View Full Version : Thieving PC's

24 July 2002, 06:38 AM
OK, I have a group of PC's who like to steal everything off their opponents and try to sell it. We've played through a Rebellion adventure already and they always wanted to strip the stormtroopers down to nothiong so they could sell their stuff. Well I finally got rid of this by starting a NJO campaign. They can't steal from the Vong because the Vong's equipment attacks back. Well, lately in this adventure I've had the New Republic give them the job of cleaning out some of the crimelords on the Outer Rim so they can better conduct the war effort against the Vong. They were captured by a Bounty Hunter because of an attempted assasination of one of these crimelords. He took them to Tatooine to sell them to a Hutt. With incredible luck and cunning they managed not only to escape the Bounty Hunter, but kill him as well. This is where it get's bad. They stripped the Bounty Hunter down to noth ing and sold it all, and for the last three sessions they've done nothing but try to steal the bounty hunter's ship from the spaceport. They've killed lots of innocent guards, but DSP's don't bother them. Does anyone else have trouble with packrat PC's? What should I do?

24 July 2002, 07:32 AM
My solution to this would be to have the bounty hunter's brother, girlfriend, son, whatever come after them with a bunch of friends, looking for blood. And for anything else they take, too. Have each person they grave-rob have some unique item, like a ring or a bracelet or something else that might not be noticed, but something that will be traced back to the PCs. And while I'm normally a fan of script immunity, fudge no rolls on this. If the characters die, they've earned it by being dumb enough to try to get rich from the dead.

Kas'ir Faywind
24 July 2002, 08:31 AM
Can always have Droids with explosives if they die, talking big explosions too. That bounty hunter's ship could have some code to get it to work (DNA or somthing unique). If the wrong person tries more then 3 times the engine starts up, but not to take off but to set its self up for a nuclear(if fusion engine i think most are) or just an euqivalent to 10 tons of tnt.

Not only poetic justice but a tad of irony on top

24 July 2002, 09:07 AM
if the bounty hunter was in any guild .. make the guild members come after them .. hmm . what class/type are the characters ? smugglers? pirates? thieves? mercs? rebel operatives?

MAKE the rebellion / new republic find out that they kill innocent people and bring them before justice! even if they manage to escape, they are wanted . and severeal people is after them..

24 July 2002, 09:43 AM
OooOOOOoo! Bounty hunter guild!!! I LOVE it! Repeat after me: Muahahaha!!

evan hansen
24 July 2002, 09:56 AM
Well, the larger issue here, I think, is that the players need some sort of realistic reprisal. Just because they defeated the opponent doesn't mean that they have no other worries. If you steal a stormtrooper's armor, for example, you're setting yourself up for Imperials to come after you. Caught dragging it around? Police and troops will be on you in a heartbeat. Caught selling it? An undercover cop or an Imperial supporter will have you toasted in 4 seconds.

The bounty hunter guild is a good way -- and fairly realistic as well -- to deal with this. Just be careful to make sure you don't seem like you're trying to nail your PCs. GM control should always be administered in as clean a way as possible so it doesn't seem like you're out to "screw" your players.

With bounty hunters, its always possible that he has a brother or father or son in the business as well. Family vengence can be a real pain. You could even have a guy stalk the PCs and eventually blow himself up trying to kill them. Might fall into that unclean category I was talking about above, though. Just a thought. :)

Additionally -- if the characters are, well, in character, then there shouldn't really be a problem with it. If the PCs are all, by nature, pack rats, thieves, or vagrants, they'll have issues stealing from the dead and anything you try to do to discourage them will be met with resistence -- and rightfully so. If the PCs themselves are NOT like that (e.g., if one of the PCs is a formerly wealthy executive turned white collar criminal), then you're obviously asking the right questions on the holonet...

Just some random thoughts on the matter. Good luck. :-)

24 July 2002, 11:15 AM
Actually, I think a lot of these issues are addressing the symptom, not the problem.

The problem is that your characters are desperate for money, and small change at that.

Just how cash poor are you keeping them?
Are they broke all the time?
If so, then how could you blame them?

You can have a party that has a lot of cash, but still does not engage in this activity….

It is a matter of scale….just like in real life.
A person who is near the poverty level, will scramble for any cash they can get…aluminum cans, working at Mc Donald’s, second job, etc.

A person who is in an upper income bracket, say over 100k a year, STILL have expenses….they are just BIGGER expenses. The might not bother to collect aluminum cans, as the return would not make a difference….

Just how useful is another $2 when you have a $5,000 a month house payment?

I have had parties where they had a LOT of cash….but they had huge expenses as well….my current party runs a ship….the are getting to the level that they don’t loot everything…it is not worth the trouble…

That make sense?

24 July 2002, 12:12 PM
The problem is that your characters are desperate for money, and small change at that.

Just how cash poor are you keeping them?
Are they broke all the time?
If so, then how could you blame them?

My PC's are all on the New Republic payroll except for the one Jedi which, I should say, is the only PC I have who does not condone this activity. They make a decent amount of money after every successful mission.

24 July 2002, 12:37 PM
I hate to say it, but it sounds like your players are too used to the practice of "dungeon crawls" where every body is looted and every item is packed away in order to get the largest haul of loot.

If this is the case, things that Evan, as well as other members, mentioned would work best. Make it plain and simple: You can't just sell Imperial Stormtrooper armor to anyone. Who wants to get caught with an illegal suit of Stormtrooper armor? Same goes for their weapons. With bounty hunters, you've got bounty hunter guilds, plus you've also got bonified law enforcement agencies. There's a fair number of bounty hunters that a certified and recognized by the Empire. Those law enforcement people find a dead bounty hunter, or notice gear from a hunter being sold, there'll be an investigation and warrants put out for arrests of the PCs. Basically, hit your players with a dose of reality...it's not easy to cleanly get away with selling illegal items.

If the problem is that your PCs are too cash strapped, then you need to make sure that you up their wages a bit. I've been guilty of keeping funds too low in the past. When your PCs can't pay their bills and can't get from A to B and can't buy some nifty things, they may resort to scrounging everything they can. If they're on a payroll, give them a raise or a bonus or something so that they don't need to act like thieves all of the time. Also have the Alliance find out about their activities and threaten to withhold their wages if they continue to sell illegal items. That might put a stop to things. Just make sure you give them enough money to cover the basics. For super fancy stuff, they'll still have to earn things the hard way.

Hope this helps.

24 July 2002, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by Falanx
They stripped the Bounty Hunter down to noth ing and sold it all, and for the last three sessions they've done nothing but try to steal the bounty hunter's ship from the spaceport. They've killed lots of innocent guards, but DSP's don't bother them. Does anyone else have trouble with packrat PC's? What should I do?

Shoot the hostage.

Your players are (perhaps subconsciously) using a ploy that I call 'one move and the idiot gets it'. They are ignoring a part of the game-world that constrains the behaviour of the NPCs, and are relying on the hope that you, as GM, will not be prepared to enforce a part of world reality that will destroy their characters (and with them, probably, the plot arc). They have, in effect, taken their own characters hostage against the GM.

I've come across this myself, and I didn't deal with it firmly straight away, and I reinforced by players' habit of doing it, and several campaigns were utterly ruined before I got tough. I learned to deal with this gambit early and firmly. Shoot the hostage.

So, the PCs have ignored their duties as secret agents of the Republic. Let their mission fail. Have their controlling agent carpet them and order them to explain. If they run, if they lie, if their control finds out about their murders for gain, the New Republic will treat them as rogue agents.

The Hutts of Tatooine don't issue arrest warrants. But they do offer rewards to bounty hunters. And in these circumstances they will issue 'dead or alive, preferrably dead' contracts. So if the PCs run from the Jedi whom the Republic sends to terminate them, they won't be able to take refuge with any pirates.

Don't pull any punches with either the Jedi or the bountyhunters. The Jedi will use Force powers to find the characters where-ever they go, the bounty-hunters will shoot to kill and from ambush. In half a session these characters will be captive, dead, or fleeing into the Deep Beyond.

Then tell the players: "I'm not interested in running a campaign about murderous, thieving fugitives in the Deep Beyond. I have this story arc about characters working for the New Republic I want to run. So now you either generate characters who will work for the Republic or you sack me and choose another GM. And don't you ever take my campaign hostage again."

It's tough love. But you can't negotiate with terrorists.



24 July 2002, 08:37 PM
Agback, you ROCK. :)

25 July 2002, 04:48 PM
I almost had this problem with some PC's in my game but I delt with it early. They wanted to get some storm trooper armor off of sme guys they killed. SO I jsut tld them they could but people might think it strange to see you with St armor that has holed in it?

All you could do would have the items be damaged in some way that would make them have little to no value. This is easy if the Heroes have to fight a person for it.

Some times they tried to get grenades too. Being a little less mean I would roll a percentile and have them call high or low. That would determin if the grenades worked. You could do the same with equipment they take. This way you can tweak a rool if you so need to.

hope that helps

26 July 2002, 05:40 PM
Lots of good stuff stated here, I just wanted to add that remember PC actions can have consequencies. When they become aware of this certainly they will have to change actions.

just thinging first off if the PC's are killing and striping alot of stormtroopers there may be bounties on their heads.

Also they may not be able to sell all the armor they get especially stormtrooper armor, I can see the merchant "uh sorry but I don't want to buy that" Just think what would happen to the poor merchant when the Imps showed up and he was selling the armor.

27 July 2002, 09:01 AM
This probably isn't anywhere as good as the others, but you could give them the "eye for an eye" treatment and have someone loot them so they can see what It is like to be looted :D . Then, they might not loot as much.

Also, you could have the bounty hunter have ranks in Transfer Essence. Then, he could find another body to take over and use that body to haunt the PCs.

27 July 2002, 09:38 AM
I think the part missing here is the "we were successful but we're not all powerful to remain here calmly to loot everything"...

If they're dealing with imperials, maybe they killed a unit, but the Empire doesn't say "hey those guys didn't report in, bah, let's continue operations in another place of the galaxy..." they are going to send some one to investigate or at least another party to replace the soldiers.

As for the bounty hunter's ship, have them run another small adventure and when they get back to the ship, alas! it's gone!!!!

Who came for it? Maybe one of his guild, maybe a relative, whoever was the rightful owner...

27 July 2002, 11:03 AM
I've had players like that and I've played kinda like that.
Note to self and others:
Never let the party negotiate a contract that lets them claim legal rights to all property of the bad guys. I figured hold out blasters and disquises (not speeders droids and tech).
But I found that if your dealing with small timers or loners they have little of value on them. And what they do have are one time uses, fragile, cobbled together or unnoticed. The other kinds of people have highly specialised gear. Jawa boot don't for humans, storm trooper armor (like lukes) can be the wrong size, makes you a target if used (either as false troopers or by anti empire), and since that's the case it's no use to others.
There is always the horror movie trick. To Paraphrase sluggy freelance. "Is it dead?" "I don't know. Go over there and nudge it with your foot; if it jumps up and attacks you I'll know it's not dead."
That and you may be dealing with aliens who bleed acid or when they die secreete a pharomen that tells predators there is an easy meal or tells allies that someone has kill their freind. The bodies can do all kids of nifty stuff. Imagine putting on a helmet with sweat from a species whose sweat is like poison ivy to humans. Or as I suggested to someone else, a helmet provides visual bonuses but the size or arrangement of the previous users eyes make it so any use gives head aches and nausea (panalties as well as telling the player every turn that they have a headache; it's annoying) But sonn the headaches go away and now you're depended on the helmet, the bonuses decrease and without it you can't see squat and you get headaches.
Another thing is. Who buys used clothes? Not most. Who buys used clothes when someone died in them (considering that the body evacuates all it's systems when it dies) with holes and blood. weapons and things I don't mind, but if they are getting one from everybody. Obviously they are easy to come by in the area and so nobody needs to buy them used from you. Or do you need a license to sell weapons. Stash a few of each kind and take the ammon and leave the rest.
I mostly understood these things as a player. Take what's of use to you and leave the rest. It's wrong in my and my characters opinion to treat the dead so poorly.
Clothes for diquise (okay, maybe dress them in what you wore.) Weapons and ammo useful, money duh, tools you don't have yep, Maybe a trooper helmet to strip or remodel later. But there may be more important things to carry later save space and time be quick and get what you need. Honorable enemies are less likely to be treated brutally, so be one.