5/10/2011

Published on 5/10/2011 Written by 21 comments

The 5 Most Despicable Things Ever Done by Player Characters

Player characters in RPGs are generally supposed to be heroes. Many games and game masters insist their players only choose "good" alignments to enforce this assumption. However, despite everyone's best intentions, whether through accident, greed or sheer boredom, players and their characters often end up doing horrible, horrible things. I mean, in D&D alone, the "heroes" make their living by robbing graves, murdering intelligent creatures and stealing their life's savings. And that's when they're on their best behaviour.

I'm not here to preach about the morality in gaming (that's a post for another day). Today I just want to share some despicable, shouldn't-be-funny-but-they-kinda-are stories about nasty shit I've seen players pull off in the name of a "game." Without further ado...

The 5 Most Despicable Things Ever Done by Player Characters

5. In a post-apocalyptic zombie game (Dead Reign), the players were being hounded by an evil army colonel who was doing experiments on the zombies. The players defeated him, wounding him in the process, and one of them took him hostage. She stripped him naked, forced him to help her to right a jeep that had been turned over during the battle (so she could use it to escape) and then while his back was still turned SHE SHOT HIM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD. I was speechless. The player ranted that it was the correct thing to do to make sure the bad guy didn't do the same thing to her when her back was turned (and she had a point, I probably would have pulled that), but that's what BAD GUYS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

Why is it when faced with the threat of a zombie hoard, the survivors always shoot each other?

4. In an old D&D game, the party was captured by an enemy army. Some how it came about that the bad guys offered the captured PCs a chance to join their side. The goody-goody paladin refused of course, but the ranger took them up on their offer. The bad guys said that in order to prove his loyalty, the ranger had to kill the paladin. The paladin, hoping to pull of some sort of trick, knelt down and offered his neck to his companion.

PALADIN: "Do what you must."

RANGER: "Are you sure?"

PALADIN: (Winks, nods)

DM: "Okay, what do you do?"

RANGER: "I cut his fucking head off."

I ruled that since the paladin was unarmed, exposed and basically giving him a free shot, the ranger scored an automatic double-damage critical hit and killed him on the spot. Maybe that was a bit of a jerky thing for me to do, but hey, he asked for it. I think the paladin's player actually went in the bathroom and cried after that.

So many of my campaigns end this way. I don't know why.

3. Same two players from the above example, but in a Star Wars campaign. The ranger was a smuggler this time, and the paladin was a bounty hunter. They group had only recently banded together and was fleeing some stormtroopers, and the smuggler got back to the ship first. He locked the bounty hunter out.

BOUNTY HUNTER: "Let me in!"

SMUGGLER: "I barely know you! How do I know I can trust you?"

BOUNTY HUNTER: "How can I prove you can trust me?"

SMUGGLER: "Put your head on my gun." (Referring to the turbolaser turret on the underside of his spaceship)

Faced with a charging squadron of stormtroopers, the bounty hunter had no choice but to comply.

GM: "Okay, what do you do?"

SMUGGLER: "I pull the fucking trigger."

The bounty hunter complained about not getting a defence roll, but c'mon. He really should have learned his lesson with the Paladin.

2. Rifts. One of my most hated games, but I had to include this one because I was the despicable player in this example and I wanted to be fair. I got to be a player in Rifts because I hated it too much to GM, so if my group wanted to play, someone else had to run it. Didn't mean I had to like it or play nicely. As we traveled through the world I picked up hopeless children and orphans and dragged them along behind us, feeding them and keeping them alive. Eventually, when I had about fifty and we found a big enough pit, I threw all of them into it with knives and clubs and told them to fight their way out. The lone survivor came out traumatized and psychologically scarred. I sold him for a fortune to a slaver as an arena gladiator because he was a proven bad-ass mother fucker.

1. D&D again, this time with a male player who was running a female elf thief. He ran the character for a long time, and she was pretty kick-ass. She was a master cat burglar, head of the thieves' guild, feared by everyone. On one adventure she was hit with some sort of acid/fire trap that horribly disfigured her. The player was horrified. "I can't play her if she's ugly!" he wailed. I joked that maybe if she bathed in the blood of virgins, she could cast a spell to restore the character's looks.

So he did. He murdered seven innocent young women so that his character wouldn't be ugly. Should I have let him? You be the judge.

This is why male players shouldn't play female characters.

Another fun fact? The guy running the female elf thief was the same guy who spent the whole Call of Cthulhu adventure going on a date.

There you have it. Five stories about the terrible things players do in games. Maybe they were right about D&D in the 80s, when they said it turned kids into murderous Satan worshipers.

Does anyone else have an awesome/horrifying stories about the terrible, terrible things they've done or seen done in an RPG? Don't worry, this is a safe place. No one will judge you here.

Like this?

21 comments:

  1. Man, those are some despicable deeds. Off the top of my head, I can't think of something a PC in one of games has done to top 'em.

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  2. Dion! ...I'm disappointed! ...I figured converting a R2D2 droid into a walking semen-disposal unit would rate in top 5! ...although, truth be told - the competition was stiff! (heh heh)

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  3. Book_ScorpionMay 11, 2011

    I love the Paladin story and I totally would have done the same as the Dead Reign player.





    I have a Deadlands story. The group got hired to take a crate to a ranch
    on the Mexican border. Of course we opened it and found a Gatling gun.
    On arrival at the village next to the Ranch, it became clear that the
    rancher was selling water to the villagers at outrageous prices and the
    group wasn't about to hand him a Gatling gun.


    So we ride up to the ranch to talk it over, but get stopped by a couple
    of henchmen who won't let us pass and are all like "you are not
    important enough to bother the boss". After five minutes the Texas
    Ranger of the group just pulls his gun and shoots the leader of the
    henchmen in the head, just because he's so annoyed by their attitude.


    We ended up killing practically everyone on that ranch (except women and
    children, the story is not that despicable) and the Ranger got killed
    as well. The player will probably never live this story down.





    Oh, and there was this Vampire round where we had to break into a
    building for some reason, killed the guard by beheading him and then
    ended up playing golf with his head. No, we were not Sabbath.


    In another round a character actually stole a baby from a hospital for a
    sacrifice. That was a Sabbath character and it was
    hilarious in a slapstick "OMG I really shouldn't be laughing at this"-
    way because the character encountered just about every obstacle possible during his mission due to bad player decisions.


    Our Vampire rounds always toed the line when it came to morality in any case - which was part of the fun for me.

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  4. My character in Dark Sun 4e right now is pretty...well, despicable is a good word for it.

    Using a series of spell-shards he procured from Andropinis, Sorcerer-King of Balic, he defiled the last bit of the Land Between the Winds (the Feywild), sucking it into a void of eldritch energy. To be fair, he's trying to use that energy to make a sea...which will drown both Gulg and Nibenay.

    Oh, and to add insult? This character's an Eladrin. The Feywild kingdom he defiled? His own...where he was once a crown prince.

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  5. CDGallant_KingMay 11, 2011

    Count yourself lucky. You live a charmed, sane life. :-)

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  6. CDGallant_KingMay 11, 2011

    That one was gross, creepy, and somewhat disturbing, but I wouldn't call it "despicable." No one besides you was abused. Well, and an android, but that hardly counts...

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  7. CDGallant_KingMay 11, 2011

    Vampire is always about doing terrible, disturbing things. I think most people use it as an excuse for being bloodthirsty super "heroes," and being able to get away with all the stuff they wish they could do in other games. I could easily write a list like this for just Vampire, so it doesn't count. ;-)


    Still, thanks for sharing!

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  8. CDGallant_KingMay 11, 2011

    See, you've passed beyond everyday despicable here into the realm of cartoon super-villainy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you're going to have to work that much harder to top yourself next time. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. SureShotMay 12, 2011

    Re: DEAD REIGN

    I still hold that what I did was totally reasonable. I was neutralizing a threat.

    The author is just freaked out because he’s married to me and doesn’t appreciate my pragmatics:

    Why waste an escape vehicle when there is someone right there to lift it for me? And why leave him alive when I KNOW he’s going to try to kill me again? Why give him a gun with which to duel, when I can make a called shot to the back of his head?

    I can’t remember why I stripped him…I’m sure there was a good reason.

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  10. Joe NelsonMay 12, 2011

    I rarely delve into despicable acts myself (although there was a lighthearted bit of fun as an evil cleric, but he got his just reward so I doubt it counts), but my players are another story, though none live up to your levels of despicable.


    At one point during our current Pathfinder campaign, three of my players were all staying in this charming little village, trying to help investigate some trouble with merchants and water rights. It involved looking into the criminal activities of a small gang of smugglers. So, while questioning one of the captured smugglers, they notice two of his allies searching from him. Mind you, at this point they realize that the other two are not armed.


    Quickly, they decide to set a trap. The bard prepares to stun the first one through the door, the druid is set with entangle, and the fighter takes up position behind the door to ambush them. Apparently, or so I am told later, the bard and druid had intentions of capturing the two unarmed men alive for more questioning. The fighter, apparently, had different plans.


    The door opens. The first man is stunned. And the fighter promptly decapitates him. The smuggler's companion fled in terror.


    And after, the fighter's player argued that it could still be construed as a chaotic good action because they were "probably bad guys". Much hilarity ensued.


    But I suppose that wasn't nearly so despicable as any of the above examples. However, though their later cowardice, they damned that entire small town to death at the hands of violent cultists, running away and only saving a gnomic shopkeeper and, ironically, the leader of the smugglers.

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  11.  Would you believe that my GM actually made the argument at one point that my character was actually the most noble of those in the party?

    It's Dark Sun, so the rest of the characters are pretty mercenary and brutal, but still!  Defiling your home-plane to build a sea, which will destroy countless lives for "the greater good"....yeah, super-villainy pretty well sums it up.  The GM and I actually have been talking about what comes next...probably becoming a Sorcerer-King, himself!

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  12. CDGallant_KingMay 13, 2011

    I'm glad you admitted to that.  I was originally going to mention who the culprit was in the list but decided against it.  I guess I was being too cautious. :-)

    I think you were making sure he didn't have any concealed weapons.  Unless it was some weird torture/humiliation thing.  Could go either way.

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  13. CDGallant_KingMay 13, 2011

    Stupid friggin' gnomes.  They're always hard to kill. 

    And don't worry if your players aren't despicable enough.  It takes practice.

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  14. JsalvatoriMay 15, 2011

    Hahaha.  I totally forgot about poor little R2 

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  15. CDGallant_KingMay 16, 2011

    ??? Did you did something to an R2? The situation mentioned above happened 5 years before I met you.  I didn't realize that using navigation droids as a man-juice bucket was a common trope in the Star Wars universe.

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  16. Gratuitous Saxon ViolenceMay 17, 2011

     I have to agree, your actions were completely reasonable, especially for the setting. Plus, years of fun sneaking up behind your paranoid husband.

    #5 is reasonable
    #4 & #3 are just plain funny
    #1 makes perfect sense from a character standpoint

    #2 is the only one close to despicable. and frankly I think the author is simply bragging, wrote the whole post just to tell this story, and made it #2 in an attempt to conceal his true motives. That. is despicable.

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  17. james MILLERMay 22, 2011

    Most of my games seem pretty vanila compared to the above posts, but my wife does have a habit of stripping dangerous enemies and chopping them into pieces just to make sure they can't come back. I don't even know why cause i can't remember a single scene where a ring of regeneration or some other trick was used to bring back a dead protagonist, but she is real consistant.

    I do have a game where one of the PC's sold out a favored NPC of the party to the enemy the NPC ended up being tortured (experimented on) to near insanity, breaking free, hunted down the PC that turned on her. He had info as to her coming and took off when she caught upto the party. They not only pointed out where he went but gave her magic and a weapon to even the odds (from a decent chance for the PC to escape to no chance in hell). Well she caught up to him turned him (she was at this point a kind of vamp spawn) and tortured him for a while before eating him. At which point we started a new campaign. i really expected the party to back a fellow player in theis situation, my bad.

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  18. CDGallant_KingMay 23, 2011

    Hey, hey, now, I am not proud of being despicable.  RIFTS just makes people do stupid things, because it is a stupid game.  You have to find some way to entertain yourself.

    And stop encouraging my wife. :-) 

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  19. CDGallant_KingMay 23, 2011

    I think it's perfectly reasonable for the party to turn on one of their own in a situation like that.  Too many times people let their buddies do horrible, horrible things.

    Yeah, my wife does exactly the same thing.  She is convinced I am out to get her and the other players, though to her credit, I have been known to have seemingly innocent bystanders stab people in the back.  Her paranoia is not totally unjustified. 

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  20. Whilst possibly not as despicable as some of your comments I once was a player in a campaign where we were basically doing Ravenloft, although the GM had added on some bits before to get us up to the right level, and had written some bits after.

    I had written up a chain-wielding dexterity based female human fighter named Arilyn.  My background had been that my family had all been killed by Drow and 'd been taken in by some Elves and mentored by one in  particular, a mage named Mhorix, who was played by one of the other players.  What I didn't know was that one of the other players had taken a Drow and that those 2 players had got together before the campaign and started and decided that in their history Mhorix had set the Drow on my town and that the Drow character (I can't remember her name) had been there when the murdered my family.

    A couple of sessions in, we were sat around after the session looking at different options.  I was making noises about wishing I could play a necromancer - specifically the True Necromancer prestige class from the Libris Mortis book.  Mhorix's player and the Drow said (out of character) they would like to kill Arilyn and let me write up a True Necromancer and join theor diabolical plan to rule the world (GM was holding his head in his hands at this stage).  I said, sure, why not, so we went back in character and they took me out to a field and Mhorix dropped a fireball on my head.  As I lay there, bleeding out, the Drow killed my pet dog then walked over to me and whispered in my ear that she had been the one that killed my parents, that Mhorix had been in on it all along, and then left me for dead.

    As it turned out I couldn't make a True Necromancer to my liking so set about writing up a Fighter who would be able to use one of the Weapons of Legacy from the book of the same name.  The GM, however, had a better idea.  He suggested that as the other 2 hadn't actually finished me off, what if someone came and rescued me in this clearing and healed me up.  Then I could wear a full suit of plate mail all the time and no-one would know it was me.  It meant having a sub-optimal character (dexterity based fighters don't do too well in full plate!) but I could have my revenge.  We went through all of the Ravenloft campaign (which we didn't enjoy - we all agreed self-written campaigns worked better for us) and, just as we'd slain the big bad, we were all at the top of a tower and I lopped the Drow in half before removing my helmet and saying something vengeful.  I won the initiative roll and then chopped Mhorix in half as well.

    We agreed from then not to have player v player actions, as they can be harmful to the group!  This was of course the same campaign that the Drow player had stolen a load of stuff from a Demon we were working for, hidden them in the backpack of the 4th player, a rogue, then told the Demon guy that he reckoned the rogue had been up to no good.  The look on the rogue's face was priceless but I did feel as I was crying with laughter that it wasn't really very nice on the PLAYER who felt we were ganging up on him...

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  21. I was running a Nightbane campaign set in the late 1800s. Two of the players hooked up with a charming and wealthy npc (Diabolic Wizard unbeknownst to them) for a session and upon his departure they wished to know how to contact him again. He gave them a large silver chalice and a raven's feather and told them to fill the chalice with fresh blood and stir it with a feather while chanting his name over it. They asked him what sort of blood was required (any would have sufficed) and he replied that that "the blood of the innocent works best" and teleported away laughing.

    Later on they were on the run from some vampires and decided that the only way out was to summon the npc as not long after nightfall the vamps and their minions would be upon them. They kidnapped a precious little 4 year old Shirley Temple-like girl and cut her throat over the chalice. The spirit of the girl haunted them for the remainder of the campaign. She would turn up at the worst possible moments and even caused them to turn on each other more than once.

    In Dead Reign the same two players shot a teenage girls kneecap out as she ran towards them for rescue while being pursued by 2 slouchers and a juggernaut (well within their ability to deal with). They then got into their vehicle and filmed the girl rise as a zombie.

    In DnD they subdued and gave a fellow player (psionic thief) to an Aboleth for 2000 gold and a few magic items.

    I love these guys lol.

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