Page 212 - The Decider

27th Nov 2012, 5:00 AM in Bridle Gossip
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The Decider
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 27th Nov 2012, 5:00 AM edit delete
It could be much worse. Apple Bloom could be behaving like your average, run-of-the-mill NPC.

Story time! Tell a story about an NPC that no one liked, maybe even hated.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 5:03 AM edit delete reply
Little sister is surprisingly informative. Nice save by the DM, though.
Digo 27th Nov 2012, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
Yes, this is one good way to tug the adventurers in the right direction. ...or at least the direction the DM wants. :D
Raxon 27th Nov 2012, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
If Applebloom is a little sister...

Yes. Big Macintosh would be perfect for the position of Big Daddy.
Kiana 27th Nov 2012, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Oi, I've been in that situation too many times... You have to carefully word everything you say to avoid forcing demands on the party.

Doesn't help that my current gaming group seems to prefer it when I say "DO THIS, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO" as opposed to letting them decide. It's... a very strange situation to be put in.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Kiana, some people just don't want that burden in their games. It may seem strange, but after several campaigns burned to the ground by guys who see it as an opportunity to indulge the inner psycho-demon child, some folks would rather leave guidance in the hands of the person least likely to do that.
Kiana 27th Nov 2012, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
Yes, I know SOME people prefer that, but I'm surprised I wound up with an entire GROUP of players where every single one seem to WANT to be railroaded.

Given, I HAVE been in a few games where the DM hated me just for asking the occasional simple question or even remotely acting outside of what he wanted my character to do.

Me: "Forget about burning the bodies, we have to hurry after the orc army."
Everybody else: "YOU'RE EVIL!"
Me: "No, my character is just PRAGMATIC."

Or how the DM got upset that the same character would rather kill a revenant assassin, rather than ask for his life story.
"He was your character's dead brother, raised from the dead!"
"Far as she was aware, he was a threat to the peace and danger to the party. Did you miss the part about being PRAGMATIC?"
Kiana 27th Nov 2012, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
Oh, or the really fun one. Same DM.

My character (same as the previous two examples, in fact!) was a member of this kingdom's army. Another player joined around the same time I did and his character was a drow rogue. A very sexed up drow rogue who acted like a complete bimbo.

But on the with the story: The DM says how we see this drow being carted around by two members of the city guard. (I think it was two, maybe only one. The city guard, at any rate.) DM then sends me a note telling me that my character has to get her released from custody so she can come with the party.

Now, note that the information he gave the ENTIRE PARTY was that she was suspected of being an assassin. So right away, I ask "Why would my character do that? She doesn't KNOW the drow or have any reason to want her released."

DM tells me I have to do it. I again ask for a reason why I should, as I can't think of any reason my pragmatic, hard ass soldier would release a suspected assassin.

So the DM has an NPC come in, declare the drow is under my character's service, and has the drow released.

And seeing as how the drow acted like a complete bimbo for the enjoyment of her perverted player, you can understand why my character spent the rest of the adventure telling the drow to shut up and then left the party the second her mission was complete.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 10:44 AM edit delete reply
It shouldn't be too hard to find groups like that when you consider the number of people who got into these games for a chance to simulate conflict and drama without having to experience it. Boy, where they in for a surprise.

A lot of us have found that the easiest way for everyone to have fun is to take our cues from the GM at all times. The best GMs roll with everything, but why push your luck looking for the trigger to the GM's RFED button?
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Thanks for making little sister the focus today, Newbiespud. I hope I'll hear from most of mine this evening.
Dragonflight 27th Nov 2012, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
Probably my favorite was a cleric of evil who was masquerading as a neutral. In the game world I put together, a Neutral-aligned god would accept prayers from literally anyone, of any belief, because this would increase his personal power base. He didn't have to go out of his way to do *anything* special, just grant prayers to any alignment that asked for them.

This had the effect of making it possible for evil clerics to masquerade as neutral or even good aligned clerics (thanks to a magic item that same god taught his few clerics to make which would cause the wearer to read as the exact opposite alignment as they really were.)

So anyway, this evil cleric has infiltrated the PC party and is acting as the NPC cleric (because no one wants to be the cleric, and this is a great opportunity to exploit a major weakness,) and her orders were to find the weakest willed members of the party, seduce them, and then use conflicting relationships to rip up party cohesion and set them against each other.

It started to work out fairly well. She managed to seduce the party's ranger (who had a "Ooh, SHINY!" character flaw, and was easily Charmed.) Then she went for the young female elf mage, who was a social introvert, and stuffed half her backpack full of romances she read by herself whenever possible. Should have been easy.

Instead, the elf mage developed a dependent relationship on the cleric, and when the PC's eventually outed the cleric, the mage spent about half a real-time year slowly converting the cleric over and breaking her ties to the demon she worshiped. Eventually she redeemed the cleric, got her hooked up with the Goddess of Prophecy (who wasn't picky about former allegiances,) and the two settled down into a happily deviant lifestyle.

I *still* shake my head when I think of that one. The cleric was originally meant to be a two-session villain, and I had almost nothing in the way of character development other than the basics. Boy did *that* one get away from me. :)
Jarimor 27th Nov 2012, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 5:09 AM edit delete reply
Adventurous and bold!
Rugsrat 27th Nov 2012, 5:27 AM edit delete reply
I don't really have a story about a specific NPC that no one likes, but I do know that there is a genre that I don't like: the cryptic NPC that will not give you any specifics, but still insist that you go along with whatever plan they have in mind. Made especially irritating when they're more powerful than you or hard to kill, or both.

One of the DMs I play with is famous for this. Oh... Actually, that does bring to mind a story:

In a Smallville game(Homebrew setting, just using the rules set) we were playing as a super-powered cop that was the champion of heaven (but didn't know it), a private detective who got a little too close to uncovering a satanic cult and is under constant attack from them, and the officer in charge of the gang task force that the cop was a part of. Rounding it out was a fourth player who was our antagonist, a sadistic biker chick with designs to take over the city and was the champion of hell (and pretty much knew it).

Well, the biker chick was granted a supposed 'gift' from the powers of hell, a cryptic NPC that pretty much ran roughshod over the player and basically told her that he was going to do his own thing and that she had better not get in the way. Stymied by this, the character (and the player) pretty much kowtowed to this NPC that no one could kill because they would just body-hop to someone else. They had unclear motivation other than it had something to do with the ascension of hell, and no matter how much research we did, and how many OTHER NPCs we talked to, no one would give us a way to kill this guy.

I did not like this NPC, and this is probably the most egregiously bad that DM has been with it. Fortunately, during our after-session quality check segment, we voiced our concerns, and while that game wrapped up after that, that style of NPC hasn't really shown up since.
Ryuutakeshi 27th Nov 2012, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
I'm glad your DM actually listened to you. Mine hardly ever listens to his players. We now have six entire continents full of plot and adventure and we're telling him we've got way too much to do. Even his wife is telling him to ease up and he keeps ignoring us.

That said, we don't really have any NPC's we don't like, though there are some I'm a little less fond of. Like the god of knowledge we once saved who didn't have time for anyone who wasn't already freaky smart. Actually, now that I think about it, most of the gods in our game are kinda douchey.
Mauve Avenger 27th Nov 2012, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Our GM in an ongoing supervillains campaign has his own grand scheme going, and damn the players if they don't want to stick to the rails. We've had characters effectively retired because their powers were rendered useless as the plot demanded. And I don't mean "powers robbed," I mean "Oh, you summon supernatural darkness to blind the enemy? Didn't you notice the night-vision goggles they had?" or "You can't blast the windows of that one-story bungalow because they're LIGHTNING-RODDED."

We've got the usual "jerkass patron who could kill us all" thing going too, come to think of it. He's not even part of the organization, just some bigger fish who passes jobs down to some little guppy...
DaughterofBastet 27th Nov 2012, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, most gods ARE kinda douchey. :/
DaughterofBastet 27th Nov 2012, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, most gods ARE kinda douchey. :/
Digo 27th Nov 2012, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
I assume you mean NPC the party hated that are NOT the villain?

I can't think of any, but I do know of a psuedo-NPC incident-- When the party is in the middle of a major dungeon crawl and then the next session one player fails to show up, I have to "NPC" that person's character. Usually I don't make the controlled PC talk much and they do agree more often then they should, but sometimes...

...sometimes I get into the role and play a better PC than the original player did. Thankfully it's a rare thing because it's usually the least liked PCs I have to control, so if I accidently get too into character they go from Jerk Mode to A-Hole Mode.

Then the following week the player comes back and asks why his missing half his hit points and if it was in some epic fight.

...well, kinda.
Eyepoppee 27th Nov 2012, 5:41 AM edit delete reply
By Azura, by Azura, BY AZURA! I know a perfect NPC for... Oh, you mean tabletop game NPCs. I got nuthin'.
Anvildude 27th Nov 2012, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
I see what you did there...
Pope Seb 19th May 2014, 7:11 PM edit delete reply
Why does everyone hate him? I liked him and its not like you couldn't avoid him.
Otto 27th Nov 2012, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
My group (and myself in particular) hates stuck-up merchant nobles that honestly believe talking shit to the heavily armed barbarian is a good idea. Made worse because they tend to be quest-giving types and our group stays on the rails come hell or high water.
494alex 27th Nov 2012, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
*puts hand on merchant's shoulder*
"And yyou think this gives you power over me?"
StarshineDash 27th Nov 2012, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Merchants. Dear God Merchants. My friend was infamous for making his merchants the ultimate hardass when it came to haggling and gave them immunity from attack. In other games if we couldn't make a deal with a merchant, we'd try another one or kill him if he pissed us off.

Unfortunately, even in a castle town of 3,000 people of varying races and castes, there is only ever one merchant.

Though, I suppose that's complaining more about the DM...

As to actual NPCs, in one campaign we had this elf who tagged along with the party because she was ordered to by her commander. How this wench ever got into the army I will never know.

She was basically a level 5 fighter if feats and skills didn't exist. She also, after the party pissed off a wizard, became uncomfortably obsessed with bedding every member of the party. It got a little creepy toward the end and no one really mourned like I think we would have when she died facing down a dragon because the rest of us were trapped in a cage waiting for the rogue to finish picking the lock.
CJT 27th Nov 2012, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
I didn't clue in to your alias's references until just now.

I'm not sure if I'd _want_ to see a fanfic of it or be _scared_ of seeing that fanfic.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
I once had a player punch an NPC in the nose because he didn't like how I handled dream travel. I tried the riddle route, offering suggestions or taking them in an attempt to help them alng when they got stuck. I even had the NPC solve one that they couldn't get past, though I thought it was the most flexible problem I'd posed for them.

I accept that the players didn't care much for the challenges I'd offered them, but live and learn, you know? When it was apparent that this wasn't working for them, I rushed through it rather than leave them hanging.

I know the punch was meant for me, not the guy who'd helped them out with dream travel. He was... a lot of a jerk to me while that game lasted.

He was also a very good friend. We just couldn't game together.
ANW 27th Nov 2012, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
Poll time:
Last Tuesday poll was confusing I know.
So let's try that agian.
Which of the Mane6 is the best.
This a speceal one week poll. The choices are:Applejack, Rairty, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, and Pinkie Pie.
For this poll, 2 votes each, and you have to say if it is first on second vote.
First vote gets 2 points, second vote gets 1 point.
My first is Fluttershy,(Too cute) and my second is for Twilight(Reminds me of me).
That gives me an idea a future poll. Bonus for reading my mind about the idea.
Poll contuies until next Tuesday.
CJT 27th Nov 2012, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
First choice, Twilight (when she's not having a freakout).

Second choice, Fluttershy (when she's not having an anxiety attack).

A friend and I had a friendly argument over whether Twilight would be better described as an academic/scientist or as a wizard. I may be a bit biased, being an academic myself.
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
Urrgh...don't make me chose between my two favorites...
I guess Fluttershy first and Rainbow Dash second, though I'd rather give them each 1 1/2, if that's possible.

By any chance, is your next poll going to be which pony (mane 6 or otherwise) we feel represents ourselves best?
Half_Baked_Cat 27th Nov 2012, 4:34 PM edit delete reply
Pinkie Pie first. Twilight second.

Pinkie Pie because me and her are so similar. We both bake. We both are random. We both like spending time with others and go crazy while alone.

Twilight because she reminds me of Luna.
Walabio 27th Nov 2012, 6:10 PM Borda-Count versus Score-Voting edit delete reply
In voting theory, The system of deciding which character is best is called truncated Borda-Count. Full Borda-Count works thus:

The least popular character gets 0 points. The most popular character gets points equal to the most number of characters minus 1:

It is too late now, but a better voting system is Score-Voting:

In Score-Voting, one score the candidates using a fixed range. I recommend -99 to +99. A single-digit range may not be expressive enough and lead to ties, while one almost; but not quite however, needs a triple-digit range. One gives the best character a positive +99, the worst character a negative -99, and rate all other characters relative to those characters. After the poll closes, one simply sums the results. We end up with complete ratings for each character.

ANW 28th Nov 2012, 3:53 AM edit delete reply
A little to complcated for my taste. The score-voting that is. Reason I did first being 2 and second being 1 is because last time I try this, Fluttershy whould have won big time, If it wasn't for the confusion. I anctiped another landslide, so I want a second place winner as well. You guys can see the choas 3 comics back.
Walabio 28th Nov 2012, 10:25 PM With Score-Voting, one gets complete accurate ratings for all characters. edit delete reply
Zerothly, it is your poll. I merely use my knowledge on the subject to make suggestions for helping you. I do not attack you.

Using truncated Borda-Count distorts the results. Granted the distortion is not even close to that of Plurality:

Plurality is 1 vote for the favorite with no other votes. Many people like the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, but because of Plurality most supporters end up voting for the Republican Party or the Democratic Party because they have only 1 vote and do not wish to waste it. This distortion in supports leads to all third-partiers and independents collectively being lucky if all of them together get over 1% of the vote. If we would use a clone-immune voting system such as Score-Voting or even Approval Voting which is Score-Voting with a range of only 0 and 1, but one can approve as many or few candidates as one wishes, third-partiers and independents would receive 10s of times more support.

Truncated Borda-Count where one can give either 2 points to one’s favorite mare and 1 point one’s second most favorite mare causes less distortion than plurality, but it still distorts.

Score-voting is not difficult:

One simply sums the votes, computes the average with abstentions treated as 0 and the average with abstentions excluded and then post the summations and ratings:

Mare X:

Sum of votes:

Average with abstentions treated as 0:

Average with abstentions excluded:

We end up with statistics including scores for every mare.

For the voters, Score-Voting is just deciding which is their favorite mare and giving that mare a score of positive +99 and which is their least favorite mare and then giving that mare a negative -99. After that, the voters just rate the other mares relative to the 2 extremes.

For the vote-counters, Score-Voting is just summing and averaging the scores. Because sum sums are negative, the sums and averages for some mares my be negative too:

Mare Y:

Sum of all votes:

Average including abstentions:

Average excluding abstentions:

Score-Voting is neither hard for the electorate nor hard for the vote-counters.
ANW 29th Nov 2012, 3:18 AM edit delete reply
I'm sorry that you thought you was attacking, It just that the last time I try this it was choas. and just like CJT said, it is hard for people to rank by numbers, espcisy if it is a close call.
For exmaple, I just can't decide between Twilight and Rairty for this one.
Walabio 29th Nov 2012, 9:56 AM In cases of tying. … edit delete reply
… just give both mares the same rating. With this truncated Borda-Count, you must give one of those mares 2 points, while giving the other only 1 point. That is a far more extreme distortion than either throwing up your hands and gving both positive + 99, or, after an hour of meditation, determining that you like 1 a bit more than the other and rating them positive +96 and positive +99.

At this point, it is moot anyway.
CJT 29th Nov 2012, 1:57 PM edit delete reply
The problem is, you're asking people to turn subjective feelings into a quantitative metric, with 0.5% accuracy (if you're using a -99..+99 scale).

Very, very few people think quantitatively at all.

Asking them to do it that accurately will result in measurement noise and other forms of distortion having a magnitude far larger than the precision you're asking for.

That's why I've tended to stick with 4- and 5-level rankings on surveys, for instance. 4- is handy because people will very often choose the middle/neutral option if one exists, which is a problem with a 5-level scale.

You're already allowing multiple ponies to have the same score, so there's really no downside to using a coarse-grained scale. The upside is that a coarse scale will be far less vulnerable to distortion from the way humans think about numbers.

Best example of such distortion I can think of: Ask humans to give you a percentage, and you'll get 10%/50%/90% far more often than you'll get intermediate values. This is where all of the jokes about being "90% done" come from.
Walabio 29th Nov 2012, 5:13 PM Double-Digts versus Single-Digits edit delete reply
Most of the time, single-digits is enough, but in the above example, we have Rarity and Twilight Sparkle nearly tying. After meditating on the problem, one might be able to resolve it, but one would need double-digit precision to express the output:



At any rate, double-digit precision never hurts. The voters who cannot be as precise as double-digit numbers just need to give their favorite mare a positive +9, their least favorite mare a negative -9 and multiple by eleven.

The truncated Borda-Count forces 1 of these 2 tying mares to get a 2 and the other to get 1. This is extreme distortion. By the way this brings up an interesting principle in electoral mathematics:

Allowing voters to co-rank or co-rate candidates almost never hurts and almost always helps.

¿Why not co-rank Twilight Sparkle and Rarity at # 1, thus giving them both 2 points and put another mare in the # 2 position? This would cause less distortion.

About the range of a Score-Vote scale, if one determines that the scale has to be at least a certain size, than one should fill out the scale because doing so almost never hurts but usually helps. as an example, if we determine that rating movies on a scale of 0 to 5 stars is good, it would not hurt but probably help to use the whole single-digit range of between negative -9 starts to positive +9 stars.

If we shall use Borda-Count, we might as well use complete Borda-Count. Since we have 6 mares, The point-system would look thus:

# 1, 5 Points

# 2, 4 Points

# 3, 3 Points

# 4, 2 Points

# 5, 1 point

# 6, 0 Points

Walabio 29th Nov 2012, 5:21 PM Continued edit delete reply

We should allow co-ranking and let voters skip over ranks like thus:

# 1 Rarity and Twilight Sparkle

# 2 Mare X

# 3 Blank

# 4 Mare Y

As you can guess, I hit the button and then realized that I forgot to add the abouve.
CJT 30th Nov 2012, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
On the contrary, double-digit precision _does_ hurt, for the reason I mentioned above: People don't assign things on the linear scale you assume they will. They wildly distort the scale, giving you measurement error worse than the courseness of the one-digit scale you were trying to avoid.

It doesn't matter how fairly the scheme works given accurate values if the values you put into it from the voters are off by 10-20 points.

The finer the scale, the worse the distortion, because people will rank all of the ones they like as 999..X, and all of the ones they don't like as 000..X, or close to it.

People _really_ _suck_ at quantitative rating scales. _Really_ suck.

To test this, get a group of at least a dozen friends together, make a list ahead of time of half a dozen or more movies, celebrities, or what-have-you, and ask them to assign percentage ratings to them.

If they're rating fairly, you'd expect to see either a Gaussian distribution about some average value (if you picked movies that most of the group thinks are ok) or a power-law type distribution (if you picked a truly random sample of art from DA or what-have-you, where Sturgeon's law will apply).

What you'll _actually_ get is a bimodal distribution around 90%/10%, or a multimodal distribution with peaks elsewhere. Nothing like the expected distribution if they were measuring their feelings quantitatively.

_That_ is why coarse scales and sorted-ranking work better. Not because they do a better job if given accurate input, but because they're better at _getting_ accurate input.
Walabio 30th Nov 2012, 7:53 PM An 1-digit range is usually sufficient, but sometimes one needs the extra precision. edit delete reply
Before we get emotional, I would like to point out that we mostly agree and that I do not want to stop this poll and start another, just give some ideas we can use for our next poll which probably will not be until next year.

Most of the time, a range of single digit numbers for the scale of a score-vote is fine, but sometimes, like with the near time of Rarity and Twilight Sparkle, one needs the extra range. Most of the time, one just rates on a scale of negative =9 to positive +9 and then multiply by 11. This raises an interesting question:

¿Do we ever need triple-digits?

I cannot say that we will never need triple-precision, but I have never got a complaint like this:

“On a scale of negative -999 to positive +999, believe that Candidate H should get positive +606 and Candidate N should get positive +607, but you force me to rate on a scale of only negative -99 to positive +99, so that they both get positive +60.”

Using a double0digit scal also reduces the odds of ties.

We basically agree that a single-digit scale is good enough most of the time, but I contend that sometimes we need another digit. Sure, most of the time, we end up multiplying a single-digit number by 11, but but multiplying by single-digit numbers by 11 is very easy. I would say that we agree about 90%.

¿Do you remember that I suggested that next time we do a poll, if we do not use score-voting, we should use full Borda-Count with co-ranking allowed? I know another system less susceptible to tactical voting, but it is more complicated and requires the ability to co-rank to work:

Before I begin, I should explain how Borda-Count falls apart under tactical voting:

Let us suppose that 2 mares lead in the polls. They both have a rabid following. Their supporters will rank their first choice first, the other mare last and randomly place the also-rans in the middle. In Borda-Count with 6 candidates, the point range from 0 to 5. # 2 will get 4 which is 80% of 5. In Borda-Count, tactical voting can cause also-rans to win. If the difference between first and second would increase, the probability of also-rans winning would decrease.

¿What if make 1 the numerator and the rank the denominator with last place having a numerator of 0 like thus?:

# 1. 1/1

# 2. 1/2

# 3. 1/3

# 4. 1/4

# 5. 1/5

# 6. 0/6

Dealing with fractions is a pain, so let us find the lowest common factors and multiply:

2 (2), 3 (3), 4 (2*2), 5 (5)


# 1. 60

# 2. 30

# 3. 20

# 4. 15

# 5. 12

# 6. 00

This is called the Oklahoman Electoral Primary-System. Interestingly enough, Oklahoma never implemented it. It is important to allow co-ranking because otherwise clones split the vote:

Let us suppose that Fluttershy and Rarity slit the Heart-Vote with their Kind and Generous Hearts. 1 of them is the Condorcet-Winner and the other places second using Condorcet. 1 would receive 1 point. The other would get 1/2 point. Their average points would be 3/4. This could cause them both to loose. Because of the 1 is twice as large as 2, co-ranking is necessary to prevent clones from vote-splitting.

It might be interesting to try good-old approval voting:

One might allow voters to approve 1 to 5 mares or approve only 3 mares and reject the other 3. That would be an interesting experiment.

We probably have until next year to decide how to run our next poll, so no pressure.
CJT 30th Nov 2012, 10:32 PM edit delete reply
You seem to be completely missing my point.

The scores assigned in your -99..+99 scheme? Are _not_ _accurate_.

Scores in -999..+999, are EVEN LESS accurate.

Your scheme is mathematically sound - if and only if you put valid data _into_ it.

People won't mess with the system by trying to vote tactically - they'll mess with the system By giving a list that reads:

Mare A - 999
Mare B - 998
Mare C - 997

You are asking people to MEASURE a FEELING to a precision of ONE PART PER THOUSAND.

You seriously expect people to give an objective measure of that anywhere _near_ that accurately?

Your entire reason for doing this seems to be trying to eliminate ties.

This is a non-problem. If one person gives Mare A and Mare B the same score, it's just fine, because the other voters _won't_.

Your _solution_ to that problem introduces a _worse_ problem: The more precision you _ask_ for, the less you actually _get_, for reasons I've repeatedly explained and given examples for.

Test it yourself, with a group of friends and a list of things for them to score. See what distribution you actually get. Try it with multiple scales, and see how the distributions get skewed when you change the scale.

Mere words are unlikely to convince you, but actual data from people you trust might.

Your entire scheme rests on the assumption that humans can rate things with HIGH PRECISION on a linear scale with NO DISTORTION.

That assumption does not hold. At all.
CJT 30th Nov 2012, 11:28 PM edit delete reply
Here's a further illustration, just to make it super-clear what I'm talking about:

Voter's real feelings as measured by a feeling-o-tron:

Mare A: +87
Mare B: +63
Mare C: +30
Mare D: -47

What the voter tells you they feel, because humans aren't feeling-o-trons:

Mare A: +99
Mare B: +97
Mare C: 0
Mare D: -99

Does this make it clear what the problem I'm talking about is?

You're _asking_ for +/- 1 precision, but your input values are _incorrect_ are off by _tens_ of points.

Things get worse when people distort differently:

Voter 1:
Mare A - +99
Mare B - +98
Mare C - +97
Mare D - -99

Voter 2:
Mare D - +90
Mare C - +70
Mare B - +50
Mare A - +30

Because the voters each used a different _spread_, the importance of their opinions in the aggregate total _differs_. I've run into similar problems running kata tournament rings: ring judges have to be carefully briefed on what _spread_ to use to avoid giving undue weight to one judge or ignoring another judge, simply because one gave marks in a tighter or broader range than another.

The first problem is reduced by using a coarse scale (single-digit or few-option) or by using a purely relative scale (a ranking). The second problem is reduced by using a scheme such as the one used here, where you have a fixed number of points to allocate (either at whim or in predefined groups), so that each person's aggregate vote has the same weight.

The fact that you keep insisting on high precision tells me that you probably haven't even considered these issues. Ask yourself this:

On a scale of 0 to 100, how much do you like chocolate?

How did you _determine_ that number?

How certain are you that your number shouldn't actually be 1 point higher or 1 point lower?

How about 5 points higher or lower?

How did you determine _that_ level of certainty?

I hope that you now see the problem. Making the vote tabulation method fair is only half of the problem - and it's actually the _easier_ half.
Walabio 1st Dec 2012, 6:59 PM I am sorry, but I was not clear. edit delete reply
I was not clear. It is my fault:

I was sarcastic when I advocated a scale over the range of negative -999 to positive +999. Unfortunately I forgot the smiley face. The point I tried to make in a funny way is that we shall probably never need that much accuracy.

About ties, I used it in 2 contexts. Unfortunately, I forgot that others cannot read my mind, so could not tell what I meant:

1 Context is the possibility of mares tying in the poll. It is good to try to avoid tied elections. I shall give an example:

¿Which is more likely to tie?:

* ¿A double-digit number of bronies and PegaSisters voting for best mare of 6 mares using Plurality?

* ¿The same group doing the same thing but Score-Voting using a range of from negative -999 to positive +999 (I do not really advocate such a 3-digit scale, but I use it here so that I can use the sarcastic smiley face I forgot last time ;-)?

Another meaning of tie, which I forgot to distinguish, is when voters feel the same way about to candidates. Rather than being forced to rank or rate them differently, we should allow equal rating or rankings.

Most of the time, single-digit numbers are enough, but sometimes, a voter might rate 2 mares almost the same but have a slight preference. On a single-digit scale, those mares would round to the same integer:

Mare K +6

Mare H +6

These are both legitimate votes, but the voter might resent being forced to co-rate. Since most voters would need only the single-digit scale, perhaps it would be best to use a single digit scale, but allow voters to use decimals for near ties if necessary if they nearly rate 2 mares the same but still distinguish between them.. The voting instructions might read thus:

“Please rate the mares on a scale from negative -9 to positive +9. If you feel that 2 or more mares rate the same, it is okay to co-rate them the same rating. If you feel that 2 or more mares almost rate the same, but still have a slight difference, it is okay to use decimals to distinguish between them like thus:”

“Mare J 6.8”

“Mare S 7.3”

Before counting, we just multiply all ratings by 11 and round to the nearest integer. Then we add, compute averages both with and without abstentions, et cetera. The above example becomes thus after multiplying by 11 and rounding:

Mare J 75

Mare S 80

I give chocolate 100%. This is too easy because chocolate is my favorite food. Let us try bananas:

I give bananas 73% pies and cakes are in the 80s iced creams are in the 90s. Chocolate-flavored iced cream gets a perfect 100%. 73% feels about right. Certainly, some fuzziness exists, but the point is that a rating scale has less fuzziness than a ranking scale:

I a rating scale, one can express that one likes Mare D more than Mare G, but one cannot express how much more one likes Mare D more than Mare G. Using a rating scale, one can express that Mare D is 20% cooler than Mare G in 10 seconds flat. ;-)
CJT 1st Dec 2012, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
Regarding the first context, I feel that measurement distortion is a worse system failure than a tied result. My day job is as a scientist - accurate measurements, and tracking the uncertainty in measurements, are very important to me.

That's one of the reasons I'm so strongly against double-digit schemes (and why I feel -9..+9 is also iffy): your scale is much finer than your measurement error (which I'd expect to be in the +/- 10%-30% range). The finer scale gets you no added measurement precision, and gives you more opportunity for systematic distortion due to the way humans treat numbers.

You're also comparing apples to oranges: Compare score-voting with -999..+999 to score-voting with -9..+9, not to a plurality scheme.

If you want to compare against solutions I've suggested, then a suitable comparison would be:

- Against "2 points to your favourite and 1 to your next-favourite" (original poll scheme).
- Against "4 points to allocate as you see fit".
- Against "rank the ponies", with any of a variety of scoring schemes possible (let's say 1/1 points to the first, 1/2 to the second, 1/3 to the third, etc, as a sample case).
- Against "love/hate/meh" (+1/-1/0) for each pony.

We can set this up to favour your argument: Assume everyone assigns their scores perfectly using a feeling-o-tron. All we're looking at is how each voting scheme I've listed above compares to your scheme (double-digit score-voting, per your original proposal).

Generate N random data sets for feelings about ponies, for some number of voters (N >= 10; if you're using a script, set N = 100).

Evaluate the final scores (for schemes that have scores) and the final rankings of the 6 candidates using each of the schemes, plugging in the same randomly generated voter preferences for each.

Many, and maybe even most or all, of the schemes I've suggested will have result-error far less than the input distortion error for actual human voters.

Regarding your second context, if a voter feels the same way about candidates, then they can rank them equally. I really don't see why you'd start with a one-digit scheme and then allow a second digit of precision - that just gives you the same distortion problems a two-digit scheme does (candidates they'd originally give +9 and +8 to become +9.9 and +9.7, skewing your results even further from the feeling-o-tron values).

If instead of a coarse-grained rating scheme (which allows ties) a ranking scheme (which doesn't) is used, then all that does is introduce measurement error. If the weights associated with the ranks are chosen carefully, then in almost all cases the error resulting from tied ponies being given different ranks is still less than the distortion error introduced by the fact that people aren't feel-o-trons. It only tends to be large if you have two people tied for _first_ place.
CJT 1st Dec 2012, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
Also, regarding the food ratings: I disagree about fuzziness. You picked "73%" because it "feels about right". If you can judge that "feeling" to 1% accuracy, you're very, very different from pretty much all other humans on this planet.

The rating-vs-ranking question isn't about fuzziness, but about controlling the spread between highest and lowest ranks assigned, and distortion in the rating curve for intermediate ranks. If you trust the voters to be able to rate people accurately on a linear scale, rating does work better. If you don't, then a ranking removes several forms of distortion that otherwise would occur - it forcibly linearizes the scale and expands the spread to a consistent range.

Which of these introduces more error depends on how coarse your rating scale is (distortion is worse with finer scales), and on how accurately you assume people can translate their feelings into numbers (which we seem to disagree strongly on the error range for).

You can measure the error introduced by a rank-based scheme by running test data sets through it, per above.
Walabio 2nd Dec 2012, 12:28 AM Score-Voting has the lowest Bayesian Regret of any tested voting system. edit delete reply
¿Are you aware that of all single-winner voting systems tested, Score-Voting has the lowest Bayesian Regret?:

One can also look at the Yee-Diagrams:

You can play with a 1D Yee-Diagram in real time here:

You can Choose between Plurality, Borda-Count, Condorcet, Approval, and IRV. As you can see, Plurality and IRV suck. Borda-Count works great, if the voters and Parties do not deploy nonhonest strategies —— In which case, it breaks down utterly. The 2 Systems which work well reliably are Approval and Condorcet. Of these, approval is easier to implement, easier for the voters, and easier for the vote-counters.

Approval is Score-Voting with a range from 0 to 1. The system with a range of negative -1 to positive +1 you listed is called Quaker-Poll and is also a form of Score-Voting. The harmonic system with 1, 1/2, 1/3, et cetera is Oklahoman Electoral Primary-System. The system with a certain number of point or votes is called Cumulative Voting. It is not a single-winner system:

Let us suppose that We have party A and Party B. 2/3rds of the electorate support Party A. Each Voter gets 3 votes. Party A runs 3 Candidates and its supporters split their votes equally between the candidates for Party A. Party B runs 1 candidate and all of its supporters give all 3 votes to that candidate. Despite having fewer supporters, Party B wins.

Cumulative Voting does work as a crude proportional voting system:

We have 3 open seats. 2/3rds of the electorate support Party A. Each voter gets 2 votes. Party A runs 2 candidates and instructs its voters to give 1 vote to each candidate Party B runs 1 candidate and instructs its voters to give both votes to that candidate. Party A wins 2 seats, while Party B wins 1 seat.

Maybe next time we do a poll, we can use use both ranking and rating. We can all up the ratings as a Score-Vote and run the rankings through both Condorcet and Borda-Count. I predict that they will all choose the same winner, but the ranking of the other mares from best to worst will differ, and only Score-Votings can give us percentages for each mare:

I pointed out that Borda-Count does not handle tactical voting well, but we seem fairly honest here, so I predict that all 3 will agree on the winner.

Borda-Count is terrible at generating accurate complete rankings. Condorcet generates accurate complete ratings, but it only takes into account that Mare Y is more popular than Mare X. Score-Voting takes into account exactly how much support that Mare Y is 20% more popular than Mare X, so its total ranking might differ from Condorcet, but should be more accurate.

Only Score-Voting can tell us that Mare V gets a positive +89% excluding abstentions and a positive +81 including abstentions.

We probably will not have to worry about the next poll for awhile.
CJT 2nd Dec 2012, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Again, you're completely missing the point.

Bayesian regret, or any other measure of fitness, is only useful IF THE INPUT VALUES GIVEN BY VOTERS ARE ACCURATE.

The problem that you seem to be consistently ignoring, is that the INPUT values are garbage. You can have as perfect a voting/scoring scheme as you want, but "garbage in, garbage out" will still kill it.

Do you get that now?

The tests that you really need to do, are twofold:

- Measure the error in the _INPUT_ values. The "ask friends to rate things" experiments are designed for that (assuming you ask them to rate things where you can reasonably make assumptions about what the feeling-o-tron values _would_ be if you had a feeling-o-tron).

- Measure the errors introduced by DIFFERENT voting schemes, vs some "perfect" scheme (I suggested using yours as the "perfect" one above).


There are TWO sources of error - one BEFORE the humans tell you their votes (the one I'm concerned about, that's throwing off values by a REALLY HUGE amount), and one AFTER humans tell you their votes (the only one you seem to be dealing with, here).

You want to pick a voting system that minimizes the COMBINED error. You're focusing on the _second_ error, and as a result the _first_ error - which you're ignoring - becomes large enough that your results are _useless_.

You're optimizing the _wrong_ _thing_.

Is any of this making sense to you?
Walabio 2nd Dec 2012, 8:29 PM I accidentally Post my reply to the comment beneath this. edit delete reply
I accidentally Post my reply to the comment beneath this.
Walabio 3rd Dec 2012, 9:53 PM I have a paper supporting Score-Voting with a double-digit range. edit delete reply
This paper supports a double-digit range for Score-Voting:
CJT 28th Nov 2012, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
The difficulty with that is that people will tend to give +99 to the ones they like, -99 to the ones they don't, and fairly arbitrary values to the ones for which they can't decide.

People are terrible at rating things on a numerical scale.

What people _can_ do is sort a list into ranking order, or choose between a _small_ number of categories ("love/hate/meh") pretty reliably. Both of those would work fairly well for a voting scheme (I've used variants of these for everything from surveys to deciding a mascot name to getting a group to agree on pizza toppings).
Walabio 2nd Dec 2012, 4:49 PM I understand that humans lie, are illogical, and innumerate. edit delete reply
Certainly humans are innumerate, illogical, and lie, but we cannot do a thing about that. We can try to design a system which does not go haywire. That is why governments should not use Borda-Count:

Let us suppose that a score of candidates run —— dozens get all of the love while everyone ignores scores. # 1 get 19 points while # 20 gets 0 points. Let us suppose that we have a handful (5) strong good candidates. Their supporters hate each other. The supporters bury the other candidates. They have to list an also-ran as # 2 which gets 18 points. If, by chance, enough voters happen to choose the same also-ran, that also-ran could win. Also in Borda-Count, if parties run multiple candidates, their similar vote-totals increases the odds of someone from the party winning. When other mathematicians informed Jean-Charles, chevalier de Borda of these problems, he quipped that his his voting system is for honest men.

That is why I recommend Condorcet and Approval/Score-Voting. These voting systems handle fuzzy thinking and tactical voting well. Of these the Score-Voting is easiest to setup, run, count, and easy for the voters too. Approval Voting (Score-Voting with a range of 0 to 1) requires only the removal of the over-vote rule to implement.

Anyway, we cannot make humans less fuzzy-thinking, but we can choose a voting system which does not go to pieces under fuzzy-thinking and tactical voting. Score-Voting works for judging Gymnastics in the Olympics and RottenTomatoes.Com.

We seem pretty honest here so full Borda-Count should work. I would be interested to do full ranking with co-ranking and rank-skipping allowed and run both Borda-Count and Condorcet on the results. That would be an interesting experiment. It would be nice to run a Score-Vote Poll concurrently. I suspect that although output list of best to worst mare would not vbe identical, all would choose the same mare as best mare.
Walabio 1st Dec 2012, 7:15 PM I thought about how I should vote. … edit delete reply
I thought about what the best strategy to vote in a poll using truncated Borda-Count would be, so decided, after several days to vote thus:

# 1. FlutterShy

# 2. Twilight Sparkle

As an aside, the winner of this poll may not be the pony we PegaSisters and Bronies feel is best mare. We certainly cannot determine our true full rankings and ratings from this poll.
TheOrchestralBrony 27th Nov 2012, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
NPC's everyone hated? Got it! The Flim Flam Man!

Yes, THAT flim and flam.

See, In my campaign, the characters were looking for someone who knew how to find an ancient relic they needed. Enter my nameless NPC, who I shall call Slim for my purposes. He was a fast talking gambler, and he learned a lot from the people he beat. Now, I should mention: I did not intend for him to be like Flim and Flam. It was our bard who made that connection. Anyways, the characters ended up playing cards with him so they could "win" information about the relic. They were losing, so in the most elaborate thing they did all Campaign (except the Day of Infinite 20s, but that's another story), they managed to get the winning cards from a different deck, get them into our Bard's hand, and win the game. All without Slim noticing. They won, and they got their information, but just as Slim was leaving, he complimented our Bard for his tremendous bluffing skills, and said he personally could not have cheated in such a tremendous manner. After saying this, he left, and was never heard from again.

I don't know why, but the party decided they hated Slom from that point on.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
A lot of people hate it when they think an opponent "let" them win, feeling more strongly about it than the possibility of losing.
Qazarar 27th Nov 2012, 4:22 PM edit delete reply
I mostly hated the guy for the way he was acting the whole time. He was very annoying.
mlp_redmoon 27th Nov 2012, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
uhh, heimskr from skyrim?
yeah, i don't play tabletop rpg's...
Calypso 28th Nov 2012, 4:08 PM edit delete reply
High five, people who read a D&D comic and don't really play D&D! I'm reading two, and I have never touched the game!
Destrustor 28th Nov 2012, 4:41 PM edit delete reply
What's the other one?
Calypso 28th Nov 2012, 7:31 PM edit delete reply
One Piece Grand Line 3.5. I started reading it when I had not seen more than the first few One Piece things, but it was still very good! I recommend it! It has some links to some other D&D crossover comics, but they are mostly really incomplete.
Siccarus 27th Nov 2012, 7:50 AM Info Booth edit delete reply
After a long string of Failures Including Hijacking a HIjacked Airship we eventually landed Near an Informaition booth. The booth was manned by a Non hostile Mindflayer who would charge 100gp a question. after blowwing enough Gp to pay off the Entire invading armybeacause one guy tried to get him to admit that his mother was Chuthullu(?) He finally gave in and told us how to finsh the cmpaign with in the last 2 tdays we has left at camp.
Grrys 27th Nov 2012, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
I once turned a former PC into an NPC. Now the former paladin runs a tavern.
Lyntermas 27th Nov 2012, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm. No hated NPC stories for me right now (well, apart from some kid pickpockets). I think one of the worst NPCs from a video game is Theresa from the Fable series. Cryptic? Check. Powerful enough to do the quest by herself? Check. Manipulating the protagonist for her own selfish ends. Check.

Anyway, what episode would you guys like me to alt-script next?
Zarhon 27th Nov 2012, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
Too Many Pinkie Pies.


Party of One (full thing, that is).
Walabio 27th Nov 2012, 6:38 PM Multiple Equicide edit delete reply
Too Many Pinkamena Diane Pies is 1 of the darkest most disturbing episodes of the series. It would make a great comic. By the way, someone wrote a fanfiction about that episode:

In it, a clone gets separated from the others. She finds them in the TownHall playing a boring game. She watched through a window. Initially, in her naïveté, she, like her sisters, believed it to be a game. Toward the end, she started to understand the seriousness of this game. After Twilight Sparkle murdered her last sister, she understood the cruelness of the Universe. She cried morning her sisters while hating the sadistic purple unicorn-mare.

Then the monstrous purple unicorn discovers her. She has to run and fight for her life. 6 mares pursue her with every intent of murdering her —— 1 of whom looks just like her and her sisters.

I recommend the story and the episode would make a great comic.
ANW 27th Nov 2012, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
Party for one, Nightmare Night, Iron Will, The Gala(that one will be a good challange for you.), Pinkie sense(You know Twi try to figue out Pinkie's sense). Is this a good list for you.
Oh and lesson zero.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
Believe it or not, the one with the Baby Cakes in it. I'm curious to see how it came down to a solo session, as well as how Pinkie's door scene with Twilight would play out. Whether it's a true solo session or one guided by a lot of kibitzing (and perhaps other players or other "guests" running the babies), I think it's got possibilities.

(Just read the other requests. Pinkie certainly seems to be in high demand this time, doesn't she?)
darkwulf23 27th Nov 2012, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm, if we are going to talk about hated video game NPCs well then for me it was Prince Charmles from dragon quest viii. For those of you who have never played that game and don't mind the spoiler here's what happened.

Spoiler: In dragon quest viii, you play a royal guardsman who is traveling with a king who was turned into a troll and a princess who was turned into a horse and is trying to find a way to remove the curse from both them and the kingdom. Along the way you encounter a prince who is the princess' fiance through arrange marriage.

Now when you find him he is a coward who refuses to partake in a ritual that grants him the right to rule, specifically defeating an argon lizard and taking a jewel as proof. (It was called an argon heart but it wasn't really the heart because as soon as you defeat it you see the lizard run away.) Now even though the prince has to do this himself the king makes an exception and has the party travel with them to protect him. So when we get to the hunting grounds the prince makes us do all the work,runs away like a coward during the fight and then bitches because the jewel we collect isn't good enough. Well eventually the party has to camp for the night and come morning we see the prince riding the princess and beating her with a whip. (She's a horse at the time so get your minds out of the gutter.) The king begs him to stop and when the prince is thrown begs to take the punishment for the princess, where the prince is only too willing to do and was going to whip him when the party finds a giant argon lizard that they have to defeat. Finally when they defeat the lizard and find a jewel the size of a head the princes accepts it as one worthy of his courage and orders the party to take him home. Now here's the kicker. When we get to the kingdom the prince runs off on his own and buys an illegal argon's heart from a black market merchant and tells the party that he wont need the heart that they spent their sweat and blood on. The king, witnessing the prince buying the heart instead was devastated and knew that his son wasn't worthy enough to take the throne.

So anyway it was probably worse to play because as a video game you couldn't just kill the prince and say that the lizards got him.
darkwulf23 27th Nov 2012, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
Oh and my vote is too many Pinkie Pies, or sweet and elite if you haven't done that all ready.
Ranubis 27th Nov 2012, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
I'll throw in a vote for Too Many Pinkie Pies. A cautionary tale of what happens when the party loco gets their hands on a mystic item, and then the DM turns it up to 11 and tells the players they need to deal with it? Yes please.
LoganAura 27th Nov 2012, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
Looks like Too Many Pinkies.
I personally would like to see the Crystal Empire or Discord episodes, even though Newbie is possibly gonna do them.
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 11:59 AM edit delete reply
I loved playing Dragon Quest viii, and I have to say, I HATED Prince Charmless. You have no idea how many times I wished - when we faced an Argon Lizard - I could run away and leave the Prince to face the lizard alone.
I'm not sure which of the two possible endings of the game I preferred...but in the extra ending for beating the final boss the second time after clearing the bonus dungeon, I LOVED watching the Prince's father make him eat crow.
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 12:03 PM edit delete reply
My vote is for Lesson Zero. I'd love to see how the DM both pushes Twilight towards near insanity while at the same time trying to hold her back from it.

I'd also like to see Hearts and Hooves Day, just to see where Scootaloo's player comes from.

Oh, but Stare Master would be good! I can see it as FLuttershy babysitting the CMC players with the DM, and deciding to make a campaign to keep them entertained. And then there's this:
FS: I use Intimidate on the Cockatrice!
DM: ...really?
FS: Well, it worked on the dragon, and I'm bigger this time, right?
Zarhon 27th Nov 2012, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Can't speak for the whole group (apart from Mouse, who has a grudge against everypony that was "mean" to her in any way), but I'm pretty sure nobody in Pony Team Bravo liked the Lawful Stupid Royal Guard that kept us from saving a pile of changeling costumes, despite having the same boss as us and having been given permission from him to do so.

Other than that, and the occasional bad-guys, not many characters to despise, really.
Philadelphus 27th Nov 2012, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
Yeah. That officer Shock Taser was definitely not a paragon of tact.
LoganAura 27th Nov 2012, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
AS a DM? Arcana :3 Just ask City Strider, or Greywander, or Videocrazy for that mater :3
They'll be the ones to explain him :3
City Strider 27th Nov 2012, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
City Strider
Suffice it to say that I waterboarded the bastard the first chance I got.
Videocrazy 28th Nov 2012, 2:08 AM edit delete reply
As a player, I don't really have a problem with Arcana. For Crossed Paths, however, Arcana is a manipulative bastard. Back out of character, though, my opinion of him is somepony who means well but suffers from "hoof in mouth" syndrome, times four, with a tail dessert.
Ranubis 27th Nov 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
An NPC no-one liked? I've got two examples that may work.

First game I was in, we had this insanely-strong paladin show up out of nowhere and stone a dragon before the party can defeat it, then took all the credit. Nearly the entire party believed that the Paladin would be evil, while I as the innocent new player thought we should give them a chance. Granted, this was the same character who tried Diplomancing a pack of wererats, and the Paladin did turn out to be bad in a sense, so...

Second example had to be the Duke/Baron in my second game who hired the party. "Brave adventurers! I have called you here to charge thee with seeking my daughter, who has run off into the nearby forest filled with monsters and danger! Here's a single health potion." Had to hold back the Minotaur after that.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
Lost Crown of Neverwinter, Ranubis? Yeah, I saw one table launch an all-out assault on the character after that happened. That was not a popular NPC at all.
Ranubis 27th Nov 2012, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, that character. Looking back I can tell that the signs were obvious, but at the time I was just starting to play and wanted to play it safe. The other players were much more experienced, such as the Minotaur who tried to push over the paladin at the first opportunity. He failed the check, so the paladin just shot him an annoyed look then smacked him away with their sword, actually dealing damage. Our DM was a good sport about it though, and worked it into the game.
Kadakism 27th Nov 2012, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
I have a couple of hated NPCs.

Largo Marmidas, the halfling tavern owner is my best example of an NPC that my players hate. I had fully intended for him to be a regular quest giver for the party, having him take over a tavern that they had recently acquired through a bet. But they kind of treated him like crap and screwed him over big time. And so instead, he became a reoccurring "villain," bent on ruining their plans whenever he could. The players ended up creating a story arc out of trying to give him the slip, because he never stuck around if they decided to fight.

Then there was Magister Sregdor, a wizard of immense wealth who would perform just about any spell for an "equal exchange of knowledge." Which usually involved taking the character involved in the exchange to another room, putting them to sleep, and performing various magical/surgical procedures on them. The characters got the enchanted weapons that they wanted, but they all had various odd scars that they couldn't explain.
Stairc 27th Nov 2012, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Dupuee. Enough said.

Well, enough said for Newbiespud. You know what I'm talking about. ;)
Kynrasian 27th Nov 2012, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
Well, when we were running a trial adventure using Keep on the Shadowfell. I had to convince the rest of the party to free a goblin prisoner named Splug rather than kill him. In the end I won by promising that he would die very shortly afterwards if he tried anything stupid, but Splug proceeded to insult every single party member he could think of an insult for and I had to keep them from killing him, although I planned on having a little chat with him about it, especially since our then-DM failed me on an Intimidate check that it turned out I would've passed if he'd learned the rules for checks properly. I don't usually care about these things too much, but I'd taken enough stick from his misrulings by then.
XandZero2 27th Nov 2012, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
I remember one infamous character in the Dragon Age RPG I GMed.

He was supposed to be a bit of an antagonistic type from the start. Racist blacksmith who hated elves because one bad group murdered his wife.

Name was Coalan, and Coalan put the party through hell when they visited his town.

The PC elf had to hide in a wagon the whole time while the rest of the group saved another random NPC elf, Eshira, from getting lynched, burnt at the stake, or worse. There was a big back-and-forth where the players talked down an angry mob that had been riled up by Coalan himself, and during the debate Coalan basically insulted the entire party.

Then, turns out the blacksmith stole a McGuffin from Eshira, and the party had to convince the turkey to give the McGuffin back.

-Funny thing was, at this point the party was actually getting ready to burn Coalan's house down because they hated him soooooo much, but then the party warrior, Benjamin, decides to actually go and try reasoning with Coalan...


-To make a long story short, Ben ends up challenging Coalan to an arm-wrestling contest.

Winner gets the McGuffin.

-Well, Coalan wins.

But I decided Coalan would respect the warrior's display of strength (because the arm-wrestling was a really cool idea in my opinion to begin with and Ben had put up a good fight). He gave Ben the McGuffin and everyone thought they were done with the Blacksmith once and for all...

-Then when the party leaves town... guess who ambushes them on the roadside with another mob of 20 angry villagers?

Yep, you guessed it...

Turns out, Coalan liked Ben, but he hated the rest of the party for helping an elf. He couldn't forgive them for that - and he wasn't just going to let them get off scott-free.

That typed, by the end of the fight, I thought they were going to kill Coalan. He'd knocked himself out while attempting to flee, and he was at the party's mercy.

Now I actually wanted this to be a moral decision for the party - kill the douchebag in his sleep, or leave him to possibly cause more trouble later on.

So of course the players do the last thing I'd expected (though I should have seen it coming all along) - they just tie Coalan up like a sack of potatoes and drag him along for the rest of their quest...

-Turns out this was a wise choice too, since Coalan was a berzerker, and later on, when the party started getting attacked by waves of powerful demon-spawn, they actually decided to cut Coalan loose.

Since Coalan knew he would die if he didn't help, he proceeded to beat the monsters senseless - fighting back to back with Ben the Warrior, while the party healer kept throwing more and more healing surges his way (since Coalan could hit hard, but he couldn't take many hits himself).

Coalan actually followed the party willingly as they took on the rest of the demon-spawn after that, and when the quest was completed, he became a relatively permanent NPC member of the party.

-And by this time, everyone loved him because:

1. He was kickass,

2. He'd basically become Chuck Norris in the eyes of my players,

3. He'd had character developement,


4. He had a kid and proved to be a loving father (Because I wanted to emphasize that Coalan wasn't all bad. There was a human side of him after all).
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 10:18 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, XandZero2. That's a great story. Kudos for you and your group for how it turned out.
XandZero2 27th Nov 2012, 3:58 PM edit delete reply
Thanks man!

Glad you liked it (:
L Lawliet 28th Nov 2012, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
L Lawliet
Funny thing-I played in a DA campaign with Coalan, and my character got along splendidly with him, being an amoral, racist, and altogether terrible person. He managed to forge a bond with the man through racism, and in the 20 strong village mob fight, Coalan was killed. In honor of him, my character took his mace.

Cut to the final battle. Everyone is near dead, including myself (partially because I had someone else run my guy while I moved out of my dorm). Big bad is about to kill everyone...I take out the mace, swing, get a good roll, and the big bad goes down.

Coalan, in death and through racism, saved the day.
XandZero2 28th Nov 2012, 6:51 PM edit delete reply

Coalan kind of helped to save the day in my campaign too - although in mine he actually lived! If it hadn't been for the blacksmith, my party would have been overwhelmed multiple times (including in the big bad boss fight - since I thought it was too easy as written in the module and had to add roughly... 21 skeletons into the fight? Yeah... not my best GMing day, as it turned out).

My party did actually have multiple chances to kill Coalan off themselves too, but each time one of those situations came up, the party healer wouldn't be able to just sit back and watch the blacksmith die. He was the goodie-two-shoes type, and as it turned out, that was a good thing.
Guest 27th Nov 2012, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
I *demand* someone acknowledge the pun in the title.
Zuche 27th Nov 2012, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
Huh. At first I was wondering how it could tie into beverage making, but then I noticed how you could slip a number in there between the first and second syllables to create two different words referring to the same thing.

That is very clever. Well done, Newbiespud.
Newbiespud 27th Nov 2012, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
That would be clever if such a pun had been even 1% intentional.

Serendipity, ho!
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
I have a rather...twisted story of an annoying NPC, when I was DMing. His name was Dalgon the Grin.

He was - to all appearances - a perfectly ordinary level 1 human. No class, no status, just an ordinary human. However, he started following the party and regularly insulting every single member with the most inventive insults I could imagine.

Now, obviously, the first thing you'd think they'd do is blast him, but he was a popular comedian, beloved by the people. Even the monsters they encountered laughed at his jokes. So it was tolerated.

Until he insulted the party's Half dragon human mother's honor, with regard to her relationship with his dragon father, an orc, and a pig. The half dragon, it turned out, was a real Momma's boy. WIth a cry of, "No one talks about my Mama that way and lives!" he turned and torched Dalgon with his hottest fire breath. Now, the party was level seven, Dalgon was level 1, and the half dragon rolled a nat 20. THe rest of the party cheered as Dalgon, sure he was dead and gone, and no evidence was left behind.

When the fire passed, Dalgon grinned, completely unscathed, and said, "Toasty!"

It turned out, long ago Dalgon had been cursed for insulting a certain god. The curse was simple: he could not take any damage whatsoever, but he couldn't gain exp or use amor or weapons either. He would also feel pain from anything that happened to him. THis turned out to be a bonus for him, as he was a masochist, thus his penchant for insulting anything high level.

He still followed the party, and they were ready to rip me a new one for making him...until, in one of the major battles when they were surrounded by minions and the big boss was out of reach, Dalgon once again insulted the half-dragon's mother...and the half dragon responded, "I throw Dalgon at the (big boss)."

Once again, a Nat 20 on the throw. Dalgon slammed into the big boss enemy at the head/neck junction, snapping the guys neck, and the minions scattered in fear.

From then on, not only did Dalgon became a favored projectile, but the party learned to joke back with Dalgon - which had been my intention all along - AND he became a key player in Diplomacy. Any time they were trying to talk someone into something and it wasn't going well, the half-dragon would suddenly do something horibly painful looking to Dalgon. The diplomancer would then say, "See what he did there? And he's our friend." was very effective.
Wermon 27th Nov 2012, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
Thats better than my players. They'd have shoved him in a bag of holding and moved on.
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
They tried that once. SInce he was a comedian, he had 'Escape Artist' as his only special skill, for part of his act.
Malroth 27th Nov 2012, 4:41 PM edit delete reply
Cast Flesh to salt then sell him.
Tatsurou 27th Nov 2012, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
WOuldn't have worked. The curse basically said he could not be killed, harmed, or altered in any way, but would feel any attempts to as though it had worked. Given he was a masochist...
CJT 28th Nov 2012, 11:02 AM edit delete reply
That nixes my "chain him to an anchor and let him be the ocean's problem" solution.

A cage, rather than shackles, might work.
Tatsurou 28th Nov 2012, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
His Escape Artist feat pretty much made him a level 1 Houdini. Can't keep him caged or chained in anything. Believe me, they tried.
CommandoDude 27th Nov 2012, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I don't necessarily have a "tale" about an annoying NPC. It's been awhile so I can't quite clearly remember all the details but I do remember the general picture.

Anyways, I used to play in a Gundam text-RPG set in the CE universe. Our DM was a particularly bad sort of egomaniac who basically made the story revolve around his (and the co-DM's) NPCs. There was a pecking order and I was pretty low on it.

I do remember one freaking egregious example though, an NPC named Todo Shirou from a faction I fought against. Damn guy ALWAYS had any equipment he needed to counter my Mobile Suit, and progressively got more and more OP as the series progressed. His Plot Armor was as thick as they come as well.

At one particular point, he was seriously able to sneak into another country and then steal a top-secret highly advanced Gundam with theoretical technology from right under their noses.

In fact, by some point the DM had outlawed the buying of a very specific technology which allowed the user to take control of another person's Mobile Suit. But naturally, Todo still got to keep one.
Appkes2 27th Nov 2012, 2:05 PM edit delete reply
That isn't good DMing, that's just throwing incinerate-or-adopt morality decisions into a Catch 22 situation, and I'm not surprised you players hated it and thought that their solution was 'beating' it. Stuff like that is just bad.
CJT 27th Nov 2012, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
The players and the DM seemed to want to play entirely different games, here.

Given that scenario, the DM can either use enough carrots and sticks to guide the campaign in a direction they're still willing to run the game for (what happened here), or the DM can shelve the campaign because it's not one they want to run.

Lesser of two evils, here.

Given that you apparently feel otherwise, what would _you_ have done, given the scenario described (players and DM with incompatible game style preferences)?
Malroth 27th Nov 2012, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
Purposefully taint the cure with as much evil energy as i could when nobody else was looking and laugh maniacally once "good" ponies start slaughtering eachother in civil war.
CJT 28th Nov 2012, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Thereby griefing both the DM _and_ the other players.

Both groups already _had_ the option of walking away from the game. The idea is to find something _better_ than that.
TheStratovarian 27th Nov 2012, 2:36 PM edit delete reply
The sad part why our 3.5 sessions ended, was boss plot armor. Yes, that plot armor. Coupled always with the ability to one shot a pc with a save or die approach. The reason for this, is because of the fact I was all to happy to find way to break the boss encounters early. I had characters that would be able to kill the boss outside his scripted encounter, or have means to avoid his rays of doom. He raised gm rule #1. The gm has the final say.

Needless to say, this got old fast with the boss characters, and I would do the one thing in my power as the usual party healer, walk away from the fight. The players couldn't win without healing by the ecl of the game. It finally raised the post when he asked why I killed so many campaigns that way. No one wanted to be the healer, its why I did this. Anyone that tried to, got killed so often because of how the encounters were designed for an experienced healer. I was not replaceable for healer by virtue of experience. And being I played passive healers, to do this, was a sign something was wrong. He finally wised up and stop the boss immunity, but well, it took a while..

But that goes for any plot armored npc, I will find a way to remove it or force it removed.
Destrustor 27th Nov 2012, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
Eh, I only have a story about one of my characters having an irrational hatred for an NPC, which eventually became mutual.
The rest of the party wasn't involved, though.
Half_Baked_Cat 27th Nov 2012, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
We were in a haunted prison, level five. Because of the difficulty of the opponents, we had NPC backup. A paladin, an inquisitor, and a dog. The dog's bark could have killed the whole party, that is how screwed we would have been without their backup because we loved the paladin and dog.

The inquisitor we liked at first. Then the elven bitch (We had three dwarves in the party) decided to test us. In a hostile environment. We did not know of this test at first because it was done as an illusion while we rested.

Long story short, the party hated the illusion, my dwarf was used as a dart and ended up with a broken nose (the only injury that stayed after the illusion ended), and the party told off the inquisitor.

I will say that it was more the characters that hated the inquisitor. I was fine with her.

Also, just so you know just how badly we needed the OP backup, some of us got our asses handed to us by a shirt. We had to fight a shirt, and nearly lost.

Then again, we beat some of the haunts in interesting ways. Like playing a flute out of tune or my Dwarf admitting to a ghostly priest he did it with five elven chicks. I rolled a nat 20 after that admittance of sin and the priest ended up passing on. My dwarf was a pimp.
Marian 27th Nov 2012, 6:36 PM Elf Theif edit delete reply
I was the rogue in our party, we came across an NPC that had valuable information on the bandit we were looking for. Naturally, we had to buy it off of him. The DM made him really obnoxious, greedy, and whiny, and none of us wanted to pay him. So naturally, I pickpocket the guy for all he's worth and buy the information off him with his own money. I did this again three more times in the same conversation. I rolled an 18, a 19, and two 20s. The NPC later ended up splattered over a rock when his information led to me getting kidnapped, raped, and almost sacrificed (I had used up all my good rolls and got a 1 on a very important roll).
Chronologist 27th Nov 2012, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
I can name a few. Most notably was the Paladin of my old D&D group, an NPC with a serious superiority complex and a "kill ALL the evil things" as essentially his mantra. Our whole group was Lawful Good and we hated him (except the ninja who was Chaotic Neutral, they got along just fine for some reason), mainly because he was so uptight about defending the innocents and the laws of the land.

The turning point was after an incredibly lethal battle; the group was down to single digit HP, but we'd knocked out a powerful barbarian under the command of our main enemy. Then, out of nowhere another lieutenant for the Big Boss, a spell caster, walks in and says he's going to take his friend and leave. The entire party tells him to fuck off, we were going to take his friend in for questioning and we were going to kick his ass unless he walked away. Everyone... except the Paladin. He just nods, and when my character tries to fight them, he tackles my character to the ground until they walked away.

Paladin: Let them go! He'll kill us if you fight back.
Me: She's a mass murderer, and so's her friend! We can't let them go. How many more people will die because of them?
Paladin: We can't beat them.
Me: It's your JOB to fight impossible odds, to fight an un-winnable battle against the forces of darkness! I'm just a librarian with a few magic tricks, are you saying I've got more balls that the righteous warrior?
Paladin: (silence)
Me: ...Go home, Paladin. We don't need your help. Go home and have your church send someone who isn't a coward and a disgrace to his order.

...this exploded into a real-life argument with the DM and players. We KNEW that the campaign was a bit railroaded, but for the Dm to compromise an NPC's characterization just to save one of his villainous NPCs... it was too much. We actually left the game after that.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you're DMing a game, don't fudge NPC behavior just to keep the story going, or to keep your NPCs alive. Player death and NPC death happens, and the best adventures start when things stop going according to plan.
Bronymous 27th Nov 2012, 9:10 PM edit delete reply
Every NPC with a name, ever. If they have a name, it probably means they're important for something, and I don't have time to explore every plausible connection between them and every other named NPC to see hoe they fit.

So I kill them.
shineyorkboy 28th Nov 2012, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
I have a good one from my L5R game. There's a leader of a rival group of investigators. He's arrogant, confrontational, your typical Crane. The players dislike him so much that when they found him running through the forest after his team got wiped out there first reaction was to accuse him of leaving them to die.

He's kind of like Gilda where he's hated, but he's ment to be. He's just started to show some positive qualities though so we'll see what happens. :D
kingkirby42 28th Nov 2012, 4:39 AM edit delete reply
An NPC named Fizbin, whom our party lovingly nicknamed Fizbitch. Turned out he was the final boss of the dungeon we were in too, that asshole :P
Mooncalf 28th Nov 2012, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Annoying NPC? How about a whole city of 'em?

It was a homebrew game in a post-apocalyptic setting. At the start of the campaign, our (the PCs') village was attacked by raiders, everyone but us were slaughtered, the village burnt down, and we had to flee to the nearest large city with only the clothes on our backs and what items we happened to carry at the time. Oh yeah, and the grief over losing our families.

So after having to endure a painful blood test (to prove we weren't mutants) we get into the city, meet with some official, who says he'll look into the matter (our village was supposedly under their protection, but you can guess how much effort they were gonna spend), and then saddles us with an outrageous fee just for getting to take up residence. We've lost everything, so we get a huge debt (with interest!) that we have no clear idea what it is FOR.

And actually making money to pay it off? No dice. Any jobs we take that are even halfway safe pays diddly-squat. One job required us to drag a heavy cart into the wilderness, drag it back loaded with heavy salvage, and we had to kill three bandits in between, and the pay (maybe a fraction of a percent of said salvage's value) was maybe enough to buy lunch for half the group. The job that actually paid a bit better (guard duty) landed half the group in the hospital and the following treatments and recovery time actually set us back further.

Oh yeah, and the merchants bilked us every chance they got. You'd expect a mechantile hub to develop a certain economic balance when they were so many, but no. Half the people we tried to barter with demanded/offered outrageous prices. (Normally, merchants want to make the sale at some price as long as they make some profit, but these misers wanted their 400% markup or they'd let us walk.) The other half cheated us without even trying to hide it - did you know that 40 * 5 = 180? We didn't, but we either had to take that, or walk off emptyhanded while he kept our stuff anyway.

After we told the GM we'd walk out if we kept getting screwed over, he relented and set up a quest to another city where we were treated with basic respect. He still thought we'd want to aid that hellhole later on, until I said "Let it burn, I won't cry."

Oh yeah, and we did make it burn in the end. With nukes. It was immensely cathartic.
Crisis 28th Nov 2012, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
I applaud your vengeance. Seriously, if [the DM] is going to set up something designed to screw over the players every which way, then they shouldn't be surprised that said players want to burn it to the ground as soon as possible.

I played in a campaign once where the ENTIRE CAMPAIGN WORLD was designed to screw over the players. However the DM was actually -trying- to garner hostile responses from us in regards to the NPCs.
Destrustor 28th Nov 2012, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
Oh yeah, there was once this town called "deepwater" or something.
We hated the TOWN itself.
It was the starting town of the game, and it was the absolutely s***tiest hellhole in the entire world. It was basically built on stilts over a swamp whose bottom was literally covered in dormant demiliches for some reason(there was at least 500 sleeping under the town.) The water was poisonous, filled with undead venomous ghost pirhannas and negative energy. There were no boats to get out of the town(the fish ate them all), and the civilized world had set up a blockade at the only land-based exit to basically isolate themselves from this horror-village.
A full day's worth of back-breaking labor earned us a single copper piece, and the smallest, most disgusting piece of rock-hard rotten bread available at the tavern cost a silver.
We swore on our lives to personally burn this stain off the face of the world. As soon as we were powerful enough we firebombed the place from a nearby mountain, nuked the demiliches with righteous divine fury, and spent about ALL THE MONEYS to build a new city in place of the crater.
Named "Bahamut Harbor", the new port town became our capital city, complete with a breath-taking palace and a mountain-tall(at least 500 feet) solid platinum statue of Bahamut looming over it.
FanOfMostEverything 28th Nov 2012, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
Oh Lord. There was this one guy who used to work for the first Big Bad we fought, but after we killed him, his henchman switched to our side. Unfortunately, he was much better suited for evil, since everything we told him to do, he interpreted as "go beat up people."
Eventually, we shipped him off to a gold mine to essentially serve as slave labor. Then later, we found out he had found a rust monster and was secretly keeping it as a pet, feeding it the miners' tools.
In the end, he became a yellow musk zombie. We weren't responsible for that, but none of us felt particularly bad about it.
Giggle Tail 28th Nov 2012, 11:37 AM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
Take it from the guy who has a lot of little cousins: kids can be pretty darn smart.

Anyway, NPC everyone hated...hmmm...actually, I can't think of any particularly interesting ones. There was this dwarf in our last campaign who joined us only to unexpectedly betray us later, but nothing too interesting about that. It just completely shocked and hurt us when he turned out to be evil (to be honest, I never liked the guy from the start, but even I never suspected he was evil).

Oh yeah, in the same campaign there was also this one NPC's brother who betrayed us early in the campaign. We killed him shortly after his betrayal, but later he came back and captured/tortured/temporarily-mind-controlled our cleric friend (when he was first captured we had no idea they didn't kill him).
Ryuutakeshi 28th Nov 2012, 11:55 AM edit delete reply
I did think of one, but it's not the entire group. Only me. My GM says he won't let me play a technomancer because all wizards hate them and they're usually evil and he doesn't think an evil person will work in the party. Cut to our party leader (who shouldn't even be our leader) who has a girlfriend who is a creepy elven assassin that by GM ruling is lawful evil. So... apparently our party not only approves of evil, we sleep with it.

Can't really say there's any other NPC's we hate because they're either villains, retired PC's from 15 years ago, or currently played PC's that show up every now and then.
DMfromTheAbyss 28th Nov 2012, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
I've met my share of hated NPC's. In fact once there was a whole town of them. We got into a town after slogging through the wilderness for 5 sessions. Finally went to sell all this loot and every merchant tried to rip us off, every guy at the inn had it out for us. Being interested in buying something could get you kicked out of the store in question and all the varous groups (churches, "slayers guild" thieves guild,etc) demanded outragous tithes. After spending two sessions in town trying and failing to sell loot. Being railroaded into helping NPC's who were ripping us off and having an item stolen that was worth more than most of the WBL for the whole party. We finally had enough and tracked down the thief and started killing our way through town. The GM finally got the point but by then the campaign sorta fell apart.

Oh and Hi Ryuu. I do listen;) I just don't always agree with you...
Ryuutakeshi 1st Dec 2012, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
Eh, I suppose that's fair enough.

And there goes my one place to vent about minor frustrations :p My GM found me.
ShadowDragon8685 28th Nov 2012, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
My Shadowrun players have decided that, at some time in the future, when they have the resources and contacts to enact a plan, they are going to track down an NPC who has only so far appeared in the backstory of an amnesiac player, and murder him brutally.

Of course, the fact that he's a pedophile who almost raped her has something to do with it. They're planning to find him and put the size-44 troll boots to him.

(They're also keeping their ears to the ground for any sign of the guys who made the child-snuff-porn BTL chip they tracked down and had to deliver to another NPC. I tend to play up the grimdark of the 6th World so they can decide that unambigiously bad people need to DIE; after all, when your best friend/fuckbuddy/love interest is a gun-running go-ganger, the normal distinctions of what's good and what's not can get blurred.)
Destrustor 28th Nov 2012, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
Oh I just remembered this one gem:
We were hired by a paladin who ruled some kind of isolated city-state to go and stop a bunch of vikings stirring up trouble in the north, beyond a pretty dangerous stretch of the ocean. He loaned us one of the very few ships who dared make the trip to get us there.
Turns out the reason the ship's captain wasn't scared to make the trip was because he was rib-crushingly insane. When we got to talk to him, he asked us why we wanted to go there. after we told him, his answer was basically "you people are crazy. Crazy. CRAaazy. Craaaaaazy. crazy. CRAZY! Crazy. Crazy? CrazY. Crazy. Craaaaaayzeeeeee! Crazy."
And then he NEVER STOPPED. EVER. for two days straight he kept saying "crazy" over and over again, without pause, even in his sleep, loud enough to inconvenience our characters no matter what they tried to shut out the noise. We tried to talk to him, intimidate him, force him to shut up, but he never did. He wasn't even responding to us with any other word.
But since we desperately needed him, we tried to tolerate it as long as we could.
When it got to the point where we had to make will saves versus suicide, my lawful good dwarf monk just snapped and fistmurdered the guy with extreme prejudice.
And then we lost the boat because we had no skill in navigation and we really did need him.
The paladin was disapointed, but thankfully refrained from giving us crap about this because at this point we would have attacked him too.
CJT 29th Nov 2012, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
I'd worry that that might not be the end of it.

The reason? Two words:

Ghost Nappa.
Tatsurou 28th Nov 2012, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
I just remembered another story I had happen once when I was DMing. I had crafted this one very minor recurring NPC villain, kind of the equivalent of Jessie and James of Team Rocket. He always showed up as the head of a gang to fight the party, and always used his last spell to escape before being killed, usually tossing off a cliche one liner. "You'll rue the day you crossed me," "I will have my revenge," you know the kind.

After his 50th such appearance, most of the party kind of accepted him as a free xp recurring battle. However, one of them just wanted to get on with the main plot, so right in the middle of his cliche one liner, this player - the rogue - put an arrow in his eye. This upset his daughter.

The daughter - who's connection to him hadn't been made clear before - was the epic level sorceress who had retired young with enough power to make even the densest player step carefully around her...and her pet dragon. She was chaotic good, and a Daddy's Little Girl. She came swooping in on the dragon, wearing her artifact equips from her own quests, and glared down at the party.

Sorceress: My father died with an arrow through his eye. The oracle's told me he was last seen alive with your group, fighting with you. Who killed my father?
Everyone but the Rogue: HE DID IT!
Rogue: You guys suck.
Valron 1st Dec 2012, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
Overall, my L5R GM is really consistent with making NPCs that will travel with us that at least some of us dislike, but we end up really liking them in the end. This is usually due to the NPC giving bad first impressions to us and then working away from that. This doesn't happen with most NPCs, but it did with like 4 or five MAJOR ones so far. There's been one notable exception where we never warmed up to the character.

In my current L5R game there was this one monk NPC that was traveling with us that we didn't really like. He wasn't so bad, but he was basically babysitting two of our shugenja and being pretty annoying. What did we do with him? We had to skip town in a hurry after being attacked suddenly, and we left him behind. We didn't realize until we were out at sea that he had been off doing something else in town and none of us cared enough to go back for him. He'll probably show up later in the game though.

Avatar 14th Dec 2012, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
My first major NPC went over horribly. He was essentially the quest-giver for the party's first little adventurer - the local lord. A bugbear and his goblins had stolen his cat - not for the cat, but for the jewels in her collar, which were stolen from the temple they were hiding out in and powered its magical defenses. This simpering, helpless, fat lord whining for his "Princess" just struck an awful chord with the party, and they hated his guts. When the town was invaded by a hobgoblin army, I had to specifically note to them that his head was on a pike.
Hexep 2nd Jan 2013, 11:57 PM Rogue Trader NPC edit delete reply
In my first-ever Rogue Trader campaign - played with a mixture of seasoned veterans and rank amateurs - we were missing an astropath transcendent, so I made up an NPC. I wanted to set him up as an ominous, creepy figure, one who the PCs would be afraid of. After all, he held their one link back to civilization, so they'd want to keep from alienating him.

Unfortunately, the campaign quickly took a turn (part through my own bad planning and part through the PCs' actions) where he quickly became unimportant, so they just called him Mr. Cell-Phone and ignored him.

On the other hand, an NPC I created for them to loathe - the Navigator - turned out to be the funniest and best-loved NPC from the whole campaign.
Penn 7th May 2013, 3:05 AM edit delete reply
Oh, does it count if the loathed him for all the right reasons?

There is an Exalted character I re-use alot specifically because players love to hate him. He's an abyssal with necrotech raven wings and wields a 40ft scythe which he only uses against the blasphemous and those he finds worthy of using his full power. Deeply believes the dead are superior to the living. Who only exist to serve the dead. Murdering them becomes a gift.

Between his grand standing, holier-than-thou personality, and wanton murder just about every player thats met him wants to see him dead.
Colin 8th Apr 2014, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Reading these again after season 4's "Somepony To Watch Over Me" is extra fun. What with the flameproof boots and anti-chimera measures, AB really is a PC's sister.
Cyborg-Lucario 28th Jun 2015, 2:19 AM edit delete reply
An NPC the group didn't like?
In our DnD campaign so did we have to go to a ruin to find something that would help us out. We then came to mausoleum and a large gate made out of obsidian, who barked when anyone got close, or even mentioned it.
We decided that whatever was behind these gates had to kept being sealed in there. So we went to the mausoleum.
There we saw skeletons sitting in places with necklaces of golden coins above them.
Then my character (who's a swordmage Kenku with the background of being a thief) took a single golden coin. Which woke all the skeletons up, including the leader (a dead queen who was an ally of immortal warriors that's trying to help us out), who we thought was the one who was going to help us with saving the world. But turned out to be a mad lich who wants revenge on us because I took one coin (hey, I got to stay in character).
I don't remember if we defeated the queen lich or if she's out somewhere in the world. But the ruins were collapsing and we had to escape. And the quickest way to escape was to use my characters artefact, a book with almost all the knowledge in the world and the ability to teleport a large group per people once per day.
But she was sentient and didn't want to and was curious to see what was behind the black gates.
My character may be greedy. But he's not stupid (the same goes for some of theother player characters).
I practically said that it was a dumb idea to open up an intimidating black gate after we accidentally woke up a lich.
But no, the DM basically refused to let us go until we opened the door.
So we were forced to open the door to get the plot going (no, the artefact is not the unlikable NPC I'm talking about).
Inside there was a coffin, which sprung up and revealed a fricking devil.
And those gates that sealed him in was his dogs that were forcibly morphed by that dead queen.
And annoyingly enough, that devil was the person we were looking for.
We were forced to take him with us out from the crumbling ruins.
Most people would expect a character like that to be very helpful and cool considering how we got bruteforced to get him.
He's the oppsite. It turns out that while he may be a devil prince of lust, so was he just a worthless coward who uses his bardic skills to impress ladies.
He wasn't actually helpful to the group, even during those moments where he's supposed to be (like when we went to hell to snatch some fruits from a great devil lord).
Somehow it seems like the DM thinks that he's a funny and good character.
While we the players only thought he was funny when we put him in danger.