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Tagline: In 32 slim pages Three Days to Kill manages to not only present a really gut-wrenching, fast-paced, creative adventure, but also conjures into existence a highly entertaining, evocative, and believable slice of a fantasy world.

Three Days to KillI’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks reading really bad fantasy modules. It is difficult to describe to you the truly excruciating pain of this experience. Instead, I shall endeavor to demonstrate by way of example:

“The characters are in Boringtown. There is a bar, a temple, and an armory.”

“The characters are in Moronsburg. There is a bar, a temple, and a general store.”

“The characters are in Clicheville. There is a bar, a temple, and a blacksmith. The mayor approaches them….”

“At the bottom of the farmer’s well there is a secret door which has not been opened in centuries. On the other side of the door is a labyrinth containing giant spiders and goblins. Kill them.”

“The abandoned mansion on the top of the hill has become home to a bunch of necromancers and a couple of ghosts. Kill them.”

“The PCs wander around the desert enjoying random encounters until they stumble across a lost pyramid. There they watch two mummies fight over conflicts which existed thousands of years ago (and about which the PCs know nothing). When the fight is over (make sure that the PCs don’t take part in any way) the PCs get to go home.”

Oy.

Between painfully artificial settings, a mind-numbing lack of originality, and stunningly awful “plots”, these so-called “adventures” have earned their designers an eternity upon the racks of the Nine Circles of Hell.

(On the plus side, I think actually playing through these scenarios counts as a form of penance. The equivalent of saying fifty Hail Mary’s or something of that nature.)

(The funny thing is that you think I’m kidding. Outside of those satiric town names, though, I’m not – these things actually exist. They’re out there and they’re waiting for you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

There were days when I felt like giving in to a nascent Oedipal Complex… and by that I mean stabbing my eyes out with pins to take the sight of these monstrosities away from me.

But through the good graces of providence, a copy of John Tynes’ excellent Three Days to Kill fell into my hands, and thus I was saved from a truly horrific fate.

PRODUCTION NOTES

Before we begin:

John Tynes is a roleplaying designer and writer of immense talents: He was one of the founders of Pagan Publishing. He was a co-author of Delta Green. With Greg Stolze he designed the award winning Unknown Armies for Atlas Games. Last year Hogshead Publishing’s New Style line published his amazingly evocative Puppetland and the startlingly innovative Power Kill.

With Three Days to Kill Tynes has taken advantage of WotC’s D20 Trademark License and Open Gaming License (see the Open Gaming Foundation for more details on both of these programs) to produce a module for the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This is the lead-off product in Atlas Games’ new Penumbra line of products. Over the next few months you can expect to see more support material for D&D3 released through this imprint.

Three Days to Kill is designed for a party of 1st to 3rd level PCs.

And now on with the show:

THE SETTING

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for Three Days to Kill. Players who may end up playing in this module are encouraged to stop reading now. Proceed at your own risk.

Three Days to Kill is set in the Deeps, a valley nestled within a mountain range. At the heart of this valley, located on the shores of Shadow Lake, is Deeptown.

And as quickly as that we have come to the first major strength of Three Days to Kill: Deeptown is a generic fantasy city. It has been specifically designed to slip seamlessly into any DM’s campaign world.

The minute you attempt something like this you’ve placed yourself in dangerous territory: If you make the town too specific, then its usefulness as a generic setting is lost. If you make the town too generic, however, you end up with the triteness of “there is a bar, a temple, and a blacksmith”.

Tynes, however, deftly avoids these pitfalls. On the one hand Deeptown is imminently generic – any DM with a mountain range can slap the town into place. On the other hand, Deeptown is also developed very specifically – it exists for a purpose, the people living there have their own character and culture, and the whole place has a dynamic quality which makes it not only a potential setting for Three Days to Kill, but many other adventures. Despite the fact that Deeptown can be placed almost anywhere in the DM’s campaign world, it has been craftily designed so that – no matter what world you place it in – it will seem as if always belonged there.

So what is Deeptown? Deeptown is a small city located on the shores of Shadow Lake, a way-point on the east-west trade routes that pass through the Deeps. The mountainous terrain of this trade route makes it easy for bandits to prey on caravans, and, in fact, any number of bandit gangs roam the hills. This helps make Deeptown particularly attractive for young adventures and other assorted muscle looking for jobs as guards (or opportunities as thieves, as the case may be).

There are six bandit lords in the area (although, as Tynes points out, “calling them ‘lords’ gives them too much credit, really — they’re just competent thugs”). The two largest groups are controlled by the bandits Modus and Lucien.

Deeptown itself is technically ruled over by the Town Council, but in truth it is the Trade Circle – the local guild of commerce – which rules the city from behind the scenes. In other words, even the law in Deeptown is governed by the corruption of the all-mighty dollar.

This leaves only one major power group left to consider: Religion. In Deeptown the two most significant religious groups are the Holy Order (dedicated to the preservation of life) and the Sect of Sixty (a group of diabolists). (Both of these groups – while having their structure and general role in Deeptown life laid out in the module – are left purposely vague in all the right places to that you can plug in whatever gods you like. For example, the Holy Order might worship Athena and the Sect of Sixty Hades. On the other hand, the Holy Order might revere Adaire, Goddess of Light and Purity; while the Sect of Sixty might practice foul sacrifices to Cthulhu. It’s all up to you.)

Basically the setting information in Three Days to Kill can be summed up like this: A solid, interesting foundation. For a 32 page module a surprising amount of detail is included, giving the setting a life and reality of its own through the expert application of a handful of deft brush strokes – all the while maintaining an openness and flexibility which will make its use simplicity itself.

THE PLOT

Modus and Lucien, the two premiere Bandit Lords, have long hoped to turn “legitimate” (within a broad enough definition of that word). They hope to use their strength in order to convince the Trade Circle to ally with them – essentially moving into the protection rackets (expensive Trade Circle permits would be sold, and caravans which purchased them would be spared from the attention of Modus and Lucien). In the interest of seeing this day come to pass, Modus and Lucien agreed to a pact – stating that neither would enter into a deal with the Trade Circle without the other.

Lucien, however, is no longer willing to wait. He has made a secret alliance with the Sect of Sixty. Lucien wants to use the Sect to use their supernatural powers to help him crush Modus, while the Sect wants to use Lucien to help them gain a foothold over the taxation of trade routes (when his day of power comes).

Modus, although hazy on the exact details of the alliance Lucien is planning, knows that his would-be ally is up to something. Of course, he’d prefer it if Lucien was not allowed to be up to anything…

…and that’s where the PCs come in.

One way or another the PCs are attending the Festival of Plenty (a night of debauchery and infamy which is thrown annually in Deeptown by the Sect of Sixty). Several ways of getting them to Deeptown and into the Festival are given, as are a number of ways of having them prove their worth during the course of the festival. One way or another, however, they come to the attention of Modus’ men – at which point they are approached for The Job.

The Job is this: Modus knows that Lucien is meeting with his mysterious allies at a villa north of Deeptown known as Trail’s End. He wants the PCs to crash the party, screw up the meeting, and make Lucien look foolish and unreliable to his would-be supporters. The PCs, of course, will be well paid for their troubles.

So the PCs head north. On the way to Trail’s End they discover signs of orc activity in the region (which is connected to a coming of age rite), but it isn’t until they reach Trail’s End that the adventure really kicks into overdrive: You see, the villa is packed full of Sect cultists and bandits.

And if the PCs rush the front door of the villa, they’re going to be annihilated.

Three Days to Kill is, in fact, a rather ingenious scenario for bringing the gameplay of computer games like Tenchu and Thief: The Dark Project — which emphasize stealth and cunning over brute strength – into the traditional roleplaying realm of D&D. (Tynes actually uses the analogy Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – but that requires a larger genre shift in my opinion.) The PCs are given weapons, magical items, and a situation which allows them to scout their enemy, plan a strategy, and then carry out a covert operation.

Done right this can be a lot of fun. Done wrong this is going to be nothing more than a hackfest. Either way you should get a good dose of fun before it’s all said and done. Basically its going to play out something like this:

The PCs are going to take out the bandits and the Sect henchman. As they do so, the Sect acolytes are going to fall back to a secluded room inside the villa. In this room is the Bone Mirror – a mystic artifact of great evil which allows them to start gating low-level minions of Hell into the villa.

As the minions of Hell swarm over the villa – and the PCs fight valiantly to reach and shut off the source of the Hellspawn – the remaining bandits will flee… as they do so the orcs (remember them form the trek north?) will come over the top of the hill and charge the villa as well.

Hellspawn on one side. Orcs on the other. Bandits and PCs trapped in the middle. What’s a hero to do?

Smash the Bone Mirror and fight for their lives, of course!

But we’re not done yet!

When the shattered pieces of the Bone Mirror come to rest they begin to bleed. “The blood wells up from the mirror and oozes out of the bones.” At first it merely trickles, but “then the blood comes faster, coating the floor around the shards, and begins to expand rapidly. Tendrils shoot out across the floor and begin running up the walls. As the blood spreads, it transforms the surfaces of the room. The floor bulges, and bones, flesh, and faces to begin to form. The effect spreads rapidly, accompanied by the screams of the damned.” As the process begins to effect the acolytes and orcs who still remain alive, these poor creatures begin to cry out: “He Who Walks is coming! The coming is at hand!”

The shards of the Bone Mirror transform the Trail’s End villa into the Bone Church – an outpost of Hell; a “pulsing, living, screaming conglomeration of bodies”. The PCs and the remnants of their opponents are forced to flee before the birth of this diabolic power.

And thus Three Days to Kill comes to an end: The PCs have, indeed, succeeded at their primary mission (breaking up the alliance between Lucien and the Sect of Sixty) – at least for now – but only by unleashing the seeds of future adventure: The mystery and threat of the Bone Church, the future of the Bandit Lords of the Deeps, the PCs relationship with Lucien and Modus, the evolving politics of Deeptown. Whether you decide to carry these seeds through to new adventures, or merely choose to have the PCs join the next caravan out of the Deeps, is entirely up to you. Three Days to Kill works equally well as a stand-alone adventure or as the germination point of an entire campaign.

CONCLUSION

Three Days to Kill is one of the best damn modules I’ve ever plunked down my cold, hard cash for. It’s one of those great gaming products that makes you instantly eager to call up your gaming group, roll up some characters, and get down to some serious roleplaying.

In 32 slim pages it manages to not only present a really gut-wrenching, fast-paced, creative adventure, but also conjures into existence a highly entertaining, evocative, and believable slice of a fantasy world.

Three Days to Kill is an exciting product.

And recommendations don’t come much higher than that.

Style: 4
Substance: 5

Author: John Tynes
Company/Publisher: Atlas Games (Penumbra)
Cost: $8.95
Page Count: 32
ISBN: 0-887801-94-4

Originally Posted: 2000/10/29

This represents a major turning point in my life. At this point, as I’d indicated in my review of Tomb of Horrors, I hadn’t played D&D in nearly a decade. 3rd Edition had perked my interest, but I wasn’t really planning to do much of anything with it. Until I picked up Three Days to Kill at GenCon. And, as I said in the review, Three Days to Kill was exciting. It was one of those products that just kind of screams, “Play me!”

So I ended up taking over as GM for what was my regular gaming group at the time. And from that point forward, 3rd Edition would dominate my reviews, my personal gaming, and my freelance writing.

Three Days to Kill generated a lot of buzz when it first came out because it was one of two third party modules available at GenCon when the Player’s Handbook launched. These days it seems to have become something of an unsung classic, though, with fewer people being aware of its existence. I heartily recommend snagging a copy for yourself and running it ASAP.

For an explanation of where these reviews came from and why you can no longer find them at RPGNet, click here.

 

This article originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of Campaign Magazine. It originated as a set of house rules I used in my original 3rd Edition campaign. Its stripped down simplicity should make it widely applicable to most D20-based games (including 3.5 and PF).

This alternate system for magic item creation scraps the original item creation feats (found in the core rulebook) and replaces them with an alternate set, consisting of Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, Enchant Wand, Enchant Magic Arms and Armor, Enchant Magical Items, Enchantment, and Major Enchantment.

The system defines five types of magic items:

Scrolls. A one use device for storing spells usable by spellcasters. This typically takes the form of written parchment, but this is not necessarily the case.

Potion. A one use device for storing spells usable by anybody. However, a potion must affect only the person using it (although the affect may allow the user to effect others, such as a potion of fire-breathing). Potions almost always take the form of a liquid which is activated by drinking.

Wands. Stores a single spell with 50 charges (with each charge allowing the user to use the wand’s spell one time). Wands usually take the form of a thin baton.

Magic Arms/Armor. Magical weapons, armor, and shields. Although arms and armor can actually be used as the focus for many types of items (for example, a sword could be enchanted as a wand), this category specifically applies to only two things: (1) Creating weapons or armor with magical bonuses; and (2) Creating weapons or armor with special abilities.

Magical Items. A catch-all category containing everything else (including items previously defined as wondrous items, rods, rings, and staffs).

The system defines three types of feats:

Basic Creation Feats. Scribe Scroll and Brew Potion are basic creation feats. Spellcasters can use Scribe Scroll and Brew Potion with nothing more than the feat, the spell, and the necessary materials.

Enchant Feats. Enchant Wand, Enchant Magic Arms and Armor, and Enchant Magical Items are the three Enchant feats. These feats represent the spellcaster’s basic knowledge of how to create a specific type of item.

Enchantment Feats. Enchantment and Major Enchantment are the enchantment feats. Enchantments are broke into three categories: Minor enchantments (spell levels 1-3), enchantments (spell levels 4-6), and major enchantments (spell levels 7-9). A spellcaster can create an item requiring only a minor enchantment (for example, an amulet of natural armor) with nothing more than the appropriate enchant feat and spell (in this case, Enchant Magical Item and barkskin). If a spellcaster wishes to create an item requiring an enchantment or major enchantment (for example, a wand of ice storm) the spellcaster must have the appropriate enchant feat, the appropriate spell, and the appropriate enchantment feat (in this case, Enchant Wand, ice storm, and Enchantment).

In general, creating items in the new system is identical to creating items in the original system – except that the prerequisites for creating an item now use the new feats instead of the old (as described above). (See the accompanying table for a quick conversion if the appropriate feat is not readily apparent for some reason.)

NEW FEATS

SCRIBE SCROLL
You can create scrolls, from which you or another spellcaster can cast the scribed scroll. A scroll is a one use device for storing spells usable by spellcasters. This typically takes the form of written parchment, but this is not necessarily the case.

Prerequisite: Spellcaster Level 1st+

Benefit: You can create a scroll of any spell that you know. Scribing a scroll takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. The base price of a scroll is its spell level multiplied by its caster level multiplied by 25 gp. To scribe a scroll, you must spend 1/25 of this base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half of this base price.

Any scroll that stores a spell with a costly material component or an XP cost also carries a commensurate cost to the creator. In addition to the costs derived from the base price, you must expend the material component or pay the XP when scribing the scroll.

 

BREW POTION
You can create potions which carry spells within themselves. Potions are a one use device for storing spells usable by anybody. However, a potion must affect only the person using it (although the affect may allow the user to effect others, such as a potion of fire-breathing). Potions almost always take the form of a liquid which is activated by drinking (although some potions are known as elixirs, and magic oils are activated by rubbing them on the body).

Prerequisite: Spellcaster Level 3rd+

Benefit: You can create a potion of any spell of 3rd level or lower that you know and that targets a creature or creatures. Brewing a potion takes 1 day. When you create the potion, you set the caster level. The caster level must be sufficient to cast the spell in question and no higher than your own level. The base price of a potion is its spell level multiplied by its caster level multiplied by 50 gp. To brew a potion, you must spend 1/25 of this base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half of this base price.

When you create a potion you make any choices that you would normally make when casting the spell. Whoever drinks the potion is the target of the spell.

Any potion that stores a spell with a costly material component or an XP cost also carries a commensurate cost to the creator. In addition to the costs derived from the base price, you must expend the material component or pay the XP when creating the potion.

 

ENCHANT WAND
You can create wands, which cast spells. A wand stores a single spell with 50 charges (with each charge allowing the user to use the wand’s spell one time). Wands usually take the form of a thin baton.

Prerequisites: Spellcaster Level 5th+

Benefits: You can create a wand of any spell of 4th level or lower that you know. (You must possess the Enchantment feat to create wands with 4th level spells.) Crafting a wand takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. The base price of a wand is its caster level multiplied by the spell level multiplied by 750 gp. To craft a wand, you must spend 1/25 of this base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half of this base price.

A newly created wand has 50 charges.

Any wand that stores a spell with a costly material component or an XP cost also carries a commensurate cost to the creator. In addition to the costs derived from the base price, you must expend fifty copies of the material component or pay fifty times the XP cost.

 

ENCHANT MAGIC ARMS AND ARMOR
You can create magical weapons, armor, and shields – enchanting them with magical bonuses or special abilities.

Prerequisite: Spellcaster Level 5th+

Benefit: You can create any magic weapon, armor, or shield whose prerequisites you meet. (You must possess the Enchantment or Major Enchantment feats to create an item with prerequisite spells of 4th level or above.) Enchancing a weapon, suit or armor, or shield takes 1 day for each 1,000 gp in the price of its magical features. To enhance a weapon, suit or armor, or shield, you must spend 1/25 of its features’ total price in XP and use up raw materials costing half of this total price. (See the core rulebooks for descriptions of magic weapons, armor, and shields, the prerequisites associated with each one, and prices of their features.)

You can also mend a broken magic weapon, suit or armor, or shield if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half the XP, half the raw materials, and half the time it would take to enchant that item in the first place.

The weapon, armor, or shield to be enhanced must be a masterwork item that you must provide. (Its cost is not included in the above cost.)

 

ENCHANT MAGICAL ITEMS
You can create miscellaneous magic items – including rods, staffs, rings, crystal balls, and others

Prerequisite: Spellcaster Level 5th+

Benefit: You can create any miscellaneous magic item whose prerequisites you meet. (You must possess the Enchantment or Major Enchantment feats to create an item with prerequisite spells of 4th level or above.) Enchanting a miscellaneous magic item takes 1 day for 1,000 gp in its price. To enchant a miscellaneous magic item, the spellcaster must spend 1/25 of it the item’s price in XP and use up raw materials costing half of this price.

You can also mend a broken miscellaneous magic item if it is one that you could create. Doing so costs half the XP, half the raw materials, and half the time that it would take to enchant that item in the first place.

Some wondrous items incur extra costs in material components or XP as noted in their descriptions. These costs are in addition to those derived from the item’s base price. You must pay such a cost to create an item or mend a broken one.

 

ENCHANTMENT
You are capable of enchanting items requiring more powerful spells.

Benefit: You can create magic items requiring prerequisite spells of 4th-6th level.

Normal: A spellcaster without the Enchantment feat can only create magic items with prerequisite spells of 1st-3rd level.

 

MAJOR ENCHANTMENT
You are capable of enchanting items requiring the most powerful spells.

Benefit: You can create magic items requiring prerequisite spells of 7th level or higher.

This material is covered by the Open Gaming License.

Alex Drummond1. Species that simply prefer living underground (either because they fear the sun like the drow or because they love the dark like the dwarves).

2. Magical construction techniques that make huge, underground constructions more plausible.

3. Magical creatures that either have an instinctual need to create underground complexes or which create them as an unintentional byproduct. (Where did all these twisting tunnels come from? Well, they started as purple worm trails. Then the goblins moved in.)

4. Catastrophes on the surface world that prompt people to flee underground are also a great explanation for underground complexes. (See Earthdawn. Or just an Age of Dragons.) Mix-and-match with the techniques above to explain how the huge cataclysm refuges were built. Then simply remove the danger and/or (better yet) introduce some new danger that came up from below and drove all the vault dwellers back onto the surface.

It’s also useful to establish a method for underground species to generate food. In my campaign world there’s fey moss, which serves as the basis for fungal gardens. Huge, artificial suns left behind in underdark chasms by the vault builders or the under-dwarves also work.

I don’t find it valuable to do full-scale urban planning or figure out exactly how many toilets the goblins need, but I do find that at least some degree verisimilitude makes for better games: If the goblins get their food from fungal gardens, then their food supply can be jeopardized by destroying those gardens. And that’s either the basis for an interesting scenario hook or it’s a strategic master-stroke from the players or it’s some other surprise that I hadn’t even thought of before the campaign started.

Untested D&D – Interrogation

November 26th, 2014

Jack Bauer from 24

Interrogation checks are made to resolve the controlled questioning of prisoners or suspects: People who have (or who you believe might have) a reason to withhold information from you.  Obtaining information through other forms of social interaction (questioning witnesses or chatting someone up at a social soiree, for example) is certainly possible, but may not be the right fit for these mechanics.

When interrogating a subject, the questioner can choose one of two approaches:

DIPLOMACY: These are “soft” methods of interrogation. Manipulation, seduction, a building of trust, a promise of quid pro quo.

INTIMIDATE: These are “hard” methods of interrogation. This doesn’t cover actual torture, but it does include aggressive techniques, threats of violence, and the like.

The appropriate interrogation skill is used to make a check against DC 10 + the subject’s HD + the subject’s Wisdom modifier. On a success, the interrogator gains one piece of information. Additional interrogation checks can be attempted, but each additional check applies a cumulative +2 modifier to the DC of the check.

After two failures, the interrogation will provide no more useful information. (The subject has broken down or their lawyer has shown up or they simple have no more useful information to share.)

ESCALATION

Each interrogation technique can be escalated to the next level:

BRIBERY: Diplomacy-based interrogations can be enhanced with bribery. If a sufficiently large bribe is offered, the interrogator gains a +10 circumstance bonus to their interrogation checks for the rest of the interrogation. (Alternatively, you could use these advanced guidelines for determining the efficacy of a specific bribe.)

TORTURE: Intimidation-based interrogations can be escalated to actual torture. This involves inflicting actual physical damage and pain. (Or possibly inflicting the same on comrades or loved ones.) The target must make a Will save at DC 10 + the damage dealt by the torturer. If the subject fails the Will save, the interrogator gains a +10 circumstance bonus on their next interrogation check. (Of course, they can continue torturing the subject in order to gain the same bonus again.)

Both of these techniques, however, represent a gamble: Under the temptation of bribery or the desperation of torture subjects may invent information or say whatever they think the interrogator wants to hear. There’s a flat 25% chance of false information when giving a bribe. There’s a cumulative 10% chance of false information when using torture. (So after torturing a subject for the third time, there will be a 30% chance of false information.)

SUPPORTING SKILLS

A couple of other skills can be useful in interrogations.

BLUFF: Subjects can attempt to provide false information with a Bluff check. If the check fails, however, the interrogator has seen through their lie and can immediately attempt another interrogation check with a +2 circumstance bonus to get the truth out of them. (All of the modifiers from their previous test still apply.)

SENSE MOTIVE: Sense Motive can, obviously, be used to opposed a subject’s Bluff checks. It might also be useful for determining what threats or promises would make for the most effective intimidation or bribery (offering a circumstance bonus in accordance with the guidelines for aiding another, but perhaps inflicting penalties if the check goes awry).

OTHER SKILLS: Other skills can also be used situationally to aid the interrogation check. For example, demonstrating a bit of legerdemain with Sleight of Hand might impress a social contact. Or a Knowledge check might produce information that would endear an expert. Use the guidelines for aiding another to resolve these checks.

GOOD COP / BAD COP

An interrogation team can play good cop / bad cop by switching their interrogation technique (from Diplomacy to Intimidation or vice versa). If their first interrogation check after the swap is successful, they can negate a previous failure. (This will allow them to prolong the interrogation.)

It’s exceptionally difficult to play good cop to your own bad cop: Apply a -10 circumstance penalty to the first check of an individual interrogator after the switch in approach.

DESIGN NOTES

Kenneth Hite has a technique he uses in investigation games: When the characters have gained all the information they’re going to get from a scene, he holds up a sign that says “SCENE OVER” or “DONE”. The statement cues the players to let them know that there’s no reward to be gained by continuing to ransack the apartment, while using a sign is less intrusive on the natural flow of the scene (so if there’s something they still want to accomplish in this scene of a non-investigative nature, the scene can continue without the GM unduly harshing the vibe).

The core of this interrogation mechanic is designed to do something similar: It’s sending a clear and specific “we’re done here” message to the players, allowing you to perform a clean cut that keeps the pacing tight.

It also has the added benefit of answering for the GM, “How much information does this guy really know?” in situations where that isn’t immediately clear. (This is a question I frequently struggle with when some random mook gets interrogated.)

Collectively, that’s why the difficulty cranks up after each question: I want the mechanic to terminate the interrogation for me.

You might also want to check out my Advanced Rules for Diplomacy. And my thoughts on Social Skills and PCs might also be of interest.

Hack & Slash posted On the Visual History of the Illithid the other day and pointed out that, in the original Monster Manual, the portrait of the mind flayer was surrounded by an irregular octagon that was completely unique within that tome:

Mind Flayer - Monster Manual (1977)

“Although several creatures in the monster manual have borders, most are square. Only two other creatures, the Bugbear and Type V demons have octagonal borders and both of their borders are more regular. Each pane of the mind flayer border is of a different length, no two matching.” Which feels oddly appropriate, given the dimension-rending origins of the mind flayer in many versions of their mythos.

I was struck by the idea that you might be able to take that octagonal border and turn it into an iconic symbol or badge. An Icon of the Flayer. A couple dozen minutes of fiddling around in Photoshop gave me this:

Icon of the Flayers

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