The Canterbury Tales BATTLE ROYALE (Round 1)

Find out what this is all about here!

The Fight

I rolled a 20-sided dice for each pilgrim to see which one goes first. The following table represents the initiative rolls, modified by the dexterity bonuses of the pilgrims:

PILGRIM ROLL RESULT
Haberdasher/Carpenter/Dyer/Weaver/Carpet Maker (for first round only) Natural 20 (which results in an extra turn at the beginning of the first combat round)
Cook (for first round only) Natural 20 (which results in an extra turn at the beginning of the first combat round)
Squire 19
Doctor 18 (tiebreaker roll: 20)
Franklin 18 (tiebreaker roll: 17)
Oxford Cleric 17 (tiebreaker roll: 14)
Summoner 17 (tiebreaker roll: 8)
Friar 15
Chaucer 14
Yeoman 12 (tiebreaker roll: 24 [due to bonuses])
Parson 12 (tiebreaker roll: 19)
Plowman 12 (tiebreaker roll: 6)
Haberdasher/Carpenter/Dyer/Weaver/Carpet Maker (normal placement) 11
Manciple 11 (but didn’t roll a 20 beforehand, therefore placed after the Haberdasher and company)
Shipman 10
Monk 7 (tiebreaker roll: 9)
Nun 7 (tiebreaker roll: 5)
Sergeant of Law 6
Wife of Bath 5
Cook (normal placement) 4
Pardoner 4 (but didn’t roll a 20 beforehand, therefore placed after the Cook)
Reeve 3 (tiebreaker roll: 16)
Miller 3 (tiebreaker roll: 14)
Knight 2 (tiebreaker roll: 18)
Merchant 2 (tiebreaker roll: 11)
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Everyone’s placement!

ROUND 1

The Tradesmen (the Haberdasher, the Carpenter, the Dyer, the Weaver, and the Carpet Maker) are all a part of the same parish guild. Therefore, they all see the benefit of sticking together and surviving in a pack, at least for now. The Haberdasher, the Carpenter, and the Dyer were placed in one corner of the room; they shout to the Weaver and Carpet Maker to come join them. As the Weaver and Carpet Make move northwest across the room, the three other tradesmen take a total defense position. This means that they can’t do anything else this round, but their AC increases by four. Essentially, they’re readying themselves for if anyone else attacks them.

The Cook wants to live, and sees no qualms with attacking the man closes to him (the Shipman). He moves five feet north and uses one of his cooking pans to attack. Since the cook is an expert at what he does, he is familiar with the weight and applications of his pans, resulting in no penalties for using a non-traditional weapon. He rolls a 5, however, and misses the Shipman with his swing.

The Squire is not a wise boy, if his all-nighters are anything to go by. And if his story reflects his character, then the Squire is a boy who dreams of adventure and proving himself. He wants to impress his father and take down the biggest, nastiest pilgrim he can find. He runs northeast in the Miller’s direction.

The Doctor’s medical knowledge can be useful in a fight, but only if he has a weapon. His miserly ways have resulted in an underprepared Doctor. But the silver knifes of the Tradesmen appeal to him, so he walks westward to the Weaver and the Carpet Maker and offers to join them and heal them if they get hurt. The Doctor’s bluff (10) beats the Weaver’s Sense Motive Check (2), but not the Carpet Maker’s (12). Though the Weaver believes the Doctor, the Carpet Maker knows that something is up. Still, his services can be useful, so both the Tradesmen agree to let the Doctor join them. Unlike the Weaver, the Carpet Maker plans to keep a close eye on their new “ally.”

The Franklin’s greatest asset is his money, and he’s willing to spend as much of it as he can to get out of here. But whom should he bribe? The Knight seems like a strong man; perhaps he can be bought (the Franklin does not consider that the Knight might be opposed to his services being bought, but the hedonistic ways of the Franklin imply that his character is not that wise). The Franklin moves southeast in order to reach the Knight and talk to him.

The Oxford Cleric’s morality keeps him from seeking out an opponent. He instead engages in Total Defense and plans to talk whomever may be a threat into defending him instead.

The Summoner’s a man who deals in information. Not only is he a man who can be easily bribed, but also he is a man who knows others know he can be easily bribed. He moves southwest across the room to catch up with the Franklin, hoping to strike an alliance.

The Friar wants money, and he also needs a weapon. The Franklin can supply both of these things. The Friar runs up to between the Franklin and the Summoner. He asks the Franklin if he’ll give him his riches if the Friar defends him. He also implies that the Summoner is approaching the Franklin to attack him, in an attempt to discredit the man he argued with during the pilgrimage. The Friar’s Bluff skill was exercised in the many years of begging for money and preying on helpless girls: his roll of 24 easily beats the unwise Franklin’s Sense Motive roll of 5. The Franklin does not suspect that the Friar will stab him in the back given the chance. The Friar asks for the Franklin’s knife to help defend him, and the Franklin obliges.

Chaucer engages in Total Defense, willing to watch from the sidelines like he did during the group’s travels.

The Yeoman is loyal to the Knight and Squire, but he’s also concerned about appearance. He moves northeast to join the Squire, looking to defend him.

The Parson is a true man of God, and looks to end this conflict and pray his way out of this mess. He travels south to the fight between the Shipman and the Cook, and attempts to persuade the two to stop fighting. As if bless by the hand of God( translation: I’m not making this up), the Parson rolls a natural 20, followed by a 5, in his attempt to stop the two. Both the Shipman and the Cook (their will saves rolling a 4 and a 16 respectively) are turned soft by their parson’s divinely inspired plea for peace. Though the Shipman is not the type of man to stop fighting, even he takes a pause for the moment.

The Plowman is very much like the Parson, in terms of living an honest and God-loving life. He goes to his knees and prays, hoping to find a faith-based solution to this nightmare. This leaves him flat-footed in case anyone attacks, but also means that any attackers must make a Will Save in order to stomach attacking a man in prayer.

The Haberdasher, the Carpenter, and the Dyer continue their Total Defense on their regular turn. The Carpet Maker and the Weaver continue to move up North to join them.

The Manciple’s wisdom comes from organizing large groups. And the largest group right now is the Tradesmen. He crosses west, reaching halfway across the room, in order to lend his services to the Tradesmen.

As I mentioned before, the Shipman’s decision to stop fighting the Cook was uncharacteristic of such a “take no prisoners” type of character. But what is characteristic of his character is dishonesty. He tells the Parson that he will stop fighting, and his bluff check (22) easily beats the Parson’s Sense Motive (10). This means that the Parson is flat-footed when the Shipman rolls a 19 to stab him with his dagger. The Parson takes 4 damage, and is now bleeding from the stomach.

To the Monk, this whole event is a hunt, and he has his dogs with him on the pilgrimage since he loves hunting so much. And the Monk won’t taste another Roasted Swan if he dies here. He has three dogs, and he sends all of them east, towards the Parson, and hopes for an easy kill. The Monk follows his dogs, his hunting crossbow ready for whomever may escape the dogs’ path.

The Nun’s overdramatic and courtly ways serve her well in her next goal. She travels south to the Knight and begs him to protect her. Unlike the Doctor, the Nun is earnest in her plea, and the Knight’s chivalric code means that he does not refuse her.

The Sergeant of Law is a bright man, but not particularly wise. He also has no idea of his own, so he travels south towards the Nun in order to do the same thing she did.

The Wife of Bath also imitates the Nun, hoping her charisma will convince the Knight that she needs protecting too. She moves west instead of south as to avoid the Monk’s oncoming dogs.

The Cook just witnessed the Shipman stab the Parson. He pushes the Parson out of the way so he can shield his inspirational friend from further harm. This triggers an Attack of Opportunity for the Shipman, who rolls a 16. This means that the Cook bravely used himself as a human shield to protect the Parson. The Cook takes 2 damage from the knife, resulting in a gash across his arm. The Parson took 1 damage from the fall, as displayed by a bruise on his head.

The Pardoner takes advantage of the poor in fortune. Right now, there’s no one poorer in fortune then the Parson, so the Pardoner moves South and a little West in order to take out a damaged Parson.

The Reeve’s old age and rusty dagger won’t stop him from seeking vengeance on the man who made fun of his profession. The Reeve walks up to the Miller and slashes at him with his knife. But the Reeve’s old and feeble, and the Miller easily dodges his roll of 3 made with the knife.

The Miller, in contrast with the Reeve, is both incredibly strong and big enough to overpower him in a fight. But even he’s susceptible to bad rolls of the dice: in this case, a 1 followed by an 11. The Miller’s so worked up in anger that his first punch misses the Reeve, and he almost trips himself in the process. But since a more respectable 11 counterbalanced his Critical Failure of a 1, The Miller merely misses instead of taking a disastrous action.

The Knight moves northeast to follow his son, but does not move so far as to leave the Nun undefended. The Knight shouts out a command to The Squire to come back and help defend the Nun. The Squire rolls a perfect 20 in hearing his father over the din of battle, and succeeds the Will Save (he rolled a 13 to the DC 10 the Pathfinder website suggests) needed to heed his father’s words. On his next turn, the Squire will retreat from his plan of glory.

The Merchant, like the Cleric, is intelligent without being wise at all. He sees the Monk’s greyhounds and decides that this is a good man to partner up with. He runs up to the Monk and offers him an alliance in exchange for his entire business. The Merchant rolls an 11 in Diplomacy, enough to convince a neutral Monk to forge an Alliance with him. The Merchant’s experience in bargaining and his respected position resulted in a new ally.

To be continued

 

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Where everyone ended up.

The Canterbury Tales BATTLE ROYALE (Introduction)

Who would win in a fight between all of the pilgrims in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”? I asked that question a while ago, and went through a lot of research to find out. You’ll see the results of the fight eventually, but first, here’s the setup information you need.

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Who would win in a fight? This question has been asked about thousands of characters, either real (Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston) or imaginary (James Bond vs. Jason Bourne). To answer any “who would win?” question, the answerer must consider the personality of those involved. Would Superman’s moral code prevent him from killing Batman, giving his opponent enough time for an effective counterattack? Would Hitler have won WWII if his overconfidence didn’t lead to a foolish invasion of the USSR? Character informs action, and therefore the actions of certain characters can reveal new depths to personality.

There’s no better way to see the personalities of Chaucer’s pilgrims on full display than to watch them all fight. The premise of this assignment is: the 27 pilgrims of The Canterbury Tales (excluding the Host but including Chaucer himself) are locked in a room together, and only one can come out alive. Who would win in a fight? To find an answer, I will take information from the general prologue and translate the details of each character into a Pathfinder (a version of Dungeons and Dragons) character sheet. The characters’ combat experience, profession, traits, and chosen stories will all turn into numbers and strategies that can be used in battle. Each character will be at level 1, and all non-medieval-society elements (like magic) will be outlawed. Then, using the Pathfinder rules, I will simulate a battle between all these pilgrims, a battle decided by skill, cunning, and random dice rolls.

The heavy favorite to win this brawl is the Knight, as he has lived through many wars and possesses the best armor. However, the Knight is wont to charge into battle bravely, which can be a mistake that wiser men like The Parson or the Doctor can take advantage of. Plus, characters like the Knight and The Parson are moral, whereas an immoral character like The Shipman would have no problem forming alliances with someone like the Monk before stabbing him in the back. Will the Miller’s brute strength overcome the Yeoman’s archery skills? Which church official’s ill-gotten wealth was used on the best weapons? And how badly will Chaucer’s narrator lose the fight? I will record whatever plays out, and then extrapolate from the results who won the fight and who should have won the fight.

The only difficulty I forsee in this project is keeping the paper under 5 pages. Perhaps I can send both an abridged copy talking about the process and then all my notes/character sheets as the project itself.

 

The Basics

This fight will be simulated using Pathfinder rules. All the information about Pathfinder can be found at http://www.d20pfsrd.com, but I’ll go over some of the basics here.

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Pathfinder is a game where most actions are decided by the roll of a 20-sided die. The higher one rolls, the better one succeeds at a given task. Bonus and penalties may be added and subtracted to the roll depending on a character. For example, say the Friar wants to lie to someone. He’d roll a d20 to see how well he does; the higher he rolls, the more likely his lie will be believed. He has a +7 for the bluff skill, so if he rolls a 13 on the die it really counts as a 20. If the Summoner tries to discern whether the Friar is lying, he gets a -1 to Wisdom and therefore to the Sense Motive skill, meaning anything he rolls counts for one less.

Combat works similarly. When attacking, a character rolls to see if they roll higher than their opponent’s AC (defense). If they do, they hit. If they don’t, they miss. Most characters will have an AC of 10 unless they have a shield or a modifying Dexterity stat.

There are 6 base attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Strength affects how good you are at hitting things, while Dexterity determines your AC and Initiative. Constitution adds to your hit points and helps for Fortitude saves. Intelligence helps for skills, and Wisdom and Charisma are self-explanatory.

During combat, each round can have characters use a move action and an attack action. Move space for most of the characters is 30 ft. per round. Rounds are supposed to count for 6 seconds in real time, although this can be stretched or compressed at the decision of the Dungeon Master (the guy running the show).

If a character rolls a natural 20 (or a 19, if some weapons say so), and then confirm the roll with another good roll, they get a critical hit. This could mean double damage or another stupendous affect of good fortune. On the opposite side of that coin, rolling a 1 followed by a bad roll means a stroke of bad luck as determined by the DM.

Two important combat terms for this battle are attack of opportunity and flanking. An attack of opportunity happens when a character tries to move past a space that an opponent can reach. If that happens, the character is not on their guard, and the opponent gets a free chance to attack. On another note, if a character is flanked, he/she receives a -2 penalty to AC for each additional person flanking them.

If a character falls below 0 hit points, they are considered unconscious and must make Fortitude Saves to keep from bleeding out. If they reach -10 hit points, they are dead. Unconscious characters can be instantly killed with one attack action from a awake character that means him/her harm.

The Players

I chose for each character a class that would most likely fit them. This helped determine their hit points and skill points. For example, the Knight was closest to the paladin in character, and thus would be considered one in an actual game of Pathfinder.

 

Pilgrim Advantages (translated into DnD terms) Disadvantages

(translated into DnD terms)

Hit Points Explanations (how they’re described in the prologue)
Narrator +12 for Perform (Stories), able to go by unnoticed 6 Tells the main story, doesn’t draw attention from other characters)
Knight +2 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +2 wisdom, +1 Charisma, veteran of wars, starts with a longsword (+1) and shield, knowledgeable of religion, aligned with Squire and Yeoman. 10 (also won’t fall unconscious when in negative hit points due to combat experience) Strong, has survived many battles, well-liked, brave, Christian
Squire +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +3 Charisma +5 Perform (flute), +5 Perform (singing), +3 Ride, carries short sword (+1), aligned with Knight and Yeoman -1 Wisdom, will do anything a woman tells him to do, eager to prove himself 10 Sings, plays flute, rides well, knight in training, educated, agile, strong, spends nights awake, a bit egotistical
Yeoman +2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, carries Longbow and Dagger (+5 and +3 respectively), arrows have +1 bonus, +3 Handle Animal, +3 Knowledge (Nature), +1 Profession (Attendant), +2 Survival, aligned with Knight and Squire -1 Wisdom 15 Expert woodsman, strong, loyal, sturdy build, arrows perfectly made, excellent shot with bow and arrow, too concerned with appearance.
Nun +1 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, +4 Diplomacy, +3 Nobility, Speaks French -1 Wisdom, trained for court instead of survival 6 Speaks French, courteous and friendly, emphasis on appearance, over dramatic, would rather be a lady in court
Monk Has 3 greyhounds to fight by his side, carries a hunting crossbow (+3), +3 Dexterity, +1 Charisma, +3 Handle Animal, +2 Knowledge (Nature), +8 Ride -1 Constitution, -1 Wisdom 7 Great hunter and ride, owns greyhounds, loves hunting, personable, worldly and breaks religious vows, fat
Friar +2 Intelligence, +3 Charisma, +7 Bluff, +4 Knowledge (Local), +5 Perform (Sing), +2 Profession (Friar) Values Money Too Much 8 Good at getting money, cunning, knows local bars, good singing voice,
Merchant +2 Intelligence, +6 Appraise, +6 Profession (Merchant), respected by other pilgrims -2 Wisdom 6 In debt, bad at money management, knowledgeable businessman who knows a good bargain, respected
Cleric +3 Intelligence, +4 Knowledge (arcana, geography, history, local, nobility, religion) -2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom, maybe too moral for this battle 4 Very thin, spends all borrowed money on books, moral, well-educated
Sergeant of Law +4 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, +9 Profession (Law), has distinction and money -1 Wisdom, will follow whoever’s nearby 6 Less busy/wise than people thought, no original thought of his own, memorized court cases to appear intelligent (but has incredible memory),
Franklin +1 Charisma, has lots of money, carries dagger (+0), +2 Knowledge (nobility) -1 Wisdom, will give out money freely, 8 Loves worldly pleasures, wealthy
Guildsmen (Haberdasher+

carpenter+ Dyer+

Weaver+ Carpet

Maker)

Each carries silver dagger (+1 attack), Profession (for each) +12, in natural alliance with each other Concerned about appearance 8 Worthy at trades, did well professionally
Cook Can use cooking tools as weapons, +4 Cooking -1 Constitution, -1 Charisma 7 Oozing ulcer, questionable hygiene, great cook (familiar with tools)
Shipman +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom, +1 Charisma, carries dagger (+2), +4 Bluff, +3 Profession (shipman), +1 Slight of Hand, good fighter, lacks morals “take no prisoners” attitude, dishonest, weak to chances for drinking, -1 Dexterity 11 Excellent sailor, hardy, transports wine and helps self to it
Doctor +2 Intelligence, +6 Heal, +6 Knowledge (local) Loves gold, too miserly to spend money on anything that might help him in this battle 8 Skilled doctor, educated about medicine, has deals with local apothecaries
Wife of Bath +3 Charisma, +1 Seamstress, +4 Knowledge (love remedies), +3 Knowledge (geography) Vain, not prepared for combat 6 Attractive, married 5 times, wants to be first at alter, good seamstress, loves to laugh and chat
Parson +3 Intelligence, +4 Wisdom, +7 Knowledge (religion) Doesn’t have the will to fight, very poor 8 Well-educated, devout, hardworking, ideal priest
Plowman +1 Strength, +1 Wisdom, +4 Knowledge (religion) Doesn’t have the will to fight, poor 8 Lives in harmony with God/nature, still pays tithes even when poor.
Miller +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, Unarmed attacks +5, -1 Charisma, braggart 14 Big, brawny, strong enough to tear door from hinge, tells dirty stories
Manciple +3 Wisdom, +5 Appraise -1 Intelligence 6 Illiterate, shrewd, manages law school, gets great deals
Reeve +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom, carries rusty dagger (-1), +5 Appraise, +5 Carpentry, +4 Intimidate -1 Strength, -1 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, -2 Charisma, bad temper 6 Good at predicting weather, old, is intimidating and hated, great bargainer
Summoner Aligned with Pardoner, +2 Intimidate, +2 Knowledge (Nature), +4 Sense Motive, +2 Survival -1 Intelligence, -1 Wisdom, -2 Charisma, easily bribed 8 Face full of pimples, children afraid of him, knows little Latin but tries to pass himself as knowledgeable, loves garlic and onions
Pardoner Uses sack of relics as a weapon, +3 Bluff, takes advantage of ill-fortuned -3 Charisma 10 Most despicable of pilgrims, sells fake relics to poor people

 

One final note: I’ve decided not to include the second nun or the nun’s priest because they’re not described that much in the story. I wouldn’t even be sure if they have absolutely average stats. They would get in the way of the other pilgrims if I put them in the battle, so they’ll stay out of this one.

So our fight is about to begin. The host leads the pilgrims into an inn, or at least what looks like an inn on the outside. Inside is a large 75 ft. by 140 ft. room. The Host asks the pilgrims to stand where they are standing on my ‘Round 1 Beginning Placement’ sheet (which I’ll upload soon). Then, the Host leaves, and the one door in the room locks on its own accord. The pilgrims are confused and frightened. Then, the voice of the Host booms through the room: “No man shalle leven unlesse he is the solein man that lives- God spede!” To the pilgrims, it’s as if the voice of God had spoken through His avatar. The meaning is clear- only one pilgrim will leave this room alive…

TO BE CONTINUED

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Edit: It begins!