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 Post subject: Calling all magistrates
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:49 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
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Location: Bowie, MD USA
Well, my players are learning and still doing silly things. I ran them through the Mystic Parcel scenario from The Old Ones book. They ended up giving the Sphinx the packages with no fight. Then the decided they wanted to continue to the city (I had it be Sims in this scenario) to investigate the recipient of the packages. They didn't want to be obvious that it was them so they decided to enter the town separately at first. However, they had the mule that was carrying the package so they gave it away to a farmer on the way.

Now, they aren't concealing their identities at all two of the characters are noticable - a giant, 4 foot tall Dwarf, and a female elven witch hunter. They're going to be noticed. And eventually, the guy about whom they are inquiring is going to visit them. He'll accuse them of theft, and then they'll have to stand before a judge. He'll accuse them of:

1. Stealing the packages - which they didn't.
2. Breach of contract. They did fight off a group of mercs, but they handed the items to the Sphinx with no resistance. One of the PCs was charmed.
3. Theft of the mule. They were GIVEN the mule but were supposed to deliver it with the packages and they certainly just gave it away.

Now, I don't know how the PCs are going to lie about this. I know one of them is a follower of Rurga and should tell the absolute truth. I will have them separated and questioned so they can't make up a group story. There could be several lies. But let's assume the truth comes out. What would your ruling be?

-Vek
"And what is the penalty for lying to the court?"

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:02 am
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
It will likely come out that the pc's weren't acting maliciously so

Theft of Horse - 4000gp fine
6 month Jail time or Community service.
Timiro is very harsh on horse theft

Community service to sims could be say help guard a special merchant wagon train to ft Alandia from Aracho, Food and a sleeping place will be provided but they have to pay their own way otherwise, dereliction of duty/desertion means execution. The wagon will be picking up more supplies from acoroc for both fort alandia and fort brandt and fort hilde, and then return to the sims magistrate following the successful mission.
or
Hunt down the sphinx


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:55 am
  

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Adventurer

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:32 am
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Location: Great Britain
Well, unfortunately, one of them is a giant and therefore has no rights according to Timiro law and would probably be blamed for everything that has happened in the past five years and executed on the spot. However, the people might also be intimidated by the fact that they are a giant and not fancy their chances at successfully carrying out such a sentence. I guess the people of Sims might want to send a runner to Fort Ac requesting some military help, which would leave the magistrate to handle things alone in the meantime.

The players could easily claim that they were threatened by the sphinx (I'm assuming that is true) and coerced into handing the package over. Most people wouldn't even consider trying to battle a sphinx over a parcel and the magistrate might accept this excuse if they believe them. In those circumstances, the breach of contract thing might have to come down to a personal dispute between them and the merchant who hired them. However, the "theft" of the mule is probably the worst offence in the eyes of Timiro law. Horse theft is apparently the worst crime you can commit in Timiro short of regicide. In reality they might be able to get away with a fine of around 4000gp, as Kiralon says, plus replacement of the mule. But, as your players are just starting out I guess they don't have five grand handy, so that would lead to imprisonment for non-payment of fines. For 10-80 years :eek:

However, for role-playing-game purposes they should definitely be sentenced to "go find the sphinx and get the parcel back". Plus fines. But the problem with that is, from the magistrate's point of view, what is stopping them from just embarking on their quest and promptly high-tailing it out of there as fast as they can? The obvious answer would be to imprison some PCs while the others hunt the sphinx, but that is no fun for role-playing (unless there is a cherished NPC in the party. Or an item they players don't want to part with that the magistrate can hold onto). Or the threat of the imminently arriving Timiro Sentinels might be enough. Perhaps they are forced to go after the sphinx under the supervision of the three knights from the adventure? Or they are escorted to the edge of the hills where the sphinx is thought to live and forced to enter dangerous area by themselves? "This narrow chasm is the only route in or out" etc. etc. Hope that helps.

One thing you could do is have them return successful from their mission with package in tow to be welcomed and congratulated by the magistrate, only to be unexpectedly slapped in irons for the "lesser" mule-related crime ("sorry, weren't you aware that the return of the package only covered the breach of contract?") and placed in jail by the now present army of Sentinels. If this is a one-off adventure, you could end it with a humorous "three months on bread and water will soon make you think twice about dumping your cargo at the first sign of a measly sphinx" and leave it there, perhaps to be picked up again when your player group next gets together. Or, a few days later there is a knock on their jail cell as either of the two merchants featured in the adventure has "arranged for your release" in exchange for "another little job I have in mind"...


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:55 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
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Location: Bowie, MD USA
Well, I have something similar in mind. I think everyone agrees that they're on the hook for the mule. Some think the breach of contract as well. That might depend on how they lie. Of course, they're going to be questioned independently so they can't tell the SAME lie which will hurt them. I'm hoping to have some actual person who won't know anything about the situation listen in on Discord and pass judgement. That will spare me being the mean GM who's going to take all of their gold. But, having group sourced the penalty makes me feel much better about it.

I looked in the Monsters and Animals and a mule is 1000-2000 gold. They have a little over 1000g between them but it isn't distrubted equally. So, an additional bit of spice is them being held as a group since they were hired as a group, and having to pay as a group. Some people who have been saving their gold will have to pay a larger share which should create some interesting dynamics. I think they can argue their way out of theft since the mule was given to them. It's more like they lost it. So, no criminal charge but a civil penalty. Anything that allows them to go on their own to make up for it is fraught. As Od says, they could just bugger off (UK slang just for you) and never return to Sims. So, they sort of have to pay what's in their pockets to begin with. I can't believe they just gave that mule away. So delightfully stupid.

-Vek
"Oh, and no giant. It's one giant, 4-foot tall dwarf and an elf. Poor use of commas."

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:43 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
If they were made to do something they would get an iron bracelet welded on to their arm that denotes their crime and their penalty. No law abiding blacksmith would remove it as removing it without permission is the death penalty, and then they get their likeness sent to where they need to go and are given a certain time to get there before being declared deserters to be hung, the other variation of this is a curse that gets worse the longer they take (headeache blindness etc)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:50 pm
  

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Adventurer

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:32 am
Posts: 715
Location: Great Britain
Sorry, my misunderstanding! 4ft is within normal range for a dwarf, so tall, maybe; but I didn't realise that was what you were referring to when you said "giant". Your commas were fine!

@Kiralon - curses, nice idea!

Let us know what happens!


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:34 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Bowie, MD USA
Well, I have secured people who don't even role-play and thus aren't even in the game to act as judges. So, they're going to listen to the PCs lie and listen to me as the NPC tell his version of the truth, and then we'll see what the judgement will be.

-Vek
"They're DEFINITELY paying for that horse."

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:11 am
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
That would be great to hear if you can record it.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:21 am
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
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Location: Bowie, MD USA
Hmm, good idea. I'll have to try. Also, what do you guys think would be a good penalty for perjury? They're most certainly going to lie.

-Vek
"Probably several times."

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:57 am
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
if they need a usable character afterwards, off with their hand
Otherwise tell them that lying will automatically remove any chance of mercy or leniency and they will be hung for their crimes for it is what horse thieves deserve, and if its true that they did just give away the ass, have the peasants be revolting and exile with an exiles brand on each cheek, they get dumped over into the old kingdom border with one weeks food, 1 water flask, 1 set of clothes, a knife and a knowledge that there is now a bounty on their heads for 100gp each dead, that they are now easy pickings for bounty hunters who only have to wait 24 hrs before coming after them.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:37 pm
  

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Demon Lord Extraordinaire

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 3:28 pm
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Comment: You probably think this comment is about you, don't you?
Have a couple mages with the Words of Truth spell available to interrogate the PCs.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:41 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Bowie, MD USA
Well, I thought about that but I want to save that incase they get in trouble later in a bigger city. I also want them to feel free to lie and be caught in those lies. Then, if they get off (unlikely) they'll think they can do the same later. I can raise the stakes. I don't want to show everyhing at once.

-Vek
"One PC is a follower of Rurga and should tell the truth."

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:57 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 1:01 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Bowie, MD USA
Well, the proceedings took a little over 2 hours. I don't know how much of what the PCs said were lies vs things they didn't remember from the previous week, but there were a lot of things they said that didn't happen. The last three somehow independently fell into blaming much of it on one PC, saying he was the one who did all the bargaining. They tried to argue that they weren't in breach of contract because the packages they were supposed to deliver still could be delivered, and that even though they had willingly given the packages away, they were still trying to deliver them. They claimed that they were unaware they had to return the mule. They also argued that since the mule wasn't covered in runes it wasn't part of the "deal". One guy tried to argue that there was no real contract. One guy actually said, "Yeah I gave up the packages and I gave away the mule." There was much equivocating and much misremembering.

In the end, they were found guilty of breach of contract and had to give back the up front fee of 50g each. They were found not guilty of theft of the packages. They were also found guilty of the mule theft and were ordered to either pay 1,000g up front or work off 2,000g in the mines. Also, one guy who was really being squirrely and irritating the judges was assigned two days in the mines just for his conduct.

-Vek
"It was one of the greatest role-playing evenings I've ever had. Not one die was rolled."

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:49 am
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Sounds freakin awesome


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