DM help with party please


I am running a Conan game at a local hobby store with 5 players and it is going down the hill of doom and picking up speed.

The game is Conan stlye in a home made world. (I am using the conan rule book in my own world but it was very close before I foudn the rule book) The party has player 1 thief that is a power gamer, player 2 barbarian that is new to RPG's so does not do much(which is not a problem as I understand), player 3 barbarian that is the only original member that works well with the group and is roleplaying well(he is the smartest player in the group he knows when to run away), player 4 thief that is more of a assassin or murder then anything else, and player 5 pirate that is also a murder and cut throat.

Now I know that killing is part of the game but when I say murder I mean the players are talking about killing other PC's and have killed helpless NPC guards.

The Group (players 3,4, and 5 the others have new characters)was hired as Merc scout unit to do a job for a large army with lots of merc already in it, which they did and then ran away. They deserted from the army after doing what was asked of them. Now I use the word deserted because they ran off in the middle of the night. They (players 3,4 and 5) signed up to the army where giving a job did the job 95% complete then ran out of the army. The 95% complete was not a problem the gerneral was happy with what they did and would have released them if they ask but they did not just ran out.

After this their where some problems that came up in the group between characters. One PC got killed by another, then I tried to pull the group together by putting them in a situation so they had to help each other and work together or risk getting killed. Well in the end players 1 and 2 died and wrote up charcters(ones listed above).

Out of character a few players have been talking about killing other PC's. Now I can't use that "Out of Character" against the players as it has not happened in the game.

I am needing a way to push the group back on track. I have thought about a few different ideas but not sure which ones try first.

1. All new characters will have to be "Good guys" no killing or helpless NPC and no attacking other party members.(not sure if making the rule in the game now will work as characters are already in the game and I don't have a problem starting over but the players don't like the idea)

2. Try the situation where they have to work together or risk death again it did work okay. The players are getting along with each other a lot better but there is still talk of killing each other so maybe it did not work.

3. Just start the group over with characters that will get along better(but that may turn into the same probelm)

I don't want to be the DM that kills every PC but I will not be pushed around any more so I have to do something.

I am sure I am not the only DM to have this problem how have you gals/guys handled this?

1. If they commit murder, have them tried and executed. If nothing else, it will send them on the run. Depending who they killed, they may find few or no safe havens.
2. Tell them you are not enjoying the game with all the infighting and murder and have them either play nicely or find new players.
3. Ask them to take Codes of Honour.
After posting this I got to thinking, they have also tried to kill a merchent in the city they are in so I am kicking the idea around of him hireing a group to bring them to him or kill them. Or having him just send word to the army on where they are.

But thanks for the help.

I am running the game in Winston salem
Grudge monsters will not solve the problem you have. It's good storytelling to have the merchant seek revenge, but that kind of group is not going to be motivated to be cohesive by just giving them more combat. Try talking to them straight up about what you expect the campaign to be like. I think that we are all looking for a more swashbuckling adventure feel like all the stories we know and love than a gritty, murderous kill everyone that speaks kind of game that some players (Including many of my own) think of when they see the words "thief and Pirate".
Once I had two players who tortured a poor and crippled beggar because they thought he'd be holding information back. Well, he wasn't holding anything back, but in this RPG (Das Schwarze Auge, I think it is released in English as The Dark Eye) the heroes were supposed to act hero-like or at least not villain-like, so they got at the end of the adventure very few EXP. It worked and we had many enjoyable RPG sessions after that event.

Maybe this isn't the best solution for a morally relatively neutral game like CONAN. In this case I'd just talk with the guys and explain to them that you are disappointed and don't enjoy your sessions anymore.
I've had players try to act like this before and the solution was quite simple- I let their sins catch up with them. One of my players has such a high level of Reputation [Criminal] that he can't go to certain countries without being hanged by authorities. Their list of enemies has grow huge- both Corrupt and more virtuous individuals and organizations want them dead because players have stepped on their toes. They have to dodge both bounty hunters and sorcerous assassination attempts. The last attempt by Sorcery killed two PCs and mentally messed up another.

All of this has slowed by player's desire for larceny and pointless homicide quite a bit. Since the saner players who don't make it a habit of aquiring enemies are lasting longer and having more fun, the newer replacement characters are adopting a lower profile.

And there's this simple formula too. Most of my players who are trying to play 'evil' have in fact never really experienced evil first hand in the RL- and I have. Running up against fictional individuals as ruthless as the criminals of this world [be they from the RL syndicates or the government] is quite an experience to those who prior experience with such things comes from anime and books.

To keep a Conanesque flavor and teach them a lesson about team work:

1) Have them pursued by the authorities and chased into some wilderness area.

2) They stumble across a ruin, they explore for treasure.

3) Have them attacked by a horde of undead or monsters and trapped in a building that is collapsing.

4) Soldiers also are trapped there.

5) Point out to them that they will have to work together (and with the Law) to escape.

6) See what happens.
Yeah, you're gonna have to rein them in a bit. They need to be taught a lesson about consequences, which there sometimes seems to be none of in a RPG. If they are deserters, everyone will know they are cowards and untrustworthy. If they kill without remorse, have them hunted down by the law and tried for their crimes. If they kill their own friends, no one will probably ever want to help them or even be near them. Ask yourself: How would others in the REAL world feel/act toward the characters?

I personally would not try to force my players to do anything, its not a good way to run a game. Also remember, XP is not driven by how many creatures/enemies they defeat, but story driven. If part of an adventure is to befriend someone (thus giving each member say, 50 xp each) and they kill them instead, no XP. Same is true for Fate points. Acting in a non-heroic manner, they will soon run out of Fate points and eventually die.

Good Luck, you'll need it.
Yeah, my current group is a pretty contentious lot. I always tell the players, whatever the game be it Star Wars, Pendragon, or Conan: EVERY ACTION you take whether in act, deed or word, has an effect on the world around you. You make the consequences that will react to your actions. Just keep that in mind.

Now, they're not playing IN Hyboria I see, but there's no reason why your NPCs wouldn't act like Hyborians would. Take your merchant idea. He might not hire assasins to do the party in directly. He'd get the constables, militia, town guards to arrest the party for their criminal deeds. Being a merchant, he could afford to bribe said posse to be over-enthusiastic about taking down the party, killing them "by accident" or arresting them and having merchant sell them as slaves to salt mines or some other nasty bit. This eliminates merchant's threat, makes him look good in community, and he gets his revenge and many a little payback for the bribes he pays the posse. And it may make the party bond for mutual need.

Hope this helps.
Or how about this: next time someone gets murdered or something is stolen, they are blamed for it. I'm sure the local guards would probably care less if such disreputable niusances were found guilty of a crime they didn't commit. Criminals are always looking for someone else to take the fall for them.
In the above case, the party could find thier Reputations working against them, in game terms reducing their Bluff/Diplomacy rolls to convince anyone they didn't do it by the appropiate number rather than giving them a bonus. After all, if everyone knows they are a criminal they aren't likely to believe a plea of innocence.

For further cruelty, make them the fall guy for some prominent Noble or civic official's crime- thus the fix is in. A Corrupt court can teach a set of players that petty murderers and thieves are amatuers at being 'bad'. :twisted:

Raven, GM and professional sadist 8)
Our group has done what you may refer to as evil perhaps, but not to each other. A man threatened our group for some reason I forget - he sais he had a small army nearby. Small is a generalization so we were unsure what this meant of course...well we did not care for his tone and shot him out of his saddle...Then I(Bossonian) and another player(Cimmerian) dug out his eye socket and put a note of warning in there...then tied him to his horse and sent the body on its way....

We worked together and slaughtered 24 soldiers with nary a scratch. When we went and fought individually, at least one of has come close to dying..

Have the offending characters caught and hung...the others will feel no compunction to rescue them...keep killing them til it gets in their heads to shape up..