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How to be a Bailiff ... ?


rust

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In the current Carelan campaign the characters have been assigned the task to

free some important prisoners from the castle at the town of Morragen.

The group's scholar is sent to scout the castle, to learn as much as he can about

the number of guards and their equipment, and if possible to contact one of the

prisoners. He walks up to the guard at the castle's gate and tells him:

"Good Man, I am one of the rebels who want to free your prisoners. We would like

to know how many guards you have here, and what equipment they have. Would

you be so kind to raise an alarm, so I can get an impression of this ?"

He is of course arrested and thrown into the dungeon, and the other players sta-

re at the scholar's player in utter disbelief.

The player smiles and explains that his character now knows the guards and their

equipment and the interior layout of the castle, and that he has the opportunity

to talk to the prisoners. And in the next morning he will tell the bailiff that he was

drunk, wanted to make an admittedly silly joke, and now regrets this and is willing

to pay a fine before he is set free.

Well, I have to play the bailiff, and I really do not know how to handle this. It is

incredibly stupid and in a strange way brilliant at the same time, and I have no

idea how my bailiff should react to this: Hang the man or let him go ?

What would you do with this insane scholar ? :?

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Ask who will pay this 'fine' (ransom). If it's someone of social standing (respectable, and non-rebel), then send word demanding payment and sling him back in a dungeon till it arrives. Otherwise, immediately maim him and apply torture until he tells all about the Rebels: how many there are, what equipment they have, location and layout of their hideout(s), which prisoners they regard as most important, what their inside-leg measurements are... until he dies; stick the head on a pike above the gates and feed the dismembered remains to dogs. Ha ha.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Ask who will pay this 'fine' (ransom). If it's someone of social standing (respectable, and non-rebel), then send word demanding payment and sling him back in a dungeon till it arrives.

I am afraid this character has the right connections to convince a respectable

secret supporter of the rebellion to pay the fine / ransom. :(

Otherwise, immediately maim him and apply torture ...

(...)

... until he dies; stick the head on a pike above the gates and feed the dismembered remains to dogs.

I am very much tempted to treat the character this way, if only to make sure

that his player does not develop a habit of similar antics of his characters. >:>

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Perhaps the bailiff is a believer in the saying in vino veritas and holds that no one can effectively lie when drunk. If so the character must, ipso facto, have been telling the truth and thus should be treated as a rebel. Besides he can't be seen by his overlords as being soft on rebels and regardless of whether it was done in jest claiming to be a supporter of the enemy is an offence that cannot be seen to be tolerated. Perhaps, if the bailiff can be persuaded, the character might be allowed a trial by combat to show his innocence. Of course that might not be a fair trial or it might give the character's companions the opportunity to rescue him.

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Perhaps, if the bailiff can be persuaded, the character might be allowed a trial by combat to show his innocence. Of course that might not be a fair trial or it might give the character's companions the opportunity to rescue him.

Hmmm ... thank you, I like that. :)

A public trial by combat in the castle's courtyard, which would in fact be a public

execution since the character has hardly any combat skills, would enable the bai-

liff to make an example of this suspected rebel supporter and thereby to frighten

the commoners - and at the same time give the other characters both an oppor-

tunity and an incentive to attack the castle at this time, disguised as spectators

of the trial by combat.

It is rather close to a certain scene of a certain Robin Hood movie, but this does

not have to be a disadvantage, the setting offers enough ways to make it diffe-

rent.

Besides, to rescue their stupid comrade and to free the prisoners in such a very

public way could well boost the reputation of the rebels considerably (see the

other thread about recruiting / "Prince Illiam ...").

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Although the harsh approach may be logical and realistic, I wouldn't have the heart to punish your player. His approach was so goofy and original, so brimming with sheer chutzpah, it deserves to be rewarded somehow (especially since this is a fantasy campaign and he's the meek scholar doing this, not the brawny fighter or super-sneaky thief). I mean, what idiot would march up to the police station and ask to be arrested?

So I suggest some Inspector General/Court Jester/Hogan's Heroes shenanigans to make things easier for him. Maybe the bailiff finds his conduct so strange that he's convinced the PC is actually an undercover investigator for the dreaded secret police. Maybe a casual remark by the character just happens to be the counter-sign that "proves" he's one of the Big Bad's spooks, out to check on the loyalty and efficiency of the local lockup. Maybe he's so clumsy and unpredictable during the trial by combat that he wins in spite of himself. Or his opponent has been drugged by parties unknown. Maybe his rescuers aren't the other PCs but said secret police; he's "recruited" as a double-agent to spy on his friends, enabling the heroes to feed to bad guys all sorts of misleading information.

Of course, this puts all sorts of pressure on the player and his character. He's now got to talk a good game and sharpen his wits to keep everyone fooled without getting lynched by the unhappy populace or tortured by his government "friends." On the other hand, he's now got inside information, fancy spy gear, and a government paycheck -- if he can stay alive long enough to enjoy them.

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What's the problem?

Do you have a burning desire to keep him in jail or to have him executed?

It sounds like a clever plan to me. If he can get some important people to come and vouch for him, spreads some cash amongst the guards and is convincing, then let him go. It can't hurt. Lots of politically-connected people get off scot-free in real life, so why not in a game?

In my opinion, this is the clever, risk-taking stuff that games should be full of and I wouldn't want to punish in arbitrarily.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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While I can see what you're saying I have to say it very much boils down to the tone of the campaign. If you reward a goofy plan once what do you do when the next player uses one? You've set the tone with the first response you gave and if you now drop rocks on the second character's head it comes across as unfair. If the tone of the campaign is a serious one then the actions of the NPC's have to fit into that tone, if they don't you end up going from Excalibur to Robin Hood: Men in Tights and not necessarily being the happier for it.

That doesn't mean that the character gets arbitrarily offed: there should always be the chance of an heroic rescue or daring escape plan but in the end stupidity should get its own reward.

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Meanwhile we have played the next few hours of the events, and this is what happened, or at least

what the usurper king's men know about it ...

„My Lord,

as you will remember, the idiot who claimed to be a rebel was sentenced to death by your bailiff, and the

execution was to take place at your castle's courtyard.

All the citizens of Morragen had been ordered to come and watch the painful death of the rebel, so there

was a huge crowd. Some rebels hid among this crowd, and when the prisoner was led to the execution,

two of these rebels used crossbows to wound your bailiff and the priest of Arthun who stood next to him,

and then the rebels fled down to the river, pursued by the captain of the guard and most of his men. At

the river the rebels stole a boat and escaped downriver to the Estre Swamps, their usual hiding place.

While the captain and his men were hunting these rebels, a fire broke out at Arthun's recently completed

temple. From what I have been told, a cart with a wine barrel on it broke down at the temple gate. There

were only two temple guards at the gate, because the others had escorted the priest to the castle. Among

the bystanders who came running to the temple to help with the cart were rebels, who killed the guards

and rolled the barrel into the temple. The barrel was filled with lamp oil, so it was easy for them to start

a fire and burn down the temple.

When the fire at the temple became visible, the crowd at the castle moved to the burning temple. A few

brave people attempted to fight the fire, but some mad thief had stolen the ropes from the two nearest

wells, which made it impossible to lift the buckets with water up the wells. So the crowd just stood there

and watched the fire, but unfortunately this crowd filled the entire market square and made it almost im-

possible for the captain of the guard to lead his men back to the castle.

At about this time the biggest group of rebels attacked. With most of the castle's guards gone to pursue

the first group of rebels, and the remaining temple guards on their way to the burning temple, the woun-

ded bailiff and the wounded priest had only few men with them, the castle's gate was still wide open, and

it was impossible to know who of the many people at or near the castle were rebels. We still do not know

how many rebels took part in the attack, but it must have been more than two dozen of them. They cut

down the bailiff, the priest and almost all of the castle's defenders, freed the prisoners, set the castle on

fire, and escaped on the guards' horses.

The captain of the guards was later able to recover the horses, the rebels had not ridden them into the

swamps, but we lost much of the castle, most of the temple, the bailiff, the priest, more than a dozen of

our loyal fighters, and – worst of all – the trust of the citizens of Morragen.“

As you see, I decided to neither reward nor punish the scholar character, although the fact that his planned

execution gave the rebels the opportunity for their attack could be considered a minor reward.

Edit.:

On the other hand, standing right next to the bailiff's torturer through the events until the rebel's final attack

and knowing that the torturer just waited impatiently for the bailiff's signal to get the execution started could

perhaps be considered a mild form of punishment ... :)

Edit. 2:

By the way, the crucial moment of this part of the adventure was the bailiff's Idea Roll after he was hit by the

crossbow bolt. The character with the crossbow intentionally wounded the bailiff only slightly, hoping that he

would fail to recognize the diversion and in his rage order the guards to pursue the "assassins" who had "at-

tempted to kill him". The characters were lucky, and the bailiff indeed fumbled his Idea Roll and sent most of

his soldiers after the fleeing rebels - and neither he nor his men realized that the people fleeing to the river

were only harmless unarmed youngsters dressed like the crossbowmen, while the dangerous and well armed

ones still were at the castle and waited for their comrades to provide the second diversion at the temple.

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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So, I'm late to the party. Sounds like it went down well.

It looks like the Bailiffs concerns are now justified. Just as he's about to execute a suspected rebel he gets a cross bow bolt to the chest. This 'scholar' must be pretty important. If I'm the Bailiff, I'm going to be a bit worried about this rebel who is so unafraid of me that he blithely walks into my jail and then is able to escape...

Besides he can't be seen by his overlords as being soft on rebels and regardless of whether it was done in jest claiming to be a supporter of the enemy is an offence that cannot be seen to be tolerated.

This would have been my reaction. If I doubt the scholar is actually a rebel then the scholar is likely going to go in a stockade, suitably humiliated, and then back in gaol to be reassessed. I would decide what to do next depending on the players actions. But someplace in there I would want to reward the player with a new windfall of information. Not necessarily what he was looking for, but I think risks like that should have consequences but also be rewarded.

Although the harsh approach may be logical and realistic, I wouldn't have the heart to punish your player. His approach was so goofy and original, so brimming with sheer chutzpah, it deserves to be rewarded somehow (especially since this is a fantasy campaign and he's the meek scholar doing this, not the brawny fighter or super-sneaky thief). I mean, what idiot would march up to the police station and ask to be arrested?

I think it's great. I just wished he had gotten himself arrested in some other manner. There's got to be a way to get one's self temporarily thrown in jail without linking ones self to the rebels. Now the Bailiff has to be careful around the scholar just because.

In my opinion, this is the clever, risk-taking stuff that games should be full of and I wouldn't want to punish in arbitrarily.

Absolutely!

70/420

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