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Advice when dealing with stupid players

To be frank, my players are stupid…

All they really care about is combat and killing people. If I were to impose upon them any form of realistic punishment for their dealings with the citizens of the solar system, our current campaign (The Dark Symmetry campaign) would have ended long ago.

I am struggling with GM’ing our sessions due to their lack of intellectual choices (like attacking Brother Michael at Fuji Station, for no apparent reason).

What I am thinking about is actually starting to argue against any stupid choices and presenting them with better alternatives, to become their “conscious” of sorts.

Also, is it better to present a scene and a few options than to just present the scene and let the players roam free? I would like to go with the former, but that is not how I’ve done it so far… been too stuck on old GM patterns from games we played when we were younger.


Send them to the Doughpits on Mars. Life on the front lines? BOOM today. Or BOOM tomorrow.


Haha, good advice. I am thinking about making their visit to Fuji Station become very short. Then they will have to deal with the “The Sword” still stuck in Pandora’s side.

This not quite an advice, but sharing an experience. I had a very stupid player once (besides various not-so-stupid ones). He was indeed very stupid (still is) and focused on combat. But he was also very vain and his characters were like him. At a certain point I started sugesting him to create characters who were minor celebrities, respected army veterans and such. With his vanity satisfied he kept acting stupid, but much less focused on combat and killing sprees.


Combat is fine, but no every problem they face should be handled with gunplay, even though it technically can be.

One thing that irks me about playing combat is that we use Roll20, and it is not the best medium to play out fights. We all live in different towns, but I’d love to be able to draw on a piece of glass to specify zones etc. Zones is a great concept, but for me, squares would work better.

I don’t pay much attention to zones during combat. I probably should, but I try to avoid too much “accounting” in action scenes. I’ve been playing the Dark Symmetry campaign for almost a year now, but I still have a few problems with the 2d20 mechanics. I like them, but I can’t make them feel as cinematic as they should be if I pay attention to all the rules.

When I’m running MC, I treat it like everything goes up to 11. Not 10. 11.
For example a “Luna Noir” game I ran set in DS era was orignally going to be a Dawn of the Dead/Hard Rain scenario. It turned into Die Hard…
Give players what they want: in this case disposable heroes, so a “War Journal” style campaign requires less prep from you as GM and more player engagement into what they want from the game. Also there’s always bigger guns and badder attitudes. Get them on Dark Eden or Mars!

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I think you as a gm will have the pcs continue to behave in idiotic random ways unless you sanction them.

You should talk to them first, but next time you could do stuff like use the dread mechanic.
Everyone could have a permanent box filled in. It could represent their guilt, ( or evilness if the have no remorse) the law closing in on them.

You can also add dark symetry when the pull mad evil stuff.

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Introduce Corruption of the Soul to them. Perhaps they have garnered the attention of the Dark Symmetry with being murder hobos and their souls are in jeopardy. The DS is working towards corrupting them. In turn, this comes to the attention of the Brotherhood, interrogations and cleansing from the the BH is not fun, if they even bother with it.

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Well, I think I have them scared now. A few well spent DSP and they abandoned their plans to take down Fuji Station.


Remember also to reward the playstyle you like the best. If they ever do it how you want give them all a chronicle point. And say why they got it. " for sucessfully finding the murderer and preventing any civilian casualties you each get a bonus chronicle point"

P.s. you can always tell them that if no civies get hurt they will get a chronicle point before the event.

What happened to change their minds? :smiley:

Since they had killed some of Brother Michael’s followers, most of the people on the station turned on them. No one comes to Fuji and makes that kind of trouble. 50+ guns trained on them as they had to leave.

Then, as one of the players stopped playing, and his character was killed off earlier, he now returned as a Malignant, nearly tearing off a player’s leg before he fled the scene.

DSP well spent.


Vengeance has a posse! Good call on the Malignant - and the characters did check the airlocks before they left… Right? Right?
What’s worse than an Incursid, and used to be a PC…

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They never check anything :slight_smile: But that is good for me. One of them used to have a dog, that has disappeared. Doing a “The Thing” here and gonna introduce it back to them, as a Malignant as well. Malignant dog, why not :smiley:


I have written rules for grids in the SotC crossover, Christoffer :wink: I’d also have their reputation start preceding them. Checking in to a new planet/location? Hand your weapons over please.


Yeah, started using those rules in the last session. Worked pretty well.

Got some plans in store for them when they arrive at Kittyhawk Spaceport on Mars :wink:

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Maybe you should sometimes call in the heavy guns. So for Brotherhood a squad Inquisitors with full battle gear. And then use this squad really as elite, not cannon fodder. Let them use military tactics, use cover intelligent, give them different Arts (maybe make one of them a Sani). But don’t kill them. Let them fight for redemption. For example killing innocent Capitolians: go straight to the Freedom Brigade.
If they complain, and say, they are citizens of an other Corporation, you may response: “the Corporation denounce ever heard of you!”
This may stop your current campaign, but after a time they might be pardoned and the campaign could go on.

Never try to solve a problem regarding the players by any “in-game” means like punishing or killing off their characters.

If the players are more interested in killing, then killing some more, a campaign like the Dark Symmetry Campaign is not for them. They might like a more military campaign, like an assault on a Citadel or so, much better than an investigative campaign.

TALK to your players.

Tell them, what YOU like in a Mutant Chronicles game. Ask them, what they like. - And if your interests don’t mesh to any degree, then play something else.

When I put the effort and work into running a campaign as a GM, I do want MY share of fun out of the game. I usually enjoy playing NPCs, presenting puzzles, and from time to time some tactical combat situation. If my players wanted something else, like murder everything that moves, then that won’t work and I look for other players or run something else entirely.

As a player in the Dark Symmetry Campaign this was one of the most epic campaigns I have ever played in. We had intense moments, character development, cunning plans and bad luck making bad situations even worse, but we pulled through. That was possible, because all the players tried to play law men, cops from Luna PD with a cop mindset. Meaning, even while on Fuji-Station you don’t go about murdering innocents left and right. You play a responsible human being, NOT a murderous heretic ■■■■■■■. - And that is, what makes for me Mutant Chronicles so intriguing. Mere weak human beings trying to stand up agains the evil of the Dark Soul - and different to Call of Cthulhu, they actually might win - or at least thwart the Dark Soul’s plans for a few centuries.

As I said: Solve out-game problems regarding your players only out-game. In-game “solutions” don’t exist.