Page 1067 - Suffering Foretold

22nd May 2018, 6:00 AM
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Suffering Foretold
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 22nd May 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
There's a thought in my head – "It's not often you face a villain that you really hate" – that leads down a fascinating rabbit hole.

I was watching some other tabletop streams and VODs the other day, and there was a moment where a sweet, fun-loving player gave into their anger for a hot minute and did something rather atrocious. When gently called out on it later on, the player believed themselves sort of in the right but couldn't really defend it. And my thought at the time was, "Yeah, that's common."

Do we actually not experience very much genuine anger and hatred in these games, despite being waist-deep in "monsters" and "villains"? (Assuming ideal group conditions, of course.) Are we unprepared for the moments where real hate consumes us? Is that where we get the murder-hobo archetype, or nice people momentarily turning into monsters and not being able to come to terms with what they did after? We're expected as adults / young adults to be able to contain and control our emotions, after all, and knowing who you'll become when the consequences are virtual and you're beyond your limit is kind of impossible.

Sorry, didn't mean to get all goth and go on a tangent. ...Well, I committed this to the Author's Note, so I guess I did. But I find it fascinating that, for a moment, this game sometimes gives us a glimpse into the abyss inside ourselves. Usually without any greater cost than weirding out your friends and becoming a running gag for a while.


Zaftique 22nd May 2018, 6:18 AM edit delete reply
My BF is in a game I DM, and when my green dragon NPC sweetly threatened them into becoming her temporary thralls (1 month Geas spell), he was almost shaking with anger.

In fairness, someone had stolen her eggs, so she was in a desperate spot herself, but he's convinced that they're going to find the eggs and she's just going to murder them after. Maybe I played her too well? ;)
Achtungnight 22nd May 2018, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
He who fights monsters should take care he does not become a monster. When you gaze into an abyss it gazes back at you.
Digo Dragon 22nd May 2018, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
But then you have people like The Operative in the movie Serenity who fully acknowledge that they are a monster and despite doing what they do for a better world, know that there will be no place fore them there once their work is done. Those are the scary monsters.
Freelance 22nd May 2018, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
There's a trope for that:
Heck, that's the trope's headline quote.
Matt Reverse 22nd May 2018, 6:37 AM edit delete reply
Matt Reverse
"There'd better be some very fulfilling catharsis at the end of this."

Ooooooooh Twilight. You're in for a treat.
Digo Dragon 22nd May 2018, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I got two examples where my character had real hate for the villain.

My medic in a pony cyberpunk military campaign, Lt. Rose Croix, and her ward, temple acolyte Anaki, ended up trapped in a room with the big bad, a casino owner who keeps his employees virtually as slaves by way of fear tactics and blackmail. When he attempted to have Rose and Anaki murdered by his security forces to use as scapegoats, we fought back. Rose was particularly vicious to him in the fight: she shot off one hoof to disarm him, tried shooting him in the kidney (the guy had armor), and then finally killed him with a precise shot through the neck. There were a few shocked reactions around the table over that fight.

Soon after, we found out the villain was using a mind-reading creature to keep tabs on his employees and held their children hostage in a vault. So... some justification there? Perhaps.

My medic in a Fallout Equestria campaign, Doc Wagon, along with teen spellcaster The Great Dichoro, got into a battle against a ghoul batpony spy who tried to kill the head doctor at a still-operational hospital. Dichoro was badly shot in the fight, but managed the knockout blow using a powerful illusion spell. Doc took the ruthless option and shot the spy in the face at point blank range, blowing his head apart. That surprised a lot of people, but the spy hasn't cause a problem since then.
Winged Cat 22nd May 2018, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
It would be rather concerning if the spy was still causing trouble after that.
Discord 22nd May 2018, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Now, if you don't mind; I have some funny blue flowers to plant, a moon to carve, and houses that needs some very realistic flames(non burning of course).
gamemaster80 22nd May 2018, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
One of the first times I played DnD was 4E. Now I was in a large group, there were 8 of us and the DM. My character had contracted Mummy Rot and we were a few days away from a city that had a powerful enough cleric to heal me, but everyone, and I do mean everyone, else took my character's ticking clock as an excuse to continue with our current quest.

That all ready had me a little miffed, but I stayed quiet after giving my in-character excuse to head back (and out of character being "I'm the only ranger, the only person here with the skills necessary to survive traveling in the desert, etc.).

So after fighting some jackles, the leader of the group finally decides we should head back to the city. Now at this point I'm taking a good chunk of penalties from mummy rot and I'm steaming. On our way back, the DM days "you come across what at first looked like a cave entrance, but as you near it, it seems more like an ancient ruin..." Now everyone, and again I mean everyone, is immediately like "oh! Let's explore it!"

So I slam my fist down, "seriously!? I'm turning into a corpses! We have the quest item we were sent to find! We have information of an impending attack! We don't have time for this!"

Your can probably imagine the looks I got and character choose to stay outside, to slowly die, while everyone else explored what turned out to be a dragons den. A dragon who was part of the whole, bigger story of the campaign the DM was trying to run. A dragon who I flipped off, both in and out of character, but at this point I was not having fun nor was I enjoying the story or the game. The DM saw fit to have the dragon strike me with a second curse for my transgression.

Yeah, I didn't go back and the group disbanded before the next game even started. (Turns out I wasn't the only one who thought the dragon was a bit much)
Needling Haystacks 22nd May 2018, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
There are 2 ways of looking at this. One is that people are MORE likely to 'snap' when there are no real consequences, since there is no moral back-stop. I mean they're just numbers on paper, right?

The other is that they are less since detachment means they are more likely to examine things rationally.

Similarly, there are two interpretations. One is that such moments are not particularly character-defining for the player as, again, there are no real consequences. One is that they are because it means the person has gotten so into it that they view the world as, on some level, 'real' for the purposes of psychological reaction.

I tend toward the former in both cases. It's just a game after all, you shouldn't take it so seriously that your sense of morality is tied to it.
Hankroyd 22nd May 2018, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
I love the *Beep* signaling Discord hanged up.

Now for the next meeting, is he actually hiding in another room ... wait and see ...
Story Time 22nd May 2018, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
So... The talk of Newbie made me think... Usually the players fight the villain that the DM create for experience or because the quest make them but... Any story that the villain really make you very very angry? That somehow everyone want nothing more that kill him?