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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Let's break it down to a variant of the trolley problem:
    Killing the ogre outright saves 10 lives.
    Getting the information and letting him go saves 50.
    Getting the information and killing him saves 70. (He'd go on to kill 20 more if let go)
    Alternatively - getting the information and redeeming him saves hundreds of lives - he goes on as a hero to save hundreds of lives if redeemed.


    Now, not everyone is a good candidate for redemption - but that's what the informal trial is for - to find out exactly what they've done in the past (through questioning, magical divination, mind reading, etc) and whether they were an eager villain or a reluctant one - "the nicest guy in the tribe" etc.


    LG characters like formal trials. CG characters like informal trials. But Good characters in general like some kind of "does this person deserve redemption attempts or execution" investigations, rather than summary execution of captured prisoners without any trial.

    "players of Good characters should be extremely wary of killing prisoners - because it is out-of-character for Good alignment"

    has been an established fact of D&D since the Eric Holmes version of Basic D&D. Certainly it is the same in 3.0 to 3.5.



    Execution is not inherently evil - but there are loops to jump through, to make something an execution rather than just a lynching.


    And my opinion is that this was part of the reason the dwarf was carrying out the questioning session in the first place - not just to get useful information for the mission - but to find out how salvageable the ogre was. Hence the enraged reaction. They wouldn't have reacted like that if they believed the ogre had to be killed as soon as the questioning session was over, and that the paladin merely killed the ogre very slightly prematurely.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-10 at 01:16 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Once you've killed enough people, I'm not really concerned about being sufficiently nice to you.
    Does that include 99% of adventurers then?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    The trouble there is, they aren't held to that expectation AT ALL. Otherwise the Paladin would have therapy notes instead of a Smite.
    They are warriors. So yeah, if they manage to turn someone good with the threat of the sword, no problem, but it's not their major task. Major task is keeping evil at bay using the sword. Or axe. Or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Maybe I'm very old school, but there is a definite air of "that which is evil gets put to the freakin' sword and it's feelings aren't part of the equation" to the Paladin aesthetic. I'd much rather be a Paladin who has free reign to be a bit of a bastard so long as the target is evil than one who has to tie their own hands in a way that puts more people at risk.
    Interesting point about the "old school" approach. Were there paladins in od&d? I don't think so, but feel free to correct me.

    Obviously, there is a big chasm between different peoples' expectations regarding paladins, their code and behaviour. For me, they should be held to a higher standard - trying to redeem those, who wish to be redeemed, doing good deeds to show that good is better than the alternatives, leading by examples... yes, I am very much influenced by Steve Rogers, Balian of Ibelin, King Arthur, Sturm and Bowen.

    Human, but trying to be better at being Good. And Lawful.

    Would I think about punishing the paladin for killing the ogre from the example? Depends on the situation.

    Did the ogre surrender? Did the paladin accept the surrender? If yes, then they are in trouble - they are going against their word.

    Is it practical? Yes. Is it wrong? Yes. The paladin should act better.

    If they just captured the ogre, and the ogre shows no remorse, no signs of repentance? No problem. Kill it.

    The context is really important. Why did the dwarf want to keep the ogre? Some more torture? Then the paladin did a mercy kill - which I fully support.

    Would I make a paladin fall for killing an ogre? Nope. That requires much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Again, maybe in this particular regard I'm very neutral. But there's a hard line beyond which society is no longer obligated to tolerate your continued existence, nor give a crap about your feelings on the matter. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.
    Same here. Just, like, opinions.

    Man.

    But it's a good discussion. I especially like this forum because not often it gets too vitriolic, even though these subjects are rather touchy.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Neither player is particularly right, however, the wrongs are almost even.

    The paladin erred by killing something that wasn't his to kill, the ogre was the prisoner of the dwarf. The then got an object lesson that you don't do that because...

    The dwarf took legitimate retribution by also killing something that wasn't his to kill. Legitimacy in this case being "I have been wronged, now I will wrong you in turn".

    The PC's are square (They may not see it like this), this is a classic eye for an eye situation.

    Basically, don't mess with dwarves on matters of rights, they're vengeful little buggers.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    The trouble there is, they aren't held to that expectation AT ALL. Otherwise the Paladin would have therapy notes instead of a Smite. .
    Smite Evil is an important tool of the paladin class. So are Detect Evil, Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Zone of Truth, Discern Lies and Mark of Justice.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Hard pass on that for me:

    "Are you sure you want to do that? It might be in-character for Evil characters and some Neutral characters, but not really in-character for Good ones"

    is vastly superior to:

    "I won't let your character do that, because a Good character wouldn't do it."


    If LG characters are not entitled to police the other party members' actions, as The Giant suggests, then it is equally true that the DM is not entitled to police the PC actions to that extent.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    A bit of both. It is not the DM's job to dictate to the player what the player's character is willing or unwilling to do. That's just a kind of railroading.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    It might be reasonable for the DM to lay down some ground rules before the game of the "If you state outright that your character's doing this, the game is over" kind - but IMO this shouldn't be "all evil acts of any kind". DMs need to accept that they can't force the players to adhere to Exalted Good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Depending on the game, the mechanical penalty could be "your character becomes an NPC." Certainly in my game if somebody went and, i dunno, killed all the dogs in a town or something because "its what their character would do" then they wouldnt be allowed to play that character anymore.
    I think Keltest has the right of this. It seems clear to me from what they wrote that FireListener starts their campaigns with "I only want to run games for Good characters. Make a Good character, and promise to keep them Good, or please just leave." And they "dictate their player's actions" insofar as they remind them of their promise to only play Good characters, and to leave if they don't want to be Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Treating people as resources is the base status of any system of political or military power. Given Paladins can be the leaders of organizations, and even kings, I'd dispute that.
    All Good political and military powers are fictitious for this very reason. "Treating people as a resource" is a violation of the Kantian golden rule that underwrites the Gygaxian Good-Evil axis. It's an evil act.
    Last edited by Chauncymancer; 2020-09-10 at 02:58 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    Interesting point about the "old school" approach. Were there paladins in od&d? I don't think so, but feel free to correct me.
    Paladins were introduced in an OD&D supplement back in 1975 and became a fixture of "core" rules in AD&D in 1977. Gygax himself went on the record saying that paladins (and Good characters in general) are not pacifists and that there are cases where a paladin is justified in executing prisoners of war, even after an evil-doer repents.

    Why? Because in fantasy land there (occasionally) really is a God to sort them all out, so executing a repentant criminal means their soul will join the angels in a Good afterlife (etc.). As I said earlier, a paladin can very much be the judge, jury and the executioner and still be in spirit of the rules, so discussing whether the act violates the paladin's code is somewhat pointless.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Gygax himself went on the record saying that paladins (and Good characters in general) are not pacifists and that there are cases where a paladin is justified in executing prisoners of war, even after an evil-doer repents.

    Why? Because in fantasy land there (occasionally) really is a God to sort them all out, so executing a repentant criminal means their soul will join the angels in a Good afterlife (etc.).
    It has been argued that Gygax was being tongue in cheek about executing repentant evildoers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland St. Jude View Post
    It doesn't say anything specifically about allowing execution of prisoners, but it seems to take a utilitarian "greatest good and least woe to the greatest number of decent folk" kind of approach to good. And, as noted in the linked thread, the idea of a paladin was an oath-bound one-man judge who was authorized by both society and deity.

    But you have to be careful, part of that thread he's plainly joking.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland St. Jude View Post
    But where he says about killing a recently converted person to keep them from backsliding, for example, that seemed like his dry humor at work.

    Personally I think that outside of 1st ed, Gygax's opinions on prisoners don't really apply. And even in 1st ed, not every D&D author agreed with him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncymancer View Post
    I think Keltest has the right of this. It seems clear to me from what they wrote that FireListener starts their campaigns with "I only want to run games for Good characters. Make a Good character, and promise to keep them Good, or please just leave." And they "dictate their player's actions" insofar as they remind them of their promise to only play Good characters, and to leave if they don't want to be Good.
    Good characters can commit the occasional Evil deed, and remain Good. Characters are not 100% consistent. DM banning a Good character from committing any evil deed - is somewhat questionable. More "railroady" than is the standard approach.


    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    yes, I am very much influenced by Steve Rogers, Balian of Ibelin, King Arthur, Sturm and Bowen.
    When you really think about it - Bowen waged a one-man genocidal war against all dragonkind, because he believes one dragon corrupted his king, he wants revenge on that dragon - and killing every other dragon he can find to get that one, is acceptable.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-10 at 04:48 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #158
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    He used the words "If you so much as interfere with my prisoners again", so its very much not about the killing in and of itself.
    Not necessarily. When someone messes up badly enough, it is often common practice to ban them from a larger area.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    See I guess I'm weird because I read the words and thought "ill judge this guy based on what he literally said" rather than thinking "he's CG so I'll give him some slack and assume he didnt actually mean what he literally said".
    I highly recommend watching "12 Angry Men". Also, it's relevant to your comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    This thread is a demonstration that attempting to apportion blame is a terrible way to meditate an in-party conflict. Don't ask which player is in the right. Identify the disagreeable thing about the situation as a whole, and negotiate a compromise or norm to follow going forward designed to resolve the lingering issues and prevent the undesired things from happening again.

    Fundamentally it doesn't matter whether the paladin's player or the dwarf's player was more of a jerk here. Assuming that OOC this wasn't like 'great roleplay scene there!' from the players, then likely both players have a reason to be dissatisfied about what happened. The paladin's player probably is unhappy about potentially being blocked from participating in that thing they were in such a rush to get to, and the dwarf's player is probably unhappy about their loss of agency and the interruption of something they considered to be their scene.

    So both have reason to consider a change, because both have something to gain from that change.

    On the other hand, if you start with blame then you're going to ensure that at least one of the two will resent whatever follows, and will just as likely deepen their disruptive behavior as reduce it, or will just bleed it into OOC unpleasantness.
    So… I follow the school of thought that… hmmm… the first step to solving a problem is realizing that there is a problem; the second step is identifying what that problem is.

    I'm a programmer. I'm not one to demonize the notion of blame. "Yup, the problem is, the motherboard is fried. I blame the fried motherboard for this problem. If you want to fix the problem, I'd recommend replacing the motherboard."

    I suppose my question is, how does one efficiently address a problem, without properly assigning blame, to know what to fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze View Post
    Or, decide which player you're most dissatisfied with and boot them. Not all players are salvageable, and not all that are end up being worth the effort spent.
    Most people's "problem player", my response is "I know that guy - he's fine so long as…". Therefore, I tend to view most stories of "unsalvageable players" as indicative of the faults/failure of those who were unable to salvage them.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I mean, if I felt the need to go that far I'd just boot both...

    The test of salvageable/unsalvageable is going to be how the players behave during mediation, not something they did in the heat of the moment during game. Someone who sabotages or resists mediation to the extent that it becomes a deadlock is actively being a problem, whether or not there's some abstract argument that could be made that they were 'in the right' .
    Although I look at it from a different angle, I think I agree that the ability to move forward productively is important to the salvageable/unsalvageable distinction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysiume View Post
    This is all table dependent, and that post was based on this being a player-driven question rather than a character-driven question. I can only work with what the OP said, but based on what they said:
    • The paladin killed the ogre out of convenience*. They were trying to benefit the party, but should have asked OoC first.
    • The dwarf killed the paladin's horse out of spite. They were not trying to benefit the party — the dwarf (and the dwarf's player) wanted the paladin (and the paladin's player) to respect to the dwarf's ownership of the prisoner.
    What the characters did — the morality of killing a captive ogre vs. an unsuspecting horse — isn't what I'm discussing. It's how the players responded to things. The paladin player's motivation was to progress the game. The dwarf player's motivation was to punish the paladin's player. I'll reiterate here that I'm sure that I'm missing some relevant details, but I'm working with what I've seen in this thread. This is not a matter of black and white. The OP didn't say specifically what his table's expectations are, but as far as my table is concerned, killing a mount/familiar/whatever is way further over the line than killing a prisoner, regardless of whether the other players agreed to the killing of the prisoner.

    *: This would not fly for most paladins. Super setting-dependent, but killing a helpless enemy is frowned upon in almost all paladin codes. That's a whole thread unto itself, though.
    Or the dwarf killed the horse out of convenience, to benefit the party (to teach and improve the Paladin in the most efficient manner), whereas the Paladin killed the prisoner out of spite for all the ogre's sins (not considering him a person worthy of a trial), or even out of spite for the dwarf's "actions" (not considering the dwarf a valid agent to judge or redeem the Ogre). It's not exactly cut and dry.

    Actually, the hubris of "I am judge, jury, and executioner" and looking down on the dwarf as "inferior" in that regard seems very believable for a Paladin.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm a programmer. I'm not one to demonize the notion of blame. "Yup, the problem is, the motherboard is fried. I blame the fried motherboard for this problem. If you want to fix the problem, I'd recommend replacing the motherboard."

    I suppose my question is, how does one efficiently address a problem, without properly assigning blame, to know what to fix.
    Jokes aside, a motherboard is a piece of technology and incapable of guilt. You just accept that, sometimes, motherboards fry and don‘t spend time to search the wrecked computer for evidence to punish the user for neglect in cleaning the ventilation outlets and you don‘t spend resources to track down and reprimand the chinese factory worker that made the motherboard. Or maybe you do.
    Last edited by Berenger; 2020-09-10 at 06:14 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So… I follow the school of thought that… hmmm… the first step to solving a problem is realizing that there is a problem; the second step is identifying what that problem is.

    I'm a programmer. I'm not one to demonize the notion of blame. "Yup, the problem is, the motherboard is fried. I blame the fried motherboard for this problem. If you want to fix the problem, I'd recommend replacing the motherboard."

    I suppose my question is, how does one efficiently address a problem, without properly assigning blame, to know what to fix?
    As a programmer, you should be already familiar that often people seek to pin the blame instead of fixing the cause of the problem.

    "This program does not work properly. Quertus programmed it, it's his fault. Problem solved."

    instead of

    "Okay, the program does not work properly. The reason is Quertus was overworked when programming it and hunted by two separate project managers because they also needed him to do stuff, so he misplaced a semicolon. We'll fix the semicolon and the PMs need to make sure they first align the priorities amongst themselves to ensure Quertus works at peak efficiency."

    Currently, the discussion is mainly about the first approach.

    Identifying problems does not mean placing blame - it means looking at issues and identifying what happened, what can be done to salvage the situation and ideally - looking at the core of the issue, not just the "perpetrator". Saying the paladin was right and the dwarf not does not solve the issue at hand.

    Also, as someone who deals with people - and programmers - on daily basis, people tend to forget the problem exists once the blame is correctly pinned. Still, the problem remains and often they just add more to it.

    And the OP clarified he's also looking for answers how to address such things.
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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Most people's "problem player", my response is "I know that guy - he's fine so long as…". Therefore, I tend to view most stories of "unsalvageable players" as indicative of the faults/failure of those who were unable to salvage them.
    It's not necessarily that they are unsalvageable, it's that what you salvage may not be worth the effort. It's like resuscitating someone that will only live on in a persistent vegetative state--DNR orders exist for a reason, and something similar could apply to many players.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Paladins were introduced in an OD&D supplement back in 1975 and became a fixture of "core" rules in AD&D in 1977. Gygax himself went on the record saying that paladins (and Good characters in general) are not pacifists and that there are cases where a paladin is justified in executing prisoners of war, even after an evil-doer repents.
    Gygax also went on the record saying that mercy is a trait that should be reserved only for those who trangress in error, and that Good characters are justified in committing genocide against unarmed women and children as long as they come from a nation or culture that you are currently at war with.

    I don't think Gygax is a particularly good source of philosophy, is what I'm saying.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Is it the most efficient course of action? Probably not. Good doesn't always get to take the most efficient course of action. They're supposed to be held to higher standards than that.
    You could argue that "not taking the most efficient course of action" is kind of what defines Good. It's easy to be "Good" when it's also the most efficient thing. When you choose to value things like your word, the lives of others, etc., over your own convenience or gain is when you start to be "Good".

    Well, to some extent Neutral would do that too. I guess maybe it's the inverse - always doing the most efficient thing for you, regardless of others, is kind of the defining feature of Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Let's break it down to a variant of the trolley problem:
    Killing the ogre outright saves 10 lives.
    Getting the information and letting him go saves 50.
    Getting the information and killing him saves 70. (He'd go on to kill 20 more if let go)
    You're presuming a Utilitarian frame of morality, which is not universal.

    (The point of the trolley problem isn't that there's really a right or wrong answer. The point is to clarify how individuals view morality).

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    I'm thinking I'm gonna take option 3, my dude.
    Am I the only one that finds the phrase "my dude" super condescending and dismissive?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Alternatively - getting the information and redeeming him saves hundreds of lives - he goes on as a hero to save hundreds of lives if redeemed.
    And this is pretty much the Good view of things. Always try to help everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    LG characters like formal trials. CG characters like informal trials. But Good characters in general like some kind of "does this person deserve redemption attempts or execution" investigations, rather than summary execution of captured prisoners without any trial.
    Bingo.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    And my opinion is that this was part of the reason the dwarf was carrying out the questioning session in the first place - not just to get useful information for the mission - but to find out how salvageable the ogre was. Hence the enraged reaction. They wouldn't have reacted like that if they believed the ogre had to be killed as soon as the questioning session was over, and that the paladin merely killed the ogre very slightly prematurely.
    This smells likely.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    I don't think Gygax is a particularly good source of philosophy, is what I'm saying.
    Gygax is perfectly adequate source for purposes of playing in a fantasy setting built on a wargame.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    OP, what hasn't been answered -- did the IC conflict bleed out into OOC troubles? If all the players are cool with what went down, it doesn't matter. Fun apparently was had.

    If there's resentment all around though, this has got to be lanced out.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Alternatively - getting the information and redeeming him saves hundreds of lives - he goes on as a hero to save hundreds of lives if redeemed.
    At the cost of thousands more because the paladin was faffing around with this ogre instead of doing his job and moving against the forces attacking this town he's supposed to be protecting. Adventurers in general, and paladins in particular, are warriors. Their job is to defend the interests of Good by fighting the forces of Evil. If they happen to find somebody willing and able to be redeemed, thats great, but they arent obligated to try and redeem every evildoer who isnt actively attempting to kill them.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    At the cost of thousands more because the paladin was faffing around with this ogre instead of doing his job and moving against the forces attacking this town he's supposed to be protecting.
    The original post in question, says that the ogre in this group was part of a force that had attacked a keep several days before.

    And that the party's "mission is to get to the highfolk".

    It did not say that "the highfolk are in extreme, immediate danger and thousands of lives will be lost if the PCs don't arrive in time".


    Plus, the use of the term "assault group" makes it seem like the ogre is not a bandit, but a trooper. Even more reason for "the laws and customs of war" to apply.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-10 at 01:04 PM.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    A good example. I am a bit more strict so this is how it would go at my table.

    Joe: “My character kills the prisoner”
    Bob: “Hey, wait a moment!!”
    Me: “Okay, let's hold on a moment and talk this out. Bob, not Bob's character, clearly doesn’t want it.”
    Joe: “They kill the prisoner. That’s what my character would do.”
    Me: “Well then let's talk it out. With all the players. This is a cooperative game. It is okay when the characters get into conflict but let's talk out this player disagreement first”
    ... Later ...
    Me: “Sounds like we have an understanding / consensus. Thank you for talking it out. Let's go through it now.”
    I think this is probably the best solution presented. Solving ooc issues in character is rarely a good idea, and as "unfair" as the burden can seem, it's the DMs role to timeout at potential conflict so that it can be resolved.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    Jokes aside, a motherboard is a piece of technology and incapable of guilt. You just accept that, sometimes, motherboards fry and don‘t spend time to search the wrecked computer for evidence to punish the user for neglect in cleaning the ventilation outlets and you don‘t spend resources to track down and reprimand the chinese factory worker that made the motherboard. Or maybe you do.
    I would of I could. How else can they learn and improve, if I don't kill their horse? Wouldn't motherboards be better if we could / if workers knew every time that they were at fault for failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    As a programmer, you should be already familiar that often people seek to pin the blame instead of fixing the cause of the problem.

    "This program does not work properly. Quertus programmed it, it's his fault. Problem solved."

    instead of

    "Okay, the program does not work properly. The reason is Quertus was overworked when programming it and hunted by two separate project managers because they also needed him to do stuff, so he misplaced a semicolon. We'll fix the semicolon and the PMs need to make sure they first align the priorities amongst themselves to ensure Quertus works at peak efficiency."

    Currently, the discussion is mainly about the first approach.

    Identifying problems does not mean placing blame - it means looking at issues and identifying what happened, what can be done to salvage the situation and ideally - looking at the core of the issue, not just the "perpetrator". Saying the paladin was right and the dwarf not does not solve the issue at hand.

    Also, as someone who deals with people - and programmers - on daily basis, people tend to forget the problem exists once the blame is correctly pinned. Still, the problem remains and often they just add more to it.

    And the OP clarified he's also looking for answers how to address such things.
    I guess I don't tolerate people / behaviors like that, that stop at "blame" without care for "solution". So, it's not something that's really survived contact with me in the workplace. (Granted, because my player clearly believed in tanking my Charisma, my inquiry of "How can you be this dumb?" was not received in its intended spirit. )

    For the OP… questions of the "why?" category seem apt.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-09-10 at 01:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So… I follow the school of thought that… hmmm… the first step to solving a problem is realizing that there is a problem; the second step is identifying what that problem is.

    I'm a programmer. I'm not one to demonize the notion of blame. "Yup, the problem is, the motherboard is fried. I blame the fried motherboard for this problem. If you want to fix the problem, I'd recommend replacing the motherboard."

    I suppose my question is, how does one efficiently address a problem, without properly assigning blame, to know what to fix?
    Identifying and understanding the reasons for the problem is different than rendering judgement as to who was more to blame.

    It's a connotation thing. If you're talking about a computer, generally the word 'blame' isn't going to have connotations of e.g. reward and punishment, justice, disciplinary action, etc. If you're talking about people, it gains additional social connotations that don't exist in the other usage of the word, and those are very important when it comes to the attitude someone is going to bring to an attempt at resolution.

    Blame is a sort of one-way adjudication. In as much as it ever 'works', it relies on a clear hierarchy, and couching things in terms of blame projects the image of trying to establish or reinforce that hierarchy. That is, you can only get away with telling someone 'you did bad, change or else' if they basically have no real leverage in the situation. No one in that situation is thinking 'the other guy did right, I did wrong' and waiting to be told so they can fess up. Both will feel justified, and both will probably feel discontent as well - like 'I did what I felt like I should do in that situation, but I also don't like that this situation exists'. If you say 'I and a bunch of people online decided that you are wrong' they're likely to dig their heels in and just be more determined about their position. They might back down in public in which case they may well be sullen going forward, look for passive aggressive ways to screw over the other player or even 'punish the GM back' in order to not feel like they let themselves be pushed around, etc. Basically a mess.

    So instead, if you focus on the part of the reaction where both players are unhappy with what happened, you can often use that to motivate the players to make concessions of their own will.

    Of course, if one or both players actively like making people at the table uncomfortable and is thrilled that they had an excuse to be a jerk to everyone and wants even more of that, then I might buy the 'unsalvageable' line. But that's not how the situation reads to me.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Gygax is perfectly adequate source for purposes of playing in a fantasy setting built on a wargame.
    Dude actively defended real-world genocides to explain why it's okay to kill orcs. He's not a moral authority on anything.

    *edit* On re-reading, I think the tone of my post came off as hostile to you, rather than hostile to Gygax, and I apologize if it did so in your eyes as well. I realize that you're just making a tongue-in-cheek comment about the depth of morality in D&D, and I don't mean to snap.

    I do, however, feel very strongly that Gary Gygax's vision of Good vs Evil is itself pretty Evil, philisophically speaking, and it creates a world in which Good and Evil are mostly just team jerseys that you wear rather than an actual ideological belief. It's more of a Hackmaster parody than anything else, and I really do think that D&D has moved beyond it.
    Last edited by Friv; 2020-09-10 at 04:35 PM.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    @Friv: And I can understand why someone would find Gygax's stance distasteful - I just find criticisms coming from that angle fundamentally flawed. Morality in fantasy games is arbitrary, you can take anyone as a moral authority when it comes to setting up a game scenario, regardless of what you'd think of those morals if applied to real life. Real life agreeability is not necessary or even necessarily good selection criteria for game morality.

    D&D's own history is a case-in-point. I agree D&D's alignment has moved past Gygax, but it didn't move forward. It is a matter of historical fact that post-Gygax D&D became more black-and-white in attempt to pander to literal angry moms, as admitted verbatim in articles from that era. This actually helped bolster the culture of arguing about what is or isn't in-game Evil; in Gygaxian alignment system, if your character's morals disagree with the world's they might not be Good, but it doesn't restrict your participation in the game. Post-Gygax, PCs are supposed to be Good and Heroic and playing Evil characters is special and generally shouldn't be done, so now you have vested interest in arguing so you can keep playing.

    That a lot lf hobbyists internalized the idea that Evil characters are naughty-naughty and that Good has to adhere to what keeps mom happy, didn't make the world a better place. If the choice is between team jerseys and corporate moralism, I'll take the jerseys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    The original post in question, says that the ogre in this group was part of a force that had attacked a keep several days before.

    And that the party's "mission is to get to the highfolk".

    It did not say that "the highfolk are in extreme, immediate danger and thousands of lives will be lost if the PCs don't arrive in time".


    Plus, the use of the term "assault group" makes it seem like the ogre is not a bandit, but a trooper. Even more reason for "the laws and customs of war" to apply.
    I hate to break it to you, but the Geneva Convention doesn't exist in D&D. So taking this weird "it's a war crime" angle is confusing to me.

    The spell Heat Metal is a war crime.
    Pretty much any spell involving poison damage is a war crime.
    A whole boatload of what adventurers do in a standard encounter falls very comfortably into the "war crimes" category.

    I'm certain if I took the time I could find several Paladin spells that would violate the geneva convention. Such as Mark of Justice, where you pretty much affix someone with a magical shock collar that maims them whenever they think naughty thoughts. I'm pretty sure the UN would frown upon such.

    ---

    As for the myriad of responses to my thoughts and RE: Gygax...

    I have been very forward that my approach is pragmatic. And I'll be forward that I'm very much a utilitarian. I find in my life experience that while idealism sounds real nice, a utilitarian approach gets results and often does a better job than the idealistic approach at increasing general happiness. I also believe that given what human nature is like, humans living in a utopia would burn it down after a week because they got bored. So that informs my expectations of behavior a lot.

    Regarding Gygax and his comments,
    I (and by extension everyone else else) am luckily under no obligation to give any heed to any designer's personal morality to inform my gameplay, and I'm free to disregard them entirely. Which is pretty neat. So I don't particularly care about how Gygax feels about morality, nor any of the other interpretations by later designers. Until WotC starts sending Morality Police to my house to enforce their vision, I will continue to not care what they think.

    EDIT:
    Oh yeah, one dude took offense at me using the phrase "my dude." I understand that not everyone keeps up with internet culture, but the phrase is not designed to be dismissive nor condescending. I can't stop you from interpreting it how you like, but the phrase is growing in the common parlance due to a meme. It's meant to be casual and perhaps a bit flippant and silly, but not dismissive. Please go to YouTube and search "it is Wednesday my dudes" for the level of seriousness behind the phrase.

    TL;DR
    Chillax, my dude.
    Last edited by ImNotTrevor; 2020-09-11 at 06:54 AM.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Identifying and understanding the reasons for the problem is different than rendering judgement as to who was more to blame.

    It's a connotation thing. If you're talking about a computer, generally the word 'blame' isn't going to have connotations of e.g. reward and punishment, justice, disciplinary action, etc. If you're talking about people, it gains additional social connotations that don't exist in the other usage of the word, and those are very important when it comes to the attitude someone is going to bring to an attempt at resolution.

    Blame is a sort of one-way adjudication. In as much as it ever 'works', it relies on a clear hierarchy, and couching things in terms of blame projects the image of trying to establish or reinforce that hierarchy. That is, you can only get away with telling someone 'you did bad, change or else' if they basically have no real leverage in the situation. No one in that situation is thinking 'the other guy did right, I did wrong' and waiting to be told so they can fess up. Both will feel justified, and both will probably feel discontent as well - like 'I did what I felt like I should do in that situation, but I also don't like that this situation exists'. If you say 'I and a bunch of people online decided that you are wrong' they're likely to dig their heels in and just be more determined about their position. They might back down in public in which case they may well be sullen going forward, look for passive aggressive ways to screw over the other player or even 'punish the GM back' in order to not feel like they let themselves be pushed around, etc. Basically a mess.

    So instead, if you focus on the part of the reaction where both players are unhappy with what happened, you can often use that to motivate the players to make concessions of their own will.

    Of course, if one or both players actively like making people at the table uncomfortable and is thrilled that they had an excuse to be a jerk to everyone and wants even more of that, then I might buy the 'unsalvageable' line. But that's not how the situation reads to me.
    "What you did broke the social contract. Here is the contract, here is what you did, here is how that breaks that."

    This sounds like blame to me, and it sounds productive to me.

    Thus, my initial analysis was "*if* there is a 'no PvP' rule, then *both* players broke that rule, thus the behavior of both was unacceptable".

    I never said anything about one or the other being *more* to blame, simply that, *if* there was a problem, *both* were to blame.

    Am I misusing the concept of blame? Am I making statements you believe would be unproductive or toxic? What am I missing here?

    (EDIT: and kudos to those who have pointed out to add "the GM" to the blame list. Certainly, the culture that they have built, and how they responded to this incident as it was unfolding could put them at fault, as well. I, personally, just couldn't see enough in the details from the story to make that call, but it's definitely something that needs to mentioned.)
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-09-11 at 06:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "What you did broke the social contract. Here is the contract, here is what you did, here is how that breaks that."

    This sounds like blame to me, and it sounds productive to me.

    Thus, my initial analysis was "*if* there is a 'no PvP' rule, then *both* players broke that rule, thus the behavior of both was unacceptable".

    I never said anything about one or the other being *more* to blame, simply that, *if* there was a problem, *both* were to blame.

    Am I misusing the concept of blame? Am I making statements you believe would be unproductive or toxic? What am I missing here?

    (EDIT: and kudos to those who have pointed out to add "the GM" to the blame list. Certainly, the culture that they have built, and how they responded to this incident as it was unfolding could put them at fault, as well. I, personally, just couldn't see enough in the details from the story to make that call, but it's definitely something that needs to mentioned.)
    I'd approach it differently. 'You transgressed, now let me explain it to you' doesn't work if the person you're talking to doesn't have the kind of relationship with you where you're an established authority figure over them. So if someone is already defensive, they'll say e.g. 'you're just taking his side!' or 'why should I listen to you, I was in the right!' or so on. Look at people in this thread getting pushed to make argumentation defending Geneva convention violations in response to criticisms against the way that they themselves like to play Good-aligned characters. If you try to push norms without buy-in, they're going to entrench.

    So instead I'd ask 'Okay, do we agree that what happened sucked? Are either of you actually happy with this outcome?'. I'm asking that expecting 'yes that sucked, no we're not happy' - if one both say 'that was fine' then no problem, move on with life; if one says 'that was good RP' and the other says 'that sucked' then it's going to be a much more difficult mediation. But lets assume for now that both say 'I don't like what happened'.

    Then I can ask 'Okay, first of all what do you think we should do so that it doesn't happen again?', and I'd shut down things that are clearly of the form of 'let me do stuff to the other guy but they're not allowed to retaliate', and try to see what they actually want. Do we retcon things like that when they happen, but otherwise have people just bull ahead? Do we implement an OOC 'stop, I'm not okay with this direction' kind of policy at the table? Do we let actions like that go, but say that PvP is explicitly allowed if it gets to that stage? Focus on table procedure, not 'laws' with penalties for breaking them: e.g. 'in the future if this happens, here is how we will resolve it or prevent it' not 'if you break this, you're at fault and you'll be the one in trouble, don't break it'.

    After deciding how to go forward, I'd then focus on whether anything needs to be done in this particular case to mend the immediate damage. But I want to reserve that discussion for after the agreement about procedure because it's more likely to get people to dig in their heels and it tends to make the focus narrow rather than broad and system-level. If they're fine with things as long as the table policy is in operation going forward, fine. Otherwise I'd offer to retcon the events. If for whatever reason that gets rejected, and there's no compromise from the players themselves, then I'd suggest that both players bring in fresh characters at that point. Hopefully that'd be extreme enough they'd be motivated towards a compromise instead. But I'd make it clear that any kind of compromise isn't going to be of the form of 'force the one or the other player to suck it up' or something like that, and I'd shut down any lines of discussion as to which one did the worse act or which one was individually responsible - focusing on 'this is the situation, it's unsatisfying to both of you, I'll only change it to something that is satisfying to both of you or not change it'.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-09-11 at 07:15 AM.

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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    I hate to break it to you, but the Geneva Convention doesn't exist in D&D. So taking this weird "it's a war crime" angle is confusing to me.
    It's based on the whole "Bandits and outlaws have forfeited any protections" attitude.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Ogres don't have legal rights, therefore they cannot be murdered.

    The same is true, by definition, of bandits, and all other outlaws. That's what "outlaw" means.

    This ogre was part of a group of raiders that attacked a keep under the PCs protection. Unless this is some unusual setting where ogres are citizens of some actual nation (instead of a collection of murderous tribes), with real citizen's rights, it's not murder.
    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Once you've killed enough people, I'm not really concerned about being sufficiently nice to you.
    ...
    Maybe I'm very old school, but there is a definite air of "that which is evil gets put to the freakin' sword and it's feelings aren't part of the equation" to the Paladin aesthetic. I'd much rather be a Paladin who has free reign to be a bit of a bastard so long as the target is evil than one who has to tie their own hands in a way that puts more people at risk.
    ...
    Again, maybe in this particular regard I'm very neutral. But there's a hard line beyond which society is no longer obligated to tolerate your continued existence, nor give a crap about your feelings on the matter. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.


    I was pointing out that these may not qualify as bandits, even if you accept that principle.



    Personally, I think "you must be a citizen of a nation, to have any rights" is a bad idea though. As is ruling out all rights to "monsters that live in tribes".

    Even Tolkien, whose orcs are almost as irredeemable as monsters get, had a concept of Orcs having rights, which the other peoples must heed:

    Quote Originally Posted by Myths Transformed
    ... the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. This is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-11 at 08:38 AM.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    It's based on the whole "Bandits and outlaws have forfeited any protections" attitude.





    I was pointing out that these may not qualify as bandits, even if you accept that principle.



    Personally, I think "you must be a citizen of a nation, to have any rights" is a bad idea though. As is ruling out all rights to "monsters that live in tribes".

    Even Tolkien, whose orcs are almost as irredeemable as monsters get, had a concept of Orcs having rights, which the other peoples must heed:
    I dont think anybody is arguing that the torture was appropriate though.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I dont think anybody is arguing that the torture was appropriate though.
    That's usually the next step in "Monsters don't have rights" - that "the needs of innocents" justify torturing monsters for information - and not just suspending them upside down, but all kinds of real horrors.


    As you pointed out:
    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    frankly i think im willing to dismiss that as "the players didnt really comprehend that it was torture."
    the players might not be aware that their characters' actions qualify as torture. Plus:

    Quote Originally Posted by dancrilis View Post
    Best case for the Dwarf - the interrogation of the ogre was non-painful and merely to disorient the creature and the information was extracted via promises of safety and release and then when they were about to release the captive the paladin kills them from, killing of the horse and threat to the paladin was an act of rage and grief.
    It's the difference between High Altitude Interrogation (as a subset of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique), and Cold Blooded Torture:

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...eInterrogation
    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...ationTechnique


    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...BloodedTorture

    The first two are reasonable for darkly-shaded heroes, antiheroes, etc.

    The last is more a Villain thing.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-11 at 08:53 AM.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I'd approach it differently. 'You transgressed, now let me explain it to you' doesn't work if the person you're talking to doesn't have the kind of relationship with you where you're an established authority figure over them. So if someone is already defensive, they'll say e.g. 'you're just taking his side!' or 'why should I listen to you, I was in the right!' or so on. Look at people in this thread getting pushed to make argumentation defending Geneva convention violations in response to criticisms against the way that they themselves like to play Good-aligned characters. If you try to push norms without buy-in, they're going to entrench.
    I spotted this dig.

    You'll please note that I don't condone the violation of the Geneva Convention or the committing of war crimes IN REAL LIFE, because that would be an unreasonable stance entirely.

    But given that we're talking about Imaginary Elf Games which give you the option to COOK PEOPLE ALIVE IN THEIR ARMOR a few times per day with nothing noting that this is going to definitely shift your alignment, and given that impaling people with spears (generally frowned upon in the modern era) is a standard part of combat, and given that LITERAL MIND CONTROL is fairly common, and given that Burning Hands is basically a flamethrower, that using poison is commonplace, spells that are the equivent of gassing your opponents exist (cloud kill) and are commonplace and nobody bats an eye at them, that 5e has the spell Blade Barrier which essentially allows you TO LITERALLY PUT YOUR OPPONENT IN A COMBINATION BLENDER/WOODCHIPPER, throwing ACID on someone is a CANTRIP, there is now a spell that INSTANTLY DEHYDRATES PEOPLE AROUND YOU BY SUCKING THE WATER OUT OF THEIR BODIES, and a spell called Immolate, which just sets someone on fire, straight up, and they sit there and burn alive (essentially burning them at the stake minus the rope), granted that all these things are things in D&D....

    It's a bit hard to take "killing a tied up ogre is a war crime" seriously. Half the spells in the game are either warcrimes or thoroughly and unnecessarily cruel ways to kill people. Yet we're gonna sit here and pooh pooh a Paladin?

    Unless you're ready to bust out your war crimes accusations whenever someone casts Burning Hands, Immolate, Acid Splash, Cloudkill, Dominate Person, suggestion, or Blade Barrier... and for that matter consider "dinging" people on their alignment whenever they cast any of the spells that aren't technically war crimes but are still really brutal ways to kill someone, maybe don't argue from this position, because it's *ridiculous.*

    EDIT: lemme address this while I'm here:

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    It's based on the whole "Bandits and outlaws have forfeited any protections" attitude.
    I didn't say bandits and outlaws. Anybody who is harming innocent people on a regular basis is going to have minimal empathy from me as to their plights. If Timmy the Mass Murderer gets chucked off a cliff I'm not gonna accuse the chucker of being immoral. I'm gonna buy him a drink and tell him "good job."

    Timmy the Soldier Who Likes Shooting Innocent Women and Children is functionally identical to Timmy the Mass Murderer and the same rules apply.

    I'm not in favor of vigilantism in real life, mind. As a general system it is prone to many, many flaws. My PREFERENCE is for law and order to reign, IN REAL LIFE.

    In my imaginary elf games, I'm not a stickler about it because it's IMAGINARY ELF GAMES.
    Last edited by ImNotTrevor; 2020-09-11 at 09:22 AM.
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    Default Re: In-party conflict- how do we tell which player's in the right and which in the wr

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Anybody who is harming innocent people on a regular basis is going to have minimal empathy from me as to their plights. If Timmy the Mass Murderer gets chucked off a cliff I'm not gonna accuse the chucker of being immoral. I'm gonna buy him a drink and tell him "good job."

    Timmy the Soldier Who Likes Shooting Innocent Women and Children is functionally identical to Timmy the Mass Murderer and the same rules apply.
    And based on the original Gygax thread, all we know for certain that this particular ogre is guilty of, is


    "being part of an assault group that attacked a keep"


    Anything else - them being a cannibal, a rapist, or (gasp!) a hillbilly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Ogres are backwoods hillbilly sexual predators who eat people

    is conjecture.


    That's what an "informal trial" would be for in the first place, even if it only consists of heavy use of Charm spells and Diplomacy, and Sense Motive - finding out if this particular ogre "needs killing".
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2020-09-11 at 10:39 AM.
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