DoW is not mind control?

Hey guys,

There’s a complex situation that happened in the last session we played. Basically the party got separated for good (probably) based on a DoW. To make a long story short, the characters we’re arguing over going south to the desert for a treasure or going north to keep investigating an event. The character who wanted to go south proposed it to the group and the two other characters didn’t wanted to go. One of these said: I’m not even going in the DoW, I’m not going" This is ok by the rules because it says somewhere in BWG that no character should be forced into a conflict. The two others went at it. The DoW was a massacre in two rolls the characters who wanted to go south won and the other didn’t even touch his body of argument. Now it says in the book that the conflict serves the purpose to solve a conflictual situation, that was a good example of that. So one character left the party and the two others decided to take a boat to go south since thats what the DoW and statement of purpose was all about. But upon arriving to the boat the roden character, the one that failed the DoW, is not welcome aboard and must be chained and used as labor if he want to travel on board. The character is a free spirit he doesn’t wanna be chained and nobody is forcing him so he decide to stay and not go on the boat wich create a problematic situation where theres no way to go south otherwise (time issues) and he kinda has to go because he failed the DoW, but its not mind control and roleplay wise that character refuses to be chained and used as labor for months on a boat, so he decide to stay north and follow the other character.
Now all that happened one scene after the other in about 10 minutes of gaming and the PC who won the DoW felt a little cheated on this because he won, invested some artha and now the other PC are simply not respecting that by not going south with him.

We solved that issue by going south with that character by burning other character to do so. Therefore we follow that story, wich the DoW decided but we applied the It’s not mind control rule where the other characters sticked to their beliefs and stayed north.

What would you have done? Was it ok not to go south? Is it the good way to do things by the rules? What do you guys think?


Normally you let results ride unless the situation changes dramatically, and I think discovering the that the roden could only travel south if he was chained up and used for labor was a dramatic change in the situation. If I were playing the roden I would have made a serious effort to try to find another way to get there or to find a way to use that transport without being used as slave labor. If that didn’t work I would have told the player who won the DoW sorry, but I agreed to go south, not to go south in chains.

Actually I forgot to mention in the story that the roden tryed to convince the captain but failed so the captain proposed that he was chained, he didn’t wanted him at all on board in the first palce. We we’re at the end of the rolls there…In other word it was a failing forward situation.

As a gm, I probably would have made another way available, perhaps by way of the boat captains “voice” suggesting that they could all bloody well wait for another boat or build their own for all he cared.
The party could have attempted another DoW against the boat captain, gambled for passage, or even just set upon their roden companion and knock him out for the trip (it always worked on “B.A.” in “The A Team”, but they used tranquilizers in his milk).
The thing is, if it is that important for the storyline, I’ll find a way to make it possible without making it ridicules (the rodines uncle just happens to own a schooner).

What were the beliefs involved ?

Being chained up wasn’t part of the deal. Roden’s off the hook. He tried to go with them, but he didn’t agree to forced servitude. I don’t think as GM I would have put the Roden in that position because it did rob the other player of his success. There must have been better choices available in the situation. The captain could have demanded payment or they could have snuck the rat on board, etc.

Also, are the players having conflict or only their characters?

1 Like

I agree with noclue. The whole chained-up thing sounds unfun. The players as a group should’ve said “screw that!” and found a different way to travel south. There should always be an optional, if not safe, choice. Was that a GM choice to include it? Was there a Belief tied to anti-Roden sentiment? Is it part of the existing world culture? Why was that roadblock tossed in there?

The other player who decided to stay behind? Time to make a new character for this leg of the journey. As a GM, there’d be no way I’d run a split-narrative simultaneously. To sell it, though, promise that after the journey South is taken care of and it’s time to reunite the wayward PCs, invite all the other players to create alternate characters and run a session or two describing the adventures that the stay-behind PC got into.

We did this all the time at BWHQ and it did wonders for world-building. So many of these alternate quests ended up affecting the main story in ways we’d never have imagined.

THAT is a terrific idea! Thanks for sharing, Kublai!

I’d really like to hear from SameOldJi about what was happening at the table between the players and the GM.

Seems like there were a lot of crossed wires and hurt feelings and that folks weren’t happy with the direction of the game.

Why did the GM enforce such a strange twist?
Why didn’t the winning player offer another option for travel?
Why didn’t the refusing player come to his/her senses and want to join the direction of play?


Ok here’s my interpretation of things, but I will ask them for sure. These questions are interesting to me in the sense that they’re legitimate and basic at the same time. I mean what happened right?

Why did the GM enforce such a strange twist?

Because it was directly challenging the character’s beliefs. He wanted to impress is father by being rich and these pirates where offering him to (1) go south where his father is (and he just received a letter from him earlier before saying that there was strange issues going on south) and (2) offering a job as a guide for a treasure hunt since he’s from the south and they never been there. So by offering this ideal proposition to the player, it was a way to force him into a tuff decision about his belief and instinct as well cause he had something else related to money.

Why didn’t the winning player offer another option for travel?

Mainly because he had a belief about keeping his promises. He made a deal with the pirate NPC before telling the rest of the group about it and he didn’t wanted to find another way to travel south. That was the main reason, the character was not going back on he deal. Also, we we’re in a geographic position where this was the only and fastest way south…small settlement lost waaaayyyy up north. Just creating another boat for this purposed would have felt artificial considering the location and description of it.

Why didn’t the refusing player come to his sense and want to join the direction of play?

Well wich one?..Honestly it was a case of three players who didnt want to back down on their beliefs and roleplay the characters to the bone. The one who didnt even wanted to go in DoW was playing his backstory and beliefs that said the answers to all his inquiries was north so no reason to follow this guy he met 6 month ago to go south. The other one just turned into an orc after his spell misfired (wheel of magic madness) so he didnt wanted to go south and be chained as a slave on a boat when he needed to find a wizard that can give him his roden shape as soon as possible. Theres no way hes going in the desert on a treasure hunt and be treated like an orc for the whole trip and voyage as well, didnt feel right plus he was a free spirit from the start, part of what the character was. The other one was playing hard on his beliefs, like I said already but also won that DoW so he felt like it was us, the other players who should’ve followed him, that was by the rules kind of.

So all these considerations made for a really sticky situation. But Luke is right somehow there was some tension between the players because. That greedy money seeker son of a king character was pushing hard for his money and we didnt care enough to follow him so we decided to go our own way and create other characters for him to be able to keep on his journey and allow the DoW to be respected for what it was I mean a complete destruction on his part we scored nothing againt his body of argument total full win on his part.
Its obvious that its always possible to create something on the fly and avoid such a situation but I feel like when it was happening in the middle of gameplay and the intensity of the situation we we’re blinded by ego and roleplay somehow as players and as characters. I surely was not going to let that happen and the other guy as well …It just didn’t made sense at all to go south…The whole campaign would’ve feel forced if we’d wing it and just go along also DoW is not mind control right?..:wink:

Also thanks a lot guys for sharing your ideas of how you would’ve done it. Its a hard one because you dont have alllll the details of all the circumstances surrounding that particular situation. I hope these answers clarifies things a little bit. I think that its always possible to wing something up and make sure everybody follow along but sometimes when it feels to artificial and forced for the characters it aint worth it right? I think thats how we felt at that time.

Yeah, the whole rodent is currently an orc thing explains a lot about the chains, and the southener who won the DoW basically sold his friends out (prior to DoW ?) and was forcing them to stick to a lopsided deal (which they should never have even agreed to the DoW, having no reason to go south in the first place). At least the Orcish Roden didn’t invoke the murder most foul rule and just kill the conniving southener and be done with it.

also, what kind of rat can’t sneak aboard a ship?!

He was currently transformed into an Orc due to a spell mishap, I think one of his reasons for staying north was to seek out a wizard to return him to normal.

Exactly, not that its impossible to find some wizard south, just that the whole trip would’ve been hell for him treated as a slave. Also its important to note that we reached a situation where we failed many rolls one after the other so the let it ride rule started to feel heavy on our shoulders and we we’re not confortable stretching it too far as well. Looks like we we’re sticking to the rules a lot.