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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    So I'd like to keep this as mature as possible.

    The question is: how useful is torture as a means of gaining info in DnD?
    My first thought was that this was up to DM discretion, but then again you are making checks while you do this.

    Any clarification?

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Pretty sure BoVD has rules for torture - it's an Intimidate check, not Gather Information.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Enough torture should yield everything a non-hardened target knows. Where 'enough' is will typically involve a lot of roleplay and probably more than one in-game day of time.

    Problem is, past L5, all prisoners should be 'hardened', so, its a toss-up.
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    I started my first campaign around a campfire, having pancakes. They were blueberry.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    There's also the issue that, under torture, people start to make stuff up just to get it to stop. You're going to have to have a way of sifting out the truth from stuff that's been made up, because damnit they don't know any more but you haven't stopped sticking them full of needles.

    EDIT: Sense Motive would help, but not be perfect. Because the people are going to be so desperate to give you what you want, most of what comes out is likely to sound truthful.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2010-05-04 at 10:55 PM.
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    I believe in both the Fiendish Codex II and the Book of Vile Darkness the rules of torture are outlined in detail.

    In what is outlined in the Fiendish Codex II, you decide the intensity of the torture session. The intensity automatically does a certain amount of damage to the creature being tortured, although strangely there is no mention of a more intense torture giving you any sort of bonus against the creature. Each session takes one hour, and there is a lot of balderdash espousing if the victim has not been kept in bondage for more than twelve hours, they obtain a +4 on their will save against your opposed intimidate.

    Intimidating-Nil
    Painful-1d4
    Cruel-1d6+1
    Excruciating-1d8+2
    Sadistic-2d10+3
    Indescribable-2d20+5

    The Book of Vile Darkness covers this in more detail, along with giving you a comprehensive list of torture devices. The Book of Vile Darkness' system of torture differs in that the victim gets no save, you make a check against a DC of 10+the victim's HD. The victim, of course, can attempt to give false information with a Bluff, which of course, is countered by Sense Motive at a -3 penalty (due to the impression on the torturer's part that his/her torture is getting an honest answer).

    Of course, your victim has to be helpless during any part of the torture session.

    Torture itself is not really explained in great depth in D&D, due to the expectancy of the player characters to be the heroes. And reluctance to concoct a complex and accurate torture system, due to the sensitive nature of the subject. I am sure you could attempt to house-rule that certain intensities of torture grant circumstantial bonuses. Perhaps a cumulative +2 per tier?
    That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    If you use fear, Intimidate.

    If you you use lies, Bluff.

    If you use pain/torture, Sense motive.

    If you negotiate/persuade him, Diplomacy.

    The best way is to use two skill checks rather than only one.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Scroll of mind-rape, powerstone of temporal regression.

    0 cost, since the temporal regression never gets actually expended.
    0 accountability, since they don't remember the mindrape, but you remember everything you learned.
    0 mess. No dead bodies, no failure rate.
    0 hassle. Easy to use!

    Order now and we'll throw in a scroll of clone, a scroll of PaO, and a powerstone of mind seed.

    Clone him, polymorph the inert clone into a living mindless body, mindseed it. Instant infiltrator! Just add high powered mage and shake!
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2010-05-04 at 11:58 PM.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Scroll of mind-rape, powerstone of temporal regression.

    0 cost, since the temporal regression never gets actually expended.
    0 accountability, since they don't remember the mindrape, but you remember everything you learned.
    0 mess. No dead bodies, no failure rate.
    0 hassle. Easy to use!

    Order now and we'll throw in a scroll of clone, a scroll of PaO, and a powerstone of mind seed.

    Clone him, polymorph the inert clone into a living mindless body, mindseed it. Instant infiltrator! Just add high powered mage and shake!
    Yes, but they're expecting you to do that. The humanoid doesn't actually know anything other than misinformation. The fine sentient item embedded in his parathyroid is running the show.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMadLinguist View Post
    Yes, but they're expecting you to do that. The humanoid doesn't actually know anything other than misinformation. The fine sentient item embedded in his parathyroid is running the show.
    Well, at least we'll know sooner than we would with torture! :)
    Also, sentient thought bottles are unpleasant in every aspect.
    Lagren: I took Livers Need Not Apply, only reflavoured.
    DocRoc: to?
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Scroll of mind-rape, powerstone of temporal regression.

    0 cost, since the temporal regression never gets actually expended.
    0 accountability, since they don't remember the mindrape, but you remember everything you learned.
    0 mess. No dead bodies, no failure rate.
    0 hassle. Easy to use!

    Order now and we'll throw in a scroll of clone, a scroll of PaO, and a powerstone of mind seed.

    Clone him, polymorph the inert clone into a living mindless body, mindseed it. Instant infiltrator! Just add high powered mage and shake!
    I'd first point out the potential difficulty of getting a hold of a 9th level spell scroll on sort notice. Not every DM puts a anything you want magic shop with easy access. Then of course mindrape is the same as torture so you have the evil factor.

    Also NO DM would approve of letting you use a stone of time regression and have it not be expended. It be like arguing if you manifested it normally you don't pay the xp cost.

    No your interrogation methods fall up sort as they are highly dependent on the magical item shop of anything you want when ever you want.

    Domination or mind probe are very effective and much lower level methods of interrogation and can be quickly covered up with a quick knock out and modify memory.
    And if you were going to use Mindrape you could knock him out, mindrape him then rewrite his memory erasing his capture replacing that memory with him going to the local Inn and passing out in bed.
    Then just leave him in that Inn.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Hahah, oh man, yeah I get what you're saying, and I'm gonna let you finish, but 9th level spells are one of the easiest things to get of all time! More seriously, I could hand you a 13th level build that could reliably deliver on these tricks without much need of a magical magic item shop. While I don't think you could find a GM who would let you reliably use the powerstone trick, it is unfortunately RAW, and I doubt you'll find a GM who'll let you use the torture rules either, since it's trivially easy to jack your relative skill checks to the ceiling.

    Unless you enjoy your players taking turns as Jack Bauer.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2010-05-05 at 02:35 AM.
    Lagren: I took Livers Need Not Apply, only reflavoured.
    DocRoc: to?
    Lagren: So whenever Harry wisecracks, he regains HP.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    I think by extremely strict RAW you pay the XP cost even using it from an item.

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    I'm just going to point out now that assuming you're using the torture rules and degrees from Codex 2, unless you're playing an evil party don't even bother with it. The last torture degree would get you closer to Baator than cold blooded murder. Not even a LN mercenary who 'only does as he is told' would be considered non-evil then.

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    The Torture the Prisoner scene is the most boring scene ever. Every time.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Normally I love my roleplaying to include torture... but in D&D, wouldn't you be better off just killing the target and then Speak with Dead?

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Normally I love my roleplaying to include torture... but in D&D, wouldn't you be better off just killing the target and then Speak with Dead?
    They have to be willing.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheYoungKing View Post
    They have to be willing.
    Untrue, but it brings up a good point: torture is a great way to get a victim to be "willing" for purposes of a spell like Zone of Truth.

    And then you don't need to worry whether they are making stuff up.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheYoungKing View Post
    They have to be willing.
    Actually no, they just get a will save if their alignment is different then yours.
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    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2010-05-05 at 04:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMadLinguist View Post
    I think by extremely strict RAW you pay the XP cost even using it from an item.
    ...No you don't. The crafter of the item spent the XP.
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    There's also the issue that, under torture, people start to make stuff up just to get it to stop.
    Debuff their will save and zone of truth?
    "It doesn't matter how much you struggle or strive,
    You'll never get out of life alive,
    So please kill yourself and save this land,
    And your last mission is to spread my command,"

    Slightly adapted quote from X-Fusion, Please Kill Yourself

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Untrue, but it brings up a good point: torture is a great way to get a victim to be "willing" for purposes of a spell like Zone of Truth.
    Wait until the victim sleeps. Cast Zone of Truth. Wake the victim and question him: you only get the save once when the spell is cast or when they enter the area, and sleeping people are automatically willing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    And then you don't need to worry whether they are making stuff up.
    It prevents them from telling deliberate and intentional lies. It could be argued that madly babbling to get out of torture is neither.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    Debuff their will save and zone of truth?
    I was under the impression we were doing this non-magically, because otherwise a simple Suggestion would cover it.
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by lsfreak View Post
    I was under the impression we were doing this non-magically, because otherwise a simple Suggestion would cover it.
    Why would we do anything non-magically in D&D?

    Anyhow, reading the target's surface thoughts is just DC 100 Sense Motive check. ("Surface thoughts" is quite easy to get around: "do not think of pink hippos!")
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Binder 7 (or Binder 5 with the Improved Binder feat) can bind Astaroth to gain unlimited Supernatural Suggestion uses. So unless your detainee has a permanent anti-magic field or spell immunity, you should be able to break them without resorting to torture.

    If that's not possible, you're much better off just using Diplomacy or Bluff to improve their disposition without torture. A friend (or dupe) will give you much more then someone who hates you. Torture is only useful for getting the detainee to give a (possibly false) confession, so that you can meet some Potemkin due process so that you can imprison/execute them. Any intelligence you get from them is useless unless it can be immediately verified or disprove by an (non-tortured) empirical source.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Personally, I think that torture should use the Sense Motive skill instead of Intimidation. The reason why is because virtually anyone will talk under torture, all but the most hardened or fanatical sentient creatures will talk if you inflict enough pain on them. Also, it doesn't matter how uncharismatic you might be, how weak, scrawny, soft spoken, or anti-social you are - once you pull out the blow torch and pliers you scarier than Conan the Barbarian.

    The problem with torture is that people can lie to you, which is especially problematic when your torture victim doesn't actually know anything and they make up a story to make you stop torturing him. This is why Sense Motive is the most important part, its what lets you decide whether or not the subject knows anything or whether or not they're lying to you. It could also allow you think of ways to confirm or refute statements by the victim, thus allowing the torture to be effective in gaining useful information.

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeantbrother View Post
    Also, it doesn't matter how uncharismatic you might be, how weak, scrawny, soft spoken, or anti-social you are - once you pull out the blow torch and pliers you scarier than Conan the Barbarian.
    Ref. Inquisitor Glokta.
    Last edited by Greenish; 2010-05-05 at 10:35 AM.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    I like the idea of adding a +2 cumulative bonus based on the severity of the torture. Makes much more sense that way.

    As far as the make things up issue is concern, I agree that having a zone of truth or even a discern lies up during the questioning would be ideal.

    What are the rules for hardened? +4 to resist the torture?

    What about the Wrack spell? Pretty much does the torture without needing the tools unless I misread it.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    It prevents them from telling deliberate and intentional lies. It could be argued that madly babbling to get out of torture is neither.
    If it's a stream of words you aren't thinking about, sure. But if it sounded like they said Greenstar was the spy, and you then [something unbearable] and say "now focus and tell me whether Greenstar is the spy if you want a break"...

    Sergeantbrother: That's basically true. However, despite what I just said in the above paragraph, not everyone cracks under pain. Horrible pain is, for many people, bearable. There are often other things less bearable than pain (for instance, the thought of future pain) - and Intimidate is often useful to get the person to actually talk. As a side bonus, properly applied you don't ever have to actually inflict pain; this allows you plausible deniability, and potentially the ability to get the victim onto your side.
    Last edited by Riffington; 2010-05-05 at 11:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    If it's a stream of words you aren't thinking about, sure. But if it sounded like they said Greenstar was the spy, and you then [something unbearable] and say "now focus and tell me whether Greenstar is the spy if you want a break"...

    Sergeantbrother: That's basically true. However, despite what I just said in the above paragraph, not everyone cracks under pain. Horrible pain is, for many people, bearable. There are often other things less bearable than pain (for instance, the thought of future pain) - and Intimidate is often useful to get the person to actually talk. As a side bonus, properly applied you don't ever have to actually inflict pain; this allows you plausible deniability, and potentially the ability to get the victim onto your side.
    Actually, the veracity of information derived from torture is at best extremely questionable in real life, and generally so in fiction too. People really will say most anything. That's why most of us are recommending magical mechanisms.
    Lagren: I took Livers Need Not Apply, only reflavoured.
    DocRoc: to?
    Lagren: So whenever Harry wisecracks, he regains HP.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Gather Information (Unfriendly way) 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Actually, the veracity of information derived from torture is at best extremely questionable in real life, and generally so in fiction too. People really will say most anything. That's why most of us are recommending magical mechanisms.
    I was one of them. My entire post relies on "Zone of Truth".

    (in real life you would need to use nonmagical means of verification of course but those are harder for a party to have access to)

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