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Rat Army
2021-09-22, 02:01 AM
I just ran session one of a campaign where the entire party, PCs and players, returned form a previous campaign. After going over what happened in the time in between campaigns, I gave each player a hook that would get them in the same place again to start the next campaign.

TLDR version of what happened.
The Orc had joined a bounty hunter's guild and was being promoted in a ceremony. The Gnome had heard through a contact that during this ceremony, guild artifacts come out and are more easily stolen; including some old Gnomish artifacts looted from his home country. The Changling was there after hearing that a guild member was a Changling, and may have information on his missing father.

I thought at worst the Gnome would try to quietly steal a specific Gnomish item during the ceremony; in fact I'd hoped he would. What ended up happening was he set off an oil bomb during the ceremony, setting the ceremonial room on fire, stealing the Gnomish artifact along with another important item to the guild. This also ruined the Changling's chances of meeting his contact and getting information on his missing father.

The Gnome escaped by disguising himself and blending in the the crowd escaping the flames. The other two PCs are talking about not speaking to him again and having him hunted, he did attack a bounty hunter's guild, even killing him if they saw him again.

There had been tension in the previous campaign, between the PCs, not the players, but not like this. This felt different, I even think the players are a bit upset.

I'm at a bit of a loss here as to what my next step should be. I don't really know how to get this party back together. Is this my fault? I am not the most experienced DM, but I don't feel like the events that lead up to the oil bomb were really avoidable. He was in the rear of the room, reached into his bag and just set it off, I don't know how I would have stopped him, or if I even should have.

The only idea I had at all was to somehow get them all captured in the Underdark; which is where the campaign was going to take them anyway. But I don't even know how to get them to that point.

Anyone ever had a scenario like this? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Mastikator
2021-09-22, 03:40 AM
You did set up the gnome to betray the orc, even hoping he would. He didn't do it the way you thought he would- big mistake in thinking a PC would do it the way you thought they would. They never do.
The gnome is also at fault for doing it, and the orc and the changeling are at fault for immediately dismissing the gnome.

-

Onto the important part: fixing the problem, have the gnome captured first, off screen (tell the player separately that you need to fix this situation, and this is how it is). The people in the underdark doing the capturing use the gnome as bait to capture the orc and the changeling. Put them in separate cages just to make sure they don't try anything stupid like revenge, you can use the changeling as an excuse for that.

One thing I think needs to happen is the Hunter's Guild needs to forgive the gnome, so the gnome's actions needs to end up being good for the guild. Maybe more members have been caught by the underdark people, and the artifact is somehow instrumental in rescuing them, maybe they're not just caught but sacrificed in some ritual that transforms them, the artifact transforms them back. And only the gnome can do it. He ends up getting to keep it as thanks for saving the members. That will encourage the orc and the changeling to forgive him too.

Kardwill
2021-09-22, 03:49 AM
He was in the rear of the room, reached into his bag and just set it off, I don't know how I would have stopped him, or if I even should have.

Reminding him that the other players are there, too. Sometime, we can forget this in the heat of the moment, but many players will be willing to compromise to preserve the fun of their friends.
"Are you sure? It's Gro-Kar's big day, you see him right there on the stage, grinning like he's been promoted to King of the World"
"As you reach into your bag to pull out that firebomb, you see ol' Malephisto entering the room, looking for someone. He's wearing another person's face again, of course, but just from the attitude, you could recognise that old bastard anywhere. You didn't have the opportunity to talk to him since that demonlord business."

Or more directly "Err, if you firebomb the **** out [player B]'s guild, it will be tricky to get the group together again. Is everyone okay with this?"

Now that the deed is done, though, I guess the best thing to do is to see how the players (not the characters, the players themselves) would like their characters to get together again. Having explicit player buy-in, rather than struggling against them, will really help you. Especially if you want to go with the "captured and taken to the underdark" idea (If you throw the idea to the players and they agree with it, you can then simply skip to the part where they escape, and not play the capture itself)

icefractal
2021-09-22, 04:16 AM
Unless your group is super-against OOC discussion, I think this is the time for it. If you go purely IC, the most logical / plausible outcome is that the gnome and the other two don't work together any more. And "forced to work together by circumstances" may or may not make them friends again or willing to work together longer than they absolutely have to.

So I'd suggest an OOC discussion with the group, with all options on the table -
* Figure out a path forward that everyone feels would make a reunification fitting.
* Rewind the first session. Usually undesirable, but this is right at the start.
* Alter events slightly so the gnome's actions weren't as big a problem for the other two, and/or that they don't know it was the gnome (this may cause trouble later or it may be a cool twist, depends on your group).
* The gnome becomes an antagonist (or not a party member at least) for the time being, and the player makes a new PC.
* Play with a slightly-PvP dynamic, where the party ends up working together but doesn't have mutual trust. Not sure if this is the kind of game you want to run or not.

Quertus
2021-09-22, 11:18 AM
So… the PCs hadn't gotten along before, and you set the Gnome's hook as "act against the party"? Is this your fault? Yes. Regardless if whether it's anyone else's, it is definitely your fault.

That you would ask is a good sign; that you would have to ask, a bad one.

Based on those factors, I'll heartily recommend having an OOC conversation to find out how your players want to move forward… or backwards. For example, retcon that it was actually the channeling, disguised as the Gnome, who set off the fire bomb. Then, when the other 2 PCs chase him down (into the underdark), the changeling can get his conversation before being captured. When the NPC delivers the artifacts to the Gnome (who actually *was* behind the theft, just withing through a proxy), he can inform him of his his friends were captured, spurring the Gnome to go rescue them. Maybe have the Gnome trade the artifacts for different ones before meeting up with the party, maybe not, depending on how the other PCs would react.

Psyren
2021-09-22, 01:03 PM
The Gnome escaped by disguising himself and blending in the the crowd escaping the flames. The other two PCs are talking about not speaking to him again and having him hunted, he did attack a bounty hunter's guild, even killing him if they saw him again.


This right here is what we call an ultimatum, and they are not conducive to cooperative play. Nip that in the bud.

Talking to the party OOC and laying out icefractal's suggestions is a good next step. I'll focus on fleshing out the "path forward" suggestion as that probably needs the most work to fit. Some ideas:

- The orc was just made a full-fledged bounty hunter and the gnome just committed a crime against his guild. The orc can claim the gnome as his quarry, and invoke some kind of guild rule that means only he gets to track the gnome down and take him into custody. In the process of tracking him down you can get them into the Underdark and shelve all the artifact stuff for later. Or you can have him bring the Gnome in, and the gnome get reprimanded and remanded to the orc's custody, followed by whatever hook you need to get them underground, same result.

- NPC authorities can catch the gnome instead, perhaps with the help of divinations like locate object. Gnome gets remanded to the guild's custody/discretion, with a similar result as #1.

- Someone from the Underdark comes looking for the second artifact the Gnome stole, and kidnaps him. The others need to go after him to recover the Guild's property.

- The gnome makes it back to whatever settlement or elder he was planning on delivering the artifact to in the first place. That NPC gives him a hook to go to the Underdark and bring allies with him. Gnome goes to get the others, makes his apologies, and the group prepares to head downstairs.

- The gnome can simply feel remorse and turn himself in, perhaps after stashing the gnome artifact somewhere.

martixy
2021-09-22, 01:48 PM
Unless your group is super-against OOC discussion, I think this is the time for it. If you go purely IC, the most logical / plausible outcome is that the gnome and the other two don't work together any more. And "forced to work together by circumstances" may or may not make them friends again or willing to work together longer than they absolutely have to.

So I'd suggest an OOC discussion with the group, with all options on the table -
* Figure out a path forward that everyone feels would make a reunification fitting.
* Rewind the first session. Usually undesirable, but this is right at the start.
* Alter events slightly so the gnome's actions weren't as big a problem for the other two, and/or that they don't know it was the gnome (this may cause trouble later or it may be a cool twist, depends on your group).
* The gnome becomes an antagonist (or not a party member at least) for the time being, and the player makes a new PC.
* Play with a slightly-PvP dynamic, where the party ends up working together but doesn't have mutual trust. Not sure if this is the kind of game you want to run or not.

That's a good list of suggestions, but I'd like to order them a bit:

1. Sit down with the group (cuz more brains on the problem is better than less) and figure out a way forward. As owners of the characters and first hand witnesses of the events, they are way better positioned to come up with something than us here. Your input as DM should be the following: "Guys, this is a group game, we all agreed to come together and play this game. The party has to have some reason to adventure together. We either find one such reason or one or more of you roll new characters."
2. PvP angle. Not all gaming groups can support a party like this. You know your friends better than us, so you should be the judge on whether they can separate fantasy from reality enough to play like this.
3. Retcon - it is a valid and perfectly warranted approach to fixing the situation, but since the in-game options are so much cooler and more dramatic, you should try those before resorting to retconning events.
4. NPC-ization. Since you're taking a character someone wanted to play away from them, it should be the last resort.

Psyren
2021-09-22, 02:15 PM
Point of order, not wanting to PvP in a tabletop game does not necessarily mean the players are "unable to separate fantasy and reality." The fact is that many TTRPGs (D&D especially) are just poorly designed for this style of play.

martixy
2021-09-22, 02:50 PM
I was being a bit facetious.

Yea, there's a lot of games better at this. My group collectively calls them the "f*ck your buddy over" genre (doesn't translate well).

D&D is not just poorly designed for this type of play, it also carries a lot of expectations which break when you attempt to play like this. It's a battle against both rules and "tribal knowledge".

False God
2021-09-22, 11:19 PM
Personally, I'd scrap the game (not the group, just this game) and start over(either restarting this game or a new one). Explain that you dun goofed when you set up the gnome's goals to be antithetical to the rest of the party, and that you should have stepped in you realized he was about to send the whole game sideways. Explain that you had anticipated the gnome taking a less explosive approach, especially since they had played together before(this is a soft, "hey gnome player, that was unnecessary").


IMO this is partially a problem with "getting the party together" scenes. The only person who needed to play through this scene was actually the changeling. The Orc could simply have been told "you recently attended a ranking up ceremony". The Gnome could simply have been told "You heard about the sale (past tense) of some gnomish artifacts. Honestly even the changeling could have simply been told "you have heard rumor there is a high ranking changeling in the Orc's associates."

This then gets tied together because said gnomish artifacts were sold by the Orc's associates, to whom he now has greater access thanks to his ranking up. The situation would be similar for the changeling, who can also piggyback on the Orc's increased rank to potentially reach this supposed changeling. Now their goals are aligned "work with the Orc to get the stuff we want from his associates". The party is now together and working together towards their common goals. The artifacts are in a 3rd party's hands, so even if the Gnome is upset at the Orc Associates, his target is someone else.

I would also consider taking things a step further and questioning the Gnome player's game-desires. Since the first thing he did was a bombing of an auction. My experience tells me players who take excessively violent actions towards others right off the bat may not be playing honestly.

Kardwill
2021-09-24, 06:37 AM
My experience tells me players who take excessively violent actions towards others right off the bat may not be playing honestly.

Or may be really frustrated about something in the game.

HidesHisEyes
2021-09-24, 07:50 AM
I just ran session one of a campaign where the entire party, PCs and players, returned form a previous campaign. After going over what happened in the time in between campaigns, I gave each player a hook that would get them in the same place again to start the next campaign.

TLDR version of what happened.
The Orc had joined a bounty hunter's guild and was being promoted in a ceremony. The Gnome had heard through a contact that during this ceremony, guild artifacts come out and are more easily stolen; including some old Gnomish artifacts looted from his home country. The Changling was there after hearing that a guild member was a Changling, and may have information on his missing father.

I thought at worst the Gnome would try to quietly steal a specific Gnomish item during the ceremony; in fact I'd hoped he would. What ended up happening was he set off an oil bomb during the ceremony, setting the ceremonial room on fire, stealing the Gnomish artifact along with another important item to the guild. This also ruined the Changling's chances of meeting his contact and getting information on his missing father.

The Gnome escaped by disguising himself and blending in the the crowd escaping the flames. The other two PCs are talking about not speaking to him again and having him hunted, he did attack a bounty hunter's guild, even killing him if they saw him again.

There had been tension in the previous campaign, between the PCs, not the players, but not like this. This felt different, I even think the players are a bit upset.

I'm at a bit of a loss here as to what my next step should be. I don't really know how to get this party back together. Is this my fault? I am not the most experienced DM, but I don't feel like the events that lead up to the oil bomb were really avoidable. He was in the rear of the room, reached into his bag and just set it off, I don't know how I would have stopped him, or if I even should have.

The only idea I had at all was to somehow get them all captured in the Underdark; which is where the campaign was going to take them anyway. But I don't even know how to get them to that point.

Anyone ever had a scenario like this? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

If there is tension between the actual players you need to have a meta conversation with them and decide as a group what to do. Continue on and see where this Coens-esque drama of bungling adventurers screening themselves over leads, or come up with a meta-level solution and get back to the campaign you planned. There is absolutely no reason why you need to try to stay “in character” if people are actually unsatisfied with the way it’s going. I would message them ahead of the next session saying “hey I’d like to start the next session by discussing where we want to take it, is that ok with everyone?” You might even be able to have that discussion over whatsapp or whatever so you can prep the next session accordingly, but I think in person is better if you can manage it.

False God
2021-09-24, 09:09 AM
Or may be really frustrated about something in the game.

Also true. And in a first session this is a really bad way to start things off.

kyoryu
2021-09-24, 10:22 AM
Probably the biggest thing in getting a party to work is that they have to have compatible goals, preferably ones that are at least somewhat aligned.

You did the opposite of that. That can be fine in some games, but you deliberately set the game up as PvP at some level.

And in doing that, you've kind of forced what I call the Fundamental Social Contract Abuse. The basic (often implicit) social contract of the "typical adventuring party" style game is:

1. The group stays together and agrees to work with each other
2. To facilitate #1, people won't do anything that would logically caused them to get kicked out

The Fundamental Social Contract Abuse is when somebody violates #2, expecting #1 to save them.

By setting up the gnome to violate #2, you've forced the dilemma with #1.

This could have been potentially remedied if you had gently reminded people of that second contract point before they violated it, as others have pointed out.

i see a few ways out of this:

1. Scrap the campaign and start over.
2. The gnome's player makes a new character, if they're willing. The gnome can be an antagonist, since that's the path they're on.
3. Retcon that session out of existence. Rewrite the hook for the gnome so that you're not setting the party up for failure.
4. Acknowledge that it's a PvP game, if everyone is fine with that.


This right here is what we call an ultimatum, and they are not conducive to cooperative play. Nip that in the bud.

Talking to the party OOC and laying out icefractal's suggestions is a good next step. I'll focus on fleshing out the "path forward" suggestion as that probably needs the most work to fit. Some ideas:

I disagree with this heavily. As I said, there's an implicit social contract in a party-based game, and the gnome violated that. I think "the gnome basically started violence, but the rest of you have to just deal with that and not ostracize him" sets a really bad precedent.

Mark Hall
2021-09-24, 10:42 AM
I see a few options, aside from "Players figure out a way to make it work without betraying their characters":

1) Gnome PC becomes NPC. You might switch back and forth between stories, giving the other two(?) players roles in the gnome's story, at least long enough for the gnome to reach his goals.

2) Bottle Episode! Put everyone in a situation where they have to cooperate. Maybe the Bounty Hunter's Guild decides that, since the gnome was in on it, the other two are wanted as well?

3) Give the gnome an out. BHG says "Ok, we get you stealing the gnomish artifact. Return the other one AND do this thing for us, and we'll let you go. Oh, and this guild member is going with you to make sure you do it." This might be the best. It lets everyone keep their characters, it forces them to work together, but still lets everyone be righteously mad at the gnome.

Batcathat
2021-09-24, 01:02 PM
Assuming the players were fine (or at least no more than mildly annoyed) I would probably go with the option that's been suggested where the gnome and the others are forced to cooperate by some sort of external circumstances (Mark's suggestion about the guild spreading the blame would work but I suppose it could also be something unrelated to the situation at hand, perhaps something connected to earlier adventures). Enemies having to work together is a classic trope and it could eventually justify the party sticking together even after whatever circumstances forces them together has passed.

HumanFighter
2021-09-24, 01:54 PM
I just ran session one of a campaign where the entire party, PCs and players, returned form a previous campaign. After going over what happened in the time in between campaigns, I gave each player a hook that would get them in the same place again to start the next campaign.

TLDR version of what happened.
The Orc had joined a bounty hunter's guild and was being promoted in a ceremony. The Gnome had heard through a contact that during this ceremony, guild artifacts come out and are more easily stolen; including some old Gnomish artifacts looted from his home country. The Changling was there after hearing that a guild member was a Changling, and may have information on his missing father.

I thought at worst the Gnome would try to quietly steal a specific Gnomish item during the ceremony; in fact I'd hoped he would. What ended up happening was he set off an oil bomb during the ceremony, setting the ceremonial room on fire, stealing the Gnomish artifact along with another important item to the guild. This also ruined the Changling's chances of meeting his contact and getting information on his missing father.

The Gnome escaped by disguising himself and blending in the the crowd escaping the flames. The other two PCs are talking about not speaking to him again and having him hunted, he did attack a bounty hunter's guild, even killing him if they saw him again.

There had been tension in the previous campaign, between the PCs, not the players, but not like this. This felt different, I even think the players are a bit upset.

I'm at a bit of a loss here as to what my next step should be. I don't really know how to get this party back together. Is this my fault? I am not the most experienced DM, but I don't feel like the events that lead up to the oil bomb were really avoidable. He was in the rear of the room, reached into his bag and just set it off, I don't know how I would have stopped him, or if I even should have.

The only idea I had at all was to somehow get them all captured in the Underdark; which is where the campaign was going to take them anyway. But I don't even know how to get them to that point.

Anyone ever had a scenario like this? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Wow, that is quite the story. Was the gnome an alchemist, or just a rogue, or both? Damn. That's a rather...extreme way to steal something. Effective, but also like terrorism. No wonder the orc and changeling don't want to be friends with him anymore.
As for them all ending up in the Underdark, maybe the gnome is aware he's now being hunted, so he escapes to the Underdark, hoping the Underdark's terrors will throw his enemies off his trail, and the PCs all meet up there, because the orc and the changeling are actively following him. Then they must face a common enemy in the Underdark, like a giant monster that wants to eat them, and they fight alongside each other once more, but I don't imagine this will suddenly erase the rivalry that now festers between them.
Underdark is often home to mindflayers, right? Maybe the mindflayers use their wibbly wobbly mind magic to lure the PCs down there, because they want the artifacts too and if they can lure the PCs down to where they are they can more easily kill/enslave the PCs and take what they need.

Quertus
2021-09-25, 08:07 AM
Or may be really frustrated about something in the game.

Which is why is suggest investigating, and reducing that frustration, rather than making choices (like setting him against the party, or retconning away his success, or turning his character into an NPC) that would increase his stress.


Also true. And in a first session this is a really bad way to start things off.

Or a really good one. Better to find and get the problem fixed immediately, than have it fester and ruin a 2-year campaign.


Probably the biggest thing in getting a party to work is that they have to have compatible goals, preferably ones that are at least somewhat aligned.

You did the opposite of that. That can be fine in some games, but you deliberately set the game up as PvP at some level.

And in doing that, you've kind of forced what I call the Fundamental Social Contract Abuse. The basic (often implicit) social contract of the "typical adventuring party" style game is:

1. The group stays together and agrees to work with each other
2. To facilitate #1, people won't do anything that would logically caused them to get kicked out

The Fundamental Social Contract Abuse is when somebody violates #2, expecting #1 to save them.

By setting up the gnome to violate #2, you've forced the dilemma with #1..

This. So much this.

In fact, OP, you may want to go back, and look for similar cases of maligned goals in the old campaign.



I disagree with this heavily. As I said, there's an implicit social contract in a party-based game, and the gnome violated that. I think "the gnome basically started violence, but the rest of you have to just deal with that and not ostracize him" sets a really bad precedent.

True, but… the GM set the Gnome against the party. And that's *also* something that "you have to just deal with that" sets a bad precedent.

Many of my tables, that's the kind of thing GMs have been kicked for.


This could have been potentially remedied if you had gently reminded people of that second contract point before they violated it, as others have pointed out.

i see a few ways out of this:

1. Scrap the campaign and start over.
2. The gnome's player makes a new character, if they're willing. The gnome can be an antagonist, since that's the path they're on.
3. Retcon that session out of existence. Rewrite the hook for the gnome so that you're not setting the party up for failure.
4. Acknowledge that it's a PvP game, if everyone is fine with that.


I see a few options, aside from "Players figure out a way to make it work without betraying their characters":

1) Gnome PC becomes NPC. You might switch back and forth between stories, giving the other two(?) players roles in the gnome's story, at least long enough for the gnome to reach his goals.

2) Bottle Episode! Put everyone in a situation where they have to cooperate. Maybe the Bounty Hunter's Guild decides that, since the gnome was in on it, the other two are wanted as well?

3) Give the gnome an out. BHG says "Ok, we get you stealing the gnomish artifact. Return the other one AND do this thing for us, and we'll let you go. Oh, and this guild member is going with you to make sure you do it." This might be the best. It lets everyone keep their characters, it forces them to work together, but still lets everyone be righteously mad at the gnome.

Why does no-one ever consider "orc and channeling become NPCs, game is about Gnome (and new allies) running from them (into the underdark)?

Mark Hall
2021-09-25, 09:56 AM
Why does no-one ever consider "orc and channeling become NPCs, game is about Gnome (and new allies) running from them (into the underdark)?

In my case, it's numbers and who was the *******.

If you go with orc and changeling being the NPCs, you've got two players abandoning their characters, at least one with an uncompleted arc (finding his father). If they're cool with that, fine, but it's a less likely outcome.

Also, IMO, the gnome's character was being more of a jerk. Not saying the player was, but the gnome is the one who ruined the other two's moment in service to their own. This may be exactly what the gnome would do... I understand that... but you've got two characters who are reasonably mad at another, so the balance, IMO, is on the gnome leaving the party.

You certainly could make it about gnome and friends, but I see that as the less-likely-to-be-acceptable option.

Alcore
2021-09-25, 03:26 PM
The setup is all your fault. The gnome carries a lot of blame too; he had one job, walk in, grab, walk out. What I did not hear was how the orc and changeling know, without error, that it was the party gnome. Unless he did an evil hammy laugh...


The best way to fix is someone makes a new character (assuming OOC doesn’t solve things)

kyoryu
2021-09-25, 04:33 PM
In my case, it's numbers and who was the *******.

This. Set up or not, the gnome is the one that decided to not only cross the party, but do so in a more volatile manner than the minimum necessary.

Quertus
2021-09-27, 12:11 PM
This. Set up or not, the gnome is the one that decided to not only cross the party, but do so in a more volatile manner than the minimum necessary.

A lot of players foolishly trust their GM, and follow the plot hooks that they are handed blindly. It wasn't the Gnome who chose to cross the party, it was the GM.

Once you're already at that point, is the method really such a big deal?

Personally, I think that the Gnome should be rewarded for so successfully doing what the GM told him to do. Sure he was a ****, but the GM told him to be a ****. So it's the GM's responsibility to make it right.

Psyren
2021-09-27, 12:47 PM
I disagree with this heavily. As I said, there's an implicit social contract in a party-based game, and the gnome violated that. I think "the gnome basically started violence, but the rest of you have to just deal with that and not ostracize him" sets a really bad precedent.

No, I disagree - I think there's a lot of daylight between "no consequences for his actions" and "we'll kill him the next time we see him." The group should get more creative than that.

Mark Hall
2021-09-28, 02:46 PM
No, I disagree - I think there's a lot of daylight between "no consequences for his actions" and "we'll kill him the next time we see him." The group should get more creative than that.

I also agree, here. Their stated purpose might be "We're going to chase that little bastard down and skin him alive", but there's a lot of room to play with others, rather than "win" the role-play.

kyoryu
2021-09-28, 03:29 PM
No, I disagree - I think there's a lot of daylight between "no consequences for his actions" and "we'll kill him the next time we see him." The group should get more creative than that.

For sure!

Again, I view the basic social contract of a party-based game (other structures are possible) as:

1. The group stays together
2. The group members don't do anything that would logically result in them getting kicked out

From my POV, the gnome violated #2. It is not the group's responsibility to come up with some excuse to continue meeting point #1. While this instance wasn't as egregious, that starts to lead the way towards some seriously toxic gaming. Since the gnome violated the contract, it's on him to either make a character that will fit within the group, or find some way to appease the group so that the game can continue.

Psyren
2021-09-28, 04:13 PM
I think it would be a lot more efficient for the group to collaborate on #1-based solution. Presumably these are four friends IRL, and presumably they value their OOC friendship more highly than perfect IC consistency.

icefractal
2021-09-28, 05:26 PM
From my POV, the gnome violated #2. It is not the group's responsibility to come up with some excuse to continue meeting point #1. While this instance wasn't as egregious, that starts to lead the way towards some seriously toxic gaming. Since the gnome violated the contract, it's on him to either make a character that will fit within the group, or find some way to appease the group so that the game can continue.The gnome's player took the action, but they took those actions on the instigation of the GM.

If the GM says "betray the party!" as part of the hook for a new campaign, I don't think a player is being toxic if they do so. Presumably they thought the GM had something planned that would make this work.

Although in this case it sounds like there was miscommunication between what the GM intended and what the player heard. And maybe in the other direction too - was the gnome trying to panic everyone and shut down the event with the bomb, or did they imagine it as being just a distraction while they grabbed the artifact?

kyoryu
2021-09-28, 05:27 PM
I think it would be a lot more efficient for the group to collaborate on #1-based solution. Presumably these are four friends IRL, and presumably they value their OOC friendship more highly than perfect IC consistency.

I'd say it's actually an OOC issue, frankly.

But yeah, collaborating is good. But the onus is still on the gnome. It's not on the others to paper over what happened and figure out a way to not kick the gnome out of the party.

Why am I being so hardnosed on this?

Because if the others just paper over it, then that sends the message "messing with the party is jolly fun time" and can lead to more of the same. That way leads to resentment.

Honestly the best solution is to retcon the whole session and have the GM change the initial parameters.

Psyren
2021-09-28, 05:49 PM
I don't think it's on the others or the gnome - I think they all need to come up with a solution together, and then enact it IC.

The retcon meanwhile would be the last resort (if they're unable to do that.)

KorvinStarmast
2021-09-29, 07:49 AM
I'd say it's actually an OOC issue, frankly.
{snip} Honestly the best solution is to retcon the whole session and have the GM change the initial parameters. There were some violations of DBAD involved, and some players never get it until they get a bucket of cold water splashed in their face. The first approach is OOC "why are you being a back stabber to party members?"

Another viable solution is for the other players to kill off the gnome PC. By doing this, the other players send that player a message: no, you aren't funny and no, we are not putting up with this. And we mean it.

Is this particular situation only solvable by that means? I don't think so. The OOC 'same page' approach is a best path forward at the moment.
If he pulls this kind of crap again after an OOC discussion, lay the lumber on his PC to clearly spell out consequences for violating DBAD.

Hopefully, the OOC discussions will render the above approach moot: but in some cases, players need a wake up call delivered by a (figurative) maul to the head.

Quertus
2021-09-29, 06:33 PM
There were some violations of DBAD involved, and some players never get it until they get a bucket of cold water splashed in their face. The first approach is OOC "why are you being a back stabber to party members?"

Another viable solution is for the other players to kill off the gnome PC. By doing this, the other players send that player a message: no, you aren't funny and no, we are not putting up with this. And we mean it.

Is this particular situation only solvable by that means? I don't think so. The OOC 'same page' approach is a best path forward at the moment.
If he pulls this kind of crap again after an OOC discussion, lay the lumber on his PC to clearly spell out consequences for violating DBAD.

Hopefully, the OOC discussions will render the above approach moot: but in some cases, players need a wake up call delivered by a (figurative) maul to the head.

But, again, it wasn't the Gnome who initiated PvP, it was the GM. So don't kill off the Gnome, kill off the GM, get someone else to run the game. That level of (verbal) clue-by-four might serve as an adequate wakeup call to everyone involved, no?

Psyren
2021-09-29, 11:58 PM
But, again, it wasn't the Gnome who initiated PvP, it was the GM. So don't kill off the Gnome, kill off the GM, get someone else to run the game. That level of (verbal) clue-by-four might serve as an adequate wakeup call to everyone involved, no?

I believe OP is the GM in question and might object somewhat to being killed :smalltongue::smallwink:

Kardwill
2021-09-30, 03:07 AM
But, again, it wasn't the Gnome who initiated PvP, it was the GM.

The GM set up a PVP scenario without first talking about it with his players (which is a common mistake. I'm fairly sure I did it myself some times), and the Gnome player escalated it (which is something that happens fairly often in my experience. Many players will get overenthusiastic in this kind of situation, do "something that sounds cool" and not really think about the consequences until it's too late).

Since the GM admits in the OP that he may have made a mistake, and since it was the first time the gnome player did something that outrageous (the GM sounds surprised that it happened, so it's unlikely such screwups are common occurences) I don't think a "punitive" approach against either of them is the solution.

OOC discution in person (not by e-mail! IME, tempers tend to flare more easily in written conversations) is the way to go. Admit that what happened wasn't cool, and discuss how the table wants to go forward : retcon, change the characters so that they can have a new group with new dynamics, or decide how they want their characters to get together (and on friendly terms?) again. "Continue the game with a PVP focus" sounds like a bad plan with an inexperienced GM and already angry players

kyoryu
2021-09-30, 08:29 AM
The GM set up a PVP scenario without first talking about it with his players (which is a common mistake. I'm fairly sure I did it myself some times), and the Gnome player escalated it (which is something that happens fairly often in my experience. Many players will get overenthusiastic in this kind of situation, do "something that sounds cool" and not really think about the consequences until it's too late).

Since the GM admits in the OP that he may have made a mistake, and since it was the first time the gnome player did something that outrageous (the GM sounds surprised that it happened, so it's unlikely such screwups are common occurences) I don't think a "punitive" approach against either of them is the solution.

OOC discution in person (not by e-mail! IME, tempers tend to flare more easily in written conversations) is the way to go. Admit that what happened wasn't cool, and discuss how the table wants to go forward : retcon, change the characters so that they can have a new group with new dynamics, or decide how they want their characters to get together (and on friendly terms?) again. "Continue the game with a PVP focus" sounds like a bad plan with an inexperienced GM and already angry players

Honestly I go back to my four options... and the one everyone seems to not notice - retcon the session. "Whoops, guys, I screwed up. I set up the situation badly. Let me redo that and let's start over, okay?"

Quertus
2021-09-30, 09:17 PM
I believe OP is the GM in question and might object somewhat to being killed :smalltongue::smallwink:

Touché.


Honestly I go back to my four options... and the one everyone seems to not notice - retcon the session. "Whoops, guys, I screwed up. I set up the situation badly. Let me redo that and let's start over, okay?"

"The Gnome, having just scored two completely different artifacts from somewhere else entirely (work with player to determine type and source) meets with his old friends over drinks. {Gnome}'So, I hear you got a promotion. Sorry I couldn't be there. What's the new job like?' (work with player to detail promotion) {Orc}'And the crazy thing is, at the ceremony,' (work with player to detail conversation with changeling) {Changeling}'And you're just in time, we were about to leave to (work with players to build adventure hook) - care to get the band back together again, and join us, just like old times?' "

Act like a good version of the retcon session already happened? Or too crazy?

KorvinStarmast
2021-10-01, 07:13 AM
The GM set up a PVP scenario without first talking about it with his players (which is a common mistake. I'm fairly sure I did it myself some times), and the Gnome player escalated it (which is something that happens fairly often in my experience. The Gnome players is complicit, and is part of the problem.

@Kyoryu: the retcon is certainly an option as a GM initiative.