Crime Scene Sunday: Fraud

One regular feature of this Web log is Crime Scene Sunday, in which the author examines some form of criminal activity, considers how a villain may use that particular crime in a Dungeons & Dragons game, and provides one or more examples of that particular misdeed in a D&D campaign setting. As the name implies, such entries are posted on Sunday.

This week’s crime is fraud. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines it as “an intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.” Most acts of fraud are considered “white collar crime” today, and are often associated with advanced technology; it is for this reason that many players won’t expect to see fraud in a Dungeons & Dragons game setting, thereby making it a particulary useful villainous activity for the Dungeon Master (DM).

The primary element of fraud is deception, something many D&D villains do extremely well, whether a villain’s plan involves posing as a respected member of a campaign organization or simply moving to an area where she is unlikely to be recognized. Clearly, if a villain fails to decieve a potential victim into believing he is dealing with an honest person or legal authority, it is unlikely that the fraud will succeed.

It is important to note that the deception doesn’t necessarily need to be carried out by the villain in person. Villains leading large organizations, who are easily recognized, or those with other-worldly appearances (including aboleth, illithid, demons, devils, foulspawn and most undead villains) would probably enlist the aid of a subordinate suited to the task. Continue reading