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Raellus 01-15-2021 04:22 PM

GM/Player Style: Grey Areas & Red Lines
 
Recent discussion in the Child Soldiers thread got me thinking about other moral quandaries, grey areas, red lines, etc. that I've encountered as both a player and GM. I'm curious about your approaches/responses to difficult moral/ethical dilemmas, both as a player and as a GM.

Post-apocalyptic fiction tends to address the question of what one might encounter when civilization breaks down. How will people behave- especially, how would basically good people react to bad situations. As a GM, I like to challenge my players' expectations and decision-making, but there are limits to how far I will push things. As a player, I want to be challenged. I want to be forced to make difficult decisions, and then RP through the fallout of those tough choices. I don't want everything to be Grimdark all the time, but for me, if it ain't gritty, it ain't T2k.

That said, I tend to play "good guy" PCs, and I prefer running games for same- i.e. people that try hard to do the right thing, who err on the side of mercy and altruism, even if it might cost them personally or professionally. That said, as a student of war, I know that soldiers through the centuries have fought primarily to preserve the lives of their buddies, so if the choice is between saving a friend, or a foe, or an innocent bystander, I am OK with the choice to save the friend.

As a player, I have a few red lines. One is executing unarmed prisoners. I'm not interested in sharing space with bloody-minded people. Another is rape. If another player attempted to rape a character (it doesn't matter if it's a PC or NPC), I'm out. I don't want to play with rapists, even pretend ones. If I was the GM and a PC attempted rape, I would boot them without warning. Torture is also something that makes me uncomfortable as both a player and a Ref.

In the first T2k I ever played in- a PbP Refed by KC Dusk- a fellow player wanted to execute an unarmed prisoner. My PC protested, and the other player (old timers on this forum probably wouldn't be surprised if I mentioned his name) pistol-whipped my PC. An online argument ensued and the game ended shortly thereafter. I still feel bad about it, but I wasn't going to play with someone who killed unarmed prisoners as a matter of course, and was willing to assault a fellow PC who tried to stop him.

A couple of years later, I started Ref'ing a Pirates of the Vistula game. The PCs captured a marauder (former ZOMO). He was cuffed and did not present a threat. One of the PCs pulled out a pistol and, without warning, shot him in the head. Another player quit the game immediately, and several others were close to doing so. I had to do serious OOC damage control to keep the game from dying just a session or two in. It was a serious test for a novice GM, and one that I barely passed.

What are your red lines? What grey areas have you explored, as a player and/or as a Ref? What are some ethical tough choice scenarios that you've encountered as a PC or run your players through?

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pmulcahy11b 01-15-2021 05:56 PM

Child abuse and child sexual abuse is a red line for me. Rape is another red line (in college I had a girlfriend who was raped and she was never the same,) Child abuse and rape may be something that happened in the past to a PC or NPC, but won't happen in a game.

A gray line is the injury or death of a pet or working animal. It may advance the plot, but Ii'd prefer it didn't happen. Another gray line is the torture of an animal.

StainlessSteelCynic 01-15-2021 06:19 PM

As a Ref, I am quite willing to include black, white and grey moral areas for the PCs to encounter. I try to run games with the caveat "No restrictions, only consequences". That's a very brief way of telling the Players, this is a game and so you can try anything, obviously some things are impossible (like making a computer out of a microwave oven for example) but if you do something that negatively impacts others, there will be consequences to your actions.

I recently read a discussion on another site for a different game where the GM believes that if you have to explain what behaviour is expected/acceptable from the PCs then you probably have the wrong Players.
I understand what he was getting at but I don't particularly agree with it. Sometimes Players want to try things that they won't do in the real world, at low levels this is akin to letting of steam or being a little naughty for the thrill of it.
I'm fine with that, a brief dalliance can be accepted as the Player testing the boundaries. If it goes beyond that, then their PC is going to find that life can be tough for evil characters.

I try to start each campaign with a brief overview of the gameworld to show that it has laws and punishments for malefactors (basically, this is the "what behaviour is expected" speech) but there's only a couple of hard and fast rules for any games I run: -
1. No restrictions, only consequences
2. as GM, I reserve the right to modify rules to benefit the story (rules lawyers can suffer in silence or they can leave, their choice)
3. I'm running the game, my word is final and I will retcon events if they screw up the game (especially if they were a deliberate attempt to screw the other Players or the GM)

Having said that, I am not interested in going into graphic detail when anything illegal, evil, abhorrent or morally reprehensible occurs. Taboo topics are not off limits but I'm not running the game to provide somebody with cheap titillation.
The event can occur but it's given only enough information to allow for impact and to form the foundation of the consequences of that act. if a PC does something evil, I want the Player to properly understand that their PC has committed an evil act so that when the consequences occur, they know why it's happening.
Information about the act can be relayed to the Players, but I don't see any reason to provide detail on the act (practically a "fade to black" sort of thing).

I've dealt with situations in the past where one PC was going to kill another PC and more recently where one PC actually did shoot another PC in an attempt to kill that PC.
The first situation was resolved by having all the other PCs become aware of the situation (Merc: 2000 game - it was in the back of a transport helicopter, you couldn't hide the event). The other PCs stepped in to prevent the murder attempt.
The second was in a Dark Conspiracy game and it was resolved by stopping the game and explaining in greater detail, all the events that lead to the situation the PCs were currently in, so that the offending Player understood all the circumstances and the options. We came to a consensus that killing the other PC was not an action his PC was likely to initiate after all because he, the Player, had misunderstood some of the earlier events. The shooting was retconned.

I also had a situation where one Player in a D&D game, who had a Cleric did not bother to heal other PCs because in the Player's words. "The Gods will look after them".
I resolved that by having his Cleric lose his spells, the Player was playing for themselves and not the team. His actions caused the unnecessary suffering of other team members and made me as GM fudge some dice rolls so the PCs that were injured did not die from the neglect the Cleric was showing.
The consequence for his actions was that his Cleric was no longer able to cast spells and would have to atone for their actions.
The Player left the game. No tears were shed at his departure.

I mention that incident because the Player was exactly the type of person that I imagine would have no hesitation in executing prisoners, torturing people and so on. If he had done any of those actions, there would be consequences that impacted the entire player group - not just negative reputation with NPCs, but NPCs actively seeking to punish the PCs for the misdeeds of one PC, losing favour with the gods, losing favour with the local authorities and so on.
The game is a group experience, for all the group to enjoy. So if you want to be a selfish arsehole, there's the door, hurry up and leave because the game will become a whole lot less fun for you as all those consequences start to kick in.

There's also an important aspect of gaming that should be examined before any of this gets included into a campaign - know your Players.
As mentioned above, taboo topics are not off limits but I am not going to provide a scenario for some Player to play out some debased fantasy they may have.
In practical terms, if I get a Player who is a jerk, I reduce the in-game opportunities for their PC to screw over other people or if they do something evil, harmful etc. etc., then they definitely get to see consequences of their act (e.g. the Cleric mentioned above).
If they want to be arseholes, then I will punish their Characters. If they continue, then I will tell the Player that due to their anti-social attitudes, I no longer have room for them in the game - again, actions and consequences.

But that also brings up what the Players are comfortable in dealing with. One of the people in my current gaming group is absolutely against any form of abuse against children being depicted in a game. This person typically overreacts to the idea and it has stopped one of the other GMs from running a Call of Cthulhu scenario but as GM we have to realise and respect that some people do not want to deal with some things in their entertainment.
As such, I usually don't put those sort of events into a game and if anything, it fires up the imagination to come up with an event that will challenge the PCs and Players but without using elements that the Players don't want to deal with. However I will use the rumour of such events occurring if the storyline requires it - again, no detail, just the minimum information necessary to convey a background event.

Well, this post certainly got longer than I expected. I'll stop waffling on now...

Gunner 01-15-2021 07:00 PM

Some great GM/Referee philosophy, most of which I had already unconsciously adopted, but maybe I will make more explicit in my future games...

I especially like the idea
As a Ref, I am quite willing to include black, white and grey moral areas for the PCs to encounter. I try to run games with the caveat "No restrictions, only consequences".
I will be the first to admit that many of my T2K games have been mostly black and white. I'm sure I need to include more grey in my games.

I also agree with the concept of excluding graphic detail of events.

Raellus 01-15-2021 07:37 PM

Curveball
 
One thing I learned the hard way, as a GM, was that players seldom handle a situation the way you think they will- even with a group you've been gaming with for some time. I'm embarrassed to admit that it took several busted scenarios for this lesson to really sink in. As GM, you may present Grey expecting the players to choose a lighter shade when they may end up choosing a much darker one.

In an incident with potential hostile child soldiers, I was certain that my players would opt to negotiate, even at a material loss, in order to avoid pitched battle. I was wrong. They decided to attack. In fairness, it was a decapitation strike, but given that the adult warlord leading the child army was in a well-guarded fortified cathedral, the odds weren't very good. Sure enough, after a couple of failed stealth rolls, they were found out, and the battle began. At that point, I had a choice as Ref, RETCON the scenario and railroad the party into changing their minds, pull a deus ex machina (Soviet troops arrive! As the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the party and child soldiers must team up to defeat the dreaded Soviets), or end the campaign. I chose to play it out. I thought that after a couple of descriptions of kid combatants getting shot up, that the party would back off and seek another route to conflict resolution, but they pressed the attack. It was a massacre.

So yeah, it's always a good idea to go through all of the potential outcomes of a particular scenario, however unlikely, before presenting it to the players. Focus on what the players can do, not what they will do (because the latter can't be accurately predicted all of the time).

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StainlessSteelCynic 01-15-2021 08:34 PM

I freely admit to being a below average GM in the beginning and taking decades to get better.
I've been very lucky in that I've had some really good GMs (and I tried to emulate the things they did well), some really good players, some unimaginative players (that challenged my abilities as a story teller), some players who wanted to push the boundaries (that was a challenge to my abilities to run & manage a game) and very few bad players and I've been a long term member on a number of forums where I could learn from the experiences of other people.
Because I am not a particularly emotional person, I'm not particularly good at conveying emotions in a game (I usually just describe things rather than act them out), so I have a tendency to info-dump on the Players and that can be overwhelming for some of them at times. EDIT: Just look at my two posts in this thread, you'll see what I mean!

Regardless of all that, we're all in the game to have an enjoyable social event, to be in a situation were we can solve some in-game problems and see our PCs survive and thrive and so on. I firmly believe there's no value in running or playing if the game makes you unhappy.

I recall a situation Targan had with a T2k game he was running, it was making him quite unhappy at the time.
I am not sure how I would have handled that situation as a GM at the time but now I have a very good idea of what I would do.
If that means telling the Player that their actions are making other members of the group unhappy and that they need to stop, then I'm much more confident in doing so.
If it's the situation where it means killing off a problem PC to stop the problem, then I am going to do it.

I did have a very clear idea of what I would have done as a Player in that game - I would have done everything I could to kill off the problem PC because in my opinion, they had stepped over the line from being a bad person to being actively evil and they were dragging all the other PCs down with them into evil acts.
I'll allow taboo subjects as a GM (as described above) but as a Player I want to play good guys so I do have strong reactions against evil PCs.

No restrictions, only consequences rears it's ugly head again - I am now confident enough that if a Player screws up the game for other Players or me as GM, then I will give them the choice to fix their attitude or leave the game.

As for curveballs, oh my!
I also learnt the hard way that a group of Players can very often be far more creative than a single person (the GM). Their ability to think of 10 different solutions to a problem that you only thought of as having two solutions is absolutely amazing and terrifying to me as GM.
I've seen Players in D&D games I ran, use Light spells on pebbles, place the pebble in a cylinder and strap the cylinder under a crossbow to make ad hoc flashlights.
I've heard of Players in D&D games buying chickens and grain before going into dungeons because they would throw the grain down a passage and let a chicken loose. The chicken would go after the grain and act as an early warning device.
I've been in a ShadowRun game where the GM planned a specific situation for us to encounter but we decided to stop at fast food joint first because one of the PCs was hungry. The staff seemed unhappy to see us. We wanted to know why.
We had accidentally stumbled on a bunch of crims who were using the store as a front to find people with cyberwear, murder them and then sell the stolen cyberwear on the black market. This was something we were supposed to discover after the specific situation but we unknowingly triggered it early just because one of the PCs decided he wanted to stop and get some BBQ ribs. If he'd wanted anything else, we would have gone to another store and we would have missed the crims (and not messed up the order the GM had planned out!)

I used to spend hours trying to think of every possible solution to any problems I put into the game. After a decade of doing that I finally got comfortable enough to stop overthinking it and start running with what the Players gave me - They didn't go down the path I expected so they missed the encounter I had planned? No problem, the encounter now takes place on whatever path they decided to follow.
So the lesson for me there was yes create encounters but do not hard-lock them in a specific location (unless it's needed for the story).
Players will very often think of something that I didn't!

Legbreaker 01-15-2021 09:17 PM

I'm 100% with SSC here. Consequences are the correct answer, not restrictions on possible actions.
On occasion I'll thrown in a morale dilemma, but only to make the point of consequences. If the players have been acting in such a way as to invite retribution or retaliation, then it WILL happen.
Rape, murder, child abuse, etc is all on the table, however the details will absolutely be glossed over where possible except where absolutely necessary to describe the "wrongness" of the situation and (hopefully) encourage the players to seek another path.
I've gained a reputation with players for "mindfucking" them, but really it's them that have caused the situation nine times out of ten. There's ALWAYS an "out", it's their choice to continue down that route...

I've played characters over the years who have committed some "questionable" deeds, but never done lightly and always with a thought towards the possible consequences. Executing prisoners is probably the most common thing, but again, only ever done when there's no other viable choice which won't result in worse problems later (such as the wounded person reporting who we are, what strength, etc to a force capable, and likely willing to wipe us out).

The youngest child soldier I've included as a Ref was a 13-14 year old girl who the PCs shot during a thunderstorm. At the time it would have been difficult to see more than a human figure approaching stealthily in the darkness, illuminated briefly by lightning flashes.
It was only later, in dawns light they found the girl was as young as she was, and also about 3-4 months pregnant. The weapon laying next to her bullet ridden body helped mitigate some of the horror. The player who's character fired the fatal shots did well roleplaying the horror of the situation and was extremely careful to check their targets from that day forward. The other Players in the game also took note and there was no more indiscriminate tossing of grenades around blind corners and so on...

wolffhound79 01-15-2021 10:08 PM

I really get an appreciation for DM when my D&D friends and I get together and talk about old games. Our DM create a sword that required one bad deed for one good one and vice versa. He thought it would be a great idea for some reason.
So what does my buddy do? He helps and old lady across the street in a busy city, the good side of the sword (looks like an angel|) gives him a thumbs up as the bad side (looks like a demon) gives him an angry look. So he uses the blunt side of the sword to knock the old lady down and rob her. Now the bad side is giving him the thumbs up.

I honestly think we gave our DM the worst time because we never made it easy for him, I was being chased by a dragon and about to die when I yelled out " I pray like hell!" So my DM said " ok 1 percent chance any god is listening." Boom he rolls a 1 and the god saves me from certain death all I had to do was devote my player to this god and had a 5 percent chance of praying to him in times of need that he would answer and help me. It work 8 more times. LOL.

I will say this, he gave more experience to us if we played our characters according to our alignment. I Have used that with certain player as I generally have players with goals and personalities. My bro has a charactrer that tries to help everybody out if possible, collecting refugees or sending them to safe areas or towns under his units protection to seek shelter or be employed. His officer that tries to shoot prisoners is played along that characters persona of seeking revenge , along the lines of patrick swayzes character in red dawn. It took a prisoner exchange and advice from a freedom fighter to sway him from his blood lust to exact revenge for the friends and family he has lost. I let him make his decisions but I told him it effects the morale of his men.

Now how about calibrators or traitors? In my game I have an american Captain that is helping the Mexican with intelligence and ambushing american freedom fighters. Anyone use something along these lines?

StainlessSteelCynic 01-15-2021 11:57 PM

I haven't run a lot of military games where the opportunity to put collaborators or traitors into the game has come up.
However, in some horror or conspiracy games, I have had NPCs playing both sides. Not quite double agents, more so individuals seeking to get the most out of two different groups who are pressuring the NPC to work for them.
Most of the time the PCs didn't find out the NPC was doing this and a few other times, the PCs actually never made use of the NPC so it was barely used in the game.
I've also had one NPC who was actually innocent but used by a global corporation in a scheme to root out enemy spies within the corporation. The NPC was accused of stealing sensitive data and therefore of being a traitor to the corporation and the PCs were hired to track her down and kill her.

Remember the PC wanting to kill another PC in the back of a helicopter I mentioned above? That was the game.
The PCs located the traitor and were quite prepared to execute the traitor as ordered by the corporation... until they discovered the traitor was a clueless young woman (I gave the Players very little information, just that the traitor would be wearing certain coloured clothes and be at a specific location at a specific time, gender was never mentioned and none of the Players thought to ask).
The corporation had supplied all the comms gear for the mission so they were able to listen in on everything the PCs said over their radios. They also sent an armed light aircraft to escort the helicopter during the extraction phase because there was a threat of another corporation intervening to headhunt the woman (due to the information it was alleged she was stealing - a ploy by the hiring corporation to uncover any spies their rivals might have planted within the organization, the reason for the entire mission)
However (curveball alert), this aircraft was mistaken by the PCs as a threat and not an escort.

This started the situation where one PC decided they had to kill the woman or they would be shot down and the other PC said "it ain't right so we are not killing an innocent woman". He presumed she was innocent, a lucky guess on his part because she was in fact innocent, a pawn in a much larger game.
Then the pistol was drawn and the Player informed me of his intentions to kill the other PC and then kill the woman.
The other PCs became aware of the situation in short order and more weapons were drawn but against the PC threatening to kill the woman.

Ultimately it would not matter if the PCs killed the woman or not and they choose to refuse the kill order (except for one PC obviously). They were not punished for refusing the order and instead paid off and told to say nothing or face legal action. In fact some of them insisted on knowing what her fate would be and even with assurances from the CEO of the corp. they were still not prepared to trust the corp.
Lots of grey areas for the Players to negotiate, lots of situations for trust and mistrust.
My idea was that the real evil was the corporations, organizations who viewed even their own employees as fodder for their goals.

But back on topic... I think collaborators and traitors are another item in the GM toolbox, another way to create moral, ethical grey areas. Was the person collaborating because they were forced to? Were they simply trying to survive a bad situation? Were they actually oblivious to the consequences of their actions (this particularly applied to young people, even those into their 20s, they don't necessarily have the foresight to see what consequences their actions will have in the future).
Was the traitor just a selfish individual motivated by self-gain? Was the traitor blackmailed into that course of action?
Again, lots of ways to use these types of NPCs that take the situation from clear cut into murky.

And if you have a Player you can rely on to role play it, having a double agent, collaborator or traitor PC can make for some interesting game sessions. I think this is one of the times when you can afford to let the metagame come into the session, that is to say, regardless of what happens to the bad guy PC in the end, the Player gets rewarded for good role playing. Maybe that means letting them have some minor benefit for their next PC, maybe it means letting their bad guy PC escape punishment for the short term, maybe it means letting the PC live on as a bad guy NPC for the PCs to encounter later or maybe it means letting the PC decide how their bad guy NPC leaves the game (retires, murdered, suicide, imprisoned etc. etc.)

So to try and form some sort of conclusion out of all my rambling, what I am saying is that yes, I like to include moral dilemmas and ethical quandaries for the PCs and I like to let the Players have the agency to make those decisions. However the full weight of consequence hangs over them if they deliberately choose to do a bad/malicious/evil thing. Sometimes circumstances force good people to do things they would rather not do, I don't want to punish Players for that because I as GM put their PCs into that situation in the first place, specifically to cause them that dilemma.
Do you let a traitor live because he was blackmailed into becoming a traitor? What if leaving him alive will cause the injury or death of innocent people?
Do the PCs ignore a job they don't particularly feel comfortable with or do they let some group of lowlifes take the job with the chance that the lowlifes will harm a lot of innocent people?
I tend to think these situations will never have a completely right or completely wrong answer and so they are good tools for the GM to make Players think about the actions of their PCs.


And again! Another 5000 word essay from me :D
Okay, that's an exaggeration... but only a little one :p

wolffhound79 01-16-2021 04:13 AM

that was a good read.

For our california campaign I deliberately set up multiple obstacles to use in the future depending on the outcome.

I have the a california state rep that is not who he says he is.

A mexican warlord out for revenge after they disrupted his plans of taking over southern california

A group of russian pows masquerading as MPs that are in league with the california state rep

the us army captain thats working with the warlord

and the group that is aiding the players are using them to accomplish there own goals (so far the players have done verything they have ask so there not a threat, however in the NY state game they are working against them)

To me this allows enough wiggle room as player dont always do what you expect. The longest part was mapping and scouting the region. Visiting each town in the area and building the trust of the locals and making contact with various freedom fighters and groups to build up enough strength to challenge the mexican forces. Finding stragglers and civilians with military experience to join up and help liberate the county of imperial valley. about 2 years of real time total now of info for each town, map locations of battlefield and military strong points. I have note books of info for ever town defence in the immediate area of the chocolate mountain base as the forces there have carved out a safe haven for the people there. The battle of 29 palms was a few months in the making as I went away to work for 3 months I was able to research and draw up troop concentrations and maps, when I returned we spent 2 weeks playing out the forces involved, the meetings with the generals and sixth army command. Then a couple nights of battling it out as his unit push in from the east while the marines and the freedom fighters attacked from the north and the west. The final stand of mexican forces on the hill top over looking the base as we used nerve gas on the main base complex. The final 600 men surrendering after being surrounded. then a negotiated prisoner exchange as one of the officers was the son of a mexican general.


We enjoy large battle scenarios, it takes alot of work. My brother ask me if he could gm for an area of the US so I gave him washington state area to be his creation. Hes put about a months worth of work into it with military maps, organizations and even got the help of a former military officer from that region we game with in World of Warships to give him info on stuff the every day person doesnt have access to. So far its been good. I hope he likes doing it as I really do enjoy getting to play a PC rather then using my guys as an NPC to help move things along.

So to every GM thank you for your hard work and to all of you here that provide and share your experiences thank you. I enjoy reading about your adventures and adding little things I like into my own game worlds history.

Rainbow Six 01-16-2021 04:46 AM

Really this sums up my thoughts far better than I could:
Quote:

Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic (Post 86518)

So to try and form some sort of conclusion out of all my rambling, what I am saying is that yes, I like to include moral dilemmas and ethical quandaries for the PCs and I like to let the Players have the agency to make those decisions. However the full weight of consequence hangs over them if they deliberately choose to do a bad/malicious/evil thing. Sometimes circumstances force good people to do things they would rather not do, I don't want to punish Players for that because I as GM put their PCs into that situation in the first place, specifically to cause them that dilemma.
Do you let a traitor live because he was blackmailed into becoming a traitor? What if leaving him alive will cause the injury or death of innocent people?
Do the PCs ignore a job they don't particularly feel comfortable with or do they let some group of lowlifes take the job with the chance that the lowlifes will harm a lot of innocent people?
I tend to think these situations will never have a completely right or completely wrong answer and so they are good tools for the GM to make Players think about the actions of their PCs.

Broadly speaking, I prefer to play PC's who have multiple shades of grey rather than a white hat. In a recent game my PC was part of a small force attempting to retake a town from a group of marauders. Following a number of small scale skirmishes which depleted the marauder ranks by five fighters here and five fighters there, a cease fire was arranged during which the marauders were given the chance to surrender. They declined. My character therefore opted to prosecute the final attack with as much force as could be mustered. She manned the fifty cal herself and used it on the oncoming enemy to a point well in excess of what was required to break their attack (I can't remember how many rounds were fired, but it was a lot). As I recall only one (genuinely innocent) bystander was killed, although that may have been on account of the GMís generosity. In her mind her actions were justified and blame lay on the marauders who had declined the opportunity to surrender. In my mind thereís little doubt that she probably went too far and could have stopped firing earlier but I felt her actions were consistent with how Iíd played her throughout the encounter. Iíd have welcomed consequences, although the game unfortunately folded soon after that episode.

(Digressing completely, the character was a big Game of Thrones fan (the game was set in a future timeline), her favourite character was Daenerys Targaryen, and all of this was taking place at roughly the same time as Daenerys was letting her dragons loose on Kingís Landing, which set up some interesting (for me) internal monologue)

When it comes to executing prisoners, for me, I think a lot depends on context. Iíve played in games where the PCís have been operating well away from any friendly support against some pretty blood thirsty marauders who have done some pretty unpleasant things (the marauders, not the PCís). The PCís were only passing through the area and did not have the resources to take and hold prisoners (nowhere to put them, no manpower to guard them, and would have to feed them from their own limited rations).

I donít think you can define situations like that in black and white. Do you refuse to accept their surrender in the first place (likely prompting them to put up a stronger resistance as it dawns on them that no quarter will be given)? Do you take their weapons, boots, etc then dump them in the middle of nowhere hoping they wonít trouble anyone again (and knowing that youíve made an enemy that may come back to haunt you later)? Try and keep them prisoner even although you know you donít have the resources to do so? And do you treat the ringleaders differently from the rank and file? etc, etc. Sometimes there is no safe path through the moral maze unless the GM chooses to throw the players a rope in the form of a deus ex machina, e.g. the timely arrival of a group of allied NPCís able and willing to take the prisoners into custody.

So for me shooting prisoners is a grey area but itís definitely not a red line. It all depends on the context. Sometimes Iíll be OK with it, sometimes I wont. I vaguely recall reading the incident in Raeís Vistula game where the captured marauder was executed, and yes, that one did cross a line (if itís the one I remember) but there are situations where I would condone (possibly even recommend) executing prisoners (and, as SSC and Legbreaker both point out) accept the consequences. Some players will take that seriously, use it as part of their characterís development and evolution. Done well, it can become a Mark of Cain that the character carries around with him / her for the remainder of the game. So yeah, definitely, Iím in the consequences not restrictions camp.

I also think that if the PCís know beforehand theyíre going to be engaging an enemy force what to do with prisoners should be discussed in character at that time, so that everyone can be sure theyíre on a similar (if not the same) page and so that the ref has forewarning if something potentially controversial may be about to occur. It is a bit of a peeve of mine that some players cop out of the ethical problems by not saying anything (OC or OOC) and leaving it to the minority who do express an opinion to decide.

mpipes 01-16-2021 06:16 AM

I agree with SCC as well.

This is a game of the nuclear apocalypse. It is not going to be a "moral" setting by any stretch of the imagination as you can plainly see in the various published modules. You are going to have cutthroats, rapists, smugglers, slavers, drug dealers, gangs, war criminals, and criminals of all sorts running around and causing all sorts of chaos and at times establishing the only order available. You are going to make all kinds of friends and all kinds of enemies, and both categories are likely going to include devils.

Real world case in point, after Quantrill's Raiders broke up, Cole Younger ended up as a CSA Captain commission and became a commander of militia troops in the area I grew up in. Both sides of my family served under him and one of my great-great-great uncles became good friends with him. Long story short...the feds were foreclosing on local plantations for back taxes - including our family's - and the local Klan persuaded that uncle to travel to Missouri and recruited the Younger-James gang - yes, THAT YOUNGER-JAMES GANG - to rob a federal gold shipment to pay the back taxes. They did. I know where the gang camped as well. In later years, the gang used our family plantation as a base to carry out a number of daring robberies, including a double stage robbery robbing one stage heading east to Monroe, La and another going west to Shreveport, La. I've confirmed my family's story with published historical accounts to the best of my ability.

The point is, my family members became VERY good friends with the likes of Cole Younger, Bob Younger, Jessie James, and Frank James and were at least complicit in many robberies in north Louisiana. This going on with my great-great-great-grandfather complicity at least, and he was a prominent leader in the local Presbyterian Church!! I even suspect some ones of my uncles rode with the gang on their robberies.

So swinging back, it is up to the GM to exercise a certain level of control, but not to the point of dictating how each and every character acts or conducts himself. The D&D group I was part of in college had a few dubious PC members including a cutthroat and worse. One time, we were on the run as a revenge seeking lords chased us after one of us seduced his 15 year old daughter. We robbed another lord to benefit a group of wronged peasants. One of my PCs tried to assassinate another PC (that happens with cursed daggers now and then). We even had a botched rape attempt by a PC against another PC - well, it involved a love potion and the players in question were dating - that turned into one of the most hilarious gaming situation you can imagine as the attempt went awry, because the dosed ale ended up getting poached by the half-ogre side-kick of a very accomplished rogue (accompanied by his group of mercenary swords for hire)! The campaign was all fun, lasted 4 yrs, and was fueled by quite a bit of beer. I still miss those guys.

All that said, you don't need to dwell on details and you as the GM can frame the plot without resorting to the gruesome details, especially with younger teens and tween as players. But things happen in war, and I for one do not believe in a "Disneyland" campaign. Just as MASH captured some of the horror of war, your campaign should as well. One of the PTSD-effected ex-grunts in my VA therapy group opened up on a string of civilians with a M2 on a HMMVW after an insurgent walked up behind their Lieutenant and shot him in the back of the head, triggering an ambush and starting a short-range highly chaotic battle in a small town. Yes, the army wanted a court-martial at first, until they final realized that if he was court-martialed, they would have to do the same for all the surviving members of the squad/platoon involved as they all SHOT unarmed civilians trying to fight their way clear of the ambush. It was the only way they could fight their way out, and except for the civilians, the M2 guy would have likely received a Silver Star at least. He was credited with actually clearing a retreat path and killing at least two guys with RPGs. The civilians were actually blocking their way out and shielding the RPGs - whether forced or voluntary - and he was the only one with the presence of mind to realize that and act. That, guys, is war!

I've actually inserted a wacked out PTSD-suffering NPC that the PCs had to deal with (drunk or high as much as possible and prone to violent outburst). He eventually committed "suicide by combat" saving the PCs. I have had them having to deal with a child sex slave trafficker (later killed), drug smugglers (they were moving heroin AND anti-biotics from a partially destroyed pharmaceutical plant), bootleggers, marauders, etc. At one point, they fell in with another group that included a NATO and American straggler that were marauders - a fact brought brutally home as they captured a group of travelers, robbed them, and separated several females to rape. The resulting shootout was quite vicious. They have also hunted down rapists/murders and even worse. One ongoing unsavory Polish contact ran a brothel and gambling den, as well as a smuggling operation, and the PCs acted as muscle on occasion in exchange for ammo and fuel. No one was traumatized or offended.

If you want to run a "Disneyland" campaign where the PCs wear nice white hats and the "bad guys" are just G-rated "misguided" souls, then fine, that is your business and your campaign choice and all that. But you are really cheating your players out of a richer gaming experience. All that said, I DO NOT believe you should allow things to devolve to the point where your PCs are little more than a gang of organized rapists, mass murderers, slavers, ultra-violent marauders, or the like. I don't think that is healthy mentally or otherwise, but if you don't find unsavory acts about in abundance, that is just unrealistic to the extreme.

Legbreaker 01-16-2021 08:17 AM

In a current game Lurken is running and a few of us here are playing in, we've coined a term for what happens to wounded prisoners - "German first aid". Usually carried out with a bayonet or other melee weapon and occasionally occurring after interrogation of otherwise perfectly healthy prisoners.

Our first encounter with this was while on a foot recce with several members of a German Recon battalion. We found ourselves with a number of prisoners, several of which were too wounded to move under their own power, no way to move them without giving up our prize (1,000 litres of desperately needed methanol in a horse drawn tanker), and the threat of an AFV supported reaction force bearing down on us within the next 10-15 minutes.
Pistols were drawn and further bloodshed BARELY avoided before the necessity of the action was realised by those who were most upset by it.

Since then we as PCs have made a conscious effort to ensure at least one of us remains with any prisoners we capture to avoid any further applications of German First Aid after "escape attempts".

Raellus 01-16-2021 11:07 AM

It Depends
 
In a morally grey world, it's hard to play by fixed rules. Choices become a lot more situational. For me- and I'm not claiming any moral high ground here- there's a difference between finishing off a wounded prisoner in the heat of battle, when said prisoner still poses something of a threat if left unattended- and summary execution of a prisoner post-combat when he/she no longer poses a threat. As a player and GM, I'm generally OK with the former, but very much opposed to the latter.

Along the same lines, if a prisoner is badly wounded and won't likely survive without major surgery or whatnot (which is seldom available in the field), and the PC's can't provide or facilitate said, I'm OK with mercy killing. If a prisoner will likely survive with first aid that the PCs can provide, then I am not, even if medical supplies are scarce. That said, it also depends on who the prisoner is.

I'm not trying to be flippant about this, but this a quick and dirty matrix I tend to adhere to in RPG's:

To execute, or not to execute?
1. A legal combatant following the laws of war? No.
2. A legal combatant violating the laws of war? Fair game.
3. A marauder that just steals and robs? Probably not.
4. A marauder that steals, robs, and rapes and/or murders. Yeah, probably.
5. A slaver? Fair game, depending on how abusive he/she is towards said slaves (see 4 & 5).
6. An civilian? NO (unless he/she rapes/murders)

I can say all of this because we're talking about a game here. It's relatively easy to make these "tough" choices IG because this is fantasy, not reality, and killing a fictional character doesn't come with the moral or psychological baggage, or any legal ramifications, that killing anyone in real life would. I hope to God that if I ever found myself with the power of life and death over someone else IRL (highly unlikely, but who knows?), I would choose mercy (unless it's in a self-defense context- in that case, I hope I don't chicken out).

-

Rainbow Six 01-16-2021 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raellus (Post 86524)
In a morally grey world, it's hard to play by fixed rules. Choices become a lot more situational. For me- and I'm not claiming any moral high ground here- there's a difference between finishing off a wounded prisoner in the heat of battle, when said prisoner still poses something of a threat if left unattended- and summary execution of a prisoner post-combat when he/she no longer poses a threat. As a player and GM, I'm generally OK with the former, but very much opposed to the latter.

That still poses the question that what do you do with them if you don't have the resources to adequately hold / transport them and execution is off the table?

Raellus 01-16-2021 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rainbow Six (Post 86525)
That still poses the question that what do you do with them if you don't have the resources to adequately hold / transport them and execution is off the table?

Very true, and perhaps, as we Americans say, it's a case of passing the buck (i.e. deferring responsibility and foisting it off on someone else. For example, instead of executing a prisoner, handing them over to the nearest friendly settlement (where said prisoner will probably hang anyway). But- and maybe this is a moral/ethical cop out- at least said prisoner's blood isn't literally on my PC's hands. In other words, I exercised my free will and showed mercy. If the next responsible party uses their free will to not, that's on them.

-

StainlessSteelCynic 01-16-2021 04:52 PM

There's a few of us here in Lurken's game and the above is essentially what happened to us. We had prisoners, we knew their comrades would likely be coming to support them soon but we desperately needed the fuel they were hauling.
The PCs were debating how to handle the prisoners when one of the NPCs who was attending to the wounded, made the decision to apply what was essentially a mercy killing to the most wounded prisoners

But he didn't stop there, he started killing slightly wounded prisoners.
Here's the kicker though... he really was just following orders.
The commander of the German group we encountered has very limited resources and is trying to get his people home. They have no facilities or resources for handling prisoners but more than that, the commander has a hatred towards the enemy (which if I remember correctly is due to his own family being killed in the war)

So their reasons for killing prisoners are quite practical -
1. they don't have the resources to look after them,
2. even if they did, they have captured too many over time, that the prisoners would outnumber their captors,
3. survival, the unit is too small to deal with some of the Soviet units in the AO and have been trying to avoid too much attention, if they release the prisoners and word gets back to the Soviets, well, you can guess what happens

All of which makes perfect sense but it's still a morally reprehensible act to murder the prisoners. Particularly as the German commander is motivated to do so by more than just practical needs.
The PC group had initially thought of joining up with this German unit but after witnessing the "German first aid", we decided to part ways as soon as it was practical - none of us wants to be associated with a unit that murders prisoners.

Legbreaker 01-16-2021 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic (Post 86527)
The PC group had initially thought of joining up with this German unit but after witnessing the "German first aid", we decided to part ways as soon as it was practical - none of us wants to be associated with a unit that murders prisoners.

About a week later IC and we're still with them.....

Our next question is what do you do about "slavers" who turn out to be basically prison guards putting convicted murderers, rapists, etc to work alongside POWs?
Add to that the resource the "slaves" are producing helps upwards of 100,000 people survive....
Their encampment serves as a major trading hub with the much of the regions economy reliant on the main product of the slaves as well as the additional trade.

To me, T2k must have moral dilemmas. This one started as little more than a random encounter (several really) and is turning into a major regional issue.

Raellus 01-16-2021 10:30 PM

Back on the Chain Gang
 
There's a big difference, in my mind at least, between penal labor and chattel slavery. IMHO, the latter is unjustifiable under any circumstances, even post-apocalypse. The former, however, is a perfectly legitimate penalty for serious crimes.

IIRC, the Geneva convention allows captors to employ POWs as laborers, as long as the working hours are limited, and work conditions are humane, but I could be wrong about that.

-

wolffhound79 01-16-2021 10:35 PM

Part of our New york state game was scouting prisons as the players decided prison made a good base of operations due to the ready defences and facilities. Question arose to weather any prisoners remained in them or not.

A book I read dealing with a massive EMP event had several examples of what happened to prisoners, some were released which caused a local problem with crime, others bused them to neighbouring counties thus making them someone else's problem. One of the counties held the most violent only as they were deemed to dangerous to release, and some just lined them up and executed them all to save resources, the one the town choose was to keep the most violent locked up, and use the ones that were the least threat to join local farms to work for there food and board until there sentence was over, of course some of them fled but some remained and helped the community rebuild and eventually becoming members of the community. So I made a small list to roll on from the extreme of execution and riots that allowed them to escape to some still being held. the rolls mostly went towards execution and disease. 1 prison was still being operated by the local communities to hold the most violent, every town nearby offered food and men to police it as it was seen as a common good to prevent rapist , murders and the like from roaming the country side and be able to some law and order for when those crimes happened in there community.

I had 1 town were the players convoy arrived in time for a mass hanging, after shutting down the event the players discovered the town was run by the former judge that had turn into a hanging judge. After calling in state reps and one of the remaining jag officers in the area, the players discovered the 40 some men about to be hanged were members of the militia and sheriffs department from the next town over that had been captured in a dispute over oil wells in the area.

3catcircus 01-17-2021 08:51 AM

I think it should all be fair game. Just a matter of how graphic everyone is comfortable with. There is no need to describe in detail child abuse or rape, or gleefully describe a murder because it adds nothing to the game.

But, if you are intending to provide some type of description of the situation the characters encounter, you need to have the freedom to do so.

As an example, one of the 1632 novels described coming upon a scene of a peasant family that had been "questioned" by marauding soldiers about any valuables that had hidden away. The author detailed enough that (if I recall the particular passage) he described a child being disemboweled and the grandfather being crucified in the front door of their hovel.

Horrific? Yep. Graphic? Sure. But it put in the reader's mind a concrete detail to identify how evil these marauding soldiers were - and it fit perfectly with the fact that peasants weren't worth much in 1600s Europe. In a post-apoc situation, the average European citizen would probably find themselves in a similar horrible situation.

CraigD6er 01-17-2021 12:56 PM

An interesting topic, and one that everyone will have strong views on. Similarly everyone will have their views on what crosses that line. This is very much up to the GM and that group of players; if they want to get into detail, within their own 4 walls, then that is their choice, but it has to be a group consensus. It is the same in miniature wargaming generally. Some people wonít countenance flamethrowers in a game, others wonít allow SS (look at figure manufacturers that term such sets as Ďelite troopsí rather than giving them their true title). This doesnít hide the fact that such things existed. Unfortunately, nothing you as the GM can think of that crosses the red line will be original and it has already been done somewhere in the world, and is probably still being done (and if you truly think of something original, I donít want to know). The world we game in, be it Twilight 2000, The Morrow Project, Dark Conspiracy or any other, is going to be ripe for every sort of depravity and atrocity imaginable. The world order has been disrupted by war or aliens from another dimension. Things will be darker, more evil, just because of the setting. To pretend that it isnít happening risks sanitising the background we strive so hard to make as realistic as possible (why else do we study rates of fire, armour penetration, fuel economy or how long tyres last on a LAV?). That said, I believe everything beyond the red line (whatever that may be for you and your group) should be treated in very abstract terms. Yes they happen, no the players donít need graphic detail. A mention may be acceptable as background to the setting, but not as a major element in any scene setting. Leave the detail out and if players want to imagine it in glorious technicolour let them do it in their own minds.
If a GM wants to go into extreme detail I wouldnít want to play that game, and if my players had ever wanted such detail I wouldnít have wanted them in my game. Fortunately the people I gamed with were always very similar in attitude and it was never an issue.
It has happened in the UK, at a large show, and rightly the organisers clamped down on it as soon as they were made aware. Aside from being distasteful and disrespectful of the players, it does not convey the public image we want for RPGís. It makes the D&D Ďsatanic panicí seem mild by comparison.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...0the%20players.

mpipes 01-17-2021 01:34 PM

OK, now that is beyond the pale!

You would not spring something like that on a batch of new players to put it mildly!!! Just goes to show you there is always some nut job that goes not just one step, but rather several steps too far.

StainlessSteelCynic 01-17-2021 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mpipes (Post 86533)
OK, now that is beyond the pale!

You would not spring something like that on a batch of new players to put it mildly!!! Just goes to show you there is always some nut job that goes not just one step, but rather several steps too far.

Yes indeed, that action violates just about everything we've been discussing here. I appreciate that the GM was aiming to shock the Players, but doing something like that, without even considering the feelings of the Players, without considering the negative image it conveys about gaming.
To my mind, what that GM did is worse than the GM who deliberately kills off PCs to prove that they aren't afraid of killing PCs.
And more so because it was a public game, in an event where people are trying to showcase the positive aspects of gaming.

Gaming is a group activity, it's not meant to be played just for one person's enjoyment at the expense of the other people in the group, regardless of whether that person is a Player or the GM.
Again, I'll harp on about knowing your Players - my game group is a collection of friends, some I've know for a few years, some I've known for a few decades. I have a decent understanding of what they like and dislike, what's acceptable and what's not and also what sort of topics will derail the game. Like any friend would do, I try not to have events in-game that will actually upset the Players or the game (so for my group, real world Politics are left at the door, much too divisive to be discussed during game time)
The GM mentioned in the news report had a responsibility to be even more careful because the Players were all, potentially, strangers at the table.

pmulcahy11b 01-17-2021 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Legbreaker (Post 86523)
"German first aid". Usually carried out with a bayonet or other melee weapon and occasionally occurring after interrogation of otherwise perfectly healthy prisoners.

I'm sorry -- that reminded me of a hideous flashback my mother had a few years ago. To keep her privacy, I'll just say it involved being loaded into rail cars on the way to the Camps by the Nazis. Jeeeezzz -- I know you didn't mean to do so, but -- ehzzzzh! I'm sure it's worse in her head, and I'm thankful that she can't remember her childhood and teens most of the time.

StainlessSteelCynic 01-17-2021 07:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b (Post 86535)
I'm sorry -- that reminded me of a hideous flashback my mother had a few years ago. To keep her privacy, I'll just say it involved being loaded into rail cars on the way to the Camps by the Nazis. Jeeeezzz -- I know you didn't mean to do so, but -- ehzzzzh! I'm sure it's worse in her head, and I'm thankful that she can't remember her childhood and teens most of the time.

However Paul, this is a perfect example of why GM's need to "know" their Players. Simply because most people are decent human beings, we have a desire to not cause harm to other people.
So when it comes to gaming, if I had a Player who had been traumatised by say a vicious dog attack and it still haunted them, then my responsibilities are pretty clear - I won't have detailed descriptions of a dog attack in the game because I don't want to cause them unnecessary emotional pain.

Which is exactly why that GM at the convention mentioned in the article that CraigD6er linked, had a responsibility to know what was unacceptable for the Players. To go to the extreme, what if one of the Players had a friend or relative that had suffered the same experience that the GM forced upon the Players? What if that had happened to one of the Players themselves?
It was a dumb, unthinking ploy to cause shock during the game but that GM is just damned lucky that they did not cause serious emotional harm to the Players.

Legbreaker 01-17-2021 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b (Post 86535)
I'm sorry -- that reminded me of a hideous flashback my mother had a few years ago. To keep her privacy, I'll just say it involved being loaded into rail cars on the way to the Camps by the Nazis. Jeeeezzz -- I know you didn't mean to do so, but -- ehzzzzh! I'm sure it's worse in her head, and I'm thankful that she can't remember her childhood and teens most of the time.

In this case it was really just coincidence that it's Germans - could have just as easily have been French, US, Greek or whatever troops doing it (ok, maybe not French or Greek given the game's in Poland). It was really just down to the luck of the die as to the nationality of the unit (mind you, only about 60% are actually Germans with the rest a mix of Russians, Poles, Czechs, and a sprinkling of Canadians and US).

I think the fact it's Germans in Poland doing it lends weight to the level of atrocity. In my mind at least the actions we've witnessed do make sense - can't keep prisoners when you're a small unit far behind enemy lines with limited resources, can't let them go either. It's a crappy situation for anyone to be in and characters (and players) are forced to decide what level of evil can they accept for the greater good and continued personal survival.

Atrocity without reason is where I draw the line generally, and there's usually little need to graphically detail the scene - "you see a dead body, likely killed with a flamethrower, the area around them scorched as well" is probably enough the majority of the time rather going into the details of sights and smells.

The WWII firebombing of Dresden by the allies is an example of atrocity. At the time the reasons where there, at least in allied minds. To the Germans caught in it though....
Perspective is important when discussing atrocity - in more modern times, the death of a child in a combat situation can be seen as either an unfortunate victim caught in the crossfire, or a deliberate murder. It just depends on where you're looking from.

Raellus 01-17-2021 10:28 PM

Actions Have Consequences
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Legbreaker (Post 86537)
I think the fact it's Germans in Poland doing it lends weight to the level of atrocity. In my mind at least the actions we've witnessed do make sense - can't keep prisoners when you're a small unit far behind enemy lines with limited resources, can't let them go either.

I know what you're saying, but sure you can. Very infrequently, when someone says, "I had no choice," is that literally true. I understand the unit's reasoning, and I'm not trying to start an argument, but the recon team didn't have to kill the prisoners. They could have tied them up and skeddadled, for example. Not ideal, granted, and probably riskier than killing them, but definitely less evil. To me, "I had no choice," is a cop out, and really just code for, "I made an immoral/unethical choice but don't want to admit it (to myself and/or others)."

Quote:

Originally Posted by Legbreaker (Post 86537)
It's a crappy situation for anyone to be in and characters (and players) are forced to decide what level of evil can they accept for the greater good and continued personal survival.

Agreed, but this is where IG consequences can come into play. What happens when Soviets troops find a dozen of their comrades slaughtered with knives? That German recon team, if captured, can kiss any chance of receiving quarter goodbye. If anything, the other enemy troops in the AO are going to gun for that recon team even harder. By showing mercy to the prisoners, the recon team could have earned themselves some good will.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Legbreaker (Post 86537)
Atrocity without reason is where I draw the line generally.

Just out of curiosity, what reason was given for killing the prisoners with bayonets, then? Seems a slower, more terrifying, more painful death than a bullet in the brain, and therefore, more evil as well.

-

Southernap 01-17-2021 11:57 PM

I think this topic will also touch on the diversity and inclusion portion of gaming now going on with TTRPGs. I know some articles and fanzines and even some social philosophy (aka social science) stuff that has talked about how TTRPGs have an horrible track record with diversity and inclusion. From the racial aspects in some fantasy games to some of the items referenced above in that BBC article.

I believe that it does come down to knowing the players and the GM. As well as stating up front as a GM, that there is a red line about character actions and players doing things outside of normal behavior. I was just reading an article in a book on how to be a better GM/DM that mentioned you set up those red lines on the opening day of the campaign. Where touching on them or crossing them will lead either to expulsion from the group or serious consequences to the player in character, (since this book was referencing a high fantasy game like DnD or RuneQuest, even having Deus Ex Machima gods kill the PC in the game).

The author also mentioned how sometimes having a soul cleaning adventure after a particular harsh session is useful. Think of going to see some town where you are well known and spending a day recreational recovering from the last major adventure plot point. If not having some sub-quest come up where its getting candy back to a little kid or doing a bunch of courier type missions (taking some love letters between two separated lovers or getting some fuel for a town so you can have some metal to repair the armor on your jeep, etc). That can help to pull the heaviness off the players for a few sessions till the bad thoughts go away.

That said, I have played games where serious consequences have popped up for our players being stupid. I had one where we were stuck between the the NA's in the Allegheny Mountains and the CivGov, during the Allegheny uprising booklet. Hated by both sides. All because one of our PCs decided to put a sniper round into the congressman we were supposed to find to lead us to the cache. Simply because he claimed in character to have hated politicians that started the war. That left us without a CivGov patron, with a bounty on our head with the CivGov and the NAs running around wanting to kill us. Our GM couldn't have us run to the MilGov because we were given a chose at the start of the game to pick a side when creating character pick either MilGov or CivGov. Since we chose CivGov, the GM ran it as if MilGov viewed all CivGov military as traitors and "Un-American" and worthy of court martial and conviction to a prison. It sucked hard and it took us a few sessions of running and being like the best hide and seek players in all time, to get away from the region and start a new campaign further to the west of the region. Also made our GM throw out that book not even a third of the way in and give our problem child of a player a pain of complicated skill checks every single time he wanted to do sometime because of that stupid act.

Thinking about it some more, the T2K game is all manner of grey areas and red lines. I mean think about how the NA is written about in the supplements. They are effectively the American Nutys party and hood wearers for GDW in the game. Those types of folks were also common enemies in most 1970s and on post-apoc fiction books. Yet, they always made my brain hurt in trying to figure a way to have them be in the game and not be over the top stereotypes or worse turn off my friends and get us in trouble with their parents when having the NA pop up as the bad guys.

I still think it comes back to having a GM who knows his players, can establish a firm and hard hand in the game play and have both out of game and in game consequences for outright dickhead and evil playing. As well, I think on the reverse that PCs need to be ready to leave a table if a GM is always pushing the boundaries of good taste and keeping the heavy on the PCs of being in an evil world where evil must be done more times than not just to get by. That is also emotionally taxing. I game to relax with friends and hopefully forget about the real world stresses for a while.

Legbreaker 01-18-2021 12:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raellus (Post 86538)
What happens when Soviets troops find a dozen of their comrades slaughtered with knives? That German recon team, if captured, can kiss any chance of receiving quarter goodbye.

This is why great care has been taken to date to leave no evidence or plant some that points in a different direction.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Raellus (Post 86538)
Just out of curiosity, what reason was given for killing the prisoners with bayonets, then? Seems a slower, more terrifying, more painful death than a bullet in the brain, and therefore, more evil as well.

In that case to avoid making more noise that absolutely required - reinforcements were no more than 1 km away and almost certainly already enroute. Terrain was an open floodplain so if it hadn't been in the dead of night after moonset, we might have already been receiving incoming DShK and KPV fire. Those killed at the time were unconscious already (the three we took with us haven't been seen since they were handed over to the battalion HQ, and we're smart enough not to have asked too many questions about their fate).
Our withdrawal that time was along a bitumen road (there were several options available) to avoid leaving tracks.

In other contacts all care was taken to recover all expended NATO brass, link, etc and plant 7.62S and 5.45 near our firing positions (a few dozen carried in pockets, etc for that purpose).
To date there has been only one enemy escape after an intense effort to chase them down. It appears our luck has held so far and they haven't been able to provide an adequate description as currently some of those involved in the contact are in the heart of the enemy encampment finalising a trade deal.
Several survivors from that encounter have been kept alive after interrogation with the aim of releasing in about a week or so once the unit has moved on.


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