Sometimes, you get those players. You know. Those players. The ones that really get into their cold, brooding, greedy assassin character’s skin and just aren’t in the mood to party up. And that’s okay, I guess. That goes along with the whole roleplay experience. But the thing is we’ve got a campaign to get going, monsters to slay, stuff to loot. Time to get the lead out, people!
Except that one player has got to be difficult.
Oh, what’s the pay for this mission? Pfft! Not enough. Come back when you get serious.
And it’s not like we can abandon him. Because, unlike the assassin-for-hire at the inn, the player is sitting on the couch eating pizza with us. It’d be kind of rude for us to leave without him. Figuratively, of course. I mean, what’s he going to do? Eat pizza in silence for four hours while we go kill and loot stuff?
And yet, there he is, being stubborn about his pay.
Well, fear not. I’m the Dungeon Master. I have all sorts of shenanigans at my disposal. This was our first session using Privateer Press’ magnificent Iron Kingdoms rulebook, and none of the players really knew what to expect. I, however, was very familiar with the nasty denizens of the Iron Kingdoms.
And you know something? Nothing says “get your butt in gear” like exploding bystanders.
So, the scenario went down like this. Our incorrigible assassin lingered in the inn, waiting for more pay while the other players tried to acquire it. Two cloaked figures entered (secretly Satyxis Blood Witches), and started cutting up innocent bystanders.
And, if you know anything about Blood Witches, you know they leave a mess. People started exploding left and right, and the assassin found himself taking Death Strike damage without being hit. Oh, you better believe he wanted some wingmen to help him out. He bolted out of the inn, which was now filled with bloody fog, and ran straight for the other players.
Yeah, don’t mess with the DM. You want to go and do your own thing? You want to slow down the game while everyone else is itching to kill some monsters? Let me explain to you how this works. You either party up, or I explode people until you get in line.
A friend of mine had a phrase for this. “Rocks fall.” It means you’re doing something that is making it a lot less fun for everyone else. Either behave yourself, or rocks will fall from a clear sky and crush your character.
He wasn’t joking either.
But the best part, the very best part, is the assassin player didn’t even realize he’d been jolted with a twenty kilovolt cattle prod. He thought it was just part of the story. And sometimes, stuff like that can really make a gaming session special, when things go off script and everyone gets a little creative.
It was fun. And yeah, a lot of people exploded before they killed all of the Blood Witches.
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Matt Gallagher says
A yes, that player… I hate that player. Mind you I once had a full party decide they would rather chill at the beach for a couple of days before going on their next adventure. I indulged it for a few minutes before reminding them they were broke and libel to end up homeless without finishing a job soon. It worked well enough.
Thanks for stopping by, Matt. Yeah, sometimes it’s good to let the players do their own thing. But sometimes, they need to be smacked back in line. Honestly, I think some of my players would spend whole sessions roleplaying tavern hijinks if I let them. 🙂