Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to trick a PC into killing someone in a duel with Merciful pistols.

Suppressing the Merciful enchantment ought to be enough, but it helps to be sure, so I'm trying to build a level 8-ish assassin for a one-game adventure, and I need to do several things:

  1. Cast Dispel Magic using the silent and still spell metamagic feats. One of the feats can come from a metamagic rod. The dispel check needs to beat DC16.
  2. Buff a target without their knowledge. If True Strike weren't limited to Range: Personal, that would have been ideal. A reverse Unluck where the target rolls twice and picks the better roll would also work.
  3. Have high bonuses to social skills (Bluff and Sense Motive in particular)
  4. (Bonus item) A high bonus in Perform (Sing) would be nice, but isn't required.

The NPC will walk into a party where the PCs are hired to handle security, and then cast the buff spell and dispel magic in plain sight. Since it's a social situation, social skills would be nice.

I've considered Beguiler (nice skills, but no buffs [edit: Beguilers DO get Dispel Magic, even though it's not Illusion or Enchantment]), Bard (Glibness, skills, not much else), and Wizard (social skills via Changeling substitution, metamagic feats, no buff spell)

share|improve this question
    
Hi, welcome to the site! What buff are you trying to cast on the person? Looks like you want a spell like Benediction, but that's not an arcane spell. Also it allows a saving throw so the target would know someone is casting on them (even if they don't know exactly what). –  Tridus Aug 18 at 15:03
    
I need it to improve a single ranged attack roll. I'm trying to trick a PC into killing someone in a duel with Merciful pistols. Suppressing the Merciful enchantment ought to be enough, but it helps to be sure haha –  vos Aug 18 at 15:13
    
Must this be answered with an optimised NPC build, or are you open to solutions to your original problem of "trying to trick a PC into killing someone in a duel with Merciful pistols" that have nothing to do with a "social assassin" optimised NPC build? (In the jargon, this looks like it's suffering the XY Problem right now.) –  SevenSidedDie Aug 18 at 15:50
    
I am completely open to wild solutions. Currently looking into Tridus' idea of messing with the pistols beforehand. Would poison chambers in the bullets be neutralized by the Merciful enchantment, necessitating a well-timed dispel? What about casting Nystul's on a Vicious (hahaha) instead of Merciful set of pistols? Or BOTH! –  vos Aug 19 at 2:07
    
The important thing is (re: Tridus' idea of telling the PCs that the target is a bad guy) that the PCs want to avoid killing him, because I think there's more tension in reluctantly pulling that trigger vs. learning the truth after the fact. –  vos Aug 19 at 2:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You Can't Do The Important Part

Cast Dispel Magic using the silent and still spell metamagic feats. One of the feats can come from a metamagic rod. The dispel check needs to beat DC16.

Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, and Druids can all do that fairly easily. Beguilers can, but only if they have Dispel Magic in a Runestaff (so they can cast it and apply metamagic), or if they take the Extra Spell feat to get the ability to cast it. Bards need a way to use both metamagic feats without raising the spell level.

Buff a target without their knowledge. If True Strike weren't limited to Range: Personal, that would have been ideal. A reverse Unluck where the target rolls twice and picks the better roll would also work.

This is really tricky. The problem is that buff spells typically allow saving throws, and if you make a saving throw you know someone is trying to cast on you:

A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature’s saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

So, that's somewhat of a problem. PCs are likely to take that saving throw if unknown spell effects are hitting them by surprise.

Have high bonuses to social skills (Bluff and Sense Motive in particular)

Beguiler excels at this. Bard is also a logical choice. Both of them have Glibness for +30 bluff, though a Bard trying to use that and dispel magic will need bonus spells to use both at 8th level.

This Plan Sounds Overly Complicated

What troubles me about this plan is that it requires so many things to come together in order to work. I don't know your players, but IMO it runs the risk of being perceived as DM fiat making things happen if it does all work, and it's pretty likely to fail due to the number of points of failure involved:

  • PC makes their buff saving throw and notices something's up
  • Dispel doesn't affect the weapon, as it's not guaranteed at 8th level
  • PC shooting the pistol doesn't succeed on the attack roll
  • The target survives. The pistol has to do enough damage to drop them to -10 to kill them, and people are going to notice that Merciful is suppressed pretty quickly when shots start landing.

I'd recommend you consider carefully before proceeding with that kind of plot.

Alternatives

If the goal is simply to trick the PCs into shooting someone with a pistol and killing them without intending to, a simpler alternative might be to use Magic Aura and just lie about the effect on the pistol. Does the PC own this weapon, or are they being handed it by someone else for use in a duel? That's what it sounds like to me, and it'd be easy to make a pistol that doesn't actually have Merciful on it but shows up as magic. Short of casting Identify on it before shooting, the PCs wouldn't know the difference until after they shoot someone.

Even simpler is to pass them false information (via Bluff and Forgery) that the target is actually a wanted man with a bounty on his head, and see if they try and collect.

share|improve this answer
    
It is indeed a complicated plan. Going over your points: –  vos Aug 18 at 16:43
    
PC makes the saving throw - The buff would be a ready action, so it only kicks in at the last second. Would the PC get the benefit of it though? It just occurred to me just now. Bit of a fine point. Dispel check DC on a Merciful weapon is 16. With a full-caster taking 10 via Arcane Mastery, automatic success. PC misses - the target would be an unarmored, low level NPC, with no AC bonuses. At level 9 it would probably take a natural 1 to miss, but that would mess up anything haha The target survives - thiiiiiis is possible. –  vos Aug 18 at 16:52
    
The reason I avoided fudging with the pistols beforehand is because I expect the PCs to examine them pretty thoroughly. Nystul's does beat Detect Magic so it depends on whether they prepared Identify that day haha –  vos Aug 18 at 16:55
    
@vos If you ready action cast the buff before the PC attacks, then yes, they would. Assuming they fail the save (or voluntarily don't roll the save). –  Tridus Aug 18 at 17:15
    
I'm going with your idea of sabotaging the pistols, and relegating the dispel magic to a backup plan. Thanks for the answer! –  vos Aug 20 at 2:24

In case this helps anyone else, here's what I ended up with:

Unseelie-Fey Changeling
Beguiler 8/Mindbender 1

  1. Dispel Magic is on the Beguiler spell list, and they get the Silent Spell feat early. I took Still Spell the old fashioned way.

  2. Since Dispel Magic became the backup plan, this is less important.

  3. Beguiler has skill ranks and Glibness.

  4. Unseelie Fey Template makes Bard skills in-class.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.