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Offical Disquise Guidelines

General discussion about Avlis

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Offical Disquise Guidelines

PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:10 pm

It has become very clear to the Avlis Staff as a whole, that not everyone playing on Avlis is following the same rules when it comes to disguises. Considering that there are no rules regarding them right now, that seems natural.

So first point. If you believe that there are rules regarding disguises, you are wrong. There were none prior to this post.

Ok, here's the basic rule, boiled down to its purest form. Consider this the guiding principle for disguises, or any other form of hiding your identity from someone.

The PC trying to keep his/her identity hidden, is the one who must make all the effort. The less effort put into it, the less likely the disguise is to work.

For example, There are no helms out there that somehow alter someone's voice, and by simply putting one on, no one can recognize your voice. By the same token, stating once at the begging of an encounter that you are masking your voice or a single emote, is not enough to cut it.

You must constantly remind people you are altering your voice somehow. A emote every line isn't required, but the person attempting to alter their voice must be the one making the effort to do so. It must be clear to everyone what he or she is doing. If those interacting with the PC can't clearly tell they are trying to be disguised. Then that PC isn't putting enough effort into it.

This helps the PC as well, as it makes for a constant reminder and makes mistakes much less likely.

By the same token, simply putting on a different outfit is not enough to make you unidentifiable. There are several things you have left on that might provide clues to who you really are. So if you want to disguise yourself via clothing/armor, you need to change more then just the torso piece.

The more effort a PC goes to, to hide their identity the more likely they are to actually do so. The less effort the PC makes, the easier it will be to ID them. But it up to the person wishing to keep his/her identity hidden to make all the effort, and make it very clear to everyone else what he or she are attempting to do.

Of course the amount of disguise required is all based on how well the PC in question is known by those interacting with him or her. For my PC, trying to fool Kira his IC wife would be extremely difficult. Fooling someone he's knows fairly well, like say Jorio, or Arena would be less difficult, someone he knows hardly at all, would be fairly easy.

Also the simple fact that your PC's avatar has a hood on, or the hood/mask on, does nothing to help mask their identity, as they are always wearing one so it is as much a disquinshing feature as it hides things.

Any magical item higher then +2 will also be unique, and could be used to ID someone, especially if it's a weapon, or shield. Provided that of course the PC in question has been seen with it before.

For example...

If I want to disguise my PC, I would need to do all of the following to make the disguise 98% foolproof, as there is no 100% foolproof disguise.

I would need to put on armor or clothing that is unlike anything I've ever worn before. I would need to wear a helm unlike what I normally wear. I would need to begin every other or perhaps every 3rd line of speech with an emote of some sort, stating that I am disguising my voice. I would need to put on different boots, and maybe a different pair of gloves. If I have a holy symbol or some other jewelry that is unquine, I would need to change those out.

So to sum up. If you want to hide your identity from those around you, you not them will need to make that clear to everyone. Tells or ooc statements that you are in disguise and no further effort on the PC's part, isn't enough. Simply putting on a different outfit and holding a different weapon isn't enough. Simply putting on a helmet isn't enough.

This works in favor of everyone. For those who wish to remain unidentified, they can show the DM's what efforts they made in remaining so. It also serves as a nearly constant reminder to those involved what the PC is attempting to do, so a mistake is less likely.
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PostAuthor: Liartes » Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:38 pm

Sounds good.

Just one question though. How do we know if the person disguising themselves has switched out their cloak, boots, etc?
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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:42 pm

Liartes wrote:Just one question though. How do we know if the person disguising themselves has switched out their cloak, boots, etc?


You won't, but a DM will, or at least can find out. Doing so won't be noticeable by a PC, but should be done anyway to help renforce what the PC wanting to disquise themseleves are doing.

It's as much to put a player in that mindset as anything. Plus as I said a DM can check on that if needed.

edit: For example... If my PC is trying to hide his Identity, but doesn't take off his Warrior of O'Ma signet ring... If a DM noticed this, it would be taken into account, and you never know when a DM might be around... :twisted:
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PostAuthor: Silk » Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:50 pm

Liartes wrote:Sounds good.

Just one question though. How do we know if the person disguising themselves has switched out their cloak, boots, etc?


When you look at their corpse... :shock: :lol:
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PostAuthor: Melakin Skywieder » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:04 pm

So how does Barkskin or stoneskin come into play?
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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:10 pm

Melakin Skywieder wrote:So how does Barkskin or stoneskin come into play?


Barkskin would be slightly less effective then armor/helm. You wouldn't see the color of someone's armor, helm, ect... But you'd still see the general design of it. Same goes for the face, it would still be the PC's face but harder to make out fine details.

So I'd say that barkskin of itself, would be a fairly effective disquise, but not foolproof. I hope that is clear enough.

Stoneskin does nothing disquise wise. The same goes true for any spell that doesn't have a lasting VFX.
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PostAuthor: Jordicus » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:14 pm

Stoneskin now has no visible sign, so it would have no effect on your appearance.

Barkskin, however, would change your appearance to a degree. It really only adds a layer of protective covering ontop of your body, so your appearance would have a large degree of similarity to your natural appearance. A lot of it would depend on other factors, such as if the person you are trying to deceive is familiar with you; has seen you before; has heard your voice prior.

so simply put, having Barkskin alone is not enough to claim as a disguise, but it could enhance other disguising steps
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PostAuthor: Bear » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:19 pm

These are great rules. I always consider it my obligation to create a disguise. I have different sets of helms and clothing (Elysia gear, Mikona gear, Hunting gear), and a couple of different bows and melee weapons. I?ll also try to *muffle my voice* every couple of sentences. Probably best that I just hot-key it.

Couple of point on identifiable items for the DMs.

First, just because someone can see an item doesn?t mean that he can identify it. If you are going to ?leak? that a disguised individual is wearing a specific item please first take a look at the witness?s lore skill. Specifically, the witness may not have a sufficient lore skill to properly identify items on a disguised individual?s person. A lot of folks do not have more than a couple of ranks in lore. We identify things by relying on two rings of the scholars, and a lessor belt of guiding light. Even with these items, a number of characters will still have a very difficult time identifying any item of high quality.

Second, just like a disguised individual needs to RP the event, I suggest that a witness also has a similar obligation. If an individual is just standing talking to the person, it doesn?t make sense that they would automatically noticed a +4 ring of protection. Have them roll a Spot Check to see if they notice anything. Yes, a flaming bastard sword is a dead give-away, but otherwise a witness should RP what they are doing to notice a disguised individual?s features. *performs spot check*, *looks at Mr. Smith?s hands for rings*, *looks briefly at Mr. Smith?s boots*. I?ve never seen anyone do this.

Finally, I trust that DMs will not perform the analysis for the player. There is a big difference between? ?You see a +4 ring of protection on his right hand,? versus? ?You see a +4 ring of protection that looks quiet similar to Mr. Smith?s?.

Thanks ? good rules.

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:23 pm

Jordicus wrote:so simply put, having Barkskin alone is not enough to claim as a disguise, but it could enhance other disguising steps


Me wrote:So I'd say that barkskin of itself, would be a fairly effective disquise, but not foolproof. I hope that is clear enough.


Ok as odd as this might sound, those two statements don't conterdict each other. It's more of a the glass is half full vs half empty.

In short, Barkskin alone wouldn't do a whole lot, but it might be enough, depending on how well known the PC was by whoever is looking at them. But it would improve the other stuff.

For example, Delen, without changing any of his gear and putting up barkskin, would still be easily reconized by Kira, Mari and say Jorio... Maybe even Melakin would reconize me. But if I was taking effort to disquise myself, barkskin would help make it that much better.

However, someone that only knows Delen by desciption... Someone who's heard of him but never met him. Barkskin would most likely be more then enough for me to keep myself unidentified by that person.
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PostAuthor: Aloro » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:31 pm

Basically, Barkskin, like most things that act to disguise you, effectively raises the difficulty to identify the person. This check is further modified by other factors, the most important of which is knowing the person well. Kira is married to Delen and knows him intimately, and so she has a very high modifier to identify him in any disguise. On the other hand, someone who's only met Delen once or only had him described to them could very possibly be fooled by even a minor disguise.

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:36 pm

Bear wrote:First, just because someone can see an item doesn?t mean that he can identify it.


There's a difference between ID'ing the item, and reconizing it. The PC in question might not know what the ring is or does, but might reconize it as belonging to a given PC.

For example, Mari would most likely reconize Delen's wedding ring, if she saw it.

Second, just like a disguised individual needs to RP the event, I suggest that a witness also has a similar obligation.


I agree.

Finally, I trust that DMs will not perform the analysis for the player.

I don't think any will, we will just provide what ever info we deem fitting. In the example you gave, I'd be more likely to tell the PC, you reconize the ring as one Mr Smith wears all the time, instead of telling the PC what the ring actually is.
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PostAuthor: Bear » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:38 pm

Aloro wrote:Basically, Barkskin, like most things that act to disguise you, effectively raises the difficulty to identify the person. This check is further modified by other factors, the most important of which is knowing the person well. Kira is married to Delen and knows him intimately, and so she has a very high modifier to identify him in any disguise. On the other hand, someone who's only met Delen once or only had him described to them could very possibly be fooled by even a minor disguise.

- Aloro


There is a specific (in-game) skill that we should really rely on to "see" through a disguise -- Spot skill.

Even a character that is intimately familiar with another person can be completely fooled by even a simple disguise. Sure, maybe they get a bonus to their spot, but a low wisdom character with no ranks in spot shouldn't feel confident that they will "see" through much of anything.

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PostAuthor: Melakin Skywieder » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:39 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I generally would use barkskin in a place were I am not known, or if there are people around that I know (by careful observation or by reputation) that I want to be sure don't know its me by the same methods. I have always assumed that barkskin and not speaking were effective for such situtations. Sounds to me like they would be.

Not that I go in disquise all that often but there are times :wink:
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PostAuthor: Aloro » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:42 pm

Agreed, Bear. The Spot skill is the appropriate means for players to see through physical disguises. However, the Listen skill is the appropriate means to identify someone by voice, and I would argue that a straight Intelligence check is probably the best way to test to see if a player can remember the little details of someone's appearance and piece together clues. Because the mechanics are complicated, we're not setting DCs or giving precise rules for this. General guidelines will have to do. ;)

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:44 pm

Bear wrote:There is a specific (in-game) skill that we should really rely on to "see" through a disguise -- Spot skill.


I personaly would rather avoid using any in game skill as much as possible, and rather that people use common sense and RP it out.

The reason is, without a DM involved it could quickly become a "I shot you. No you didn't. Yes I did. Well I got a bullet proof shield on..."

There are so many varables involved, that without a outside mediator, figuring out what really happens would be difficult at best.
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PostAuthor: Bear » Tue Mar 30, 2004 6:59 pm

Aloro wrote:Agreed, Bear. The Spot skill is the appropriate means for players to see through physical disguises. However, the Listen skill is the appropriate means to identify someone by voice, and I would argue that a straight Intelligence check is probably the best way to test to see if a player can remember the little details of someone's appearance and piece together clues. Because the mechanics are complicated, we're not setting DCs or giving precise rules for this. General guidelines will have to do. ;)

- Aloro


I agree, thanks. Hard rule DCs are too unrealistic. I'm only pointing out some factors that DMs might consider when approaching this.

Also, not to side-track, but is there anyway to see through a changeling's disguise? If there is no mechanical / scripted ability, how will these rules apply to an individual who can change forms?

Is the following analysis appropriate in the example of a changling who is seen first as a halfling and then later as an ogre and then later as a bear:

1. It is no longer possible to detect a character through a simple listen, as the vocal chords have substantially changed. Maybe someone with an epic listen skill can make a check. Thus, you couldn't recognize the player through speaking in either ogre or bear form.

2. It is possible to recognize a character through various items, if those items are not "absorbed" in the new form. If the halfing has a +4 ring of protection, and unique flamy scimitar, you can recognize these items while in Ogre form... even though they may have grown in size. However, you could not recognize the character after the shift to bear form, as these items have been absorbed into the new shape.

Sound about right?

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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:14 pm

Bear wrote:Sound about right?


That sounds about right to me.

Oviously changelings will be amazingly hard to ID, which is as it's supposed to be.
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PostAuthor: CPU » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:17 pm

Wait, wait, wait! You forgot the infamous, seen in game:

*sniff, sniff - recognizes your scent*




:shock:
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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:20 pm

CPU wrote:*sniff, sniff - recognizes your scent*


Considering the time frame we're working with here, reconizing someone by scent is unlikely at best.
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PostAuthor: Diamond » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:21 pm

*chuckles* I've already had one PC in-game standing next to my "concealed" character identifying her as female by her "perfume". I thought it was pretty cute, OOC, and it didn't disrupt the game flow at all.

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PostAuthor: Jordicus » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:23 pm

Vanor wrote:
CPU wrote:*sniff, sniff - recognizes your scent*


Considering the time frame we're working with here, reconizing someone by scent is unlikely at best.


might depend on the race of character as well. I would think that gnolls would be better at recognizing by scent than most other races

but that's neither here nor there.. :wink:
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PostAuthor: Aloro » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:23 pm

Moreover, the Scent feat is not available in NWN. Thus anyone using it is by definition cheesing - claiming to have an ability their character does not in fact have.

Possible exception worthy of discussion: a druid/shifter (NOT changeling) changes into a dog/wolf, smells someone, then smells them again (in the same dog/wolf form) later. The body shape carries with it the Scent special ability, which acts like the feat would if available.

By default though, I do not think identifying another PC by scent is viable.

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PostAuthor: Silk » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:35 pm

Angst Wridden at the front door of the Canvas wrote:*sniff* *sniff* Hey! It smells like p*@%#!
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PostAuthor: Vanor » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:37 pm

Diamond wrote:*chuckles* I've already had one PC in-game standing next to my "concealed" character identifying her as female by her "perfume".


I'd actually say that's fair. It wouldn't be foolproof, but I could see something like that happening, even without a special scent feat. It is also however completely different then saying "Aha I know it's you Mrs Smith, I reconize your scent."

I thought it was pretty cute, OOC, and it didn't disrupt the game flow at all.


Ahh the beauty of this statement. As with all other guidelines or rules regarding the interaction of two or more PC's, this one is only valid when there is some sort of dispute, or need for some guidance.

If the PC's wish to agree to something, IC or OOC, then they are free to do so. In the example Diamond gave, it's clear she didn't have a problem with being reconized as a woman, by scent... So no harm, no foul.
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PostAuthor: keikobad » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:43 pm

Shouldn't this be posted in the Rules forum? Gonna get buried soon here...
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