One couple, two perspectives, tons of geekery

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Warlock's Tower: Betraying the Party

The poor stegosaurus learns the hard way - Guess he didn't watch The Land Before Time like we did

Sadly my reputation is such that I can no longer afford to use this tactic….but no matter - I have other ways of getting what I want.  However, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be of use to you.  In fact I recommend it as a great way of cutting your teeth on the road to becoming a master warlock!
Maybe it was your character concept, maybe the GM asked you to do it, maybe you were just following my footsteps….but however it happened you’re playing a traitor.  While this type of gaming can be a lot of fun, you also need to walk the fine line of not ruining the game for everyone else.  Always double check with the Game Master before making up a traitor character, and try to get a feel of what type of game you are playing, to make sure that a traitor is appropriate.  Once that is set, here are some quick and easy rules to get you to the top of your game, and help you get away with that perfect crime.
Rule 1:  Don’t tell anybody.  This may seem obvious, but it’s the main way things like this slip out.  When I say don’t tell anyone that means in game or out of game.  Remember loose lips sink ships.  Don’t brag about it to your friend, don’t tell that guy that isn’t even in the plot.  If they are in the game, or have a chance to be in the game or talk to other people in the game, don’t tell them.  All it takes is an innocent slip of the tongue and your secret is out, and you get jumped and that’s probably it.  It’s easy to get excited and want to brag about how good you are doing, but even I once told a group of people at a dinner I was a secretly a Black Spiral Dancer, cause we were telling war stories, and were all clearly out of character and next game….Bam, I get jumped by a Werewolf pack….who all heard “In character” from the people I was talking to that I was a BSD.  Sadly I was more than a little prepared, and the werewolves simply hastened the fall of their caern, BUT I was kicking myself the whole time and felt like such an idiot for making such an amateur mistake, and if the players had been thinking instead of just using brute force my plans could have easily all been ruined. 
Rule 2:  Play your character.  That is make sure you are playing all your quirks, and you know have your motivations down.  This is so important for the traitor.  Now we have talked before about being consistency as the key to being a great Villain (If you don’t remember see the previous Warlock Tower article) It’s just as true if not more so for the traitor.  First, it’s fair to the other players.  It’s always nice when they can pick up on something and feel good about themselves for.  Back to the Black Spiral Dancer example his first two infiltration attempts didn’t go so well.  The first one…well that wasn’t my fault… but the second one a player picked up on a phrase I had been using from the last disguise.  It was a great scene, and even though it blew my cover it was a lot of fun to see other people figure it out.  The next reason it’s important is because it can be scary.  When a player hears their friend singing the song the murderer always sings, or when they see that tattoo on you that the rest of the cultists have, it makes for a great and stunning reveal.  And the last reason is the Kaiser Soze reveal.  If you do manage to pull off everything and get away with it, and bring down the party/game/whatever, then you want the players so busy thinking back and being like “Oh Yeah….but wait….OHHH….what about when…it all makes sense now.”  Not only is it the crowning achievement for most master minds, but if done right the other players won’t be too mad t you!   
Rule 3: Leave yourself an out.  Both in and out of character.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and the Game Master changes his mind, sometimes things start to go south, and it’s apparent the other players would not like the plot.  And sometimes they figure things out way too fast.  For in character reasons to go back to the light side think of some things that would make sense and either allow you to keep playing the character or allow you not to betray them.  You could be planning on betraying them but then fell in love with one of the other PCs, you could be moved by their kindness during the adventures, or my personal favorite you could be a deep cover triple agent, and then tell the players some needed facts about the enemy to get into their good graces again.  Just make sure you have something plausible in case you or the Game Master changes their mind.  Also always have an escape plan in character because you never know what will tip another player off.  Smoke bombs/invisibility/teleport/the car keys/ a hostage anything you can use to make a good get away.  If you don’t have one (or the players can negate what you do have) it’s OK.  Just bluff that you have one.  You should know at least a little about the other characters by now so pretend you have a hostage, or that the folder you threw into the fire has all the answers, then use the distraction to get away.   Just have a good story already thought up if you think plan A won’t work.    


  1. John, How come ever time I read your blog is always about you teaching people how to be evil?! And please don't lie in Rule 3, "my personal favorite you could be a deep cover triple agent". You just like to be evil, and that's ALL~~~ :P


  2. Ah John, how much fun we had back in Gotham Nights.
    You slowly playing most of the characters for fools and me sitting back and watching just how gullible they were.

    I miss those days


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