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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Post [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Hey there. This is my first post on these forums, I'll probably stop by the introductions thread later. Seems like whenever I have a question about D&D, google ends up directing me to a thread on these forums. You guys are pretty knowledgeable! Anyways, I could use a bit of help with a game I'm running, and I thought this would be the place to ask.

    So, basically I'm running an evil campaign, D&D 3.5, standard fantasy world. I told my players that all the books were open, go ahead and make something relatively powerful, where you won't be getting upset about being left behind at higher levels.
    What we ended up with for PCs are:

    Neraphim (planar handbook) Ranger 1, planning on becoming a Mortal Hunter (Book of Vile Darkness)
    Human Rogue 1, planning on becoming an assassin, and a vampire
    Drow Crusader 1 (Tome of Blood Battle)
    Half-Elf/Half minor devil Warlock 1
    Human Artificer 1
    Gnome Wizard 1

    The game started with these characters meeting up to sign a contract which happens to be a minor artifact, basically saying that they will help each other accomplish their goals. The artifact is intelligent, and judges if someone is breaking the terms of the contract, and delivers punishment if that is the case. That's how I'm keeping the group together.
    I'm fine for delivering goals and objectives and whatnot for the game, but where I'm worrying a bit is that, with an evil group, they're not going to have any moral issues with things like random pickpocketing, mugging, breaking and entering, things like that, as they're going to need a fair amount of resources.
    Alright, that's fine by me, so my question is:

    Does anyone have any resources/tables/ideas for how to handle things like, "If the rogue decides to scout the marketplace for the best mark for pickpocketing, and is successful, what rewards await him in said marks pockets?"

    Or "If the group chooses a shop at random to rob, what are the contents of said shop?" Not to mention "What are the defenses of said shop?"

    Things like that.


    Thank you very much for any help!
    Last edited by DragonSinged; 2010-08-08 at 07:03 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    I believe I've seen something like what you're looking for in an old Dragon mag. Lemmie see if I can dig up which one.

    Edit: Well its not exactly what you're looking for, but there is an article written by Ed Greenwood called "What Has He Got In His Pocketses, Anyway?" from Dragon magazine #164. Its got a table for plot hooks that could be obtained through pickpocketing. I guess you could use that table when you decide that the PC has gotten something valuable.
    Last edited by W3bDragon; 2010-08-08 at 07:20 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Ah, alright, well that's a start, thanks. I'll have to look it up.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Stat up a few random guards and such. You will need them. Also what they get depends on where they are...I've had some luck chasing my pc's into the bad part of town because they were seen picking pockets. In which case there are of course other thieves and pickpockets and whatnot eager to take their ill-gotten gains.

    The defenses scale (obviously) scale to the level of the shop, as well as the location. Shops in bad parts of town might not have as many magical traps and whatnot, but the shopkeeper probably keeps a loaded crossbow under the counter. In better parts of town you're not likely to find that, but there is probably some sort of alarm system that summons guards, possibly along with ways of magically tracking the PC's.

    I would make it clear to the players at the outset that cities have the normal resources for catching bad guys, so they don't try something and end up feeling punished when the city guards descend on them.

    Edit: stat up anything the PC's interact with. They will try to randomly attack things that weren't meant to be attacked.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2010-08-08 at 07:48 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Besides, I assume they'll have some kind of important mission to accomplish? Are the few coins they're going to get worth risking them ending up in jail and jepordizing the mission?

    If acquiring funds illegally is a good option to move the plot forward, then perhaps they can plan a big Ocean's 11 style heist, which could be very fun, memorable, and better than the rogue just rolling a bunch of Sleight of Hand checks.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    I'd also like to mention that not every evil person steals or murders. Sometimes Evil just means you're a bastard. You dont have to play any differently than any other dungeoncrawler, if you RP your motivations right. A good person will save the peasant girl because its the right thing to do. A neutral person will do it either because they're a freind, or one of their friends friends, or to get paid. An evil person might save her because he likes to watch the light go out of the captors eyes as he slides the blade home, and/or maybe he thinks he can get "payment" from her later on when nobody good is watching. Heck, he might even save her because she's human, and he is just evil from being a psychotic murderer when it comes to other races.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Warkitty: Yeah, first session of the game, they're equipping up to head out on their quest, the gnome takes the neraphim to get some rations. Walk into a shop, the gnome grabs an armful of rations, and walks out the door. The neraphim's all.. "Oh crap.." knocks out the shopkeeper (who had sounded an alarm), runs out the door, they get chased by town guards to the gates, where the rest of the group are waiting. Cue battle music.

    Re: "Better things to do than pick pockets" and "Not every evil person steals/murders"

    Yeah, these things could be true, but I know my players, and I know the rogue put ranks into sleight of hand so he could pick some pockets, and well.. the neraphim has favored enemy Human because he sees them as cattle, and is more likely to hire some "untrained hireling" to follow him out of town to eat, rather than spend the money on rations.

    I'm going to have to be doing a lot of improvising to cover whatever actions they decide to take, which is why I wanted to be ready ahead of time with things like shops and pockets. I mean, I can always make it up myself, but I thought I'd see whether anyone else had run into this issue before, and if so, if they had come up with a handy solution.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far, though!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    In that case i suggest they catch the eyes of a paladin order dedicated to the destruction of outsiders/abberations(whatever a neraphim is, it escapes me atm) if they rock the boat too much. The rogue may have trouble escaping prison if they break his wrists. Maybe they rob a store/tavern owned by a retired mid-to-high level adventurer.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    They will in fact have an inevitable or two after them, and I'm sure they'll have their fair share of encounters with paladins. Re: breaking the rogues wrists, though... Call me soft-hearted, but I do like my players to succeed more often than they fail. I'm not the sort of GM who GM's to 'win'. Trying to let my players have fun. I started this game knowing they were gonna do things to screw with the world, and I'm not going to take it as an insult that needs to be punished if they do. If they do it stupidly, yeah, they're gonna end up in over their heads (like with your suggestion about the mid-level tavern owner) but I don't think I'll be going out of my way to break the rogue's wrists.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Could be that i just hate thieves >.>
    But seriously, i'm not a fan of GM's who play to "win" either, and i wasn't suggesting you do it for that reason. It just seems reasonable to think there are people who would do that if you keep getting out.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Ah, no worries. I'll definitely keep that in mind if they do ever end up getting landed in jail, uh, multiple times.
    In the meantime, anyone else have any idea about populating shops & pockets? Or is yon shoppe of wonders probably just going to be a random grab-bag of random magic goodies for those who can actually manage to get away with them?
    I think one problem I'm running into is that in a good-aligned campaign you don't really need to think about whether that magic-rich shop is guarded by a golem or not, and it feels kind of cheesy to all of a sudden have them pop into existance. And I mean, obviously in a shop selling magic gear, the owner is going to know how to use some of it, but does that equate to every high-powered shop being owned by a high-level character?

    Maybe I'll just have to put all the shops with expensive loot in the richer districts of towns, and have those districts be more heavily patrolled, along with coming up with a standard set-up of magical night-time defenses and alarms for said shops.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    mangosta71's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Thing about picking pockets is that the average commoner in the marketplace is only going to have a few coppers. Maybe a silver or two. It's just not lucrative enough to bother with/be worth the risk. Unless you have a contact in the local thieves' guild that gives you a mark.

    The risk entailed in robbing a shop depends on the type of shop. For example, if they're holding up a place that sells a lot of weapons, the shopkeeper is going to have a lot of weapons close at hand to defend himself (as will any other customers). Also bear in mind that any survivors are going to give descriptions of the party members involved to the local guards, which will make being in the city increasingly difficult and risky. As for populating the shop with items, instead of completely random try to keep the loot in line with the place being looted. A smithy would probably have a little cash, a few weapons, some metal armor, most of it probably standard but a few masterwork pieces mixed in. The party isn't likely to find a lot of high power magical items in shops. A specialty shop might be the exception, but one of those would be extremely difficult to rob. But again, commoners aren't likely to have a lot of money, which generally translates into not really having anything else that's valuable.
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    Mango is a dastardly irate unhinged scientist, for realz.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Ajadea's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonSinged View Post
    Neraphim (planar handbook) Ranger 1, planning on becoming a Mortal Hunter (Book of Vile Darkness)
    Human Rogue 1, planning on becoming an assassin, and a vampire
    Drow Crusader 1 (Tome of Blood Battle)
    Half-Elf/Half minor devil Warlock 1
    Human Artificer 1
    Gnome Wizard 1
    Well, I've done the human vampire rogue/assassin before actually. Good times. I think the 'minor artifact' thing is a tiny bit of a cop-out, actually. My evil party stayed together because we became friends. It basically worked like this: Two evil elves (one ranger, one fighter, both PCs) from the same hometown hired my character (aforementioned rogue) to help them on an assassination job.

    And they became fast friends. They knew they could trust my LE rogue with their lives (they wouldn't trust each other with even 50 gp), my rogue was content because she, a sickly orphan and chronic Weirdness Magnet, was truly accepted, not just tolerated, for once, and they were all wanted criminals throughout the kingdom anyways, so....
    ----

    Be warned, keep a tight hold on your WBL. I remember trying to steal everything and anything I could from anyone else as a rogue.

    Shopkeepers with powerful magical items are definitely going to be high level though, or some other evil adventuring party would have stolen everything already. We tried to steal some +2 weapons and nearly got killed by a bunch of Large Warforged things. We ended up stealing and reassembling (the ranger/wizard by this point was on the path of becoming a construct crafter and we were all hideously unoptimized) 3 Warforged who ended up being porters for us, but didn't actually get away with the weapons.

    An evil party will destroy anything resembling a plot even quicker than a good aligned party. In the end, we (as we were switching off being DM) gave up on making any tangible plot and let the ambitions of our characters and a few NPCs drive the adventuring.
    Last edited by Ajadea; 2010-08-09 at 01:23 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    On shops: I tend to presume high-level shops have some sort of magical vault. Or multiple magical safes, high enough that the PC's can't do much more than the clean out the cash drawer. Or make it so they have time to break into one or two of the safes, but not clean out the whole store. That lets them get some shinies without giving them access to a bunch of stuff too early on.

    Also, I tend to play it that higher level magic items are generally sold as custom orders rather than off the shelf. So the blacksmith doesn't have vorpal swords lying around his shop, although he has normal masterwork swords that can be enchanted once someone gets him enough gold.

    Edit: why am I giving you advice here based on what one or two of my good-aligned PC's have done?
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2010-08-09 at 01:28 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Ajadea's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Anything above a +4 bonus in our campaign was made by obscure casters, all of whom were highly inaccessable and had things of their own to do, thanks. There was great fun with the gambler in Sigil who gave a helm of oppsite alignment to the ranger, a balor's whip to the fighter, and an amulet of Baleful Polymorph (puppy form) to me. I kept my mind and my abilities, but still...I was a Tiny puppy.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    @mangosta71: Yeah, I expect that most of the pickpocketing that will occur will happen at low levels. We've already gone over the discussion on how your common labororer (according to the DMG) makes about 1 silver a day, which is just barely enough to live on, and not exactly enticing to your average PC. What I'm going to have to be on the lookout for is them rolling decent gather information checks or spot checks for the wealthy-nobleman looking sort in the marketplace, but I suppose that really won't be too much of a problem, and if they succeed, hey, congrats, here's some pocket change.
    Your comments about different types of shops having different contents is good food for thought, though, and I think I'll probably put together a couple of stock shops of a few different types, so I've got something ready in case they go hunting for a specific type of shop.

    @Ajadea: You're right, it is a bit cheesy, but it's a somewhat large group (6 players plus me) and really the artifact was just a way to get them together and keep them together, as well as allow a couple of them to play Chaotic Evil without worrying about them deciding it's in their best interests to try and kill everyone else in their sleep. I talked it over with the players first, and the general consensus was that if the contract had come up like halfway through a campaign or something, it would have seemed a lot cheesier, but since it's sort of what the game is based around, it seems to work.
    As to your comments about shop defenses, it makes a lot of sense when you put it that way, so I guess with the above mentioned stock set-ups for a few varieties of shops, I'll think about what you've said here and throw together a couple defense set-ups. That way, yeah, you guys want to stop in some random Thorp with a population of 40 and rob the general store? Go ahead, you'll probably get away with it. You want to try robbing a magical goods store in the Large floating City of Kingsfort? You better come prepared for a fight that'll last beyond the confines of the shop.
    And yeah, the Artificer is planning on crafting constructs, and I told the rogue that yeah, he'll be able to create other vampires to control, but he can't bring them all along with him.
    Also, re: plot, most of it will be revolving around the party completing their own personal goals, so I'm hoping they'll drive a lot of the plot themselves, rather than destroy it, and I'm just trying to be ready to improv with whatever location they decide to visit next.

    @WarKitty Safes are a good idea! I had not thought of safes! Thank you for that!
    Re: Custom orders: I tend to assume that items with weird combinations of a few enchants are custom orders, but still, this is a good thing to keep in mind, and fairly logical, which I like. I do try to maintain a world that makes sense. Well, you know, makes sense, but with magic.
    And if you're basing this off of good-aligned PC's... I'm assuming we're not talking Paladins, here..

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonSinged View Post
    @WarKitty Safes are a good idea! I had not thought of safes! Thank you for that!
    Re: Custom orders: I tend to assume that items with weird combinations of a few enchants are custom orders, but still, this is a good thing to keep in mind, and fairly logical, which I like. I do try to maintain a world that makes sense. Well, you know, makes sense, but with magic.
    And if you're basing this off of good-aligned PC's... I'm assuming we're not talking Paladins, here..
    Well, there were 3 PC's that caused most of the trouble. One was a CN sorcerer with a penchant for causing explosions. One was LN but had problems with alcohol and got drunk at inappropriate times. The good one was a CG rogue playing a robin hood type character.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    The biggest trouble is to ask why they play together. Group cohesion is hard enough with a Good/Neutral party, but switching sides, back stabbing and general douchery is that much harder to restrain when the party has an E in their alignment bracket.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    @WarKitty Yeah, you know, when you originally said you were thinking of a good character, I pretty much automatically thought "Must have been a Robin Hood type."

    @Ravens_cry That's why I've got them all signed onto a minor artifact contract, which turns what everyone says is the biggest trouble into no trouble at all, and makes chaotic evil characters in the party a possibility, as I said earlier.
    This is actually a big problem I'm running into in running an evil campaign, and looking online for help. It seems like the only thing people normally want to talk about when an evil campaign comes up is how the party is being kept together. Well, I've got that under control, now how about everything else? I mean, as a GM, and having run games previously, I'd like to think that if I have to come up with everything myself, I can handle it, but it would be nice to have some resources/food for thought on things that an evil party is more likely to do than a (mostly) good party.
    There are definitely a lot of articles on how to keep the party together, though.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    To all the people suggesting CE can't work together: yeah, you're right 98% of the time, but everyone has at least one person they actually trust and cooperate with. If you don't believe me, go look at the Joker and Harley Quinn. It's been a while, but i remember that he genuinely cared for her.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Mnemnosyne's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    In my opinion there should never be such a place as a shop with magical items 'on the shelves' as it were, except if it's in a truly exceptional city like Sigil (in which case the owner is probably 10th+ level and has plenty of command-word activated traps and such to deal with anyone trying to steal from them).

    Anywhere else, where an adventurer goes to buy magical items they don't wander into a shop and buy them off the shelves, they talk to someone who can get what they want, request something, and that person uses their business contacts to get the item for them, maybe having it ready later the same day if it's easy to get, or in a few days if it's harder to get a hold of. You're never going to find a store with a dozen magical items right on the shelves in a normal city - there is no Wal-Mart of Magical Items. As long as you stick with this logical approach, they won't be able to walk into a store and haul off with ridiculous levels of loot if they manage to escape a single event.

    One has to realize that magical items just aren't that big a business. Only a few people (adventurers, very rich people) want them and can afford them, and only a few people (high level casters) can make them. Nobody is churning out large quantities of them. Even in settings where there is someone churning out large quantities of items, they're doing it with extremely low-value items. Potions, 0 and possibly 1st level wands, probably not even with 50 charges. There's no market for the mass-production of Swords +3, and nobody would make a whole bunch of them 'to sell' and hope that the right group of adventurers that happens to need a Sword +3 will come along to buy it.
    -Do you honestly think that we believe ourselves evil? My friend, we seek only good. It's just that our definitions don't quite match.-
    Ailanreanter, Arcanaloth

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Marnath View Post
    To all the people suggesting CE can't work together: yeah, you're right 98% of the time, but everyone has at least one person they actually trust and cooperate with. If you don't believe me, go look at the Joker and Harley Quinn. It's been a while, but i remember that he genuinely cared for her.
    I know she cares for him, but if the DCAU is anything to go by, when Joker came into a bunch of money and Harley was in the Asylum, he left her to rot, to his eventual comeuppance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I know she cares for him, but if the DCAU is anything to go by, when Joker came into a bunch of money and Harley was in the Asylum, he left her to rot, to his eventual comeuppance.
    O.o.... I could have sworn i remember him risking his life/freedom to save her at some point, i'm not going crazy am I?

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    Well ON TOPIC I have this sexy little link here to a thing called Tablesmith. you can program in several different tables into it (also found on the website) and is very customizable. If you have access to a computer or laptop during your session I would say this is you most reliable bet.
    Last edited by Harris the Ford; 2010-08-09 at 05:36 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Evil Campaign assistance

    @Harris the Ford Awesome! Thank you very much, I'm sure I will be using that tool a fair amount.

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