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    Canonfire :: View topic - Greyhawk Wars - War Criminals
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    Greyhawk Wars - War Criminals
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
    Posts: 28
    From: Columbus, Ohio

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:11 am  
    Greyhawk Wars - War Criminals

    Greetings Greyhawk sages!

    I am running two convention games that I want to link together. One being the lovely Tomb of Horrors. The driver of the ToH is the group all suffered tragedy by a villain during the Greyhawk wars. This group helped capture that villain so that he/she could be tried. The villain is so heinous that there is fear that if they are executed that an evil god will take interest in that twisted soul and put it to use. Thus, the punishment is to drag the person into the ToH to have their soul devoured by Acererak.*

    * I figure it creates a nice motivation for the group to keep pushing through the Tomb.

    I have no problem making up said villain, but if there is a name from canon that might fight this scenario I would like to include it. If you have one, let me know! Preferred would be a necromancer/cleric of death.

    Thanks!
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:31 am  

    Any of the Death Knights of Oerth, Demogorgon's Champions (Part I or II) by Gary Holian (PSmedger on Canonfire!) would be very good choices.

    Perhaps one of the Hierarchs from the Horned Society or any cleric of Iuz, especially if s/he happened to be a member of the Lesser or Greater Boneheart.

    Xane, the two-headed lich from the Great Kingdom.

    SirXaris
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    From: Clarksville, TN

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:08 am  

    Amerigov wrote:
    ...I have no problem making up said villain, but if there is a name from canon that might fight this scenario I would like to include it. If you have one, let me know! Preferred would be a necromancer/cleric of death...


    -How about Sans Pitie from White Plume Mountain? As far as I know, he's the only NPC ever to be offically declared a war criminal. Laughing I believe he was a Shield Lander. This would be a case of the good guys "taking care of one of their own" instead of the usual victor's justice. Of course, the Shield Lands is quite a ways off from the Vast Swamp. You'd have to come up with your own rationale. Confused
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    From: Michigan

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:14 am  

    Gotta be Szeffrin. Szeffrin is just the worst. Fiendish allies, and destroyed an entire country.

    One could also make an argument for Eclavdra.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:22 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    ...Xane, the two-headed lich from the Great Kingdom.

    SirXaris


    and

    rasgon wrote:
    Gotta be Szeffrin...


    -Both of these have the virtue of proximity to the ToH.

    rasgon wrote:
    Gotta be Szeffrin. Szeffrin is just the worst. Fiendish allies, and destroyed an entire country....


    -You might have a point. Laughing

    He does go missing, so maybe he was captured.


    We forgot one obvious question: Whta year is this taking place?
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
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    From: Columbus, Ohio

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:48 am  

    Thank you!
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:52 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Amerigov wrote:
    ...I have no problem making up said villain, but if there is a name from canon that might fight this scenario I would like to include it. If you have one, let me know! Preferred would be a necromancer/cleric of death...


    -How about Sans Pitie from White Plume Mountain? As far as I know, he's the only NPC ever to be offically declared a war criminal. Laughing I believe he was a Shield Lander. This would be a case of the good guys "taking care of one of their own" instead of the usual victor's justice. Of course, the Shield Lands is quite a ways off from the Vast Swamp. You'd have to come up with your own rationale. Confused


    Bluto Sans Pite was actually a knight of Greyhawk (see Erik Mona's "river of Blood" LG module).

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=River_of_blood
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:32 pm  

    Wouldn't MOST people of this type of period be war criminals?

    Just saying.....
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
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    From: Aspedri

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    Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:48 pm  

    Is there any sort of international law or agreed upon norms like the Hague and Geneva Conventions operating in Greyhawk? I think the closest thing you get is the code of chivalry, which does not really have an enforcement mechanism.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:23 pm  

    I just mean, pretty much everyone in such a time (going by our standards anyway) would probably have been considered a war criminal (by 20th cent standards that is.)
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Aspedri

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    Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:37 pm  

    Ragnar,
    Heck, even those operating in the 19th century would have been... troops storming a fortified place were still allowed to massacre the defenders and civilians if they did not surrender when summoned. That is why I think the idea of "war criminal" is an oxymoron without a set of laws or norms to be breached. In the end, it is victor's justice.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:18 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    -How about Sans Pitie from White Plume Mountain? As far as I know, he's the only NPC ever to be offically declared a war criminal. Laughing I believe he was a Shield Lander. This would be a case of the good guys "taking care of one of their own" instead of the usual victor's justice. Of course, the Shield Lands is quite a ways off from the Vast Swamp. You'd have to come up with your own rationale. Confused


    I knew he was outlawed for the River of Blood murders; what's the source for the war crimes charge?
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:15 pm  

    I had forgotten about Sir Bluto Sans Pite. I think he would make a very good subject for a war criminal. That is, assuming he survived his stint in White Plume Mountain. Wink

    SirXaris
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:29 am  

    tarelton wrote:
    Ragnar,
    Heck, even those operating in the 19th century would have been... troops storming a fortified place were still allowed to massacre the defenders and civilians if they did not surrender when summoned. That is why I think the idea of "war criminal" is an oxymoron without a set of laws or norms to be breached. In the end, it is victor's justice.


    It doesn't really matter in this context what the international community thinks, only what the vengeful PCs think.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:52 am  

    Robbastard wrote:
    ...Bluto Sans Pite was actually a knight of Greyhawk (see Erik Mona's "river of Blood" LG module).

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=River_of_blood



    -Darn. I've seen that referenced before, but forgot about it.


    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...I knew he was outlawed for the River of Blood murders; what's the source for the war crimes charge?


    -See above. I forgot that the River of Blood murders had been defined. Mea culpa, caveat emptor! Oh well...


    SirXaris wrote:
    I had forgotten about Sir Bluto Sans Pite. I think he would make a very good subject for a war criminal...


    ...on the other hand, maybe he's broadened his horizons... Evil Grin


    tarelton wrote:
    Ragnar,
    Heck, even those operating in the 19th century would have been... troops storming a fortified place were still allowed to massacre the defenders and civilians if they did not surrender when summoned. That is why I think the idea of "war criminal" is an oxymoron without a set of laws or norms to be breached. In the end, it is victor's justice.


    -You did have the concept of Just War theory, in this case, jus in bello, which covers how you fight:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War

    Of course, everybody debated the details. They still do.

    In the 18th/early 19th century, Vatel was popular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emer_de_Vattel

    I go off the "Not Medieval, But Quasi/Pseudo-Medieval theory, and use the Lieber Code:

    http://www.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/110


    rasgon wrote:
    tarelton wrote:
    Ragnar,
    Heck, even those operating in the 19th century would have been... troops storming a fortified place were still allowed to massacre the defenders and civilians if they did not surrender when summoned. That is why I think the idea of "war criminal" is an oxymoron without a set of laws or norms to be breached. In the end, it is victor's justice.


    It doesn't really matter in this context what the international community thinks, only what the vengeful PCs think.


    -Interesting point. Laughing
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
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    Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:33 am  

    I'll give you folks an update. I just made up a guy. Sirius Tarn, originally a cleric of Iuz during the war but eventually turned Tharizdun. The reason I chose Big T is that the descriptions in the Temple section of the Caves of Chaos is very close to trappings used in the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun.

    So I ran this across two games at a Con. The first game the group has to capture Sirius Tarn. They have (offscreen) waded through the Caves of Chaos to get to the Evil Temple section. The fun complication in all this is about half the part really would just prefer to kill Tarn vs. capture him.

    A subtle event occurred in this game that had a profound impact on the second game - one of the rooms they explored was the Crypt. The loot in the crypt contained a Helm of Opposite Alignment. Now, I am running this using Savage Worlds and there is no alignment system (it uses Hindrances to help define the moral outlook). So I ruled the helm just changed their view on something very important to them at the moment. In this case, the PC went from letting him live to wanting to kill him.

    The session ends in a mad rush with the PCs that are dedicated to capturing Tarn succeeding.

    Now to the Tomb of Horrors. I had about 8 or 9 pregens and 6 players. The 6 PCs selected was pretty heavily in the mission as given - get Tarn to the DemiLich and somehow get him Devoured. Only 2 of the 6 were on the rather just kill side of the equation.

    It was a 4 hour slot so there was no way to get them all the way through the Tomb. They did the opening area and fought the Gargoyle before I had to accelerate it. I jumped them to the Chapel area. This is where things got "interesting". The players open up some of the pews until they hit the one with the gas. One guy goes "quick, through the arch!" So EVERYONE goes through the gender & alignment switching Arch!

    The implications of that are rather interesting from Sirius Tarn's perspective. I had modeled the stats on Lareth the Beautiful from another Con game (just changed the spell trappings). So Sirius went from a handsome and persuasive villain to a rather beautiful woman. While I did not think that much of it at the time, I did change is attitude from "I got to kill myself before we get to the end" to "I got to survive".

    From a D&D perspective, there is a very interesting implication -- perhaps a divination was misunderstood - you were supposed to throw him in the arch to swap his alignment, not have his soul devoured. Also, I looked at D&D 3.5 and making some of these helms of alignment change are certainly cheaper than building prison, even if you need to up the save DC. The implication really f's up the Paladin's "detect evil and kill it" approach to life - they should be seeking out helms of alignment change to save evil creatures, not Holy Avenger Swords. Anyway, back to our story.

    Our group now mostly just wants to kill Tarn. They throw her up on the altar and try to sacrifice her. Things go all wrong and the altar blows up. Through the magic of Soak rolls in Savage Worlds, Tarn (and the group) survives this. The few that are still "on mission" convince the rest of the group that this is a sign they should continue on.

    We fast forward to the end. They opened up the area (I had it transport them into a bigger area where it was not exactly obvious where Acererak was hanging out). Now comes the interesting part. Acererak senses the group is there for an interesting reason so parlay opens. Now Savage Worlds has an interesting Social Conflict system one can opt to use and I factored that in to see if the group could sway Acererak one way or the other (so this was to help mediate between the group). The dice did some fun things - basically, when the player said something kind dumb (from A's POV) the dice crit/failed them (like calling on another god, or implying the A is not powerful as the gods, etc). "Pff - soul sucked!" This happened 3 times for the side trying to "kill" Tarn. But the wonderful thing is that Tarn blew the PCs out of the water and basically offered to be Acereraks high priest and further his plans (the dice loved Tarn).

    So we close to black and the group only knows they lost. They do not really know what final accord that Tarn and Acererak struck.
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:09 pm  

    That all sounds like a load of fun, Amerigov. Happy

    I'm glad to hear that you are running games at cons. Cheers to the DM! Happy

    SirXaris
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:20 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    That all sounds like a load of fun, Amerigov. Happy

    I'm glad to hear that you are running games at cons. Cheers to the DM! Happy

    SirXaris


    Thanks! If you are even at Origins in Columbus or the small Con on the Cob (near Akron Oh) look for games with Olde Skoole in the name and Savage Worlds system. I have been using a set of pregens to run either old modules (Village of Hommlett, Caves of Chaos, ToH) or inspirations (Lost Temple of Tharizdun) and set them in Greyhawk.

    My favorite pregen is a Goblin Mad Scientist from the Barrier Peaks named GuiverMac. Nothing like giving a flamethrower to a goblin for loads of fun!

    One I might make is a reverse point of view of the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Basically, magic works as an EMP on a lot of technology. So in reality the reason more spaceships have not visited Oerth is that they would likely crash on the planet. But its been monitored from afar and its a tempting place to study -- there is just an unbelievable amount of intelligent life on the planet. Eventually, a team of scientists think they have it figured out and try to visit the planet. Something goes wrong and they too crash. They think they can fix it but the only place to have a chance for the tech is the crashed ship in the Barrier Peaks.

    Just need to stock a few areas with the classic D&D monsters :). You might have ray guns, but by gosh a beholder has 10 of them!
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