Why people don't want to play heroic characters?


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Nepherti wrote:

What it boils down to for me is simple:

I want to run a game that makes me happy, and I want to play in a game that makes me happy. If your style of play disrupts my happiness, then don't play in my game, and I won't play in yours.

I'd rather have no game than an unhappy game.

Its why I'm desperate to play an apostle of peace from exalted deeds or a monk of the lotus from apg. No game seems to be around that would allow for that, and I can't run one myself due to no one else wanting to play that style.

Why do I suddenly want to make so many RP posts?

Pacifism won't get you very far in life, especially if you live in a place like Varisia.

Then again, putting that much time and effort into making others stop fighting is admirable.

However, I could do all of the things you can do and much more with the spells I've gathered up here.

Sovereign Court

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Hama wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

I rarely (never?, oh yeah, once) play evil characters, but I rarely play heroes, either.

Irl, I don't want to fight monsters, I want to have sex and do drugs.

That's usually what my characters want to do, too.

Well, when my friends and i want to play "Pointless Lollygagging The Game", I'll be sure to invite you.

Oh, thank you, but, generally, I find that if the DM is any good he can get me into monster-fighting situations anyway.

But my characters rarely go looking for danger, is my point.

Only crazy people go looking for danger without proper incentive, of course.

Sorry if i insulted, i just had PCs do a lot of pointless stuff in my games, because they couldn't do it for real. And i find that idiotic. If a person is not getting laid in real life, that is not a reason to play a freaking Casanova who just goes around seducing women. That is not cool. That is sad.


Different strokes...


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Quote:
Why, oh why, are people so incapable of playing normal, good people? Please share your insight.
Hey, just because you haven't played with us doesn't mean we don't exist!

You are on internetz you are not real.


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We all have our own existential crisis to deal with.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Nepherti wrote:

What it boils down to for me is simple:

I want to run a game that makes me happy, and I want to play in a game that makes me happy. If your style of play disrupts my happiness, then don't play in my game, and I won't play in yours.

I'd rather have no game than an unhappy game.

Its why I'm desperate to play an apostle of peace from exalted deeds or a monk of the lotus from apg. No game seems to be around that would allow for that, and I can't run one myself due to no one else wanting to play that style.

I'd play in that game!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I almost always root for the villain, whether we're talking movies, books, video games, etc. I find that in a well done story the villain is usually a far more interesting, compelling, and multifaceted character than the protagonist. I've been that way since I was little. That's why I GM - I get to play an ensemble cast of evil. When I do play as a PC, I'll typically be good or neutral out of respect for the GM. It's his/her chance to be the bad guy after all! But if I had my druthers, I'd gladly play the depraved necromancy, bloodthirsty antipaladin, or merciless assassin. (As an aside, I'm a big fan of Fire Mountain Game's Way of the Wicked for just this reason).


Nepherti wrote:

What it boils down to for me is simple:

I want to run a game that makes me happy, and I want to play in a game that makes me happy. If your style of play disrupts my happiness, then don't play in my game, and I won't play in yours.

I'd rather have no game than an unhappy game.

Its why I'm desperate to play an apostle of peace from exalted deeds or a monk of the lotus from apg. No game seems to be around that would allow for that, and I can't run one myself due to no one else wanting to play that style.

Write it down as a condition in marriage contract! ]:->


Serisan wrote:
Hama wrote:
I have been GM-ing a one/two-shot game
Quote:
Please share your insight.

My insight is that your problem is in the first quote.

Yes, there is a significant enthusiasm gap about being heroic, as other posters have mentioned. More important, though, is that the players, knowing that they are playing a 1-2 shot game, are not incentivized towards heroic play in the same way that you would be in a longer game.

In short, the players are not convinced that there are actual consequences for their actions because the consequences that are present are "move on to the next game."

Or, you have players who are like Legolas.

I disagree. Heroic actions require a motivation to push heroism. I've played plenty of one-shots with heroic characters.


Nepherti wrote:
No game seems to be around that would allow for that

None? Really? With the fervorous support of alignment-censorship in this topic alone, I'd think a Champions of Valor audition was just around every corner...

Generic Villain wrote:
That's why I GM - I get to play an ensemble cast of evil.

Humm... couldn't it be that all these goodness-enforcing DMs are actually demotivating players to pick up the hero mantle? Good ol' Tomb of Horrors, "you're lucky if one of you lives in a couple of hours" style of DMing seemed to breed a lot of "natural" heroes. Those who naturally step into the role because they felt the careless grasp of villainy beforehand...in the form of a couple of fresh starts.

Silver Crusade

I'm sure this has been stated before, but I must make horse dead before moving on: because gaming is for some simple escapism with an added ego component. Or because they don't think through the consequences of their actions. Or both.

Personally I've been playing neutral characters lately, but they're characters who give a damn about something. The day came for both my regular characters when they had either something to lose or something to defend.

Okay, horse dead. Moving on...


Nymian Harthing wrote:

I'm sure this has been stated before, but I must make horse dead before moving on: because gaming is for some simple escapism with an added ego component. Or because they don't think through the consequences of their actions. Or both.

Personally I've been playing neutral characters lately, but they're characters who give a damn about something. The day came for both my regular characters when they had either something to lose or something to defend.

Okay, horse dead. Moving on...

So, IS it your position that evil characters can't give a damn about something? I'd hate to rant on you if it isn't, but that seems to be the underpinning of the bolded statement above...


Alitan, we do NOT need an alignment argument here.

Shadow Lodge

A little late for that....


Icyshadow wrote:
Alitan, we do NOT need an alignment argument here.

Don't be willfully obtuse.

The THREAD is about why people don't want to play heroic (i.e., good, apparently) characters. Which is going to lead to a certain amount of debate centered on alignments.

Further, you MIGHT take note that I DIDN'T rant on Nymian... I was ATTEMPTING to get confirmation regarding my INFERENCE from his statement.

Because, in my opinion, there are plenty of things about which an evil character might, in fact, give a damn. But expounding on them if Nymian wasn't excluding evil characters from the damn-giving club would have been a waste of space, and needless typing.

See also Orthos' commentary.


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Pfft, good, evil, I play my characters Epicurean Hedonist.


Alitan wrote:
Nymian Harthing wrote:

I'm sure this has been stated before, but I must make horse dead before moving on: because gaming is for some simple escapism with an added ego component. Or because they don't think through the consequences of their actions. Or both.

Personally I've been playing neutral characters lately, but they're characters who give a damn about something. The day came for both my regular characters when they had either something to lose or something to defend.

Okay, horse dead. Moving on...

So, IS it your position that evil characters can't give a damn about something? I'd hate to rant on you if it isn't, but that seems to be the underpinning of the bolded statement above...

I read that as neutral (or evil) characters can work if the give a damn about something. It's the ones who just wander around breaking things, killing anyone who bothers them, like the ones who burnt Bree in the OP, that cause the problems.


Into the Woods wrote:

"You're so nice.

You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice.
I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.
I'm the witch."

I do kind of prefer games without defined alignments. It makes it easier to play more interesting variations. There's something to said for the more straightforward D&D alignments, though.


Yeah, more and more I just write N on the character sheet and just play how I want too. If every GM I ever played with ever again said "we're not playing with alignments", I wouldn't bat an eyelash.

I want more meaningful explanations for motivations than than alignments that actually pertain to the story. Such as the relationships and one unique thing in 13th Age. Much more useful and evocative.


@ Irontruth:

The alignment "system" inherited from D&D has NEVER worked WELL.

I've seen a lot of games that dispense with alignment, and it doesn't seem to break the game.

But we do have it imbedded in the rules at current time. Sigh.

The "no evil characters" rule in PFSOP was the most egregious of several that convinced me not to play...


Then why post?

I've ejected so many immature selfish creetins (gamers) from my living room, it seems I should have installed a revolving front door!

I was born with a heroic heart, and seek only others that share the same burden.


I love heroic characters. I just don't think "because I'm Lawful Good" is an interesting explanation for why you do heroic things.

I love playing paladins, even if I don't make it known in the story, I personally have to know why they are a paladin, what is their driving force. One was an orphan from a war against invading orcs. He saw it as his duty to go and seek out evil before it showed up at peaceful villages to ruin other kids lives. He donated sizable portions of his treasure to orphanages. Rules were there to protect children in his opinion, to provide stability to communities so they could prosper and provide for their families. It wasn't a terribly deep game, story wise, but that little bit of info is enough for me to know how to color the character and portray heroism in an enjoyable and believable fashion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

As a player, Lawful Good tends to be my alignment of choice, but I haven't played a paladin in decades.

I relish playing the good guy. Sometimes, it's a dark hero, sometimes it's a tough guy/sarcastic hero, some times it's a square-jawed do-gooder hero, sometimes its a reluctant hero, but I pretty much always want to play a hero.


melquisedeq wrote:
Nepherti wrote:
No game seems to be around that would allow for that

None? Really? With the fervorous support of alignment-censorship in this topic alone, I'd think a Champions of Valor audition was just around every corner...

Generic Villain wrote:
That's why I GM - I get to play an ensemble cast of evil.
Humm... couldn't it be that all these goodness-enforcing DMs are actually demotivating players to pick up the hero mantle? Good ol' Tomb of Horrors, "you're lucky if one of you lives in a couple of hours" style of DMing seemed to breed a lot of "natural" heroes. Those who naturally step into the role because they felt the careless grasp of villainy beforehand...in the form of a couple of fresh starts.

I don't think this is a representative sample. Most people who get into the sort of evil the OP is talking about don't take the game very seriously.

The Exchange

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Believe it or not, I actually have a hard time playing a non-heroic character. It's just not in my nature to think of things that aren't good.


Hama wrote:


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

In my experience, immaturity, pretty much.


Alitan wrote:


The "no evil characters" rule in PFSOP was the most egregious of several that convinced me not to play...

Organised play with evil characters allowed would be dreadful... whole conventions turning into versions of this thread.

*shudder*


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Funky Badger wrote:
Alitan wrote:


The "no evil characters" rule in PFSOP was the most egregious of several that convinced me not to play...

Organised play with evil characters allowed would be dreadful... whole conventions turning into versions of this thread.

*shudder*

No, because this thread is a purely hypothetical discussion about the lack of drive to play heroic characters, not a bunch of games going on with a variety of alignments.

And nice impugning of my maturity there in the post previous to the one I'm quoting now.

And @ Hama: Have you not paid attention to people IRL? Assigning "good=normal" is contra the observable evidence... just sayin'.

Sovereign Court

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I don't care about real life when i am playing a fantasy role-playing game. PCs should be heroes (or villains) larger than life. That is one of the points of RPGs, to be (in your mind) someone you could never be (unless you actualy are a hero or a very bad man in which case, kudos to you).
If i want a bleak world filled with shades of grey where people struggle daily and torch other people's houses because they hurt their egos, i just have to walk up to the window and look outside.
I want good to equate normal. I want bad people to suffer the consequences for their actions. Good should equate normal, it's today's completely twisted perceptions of morality and what is right that got things wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Hama wrote:
I want good to equate normal. I want bad people to suffer the consequences for their actions.

Me too. Others don't.


Aside from the fact that "normal" is an entirely mythical state of being...

Insisting that good=normal is the twisted perception here. Until we master quantum physics, wanting doesn't make it so. And, as you can see, good is not the norm, either in real life or in fantasy games.

I've played a hero. Not very often, because it's generally boring, for me; if it rocks your socks, go for it. YMMV, after all...

I think (have been told) that I play a good hero. But my villains are far and away better. Probably because I invest more in them, because they're more fun.

I agree with you (Hama) that PCs ought to be larger than life, regardless of where they fall on the alignment axis. The absolute best description EVER of the attraction of RPGs (imo) can be found in Joel Rosenberg's fantasy series, The Guardians of the Flame. One of the players of a fantasy game in the book is sitting around reflecting about how you can say "I heft my axe, walk across the room, and bash an orc" and everyone reacts exactly as if you had done it.

And that IS one of the reasons I like to play villains or antiheroes at best: I'm not actually an evil guy. But I sure as Hell would LIKE to be, as much as I'd like to be a 20th level Rogue/Conjuror gestalt. And playing bad guys in fantasy games lets me bask in the awe/horror/terror of people as if I were a bad guy.


Alitan, you're pretty much the only one here arguing for Evil characters in D&D / Pathfinder, a game where the assumed norm is a group consisting mostly of Good characters. You can like your villains all you want, but you cannot shove them down our faces or distrupt games with your villainous characters. If you do, you'll probably get kicked out from the table you're in (or if I'm a PC at the same table, get your character killed quite quickly) if nobody agrees with your views on the issue.

I agree with you about "normal" being something non-existent, but that's where the agreements end.

And I'm sure there are other good RPG systems that far better support Evil and generally unpleasant characters out there too.


I've personally thought necromancers were rather misunderstood. Don't see why I have to be villainous to create a legion of skeletons for public works projects. Hollowfaust FTW!

I disagree that normal is a mythical state of being. There are many things that people can agree on that people don't usually, i.e. normally, do. Example: I am a heterosexual man who enjoy discussing and working on dresses. That is not normal. I would also disagree that good is not normal. Most people I interact with are what I would consider good, not paladin perfect, but good. Returning a lost wallet without taking the money. That sort of thing. This does not mean all normal things are good, or all good things are normal. Getting smashing drunk is normal behavior for my demographic. It isn't good. Cleaning up a park is not normal behavior. It is good.

If you and everyone else at the table had fun with you playing a villain, I wouldn't mind having you play one. Now, everyone that I've played with so far has been heroic, and probably wouldn't tolerate a evil character. But the offer is there.

There are good reasons for not letting people play evil characters in organized play. Among other things, Paizo tries to keep things suitable for a teen rating, and allowing evil actions would probably prevent that. Also, it's bad PR. "You let/encourage people to be evil!"

I don't see why you would want to be a bad guy. Awe/horror/terror doesn't really appeal to me. Much rather have Respect/admiration/love


Hama wrote:
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.

This is something i'm quite familiar with. The people i game with have been almost exclusively playing evil parties (with the GM making an evil campaign of course), I wanted them to make a goodparty for a change and the party ended upbeing entirely neutral. The "best" being a lawful neutral but only because that character was a monk.

I'm setting up a new campaign at the moment and from the 3 out of 6 players wo have already made their characters all of them have neutral aligned characters again. I'm quite honestly getting bored of running evil campaigns because you can't have any sort of shock value in the villain and i've noticed that there isn't any motivation for the characters to do any sort of questing other than the money. I've been tinking about tightening the screws and even disallowing any non-good alignment, although i wouldnt mind it if a few characters were neutral (or even one or two evil anti-heroes in the party).


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Icyshadow wrote:

Alitan, you're pretty much the only one here arguing for Evil characters in D&D / Pathfinder, a game where the assumed norm is a group consisting mostly of Good characters. You can like your villains all you want, but you cannot shove them down our faces or distrupt games with your villainous characters. If you do, you'll probably get kicked out from the table you're in (or if I'm a PC at the same table, get your character killed quite quickly) if nobody agrees with your views on the issue.

I agree with you about "normal" being something non-existent, but that's where the agreements end.

And I'm sure there are other good RPG systems that far better support Evil and generally unpleasant characters out there too.

Icy, I'm not "shoving [my villains] down your face(s)," nor "(I assume you meant)disrupt(ing) games with my villainous characters." I'm DISCUSSING THE THREAD'S CENTRAL ISSUE, "why people don't want to play heroic characters."

And nobody has ever kicked me out of a game for playing an evil character yet, in nigh on to 31 years of gaming.

I love how your (presumptively) "heroic" character's recourse is murder. You DO see the irony here, right?

I may be the only proponent of allowing evil PCs more space at the table who keeps coming BACK to expose the ridiculous hidden assumptions of the good apologists, but I'm not the only person who has expressed a preference for villains and/or antiheroes.

Finally, if you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, do those of us a favor trying to have a serious discussion and shut up. Really. If you're incapable of civilized behavior on a messageboard, I shudder to think of your behavior at a gaming table, no matter WHAT you have written in on your character sheet about alignment.

Liberty's Edge

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Hama wrote:

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.

You hammered your point of playing what you deem "heroic" characters to your players. Basically, you were ordering them how they should play their roles, like a movie director to his actors. You did not want them to co-create a story. You wanted them to play YOUR story. Why are you surprised that they went the opposite way ?

Liberty's Edge

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Icyshadow wrote:
Alitan, you're pretty much the only one here arguing for Evil characters in D&D / Pathfinder, a game where the assumed norm is a group consisting mostly of Good characters. You can like your villains all you want, but you cannot shove them down our faces or distrupt games with your villainous characters. If you do, you'll probably get kicked out from the table you're in (or if I'm a PC at the same table, get your character killed quite quickly) if nobody agrees with your views on the issue.

This reminds me of a game where one of the players decided to play god (and GM) by threatening another player of raping and killing her character if she did not conform to the way he wanted the game to be played. She quitted the game right then and I did the same once I heard of it.


So if the GM makes a plot, and the characters the players make don't jive with that, you are saying it's all on the GM?

I don't buy that. If the GM is creating a plot and you wish to play, make a character that will jive. that will play along so there is no problems. Fight the monsters, not the GM.

Shadow Lodge

Unless the DM is the monster.


Example:

DM: I am creating a short adventure for water breathing races, is everyone okay with that?

Everyone: Yeah that sounds exciting.

DM: Okay, what kinds of characters did you all think of creating?

Everyone: We're all gonna be Tengu

DM: But, um, see, well.

DM: What? How dare you force your will upon us, we poison the sea.

Liberty's Edge

Nepherti wrote:

So if the GM makes a plot, and the characters the players make don't jive with that, you are saying it's all on the GM?

I don't buy that. If the GM is creating a plot and you wish to play, make a character that will jive. that will play along so there is no problems. Fight the monsters, not the GM.

The GM's main job should be to ensure that the players have fun playing in his game. Ignoring his players' wishes for their characters is definitely not the way to do this.

A player is like a rat. If he is cornered with no road to freedom in sight, he will fight back. Even against the GM.

Liberty's Edge

Hama wrote:
i just had PCs do a lot of pointless stuff in my games, because they couldn't do it for real. And i find that idiotic. If a person is not getting laid in real life, that is not a reason to play a freaking Casanova who just goes around seducing women. That is not cool. That is sad.

What is sad is that you cannot see that you are doing the exact same thing : asking the RPG to give you something you cannot experience in the real life.


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But at the same time, if the gm spent a crap-ton of time creating a holy rollers righteous paladin setting, don't create a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.


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Nepherti wrote:
But at the same time, if the gm spent a crap-ton of time creating a holy rollers righteous paladin setting, don't create a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.

And especially don't create a party of theoretically good or neutral characters and then play them like a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.


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

Video games and selfishness of society in general. Where's ma fat lootz biatches?

Liberty's Edge

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Nepherti wrote:
But at the same time, if the gm spent a crap-ton of time creating a holy rollers righteous paladin setting, don't create a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.

IMO, it is still the responsibility of the GM to assess what his players want BEFORE spending a lot of time and effort in creating the story.

To do otherwise, then blame the players for ruining the story, is unfair.


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If the GM's main job is to ensure that the players are having fun playing... to whom does the task of ensuring the GM has fun playing fall?


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The black raven wrote:
Nepherti wrote:

So if the GM makes a plot, and the characters the players make don't jive with that, you are saying it's all on the GM?

I don't buy that. If the GM is creating a plot and you wish to play, make a character that will jive. that will play along so there is no problems. Fight the monsters, not the GM.

The GM's main job should be to ensure that the players have fun playing in his game. Ignoring his players' wishes for their characters is definitely not the way to do this.

A player is like a rat. If he is cornered with no road to freedom in sight, he will fight back. Even against the GM.

It's a matter of buy in and talking to people.

If you've agreed to play a LotR game where you play "heroic free peoples, charged by Aragorn to make the wilderness a safer place", then don't rob the people you're protecting, start bar fights and threaten random people with magic and when they all react appropriately burn the town.
If you don't want to play that game, tell the GM you don't want to play that game. Don't agree and then wreck it.


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The black raven wrote:
Nepherti wrote:
But at the same time, if the gm spent a crap-ton of time creating a holy rollers righteous paladin setting, don't create a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.

IMO, it is still the responsibility of the GM to assess what his players want BEFORE spending a lot of time and effort in creating the story.

To do otherwise, then blame the players for ruining the story, is unfair.

I'll meet you guys halfway.

While I agree that it's part of a GM's job to make sure that his/her group's interests are met, I'd rather have player that ca say "you know what, I don't feel like a goody-two-shoes game" instead of going "heroes sound like fun" and than make a bunch of Dirty Harry character...

Respect and responsibility for an enjoyable game goes both ways.

As a personal opinion, I find the lack of interest in doing the right thing rather deplorable, both in RPG and in real life.

I don't mind a troubled hero, a reformed villain or a good-hearted scoundrel once in a while, but the "Han Solo shot first" thing is only relevant insofar as he came back to save the rebellion in the end. Otherwise, he's just another random scoundrel...


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The black raven wrote:
Nepherti wrote:
But at the same time, if the gm spent a crap-ton of time creating a holy rollers righteous paladin setting, don't create a party of chaotically incline evil b@st@rds.

IMO, it is still the responsibility of the GM to assess what his players want BEFORE spending a lot of time and effort in creating the story.

To do otherwise, then blame the players for ruining the story, is unfair.

OP wrote:
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.

If the players don't want to play that, it's their responsibility to tell the GM that before the game starts, not to trash the game once it begins.

Or after, but in a "We don't think this game is working out" kind of way, not in a "Burn it to the ground!!!" kind of way.

It's not all on the GM.

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