"I should have killed the whole party right there."

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Panzerkraken

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I'm running Living Steel in the Free League T2kv4 system, with a mix of complete civilians and Army veterans in the play group acting in the capacity of the setting's Operational Team of, effectively, Special Forces, with me taking their relative experience or lack thereof into account and helping to feed them the right courses of action and TTPs to keep in reasonably sci-fi authentic.

In the setting, they were visiting a new local lord at his resort and had been shown a gracious time the day before, followed by a dinner event, and generally treated well. As a few were puttering around that morning they heard some gunfire too close in the distance, and becoming suspicious, started to gear up. Within minutes there's a knock at their suite door, and a security guard for the resort says "Excuse me, sir. There's been an incident, I've been sent to collect your weapons and bring you downstairs."

I thought that obvious adventure hook would be obvious and the party would either a) accede and go downstairs to find out what was up, or b) they would resist the disarming part until they received some kind of explanation. I did not expect when one of the actual vets yanked up his assault rifle, audibly charged it, and pointed it at the security guard yelling "You're not going to take my gun!"

What should have happened would be the normal reaction for bodyguard/security person who was shaken up over dealing with a kidnapping/extraction of the local lord by another armed force who was tasked with bringing these strangers down to talk to the security chief but found them fully armed and armored in their suite: The guy should have fallen back, bringing his SMG up and yelling "They're part of it!", and the player in question would have shot him with the AR. Building security would have responded in force, and while the PCs are good compared to them, there's over 100 security personnel, and there were machinegun nests covering the kill zone from the building to the woods outside. They wouldn't have gotten away.

Instead I had the security guard ask the guy who he'd been talking to "Can you make him stop that?! I'm just talking here." and then retreated to call his superior in, who was suitably indignant about a perfectly reasonable request regardless of the current emergency and pointed out in full hearing of the entire group that he thought he was dealing with professional Soldiers but was revising that opinion based on the Team's actions. Eventually, the adventure continued.

Afterwards, my wife (a player and also one of the other Vets at the table) railed at me in private for about an hour on ROE violations and how she wished she had thought fast enough to have the right reaction to it (something along the lines of yelling at him not to mess up their Key Leader Engagement) and also about how they spend more time teaching you that you're NOT allowed to point your weapon at stuff than they do teaching you TO point it.

In any case, the adventure went off the rest of the way and they were successful in rescuing the Noble from the extraction team, but honestly.. I almost feel bad for not killing the whole party to remind that guy that one person's undisciplined actions can mess up an entire operation.
 

Lychee of the Exchequer

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I infer from your post that there was at your gaming table a group composed of real-life military veterans and real-life civilians, the whole lot of them engaged in a military Scifi adventure . Am I right, or am I hopelessly confused :-) ?

And what are TTPs ?
 

Ladybird

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I'm running Living Steel in the Free League T2kv4 system, with a mix of complete civilians and Army veterans in the play group acting in the capacity of the setting's Operational Team of, effectively, Special Forces, with me taking their relative experience or lack thereof into account and helping to feed them the right courses of action and TTPs to keep in reasonably sci-fi authentic.

In the setting, they were visiting a new local lord at his resort and had been shown a gracious time the day before, followed by a dinner event, and generally treated well. As a few were puttering around that morning they heard some gunfire too close in the distance, and becoming suspicious, started to gear up. Within minutes there's a knock at their suite door, and a security guard for the resort says "Excuse me, sir. There's been an incident, I've been sent to collect your weapons and bring you downstairs."

I thought that obvious adventure hook would be obvious and the party would either a) accede and go downstairs to find out what was up, or b) they would resist the disarming part until they received some kind of explanation. I did not expect when one of the actual vets yanked up his assault rifle, audibly charged it, and pointed it at the security guard yelling "You're not going to take my gun!"

What should have happened would be the normal reaction for bodyguard/security person who was shaken up over dealing with a kidnapping/extraction of the local lord by another armed force who was tasked with bringing these strangers down to talk to the security chief but found them fully armed and armored in their suite: The guy should have fallen back, bringing his SMG up and yelling "They're part of it!", and the player in question would have shot him with the AR. Building security would have responded in force, and while the PCs are good compared to them, there's over 100 security personnel, and there were machinegun nests covering the kill zone from the building to the woods outside. They wouldn't have gotten away.

Instead I had the security guard ask the guy who he'd been talking to "Can you make him stop that?! I'm just talking here." and then retreated to call his superior in, who was suitably indignant about a perfectly reasonable request regardless of the current emergency and pointed out in full hearing of the entire group that he thought he was dealing with professional Soldiers but was revising that opinion based on the Team's actions. Eventually, the adventure continued.

Afterwards, my wife (a player and also one of the other Vets at the table) railed at me in private for about an hour on ROE violations and how she wished she had thought fast enough to have the right reaction to it (something along the lines of yelling at him not to mess up their Key Leader Engagement) and also about how they spend more time teaching you that you're NOT allowed to point your weapon at stuff than they do teaching you TO point it.
Presumably your PC's aren't a part of the same military unit that your wife was, so would operate under a different set of RoE's. But frankly, this sounds like a discussion for Rifle Guy's IC superior to have at him; given that your party were all trained soldiers and have ears, I don't think finding them armoured up would necessarily set off alarm bells, but pointing a gun at someone especially under the circumstances probably not a good move.

(I'd also probably take being told "I've been sent to collect your weapons and bring you downstairs" to mean "carrying your guns yourself is fine", especially in a situation where they might reasonably be expected to defend themselves, but that's just me.)
 

Ravenswing

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In short, there was a player who didn't react the way you wanted him to do, and who didn't have your first-person omniscient viewpoint as to the true difficulty of the situation: the "100 security personnel" and machine gun nests weren't, from your account, in their faces right at that moment. So, in consequence, you're regretting not killing EVERYone off because one guy balked at following your preordained plot. Do I have that right?

Leaving aside that even as I type, there's a GM out there cackling on some forum somewhere, "I got a bunch of complete idiots as players, I got one mook guard to sucker them disarm all into disarming, so the Big Bad butchered them like sheep, hahahahaha," and that "veteran" runs the gamut from Rangers in Afghanistan to stateside military police to weekend warrior to file-clerk-in-uniform to base RTO to being a fire control CPO on the New Jersey (that being the spread among my own players, over the years +), dude. C'mon. People react different ways to different things and different situations. They are neither guaranteed to react the way you would if you were on the other side of the dice, and if you require that they do so, that's on you to communicate the same.

Teaching people how you expect things to work around your table seems to be what you did, in a low-key fashion. Fair enough. That's neither worth regretting now, nor worth an hour's worth of ranting over it.

+ - Bizarrely enough, while I've never served, other than the aforementioned Army Ranger, I've been under more gunfire than any of my military veteran players.
 

Panzerkraken

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In short, there was a player who didn't react the way you wanted him to do, and who didn't have your first-person omniscient viewpoint as to the true difficulty of the situation: the "100 security personnel" and machine gun nests weren't, from your account, in their faces right at that moment. So, in consequence, you're regretting not killing EVERYone off because one guy balked at following your preordained plot. Do I have that right?

I suppose that IS an interpretation of it. Would you say that his reaction was a normal one? It didn't seem like it to me.

Leaving aside that even as I type, there's a GM out there cackling on some forum somewhere, "I got a bunch of complete idiots as players, I got one mook guard to sucker them disarm all into disarming, so the Big Bad butchered them like sheep, hahahahaha," and that "veteran" runs the gamut from Rangers in Afghanistan to stateside military police to weekend warrior to file-clerk-in-uniform to base RTO to being a fire control CPO on the New Jersey (that being the spread among my own players, over the years +), dude. C'mon. People react different ways to different things and different situations. They are neither guaranteed to react the way you would if you were on the other side of the dice, and if you require that they do so, that's on you to communicate the same.

Teaching people how you expect things to work around your table seems to be what you did, in a low-key fashion. Fair enough. That's neither worth regretting now, nor worth an hour's worth of ranting over it.

+ - Bizarrely enough, while I've never served, other than the aforementioned Army Ranger, I've been under more gunfire than any of my military veteran players.

I wasn't trying to list all their stats as veterans, but the Rifle Guy was Army Signal for 6 years, 2 rotations to Iraq, and my wife was Army PSYOP for 5 years, 2 times to AFG. Since Army Active Duty PSYOP are all SOF, it's been interesting for me to see the differences between her reactions to military-adjacent scenarios versus his, the focus we had on Irregular Warfare in PSYOP does paint a different understanding of a given situation.

In further overall explanation, I wasn't really complaining about the situation, it was more unexpected and I was coming in here to share the thought of "man, when the players go off the reservation it can go really badly" because I had to take a moment away from the table to think about if I should have that security detail respond logically (as in badly for the PCs) or not. My wife was the one who was up until 1 am being bothered by it.
 

Panzerkraken

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I infer from your post that there was at your gaming table a group composed of real-life military veterans and real-life civilians, the whole lot of them engaged in a military Scifi adventure . Am I right, or am I hopelessly confused :-) ?

And what are TTPs ?
You're correct in your inference. TTPs stands for Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, and is military jargon for "the way we do stuff," although different from Standard Operating Procedures in the sense that they're not necessarily written down (an SOP is a document).
 

AsenRG

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First, I think that you did the right thing IC. I mean, didn't the guard know he would be shot by an AR-15 if he fell back yelling? I suppose he could evaluate that much...
Under the situation, why wouldn't he try and deescalate...as you did?

Second, OOC, I'd ask the other veterans to have A Talk with the guy. He'd probably take it better from them than from you, my hunch says. (But first, tell your wife to cool off as well...gently, but firmly:tongue:. Her ranting over it wouldn't help, either - though obviously she knows not to do that in front of him, cooling down before a talk is still a good idea).

Last but not least, no, I don't think you failed. A time-consuming battle followed by TPK just to show a single guy not to lose his cool? There's consequences, and then there's going overboard, IMO:thumbsup:.
 

Lychee of the Exchequer

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Thanks for the TTP explanation.

My take on the Rifle Guy is that he acted like a typical roleplayer in a game where you play hard-asses character - quite literally : "You are NOT going to take my gun !"

I've acted the same way in a number of occasions, and it was fun !... That... or I've got the military mindset down to a pat ! (not likely, although I served for a year as an armorer in the (compulsory) military training in my own country [I kick ass too, my man :-D].

It is possible that the... design goals... of your Living Steel game is not equally clear to each and every one of your players. Is it supposed to emulate hardcore "solderiering" or a John Carpenter movie (my age, it shows !) ? Or more probably something in between ?

Reading your post it seems to me that your wife hasn't quite the same expectations about your game than Rifle Guy.

Personnaly, aside from the design goals point of view, the most important question to me as a GM remains : "Did everyone had fun at my table ?" And being killed halfway in the scenario by an armed mook doesn't seem very fun to me (unless you're into that kind of instantly lethal game, of course). So I would say you did right by letting Rifle Guy off the hook.
 

Ravenswing

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My take on the Rifle Guy is that he acted like a typical roleplayer in a game where you play hard-asses character - quite literally : "You are NOT going to take my gun !"

+1. A great many players work on that paradigm. A great many campaigns work on that paradigm. (And, honestly, a great many real life battlefield situations have worked on that paradigm, where inducing soldiers to surrender and disarm is the prelude to their massacre.)

Would I have handed my gun over? Dunno. I can think of a time or three where I've had characters refuse. Depends, as many such things do, on my perception of the character, of the milieu, of the campaign, of the GM. Have you had a Session Zero where you've talked over expectations with your players? Sounds like the sort of thing such a chat might cover.
 

CRKrueger

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Well, there’s not surrendering your weapon, and there’s pulling your gun on the security forces of a warlord you’re supposed to be dealing with.

One is acceptable, one is pants-on-head idiotic.

How the security guard should have reacted depends on the nature of the warlord and the professionalism of the forces under their command. I don’t know enough about the situation or what the security guard knew about the opposition to have an opinion on that.
 

Panzerkraken

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Well, there’s not surrendering your weapon, and there’s pulling your gun on the security forces of a warlord you’re supposed to be dealing with.

One is acceptable, one is pants-on-head idiotic.

How the security guard should have reacted depends on the nature of the warlord and the professionalism of the forces under their command. I don’t know enough about the situation or what the security guard knew about the opposition to have an opinion on that.
In order to contextualize it I'd have to spend an hour if you were sitting in front of me. It's a VERY dynamic scenario with moving parts that the players had to juggle a bit, but which came off in the end with their taking part in a small unit hostage rescue of that Lord.

I actually just came back from my thrice-weekly walk with Rifle Guy's player, and in retrospect he said he somehow slipped into Shadowrun mode and acknowledged that something like just chambering a round without actually aiming his weapon would have been a more appropriate response than actually pointing the weapon. The game didn't implode over it, so I can get ready for them to have a planning session next time to determine how (or if) they want to respond to the warlord who staged the attack.

As an aside for anyone who's planning on working with Twilight 2000, I had good success with pulling a snapshot from Google Maps, desaturating it in GIMP, overlaying a hex grid in the same, then having Staples print out a 36"x48" sheet for about $7.50. Because I could control the scale of the picture I was able to get the hexes to just the right 10m scale, and it was a great time running the fight. I don't plan on doing it for every firefight they have (I'm planning on using Battletech maps for random sites) but for a few important sites I don't mind a little investment, and the giant map was great to use. The hexes in the pic are 0.6" across.
 

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xanther

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If they let them come into the resort fully armed and equipped why now collect their guns? Also if you are a warlord, I assume you are about enforcing and not just trusting people will do what you say because they are "professionals." Aren't these people pretty much murders and thieves, it may be a velvet fist but still they get by in life by the fist not consent.

When I run places where you need to leave you weapons out side or to meet the boss...you can say no. Fair enough step aside, or you don't get to meet the boss, please leave. Such places would definitively have some security in place in case someone tries to barge in anyway with a weapon.

One compromise, that would think would be typical, is you just leave your weapons behind with one of the party and the rest go in...vey typical.

My players balk all the time of leaving weapons at the door, their usually as to be clear in setting info they know where it is OK and the norm...people do it all the time without getting killed.

It seems like you let plot, override a living, breathing setting. The plot was they were to acquiesce, but in a "real" setting a warlord isn't going to have an armed squad of military types in his midst without a close, easy to go to back-up plan should they turn out to be assassins. Also, one needs to be ready in my mind to just through the whole pre-planned adventure out the window.

So they don't want to leave their weapons behind. Fine they don't meet the warlord, don't get the mission, then ask them what they want to do now. Or just the one guy has to stay behind and can watch the gear.

I see this as the hallmark problem of running an adventure where players must get to certain scene for things to advance. Sure it is inherent and necessary in a computer game, but in table top just a recipe for stripping players of agency. Every step in the order of operations that assumes players will (and must) do x so y can happen is a step where things can go off the rails...best to get rid of the rails to begin with and at most think of the top three reactions (maybe a bit of prep for those) but otherwise "narrative sandbox" it. :smile:
 

CRKrueger

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In order to contextualize it I'd have to spend an hour if you were sitting in front of me. It's a VERY dynamic scenario with moving parts that the players had to juggle a bit, but which came off in the end with their taking part in a small unit hostage rescue of that Lord.

I actually just came back from my thrice-weekly walk with Rifle Guy's player, and in retrospect he said he somehow slipped into Shadowrun mode and acknowledged that something like just chambering a round without actually aiming his weapon would have been a more appropriate response than actually pointing the weapon. The game didn't implode over it, so I can get ready for them to have a planning session next time to determine how (or if) they want to respond to the warlord who staged the attack.

As an aside for anyone who's planning on working with Twilight 2000, I had good success with pulling a snapshot from Google Maps, desaturating it in GIMP, overlaying a hex grid in the same, then having Staples print out a 36"x48" sheet for about $7.50. Because I could control the scale of the picture I was able to get the hexes to just the right 10m scale, and it was a great time running the fight. I don't plan on doing it for every firefight they have (I'm planning on using Battletech maps for random sites) but for a few important sites I don't mind a little investment, and the giant map was great to use. The hexes in the pic are 0.6" across.
Right, I get that, but all I really need to know is was the opposition still on the premises and if not, did the security guy know that, and what is their professional level. If he knew the opposition had gone, with the warlord, then the PCs being part of it wouldn’t make much sense. A professional soldier/security guard would probably have reacted as you had him react, perhaps with calling for backup. However, due to the current crisis, I doubt a sec guard would call for backup unless he really thought the PCs were involved, or they had crossed into actual violent action.

In any case, I wouldn’t punish the players for being idiots or for not following the obvious plot hook, because I prefer to have the setting operate as the setting would operate, if that ends up in a TPK, so be it.

I was in a similar situation once, in a TNE game, there was a Mad-Max style warlord in charge of the only working Spaceport, and our group was trying to get up to a space station. Our meeting with the Warlord was going well until one of the players started giving attitude and played the hardass, essentially daring the Warlord to start shit. Considering the number of armed guards with assault rifles currently pointed at our group, and the look on the Warlord/GMs face, I had my PC, who had moved behind the jackass, draw a pistol and put a bullet behind his ear.

After dropping the gun and putting up my hands, I apologized to the Warlord for that guys‘ disrespect, and hoped that he wouldn’t hold that against us. He had some guards take the corpse away, and we got down to dealing.

The player who’s PC got killed wasn’t happy, everyone else was very happy, because they saw that TPK coming a mile away, just like I did.
 

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Without knowing the rest of the game situation, it nevertheless strikes me that probably:

* The guard who was threatened, and most people he talked to about it, would likely now have the PC who pointed the gun pegged as someone who might point a gun again, or shoot someone. And that would reflect on all that PC's companions, for being with someone who points guns like that.

* The local lord and his tactical advisors would all get an IQ (or appropriate skill) check to consider that it's damned suspicious that this group was here during the abduction, and that they then immediately managed to rescue the lord without getting killed, and that might add up to them being a plant, to try to infiltrate the organization for whatever purpose. That they were able to pull it off means they are either very dangerous and need to be watched and countered, and/or they were allowed to succeed because someone wants them to win the lord's trust.

* For both reasons, it seems like the group might end up being closely watched/guarded/countered by the lord's men, and also possibly used for highly risky and deniable missions which might take advantage of their abilities while also possibly getting them killed off.
 

AsenRG

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Without knowing the rest of the game situation, it nevertheless strikes me that probably:

* The guard who was threatened, and most people he talked to about it, would likely now have the PC who pointed the gun pegged as someone who might point a gun again, or shoot someone. And that would reflect on all that PC's companions, for being with someone who points guns like that.

* The local lord and his tactical advisors would all get an IQ (or appropriate skill) check to consider that it's damned suspicious that this group was here during the abduction, and that they then immediately managed to rescue the lord without getting killed, and that might add up to them being a plant, to try to infiltrate the organization for whatever purpose. That they were able to pull it off means they are either very dangerous and need to be watched and countered, and/or they were allowed to succeed because someone wants them to win the lord's trust.

* For both reasons, it seems like the group might end up being closely watched/guarded/countered by the lord's men, and also possibly used for highly risky and deniable missions which might take advantage of their abilities while also possibly getting them killed off.
Apart for the matter of maps, we're indeed from the same Refereeing school, you and I:grin:!
 

Ladybird

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I was in a similar situation once, in a TNE game, there was a Mad-Max style warlord in charge of the only working Spaceport, and our group was trying to get up to a space station. Our meeting with the Warlord was going well until one of the players started giving attitude and played the hardass, essentially daring the Warlord to start shit. Considering the number of armed guards with assault rifles currently pointed at our group, and the look on the Warlord/GMs face, I had my PC, who had moved behind the jackass, draw a pistol and put a bullet behind his ear.

After dropping the gun and putting up my hands, I apologized to the Warlord for that guys‘ disrespect, and hoped that he wouldn’t hold that against us. He had some guards take the corpse away, and we got down to dealing.

The player who’s PC got killed wasn’t happy, everyone else was very happy, because they saw that TPK coming a mile away, just like I did.
He fucked around, and he found out.

(Personally I'd have warned him first, so as to not give the warlord the impression that we're a group that regularly doublecrosses folk we work with, but some people only speak 9mm.)
 

arjunstc

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(I'd also probably take being told "I've been sent to collect your weapons and bring you downstairs" to mean "carrying your guns yourself is fine", especially in a situation where they might reasonably be expected to defend themselves, but that's just me.)

So my old unit was "old school", before "civilian-military relationship" was a thing. Their mission was always: march there, cursing and swearing at the load they have to carry, and then taking it out on the guys who made them have to march all the way there, take their trenches, and then try to kill anyone who try to take them back. On one of our last exercise cycles we were made to join an exercise with one of the new series of battalions who were learning how to manage "displaced persons". The new battalion took over the exercise village, and asked our guys to "secure" one of the apartment blocks, by which they meant to make sure there are no enemy combatants, weapons, IEDs etc. still in the block.

Our guys went in and shot everyone they saw.

True story.

=

Anyway, in a recent game where the PCs are crew of a starship, one of the younger players (who hasn't undergone military service) took a potshot at an alien bird after the order to "cease fire" was given by the superior officer. I couldn't really fault him even though that would have been a serious offence in-game.

I feel a lot of times these things happen because of assumption clashes. The player assumes what they did was viable based on the genre trope, when in reality the GM has a different understanding of how things work in his setting. Unless I am sure the player is taking the piss just to ruin the experience for everyone, I usually pause the game, and do the "are you sure you want to do that?". After that it's fair game.
 

AsenRG

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So my old unit was "old school", before "civilian-military relationship" was a thing. Their mission was always: march there, cursing and swearing at the load they have to carry, and then taking it out on the guys who made them have to march all the way there, take their trenches, and then try to kill anyone who try to take them back. On one of our last exercise cycles we were made to join an exercise with one of the new series of battalions who were learning how to manage "displaced persons". The new battalion took over the exercise village, and asked our guys to "secure" one of the apartment blocks, by which they meant to make sure there are no enemy combatants, weapons, IEDs etc. still in the block.

Our guys went in and shot everyone they saw.

True story.
Well, trench warfare has major differences with fighting in the middle of a village, I'd assume. Like, were your guys even taught how to deal with non-combatants being around? (I wouldn't expect anyone in a trench to be a non-combatant:shade:).

Anyway, in a recent game where the PCs are crew of a starship, one of the younger players (who hasn't undergone military service) took a potshot at an alien bird after the order to "cease fire" was given by the superior officer. I couldn't really fault him even though that would have been a serious offence in-game.

I feel a lot of times these things happen because of assumption clashes. The player assumes what they did was viable based on the genre trope, when in reality the GM has a different understanding of how things work in his setting. Unless I am sure the player is taking the piss just to ruin the experience for everyone, I usually pause the game, and do the "are you sure you want to do that?". After that it's fair game.
And that sounds like a good solution to me, though it risks pulling everyone out of immersion:thumbsup:.
 

arjunstc

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Well, trench warfare has major differences with fighting in the middle of a village, I'd assume. Like, were your guys even taught how to deal with non-combatants being around? (I wouldn't expect anyone in a trench to be a non-combatant:shade:).

That's the thing: we didn't understand the lessons. Somehow Division decided it wanted the old dog to learn new tricks on its final two years - and mind you, this was one of the fightingest battalions in the orbat.

So we were given a crash course of CMR, rules of engagement (previously the only rule was to shoot before you got shot).

On one of the exercises our convoy got stopped by "civilians" who got rowdy. One of the civilians actually reached into a vehicle and grabbed a soldier's rifle and the poor guy didn't know how to react. Come to think of it that will be a good situation to put my players through the next game...
 

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I feel a lot of times these things happen because of assumption clashes. The player assumes what they did was viable based on the genre trope, when in reality the GM has a different understanding of how things work in his setting.

Well, yeah. How many times in literature or in cinema does the protagonist OBEY the order of the superior officer to stand down, and how often does that work out? How many times, by contrast, does the protagonist defy those orders, save the day thereby, and thus is Proven To Be A Hero, while the superior officer is revealed to be either a wimp, a coward, a traitor, a clueless weekend warrior, someone whose nerves are shot, or all of the above?

People don't play these games to be wimps, cowards, traitors or clueless. They do it for the most part to be heroes.

Heck, I've just remembered my own similar incident. It was a FASA Star Trek game, and proved the campaign's only session. For the most part people played two characters: someone in the bridge/engineering crew, and someone on the standard away team. I was one of the two exceptions: my character was the Chief of Security, and then there was the Captain.

Our mission was that the Federation had found Space Battleship Yamato, derelict in space, and I was leading the prize crew. Except that oops, the Klingons had shown up too, had their own prize crew, disruptors blazing and all. And upon our first fatality, I snarled something like fuck the 1960s TOS rules of engagement, set phasers to kill. And by the bye, folks, I know the wave motion gun isn't operable, but let's get a lock-on for the secondary batteries for the D7, okay? No, I didn't have time to listen to the Captain screaming about the statutory ROE. Time for a nice serving of klingons-n-bits. I recall the Klingons went into panicked retreat.
 

AsenRG

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"An opportunity to add a funny picture", was my take on it:thumbsup:!

You did well, BTW. I might have used a pistol whip first, but then I'm soft like that:shade:!
 

AsenRG

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Pistol-whipping can still use a Colt, if desired:grin:!
 

hawkeyefan

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So would anyone here, if they were the GM in the scenario described, stop at the moment the player raised his weapon, and kind of have a "are you sure?" moment?

Everyone seems so gung ho to hold the player to his decision, but when something like this happens in games I've been a part of, very often there's a mismatch of understanding and/or expectations on the part of the GM and the player. And since the player's understanding and grasp of the scenario and the setting comes from the GM, then any deficiency there is at least partially the GM's fault.

I would have said "Whoa are you sure you'd want to escalate things like that? Remember there are...." and remind him of the situation and then ask if he wants to proceed or do something else.
 

Ravenswing

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It's a great deal less effective playing over Discord, as I've had to do in these COVID times, but my longstanding habit in such cases is to lean back in my chair, stretch my legs out, steeple my fingers, and touch the steepled fingertips to my lips. Just about invariably the room hushes -- the player in my campaign with the least experience in it started with me in 2003 -- everyone turns to stare at me, and I murmur, "So that's what you're doing, eh?" with the unspoken caveat, "... and what you're doing is amazingly stupid."

I very seldom resort to it. I don't think I've had more than once in the last four years. The scenario presented here would not likely provoke me to do it.

A situation where the characters should know the score, but the players might not, I resort to two things. The first is a simple roll: Savoir-Faire, Streetwise, Heraldry, whatever fits the purported knowledge. That's the uniform of the Imperial Guard: draw on her at your peril. That's the well-known vestments and trappings of the Archprelate of Mitra: don't spit in his face. The guy you're insulting that the people around are calling "Your Radiance?" Yeah, that's the term of respect for the bleeding High King of the Elves -- just in case you wanted to know.

The second is an element I call the "viewpoint NPC." To quote myself, you're not really standing in Swordpoint Ravine, looking up at the ruined tower on top of the cliff, ankle deep in the late spring mountain snow. You're in my living room, balancing dice and your laptop with a plate of pizza and a can of DC. You're not going to recall, instinctively, that your character has a loop of rope over your shoulder and is carrying a heavy packload. You're not in a position to perceive, instinctively, that it's getting pretty damn cold, you're above treeline and you've only got two hours of light left. You may have forgotten that your pal over there (excuse me, your pal's character), in the fall that happened an hour ago game time -- but, in real life, happened at the last gaming session two weeks ago -- has a wrenched shoulder.

I like, therefore, to have a viewpoint NPC. He or she's almost always a grunt fighter, generally self-effacing; they're not brains or problem solvers. The V-NPC is there to contribute editorial comment that would be painfully obvious to adventurers on the ground, less so to gamers on my living room couch, and without me having to break into third-person omniscient. "Sorry, boss, but I don't like it. Arkis can't put his full weight on his shoulder, it'll be full dark before we'll be more than halfway up that wall, and the wind's picking up something fierce. Want me to start pitching camp?"

So maybe, in this scenario, I'd want instead to have a grunt NPC associated with the group, staring slack jawed and with a decided WTF-dude? look on his face. Less intrusive than "are you sure?"
 

AsenRG

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So would anyone here, if they were the GM in the scenario described, stop at the moment the player raised his weapon, and kind of have a "are you sure?" moment?
I probably would have, if I thought about it in time. Forgetting to warn the players OOC is something I'm sometimes guilty of.
So maybe I wouldn't have done so immediately, but if the problem persisted - like if he'd decided to press his side of the matter - I'd have probably stopped, explaining that I'm pausing the time before he does the final action, and ask him "are you sure you really want to do that in this situation":smile:.

Also, a "viewpoint NPC" is something I strive to have, though it's seldom the same one, to prevent the players catching up to it:wink:.
Inspired by GURPS, however, I call it "spreading the cost of the Common Sense Advantage between NPCs":shade:!
 

chuckdee

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Kill him or have the Warlord kill everyone. I guess all non-Franks let the entire party sacrifice themselves for one guy's stupidity. :thumbsup:
Oh there are other approaches other than killing him that don't end up with the Warlord killing the party. That's just one of the most efficient and straightforward.
 

Ravenswing

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Also, a "viewpoint NPC" is something I strive to have, though it's seldom the same one, to prevent the players catching up to it.
Inspired by GURPS, however, I call it "spreading the cost of the Common Sense Advantage between NPCs"

Usually the VNPC is a sidekick or bodyguard to one of the PCs (and often through the player taking the Ally advantage). The one in the linked blog post is the longest-running example; the current one is a skinny 15-yr-old girl who's been trained as an assassin and is the lackey of the noble duelist/quasi-party leader.

But while people solicit the VNPC's opinions from time to time, outside their areas of expertise, they can be wrong, mistaken or misguided. (WITHIN those areas, it's still a die roll!) "Only two hours of light left, boss" or "Umm, boss, you left the box with the healing potions back at the camp with Naghan, remember?" can be relied upon. "Do I think we can take them? Uhh, I guess," less so.
 

CRKrueger

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Oh there are other approaches other than killing him that don't end up with the Warlord killing the party. That's just one of the most efficient and straightforward.
Says the guy who wasn’t there.
 
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Skarg

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Well, yeah. How many times in literature or in cinema does the protagonist OBEY the order of the superior officer to stand down, and how often does that work out? How many times, by contrast, does the protagonist defy those orders, save the day thereby, and thus is Proven To Be A Hero, while the superior officer is revealed to be either a wimp, a coward, a traitor, a clueless weekend warrior, someone whose nerves are shot, or all of the above?

People don't play these games to be wimps, cowards, traitors or clueless. They do it for the most part to be heroes.
Well, they missed the crucial part about the hero having a very good reason, not just defying orders and shooting things because it seems cool to them.

The way I tend to interrupt a player, is to not just say "are you sure you want to do that?", but to say something like, "your PC knows that if they do that, and can't prove they had an excellent reason for disobeying orders, they will likely be courtmartialed and/or shot by their own commander... are you sure he wants to do that?"

Heck, I've just remembered my own similar incident. It was a FASA Star Trek game, and proved the campaign's only session. For the most part people played two characters: someone in the bridge/engineering crew, and someone on the standard away team. I was one of the two exceptions: my character was the Chief of Security, and then there was the Captain.

Our mission was that the Federation had found Space Battleship Yamato, derelict in space, and I was leading the prize crew. Except that oops, the Klingons had shown up too, had their own prize crew, disruptors blazing and all. And upon our first fatality, I snarled something like fuck the 1960s TOS rules of engagement, set phasers to kill. And by the bye, folks, I know the wave motion gun isn't operable, but let's get a lock-on for the secondary batteries for the D7, okay? No, I didn't have time to listen to the Captain screaming about the statutory ROE. Time for a nice serving of klingons-n-bits. I recall the Klingons went into panicked retreat.
Seems to me TOS used lethal force against Klingons and other hostiles more often than not, no?
 

Ravenswing

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Well, they missed the crucial part about the hero having a very good reason, not just defying orders and shooting things because it seems cool to them.

Depends on your POV. The hero always has a good reason ... but then that's the way the author invariably writes it, isn't it? Even in the cases where the protagonist's defiance ends badly, how often does the author write it that his/her motives are screwy? Other than the story being a training montage, ever?

That being said, we all know that not one player in a hundred will concede that his character's actions or motives -- however screwy -- are unjustified. Rifle Guy in Panzerkraken's OP came as close as anyone ever does. But even with that, "going into Shadowrun mode" sets forth the premise that there's a milieu in which such responses are not merely justified, but standard.
 

chuckdee

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Drive-by meme mockers never want to back up their points and talk about what they were trying to say when called to account. Why is that? :devil:
Maybe because you're taking it too much to heart? I already said I wasn't mocking your choice- you chose to take it hard. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And back it up how? You said, "Says the person that wasn't there." That wasn't an engagement nor an invitation to back anything up. But don't let context get in the way of a good rant...
 

Panzerkraken

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Depends on your POV. The hero always has a good reason ... but then that's the way the author invariably writes it, isn't it? Even in the cases where the protagonist's defiance ends badly, how often does the author write it that his/her motives are screwy? Other than the story being a training montage, ever?

That being said, we all know that not one player in a hundred will concede that his character's actions or motives -- however screwy -- are unjustified. Rifle Guy in Panzerkraken's OP came as close as anyone ever does. But even with that, "going into Shadowrun mode" sets forth the premise that there's a milieu in which such responses are not merely justified, but standard.

I would say that there are. In the Barrens of Shadowrun or the Combat Zone in CP2020 that kind of response would be expected. This particular game though, falls into the Post Apocalyptic Sci Fi Pol/Mil situational where the players are all 150-years out-of-time professional Soldier Paladins from a fallen idealistic kingdom trying to restore order and keep as many people alive as possible in the face of an alien invasion milieu.

Overall, I agree that there's a time and place for Violence and Quickness of Action, but that wasn't the right spot, and if Rifle Guy had, in fact, shot the guard, I certainly wouldn't have held back. As it was, there was enough there to salvage the scenario and let the players move past it. My internal plan right now is to have it come up in in-character discussion next session; I don't want them to think that the people have just forgotten it, but there's going to be a bit of leeway given because the group DID just rescue that Warlord from kidnappers. They're not pure gold in his eyes, but they do have a nice plating.
 

CRKrueger

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Maybe because you're taking it too much to heart? I already said I wasn't mocking your choice- you chose to take it hard. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And back it up how? You said, "Says the person that wasn't there." That wasn't an engagement nor an invitation to back anything up. But don't let context get in the way of a good rant...
Sure it was. You said quite confidently “Oh there are other approaches other than killing him that don't end up with the Warlord killing the party.” as if you were the GM playing the Warlord and actually knew that. If it wasn’t clear, I was pointing out that you weren’t sitting at that table, playing that game, so declaring such was specious at best.

But...that’s kind of the point isn’t it? Short, drive by, sarcastic comments don’t really get much of a point across, and can be taken a variety of ways, which is usually their intent, a way to get a shot in with plausible deniability.

So, you want to tell me all the other approaches that would have worked?
 
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