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Thread: Well Then

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Well Then

    I just started running a new campaign. Decided to start in a tavern for once.

    By the end of the session the party had burned down the tavern, unintentionally framed the only member of the party not involved, and then killed six guards. It's not even an evil campaign. I don't even know at this point man.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Well Then

    Ouch.
    Or LOL, good times.
    Whichever is appropriate.

    Is this just a need-to-vent thread or do you want actual advice?

    In the case of the latter, you basically have three options.
    1. rage quit, scrap the entire campaign and start over with a new campaign and new characters
    2. reboot. Ask your players to please take this more seriously and just pretend this first session didn't happen
    3. Just run with it. Let them murderhobo to their hearts' content. Ignore most of what plans you had and just let them run wild with minimal consequences.
    I'm fimly of the opinion that everyone should be able to go through a murderhobo period at least once in their gaming career. It can be a blast and lead to many fond memories. Most people grow out of it rather quickly.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Well Then

    I'm agreeing with BWR; Letting them have a murder-hobo phase is a good idea. They have to burn out all their murder-hobo energy before doing somehting more constructive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    3. Just run with it. Let them murderhobo to their hearts' content. Ignore most of what plans you had and just let them run wild with minimal consequences.
    I'm fimly of the opinion that everyone should be able to go through a murderhobo period at least once in their gaming career. It can be a blast and lead to many fond memories. Most people grow out of it rather quickly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lavranzo View Post
    I'm agreeing with BWR; Letting them have a murder-hobo phase is a good idea. They have to burn out all their murder-hobo energy before doing somehting more constructive.
    I'd go with these, but with one proviso. If all they really want is a slaughter simulator, then yeah, let them murder it up and get it out if their systems.

    On the other hand, it could just be a case of aimlessness. One way to give them a goal is to give them consequences. Sure, let them murderhobo to their black little hearts' content, but after the flames die down, angry mob. Let them kill the mob too, if they'd rather not run; there will be others. And reputations. And if they want, they could parlay that into a heroic reputation, too - sure, they come to town, and soon there's no town left, but there are no monsters either. Or buildings, but hey, beggars, choosers.

    Or maybe they just really, really don't like starting the campaign in a tavern.

    Best option is to figure out what they want from it, and run with it.

    Also, kudos. Was this your first party-burns-down-a-tavern-and-frames-an-innocent?
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Well Then

    That is awesome plot fodder!

    Clerics and paladins could loose spells and have to undertake quests to re-institute themselves. The whole band could be on the run from local lord. Depending on who/what was in the tavern maybe they need to make recompense. I say don't make the next couple sessions easy on them make them live with the repercussions, it is role playing after all.

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    I'd ask them what they want. Admittedly, book-throwing would be tempting if they say they want a story, but if they say they want murderhoboing fun, I'd give them murderhoboing fun, complete with a good aligned church and an angel or two to oppose them. If they really do say a story, I'd really suggest working it out because their actions, ah, would be hard to work with.

    I disagree this is plot fodder for Paladins and Clerics, because it is clear that most of the party are doing things ill-advised for most good religions. You'll have one PC sitting out on all of the fun, and the other players might get upset that he is telling them to stop murdering people and being an annoying wet-blanket. A good chance of making OoC conflict for IC RP that might not even interest the player. Heck, if you did have a paladin look up the Paladin of Slaughter variation and tell the player they're playing that now.

    Heck, throw in some undead spawn. Low level, sure, but fun to kill en masse. Also makes the conflict a three-way thing, and you'd be surprised the crazy antics PCs get up to with unholy abominations that spit in the face of everything that is natural. Expect them to want to find catapults for starters.
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    Default Re: Well Then

    In the aftermath of this game, there is but one important question you should ask yourself: Did they leave your table happy?

    If they did, then congrats, you did your job. It doesn't matter if your barbarian tried a number of times to kill and devour the princess he and his group had just destroyed [edit: Rescued. I meant rescued. Not destroyed.] (true story) or if your players initiated a parley with the creepy old sorceror after cutting his hand to disable his magic (true story) or if the entire group, minus the warlock, slaughtered an entire village because the villagers threw stones at them (true story, I was the warlock), you did your job adequately.

    Now, where do we go from here? My advice would be to laugh and take this in stride. Your players have murderhobo tendencies, plan accordingly. What triggers them? What stops them? What kind of targets are exempt from it? Live and learn.

    Personally, and that's just me, I would still call the group on framing a member of their team. Nothing too serious, barely a "He is okay with it so it's fine, but seriously guys, in-team fighting is not cool. I don't want that to become a reccuring matter in my campaign, ok?"

    But that excepted? Adventurers will be adventurers. Maybe you could send them to a an abandoned cosmopolis once inhabitated by an ancient race and now filled to the brim with enemies and treasure. That should limit their murdering spree to enemy monsters, and that's par of the course for adventurers.

    I also second the previously given advice:
    1 Roll with it and let them have their murderhobo phase. Find fun in it.
    2 Check to see if it's not a case of "We don't know what to do! How can we interact with the world? Well, I can hit things hard. Well, I can steal stuff and frame people. Well I have fire spells! Well, what can we do with all that? Hmmm... Wait, I think I got it!" *mayhem ensues*
    Last edited by Alberic Strein; 2015-05-18 at 11:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Well Then

    If the punchline was, "and it's an all-paladin party", then I'd say you have a problem. Otherwise just chalk it up to being one of those inexplicable, yet almost predictable, things that happen when a group of high-strung, heavily-armed strangers meet up in an establishment that serves alcohol.

    "Boys will be boys"...or "adventurers will be adventurers" or what have you.

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    Sounds like they're having fun. Good job.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    1. rage quit, scrap the entire campaign and start over with a new campaign and new characters
    At any table I've ever frequented, this would result in a DM who no longer has any players. I can't speak for you, but personally, I actually put a good deal of time and effort into each of my characters. They aren't fodder for some oversensitive DM who wants to throw a tantrum by packing up his toys and going home because no one was playing the way he wanted them to.

    This is the most extremely immature reaction I can imagine, aside from actually flipping the table and walking out.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    2. reboot. Ask your players to please take this more seriously and just pretend this first session didn't happen
    "You didn't do what I wanted you to, so I'm invalidating your choices and the time you've invested in sessions so far. This time, do what I want you to do."

    May as well just write a novel for people to read at this point, because it's no longer a game, and no one besides you is going to enjoy any aspect of this. It just sounds like someone really anal who's going on a power trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    3. Just run with it. Let them murderhobo to their hearts' content. Ignore most of what plans you had and just let them run wild with minimal consequences.
    I'm fimly of the opinion that everyone should be able to go through a murderhobo period at least once in their gaming career. It can be a blast and lead to many fond memories. Most people grow out of it rather quickly
    I'm unsure what part of this sounds like a band of murderhobos, considering he specified their actions were, in part, unintentional. I wouldn't be surprised if the tavern was also burned down unintentionally, or if the guards tried to kill whoever was "unintentionally framed" for the crime, resulting in their own deaths.

    Considering the only casualties mentioned were those of a few guards, I seriously doubt the party is running around slaughtering everyone mindlessly.

    On a side note, some people seem to be under the impression that it's not possible for a party to be heavy-handed while still enjoying progression. You actually can clear your objectives while simultaneously setting stuff on fire, the two things aren't mutually exclusive. Just because the party wants to do things violently doesn't suggest that they don't still want to do things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Was this your first party-burns-down-a-tavern-and-frames-an-innocent?
    Lmao

    Quote Originally Posted by Alberic Strein View Post
    In the aftermath of this game, there is but one important question you should ask yourself: Did they leave your table happy?

    If they did, then congrats, you did your job. It doesn't matter if your barbarian tried a number of times to kill and devour the princess he and his group had just destroyed [edit: Rescued. I meant rescued. Not destroyed.] (true story) or if your players initiated a parley with the creepy old sorceror after cutting his hand to disable his magic (true story) or if the entire group, minus the warlock, slaughtered an entire village because the villagers threw stones at them (true story, I was the warlock), you did your job adequately.

    Now, where do we go from here? My advice would be to laugh and take this in stride.
    I agree, this would be the correct approach. The goal of the DM should be to facilitate a fun experience for the players; it shouldn't be to act like a control freak and spaz out whenever anyone doesn't do exactly what he expected. Railroading is one thing, deus ex machina is another, and worse than both is "force them to redo their actions until they do what you want". That sounds obnoxious, tedious, and would make me seriously question the personality of the person who's trying to force that on everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alberic Strein View Post
    Personally, and that's just me, I would still call the group on framing a member of their team. Nothing too serious, barely a "He is okay with it so it's fine, but seriously guys, in-team fighting is not cool. I don't want that to become a reccuring matter in my campaign, ok?"
    I know you said that it's just you, but I feel it should be restated: maybe he doesn't care if it's a recurring matter in his campaign. In-team fighting is not inherently uncool; not everyone is so averse to PvP. Sometimes a party member needs a good framing, or even a good killing (that's certainly far nicer than scrapping the whole campaign, which effectively kills everyone). Discouraging players from having negative interactions with each other, especially when they are all okay with it, sounds like a DM who should reevaluate what he's doing and why.

    Like you said, at the end of the day all that matters is if everyone had fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Maglubiyet View Post
    If the punchline was, "and it's an all-paladin party", then I'd say you have a problem. Otherwise just chalk it up to being one of those inexplicable, yet almost predictable, things that happen when a group of high-strung, heavily-armed strangers meet up in an establishment that serves alcohol.

    "Boys will be boys"...or "adventurers will be adventurers" or what have you.
    Pretty much this
    Last edited by AzraelX; 2015-05-18 at 12:43 PM.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    AzraelX: True, it's just that among the actions of the players, framing a team member struck me as the odd one out. This does not mean it wasn't done in good spirit, or that the framed had any issue with it, or that it wasn't very useful: Now that -if I understood correctly- every single team member is sought out for the same crime, then the group is pretty much formed.

    I am one of those DMs who very, very often starts with "Rule 1 : Have fun. Rule 2 : No infighting" There are a few reasons for that.

    1) Often, the system is not properly balanced for player versus player fights. Players often dish out damage WAY better than they can take it, or have instant-win abilities, and a number of other things which makes the process tedious. Quick. But tedious.

    2) Often, my players do not have the maturity to handle their awesome, AWESOME I tell you, tragic character, being backstabbed by the thief because the thief's player didn't like his character getting mindwiped as a pratical joke. As a player I take it badly when other players do that to me, and I can't for the life of me prevent my players from taking it badly when I'm the GM, and I've seen campaigns become toxic and crash and burn because of that.

    3) Often, it distracts from other, interesting, constructive things that could happen during game time, taking down the enemies I give them, seeing them look for new enemies on their own, trying to establish a village, and such. And unless the whole group decides to split in two and wage war on itself, while two players are busy killing each other's character, the rest is bored to hell.

    Among other things. So no, there is no issue with infighting in itself if the system is efficient at doing it, but players are up to five not-exactly-well-adjusted monkeys trapped inside a barrel (your table) and expecting them to be mature about their imaginary character being backstabbed by another imaginary character tends to be wishful thinking. At least it was in most of the games I've ever been in.
    Last edited by Alberic Strein; 2015-05-18 at 01:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzraelX View Post
    Lmao
    If I phrased it in such a way that it sounds like one of those things that everyone goes through, like falling off of a bicycle, it's because it is one of those things that everyone goes through, like falling off of a bicycle.

    It's a gaming rite of passage, like throwing a book, or getting punished for being late by having to pay for pizza. It's something that happens to everyone, and it's a good learning-and-growing experience, just like falling off of a bicycle. Or receiving a book-induced concussion.

    The important things are what you learn about your group, what they learn about you, and where you go from here.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Thanks for the replies I wasn't really looking for advice, it was just interesting to me that this could happen and I was facepalming half the session. The barbarian was going, "WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN EVERY TIME WE START A SESSION?" -- a reference to a previous session where reckless actions at the beginning of the campaign nearly got the party killed.

    The party suffers from low Wisdom scores, needless to say I think they played their characters accurately and the events that transpired were unpredicted but not totally improbable. What actually happened was a bunch of fairly poor planning that resulted in a strange and completely unintended outcome. You see the party is actually good aligned...

    The tavern they were in was of the lower end of sorts in a city known for its corruption and greed. It was filled with rogues, thugs, and all manner of creepy guys. The bar maid (age around fifteen) was attempting to run the bar herself with little help since her father was imprisoned for some (unknown to the party) reason. She was just a good character stuck in a bad situation surrounded by riff raff that wanted to exploit her. After some roleplaying on my part to set the mood that this wasn't a fine family establishment, the 6'8" barbarian was seduced by a prostitute and taken upstairs to get a powderpuff massage.

    The three remaining members of the party were left downstairs when things started going down. A corrupt tax collector came in demanding "extra taxes" and "protection money", insisting that he had given the bar maid a week to come up with the coin, and that she better pay up. He made an act of pouring her most expensive alcohol all over the ground as an insult before telling everyone to get out because the bar was closing down.

    The good-natured catfolk sorcerer attempted to step in at the perceived injustice but was brusquely pushed away by one of two bodyguards the tax collector had brought along as muscle. The sorcerer clearly objected to being called furball and cast stunning barrier on himself. Another member of the party, a kitsune magus, crept up the stairs and disguised herself as a shorter version of the earlier barbarian with a natural twenty, making a fairly convincing appearance.

    After the corrupt official attempted to take the girl, mentioning something about her fetching a good price on the slave market and dragged her to leave the tavern, the magus suddenly appeared in his way, sword drawn and ready to strike. This lead to a confrontation which resulted in one of the bodyguards and the tax collector to flee, while the other one struggled against the sorcerer in a corner by a fireplace. The magus then proceeds to give his sword the flaming enchantment, which is where things suddenly get out of hand.

    He successfully made a strike against the bodyguard in the corner, lighting him on fire with a bladed dash. In a panic the bodyguard attempted to flee, but his only escape route was where the bottle of spirits had been poured all over the floor. The fumes ignited and he burned to death and caught everything around on him fire. The bar maid managed to escape in the confusion while the rest of the party went, "**** this ****!" and promptly exited the building, leaving the towering barbarian and his female companion alone upstairs.

    The magus had left out of the back door along with the bar maid, and undid his disguise in an alley before joining the rest of the party out in front while they discussed what to do about the raging inferno. After all was said and done the barbarian jumped out of the second story window, rescuing his companion from a horrible flaming death. Meanwhile the tax collector went to go get some guards to deal with the situation. After some ethical debate between some members of the party who believed the bar maid was still inside, the barbarian eventually decided it wasn't worth the effort and went to the other tavern across the street to get some ale. Shortly after he was spotted by a guard captain with the tax collector and they all rush in to try and seize him. As one may imagine, the barbarian refused, insisting he hadn't done anything wrong. The guards pressed onward and demanded that he surrender himself. Needless to say when they drew their weapons and attacked, he cleaved through them like a hot knife through butter.

    So in summary, everyone's actions were perfectly justified and may have actually done more good than bad. It's just like man, I did not see that coming.
    Last edited by Sacrieur; 2015-05-18 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Well Then

    To be perfectly fair, most people have the imminently mature response to a knife in the back of attempting to plant said knife in one or more eyes of the person who gave it to them. This is rather true even of modern humans; it's called "self defense" in American courts of law (or, at least, the attempt to do so out of belief that failure to do so will result in near-immediate death is). In more rough-and-tumble times, such as most commonly are depicted in D&D, hostile action is often met with hostile action, and betraying a trust (guestright, hospitality, alliance/friendship) is considered worthy of distproportionate retribution in no small part due to the damage that gaining and then violating trust enables even those much weaker than their victims to do.

    Which is all to say that it's perfectly understandable that retailiation will occur. This normally prevents a lot of that kind of betrayal in situations attempting to model real human behavior. The separation of player from character and the fact that many players are trying with varying degrees of sincerity and success to put themselves into the mindsets of fictional people can often mean that intra-party conflict arises and escalates to using mechanics against each other. Remind people that the actions of a PC should not necessarily reflect the desires of a player, so not to take things too personally, but also do not prevent PCs from self-policing within the group. You can ask the table if they're enjoying that kind of confict as it arises; if they are, let it go. If they're not, don't permit it. While taking control of a player's character is a major no-no, telling them they are not allowed to take PvP actions is reasonable. (Just be careful, because some players will start looking for excuses to do it "innocently," then. You can't always naysay it, but be watching for a pattern.)

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Well Then

    This sounds like the beginning of an awesome campaign. I say run with it. Then again I'm pretty well in the "watch the world burn" camp. Getting them to the dungeon pronto seems prudent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrieur View Post
    Snip
    Give that Magus and that Barbarian a cookie! Each!

    Yes, this definitely sounds like the beginning of an AWESOME campaign!

    No real issue anywhere, the Magus behaved like an inexperienced adventurer using powers he doesn't have the wisdom to control properly (ie: exactly what an adventuring Magus should be) and the Barbarian pretty much pulled a Conan.

    Likewise, from the little you've given us, you dealt with the situation adequately. Just don't expect your players to think about consequences and you'll be golden.
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    Yeah, you've got them roped firmly into your plot hook. Sure, they're wanted for far more than you ever intended, and the tax collector has more he can use against them than perhaps you'd planned, and even the barmaid has reason to be mad as heck at them (now her bar is gone) (or quite crushing on the barbarian for saving her)...but all of this can be used to push plot forward. Let the party figure out what they want to do; just remind them that if they do'nt help her, not only does the barmaid now still have to deal with the corrupt tax collector, but she's also out any livelihood she might have once had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrieur View Post
    -snip-
    I'm glad you elaborated. Of course, it also seems like an effective way to rope the player-characters together as well (Accidentally) - before, they were just patrons of a Tavern. Now, they have declared themselves The HeroesTM

    You should keep us posted on this campaign's sessions.
    Last edited by Hawkstar; 2015-05-18 at 04:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrieur View Post
    I just started running a new campaign. Decided to start in a tavern for once.

    By the end of the session the party had burned down the tavern, unintentionally framed the only member of the party not involved, and then killed six guards. It's not even an evil campaign. I don't even know at this point man.
    C'mon dude, if you can't build an awesome campaign on a start like that then you're really not even trying.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Well Then

    Ah, a familiar situation to me. The party wizard summoned a fire elemental and commanded it to hide in the hearth until no one was looking, and then it immediately went for the liquor storage. The whole place blew up and we had to flee the town to avoid reprisal. Good times.
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    The thread title made me think this was spam.

    Suggestion: We Burned Down the Tavern We Started In

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    Default Re: Well Then

    Your players did fine. Good people aren't supposed to let 15-year old girls get dragged off into slavery in front of them by obvious crooks (and the business about pouring the liquor over the floor made it very obvious that's what he was). Admittedly, mucking around with fire magic in a place full of flammable spirits was careless, but we've got people on this forum that think it's A-OK to drop torches in the middle of combat so they can use their zweihander and not care they're setting things on fire, so that's small potatoes.

    What did you expect to happen?

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Well, I know I didn't expect the magus to pull off a 5th level ability (enchanting his weapon with fire through Arcane Pool) during the first game of a new campaign.

    I'm way too used to starting games at level one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlowe View Post
    Your players did fine. Good people aren't supposed to let 15-year old girls get dragged off into slavery in front of them by obvious crooks (and the business about pouring the liquor over the floor made it very obvious that's what he was). Admittedly, mucking around with fire magic in a place full of flammable spirits was careless, but we've got people on this forum that think it's A-OK to drop torches in the middle of combat so they can use their zweihander and not care they're setting things on fire, so that's small potatoes.

    What did you expect to happen?
    Not to try to burn down the city? They're lucky it didn't catch nearby stuff on fire. I determined they were surrounded by stone buildings that wouldn't catch fire as easily, but since the building was poorly constructed to begin with it basically just collapsed in on itself.

    The whole session was largely fluff to try to set the setting of the city they were in. I can roll with this pretty easy. I try to view the world as just filled with characters with motivations, and that's what makes the world turn 'round. But yes now they're wanted criminals, more or less. Well the kitsune and the barbarian are. The magus and the fourth guy (who went back in and rescued the bar maid) are just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    The thread title made me think this was spam.

    Suggestion: We Burned Down the Tavern We Started In
    Weird, no one else thought this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alberic Strein View Post
    Well, I know I didn't expect the magus to pull off a 5th level ability (enchanting his weapon with fire through Arcane Pool) during the first game of a new campaign.

    I'm way too used to starting games at level one.
    They're level six.
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    Jul 2011

    Default Re: Well Then

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrieur View Post
    Weird, no one else thought this.
    I did too, I just happened to mouse over it and get the little text box that holds the start of the first post text.

    Anyway, sounds like a fun game. Good job with the letting things get out of hand thing.(Like, for the characters, not the game)
    Last edited by draken50; 2015-05-19 at 06:15 PM.

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