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eru001
2016-03-20, 09:44 PM
So a situation cropped up in a game that I am running, fortunately it was at end of session so when it happened and could not be dealt with immediately I did the let's buy time option and scheduled the resolution of it for next session. I unfortunately have no Idea how to resolve it and so I was wondering if anyone else had some ideas.

The situation at present.

The party has no clearly defined leader and there are two individuals jockeying for the role. Both are Lawful Good Knights, and the two can't seem to agree on anything somehow. Normally I'd sit back and watch the truly excellent roleplay between the two players as they are both great in this regard and doing wonderful jobs of portraying opposite types of lawful good characters, however the events of the last session now force me to intervene and I have no idea how to do so.

The first character, we'll call him Knight A, strives to be the champion of the common people, he himself is the illegitimate son of a minor noble who won knighthood on the field of battle for gallantry in action. He leads from the front and refuses to send those beneath him into danger if it can at all be avoided choosing instead to put himself in harms way so that those he has sworn to defend don't have to. In combat his primary concern is to minimize casualties among his troops which he does through an emphasis on caution and asymmetric small unit tactics, he is pragmatic in that he always strives to create fights which are both short and unfair in favor of his side, and makes a point of always placing himself in the location where he expects the heaviest fighting to take place. Knight A strives to follow the knightly code, as he believes that it serves as a tool to guide knights to protect others, in his everyday life but will break it without hesitation should he feel that this "tool" is not serving it's intended purpose (to quote him, "The Laws exist to do good, and so I follow them. If they fail in this regard, then I shall do good without concern for them, and once they return to serving good I shall return to them.")

The second character, we'll call him knight B, strives to be the embodiment of the knightly code, doing everything he can to ensure that the code of chivalry is followed at all times. He is an up from the ranks soldier, who was knighted after serving as a common foot soldier or a number of years before being formally adopted by his heirless commanding officer (a famous knight) and granted noble rank. He rigidly adheres to both the chivalric code and traditional military tactics. When leading men in battle he normally positions himself in a central location so as to better see what is going on and issue orders accordingly, rather than skirmishing he prefers to engage the enemy directly with rigid set piece formations, and he has no problem ordering troops into combat without accompanying them. His primary concern in battle is to win the engagement. Knight B would never under any circumstances violate the knightly code as he believes that it is the code alone which prevents the kingdom from falling to savagery. (he responded to the above quote with "goodness exists because we have laws, and if we break them, we shall lose it and return these lands to the barbaric state before our kingdom came about.")

Both have dedicated their lives to helping others and protecting the kingdom but go about it in very different ways. On top of this both characters have big ego's and Alpha Male personalities. As a result they clash a lot. Both men are also incredibly pious.

Recently after their latest clash over strategy, tactics, and methodology in regards to a non-trivial mission that they are about to undertake, they remembered that the party cleric has the ability to summon a being of pure law and good from the realm of the diety that they both worship to ask for spiritual guidance in this matter. The rules of the particular skill involved state that the cleric may ask the being a single question to which the being must give a direct and truthful answer. they both agreed in character that clearly since they could not come to an agreement, they should have the cleric put the question to the being of pure law and good. At the end of the last session the cleric summons the being, and then asks the question,

"Which of these two knights should lead"

I as the DM have no answer as I A) am not so philosophically versed as to be able to decide which of these two viewpoints would be better in the eyes of a being of pure law and good, and B) don't believe that a DM should be telling the players which of them should be in charge of their party and hadn't given the matter much thought.

I have to give them an answer at the start of the next session and have no Idea what if any answer I should give. Help

Coidzor
2016-03-20, 10:00 PM
"Neither."

The fact that they cannot cooperate, even in dire circumstances, and that one will always resent the other if some external party subordinates the one to the other... It's impossible to put one over the other and not bring about calamity.

That or it mentions a test or quest that exists solely to show that they need to learn to cooperate and that both have useful input.

InvisibleBison
2016-03-20, 10:02 PM
Well, based on what you've said, it seems like both knights would make decent leaders. So you could just pick one at random. Alternatively, you could create a joint leadership position, though that might just lead to interminable squabbling.

Slipperychicken
2016-03-20, 10:28 PM
Seconding "Neither of those two". If he has to elaborate, it's because they're so full of pride and hubris they can't be bothered to work together. They should instead be working under a unifying figure, like the king, a general, or some other lord.

OldTrees1
2016-03-20, 10:29 PM
They both agreed in character that clearly since they could not come to an agreement, they should have the cleric put the question to the being of pure law and good. At the end of the last session the cleric summons the being, and then asks the question,

"Which of these two knights should lead"

I as the DM have no answer as I A) am not so philosophically versed as to be able to decide which of these two viewpoints would be better in the eyes of a being of pure law and good, and B) don't believe that a DM should be telling the players which of them should be in charge of their party and hadn't given the matter much thought.

I have to give them an answer at the start of the next session and have no Idea what if any answer I should give. Help

Interesting. Well the stereotypical answer to "A or B?" is the overlooked option "C".
LG Angel: "Both Knight A and Knight B can act as strong guides towards right action, but it is the role of a leader to consider both sides. Why only prosper under one guide when you can have a leader that can benefit from both? Cleric C, you have been blessed with two great advisers, may your wisdom grow all the more from their advice."

Coidzor
2016-03-21, 12:29 AM
Also, totes less moral conundrum, more IC and possibly OOC player conflict.

TheTeaMustFlow
2016-03-21, 05:06 AM
Neither. He who cannot dissimulate cannot reign.

Keltest
2016-03-21, 05:31 AM
I agree with the ones who say "neither" or "both". If one or the other takes command, whoever didn't is going to resent that. Theyre both intelligent and competent, and if they can just focus on making a solid strategy instead of arguing philosophy with each other, it would almost certainly be a very good one. If you really want to impress this on them, have the being of law and good not flat out berate them for their lack of cooperation.

Lorsa
2016-03-21, 07:17 AM
I also believe the Cleric should lead. Clearly that is the best option.

Also, the reply "you both fail in the eyes of law and good" should hopefully make them a bit more humble.

JohanOfKitten
2016-03-21, 07:40 AM
I don't think it's to the DM to choose this. Yes, it's a NPC who gives the answer in the game, but it's a choice that will influence as much how the game is played as how characters deal with their quest. If I were you, I would talk to the players about it to find which way could be best for the game, to be amusing for everyone.
It would avoid any resent from one or the other player toward how things goes and how his character can be diminished after that.


If the players can't agree about that or if they don't mind what could happen because they're open to everything, you decide.
In that case, I would say that, in my opinion (and that can be highly debatable so I don't want to push it as truth), is that Knight A is a bit on the edge between Neutral Good and Lawful Good, so knight B would fit better in place of a leader for a being of pure Law and Good; but the idea of puting cleric C in charge said in a lot of answers above me could really be the best way to handle it. He would have to listen both knights and have the wisdom to choose the best way every time, and the knights will still have their roleplay scenes in which they defend their tactics, just with the cleric in the middle this time.

goto124
2016-03-21, 10:01 AM
Is the GM willing to play out (percieved) 'bad' consequences for the players' choices?

eru001
2016-03-21, 10:14 AM
Is the GM willing to play out (percieved) 'bad' consequences for the players' choices?

I'm the DM, and Yes I am

tomandtish
2016-03-21, 03:40 PM
"I'm a being of pure law and good. I work endlessly to make sure order, light and peace dominate the multiverse. I monitor the blood war to make sure it doesn't spill into the Prime Material. I provide assistance and advice to Saints, Kings, and Demigods. And this is the crap you are wasting my time with?!? Fine".

At that point every party member is required to speak honestly about the leadership capabilities of EVERY other member (but not themselves). They then must vote for a leader, and can NOT vote for themselves. Feel free to have a runoff if needed.

"This is how beings of pure law and good do it. Because if your actions to date haven't convinced others to support you, you shouldn't be putting yourself forward for the job in the first place".

Kelb_Panthera
2016-03-21, 04:15 PM
Interesting. Well the stereotypical answer to "A or B?" is the overlooked option "C".
LG Angel: "Both Knight A and Knight B can act as strong guides towards right action, but it is the role of a leader to consider both sides. Why only prosper under one guide when you can have a leader that can benefit from both? Cleric C, you have been blessed with two great advisers, may your wisdom grow all the more from their advice."

^This.

Also remember that even beings that are pure law and good are not without disagreement on matters of practicallity. The conjured outsider could just as easily side with one as the other and another of his own kind side with the opposite. There are definiite merits to both arguments and only hive-minded creatures of pure law, untinged by good or evil, find themselves in perfect agreement about most things with any frequency.

Alternatively, it's a creature of pure law and understands that chain of command is a thing.

Have it determine their -exact- rank in the social and military hierarchy, relevant to distance from the supreme commander by rank (birth only comes into play if one of them is actually in the line of succession). The creature sides with whomever has the higher rank, as is in accordance with being of law. Have it tell them in a huff that it cannot answer the question if the details to this cannot be made immediately and abundantly clear. Maybe have it make some comment about backwards berks and their haphazard, nonsense hierarchies. If they have more or less equal rank then it demands they learn to cooperate because their internecene conflict is an embarrasment to the supreme order.

On a personal note; the above is what I think a DM should do. From a completely honest standpoint, Knight B has chosen the more effective leadership method in the overall. Bravery and valuing the lives of your men over your own are excellent qualities for a squad leader but a leader of larger military forces must accept that hard decisions must sometimes be made and it is sometimes necessary to send men to their deaths for the greater good of the cause for which they all fight. If you can't order your men to go die when it's necessary, you -will- lose to the guy that can. You may even lose to the guy who doesn't care. It's important to make sure men's lives are spent well rather than wasted but if you cling too tightly then they'll be taken from you piece-meal and you will lose in the end.

Lycanthrope13
2016-03-21, 06:35 PM
"Law" is highly subjective. What one group deems lawful, another criminalizes. Law exists only to promote an agenda. When Law strives to protect, it is Good. When Law seeks to oppress, it is Evil. Law for its own sake is pointless. Therefore, I would choose A, who places Good above Law.


Then again, I lean toward Chaotic Neutral, so what do I know...

Kelb_Panthera
2016-03-21, 07:04 PM
"Law" is highly subjective. What one group deems lawful, another criminalizes. Law exists only to promote an agenda. When Law strives to protect, it is Good. When Law seeks to oppress, it is Evil. Law for its own sake is pointless. Therefore, I would choose A, who places Good above Law.


Then again, I lean toward Chaotic Neutral, so what do I know...

This is why I really, really wish that whomever came up with alignment had used 'order' instead of 'law' there. Law (big L) is not subjective any more than good or evil in a D&D settting. It's the ideas of order and structure and collectivism and tradition writ large accross reality as one of its fundamental forces and the antithesis of Chaos (big C); disorder and amorphism and individualism and inovation. A lawful character will tend toward obeying the law (little C) but is not utterly beholden to it as an absolute, irresistable force within their own behavior. The more you read about lawful characters and creatures and their expected behaviors the more clear this becomes.

When you talk about the game there's an immense difference between law and Law and the two are all too commonly conflated because they're the same word describing different things. Please don't do that.

veti
2016-03-21, 07:04 PM
Seconding "neither". If you want to elaborate: "If either of them were fit to lead, you wouldn't need to ask the question".

A leader is, by definition, someone who can persuade their underlings to work together and follow a common plan. A leader has to keep their eye on the "big picture". If that means occasionally - or even often - putting aside their own preferences and letting a subordinate have their way on some specific point of tactics or protocol, then the leader should be willing to pay that price to keep their team together.

Neither of your two alpha-types can do that, ergo they can't lead.

ComaVision
2016-03-22, 02:58 PM
As someone else said, I think Knight B is a better embodiment of Lawful Good. Knight A seems closer to Neutral Good.

I think "neither," "both," or "cleric" sound like a cop-out.

Coidzor
2016-03-22, 03:11 PM
As someone else said, I think Knight B is a better embodiment of Lawful Good. Knight A seems closer to Neutral Good.

I think "neither," "both," or "cleric" sound like a cop-out.

You think bad player behavior should be rewarded?

Tentreto
2016-03-22, 03:42 PM
A different idea that comes to mind is to focus on what the character would do if they were not chosen.
Possibly try to give them each the idea the other was chosen, and gauge how well they take it. If they take it in good stead... they are acting both according to code and generally being nice. Otherwise, if they cannot take being lead well, how well can they lead anyway?
If you will, it is a hidden test of character.

Michael7123
2016-03-22, 05:13 PM
You mention that both men are incredibly pious.

Well, I have a question for you: Do both knights worship the same deity? Furthermore, does the cleric worship the same deity?

If the answer to all of that is "yes", it would be really helpful if you could give us information on the deity they worship, as the being of pure law and good that was summoned would likely be a servant of that deity, who would share his/her dogma.

All that said- I am inclined agree with the people here saying the being of pure law and good making the cleric the party leader (assuming the cleric is also lawful good), especiallyif the cleric's character is humble. In spite of how it's often played differently, good people, especially lawful good people, aren't supposed to have massive egos. They can, but that's a deficiency in their overall lawful goodness. Nothing that would warrant an alignment change, certainly, but definitely something that can lead to one down the line.

Pride goes before the fall, and whatnot.

I for one, think that has the potential for some great roleplaying opportunities.

Keltest
2016-03-22, 05:22 PM
Id be hesitant to put the cleric forward as a party leader because its a distinct possibility he, in character or out of character, has no desire to lead the party. Bring it up, but don't just say that the cleric should do it without even checking if he wants to.

Michael7123
2016-03-22, 05:31 PM
Id be hesitant to put the cleric forward as a party leader because its a distinct possibility he, in character or out of character, has no desire to lead the party. Bring it up, but don't just say that the cleric should do it without even checking if he wants to.

This is an important thing to check. However, if the cleric's player is okay with it, it could make for some great role playing to have the cleric (in character) get a leadership position he doesn't want but will endure anyways.

After all, fulfilling obligations towards others - especially when you don't want to- is one of the most important aspects of being either lawful or good, and is doubly present in the case of lawful good.

You have a potential to teach your players a lesson about lawful good, DM. This has the potential to be a great role playing opportunity, a part of me wishes I would be in your shoes for this.

eru001
2016-03-22, 07:05 PM
Unfortunately I checked both with the cleric and the other party members, as it stands only the two knight players have any desire for the job.

As far as what diety, they do all follow the same religion, though I'm not using the standard D&D dieties, the diety they all follow can best be described as King Arthur ascended to godhood.

basically the problem is that they have turned this into a pissing match of who is the most Lawful Good, and one of them is clearly LAWFULL good while the other is clearly lawful GOOD. I really don't like that they've thrown the decision at my feet as I thought they were doing great roleplay of the dispute but I have to admit, their solution of "appeal the decision to an authority both of us recognize" makes sense in character.

dps
2016-03-22, 07:12 PM
As someone else said, I think Knight B is a better embodiment of Lawful Good. Knight A seems closer to Neutral Good.

I think "neither," "both," or "cleric" sound like a cop-out.

I agree in theory. In practice, though, this amounts to the DM telling them which one should be the party leader, which I find problematic. However, they asked for it. So with some reservations, I'd say have the answer be Knight B.

Kid Jake
2016-03-22, 07:32 PM
You could go the King Solomon route and have the entity force them into a divinely sponsored duel to the death to determine the true leader; with whichever man reaches for his sword first being disqualified for putting his own ambition above the greater good.

Strigon
2016-03-22, 08:12 PM
Perhaps a competition?
For a certain amount of time - say a week, or 3 days if you feel like keeping this short - they each have one turn as leader. The other must follow their orders explicitly and without malice or malintent, for the agreed amount of time. Then the other has their turn. Whichever one succeeds in being a more Good (that's capital G; not simply effective) leader in that time, gains the leadership position.
The Solomon challenge works, too.

Vinyadan
2016-03-22, 08:26 PM
I would botch the spell. Have the cleric cast in a desecrated area, on a plain underneath which lies an ancient altar where uncountable innocents were unjustly sacrificed. Instead of the BOPLG, you get an impostor from the ancient times who offers himself to lead the group, "to bring harmony", but actually with his own agenda. See how long it takes for the characters to understand what's going on. Let the whole deal play itself out. With some luck, it shouldn't distract too much from the main quest, or may continue alongside with it. In the meantime, see if you can reach a solution with the players and avoid imposing them a choice they should make themselves.

Rillian
2016-03-22, 08:30 PM
I vote Knight B.

Here is my reasoning:
Knight A values being good far more than being lawful. He's more akin to neutral good in my opinion, his self advertised claim to being lawful is nothing but self deception. I find his dedication to duty lacking, as he is only lawful when it suits him. His lack of discipline to a strict code will eventually get innocent people killed who were depending on him. He is inept at leadership as he can not delegate tasks, and feels he would rather attempt to do the most dangerous assignments himself. There is no "I" in team, and he fails miserably at this. This also reflects that he has no self confidence or respect as he feels the need to sacrifice his own well being at every battle, leaders fight smarter, not harder. Martyrdom is for the worthless commoners, he needs to realize his importance in the world and that his life isn't a commodity to be thrown away. Also, Knight A is a coward in that he will only engage when the odds are greatly in his favor. Leaders are not borne out of playing it on easy.

Two character archetypes could be interesting for both of them:
Model an NPC after Captain America, and another NPC after Jamie Lannister, and see how the two Knights interact with those NPCs. That will reveal a lot about them.

A moral test of their characters would be to see how they resolve a false rape accusation. Have a noblewoman sleep with the town scoundrel based on his false promises to live a life of wealth and adventure together, only to regret her decision and try to have him locked away or executed for rape. He's innocent of the crime, but he's a lying con artist. However, if he is found innocent, it could mean she is excommunicated from the church for adultery and two noble families will go to war.

Gildedragon
2016-03-22, 08:38 PM
You could go the King Solomon route and have the entity force them into a divinely sponsored duel to the death to determine the true leader; with whichever man reaches for his sword first being disqualified for putting his own ambition above the greater good.

This is genius.

Alternatively: "What do your laws say?" have they established a compact to determine leadership? if not there is no 'law' or 'good' to the selection

or the angel could tell them something like: Respect, Tolerance, and Colaboration are the basis of law and good: they wish to lead, they must also be willing to follow, to hear what the other says.

or encourage alternating or situational leadership: one mission one, the other the other. or whoever has the most skillpoints or knowledge for a particular thing

Gildedragon
2016-03-22, 08:51 PM
Here is my reasoning:
Knight A values being good far more than being lawful. He's more akin to neutral good in my opinion, his self advertised claim to being lawful is nothing but self deception. I find his dedication to duty lacking, as he is only lawful when it suits him. His lack of discipline to a strict code will eventually get innocent people killed who were depending on him. He is inept at leadership as he can not delegate tasks, and feels he would rather attempt to do the most dangerous assignments himself. There is no "I" in team, and he fails miserably at this. This also reflects that he has no self confidence or respect as he feels the need to sacrifice his own well being at every battle, leaders fight smarter, not harder. Martyrdom is for the worthless commoners, he needs to realize his importance in the world and that his life isn't a commodity to be thrown away. Also, Knight A is a coward in that he will only engage when the odds are greatly in his favor. Leaders are not borne out of playing it on easy.

If you call commoners "worthless" the G in LG is suspect. A's emphasis on asymetric tactics does feel less Lawful though.

Coidzor
2016-03-22, 09:19 PM
You could go the King Solomon route and have the entity force them into a divinely sponsored duel to the death to determine the true leader; with whichever man reaches for his sword first being disqualified for putting his own ambition above the greater good.

No, that's saying you'll cut the party in two and give each half.

No specification on bisection being involved, but deliberately ambiguous.

Kane0
2016-03-22, 09:26 PM
Knight A is a good man, knight B is a good leader. They both have their place, and they both need to work together. You can simply give them the answer "Knight B" or you can give them the full analysis:
Knight A puts himself at undue risk in battle for the sake of nobility (not in itself a bad thing, but if you are the king on the chessboard you don't lead charges) and runs the risk of avoiding hard decisions, as well as a tendency to put the law/code as secondary (also has its uses in the right circumstances, but not a good appearance for a leader). He is flexible which makes him an excellent asset, and as such would serve as a valuable advisor.
Knight B on the other hand has proven to be reliable, experienced and critical but runs the risk of becoming predictable or worse, jaded. His rigidity and traditionalism is both a benefit and drawback, and must be tempered by his comrades. Knight A is the best suited to this task, and so they must consider themselves foils for each others' flaws, each striving to strengthen the other.
They both need to be more accepting of alternate perspectives and methods, and both could use a dose of humility. They would both make fine leaders, and if they put aside their differences and rank they'd find that their co-operation would bring about a far better leadership and either individual. Besides, the divine being which they have summoned has better uses for its time, so begone!

eru001
2016-03-22, 10:22 PM
I vote Knight B.

Here is my reasoning:
Knight A values being good far more than being lawful. He's more akin to neutral good in my opinion, his self advertised claim to being lawful is nothing but self deception. I find his dedication to duty lacking, as he is only lawful when it suits him. His lack of discipline to a strict code will eventually get innocent people killed who were depending on him. He is inept at leadership as he can not delegate tasks, and feels he would rather attempt to do the most dangerous assignments himself. There is no "I" in team, and he fails miserably at this. This also reflects that he has no self confidence or respect as he feels the need to sacrifice his own well being at every battle, leaders fight smarter, not harder. Martyrdom is for the worthless commoners, he needs to realize his importance in the world and that his life isn't a commodity to be thrown away. Also, Knight A is a coward in that he will only engage when the odds are greatly in his favor. Leaders are not borne out of playing it on easy.



I'm not sure I would call the knight who regularly faces the greatest dangers personally a coward, he also has the combat skill to back up his deployment. With the possible exception of Knight B, (though in all honesty I think Knight A has a more effective build) Knight A is the most powerful single combatant in the party, so there is some justification in doing the dangerous jobs personally.

I'm also not certain it is cowardice to set up situations where conditions favor your troops before engaging in battle, more pragmatism in my book.

I think he really is lawful good, but if the choice ever comes up where he must choose between being lawful and being good he will pick good

Conversely Knight B strikes me as the type who if called to make the same choice would choose Lawful

Michael7123
2016-03-22, 11:15 PM
To view this from another angle: I think you have to take into account what ethical axis the BOPLG values more highly: the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis. I'd say overall, that the good/evil axis is treated as being much more important than the law/chaos axis by lawful good celestials.

Going by the book of exalted deeds, LG and CG outsiders basically get along. The same can not be said of LG and LE outsiders. An eladrin who shows up in Mt. Celestia is going to be left alone for the most part. A devil who shows up in Mt. Celestia will, to put it simply, get his ass kicked by angels.

Moreover, I don't necessarily see being both perfectly good and perfectly lawful as necessarily something that requires you to occasionally choose good over law, or vice versa. Rather, I would say that lawful good is someone who's highest principle is "do no evil and do what is good", and he follows that with the same rigor, zeal, steadfastness, and devotion that a hardline lawful neutral person would have while upholding the laws of a city, or his own personal code.

If you view the obligation to do good as the highest, most important law, there's no longer a conflict between the L and the G. That's part of why, in my oppinion, Paladins have always been lawful good. Doing good with the same rigor that a lawful person does law. And that explains why Paladins don't fall for doing chaotic actions- over all, those are minor offenses at most. It's doing evil that is truly against the code they follow.

TL;DR I think Knight A ought to get the leadership role. That being said, I do think the BOPLG should teach both men a lesson in humility.

The Solomon suggestion is also really good, you might want to try that.

Knaight
2016-03-22, 11:16 PM
You think bad player behavior should be rewarded?

What bad player behavior? You mean the aforementioned "excellent roleplay"? As of now, all we know about the situation is that we have two fairly well developed and interesting characters, and that there is some low level conflict between the two concerning a leadership position of some sort (maybe just a party, maybe a great many people). There's no reason to think there's any out of game conflict, and the only reason this thread exists is that the GM needs to figure out how to play an NPC that got invoked.

It's the particulars of that NPC that's worth observing here. Both knights exist within a distinct social hierarchy, and while we don't know the details of it we do know that there's a defined noble class, a defined commoner class, and at least some complexity to the noble class (given that an illegitimate noble is probably still distinct from a commoner if the term is being used at all, and given that there's clearly a mechanism for entrance into what is typically a noble title in the form of granted knighthoods). The characters are also both pious, and while we don't know whether the church supports the same social structure, there's a pretty decent chance they do given that no conflict was mentioned.

So the question is, does this extend up to the divine being? If it does, they'll probably go with knight A, as knight A comes from a marginally more noble background. They would also likely make the reasoning clear. If they don't, what is their criteria? There's no particular reason to have them just be a stand-in for the GM, and figuring out the NPC in question solves the issue of what they do.

goto124
2016-03-22, 11:59 PM
Wait... Knights A and B are PCs?

eru001
2016-03-23, 12:01 AM
Wait... Knights A and B are PCs?

yes they are, Lawful good PC's exist, not everyone has to be a murderhobo

Kane0
2016-03-23, 01:44 AM
Reminds me of the plight of the paladin that tried to redeem a succubus in that old campaign journal. Good story, was that ever saved somewhere?

OldTrees1
2016-03-23, 08:08 AM
Wait... Knights A and B are PCs?

Yes, Knight A and Knight B are PCs that asked the Cleric C (also a PC) to summon a being of pure Law and Good (an NPC) to ask it which of them should lead. The DM is polling the forum in order to avoid, as much as possible, the DM deciding who should lead while still having the NPC give an answer.

So far we have had 5 answers (Neither, Both, C, A, or B) stated by someone or other.

veti
2016-03-23, 08:34 AM
Taking on board what you say about both the knights wanting the role, and nobody else in the party wanting it...

... I still vote "neither", for the reasons I gave above.

The BoPLaG can tell them that they both have a lot to learn about leadership, and whichever one of them can grasp the idea first will be fit when they do, and not before. In the meantime, who says they need a leader at all?

Cernor
2016-03-23, 09:54 AM
Reminds me of the plight of the paladin that tried to redeem a succubus in that old campaign journal. Good story, was that ever saved somewhere?

It's called Tales of Wyre and a quick Google search should lead you right to it.

(I would have given a link, but I still don't have 10 posts.)

Segev
2016-03-23, 10:05 AM
From a King's standpoint, especially one who is dedicated equally to Law and to Good, he would want a general like Knight B, and a bodyguard and spec ops leader like Knight A.

Knight B is the party's strategist, their war leader, marshal, and planner. Knight A is the party's tactician, their hero and champion who leads them personally into battle.

From a pragmatic standpoint, when they're embarking on missions that the party is undertaking as a single unit, Knight A is the better choice for leader, and should be advised by Knight B (with Knight B as his second-in-command to handle a second squad or to run ops/support). When the party is a lead unit for a massive battle, Knight B should be taking full command of the army, and place the party where he thinks they serve best. He should be setting Knight A as leader in charge of his most important front-lines squads, and trusting him to take command on the front lines should communications break down for any reason.

Traditionally, in tales of this nature, the angelic being would have some way of giving an answer which would lead the prideful men to come to this above realization on their own, whether through a quest or through answering one way and giving an Aesop at the end if either of them behaved badly over it. However, I have no idea what "wise" ploy to use here, because, frankly, this works in fiction mostly because the writer controls all involved characters. (Or, in religious texts, because the Divine Being really is THAT WISE, since the author is transcribing it and not making it up.)

I suggest the being refer to the PCs by titles, and leave it to the PCs to figure out who gets which. Something along the lines of, "The General leads the army, commanding them in war. The Champion leads the heroes in the darkness of the night. Together they decide when and whom to fight, lest all they build together fall, and rise no more."


Side commentary:

Knight A is NG, for the record. This isn't a bad thing; he's more Good than Lawful, but recognizes that Law is useful. He may have Lawful leanings more than Chaotic ones. But he's definitely NG.

Knight B is either solidly LG or LG leaning towards LN; there's not enough information here to be sure. It sounds like he's probably LG, though, given the emphasis on them both being "good men."

eru001
2016-03-23, 11:36 AM
Traditionally, in tales of this nature, the angelic being would have some way of giving an answer which would lead the prideful men to come to this above realization on their own, whether through a quest or through answering one way and giving an Aesop at the end if either of them behaved badly over it. However, I have no idea what "wise" ploy to use here, because, frankly, this works in fiction mostly because the writer controls all involved characters. (Or, in religious texts, because the Divine Being really is THAT WISE, since the author is transcribing it and not making it up.)


I like that, I think I can make that work, thank you

Segev
2016-03-23, 11:50 AM
I like that, I think I can make that work, thank you

Glad it helped! You're cleverer than I if you can make it work; I don't know that I would be able to, as a DM. I'd be stretching it as an author; I always feel like it's too trite when I try to do it. (I have seen it done well, mind. In fiction. I just can't quite seem to replicate it.)

SethoMarkus
2016-03-23, 12:54 PM
In that case, I would say that, in my opinion (and that can be highly debatable so I don't want to push it as truth), is that Knight A is a bit on the edge between Neutral Good and Lawful Good, so knight B would fit better in place of a leader for a being of pure Law and Good


As someone else said, I think Knight B is a better embodiment of Lawful Good. Knight A seems closer to Neutral Good.


I find this interesting because my first impression of the Knights was that Knight B was teetering on the edge of Lawful Neutral.

Toilet Cobra
2016-03-23, 01:09 PM
Since somebody mentioned King Solomon, order them to split their force in half, and each man pursues their goals separately. Let them both work out that they don't have the strength to win with an army divided like this. The proper leader is the first man to offer to let his platoon get absorbed by the other to get the whole force back to full strength.

Or just let B lead. Knight A seems like he's better suited to the fore anyhow, and probably will also take it better in the end.

AMFV
2016-03-23, 02:30 PM
They're lawful, you don't circumvent standard procedures to get yourself elected to a position of leadership. I would have them fall back on whatever rules the knightly orders have. I would have the being chastise them for jumping the chain of command (after all going straight to a representative of the divine is skipping a lot of rungs). Since that sort of thing is very important to people of law. Basically they're doing something profoundly unlawful, they're looking for a quick answer to something that should probably have an answer in terms of procedure. Generally the rule of thumb would be experience or seniority.

Keltest
2016-03-23, 02:57 PM
They're lawful, you don't circumvent standard procedures to get yourself elected to a position of leadership. I would have them fall back on whatever rules the knightly orders have. I would have the being chastise them for jumping the chain of command (after all going straight to a representative of the divine is skipping a lot of rungs). Since that sort of thing is very important to people of law. Basically they're doing something profoundly unlawful, they're looking for a quick answer to something that should probably have an answer in terms of procedure. Generally the rule of thumb would be experience or seniority.

If there were actual protocol for this scenario, I suspect the issue would have been resolved already.

eru001
2016-03-23, 03:31 PM
If there were actual protocol for this scenario, I suspect the issue would have been resolved already.

The established protocol is a duel or to appeal to the nearest senior Knight. A duel would be singularly counterproductive as it would reduce the already limited number of trained soldiers by one, and the nearest senior knight is located on the other side of a two week march through enemy territory.

Segev
2016-03-23, 03:46 PM
Yeah, "petition the authority we can access in a useful amount of time" seems about the right response for Lawful people. Err on the side of high enough rather than too low, without presuming to seek out one that exceeds the minimum required to meet all other needs.

Also, calling upon Celestials transcends most of the "get above your position" problems; like praying, it's going to an extraplanar source.

AMFV
2016-03-23, 04:05 PM
The established protocol is a duel or to appeal to the nearest senior Knight. A duel would be singularly counterproductive as it would reduce the already limited number of trained soldiers by one, and the nearest senior knight is located on the other side of a two week march through enemy territory.

Well couldn't they have the cleric use a messaging spell to talk to him? Then you can use information based on his preferences and opinions. It's no longer infallible diety. But fallible person. So if he's into the nobility thing, he'll back them. If he's kind of maverick he back the one like himself. Then you have a fair excuse as to why the person got supported that did.


If there were actual protocol for this scenario, I suspect the issue would have been resolved already.

Just because the players and the DM haven't invented a protocol, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. "Who is in charge", is a fundamental question and most military organizations have extremely hard-set ways of answering that.

eru001
2016-03-23, 04:41 PM
Well couldn't they have the cleric use a messaging spell to talk to him? Then you can use information based on his preferences and opinions. It's no longer infallible diety. But fallible person. So if he's into the nobility thing, he'll back them. If he's kind of maverick he back the one like himself. Then you have a fair excuse as to why the person got supported that did.
.

They could, however long ranged communication spells in this particular universe are subject to what is basically magical signal interception. It is entirely possible, (a 50/50 shot) that an enemy mage with also get to listen in on whatever message they send, WWII codebreaker style.

Knaight
2016-03-23, 04:42 PM
Just because the players and the DM haven't invented a protocol, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. "Who is in charge", is a fundamental question and most military organizations have extremely hard-set ways of answering that.

Most modern military organizations do. A newly forged kingdom that came out of what was probably a clan based barbarian culture in recent memory? Not so much.

Strigon
2016-03-23, 05:17 PM
Most modern military organizations do. A newly forged kingdom that came out of what was probably a clan based barbarian culture in recent memory? Not so much.

Even if they don't have a strictly defined ranking system, someone's bound to be higher (lower, if you're feeling pedantic) on the totem pole.

Knaight
2016-03-23, 05:21 PM
Even if they don't have a strictly defined ranking system, someone's bound to be higher (lower, if you're feeling pedantic) on the totem pole.

Sure, but whether that's actually detectable can be messy. There's a reason that monarchies had a habit of dissolving into succession wars, really rich nobles ended up calling the shots as the ones funding the army, etc. In this case it's probably Knight B that's higher ranking, but it could easily be fuzzy enough that the ranks are lost in the blur.

Strigon
2016-03-23, 06:17 PM
Sure, but whether that's actually detectable can be messy. There's a reason that monarchies had a habit of dissolving into succession wars, really rich nobles ended up calling the shots as the ones funding the army, etc. In this case it's probably Knight B that's higher ranking, but it could easily be fuzzy enough that the ranks are lost in the blur.

Ah; I thought you meant for finding a third party to make the decision. My mistake.

Knaight
2016-03-23, 08:04 PM
Ah; I thought you meant for finding a third party to make the decision. My mistake.

There's definitely a third party somewhere, but whether they are close by, whether they have the info, all that is unknown. Summoning in something though, that should solve all those issues.

Coidzor
2016-03-23, 09:09 PM
What bad player behavior?

Grinding the game to a halt. Trying to force the DM into playing favorites with one player over another. Necessitating a thread be made in order to figure out how to deal with them and appease them.

dps
2016-03-23, 09:34 PM
Grinding the game to a halt. Trying to force the DM into playing favorites with one player over another. Necessitating a thread be made in order to figure out how to deal with them and appease them.

Unless I missed something, there's no indication that the players involved even know this forum exists, much less forced the DM to start this thread. And while they may have ground the game to a holt, it wasn't through bad behavior, it was by coming up with a clever idea that the DM wasn't prepared to deal with--IMO it was good roleplaying, and not their fault that the DM didn't want to follow through on it without thinking it over (and I don't blame the DM, either--I don't think many people would have seen that one coming).

Coidzor
2016-03-24, 01:02 AM
Unless I missed something, there's no indication that the players involved even know this forum exists, much less forced the DM to start this thread.

That's really neither here nor there. :smallconfused: Even as a nitpick this is... a very strange thing to bring up.


And while they may have ground the game to a holt, it wasn't through bad behavior, it was by coming up with a clever idea that the DM wasn't prepared to deal with--IMO it was good roleplaying, and not their fault that the DM didn't want to follow through on it without thinking it over (and I don't blame the DM, either--I don't think many people would have seen that one coming).

When the "good roleplaying" boils down to "two players are at loggerheads where both want to boss the other around," well, I'm out.

veti
2016-03-24, 01:39 AM
When the "good roleplaying" boils down to "two players are at loggerheads where both want to boss the other around," well, I'm out.

Anyone who imagines for a moment that "being the party leader" means you get to "boss the other members around" is someone who should seriously not be asked to lead anything more demanding than a quiet life.

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-03-24, 02:27 AM
"Neither."

The fact that they cannot cooperate, even in dire circumstances, and that one will always resent the other if some external party subordinates the one to the other... It's impossible to put one over the other and not bring about calamity.

That or it mentions a test or quest that exists solely to show that they need to learn to cooperate and that both have useful input.

Seconding this really hard. (With a twist on the test, so not that hard after all.)

The preferred solution is to have anyone but these two lead, because neither of them is likely to accept it if the other one wins. They can both still lead for an engagement, or a while dungeon, or lead a certain part of the group, but the top dog is neither of them.

But this could be hard if there are no other characters/players interested in the leadership role. In that case: DO NOT APPOINT EITHER OF THEM YOURSELF!!! This will come back to bite you. Set a test that seems fair and is long enough to really count as a test of skill rather than coming down to a single lucky die roll. Try to design the test in such a way that it won't need a judge. For instance: If you let both of them defend one side of a gnome village from a bunch of skeletons each leading half the inhabitants with the winner decided by how hard the gnomes cheer for them afterwards, you are still the judge, because you'll have to do the cheering. Or worse, the other players will have to. If you give the same assignment but tell them the winner is the one who returns with the most gnomes alive, that's better. It sounds like that's an objective they'd both like, even though they have different methods to accomplish it. They'll still whine about how you totally set up the engagement in an unfair way, but they might get over it.

I don't know your usual style, but during the test maybe don't be too flexible. For instance: decide on beforehand that the bad guys will not flee until at least their leader is down, no matter how much of a spectacular opening salvo the players set up to get them to flee. Better yet, map out a rigid plan for the skeletons for the entire engagement. Play the test with the two players at a single table. This will give them OOC knowledge about what happened on the other side, but it's much easier to accept a realtime victory than being told the other guy did better afterwards. And get them to agree to accept the test on beforehand.

ComaVision
2016-03-24, 10:16 AM
Choosing Knight B was my IC decision, I wasn't making an OOC judgement on them. I don't see this as the GM deciding who should lead, he's playing the NPC.

Also, nothing I've read here sounds like bad behaviour.

OldTrees1
2016-03-24, 10:42 AM
Choosing Knight B was my IC decision, I wasn't making an OOC judgement on them. I don't see this as the GM deciding who should lead, he's playing the NPC.

Also, nothing I've read here sounds like bad behaviour.

Most of the responses here seem to agree with you(well, not the Knight B choice, :P):
The GM is playing an NPC that the PCs asked an IC question of. The IC answer has OOC consequences and thus the GM thought it best to ask the forum for advice on an IC answer made with knowledge of the OOC consequences rather than just giving their own. There was no bad behavior. On the contrary, the only notable behavior was the laudable choice of the GM seeking additional opinions for the IC answer.

Strigon
2016-03-24, 11:35 AM
The GM is playing an NPC that the PCs asked an IC question of. The IC answer has OOC consequences and thus the GM thought it best to ask the forum for advice on an IC answer made with knowledge of the OOC consequences rather than just giving their own.

Are all internet forums this abbreviation-happy, or is it just us?

Segev
2016-03-24, 01:08 PM
Are all internet forums this abbreviation-happy, or is it just us?

My experience is that this is one of a minority of forums which uses complete sentences, proper grammar, and at least tries for adequate spelling. I think the abbreviations are more a consequence of having a shared hobby that uses them and that hobby being the topic of the forum.

You should hear conversations that happen where I work; I've heard entire sentences that didn't have a non-abbreviation noun. And sometimes the verbs are abbreviations (referring to a noun that has been verbed), too.

Vinyadan
2016-03-24, 01:22 PM
My experience is that this is one of a minority of forums which uses complete sentences, proper grammar, and at least tries for adequate spelling. I think the abbreviations are more a consequence of having a shared hobby that uses them and that hobby being the topic of the forum.

You should hear conversations that happen where I work; I've heard entire sentences that didn't have a non-abbreviation noun. And sometimes the verbs are abbreviations (referring to a noun that has been verbed), too.

Try talking to adult boy scouts about associative matters. You probably won't hear a single name, only acronyms. And this happens in different languages, each with its own.

ShaneMRoth
2016-03-29, 04:43 AM
...

At the end of the last session the cleric summons the being, and then asks the question,

"Which of these two knights should lead"

I as the DM have no answer as I A) am not so philosophically versed as to be able to decide which of these two viewpoints would be better in the eyes of a being of pure law and good, and B) don't believe that a DM should be telling the players which of them should be in charge of their party and hadn't given the matter much thought.

I have to give them an answer at the start of the next session and have no Idea what if any answer I should give. Help


As the DM you are well within your prerogative to answer this question in the most infuriatingly indirect method possible. In the rich tradition of asking oracles simple answers, the appropriate answer is always one that is wide open to interpretation.

I recommend you do a riff on a Zen Koan. The "sound of one hand clapping" type of non-answer.

Here's an example...


Once a monk made a request of Joshu.
“I have just entered the monastery,” he said. “Please give me instructions, Master.”
Joshu said, “Have you had your breakfast?”
“Yes, I have,” replied the monk.
“Then,” said Joshu, “wash your bowls.”
The monk had an insight.

Tell the Cleric something like "A leader is as a washed bowl after breakfast" and then watch the players' head explode.

OldTrees1
2016-03-29, 10:51 AM
Tell the Cleric something like "A leader is as a washed bowl after breakfast" and then watch the players' head explode.

Are not the non answers supposed to be indirect answers themselves? That example answer implies more "having a leader is good/obvious" than it implies how to know who should lead. While not as obscure, "Seeking leadership does not a leader make" does a better job of giving an indirect answer. So perhaps something like "Seeking leadership is as worrying about tranquility."

goto124
2016-03-29, 10:55 AM
Didn't the GM also want to resolve OOC issues with the players, over who leads?

Vinyadan
2016-03-29, 10:58 AM
Are not the non answers supposed to be indirect answers themselves? That example answer implies more "having a leader is good/obvious" than it implies how to know who should lead. While not as obscure, "Seeking leadership does not a leader make" does a better job of giving an indirect answer. So perhaps something like "Seeking leadership is as worrying about tranquility."

Wooden walls, all the way down!

Choosing a leader is like playing a game of poker - you know what you need, but you won't know if it's what you got until it is in your hand (and then you can't put it away).

A leader is like a Monolith - it appears when people are hitting each other.

OldTrees1
2016-03-29, 11:40 AM
Didn't the GM also want to resolve OOC issues with the players, over who leads?

That was not my reading. My understanding was that the GM thinks they players are well behaved and making laudable roleplaying. The GM wanted to avoid, as much as possible, being a GM that tells the players what to do. The players' recent actions of asking an NPC with authority puts the GM in a position where they will be telling the players what to do if they have the NPC voice the GM's opinion. Hence asking the forum as part of deciding what to have the NPC say.

So no OOC issues that I can see.


@Vinyadan
Good indirect answers. Although I failed my wisdom check on the wooden walls one.

Vinyadan
2016-03-29, 12:19 PM
@Vinyadan
Good indirect answers. Although I failed my wisdom check on the wooden walls one.

It's actually a very insider reference: when war with the Persians broke out, the Athenians sent to the Oracle at Delphi, asking what to do. The Oracle answered that the Athenians needed wooden walls to save themselves. The answer itself didn't seem to make much sense, and many wondered whether the Oracle had been bribed by the Persians, but Themistokles gave it his own interpretative spin, and had a fleet built to serve as a defence. The fleet became even more important after Athens had been conquered and razed by the Persians, as it gave the cityless Athenians enough leverage with the Greek allies to choose the site of the next battle (Salamis), where they won, and to impede a defence plan which would have moved further south the Greek armies and made a reconquest of Athens pretty much impossible in the future. After the war, it also was the basis for some 50-80 years of Athenian naval supremacy, and brought about important changes towards a more radical democracy in the city, because the urban landless were its rowing force, opposed to richer land owners who had a relevant role in the army.
In the end, it probably was the best oblique answer ever.

D+1
2016-03-29, 04:27 PM
Jumping in a bit late, but had a few comments to inflict...

First is that as DM you really do need to put a bit more thinking time into dealing with alignment. What I mean is that if YOU don't know what is correct/appropriate alignment behavior in a given situation then your PLAYERS cannot possibly know. The best they could do is GUESS and then watch as you pick an answer at random as being correct and they pay consequences if they guessed badly. In this sort of situation where you have two characters with the same alignment but actually CONFLICTING ideas about alignment-appropriate behavior you really ultimately need to know FOR YOURSELF which of them would be correct and why. If you don't know - how can your players? That is a recipe for serious campaign-meltdown issues somewhere down the road. Your chosen solution only dodges the issue temporarily, it doesn't resolve the underlying problem.

My own suggestion would be to make it known that "Law" in terms of alignment doesn't mean following written laws and decrees. It's a reference to ORDER versus CHAOS. The opposite of "law" is "chaos", not "criminal". Frankly it all made a lot more sense in Moorcock's Elric saga (and IIUC he got the idea of alignment from Poul Anderson), and it was brought into D&D without much REAL thought as to what it was going to do for the game if you didn't want to play a D&D setting based on Melnibone. Only gradually did it adapt to become actually useful as a general behavioral guide, and even then it has always had issues - every edition has problems regarding what it ACTUALLY is and how best to use it.

The only person who can REALLY sort out those issues for your campaign is you. Heck, even if you don't have the answers then you at least need to tell your players - THERE IS NO CORRECT, DEFINITIVE ANSWER in your campaign.

Usually this sort of scenario has two paladins about to kill each other based on their individual interpretations of what's LG and what isn't. For example the classic "Orc Babies" issue. One paladin says that to kill orc babies is murder because they're defenseless, the other paladin says that the orc babies are CE and can't be allowed to live. Those interpretations may only be the character's deductions, or they might be the player's own deductions. In any case one of them would really have to be WRONG. My own analysis would say that the interpretation which causes the paladin who is attempting to destroy evil to become a murderer is NOT the correct one. The interpretation that reinforces the idea that paladins do, in fact, exist in the game world for sensible reasons and can't become NON-paladins for attempting to do what paladin's are supposed to do in the first place is the correct approach.

As regards the OP, I think the best option for the game in question may indeed be "neither" since both PC's seem a bit dangerously arrogant, but if that were set aside one of those knights really IS the better choice to lead. For my money it would be the one who is not a slave to the written law. "Lawful" characters naturally gravitate to written laws - but it's not the "lawful" characters that NEED the written laws. As a rule a lawful character would behave lawfully whether the behaviors were codified into a system of written laws or not. Following written laws is not what makes or keeps a character lawful. It is the NON-LAWFUL characters who need the written laws and enforcement of them. THAT is the purpose of written laws - to encourage (or in the end, to COMPEL) the desired behavior. If the written law does not assist in producing desired behavior (or worse, actually works to produce behavior that ISN'T desired) then a lawful character would indeed NOT WANT TO FOLLOW THAT WRITTEN LAW. The written law would be encouraging chaos, not order. FAR too many DM's make the mistake of mixing up "Lawful" alignment with written legal codes. Rules describing alignment have not helped over the years by making and repeating that very same error.

JMO

hamishspence
2016-03-30, 02:19 AM
Usually this sort of scenario has two paladins about to kill each other based on their individual interpretations of what's LG and what isn't. For example the classic "Orc Babies" issue. One paladin says that to kill orc babies is murder because they're defenseless, the other paladin says that the orc babies are CE and can't be allowed to live. Those interpretations may only be the character's deductions, or they might be the player's own deductions. In any case one of them would really have to be WRONG. My own analysis would say that the interpretation which causes the paladin who is attempting to destroy evil to become a murderer is NOT the correct one. The interpretation that reinforces the idea that paladins do, in fact, exist in the game world for sensible reasons and can't become NON-paladins for attempting to do what paladin's are supposed to do in the first place is the correct approach.

I figure that orc babies aren't exactly beings of inherent evil - being as Orcs are only "often chaotic evil".

The MM takes a similar approach - only Always X Evil beings tend to be evil because of some inherent magical tie to Evil as a cosmic force - and even they are capable of changing alignment.

And it's not like "Destroy Evil" is in the paladin's code - only "punish those who harm or threaten innocents" - an orc baby doesn't exactly do that - at least, not in the immediate sense of "threaten".

Coidzor
2016-03-30, 03:26 AM
I figure that orc babies aren't exactly beings of inherent evil - being as Orcs are only "often chaotic evil".

The MM takes a similar approach - only Always X Evil beings tend to be evil because of some inherent magical tie to Evil as a cosmic force - and even they are capable of changing alignment.

And it's not like "Destroy Evil" is in the paladin's code - only "punish those who harm or threaten innocents" - an orc baby doesn't exactly do that - at least, not in the immediate sense of "threaten".

Settings in which one is best served by orc infanticide are basically Warhammer and Middle Earth, and even Tolkien was pretty uncomfortable with that aspect of things.

Vinyadan
2016-03-30, 04:20 AM
Settings in which one is best served by orc infanticide are basically Warhammer and Middle Earth, and even Tolkien was pretty uncomfortable with that aspect of things.

The only Orc infanticide I can think of right now in Middle Earth is Gollum. Are there other cases?

Strigon
2016-03-30, 07:41 AM
The only Orc infanticide I can think of right now in Middle Earth is Gollum. Are there other cases?

Maybe I'm missing something.
What does Gollum have to do with murdering Orc babies?

Keltest
2016-03-30, 07:49 AM
Maybe I'm missing something.
What does Gollum have to do with murdering Orc babies?

Gollum did not discriminate on what he would eat. He liked orcs, but they were dangerous for him to hunt. It was never actually stated that he eats baby orcs, but its not a big stretch.

Strigon
2016-03-30, 08:21 AM
Gollum did not discriminate on what he would eat. He liked orcs, but they were dangerous for him to hunt. It was never actually stated that he eats baby orcs, but its not a big stretch.

Fair play.
I don't know if I, personally, agree, but that's neither here nor there.

Seto
2016-03-30, 08:59 AM
Good leaders value their men and listen to them. I feel like the other party members should have a say, but in practice that could lead to more tension.

hamishspence
2016-03-30, 09:36 AM
Gollum did not discriminate on what he would eat. He liked orcs, but they were dangerous for him to hunt. It was never actually stated that he eats baby orcs, but its not a big stretch.

The Hobbit - Gollum, after losing the Riddle contest, thinking about how he's going to use the Ring to ambush Bilbo:

Only a few hours ago he had worn it, and caught a small goblin-imp. How it squeaked! He still had a bone or two left to gnaw, but he wanted something softer.

Lord of the Rings - Gandalf recounting his first attempt to track Gollum:

‘Then why didn’t he track Bilbo further?’ asked Frodo. ‘Why didn’t he come to the Shire?’

‘Ah,’ said Gandalf, ‘now we come to it. I think Gollum tried to. He set out and came back westward, as far as the Great River. But then he turned aside. He was not daunted by the distance, I am sure. No, something else drew him away. So my friends think, those that hunted him for me.

‘The Wood-elves tracked him first, an easy task for them, for his trail was still fresh then. Through Mirkwood and back again it led them, though they never caught him. The wood was full of the rumour of him, dreadful tales even among beasts and birds. The Woodmen said that there was some new terror abroad, a ghost that drank blood. It climbed trees to find nests; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles.

‘But at the western edge of Mirkwood the trail turned away. It wandered off southwards and passed out of the Wood-elves’ ken, and was lost. And then I made a great mistake. Yes, Frodo, and not the first; though I fear it may prove the worst. I let the matter be. I let him go; for I had much else to think of at that time, and I still trusted the lore of Saruman.

Keltest
2016-03-30, 09:56 AM
The Hobbit - Gollum, after losing the Riddle contest, thinking about how he's going to use the Ring to ambush Bilbo:


Lord of the Rings - Gandalf recounting his first attempt to track Gollum:

Goblins are already small, though you wouldn't know it by watching the movies. Theyre approximately hobbit or dwarf sized, IIRC.

And the mirkwood thing is based on rumors and ghost stories rather than literal efforts to track him, so I would hesitate to take it literally. Also, lest it be forgotten, wood elves are not orcs.

hamishspence
2016-03-30, 09:58 AM
Goblins are already small, though you wouldn't know it by watching the movies. Theyre approximately hobbit or dwarf sized, IIRC.

True - but eating a dwarf-sized being down to gnawed bones in the space of a few hours might be a bit much for Gollum.

Coidzor
2016-04-01, 11:55 PM
Gollum did not discriminate on what he would eat. He liked orcs, but they were dangerous for him to hunt. It was never actually stated that he eats baby orcs, but its not a big stretch.

Which is really neither here nor there to whether it's a good thing to destroy any orc young or infants one would have the displeasure of having the opportunity to encounter while delving into Angband or Moria or what have you.

Or that Tolkien went back and forth about whether his orcs were inherently evil.

Keltest
2016-04-02, 06:43 AM
Which is really neither here nor there to whether it's a good thing to destroy any orc young or infants one would have the displeasure of having the opportunity to encounter while delving into Angband or Moria or what have you.

Or that Tolkien went back and forth about whether his orcs were inherently evil.

Didn't he end up with "No, but all the ones we see all are because theyre the ones who responded to Sauron's call"?

jinjitsu
2016-04-03, 02:14 PM
So no OOC issues that I can see.

If this is the case, a bit of DM metagame analysis may help the situation; though I presume, given the time frame here, that the resolving session has already passed and the answer's been given. Ask your players, out of character and apart from each other, whether they'd be upset OOC with not becoming the leader. Assuming you, as the DM, find both characters to be equally qualified, these are the options I would take:

1. If one of them is just jockeying for it because it's in character and the other would be upset if they didn't get it, give it to the player that it matters more to.

2. If neither of them is all that invested personally, both just playing characters, go ahead and flip a coin; if they're not personally invested in winning it, they won't be upset at losing it, they'll just find new stuff to have fun with.

3. If both of them are genuinely personally invested in it, neither of them should be the leader; it's better to have both players come out the other side the same than it is for one person to be happy and the other to be upset. Maybe revisit things at a later date, but plenty of good arguments for how to present "neither" as the answer have already been given in the thread.

Yes, this is just a squabble between to fictional characters in a game, but losing the leadership her might feel like getting picked last for teams in school: it doesn't really matter past the end of PE, but it's still a little hurtful.

Vinyadan
2016-04-03, 03:06 PM
Which is really neither here nor there to whether it's a good thing to destroy any orc young or infants one would have the displeasure of having the opportunity to encounter while delving into Angband or Moria or what have you.

Or that Tolkien went back and forth about whether his orcs were inherently evil.

My point was that I can't see how you are well served by orc infanticide in Middle Earth, if the only published case was performed by a morally abject creature.

Coidzor
2016-04-03, 10:40 PM
Didn't he end up with "No, but all the ones we see all are because theyre the ones who responded to Sauron's call"?

IIRC he was still going back and forth up until he died.


My point was that I can't see how you are well served by orc infanticide in Middle Earth, if the only published case was performed by a morally abject creature.

That Gollum is the only thing we know of having explicitly eaten young goblins is irrelevant to the question of whether orcs are inherently evil/hostile in the setting. Or that such settings are rarer than we think when it comes to the major, big name settings. As I mentioned, aside from LOTR, the only big name setting I can think of offhand where orcs are actually something to be destroyed regardless of context is Warhammer 40K where the orks, devoid of their ancient creators' control, are but one of several plagues on the galaxy best destroyed or at least contained.

If orcs are inherently evil, then one is justified by destroying them in whatever form they're found in, whether in the womb or babies or children or adults. And even then, it depends on how evil and how it manifests.

If orcs are not inherently evil, then it's generally a bad idea for a moral agent to indiscriminately slaughter them, especially as innocent children/infants.

goto124
2016-04-03, 11:41 PM
Warhammer 40K has Orks that are actually the result of a really bad fungal plague, right? Which makes Orks the equivalent of zombies?

Vinyadan
2016-04-04, 02:09 AM
As I mentioned, aside from LOTR, the only big name setting I can think of offhand where orcs are actually something to be destroyed regardless of context is Warhammer 40K [...]

If orcs are inherently evil, then one is justified by destroying them in whatever form they're found in, whether in the womb or babies or children or adults. And even then, it depends on how evil and how it manifests.

If orcs are not inherently evil, then it's generally a bad idea for a moral agent to indiscriminately slaughter them, especially as innocent children/infants.

The problem is that killing orcs in LotR always has context making it necessary, that we never hear a good hero saying that they must be killed regardless of context, and that, in works published during Tolkien's life, only an evil being kills them while they are children (in the Hobbit).

goto124
2016-04-04, 02:12 AM
It can get mixed into "it's always good to kill orcs because the context will always require the killing of orcs" and maybe even to "it's always good to kill orcs".

Which happens when orcs aren't seen or shown doing normal people or good people things. We don't kill humans because we know humans to be people, but when all orcs are portrayed as emotionless murder machines there's not much reason to not kill them before they kill us (which they will do).

Coidzor
2016-04-04, 03:39 AM
The problem is that killing orcs in LotR always has context making it necessary, that we never hear a good hero saying that they must be killed regardless of context, and that, in works published during Tolkien's life, only an evil being kills them while they are children (in the Hobbit).

By all means, get bogged down in irrelevant tangents to the point, but I don't care. I've clarified my meaning and if you have no interest in engaging with that, then there's nothing more to discuss.

Ikitavi
2016-04-04, 04:44 AM
I like a lot of the suggestions here! But I submit that since they are calling on an agent of Law and Good, the answer should be a bit more straightforward than some of the suggestions.

See, the classic test of good in a lot of religions and philosophies starts with, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you". The test of Justice is whether it work both for the leader and for the led.

And one of the tests of a leader is how good a subordinate they can be, because there is always an agency that is higher up.

So the agent of Law and Good can propose a test to see which can serve as a better lieutenant, a better sergeant perhaps, than the other.

At the end of the test period, with each petitioner having served as lieutenant to the other for at least one gaming session, there would be a judgment. A reading from the minutes, with the other players having the option of participating, as witnesses or jury or just kibitzers.

If one of the players turns out to be really good at the lieutenant role, the judging entity might rule that one of the marks of a true leader is acceptance of subordinate role for the greater good, so they get the personal satisfaction that they won the contest... but the more humble in game role.

Kelb_Panthera
2016-04-04, 05:01 AM
I forgot, there's an option D here that hasn't been brought up here yet.

The players outline the circumstances to the creature, it takes in the info they give it, and it then declares that the one most suited to lead the battle (which was likely already begun if not already ended in the OP's game by now) is the called creature itself.

This might be seen as a little tasteless but it handily dodges the question and makes it unlikely that they'll pull this again. It's not like they can argue that a creature that is smarter, wiser, more charismatic, just as combat capable, infinitely more experienced, and quite probably more dedicated to justice and order is less suited to lead a troupe into battle than are either of them.

TeflonSam1
2016-04-08, 02:52 AM
It seems to me that this is a lot like asking who would be the better leader of the Ninja Turtles, Leonardo or Raphael? :smallsmile:

Anyway, I think a King Solomon type solution is appropriate.

Here's my idea..
The being appears, ponders a bit, and states they are both worthy individuals and it cannot decide between them. It proposes a simple test, the leader should be the one who wants it more. The being plants a pole in the ground, and the characters hands are magically compelled to grasp it.
The being states whomever lets go last will become leader, then disappears.

Then slowly have the world around them start to go to hell in a handbasket while they are standing there holding on to a pole. Cats stuck in trees, toddlers falling down wells, orphanages on fire, damsels in distress, old lady fallen and can't get up, etc, etc.
See how long they will ignore the cries of the needy to win the contest.

The first one to release the pole and render aid will cause the being to re-appear and declare him the true winner, and dispense a punishment to the other for being selfish.

If they wait too long, they both lose.

For bonus points, make the players roleplay it with an actual object at the gaming table. :smallbiggrin: