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I play D&D-5e online on Roll 20 with a friend and some of his friends.

Background

Recently in the campaign, a member of our party (neutral alignment) (ab)used his position of power among nobility to get a racist farmer who lived next to MajorCity arrested, and executed, after the farmer refused to house us in a time of need. A week or two later, the party opened a portal over MajorCity, flooding the place with demons and evil entities and causing a mass evacuation of the city.

I was not very pleased with the actions of the other players, even though they argue that their characters had good reasons for all of the above, including not knowing their actions would open the portal (which is kind of true).

My character at that point died in a particularly difficult encounter shortly afterward and the DM had me roll up a new one so that I could join the party at the next town. Between sessions, I have made a character that is the son of the farmer, who was recently orphaned and is seeking revenge. My idea for this character is for the party to be able to make up for their actions. I have set up several ways that the party can "redeem" themselves and avoid conflict.

Tension/Conflict

I don't want to create a role playing handicap for the party. I have asked some of the members privately and not all of them like my character ideas (particularly one of the members whose actions directly lead to the portal being opened) but others have expressed great excitement about my new character.

I've been trying to talk to my DM about my concerns but haven't managed to get ahold of him yet. So I ask you all:

How can I avoid being a handicap roleplay-wise?

(I'm happy to answer any specific questions you might have about my character, the setting, or the group.)

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closed as primarily opinion-based by mxyzplk Mar 18 at 0:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to get in front of this by reminding people random opinions are not welcome as answers here. Our Good Subjective, Bad Subjective citation expectations expect you to back your answer up with citations from sources or of personal experience handling a similar issue. Answers that just say "you should do X because I think it's a good idea" will be deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 17 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi there Jcraft, Welcome to the side. If you need,feel free to take the Tour. Good call on checking with the GM. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Mar 17 at 15:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ From your question, I take it that the conflict around the portal story was between players and not just characters. How open to the other players seem to be about the redemption arc idea? How open are you personally to them refusing the redemption? \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Mar 17 at 15:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you elaborate on what you mean by handicap? \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Mar 17 at 15:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ The other players opinions are a bit of mixed bag but i'm quite happy to make a different character. \$\endgroup\$ – Jcraft153 Mar 17 at 15:55
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Don't make a character your group doesn't like

Role-playing games, with the exception of solo games, are a group activity. Therefore, the character you're making now is not just for you --- it'll influence the whole group, and you are largely responsible for what influence it'll have. It is good that you realize introducing the character as you have conceived might be an obstacle, and you should take the opposition from your fellow players seriously.

The fact that you say yourself that you have written a list of ways for the party to redeem themselves sounds like a very understandable point for others in your group to dislike; it means you've scripted a course your group should take, when that's a decision the whole group should be making together. You are not at a position to override the narrative the other players and the GM are pursuing --- I recommend deciding that as a group, using a tool like Same Page Tool and frequent around-the-table discussion. In particular, I understand how your fellow player's character's behavior towards the noble can be divisive, but it's a problem that's, by my experience on similar issues, much better solved by discussion than by invoking in-universe means for punishment.

If you make a particular kind of character despite knowing other players dislike the idea for whatever reason, you'll create sour emotions towards the character, yourself and the whole of the game. You risk straining relationships, ruining the game, and coming off as selfish. It's not worth it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't so much written a list of ways they can redeem themselves , I've more written into my characters personality the capacity to accept the parties actions. (If that makes sense) \$\endgroup\$ – Jcraft153 Mar 17 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jcraft153 I think understand what you mean, but the end result is the same --- either the other players change their ways, or your character becomes a problem. That's still a risk, unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Mar 17 at 16:24
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While I believe I understand how you are feeling about losing your character to another player's poor judgment, might I suggest expanding on your character's motives?

I don't mean to sound harsh, but your new character seems to be driven by a short-term goal, which will cause problems for the group in the long run. Though yes, vengeance is a great motivator and has formed great personality quirks, you seem to be dealing with an isolated incident where your character has the ability to resolve his issue quickly or drag it out, proving to be an even bigger jerk than the actions that motivates your character.

Resolving the issue

This option can go in many ways, from your farmboy killing the nobleman and his friends in his sleep, to a more peaceful talk and understanding being made between the party and your character. Either way, this revenge can be resolved in the timespan of a sidequest. If that's the case, then several huge questions come into play like "What motivation your character will have to remain in the group or will he even want to?", "Is your character hoping to dominate the group into becoming the hero, rather than a party member?" Serious questions that should be thought out when giving the motivation of your character in the long run.

Remember that the most driving motivation isn't one that can be faced, but one you're always chasing.

Dragging it out

In this scenario, your character will actively be creating conflict within the party. Though the other player was a jerk, his actions were done once and without realizing the consequences. On the other hand, using this resolve, your character might remain motivated for the whole campaign, but you'd also be repeatedly and with full understanding, committing acts just as bad as what he did, if not worse.

This can cause the players themselves to resent playing with you, as your character's one purpose is to be a bigger jerk and thorn to everyone as the one nobleman was to you. You become the bully.


When all is said and done, though I think you have a novel idea, I think there is a key component to Dungeons and Dragons that outweigh this sort of PC. From PHB p. 7 (under the "Adventures" section of the introduction):

The Dungeons & Dragons game consists of a group of characters embarking on an adventure that the Dungeon Master presents to them. Each character brings particular capabilities to the adventure in the form of ability scores and skills, class features, racial traits, equipment, and magic items. Every character is different, with various strengths and weaknesses, so the best party of adventurers is one in which the characters complement each other and cover the weaknesses of their companions. The adventurers must cooperate to successfully complete the adventure.

Keeping that in mind, I don't believe there is a way to keep your character from being a handicap to the party. As an alternative, might I suggest that this character be an NPC and utilized as a sidequest driven by the Dungeon Master?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Down voting because this is not an experienced based answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 17 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's definitely food for thought. I will take this into consideration. \$\endgroup\$ – Jcraft153 Mar 17 at 17:04
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If your whole party isn't onboard, you may have a hard time.

While this could be a great roleplaying and story opportunity for your party, it could also create a bit of displeasure in the party over the inner conflict they'll have to deal with. Even if your DM is totally onboard with the idea, a player could become frustrated enough with the conflict to enter a state of "not having fun" which no one wants.

Even if you get full party and DM approval, be wary of metagaming

Your party and DM will have to do a bit of work to ensure the party isn't metagaming on the knowledge of who your PC is. Else wise, the party might take deliberate action on the knowledge of your PC's background. "Off to the underworld with your old man, lad" in the evil party case or "Sorry about killing your pops, kid. We'll go rebuild your village for ya."

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to talk with the party before the start of our next session without going to much into background and mechanics. I do want to make sure this character works for all of them. one of them is opposed to this character right now but I think that's more to do with not wanting me to be outright and openly hostile from the moment my character sees his. I can fix that quite easily. \$\endgroup\$ – Jcraft153 Mar 17 at 16:40

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