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> Classic Traps for Good Samaritans, Nice Guys Die First
hyzmarca
post Jul 1 2007, 05:35 PM
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A very long time ago, there was a graphical adventure called Shadowgate. On one particular screen of this game, there is a beautiful young woman chained to the wall of a tower dungeon. If you rescue her, she'll eat you because she's really a werewolf. The only way to survive the encounter is to throw a silver arrow through her heart. Anything else will get you killed.

However, there is no IC evidence that she is really a werewolf, meaning that you must play a character who routinely impales captives that he finds on his travels with silver arrows. He really must of a cold-hearted SOB.

This remembrance was inspired by a similar event in The Insatiable, in which a lovestruck would-be vampire killer holds the undead object of his affection in a cage in his basement while attempting to reform her. A meter reader finds her and, being a nice guy, attempts to help her, with predictable results.

This scene is repeated over and over again in Horror movies. People with the best of intentions get killed because they try to help the seemingly innocent person. Women, children, the elderly, these seemingly innocuous guises are the favorite forms of many dangerous predatory forces. So why, why, would any sane person attempt to rescue one of these? Sure, the clown kidnapping the screaming child is probably a demented pervert, but the possibility that the kid is really a hungry Grande-Zombie and the clown is a monster hunter is just big enough to make any sane person err on the side of saving one's own behind. So why shouldn't the runners get extra karma points for deluging the naked woman who is chained up in the sex-fiend's basement with dozens of white-phosphorous grenades get extra karma for their brilliant but insensitive action?

Many people think that slaughtering the helpless as a matter of course makes for an evil or amoral campaign. But really, it can make for a smart campaign, because no sane shadowrunner should do something that would get a character in a horror movie killed.

It is true that nice guys always die first and I believe that more GMs should encourge this paranoid mentality by putting Blood Spirits, Master Shedim, Vampires, and other such nasties into the spots where one would normally find innocent hostages it the adventure was an action movie.

It is a cliché plot device, but it is great plot device for fostering an atmosphere of paranoia when used often and with gusto.
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mfb
post Jul 1 2007, 06:07 PM
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i'd actually use it fairly sparingly--but i'd use it strategically. for instance, i'd use it on the very first run... and then not use it for five or ten runs after that. first runs make a big impression on everyone, so i guarantee that on the tenth run, they'll still be debating whether or not it's a trap when they see some innocent hostage. and hey, maybe on the tenth run, it'll be something horrible again.
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Aku
post Jul 1 2007, 06:08 PM
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because, for the most part, we've beent rained by dnd and other fantasyt hat the princess in the tower is the good one, and the dragon outside is evil
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nezumi
post Jul 1 2007, 06:29 PM
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It's a simple question of cost/benefits.

If you are getting paid to save the innocent, save her (but anticipate her being a vampire).
If you hope to get sex from the innocent, well she's already chained up, so get your sex and leave.
If you hope to get sex from the innocent and you're under time constraints, compare how good the sex would be to what the odds of her eating you are. Determine based on that.
In all other cases, leave 'em to it.
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Kagetenshi
post Jul 1 2007, 06:38 PM
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You forget, though: she probably has organs.

~J
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Chance359
post Jul 1 2007, 07:13 PM
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And if she's a werewolf they'll grow back, cash crop always ready for harvest?
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Critias
post Jul 1 2007, 07:25 PM
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This isn't something that only happens in horror flicks and mean-spirited RPG games, though. In real life, plenty of folks have been lured in by a scared woman and sucker punched by her pimp/boyfriend/whatever. The chivalric notion to assist a damsel in distress has, sadly, been turned into a negative survival trait, rather than a positive and/or species-perpetuating one.
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Kyoto Kid
post Jul 1 2007, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Critias)
This isn't something that only happens in horror flicks and mean-spirited RPG games, though. In real life, plenty of folks have been lured in by a scared woman and sucker punched by her pimp/boyfriend/whatever. The chivalric notion to assist a damsel in distress has, sadly, been turned into a negative survival trait, rather than a positive and/or species-perpetuating one.

...this is why it can be even more twisted to do it on the straight & narrow.

Paranoia strikes deep...

into your heart it will creep...


-Buffalo Springfield
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Wounded Ronin
post Jul 1 2007, 11:06 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
A very long time ago, there was a graphical adventure called Shadowgate. On one particular screen of this game, there is a beautiful young woman chained to the wall of a tower dungeon. If you rescue her, she'll eat you because she's really a werewolf. The only way to survive the encounter is to throw a silver arrow through her heart. Anything else will get you killed.

Christ, man, I actually played that years after it had come out. In terms of narrative and holding my interest, the nearly unrelated Worlds of Power novel was better. :/
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nezumi
post Jul 1 2007, 11:30 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
You forget, though: she probably has organs.

~J

But she's chained to a wall or whatever, which would indicate she's already the victim of someone who would likely defend her. There are more available organs elsewhere.
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Kagetenshi
post Jul 1 2007, 11:58 PM
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But you can have those and hers.

~J
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Sahandrian
post Jul 2 2007, 03:40 AM
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See, that would be a good time to use aura reading.
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Lindt
post Jul 2 2007, 05:33 AM
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QUOTE (Aku)
because, for the most part, we've beent rained by dnd and other fantasyt hat the princess in the tower is the good one, and the dragon outside is evil

If only the D&D games I played where ever that straight fwd.
I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about rescuing a balor from a young virginal maiden (who happened to be a very clever elder litch it turned out).
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sunnyside
post Jul 2 2007, 12:31 PM
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First off rescuing the damsel in distress has never been linked to keeping breathing for the maximum length of time. They are in distress for a reason, and the reason is probably dangerous.

Of course keeping the females alive used to be more important.

Still though the fact is that I hope that my players aren't total rat bastards. And it isn't realistic to have it always be a trap. Typically the other person actually is in distress. Of course that doesn't mean the players shouldn't be smart about it, as Sahandrian points out a shadowrunning team has a lot of resources readily availible for picking up on this kind of stuff. The mage could tell a lot with an aura read, and your bene Gesserit like social adept could pick up a whole lot from body language.
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Moon-Hawk
post Jul 2 2007, 05:17 PM
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Players: This is obviously a trap.
GM: Only if you're metagaming.
Players: *sigh* Yeah, well, we get a point of karma for freeing her, even if she tried to eat us, right?
GM: Of course.
Players (karma whores, every one 'em): Okay, we'll play along. "We'll rescue you, miss!"
GM: You free her. It's a Master Shedim.
Players: You're an ass.
GM: I love you too, here's your karma. Roll for initiative.
:-D
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hyzmarca
post Jul 2 2007, 05:57 PM
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A Master Shedim has Aura Masking and would perfectly adopt the mannerisms of its host, meaning that one is completely unable to determine its true nature without being an initiate. But any creature with Aura masking and decent acting skills sould be able to seem innocuous enough until it is too late.

It wouldn't be metagaming to assume that it is a trap, either. These people watch Horror trids and, more importantly, they watch the news. People being eaten by damsels and small children in distress can't be too uncommon. It should, at least, be common enough to garner sensationalist media attention.
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Platinum
post Jul 2 2007, 10:46 PM
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QUOTE (Chance359)
And if she's a werewolf they'll grow back, cash crop always ready for harvest?

This gave me a cool idea .... someone using a were-something to cash in on an organ supply. But the organs start to corrupt their new recipients. sounds like a 3-4 stage adventure.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jul 3 2007, 02:16 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
A Master Shedim has Aura Masking and would perfectly adopt the mannerisms of its host, meaning that one is completely unable to determine its true nature without being an initiate. But any creature with Aura masking and decent acting skills sould be able to seem innocuous enough until it is too late.

It wouldn't be metagaming to assume that it is a trap, either. These people watch Horror trids and, more importantly, they watch the news. People being eaten by damsels and small children in distress can't be too uncommon. It should, at least, be common enough to garner sensationalist media attention.

It's like in that SR novel about cyberwared vampires. The runner team with the big troll and the lesbians was supposed to be this expert team but they were completely suckered by the oldest cliche in the book, i.e. their vampire-killed team members coming back apparently alive. That actually messed up my suspension of disbelief that they would fall for such an obvious ploy.
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Lilt
post Jul 3 2007, 08:21 PM
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This is a sick example that I saw once in the film "Casshern". I'll put it behind an sblock, perhaps so that any faint-hearted people can avoid it, but more because it is an actual spoiler to one of the more startling parts of the film. I don't want to spoil it for anyone:
[ Spoiler ]


This one's not necessarily the 'good Samaritans', but could be adapted for it or even be adopted so the players are on the other side of the situation with an interesting moral dilemma. This comes from something a friend of mine claimed to see whilst in the seedier parts of town. The basic set-up is simple:
[ Spoiler ]
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nezumi
post Jul 3 2007, 10:12 PM
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Lilt, I remember seeing that one scene AGES ago, but could never remember what movie it was from. A very disturbing scene. Thanks for the connection!
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DuckEggBlue Omeg...
post Jul 7 2007, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
AMany people think that slaughtering the helpless as a matter of course makes for an evil or amoral campaign. But really, it can make for a smart campaign, because no sane shadowrunner should do something that would get a character in a horror movie killed.

Since when are smart and amoral mutually exclusive?

Killing the hostage, or what have you usually is the smart thing to do, doesn't make it any less amoral. Springing the samaritan trap, is interesting for a twist, but I don't see a reason to actively encourge amoral ruthlessness in players, especially since in real life most people I know would ignore the someone in need of help just to protect themself, and I certainly wouldn't want to punish someone as SOP forthem trying to play the hero for a change, even if it's only in the game.
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Kyoto Kid
post Jul 7 2007, 06:38 PM
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...well put. In such a dark and depressing world as Shadowrun depicts, I see nothing wrong with an occasional "good guy" mission. Even in the worst of times, there are some who may still decide to do the "other thing" as Bobby Kennedy once spoke of. I agree, why must we always bend the runners over every time, why can't there be an occasional bright spot in all the dreariness once in a while?

As I mentioned earlier in this thread with the general mindset of Shadowrun, I see not springing the trap (or not having the J bend the team over) as being more of a twist since apparently everyone expects the negative outcome to be the norm.
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warrior_allanon
post Jul 9 2007, 05:13 AM
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not an SR game but something my GM would have done if he had read John Ringo, a Sniper wounds and immobilizes a party member, but does not out right kill them. Continues to wound and/or kill other party members as they try to rescue said wounded members. kinda like what happened near the end of Full Metal Jacket
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nezumi
post Jul 9 2007, 02:17 PM
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That's a trap? I use that as a general rule of thumb. On the one hand, it's good for the bad guys because someone who is on the ground with a serious wound isn't going to hit much, and so its better to focus on either keeping the party there as they try to help the downed member, or just spreading out the damage so all of them pose less of a threat. If they leave behind the downed member, it gives you someone to question. On the other, it's good for the party because you only need to roll up a new character if everyone else is too.
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treehugger
post Jul 9 2007, 02:35 PM
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I had some experience as a player that is quite interesting imho (but not SR related):
Our group was storming in an "evil" crypt, where even the doors where alive and tried to killed us.
We met a "scholar" that was supposedly emprisoned in the basement, but after a small chat, i was convinced he was trying to fool us to bring him back into civilisation.
My problem was that i was the only one to believe so ...
So i shot him once, but a player sacrificed himself to take the arrow (he was feeling heroïc).
Another player put himslef in front of the prisonner but i made him back off and coldly murdered him (remember, this was only based on my intuition, and we had no way of checking).
I was allmost killed by the rest of the group, but since they needed me to come back to civilisation, they let me live (and they knew that if they wanted to kill me, one would have died first ^^ )
So you ask ?
The nice part was that maybe 5 or 10 game sessions later, the story was forgotten and we had no informations to know if he was truely a prisonner.
The GM took me before a game session and asked me if i remembered this episode. Of course i did, and so he explained me he was some kind of very powerfull and evil sort of necromancer, and that he needed to infiltrate our kingdom.
He succeeded since no one realised that when i killed him, he possessed me, and wanted me to continue to play as usual as his plan was to stay low and not rise suspicion.
So i played the main evil guy of the campaign for about 10 game sessions, manipulating the group to do his bindings, with the GM giving me directions.
When the players realised they where truely shocked ! :)
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