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Why people don't want to play heroic characters?


Gamer Talk

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Taldor

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I have been GM-ing a one/two-shot game set on middle earth, some months before Frodo leaves Bag end. Characters were of course meant to be heroic free peoples, charged by Aragorn to make the wilderness a safer place. And, of course, i told the players this before play. And at the beginning of the session.
The game started well, they were tasked with scouting an old fortification, and after finding it full of goblins, they had an epic fight and won. They burned the corpses and went to the town of Bree. There, the "rogue" character waited for the night before beginning to burglarize people's houses, the warrior got into three bar fights, until Butterburr had him thrown out of the in, and the "wizard" threatened anyone who wouldn't do what he wanted them to do with his magic. The end result had them thrown out of the town and told that arrows will fly if they come back. And what do they do? SET FIRE TO THE FREAKING TOWN
That is where i called BS and had Aragorn and the dunedain slaughter them for joining the shadow.
Why, oh why, are people so incapable of playing normal, good people? Please share your insight.


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For me it gets set up when you're making characters. I would have been asking the players why their characters wanted to protect Bree. In fact, I would have required it as part of character creation.

I then would have turned around and used that info to threaten Bree, to give the players chances to engage with the things important to their characters.

Heroes don't just happen because you tell them to be heroes. They need something to fight for.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

What you have OP is a fairly common example of player/GM disconnect.

You're seeking to GM one game, and your players are looking to play another. Your players are looking to swagger around with power, in short, they're not really temperamentally suited for a Middle Earth style game.

No perhaps a Dark Company style of setting might be more suitable, it's a gritty setting and people who throw their weight around will find many who will throw it right back.

Taldor

They did. And this is not the only occurrence. This was just an example. The point I am making is that few people want to play heroes anymore. Sorry, but i don't want to run a game for villains who delude themselves into thinking that they are heroes. A few people can pull of an anti-hero and i have met one that could do it properly.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

This seems like you have a limited sample size of jerks.

Taldor

Seriously, i have been begging people to take the good alignment from time to time. The best i can get is lawful neutral. I'm sick of it and the problem is that i really like gaming and most of the people who game in my town are like the select few i have played with. All the good ones have moved to other countries.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Find new players. I have players I like to play with because I taught then the game for the most part so they know I expect "Heroic Fantasy". That genre convention and shared expectation matter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would suggest looking for online games, either VTT or PBP, and ditching these guys as well.

It's completely possible to play somewhat-insane-but-basically-decent, they're just not interested in basic decency.


It has been my experience that players will say whatever it takes to get into a game, and will do whatever they want to once the game starts even if it directly contradicts what they agreed on earlier, because there is no penalty that discourages them.

Basically, they act like jerks and play the game they want (rather than the game the GM was trying to run) because all that is going to happen is the GM will have them make new characters and try again, and again, and again... but the GM keeps slogging away trying to get them interested in what he is interested in and they keep playing how they want to, or the GM gives up on what he wants and runs the game the players are asking for.

...but when you, as a GM, say "Okay, you just broke our agreement about what kind of character you were going to play," and then kick that player from the game players start to shape up.

At least most do... I've got one player that still acts like killing, robbing, and burning everything is the best way to play - and I have dealt with him with a simple approach of saying "No, you don't do that because your character should not want to do that." and not letting him play characters that should act the way he wants them to.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, in a somewhat less flippant answer if you really don't want to try to get into online - I'd suggest building a campaign around the types of chracters they appear to want to play. But go utterly realistic with it. They try to burn down the village, they get guards on them along with a literal mob of angry commoners. Dig out the old 3.5 mob rules for that one - at first or second level they're not going to survive. If they run, the guard makes a complaint to the next level of government up, who have an elite corps of soldiers (APL +6 CR) to deal with them.

Even Evil characters don't act like psychopathic loonies out in the open, because it's a really stupid idea. A few TPKs should get across the message that you don't tolerate that kind of stuff.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hama wrote:
Why, oh why, are people so incapable of playing normal, good people? Please share your insight.

Not incapable, just uninterested.

Heroism is boring. I have to live in a world that expects good actions, but never rewards; I tend to get disillusioned on a regular basis. I'm surrounded by cultures I hate and want nothing to do with, yet customer service demands polite conversations with the clueless beasts on the other side of the counter. I honestly don't live in a world I want to save. With these issues floating about in my head, I could care less about heroic endeavors...

I'm not even interested in anti-heroes or black knights anymore; give me villainy. I have to be a "normal" (as if that word means anything), good person on a daily basis; the appeal of taking what I want and running rampant across a fantasy setting is significant.

The cure for this is representing the antagonists as something everyone at the table hates and loathes. Use a group's real life frustrations as momentum and build NPCs the players will want to hate and keep friendly NPCs few and far between.


I find playing a Good alignment far more fun and rewarding (and less distruptive to the group) than playing an Evil character of any kind. Even when my former DM tried to run a borderline grimdark campaign where every NPC ever merely ridiculed my character for being nice and helpful, I still stoically stuck to my old Half-Elf Cleric of Pelor. In the final game with him, I played a Chaotic Good Changeling Sorcerer, and currently I am playing a Neutral Good Monk* in Kingmaker.

The only kind of Evil I'd play is the one who gets redeemed via character development.

* = Houserules for the win.


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Everyone likes to think they're doing something cool, hip, and original, by going "off the beaten path" and not being "heroes." Except, no one got the memo that, when this is the only play style you do for well over a decade(in my group's instance), it becomes the status quo. It pretty much loses all sense of angst and edginess when it becomes the run-of-the-mill predictable crap.

I've seriously had players complain about the idea of making good-aligned characters, citing that that's what every game out there is, and yet none of them can recall hardly ever actually playing a good-aligned character before. Funny that.

The "anti-hero" schtick has worn extremely thin with me. I'd love to have a player actually play a "good guy" for a change.


I'm okay with an Anti-Hero, as long as the Hero isn't being overtaken by the Anti, so to speak.

Someone like the Punisher is very close to that edge in my opinion, but that might trigger an alignment argument.


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If your question was meant to be more philosophical, then the short answer is that many, many people are both selfish and childish. Which is in some ways redundant.

Allow this wise old man to throw some of his Wisdom modifier at you. In the game, Wisdom is a score which is divided from a propensity for goodness or wickedness. In real life, Wisdom and goodness are indivisible. That's why juveniles enjoy playing wicked little jerkfaces, the people in your life who are the most selfish are also the people who complain most about how poorly they are treated, and real-life "evil" people eventually do really stupid, wasteful things and feel okay about it.

As you grow wiser, you typically grow kinder.

There are plenty of people out there playing heroic characters. And though the little jerks burning Bree to the ground are by no means evil people in real life just because they get their jollies tearing your game up, I can vouch that many of the people playing heroes are more reliable in real life, too.


I suppose I am lucky I have had few players who were "let's burn the town down" type players... or when they had characters like that, it was set in a game with moral ambiguity like a WoD game.

But people play RPGs for different reasons. Some truly is to play a hero. I would say many of the people in my current groups, including myself, have that goal most of the time. Others it's about feeling power, about being able to play a character who can get away with things that they never could--which can, indeed, be liberating. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as everyone's on the same page about what kind of game they are playing. When the two mix, that's when there can be problems.

I think it's very important to establish the theme of a game up front -- "In this game you are playing heroes" -- and ALSO to fabricate a reason for the party to be together and establish a mutual group goal for the party to have very early on. If the players have actively agreed to play the town marshals protecting the town from disaster, then they are more likely to do what they agreed to do (or alternately you have more reason for the consequences to happen should they then decide to "rebel").

And it's also important to make sure the players and GM are clear with each other on their expectations. If the only players you have just want to screw around and wreak havoc while you want to run a heroic campaign, you've got three options, which you discuss with your players explicitly and openly:
- Convince (not force) the players to play your heroic game (perhaps with a promise that the next campaign will be evil or what have you)

- Agree to run a more chaotic game (perhaps with an agreement that the players will willingly go along with a more heroic campaign later on)

- Realize your and your players' style do not mesh, end the campaign, and find new players.

Grand Lodge

With great power comes great responsibility. The players were given the chance to live out some of their fantasies, so they did. Instead of role playing they went along with their true feelings, desires, how they would act in real life if they could.

Bottom line, either adapt to their play style (if you must) or find another group (preferable).


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I see so much bad in the real world. Bad I can do very little to change. It frustrates me, it angers me. Being good in a game, being dangerously good, the kind of good that makes scenes like the rohirim (sp?) galloping towards gondor, the kind of good that makes the avengers gather, that calls brave men to overthrow tyranny and get an article on badass of the week. I'm either too afraid or too weak to do anything like that in reality.

Game is where I can swing in, save the child from the falling building then turn around and stop the bad guy from knocking more buildings down on people.


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I'm getting the feeling that many of you guys are old-school gamers, no?
Because what old-school gamers look for in RPGs, what attracted them in the first place, is often a way to emulate the tales of epic fantasy they grew up with, to act out similar characters in similar circumstances and they end up, unsurprisingly, reaching similar conclusions, albeit perhaps through different methods.

Not so with people coming to the hobby from the mid-90's upwards. Those (myself included) were influenced by the pervasive grungy post-punk shade that tainted all aspect of popular culture. Comics went into their gritty reboot phase, White Wolf was everywhere, and videogames had switched from Mario to Duke Nukem.

We grew up with the notion that you don't need to be a goody two-shoes in order to do the right thing. That Tolkien's notions of good were cheesy and unrealistic, fruit of naiveté and childish idealism. And I'd hardly be interested in playing a Frodo type, but I would gladly play a Ringbearer who instead decides to sell it for booze money, and then has to re-acquire it because the story so demands. Give me Thieves' World, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser or, perhaps over all others, Conan...and here's your Middle-Earth back, all of it.

Necromancer wrote:
I'm surrounded by cultures I hate and want nothing to do with, yet customer service demands polite conversations with the clueless beasts on the other side of the counter.

This level of bitterness and apathy, though, I find to be far on the other side of the fence, and with all due respect I disagree vehemently with it. Are you perchance a goth, mate? ;)

At the end of the day, it seems to me that overenforcing party-alignment is a way to rail the game and, as psychology dictates, players WILL rebel.

Hama wrote:
And what do they do? SET FIRE TO THE FREAKING TOWN

The players the OP mentions are clearly doing this, they're not being good at playing bad, they're playing bad by derailing the campaign in clear defiance of the DM himself. Those guys seem to have already outclassed "players" with "dicks" in their personal record for that particular campaign, there is no coming back from that. Go out with a TPK bang and next time be clear with your aspirations and let them know it is also their responsibility to create the best story possible, instead of making a mess of the table just because they don't like soup.

But why the rails in the first place? Can you not be inspired by the infinite examples from all media? From History even? There's never been Good and Evil, ever. There's only been, always, individual vs individual, group vs group, culture vs culture, and any combination of these.

Can you not find a better way to make you players opposed to a person or group or event than "you are good and they are bad, fight"? Those archaic moral notions kill the suspension of disbelief, for me. An activity where players are just meant to roll dice and make tactical decisions doesn't really have any advantages over videogames, like shared storytelling has. But shared storytelling is a compromise between the players and the GM, the GM HAS to sacrifice his control over the narrative, partially but significantly, to the point where a story may end up in a pretty different place than what he drew in his head.

Another thing worth mentioning is proper role distribution. Have you ever noticed how, stereotypically, classically good-aligned classes take the header (paladins, clerics) while the more often morally disruptive/ambiguous characters are back row classes (rogue, sorcerer)?

A party that is fully neutral except for its leader, an LG paladin, will probably ALWAYS do the right thing. They may accept rewards from peasants even if their leader won't, or loot enemy corpses, but they will more than likely advance the story how and where the DM wants it, while retaining a sense of choice that is vital in keeping players entertained. So just disallow "Alpha" types that aren't within the Orderly range (LN, CG, NG, LG).

Just to wrap up - and sorry for the wall of text, btw - demand that the players do the right thing, yes, but not that they be righteous. Don't feed your fun by sucking theirs away.

And hey: sadly, not everyone can play with everyone...

Shadow Lodge

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Necromancer wrote:
Hama wrote:
Why, oh why, are people so incapable of playing normal, good people? Please share your insight.

Not incapable, just uninterested.

Heroism is boring. I have to live in a world that expects good actions, but never rewards; I tend to get disillusioned on a regular basis. I'm surrounded by cultures I hate and want nothing to do with, yet customer service demands polite conversations with the clueless beasts on the other side of the counter. I honestly don't live in a world I want to save. With these issues floating about in my head, I could care less about heroic endeavors...

I'm not even interested in anti-heroes or black knights anymore; give me villainy. I have to be a "normal" (as if that word means anything), good person on a daily basis; the appeal of taking what I want and running rampant across a fantasy setting is significant.

The cure for this is representing the antagonists as something everyone at the table hates and loathes. Use a group's real life frustrations as momentum and build NPCs the players will want to hate and keep friendly NPCs few and far between.

Nepherti wrote:

I see so much bad in the real world. Bad I can do very little to change. It frustrates me, it angers me. Being good in a game, being dangerously good, the kind of good that makes scenes like the rohirim (sp?) galloping towards gondor, the kind of good that makes the avengers gather, that calls brave men to overthrow tyranny and get an article on badass of the week. I'm either too afraid or too weak to do anything like that in reality.

Game is where I can swing in, save the child from the falling building then turn around and stop the bad guy from knocking more buildings down on people.

These two.

Sometimes I just want to be bad. A villainous game from time to time is a great stress reliever, and lets some steam off in a relatively-harmless manner, and can be great fun. If they're going to be bad, let them be the best villains they can manage, and give them true heroes to challenge them.

At the same time, some games are really about heroism, and like Necromancer and Nepherti said it's the kind of heroism you can't get in the real world. Give Good characters a world where being good matters, where things they do have significance, and most of all where they are RECOGNIZED, RESPECTED, AND REWARDED for doing and being Good. Because it damn well doesn't happen in real life.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think alot of dms and groups struggle with this. There is always one or more players around that want to be a jerk. Good people can want to play jerks, it can be cathartic. And the reality is the game has not really provided them a good outlet for a very long time.

I would recommend trying the 'let them get it out of their system' method. Give them a real shot to be baby eating evil. Get that evil adventure path floating around (i forget the name) and run it, even if just for a while. Let them indulge their asshattery and see if afterwards they arent ready to come back towards the light. Because the truth of it is they have probably been itching to be a 'bad' guy for a long time, and found resistence from the dm all over the place. Perhaps after a bit of indulgence they will be ready to make heroic sacrifices again.

Shadow Lodge

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Way of the Wicked by Fire Mountain Games.

It's what's Good for Bad.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hmm. I've never experienced this. My players play heroes, to the point that it confuses some of the NPCs. Even the CN ones end up acting good.

From the last time we played.
CN rogue player, "I need to start doing something evil to balance all this good out."
Me "Well you are near the undisturbed resting places of several good knights. You could loot them, and it definitely wouldn't be good."
LG cleric player. "I will kill you! And Kelda and Spivy are on my side."
Rogue, "You see! You see what happens when I try to be evil. I am forced to righteousness. Besides, why would I steal sacred relics. That's wrong."


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Zombie Ninja wrote:

With great power comes great responsibility. The players were given the chance to live out some of their fantasies, so they did. Instead of role playing they went along with their true feelings, desires, how they would act in real life if they could.

Bottom line, either adapt to their play style (if you must) or find another group (preferable).

Or possibly, acting out in ways they never would want to in real life, but are comfortable doing in the game since no one real is hurt.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Zombie Ninja wrote:

With great power comes great responsibility. The players were given the chance to live out some of their fantasies, so they did. Instead of role playing they went along with their true feelings, desires, how they would act in real life if they could.

Bottom line, either adapt to their play style (if you must) or find another group (preferable).

Or possibly, acting out in ways they never would want to in real life, but are comfortable doing in the game since no one real is hurt.

This. I've played absolutely despicable, utterly reprehensible evil characters, on both sides of the GM screen. Characters who did things I wouldn't even THINK of doing, much less CONSIDER doing, in real life. Things I have utterly zero desire to do as a person. But things that, in a non-real game, suited the character and campaign, and in the end only affected the unreality of the game.


See, I have this complex where I actually feel remorse for the bad a character of mine causes in game. Its why I always get a lot of outside input when designing any BBEG. I can't get into the mindset.


The problem with players trying to play Evil characters is that they more often than not fail to do it in classy, magnificent way instead going for simple petty thuggery.

Yes, the players shouldn't be forced into railroads when it gives them no fun, but the GM has the right to enjoy the game too, and GMing session after session of overseeing random hooliganism is no fun: "Ok, you burn another random village because you didn't want to pay for beer. That will be fifteen one."

Players are responsible for quality of game too. Hama stated his intent from the start and players agreed to the game premise - if they didn't wanted to play such game they should voice their concern in the first place (unless Hama forced them to play in his game by his rules despite their protests, which I rather doubt).

Taldor

Yeah, i get venting, i get being evil from time to time. I've played evil characters on occasion (not really good at being evil, i end up being too cartoonish). But not ALL THE FREAKING TIME. No matter what the premise of the campaign we agree upon at the beginning of the game, by session three they are torturing someone and burning houses and doing all manner of nasty stuff. And when their actions bring consequences in the guise of good-aligned heroes, they have the gall to complain that they are not having fun.
Screw them. If they want to be evil without consequence they can play overlord. I am not a computer. If i work out an agreement with people about a certain style of play, i expect them to respect that agreement. I have booted players for this behavior before, and i am not afraid to do so again.
I'm just tired of it all i guess. But whenever i try to play as a player, the GM in me perks up and wants to take over. Damn.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think telling the players which kind of game you want and then holding them to that standard is what should be standard procedure. If they don't want to play heroic characters, they always have the option of looking for another GM. Likewise for the GM her/himself.

But if the players agree to play a certain style of campaigning and then just go in the other direction, it is not the GM's fault at all if bad things happen to the player characters.

To be honest, I'd hope that people would grow out of wanting to play the Punisher as they get older, but it seems some people never mature enough to see what an hollow concept that archetype is.


Hama wrote:
Yeah, i get venting, i get being evil from time to time. I've played evil characters on occasion (not really good at being evil, i end up being too cartoonish). But not ALL THE FREAKING TIME. No matter what the premise of the campaign we agree upon at the beginning of the game, by session three they are torturing someone and burning houses and doing all manner of nasty stuff. And when their actions bring consequences in the guise of good-aligned heroes, they have the gall to complain that they are not having fun.

Explain to them that they are making it non-fun to you. That GMing to bunch of players that insist on playing sociopathic jerks is not interesting. And certainly you are not interested in GMing game where there are no consequences. Ask them what would they like to play and decide if what they want is passable to you or not. If not, well, time to say good bye.

Quote:
I'm just tired of it all i guess. But whenever i try to play as a player, the GM in me perks up and wants to take over. Damn.

I understand you despite never having to suffer it to the same degree.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Hama wrote:

Yeah, i get venting, i get being evil from time to time. I've played evil characters on occasion (not really good at being evil, i end up being too cartoonish). But not ALL THE FREAKING TIME. No matter what the premise of the campaign we agree upon at the beginning of the game, by session three they are torturing someone and burning houses and doing all manner of nasty stuff. And when their actions bring consequences in the guise of good-aligned heroes, they have the gall to complain that they are not having fun.

Screw them. If they want to be evil without consequence they can play overlord. I am not a computer. If i work out an agreement with people about a certain style of play, i expect them to respect that agreement. I have booted players for this behavior before, and i am not afraid to do so again.
I'm just tired of it all i guess. But whenever i try to play as a player, the GM in me perks up and wants to take over. Damn.

There is a way to scratch that itch without having to do the heartache.

The beautiful thing about Star Trek Online is that you actually have a tool to design quests that players can engage in and get real rewards for doing so. And you'll get feedback on how people feel about the scenario.


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I think some players are less motivated to play heroic characters in settings that already have a pantheon of heroes far more powerful than they are, the Middle Earth setting and Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms are examples. Dark Sun in contrast, was a campaign setting where being a hero was a real challenge.

I usually set up my heroic games by presenting a situation where there is an immanent threat that needs to be stopped and no one else is really capable of stopping it, even the pc's are a long-shot. Flesh out the npc community and "friendly" areas to give the pc's something worth protecting. The npc's should also be reacting to the pc's efforts in a positive way, throw a celebration for them or award medals for successes, show concern for the pc's who are gravely injured or killed. Develop relationships.

In another game I played in, the pc's held public offices in town and had responsibilities to handle that made us feel very engaged with the future of the place and its inhabitants.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
melquisedeq wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
I'm surrounded by cultures I hate and want nothing to do with, yet customer service demands polite conversations with the clueless beasts on the other side of the counter.
This level of bitterness and apathy, though, I find to be far on the other side of the fence, and with all due respect I disagree vehemently with it. Are you perchance a goth, mate? ;)

Nope, never made it to Rome.


artavan wrote:

I think some players are less motivated to play heroic characters in settings that already have a pantheon of heroes far more powerful than they are, the Middle Earth setting and Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms are examples. Dark Sun in contrast, was a campaign setting where being a hero was a real challenge.

I usually set up my heroic games by presenting a situation where there is an immanent threat that needs to be stopped and no one else is really capable of stopping it, even the pc's are a long-shot. Flesh out the npc community and "friendly" areas to give the pc's something worth protecting. The npc's should also be reacting to the pc's efforts in a positive way, throw a celebration for them or award medals for successes, show concern for the pc's who are gravely injured or killed. Develop relationships.

In another game I played in, the pc's held public offices in town and had responsibilities to handle that made us feel very engaged with the future of the place and its inhabitants.

Good points all. Another thing along the same lines is -- make it personal. Don't have the princess kidnapped, have it be a character's sister or brother. Have a valuable family artifact stolen. Or for a more positive twist, ensure that success in dealing with [insert plot here] makes the PC the first candidate for promotion in their church/organization.


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Heh, the funny thing is that I'm the exact opposite way: I can't stand the idea of playing a non-heroic character. Every single character I create has to be some flavor of good-aligned, or Lawful Neutral at worst.

Playing a character (or playing with one) that goes around fighting with innocent commoners and setting fires to towns would just bother the heck out of me.


I'm running a campaign right now. The characters are:

CE male beastbrood tiefling sorcerer of Pazuzu
CN male kitsune ninja (joined in 2nd session)
CN female sylph cleric of Pharasma (joined in 3rd session)
CN female half-elf rogue (missed most of 3rd session)
LG male emberkin aasimar paladin of Sarenrae (missed most of 3rd session)
"ethically challenged" male human alchemist (probably LN)

At the start of the campaign, the paladin's player did indicate he would prefer not to play LG but he opted to go that way because I told him if he played an antipaladin, he'd be more appropriate as an adversary in the campaign. He elected to stick with LG, even though he said he doesn't like the alignment. No idea why he didn't just go fighter instead then.

We started the campaign as NPC classes and the paladin is just getting his Detect Evil this upcoming session, so he hasn't had a chance to Detect Evil on the party yet. I imagine that will cause some problems when he does. So far one LG native outsider (a lar) has detected evil on the party, but it has only minorly interfered with the tiefling since it's not very talkative.

So far the only thing "Evil" that the party has done was torture a captured CE female cleric of Jezelda by threatening to make her drink fatal acid. This was actually a bluff as it was a gross concoction the tiefling whipped up, but was really just a laxative. The only ones present for that scene were the tiefling, kitsune, and human.

They did burn-down a house but it was abandoned, and they did it to smoke out a giant spider that had made it a lair.

The CN half-elf rogue pickpocketed a bunch of commoners in the town square during an execution, and the CE tiefling knocked out the rogue later and robbed her, but I wouldn't class either of those actions as actually evil.

It's my belief that the players, despite their mostly CN and CE alignments, will probably stick with the side of the law. (The government leans LN/LE anyway, but does have a NG figurehead.)

Luckily for me, one of the things that drives my players' characters is wealth, and the local militia has them on retainer.

I would have much preferred it if the party had been primarily comprised of good-aligned characters. (And been significantly more human than non-human.)

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

I just have a must-be-good rule at my table. In fact, it is more of a must-be-a-hero rule.

I've only once had someone violate the rule. That was easy to solve because, at my table, if you stop being Good you stop being a PC and become an NPC. So, that player had to go off and roll up a new character while the evil character was (in this case) arrested for what he had done.

I have never sought to play an evil character and have never really had to deal with players seeking to be evil (beyond that one occasion).

I guess the OP has just been unlucky with his players.


If there isn't something about the campaign that motivates players do want to do the right thing, then why should they be expected to think of right things to do on their own?


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Terquem wrote:
If there isn't something about the campaign that motivates players do want to do the right thing, then why should they be expected to think of right things to do on their own?

This kind of baffles me actually. If it is a heroic campaign, why would someone *need* to be motivated to do the right thing?

I guess I just have a very different mindset compared to a lot of other players out there.


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So... THIS complex of problems rears its ugly head again. Hmmn.

I think one of the underlying issues here is that a lot of players simply lack the skill to role-play their way out of a wet sack. Villainous or heroic -- the side of the axis doesn't really make a difference. It doesn't help when people agree to play one way and then do the opposite.

For the OP: seriously? Stop running for them. Let them go cr@p on somebody else's table.

Also for the OP: While I can appreciate your desire to run for a group of heroes, well... I'd be saying thanks but no, myself. I don't have any desire to be heroic, in or out of game. Just don't like people enough to go out of my way to help them. (This may be a lack in my character, though I get along fine without succumbing to any altruistic urges...)

I don't run stupid thugs, or burn down villages; I simply don't care if the village burns down. Unless there's an especially-good cup of coffee to be had there, or a nice brothel. In which case, I would be moved to interfere with village-burning plans. Not on account of the need of the villagers, mind you, but on my own selfish enjoyment of the coffee-and-whores to be had there.

I ALSO wouldn't agree to play an hero... so you wouldn't catch me going back on an agreement.

Sorry your group turned on you; the only solution I know is to quit them. They really don't seem to be worth your time.

I AM sad to see how many folks seem to have nonevil requirements for players. Seems prejudicial, and doesn't solve the problem of jerk PCs: jerks will be jerks regardless of the alignment printed on their sheets... and you lose out on a lot of excellent RP, and excellent players (if I do say so, myself...)


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber

When we take a break from D&D, my group sometimes plays the old Marvel Superheroes game. I'd like to suggest borrowing something from that game's rules.

In Marvel Superheroes, at the end of every session you can earn Karma points, which you can spend later to get auto-successess or to improve your character, or even to power-stunt your way to new powers if they're related to your existing powers.

However, if your PC performs criminal acts or bring harm to people, you gain no Karma for the session and you might even lose Karma you'd earned previously. If you (accidentally or deliberately) kill someone, even utterly evil villains, you lose all your current karma.

In my experience, players make that mistake once - and then they lose a significant amount of karma, and from then on they remember. No evil acts. No non-heroic behavior.

My point is, you might be able to house-rule something similar into Pathfinder, rewarding them 0 XP in sessions where they choose to behave in non-heroic fashion. It's harder for one-shots, but even there you can do something; perhaps -2 penalties to all d20 rolls until they make amends for their non-heroic behavior. Reward the behavior you want to see, and make sure you do nothing to reward the behavior that makes the game un-fun for you.


If there is no motivation to be heroic, how can you call it a heroic campaign? If you examine most fantasy literature, the hero becomes the hero because cicumstances dictate he or she make choices that set them on the path to becoming a hero. They do not wake up in a world that has "Hero" written over their beds.

Andoran

Generally my players roll theirs eyes and grumble when I ask if they would like me to run an evil game. I have been informed that they wish to play the heroes that get to do grand deeds and things that they can't do in real life.

They also enjoy the villains I run and pitting themselves against them. Apparently I run difficult to outwit villains. Worst part is I script my villain actions for the first 2 rounds as that is as long as they survive before I have to adjust for the battle.

I sit down and ask what they are playing race and class wise while making notes. I also ask for back stories. The following week I sit down with a basic storyline, some hooks for the characters and see how people feel about them. Usually its a resounding approval and we begin play. Sometimes someone wants to adjust something and we work it out so it all meshes with the storyline.

As the game progresses we embellish on it all and soon everyone is more caught up in the story and enjoying playing the heroes once more.

Taldor

Terquem wrote:
If there is no motivation to be heroic, how can you call it a heroic campaign? If you examine most fantasy literature, the hero becomes the hero because cicumstances dictate he or she make choices that set them on the path to becoming a hero. They do not wake up in a world that has "Hero" written over their beds.

Because the premise of the game was that the players would play heroes. They agreed upon the premise and i explained that their characters had a strong desire to thwart sauron's plans whenever they could because of a mix of duty and personal grudges/reasons. I don't want to write a character's backstory for the player. I just give the skeleton and let them flesh them out.


One of the things I do when I DM is ask the players to come up with a good backstory, and I grant meaningful rewards related to those backstories. Depending on how well the backstory is designed, I've given out rewards like magic items, masterwork items, and/or a bonus extra feat that has to do with the backstory created.

Strangely enough, this usually sates player greed for excitement for a little while, because it makes it clear that the better the story teller they are, the more cooperative they are with the game world, the better off things are. It may imbalance the game a little, but I think it does give the characters a heroic feeling, and the earlier you can capture that, the more heroic your player characters will behave through the campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gamers are a bunch of murdering, town burning sociopaths, at least in game. Not all of them mind you but enough of them just really want to act out behaviors that they would NEVER do in real life. Most of them have no regard for the law in game and would just as soon murder an entire constabulary for standing up to them than actually acknowledge their authority.

It's hard to be a good person and seems harder for gamers to actually role-play one. You can have a character who truly believes in doing right by the average joe and trying to protect those who cant protect themselves and STILL be a bit of a jerk.

I've been playing an running games since 82-83 and I can count on 2 hands how many players of mine in a fantasy RPG setting have played truly good characters.
I have no tolerance for sociopaths acting out their murder/death/kill fantasies. It was alright when we we 13, at 35 or 40 it's old.

I live in a real world where the bad guys win ALL THE TIME. And peoples concept of altruism is either badly skewed or completely absent. When I run or play in an RPG I want to FIGHT evil. Simple evil, morally complex evil, or just flat out EVIL. I dont want to BE evil.

One of my favorite Whedon characters EVER is THE OPERATIVE from SERENITY. I love the character because of something he says to Mal in the middle of the movie:

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?

The Operative: I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.

The honesty of who he is and what he does is something I dont think I've ever gotten from any Player doing bad stuff in a game. He knows that he acts in order to secure a bright future for others. BUt knows that because of what he does he'll never see that bright future. In some ways there's a certain amount of honor in that but in other ways it's pretty scary because he's a fanatic.

If there are players out there who can rock that kind of complexity while playing an evil character then I salute you. I've seen one or two but most others? MURDER/BURN/DETH/KILL.


Well in the beginning of the hobby PCs often weren't heroes. There were straight out villains including the likes of a vampire, a orc king and even a balrog in Blackmoor! There were also more mercenary types. The pulp heroes that D&D was inspired by like Conan and Elric were often not particularly heroic either.


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I find the thoughts roleplaying evil acts as an enjoyable hobby... disturbing.

I know the paladin is going to kill his enemies with his sword and that the Masterchief is out to massacre countless covenant aliens, but I walk away when violence become gratuitous and when videogames make you kill innocents for thrill/points.

I understand that violence is pretty engrained in RPGs and popular culture, but I'd rather watch a movie about how the detective finds the murderer than about how the murderer eviscerates its victim.

:(


ShinHakkaider wrote:
The honesty of who he is and what he does is something I dont think I've ever gotten from any Player doing bad stuff in a game. He knows that he acts in order to secure a bright future for others. BUt knows that because of what he does he'll never see that bright future. In some ways there's a certain amount of honor in that but in other ways it's pretty scary because...

I've played that trope. I don't know how well I've pulled it off. Often in Cthulhu type games, where the stakes are high enough that the blood of innocents is a small price to pay.

The key of course, is not to enjoy it. As a character or a player. One of those characters was traumatic enough, I had to put him aside a major story arc. We both needed a break.

Corwin of Amber wrote:
In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I am a part of the evil that exists in the world and in Shadow. I sometimes fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils. I destroy [them] when I find them, and on that Great Day ... when the world is completely cleansed of evil, then I, too, will go down into darkness, swallowing curses... But whatever... Until that time, I shall not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.

But my favorite example is C.J. Cherryh's Morgaine. Attempting to stop a universal catastrophe she travels from world to world leaving destroyed civilizations in her wake, constantly telling her companion that she can afford no compassion or human attachments and then risking herself and her mission for him.

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