Evil GM Tactic: Make PCs The Villains

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0951

Imagine you have a party of PCs who insult nice people with their insensitivity, who take actions without care for the consequences and effects it has on others, who murder hobo without remorse.

I know. It’s a stretch. But just try imagining characters who are like that.

Here’s how to turn the tables. And how to possibly get players to care a little bit more about your world and the tears they cause in it.

Take note of reckless party actions.

Then brainstorm consequences to the campaign:

– NPCs who become hostile towards the PCs and won’t help them or who even actively oppose them in the background.

– Factions who withdraw services and use their influence shore up support against the party. This makes getting armour fixed, staying at inns, and buying items near impossible in this place. It means paying triple price, getting shaken down by the guards, and even getting blocked at the entry gate.

– The community burden imposed by lost members and new orphans, property damage, and emboldened petty criminals who see the PCs act with seeming impunity.

As the world grows weary, fearful, and hateful of the PCs begin phase two of your diabolical plan.

Enter….the villain.

….Who saves the day.

The villain offers help. The villain fixes what the characters broke. The villain becomes the hero.

And the community celebrates. The villain is fêted. Bards sing praises. Priests give blessings. Artists compete to depict the villain’s good deeds. The next baby born is named Zorgon.

What could be more blood-boiling for players than seeing their foe not only benefit from character errors, but to have those errors called out in such fashion in-game?

As game master, you remain impartial. Just have the world react to party actions and have the villain fool everyone for awhile.

And then see what your players do about it.