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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

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    Default [3.5] Framed for murder

    I'm trying to figure out how someone might be framed for murder in a D & D 3.5 world, presuming that law enforcement has access to cleric spells. I would figure any murder investigation of any substance would at least use speak with dead on the corpse and zone of truth when hearing testimony, any other ideas?

    To deal with speak with dead, the framers could a. kill the subject without revealing themselves, b. hide the corpse, c. destroy the corpse, d. animate the corpse, what else?

    As for zone of truth, ideally they'd like to be able to both provide affirmative testimony that the target did the murder and prevent the target from being able to reliably provide exculpatory testimony. Glibness would help with the former, but presumably testifiers would be detect magicked before testimony and glibness and similar buffs would be illegal. How else might the framers work around the zone? What if multiple zones were cast, forcing a save for each one, or if the testifiers were forced to hold an item granting a nasty penalty to will saves?

    As for counteracting the target's exculpatory testimony, the only ideas I've had so far are a. making the target think he might actually have committed the murder, or at least not be able to provide testimony to the contrary - picture a brawl or bondage scene that got out of hand, maybe; b. subverting the zone of truth casters to lie about the zone results.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Powerful illusions over the actual killer so they look like the person you want to frame. That way the Speak With Dead spell still works, the corpse remembers seeing that specific face.

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    Jallorn's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    There's always Dominate. Actually get the person you're framing to commit the murder.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Zain's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Also, can't zone of truth be beat with a will save? If so, you might try having the real killer use alter self, then beat the will save and give a false testimony, but this can back fire
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Well, if you can use illusions to make yourself look like the person you want to frame, plus make it look like you are elsewhere, you should be fine. No suspicion will fall on you and if the victim still says they didn't do it under a zone of truth, the clerics will assume they made their will save and are lying.

    Additionally you could make the victim say nothing at their hearing, by using enchantments. After all, zone of truth allows you to remain silent, but that would be seen as an admission of guilt, since you evidently can't speak the truth. So, if the framed guy says nothing, he's as good as done for. However, detect magic or a generic dispel before the hearing would counter that.

    As an aside, I don't think you should assume that zone of truth, would be automatically used at murder trials. There's a number of reasons, why it would not:
    - It questions the honor of the defendant. Medieval-like societies can be pretty prickly there and casting zone of truth is like calling someone a liar. A nobleman or knight might just refuse to testify under its effects, even though he has nothing to hide.
    - There may be a right to remain silent, like in US law. If the suspect can avoid answering any questions, it becomes impossible to tell if he has anything to hide on any specific point. Declining to speak at all under a zone could be seen as an admission of guilt, but is less damning than only declining the specific question as to whether you killed someone.
    - It can fail. Like a polygraph test it has no guarantee of providing the appropriate result, so judges may be wary of relying too much on its results. That is, even if the suspect clearly proclaims his innocence in the zone, if overwhelming evidence points his way, he may be convincted. By extension, if a suspect is clearly guilty or clearly innocent, the judge might find it unneccessary to use the zone. BTW, even without magic, people can defeat the zone, by hiring someone else to commit the murder, and not telling them, who you are, by arranging an accident - you didn't kill the victim, you just sabotaged something and they died from the effects.
    - Besides, the court system would have to rely on the clerics. That would give them impressive political clout. After all, anyone who wants to get off the hook for any major crime needs them to "fumble" their spells. Makes for a pretty big temptation. And corrupt clerics make the whole thing worthless.

    So, I guess most societies would rather not bother with such blunt tools and try to establish guilt in traditional ways, only falling back on zone of truth if all else fails.

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

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Mind control the cleric.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    El Dorado's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Quote Originally Posted by Daelen View Post
    Powerful illusions over the actual killer so they look like the person you want to frame. That way the Speak With Dead spell still works, the corpse remembers seeing that specific face.
    This. Or maybe an illusionist impersonates the cleric, casts "speak with dead" on the corpse, framing whoever you want.

    Or maybe a cleric and illusionist work together to frame a mutual enemy. The cleric goes through the motions of spellcasting while the illusionist creates the desired effects.

    Got that last one from an Elaine Cunningham short story.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Killer Angel's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Quote Originally Posted by dob View Post
    What if multiple zones were cast, forcing a save for each one, or if the testifiers were forced to hold an item granting a nasty penalty to will saves?
    Lots of money, that even a rigid lawful society will not spend too easily, and probably only in big cities, on relevant crimes, involving important victims.
    At that point, you could even afford a Commune.

    If you're commicting a murder in such a setting, better to spend some resources on magic decoys.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Calmar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Quote Originally Posted by dob View Post
    b. hide the corpse, c. destroy the corpse, d. animate the corpse, what else?
    If there is no dead body, why investigate a murder?
    Do you use the mechanics to play the game,
    or do you use the game to play the mechanics?


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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    If there is no dead body, why investigate a murder?
    Because someone mysteriously disappeared for no damn good reason?

    Unless, of course, the disappearance is not apparently mysterious and seems to be for a good reason.
    Like maybe the victim dear departed went hiking in the wilderness or out sailing when a storm came up (Disguise Self or Alter Self on yourself to look like the victim or maybe Suggestion on the target to make him go out somewhere isolated, depending on how/where you plan to do the deed).
    Or maybe the dead man was in a deep depression for weeks/months after his marriage fell apart and [i]tragically[i] took his own life (Gentle Repose on the victim, Disguise/Alter Self to look like the victim, accomplice uses Disguise/Alter Self to look like a cheap prostitute, maybe Suggestion to make sure the wife gets mad...)
    Or maybe he never disappears at all and lives a long and healthy life. (Simulacrum).
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Framed for murder

    Great ideas here, folks, thanks! I'll probably go with magically disguising the killer as the target, getting a witness with a great will save to perjure himself and affirm the deed, and hope that'll beat whatever exculpatory testimony the target would be able to provide for himself.

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