Why Acolyte is Gone.

Acolyte was my Dungeons and Dragons character for my buddies role-playing campaign.  He was a seven foot tall automaton made of metal.  Metal that resembled ribbons wrapped around the body of some humanoid.  The metal was a deep, copper color.  He had no discernible facial features, but you could still feel his gaze upon you.  His voice was deep and reverberated within his metal frame.

Acolyte had awoken at the base of a very tall cliff.  He was wearing robes that he innately recognized as belonging to a monk monastery.  He wandered for a time, wondering where he was and how he had gotten here.  On the peripheral: he also wondered what he was and what was he for?

He traveled for a handful of days before stumbling upon a caravan of dwarves.  They were gracious enough to escort Acolyte to the nearby town of Antimor, a small village on their trade route.  It was in Antimor that he was wrangled, along with some other adventurers, to go and kill some feral dogs.  After tracking the dogs and purging a small village of goblins, the adventurers returned to town of Antimor to find it empty and filled with dead bodies.  As if the town had been ransacked a century ago, everything was faded and covered in dust.  The bodies had shriveled into skeletons.  It was then that an apparition appeared, sending several adventurers sprawling into unconsciousness, and marking the rest with an omen from the Goddess of Destruction, Yarsk.

Acolyte traveled for a time with the adventurers, but after realizing that he had no place with this party and or even within this civilization- he decided to leave.

The important thing to remember was that Acolyte was approximately 6 weeks old.  He could speak and have cognitive thought, but everything in this world was shiny and new.  More importantly he did not understand how all of these humanoids interact and deal with one another.  He had vague memories of monasteries so the only place that Acolyte really felt comfortable was at a monastery they stumbled upon.

What ultimately led to Acolytes departure was that the players and the GM had a different vision for what my character was supposed to be like.

For those who are DnD savvy, Acolyte had a 9 (-1 MOD) Charisma.  He was brusque and intimidating, and when he did make a charisma roll it never went well.  To me, I interpreted this as, “Acolyte does not understand the world and has a lot to learn.”

I tried to play Acolyte carefully.  I tried to role-play him as a newcomer who observes and attempts to imitate what he sees and experiences.  The bard in our party, Hugh Halfnir, a half human half orc half halfling, thought I was some sort of a game, so he was constantly putting money in me like a Plinko machine.  The barbarian, Mustafa Covfefe, was always trying to intimidate people.

Acolyte saw these interactions consistently and deduced that the language of the land was gold, and failing that, you used your strength to get what you wanted.  And this worked to great effect for other people!  The combined effort of several party members managed to negotiate 30 GP into 100 GP as a reward once.

We made it to the next large city and Acolyte began his own investigation into various things.  For Acolyte though, greasing palms, attempted bribes, and intimidation did nothing but fail outright.

There was a dwarf who recognized this weapon I was carrying.  The weapon was used in an assassination, so Acolyte tried to press him.  The dwarf clearly seemed to recognize the dagger, but he refused gold and told me to leave.  So I made a very good threat: “Tell me what you know, or I will tell everyone that you sold me this weapon [that you fear].”

I didn’t get a dice roll.  I got threatened right back with force and a summoning of the city guard.  Another PC chastised me for my behavior.  That was disheartening.  The other PC’s don’t get chastised for intimidating people (even when it fails).

What the GM did was attempt to hand wave Acolytes misunderstandings by saying, “Over the walk back [another character] tells you everything about when its good or bad to bribe someone or give them gold.”

That was approximately the time I realized that I wouldn’t be playing Acolyte for very long.  The GM had his own formulated idea and perception about my character and was attempting to use his GM powers to affect my behavior.

Acolyte did not consume food, but he did consume purified metals.  I was almost always critically low on food, so eventually I had to find some blacksmiths.  There are two big companies in town.  One of the people I failed to intimidate the session prior was one of said blacksmiths.  The two blacksmiths shops were across the street from one another.  For obvious reasons, I enter the shop of the blacksmith I didn’t upset.

There was a counter with weapon shelves, and the blacksmith proper was behind huge leather curtains.  I asked for ore, got the normal confusion that comes with any purchase, and then the man went to the back out of sight.  So I followed him.  There were men back there and anvils I guess?  I was yelled at to leave immediately.  I reiterated that I was here to purchase iron ore.  They ended up shoving me (pushing me, I was quite heavy) back into the antechamber.  They then demanded that I leave.  Don’t come back.

I went to the dwarf I pissed off.  He recognized me, and actually apologized for being so curt with me before.  I ask for iron ore again.  He said he might have some in the back.  I insisted he get it for me.  Again- he might have some in the back.  The dwarf didn’t head back for it (he was helping someone else) so Acolyte decided he’d go to the back.  But!  He had learned his lesson!

He went around the back of the shop and found a backdoor, and knocked instead.  Two of the PCs assumed I was going to break into the shop, followed me, and began to tell me to stop what I was doing.  The dwarf came to the back door, I requested iron, and then he told me to fuck off for being rude.

Three interactions where I didn’t get to roll a single time to persuade, deceive, or intimidate.

So the GM’s NPC’s are reacting to Acolytes actions with confusion and anger. But as the player- I get it.  I’m doing it on purpose because I want to have the opportunity to learn things from these interactions.  All I encounter is a world telling me to stop.  I have several other characters telling me to stop doing things like that as well.

I don’t blame them for what they have been doing.  They can only play their characters and or run the world.  They all perceive me as something other than what I’m playing.  I think my character was too nuanced.  But not in way that they couldn’t understand, too complex of an idea to successfully come across in a role-playing game.  The other players and the GM don’t see my inner workings or see my notes, so all they get to interact with is what I present them with.  They treated my character like an adult, when really, he is only 6 weeks old.

There was a solid disconnect between Acolyte and everyone else.  So I figured the easiest thing to do was quietly retire the naive Acolyte for someone who was more suited to this party and the world.  I’m not really mad at anyone, just stopped having fun trying to make my character fun.

People immediately shifted to attempting to talk me out of it by saying that they liked Acolyte.  But that’s not the point.  The Acolyte I want to role-play isn’t the Acolyte they want to see.

The GM especially was trying to convince me to role play him differently, citing that my 11 INT and 19 WIS meant that Acolyte wasn’t stupid.  But those numbers on the page don’t mean shit!  Acolyte is 6 weeks old.  Intelligence and Wisdom are just fancy names that encompass a myriad of different mental faculties.  Acolyte was logical and perceptive, but he wasn’t truly intelligent or understanding.  I thought it was a wild party foul for the GM to tell me how to play my characters personality.

But in the face of a world that rejects Acolyte, Acolyte decided it made more sense that he just go attempt to solve the conflict on his own.  He left the party at the tavern they were staying and set off into the night.  It appears though, that he died mere minutes after walking away.

There was a bridge crossing a river near the tavern.  In the morning, the players came outside and noticed a gathering at the bridge.  They found Acolytes arm and some strange stains on the bridge.  He had been killed or captured, within eyesight of the tavern.

So my new character is going to try on purpose to meet the needs of the world and the party.  Its a much simpler character idea so I hope that it comes across well, and that he meshes nicely.  Here’s to hoping I can enjoy the DnD campaign as it progresses.

-DTM

Learning to Do Hard Things

This isn’t one of my posts digging at the bottom of my existentialism, but its definitely a lovely trip to the shoreline of my wandering thoughts.  Let’s have a picnic!

I’m still searching for the thing I want to be doing.  Not sure what I want to do, or what exactly I want it to do for me, but I definitely feel like I’m searching for my next big thing.

So I’m about to GM my 15th session of Rogue Trader.  That is nearly three times as long as my first attempt at GMing.  But I think I’ve found my groove- I’ve know what I want the campaign to be, I’ve learned what systems work best for my players, and I’ve compiled the tools I need to keep the campaign at a nice, semi-immersive level.

I really want to keep doing this.  When I’m in the right rhythm, and my players are nice and interactive, its a lot of fun.

It’s been giving me an outlet I didn’t even know I needed.  I’m a daydreamer.  I listen to music and think about cool moments or short little tidbits.  And I’ve always done this- in fact, if I listen to a lot of music I used to listen to when I was young I remember what I used to daydream about.

So running a Rogue Trader campaign has sort of made me evaluate the idea that maybe I want to be a story teller.  Maybe I should write a book, or pursue GMing professionally, or perhaps try and become a game designer.

It’s also made me wonder whether it would be fun to be an actor/voice actor.  I have a lot of fun play acting the characters.  Practicing their voices, writing their stories, and trying to really refine how they feel.  During Rogue Trader I really want my NPC’s to come across like living, breathing characters.

So writing and acting both sound like a lot of fun.  But now I have to learn to write and act.

And its going to be hard.  It takes years to get truly good at these things and I get discouraged that I’m discovering these things so late in life.  I did my time in college, and now I have to start over.

But I mean- that’s what I wanted to find.  Something that I wanted to do and I’m willing to start on the ground and work my way up.  I’ve been getting books on writing, and listening to podcasts and stuff.  I just have to start actually doing it.

I need more time in the day.  I need to take the time to take the time.  Things are hard, but the hard things are worth doing.

 

Traditions (Are Assumptions)

I am not a fan of many traditions.

Birthdays, holidays, adulting.

They become assumptions of my time and direction.

I stopped celebrating my birthday a while back mostly because I don’t see a reason to anymore.  I mean- I appreciate birthday wishes with a smile but for many, many years people have made a much bigger deal about my birthday than I have.  People talk about how they wanna hang out or drink or go somewhere.  Making plans and trying to make it this big, exciting event.

For most birthdays I don’t want to do any of those things.  Inevitably, someone always says, “But it’s your birthday!”  To me its just another day of the year.  Those things people want to do?  We can do any day!

I feel the same about a lot of holidays.  We have to do stuff because its “Day!”  And “Day” is important and it has to be that specific day.

Last year I was very strapped for cash around Christmas.  So I emailed my family as early as I could saying, “I’m not getting anyone anything for Christmas, so don’t feel obligated to do anything for me.”

Best.  Christmas.  Ever.

None of that shit being stressed and having to find and spend money to get people gifts.  No wracking my brain desperately trying to figure out what to get people.  The christmas season, where everyone gathers because “Day” is taking place, and I can just sit down and relax with my loved ones.  Why don’t we do this every year?

I can buy you gifts whenever I want.  But in December there is a countdown clock and the list of people isn’t very small.

Now this is some pretty low end complaining, but the thing that gets to me is that people sometimes get annoyed when I can’t or don’t want to do it.  Like there is a limited resource on how many times we can do the “thing” on the “day.”

Since when is a specific day that important.  Because we are told in elementary school and by commercials that they are important.  But they aren’t!  Just another day we’ve assigned arbitrary meaning to.  Holidays and events that can’t be replicated on another day or fine reasons to have a big to-do, but not normally!

Like a meteor shower.  Schedule big to-do’s on nights with meteor showers.

Or if you really wanna impress me, schedule a meteor shower on my birthday.

Traditions are like, socially acceptable assumptions people are allowed to make about me, my time, and my resources.  And yes, I am an adult and I do what I want but people assuming things drives me crazy.

And having children.  Fucking aye.  Lots of people have super important opinions about my ideas about reproducing.

I identify with this post a lot.  Like- this post is my spirit animal.

This isn’t a conversation I’ve had with a ton of people, but I can’t think of a single reason to have or want a child.  As far as I can tell, I’m not going to be a dad.  I’ll be a dope uncle, maybe a godfather, but kids gross me out.  They scream, and yell, and complain.

My cat can sneeze a huge booger onto my face and I laugh and think she’s weird and quirky.  When I go to the parents place, I don’t eat food that is put out because there is a toddler who touche his butthole, shoves it up his nose, and then puts it into the bag of chips.  I feel gross sometimes just being there.

But a while back when mom asked me my thoughts on having a baby and I formally told her “I don’t want to have children” she looked like she was on the verge of tears.  I get told all the time from people “you’ll want them when you are older” and “they are so rewarding!”

They certainly never appear that way.  They are a ton of resources.  They essentially end a personal life you can regularly have.  Hell, they can grow up to be someone you don’t like at all!

I guess I hope it was worth it?  Doesn’t seem like it to me!  But that’s just me.

Traditions exist as a means to pass down customs and beliefs to one another, but in this increasingly networked and digital world I feel like tradition isn’t for that anymore.  They give people a reason to do things they don’t normally do, but my personal beliefs is if I want to do something, I don’t need a reason other than I want to!

Its tradition for me to sign the end of my posts “DTM.”  What am I, a hypocrite?

-Fuck That Shit!

I Back-flip Into Holes

I’ve always envied you Emily.  You have maintained a focus on yourself and your goals your entire life.  You’ve been falling down holes for years.  And luckily its usually the same hole!

My hobbies shift with the times.  I get really into various things for like a year or two and then I move to something else.  Well recently I sold off the majority of my Magic cards.  I also traded in a huge portion of my Batman comics because I just couldn’t keep up.  Last year I was in an in between phase when I decided to run a Rogue Trader RPG campaign.

Its probably my only solid hobby right now.  I am reading for entertainment less, I’m not getting through my video game backlog, and I have essentially stopped watching shows.  I fancy myself an ‘immersive GM,’ so I spend my time writing what I hope are interesting settings, quests, and enemies.

I bring all of this up not to brag but to emphasize how much time I spend on this.  I’m always thinking about it, planning for it, and writing down ideas and quest lines.  Most evenings after work I probably sit down and write at least a little bit.  I agonize over it, but I really love it.  It’s fun and satisfying!

But Emily, I back-flip down holes.  I throw myself into whatever my current hobby is hard.

So I decided I’m going to run a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign for my work.  Some of my coworkers will get to be players in their very first campaign.  I’m going to have to write a campaign that’s not only exciting, but introduces these people to the campaign setting.  On top of all of that, the quest line needs to slowly teach them how to play the game.

One campaign was sucking up a huge portion of my time.  Now I’ve agreed to two!  I’m going the distance.

Did I mention I’ve never officially run a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign before?  So I need to learn how to GM it like a boss.

But fuck it, ya know?  I’m enjoying writing.  So much so that I am considering writing an official book.  So to keep my writing muscle flexing and getting swole, you and I are starting a brand new blog in which we will write a story back and forth, 500-ish words at a time!  Starting next Friday?!

BUT FUCK IT, YA KNOW?  I’m going to start my own writing project on my own goddamn blog.  I have been playing with the idea of writing a motherfucking prequel story to the Killian Rage from my goddamn Rogue Trader campaign.  It would be my first semi-serious online novella series.  Just to see how it goes, fuck it.

You may occasionally trip and fall into a hole Emily.  And its refreshing to see someone so dedicated to their self and their hobbies.  But I’ve never been known to trip.  My hobbies go too fast and hard for me to nurture them appropriately over the course of years.  So if I’m going to full enjoy a hobby, the only way I know how is to overload the machine and shove the whole damn thing into a hole.

And then I’m falling; surrounded by the elements of my work.  Running two campaigns, and potentially three blogs at one time?  Sometimes you see the the ground rushing up to meet you and all you can do is point and scream:

“ROLL INITIATIVE!”

Total Party Kill: How Did We Get Here?

This past Saturday I had to kill all of my players.

I was very worried because it was going to suck.  They had gone to a planet the previous session and then they were beset by a colossal creature from the clouds.  The Creature on Rain.

It was a perfect storm of unpreparedness, bad rolls, poor choices, and differing priorities.

As always: from the top.

When I had unleashed my party on the Koronus Expanse several of the players had interest in just sailing out into the infinite void and finding amazing things.  No matter how I explained it they never quite figured out that they can just sail into the void and discover systems.  So instead they took to information gathering: looking for rumors and discoveries that they could go and plunder.

As the GM I pointed out some “well known” planets.  These planets have legends surrounding them.  One was Burnscour, a planet just impossibly chock-full of shit that will kill you.  The expansion known as the Koronus Bestiary talks about vicious xenos creatures you can encounter, and a good chunk come from this single death world.

Another I posited was the planet Rain.  It used to have a settlement on it, but eventually a message was received from the planet.  I abridged the message to: “they are coming.  They are coming from the Rain.”   The planets colonies and population all vanished.  The book itself gives one paragraph as to what happened, enough to get a proper GM going.

I took what I found and created a monster fit to kill everyone who ever came to the planet.

The players weren’t exactly chomping at the bit to go, but they definitely made the comment that they want to eventually.

Back to the players.  Every time they were on Port Footfall, the character Zarko would search for information regarding alien worlds with valuable artifacts.  Befitting of his backstory, I would start to seed in some hooks.

Enter another player, Brute Wang, had helped the player look around for rumors, maps, or coordinates.  Over the course of a couple sessions Brute rolled well enough to forge a map that led to Rain.  Not by name, just by location.  Rain is a pretty infamous and feared location in the Koronus Expanse, and with the help of an NPC Chaotic was easily able to glean the coordinates.

Eventually Chaotic planted this map on a hooker.  The hooker eventually encountered the Rogue Trader in the party and gave him the map, who he then gave the map the Zarko.  They both rolled to see if the map was legit, failed spectacularly, and the map was deemed trustworthy.

They took the map to their Navigator who said he could take them there.  I prompted everyone to roll Common Lore: Koronus Expanse.  The coordinates are fairly well regarded since no one returns.

Not a single players who could have learned that lore by now bothered to take it.  I guess they were all concerned with getting their stats higher.

So they went to Rain.  And the very moment they entered the Warp to travel there I knew I was going to have to kill them.

Kill-Them-All

They arrived at the planet, gave it a cursory scan, and landed near three abandoned research posts.  They had all been torn apart during a previous attack as everyone tried to flee.  The players reactivated three vox communication arrays and the final message was relayed as an S.O.S.

“They are coming.  They are coming from the Rain.”

In between relaying that message and the attack itself I had to prepare for the next session.  A session where they would all die unless they were tremendously lucky.

I wanted it to be drawn out.  I wanted to evoke hopelessness and futility.  I definitely did not want this to be fun.

I can’t say too much about the Creature, but it vastly overwhelmed them.  It had the ability to send out smaller versions of itself.  They manifested as flyers, or the slower husk forms that were humanoid in appearance.  The players promptly made a break for it, but their ship was low enough in orbit to be sensed by the Creature.  Half the party made it back to the ship and blitzed for the command deck.  They all started individually being pulled down and suffocated- with the pilot and the navigator finally succumbing near the deck itself.

The second half of the party made it onto the ship but were overwhelmed by the smaller creatures that spawned.  They all died.  Zarko was the final one to succumb.

I had them all one by one turn their character sheets face down.  I wanted to have a discussion.  A talk about what they are doing and how they ended up here.  The party isn’t working together.  There are no discussions.  Half of my players just sit idly by while the other half makes decisions for them.  Decisions that got them killed.

Granted some of my players aren’t present all the time, but as the GM it did not look to me like this party should even still be together.  I had wrongly guessed that I could unite them with a rescue job when we started, but none of my players seem to have made any effort to really learn or interact with other characters.   Hell, one of the players had forged the damn map.

I’m sure that if I voiced this to the players many would protest, but talking about your characters as players is not the same as characters talking with other characters.  I falsely believed that we could have a party where there was no established leadership, but it was brought up that it was likely needed.  I had thought my players would be willing to speak up, deliberate, plan, and work together.  They don’t do this that often.  I have a couple of serious roleplayers, a couple of wannabe-power gamers, and couple people who are just there to hang out.

They lack self preservation, aren’t taking skills they could be using, and are presently aware that they are just numbers on a page.  I’m not going to sit down and chide them for playing how they want to play but they dove in headfirst into a TPK without research or preparation.

They asked no one on port whether they recognized this map.  They failed their checks yes, but even if I say “the map looks legit” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do more research.  That’s where the “its a game” aspect comes into my players minds.  They don’t need to research.  Its a game so self preservation is worried about when its needed.

I’m debating having a structured conversation about this with them.  I think having all died once will make them take more deliberate steps with things.  We shall see.  Hopefully the TPK is a shake up and gives them a banner to unite under.

I ended up saving them.  One of their NPC’s had unparalleled connection with the Warp and used her own life force to push the Creature’s daemonic consciousness away.  She ended up dying as the cost of bailing them out.

-DTM

The Meaning Behind Bat-cow

I ain’t joking.  Also major spoilers inbound.

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That is a canon event that took place in Batman Incorporated written by Grant Morrison.  It documents the return of Batman after he returned from his temporal journey.

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This happened.

The events of Batman Incorporated follow the Bat family and Bruce Wayne’s announcement that Wayne Enterprises will formally be funding Batman.  This will allow Batman to “franchise” heroes around the globe for a crime fighting initiative.

Read the comic if you want the full story.  What I want to focus on is Damian Wayne and Bat-cow.

Damian Wayne is Bruce Wayne’s son.  His conception depends heavily on what comic you are reading: a non-canon appearance takes place in Batman: Son of the Demon, while Damian’s official unveiling was in the Batman and Son arc.  Bruce did not know about Damian until Damian was approximately 10 years old.  He was raised by the League of Assassins and trained to kill people in the name of justice.

Damian’s biological mother is Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul.  She brings Damian to Bruce for what was the pairs first meeting.  Damian famously quips to Bruce (who is in full Batman getup no less), “I imagined you taller.”

An interesting duality has always existed between Batman and the League of Assassins.  They both want justice in the world.  They identify what is and is not just in similar manners.  The main difference is: Batman believes in the criminal justice system, while the League of Assassins believes in killing criminals.

The events of Batman and Son have Damian dawning a makeshift Robin outfit and fleeing into the city to fight crime.  This was the birth of the 5th canon Robin.  A Robin that kills villains.

Shortly thereafter, Batman dies during the events of Final Crisis when he solo-tanks Darkseid’s Omega Beams and is thrown backwards in time.  Damian Wayne becomes Robin to Dick Graysons Batman during the events of Battle for the Cowl.  

When Bruce Wayne returns we finally see Batman and Robin as father and son.  We also see that grinding of philosophies.  Bruce Wayne not only has to be Batman, but he also has to be a father.  Controlling Damian is difficult because Damian is very skilled at what he does and he is impulsive in the beginning.  He is too arrogant to admit he is wrong about anything, but his eternal struggle will always be to reject what he was trained to do.

During the events of Batman Incorporated, while on the trail of a group called Leviathan they end up having a conflict in a slaughterhouse.  Coincidentally, they save the life of a cow.  They go to leave but Damian declares they will save this cow instead.  They deliver Bat-cow to the Batcave, and to a bemused Alfred.

Many fans that I’ve talked to play Bat-cow off as a joke.  But when you think about it- writing a comic isn’t something you frequently improvise on the fly.  Grant Morrison wrote this beast into the story for a reason, even if it is amusing.

When Damian saved Bat-cow in that slaughterhouse, he didn’t surreptitiously pluck the cow from the jaws of death.  He saw himself in that cow and rejected its life’s purpose as preordained.  Damian wants to believe that he more than how he was raised.

Damian was raised in a laboratory; in a false womb.  He was birthed in a cold, calculated environment.  He was carefully bred from what Talia considered the highest pedigree.  His life’s purpose was selected for him.  Damian was trained to become a bloodthirsty assassin.

Then he met his father.  A paragon of justice the world over.  He loves his father and wants his father to be proud of him.  So how do you reconcile your life up to that point?  How do you just change who you are?  How do you reject what your life’s entire purpose was?

Damian saved Bat-cow because he wanted, no, he needed to believe that things can be different.  This cow was raised on a farm, for a purpose it had no choice in.  Its entire life was preordained from birth and Damian needed to know that these threads could be cut.

The events of Batman Incorporated end in Gotham City.  It is revealed that Damian’s mother was the one behind Leviathan.  Her great warrior Heretic, who had been hounding the heroes throughout the volume, was revealed to be another clone of Damian.  A genetically modified one.

We see it one more time, that duality between the Bat-family and the League of Assassins.  Damian Wayne goes to fight Heretic.  Heretic was another child that was bred to kill in the name of justice, and Damian- who has realized the good there is in believing in justice.  Damian faces the monster he could have become had he not met his father.

At the end we see what Damian believes in, and he dies for it.

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Damian rejected his upbringing.  He rejected his mother.  Talia al Ghul saw him as useless at that moment.  A son that had been raised with a purpose, refusing to become what he was raised to become.

So she had him slaughtered.  Slaughtered like cattle.

Damian Wayne is my favorite Robin, and he is high on the list of my favorite comic book characters.  His arc is a complex and subtle one.  Over the course of the comics we learn so much about who he is and who he wants to be.  Damian talks a big game about being the next Batman, but inside he is a scared child.  Scared of disappointing his father, and scared of failing in his role.

There are a ton of poignant moments in the New 52 run of Batman and Robin.  We see him balancing being a hero, being a son, and being a kid.  He is young.  And for his age he has to deal with some hard shit.  Rejecting who he was before Batman is a continuous thing Damian deals with.  Throughout volumes of comics.  Is he doing the right thing?  Will he ever live up to the Bat-families standards?

Or was he just cattle?

He chose not to be.

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-DTM

Murder Hobos to a New Extent

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.

So Emily.

What do I do?

-Agonizing GM