Thursday, January 20, 2011

Disagreements and Dungeoneer Democracy

In our last OSRIC session (where I’m a player), a ranger had bailed on the rest of the party while we discussed various tactics for taking out a magic user we’d cornered in a deeper part of the dungeon. His (later) explanation for this was that we were dithering and that some aspects of our plan were immoral. Regardless, we were able to overcome the magic user without him and our plan worked wonderfully. As we were binding and gagging the magic user, the ranger reappeared, shouting to us from across a chasm for instructions on how to regroup.

When it came time to divide the loot, my character announced that he didn’t believe the ranger deserved a take - which of course the ranger resented. It might have grown ugly, but I then suggested that we put it to a vote - a secret vote. I took a sack, turned it inside out in front of everyone, and then suggested everyone secretly ready one copper and one gold piece in their hands. If they believed he deserved a full share, they should place a gold coin into the sack, and if no share, then a copper. Again, the ranger objected - I acquiesced and suggested that a half share could be represented by a silver piece.

Now maybe this is done all the time in your games, but it’s the first time I can remember doing it myself… I really like the idea of hardened dungeoneers deciding matters like this - it brings to mind the pirates’ code. I can see using it often to resolve disputes and incorporating it into my own campaign as a well known and respected tradition among dungeoneers. Actually acting it out in a group would be easy, maybe using poker chips or just spare change to represent the different coins in the game.

In the end, the party overwhelmingly voted to give him a half share. Since my character is a thief, I’m already plotting how I might be able to slit a thin hole in the sack and steal future elections through sleight of hand. :)

16 comments:

Greg Christopher said...

Cool little exchange. I would have predicted the half-share from the start.

I doubt he would have told you all about any treasure he found while wandering off by himself. Maybe he actually did....

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Interesting.

ze bulette said...

@Greg: I wasn't concerned with his looting on his own too much since he would have also been facing any danger alone. Bailing on a fight with a boss was ridiculous though - I was gonna be fine with any vote result where my share went up at his expense. Heh. Stoopid rangers.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Plus, using the base AD&D rules for rangers, he only get to keep a 10% (?) of any treasure found, and no matter what he got the rest couldn't be given to players, so whatever they could have made from it would have been fairly small, at best.

Barad the Gnome said...

Interesting. I like that it was handled in game, and the characters gave the offending character a message.

Taketoshi said...

The group in my current campaign is a bunch of communists--basically all the not-immediately-useful loot (including unidentified or potentially dangerous magical items) they give to the group's paladin, with the expectation that he'll handle it well.

So far, it's worked out remarkably well, with the pot basically being spent just to buy better gear for each party member in turn and to cover living expenses.

Although there was a bit of an outcry when the rest of the party realized that he was routinely tithing 10% of their collected wealth every time they set up base in a town...

Trey said...

I like that. A good "in game" resolution--that doesn't necessary end with drawn swords.

ze bulette said...

@C'nor: I'm not sure if the DM is following AD&D rules per se, but even so I'm not aware of any 10% rule with regard to the Ranger class and treasure, although I know they can't own more than what they can carry on their person and horse.

@Taketoshi: Re: his 10% tithing, classic! I'd expect nothing less from a stinking paladin.

Dreyrugr said...

Your thief should have at least quietly pocketed the "votes" at the end of the ballot.

Keep encouraging party democracy, and you'd be making 10-20gp a game, and could brag that you were such a good thief you could hold out a bag and people would just put money in it.

sirlarkins said...

I think some sort of pirate's code for duneoneers would be inevitable in a world where that's a recognized avocation. I could see the group signing a compact in the tavern before heading out, with promises of certain compensation for a lost limb or eye, notes on how do divide shares, and so forth.

From GURPS Swashbucklers:

The Articles of Agreement that follow are from fairly late in piracy, 1723. The language is closer to our modern English than those of the previous century. These articles are unmodified, and contain a rare instance of pirates agreeing to flogging as a punishment (Moses's Law means 39 lashes).

"1. Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes; the master, carpenter, boatswain and gunner shall have one share and quarter.
"2. If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the company, he shall be marooned with one bottle of powder, one bottle of water, one small arm and shot.
"3. If any man shall steal any thing in the company, or game, to the value of a piece of eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.
"4. If at any time we should meet another Marrooner that man that shall sign his articles without the consent of our company, shall suffer such punishment as the captain and company shall think fit.
"5. That man that shall strike another whilst these articles are in force, shall receive Moses's Law on the bare back.
"6. That man that shall snap his arms, or smoke tobacco in the hold, without a cap to his pipe, or carry a candle lighted without a lanthorn, shall suffer the same punishment as in the former article.
"7. That man that shall not keep his arms clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business, shall be cut off from his share, and suffer such other punishment as the captain and the company shall think fit.
"8. If any man shall lose a joint in time of an engagement he shall have 400 pieces of eight; if a limb 800.
"9. If at any time you meet with a prudent woman, that man that offers to meddle with her, without her consent, shall suffer present death."

Taketoshi said...

@bulette

The confrontation itself was as funny as the tithing. He was calm when confronted (primarily by the most self-serving members of the group) and said: "Well, I just assumed you would want me to put in a good word with the gods for you as well. Someone has to save your souls, since you're not doing it yourselves."

David said...

I think I've played with more mercenary groups than yours. I can't recall a single time that a player sat out part of the adventure. However, I think your solution was a good one, though I'd have voted with a copper coin.

Paul said...

I like this as a bit of business that adds to dungeoneering culture. I can't seem to find it now, but a few months ago someone posted a list of superstitions among adventurers which was also good in that regard. Adventurer culture might, as you suggest, look a lot like pirate culture.

ze bulette said...

@sirlarkins: I love that kind of stuff, thanks for sharing.

@Paul: Ah yes, I think I know the blogger and post you're thinking of... ;)

CGaffney said...

Really, he didn't participate in the encounter, and ran off? I'm thinking of the phrase "you'll get nothing and like it!"

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