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Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder
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TOPIC: Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder
#55506
Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder 11 Months ago  
Suggestion / Charm / Dominate spells:

The players in my group are fiercely protective about having their PC's be in control of their own actions. So much so that many arguments occur whenever enchantments befall any of their characters, mostly due to (for my group) vague wording of most of these compulsion, mind-affecting spells.

Here is a great example:
In the description of the Dominate Person spell in D&D and Pathfinder, it states:
Subjects resist this control, and any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus.
This leads to an inevitable declaration of "It's not natural for any PC to listen and obey the commands of the bad guy...therefore the fighter should get another saving throw at +2 if he is commanded to 'sit out of the fight'."

I personally love enchantments and think they are integral to most forms of fantasy role playing. It's just becoming a pain to referee with in my game. My current strategy is to label the type of rhetoric given in the example above as metagaming, since it isn't "natural" for magic to be cast in the first place...in the real world. Surely there must be a better way to handle it without breaking out of gameplay to have a big discussion.

Does anyone else run into problems like this? If so, how have you dealt with it?
jasdotcom
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#55507
Re:Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder 11 Months ago  
Well, there is always rule zero.

This sounds like something that needs to be hashed out at the table, out of game time. Come to consensus, and then live by whatever is decided.

However, dominate person is a VERY strong mind control spell. I would rule that unless you make someone do something blatantly against their alignment, attack another party member, or hurt themselves, then they do NOT get a new saving throw.

Here is some clarification form the PFSRD site:

www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/d/dominate-person

As for what constitutes "against its nature," that varies from creature to creature. For a PC, I would say that forcing a PC to attack another PC would normally be against a PC's nature and would allow a new saving throw (unless, of course, that PC has already displayed a propensity for attacking other PCs). For most monsters, it would depend. A lot of monsters are just violent anyway and attacking others of their kind is normal. It's left vague deliberately so each time it comes up, the GM gets to interpret it as needed for the specific target in question.
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#55513
Re:Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder 11 Months ago  
A couple-few suggestions...

1. As part of the character creation phase, have each player write down two or three words or phrases that define the character's personality. These can be used later to hang or save the character, and the players can't really argue if it's something they recorded on their character sheets.

2. Offer double experience while mind controlled. This gives the players an incentive to play their characters under an NPC's thrall.

3. Find ways to justify why the characters might behave like the villain wants them to. The reason might be meta: your character is at half HP, so he shouldn't have a problem sitting out of this fight. The reason might be contrived by the villain: the bad guy just ordered you to ignore his mirror golem and attack his useless goblin minions instead, but as long as your character is killing bad guys he should be okay with that. The reason might be false: the villain ordered your character to take all of the gold out of the ruins five miles outside of town to get you out of the way, why are you surprised that there is no gold in the ruins?

4. Consider having the effects completely mess with the character's sense of reality, and treat it like an illusion. Tell the player what the character (thinks he) sees, use the wrong minis, and so forth. You won't be able to pit player against player, but you will get some honest play out of them until they figure it out. Fair warning though, this one is most likely to have your group crying "foul!"
jackattack
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#55517
Re:Mental Control of PC's in D&D / Pathfinder 11 Months ago  
jackattack wrote:

2. Offer double experience while mind controlled. This gives the players an incentive to play their characters under an NPC's thrall.


This seems like the most useful tip for my particular group. They are XP fiends! Your other suggestions, as well as Harneloot's response, are helpful too!
jasdotcom
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