We were playing “Death on the Reik” and during the raid/visit to Castle Wittgenstein the players find it infested with Chaos mutants…
Imagine the scene that unfolds when the Sigmar Cleric in the party opens up the doors to the Sigmar chapel and finds it defiled, by a Slaneesh cult… not only that, but amongst the purple mist he can see human bodies interlocked in unspeakably depraved and vile acts of fornication. It’s hard to see where one body stops and the next begins in this writhing snake-pit. This holy place place had been corrupted by the most unholy of all…
I (DM) tell him to make a Will-test, lest he be overcome with the urge to join the sinners in the copulating frenzy… He makes it. Shakes off the attempt, picks up his holy hammer of righteousness and says, with one last disgusted look at the people in front of him:
“It’s hammer time!”
In this post I would like to talk about Player reacting on a personal level to stuff that other player characters do and/or say in game.
In the scenario described above the Sigmar Cleric “cleared out the evil” from the temple of his god. It was a defining moment for that character, filled with drama, and tension. I loved it.
Another player at the table was distraught about the whole thing because in his opinion these were just innocent villagers who happened to have fallen under the curse of Slaneesh. He claimed that the Sigmar Cleric character had just committed mass-murder.
This had all been fine unless… unless we somehow all felt the tension in the room shift, from being between the two characters to instead be between the two players.
I can’t remember who seemed to take things personal first, if it was the cleric-player for being challenged so hard or the accuser for not being taken seriously. I don’t know.
But it ended with the cleric-player saying to me (after the session) that he would never act out his character like that again, because he felt like everyone in the room hated him and was provoked by him. And even though I tried to talk him out of it, I think a piece of his love for role-playing died that day.
Personally I LOVE those situations. They define the drama in a very real sense. I would just love if the players could still be friends afterwards… and most of the time we are. But not always.
Usually it is connected to acting with lethal force without first getting consent from the group:
Like (in another game) when the Military Officer decides to summary execute two P.O.W.s they have because he cannot allow them to compromise the mission. Millions of lives are at stake, and he does not have the resources to handle two prisoners. He kills them. And several jaws around the table drop: “You did WHAT?!”
And you can feel it… It’s not only on a Character-level… It just transcended that and became something else. More personal. They are accusing HIM. Not his character. Or at least that is the way HE feels…
- Have you ever had a role-playing situation cause grief between players on a personal level?
- What was the situation?
- How did you handle it?