CaptainPatch wrote:If you bring her on a stretcher, that's two party members that will not be instantly available for any... difficult situation that may pop up, making the party more vulnerable to ambush or whatever.
This is a good idea for transporting any unconscious character, whether they're in the party or not. But if it isn't in general gameplay, I wouldn't want to see it applied to one specific quest like this.
CaptainPatch wrote:The outcome will resolve around: What did the party do with the bodies of the actual kidnappers? Left lying, easy fodder for the scavengers? Or "given a Christian burial"?
Unless there's always the option to bury the dead, I don't think it would be good gameplay to give that option this one time, for apparently no reason at the time when the option is given.
CaptainPatch wrote:If the latter, the local equivalent of the Medical Examiner will find some of Pat's jewelry hidden in the clothing of one of the kidnapper's body when the body was exhumed.
Unless the rangers have had a reason to not loot their fallen enemies before, I don't see why they wouldn't already have done so in this case. And if the jewellery is so hard to find that the rangers weren't even given a chance to loot it, why would anyone else find it? Well, maybe if it was hidden inside
the body for the medical examiner to find? "I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years." (Or "days", in case of the dead kidnapper.) Or perhaps the medical examiner has a metal detector? And the rangers will never, ever get one. Ever. Because that would be cheating
Drool wrote:I figure that the Reagan hovertanks probably used some kind of nuclear engine, so fuel is less of an issue, but they're only going to have so many shells.
I'm thinking that a hovertank would probably be equipped with weapons that lack significant recoil. And I imagine that anything that fires shells would be likely to have a lot
of recoil. With a nuclear engine it seems more suitable for the tank to be equipped with a laser cannon. But who knows?
Personally I don't like moral dilemmas for their own sake, I just want them to come into play when a situation calls for them. But I also understand and accept that grey morality is what is specifically asked for in this thread, so here goes:Forced Labour
The rangers are looking for two persons, last seen heading in the direction of Fort Disco (or whatever).
This stalwart and productive settlement thrives in the wasteland, and also functions as a popular trading hub. The leaders of the settlement are largely viewed as tough but fair, and their solution to the local raider problem has been to capture a large amount of raiders and use them as forced labour. After arriving, the rangers should eventually notice that the two people they're looking for have been captured and added to the labour force as well. But as far as the rangers know, these people are not supposed to be raiders. What gives?
Investigating the issue will reveal that the two people claim to not be raiders, but they were still disarmed and captured by a patrol. If the rangers insist that the two must be released, a successful use of the Bureaucracy skill will make it happen, and a very high success (or a second roll) would get the two persons compensated for the work they have done so far. But at the very least they will get all their equipment back, with apologies from whoever is in charge.
Depending on why the rangers were looking for these two persons, they might have already gotten information that they wanted, or might now be able to get that information, or escort the persons to safety, or even recruit them to the party. Or all of the above.
And that could be the end of it. But nosy rangers will find out that it is highly likely that a significant minority of prisoners are not raiders or criminals of any sort, and that armed travellers run a risk of being captured without any kind of justification. Sometimes prisoners are recognised by visitors, so if there are credible witnesses that can testify to a prisoner's innocence, they are usually released. (The rangers might find out about all of this before they manage to release their two 'persons of interest'. It could give them a clue as to how to proceed before resorting to force.)
Further investigations will reveal that this way of handling 'raiders' is fully backed by the leaders, so it's not a matter of an overzealous patrol being responsible. They have orders to disarm and capture all armed travellers who seem suspicious, but only if they can manage it with little risk to themselves.
So now there's an opportunity for the rangers to exercise their morals. Will they demand that the patrols stop capturing travellers? Will they demand that the prisoners are tried by impartial judges, and released if there is no evidence of criminal behaviour? Who would these judges be? The rangers certainly don't have the time to personally investigate and interview all those prisoners. But if they lack the Bureaucracy skill, this would be their best chance to at least release the two persons they came for. Depending on how powerful the rangers are at the time, the leaders may be more or less inclined to comply with any demands. But it seems likely that the rangers will be considered enough of a threat that the leaders will make at least feeble attempts to comply with the above demands. (I'm assuming that the rangers will be just as powerful as in the first game, where they could readily kill an entire town. If that's not the case, they may have to return later with heavier armours, or get the backing from powerful people.)
If the rangers demand that every
prisoner is released, the leaders would be more inclined to take a chance and refuse, and most likely order the rangers to leave the settlement. But if the rangers are wearing sci-fi armours, the leaders would have no choice but to comply. However, if the rangers also demand that the prisoners are rearmed/re-equipped and/or compensated for all their work, the leaders must refuse, as that would not only ruin the settlement, but also surround it with armed raiders, eager for revenge. The most that the leaders would agree to would be to release a few prisoners at a time, with minimal supplies, and an armed escort to another settlement. This would require a successful Confidence check from the rangers, as well as a position of significant bargaining power. Depending on the surrounding settlements, perhaps the rangers could make some kind of deal that makes the whole thing seem a lot more palatable to the leaders? In that case the rangers might not need to power armours after all.
Once the rangers leave after having made demands, the leaders will attempt to undermine the rangers in ways that would be hard to trace back to the source. They might arrange for traps and hire snipers, and try to attract dangerous attention to the rangers. Some of the prisoners could even be convinced to take covert action against the rangers, either in exchange for freedom and money, or in exchange for the freedom of a loved one.
If a significant number of actual raiders are released, crime will increase, and rangers will be blamed. Prices would also be raised in the settlement, blamed on the reduced productivity due to the rangers' demands. That alone might make other traders peeved. Perhaps some raiders might feel some gratitude towards the rangers, and perhaps the rangers could receive some assistance from time to time? Either with specific missions, or as 'mysterious strangers' who help out during a fight every now and then. (Take a pot shot or two when it looks safe to do so — raiders wouldn't sacrifice
themselves for rangers, no matter what.) Innocent travellers who are released would praise the rangers wherever they go, and might also be of some assistance in the future. Perhaps a competent raider or traveller could be recruited into the party?
If the rangers leave without making any demands for change, the settlement will grow more powerful, and the custom of gathering and keeping forced labour will spread across the wasteland. Long term effects could be showed in an ending slide if there isn't enough time for such changes to affect the actual game. More specific effects could be that patrols capture more people that the rangers would want to talk to. Perhaps even small camps of 'raiders'? Important NPCs could be killed during such events. Or they might end up working in places where the rangers wouldn't find them. Or perhaps the rangers would just find it awfully convenient to know exactly where to look for persons of interest? Just roll into town, have a chat with the chums in charge, and they'll gladly present anyone the friendly rangers are asking for? Bad karma is mainly supposed to affect the next
Perhaps "Fort Disco" could be Quartz, Needles or Las Vegas? In that case the close proximity of the Ranger Center and other regular ranger patrols could work as the rangers' 'big stick' while they are making demands, and the Ranger Center could probably provide impartial judges. Though if the Ranger Center keeps close tabs on those settlements, perhaps the rampant used of forced labour would never have been allowed to go as far as described?