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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Jun 2015
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    Default House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    The Short Version

    No experience points for acting like a murderhobo.




    Frampton Comes Alive Version


    House Rule

    This rule is in the nature of a house rule. It is specific to this campaign and is in no way presented as official or authoritative. The author's ability to reconcile this house rule with the core rules of D&D 3.5 is in no sense a guarantee that it will function in other campaigns for other DMs.




    Reasonable Expectations

    This rule establishes an expectation of how the DM will generally exercise discretion. It shall in no way guarantee mindless consistency from the DM.

    This rule is designed to manage the expectations of players in ostensibly civilized settings.

    Players are conditioned to run their characters as conflict-seeking problem solvers who routinely apply lethal force to resolve conflict in settings which place them in constant mortal danger. The notion that this conditioning can be simply turned off when the characters find themselves in an urban settlement seems naive.

    When characters apply this same conflict-seeking problem solving application of lethal force in places where they are not in constant mortal danger, like a city, these player characters are referred to as Murderhoboes.

    The DM shall refrain from using this house rule in a manner that sets a player character up to fail. A DM's decision to bring this rule into play shall be understood to mean that the use of lethal force is inherently inappropriate for the encounter and that the encounter is more likely than not to be resolved satisfactorily without the use of lethal force.




    Sanctions Against Killing

    The DM may bring a sanction against killing into play, as deemed necessary.

    The standard impact this sanction has on an encounter is as follows:

    If a character applies a Lethal Use of Force, then that character gets no experience points for that encounter.

    If a character applies any Use of Force (including Non-Lethal Force), then that character is eligible for no more than half of the standard Experience Point award for that encounter.

    If a character uses non-violent conflict resolution, then that character is eligible for a full Experience Point award for that encounter.

    The DM may adjust these impacts as necessary, provided the adjustments fall within the following parameters:

    Use of non-violent conflict resolution shall always yield more Experience Points than Use of Force.

    Under no circumstances shall a Use of Lethal Force yield a Larger XP award than any other form of conflict resolution.

    When this house rule is in play, refraining from use of force is considered to be the most desirable option on the table. An experience point award should only attach to the use of Lethal Force under unusual circumstances, and use of Lethal Force during an encounter should only be worth a standard experience point award under exigent circumstances or when this house rule is suspended entirely.

    Under no circumstances shall a DM bring this rule into play after an encounter has already begun. If the encounter takes place in a setting with a Standing Sanction Against Killing, the rule is assumed to be in play, even if the DM failed to mention that fact at the beginning of the encounter.




    Use of Force by Proxy Prohibited

    Under no circumstances shall a character be allowed to use force by proxy to avoid an Experience Point award penalty.

    Actions taken by a Character Asset shall be deemed to be actions taken by that character for the purpose of this rule.

    The DM is obliged to routinely rule against any effort to cause an NPC Cast Member to use lethal force while this rule is in play. Self-defense shall be the minimum threshold for an NPC Cast Member to resort to the use of Lethal Force when a Sanction Against Killing is in effect. The DM will be informed by this when making rulings on the actions of NPC Cast members.




    Standing Sanctions Against Killing

    A standing sanction against killing shall be deemed in effect in any humanoid settlement or society in which the prevailing attitude towards Playable Humanoids is 'Indifferent', regardless of the society's prevailing alignment.

    For a standing sanction against killing to come into play, it must offer some measure of protection to the entire Cast. Bringing this rule into play becomes counterproductive otherwise. At the very minimum, the Cast shouldn’t qualify as either a Fair Target or an Existential Threat by virtue of their creature type alone. (Illustrative example: an encounter involving a tribe of orcs with a "standing sanction against killing" that is restricted only to other orcs shouldn't fall under this house rule unless the entire adventuring party were half-orcs, or passed for half-orcs.)

    A standing sanction against killing is so blatantly obvious that any humanoid with a Wisdom score of 3 can tell when it's in effect. In game terms, the Wisdom DC for determining the presence or absence of a Standing Sanction Against Killing is 5. (Are people murdering each other in the streets? No? Then there you go.)

    This sanction is not routinely extended to non-humanoids, other than domesticated animals, and non-humanoid Character Assets.

    The DM has the discretion to deem a Standing Sanction Against Killing playable humanoids in effect for any settlement or society, including non-humanoid populations.




    Mayhem

    In places with a Standing Sanction Against Killing, player characters are expected to refrain from destroying property and injuring bystanders.

    If property is destroyed or bystanders are injured during an encounter, then the following modifications to Experience Point awards shall be applied after initial effects have been established:

    If a bystander suffers an economic hardship (including, but not limited to, property damage) as a direct consequence of actions taken during an encounter, then all Experience Point awards shall be reduced, regardless of who which Cast Member inflicted the hardship.

    If the Cast offers timely compensation to the bystander, and the bystander accepts, then the Experience Point Award will be cut in half. This penalty stacks with all other XP penalties.

    If the Cast choses not to compensate the bystander for the hardship, or if the bystander refuses the compensation, then the Experience Point Award shall be cut in fourth. This penalty stacks with all other XP penalties.

    If public property is damaged to the degree that it imposes an Economic Hardship on the society, then the XP award for that encounter shall be cut in half, regardless of who which Cast Member inflicted the damage. This penalty stacks with all other XP penalties. This would require, at a minimum, structural damage to a public building, or enough damage to a public road that it no longer functions as a road.

    If a bystander is injured (suffers any of the effects described under Lethal Force or Non-Lethal Force) as a direct consequence of actions taken during an encounter, all Experience Point awards shall be cut in half, regardless of who which Cast Member inflicted the injury. This penalty stacks with all other XP penalties.

    If a bystander is disabled (reduced to 0 hit points), killed, or suffers Catastrophic Loss as a direct consequence of actions taken during an encounter, there will be no Experience Point award for any character, regardless of who which Cast Member inflicted the injury. Restoring the bystander to health after the fact will have no bearing on this rule, as the bystander would have never needed healing if the encounter hadn't gotten out of hand in the first place.

    The Mayhem clauses of this house rule shall only be suspended when this house rule is suspended entirely.




    The Better Part of Valor

    The DM may, from time to time, determine that withdrawing completely from an encounter is so appropriate that a standard XP award should attach to withdrawal.

    Players have been conditioned to assume that withdrawing from an encounter is reserved for when the tide of battle has turned against them. This expectation is as old as the hobby itself. The notion that withdrawal from an encounter might provide an experience point award at all is counter-intuitive. The notion that a preemptive withdrawal might provide a substantially larger experience point award as compared to initiating combat is profoundly counter-intuitive. Therefore, The DM is obliged to inform the players at the beginning of the encounter that withdrawing is worth a full XP point award. Many players are unlikely to exercise this option even if they are aware of it, but without a prompt from the DM, it might not even occur to the players that withdrawal is a viable option.

    For the Better Part of Valor clause to come into play, the decision to withdraw from an encounter must credibly resolve a potentially violent conflict. At a minimum, a creature who is Hostile or Unfriendly to the Cast must be present and must be in obvious conflict with the Cast.

    The DM shall never grant Experience Point awards for withdrawing from an encounter with an Indifferent, Friendly, or Helpful creature.

    The Brave Sir Robin Clause

    A character who abandons the Cast during an encounter shall be awarded nothing. The DM shall never offer an experience point award for simple cowardice.




    Exceptions

    The DM shall refrain from taking into account any of the following when allowing exceptions to this rule:

    Character Alignment; Roleplaying Style; Actions taken in a Secret or Private setting.


    Appropriate Use of Force

    If an adventure takes place in a setting with a Standing Sanction Against Killing, it may be entirely appropriate to allow Use of Lethal Force during some encounters.

    When this clause plays, the house rule shall be modified as follows:

    If a character applies a Lethal Use of Force, then that character gets no more that one-fourth of the Standard XP award for that encounter.

    If a character applies any Use of Force (including Non-Lethal Force), then that character is eligible for no more than half of the standard Experience Point award for that encounter.

    If a character uses non-violent conflict resolution, then that character is eligible for a full Experience Point award for that encounter.

    The DM owes an affirmative obligation to let the players know what the Rules of Engagement are before such an encounter begins.

    Use of Force is always appropriate in cases of Self Defense.

    Mayhem is never appropriate in cases of Self Defense.

    Characters are expected to exercise reasonable restraint when using Lethal Force in places with a Standing Sanction Against Killing. Characters are expected to defend themselves in a manner that doesn't place an undue burden on society at large. A player character should be able to defend himself without causing mayhem.


    Assassins

    An assassin shall be entitled to an experience point bonus for applying lethal force in the context of fulfilling a contractual obligation to a third party, provided the contract was negotiated before the beginning of the encounter. The Assassin is being awarded Experience Points for fulfilling the terms of the contract, and is not awarded experience points for the Use of Lethal Force itself.

    An Assassin shall in no way be awarded experience points for any freelance application of lethal force while this rule is in effect. (As the Joker said in The Dark Knight, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”)

    Outside of the context of a contractual obligation, Assassins shall be held to the same Use of Force standards as any other character class under this house rule.

    Under no circumstances shall the Mayhem clauses of this house rule be suspended for a player character assassin.


    Delegated Authority

    Most characters are assumed to lack the standing authority to use lethal force in a settlement or society.

    In the event that a character is formally vested with the authority to use force (deputized), then the Appropriate Use of Force clauses come into play unless the DM explicitly rules otherwise.

    Under no circumstances shall this delegated authority be assumed to be permanent or apply to any other settlement or society.


    Existential Threats/Exigent Circumstances/Emergencies

    Under circumstances of extreme emergency, a Standard XP award might be appropriate for resolving an encounter with Use of Lethal Force.

    Use of Lethal Force against a creature that qualifies as an Existential Threat is an example of an extreme emergency. Use of Lethal Force against an Existential Threat is the only durable exception in this rule that allows for a full XP award for the direct use of Lethal Force.

    If the PCs can somehow neutralize an Existential Threat without use of force, then the entire Cast shall be eligible for an XP award that is double the standard XP award that would otherwise attach to that encounter.

    Under no circumstances shall an emergency be understood to suspend or rescind a Standing Sanction Against Killing. In the face of an emergency, such as a city being attacked by a purple worm, characters who use lethal force as part of the emergency response shall be eligible for experience point awards for responding to the emergency, not for the use of lethal force itself.

    The Mayhem Clauses of this house rule remain in effect. Under no circumstances shall characters be allowed to “destroy the village in order to save it.”

    Under no circumstances shall self-defense alone be deemed a valid reason for an emergency exception.


    Uncanny Village/Town With A Dark Secret

    Many societies harbor Dark Secrets.

    A case could be made that in a high fantasy setting, it is unusual for a settlement to lack a Dark Secret.

    A Hamlet, Town or City with a Dark Secret still operates under a Standing Sanction Against Killing.

    If a society's Dark Secret comes into play in a manner that causes the prevailing attitude of the society toward the Cast to deteriorate to Unfriendly or Hostile, then the Appropriate Use of Force clauses shall come into play.


    Warzone/Mass Insurrection/Societal Collapse/Apocalypse

    If a community is rendered incapable of sustaining a standing sanction against killing, then the DM is obliged to suspend this rule entirely.

    This should be an extreme and temporary circumstance.

    Playable Humanoids will not willingly live in a community without some form of social contract in place. The desire to not be murdered in one's sleep is enough of a basis for a standing sanction against killing among humanoids. Humanoids, regardless of alignment, are inherently social and will inevitably form into stable groups with some form of standing sanction against killing, if for no other reason than to facilitate the humanoid need to eat, breathe, and sleep.




    Suspension of the Rule

    The DM may suspend this rule entirely.




    Definitions

    Spoiler
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    Blatantly Obvious:
    Any information that the DM deems to be available to any Playable Humanoid. The Wisdom DC for the Blatantly Obvious is 5. A person of ordinary prudence (possessing a Wisdom of 10) would not even need to make a Wisdom check unless he were distracted. A Humanoid with a Wisdom of 3 can figure out the Blatantly Obvious with one minute of undistracted observation.


    Bystander:
    A non-belligerent creature who is entitled to protection under a standing sanction against killing. A hostage is an illustrative example.


    Cast:
    The adventuring party as a whole, including Player Characters, NPCs, Familiars, and Animal Companions.


    Catastrophic Loss:
    A consequence of use of force that is so severe that a person of ordinary prudence would consider it to be equivalent to, or worse than, death. Catastrophic Loss usually involves supernatural phenomena. A consequence or condition that would take a character completely out of play and cause that character to remain out of play without magical intervention qualfies as Catastrophic Loss. (Flesh to Stone, Soul Bind, and Baleful Polymorph are all illustrative examples.)


    Character Asset:
    Those creatures (including constructs) to which a Character is entitled peculiar and reliable access. For a creature to qualify as an Asset, the Death or Catastrophic Loss of that creature must materially interfere with a character's ability to benefit from a durable game mechanic such as a Class Feature or a Feat. (Illustrative examples include: Familiars; Animal Companions; Paladin's Mounts; Blackguard's Fiendish Servants; Cohorts and Followers from the Leadership Feat.) Creatures that can be replaced without mechanical penalty (including Commanded undead and Summoned creatures) are not considered Assets for the purpose of this rule.


    Coercive Action:
    Action that forces a creature to act in an involuntary manner. (Illustrative examples include: The Intimidate Skill; Spells that require a Will Save, except for spells that are inherently non-violent; Bardic Fascinate, Suggestion, and Mass Suggestion.) Spells from the Charm sub-school are considered non-coercive in nature, and by that virtue they are excluded from the in-game definition of Coercive Action.

    Refusal to administer life-saving aid (healing spells are an illustrative example) to a creature in the context of resolving a conflict constitutes Coercive Action.


    Economic Hardship:
    Any condition that would impose an undue burden on a bystander's ability to earn a living.

    Subject to substantial discretion of the DM.

    Killing an aristocrat’s horse might be an inconvenience. Killing a farmer’s horse could wipe him out.

    A DM is well within his discretion to rule that destruction of any private property that costs at least one gold piece is more likely than not to constitute an economic hardship to someone.

    In the special case of the private property of a commoner, the DM is well within his discretion to rule that destruction of private property that costs at least one silver piece constitutes an economic hardship to that commoner.



    Existential Threat:
    The presence of an unacceptable and unmanageable risk to the safety and security of a society as a whole. A creature or object that is an Existential Threat is routinely attacked on sight with Lethal Force. Aberrations, Undead, Oozes, Constructs, and Vermin are virtually always deemed Existential Threats.

    An Existential Threat under player character control is Weaponized Property.

    An Existential Threat that can pass for a humanoid, such as a vampire, can easily infiltrate a society.


    Fair Target:
    A creature that is not entitled to protection under a Standing Sanction Against Killing.

    Use of Force against a Fair Target is not considered a violation of the social contract. Usually, Non-Lethal Force is preferred against Fair Targets, if for no other reason than a dead body is a nuisance.

    In societies populated with Playable Humanoids, it is common for the following creature types to be deemed Fair Targets: Dragons, Giants, Magical Beasts, Monstrous Humanoids, Elementals, Fey, Magical Beasts, Plants.

    Fair Targets vary widely from one society to the next, but social contracts are inherently Obvious so the DM is obliged to give players a reasonable account of what is, and is not, a Fair Target for an encounter.

    Animals call for DM discretion. Domesticated animals are not normally Fair Targets, unless they somehow become a nuisance. Domesticated animals are assumed to be someone’s property. Wild animals are generally fair targets, provided that they are capable of causing death. Wild animals that are ostensibly harmless, such as most birds, are not normally Fair Targets. Societies may place totemic value on specific Wild Animals, in which case those Animals are unlikely to qualify as Fair Targets. All Animals that are any size category above Large are generally such a nuisance that it is considered acceptable to use Non-Lethal Force to control their movement.

    Fair Target creatures can serve as Character Assets. (Familiars, Animal Companions are illustrative examples). Character Assets are common enough that they enjoy the same protection under a Sanction that a Character enjoys. Societies are assumed to have found a way to reconcile this.

    A Fair Target that can pass for a humanoid, such as a doppelganger, can easily infiltrate a humanoid society.

    Individuals, regardless of creature type, can become Fair Targets by virtue of infamy and reputation alone. (Omar, from the HBO series The Wire.)


    Lethal Force:
    A use of force that is capable of resulting in Death or Catastrophic Loss. Actions capable of causing the following conditions: Ability Drain; Ability Damage (Constitution Only); Dead; Disabled; Dying; Energy Drained; Petrified.

    Placing Weaponized Property in striking reach of another creature is so provocative that it qualifies as a Use of Lethal Force.


    Non-Lethal Force:
    A use of force that is not capable of resulting in Death or Catastrophic Loss. Actions capable of causing the following conditions: Ability Damage (except Constitution); Blinded; Checked; Confused; Cowering; Dazed; Deafened; Entangled; Exhausted; Fascinated; Fatigued; Frightened; Helpless; Knocked Down; Nauseated; Panicked; Paralyzed; Pinned; Prone; Shaken; Sickened; Staggered; Stunned; Unconscious.

    Coercive actions fall under the category of Non-Lethal Force even if those actions don't cause physical damage.


    Non-violent Conflict Resolution:
    The absence of the use of force. Persuasive actions fall under this category. Spells that require willing targets are inherently non-violent. Spells that are deemed Harmless are inherently non-violent. Spells from the Charm sub-school, being non-coercive in nature, qualify as inherently non-violent.


    Obvious:
    Any information that the DM deems is available to an undistracted person of ordinary prudence. A person of ordinary prudence is assumed to have a Wisdom of 10. In game terms, the Obvious calls for a Wisdom Check with a DC of 10.


    Playable Humanoids:
    The humanoid races that players may routinely select during character creation in the campaign. (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Tieflings, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs.) Any humanoid creature type that is subject to DM approval before it can be selected as a player character may not fall under this definition. Under no circumstances shall any non-humanoid creature type fall under this definition.


    Sanction Against Killing:
    A blatantly obvious incentive to resolve an encounter without lethal use of force. An encounter that occurs under a flag of truce is an illustrative example.


    Standing Sanction Against Killing:
    A persistent sanction that normally attaches to encounters that take place within any stable society, outside of the context of conditions approximating open warfare. This sanction infers the presence of a durable social contract that strongly favors non-violent conflict resolution over lethal use of force. (A city populated by Playable Humanoids is an illustrative example.)

    Standing Sanctions Against Killing are routine even within societies that consider use of Lethal Force to be a cultural norm. (A ship with a crew consisting entirely of Chaotic Evil pirates is an illustrative example.)

    Reliable access to nourishing food, drinkable water, and rudimentary shelter are prerequisites for a Standing Sanction Against Killing to be sustained.


    Weaponized Property:
    Property that is so inherently dangerous that a person of ordinary prudence would consider mere proximity to that property to be life-threatening. (Illustrative examples include: Oozes; Constructs; Vermin; Commanded Undead; a Sphere of Annihilation.) The mere appearance of Weaponized Property may qualify as coercive to the uninitiated.

    Placing a person in reach of Weaponized Property qualifies as Use of Lethal Force.





    FAQ

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    What is the point of this house rule?

    This is a mechanical incentive to prevent violence from escalating in settings where escalating violence is inherently problematic.

    An Experience Point Award is a motivating factor that is difficult to overstate. Under this house rule, the only players who are going to continue running Murderhoboes are those who have deeply committed to the murderhobo as a character concept. Like the Daniel Day-Lewis of Murderhoboes, or something. Everyone else is going to try and find a non-lethal solution to problems in the big city, if only for the experience point award.



    How can you be so sure it works?

    Judicious and clear application of this rule has proven absurdly effective at dissuading murderhobo behavior in my campaign. Once I put this rule into place and the players understood what it meant , it enforced itself.

    As it turns out, if there are no experience points to be had for killing a person then players are, by and large, just not that into killing that person.



    Even if it works, at what cost? Can't murderhobo problems be addressed with good roleplaying and trust?

    Absolutely.

    Good role-playing and trust are entirely capable of preventing murderhobo problems. Right up to the moment that they can't.

    This rule assumes that the best way to address a problem is to employ a coping mechanism, rather than relying upon denial, good intentions and unicorn farts. This house rule is one method of addressing murderhobo issues. This is a framework that describes DM discretion in a clear way. It isn't the only way. It isn't a perfect way. But it does work.



    Don't your players hate this rule?

    They don't love it. But they don't hate it, either. They are okay with beating the crap out of people (and by people, I mean thugs) who cross them in the big city, as long as they get some XP for it.



    Isn't this a form of railroading?

    Yes. Yes it is.

    I am railroading the bejeezus out of my players with this house rule.

    And I'm fine with it.

    This house rule strongly reinforces the use of non-lethal and non-violent means of resolving encounters in and around humanoid settlements. The players are at full liberty to use lethal force in these scenarios, provided they don't want the XP.

    Turns out, they really want the XP.

    This house rule is supposed to directly influence character decision making on weapon selection, spell selection, and equipment loadouts in the context of scenarios generally set in an urban environment full of people who don't have a beef with the Cast.

    In this author's opinion, enabling players to view every living thing in the campaign as Pinatas filled with Experience Points is a form of railroading players into playing murderhoboes.



    Why does this rule apply to Evil characters?

    For this sanction to be fair, it must be applied to all characters. Also a sanction against killing that doesn't apply to Evil characters really doesn't make sense. If lethal force will clearly make things worse, then the presence of a sociopath won't make things better.



    Why doesn't my Evil character get XP awards for roleplaying an evil act?

    Because acting like a Murderhobo isn't roleplaying. It's just treating every living creature in the campaign setting like a Pinata full of Experience Points.



    Why would Evil characters care about a sanction against killing?

    Because they place value on their time. Because they don't want to be killed in their sleep. Because they don't want to go to prison. Because killing is not a trivial matter. Because killing is something that most Evil people refuse to take lightly.



    What if my Evil character is a serial killer?

    If your character is a serial killer like Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th franchise, then it might make sense to award an XP bonus everytime he kills someone, regardless of context. (I'm still not going to do that.) But on the off-chance that your serial killer is not a mindless indestructable killing machine, he probably takes killing seriously and doesn't want to get caught.



    What if my evil character doesn't care if he gets caught? What if he's in it For The Evulz?

    Then he's the Daniel Day-Lewis of Murderhoboes. Congratulations. But I'm still not giving him any XP awards for it.



    What's the deal with "secret or private settings"?

    The sanction against killing doesn't go away because no one is looking. Evil people who want to kill someone have a tendency to take those victims far away from populated places. Preferably to remote places in the wilderness. People who dispose of bodies in their own backyard tend to be clinically insane.



    But, what if my character is clinically insane?

    Again, Daniel Day-Lewis is The Murderhobo in Murderhobo 2: The Hoboening. You might get an Academy Award for the performance, but you get no Experience Points from me.



    Why doesn't my character get full XP for self-defense?

    The sanction against killing is that important and runs that deep.

    This is a mechanical incentive to prevent violence from escalating in settings where escalating violence is inherently problematic.

    Even among Evil characters. Even in self-defense.

    It's understandable that a player would chose to respond to lethal force with lethal force, but if there are more XP to be had for refraining from use of lethal force, that might prove persuasive to a player. It assumes that a person might want to know why they are being attacked. An Evil character might refrain from killing an attacker to perform torture on that attacker. (Think Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction.)

    The same sensibility applies to deputization. Lethal force is supposed to be a last resort, even when someone is vested with the authority to use lethal force. It's supposed to be the last club out of the bag.



    How does a Standing Sanction Against Killing make sense for a Chaotic Evil society or settlement?

    At a minimum, to facilitate trade and commerce.

    Unsanctioned killing is bad for business for any society. Escalating violence is inherently problematic even within a Chaotic Evil den of iniquity. Dead bodies stink up the place. They cause health issues. In fantasy settings, they sometimes get up and walk around and then there's that to deal with. Chaotic Evil societies aren't run by creatures who like having someone else make more work for them.

    More to the point, the population at-large of any given society, even a Chaotic Evil society, the default attitude is Indifference. They are just not that into the player characters.

    If these NPCs took the time to get to know the Cast, perhaps they might come to be Unfriendly, or even Hostile. But they don't have the time.

    Bottom line, even Chaotic Evil societies have to take a break from the killing and mayhem. Even if it's just to tap a new keg of ale before the start of the business day.

    An illustrative example may prove useful:

    Imagine a pirate ship with a Chaotic Evil crew.

    Pirate A comes into conflict with Pirate B.

    Being Chaotic Evil, Pirate A straight-up murders Pirate B.

    This is a problem for Pirates C through Z. The work necessary to keep the ship running is the same, the only difference is that now the labor pool is smaller. Pirate A has just created more work for everyone on board. Being Chaotic Evil, Pirates C through Z are not okay with that.

    And Pirate Z is the Captain. He didn’t give Pirate A permission to kill anyone. So, now Pirate A has a problem.

    The Pirate Ship is a society of Chaotic Evil humanoids and lethal use of force is a social norm in this society. But going murderhobo on each other is just not a viable opening strategy for conflict resolution.

    Pirates A through Z are expected to resolve their conflicts in a without things coming to blood on grounds of practicality alone.

    A Standing Sanction Against Killing is appropriate for this Chaotic Evil society. And it doesn’t make them any less Chaotic Evil.
    Last edited by ShaneMRoth; 2015-07-01 at 02:29 AM.
    Rule Zero is not a House Rule.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    any house rule that literally takes 14 pages in Microsoft word Verdana size 10 single spaced is too much.

    and by too much I mean much too much.

    SO basically this rule is there so your PCs do not go around killing things?



    off topic/ are you a lawyer/ pre-law student? why did you feel the need to come to such a specific and legalese 'house rule'


    anyways, when the DM hands me a dozen pages on one house rule, I will just hand it back and say the following 'Yeah, if I have to read all of that just to understand 1 'simple' rule you made, I am just going to go back home and probably play some Impossible Creatures ( look it up, its the greatest RTF of all time-that never got a big hubbado about it for some odd reason) and eat some honey buns"

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post

    SO basically this rule is there so your PCs do not go around killing things?
    Basically. The single sentence version of the rule is for players like you. The overwhelming majority of players need not read any further.

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post

    off topic/ are you a lawyer/ pre-law student? why did you feel the need to come to such a specific and legalese 'house rule'
    No, I am a reformed RPG rules lawyer.

    The Frampton Comes Alive version is for the Munchkins and the Rules Lawyers benefit alone. It is a codified response to countless actions observed by countless players in countless campaigns.

    The word count on this rule alone has stopped most Rule Lawyers and Munchkins in their tracks at my table. And those who are not dissuaded by the word count are dissuaded by the text.

    Meanwhile, the other players (players like you) are actually... you know... playing the game rather than watching the DM and a Rules Lawyer play some Live Action Role Playing game version of C-SPAN.

    This rule, in one form or another, has been in effect at my game table since 2003. I have never had difficulty getting players to return to the game table. I've never had to enforce any clauses of this rule.

    The dry-as-a-popcorn-fart style of this rule is designed for clarity in favor of readability. It doesn't flow. It's not fun to read. It's not supposed to be.

    EDIT: My printout is 19 pages, in 12 point Trebuchet.
    Last edited by ShaneMRoth; 2015-06-30 at 08:03 PM.
    Rule Zero is not a House Rule.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Doesn't the mayhem rule imply that player characters will be held responsible for any property damage or harm caused by bystanders, up to and including damage caused by rampaging monsters that were specifically trying to destroy the city (instead of being attracted to it by the players)? If so, this means that if the player characters actually protect the city, they receive less experience points than if they wait for it to be razed to the ground, and then kill the monster. This doesn't seem appropriate.

    Also, it's bad that the rules strictly forbid characters from playing assassins. I mean, why is there a special clause that says player characters never receive experience points from assassination? And why would assassins need to be freelance contractors anyway? I mean, if the assassin is government-sanctioned for example, by RAW he would receive no experience points from following orders, since he isn't fulfilling contracts with a third party. Assassins should even have the right to work for themselves if they have some good reason to do so (such as an aristocrat, specialized in assassination, who kills his rivals himself instead of enrolling someone else for the job).
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    You could have probably expressed this much more concisely as:

    "Experience for this campaign will be awarded on a per-objective basis, not on a per-kill basis. The specific amount depends on whether and how well you complete the quests and jobs you undertake. Unless killing a specific person was the objective of the quest you're on, you get no more experience for having killed them than you would have gotten for sneaking past or talking to them instead. In fact, in civilized areas, you may receive lessened or even no experience due to your methods leading to trouble with the law. In general, the way to get the most experience is to complete your objectives as swiftly, professionally and mayhem-free as possible."

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by Network View Post
    Doesn't the mayhem rule imply that player characters will be held responsible for any property damage or harm caused by bystanders, up to and including damage caused by rampaging monsters that were specifically trying to destroy the city (instead of being attracted to it by the players)? If so, this means that if the player characters actually protect the city, they receive less experience points than if they wait for it to be razed to the ground, and then kill the monster. This doesn't seem appropriate.
    Excellent point.

    In my campaign, players haven't played out such an encounter.

    The characters get XP for protecting the society from an Existential Threat, not for the use of lethal force itself. If the players let the city be razed to the ground, they get no XP at all.

    The best strategy for maximizing XP for the players is to get the Existential Threat away from the society and then kill it. Failing that, destroying the Threat as quickly as possible is the best bet.

    EDIT: I have modified the Mayhem clauses to clarify that PCs only risk XP penalties as a result of damage they cause directly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Network View Post
    Also, it's bad that the rules strictly forbid characters from playing assassins. I mean, why is there a special clause that says player characters never receive experience points from assassination? ...
    The assassin clause may need a rewrite for clarity.

    Assassination is killing on behalf of a third party.

    Assassins are supposed to routinely get XP awards when they agree to carrying out an assassination on someone else's behalf. But they are not entitled to XP awards for killing outside of the context of a contract.

    Also, assassination infers precision.

    An assassin who kills a target by killing off that target and everyone else in a 20 foot radius is not an assassin, he is a terrorist.

    A government sanctioned assassin (James Bond) is fulfilling a contract with a third party. The Crown is that third party. Daniel Craig's Bond is an illustrative example. He caused considerable collateral damage...particularly in Casino Royale, and M (Dame Judi Dench) read him the Riot Act every time he did it. Even in his role as an assassin, James Bond is expected to prevent mayhem, not cause it.

    EDIT: I have modified the Assassin Clauses for sake of clarity.
    Last edited by ShaneMRoth; 2015-07-01 at 02:58 AM.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Meh. Reward things that aren't combat more heavily and players will adjust accordingly.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    The main issue I see is that D&D doesn't really have developed systems for dealing with non-combat activities.

    Murdering things is the main focus of D&D. Just looking at the classes makes that abundantly clear. The skills are okay in this respect, and magic is obviously (and probably unintentionally) really good at it.

    I mostly wonder what people who don't have skills outside of murdering things (fighters and such) are going to to do under this rule. Non-Lethal force comes with penalties and downsides; their only abilities revolve mostly around lethal force.

    I mean, I completely understand wanting to stop players from just burning down the town for giggles and exp, but I can't help but wonder if this method might have unintended consequences. I typically just award slightly more experience/rewards whenever players find a clever, non-combat way of solving an issue.

    For the most part, they're usually happy to go along with that. It's the reason that my main group now has a juvenile brass dragon as a mascot. They convinced him to come along with them ages ago, instead of fighting him. Hilariously, they've yet to ask him to assist them in combat at all- they prefer to use him to harass shopkeepers with his endless babbling nonsense.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneMRoth View Post
    Excellent point.

    In my campaign, players haven't played out such an encounter.

    The characters get XP for protecting the society from an Existential Threat, not for the use of lethal force itself. If the players let the city be razed to the ground, they get no XP at all.

    The best strategy for maximizing XP for the players is to get the Existential Threat away from the society and then kill it. Failing that, destroying the Threat as quickly as possible is the best bet.

    EDIT: I have modified the Mayhem clauses to clarify that PCs only risk XP penalties as a result of damage they cause directly.



    The assassin clause may need a rewrite for clarity.

    Assassination is killing on behalf of a third party.

    Assassins are supposed to routinely get XP awards when they agree to carrying out an assassination on someone else's behalf. But they are not entitled to XP awards for killing outside of the context of a contract.

    Also, assassination infers precision.

    An assassin who kills a target by killing off that target and everyone else in a 20 foot radius is not an assassin, he is a terrorist.

    A government sanctioned assassin (James Bond) is fulfilling a contract with a third party. The Crown is that third party. Daniel Craig's Bond is an illustrative example. He caused considerable collateral damage...particularly in Casino Royale, and M (Dame Judi Dench) read him the Riot Act every time he did it. Even in his role as an assassin, James Bond is expected to prevent mayhem, not cause it.

    EDIT: I have modified the Assassin Clauses for sake of clarity.
    I read the clauses again and I like them now. Good job!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zale View Post
    I mostly wonder what people who don't have skills outside of murdering things (fighters and such) are going to to do under this rule. Non-Lethal force comes with penalties and downsides; their only abilities revolve mostly around lethal force.
    Not if the player characters are using one of the many ways to deal nonlethal damage without penalty, such as using a nonlethal or merciful weapon, being a monk, or taking the feat from the Book of Exalted Deeds that removes the -4 penalty.

    Non-violent encounter resolution could also encourage players to take the Vow of Nonviolence and Vow of Peace feats from the same book, which would be frowned upon by the game master in a game where violence really is (intended to be) the answer.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    You could have probably expressed this much more concisely as:

    "Experience for this campaign will be awarded on a per-objective basis, not on a per-kill basis. The specific amount depends on whether and how well you complete the quests and jobs you undertake. Unless killing a specific person was the objective of the quest you're on, you get no more experience for having killed them than you would have gotten for sneaking past or talking to them instead. In fact, in civilized areas, you may receive lessened or even no experience due to your methods leading to trouble with the law. In general, the way to get the most experience is to complete your objectives as swiftly, professionally and mayhem-free as possible."
    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Meh. Reward things that aren't combat more heavily and players will adjust accordingly.

    Debby
    Both of these posts are spiritual siblings of the mission statements from which this house rule was born.

    If it were just a matter of establishing an expectation, then this house rule would be as brief and elegant at these quoted statements.

    But if you are going to withhold XP, and you don't want your players to freeze up, you may need to go into some detail about exactly how XP will be withheld.

    The notion that your players will just trust that you are going to give them a "reasonable" XP award is cold comfort if they don't know as precisely as possible, in advance, how their strategies will affect their XP awards. Telling the players after the fact is not likely to strike any given group of players as fair or reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    ...
    In civilized areas, you may receive lessened or even no experience due to your methods leading to trouble with the law. In general, the way to get the most experience is to complete your objectives as swiftly, professionally and mayhem-free as possible.
    ...
    My house rule explicitly, and mechanically, describes "civilized areas".

    In specific, this house rule defines what consists of mayhem and precisely which methods are likely to reduce XP awards, and the precise degree to which those awards will be reduced.

    I go into painstaking detail, bordering on pornographic detail. Other DMs might be able to rely on less detail. But if I am going to get my players on the same sheet of music as me, I need to use my words. And I need to use those words before anyone rolls for initiative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zale View Post
    The main issue I see is that D&D doesn't really have developed systems for dealing with non-combat activities.

    Murdering things is the main focus of D&D. Just looking at the classes makes that abundantly clear. The skills are okay in this respect, and magic is obviously (and probably unintentionally) really good at it.

    I mostly wonder what people who don't have skills outside of murdering things (fighters and such) are going to to do under this rule. Non-Lethal force comes with penalties and downsides; their only abilities revolve mostly around lethal force.
    This is precisely the thing that this house rule endeavors to address.

    For the wizards and sorcerers, they will need to rely on less lethal spells. Loading up on Fireballs and Lightning Bolts is not a good idea for an adventure in an Urban Setting.

    For the martial types (fighters and whatnot) there are some non-lethal weapons, like the Sap and the Whip.

    But never forget the Unarmed Strike.

    Even if the character is a Monk, or uses Feats to render Unarmed Strike to be lethal, it is always an option to use the unarmed strike in a non-lethal manner.

    Players who are used to killing foes are often surprised at how satisfying a simple John Wayne-style brawl can prove to be.

    Furthermore the -4 penalty for using lethal weapons in a non-lethal manner doesn't seem like a game breaker to me. It's not optimal, but it is playable.




    The 3.x system is the first edition of D&D where XP awards were unambiguously detached from wealth accumulation and killing. Even so, for over 20 years, every living creature in D&D was a Pinata that gave out XP and treasure when a player character hit it hard enough. Old habits like these linger.

    Imagine if you lived in a world in which you became more powerful and gained superpowers every time you killed someone and took his money.

    Would you murder and rob more people than you do now?

    Would you murder and rob fewer people than you do now?

    Or would you murder and rob the same number of people as you do now?

    And before you jump on your high horse, bear in mind that all of the murderers and robbers are becoming more powerful and gaining superpowers even as you are reading this. If you murder and rob no one, then the bad guys will win. It's almost your affirmative obligation to murder and rob your way to more power like some sort of murderhobo arms race. If you don't murderhobo the people in this village, then some villain will come along and murderhobo them, and then use that power to do even worse things.

    That is not as much of an exaggeration as it should be.

    XP awards are a powerful incentive for players.

    Murderhoboes aren't born. They're made.
    Rule Zero is not a House Rule.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    You could have probably expressed this much more concisely as:

    "Experience for this campaign will be awarded on a per-objective basis, not on a per-kill basis. The specific amount depends on whether and how well you complete the quests and jobs you undertake. Unless killing a specific person was the objective of the quest you're on, you get no more experience for having killed them than you would have gotten for sneaking past or talking to them instead. In fact, in civilized areas, you may receive lessened or even no experience due to your methods leading to trouble with the law. In general, the way to get the most experience is to complete your objectives as swiftly, professionally and mayhem-free as possible."
    I was pretty sure that in the later editions of D&D (like 3.5), the DM sections specify that XP is only really supposed to be doled out for completing objectives. Sort of like, if you decide to spend your time just challenging random bar toughs to brawls when there's actual questing to be done, you don't get XP for it. At least, that was my impression. I'm away from book, so maybe I'm just making this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zale View Post
    The main issue I see is that D&D doesn't really have developed systems for dealing with non-combat activities.

    Murdering things is the main focus of D&D. Just looking at the classes makes that abundantly clear. The skills are okay in this respect, and magic is obviously (and probably unintentionally) really good at it.
    I agree with this sentiment, but I think there's a completely understandable misconception that fighting things necessarily means killing said things. I tend to see it as more of "defeating guy > murdering guy", because if you don't murder the guy, you still get XP for beating them, and there's even chances you get to fight them again and get more XP. It's an investment in future returns if you don't kill people.

    At least, this logic works for fighting villains with class levels and such, but for random murderhoboing, it's more trying on the GM to de-incentivize that sort of behavior once it has taken hold. For example, even if I don't get XP for killing the shopkeeper and stealing their wares, it still beats the heck out of haggling with the guy when I've got jack all in "Appraise" (or whatever they're calling it now) and I'm a lean-mean combat machine! Generally, there's this understanding that in a game, you're characters are supposed to be the good guys, and good guys don't do that kind of thing, but obviously that only goes so far. On the other hand, a document longer than a novella explaining what is and is not acceptable behavior for PCs is, methinks, too far. Isn't there a simpler method?

    But if you are going to withhold XP, and you don't want your players to freeze up, you may need to go into some detail about exactly how XP will be withheld.

    The notion that your players will just trust that you are going to give them a "reasonable" XP award is cold comfort if they don't know as precisely as possible, in advance, how their strategies will affect their XP awards. Telling the players after the fact is not likely to strike any given group of players as fair or reasonable.
    Players who don't know how to deal when they don't know precisely how much XP they will get for certain actions... This is a strange problem to have to deal with. In most game's I've played in, they generally reach a point (usually between level 8 and 12) where the DM says, "Yeah, that was a cool, really tough fight. Everyone levels up!" because numbers are boring but leveling up is awesome! It seems like a player is kind of confusing the means for the ends if they become more concerned with the XP than what the XP is supposed to represent. XP is, like, just an arbitrary unit of measurement expressing your character's growth after new experiences and overcoming new challenges, duuude. Maybe things used to be different, when XP and treasure were the same thing, but that didn't make a whole lot of sense then, and it still doesn't make a whole lot of sense now. Why cling to the past?

    If my players were so anal they couldn't wrap their head around that, I don't know what I'd do as a DM. I think I'd just give up. "You are beyond help! I banish you to the realm of CRPGs! There you shall find what you seek! A rigid system of rules from which there can be no improvisation and character advancement is clear and obvious. Begone!"

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    I'm going to side with Shane on this one since I am the sort of player who appreciates when the DM makes the effort to get everybody on the same page before the game begins. Is 19 pages excessive? It might be if as a hypothetical player at Shane's table i was expected to memorize the whole thing, but thankfully the very first part of the document is a clear summary, "don't act like a muderhobo, there is nothing to be gained from it."

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Why is being intimidating considered coercive, while a spell that changes the way you perceive someone to that of a close friend [Charm X], not considered coercive? Is the use of mind-altering drugs [For and IRL example] considered better to you than yelling at someone?



    Size wise I think it's ok, but I read fast. Additionally, even for those where it's too large, I still think it's fine since it boils down to 'Don't attack things randomly in civilization. You can take 3 seconds of looking around to identify somewhere as civilization.'

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by 5ColouredWalker View Post
    Why is being intimidating considered coercive, while a spell that changes the way you perceive someone to that of a close friend [Charm X], not considered coercive? Is the use of mind-altering drugs [For and IRL example] considered better to you than yelling at someone?
    These are excellent questions.

    I was taking the germ of an idea "don't give out XP for murder hobo behavior" and fleshing it out.

    It was mechanically simple to draw a line between between lethal and non-lethal conflict resolution.

    The difference between violent versus non-violent conflict resolution proved more mechanically tricky.

    The dictionary definition of Intimidate describes it as the use of coercion.

    I chose that as the mechanical line to determine where use of force began.

    So I drew a distinction between coercive conflict resolution (use of force) and non-coercive conflict resolution (using persuasion instead of force)

    I read the difference between a Compulsion enchantment and a Charm enchantment.

    A Charm enchantment doesn't compromise the target's free will. It merely causes them to view the caster with a Friendly attitude. You can't really get someone to do something they wouldn't otherwise do with a Charm spell. You can get them to do what they would otherwise chose to do for a Friend.

    A Compulsion enchantment is mechanically capable of getting a person to do something that they would never chose to do of their own free will for anyone, including a Friend.

    I made a judgment that a Compulsion enchantment is coercive in nature, and therefore mentally "violent", and I drew the line there in terms of game mechanics. I judged Charms to be persuasive in nature. Powerfully persuasive, but they fall short of coercion.

    The issue of considering Charm person as analogous to drugging someone is something I didn't consider until you brought it up.

    The DM who wishes to use this House Rule is free to modify these specifics as she sees fit. It's structured as a framework to allow that level of customization.
    Rule Zero is not a House Rule.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    With dnd RAW diplomacy rules bards could become diplomacy hobo and gain as much XP as murder hobo did before the change and gain definitive allies too while acting in a wrong way(just systematically saying I make him my friend instead of thinking is exactly the same problem as a murder hobo).
    Last edited by noob; 2015-07-29 at 10:44 AM.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    I absolutely love this! Wish I had found it 20 years ago. Bravo sir. Bravo.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    I won't complain about its excessive size and how it reads like a legal document, as you likely intended it that way, and I do read quickly.

    However: Completely suspending XP if any murderous or forceful actions are taken? I'll admit, negotiations and speeches can be more interesting than "Considering our stats and abilities, teammates B and C will between 4 and 7 enemy mobs per turn. Meanwhile, I will engage the Evil King while teammates D and E assist by flanking. Judging purely from stats, this battle will take exactly four turns of fighting before we win. Let's do this!". But to penalize players so harshly for doing what comes natural?

    I'd understand giving players less exp if they boringly greatsworded their way through every possible situation, no thought required. But the world of DND is a VASTLY different place to the modern-day world, and this site does not have a font size large enough to emphasize that incredibly important fact! A simple spell will point out which people in a crowd are evil and which are good. Power and powerful items are gained whenever you accomplish something or kill a foe. The economy isn't just based on killing, THE WORLD ITSELF is based on killing! At any moment, a Neutral Evil Necromancer may show up at your peaceful little tree-hugging cattle-farming murderhobo-hating hamlet/suetopia to kill everyone and raise them as zombies to assist in the fighting of a dragon, or another evil adventuring party, or even the conquest of a town! Becoming powerful in an unstable world of murder and death is a PREREQUISITE to exist happily without fear of being murdered, not a mere side-goal, and one particular thing should be made clear right now: Laws are not created by god. Laws are created by man, to keep man in check. In the world of DnD, with tons of real gods with their own values and beliefs, sure, some towns may say that in worship of god X, they outlaw killing. But when a band of axe-crazy necromancers, rogues, Hellfire Warlocks and Bladesingers with cursed weapons show up to crush a town, how quickly do you think a fearful commoner who KNOWS with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that he's not even a footnote on the grand pecking order of the world will abandon all morality and laws, at least temporarily, so the adventuring band of heroes can happily and epically slay the evil monsters without having to worry about the dumb townsfolk imprisoning them because the DM seems to believe he's playing a game that isn't Dungeons and Dragons. Because personally, if I was a badass sorceror running with a band of fighters, rogues, and the one obligatory half-dragon Star Elf or whatever with three goals in mind: Slay evil monsters, amass gold and power, and have a good time, I doubt I'd bother saving Moral Absolutismia, the most morally-superior holier-than-thou town in the realm. Especially if it had a history of not properly rewarding the badass heroes that helped it or saved it. Double especially if it had town guards with player classes willing to actually imprison heroes that "bwoke da waaaw" and can't save anyone from a jail cell, even people in other towns more deserving of being saved. I and my fellow Good-aligned non-murderhobo buddies would let the occasionally-all-powerful town guard do their thing while we went to a more likeable location.

    Listen, I'll understand if Moral Absolutismia is filled with holier-than-thou jerks that don't give a flying feather about the fact that the heroes just saved their lives. I'll understand if they're willing to whine about how a cabbage stall or whatever got trashed in the battle in which one of them could have been killed instead. And I'll understand if they're the type to sue a real hero in a court of law, rather than throw a parade in his or hee honour. That's okay. That's a character trait. An incredibly annoying character trait that will make the players hate Moral Absolutismia with a passion. And maybe they'll take it so far that they're willing to give a smaller fraction of a reward to the heroes, even though the heroes took this job expecting to be rewarded and lying to them is either a chaotic action or evil action, depending on who you ask, and an unquestionably stupid action no matter who you ask. Sure, that's okay, that's an incredibly, exceedingly annoying character trait. Maybe a Diplomacy or Intimidate check will bring back the 'Morality' within the Absolutismian and make him or her pay the heroes their proper full price, with any attempt by the seemingly 1 WIS 1 INT questgiver to call the guards and punish the heroes for breaking the rules resulting in players carving a path of blood out of that town so they can plan a proper sacking of that "Evil, lying, corrupt hellhole whose hollow claims at being Lawful Good insult truly Good and Lawful beings everywhere!". Heck, that'd make for a very fun RP. Crappy towns can make things interesting, especially if there's a chance to call them out on their crappy behaviour. Even moreso if the DM will be willing to admit the town isn't the utopia he thinks it is, improvise, put in the dystopianism that happens when absolutism is taken to a rational extreme, and make sacking that town a tough and challenging but ultimately rewarding, and more importantly, fun experience.

    But do you know what doesn't make things interesting? A stuck-up player-hating holier-than-thou GM. EXP rewards can and should be given regardless of how a player does things, but with bigger rewards being given for fun or clever or interesting methods of doing things. THAT is what discourages murderhobo-ism and ensures an enjoyable environment, not an absolute law of "You won't get any precious experience points if you don't grow out of your silly little ingrained behaviours and force your characters to be nonlethal, regardless of how they play and are designed, and if you don't play the way I want you to play. I don't CARE if it's not optimal, it's only a frakking blarging -4 penalty, and I don't CARE if more importantly, it isn't fun! This is MY GAME, I AM THE GM, I DO NOT LIKE MURDERHOBOS, AND YOU WILL RESPECT THE AUTHORITY I WISH I HAD IN REAL LIFE! ...Sorry, Freudian Slip right there. Where were we? ...Wait, what do you MEAN you're leaving to go and find a DM that wants to play a game and have a good time, not get on his high horse and raise rude hand gestures high at murderhobos? This isn't how things are supposed to go! I'll whine on my blog about you! Wait, where are the rest of you going? ...oh god, please don't go. I don't want to be alone again.".

    For maximum impact, please read the above in the voice of the Narrator from The Stanley Parable. Except here, the player playing Stanley gets up and leaves in search of the exciting and fun high-fantasy game that DnD should be.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by MatrixStone93 View Post
    <Excessively butthurt rant>
    Maybe you should chill out. This rule may be an overly-verbose, anal-retentive, legalistic way to say "This campaign operates on the principle that conflicts should be resolved non-violently if at all possible, unless circumstances clearly dictate otherwise. You will be held accountable for your actions within society, please act accordingly". However, there is no indication that Shane is in any way the nasty, totalitarian child you portray him as.

    His rule notes rather pointedly that the onus is on the GM to give fair and thorough warning to his players about the implementation of this rule (before the campaign, and during it, on an encounter-by-encounter, and a settlement-by-settlement basis). We can logically presume that this imaginary GM will thus speak with what we can assume are his friends, and that he will (like any person who retains enough friends to engage in social hobbies like D&D) take any concerns they have to heart, and all parties concerned will have reached consensus before such rules are implemented. Like, you know, reasonable human beings. Shane goes even further, and notes that this rule is not meant for all campaigns or groups. He also notes that even within the context of this rule, no GM is obligated to follow the details it presents blindly, and as always, should use his best judgment and adjust it accordingly, both as a general rule, and for specific campaigns, settlements, encounters, etc.

    Your presentation of Moral Absolutismia is ludicrous and farcical. This rule aims to intrinsically alter D&D's baseline assumption that "THE WORLD ITSELF is based on killing!" Thus, arguments that assume that [Murder+Robbery=Power] is the default within the framework of this rule are fallacious, and therefore irrelevant. Furthermore, there is no town of Moral Absolutismia surrounded by a sea of towns that do reward murderhobos. Again, this rule is about changing the fundamental expectations about the setting of a campaign. Furthermore, even were this rule only implemented for one town, it has no bearing on the rewards given to a group by the beneficiaries of their actions. It solely bears upon the experience point rewards they receive. And finally, just because players understand the typical truism that [Conflict-->XP-->Power] does not mean that it is understood to be so within the setting. It is an abstraction, created to facilitate the PLAYER'S growth, not as an in-universe explanation for how power is actually achieved.

    There is absolutely no evidence of any kind to back up your libelous claims of Shane's "stuck-up player-hating holier-than-thou" attitude. In fact, the only person who comes across that way in this thread is you. For all your preaching about how you imagine Shane to hate on playstyles other than the one elaborated upon here, you are in fact the person condemning a playstyle you do not appreciate. So stop being rude and attacking someone you (most likely) do not know. Don't be part of the problem.
    Last edited by Qoios; 2015-07-29 at 01:51 PM.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneMRoth View Post
    These are excellent questions.

    I was taking the germ of an idea "don't give out XP for murder hobo behavior" and fleshing it out.

    It was mechanically simple to draw a line between between lethal and non-lethal conflict resolution.

    The difference between violent versus non-violent conflict resolution proved more mechanically tricky.

    The dictionary definition of Intimidate describes it as the use of coercion.

    I chose that as the mechanical line to determine where use of force began.

    So I drew a distinction between coercive conflict resolution (use of force) and non-coercive conflict resolution (using persuasion instead of force)

    I read the difference between a Compulsion enchantment and a Charm enchantment.

    A Charm enchantment doesn't compromise the target's free will. It merely causes them to view the caster with a Friendly attitude. You can't really get someone to do something they wouldn't otherwise do with a Charm spell. You can get them to do what they would otherwise chose to do for a Friend.

    A Compulsion enchantment is mechanically capable of getting a person to do something that they would never chose to do of their own free will for anyone, including a Friend.

    I made a judgment that a Compulsion enchantment is coercive in nature, and therefore mentally "violent", and I drew the line there in terms of game mechanics. I judged Charms to be persuasive in nature. Powerfully persuasive, but they fall short of coercion.

    The issue of considering Charm person as analogous to drugging someone is something I didn't consider until you brought it up.

    The DM who wishes to use this House Rule is free to modify these specifics as she sees fit. It's structured as a framework to allow that level of customization.
    I draw issue with this on multiply levels. First off, it makes Intimidate a second rate interaction skill. Why have Intimidate if you could have Bluff or Diplomacy without taking an XP penalty? This unfairly limits the ability of certain classes in social situations, as for many classes Intimidate is the only interaction skill they have access to (like the Fighter or the Barbarian). Seems strange to further disadvantage these already socially disadvantaged classes.

    Secondly, it disadvantages mages by crippling their arsenal of social options by removing access to those kind of spells.

    I mean, isn't just getting them to be incentivized to not murder people in the streets good enough? Do we need to manipulate their ability to fear and manipulation as well?
    Last edited by BootStrapTommy; 2015-07-29 at 02:07 PM.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    I draw issue with this on multiply levels. First off, it makes Intimidate a second rate interaction skill. Why have Intimidate if you could have Bluff or Diplomacy without taking an XP penalty? This unfairly limits the ability of certain classes in social situations, as for many classes Intimidate is the only interaction skill they have access to (like the Fighter or the Barbarian). Seems strange to further disadvantage these already socially disadvantaged classes.

    Secondly, it disadvantages mages by crippling their arsenal of social options by removing access to those kind of spells.

    I mean, isn't just getting them to be incentivized to not murder people in the streets good enough? Do we need to manipulate their ability to fear and manipulation as well?
    First one is a problem. The second one? Well, mages can always use crippling - spellcasters are the only official T0 classes for a reason, after all.


    I'll be honest, I had no idea the DMG talked about only giving XP for objectives. In my mind, it was a step back from the older versions where the idea was "don't die" and that would often translate to "don't fight unless you know you'll win". That it specifies to give XP specifically for objectives fixes that entirely. Thanks for the insight, and also for the simple best way to stop murder hobos. Good job, ShaneMRoth.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Wizards are not good at intimidating but they are intimidating by their powers everyone know that a wizard can stop time and then create an infinitely massive black home and destroy the universe.
    Also search some spells you will probably grab the fitting spells(Maybe create a portal under your opponent foot sending him in a prison or web him and then start discussing also some sanctified spells might help)
    And also it is allowed to make magic research and also there is a meta-magic called non lethal substitution who does exactly what you need for murder hoboing and gaining PX("they are not dead they just have -215423463458458679 hp and will sadly not have the time to become conscious back before his death by old age").

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by MatrixStone93 View Post
    ...
    Completely suspending XP if any murderous or forceful actions are taken?
    ...
    I'd understand giving players less exp if they boringly greatsworded their way through every possible situation, no thought required. But the world of DND is a VASTLY different place to the modern-day world
    ...
    The economy isn't just based on killing, THE WORLD ITSELF is based on killing!
    ...
    Becoming powerful in an unstable world of murder and death is a PREREQUISITE to exist happily without fear of being murdered, not a mere side-goal, and one particular thing should be made clear right now: Laws are not created by god. Laws are created by man, to keep man in check.
    This is probably not the homebrew mechanic for you.

    I am of the opinion that murder hobos are not born. They're made.

    If a DM decides that every living thing in the campaign is a pinata which, if hit hard enough, will dispense experience points... then there is no incentive for any character to treat the world any other way.

    If I lived in a world where I stood to gain bonefide superpowers and wealth every time I killed someone, it would be a powerful temptation for me to kill every person I could justify getting away with killing. And once I got powerful enough to be beyond the ability of mundane law enforcement to stop me (which wouldn't take very long in a D&D milieu), I wouldn't even need to be discrete about it. In such a world, I could justify some pretty Hannibal Lecter-y behavior on the grounds that I was eating faces for the "greater good".

    That's the environment in which murder hobos are made.

    At my game table, it is my experience that this rule very nearly enforces itself. Your experience might be different.

    I've had players be disappointed by the rule, but I've never had any player become provoked to anger by it. No rage quits. And no exodus of players from my table.

    When the players start resolving combat in the city with non-lethal brawls, they tend to conclude that a knock-out in the city is almost as good as a kill in the dungeon. And in some ways, it's more satisfying.

    It only comes into play when the referee deems it to be appropriate, and then it only impacts an XP penalty. The players are at their full liberty to be as lethal as they chose to be during any encounter. If killing is more important than XP awards, that is. I have yet to find the player with a Daniel Day-Lewis level of dedication to the murder hobo as a "role-playing" device.

    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    I draw issue with this on multiply levels. First off, it makes Intimidate a second rate interaction skill. Why have Intimidate if you could have Bluff or Diplomacy without taking an XP penalty? This unfairly limits the ability of certain classes in social situations, as for many classes Intimidate is the only interaction skill they have access to (like the Fighter or the Barbarian). Seems strange to further disadvantage these already socially disadvantaged classes.

    Secondly, it disadvantages mages by crippling their arsenal of social options by removing access to those kind of spells.

    I mean, isn't just getting them to be incentivized to not murder people in the streets good enough? Do we need to manipulate their ability to fear and manipulation as well?
    Regarding the Intimidate skill. Even under this house rule, that skill remains an under rated and potent skill.

    While Diplomacy might be a more "elegant" solution... getting a creature's attitude from Hostile to Friendly remains a DC: 35 skill check.

    Intimidate is the most mechanically reliable way of interrogating a hostile person (or "perp-sweating", if you watch lots of Law and Order: SVU) and is a better tool for that job than Diplomacy. It's still coercive, so players should be given some incentive to at least consider non-coercive methods before going all Charles Bronson on an NPC.

    If it's a better fit for your campaign to just rescind the section regarding coercive vs non-coercive conflict resolution. And that would probably work fine, too.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    "getting a creature's attitude from Hostile to Friendly remains a DC: 35 skill check."
    You get this really fast with some optimization.
    By level 5 you automatically succeed and maybe you can even do it in a quickened way.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    "getting a creature's attitude from Hostile to Friendly remains a DC: 35 skill check."
    You get this really fast with some optimization.
    By level 5 you automatically succeed and maybe you can even do it in a quickened way.
    This is true, provided that you devote substantial resources towards optimizing diplomacy at the direct expense of other options.

    An entirely legitimate option, regardless.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    In addition you probably can do with a little less optimization an awesome at diplomacy cleric(and so have full casting)
    I rather like rules helping more clerics than wizards.
    Last edited by noob; 2015-07-29 at 05:47 PM.

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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    This houserule makes casters even stronger. A fighter is pretty much only good at killing, so are most other martial classes. Meanwhile a wizard can do things like:
    1) Avoid the potentially lethal encounter
    2) Scry the target, know what they want and use a spell to get said item. The target now really likes the wizard because the wizard cast a few spells and got them an item they wanted.
    3) Buff his own skill checks and diplomacy them into oblivion
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    Quote Originally Posted by MatrixStone93 View Post
    I won't complain about its excessive size and how it reads like a legal document, as you likely intended it that way, and I do read quickly.
    I will, even though I'm a quick reader and agree with the basic premise. The execution is... wanting, and gives a bad impression of all parties involved.

    I'm not saying that I'd run screaming from a table if handed this big pile of legalese, but I would need to be convinced to stay. Even though I've not once engaged in murderhoboism and hand out experience rewards for conversations and mission goals the same as I do for combats, it's... it's not a good sign to see a document that large detailing all the myriad ways murderhobo is disallowed. That says something about the DM, the players, and the campaign, and I'll be honest, Shane: It's not saying anything good. It's saying the DM is an inflexible control freak who runs a boring campaign, obsesses over minutiae, and will not accommodate his players or their interests. It's saying the players are bored and/or stupid enough to drive the DM to the brink of madness by finding ways to entertain themselves or are maladjusted enough that rapine and murder are their interests. The sum total is a major red flag warning to me that this is probably a situation to invoke "No gaming is better than bad gaming" and skedaddle.

    Just something to keep in mind.
    Last edited by Solaris; 2015-07-29 at 09:26 PM.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    In terms of the length of the home-brew... I suppose I could endeavor to make it shorter... or make it "flow" better...

    Bear in mind that this is an example of a home-brew that was written for clarity over readability. It flaunts just about every "rule" about how to write well. And it is about as dry as a popcorn fart.

    That's by design.

    While the house rule is by no means bulletproof, its intent is as clear as crystal.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    A bulletproof houserule already exists though. It's called the gentleman's agreement. When the players and DM agree to do/not do something. So if a DM tells the players that the campaign is not about killing everything, they just don't. And if they do, DM gives full xp, but the players end up in prison because they committed a crime.

    What I'm saying is that if you don't want people to be doing things like killing stuff indiscriminately, just ask them not to. If they don't listen, then
    1) You have bad players who don't want to listen to subscribe to the type of story DM is going for
    2) You can just create in game consequences like prison, super hard friends of killed unfortunates, etc.

    So sure, this kinda solves the problem, but just asking people not to behave like murder hobos is easier. Gentleman's agreement is also clear as crystal especially if something is specifically asked not to be done.
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    Default Re: House Rule: Murderhobo Repellent

    I enjoy the serious tone and format of your house rule, really, and I think you could actually create an article for a blog or something with that. Something like "Violence in the setting; how is that accepted?" or something like that.

    That said as a house rule I think it goes a little bit too far. Not the "let them kill stuff" stuff, mind you; if you are willing to mess with XP since players kill everything because they see a XP tag on everything, stop giving XP. I don't even remember when I started doing that (and I think it was before the Tome of Magic book) and my games just got better.

    Every campaign I come with a leve up scheme appropriate for the campaign. For a urban mistery campaign packed with social interaction and alleys and such I went with a level every two "cases" solved. For a fast paced action packed mercenary campaign I went with a level every 5 game sessions. For my current level 15 5e "old heroes assemble" kind of epic campaign people only gets more epic and level up when they complete a major campaign arc.

    Really, it just makes things easier.
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