I’m still a couple of posts behind, and it’s been several weeks since this game, so this is going to be another short-but-hopefully-sweet post. I really needed to get it up tonight because we’re playing the next session tomorrow.
Yeah. I’m bad.
So, at the last session, our heroes were pursuing the bagman for Channah, a local crime boss, through the sewers of Belys, in order to have a frank and open exchange of opinions about why the boys from Storm Point wouldn’t be paying any protection money. There was some discussion about what would happen after that point, with one of the players putting forward a strong preference for taking over Channah’s rackets.
Now, at this point, I spoke up. I told the players that I didn’t want to run a game ((I’m a firm believer that the GM gets to have fun running a game. If he or she isn’t, why do it? Thus, if it’s a game I don’t want to run, then I’m within my rights to just not run it.))where they were the villains. The ((Somewhat predictable, really.)) response was that most of the characters were Unaligned as far as alignment went, and that this would be okay. I countered with the statement that anyone running a criminal enterprise that involved protection rackets, prostitution, theft, drugs, and possibly slavery was a de facto villain, regardless of what the alignment said on their character sheets.
As my big guns in this argument, I launched into the following little rant ((This is, of course, not verbatim. But it captures the rhetoric and the content pretty well.)) to convince them that becoming crime lords was off the table.
Look. I know I generally give you guys a lot of freedom to decide what happens in the game, and what your characters do, and what their goals are. But I have to tell you, I have zero interest in running an Evil game and – no matter how you dress it up – that’s what becoming crime bosses in a big city is. I’ve run my share of Evil games back in high school, and I am not interested in running any more.
In fact, if you insist on going down this path, I will end this campaign. I will let you become the crime lords, but then the game ends, and I start a new 1st-level campaign where you all play ((And this is where the car left the road. Not even skid marks. It’s like the driver pointed the car at the cliff and stood on the accelerator. Obviously a suicide run.)) the oppressed, exploited, downtrodden citizens who have spent the last twenty years under the thumbs of the Storm Point Gang, and the game will be all about killing your old characters and freeing the citizens from their oppression.
I should have known that my little speech was not having the desired effect when I noticed that everyone was quiet and listening to me ((I never get everyone paying attention to me at once! Never!)), not arguing. When I finished, there was silence for a few moments, then Dan said, “That would be awesome!” And Erik looked at me and said, “I realize you were trying to convince us that this was a bad idea, and I agreed with you, but you just talked me around to the other point of view. I want to play in that campaign!”
Chris just looked at me and sadly shook his big, bushy head.
At which point, I abandoned any sort of reasoned argument or persuasion and just said, “No. Not doing it.”
Now, though, I’m rethinking the whole idea. That could, indeed, make a pretty rocking campaign. On the other hand, we just spent three years getting everyone up to Paragon tier, and we’ve all got a lot invested in the game. I think we need to have a real conversation about this ((Probably not tomorrow, though; one of the players is unable to make the game.)); if the players want to play in that new campaign instead of the current one, I think that’s doable.
When we got down to playing, the heroes tracked the bagman to a trapdoor leading up into a warehouse down by the river docks. They triggered an alarm bell when they went up, and found themselves facing a couple orcs, a few ogres, and a war troll ((FIRE or ACID.)). The fight dragged a bit because of all the brutes, but the good guys managed to prevail, and captured the bagman for interrogation.
Under their gentle questioning, they managed to get the bagman to agree to help them get to Channah. In exchange for the glyph key to Channah’s teleport circle, the party would let the bagman take over Channah’s territory – with the party being exempt from protection fees, of course.
So, tomorrow’s session is going to see the assault on Channah’s stronghold. The fights so far have all been below character level for the party, which may have been giving them an inflated sense of their own badassery, but the stuff I’m throwing at them tomorrow is going to be significantly tougher. That’s a little tidbit of a warning for any of my players who happen to read my blog before the game tomorrow.
Should be fun.