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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    smile A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    So I'm in the town and using my disguise self ability to make sure no one can see I'm actually a humanoid tiger with my arms on backwards. I just have to hope that no one touches me or uses an intelligence check to work out that I'm actually a humanoid tiger. If I'm in trouble I could use Major Image but there's still a chance to detect that. A charmed bodyguard will help, especially if I also pay him. Dominate Person is a last resort.

    I'm using my Detect Thoughts ability to cheat at cards tonight. I can only get surface thoughts for one one round before the target is likely to notice.

    I thought about murdering the town mayor and taking his place but I rate my ability to go undetected as pretty low for more than about a week, using the abilities I have.

    Here's the issues I need to overcome

    1) maintaining the secret identity
    2) maintaining a "lineage"
    3) leveraging that identity to further my goals (getting rich and not having to do any actual work)

    I can escape easily enough using Invisibility or Plane Shift but otherwise I can't quite see why I have a CR of 13.

    Any help on how to use my abilities to find a place in elite society? Should I just bite the bullet and hire myself out as a kidnapper?
    Last edited by Longman; 2017-12-07 at 06:24 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    You have 20 in CHA, +10 in CHA (Deception), and Disguise Self at will. The DC to pierce your illusions is 18.

    It's all you need to make people believe you're an human.

    For that matter, it's all you need to make you get hired anywhere.

    Also, why the hell use Detect thought? You have +8 in WIS (Insight), you don't need it to wing a card game.

    As to why you're CR 13: Limited Magic Immunity.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    The DC to pierce your illusions is 18.
    Which is great for a one-off against some unsuspecting folks, but sooner or later my number is going to come up if I hang about pretending to be the mayor for too long. Or, any high profile figure that I am not. That's a 10% chance to fail...

    Just out of curiosity, how would other GMs handle this? Is an illusion DC of 18 pretty safe to go undetected for years at a time?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Well, first thing, remember that Intelligence (Investigation) check isn't free. People don't get them just for seeing you. They have to choose to spend an action really examining you, which is something most people won't bother with. I know I don't stop and spend six seconds examining everyone I meet to see if they're in disguise. Don't do anything suspicious and there's a good chance you can go weeks or months without anyone even rolling versus your spell save DC. And at DC 18, most people will fail even if they do roll. Your average guard has a +0 Investigation check. As long as you stay away from A) adventurers B) scholars/wizards and C) elite detectives, you're pretty set.

    Still, the best way to minimize chances is to limit public exposure, which means acting through intermediaries wherever possible. This actually is easier as a member of the upper class. You don't go grocery shopping, you send your servants to do it. And those servants should be picked either for being dumb as rocks, loyal (whether from magic or mundane means), or both. And as a noble, people are much less likely to touch you uninvited. Stay away from dances, though.
    Last edited by ShikomeKidoMi; 2017-12-06 at 09:07 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    As to why you're CR 13: Limited Magic Immunity.
    I think you mean "Bend Causality"
    Argue in good faith.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post
    Well, first thing, remember that Intelligence (Investigation) check isn't free. People don't get them just for seeing you. They have to choose to spend an action really examining you, which is something most people won't bother with. I know I don't stop and spend six seconds examining everyone I meet to see if they're in disguise. Don't do anything suspicious and there's a good chance you can go weeks or months without anyone even rolling versus your spell save DC. And at DC 18, most people will fail even if they do roll. Your average guard has a +0 Investigation check. As long as you stay away from A) adventurers B) scholars/wizards and C) elite detectives, you're pretty set.

    Still, the best way to minimize chances is to limit public exposure, which means acting through intermediaries wherever possible. This actually is easier as a member of the upper class. You don't go grocery shopping, you send your servants to do it. And those servants should be picked either for being dumb as rocks, loyal (whether from magic or mundane means), or both. And as a noble, people are much less likely to touch you uninvited. Stay away from dances, though.
    Nice. The mayor makes limited appearances on a balcony and otherwise has his minions do everything.

    The initial approach is still tricky, though. Mayor gets waylaid somehow and replaced by me. At least some of his minions might get an initial check to see if they can pierce my disguise? They've been serving the mayor for years. I hardly knew they guy before I killed him off.

    No dances. Noted. It's a shame seeing as this is exactly the sort of high-class frolics I want to get involved with as a rakshasa. But never mind.

    On a rules question - - would someone with disguise skill (or Deception) get any bonuses on the save to pierce their disguise illusions?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    The initial approach is still tricky, though. Mayor gets waylaid somehow and replaced by me. At least some of his minions might get an initial check to see if they can pierce my disguise? They've been serving the mayor for years. I hardly knew they guy before I killed him off.
    Again, it takes an action, but these people are much more likely to bother taking it, if they think you're acting off. The best thing to do would probably be to arrange the deaths of the Mayor's senior staff or otherwise get rid of them around the time you replace him, thus leaving you with a bunch of newcomers who didn't know him well. Bandit raid, framed for treason and executed, reassigned to the outer districts, whatever. Of course, mind-bending magic like Suggestion makes this transition easier.

    No dances. Noted. It's a shame seeing as this is exactly the sort of high-class frolics I want to get involved with as a rakshasa. But never mind.
    Maybe if none of the local dances involve touching, but I wouldn't bet on it. Still, I'm sure there's plenty of other high society events.

    On a rules question - - would someone with disguise skill (or Deception) get any bonuses on the save to pierce their disguise illusions?
    Not in rules as written.
    Last edited by ShikomeKidoMi; 2017-12-06 at 09:45 PM.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Replace a servant or servants child who has access. Watch, study, and shadow. Find a moment and strike. Then assume the identity.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Your complaint is with Bounded Accuracy.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    The Rakshasa isn't going toe to toe with his opponents. He's disguising himself as various mooks and whittling down his targets ability to regain spells and ability uses through his curse. He can attack most things with impunity as he's immune to mundane means of self defense and many magical means. Once he's managed to end the parties ability to rest it's a matter of stealing their magic weapons and infiltrating any group that could potentially render aid to his target.

    As for taking over a town, he should be able to become the mayor through legitimate means provided he disguises himself as a not-tigermonster. If things are looking close, he can disguise himself as his political opponent and do nasty things in public. He could push for a new mayoral selection by publicly murdering the current mayor while disguised as the person most likely to become the next mayor.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrugner View Post
    As for taking over a town, he should be able to become the mayor through legitimate means provided he disguises himself as a not-tigermonster. If things are looking close, he can disguise himself as his political opponent and do nasty things in public. He could push for a new mayoral selection by publicly murdering the current mayor while disguised as the person most likely to become the next mayor.
    Assuming Mayor is an elected position, as it is in the modern age, as opposed to an inherited one, as it sometimes was in the past.

    Of course, if it's inherited the easy answer to 'how to keep people suspicious about your personality changing' is to replace the mayor's heir and then bump him off. You're doing things differently because you're a different person. And if your personality seems more hedonistic and cruel than the heir originally did, then obviously that's just the power going to your head.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Have a custom magical item made (from an outlaw wizard or somesuch) that casts alter self 3/day? Should be rare quality at most, I think.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post
    Assuming Mayor is an elected position, as it is in the modern age, as opposed to an inherited one, as it sometimes was in the past.

    Of course, if it's inherited the easy answer to 'how to keep people suspicious about your personality changing' is to replace the mayor's heir and then bump him off. You're doing things differently because you're a different person. And if your personality seems more hedonistic and cruel than the heir originally did, then obviously that's just the power going to your head.
    He should probably keep the heir in a dungeon somewhere though. That way when the town's people call for his head he can pretend to skip town, then double back, adopt the identity of a local hero or law enforcement person, stuff that person in the dungeon and then ride in to town with the real heir dead across their saddle and reap the benefits of their heroic deed. Repeat as needed.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    How many of the townspeople are PCs?

    For any townspeople who aren't PCs, it's simple: the rakshasa fools everyone you want it to fool all of the time. No checks required.
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Rakshas' Boo, what's the matter with ya?

    You don't act like the other Rakshasa,

    You wear a disguise to look like human guys,

    But you're not a man, you're a tiger Boo!
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee_Dragon View Post
    How many of the townspeople are PCs?

    For any townspeople who aren't PCs, it's simple: the rakshasa fools everyone you want it to fool all of the time. No checks required.
    This, I think, is the best answer.
    Argue in good faith.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Your complaint is with Bounded Accuracy.
    Not really - other than a mention of the fact that the CR seems a bit too high, this wasn't a complaint. Just a thread about monster behaviour rather than character builds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee_Dragon View Post
    How many of the townspeople are PCs?

    For any townspeople who aren't PCs, it's simple: the rakshasa fools everyone you want it to fool all of the time. No checks required.
    I prefer not to take this approach. Identifying limits and problems for the creature seems to come up with more interesting scenarios. If you don't do that, you get the PCs coming along and blowing wide open something that has fooled everyone else for years, and that seems less than satisfying.

    That doesn't mean I roll every day for all the listed NPCs or anything crazy like that. I just don't allow automatic sucess. If you grant automatic sucess you don't think up things like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrugner View Post
    He should probably keep the heir in a dungeon somewhere though. That way when the town's people call for his head he can pretend to skip town, then double back, adopt the identity of a local hero or law enforcement person, stuff that person in the dungeon and then ride in to town with the real heir dead across their saddle and reap the benefits of their heroic deed. Repeat as needed.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Cespenar View Post
    Have a custom magical item made (from an outlaw wizard or somesuch) that casts alter self 3/day? Should be rare quality at most, I think.
    Yes, good plan. Also required would be something to cover over the smell of pipe tobacco hanging around a person who doesn't smoke...

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    I prefer not to take this approach. Identifying limits and problems for the creature seems to come up with more interesting scenarios. If you don't do that, you get the PCs coming along and blowing wide open something that has fooled everyone else for years, and that seems less than satisfying.
    Shrug, it might seem less satisfying to you, but if the players never know all the clever things you have planned, then what's the difference? It might be fun as a thought exercise, but really, NPCs don't operate by the same rules that PCs do. Skill checks are pretty much a PC only thing, because trying to apply that probability to wide scales and timeframes is going to give skewed results, IMO.

    Besides, if you make your creature "too" intelligent, it becomes impossible to rationalize your players ever figuring it out in the first place. Every eventuality is countered unless your players are vastly more clever than you IRL.

    The mystery should be solvable, and I think I was reading an AngryGM article that said mysteries should have at least 3 clues per step, because any less than that and parties will tend to miss them all.
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-07 at 04:55 PM.
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    Shrug, it might seem less satisfying to you, but if the players never know all the clever things you have planned, then what's the difference? It might be fun as a thought exercise, but really, NPCs don't operate by the same rules that PCs do. Skill checks are pretty much a PC only thing, because trying to apply that probability to wide scales and timeframes is going to give skewed results, IMO.

    Besides, if you make your creature "too" intelligent, it becomes impossible to rationalize your players ever figuring it out in the first place. Every eventuality is countered unless your players are vastly more clever than you IRL.

    The mystery should be solvable, and I think I was reading an AngryGM article that said mysteries should have at least 3 clues per step, because any less than that and parties will tend to miss them all.
    Mostly agreed, especiallly on the different scales for PC action and the rest of the world. My point was that a little thinking about how the monster would actually operate with its limitations could make a more interesting sceanrio in the first place, and also develop some of the clues you need to solve it. I'm not looking for perfect monster planning.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    Mostly agreed, especiallly on the different scales for PC action and the rest of the world. My point was that a little thinking about how the monster would actually operate with its limitations could make a more interesting sceanrio in the first place, and also develop some of the clues you need to solve it. I'm not looking for perfect monster planning.
    Ah, fair enough.

    Well, if you want to be methodical about it, list it all out. You have his assets done already.

    What issues would he need to overcome? The three main points are:

    1) maintaining the secret identity
    2) maintaining a "lineage"
    3) leveraging that identity to further his goals (whatever they are)

    edit: it would be helpful to put up the framework in the OP and then we can all reference it to solve particular issues
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-07 at 05:23 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    That doesn't mean I roll every day for all the listed NPCs or anything crazy like that. I just don't allow automatic sucess. If you grant automatic sucess you don't think up things like this:
    That's why I said it tricks everyone you want it to. When you consider what a creature might succeed or fail at before the PCs enter the stage, what does actual dice rolling contribute to your conception and design of the situation? The problem, if there is one, is not bounded accuracy but viewing the system for skill challenges as a physics engine that the world runs on even when the PCs aren't in the room, or a verification instance you need to defer to when setting up a scenario.

    Here's a relevant part of the rules to keep in mind: ability checks happen when the DM calls for them, not every time the world state fires a trigger event. Players will enthusiastically call for them, but technically aren't entitled to them. NPCs typically shouldn't call for them, because randomly adjudicating NPC-to-NPC interaction is little more meaningful than NPC-to-NPC dialogue. As a rule, checks should happen as a result of player agency, when there's a chance of success, a chance of failure, and either outcome is meaningful and relevant to the scenario. Therefore, if you have a plot hook that involves a rakshasa impersonating a mayor, then it's jolly well already done that. Any possibility of the infiltration failing outright before the PCs arrive is dismissed as irrelevant. (Unless that's what you actually want to do - "Hello hello, we had a rakshasa here in town last week impersonating the mayor, but it blew one of its numerous contested checks and now it's holed up in that toolshed, there's a beer in it if you run it off" - but for now I'm assuming it's not.)

    Any complications on the rakshasa's part become pieces of the setup. When you introduce the PCs to the fake mayor, they may have no possibility of demasking him right away because they don't know him. Maybe they pick up enough strange vibes and rumours to find the situation worth investigating. Other NPCs with more knowledge but less initiative become potential sources of information and a way to discover inconsistencies and irregularities. Those NPCs themselves don't connect all the dots because that's not their role in the game, again unless the scenario calls for them to do so at some specific time and circumstance. Maybe someone did suspect or discover the imposter but were exiled or eaten as appropriate, and then maybe they left some clues or forensic evidence. The important thing is not how big a chance they had of making the specific check that determined their fate against some arbitrary number in a default stat block; you decide what happened based on what's best for the scenario where the PCs are in the starring roles. The world doesn't run on stats and checks. They pop in as abstract tools only when needed.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    A plate armor would hide 99% of what can give the Rakshasa away. You could have it pretend to be a knight.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee_Dragon View Post
    The problem, if there is one, is not bounded accuracy but viewing the system for skill challenges as a physics engine that the world runs on even when the PCs aren't in the room, or a verification instance you need to defer to when setting up a scenario.

    The world doesn't run on stats and checks. They pop in as abstract tools only when needed.
    Viewing the skill check system as an engine for determining reality is actually what I'm talking about, to a limited extent. Again, I don't mean rolling any dice. I simply mean the rakshasa making an estimation of his own chances of being able to impersonate a high profile figure for a long period, and realising it is quite likely to fail, because some periodic NPC intelligence checks would be expected. So instead, he's going to make a deal with a corruptible high profile figure whom the rakshsa will impersonate on certain occcassions to their mutual advantage. The rakshasa only has to appear in limited circumstances (like trade deals).

    This kind of thinking is only neccessary in certain parts of scenario design. I'm not worried about whether the farmer's animal handling skill is actually high enough, or if the town guard will continually get killed if they were using the same city encounter table as the PCs.

    Having the raakshsa pretend to be a knight is another good idea. Maybe he's into jousting or mock combat...

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Alternate possibility: don't become classic "high society". Not yet, at least. Start off with a Thieves' Guild, or the equivalent thereof. A Rakshasa would make an amazing Guild Leader, with their abilities, and you'll be pretty close to, if not at least, as powerful as a mayor or somesuch would be. As head of the guild, you're in a great position to study the "high society" you're looking at, so that you can get what information you'll need before starting your infiltration.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    Viewing the skill check system as an engine for determining reality is actually what I'm talking about, to a limited extent. Again, I don't mean rolling any dice. I simply mean the rakshasa making an estimation of his own chances of being able to impersonate a high profile figure for a long period, and realising it is quite likely to fail, because some periodic NPC intelligence checks would be expected. So instead, he's going to make a deal with a corruptible high profile figure whom the rakshsa will impersonate on certain occcassions to their mutual advantage. The rakshasa only has to appear in limited circumstances (like trade deals).

    This kind of thinking is only neccessary in certain parts of scenario design. I'm not worried about whether the farmer's animal handling skill is actually high enough, or if the town guard will continually get killed if they were using the same city encounter table as the PCs.

    Having the raakshsa pretend to be a knight is another good idea. Maybe he's into jousting or mock combat...
    Again, I get you're going for a certain amount of verisimilitude, but the point being made here is that the system is not set up for long term checks or estimating based on difficulty. 5E was pretty explicitly set up as a narrative and not as a simulation. You're searching for a numerical justification when none is necessary.

    Just remove the bolded and think of a reasonable, plausible explanation (that doesn't involve a detailed statistical analysis). You can think of more "sub-explanations" when you get to it, but I think you're being stuck on the numbers game. I'd be far more concerned with motivations than with probabilities if you want this to seem realistic.

    You could focus on the corruptible figure instead:

    1) does the guy even know it's a rakshasa?
    - if not, how do you think he'll respond if he finds out, say, through the PCs?
    - if yes, why would he work with the rakshasa
    2) why does the rakshasa have to work with this guy?
    - is he "blackmailing" the rakshasa because he figured out his identity somehow?
    - does he have information or connections the rakshasa can't otherwise replicate or obtain?
    - friendship ... maybe? (unlikely)

    Stuff like that. "Why" is far more interesting than "how long" or "how often".
    Argue in good faith.

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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    Viewing the skill check system as an engine for determining reality is actually what I'm talking about, to a limited extent. Again, I don't mean rolling any dice. I simply mean the rakshasa making an estimation of his own chances of being able to impersonate a high profile figure for a long period, and realising it is quite likely to fail, because some periodic NPC intelligence checks would be expected. So instead, he's going to make a deal with a corruptible high profile figure whom the rakshsa will impersonate on certain occcassions to their mutual advantage. The rakshasa only has to appear in limited circumstances (like trade deals).
    OK, I might have misread your initial post, then; what I got from it was roughly, "I have this idea for what a rakshasa might do, but what I see in its stat block doesn't seem cut out for it, and Detect Thoughts doesn't work the way it would have to, darnit". To which my answer would be, fidelity to the default stat block and spell functionality is not important enough to veto your ideas. But if you're confident that the alternative scenario that seems a better fit for the printed abilities will work at least as well then all's going fine.
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    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee_Dragon View Post
    OK, I might have misread your initial post, then; what I got from it was roughly, "I have this idea for what a rakshasa might do, but what I see in its stat block doesn't seem cut out for it, and Detect Thoughts doesn't work the way it would have to, darnit".
    Yeah, my initial post was supposed to be a light-hearted attempt to put myself in the monster's shoes, but I can see how it came off as me complaining that the powers in 5e are too limited...

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    I'd be far more concerned with motivations than with probabilities if you want this to seem realistic.

    You could focus on the corruptible figure instead:

    1) does the guy even know it's a rakshasa?
    - if not, how do you think he'll respond if he finds out, say, through the PCs?
    - if yes, why would he work with the rakshasa
    2) why does the rakshasa have to work with this guy?
    - is he "blackmailing" the rakshasa because he figured out his identity somehow?
    - does he have information or connections the rakshasa can't otherwise replicate or obtain?
    - friendship ... maybe? (unlikely)

    Stuff like that. "Why" is far more interesting than "how long" or "how often".
    Sure...but if I'd simply said "the rakshasa's powers are easily enough to pose as whoever he wants," then I wouldn't be asking any of those other more detailed questions. I'm only asking them because in my estimatiion, the powers aren't enough, so he has to play a different game. You might say I could have thought that way anyway, but I do kinda like to work within the stat block. And, I'm only ever doing one rakshasa in the campaign, so I want it to be cool.

    Your ideas about blackmailing the rakshasa (presumably with public exposure?) are interesting. Thanks.
    Last edited by Longman; 2017-12-07 at 07:13 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by Longman View Post
    Sure...but if I'd simply said "the rakshasa's powers are easily enough to pose as whoever he wants," then I wouldn't be asking any of those other more detailed questions. I'm only asking them because in my estimatiion, the powers aren't enough, so he has to play a different game. You might say I could have thought that way anyway, but I do kinda like to work within the stat block. And, I'm only ever doing one rakshasa in the campaign, so I want it to be cool.

    Your ideas about blackmailing the rakshasa (presumably with public exposure?) are interesting. Thanks.
    No problem, this is a pretty interesting plot exercise. There's a pathfinder module in ... Curse of the Crimson Throne ... I think? that had to do with a criminal syndicate that was headed by rakshasa in secret. Might want to give that a read if you can find it, or a wiki on it.

    If you want to make things super interesting have the rakshasa play two super secret boss heads that hate each other. Or have him try to manipulate the different factions of the city into open war so he can take total control of what's left.

    The secret to a good con is playing both sides, after all.

    The PCs can come in as contractors who *eventually* figure out that all sides are being played for a larger endgame.
    Last edited by krugaan; 2017-12-07 at 07:32 PM.
    Argue in good faith.

    And try to remember that these are people.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: A Rakshasa goes out for a night on the town

    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan View Post
    The PCs can come in as contractors who *eventually* figure out that all sides are being played for a larger endgame.
    The final twist: they too are all the rakshasa.
    Ur-member and coffee caterer of the fan club.

    I wish people would stop using phrases such as "in my humble opinion", "just my two cents", and "we're out of coffee".

    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for they are out drinking coffee and, like, whatever.

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