Sunday, May 13, 2018

Look into the darkness for hope and the gutter for who shall answer the call

Those bothersome murder hobos just keep coming back. A princess needing saving, a realm under threat of an evil dragon lord, or a whole lot of bothersome orcs on the border and  it's only a matter of time before the murder hobos turn up. Sure some claim to be heroes or more honestly opportunistic mercenaries but they are wandering slayers of all the survey just as likely to use cloudkill and firebombs in a tavern brawl as they are against an unholy host in a forgotten necropolis.

For years I've Dm'd dungeons and dragons and related games and time and again the players expose their characters to be naught but murder hobos. So why fight it? Why not structure the campaign to expect that, to deal with it, to embrace it?  Are people, almost people, and not people at all that descend into the most dangerous of places imaginable to steal bar money really the right means to display heroic adventure.

I touched on shifting the classes to embrace murder hoboism:

I discussed part of what causes murder hoboism in the past:

There's a fairly fresh post on the whole murder hobo thing here at elfmaids and octopi:

So yes dear reader a few posts shall follow expanding on the care, feeding and torture of the murder hobo. How to structure a campaign to actually deal with them, how to reward players for actually being heroes (what?) , and how to deal with the consequences of actions.


  1. I think rewarding experience for things other than killing would help. I also remember the computer game Ultima IV where one advanced by doing virtuous deeds. My buddy never finished that game because he couldn't stop taking things out of the vendors chests.

    1. A multilayered game that rewarded more than conquest and theft would certainly help avoid that pattern. We do have to recall people are also into RPGs for escapism, hopefully people are involved in whole heap of socially redeeming and constructive projects in their normal lives.
      As for Ultima IV I recall playing it twice and even and I was no saint in the second more successful but did fairly well by avoiding petty mayhem.

      There was an online game at my university many years back and my character (a thief) had managed by bizarre quirks of the game system to be a member of the dark sorcerers guild and the good healers guild which was exposed to one of the bigshots in the game when he noticed I had a bunch of bologna sandwiches and the only place in the game to get bologna sandwiches was from a kobold child that respawned every 12 minutes or so and god guys had no clear path to the sandwich that wasn't really cumbersome but bad guys well they could get the sandwich pretty easily.

      Hmmm...I'm starting to suspect I could also be part of the problem with the players going all loot and stabby.