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View Full Version : Ask a GM [04/27/2009]: Players Becoming Enemies



Farcaster
04-26-2009, 05:44 PM
thegrandsage asks,

Do you think it is "bad GMing" to allow a player character to turn on his friends and become a bad guy. A lot of my players love the idea and see it as adding realism to the game, since not all people get along in real life and anyone can be swayed to evil. But a GM i know stated that allowing this or in-party fighting is bad GMing. What do you think?

Farcaster
04-26-2009, 05:45 PM
Would I call it bad GMing to allow a player character to turn on his buddies and become the bad guy? Not at all, but I'd recommend that you tread very carefully. Whether or not this can work in your game really depends on your players. If they are the sort that tend to take it very personally when there is any sort of inter-party conflict, then it probably isn't a good idea. If they are a mature bunch that can keep in-game conflict in-game and not allow it to become personal, then having one of the characters double cross the party can add a very interesting twist.

Beyond whether or not your group can handle party conflict, there is still another important consideration. If you have a bad guy in the party who is going to ultimately betray the group, you guarantee that someone is going to "lose." So, I'd recommend that you thoroughly discuss the idea with your player and come to an understanding that if everything actually goes well, his character's plans WILL be thwarted. Depending on when this happens in the campaign, it may mean that the player has to create a whole new character after the betraying character "parts," ways with the group. If he's on board though, and you don't think it will turn into a big out-of-character fight, then why not? Forge ahead!

This very topic was discussed back in December on a Fear the Boot episode as well. If you are considering allowing a player to play this kind of "adversarial player character," then you might find this episode (http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/index.php/archives/489) insightful as well.

Grimwell
04-26-2009, 05:45 PM
I don't think it's bad GM'ing per se, but I think it's dangerous because intra-player conflict is often damaging to the long term health of a group of players.

Is it realistic to let people form antagonistic roles between characters? Yes. Not everyone is going to get along, and even those that do can have a relationship go sour. That is life, and turncoats are a part of it. So having room for it in a game that likes to have a sense of realism and no artificial boundaries is all well and good.

The danger comes from how people handle it outside of character interactions. If people can't separate the emotions in game from reality it can lead to bruised feelings. Even between people who normally get along. Heck, it happened to me in a game where nobody turned on each other.

I was playing a fighter who was very mercenary and practical. He had family debts to care for and always went for wealth options. At the end of a small campaign arc, the party was dividing the treasure and my fighter was given first pick of the loot pile. He chose a shield that he could use that also had religious markings from the party cleric's church.

The cleric asked the fighter to reconsider and the response was something along the lines of "I won first pick, and chose this. I intend to sell it and use the money to support my family so if you would like it you can make the first offer."

Long story short, the cleric wanted it without paying and we had a huge in-character (or so I thought) argument in character. It got far enough from hand that I realized that my character would not give ground (also was stubborn) so I had him give up the shield and walk away from people who could not maintain honorable return standards. End of that characters participation in the party.

After the session ended I talked quick with the GM about a new character idea and was just focused on that. When I got outside I found that the player of the cleric was waiting for me and was hurt by the character tension. He thought it was real. I thought we were (both) roleplaying in grand fashion. He wasn't. I was hurting his real feelings without intention.

Allow it to go further and have people becoming huge enemies in game... only increases the odds of things getting worse outside the game. Sometimes people can handle it; other times they can't. Best to know before you allow it to happen, and to make it clear that it can before it does.

Inquisitor Tremayne
04-26-2009, 05:49 PM
I'm with Grim on this one too.

I don't really think it is bad GMing, but I think if it isn't highly controlled it can get out of hand fairly quickly.

This is the reason why I like Star Wars's dark side point system. It is a gauge of how closely the PC is to becoming evil and often, either in game or out of game, you can take steps to rectify the situation.

Another thing to consider is roleplaying, a good roleplayer in an evil game or of an evil character SHOULD be evil, that is just good roleplaying. Which is the problem, often times the PCs are fighting against evil so the delineations between good and bad get drawn and the player of an evil PC can find him/herself facing off against their once companions.

Like Grim said, it should be made clear that all this is happening in-game and not in the real world play vs. player.

I think it can be done, I just think it needs to be handled carefully.

cplmac
04-26-2009, 05:49 PM
I also agree that it isn't actually bad GMing. There is usually some sort of tension even in the best of parties. Just want to make sure that what takes place at the game table, stays at the game table. Even in our "Tsojcanth" game, there has been tense situations between different characters. Just adds some more depth to the game. You really need to guage your players and be ready to step in if things start to go a bit too far.

Dytrrnikl
04-26-2009, 11:38 PM
I wouldn't call it bad GMing. However, having allowed this to happen in past campaigns, I wouldn't recommend it. Everyone gets attached to their characters to some extent, some more than others. While it does promote a sense of 'realism' for interparty conflict, it's too easy to degenerate into personal grudges and out of game arguments. On the other hand, if all player's understand that it is something that will be allowed, and they are mature enough to leave it in fantasy land, it can lead to some pretty entertaining situations. I had a Star Wars campaign, in which I allowed a player to have his character go off the deep end and become a sort of Dr. Mengala type villain. That character is a beloved villain to my players to this day, one they love to hate.

Panthro82
04-27-2009, 01:23 AM
No, I don't think this is bad GM'ing at all. In fact, I think it is good GM'ing. If the character turns bad and it is done entirely within the world of roleplaying then I think it is perfectly played. The problem here is, it sounds like alot of people do it because they think it is a "cool" idea. Well most villains in real life don't usually rob a bank because they think it will be, "soooo cool!" There is usually a set of circumstances that leads them down this path. Within a party if one character is clashing (completely within character personality, not player personality), with other character personalitie(s), then it is a valid option. If a character has a certain mindset and maybe the villain they're going after shares this idealism, then it is just good roleplaying for the character to turn from the party.

The problem posed from there though, is does the player still have control over this character? or does it become an NPC, and the player has to create a new character? Thats the question I ponder over in this situation the most. I think honestly that if this player gets to keep control over the character then it is not right to tell them from the start, "You're going to lose. This character will be killed. You realize that right?" Does the good guy, or good group always win out in real life? Of course not! Suspense doesnt come from knowing good will always prevail in the end. And it is not really fair to punish this player for playing their character well. The issue in letting the player use the character comes from the fact that he is sitting right next to the rest of the group in a session. So its kind of hard to separate worlds.

I think what I would honestly do if I were a GM in this situation is turn the character into an NPC, let the player create a new character that is the same level as the rest of the party, and then when the old character/NPC/baddy shows up tell the player what the NPC is going to do and let the player get into character and use it until the encounter is over, while the GM or another player assumes control of the new character in the meantime. This spices up the story, and rewards good roleplaying.

Lucian-Sunaka
04-27-2009, 10:56 AM
Good answers guys, lots of valuable advice in here. I especially enjoyed reading Panthros, who's approach is somewhat similar to my own. However, here's the part where we differ.

In my campaigns, if a player goes bad, they retain full control of the character. I give them the privilege of sitting next to me, and they can whisper their personal actions if they need to be kept secret from the party until they happen. (IE delayed actions, or some army ammassing during downtime) However, their big evil deeds, such as slaughtering the nun of Pelor or something like that, or backstabbing one of the characters to keep their secret quiet, is open for all the players to know. Of course, this demands the players keep that out of their characters heads unless they find out somehow IC.

And honestly? If the bad player is clever enough, skillful enough, and devious enough to outwit and defeat the entire party on the resources allowed to the group? Let him, it's a hell of an adventure and everybody in my groups have always relished the experience. Heck, I've had a few neutrals surrender and pledge fealty to the evil one, the good ones were killed and replaced with new characters, and the entire game shifted from save the world for the money and glory, to save the world so we can conquer it afterwards while it's weakened.

Granted I hear there are players who can't handle that kind of situation, but it's happened in... 6 games of mine (and is presently happening in one game in which I'm the player of the evil character) and it makes the game so much more enjoyable to have real competition. Just make sure everybody's a good sport.

Dkomp
04-27-2009, 11:37 AM
Bad GMing? This is a role playing game and the characters are in a role. If the characters say are practical jokers and often take it out on their fellow members are the other not going to get upset after a while, and possibly retaliate? Two Chraters fight over a magical item, the rogue is contantly trying to PP the other member's pockets for it, or etc. These are only a few examples. but I belive the nature of a role playing game is just that a role play. If the characters do not favor one another then it is the GM's task to Master the Role playing, as a would he/she an encounter, an intricate dealing with an npc, an arch foe that constantly harasses the players.
Many things can be done by the GM to thwart the infighting while staying within the parameters of his own adventure -
Two characters are fighting, they fail to notice the approach of XXXXXXXXX where they are caught flat footed etc. / Thier poor demeanor causes neg modifier reactions to npc encounters, a key NPC may refuse to fight on their side or offer aid, while they are squabbling etc.

I feel it just gives the GM more to work with, yes it can be a pain at times taken too far, but it up to the players how they interact with each other and the world around them.

In Summary - It just gives the GM more opportunities to add glitz to the personal interplay of their game. If you don't like it in your game then, IN GAME teach the players why it is bad, but never force them via house rules.

Nocturne
04-27-2009, 12:13 PM
I think the most important thing to watch is the player turning on other players, not what the characters do. Allowing on player to destroy another players fun is bad GMing. This can happen regarless of what the characters in game do. Having in game inter-party conflict was both good and bad in my games and it had more to do with the players attitude, not the characters actions.

Simplydone
04-27-2009, 12:17 PM
It depends if it furthers the story or not in my opinion. Plus the fact that once the Character goes from good guy to bad guy ofter he becomes an NPC rather then a PC. If this is played out slowly with a final climactic moment of choice it might be a good thing. However if it is rushed and done poorly it shouldn't even be considered.

So if you have a great roleplayer in your group and he discusses this with you instead of doing it on the spur of the moment I'd say give it consideration it just might make the campaign that more memorable.

Grazak
04-27-2009, 03:29 PM
I think one of the biggest things to watch with this is the players motivation. I had a player who wanted to turn Sith in a Star Wars campaign once. I let him do it and even went as far as to have individual gaming sessions with him before the groups normal sessions to further his story after he betrayed his group into captivity and fled. Everything went well until the group defeated him in a spectacular battle and his character was retired from the game. He was even fine with the character being retired since him and I had discussed it before I allowed him to become evil.

The problem was that once he had tasted his evil powers he just wanted to betray the group again and again which the other players did not really like. Fortunately for us my gaming group consists of 2 friends I have known since we were in kindergarden and their siblings so real world anger was easily forgoten with us but I think allowing something like this can set a dangerous precedent and allowing it too often can rob the fun from players who want to play a virtuous hero.

GoddessGood
04-27-2009, 03:44 PM
Bad GMing? No. As others have said, it is a serious thing, though. When handled well (as some have done without even thinking about it), then it can be spectacular fun and fodder for stories for years to come. On the other hand, it can result in loss of interest in the game, loss of an otherwise good character, and loss of the story (speaking as a GM, once nobody's happy with the game, it's hard to salvage a plot no matter how much you might want to).

I think a main factor in how smoothly this can go is how well other players have their characters play along. I was in a group once where one player consistently took their character's actions to a dark place. He would consistently play one character off the others, spread lies and false rumors, and when it all came back to him play the wounded innocent and say, "Why does everyone hate me? I haven't done anything to harm you." After several rounds of this, the entire group (in character) set the character down and told him that it wasn't going to fly anymore. We, as players, were sick of his machinations derailing and distracting from the plot. I think it wasn't until then that the player realized that his actions were making it hard for the rest of us to have fun. Shortly thereafter we retired that campaign. I've heard that the player picked up the same characters again to run in a game of his own, but I'm not sure how that's going.

Sascha
04-27-2009, 10:45 PM
Looks like most of my response - that it's not inherently bad form - has already been said. I will add that it very much depends on the specific game premise and tone; Paranoia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_%28role-playing_game%29), for example, sets up the characters for this at any given moment, but it's a design goal. It's sorta like a tabletop Othello, where the Troubleshooters are Iago to the Computer's Othello.

(Hmm, that'd be ... yeah ... <Sascha scribbles notes, cackles maniacally>. Ahem.)

Even for games not written with backstabbing and betrayal in mind, the big Reveal has potential for an awesome session ;) The key is clear communication of goals and intentions, between the player(s) and GM.

"Is a Keyser Soze lurking in your Shadowrun team? Will your Force-sensitive foundling grow up to be the next Dark Lord? Will the Jayne sell out the crew, or parts thereof, for the reward? These questions - and many others - will be answered in the next episode of Soap (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_%28TV_series%29)."

Etarnon
04-27-2009, 10:58 PM
Very rarely have I met and DMed for a group of players that could handle this, and at the same time wanted and agreed to it.

stormytyca
04-28-2009, 04:22 PM
I see it as a norm by now. My current DM, and the ones before him constantly made it opportunity for someone to be a "Judas". Sometimes, it's not even by choice. He plays in a world he created, and it has beings in it that have that lovely ability discussed in the 3.5e book "The Book of Vile Darkness"... and that ability? Touch of Corruption... nothing says "you won't defeat me" like turning one of the PC's and forcing the others to fight them. Yes, it can get frustrating... especially if you're the one corrupted, and didn't want to be... but it's a fantasy world. Just because you failed the save for it, don't get pissy and let it ruin the game for you and everyone else. Run with it... who knows? you might enjoy being evil. This also makes it more relevant for the whole player turning against his team members... this tactic makes it so it's not the player's fault their character turned evil, and, therefore, lessens the other players' animocity to the situation. But, if a player wants to be evil right off the bat... if done right, and dramatically... it can be fun for everyone... I usually play with people that can handle separating fantasy from reality (after all, if they couldn't, I wouldn't play with them, cause I prefer people with maturity).

Panthro82
04-28-2009, 05:12 PM
Stormy - That would drive me nuts! I couldnt play in a game where it is forced upon players to turn bad by the GM. That is something that should happen naturally. It wouldnt be enjoyable if its just mindless and there was no reason for the player to turn. If the GM wanted to have a player in the party turn, then have a NPC join the party early for some various reason whos motives and intentions seem pure and then it unfolds that he is evil. Thats better then alienating the entire party and forcing them to do something that they would rather not do.
Etarnon - I wouldnt let the players be part of the decision. I think it is only up to the GM and the player who is turning. Thats like your boss calling you into his office and saying, "So I was thinking of firing Ted....what do you think??" If the game is meant to be realistic then players shouldnt be able to decide on stuff like that. Its not a death sentence for anyone.

Etarnon
04-28-2009, 11:34 PM
I usually play with people that can handle separating fantasy from reality (after all, if they couldn't, I wouldn't play with them, cause I prefer people with maturity).

Seems a bit trollish to me...maybe the way you phrased it.

What I've mostly seen are people in a 3.5 game that want to play some kind of E-aligned sorcerer...

...or a Romulan in star trek, who is somehow a penetration agent, on board the player ship, disguised as a Vulcan...

... Or a guy playing cyberpunk 2020, who is nearly fully cybered, or a full 'borg, with a low humanity, just itching for the chnace to whack the rest of the party...

...Dark Side Jedi, who wants to play out the angsty choice of which party member to cut in half first with his red single / dual Lightsaber. Such a hard choice with so many options.

All of these in the name of Fun.

Just not my thing. I've always believed Evil PCs shouldn't be allowed. Occasions I have, I've always regretted it.

TAROT
04-29-2009, 01:27 AM
Well, I wouldn't call it "bad GMing" mostly because I don't think that the GM should be blamed for problem players.

As to the specific situation of one player betraying the party:

1) Is everybody having fun?
2) Is the conflict between characters and not players?
3) Does it fit the premise of the campaign?
4) Is it truly a logical progression for the character?

It's not for every game or group, and even then not usually easy to pull off well.

MortonStromgal
04-29-2009, 02:54 PM
Depends on the context, if its within the scope of the story and not just the player being an *insert explicative* then I believe its fine and even fun. However if its just a problem player that the GM won't deal with thats a big problem.

caffeine65
04-29-2009, 06:35 PM
I have never seen good come of allowing an evil player in a campaign. Usually it degrades and turns personal. I have had that problem with people playing in "evil" campaigns too (all evil characters). Why would they play together and not turn on each other. In a game of mixed people why would good people travel with an evil person? Speaking from experience it just does not work.

Panthro82
04-30-2009, 05:16 AM
I have never seen good come of allowing an evil player in a campaign. Usually it degrades and turns personal. I have had that problem with people playing in "evil" campaigns too (all evil characters). Why would they play together and not turn on each other. In a game of mixed people why would good people travel with an evil person? Speaking from experience it just does not work.

Lol it does make sense though. The good players dont realize one of them is a horrible baddy because most baddies tend to be stabby when your back is towards them. Hey I had a long time girlfriend that I THOUGHT was a good person at the time...

I was in a star wars campaign once and my character became a sith lord, but the rest of the group were all jedi or ascending to become. We all stayed in the group and actually got along really well. They lectured me often as to why it was not morally right to light saber innocent people through the eye(I never listened to them), but there were plenty of occasions when good and evil worked together to fight a common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Thats a very good thing to remember when you have an evil member in your group and you want him and the rest of the group to work together instead of inner turmoil. Take the focus off of him and place it at an NPC they all want to take out. Watch the movie Blade II, it is a perfect example of this.

Peter Parker
04-30-2009, 11:13 AM
Alowing a PC to turn on their companions is NOT bad GM/DMing.

I feel that if there is hostality between the PCs, then it needs to be delt with or no missions can be completed.

I also believe that with every action, comes consequences. Rather they be positive or negative.

I have had a campaign where one of my PCs turned on another, and it almost ended the campaign. But it was there decision to make. I too have had a few braws from my PC days with other PCs in the game.

In no curcumstance does game play and real life emotions carry over to each other.

So I say let it happen, and as a GM/DM see it as a challenge as to where to stear the game afterward. Have all the others hunt the rogue PC down, have them see logic in their decision of turning evil. Maybe a job opportunity open up now that evil is in the equation. A job that shows the PCs how evil is not the way to go and they will come back from the dark side on their own.

Good luck, have fun and happy gaming

nijineko
04-30-2009, 04:25 PM
it is possible that this sort of situation could arise from poor gm-ship.

a simple example: if a gm intends for the game to be heroic such that all the players are the heroes, and someone starts playing the character such that it is becoming evil, and the gm does nothing hoping it will resolve itself, or any other of a number of ineffective and useless responses, then yes-poor gm-ship.

however, it is difficult for me to imagine any but an inexperienced gm or a one who cannot handle confrontation of any sort allowing this to proceed very far.

generally speaking, this sort of situation is not going to be a result of poor gm-ship, with the minor exceptions listed above. this is much more of a player desire issue.


how i personally, as a gm, handle this? well i have two standard practices:

the first is listed in the rules i set up for my games. "evil = npc, you have been warned." i play a strictly heroic style of games. players are the good guys, period. you can be conflicted, confused, tricked, misled, and so forth. but as a player if you head your character down that road, and you will be playing another character.

i will soften this in one way. if the player really feels that is what the character would do, then i will allow it. once that step is made, i have the player outline for me the goals and desires of the character in as much detail as i can get, and then i run it as an npc following the outline given, to some degree or another. after session feedback is also welcomed.

the second method that i use for handling this is to allow the player(s) to take a turn guest-starring as one of the npc monsters or villains for an encounter. they get to try their worst to do what they can to the party.


i think that my methods are not the only methods for dealing with this, it is simply my personal preference. it is important to consider these sorts of things ahead of time and decide what your personal style and policy as a gm is going to be. make sure everyone is aware of whatever that policy might be. and find out what the players preferences are. that is the sort of thing that everyone needs to have a unified decision about.

laizurkainon
05-01-2009, 04:28 PM
I see where those that are saying it isn't are coming from, however, considering that even thier responses are heavily "but"-laden, I would put forward that it is indeed poor GM-ing.

The only time a PC should really "become the villain" is when that player is finished playing the character, and the character becomes an NPC under the GM's control, making it actually a very intriguing and excellent idea. Otherwise, if a PC is the bad guy, What exactly becomes of the GM's job? Providing the bad guys and story is arguably the most important part of the GM's job (even if it always doesn't take the most amount of time in preparation) and this is disregarding the fact that, unless it's the "final confrontation" with the rogue party member (not necessarily the party's rogue:) the game becomes a cumbersome and incredibly boring thing for that villain PC.
...it would also be a good tool to use if you're switching DM's, and the villain "PC"'s player takes over. That would also be cool. anyway...

Disputes are one thing, but even in a party with a mix of evil PC's (some of them stupidly chaotic), there is always a method of making them work together. For example, my group of evil and unaligned players works together fantastically thanks to the fact that a god told them to face-to-face, with a very clear definition of what would become of them otherwise. Somehow, they're the "chosen ones" saving the world. It's quite silly.
The point being that as a rule, disharmony in the group is a good indicator of either bad GMing or someone needing to be booted (be it character or player). Though there are certainly exceptions (some of them awesome) to the rule itself.

I suppose the summation of my argument would be "It's poor GMing if you didn't plan it carefully, and/or if the end result ruins the enjoyment of the game for any player (9/10, this is the case). Otherwise, no, it's fine."

rpgaddict
05-01-2009, 07:28 PM
I don't see this as bad GMing, but rather bad playing of characters in-party fighting disrupts and hampers the storyline of the game. Sure characters are going to disagree about all sorts of things, but that is no reason to change alignment and attack party members. Characters should discuss their differrences and work things out.

coggro
05-01-2009, 07:44 PM
It's not bad GMing because it has nothing to do with the GM.

If the character is evil, he's evil. If he's a misguided good-guy, then that's who he is. If and when the characters find out, they deal with it however they should. That's the way the game is supposed to be played.

If you want to be lazy, outlaw evil characters.
If you want to have a realistic game and open it up to literally all of the options that the players could want, let them do it. Don't just let them say, "my guy's evil." Tell us why he's evil, how he's managed to conceal it (if he has) from those around him. Who does he answer to? What has he given up in order to adventure with the party?

Bad ideas for evil PCs include the spy for the BBEG, the BBEG himself, or the demon-in-waiting ("Hurr, he's the Beaney Grodd, Butcher of Meat Lane!"). They have no role-playing potential, no deception necessary, no FUN.

Good ideas for evil PCs include the mage aspiring for world domination, recently beaten down by a goody-goody archmage, giving up his former plans for the more humble manipulations of an adventuring party.

Or maybe he's an assassin who was exposed and therefore no longer useful to his former employers (a la Burn Notice). Does he want to be employed as an assassin again? Is he perhaps still employed and using the PCs to get closer to his target?

The important part of playing (or allowing the play of) evil PCs is to keep these goals in mind throughout the game. Consider having to deceive the good/neutral PCs - make them RP it. Consider interactions with high-powered good/evil NPCs - make them RP the deception there. Is the evil PC led to try and annihilate his boss/mentor? Is he exposed, or does he recover from being outed at the last moment? Does he feel guilt?

One of the best evil PCs I've seen played was a Warlock/Monk who was a martial artist to the other PCs' eyes, but used his Warlock powers when we were either distracted or not there. It made his character build a bit awkward and (seemingly) useless at times, but also gave it an air of intruigue and made the game fun. When he killed the party Barbarian after stalling the enemy long enough for us to escape, even the Barbarian found his betrayal brilliant and interesting. He had an alibi (the Barbarian died in battle: who could prove him wrong?) and the game kept going because we were all deceived.

If they can do it well, let them do it. If they want to do it to be a dick, tell them to choose another build. It can work and it can be more fun than a party of goody-two-shoeses (sp?). Make them work for their evil, because that's what their character would need to do.

DragonmagRT
05-01-2009, 08:33 PM
Personally, it depends on how experienced the gaming group is. If the group is experienced then the players well know that it is only a game and their characters are nothing more than a template on a sheet of paper. Basically, for a experienced group, this should not be a problem.

templeorder
05-04-2009, 08:57 PM
I'm not really sure its bad form per se. If its part of the play, and the players are mature, then its worth having it play out. However, if the situation arose because of a player feeling or something the GM drove the party towards then someone, even players, need to stop it. Players turning on groups because of personality issues is something you solve by reorganizing the group if its players, or by not allowing disruptive characters to begin with. There are all the cliches about how its supposed to be fun, and healthy, and blah, blah,blah... but sometimes we play thugs, mean brutes who would sell their mothers for a silver. Its fun, and some amount of betrayal is expected.. but in the typical group of what may be called "good" guys, theres still a lot of selfish behavior that can lead to this... we try and create groups and characters that will work together. Especially power dependancies on other characters... there can be tension, but if there is also reliance so there is a higher bond of group survival at stake which usually makes the tension comical or flavor rather than serious. I'm rambling, so i'll end this with its not the GM's call, it should be a group call when things get out of hand. I've seen players walk out of games when this happens, its not fun to think you cannot trust the guy next to you...

Panthro82
05-05-2009, 01:38 AM
Im suprised by how many people think it is either bad GM'ing or bad character play by the player. Its like people have become so wrapped up in a fantasy world that they forget that bad guys are EVERYWHERE! How many times in real life have you heard about some whackaloon going ultra postal and killing like 6 people in a fit of rage and then the news team interviews his neighbors and they say, "Im shocked! He was always so nice, and polite, and quiet" It happens ALL THE TIME IN REAL LIFE!!! So if we're trying to make a gaming world that is "authentic" and as close to the real thing as possible, then this isnt bad GM'ing OR bad character play unless the GM forces it for no reason or the player has no motive or reason behind it, it is simply life...

templeorder
05-05-2009, 10:11 AM
Bad people are everywhere, and it does bring an authentic feel... but so does real life and ultimately gaming is an escape from that. It does depend on your group, but if you have consistent betrayals and Player on Player deaths, thats not fun for people unless they agree ahead of time. A lot of players don't like the feeling of broken trust and lack of respect between characters because they are seeking out something more epic than a mirror of office politics or real world conflict. So while i agree that its a reality, i also think the GM does have a responsibility to run a game that reflects what the group expects in terms of player interaction... and to worlk (along with the players) to keep the betrayals down to plot devices instead of allowing random disruptive behaviors to put a damper on trust and respect.

Panthro82
05-05-2009, 05:20 PM
I agree with that. I just dont agree with some of the people saying that it is plain bad GM'ing or bad character play. There should always be circumstances that cause it

templeorder
05-08-2009, 11:16 AM
There should always be circumstances that cause it

totally. The only time it happens now in my games is where it is part of the plot line. Otherwise, characters which don't fit well never make it into the group or end up leaving the group and are replaced - turning on your fellow players for fun does not want to make them have you back.

Charles
05-22-2009, 07:42 PM
To All,

I have allowed in game fighting in the past and all it caused me was grief and regret.
You will end up seeing your players worrying more about eachother, especially defeating eachother, than paying attention to the game, storylines, or missions.
The party I was running became really seperated and major anamosity formed, to the point we had to sit down and have a long, long talk to realize it was my fault as a DM for allowing in-game fighting in the beginning.
Plus, if you are like me and design your own dungeons, you will find that when you design a dungeon, even at the correct CR, it will be even harder because players who play as individuals and not as a team won't know how to work together or have their characters prepared to make up for what the other one lacks.
Trust me and heed my warning... Don't allow player characters to compete against eachother or fight eachother. (You can't help domination spells)... and really try to stop the smack talking of one player to another before it starts the first domino falling.

PhishStyx
05-23-2009, 12:02 AM
thegrandsage asks,

Do you think it is "bad GMing" to allow a player character to turn on his friends and become a bad guy. A lot of my players love the idea and see it as adding realism to the game, since not all people get along in real life and anyone can be swayed to evil. But a GM i know stated that allowing this or in-party fighting is bad GMing. What do you think?

My first game session of 2nd edition Shadowrun was to join a large already running group in mid-story. That night of 15 pc's (yes, that's fifteen), half died in an in-group shootout over whether they were going to turn on a group member for the large bounty on his head. I was the guy who ended up shooting him (which 18 years later, he still argues with me about) and got myself blown up because he'd rigged his Blitzen with a pound of C4 after I stole his keys off his dead body.

He and I both made up new characters and played in that campaign for more than 2 years. Oh and to the health of the group? That game grew from 15 when I joined to 24 when I left for college.

Panthro82
05-23-2009, 07:45 AM
omfg 24 PC's?!?!?!?! I could never be in a group like that. How did the DM get anything accomplished? The storyline must have been very stunted. You guys couldn't easily sneak around, seeing as how you were large enough to form a marching band or professional sports team. LOL Oh man, that must have been insane.

PhishStyx
05-23-2009, 11:32 AM
omfg 24 PC's?!?!?!?! I could never be in a group like that. How did the DM get anything accomplished? The storyline must have been very stunted. You guys couldn't easily sneak around, seeing as how you were large enough to form a marching band or professional sports team. LOL Oh man, that must have been insane.

:lol: :lol: Well, we often broke up into smaller groups of one sort or another. Harlequin was considerably different from the printed adventure. . .bigger, not smaller. We didn't do a lot of sneaking, true; about a third of the group consisted of trolls (including my sasquatch and an ogre). We had several specialists, a burglar team, a few riggers, a sniper, etc.

MrFrost
05-25-2009, 10:40 AM
How can you not allow such a thing? It not only adds depth to the game but to their characters aswell. Such things should happen in every campaign from time to time, not only does it mimic real life but it is escentral for a well rounded campaign.

That is of course with the understanding that the evil doer will get "theirs" at some point.

Panthro82
05-25-2009, 05:23 PM
you would be willing to DM a 24 pc campaign? or just be a pc in it? I would happily be a pc in it, but I would never want to DM something like that.

PhishStyx
05-25-2009, 08:02 PM
you would be willing to DM a 24 pc campaign? or just be a pc in it? I would happily be a pc in it, but I would never want to DM something like that.

I believe he meant the original thread topic. But me? Sure, if I had players who could be focused on the game and not trying to shout me down in favor of their own conversations (which has happened to me in more than one much smaller game session).

Panthro82
05-25-2009, 08:14 PM
I believe he meant the original thread topic. But me? Sure, if I had players who could be focused on the game and not trying to shout me down in favor of their own conversations (which has happened to me in more than one much smaller game session).

That would be annoying! As a DM I might have to throw a dragon at them if they did that to me:mad:

templeorder
05-25-2009, 09:32 PM
you would be willing to DM a 24 pc campaign? or just be a pc in it? I would happily be a pc in it, but I would never want to DM something like that.

You should really post this in a different forum - i think its a worthy question.

I would not, however i do have a world with three campaigns running in it. A total of almost 15 main PC's and another 5-6 secondary/alternate PC's. Each group's game is taking place in the same time line, same starting point. So, juggling how events may impact each other is difficult - its not a position thats easily managed... but i built the world, so i have that singular advantage. I love it actually, i think its really cool and a great challenge to me. As a player, i would not want to fight for time with 23 others! :mad:

PhishStyx
05-26-2009, 01:46 PM
That would be annoying! As a DM I might have to throw a dragon at them if they did that to me:mad:

Well, it was a community college in the middle of the day when noone had classes, and we gamed in an open area where pretty much anyone could sit down and jabber away. I was told repeatedly that since it was a public area, there was nothing I could do about them.

I definitely learned a lesson there and don't play with those people anymore (well, I kept 2).

Rook
05-27-2009, 10:17 AM
If handled properly, it can lend a lot to the game. I had a character captured and replaced by a doppleganger whom I allowed the original player to run. It led to a fantastic adventure with lots of things seeming to go wrong for no reason. The doppleganger escaped, having never been discovered and the original character was found and rescued. The group never quite trusted that character completely again, though (which to me, and the player in question, was a good thing, adding dimension to the campaign).

Harwel
05-29-2009, 03:21 PM
I would add that it an be a good way to "write a character out". Sometimes a player has to leave a group for whatever reason/s, or decides they want to play a different character. In such a case, the GM can arrange with the player a betrayal and a reason for it. When the plot is unveiled, the PC might be killed off or made into an NPC villain. This has worked out quite well for me before, and keeps the players on their toes. It also makes that villain a lot more personal for the PCs.

SilenzZzz
06-07-2009, 05:03 PM
i had to reply to this one ... when i am DMing ... i do not normally allow it to happen directly ... but i do allow PC's to react when another player does something that ends up affecting them ...

for instance ... had two players that were fighting a target .. one a little further back from the other ... the further one had a critical failure on his roll with a bow ... which hit the player in front of them ... that player wanted to toss the halfling (race of the one with the crit) .. so i allowed it and they both rolled to see if it succeeded or not ... the whole time everyone is laughing and having fun ...

mrken
06-07-2009, 07:16 PM
If I can stop it from happening I do, but sometimes you just gotta let things happen that need to happen. There have been times when a player plays a character that is just not part of the group. Once one such character did or said something (I can't remember what it was that set this off, but the character was really quite anti group) the mage in the group let loose with a fireball spell. Way more than the thief could take. Had to let that one die.

Another similar situation. In my game if you aim at the bad guy with your bow and miss and there is another character in the way, you have to re-roll to see if you hit the character next to the bad guy. Well, one character constantly takes that chance. When they are new characters he never hits the target, but seems to always hit his group member. Twice has killed the other member, same player.

And lastly, there was a character who solved every problem with the sword. Kinda sucked for the other members of the party because they were not fighters and had no armor. Several times they died when he would get cocky and attack out numbered. lol He would live, but everyone else would die.

None of these situations have actually resulted in flared tempers, but it has irked the others enough I have heard about it.

michael
08-31-2009, 02:28 PM
I follow a very simple rule for this issue. I look at the players and ask myself if they are all having fun.

If yes, then let them pvp.

If no, then no pvp.

If some yes and some no, then no pvp.

WhiskeyFur
09-10-2009, 06:56 PM
thegrandsage asks,

Do you think it is "bad GMing" to allow a player character to turn on his friends and become a bad guy. A lot of my players love the idea and see it as adding realism to the game, since not all people get along in real life and anyone can be swayed to evil. But a GM i know stated that allowing this or in-party fighting is bad GMing. What do you think?

I believe the only real way to see how it works out is to learn by experience and to learn about his players. That's not a question of bad GMing really unless the GM doesn't keep a good enough control on it. And that could be just inexperience alone.

First time it's goes sour, he'll learn then if it's an option he'll entertain in the future.

Lareth
12-23-2009, 01:29 PM
This is AD&D based

I think it's fine GM'ing and RPing so long as you have a mature group. I always allow evil PC's in any campaign I run however I tell them unless the whole party is evil or neutral they must be Intelligent Evil. So they do need a decent int score to pull it off. I let them know running around killing villagers at low levels will almost guarantee that they will be hunted down and killed by either their own party or another NPC party of good alignment. I see NE as a good one you can be selfish ,greedy, power hungry, or just not a good person. CE I think is a hard alignment for any player even an experienced one.

I have 2 examples of current campaigns 1 I’m the DM 1 I’m a PC

For my campaign that I DM it's an epic Under mountain campaign set in and around Water deep in forgotten realms 10 years after the time of troubles so there are a few Dead gods/powers. It could go on for years depending on the players. As part of my story line the Party was defeated and captured by one of the evil factions. each PC in the party had to make a choice Join forces with the high priest of Loviatar or be sold into slavery in the under dark.

I pulled each Player aside and told them no matter there choice there PC lives and they can keep playing. This gave a chance for the Pc's to choose to be evil. I fully expected either 1 or 2 would choose evil or none would. In this case it was simply a fork in the road of the plot no matter the choice the campaign and PC's went on it just determines which path they will go on. Now some of the PC's are a little stupid and their actions could get the other Now Evil Pc's killed, so I expect there could be some inner party fighting. Especially if the good ones realize that someone choose the evil path. Although I set up a situation for this to occur it goes well with my over all campaign plot.


For the one where I’m a player I took a cleric of the good of death and made my guy TN. he really did not care about Good/Evil or Law /Chaos. he only cared that your soul ends up in the correct place after death, and that no one tries to cheat death. He viewed undead as against the natural order. Now TN is probably the hardest alignment for a PC in AD&D so I fully expected he would eventually have an alignment change. Our campaign is kind of like LOTR, where my PC has an object of great evil that he is trying to destroy to hide from its creator. However the object is drawing on him and trying to turn him evil. also a DM driven however it was basically along what I wanted him to do anyway to slowly turn tot eh dark side over the course of the campaign. In his case several of the party members are thinking he's already evil, however he seems loyal to them so they keep him around.

DragonDM
01-31-2010, 09:54 PM
I also say that it does not make the DM bad.

As Grimwell and Farcaster writes: Tread With Care, here.

GMs: Get to know your players very well before offering this option.

Lots of players (and even some DMs) have the problem of seperating the Game from Reality.

If I want to try to do this, I run several games to test the player's maturity level.

Even then, I make it very clear that the Players portraying Evil Characters are only doing so In Character, and to never take anything personally. Also, if there is ever a problem to speak up, and I'll stop the game to find and solve the problem.


I think what I would honestly do if I were a GM in this situation is turn the character into an NPC, let the player create a new character that is the same level as the rest of the party, and then when the old character/NPC/baddy shows up tell the player what the NPC is going to do and let the player get into character and use it until the encounter is over, while the GM or another player assumes control of the new character in the meantime. This spices up the story, and rewards good roleplaying.

Agreed.

templeorder
02-01-2010, 11:12 AM
So, i can now post from the perspective of "that player" - the evil one plotting to tear the group apart. In DnD terms, you would have called my character good when they started off. At the insistence of the outwardly most "good" member of the group (and who is the most hungry for power and items), i took a book we had found to study and test it. This book raised one of my attributes, making me very smart in the process, but also evil. So, now, over the course of time he and I are coming to clash. I consider his whinny prattle about causes, "justice" and "doing whats right" hypocritical - i see him as someone who truly embraced being a berserker and therefore has no self control and poor judgment. While i'm not actively trying to change "my evil ways" (and i've done a lot of immoral things since being turned), i am trying to change the rest of the party's. I resent him in retrospect for losing some of the choice in my own destiny - even if i consider my behavior normal now and i don't care, i know a choice was made for me. So, i've started to turn the other members of the group on him, some even to performing very questionable acts in the name of keeping an untraceable trail or whatever excuse i can come up with. While there's no way my mage could survive toe-to-toe against that 2 handed sword, and i wont risk it all on one failed resistance check, I'll have my way - and that means his death. My character believes his idea of fighting for a cause and choosing a side will get us all killed for nothing and i won't let it happen. The group is strong and can become powerful, but i see him as a liability.

So all the players know this, and its a battle of him and "right on his side" (which, unless a character starts feeling that way, is easy to change) against my intellect and wit. He's losing. I sure wish someone would stop me... because I AM afraid things will get personal. I am afraid that with an evil group member like mine, death is around the corner from infighting. The real group leader seems content to "weigh his options and wait" - a challenge to authority which i would never permit if i were leader. I've asked him to actually take my character and get deprogrammed, but i've developed such a reputation as a smart, mean and powerful character (its all facade baby! they would be about DnD level equiv of 3) that no one wants to F with me for fear of reprisals later. I see a player talk coming because i don't wanna be evil any more (boy it sure is fun though), just send me off for "tough love" therapy!

Etarnon
02-02-2010, 07:37 AM
Back in April, I posted:

"Very rarely have I met and DMed for a group of players that could handle this, and at the same time wanted and agreed to it."

I keep getting the "New Emails posted to this thread." So I decided to jump in here once more.

I still think that's true. Even when the GM disallows PvP.

A Star Wars game (with no PvP) I once ran died in Session 4 because of player arguments.

Episode #1: One player (#1) did not like another player's PC "Taking Charge", when the group was a team of four.

The player of the PC (#2) attempting to "Take Charge" defended his Pc's actions by reason of the PC's skills, and qualifications. The other players didn't like it, or the argument, and wanted to get back to the game, and complete the scenario.

Arguments ensued, which I stopped, and tried to redirect toward the scenario, mistakenly thinking it was all in-game, character flavor enhancing drama, etc. Big mistake from hell on my part.

Play continued, but the arguments returned (during most of the encounters as to how "the Team" was going to handle each) until near the climax of the scenario #1 sees the actions of #2 directly opposing, and says, "Screw this, my PC draws his weapon and attacks his."

At that point I stopped the game, and said "No, don't go there." reiterating that this was a team of heroes saving the galaxy a small piece at a time.

Player #1 subsided, but it seems (at the time) he went covert, with a plan to undermine #2, any way he could since as GM from there on out, I was not allowing pcs to blow each other to bits. I learned later that #1 tried to "Claim credit" amongst other players for "Showing up that other guy...Teaching him an in game lesson." etc.

So by then player #2 had decided #1 had it in for his PC (Which he did), and it was subterfuge, move and countermove, until following game sessions devolved into arguments over who was directing who, what, where, and when in every single encounter with players blowing up in argument at each other, and me going off at the pair of mutual antagonists.

I advised them both that continuance of this conflict was going to result in the end of the game, because multiple people were driving an average of 30 miles, I was preparing too much source material for session scenarios s only to have it wasted due to lack of play due to argument...which could have worked if the players had kept the arguments in game, in character, but it had already gone past that, and was Player V Player.

Arguments still ensued, and started moving into hostile OOC, out of game phone exchanges over who was gonna do what when in upcoming scenarios, each player vying for control/leadership/whatever...Which I responded, it isn't set up like that. It's a team, let's focus on the mission.

But the two weren't having it.

I thus ended it before session #5 began.

Some will call me a weak GM, but I made the best call I could on that one, because time after time of two players not listening, no one respecting the idea of just roleplay, two in metagame conflict sparking off each other, and no one having any fun, it was tedious, and a waste of my time, and effort and money.

I think if PVP would have been allowed it would have ended even worse, becoming a game of Vendetta between characters and players for (justified revenge) "Killing my PC"....back and forth. (Even if DM approved, which I never do. I want a team of heroes as in a film, not reality simulation.)


In the end, I had to revert to the question: PVP? In Star Wars?? Doesn't seem to be the genre convention, except at the very end, perhaps.

Such a tragedy, for a group I had high hopes for. In the end, I called it my fault.

The non arguers blame the other two, the arguers blame each other and/or me, I blame myself.

May the force be with you all.

Arkhemedes
02-02-2010, 09:00 AM
In my very first experience as a player, a good friend of mine snuck an evil character into our party of good characters. At some point, the evil character betrayed our good characters, thus revealing his evil nature. None of the good guys were actually harmed and we were taken quite by surprise. But when it was over we all laughed about it and how we had been tricked. However, the evil character had to leave the group.

The DM then followed the action of the good guys for a time. Later on, he decided to pick up on the story of the evil character. So the rest of us made up evil characters to join in the stories. I made a fighter/assassin whose first assignment (according to the DM) was to kill one of the other PCs. Before I got the chance to kill this character, all of the PCs discovered that we were all being hunted by someone else. This made my contract on the PC null and void and we ended up joining forces instead. So far so good, right?

Well, a short time later, the character that I was originally suppose to kill (the only female player in the group who the DM was sweet on) decided to be greedy and not be a team player. My character then warned her about her behavior, but she continued with her greedy ways. So I attempted to form an alliance within the group to put an end to her greedy ways. Unfortunately for my character, the alliance fell apart and he was forced to fight a battle to the death against the greedy female character. As the DM had made sure to give the female player the best magic items, including a vorpal weapon, my character didn't stand a chance. He was decapitated on the 2nd round.

When it was over, the DM and the female player, grabbed all of their books and dice and stormed out of my apartment where the game was being played. And my first group broke up.

Bad DMing? Towards the end, yes. The DM should have stepped in at some point and made it clear where things were heading and done something to curtail it. But he simply allowed it to happen. Then got upset when it was all over.

It was a real bummer at the time. But it served as a lesson to me later on when I became the DM, to be warry of where certain situations are headed. Since then, I've even run an evil campaign where characters turning on each other happened occasionally. Some characters even died. But never again have any of the players got upset enough to quit playing because of it.

WhiskeyFur
02-02-2010, 11:53 AM
... As the DM had made sure to give the female player the best magic items, including a vorpal weapon ...

... When it was over, the DM and the female player, grabbed all of their books and dice and stormed out ...

Ah KAY.. that sounds more like said DM and player had a little meta gaming going on there... Yea. I say that's more of the DM and player letting a personal relationship interfere with the game. I hope they're happy with each other 'cause they burned alot of other folks in the process.

Arkhemedes
02-02-2010, 01:48 PM
Ah KAY.. that sounds more like said DM and player had a little meta gaming going on there... Yea. I say that's more of the DM and player letting a personal relationship interfere with the game. I hope they're happy with each other 'cause they burned alot of other folks in the process.
Indeed. Said DM was trying desperately to get into said female player's pants, and although said female player was having none of that, she naturally sided with the DM. Then the two tried to take the other players who had been left in the lurch away from me.

But the joke was on them. Whether it was deliberate or not, I don't know, but they invited these other players over for a game at the girl's place on the same night that I had already scheduled a game of my own in a new campaign, leaving these players with the decision to make on which game to go to. They opted for my game, which permanently burned any bridges between those two and the rest of us, despite more than one attempt on my part, during the next year or two, to invite the male player back (the female player had long disappeared by then). But apparently, the fiasco and the subsequent rejection by the female player had left an everlasting bitter taste in his mouth.

Hamenopi
02-02-2010, 01:49 PM
I'm playing in a 3.5 campaign where I am arguably an antagonistic Gnome Bard (or Chaotic Neutral). My bard specializes in illusions and like to test the mettle of the group, especially paladins.

Examples:
Minor Image of the combat happy halfling paladin's favored enemy opening closed doors so he'll charge closed doors.
Acquiring aforementioned halfling paladin's lance and major imaging a squirrel god offering the lance to the half orc fighter as it's holy weapon.
Major Image that the lace glows when held by the fighter and has a holy shield surrounding him when he uses it.
Disguising my voice and using message to send the halfling paladin messages from his god.
Alter Self as the Dwarf Cleric when we reach towns and preach sermons for him (He now has a following of zealots and IC has no clue why).
Major Image a prison block in a prison block so the guards believe the prisoner I just bailed out is still there.
Alter Self as the scout of a rival group returning before the real scout returned, sending them on the wrong way.
Forcing the party to go the way I want to go using Minor Image to 'create' dead ends.

Stuff like that. After the session, the Halfling Paladin almost falls out of the chair in laughter, telling me how awesome the absurd thing I did to him was while the half orc fighter offers me suggestions on what to do to him the next session. In character they have no clue I'm doing this to them, only that I like to sing/talk in tongues a lot (Yea, spellcraft this in IGNAN!).

Tim Proctor
02-04-2010, 12:26 AM
It's a tough call, I've done it as the GM and set Characters against Characters, and I've stopped it too. This is really where you have to use your judgement with people. Some players are mature enough to handle it, and some aren't.

In one instance I had a group of characters that were all Chaotic Neutral leaning a little towards the Evil, and then one of the players decides that he's going Lawful Good and straight Knights' Honor. I had no choice but to allow the Chaotic Neutral guys to mess with him, it started with putting rusting oil in his armor, turning invisible and touches peoples behinds in crowded markets, etc. It evolved into the Lawful Good guy turning into a Corrupt Avenger agianst them.

In another instance a guy was upset because the girl they worked with went on a date with the other guy instead of him. So what happens, he tries to kill the guys' character when he's sleeping. I didn't let it happen.

In one instance that I'm playing, I have a Dwarf Fighter with a Charisma of 4 but a high Intelligence. So I make in an arrogant jackass and interrupts everyone, makes fun of them, etc. etc. It worked fine for the first couple sessions but when I did it to one player she freaked out. She started sending me emails about how her character could kill mine. Anyways I stop roleplaying the interrupting and insults (he had a scott-irish accent so it was easy to tell what was in character), and start saying that "Cromwell interrupts her", "Cromwell insults her", etc. She still took it personally and started sending long emails about disrespect and gameplay, etc. to the whole group. I was backed up by almost everyone who understood that a Charisma of 4 is pretty freaking low. Anyways this went on for about 4 more sessions, until on the nicest night she blows up, so I leave the group.

Bottomline is that you need to understand your players, some can take it as role playing, some will take it personally.

cplmac
02-04-2010, 10:44 AM
...The non arguers blame the other two, the arguers blame each other and/or me, I blame myself..

As I see it, the non arguers are correct in blaming the other two players. It was their constant fighting/arguing that caused the end of the game. Really you had no other choice than to halt the game. It probably wouldn't have been to much longer before one of the non arguing players would have left because on not having any fun because of those other two. (I say just one leaving due to I believe that I know who the fouth player was/is and wouldn't have left you out on a limb.) Do not blame yourself for the actions of others. Who knows, there may be a time where you can actually run this game with our Monroeville Tsojcanth 2E group.

Regicide
02-05-2010, 09:41 AM
As a player, I've never run into a problem with this. This is probably because my usual group is made up of reasonable people who have a genuine fondness for one another. I generally have some sort of in-character feud or posture of antagonism going with one or more of the other players. Keeps the character dynamics interesting. Now if I was to try something like this with a new group, I'd discuss it with the other player involved out of game first, and perhaps even continue talking about the character dynamics with them a bit post-game.

Groqx
02-21-2010, 04:13 PM
Getting back to the original premise of this thread: "Do you think it is "bad GMing" to allow a player character to turn on his friends and become a bad guy."

In my more than three decades of gaming I have encountered this only twice. Once as a DM and once as a player. Both ended very badly and still cannot imagine how those games could have ended differently. I highly discourage any DM from allowing it within their game. But, having said that, I am highly interested in hearing from anyone who successfully accomplished that feat.

DragonDM
02-22-2010, 06:11 PM
Getting back to the original premise of this thread: "Do you think it is "bad GMing" to allow a player character to turn on his friends and become a bad guy."

In my more than three decades of gaming I have encountered this only twice. Once as a DM and once as a player. Both ended very badly and still cannot imagine how those games could have ended differently. I highly discourage any DM from allowing it within their game. But, having said that, I am highly interested in hearing from anyone who successfully accomplished that feat.


I have been Playing and DM-ing (I do run more RPGs then just D&D, but it is the one that I have done the most) for nearly 30 years (I was too young to get into the Original "Underground Movement") and have seen a lot of things tried.

Sometimes they worked, but most other times they were an Epic Failure.

Allowing the players to be Evil (even as a Group) is tricky.
Allowing one player to be [or become] Evil in the Group is even harder.

There has to be an understanding from the very start that there MUST be a seperation of Character and Player.
Example: What the Player says/does verses what the Character says/does.

The D/GM must know the Players in the Group very well, and everyone has to maintain a Mature (beyond Age - emotional maturity) attitude.

I would strongly advise a New D/GM against doing this.
Most of the time the Players that they have are their friends, and a single really bad Gaming Night (or Event) can ruin a friendship.

If a D/GM really wanted to do this, then I would suggest that they call a special Gaming Meeting for the sole purpose of explaining what it is that that is going on and some basic ground rules for the Games.

1) Players are to absolutely make it clear the difference between their Character and their Real Selves.

2) Any continued arguing beyond a single Debate (sadly, the D/GM has to play the role of Final Advocate for when the Debate is over) shall be considered a Disruption of the Game.

3) If enough Disruptions happen (I normally have a Strike Three Rule, but other DMs allow more) then that Campaign shall be considered to be dead, and the DM will call a new Game Meeting to discuss the start of a New Campaign, with new Characters. And the reasons for why they are returning to this style.

Normally I simply state: "I would rather that everyone in the group is involved and having Fun - then to lose the Gaming Group. For this reason, I am changing the focus of the Campaign. Here is my Idea - let me know what you think....."

Etarnon
02-23-2010, 10:47 AM
That's good stuff. Arguments (Three times, without fail) killed my last game / that's where I put an end to it.

I think the biggest problem with situations like this, and RPGs in general is that players are a mix of participant in the story / co-director of their character, and actor all rolled into one.

But many players approach roleplaying as a wargame / tactical exercise,in which they want to "Win" for their character, even if miniatures are not involved, they want the "Social Win" so to speak.

So the players take actions for their characters which benefit the character, or feed the ego of the player "Winning" with the character, who has the most levels, power, best tactical feats/ abilities / whatever.

And when the PC is ""Evil" it tends to often happen that they feel that there is no remorse, no conscience, no governor over doing "whatever the hell they damn well please - 'Because it's my character, I know him, thius is what he'd do'"

Now I can see stories that lend themselves to focusing around a real "Sick Bastard (TM)," and those stories are valid. But the problem is, As Dragon DM says, many other players do not want to ride on the "Sick Bastard is the focus of all going on" train.

Because they would rather be the focus / lead of the story themselves.

Hard to describe, and I'm not quite explaining it, but that's a big chunk of how I understand this.

templeorder
02-23-2010, 02:41 PM
I recently hit what amounts to a "second strike" in my Dunstrand Rising campaign. I had completely re-tooled the campaign to give the PC's more decisions in regards to the role in - basically more autonomy from being servants to an Earl. Well, the heart and sould of the group is basically being fought for between 2 characters - one 'good' and one 'bad'. Sadly, it looks like the 'bad' character won the majority of the group. I have taken the character temporarily out of the campaign and told the party leader that basically, if they are going to become mercenaries, i'm halting the campaign to place them in a more appropriate setting and flavor. Now, a lot of effort has gone into this, so the players got creative and role played out a large group meeting in which they settled with the Earl (played by me) and got more of what they wanted in exchange for their continued loyalty and bond. The offending character is being "deprogrammed" - i'll have to work with them to figure out how to bring them back in with changes that make them less disruptive or make a new character.

Raicheck
06-18-2010, 12:38 AM
By no means is allowing a player to be "evil" being a bad GM. Some of the most dramatic scenes in my games have been between two players, or two groups of players that are in conflict with each other. When you have a decent group it can add a great deal to the realism and experience that people are having.

That being said, it really does depend on the group, and the players in question. Younger players, or older players who have trouble separating fantasy from reality, can be very problematic when two players get into conflict with one another IC'ly. It can really wreck a gaming group if they don't understand that it's not Joe backstabbing Charlie, it's Joe's character backstabbing Charlie's character, and has nothing to do with either of them personally.

If you're worried about it being a problem, sit the players down and talk to them as a group. It's better if you don't grab just the two players in question, but instead address the group as a whole and just bring up the topic of inter-party conflict. Get their feedback on it. Remember the game is a partnership with you and the players, and the players and each other.

Good luck with it!

cplmac
06-21-2010, 09:17 AM
If a character is being mind controlled by a creature and attacks his/her companions, does that qualify as becoming enemies? Especially if the character has no recolection of the actions?

Checkmate
07-19-2010, 05:56 PM
A Paladin arguing with a Rogue about the best way to handle a situation: Good Role-Playing good game. Gimli and Legolas bickering about who has the most kills, great RP, good game. a Rogue stealing a Paladin's +5 Holy Avenger to sell on eBay, and you have a game going down quickly.

A lot of what makes RPG's fun and keeps groups together is the PC's are a group working together to beat the bad guys. All the players win or lose together. When you have inter-party strife, you have to have a player who wins and a player who loses. This is just a BAD situation.