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RebelDave

Looting the dead = criminal obligation gains?

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Yes, it's me again!

If you have read any of my other threads, you will have an idea what this one is about...

Would be be prudent to slap some Criminal Obligation on my players for looting of the dead?

If I cannot prevent them actually looting with time constraints and such, when would I apply this?

When they do the looting or when they try and sell it?

What if they elect not to sell the items just stockpile them for 'spares'

(Which is something the player in question actually mentioned last night when the topic came up briefly, he even said he didn't see any any issue with stockpiling and continually trying to mod until everything was maxed out, he seems oblivious to the idea of a story based game, and just defaults to an mmorpg style, grind and repeat mentality)

Thoughts?

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Grave robbing is usually frowned upon in most cultures, but anything stolen or looted would be considered evidence by the proper authorities.  They would love the player characters to keep evidence of assault and murder on their persons.

 

I would use obligation depending upon the circumstances: how many witnesses, how public, how many dead, how brazen the players were.  The more times it would make sense the more likely I would be to implement it.  

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Not so much for looting them. The bit where they kill them, on the other hand, could net them some Obligation.

 

If your players are modding looted gear I don't really see the problem. Attachments and mods cost money, and if they want to keep doing it and build up a huge stockpile of modified weapons, I'd advise you to let them. You can only fire two blasters at once, so having 12 of them back at the ship is merely tied-down resources that are never used.

 

You might be better off handwaving and/or downplaying the looting angle if your players are hell-bent on doing it anyway (I'm assuming you've tried talking to them out-of-game and explained that it doesn't sit well with you). Equip your NPCs with basic, run-of-the-mill equipment, so when your players loot their corpses you can just say, "Sure, you now have 6 more stock blaster pistols. Figure out who takes the Encumbrance hit and let's move along".

 

If the issue is that they're selling those looted guns for money and you fear they're getting too much cash for the campaign, just cut back on any other money they receive. You as the GM is totally in control of how much money falls to the players at any given time; if you have an adventure where someone was going to pay them 7,000 credits to do something, just calculate the rough loot value for the adventure (say, 2,000 credits) and reduce the payment to 5,000.

 

My point is, don't go out of your way to make it hard for them to loot, because that just triggers their competitive instincts. Make it a non-issue instead. Brush over it so fast and casual that it's clear to the players that you really don't attach any importance to it and just choke off other income sources. And if they ask you point-blank why they're not seeing any money from jobs, tell them to their face that you're compensating for the looting. Then it's their choice to keep going the way they are or to quit going through dead people's pockets for spare change in return for easier rewards.

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I'm not sure what the issue is? You are the GM. Any time they try to sell weapons or anything, the buyer would only pay a fraction of their cost. Considering most buyers would probably be criminals or of the pawn shop variety, they would be pretty savvy and wouldn't pay much so they could turn a profit. I would say nothing much more than 10% of the original cost, if that.

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Obligation: Stolen Gear. For each 1000cr (or fraction thereof) of Looted or Stolen equipment owned/used by the PC add 1pt of Obligation. Discarding the item(s) removes the Obligation, Selling the items removes one half of the Obligation (Gaining a Reputation for selling stolen/looted goods). A PC may make an appropriate Difficult challenge roll once for each item to remove identifying markings etc., Success = remove the item's Obligation, Despair and the item is rendered useless. The GM may choose to not count an item as Stolen at their discretion.

 

If the Obligation is triggered some variation of Law Enforcement or Gang Members show up because they heard about you having the gear and want it back, revenge, or arrest.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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If there are witnesses or security cams and they're in a core system (or other system with a strong law enforcement presence), then a criminal obligation is well within reason.  However, if they're in lawless systems, it doesn't make much sense.  In that case, consider a bounty or other obligation being brought based upon whoever the local authority actually is.

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In dealing with looted gear.

  • Not all looted gear is functional. That attack that took the NPC; damaged the weapon they carried as well. Most of the gear may not be salvageable. You can Predetermine what gear they can salvage.
  • As noted by mouthymerc - You (GM) are in control of the games Economy, not the players.
  • Stockpiling weapons takes up room and if you are just laying them about that can take up space quickly. If they are placing them on weapon racks. Then you go with were do the racks come from. Something that needs to be procured. 

 

I also want to put on there that the PC's do not know quality or how well the mods and attachments on looted weapons are done. Unless you have a custom Knowledge skill like Gunsmith / Weapon-smith / Blaster Technician. Yes, a character is an engineer and is strong in mechanics and they can repair certain issues on a weapon, but that does not mean they know the finer points of Repairing/Making a Blaster. 

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I also want to put on there that the PC's do not know quality or how well the mods and attachments on looted weapons are done. Unless you have a custom Knowledge skill like Gunsmith / Weapon-smith / Blaster Technician. Yes, a character is an engineer and is strong in mechanics and they can repair certain issues on a weapon, but that does not mean they know the finer points of Repairing/Making a Blaster. 

 

Unless you start off with that skill available at the beginning of a chronicle, I would suggest not using that line of reasoning with your player characters.  While it is perfectly logical to have those skills, it would be unfair to change it up on them in the middle of a campaign.

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Dang it RebelDave!

 

Ok, I'm normally a pretty easy going GM, and I like seeing my players the Heroes of my games. I am pretty lucky that I don't have any of the problems that you seem to be having. 

 

I say do unto them as they do unto you. While I am normally against plotting the demise of a player character, or the group, it seems that you are trying to play one type of game, and they are playing another. Show them what it is like to be killed and looted. I would come up with  a devious way that would separate one player from the group, and have him killed and looted, while the rest of the party could watch in horror and or disgust. 

 

While I think is great that you keep coming here to ask advice about this group it is pretty clear these people are not going to change, and no mechanical effect like Obligation is going to get them to change. Genelocks, aren't going to work, Obligation will not, nothing will. It boils down to your group wants to play old school Dungeons and Dragons with ray guns and robots. 

 

Either you let them do want you they want, or you do want you want. From the sounds of it, these guys don't care about you or what you think, or even how you feel. If I were the GM, I would tell them to go play Diablo 3 or TOR and be done with them. 

 

Many people here are giving great advice, like a NPC only buying the looted junk for about 10% of book cost or even less. Again, this will not stop them. You are trying to keep the players poor, and they resent that and will do anything they can to have their characters feel rich, and I guess powerful. 

 

I am not here to bash anyone, or imply that you a  poor GM, but from the reading I have done on your threads it seems like these players are the only non static thing in the game universe. It's like they do actions that have no consequences. They get away with murder and the robbing of the dead. Maybe in the published adventures it is set up this way to help newer characters get a little gear, but once they hit a populated area and people see them doing this, they are going to be sold out to the authorities really fast. I say wipe them out and start fresh. Or just let them play their Dungeons and Dragons with ray guns and robots. Let them be rich and powerful, let them live out their fantasy. 

 

Rules and the mechanical effects of the game are there to drive a story and to determine actions in a set parameter of laws and guidelines. Rules and the mechanical effects of them should not, nor are they designed to control a party or their behavior. 

There is nothing in the ECRB, ACRB or FaD Beta, or any of their supplements that can help you effect change with this group. You can try slapping on the Morality mechanic from FaD, but still it won't be the cause for the change.  From my limited vantage you seem less the Game Master and more the Baby Sitter. 

Edited by R2builder

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I also want to put on there that the PC's do not know quality or how well the mods and attachments on looted weapons are done. Unless you have a custom Knowledge skill like Gunsmith / Weapon-smith / Blaster Technician. Yes, a character is an engineer and is strong in mechanics and they can repair certain issues on a weapon, but that does not mean they know the finer points of Repairing/Making a Blaster. 

 

Unless you start off with that skill available at the beginning of a chronicle, I would suggest not using that line of reasoning with your player characters.  While it is perfectly logical to have those skills, it would be unfair to change it up on them in the middle of a campaign.

 

 

I would agree that it should be brought up at the beginning, but having a sit-down in the middle of a campaign with players and discussing New Skills is a viable option. Just like allowing the use of material from a new source-book that was just released. 

Adding new skills should not be an issue as long as you are not going during the middle of a session "oh yeah, you can't do that because you don't have this new skill".

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Adding new skills should not be an issue as long as you are not going during the middle of a session "oh yeah, you can't do that because you don't have this new skill".

 

 

Yeah, that was more my point.  No reason it can't be discussed midway as long as all the players are agreeable.  That said, be prepared to allow players to re-allocate their XP if the new skill fits their character concept.

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@R2Builder.

 

In all fairness, much of this cropped up in last weeks session, and we had not played for a few weeks due to Player Absence.

 

My posts from last year involved a player who is currently absent, but I feel it has simply highlighted another players annoying habits, and I have no had a chance to properly sit down with him and talk about it. (I might tonight if i can).

 

We meet again tomorrow, and in all fairness, their habits are probably just that..... Habits, formed from other games run by other people, and my actions (due to lack of understanding the system and GMing in general) probably havnt helped.

 

 

 

What annoys me the most, is I asked them to create moral characters at the start (To prevent the backstabbing that has been inherant in my group), yet they run around stealing everything,... and for me, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth... but the player in question sees no problem in his actions.

 

And its starting to grate on me.

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What annoys me the most, is I asked them to create moral characters at the start (To prevent the backstabbing that has been inherant in my group), yet they run around stealing everything,... and for me, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth... but the player in question sees no problem in his actions.

 

And its starting to grate on me.

 

Take a deep breath and relax before your patience runs out with your friend.  I understand why it is grating, especially since you had a campaign idea in mind.  It may simply be that your group isn't ready or interested in the campaign design you had in mind.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Every player has their own interests and dislikes.  Sometimes they aren't able to articulate their desires well enough during a planning session or may feel intimidated by some of the other players and never speak their mind.

 

Talk to all of the players separately about their desires for the campaign.  Then get them all together in a group to hammer out the details.  If only one player is not interested with the direction of the game you have a choice.  Either make a new chronicle that fits everyone's interests or politely mention to the player that while he is welcome at the table he may not enjoy the current game.  When the game goes back to something he would be interested in, then invite him back.

 

This last choice is really one I would reserve until the very end of the process, but it may be necessary if everyone else is enjoying where you wish to take the game.  If the majority of the group doesn't like your plans, then you may want to alter them accordingly.  Maybe have a side campaign with those who are interested in your ideas.  Of course, that could apply to those who agree with the difficult player.

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Would be be prudent to slap some Criminal Obligation on my players for looting of the dead?

Thoughts?

 

I think there's nothing wrong with that idea at all.  Look at it this way: In any "non-murder-hobo" setting, if you get in a fight with someone and kill them and there are witnesses, the argument could be made that you're just defending yourself.  The second you start rifling through their pockets? At that point, you just straight-up murder/robbed them. Let them loot some bodies, have a witness see them and report it to the authorities.  Boom! Obligation.  Hell, you could even turn that in to a campaign sessions or two.  They're on the run for murdering and robbing people, then they get arrested and stuck on Kessel, then someone arranges for their release but makes them work off the favor by doing "a little job" for him.  More Obligation!  ;)

Edited by cupajo

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Seriously you are over thinking all this stuff RebelDave, the simplest answer is to offer a fraction of the value for what they loot, and in the case of imperial weaponry and armor simply have buyers refuse to purchase them.  If your players refuse to sell under those terms, all it takes is a stop from local or Imperial customs resulting in the loss of their illegal weapons cargo, ship and freedom to hammer home the notion of why looting every blaster they find is not such a good idea.  If they want to loot every blaster they find and give them to a local rebel cell or the locals being harassed by gang thugs in exchange for bartered goods and services instead of credits, or perhaps a favor owed at a later point.  If even this fraction of credits results in more credits available than you want the characters to readily have available over short periods of time, find creative ways of costing them credits, from fuel cells, to new navicomputers, need to pay for information or bribe officials etc.

 

Stealing ships again its called piracy and carries a heavy punishment if caught and good luck trying to move the stolen ship, simple answer to this is players can't forge ship transponder codes(unless you choose to allow it), if the players want to play pirates, they can expect their travel options to start becoming difficult, not to mention who is willing to deal with them.

 

Super specialized characters aren't going to be challenged necessarily by what they specialize in, find ways of splitting up parties up to tailor challenges for folks instead of worrying so much about making all the encounters more difficult for them.(Think Death Star rescue with the party of 6 splitting up into 3 separate groups)  The uber mechanic that can slice or repair any pile of junk he finds likely can't bluff his way past a fight and can't melee or shoot his way out of a nasty combat encounter without friends, you wanna make a point about investing too heavily into one character aspect that's how you do so.

 

Genelocks on every weapon and ships rigged to blow should not be the norm, used rarely its more effective as a deterrent.

 

Giving characters more obligation as a plot narrative is fine though its a heavy handed way of getting your point across used the way you are suggesting.

Edited by Greymere

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(Which is something the player in question actually mentioned last night when the topic came up briefly, he even said he didn't see any any issue with stockpiling and continually trying to mod until everything was maxed out, he seems oblivious to the idea of a story based game, and just defaults to an mmorpg style, grind and repeat mentality)

Thoughts?

If this one person is making you go to all this trouble to balance against them, I would just ask this person not to return. 

 

I understand that would be a big decision and possibly problematic to an ongoing friendship but seriously, the lengths this person seems to be going to in order to play the game as a loot-fest despite all your attempts to address the problem shows an incredible disrespect for you.

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Personally my favorite is first they sell it for between 10-50% of its value depending on negotiations.

Then when they sale the more rare items or weapons belonging to a crime lord's thugs well its usually distinctive

which of course cuts down on the value by making it harder to sell and very easy to trace back to them.

 

Jabba really would like to know how you got that krayt tooth handled Dragoon he gave to Teemo for his birthday....

Now me personally I don't think you were stupid enough to off Teemo and keep something like that, but Jabba really wants to talk with you right now I'm sure you have a great story to tell him while he tortures you...

 

Or isn't that Captain Raskin's vibro knife the one he took off that Trandoshan he skinned for his boots. Now I'm sure you have a good reason for having it, but you will have to come with us...

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I think any corrective measure (storytelling or game mechanic) will not solve the problem since the players seem to be stuck in the inescapable gravity well of murder-hobo-ism...

 

GM: "You attempt to sell the looted gear, but the fence recognizes some of it as belonging to a friend of his..."

Player: "WeI kill him and loot his gear. How much XP?"

 

GM: "The authorities are searching your vessel looking for stolen weapons..."

Players: "We kill them and loot their gear. How much XP?"

 

Like FangGrip suggests, you need to have the sit down with your players to see if they're having fun and come away with some agreement on the direction of the game/style of play.  Otherwise, you're going to continue to be frustrated.

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I think talking with your players is the most effective means of resolving this issue. But if I had to recommend something: do not approach them as a group.

Humans have this terrible thing they do where they refuse to back down from a stance when other people are watching. Men, myself included, are especially bad about this. We tend to view compromise as weakness. Simply put: trying to force them to do what you want only offends their pride and pushes them deeper into their pilfering vagrants mentality.

Here's what I would suggest. Approach each player individually and ask them what they would like to see in an adventure. That tends to get them more involved, makes them feel more comfortable if they think you care about what they think. Which you should. Without the immediate support of their peers, they should be more open to suggestion. Then explain how you want them to want to play for the merits of the story and roleplaying, not just bigger numbers and loot. Try to make yourself sound as agreeable as possible. That way, any resistance they put up should make them feel unreasonable and few people actually enjoy being the antagonist. Guilt goes a long way in any negotiation.

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Killing the fence or authorities would most definitely incur obligation.

 

I don't think they would care...at least not until they hit 100 Obligation and can no longer spend XP.

That's fine. Being a GM I would relish such plot points. Wanna gangwar? Awesome! Wanna be on the Empire's Most Wanted? Again awesome! Gonna be difficult to accomplish anything when you're so wanted that you have to worry about everyone turning you in for the reward, losing everything, and ending up on Ord Vaxal. Great stuff for stories.

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If a GM can't structure an encounter where combat (ie killing them) is not a viable option that's a whole different issue.  Killing the fence translates into 0 XP and Obligation which adds up to as you said strain and eventually inability to spend XP, killing the Imperial customs agent, assuming it doesn't result in an immediate reaction of force so heavy handed the players have no hope(which it should, since everyone would kill customs agents otherwise) even if they survive they would likely carry an even greater Obligation penalty, and again the resulting strain penalty and inability to spend XP.

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WHILE R2builder has a great idea I'd go less harsh.

Maybe have a very inescapable scenario by a previous enemy they have encountered or a gang they crossed. It's a trap! Literally surrounded by an army. Throw down your weapons. Now they are boned. The enemy will now make them feel helpless like a looted body. Stripping them of all their fancy gear and fancy armor. Oh that awesome blaster that took you forever to make and pay for? Mine now. That armor your pried off my dead gangmber? I'll take that back. Give them a good thrashing sans-gear and toss them into the streets or into a prison cell. All the meanwhile the baddies can point out how they looted their dead comrad(s) and they are taking their stuff back.

Of course they can escape or whatever later.

OR just what R2builder said-- kill the F outta one of them and have it set up where they see many be off a monitor the guy laughing over their dead friend joking with another while stripping him of his gear. If that doesn't spark emotion than your players are Replicants and you better call in a Bladerunner.

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Guys, I'm not sure if you realize that all of the massively punishing options you're suggesting are nothing but a recipe for the end of the campaign.  If the GM demonstrates that despite the players spending all their game time working to accumulate this mass of wealth, it can be lost in a matter of minutes through GM fiat, what's the point of playing the game?  Why make plans or plot character development if the GM can blow it all away whenever they feel like it?  An RPG is supposed to be a -shared- journey, not simply rats running through a maze for the amusement/entertainment of the GM...

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