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Episode 64: A Calculated Withdrawal


Shopkeepers are always immune to being attacked in roleplaying games. There's some sort of intrinsic separation in most players' minds between "person you can get information from, or track through a forest, or fight" and "person you buy stuff from", and never the twain shall meet.

Of course this strange state of affairs has a perfectly rational explanation. Any GM worth his salt knows that shopkeepers must always be retired adventurers with oodles of levels in martial arts or the Jewelled Sword of Hacking Impertinent Hagglers to Bits under their counter.


Qui-Gon: We can't attack him. He's a shopkeeper.
R2-D2: Well that was a crappy cliffhanger from last week's session.
Qui-Gon: We'll have to find some money somehow. What's my character's alignment again?
GM: You're a Jedi knight. Upholder of Justice throughout the Galaxy.
Qui-Gon: So...?
GM: Lawful Good. In theory.
Qui-Gon: Right. So if we rob people, we should make sure they're gangsters first.
R2-D2: {small} I had the fight all planned out. Assuming zero-level, a surprise attack would have a 68% chance of incapacitating him right off the bat...
Qui-Gon: Come on Jar Jar, we're leaving.
R2-D2: ...and then you'd take a flanking attack to gain +2 on your next strike...
Padmé: Goodbye Anakin. Nice talking to you.
Anakin: Bye!
Qui-Gon: What did you find out?
Padmé: He's been a slave all his life. He and his mother were sold to Gardulla the Hutt when he was three, but she lost them betting on pod races. And he's a mechanic.
R2-D2: ...of course if he turns out to have Prestige levels you'd need to calculate the best Neutralise manoeuvre...
Qui-Gon: So, nothing.
R2-D2: ...I just happen to have the complete interaction matrix coded up on my PDA with probabilities to four decimal places...

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Published: Sunday, 02 January, 2011; 14:36:51 PST.
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