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We seek your advice on a matter of contract law. If we could direct your attention to Clause 4 of the attached contract you will find a section which states 'Thirf shall be obliged... to disclose any and all information which may be considered of relevance to the party'. Recently, due to an vexing encounter with a lost insectoid race, one of our party became separated from the group. Thirf asked one of the insects to discover her situation, a task which by his own admission they could only have achieved by eldritch means. Thirf received the answer to this question some two days later, and only chose to pass this information on after we had taken our leave of the race (another day later). We would hold this to be in contravention of Clauses 4 and 5 of the document.
Thirf has represented his position as being that the information was of dubious relevance and was passed on in a sufficiently timely manner (see Clause 4 for the definition of 'timely'). He also expresses the belief that we were faced with no real decision and that therefore the information was not relevant. We would welcome your arbitration in this matter.
Larin, Laurith, and Merrick
Mad Elf replies...
I don't believe I have ever heard of a party requiring a written contract to ensure reasonable behaviour from one of its members. Usually the people involved can convince even the tightest-lipped member to pass on some of the things sie knows... Personally I think that the question of the contract is not the point; general good sense for getting things done requires a certain level of co-operation.
However, you have asked for a ruling on the integrity of the contract. It would appear that Thirf has some claim to have maintained the letter of the document (although he has metaphorically torn up the spirit, jumped on it, and buried it in soft peat), as the wording calls for a subjective judgement on his (and your) part as to what 'relevant' entails. I agree with your contention that the information was indeed very relevant to the decisions you had to make, but Thirf made a decision on the relevancy as was his duty. It is therefor my considered opinion that Thirf has not broken contract with you, and although you are at liberty to berate him to your hearts' content, you are still bound by the contract yourselves. I advise against belabouring the point overmuch, though.
I believe that this contract will be up for re-negotiation soon. I suggest that should you decide to re-engage Thirf's services, you word it such a way that he is no longer inclined to interpret it in ways calculated to annoy you, and to remove the ambiguities which led to this altercation. Even more, I suggest that certain of the signatories possess themselves of lives and clues in the near future, which would remove the problem entirely.
1: Purpose and duration of contract
The contract shall be to assist and advise in the efforts of the party to thwart the Barbarian horde currently threatening the Young Kingdoms, and to perform such actions and services as are required in pursuit of those aims and as are appropriate to his skills and experience. The contract shall be executed in two phases.
Phase one: The party shall proceed North to locate the leaders of the horde, and generally to seek out such information as may be required in order to decide whether to proceed to Phase two.
Phase two: The party shall take whatever action has been decided as viable in phase one in pursuit of either its stated goals or the survival of the party members.
2: Payment for services contracted
Thirf shall be due a sum of 10 LB per day, to be paid on a daily basis, plus any reasonable expenses, which shall be re-imbursed to him on presentation of a receipt. Reasonable shall be defined as any expense incurred due to activities directly connected with the purpose of the contract. Any salvage or booty which Thirf should claim through his own individual actions shall be his in entirety. Any salvage or booty liberated by the other members of the party shall be divided among said other members of the party.
This payment shall continue in the event of an injury which prevents the execution of this contract for a maximum period of two weeks from sustaining the injury. In the event of injuries resulting in the disablement of Thirf for a period exceeding this, we the employers will pay for continuing medical expenses, and shall thereafter offer a position of employment appropriate to his capabilities, and at an appropriate rate of pay. Alternatively, a negotiable lump sum not to exceed 1000LB, or a combination thereof may be agreed.
In the event of his death, a further payment of a negotiable sum not to exceed 1000LB shall be buried, if possible, with the corpse.
While engaged on this contract, Thirf shall not bind himself in service to any other contract, with any other person or persons, and he shall further hold in abeyance any other contracts he may hold outstanding, for the duration of the contract. This shall not prevent him from contracting others to his service or employment.
Thirf shall be obliged for the duration of the contract to disclose any and all information which may be considered of relevance to the party, its members or their stated objectives under this contract. This information should be presented to all members of the party in a timely manner, such that they may take it under consideration in their decision-making.
5: Supernatural entities and other special cases
Thirf shall be entitled to enter into contract with supernatural entities, but any expenses incurred must be agreed in detail before such a contract is initiated in order to claim expenses. Information connected with such contracts, must be revealed in general terms both before and after such contracts are entered into. i.e., any casting costs, what is being contracted with, what it's likely behaviour will be, in general terms and specifically what the results of such a contract are going to be or are likely to be.
This contract shall be placed up for review at the conclusion of Phase one noted above. At this point a new termination date and payment structure may be negotiated among the contracting parties. The contract shall also be terminated thirty days after the confirmed death of the other party members, or on the death of Thirf or in the event of his being medically incapacitated to the point where he may not reasonably be expected to carry out his duties in the forseeable future. In the event of his death, Thirf shall be buried if practically possible and any outstanding payment due shall also be buried in a gold denomination.