Fictional Torture and Real Life Frustration at the Table

From REDDIT:

Has it ever happened to you ? You write an RP encounter with an NPC you think will be cool. Like he knows important informations or has something the party wants and they're gonna have to convince/bribe/persuade/lie to him to get it. But then all of a sudden you realise the PCs will just torture him or kill him because it's way easier to do.
This happened a lot. I'm all for player's agency but this shit gets repetitive and exhausting after a while. They're supposed to be the good guys.

REPLY:
Talk to your players and ask why they do that.
They might be coming from tables where that is the ONLY way to get information out of people.
I've definitely had conversations with my friends about gaming and how torture does not reveal reliable intel in reality and that I don't want to see it at the gaming table. In my experience, characters torturing NPC's is a sign of frustration.

From this thread…

Lich Queen/Silver Sword Subject Divider

I’ve seen friendly hobbit parties cut off goblin’s fingers and local heroes done good threaten worse than that. In my experience, it is a sign of frustration at withheld information. Step out of game and talk it over, my friends.

I talked about this in Episode 22 of Daydreaming about Dragons…

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Inspiration Goat Table Techniques #1

I used the above technique in the Thursday night Trophy Gold game and got a wonderful tale from Jesse. He told me about how his orphan pickpocket broke into a noble’s house and had to kill the noble in order to get out.

I loved it because it wasn’t a kill that made the world a better place (well, depending on the noble) and there was a touch of shame in it. This kid was a treasure-hunter because they had lived a tough life and this was the only clear vocation open to them.


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In which I have a conversation with you about techniques that are shaking out at the tables where I sit and inspirational media.


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On Thursday evenings we play D&D, our Thursday night game, founded at the start of the pandemic. Here are the characters and the links to the related blog posts (houserules, AP posts, etc.).


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After years I’m getting together with old friends, Jeff and Storn, and playing an investigative D&D game set in the Domains of Dread from Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and countless other supplements from my gaming youth. It is an experiment and it is working for us. Storn graciously illustrates characters in the game and his art is a lovely way to commemorate the game.


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