EDIT: Thanks for your very useful answers, everyone!

I was typing the original post in haste, and left out a few vital details:

PvP is okay in our campaign, as long as it is reasonable and in character. Also, the bard character I killed and my character have had very long-running animosity. The player was okay with his character being killed (after the fact. He didn't know it was coming beforehand) and is currently working on a new one (further note: the bard character was also evil [Lawful Evil]).

I play as Neutral Evil Dread Necromancer and, generally, am a bit of a jerk. My character enjoys animating corpses into undead, though doesn't necessarily take huge enjoyment from doing the killing himself.

Anyway, the Bard of our party fell down a huge pit trapped which left him near death. I had an item at the time that allowed me to tunnel through dirt and stone, so I went to see how he was. Finding him nearly dead, I offered to save him if would repay me. He declined, so I killed him and animated him.

As you can imagine, the rest of the party isn't very happy. They're also metagaming (as they couldn't see it happen) A LOT. So, a couple of them are basically out for my blood (unreasonably, considering their characters) and I'm not sure how to survive past the next few sessions. I'm level 8.

Any ideas?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, just knowing that a neutral evil necromancer who went down to "check" on their party member only to have him return with the animated corpse is enough for plenty of reasonable suspicion and antagonism... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JacobProffitt And death... \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe. Depends on the party. If they already don't like you very much, then yeah, that's enough that premature death shouldn't be a huge surprise--you've given them all the justification/excuse they need. After all, if you like playing with dead things so much, they're really helping... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 0:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ So what is the core question you're asking? If PvP is OK, and you killed the guy, fine. Is your problem that people are using metagame information? Is your problem that your group says PvP is OK but now people are taking it badly? Is your problem more of an in character "how do I thwart my foes?" It's not clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 27, 2013 at 2:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ My problem is primarily a meta-gaming one. Other players are not playing their characters, but playing themselves. Only one character in our party should actually have a genuine problem with the fact I killed the bard (which, actually, their characters do not even know). The others, based on both their personalities and alignments, wouldn't be overly fussed (the Bard was also evil). So I need a way to either get around the meta-gaming (tried talking to them about it, but they don't 'get' it), or a way to defend myself in-game. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 2:36

4 Answers 4


Despite your edit, you still have an out-of-character problem more than in-character one

Basically, even if your character’s actions were appropriate and acceptable, and your allies’ actions were appropriate and acceptable, there is still an out-of-character problem because you are still expected to play together as a group.

Be sure everyone is on the same page

But first make sure everyone is on the same page. The bard’s player may be fine, but it is still unclear whether or not the others are. The first step is determining how they feel about things out-of-character. If they feel it was a dick move, then there’s still an out-of-character problem. Personally, I’d argue that it’s not their place to hold the bard player’s grudge if he doesn’t mind the result, but they may be thinking about their own characters – you may have to think about reasons why your character would treat their characters differently from the bard, since they may be off-limits.

Even though you say these things are OK at the table, I think it is a good idea to discuss them explicitly:

  1. Is player-vs-player violence acceptable at this table?

  2. Are players comfortable with you raising their characters after death (regardless of how they got there)?

  3. Do the other players enjoy your character’s antagonism? Does that make the roleplay interesting for them, or is it just annoying?

Be prepared to get answers you don’t want. You seem to have taken some liberties with your character and how he affects the other players, and they do not sound appreciative.

And then figure out how the party stays together

And then you need to discuss how the group is going to stay together. There are basically four options:

  1. The group comes to an agreement about how to make things work.

  2. Your necromancer leaves.

  3. Your necromancer dies.

  4. Your necromancer kills everyone else, too. Depending on the relevant builds and resources, this will range from “difficult” to “impossible.”

Since three out of four of these end in the dissolution of the party, if you intend to continue playing this character, you want to focus on option numero uno: make this work.

A great starting point (and credit to @BESW for reminding me of it) is Rich Burlew’s Making the Tough Decisions, particularly the section starting with Decide to React Differently. Ultimately, all players are responsible for how their characters act. “That isn’t what my character would do” is not a defense of anything; you decide what your character would or wouldn’t do. It’s quite possible for even an Evil Necromancer to begrudgingly respect a comrade enough not to animate his corpse, if only because the comrade wouldn’t have wanted that to be done. Besides, in the case of a bard, it’s not like the zombie’s going to retain his singing voice.

Basically, properly motivated, you can think about how your character would rationalize any given decision. You shouldn’t do it too much – that dilutes the character – but no one behaves 100% consistently all the time. And when the alternative is breaking up the party and ending the game, well, the priorities here should be clear.

This goes for your teammates as well as yourself. Ultimately, they are partied with an Evil Necromancer; loyal sentimentality and respect for the dead are not exactly reasonable expectations here. I suggest everyone read Rich’s advice, and I suggest a discussion of exactly what the table wants.

Finally, after the discussion is over, do not be afraid to ret-con the situation if necessary, or if not, suggest ret-conning the other characters’ responses if they would not have known what happened. Then again, they may be entirely justified in objecting to the animation of a comrade, even one who died “naturally” – after all, you’re eliminating the chances of resurrection.

Mechanical thoughts

Ultimately, if you continue the game as-is, you’re almost certainly dead, or at least out of the game as your necromancer leaves the party since it’s pretty obviously not safe for him. You have to figure out the out-of-character stuff in order to survive. Dread Necromancers have a fair few potent defenses, but ultimately not enough to continue to attempt to cooperate with people looking to kill you.

That said, it may help you come to an out-of-character agreement on how to “spin” the in-character agreement so the party continues if you have some mechanical back-up. Dread Necromancers are heavily focused on Charisma: yours should not be bad by any means. Come up with arguments that your fellow players agree would help their characters accept the situation (or the altered situation, if necessary). Reference your sizeable Charisma as justification that your character could make those arguments.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with some of the first part of your decision. Having an evil (necromancer) character in the party is a warning that exactly this sort of thing might happen. As players we do take certain peace treaties for granted. However, I do entirely agreed with your second point, so +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CatLord If the group dynamic doesn't accept PvP, though, then playing the character that way is a breach of etiquette. Party-friendly evil is more than possible. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which is why I gave the answer an overall +1. The meta-rules are always crucial. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is what I ended up saying, but better. That's always worth +1! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answers! I updated my original post with some extra details I failed to mention before! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2013 at 1:48

Your level, the game system, and the character's alignment are of secondary concern: the reason your character's (fictional) life is in danger isn't that the character provoked the rest of the (fictional) party, it's that you (the real you) angered your (real life) gaming buddies.

As usual in situations such as these, clear and honest communication is the way forward. Explain to them how your character killing off the other party member made sense in character, how it is going to contribute to the overall fun you will all be having, and especially how it really wasn't just you (the real you) being a jerk towards your (real) gaming buddy. Listen to what they have to say in turn.

If you can't do that without lying through your teeth... well, I'm not sure how you're going to avoid the justice of the mob!

Closing words: Talk to your friends, and next time remember that you playing a game doesn't mean that there no real feelings involved.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with talking to the table, but I've seen both sides of this argument. Although the worst scenario involved a PK where the victim wasn't present and the rolls proxy'd and it ruined some of the table dynamic \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Necromancer: Be ready to hear that it didn't make sense, it is ruining the fun that all of you are having, and especially how you (the real you) are being a jerk towards your (real) gaming buddies. Because I suspect that's what you will hear. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:32

The fact that they're meta-gaming strongly indicates something important: they think you broke the social contract of the gaming group. Party-killing is not normally acceptable among friends playing an RPG, and they don't know how to deal with it except by acting through their avatars to punish your crime.

There are only two outs here. You can talk to them and apologise profusely, say you will turn over a new leaf, and (if they accept your sincerity) do it. There's no way to regain their trust, let alone the partnership of their characters, without demonstrating remorse and changing how you position your character relative to fellow "main characters".

The alternative is to let them succeed at killing you. Die nobly, and start over with a PC who doesn't extort or party-kill.


My first piece of advice is to do any exchanges like this in a private situation - most likely note cards with the DM reading everything said and the dice being rolled as needed. This is the easiest way to prevent metagaming in these split up situations. Granted, I can see how this looks preachy so I digress but recommend it for future encounters.

One of my first questions is: How good is your Bluff check? If your character is a lousy liar, then it's reasonable that the party suspects something and might be acting on it. Coming back and saying "Gnomeo died, and I brought him back... Kinda." isn't always succesful.


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