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I'll let that title sit there for a second while I explain my situation.

So, first off - recently the DM let slip that his current campaign is loosely based on the Star Wars trilogy (which one though, we're still not sure). He also linked this to a couple of "key" items (again, this is only because he took an interest in them, and had a mini heart attack when we thought we left one behind). These items are a pair of "glass" swords - a black one and a clear one.

Now, my character is a Dragonborn, and I have recently discovered that I might be able to become a half-dragon. I spoke to the DM about this, and he decided that depending on how I went about it, it could fit into the storyline, so he would allow it. The party is level 4.

Now - I currently hold the Clear Glass Sword, and one of my the other PC's holds the Black Glass Sword. So let's go with the hypothetical situation that I want that sword. In my mind, I see that turning out with me taking it from his cold, dead hands. Along with some of the above points I mentioned - particularly the "metamorphosis" I was hoping to achieve, I'm starting to see this as a bit of a "Anakin/Vader" type situation.

A few speed bumps however:

  1. I am a Neutral Good character. If I carried this out, it would require a great change of mind/change of heart to do this. I'm having trouble coming up with a reason as to all of a sudden why I would want to do this. So far I have no issue with any party members, and the first "evil" character we met, I instantly had a problem with.
  2. This is obviously the bigger one - I'd be killing another Player Character. This is more than likely going to cause a conflict with this player, but I can see this being an excellent story development (What a tweest!).

How could I go about this, without causing too big of an issue with the story line, breaking character, and breaking up the group?

Note: To clarify, following all the passive suggestions of "why don't you talk to him and ask nicely", this situation is entirely hypothetical at this point. I have no intention of breaking up the group, or making anyone believe I have it out for them, it is just one way I feel I could contribute to the development of the story, following the "Anikin/Vader" vibe I mentioned above.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Joshua Aslan Smith, Miniman, F. Randall Farmer, GMJoe, Tritium21 Jun 25 '15 at 3:53

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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What level is the party? Is resurrection a possibility? \$\endgroup\$ – GMNoob Jun 24 '15 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are there distinct roleplaying reasons the player would never give the sword up? Otherwise I'd say invest in a better sword for them and ask if youcan have the inferior one. Give them part of your loot if needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 24 '15 at 10:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ So you want to be a half-dragon dual wielding lightsabers? I would watch that movie. \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer Toast Jun 24 '15 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you necessarily sure you want to stab your friend in the back? It sounds to me like you have every reason not to do this - and the only compelling reason is "I want that glass sword", which really, doesn't seem connected to any of your character motivation at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Zibbobz Jun 24 '15 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried asking for it? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jun 25 '15 at 6:55
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Story issues

I think the transformation of your character could well work out the way you described it, but I think for such a basic and deep change to your characters morality and basic alignment you also need a very strong motivator/cause.

For Anakin that was fear of the loss of the ones he loves, catalyzed by the death of his mother, a vision of his love dying and of course the evil influence of Palpatine.

So if you decide your character should go down a similarly dark path, I would discuss it with your GM: together you could come up with a hook that will lead your PC down the rabbit hole. You could then develop this plot over several sessions (such change should not happen instantly), eventually resulting in the cataclysmic metamorphosis of your character (and essentially his transition to 'the dark side').

So far this sounds like brilliant RP, but...

Meta issues

This should probably be the bigger worry. Before you decide on doing anything like killing a character of another player, reflect on how your group thinks about intra-party conflict.

  • There are groups who love it and who play campaigns full of backstabbing, intrigues and deception. In this case, no worries for you and move ahead with your plan.
  • In other parties this is a big no-no, and starting strong intra-party conflicts -- let alone killing another PC -- would not be welcome at all, to put it lightly. Worst case, this could lead to a serious out-game argument with the player who's PC you killed.

If you are not quite certain that the player who's PC you are planning to kill will be okay with it, don't do it. If you are unsure, I suggest either asking the player directly in a private discussion, or -- if you want to keep the element of surprise -- resort to a way that does not involve that PC's death:

How you could still develop your transformation without murdering a fellow PC:

  • If it is about the sword, then there are non-lethal ways of getting it. This should not be a problem if the GM knows of your plan.
  • If it is about the murder of innocents, then the GM can easily introduce situations where this can be played out by your character.
  • If it is about betrayal of the group, then there are non-lethal ways of achieving this as well.

Whichever way you go, you should keep in mind that the actions of your character will likely break up the PC party. Betrayal on the scale you mentioned, and such a complete change of your characters alignment will make it virtually impossible for the characters in your party to still respect and work with each other (unless they have some very strong motivations to do so). A possible development could for example be that your character, after his transformation, leaves the group and becomes the next antagonist in a new campaign.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not to mention that Aniken had the moral fibre of month old celery \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jun 24 '15 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ One additional meta-issue, that no-one seems to of addressed: Answers assume that player succeeds in their plan, and are about adjusting the plan to reduce conflict. It's a game, and unless odds are heavily stacked in their favour by the situation, betraying multiple characters, presumably equally powerful as the OP's character, is often going to end up with OP's character not achieving their goals, and probably ending up worse off than they started. The OP should at least be willing to accept that outcome if they instigate a betrayal. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Jun 25 '15 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah Aniken turned to the dark side like the moment after Mace Windu got shot out of a window, good character development there, yeah? \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Jun 25 '15 at 20:19
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I like the above answers (and comments) but would like to add, for your consideration, the possibility of making this not just about your character's development, but also the other player's character. The other player isn't a sidekick in your character's story -- he's the protagonist of his.

Once you've taken into to consideration whether this will work at all for your group, I would suggest giving real thought about how to bring the other player into the loop, and how to make the plot meaningful to his character as well.

I would also suggest giving up the implied idea that your character must prevail. Both for it to be fair in game terms, and for it to be a meaningful victory story-wise, your character's actions should carry the risk of failure. Don't just work with your GM and fellow player to make the plot happen, work with them to make it possible, but not necessarily certain.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for reminding that each PC is the protagonist in their own story \$\endgroup\$ – Dave B Jun 24 '15 at 18:39
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So you want the other sword, and you're thinking about your character killing the other PC who has it, though your character is Good(tm) and likes the other PC.

Why? Why do you even want it, if you already have one? Why would you start with thinking to kill your friend to get it? Are you an evil player with a Good character? Are you used to games where every PC keeps all their toys and loot and hoards them for him/herself?

So many other options come to mind:

  • Ask the other PC how attached he is to that sword, and whether he'd consider trading for it, for other loot or things you have, money, or services.

  • Suggest contests of skill or gambling with the other sword at stake.

  • Talk the other player into giving you the sword for whatever reason (convince him the dark sword is dangerous, that someone should have both and it should be you, say you really want it and would be grateful and owe him great returns, or that he'd be better off with something else, etc).

  • Wait until that PC really wants something, and then negotiate to give or help him get that, in exchange for the other sword.

  • Talk to some other authorities to whom the other PC would tend to obey, and see if you can convince them to convince the other PC to give you the sword. Could be the party leader, the other players, or the other PC's church leaders, the party's patron, etc.

If your PC can self-delude enough that their Neutral Good(tm) covers ends justifying the means and that the greater good is served by you having both swords:

  • If you're a deceptive type, you might conspire with the GM to contrive a theory that your PC has some imaginary McGuffin knowledge that means you know how to take advantage of the swords as a pair, so they should both go to you. You could promise your share of the next interesting loot to that PC.

  • If you or another PC is a sneaky thief type, the other sword could get stolen and hidden, and later conveniently recovered by you - only right that you should keep it. If others still disagree at that point, they'd have to contemplate getting it from you rather than vice versa.

  • Pretend/invent/self-delude that you had some woo woo vision that or dream that showed that you are the one destined to have both swords, for Good(tm).

If you really enjoy the idea of betrayal, then some other ideas:

  • Do you really need to kill the other PC to get the sword away from him? Unless he always carries it and sleeps with it, you could take it and then he'd have to get it from you.

  • If you're part dragon, what would daddy do? You could at least try intimidation and insisting he give you the sword, and/or take it by wrestling, rather than just attacking.

  • If you want to develop an evil scheming streak, you could see if there are ways to have the other PC start to become evil, or seem to, giving you an opportunity to take the sword from him in the name of Good(tm).

  • Challenge to single combat unless he gives up the sword. Note that single combat doesn't have to be, and historically wasn't, to the death. Options include "to first blood", "to the first good blow", "until one side yields", and "until an umpire declares a winner". You could also challenge to things other than fights.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "If you're part dragon, what would daddy do?" That is just fantastic. \$\endgroup\$ – Pow-Ian Jun 24 '15 at 17:08
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The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Imagine how much good you can do when you become half-dragon! You can change the world, and people will sing about you as a hero! All you have to do is do this itsy-bitsy one evil step... But then, there will be thousands of good deeds that will pay it back! Right? Right?...

Imagine your character repeating that mantra each evening, that you are not betraying friends but changing the world for the better. In time, you will start believing this lie. Of course, after the deed you will realise that one death might not be enough, that there is always "one more little sacrifice for the Greater Good"... until you finally realise what you became and either embrace the darkness or try finding a way to redemption.

In game terms, it means slow shifting of your alignment towards Neutral-Evil.

How to kill your friend (and not make enemies)

Killing another PC is always a big thing, that will split the group and possibly make that person carry a grudge for the future games, so you must do it in such a way that he won't be blaming you, but your character.

Probably the best way (and most in-character) would be simply separating him from the rest of the group, and after describing your motivations (greater good, future of the world etc.) demand the sword... and then start fighting. If you have a good GM it can turn into a great duel, similar to Anakin vs Obi-Wan, with you leaving him dying on the ground, asking once again for forgiveness and understanding. It might lead later to an interesting plot: he might not be really dead and come back, he might have a son/friend/padawan wanting to exact revenge and your character developing paranoia. Or maybe you can give him an option to join you as a risen revenant/wraith/other special undead, physically more powerful than the original character? Important for you and your GM is to make this feel like a planned (but of course unexpected) twist in the story, not personal betrayal. If you play it well, it will be remembered as a great fight between good and evil rather than as "he killed me to take my stuff."

As for the rest of the group - well, it would be best if this fight happened in a separate game (or even a separate room) so they wouldn't know what really happened; otherwise unless they are VERY good role-players they cam turn against you. Unless... the victim is in fact better now than they were before - remember when I suggested returning as a powerful revenant on your side?

After the game

Please make sure that your friend has no hard feelings. A game is a game, there is no point in loosing a friend over it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ When it comes to killing another player's character, it's very important that you establish whether it's okay BEFORE you do it. (That can mean either a global "in this game it is acceptable to kill other characters whenever" or a specific "I'm going to kill your dude, is that okay with you?") \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 24 '15 at 10:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lets agree to disagree here: while your approach might be safer for the group I find it as an artificial constraint on players actions, akin to cutting the movie to match the PG rating. Both approaches have their merits and depend on the group of course. \$\endgroup\$ – Yasskier Jun 24 '15 at 10:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Not breaking up the group" is one of the requirements for good answers, though. In that regard, "group safe" answers seem to be a neccesity here. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jun 24 '15 at 10:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thats why I've suggested a "reward" in form of changing character for more powerful for the betrayed player, which should calm the group. Anyway, lets not argue in the comments, feel free to post your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Yasskier Jun 24 '15 at 10:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you ever done this yourself? How did it work out? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Dec 28 '17 at 8:40
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The first question to ask is, is intra-party conflict the norm in your game? If you're playing something like Paranoia, or if your group just generally expects a certain amount of infighting and backstabbing, then just go for it.

For the rest of this answer, I'm assuming that's not the case. That is, your fellow players and GM generally expect the PCs to cooperate, and not suddenly turn on each other.

In that case, the first thing to do is to run it by your GM. That's just plain common courtesy — if they've planned the plot with the assumption that the party will cooperate and stay together, they'll appreciate some advance warning that this might not be the case.

The next thing to do is to run it by the player whose character you're going to backstab, and possibly the rest of the group as well. I'm assuming you don't want to piss off your friend IRL, and if they're not expecting backstabbing to be part of the game, that's all too likely to be the result. Avoid that by discussing the matter with them in advance, and, if they're willing to go for it, by arranging things so that the eventual betrayal will be an awesome moment for both characters.

OK, so you've got your GM and your planned victim's player on board. What next?

Well, you should plan on losing your character, too, and have them become an NPC villain (possibly the villain of the campaign) instead. After all, after your character murders their friend to steal the item they covet, is the rest of the party likely to just shrug and go on adventuring with you like nothing happened? (OK, they might, if they didn't know that's what happened — but these kinds of things tend to come out sooner or later.) It's a lot more likely that your character's dramatic face/heel turn is going to lead to them leaving the group (quite likely in a hurry) and the other PCs swearing revenge for the betrayal and the killing of their friend.

If your GM is feeling generous, they might let you play your former character turned villain when the party finally faces them again — at least if you can somehow arrange for your new character to be absent when that happens. But, like it or not, a dramatic betrayal is likely to mean that your character's days as a member of the party are over. Remember, Anakin didn't get to stay a hero after he turned to the dark side.

Finally, once you've got the rest of the group on board, and resigned to your character becoming a villain, you'll need to figure out a suitable motivation for the betrayal. Frankly, I'd say that's probably the easiest part. Maybe the hunger for power has been within them from the beginning, and they just haven't let it take control before. Maybe the draconic aspect of your character is slowly taking over, changing their personality. Maybe something convinces your character that the murder and theft, though distasteful, are nonetheless a necessary evil. (Or at least, maybe your character finds something that lets them rationalize their actions that way.) Or maybe the swords themselves inspire your character's greed for them; it wouldn't be the first time that plot device has been used. Heck, it worked for Tolkien.

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