How do I keep my players from killing / torturing / ignoring plot related NPC's?


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I'm running an Emerald Spire campaign that was supposed to have a significant amount of home-brew elements thrown in. I really liked the town & came up with many quests to help the various friendly NPC's in town. I told the players right at the beginning that I really wanted to play the game that way rather then doing a straight dungeon crawl.

The players decided after the first 2-3 games that they'd rather distract & rob all of the NPC's whenever they need to resupply, rather than doing the side quests I came up with so the friendly NPC's would give them loot & heavily discounted items. (I got to do ONE side quest near the beginning of the campaign and they reacted by tying up the NPC alchemist after the quest was over & stabbing him repeatedly in the kneecap while threatening to kill him)

It's always a consensus among the players that they'd rather do things that way so I never really pushed my home-brew side quests on them. (I'm a fairly new GM, & a bit of a pushover)

But there was one plot line I was really wanting to run. I'd been planning it since they were around level 2. And I told my players at the end of every game for about 4 weeks that I was going to introduce an important NPC, that I would really really like them to not kill. The NPC was supposed to kick off a political subterfuge plot that would have made great use of each of the players class skills & was going to cumulate in the final game session with all of the evil hell-knights being condemned forever to hell & the town being freed from oppression.

Instead, they decided as a group that the gunslinger should be allowed to coup de gras the NPC in the back of the head & continue along with the dungeon level they were on. I spent the rest of the game half paying attention to what they were doing as I tried to think of a way to get the plot back on track. At the end of the game they had gone back to town and distracted the guards by sending them on a wild goose chase. I assumed that they were just going to rob the town again.

The next weeks game started and they decided to kick down the door of the head commanders office while she was doing paperwork & kill her by peppering her with bullets. I was caught completely off guard! I didn't even know until about 5 min before the game started when one of my players told me he'd brought all of his human minis because they were taking the town that game. I'd spent hours drawing intricately detailed maps of all 4 floors of the main citadel and I didn't even get a chance to use them because I had no flippin' idea they were planning to do that! I tried to make it very clear that they weren't supposed to be doing that by asking over & over again "Are you sure you want to do this?!", and having the main NPC they were killing do nothing but beg for her life & drink healing potion after healing potion. But they all agreed that that's what they wanted to do and they wanted to do it like that and right then.

Everyone said they had a good time, but it just felt so unsatisfying to me to just have a pair of gunslingers riddle the npc full of bullets while no one else really got to do anything.

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There is always a bigger fish.
Time for them to meet it.

Liberty's Edge

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Looks like you need to create some NPCs that are specifically adept at handling the clearly evil actions of your player characters. As far as forcing your players to play a certain way, well, you can't, but you can choose whether or not you want to continue to GM for them, or if you want to create content that specifically deals with the way they play.

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You have PCs robbing a hellknight garrison repeatedly. That's not conducive to long term survival and the hellknights have a lot of very high level resources to put towards solving problems. Every level of escalation that doesn't stop the PCs is another step towards pulling out all the stops and dropping a small army of high level knights on them.

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OP, it sounds like your group likes a certain type of game while you would like to explore some other styles of play.

Perhaps starting a PbP, GMing some PFS on the side or starting a second game group may provide you with an outlet for ideas and gaming styles that you don't think you can do with your current group.

If none of the above items are options, you're going to want to have a talk with your group. It is important for them to have fun, but it is important for you to enjoy it as well.

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Honestly i think this should be settled out of game rather than in it.

You need to sit down, and explain that you're not having fun with the way the game is going, and you deserve to have fun as well. its a game where everyone should enjoy.

try to find a middle ground with them, out of character. nothing you do in game will help

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Tell them to get lost, no point in wasting your time GMing for a bunch of ignorant ungrateful jerkwads. You have more important things to do with your time.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A few thoughts:

Unless you metagame it (as you did apparently) your PC's don't know which NPC's are "important" for future stories - so change it on the fly if you have to - and if your players want to be "murder hobos" use that to drive some plots forward (such a killing sprees likely will be getting noticed and could easily have consequences for them in the short and long run)

Above all else talk with your players about the game they want to play - do they want to play an evil campaign (if they are killing commanders of the town guard without provocation and killing merchants etc that seems pretty evil to me) if so, be prepared for some challenges especially as a newer GM - but if that is what they want to play (and you want to run) then go for it - but look for something that will keep the party somewhat unified and focused (a big bad, a mentor, something bigger and badder than the party etc). There are many good articles around about the challenges of running an evil campaign (it is doable - just harder than the more typical assumption that the players a the good guys)

With canned adventures it can be frustrating if things get off the rails - but if your players are going to be making their own plots I would suggest running with it. Improving a campaign when you are a new GM can be challenging but here are a few tips that may help.

Buy yourself copies of some books like the Monster Codex and NPC Codex that have lots of prebuilt NPC's which you can shamelessly use on the fly as needed (print out a few stat blocks ahead of time - many of these are in the PRD so are freely available but the PDFs are also just $9.99.

Plan out the big picture items - but then don't sweat the details to heavily (i.e. when creating your plots for your players in particular don't make it necessary that a specific NPC live long enough to forward the plot - instead think about groups, factions and other means than NPCs you might start the PCs down a plot line. Letters on a person (given freely if the NPC lives or found on the corpse if as seems likely the players murder hobo the NPC) are options.

Demonstrate some value to letting people live - even evil characters need allies, servants and craftspeople. If your PC's are killing everyone in sight make sure that it draws attention to them and causes consequences (they may be able to get a few things for "free" as a result but later on no one may want to buy things from them and no one will want to trade with the town etc.

(and/or perhaps they call attention to themselves and other parties come calling to recruit them).

If you have only been playing a few sessions I'm assuming your characters are still relatively low level - make sure that you don't just let them run over everyone and everything.

For the gunslingers in particular don't forget that ammunition isn't a commonly available item in most places - and while they may have the ability to make it themselves they need time and equipment to do so.

Avoid rails - especially if your players have a habit of looking for the rails and twisting them into bloody sculptures. Instead think about big picture directions - character driven plot points and how to keep everyone in the party involved (make sure that you avoid sessions where only a few players do all the action).

If these players alignment's didn't start out Evil then they probably should be now - unless that NPC Alchemist and Commander made Hitler look like Mother Teresa. If any divine casters worship good gods then they might need to look for a new god too. Alignments shouldn't be shackles around wrists, but saying "I'm chaotic neutral" does not give someone carte blanche to commit evil acts.

It might be worth seeing if your group are open to a more overtly evil-friendly module. Either that or start thinking like they do - dangle a nice juicy NPC in front of them with a plot hook, the twist being that the NPC is a horribly powerful monster in disguise. If they take the quest or ignore them, fair enough. Good luck trying to coup de grace that Elder Dragon though.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I haven't read through the whole Emerald Spire module but folks have mentioned Hellknights - it is worth reminding the players that Hellknight doesn't mean EVIL - it just means LAWFUL (and plenty powerful).

There are Lawful Good Hellnights - some of whom are quite powerful. And yes, there are plenty of Lawful Evil Hellknights (who are also powerful and scary).

If they are making enemies of the Hellknights I would as a GM suggest running with that and making them realize that there are consequences for their every action.

(and if they are continuing to have an evil campaign you get to have both evil AND good enemies work against them - opens up all kinds of NPC options and plots - their enemies don't just have to be other evil creatures - it can be a force of good.)

Depending on your players you might also want to look over some of the Redemption rules from the Wrath of the Righteous campaign and related books - your players may have made themselves evil through their actions - a good NPC force may actually not just simply seek to destroy them, some NPCs might seek to help them find redemption.

There guys seem pretty evil, and they may be hiding behind the "we are the PC's(stars of the show)", so normal retaliation won't happen. I would let them know out of game that they will have the same consequences as an NPC would for committing crimes.

If they continue the guard are then alerted, and if it leads to imprisonment or death then so be it.

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Lamontius wrote:

There is always a bigger fish.

Time for them to meet it.

Damnit, Qui-Gon!

Shadow Lodge

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Send in some Paladins and make it clear the smiting is working on them.

Change to Paranoia or Shadowrun or a game where they can get their jollies killing folks. It doesn't seem that they are interested in being heroes or adventurers.

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To the OP:

Consider this. There is a group of people that is terrorizing the city. How would the local authorities respond to this? Would they blindly ignore the situation? If they've tried to intervene on their own and failed, is there any higher ups that they can approach for assistance? Who has the party angered by their depredations? Are those people the type to just meekly accept this type of treatment?

If you want your world to seem realistic, logical consequences need to result from the types of actions the characters are undertaking, even if those logical consequences involve TPK.

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To be honest, they sound like awful players. If I were you, I'd either cut my losses with the group, and GM for some other people, or just pass off the GM hat to someone else so I wouldn't have to deal with their murder-hobo crap.

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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Talk to THEM out of game about your concerns. If they don't seem to care, tell them you aren't having fun and pass the GM hat to someone else. You don't deserve to go through all that hard work just to have them crumple it up and throw it back in your face.

Try enjoying their style of play under a different GM, or create/join a different group that better fits your play style.

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I would train them in game.

They want to act like a bunch of 3rd graders with grown up weapons, then let some 6th graders with bigger weapons come to their playground. There's a reason the good guys (almost) always win - they work together and the bad guys don't.

I have no idea what level your PCs are, but when they're running around killing people for no reason other than they like being evil and childish, let some paladin show up. You know, about 10 level higher than your PCs. He's not alone, either. He has friends all about his level too. He pronounces the PCs as evil that must be expunged from this world and then proceeds to do exactly that.

If you don't like the one-shot punishment scenario, have it begin in stages. A small army of good guys with powerful leaders show up and take over the town. They begin an inquisition to find and capture the evil PCs. If the players are smart, they run very far away. If not, they get caught and tried and convicted. Make it all a due process of law thing. For bonus points, watch some episodes of The Tudors to see how 15th century court systems work. Racks, thumbscrews, torturing the people you KNOW are guilty until they implicate their accomplices, etc. Have the PCs so broken that they have to be dragged to the chopping block because they've been racked so much they can't walk on their own. Even do the oldie but goodie, hang them partially, then draw, quarter, and remove privy parts before the final blow of the executioner's axe.

Make it so they have no in-game benefit for being ruthlessly evil: no fun, no story, always running from the law until eventually they are caught and tried, either together or separately, until they have to make new characters.

Then ask them if they want to play childish evil douchebags again in the next campaign.

Side note: Maybe this just isn't the group for you. You want story, they want mayhem. I think your way is better and they're wrong (based on the fact that story leads to long-term consistent fun and mayhem only leads to short-term gratification that quickly grows old). As such, I think you should reason with them (which failed, time for plan B), train them (plan b) or find another group.

Slay them all?

If you decide you are ok continuing play with them it sounds like they are ready for the Town to Hire a party of adventures to come hunt them or the hellnights send groups after them. I have always found that this type of play (if accepted by the GM) is best handled by showing them the consequences.

And as they are acting in the exact way a Bandit organization would treat them as such.

Party of adventures to hunt them
HellNights send reprisals
Locals arm against them

Make them hunted. Give them a chance to get away, get smart about how they play, hell give them a chance to take over part of the emerald spire to keep the adventurers busy while they make their way in further to control more and more of the Spire's forces.

You know, I know quite a few Paladin Hellknights who might pay the PCs a visit.

Ravingdork wrote:

Talk to THEM out of game about your concerns. If they don't seem to care, tell them you aren't having fun and pass the GM hat to someone else. You don't deserve to go through all that hard work just to have them crumple it up and throw it back in your face.

Try enjoying their style of play under a different GM, or create/join a different group that better fits your play style.


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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Lamontius wrote:

There is always a bigger fish.

Time for them to meet it.
Damnit, Qui-Gon!

Summon Bigger Fish!!!

Archon Paladins. Lots of them.

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Bloody hell, that sounds like an awful group. They're not just evil ... they're annoying. I mean, sometimes it's fun to play as a band of bandits or robbers or something. But they're not being creative about it. If players want to take over a town, it can be kind of fun (if you're into that sort of game) to watch them (or even abet them!!) as they set themselves up as the new Evil Overlords. But your players are just being psychos.

Also, sometimes players are going to do something that bollixes up your plans. That's part of the game. But your players are just actively sabotaging everything.

But I think there's a bigger problem here:

I didn't even know until about 5 min before the game started when one of my players told me he'd brought all of his human minis because they were taking the town that game.

RPGs are a collaborative experience, but in general, the GM is supposed to be in control of the game. You, my friend, have lost control of the game. I'm not sure there's any good way you can address the control issue in-game or out of game.

On the other hand, people here have pointed out the rather brutal solution to the murderhoboing in-game. If your campaign were a classic movie, right about now, a gunfighter wearing a white hat would ride in, rally the townsfolk, and put down the brigands who are terrorizing the town.

Liberty's Edge

Okay...firstly, killing people while they beg for their lives is pretty Evil, especially as combined with their previous acts. So...yeah, Evil Alignments all around.

Second, as mentioned, in-world they've just killed the leader of a Hellknight garrison. Welcome to the world of Golarion's most-wanted, with entire squads of Hellknights + Signifiers (who have been briefed on the party's strengths and weaknesses) being sent out specifically to kill you.

Thirdly, and most importantly, you need to put your foot down and/or stand up for yourself. From your description, you're the one begging the players for things...that's not a god thing for a GM to be doing.

You're apparently either not too good at improvisation or unwilling to improvise, which is fine in and of itself, but you clearly need to either improve/start doing that, or (more reasonably in the short term) simply refuse to allow the PCs to go off and do major things without consulting you. The latter isn't as restrictive as it might sound, either. You can just suggest that they must make plans for next session at the end of this one. That way you have the time between sessions to plan. If they change plans without discussing it with you? Sorry, no game this week, bye!

You also need to stop trying to "make it clear what they're supposed to do". They clearly don't care, and it's thus not a useful pastime. Additionally, it's clearly caused you to make several characters behave in unreasonable ways. 11th level LE Hellknights don't refuse to fight when lawbreakers attack them, as a rule. They kill them. Thus, the only reason they got away with killing her is that you were violating the setting to 'send a message'...that's pretty much always a bad idea.

If you want to actually outright tell the PCs that what they're doing is unintended, go for it, but don't alter the world to imply it, that's not useful.

Your heroes are not heroes, they are bandits, you should treat them add such. If you're open to that style of game give them banks to heist, towns to pillage, rival gangs to smack down and Authorities to dodge. This could still be a fulfilling game if you talk it out with the group.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Short answer to the original poster - you don't.

The players are clearly having fun with mindless mayhem, and you clearly do not enjoy that style of play. Getting into an arms race with the PCs is not the answer (GM should always win an arms race).

You will either kill their PCs, or the mayhem will continue.

The best solution would be to find a new group, your play styles are incompatible. Any other solution is trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

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I think that while a lot of the advice in this thread is good, it is slightly biased.

If you have a group like that, stop planning what they will do, how they will help the people, and how you want to run things.

Plan how they get in trouble instead. The story of some bandits that go over their heads is as good a story as any. Look for real infamous charactersn for inspiration (wild west, pirates, european mercenaries in africa..). See if you enjoy that.

Also, Way of the Wicked AP, though I get the feeling your group really doesnt like to be told what to do. Play with this fact. Perhaps you'll come to like it. Perhaps not, then default to typical answers give in the thread, but try it.

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Eh, sorry for all the trouble you are having with the group. I tend to handle my games along a certain outline. I flat out tell the players that they will be adventuring in a living, breathing, adaptive and highly morphic world. The world reacts to their presence very realistically.

If I had your players for a night, I would fulfill their wildest dreams of murder, mayhem and destruction. They would revel in their stolen wealth and bask in their spoils. And then ... after the merriment and ammoral satisfaction has a chance to settle, they will learn what it means to have stepped into the shoes of the bad guys. They'll probably have fun doing it too. Fending off those troubling do-gooders that seek to bring them to justice, beating back the forerunners of the hellknights that they have so royally pissed off, and all reaching a climax of pure slaughter when an army is raised against them, possibly lead by a small group of similarly leveled NPCs.

I'd be mildly disappointed my planned campaign did not go as planned. However, I am a reactive DM. I thrive off the reactions of the players and if they are having fun, so am I. Perhaps after the conclusion of their character's deaths (they might get lucky and get away, but meh, little chance) they'll realize that I can make their experience in my campaign just as exciting if they want to play nice. Oh, and they might get to keep their characters alive at the conclusion too.

Lovely. To each their own, though.

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Metallic dragons are known to walk the world in human form, keeping watch over the lives of men.

Perhaps they'll make another mistake. Perhaps the richly dressed, subservient page they just struck was an Elder Wyrm Silver Dragon in disguise.

The man reels from the blow. He slowly wipes his bloody mouth with the back of his hand and, in an ancient and booming voice roars: "So you wanted a fight, whelps? Well, YOU SHALL HAVE IT!"

Some of the ideas above are very good.

Another I use is to give XP only for quest completion, which is typically the XP you would gain for overcoming the encounters along the way. So, random killings do not give your players any XP at all. This tends to alleviate the murder hobo style of gaming.

I like to use, in AP's, the "Your players gain a level at this point of the Chapter" Method. They can still do all the side stuff they want, but they will not gain any XP or level from it.

I've tried talking to them out of game. The gunslinger in particular I've asked to please stop killing the friendly npc's. They're all around level 9 now. And I've told them all out of game that I was going to introduce a friendly npc that I really didn't want them to kill. I told them repeatedly, out of game. For a few weeks in a row.

I'd resigned myself to them not doing any quests for the townsfolk. But I knew the wanted to take over the town & I had a whole quest planned for them to do it in the most epic way possible. Complete with maps that I spent WAY too much time on.

But of course, this happened:

*Npc begins to give vital quest"
Gunslinger: "While it's talking, I shoot it in the back of the head."
Me: "Are you sure? It doesn't seem hostile in any way."
Gunslinger: "Of course I shoot it!" *laugh*
Me: "Does anyone want to stop the gunslinger from killing the friendly quest giving npc that means you no harm?"
Everyone: "Nope"

Then the very next game they shoot the head commander.

I really want to just tell the gunslinger that he's now GM and stop playing, but there are people in the group that I do like playing with (but they tend to just go along with the gunslinger).

Thanks everyone for the advice. I mostly just wanted to blow off steam here and rant a bit.

TheOtherDrew wrote:
Thanks everyone for the advice. I mostly just wanted to blow off steam here and rant a bit.

I'm sure we're all familiar with that feeling. Hope you find your fun!

Even though a curve-ball from the PCs can upset plans that you were really hoping would come to pass, I always try to remember that every choice the players make is an opportunity for you to tell a different story.

Never forget the truism that every choice has a consequence. Taking a cue from that idea lets you make it clear to the players that any awful consequences that befall the players happened directly because of the decisions that *they* made. In the long run, this might even lead to better player decisions.

It sounds like they are wanting to take over the town. That sounds like at least two interesting opportunities are opened.

Let them Lose : The Hellknights probably don't take kindly to having one of their strongholds put in jeopardy. They wield tremendous military and political power. Crushing them with an army of Hellknights is an option, but if you don't want to spank them with the military aspect, you might use the political one : The Hellknights make a proclamation (backed by the ruler of the realm) that any who do not leave the town immediately will be considered heretics and will be put to the sword. While the PCs may not heed the warning (and hence become wanted criminals, which it sounds like they are anyways), the townsfolk will. The city will empty itself in a matter of days. A variation on this would be the tradesmen and merchants just deciding to leave because they don't feel safe any more what with all the robberies, chaos and random killings in the city or perhaps a charismatic paladin who tries to show the townsfolk how bad things are and that they should leave (who will likely be executed by the PCs, proving his point beyond a doubt). This leaves the players the Lords of an empty town.

Let them Win : Perhaps the Hellknights abandon the town. That puts the PCs in charge of a town which can be a pyrrhic victory at best. They might soon find that the idea of being in charge was more glamorous than the endless politics and paperwork of administering a town. Also, consider why the Hellknights were there in the first place. Perhaps there is a portal to the Abyss nearby (or even beneath the town itself) that the Hellknights were keeping closed with rituals. Since the Hellknights are gone, the portal is flung wide open, which puts the players in charge of fending off a demonic invasion on the city.

Time for the Paladin Squad

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It sounds like you play with a group of table sociopaths. I'd just kill the game. It's not worth playing if you're not having fun.

How do I keep my players from killing / torturing / ignoring plot related NPC's?

Kill your PCs? They're only level 9.

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TheOtherDrew wrote:

Then the very next game they shoot the head commander.

I really want to just tell the gunslinger that he's now GM and stop playing, but there are people in the group that I do like playing with (but they tend to just go along with the gunslinger).

Thanks everyone for the advice. I mostly just wanted to blow off steam here and rant a bit.

What alignment are these guys supposed to be? Did you specify at the start of the game you wanted to run a heroic campaign with no evil characters (which it seems like)?

If these people are purposely doing things to screw up your planning, over and over again, then why are you playing with them? From what you have written it seems like they are purposefully griefing your game. As a GM who is putting a lot of creative work into your game you deserve more respect than that.

In a Hellknight bastion these guys would be hunted down and brought to justice or killed, given how merciless Hellknights normally are. And do not be afraid to use overwhelming force and organization. Hellknights are feared for just that reason.

Make clear to any survivors that this is a direct result of their chaotic evil mayhem in a bastion of absolute law from beings with little mercy for that sort of crap.

If they manage to get free and escape, congratulate them on their success and then end the game asking who is GMing next. Tell them that you were not having any fun gming for homicidal, sociopathic, psychopath characters and want to try something different.

Paladins, Inquisitors, Cavaliers and Arcanists ready to counterspell should make short work of them. Given what you have posted of their activities they are all definately evil by now and smite will make short work of them.

OP: Oh, this'd be a hoot. Nothing says "a$$whuppin'" like begging for one. Don't kill 'em ... oh, no, that'd be far too easy for 'em.

My take is that the players are testing your will. They seem to see someone, by your own admission, that's something of a pushover ... and they're pushing.

This is a time when you say "screw appropriate level encounters". They've gone and provoked a righteous smackdown. Best part, as others have said, is that they can be shipped off to Harrowstone pre-fire. There they can die horribly there after being maimed, tortured, branded, dunked into drowning pools and all kinds of fun stuff.

Have fun!

Switch games. Play Way of the Wicked. Your players are already in the right mindset.

Let them have cake.

Scarab Sages

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Doomed Hero wrote:
Switch games. Play Way of the Wicked. Your players are already in the right mindset.

They're really not. Shooting the NPCs trying to guide you in Way of the Wicked will just get you strung up by Asmodeus. They're not playing evil; they're playing moron.

Duiker wrote:
... They're not playing evil; they're playing moron.

They are playing Chaotic Evil AND moron. Asmodeus hates that chaos and stupid part.

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As a GM myself, I am not overly fond of players who deliberately try to jump out of the game they agreed to play. As I see it, it's the job of the players to clearly explain what sort of game they want to play - if they say they want to do one thing, but ACTUALLY do something drastically different (knowing it's trouble), that's just flat-out insulting.

Personally, I would change their alignments, then throw them an unwinnable encounter. Afterwards, literally send them to Hell via judgment by Pharasma, and let someone - probably Asmodeus, but whoever works - make them a deal. They want to be evil? Fine. Let them prove how evil they can be... and enforce the 'Law' part of 'Lawful Evil' as much as possible to punish them every time they break an agreement or do something they weren't supposed to. Play serious hardball with the devils, making it clear they're not just random mooks to kill, they're a real force in the universe with insane resources to use if they want to.

If they complain, point out that they're the ones who lied to you about what game they wanted to play, and that this is the consequence of their behavior. They decided to be evil, so that's how you're treating them. They can either deal with it and finish the game they agreed to play, or they can take their ball and go home because all they're doing now is making it all but impossible for you to properly prepare for (and run) the game. That's not good table behavior.

...Try to offer them an olive branch at some point, though. If you REALLY want to, you could use it as a giant dream/reset button, where a deity showed them the consequences of their behavior. And you can bring them to the same NPC they killed before, with one added question - knowing the consequences (i.e. no more game) if they disrupt things so badly, what do they want to do?

...That's what I'd do, anyway. XD

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it sounds like you asked your players "don't do this thing," and the gunslinger's player laughed in your face and did it just to screw with you.

It sounds like he's going to deliberately cause you problems no matter what you do as long as he's around.

If he's the problem, you need to really, actually consider just telling him he's no longer invited to your game.

Again, you're obviously trying to play two different games. If you enjpy playing with this group then accept that they're not heroic or wise and roll with it.

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I wouldn't say that all of us have been completely unaware that things have been going off the rails in the campaign.

Sorry, Drew, I stumbled on the thread a few hours ago. I hope you don't mind me posting a bit of player perspective to maybe turn the lynch mob towards some discussion that may be a bit less campaign ending.

First impressions of the town when we started the adventure was a place that generally appreciated the order that the Hellknight government offered but the majority of the citizenship was being driven to poverty through excessive taxes. We pretty much aligned ourselves with a local resistance group immediately so our interactions with the Hellknights was antagonistic from the beginning.

Due to the Hellknight influence the economy was rather out of whack to what we were used to on a metagaming level. Legitimately gained loot typically sold to merchants for about a quarter of listed value while needed items could be purchased at mark ups that sometimes exceeded 2000% (granted the 300 gp for 3 masterwork cold iron shurikens could have been an unintentional error). Pretty much for our first four levels it was loot the Spire to the ground and opportunistic stealing if we wanted any sort of gear that was beyond our ability to craft.

More generally I think we might not communicating with you as effectively as were earlier in the campaign and the initial struggle we had early on has led to a bit of a downward spiral. As early as level two I think everyone in the party had a sense that we were occasionally skirting some fairly dangerous lines with the Hellknights. I think part of the escalating violence can be attributed to the perception that lying is generally our most effective diplomatic tool and once that runs out we're in trouble.

I think the Kyton actually serves as a fairly good example of the mentality that we've fallen into. Yes it was being friendly and cooperative but due to communications barriers we didn't really know what its intentions were. I went along with slaying it but not just because the idea was tossed out there, it was because in the moment I felt that the party would be safer without the lawful evil outsider that was apparently allied to the Hellknights watching over our shoulder.

Anyway, I'm sorry because I didn't realize that we had started to antagonize you that much. I do hope that we can sort out a way so the campaign can be less stressful and more fun for you because I really have enjoyed the effort you've put into presenting everything.

I think I'll stay away from this thread at this point because if you do decide to start planning our demise (which could be an epic way to end the campaign) I'd like to be surprised. I will put out there though that about half a dozen of these dropped before an encounter followed by this spell around the second round of combat would likely shut down the bulk of the party's offenses for a short time.

ETA: Feel free to PM or email if you'd like to discuss any specific concerns outside the forum.

I'm sorry, man. But I'd be tempted to walk out on those jerks. My players don't always do what I expect them to, but we respect each other and don't take advantage of each other's natures.

I don't know these guys but I have an intense dislike of them. I've played with this type before and though some have said it's not a good idea I've come at them just as hard as they make themselves out to be. I've lost players over the years because of it, but I won't be walked on by anyone. Some might say that if they players are having fun then don't worry about it. But you don't seem to be having any fun at all, and a roleplaying game is a cooperative effort. All parties involved should enjoy the activity.

I could say a lot more but I'd just get warned or banned.

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