Out-lawyering an Inevitable
(This happened during downtime as sort of an interview-slash-session-zero for a new player to replace a player who’d dropped out. The new character is an elf cleric whose backstory has him running an apothecary on the side, specializing in reviving the dead. There were dice rolls involved, but I was not privy to any of them since this was all done on Discord. The whole party was listening, but the rest of us had our mics muted. All kibitzing was done in the OOC text channel, but I’m omitting that here since neither participant was reading it at the time.)
DM: You see what appears to be a construct approaching. *Dice roll.* I’m just going to go ahead and give you that it’s an Inevitable.
Cleric: Marut, I’m guessing?
(Note: Inevitables are construct outsiders who are built to enforce universal laws; Maruts specialize in dealing with people who cheat death.)
DM: Very good. Do you try to run or attack?
Cleric: Nah, I’m good. I wait for it to approach.
DM: *Raises a brow.* Alright, then. *Clears his throat and does a creditable Michael Dorn impression for the Marut’s voice.* “You are Taviel Andaris.” Statement, not question, by the way.
Cleric: “I am. What brings… I would ask what brings you to my apothecary, but I think I already know.”
DM: “If you expect the charges against you, then you already know of your crime. You stand accused of denying death its due. To date you have resurrected four hundred and seventeen people…”
Cleric: “Um, four hundred twenty-two. It was a busy week last week.”
DM: *Without missing a beat.* “…Four hundred and twenty-two people. My programming is to stop this from happening again. Your options…”
Cleric: “Defying death? Um. Not guilty, actually.” Not rolling a bluff check, I’m not bluffing.
DM: Fine by me, I’m still rolling sense motive. *Dice roll.* The Marut looks profoundly dubious. “You not only confessed to your crime, you corrected my outdated count. You have already admitted guilt.”
Cleric: “I did no such thing. Yes, I specialize in resurrections; no, I am not guilty of keeping anyone from the grave.”
DM: …I think I see where you’re going with this, but the Marut won’t. “Your arguments are irrreconcilable. My programming is to stop this from happening again. Your options are to accept a geas or to be destroyed.”
Cleric: “If you wish to place a geas on me to prevent me from, as you phrased it, denying death its due, then you are welcome to do so. It will not affect my business or business practices.”
DM: The Marut looks sort of bemused. “You do understand what a geas is, correct?”
Cleric: “I can cast them, myself — and break them. I would not need to break yours to continue my business.”
DM: *Dice roll, snort.* It’s not happy with that answer.
Cleric: *Laughs!* I can make it a lot unhappier, but I’m not set up for this kind of a one-on-one fight. “Let me explain myself. How much do you know about my business besides the resurrection count?”
DM: *Dice roll.* It scowls at you. “I will allow this, but be brief.”
Cleric: “Let me rephrase that question, actually: How many people have I granted immortality?”
DM: *Snickers.* I stand corrected, that’s not where I thought you were going with this. It doesn’t like that answer, but it doesn’t move. “You have granted no one immortality.”
Cleric: “And how many people have I brought back to life who were not killed by old age or disease?”
DM: *Dice roll.* It gives you a triumphant look at that. “Three.”
Cleric: Shit. Um. “Those were deliberately administered diseases with the intent of killing the victims, two from traps and one that was later successfully tried as a murder case. They can not be considered natural deaths.”
DM: Nice save! *Dice roll.* I’ll allow that.
DM: “Discounting that, you have resurrected no one who has died of natural causes.”
Cleric: “Then how have I cheated death? It’s natural and even more inevitable than you are. I’ve only postponed it so that…” What was that number again, anyway, four-twenty-two?
DM: Uh, I think so, yeah; close enough.
Cleric: “…So that four hundred twenty-two people could have a chance to finish lives that would otherwise have been cut short. I firmly maintain my not-guilty plea.” And I put my hands on my hips and glare up at it.
DM: It glares right back at you. “Your arguments are based on a technicality.”
Cleric: *Defiantly.* “No. Your charges are based on a technicality. My clients will all die. Eventually. I cannot change that.”
DM: *Dice roll.* …Hm. *Dice roll. Snicker.* Well, then.
DM: “Your answers have satisfied my programming. You are free to go. But be aware: You actions will be monitored intently.” *Laughs.* I hate you. That was supposed to be the start of a fight that I was going to get the rest of the party in on for our next session. You just broke how I was supposed to introduce you all. …Who the hell even tries to out-lawyer a god-damned Inevitable in their own area of expertise, anyway…?