2
\$\begingroup\$

Recently my long-time gaming group began a Round Robin style campaign where we each take turns being the DM. We decided the decided that we'll each get to DM one session with a randomly determined order and our respective characters would be treated as NPCs while we DM.

It's my turn this week and we're very early in the campaign. Last week the DM introduced a villain, but we didn't actually get far enough to meet them. All we know is that they're evil. We don't know what they look like or even their race/species.

We ended with the party following a trail to find the villain for an initial confrontation. The party should arrive at the beginning of my session so actually deciding what will happen/who this villain is will fall to me.

I figured this would be a good opportunity to do something dramatic and sneaky. I'd like to make my player character the ultimate villain of the campaign, but keep it secret until the last session. However, I only have control over one session. The next sessions (including the conclusion) will be DMed by other people. Normally I'd talk to the DM privately and tell them my plan in order to surprise the party, but this time the DM(s) consist of the entire party.

This leaves me with several problems/questions:

  1. Is this a fair thing to do the rest of the group without asking permission?
  2. How can I make my character strong enough to be a threat to the party without cheating?
  3. What can I do in my session to set my character up as the villain and minimize the chance of other DMs changing the villain's identity? Obviously I can't prevent this entirely, but suggestions on how I could play this out to reduce the chance of the villain's true identity being discovered would be ideal.

Things that may be important:

  • The group focuses more on story than rules. No one is a rules-lawyer and sometimes we make up rules rather than look them up.
  • This is set in a VERY LOOSE Star Wars universe. Our knowledge is limited to the 7 official films, the Star Wars Holiday Special and a few KOTOR games. None of us are Star Wars experts and we're kind of making stuff up as we go.
  • We have 3 force-sensitive members of the party, but my character is the only Jedi/Sith.
  • My character doesn't have to be with the party when the confront the villain this week. The DM has the option to leave their personal character behind to avoid confusion.
  • I have complete control of my session. Anything that happens that doesn't violate previously establish facts or rules in our system stands, but that doesn't prevent DMs from accidentally changing something I've kept secret.
  • We're using an adapted version of Warrior Rogue and Mage
  • We all started at level 1 (in terms of our system this means 1 Talent, 10 attribute points and 3 Skills/Spells). We've leveled up once, but my character is no more powerful than any other at this time. Making my character a powerful Sith lord would require me to retroactively change my stats in secret.

EDIT I've changed some of the wording to reflect an emphasis on making the character the villain with no direct influence on whether they're the final boss. Since someone else will be the DM of the final session I understand I have no control over who the final boss will be or whether we'll even have a final boss.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ And what will you do when it's your turn to play the character again? \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle W Feb 10 '16 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll resume playing my character as normal, keeping secret that they're actually evil until the moment is right \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Feb 10 '16 at 21:25
4
\$\begingroup\$

Secret information is always a problem in rotating-DM groups. Players can either agree to maintain some secret information which everybody knows (but they agree to not let it affect their gameplay when they're PCs), or they can agree that there is no secret information (anything not known to the PCs can change when the DM changes). It sounds like your group has chosen the second route: there is no secret information.

Given that constraint, it's going to be really hard for you to do a plot involving secret information. :)

One option is that you could do a really brief stint as a secret villain -- you could talk to just the next DM in line, and tell them you'd like your character to be revealed as the villain during their session. If they go for it, you can work with them to figure out if your character should get powered up before fighting the party.

Another option is you could trade DM slots with someone a few slots down the rotation, so that the session you're in charge of is the one where you do the big reveal.

A third option is to talk to the group and say: "Guys, I think it would be cool if the villain we're chasing turned out to be my character the whole time. I'll do some stuff in my adventure that would set that up, and whoever goes next can decide whether they want to keep the plot moving in that direction." In other words you could do your plot but just accept that it won't be secret out-of-character. Then you and the other players can have fun setting up sinister foreshadowing for the coming betrayal.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I put too much influence on making the character the final boss. I don't really care if my character is the final boss, but I'd like to make my character the current villain being tracked down without immediately making telling everyone. Is there any way I can do that and continue to play the character until I make the reveal if I relinquish control of the character to the acting DM at that point? \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Feb 10 '16 at 22:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I recommend that you edit your question with your new clarifications. :) Site policy is that my answer should be for your original question, and it shouldn't address your comments directly. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Feb 10 '16 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the advice. I've updated the question accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Feb 10 '16 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for updating your answer. You've provided several different routes forward so I'll think about which would suit my situation best. Thanks again for helping me outline the heart of my issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Feb 10 '16 at 23:15
1
\$\begingroup\$

I recommend that instead of being the villain, you are made to seem like the villain, by the actual villain.

I know you want to actually be the villain, but characters being the villain is a very obvious thing for people to find out. There are too many spells, abilities and people around you to actually make you a villain that makes any sense.

But if the actual villain is setting you up, no zone of truth will reveal his plan because you will be speaking honestly. You will have other adventurers to vouch for you, and you will have good deeds to offset the terrible things you are accused of. This will all add a lot of flavour to the campaign, and based on peoples treatment of you, actually provide you with a reason to start acting the way you are being accused of.

That is just a recommendation though. I find that unless a DM approaches a player requesting they be an inside man, the typical evil player is incredibly easy to root out in a single game session by simply introducing them to the paladin.

Star wars villains are especially easy to root out because its advanced techonology. Its almost impossible to do things without leaving an electronic trail, and a clever slicer in the party will bug all the comms and systems so they can read messages, rendering you incapable of communicating with any underlings to get things done.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this idea. It doesn't accomplish my original goal, but since I may not be able to go through with that plan this may be a very nice plan B. We wouldn't even need to worry about slicers since none of know enough about Star Wars to know what that is. \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Feb 11 '16 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Star wars villains are especially easy to root out because its advanced techonology." Senator Palpatine would like a word with you. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 11 '16 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn't the place for it, but (based on the movies alone) Palpatine wasn't a bad guy. He was a democratically elected official who had the overwhelming majority support of the senate. Just because some people didn't like it, doesn't mean it was wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 11 '16 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli He was orchestrating both sides of a war for his own political gain in order to propel his own rise to absolute power. I mean, yeah, under his rule unemployment was at an all-time low and we had a strong economy, but I just can't get over his ethics. Anyway, the point I was making is that the film cannon disagrees with the idea that it's easy to track down bad guys electronically. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 11 '16 at 23:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.