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General The child stealing food to survive scenario, for alignment

Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
If I was playing at a table where alignment was used, and it was my character in this situation...

LG & NG: catch the kid, make him give the loaf back, then give the kid some gold to buy himself some food. Get the kid a job if the PC is feeling especially charitable.

CG: let the kid get away, then pay the baker for the loss.

LN: catch the kid, and make him return it. Deliver him to the authorities for extra lawfulness.

N or CN: do nothing.

LE: beat the kid senseless, and then push the authorities to give the kid the maximum punishment for theft.

NE or CE: kill the kid and then have a good laugh about it. Maybe steal the loaf of bread from him for extra cruelty.
 

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ccs

40th lv DM
Thinking of my last three LG characters;

* Corbin, 1/2E Ranger - probably wouldn't pay it much mind at all unless a fuss was being made. It's a kid, involved in petty theft. It's what kids do & he's got adult/adventuring concerns. As a minor Nobel he actually does have the right to dispense justice within the kingdom though. So if it came to it he'd simply reimburse the baker in the name of the Kingdom, rule the case dismissed, issue a writ & get on with his business.

* Bree Burrfoot, 1/2ling Warlock - Is a 10 year old (going on 11) kid herself. She's been raised right. She'd agree that stealing is wrong. But she wouldn't try & catch the kid or anything. And it wouldn't cross her mind to pay for the stolen bread.

* Rose Burrfoot, 1/2ling Barbarian & Bree's 20 yr old sister - If she could catch the kid, say as they ran past her, she'd snag them, present them to the baker so they could return the bread & apologize. (just like a parent cracking down on a wayward child, just like she'd do with Bree....). Then she'd buy the kid the bread, give them some coin so they didn't have to steal in the future, & send them away.
If she couldn't easily grab the kid, she would NOT chase them down.
"Armed adventurer chases down child.... Over bread." No.
Once the kids gone she'd talk to the baker. She'd find out how much he loses to theft in a year (total) & simply pay for about two years worth. {Yes, she might get taken advantage of on this deal - but as she's plundered the treasury of Martek she won't be running short of $ for several lifetimes....}
 

Eltab

Hero
LG should be thinking about getting the child back to family (if any) and open contact behind the child / family and a charity. LG now has an open-ended excuse to review the orphanage / charity's operations to insure they really do what they claim - and are not a front for the Thieves Guild or kidnappers or something. Oh and pay the merchant for the stolen food.
 


ccs

40th lv DM
LG should be thinking about getting the child back to family (if any) and open contact behind the child / family and a charity. LG now has an open-ended excuse to review the orphanage / charity's operations to insure they really do what they claim - and are not a front for the Thieves Guild or kidnappers or something. Oh and pay the merchant for the stolen food.
Honestly the only reason I would do any of that, beyond pay for the food, would be if I (as the player) suspected that this was something more than a random encounter.
Otherwise I'm going to treat it as flavor/set dressing & proceed onto adventure. Wich auditing an orphanage/charity is not. Doing so is not within my characters interests or skill sets. And it's definitely not within this players interests. So if that was a DMs intended hook to something.... :(
 

Eltab

Hero
Honestly the only reason I would do any of that, beyond pay for the food, would be if I (as the player) suspected that this was something more than a random encounter.
Otherwise I'm going to treat it as flavor/set dressing & proceed onto adventure. Wich auditing an orphanage/charity is not. Doing so is not within my characters interests or skill sets. And it's definitely not within this players interests. So if that was a DMs intended hook to something.... :(
Downtime activity: get personally involved with a charity. When you just drug your own weight in gold coins out of a dungeon, "giving money"sounds cheap.
 


ccs

40th lv DM
Downtime activity: get personally involved with a charity. When you just drug your own weight in gold coins out of a dungeon, "giving money"sounds cheap.
Downtime still doesn't place it within my characters skill sets or interests. Absolutely not in this players interest.
And you can carry quite a bit of wealth around in a relatively small # coin for daily purposes.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
LG should be thinking about getting the child back to family (if any) and open contact behind the child / family and a charity. LG now has an open-ended excuse to review the orphanage / charity's operations to insure they really do what they claim - and are not a front for the Thieves Guild or kidnappers or something. Oh and pay the merchant for the stolen food.
Honestly the only reason I would do any of that, beyond pay for the food, would be if I (as the player) suspected that this was something more than a random encounter.
Otherwise I'm going to treat it as flavor/set dressing & proceed onto adventure. Wich auditing an orphanage/charity is not. Doing so is not within my characters interests or skill sets. And it's definitely not within this players interests. So if that was a DMs intended hook to something.... :(
I don't remember if we caught the child stealing or we just found her being harassed by a gang, but, in a Conan setting 3.5 game, our party returned a young girl to her father. On finding the father was preparing to beat the shit out of her, something my Neutral character's background would have made her off-the-charts angry about, my character bought the child from the father and essentially adopted her. It gave some extra things to worry about in down-time, and ate up my characters share of the money, when she had to hire quality folks in the next town to watch after the child while they were out. It seemed the better part of valor though since the only alternative my character could think of would have involved brutalizing the father and probably getting the party arrested (which would have been a disaster in that town for our low-level party). A half dozen sessions later and the down time turned into finding appropriate tutors. I certainly didn't have that planned, and I don't think the DM did either, but it fit and worked out.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I submit that, given the scenario that the kid is stealing bread to avoid starvation, this statement is obviously incorrect.
Well, that assumes the kid was starving. In my scenario my PC just saw a kid stealing some food. For all I knew he was some rich kid's spoiled brat who just did it for the hell of it. Even if they were starving if you let them off, they're still going to be starving, still going to be stealing the very next day.

Better to stop the kid and at least try to turn their life around. Or at least stop petty theft if you can't help them. In my particular scenario, I'm sure this was just supposed to be set dressing. In my own campaign things like this have potential for long term campaign impact.
 

lingual

Explorer
Theft isn't good or evil it's more law/chaos.

LE. Kids gonna get treated harshly if caught.

LN. Will probably do whatever the law says. Might be lenient might be harsh.

LG. Will probably do what the law says but tempered by mercy and the law isn't likely very harsh.

What happens would depend on the level of social support in that society. Best case scenario charity helps the family out or adopts kid. Worst case kid is treated as an adult and loses a limb (very rarely death).
I'd have to say the motivations behind the theft would determine good/evil. Stealing from innocents can definitely hurt people and is definitely an evil act if done out of greed or plain cruelty.
 

FreeTheSlaves

Explorer
Personally I think it depends more on the character than the alignment directly. Here's a couple of LG characters, let's see.

Lorallen, fairly typical human LG paladin of captain rank.
- Catching the urchin, he'd want to know details. Assuming poverty the reason and not organized crime, he'd connect the child/child's family to the orphanage and charity house he's patron of and tithes to.
- This couldn't occur within his stronghold's communal village which is short-handed given the work needed.

Sheenah, LG polymorphed Silver Dragon Sorceress.
- She would despair at yet another example of Human failings strengthening her resolve to install the Gold Dragon Emperor as benevolent overseer to enforce charity.
- At an immediate level she would pay the coin, as she admonishes the baker for not setting aside a portion for charity.
 

Coroc

Hero
A character of any alignment could respond in any way. Alignment is a tendency, not a restriction.

Cruddles, my CG Deep Gnome wizard, would likely help the kid escape and leave a few coins.

Lex, my CG human monk (who is a tad crazy), would capture the kid, force him to be honest, and then buy the bread for the kid as a reward for being honest. He'd also protect the kid if the punishment would be too steep from the constables.

Myztek Dryken Delerosh, a LG fighter/wizard, a former CE Thayvian under a helm of opposite alignment, would capture the kid, hand him over to the constables and say the law is the law.

Tyrstern Fossilrock, Mountain Dwarf NG barbarian, would place a bet on whether the kid was caught and would otherwise stay out of it.

Kyrus, the Jack of all Trades Elf, NE, would either ignore it, or use the situation to force the kid to work for him.

Crynare, my CN mage/thief, would steal the bread because it clearly meant a lot to the kid. He stole what people valued most.

Myska Urge, CG tiefling ranger/fighter/rogue/sorcerer, would capture the kid and teach him the importance of redemption, compelling him to do a greater service for the world than the harm he had just done.

While some of those might fit into your definition of their alignments, some of it won't - and that is ok. They're all being played as individuals with personalities. The alignment assigned to them is just the best fit, not necessarily a good fit.
sorry but better recheck your parties alignments:
Myztek is clearly LE

Tyrsten is clearly CN

Cynare definitely CE absolutely

and finally Myska LN

you might disagree, but then you better play without alignment at all because these are not even border cases.
 

Coroc

Hero
Gonna answer solely based on alignment, which is simply a moral tendency.

  • LG - give the urchin a private reprimand (the law's too cruel), then pay for the food
  • NG - give the urchin a warning, then give them some money
  • CG - give the urchin some tips on how to not get caught in the first place, since theft is so dangerous, then give them some money
  • LN - turn the urchin over to the authorities, but make a case for the urchin; perhaps offering to pay the cost of the food and a small fine
  • N - pay no attention, as it's none of your business
  • CN - smile and point out to the merchant that he's been robbed... describing someone completely different than the urchin
  • LE - turn the urchin over to the authorities, or simply mete out the punishment yourself right there
  • NE - blackmail the urchin to give you half, plus more each week unless they want the authorities to find out
  • CE - kill the urchin and eat the stolen food; laugh mechanically

My current character is a LG far traveling gold dwarf from the Deephome. He has a great distaste for human society to begin with (playing Avernus, and spend every day in Baulder's Gate getting mugged), so he'd smile and walk away...
@jgsugden take these guidelines to better determine your groups alignment
 

Funny thing is, this came up in a game once. My LG PC (leaning LN) saw a kid stealing something so he stopped him using a non-lethal force by knocking him down.

Everybody at the table was aghast. The baker was out that loaf of bread and would suffer because of the loss. Maybe it wouldn't bankrupt the baker, but the baker worked hard to earn money for his family, the kid didn't.

I explained that if the kid was hungry I'd throw in a few gold for an apprenticeship so he could earn his keep, but theft is wrong. If the kid got away with stealing a loaf of bread now, the lesson he learns is that he can get away with theft. In a couple of years it wouldn't be the loaf of bread, it would be the baker's earnings for the week.

The way I viewed it my PC saw a crime and stopped it using appropriate, non-lethal, means. People work hard for a living and taking something you didn't earn was wrong.
Fully grown men beating up little kids is also wrong.
 

  • LE - turn the urchin over to the authorities, or simply mete out the punishment yourself right there
  • NE - blackmail the urchin to give you half, plus more each week unless they want the authorities to find out
  • CE - kill the urchin and eat the stolen food; laugh mechanically
.
I hate the above depictions of evil. In particular your 'typical' CE behaviour.

Evil people dont go around just murdering and harming people for stupid petty reasons (although there certainly are a tiny few members of the evil alignment that do just that).

If a CE PC decides to burn down the tavern, killing the owner who shortchanged him a few SP over a nights accommodation, he's not just portraying a CE alignment, he's portraying a psychopath of the highest order. Ditto if he kills a random kid he saw stealing a loaf of bread.

Unless he's been going out of his way to depict a total nut-job who murders people over the most trivial of slights, or 'just for the lols', then it's also poor roleplaying and terrible characterisation.

Evil people are people who are prepared to use harm (murder, torture, slavery, assault) to get what they want. That doesnt mean they walk around murdering, torturing and enslaving people willy nilly, or in response to every perceived slight.

Titus Pullo from HBO's Rome is CE. Rick Sanchez is firmly CE as well. Both men dont go around murdering kids 'for the lols'.

Not every CE person is the Joker man.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Fully grown men beating up little kids is also wrong.
Good grief. Who beat up a kid? My PC used the only non-lethal option he had to stop the kid, no permanent damage was done. My PC didn't even knock the kid unconscious, just knocked him down.

In my PC's mind, theft is wrong. By stopping the kid we accomplished a goal of stopping a theft. As an added bonus we also had a chance to help the kid which we never would have had otherwise.

So tell me again why I'm a bad person for having a PC react in what I considered an appropriate fashion given their morals?
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I hate the above depictions of evil. In particular your 'typical' CE behaviour.

Evil people dont go around just murdering and harming people for stupid petty reasons (although there certainly are a tiny few members of the evil alignment that do just that).

If a CE PC decides to burn down the tavern, killing the owner who shortchanged him a few SP over a nights accommodation, he's not just portraying a CE alignment, he's portraying a psychopath of the highest order. Ditto if he kills a random kid he saw stealing a loaf of bread.

Unless he's been going out of his way to depict a total nut-job who murders people over the most trivial of slights, or 'just for the lols', then it's also poor roleplaying and terrible characterisation.

Evil people are people who are prepared to use harm (murder, torture, slavery, assault) to get what they want. That doesnt mean they walk around murdering, torturing and enslaving people willy nilly, or in response to every perceived slight.

Titus Pullo from HBO's Rome is CE. Rick Sanchez is firmly CE as well. Both men dont go around murdering kids 'for the lols'.

Not every CE person is the Joker man.
I'm kind of befuddled about what in the description of CE makes you think someone CE wouldn't be a "psychopath of highest order".

"CE creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust." - 5e

"The major precepts of this alignment are freedom, randomness, and woe. Laws and order, kindness, and good deeds are disdained. Life has no value. By promoting chaos and evil, those of this alignment hope to bring themselves to positions of power, glory, and prestige in a system ruled by individual caprice and their own whims." - 1e

"These characters are the bane of all that is good and organized. Chaotic evil characters are motivated by the desire for personal gain and pleasure. They see absolutely nothing wrong with taking whatever they want by whatever means possible. -- The strong have the right to take what they want, and the weak are to be exploited." - 2e

"A chaotic evil character does what his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is viscious arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. ... Chaotic evil represents the destruction not only of beauty and life, but also of the order on which beauty and life depend." - PF

How else would someone portray a person who is actively against all order (the reason 4e didn't allow chaotic good?) and only seeking their own benefit with no regard for others?

If you want them to not engage in that whim of randomly killing whoever they have the urge to, then isn't that NE?

Link with more: The Alignment System - Chaotic Evil
 
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I'm kind of befuddled about what in the description of CE makes you think someone CE wouldn't be a "psychopath of highest order".

"CE creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust." - 5e
And I know plenty of people like this in real life (people who are arbitrarily violent, and fuelled by hatred) and they dont walk around randomly murdering kids, burning down taverns and similar.

Think of a violent street criminal, or an outlaw motorcycle gang member.

While CE certainly encompasses extreme cases like the Joker, or Darth Vader, or full on murderous psychopaths of the highest order, it also encompasses anyone who is fine with harming people (assault; even murder, slavery, torture etc) and who lives outside the law.

It's the latter (people who are just fine with harming others, and are also living outside the law, or with a disrespect for society, order and tradition) that compromise the majority of CE people, with 'Jokers' and 'Vaders' being the extreme outlier.
 

Good grief. Who beat up a kid? My PC used the only non-lethal option he had to stop the kid, no permanent damage was done. My PC didn't even knock the kid unconscious, just knocked him down.
What did you do to the kid exactly?

I presume you're playing a fully grown and heavily armed adult here.

If I saw an adult knocking a kid to the ground IRL, I'd look on aghast as well (like the other dudes at the table did).

Grabbing an urchin/ thief to stop them, or take them to the Law perhaps. Bashing them to the ground, hell no.
 

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