 bugbear barbarians with long bows using their fast movement to shoot-n-move the PCs to death.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Who the heck would camp in the middle of an open field in full view of the fortress. Unless the characters haver INTs of 4-5 and are drooling fools in-game that just isn't a reasonable situation. The players should have been prompted about something so obviously stupid.

    "You do realize that you've currently moved out of the forest into a more open area, right? It's obvious that from this position you could be spotted?"

    Raiding with a TPK-causing force because someone missed a few sentences of description OOC is just plain mean and generally well, bad. Keshay is right, just apologize and and set things up as they would have happened had they been aware OOC of all the things they were IC. "LOL! GOTCHA!" Is just horrible.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    The lack of description might be on the DM, but just sitting there after you wipe out a scouting "party" without even putting up perimeter guards is insane and their own choice. If they had killed a random scout and stayed put the way they have the same thing would have happened. Hell, we put up guards even when in a ropetrick ... if you approach adventuring as friendly camping you need to feel the pain.

    They are relatively safe inside the hut from anything besides AoE and the moment a PC sticks his head out he will duck back in immediately. The commander of the opposing force knows this and knows they probably have casters, so he is not going to give them more than 1 round to think about it. I'd give them 1 round to surrender only (ie. "you have 5 seconds to start coming out") and then have the two opponents with PC levels to start throwing alchemist fires let the sergeant use an elixer of fire breath (nasty, but it's the PC's own fault). After the first firebreath maybe give them another chance of surrender.

    PS. I should point out that as far as the players know they have just stayed put after wiping out a random scout ... the DM snafu is regrettable, but the history can be retconned without the players ever having to be aware :p
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2009-08-11 at 01:14 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    I think you can compromise by cheating a tiny bit and letting the players overhear the advance scouts of the main force getting themselves into position. That way they have time to run before the main force gets there (or to put on a clean pair of underwear if they prefer).

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Did I miss something? Why are hobgoblins playing nice? They're vicious buggers that would sooner set fire to a building let alone actually raid it. Hobgoblins won't capture someone just to hang them, they'll slaughter them on the spot.

    The PCs killed an investigator right outside their fortress yet continued to hang out with the knowledge that "Oh, hey, someone might come to investigate their missing person!" Any advance team that comes upon them is their own fault.
    Last edited by jmbrown; 2009-08-11 at 01:15 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by jmbrown View Post
    Did I miss something? Why are hobgoblins playing nice? They're vicious buggers that would sooner set fire to a building let alone actually raid it. Hobgoblins won't capture someone just to hang them, they'll slaughter them on the spot.
    They are lawful evil, so in a highly organized culture/kingdom they might be inclined to arrest people.

    In Eberron they also take slaves if my memory serves me correct.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2009-08-11 at 01:17 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Moron View Post
    Who the heck would camp in the middle of an open field in full view of the fortress. Unless the characters haver INTs of 4-5 and are drooling fools in-game that just isn't a reasonable situation. The players should have been prompted about something so obviously stupid.
    Extremely competent and smart people make serious mistakes sometimes (250 soldiers against 3000 Indians? Sounds like a fair fight to me...), and regardless, going back and retconning stuff at this point is worse than useless. Figure out where to go from here, not make bitter comments about how much the GM may have screwed up.


    OP: do NOT expect your players to surrender. In my 22 years of GMing, the biggest truth about setting up encounters I've realized is that no matter what they say about good RPing opportunities, players hate getting captured. They play the game to experience freedom in choice and action, and getting captured takes that away completely. They will generally rather die than get captured (so pulling this off without a TPK is extremely difficult), and even if you DO manage to capture them, they will go nuts trying to escape until they succeed or die. They won't listen to you, they won't go along with your court scene, they won't do anything but ambush guards and try to break out of prison.

    tl;dr - players HATE "capture" sequences. Be warned.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Moron View Post
    Who the heck would camp in the middle of an open field in full view of the fortress. Unless the characters haver INTs of 4-5 and are drooling fools in-game that just isn't a reasonable situation. The players should have been prompted about something so obviously stupid.

    "You do realize that you've currently moved out of the forest into a more open area, right? It's obvious that from this position you could be spotted?"

    Raiding with a TPK-causing force because someone missed a few sentences of description OOC is just plain mean and generally well, bad. Keshay is right, just apologize and and set things up as they would have happened had they been aware OOC of all the things they were IC. "LOL! GOTCHA!" Is just horrible.
    I wholeheartedly agree with everything here.

    When PCs make terrible decisions, there's generally a lack of clarity somewhere. Unless they all have 1s for Wisdom scores, you ought to just prompt them with "this isn't a good idea".

    Sometimes people are caught up in their own envisionment of what's happening to fully realize what you're explaining to them. Explain it again, and in more detail. Start the scene over if you really need to. Don't TPK them. Give them a tough fight, make them regret stupid decisions (over which you hold no responsibility), but never willingly put them into a position where they have to Make The Right Decision (Surrender) or Die. Let them die if the dice say so, not because you want to punish them for being dumb.
    Last edited by Deepblue706; 2009-08-11 at 05:36 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by PinkysBrain View Post
    They are lawful evil, so in a highly organized culture/kingdom they might be inclined to arrest people.

    In Eberron they also take slaves if my memory serves me correct.
    They can also pronounce judgement on the spot which makes a lot more sense for the race. I don't know how hobgoblins act in your campaign (Brauron) but a trial sounds absolutely useless. Kangaroo trials are generally used so that the body in question has an excuse to carry out the sentence. Public executions are a common fear tactic to exert control.

    From the sound of things, this sounds like a small keep. If I were the sergeant, I'd explain to my higher ups (assuming there are higher ups, it sounds like this guy is the highest ranking authority here) that the enemies were "coming right at us" and deal with it right there.

    As a person with military experience, I'll tell you first hand that the one thing enlisted people hate is red tape. I'm sure none of the hobgoblins will object when the sergeant orders them to unleash everything they've got. In short, attack them until one side is dead or the hobgoblins retreat to bolster their keep.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Unless they thought the hut was completely invisible there is really no way to excuse their sleeping in there without putting up a guard ... doubly so after they killed a scout.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2009-08-11 at 01:27 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by Brauron View Post
    Playgrounders, what do you think? I feel like this provides them with opportunities to escape and perform some heroics, while also keeping the threat of death over them. I don't want to kill the PCs if I can help it, but at the same time it seems like they've kind of brought this on themselves, or at least, the Gnome Bard brought this on them.
    One thing which sooner or later will doom any GM to disappointment and frustration is planning PC actions.

    For now, forget what you as GM want and forget what the PCs may want. What do the NPCs in the enemy fortress want? Perhaps just as importantly, what do they know? They don't know much from your description, just that someone powerful and inimicable has set up camp on their property. They've already lost a (presumably powerful compared to most residents) warmage. Do they have reason to believe the intruders are coming after them? Are they willing to risk more personnel attacking said intruders or will they increase local security and hope the intruders go away? Or, perhaps, increase local security and hope to trap and kill intruders when they enter the heart of enemy power.

    I don't really know enough about the campaign or the fortresses' leadership to suggest specifics but remember two things; the fog of war affects both sides and the NPCs / BBEGs are (almost always) in it for some sort of personal gain. They should do whatever looks most likely to help them reach their goals within the context of what they know.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    The DM's problem is that the players made a dumb decision for their characters and camped outside in view of a fortress without making any effort to parlay. When the fortress sent someone to investigate, they fried him. I assume there was no effort to parlay either.

    Several solutions have been suggested.

    1. Do over. Just tell the players that their actions would lead to a TPKL and that their PCs would not have behaved so recklessly and that you're starting again at the point before they made camp. This is fair and will not greatly affect the existing campaign arc. It will work well with a group of players that can take criticism well.

    2. Logic dictates. The players actions have consequences. The fort will just send out the force it can muster and fight the PCs until one side or the other loses. If a PC dies, the player can generate a new PC. This is fair though it may affect the current campaign arc. It will work well with a group of players that can deal with the consequences of their actions.

    3. Fudge it. The fort will send out the force it can muster and fight the PCs until one side or the other loses. The PCs are likely to lose. So fudge by giving the PCs warning and/or lessening the force so that it does not result in a TPK and/or otherwise hinting that the PCs should run away. This is not necessarily fair though it may not affect the current campaign arc. It will work well with a group of players that can take a hint.

    4. Capture and escape. The fort will send out the force it can muster and fight the PCs to capture. Then it will quickly try the PCs and sentence them to execution, giving the PCs a change to escape from the relatively easy to escape from prison. This is not necessarily fair though it may not affect the current campaign arc. It may or may not work well.

    5. (My suggestion) Roll with it. The fort is not a fixed element. IC the fort cannot be isolated because it would then be bound to fall. This goes for RL. It's doubly true for the magical world the fort is in. So you can imagine the fort with the means to communicate with command and control. OC this means, that as the DM, you can set up the next encounter as you see fit.

    So if you want to set up a series of running fights, do so. IC each party that sallies against the PC is either from the fort or a reinforcement.

    If you want to capture, do so. Except now you can send sufficient force to make it a tough but fairly assured win for your side.

    If you want to then give them a quick and easy escape, you can.

    But if you want to make the escape harder, you can. You are not limited to this time and space. The PCs can be taken to another dungeon. That dungeon can have almost anything, isolation, monsters, gladitorial fights, etc. The PCs themselves could be hunted by monsters.

    If you don't want them to escape but want to force them into a sidequest, you can do so.

    IC you can justify all this by simply fleshing out the setting of the fort with the appropriate flavor. For ex, if the overlord of the fort is sadistic, he may want to hunt them or have them fight his pets. If the overlord is dispassionate but practical, he may send them to slave labor. If the overlord needs some adventurers to solve a problem, he may geas the PCs.

    Is this fair? No. Easy? No not as easy as the others? Will it effect the existing campaign arc? Perhaps. Will it work well with the players? I don't know.

    So there you have it. At least 5 different suggestion of which I am sure 4 are competent.

    I think the question is not how to react to your players or what do your players want? (Although that is always an important question.)

    The more important question is, what do you, the DM, want to happen in th story now?
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    If you want prisoners, you'll only need a little subdual damage. It's not that hard to do, especially if some are armed with weapons designed to do subdual damage.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I've talked it over with my players, and I know what I'm doing now.

    We're going to back up a little bit, and replay the last twenty minutes of last session, with a better understanding of the lay of the land and the spells the players have in their arsenal.

    The PCs have been sent to infiltrate this fortress and either steal or destroy a "secret weapon" that's reported to be there. They will continue on this job.

    If the PCs manage to slip in quietly, kill the handful of Hobgoblins guarding the weapon (a wagon-mounted Scorching Ballista from Heroes of Battle) and either ride off with it or destroy it and escape, that's fantastic. They get the accolades due to them for a job well done, the appreciation of their superior officer and a monetary reward.

    If the PCs get spotted and a fight breaks out, the Hobgoblins will throw whatever they've got at the PCs, and if necessary call for reinforcements from the next Hobgoblin camp (a couple days' ride away) and bunker down, resisting the "besieging" PCs as best they can. The PCs will be able to steal or destroy the secret weapon almost at their leisure.

    If the Hobgoblins get the upper hand and the PCs are taken prisoner, they'll be brought before the fortress commander who will say, "Well, technically I'm supposed to take you prisoner and interrogate you. On the other hand, I hate red tape, and the wives and children of the men you killed here will be howling for my blood if I don't execute you and carry your heads on pikes into the home city for them to spit upon. However, I look at you and see a team of competent individuals. And as you can see from looking around my office here, I am something of a weapon's collector.

    "Now, in a nearby valley is a group of bandits who have been preying on my supply trains. I've sent men to deal with them, and somehow in the middle of the night, the corpses of my men are left neatly piled in front of the main gate. Nobody sees who they are, but I suspect they're elves, based on the wounds inflicted on my men. One of them -- at least one of them -- leaves puncture wounds like a rapier, but bigger, almost as if inflicted by some sort of longsword. The edges of these wounds are always frozen solid.

    "I want that weapon for my collection. If you can go and collect it for me, then I'll forget this whole thing ever happened and tell my higher-ups that you were killed and your bodies dumped down the latrines. Is this...acceptable?"

    If the PCs mention the secret weapon, he'll laugh mirthlessly and say, "That piece of garbage? It's some junk experiment the wizards forced on us. It never works right and it spooks the horses that are supposed to pull it." A Sense Motive check will reveal he's being perfectly honest.


    There. Three possible outcomes, all of which should result in happy players and a happy GM. If they go the third route, the Hobgoblin will have them Geas'd if necessary, and send them to the valley. The weapon in question is a +1 Icy Burst Elven Thinblade from Complete Warrior, in the hands of an Elf Swashbuckler who leads a small band of thugs, goons, misfits and social deviants in robbing travelers.

    EDIT: To clarify, the Geas put on them would be Lesser Geas, and with a cleric in the party capable of casting Remove Curse, it shouldn't provide a huge obstacle for them, and they might manage to snag a shiny new sword out of the deal, if they so desire.
    Last edited by Brauron; 2009-08-11 at 07:30 PM.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Zombie

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    I'd question how realistic it is for a garrison to deplete a third of its warriors in response to a missing scout and a small hut in the woods. Frankly, if that's the kind of resources the commander officer uses to check on relatively minor problems, he'd have been over-run by whatever it is he built his fortress to keep out as soon as he earned his position.

    Basically, he has to ask this: If that is a trap, can I afford to lose a full third of my garrison?
    Based on that, if I do lose a full third of my garrison, will they invade?
    If I lose a third of my garrison, and they do invade, can I hold out?

    It's smarter for the commander to put a few scouts who are less axe crazy on the party, moniter their movements, and make sure they aren't invading, reporting back at regular intervals with messages tied to blunted arrows. If they establish that there is no one else around (and with magic, they cannot guarantee this) they may ask for reinforcements to help capture the adventurers. If they think the adventurers are just passing through, have them watch them on the way out. If the adventurers are watched as they are trying to infiltrate, you should have an ambush set up.
    Last edited by Yukitsu; 2009-08-11 at 07:42 PM.
    Me: I'd get the paladin to help, but we might end up with a kid that believes in fairy tales.
    DM: aye, and it's not like she's been saved by a mysterious little girl and a band of real live puppets from a bad man and worse step-sister to go live with the faries in the happy land.
    Me: Yeah, a knight in shining armour might just bring her over the edge.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Question:What did the Warmage do before the players killed him?

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Figuring out how to react to what my players just did

    Quote Originally Posted by deuxhero View Post
    Question:What did the Warmage do before the players killed him?
    Hit them with a Fireball that almost killed the Cleric.
    Current D&D characters: None
    Currently GMing: "The Last War of Outremer", Pathfinder/D&D 3.5
    The Crown and the Ring: Blog where I ramble and muse about elements of gaming culture, game mechanics, the philosophy of Dungeon Mastery (at least as it applies to me), and chronicle, step by step, the creation of a campaign world.

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