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5E Lawful Evil character - follow up advice needed! Spoiler for Kingmaker

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
So our session last night was an interesting one. Fans of Kingmaker the Adventure Path or CRPG will recognize the situation.

The party are rulers of their lands. Earlier in the campaign they had a run in with a gnome spy who screwed them pretty hard. They also made a truce with a tribe of kobolds as part of trying to found their kingdom. This was about two months earlier.

They came upon a horse drawn caravan part way through crossing a ford above a weir. It was manned by gnomes that were in the middle of defending the caravan from Kobolds. The party ran into combat, spending the first round convincing the kobolds to stop fighting. After failing to stop via talking - the rapids were loud and the kobolds and gnomes hate each other - the Paladin attacks the nearest kobold striking with disadvantage to try and knock it unconscious rather than kill.

The gnome leader is on his wagon and is advising the gnomes to fight harder to defend the caravan. The Druid decides instead of targeting the kobolds to instead cast call lightning on the gnome leader who wasn’t fighting and was standing on the caravan top. The strike doesn’t kill him but the leader shouts that they are being attacked by bandits.

The horses rear and break free because of the lightning Strike, this causes one to rear wildly and the other to tumble off the weir into the river below breaking its neck. The struggling horses almost drag the caravan over the weir, shattering a wheel, and causing the caravan to flood, ruining the belongings inside.

More kobolds join the fray including their mortal-enemy-gnome-spy who is in kobold form. He demands the kobolds continue the attack... also casting ice storm that brings the gnome leader to 0 hp and dying. Over the next seven rounds the party kills the rest of the kobolds and all but one gnome dies in the process (apart from one that grabs the reins of a fleeing cart horse and escapes).

It transpires that the gnome leader was a travel writer and academic who was touring the realm to write an article about their kingdom. he bled out on the roof of the wagon in the five rounds after the ice storm. He wouldn’t have fallen but for the call lightning.

The Paladin asked why on earth the Druid attacker targeted the gnome who was clearly on the defensive. The Druid said he’d ordered people to stop fighting and the gnomes didn’t and he made the point that up to that point he’d had better relations with kobolds than gnomes. The Paladin wasn’t impressed as he believed they should defend innocent travelers not attack them. He proposed the party pay to take the gnome body to their neighbors and pay to have the gnome leader raised. the party agreed and returned to their capital had one of their advisors to cast gentle repose on the gnome and have their agents set off with the coin.

Some things to consider...

- The gnomes we’re ambushed by kobolds and while they did continue fighting it was unlikely with their caravan half way across the ford, that they were the aggressors.

- The kobolds were a different tribe to those they had come across and were particularly well armed and armoured with good steel weapons. They attacked fanatically, chanting the name of their leader.

- The Paladin is lawful good but this is 5e, the Paladin did try and stop the fight and didn’t attack innocents - however he did see his brother the Druid attack the gnome leader

- The Druid is Lawful Evil and warned everyone fighting to stop. He says he doesn’t care who the aggressors were - as a high lord of the land he gave an order.

- A gnome escaped and witnessEd the Druid cast call lightning that targeted the gnome leader and the wagon.

- The gnome leader can be successfully raised, they have the clout, have tasked competent agents with the mission and have paid the coin needed. They are on good terms with the church which has a high enough priest to cast raise dead.

- the gnome leaders wagon was ruined along with all their possessions - including several books the gnome had written himself. 3 of the gnomes companions/assistants died in the ambush.

What possible consequences would people suggest?
 
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ccs

40th lv DM
The kingdom gets a very bad & scathing YELP review. Trade falls substantially as others learn that the lands leaders will help kobolds attack innocent travelers on their roads.
Of course monsters also get wind of this & see the kingdom as a homeland.
Eventually enough monsters live & operate out of the area that surrounding realms declare war....
 

Played Kingmaker pre-computer game and later played the CRPG. While I don't recognize the situation, I get what's going on.

  1. You don't have to strike with disadvantage to knock people unconscious. This is a choice when your melee attack reduces an opponent to 0hp. In prior editions, you had a penalty to attack this way which was code for "quit dicking around and just kill these monsters and get your XP."
  2. Gnomes and kobolds hate is religiously based and eons in the making. You'd have better luck travelling to the Middle East and yelling for everyone to pay attention to the stranger. Wont' work. Now if you don't believe in that AD&D pantheon crap, then yell away.
  3. Paladins and evil-doers don't mix. Now I know 5E said anyone can be a paladin, and nothing says paladin like playing a killer for the god of thieves, but most players I've run into still tend to lean to the original form. Also, anytime you let players mix good and evil alignments (nothing like Princess Leia and Darth Vader teaming up to invade a dungeon), there's going to be issues.
  4. Druids once were required to be of Neutral alignment (Lawful, True Neutral, or Chaotic). This represented their loyalty to "earth 1st" and "everything else" 2nd. I'm not aiming to start an edition flame war over what's better, but just ask in what reality is the interest of Mother Earth served by lightning blasting people who don't do what you want? Wouldn't the better choice be who is more closely aligned to druid interests? And if that ends up being gnomes, sure, go for it.
  5. Dammit, how do you "bleed out" from a lightning strike?
  6. Kobolds all look alike unless they're comedy relief with names like Meepo (sounds cutesy) and Churtle (slang for vomit from 3E's Savage Tide).
  7. Does the druid run the kingdom and does anyone care he's a dictator? I suppose it won't matter unless a charismatic witness escaped who people will believe when he attests to the tyrannical horror...
  8. Would the gnome leader want to be raised? It's his call. Eternal peace and rest with infinite enlightenment, or be ripped back to his mortal form to finish an article for Rolling Stones magazine? And, Raising the Dead should be a big deal, not like purchasing a lawn mower at the local store. Is there a reason that raising this gnome furthers the ethos of the church?
All in all, I'll defer to @ccs . Someone escaped and can give this all a bad review. Weakness in leadership brings in opportunists. If you're using Kingmaker, Hargulka might seen an opening. Or the big "N" might speed up her timeline.
 
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Word gets out amongst the Gnomes. Gnomish trade with the kingdom dries up - which may or may not be anything significant. The kobolds are impressed by the PCs' display of power, and offer an alliance - barring interference from the spy. Of course, if kobolds are true to archtype in your game world they'll be looking for an alliance that provides more benefit to themselves than risk. Kobolds are likely to be excellent sappers, trap-makers, and passable scouts; but terrible, cowardly, and unreliable combat troops. The nemesis "spy" is in a prime position to prevent any sort of kobold alliance, or twist it toward whatever purpose he (or she) wishes.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Played Kingmaker pre-computer game and later played the CRPG. While I don't recognize the situation, I get what's going on.

  1. You don't have to strike with disadvantage to knock people unconscious. This is a choice when your melee attack reduces an opponent to 0hp. In prior editions, you had a penalty to attack this way which was code for "quit dicking around and just kill these monsters and get your XP."
  2. 2. Gnomes and kobolds hate is religiously based and eons in the making. You'd have better luck travelling to the Middle East and yelling for everyone to pay attention to the stranger. Wont' work. Now if you don't believe in that AD&D pantheon crap, then yell away.
  3. 3. Paladins and evil-doers don't mix. Now I know 5E said anyone can be a paladin, and nothing says paladin like playing a killer for the god of thieves, but most players I've run into still tend to lean to the original form. Also, anytime you let players mix good and evil alignments (nothing like Princess Leia and Darth Vader teaming up to invade a dungeon), there's going to be issues.
  4. 4. Druids once were required to be of Neutral alignment (Lawful, True Neutral, or Chaotic). This represented their loyalty to "earth 1st" and "everything else" 2nd. I'm not aiming to start an edition flame war over what's better, but just ask in what reality is the interest of Mother Earth served by lightning blasting people who don't do what you want? Wouldn't the better choice be who is more closely aligned to druid interests? And if that ends up being gnomes, sure, go for it.
  5. Dammit, how do you "bleed out" from a lightning strike?
  6. Kobolds all look alike unless they're comedy relief with names like Meepo (sounds cutesy) and Churtle (slang for vomit from 3E's Savage Tide).
  7. Does the druid run the kingdom and does anyone care he's a dictator? I suppose it won't matter unless a charismatic witness escaped who people will believe when he attests to the tyrannical horror...
  8. Would the gnome leader want to be raised? It's his call. Eternal peace and rest with infinite enlightenment, or be ripped back to his mortal form to finish an article for Rolling Stones magazine? And, Raising the Dead should be a big deal, not like purchasing a lawn mower at the local store. Is there a reason that raising this gnome furthers the ethos of the church?
All in all, I'll defer to @ccs . Someone escaped and can give this all a bad review. Weakness in leadership brings in opportunists. If you're using Kingmaker, Hargulka might seen an opening. Or the big "N" might speed up her timeline.
Okay, that’s not so much a list of possible consequences as a list of things you don’t like about what we described.

We do require disadvantage to hit someone in such a way as not to kill them in combat when using a weapon with a pommel. We don’t with a weapon that could sensibly knock them out easily like a club but it stretches our incredulity to allow them to easily do this otherwise.

We do have kobold / gnome animosity it’s part of that setting and the foundation of the Tartuccio plot. I made it clear when they tried that a peaceful solution wouldn’t work.

The scene is the river crossing featuring Jubilost Narthropple. The challenge is that one party member took the kobolds side.

The Paladin doesn’t play lawful stupid, and we’re talking about his Druid brother. He will try and reason and correct his brother’s behaviour but his brother is smarter than him and is good at justifying his actions.

We don’t add alignment restrictions that don’t exist. As I said in the text the Druid justified his reasons because they had experienced antagonist from gnomes and truce with kobolds. Several party members found this suspicious but acknowledged that it gave enough leeway. There was fighting in his lands, he felt obliged and entitled to stop it.

Tartuccio in kobold form is very distinctive. As Tartuk he has purple skin, where as a gnome he had purple robes and hair.

The lightning strike took half the gnomes hp. The huge hailstones of the ice storm took him down to 0 hp as I said. “Bleed out” is a figure of speech. But in game it was describes as a cracked skull from hail stones that killed him. So yes he bled from his ears and internal bleeding killed him. Represented by death saves.

A witness did escape. A gnome assistant... plus’s Jubilost will be raised from the dead.

Whether people care is part of the consequences. Which was the aim of the thread?

Thanks for the comments though.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Word gets out amongst the Gnomes. Gnomish trade with the kingdom dries up - which may or may not be anything significant. The kobolds are impressed by the PCs' display of power, and offer an alliance - barring interference from the spy. Of course, if kobolds are true to archtype in your game world they'll be looking for an alliance that provides more benefit to themselves than risk. Kobolds are likely to be excellent sappers, trap-makers, and passable scouts; but terrible, cowardly, and unreliable combat troops. The nemesis "spy" is in a prime position to prevent any sort of kobold alliance, or twist it toward whatever purpose he (or she) wishes.
I like this idea, the reality is I can make it significant if it furthers the story and creates interesting tensions.

Tartuk will put the breaks on any alliance but I could have the old sootscale kobolds thank the Pc for taking the side of kobold-kind. Then ask if they can resume raids in the kingdom. This should create an interesting tension.

Im thinking of having Jubilost be raised with limited knowledge of the attack - he had a head injury after all. This lets him stay as an interesting character. however...

The gnome survivor could flee to Pitax, who start all sorts of rumors about the event. This could culminate with a direct accusation at the rushlight tournament. By this point unless the PCs have done something significant to redress things then they will be seeing significant animosity from gnome communities.
 

I would sit down with your players and do another Session Zero. A "Goodie-good-paladin" and an "Everybody-must-listen-to-me-or-else-druid" character are not a happy combination.

In case you (as a group) decide to keep these characters unchanged, there is a challenge for the DM to design encounters where these guys will fight on the same side.

Before you escalate this event into a world-changing event (e.g. all gnomes rebel), consider how well your players understood the situation before they made their decisions. If the players (not the characters, but the players) feel they didn't understand what was going on and made a decision based on a wrong picture, then they will feel as if they are punished for trying to do the right thing.
 

Iry

Hero
@Shadowdweller has excellent ideas. Jubilost is a brilliant gnome and would likely understand why he was blasted with lightning. But he also stands up to authority on the regular and would mercilessly tease and them about it, making many snarky comments about being hit with lightning if he does anything they dislike.

The fleeing gnome should end up at Pitax, and be "encouraged" to tell his story to the Pitax bards for them to share.

Tartuk would definitely do his best to prevent an alliance, but even so, many kobolds and a few trolls would sign up with the party. Tartuk can send kobold spies to infiltrate and cause trouble, both in the players kingdom and Pitax.

Siding with the kobolds could be genuinely helpful in some ways. Maybe its a little easier to convince the kobolds to turn on Tartuk, and a few kobolds in "the rebellion" at their capital beg the party to liberate them from this strange kobold-not-kobold.

Also, maybe their slave labor was used to build tombs in the undead cyclops areas ages ago, and the kobolds have partial maps. One nervous little kobold might even give them a quest to find these maps.

Basically, it would be really interesting to double down on the party "siding" with the kobolds, for weal or woe, and make them enemies of gnomes. Jubilost would still help the party, but his review is probably going to be scathing.

Things will get even more spicy if they also side with the goblins, and nearby kingdoms could definitely see them as a growing threat. Especially if Pitax encourages that bias. This could lead to more diplomacy quests to resolve, or kingdom on kingdom combat depending on how the party wants to resolve the misconception.
 
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Iry

Hero
Oh, and if the party sides with the kobolds and NOT the goblins, then maybe Nok Nok is a kobold hero instead.

 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I really like the idea of doubling down. Partly because it will be a continual reminder of their shame. Partly because they will have a reward of a form for a peaceful solution with the kobolds.

I don’t think the gnome hatred needs to be over-egged. The PCs actions can determine how this turns out.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So I made sure not to read the thread because we are playing Kingmaker... how far in are you? we did two "chapters". If it's earlier than that I can help you :)
 

Iry

Hero
So I made sure not to read the thread because we are playing Kingmaker... how far in are you? we did two "chapters". If it's earlier than that I can help you :)
I can't remember the exact chapters, but the OP is about early 2-3. I made a slight reference to a future chapter, but it's just monster type.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It depends on whether it’s computer game or Adventure path. Early in the second book/chapter. Before the troll fortress basically.

Its more a question of consequence in any kingdom though.
 

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