Loss of player control, Good or bad? If so when is it okay?


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Well nearly all of my DMs have this rule that if the player gains some sort of template that they suddenly shouldn't have control over the character. With some cases like Werewolves i find it understandable that during the full moon or forced change that a none natural Werewolf wouldn't have control over the character. But my DMs won't stop there. Lich and Vampire are also suddenly you can't play that character anymore. I find that just an awful choice for a DM to do. It is only under rare cases I find it is okay for a DM to request the character sheet from a player for the purposes of control, anything sort of a mind control spell or feral werebeast or even a retired character. I would say those are the ONLY three things I can think of. At least from the top of my head. Any thoughts of those who agree or don't agree?


Why would liches ever suddenly lose control...?


If by lose control you mean the character becomes an NPC when it becomes a lich or vampire because I don't allow lich or vampire player characters....then yes.

If you mean the GM uses it as an excuse to control your character at an inopportune moment to cause the most trouble for the party possible....well that's just being a jerk. Unless he's using legitimate mind control (such as Dominate Monster) or something along those line.

Werewolves actually have a built in statement in the template that says:

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When a PC becomes a lycanthrope, you as the GM have a choice to make. In most cases, you should take control of the PC's actions whenever he is in hybrid or animal form—lycanthropy shouldn't be a method to increase a PC's power, after all, and what an afflicted lycanthrope does while in animal or hybrid form is often at odds with what the character would actually want. If a player wants to play a lycanthrope, he should play a natural lycanthrope and follow the guidelines for playing a character of a powerful race.


Well, the rule MIGHT be "you can't play evil characters". Generally, though, GMs should try to let players stay in control as much as possible. I mean, what's the point of playing a roleplaying game if you don't have a character with a role to play? o_O


It's only OK when it's a legitimate effect, like some of the werewolf stuff or getting hit by a dominate person.


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A gm is perfectly within their rights to say they don't want evil characters, or liches, or vampires as PC's. They are also okay with saying they don't want characters suddenly getting a level boost through a template.


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Bigby FrostFire wrote:
But my DMs won't stop there. Lich and Vampire are also suddenly you can't play that character anymore. I find that just an awful choice for a DM to do. It is only under rare cases I find it is okay for a DM to request the character sheet from a player for the purposes of control, anything sort of a mind control spell or feral werebeast or even a retired character.

I'm generally a firm believer in player autonomy -- almost an evangelist for it. But I'm curious about why you accept that a PC becoming one sort of evil monster will result in uncontrollable urges that justify loss of player control, but becoming another sort of monster noted for uncontrollable urges will not.

There's a story arc currently going on over at the Order of the Stick webcomic where one of the main characters has, in fact, been turned into a vampire and is pretending to be the same person he ever was for nefarious purposes of "his" (meaning the vampire personality's) own. The vampire and the humanoid are clearly shown (in internal dialogue) to be two separate characters, and one of the ongoing challenges, only recently resolved, is whether the rest of the party would acknowledge that and be prepared to take appropriate measures.

The vampire template clearly creates major personality changes, most notably through the various vampire traits such as fear of garlic and bloodlust, but also by explicitly changing the alignment of the afflicted creature to evil. If the GM is enforcing a "no evil players" rule or if the GM does not believe that the player can/will play the new vampiric personality appropriately, then it's perfectly justified to turn the character into an NPC until such time as the character can be restored to normal.

It could also simply be a game balance issue; either the powered-up vamp is too powerful to be adventuring with the rest of the group, or would make the upcoming adventures not-fun. Goodness, this by itself is a reason to disallow any character, if it would keep everyone else at the table from having fun. As a simple example, the vampire sunlight weakness means no more outdoor adventures during the day; the vampiric immunity to mind control means that the planned Evil Enchanter is no longer a serious threat (and *poof* goes the next story arc), and the fact that you're obviously consorting with an undead horror kind of destroys the party's ability to undertake a sensitive diplomatic mission for the Holy Order of Divine Light.


Bigby FrostFire wrote:
Well nearly all of my DMs have this rule that if the player gains some sort of template that they suddenly shouldn't have control over the character. With some cases like Werewolves i find it understandable that during the full moon or forced change that a none natural Werewolf wouldn't have control over the character. But my DMs won't stop there. Lich and Vampire are also suddenly you can't play that character anymore. I find that just an awful choice for a DM to do. It is only under rare cases I find it is okay for a DM to request the character sheet from a player for the purposes of control, anything sort of a mind control spell or feral werebeast or even a retired character. I would say those are the ONLY three things I can think of. At least from the top of my head. Any thoughts of those who agree or don't agree?

I would say most DMs just don't allow templates on PCs because most players trying to gain a template are doing it for an advantage with no drawbacks. They're really just ways to adjust NPCs for customization and interest, and in the really rare case a PC gets a template they should have gone through something equivalent to death getting there. The only exception is if the PC started with the template.

I'm on the side of PCs losing autonomy when gaining a template - especially when it is a curse. If one of my players became a vampire they are literally dead and can only be brought back by removing the vampirism curse and then being brought back to life, if they are a werewolf they will be an NPC when the urges take over and might even require will saves when in their human form to prevent some basic instinctive type actions, and no player of mine will even become a lich. Necromancer, sure. Lich, no.


hiiamtom wrote:
Lich, no.

I'm on the fence about lichdom, but it raises its own set of issues.

No one becomes a lich accidentally, and the very act of becoming a lich typically requires acts of unspeakable evil, so it's not like the paladin will suddenly wake up and find himself transformed, Gregor-Samsa-like, into a lich and then insist that he shouldn't fall. Given the degree of player autonomy necessary to become a lich in the first place, lichdom isn't an event but a goal and the player should be able to enjoy achieving her goal if she achieves it at all.

... but by the same token, the GM is under no obligation to allow the player to become a lich (or even to allow the player's character to become a lich, for the pedants). At any point, the GM can intervene and say "nope, that step didn't work, so back to the drawing board."


The ritual to become a lich isn't just an evil character with a goal, it requires both a massive focus and time spent in and out of sessions by the GM and the player to figure out how it can happen and how it should fold into the game.

At best your lich becomes the featured character and his ambition is driving the campaign narrative, at worst it's a sloppy episodic side story that occasionally gets slapped into a session and eventually resolves anticlimactically.

I mean, think about it. Emerging in the world as a lich is the apex of that character arc. Anything after that is the falling action of a powerful evil becoming a national or global catastrophe. By allowing a lich you are essentially saying that character's end game has to be the same as your own as GM.

Unless my players specifically sign up to the lich being the main focus with other players relegated to Igor status I would never even give it a second thought. I mean, a plot like Fullmetal Alchemist where the lich player is setting up his final ritual to become a lich while the good enemies lowly discover his plot and try to stop him before it is too late would be a good game... but it would be a terrible side plot.


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hiiamtom wrote:


Unless my players specifically sign up to the lich being the main focus with other players relegated to Igor status I would never even give it a second thought.

But my point is that this isn't the kind of thing that happens without both the player and the game master planning for it, unlike becoming a vampire or werewolf, which can be the effect of one or two unlucky rolls. If I announce my intention to become a lich, you have as much time as you need to prep for it, or simply to say "no." I don't need to announce my intention to become a vampire, and in fact, I don't even need to intend to become one.


I was just going with the OPs examples, I see how I chose my words poorly.


Uh ... im imagining the GM doesnt request for control if you become a lich/vampire , it is more like time to retire the char and it is his NPC full time from now on.

Probably this is because he doesnt want a vampire/lich... player , but he accepts that one may really want to become a lich or that one was unlucky and became a vampire.

Personally in the vampire case i would avoid , since i dont like taking the player PC away for good for things they didnt control , in the lich case the player would know full well this would lead to the end of his PC and thus i wouldnt see a issue with it.


Without getting into the gaming philosophy of it too much, if one of my players ever ended becoming a Lich or Vampire, that character would be relegated to NPC (and possibly villain) status until such time as that status were somehow removed.

The only time I could see making an exception would be if everyone in the party were similarly afflicted, and the power level of the campaign were adjusted to match.

Dark Archive

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Regarding werewolves, if the GM is clever about it, they wouldn't actually need to take control of the character. I ran a campaign where someone got infected with lycanthropy. At which point I didn't tell him "You're now a werewolf". Instead the party spent a good portion of the campaign hunting down a werewolf that kept eluding them. They knew it was out there. But could never find it. It would vanish into wind whenever they were close on full moon.

By the time they eventually realized the werewolf they'd been chasing regularly was the elven fighter who typically had night watch because he didn't sleep more then two hours... Well they were shocked. I'd left clues, but they didn't pick up on them. Then when someone finally saw the change, all those hints I'd dropped over the campaign finally snapped into place for them.

My point is that a GM doesn't have to actually control the character in the case of a werewolf. Not unless the fact someone is a werewolf is revealed.


But... that's still directly controlling the character. GMs need to do much of what they do behind the screen, but it's still in their full control.

Scarab Sages

When I need to do something like this in my games, I often make up cards with instructions on them which I give to the players and let them interpret them.


If a character get's mind controlled (or something of the sort) I pass them a note saying what happened and how to play it, if they play it well and to the best of their abilities they'll get extra roleplaying experience for that, if they do something out of the situation (like if they drop their great sword and use fists if the order was to kill) then they don't.

But all of my players have done an excellent job in the cases it has happened (I don't want it to happen too often it's not always fun).

Dark Archive

There can be a huge difference between taking direct control of a character from the player during play, and adding in background detail for what they did without being aware of it. Especially if there's a good reason. An infected werewolf may not know they are a werewolf. And I'm under no obligation to tell them "you got infected and are a werewolf". At least, in home games I'm not. For PFS I'd need to tell them, because this needs to be cleared at the end of the session.

If done well, something like a player being an unknowing werewolf can add interesting plot hooks. And when it finally comes to light the player likely wont have hard feelings. Especially if they've been enjoying the story you're crafting around that fact.

On the other hand, directly taking control of the character can generate anger directed at the GM. If you take the person's character sheet and then start describing them going on a midnight rampage, the player is probably going to be upset. If you describe the aftermath of said rampage the next day, it can generate good rp possibilities.


Regarding Vampirism and Lichdom, if a GM is to take control of the Player Character, ideally, the GM should inform the Player first. Everybody at the table should agree on who controls the character when templates are added before such events happen at all.


One reason it is best to remove control of a character in some situations is that having one player attacking and killing other players creates a lot of unnecessary drama that at worst destroys the gaming group and is largely not fun. It us better to let the GM take control so there are no hurt feelings over who attacked who and why...


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I think it's okay personally (in that i don't mind if it happens to me), but I think that if your players don't like losing control you shouldn't make them face opponents who are likely to take it away.


Kahel Stormbender wrote:

There can be a huge difference between taking direct control of a character from the player during play, and adding in background detail for what they did without being aware of it. Especially if there's a good reason. An infected werewolf may not know they are a werewolf. And I'm under no obligation to tell them "you got infected and are a werewolf". At least, in home games I'm not. For PFS I'd need to tell them, because this needs to be cleared at the end of the session.

If done well, something like a player being an unknowing werewolf can add interesting plot hooks. And when it finally comes to light the player likely wont have hard feelings. Especially if they've been enjoying the story you're crafting around that fact.

On the other hand, directly taking control of the character can generate anger directed at the GM. If you take the person's character sheet and then start describing them going on a midnight rampage, the player is probably going to be upset. If you describe the aftermath of said rampage the next day, it can generate good rp possibilities.

If anyone gets upset by this distinction, then they are being entirely irrational. You are taking full control either way, it's just in one scenario it is "bad" GMing because you are giving the players a lot of meta-knowledge the players shouldn't know, and the other you are fostering a strong an consistent narrative.

Last time I had a werewolf the only thing they knew of was that their normally vegetarian character kept craving meat.


Wow, I was thinking there would be a lot more support on my side for this. I knew I would get counter points but they are all the points that I shrugged off before. The no evil rule is the only one that was brought up int his thread that would really count if I was asked about it. But we aren't playing by PFS rules so that is hardly the case. But the idea that a player who becomes a lich has to give up on his story for good is nothing short of game ending for me. Don't think to see me back at the table next week. While a Vampire even has suggested rules in the Blood of the night book for playing one. I think it is mainly a case of
GM fear the players
Which I have always found silly. If as a GM you are playing against the players you've messed up down the line VERY VERY badly.

So what is the other case for this? Party infighting? I don't know about the rest of you but that is where some of the best story bits happen. The paladin wanting to slay the lich, who then points out that his new power is JUST what they needed to stop the evil mega doom boss and that he would be wiser to slay him after that, or the monster hunter gunning for a werewolf or vampire who didn't have a choice and tries to get a cure from the hunter. Look Quest just popped up.

So to sum up. I see a lot of your points and just CAN'T get behind them. Again I support the act when it comes to Feral Werewolves and Mind control, Or even an anti evil wall. Which means this shouldn't be a problem to begin with. But other than that...Nah bad manner to steal a character.


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Most GMs don't allow vampires, lich, etc because it tips the balance of power too much between characters.

As a GM I can easily cope with the party being stronger. I can always send stronger monster against you. I can always keep you at a level (I stopped using XP a long time ago). But if some players are undead and some aren't then there is an imbalance in the power level of those characters, and that can be very unfair and unfun to people.

And as cool as it sounds for the party paladin and the party lich to be trying to kill one another, in my experience most people don't want that. 1 person really enjoys it and the other person is usually really pissed off.


Bigby FrostFire wrote:
Wow, I was thinking there would be a lot more support on my side for this. I knew I would get counter points but they are all the points that I shrugged off before. The no evil rule is the only one that was brought up int his thread that would really count if I was asked about it. But we aren't playing by PFS rules so that is hardly the case.

It's a pretty common house rule that Evil is banned unless explicit GM consent is given. One that I can totally understand, too. Evil and Chaotic Evil Neutral behavior has brought nothing but misery as far as I have seen. Not that it's impossible to play an Evil character, but that sort of behavior can exacerbate problems with iffy players to the point where inter-character bickering dominates the table. Seen it happen, hated it, would not allow an Evil character unless I was very confident about the ability of the player making the request, and I would make it clear that a PC sitting in the deep end of the alignment pool ceases to be a PC if I think they are harming the campaign or the table with their presense.

Of course, it would only be courteous to warn the players up front about this, and not string someone along with promises of lichhood just to rip their character away from them. That would be called being a dick.

Quote:

But the idea that a player who becomes a lich has to give up on his story for good is nothing short of game ending for me. Don't think to see me back at the table next week. While a Vampire even has suggested rules in the Blood of the night book for playing one. I think it is mainly a case of

GM fear the players
Which I have always found silly. If as a GM you are playing against the players you've messed up down the line VERY VERY badly.

If the GM doesn't want to have to deal with a player being a lich, he should be warning the player up front that the player can't be a lich, or that becoming a lich would mean the character is no longer a PC. If it's the bait and switch you would be upset about then I totally understand, but not wanting to have to deal with the baggage that comes along with a lich PC is reasonable.

Vampires are a problem for a whole different bunch of reasons. Becoming one means that the PC has essentially been killed and is now enslaved to their sire. It's a little less bad on the evilness side, but vampires as a template are a mix of horribly OP abilities and really crippling weaknesses. If the GM wants to treat it as if the PC is dead and is now an undead NPC then I can see some validity in that. Unlike being a lich, however, fixing the whole vampire thing is just a wooden pointy stick and a Resurrection away, so if the player really wants their PC then it should be easily resolvable. Still, saying "no vampire PCs" outright isn't unreasonable, even if it costs a player their character.

Quote:


So what is the other case for this? Party infighting? I don't know about the rest of you but that is where some of the best story bits happen. The paladin wanting to slay the lich, who then points out that his new power is JUST what they needed to stop the evil mega doom boss and that he would be wiser to slay him after that, or the monster hunter gunning for a werewolf or vampire who didn't have a choice and tries to get a cure from the hunter. Look Quest just popped up.

You obviously have never been at a table with players who don't feel compelled to follow social contracts and are totally OK with draining innocent people to death in full view of Lawful Good party members just because they want some minions as meat shields. Trust me, when you have then you will be a lot more enthusiastic for keeping everyone on the straight and Good aligned. At least then players tend to be on the same page more often and don't derail the session with bickering for over an hour every game because one PC is a sociopathic monster and the other is a narcissistic dick who wants to feel the enjoyment of threatening someone he doesn't like with death more than he actually wants to solve the problem that the other PC represents(which doesn't reflect particularly well on the players, but I digress).

Quote:


So to sum up. I see a lot of your points and just CAN'T get behind them. Again I support the act when it comes to Feral Werewolves and Mind control, Or even an anti evil wall. Which means this shouldn't be a problem to begin with. But other than that...Nah bad manner to steal a character.

If the player has been warned up front that certain things aren't acceptable and the PC ends up going past those boundaries then taking the character away isn't unreasonable. It's unfortunate that it has to happen, but sometimes you have to decide between doing what's best for the story or doing what actually ends up being enjoyable for the table as a whole.


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It isnt really about fighting against your PCs as much as making sure no go ahead and get crazy things alone.

Sure one wants to become a lich? Then that means as a GM i also need to worry about giving a crazy template to every other player , then i need to consider said extra powers all the time...

Which starts being more work , ends up being a LOT of extra work.

Humans usually start to get annoyed if someone gets to nice things and they dont , if the GM give a template to you , then the GM needs to bother to give templates to everyone and not every GM is willing to go over all the extra work.

Liking that or not is perfectly fine , but i can warn you now that what you want are houserules to start with , players usually cant be vampires/liches... , which means it will be harder to find tables that apply templates to PCs freely. Like you noticed yourself


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I'd let a player who wants to become a lich/vampire/whatever know that I wouldn't allow a PC to be a lich/vampire/whatever unless they immediately became an npc in the same vein as if they retired their character due to them achieving their adventuring goals.


If the player with the changed character can continue to play in character and does not disrupt the group or the campaign then I believe it is fine to let the player continue to play the character.

Unfortunately, satisfying all of those three conditions is rather difficult.


I guess the balance and setting a snowball effect through out the party is a fair point. Like saying well he got to be a lich, i want to be a half dragon. Which power is just...Off the chart. While I my self have had a half dragon character for a session which I dropped because of the power level issue I am starting to see some more the more reasonable points. If only those were the points my game masters took. But still just the act alone of taking a character sheet levels this awful bitter and sour taste in my mouth. Even if the reason is perfectly there, and I can't get over it. Just makes me feel nasty when I see it and unless it is a retiring player I watched it rip parties apart and end games. So maybe I've just had bad tables and it's left me biased.


How does the lich thing even come up? It's not like a character can just suddenly, accidentally become a lich. It's got to be something they work towards and eventually achieve. It also pretty much requires GM fiat and thus agreement to happen. That should give plenty of time and opportunity to hash out what will happen when the PC achieves their goal. Shouldn't be a surprise. If the GM doesn't want a PC lich, they should let the player know. Also, as far as evil goes, if you're planning on becoming a lich, you're pretty much already there.

As for other monster type templates, I'd handle it on a case by case basis. In a lot of cases, it could be a cool roleplaying plot line, as long as the player can handle it. The extent to which the player sees it as "cool new monster powers" is probably a good clue to how well they'll play it.

Scarab Sages

I think a lot of people are under a mid impression about he op's question. it seems to me he's telling us that he's been told that if he gains a template he's going to loose his character control. and that is totally acceptable because he's been told.


Bigby FrostFire this is really subjective. In some cases it is more likely to happen and more warranted that others.

Do you have a specific example?

Dark Archive

In regards to vampirism, as I GM I will turn the character into an npc. But it's not to be a dick. Nor am I concerned about a snowball effect on power creep. When you become a vampire, you die and a monster rises that happens to wear your face. Vampires are Evil, but may not always be evil. That said, I find having one player be a vampire is disruptive because that limits the player to only adventuring during the night.

If the entire campaign is about a group of vampires seeking redemption, great. I'll allow it. But one player becomes a vampire? That character is dead, I have an npc to decide what to do with. But again, this is because having one character who's a vampire is too disruptive to the party due to logistics reasons.

Lichdom though, no ifs ands or buts. You become a lich, your character's adventuring days are through. And I'll warn you about this when you first start down that path. Doesn't matter what your alignment is, or your reasons for becoming a lich. The multitude of steps required to become a lich will make you evil. To become one there are going to be sacrifices, many of which will be virgins and/or babies.

And let's face it, the campaign is generally heroes stopping villains. The path towards becoming a lich is a path towards becoming a villein. You might have started down that road so you could be an eternal guardian of the kingdom. But how much of those morals are left by the time you accomplish your goal?


While I am waiting for the OP to reply I will say how I will handle certain cases.

Werewolf-Until you get to the point where you can control it, you will be doing some bad things without your knowledge. This is something that you can get taken care of with magic. If the party chooses to not adventure with you, and you don't want it to be removed then that character might just become and NPC.

Vampire-I wouldn't make a PC into a vampire. The vampire would just kill you.

Lich-If I ever let someone be a lich it would be a difficult process. You would have to do many bad things, and you would have to find a way to make them happen. There would be a lot of spellcraft, knowledge(religion), and knowledge(arcana) checks to go along with dangerous activities. You may die in the process, and you may never complete the process, but if you somehow pulled it off I would allow you to keep control of your PC. However since I would warn you that you may die along the way to include the final step of sending your soul into the phylactery then I would not want any complaints about everything else you did being for nothing. I am only giving you the opportunity, not promising to make it happen.


Bigby FrostFire wrote:
Party infighting? I don't know about the rest of you but that is where some of the best story bits happen.

Party infighting as PC's is one thing, but when the actual players have issues, then that is not fun. Some things cause player problems.


The gm is involved in the game too and as his is frankly the largest burden of work to make the game run the game needs to be fun for him too. Lich and vampire and werewolf PC's are rarely fun for the gm outside of a campaign where he planned for them to be those things.


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First of all Wraithstrike, I'm Excited to see you in my thread. But no I don't have a detailed example I can give you. I was merely fishing for people to take my side, But I can admit when I'm mostly on the wrong. Even if I don't agree with it I can understand why it is more common or likely player control gets taken away then allowed to keep it. Thanks all the same for a very insightful discussion on the matter!

Dark Archive

Bigby FrostFire wrote:
First of all Wraithstrike, I'm Excited to see you in my thread. But no I don't have a detailed example I can give you. I was merely fishing for people to take my side, But I can admit when I'm mostly on the wrong. Even if I don't agree with it I can understand why it is more common or likely player control gets taken away then allowed to keep it. Thanks all the same for a very insightful discussion on the matter!

The reasons for doing so can be just as important as the fact that control got taken away. Is it for story reasons, such as with someone who unknowingly becomes a werewolf. Balance issues or logistics issues such as someone who becomes a vampire? Is it because going after a template detracts from the campaign? A hero becoming a lich an easily do this. Did you establish at the start of the campaign that player characters couldn't be Evil? If so, then taking on a template which makes you evil means your character isn't playable. Similarly willfully taking actions which make you evil would mean the character is no longer a player character.

Mind you, as a GM if I include a helm of alignment reversal in the loot for an encounter then I am fully accepting this might change the character into a villain. And it's possible to be evil, yet still do the right thing (for the wrong reasons). If your character puts on the helm and goes from Chaotic Good to Lawful Evil I wont take your character away... unless you actually do start playing the character as a stereotypical villain.

Then again, if the campaign is specifically about the players as villains, I'd take away someone's character if they start playing their character as a stereotypical Hero too since they are now running counter to the campaign.


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Bigby FrostFire wrote:
First of all Wraithstrike, I'm Excited to see you in my thread. But no I don't have a detailed example I can give you. I was merely fishing for people to take my side, But I can admit when I'm mostly on the wrong. Even if I don't agree with it I can understand why it is more common or likely player control gets taken away then allowed to keep it. Thanks all the same for a very insightful discussion on the matter!

I'm not really sure I'd consider this a real player control issue. They're more campaign-significant changes that a GM would have to be on-board with or they're not happening at all much less happening and leading to the GM taking the PC over as an NPC.

Dark Archive

I try not to take over player characters whenever possible. And when I do have someone retire their character, I try to explain why to them. If I ask for the character sheet, there's no real guarantee the character will be used as a villain for that campaign, rather then another campaign set in the same world at a later date. If a player is dead set on having his wizard become a lich to the point where I end up having to make the new lich an npc, I may bring that lich out in a campaign set a century or two later.


So I think everyone's covered the three main points.

1. Many GMs have an explicit rule against Evil PCs. Two of those templates are Evil, the other is probably Evil (but it does vary). Werebears are LG for instance. The reasons why are largely irrelevant. The great irony for me is that in every case I've seen the people who might be granted an exception are the people not asking to do it. This may not be an alignment-based restriction and instead be based on a nebulous "don't act evil" restriction, so vampire is not forbidden but draining people's blood is.

2. Most of those templates include some kind of forced behavior change (in a large part related to alignment). The exception is the Lich, which basically requires you to do horrible unspeakable acts to become one (thus probably already being the alignment they would become). Taking away player control here is a tossup because there's merit to both sides. You can (if you trust the player) tell them what to do, but you'd have to give them a lot of metagame knowledge to do it. That might spoil their enjoyment. Or it might not. But it's specific to the player and the situation.

3. Player balance goes out the window when "free" templates become involved. Pretty much every template that adds to CR is a powerup in some way. Usually pretty big, as "monsters" are only meant to last a battle, maybe a few more if they're special. Players are generally in every battle. Some GMs don't like dealing with that.


I'm of the opinion that loss of player control is never okay, but neither are templates.

If a mechanic removes player control for more than a round or two (ie. suggestion is tolerable but dominate person is not) it's a stupid idea on par with the design of Monopoly that should never have been allowed to see print in the first place.

And templates are monster construction tools never intended to be used by players. Unless an infectious template requires at least two saves of different types to fail (as is the standard for SoDs in Pathfinder) the PCs should be considered immune to it and unable to acquire it.

The GM controls literally everything in the world except the PCs. Player control over their PCs should be sacrosanct.


Atarlost wrote:

I'm of the opinion that loss of player control is never okay, but neither are templates.

If a mechanic removes player control for more than a round or two (ie. suggestion is tolerable but dominate person is not) it's a stupid idea on par with the design of Monopoly that should never have been allowed to see print in the first place.

And templates are monster construction tools never intended to be used by players. Unless an infectious template requires at least two saves of different types to fail (as is the standard for SoDs in Pathfinder) the PCs should be considered immune to it and unable to acquire it.

The GM controls literally everything in the world except the PCs. Player control over their PCs should be sacrosanct.

I understand where you are coming and for the style of game I assume you play taking control of a player's character may not be appropriate. However, in some styles of gaming it is appropriate.

Dark Archive

And sometimes in a home campaign it's inevitable. You didn't want the party to get infected by werewolves. You honestly thought that wouldn't happen. Everyone likely to get bitten/scratched had freaking good fort saves after all. But the unthinkable happened. The fighter failed all the fort saves you asked him to make by 1 or more. He got infected, of course you didn't tell him what the fort saves were for did you? That would have provided meta knowledge that not all players can handle having.

So now you have a werewolf in the party. How do you deal with it? I do so by working that into the overall story arc of the campaign. I leave clues as to what happened without actually stating it. And have the players see the results of the rampages which the fighter doesn't remember.

Or you can announce what happened and take active control over the character when he's changed, causing one player to just sit there unable to do anything while you attack the party with his character. IMO that's a dick move.

Or you can give the player full knowledge of what happened, and expect him to roleplay it properly. But let's be honest, if the player KNOWS he got infected with lycanthropy from the get go, he's going to get that cured before the first new moon. But why does he even know he's now a werewolf? There was no obvious sign of it after all.


Atarlost wrote:

I'm of the opinion that loss of player control is never okay, but neither are templates.

If a mechanic removes player control for more than a round or two (ie. suggestion is tolerable but dominate person is not) it's a stupid idea on par with the design of Monopoly that should never have been allowed to see print in the first place.

And templates are monster construction tools never intended to be used by players. Unless an infectious template requires at least two saves of different types to fail (as is the standard for SoDs in Pathfinder) the PCs should be considered immune to it and unable to acquire it.

The GM controls literally everything in the world except the PCs. Player control over their PCs should be sacrosanct.

Nah , not really.

There are tables and tables , honestly the biggest strength of pathfinder lies exactly on the ridiculous amount of options and things written for it.

If you dont want or dont like part of the whole system , just dont use it. It is far easier to cut things out than it is to create them.

Saying something shouldnt have been written in the first place is silly.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ideally you should try to avoid taking away control for long periods of time. In the event that it can't be avoided, our GM will usually either allow one of us to play an accompanying NPC or try to get the player back to the action as soon as possible. My main problem with control being taken away from players is that it often leaves players doing nothing.

Feral Werewolves are a fair reason to take control from a player though I personally prefer if it is done off screen for the sake of brevity and mystery when they turn.

The vampire template is frankly one of the most ridiculously powerful CR 2 templates there is so I can understand why a GM would not want to deal with it. If a PC got turned into a vampire, I would hope that they could be resurrected somewhere down the line to become a PC again though I understand this is not always possible.

Becoming a Lich obviously won't work in most campaigns that disallow Evil characters. The template can also be heavily abused too so it requires a lot of communication between the player and GM. If the GM doesn't want to deal with the template, having it as an end goal for a PC seems reasonable.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bigby FrostFire wrote:
So what is the other case for this? Party infighting? I don't know about the rest of you but that is where some of the best story bits happen.

I don't like those sort of stories, so perhaps you can understand why my experiences (yes, plural) with this sort of thing were different. I find many parties have trouble cooperating and really working as a team. The in-fighting will often derail the main plot.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
The exception is the Lich, which basically requires you to do horrible unspeakable acts to become one (thus probably already being the alignment they would become). Taking away player control here is a tossup because there's merit to both sides. You can (if you trust the player) tell them what to do, but you'd have to give them a lot of metagame knowledge to do it. That might spoil their enjoyment. Or it might not. But it's specific to the player and the situation.

The reason I say a lich being a lich means the character is over, is because a lich is a retired character. They achieved their goal and now they are the top of the necromancer heap... there's no good story left unless you really love just wandering around a lair making minions and sending other party members to fetch bodies for reanimation.

If you do face an enemy it's either doing something lame like playing the bad guys in a sports movie, or going against the literal good deities where the GM has to give you outsiders in ramping difficulty level making the story that of a video game. The few interesting stories I have seen with the supreme evil as the main character don't really fit into a tabletop adventure well.


I don't know the guy personally of course. He may be one of the nicest guys around. But as a GM he's being a complete jerk by taking away your control of your own character. Just my 2 cents.

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