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  1. #5296
    Burrrrrn Sol M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    The locals who know about the tower only know as much as the paladin himself. They don't go near it, partially because they fear the knight and partially because they fear his story might be true. The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that neither the woman nor the knight are from the area, but rather arrived from some other place.
    Ask the knight where he and the woman came from.
    Ask the woman where they came from.

  2. #5297
    Burrrrrn Sol M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    It occurs to me that to an actual medieval person, the "correct" answer would probably be to challenge the knight on the assumption that God would not allow the knight lose if he was indeed righteous, nor would he allow the paladin to lose if the knight was false.
    Indeed.

    Admittedly, the paladin need not have believed that his patron deity would determine the winner, in which case he'd have other options, but yes. By and large, that would be the case.

    I guess moral dilemmas were much less common back then.
    I wouldn't call this a moral dilemma; it's more like a "I made an oath, and now I have to stick to it but don't know how" dilemma.

  3. #5298
    The Could-Have-Been King Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sol M View Post
    Ask the knight where he and the woman came from.
    Ask the woman where they came from.
    Once again they give opposite answers. The knight claims they come from a kingdom far in the west and that he pursued the demon to the tower where he finally managed to imprison her. The woman claims they come from a kingdom far in the east and that the knight brought her there to escape pursecution of his crimes. The paladin is unfamiliar with either kingdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sol M View Post
    Admittedly, the paladin need not have believed that his patron deity would determine the winner
    I'm not really using the term in the D&D kind of sense - he's basically just a righteous knight. I'm using "paladin" since it's less confusing than using two knights.

    I wouldn't call this a moral dilemma; it's more like a "I made an oath, and now I have to stick to it but don't know how" dilemma.
    How is that not a moral dilemma? I'd say it's because of morals we do stuff like keep our promises in the first place - because we believe not doing so is wrong.
    Last edited by Ghost; 01-06-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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  4. #5299
    Burrrrrn Sol M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    Once again they give opposite answers. The knight claims they come from a kingdom far in the west and that he pursued the demon to the tower where he finally managed to imprison her. The woman claims they come from a kingdom far in the east and that the knight brought her there to escape pursecution of his crimes. The paladin is unfamiliar with either kingdom.
    Oh, they didn't just teleport out of nowhere, then.

    But in that case, the original claim by the locals that they know nothing of the knight makes no sense. They'd have to be in minimal contact with the knight if he lives there. oO

    In any case, not much to do now but join the knight in guarding the tower. If the woman is telling the truth, the knight must be able to open the door to the tower (or have some other entrance) and provide the woman with food and water. If the door really can't be opened, and there's no way into the tower, then the woman is obviously lying.



    I'm not really using the term in the D&D kind of sense - he's basically just a righteous knight. I'm using "paladin" since it's less confusing than using two knights.
    To be honest, if it's not D&D (or some other obviously fantastic setting) then the woman's story is far more likely to be true than the knight's.

    A fact that isn't lost on the paladin who apparently makes his decisions based on what we think. <_<


    I dunno, I'd say it would count it as a moral issue as it is the paladin's own convictions that keep him from breaking his oath. Morals is kinda the reason we do stuff like keep our word in the first place.
    Sticking to an oath, no matter the situation is generally a result of flawed convictions. Oaths can be broken, if the situation calls for it.

    So in that light, I'd say that it's the fact that he places his oaths above his conscience that causes the dilemma.
    Last edited by Sol M; 01-06-2013 at 11:08 AM.

  5. #5300
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  6. #5301
    Archnemesis of Reason FarBeyondC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    But if the paladin takes the knight's place, then he is the one keeping the woman prisoner. If the woman is telling the truth, that would actually be worse than simply leaving the knight to carry on his vigil, since now the paladin is partially to blame for keeping an innocent woman locked away.
    Sol already covered this, but the woman would need food eventually- if she was actually a woman (I highly doubt the knight would bother feeding a demon).
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  7. #5302
    The Could-Have-Been King Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sol M View Post
    But in that case, the original claim by the locals that they know nothing of the knight makes no sense. They'd have to be in minimal contact with the knight if he lives there. oO
    Not necessarily. The tower is remote and he hunts his own food. There is no reason he would need to be in contact with anyone.

    Heck, he may even be enchanted to not need food so long as he guards the tower.

    In any case, not much to do now but join the knight in guarding the tower. If the woman is telling the truth, the knight must be able to open the door to the tower (or have some other entrance) and provide the woman with food and water. If the door really can't be opened, and there's no way into the tower, then the woman is obviously lying.
    What if she claims that food is magically delivered to the tower, or that she's cursed so that she cannot die from starvation?

    To be honest, if it's not D&D (or some other obviously fantastic setting) then the woman's story is far more likely to be true than the knight's.
    Actually, this sort of scenario wouldn't be especially out of place in medieval legends - some of the stories surrounding King Arthur involves stuff like magical castles and cursed maidens and this one guy who survived a decapitation because he was under a spell at the time. They were basically the fantasy stories of their times.

    Sticking to an oath, no matter the situation is generally a result of flawed convictions. Oaths can be broken, if the situation calls for it.
    Some would argue that there is no value in virtues that are only upheld when it's convenient, and that thinking otherwise just leads to further rationalizing down the line.
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  8. #5303
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    Not necessarily. The tower is remote and he hunts his own food. There is no reason he would need to be in contact with anyone.

    Heck, he may even be enchanted to not need food so long as he guards the tower.



    What if she claims that food is magically delivered to the tower, or that she's cursed so that she cannot die from starvation?



    Actually, this sort of scenario wouldn't be especially out of place in medieval legends - some of the stories surrounding King Arthur involves stuff like magical castles and cursed maidens and this one guy who survived a decapitation because he was under a spell at the time. They were basically the fantasy stories of their times.



    Some would argue that there is no value in virtues that are only upheld when it's convenient, and that thinking otherwise just leads to further rationalizing down the line.
    The Paladin should just slay them both then, either that or walk away and let them figure it out for themselves. From the sound of it, the Knight is delusional and the Lady is delusional, but neither is evil or a demon. So, the Paladin could try and find out if there is someone else involved, someone pulling their strings.
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  9. #5304
    Burrrrrn Sol M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    Not necessarily. The tower is remote and he hunts his own food. There is no reason he would need to be in contact with anyone.
    Hunting isn't a terribly quick and simple thing, nor is cooking. He can't do all that and guard the tower at all times.

    Heck, he may even be enchanted to not need food so long as he guards the tower.
    This is certainly possible.



    What if she claims that food is magically delivered to the tower, or that she's cursed so that she cannot die from starvation?
    Then it makes her look like a liar. ^^

    "There's an invisible dragon in my garage! There really is!"

    Have her eat her food and drink water where you can see her for every meal. Or see if the knight needs food to survive.

    Hire people. Imprison the knight (or at least, ensure that he's watched 24x7). Set people to guard the tower day and night. Check for underground passages into the tower (with medieval age tech, this could take forever). Convince the woman to give in so that the knight lets her out. Lots of stuff to do.

    Actually yeah. If the woman agrees to marry the knight, the knight is still going to refuse to let her out. I can't imagine why anybody would waste their entire life guarding a tower, just so that some woman would say yes to them. <_<

    Honestly though, if magic is so blatant, it shouldn't be a big deal finding someone magically talented who can help. Clearly such people exist, or you wouldn't be able to have magically impregnable towers in the first place.

    Or just find someone who has ways of telling if someone's lying. Or torture the paladin to the brink of death to extract the truth from him, then heal him up if required. I know of at least one paladin in fiction that has done this repeatedly.

    Etc. There are so many possibilities that the paladin must exhaust before he can conclude that the solution is beyond his reach. He could spend his whole life trying to find the truth.

    ...or he could kill the paladin and let the woman free. That's a quick way to the truth.

    Actually, this sort of scenario wouldn't be especially out of place in medieval legends - some of the stories surrounding King Arthur involves stuff like magical castles and cursed maidens and this one guy who survived a decapitation because he was under a spell at the time. They were basically the fantasy stories of their times.
    The paladin should honestly have a larger awareness about the plausibility of events in his own verse than what we have and what he seems to have.

    In any case, this would only apply if he wasn't taking his instructions from us. <_<


    Some would argue that there is no value in virtues that are only upheld when it's convenient, and that thinking otherwise just leads to further rationalizing down the line.
    That's why people swore oaths and followed them so strictly, yes.

    It doesn't mean that adhering to something when it's clearly wrong in a particular situation and/or not getting you anywhere merely because you swore an oath isn't just as meaningless.

    And as with most "slippery slopes", the issue vanishes with sufficient analysis, conscience, and a healthy dose of common sense.

    To be honest, in this scenario, neither of them have actually done anything worth earning death sentences for, so it would be foolish to kill them. Unlawful imprisonment is bad and all, but the knight seems to be as much as prisoner as the woman, from the looks of it. Either the woman gives in, or they stay that way together. Neither of them are actually hurting the other, so it's not like someone needs to be saved from physical harm.

    Also, if the knight isn't telling the truth, he's probably mentally unbalanced. That's pretty much the only reasonable explanation for his actions.
    ...the paladin really sucks at being able to tell if people are insane, apparently.
    Last edited by Sol M; 01-06-2013 at 02:02 PM.

  10. #5305
    Strrrrrrrrrrrrex mailedbypostman1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    There was once a strong and righteous paladin who had sworn a holy oath to always aid the innocent and defenseless and to safeguard them from evil.

    One day he rides by a tower and hears a woman cry for help from the topmost window. She claims to be an innocent maiden who has been imprisoned against her will by an evil knight, who refuses to let her out unless she agrees to marry him. The door to the tower is locked by a magic seal, and the key will only turn for the knight who locked it, or one who has bested him in combat. She pleads to the paladin to kill the knight and release her.

    Moments later the knight himself appears. He tells the paladin that it is true the tower can only be unlocked by himself or whoever defeats him, but claims everything else the maiden said is a lie. According to the knight, the woman is really a terrible monster in disguise; a demon that was sealed in the tower as no man could slay it. He stresses that the door to the tower must never be opened.

    The paladin cannot tell who is lying and who is telling the truth. Whenever one makes a claim, the other claims the opposite. If the maiden is telling the truth, his oath demands that he aid her. But if the knight is telling the truth, the same oath demands that he ensure the tower remains locked.

    What should he do?
    Gather more information from independent methods. Either could be telling the truth, or lying, or something else.

    A case like this calls for some detective work.
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  11. #5306
    Strrrrrrrrrrrrex mailedbypostman1's Avatar
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    However, if there was somehow, magically, no way for the paladin to get more information then he already had, then I would generally side with setting the maiden free.

    Yes, there might be a vast evil of unspeakable repute disguised as a woman, but if not, there's an innocent being held for no good reason and made to suffer.

    And if there's even a possibility of that, then he shouldn't walk away from it without seeing the veracity of it.
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    I think it'd be cool if Cyclops beams evolved into the crimson bands of Cyttorak.
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  13. #5308
    The Could-Have-Been King Ghost's Avatar
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    I wonder if Synthesia is difficult to use. It doesn't look very complicated.
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    As much as it's usual to err on the side of the maiden, the paladin should actually just walk on.

    If he does this:
    ... and he's right, a terrible monster stays captive. Big win.
    ... and he's wrong, an innocent woman is held captive. Bad, but only reasonably so.

    If he frees her:
    ... and he's right, a woman goes free. Pretty good result.
    ... and he's wrong, an innocent man (who's trying to protect everyone) is dead, and a dreadful monster is loose. Terrible result.

    Just look at the risk to reward ratio, and leaving her there is much the better option.
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  15. #5310
    The Could-Have-Been King Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sol M View Post
    Then it makes her look like a liar. ^^
    Alternatively, this is all a hypothetical scenario - the "you" in this context is someone being told this story and the one telling it doesn't actually know any exact details, the interesting part being how you answer and what that says about you.

    In fact, I think that was sorta what I was going for when I started this.

    Convince the woman to give in so that the knight lets her out.

    Actually yeah. If the woman agrees to marry the knight, the knight is still going to refuse to let her out.
    I dunno. It's an interesting approach. It might work if you can somehow convince the knight to let you speak to the woman alone, and then return later to see if he has released her. The tricky part would be to do it without letting the knight know about it, and getting away with it without lying. (Which was a major no-no in European chivalry.)

    That's why people swore oaths and followed them so strictly, yes.

    It doesn't mean that adhering to something when it's clearly wrong in a particular situation and/or not getting you anywhere merely because you swore an oath isn't just as meaningless.

    And as with most "slippery slopes", the issue vanishes with sufficient analysis, conscience, and a healthy dose of common sense.
    That sounds like a rationalization to me.

    To be honest, in this scenario, neither of them have actually done anything worth earning death sentences for,
    Eh, depends on your values. Historically, people have been known to kill each other over what we would consider minor insults. And in medieval legend, killing other knights over stuff like this seems to have practically been a part of your knightly responsibilities.

    Unlawful imprisonment is bad and all, but the knight seems to be as much as prisoner as the woman, from the looks of it. Either the woman gives in, or they stay that way together. Neither of them are actually hurting the other, so it's not like someone needs to be saved from physical harm.
    Also an interesting approach. Not sure it's compatible with the ethics of chivalry, but I see what you mean.

    Also, if the knight isn't telling the truth, he's probably mentally unbalanced.
    Possibly. People do insane stuff in this type of story pretty regularly.

    Alternative Scenario: The knight is not the one who imprisoned her; he merely heard the same story from the previous champion and decided to defeat him. But afterwards, when he was about to unlock the tower, he was struck with doubt and now he keeps guarding her not knowing if she is a monster or not. Does that change anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by mailedbypostman1 View Post
    However, if there was somehow, magically, no way for the paladin to get more information then he already had, then I would generally side with setting the maiden free.

    Yes, there might be a vast evil of unspeakable repute disguised as a woman, but if not, there's an innocent being held for no good reason and made to suffer.

    And if there's even a possibility of that, then he shouldn't walk away from it without seeing the veracity of it.
    I think it probably comes down to what you consider to be worse: Causing an evil act to transpire while acting on good intentions, or allowing an evil act to transpire due to inactivity.
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