I Was Betrayed!

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I Was Betrayed!

The roller-coaster of a good D&D session can create emotions that are more powerful than simply "crying."

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Damn... I hope I have some experiences that are at least as moving as those.

And I probably will have a friend that might betray us, or maybe not. I honestly can't tell with him.

Very interesting, to say the least. Such a deep, meaningful experience to be had in role-play. Truly, it is an amazing thing.

It feels like every second session goes like that in WOD...

Betrayal and infighting was constant. OR maybe it was just the group.

We had a similar story in one of my campaigns recently. The party had a Deva Psion, Galad, whom we'd all humorously called Chaotic Rude because even though he was good, he was a jerk. He'd walked the line between evil and good for a while, and finally he and several other players caused a mutiny on a ship and scared the captain into leaving. That night, in a dream, he was told he'd reincarnate as a Rakshasa if he died... and he accepted! He fled the party to the city, grabbed some supplies, and the returned, telling them he'd repent and save himself from that fate. Later, he turned around, locked them in a building, and tried to kill them! He failed, but it was a good lay of character, he seemed to just be being good because of his party members, and when given the chance to be evil, took it. It was a cool end to our campaign.

And I myself have felt sad and angry while playing games, I won't spoil it, but I failed to do something at the end of Mass Effect 2. I was infuriated and attacked with rage until the end. It was... intense.

I'm glad we wound up undoing that particular decision - the last thing I wanted was for an interesting RP theme to end the game. I still think it would have been a blast to become a vampire cleric, but there's still plenty of opportunity for it to happen by chance.

It was awesome setting up an RP betrayal - the GM (Archon) was in on it from the beginning, and helped me keep it a secret until just the right moment. After all, you can't really betray anyone if they know you're going to do it.

To anyone that wants to try it: I'd recommend PC betrayal only as an end-game scenario.
-Balbus

I remember a Dark Ages Call of Cthulhu session from a year back. It was the scenario that came with the core rules for Dark Ages called "The Tomb". The party was formed of about eight people, a few monks and their escort to border German stronghold neighboring Hungary. The monks were there to convert the local pagan populace to the ways of Christianity and as they were arriving a series of brutal murders began taking place.

Infighting was constant within the group: one of the characters, a rope merchant, got thrown out of a window for being overly arrogant to the mercenaries (also PCs). He then proceeded to turn the other characters in to the local Lord for helping the Magyars ( this ended with the merchant getting thrown in the dungeon for lying - the local lord saw rather quickly through his weak lies ). This proceeded in launching a whole tangential plot line where the merchant met a heretic in the dungeon (he was an apprentice mage with minor magical capabilities) They both escaped the dungeon to form a weird master servant relationship along the way.

Anyway, turns out the murderer was a parasitic alien lifeform that could possess any human to carry out it's commands and was cleaning up several tracks it had left in the area(among which a power dimensional/mind altering artifact) while securing human specimens for experimentation. The parasite eventually found it's way into one of the PCs.

The rest was history, the guy playing the infected character played brutally to the very end, he tricked the other characters at every turn, convinced the mercenaries to KILL the priests and the monks, gave them a sanity crushing tour through the entire alien base and finally lured them into a concave pit like room where he unleashed the stone plunging all the PCs into a horror scape that almost utterly destroyed all of them.

The mage character having managed to secure a copy of the Al Azif manged to merge himself into the dreamlands and escape, one of the mercenaries was devoured by Nyarlahotep's avatar while one last heroic fighter ( youngest of the group, a 16 year old) managed to escape the hell scape and confront the possessed Dark Lord. The catch? The two were inseparable friends from childhood, blood brothers. He didn't realize the betrayal at first, no until the dark lord removed his cowl and revealed a dead rotting face with rotting, glowing eyes. He fought bravely but the Dark Lord emerged victorious killing his former friend with the very staff he had given him as a gift.

Everyone in the room was completely speechless at this point. Me, I just thought I had done a good job as the keeper. The ending was utterly Lovecraftian.

This can also be very bad... and very good.

In my groups longest running campaign, a Post Apocalyptic Western, my character, a notorious outlaw with a massive bounty on his head, was betrayed by two other members of the party during the big heist that served as the primary set piece of the adventure. I managed to escape the betrayal and get my comeuppance and in retrospect it was a brilliant way to wrap that "episode" of the campaign but at the time I, the one who was betrayed, was pissed and I mean PISSED. I argued, yelled, stormed out, flat out refused to continue you name it and it essentially "ended" that leg of the game even through the GM had intended for it to go a bit further.

Wow... you really were betrayed.

Almost as badly as Max Bialystock

It was awesome setting up an RP betrayal - the GM (Archon) was in on it from the beginning, and helped me keep it a secret until just the right moment. After all, you can't really betray anyone if they know you're going to do it.

Thats just devious. Guess thats just one of the signs of a good DM though.

I have experienced a great deal of betrayal in my roleplaying career, but that's hardly surprising considering that it consists almost entirely of Paranoia. And the resulting emotions were not so much shock and anger as lasers and more lasers.

Usually, it is the Dungeon Master who creates the situations that illicit these emotions.

And sometimes it is the Dungeon Master who says, "No, you guys can't do that, that would be illicit."

Such prohibitions elicit protests.

Rick1940:
Usually, it is the Dungeon Master who creates the situations that illicit these emotions.

And sometimes it is the Dungeon Master who says, "No, you guys can't do that, that would be illicit."

Such prohibitions elicit protests.

Well played sir!

This is why I love Cybersphere, Its an awesome Moo I play. Its a dystopian future based loosely on Shadowrunner rules. Its all online so we can all interact, the world is persistant and player killing is permitted :) Its a Nice RP outlet, my character a decker is currently caught playing both sides of a feud between a biker gang and a merc outfit passing information between both.

me, my friends and brother are going to be playing D&D for the first time in about a week and I hope that we have experience as emotional as those. although I think I'm going to be a dragonborn fighter that interrogates people splinter-cell style e.g. smashes there head into the wall, so I think I would be the one who ends up betraying the whole group when I can gain power from it but even though I normally to play someone who grabs for power and is a bit of a psycho I do have honour which can confuse people. If I have kidnapped someone and wanted lets say 1,000 gold pieces so they are returned no harm I will keep to that and if I bond with someone I will protect them with my life so whether my group gets backstapped by me is up to how they treat me. if they are just people that I teamed up with not to die I will kill them at a moments notice, if they are someone that saved my life I will die for them. In other words whether I will chop of your head for decoration or not is all up to how I see you. I just realise I went a bit of topic there but what I was also trying to say with that is that my decisions will be based of in game experiences so I think they will properly end up being emotional.

Wow, as I was reading that, I never saw that coming. Clever, I love players that roleplay their characters well and open worlds too where your choices count and shape events. I've been considering playing DnD lately too, maybe I'll give it another try.

How does a cleric have a low wisdom?

I actually had the same thing happen in a game I ran, with different results. It was literally the final adventure before the game's climax, everyone was level 20, and about four things were ready to end the world as the characters knew it. The players had to decide what plan they would use to save it, unaware that most of them had secretly allied with one or more factions for just that purpose. No problem so far, except one of those factions included the god of lycanthropes. He was just about to being his plan, which would save the world but put him and his lawful evil followers in charge, when the players tried to stop him. And just before the fight, one of the characters, who had been bitten by a werewolf twelve levels ago and had been working with the god of lycanthropes for a while now, was called upon to switch sides.

It didn't end up in the exact same way. For one, the player is a very easy-going type, so it wasn't so much him role-playing a coward as it was him happily biting at the plot hook I gave him. And in the end, the betraying character lived while the god's avatar was put down, ending that plot. Because the character was supposedly acting with the best intentions (even the bad guys wanted to save the world after all,) and because it just felt "right" to end the game with the original characters, the party even forgave the character, uniting the party for the final battle. Still, it surprised the hell out of the rest of the group at the time!

i64ever:
How does a cleric have a low wisdom?

Because we roll characters instead of point buying. Also, in B/E D&D wisdom isn't as important for clerics as it is in later editions. High wisdom only garners you increased saves.

Damnit, every time I read a CFT article I get an insane craving to play DnD. Need to find me a group out in this corner of the English countryside...

How did a cleric receive spells from a deity that he did not have true devotion to? Where was that, and why would the Lawgiver have given him the ability to cast that miracle in his name? That's what I want to know.

Argonnosi:
How did a cleric receive spells from a deity that he did not have true devotion to? Where was that, and why would the Lawgiver have given him the ability to cast that miracle in his name? That's what I want to know.

Perhaps he only thought he was receiving spells from the Lawgiver, but they were actually provided by another, less pleasant, deity.

I'm still upset that I never got a chance to play a single game of D&D, not because no one was playing it, but because I didn't know what it was back in my childhood. Now it's impossible to find a group of people who would even think of playing it. I guess it's one of those things that I shouldn't worry too much about, seeing as it isn't going to ruin my life by not playing it.

I do agree that games like D&D have the ability to evoke extreme emotions in players (one guy started crying in a game shop while I was looking around because his Dwarf warrior had died to a powerful disease or something), and that is what makes it an icon in games.

I've never found a group of people to play with, really. Even among the nerds in high school D&D is still the height of nerdiness... and we need someone with experience to play as a DM.

I have had feelings like that in video games. I've been enraged at a character (I don't remember when...), shocked, triumphant, etc. etc.

I see your point, though. D&D has the capability of interaction between characters that we will NEVER see in video games. (At least, not as long as they require a script)

My group had something like this.

The game started out with our group being mighty heroes, but the wizard of the group, finding a tainted artifact, slowly became corrupt, driven to becoming a Lich. Slowly, he corrupted the rest of the party, my knight of justice becoming a blood-lusting warlord, a lawful cleric into a death worshiper, a sorcerer who believed in helping people soon became an entity of flame only craving power, and a once-honorable rogue into a sexual deviant and rapist, who eventually tried to betray us early on for treasures, so we killed them.

We all combined our talents to slowly conquering the game-world, building an undead army and working to make the wizard immortal so we could be unopposed by any challenger. However, everyone grew ambitious, and we secretly planned to overthrow the wizard in the middle of his transformation, where he would have to stay in meditation. He would be vulnerable!

While my warlord was plowing through the dark legions he once commanded, the sorcerer and cleric confronted the wizard, wielding their own powerful magics. But the wizard was expecting this, and killed the two with furious energies. Battered and wounded, my fallen knight entered, feeling emotions he thought he had long since lost at the sight of his two dead friends. With once-again found righteous fury, my knight, the only one the wizard fully trusted, cut down the spell caster in mid-meditation.

At this, some deity appeared before my knight, telling me that I had stopped a grand evil. However, the damage my character had a hand in was far too great to the land for it to ever naturally become normal once more. We had turned nearly the entire world to a nightmarish blood-and-fire landscape of death and war. And so, my knight called upon the death-god, offering his own, seemingly untouchable soul (my knight refused to ever die, I could make a 2-page list of mortal injuries he saved) in exchange to replenish the land. The death god answered, and accepted the soul, knowing it could not fill out it's end of the bargain, but more than happy to claim such a powerful spirit.

The deity which presented itself before, touched by the tragic sacrifice, shed a single tear however, and from that tear, a wave of creation was born, restoring the entire planet to it's past glory, except for the fact that the existence of our characters were all seemingly erased from existence.

And THAT...was the best campaign we ever had. One full year of awesome sessions. An ultimate tale of falling from grace, ambition, greed, backstabbing, hopelessness, redemption, and in the end, the great feats our characters performed turned out to have never have happened.

i64ever:
How does a cleric have a low wisdom?

How does one play a Dwarven mage with a strength of 18?

By throwing alchemist fire, of course.

Flying-Emu, breaking DnD canon since 1993

Yeah, D&D is great. That is IF you have a good DM and players. Sometimes I've been to horrible, HORRIBLE games where there is no plot and everything is illogical. The world is ending, and a superstrong wizard wants us ( a bunch of level 2 characters) to save it. I played a very stupid half-orc, so i didn't ask the question in-game, but out-game, from our DM. "Why does he want to give the quest to us ? Why doesn't he just collect those bloody crystals himself??" The DM just shushed me. And the most depressing part was that no-one even asked it in-game. This lack of in-game thinking ruins the game. And off we went. There never was any reason for why he gave us the quest.

Anyways, back to the betrayal thing: it remembered me how i was the one betraying the party. I played a sneaky, cowardly, but funny elf ranger . The party found an artifact that had some sort of epic spells in it, a book. Since half the world was looking for it, we decided to hid it.At some point we found out how to use it. And of course, my character went to the hiding place the following night, and stole the book. For the greater good, at least that was the idea. Too bad this kinda led to the death of our party a few gaming sessions later. But it was fun using it.
Good times, good times.

This episode sounds great in isolation, but I wonder about the basic gameplay mechanics of future sessions in which the player groups loyalties are divided. It might put off the day of reckoning a bit to have some players "pretending" to choose the dark side, but eventually there will need to be a showdown or else logically the group would splinter in-game.

Hell, I've always found it difficult enough when a player group decides to split-up and check two different hallways in a dungeon. The logistics of running warring parties of player characters boggles the mind.

I was pushed to intense emotion twice in good WOD LARP sessions back in college. (The advantage of LARP in the World of Darkness is that it doesn't require any wacky costuming or anything over-the-top, since it's primarily about character interaction, especially the way we played it.)

My first character was the second-in-command of the city, and legitimately felt it would be his to take over when the number-one disappeared. When another pretender took over instead, though, and everyone sided with him, it wasn't just my character that was furious. I could literally feel the anger welling up inside me, to the point that when my character excused himself angrily from the scene to go cool down, it was me as the player doing the same thing. Fun, perhaps, but a little bit scary.

A later character of mine in the same game had to (willingly) kill his mentor, and was understandably distraught about it. I remember actually crying when he had to do the deed.

Argonnosi:
How did a cleric receive spells from a deity that he did not have true devotion to? Where was that, and why would the Lawgiver have given him the ability to cast that miracle in his name? That's what I want to know.

You can be truly devoted, then discover a greater power that shakes that devotion. A thousand year-old lich that can kill with a mere word (without a saving throw), and repel living creatures in a 5ft radius might very well be a god himself in the eyes of a coward such as Balbus.

Come to think of it, Balbus has performed relatively few 'Lawful-only' miracles since his first encounter with the baddest guy in the known world. Finger of Death is meant to be used only in extreme circumstances, and Balbus uses it with incredible frequency. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that using it to kill his henchman can come from a subversive source of evil.

That Balbus thing reminds me a lot of something that just happened in the D&D game I ran. I was setting them up for the final battle against the big bad of the campaign, and suddenly one of my players decided to betray his team (by attacking another player). Unlike the Balbus thing, the rest of my players, who don't look too kindly on traitors, decided to make him the first target in the ensuing battle.

CaptainCrunch:
After all, you can't really betray anyone if they know you're going to do it.

To anyone that wants to try it: I'd recommend PC betrayal only as an end-game scenario.
-Balbus

Well, actually, you can. If players are correctly separating in-character knowledge and out-of-character knowledge then you can pull off a betrayal and not actually blow up the session, and actually allow the other players to react in ways that are memorable with respect to their own characters. Forcing the decision upon them is unfair because it violates an implicit trust the *players* had in each other.

Not the *characters*.

Although I guess it's kinda memorable the first time somebody pulls the "I'm betrayin the party" stunt, I have to say that most of the times I've seen it (and I've seen it many, many, many times), the player in question was just trying to be the focus of attention. And it has recked quite a few groups, DM participation or not, so play it at your peril. It can leave a bad taste in the mouth.

I say it this way: if your character can betray the other characters, discuss this with them beforehand to make sure you don't ruin their fun. Assuming everyone round the table is a mature adult (I know...) then the game can play out without the inevitable PC bloodbath that results from player betrayal.

The discussion here probably deserves an article all on its own: how can you keep the IC stuff (however nasty and grim) from affecting your OOC interactions? And how do you know when it's not really IC behavior at all, and the guy is just an asshole?

We never traitored each other in our DnD games because we could barely survive as a team let alone on our own. Our DM made hellish campigns so we fought through those and the story did move us. We really did feel every loss and win and drunken romp at the inn.

sleepykid:
The discussion here probably deserves an article all on its own: how can you keep the IC stuff (however nasty and grim) from affecting your OOC interactions? And how do you know when it's not really IC behavior at all, and the guy is just an asshole?

Well, one possibility would be to have the rest of the party never find out. ;)
It's what happened in our low-tech Shadowrun campaign. Our party consisted mostly of characters who gained their first runner experience through a chain of very inconvenient events, such as getting framed for the assassination of some pretty famous scientists at a conference and therefore being forced to lay low for a while. I was playing a Rigger, the teams driver, down in heavy debts from the very start, silvertongued but the kind of guy who'd panic immediately as soon as anyone pointed a gun even roughly in his direction. He was talented, in a way, when it came to hacking, driving or planning a coup, but he negated those talents by drowning them in whiskey. Lots of whiskey, to the party's disdain.
Still, he always had luck (when it came down to dice rolls).
So, one of his fellow comrades in the Shadows was a guy who specialized in extreme sports and was payed a shitload of money for the weirdest stunts by one of the bigger companies. To support him in his business, this company had invested quite a sum in implants, that gave the guy inhuman reflexes (since we were playing low-tech, he was the only player character with any kind of advanced implants). However, the downside to this was that the company was a little bit overprotective of their investment and therefore not really happy that he was regularly involved in illegal activities.

So one day, when the guy went out for a date with his ex-girlfriend, he never came back. Next morning, his best friends (one of his connections) bursts into our hideout gun-in-hand, asking who the hell betrayed him. This caught everyone at the table completely off-guard. Everyone was like "Damn, we've been framed AGAIN", sticking together to try and figure out what happened in the first place, since none of our characters knew at that point. And then, quite a lot of evidence turned up, that someone might indeed have been up to something, like one of the other players finding an envelope filled with more money than any of us had ever seen and hiding it from the rest, the fence who kept terrorizing my character (since he owed him lots of money) turning out to be killed, but, on the other hand, my apartment being completely wasted (that is: even more than before) and such.

In the end, each and every player character seemed to have been hiding something from the others. To some point, it was sheer luck, I have to admit. My plan had been thoughtfully planned and executed, but there are always certain factors that you don't expect. Luckily, some of the other players helped me without realizing it, for example by finding the payment and hiding it.
They never found out who betrayed them.
And my sweet-talking riffraff-rigger somehow managed to convince everyone that it must all have been an incredibly mean set-up, talking them into a daring rescue mission ... betraying the company and finally cashing in double.
Still, even if it's been some time since the event, there's still the possibility that someone might find out. He's been doing good hiding it, so far. In this regard, the whole con was a success. But now I always have to live with the fear that one day, it might blow. And I must say, our GM won't give me an easy time. But this is what makes the whole P&P experience worthwhile. You make your choices, but you have to live with the consequences.
As far as our group is concerned, people appreciated the situation as an experience they couldn't under any circumstances predict and were more thrilled by just playing it out, than searching for the real truth. After the session, they joked about it, threatening each other playfully, but without any real inquiries.

PC-gaming is far from delivering anything near this experience. The potential might be there, but most companies reduce roleplaying to choices like patting somebody's back or stabbing it (twice). The Witcher was the only game so far (at least as I can remember) in which the player's choices actually had real consequences.

I've experienced this... but in a different way.

You see, I was the traitor.
Our party had become heroes in our campaign, which is a Pokemon game based on the Star Wars system. We were living the high life, having a cushy job with the rebel kingdom against the evil Empire, after we had initally joined the empire, then quite literally jumped ship during a naval battle, when one of our characters was seduced by a Kingdra paragon (person who dresses as, and has the same powers of a certain pokemon).

All of that changed when I decided that the only way to solve a puzzle was to place the shadowy demon orb into the altar atop Spear Pillar.

With our party going from Heroes of the Land to A Team of Rebels in a world where Ghost Pokemon rule, and my character going from The Hero in the Siege of the Beach to That Arsehole who ended the world, I quickly became fairly unpopular.

Recently, though, I've been gaining a lot of favor with the party, because my character, who has amazing leadership skills, but rarely likes to pitch in, has been assuming control, and I've been putting out some brilliant tactics.

But, to answer a question, why would players force other players into that situation?

To put it simply, that day leading up to the World Ending game had been stressful for me. It was a long day at work, and I, like my Magmortar Paragon, Ace Fordon, had some fire in my blood. My plan to put the orb into the alter was brought up, and shot down before. This time, while someone else was trying to move a rock, I grabbed the orb, and without warning, put it in the altar. If I had been less angry, our characters would have still heroes, fighting a now-destroyed empire. Now we're just like, to put it in Fallout 3 terms, just another group of wasteland arse-holes.

And why is this?
Because I wanted to solve a puzzle.

(Although, perhaps the closest I came to betraying the party in the game where my title is based off of was when I found a magic staff of evil. My character, completely good at the time, because of his family's code of honor, was tempted to pick it up, so he could purify it later. Instead, he failed his will check, and ended up turning evil. Which was great, since he had such a high skill in convincing people of things (we used to call his Diplomacy "Diplomancy" because it was negotiation to the point of Mind Control), so no one in game could tell he was evil. It ended in a clash between him and his Necromancer uncle, Deadraiser Desol, where he ended up being able to overcome his Dark past, and getting a choice to either purify himself, and gain the Alpha spell set (he had Omega), or succumb to his dark side, and keep Omega. He chose Alpha (you can only have one or the other in Alpha Omega) and that's why he became the Omnimancer, for having known all forms of spells over his entire life)

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