When you’re living the neutral life, it pays to keep your moral ambiguity hidden from the party. Whether you’re beating the information out of the captives or heading out for an honest night of thieving, it’s smart to keep the details on a need-to-know basis.

We’ve gone over some of this ground in the “Mean Girls” arc, but it bears repeating. If you’re up to some nefarious shit, then one of the easiest ways out of the “my guy would try to stop you” trap it to practice good spycraft. Employ that deception score. Lose yourself in a crowd. Wait until Dudley Do-Right is busy setting up chairs for Lawful Good Bingo Night, then make with the skulduggery. This is how the evil alignments of the multiverse can get on partying with the good. When you keep things discrete, you keep things friendly.

There’s a rub though. Our old friend metagaming loves to crash the party, and that can spell all kinds of difficulty for would-be criminals.

ROGUE: “I sneak off for the rendezvous with my thieving crew.”

PALADIN: “I follow, suspecting criminality is afoot.”

ROGUE: “What the crap? You’d have no reason to follow me! My bluff score is through the stratosphere!”

PALADIN: “I’m following a hunch.”

This is the age-old impasse of player agency vs. game mechanics. The hypothetical rogue’s dice say “you believe my lie,” but the hypothetical paladin is still free to act however they wish. Ideally, this mess can get sorted out with a little player maturity and compromise. In the present example that might look like either 1) “Your guy is a smooth talker, and we are friends. I’m going to let this one go,” or 2) “I am a known criminal, and lots of nobles have been robbed in this neighborhood. Go on and try to sneak after me.” But when the justifications wear thin, there’s another option. And that’s the subject of today’s discussion question.

What hidden plans have you successfully snuck past the rest of your party? I’m talking about secret notes passed to the GM, text messages wafting to the other side of the screen, or between-sessions plots perpetrated in a private forum. Confess your best IRL deceptions down in the comments! We’ve entered the land of the cloak and dagger, and I’m looking forward to learning all about your sinister schemes.


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