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roleplaying an alignment oriented resolution of the Prism quest (spoilers)

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
I'm playing a mostly good party right now:

Argell, Priestess of Lathander - CG - Cha 13 (who will shortly dual to Fighter when she hits Cleric 3)
Imoen - NG - Cha 16
Karan, Priest of Oghma - LG - Cha 10
Parda, Bard - NG - Cha 15
Bendalis, Skald - LN - Cha 15
Jessup, Diviner - NE - Cha 10

After completing the Prism quest I'm wondering if selling the emeralds is actually off base for such a party versus turning them in to Oublek. We may take at face value that the emeralds were stolen, but should anyone really trust Oublek?

I suppose this is mostly about lawfulness versus chaos...

Jessup would definitely say sell them versus turning them in, arguing that it seems rather doubtful that Oublek would ever get the jewels back into the hands of the original owner (don't be suckers). The PC is CG, and so might go for that rationalization. Imoen and Parda would probably support the leader, Argell. Karan would feel they should follow the law; and since Oublek is a Nashkel official, he'd say turn them in. Bendalis, as LN, would feel that in taking on the bounty quest there's a contractual type of arrangement that they should honor.

What do you see a group like this doing? The most persuasive (highest Cha) characters among them are Imoen, Parda, and Bendalis.

What do you think is the most ethical resolution of the quest for a group like this?

Post edited by Lemernis on


  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,471
    Lemernis said:

    The PC is CG, and so might go for that rationalization.

    A CG character might think along the lines of,
    1. It will be for the greater good of all that your party is able to make more money by selling the gems, then be able to afford more weapons, making you more likely to succeed with your quests, etc.,
    2. A somewhat socialist outlook, that the original owners of the gems shouldn't be entitled to hoard wealth to that extent (also reflecting Prism's justification for stealing them).

    I feel that with a CG character you can justify a lot of "immoral" or illegal acts if it's with good intentions in the long run. Your other good and lawful party members probably wouldn't approve of it, but unless you treat your party like a democracy with everyone having an equal voice, then your main concern should be doing what satisfies the leader's alignment.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,208
    Returning the gems or selling them would not make a CG character less "free", neither would affect him RP-wise. However, your character should consider:
    "Is there a chance that I might increase my reputation by returning them?"
    "do I really need the extra money from the gems?"
    "Are these gems extremelly necessary for the owner? Perhaps if I sell them and buy equipment for my quest, I'd be doing good things, since I'm trying to save the sword coast"

    Maybe your hatred for Greywolf made you not believe that Oublek was a good man.

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,473
    Looking at alignments and Cha the party as a whole seems to be weighted towards NG, which leaves the options fairly open.
    So, my approach would be as follows (bearing in mind that my memory could be faulty):

    You choose to help Prism to fulfil his life quest (I don't remember any reward being offered at this stage).
    You kill Greywolf thus enabling Prism to finish his sculpture (this fulfils your obligation to Prism).
    This is where my memory gets hazy:
    As Prism dies (happy in the knowledge that he has completed his work) he effectively bequeaths his belongings (the emeralds) to you (he does not just leave them lying around for anyone to pick up).
    What would Prism want you to do with them? It doesn't matter, he is fulfilled and content (not to mention dead).
    As the party is effectively NG I would feel that I could put the good of the party before the good of all (even though the PC is CG) so I would base my decision on what the party needs most - gold to upgrade weaponry now, or enhanced reputation to facilitate negotiations in the future.
    If the CG PC were mine she would take the money and run, not thinking too much about the future, as this would not actively hurt anyone or cause further distress given that the emeralds are already stolen (and claimed for on the insurance?) and she cannot guarantee beyond a shadow of doubt that they would end up with the original owner.

  • Prism's dying words are something to the effect of "please don't take my sculptures eyes" ie the emeralds. That's what I'm inclined to do. Leave the emeralds were they are.

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,473
    Sorry, my memory wasn't hazy, just totally wrong!

  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    edited September 2014
    Oublek is lawful good, Prism is chaotic good. And this doesn't sound like someone trying to swindle you...
    "You are not Greywolf the bounty hunter? Oh, sweet Helm, I almost gave 200 gold pieces to a complete stranger?! The captain best not hear of this; he'd have my hide. Thanks be for your honesty, stranger. There are those who would not have done as such."

    Prism also admits to stealing them...
    "Never should I have stolen these emeralds, but there was nothing else that would capture the majesty of thine eyes!"

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    I really don't understand this quest in the game. Did Prism put the emeralds into the statue's eyes, as they were the only beautiful things to reflect Ellesime? If so then why are the emeralds are on his body/posession?

    If he really put the emeralds into the eye sockets of the statue, then well, duh, if you don't steal them some one eventually will! I bet the next person who comes across the statue, be it a miner who went for a call of the nature or just a stroll, or bandit, they WILL take the emeralds. Being sentimental is good and nice but people are STARVING around Nashkel due to iron crisis.

  • karl_maulderkarl_maulder Member Posts: 133
    edited September 2014
    You have a party of pretty much good adventurers even one of LG alignment, it's more than odd that this group would accept to travel with Jessup since he is evil. Thats like Mother Theresa or Ghandi traveling with Hitler or Stalin

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    edited September 2014

    You have a party of pretty much good adventurers even one of LG alignment, it's more than odd that this group would accept to travel with Jessup since he is evil. Thats like Mother Theresa or Ghandi traveling with Hitler or Stalin

    Ah, but Jessup need not be so blatantly evil like 'Let's kill all the halflings, they don't harm us but we should erase the whole race of halflings from the planet, just because...humans are the superiour race!' (I think that would be like the equivelant of Hitler in DnD) He may act like a jerk and maybe behave greedy/selfish at times, but the good characters in the party won't abhor him for that..much. Now if he went around killing masses of innocent people with extreme prejudice, the good characters in the part WILL object to that. (Case in point:Aerie comfronts Hexxat in SoA about this.)

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 1,824
    lunar said:

    I really don't understand this quest in the game. Did Prism put the emeralds into the statue's eyes, as they were the only beautiful things to reflect Ellesime? If so then why are the emeralds are on his body/posession?

    Laziness/Contentedness on behalf of the devs.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited September 2014

    You have a party of pretty much good adventurers even one of LG alignment, it's more than odd that this group would accept to travel with Jessup since he is evil. Thats like Mother Theresa or Ghandi traveling with Hitler or Stalin

    The way I conceived of Jessup is that he is NE more or less in the style of television's character (Dr. Gregory) House. He's a selfish and narcissistic contrarian/gadfly at Candlekeep. But he doesn't go out of his way to harm anyone more than to aggravate those in authority. Nor does he get his jollies from "being evil". (That said, does he enjoy a bit of schadenfreude? Sure.) He's also clearly the brightest among the bunch. So even though abrasive he can form well constructed arguments. The point of this collection of characters was to work with more modest ability scores, though; so I kept his Cha in the normal range.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    I have recently had a paradigm shift relating to how I personally view lawful and chaotic as alignments. I have always thought of Law and Chaos as behavior patterns such that lawful characters were more literal and strict, while chaotics were more devil may care attitude. However....

    I've come to think of it quite differently these days. I look at it more from the perspective of what results they intend to sew. A Lawful person does whatever he/she does with the intent of supporting structure and order. His or her individual approach might very well be anything from following the letter of the rules all the way to random happenstance, but the actual GOAL they hope to achieve doesn't change.

    The same with chaos. Someone might be extremely methodical in their attempts to sew chaos in the realms. Likewise, they may be quite happenstance about their approach. But their ultimate goal, that of sewing chaos, remains the same.

    As that applies to this situation, I'd say that the lawfuls in the group would tend towards that resolution which most supported order and structure. Giving the gems to Oublek would seem to best support this outcome as he is the guy most responsible for resolving outstanding bounties in that town. He told you about the missing gems. He is expecting the return, and it closes the loop so that others don't continue to look for the gems, not realizing that they've been found.

    However, since your party leader is chaotic in nature, he might see a certain symmetry in selling off the gems, thus continuing the cycle of search and discovery such that maybe the gems ultimately find their way "Home" and maybe they don't.

    Just my two cents.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    Heh, I have always thought about House as Chaotic good. Or, as the series progressed and he showed more selfish behaviour, chaotic neutral with good tendencies.

    He is chaotic in the sense that his methods are always challenging the authority and he always does things the way he wants, which are almost always against the rules of the society. He is 'good' because ultimately he helps people and saves people despite the obvious personal risks he takes and he even alienates his collagues just to find a cure for a patient. As series progressed, it was generally said by others that he cared little about the patients and just wanted to solve the 'problem' to find answers, helping patients was an afterthought.. Also he became increasingly selfish and even more of a jerk due to his addiction. I think he became chaotic neutral with good tendencies later on, but I never pictured him as a neutral evil character, tbh.

    Good does not need to be nice and evil is not always rude, obnoxious or blatant. Just look at Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter, she is all smiles, sugar pink dresses and cute kittens up front. Yet she is corrupted, hateful, wicked and evil to the core.

    Hexxat is also all kind, polite and 'can't we just be friends?' 'Okay I am what I am but I can not change that, can't we talk about it?' With other good aligned npcs. Yet she is evil. Because she murdersthe innocent at nights with no remorse. I bet she is all polite with her victims too, charming them nicely, 'here here, this will only sting for a second' 'I am sorry about what I am going to do.' 'Ssshh, there is no other way.' 'A few seconds more, then there will be no pain. See how nice I am while killing you? I know! ^^'

  • Prism is such tragic, sympathetic figure and his last words are:

    Alas my work is complete. Take what you will from my possessions, but leave the sparkle in her eyes. Oh sweet creature my effigy to thee is done. Perhaps our paths shall cross in distant realms and I shall find the courage to call thy name. Ellesime!

    If you want to be good, folks, leave the sparkle in her eyes. :)

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    @Lunar - the character of house was modeled after Sherlock Holmes. And both characters have reported (within their various mediums) that they don't solve mysteries "because it benefits people" but because they are mysteries. Any net benefit to the general public is largely incidental.

    But I agree that House in particular is quite the chaotic. He is in fact part of the reason why I changed my view of Law and chaos. Regardless of his methods, he is more a supporter of chaos than order.

    It is interesting to note that the sculpture that Prism is creating is supposed to be Irenicus' true love from BG2, the one who's "room" you find in his dungeon perfectly preserved (and trapped all to heck). Quite what that does for his (Prism's) "sympathetic" appearance, I don't know. He was after all a glorified stalker and created an effigy to a woman who had no interest in him what so ever.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    So Prism is almost finished with his "masterpiece" and has yet to place the emeralds that he stole in the statue's pupils? Until now to be honest I haven't read it that closely (in all these years too, shame on me).

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited September 2014
    @lunar and @the_spyder I'm not going to compare House with Batman but I can see arguments for CG, CN, CE, and NE. I guess he became increasingly Chaotic, though. As his addiction overcame him he became imho NE in terms of being selfish and narcissistic but I grant that he grew ever more Chaotic as time went on.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    I think that as far as House/Sherlock Holmes is concerned, "Good and Evil" are largely academic. Again, they solve mysteries because there are mysteries to solve. But then they are fictitious characters and the whole alignment thing is an artificial construct for a fantasy games so...

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    The PC in my game decided to sell the gems, btw. ;-)

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