Another problem PC thread


Advice

1 to 50 of 89 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Incoming rant...

I have a problem PC that I kind of blew up at last session (in a jovial/joking kind of way). I love this guy and he is a great roleplayer but he tends to see all of the elements of the game outside of himself as a resource that he can exploit and he uses his CN alignement to justify all of it.

For instance, in our last adventure the party captured a hobgoblin and interrogated him. This guy insisted on trying to intimidate the hobgoblin into being his slave since he spared his life (which I think is a borderline evil act, just sayin). He also insists on trying to move into any dungeon that he clears and set up shop.

Now I know that as the GM I can impose consequences to deter such behavior (the hobgoblin can stab him while he is sleeping or a horde of destrachans can come up from the earth and destroy his stronghold) but I do not want to punish him for roleplaying his character. At the same time, I can't justify the unbalancing effects that his behavior has on my game.

So, last session I simply told him when he decided to subjugate the hobgoblin that under no circumstances would I let him do it and that he cant have the dungeon after the party is through with it. He seemed to take it pretty well but I dont want any friction in the future and I dont want to be seen as an ogre.

Thanks for reading my rant!

Grand Lodge

Ugh, I hate players who use the chaotic neutral alignment. This little bit of prejudice is brought to you by: jerks, because I've never seen a chaotic neutral character behave nicely. My best advice: don't let anyone play that alignment, but I'm probably a poor choice to take advice from on this subject.


Not sure about the goblin issue but what's wrong with the base of operations set up in a cleared out dungeon. That happens all the time in my games. I mean even the the King Maker AP suggests you do that.

Of course a dungeon you move into is of little use if the adventure never lets you use it.


Chaotic Stupid is different from Chaotic Neutral, but alas, its distinction that few players make. Playing a character who does whatever the F--- he/she wants is IMHO actually Chaotic Evil. For someone to be Chaotic Neutral they need a value system that at least some of the time, allows them to empathize and choose to do good. The empathy part is really the key. Choosing to rid a dungeon of monsters is not in-and-of-itself a good act. Its just a convenient one if your real goal is make it your new home.

Player sounds more like he is playing Neutral Evil.

That said, alignments are not tidy boxes for all behaviors. A chaotic evil priest of Rovagug may occasionally empathize with his pet megalosaurus, and even shed a tear when he finds out the party killed his beloved pet. A neutral evil master thief of Absolom might decide to give his hunk of crusty bread stolen from an annoying baker to scrappy street urchin on occasion. Alignments are tendancies more often than they are hard rules of behavior.

If your player continues to act selfishly and doesn't really balance it out with acts of generosity, then kindly inform him he is shifting into neutral evil alignment, where his own welfare is his guiding concern.


He should "man up" and just play Chaotic Evil. Or is your group not playing with evil right now?

I've heard of such players and it baffles me that people will play uncooperative gameplay like this. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it, short of talking out of game about how his character seems to be disrupting things on a "play experience" level.

Regarding the CN alignment: The player playing the party rogue in the game I've been running could be considered Chaotic Neutral, done the right way. Willing to seriously mess a person up, and has some pretty wild ideas and tactics. But she isn't willing to go that extra inch into "killing an innocent to get what she wants" that would really make her an Evil character.


voska66 wrote:

Not sure about the goblin issue but what's wrong with the base of operations set up in a cleared out dungeon. That happens all the time in my games. I mean even the the King Maker AP suggests you do that.

Of course a dungeon you move into is of little use if the adventure never lets you use it.

Yeah, maybe you are right, but the above are just two examples. I have a love/hate relationship with this guy. Once he spent hours coming up with a design for a special suit of armor that included additional blades that essentially amounted to a shortsword on either hand. I ruled that the special suit would be the equivalent of armor spikes with a critical threat range of 19-20 instead of just 20 and then made him take an exotic weapon proficiency to use it. He also had a high craft skill so I figured it was legit. I love that kind of creativity and I guess I just have to take the good with the bad.

My group currently has 3 CN PCs. One plays his alignment in an understated way. He just wants some treasure and some bloodshed. Another plays his alignment as completely crazy which makes sense since he is a BBN/Druid that has been isolated from society for years. Then there is this guy.

The problem that I have with CN PCs is there is no way to motivate them apart from giving them treasure or having NPCs browbeat them into doing what they want. That makes adventure hooks pretty hard. Once this party went into a dungeon that was a former elven stonghold occupied by demons. When they saw the horrors within they just turned and ran. A good party would have pushed on in the name of ritgeousness.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I don't see an issue if one takes some assumptions into consideration.

A slave usually takes no action against the owner or tries to escape because of threat of punishment and the belief on the slave's part that they can't beat the system - ie. they are not strong or quick enough to have a good chance of escape or overcoming their master.

The hobgoblin doesn't fall into that category. The hobgoblin's nature will be to try to dominate and overcome, meaning that the hobgoblin will be surly and defiant and will bide his time to make good a chance to overcome his owner or make good his escape.

I don't know about your player, but my players would not want to keep any creature or NPC around them that is constantly scheming and plotting on how to take them out. Someone did this once long ago (take a creature as a slave) and the comeuppance was so good that noone to this day (despite that event happening some 15+ years ago) will even consider it.

You just have to be imaginative and be a rat bastard DM... <evil grin>

As for the dungeon thing, real estate and the need for shelter being what it is, unless the character intends to stand at the door of the dungeon and defend his turf, something or someone is going to come and take up residence.

That means that everytime the party goes adventuring elsewhere, they are going to have to 'reclaim' their turf on returning. Which gets to be a pain the behind or downright hazardous that everytime you come home (home being the dungeon), you have to reclaim the dungeon from the squatters (monsters).

Don't discourage him if this is what he wants to do but show him in-game that what he wants is more trouble than it is worth.


voska66 wrote:

Not sure about the goblin issue but what's wrong with the base of operations set up in a cleared out dungeon. That happens all the time in my games. I mean even the the King Maker AP suggests you do that.

Of course a dungeon you move into is of little use if the adventure never lets you use it.

+1.

Personally, I've never been in a game that would have allowed me to utilize a base of operations but it's always been something I've wanted to do. Seems like my games do a lot of globe-trotting...

That said, if your game takes place in a single location, is there a problem with the character taking the cave for his own?

Alignment causes tons of problems for people because its a pretty poor abstraction of a morality system. Is the player causing tension at the table? Can you maybe discuss the dynamics of your group a little more?


Kaisoku wrote:

He should "man up" and just play Chaotic Evil. Or is your group not playing with evil right now?

I've heard of such players and it baffles me that people will play uncooperative gameplay like this. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it, short of talking out of game about how his character seems to be disrupting things on a "play experience" level.

Regarding the CN alignment: The player playing the party rogue in the game I've been running could be considered Chaotic Neutral, done the right way. Willing to seriously mess a person up, and has some pretty wild ideas and tactics. But she isn't willing to go that extra inch into "killing an innocent to get what she wants" that would really make her an Evil character.

I did mention that he is on a slippery slope in that direction. In the same session he tore the golden earrings out of the hobgoblin's ears while they were tied up instead of gently removing them.

Even slitting their throats would not necessarily be evil, but deliberately inflicting pain when it is unnecessary is an evil act.


As a chaotic-anything, how does he justify trying to enslave someone, when one of the highest values of a chaotic character is freedom?


Phazzle wrote:
Kaisoku wrote:

He should "man up" and just play Chaotic Evil. Or is your group not playing with evil right now?

I've heard of such players and it baffles me that people will play uncooperative gameplay like this. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it, short of talking out of game about how his character seems to be disrupting things on a "play experience" level.

Regarding the CN alignment: The player playing the party rogue in the game I've been running could be considered Chaotic Neutral, done the right way. Willing to seriously mess a person up, and has some pretty wild ideas and tactics. But she isn't willing to go that extra inch into "killing an innocent to get what she wants" that would really make her an Evil character.

I did mention that he is on a slippery slope in that direction. In the same session he tore the golden earrings out of the hobgoblin's ears while they were tied up instead of gently removing them.

Even slitting their throats would not necessarily be evil, but deliberately inflicting pain when it is unnecessary is an evil act.

I suppose the real problem is that his actions are creating more work for me. If he takes a slave then I have to roleplay all of the interactions that go into it in addition to all of the record keeping/dungeon creation/roleplaying that I already do. Yeah, it might be fun to play the scenario out, but it cannabalizes my time to do it right.

Plus, as Black Moria, stated he is really missing key logical elements in the scenarion, or hoping I will which is kind of insulting to me. For instance he mentioned that he wanted to keep the hobgoblin around to "clean his house," and then justified by saying "he will be greatful that I spared his life." Which is clearly wrong. The murderous hobgoblin would either attempt to escape or try to get revenge. Even if he tried to subjugate him by, say, having the sorceror cast charm person on him I would be more inclined to let him get away with it.

His leaps of logic are what really gets my goat more than anything else. I suppose that I should have just let him keep the hobgoblin and then have him get knifed in his sleep. I like to avoid that "you made your bed," mentality since it comes off as heavy handed an can quickly piss players off if overused. I am more inclined to just point out the logical fallacy since a character with a 12 in wizdom would probably come to that conclusion as well.


Lathiira wrote:
As a chaotic-anything, how does he justify trying to enslave someone, when one of the highest values of a chaotic character is freedom?

A chaotic good character would come to this conclusion in a second. A chaotic-neutral character would probably feel icky about slavery since it is an evil practice. A chaotic-evil character would be all about it.


I would let him play as he wants, if he commits too much evil, tell him it will change his alignement. Perhaps that will stop him, but probably not.
I think he is a very intelligent person, and tries to have a character that is the best, and does the best possible.

I would mildly penalize him, goblin robbing them and so on. But not to make him change, rather to make him even with the other people of the group.

The dungeon thing won't work, he could try to clean a dungeon for a landowner, who will keep the dungeon clear afterwards. A PC becoming a landowner is pretty weird, he normally should be a wandering adventurer.

All in all, behaviour dictates alignement, not the other way around. And roleplaying is the most important. Evil might seem to be stronger, but there are lots of Paladins in a city, and detect evil is perhaps quite common.


Well, it seems like you might want to have a discussion with the player (and maybe the rest of your group) about the kind of campaign that you and they want. If there is a disagreement about the kind of campaign you want to run versus what they would like to have, maybe one of them can step in to do some GMing?

I know that in a lot of past groups of mine, many GMs (myself included) have made the mistake of assuming that all the players are on the same page about the kind of campaign that they want. In just my most recent campaign, I was lead to believe that magic was alive and present in the world we were in (and it was) but everything about the world seemed to suggest that the GM wanted a more sword/sorcery kind of game than high fantasy. A couple of the other players were interested in a more magical world, whereas there was one particular player who thought that strength-of-arms should overcome magic at all times (he's playing the wrong game, I know, but hey. What can ya do?). Discussion is fun and can be very helpful.


Phazzle wrote:

Incoming rant...

Now I know that as the GM I can impose consequences to deter such behavior (the hobgoblin can stab him while he is sleeping or a horde of destrachans can come up from the earth and destroy his stronghold) but I do not want to punish him for roleplaying his character. At the same time, I can't justify the unbalancing effects that his behavior has on my game.

So, last session I simply told him when he decided to subjugate the hobgoblin that under no circumstances would I let him do it and that he cant have the dungeon after the party is through with it. He seemed to take it pretty well but I dont want any friction in the future and I dont want to be seen as an ogre.

Thanks for reading my rant!

Reasonable consequences <> Punishment.

Perhaps one of the reason he does these things is due to the lack of consequences?

Also, I don’t see the problem with “Setting up shop” in a dungeon.


Phazzle wrote:


I suppose the real problem is that his actions are creating more work for me. If he takes a slave then I have to roleplay all of the interactions that go into it in addition to all of the record keeping/dungeon creation/roleplaying that I already do. Yeah, it might be fun to play the scenario out, but it cannabalizes my time to do it right.

Plus, as Black Moria, stated he is really missing key logical elements in the scenarion, or hoping I will which is kind of insulting to me. For instance he mentioned that he wanted to keep the hobgoblin around to "clean his house," and then justified by saying "he will be greatful that I spared his life." Which is clearly wrong. The murderous hobgoblin would either attempt to escape or try to get revenge. Even if he tried to subjugate him by, say, having the sorceror cast charm person on him I would be more inclined to let him get away with it.

Am I the only one failing to see how this is the player's problem? Sure, he may have delusions of his own power and importance, but he can't do it because the DM admits to being too lazy/not caring enough to work it in?

Sadly, unlike me everyone is going to hop onto the "CN characters are all jerks!" and "Let's find some way to punish the player for no particular reason!" bandwagons instead of, well, ANYTHING, else.

I'll just play along.

He wanted to cause a Hobgoblin to be his servant for saving its life?!?!?! He must be Chaotic Evil, no ifs ands or buts and your allowing him to play Chaotic Neutral is bringing down all 3 of the good players who understand the alignment!


Phazzle wrote:


The problem that I have with CN PCs is there is no way to motivate them apart from giving them treasure or having NPCs browbeat them into doing what they want. That makes adventure hooks pretty hard.

Easily solved. Before the next game ask, “So guys, just what do you want to do in this game anyhow?”

Dark Archive

I am going to say something that will likely start a debate... but here it goes. Slaver while not good is not always evil IMHO. Before anyone says you are taking away there free will, yeah and so does prison. prison and slavery is better than death. Or can be depending on how they are treated. Now with that said, slavery is really not a CN thing. They are pretty keen on personal freedom.

As for using the dungeon as a base of operations I don't see a problem with it. As for the grabbing earrings and the like. this one I think is boarder line evil. Depends some on how the earring was in place on the damage it could do. Even worst case while it is a evil act it depends on how often he does it. If he does it a lot give him a warning, the next time someone cast detect evil in the group. Have him very faintly show up as evil or something.


I fail to see any sort of problem, here. A pragmatist who uses things around him to his own benefit? How is that bad? The only "problems" you list seem more like excellent contributions. In fact, if you're forcing him to use alignment to justify actions, I'd sooner declare you the problem, here.

Kaisoku wrote:
I've heard of such players and it baffles me that people will play uncooperative gameplay like this. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it, short of talking out of game about how his character seems to be disrupting things on a "play experience" level.

Claiming living loot and an unoccupied cave complex from what's most likely a professional tomb raider baffles you? My, you're easily baffled.

And what's so uncooperative about it?

Phazzle wrote:
The problem that I have with CN PCs is there is no way to motivate them apart from giving them treasure or having NPCs browbeat them into doing what they want. That makes adventure hooks pretty hard. Once this party went into a dungeon that was a former elven stonghold occupied by demons. When they saw the horrors within they just turned and ran. A good party would have pushed on in the name of ritgeousness.

Hard? Please. Motivating a professional merc is easy; pay 'em and they're there. Then when they're on the mission, they can get stabbed in the back and be forced into a fight for survival as is appropriate for mercenary sorts. Yes, treasure's the motivator, and the problem with that is what, exactly?

Phazzle wrote:
I suppose the real problem is that his actions are creating more work for me. If he takes a slave then I have to roleplay all of the interactions that go into it in addition to all of the record keeping/dungeon creation/roleplaying that I already do. Yeah, it might be fun to play the scenario out, but it cannabalizes my time to do it right.

Not at all! He's handing you ready-made hooks on a silver platter. If anything, that's a market decrease in work you have to do in order to keep the game interesting.

The GM is not the sole almighty source of all things interesting in the game. Working with and feeding off of the players' creative actions are the mark of a great GM, and it's a lot easier than being the sole font anyways.

Scarab Sages

Lathiira wrote:
As a chaotic-anything, how does he justify trying to enslave someone, when one of the highest values of a chaotic character is freedom?

Because he doesn't think about others wellbeing?

I don't think Demons would value mortal freedoms very much, nor would the proteans, despide both being chaotic and the latter being the epitome of chaotic neutral.


I did play a CN guy once and it worked really well I even got one of the NPC's as a servent of sorts but I paid him I didnt say serve me or die, I played him as a secondary character though he didnt do much. I had to work hard to keep him alive as well as kitting him out.

In my group its normal for them to take some random dungeon stronghold as a base of operations although it really gets used. I see this as a good thing for a number of reasons

1-it takes some of the hussle and bussle out of the game for a while gives them something else to think about other than loot and bloodshed.

2-If ever they start to piss me off as others have said its there and its not going to stay empty for long without them there.

3-If I'm ever stuck for a game its there to use as a hook as above someone wants it or it leads somewhere. I used one they had to hook into an underdark adventure when they found stuff coming in from below and off they went.

It might not help you now but I have played with a basic idea 'give the players what they want, its then upto them to think of waht to do with it' yes it leaves them open for me being a git but they dont know when or where as its how I play. After all theres always bigger boys round the corner :)

If he's ok with what you have done so far then go with it and see what happens you never know you could start to work him round to even better roleplay.


feytharn wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
As a chaotic-anything, how does he justify trying to enslave someone, when one of the highest values of a chaotic character is freedom?

Because he doesn't think about others wellbeing?

I don't think Demons would value mortal freedoms very much, nor would the proteans, despide both being chaotic and the latter being the epitome of chaotic neutral.

Which then brings back to the traditional alignment problems, as I pulled that point right out of the alignment section of the book. If chaotic creatures value freedom but don't respect the freedom of others, what do we get (besides a headache)?


Very good feedback.

Next session I plan to address my gaming group and apologize for being a little testy the last game. We sitll had a great time so I dont think it will be a problem.

I am also going to emphasize to the problem player that he can play his character however he wants and I will interpret the natural consequences of his actions.

Scarab Sages

Lathiira wrote:
feytharn wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
As a chaotic-anything, how does he justify trying to enslave someone, when one of the highest values of a chaotic character is freedom?

Because he doesn't think about others wellbeing?

I don't think Demons would value mortal freedoms very much, nor would the proteans, despide both being chaotic and the latter being the epitome of chaotic neutral.
Which then brings back to the traditional alignment problems, as I pulled that point right out of the alignment section of the book. If chaotic creatures value freedom but don't respect the freedom of others, what do we get (besides a headache)?

While the alignments are rife with problems, this isn't one of them. The chaotic creature values freedom, but if it is a creature (thug, jerk...) that hasn't even heard about the concept of altruism, it doesn't care about the freedom of any creature other than itself.

Some might think about their spouses, family or friends, too, and some really think about others.
Think of the villain of classic commedy (and many disney movies) trying to do anything that a heroe (or dependent) loses his home, his job, his car, whatever, just that he gets richer and richer.
This villain certainly values money, but he is completely selfish about it and doesn't care if his victim loses said money.


Well, the Hobgoblin could be a fun addition to an adventure. No Hobgoblin is going to be a willing servant forever. You player can cow him for awhile, but he'd basically rabbit at the first or second opportunity. You needn't be a jerk and have him stab the character in his sleep. Talking about it too much is probably a mistake.

"I should be able to cow the hobgoblin into being my slave."

"Okay. What do you say?"

Player makes it good.

"Okay. He seems terrified. He starts burying the bodies like you said and then prepares to carry your gear like you said."

That leaves you much more leeway than "Okay, he's intimidated. Now he's your slave."

As for the dungeon, throw up a legal or social barrier to his ownership. If a farmer's field has killer bees on it and he isn't using it because it is so dangerous, I don't get to own the field because I go kill the bees. The king, council, ancient landholders or whatever should show up and say that it belongs to them (assuming it's not some crappy worm hole or something). If he objects you could plague him with lawyers. He thinks hobgoblins are bad! I recommend playing it all out in a separate session. If he gets through that, send a tax collector. If he gets through that, let him have the place.


So he intimidates a hobgoblin... so what? Okay, he then decides to put the 'gob to work since he generously spared his life. Sounds like a very familiar plot device: "Alright Wesley, I've never had a valet... we'll try it for a night. Good night, sleep well... I'll most likely kill you tomorrow." Sound familiar? I wouldn't categorize that as evil... it sounds to me like you're oversimplifying things. Now, if he intimidated the 'gob and used him for target practice, or forced him into dangerous situations or trapped corridors just to pinpoint where the dangerous spots are, THAT might be considered evil. If he subdued the 'gob and then tied him up and started removing fingers and toes while taking meticulous notes on comparing the volume and pitch of its screams of agony and cries for mercy, that WOULD be considered evil. But simply demanding that the 'gob black his boots and curry his horse in return for his life isn't necessarily evil.

Now, if you want to make things more interesting, you can let him know that the 'gob may not be entirely loyal without being heavy handed:
DM: Make a Perception check.
CN PC: I got a ___.
DM: Okay, nicely done... (or else, "Oooh, too bad.") You are awakened from a dead sleep by the harsh breathing of your hobgoblin servant. Your eyes snap open and see him crouching above you... He's got a wild look in his eyes and is clutching your spare sword in both hands, the one you keep wrapped in your saddle blanket. As he sees you awaken, he gives a wild shriek and plunges the sword at you... only your waking unexpectedly spares your life. You take 8 pts of damage and the sword drives into your shoulder instead of your throat as you twist to the side. As you rise to your feet, clutching your wounded shoulder, the hob runs off into the bushes, disappearing into the night."
CN PC: "Aw man, that sucks!"

There. You've punished the player for pushing your buttons (damaged, not dead). You've taught him that an Intimidate check is not a replacement for a Dominate Person spell. And if he's as crazy or erratic as you say, chances are he wants a bit of payback... pursuing the hobgoblin and tracking him down for some well-earned revenge can lead the player (and the rest of the party) to the next adventure hook, or step in the adventure path, or what have you. The point is, when your players give you lemons, polymorph them into lemonade. Just let their actions guide them back to where you want them to go... after all, very few adventurers really enjoy sitting around in empty dungeons, so they will likely thank you for it.


CJohnJones wrote:
As for the dungeon...

I have had multiple parties pull this stunt, all eventually bailed out of the homeownership rut. The best time was when game 'A' had gone stale and a few of the same players in game 'B' found a dungeon to loot. Guess who's?


If you want a fun time with Chaotic Neutral, look at Jayne Cobb from Firefly.

As to how I'd handle it...

Sometime when the party is camping, the hobgoblin does the following:

0) Prepares a very large meal for the party. And doses it with something to help them sleep soundly (like a lot of rum), or have two days of the runs (like some carefully preserved 'organ meat' for the soup).
1) Nicks all the horses, save two so that they can't ride.
2) Loads up on everything that they haven't *specifically* said was on their person or in a locked chest onto one horse, rides the other one with a small amount of portable wealth on the second. In particular, the 'gob should pay attention to the wizard's spell books and try to take them with him.
3) Rides off into the dark. At some point, he sends the horse laden with supplies in one direction while he rides in the other. Preferably while crossing a stream or some such.

Intimidate only lasts for a few minutes...any hobgoblin that doesn't bolt when his master's back is turned is clearly looking to do something else...

Remember, if the character isn't caring about the consequences of his actions, that also impacts the other players. You aren't punishing the player of the party wizard by having the hobgoblin steal his spell books. You're having the consequences of the CN slaver's poor decision making interact with HIS character.


Phazzle wrote:


The problem that I have with CN PCs is there is no way to motivate them apart from giving them treasure or having NPCs browbeat them into doing what they want. That makes adventure hooks pretty hard.

Then let your players actions serve as adventure hooks, A hobgoblin slave and setting up shop in an abandoned dungeon? That gives me two dozen ideas already, not counting all the fine ones mentioned by other posters.

Just to name a few:
- Gobbo's clanmates come looking for him.
- Dungeons attract adventurers - how about a party of good characters, spotting a group of sordid slave-holders. Must be evildoers that need to be cleaned out before the dungeon can be explored, right?
- While cleaning out the dungeon, a previously hidden room is revealed. Who know where it leads or what it contains.
- Gobbo acts nice, but secretly goes about making all sorts of trouble, getting the PC's riled up against each other, and with local NPCs.

And as for keeping a slave. In my book, that's a clear path towards an alignment shift towards evil. May go faster or slower depending on his motives for keeping the slave ("I want someone to carry my stuff, cook my food and clean out my sh*t" goes faster btw) and how they treat said slave.


Phazzle wrote:

Incoming rant...

I have a problem PC that I kind of blew up at last session (in a jovial/joking kind of way). I love this guy and he is a great roleplayer but he tends to see all of the elements of the game outside of himself as a resource that he can exploit and he uses his CN alignement to justify all of it.

For instance, in our last adventure the party captured a hobgoblin and interrogated him. This guy insisted on trying to intimidate the hobgoblin into being his slave since he spared his life (which I think is a borderline evil act, just sayin). He also insists on trying to move into any dungeon that he clears and set up shop.

Now I know that as the GM I can impose consequences to deter such behavior (the hobgoblin can stab him while he is sleeping or a horde of destrachans can come up from the earth and destroy his stronghold) but I do not want to punish him for roleplaying his character. At the same time, I can't justify the unbalancing effects that his behavior has on my game.

So, last session I simply told him when he decided to subjugate the hobgoblin that under no circumstances would I let him do it and that he cant have the dungeon after the party is through with it. He seemed to take it pretty well but I dont want any friction in the future and I dont want to be seen as an ogre.

Thanks for reading my rant!

Some good advice here.

The only thing i'd add is deal with character issues 'in-game'. Instead of saying *you* wouldn't let him do it, explain it in game, so if there is friction, it's with your npc's, not you personally.

Silver Crusade

Dark_Mistress wrote:

I am going to say something that will likely start a debate... but here it goes. Slaver while not good is not always evil IMHO. Before anyone says you are taking away there free will, yeah and so does prison. prison and slavery is better than death. Or can be depending on how they are treated. Now with that said, slavery is really not a CN thing. They are pretty keen on personal freedom.

I could still see it along the lines of "the strong dominate the weak" but it's going to be walking a fine edge along those lines. If the relationship between the "strong" and the "weak" is a two-way street as far as humane treatment and protection coming from the PC, that may be enough to keep them out of CE territory.*

But given the ripping out of piercings, sounds like that ship sailed.

*Taking a Hyborean Age barbarian/Conan** attitude towards slavery seems like the best way to go if you're aiming for a CN approach, but it's still going to be walking a fine line. You're definitely going to be rocking some Values Dissonance, in any case.

**What Would Conan Do? is usually a pretty good way to check your CN alignment, although he did cross the line sometimes...Frost Giant's Daughter being the big example in my mind.


I don't see the character/player you describe as being problematic. I would welcome the roleplaying opportunities and plot hooks he provides. In most of my games the party ends up acquiring all sorts of weird servants, unexpected allies, and strongholds/bases of operation. In the last Pathfinder campaign I ran the party ended up with two wyvern guards for their stronghold, a baby griffon, and Ygro, a sentient flesh golem with the ability to create doors/portals at will (though only for himself). They acquired the stronghold after defeating a powerful shadow demon and decided to set up shop there. Their efforts to rebuild and defend the place added greatly to the fun of the campaign.

In my longest running campaign each of the characters now has multiple strongholds, underlings, allies, minions, etc. as the half-elf paladin is a baron and leader of his own order, the half-orc barbarian is warlord of the Western Hordes, the elf wizard is co-leader of a powerful mages' guild, etc. It makes for great roleplaying opportunities and immersion into the game world.

Of course, this might not be to every GM's tastes, and it does require a bit of extra work now and then, but I find it highly rewarding and good fun. It would also solve the problem of getting the characters in your game motivated if they have to defend their newly acquired stronghold. As for the hobgoblin, well he is a LE creature with Int 10, so if I were to GM him I'd have him appear to go along with being the character's servant/slave until he finds an opportunity to escape/exact revenge, etc. And if the characters force him to fight for them and such, make sure to have him level up and learn a lot to better get back at them.


Viletta Vadim wrote:
Kaisoku wrote:
I've heard of such players and it baffles me that people will play uncooperative gameplay like this. I honestly don't know how I'd handle it, short of talking out of game about how his character seems to be disrupting things on a "play experience" level.
Claiming living loot and an unoccupied cave complex from what's most likely a professional tomb raider baffles you? My, you're easily baffled.

I'm talking about a player being disruptive on purpose, or demanding spotlight time.

Perhaps this player isn't doing that, hence why I didn't get into details of the scenario.

I was simply speaking of the feeling the DM was getting over the situation. He was not having a fun time, and it was because of one player being disruptive to the style of game he was trying to emphasize.

You can say that in this situation, the DM was wrong, the player is perfectly fine doing what he's doing, etc, etc.

I'm talking about the player in general who demands spotlight time away from others, purposefully sabotages the gameplay in order to get what he wants (or worse, to get joy out of preventing the other players and DM from getting what they want).
I've heard of metagaming to the point that a player created a new character with the sole purpose to kill/harass another player's character because of the actions placed against his previous character (and no, there was no relation or reason for this new character to do these things).

Maybe I'm wrong about this player, I am only hearing one side of the story after all (the DMs). This is the impression I got, and what I was commenting on... the impression. Not the specifics.


Phazzle wrote:

Incoming rant...

I have a problem PC that I kind of blew up at last session (in a jovial/joking kind of way). I love this guy and he is a great roleplayer but he tends to see all of the elements of the game outside of himself as a resource that he can exploit and he uses his CN alignement to justify all of it.

For instance, in our last adventure the party captured a hobgoblin and interrogated him. This guy insisted on trying to intimidate the hobgoblin into being his slave since he spared his life (which I think is a borderline evil act, just sayin). He also insists on trying to move into any dungeon that he clears and set up shop.

Now I know that as the GM I can impose consequences to deter such behavior (the hobgoblin can stab him while he is sleeping or a horde of destrachans can come up from the earth and destroy his stronghold) but I do not want to punish him for roleplaying his character. At the same time, I can't justify the unbalancing effects that his behavior has on my game.

So, last session I simply told him when he decided to subjugate the hobgoblin that under no circumstances would I let him do it and that he cant have the dungeon after the party is through with it. He seemed to take it pretty well but I dont want any friction in the future and I dont want to be seen as an ogre.

Thanks for reading my rant!

What is wrong with him having a dungeon, and it really is possible for him to get "visitors". As far as the slave issue, that is evil, and I would tell him he can do it, but expect an alignment change. Hobgoblins are generally tactical in nature. Having one around in combat that does not like you is not a good idea. If he leaves it unguarded, at HQ(random dungeon) just say it escaped.


Wow, what a discussion. Glad to hear everybody's opinion. This particular PC is a good friend of mine and no he is not intentionally disruptive.

The more I analyze the situation the more I realize that it was me that overreacted. At the time I had spent a good eight hours cramming to get the adventure finished, people had not taken the time to research their spells and abilities, etc.

My beef with this particular PC in general is that his primary motivation is to "win," the game. For instance, we play poker together and we are always the last two people sitting at the table, we play Risk and it always comes down to him in Asia and me in Europe. I feel like he might view me as more of an opponent and less of a collaborator.

Sometimes I feel like he does some of the things that he does just to see if I will let him get away with it and he kind of enjoys being just a little contentious. When managed properly it makes for some very immersive, interesting roleplaying. When I am juggling half a dozen things in my head trying to move the game forward and run an encounter he can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I have been running P&P RPGs for 15 years and I think most of us have been in this kind of situation.


Lord Zordran wrote:

Good advice...

It makes for great roleplaying opportunities and immersion into the game world.

This guy is on the mark.

I get that you think your player is looking at it as a competition from time to time, but if you take his ideas and run with them it can be great fun.

Instead of it being either you let him have the dungeon and he "wins" or the opposite and you "win", try to be a little flexible and make it part of the story. He has a dungeon now. It's not game breaking unless they all decide to hole up and become hermits there. Let them fix it up. Bring in challengers, both monstrous and of the adventuring type. Have allies or rivals of the previous inhabitants show up.

In other words, play a form of GM aikido and turn it from a competition into cooperative story-telling.

Dark Archive

Mikaze wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:

I am going to say something that will likely start a debate... but here it goes. Slaver while not good is not always evil IMHO. Before anyone says you are taking away there free will, yeah and so does prison. prison and slavery is better than death. Or can be depending on how they are treated. Now with that said, slavery is really not a CN thing. They are pretty keen on personal freedom.

I could still see it along the lines of "the strong dominate the weak" but it's going to be walking a fine edge along those lines. If the relationship between the "strong" and the "weak" is a two-way street as far as humane treatment and protection coming from the PC, that may be enough to keep them out of CE territory.*

But given the ripping out of piercings, sounds like that ship sailed.

*Taking a Hyborean Age barbarian/Conan** attitude towards slavery seems like the best way to go if you're aiming for a CN approach, but it's still going to be walking a fine line. You're definitely going to be rocking some Values Dissonance, in any case.

**What Would Conan Do? is usually a pretty good way to check your CN alignment, although he did cross the line sometimes...Frost Giant's Daughter being the big example in my mind.

Oh I agree I am not saying a CN couldn't or wouldn't only that it is not very CN. But then not everyone always acts exactly how their alignment is which is how it should be. I also do agree Conan is a good example of CN.


Phazzle wrote:
<snip> ... straw that breaks the camel's back. I have been running P&P RPGs for 15 years and I think most of us have been in this kind of situation.

Ah yes, I see where you are coming from now. I've run into this kind of situation as well. It doesn't help that you have a "adversarial" history with this guy, probably clouding the issue for you more.

Usually a taking a breather (1 week/session hiatus from gaming, etc) helps with dealing with everything.


Kaisoku wrote:
Phazzle wrote:
<snip> ... straw that breaks the camel's back. I have been running P&P RPGs for 15 years and I think most of us have been in this kind of situation.

Ah yes, I see where you are coming from now. I've run into this kind of situation as well. It doesn't help that you have a "adversarial" history with this guy, probably clouding the issue for you more.

Usually a taking a breather (1 week/session hiatus from gaming, etc) helps with dealing with everything.

Yep. Our next session is not until October so it will be fine. I called him yesterday and told him that it was wrong of me to lose my cool even if it was in a joking/lighthearted way. He told me that he was pleased with the way that the campaign is progressing and that he even wants to bring a fifth member on board.

All clear on the western front. Thanks to everybody for their insight.


I know you just gave the all-clear but I just had an evil-GM-thought. What if the hobgoblin is the son of the chieftain and heir to the clan and now because of their actions, the PCs are risking a clan-war with the hobgoblins or somesuch?


Another Evil-Gm thought. What if said hobgoblin, the son of the chief, having been defeated by the PC, is now responsible for the hobgoblins role. That could include such fun things as the hobgoblin tribe coming and asking him to plan their next raid on the halfling village, delivering his wives (which he won from the hobgoblin heir when he defeated him - no more than 9 hobgoblin wives at a time please), and so on.

As always, a creative DM can always say 'Yes, you win', and make the player rue the day he won (but in a way that's fun, not adversarial).


For what it's worth, I think the described character does actually match the CN alignment.

Intimidating a goblinoid creature into your service isn't inherently evil — it depends on how you treat him, and why you did it. Certainly it is out of bounds for a lawful good or even a chaotic good character, but a chaotic neutral character sees a potential tool, and may still see the wisdom in treating the hobgoblin well, but is redefining the relationship in terms a hobgoblin is likely to understand: intimidation and slavery. Probably, it is a better starting-point for the rehabilitation of a hobgoblin than sheer diplomacy!

Over time, a relationship defined in those terms could evolve to be something more civilized (in fact it must if the owner ever wishes to sleep) but I think intimidating a hobgoblin into a constructive role under master-slave terms bespeaks a good understanding of hobgoblin ecology.

Or is it just that I am Evil Lincoln?

Anyway, if you want to take issue with the player's fortress-claiming tendencies, but you recognize that it's his right as a roleplayer, your best bet is to level with the player. Tell him why you don't want to manage that kind of game, and try to compromise. Maybe he can manage that stuff in email? Maybe there's another way to express that aspect of the character?

I really don't see anything in that post that tells me this guy is a jerk. I see a lot of reflexive anti-CN posts above, but let's look at what he wants to do:

  • set up fortresses in conquered dungeons (a common enough desire)
  • intimidate a hobgoblin into slavery (a relationship which makes sense and MUST evolve over time).

    Those are both legitimate player requests. They are also sort of tricky for a GM, and so you are within your rights to tell the player you don't want to game that way. But it's not like he's broken some rule.

    Then again, maybe he IS being a jerk, and that just didn't come across in the OP.

    Either way: honesty and compromise will solve this problem.


  • Evil Lincoln wrote:

    For what it's worth, I think the described character does actually match the CN alignment.

    Intimidating a goblinoid creature into your service isn't inherently evil — it depends on how you treat him, and why you did it. Certainly it is out of bounds for a lawful good or even a chaotic good character, but a chaotic neutral character sees a potential tool, and may still see the wisdom in treating the hobgoblin well, but is redefining the relationship in terms a hobgoblin is likely to understand: intimidation and slavery. Probably, it is a better starting-point for the rehabilitation of a hobgoblin than sheer diplomacy!

    Over time, a relationship defined in those terms could evolve to be something more civilized (in fact it must if the owner ever wishes to sleep) but I think intimidating a hobgoblin into a constructive role under master-slave terms bespeaks a good understanding of hobgoblin ecology.

    Or is it just that I am Evil Lincoln?

    Anyway, if you want to take issue with the player's fortress-claiming tendencies, but you recognize that it's his right as a roleplayer, your best bet is to level with the player. Tell him why you don't want to manage that kind of game, and try to compromise. Maybe he can manage that stuff in email? Maybe there's another way to express that aspect of the character?

    I really don't see anything in that post that tells me this guy is a jerk. I see a lot of reflexive anti-CN posts above, but let's look at what he wants to do:

  • set up fortresses in conquered dungeons (a common enough desire)
  • intimidate a hobgoblin into slavery (a relationship which makes sense and MUST evolve over time).

    Those are both legitimate player requests. They are also sort of tricky for a GM, and so you are within your rights to tell the player you don't want to game that way. But it's not like he's broken some rule.

    Then again, maybe he IS being a jerk, and that just didn't come across in the OP.

    Either way: honesty and compromise will solve this problem.

  • Thanks for your input. I think you hit the nail on the head. The guy definitely isn't a jerk. After calming down and playing through the situation in my head I came to realize that I made a poor judgement.

    As the hobgoblin goes, there are numerous natural consequences that I can impose and make it into a "be careful what you wish for," type of situation. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize that I am really frustrated with his inability or unwillingness to think through the logical barriers that would keep him from doing these two things. Or, perhaps, my inability to articulate the story clearly.

    Here is what I mean. The hobgoblin dungeon is a drug producing operation that is partnering with a local thieves guild in the city that the campaign is set in. The PC in question is a member of said thieves guild. A rival faction strongarmed him into taking out the hobgoblin's lair.

    So, logically, if he does take out the lair then he best get the hell out of dodge before the thieves guild investigates. But, he either does not make that connection, or hopes that I will ignore that gaping plot hole and if I play heavy handed with him and just let the leader of the thieves guild find out and mess him up it upsets my future plans for the campaign.

    I think that since he has tried to take the last three dungeons that I have run him through he is clearly telling me that he would love to have a stronghold and play that type of campaign, which is reasonable. I should not impose my preferences on my PCs. Maybe it is time to work out an adventure that puts a stronghold in his hands so that he can manage it and invest in it and make traps and such.

    Thanks again.


    Wanting to rule over others is more consistent with lawful alignment. Slavery is generally lawful evil, sometimes lawful neutral.
    A character who is interested in tying himself down with slaves and land is, in my opinion, moving away from "chaotic", which is actively opposed to rules, laws, and social contracts.
    I really don't have any problem with a non-good character doing these things, but "chaotic" does not mean "anything I want to do"; it means "embracing individualism and being opposed to organization and laws". If the player insists his character is chaotic, rather than just non-lawful (ie neutral), I would point out that chaotic characters aren't interesting in taking control of and imposing order over people and places.

    BTW, modern human beings are themselves strongly skewed towards lawful alignment (by virtue of being part of pervasive societies and generally liking that fact), and many players won't realize the limitations of choosing a character who truly embraces the implications of a chaotic alignment.


    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    For what it's worth, I think the described character does actually match the CN alignment.

    Intimidating a goblinoid creature into your service isn't inherently evil — it depends on how you treat him, and why you did it. Certainly it is out of bounds for a lawful good or even a chaotic good character, but a chaotic neutral character sees a potential tool, and may still see the wisdom in treating the hobgoblin well, but is redefining the relationship in terms a hobgoblin is likely to understand: intimidation and slavery. Probably, it is a better starting-point for the rehabilitation of a hobgoblin than sheer diplomacy!

    Over time, a relationship defined in those terms could evolve to be something more civilized (in fact it must if the owner ever wishes to sleep) but I think intimidating a hobgoblin into a constructive role under master-slave terms bespeaks a good understanding of hobgoblin ecology.

    Or is it just that I am Evil Lincoln?

    Anyway, if you want to take issue with the player's fortress-claiming tendencies, but you recognize that it's his right as a roleplayer, your best bet is to level with the player. Tell him why you don't want to manage that kind of game, and try to compromise. Maybe he can manage that stuff in email? Maybe there's another way to express that aspect of the character?

    I really don't see anything in that post that tells me this guy is a jerk. I see a lot of reflexive anti-CN posts above, but let's look at what he wants to do:

  • set up fortresses in conquered dungeons (a common enough desire)
  • intimidate a hobgoblin into slavery (a relationship which makes sense and MUST evolve over time).

    Those are both legitimate player requests. They are also sort of tricky for a GM, and so you are within your rights to tell the player you don't want to game that way. But it's not like he's broken some rule.

    Then again, maybe he IS being a jerk, and that just didn't come across in the OP.

    Either way: honesty and compromise will solve this problem.

  • That all sounds very Evil. They should coup-de-grace the Hobgoblin.


    Hello everybody. I just wanted to give you all an update on this situation so that you would know how your advice helped me and my group.

    We had a GREAT session last night. Throughout the week I sent updates stressing the importance of coming to the game prepared and my players did not disappoint, they knew all of their characters abilities, feats, skills, etc. For the most part combat was smooth and everyone pitched in to make sure it was a fun session. We had a massive battle with the hobgoblins that became a game of cat and mouse throughout the complex as each group planned attacks and fortified their positions.

    The problem player and I had a talk and I just informed him that in the future I would try to tailor the campaign to him and include a stronghold storyline (I have a great one in mind). I also cautioned him to think of the logical implications of his actions and keep in mind that taking a slave from a bloodthirsty race of killer humanoids might not be so smart. He agreed that it would probably have been a better idea to slit the hobgoblin's throat. We both agreed, however, that he was not acting outside of his alignment.

    Thanks again all!


    Oooo, a happy-ending postback!


    Kais86 wrote:
    Ugh, I hate players who use the chaotic neutral alignment. This little bit of prejudice is brought to you by: jerks, because I've never seen a chaotic neutral character behave nicely. My best advice: don't let anyone play that alignment, but I'm probably a poor choice to take advice from on this subject.

    I've seen awesome characters that were CN.

    So my counter-advice. Don't let any jerk play, period.

    With that rule in place, I can even allow stuff LE players in an otherwise non-evil group, and things like that.

    But then again, I rule...


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    I wonder...
    Is DnD or PF trhe only thing you DM?
    Have you ever run a GURPS game? Or another game that has no aligments?
    How do you motivate those players?


    Phazzle wrote:


    The problem that I have with CN PCs is there is no way to motivate them apart from giving them treasure or having NPCs browbeat them into doing what they want.

    Actually, forcing them to work will backfire, because if there's one thing CNs don't want, it's others telling them what to do.

    But there are countless other reasons for a CN character to go adventuring:

  • He feels like it (sounds a bit cliché, but if there is an alignment who gets away with such a motivation, it's CN)
  • The adventure hook sounds awesome (actually, that's what really gets every adventurer, but CNs are honest enough to admit that it's not for some pretend reason like Justice)
  • Let it be about something they care about. CN people can care about things. They can care about their home city, or a divine cause, or a temple, or about loved ones. When that stuff is in danger, they will make danger go away.
  • Bait them with treasure, or knowledge, or adoration of the masses, or status, or glory, or anything else they might care about.
  • Their friends go on the adventure and they tag along to have a good time.
  • The quest is in alignment with their alignment. CN doesn't mean totally unprincipled or anything. They're free spirits and value freedom very highly, often above all else. They often hate tyrants and up-tight holier-than-thou paladerps out of general principle and will often oppose them just to cross and annoy them.

    I call that more than enough stuff to bait a CN character into going on an adventure.

    Phazzle wrote:


    That makes adventure hooks pretty hard. Once this party went into a dungeon that was a former elven stonghold occupied by demons. When they saw the horrors within they just turned and ran. A good party would have pushed on in the name of ritgeousness.

    A good and also stereotypically fearless party. They can also be CN and stereotypically fearless. And good characters can be pragmatists, too (no use in throwing away your life for some cause if it will not accomplish anything...)

  • 1 to 50 of 89 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Another problem PC thread All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.