making the pc's trust no one

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I need help.

I want to create a city in which the only npc the group can trust is a gnome(the party wizard who is one the biggest role players of the groups has his character never trusting gnomes, ever. bad experience made the wizard disstrusting of gnomes).

How to do this?

A background:
The pc's have gotten a substantial price on their heads over the course of the campaign( they'll be around lvl 11/12 when doing the quest). This due to them being mentioned in a prophecy followed by a cult that they will end the "crimson dawn"(the ressurection and rule fo their dead god, own creation). And in order to have them killed they hired hitmen/assasins and mercenaries and have put a price on the heads of the pc's.

The city is one known for it's crime(why they will go there you ask? letter from a person from wizards background(wizard is one of the 2 players who wrote a background) ). The criminal underworld has a large hand in the matters of the city. The city is on a balance of sorts between full on crimestate and lawfull dictatorship. the balance is kept by a cyndicate/court of the leaders of the criminal guilds/gangs called the shadowcourt. The shadowcourt is led by the enigmatic twilight blade.
The town is mostly filled with assasins, mercenaries, thieves, bountyhunters, hitmen, smugglers and other nasty types. But there are plenty honest folk who do honest work like farming, trading, tailoring, smithing etc., just like a normal city but with a large criminal underworld that thirves above ground as well and is nearly completly intergrated in the normal daily routing for insiders/residents.
So walking in there with a price in the underworld is very, very bad.

Now i need to make sure that the only person to trust is the gnome Izzet Darkmagic(so sue me for being unoriginal XD). Trusting anybody else is asking for a dagger in the back both literal and figurativly. Nearly 90% of the city would betray them to the cult(who is based from this city) for the cash.

Any ideas? 
Feel free to ask for more clarification or info if I haven't been clear/specific enough. 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
You really don't have any control or consistent influence over players to be able to make sure this happens. Therefore, you're going to need to get their buy-in.  You may as well just ask.

The simplest way would be to simply establish something in the fiction and let the players explain it with shared storytelling. Ask a framing question along the lines of, "Ragnar, tell me about Izzet Darkmagic. Why is this gnome the only one you can trust in this sordid burg?" "Mialee, what does Izzet want in exchange for his help?" "Brick, when did you first meet Izzet? What was special about that encounter?" Ask follow-up questions based on what the player tells you. Then use it. 

You'll have their buy-in plus a ton of material to work with. 

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

You really don't have any control or consistent influence over players to be able to make sure this happens. Therefore, you're going to need to get their buy-in.  You may as well just ask.

The simplest way would be to simply establish something in the fiction and let the players explain it with shared storytelling. Ask a framing question along the lines of, "Ragnar, tell me about Izzet Darkmagic. Why is this gnome the only one you can trust in this sordid burg?" "Mialee, what does Izzet want in exchange for his help?" "Brick, when did you first meet Izzet? What was special about that encounter?" Ask follow-up questions based on what the player tells you. Then use it. 

You'll have their buy-in plus a ton of material to work with. 



Sorry not familliar with DM-terms like buy-in.
What does buy-in mean?

My innitial plan was like this:
They meet up with the person who sent the letter. After being separated from that person they're on thei own in the city.
In the city they find out they can trust no one.
Only after a while does Izzet aprouch them in a tavern and explains to them the situation of the city and asks them to trust him.
If they refuse to believe him and not follow his advices they'll end up with more bacstabbing and strust being betrayed by other npc's.
They do not know him untill they meet him(izzet).
The ranger however knows some stuff about the city from working as a bounty hunter. 

As in they why: Izzet knows more then he lets on and is connected to the person they met up in the city. Izzet is aware of gears grinding in the world pieces being moved into place. He knows of the cult and the prophecy(Izzet is in fact not only the twilight blade but also the roler of the city, by having somebody else act as twilight blade behind a curtain during meetings he is capable of keeping his identity safe.

I need to make the players feel or at least try to make the players feel that they can't trust anybody.

EDIT:
It's more of a case of encounter, story and roleplaying wise that i let the players feel/think they can trust no one.
Just telling them isn't enough and will ruin the vibe/atmosphere/suspense/roleplaying/i have no clue what to call the thing i'm trying to describe with these words but just telling them feels wrong, bland, boring and bad DM-ing

Note: This is my first time DM-ing. so, uhm yeah........ 
The party is currently lvl 4 but i''m planning the more difficult stuff ahead of time/ making sure i'm well prepared.
This campaign will go  (if players are willing) to the max lvl.
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
Sorry not familliar with DM-terms like buy-in.
What does buy-in mean?



When you ask someone to buy in, you're asking for their agreement and support. That agreement and support is called buy-in. What I'm saying in this case, is that if you really need something to happen in your game, then you should just ask the players to agree and support your idea and ask for their input.

My innitial plan was like this:
They meet up with the person who sent the letter. After being separated from that person they're on thei own in the city.
In the city they find out they can trust no one.
Only after a while does Izzet aprouch them in a tavern and explains to them the situation of the city and asks them to trust him.
If they refuse to believe him and not follow his advices they'll end up with more bacstabbing and strust being betrayed by other npc's.
They do not know him untill they meet him(izzet).
The ranger however knows some stuff about the city from working as a bounty hunter. 

As in they why: Izzet knows more then he lets on and is connected to the person they met up in the city. Izzet is aware of gears grinding in the world pieces being moved into place. He knows of the cult and the prophecy(Izzet is in fact not only the twilight blade but also the roler of the city, by having somebody else act as twilight blade behind a curtain during meetings he is capable of keeping his identity safe.



Whichever way you decide to try and make it happen, it's not a guarantee it will work unless you ask for their buy-in. The story elements you describe are an indirect way of doing this. It can work, but you can't be sure of that outcome. If you need to be sure, then you should probably just say that it is so and ask the players for their help in explaining why. Then proceed from there with the adventure.

I need to make the players feel or at least try to make the players feel that they can't trust anybody. 



Same thing here. Ask your players to help you explain why this is. "Ragnar, why is it nobody can be trusted in this foul city?" And so on.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

You might ask yourself whether you need them to absolutely not trust anyone, or if just a general feeling that they could easily be stabbed in the back is enough. Emotional vibes are difficult to manage, because out of character atmosphere often fails to match the in-game setting.
Sorry not familliar with DM-terms like buy-in.
What does buy-in mean?



When you ask someone to buy in, you're asking for their agreement and support. That agreement and support is called buy-in. What I'm saying in this case, is that if you really need something to happen in your game, then you should just ask the players to agree and support your idea and ask for their input.

My innitial plan was like this:
They meet up with the person who sent the letter. After being separated from that person they're on thei own in the city.
In the city they find out they can trust no one.
Only after a while does Izzet aprouch them in a tavern and explains to them the situation of the city and asks them to trust him.
If they refuse to believe him and not follow his advices they'll end up with more bacstabbing and strust being betrayed by other npc's.
They do not know him untill they meet him(izzet).
The ranger however knows some stuff about the city from working as a bounty hunter. 

As in they why: Izzet knows more then he lets on and is connected to the person they met up in the city. Izzet is aware of gears grinding in the world pieces being moved into place. He knows of the cult and the prophecy(Izzet is in fact not only the twilight blade but also the roler of the city, by having somebody else act as twilight blade behind a curtain during meetings he is capable of keeping his identity safe.



Whichever way you decide to try and make it happen, it's not a guarantee it will work unless you ask for their buy-in. The story elements you describe are an indirect way of doing this. It can work, but you can't be sure of that outcome. If you need to be sure, then you should probably just say that it is so and ask the players for their help in explaining why. Then proceed from there with the adventure.

I need to make the players feel or at least try to make the players feel that they can't trust anybody. 



Same thing here. Ask your players to help you explain why this is. "Ragnar, why is it nobody can be trusted in this foul city?" And so on.



sorry for the long quote. Wanted to do separate quotes like you did with me but have no clue of how to do that without losing the original posters name in the quote.

But asking them feels wrong. it ruins the vibe you've got/suspension of disbelief. it feels like you sucks as a DM if you need your players to do something instead of creating a world in which it happens. it feels like you've failed as a DM(like ha ha he needs our help/agreement to something).
once again: FOR SOME BLOODY REASON ASKING THEM FEELS WRONG!

And i know my players. by indirect ways i can secure that outcome. it has happend before multiple times. one time they thought they where original and surprising whilst actually doing what i planned/hoped they would do. The only thing is: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CREATE THE VIBE AND NPCS AND STORY AND ROLEPLAYING THAT MAKES THEM THINK: WE CAN'T TRUST PEOPLE HERE!

And once again about the asking: hypotheticly i ask: "Ragnar, why is it nobody can be trusted in this foul city?"(even though they are completely NEW to the city) what if they awnser something that doesn't work with the way the city is made?

@Jtheta: A general feeling is enough. Knowing them they'll trust no one. our out-of game emotions match their in game emotion 90% of the time. if their characters feel something it's becase the players feel it. 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
If you aren't willing to ask them for their cooperation, then the only way to really drive the point home will be to have every single person they encounter screw them every step of the way.  This will probably have the likely side effect of making them not trust the guy you want them to trust, and everything will go to pot.

Doesn't matter if it feels wrong, it's the best approach.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
If you aren't willing to ask them for their cooperation, then the only way to really drive the point home will be to have every single person they encounter screw them every step of the way.  This will probably have the likely side effect of making them not trust the guy you want them to trust, and everything will go to pot.

Doesn't matter if it feels wrong, it's the best approach.



it's not that i don't want their cooperation. for some reason asking them(and especially in the way iserith described/wrote) feels wrong to me.
It also seem wrong to let the players do the work of the DM.

But the screwing with them is where i have trouble. So far i've only come up with a few ways and need lots and lots more.

On the not trusting the guy: i'm already prepared for that and have made plans in case that happens. 

Another thing is this: most of my players have very good memories(except for one who has a memorie like a siv) and one has one that is photographic so asking them anything is out of the question since experience thaught me they'll use it in -game
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
One approach that might help is to show NPC's in that city not trusting each other. If the players see they're in an environment where there's very little trust being shared, they can draw some conclusions from that.
But asking them feels wrong. it ruins the vibe you've got/suspension of disbelief. it feels like you sucks as a DM if you need your players to do something instead of creating a world in which it happens. it feels like you've failed as a DM(like ha ha he needs our help/agreement to something).
once again: FOR SOME BLOODY REASON ASKING THEM FEELS WRONG!



You can't control "the vibe" or the "suspension of disbelief" of other people. You can try, but there's no guarantee you'll have any impact. You don't "suck" as a DM by asking your players to take part in creating the world and the circumstances in which their characters find themselves. That's their imaginary play space, too. You all share it. If you have a cool idea and you want them to help you make it cooler by buying in, then all you need to do is ask.

And i know my players. by indirect ways i can secure that outcome. it has happend before multiple times. one time they thought they where original and surprising whilst actually doing what i planned/hoped they would do. The only thing is: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CREATE THE VIBE AND NPCS AND STORY AND ROLEPLAYING THAT MAKES THEM THINK: WE CAN'T TRUST PEOPLE HERE!



Right, because you can't. Or rather, there's no sure way. While you may have had success in the past getting them think a certain way, there's never any surety that will be the case in every scene of every session. You're also creating more work for yourself when you could just ask them and have a fun discussion about it. Once you've gotten some great ideas and everyone agrees with the concept of not being able to trust anyone except this one gnome, then off you go on the adventure with everything you wanted, plus a pile of new ideas the players generated that you can use later.

And once again about the asking: hypotheticly i ask: "Ragnar, why is it nobody can be trusted in this foul city?"(even though they are completely NEW to the city) what if they awnser something that doesn't work with the way the city is made?



Add to or change what you have to accomodate their ideas.

it's not that i don't want their cooperation. for some reason asking them(and especially in the way iserith described/wrote) feels wrong to me.
It also seem wrong to let the players do the work of the DM.

But the screwing with them is where i have trouble. So far i've only come up with a few ways and need lots and lots more.

On the not trusting the guy: i'm already prepared for that and have made plans in case that happens.



But do you see how much extra work your creating for yourself? Work that you can't ever really be sure will attain the goal you've set which is to make other human beings at the table feel a certain way and do certain things? You could save yourself the work and get everything you want just by asking instead of tricking and screwing with them.

Another thing is this: most of my players have very good memories(except for one who has a memorie like a siv) and one has one that is photographic so asking them anything is out of the question since experience thaught me they'll use it in -game



Why wouldn't you want them to use something you or they created in-game to help tell the story?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

But asking them feels wrong. it ruins the vibe you've got/suspension of disbelief. it feels like you sucks as a DM if you need your players to do something instead of creating a world in which it happens. it feels like you've failed as a DM(like ha ha he needs our help/agreement to something).
once again: FOR SOME BLOODY REASON ASKING THEM FEELS WRONG!



You can't control "the vibe" or the "suspension of disbelief" of other people. You can try, but there's no guarantee you'll have any impact. You don't "suck" as a DM by asking your players to take part in creating the world and the circumstances in which their characters find themselves. That's their imaginary play space, too. You all share it. If you have a cool idea and you want them to help you make it cooler by buying in, then all you need to do is ask.

And i know my players. by indirect ways i can secure that outcome. it has happend before multiple times. one time they thought they where original and surprising whilst actually doing what i planned/hoped they would do. The only thing is: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CREATE THE VIBE AND NPCS AND STORY AND ROLEPLAYING THAT MAKES THEM THINK: WE CAN'T TRUST PEOPLE HERE!



Right, because you can't. Or rather, there's no sure way. While you may have had success in the past getting them think a certain way, there's never any surety that will be the case in every scene of every session. You're also creating more work for yourself when you could just ask them and have a fun discussion about it. Once you've gotten some great ideas and everyone agrees with the concept of not being able to trust anyone except this one gnome, then off you go on the adventure with everything you wanted, plus a pile of new ideas the players generated that you can use later.

And once again about the asking: hypotheticly i ask: "Ragnar, why is it nobody can be trusted in this foul city?"(even though they are completely NEW to the city) what if they awnser something that doesn't work with the way the city is made?



Add to or change what you have to accomodate their ideas.

it's not that i don't want their cooperation. for some reason asking them(and especially in the way iserith described/wrote) feels wrong to me.
It also seem wrong to let the players do the work of the DM.

But the screwing with them is where i have trouble. So far i've only come up with a few ways and need lots and lots more.

On the not trusting the guy: i'm already prepared for that and have made plans in case that happens.



But do you see how much extra work your creating for yourself? Work that you can't ever really be sure will attain the goal you've set which is to make other human beings at the table feel a certain way and do certain things? You could save yourself the work and get everything you want just by asking instead of tricking and screwing with them.

Another thing is this: most of my players have very good memories(except for one who has a memorie like a siv) and one has one that is photographic so asking them anything is out of the question since experience thaught me they'll use it in -game



Why wouldn't you want them to use something you or they created in-game to help tell the story?



Let me refrase it: use it to their advantage/negativly in game. in a bad way. 
And asking them feels like ruining the game/surprise. It's spoiling the story.

The extra work: it's only having 2 npcs say 1 or 2 more lines. so it's not much work. 

And having a discussion: any lack of trust afterwards would be fake like no tomorrow. It would be like: "oh the DM asked us not to trust people. Well then let's fake a lack of trust" 

In my eyes it's a DMs job to create the world and story. In my so far short time as DM that image has been reinforced by what i've seen on youtube, heard in the penny arcade podcasts and read on the wizards forums. If you need your players to do your job for you and fail to draw them in and need them to fake stuff, you've failed as a DM in my eyes.

Yes I demand nothing but the best from myself and I'm a huge perfectionist. It's just a case of faulty wiring in my head.
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
Let me refrase it: use it to their advantage/negativly in game. in a bad way.



What does it mean to use something to their advantage or negatively in the game? Does that mean they do something you didn't expect or that they go against your story?

And asking them feels like ruining the game/surprise. It's spoiling the story.



Not at all. You're just creating the story together as opposed to the DM creating the whole thing, covering it over with sand, and "allowing" the PCs to uncover it. That's a pretty strange transaction when you think about it. It's also fraught with pitfalls.

As well, the fun part is that by including your players, the story can even be a surprise to you! How often do you get to be a player in your own game?

And having a discussion: any lack of trust afterwards would be fake like no tomorrow. It would be like: "oh the DM asked us not to trust people. Well then let's fake a lack of trust"



I disagree. You're asking for their buy-in with either approach. I'm just giving you the direct and most sure way to get it. Your way is indirect and not certain to work. If you're okay with that, then there is no problem.

In my eyes it's a DMs job to create the world and story. In my so far short time as DM that image has been reinforced by what i've seen on youtube, heard in the penny arcade podcasts and read on the wizards forums. If you need your players to do your job for you and fail to draw them in and need them to fake stuff, you've failed as a DM in my eyes.



That's a way to play the game. I don't think it's the best way. See my signature for my overall approach. It's not a need for the players to do what you may define as the "DM's job". It's a desire to include them as partners and equals in the storytelling to make a better game.

Yes I demand nothing but the best from myself and I'm a huge perfectionist. It's just a case of faulty wiring in my head.



No, just faulty perceptions of the relationship between the players and the DM.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Let me refrase it: use it to their advantage/negativly in game. in a bad way.



Could you give me an example as to how they'd use something to impact the game in a negative way?

And asking them feels like ruining the game/surprise. It's spoiling the story.



Not at all. You're just creating the story together as opposed to the DM creating the whole thing, covering it over with sand, and "allowing" the PCs to uncover it. That's a pretty strange transaction when you think about it. It's also fraught with pitfalls.

As well, the fun part is that by including your players, the story can even be a surprise to you! How often do you get to be a player in your own game?

And having a discussion: any lack of trust afterwards would be fake like no tomorrow. It would be like: "oh the DM asked us not to trust people. Well then let's fake a lack of trust"



I disagree. You're asking for their buy-in with either approach. I'm just giving you the direct and most sure way to get it. Your way is indirect and not certain to work. If you're okay with that, then there is no problem.

In my eyes it's a DMs job to create the world and story. In my so far short time as DM that image has been reinforced by what i've seen on youtube, heard in the penny arcade podcasts and read on the wizards forums. If you need your players to do your job for you and fail to draw them in and need them to fake stuff, you've failed as a DM in my eyes.



That's a way to play the game. I don't think it's the best way. See my signature for my overall approach. It's not a need for the players to do what you may define as the "DM's job". It's a desire to include them as partners and equals in the storytelling to make a better game.

Yes I demand nothing but the best from myself and I'm a huge perfectionist. It's just a case of faulty wiring in my head.



No, just faulty perceptions of the relationship between the players and the DM.



If i'm seeing things wrong: sue me. i've been DM-ing since january this year.

As for the example. In February i showed my player a fun puzzle. In agust i used said puzzle. Turns out player rememberd awnser to puzzle and they completely went through the puzzle with no efford. course partially my faul cause i showed him the puzzle.

just read your sig. don't quite get it.
doesn't this mae the MD obsolete? Letting players do everything makes the DM useless     
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
As for the example. In February i showed my player a fun puzzle. In agust i used said puzzle. Turns out player rememberd awnser to puzzle and they completely went through the puzzle with no efford. course partially my faul cause i showed him the puzzle.



Could you provide another example?

just read your sig. don't quite get it.
doesn't this mae the MD obsolete? Letting players do everything makes the DM useless



No, it does not make the DM obsolete. (Though would that be such a bad thing?) In the approach I espouse, the DM has a very specific role which is outlined in my sig. The players aren't doing everything. They're just taking part of the burden off the DM and, in doing so, not only are they helping make it a better game, they're making it so the DM can enjoy the emerging story as well, just as the players are, instead of creating it all ahead of time and feeding it to the players as he sees fit.

In this style of play, there is no story to begin with, just cool characters and a dynamic location. The story writes itself as you play.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

On the other hand, telling him to ditch whatever story he's currently telling and completely change his play style might not the most useful answer to the question.
I'm only answering questions and presenting another approach to attain his ultimate goal. The OP can decide if it's useful or not.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I'm only answering questions and presenting another approach to attain his ultimate goal. The OP can decide if it's useful or not.



I apreciate the ideas and effort. But LIM isn't really my cup of tea. I've written a story I'm really happy with and my players are intrigued by so I'm not very willing to drop it. And considering I've only been DM-ing for less then a year, pre planning stuff may be better. It's also part of my personality: I'm a huge planner, I always plan things in advance.

I'm also getting the feeling, no offence meant. That your posts are in the line of: your DM-ing is wrong and mine is the only good way. Just because I don't use your style doesn't mean your games are better.

Each DM has his own style. Just because something works for lets say 10 people doesn't mean it'll work for the next 10.
Your advice of asking the players why they can't trust people just doesn't feel right for some reason. Don't know why. If I could explain why I'd be 10 steps furthter for other stuff as well.
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
Here's another thought: If you do whatever with the NPCs and the environment to give the impression that no one can be trusted, there's still the possibility that your players, for whatever reason, either won't pick up on those ideas or will choose to ignore them. It would be helpful to have some kind of plan for how to deal with that contingency, so that it doesn't ruin that part of the game if it happens. The most obvious thing is that if they trust someone they shouldn't, it has bad consequences, which in turn hopefully shows them it was a bad idea in that location. But as has been pointed out elsewhere, the consequences should probably be something other than a total party kill or total party arrest.
Here's another thought: If you do whatever with the NPCs and the environment to give the impression that no one can be trusted, there's still the possibility that your players, for whatever reason, either won't pick up on those ideas or will choose to ignore them. It would be helpful to have some kind of plan for how to deal with that contingency, so that it doesn't ruin that part of the game if it happens. The most obvious thing is that if they trust someone they shouldn't, it has bad consequences, which in turn hopefully shows them it was a bad idea in that location. But as has been pointed out elsewhere, the consequences should probably be something other than a total party kill or total party arrest.



Thing is, I already planned for whatever can go wrong.
the only thing i need are some ways to have people betray the party and some more ways to make the pc's distrustfull 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
I'm also getting the feeling, no offence meant. That your posts are in the line of: your DM-ing is wrong and mine is the only good way. Just because I don't use your style doesn't mean your games are better.



It is better for the specific thing you're looking to do which is to get your players' heads in a place where you need them to be (e.g., not trusting anybody). It's a sure way. Your way is not certain to work by its very nature - you set yourself up to be the frustrated novelist trying to get unruly characters with free will to think or act a certain way. But if you're more comfortable doing it your way which has no guarantee, have at it. That's all I'm saying (and have said already). It also has very little to do with the LIM style. It's simply a matter of shared storytelling which is its own concept. You can mixed shared storytelling (which is the advice I've given to get you where you want to be) with a plot-based game.

Your advice of asking the players why they can't trust people just doesn't feel right for some reason. Don't know why. If I could explain why I'd be 10 steps furthter for other stuff as well.



You lack trust at your table. "Planners" are often like that. If you trusted you could run a great game without planning every last detail by bringing in your players on that story, then you could see why this works.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

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Iserith, save your drum beating for threads that express an interest in your drum. The OP has already politely declined your advice. Continuing to offer it is disrespectful.

Some of us do appreciate and value what you have found to be most welcome at your table. But how you play is analogous to a favorite flavor of ice cream. Ice cream comes in many flavors and different people have different flavors. Once you explain why your favorite is your favorite, you've done your job. Insisting that others should find your favorite to be their favorite as well is not productive.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Iserith, save your drum beating for threads that express an interest in your drum. The OP has already politely declined your advice. Continuing to offer it is disrespectful.

Some of us do appreciate and value what you have found to be most welcome at your table. But how you play is analogous to a favorite flavor of ice cream. Ice cream comes in many flavors and different people have different flavors. Once you explain why your favorite is your favorite, you've done your job. Insisting that others should find your favorite to be their favorite as well is not productive.



Every post I've made in this thread after the initial advice was at least in part to answer a question or respond to a charge. And in answering said questions and charges, I've said on numerous occasions if this doesn't matter or work for the OP, then do what he likes. More questions and charges followed. My responses followed in kind.

So I'm not sure why I'm accused here of doing anything other than answering questions related to the advice I've given (or answered charges). Should I just leave my advice and if there's a question or charge, I should ignore it? That's a rather unproductive conversation if you ask me. Is it possible you're reading a tone into my posts that simply isn't intended?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

> Thing is, I already planned for whatever can go wrong.

No plan survives contact with the player characters.
Iserith, save your drum beating for threads that express an interest in your drum. The OP has already politely declined your advice. Continuing to offer it is disrespectful.

Some of us do appreciate and value what you have found to be most welcome at your table. But how you play is analogous to a favorite flavor of ice cream. Ice cream comes in many flavors and different people have different flavors. Once you explain why your favorite is your favorite, you've done your job. Insisting that others should find your favorite to be their favorite as well is not productive.



Every post I've made in this thread after the initial advice was at least in part to answer a question or respond to a charge. And in answering said questions and charges, I've said on numerous occasions if this doesn't matter or work for the OP, then do what he likes. More questions and charges followed. My responses followed in kind.

So I'm not sure why I'm accused here of doing anything other than answering questions related to the advice I've given (or answered charges). Should I just leave my advice and if there's a question or charge, I should ignore it? That's a rather unproductive conversation if you ask me. Is it possible you're reading a tone into my posts that simply isn't intended?



If i misread the tone: I SINCERELY APOLLOGISE!! I have a habbit of misreading things.

As for the lack of trust: NO! I'm actually offended. My players are my best friends and have earned my trust. I trust them completely. It is not a lack of trust.

About the frustrated novelist part: If they will not think they way I hope they will: SO BE IT! Then I'll make something up on the fly and we'll see how stuff goes. As you said my way is more prone to failure. I accept that and will still try to continue that way.
So far i Very much apreciate your awnsers. Just ignore seeker95. The only issue I have with them is that indeed they do come down to the same core. I respect the fact that each of us has their own style of playing(AKA ice cream flavor :P) but I would hope you could give me some tips to make npcs act untrustworthy to the pc's. 

@ Neutronium_dragon:
Then thank god I know my players so well that I can predict their actions 99% of the time. 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
I think part of the problem is that you asked "How to do this?" before you asked "Any ideas?".

I'm reading your original post and I think what you really want are ideas of ways NPCs can betray the PCs, is that correct?

So some ideas as to how the PCs can be betrayed in the city:

- An innocent, kind, wholesome looking person offers to show the PCs around: Lures them into an ambush.
- An innocent, kind, wholesome looking person offers to buy a PC a drink in a bar/inn. Tries to drug one of them and drag them away to sell/****/murder/enslave.
- After the PCs are nearly mugged, the city guards show up and also try to mug the PCs - or demand bribes for the PCs to avoid a 'disturbing the peace' charge.
- While the PCs are being mugged/ambushed, the city guards show up and gang up on the PCs with the muggers for a cut of the PCs loot.
- A rich, innocent, kind, wholesome looking person asks the PC to 'recover' a belonging that was 'stolen' from him. Gets the PCs to steal something for him from one of his rivals. Then tries to frame the PCs for his rivals murder.
- A lost child asked for the PCs to take her to the market place to find her mother, while the PCs try to find her parents in the busy market square, their coin is pickpocketed.
- A swashbuckler saves the PCs from being pickpocketed, only to attempt to con the PCs out of their coin for a 'grand adventure on an airship'.

I hope those are helpful ideas.
I like having not so good NPC's hire the players to do tasks which seem heroic at first, but as they dig deeper, they are really making things worse.  If you use skill checks often, make it fairly easy for the characters to detect lies, genuineness and generally untrustworthy behavior from all the NPC's except the gnome.  If you do not use skill checks much, then when the NPC's are speaking, make it sound suspicious with your tone, body language and choice of words.  For example in this town you should pepper words like, so and so seems to be...   it appears that so and so...  

Also give the PC's plenty of chances to discover that an NPC is going to betray them, before the betrayal causes serious harm.  They can overhear conversations, see the NPC having a suspicious conversation with known bad guys, and generally making most of the untrustworthy NPC's somewhat incompetent and easily caught.  Some of the NPC's should seem trustworthy briefly, but then give in to temptation and betray the party, or warn the party that they can not continue to help or they will be punished by the BBEGs.   
I think part of the problem is that you asked "How to do this?" before you asked "Any ideas?".

I'm reading your original post and I think what you really want are ideas of ways NPCs can betray the PCs, is that correct?

So some ideas as to how the PCs can be betrayed in the city:

- An innocent, kind, wholesome looking person offers to show the PCs around: Lures them into an ambush.
- An innocent, kind, wholesome looking person offers to buy a PC a drink in a bar/inn. Tries to drug one of them and drag them away to sell/****/murder/enslave.
- After the PCs are nearly mugged, the city guards show up and also try to mug the PCs - or demand bribes for the PCs to avoid a 'disturbing the peace' charge.
- While the PCs are being mugged/ambushed, the city guards show up and gang up on the PCs with the muggers for a cut of the PCs loot.
- A rich, innocent, kind, wholesome looking person asks the PC to 'recover' a belonging that was 'stolen' from him. Gets the PCs to steal something for him from one of his rivals. Then tries to frame the PCs for his rivals murder.
- A lost child asked for the PCs to take her to the market place to find her mother, while the PCs try to find her parents in the busy market square, their coin is pickpocketed.
- A swashbuckler saves the PCs from being pickpocketed, only to attempt to con the PCs out of their coin for a 'grand adventure on an airship'.

I hope those are helpful ideas.



reads first sentence: ooooooh. oops. Learned a new thing. Sorry, so, so sorry.

ooh...
fancy. Thanks

managed to come up with a few ideas myself:
After being told to leave the city, they find corrupt city guards have been bribed to close the gates. Then after being offered a way through the sewers they are lead into an ambush.
The inkeeper wanting to collect the price on their heads poisons their food and drinks.
Shopkeeper sells them sleeping potions under the guise of super healing potions and has hirelings wait them up outside the store
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
I like having not so good NPC's hire the players to do tasks which seem heroic at first, but as they dig deeper, they are really making things worse.  If you use skill checks often, make it fairly easy for the characters to detect lies, genuineness and generally untrustworthy behavior from all the NPC's except the gnome.  If you do not use skill checks much, then when the NPC's are speaking, make it sound suspicious with your tone, body language and choice of words.  For example in this town you should pepper words like, so and so seems to be...   it appears that so and so...  

Also give the PC's plenty of chances to discover that an NPC is going to betray them, before the betrayal causes serious harm.  They can overhear conversations, see the NPC having a suspicious conversation with known bad guys, and generally making most of the untrustworthy NPC's somewhat incompetent and easily caught.  Some of the NPC's should seem trustworthy briefly, but then give in to temptation and betray the party, or warn the party that they can not continue to help or they will be punished by the BBEGs.   



Funny part is: the herioc quest not being herioc is going to happen later in the game. When they need to excort a cleric to a certain place. It turns out the cleric is the servant of a necromancer they vanquised in heroic tier that returned as a lich. Turns out they are at the place a god died. later they have to pull a sword out of the gods corpse(not knowing it's his corpse) to prevent lich from getting it. To bad the sword was what kept the evil god dead
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
Every post I've made in this thread after the initial advice was at least in part to answer a question or respond to a charge. And in answering said questions and charges, I've said on numerous occasions if this doesn't matter or work for the OP, then do what he likes. More questions and charges followed. My responses followed in kind.

Exactly. You responded in kind. You responded to charges with charges. After your initial advice was not received favorably (as is evident from the OP charges and the tone of the questions), responding in kind is neither helpful nor productive.

LIM is great for the people that appreciate it. And you are clearly a champion (and for many on these Boards, even the architect) of it. But of late it has been your sole answer to every question. But once an inidivual gives you any pushback of the nature seen by the responses of the OP, I would recommend that you back away and, indeed, ignore the charges, the questions, and the temptation to respond in kind. Save your advice for those who appreciate it, and let those with deaf ears to your advice go merrily about their business.

(And for the record, I think you have shared a gold mine of useful information in the various LIM threads.)
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Exactly. You responded in kind. After your initial advice was not received favorably (as is evident from the OP charges and the tone of the questions), responding in kind is neither helpful nor productive. You respond to charges with charges.

LIM is great for the people that appreciate it. And you are clearly a champion (and for many on these Boards, even the architect) of it. But of late it has been your sole answer to every question. Once an inidivual gives you any pushback, I would recommend that you back away and yes, ignore the charges, the questions, and the temptation to respond in kind. Save your advice for those who appreciate it, and let those with deaf ears to your advice go merrily about their business.

(And for the record, I think you have shared a gold mine of useful information in the various LIM threads.)



I try not to read into tone. Fair enough advice, though I'm a little shocked you'd take the time to jump into a thread to admonish me on form without even offering the OP any advice of your own. That seems out of character for you. I would note that my advice was not specifically LIM. It was shared storytelling which is in the DMG2 though I can understand why that may have been conflated.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Exactly. You responded in kind. After your initial advice was not received favorably (as is evident from the OP charges and the tone of the questions), responding in kind is neither helpful nor productive. You respond to charges with charges.

LIM is great for the people that appreciate it. And you are clearly a champion (and for many on these Boards, even the architect) of it. But of late it has been your sole answer to every question. Once an inidivual gives you any pushback, I would recommend that you back away and yes, ignore the charges, the questions, and the temptation to respond in kind. Save your advice for those who appreciate it, and let those with deaf ears to your advice go merrily about their business.

(And for the record, I think you have shared a gold mine of useful information in the various LIM threads.)



I try not to read into tone. Fair enough advice, though I'm a little shocked you'd take the time to jump into a thread to admonish me on form without even offering the OP any advice of your own. That seems out of character for you. I would note that my advice was not specifically LIM. It was shared storytelling which is in the DMG2 though I can understand why that may have been conflated.



Uhm, yeah.
Your discription does not contain the words shared storytelling but it does contain the words location in motion
But I agree, either seeker awnsers a question or goes away. I don't apreciate the attacking of people who are trying to help. 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
I try not to read into tone. Fair enough advice, though I'm a little shocked you'd take the time to jump into a thread to admonish me on form without even offering the OP any advice of your own.

Any advice I could offer would pale in comparison to the advice you were offering. I feel you steered the OP in a very useful direction. But he wasn't biting.

But I agree, either seeker awnsers a question or goes away. I don't apreciate the attacking of people who are trying to help. 

Do you really consider it to be an attack on Iserith that I suggest that he not continue to promote LIM in response to your thread when you have consistently rebuffed his advice in each of your responses?
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I'm also getting the feeling, no offence meant. That your posts are in the line of: your DM-ing is wrong and mine is the only good way. Just because I don't use your style doesn't mean your games are better.



It is better for the specific thing you're looking to do which is to get your players' heads in a place where you need them to be (e.g., not trusting anybody). It's a sure way. Your way is not certain to work by its very nature - you set yourself up to be the frustrated novelist trying to get unruly characters with free will to think or act a certain way.

If you want to write a good novel, you should probably listen to the characters.

But if you want to tell a particular story, you have to put bounds on how much you let them sway you. You're at point A, you MUST get to point B. Anything that doesn't get you to point B must be rejected - but a variation in the exact route is reasonably likely to be acceptable.

I had a character (novel, not D&D) whack me on the inside of my head and say "You idiot, look at my species and habitat - I would not be able do that!" and my response was not "Ooops, forget that then." It was "Okay, I'll find a way to make it make sense that you can do that." The reason she needs to do that thing got some very minor tweaks, and a certain plant turns out to contain a performance-enhancing drug of exactly the right sort. Of course the drug has side-effects and after-effects, both of which I used in the story and would not have had available if the character hadn't pointed out my oversight.

I've also had characters say "No, I don't think so" or "I'm going THAT way" and decided they were right even though it forced major changes in where I thought the story was going.

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Iserith, save your drum beating for threads that express an interest in your drum. The OP has already politely declined your advice. Continuing to offer it is disrespectful.
.



Yes, I would consider this an attack on iserith, and the OP clearly agrees.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Every post I've made in this thread after the initial advice was at least in part to answer a question or respond to a charge. And in answering said questions and charges, I've said on numerous occasions if this doesn't matter or work for the OP, then do what he likes. More questions and charges followed. My responses followed in kind.

Exactly. You responded in kind. You responded to charges with charges. After your initial advice was not received favorably (as is evident from the OP charges and the tone of the questions), responding in kind is neither helpful nor productive.

LIM is great for the people that appreciate it. And you are clearly a champion (and for many on these Boards, even the architect) of it. But of late it has been your sole answer to every question. But once an inidivual gives you any pushback of the nature seen by the responses of the OP, I would recommend that you back away and, indeed, ignore the charges, the questions, and the temptation to respond in kind. Save your advice for those who appreciate it, and let those with deaf ears to your advice go merrily about their business.

(And for the record, I think you have shared a gold mine of useful information in the various LIM threads.)


Really? No offense, but did you miss the post where the OP asked you to leave and told iserith he was enjoying and finding helpful  his advice, if not using every bit of it?
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Really? No offense, but did you miss the post where the OP asked you to leave and told iserith he was enjoying and finding helpful  his advice, if not using every bit of it?

Really. And I did not miss that. But I am not greatly swayed that he changed his tone regarding Iserith in a single post late in the thread. In *every other* reply to Iserith, he was countering the advice Iserith offered and explaining why it would not work for him. Although things started off semi-conversationally, both Iserith and beelzeboth got to the point where they were making accusations (albeit subtle ones) toward each other and calling out each other for making those accusations.
I'm also getting the feeling, no offense meant. That your posts are in the line of: your DM-ing is wrong and mine is the only good way.

You lack trust at your table. "Planners" are often like that.

As for the lack of trust: NO! I'm actually offended.

Every post I've made in this thread after the initial advice was at least in part to answer a question or respond to a charge. More questions and charges followed. My responses followed in kind.

So when I offer my suggestion that Iserith stop presenting his LIM ideas to an unreceptive audience, I do not find such a suggestion to be out of line, much less an attack.

Also, no offense taken.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Too late perhaps, but I'd love it if this stopped being a conversation about Seeker95 and me and more about the OP's needs.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

My advice for making the PCs not trust any NPC they encounter?

Make every NPC actually betray them in some manner. Don't just make it a threat. Make it a reality.

Sleeping at the Inn on the road? You awake to the sound of your door creaking open and hear the faintest clink of metal armor. After the battle, they find the Inn keeper who is surprised to see them. If they question him, he cracks immediately and admits to trying to collect the reward.

That shop keep who you thought you disguised yourself from? He's now caught you in his cellar using a trap door he had installed in front of his counter to thwart would be thieves or muggers.

The busty beauty who "charmed" her way into your bed or adventure? She steals some of your gold before leaving you for dead somewhere. This could be before or after the PCs have managed to convince her not to report your location to authorities. And likely, they haven't convinced her.

The meek librarian who helped you find the tome you were looking for? He implants a cursed object with you (probably the tome) that allows him to track you where ever you went and persistently the PCs now find evidence after a string of attacks that lead back to the librarian.

And make sure that the one NPC they CAN trust, always is proven trust worthy in obvious and glaring means. Especially if he's not around every day. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
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