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intothenight

Sleazier than Sleazebaggano

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My players have a problem. Through no fault of their own, they tend to attract a lot of people who act friendly at first only to try stabbing them in the back later. There are various different reasons for each betrayal, but my players are starting to worry that they look like easy marks for the scum of the galaxy.

 

Needless to say, I'm very concerned about this. If they continue down this train of thought, they may think that their GM keeps pulling the same trick and lacks creativity. If it ever comes to that, I will of course betray and try to kill them. Sixth time's the charm, right?

 

Before it comes to justifiable homicide on my part, I thought it might be fun to play with this expectation. Therefore, I have a new NPC concept I'm working on fleshing out.

 

This currently unnamed character of an undecided species (not a Hutt) oozes untrustworthiness and dishonesty. He always sounds like he's lying and/or plotting something unsavory. For some reason, he will hire my players to complete some sort of "perfectly legal activity." If they do, he promises spectacular rewards. The surprise twist is that everything he says is true (and not in the "certain point of view" way). It turns out he really does need to study the retinas of three stunned, but alive, dianogas. With that information, he can finish the design on his new holoimaging lens and take the market by storm!

 

Obviously, this character has a ways to go before he's ready to appear at my table. I mostly just want to design a fun, goofy character that will pleasantly surprise my players at the end of the session... while making them paranoid about using stun grenades before the inevitable final battle against him.

 

The main problem I have now is coming up with a good way of getting my characters to do what this over-the-top "villain" wants. If I tied it into party obligations, he'd either be an Imperial or part of the Zann Consortium. Either way, he plans to retire and become a respectable businessman after this is all over. But how do I hook my players into working for him, even temporarily? How do I have my rhyscate and eat it too?

 

Help me, forum-goers. You're my only hope.

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To quote one of my favorite movies, "Fifteen million dollars is not money. It's a motive with a universal adapter on it." So... money? Maybe the character recently inherited a small fortune and is willing to pay top credit for the work because he's not used to being wealthy and has no financial sense of proportion. Basically, make him sounds like one of those Nigerian prince spam emails, but in a Star Wars setting, to make him look even more like a con man. Distant off-shoot of an Alderaanian noble line. When the planet went kaboom, he was left the only member of the noble house and inherited title and fortune.

 

Hm. Now that I typed all that up, it seems like it would have the exact opposite effect of what you wanted... :/

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Well honestly if you keep on backstabbing and double-crossing your players, why should they trust anyone that you have them talk to?  They are rightfully suspicious of your storytelling motivations and from the sound of it, I would be right there with them in trying to derail the plot.

 

Double-crosses only really work when the person honestly does not expect it to happen(or if the double-crosser has a sudden heroic change of heart like Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone).   Otherwise, the protagonists come off looking like rubes.  Furthermore, if that happens too much, it can start to feel like a GM vs Player thing with the GM simply trolling the players "for funsies".

 

As it stands, you appear to have at least a minor trust issue with your group and you may need to apologize to them and assure them that this is not going to be a double-cross and keep your word. 

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I've really only done something resembling betrayal three times in 23 sessions. The first time was an amateur treasure hunter who got scared once the ancient Hutt treasure vault's traps started going off, so he grabbed some loot and ran. He forgot to bother waiting for the party. They took it very personally. And I'm not sure the third time really counts, because that was more "Aggressive Lightsaber Training" from their Force mentor, who might not have let on that it was training until he lost.

 

To be fair, the second time involved an entire village of brainwashed farmers turning on them with torches and pitchforks, and that may have stuck in their heads a bit more strongly than I intended.

 

My players seemed to enjoy all three times, since they get a kick out of teaching a lesson to people who underestimate them. While voicing one of my NPCs, I once joked that the party members have the kind of faces that make people think they're easily fooled, and that's when I got to reflecting on past actions. I don't think I've gotten into a rut yet, but I'd really like to keep it that way.

 

I don't want to fall into the trap of "I gave this NPC stats, so I might as well throw him at the players and see who wins!"

Edited by intothenight

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