The aftermath of battle

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Coil
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The aftermath of battle

Post by Coil » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:48 pm

Hello everyone.

My players and I are getting into the TOR world more and more but today we ran in to a bit of a philosophical conundrum regarding the aftermath of battles.

To be taken out of the battle you either loose all your endurance or get two wounds. However, you do not die in any of these cases. In case of two wounds you die without medical attention, but in the case of lost endurance you will wake up after a short while and have regained your heart score as endurance.

Logic dictates that this applies to enemies as well.

So, when winning a battle the characters now have an important decision to make. What to do with all the enemies?

If they are normal humans, as in the case of the bandit band from "Kinstrife and dark tidings" can they with good conscience kill the knocked out men? Or even leave them tied out in the wilderness?

What about men obviously tainted by shadow, or Orcs and Goblins? Is cutting the throat of a knocked out enemy reason enough for shadow points? Even if it is a shadowspawn?

I get the feeling that in Tolkiens world killing orcs and goblins is done without much remorse or consequence. Still, that makes everything very black and white and also quite unrealistic. On the other hand it can be difficult to play this game if every orc you knock out and then have to kill will gain you 5 shadow points due to it being a murder.

Have any of you had this discussion in your groups and what was your conclusion, if any?
Other thoughts?

Cheers!

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Mytholder
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Mytholder » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:03 pm

Coil wrote: Logic dictates that this applies to enemies as well.
Why? Player characters operate under different rules to non-player characters and monsters.

In my games, enemies are slain unless the players declare they're taking someone alive, or if there's some other good reason for the foe to stick around.
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Coil
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Coil » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:42 pm

Mytholder wrote:
Coil wrote: Logic dictates that this applies to enemies as well.
Why? Player characters operate under different rules to non-player characters and monsters.

In my games, enemies are slain unless the players declare they're taking someone alive, or if there's some other good reason for the foe to stick around.
I guess that's a fair question :)

I would say it's because this is the first game I've played where I have used a system where the only killing of PCs are explicit. Other rpgs I've played, people have died due to health points etc reaching zero unless extraordinary actions have been taken.

Still, for me roleplaying is a lot about the choices you make and the morality behind them. So I find the original question quite intriguing. It's very strange for me to view my own PCs or in this case my players PCs as cut of from feelings and turned into unemotional killing machines every time they draw their swords.

Of course, the players can choose to act this out as they please despite there not being any game mechanics for this, but in game where the ever present shadow is lurking I thought this might be something to consider.

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Mim
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Mim » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:47 pm

I think Gareth solves your problem nicely (it's what I do as well). You could play that whenever your heroes drop someone to 0 Endurance Points he dies. They can always say if they're trying to spare someone, but I interpret the rules about the whole unconscious thing as applying to the heroes or important characters, not to Orcs or corrupted Men :)

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Mytholder
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Mytholder » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:05 am

I'm certainly not implying that the PCs are unemotional killing machines - but "what do we do with the prisoners" is a big and complicated question that can take over a whole game very easily, especially in a game like TOR that pushes morality to centre stage.

You're not generally going to get Shadow points for killing a foe in self-defence in the heat of battle. If some bandit ambushes you on the road, and you slay him before he kills you, then you're unlikely to gain Shadow.

Your question, though, is about a foe at one's mercy. The obvious example from the books is Gollum; Frodo stayed his hand out of pity, and tried to redeem Gollum from corruption. A character with a wounded bandit at their mercy is in a similar situation, and killing the bandit without mercy would certainly incur Shadow.

However, taking Frodo's solution ("I capture my foe and bring him with me on a long journey, hoping he'll change") may be impractical for an adventurer. You could have the bandits flee at 0 Endurance instead of being knocked unconscious, or have the bandits promise to give up their criminal ways and go home to live honest lives. You can also posit lots of moral dilemmas ("if we leave the bandit go, we're responsible for any evil he does in the future - it's only right and good that we end him now", or "we should spare his life, but we're on an important mission and other lives hang in the balance - we can't carry a wounded bandit with us all the way to Dol Guldur").

My thinking is that is... perilous to the game to push excessive unanswerable moral choices on the players. Unless you're playing up the theme of Arda Marred, that this is a fallen world where doing things that are absolutely right will ultimately end in defeat and sorrow, then forcing hard choices on the players with EVERY combat will make the game unplayable. You can certainly have the occasional encounter where the players get to explore moral questions, but those should not be cropping up in each and every session, which is what you risk if you take combat to its 'logical' conclusion.

(Hence the bandits conveniently dying on cue at 0 Endurance - it sidesteps difficult questions and lets the players get on with their quest.)
Gareth Hanrahan
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Robin Smallburrow
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Robin Smallburrow » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:00 am

You are also wrong that pcs can't be killed by a blow in battle - I forget where in RAW but a PC can die from an attack if they are already wounded and this attack brings them below 0 (I think)

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doctheweasel
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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by doctheweasel » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:04 am

Robin Smallburrow wrote:You are also wrong that pcs can't be killed by a blow in battle - I forget where in RAW but a PC can die from an attack if they are already wounded and this attack brings them below 0 (I think)

Robin S
If they are already wounded AND they take a blow that both brings them down to 0 endurance AND inflicts another wound. It doesn't happen often, but if you are wounded and low on endurance you may start worrying.

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Re: The aftermath of battle

Post by Corvo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:32 pm

If I remember correctly, a poisoned weapon can kill a PC with a single shot (piercing blow is a wound, poison is a second wound)

EDIT: ...and creatures with the No Quarter ability can kill a PC in a round :?

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