One of my players moaned at me what should I do?


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Well, as long the players aren´t mooning me, I'm fine.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Thank you Anguish for your insightful opinion which elegantly started waht this thread made me feel.

Since Asmo opened up Pandora's box on making fun of the wording I'll use the cheap jokes I thought of when I saw this thread

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" - Is she/he hot and of the appropriate sex?

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" - Might be time to set boundries.

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" - Did you look under the table, and was anyone missing from the group?

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" - Don't panic, are you sure it was AT you and not just in your direction...

I feel better now...

OK 1 more I promise this'll be that last

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" seems appropriate you definately screwed him hard enough...


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Throw him a bone. Have him tie up some loose ends, I liked the idea about someone giving him a quest (powerful outsider perhaps best) and have a sweet holy avenger as his door prize at the end.


It sounds like your campaigns aren't very fun to play a lawful good character in.


1. I think the Paladin deserves some freebies--And I mean completely free, independent of his involvement. Make something good come of the innocent prince, the fallen son, and the reoccurring villain. I'm not saying you should take back the consequences, but there needs to be some silver lining that encourages the Paladin to keep on walking his path.

And that'll really introduce gray-area into the game.

2. When it comes to consequences in the world, you need to submit yourself to a dice roll, and let the players know the odds of that dice roll. That'll add some real moral risk to the game, rather than have it be wish-fullfillement for the paladin, and paladin-smiting for the GM.

I urge you to keep on throwing in the hard scenarios, but add a dice roll to give the Paladin a chance.

3. It'd be really cool if you devised puzzles such that the entire party could work together to get the best of all outcomes. I.e. is there a sorcerer or a rogue among the group who can do weird, non-combat tricks? Provide a chance for those tricks to be useful.

GM_Solspiral wrote:


OK 1 more I promise this'll be that last

"One of my players moaned at me what should I do?" seems appropriate you definately screwed him hard enough...

Funniest thing on this thread. Totally true.

EDIT: I really like the Anti-Paladin son concept, but just as you're forcing the Paladin into gray areas, let the Anti-Paladin be an anti-hero who also walks the gray area. I think he'd make an awesome re-occuring bad guy too.

But if he is to be defeated, let him defeat himself, by breaking his Anti-Paladin code. Perhaps he finds the love of his life, but then she falls sick as his mother did.... I don't know what happens after that, but maybe you can let the story write itself, rather than build in a moral to the story.


Argus The Slayer wrote:
It sounds like you have been intentionally beating up the paladin. If you constantly attack your players with no-win situations, the game will quickly lose its fun.

Yep.

I suggest apolgizing and stop doing this.


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Wind Chime wrote:

I have a paladin player in one of my games and he had a rather big go at me this session. When I gm I gm a game that is pretty morally relativist but I agreed with the player in advance that I would never throw a fall or fall scenario at him. But what I have been doing instead is providing optimal greater good scenario's. For example the paladin was on a mission and got an message that his wife was dying, he choice to continue the mission for the greater good (ignore the message) so I killed of his wife and turned his son in an Anti-paladin set upon destroying his father for his betrayal (he believed his father could lay on hands heal her).

There have been several offer examples like this including murdering an innocent prince to stop a war (he didn't thousands died) and recurring villains he wouldn't let the party kill. So when he moaned at me about not letting him have one untarnished moment of glory (paraphrasing a great deal) I could kind of understand where he was coming from. I have apologized to him and he is still willing to play. So I was wondering what do people think is the perfect scenario for the paladin to shine without any moral quandary what so ever?

Love your style, wish I was in your game! :)


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Wind Chime wrote:
I could kind of understand where he was coming from. I have apologized to him and he is still willing to play. So I was wondering what do people think is the perfect scenario for the paladin to shine without any moral quandary what so ever?

Quite honestly Wind Chime, I think you're asking the wrong people (the Paizo forums).

You're better to ask that question (paraphrased a bit) of the paladin's player. For example:

"I'm not sure I understand. Could you give me a few examples of 'untarnished moments of glory'?" ...
Here you collect player expectations, and with a little clever storycrafting you can make the player happy. Follow up with:

"Oh, and since we're on the topic... You seem upset about Situation X, Y, and Z. What kind of moral quandaries do you think a paladin should/would face in this world?"
Again with some clever storycraft, you can give the player both a moral quandary and an 'untarnished moment of glory'.

I don't think you're being too hard on your player.
Sometimes a rogue goes up against something she can't sneak attack.
Sometimes a ranger faces something that isn't a favored enemy.
Sometimes a wizard casts a spell on something with spell resistance.
And sometimes a paladin gets to face down a moral dilemma.

The key is making sure that your game (the moral dilemmas and moments of glory that you craft) is what the player expects to play.
And you can only do that by asking your player what you are trying to ask us.

Good luck.


Some scenario that also highlights the greater good done via earlier sacrifices.

Saving orphans always tends to get good milage for doing good deeds.

-TimD


Forcing a paladin to fall is lame.

Getting the paladin to choose to fall is awesome.


Wind Chime wrote:
golem101 wrote:

Build up an arching series of side-treks (not necessarily full blown adventures) during which he has the opportnity to tie up a hefty number of loose ends.

The paladin redeems his son, frames the evil prince in front of the court for his wickedness, and so on.

If you don't want to sacrifice a number of narrative tools (and I know they are such things), devise an adventure that starts with "you have been put to test, now it's the time to show your valor" - a higher up in the church, crusading outsider, wise but dying from old age oracle - and at the end of it he can achieve his goal(s) with no evil slipping away or dire consequences.

Sometimes it's just a matter of balance between grim, gritty realism and unadulteraded satisfaction.

Settling things with his son would be the best option but it is problematic given the the son has done some pretty nasty things in the intervening time to call his father out. So even if the Paladin captured and converted his son away from the dark-side the law of the land would demand his son's death. I suppose I could overlook that but I am not sure he will, he could even see it as another fall or suck scenario which would be pretty counter productive.

There are plenty of examples in both history and fiction of "criminals" calling for sanctuary to have the opportunity to pay for their crimes with life rather than with death. If this paladin is willing to let career-villains live, who have done at least as much evil, then allowing his redeemed son to live is a much lesser moral quandary. It would even be viable for him to "trump" the rules of man by calling on divine privilege. Remember, being "lawful" doesn't mean you blindly and conservatively adhere to the laws of whatever jurisdiction you happen to be in. You very well could do that, but there are alternatives to being Lawful. Consider the archetype of the Justicar, Inquisitor, or other "above the law" types who's personal code of conduct directs them to hold only to that code and sets them "above the law" in regard to all mortal judicial systems and also any contrary divine ones. Their actions are no less lawful than the one who holds themselves to the mortal justice of whatever local laws apply or anything in between.

Assistant Software Developer

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I removed some posts that were steering this thread in the wrong direction.


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Yeah seems like you set him Lose/Lose situations, then think up the worst possible result and give it to him.

Not only did you gank his wife, but then decided the son, who would have been raised understanding things like duty and goodness etc, immediately feels its is a betrayakl and becomes an Anti-Paladin. Wow.

Murder innocent people, or innocent people get murdered. Excellent.

Had he murdered the Prince, no doubt you were waiting to have thousands murdered as part of a witchhunt to find the killer.

Moan? I'm surprised thats the least he did.

The Exchange

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I can't believe so many people attacked Wind Chime for his campaign style, especially on these boards, which are usually far more forgiving than other role play sites. He's not running anything worse than A Game of Thrones type of setting. Given the popularity of that set of books and now mini series, I can clearly see why he and his players would get into it.

Some advice from a DM that runs similar situations for players though, use this less times than you seem to have. Also, don't make the consequences so massively destructive on a personal level for him. I can see the death of thousands in a battle something a player can cope with as it is far more removed from reality than the death of a loved one and corruption of a child. In terms of personal experience that is. Remember that many players feel emotional attachment to characters and Npcs after enough time in a game. Grinding emotion into depressive states destroys potential fun very quickly.

The best advice I can give you is to let him save his son. You have all the plot elements there and ready to go. Let him discover his wife was poisoned and it was by the group who corrupted his son. Give him the chance to let his sone discover this with him. I'd even go so far as to let some ham fisted spiritual visitations from his dead wife guide the paladin and let him know he was forgiven and made the right choice.

When I've run situations like this, I let the bad stuff happen, but I always counter it with the greater good that balances it sometime soon after the event. Don't beat him over the head with how tough the choices were in other words.

Hopefully there's something in there to give you some guidance, and don't be put off on your campaign style by some of the posters in her. Remember , different horses for different courses.

Best of luck mate,

Cheers

Silver Crusade

One of the most frustrating things that a GM can do to a player, whether their PCs are paladins or Good characters or simply just characters that care about something other than themselves, is to turn the game into misery porn.

If everything is going to have a horrible outcome no matter what you do, and if NPCs you've invested in are thrown under the bus for the sake of a tragedy quota, the game quickly becomes unfun for most folks.

Give the paladin a chance to make things right. Paladins have go head to head with conflict, but there should be some real hope.

I've been in spots similar to the paladin player in the OP, and it is not a very fun place to be. That's the sort of thing that either drives people from the game or leads them to simply stop investing in the setting, NPCs, and even their own characters.

Let him be a hero sometime.


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Short answer:

He's the good guy. you're supposed to let him win.


To the OP: personally I would not play with you as a DM, because I have plenty frustrations in my daily life, and I play RPG to have fun, unwind, and relax. I am guessing that you are quite young (I am quite old :-)), and extremely dedicated to the storytelling of your games, which is uber cool. But sometimes RPG has to be a little less like TLOTR, and a bit more like Star Wars (the originals)


Shifty wrote:

Yeah seems like you set him Lose/Lose situations, then think up the worst possible result and give it to him.

Not only did you gank his wife, but then decided the son, who would have been raised understanding things like duty and goodness etc, immediately feels its is a betrayakl and becomes an Anti-Paladin. Wow.

Murder innocent people, or innocent people get murdered. Excellent.

Had he murdered the Prince, no doubt you were waiting to have thousands murdered as part of a witchhunt to find the killer.

Moan? I'm surprised thats the least he did.

If he had killed the prince two things could of happened either the army would have broken up and there would likely have been a war of succession. Or one of the advisers would have taken command of the army and continued the siege to avenge the murdered prince.

As for the son there are all sorts of things his father could of taught him if he was around but he was something of an absentee father. The boy watched his mother die a painful death and was told his father could of saved her that his absence was her death penalty. So he decided to reject the path of his father and swore to make him understand how it felt to feel powerless and utterly alone.


there is an easy way out for you as a DM....kill his paladin off and make him reroll something else so he doesn't have to make these stupid decisions anymore.

it seems to me that you are enabling him to play a lawful stupid character on purpose and he's finding it difficult to cope with the choice of a) lose something you care about, or b) have a forced alignment change.

if he WANT'S to play a LG character then by all means let HIM roleplay that, don't force alignment changing senarios down his neck. its the players actions that alter his actions, not the situations in witch they are placed.

a LG character who is trapped in a room and must kill 1 of 2 innocents in order to leave and save the world should not be punished for making the hard choice and saving the world. get it?


you lucky it was a moan, had it been a wail you might not have made the save.


I don't see a problem at all in these scenarios. He needs to brainstorm some of them harder.

Maybe he sells his +2 sword(or something of high character wealth) to send an accomplished healer to save his wife.

Rather then kill the prince perhaps he uses diplomacy on the prince, convincing him to allow the peasants to revolt against an unguarded castle, and the paladin defends the prince with his life dealing non lethal to hundreds of peasants.

Two things need to happen though. You do need to pose similar situations to other players. (The prince one seems more of a group choice)
And when he makes considerable sacrifice to succeed at both, then that is the true glory paladins are made of. The success of the impossible, not the failure. Make sure to let him know he will not fall per say, but to succeed at both there will need to be sacrifice, or perhaps just an increased level of risk.

Also I like paladins that are men of action. If he doesn't get the cooperation he needs from the prince, then he may get the cooperation he needs from the captain of the guards etc. Paladins have no troubles nor fear of being held accountable for their actions, because they know they do what is good and right.


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"a LG character who is trapped in a room and must kill 1 of 2 innocents in order to leave and save the world"

Paladin should diplomacy the two innocents into fighting to the death.
Paladin: "I need one of you to be worthy of me killing in order to save the world"
The paladin kills the one who committed murder and successfully leaves.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's what you do: Have the church resurrect the wife.

Then have the paladin ride out and rescue his son from himself. The boy can go to a monastery to atone. But it'd be a memorable adventure. As hordes of undead rise from their graves the PCs outside need to hold them off while inside a deconsecrated temple a father and son talk. Diplomacy Checks abound as the paladin talks his boy around.


All jokes of course. But if the paladin isn't high enough level to stand physically between two armies, He probably shouldn't be faced with some of these choices. They would fall onto the shoulders of a higher leveled character. A level 3 character trying to stop a war is pointless because he should be talking to goblins about a missing wizard book :/

Silver Crusade

So your reaction to his request that you don't screw his character up is to think of a slightly different way to screw his character up?

Yeah... I wouldn't be loving that either.


Shifty wrote:

Yeah seems like you set him Lose/Lose situations, then think up the worst possible result and give it to him.

Not only did you gank his wife, but then decided the son, who would have been raised understanding things like duty and goodness etc, immediately feels its is a betrayakl and becomes an Anti-Paladin. Wow.

Murder innocent people, or innocent people get murdered. Excellent.

Had he murdered the Prince, no doubt you were waiting to have thousands murdered as part of a witchhunt to find the killer.

Moan? I'm surprised thats the least he did.

"Well, you see, (insert LG god here), I was faced with painful consequences no matter what I did. I had to make a decision, and I lost, either way.

I tried to save as many lives as I could, but I don't know how that went. So much was out of my control."


FallofCamelot wrote:

So your reaction to his request that you don't screw his character up is to think of a slightly different way to screw his character up?

Yeah... I wouldn't be loving that either.

Urh I haven't had another session with him since his outburst, I was wandering what to do for the next session to make his paladin feel empowered. I think the best thing to do would be let him settle things with his son that way he is still following the meta-plot (finding and stopping the mysterious organization) but is also tying up loose ends.


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I actually like what you did Windchime. Redeeming the son seems to be a popular option here, and having the wife poisoned by the same people who corrupted the son gives the father nice ammunition to turn his son against them. 'Son returns to the master of his order. "I learned something very important. I would speak to you in private." "Of course." Once the two are alone, cue Judges 3. "I learned that my father was right all along, and I will personally destroy everything you have built."

Redeeming his son will take a lot of time and effort, switching the target of your murderous, vengeful rage from innocents to monsters is a starting place, but a lot more, and many enjoy side quests, will be required to bring something like peace to the young man's soul. Ultimately though, if that is the path you and he agree on, let it happen. Even if it means the son willingly surrendering himself to face punishment. Sounds like a very moving story.

For some kick-ass, show-no-mercy slaying, have the party join the son in taking out the order's HQ. Son attacks from within, causing confusion, while the rest assault the front gate. Perhaps the master of the order is a fiend in disguise, not sparing there. Party gets unambiguous action with plenty of treasure, evil HQs always have good loot, and father and son are able to, at least a little, reconcile over the steaming corpse of a very bad man.

*edit Yes! Do that. See above. HQ assualt, loot, sneaky revenge ganking. It will be awesome, and help stop the mysterious organization. maybe don't take out the real hQ but the dragon's lair/field HQ.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:
One of my players moaned at me what should I do?

Aim for the head and double tap.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Wrath wrote:
I can't believe so many people attacked Wind Chime for his campaign style, especially on these boards, which are usually far more forgiving than other role play sites. He's not running anything worse than A Game of Thrones type of setting. Given the popularity of that set of books and now mini series, I can clearly see why he and his players would get into it.

I've said what I have to offer on the thread topic, and I'm glad that my comments weren't viewed as an attack.

That said, this paragraph I feel I have a response to. Simply, what is entertaining to watch or read is not necessarily entertaining to experience or participate in. Game of Thrones is a big, huge downer of a story that is entertaining to take in, but I'd never in a million years want to be or play a character in it.

I liken it to Battlestar Galactica (the recent re-make, not the original). Any story that starts with the destruction of 12 planets full of people, leaving approximately 50,000 survivors aboard a bunch of ships not designed for long-term support, and those survivors having nowhere to go except a mythical home-world is not something that can ever end with a feel-good moment. Still, the series was darned fun to watch. It was fascinating how things just kept getting worse for these poor people. The main characters were interesting, and flawed... and those flaws kept making more downward spiral. Loved the show. But I can't name a single character I would want to BE. And I'd hate to play an RPG in that story because simply put... it's hopeless.

Hopeless has its place. LG characters are just sticking their head in a meat-grinder in such a setting though. There is no win. Game of Thrones doesn't (to my understanding) have a real win for any good characters. Only loss, pain, and failure in the long term. Play a CE rogue, sure. LG paladin? Why?

Again, I don't mean this as criticism, just observation, but the OP has written his setting and storyline into a state where he had to come here for input how to un-screw his LG character's player. Like GoT, I suspect the answer is "nuke the planet from orbit... it's the only way to be sure."


Anguish wrote:
Wrath wrote:
I can't believe so many people attacked Wind Chime for his campaign style, especially on these boards, which are usually far more forgiving than other role play sites. He's not running anything worse than A Game of Thrones type of setting. Given the popularity of that set of books and now mini series, I can clearly see why he and his players would get into it.

I've said what I have to offer on the thread topic, and I'm glad that my comments weren't viewed as an attack.

That said, this paragraph I feel I have a response to. Simply, what is entertaining to watch or read is not necessarily entertaining to experience or participate in. Game of Thrones is a big, huge downer of a story that is entertaining to take in, but I'd never in a million years want to be or play a character in it.

I liken it to Battlestar Galactica (the recent re-make, not the original). Any story that starts with the destruction of 12 planets full of people, leaving approximately 50,000 survivors aboard a bunch of ships not designed for long-term support, and those survivors having nowhere to go except a mythical home-world is not something that can ever end with a feel-good moment. Still, the series was darned fun to watch. It was fascinating how things just kept getting worse for these poor people. The main characters were interesting, and flawed... and those flaws kept making more downward spiral. Loved the show. But I can't name a single character I would want to BE. And I'd hate to play an RPG in that story because simply put... it's hopeless.

Hopeless has its place. LG characters are just sticking their head in a meat-grinder in such a setting though. There is no win. Game of Thrones doesn't (to my understanding) have a real win for any good characters. Only loss, pain, and failure in the long term. Play a CE rogue, sure. LG paladin? Why?

Again, I don't mean this as criticism, just observation, but the OP has written his setting and storyline into...

Song of Ice and Fire Spoilers

Movie plot spoiler:
Good point. With game of thrones specifically, the most Paladin like character(ned stark) gets his head removed in the first book. It is a very compelling scene and fit the plot perfectly, but I can't imagine playing that to be fun. Imagine playing Ned Stark. You do everyone as justly and as lawfully as you can. Then, when you try to expose the corrupt king, the DM tells you that the guards have arrested you and you have been beheaded.

The Exchange

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Exhibit A on why i will not play a paladin

A DM that promises not to screw with you still will


I promised not to force him to fall which I haven't, none of these choices were fall or fall.


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Wind Chime wrote:

I promised not to force him to fall which I haven't, none of these choices were fall or fall.

having to kill an innocent or letting hundreds of people die is by ALL definitions a fall or fall choice...either way you go you have broken your vow of LG-ness and thus lost either your lawful or your good alignment.

the only way a paladin gets out of a situation like this is by simply NOT making the decision and leaving the choice up to others and walking away.

as a DM, if you really want to make him feel better as a player, your only option is to STOP giving him situations like this and START pointing out situations he puts himself in that are "walking the line" such as not beheading the rogue in the party after he stabs a merchant and steals his gold...


So you found a loophole in the deal you made. Isn't that an infernal pact?

If I wasn't such a gentleman, I'd think you were a right bastard (and say as much). ;)

@Andrew R - APPLAUSE

Silver Crusade

Wind Chime wrote:

I promised not to force him to fall which I haven't, none of these choices were fall or fall.

Personally, I'd still not enjoy being in that situation even if a possible "fall" state wasn't in play. Just playing a good (anyclassotherthanpaladin) and regularly being pushed into situations where it's either "terrible decision A" or "terrible decision B" without any room for the player to take(or make) a better third option would leave me feeling disheartened over playing a good character in such a campaign as well.

This isn't to say that bad things shouldn't happen and that hard choices shouldn't turn up, but there need to be times for heroism to shine too, and victories to be earned that don't turn into poison.


Juke wrote:

"a LG character who is trapped in a room and must kill 1 of 2 innocents in order to leave and save the world"

Paladin should diplomacy the two innocents into fighting to the death.
Paladin: "I need one of you to be worthy of me killing in order to save the world"
The paladin kills the one who committed murder and successfully leaves.

thats PC fiat and you know it! lol

if i were the DM and you said that i'd simply say "not an option"

it is a nice way out of the situation though...way to think outside the box!


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Wind Chime wrote:
If he had killed the prince two things could of happened either the army would have broken up and there would likely have been a war of succession. Or one of the advisers would have taken command of the army and continued the siege to avenge the murdered prince.

Ah, so you were going to butcher thousands of innocents regardless of the player's actions and tell the player it was their fault either way.

Wind Chime wrote:
As for the son there are all sorts of things his father could of taught him if he was around but he was something of an absentee father. The boy watched his mother die a painful death and was told his father could of saved her that his absence was her death penalty. So he decided to reject the path of his father and swore to make him understand how it felt to feel powerless and utterly alone.

Ah, so the player's crime was playing a character who has adventures instead of sitting at home knitting all day.

I really can't imagine why your player might not be enjoying this.


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Shimesen wrote:
Wind Chime wrote:

I promised not to force him to fall which I haven't, none of these choices were fall or fall.

having to kill an innocent or letting hundreds of people die is by ALL definitions a fall or fall choice...either way you go you have broken your vow of LG-ness and thus lost either your lawful or your good alignment.

the only way a paladin gets out of a situation like this is by simply NOT making the decision and leaving the choice up to others and walking away.

as a DM, if you really want to make him feel better as a player, your only option is to STOP giving him situations like this and START pointing out situations he puts himself in that are "walking the line" such as not beheading the rogue in the party after he stabs a merchant and steals his gold...

Honestly, I give the DM props for NOT making that a fall or fall situation. Which is it should NOT be. Still wouldn't have stopped some dms though...

Kill an innocent...FALL. DOn'T kill an innocent and a nation goes to war... That happens! Wars happen. Saying that every death of the war or siege is on HIS shoulders because he chose not to fall would absolutely suck. The DM didnt' do that.

GRANTED... it sounds like he's still getting the 'emotional' guilt and finger pointing of that action even when his god looks down and says "yeah, good job!! Stick to that code!! /thumbs up".

Paldins CAN be involved in battles and wars without worrying about falling if one peasant starves... Unless he's going around putting them out of their misery himself, it's not on him.

All that said, I think a LOT of what the DM is doing would be VERY annoying if I was playing in his game. DEFINITELY sounds like the player needs a good old fashioned WIN for a change!

No win situations have a place in games... but they should be RARE!!The kind of thing that REALLY shocks a group and makes them debate what to do...

If you use that TOO often, then it becomes stale and the players will stop LOOKING for a 'good' solution to your problems.


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Sanjiv wrote:
1. I think the Paladin deserves some freebies--And I mean completely free, independent of his involvement. Make something good come of the innocent prince, the fallen son, and the reoccurring villain. I'm not saying you should take back the consequences, but there needs to be some silver lining that encourages the Paladin to keep on walking his path.

I think that Prince should be a life time ally of the paladin now. Think about the movie Rob Roy. He's offered a chance to erase his debts if he says lies about a nobleman he doesn't even know...

He refuses on principle.

Later in the movie the Nobleman hears about this and comes to his aid when he's needed.

A little Deus ex machina... but it's still fun if that kind of thing was BASED on a players decisions earlier.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

From a storytelling perspective, these things have their own rules; storytelling rules, not Pathfinder rules!

When the hero undergoes such trials as he has, and managed to face them all without falling and he has suffered for his faith by sacrificing his wife, son, thousands in war, etc., then he should be rewarded for his faith. You know he would have been punished for a fall!

The concept here is that he must choose to sacrifice because the world will be a better place for his sacrifices. For a satisfying story, we must see a conclusion! If that conclusion is a vindication of his paladin ideal then you've created a satisfying story. If the conclusion is that it was all for nothing, don't be surprised that the player feels betrayed! He's gone along with all the badness in the hope of participating in a great story, but if it turns out that the conclusion is that it was all for nothing, then that was a rubbish story!

I have read through the thread and I think that this is the most salient piece of advice for you, Wind Chime. You've had plenty of exposition and rising action with the paladin's personal journey. I think it's time to hit a climax and have some falling action before going on for more exposition and/or rising action. I do not personally agree with the sentiment that you should give the paladin some "freebies" and throw some completely unambiguously evil person at him just to "shut him up".

There should be some rewards that are equivalent to the nature of the challenges that he has faced; inherent situational bonuses to his Diplomacy or Sense Motive if you're looking for something mechanical, but I recommend story-driven rewards. Send him an emissary from his deity that grants him a gift or boon and leaves him with a carefully worded message of encouragement. Reward this character for the player role-playing well. (This might encourage other players to follow suit.)

With regard to the situation with his son, that could make for a very powerful redemption quest for your paladin, with commensurate rewards, one would hope. The son should probably be a number of levels lower, so defeating him in a contest of arms is a trivial feat; defeating the evil in his soul is the real challenge. More boons and praise from his god, his god's followers (clerics, inquisitors, etc...), praise from local persons who recognize his good deeds, etc... Don't shower him with gifts, but rewards are definitely in order.

Paladins get "gifts" (in their class abilities) from their gods, but that's for being a paladin, not for going through difficult character-driven choices. Having his road be hard is fine, but you have to justify it with rewards above and beyond the hardships of other players if his character's hardships are greater than their characters' hardships are.

I wish you the best of luck at your next session.

Liberty's Edge

While I don't agree with the input from several posters, the OP came here to get help, not get slammed regardless of how he got to this point.
He recognized his mistake and is wanting to make it right with his player.
What happened has already happened. Like it or not, and he's trying NOW to correct any problems with his player.

Good on you, Wind Chime.

I like the "save your Wife or continue the mission" option, but if you have been giving your Pally player alot of no-win situations as people are indicating, that's rough on player. You know that now, or you've learning from it.

Yes, moral choices in gaming can be fun to explore, and I honestly have no idea what type of gaming your group likes. In a more roleplaying exploratory group(as in more story roleplaying less rolling) I can see these dilemma's being interesting. Your gaming world seems to have cause and affect situations. And I think the redemption story possibility for the Paladin and his son are fantastic, add in phantom1592's suggestions above involving the Prince/noble, and the uncovering of a plot to bring down the Paladin because X is an interesting story arc. Especially if the noble hears of what has happened to the Pally's wife, and intervenes and helps the player out. He helps get her raised, and lends his resources to the Pally and the party for future quests/adventures. Rumors, access to libraries and maps. There's a nice potential for a Patron who has seen what mercy and good can do. Gotta stop... I'll start rambling more than I already have.

I personally think you need to talk with the player about what he wants to do. Maybe you need to retro the choice. Rewind it back if the player(s)are cool with that and start over. But again, talk with the player and work out a compromise, find out what he wants do and what he expects from you as a GM. Find out what he wants his Paladin to be able to do and not do and work with him on a solution you both can agree upon. Present possible storylines to follow and see if he'd be cool with any of them, and if he isn't. Back off of him, let him destroy some evil for awhile. Challenge him for sure, but not to the point of breaking.

I wish you the best with this. It sucks when these things happen.
We think, as GM's, that the player will enjoy a challenge specifically tailored for them, and when it comes out to something like this is sucks. And I know for you, you've got to be beating yourself up about this situation. Take this as a lesson, learn from it and become an even better GM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Echoing a lot of the opinions already mentioned. I can see why the player is a bit frustrated, as you keep tossing him tough choices with no real good reward possible. You need to make sure to have positive consequences for some of his choices. While you are not giving him fall or fall situations, you seem to be giving him the RP equivalent, where his character will be punished either way. Have the prince become a major ally, have the son get redeemed and become a powerful ally, have tales of the paladin's valor and drive for the greater good spread far and wide earning him boons (in the form of diplomacy bonuses or more material gains). Give him some situations where he is rewarded for a decision, and you should be back on track.

Something that only you can answer is if you are treating other characters in the same manner. If only the paladin is getting these tough RP situations, then it definitely becomes a bit unfair. And while the paladin player may be the one who is voicing concern, other players may not enjoy that the paladin is getting so much of a focus.


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Anguish wrote:

I've said what I have to offer on the thread topic, and I'm glad that my comments weren't viewed as an attack.

That said, this paragraph I feel I have a response to. Simply, what is entertaining to watch or read is not necessarily entertaining to experience or participate in. Game of Thrones is a big, huge downer of a story that is entertaining to take in, but I'd never in a million years want to be or play a character in it.

I liken it to Battlestar Galactica (the recent re-make, not the original). Any story that starts with the destruction of 12 planets full of people, leaving approximately 50,000 survivors aboard a bunch of ships not designed for long-term support, and those survivors having nowhere to go except a mythical home-world is not something that can ever end with a feel-good moment. Still, the series was darned fun to watch. It was fascinating how things just kept getting worse for these poor people. The main characters were interesting, and flawed... and those flaws kept making more downward spiral. Loved the show. But I can't name a single character I would want to BE. And I'd hate to play an RPG in that story because simply put... it's hopeless.

Hopeless has its place. LG characters are just sticking their head in a meat-grinder in such a setting though. There is no win. Game of Thrones doesn't (to my understanding) have a real win for any good characters. Only loss, pain, and failure in the long term. Play a CE rogue, sure. LG paladin? Why?

Again, I don't mean this as criticism, just observation, but the OP has written his setting and storyline into...

You certainly make fair points.

I think it mainly comes down to what people are looking for in a tabletop RPG. Many people just want to have light-hearted fun with their friends, and be the shining heroes who go on glorious adventures together. And that's perfectly fine of course, but it's not everyone's playstyle.

I personally would love to play in a Game of Thrones style setting (or Battlestar Galactica setting for that matter). I find that in general these grittier settings just seem produce much better stories, and are certainly much more believable. And that's a really important part of gaming for me, I wan't to immerse myself in an imaginary world which feels as real as possible (which includes things such as actions having at least somewhat realistic consequences, people's morality and personality being infinitely more complex than their alignment, etc.), and get to live dramatic and touching and grand stories in such a world together with my friends. The most powerful moments I have ever felt during my gaming history have always been the harder, more emotional (and usually darker and sadder) ones.

Of course sometimes the darkness in some settings might get a bit excessive for most people's gaming purposes (such as the setting of the japanese manga Berserk, one of the very finest manga-series ever made, but not a shred of hope can be found in the whole setting). And Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40 000 setting's are similarly dark, and while Warhammer's Old World-setting is one of my favorite fantasy worlds (despite it not being even remotely believable), I do understand why many people can't stand to play any games set in it. When one of the starting careers in Warhammer Ropeplaying Game is "Rat Catcher", you quickly realize that heroic destinies and glorious deeds don't come easily in that world.

So I would happily play in the opening poster's games, but clearly the paladin's player isn't so enthusiastic about his GM's gaming style. I suppose you need to have a nice long chat with him about what you both want from a game, and if some compromise can be found. If he wants to play a high fantasy campaign where morality is black and white and the heroes get to always win, and you want run a dark fantasy campaign where the world is often unfair and heroes sometimes get to die in the gutter, it will be quite hard for him the play in such a campaign.


How about you take one of those recurring villains and make them have a change of heart, seeking real and lasting redemption? You could also let them destroy a true evil item, severe a portal to the "lower" planes, uncover a plot to murder and replace a noble or royal patron, have him join a political fight to help a segment of a population achieve equality. Theres a lot you can do thats still interesting without the constant morale questioning.

Basicly Im saying ditch the morale quandires for a bit and once and awhile let him have an adventure where he can feel like the holy warrior he wants to be.


TarkXT wrote:

Give him something unapologetically evil and quit with the nonsense.

My favorite Paladin series is The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. It is excellent. Imagine tolkienesque meets Joan of Arc = Paksenarrion.

About the dead wife. Did he or the son see the body? Maybe a big baddie has kidnapped her while ill and swapped out the body using a very clever illusion. Then u can make it up and open up a new role playing possibility.

Maybe let another PC find the first couple of clues about his wife's real fate so u can pull in the whole party. Allow for early rescue of the wife, and move on with a more interesting plot to give a good butt kicking to evil.

It's ok for paladins to lose a fight or fail to rescue someone.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would love playing the paladin in this game. Talk about a tragic hero. I cannot offer you much advice since I think you are doing really well. I like the idea of a final showdown with the son resulting in a his dying repentance and the fathers eternal grief to tie up that thread. Some players just want something simpler though. It is unfortunate for you since you are clearly trying to add depth and not torment the player. Just wanted you to know some people appreciate that kind of effort and story.


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whether or not some of us like this game is of no consequence..it's the Paladin's player who matters....and he's not having fun.

Cheers
Mark

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