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I've heard of players killing their comrades while asleep or stuff like that, which can be handled by the master with some planning with the player.

But how would you handle a situation in which a character disguises himself and attacks the other players? I guess this would require real-time battle decisions from the player who's disguised, and the other ones would immediately understand that it's him even if he started sending "love-letters" to the master.

So what do you think? How could something like this be done?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 yeah it was mostly about how to communicate covertly with the player in a real time scenario, most of the times when a player does something covertly from his companions it's something more trivial than having a fight. I had already read the answer you linked about it and the case I talked about wasn't discussed. \$\endgroup\$ – Eärendil Baggins Oct 21 '17 at 7:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @EärendilBaggins it may not have been discussed in the first link, but was your question not answered by the answers there? How? Is it that you don't think passing notes (in whatever way, shape, or form) as suggested in the answers is going to be very effective? You may want to add the first link to your question, saying you have read it, and state why it doesn't answer your question. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Oct 21 '17 at 7:57
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So you're going to have a scene that (as far as the other players can tell) doesn't have this player in it?

Tell them: "um, I feel kind of guilty running a combat that doesn't have Bob in it. Hey, Bob -- so that you have something to do, want to run this NPC? It has some moves that are similar to your own character's moves, so it should be easier for you. If your character shows up in the scene, I'll take the NPC back, so that you're just running one character at once. This NPC's goal is to attack the party, so go nuts."

It's a really good policy to do this sort of thing anyway -- make sure everyone at the table is active in every scene, or give them an NPC if there's really no way to get their character involved.


I'd like to add a disclaimer: please be really careful with PvP in your game. Many players go into the game assuming that all the players are "on the same team"; if this unexpectedly turns out to be false, they could feel betrayed. It might cause them to not like the game, or it might cause them to be IRL angry at the other players.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, great idea! Actually I don't want to abuse this PvP thing, it's just an idea I had for an evil campaign and I'd like to play it out well. \$\endgroup\$ – Eärendil Baggins Oct 21 '17 at 21:59
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Use technology!

At all the tables I play at, everyone has their laptop out for character sheets and a digital battle mat (Roll20).

In the evil campaign we played, players would often message the DM (through facebook, but other means are possible too) to secretly do various cruel things to each other, like stealing items or attacking each other.

If your players don't use laptops at the table, you could simulate something by having your player text you or something instead.

But really, don't do it

Our group was particularly sporting, but having PC vs. PC combat, even undisguised, is not generally a great idea. I have facilitated this combat as a DM, and it basically killed the mood at the table--everyone ended up feeling unsatisfied and betrayed. If you really want to do it, you should somehow make sure that everyone would be ok with it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be for the "final act" of an evil campaign, something like, this guy who wasn't really into the party's goal ends up fighting them but doesn't initially want to reveal that it's him, leading up to a final fight where only one side will survive. The evil campaign would be a chance to try something different for our group, so I don't think my players would feel betrayed. \$\endgroup\$ – Eärendil Baggins Oct 21 '17 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ By the way using texts could be a great idea, the master always uses a laptop in our group and the player who's not there could just pretend he's messing around with his phone. I was thinking about this possibility too. \$\endgroup\$ – Eärendil Baggins Oct 21 '17 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ It will pass the message that texting during game session is ok. Maybe it is at your table, maybe not, anyway, think about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Oct 23 '17 at 9:59
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First, I doubt this is a good idea for keeping a group of players together, but many people have to find that out by practical experience.

That said, another way to pull this off is not to use a disguise, but have the character apparently being mind-controlled. You haven't explained the motives behind this attack, beyond the evil-campaign tag, so I'm guessing a bit here, but most of the cases of this I've encountered have been about acquiring the party's equipment, money, and, especially, magic items.

The character staging this attack is presumably wanting to survive? Unless he's very tough, he probably isn't going to be able to beat the rest of the party by himself. So he either needs to plan an escape, or have some assistance from outside the party. If that assistance can put up some kind of appearance of mind-controlling him, he's in a reasonably good position.

  • If he and the outsiders win, there's plenty of loot for them.
  • If the rest of the party win, he has a cover story, assuming he survives.
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