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derroehre

Interrogation

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My group of players got themselves caught by someone really nasty who is very likely to interrogate and torture them for information about their personal history and about their contacts to the rebellion.

 

Part of my inspiration will be taken from the book "the princess, the scoundrel and the farm boy" (which is A New Hope written from the perspective of Leia, Hand and finally Luke) where Leia shares her impression of the interrogation droid that Vader left her alone with (for a long time without asking questions), so I know that will happen. Also I will not go full Hostel on their butts, I'm thinking classical evil villain torture, involving lots of flashy lightnings and the device Han was locked into on Bespin, and depending on another players action the scene will come to an end before they spill everything - which of course they do not know.

 

Now, we all have been there when the murdering space hobbos come out to play and decide that the little, unlucky NPC knows more than he or she told them or will change his mind on what he is and isn't willing to talk about. Now, my goal isn't revenge here, far from it, (that scene is simply a nessecity at this point) but I think I will give the forum to chance to channel a little bit of the nastyness back at the players. Give me your worst/best ideas ;)

 

And of course, I would love to hear how others have done similiar scenes, ruleswise and from a storytelling POV and will be highly thankfull for anything you can share with me. I'm still very unsure how to handle this scene in a way that the players "enjoy" it, I want to give them the option to roleplay a lot of it, on the other hand there will also be skill checks. Discipline for sure, Cool maybe and of course Resilience.

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The thing about real interrogation is that it depends much more on repetition of the questions and gaining the trust of the person you’re asking questions of.

You ask the questions in a way that reveals information that was not specifically asked. So, if you suspect that multiple individuals might have been involved, you tend to ask your questions in plural form rather than singular.

You make them think you have a lot more information about the subject than you really do, and you let them “confirm” details you claim to already know.

You ask them to tell the story many times over, in many different ways, and then compare and contrast the various answers.

There’s so much to getting good viable intel from such tactics, but then it becomes a GM-vs-players battle and not so much a PC-vs-NPC matter.

That’s one reason why a lot of shows do most of this kind of stuff off-screen. There’s no need to see the actual torture or interrogation on-screen — it doesn’t add anything to the story, and it takes valuable time that could be spent on other things.

So, I think the real issue for you will be how to handle the scene in a way that it has a real impact on the PCs and players, can largely be determined by dice rolls and role-playing the results, but doesn’t necessarily take up a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere.

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I recently captured my PCs and interrogated them. it went very well. I took each one away from the table and interrogated them seperately. After getting advice from the forums here (I think Brad may have been vocal on that thread too :P ) Basically I came up with a different method for each one with one common thread; the interrogators acted as if they knew more than they actually did. They spoke as if they were just looking to get the PCs to confirm  what they already knew. When the PCs acted tough, then came the "hard interrogation".

 

With one I had the Devaronian interrogator pull out one of his finger nails. (Mechanically worked as a Resilliance check to negate some of the wounds. Player had 10 fingers and 12 Wounds. I made it 1 wound per failure). He made it through the first round with ease and was cocky. The interrogator was annoyed and threatened to castrate him. PC announces "I still got 9 finger nails and a massive pair of balls" with a smirk. Interrogator responds "Ok. We will talk when you just have balls". He went to town on him. Player resisted well but was on low wounds. The interogator announced "so... those balls then..." (I was never going to go that far, just the player brought it up so I couldn't help it). He spilled the beans.

 

Next was strapped into a seat. The interrogator came in with a syringe and placed it in front of her. Explained that there was a refined, highly addictive form of glitterstim in the syringe. If she didn't tell him what he wanted he was going to shoot her up, not to make her talk, but to turn her into a junkie (a la The French Connection 2). She took one dose, and failed the discipline/resillience check. She all ready felt an itch. Fearing more, she spoke up. (I gave her another check for only taking one dose. She failed that too so she got 5 obligation; addiction. She got the worst of it).

 

There was a droid there too. I had to get abstract with him. There is no reason why someone wouldn't just attach a restraining bolt and plug into their brain and slice the info they want out but this kind of thing is no fun for a PC. Instead, I created a false scenario. when he awoke he was free and somewhere comfortable. I had him take a discipline check, giving the excuse of having had a restraining bolt attached earlier. What it actually governed was an opposed check vs the slicers computers. He was supposedly talking to an old friend. I weaved an elaborate story about rebels and rescue. Eventually he warmed to it and spilled the beans. As he did I revealed that something was wrong, that wasn't the voice of his master he was hearing, it was different... high pitched... Rodian. He wasnt sitting speaking to his old master at all. He was strapped to a workbench with a restraining bolt on his chest while a Rodian slicer picked at his brain. The fake scenario was representative of him manipulating his programming to get to the info he wanted.

 

I was happy with how it went. Session was low on players but it worked out cos the interrogations took a lot longer than had planned.

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I would suggest re-watching the Police Interrogation sequence from LA Confidential, it is a good example of a 3 suspect interrogation.  Also, the ST:TNG episode where Picard is captured by the Cardassians is good too

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So, I may be misunderstanding here, but its (in my mind) really important to differentiate between interrogation and torture. The power of the scene where Leia is approached by the interrogation droid or Han is shocked (especially since he's dumped out, whimpering that they didn't even ask him anything) is that these devices are designed expressly to inflict pain (That interrogation droid don't just look like it injects you with truth serum, to me). If you really are talking torture, I really, really encourage you to slow down and think about this, because playing out torture is a serious thing. There's a reason, in the movies, that these scenes fade to black - because the implication that it happens is powerful and disturbing, but watching it happen is sickening, and then turns into the simple 'banality of evil', desensitizing the viewer to the terrible power of torture. Its a lot the way I feel about sexual violence - yes, it exists, and no way would I pretend it doesn't happen in any of the RPG's I gm/dm/st/whatever - but I also won't play it out. You say its about to happen, you say it just did happen, and you leave out the middle, because the middle will appeal to only base instincts.

 

Anyway, I'm not looking to start a flame war. Just, suggesting that you may not want to reduce one of mankind's greatest evils to some creepy descriptions and a few dice rolls to resist tattling.

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We actually included a Modular Encounter in the Spark of Rebellion source book that provides details and mechanics for an interrogation/torture scene. Some people thought it was a bit... dark... but, as the author and someone who appreciates the dark side of Star Wars (not to mention the fact we see several such scenes in canon), I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

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We actually included a Modular Encounter in the Spark of Rebellion source book that provides details and mechanics for an interrogation/torture scene. Some people thought it was a bit... dark... but, as the author and someone who appreciates the dark side of Star Wars (not to mention the fact we see several such scenes in canon), I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

 

 

 

I always figured that was standard fare if you were a suspected Rebel who had the misfortune to be captured by the Empire.

As a modular encounter, I thought that it made sense.

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