Vordaks, Knights, regen and codes

SableWyvern

Mongoose
I find it interesting that Vordaks have been given Regenerate 2.

There are at least three opportunities to face Vordaks in Flight from the Dark, and Lone Wolf does not have access to magic weapons in any of them.

OTOH, I could see a Helghast with Regenerate.

I'm definitely going to drop regen from the Vordak (mainly because my group will shortly be playing through Flight from the Dark, and without magic weaponry), replacing it with Fast Healing.

I'm thinking about shifting regen over to the Helghast. I like the idea of just about anything that makes those things nastier.


On to the topic of the Sommerlund Knight of the Realm, I have heard the Code of Valour described as the Code of Suicide (actually, that's really just a convenient summary of the original opinion).

Personally, I don't consider the Code to be overly dangerous. First up, a knight is still given the opportunity to retreat, he simply needs to be prepared to suffer the consequences. That said, I can understand that some might find those consequences unfairly harsh. Personally, I consider the flavour the Codes add to the class outweigh any mechanical drawbacks, real or perceived.

However, I am planning to be a little generous with regard to the Code of Valour, in one respect: when ambushed. I think it is only fair (and important) that when a Knight is forced into battle, he gets a round or two, at least, to assess the situation before commiting to the fight, or to withdrawal. Charging into the midst of the ambushing force would count as committing to battle. Holding ground and fighting nearby opponents or defending allies, while the group rallies and assesses the situation, would not.

Thoughts and opinions on this would be appreciated.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Here's another tricky one for the Knight:

Does falling back to a stronger position constitute a breach of the Code? I would say that it will depend on the specific circumstances, but in that case the line can become very blurry.

Interesting.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
SableWyvern said:
Here's another tricky one for the Knight:
Does falling back to a stronger position constitute a breach of the Code?
I would say no, as long as he still intends to participate in the fight. After all, I think it would be unfair to penalize a character who shows strategic concern. For instance, in LOTR at Helm's Deep battle, even Aragorn knew when to fall back to reorganize, yet one cannot say he displayed any sign of cowardice, just common sense...

Just my two cents.
 

Madbiologist

Mongoose
I agree with Redlaco

I do not think strict valour is equal stupidity. And always wondered where this sentiment came from (refrains from making a socio analysis of the pattern).

Pulling back and regrouping is not show of cowerdice, hell if the troops were to pull back and prepare for a second assualt that happens hours latter is not a sign of cowerdice. What would be is fleeing and abandoning the battle completely with your "tail between your legs".

Charging singlehandly against a battlement surrounded by hundred thousands of troops is not bravery, is absolute and abject stupidity.
 

Paido

Mongoose
Don't know the "Code of Valour" yet, but I have to parr- agree with "Crackers" Redlaco :)wink:) and Madbiologist there.

The "I'll never take a step away from an enemy" attitude arises from unreasonable pride (probably combined with a bit of insecurity ...) and only meets the demands of the "Code of Imbecility". :D

As far as I know, the Sommerlending Knights of the Realm are not bloody-minded berserkers just pointed at the enemy but warriors who are also responsible for leading troops into battle. That calls for tactical skill, after all!

That is not to say, however, that Knights of the Realm are immune to a low-level sort of that attitude; I can easily imagine not a few of them to misinterpret the "Code of Valour" in that manner.


Paido want a continent! *squawk*
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Hmm...

I don't know that if you read the Code literally you can truly say there isn't at least some foolishness inherrent in it. The fact is, Knights can't run from battle once they have committed, regardless how suicidal continuing is, or how important their survival at this point might be as a strategic consideration. Not without breaching the Code, anyway (and I think it is important to always remember that the Code can be breached, and that there would quite possibly be circumstances where, having done so, a Knight would feel shame, but his bretheren, without necessarily offering overt support for his decision, would understand it).

Anyway, allowing a partial withdrawal certainly makes sense for the purposes of PC survivability, but I don't know that you can call it obviously and logically consistent with the Code, which by its nature is not strategically intelligent.

As I was initially implying, what constitutes a withdrawal that doesn't breach the Code is not necessarily an easy thing to define, even if you allow such a thing.

Withdrawal 50' to a point where the friendly line has held ... 300' to a bottleneck where the enemy will not be able to flank you ... 2 miles to a fortified encampment ... 100 miles to the nearest city .... where is the line drawn?

I think it's certainly a question worth seriously contemplating as soon as possible, rather than when it becomes a critical issue in the middle of play.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Madbiologist said:
I agree with Redlaco
Charging singlehandly against a battlement surrounded by hundred thousands of troops is not bravery, is absolute and abject stupidity.

No more stupid or suicidal than the charge the Knights did make in one of the books, time after time. The fact that their assault was doomed didn't really enter into their thinking. And if Lone Wolf joined them, he died too.

It's also worth remembering that, in many cases, the only difference between bravery and stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. The fact that Victoria Crosses, CMoHs and the like generally get handed out for acts of insanity that achieve a worthwhile purpose doesn't alter the fact that they are acts of insanity.

Similarly, things like running into burning buildings to rescue people (unless you're a trained professional) are things we are taught by professionals not to do. Because, statistically, we're more likely to just become just another victim, rather than achieving something meaningful. A strange contradiction that such behaviour is both taught as incorrect and lauded as bravery.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
Good points SableWyvern, especially about "the eye of the beholder".
If I continue with another LOTR reference, let's talk about the ride at the end of Helm's Deep battle. Theoden is desperate and his morale is almost failing him as he realize the end of his people has come. Then Aragorn convince him to ride out so that the Rohirrim could die in a blaze of glory. And so they did, except Gandalf came at the last moment with reinforcements to save the day. But when they rode out, the King's men were convinced they were doomed, yet that didn't stop them to meet their death with a charge instead of waiting for it like sheep. But before they came to that, they didn't hesitate to fall back whenever necessary. If they had not, they just would not have last long enough for the reinforcements to save anybody. When you have a people to save (women and children in the caves), you must do your best, even if it includes falling to a safer position from time to time. When your 5,000 men are facing 50,000 Huruk-Ai (sp?), your bravery is already proven.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Redlaco, I think your LotR analogies, while generally worthwhile, aren't entirely relevant to the case in question, for the simple fact that we aren't discussing the general tactical worth of withdrawal, but withdrawal in the context of the Sommlending Knights Code of Valour.

Further, in LotR, we saw the forces of Gondor and Rohan fighting for their very survival. A Sommlending Knight who follows the Code of Valour will make similar decisions in far less strategically desperate situations.

As far as we are aware, none of the troops in LotR had ever taken such a constrictive vow. Sommlending Knights, on the other hand, do, and this will affect their tactical decisions. In some cases, the Code of Valour will lead to senseless deaths.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
redlaco said:
Good points SableWyvern, especially about "the eye of the beholder".
When you have a people to save (women and children in the caves), you must do your best, even if it includes falling to a safer position from time to time. When your 5,000 men are facing 50,000 Huruk-Ai (sp?), your bravery is already proven.

A situation where, IMO, the right (and arguable most valourous) decision is to break your Code of Valour. However, the fact that breaking the Code is the right thing to do doesn't alter the fact of it's breaking -- and thus the penalties that come with such a decision.

The Sommlending Knights are fortunate here, in that, unlike a D&D paladin, breaking their Code results in only a very temporary penalty. In fact, the simplicity and short-term nature of this penalty is one of the things that leads me to believe that a harsher, rather then more generous, interpretation of "breaking the Code" is called for.

To expand on that, I see great roleplaying potential in the idea that a Knight would be willing to shame himself (ie, break the Code), for what he knows is right (hence my earlier point about the most valourous decision). Since the penalty associated with such a decison is not dramatic in the grand scheme of things, there is incentive for a player to make this kind of decision, without the fear of drastic consequences. OTOH, a "you permanently lose knightly abilities and cannot advance in the class until completing a quest of great danger and sacrifice" sort of penalty would indicate that breaking the Code is quite simply and in all ways wrong.
 

Madbiologist

Mongoose
I see your point, however being too strict can be equally as bad.

Player: "I move back to the wall (to where the other PC is fighting) and ready myself for the Giak's charge."

GM: "You technically fled the battle you were in, you broke the vow."

In the case I think the GM should be seriously punted. The point I trying to make is being overly strict can be bad, as it turns the vow from an honourable knightly thing to that of a demented psychopathic delusion. In a way, if someone was to say "this vow is stupid" then there is something wrong, as a Knightly vow should not be seen as something stupid.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
This is why I think it is important to have a clear idea of what the Code entails, to ensure that the GM and any players with Knights are on the same page.

Certainly, I would consider anyone who rules a breach of Code in the example just given is being at least an order of magnitudes too strict (and several orders too inane).

Based on the comments in this thread, my interpretations would "lean towards strict rather than lenient", as opposed to just being outright "strict" or "strict to the point of don't even bother playing a knight". Frex, I've stated that IMO the first few rounds of combat in the event of ambush don't necessarily count as having commited to combat. I'd say that's fairly generous (and, IMO, necessary). And, again, something that the players and GM all need to understand, before the circumstance arises.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
It all boils down to the context, like most anything.

So SableWyvern, Then I will use an analogy with the Knights Templar... Just kidding, SableWyvern. :lol:
I see your point, the Rohirrim certainly did not have such a vow (good for them). I will implement this Code of Valour as an ideal to tend to, but the masters of the Order will be quite tolerant in a relevant context. A fully trained Knight is certainly valuable enough so that you can forgive him if he lived to fight another day instead of being needlessly slaughtered.

For instance, let's imagine a few Sommerlund Knights who encounter a large force of Giaks, Drakkirims and other nasties. Following faithfully their code of Valour, the Knights happily swing their blades, one falling after the other, until only one remains. Seeing an overture, he have a moment of hesitation: should he take the opportunity to flee so that he can warn the authorities of this upcoming and unplanned invasion forces? This invaluable information could save thousands of lives. In my game, the Master of the Order would celebrate his good sense and would forget his breach of the Code since it was in the context of a greater pupose (saving many innocent Summerlundings).

Food for thoughts.
For the greater good.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
Redlaco: I agree with your interpretation in the final scenario (in fact, if you look closely, you'll see I've already argued indirectly for such an interpretation).

Would your knight in question suffer the -4 penalties that come with breaking the Code, though? Personally, I would still impose them.

Edit: it's probably worth a quick explanation as to why I would. Simply put, the Knight who runs from the battle, IMO, would still feel shamed that he failed to uphold the Code of Valour. Had he lived up to the true ideals of the Knighthood, he would have stood his ground, defeated his opponents, and then raced to Holmgard with the news of advancing troops. His brothers lie dead on the battlefield, while he lives. And still, the enemy comes. This, IMO, would be enough to see the knight plagued with guilt, even though he may know deep down that he did the right thing. His circumstance would not be helped by the possiblity that some members of the order might see his actions as questionable -- even if his actions are approved by the King himself.

The RPing effects of this decision should probably linger on well after the actual penalty provided for by the game mechanics has reached its duration.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
I see your point about the shame for his fallen brothers in arms and unvanquished ennemies, SableWyvern. OK, maybe I'd go as far as the -4 penalty for the next encounter, but no more than that. And it would be a good explanation to the player to tell him it's the shame that affects his morale and resolve in combat, so he's more hesitant and less performant.
I would insist that it's not imposed on him by other knights or his master, but his own sense of guilt.

Though it's hard to judge really, since I'm still waiting to get my book... :oops:
 

Madbiologist

Mongoose
Good example SableWyvern, I can see how the Knight would break the vow and be even veiwed by his fellow Knights as one that has failed in his oath, despite the fact he did the tactically wise choice. Also his action may even be approved and even respected by the King and his advisor; and might even have caused more good in the long run (the King is informed and they can stop the advancing army, which would have been hard if all have died in the battle). Despite it all, the Knight would still feel the shame and guilt and be shun by some of his brothers (though I see a few could probably agree with his actions, especially if the King's decision is respected).

Makes for great RP, and shows that "Kightly Virtues" do not always walk hand to hand with pragmatic strategy.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
Yes, Madbiologist, the RP would be great if old-fashioned "hardcore" Knights would shun his breaking of the Code, all the while respecting his decision and maybe admiring his heroic deeds afterward. Makes for a good mix of emotions...
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
redlaco said:
IAnd it would be a good explanation to the player to tell him it's the shame that affects his morale and resolve in combat, so he's more hesitant and less performant.
I would insist that it's not imposed on him by other knights or his master, but his own sense of guilt.

IMO, shame and self-doubt is the whole source of the penalties associated with breaking any of the Knightly Codes. Any greater penalty than those listed, and imposed by the order itself, would only result from flagrant disregard of the Order's whole ethos. In this case, an inability to further advance in the class would be the most likely result.

Though it's hard to judge really, since I'm still waiting to get my book... :oops:

FYI: "once they make their first attack against an opponent of any kind, they cannot withdraw or cease fighting until the opponent surrenders, stops fighting and wishes to parley, or is unconscious or dead ... a retreat or rout costs a Knight of Valour a -4 penalty to all attack and skill checks due to shame and disgrace until he defeats a creature of equal End Dice or character level to his class level in single combat."

Which, now that I reread it, is a harder-to-remove penalty than I was thinking.
 

redlaco

Mongoose
Thanks for the heads up SableWyvern.

I think the ruling is appropriately balanced as it is, well for me anyway.
 
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