Immoral player characters in RPGs

MGibster

Legend
Only if you accept the premise that the person's you've captured won't hesitate to murder to escape.
Well, let's think about this for a moment. If you captured someone you believe broke into your ship with the intent to steal or otherwise do something nefarious and were going through the trouble of putting them on trial wouldn't you make sure they didn't have any weapons? If anyone broke into my home while carrying a weapon I would work from the assumption that they were willing to use it on me.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Some RPGers seem to think it is the referee's job to stop or police this sort of action declaration. Are they correct?

What was the table agreement with respect to tone of the game, and PCs intentionally harming other PCs?

If there's a table agreement that would preclude such, then yes, it is the referee's job to enforce that agreement.

If there wasn't an agreement - why the heck wasn't there a table agreement on this? Lacking one, it would probably have been appropriate to pause the action and create the agreement.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Well, let's think about this for a moment. If you captured someone you believe broke into your ship with the intent to steal or otherwise do something nefarious and were going through the trouble of putting them on trial wouldn't you make sure they didn't have any weapons?

This is secondary from the table consent issue, but yeah. The captors didn't bother to search captives for weapons?

Grenades are, primarily, anti-personnel weapons. If the PCs are carrying grenades, then you should expect grenade action, and the rather gruesome and unheroic results.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
it seems that the Player played their character and thats is what they are suppose to do, its now the GMs job to impose in game consequences since that character is clearly a pirate and the Taxiwanians have reason to suspect that the explosion that destroyed their ship, killed their people and another PC wasnt an accident
 
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MGibster

Legend
it seems that the Player played their character and thats is what they are suppose to do, its noe the GMs job to impose in game consequences since that character is clearly a pirate and the Taxiwanians have reason to suspect that the explosion that destroyed their ship, killed their people and another PC wasnt an accident
I'm a natural consequences type of GM myself. i.e. I allow the actions of the PCs to have a consequence on the direction of the campaign for good or bad. In a Traveller game, not that I've ever run one before, I think I could continue the campaign just fine. At some point, someone is going to investigate the explosion of the Taxiwanian ship. They're going to figure out that the explosion wasn't an accident, will likely figure out that there was a smaller explosion on the bridge prior to the larger detonation, and may even be able to piece together any communication they had with the PCs putting them at the top of the list of suspects.

So that's what I'd do. At some point in the future I'd have the Taxiwanians attempting to detain the PCs to question them about their involvement with the doomed crew. I might even ask them what a member of their crew was doing aboard the ship.
 


MGibster

Legend
The player is supposed to play a game with other people. So, "I was just playing my character," is not an acceptable excuse for taking the game to a place others really don't want to go.
This is of paramount importance and it bears repeating. It's okay to have a character that sometimes makes things a bit more complicated for everyone. It's not okay for someone to play a character in such a manner that it makes the game less fun for other players or the GM. Such things will inevitably happen from time-to-time, but it's something that should be avoided when possible.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
This is of paramount importance and it bears repeating. It's okay to have a character that sometimes makes things a bit more complicated for everyone. It's not okay for someone to play a character in such a manner that it makes the game less fun for other players or the GM. Such things will inevitably happen from time-to-time, but it's something that should be avoided when possible.
To be fair, we have no indication that any of the players have an issue with how things played out, only that some of the characters do.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
To be fair, we have no indication that any of the players have an issue with how things played out, only that some of the characters do.

From the OP:
"...Vincenzo's player, in particular, was pretty outraged ..."

Emphasis mine.
 

From the OP:
"...Vincenzo's player, in particular, was pretty outraged ..."

Emphasis mine.

I took that to be outraged at the character but not at the player.

I think that expectations of play are absolutely of high importance here, and if the players are not happy with this kind of thing then some discussion is in order. But I don’t get that impression here. I’m sure pemerton can confirm, though.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The players talked about it. Two PCs - the instigator Alissa and the ex-pirate Xander - did it. (We already knew Xander was a ruthless individual. He didn't quit piracy because of moral qualms!)
For what it's worth, I don't think that you did anything wrong. Players in my opinion should be allowed to explore the negative side of things, as long as they are willing to accept the consequences that come. It makes things more interesting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I took that to be outraged at the character but not at the player.

I think that expectations of play are absolutely of high importance here, and if the players are not happy with this kind of thing then some discussion is in order. But I don’t get that impression here. I’m sure pemerton can confirm, though.
"When this happened, it was the object of discussion at the table. Vincenzo's player, in particular, was pretty outraged - not necessarily at the player, who is his friend, but at the conduct.

Some RPGers seem to think it is the referee's job to stop or police this sort of action declaration. Are they correct?"

He says player twice and indicates that that the outrage was not at his player friend, but at the conduct(of the character in this context). Then he goes on to say that some RPGers(players) seem to think it's the DM's job to stop/police those sorts of action declarations. I don't get the impression that he's conflating player with character here.
 

pemerton

Legend
Well, let's think about this for a moment. If you captured someone you believe broke into your ship with the intent to steal or otherwise do something nefarious and were going through the trouble of putting them on trial wouldn't you make sure they didn't have any weapons? If anyone broke into my home while carrying a weapon I would work from the assumption that they were willing to use it on me.
I see what you mean. But the PCs weren't evidently armed except for Alissa's cutlass. And there is a lot of ceremonial wearing of swords in our Traveller universe (Imperial Marines and Nobles seem to have a bit of a thing for them, judging from the PC generation tables).
 

pemerton

Legend
To be fair, we have no indication that any of the players have an issue with how things played out, only that some of the characters do.
I took that to be outraged at the character but not at the player.

I think that expectations of play are absolutely of high importance here, and if the players are not happy with this kind of thing then some discussion is in order. But I don’t get that impression here. I’m sure pemerton can confirm, though.
Right. Vincezno's player was characterising Alissa using such terms as psychopath etc. And saying things to the effect of how outrageous it was for Alissa to just blow everyone up.

This is the same player who ruefully rolls his eyes when he learns that the GM has decided that his PC's ladyfriend is experimenting on characters using the alien spores that (earlier) she surgically removed from Vincenzo's lungs (after he inadvertently inhaled them while exploring the cargo hold of the alien vessel Annic Nova).
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I see what you mean. But the PCs weren't evidently armed except for Alissa's cutlass.

Yeah, but the point of searching a suspect for weapons is to make sure they don't have hidden weapons, not to make sure they don't have evident ones.

"I didn't see any obvious weapons, so I didn't have to search them," is a pretty silly epitaph.
 

payn

Legend
Wasnt the character a psion that could more or less jedi mind trick er captures into thinking she was disarmed? Which, of course, leads to why was tossing a gernade on a spaceship/station the best method of escape?
 

pemerton

Legend
the point of searching a suspect for weapons is to make sure they don't have hidden weapons, not to make sure they don't have evident ones.
Here is something I read once about Vikings, from The Saga of the Jomsvikings: some defeated warriors are awaiting their execution, and one tells the other that, if there is life after death, he will hold up the blade of the knife he is holding after his head has been cut off. The saga reads "Torkel hewed, the head flew off, and the knife dropped."

What's interesting about it to me is not just it's indication of a Viking interest in the experimental method. It also shows that these Viking prisoners, awaiting execution, had access to knives.

Maybe the Taxiwanians are polite enough that they don't search everyone who comes under their control, even if they are trying them for attempted breaking and entering.

Wasnt the character a psion that could more or less jedi mind trick er captures into thinking she was disarmed? Which, of course, leads to why was tossing a gernade on a spaceship/station the best method of escape?
The character has psionic training: Clairvoyance to a level where she can get flashes of significant events; Awareness to a level where she can suspend animation; and a Special talent that lets her cloak herself (it's more like bending the light than Jedi mind tricks).

She used her cloaking to help her pull out the grenade and pull the pin without that being noticed.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Some RPGers seem to think it is the referee's job to stop or police this sort of action declaration. Are they correct?
They are if that's what the players want or it's clear that PvP will cause problems. But PCs doing outrageously immoral things? That's par for the course in just about any RPG - KoDT lampoons it pretty well.

What I'm wondering about is "In the end it was decided to load all the spare blasting dynamite into the pinnace and blow it up (with the unconscious NPCs, and Bobby)." It was decided... by whom? Alissa? The group as a whole? The passive voice there blurs who made the decision. Someone made it and bears the responsibility. It didn't decide itself. And, yeah, that may indicate a character is a psychopath as they're being played - not just trying to steal a spaceship, not just resorting to violence to get out of trouble when caught, but killing wounded people, including a comrade (of sorts), to cover up the crimes. I mean, really, that's kind of gilding the lily there.
 


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