I am curious to know of other ideas besides my own with this scenerio.
My players have been hired to figure out who poisoned an actor during a performance and have them brought to justice. They are about to figure out the assailant is along with his henchman. The city watch has been involved with the party since the poisoning at the theater. There is a final combat going to happen once they run into the assailant and his thugs. I have planned on the watch arriving once the combat ends but, knowing my players and how players are...how would you handle the watch arriving as the players are looting those defeated? I can go either way on whether the assailant is killed or not, mostly bc he will trigger the combat. Just curious as to how the watch may handle the looting.
how would you handle the watch arriving as the players are looting those defeated? I can go either way on whether the assailant is killed or not, mostly bc he will trigger the combat. Just curious as to how the watch may handle the looting.
Unless the town watch has any need to collect evidence from the enemies, I think the loot could easily go to the party without any role play issues.
If the town does have any laws about the property of criminals, then you could substitute an equal amount of gold as a reward from the town or a related magic item of similar value.
|Mark Hoover 330|
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For me this really depends on a lot of factors. How serious/lighthearted of a campaign am I running, what's the alignment of the settlement, how amoral are the guards entering the scene and so on. Personally, these days I don't have the emotional fortitude to run grim and gritty games, plus my current players don't really like it when I get my morals all up in their tabletop version of Diablo, so I tend to run my games like videogames these days.
However, in the before times when I was pretty emotional/moral in my campaign settings, most city guards would have at least raised an eyebrow to a bunch of unlicensed private citizens busting in, murdering a bunch of criminals and then looting the bodies.
Unless we're talking about the Dread City of Ravenhurst I used for one campaign. The city was kind of a living trope; otyughs and other creatures in the sewers, criminal corruption everywhere, but with a thin veneer of fascist democracy and an extremely weak theocratic minority operating throughout. There the guards would not care enough to even investigate the initial murder with one of the big three motivations forcing them to. Those motivations being God, Gold or Glory.
So, what kind of game are you running? Who is in charge in the settlement and how would the players' actions impact their agendas? How lawful is this place, and how strongly to the Watch adhere to these laws? Could the mere fact that the watch takes a stand, either way, indicate some larger intrigue at work?
For example: perhaps the watch was ok with the PCs doing all of this and even murdering the killer and his henchmen b/c now they have something on the PCs to exploit. What if the thespian slain was actually a political dissident who the settlement's leader hired the BBEG to poison, then the same leader instructed the Watch to take a back seat to the PCs. If they succeed, we can blackmail them as murderers if need be; if they fail, we eulogize them as fallen heroes while we rob even more in taxes to fund our escalating war on crime.
On the other hand, what if the guard comes in, finding the party looting and says "put all that back! Your reward will come, in time, but you musn't give [insert corrupt leader's name here] the satisfaction of denouncing you as looters and mercenaries!" Turns out the guards are secretly employing the PCs b/c they were purposely told NOT to investigate this murder, and now the PCs learn there's a larger plot at work here. If they loot the bodies, they'll be branded as criminals themselves and used as scapegoats to further elevate the settlement's leader, but if they just walk away they may yet remain as heroes in the eyes of the oppressed... and so on.
I don't know, I guess there's too many variables to rule on this right now, for me anyway.
Definitely a gritty type game. The city's laws are for the most part 'enforced' and the watch did intervene during the poisoning and apprehend a few low level street thugs. There is a mystique with the watch that will take hold in the next adventure where some are not whom they seem to be.
I think you also have to take into account how thoroughly the party are in their looting.
There's a pretty big difference between picking up dropped weapons/items, searching through clothes, or stripping the bodies down and taking "trophies".
Gritty means different things to different folks obviously, so it all depends on how descriptive/detailed your players choose to be, and what you decide the letter of the law is. Does looting count the same as it does on a battlefield? Is self defense, bounty hunting, and/or vigilante justice allowed in this society?
If the party goes for the thorough, but sort of mid-level pat down and search, but conducts themselves like semi professionals and reports their findings to the guard, they might be able to "get away" without even a raised eyebrow. The consequences depend entirely upon what story hooks you have planned for after.
|Mark Hoover 330|
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:...Definitely a gritty type game. The city's laws are for the most part 'enforced' and the watch did intervene during the poisoning and apprehend a few low level street thugs. There is a mystique with the watch that will take hold in the next adventure where some are not whom they seem to be.
You tell me if I'm off base, but the vibe I'm getting here is that by the watch working with the PCs and the laws being "enforced," you've got a whole Batman/Sherlock Holmes thing going on here. The PCs are tolerated, maybe even accepted, getting involved with police business but at the end of this investigation this is STILL police business.
Well, how often do you see Batman or Holmes pulling the +1 rapier off their opponent at the conclusion of one of their cases, especially if Detective Gordon or Inspector Lestrade is at hand? No, the bodies and their effects are the purview of the police at that point.
Bottom line, if I were running your game, I'd have the watch get salty and threatening if they found the PCs looting the bad guys. For an in-setting justification, there might be laws against it or the cops are worried about looking bad, or they're worried that random vigilantes lucky enough to murder someone with better gear can just upgrade themselves, starting an arms race with the local authority figure.
For an out of setting justification though... why DO players loot their fallen foes? The mechanics dictate that they need better gear as they level in order to compete with bigger and nastier foes right? Well, if you've gone to the trouble of establishing the watch as a significant force in the world, at least at the party's current level, AND you've gone to the trouble of showing that laws are enforced, then it stands to reason that the watch is going to be important as a character, at least for now.
Well, instead of the PCs getting their loot from the dead, why not have the watch provide it? Rather than the PCs getting 1000 GP worth of gear and money off the slain poisoner and their henchpeople, why not have the captain of the guard invite them back to the watchtower for a drink to celebrate? There the captain laments that there is more villainy afoot, here and abroad, but his hands are tied with bureaucratic red tethers. The party though, they can be the captain's 11th commandment: thou shalt not get away with it.
To that end, the captain is willing to "lose" an occasional chest full of healing potions or +1 glaive in the paperwork, if needed by the party. This NPC can also do favors, provide information... so long as the party keeps their noses clean. Together, they can do some good in this tired world, b/c the captain is too old for this stuff... or whatever other cop clichés you want to throw in.
I can think of a few options depending on how well liked the group is.
"If you drag those corpses to the morgue for us, nobody's going to ask about what goes missing along the way."
"Just leave it, we'll get you fair market price in exchange for getting the munitions off the street."
"Put it all back, we can't have people killing each other for their stuff or it'll be chaos."
I think I would be quite direct. Have the leader of the watch ask the PCs what have you found, any clues? The party can come clean or roll a bluff check. Things only turn sour on a failed bluff check. If they come clean then it's up to you/your world's convention as to what is the state's and what the characters can keep, say as part of their bounty.
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In most cases, some of the criminals' belongings would be used to make reparations to the victim. I can't tell if the victim was murdered by the poison or just incapacitated, but even dead, his family would be entitled to compensation. That would come from the criminal's estate (which might only be their belongings).
As such, if the PCs loot that, the victim (or their family) might get nothing (or next to nothing).
In most instance, that loot would likely be auctioned off to cover the fines for the criminal (who's likely dead now and can't serve any other crime or perform restitution to the state or victim). The PCs would likely receive a separate reward (after an investigation) from the guard, state, city, or government equal to the task. If there was a specific item the PC wanted, they would have to purchase it at auction (which means it might be worth more, less, or equal to its base price depending on what the item is, how valuable it is, and who else in the city wants it and what they are willing to pay for it).
The Watch should not let the PCs just rifle through the items and take them in what's obviously a murder investigation and not just some straight-forward mugging or assault.