The encounter with the man and woman shooting each other is an interesting one. Playing on the general do-gooder tendencies of the average player, the designers have her pleading for help. I’m not sure how, but it seems to be random which one of them wins the fight. Sometimes she’s dead before you reach them. Sometimes their fight goes on and on. Sometimes she wins. Rutskarn was complaining about the fact that you lose karma for killing him, when it’s very likely that a first-time player will attack the guy in a misguided attempt to thwart injustice.
Part of the problem is that I’m not sure what the designers mean by “karma”. Is it a measure of the bad you’ve done, even when you mean no harm? Like, accidentally running over a dog gives a person “negative karma”, even though it was an accident. Or is it just a re-branded version of Ye Olde Slider of Morality?
Is the winner of the fight determined by combat rolls? I don’t think so. Their fight goes on for a long time, and usually the winner has a good bit of health left. Over that many dice rolls, we should not see wildly different outcomes.
About the lottery winner: He’s a powder ganger, which means he’s with the group of murderous escaped convicts who have been raiding and making trouble in the region. If you talk to another survivor in Nipton, you’ll find out that the Powder Gangers were here as part of a kidnapping, ransom, and robbery plot. Their plans went sideways when the Legion rolled into town and started beheading and crucifying everyone. The legion held a lottery. The “lucky losers” were beheaded. Then most of the rest of the town was crucified. A few more were burned alive on tires. Then the second-place winner had his legs crippled, and the first-place winner was set free. The fact that a Powder Ganger won the lottery was just one final cruelty in a long list of injustices.
But the truth is, I kill the lottery winner because he’s the first guy you meet with eyeglasses, and I always take the “Four Eyes” perk. So… I don’t have a lot of moral high ground.
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