Neutrality Bites




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  1. #1
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    Neutrality Bites

    I have a group of players who refuse to play anythin other than neutrals (they would play evil's if I would let them). While this would be fine if it were just a few of them, I find it increasingly difficult to motivate a whole party of neutral characters. I tend to use WoTC modules which seem to be centered around "good" characters wanting to do "good" things. My bunch of neutrals only want to know how much gold and or magical items are in it for them.

    I don't dislike the neutral alignments, but I'm finding that my players are using neutrality as a way to screw each other over without being evil. Hiding treasure and lying to each other seems to be their Idea of neutrality.

    Is it so bad to play a good character? I mean that is what the game was designed for. Anyone else have this broblem.

 

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    Point them out the place in the Player's Handbook where it says the game is more intended towards Good characters, rather than Evil ones, but Evil groups can still be played. Then tell them that it's your world, not theirs, and if they want to play those particular characters, THEY should tell YOU why they'd want to adventure, if they were so neutral on everything.

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    I definately feel for you, because I have the same problem when I DM. Most of the party, especially the talkative players who will inevitably end ot directing the group, is playing neutral. When I make up advantures about good aligned PC's doing good things, they don't really seem to care. Usually this means that some of the treasure they find becomes payment instead, but it really bothers me.

    When I play, I always play NG, the classic hero type, who goes around helping people whether they can pay me or not. Maybe I should branch out and play other types of characters, but I've always enjoyed playing them this way. I just want to go on epic quests and save the world. I don't want to piss off the DM by purposely dodging adventure hooks, and I don't want to play a character that annoys my fellow players. I am continually befuddled when other players go about hiding treasures from the party and stuff, or trying to steal from NPC storekeepers. This type of play has no appeal for me, and I take no enjoyment from role playing low level NPC's getting pushed around by PC's who don't seem to have any ethics.

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    Ignore Ruin Explorer
    What a bunch of whiners...

    You all suck as GMs, BTW.

    It's not about you, it's about everyone having fun. If they want to be Neutral, let them, and make up adventurers based on that.

    I mean, with my party who are a mix of neutral and good, I don't go around writing adventures for a party that are a mix of neutral and evil, so why should you, Zerovid.

    Plus, before you start whining about how it's "no fun" again, I should point out that I almost exclusively play NG and LG characters, like you, but I know my place, and I know how to have fun without forcing the players to cater to some ill-defined whim of mine that dictates that they must do good.

    If your players are just messing with each other, only one person is to blame: YOU, the GM.

    How to deal with it? Write adventurers that make them cooperate. It's not difficult. Read up on the prisoner's dilemma, for example. Put them in situations where they lose out by cheating each other. This doesn't force "good", but it means unless they choose group cohesion, they will have a harder time of things.

    I've played with all Neutral groups who coordinated perfectly and never tried to screw each other over, who were Neutral because they weren't out to do Good, but to find their fortunes and so on. Morality and Neutrality are not incompatible, indeed, some moralities dictate Neutrality, and if the PCs are simply and genuinely Amoral, they're probably on a quick road to Evil.

    So really, "must try harder" is the message. Make situations more complex and require teamwork, make your adventures more interesting and personalities more defined. Make you villians worthy of hate and disgust, not "Sephiroth"-style "Kewl", and maybe the players will actually want to be more involved.

    If you can't do this, quit as GM and make someone else run it...
    Hobo - "You're confusing you with someone else."

    Ruin Explorer is officially pleased with 4E's DM advice (mostly), and thinks that it's RP-advice etc. is both present and pretty darn solid, and certainly better than all other editions.

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    What Ruin said.

    That or tell them that you're going to take your turn as a player and let someone else DM.
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  • #6
    I wouldn't go so far as to say they "suck" as GMs... I too find it awkward sometimes to motivate neutral and evil characters. Good characters always have "goodness" to fall back on as a hook. Neutral characters can, depending on how they are played, also have similar "hooks" to fall back on if all else fails, but it requires more knowledge of the characer than every GM has. Heck, more knowledge of the character than the player may even have. A lot of people don't fully detail their characters, and moreso with neutral and evil than with good, you need a good understanding of the character to motivate him/her.

    *edit*

    As for players viewing neurality as a licence to do anything, that's quite easy to remedy... change their alignment to evil. Neutral is NOT a licence to do anything (Well... Chaotic Neutral is darn close, but you can violate even that alignment...)... It does have some freedom that Lawful Good doesn't have, true, but it's not unlimited.
    Last edited by Tsyr; Thursday, 21st February, 2002 at 04:40 PM.

  • #7
    If characters act selfishly, and evilly, they are not neutral. It is perfectly acceptable for you to warn them that they are tending towards chaos and evil. If they do not play their alignments, change their alignments to what they play. Then have LG parties hunt them down for the scum they are...
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    Given that the DM is doing most of the work, it doesn't seem particularly reasonable to berate him for running the sort of game he wishes to run. In my campaign, I have no evil PCs. I also use primarily 'good deed' hooks. About half of the players are nuetral of a sort, yet they do manage to play along, and come up with a reason for being there.

    A DM who wants a to run a game that he actually will enjoy running does not suck. He's just trying to enjoy the game as well. God forbid the DM has fun as well.

    It's not like he's bugaboo, being payed to run the game, thus having a customer service mentality to keep in mind.

    Buzzard

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    Ignore el Voz
    I agree with Ruin.

    I DM an evil campaign because the players want to screw each other over.

    In this case give them what they want. I encourage note passing. I pass notes to let certain people have knowledge of things that the party would not know. I leave it up to the players to inform the party.

    As a DM, I try to screw players over andd start fights and backstabs. I will describe an event, and distort it by only giving information that I forsee that the PC can gather. I allow the PC to come to false conculsions. I treat it like the teacher who sees the first punch, not the cause or reason that punch was thrown.

    The key is I make sure the PCs have choices and inputs. I let the PCs come to their own conculsion. I have had the PCs use a map that contains shaky information. The sucessfully avoid a trap on the map. They meet up with the villian (standing in front of a building) who lies and says they are looking for the building were the trap is located. They choose to believe the villian and they enter into the trap.

    Why believe a villian, because he is one of many innocents they meet. I give no indication if the clue is real or false. The central Government is strong and does not take kindly to psycotic murders.

    You also need to make sure everyone understands what alignment means. You need to eliminate much of the gray areas.

    This is not a simple follow the module campaign, but with a little thought and group preperation it is do able.

  • #10
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    This -so- depends. My group is three LN and the rest neutral. Though very rare with my group for the Lawful types to outnumber the chaotic.

    Instead of worrying about goodness, I use the lawful side to get them going. They are honorable, so slights to honor will be punished. And sometimes their duty dictates they should do certain things. The alignment system is not all just GvE.
    Black Omega
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