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Help Me Think Up a Test of Justice

Stoat

Adventurer
My PC's are exploring an ancient temple devoted to Bahamaut. I to run them through a non-combat "Test of Justice" -- something the old priests of Bahamut would have used to test the faithful, back in the day.

I don't have any idea at all where to start. Do y'all?
 

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Croesus

Adventurer
My PC's are exploring an ancient temple devoted to Bahamaut. I to run them through a non-combat "Test of Justice" -- something the old priests of Bahamut would have used to test the faithful, back in the day.

I don't have any idea at all where to start. Do y'all?

I always liked the questions in the old Ultima IV CRPG. They were used by the game to determine the PC's class, but you might be able to adapt one or more of these specifically to the PC's.

Compassion vs. Justice:
After 20 years thou hast found the slayer of thy best friends. The
villain proves to be a man who provides the sole support for a young
girl. Dost thou A) spare him in Compassion for the girl; or B) slay him
in the name of Justice?

Valor vs. Justice:
Thou hast been sent to secure a needed treaty with a distant Lord. Thy
host is agreeable to the proposal but insults thy country at dinner.
Dost thou A) Valiantly bear the slurs; or B) Justly rise and demand an
apology?

Justice vs. Sacrifice:
During a pitched battle, thou dost see a fellow desert his post,
endangering many. As he flees, he is set upon by several enemies. Dost
thou A) Justly let him fight alone; or B) Risk Sacrificing thine own
life to aid him?

Justice vs. Honor:
Thou hast sworn to do thy Lord's bidding in all. He covets a piece of
land and orders the owner removed. Dost thou A) serve Justice, refusing
to act, thus being disgraced; or B) Honor thine oath and unfairly evict
the landowner?

Justice vs. Spirituality:
Thou dost believe that virtue resides in all people. Thou dost see a
rogue steal from thy Lord. Dost thou A) call him to Justice; or B)
personally try to sway him back to the Spiritual path of good?

Justice vs. Humility:
Unwitnessed, thou hast slain a great dragon in self defense. A poor
warrior claims the offered reward. Dost thou A) Justly step forward to
claim the reward; or B) Humbly go about life, secure in thy self-
esteem?
 

Dandu

First Post
My PC's are exploring an ancient temple devoted to Bahamaut. I to run them through a non-combat "Test of Justice" -- something the old priests of Bahamut would have used to test the faithful, back in the day.

I don't have any idea at all where to start. Do y'all?
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfwqvUPIRkg]Zero Wing - Introduction - YouTube[/ame]
 

pemerton

Legend
Do you want an intellectual or a practical test?

There is also the question of what you (or Bahamut) means by "justice"? Justice is often rendered as "ensuring that each receives his/her due", but attitudes can vary wildly in times and places as to what spheres of life are ones in which the notion of "a person's due" has any work to do. As I understand it, in classical (ie Greek and Roman) systems of ethics justice has comparatively little work to do. Notions of honour, magnanimity and the like are more important. On the other hand, in contemporary English-speaking moral and political philosophy (Rawls, Dworkin etc) justice looms very large: the whole of our productive and social life is generally seen as a site in which the value of justice has important work to do, and justice is generally regarded as a preeminent value. So, for example, even those who want to defend the permissibility of favouring family over strangers don't do so by arguing that some other value trumps the impersonal value of justice to permit favouring one's family. Rather, they argue that we have special obligations to our family members, and hence that they have special claims of entitlement against us.

A third question is how much you want the players to metagame the challenge. That is, do you want the answer to be obvious, and to have the players then make a choice that is, in effect, a statement about their PCs' attitudes towards justice as Bahamut conceives of it. Or do you want a genuine moral/philosophical conundrum that embroils the players (and presumably, then, their PCs) in debate about what is the proper thing to do to honour justice and (thereby) Bahamut?

One suggestion that would make it a practical test, reflecting mainstream contemporary views about justice, and would make it more of an ingame rather than a metagame matter, is the following:

As you walk down a corridor in the temple there is a mirror. As each PC passes it, s/he sees a vision: someone s/he has wronged in the past, by failing to give that person his/her due, states his/her complaint to the PC, and demands recompense. (I'm assuming that your PCs have committed injustices in the past. If they're all paragons of virtue, then I guess the test of justice is not really going to challenge them. You'd also have to decide on whether or not you focus on scenes that were actually played out in game, or on other injustices that have been committed but not expressly roleplayed out - eg a beggar confronts a PC with the fact that the PC spent the night in a rich inn while the beggar spent the night sleeping on the streets with no comfort or shelter.)

In the original temple, the idea would be that as a bewildered and/or distraught member of the congregation stood slack-jawed before the mirror, a priest of Bahamut would come up and provide comfort. The priest would ask the parishioner what s/he had seen in the mirror, and then ask the parishioner's response. Those who expressed a desire to right the wrong, and asked for the priest's advice, would be given the appropriate advice and help. (In cases where the wronged person was in another city, the priests of Bahamut might accept payment of compensation, and then arrange for it to be delivered to the victim by the priests of the temple in that other city.)

Those parishioners who expressed indifference to the claim of justice would be subjected to punishment/penalties of some appropriate kind.

In the ruined/abandoned temple, there presumably are no priests to minister to the PCs after they receive their visions. But depending what you want to achieve, there are a few ways you could set up the situation. One option would be that all the PCs see one another's visions. You could use this to seed some sort of intra-party conflict/dynamics. A different possibility would be to place some temple guardian/spirit in place of the priests - a sphinx or naga might be appropriate for this.

In the case where you set it up as PCs vs NPC/creature rather than PC vs PC, you might want to think about what you do if a PC argues to the creature (and therefore, in effect, to you) that what s/he did was not unjust but deserved by the victim. How much moral argument do you want as part of the resolution of the scene?
 

LurkAway

First Post
I remember playing a Jedi trial from a Stars Wars game. And the Star Wars wiki provides examples of a Trial of Insight and Skill and a Trial of Courage and Skill which involves illusionary opponents.

So I can imagine that for a trial of Bahamut, powerful illusions would set up one or more combat challenges -- so at a surface level, it would seem to be a test of combat prowess -- but built into the scenario is an ethical dilema to test the initiate's courage, compassion and moral compass.

It's also interesting that powerful preprogrammed illusions are still running in the ancient temple. Does the trial still function entirely correctly, or has it been twisted, purposefuly or accidentally, throughout the ages?

Is it an ancient forgotten rite, because people nowawadays don't have the powerful magicks that once existed, and would the present-day clergy of Bahamut at the nearest city believe that it still exists and confers any 'official' status?
 


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