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Immoral player characters in RPGs

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
At the table: Alissa's player, having discussed with the other players as described in the OP.

In the fiction: Alissa and Xander.
Well, then it sounds like multiple characters may have psychopathic tendencies (Alissa, Xander) and all of the players had a hand in their psychopathy. They might want to consider careers as corsairs.
 

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S'mon

Legend
Just to say I think the damage table hull breach result probably assumes space/vacuum, would be a lot rarer in thick atmosphere.

As for the events, seems pretty typical Traveller play to me. :)
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
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.


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.
I don’t know about the Saga specifically and am no expert on Viking tradition but have read that a Viking belief was that if one dies without a weapon in hand one was denied entry to Valhalla. So warriors who were to be executed would be allowed to hold a knife when they were executed to avoid this issue. I think being allowed to die with a weapon in hand was a stipulation of surrender.
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
As for the issue at hand it seems that its a table decision and if that decision is that the players not play characters who act in the way acted then while it’s kinda up to the DM to enforce it, it’s really up to the players and DM to stick by their agreement.
 

pemerton

Legend
Just to say I think the damage table hull breach result probably assumes space/vacuum, would be a lot rarer in thick atmosphere.
I was using a vehicular combat table adapted from Double Adventure 2 (Mission on Mithril; Across the Bright Face). There is no assumption of vacuum.

How likely a grenade is to blow a hole in the hull of pinnace that is sitting on the ground of a dense atmosphere, very icy world I don't know. On the chart I used, the chance to damage at all was either 1 in 6 or 1 in 12 (I can't remember if it was 10+ or 11+ to hit after modifiers) and then 11/36 to breach, so that's somewhere around 1 in 20 to 1 in 40.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
Overall I agree that it is a table decision. It should be talked out in advance and decided upon. A true full freedom game of course would allow anything. But groups often decide they want to run something different.

If you want an in game justification for avoiding group killing in a fantasy campaign, here is one I provide. I tend to want a player commitment that the group is loyal to each other whether they are good or evil. I mostly prefer good groups.

1. There is a widespread taboo on betraying a fellow adventuring party comrade. This is akin to the hospitality taboos that run back all the way to ancient Israel. It is why Lot offered up his daughters to protect his guests. The taboo was that strong. It is also why the red wedding in Game of Thrones is portrayed as so horrific. So in my campaign worlds, betraying a comrade in arms has that connotation.

2. The Gods themselves are the ones who started the taboo and when it is broken they turn their backs upon the one who broke the rule. A cleric would be instantly aware. This can be so strong that a player character has no hope of continuing successfully.

3. People understand that helping a PC under such a curse may lead to their own suffering. So even sympathetic NPCs will shun someone who is a betrayer.

4. The DM can say that he is no longer a neutral arbiter now that the PC has violated the taboo. That when rolling dice the DM will give eternal disadvantage to the PC or even a +10 to all rolls by the enemy. This is akin to #3 above but might work for a non-fantasy game I suppose.
 


pming

Hero
Hiya!

Simply put: You're the GM, not the Player. It's not your "job" to bend reality and over ride what a Player chooses to have his/her PC attempt/do. You simply adjudicate the results of said action.

Now, if I was a Player...I'd never trust Alissa again, or at least not without a significant show of change and regret. I mean, at that point everyone 'knows' that if Alissa is ever in a position where its "her or you/them/me", then she would have no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save herself...including knocking me unconscious, then killing me on purpose so as to 'tie up loose ends' that might make her look bad (re: I survive and say "Yeah, she tossed a grenade for frac sake!".

It would make for some interesting party dynamics, however, so that's the bonus. :) So long as Alissa's player isn't of the "I can do what I want because it's what my character would do...and you aren't allowed to hold my PC responsible for it or do anything against my PC" types (we all know those types...! ).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
Hiya!

Simply put: You're the GM, not the Player. It's not your "job" to bend reality and over ride what a Player chooses to have his/her PC attempt/do. You simply adjudicate the results of said action.

Now, if I was a Player...I'd never trust Alissa again, or at least not without a significant show of change and regret. I mean, at that point everyone 'knows' that if Alissa is ever in a position where its "her or you/them/me", then she would have no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save herself...including knocking me unconscious, then killing me on purpose so as to 'tie up loose ends' that might make her look bad (re: I survive and say "Yeah, she tossed a grenade for frac sake!".

It would make for some interesting party dynamics, however, so that's the bonus. :) So long as Alissa's player isn't of the "I can do what I want because it's what my character would do...and you aren't allowed to hold my PC responsible for it or do anything against my PC" types (we all know those types...! ).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
That is the problem though. When you start talking about trusting a PLAYER and not a CHARACTER then you've already lost. If such behavior leads to player distrust in general then it's a bad thing overall. I realize people are this way which is why I discourage what I call PvP style campaigns.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That is the problem though. When you start talking about trusting a PLAYER and not a CHARACTER then you've already lost. If such behavior leads to player distrust in general then it's a bad thing overall. I realize people are this way which is why I discourage what I call PvP style campaigns.
Or - and it's easier this way - you just don't trust anyone in-character until-unless said trust has been earned.

I can think of players of which some of their PCs I'd trust to the death and others I wouldn't turn my back on for a second. Same players.

At the table, all you can do is trust that the players will play their PCs consistently...which will sometimes mean those players will be playing PCs you can't trust.
 

I don’t know about the Saga specifically and am no expert on Viking tradition but have read that a Viking belief was that if one dies without a weapon in hand one was denied entry to Valhalla. So warriors who were to be executed would be allowed to hold a knife when they were executed to avoid this issue. I think being allowed to die with a weapon in hand was a stipulation of surrender.
When I read that, I immediately thought of Brian Blessed and "There I was - surrounded by ten thousand Turks with only my trusty fruit knife." Hope I got that right from Blackadder :)
 


This is what session 0 is all about. My group normally doesn't have much (if any) PC conflict, but we did institute a rule that if a player is about to unilaterally take an action that is detrimental to the group, any player can call a time out to discuss it before it's implemented. If the majority of the players present feels it's bad enough of an idea, the action is vetoed.
 

The following happened in my group's most recent Classic Traveller session:

Alissa's conduct seems to count as murder on any measure: she has broken into someone else's property without any good justification, and then when caught and put on trial has escaped by attacking and ultimately killing that other person and her associates.

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?
To answer the specific question being raised, I'd say it depends on the game being played and how much authority is being extended to the GM (how much GM fiat is expected of them, are action resolutions primarily player or GM facing, etc.), but I also feel that focusing on that specific aspect, rather than the issue of there being mismatched expectations between the different members of the group, is missing the forest for the trees. Rather, I'd focus on the issue of making sure group expectations or clear and all on the same page, as well as the implementation of safety tools for the table to act as a check against play breaking down for whatever reason. Gonna plug the TTRPG Safety Toolkit for this reason.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Hiya!

Simply put: You're the GM, not the Player. It's not your "job" to bend reality and over ride what a Player chooses to have his/her PC attempt/do. You simply adjudicate the results of said action.

It is part of a GM's "job" to help deal with disruptive behavior at the table. That can include action declarations that do not match the table expectations of style.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
It is part of a GM's "job" to help deal with disruptive behavior at the table. That can include action declarations that do not match the table expectations of style.

The GM does not have a job other than facilitating games. How they choose to do that is up to them, but should also involve negotiation of such with players. Any or all players can take on this type of responsibility just as much as a GM can.

This idea of the GM as a "big boss" of the game that does everything him or herself while infantilizing players as opposed to actively engaging and finding ways to share responsibility with them is massively outdated and it needs to go.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The GM does not have a job other than facilitating games. How they choose to do that is up to them, but should also involve negotiation of such with players. Any or all players can take on this type of responsibility just as much as a GM can.

This idea of the GM as a "big boss" of the game that does everything him or herself while infantilizing players as opposed to actively engaging and finding ways to share responsibility with them is massively outdated and it needs to go.
You don't think that stopping behavior that disrupts the game, facilitates the game?
 



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