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Castlecruncher

The Murderhobos are Back

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Over a year ago, I had an issue with my players killing without remorse and being general scumbags. Back then, when I asked for help, someone told me my players were "Murderhobos." The situation was resolved, but now it's arisen again with the start of a new campaign. I don't know for sure what the cause for sudden change is, specifically with my primary player who's generally very serious, but it's a serious problem. So the question is, what should I do to fix the problem? I know that one of the players is generally less serious but still not terrible, while a new player spends half the time making up joke scenarios and the other half arguing why he should be able to do things such as cut through walls and carry two backpacks.

Any advice will be very appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Ask them if they actually want to play a RPG or would be happier switching to a tabletop skirmish game.  If they want to role play then tell them they need to knock off what they're doing.  Oh, and if dude has what he needs to cut through a wall I'd allow it, two backpacks, not so much.....

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Talk to them. find out why they want to play the way they do.

Find out if any other players in the group have a problem with this.

If they do tell your murderhobos to knock it off.

 

GM as a npc Smuggler: "Hey, guys, c'm here! I migh have a job for you."

Bruce: "I shoot him with my blaster!" (rolls, crits, wastes npc character)

Mike: "Duuude! he was gonna give us a quest!"

GM: "are you gonna do that with every NPC?"

Bruce: "Maaaybe..."

 

GM: Roight, thats it! This is getting out of hand! Anyone has a problem with Bruce killing the people who are suposed to send you on the adventure?"

John: "I don't mind."

Mike: "Yes i do!"

GM: "Bruce look man, your ruining it for everybody, if you want a proper fight i can give you one."

Bruce: "Do your worst! Nothing out there that can take me!"

GM: "If it has stats, they can kill it."

John: "Hey that's my line!'

GM: "you know what has stats, Bruce? You character. Hint. HINT."

Bruce: "I'll be good!"

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You said it's a new campaign, which means all new characters?  You haven't described the campaign, so it could be a couple of things.

 

Maybe they don't have a vision of their characters yet beyond a page of stats...no real reason to "be" anything yet and they default to murder hobo.  There is a player I game with who is kind of like that, takes forever to get into his character, relies a lot on the GM suggesting motives and goals, and then ******* about the suggestions.  But eventually he figures something out, latches on, and then he's a lot of fun.

 

Or maybe the group has not developed any personal connections yet...they don't know anybody concrete that would be affected by their actions.  The group in my current game veered in that direction in the first session...they wanted to blast some hapless minion who was paid to follow them...until I reminded them that this was their home town, and all their childhood friends and neighbours would be watching them splatter some stranger on the main street.  Introducing people they grew up with seemed to have a calming effect :)

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(sorry for the WoT)

 

Whafrog reminded me of what happened when I was a green D&D player decades ago as a young teenager. In hindsight, a wise DM back in the infacy of DMing (no internet to go look for Expert DM sources) handled me pretty well and made for my most memorable PC ever.

 

I had a Half-Elf Magic-User/Thief (dating myself, I think that's Wizard/Rogue now), Chaotic Neutral. I began early on playing him as only out for himself. He was dastardly even to the party. I would try to pocket gems without my friends knowing, before the term "ninja looter" was created. I pickpocketed hapless strangers in town, etc. Murderous? No, but I was upsetting other players.

 

So, it happens that while fighting a Cult Wizard, my soul was sucked into some sort of jewel and the wizard fled into the Abyss. My body was kept alive but comatose. My soul ended up in the Abyss working for and being tortured by hordes of demons. I had to reroll a new character. If I recall it right, the only way to save me would be to bring my body (had to be hand fed, the party paid someone to keep my alive) into the Abyss and find my soul jewel and thus reunite us. This was forgotten for a bit because our party was nowhere near the levels high enough for such a quest. I pretty much forgot about my character and moved on to something else that I can't recall (not very memorable character).

 

Literally months  real-time later, a stronger party finds a portal into the Abyss. The party makes the quest (multi-part adventure) and I'm rescued. My character makes a return with highly reduced Charisma and Wisdom (aka will power) due to my years being tortured by demons.

 

The character became my first real RP experience. He didn't talk at all or very little for some time as he dealt with his internal demons. He became the sulking quiet type, but then something else started happening. The out-for-himself rogue began doing small, kind things for NPCs and others that he met. His new loot of gold would be left behind in a peasent's home that befriended the party. He slowly repaid, through acts of selflessness, the other members of his party that he had treated unfairly, yet had rescued him from his tortue. His alignment slipped from Chaotic Neutral towards Chaotic Good.

 

Playing this character became my favorite player experience. I owe it to a wise DM. He removed my disruptiveness and turned it into a positive.

 

Whafrog hinted at an example above. Throw in some moral scenarios that tosses some guilt at your murderhobo. Perhaps you can turn this negative into something fun?

Edited by Sturn

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I'm just going to throw this out there: maybe they want to play a bunch of violent thugs for a while? Role-playing can burn you out if you do too much too soon, and it could be they're sending signals that they want a breather and don't want to do anything more complicated than shoot people and take stuff. (Or shoot stuff and take people.) That kind of game can be fun, and when they really get into it, you can quietly introduce some deeper role-playing.

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have the players write up their characters backstory using the obligation and motivation system provided as the backbone. This can help give the players focus and immersion. If that doesn't work, tell them you understand if they arn't into the game and get a new group of players. No point in playing if you are not enjoying it.

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hrm.  Reminds me a failed attempt at "rescue at glare peak" where a player was trying to argue he was force sensitive and could cut through walls with his vibroknife that had a mono-molecular edge

 

I refuse to play with those types of people

 

send a couple of squads of stormtroopers after him that stun him, and in order for the players to free him he has to only kill when the other players say it is okay. Otherwise he goes back to prison or Kessel.  THAT makes it roleplaying

Edited by kinnison

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Aside from you, CastleCruncher, who else has an issue with the "murderhobo" characters? That really is the default mode for most players in a lot of game types as combat is the easiest kind of encounter to run/resolve. Not everyone feels the need to get into character like they're professional thespians. Some just like the escapism that the games provide. Namely a chance to do stuff you can't or shouldn't do in the real world. A time to hang out with friends and goof around. It doesn't always have to be serious.

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Aside from you, CastleCruncher, who else has an issue with the "murderhobo" characters? That really is the default mode for most players in a lot of game types as combat is the easiest kind of encounter to run/resolve. Not everyone feels the need to get into character like they're professional thespians. Some just like the escapism that the games provide. Namely a chance to do stuff you can't or shouldn't do in the real world. A time to hang out with friends and goof around. It doesn't always have to be serious.

 

In my younger days I have dealt with them and frankly I find them annoying as hell unless the group is played that way from the start with everyone agreeing.  We tend to call those "villain games" when we do them on occasion.  If only one player goes that route it can be much less fun for everyone else.

 

Usually the term murderhobo comes from the stress and aggravation of a split group.

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I had a Player that was always out to start a fight regardless if it was practical or would hurt the group. After talking to him it turned around and then inevitably it popped up again. Again a talk, again a short period of respite from the harsh nature of play.

 

I got talked to by the other Players in the group about the way he handled situations. I talked to him again and finally it seemed to click. I thought of an idea how to fix it.

 

I did a short non related story with the danger crazed Player in a totally different role (a Droid doctor, versus a Zabrak smuggler-thief) and then had a final talk with him.. finally he understood due to looking at it from a different perspective.

 

When we started up the regular game he was more in line with what the rest of the group wanted to play.

 

There isn't a be-all, end-all method to handle murder hobos or Players that wish to disrupt or go all video gamey. Sometimes you just have to tell that person it didn't work out and move on. Hopefully your newer attempts at handling your murderhobo are successful.

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Aside from you, CastleCruncher, who else has an issue with the "murderhobo" characters? That really is the default mode for most players in a lot of game types as combat is the easiest kind of encounter to run/resolve. Not everyone feels the need to get into character like they're professional thespians. Some just like the escapism that the games provide. Namely a chance to do stuff you can't or shouldn't do in the real world. A time to hang out with friends and goof around. It doesn't always have to be serious.

 

In my younger days I have dealt with them and frankly I find them annoying as hell unless the group is played that way from the start with everyone agreeing.  We tend to call those "villain games" when we do them on occasion.  If only one player goes that route it can be much less fun for everyone else.

 

Usually the term murderhobo comes from the stress and aggravation of a split group.

 

You must have a different definition of murderhobo than I've ever seen. The general definition seems to be a player who "kills all the things and takes their lewts." Has nothing to do with aggravation or stress in the party. So, I guess a party of D&D adventurers that kick down the doors, kill all the monsters and steal their loot are never good or neutral aligned...

 

Urban Dictionary:

 

murderhobo

The typical protagonist of a fantasy role-playing game, who is a homeless guy who goes around killing people and taking their stuff. The term originated in discussions of tabletop role-playing games by authors seeking to create games aimed at styles of play not supported by traditional games like Dungeons & Dragons.

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Aside from you, CastleCruncher, who else has an issue with the "murderhobo" characters? That really is the default mode for most players in a lot of game types as combat is the easiest kind of encounter to run/resolve. Not everyone feels the need to get into character like they're professional thespians. Some just like the escapism that the games provide. Namely a chance to do stuff you can't or shouldn't do in the real world. A time to hang out with friends and goof around. It doesn't always have to be serious.

 

In my younger days I have dealt with them and frankly I find them annoying as hell unless the group is played that way from the start with everyone agreeing.  We tend to call those "villain games" when we do them on occasion.  If only one player goes that route it can be much less fun for everyone else.

 

Usually the term murderhobo comes from the stress and aggravation of a split group.

 

You must have a different definition of murderhobo than I've ever seen. The general definition seems to be a player who "kills all the things and takes their lewts." Has nothing to do with aggravation or stress in the party. So, I guess a party of D&D adventurers that kick down the doors, kill all the monsters and steal their loot are never good or neutral aligned...

 

Urban Dictionary:

 

murderhobo

The typical protagonist of a fantasy role-playing game, who is a homeless guy who goes around killing people and taking their stuff. The term originated in discussions of tabletop role-playing games by authors seeking to create games aimed at styles of play not supported by traditional games like Dungeons & Dragons.

 

 

No, I simply have a different experience with them.

 

That definition is accurate, but hides the too often result of a mixed group.  Some players get annoyed because the murderhobo is simply ruining their fun and desire for a real narrative.  That creates stress and dissension in the playing group which can lead to all sorts of problems.  Unless, as I mentioned, the entire party wants to play anti-heroes and villains.

 

Edit - I do also tend to lump players of Chaotic Neutral characters into that definition as well.  They seem to be fairly similar if not identical.

Edited by FangGrip

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I'd written a post yesterday, but now it's gone... Odd.

 

Anywho, thanks for all the helpful advice. I'll probably talk to my players and make sure of what they want to play as. This Star Wars game is meant to be serious, but we also have a Pathfinder game that's a bit more goof-bally (as that's the last game we've played, they may have fallen into the kill-it-all mindset and forgotten to shake it off). If they understand that this will be a serious game, then we'll continue as normal. If they want to play a less serious game, we'll keep at Pathfinder for a while longer until their ready. The issue, though, is that the main perpetrator is a player that really likes roleplaying. He's had this behavior in the past, so it makes sense, but I'll definitely chat with him about it.

 

Thanks again! You guys are always very helpful.

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The things they loot are not enough. They will realize there is no reward if there is not enough to loot. No creds on bodies and if there is it's like 5 creds in total...armor is to damaged from the fight...weapons are damaged or missing in the fight. When they realIze it's not worth the effort than they may ease up-- I have the same issue. I've been doing that...

I will also be starting to plant things like pictures of the dead guys son and or family...a holo message telling the family or loved one they have one small job to do and will be home soon from assignment. Give them a life and the PCs will see it and hopefully start feeling guilty.

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When the empire puts bounties on you and the hutts put bounties on you for killing their men and towns wont sell to you because you bring bad things following you...you will tend to change you behavior. Never forget that the people the PCs kill had friends, family, coworkers. etc. 

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Pile on the Obligation, that's my advice. Let him have lots of Criminal, Bounty and other applicable Obligations as a direct result of his actions. Tell him up front, "if you do this you'll receive 10 Obligation (criminal). Are you sure you want to go ahead with it?" If he does it anyway, he had fair warning. After a while his total Obligation will be so high he'll trigger it nearly every session (which also means the whole party's Strain threshold will drop) and once the group's total Obligation goes above 100 no one can use XP to level their characters in any way. I promise you, at that point the other players will take care of him for you, one way or another.

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I fell like a lot of these responses are ridiculously passive-aggressive. 

 

OP, presumably you are an adult. Presumably this guy is your friend. Get over the discomfort and have an OOC conversation with him.

 

You cannot, cannot, cannot use mechanics to bring a problem player in line without looking like a ****. No mechanics can curb bad player behavior without resentment, and it's well known that no GM needs to work within the mechanics to exert their power anyway, they have all the fiat to do that. It's best to just leave mechanical solutions out of it, or at least don't use mechanical solutions as attempted cattle prods to change behavior. 

 

The better answer is to have an OOC conversation where you discuss how this is lessening your enjoyment of the game you wanted to run. Frankly, I consider that the adult way to handle things, even though it's certainly more awkward and uncomfortable that layering on all kinds of IC consequences. 

 

And if nobody wants to make the change and you're miserable running the game, then cancel the game. It is simply not worth the stress to keep running for people who want vastly different things out of the game than you do. I've been there more than once, and I think the only way I kept those friendships was by saying "okay, this isn't fun for me, I'm done."

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Actually, I'm in High School, though that could be considered a young adult. However, yes, I do plan to speak with everyone about it and explain what the game is about. I'll give plenty of forewarning about how I'm going to use the other advice--I feel simply saying "All actions have consequences" and "Imagine how it would be in the real world" ought to pretty well on its own, but I'll elaborate, just to make sure.

 

And for the uptienth time, thanks very much for the helpful advice. It really feels like every post has had great advice.

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The pile on obligation option given above is appropriate, as is having a brief chat about actions have consequences, asking, "Are you willing to deal with the consequences of your character's actions or are you just blowing off steam or trying something that sounds cool?"  Reaching 100 group Obligation can be quite and ordeal. How can murderhobo-ing NOT give you Obligation in Bounty or Criminal???  Handling it on BOTH levels is wise. 

 

As far as cutting through walls with a Vibrosword goes, I was faced with my character trying to cut down small tress with my mono-molecular, serrated-edge vibrosword. Basically, it is not an ax and is an inappropriate tool (one setback die) and chopping wood (or a wall for that matter) dulls a blade (a 2nd setback die), and the tree (wall) was Easy Difficulty. He also flipped a destiny point to upgrade the roll because something really bad could happen to the weapon when using it for something it is not designed to do.  Axes have a weighted head, a pick-ax (for a wall) has a sharp point with a weaighted head behind it.  A vibrosword does not, just a stick and a handle grip. 

 

Additionally, regardless of the 'success' of the roll, a Despair ruins the weapon or gives it 'Inferior Quality' until repaired. Uncancelled-out Threats cause any numerous of bad things to happen to the weapon due to its inappropriate use: -1 crit rating, -1 damage, inaccurate +1SB die, -1 Vicious, -1 Pierce, etc... Two or three threats could do multiple things like that. 

 

In the spirit of gameplay, we needed the trees down to form a small bridge, so I took the chance and made the roll without any Threats.  When explained, the rational seemed reasonable to me. 

Edited by DurosSpacer

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When it comes to cutting through a wall, why not? Here's my take on it:

 

I'd use an Athletics check instead of Melee, since you're not fighting the wall but putting in some hard work to break through it. Set the difficulty at Easy for plaster, Average for wood, Hard for thin metal, Daunting for concrete, and so on. Upgrade the difficulty once if there are electrical wires, pipes or similar running through the wall.

 

Next, say the task takes 2 rounds as base time per difficulty level. Remove one round for every two successes beyond the first. Add one round for every failure.

 

The hard work means the PC takes 5 strain. Remove 1 strain, to a minimum of 1, for each Advantage. Add 1 strain for each Threat.

 

Triumph lets you slice through faster, or opens the hole in a really advantageous place. Despair means you just hit that high-voltage wire or high-pressure pipe. Oops.

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