Torture Should Not Work in Dungeons & Dragons - Page 4
Page 4 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 31 to 40 of 69
  1. #31
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    jgsugden's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Soon to be Fort Mill, SC
    Posts
    3,596
    To be fair: Torture does not work great s a tool to verify the accuracy of information. It does, however, work to obtain information that can then be verified for accuracy.

    Regardless of the efficacy, there are plenty of reasons why a PC or NPC might torture someone within a game. However, before that is introduced into the game, there should be some discussion between the players and DM about the topic, as there would be around any other topic that offends many people. Even if nobody objects, it should only exist in the story if there is a strong reason for it to exist.

    I've used it. Demons and devils torture as they enjoy seeing others suffer. I've had evil organizations torture to get information to be provided - which they then went to verify. I had a bad guy torture someone to get them to say something untrue to "prove" to someone else that it was true - something that doesn't really work, but the NPCs involved were not that smart.

    They all served a function in the story. All of the people in the game knew that it was a topic that was on the board. Nobody objected. It did not glorify the activity, and it did not endorse the activity. I'd use torture within my games in much the same way in the future - should a story call for it, should it be important to the story, and should it be something that I have prior consent of the players to include.
    XP Xaelvaen, Celebrim, 77IM, Tazawa gave XP for this post

  2. #32
    Member
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    416
    Whether or not it works (reality OR otherwise) is mostly irrelevant - just WAY too much contradictory evidence to give any one side merit.

    If the setting lends itself to the mentality of torture working, that's what counts. Thus, if we're in a setting where one (or sometimes an entire party) of my players believes torturing will resolve the information-solving dilemma, more power to them. More often than not, however, a much more 'goodly' member of the party will persuade the would-be torturer into a different method, and that's all fine too. No point in putting on blinders or directing people away from what they feel their character would do in that setting. Benefits of having a 20+ year group I suppose.

    Public play? I try to never create a situation in which anything even remotely 'non-PC' would come into play - that includes players needing information from bad guys. I'll just make them stupid with a note in their pocket or something.

  3. #33
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    jgsugden's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Soon to be Fort Mill, SC
    Posts
    3,596
    On another note: Magic. If someone has access to magic, torture becomes irrelevant as an information device pretty quickly. First and second level spells (enchantments, illusions, divinations) can get you the information you want.

    I'll also note that a WotC module from the last year uses torture as a storytelling element in which an NPC attempts to gather information from another NPC, but is really doing it to show off for someone else. That is a villain in the story. It has a place as part of the story.

  4. #34
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Medellin, Colombia
    Posts
    6,350
    Quote Originally Posted by Xaelvaen View Post
    Whether or not it works (reality OR otherwise) is mostly irrelevant - just WAY too much contradictory evidence to give any one side merit.
    Right. It works if the DM says it works. Full stop. Arguments from reality are perhaps the weakest arguments one can make about a fantasy world controlled by someone who gets to say how things operate.

    The more productive way to examine this situation in my view is: Why is this happening and what can I do as DM to take away the impetus to do it? Because it's almost certainly the DM's fault due to presenting meaningless fights and going overboard with hiding plot-relevant information.

  5. #35
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    846
    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    Speaking of real-life torture...

    BAYYYYYY-BEEEEE... SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO...
    BABY SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO...
    BABY SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO...
    BABY SHARK!

    You are all welcome.
    Name:  Untitled.png
Views: 957
Size:  674.7 KB
    Laugh DEFCON 1 laughed with this post

  6. #36
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    MarkB's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    England
    Posts
    5,827
    In my experience, interrogations in D&D are far more likely to involve mind-influencing spells than torture. Forcing someone to want to tell you their secrets is more effective than forcing them to tell you their secrets unwillingly.
    XP Celebrim gave XP for this post

  7. #37
    Community Supporter COPPER SUBSCRIBER
    Magsman (Lvl 14)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    1,750
    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    The OP missed one other thing that makes torture highly effective in D&D: The zone of truth spell. Unless the enemy has access to extremely high-level spells (glibness), zone of truth is an infallible lie detector. Even if the target makes their saving throw, you know they made the saving throw, and you can cast the spell again until they fail. Their only defense is refusing to talk*, and torture is real good at breaking that defense down.

    I ban zone of truth anyway due to its capacity to wreck intrigue plots (along with its little brother detect thoughts), and I encourage my players to run heroes instead of vicious murderhobos, so I don't run into this issue; but if playing by the book, it is the torturer's best friend.

    *Giving evasive answers is equivalent to refusing to talk. Unless the DM is extraordinarily skilled at dancing around the truth, it's really, really obvious when someone is trying to dodge a question. The PCs will just demand a straight answer and tighten the thumbscrews until they get one.
    My players haven't used the spells in past campaigns, so banning it hasn't come up.

    I think I will confront it head on as my current group (currently 4th level) gets more access to these types of spells.

    By head on - with an eye toward how organizations, in a world where the type of magic that can detect lies and even thoughts exists, would react.

    Namely (to steal from a meme I saw recently): When the enemy has telepaths every plan becomes need to know!

  8. #38
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    MarkB's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    England
    Posts
    5,827
    Quote Originally Posted by Bitbrain View Post
    Except that according to the player's handbook "the corpse is under no compulsion to offer a truthful answer if you are hostile to it or it recognizes you as an enemy".
    There are ways to handle that. The players in Critical Role did so quite neatly in a recent episode, by using Disguise Self to take on the guise of the corpse's former allies before casting the spell. One useful thing about corpses is that they don't do well at Insight checks.

  9. #39
    Member
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    2,221
    For me, torture has no place in D&D.

    It's a light hearted game, torture in game would really bother me.

    I can see it having a place in a game like Vampire: The Masquerade. Even then, it might only really have a place in a Sabbat game.

  10. #40
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    3,868
    I find it quite easy to avoid this problem.

    First, let me say that as a DM I despise the notion that I am some sort of all powerful god at the table. All authority in a voluntary group activity rests with the group as a whole. Period. If the group vests one person with authority, that authority still exists at the pleasure of the group, and disappears if the group decides that it does. So, if I say that I disallow something without any room for debate, I am saying that if the group doesn't like it, we can simply play something else. We all have things we won't budge on, and we respect that.

    All that said, I don't allow torture from the PCs, ever. Period.

    I also make it clear that when I am a player, since i play Good characters, torture is usually one of my characters' immutable lines, along with senseless murder (ganking sentries doesn't count, usually, we're talking needlessly murdering innocent townsfolk) and any form of sexual violence.

    We have, on rare occassions, made exceptions, like when interrogating a slaving collaborating mind-control focused wizard who was using basilisks to turn people to stone to ship them across the sea and sell them to necromancers.
    My character's whole ship's crew, including an uncle, a few cousins, and his best friends, was murdered by a necromancer whose cult is connected to all this, and lost himself a bit, stabbed the guy when he wouldn't talk, and then finally killed him in an extremely violent manner when he expressed confusion as to why anyone would care about some peasants being taken away to serve the ends of a great sorcerer. More than the battle violence of the previous sessions, this got under his skin, and he spent several days sick to his stomach.

    But casual use of torture as if it's some sort of normal behavior? Hell no. Not at my table.
    XP Azzy gave XP for this post

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: Monday, 6th November, 2017, 08:14 PM
  2. Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: The Essential Dungeons & Dragons Starter
    By JLant in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Sunday, 12th September, 2010, 02:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •