It’s almost fitting that this post follows my previous one debating what to do about my players inaction.
So Pretzel just glanced at my screen and burst out laughing. So for those who do not know: murder hobos.
Murder hobos is a slang term for Dungeons and Dragons adventurers. You are a murder hobo because traditionally the players go from town to town killing people. A vagrant that walks into town, kills the local problem, and rides off into the sunset.
My players killed approximately 100,000 people in one stroke. So my players are winning this unspoken competition.
As always: the explanation. My players were sent to a planet owned by another Rogue Trader. A queen from one of the kingdoms had recently been kidnapped and she wished to return to the feudal world kingdom to save her daughter. When she attempted to return to the planet herself her reemergence from a space ship sent the populous into an uproar. So she hires some intrepid explorers to go in and retrieve her daughter.
Stuff happens. They manage to infiltrate the capital city where the castle is located (and presumably the princess) but the problem came when they had to escape. The riotous mob had located them and it was a long, dramatic gunfight through a dense city. Seven explorers doing combat with approximately 50,000 angry civilians. It was a very tense ending to the session.
When my players returned to their ship, they silently agreed to destroy the city entirely. They lowered their 8 kilometer ship into orbit and blasted the city into a black smear ala Rogue One.
I was really enjoying the session! My players, for the first time, we’re working together as a unit. They understood the risks and we’re working to make sure that everyone passed tests as a group. I was very excited.
Then they committed genocide. Now- it makes sense. It was an emotional reaction to what they had just escaped. The session was supposed to end on a juxtaposition of a reunited family against the burning capital city below.
What I found curious, and on some levels worrisome, is that they all just allowed this to happen. There was no deliberation over the event. There wasn’t a discussion about what the super advanced race of people should do. They showed up as angry gods and delivered an apocalypse from the sky.
So an emotional reaction- which is fine. But without anyone asking questions are debating what course of action should be taken, will they understand any repercussions I deliver against them in the next session? I don’t jump in to remind them of things when they do discuss action together because I want them to ask questions. I cannot expect them to know the universe, but on some level their characters do.
Should their be a penalty for them not asking, “What would happen if-?”
Realistically here’s what should happen:
The players failed to scan the system so they did not notice the reclamation satellites in the system, and more importantly the Aquila Magnificus located on the planet.
They knew that the planet was owned by another Rogue Trader. They did not investigate who owned the planet at the time and did not ask what this Rogue Trader might do with a feudal world. Things that some of their characters likely know, but they didn’t think to ask I suppose.
Now in their defense they didn’t know the city would rise against them and chase them through the city. Killing civilians in self defense would not have warranted more than a miffed Rogue Trader. Which I’m sure is what they thought when they vaporized the city. But they also didn’t ask me, “Will they know?”
So given the circumstances.
Do I give them a break as the GM and gloss over this or do I do what should happen.
So killing approximately 100,000 people is obviously a cruel retribution. And there is no way that the crew of their ship will be quiet about this when they return to Port Footfall. So word will get out.
The Aquila Magnificus is a dedicated beacon that summons the Ecclesiarchy. The Ecclesiarchy are the arm of the Imperium that spreads the Imperial Creed. Similar to religious missionaries.. And a mysterious ship came and destroyed a huge part of their flock that was promised them.
So the Ecclesiarchy will be furious, and the Rogue Trader will essentially be out a lot of money. Word gets out on Port Footfall. Rich people grease some palms and the party will be discovered probably within 3 months.
It will likely be a much shorter time before that Rogue Trader knows. Days I’d bet. I know this because of super secret GM stuff, but the players will be finding out in the next session.
I’m not sure yet what I should do. I don’t want to seem “unfair” because essentially to many of my players it will likely feel like I’m abusing my power as the GM to promote my agenda of not killing 100,000 people per session. They didn’t ask me questions so they did not have a clear vision of what would happen.
Will they blame me for not telling them ahead of time? Is it my duty to tell them ahead of time?
But at the same time the universe should feel like it has a real world feel to it with real repercussions for player actions.
What do I do?