Managing an evil vampire in a good group

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Hi, I am a new DM and I am playing with new players (meaning this is the first time we all play D&D). Most of the players made "normal" good PCs, but this one guy decided to go for an evil vampire.


During combat this presents very few problems. They fight, stuff dies, and they loot and move on. However, out of combat the vampire keeps doing all kinds of unexpected stuff that totally conflicts with the others. As an example this stuff happened as they traveled to Winterhaven (we are running Keep on the Shadowfell).


On the road outside of Winterhaven are three graves along the road. The Vampire of course wanted to dig them up and look for some loot. (That didn’t sit well with the lawful cleric.)  I told the vampire that the gravestones read something like “Here lays Jimmy, Bob and Jane Dolton” with the sub text “Poor in life…. Still poor” Gave everyone a good laugh, but more importantly the vampire didn’t dig it up. (However he went back later without the party and did it anyway)


Once they got into town and visited the market the Vampire decided to try robing the smithy. In hind sight I ran a way to easy skill challenge for him on that so he got away and became wanted in town. He got some nice loot as well (couple of platinum).


The question I would like to discuss here is what would you do or suggest I do to help manage this PCs action not to totally ruin the game for everyone else but at the same time not to spoil his fun in being evil?

thats really a discussion for the party. if the party is cool with it, let it roll, even if the characters are having problems, and the players are ok with those problems, it can create some very interesting role play dynamics.
if some of the players are NOT ok with this dynamic, it needs to be brought up to the player in question in a non-offensive manner, and ask him to either role play the character differently so that party cohesion can do its thing, or replace the character altogether.
it also depends on how highly your players regard the alignment issue. i personally know my dragon born paladin would have absolutely zero tolerance for such shenanigans and would flay him where he stood, or die trying, but other players see alignment as a bit more fuzzy than i.
especially considering you are playing 4e, i would find a way to resolve this quickly. 4e, to me at least, is fundamentally designed for teamwork and cohesion in the party. if one player is being "that guy" its gonna cause a problem, especially if the divine players role play their characters......"properly".
if the player insists on keeping the character as is, try steering his actions thru the use of outside influences, as to not create party conflict that can lead to bigger issues. have a group of clerics of a different deity than the cleric in the party start patrolling the streets for such things, so he's more inclined to carry out his evil acts on his own time away from the patrols and party's prying eyes, and, more importantly, away from the "guilt by association" factor.
another thing you could do, is reduce the amount of chances the player has to commit truly evil acts, and increase the chances of committing those same acts against other evil opponents. that seems like the best win win situation  to me i guess.

 

The players have no direct trouble with him being evil, but the PCs might. The group is not that skilled in roleplaying yet, so they are not really playing out their alignment as much. The other players are good or unaligned (one lawful good cleric). And as you mention the vampire has been playing out his "adventures" on his own time. From the point where he robbed the smithy he has been wanted by the village guards and the party has denied all knowledge of him when prompted. He has therefore been sleeping outside of town and meets up with the party in the morning to join the quests. 


Since the party is mostly interested in him not getting crazy amounts of loot and not sharing, I would like to limit is actions thru outside influence. I am planning to make a couple of generic escape skill challenges that I can go to in the event of him being chased. I also have decided to make the stealing of valuable things much more difficult, so that he has little chance of success.


In the event that he decides to go around town robbing houses, I plan on using similar mechanics as foraging for food in the wild. He will spend a given amount of time breaking into houses and looking for loot (making a thievery check to determine his degree of success). If he gains a success in this I will role for a percentage equaling the amount of silver pieces he finds (maybe change to gold, depending on how wealthy the people living there are). There will also be a 50% chance of him getting caught if he tries during the night, and an 80% chance during the day. This translates to him making a stealth check if the thievery succeeds. A result of 1-10 during night will be fail, and 1-18 during day. Additionally he takes a -2 to any stealth check during daytime. A fail causes 1d6 damage and he gains no loot. 

Did you engage in a "session zero" where you and your players discussed what the game was going to be?

In all candor, if you did have a session zero, I would not have let the player create the character in the first place.  My house rule regarding evil characters is:
I generally run campaigns where the PCs are heroes therefore I want non-evil PCs.  That being said, I can be convinced to allow a PC to be LE or NE.  I forbid CE (even in evil campaigns).

That being said, if all the players want to play an evil campaign I will accommodate the group.   However, this does have consequences.  You will initiate the direction of the campaign; you will come up with whatever scheme you want to perpetrate and I will create obstacles to your goals.

The player would have had to convince me, as the DM, that his evil vampire character would not interfere with the "good" nature of the campaign, and he would have been hard pressed to do so (given the examples you've provided).  I have permitted PLENTY of evil characters in my campaigns over the years.  The beauty of having the player convince me is that the player also convinces him/herself and comes up with an "evil" personality and motivations that are not (necessarily) contrary to the rest of the party's goals.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
First, this is most definitely a common outcome of a group that does not do a Session Zero before actual play.

Second, alignment has no actual role in 4e, unless for some reason you want it to. So don't let anyone "blame" their actions on alignment. Alignment doesn't control characters - their players do.

To that end, your answer is really right here: "The players have no direct trouble with him being evil, but the PCs might." Presuming the whole group is interested in not having the vampire's "evil" actions be the focus of the game, then it's a simple matter of an out-of-game discussion to establish the limits of how this will play out. If the players have no trouble with him being evil, they can play their characters as such - either fine with it, or turning a blind eye, or they never seem to "catch" what he's doing, etc. The number of ways the characters could be "okay" with it in the context of the game are limited only to the imagination. As well, the number of ways the vampire could be "okay" with not robbing and killing everyone he sees are similarly infinite. So have that discussion, come to an agreement, and then move forward from there.

Additionally, get them out of towns. Put the adventures in places where mostly evil creatures can be found, far from civilized lands. If there are times when they visit towns and cities to resupply or the like, just narrate the results of their interactions there. Yeah, perhaps some people go missing and some things are stolen and maybe the vampire is chased out of town by angry farmers with pitchforks and torches, but it's just done "off-camera" so that it's not the focus of the game. You don't have to play out every single moment of the game with dice.

Finally, remind the players that PVP doesn't really work in D&D, so it's off the table and they should really work this out ahead of the game with a conversation outside the context of the game. And/or just tell them that the outcome of any sort of character vs. character attack (or the like) such as the party paladin trying to smite the vampire is determined by the target of said attack. No dice or mechanics need apply.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Alignment is the biggest issue (in any edition) because of the guidelines players are 'expected' to follow. Throw it out the window. If he chooses to act whether openly or covertly in ways that can affect the rest of the group, make sure he knows the consequences of his actions. Alternatively, make it so he gets captured- no way around it; and have the rest of the group need to 'rescue' him or something so he realizes that he is causing grief among the group.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
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[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
Alternatively, make it so he gets captured- no way around it; and have the rest of the group need to 'rescue' him or something so he realizes that he is causing grief among the group.



OP: You're potentially setting yourself up for arguments and/or a continuing adversarial relationship with your players if you do this.

Handle it like an adult outside the context of the game with a direct conversation so that everyone has the same expectations.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
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Was the quotation to agree with my post or contradict it? The only reason I suggested doing it that way was because no matter WHAT you say to people, sometimes it just doesn't sink in and they need to see a cause and effect example of their behavior.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
Was the quotation to agree with my post or contradict it? The only reason I suggested doing it that way was because no matter WHAT you say to people, sometimes it just doesn't sink in and they need to see a cause and effect example of their behavior.



I'm disagreeing with the advice I quoted. If you have a discussion with the players and they all agree to a certain set of expectations prior to continuing play, and one player decides he doesn't want to abide by his agreement, then this is an out-of-game problem that requires steps to correct outside the context of the game, possibly even removal of that player from the group.

There is a long sad history of people trying to resolve player disputes with in-game consequences. As a new DM, the OP is well advised to not go down this road. He or she need only look as far as these forums to see the wreckage of campaigns and groups that have attempted to do this. It's not worth the risk. Approach the problem directly, discuss it openly and honestly, come to consensus, and hold others to their agreements.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  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

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

You're right, but like I said, sometimes people need to be shown a reaction to their behavior to get a point across.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
Hi, I am a new DM and I am playing with new players (meaning this is the first time we all play D&D). Most of the players made "normal" good PCs, but this one guy decided to go for an evil vampire.

It was nice of you to allow him to do that. Was there any discussion of how that might go, considering that you had a lawful cleric in the group? One wonders why a vampire and cleric would travel together at all. It must be a pretty interesting reason.

On the road outside of Winterhaven are three graves along the road. The Vampire of course wanted to dig them up and look for some loot. (That didn’t sit well with the lawful cleric.)

Why not, particularly? There are no rules that address ghoulish behavior like that, and players generally aren't "allowed" to invent details such as laws.

But, okay, I'm not actually surprised by that reaction. Did the player want to roleplay that way, or did they feel they were required to?

  I told the vampire that the gravestones read something like “Here lays Jimmy, Bob and Jane Dolton” with the sub text “Poor in life…. Still poor” Gave everyone a good laugh, but more importantly the vampire didn’t dig it up. (However he went back later without the party and did it anyway)

Ok, this is blocking. It's very gentle blocking, but it's blocking. If the cleric player had don't anything to dissuade the vampire player from digging up the graves, that would also have been blocking, by which I mean doing something directly or indirectly to prevent, discourage or negate a player choice. It's almost never necessary, but adopting an approach of not doing it, and instead accepting and adding on to the choice, takes some practice.

The confusing bit in this kind of situation is that when you have two characters with conflicting goals like "break the law" vs. "uphold the law" it seems like one is blocking the other whenever either one acts toward those goals. If one of them takes independent action, not as a reaction to the other, but as a free choice, then I don't see that as blocking. The block is the reaction to it. If blocking is allowed and encouraged, then the best case scenario is that neither of them ever makes any interesting progress along their goal, because the other is always negating them. It's more likely that they'll either avoid each other, which causes the group to fly apart, or escalate their blocking to actual combat.

If at least a small amount of "Yes, and..." is present, that is if the players agree to have their characters "go along" in some sense and if the players build off of the other's choices, then interesting things can happen. It might be an in-game conflict, but the players themselves will be making it interesting, not just trying to prevent the other player from doing their "thing." The important part is that the players be on the same side, even if their characters aren't.

It's not always easy to see how to accept and add on to ideas, and when it's not, ask the players, and ask them leading questions. "Okay, you dig up the graves. Two are nothing special, just wooden caskets with shrouded skeletons inside, and nothing with anything but sentimental value. The third is very interesting. What makes it so interesting?"

Finally, if you really need to block, at least do what you can to make it interesting, again asking the players if you're not sure how. After all, in the real world there are methods employed to prevent the dead from rising or being disturbed, so in a world in which vampires, ghosts, ghouls and necromancers exist not only would those methods also exist, but they would work. "Okay, you dig up the graves. Two are nothing special, just wooden caskets with shrouded skeletons inside, and nothing with anything but sentimental value. The third is warded against this exact kind of disturbance. You can't even touch it and being in the hole with it is painful. How exactly is it protected?"

Once they got into town and visited the market the Vampire decided to try robing the smithy. In hind sight I ran a way to easy skill challenge for him on that so he got away and became wanted in town. He got some nice loot as well (couple of platinum).

That sounds good, but it still seems like you were interested in seeing it prevented in some way, by your reference to a "too easy" skill challenge. And he succeeded, but he's still wanted. You have to consider what this gets you. Are people going to come after the vampire and confront him? This will put him in the position of having to (and having an excuse to) kill more townsfolk. Or, if you make the townsfolk powerful enough to kill or capture the vampire, you've put the player in the position of dealing with a pretty boring outcome (the death of his character, or imprisonment). Is that where you and the players want to see the game go?

The question I would like to discuss here is what would you do or suggest I do to help manage this PCs action not to totally ruin the game for everyone else but at the same time not to spoil his fun in being evil?

Well, how exactly are his actions ruining the game for everyone else? The cleric still gets to deal with lawbreakers, even if he doesn't touch the one on his own team. Having a wanted team member might cause issues, but I assume you were the one who chose that outcome.

So, thus far, I don't see a huge issue, but let's say the vampire decides to kill a key NPC, or destroy a key item or edifice. Pretty much anything can fall under "Say, 'Yes, and...' or ask the players how to say 'Yes, and...'" as long as the player isn't deliberately trying to waste everyone else's time, which most people aren't. So, I guess determine that, first. Make sure everyone is there to, if not actively entertain the others, at least not waste the others' time. Then find out what everyone considers a waste of their time, and get everyone to agree to avoid things like that, including you.

Good luck.

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


It was nice of you to allow him to do that. Was there any discussion of how that might go, considering that you had a lawful cleric in the group? One wonders why a vampire and cleric would travel together at all. It must be a pretty interesting reason.

Well the story might not be completely water tight, especially since it’s the first time we play. We made up a story together that in life the vampire had fought was an ally with the Dwarf cleric’s clan. From a deep seeded sense of dwarf loyalty, he feels he owe the vampire right to live. This is what prevents him from killing the vampire. The vampire doesn’t really mind the company of others, and travel with the party to provide him with a “medium” to book his rooms and resupply him when needed. Most NPCs aren’t real welcoming of vampires so he tries to keep himself in the background and concealed under his heavy robes.
Why not, particularly? There are no rules that address ghoulish behavior like that, and players generally aren't "allowed" to invent details such as laws.


But, okay, I'm not actually surprised by that reaction. Did the player want to roleplay that way, or did they feel they were required to?


The cleric didn’t have any lawful reason for not wanting to take part in this, but felt that the dead should be allowed to rest in peace. He actually played it so that he walked away giving the vampire opportunity to dig without him taking part.
Ok, this is blocking. It's very gentle blocking, but it's blocking. If the cleric player had don't anything to dissuade the vampire player from digging up the graves, that would also have been blocking, by which I mean doing something directly or indirectly to prevent, discourage or negate a player choice. It's almost never necessary, but adopting an approach of not doing it, and instead accepting and adding on to the choice, takes some practice.

 The reason I presented it like that wasn’t particularly to prevent the vampire from digging up the graves, but to give the entire group a hint that there was nothing to find. The group has in past encounters been needlessly thorough when looting and I try to drop a few hints when there is nothing to find.  Otherwise they would turn every last stone looking for loot. And I obviously can’t say yes, and… for everything they try to loot.
That sounds good, but it still seems like you were interested in seeing it prevented in some way, by your reference to a "too easy" skill challenge. And he succeeded, but he's still wanted. You have to consider what this gets you. Are people going to come after the vampire and confront him? This will put him in the position of having to (and having an excuse to) kill more townsfolk. Or, if you make the townsfolk powerful enough to kill or capture the vampire, you've put the player in the position of dealing with a pretty boring outcome (the death of his character, or imprisonment). Is that where you and the players want to see the game go?

I didn’t want to prevent it in any way, but it was a terrible skill challenge on my part. By that I mean there was no real challenge. The action of robbing the smithy caught me by surprise and I gave no thought to what the consequences might be for a failure. As such I also gave him ridiculously easy DCs to gain success.  
Well, how exactly are his actions ruining the game for everyone else? The cleric still gets to deal with lawbreakers, even if he doesn't touch the one on his own team. Having a wanted team member might cause issues, but I assume you were the one who chose that outcome.

Yes I came up with that outcome. I see what you mean and so far his actions have not really spoiled anything. The other players don’t seem to mind his out-of-the-box thinking, but they do mind if he gets away with truckloads of loot and doesn’t share. As such I have in cooperation with the players set forth a couple of house rules regarding the robbing of NCPs their shops and homes. These rules make it faster for us to handle him robbing some houses while the others sleep, so that the group doesn’t have to sit around and watch as me and him play out the events for 30 minutes. Also we have limited the amount of loot that he might get from such an action and added some chance of getting caught and or damaged. 

 

The vampire doesn’t really mind the company of others, and travel with the party to provide him with a “medium” to book his rooms and resupply him when needed. Most NPCs aren’t real welcoming of vampires so he tries to keep himself in the background and concealed under his heavy robes.

I'd consider asking the player to develop more of a reason why his vampire needs the others. If they're just his go-betweens that's something, but other vampire would have thralls for that. Why does he need the heroes, over whom he has no real sway?

The cleric didn’t have any lawful reason for not wanting to take part in this, but felt that the dead should be allowed to rest in peace. He actually played it so that he walked away giving the vampire opportunity to dig without him taking part.

Ok, that sounds pretty mild to me. The player didn't block and didn't feel compelled to block.

The reason I presented it like that wasn’t particularly to prevent the vampire from digging up the graves, but to give the entire group a hint that there was nothing to find. The group has in past encounters been needlessly thorough when looting and I try to drop a few hints when there is nothing to find.  Otherwise they would turn every last stone looking for loot. And I obviously can’t say yes, and… for everything they try to loot.

I see what you're saying. But actually, you can say "Yes, and..." for everything they want to loot. If the players are interested in some part of the world, it can be made interesting for them. That doesn't mean everything has to have ready gold in it. But how about this: what if the vampire dug up the grave and found that the lid of one of the coffins had a strange symbol or map or prophecy scratched onto the inside of it, something that seemed to relate to dwarves, or the paladin's religion or something else? Their explorations have been rewarded but not directly with money.

(If the vampire doesn't want to share things he finds that can be an issue. I recommend using finds that are better dealt with by other members of the party, such as a symbol that requires training in Religion (not just a Religion check) to decipher, letting all the players know about the find (and not minding if their characters also use that knowledge in some way, even ironically), and making it clear to the vampire player that his finds are intended to benefit all.

I didn’t want to prevent it in any way, but it was a terrible skill challenge on my part. By that I mean there was no real challenge. The action of robbing the smithy caught me by surprise and I gave no thought to what the consequences might be for a failure. As such I also gave him ridiculously easy DCs to gain success.

I recommend always considering failure. It's at least as important as considering success, and perhaps more so. Boring success is still success, but boring failure (or easy success due to potentially boring failure) can cause major problems. It takes some practice to focus on failure. I usually ask the players for help figuring out what good stakes would be.

Yes I came up with that outcome. I see what you mean and so far his actions have not really spoiled anything. The other players don’t seem to mind his out-of-the-box thinking, but they do mind if he gets away with truckloads of loot and doesn’t share. As such I have in cooperation with the players set forth a couple of house rules regarding the robbing of NCPs their shops and homes. These rules make it faster for us to handle him robbing some houses while the others sleep, so that the group doesn’t have to sit around and watch as me and him play out the events for 30 minutes. Also we have limited the amount of loot that he might get from such an action and added some chance of getting caught and or damaged.

What happens if he gets caught?

You're smart to have rules that keep a single characters' excursions quick. I think you'd also benefit from making his acquisitions less about money, and more about things he learns that can draw him and the rest of the party into more adventure.

Good luck.

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

However, out of combat the vampire keeps doing all kinds of unexpected stuff that totally conflicts with the others. As an example this stuff happened as they traveled to Winterhaven (we are running Keep on the Shadowfell).

Does it annoy the other players out of game? If no, whatever let him keep at it and enjoy himself. If yes, talk to him and explain why that sort of behavior is not acceptable and you'd appreciate if he rerolled a PC more suited for the current party. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

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It's definitely interesting when there are evil characters. It gets a little difficult. 

I say, if it could warrant a punishment or some kind of negative consequence, go ahead and give him that consequence. If he tries to steal from a smithy in a town, the town guards will be after him. 

I also like to prompt the good or lawful good characters to help rein in the characters who "step out of line". We have a lawful good fighter in one group, and a good cleric in the second group. If one of the evil or troublemaking neutral characters begins doing something questionable or out of line, I like to turn to the good people with raised brow like, "what will you do about this?" Good characters often won't let those things slide if they're roleplaying their alignment.
I say, if it could warrant a punishment or some kind of negative consequence, go ahead and give him that consequence. If he tries to steal from a smithy in a town, the town guards will be after him.

How do you make that fun for the player, though?

I also like to prompt the good or lawful good characters to help rein in the characters who "step out of line". We have a lawful good fighter in one group, and a good cleric in the second group. If one of the evil or troublemaking neutral characters begins doing something questionable or out of line, I like to turn to the good people with raised brow like, "what will you do about this?" Good characters often won't let those things slide if they're roleplaying their alignment.

Why do players have to police their friends? What if they choose not to? What if they choose to, and escalate it to PC-vs.-PC violence? I'm just having trouble seeing how it's worth the risk of it going badly.

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

I say, if it could warrant a punishment or some kind of negative consequence, go ahead and give him that consequence. If he tries to steal from a smithy in a town, the town guards will be after him.

How do you make that fun for the player, though?


Here's an example. The chaotic neutral thief in my group who's always "making trouble" is played by a guy with a really good sense of humor. So he's not the type to get angry about in-game consequences to his actions. We (and I as DM) believe that 'fun' isn't defined by a lack of consequences for unlawful actions or allowing players to get away with anything and everything. It's also fun for the thief to accidentally piss off the wrong shopkeep, who sends some local thugs to find him at the tavern, and kick him out of town. Thereby requiring him to get his friends to help him out, which may result in -2 penalties to streetwise checks for the whole group. Since he wants to make trouble, it's also fun for him to actually get in trouble. But then he has his team to answer to.
So for the OP, the situation mentioned before of robbing graves may not end with any kind of consequence. But if he keeps doing it everywhere he goes, well someone will eventually notice. Probably. Maybe someone will catch him one day, and report him to authorities. That, in turn, might make it more difficult for the character to get around unnoticed in certain towns or areas.

I also like to prompt the good or lawful good characters to help rein in the characters who "step out of line". We have a lawful good fighter in one group, and a good cleric in the second group. If one of the evil or troublemaking neutral characters begins doing something questionable or out of line, I like to turn to the good people with raised brow like, "what will you do about this?" Good characters often won't let those things slide if they're roleplaying their alignment.

Why do players have to police their friends? What if they choose not to? What if they choose to, and escalate it to PC-vs.-PC violence? I'm just having trouble seeing how it's worth the risk of it going badly.


Why wouldn't players police their friends? I don't see any reason why a lawful good character's player wouldn't argue with their friend about doing something 'wrong'. He's not going to sit by and watch the thief take all the gold for himself. He's going to stop the thief and say "hey, we all worked for this, we should all share the wealth equally. You don't get to keep it all." In fact, I think if the non-evil characters didn't say anything and allowed evil characters to walk all over them all the time, taking all the loot and treasure, killing innocent townsfolk, etc, they would be the ones not having any fun. The good cleric isn't going to stand to the side and watch the evil warlock and necromancer sacrifice humans she just rescued. 
Therefore, I don't see any risk of it going badly. 

I should also mention that in both my groups, the other players/characters have grown to trust the good/lawful good characters in their party to act as the moral compass. It also helps that our lawful good dwarf is a strong, heavily armored fighter, and his best bud is the equally strong, heavily armored dragonborn warlord. No one's getting past those two.

In the end, it comes down to maturity. Is OP's evil vampire player mature enough to handle consequences for his character's actions? The evil characters in my group are mature adults who can separate the jokes and game and their characters from themselves. The players' actions have effects on the world their characters are in, and therefore the players should enjoy cause and effect of consequences to their actions. If not, then I don't know what game they're playing, but it's not D&D.
Here's an example. The chaotic neutral thief in my group who's always "making trouble" is played by a guy with a really good sense of humor. So he's not the type to get angry about in-game consequences to his actions. We (and I as DM) believe that 'fun' isn't defined by a lack of consequences for unlawful actions or allowing players to get away with anything and everything.

Who does?

It's also fun for the thief to accidentally piss off the wrong shopkeep, who sends some local thugs to find him at the tavern, and kick him out of town. Thereby requiring him to get his friends to help him out, which may result in -2 penalties to streetwise checks for the whole group.

Why wouldn't it result in a bunch of dead thugs? Or in his friends not wanting to get involved? There's a consequence, sure, but apparently for its own sake. So while fun could arise from this, I'm not really sure it's likely to without a plan for it.

Since he wants to make trouble, it's also fun for him to actually get in trouble.

Ah, but that's not a truism. A player might want to make trouble (such as executing a string of robberies), but not actually want to get into trouble.

But then he has his team to answer to.

And how is that fun for them to act as the police on him?

So for the OP, the situation mentioned before of robbing graves may not end with any kind of consequence. But if he keeps doing it everywhere he goes, well someone will eventually notice. Probably. Maybe someone will catch him one day, and report him to authorities. That, in turn, might make it more difficult for the character to get around unnoticed in certain towns or areas.

Ok, I get that. What I don't get is why that is fun.

Why wouldn't players police their friends?

Because they're not the police. They're not responsible for the actions of their friends.

I don't see any reason why a lawful good character's player wouldn't argue with their friend about doing something 'wrong'.

Because argument is boring. Even when it's between friends playing out a scene, it's boring, unless there's an interesting question and that question has an interesting answer.

He's not going to sit by and watch the thief take all the gold for himself. He's going to stop the thief and say "hey, we all worked for this, we should all share the wealth equally. You don't get to keep it all."

Unless the thief did do all the work himself, such as on nighttime heists.

In fact, I think if the non-evil characters didn't say anything and allowed evil characters to walk all over them all the time, taking all the loot and treasure, killing innocent townsfolk, etc, they would be the ones not having any fun.

Not having any fun? They still adventure, right? They're still playing the game.

The good cleric isn't going to stand to the side and watch the evil warlock and necromancer sacrifice humans she just rescued.
Therefore, I don't see any risk of it going badly.

What you describe - blocking by the players, leading to (likely physical) intervention - is almost the definition of "going badly." Except in the rare case in which the player is actually fine with the other player's action and isn't trying to stop it but is trying to make an interesting scene that's about their relationship, it's not going to go well for one player to block the other.

In the end, it comes down to maturity. Is OP's evil vampire player mature enough to handle consequences for his character's actions? The evil characters in my group are mature adults who can separate the jokes and game and their characters from themselves. The players' actions have effects on the world their characters are in, and therefore the players should enjoy cause and effect of consequences to their actions. If not, then I don't know what game they're playing, but it's not D&D.

Consequences are not inherently interesting just because they're plausible or logical. It's plausible and logical that the characters should be slaughtered by the outer defenses of the enemy's hideout, but that's not generally considered a desireable outcome because the DM wants the characters to get further in. No, players are only expected to be "mature" and "handle consequences" when it's something that the DM doesn't want the group or a player to do. Players who for some reason don't like spending their time on boring consequences had better just behave themselves, because the DM sure as heck isn't going to aim to give them fun (for the players) consequences since that would be "rewarding" behavior the DM dislikes.

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

I’m seeing some interesting points here and think the question I am most interested in is how to play out the consequences of the vampires actions.
Similar to what ashenahle is saying my vampire player also has a good sense of humor so his actions are mostly to entertain, and be unexpected.


I agree with most of what you are saying Centauri, and even though most of your points on what is fun for the group and players are a very personal preference kind of issue, it holds true for my group.


They are not interested in policing the vampire and, arguments between characters are boring. That’s why the vampire plays out most of his “evil” actions in private.


The main concern from some of the players are that he gets a lot more loot than them and they feel “unbalanced” in their economy. You gave some good advice on this already:

But actually, you can say "Yes, and..." for everything they want to loot. If the players are interested in some part of the world, it can be made interesting for them. That doesn't mean everything has to have ready gold in it. But how about this: what if the vampire dug up the grave and found that the lid of one of the coffins had a strange symbol or map or prophecy scratched onto the inside of it, something that seemed to relate to dwarves, or the paladin's religion or something else? Their explorations have been rewarded but not directly with money.


The main concern I have as a DM is how to play out the consequences so that he feels there is a risk associated with what he’s doing. This is somewhat of a balancing act, as to what a natural reaction would be from the NPC on what he’s doing and what would still be fun for him and the party.


I say, if it could warrant a punishment or some kind of negative consequence, go ahead and give him that consequence. If he tries to steal from a smithy in a town, the town guards will be after him.

How do you make that fun for the player, though? 


If he steals from a vendor and get caught, what happens? The logical thing would be jail, but that makes for a couple of really boring sessions for the player that has to sit there and watch the others play. One could possibly stretch this to where stealing does not give jail time but takes all his money instead.


But what happens if he tries to kill someone in town (someone good)? A natural response would definitely be jail or possibly death. A fine makes no sense, and he could potentially give me some greife, if he kills someone that I was planning on being instrumental for the plot. Also I will have to get stats for all NPCs just incase he decides to fight them.


The whole issue for us in this particular case comes down to the following: House rules.


I lay down the law (thru discussion with the group). The characters and players are not opposed to having him with them as long as his actions don’t unnaturally gain him an advantage above the others. This is handled with giving him rewards for his interesting and fun actions that are not necessarily monetarily, and if so not an insane amount. His thieving actions will have consequences if he is caught or seen doing it. He might become wanted in town and therefor has to spend his time outside or do random stealth checks at my whim while in town not to get caught. If he gets caught there is a hefty fine involved.  


The biggest problem will be if he kills someone. Murder is not acceptable behavior in any NPC town, and will suffer the consequence of jail time or death. I have talked to him and he understands that in such an event I will not play the game in his favor, but follow a logical natural reaction to such behavior (jail or death). This will probably lead to him having to reroll if he chooses to try killing an innocent NPC.


 

Similar to what ashenahle is saying my vampire player also has a good sense of humor so his actions are mostly to entertain, and be unexpected.

Good. This means that he's probably bought into the idea of not making the game boring for the other players.

They are not interested in policing the vampire and, arguments between characters are boring. That’s why the vampire plays out most of his “evil” actions in private.

That's a great place to start from. It means the players are bought into the idea of not blocking the player.

The main concern from some of the players are that he gets a lot more loot than them and they feel “unbalanced” in their economy. You gave some good advice on this already:

I'm glad you found that advice good. The only other main concern I'd expect players to have would be with one player taking up time, which is a classic issue with "lone-wolf" type characters. But it sounds like you have already solved this problem.

The main concern I have as a DM is how to play out the consequences so that he feels there is a risk associated with what he’s doing. This is somewhat of a balancing act, as to what a natural reaction would be from the NPC on what he’s doing and what would still be fun for him and the party.

The number one thing to keep in mind is that you're all playing a game on your free time, and so whatever the risk is should not involve risking the player's enjoyment of the game. You say he has a good sense of humor, but everyone has a limit, and trust is a commodity that can be used either wisely or frivolously.

I say, if it could warrant a punishment or some kind of negative consequence, go ahead and give him that consequence. If he tries to steal from a smithy in a town, the town guards will be after him.

How do you make that fun for the player, though?

If he steals from a vendor and get caught, what happens? The logical thing would be jail, but that makes for a couple of really boring sessions for the player that has to sit there and watch the others play. One could possibly stretch this to where stealing does not give jail time but takes all his money instead.

If you can't find a way to make a particular consequence interesting for everyone at the table, take that consequence off the table.

But what happens if he tries to kill someone in town (someone good)? A natural response would definitely be jail or possibly death.

Assuming he gets caught.

A fine makes no sense, and he could potentially give me some greife, if he kills someone that I was planning on being instrumental for the plot.

Don't plan on any NPC being instrumental to the plot. Always have trapdoors, for both PCs and NPCs. Or, don't have a plot. Or other options, that I'll suggest below.

Also I will have to get stats for all NPCs just incase he decides to fight them.

Nah, don't both. He's a PC, they're NPCs. He can probably kill most of them without even rolling.

The whole issue for us in this particular case comes down to the following: House rules.

I lay down the law (thru discussion with the group). The characters and players are not opposed to having him with them as long as his actions don’t unnaturally gain him an advantage above the others. This is handled with giving him rewards for his interesting and fun actions that are not necessarily monetarily, and if so not an insane amount. His thieving actions will have consequences if he is caught or seen doing it. He might become wanted in town and therefor has to spend his time outside or do random stealth checks at my whim while in town not to get caught. If he gets caught there is a hefty fine involved.  

The biggest problem will be if he kills someone. Murder is not acceptable behavior in any NPC town, and will suffer the consequence of jail time or death. I have talked to him and he understands that in such an event I will not play the game in his favor, but follow a logical natural reaction to such behavior (jail or death). This will probably lead to him having to reroll if he chooses to try killing an innocent NPC.

There are other ways, if you want to look at them.

What you list above can probably work, but look at what you're doing. You're "laying down the law," which even if it's just a turn of phrase seems unfortunate to me, in the case of gaming with friends. You're not their boss or their parent. You're an authority on issues of rules (though you don't even have to be that), but shouldn't be the authority on how they enjoy their time. But I imagine that "laying down the law" is the only way you see to help everyone (including you) take approximately equal enjoyment from their time.

But there are other ways.

I'll talk about one way that just struck me to deal with the vampire acquiring extra good. I'll list the others by name so I can remember them later
Thieves Guild
Lucky Escape

I've been watching a lot of Burn Notice lately. In that show, there's an overarching story that is dealt with in each episode, but each episode also has its own mostly-self-contained story. There are also unexplored references to character activity outside of the show, such as one character running guns, or another who trades favors with his contacts. So, one thing you might try is giving the other players money equivalent to what the vampire acquires and doing so via short, mostly narrated "odd jobs" that they do when they're not adventuring.

This would probably work best (as you'll find many things do) if you give the players some narrative control. Start with "And the rest of you earn an equal amount, in money and favors, by helping out someone in a town with a problem they're having." List off some possible problems, and ask for ideas, and then pursue one of those. Don't play it out, just describe it, because it's something that the PCs can definitely accomplish, but how they accomplish it might be interesting.

For instance, one of the barmaids is getting harrassed. The players describe how their characters help her out (running the harrassers out of town, tricking them, talking to them, teaching her how to defend herself, etc. or all of the above), and she repays them. It's not much, of course, but - huh, go figure - it precisely matches per person what the vampire is able to acquire on his own. And it need not all be money. The barmaid's uncle is the blacksmith, or something, and the PCs can ask favors from him equal to a certain value of gold. Whatever, the bottom line is that the vampire gets to do what he wants to do, and the players aren't at a monetary disadvantage.

As in Burn Notice, these favors can occur in parallel to whatever they're doing in the town. I get that the vampire is doing his thing while the others are sleeping, but I'm going to be that there are other times during their stay in town in which they're awake and not doing anything and could be doing these mini-missions. Even if it would edge into their sleeping time, the rush they get from doing a good deed in the city is refreshing enough to make up for it.

That's enough for now. Let me know if you have questions about that.

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

This is not an uncommon discussion point. I actually tend to think that evil PCs work fine in a group, as long as the person playing the evil character still has a mindset towards the game as a whole.

Evil people can have friends, form relationships, and be trustworthy (to an extent). Assuming the group is somewhat familiar with the rules (I mean the group rules.. not really the "game" rules, per se) and comfortable with the whole trust issue, "evil character in good group" isn't an automatic recipe for disaster.

The evil PC could be along for common goals (revenge on that guy who wronged us all!) or even because his buddy from childhood is in the group ("I don't know why you hang out with these losers, but the money is good.."), but his threshold might be different. ("Holy crap, the fighter just went down and the cleric doesn't look like he has any magic left. I can either toss him this last healing potion I'm carrying, or just leg it out of here. Feet, don't fail me now!")

It just requires that the group is comfortable with each other... the players, not the characters.

edit: which is really why I generally don't game outside the group I've been gaming with since high school, lo these long aeons hence... I'm lucky like that though!
So many PCs, so little time...
Evil people can have friends, form relationships, and be trustworthy (to an extent).

In "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," a character defines the difference between "honest" and "trustworthy." Basically, someone can be honest, but not trustworthy, if they're upfront about the fact that they shouldn't be relied on, such as if someone knows they're not up to as task. Someone can be trustworthy but not honest, if they are dishonest but it would be to their disadvantage to break trust, such as if they only aren't robbing you because you can report them.

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

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