DM Talks: Elf Lives Matter! OR, What do to when one player goes to sell another player’s character

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Elf Lives Matter

Blondie, the character portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the 1966 Sergio Leone film “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”, always puts on a good show. People have enjoyed that character so much that he has been replicated in book as well as roleplaying games. The later can be a bit problematic as Blonde’s character is anything but a team player. 

What to do when one of the player’s at your table uses him for inspiration? In this video, I go through some actual clips from my first game session with Doug Tenapel and his son, Ed. I’ve doing book 1 of The Witchfire Trilogy, the Longest Night. 

Humorously enough, this crazy situation came up because of a random encounter. As I decided to set the module in TSR’s Ravenloft setting, the characters are guarding a trade caravan which has to spend the night in the authoritarian kingdom of Falkovia. 

What the Rules Say

According to the Ravenloft boxed set, the laws of Falkovia treat demihumans as property that can be forcibly enslaved by the state if they are within the borders of Falkovia and otherwise unowned. This lead to a situation where Ed sought to sell his father’s elven character. 

Turns out, he was not totally cold hearted; he was following the example of Blondie. In the movie, Blondie hands in Tuco for the $2000 reward after gunning down 3 otherwise innocent folks who were attempting to do the same thing. Blondie later rescues Tuco from the hangman’s noose. 

A clever ploy to get the reward money. But perhaps harder to accomplish in a roleplaying game. For one thing, in the movie, if Tuco actually dies it not really a loss to Blondie. He got his money. And that shows us, the audience, how cold blooded Blondie is. 

Elf Lives Matter

What the Dungeon Master Has To Say

In the world of RPGs, have one character behave that callously towards another might engender some animosity between the group. Not the least of which is how the GM has to rule what happens to the character that just got handed off to certain death for profit. 

I was fortune in that they were all playing pre-generated characters in the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy system; each character came with the “Disadvantage” Sense of Duty (Adventuring Companions). Therefore, it was my duty to inform the players that they characters simply would not have taken that action. 

In most D&D settings, I can also imagine the DM discouraging such behavior with a forced alignment change and, possibly, simply throwing that character out of the mix. Now, those Old School Revivalist (OSR) players might have been more laissez-faire about it. The original D&D BX rules just had alignments of lawful, neutral or chaotic. So, in those cases, this may have been more of a crisis.  

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DM Talks: Elf Lives Matter! OR, What do to when one player goes to sell another player's character 1

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