I am currently DMing a Star Wars D&D campaign.

One character has a backstory that includes 'setting orphans on fire'. Needless to say, he is a murder hobo and a Sith. One of my other characters plays a Jedi. Although he left the Order when he realized almost everyone else was playing Sith, his character is still good. He feels uncomfortable when other players are doing evil things, and doesn't join in. He also doesn't feel comfortable even playing in an evil campaign. This means he doesn't get to play much, just watching other players murder.

How can I make it so that I can meet the needs of my murder hobo who want zero-conquence misbehavior from the game, and the player who wants to do good? They are both roughly my age, so I can't pull a 'Dad move' on the murder hobo.


5 Answers 5


The short answer is: you need to work with your Jedi player and find a way to remove his character from the party, so he can bring in a different character that will be a better fit.

This party is, in-world, unviable

The longer answer is: the problem you're having is that there's no reason for these characters to be traveling together. The characters shouldn't like each other, they shouldn't support each other, they shouldn't cooperate. The Jedi character should have long since left the group to find better allies. Failing to do this is probably bad roleplaying.

You should start by contacting the player in private and suggesting that he switch characters. Then, you work with him to come up with a reason why his character would leave the group. Maybe he's called back to the Order -- he left, but they still want him. Maybe one of his family or friends needs his help, but obviously he doesn't want to involve the Sith in that, so he has to split from the group to help them. Maybe he encounters a side quest where he can do something valuable or good, but it's a one-person mission.

Once his old character is gone, he can bring in a new character, ideally with the same amount of experience so he doesn't feel like he's being punished.

For future campaigns, it's a good idea to tell people up front: "Hey, this is a heroic adventure -- no playing evil characters, that's for some other campaign." Or vice versa, if that's what you're into.

You've written that you think your Jedi player is "morally uncomfortable playing a bad PC". This leaves you with fewer options unfortunately. You could try to get the entire rest of your group to change, but that's probably even harder than getting your Jedi player to change.

I do recommend offering him the option to switch characters, even if you don't think he'll take it. I personally am uncomfortable playing evil characters, but there's been at least one time when I found myself in an evil group and I decided I'd prefer switching to an evil character, rather than badly roleplaying my good character or leaving the game.

If he doesn't take it, one other option you have is to change your campaign style so the group has fewer moral decisions to make. Give them some faceless enemies to fight (clone warriors? alien invaders? droids?) and don't bring them near any friendly NPCs who could be killed or tortured.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree that this is likely the only viable solution. Regarding your last paragraph, this player who has to retire their Jedi from the game full of Siths could re-use the character in this upcoming "heroic adventure" game (should the game happen) if they are attached to the character and feel like they wouldn't want to waste them. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Oct 28, 2019 at 7:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ this seems good. However, the Jedi seems to not just be playing a good PC, but also seems to be morally uncomfortable playing a bad PC. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2019 at 13:42
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like the players have a different understanding of what a fun RP session constitutes. In that case, it might be better to completely switch the campaign style, system or even groups instead of always having one or more people at the table who aren't really into what's happening there. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2019 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EvokerofMulmaster okay, I've updated my answer a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Oct 28, 2019 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with most of this, but I wouldn't contact the player in private. I think a group conversation is likely better. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2019 at 15:56

"Evil" isn't "Stupid"

Did you do a Session 0 this game to establish the players' expectations? I could do an evil campaign, no problem. That said, I know that I wouldn't have much interest in an evil campaign where my actions had no consequences. It's the consequences that sell it.

There's a reason that the most prolific serial killers don't just walk down the street in the middle of the city commercial district in broad daylight randomly stabbing people. Those who do are put down very quickly, and with extreme prejudice. Even Sith aren't immune to a small squad of snipers gunning him down from a mile out. If your Sith are murderhoboing on a technologically advanced world, expect that they will get targeted by specialized assault teams and bounty hunters to take them out within a few days of landing. They should expect their ships to be impounded and repossessed, their bank accounts frozen, and they should be expect to have to work hard to slip off-planet.

If your players become enough of a nuisance, replace those assault teams with an orbital bombardment.

Technology increases the need for subtlety from your players, not the other way around. Nobody is going to take a anti-ship laser to the face, force-sensitive or otherwise.

That said, if the rest of your players are having fun, maybe this game just isn't a good fit for your player?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Though your point about Session 0 is great, i feel like the rest of this answer is off-topic. The question wasn't "What do you think about evil campaigns?", and the question-asker and their party seem to be enjoying the game as is (with the obvious exception of the mentioned player) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2019 at 3:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JamesOtter The problem is that murderhoboism usually isn't interesting for others at the table except the guy indulging his power fantasy. This is one reason that I see "evil" campaigns often fall apart. I wonder if the "good" player was interested in playing something with more substance (certainly, that seems like it would be more fun to DM). So yeah, I attempted to read between the lines on this one, and I might be wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Oct 29, 2019 at 14:39

There is Very Limited Space in the Star Wars Universe for this to be Viable

Contemporary western genre fiction tends towards moral ambiguity, where there are many shades of grey between good and evil. The Star Wars universe (of the movies) is a stark contrast. The heroes are basically always going to be fundamentally good and the villains are always going to be completely evil. It has to do with the influence of cheesy old sci-fi serials, 50s and early 60s television and film, and, to an extent, the influence of Joseph Campbell's (tenuously accurate) theories of how traditional myth functioned. It is a purposefully innocent and naive cosmology.

Lucas doubled down on all this in later years, to the degree of taking the extraordinary and infamous step of not allowing Han to shoot first. This is also (beyond poor writing) part of why Anakin Skywalker had such an abrupt and extreme fall to the dark side, much to the chagrin of those wanting believability and nuance in characterization. Jedi fall even more markedly into the extremes of alignment and can not endure being morally ambiguous for long.

This is all to say that, within the lore and spirit of Star Wars the Sith characters should be evil and the Light Side Jedi should by no accounts be knowingly consorting with them under normal circumstance. Even if your group doesn't care about the narrative spirit of the setting, the Force, a fundamental element to the setting, is not set up to allow for sustained ambiguity. Your PCs should be enemies and the Jedi can not indefinitely stand idly by while he commits acts of extreme evil. He can fail to act a few times out of weakness, physical restraint, etc., but he ultimately must either be a champion of light or fall to the Dark Side.

Scenarios Where it Might Work

There is some limited space for this party set up to work.

Characters generally opposed to each other can form some short term alliance for some specific goal of overriding importance to them. It is still hard to see how the Jedi can let murder-hoboing slide, but there might be some leeway for forgiveness if they are unable to act.

Were the Sith playing less randomly psychotic he could hide his evil ways from the Light Side Jedi until some sort of evil scheme came to fruition. Perhaps even as a murder-hobo he could do the murder-hobory behind the Jedi's back. The Light Side player can know as long as he plays his character as not knowing. It is presumably too late, however, for this to work. But perhaps the Sith can feign wanting to renounce his evil ways and being on a road to redemption. Jedi fall for that sort of stuff.

In terms of tamping down the murder-hobory, you can point out to the Sith that he is Sith, and while Sith may indulge in mindless slaughter in a fit of anger, to punish someone for something, or perhaps overcome by the raw evil of newfound Dark Side power, they generally spend their time scheming, bending people to their will, and seeking more power. Sith are sometimes driven by anger but crave power above all else. It is impatience to get power which is supposed to have lured them towards the easier dark path. Which is all to say that a Sith should not be killing folk for many of the classic murder-hobo reasons like "I want to rob them" (Sith care nothing for wealth) or "it amuses me" (they are a mostly humorless lot, though Palpatine has a certain joie-de-vivre). Anger, retribution, or purpose are the Sith reasons for occasional over-the-top slaughter.

Perhaps they are willing to go on an actual path to redemption. In terms of long term Star Wars character arcs they absolutely should because all Sith are destined to be defeated by good or betrayed by another Sith. They can't have a successful character indefinitely. That's the Star Wars cosmology and narrative tropes like it or lump it.

Alternatively the Light Side Jedi can be tempted by the Dark Side. You should certainly make sure the player is comfortable with this, but this is one of those rare occasions where it is perfectly reasonable for the DM to tell a player how they feel to a limited extent. The pull and temptation of the Dark Side on Jedi is a cosmic thing is Star Wars; it goes beyond flaws in character and psychology, these only determine whether they ultimately succumb. They may need to make wisdom saving throws against the pull or some such. Don't do it if it is outside the player's comfort zone (it's a game, they have to have fun), but it draws upon the basic plot arcs of the Skywalker Saga, and exploring that may have some appeal for them. You can safely assure them that they will prevail against it in the end, because, once again, Star Wars.

In base Star Wars cosmology those destined to be good will ultimately be good and evil will never prevail in the end. Eventually these characters either have to fall or be redeemed such that their alignments match or they have to be enemies, and if they all become dark they will betray and murder each other. These character arcs may fall outside the scope of your campaign, but they are the character arcs that canon Star Wars lore demands. It's all very cheesy, but that's Star Wars. Which is all simply to say that if your players simply want to play characters messing around in the Star Wars setting they can constantly murder hobo or be a Jedi that can never be tempted by the Dark Side, but that's not really Star Wars. Suggest to them that if they want to play proper Star Wars characters in a Star Wars story, there are limits which it is reasonable to ask them to follow which are also limits which may give you a little space to have this party function together in a campaign.


Change the Game

I second most of Dan B's answer, though in less absolute terms. The party is most likely not viable long term. The Jedi will constantly find problems with what the Sith are doing or the Sith will incessantly chafe trying to keep the jedi comfortable. Neither works long term.

Thus, the best answer is likely, as Dan B said, to change the game such that everyone is at least content and the smallest change to arrange that is to replace the jedi.

Provide them an overwhelming reason to work together.

It is a common trope for rivals or even enemies to work together for the short term. It happens all the time in real life and even more dramatically in fiction.

The common key element is for some overwhelming goal, normally the defeat of a significant common enemy, to force them together until the goal is achieved. With some overwhelming common goal in mind, especially one with a tight timeline and high stakes, both sides can moderate as much as necessary to make it work. In this scenario that would mean the Sith toning things down in the Jedi's presence and the Jedi overlooking some things, especially when directly in service to the common goal.

Of course, this is not likely to last overly long in game time. Once the main objective is achieved the alliance is likely to shatter, if the Sith don't commit a betrayal first.

But it does provide a way to bring the current campaign to a climactic crescendo. At which point it will be more graceful to replace the jedi or even change campaigns.


Your basic issue is that you're not at all on the same page

You have one player who wants to make everything about over-the-top baby-eating evil. You have another who isn't comfortable playing in an evil campaign. You haven't said anything about what you personally want, but that's important too.

In order to have a functional campaign, you have to have everyone more or less agree on what rough shape the campaign is going to take. People who cannot agree on this should not be in campaign together. If you want your campaign to be functional, you're going to have to get this sort of agreement to happen.

This is what concepts like the Same Page Tool and Session 0 are for. You should stop, and have that discussion with your players now. Unfortunately, it probably won't go well. Your murderhobo has been happily murderhoboing, and won't want that taken away from him. Your "good" player shouldn't be involved with any campaign that goes to that level. It would be good for him, and he won't enjoy it. Most likely, you're going to have to decide which side you personally come down on for "good" vs "murderhobo" and go with that, quite possibly losing the players who disagree with you. From what you've told us thus far, they really shouldn't both be in the same campaign - yours or anyone else's.


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