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Preface

We are playing Savage Worlds. My character is an ex-military dishonorable discharge that was granted an opportunity to waive the charge by volunteering for a Black Operation service term instead. The Op resulted in genetic engineering resulting in "Spiderman-like" abilities. The Op was later disbanded, and all records of the Op was dissolved, leaving my PC without any records.

I have had a bad memory for using the "non-lethal" option, and I have only been reminded after the fact where my attacks have ended up killing enemies. This has been dealt with in several ways - leading to a trial and parole, which I willingly submitted to, as "consequences of my actions".

In our last game, it was revealed that my PC I had been playing for the past few months (in-game, over a year) was in actually a clone of the original PC, after an odd happenstance where the character was abducted from an NYC hospital and washed up on the shore in Nova Scotia.

So, the group decided to rescue the "Original", and my "Clone" decided to worry about the existential issues of being a clone until after the fact. We were then made aware that the original was actually at risk of death, so time became an essential factor.

Upon arrival, we were met with a horde of mutant spider abominations, indicating that the cloning had lost control, and was creating monsters; not just "clones". We delved a little further and found that the monsters had created nests in the fallen people of the facility, and we found that one of the bodies was still alive, if only barely.

We have 4 PCs, with the following Hindrances (that apply to this situation):

  • Scrapyard Ironman (Heroic)
  • Army Spiderman (Heroic)
  • Robot Samurai (Heroic, Code of Honor)
  • Telepathic/Telekinetic Cop (Heroic, Code of Honor)

The Choice

When we found the survivor, we got into a discussion about what should be done. It led to a 50/50 split to either spend resources to save him or put him out of his misery to preserve the resources in order to preserve our chances at rescuing the Original. The Clone (My PC) and the Robot Samurai were for leaving/killing him - the other two stood for spending the resources for saving him. The group argued back and forth for about 20 mins (IRL), but I was attempting to put across that time was of the essence. Eventually, it got to a point were I openly declared that I was going to shoot the survivor.

This is the first time I have actively chosen to kill anyone. And I stated it was essentially a necessary evil. I did not want to, but it was needed in order to help save the Original.

The Outcome

The DM allowed other players to attempt to intervene by way of opposed agility checks. Scrapyard Ironman and the Cop attempted to intervene, but the Robot Samurai did not. I won, so the event happened unhindered. The Scrapyard Ironman player immediately announced that "as soon as we get out of here, you're out of the (in-game) group".

I attempted to explain, again, time was of the essence, no one knew this person, this place we were in was evil (it had been established) and our goal was to rescue the Original. Instead, they simply continued to point out my character was Heroic (which I admit, is a valid point), that "this is why I asked for a gun" (which I do not normally carry, but had asked for because my character is almost entirely only melee-capable), and that my character was ex-military so I clearly did not understand the "comrades in arms", or "no man left behind", to which the DM reminded everyone that neither they, nor I had the "Code of Honor" Hindrance, and the other two who did, had not responded to the situation.

All the other times I have accidentally killed (i.e. forgotten the non-lethal option) the most I have received from other players is an "oh damn", or had my "Heroic" Hindrance pointed out, and threatened to be taken away (resulting in confiscation of Power Points).

The Problem

I believe that the reaction from the Scrapyard Ironman player seemed a bit extreme. I'm not sure why; if it was personal, or maybe something to do with my playstyle, or maybe if it was simply the lack of control of the situation. I know, in order to address and hopefully deal with the situation, I need to talk to the player, but I'm not sure if I should do it one-on-one, or in the group.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have thought of some potential options to bargain for peace, if necessary - such as removing the Heroic Hindrance, and surrendering the Power Points, since this choice is actively against that Hindrance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Mar 10 '20 at 7:02
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I think there's several issues here to unpack:

Hindrances are not just convenient Bennie generators

While being affected by a Hindrance gives you a Bennie, you should never forget that the logic is not "I play out my Hindrance to get a Bennie", but "I always play out a Hindrance, and when it significantly hinders me, the GM gives me a Bennie to lessen the severity of the setback."

Quoting from the rule book, the definition of Heroic is:

Character always helps those in need

(Emphasis mine) In other words, at this point, you are unfortunately in the wrong in claiming your Hindrance doesn't apply in this case.

You need to have a long, serious talk with your GM about whether they think that Hindrance is reflected in your actions, because if it's not, then it doesn't belong on the character sheet, and you need to either find a better Hindrance to replace it, or loose the corresponding advancements.

Be aware of My Guy Syndrome and Lawful Stupid

While roleplaying is about making decisions as your character would do them, there is a point where that statement turns from a goal into an excuse for jerk behaviour. Doing something disliked by the group and then saying "That's what my guy would do" as defense doesn't make that action any more palatable.

As player, you have authorial control over your character. You have the power to decide whether or not Your Guy would do that, and the other players (as audience to your storytelling about your character) are entitled to have their own opinions about that decision. That includes whether they think that decision affects the fun they are having and whether the group would stay together.

Especially when it comes to what D&D terms Lawful Good characters (and most notably Paladins under oath), who have fixed moral codices and suffer consequences from breaking them, the issue of playing to alignment often results in an unnatural inflexibility of those characters.

This is termed Lawful Stupid, because the character appears to be incapable of reading the room, reasoning their opinion beyond "my oath says" or forming a compromise, to the point where they're basically frustrating the entire rest of the group on everything. As you can imagine, somebody like that is Not Fun to play with. This applies to the "Lawful" Hindrances of Savage Worlds, Code of Honor and Heroic, just as much. Stubborn is a separate Hindrance.

I'm not saying that My Guy Syndrome applies to you. This is not something I can diagnose from across the internet with only one point of view. Neither are you the only one who should be on the lookout for Lawful Stupid, given the prevalence of Heroic and Code of Honor in the group. But I am saying that in any out of character discussion about these actions, "I am playing my character as intended" is not going to win you any points. Neither is "Your character should have agreed because...". All they do is drag the problem from in-character to out-of-character and ruin everyone's mood even further.

When you notice a discussion stalling because of an inflexible moral code, then do the honourable thing, even if it's not quite in character, and offer a compromise. Don't try to fight a line in the sand by drawing another one a meter away.

Don't consider party splits to be the end of the world

While modern roleplaying usually involves getting attached to a character a lot, you should not let your attachment to a character get in the way of the group's enjoyment. This often means just avoiding doing the "My Guy" thing, but sometimes it can involve a character being retired.

Instead of grieving, as the author of that character's story, you should see it as the climax it is, as the moment the character is put in a crucible and makes the hard choice. Their story culminates in that moment, and that you can't play them further in that group doesn't make it any less powerful a moment.

Talk to your GM. Maybe they're okay with running a split group for a while and have ideas how to bring the halves back into contact (or conflict) again in the future. If they're up for it, it could make for an extremely awesome and memorable campaign.

But if not, and the in-character discussion about whether to throw your character out does turn against your character, don't be afraid to put them aside. If nothing else, you seem to be playing with the Supers compendium, so there's going to be a googol of other interesting and awesome characters that you can create to play instead, and now get to play instead of being stuck with a guy who everyone in the group dislikes and only is suffered to tag along because of the social contract.

Talk about it as a group

At this point, I'd say it's better to talk about it as a group, as it's not only an issue between you and them, but very closely involves the other players and characters as well. To unilaterally decide "This character has to leave" is not something a player should be allowed to do without some kind of response from everyone.

(Even from an in-character perspective, unless Scrapyard Ironman is the leader or financier of the group, the decision whether and who gets thrown out is not clear-cut. Maybe the other characters decide to rather stick with your character, or cut ties with both)

Ideally, your GM at that point should try to be the impartial arbiter (since they have no in-character stake in the situation), but you should do your best to see things civilly by yourself as well.

Say how you view the situation (without repeating yourself unduly. From the sound of it, you did try to explain your character's viewpoints already), listen to how the others see it, and then offer solutions. Again, don't draw lines in the sand, but offer compromises (like those pointed out above).

And if you find out that the other people at the table aren't willing to compromise and accept your point of view as valid, then consider it a blessing that you discovered that now instead of later and find yourself a different group.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Did not know that Hindrances worked that way... We used them to determine how many Power Points you were granted at creation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Mar 10 '20 at 8:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ben The point still holds: You can't just take a hindrance at creation to gain the points and then ignore it during play. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 '20 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do agree with that. I openly admit to playing against that trait, which I made clear in the discussion \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Mar 10 '20 at 8:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ben Sometimes a merciful death is the most helpful thing you can do. According to several different ethical systems and various courses of military training. It is completely possible that was the most help the cone could provide to the poor "face hugger" victim. But actions do have consequences and being temporarily kicked from the group could be a great arc - especially if the Original joins the team. The GM may be open to a "secretly evil Original / return of the Clone" story line. \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Mar 10 '20 at 13:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Digression, two paragraphs, about a D&D paladin (IMO) does not help this thorough answer. Everything you explain can be done in a non-D&D context. Up to you if you want to keep or remove that digression. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 '20 at 16:12

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