LotFP Class: Torturer

130092_story__wpid-400guillotine17October is the month for spoopiness. Lets get spoopy.

Sometimes people don’t want to be honest with you. Sometimes they’ve got secrets that they’re determined to take to the grave. Fortunately, there are things much worse than death, and you’re intimately familiar with all of them. You can introduce these deceitful cockroaches to pains they’ve never imagined, and soon enough they’ll be telling you things they didn’t even know they knew.

Torturers have a d6 hit die. They use the fighter’s saves and experience table. In combat, Torturers lack the consistency of the fighter, but they compensate in their detailed knowledge of how to maximize suffering. The damage die of whatever weapon the Torturer uses is increased by one step. (A d6 becomes a d8, etc.)

If a Torturer deals the finishing blow to a target, then at their option, the target may be merely helpless rather than slain. Once helpless, they are ready to be plied by the Torturer’s eponymous ability.

Torture requires that a Torturer carry a kit of torturer’s tools with them, which are an encumbering item. These consist of a small variety of knives, clamps, and perhaps a thumbscrew. Once they’ve got a helpless target to play with, the Torturer may use their unique talents to receive the answer to one question per ten minutes of torture.

If there is any reasonable chance that the creature being tortured knows the correct answer to the question, then they will provide it. If you ask a footsoldier about their general’s plans, then this footsoldier just happened to be walking past the general’s tent when a few choice words were being spoken. What they can tell you might be incomplete, but it will be useful.

If there is no reasonable chance that the creature being tortured knows the correct answer (as in you picked up a random child off the street and asked them about the secret plans of a wizard half the world away), then they will lie. The referee, however, should not lie. They should tell the players that the victim doesn’t know anything, and that they’re spouting nonsense just to make the hurt stop. As an experienced Torturer, the PC knows how to spot the difference.

Torturers may ask a number of questions equal to their level, plus 1. After all possible questions have been asked, the victim dies from their injuries. If the Torturer stops 1 question short of their possible amount, then they can keep their victim alive. Asking the same victim any further questions requires a successful heal check, and a week of time to allow them to recover.

Speaking of: every artist needs an eraser. As such, Torturers begin play with a heal skill of 2-in-6. This automatically goes up by 1 at levels 3,  6, 9, and 12. If you do not already use the heal skill in your games, here it is reprinted for the use of the Torturer as a unique class ability:

Using the Heal skill requires a character to have a healing kit handy, which is an encumbering item. On a successful check, the injured character may roll their hit die, and recover the resulting amount of hit points. If the check is succeeded by a margin of 2 or more (for example, if a 1 is rolled when the skill is at 3-in-6), then the patient receives 2 hit dice worth of healing. If the check is succeeded by a margin of 4 or more, the patient receives 3 hit dice of healing.

Healing checks require 3 turns to perform. If a check is attempted when there is only a 1-in-6 chance of success, then failure causes 1 hit point of damage. Inexperienced hands tend to make things worse rather than better.

If the Torturer has access to a fully equipped torture chamber, they may attempt brainwashing. Such a chamber is usually underground, costs at least 10,000 silver pieces to equip, and comes complete with racks, iron maidens, and a collection of sinister alchemical concoctions. Unless the Torturer’s activities are state sanctioned, the location of their torture chamber must also remain a secret. If it is discovered, it will be mobbed and ransacked by a justifiably enraged populace.

Brainwashing requires a helpless victim with at least 1 fewer hit dice than the Torturer. A single attempt takes 1 week of time, after which the Torturer may roll 2d4 on the following table. They may add +1 for every additional 3000 silver pieces they spent stocking their torture chamber.

2. Your victim has successfully fooled you. They faked being brainwashed, and the moment you let your guard down they escaped. They will probably lead an angry mob back here promptly.
3. You overdid it, and your victim is now brain damaged. It’s not a total loss. They’re very suggestible. They’ll do pretty much anything you tell them to. Unfortunately they’ve got so little left inside their head that they’re more likely to break a dish than they are to wash it.
4-6. Stockholm Syndrome has set in hard. Your victim has become devoted to you with an almost religious zealotry. They can’t bear to be away from you for more than a couple hours at a time, and tells anyone who will listen what a great guy you are. They’ll do pretty much anything you tell them, but they’re awkward and obvious about it.
7. Your victim doesn’t really remember the torture, they just have this vague idea that at some point you invited them over for a cup of tea, and during the conversation they realized what a great dude you are. They decided at that point that it really was in their best interests to stick with you and do whatever you tell them to. They function as a henchperson with a loyalty of 11.
8. You’ve turned your victim into a sleeper agent. They will return to their lives and act completely normal. No one will know anything is different about them until a triggering event of your choosing occurs. When that happens, they will carry out whatever instructions you give them with a complete disregard for their own life or safety.

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2 thoughts on “LotFP Class: Torturer”

  1. Obligatory stick in the mud progressive comment: The FBI’s position is that torture doesn’t work and only induces the victim to tell you what they think you want.

    But if medieval/ancient period accuracy has any place in your games, it is true that people back then certainly believed it to work.
    I recently read this, an account of the investigation of the murder of a French crown prince based on the investigator’s notes and backed with other historical documents:
    https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Royal-Crime-Detection-Medieval/dp/0316224510
    It isn’t great literature, but as a semi-narrative that relates a great deal of historical trivia it is pretty good.
    It appears that the investigator didn’t place much personal stock in torture, but that torture was nevertheless expected practice for police work in the 14th century. They had torturers on staff. You also had to pay for your room and board if you were arrested or even questioned. Yikes.

    1. For sure torture doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean that fictionally it’s not good for a bit of wicked fun.

      Learning history is actually a big hobby of mine, but my preference is to treat it more as a source of inspiration, rather than a strict framework. Placing elfgames in a historical setting, and dusting them with historical tidbits, is a ton of fun. But as soon as you start worrying about inaccuracies, it stops being fun.

      Thanks for the book recommend, by the by. I’ll take a look at it!

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