Author Topic: Player made a big mistake - damage control?  (Read 552 times)

Fix

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Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« on: (21:28:13/04-26-17) »
Hello, everyone.

I am newcomer to Shadowrun and this is my first brush with the forum. I've recently begun running a Shadowrun game with friends after deciding to move to something new after several years of Pathfinder, I'm still very much learning how the system runs. My primary concern here is in dealing with the upcoming fallout from where I left off this evening's game. Forgive my ignorance of both crunch and fluff.

The premise of tonight's game was a side run. They needed a favour from one of their contacts in Lone Star and he offered them a deal: in one of the less blooming parts of Renton a trashy restaurant serves as a front for a narco lab, they have more than sufficient proof they're there but nothing to allow for a warrant. So they are sent to cause just big enough a mess for his patrol to have enough excuse to crash inside and accidentally stumble upon the lab in doing so.

Things were coming along rather nicely. They did some legwork on the place. Our face, mage, and street sammy got inside as customers and drew some attention to themselves innocently while our ninja snuck his way in and the technomancer probed after what little systems there were for her to use.

The problem is the rigger. He was scouting out the place with a FlySpy drone only to be rudely interrupted as one of the chefs, with a good roll and a display worthy of forewarning that this guy is not to be messed with, slashed the irritating fly in half with a kitchen knife. This funny little occurrence is what brought all hell down upon the game. It made our rigger (whom was also very much a demolitions expert) so pissed that he marched out of the car, said something about "blowing that fragger up" ignoring all comm hails asking what the drek was going on, went through the backdoor where our infiltrator had cleared through... then a very hasty command to take cover.

"IT IS BOOM TIME!"

He threw a high explosive grenade toward the guy at the counter, right between one of the workers and half of our team. Barely knowing how to react they did not move anywhere near fast enough to clear out of the way sufficiently. They were only rescued from being exposed to a bad part of the blast by our mage who did some quick thinking and used Control Actions on the stunned food worker/drug runner and made him curl down and absorb the blast with his body (with an edge point).

Not a pretty sight. The restaurant cleared in a panic. Street sammy got shooting, took down another of the guys inside. The face and mage were trapped in the crossfire. Finding that they had caused a sufficient amount of mess to draw Lone Star at that point the infiltrator made a run for it through the backdoor and urged the rigger to do the same. He was still out for blood. Threw another grenade he was packing into the kitchen and the chef (and big tuff guy) rushed out, met the street sammy head on and went on to give him a whopping with a large kitchen knife.

Badly hurting and with Lone Star no doubt showing up soon enough as planned they're making a run for it. A panic switch was kicked and the doors were automatically locked so they're about to make a rough exit through the windows to the waiting escape vehicle. Issue is, the rigger severely screwed himself by not running out and is trapped in a storage room with a locked door behind him and frenzied ork chef ahead of himself. They're unlikely to take him down and he's got another guy incoming. Decker glitched out trying to wrench control of the doors.

He's screwed himself over big time, and his team. While the others have a solid chance of escaping and staggering out of there he's trapped and the others do not feel much obligation to get him out at this point. I know the player is not going to take it well at all if he gets killed, but that seems what is most likely right now. I'm not sure if he just thought the whole thing would be funny or he was genuinely pissed over losing his drone but the player also seemed to very much protect his actions. We're an RP heavy group.

Regardless, he is now cut off with a team that is pissed off at him. The player likely won't take it well if he dies and I've been a generally 'merciful' DM throughout my PF career but I've still got a few kills under my belt especially for wanton suicidal moves like this. But I feel bad killing him on the fourth game when he seems so into the character.

And the issue is, further, even if I don't kill him I see no reason how or why I should force the team to keep him around. He nearly killed half of them, went AWOL over a crappy drone, had a civvie killed in his rampage, and generally exposed the whole team to mortal danger whether by his own fire or theirs.

I'm not sure what would be a happy ending to this issue.

TL;DR: One of my players rushed in on impulse, blew the plan away and nearly half our team, is cut off and likely about to die, and is alienated by the entire gang. No happy ending in sight.

Or is there?

This could've likely been made a lot shorter and comprehensive, just rattling it off late at night. Its bugging me. Feels like bad group dynamics or drama is inevitable and will make a sour beginning to our Shadowrun careers.


firebug

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #1 on: (22:15:27/04-26-17) »
He's screwed himself over big time, and his team. While the others have a solid chance of escaping and staggering out of there he's trapped and the others do not feel much obligation to get him out at this point. I know the player is not going to take it well at all if he gets killed, but that seems what is most likely right now. I'm not sure if he just thought the whole thing would be funny or he was genuinely pissed over losing his drone but the player also seemed to very much protect his actions. We're an RP heavy group.

Regardless, he is now cut off with a team that is pissed off at him. The player likely won't take it well if he dies and I've been a generally 'merciful' DM throughout my PF career but I've still got a few kills under my belt especially for wanton suicidal moves like this. But I feel bad killing him on the fourth game when he seems so into the character.

Look.  His character should die, if his character should die.  If the player personally takes offense to this, you need to have a discussion with him and the group.  Even if he claims it was "just being in-character", then ask him why he thinks that means his character should be immune from consequence.

Here's the deal...  Even if a player claims such actions would be in-character and out-of-character, they are ultimately the ones playing the character, and deciding the character's thoughts and actions.  If he can honestly tell you that his character would have no way of thinking of anything better to do besides screw himself, get himself killed, and alienate his whole team, then maybe this player isn't suited for Shadowrun or your table.

Its not fair to the other players or the GM if one player is able to act recklessly, destroy a scenario, and ruin the game for others.  Killing his character isn't even saying he can't play--  It's Shadowrun, he makes another character, and is just added to the team by the fixer to fill the open spot.  Everything that happened is a direct result of his own actions in the game...

Sorry if my tone sounds harsh.  I get real bothered when people think "it's in character!" is a legitimate reason to be an asshole about these games.  Everyone sat down to play, everyone spent a lot of time on the characters or writing the mission.  It's incredibly uncool for one player to take something too far, going beyond what would be reasonable for a character, and not expect some kind of negative consequence, in-game and out.

But this isn't just between you and this problematic player--  The other players may very well begin to harbor frustration with this guy, if his actions are allowed to get in the way of the game they're trying to play, too.


Have what happens to his character be whatever makes sense.  If it's death, so be it, the character literally had it coming and knew what would happen.  The other characters probably will be happy to not be on a team with a suicidal psychopath who will bomb a building over one lost drone.  If the player himself is upset, explain to him that this is the consequences for his character's actions, and explain any frustration you might have with him going overboard and derailing a game.  Let the other players speak up as well, as I know if I was a player at that table, I'd be pissed that someone else had to screw everything up because their character's cheap, very very replaceable tool meant to be put in risky situations was found and disposed of.
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Jeeze.  It would almost sound stupid until you realize we're talking about an immortal elf clown sword fighting a dragon ghost in a mall.

farothel

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #2 on: (01:43:55/04-27-17) »
You can give him one last chance by having the Ork Chef beat him to within an inch of his life and then having Lone Star Show up (the others should be away by then) and arrest him.  The guy they were doing this for pulls a few strings and he gets off with only a criminal SIN.  That way he doesn't die, but he has a negative backlash from his actions as a criminal SIN is not fun.  You can also use this in future runs to keep him in line.  If he doesn't take it, then killing him is a perfectly viable option (Lone Star tend to have a 'shoot first, ask questions never' policy towards people who resist arrest).

Out of Character, I think since you mentioned you played mostly Pathfinder before, that this player is still in Pathfinder mode, where combat is quite different.  When the run is completed I would take out time for a feedback moment, asking all players what they think (both good points and bad) and give your own as well.  Maybe this player was expecting something else from the session and/or the system.  Since you guys are new to Shadowrun, which is not the easiest system to learn, having some feedback can enhance future games.  If the character died, he's pissed about it and you gave him a couple of chances, point these out to the player during the feedback.
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Jack_Spade

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #3 on: (03:33:17/04-27-17) »
Wow. Chugging grenades to where your friends are is a major dick move. That said: Never leave a chummer behind - not only is it bad for moral but you also risk him ratting you out. If you dump him afterwards into a river (concrete boots optional) is another topic.

That said: In our group we have established the rule that the GM asks you "Are you really sure you want to do that" if someone is about to do something really stupid/destructive/suicidal. If the answer is yes you aren't allowed to bitch about what follows, no matter what it is.

Now, you don't have to kill your player's chara. As farothel says, have him beat up to unconsciousness and depending on the situation let him be carried away for interrogation - either by the narcos or the cops. There are some nasty negative qualities you can get that way (and it would be a great way to enhance play by detailing the cook and turning him into a recuring nemesis).

Always remember, this game is supposed to be fun for everyone, but a bit of intense drama doesn't hurt as long as you play fair and give your players enough warning beforehand.
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farothel

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #4 on: (04:01:21/04-27-17) »
That said: In our group we have established the rule that the GM asks you "Are you really sure you want to do that" if someone is about to do something really stupid/destructive/suicidal. If the answer is yes you aren't allowed to bitch about what follows, no matter what it is.

I couldn't agree more.  While we have never stated it as such in our group, we do have a similar understanding.  As a GM I will never kill off a character because for just one (or a few) bad die rolls, but if they do something stupid and ignore any warnings (both the subtle and the blatant 'are you sure about this') then they reap what they sowed.

Another option to avoid this in the future is what my shadowrun GM did when we started playing it for the first time: give all players the 'common sense' positive quality for free.  He did that with every player who played shadowrun for the first time in order to be able to intervene in cases like this.  Then he could go 'your common sense tells you this might be a bad idea'.
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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #5 on: (05:46:10/04-27-17) »
firebug is absolutely right.  As I wrote for a PbP, 'you control your character; I control the entire rest of the world.'  He says it's perfectly In Character for him to do this?  Agree, and inform him ICA=ICC: In-Character Actions have In-Character Consequences.  He can only control himself, he can't control the world, nor can he control the other players.  Let THE PLAYER know that he's basically had the character self-destruct, and why doesn't he change a few technical details, a LOT of character details, but basically keep the same sheet and try again?  Because his ICA in this case are going to mean the character vanishing from the game, whether that's because the other characters won't run with him, Lone Star / Knight Errant are going to drag him off to jail, or he'll simply be killed.

Counsel him on how to obey Wheaton's Law, and not be a dick in the game; remind him that doing stupid shit is going to make him run through characters, and eventually exhaust the patience of the other players - that if he wants to play, he's going to have to play WITH them, not NEAR them.  That in Shadowrun, losing gear, blood, ammo, and far far more is not only a possibility, it's a requirement for success, and that he needs to understand that - and that if he can't, or won't, then he needs to find a different group to play Shadowrun with.
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Fix

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #6 on: (06:31:31/04-27-17) »
Thanks for all the replies, I see a lot of good advice here that gets me thinking.

Yeah, I probably should have brought in the "Are you really sure about that?" look before he did this. We were all getting a bit tired and it all went by so fast. I do agree I should've extended that olive branch of common sense to him.

"Hey, can I throw a grenade?"

"Uh, yeah, you can--"

"BOOOOM TIME!"

I have considered it from the point of view he may still be used to Pathfinder but even then I can't feel like its much of an excuse because it is so blatantly stupid. That game isn't anywhere near as lethal (in most campaigns) but I feel like this absolutely falls into the realm of the suicidally idiotic in any system unless your character is packing some high-end mojo by that point (which they definitely are not).

I'm going to try to talk to the guys before next game and hopefully see this somewhat resolved. He's in a crappy situation and the options are most likely getting either turned into shish kebob at worst or getting caught by Lone Star at best. With the latter he may get out to rejoin the team but I've got a bad feeling how well its going to hold together from that. I feel group integrity can be a fragile thing, especially when they feel they have to ignore the homicidal eccentricities of their team mate just because its a PC.

I could've done more to stop this madness, I'm used to seeing more common sense from my players unless they do have the muscle to deal with a crazy situation (and the affirmation beforehand they're willing to take the consequences). And, obviously, he could've been a whole lot less stupid. I'll have to chew over how much leniency is called for here.

MDMann

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #7 on: (11:17:17/04-27-17) »
An alternative is to have a quiet word with the player beforehand and see if he'd want to play with an ulterior motive that makes his actions less personally stupid, say as an undercover knight errant detective out to sabotage the opposition. It needs the right player and group to make it work and it doesn't improve his situation any but rationalises his motives.

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #8 on: (12:11:24/04-27-17) »
Do note that in the rules is the option for a character to permanently burn an edge point to escape what would otherwise be death.  It might be appropriate to make sure he knows about that rule at the start of the session, then carry on in a reasonable manner and let him invoke it if necessary?  (make sure to have some ideas on how he could have survived despite all of the odds).

Then he pays a price – in game currency – for what he did (lost edge point, worth however much karma to buy back).  Which probably matters in terms of group dynamics (he doesn’t get off with no consequences), and should no doubt stick in his mind.

Also, as others have said, discussion of the situation, with him, with the whole group, between him and the rest of the group … is probably a good thing.  Maybe he imagined his drones as essentially invisible spies and this was a big part of the fantasy for him, so having one spotted by what seemed to him ‘just a guy’ just seemed crazy – and combined with it being late/everyone being tired, he reacted crazy too?  ( I mean, what he did obviously made some sort of sense to him, so understanding how he saw things, such that those actions made sense to him, may help everyone feel better about what went down)

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #9 on: (15:08:56/04-27-17) »
"But I was acting in character!"
"Next time, make a smarter character."

Seriously, though, have a frank conversation with the players about your expectations for the game, and give everyone a free opportunity to re-tool their characters retroactively to fit the style of the campaign you want to play. Could be, some of them had the impression you'd be running a "pink mohawk" game, where others expect a "black trenchcoat" approach. Or vice versa. Talk about atmosphere in terms of movies and TV shows, and the sorts of things that characters can reasonably get away with. Ask your players to (re-)design their characters within certain boundaries that everyone can agree on, such as "No psycho mass-murderers, please."

Fix

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #10 on: (20:38:44/04-27-17) »
Thanks for the all the feedback.

I'm looking at the issue with a somewhat cooler head and mean to try give him some chance of getting away (but not for free) especially with the option of burning some edge for it. How he will be received by the gang after this remains an issue and we'll see how apologetic he will be on the matter. I hope to bring it up with the group proper come next week as of yet I've just lightly broached the subject with him and he seemed pretty quick to defend his actions.

I've been pretty clear on what style of game we're running and the approach of the vast majority of the group is indication enough for any such confusion to really exist. His thinking remains something of a mystery to me. I feel the continued integrity of this member of the team will hinge on how apologetic he is once he does get roasted (and probably mildly brutalized) for his actions.

Fix

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #11 on: (09:17:30/04-30-17) »
If anyone's still around for this thread, I had one final consideration in my mind.

Their job was always to shoot up the restaurant and cause enough of a noise for Lone Star to have a clean excuse to head on in. The guy was fine with casualties (no civilians), fine with some explosions, and they were even permitted to leave some dents in the damn place if they felt inclined. The only other restriction than ensuring no bystanders were killed is that the drug lab had to be left intact by both their hands and that of the staff. They wanted to bust the place, and the contact wanted the glory of proving and shutting down the operation.

They were still in the middle of recon to try and locate it by the time "BOOM TIME!" happened and they remain ignorant of it. The lab itself is tucked away in a storage room accessible through the kitchen meant to be rapidly disassembled in case of trouble. in the ensuing chaos two grenades were hurled into the kitchen, one by the rigger and one by the sammy. I see that as a very probable fire hazard.

And a very real chance the lab is going to be destroyed.

Should I go through with it? It would mean a failure on their second run and a setback in their ongoing investigation. And, perhaps of greater concern to me, likely even more shame piled on the rigger. It seems like a probable development from here and a valuable lesson to the whole team, but it is harsh.

Jack_Spade

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #12 on: (13:15:59/04-30-17) »
Don't hazard a guess, play it as it is and take the real damage values of the grenades into account.

Does the kitchen use natural gas to cook? If no the chance of a fire is relatively low.

Assuming he threw a HE grenade and it exploded 4m away from the wall/door in question, the damage would already have been reduced to DV 8 P AP-2
Average Material would have 8 dice (Structure 4, Armor 6) for defense and reduce the damage by another 2 or 3, after that the blast would peter out after 2 meters. Depending on the lab that might cause a bit of broken glass but all in all there shouldn't be too much damage.
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Fix

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #13 on: (14:41:47/04-30-17) »
Don't hazard a guess, play it as it is and take the real damage values of the grenades into account.

Does the kitchen use natural gas to cook? If no the chance of a fire is relatively low.

Assuming he threw a HE grenade and it exploded 4m away from the wall/door in question, the damage would already have been reduced to DV 8 P AP-2
Average Material would have 8 dice (Structure 4, Armor 6) for defense and reduce the damage by another 2 or 3, after that the blast would peter out after 2 meters. Depending on the lab that might cause a bit of broken glass but all in all there shouldn't be too much damage.

Good question. The grenade would've exploded amidst currently running kitchen equipment. Would natural gas be a wildly outdated method in this setting?

Jack_Spade

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Re: Player made a big mistake - damage control?
« Reply #14 on: (15:06:52/04-30-17) »
In a low level joint pretty sure.
Oil and natural Gas have reached peak production a few years before and are now much more expensive than using electricity.
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