Content of the article: "I ran a succubus as cute instead of sexy and it was one of my best encounters yet"
FORGE OF FURY SPOILERS
I'm currently running Forge of Fury for one of my groups, and when I first looked over the module, I didn't feel confident about how to run the succubus towards the end for a number of reasons. For one, I'm not really a fan of the religious implications of a dangerous sex-in-fiend-form. For another, my group is almost half-and-half men and women, mostly straight, and I had no idea how to coherently roleplay a figure that oozed sex appeal to all of them simultaneously without resorting to the horribly lame "you are very attracted to the figure in front of you," or something like that. Compounding this problem further, we're playing in the Humblewood setting, where everyone is a different kind of anthropomorphic animal, so what could such a figure possibly look like? Even if I pulled it off, would everyone be deeply uncomfortable? I had considered a few solutions – going vague, using private messages, or just tailoring the fiend to target a specific PC – but I ultimately decided to play the encounter as simply as possible by just going with a different kind of attraction – cuteness.
Taking inspiration from the fact that everyone was already some kind of animal or bird, I decided that the human woman form would be replaced by that of a quokka in a Peter Pan-collared shirt. When they initially met her, one of my players immediately said, "We love you." This let me play all of her goals pretty straight; she claimed an evil wizard was taking advantage of her and appealed to the party for protection, ultimately begging one of them to stay with her as the others explored to help her feel safe. At this point, my monk got suspicious that this defenseless creature had survived here alone, and asked enough questions that I asked for an Insight check. She got even more suspicious at my vague private message and asked what the quokka ate. When the fiend replied, "you know, food," she bluffed it, saying, "Oh yeah, like orcs – they're delicious." The monk rolled very high for Deception, and I decided a fiend that had been living alone for years could believably fall for that, so she heartily agreed. The party then went into a huddle, ultimately deciding to leave someone alone in the room with the quokka, along with the wizard's familiar, as they hid in the next room, ready to come charging back. The barbarian, who had secretly become charmed during the huddle, volunteered, and the fiend promptly used draining kiss (flavored as hugging his leg) once they were alone.
The party was horrified to hear that the barbarian looked visibly weaker and thinner and charged back in. The poor druid then immediately took a critical hit from the charmed barbarian and almost went down entirely. The bard then cast hideous laughter on the barbarian, safely removing him from combat, and the party was able to finish off the fiend before it could escape. Now the party has just finished a long rest and has a barbarian at 40% of his usual max HP and is preparing to fight a dragon, but overall I think everyone had a blast with the demon baby animal, and I feel the encounter really could not have gone better (the barbarian might disagree, but he played it perfectly). Obviously this approach wouldn't work for every party, but it was perfect for us, and I thought I'd share it in case anyone else was struggling with something similar.
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