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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Mar 2010

    Default [3.5] Dissection

    My question is actually a group of related queries regarding the use of dissection in d&d 3.5 as a means of learning about one's enemies, spawned from my latest character's actions. The group was exploring a totally new plane to prepare it for colonization by evacuees, and after encountering a species of goat-orcs and learning they are fairly ubiquitous (draconic plot exposition!) we encountered a group of thirty of them. I Psionic Minor Created enough poison to knock them out by reducing their Strength to 0, and after ten DM fiat-ed their way out of the poison cloud and were dealt with I ended up with four tied-up goat-orc prisoners and sixteen gently coup-de-graced corpses. My character, realizing that these goat-orcs are both a total unknown and likely to be the greatest threat to the evacuees' safety, decides to exercise his extreme curiosity and dissect them.

    I ended up attempting to determine their muscle mass (strength), general internal toughness (con) and likely strength-to-weight ratio (dex), running a Craft(Alchemy) check to determine if anything inside them was alchemically active, Knowlege(nature) for anything their stomach contents could tell me, and finally Appraise just to round out the checks and see if their bones were worth anything.

    That out of the way, my questions:
    1. If a player in your games wanted to do this, would you let them? What skill would you use?
    2. What would you let them learn?
    3. Would you consider it evil?
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2010-04-10 at 11:24 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    1. Knowledge (the plains) or any other relevant knowledge skill
    2. It depends on what they are dissecting
    3. Only if it was done on a sentient species or if the subject was still alive

    Other than that, one of my characters are totally going to dissect something in the next campaign that I play in.
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    Lawful Neutral Human Cleric (2nd Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength- 12
    Dexterity- 13
    Constitution- 14
    Intelligence- 14
    Wisdom- 15
    Charisma- 14

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Well, one of my fellow players suggested that after sixteen perfect corpses I should have been handed a copy of the stat block sans SLAs and mental stats. I am trying to figure out how reasonable this is.

    Bear in mind my character has Int 30,is extremely old, and has a curious/meddlesome personality that would probably indicate some familiarity with the process, and thus some frame of reference.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post

    That out of the way, my questions:
    1. If a player in your games wanted to do this, would you let them? What skill would you use?
    2. What would you let them learn?
    3. Would you consider it evil?
    1. Sure, probably a knowledge skill or strait up int check.
    2. I would let them learn the basic physiology of the creature. with a circumstantial +2 bonus on Heal checks and disguise checks when impersonating the creatures. Maybe a bonus on craft poisons to make an effective poison against them.
    3. No, as the creatures are already dead, provided they treat the remains respectfully as valuable specimens and bury them when done.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Alvrick's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    1. Either Know (The Planes) or Know (Nature)
    2. I'd OOC let them in on the physical stat modifiers for the race, if they passed fairly high DCs, and give an in game description of how tough they are
    3. Only if it's still alive. Otherwise, it's just icky but definitely intelligent
    Last edited by Alvrick; 2010-04-10 at 11:46 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Ah, I had not thought to ask after making more effective poisons against them. Thank you!

    And there was no disrespect involved. They were simply laid out, dissected meticulously, and then cremated. The party warlock's obsession with fire came in very useful.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Well, one of my fellow players suggested that after sixteen perfect corpses I should have been handed a copy of the stat block sans SLAs and mental stats. I am trying to figure out how reasonable this is.

    Bear in mind my character has Int 30,is extremely old, and has a curious/meddlesome personality that would probably indicate some familiarity with the process, and thus some frame of reference.
    I wouldn't give them any info an appropriate knowledge check wouldn't give them. You might let the autopsy give a circumstance bonus to their check, I can't say how much, but I can say they shouldn't stack for multiple autopsies.

    As for alignment, certainly dissecting a living creature is wrong, but humans dissect deceased human all the time. Nothing wrong with dissecting sentient species, you might stipulate that you must treat the dead with "respect", but paladins leave their foes to rot on the battlefield everyday, so I can't really say what "respect" is worth.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    I never thought of that; technically, many player-controlled paladins probably do mistreat their foes by simply leaving them to rot.

    Incidentally, how would you determine the circumstance bonus?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Mar 2010

    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    I've noticed that 9 times out of ten a random bonus for junk like this is just a +2

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Go with knowledge (nature). That seems closer to hands on biology, while knowledge (planes) seems more academic in nature. Knowledge (planes) might tell them stories or legends about the goat-orcs instead.

    Have a sliding scale of success. The higher they roll the more information they get. Maybe think of ten different useful facts, use a DC15 check, and give one fact at 10 and one additional fact with every two they beat the check.

    But even if they succeed you shouldn't give the players a stat block. Remember, characters don't know what stats are. Instead give them information like "you estimate they are 25% stronger than humans on average" and "their eyes can function in perfect darkness"

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    What about some sort of Craft instead of Knowledge? Or even Heal?
    If a tree falls in the forest and the PCs aren't around to hear it... what do I roll to see how loud it is?

    Is 3.5 a fried-egg, chili-chutney sandwich?

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kaiyanwang's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    IMHO the best skill would be heal. Knowledge (something) is best suitable for what the creature does when is alive.

    When is dead, go with Heal.

    Maybe use Knowledge for synergies... say, if you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge: (the planes) you gain a +5 bonus in dissections of outsiders...
    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2010-04-11 at 07:51 AM.
    Warning: my time zone and internet acces may lead to strange/late post answers.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Jun 2005

    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    The Heal skill, despite not being a Knowledge skill, should probably cover knowledge of medicine and physiology. This helps to make Heal worth something. Just use Int instead of Wis.

    Tangentially, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) should cover all manner of mechanical devices.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SilverStar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Dissection

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post

    That out of the way, my questions:
    1. If a player in your games wanted to do this, would you let them? What skill would you use?
    2. What would you let them learn?
    3. Would you consider it evil?
    A player in one of my games DID do this. He was playing a necromancer who liked a bit of in-depth knowledge. I required Heal checks along with relevant Knowledge skill checks based on what it was he was taking apart.

    I let him learn quite a bit, actually... in terms of what you CAN know as a character. No numerical stats, but in experimentation one can find out resistances, immunities, special qualities.... all kinds of stuff.

    Is it evil? Only if the creature is still alive when dissection begins. Even then... it could, at best, be considered "not good" rather than strictly evil.
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    Yes, but in D&D, no matter how effective your shield might be, you're still better off charging into combat with a two-handed, pouncing, leaping, power attack from horseback using shock trooper to drop your AC into the basement while retaining your full chance to hit.

    Or you know, just asking the wizard to deal with it.

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