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    Default [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    For the campaign I'm working on, the party's rogue is (unknowingly) the daughter of what very well may be the Big Bad. I was considering having a plot point that said Big Bad, a Lich Cleric, had secretly implanted a Necrotic Cyst in his daughter, partially to keep tabs on her, partially as a trump card.

    Problem being is that this is a fairly undead-heavy campaign (and the party has no clerics, to boot) and the host of a Necrotic Cyst takes an additional 1d6 damage from the natural attacks of undead. At low levels, this seems like excessively risky.

    So my question is; should I risk the Necrotic Cyst despite it's high lethality potential, or implant it when she's higher level and an additional 1d6 is comparatively negligible?
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Just have it be there, but not mechanically active until later levels. You're the DM, you can do it.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Houserule that it becomes more detrimental as someone gets stronger, IMO. +1 to damage now, eventually goes to 1d3, then 1d6, etc.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    ..., a Lich Cleric, ... in his daughter, ...
    Does the player have the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat?

    Personally: I'd just remove the extra 1d6 damage involved. Necrotic Cyst, even without that, is still ridiculously dangerous(Necrotic Domination comes to mind). Plus, who'd want to kill his own little girl, especially accidentally?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    If you want it to scale you could simply make it 1/2 HP per class level or something like that. Or giving undead a +1 to their attack rolls against her would do the trick, as a +1 is equally useful at all levels (e.g., it needs to roll a 9 instead of a 10 regardless).
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroNumerous View Post
    Does the player have the Tomb-Tainted Soul feat?
    Her sheet isn't rolled up yet; all I know is that she's a CN Elf Rogue. And given that I haven't divulged any details of the plot to the party yet, I doubt she'd have that sort of feat lined up.

    Plus, who'd want to kill his own little girl, especially accidentally?
    A total nutjob? She was actually banished from her hometown when he faked his death in such a way that it made it look like she murdered him.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Protip: Don't make her the BBEG's daughter and do this crap to her without asking the player OOC if they're okay with it.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Protip: Don't make her the BBEG's daughter and do this crap to her without asking the player OOC if they're okay with it.
    Thus making the twist totally irrelevent.

    A big part of the DM's job, the biggest part IMO, is to tell a story. Imagine if George Lucas came out and asked all of his fans; "I'm planning on having Vader be Luke's father. Is that okay with you?"
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-06-02 at 12:37 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Thus making the twist totally irrelevent.

    A big part of the DM's job, the biggest part IMO, is to tell a story. Imagine if George Lucas came out and asked all of his fans; "I'm planning on having Vader be Luke's father. Is that okay with you?"
    Wow. Edited it just as I quoted.

    Anyways, I think that you should sort-of ask the player. Say; "Hey, I'm planning something interesting involving you and the Big Bad, it involves having an item implanted in your character, is that alright?" Or something like that.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Wow. Edited it just as I quoted.

    Anyways, I think that you should sort-of ask the player. Say; "Hey, I'm planning something interesting involving you and the Big Bad, it involves having an item implanted in your character, is that alright?" Or something like that.
    I was thinking of just dropping hints in-game long prior to it becoming relevent. (i.e., the cyst is visable between her shoulder blades, for example.)

    Think I'll do the whole "drop the extra damage from undead outright" thing. Cysts can do enough tricks as it is.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-06-02 at 12:41 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Tying a PC's background in to the storyline? Good.

    Giving a PC a (potentially crippling) disadvantage without their knowledge and without any compensation? Bad.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Cat Goddess View Post
    Tying a PC's background in to the storyline? Good.

    Giving a PC a (potentially crippling) disadvantage without their knowledge and without any compensation? Bad.
    +1 to this.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Also, some players could get really squicked out by it. It'll be effective in the right group, and a game-ruiner for some. You need to make sure, OUT OF GAME, that the player is okay with you doing creepy things like that to their character.

    I might even phrase it like that. "Hey, I have a plan for this campaign, but it involves majorly creepy things being done to your character at some point in the past-present-future. It'll give you a pivotal role in the story and give you some fun ideas to work off of, but it will affect her in some pretty significant ways. Is that okay with you or would you rather just play your own character?"

    Doesn't spoiler, but covers your bases well enough.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    Also, some players could get really squicked out by it. It'll be effective in the right group, and a game-ruiner for some. You need to make sure, OUT OF GAME, that the player is okay with you doing creepy things like that to their character.
    Well, I did already warn them that if I do my job properly they'll all be traumatized.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Cat Goddess View Post
    Giving a PC a (potentially crippling) disadvantage without their knowledge and without any compensation? Bad.
    I've been mulling over giving them periodic bonus feats from the Tomb-Born line... (Logic being that this Cyst has been in her for YEARS, a scenario that the spell doesn't exactly plan for. It seems somewhat reasonable that this could result in it sort of fusing with her being and making her a quasi-undead.)
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-06-02 at 01:13 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Instead of telling her that her character is connected to the Big Bad, instead work with her on her backstory, aiming to set-up for the misconception that she killed her father. From there, slowly develop info about the cyst (preferably, without any of the mechanical penalties those would entail, unless the PC in question mentions she's okay with them) before the eventual reveal.

    Just my two cents.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrice Dead Cat View Post
    Instead of telling her that her character is connected to the Big Bad, instead work with her on her backstory, aiming to set-up for the misconception that she killed her father. From there, slowly develop info about the cyst (preferably, without any of the mechanical penalties those would entail, unless the PC in question mentions she's okay with them) before the eventual reveal.

    Just my two cents.
    This was exactly the plan actually.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Well, I did already warn them that if I do my job properly they'll all be traumatized.
    Yeah, but... that can go sour. Body horror, for one, is often a no-go. Forcible implantation also raises ugly rape analogues (even if nothing of the sort actually happened), and that can again be way across the line.

    If you as DM are doing your job well, the players should be emotionally invested in what's going on, should be scared, should occasionally be creeped out. That's all part of good storytelling. But you need to be fully aware that for some people, certain things are a total no-go.

    I was in a game once where there was a casual use of child pornography, and half the player base (myself included) quit the entire gaming group on the spot. We formed a new gaming group, and developed "Rule 1" - the moment any player feels uncomfortable with anything that's happening, for any reason, the game stops and we try to work around that. And Rule 1 trumps even Rule 0. It's been called several times since then, often around the corruption of PCs by various evilnesses.

    It's hard to tell when Rule 1 will get called. Warning signs though are torture, disfigurement, and corruption of PCs, as well as real or perceived loss of autonomy. These are things that some people enjoy as part of a good story, and others freak right the hell out about.

    Your plan includes several of those warning signs. As a result, I really can't stress this enough: make sure she's on board for this level of creepy. You can seriously end up destroying, not just the session, but also possibly the gaming group and even the friendship if you mishandle this sort of thing. If there's even a chance of that with this particular player, it's not worth the risk.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    This was exactly the plan actually.
    Well, then, okay.

    Also, +1 to what sonofzeal just said. I've played in only about two horror games, but the GM for the both of them was very serious about making sure that everyone was comfortable with all the manners of squick we encountered, encouraging us to say anything if we felt uncomfortable.
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    Seriously, can we kill this misconception now? A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He shops for precisely what he means to.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    Yeah, but... that can go sour. Body horror, for one, is often a no-go. Forcible implantation also raises ugly rape analogues (even if nothing of the sort actually happened), and that can again be way across the line.

    If you as DM are doing your job well, the players should be emotionally invested in what's going on, should be scared, should occasionally be creeped out. That's all part of good storytelling. But you need to be fully aware that for some people, certain things are a total no-go.

    I was in a game once where there was a casual use of child pornography, and half the player base (myself included) quit the entire gaming group on the spot. We formed a new gaming group, and developed "Rule 1" - the moment any player feels uncomfortable with anything that's happening, for any reason, the game stops and we try to work around that. And Rule 1 trumps even Rule 0. It's been called several times since then, often around the corruption of PCs by various evilnesses.

    It's hard to tell when Rule 1 will get called. Warning signs though are torture, disfigurement, and corruption of PCs, as well as real or perceived loss of autonomy. These are things that some people enjoy as part of a good story, and others freak right the hell out about.

    Your plan includes several of those warning signs. As a result, I really can't stress this enough: make sure she's on board for this level of creepy. You can seriously end up destroying, not just the session, but also possibly the gaming group and even the friendship if you mishandle this sort of thing. If there's even a chance of that with this particular player, it's not worth the risk.
    Hm. I suppose a fair warning would be in order; I don't talk with this group as often as I do with my online friends (mostly due to the fact that not a single one of them shares a class with me, most of them have a different lunch period, and one doesn't even go to the same school), and while the people I talk to online have a pretty good idea that by my standards* the rape-analogue body horror is practically kittens and ice cream, for these guys it could be a bit out of left field.

    *The doesn't-blink-at-Holocaust-documentaries-going-out-of-their-way-to-be-gruesome, critiques-the-camera-work-in-Musical-Holes kind of standards.

    UPDATE: Just sent the group a Facebook message warning them and asking them to point out any subject matter too appalling to cover.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-06-02 at 02:36 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Rather than having it be a Necrotic Cyst implanted inside of her, have it be something external... like a family heirloom, given to her by her late mother.

    Perhaps a photo holder with a picture of her parents... and which serves as a slotless magical item that provides her with some small untyped bonus (so that stacks with other normal items, and discourages her from throwing it away) that works for her alone (so that no merchant will want to buy it for anything the PCs think is a resonable price).

    A bit more intrusive, but far less creepy, are the implanted teeth items, from Tome of Magic. Perhaps she meeded to have some filling done after going through 20 lb of strawberry frosting.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Hm. I suppose a fair warning would be in order; I don't talk with this group as often as I do with my online friends (mostly due to the fact that not a single one of them shares a class with me, most of them have a different lunch period, and one doesn't even go to the same school), and while the people I talk to online have a pretty good idea that by my standards* the rape-analogue body horror is practically kittens and ice cream, for these guys it could be a bit out of left field.

    *The doesn't-blink-at-Holocaust-documentaries-going-out-of-their-way-to-be-gruesome, critiques-the-camera-work-in-Musical-Holes kind of standards.

    UPDATE: Just sent the group a Facebook message warning them and asking them to point out any subject matter too appalling to cover.
    Awesome, as long as you're watching for that stuff then it should be good. I do believe everything has a place in certain games, and if everyone's on board and comfortable then it can all be part of the drama and power of the event. I've seen games that involved rape (PC-on-NPC and NPC-on-PC) and were fine.

    To be honest, I think the sense of loss of autonomy is the biggest thing to watch out for. I've seen one player call Rule 1 after their character went through a radical alignment shift that the player had some degree of control over at the time, but only realized after it happened that it kind of destroyed the character that they wanted to play. People are generally pretty cool about trauma and loss, and characters routinely get dragged through the emotional grinder, but anything that tangibly alters that character's nature is really dangerous territory emotionally.

    As long as you avoid that, you should be good. Be warned that messing with someone's backstory after the fact can be in this territory, though. I'd recommend giving her a false set of memories somehow, so that she remembers her childhood differently from how it actually happened. That means you can throw anything back into the "real" timeline, but it won't affect the character so much because she still has the "fake" timeline to ground her. It'll also potentially add to TEH CREEPEH when she finds out everything she ever knew was a lie.
    Last edited by sonofzeal; 2010-06-02 at 04:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JadePhoenix View Post
    sonofzeal, you're like a megazord of awesome and win.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeminiZero View Post
    Rather than having it be a Necrotic Cyst implanted inside of her, have it be something external... like a family heirloom, given to her by her late mother.

    Perhaps a photo holder with a picture of her parents... and which serves as a slotless magical item that provides her with some small untyped bonus (so that stacks with other normal items, and discourages her from throwing it away) that works for her alone (so that no merchant will want to buy it for anything the PCs think is a resonable price).

    A bit more intrusive, but far less creepy, are the implanted teeth items, from Tome of Magic. Perhaps she meeded to have some filling done after going through 20 lb of strawberry frosting.
    But what would it do at that point? Part of the point of the cyst is to set up the Lich as a Complete Monster. If it was some sort of family heirloom or similar happy memory, it's not quite as traumatic as an invasion of her person by her own father.

    If I can make shivers run down the spine of my players at the thought of just how horrid this guy is, I've succeeded. If I'm just tossing the rogue a MacGuffin that can be used to scry or control her... it's not nearly as disturbing, and plus it could just be thrown away the first time it's used.

    As long as you avoid that, you should be good. Be warned that messing with someone's backstory after the fact can be in this territory, though. I'd recommend giving her a false set of memories somehow, so that she remembers her childhood differently from how it actually happened. That means you can throw anything back into the "real" timeline, but it won't affect the character so much because she still has the "fake" timeline to ground her. It'll also potentially add to TEH CREEPEH when she finds out everything she ever knew was a lie.
    Her childhood was relatively normal, right up to the point where her father was brutally murdered in a way that made it look like she did it. What would putting fake memories in accomplish? (Other than teh creepeh.)
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-06-02 at 04:11 AM.
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Thus making the twist totally irrelevent.

    A big part of the DM's job, the biggest part IMO, is to tell a story. Imagine if George Lucas came out and asked all of his fans; "I'm planning on having Vader be Luke's father. Is that okay with you?"
    If you can make it work without ticking anyone off, great. But a misconception many DM's have is that they are telling a story with the player characters as actors. D&D is not a movie. The players are not the audience.
    On DMPCs: "Remember, nothing will spice up your campaign quicker than long descriptions of NPC’s doing spectacular stuff while the players sit around and watch." -Shamus Young, DM of the Rings
    Divide By Zero: Irreverent Fool, you are my hero.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    Thus making the twist totally irrelevent.

    A big part of the DM's job, the biggest part IMO, is to tell a story. Imagine if George Lucas came out and asked all of his fans; "I'm planning on having Vader be Luke's father. Is that okay with you?"
    Irreverent Fool ninja'd me on this one, but your job is not the same as Lucas' was. Lucas was telling a story to an audience, while your players are characters in a story. They are not your audience. Make players feel too much like they're listening to you narrate your awesome movie script to them, and you ofttimes wind up with less players to whom you can narrate.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    As has been said a few times by other members, one could just make their own spell that, though similar to the Cyst, doesn't hold such terrible disadvantages.

    I'd still have some harmful properties on the spell, though. Like a disease/curse that can be activated by your BBEG which drains some life off the character with it.

    If you do that, though, make sure to clear it with the subject of the Cyst-spell-thingie. A simple "Your character is going to have something in them that could potentially harm or weaken them. Is this okay with you?" would work, in my opinion. Then you have their permission to do some fancy stuff with the spell/curse inside her.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Optimystik's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Add my voice to the "try not to blindside the player with this" pile. Some foreshadowing might be in order if you want to keep the secret.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroNumerous View Post
    Plus, who'd want to kill his own little trump card, especially accidentally?
    FTFY

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Titan in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    How about just have the BBEG or one of his henchmen cast necrotic cyste on her early on in the game?
    Last edited by Boci; 2010-06-02 at 08:59 AM.
    "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,"

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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Bharg's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    How do you intend to use the necrotic cyst anyway?

    Do you want to dominate her at a certain point or to let her burst open and explode in front of your poor PCs splattering them with her blood?
    Or do you want to have your heroes or especially the rogue try to save her?

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Optimystik's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boci View Post
    How about just have the BBEG or one of his henchmen cast necrotic cyste on her early on in the game?
    I think he can pull it off as a twist if he wants, so long as he does not blindside the players. Foreshadow it so that it isn't an asspull, and provide some kind of benefit to offset the severe disadvantage (Perhaps the 'cysted daughter can sense the location of dad's phylactery regardless of protection?)

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    PersonMan's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Excessively Dangerous?

    I believe that Psycho was planning on giving her some Tomb-Born bonus feats due to it being in there for long enough. I don't know about those feats(I think they're from the Book of Bad Latin, which is on its way to me right now, actually) but it seems like it'd be a good enough advantage to offset the whole cyst disadvantages stuff.
    Not Person_Man, don't thank me for things he did.

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