Misdeeds

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Misdeeds

Postby AkaKageWarrior » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:19 am

Hi,

I have a few questions about misdeeds.
Generally, I like the corruption system, but I'm used to the D&D alignment stuff.
When I check the misdeeds table, it comes to my mind that the PCs really have to
be lawful good paladins... - but maybe I'm misinterpreting a few things.

Here are the things that worry me and my players most, and maybe the authors or
TOR pros can help and clarify:

violent threats:
does that start with "shut up or I'll hit you in the face", or more like "confess or I'll cut of your fingers"?

lying purposefully:
What about lying to guards to get into town? What about lying to the enemy?
This would make the deception mostly useless...

plunder:
does that include looting / taking treasure / weapons / armor from "slain opponents" after combat?
(a D&D typical - and in most campaigns necessary - course of action)
Or is it more like "pillaging" what the table means?

unprovoked aggression:
also towards the enemy?
What about the PCs encountering some orcs - is it okay to attack right away?
The way I understand middle-earth orcs, they seem to be even worse than their D&D counterparts
who might change alignment, or grow up with another alignment (another socialisation... ;) ).
But in middle-earth an orc is an orc because it is corruption incarnate.

That's it for now, looking forward to your replies.
Lots of material for discussion, I guess!
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Bullroarer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:39 am

AkaKageWarrior wrote:violent threats:
does that start with "shut up or I'll hit you in the face", or more like "confess or I'll cut of your fingers"?

Both of those seem like violent threats to me.
AkaKageWarrior wrote:lying purposefully:
What about lying to guards to get into town? What about lying to the enemy?
This would make the deception mostly useless...

In this case I think it depends a lot on why the character is lying. Are they trying to deceive an innocent villager for their own gain, or are they lying to a guard so as to get into the castle to warn the king about some horrible plot? Deception can be useful for good characters who are trying to protect others, perhaps the character is hunted by the Shadow and does not want to endanger anyone else?
AkaKageWarrior wrote:plunder:
does that include looting / taking treasure / weapons / armor from "slain opponents" after combat?
(a D&D typical - and in most campaigns necessary - course of action)
Or is it more like "pillaging" what the table means?

While loot-hoarding and grabbing everything off of a slain enemy to peddle later is commonplace in regular D&D, I don't foresee the same happening all too often in AiME. Who'd buy an Orc sword, let alone ten or twenty? Looting corpses just isn't as prevalent in this setting. Did Aragorn loot Orc swords or check their pockets for copper? Probably not. Looting the enemy isn't really a profitable, or honorable, endeavor. Most of the wealth and powerful equipment comes instead from treasure hoards and quest rewards, rather than from the hands of the enemy. And even then, Tainted Treasure has the possibility of corrupting those who take it.

As for stealing, Bilbo stole both food and wine from the Elvenking, and arguably the Arkenstone from Thorin. If this happened in AiME, the character would probably gain some Shadow, although I'm fairly certain that the rulebook mentions intent, and that the effect of stealing something with the intent of returning it later is lessened. In any case, Burglars gain less Shadow from stealing than other classes.
AkaKageWarrior wrote:unprovoked aggression:
also towards the enemy?
What about the PCs encountering some orcs - is it okay to attack right away?
The way I understand middle-earth orcs, they seem to be even worse than their D&D counterparts
who might change alignment, or grow up with another alignment (another socialisation... ).
But in middle-earth an orc is an orc because it is corruption incarnate.

I doubt most people in Middle-earth would fault someone for attacking an Orc on sight, but at the same time I feel like the instinctual reaction to seeing an Orc or a group of Orcs would be to avoid them or stage an ambush, rather than charge them head on.

I do believe the Orcs of Middle-earth are evil beyond redemption by their very nature, so Orcs are definitely fine to kill without suffering Shadow. Of course, if the characters decide to torture an Orc or kill them for sport, that may be grounds for a few Shadow points.

Questioning an Orc before killing it - fine.
Torturing an Orc for information before killing it - Shadow for you.

When it comes to killing other sentient beings, such as regular bandits down on their luck, killing them is likely to result in a Shadow gain, if there ever was the option of sparing them. Evil Men are a grey area, but not every combat has to end with one side dead.

In any case, player-heroes are assumed to be good people with some degree of personal integrity and moral code, not murderers, thieves, or torturers. That doesn't mean everyone is completely Lawful Good or completely Chaotic Good, because AiME does away with alignments altogether. However, it probably means that the player-heroes won't lie and deceive, torture and murder and pillage all day long. At the same, the possibility to do all that exists, it's just that it results in Shadow gain. And again, I would look at intent before making any calls, if a character does something by accident and is genuinely sorry about it, Shadow gains can be forgiven.

But yeah, AiME is really not suited for murder-hoboing. However, I've considered a campaign where all the players are Orcs and where they can act out all their evil fantasies. Orcs, after all, don't have any problem looting.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby AkaKageWarrior » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:58 am

Thanks for the reply!

I agree to most things you say.
Intent is a vital point - does a character lie to survive or even help someone, or is it for personal gain?

What I need to change for my campaign is that the orc stuff is dirty / tainted / useless.
Still having the D&D mindset... an orcish greataxe is still kind of a greataxe...

So another opening speech next time I GM that campaign.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Bullroarer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:50 am

AkaKageWarrior wrote:What I need to change for my campaign is that the orc stuff is dirty / tainted / useless.
Still having the D&D mindset... an orcish greataxe is still kind of a greataxe...

But would a person of the Free-folk really want to use an Orcish weapon, even if it was deadlier than a Man-made counterpart? It's most likely made of inferior materials, tainted, and let's not even get started on the social aspect. What would the reaction be if an adventuring party came into town wielding Orc weapons? The only people I could see maybe wanting an Orc weapon would be collectors, but even then, being affiliated with or even showing an interest in Shadow-lore could be enough to make someone a social outcast, so they'd most likely keep it to themselves.

Keep in mind that Orcs in Middle-earth are universally hated, despised, and loathed. For good reason.
"Kill jester."
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Terisonen » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:54 pm

Bullroarer wrote:
AkaKageWarrior wrote:What I need to change for my campaign is that the orc stuff is dirty / tainted / useless.
Still having the D&D mindset... an orcish greataxe is still kind of a greataxe...

But would a person of the Free-folk really want to use an Orcish weapon, even if it was deadlier than a Man-made counterpart? It's most likely made of inferior materials, tainted, and let's not even get started on the social aspect. What would the reaction be if an adventuring party came into town wielding Orc weapons? The only people I could see maybe wanting an Orc weapon would be collectors, but even then, being affiliated with or even showing an interest in Shadow-lore could be enough to make someone a social outcast, so they'd most likely keep it to themselves.

Keep in mind that Orcs in Middle-earth are universally hated, despised, and loathed. For good reason.


No, but their tools are crude but effective, without any esthétic research (other than looking cruel, may be). Social aspect is a premium here (point of standing can be lifted).
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Bullroarer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Terisonen wrote:No, but their tools are crude but effective, without any esthétic research (other than looking cruel, may be). Social aspect is a premium here (point of standing can be lifted).

Sure, if an adventurer is without equipment and in the middle of nowhere, any weapon is better than no weapon. And I'm not saying an Orc longsword is mechanically different from a longsword made by Men or Elves. But imagine in a WW2 setting, if British player-characters picked up German uniforms to wear or discarded their weapons in favour of weapons branded with swastikas. It's a bit like that, after a fashion. (And no, I'm not comparing Orcs to Nazis. I'm just trying to say that the history between the Free-folk of Middle-earth and Orcs is not as easily disregarded as it is in regular D&D, and their relationship holds nothing but mutual disdain. Which is why I think any adventurer in Middle-earth would have reservations about using Orc-made weaponry when alternatives are available.)

All I know is, if my players started picking up Orc weapons and armour for resale or for equipment upgrades, they might be regarded unfavourably by those who don't particularly like Orcs (i.e. most people). In situations where infiltration is key, or where other gear is unavailable, then sure, go ahead, dress like an Orc and wield an Orc sword.
FWIW, in regular D&D you can wear a bucket on your head and a giant's spoiled handkerchief as a robe and nobody would bat an eye, but alas, people are more judgmental in Middle-earth.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Terisonen » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:02 pm

Orc equipment are just impossible to resell, nobody want them how effective they may be :D

And wielding them is even worse :D

In real war, if you can grab a more effective equipment from your ennemy, you do that. I think of the Soviet PPSH41 used by the german soldier who put aside their own MP40.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Beran » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:47 pm

I would not call the characters in Middle-Earth Lawful Good Paladins; they had their flaws and faults. However, that being said, the PCs in this setting are going to be of a more noble bend of thought then most D&D players are used to.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby Hamarr » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:40 pm

I think in Tolkien is very set that the ends do not justify the means. So Aragorn would not lie directly to Butterbur even if it might help save the Hobbits. Tolkien makes it clear that while Gandlaf could take the ring and use it for good, he would in the end be corrupted. He would be a overly zealous ruler. He would think that he would be doing the right thing, but he would be a dark lord more terrible than Suaron. For Tolkien a devout Catholic the ends never justify the means. AIME tells us that the use of intimidation, and deception can and mostly should result in shadow gain.
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Re: Misdeeds

Postby zedturtle » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:26 am

I would suggest not fighting against this (the rules for Misdeeds and Shadow), but working with it. In the books (and the movies), the heroes can have disagreements and even rivalries. But this doesn't mean that the heroes are committing misdeeds all the time either. Far from it...

Boromir is able to protest against Gandalf and Aragorn without threatening them with physical violence. Nor do Gandalf and Aragorn settle their debate about which road to pick by going three rounds bareknuckled. Instead, words serve.

Aragorn as Strider relies on the Bree-folk's opinions of the Rangers to move inconspicuously among them. In his younger days, he wore other names so that he could see the wider world without the burden of his lineage affecting things.

Others have covered the concerns with orc-gear. And if it's not orc-gear and the heroes have found themselves in conflict with Men (or Elves or Dwarves or Hobbits) then they need to be very careful that they're not doing the work of the Shadow.

As for the unprovoked aggression thing, if you encounter forces of the Shadow, then you should act against them if you can. But if an enemy asks for mercy you should give it to them. Tolkien notes that this advice was not always followed, but it was the wisdom that even those without honor should be granted mercy, as long as it was safe to do so.

One of the best things that's ever happened in one of my TOR games was when a group of heroes had managed to subdue an orc. They questioned him, but felt that they couldn't slay him outright. Finally, one of the heroes gave the orc a choice... leave freely without his weaponry, or face the hero in single combat in order to keep his weaponry.

The orc chose to fight, but threw his spear at the first chance and then ran away. His name was Ufthak.
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