Viktor already has a masterwork bastard sword, so I don't need it, so I think that can be sold. I think the best choice for the ring of protection is Tireas, since his AC is pretty low and he is in the thick of things quite often.
So do we want to sell the ring and put the proceeds towards more effective gold use? Because in that case, I think MW or magical weapons for Tireas and Viktor, and maybe Ilya, or +2 stat items all round would be nice. Of course, the latter especially could be some ways off.
OK, folks, let's talk about loot. You want it, and it's darned important for you guys to be able to take on challenges. That's been observed already: hence why you're worried about being behind in wealth by level. Paizo, in designing the adventure path, is placing loot in specific places with specific IC justifications for that placement. Some of those justifications are sketchy, like being in a sarcophagus, for example. Some PCs might have a problem with taking that loot. Some might not. But if you want to stay at WBL, I wouldn't recommend leaving too much of it behind – you can't have it both ways.
Generally speaking, I'm concerned by any statement that begins with an ellipsis (...) because normally they convey frustration when employed in that way. So, to the last point, I want to make it very clear that IC and OOC are separate, and they need to stay separate. You're all roleplaying vibrant, complex characters who might care about these issues. They might get angry or upset if people disagree. But if you as a player are getting upset at other players for roleplaying their characters differently from yours, take a step back before things get personal.
It isn't really fair to get upset with people because they're playing their characters a certain way. After all, if there's an IC conflict, it's equally because you're playing your character a certain way. The key is to keep those conflicts IC. And remember, ultimately your character is someone you have control over, so all conflicts between characters are manufactured to some extent. If you don't like them, there are many times (though perhaps admittedly not every time) when you can avoid them.
The short version of the above is that, to keep the game running smoothly, I as DM expect everyone to make sure nothing bubbles over. OMG, I'm worried based on how I'm interpreting your comment here that you're not pleased with the result of the last scene. Ask yourself why that is: if it's because Estanos didn't get what he wanted, you should consider whether, despite that, you as a player got what you wanted. And if that's the case, there really is no reason for conflict.
... are you guys really planning on trying to sell the sword that was looted from a grave over the objections of a PC with the justification of," We might really, really, really, really need it?"
I'm sorry if Viktor didn't act as Estanos liked. That said, we were, as you put it, "hilariously low on funds" so I figured bypassing the gear offered would probably be counter to our long term objectives.
My comment here is less anger, and more just utterly flabbergasted. Why? The argument put forth on the looting of the tomb was best summed up by Ilya's," Hey, wouldn't it be a shame if we really needed these things to stop the Bandit King and one of us wound up dead since we didn't have it?" Once we'd gotten past it, I was less than pleased ( failing to convince a Paladin not to rob a grave feels like an ill omen for any future diplomacy ), but I was content to soldier on. As impossible as it is to falsify, the 'maybe we'll need it!' argument has excellent adventurer pedigree. It wasn't nailed down after all. I did my best to React Differently.
So to find talk of selling it immediately which will pretty directly invalidate that argument and reveal the looting for what it actually is ( naked greed ) was more than a little surprising.
But that's okay! Its going to cause a serious row when they get back to Oleg's Post and they try to hock this dead guy's ancestral sword, or whatever it is, for money. It'll be a lot easier for Estanos to make the point when Viktor or Ilya or whomever is holding the actual thirty pieces of silver. I'm all about shooting fish in a barrel. So long as that's understood, hey, go for it.
As to the idea that this is intended to keep up with WBL, or anything like that; selling a masterwork bastard sword gets us roughly one percent of the total funds we should have as a party of 5 third level PCs ( I'm rounding us up to third level, as we're very nearly there ). Its a drop in the bucket. Strip mining the world, right or wrong, doesn't seem to be the best or most genuine way to me to get the gear our characters need.
Firstly, yes Estanos was unable to convince Viktor not to take the gear. That does not mean that I was somehow roleplaying wrong (if there is any such thing). Viktor presented IC reasons for doing so which, in my opinion, are not unfitting for him. Note also that Viktor is a character who I try to play as a rounded individual, not make his decisions based on a class-alignment combination.
Secondly, I'm not sure what to make of the fact that you created an issue out of thin air and now are insisting on pursuing it into the future. You are essentially saying that if the four of us do not do as you (or Estanos?) want, you will throw an IC tantrum, and maybe an OOC one too. I think you need to ask yourself what the big deal is with a sword.
Thirdly, at least try not to carry your feelings about one scene into another. This is kind of an important moment for Ilya. Not trying to say that you can't be involved, quite the opposite, I was trying to get everyone involved. But it isn't fair to disrupt a major moment of RP over a masterwork bastard sword.
Fourthly, as concerns WBL, I'm not a fanatic about keeping up with it, but when the DM offers you some, there's not reason not to take it. Come up with an IC reason why your character would. Maybe that's just a philosophical difference.
Morality/Ethics is a complicated subject, and for everyone's benefit I won't get into my personal opinion on the matter, but I guarantee it will be different than many of you. This is fine; morality isn't black and white, and that holds true even in a world where deities, demons, angels, and the afterlife are proven to exist.
That said, I am not Tireas, and his actions/views are not necesarily reflective of my own. But he has his own viewpoint just like the rest of our characters, and this will likely cause conflict at a few points. And there will be many times when Tireas or any other character doesn't get what they want out of a given situation. For the most part, he wanted to kill Merrin after they interrogated him, but he was outvoted, and Merrin has since become a temporary member of the party, which is a pretty cool outcome. Tireas doesn't agree with burning down the tents either, but this may also have an interesting outcome in the long term.
In fact, personal conflicts sometimes make for the most memorable moments. I have a character in a separate PbP who witnessed his parents' execution, had to fight his mind-warped sisters that were inflicting a plague in the city, and constantly comes in to disagreement with other members of the party, especially regarding what to do with surrendering enemies. These events have shaped him as a character, and I think made for some memorable encounters in the adventure. I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes it's better to embrace character differences. We can get mad IC, but OOC, let's all just relax and make some good stories and characters.
I think healthy suspension of disbelief is the best way to deal with the particular issue of the bastard sword. We offered reasons for taking it from the tomb. Now forget about where we got it from and go about our business until we melt it down for gold in the OOC thread a page or two from now. Trust me, I played a priest a lot like Estanos in a now long-dead Kingmaker game ages ago with RocketMan. He was an greedy little halfling barbarian who would steal whatever she could get her hands on because it would 'bring Zora much honour.' My character didn't approve, but, I recognized that having Zora in the party was useful: sometimes I didn't feel I could justify my character agreeing to take a particular piece of loot IC, even though I wanted us to take it OOC. So I'd sit back a little and let Zora go about her business, maybe offer up a complaint, but then let it drop. And I'd end up with the loot I wanted, thanks to Zora.
But from what I'm reading, and reading-in, I think the situation is more problematic than that. In this scene we're playing out now, we've had really good roleplaying generally, and it's a pivotal moment for all of us, but especially Ilya and Viktor, that I think we're handling really well. So I am, to borrow a phrase from OMG, 'utterly flabbergasted' when Estanos' contribution to the scene doesn't mention at all his response to Ilya's revelation that he's the Prince. I'm deeply concerned that the major roleplaying opportunity was ignored in favour of being combative and posting a litany of 'disgusted' and 'furious,' 'dumbfounded,' etc. It feels like emotions are at a point where it's so heated that there's absolutely no separation between IC and OOC.
I'm concerned also because it seems like this is recurring. Back after we killed the bandits at Oleg, there were some comments by OMG in the OOC thread that made me concerned that he wasn't happy with the IC direction of things. It seems like that issue has come back with a vengeance.
I'm writing this post from my phone, so apologies in advance for any sense of shortness or brevity conveyed. It is an artifact of the medium and mode.
To dispense with something right off the bat: Of course Winterfell didn't do wrong in having Viktor act as he did. Of course he can play his character however he wants. I'm not even sure where that came from.
Though speaking on that, where exactly is it that how I play -my- character is being dictated to me? He's just received a major revelation from someone he trusted just one day after that trust was shaken rather severely. The old saying," When it rains, it pours," comes to mind. He's trying to cope with the situation, and help his friend out of his jam despite the repeated breach of trust.
Estanos doesn't seem to have a response to Ilya's revelation? What? His reaction? It starts in the first sentence of the IC post. He's dumbfounded and disgusted. Utter shock. If there were a one-word sound bite for it, it would be David Tennant saying," what " in a flat voice.
It might be different in a different setting; it might be different if the recent history were different. But it's not, and it isn't. A campsite is on fire, lies happened and it feels like he's about to have to make another decision where his morals are compromised.
My unhappiness after Oleg's was massive. I felt alone, ignored, and unimportant. I hadnt been needed in combat, I felt mocked, and like you all were already a group. AA and I talked some, I felt reassured and I've vastly enjoyed the game since then.
This is a simple thing, a small thing in comparison. A large part of the problem seems to be -others- not being able to tell my emotions from my character's. -Estanos- is pissed. I'm sad he failed to convince anyone of anything yet again, but I'm game. Onwards and upwards.
As to the entire business of how to handle the broadsword and WBL and money issues, I have more to say. In short, my TT GM made a -point- of dappling the world with awesome loot we couldn't ethically take. He thought it was interestjng and funny watching us hop from foot to foot. My first instinct on seeing unguarded stuff is to narrow my eyes and think, hard.
I am always trying to think of solutions to problems. I am always trying to think of ways to make it all work. I welcome suggestions.
I've been removed from the game against my wishes. It is my desire that Estanos, if he doesn't die in this fight, goes far, far, far away. It goes without saying that it'll be out of my hands whether that request is honored.
I wish I could say that I understood, or agreed with AA's decision. I don't. I hope that it comes as a surprise the rest of you; the alternative is unpleasant.
Good luck. Have fun. And try not killing everything that moves.
Nope, it wasn't, Blisstake. I pretty much will never do that, just because it's hard for me to remember all the time. So I leave it to you guys to do DR and resistances (the exception being spell resistance, because I need to roll for that).