My character is a Halfing Rogue specializing in lying and ranged sneak kills with a concealed crossbow. With the Childlike and Pass for Human feats plus max ranks in Bluff I'm crazy good at a believable lie if I act like a child and in theory I could eat the impossible bluff check with the -20, but DM discretion means anything close enough to impossible is just a no-no.

This is a problem for me because this situation is fairly common: I'm near a group of humans, totally docile towards me (or at least not attempting to kill me) and I need to kill them. I can sneak attack one by luring them away, maybe even a couple, but eventually I may need to kill someone in sight of their buddies. Practically speaking the -20 penalty on stealth after a snipe is nothing to me, however living targets will naturally assume someone killed their friend, I'm the only suspicious one around...and "lol I dunno how that bolt wound up in his eye" isn't a useful lie.

Is there some way I can spin the situation, either with a clever lie or less obvious murder (the arrow-in-face method is pretty suspicious) which could plausibly reduce the "I didn't kill that guy" lie from impossible to a far-fetched or unlikely lie? I'm not worried about the actual bluff check, by DM rules I will fail an impossible bluff check.

The tactical issue is mostly convincing the DM that the target could believe the lie, so magical items etc. won't really help unless they can build up some plausible deniability. In the game world most enemies are human so Childlike means as long as I sound innocent, I'll pretty much always pass a bluff check unless my cover is blown. Is there some way (non-lethal weapons, specific lies, Rube Goldberg-esque murders) I could kill someone, be the only visible suspect, but still get no worse than a far-fetched bluff check? Assume I haven't actually been seen doing it, but they have seen the body.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Surely just my two cents, but when I'm the only suspicious one around, I think "better not do anything bad" rather than "how can I use game mechanics to roleplay this unrealistic situation". I realize it might be your character's gimmick, but I also understand that your GM may have plenty of other solutions in mind. Maybe the real answer is to try branching out? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest considering applying some usage of aura of the unremarkable for situations like this one in which you need to something suspicious without arousing suspicion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 23:28

7 Answers 7


Blame some unseen assailant, play on the fact that as far as everyone else is concerned - you're a child.

"I saw something move over there behind the building, I'm sure that's where that bolt came from, help me! Protect me! I'm scared mister!"

If you look like a child you need to react like one as well, you've just seen someone shot and killed - scream, panic; cry for your parents.

"Oh my {diety} someone killed that man! Help help! We're being murdered! Call the watch!"

Also not actually carrying a honking great crossbow would also be a help; stash it or hide it (handy haversack++) look the part you're trying to play.

Use a patsy; pick some hapless guard or passer by and blame THEM, play up your role as an innocent child and the fact that you can lie through your teeth.

"It was that bad man there! I saw him throw a crossbow into the sewer after he shot that other man, help me, he's going to kill me for telling you mister!"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Blame one of the people you need killed anyway; that's a great idea. Does depend on the group not knowing each other (well, anyway), though. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also remember that this won't likely work too many times in a row. If you're suspected even a little bit, or if they're really trying to protect you, they will likely start watching you more carefully. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ handy haversack works. gloves of storing are better. free action to retrieve the crossbow, free action to make it go away, and less likely to be found if you are searched. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 1, 2014 at 3:41

I think you have a few options which haven't been thoroughly covered yet:

  1. Try splitting the group up. Get two or three on their own, set them up with a crossbow you found, shoot/stab one and make the other(s) see you. They'll chase you and you can lead them to their allies with cries of "Help, he's gone insane! He killed that other man! Save me!" This has the added bonus of the rest of the group possibly killing the guy chasing you.

  2. Various poisons, traps and magic work wonders. Again, at least the appearance of insanity may be your best bet. The appearance of disease, especially in a medieval setting, could strike fear into the group members. They may drive away or even kill the infected. Try to be surreptious and make sure that no-one suddenly froths at the mouth unless you have an idea of how you can explain it away ("Oh no! Your mushroom soup must have had a bad mushroom in it!").

  3. Stab them in the night, and then 'hide' the dagger near one of the other group members. When the rest of the people wake up, you shouldn't have much trouble 'finding' the proof, or getting someone else to find it for you. This could make the group start to break apart, and a lot of distrustful, armed men might be manipulated into fighting each other, or can serve as an excellent cover for your depredations. This is similar to the next point.

  4. Basically, get a scapegoat. Find someone, either a bystander who is in a position to appear responsible for your attacks, or the member of the group who is most likely to be believed to be a scapegoat by the others and who is least likely to think it's you.

  5. Be a victim. The other people will trust you more if you appear to be suffering as much as they are. If you can, disappear and attack them, then let them find you tied up in the bushed with a cut down your face. Don't blame outright unless you've set up enough proof to make sure you don't look like you're trying to get everyone at each others' throats. Make sure that if the group finds mysterious tracks and follows them, then the guy at the back dies, you were right next to the leader (illusions are great for this if you have a magic item that can duplicate them, as is mind-affecting magic).

  6. Take your time and cover your tracks. Don't rush anything, and be careful to not be suspected. If you work too quickly, then by the time that you've killed half the group, the rest might notice that since the little kid joined them, they've been dropping like flies. Make sure that whatever they think, it isn't going to hurt you.

  7. That said, in some cases, you won't want the targets to have plenty of time to decide what is happening and what to do. Make sure that you always have a good plan, but feel free to put the pressure on them to do something, and quickly, which could be dangerous. For example, if there's a dangerous forest full of monsters, you could try to lure them in without giving them time to gather information on it by injuring one of them and telling them about an old (fictional) healer who might live in the forest, and "who is the only one who can get to him quickly enough to save him, if we hurry!"

There are a lot of things you could try, and I'd suggest using those that look best to you and combining them for a cover that the DM can't auto-fail you on, without playing your whole hand in one go.


Get a fake bolt and some fake blood (real or magic) that you can very quickly apply, distract the onlookers' attention if needed, and masquerade yourself as if you've been hit as well by a second or first shot. Or, if you're really tough, shoot yourself with a real bolt. Beforehand, set up a dropped and apparently recently used, proper crossbow semi-obviously not far from your action where people will find it (you can help them by pointing that way.)

...and there you go, unless it's Sherlock Holmes you're trying to fool. :)


Murdering and lying about it might work once or twice, but after that word is going to get around. A difficult Bluff check is a good start, but the DC is going to ramp up as bodies pile up, everyone becomes a suspect, and stories overlap about an innocent "child" being nearby at the time.

Sounds like an interesting urban legend you're starting, though!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Whilst I agree that people might start to get suspicious, this doesn't appear to actually answer the question of how someone can get away with it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 4:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you expand your answer, @okeefe? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 5:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought my answer was straightforward: If you stick with the same situation, the DC is going to ramp up, so don't do that. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ The max DC isn't very high though. Convincing someone of something completely impossible that they know to be false via proof they currently have is an opposed check of your Bluff v.s. their sense motive +35. If you just have glibness, this is like making an 'unlikely' bluff for an untrained normal person to another untrained normal person. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 20:04

My primary response (disregarding the answers above mentioning plausible lies and poison), are traps/killzones and multiple weapons.

Variety: Unless you are under contract to kill them in a specific way, don't feel locked into one weapon. Have a heavy crossbow sitting under a blanket in the next room. Stand wtih your back to the window/door and plink the guy who followed you, re-hide the bow. You go out, they find it and you go "All I have is this micro crossbow".

Traps: Next room have some pretty standard traps set up. With a fairly simple Engineering roll you should be able to rig a few simple traps. Follow it with "I need my Widget from the basement of that house" and then with a simple pulley job he gets a spear to the face.

Killzones: Know where they will keep you if they suspect you of something but want you alive? Again with a simple engineering roll you can make the area immediately outside that room a death trap for the brutes bringing you in.

Magic: As an addendum, I don't know what tools/magic (use magic device)/magic items are at your disposal. Only knowing "Halfing Rogue with at least +20 Stealth/Bluff" only tells me so much.

Other NPCs: As a final addendum, the world can also be your weapon. Those humans may be carbon copies but nobody gets past level 3 without some angry enemies. Find some locals that want NPC X out of the way.


If you can't bluff the victim's friends, bluff the police tht get involved instead. They didn't see anything, and only have the statements of you and the friends to go off. Pin it on one of the friends.


The question seems to be asking for rationale to present to your GM in making the bluff not-impossible. This is dependent on a few details.

For example, how well known are disguises known, either in fairy tails or rumours or even official tribunals, has the word gotten around that serious combatant creatures can appear to be mere scamp? If they are wise to this then any sort of weapons or attack association it going to undermine any appearance or talk.

I am not too familiar with medieval justice but would a youngster naturally be considered capable of killing, for example if they saw a youngster with a crossbow they might presume he was dangerous in treating it as a toy but that the brat just didn't know what he was doing. A sort of Bart Simpson character, fooling around or being used as a pawn, they wouldn't ignore him and just let him be they may lead him by the ear to his parent or guardian.

One thing that I know was common up until the 19th century was youngsters were used as runners, literal errand boys, they would take verbal messages, written notes, packages and arguably they'd deliver weapons as well. How might they naturally presume if they saw a kid with a crossbow they'd have an inclination to believe he was delivering it for someone else.

Certainly if you could bluff in that direction for example a deliberately unconvincing double bluff "uhh, no, this is, uhh, my crossbow, I'm not delivering it for anyone. Atlas himself get it to me because I'm the best shot in the kingdom.. look" and they take a deliberately pathetic attempt at loading and trying to shoot the crossbow.


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