Page 524 - Obstruction of Progress

2nd Dec 2014, 5:00 AM in Luna Eclipsed
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Obstruction of Progress
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd Dec 2014, 5:00 AM edit delete
The biggest drawback of story-heavy, character-heavy, and roleplay-heavy groups - no matter how awesome the stories that are created - is that players allow their hands to be tied by their characters. When the only thing creating conflict is in-character belief or morality, roleplayers will often stick to their characters' guns as long as possible and at the expense of everything else - resisting compromise even more, I think, than in actual, real-life arguments.

But that's a side-effect of grouping up with roleplayers, and I happen to like roleplayers, so it's just something you have to deal with every now and again.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are still open until this arc is finished! Guidelines here.



Jennifer 2nd Dec 2014, 5:12 AM edit delete reply
As opposed to the sort of stubbornness that you see with roleplayers in pretty much any situation whether it matches their character concept or not? ("I know there's treasure here and I'm going to get it if we have to spend the entire session in this chamber!")
I've mentioned before the one time I played an Imperial Guard soldier who stuck to his faith long enough for the party to be in danger of their lives. I should have been paying more attention to the metagame at that point; I imagine, for the hapless GM, it was like the KODT comic in which the players insisted on entering an obviously booby-trapped cave and were all killed. If he's reading this, sorry!
Digo 2nd Dec 2014, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
On rare occasions in RP-heavy campaigns a play may retire their character if sticking to the character's IC personality becomes a problem. Happened to me once because my character refused to go a certain direction that the party wanted to go (It would have been against my character's clerical faith).

In a current Fallout Equestria game I'm in, one player wants to reture his character because it's a very gritty kind of character when the rest of the party isn't into killing everything. In the interest of preventing possible party conflict, he's considering to switch to something that'll get along with the group easier.
Fury of the Tempest 2nd Dec 2014, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
I've known that happen myself. In fact it happened right after the first encounter of the campaign, were we had taken agents of the dark mistress prisoner... and one our characters proceeded to kill one via backstab coup'de'grace.

Nobody took that very well, and seeing future conflicts would be likely, was quick to have their character exit stage left and bring on someone else.
Boris Carlot 2nd Dec 2014, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
I've been lucky, I guess. I've only had one case where my character's personality/beliefs/attitudes conflicted so strongly with another PC's that it was getting to "they go or I go" territory and that campaign died before it got that far.
Mykin 2nd Dec 2014, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
Same here. I'm usually mindful when making characters to not make something that would ultimately become problematic. Heck, the one time I did try to do that, he got ignored like none other before he got the chance to do anything. He did end up annoying one npc to the point where they almost killed each other though but that's normal.

If I may bring up something I read a while ago, there was a situation where a party was about to start up a quest when the group druid got into an argument with the paladin (and eventually the DM) over the fact that the druid had no reason to go. He seemed to believe that since his character was a druid, and the job of all druids is to nourish and protect nature at all costs, and that this quest had nothing to do with that at all, that his character would adamantly refuse to go. Ironically, the paladin turned to the DM for help and asked him to step in before the game died that second. If memory serves me right, the DM turned to the druid and asked if the two characters were good friends. When the druid answered yes, the DM asked why simply helping out a friend in need wouldn't be motivation enough for this character? Especially considering that the paladin has helped the druid out several times with defending nature during the campaign.

The story goes on and the point of it all, from the writer's perspective, was that PCs are responsible for coming up with a reason as to why their character is coming along with the group if they actually need one. Personally, though, its just a simple reminder to me that there are multiple reasons for people to do one thing or another. Just because one has sworn an oath to something doesn't mean that is the be all end all of his reasoning towards doing things, especially if it has no impact on said oath at all. But that's my thought on the subject.
Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:46 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I've never had to do that yet, but I have a lot of respect for it as a method of compromise. I usually compromise internally to speed the game along a little; the only time I came close to retiring a character was when I considered staying behind to give some bandits' victims an honorable burial while border patrol was chasing the party, and we'd already killed one team of them in self-defense, so I was likely to be executed if caught. I had just made my second character with the DM, but my first was our only divine primary spellcaster and the beatsticks need their healbot so I couldn't just throw his life away. I wound up making deals with the rest of the team to have them do my morning chores after we rested so I had time to consecrate the bodies and some ground, and leave a note explaining that they (guardsmen and pleasure women) were recovered from the basement of a guard tower overrun by bandits, who we'd killed to a man. Granted, we never made it to the next session, but I was satisfied. I think the DM was a little annoyed that I kept trying to be noblebright is his 'realistically gritty' campaign.
Digo 2nd Dec 2014, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
As a player I've witnessed campaigns end from such arguments. The worst was one where I tried to calm down the argument and mediate a compromise and then the GM Walked out of the game because he didn't want to help calm things down.

In the end that campaign was pretty much done. :c
Raxon 2nd Dec 2014, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
I don't think I ever found a time when my hands were tied by alignment. Then again, very few of my characters are standard.
DanielLC 2nd Dec 2014, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
You've never been in a position where it would be a good idea to act sane?
Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Remember the aurochs guy? Paranoid terror is the pinnacle of sanity!
Raxon 2nd Dec 2014, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
I've never been in a position where it would be a rational decision to be sane.

Go ahead and have a sit. You'll need it.
Digo 2nd Dec 2014, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
That sounds like a line Kard the Chaotic Neutral rogue would say. He had that kind of attitude. Though as the campaign went on we found out he really was sane and was totally pulling a Verbal/Keyser Söze on the party.

Was pretty brilliant when the reveal came.
Anon 2nd Dec 2014, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
Almost hit that point a few weeks back; it could have gotten messier if my hands hadn't been tied (and rightfully so) by the League rules.

When entering a cave, we found a dead dwarf in his bedroll just outside, who still had a pair of magic boots on. Since my character was based on a pre-gen handed out at the beginning of the campaign, said dwarf was a close cousin of mine, meaning taking them back would have been the right thing to do. With Adventurer's League rules, however, if someone in the party doesn't have a magic item yet, they get dibs, and our bard decided he wanted to try them.

I should say that I actually agree with that rule for public play, but if not for that my character would have been a LOT more stubborn about letting his cousin get looted. Likely to the point of offering to solve the solution with his battleaxe and the bard's legs.
BadHorse 2nd Dec 2014, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
Hey - no feet, no use for boots!
Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
There's a few ways I can think of to resolve that - if your dwarf trusts the Bard, he could use them until you found something to trade for them, or even keep them if they're close friends. Alternatively, trade him one of your magic items to recover family property, or just pay him off. The rule is a good one, but needn't overrule in-character behavior!
Specter 2nd Dec 2014, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
More times then not (almost every time), I've let my character be themselves over the party dynamic, and so far:

-I have performed a "move of the night" attack by jumping off a set of stairs and kicking someone else (another pc no less) who was a the bottom of said stairs.

-We have a hefty amount of bandits hostage instead of dead.

-Our most powerful pc is still alive by my agro-ing of the enemy boss.

-And we have had "just the tool" for every situation so far.

Set backs include: I am a RP heavy Combat light player, with RP/Combat moderate character, in a RP light Combat heavy (DM) game. So far, I'm not at the bottom of the barrel, so I call that a win.
BadHorse 2nd Dec 2014, 8:29 AM edit delete reply

1) My ogre was trying to make friends with a giant eagle (nerfed intelligence), and it took a swipe at a new party member. Old party member decided that it had a taste for blood and was beyond redemption. Within five rounds, I'd knocked the old party member to 1 hp, they'd chased, trapped, and blasted the eagle to -7, the new party member fled, swearing never to work with us, and my ogre had a few arrows in him, which he kindly handed back to the other new party member.
BadHorse 2nd Dec 2014, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
2) In a hero game, the DM had killed off all the heros pre-game, leaving we few. He did not, however, express in chargen that we needed to be any particular sort of character.

They bylaws of the Avengers stand-in demanded a minimum of five members. They had four, and my street-level, low-powered I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T hero-for-hire/PI.

They sent a lawyer by to my strip center office with a big offer. I declined. He offered to buy me out. That was the opposite of what I wanted. I counter-offered that they could call me when they needed me for a big stipend. They needed me to live on premises. I declined. He threatened me with legal garbage, I offered him the door.

Then came the four heroes, last on earth, to give me the hard sell. I sat at my desk and told them to get lost. A speedster threw a chloroform cloth over my face. I repulsor blasted in front of myself, kicking my door into the street. I removed the cloth, which nobody bothered to hold there, and got ready to fight.

Their mentalist held me aloft with telekinesis. How? By the middle? Blast. Holding my arms down? Okay. Speedster walks up to me, talking tough. Double kick to the face. Her neck snaps, she falls to the ground. Oops.

TK smashes me, upside down, into the wall, breaking me through to the next business. Speedster snaps her neck back, gets back up. I'm still unhurt, but agree to go quietly, as things are getting messy. They lock me in the jail of their super A-Team van as they drive to a press conference. I try blasting and punching my way out, doing some damage, but failing.

We arrive and the mentalist uses mind control on me to make me sit down and answer questions as if I'd agreed to join. I fail to break free, but make her choke on her words when I tell the press we're married and she fails to change my words. A villain attacks, she lets me go, I walk away, the press follows, I sigh and go back, grabbing a table and throwing it at the villain, defeating him in one move. I walk away, flip the A-team van, rip off an axle and beat the undercarriage with it, then make my escape.

Their super lawyer sues me, and they arrest me and throw me in Arkham-equivalent, where in the 2nd and final session of the game, there is a breakout of all the villains, and I'm in the middle, trying to save the staff.

PS - I only described speedy wolverine and the mentalist because they were the instigators. They had plant Aquaman, but he kept to himself. I think there was a 4th, but I don't remember beans about him/her.
BadHorse 2nd Dec 2014, 8:31 AM edit delete reply

3) Same DM as the hero game, starting in a town, I design a sweet disguise artist rogue - different clothes, disguise kit, 12 holy symbols, UMD, Spellcraft. He needs a cover, so I give him Profession: Scribe and Craft: Gemcutting and set him up in his own pawn shop where he can act as a local fence. Little do I know the story takes place far from town. An NPC walks in my shop and asks to make use of my "skills." I ask if he needs a document drawn up, or a gem cut. Could I show him something? He talks about the mission - nope, don't want anything to do with that, I'm afraid, wouldn't be useful. He (DM, not NPC) burned my store down and got me involved in a street fight to get me going. Sadly, all my disguises were in my shop...
Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
The hero game sounds like a lot of fun, but I hope the other players were onboard once made aware of your choice of character. Not to mention the GM; sounds like half their job of generating conflict was already handled :P
Why was he so disinterested in working with them, if you knew that's what the campaign'd be about?
Specter 2nd Dec 2014, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
My guess would be the character was a materialist, liked having a steady income (I do believe that is what a stipend is), or they knew the risk was higher then the reward... maybe?

-Edit to below comment to save space-

Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:30 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Let me rephrase that; why would BadHorse (Bad Horse, Bad Horse! Bad Horse, Bad Horse!; he rides across the nation, the thoroughbred of sin...) design him to be so reticient even when aware of the campaign plan? Didja know the players well enough to be sure they'd be cool with it?
BadHorse 3rd Dec 2014, 4:11 AM edit delete reply
Mnonono... IIRC (it WAS a long time ago), we were told to make any hero we wanted (power level varied by number of flaws/enemies etc you picked - everyone went high powered but me), I think we were told there would be few or no other heroes, but it was DEFINITELY not clear to me that all 5 of us would be required to join the official state team in order for them to get access to the heli-jets and stuff. I just wanted to play a street superhero because that's what I wanted to do. He was reticent to join because a) he had an independent streak, b) was underpowered for the kind of big time threats they'd be facing, c) he had a business to run, and he was proud/possessive of it, and d) nobody asked the right way (and to the extent they did, he felt it was dumb government nonsense, why not just edit the bylaws to allow for 4 members or just put some jamoke in a suit and call it a day?) As the heroiest hero of the PCs, he'd have no problem going to bat for them when needed, but he didn't care to be official and didn't want to leave his comfort zone.
Disloyal Subject 3rd Dec 2014, 8:14 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Yeah, I caught that they weren't asking very nicely; I wasn't surprised by that refusal. I've some experience myself with characters being obstinate over something they'd have been happy to do purely because the PCs were being rude about it; I was just wondering why you'd structure his psychology as such for a team game - and now I know. :)
Dragonflight 2nd Dec 2014, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
My favorite example of this is a character a friend played in a long-running 3D&D game I ran a while back. The character, Shiana, was a dark elf rogue who liked easy money, and spent it as fast as she had it. But she also had an 8 Wisdom, and took penalties on all wisdom-based checks.

She eventually discovered her family was part of an ancient society of demon-killing girls (Yes, this is taken straight from Devil Hunter Yohko.) And on top of that, her early mistakes in life put her on the radar of a lot of demons and demon lords.

They tried everything they could think of to seduce, coerce, and mind control the Slayer thief, in the hopes of gaining her obedience. After all, any demon lord who could command the loyalty of a Devil Slayer would be invincible. And while any reasonable character would resist such obvious blandishments, she often went along with the attempted recruitments right up until she had to commit. Then her higher Intelligence would save her tail, and she'd waffle in indecision until the demons got tired and tried to kill her. Big mistake.

Several times over the course of the campaign, the PC's found Wisdom-raising items. The player always passed on them because they didn't fit the character's schtick.
WordSarien 2nd Dec 2014, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
I'm running into that a bit with my current campaign. My character is the only good-aligned character in the party (everyone else ranges from Lawful to Chaotic Neutral), and our party is currently investigating a "fight club" where fights are typically to the death. Our barbarian ripped the arm off of one of his opponents during their match... because. I decided to justify this in-character by saying that a) she's looking forward to taking this place down, no matter how disgusted she is by it in the meanwhile, and b) about the ripping-the-arm off thing? She wasn't watching the fight and doesn't care to know the details (she was watching the crowd, trying to pick out patterns).

It doesn't help that I'm the only Diplomancer in a party of tanks. :P
Disloyal Subject 2nd Dec 2014, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
In my party, it's the Good characters who're most bloodthirsty - my NG Half-Orc Ranger, and a NG Tiefling Bard. Everyone else is shades of Neutral, mostly Chaotic.
I'm told the Minotaur Fighter is pretty brutal too, but he hasn't shown up to a session since I joined. The others mostly picked Neutrality out of apathy, while we Good-aligned folk's drive to do Good leads us to commit atrocity after atrocity, save when the Tiefling is running away like a coward as she's wont to do. The Chaotics don't care, but the TN Druid is sad when we kill things, though the magical antidepressant mask we found in a dungeon is helping with that.
Mykin 2nd Dec 2014, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
Funny, it's usually the chaotic people that are the most bloodthirsty out of all of us in our party (with the exception of our Lawful Neutral character.) Anyway, I'm somewhat in the same position as WordSarien, to the point where I had an argument with our neutral evil sorcerer over killing a cultist solely on the principle that he was A) Drunk, B) Unarmed, and C) Sleeping. While everyone else agreed with the sorcerer (even our chaotic good rogue,) they decided to just stay out of it while both of us laid into each other with our opinions on the matter. Finally I shook the man awake and we got some really useful information out of him, much to the chagrin of our egotistical sorcerer.

Predictably, it was in the next session that, when a roper got a hold of my cleric and I yelled for help, our sorcerer basically looked at me and then told the roper "Here's your meal" before cast expeditious retreat on himself and ran for the hills. Which I guess that fits with the theme for today: Since I wounded his massive ego by rejecting his idea and proving mine as the right course of action, it made him abandon the group when they tried to save me instead of just sucking it up, helping out, and then wait until he actually got paid for the entire endeavor before trying to screw me over.

Of course, the only reason the rest of the group likes me is because I'm altruistic and tolerant as all get go and I happen to have saved their hides on more than one occasion with healing spells so...that's better than genuine friendship, right?
Digo 2nd Dec 2014, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
I've been in that sitch, the only good character in a party of nuts. I remember one time my character excusing himself from the room when the group was about to get violent and I happened to get lucky and be far enough away not to be arrested when SWAT busted the door down. XD
Specter 2nd Dec 2014, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
There are many mistakes I made when trying to DM. The most prominent (and something I do often) was spend one session (a single session that ultimately breaks the campaign for all the wrong reasons) for the PCs to spend a day or two to recuperate and do random things their characters would normally do to stay sane and relax (or profit, as their characters personality).

Death, murder, and making the town hate them is often an outcome :(

The other PC's that don't mess around with this opportunity (but still make use of it) often get creative and carried away with it :)
Rubahhitam 2nd Dec 2014, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
This reminds me of a 4E D&D session my old group had a few years back. Now, granted not all of us were RP-heavy, but the DM didn't like combat a whole lot. We were Paragon-tier characters travelling the Astral Sea in a previously-abandoned floating fortress, which later became populated with NPCs. The "leader" (I use quotes because he usually spoke first and we went along with his ideas) was a Warforged Revenant Paladin of the Raven Queen, tasked with taking down individuals who had cheated or escaped death more than once. For those of you familiar with the name Saman Avarian (I'm probably misspelling here, sorry) this was the guy we (specifically the Paladin) went after the most. Now, my character didn't come in until later, and at that time Saman actually helped the group (but apparently he had betrayed the group before my arrival). Our "leader" decided to "reward" Saman, by challenging him to a deathmatch. My character intervened, Saman got away. Now, my character's a Monk, and had begun a monastery in the fortress to those who wished to learn. He did not discriminate for any reason, and allowed worshipers of all faiths into his training grounds. I did mention that the Paladin was serving the Raven Queen, right? Well, after a few months (in-game time), my monastery gets blown-up. And wouldn't you know it? Not too long after Saman comes back to broker a deal. My character, furiously approached him, asked him point-blank if he blew up the monastery, rolled Sense Motive, and found that Saman did NOT, in fact, do the dirty deed. Long story short, it turned out to be the Rogue of our group who acted on the orders of the Paladin. Apparently my monastery was, in some way, shape, or form, against the Raven Queen because I wasn't a believer/supporter/whatever, or some such nonsense. This caused a good bit if in-game, and even greater out-of-game, conflict. Thankfully, none of my Monk's students were harmed, and eventually the monastery was rebuilt, and we killed Saman later on down the road. Lesson? Be careful of teammates who worship a death deity.
Digo 2nd Dec 2014, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Good lesson. The running 'injoke' with my last group was that the alignment of the deity Wee Jas is "Should Be Evil". We make it a point not to trust clerics of her favor.
Sheepking 3rd Dec 2014, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
I'll admit that I don't know much about the core d&d gods, but my rule of thumb tends to be "Death is neutral, his worshipers aren't."
Delta Pangaea 2nd Dec 2014, 6:15 PM edit delete reply
I like how easy it is to get people to talk about their characters. :D

In my case, I'm actually swapping characters myself for a character reason(Pathfinder). My previous character was a Lawful Good Investigator, with some levels of Sleepless Detective, so she's a PI sort of character, but more on the Good than the Lawful.

We got a job to go 'deal with some bandits'.

Turns out there was 500 bandits menacing an entire city. Lead by the ghost of the city's dead king, who was murdered by the current king and trying to get revenge as ghosts do. We snuck the Deadking into the murderking's room so he could kill him and organised with the ex-commander of the guard for him to control the leaderless bandits with the Deadking's help.

With the murderking dead, the ex-commander showed up on the outskirts of the city, MENACING THE CITY WITH HIS BANDITS. Trying to have the whole thing resolved as quickly as possible and with as little bloodshed as possible, we vaporized the Well-Liked Chancellor who was organizing the defence (Who we had thought had attempted to have us assassinated twice.

Turns out the ex-commander had gotten the bandits on his side by promising looting rights. And wasn't even going to pay us. So we looted the treasury, then cut and ran.

Basically, the whole area got screwed hardcore. The DM told us ooc later than the commander was always a dickbag and the chancellor had nothing to do with the assassins. And the clerk we had been hired by (Who was the person we were asking for audiences with both the King and Chancellor but never got) was a mastermind of his own with his own schemes.

So basically, after plunging an entire region into an abyss of angry bandits, she's feeling... conflicted about being in the party. A little.
Rinnaul 3rd Dec 2014, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
I've actually lost a character to this.

At the end of a quest, we basically learned that the noble we'd been working for was secretly an evil bastard. When he revealed everything he'd done so he could gloat about what fools we were to trust him, my NG cleric refused to let him just get away with it.

Thing was, we were supposed to suck it up and just accept that this corrupt noble screwed us over, then deal with him later, because he currently had about 8 levels on us, lots of magic items, and would easily beat the entire party in straight combat.

But it wouldn't fit my character to let him get away with it, so I got my mace out and fought him to the end to satisfy the character's own morality.
Ladyofthelibrary 4th Dec 2014, 4:04 AM edit delete reply
I had the inverse of this (at least I think) occur with my first campaign. I was close friends with the only other player and the DM and was playing a cleric while the other player had a thief. We ended up at a stronghold for my religion and I wanted to trust my companion. I was forced to NOT do so due to the limitations of my character's role. When last we left off, my small party is in an alternate time-line where my race is extinct, my religion and goddess don't exist and several people are convinced my character is mentally disabled; my partner is also a 2-times-over assassin but my character doesn't know that. Can't wait to see what my DM comes up with next.