I have always considered myself to be an open minded kind of guy. I don’t really judge….much, to each his own and different strokes for different folks etc…maybe this is born of listening to peoples problems day in and day out , or maybe it is something internal or dynamic that pushed me towards listening to peoples problems day in and day out and finding empathy and compassion when it is in short supply. Needless to say I am pretty unflappable and can easily go with the flow, but there was a situation the other week when I was DM’ing at Fan Expo that did give me a brief pause.
I don’t know what it is about the younger generation, maybe growing up sniping your buddies’ faces off in multiplayer death matches does something to you, but several of the younger pups at my tables took a very evil bent to their characters. But like I said I can roll with pretty much anything, so when there was the call to rid the town of the bandits thereby supplanting themselves as the new overlords..well that’s just enterprising, showing initiative, you know real go getters. When the bandits started a bar fight and were clearly doing non-lethal damage and they turn around and just slaughter them..well I guess sometimes you need to send a message that you’re not to be trifled with. But it was during one of the formulaic skill challenges that are standard fare for live play mods that I had a kid do something that almost left me speechless if you can believe that.
The rundown is that the bad dudes have set the town on fire and the heroes (and I say that loosely) need to organize the townsfolk to combat the fire. I am going around the table asking people what they want to do. I start with a veteran player so he can show the noobs how things are done. He doesn’t disappoint as he tells me he screams and yells at the peasants trying to shock them out of their complacency. This is exactly what I am looking for and I ask for an intimidate check, and were off to the races. Things are going smoothly until I get to this kid playing in his first game of D&D and rocking the Human Knight. He looks at me and asks if there are any dead bodies from the bandits they killed lying around. I answer yeah as my spider sense starts to tingle a little. Then he goes “well can I roast one in the fire and eat him?”…..I was like “what?….w-w-w-why why would you want to do that..like really why?” and he just smiled and shrugged. So I was like alright if you really want to dude dig in I guess. The grognard next to me leaned over and said that’s what happens when you remove alignment from the system. I also gave him a +10 bonus to intimidate checks for the rest of the session and told him that when the game was over we would be leaving from separate exits.
I know people have been playing evil pc’s since the dawn of D&D, illustrating that civilization is really a thin veneer at the best of times, but really come on man eating people, like wtf. Where is the inner voice whispering that maybe that’s not the thing to do at a public event with people you don’t know, or fuck how about ever?