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Thread: Can a Trait oppose itself?

  1. #1

    Can a Trait oppose itself?

    Okay, here is an odd question, can a trait be used to oppose itself?

    The example of Sir Amrust in KAP, has him torn between Justice and Mercy. He has defeated an evil knight, and some Some maiden, whom the evil knight has grievously wronged, want Ambrust to slay the evil knight out of justice. Meanwhile the evil knight begs for mercy. That's a fairly common trait conflict in Pendragon.

    But what if...instead of begging for mercy the evil knight asks to be spared because he is a knight, and that Sir Ambrut has no right to administer "High Justice" and he should bring the evil knight to the Liege's court. Now technically, what the evil knight says is "just". So could you have a Just vs. Just conflict. In terms of game mechanics it still works.

    Also, technically speaking, wouldn't the maiden really be asking for Vengeance, not Justice?

    I realize that this is probably a case of looking at 15th century literature though 21st century glasses, but it is the sort of thing that an evil knight could do.

  2. #2
    Perhaps "Just" behaviour is behaviour that follows 'natural' justice? In this case, avenging the wrong done to the innocent. The 'lawful' (as in congruent with the Laws of the Land rather than any hackneyed nine-way Alignment system interpretation) action (in this case, taking the miscreant to the Officer with the right to High Justice for trial and sentencing) might be "Honourable" behaviour, cleaving to oaths the Good Knight has made to uphold the King's Law (and right to Justice)...

  3. #3
    I'm with Womble on this, though you could also use Loyalty instead of Honor if you want to hold the latter for matters of personal code.

    The evil knight is reminding Sir Amrust of his obligations as part of the feudal hierarchy to administer its justice not natural justice (vengeance).

    In this case the maiden is working off her own vengeance and appealing to natural justice for Sir Amrust to do the deed for her. She'll get a check for one thing, Amrust for another.

    --Khanwulf

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by womble View Post
    Perhaps "Just" behaviour is behaviour that follows 'natural' justice? In this case, avenging the wrong done to the innocent. The 'lawful' (as in congruent with the Laws of the Land rather than any hackneyed nine-way Alignment system interpretation) action (in this case, taking the miscreant to the Officer with the right to High Justice for trial and sentencing) might be "Honourable" behaviour, cleaving to oaths the Good Knight has made to uphold the King's Law (and right to Justice)...
    The interesting bit here is that if Ambrut does act "Just" he is breaking the law and can be held accountable for his "unjust" action. It's an odd situation, and I'm thankful that none of the bad knights ever do that. Probably because they know what they deserve and don't want to tempt the victorius knigh. Especially when Mercy is probably a more reliable trigger.



    Well then I take that no one thinks Just can oppose Just?

    What if were two women and he had to choose one to spend the night with? Could it be Lustful opposed by Lustful?


    Oh, and one nice thing about the game mechanics is that if a GM does think a trait can oppose itself, the game system can handle it fine.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Atgxtg View Post
    Well then I take that no one thinks Just can oppose Just?
    I think most of the time, if both actions truly are covered by the same side of a Trait, there isn't any need to roll and the knight can just choose. The tension in the example is between the Knight's perception of Just action and his Societal obligations/commitment to his oaths, though.

    What if were two women and he had to choose one to spend the night with? Could it be Lustful opposed by Lustful?
    APP vs APP of the two women? Or just pick the prettier? Or the one who brings the most advantage/least negative consequence. Or the less pretty, if the Knight was being particularly chivalrous, or both if his Appearance, Flirting, Intrigue, Religion and previous roleplay lined up. I'd say it's a pure Roleplaying decision once the "Am I going to get jiggy" Lustful v Chaste roll has been negotiated.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by womble View Post
    I think most of the time, if both actions truly are covered by the same side of a Trait, there isn't any need to roll and the knight can just choose. The tension in the example is between the Knight's perception of Just action and his Societal obligations/commitment to his oaths, though.
    Makes sense to me. In other words the conflict isn't so much about being just or not, that's already been decides, the conflict is in figuring out the best option, and that's a different type of conflict.



    Quote Originally Posted by womble View Post
    APP vs APP of the two women? Or just pick the prettier? Or the one who brings the most advantage/least negative consequence. Or the less pretty, if the Knight was being particularly chivalrous, or both if his Appearance, Flirting, Intrigue, Religion and previous roleplay lined up. I'd say it's a pure Roleplaying decision once the "Am I going to get jiggy" Lustful v Chaste roll has been negotiated.
    I like that. I think you are onto something here. In such cases the Knight is going to act Lustful, we just do know with whom. So yeah, its not a Lustful contest but a which one does he prefer to be Lustful with.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, agreed with womble in the Trait-Trait conflicts. Besides, it would be much more fun to make it a Lustful-Hospitality conflict, when the Hostess is giving him a come-hither look. :P

    As for the original Just vs. Merciful, that is one of the problems of having the High Justice limited to the King. It is rather counter to the stories, I find. After all, the case of Mordred & Lancelot meeting the old hermit has been recently brought up. If Mordred is guilty of murder, on the King's Road, perhaps, then the Just thing to do would be arrest him. However, I prefer following the more chivalric romances model, where, if you challenge a knight to combat mortal, you take your lumps if you lose. In short, in those cases where a knight attacks another with deadly force, the rules that apply are those of war, not of peace. Hence, in the example, the villain has been defeated and is at the victor's mercy. It is up to the victor to grant mercy, or to chop of the villain's head, like the damsel requests.

    Same thing if the PKs are ambushed by some bandits. They can cut those ruffians down without worrying about High Justice, even string them up if they feel like it. Now they can bring them for the Liege (and probably should, if this happened in the Liege's lands), but they don't have to. And frankly, in many cases, they would simply get praised for defending the Liege's peace so efficiently.

  8. #8
    I chime in with the majority here, but if you are the gm, make sure you let the players know how you would rule on something like this. The PKs would, after all, have been raised in the laws and customs of the land and would know what is proper.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hzark10 View Post
    I chime in with the majority here, but if you are the gm, make sure you let the players know how you would rule on something like this. The PKs would, after all, have been raised in the laws and customs of the land and would know what is proper.
    What he said.

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