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I want to imprison my characters for a long period of time, but I don't want them to use any spell or skill to escape before their imprisonment and I certainly don't want to kill them in the process by having to many guards or something. There are six 5th-level PCs: bard, paladin, monk, ranger and sorcerer. I want to add some kind of totalitarian regime that will imprison them for at least 20 years, without me having to roleplay the 20 years along. have in mind that time travel is not an option since I want the players to feel some sort of hate towards this regime.

in a creative and fun way, how can I get them imprisoned without having them fighting back?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you aren't going to play it out and just have it be GM fiat, then I'm not sure what you're looking for here. "You were in jail! You couldn't escape, the tenth level warden beat the bejeezus out of you every time you tried. Now, 20 years later..." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 8 '14 at 11:59
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Flesh to stone. Then, after 20 years passed, Stone to Flesh (feel free to cheat on the saving throw. :)) But a truly evil regime might turn them back and forth regularly, giving them a day or two "off" and have some fun. (I'm not saying who's going to have the aforesaid "fun", and what they mean by "fun." Let's leave it to your evil masterminds.)

For a dramatization example, see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ A stasis-based answer like this one is probably your best bet if your party includes any races that measure their age in years and decades. If it's a party composed entirely of elves and dwarves, it's not so bad, but if there are humans in the party, they might resent having their characters aged twenty years quite a bit, unless you warned them about this ahead of time (so they can make their characters twenty years younger than they want to play them). \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Oct 3 '14 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd really like to see this answer expanded to include lower-level other options. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 8 '14 at 4:37
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Don't

I want to answer your problem, without actually answering your specific question. If this is not good, feel free to downvote into oblivion. If you need them to be occupied for a set amount of time for something to happen in the background, then I have two possible options for you.

Time Travel:

If you need them gone, just make something happen that puts them to sleep for 20 years, or they get teleported 20 years in the future. Beware of railroading, but if you want it done, DM fiat is a necessary evil.

Planeshift:

If you want to give them an inescapable prison, send them to another plane. I'm guessing that "so" means sorcerer, so as long as that character does not have a means of learning how to travel from one plane to another, they are trapped until they find a way out. I don't think a bard has access to any planar travel spells at 5th level. You can role-play this out as long or as short as you want it to be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's the Phantom Zone from Superman! If it's good enough for Krypton, it's good enough for you. \$\endgroup\$ – Argyle Oct 3 '14 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the planeshift is a good one, but I can't upvote because of my reputation, sorry. \$\endgroup\$ – Theil Oct 3 '14 at 22:02
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Have the main villain of your campaign frame the PCs for one of his own crimes, that will create a source of tension between the protagonists and the antagonist in your campaign which will give the Player characters a reason to want to get revenge. Of course this will require some planning to pull of, but the campaign will be given a powerful push in the right direction if you can pull it off.

Strip them naked and throw them in a jail cell with high level locks, don't leave any spell components out in the open for an arcane spellcaster to use to power a spell. I believe the term for this when bringing it into a game is "Letting them rot".

Twenty years will have done nothing to diminish their rage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This might work, depending on the characters involved, but not reliably. Note that the group apparently has a sorcerer, who won't have any problem casting spells without material components, sorcerers rarely need those anyway. Likewise, plenty of the bard's magic works just fine in the situation you describe. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Oct 7 '14 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Use a Silence spell to keep them from casting spells with a verbal component and bind their hands to prevent them from using spells with Somatic components, that will prevent spellcasting. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 7 '14 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then you need to mention those things in the answer. Also, the duration of a silence spell is in rounds. Casting it won't work without tying up an army of clerics. You need a permanent source. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Oct 7 '14 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you can realistically have a jail for Pathfinder heroes without an Antimagic Field on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 7 '14 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Maybe if all the PCs were lawful. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 8 '14 at 4:34
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As a GM you have the power of plot. As a player I would find being put into stasis for 20 years or being transferred to a different plane for 20 years to be terribly cheap plot device.

Arrest them, if they want to fight let them, as a GM you can avoid killing them, make them fall unconscious from blood loss or bruises instead. Depending on what kind of regime it is they could also use spells, gas or poison to stop the players rampage. They could also be abducted in their sleep. There is of course always wiggle room for the more ingenious players but such is the joy of role play and just makes campaign more alive.

As for the prison, as a GM you can invent new technologies and structures and should do so too, some ways of suppressing the powers of the individuals are certainly within the possibilities of the world should the need arise and can also be used as future plot hooks. (E.g. "we have escaped but I need access to my magic powers again!")

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