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I recently joined a mostly neutral, mid-level campaign. The trouble is that one of the characters decided that his character was going insane, and made himself an insanity die roller (randomly by the way, nothing happened in game to justify this happening). Upon returning to the capital city, he killed two civilians and a few guards after being caught. Between another character's assistance and low rolls, I didn't catch on to what he did to intervene. Those I could live with, some people are just murder-hobos, and that was a very RP heavy session. Then, as we were leaving the city to progress the campaign, he sneaked away from the party, and did some really bad things that I won't go into detail about.

Several other players voiced their complaints. Since he's related to the DM, the DM said he will not do anything about it as long as his rolls are successful (he has the Lucky feat, and gets inspiration for complimenting DM) so they almost always are. I openly told him that if my character ever sees him do anything, EVER, that I'll kill his character.

As it stands, I see myself with several options, none of which are great.

  1. Cast "Ceremony -Atonement" and hope I get lucky with the DC 20 insight check to attempt to fix his alignment, without any proficiency or wisdom bonuses to help.

  2. Kill his character, and potentially endure his and DM's hatred

  3. Ask DM if I can make a new character, but then lose all my gear, money, weapons, ETC.

  4. Leave the game and try to find a new game to join (which I won't be able to, as no one else in my area hosts DnD/pathfinder/TTRPG games)

My question:

Is there anything I can do in this situation to not lose out on this group without alienating both offending player and DM? Would it be better to just give up on the group and hope I find an alternative? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as none of my current options are great...

Background information

  • I just joined this campaign 6 sessions ago
  • I only knew one of the players from before the game, but the others are all friends with each other and have been since high school
  • It was billed as an Adventurers League campaign, but wasn't
  • The GM told me beforehand that the campaign was neutral good but, upon joining, I found out there were 3 evil characters
  • There are 7 players, including myself, of which at least 2 others are tired of his murders and "insanity"
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments aren't really built for extended discussion; this helpful conversation sussing out some of the details has been moved to its own chat room. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 27 '18 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ What level exactly do you mean by "mid-level"? I understand it as broadly from 5 to 11, but this detail might help on answering. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Apr 28 '18 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bp. All it seems to prove is that answers in comments get removed; anyway, thanks for the reply and best wishes. "see" you on SFF next time I drop by, I guess. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 28 '18 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bp The community here prefers answers to be used for answering. All answers in comments will be deleted. Please don’t misuse comments here. See rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6533/… for more. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 28 '18 at 19:49
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You have two solid choices

Choice 1: have a talk with the DM (and likely walk away)

No gaming is better than bad gaming(generally). Red flags are:

  1. He's related to the DM, the DM said he will not do anything about it as long as his rolls are successful
  2. decided that his character was going insane, and made himself an insanity die roller (randomly by the way, nothing happened in game to justify this happening) {and the DM puts up with that}
  3. he has the Lucky feat, and gets inspiration for complimenting DM
  4. You were flat out lied to about the alignment guidance for player characters.

Address the expectations mismatch with the DM

Before you walk, have a talk with the DM in private. I can't stress enough how important it is that you have this conversation in private. You have an expectations mismatch with this DM, and this table, based on the false pretenses offered to you about the kind of game you'd be playing. You need to spell out the four above points as significant fun degraders for your participation in the game. Find out if the DM cares about your concerns.

  1. If the DM doesn't care, and offers you a "take it or leave it" then leave. You and this table aren't a good fit.

  2. If the DM listens and offers to make some changes, then stick around for a few sessions and see what happens.

    Addendum to Choice 1: a discussion in private with the grief player would be in order, to explain to them in private how their play is making the game un-fun. Some people do stuff like that and are not self-aware at all. The are nearly oblivious to what it does to the mood of a table since they are too busy enjoying their brand of fun. The point of emphasis for this conversation is that in TTRPG's, the idea is that we all have fun while playing.

Choice 2: make good on your threat in-character (high risk, high reward)

Play on and when the opportunity to make good on your threat to confront or kill the evil character arises, do it. You have nothing to lose. (You can make the last blow a "knockout" blow). Using the knockout feature allows you to make a point without necessarily killing off the other character.

Knocking a Creature Out (Basic Rules, p. 76)
Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

The worry about alienating people reflects well on you, and there may be more to this social dynamic than you have shared with us, but you are already being put on the defensive.

While I'd usually not advocate a PvP response like this, you have the support of two other players in terms of this isn't going well.

  1. One of the features of TTRPG is that actions have consequences. You have already in-character made the threat.
  2. It does not appear that the DM pulled you aside and advised you not to.
  3. This character and this player get to find out that their character's actions have consequences.

    When the dust settles, you will have a few more answers to the "Choice 1" options by following through on the PvP threat that you made in-character, and seeing how the DM and the other players respond to that.

    Discuss this with the DM ahead of time (in private): since the DM was there when you made the threat, and you don't mention being cautioned about it, put this card on the table. Warn the DM that you will, in-character, follow through on this threat from one character to another. The DM's response to this conversation will inform you as to whether you should go ahead with this, or if you should go back to choice 1 and just walk.

Third Choice

Start your own game, as DM. Invite the others to play. See who shows up.

Out of the Box Choice (which may not fit your play style)

Embrace the evil. Work with the DM to affect an alignment change for your character and go evil. Only you can decide if embracing the dark side is fun for you. Since you note that two other players are tired of this stuff, this is the least likely course of action to resolve your problem.

  • From your comment

    I like the idea of embracing the bad, but I'm playing a paladin, so its hard

    there is an option you can try: discuss with your DM the Oathbreaker paladin(DMG p. 97).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, given the depth of the problem as outlined in the question, I doubt I'd worry about Choice 2 -- I'd go straight to some combination of Choices 1 and 3. Still a very good answer, got my upvote. \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Apr 27 '18 at 12:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ZeissIkon Heh: that's why it was choice 1. :) Also, we only have part of the story ... there may be other friendships/relationships issues that weren't mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 27 '18 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only one of them is a friend of mine, and has been for years (hes the one who asked DM if i could join). But the rest of party are all long time friends with eachother, the reason i was hesitant to fight and attempt to kill troublemaker is that i was afraid that i would alienate other players who play a more passive evil into thinking i would start a crusade against them all. You're absolutely right though, the bad things he does that often ruin the sessions atmosphere are not worth it. I would love to DM, but then i dont get to play alongside my friends, im killing them :P \$\endgroup\$ – user44150 Apr 27 '18 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TmkG How many players total in the party? Please add that info, and a summary of this point in your comment, to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 27 '18 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TmkG The GM's goal isn't to kill the PCs -- it's for everyone to have fun. My experience is you have more fun without killing the PCs. If the game system you're playing is too lethal, you might look for a different game system. \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Apr 27 '18 at 13:35
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I'll start with something obvious that I don't know why nobody stated yet

Dear lord your situation shouldn't exist to begin with.

Seriously, what the heck? There are so many things going wrong there I don't know where to start.

HAVE A SESSION 0.

The reason I'm saying that this scenario shouldn't exist to begin with is that everything here is basically the reason Session 0 exists and everything that Session 0 should solve. You guys clearly didn't have it, but it's never too late! This guide should help.

If your DM or any of the players can't even agree to a Session 0, this has no future imho. If, during your session 0, you notice that there are way too many split paths and too little common ground, sadly, it's usually better to split the table.

Also, it honestly feels like both you and your DM are kinda new to TTRPG, or have only played in extremely casual/friendly groups where everyone went along naturally. Your DM should be reminded what is his role - an impartial referee, so he shouldn't be going along with theheck character's actions. Also, he seems to be using the Dice as an excuse, so, another reminder - the dice don't control the game, he does, and putting everything on dice's back usually reflects a bad DM from my experience. (Note: What I mean by a bad DM is a DM that doesn't understand that the dice, the book and even himself are tools to make everyone have fun, not the absolute controllers of everything that cannot be changed.)

(I forgot not everyone is completely used to what is a Session 0, so I'll now explain how it would help to solve the problem)

Topics that would help to discuss

Murder Hobos - What is your stance on this as a DM? Is it allowed? Is it allowed, but there will be in-game consequences? Maybe your playing an evil campaign, & this is exactly what you want in this campaign. DMs understand that D&D by its nature & history encourages this style of game-play, so be forgiving but mindful.

If you campaign is "Neutral/Good" alignment as the question states, it either should not be allowed or have hard in-game consequences. I don't see how a mid-level character kills guards from a capital city, whatever the setting is, and nothing happens to him. By now, this discussion exists more to clarify what exactly the DM thinks about evil characters, exactly, as that seems unclear.

Player Vs Player - Is tension between characters allowed? What about argument between characters? Is combat between two or more PCs allowed? What happens when character tension finally breaks out into violence between those two characters? Is allowed only if the DM approves? Does the whole table have to approve the PvP? What is your stance on PvP as a DM?

This would directly clarify if you can just kill his character or not. If you agree upon allowing PvP, he can't hate you for that. If you agree upon not having it, you shouldn't be doing it.

Player Expectations, Types, Goals & Diversity

This is one of the main points of the Session 0, and here you can talk about what you want for the campaign, i.e. what is fun for you. Here, the DM should also notice that something that takes away your kind of fun should not be allowed, unless it is exactly the kind of fun other player want. If this happens, it usually is best to split tables, if it seems there is no way to conciliate both.

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I think that this will require a talk with the GM. If he's willing to negotiate with you, you might be able to stay in the game. Otherwise it might be best to try to find another game, even if it means you have to learn a new system.

Unless the GM is willing to stop the play from acting like an idiot I don't see any hope of you enjoying the game.

As GM, I would have had the town guardsmen take the character to prison and execute him. I did this to one character who acted similarly to how your "insane" character acted. The rest of his friends (the party) were watched carefully until after the execution. But I don't allow evil characters in my games. If I'm going to put the work in to create a world and run a game, I want the player characters to be the heroes.

I won't play in a game with evil characters. Or evil players for that matter. :)

If you can't find a decent game with your current system, then find another game and learn that. With a good GM the system is pretty much irrelevant. You can often find games on line. I sometimes run systemless games on line which means less for the players to learn. I'm sure that other people do this also.

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