"I want to burn down a brothel." "...What?" -- A player-DM conflict of interest

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Two nights ago, I was DMing a (rather large) group of my friends when I hit a snag between what one of my players wanted to do and what I as the DM would allow. The group was in a city seeking out people with connections to a thieves' guild when my friend Bryan asked where he could find kerosene or some other flammable agent so that he could burn down a brothel. He plays a human vampire (from the Heroes of Shadow player option) who, prior to his vampirism, was a priest for one of the city's churches. He reasoned that it was in his character's zealous nature to purge the sin and wickedness from his city. However, I didn't feel comfortable letting his character go through with that action. I reasoned that his character had enough insight to know that setting fire to one building could result in a sizable portion of the city burning down before the fire gets contained, but he still wanted to go through with it, arguing that his character wouldn't care if one scummy portion of the city was lost.

 I was able to skim past the matter by throwing a skill challenge at the players, but the issue was never resolved. As a DM, I don't like shutting down my players' suggestions, but I don't know how to steer him away from a careless action without resorting to, "I'm the DM and you can't do that because I say so." What should I do if he presses the matter again in a future session?
Two options:
1. Simply state that such behavior is not appropriate for a PC in your game, because he will be committing murder.

2. Let him burn it ... have everybody in the brothel escape, and have the sparks and flames from the fire burn down a church representing his previous faith.  If you want to be particularly heavy-handed about it.
I want to say, "Let him commit mass murder and get in trouble for it, so that the other players have to either abandon him to the authorities or be wanted as accomplices everywhere they go," or at least have him get into a fight with somebody (one of the PC's?) who finds out before anything happens, ... unless the other players would enjoy role-playing their characters as not knowing that they're harbouring a mass murderer?

EDIT: I got Ninja'd And I had not thought about the fire spreading to the church, nice.

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Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

If he's a vampire, he shouldn't be too keen on starting a fire.

As DM, I would let him do it. But then I'd force him to witness the carnage. People running and screaming.. Oh.. who's that running out of there? Is that one of the higher ups at his church?

Maybe the panicked crowd tramples some protestors from his church, who are actually helping put out the flames.

Perhaps a wagon full of hay ignites, the horses panic, and race right into the local oprhanage his church supports.

Don't forget, high level heroes might be in there, and can put the fire out quickly. They'd be interested in finding out just who started it.
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Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
I like the two previous posters suggestions.

Sounds to me like the player is abusing his background, and deity to perform this action.

I treat my D&D games like real like in the regard that these actions have consequences.

True the players may not like these consequences but they do occur when people do stuff like this.

Remember players and characters not one in the same.

A player should not be punished for coming up with these actions.
The character however depnding on the society they live in, should.

Now they player may take it personally.  In fact its this irrational understanding that causes the most problems with situations like these.  But if you have had consequences in your game previously they shouldn't expect anything different in this instance.

But no matter what you decide, talk to your players out-of-game and express your issues. Also hear what they have to say on the subject.
I would deal with it in game for sure.  And mention it out of game on a side-bar with said player to see if there were any lingering problems with your adjudication of the play.

DM: " I will be the tiny voice in your head right now telling you this might be a bad idea.  Call it a slight bit of conscience, or even a self-preservation voice if you need to. Voice: 'If I burn this building down, what will happen to everything around the building - will it catch fire too?  Is there a chance that there are innocents in or around that building that could be harmed?  (or those who are attached to his church). ' 

And sure, his character might be a zealot, but that doesnt mean homicidal pyro-maniac.  Though this is a fantasy world, try to immerse your player in to the world and put them there.  If you were really in this position, would you choose to light this building on fire in broad daylight?  Or even under cover of darkness, would you not rationalize that the authorities might find you after committing this crime?  Plus, as a vampire, wouldnt he want to keep himself in a low-profile existence so as not to draw attention to his vampirism? 

Where are the other PC's at?  What are their opinions?  Can they talk him down in game?  Maybe you turn to them and say - "Your colleague has a gleam in his eye and begins muttering about burning all the sinners and eradicating the vermin from the plane.  The brothel must burn burn burn....  What do you all do?"  Get the team involved and see what they do.  If they arent opposed to it, give a last reminder as to consequences.  If they go through with it - let them do it.  And make sure that they find out just how hard it is to get away with burning down a building and essentially murdering those in and/or around the brothel.  Maybe you even play that out and come to find out a high ranking official owns the brothel and captures the PC's to bring them to justice or pay for their damages in some harsh way.  Or they can TPK for resisting arrest.

You may during that side-bar want to set some ground rules for how that player will be playing his PC and truly define what he thinks being a zealot is and what his true mission for the church is.  Remind him that even followers of the darkest deities dont go around wontonlly setting buildings ablaze. 

Also keep in mind, this may be a situation where you arent providing enough action for this particular player.  Typically when players want to burn things down, you may not be giving them their piece of the pie enough.  While you dont want to cater a significant portion of your game to just this player - find ways to keep the player better "distracted" so these kind of thoughts dont enter in to play.  If this is the case, maybe you send him coded messages from a mysterious source and give him "decoders" over the course of a few sessions.  After decoding the messages, maybe you can tie it in with his previous church and his new purpose with it, or even something currently going on in the game.

Hope this helps!

DM: " I will be the tiny voice in your head right now telling you this might be a bad idea.  Call it a slight bit of conscience, or even a self-preservation voice if you need to. Voice: 'If I burn this building down, what will happen to everything around the building - will it catch fire too?  Is there a chance that there are innocents in or around that building that could be harmed?  (or those who are attached to his church). ' 



This basically.  Let him do it and suffer the consequences.  We had someone in one of my games do something very similar and the rest of the party turned on him, turned him in and he was hanged.  Then the player rerolled a new character with a little stronger sense of self-preservation.

Now the PCs should be able to clearly see the consequences of their actions to feel like they have agency.  This should be both good and bad.  They should get to participate in the victory parade after they help hold a borderland keep from the ravenous orc hordes.  They should also have to face the piper if they murder a bunch of people.


Where are the other PC's at?  What are their opinions?  Can they talk him down in game?  Maybe you turn to them and say - "Your colleague has a gleam in his eye and begins muttering about burning all the sinners and eradicating the vermin from the plane.  The brothel must burn burn burn....  What do you all do?"  Get the team involved and see what they do.  If they arent opposed to it, give a last reminder as to consequences.  If they go through with it - let them do it.  And make sure that they find out just how hard it is to get away with burning down a building and essentially murdering those in and/or around the brothel.  Maybe you even play that out and come to find out a high ranking official owns the brothel and captures the PC's to bring them to justice or pay for their damages in some harsh way.  Or they can TPK for resisting arrest.



Make sure everyone at the table is weighing in on this matter for sure.  Because that will help ensure that this decision (which is a pretty big one) is made by the group rather than one individual.  The group decision can even be "Hey, if you do that we are going to hunt you down" and the PC can go through with it.  But that one player better be prepared for either becoming the BBEG (and then being an NPC not a PC, so he will likely need a new character), or getting the axe.

I wouldn't immediately TPK them for resisting arrest but I would make it obvious if they were up against something they don't think they can face.  Maybe the PCs will enjoy being the outlaw group in this area.  If that is the path they want to take, then let them.  Just make sure their actions have consequences that the PCs can see.
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Oh, the fun to be had here.

Sure, dealing with the aftermath of a town threatening fire/mass-murder might not be what you'd envisioned doing in this portion of the campaign....  But it doesn't mean it can't be interesting!

So my vote?  By all means, let him burn down the brothel! 
I was just starting to think I should let him do it and suffer the consequences, and that sounds like the general consensus. And I'll definitely see what the other players weigh in on this action (although most of them opposed the brothel burning anyway). This might turn into a good opportunity to introduce a powerful mage NPC. Thanks for the help, everyone!
I was just starting to think I should let him do it and suffer the consequences, and that sounds like the general consensus. And I'll definitely see what the other players weigh in on this action (although most of them opposed the brothel burning anyway). This might turn into a good opportunity to introduce a powerful mage NPC. Thanks for the help, everyone!



Good luck!

Let us know how it turns out.
Seems to me your friend vampire got the right idea to track down a thieves guild.  Very jason statem method.  Once their organized crime money maker brothel is burned down, it would nt be long before thieves guild come to the players for a thorough retribution... Including the City Garrison... Families of victims hurt...  Basically everyone in the city.  

Appears to me your player basically created their own hook totally in line with your adventure, and swallowed it sink and all. it should tickle you just thinking how you gonna use it all as part of your campaign, adventure, and make the players pay...in a fun, exciting and meaningful way. LOL
Seems to me your friend vampire got the right idea to track down a thieves guild.  Very jason statem method.  Once their organized crime money maker brothel is burned down, it would nt be long before thieves guild come to the players for a thorough retribution... Including the City Garrison... Families of victims hurt...  Basically everyone in the city.  

Appears to me your player basically created their own hook, and swallowed it sink and all. it should tickle you just thinking how you gonna use it all as part of your campaign, adventure, and make the players pay...in a fun, exciting and meaningful way. LOL



This is an excellent point.

You see the problem as potentially negative.  You can turn this into a postive for building an interesting side adventure for your players.

Depending on how this goes though you could also reinforce this kind of character behavior.  I bring this up only if you have issue with this type of character behavior in the first place.
Let him do it.  Roll in plain site a percentile dice to determine how involved the fire becomes.  With really low numbers being cosmetic damage that was put out and 90+ as an out of control blaze that engulgs blocks of the city or a large portion.  Let the repurcussions flow from how big or small the fire was.  If the fire was minimal maybe the pc gets away with it.  If the damage is significant enough mages could be brought in to divine the cause which could be trouble for the pc.

Maybe some politics are at work behind the scenes and some innocent could be blamed or an innocent group could be signaled out.
 
Let him do it.  Roll in plain site a percentile dice to determine how involved the fire becomes.  With really low numbers being cosmetic damage that was put out and 90+ as an out of control blaze that engulgs blocks of the city or a large portion.  Let the repurcussions flow from how big or small the fire was.  If the fire was minimal maybe the pc gets away with it.  If the damage is significant enough mages could be brought in to divine the cause which could be trouble for the pc.

Maybe some politics are at work behind the scenes and some innocent could be blamed or an innocent group could be signaled out.
 



I like the idea of a scapegoat being blamed for the fire.  If there was something in the city that they disliked, blaming it on them to rally the public against them would be interesting, as well as sending a couple people quietly after you.
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Do let him do it, and do have consequences, but DO NOT use those consequences to teach the player a lesson. If you need to teach the player about how you like players and characters to act, that is a conversation to have outside of the game. Using the game itself to teach the lesson is passive aggressive, probably won't work, and will probably lead to an argument.

Obviously there should be consequences for actions in a game, but those consequences should only ever be intended to make the game interesting and challenging, for the amusement of the players. Using them to make the game boring for the players is a waste of everyone's time, including the DM's.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I'm going to go against the grain of everyone saying "let them do it".

If you don't want him to burn down the brothel, be creative in how you choose to disallow it.  Don't just say "No, you can't burn down my brothel" but if there just happenes to be a patrol of guards walking down the street at that time, it seems highly likely that arson would be a bad idea.

Perhaps another band of "adventurers" comes along and stops the would be arsonist and chases him away.  Maybe the brothel has a famous, and dangerous vampire hunter as clientele and he/she happens to discover said vampire beginning to set his little fire.

Perhaps the brothel is a stone building...and stone obviously doesn't burn.

In short, if you don't want your player doing things like that, be creative with how you stop them from doing it...don't just say no.  But, if you don't want to deal with the consequences of him burning it down, find a way to make it...less then convenient to do so.  It's my experience that in such situations, players generally won't make a huge effort to cause mayhem.
DM's ability to adept to player's actions & decisions and then incorporate the "cause and effect" of those actions smoothly into the original plot the DM had in mind can be difficult...but it is necessary.

It may force the DM to skip or change on the spot some of the skill challenges or encounters the DM may have prepared, and that can be irking.  But the DM shouldn't be stuck with a ridgid linear plot or story anyway.  It should be fluid enough to incorporate players decisions and actions and it's "cause and effect".   Ultimately the authors of the story are both the dm and the players.

If anyway possible, I prefer not to make side adventures as the "cause & effect" of players actions.  If anyway possible, I try to incorporate it into the original plot.  If I get stonewalled and not sure how to incorporate it on the spot because my friends did something totally unexpected, I tell my friends this isn't what i expected but its cool... give me 5 minute to adjust.  I take a break, do a quick readjustment in my mind and we move.

To me the OP's situation is golden.  Easy to adept & incorporate into a plot involving tracking down a secret syndicate, for whatever the purpose, friendship or foe.  The players unintentionally handed me themselves on a silver platter.  Oh happy days...




In short, if you don't want your player doing things like that, be creative with how you stop them from doing it...don't just say no.  But, if you don't want to deal with the consequences of him burning it down, find a way to make it...less then convenient to do so.  It's my experience that in such situations, players generally won't make a huge effort to cause mayhem.

In my experience, the more the DM tries to use in-game methods to stop in-game actions they don't like, the more the players will argue against or simply circumvent those methods.

If you don't want the players to do something in game - and there can be many reasons for this, including things that make other players unhappy, or which are unintentionally boring for enough of the players - the only way to have a chance of succeeding and to avoid bad feelings (and this bad behavior) from the player, is to talk to them outside the context of the game. It's hard to do, but it's the mature way to handle it, and in the end people tend to prefer handling things like adults.

And this isn't to say that the player will take it well. They still might bridle at what you're asking, and they might even be right. But in a person-to-person discussion, at least there's no excusing one's choices in terms of rules, or alignment, or anything. Say what you don't like, and stand by it.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

In short, if you don't want your player doing things like that, be creative with how you stop them from doing it...don't just say no.  But, if you don't want to deal with the consequences of him burning it down, find a way to make it...less then convenient to do so.  It's my experience that in such situations, players generally won't make a huge effort to cause mayhem.

In my experience, the more the DM tries to use in-game methods to stop in-game actions they don't like, the more the players will argue against or simply circumvent those methods.

If you don't want the players to do something in game - and there can be many reasons for this, including things that make other players unhappy, or which are unintentionally boring for enough of the players - the only way to have a chance of succeeding and to avoid bad feelings (and this bad behavior) from the player, is to talk to them outside the context of the game. It's hard to do, but it's the mature way to handle it, and in the end people tend to prefer handling things like adults.

And this isn't to say that the player will take it well. They still might bridle at what you're asking, and they might even be right. But in a person-to-person discussion, at least there's no excusing one's choices in terms of rules, or alignment, or anything. Say what you don't like, and stand by it.



I do agree with this.  The best way to handle the situation is outside the game saying "look bro, I don't want you burning down the brothel.  It's inconvenient for me, and the consequences are likely to not end well for you when you have a whole town upset with your actions.  Think before you light..."
Along with 'mass murderers make for poor PCs'.
Depends on how much they get paid for it, I'd think.
I do agree with this.  The best way to handle the situation is outside the game saying "look bro, I don't want you burning down the brothel.  It's inconvenient for me, and the consequences are likely to not end well for you when you have a whole town upset with your actions.  Think before you light..."

The first half of that is spot on. It opens the door for a frank discussion and possible understanding of why the player would find the particular action fun. There's a chance the DM might understand and agree that it's not as inconvenient as believed (especially if the player's creativity is enlisted to overcome the inconvenience), or that the player will understand and take a different course, or that an irreconcilable difference will be uncovered and an adjustment will need to be made.

But as soon as the DM mentions in-game consequences, he or she has lost. Players are notorious for coming with in-game reasons why what they want to do is justified, or required, or shouldn't have the reaction the DM thinks it should, and the DM is no better off than before. No, don't bother trying to threaten with in-game consequences, unless those consequences are interesting to you and the rest of the table.

Along with 'mass murderers make for poor PCs'.

Also not a reason that's likely to matter to the player much.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Along with 'mass murderers make for poor PCs'.



I don't necessarily think that makes a poor PC, just evil PC. If the PC wants to play an evil psychopathic murderer... well, that concerns me a little about the person in RL but whatever.  Having a back-up plan to deal with any PC action, and then getting them back on the track of the adventure I think is important.  Telling a PC you can't do that is probably not good option.  It's DnD after all.

Whatever the plot or adventure hook;  

PC's are assigned to recover a artifact and need to travel to point A.
Evil PC instead goes on a killing spree at the town.  Why?  I donno. He's retarded.  Other players are like wtf bro.
DM lets pc get his fill a bit, and then- TPK engineered heroic npc group steps in (all designed to own the players if push comes to shove).  A quick fight, (other players probably won't jump in, knowing pc is out of line.), either way won't matter.  Once evil PC is unconscious, ritual is placed:

MARK OF JUSTICE
Some lessons are best learned through suffering. Your magic ensures that the guilty creature continues its offenses only at great peril.

Game continues...  evil pc can continue to be murderous evil, but it gonna hurt him. His choice.

Putting that evil pc action into plot.  Players can learn that the artifact has something to do with evil pc going all insane and evil, and unless they recover this artifact, their friend gets worse... I'm sure the evil pc is going to get a kick out of that.  "See its not my fault! I'm suppose to act this way", as the rest of players on table rolls their eyes.

I think a fluid and creative DM can deal with any pc created situation in a way that even players can say... that was cool bro, and get them back in line.  At least that is the idea.. not always easy to do ;p
Do let him do it, and do have consequences, but DO NOT use those consequences to teach the player a lesson. If you need to teach the player about how you like players and characters to act, that is a conversation to have outside of the game. Using the game itself to teach the lesson is passive aggressive, probably won't work, and will probably lead to an argument.

Obviously there should be consequences for actions in a game, but those consequences should only ever be intended to make the game interesting and challenging, for the amusement of the players. Using them to make the game boring for the players is a waste of everyone's time, including the DM's.


+1 to this. Let him do it, and have consequences, but don't go the anvilicious route of "Okay, you burn down the brothel, which coincidentally happens to have everyone you've ever loved as well as the entire world's supply of your favorite snack food inside it as it burns to the ground."

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58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
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Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
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144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
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57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
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I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
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56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
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...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
Along with 'mass murderers make for poor PCs'.



I don't necessarily think that makes a poor PC, just evil PC. ;p



Same thing.
Evil PCs have their places.  Used to run a Birthright campaign, where one of the PCs rolled one of the highest bloodline strengths possible; it happened to also be Azrai's bloodline.  Rather than re-rolling things, we worked together and came up with an interesting storyline where he was becoming one of the awnshegh — he called himself "The Lich" — and was using the group to build his own base of power.  Another player was an spy for the Manslayer, pretending to be an "open minded" elf, instead plotting to help bring their demise.

Properly handled, Evil PCs bring interesting twists to a campaign.

Poorly handled, Evil PCs are a pain in the arse.
Along with 'mass murderers make for poor PCs'.

I don't necessarily think that makes a poor PC, just evil PC. ;p

Same thing.

What's makes a PC not poor, then?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Evil PCs have their places. 

Properly handled, Evil PCs bring interesting twists to a campaign.

Poorly handled, Evil PCs are a pain in the arse.



I agree with all of this.

I've been in one campagin where everyone had evil in their alignment save one character.  Her character was my characters adopted thieves guild sister.  It was the most fun because of the large amount of roleplaying we did as well as change our campaign world forever due to our crazy ideas for making money.

Second was a campain in which we all were evil except for one Chaotic Neutral.  We were trying to take control of a city.

The last everybody was of evil alignment.  It went fine, just got bored with the lack of motivation of the characters. I did get to eventually use my chubby lich figurine in that game though.

As others have said, I would first have an open discussion with the player about his motiviations and expectations. Why does he want to do it? Is it really something he feels is appropiate for his PC? Does he agree with you on the fact that the fire could result in destroying half the city? Or does he expect magical fire fighters ready to end the flames before it becomes a big problem? How big a chance does he think his character has to be caught (and despite what others are saying, why would this chance be automatic)? Does he even expact it leads to a huge bonfire (and remember we read it all too often in the papers about how torch attempts fail to do more then scorch a hallway)? In short, what does he hope to achieve?

Even with the IC questions discussed, is he aware of how potentially disruptive this can be for the game - not just for your story (that comes with the territory), but more importantly for the rest of the group who might really not want to deal with the aftermath of it? Personally as a DM I am always willing to change the story if that is the wish of the players, but when one player does something that influences the whole group, I always verify how the others feel about it. Mind you, I have never had players do something this extreme. They certainly proposed it on occassion, always in jest to remind the rest of the group (including me as the DM) that they are getting bored with the debate and need a change of pace or that they are stuck. Mind you, I do discuss with my players beforehand that I don't want evil PCs, let alone over the top evil behavior. It is simply not the type of adventures I want to run (regardless of whether or not it can be fun to some, it is not for me).

In the end, if talking does not provide a satisfactory answer, and the rest of the group does not feel like dealing with the aftermat of a big fire, I would probably let the PC go ahead with his intent. Allow him to succeed or fail on a couple of fairly straight forward checks, and then let the impact be minimal and give as less attention to the whole thing as possible. I probably would also create a situation for the instigator to direct his energies in a less destructive way (eg the local church asks his help with one fight or another or asks him to arrest a witch outside the city). Any attention just rewards the player, and it tends to be at the expense of the others. If the player keeps wanting to do this, I would eventually kick him out of the group, but I have that never happen.

I know this isn't popular with many, but my general advice on this is as follows.

The DM needs to dish out realistic consequences for the players actions and enforce them, and they need to do this right at the start of the game, the very first time the players step out of line (I don't mean regular shinanigans that can be expected from adventurers)

Now that you've had it progress to this extreme, you should let the player know what his character would realistically know. The chances of the fire spreading, the likelihood of people being killed inside the brothel,  how legal the brothel is, what sort of clients are in it. What sort of laws/guards etc he can expect in the city, and then let him do what he wants.

And then have him face the consequences, and be brutal and blunt.

When he burns the Legally Licensed Brothel down, and kills many brothel workers and clients alike in the fire, including a local nobleman, as well as a nobel's son, as well as several army officers and a few highly respected citizens, a priest of his temple who visits the brothel to tend to the pregnant brothel workers and as a missionary and as the fire spreads it kills a few other innocent citizens who live nearby as well as heroic people and city guards who fight the flame to stop the fire.

Them have the full power power of the city and populace come down on him. Not just local guards, The King should send out his best Knights to deal with this.  The Temple should send out it's clerics, Paladins etc, the local townsfolk will form a mob to hunt them down, even the Rogue's Guild is going to deal with it because chances are the brothel was paying them protection money.

You have a local government that wants revenge for the death of their nobles, and army that wants revenge for the deaths of their officers, a temple that wants revenge for the death of their priest, a town that wants revenge for the death of their townsfolk and justice for the crimes and general outrage, a rogue guild that wants revenge for loss of revenue.  

The question isn't "if" he gets caught, the question is who catches him first and how he is going to be executed, I am not suggesting meta-gaming, I am saying have the city act realistically to a mass murdering arsonist. And given his crime, I would suggest being burnt alive on a stake in the city center.

Also as this is a magic world with magic healing, there is no reason they can't prolong the burning alive with some light healing, so Burnt alive for a full day before he dies.

Set the precendent now, as brutally as possible, because I assure you this is just the beginning of your issues if you don't demonstrate the the world they are in will react to their actions and they can and likely will face the consequences of those actions.
Sounds like everyone in your setting is omniscient.The priest knows stuff he didn't researched and didn't cared about and everyone knows that he is the arsonist.
The DM needs to dish out realistic consequences for the players actions and enforce them, and they need to do this right at the start of the game, the very first time the players step out of line (I don't mean regular shinanigans that can be expected from adventurers)

The problem is that there is no clearcut way to asnwer what actually are realistic consequences. You feel that there are many important guests who spend a lot of gold to capture the culprit, the player might find it silly because you described as being part of a bad neighborhood and he went out of his way to prevent being recognized, meaning the authorities need to spend a rediculous amount of gold on magic to traverse him. You assume the fire goes out of hand. He assumes there are ample of spellcasters around that quench the flames with one wave of their hand (even more likely if you assume the PC is going to be captured). You assume he will be caught, he assumes his PC is skilled enough to get away. The fact is that when it comes to things like this there is no realistic outcome and your realistic reactions might very well be interpreted as the actions of a tyrant DM who cannot handle his plots being disrupted by a player. Or worse, you spend a full session on dealing with the player, who was at the center of attention regardless of what happens to his PC, so he might as well try it again because it was rewarded.
It's up to the DM to determine realistic consequences. Regardless of where the brothel is, the clients can be significantly wealthy or powerful. Being in the seedy end of town can simply be because they didn't want a brothel beside the temple.

As I stated at the begining, the DM should let the player know what he would realistically know. Such as the chances of the fire spreading, what resources the city has to dealing with the fire, how many and who might get killed in the building iteself, what sort of law/guards he can expect in the city, etc. and then below that the DM, without meta-gaming, should have them react realistically.

In short, these shouldn't be yanked out of nowhere, but already established elements of the city that the DM should first establish with the PCs.

Can the fire be put out? that depends on how fast the city guard can react, how many are patroling, how far away, will it take 30 minutes or an hour for them to get there and organize? Can it be put out magically? if so where is the magic user that does this? How long before he is brought in and what spells at his disposal.

When the crime is investigated, did anyone see him going to the fire, buying the kerosene? was he followed after lighting it? City has thieves guild who might see an opportunity for blackmail and who's members may frequent the establishment. What sort of security does the brothel have? He may not be away of the security, especially if things are dealt with descretely by the brothel owners.

How much will a rich nobleman pay if his sone gets murdered? How will the government act if a nobleman is assasinated like this? Or the military at the murder of it's officers? Will Martial Law be imposed? If they can't find the culprit what will happen to appease the angry mobs and general outrage, then what?

What about when the city blames the Dwarfs who live in the district and starts rounding them up? Or, since he did it in the name of the temple, what if the city blamed the temple and an angry mob torches it?

It boils down to establishing the elements and then playing them out realistically without meta-gaming.  
Do let him do it, and do have consequences, but DO NOT use those consequences to teach the player a lesson. If you need to teach the player about how you like players and characters to act, that is a conversation to have outside of the game. Using the game itself to teach the lesson is passive aggressive, probably won't work, and will probably lead to an argument.

Obviously there should be consequences for actions in a game, but those consequences should only ever be intended to make the game interesting and challenging, for the amusement of the players. Using them to make the game boring for the players is a waste of everyone's time, including the DM's.



I 100% agree with Centauri.

I also find it rather disturbing how many DMs on here seem to be advocating an attitude that supports that the player is somehow not doing something "correctly" or "abusing his character" or should be dissuaded from this action.

That to me is quite telling.

Why? Because the DM is not prepared for it? Or because the DM is not prepared to represent the actual consequences in the game world for such an action?

If the PC wants to do it and is it risky that is the very nature of being an adventurer...mitigating risk. If it bites them in the butt, so be it...but do not do so simply BECAUSE...do not do it because the player is doing something "wrong" with their character. If they can get away with it...more power to them...if not, then the hammer has to come down if they're sloppy about it.

Very worrisome advice in this thread. Very worrisome indeed.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Also for people discussing what is "realistic" and such...

Looks like we come back full circle to the importance of randomizing things so as to prevent the DM from being arbitrary in his decision-making. Love when situations support my point of view. :P

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Set the precendent now, as brutally as possible, because I assure you this is just the beginning of your issues if you don't demonstrate the the world they are in will react to their actions and they can and likely will face the consequences of those actions.

You know that this isn't a popular concept on this board, but do you understand why?

It's because what you're saying here is "Play the way I want you to, or I will make this game as boring as possible for you. I will do everything, even make things up on the fly, to disempower your character, through capture, imprisonment and a slow death." Taking time and effort to make a game boring is utterly nonsensical on its face, and anyway it's not going to work. If the player goes along with it, and backs down, it will probably be under protest, and they'll be resentful and thereafter looking for some get backs. At best, the player will feel shut down and will tend not to offer ideas in the future, for fear of triggering this threat.

If the player doesn't go along with it, the DM has to make good. First of all, this might not succeed immediately, and the player will have been given license to cause even more carnage by laying waste to the guard and more of the city. If the DM does more, they threaten the own consistency of their game, by causing the players to wonder why these guards can take out a PC, but not a single orc, or why everyone is banding together to take out this one criminal. By this point, the DM can probably rightfully be accused of cheating to get their way.

Finally, even if you capture the character, all you've done is basically just told the player that they're not allowed to play. They have to sit there until you've decided to let them make a new character. See above where I mention resentfulness

And in-game torture? Wow, man. That's pretty messed up. What's the player going to care anyway? Can't they just make a new character.

Let me be perfectly clear: I'm NOT saying that there should never be consequences for character actions. Even when everyone is doing exactly what the DM wants, things should happen in the game world in response to what the players do. What I'm saying is that those things should always be interesting, at least to the players and DM, if not to the characters. Even imprisonment and death can be interesting with the players' explicit buy-in.

And I'm NOT saying that jerk players have to be pandered to. If you're not sure how to handle a character choice, or you just don't like their choices, talk to the player. Tell them this. Make your behavioral expectations explicit and explain the measures you'll take out-of-game to achieve those expectations.

Once you start using in-game measures to achieve those expectations, you've lost.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I think I would have turned to the other players and asked "Are you okay with your teamate torching a building, possibly part of the town, potentially killing innocents and making you accessories to his crime?" If they all said "Sure!" then let him do it, otherwise it is up to the other PCs to either pressure their friend to take another course of action or to stop him. I don't advocate PC vs PC, but in regular society we do this all the time: We influence those around us. There is some good roleplaying opportunities in this.

But I agree if this becomes an out-of-game issue (there is a lot of arguing, moving toward hard feelings, player feeling he is being bullied into not playing as he wants, etc.) then it should be discussed out of game. Otherwise I don't see any reason this action shouldnt be allowed and shouldn't add to the game overall.

And I will chime in: Consequences for characters is a good thing. Consequences to punish players is a bad thing.
I think I would have turned to the other players and asked "Are you okay with your teamate torching a building, possibly part of the town, potentially killing innocents and making you accessories to his crime?" If they all said "Sure!" then let him do it, otherwise it is up to the other PCs to either pressure their friend to take another course of action or to stop him. I don't advocate PC vs PC, but in regular society we do this all the time: We influence those around us. There is some good roleplaying opportunities in this.

But I agree if this becomes an out-of-game issue (there is a lot of arguing, moving toward hard feelings, player feeling he is being bullied into not playing as he wants, etc.) then it should be discussed out of game. Otherwise I don't see any reason this action shouldnt be allowed and shouldn't add to the game overall.

Allowing any kind of PC vs. PC stuff is generally asking for trouble. You're looking at Intimidate skill checks against other PCs, retaliation, alignment arguments, and other issues that constantly pop-up on this forum. If a player has an issue, talk about it as players. Otherwise it will become an out-of-game issue very quickly.

Once they've worked it out as players, then PC vs. PC stuff has a chance of working.

And I will chime in: Consequences for characters is a good thing. Consequences to punish players is a bad thing.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who believes this.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I've been the DM wielding the "Player-be-Good Stick," and I cringe when I think about those moments I helped ruin a perfectly good game because I didn't just talk to a player. Teaching someone a lesson, whether in real life or in a game, is a great way to alienate that person and create real life hard feelings.
Centauri, what consequences do you do to a group of players who invade a dungeon and try and take a horde of treasure from a Dragon?

Once a Player or group of players attack a town it really is no different then the dungeon, the elements of that town, just like the elements of a dungeon, will act accordingly.
 
I am an advocate to talking or dealing with a disruptive character, but those sort of house rules should be established at the beginning of play, and who you choose to play with. After you talk with a player, you need to back it up, and the most authority a DM has is generally directly in play, and realize that a DM doesn't always have the authority for out of game measures and out of game consequences without the backing up of the other players.

Moreso because I find that most players behave unrealistically because the world around them reacts unrealistically. They will burn down a brothel and half the city because the game world doesn't react the way it should. In short the DM is enabling poor decisions and unrealistically insane ideas (such as burning the brothel) You can say talk to the players, but in many cases it is really the DM that has enabled to problem.

The first part of my advice was to establish with the player what they realistically should knwo and expect from their actions. This in turn will generally influence a Player's choices. The fact of the mater is when he views the scenerio properly and sees what can happen, then the PC can take reasonable precautions and actions.

In short instead of enabling insane behavior from a lack of realistic responses the DM can encourage less extreme and more thought out plans. There is nothign wrong with the PC having his own goals or starting his own adventure hooks, and ridding the city of the more corrupt elements is a ligitimate goal. it is with the Burning down the city is the extreme the PC has reached, an extreme that has likely been enabled and created by the DM himself without realizing it.


Establishing first what the city resources are (such as the mage guild being miles away so no magical fire fighting will occur until too late, that the nearby buildings woudl most certainly catch etc etc) will be telling the PC what options he can take to successfully acomplish his goal without all the possible negative consequences. 

  Can he ensure everyone can escape by letting out an alarm? Did he make sure the exits were free? will the fire be stopped from spreading?

As for the Player facing the consequences and even death? I say he is an adventureer is he not. Do you expect them to be able to loot a dragons treasure without fighting said dragon too? or that the DM is metagaming for putting monsters and traps in a dungeon? 

What do you think happens when the player stabs a city guard to death and the guard next to him says "oh dear me, you got your blade dirty, here, have a clean one" and hands his sword to the PC?   I think it is less boring to have the guards act appropriately.

The reply that it is somehow boring to have the populace resist the PCs when they are rampaging and pillaging them is just as absurd as to have the monsters in a dungeon  just lay down arms and take it when they get invaded.    
  
A lot of issues can be avoided if you have a meeting with your players ahead of time and talk about expectations. A lot of what MrCustomer is talking about would be dealt with in that Session 0. If you are playing a game where the PCs will face overwhelming opposition and can die if they make the wrong choice, that should be put out there up front. The same with the expectation of the PCs being heroes. Or not.

I think it is wrong to assume killing all of the PCs due to the decisions the players made and then pointing to it like "See, you screwed up" is a fun solution. If that is the kind of game you are running, that's fine, but it isn't what everyone is running or even wants to run.
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