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View Full Version : DM Help Weaning the Murderhobos off of murderhoboing.



johnbragg
2019-06-04, 02:49 PM
I'm looking to run a module soon where a major plot point is that the first antagonist group (the Reds) is not in fact an Antagonist, and the story-goal is for the PCs to broker an alliance between the Reds tribe and the Town, against the Blues, a more powerful group down the road.

So, what's a good list of hints to drop that murder is not the default answer, when murder has usually been the default answer for my players?

One thing I've thought of is:
--on the way to The Town, the PCs encounter a TPK-level threat, and when battle is joined, a patrol of Reds show up and help take down the threat. (the threat is in Red territory, as far as the Reds are concerned.)
--a bandit captain the party has chased off in the past might pop up, and drop exposition about the Reds trying to hire mercenaries to fight a threat (in the opposite direction from the Town)

I really don't want the PCs to just try to murderhobo the dungeon, at least without giving them ample warning that there's more to the plot than meets the eye.

Arbane
2019-06-04, 03:07 PM
Have enemies try to talk before fighting? In my experience, most players get that talky-people shouldn't be killed immediately, even if they are making threats.
Have enemies run away (dropping valuables in hopes of distracting the PCs?), try to surrender, etc.

Remember, 'overcoming' a foe counts as beating them for XP, at least in D&D.

johnbragg
2019-06-04, 04:08 PM
Have enemies try to talk before fighting?

This is something I'm going to have to start doing more of as DM. The party DID win the loyalty of at least some of a large group of giant weasels, and DIDN'T stab an alchemist in a dungeon who treated them as intrusions rather than threats.


In my experience, most players get that talky-people shouldn't be killed immediately, even if they are making threats.
Have enemies run away (dropping valuables in hopes of distracting the PCs?), try to surrender, etc.

Remember, 'overcoming' a foe counts as beating them for XP, at least in D&D.

In my last 3rd edition campaign, I dropped XP entirely in favor of "10 Average Encounters per level", with some encounters being "Easy" (x1/2, party steamrolled) and some being "Hard" (x2, near TPK). (This also reduced a lot of encounter balancing paperwork, compared to 5th edition and compared to worrying about CR-appropriate). That meant that, if the party met a wildly over-CR'ed threat and survived, that's an "Encounter" right there.

harlokin
2019-06-04, 05:06 PM
It can be useful to think about how you frame encounters.

Consider the likely reactions from the players to the following:

GM - "As you enter the clearing, a small group of goblins emerge from the other side. Roll initiative"

....and then this:

GM - "As you enter the clearing, a small group of goblins emerge from the other side. One of the goblins mutters something, and the goblin next to him looks over at you, and shrugs."

Mentioning stuff like Inititiative will tend to immediately put players into 'combat mode', because they may think it is how they are supposed to react. Having an objective/purpose for the monsters in an encounter opens the possibility for the PCs to engage with them, overcome without combat, or at least make the world seem more real.

Great Dragon
2019-06-04, 05:18 PM
Some patience may be needed.

Try some of the above.

My suggestion is:
Use the TPK-threat ("Blues"?) Encounter you suggested, but have one of the Players being a member of the "Reds".

This might have them seeing another PC, instead of just another target.

Inchhighguy
2019-06-04, 07:43 PM
If your going to change the game play.....you might want to talk to the players.

If the players are showing up to play the fun, mindless murderhobo game....and you suddenly and secretly what to play some other game stlye.....then ''weaning" or forcing the players to do something is a bad idea.

If you want to play a game where the players have a story goal of doing "X", it's really best to tell the players to do that before the game.

Pauly
2019-06-04, 10:32 PM
One I have used in the past was the TPK threat interview the group because there is a substantial reward for the arrest of the murder hoboes who killed (recent party massacre). But have the TPK threat is looking for a slightly different group based on mis-identification of the culprits.
I used it in Star Wars game and pair of IG-88s as the TPK threat. The party were level 3 or 4 and took the hint. The IG-88s informed the party that one of the massacred was a very important Hutt spy and the local Hutts were intent on revenge.

Another one is rewarding the party with the recurrence of a character they didnít murder-hobo to help them out of a difficult pisition. In you case the alchemist can give them a bunch of potions if they do a side job for him in the course of the main mission. You want the players to think that if they donít kill this critter for the XP now they may be a reward later.

You want to use a mix of punishments (that are given with explicit warnings as to what behavior will lead to the punishment) and rewards (not hinted at beforehand so the players donít treat doing the right thing as a transaction).

MrSandman
2019-06-05, 02:49 AM
If your going to change the game play.....you might want to talk to the players.

If the players are showing up to play the fun, mindless murderhobo game....and you suddenly and secretly what to play some other game stlye.....then ''weaning" or forcing the players to do something is a bad idea.

If you want to play a game where the players have a story goal of doing "X", it's really best to tell the players to do that before the game.

This. Don't force a game style on your players through sneaky sleigh of hands. Discuss it with them. (What other people have said is also good advice for what to do once you've agreed with your players to a less murder-hobo style.)

Great Dragon
2019-06-05, 02:55 AM
If your going to change the game play.....you might want to talk to the players.

If the players are showing up to play the fun, mindless murderhobo game....and you suddenly and secretly what to play some other game stlye.....then ''weaning" or forcing the players to do something is a bad idea.

If you want to play a game where the players have a story goal of doing "X", it's really best to tell the players to do that before the game.


You want to use a mix of punishments (that are given with explicit warnings as to what behavior will lead to the punishment) and rewards (not hinted at beforehand so the players donít treat doing the right thing as a transaction).

I agree.
If you want to change the Game's style, stop the game and have a long OoC Talk Session with the Players. Maybe start with a new Session Zero.

If they want a M-H game, but you don't, maybe ask if someone else would like to be the DM, and then you might have some fun playing a M-H.

IME, mixing heavy RPers with Murder-Hobos almost never works. I usually try to not Split the Party, but when there are 10 Players at the Table, sometimes it happens.

I'm very upfront with my Players, letting them know most of my preferences (I really hate CN) and that Murder-Hobo games (also "Evil" games) need everyone in the group to agree to that, before we start.

I make sure that my players understand any changes to the Rules, what the original rules are, and why I changed things. This not only makes playing in my game easier, it also helps them adapt to another DM's Rules and style.

I also let my players know that they will need to "Make Deals" and RP with a lot of "hostile" Races. And that Orcs, Goblins/Hobgoblins, Kobolds, Drow, Duergar, and other Unusual Races (Centaur, Kenku, Tabaxi, etc) can be PCs.

Strangely, I get very few problems IRL, but mixed reactions online. Despite my willingness to try new ideas.

Thanks for reading all this.

johnbragg
2019-06-05, 08:47 AM
OOC conversation is always a good idea. And I may be overstating how murderhobo-ish my players are. They're my wife, and my 13 year old and my 2 11 year olds. By adult TTRPG standards, they're not even that murderhoboish. (So far in this campaign, they've accepted a surrender and bandaged the wounded in return for information; and spared the life of a kobold alchemist who they easily could have treated as a hostile if he weren't such a bonkers sociopath that he didn't care that the PCs were wiping out its tribe). And they released and have befriended a bunch of giant weasels that the kobolds were trying to domesticate)

But we're looking at starting Ghosts of Saltmarsh with the same PCs, after the current dungeon is finished.
In the 3rd level Saltmarsh adventure, the PCs are sent by the town to investigate the lizardfolk menace. The lizardfolk ARE arming up and preparing for war, but not against Saltmarsh--there's a sahaugin group that moved in to the old lizardfolk home.

The PCs objective in the adventure is to strike an alliance with the lizardfolk tribe. There's a very strong chance that the PCs will follow PC logic and start whittling down the lizardfolk tribe--ambushing patrols, hit and run raids into the dungeon--and wipe out half the tribe before they figure out what's going on.

That's a ticklish challenge

I'm liking the TPK-threat-level encounter more as the days go on. That also sets up contacts in the Red tribe that could recognize the PCs.

I'll also read the "level 1 adventure" more closely, maybe the module has a good clue I missed that the Reds aren't the Main Enemy. Probably also download the original modules from Drivethrurpg--it's worth the $10 to be able to print out maps and scribble on them. Sure I could scan from the book, but you crack the spine on the binding, and the original modules may have something useful.

EDIT: I can also reintroduce the surrendered bandits into the current arc--instead of clearing out of the campaign area entirely, they return to the shady questgiver who screwed over the PCs and the bandits. Which sets up a nice three-sided drama between the PCs, the bandits and the questgiver.

And throw in the overmatched town guard, who don't have the manpower (or morale) to take on a motivated squadron of bandits outside the petty lord's mansion, but can't just ignore the situation and still be the town guard.

Nice! Faction list: PCs, baron, bandits, town guard. And the plot I threw in about, if the sacrifice to Myrkul didn't go off, the undead rising and the town is doomed. So something about that.

Kardwill
2019-06-05, 09:19 AM
In the scenario you're talking about (where the PCs are hired to "deal" with an apparent threat), you might want to drop hints that this is not a simple "monsters are there. Go kill them" quest. For example, encouraging their curiosity by dropping signs that something weird is up : Lizardman patrol killed by "something", a deserted village with signs of struggle... If the PCs want to investigate (by sending the party thief/ranger scouting a village or spying on a patrol), facilitate it (by being light with failed stealth rolls) and reinforce the idea that something is up and that the lizarmen are wary about some danger. If you play with a soundtrack, eery "mystery/exploration" music would be better suited than blood-pumping "adventurous/martial" themes

Also, play the lizardmen as "tribal people with scales", not base monsters : Noncombattants, children and crafters in the village, leaders with names willing to talk, wary about trouble and possible deadly conflict, surrendering when all is lost... Anything to separate them from the "savage mindless monster" image : even if they're alien, they should not be portrayed as beasts.

If there are combats anyway, it is best if the 2 groups have goals other than "kill or be killed" : Escape, go through a zone, get something, cross a river, take a prisoner for interogation...

And as was said earlier : Do NOT roll for initiative until the combat has started. Rolling for initiative puts even the most tame players into "murder mode". They've just entered a problem-solving minigame where slaughter is the obvious solution.

johnbragg
2019-06-05, 11:20 AM
Maybe it's not so much that my players are murderhoboes, as that the modules are set up as traps "Whoops! You've been murdering semi-innocents for no reason, now apologize and try to diplomacy their leader." Without a lot of clues in the printed adventure, and a lot of "metatext" clues that look like a standard dungeon crawl.

Great Dragon
2019-06-05, 11:32 AM
Maybe it's not so much that my players are murderhoboes, as that the modules are set up as traps "Whoops! You've been murdering semi-innocents for no reason, now apologize and try to diplomacy their leader." Without a lot of clues in the printed adventure, and a lot of "metatext" clues that look like a standard dungeon crawl.
Looks like your going to have to do some work to make things more RP Friendly.

While I haven't read all of it, Dungeon of the Mad Mage seems to do the very same thing.

The "Vampire Gang" are just a bunch of down and out actors. (Seriously _not_ a threat to 5th level PCs)

The PCs are supposed to (somehow) know that the Goblins on Level Two are actually merchants.... Despite there being loads of "Random Encounters" where Goblins are hostile.

More....

Segev
2019-06-05, 11:54 AM
Looks like your going to have to do some work to make things more RP Friendly.

While I haven't read all of it, Dungeon of the Mad Mage seems to do the very same thing.

The "Vampire Gang" are just a bunch of down and out actors. (Seriously _not_ a threat to 5th level PCs)

The PCs are supposed to (somehow) know that the Goblins on Level Two are actually merchants.... Despite there being loads of "Random Encounters" where Goblins are hostile.

More....

The goblins, at least, are literally building a stage when you encounter them, and don't initiate hostilities. Players don't have to be prescient to recognize that goblins who see them and don't react with any sort of alarm or aggression are potentially not hostiles. THe potential for misunderstanding is there and deliberate, I'm sure, but the clues are present to a party that is carefully exploring rather than charging headlong into every possible fight.

Great Dragon
2019-06-05, 12:26 PM
The Berserker Barbarian: "Clues? What clues?"

Now, I'll give ya credit.
One Party did actually start negotiations, but attacked when they found out that the stage was for selling slaves...
(Um... Maybe because....Paladin?)

Mastikator
2019-06-05, 04:20 PM
Attack the problem from multiple angles, surround it and give it no chance to escape

1) make it not worthwhile: loot from kills is trash and exp is reduced (unless it's relevant to the story or character development of the PCs)

2) make non-murderhoboing more rewarding and more fun: you get roleplay exp and the best loot is not gated behind a death-wall but an RP-wall, the best loot goes to whoever roleplays the hardest

3) make the world more peaceful and kind by making death more grim: whenever someone is killed there should be a funeral and people (NPCs) should cry, people are afraid to fight to the death and will always try to flee if they think they are going to die, and if your PC dies you start over from scratch

4) allow them a good outlet for violence by giving them designated villains, no nameless mooks to kill, only specific and annoying villains the players love to hate. When they finally score the kill there should be a spectacle around it, this ONE kill should satiate their bloodlust for days

Great Dragon
2019-06-05, 07:12 PM
@johnbragg: I'm glad that they do more than just kill Everything. There are some good tips to be found on GitP, but finding them can take time.

Umm.... From (hazy) memories:

Watch out for calling for Initiative in Encounters. Doing so will cause people to tend to think in "Kill or Be Killed".

Show rewards for doing other things, even against "hostile" people.

@Mastikator

(1) money is trash = ok suggestion
I've suggested trading Gems, Art, and Coins found in Treasures, for useful things.
Potions and Scrolls (Consumables).

Armor, Weapons, and Utility Items or Equipment
Magical Items (Above, plus Wands, and other useful items)

Less Exp = may not work.
Just means they look for more things to kill.

(2) RP = better/more Exp = good idea.

(3) Start over (1st level, when everyone is 5th) not good.
New PC of same Level = maybe.

(4) specific (named) Villains = maybe?
Could work with lots of Foreshadowing.
I could ramble for days, here.

Mastikator
2019-06-06, 05:35 AM
@johnbragg: I'm glad that they do more than just kill Everything. There are some good tips to be found on GitP, but finding them can take time.

Umm.... From (hazy) memories:

Watch out for calling for Initiative in Encounters. Doing so will cause people to tend to think in "Kill or Be Killed".

Show rewards for doing other things, even against "hostile" people.

@Mastikator

(1) money is trash = ok suggestion
I've suggested trading Gems, Art, and Coins found in Treasures, for useful things.
Potions and Scrolls (Consumables).

Armor, Weapons, and Utility Items or Equipment
Magical Items (Above, plus Wands, and other useful items)

Less Exp = may not work.
Just means they look for more things to kill.

(2) RP = better/more Exp = good idea.

(3) Start over (1st level, when everyone is 5th) not good.
New PC of same Level = maybe.

(4) specific (named) Villains = maybe?
Could work with lots of Foreshadowing.
I could ramble for days, here.

Regarding the loot I actually meant no magic items, not even master work, only basic stuff. Almost no money (gold, whatever), anything actually valuable has to be extremely bulky and hard to move and trade AKA not worth looting.
The point is that murderhoboing does not lead to treasures, every time you go murderhoboing you have to work hard just to make ends meet. If you use a single scroll or potion you made a net loss.

Themrys
2019-06-06, 05:54 AM
OOC conversation is always a good idea. And I may be overstating how murderhobo-ish my players are. They're my wife, and my 13 year old and my 2 11 year olds. By adult TTRPG standards, they're not even that murderhoboish. (So far in this campaign, they've accepted a surrender and bandaged the wounded in return for information; and spared the life of a kobold alchemist who they easily could have treated as a hostile if he weren't such a bonkers sociopath that he didn't care that the PCs were wiping out its tribe). And they released and have befriended a bunch of giant weasels that the kobolds were trying to domesticate)

Doesn't sound like murderhobos at all. Just like ordinary players who will solve any problem with violence if you introduce said problem with "roll initiative", because they think they are supposed to.

Just throw a wounded (broken leg? bad enough to not be a threat anymore) member of the Reds in their way. They seem nice enough to actually help. Next time they encounter a member of the Reds, they won't expect murder to be the solution anymore.

Great Dragon
2019-06-06, 08:09 AM
@Mastikator: umm.
You've played D&D as a Kid?

Like the reputation (and your idea) of D&D is "Fight/Kill Monsters/Evil" and get "Treasure"?
(Hence the picture of a Dragon on a Huge Pile Of Treasure, in a Dungeon)

I mean, it took me at least a decade (started around 13) to really start going into "Roleplaying" with D&D. (Heck, most RPGs)

There are Encounters where Combat (usually to the Death) really is the solution.

Like actual (non-sentient) Monsters. Driving them away, just means they'll come back later.

And figuring out when that is needed with Sentient Humanoids, and when it is not - isn't always easy. (Even for me, 30+ years later)

Taking the Treasure away might only confuse them, and possibly cause them to not want to play.
Especially when combined with No Exp.


Doesn't sound like murderhobos at all. Just like ordinary players who will solve any problem with violence if you introduce said problem with "roll initiative", because they think they are supposed to.

Exactly.

Including Descriptions of Appearance (what they are wearing), Actions, and Attitude/Behavior when meeting people (even when in town) can get them used to not immediately reaching for Weapons.

Let them decide when to Roll Initiative.


Just throw a wounded (broken leg? bad enough to not be a threat anymore) member of the Reds in their way. They seem nice enough to actually help. Next time they encounter a member of the Reds, they won't expect murder to be the solution anymore.

Nice RP suggestion.


*****
Now, I'll admit that, for the most part, I've been picturing everyone (Townspeople, Guards, Reds, Blues) as being Human.

Reds just being a bunch of people that are "down on their luck" and might resort to being Bandits to get by. Show them a better way to get/make money, and they'll stop.

Once the "Adventuring" Party can get into their base, they can easily learn this.

(I'm pretty sure that the Reds don't want to be "farm hands", but teaching them how to make money with an actual skill, let's them be independent)

Heck, the PCs could even teach them how to become either Mercenaries or "Adventurers".
(And can even be where their next Character comes from)

Memorable events that can be referred to later in the game, can make things more fun.

Having the "Blues" be dedicated to being Bandits (or are already mercenaries) that don't really talk and are quick to attack, shows that they are "Fair Game".


*****
Changing the "Reds" to something that is usually seen as being Evil (Goblins, etc) makes first contact more "hostile", since these have the reputation of being Bad and Violent.

(I'm not even going to get into Alignment, or "Shades of Grey", here. I mean if, even after decades of playing, I'm still working on figuring these outÖ.)


*****
Hope these suggestions are helpful.

johnbragg
2019-06-06, 08:55 AM
*****
Now, I'll admit that, for the most part, I've been picturing everyone (Townspeople, Guards, Reds, Blues) as being Human.

Nope. "Reds" and "Blues" are different Monster Manual types of aquatic/ampibious humanoids


Reds just being a bunch of people that are "down on their luck" and might resort to being Bandits to get by. Show them a better way to get/make money, and they'll stop.

The module doesn't say, but it's not a big stretch to say that they're getting by just fine with hunting and fishing, and trading fish for whatever else. (They're not bandits, especially)


Once the "Adventuring" Party can get into their base, they can easily learn this.

Problem is, their base looks, maps and smells like a dungeon.



Having the "Blues" be dedicated to being Bandits (or are already mercenaries) that don't really talk and are quick to attack, shows that they are "Fair Game".

Haven't read through the "Blue" section, but I'm pretty sure it's enough that they're just aggro bastards whom everybody hates. The "Reds" are rallying a coalition of Sea Peoples against the "Blues". They haven't invited the human town because it's a sea battle, but they'll be open to support.



*****
Changing the "Reds" to something that is usually seen as being Evil (Goblins, etc) makes first contact more "hostile", since these have the reputation of being Bad and Violent.

(I'm not even going to get into Alignment, or "Shades of Grey", here. I mean if, even after decades of playing, I'm still working on figuring these outÖ.)

They're a Monster Manual race. Not goblins, but something alien and terrifying, that the PCs have already fought and killed an evil Shaman of. Someone on a forum (don't know if it was GITP or not) suggested that since the Monster MAnual lists them as "Neutral (more animalistic than evil, occassional pragmatic cannibal)", the PCs should know not to just murder them. Because every PC knows the alignment of all the different types of greenskins in the MM. :smallsigh: [/quote]

I could change them to mermaids, I suppose. But that screws over a lot of other things. So not gonna do that.

johnbragg
2019-06-06, 08:59 AM
Doesn't sound like murderhobos at all. Just like ordinary players who will solve any problem with violence if you introduce said problem with "roll initiative", because they think they are supposed to.

Just throw a wounded (broken leg? bad enough to not be a threat anymore) member of the Reds in their way. They seem nice enough to actually help. Next time they encounter a member of the Reds, they won't expect murder to be the solution anymore.

I'm growing more attached to my "battle of 3 armies" intro encounter, where a Red Patrol semi-rescues the PCs from a TPK-level threat. (Mutual respect forged in bonds of battle and whatnot.)

The problem is that the adventure hook is "town council wants you to go investigate the dungeon full of greenskins", which is almost as much of a cue for violence as "roll initiative", especially since there aren't a lot of non-murder-the-guards entrances to the dungeon/base, and the party isn't built for super-stealth.

jjordan
2019-06-06, 09:07 AM
The problem is that the adventure hook is "town council wants you to go investigate the dungeon full of greenskins", which is almost as much of a cue for violence as "roll initiative", especially since there aren't a lot of non-murder-the-guards entrances to the dungeon/base, and the party isn't built for super-stealth. Try changing the parameters? "We need you to see what can be done about the goblins that have taken up residence nearby. We can't afford to go to war with them right now and we're not sure we could win a war with them if we started one. Find out how many there are and how strong they are, see if there's any way we can make contact with them, and, for the sake of Gond, don't start a war!" Loosen up the entrance guarding (trust me, guard duty is boring as hell and it's hard to stay motivated if you don't think you're in imminent danger of attack) and give the goblins a reason for having moved in. Pushed out by other tribes? Fleeing some sort of power/monster rising in their old lands? A young leader forging out into new territory? They've got to eat so unless they brought a lot of supplies their daily routine is going to consist of foraging (which usually means scattering into small groups to gather supplies and scout for places were large amounts of supplies can be found). So there's going to be a lot of coming and going (which creates chaos) and reduced numbers of goblins at the main lair.

Mastikator
2019-06-06, 09:48 AM
@Great Dragon The encounters are designed by the DM and the best solution can be whatever the DM decides it should be. Nothing in roleplaying is inevitable, murderhobos are not an inevitable or natural outcome of the game. Murder hobo players exist by design whether the DM realizes it or not and they can any other design to exist.

If you set the game up like Path of Exile OF COURSE they are going to play it that way. If you set it up like game of thrones then they are going to play it like that. If you want a murder she wrote style play then you need to set it up that way.

Gallowglass
2019-06-06, 09:51 AM
the problem is that the adventure hook is "town council wants you to go investigate the dungeon full of greenskins", which is almost as much of a cue for violence as "roll initiative", especially since there aren't a lot of non-murder-the-guards entrances to the dungeon/base, and the party isn't built for super-stealth.

Funnily enough, I have a story for this!

I just played a game, a new campaign where we and have played three sessions. The gist of the campaign set up was this.

We are all orphans being inducted into guilds in a city-state where the guilds control all. We each are inducted into a guild that suits us but we all get shoved together into a cross-guild cadre to go off and get assignments and do adventures.

In this setting, goblins are savage beasts living on the outskirts of civilization and frequently raiding farms and stealing from the citystate, as such goblins are verbotten and unwelcome in the citystate. However, there are a small number of albino goblins who are cast out from the goblin kind who are welcome to the city as orphans (for reasons not explained to us)

So I make an albino monkey-goblin alchemist. Because, why not.

So cue our third mission. A higher-level schmuck babysits us to a goblin cave where a gang of goblins are pestering the local farmers to wipe them out. They have also kidnapped some farmer's kids for, presumably din din.

We get there, sneak in a back entrance and find our first goblin. I'm bringing up the rear and so I net and capture it. The schmuck comes up and pulls out his sword and gets ready to kill it and I say "wait! We can get information from it as to where they are keeping the prisoner."

Here, I find out that no one else in the party, or the NPC speak goblin. "Go ahead then."

"Wait, no one speaks goblin but me?"

"Yes"

"Okay then." *turn to the goblin* "Look, here's the deal, I want your three prisoner kids. In exchange I'll feed you this sword happy schmuck, you get his meat and not killed, I get his equipment. deal?"

The DM is stunned. The rest of the players are laughing uproarously.

The goblin agrees and, under the guise of getting "information" We set up a plan that I will lead my party down a left hand passage to where they have a collapsing bridge trap and get the schmuck on the bridge and he will go around and get his goblins to meet us there to ambush him.

To finalize this, I tell the schmuck I'm going to drag the goblin back out the cave to kill him so he doesn't scream bloody murder and he agrees, I drag him off screen and let him go.

A little while later, we have a dead schmuck on the bottom of the gorge, a bunch of high level equipment, our three farm kids, and a reward for saving them.

And now, we are part of the goblin resistance rather than another party of murderhobos.

So, see, shift expectations even if the DM doesn't plan it.

johnbragg
2019-06-06, 09:51 AM
Try changing the parameters? "We need you to see what can be done about the goblins that have taken up residence nearby. We can't afford to go to war with them right now and we're not sure we could win a war with them if we started one. Find out how many there are and how strong they are, see if there's any way we can make contact with them, and, for the sake of Gond, don't start a war!" Loosen up the entrance guarding (trust me, guard duty is boring as hell and it's hard to stay motivated if you don't think you're in imminent danger of attack) and give the goblins a reason for having moved in. Pushed out by other tribes? Fleeing some sort of power/monster rising in their old lands? A young leader forging out into new territory? They've got to eat so unless they brought a lot of supplies their daily routine is going to consist of foraging (which usually means scattering into small groups to gather supplies and scout for places were large amounts of supplies can be found). So there's going to be a lot of coming and going (which creates chaos) and reduced numbers of goblins at the main lair.

The greenskins are lizardmen (Reds) and sahaugin(Blues).
The lizardmen have a really good reason for moving closer to Saltmarsh--the sahaugin ran them out of their old base. They're assembling a coalition of sea powers to retake it, and stocking up on weapons.
All Saltmarsh knows is that the greenskins 20 miles away are stockpiling weapons and preparing for a war.

The more I talk about this, the more I think that the Battle of Three Armies encounter gives them a key to solving the entire adventure. "We walk up to the gate, knock three times, and announce that we are the softshells who fought alongside you against the (CR 5-9 threat TBD), and we ask an audience."

Great Dragon
2019-06-06, 11:33 AM
@Great Dragon The encounters are designed by the DM and the best solution can be whatever the DM decides it should be
Um. Yes? That's The Point of being the DM?


Nothing in roleplaying is inevitable, murderhobos are not an inevitable or natural outcome of the game.
If I implied that, I apologise.
That was not my intention.


Murder hobo players exist by design whether the DM realizes it or not and they can any other design to exist.

Um, sure? But if that's not what the game is based on, that person may need to find another group.

johnbragg was looking for ways to avoid Murder-Hobo results.

Suggestions (including mine) tried to do that.


****
I suspected Saltmarsh, but didn't want to be the guy that ruined the movie by shouting the ending.

Also, because there are a few other "gotcha" modules.

@johnbragg: While I have not gotten or read Ghosts of Saltmarsh, I can remember (some) things from the old series it is based on.

The entirety of the beginning of the Story (1st module) was a "gotcha" situation.

Hired by town to "deal with monsters" gathering Weapons.

The next part (2nd module) introduced "The Bad Guys" and was a lot of Travel and "Form the Alliance" RP (mostly with Aquatic Elves) - with random Encounters thrown in.

The last (3rd module) was the actual battle, preferably with the Alliance helping.

Now, I do not remember everything exactly.

I suppose you could change the "Reds" to Sea Elves. But, could change things too much for your liking.



The more I talk about this, the more I think that the Battle of Three Armies encounter gives them a key to solving the entire adventure. "We walk up to the gate, knock three times, and announce that we are the softshells who fought alongside you against the (CR 5-9 threat TBD), and we ask an audience."

This sounds fun.

Pex
2019-06-06, 12:03 PM
One thing I've thought of is:
--on the way to The Town, the PCs encounter a TPK-level threat, and when battle is joined, a patrol of Reds show up and help take down the threat. (the threat is in Red territory, as far as the Reds are concerned.)

Whatever you do don't do this. Players, especially murder hobos, tend to get really annoyed when a DM purposely puts them in a kobayashi scenario only to get rescued dues ex machina style by more powerful NPCs. It's fine for PCs to face a threat they can't vanguish. Murder hobos do need to learn there exists foes they cannot defeat and learn to retreat to fight another day. It's the being rescued part that is irksome.

Great Dragon
2019-06-06, 12:51 PM
Humm. Good point Pex.

Maybe switch it?
Have it where the Party comes upon a patrol of Reds fighting something that is obviously a monster, and hope they decide to "rescue" the Reds?

johnbragg
2019-06-06, 01:13 PM
Whatever you do don't do this. Players, especially murder hobos, tend to get really annoyed when a DM purposely puts them in a kobayashi scenario only to get rescued dues ex machina style by more powerful NPCs. It's fine for PCs to face a threat they can't vanguish. Murder hobos do need to learn there exists foes they cannot defeat and learn to retreat to fight another day. It's the being rescued part that is irksome.

With my particular table, that can be managed by meta-game foreshadowing. Setting up the encounter, set out the counter for the beastie, and the counters for the (Red) mooks. Then when the mooks show up, it's a relief that they're attacking the beastie and not the PCs. This will work at my table.


Humm. Good point Pex.

Maybe switch it?
Have it where the Party comes upon a patrol of Reds fighting something that is obviously a monster, and hope they decide to "rescue" the Reds?

Too much risk that our intrepid heroes decide to sit out the fight and finish off whoever wins in their weakened state.

Great Dragon
2019-06-07, 02:35 PM
Too much risk that our intrepid heroes decide to sit out the fight and finish off whoever wins in their weakened state

Umm. Yeah.
There is always that...

Well, good luck with your game.
I'll check here for game updates.