Well this has been brewing for a while. Way back when we introduced Team Bounty Hunter, our big idea was to make them recurring villains. We’d planned for these lethal ladies to play Wile E. Coyote to The Heroes‘ Roadrunner, and the thought was to have many a merry jape as our ne’er do well protagonists bumbled their way out of captivity. It didn’t quite work out that way though. The role of murderhobo wrangler seems to have defaulted to Horsepower, leaving Team Bounty Hunter with nothing to do but serve as just-another-adventuring-party. Well no more, says I! At long last they can bring their greatest quarry to justice! It’s just too bad they waited so long.

Today’s comic isn’t just about character relationships in Handbook-World. It’s also about the relationships that all PCs tend to form with their benefactor NPCs. If someone is rich and powerful enough to hire the greatest heroes in all the land, it stands to reason that they’re also big movers and shakers in the setting. And if it happens to be an absolute monarch filling those quest givin’ shoes, it’s easy for players to feel like they’ve acquired royal invulnerability. In other words, there’s a risk of your murderhobos becoming entitled murderhobos.

When that happens, you’ve got to come up with reason after reason for the Her Royal Highness to bail the party out of their self-inflicted troubles. They were acting under my orders! The crown will pay for the damages! I’m certain that orphanage can be rebuilt… for the third time. While a dedicated diplomancer can usually smooth things over with a beleaguered head of state, there inevitably comes a breaking point. And for my money, this is the best spot to introduce evil rival nobles.

“You have served me loyally and well, but Lady Duplicity’s faction is becoming too powerful. My spies carry whispers of revolt, and there are many now who blame you for the recent spate of fireball-based property damage. I am sorry, but I can no longer afford to keep you in my service.”

Suddenly you’ve threatened their sweetheart deal. A friendly NPC is in trouble, the party is losing out on valuable quest rewards, and all that destructive energy is now pointed squarely at the next campaign villain rather than innocent shop keepers.

Of course, that’s just my personal favorite solution to this problem. What about the rest of you GMs out there? When you find that a party is leaning too heavily on borrowed influence, how do you reign them in? What are your favorite consequences for all those “PC actions should have consequences” situations? Tell us about your experiences with nights in jail, fines levied, and patronage withdrawn down in the comments!


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