[RPG] My DM asked me to betray the party; How to beat them?


After we chose classes but before we really solidified our character sheets, my DM privately messaged me and asked if I wouldn't mind playing the part of the double agent sent to infiltrate and, at some point, betray the party. "Sounds like fun," I said.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty solidly outnumbered. We're all level 8. I'm a Bard, and I'm up against a Monk, a Druid, a Sorcerer, a Warlock, and a Cleric that the DM is playing. I'm assuming that the DM chose to include this character because none of the other players were overtly given to healing.

Some pertinent details:

  • We all have the Acolyte background.
  • I believe my Monk has chosen the Shadow discipline, because he seems to be able to teleport from shadow to shadow.
  • The Druid's main offensive capability seems to be a bow
  • The Sorcerer knows Chromatic Orb
  • The Warlock knows Dimension Door and, in our (so far) only fight, his first action was to use it to teleport away from the danger.
  • My offensive capabilities include a hand crossbow, a rapier, Thunderwave, Witch Bolt, Dissonant Whispers, (while not directly offensive) Blindness/Deafness, and Vicious Mockery.
  • I also Proficient in Sleight of Hand and am carrying a poison potion. I was thinking that maybe I could slip poison into one party member's drink or maybe coat one of my arrows in poison.

We've completed one of what is supposed to be eight sessions. We're heading to a temple to find a thing, and bring the thing back to our capital city. None of us have any idea what the thing is. But it's a safe bet that both the road to the temple and the temple itself will be fraught with danger. My initial strategy is to try to let said dangers pick them all off one by one. Presumably I can't let them all die until I've secured the Thing in the Temple, because I'll probably need their help to do it. And also to get it back to the capital city (I'm working for one of the higher-ups in our Church and securing the Thing is more important than killing the party).

Strategies I've considered:

  • Killing them in the Temple, once they've been weakened by its defenses, after we've found the thing.
  • Poisoning their drinks on the way back home to the capital city.
  • Waiting until one of the dangers on the road back home has weakened them, and trying to kill them THEN, while I don't have much further to go on my own.


Best Answer

Have you considered not killing them?

Having a traitor/impostor in the party can be a lot of fun. It can also lead to a lot of out-of-character conflict and anger, especially if you actually succeed in killing anyone's character.

On the other hand, something that can be a lot of fun is to beat the party without killing them. At the moment of the party's triumph you trap them in a cage, grab the special plot coupon item they've been trying to get hold of, laugh evilly, then escape. Your character, instead of ruining the game for everyone, has become the kind of villain that everyone loves (to hate). Maybe monologue a bit before making your getaway?

The DM would take over your character and run them as a villain NPC, while you would take over the "extra" character, the quiet cleric who has been with the party this whole time. The DM could even have the cleric not be with the party at the time, so that you can bring the cleric in to save them. Alternately, if you don't want to run the cleric, maybe the "evil" you was actually a doppelganger, and the "good" (no goatee) version of you can be rescued by the party soon after the "evil" you escapes with the MacGuffin; that would allow you to keep playing your bard character if you're happy with him/her.

TLDR: Traitor characters can bring a lot of fun to a game as long as their player isn't a jerk. Going on a new quest to get the bastard that betrayed you is cool; getting TPKed isn't (usually; if the DM can finagle everyone coming back from the dead for revenge, though...).

So how can you beat them?

Well, without killing any of them, it's hard to take more than 1 or 2 of them out of the fight, and you should expect to lose any fight against fellow party members once they know you're an enemy if you're outnumbered even 2v1, much less 5v1. Here are some approaches to consider:

  • Split the Party: There's a reason it's usually considered a bad idea. If you can talk the party into splitting up, or the DM can forcibly split the party somehow (oh no! magitech blast doors!) that can get the odds to something much more reasonable. Ideally you would be alone with 1 or at most 2 of the others and the MacGuffin.
  • Poison: Killing PCs = bad. Drugging them into unconsciousness then locking them in a (poorly secured) cell, on the other hand... Ask your DM about poison options.
  • Secretly Awesome: Maybe you're just pretending to be a bard the same level as the party. With the DM's permission, you might have 2 character sheets: one normal sheet for when the party thinks you're on their side, and one "real" sheet for when you betray them and can stop concealing your phenomenal cosmic powers.
  • Henchmen: You said the DM wants you to have been sent to infiltrate the party. Sent by who? Can they send you some backup? Even just digging some pit traps ahead of time somewhere the party is going and marking them in a way only you will recognize can help (see splitting the party).