Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moral Dilemma #1

There’s a sticky situation.

The group just got a hold of an airship of their very own. Of course, they are jubilant and take their massive new toy for a ride, looking for trouble (i.e XP). Trouble is soon found – a cloud ray the size of a football field is terrorizing the peasants. It rains lightning from above, setting huts and barns on fire. With its massive “wings,” it creates gusts that hurl men and beasts hundreds of feet every which way to splatter against rocks and trees. On the face of it, it looks like a simple combat encounter to be resolved with sword and spell.


The group loves animals. It’s obsessed with collecting pets and killing poachers and dreams of having truly powerful animal companions one day (so far they only got crows, squirrels and puppies). A cloud ray is pretty sweet, right? Let’s try to befriend it.


A series of Nature checks reveal that cloud rays are ordinarily peaceful creatures (perhaps this is why they’re such an endangered species). The reason this one behaves so violently is because it’s sick. The disease won’t kill it, but it will make it increasingly aggressive and unreasonable.
A cloud ray being unreasonable.
Art by Ben Wootten (from Dark Sun Creature Catalog)

Can it be healed? You need a proper veterinarian to answer this question. Do we have time? No, innocents are dying on the ground even as we speak. An argument about the moral course of action erupts.

How did it end? You’ll know soon enough.

For now, kind readers, tell me – what would you have done?


  1. Especially with children, I'd probably go with what they wished. Perhaps try to find a way to calm it down if they couldn't befriend it. Or at worst lure it away from the village so that there is no one to harm but the PCs until something could come about.

    As adults, argue. Someone will eventually win the argument. :)

  2. I was never a pet collector in D&D. I'd vote to kill the beast to protect the peasants, and then harvest the "wings" and use the hide for some bad-ass airship sails!

  3. The Crazy GM, you're making the assumption that there is unity of opinion among the kids. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

    Biglivin, This was a minority opinion in the group but one very, eh... "forcibly" presented :)