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    DruidGirl

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    frown Player blames DM for character

    Hi

    Okay I need help with a situation that has cropped up in my campaign.
    Basically the campaign has been going on for about three years now and each player has written their own little back-story for when we started, this is because each player has their own little heritage quest which unlocks more items and plot .etc .etc
    The problem is that one of the players discovered that their character is actually an infiltrator for the bad guys and that most of his life is either real or fabricated.
    Either way his character has started acting really rash and is switching towards an evil alignment.

    Now I thought that this was just awesome role-play and that he was playing it so his character was questioning his life and was going off the rails. That was until he said in a session that he HAS to play evil because I have forced him to do it due to this plot twist. Also my friends have told me that he constantly complains about this twist around them and how I have railroaded him into playing evil.

    This is quite strange for me as it is his choice if we wants to be evil or good but for some reason he assumes that if he is created by the bad guys than he 100% must start working for them.

    What should I do? I can understand that finding out that your character is not who you thought it was could be disappointing but he has only just started his heritage quest and he even found out that the “you are an infiltrator” line was laced with lies.

    Should I just completely u-turn his backstory so he has a good time?

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    Squark's Avatar

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Question; Did he have any input here? I don't think it's kosher to randomly spring, "Hey, you're a sleeper agent for the enemy, and your memories are fabrications" on a player (Might be more-so if it's the whole party, but even then, it's likely to be controversial). Also, have you made it clear that he wasn't forced to make any choices (Perhaps his character has become to entrenched in his fabricated memories). As I said, though, I'd be more than a little ticked if my DM just (seemingly) randomly rewrote my backstory and planned character arc.
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    ThiagoMartell's Avatar

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    I don't think it's the DM's fault. I think the player is overreacting. Talk to him and explain he does not have to be evil.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    You should talk to him before you decide on any course of action. Point out that you certainly didn't mean to ruin his fun, and that you didn't expect him to feel railroaded. Then point out some of the inconsistencies and lies you mention, and show him there's both hope in the story as well as in treating the problem meta.
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Quote Originally Posted by mishka_shaw View Post
    Hi

    Okay I need help with a situation that has cropped up in my campaign.
    Basically the campaign has been going on for about three years now and each player has written their own little back-story for when we started, this is because each player has their own little heritage quest which unlocks more items and plot .etc .etc
    The problem is that one of the players discovered that their character is actually an infiltrator for the bad guys and that most of his life is either real or fabricated.
    Either way his character has started acting really rash and is switching towards an evil alignment.

    Now I thought that this was just awesome role-play and that he was playing it so his character was questioning his life and was going off the rails. That was until he said in a session that he HAS to play evil because I have forced him to do it due to this plot twist. Also my friends have told me that he constantly complains about this twist around them and how I have railroaded him into playing evil.

    This is quite strange for me as it is his choice if we wants to be evil or good but for some reason he assumes that if he is created by the bad guys than he 100% must start working for them.

    What should I do? I can understand that finding out that your character is not who you thought it was could be disappointing but he has only just started his heritage quest and he even found out that the “you are an infiltrator” line was laced with lies.

    Should I just completely u-turn his backstory so he has a good time?
    Oh god no. Personally from my own experience and seeing how the player "might" be reading this, since we frankly have your own interpretation of the event and not theirs, he isn't reading carefully and is reading the heritage as destiny versus choice. All I would do is have an NPC who he respects and or cares about, witness these acts, and force the character to explain to them what is going in some manner, for the character, and player, to have an epiphany moment with the phrase they still "have a choice" thrown in there somewhere for maximum cliche impact.

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    It does make for some really interesting role-play. I would say you aren't railroading him to evil for sure. He's been the one to take the chosen information about his path and then carve the new future. This does give you some great opportunities to give him chances to overturn his evil convictions. Turn the evil against itself and prove he's stronger than that.

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Yeah there were hints throughout the campaign over it. Also his not the only one, two other members found out that they may be infiltrators and they liked it.

    His character is sort of like the doctor from Battlestar Galactica if you have seen that, grumbles a lot and smokes while healing. However he hasn't really hinted at what he wants his character to do as he just seems to be a standard doctor, I tried throwing some plot in for him but he just healed, lit a cigarrete than walked off so it didn't really go anywhere.
    The main thing is that I cannot reveal where his story goes as obviously it would spoil it but I have allowed him to find out that he may not actually be an infiltrator, but he still seems to be commited to assuming he is.

    Also his written bio still happened, it's just the bit before that (years 1-16) that are apparantly fabricated.
    The main point I am trying to stress to him is that everything is a "maybe". He found out he may be an infiltrator from two very untrustworthy sources who were even caught lying to him.

    Edit: I'll talk and say that he doesn't have to be evil, i'll also remind him that his sense motive did point out that there may be doubt to what the enemy told him.
    Last edited by mishka_shaw; 2012-11-19 at 09:57 AM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    When there is a twist of this caliber in a character's background, I typically discuss this with the player beforehand, but as you appear to have wanted it to be a complete surprise, your approach is understandable. That said, I think it's a good twist for the character and the player. Here is the problem. It seems that the player is approaching it as though his character is aware that this was all as planned, and that he IS a bad guy, and that the way he was acting before was just a cover, so he was ACTING that way before and now he is once again becoming who he was. He doesn't see it as though the "brainwashing" that made him behave the way he was behaving allowed him to start anew, to make the choice to say that this is the life that he chooses to lead. To him, you said, "I'm the DM and you're a bad guy," and he said "Okay." When in reality, what you said is, "Here's something you didn't know. How are YOU going to deal with it?" I think that's where communications broke down. Try approaching the player and letting him know that you were giving him information with which HE was the ultimate decider of how it would all play out.

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Quote Originally Posted by Squark View Post
    Question; Did he have any input here? I don't think it's kosher to randomly spring, "Hey, you're a sleeper agent for the enemy, and your memories are fabrications" on a player (Might be more-so if it's the whole party, but even then, it's likely to be controversial). Also, have you made it clear that he wasn't forced to make any choices (Perhaps his character has become to entrenched in his fabricated memories). As I said, though, I'd be more than a little ticked if my DM just (seemingly) randomly rewrote my backstory and planned character arc.
    This right here. Altering a PC's backstory without prior discussion with the player was a bad thing to do.

    Consider this: the DM has a thousand ways to influence the plot, and control over the entire world outside the party. A player has one way to influence the plot and control over one aspect of the world: his PC. You took away control of the only thing that they own in your world without asking them first. As a player, I wouldn't feel a heck of a lot of goodwill towards your game or your plot at that point - I suspect the attitude is less 'well, obviously I am 100% controlled by the bad guys' and more 'obviously the DM is going to change my character however they feel like, so I'm not going to put any effort into this.'

    It sounds like the player may be over-reacting somewhat based on your side of the story, but 'blaming the DM for the character' is an entirely legitimate response. It's a missed opportunity, because this is a neat twist and if you'd brought the player in through OOC discussion before the reveal I expect things would be playing out very differently.

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Honestly, I can see where he's coming from. A player's character is about as close to sacred as you can get in a table-top. Interference from the DM is almost never appreciated. You really should have discussed this with him beforehand, or said to the group at large that you may be taking liberties with backstories, in order to give them time to object or come to you to discuss it. That being said, he's overreacting a little. He definitely shouldn't be talking about this with anyone but you.

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Yeah that's good advice.
    I'll talk it over with him and point out that the choice remains with him and that his heritage has only just begun rather than just finished.

    It's quite hard to tell if he is roleplaying very well or not.
    His cleric has gone from a god-loving chaotic good healer to an old-man butchering aethiest.
    I am just wondering if he has chosen to do that or if he feels like he HAS to choose that.
    I guess the fact our party consists of two opposite ends (Innocent butchering necromancers and peasant loving paladins) is not helping the situation as it makes it look like there are two extreme camps that you have to conform to.

    Edit: thinking about it I would be pissed if my druid in his campaign turned out to be a gnoll who had their brain transplanted into a human so I can see his angle.
    Last edited by mishka_shaw; 2012-11-19 at 10:13 AM.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    How exactly did he not know he was working for the bad-guys? Was he an amnesiac or have fake memories, and that was revealed in play? Or was it a "BTW, you've been secretly working with the baddies the whole time..." thing?

    There's a line between bad things happening to PCs which derail their ideas of the characters (Helm of Opposite Alignment, having your legs shot out, getting addicted to drugs, etc) and DM's just ******* with people. The former are regrettable but often unavoidable and the Players need to live with them or roll up a new character, the latter are the canary in the coal mine telling you to find a new group.

    This, from what I understood of the OP, seems to be on the "DM's just ******* with people" end of the spectrum. Changing a character's backstory, in play and without their input... I can't really see how that wouldn't come across as an arbitrary punishment.

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    How exactly did he not know he was working for the bad-guys? Was he an amnesiac or have fake memories, and that was revealed in play? Or was it a "BTW, you've been secretly working with the baddies the whole time..." thing?

    There's a line between bad things happening to PCs which derail their ideas of the characters (Helm of Opposite Alignment, having your legs shot out, getting addicted to drugs, etc) and DM's just ******* with people. The former are regrettable but often unavoidable and the Players need to live with them or roll up a new character, the latter are the canary in the coal mine telling you to find a new group.

    This, from what I understood of the OP, seems to be on the "DM's just ******* with people" end of the spectrum. Changing a character's backstory, in play and without their input... I can't really see how that wouldn't come across as an arbitrary punishment.
    Two players went back in time and found his body within the evil demons lair as they explored it.
    Than he questioned a demon about this later on and she lied to him that they created him as an infiltrator.
    So he is kind of meant to look for more answers to find out if it is true or not.
    The fake memories thing is just what the demoness said, he can choose to believe her or find out more.
    It's hardly me saying "your a bad guy, go f# yourself"

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    Honestly, I can see where he's coming from. A player's character is about as close to sacred as you can get in a table-top. Interference from the DM is almost never appreciated. You really should have discussed this with him beforehand, or said to the group at large that you may be taking liberties with backstories, in order to give them time to object or come to you to discuss it. That being said, he's overreacting a little. He definitely shouldn't be talking about this with anyone but you.
    this really.
    Some players are fine with this sort of thing, others will react so negatively as to go so far as to walk out of a game.

    Players own their characters, which is something DMs should think twice about before the mess with.

    That said, the damage is done and it will be very hard for you to fix it now. I suspect that it's about a loss of trust as much as anything.
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Looks like the demoness has won, she managed to turn this guy evil and his soul now belongs to her.

    Just allow them to continue the plot and let them find out whatever they deserve to, if his team mates go through his quest for him and they learn the demoness lied (again). He has no leg to stand on, you should remind him whenever you can after the reveal that the demoness lied, that he knew she lied and that every evil act he did after learning the lie, was his choice and his choice alone.
    Alternatively, try pushing him into a "what have I become" situation. Just giving him softer and softer targets to be evil against, until he starts fighting against the "Suggestion Spell" the Demoness may have cast on him.


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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player blames DM for character

    Quote Originally Posted by mishka_shaw View Post
    Two players went back in time and found his body within the evil demons lair as they explored it.
    Than he questioned a demon about this later on and she lied to him that they created him as an infiltrator.
    So he is kind of meant to look for more answers to find out if it is true or not.
    The fake memories thing is just what the demoness said, he can choose to believe her or find out more.
    DM controls circumstances imposed on the character. Player controls the actions performed by the character. Apart from mind control magic, he's choosing to play the character this way, you're not forcing him to do anything.

    There are many alternate ways he could have approached playing the character's revelation: he could have outright refused to believe it, he could have investigated it, he could have accepted that it was true but maintained that he would not be a pawn for the enemy, he could have struggled with where his true allegiances lay.

    Honestly I don't see anything wrong with what you've done. You've provided a fake origin story for the PC as a plot hook. It isn't even true, but now the player is taking the ball and running with it, which is entirely his choice.

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