Scholar troubles... a roleplaying dilemna.

Hey all,

Just a question to those playing with a scholar in their party:

How's it going?

Right now I'm playing a thief who is traveling with a scholar and a nomad. Up until now, my rogue has had no problems with the scholar BUT is starting to get freaked out by the alien mindset of this character. He doesn't care for wealth or pleasures of the flesh, shows no emotion or loyalty, and has no compunction against slitting the throats of helpless commoners. My thief is no choir-boy himself, as his motivations are those typically ascribed to adventurers (loot, glory, women) and is a shifty, scheming bastard.

Out of character I'm impressed with how wickedly and creepily my co-player is playing his character. He's one eery mofo!

In character I'm at a loss to justify why I don't get away from this psychopath or slit his throat before he turns on me and enslaves me (or worse).

SO I just wanted to see how others have dealt with an evil scholar in their midst and whether it has worked out or not (and why).

Cheers,
Tiberias of Aquilonia
 

Arkobla Conn

Mongoose
Nicely worded....

I've wondered the same thing about my group. I'm the DM where there is a zamoran rogue, cimmerian, bossonian and nomad. With them is a stygian who hasn't done much (although he can and does use his bow) - but displays similiar traits. I've made the rogue an employee of his and came up with a way they could play together to start, but the long term goals are going to be a challenge.

In the end, since we are all friends, it's something we'll gloss over - but I understand your point exactly...
 

Qjedi

Mongoose
Tiberius: I played a magic-phobic nomad up to seventh level with my group, then they started really pushing into the obvious "Evil sorcery" routes. I had my character confront the baddies and then leave with a price on her head. It didn't work, but it was fun anyhow, if you are feeling vindictive, just kill said baddie w/ some GM permission. If GM says no, then fight evil sorceror type by taking away opportunities. You could also go to the dark side yourself. Many players like the "naughty feeling" that comes with being a bad guy. Make it less fun and it should cut down on the presence of it.
Anyhoo, those are my suggestions
Later!
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Hey there, I'm actually the GM of the game that Tiberius is noting about. So far there've been good suggestions and clues.

I'm a huge Conan fan, but am still trying to limber up my very weak gming muscles. Each of the players (one just joined in the last game, and they're all 2nd level right now) is doing a superb job playing their character and interacting with each other. But I've been troubled since Tiberius and the scholar character were made up because they're so different. (The latter's a Stygian, and since the game's still new I haven't divulged some of my later [political] plot points on him yet, I also have a couple of surprise twists I'd love to throw their way, but am not ready to do so yet/am uncertain whether to do them or drop them or change ideas).

Just like Tiberius, I'm thrilled with the way the players are handling the sessions, but am concerned about how their characters interact. Each character is playing totally true to his particular form. It's the whole group bond that is the trouble. So I'm looking forward to reading more posts, as it may help me try to sort this all out (I hate killing characters, I'd prefer they get themselves killed instead - :twisted: ), or make me agree with plot ideas I've got in head or drop them for something else.

Scholars really are the crux in this game, or the wild card type of character if you will. The Conan stories are totally episodic in nature and were written haphazardly, Howard said something like it was as if Conan were standing over his shoulder telling him tale after tale, not his life story but rather remembering incidents as they came to him. Any kind of character works fine for this but the scholar, who by his nature is the most campaign-oriented (aka: long term goal) class. I wonder if anyone's made up or thought of making a priest of Mitra or someone modeled after Epimetreus the sage, or if everyone's experiences are with the dark arts or mesmerism.
 

Maximo

Mongoose
Bregales,
It seems you have good RPG-gamers in your group, and while this should be a bonus, it sometimes ends being sort of troublesome.

Why don't you make them face a challenging villain/situation no one can defeat on his own? It's a typical way to make sure that they cooperate -unless they want to get dead. It can also create a reason for further cooperation, specially on the thief's part -sure the scholar does not care about owing his life to a lowly rogue :twisted: .

Other way to solve this dilemma would be that the thief got corrupted and acepted the sorcerer's ways if he helps him to achieve his own goals -you know, some sort of faustian bargain. But I don't know what a 2nd level scholar may offer :lol:
 

Mijoro

Mongoose
Maximo said:
Bregales,
It seems you have good RPG-gamers in your group, and while this should be a bonus, it sometimes ends being sort of troublesome.

Why don't you make them face a challenging villain/situation no one can defeat on his own? It's a typical way to make sure that they cooperate -unless they want to get dead. It can also create a reason for further cooperation, specially on the thief's part -sure the scholar does not care about owing his life to a lowly rogue :twisted: .

Other way to solve this dilemma would be that the thief got corrupted and acepted the sorcerer's ways if he helps him to achieve his own goals -you know, some sort of faustian bargain. But I don't know what a 2nd level scholar may offer :lol:

If I can throw my 2 gold lunas into the discussion - I play the nomad in Bregales' group. Our "problem" (and I use the word loosely) doesn't seem to be cooperation - we did a good job of helping each other last game session, IMO.

I don't think corruption is an option for the thief - as I don't think that's the direction Tiberias wants to go, and if my thoroughly non-corrupted nomad is in a group with two corrupt characters, he'll start looking for other employment opportunities to save his own skin. ;) (not the best option since OOC I love adventuring with the Scholar and Thief and the guys playing them).

However, I agree that a situation/villian that our scholar needs help overcoming would show our worth to him and maybe give a plausible reason for the three characters to adventure together, hopefully easing the thief's mind in the process.
 
Well put Mijoro...

The best reason to stick/work together is to achieve a common goal. Avoiding death and dealing out revenge are 2 damn good ones to hold us together.

I just hope that my character doesn't get sacrificed by Akriphon so that he may achieve that goal!
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
Does the Scholar have a Master? If he does that might help. Imagine this dark master sends the Scholar on different missions to recover rare ingredients or magic items. As long as the Thief is getting paid well, I don't see why he would have a problem. As a thief, he should be of the mentality that 'life is cheap' and as long as he's getting his share, who cares what the other guy does.
 

bahmbatta

Mongoose
I chose the later not to scholar because while I thought it would be fun to play a :twisted: twisted psycopath who could write up contracts with demons and offer them to my other party members I knew the type of people i was playing with and decided against it. I imagine the nomad would never sign...the thief might if the deal was sweet enough, but is that what I should be doing as a pc? Tempting people into demonic contracts would be fun for me but would not service the story as a whole and my part in playing a pc is to enjoy myself but not at the expence of others. I guess its anti-hero verses hero in your game if not at the get go eventually and if I was the nomad I would gak the scholar at a low level cause its just going to get harder later. Same goes for the scholar you find out the nomad is a goody two shoes slit his throat in his sleep and blame it on a thief that stole his purse you now have.
 

Murte

Mongoose
A couple of points in this:

1) Perhaps the scholar needs a lil "lesson" in not being quite so open about his "aberrant" ways. It will get hard to justify if there are any witnesses, and it will get hard to keep having the same two witnesses around ya all the time. The truly evil and power hungry only "hint" at what they are capable of until "the time is right."

2) My Turanian Nomad would have already killed the scholar in his sleep, unless of course the scholar had already done some sort of "hex" or "curse" on him, in which case he would do everything but what the "hex" or "curse" forbade. (Whether the "Hex" or "curse" is real or not oesn't matter, it's the perception that counts.)

3) Alot of REH has a "might makes right" undertone to it. So perhaps it is not as "evil" as one would think, but rather the "natural" order of things.

4) As long as your group is having fun, carry on.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Thanks for the tips/observations. Last game was the first time the nomad was in this particular group, but it was also the first time anyone saw the scholar do anything truly nasty. Before that point I think Tiberius would agree that he was the biggest scumbag, and the scholar had been keeping a low profile. In fact, in the last game the thief provoked him by screwing around-literally-with the girl the scholar had claimed.

For his part, the player of the scholar had told us he kept her alive for the possibility of sacrificing her for power, and the thief's ego got the better of him. Both guys, and the nomad, were all played beautifully and consistently. The game Tiberius started the thread about was the first one where the scholar used any magic at all, and the first where he sacrified anyone (2 slaves for power, the girl to make a point).
 

Maximo

Mongoose
What if for whatever reason, the scholar runs afoul of his master? Then the scholar would need desperately the help of the other characters to survive.
As the scholar is most likely an insidious rat, he would likely act as if he had changed, as if he had realized what was right and what was wrong... until his need for help dissapeared :twisted:

I tell you this because in my campaign there's such a scholar...
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Maximo said:
What if for whatever reason, the scholar runs afoul of his master? Then the scholar would need desperately the help of the other characters to survive.
As the scholar is most likely an insidious rat, he would likely act as if he had changed, as if he had realized what was right and what was wrong... until his need for help dissapeared :twisted:

I tell you this because in my campaign there's such a scholar...

Wow, cool idea, thanks Maximo!

Ah hell. I wanted to keep some of these ideas to myself, because they're the ideas I'd planned on using, but since everyone's contributing great ideas, I'll share a couple I've got, in case anyone wants to use them. Of course if you think they're terrible, saying so could save me embarrasement at our table: :lol:

*One of the party members has a seemingly innocuous birthmark that the scholar's master recognizes and informs the scholar character that he must safeguard the affected PC. (Kinda like a witch's mark).

*A PC has a possession that either scholar himself or his master recognizes and needs scholar to protect PC so long as he has it (I was gonna do this until I started the last game). -The problem with either of these ideas is that it only works for a given character, not a whole party (without stretching it a little).

Motivations may be as simple as because the scholar's master told him to do so, or desire to use affected character at a later point, or to keep his own skin intact.

Hope these can help, and maybe writing them down here will help me figure out some things too.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Perhaps instead of ganging up on the scholar char, and try to come up with ways to make the player rue the day he decided to play a character he wanted to play, why not try to come up with ways the other party members must work with, and obey the scholar? In the stories, the scholar is usually the leader, the others are his pawns.

Since its the other players who are really complaining, and one of them actually messed with the scholar characters girl, why not have him put under some sort of a curse or disease, that can only be held at bay by the scholar's magik, knowledge of healing, etc etc? That way, the thief will have to depend on said scholar, and mayve even do his dirty work.

I don't mean any offense by my post, but just ganging up on a player behind his back, and try to come up with ways to decrease his level of fun, seems pretty cheap to me.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Good point, thanks. I've been trying to keep everything balanced, but may have gotten ahead of myself in trying to justify everything here, and getting ahead of things as they're only 2nd level yet. I for one didn't intend to balance others by cutting down on the scholar or indicate he's wrong by any means. Just trying to keep the guys from killing each other off.

You're absolutely right, the whole point of the game is about having a good time. What has been brought up is that, because the scholar is so different from any other character type, they are the hardest to work in with others. One thing you're absolutely right about though, they usually do end up the leaders of groups, armies, whatever.
 
I don't mean any offense by my post, but just ganging up on a player behind his back, and try to come up with ways to decrease his level of fun, seems pretty cheap to me

Xex,

I actually commend both of my fellow players on how well they are playing their characters and have said so in these posts. The issue here is a roleplaying, in-character, issue.

The original posting was made in order to find out if parties with scholar tend to be problematic, as their very nature makes them non-team players. I wanted to see how other groups got along with such characters and went to the boards to find a solution better than:

a] slitting his throat while he slept
b] leaving him behind

I have no problem with someone else being the team leader. I DO have a problem with the leader showing no sign of human emotion and feeling that all others are utterly expendable.

As for "messing with" the scholar's girl... guilty as charged. As I wrote before, however, his claiming of her was not sexual in nature, to him she was a merely a possession.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Xex said:
Since its the other players who are really complaining, and one of them actually messed with the scholar characters girl, why not have him put under some sort of a curse or disease, that can only be held at bay by the scholar's magik, knowledge of healing, etc etc? That way, the thief will have to depend on said scholar, and mayve even do his dirty work.

That sounds very workable to me, given the inclination of the others to play in character. Without their monthly dose of pollen of the red lotus suitably mumbled over by the scholar they ... die. That is a powerful incentive to stay with him and to make themselves "useful" to him. (The player would have to avoid the temptation to tyrannize the other two PCs. That shouldn't be too hard if he remembers that in the Hyborian Age mighty-thewed heroes would snap the spines of quill-necked scholars who got on their nerves too much, even if it imperiled their own lives.)
 

bahmbatta

Mongoose
one of the things you could do to make it even is to rotate the focus of the story from one character to the next that way just when the nomad seems to have the upper hand the scholar could pull some dasterdly deed only to have it taken from him by the theif the next game. Then go around the circle the oposite way so no one feels picked on and they each get to stay true to their concepts. Then just when group dynamics break down throw in some outside influence that brings them back together because they need all their skills to just survive the encounter. I know thats kind of vauge but I don't have alot to go on. Where is this story set? and whats going on in it?
 
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