How can I have a villain restrain PCs in an “intelligent” way without killing or disabling some or all of them?

The party got captured during a showdown with a major villain at the end of the last session: three of them died and the survivor got trapped while trying to flee the dungeon.

All four of them can cast spells, and the villain saw them doing so during the fight. He also saw that two of them have magical companions (it’s 5e D&D, they are an Imp familiar and a Ranger’s Primal Beast) that they can summon to help. He’s a spellcaster himself, so he’s intelligent and he’ll be aware of the capabilities of an Imp familiar, which is a handy companion to have when you’re planning an escape.

He doesn’t want them dead: he wants to send them as slaves to the even more-major villain that he’s working for.

As a clever person, aware of the escape risk posed by spellcasting characters with magical companions to help, I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t just kill the two with companions and keep the other two bound and gagged, or even unconscious, until they’re at their destination.

But this is a game, and we’re here to have fun, so I’d prefer that not to happen. I’d prefer they weren’t even gagged so they can, at least, hatch an escape plot. I’d also prefer not to have a deus ex machina solution, such as a rescue party arriving, for the same reason as it robs the PCs of their agency. It’s more fun to come up with a plan yourselves. Ideally, I’d also prefer not to fall back on a tired old trope like "the villain is so arrogant he ignores your magical powers and leaves you unbound".

Are there some good ways I can give the players a fighting chance in this situation without making my villain look like an idiot, or taking away their agency?

Is an unarmed human with STR 7 incapable of killing someone? [duplicate]

A human has no natural attacks, so I’ll use him, but any humanoid character without damage features works too. No magic. Let’s exclude any character class that can earn a damage bonus. Monk, barbarians, etc…

Anyone can do an unarmed melee attack. It deals 1 + STR modifier bludegoning damage.

An unarmed person with STR 7 should do 1 minus 2 damage. Nothing. Even if it is a critical.

Is the person above unable to kill anything in combat without a weapon?

Regarding the concerns about the purpose of the question:

Are you only interested in killing via reduction of HP? I.e. are you looking for ways to kill as an unequipped weakling, or are you looking to confirm your reading of low-STR unarmed strikes? – nitsua60♦

Kill can be achieved by any combat option that does not involve the use of weapons (improvised or otherwise) or environment. Does not have and cannot pickup any object.

  • Looking for ways to kill as an unequipped weakling, without class features.

Does Divine Word’s Killing Effect Come Before or After the Banishing Effect (For Fiends)

This question is stated right in the title.

In this case, a cleric might cast Divine Word with a fiend with 20 or less HP in the area, and the fiend can hear the cleric.

As we all know, if a fiend fails its save against Divine Word is banished to its home plane. However, all creatures with 20 HP or less is killed instantly. Would, say, a demon that failed its save while under 20 HP be killed first, or sent to the Abyss, then killed there? Same thing with devils, night hags, rakshasas, yugoloths, et cetera. The yugoloth home plane is Gehenna, for specifics.

DnD Killing your teammates

i have a question, is there some way of killing your teammates, while not getting them angry in real life?

We have a party where we didn’t accomplished any of the tasks, we have just destroyed a city, nearly killing 1000 people in the other. So the very first quest giver is now upset about our party. My character was killed, and I came up with the idea of a new character – spy for the quest giver. And very first task I was given is to "guide" the party to finishing the original quest and killing them after (they really had it coming). So the actual question – is there a way to killing them, so they are having chance to survive or die (players would be engaged and it would be really dangerous), or still have some fun.

Thanks!

How to avoid killing player characters due to a single (un)lucky roll?

Especially at low levels, Pathfinder characters can usually be killed easily by a single enemy attack, provided the dice fall in said enemy’s favor. An example:

The PC has a constituion score of 10 (modifier +0) and 8 HP

The enemy is of medium size, has a strength score of 14 (modifier +2) and is wealding a quarterstaff (obviously two-handed, as a quarterstaff is a two-handed weapon)

On a hit, the enemy deals 1d6+3 damage. On a critical hit (×2 for the quarterstaff), they can hence deal up to a maximum of 18 damage, which would kill the PC immediately with a single attack! There is no way for a healer to interfere, the character will die at once.

I believe stats as described above are neither unrealistic for a PC at level 1, nor for an enemy they might encounter. However, I recently ran a one-shot that almost resulted in TPK within 30min due to two critical hits the enemies got in early on, killing two of the PCs and thus changing action economy massively in their favor.

How can I avoid that without pulling off some Deus ex Machina stunt?

To be clear about this: I always make sure in session 0 that everyone knows PC death is possible (and so far players have always agreed to it). But even knowing that, it really puts a damper on everyone’s mood if a character the player possibly spent hours on creating dies in session 1 because of a single attack by a generic enemy.

Simply fudging the enemies rolls is not really a possibility, since I’m using Roll20 for my games at the moment and all players are able to see my rolls (including modifiers) once made. There is the possibility to hide rolls from players (which I sometimes use for opposed checks), but I would prefer not to do that for all attack/damage rolls just to be sure, because that already implies I intend to fudge a roll at some point (which I probably would in said situation, but I’d prefer players not to think about that constantly).

While this question might seem related, the problem at hand is not encounter balance (as pointed out above), but dealing with the risk of a balanced enemy killing a player due to (bad) luck.

As a GM, how can I stop killing my games?

Probably the worst issue I have as a Game Master is that I think of a game, I write a campaign plot for it — End, Beginning and Middle, get hyped, hype my players, and after 2 months I get bored with it and want the story to end so I can start running a newer game or campaign I’ve thought up in the meantime. So I just disappear some weeks and invent I have stuff to do, cancel the game, and run another one.

Usually, midway through our game I have a better idea for a campaign, and that’s how our group has evolved: Each campaign, I have to accept, has been more fun and intriguing than the last one, but just the thought I could be roleplaying a better plot with better mechanics is too much. I really like my group, and they like my plots so much they ask me for a Q&A session pretty much every week to know what will happen, villain bios, NPC bios, etc; however I just pretend that I am still enjoying the original campaign.

Two months ago we started playing a 4E game about guys who get trapped inside a videogame, and 4e was very good for it, since it was just fight and fight and fight, and the whole plot is about well, the hostility of the online game towards the players and a moral of “every life is precious”, ironic in an intentional way.

The thing is, I discovered 5e, switched systems, loved it, and it doesn’t feels like playing inside a videogame anymore. The adventures on that world have become boring for me already, and the players are just coming to the table for the plot. Indeed, I’m supposed to design next adventure but just thinking about all I can do on other setting with these rules hypes me so much, and really, I can’t think of anything more interesting for the guys now, specially since we’re too deep into the adventure it’s too late to make it “non linear”.

I’m planning a sandbox campaign for when we “finish” this one, and I’m having fun as a GM as never before, imagining interaction, building the important locations, making random encounter and weather tables, etc; but then I think I have to go back and master something that isn’t just interesting for me, may as well just run a pure roleplaying game for the current campaign, no combats, but the players expect more.

When they noticed me making a new campaign, they seemed curious and excited, but one of my friends told me: “We’re gonna finish the campaign we have now, right?”. She seemed kinda worried the same story would repeat.

My summer break is about to end, and my sandbox campaign design is halfway done, and I haven’t mastered our current sessions for days and two of the players even asked me if we could begin the other campaign already, while the other two keep telling me I shouldn’t let the current one die.

The fact that there’s still too much to do on our current game overwhelms me, since I’m getting bored of bringing them the same story every week, and I already decided my next campaign will be led by player motivations that will affect the little plot I have readied for it, and make them help me build the world.

So, how do I get out of this vicious circle? How do I stick with the campaign in progress and stop being lured by the thought of creating a new campaign?

Killing a Vampire without Sunlight, Running Water or Wooden Stake

In the adventure module

a vampire is encountered guarding treasure in the same room where its coffin is. I am preparing to run this encounter, and the party is unlikely to have wooden stakes or access to running water or sunlight.

A vampire’s Misty Escape trait reads:

When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place, the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn’t in sunlight or running water. If it can’t transform, it is destroyed.

While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can’t revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in its resting place, it reverts to its vampire form. It is then paralyzed until it regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in its resting place with 0 hit points, it regains 1 hit point.

So if and when the party drops the vampire to 0 HP, the vampire will transform into a cloud of mist, fly across the room to its coffin, and revert to its vampire form, where it will lie paralyzed. Note that its Regeneration trait will not work while it has 0 HP.

At this point, can the party just kill the vampire by hitting it with one or more attacks while it has 0 HP? Or if not, what am I missing?

I know that the

in the room will complicate this, but not make it impossible.

How can I curse a PC’s soul for killing off their last character without impacting their gameplay too much?

In the last session one character died, another player didn’t like his character and after the first death tried everything he could to kill himself (but failed because the party healed him so he impaled himself). To not encourage this behaviour I want to put a curse of his new characters soul as killing yourself is ‘dishonourable,’ but I don’t know what the consequences of this should be? His new character is a warlock that specialises in healing, and his patron is a lawful good black sun that idealises honour, justice and order.

Countering a system killing UID/GID=0 processes in Android

Suppose that there were a security system in an Android kernel meant to prevent exploits that have arbitrary kernel memory read/write from getting root privileges. This system,

  1. Kills a process by using force_sig() with SIGKILL if the process UID or GID is 0 and if the system decides it shouldn’t be.
  2. Depends on kernel variables that are read-only after init. (on/off status)

If we assume that the system decides with complete accuracy in [1] above, and KASLR is not present on the device, what can an exploit do to counter this system and get root IDs?

What I can think of:

  1. Disabling SIGKILL temporarily:
    If SIGKILL can be disabled temporarily (or even permanently until reboot) then the system is essentially useless, but I have yet to find a way to disable SIGKILL through kernel memory write.
  2. Disabling the system by flipping the read-only bits somehow:
    This is unlikely to be possible but included for the sake of completeness.
  3. Editing the text sections of kernel memory to patch the functions:
    Also unlikely to be possible because the text section is read-only.