View Full Version : Help me, I'm a spy!

2007-02-21, 06:20 PM
As I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum, I'm currently playing a halfling rogue in a mercenary/pirate crew, who is unjustly despised by the PC captain. Recently, this captain has acquired this spiffy new magic energy hand that can be used to harm things and lets off a creepy red glow. Did I mention that the party has seen necromantic magic items give off a similar red glow? Or that my rogue's family happens to have been slaughtered by members of an organization that's well-known for using such items? You can probably see why she didn't have much of a crisis of conscience when she took up the offer to spy on him.

The problem is that I'm not sure how I should have her go about it. Sure, she's good at getting from point A to point B without being detected, sniping from the shadows, etc., but I'm not sure how I can pull off a prolonged deception for very long. That said, here's a letter she got that explains her mission (should she choose to accept it):

It's good to have you working with us; let us know what you can find out about your captain's energy-hand, and if you can *safely* get ahold of any of his personal effects, please do so--we can test his possessions for, well, possession. Not that we think there's anything wrong, specifically. Just remember, don't blow your cover. Stay Close. Stay Sharp. Stay Secret.My ideas so far:

I feel that the safest way to investigate Cappy's magic hand is to ask the party wizard about it, because he's a nice guy and all. It would also be nice if my character could find an excuse to observe the captain more closely, but the whole "mutual hostility" thing they have going may preclude that. Still, there are a few nice things about the captain that I may be able to exploit:
He sometimes gets really angsty and spends hours drinking heavily and sulking in his cabin, so it should be fairly easy to sneak in and pilfer some items while he's passed out.
Unless he has specific orders for my character (usually some variation on "go scout ahead for traps and stuff," or "leave the room so the grownups can talk," or "don't touch that magic item"), his player tends to ignore me entirely. If I'm lucky, our heroine may very well get away with all kinds of crazy stuff before he even realizes that anything is amiss, let alone catches her.
He's got a crush on another party member, an elven warblade -- and she has absolutely no romantic interest in him. (Funnily enough, the captain's player has a crush on the warblade's player -- and she has absolutely no romantic interest in him.:smalltongue:)So...any questions? Comments? Suggestions? I'd really appreciate suggestions of readily stealable personal items that aren't likely to be missed and/or assumed to have been stolen, as well as plausible answers to any questions that may come up:
Crew Member: Hey! What are you doing with the captain's trousers there? :smallfurious:
Me: Umm...laundry? :smallbiggrin:
EDIT: I should go into my contingency plan in the even of my rogue's capture. Basically, if and when she realizes that her cover's been blown, she'll break out her cyanide pill, and I'll break out my replacement half-elf.

2007-02-21, 06:23 PM
Well, the simplest possesions would be things he won't miss clearly, I suggest socks. They're small, easily folded and concealed, numerous, and often go missing all on their own.

2007-02-21, 06:46 PM
Hmmn. Would his 'empties' count as possessions, I wonder? Does he shave? ou might be able to quite easily get hold of some of his body hair or nail clippings. You could buy him a spiffy new item to replace an old one and then either remove the old one or the new one (depending on how he feels about your present).
As for the other aspects of spying on him, I think keeping a sharp eye and ear is all that is necessary, but you need a quick way to contact your employers. Any ranks in Use Magic Device?

2007-02-21, 06:53 PM
Two more good 'possesions' to snag:

A single playing card if he has a deck. He may notice it's missing but it's extremely unlikely he'll suspect theft. Try and get him to play a game with you then use Sleight of Hand to nip one of the cards, or use the card game as a way to get to option #2:

A coin. He'll be practically garunteed not to know it's missing, since a high level party will literally have thousands, but you can probably get him to actually just give you one, either by the gambling suggested above or try and get him to use you as a 'gofer' ("you, shorty. go get us something to eat.") use your own coins and keep the ones he gives you.

2007-02-21, 06:59 PM
In regards to #3 you should create a back up scenario(certainly not a main plan!) to utilize this fact.
You could...A) use forgery to plant notes that encourage the character to express his love for the warblade, which, with careful planning and handling, could lead to the destruction of his reputation and the embarrassment of the character. This could even provide a temporary opening in his defenses or make him let his guard down long enough to warrant detailed explorartion of his personal effects(especially if he drinks, he would be passed out for hours after being publicly rejected and humiliated!).
B) play the warblade against him, his crush as a fairly hostile player would easily serve to make him more edgy, angsty, and drink more.

B2) along those lines you could enlist the aid of the warblade and naybe get her to feign interest in the player, thereby drawing him away from his personal items for very long periods of time.

I'm not saying it's your best option, but you should definitely have a plan B or C that involves exploration of #3.

2007-02-21, 07:54 PM
Make sure he doesn't read this forum.

2007-02-21, 09:22 PM
Also, we need to clarify, is the Captain's player also hostile to you? Because of the whole crush thing, it sounds kind of like he's not doing the best job keeping IC and OOC separate. So if the PLAYER has a thing against you, your task'll be even more difficult, because he's liable to metagame-distrust anything you do near him.

2007-02-22, 02:11 PM
Not openly so, I'd say - I think that he thinks I'm annoying, but he tries to tolerate me for the sake of our mutual friends. So do I, to a certain extent: even though he's an intelligent, witty person, he's also rather bossy and demanding, and his character is hardly different. His character has always been suspicious of mine. He seems to think she's been out to get him since the beginning, which she honestly wasn't. (Ironically, she probably never would lifted a finger against him if he hadn't been so mistrustful.)

2007-02-22, 03:54 PM
DnDestruction's ideas would have been better suited to the thread where you first complained about this guy, as they're better suited for generic revenge than spying.

I think your original ideas are good, as is the pilfering of small, easily-lost items like cards (if you palm one during a game, just make sure it's something useless like a 3 of Clubs so he can't realistically accuse you of cheating) or socks. Be very careful in your pilfering, since the character has it in for yours anyway, and you've got the whole "Halfling Rogue" and "he hates you" things going against you if he's missing something important.

As for observing his hand, just find an excuse to follow him around in plain sight. He'll just pass it off as you being annoying, probably. No need to be overtly covert about it, necessarily.

Also, if that request isn't an obvious fabrication by some bad guys to get a hold of a means to scry on, blackmail, or mind-control your captain, then my screen name isn't Nerd-o-rama. However, I don't see any reason why your character would realize that, or care if she did.

2007-02-22, 04:43 PM
Well, now that your whole plan B is something as sad (for you especially) as i take a suicide pill and roll another character... Im gonna stick by my original comment on this guy.

BE A ROGUE! for the sake of the GODS! Gut this bastard in his sleep, steal the hand, and sneak off into the night (preferably when the ship is at port, all the more likely he will get wild drunk, all the more likely you will be free to sneak around and follow behind him unawares).

Serious. In game you have every reason to do it now. Out of game, he sounds like a bit of a jerk to me (and the way you mention it, it more than hints that he doesnt really like you and is making the game more personal than it should be, he already makes it personal with another player in a way she doesnt like either) and sounds to me like he just flat out deserves some good old fashioned IN YOUR FACE. Some people just need to eat a great big turd. Its sad, but true. Feed it to him.

2007-02-22, 05:12 PM
Also, if that request isn't an obvious fabrication by some bad guys to get a hold of a means to scry on, blackmail, or mind-control your captain, then my screen name isn't Nerd-o-rama. However, I don't see any reason why your character would realize that, or care if she did.

She doesn't give a rat's ass about what happens to her captain, as long as it doesn't interfere with her overall goals. However, she does have a personal grudge against the BBEG organization, so she is worried that she may risk furthering their agenda. Her contact (a halfling himself) told her that it was "for the halfling community," and even though that's kinda vague, she loves her people and trusts just about all halflings implicitly, so her fears are mostly assuaged. I figured that I'd just charge forward with it, come what may, but your reminder has given me pause once again.

New plan: My character will start by confronting the captain about his hand, demanding assurance and proof that it is not necromantic. If he will not or cannot provide this, she'll sell him the bastard out; if he does, she'll tell him about the plot against him and suggest that she act as an double agent by feeding her contact false or misleading information.

If the captain tries to dismiss her by saying something like "It's none of your business" or "How dare you question my authority?" or whatever, she will remind him of all the people he's pissed off over his career. She will then speculate as to how many of these people would probably be willing to grant her gobs of money and/or favors in exchange for information leading to his capture. I will then advise him that, if he truly wants trust, loyalty, and honesty from her, he should pay her in kind.

At this point, I expect he'll either A) feel shamed enough to reveal all or B) retaliate against her for threatening him. I may, of course, need an escape plan if he chooses the latter. Any ideas?

EDIT: She is, of course, not so foolish as to schedule this confrontation to occur while the party is at sea. It will either occur in the captain's quarters while the ship is docked or in the smoky back room of some inn or tavern, preferably alone.

2007-02-22, 06:28 PM
Are you kidding me? He will CERTAINTLY retaliate, to the fullest of his abilities, and immediately. You would be walking straight into the lions dens on this one. (and remember, you are basically alone on a boat in the ocean with him and his halfling hating crew who have done little to help you out despite your extensive in/out game problems with this captain.. if anything, as you have described, they have been willing accomplices. I seem to remember you saying everyone was racist against you.) Basically, approach him with this, and you toss all your good cards on the deck, and he hangs you in broad daylight.

Sorry hun, but its a bad (very bad) approach.

You are a rogue. Be cunning, be secretive, dont EVER show your cards. Keep him guessing, always give him reasons to distrust himself or others, always keep him down by sowing the seeds of suspicion.

But anyhow, you already have my opinion. This guy deserves full bore attack with all your roguish capablities. Really, you are being way too nice on this. Its gonna get you dead and give you an even longer, less fun time playing towards your own funeral.

Finish it. Feed him the steaming pile of in your face which he so righteously deserves, and which only you can give to him.

2007-02-22, 06:38 PM
Have a Dust of Sneezing and Choking on you. If he attacks, hurl it, and either A) Take him down while he's incapacitated (he DID attack.) or B) Run and hide.

2007-02-22, 07:03 PM
Kill him and find a new crew. Or, attempt to seduce him while he's drunk and rob the **** out of him when he's passed out (listen to the beastie boys song "she's crafty")

2007-02-22, 07:04 PM
It does sound like an awfully nice approach, but then that seems like it would be in character for you. I'd advise making sure some of the other party members are nearby if you think they would interfere when they saw him attacking you; party assistance could help you out. If they wouldn't help, well, run away and hide.

You could also try asking the wizard whether the hand is necromantic and suggesting that he tell the captain if it is; if the captain doesn't care, take the offer, and if he shows caution or wants to get rid of it, you don't have to. That way someone else makes the confrontation, and you get what may be a more honest response on the captain's part than if you'd confronted him with the information.

2007-02-22, 08:23 PM
(and remember, you are basically alone on a boat in the ocean with him
No, I won't. Like I said, I'm going to confront him while the ship is docked and when we are alone together, to allow myself an avenue of escape.

and his halfling hating crew who have done little to help you out despite your extensive in/out game problems with this captain.. if anything, as you have described, they have been willing accomplices. I seem to remember you saying everyone was racist against you.)The rest of the crew doesn't hate me. In fact, the captain is the only one who is actively mean to me; the rest of the crew tolerates it in order to avoid making waves. If the captain asks any of the crew members to attack me, they're going to at least take a moment to pause and sputter "What? But...but-" before they follow the orders.

SeffBasilisk and The_Snark: Great ideas from both of you.

Viggo: ew. Just...ew.

2007-02-22, 08:51 PM
well, at the very least you are doing it at dock, but its still a bad call, you could play your hand so much better..

as far as the crew.. "just going along with it to avoid making waves" amounts to willing accomplice, as far as any court in the land will hear it. Basically, that amounts to 'they would rather see you suffer than cause trouble for themselves or others.' Really. Think about it. Anybody with a heart and a spine (and worthy of calling a REAL friend) would have made a few waves. I seriously wouldnt count on much from them. Really, I wouldnt count on anything from them, you cant afford to make such a mistake in this situation. If they do end up supporting you, all the better, but its not odds i would take in this case.

And in the end, you will still end up trying to leave a ship (dry docked or not, theres a gangplank and what, some moreage lines) while confronting the captain and most likely a deal of his crew... without getting to play your real rogue cards. You will end up running away, and the captain will be none the worse for his offenses. Is that justice? No offense, but why dont you take a few levels of commoner with a PrC in deckhand? Cuz that is what you are leaving yourself as far as the chips stack in your 'favored' situation.

I think its interesting that you bring my posts up personally, with quotes. Obviously I hit a nerve, something about this situation bothers you. Even if its because you are denying what I have to say, it still hit enough of a nerve to make you reply in this fashion. Think about it.

PS the snark has some great advice (especially about using the wizard as a proxy), but really you outta be burning for a little better than that. You dont owe this captain ANYTHING. Stop thinking that you do. Good or not, its up to you to set the balance right.. if you let the captain walk all over you here, whats to stop him from doing it to the next halfling? (or your next character?) Seriously, there is a reason people bring up the term 'consequences' when they talk about a hard-core DnD game. Teach him a few. This is your only remaining chance.

PPS. I really_really_ hope this game hasn't metasized into something OOC, which I feel it probably has. In such a case, you should just avoid this jerk (even suiciding and quitting the game---tho actually if it were me i would kill him and disappear), confide in your friends, and go from there. Once again, its just a feeling I get.. I just hope its not this way.

2007-02-22, 09:35 PM
Oh man!!! You have the perfect situation. Don't let this go to waste by comfronting him and blowing your 'cover'.
For starters you could ask the wizard... but since your a rogue, buy a scroll of identify the next time your in town. (you do have ranks in use magic device or have the potential) . Next get your captain plastered. I mean GONE. Get him, the warblade and yourself into a drinking game at port (after you have the scroll of identify). He'll keep drinking and so will she. (Buy a wand of prestigitation to make water taste like ale.) Keep bringing all of you drinks, insisting that you'll pay. Get the warblade a little tipsy but constantly use your wand of prestigitation on your drinks. Use it 1/2 of the time on the warblades.

When he passes out, and he will, sneak in and cast identify. Figure out what this guys hand is all about.
If its necromancy bust out as many sneak attack coup de grace's in one hit and take his loot and his ship. Sell the ship, sell the loot. Give any pirate that finds out 500 gp and continue with the adventure, without the jerk.

And thats just one of the many things you can do. Dont go blab that your thinking of overthrowing him though. That would be the wrong way.

Remember don't blow your cover. Stay Close. Stay Sharp. Stay Secret.

Tor the Fallen
2007-02-23, 12:33 AM
What level are you, and how much gold do you have access to? What class is the captain? I'm assuming some sort of martial one.
This is going to come down to a you v. him, and it'd be best if you start working out how to hurt him. Bad.

Replace his bag of holding with a bag of devouring. Poison blades. Traps. Explosives set so that his whole boat will go down, if you so desire. You really need some cars so when he threatens you, can sneer right back in his face "Do you know what the DC is for a 20,000 gp trap? I'll give you a hint. Only a rogue could find it."

2007-02-23, 01:28 AM
Act genuinely concerned about the hand, but dont' do anything drastic. If the hand is what you think it is, or if you can't get any confirmation, go ahead with your plan (as you said, the character trusts the halflings implicitly, and as such will probably ignore the possibility of betrayal).

Tor the Fallen
2007-02-23, 01:52 AM
Of course, the DM could be playing you.

2007-02-23, 09:00 AM
Wow. Most answers are really agressive counsels !
Folie : get the other PCs to your cause. The wizard and the warblade looks like they might become trusted allies. If they want to stay neutral, remember that as a Rogue you certainly have good social skills - use them on NPCs. Unless the captain is a Bard, you'll gain them to your cause.

Some questions : where has the Captain got this magic hand ? The fact that this hand is obviously necromantic by nature tells me that he should have made it identified, and that's the wizard's job. As an adventuring party, you have perfectly the right to ask for it to be identified, as a potential threat - you'll just have to pay for it.

Now, to get something of him, I don't think a gp will be "personnal" enough ; a card might be, but only if he uses them oftenly. Try getting his favorite bottle, maybe by using the Warblade PC : "she doesn't like heavy drinkers". Socks are a good idea too.
Another way would be to sneak into his room, take something, buy a copy, and put the copy back in the room.

Oh, by the way, what is your and the other PCs' levels ?

Edit : if things go ugly, stay calm and talk - specifically OOC - to the other players. If one player is keeping you from having fun, then you have to tell it.

2007-02-23, 09:14 AM
EDIT: I should go into my contingency plan in the even of my rogue's capture. Basically, if and when she realizes that her cover's been blown, she'll break out her cyanide pill, and I'll break out my replacement half-elf.
Jump into the sea first. Or do something that destroys your head. Remember, Speak With Dead.

Tor the Fallen
2007-02-23, 09:21 AM
Just collect some hair from his pillow.

2007-02-23, 11:19 AM
Buy him a new eyepatch/pegleg/hat/cutlass/whatever. Tell him his old one is getting really shabby-looking, and trade him for the new one. Tell him it's a favor. You're a Rogue, so your Bluff skill should be pretty high.

2007-02-27, 07:12 PM
Update on the situation:

From now on, I’m going to refer to my character in the first person because it’s less awkward-sounding.

Last session, I started out by asking the party wizard about the exact nature of the captain’s magic hand. The wizard told me that he had already tried to Identify it and, though he isn’t precisely certain of what kind of magic it is, he believes that it is most likely Illusion. (I later found out OOC that the hand is Psionic—the DM allows us to use pretty much any splatbook goodies we want as long as he has access to said splatbooks.) Therefore, I decided to tell all to the captain.

A few (in-game) hours after being approached by the spying contact in town, I went back to the ship and knocked gently on the captain’s cabin door. He tried to dismiss my demands to talk with him privately by repeatedly shouting “Go away!” as I spoke; it was only when I yelled out “I’ve been approached about spying on you!” that he chose to listen to what I had to say.

He then started to cross-examine me, asking me who had approached me and why they would want to spy on me. I told the captain everything I knew about the contact and his apparent motives, explaining that fighting the BBEG organization was more important to me than selling him out. Even after this confession, the captain was still suspicious of her motives, trying and failing to find holes in her story (“Why the hell didn’t you tell me this before?” “It only happened a couple of hours ago!”)

I told the captain about my plan to send the contact false information, and asked him if he had any ideas about what kind of lies I should spread. He told me I could send out whatever I wanted—he didn’t believe that my sending falsehoods out would have any appreciable effect, good or ill, on his prospects of success.

So in conclusion, I pretty much have a blank check to spread all kinds of crazy rumors about my captain. :smallbiggrin: What should I write?

2007-02-27, 09:53 PM
The best lies are the ones you already believe.

Of course, that's just assuming one merely wants to spread crazy rumours about their captain. One may also want to act in a more strategical sense.

After all, you're a spy now, whether anyone else cares for the nuances or not. The "Secret Shortling Society" (they need a nickname, no?) believes you're working for them as a spy. The Captain believes you'll be acting for him as double agent. Be both. Exploit the Captain as a way to gather information about the SSS. Exploit the SSS as a way to get information about the Captain. Play both as a source of extra materials... surely, a spy needs a magic item and an alibi to do her work properly, yes? Though, if the Captain doesn't expect results, he certainly isn't going to pay for them ahead of time.

As far as gathering information... If the SSS wants to check for possession, that obviously indicates that they expect it. Rather than tell them what you know straight out, probe for more information. If he IS possessed, do they know what signs you should be looking for? (Better: HOW do they know what to look for?)

If the wizard can keep his mouth shut, use him as your confidant. When you're playing both sides, you need a third party to help keep you straight, or potentially back you up if something goes wrong.

Then again, why anyone would ever need spies in a world with divination spells, I'll never know.