Lost Mines and After

A Lesson In Diplomacy

Ok, so I feel it is important that we may need to set a tone for the nature of the campaign as we begin to get our feet under it. A social contract of sorts needs to be agreed upon that allows everyone to play together without setting each other at sorts with one another. I’ve been keeping the game light because much of this is getting used to FG and with the basics of 5th edition but this group has many strong personalities and character backgrounds to consider so if we are all going to play together and not have it devolve into a inter party back-stab fest we might want to review some things.

For brevity (not my strong suit) I’ll just point out some situations that might have created more inter party conflict than may have been intended and may affect how other players may want to continue.

  1. Gif: We’ve gone a little off the books on this, but that is fine. I think that Gif helps bring some strange comic relief to the game and he hasn’t done anything egregious to the party as yet to warrant a cold blooded killing. Now Grimaldi is a folk hero and a person who strives to free people from oppression (as shared in last nights FG session), so for him to outright try and surprise attack Gif (in a place of business and who was following the party lead) is, at the very least, unscrupulous and bordering on psychotic. The second near attempt to strike at Gif once Oskar had healed him would have been a straight and evil act. No chaotic neutral, just pure evil.

I like the potential discord Gif has brought to the party, I like that there are some disagreements as to Gif’s placement and whether or not he should continue traveling with the group, but you guys need to come up with a way to work around sundering the party just to get one person’s way. As strongly as you might feel a character’s personality might be, we have an entire party of strong personalities that you are not considering when you start making party sensitive decisions.

Just something to consider…

  1. Lionshield Coster – Bravo for pissing off the one upstanding proprietor who has chosen to stand up against the terrorizing of the Redbrands while trying to show her that the party is there to help the town… How do you do this? By trying to intimidate her… (sorry, Otadek, but you rolled a 3 on your Intimidation, wasn’t happening). So Otadek might want to consider if whether or not the party the he is traveling with will support his strong arm ways and back him up if these ways end up back firing on him. Otadek is not in his usual environment, he doesn’t have a pool of similarly groomed people to draw from, he doesn’t know the party members and how they are aligned (not just alignment but what their philosophy and means of carrying out their business is), and he is probably cranky as hell because he was kept up all night from hoot owls and coyotes cackling at all hours of the night!

By making such a showing in a business to an owner in front of the party, makes the party complicit in the act. You are essentially forcing them to make a decision into either breaking the party by confronting a hostile and strong willed character, or possibly breaking their own ethics by going along with it. Neither option will cement this group or its PCs with one another.

Both of these scenarios are reflective of the poor GM trope of railroading. Every player likes to feel that they have a chance to pursue their own character’s goals and that they have a choice in building a story by challenging and altering a plot with their actions. That’s what RPing is all about, community storytelling. If I, as the GM, force you to go this way and that, eliminating your chance to affect the plot or the story as a whole, then most of you would balk at the game and start looking elsewhere for your gaming fix. This, in essence, are what the two examples above are doing, so I would ask that you consider this as we move forward.

Not a sermon, more of a scolding…!

Comments

I find it awesome that we have Gif along for the ride. Yes, he presents certain challenges that we otherwise wouldn’t have to grapple with but I feel it may open some fun RP potential for the group. I thought Thorwyn’s play to calmed the inn keeper couple was awesome as well as Otadek’s initial attempt to get the Lionshield Coster’s proprietor’s cooperation.

As for Oskar’s motivation, well the dwarf is extremely naïve and has probably grievously misinterpreted his assigned temple task. I believe Ryan has played into this brilliantly by providing Gif. As long as the goblin shouts and smiles “Burr-Nor!”, Oskar is buying it. Yes, Oskar’s gullibility is obvious to all and perhaps cutting the goblin’s gullet would be best, however, Gif is either an honest convert of Berronar Truesilver or just playing into the dwarf’s favor. Admittedly, I’m not sure if Oskar realizes that if he were to bring Gif to his temple priestesses they would kill the goblin on sight and perhaps Oskar as well? Oskar isn’t “stupid”, well…

I understand Doug’s motivation for Grimaldi’s misgivings/outright distain towards having a “goblin pet”, however, the character should realize that certain members of the adventuring group have some odd fascination for Gif. As Ryan points out, Gif has yet to betray us (although we as players KNOW Ryan is going to have this happen – perhaps when we’re at level 50 and Gif gets his chance to take us down), and Gif appears eager to please, well at least Oskar. At the very least Grimaldi can be our Samwise Gamgee (“You can’t save him, he’s a GOBLIN!”) always having a vigilant eye on Gif for that chance to exclaim “I told you so!” Yes, it might be a stretch (why is Grimaldi with these fools?), however, you’re a kung-fu-mystic-master and perhaps this is a path towards nirvana? OR you can just take the plunge into the goblin hot tub (the waters warm, Gif just took a piss in it) and channel that aggression grasshopper and teach the goblin some yoga.

And as for Otadek the (UN)Friendly, I expect nothing less! Otadek is that odd shaped random encounter die that you just never know what the result will be! The old coot obviously didn’t have his brand muffin while captured by the goblins and was peeved that the proprietor didn’t acknowledge him as the respectable ‘Bidnessman’ that he is. Our DEEDS will overshadow Otadek’s senile outbursts.

I don’t want us as players to be fractured and wish everyone to have fun and the freedom to roleplay their characters. I don’t want to force Gif on the party and hoping that either Otadek or even Grimaldi to take the goblin under their wing and teach him a proper profession (class). A goblin rogue would be fun to have, he can then sneak and backstab us all! Should Gif prove too much of a distraction for the group, well he might not survive our next encounter. Oskar, as well as myself as a player, will be broken hearted should we lose Gif. I enjoy the idea of progressing in the larger campaign with this odd freakish goblin, however, I don’t want to place unnecessary hurdles that may distract from the other player’s enjoyment for the campaign.

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

Gif is like a junk yard dog. Everyone with any common sense can see that eventually Gif is probably going to bite the hand that feeds him. It’s not a guarantee, but it is certainly a distinct possibility. Now, if the party wants to invest the time and effort to train and teach Gif, then there is nothing that prohibits Gif’s ‘recovery’. If treated cruelly, then he will certainly be more prone to regressing back to his natural instincts.

I’m not married to any of the NPCs that you will encounter, you guys can do what you want – though I’d rather it not be a straight murder-hobo campaign. I just wanted to remind everyone that until you get an idea for the personalities and the motivations of your party members, forcing the narrative can be more divisive than maybe what is intended.

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

Good gaming, good feedback.

A couple thoughts:
1, I’m not hell-bent on anything and am okay with modifying my actions (at least partly, some of the time) for group harmony or easing DM headaches. Ryan, I don’t mind if you step out of character and give us a cue once in awhile as to what course of action would lead to more fun for all of us from your point of view.
2. Otadek marking his territory on the lady guild trader wasn’t intended to be divisive—it was just an RP angle I came up with in the moment. I take your points, however. (It would have been more shrewd if Otadek had waited for the other party members to leave before trying to intimidate.)
3. I don’t approach this expecting 100 percent group harmony and can still have fun with a modest level of character disharmony as long as player bickering is zero or close to it.
4. Maybe we can do some RP at an upcoming session in which our characters get to know one another and our perspectives and goals. That may help us settle upon some common ground rules.
5. I have no opinion about Gif—fine with however it plays out.

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

All good comments, and I don’t have anything against the ‘strong arming the proprietor’ if that’s what you want to do. I just thought I’d point out that without knowing how your party would react, you did a very overt and aggressive form of intimidation forcing your party to make a decision to go along with you or confront you.

I think having a moment where the party decides just what they hell they are doing would be great. In game, this is only Day 3 so this would make sense that you all aren’t intimately familiar with one another and what each other’s predilections might be.

On an off note, had you all left the store and Otadek reenter and try his strong arming I would have said nothing about the incident and let it play out. But, hey, we’re all getting used to one another’s play styles so keep it true and we’ll roll with it!

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

“I think having a moment where the party decides just what they hell they are doing would be great.”

I’m thinking some group brainstorming, trust falls, and interpretive dance would help us get there. It

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

I believe that what Grimaldi did was in no way crazy or against his alignment. He is Neutral Good (or Chaotic Good? can’t remember). He will simply do what he sees as the best thing for the most good for the greatest number of people. He does not dislike Gif for being a Goblin (though not a big fan either). He certainly is not afraid of Gif, unless maybe what he might do – such as alert the wrong people or do something stupid).

What he DOES realize (being a man of the people) is that EVERYONE HATES GOBLINS. GOBLINS DO NOT ROAM AROUND TOWNS. MERCHANTS DO NOT SERVE GOBLINS. ANYONE SEEN ASSOCIATED WITH GOBLINS IS VIEWED AS EVIL. THEY ARE NOT VIEWED AS CUTE, QUIRKY, AMUSING, OR FUNNY LITTLE PEOPLE, THEY ARE VIEWED AS EVIL, DISGUSTING, MARAUDING VERMIN. The fact that these most basic facts are escaping the rest of the party even when rubbed directly in their faces is a mystery to him. Even when the townspeople tell the party DIRECTLY “we don’t like you because you have a goblin.” DUH!!!

If we want to free these townspeople, we need them on our side, and being seen as shady goblin-buddies is NOT the way to do that. Since the goblin would not leave, and the cleric would not allow him to be chased off, Grimaldi saw he had to take desperate measures. Gif NOT ONLY WILL NOT HELP US BUT IS HINDERING US GREATLY. Grimaldi is very tolerant in general, but when a goal is being directly prevented, when people are being oppressed, and the party is being prevented from putting things right because of one insane dwarf’s obsession with a stupid little goblin, well – better to kill the goblin than the dwarf. It’s FAR more important that the greater goal be achieved – freeing a whole town from oppression. But we can’t be the liberators if the townspeople think we are the enemy. Duh!

I want the party to run smoothly and not make waves, and I am generally a very easygoing character. But when I see sheer idiocy screwing up our goals for no reason whatsoever, I will act.

A Lesson In Diplomacy
 

All valid arguments and your reasoning is sound and I don’t have any issue with Grimaldi’s views on Gif. However, by allowing Gif to travel with the party, and offering him your protection, the party has essentially created an informal social contract with him. Gif hasn’t done anything overt against the party, so I would argue that the surprise attack against him in the Lionshield Coster could be conceived as an evil act by the breaking of the informal bonds implied in the social contract.

Gif’s presence does increase the difficulty in interacting with any of the town’s people, but not impossible. That is ultimately up to the party to decide on what to do with him. If you want to kick him out and see him on his way then I have no problems with that. If you want to use him in hopes of helping you find out where Gundren Rockseeker is and have him help you free him then I’m fine with that, too. But killing him outright without any reason at this stage, would be like killing any other party member. A character’s alignment can only be used to justify his actions so far. Some actions are just plain evil in their own right – just something to consider.

I do not consider Gif to be a pet NPC. You all may do with him what you will, at one point you promised to install him as the leader of the goblins in the Cragmaw caves, but then you killed all the goblins which greatly diminished his options. Besides, he’s now a ‘convert’ to Berranor Truesilver!

A Lesson In Diplomacy
mchossman

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