D&D General Violence and D&D: Is "Murderhobo" Essential to D&D?

Okay. Overall, there's something very fun about murderhoboing that makes it attractive to new players (Maybe it's the agency with no consequences). Additionally, the game seems to push people to murderhoboing, probably the "being made out of XP", which is solved by using not using XP (I'm sure there'll be tons of murderhobos still for other reasons, but the orc=xp thing seems like a major factor).

Murderhoboing is hard to handle. I typically play with newer players, who seem to be more prone to going around and murdering anyone and taking their stuff. First, I would talk to them. Second, I would kill their character, or give a severe penalty to them. Once they see there are benefits to not murderhoboing, it's likely that they'll stop, or do less of it.

I am all for playing your campaign how it is fun for you, but there is such a thing as a "problem player", but they normally depend on the table they're at. I think if D&D had a ruleset on XP awards based on roleplay, I think less people would be murderhobos, but the problem is also definitely deeper than just creating a new leveling up system.

Are there really DMs who award XP for killing random shopkeepers?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Rdm

Explorer
Yes but the evil alignment is not 'is currently doing something wrong'. The evil alignment is 'likely have done something wrong in the past, and will likely do something wrong in the future'. It's a general statement of a creatures ethics and morality, nothing more.

I have always repudiated people who argue that 'good' and 'evil' are just teams, with both sides free to murder, torture, beat and do worse to each other.

If your PC is engaged in murder, torture, slavery, or harm of any kind, he is EVIL regardless of the alignment, or beliefs of his target.

however killing and murder are not synonymous. All murders are killings. Not al killings are murder. And at least in most games I am involved in, to add in a reply to a different post - it isn’t violence for ‘different beliefs’ but ‘different actions’, and that is a very key differentiator. Once the opponents in question have moved to raiding, killing, slavery and oppression of their own then they have moved well beyond the realm of ‘having different beliefs’ into a realm of actually being the ones who are what you are saying the PC’s are. They aren’t sitting there peacefully “having different beliefs’. They are trying to raise the Dark god Thron from his abyssal jail and initiate a thousand year reign of terror. They are trying to take all of the Viliager’s stuff because they want it. They are capturing children, executing them and implanting their souls as vehicles to animate their constructs. They are attempting to impose a permanent bitter winter over the known world. Not quite just sitting there picking flowers and placidly ‘having other beliefs’.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Okay. Overall, there's something very fun about murderhoboing that makes it attractive to new players (Maybe it's the agency with no consequences). Additionally, the game seems to push people to murderhoboing, probably the "being made out of XP", which is solved by using not using XP (I'm sure there'll be tons of murderhobos still for other reasons, but the orc=xp thing seems like a major factor).

Murderhoboing is hard to handle. I typically play with newer players, who seem to be more prone to going around and murdering anyone and taking their stuff. First, I would talk to them. Second, I would kill their character, or give a severe penalty to them. Once they see there are benefits to not murderhoboing, it's likely that they'll stop, or do less of it.

I am all for playing your campaign how it is fun for you, but there is such a thing as a "problem player", but they normally depend on the table they're at. I think if D&D had a ruleset on XP awards based on roleplay, I think less people would be murderhobos, but the problem is also definitely deeper than just creating a new leveling up system.
So you're directly equating murderhobo play with problem players? That makes pretty much everyone I've ever gamed with a problem player by your standards...sorry, not buying it.

Also, doesn't the bit I bolded above fight against the bit I italicized, in that you're in effect telling them to stop having fun?
 

Are there really DMs who award XP for killing random shopkeepers?

I do. Otherwise I would need a better, objective standard for what awards XP.

If I rule that "killing things awards XP according it the threat of the opposition," I feel the need to be consistent. Otherwise, I am (effectively) cheating. I could more narrowly define what qualifies as an XP reward, but so far I haven't encountered the need to do so.
 

I do. Otherwise I would need a better, objective standard for what awards XP.

If I rule that "killing things awards XP according it the threat of the opposition," I feel the need to be consistent. Otherwise, I am (effectively) cheating. I could more narrowly define what qualifies as an XP reward, but so far I haven't encountered the need to do so.

Are random shopkeepers threats to heavily armed adventurers in your campaign?
 


AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
I do. Otherwise I would need a better, objective standard for what awards XP.
You mean an objective standard such as "XP is awarded for overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals"?

It is very easy to establish how to award XP - and even maintain the XP values assigned to stat blocks - without also allowing it to be beneficial to a player to commit random killings.
 

You mean an objective standard such as "XP is awarded for overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals"?

It is very easy to establish how to award XP - and even maintain the XP values assigned to stat blocks - without also allowing it to be beneficial to a player to commit random killings.

Doesn't killing a shopkeeper require the PCs to overcome the challenge of "life and death struggle with a civilian" and accomplish the goal of "unprovoked murder."

The terms "overcoming challenges" and "accomplishing goals" are so broadly defined that they are essential meaningless. It's like asking someone to define culture. It's a meaningless term used to approximate something we don't understand.
 

Derren

Hero
Are there really DMs who award XP for killing random shopkeepers?

Murderhobo doesn't automatically mean that you kill everything in sight.
A murderhobo has no attachments to anyone or anything (hobo), uses violence and murder to achieve its goals and never faces any repercussions for it. And that is very much a D&D playstyle. The PCs arrive from somewhere, answer to nobody, set out to clear a dungeon with several combat encounters on their way there, murder everyone inside, sell loot, repeat.
Thats very much how D&D plays out in most cases.
 

Coroc

Hero
...

Even assuming that this young green dragon is six years old, the beginning point of its age category, by the time its sentence is over it will be 228 years old and in the adult category. At this point the now adult green dragon will possess lair actions while in his prison lair (summoning grasping roots, thorny bushes, fog that inflicts a short term charm affect). In addition, the region within a mile around the prison lair will spawn thicket mazes, and the adult green dragon will be able to see and hear through the eyes and ears of rodents and birds.

...


Yeaaahhh :p That is so unbelievable funny. Hahaha,
"Oh Sire one of your provinces requires some well armored and poison protected gardeners. They got some environmental problems in one of their prisons."

"They what? What is that nonsense? What for do I make laws in this country? I do that, so that I need not solve every problem in every corner of my empire on my own!"

"But...., Sire, ....... they insist, they followed your laws to the letter!"
 

Rdm

Explorer
Murderhobo doesn't automatically mean that you kill everything in sight.
A murderhobo has no attachments to anyone or anything (hobo), uses violence and murder to achieve its goals and never faces any repercussions for it. And that is very much a D&D playstyle. The PCs arrive from somewhere, answer to nobody, set out to clear a dungeon with several combat encounters on their way there, murder everyone inside, sell loot, repeat.
Thats very much how D&D plays out in most cases.

You’ve done some comprehensive survey of people’s games?
Not in any games I’ve participated in.
You can definitely say ‘it’s a play style’ that exists, but to say ‘it’s how d&d plays out in most cases’ is an unwarranted and unsupported claim.
 
Last edited:

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
Doesn't killing a shopkeeper require the PCs to overcome the challenge of "life and death struggle with a civilian" and accomplish the goal of "unprovoked murder."
A skilled adventurer killing a noncombatant is not a challenge. And unprovoked murder is not a goal.

At least, not a goal in any play scenario I've ever been in or heard of before. It's not like the campaign started out with "recover stolen goods from bandits" or something and the next adventure is "commit unprovoked murder" and after that it will move on to "rescue kidnapped princess."

The terms "overcoming challenges" and "accomplishing goals" are so broadly defined that they are essential meaningless.
Does the terms "bull pucky" and "appearing to be deliberately obtuse" similarly have such broad definitions as to be meaningless, or can we agree that words and phrases have meanings even if they are inconvenient to your argument?
 

A skilled adventurer killing a noncombatant is not a challenge. And unprovoked murder is not a goal.

Depends on your definition of challenge.

At least, not a goal in any play scenario I've ever been in or heard of before. It's not like the campaign started out with "recover stolen goods from bandits" or something and the next adventure is "commit unprovoked murder" and after that it will move on to "rescue kidnapped princess."

Why not? Whose has the authority to oppose that?

Does the terms "bull pucky" and "appearing to be deliberately obtuse" similarly have such broad definitions as to be meaningless, or can we agree that words and phrases have meanings even if they are inconvenient to your argument?

I've never heard the phrase bull pucky. "Appearing to be deliberately obtuse" can be very easily defined because "appearing" allows an individual to incorrectly perceive another's actions as "deliberately obtuse" without those actions being "deliberately obtuse" in the second individual's own mind. Thus art criticism will never be a hard science.

Though, I would say that "being deliberately obtuse" can be defined much easier than challenge and goal. "Being deliberately obtuse" has a definable set actions and sensations, as opposed to being merely a conceptual construct.
 

Rdm

Explorer
Depends on your definition of challenge.



Why not? Whose has the authority to oppose that?



I've never heard the phrase bull pucky. "Appearing to be deliberately obtuse" can be very easily defined because "appearing" allows an individual to incorrectly perceive another's actions as "deliberately obtuse" without those actions being "deliberately obtuse" in the second individual's own mind. Thus art criticism will never be a hard science.

Though, I would say that "being deliberately obtuse" can be defined much easier than challenge and goal. "Being deliberately obtuse" has a definable set actions and sensations, as opposed to being merely a conceptual construct.

No non-absurd definition of ‘challenge’ would include a combatant killing a non-combatant as a ‘challenge’. A challenge is ‘testing the abilities of something’. In no way does an armed pc killing an unarmed shopkeeper ’Test their abilities’, unless you are meaning ‘test their ability to be a douchebag’.
 

MGibster

Legend
The terms "overcoming challenges" and "accomplishing goals" are so broadly defined that they are essential meaningless. It's like asking someone to define culture. It's a meaningless term used to approximate something we don't understand.

Being a DM very often requires someone to make an interpretation of the rules in a way that make sense. And your way does make sense and is consitent. If an encounter is supposed to give you 10 experience points then the PCs get 10 experience for overcoming it and it's something we used to poke fun at back in 1st and 2dn edition. If were were close to leveling up we'd ask the DM if we could go out and stomp on ants or find some goblins to kill so we could get to the next level. Dragon Magazine one featured a cartoon with a large wooden box with a slot in it and a sign reading "Insert Sword for Experience."

I wouldn't give the PCs experience for murdering the shopkeeper because there wasn't any challenge and there wasn't any risk involved. But that's just me. Part of my job at the DM is to interpret the rules in a way that make sense according to the situation at hand.
 

No non-absurd definition of ‘challenge’ would include a combatant killing a non-combatant as a ‘challenge’. A challenge is ‘testing the abilities of something’. In no way does an armed pc killing an unarmed shopkeeper ’Test their abilities’, unless you are meaning ‘test their ability to be a douchebag’.

Well, then my PC will "test his abilities" to see how easily he can smash the shopkeeper. That is still a test. To see how easily I can do it. Like I was text my abilities to see how quickly I can demolish a 6th-grade algebra exam.

Non-combatant is likewise difficult to explain. Take a martial arts master, skills at the part, but a dedicated pacifist. Is he a non-combatant or not? He certainly would describe himself as a non-combatant.
 

Rdm

Explorer
Being a DM very often requires someone to make an interpretation of the rules in a way that make sense. And your way does make sense and is consitent. If an encounter is supposed to give you 10 experience points then the PCs get 10 experience for overcoming it and it's something we used to poke fun at back in 1st and 2dn edition. If were were close to leveling up we'd ask the DM if we could go out and stomp on ants or find some goblins to kill so we could get to the next level. Dragon Magazine one featured a cartoon with a large wooden box with a slot in it and a sign reading "Insert Sword for Experience."

I wouldn't give the PCs experience for murdering the shopkeeper because there wasn't any challenge and there wasn't any risk involved. But that's just me. Part of my job at the DM is to interpret the rules in a way that make sense according to the situation at hand.

I believe that a zero challenge rating is ‘zero to ten XP’. Note the inclusion of zero.

Also ...

“When making this calculation, don’t count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the group unless you think the weak monsters significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter.”
 

Well, then my PC will "test his abilities" to see how easily he can smash the shopkeeper. That is still a test. To see how easily I can do it. Like I was text my abilities to see how quickly I can demolish a 6th-grade algebra exam.

Non-combatant is likewise difficult to explain. Take a martial arts master, skills at the part, but a dedicated pacifist. Is he a non-combatant or not? He certainly would describe himself as a non-combatant.
Do you also reward your PCs with XP for tying their shoelaces or eating pies? Those two are "tests" of "their abilities".
 

Being a DM very often requires someone to make an interpretation of the rules in a way that make sense. And your way does make sense and is consitent. If an encounter is supposed to give you 10 experience points then the PCs get 10 experience for overcoming it and it's something we used to poke fun at back in 1st and 2dn edition. If were were close to leveling up we'd ask the DM if we could go out and stomp on ants or find some goblins to kill so we could get to the next level. Dragon Magazine one featured a cartoon with a large wooden box with a slot in it and a sign reading "Insert Sword for Experience."

I wouldn't give the PCs experience for murdering the shopkeeper because there wasn't any challenge and there wasn't any risk involved. But that's just me. Part of my job at the DM is to interpret the rules in a way that make sense according to the situation at hand.

Of course. You are see to define "challenge" and "risk" differently than I do. I see no problem in that. They are abstract concepts that elude concrete definitions. The level of arbitrary imposition we are all comfortable with varies by individual.
 

Murderhobo doesn't automatically mean that you kill everything in sight.
A murderhobo has no attachments to anyone or anything (hobo), uses violence and murder to achieve its goals and never faces any repercussions for it. And that is very much a D&D playstyle. The PCs arrive from somewhere, answer to nobody, set out to clear a dungeon with several combat encounters on their way there, murder everyone inside, sell loot, repeat.
Thats very much how D&D plays out in most cases.

Apparently to at least one poster in this thread it does!
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top