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View Full Version : When a PC becomes a Villian, (s)He turns into a NPC?



Guchalez
2008-10-10, 12:17 AM
I'm a DM and everytime a PC falls to the Dark Side, turns evil, becomes obssesed with power, kill half the party or something like that, I feel kind of forced to turn it into a NPC, for the sake of plot and because the others PC feel (s)he disrupts the motion of the game. The player of the PC normally complains but after a while he makes another character and lets it go.
What are your thougts about this, what would you do?

Stupendous_Man
2008-10-10, 12:18 AM
You're doing ok.

TheCountAlucard
2008-10-10, 12:24 AM
I'm a DM and everytime a PC falls to the Dark Side, turns evil, becomes obssesed with power, kill half the party or something like that, I feel kind of forced to turn it into a NPC, for the sake of plot and because the others PC feel (s)he disrupts the motion of the game. The player of the PC normally complains but after a while he makes another character and lets it go.

I don't blame you. That sort of behavior is entirely disruptive.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 12:25 AM
Does... does this happen frequently with you? The whole "PC turning evil and slaughtering half the party" thing? Is it always the same guy?

Anyhow, what you are doing is absolutely correct. It is standard practice to remove PCs that become "evil" from the hands of the players, typically because it breaks up the cooperative nature of RPGs. Plus, this is a good incentive for jerk players to "play nice" instead of randomly offing their fellow party members.

This is not to say some very devious people make these betrayals truly epic (I believe there have been some threads to that effect) but for many players, I've noticed such tenancies to come from sheer cussedness rather than a desire to play an "interesting" character.

Grail
2008-10-10, 12:25 AM
It definitely depends on the game and the players.

If their character going evil disrupts the fun of the other players, then I try to curb it before it actually happens. If I cannot, then the character becomes an NPC. If it isn't going to disrupt the fun of the other players, then I will often let it ride for a bit and see how it goes. But stability in the campaign needs to be ensured, otherwise it'll spiral downwards and rapidly out of control.

For example, I have a player who really likes internal conflict within a party and a game. However, his missus and mine don't like that. Two other players are kind of neutral to that style of play. Because I want to keep the 2 girls in the game, I nip that kind of activity in the bud. The one time that it has happened, the Rogue who murdered an insane Paladin that the party had subdued quickly became an NPC. As penance I forced the offending player to play a Paladin of his own and the sister of the guy he murdered.... quite funny.

I've played in games where the DM has categorically stated that there will be no internal fights, and anyone trying to start it will be struck down by God. And I've played (and run) games where nobody knew who to trust, and the ones who were often mistrusted the most were the other players.

I'd have a chat to your players and see what they feel. Speak your mind, tell them what kind of game you prefer. Come to an agreement about how to deal with it, but let them know that you want to have final say because as DM, the work you put into the campaign can't be upstaged or destroyed by bratty players.

Maybe I've waffled a bit, but I do that sometimes.

monty
2008-10-10, 12:25 AM
If they're making it not fun for the other players, you are entirely right under Rule 0 to take away their control of the character or just nuke it entirely.

kbk
2008-10-10, 12:25 AM
Depends on the game. Sometimes you can just sort of go with it and come up with an anti-hero party. Some plots work really well when you explore the dark side of character's souls. Some don't.

Sounds like you've got a specific plot in mind, and having them be evil would screw this up. It also sounds like maybe your player's are a little prone to turning on each other.

See if you can come to an agreement to play good or non-evil only. Tell them ahead of time, in no uncertain terms, that if they commit an evil act (Whether their alignment turns or not) you will take control of the character.

If you continue to have players killing each other, then there are deeper seeded problems that likely exist between them, and you should address the real world grievances.

Edit: I was just ninjaed..., FOUR TIMES. Ouch

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 12:29 AM
Depends on the game. Sometimes you can just sort of go with it and come up with an anti-hero party. Some plots work really well when you explore the dark side of character's souls. Some don't.

And some games have that end strictly in mind. Mountain Witch, for one, is designed to have the party wracked with division by the halfway point, if not sooner. And, of course, if you're playing Paranoia! and haven't caused the death of a fellow party member, you're doing it wrong :smallbiggrin:

Still, this behavior is egregious in most games, and particularly bad in games with alignment systems (Star Wars and D&D, for example).

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-10, 12:34 AM
Depends also on what you mean by evil. I have an evil character in a good party right now and it's going fine. Party-killing is a whole 'nother boat, and I'd be tempted to kill the player for that. If the character is a detriment to the party, they need to be removed from the party, especially from an in-character perspective. If the character is technically evil, but still able to work with the party, then view it as an RP opportunity and let them keep it up.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 12:37 AM
Depends also on what you mean by evil. I have an evil character in a good party right now and it's going fine. Party-killing is a whole 'nother boat, and I'd be tempted to kill the player for that. If the character is a detriment to the party, they need to be removed from the party, especially from an in-character perspective. If the character is technically evil, but still able to work with the party, then view it as an RP opportunity and let them keep it up.

Jeez, people play in some rough games, 'round here. I presume you have a revolver named "Rocks Fall" at your table? :smalltongue:

Seriously though, I've always been nervous about actually evil characters in non-evil parties. If you don't play with real restraint, you could break the party at any point - after all, Evil (at least in D&D) is a "me first" alignment. Neutrality, at least, is willing to tolerate friends and allies, even when they are weak or unhelpful. But clearly it works for some people, so there you go.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-10, 12:49 AM
Jeez, people play in some rough games, 'round here. I presume you have a revolver named "Rocks Fall" at your table? :smalltongue:

Seriously though, I've always been nervous about actually evil characters in non-evil parties. If you don't play with real restraint, you could break the party at any point - after all, Evil (at least in D&D) is a "me first" alignment. Neutrality, at least, is willing to tolerate friends and allies, even when they are weak or unhelpful. But clearly it works for some people, so there you go.I prefer my knife, Critical Failure. And I wasn't being facetious, I play to have fun with friends, intentionally screwing them over isn't acceptable to me. There's a reason I play my evil characters as sadists who like killing and torture, but have loyalties and friendships. It lets them work with the party and still be bastards.

Mark Hall
2008-10-10, 02:42 AM
If, in becoming evil, the character becomes an antagonist, it becomes an NPC.
If, in becoming evil, the character just becomes a jerk, it can remain a PC.

Some of our best games have had evil PCs... but I find they work better when only one person is evil.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-10-10, 02:42 AM
It stands to reason that if one character is acting in direct in-character opposition to the party, that that character would become an NPC or played somehow in a different manner (probably in a separate session except when directly combating the others; this is enough of a hassle you probably want to go with NPC regardless.)

A character simply being Evil doesn't necessarily mean they oppose the party or vice versa. It's something that depends on circumstances.

Ascension
2008-10-10, 02:47 AM
I don't mind the DM ruling this in a particular situation, but it bothers me that Star Wars Saga Edition has the Evil-PCs-Become-NPCs thing as a rule. Okay, okay, I get that the Dark Side is bad and stuff, but EVERYONE who hits his WIS in Dark Side points automatically becomes an NPC? No one hides his inner darkness well enough to blend in with a group of PCs?

This should be handled case-by-case.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 02:50 AM
I don't mind the DM ruling this in a particular situation, but it bothers me that Star Wars Saga Edition has the Evil-PCs-Become-NPCs thing as a rule. Okay, okay, I get that the Dark Side is bad and stuff, but EVERYONE who hits his WIS in Dark Side points automatically becomes an NPC? No one hides his inner darkness well enough to blend in with a group of PCs?

This should be handled case-by-case.

Someone wants to be an Emo Jedi :smalltongue:

You should've seen the old d6 Star Wars System. Sure, only force sensitive people got Dark Side points, but they were ridiculously easy to get. And your character got yanked if he went over to the Dark Side - which makes sense, doesn't it? Otherwise, what does "going over to the Dark Side" mean, if it's not going to take over your life?

And what is it with people who want to play the manipulative bastard in a group of heroes? Doesn't anyone play heroic fantasy these days? :smalltongue:

Nerd-o-rama
2008-10-10, 02:52 AM
And what is it with people who want to play the manipulative bastard in a group of heroes? Doesn't anyone play heroic fantasy these days? :smalltongue:

Dominus fanboyism?

Ascension
2008-10-10, 02:54 AM
Look, I don't actually like playing evil characters, it's just that the system just about makes it impossible to stay Grey without putting all your Force points into atoning all the time. Half the Jedi in Star Wars would be NPCs by RAW!

EDIT: I, uhh, can't really deny the Emo Jedi part though... *whistles innocently*

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 02:58 AM
Look, I don't actually like playing evil characters, it's just that the system just about makes it impossible to stay Grey without putting all your Force points into atoning all the time. Half the Jedi in Star Wars would be NPCs by RAW!

EDIT: I, uhh, can't really deny the Emo Jedi part though... *whistles innocently*

Yep. That's why staying on the Light Side of the Force is so hard, and falling to the temptations of the Dark Side is so easy. Funny, no? :smallbiggrin:

Jedi: the Paladins of Star Wars

Kurald Galain
2008-10-10, 02:59 AM
I'm a DM and everytime a PC falls to the Dark Side, turns evil, becomes obssesed with power, kill half the party or something like that, I feel kind of forced to turn it into a NPC,

If this happens to you with some regularity, you need to talk to he player in question. This does not sound like fun for the rest of the group.

Ascension
2008-10-10, 03:29 AM
Yep. That's why staying on the Light Side of the Force is so hard, and falling to the temptations of the Dark Side is so easy. Funny, no? :smallbiggrin:

Jedi: the Paladins of Star Wars

I just don't think the crunch accurately reflects the wide range of beliefs about the Force in the fluff. It leaves too little room for a Potentium argument, etc. Not all Force users are Jedi or Sith.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-10-10, 04:13 AM
I just don't think the crunch accurately reflects the wide range of beliefs about the Force in the fluff. It leaves too little room for a Potentium argument, etc. Not all Force users are Jedi or Sith.All Force Users LucasArts gives a crap about are Jedi or Sith, though.

Mostly Sith nowadays, really.

horngeek
2008-10-10, 04:26 AM
The GM could just ignore that rule though.

He is the GM, he/she can play a game however he/she wants.

The Glyphstone
2008-10-10, 06:31 AM
The GM could just ignore that rule though.

He is the GM, he/she can play a game however he/she wants.



Does the Oberoni Fallacy apply to background?

Sergeantbrother
2008-10-10, 06:45 AM
Personally, I don't mind evil characters as long as they can work within the party. In real life, the great majority of evil people work just fine within groups without betraying their allies. If a character is acting disruptive and fighting against members of the party then I don't care what in-character justification they are using, its going to have to stop. In this regard, an evil character who tortures NPC's for information may be better for group cooperation than the paladin who tries to force him not to.

Though, in any case like this, I don't think that I would immediately make the PC into an NPC. I think that I would just sit down and have a talk with the player and tell them that I like to run games where the party is cooperative. Its OK to have little squabbles and disagreements to further role playing but truly harming other party members on purpose is not allowed. I generally make that known when the game starts though.

Roderick_BR
2008-10-10, 07:02 AM
I guess it's a general consensus that evil characters shouldn't be allowed only if they break the flow of the game, or bother the others players.
I had a friend playing an evil fighter, that wouldn't kill his allies just because "they are not worth it, and I need some goons around", kinda Belkar-like. Also because the other PCs became the only friends he actually had, so he decided to "spare" them. Against enemies, though, he would unleash hell on them.
Rogues trying to fool the group into getting a bigger share? Why not? (was going to post the link to one OOTS strip, but can't find it now)
In Paranoia, as it was pointed out, you are required to betray your allies on a regular basis.
Anything else that bothers the group, the best thing is to talk to the player, and finally, take the character from his hands.

Dausuul
2008-10-10, 07:50 AM
If a PC becomes a villain to the extent of no longer being willing to cooperate with the rest of the party (or at least pretend to), then I'd turn that character into an NPC, yes. I'm running one campaign, not two.

If the player objected, I'd point out that the alternative was to sit out every session because that character is doing stuff offstage which the campaign is no longer following.

Leon
2008-10-10, 08:12 AM
Personally, I don't mind evil characters as long as they can work within the party. In real life, the great majority of evil people work just fine within groups without betraying their allies. If a character is acting disruptive and fighting against members of the party then I don't care what in-character justification they are using, its going to have to stop. In this regard, an evil character who tortures NPC's for information may be better for group cooperation than the paladin who tries to force him not to..

This is what my group can't seem to get the grip of with my Archivist, normal everyday life they are ok with but come a combat that he gets hit in and i fail the check (which is most times) and Bust out as Hybrid Werewolf they all flee, act hostile etc.
Ive repeatedly said and shown that he will not attack anyone just off hand cos he's now "CE". he will go for those that have harmed him and his "pack". and then leave it at that while trying to avoid innocents (this is backed up by the LN Archivist aspect)

True i do not wish to have him "cured" of his curse as Ive grown to like some aspects as well as dreading others - this has caused some issues with the paladin. He's done some research and learned the Spell "Counter Moon" to stop the primal urges that he cannot control each full moon phase.

valadil
2008-10-10, 08:45 AM
This happens infrequently enough that we handle it on a case by case basis. If anyone in my groups thinks of turning evil, they tend to accept that they'll get killed off by the party. When you've accepted that you're losing the character one way or another, it's pretty easy to let him go be an NPC.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-10, 08:59 AM
This happens infrequently enough that we handle it on a case by case basis. If anyone in my groups thinks of turning evil, they tend to accept that they'll get killed off by the party. When you've accepted that you're losing the character one way or another, it's pretty easy to let him go be an NPC.See, this I don't get. Unless you're in the party with a very Good character or a Paladin, there is nothing that says a character must kill any evil beings. The difference in methods is one of the things that makes the game interesting in my groups. Now, that's not to say they won't be killed by the group; I had a Paladin-esque(more law than good, and not D&D) who was in the same group as a serial killer for 6 months, and when I found out in-character, I led the arrest and subsequent execution. I'm just saying that that isn't the default. It is perfectly possible to have Evil characters in an otherwise good party that the group is willing to go to bat for. Depends on the character.

Mewtarthio
2008-10-10, 09:40 AM
I don't mind the DM ruling this in a particular situation, but it bothers me that Star Wars Saga Edition has the Evil-PCs-Become-NPCs thing as a rule. Okay, okay, I get that the Dark Side is bad and stuff, but EVERYONE who hits his WIS in Dark Side points automatically becomes an NPC? No one hides his inner darkness well enough to blend in with a group of PCs?

Haven't you seen Revenge of the Sith? Everyone who falls to the Dark Side immediately starts ranting about power and moral relativism, plots to kill their mentors, and murders any loved ones who protest their actions. :smalltongue:

Totally Guy
2008-10-10, 10:55 AM
I'd love to see this happen.

DM: So you've declared that from now on you will leave the party as a separate entity pursuing your own goals and you will actively combat the party when necessary to do that?
BBEG: Yes that's right, there's nothing you, nor the DMPC can do to stop me.
DM: Looks like it... No. I rule that with those declarations you become an NPC controlled by the DM.
BBEG: Really? Are you sure about that?
DM: Yes. By rule zero your character can only be controlled by the DM.
BBEG: No, I still should have some element of control.
DM: As you wish, Dungeon Master. Here is your screen, here is the map and here is the sacred DM hat. What happens next?:smallsmile:

BBEG:... Oooh, things just got interesting... :smallbiggrin:

Player: Did he just overthrow the DM by being evil? My next guy is going to be a Drow.

Ascension
2008-10-10, 12:18 PM
In Bliss Stage there's a rule that if you overthrow the GMPC "authority figure" you become the new GM. No saving throw.

I like the idea.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-10-10, 01:43 PM
In Bliss Stage there's a rule that if you overthrow the GMPC "authority figure" you become the new GM. No saving throw.

I like the idea.

It's an excellent mechanic for Bliss Stage, but for more... plotted games this can be problematic. The new DM will need to read up on the old DM's plot, if for no other reason than to see what other things had happened, or were about to happen. In Bliss Stage, most of the plotting (and NPC playing) is shared equally among the players, so having one of them take over is not that disruptive.

But yeah, I really like that rule, particularly since I don't think I've played a game of Bliss Stage where someone hadn't at least attempted a coup. In the last one I played I was able to stop it by having all of the base's security in my back pocket.

One of the advantages of the Hedonist archetype :smalltongue:

SydneyLosstarot
2008-10-10, 01:54 PM
It really depends on the level of party's commitment:
if they try really hard not to metagame, one of them turning evil is gonna be an awesome experience.

I had a wonderful plot twist recently:

one of the PCs got captured by an evil cult and turned into a half-golem(as per the template) slave of their dark god, but the rest of the party didn't know it, since the whole golem thing happened at a separate one-player session.

now, despite the rest of the party being totally paranoid and looking through him with lots of detect evils, he managed to bluff his way out of this one(as in, totally IRL: the rest of the group really believed he had a miraculous escape) and lure the party's monk(like, the most paranoid of them all) into a deathtrap. some awesome roleplaying =)

JMobius
2008-10-10, 02:08 PM
I have an upcoming game where the plot will have, as sorted out with the GM, my character end up being the BBEG. The character is to be very agreeable and polite, but is to eventually do a surprise Face Heel Turn and reveal that he is a Well Intentioned Extremist who has masterminded much of the events the party has been through. The other players will then, of course, need to stop me at any cost.

Considering that that reveal is an intended part of the plot, it doesn't derail anything. I think that having one PC as the villain can be viable, rather than it being a task always up to the GM. I think it shall be an interesting experiment. :smallamused:

valadil
2008-10-10, 02:09 PM
See, this I don't get. Unless you're in the party with a very Good character or a Paladin, there is nothing that says a character must kill any evil beings. The difference in methods is one of the things that makes the game interesting in my groups. Now, that's not to say they won't be killed by the group; I had a Paladin-esque(more law than good, and not D&D) who was in the same group as a serial killer for 6 months, and when I found out in-character, I led the arrest and subsequent execution. I'm just saying that that isn't the default. It is perfectly possible to have Evil characters in an otherwise good party that the group is willing to go to bat for. Depends on the character.

Ah. I didn't mean a character who just happens to be evil, but still sticks with the party. My bad. I meant the PC killing kind of evil.

KillianHawkeye
2008-10-10, 02:36 PM
Look, I don't actually like playing evil characters, it's just that the system just about makes it impossible to stay Grey without putting all your Force points into atoning all the time. Half the Jedi in Star Wars would be NPCs by RAW!

When you consider that high Wisdom is essential for Jedi (or other Force-using characters), and the fact that you usually get away with acts that are merely 'questionably evil' without gaining Dark Side points, it really does take some time and effort to become an NPC without doing major evil or using auto-Dark Side Force powers.

Besides, WotC has made it clear on their Star Wars site that if you select a Destiny of corruption, you will automatically max out your Dark Side score if your corruption Destiny is "Falling to the Dark Side" as Anakin's was, for example. This is basically what happens when he attacks Mace Windu in Ep 3, as I doubt he had done enough truly evil things to have been up to his Wisdom -1 Dark Side points by then.

And how do you say all the Jedi in Star Wars are Dark Side NPCs?? Besides Anakin, most of them don't ever do an evil thing in the movies that I can recall.

kbk
2008-10-10, 03:15 PM
And, of course, if you're playing Paranoia! and haven't caused the death of a fellow party member, you're doing it wrong :smallbiggrin:


Paranoia is a favorite of mine for that exact reason. Its why characters come in 6 pack cloning tubes. Lose one? Bring in another. After all Friend computer couldn't have come up with a wrong clone six times? Not that Friend Computer could be wrong once mind you! DON'T SHOOT ME! I didn't mean to yell, I'm happy, really, see? :smallbiggrin:


Depends also on what you mean by evil. I have an evil character in a good party right now and it's going fine. Party-killing is a whole 'nother boat, and I'd be tempted to kill the player for that. If the character is a detriment to the party, they need to be removed from the party, especially from an in-character perspective. If the character is technically evil, but still able to work with the party, then view it as an RP opportunity and let them keep it up.


Yes, some DnD games can work around this, and some are designed with the evil party in mind. Sometimes I have one player saying they want to play an evil character, but will go along with the party. In these cases, its really about being disruptive to the party and the game. Sometimes an evil PC in a good party makes for a richer experience for everyone. Sometimes it ruins the game.

Tengu_temp
2008-10-10, 03:48 PM
Unless I play a game where inter-party conflict is expected (which has yet to happen, I don't play Paranoia), a PC who ad-hoc, without consulting me decides to become a villain and attack the others would get the boot.

Ascension
2008-10-10, 05:25 PM
And how do you say all the Jedi in Star Wars are Dark Side NPCs?? Besides Anakin, most of them don't ever do an evil thing in the movies that I can recall.

There's more to Star Wars than the movies. If you count the EU, practically everyone turns morally grey.

Tengu_temp
2008-10-10, 06:37 PM
There's more to Star Wars than the movies. If you count the EU, practically everyone turns morally grey.

90% of EU are official fanfics.
10% of EU are official fanfics, except that they are actually good.

hamishspence
2008-10-11, 07:18 AM
And some of the moral greyness is only defined as such by the later-written movies: the non-attachment rule, for example.