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intothenight

Quick Conflict Question

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In an upcoming session, my PCs will need to get some help from an NPC mechanic. He'll do the job, but not for credits. There's a Hutt slave he's in love with, and he wants her freed and brought to him.

Conflict-worthy aspects here include:

  • The option to steal from someone for personal gain (even if it is freeing a slave from a Hutt in the process)
  • Taking said slave from a fellow slave who is literally the only person she cares about (possibly by force if she insists on being uncooperative)
  • Delivering the slave to this mechanic (the PCs know very little about this mechanic and his intentions, and the slave knows even less)

The session has ways of doing things without stealing, kidnapping, etc. And my players are pretty creative, but if they decide to go the quick and easy path here, how much conflict should they expect to rack up?

Oh, for the record, the mechanic is idealistic and not especially bright. He assumes that the slave will immediately return his affections once she learns that he's the reason she's no longer a slave. She'll reject him and walk away a free Mirialan. I don't like making my sessions too dark. However, I don't plan to let my players know this beforehand. I really want them to consider the possibility that they might actually be making the slave's life worse just to benefit themselves.

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Why do they need to get help from this mechanic? Why that mechanic in particular, as opposed to going to someone else who will take credits? This scenario has the potential to be short-circuited before it gets going, and even once it does, there's no guarantee that it'll play out the way you expect it to. ("No plot survives contact with the player characters.")

Even if they do agree, whether it's personal gain or being done for a good cause would depend on the why of the situation, and freeing a slave is probably a justifying factor for the 'theft' in any case, especially if any of the PCs have a corresponding motivation. Likewise, why can't they free both of the slaves (or both and then some)? Why would they know very little about the mechanic's intentions? They could outright ask (or demand) to know before agreeing, and force-using PCs might be able to ferret out the answer regardless. Even a mildly heroic bunch isn't likely to have many problems with this one.

Let's assume that the PCs do somehow blunder through those three things though...

Accepting: I don't think there's any inherent conflict here since they're not actually doing anything at this point, just agreeing to a task. Their attitude, if it's particularly callous, might warrant a point or two, but they're definitely channeling their inner villains if they're acting like that.

Taking: This is where the conflict would arise if they're selfish/uncaring AND they don't care about bringing her friend along, in which case you're looking at several possible conflict categories: coercion is the most likely one, but also possible are emotional abuse, first-resort violence, assault, and if things really go south, murder. Take whichever of those has the highest value and that's what it racks up. This assumes that there aren't any other casualties along the way (which is a much more likely source of conflict in this scenario).

Delivering: Difficult to say since there's nothing inherently bad about taking her to see the guy (beyond anything unpleasant that they already did to bring her along), and even if they're particularly dense and never thought to find out what he wants... he doesn't actually do anything, so the 'knowing inaction' wouldn't apply here. (Clueless inaction isn't a conflict category.) At most this generates another point or two if they're especially callous in their attitude toward any of the NPCs involved.

If they're acting that badly then you're probably looking at 10-12 for the act itself plus whatever else arose from collateral damage. If they're even slightly heroic and/or clueful then - barring collateral damage - they're probably not going to get any out of this.

Edited by Garran

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