This question is directed at DM/GMs who have run the adventure Murder in Baldur’s Gate.
I am prepping to run this adventure, and it seems that this module’s ten phase / three faction plot structure makes for a variety of player and DM decision points and interaction with arbitrary sized groups of NPCs.
My objective is to do pre-emptive decision point preparation so that encounter size, pace, timing and CR all fit the plot. I’d like to use lessons learned from those who have run this adventure by identifying those points that most often slowed play down. (Once identified, mitigation can be applied).
I intend to run this in D&D 5e, but experience with pacing issues and their resolution in a 4e or 3.5 context should be highly relevant and are acceptable as answers.
If, as a DM, you ran this module/adventure during or after the playtest:
What pacing/adventure flow problems did you encounter as a DM when running the adventure, and how did you resolve them?
My players accepted a quest to basically be drug mules, delivering illicit goods to a faraway town. While alone with the NPC giving the assignment, they decided to kill him and take the shipment of illicit goods for themselves. The NPC they killed was part of a large tribe of ruthless orcs, and they knew this when they decided to kill him. They had encountered the tribe before, and were on speaking terms with them.
They buried the body, but what they don’t know is that the orc had told his friends that he was making a deal and that if anything happened to him, the PCs would be to blame.
I want the players to realize that killing random people without precedent has repercussions. If they see the group of orcs again, the orcs will want their blood.
What I want to avoid: getting out of this with no consequences.
I don’t think that any persuasion roll, or deception roll, would be good enough to dissuade a large group of orcs from wanting to tear them limb from limb. But I also don’t want the players to feel like they’re being railroaded.
I’m not trying to avoid a battle with the orcs. I’d rather that had to battle with the orcs than be able to lie about having killed one of their tribesmen unprovoked.
What I need help with
I am unsure of how to deal with the orcs not being open to reason with the players without it feeling “cheap,” in that they can’t use deception or persuasion (ability checks) against the orcs to avoid the angry orcs who want their vengeance.
What a good answer will help me do
It seems fair to have the orcs be too angry to reason with next time they see them. How do I use the game to reflect that?
How can I prevent the party from being able to bluff or persuade the orcs without the loss of player agency?
My players have expressed interest in a PvP murder mystery, where one of them is secretly the murderer. At first I was enthusiastic, but there are several problems I don’t know how to get round, and I was wondering if there was a good game system for this already. I have no preference or requirements in terms of setting or genre.
I don’t want to just make the DC 50, it feels cheap. I don’t want to use simulacrum for the same reason.
I’d like it to be something that’s not out of reach of my players.
Here’s what I have:
Both houses are protected from scrying (NPC2 and NPC3 are politically important).
Uses Nystul’s Magic Aura to prevent scrying parties from seeing/detecting the disguise self.
Uses disguise self on a loyal third party, disguising him as NPC2, he then moves from NPC2’s house to NPC3’s house being seen by a few people one of whom see’s him go in carrying a lidded bowl, without obviously noticing the observers.
The victim is found dead from a powerful poison the next day, investigation via a scrying and reports of witnesses put him at the scene carrying the bowl that is known to have contained the poison.
He is promptly arrested, party finds out from heralds (they are currently out of the region.), party was friends with NPC2 and go forth in attempt to find the truth.
I plan to reveal this deception to the party later on, in a controlled manor, starting their hunt for evidence.
What holes are there in this plan? What spell/rule/etc could cause this whole thing to come tumbling down like a house of cards and do you know a better way to execute this?
Sorry, but I ALWAYS follow up on these mass shootings and the criminal who did them. I have a need to know his history. I CANNOT ACCEPT that someone so heavily armed and such a well planned and staged series of murders had absolutely no motive whatsoever in doing this. As though this was just circumstance or a joke.