Sudden Betrayal

Sudden Betrayal

To be betrayed by someone, you must first trust them.

Betrayal by a trusted NPC (or even a PC) is one of the most dramatic plot twists you can throw at your players.

But before we dig into that, I was reminded that I never sent out the results of the recent 'What Should I Build Next?' vote:

The winner was 'Add full dates to Timeline events', with 25 likes and 26 loves. For a total of 77 votes!

I've already implemented it and if you go to the Campaign Timeline you should see any dates you've added.

I do plan on implementing a few more - such as the 2nd place vote getter, 'Update Content Silently' with 64 votes. And a few more that got decent votes and are easy to implement. Stay tuned!

Now, back to betrayals!

Straightforward Betrayal would be where your party are simply duped from the outset - believing someone to be a friend when they are not.

This is certainly a good plot line but there are some more subtle variations that can also lead to good role-playing.

When my players were trying to smuggle contraband into a city, one of the other smugglers betrayed them by turning them into the authorities when they arrived. He even had healed one of the PCs on the way there to help build trust.

Betrayal Under Duress: This is the most forgivable form of betrayal and most likely to eventually end in reconciliation.  A character who is essentially loyal is forced to act against their will.

Blackmail or the safety of a loved one are perhaps the two most obvious motivators for this.  The GM can choose at what point in the plot the party discover that a friend has been forced to act against them.

Lando Calrissian's betrayal of Han, Leia, and Chewbacca in The Empire Strikes Back is perhaps the most famous example of this type of betrayal in sci-fi.

Inadvertent Betrayal: The hardest to detect is a betrayal where the individual has no idea they have done anything wrong!  A party ally is tricked into assisting the antagonist without realising it.

The PCs have no reason to suspect someone who genuinely believes they are and have been loyal (not even a perception check would reveal anything).  The players will only figure out the problem when it becomes clear they have a problem and the source can be identified by process of elimination.

People change:  It can be an interesting plot twist to return your players after a long absence to find a former ally is now no longer reliable.  People do disappoint in real life and so it can be in game.

The players might be able to win their loyalty back - or simply accept that they have lost a former friend.  There can be a lot of plot content gleaned from this type of betrayal.

Check out the full date on the Campaign Timeline

Happy Gaming!
-Stolph

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