Didn't had one of these in a while, so I've figured that I'd write one. Today I want to share with you my opinion on overthinking players and Gamemasters.
|Some ideas should remain just that: ideas|
He was a goverment agent from other country, who knew about the "other side" and wanted to help the PC's. However first he had to stage a little diversion at their workplace (don't ask) which went tits up and resulted in him being captured by them. It was at this point that I had two chocies: one was for his embassy to bail him out and went with the plan of socialising with the PC's later. The other was letting them "work" on him for a bit, after which the embassy would eventually freed him. I went with the second option, by essentially telling them that their commanding officer ordered the poor guy's torture, in order to find out, exactky how much he knows about their agency.
They've tortured the shit out of this guy, with the entire session being spent on crushing his balls, hitting him with a stool, beating him in the face over and over again and so on. At one point my players went to a different room to ponder, whether to brake his bones or not. At that point I was both horrified and pissed of. Horrified, because I could not belive that my players were able to do such a thing and pissed, because they were doing this to an NPC which I really liked and wanted to be a genuine help to them. At that point I knew that this situation would be unsalvageable and sure enough, it ended with the tortured guy being pulled off by his peers, the players' superior getting the boot from the job, as the whole "diversion" was a security test basically. It turned out that they've tortured an innocnet man. When this revelation came to light, one of my PC's decided to put the barrel of his service pistol under his chin and... well, you probably can imagine what happened next.
|Congratulations! You've guessed right!|
In the end the atmosphere went to shit. I couldn't help myself, and alienated the NPC even further, after he told the remaining players a few harsh words about their dead comrade, which ended with them resenting the dude, for whom they were supposed to feel guilty. After that two of my players left the group and we've dropped Hunter for a couple of months, a shame really, since, like I've written before, the game was going really well and people seemed to like it a lot. Now this is the perfect example of an overthinking situation, gone badly. If I would not let them torture this guy, then the whole thing could've been sorted out differently. Same with him not tauting my PC's over the death of their friend. As a GM I was angry at my players for their callousness, but the truth is that the blame was mine alone. A Gamemaster is the driving force of the game, and his decissions shape the world in which said game takes place. If I would not have chosen my pride and a wrongful sense of "injustice" over reason, the game would've probably went on, at least for a few more months.
However I've overthought the whole thing and ended up with losing two players and had to drop my meticalously written chronicle. I was angry, but only at myself and my lack of insight. My players made their decisions but it was me, who've presented it to them.
The above two examples perfectly encapsulate the whole overthinking problem. If there's an easy, logical solution to a problem, it's not really worth it to search for a different one. Even if you like challenges, it's better to wait for a real one and not create one on a failed assumption that it'll be "more interesting". You'll only be hurting yourself, your teammates/players and the game overall. It's not worth to sacrifice good, common fun for one's need to needlessly complicate things.
Until next time!