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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Interrogation, Torture, and You

    I think every party goes through this. You've captured an enemy and need to get information out of them. That brings up all sorts of alignment issues, mechanical issues, and comfort levels with graphic violence issues. How do you handle it at your table?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Actual torture doesn't work to get info. If intimidation and showing you're you're serious doesn't work, then something more extreme won't work (since they will just say whatever until you're satisfied).

    If you want to make a bad guy talk, tell them they get X nice thing if they cooperate, and Y bad thing if they don't, usually death. If they're open to negotiation, go for it, while firmly reminding them you're the one with the power. If they refuse to talk despite the threat, even once you've shown you were serious, just have them be punished appropriately for their crimes (which will usually be death penalty or another major punishment, since they're not likely to resist the threat if all what they've done is stealing a pie).

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    I think every party goes through this. You've captured an enemy and need to get information out of them. That brings up all sorts of alignment issues, mechanical issues, and comfort levels with graphic violence issues. How do you handle it at your table?
    Crucifixion and Iron Maiden’s are the preferred methods.

    In all seriousness though, we usually have some comical form of torture like public nudity or bad jazz music. See Cool and Unusual Punishment (warning: TvTropes)
    Spoiler: To My Fellow Empire Players and GM
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    I may tend to come across as negative, as I usually post when something is wrong or to winge, but I really like this game so far and I'm having loads of fun. Thank you everyone for making it such a great experience!


    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    You are walking down the hallways following the map. You make a left turn, two right turns, step over a tripwire, and turn into a secret door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Player
    I turn into a secret door? Dang the traps in this place are OP!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Zone of Truth

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Suggestion.

    “You really want to cooperate, answer all my questions, and tell me everything about X.”

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    LeonBH's Avatar

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Charm Person or Suggestion are really handy in this case. Or Friends, if you don't want to spend a spell slot.

    Enchantment is kind of an evil school when you think about it, because usually it involves taking away an element of free will from your targets. But it's less graphic than torture.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Charm Person or Suggestion are really handy in this case. Or Friends, if you don't want to spend a spell slot.

    Enchantment is kind of an evil school when you think about it, because usually it involves taking away an element of free will from your targets. But it's less graphic than torture.
    that's not going to work against a person that's clearly hostile towards you.
    Furthermore, just because you're best friends with the guy doesn't mean he's going to spill everything he knows!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    LeonBH's Avatar

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by StoicLeaf View Post
    that's not going to work against a person that's clearly hostile towards you.
    Furthermore, just because you're best friends with the guy doesn't mean he's going to spill everything he knows!
    For sure, that's why you still have to talk and roll your persuasion/intimidation checks with advantage.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Actual torture doesn't work to get info. If intimidation and showing you're you're serious doesn't work, then something more extreme won't work (since they will just say whatever until you're satisfied).
    In the real world, this is very true. However, in D&D the Zone of Truth spell makes torture much more viable as a method of interrogation, since the torturee can only speak the truth in their attempts to get you to stop. They can’t even give false confessions, a huge problem in modern interrogations, since that would knowingly be a lie. (except in very special circumstances)
    Last edited by Potato_Priest; 2017-12-06 at 03:09 PM.
    Spoiler: To My Fellow Empire Players and GM
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    I may tend to come across as negative, as I usually post when something is wrong or to winge, but I really like this game so far and I'm having loads of fun. Thank you everyone for making it such a great experience!


    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    You are walking down the hallways following the map. You make a left turn, two right turns, step over a tripwire, and turn into a secret door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Player
    I turn into a secret door? Dang the traps in this place are OP!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Sort of disturbing topic.

    Was playing a bard (with guns, since DM wanted to try them in the campaign). Had to spend a feat on character creation to use them, but backstory is my family was the first to manufacture them.

    Found a town where the rich noble was secretly transporting families guns for Zhentarim. Last battle is a firefight in the guys office. Knock bad guy out, take his gun, tie him up naked in his own torture rack, slap him till he wakes up.

    "Where are you getting the guns from?"

    "I'll never tell!"

    /kneecap (chaotic neutral)

    "You got a lot of joints and I got a lot of bullets, pal." (/roll intimidation with advantage)

    He spilled the beans.

    In describing it ... I guess it's sort of demented. But, what the hey? It's not real.
    Argue in good faith.

    And try to remember that these are people.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Crgaston View Post
    Suggestion.

    “You really want to cooperate, answer all my questions, and tell me everything about X.”
    Answering your question is a obviously harmful act
    Spell ends instantly

    /trollface

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    He spilled the beans.
    Beans may have been spilled, but just like in real life
    He could have just told you whatever so that you would leave/stop

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Answering your question is a obviously harmful act
    Spell ends instantly

    /trollface
    Found the 5 year old.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Beans may have been spilled, but just like in real life
    He could have just told you whatever so that you would leave/stop
    Yes, if I had been more thorough about it I would have zone of truth / charmed one to get the info, then used rich noble guy to confirm. Or the other way around. Or both.
    Argue in good faith.

    And try to remember that these are people.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Found the 5 year old.
    or instead of reacting like a 5 year old yourself, you present an argument?

    If a person believes that ratting out a Mob Boss is the most dangerous thing they can think of
    Ratting out a Mob Boss is an obviously harmful act
    The spell WOULD end immediately

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    People could tell you whatever to stop being tortured.

    That's why you don't stop torturing them and keep asking question even if they answered. Plus you can use family/precious possessions as leverage, torture is a form of art, it can give you what you want if you try hard enough.

    But yeah, you would be evil if you were to torture someone. Even for the greater good.
    Last edited by Lombra; 2017-12-06 at 06:40 PM.
    English isn't my first language, so I will likely express myself poorly.
    Please pretend that I'm arguing in good faith, and that I mean no offense to anybody.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Persuasion > Intimidation > Compulsion (magic)

    This often gives a number of party members the opportunity to help/try.

    If that doesn't work then either you failed all the rolls (target made saves) or the DM doesn't want you to know. Either way you aren't getting the info you want.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Lombra View Post
    People could tell you whatever to stop being tortured.
    Not if they’re being tortured in a zone of truth.
    Spoiler: To My Fellow Empire Players and GM
    Show
    I may tend to come across as negative, as I usually post when something is wrong or to winge, but I really like this game so far and I'm having loads of fun. Thank you everyone for making it such a great experience!


    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    You are walking down the hallways following the map. You make a left turn, two right turns, step over a tripwire, and turn into a secret door.
    Quote Originally Posted by Player
    I turn into a secret door? Dang the traps in this place are OP!

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Lombra View Post
    People could tell you whatever to stop being tortured.

    That's why you don't stop torturing them and keep asking question even if they answered. Plus you can use family/precious possessions as leverage, torture is a form of art, it can give you what you want if you try hard enough.

    But yeah, you would be evil if you were to torture someone. Even for the greater good.
    Good and Evil are subjective

    There is - Do the most Good
    There is - Do the least Evil

    You claim that Torture makes you Evil, which means you believe in Do the least Evil

    If the Torture results* in saving of millions, then Do the most Good means that you're a Good person because you Tortured him.
    You would be Evil if you refused, since it would be condemning millions for your personal selfishness


    Disclaimer
    (* I know Torture doesn't work, but we have to assume it does for a philosophical debate)

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    or instead of reacting like a 5 year old yourself, you present an argument?

    If a person believes that ratting out a Mob Boss is the most dangerous thing they can think of
    Ratting out a Mob Boss is an obviously harmful act
    The spell WOULD end immediately
    Or, rather than discuss torture methods at a mixed table of casual acquaintances and people who’ve just met each other, you spend a resource to move the story forward.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    In the real world, this is very true. However, in D&D the Zone of Truth spell makes torture much more viable as a method of interrogation, since the torturee can only speak the truth in their attempts to get you to stop. They can’t even give false confessions, a huge problem in modern interrogations, since that would knowingly be a lie. (except in very special circumstances)
    That's why you need multiple torture victims that can't communicate with each other. So you can compare their stories.

    Torture can in fact work, but it can't be your only data point. As with any intelligence work it has to be one point independently generated and compared with other data points to draw a picture of what the most likely true scenarios are. Without other data points to compare and contrast to you just have to rely on your insight check to hopefully tell when they've given up on lying to you.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    You would probably want to use Dispel Magic on him prior to Zone of Truth in case he had Glibness on him. I would think torture would work some of the time. Rephrased, I don't think it's the case that torture has never worked.
    Last edited by lall; 2017-12-06 at 07:54 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    In a world with as much killing as the campains I play in have a bit of torture is the least of our problems.
    Last edited by MarkVIIIMarc; 2017-12-06 at 08:29 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    or instead of reacting like a 5 year old yourself, you present an argument?

    If a person believes that ratting out a Mob Boss is the most dangerous thing they can think of
    Ratting out a Mob Boss is an obviously harmful act
    The spell WOULD end immediately
    Answering the question isn't harmful, though, otherwise you could argur Chaos Theory renders the spell unable to actually do anything.

    'Trollface'.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Not if they’re being tortured in a zone of truth.
    of course they can, they just remain silent until they pass a save and can lie.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Playing a LG Paladin, obviously I only employ brutal degrading torture on evildoers like Orc children and the like.

    Or on human children if its needed for the 'greater good', like stopping Hitler drive a rail carriage into 5 innocents tied to the tracks or something.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by StoicLeaf View Post
    of course they can, they just remain silent until they pass a save and can lie.
    Torture is not conducive to "remaining silent". It's not like they just decide to reward the torturer for working so hard, and speak up.
    Argue in good faith.

    And try to remember that these are people.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by StoicLeaf View Post
    of course they can, they just remain silent until they pass a save and can lie.
    Just remain silent? Did you forget about the torture part?

    It hasn't come up in my games, but I'd rather skip the brutality if it comes up. I like the Enchantment suggestions and Zone of Truth best. A little pain like a punch to the gut will be fine, but bribery, blackmail and intimidation are better.

    But personally, the best interrogation tool is Insight. I take Insight on all my characters. Knowing what motivates someone is a powerful tool.

    "You know, my large sharp-toothed friend here loves nothing better than hurting people. It's a character flaw we're working on; she hasn't castrated anyone bare handed in days now. But then you have bodies to dispose of and blood to clean up, it's all very messy really." *watches closely* "But I can see you're a tough one. You've got a job to protect, right? And he pays you well enough?" (first data point: look for signs of loyalty; if not, try bribe; otherwise continue)

    "Oh I see. Well that's unfortunate, my friend, because I really need this information. I tell you what. Let me try your colleague. He's over there trying to keep his brains from leaking out. He's a bit muddled, so it shouldn't be too hard to get some answers. I wonder, do you talk during your shift? Does he know where I can find your family? They'll want to know where to find your body when I'm gone." (second data point: family is *instant* leverage)

    Simply watching for reactions can tell you a LOT about what motivates people. A rambling conversation like this could be run as a skill challenge. You're casually throwing out threats, but not to intimidate; the intimidate will come once you've found a string to pull on. And that will tell you if you can bribe, blackmail, or threaten his children, all without so much as a thumbscrew.

    Though such a character just might be a bit of a psycho, it still avoids graphic torture at the table, no? You could run it as a persuasive conversation instead of an intimidating one; emphasise you're sorry you had to hurt the guards, but the doomsday clock is ticking and the evil Lich is about to win. Ask him where he's from, connect with him, then offer a deal. You'll still be looking for data points but this time it's to offer the carrot, not the stick. Let him go to grab his family and run from the approaching army if he helps you bring down the bad guy. And Insight is still your main tool for this.
    Last edited by Mjolnirbear; 2017-12-07 at 02:25 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Mjolnirbear View Post
    the best interrogation tool is Insight
    The problem with Insight is that it's a double edge sword

    If you fail the roll, then you believe the person

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    The problem with Insight is that it's a double edge sword

    If you fail the roll, then you believe the person
    I suppose you can interpret it that way, but I don't think you need to.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB p. 178
    Insight. Your Wisdom (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone's next move.
    You could say that if you fail your check, your character is no wiser than the player. You can still choose to believe or disbelieve, or to keep searching for the truth.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-12-07 at 02:48 AM.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook - My D&D 5th ed. Campaign Wiki

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Interrogation, Torture, and You

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    I suppose you can interpret it that way, but I don't think you need to.



    You could say that if you fail your check, your character is no wiser than the player. You can still choose to believe or disbelieve, or to keep searching for the truth.
    Across multiple tables I've played on (but admittedly not always) there have been an idea of keeping the game free of meta game knowledge

    Basically what you as a player knows, shouldn't be what you as the player knows

    If a DM tells information to one of the PC, while your PC was not around then your character shouldn't know that information
    So an insight check has often been that it's your characters intuition. So if you fail it, against the opposing Persuasion check.
    Then you should believe that the person is telling the truth.

    Now, if you have evidence against what he said. Then you really didn't need an insight check.

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