Playing to the Statistics

Last night we were playing my Pathfinder campaign and I needed to make a decision on the fly.  A creatures statistics solved the problem for me.  I am running the players through a module (mini maybe) that I have written for Pathfinder.  It is full of really cool NPC’s and the end game if you want can be many and varied.  This premise of the module is that the players come across a small hamlet called Crossroads which seems to be gripped in a disease/curse/who knows.  The children and elderly are all dying and others are beginning to.  Only one survivor exists, a little girl called Tobina Crosswell.  Most people distrust her recovery, but there is also a new group of strangers arriving from the North with strange requests.

crossroads
Come to Crossroads where everything may not be what it seems

What this group of players have done

Investigation into the plague has made the players in this group (Gnome Bard called Wrathstar, Gnome rogue called Corvin – they are brothers, Luckbringer called Darvon, Cleric called Oberon and a Paladin named Derek Mace) head North to investigate the strangers.  Here they have found a strange house that did not exist a fortnight ago populated by strange beings.  Initially they knocked and had a discussion with the Soulbound Mannequin at the door (Sylvia).  Of course the rogue sneaked in and set off an alarm before revealing himself.  The group was unceremoniously asked to leave.

On the outside they decided to break back in.  The Paladin was now sure of their guilt in the situation (no idea why) and so the rogue attempted to climb to the chimney.  When he got to the rooftop though he did not seem to be able to make any progress onto the roof.  It was as if he were trying to move through treacle and could not get purchase on the roof.

Back on the ground they then decided to rush the house.  Breaking in there was a big battle between Duergar, Azers and Sylvia that they managed to best.  They started to explore the house and trip various traps and alert other guards.  Running battles were held and more and more weirdness began to be found.  The party eventually came to a staircase that reached sixty feet up to another landing and continued onward.  They were nervous as the house itself was only 30 feet tall on the outside.  Things were not adding up.

The Second Floor

The second floor is filled with some of my most loved NPC’s that I have made;

  1. Lydia the Stiletto – a Grippli rogue assassin
  2. Belthane – a Nagaji cleric devoted to the ideals of pain
  3. Clout – who will remain a mystery as the players have not found out what he is yet.  All they know is he is loud, and very stupid
  4. Whitman the Grey – an Aasimar Magus whose loyalties are easily bought.

The players have met all four of these over the past two weeks and killed all of them apart from Clout.  They have made for very memorable battles and interactions actually.  The second level of the house contains a lot of the information of what is going on and they found much of it last night.  In fact, the Gnome bard found so much that he realized that perhaps the Paladin would not be so determined to destroy the denizens of the house with the information procured.  Therefore he bluffed the Paladin that the books they found written in Draconic actually detailed the plan to poison the town.  In fact there was no such notations.

Playing to the Statistics

OK – now the build up is done let us get to what I started this post for!  At the end of a massive battle that involved the players, Lydia and Whitman the players retreated to a library and barricaded themselves in.  They needed a rest.  They grabbed their three victims bodies (Lydia, Whitman and Belthane) and threw them in a cold room that was adjacent the kitchen.

Four hours into the rest Clout attempted to get in the library.  He called out in a loud booming voice;

Whitman?  You in there?  I think I am in trouble and may have to talk to the Broker!

The Broker is the owner of the home and she employs these four as house help and extra guards on jobs her Soulbound Mannequin’s are going to be busy.  The Gnome Bard Wrathstar attempted to imitate and bluff Clout.  “Yes, we are in here – killed all the intruders and just need a rest Clout” he called out.

Excellent!  Glad I found you.  Why aren’t you resting back in our room?  Is Lydia and Belthane in there too?

Again Wrathstar answered “The battle was tough – we were too tired and injured to get back there.  We are all here.  Once we have had a rest we will catch up with you”.  The bluff rolls were awesome and knowing that the outer areas of this area were covered in blood I went to his stats.  His reply was killer.

Thank goodness!  Thought for sure I was going to have to talk to the Broker after I found your bodies.  Glad you are OK though. I’ll go on patrol then.

Clout’s response cracked the players up.  But Clout’s statistics backed this response up.  High Wisdom and low Intelligence in a high fantasy setting.  He knew that Clerics and magicians can have power over life and death.  he is of a level to have seen stuff to astound him.  The finding of the bodies was a huge red letter to him.  He would have to face the Broker.  He is not a negotiator – he hits things.  They all died and he hit nothing.  This is very troubling.

But the voice from the library seemed to be Whitman and it was good news!  They had defeated some intruders and somehow come back to life!  No longer did he need to go upstairs to the Broker.  He could tramp around and assure anyone that thought the blood and bodies were out of place that everything was OK.  He and his companions killed the intruders and things are just great.

Not only was Clout totally duped, his stats told me that he would be happy to believe that information.  He probably even whistled a happy tune as he wandered off down the hall as he realized that his companions were great people that did not even need to wake him for the fight.

Those statistic blocks are not just to help you in a battle.  They have the answers to so much more information.  If you are having trouble believing something was even possible like I was after Clout had found the bodies, look to the stat blocks.  Once I looked at his Intelligence and Wisdom statistics it all came through for me.  It also helped that the bluff roll was excellent also.  Wrathstar now has two stellar moments in his bluffing career.  The first he convinced a King that a ray of sunlight was his God and got him to change a law to resolve a situation.  Now he convinced a very dangerous opponent that his clearly dead companions were alive and well.  My initial response was that there was no way – but I was looking at it through my eyes, not the eyes of the character.  Play to the statistics and keep rolling!

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