[RPG] How to deal with a Murder Hobo Paladin


Our party has a Lawful Neutral Oathbreaker Paladin that has been very much a murder hobo from the beginning. We have been able to keep him in check in most cases but in our recent session he went off on his own and went full murder hobo.

We encountered a hag in the woods but she never attacked us and let us all go. When we got to the next town he went off on his own to ask about it. They said that she protected the town and was allowed to stay in the woods. He decided this made them all evil by association and stabbed a clerk and threatened all of their lives. Due to the number of guards called against him he backed off but had fully intended on killing everyone in that building.

He managed to escape on horseback and rejoin the party without any of our characters knowing. We all expressed our displeasure with him about his actions out of character but he argued that he was playing in character and refused to see our side.

What should we do about this? Our DM is debating changing his alignment and possible consequences later but is unsure what to do.

Best Answer

Don’t argue with him about his character, argue with him about the game itself

He is never going to agree that his character would or should behave differently, or that what he did was bad roleplaying, or that what the rest of the party wants is what his character would or should have done. As far as he is concerned, he is the world’s sole expert on what his character would or should have done in any given situation, so nothing you say has any relevance. What’s more, he is basically right about that. There is no particular reason that an oathbreaker paladin—especially an oathbreaker paladin—couldn’t act in this fashion. It is entirely plausible for such a character to exist and behave in this manner, and it is the player’s right to decide that his character is such a character.

What is a far more productive avenue for discussion is the kind of game you want to play, and the kinds of characters you want to play. If you, the players, are uncomfortable with this character, that is diminishing your enjoyment of the game, and that is unquestionably not something this player is entitled to do. You can frame this several ways:

  • as a social problem (“we are not comfortable with this kind of behavior”),

  • as a gameplay problem (“this is interfering with the aspects of the game we want to embrace and enjoy”), or

  • as a roleplay problem (“we cannot figure out how to justify our characters continuing to associate with your character”).

Any, or more likely, all of these is true, and valid, and a problem this player needs to deal with. He is ruining the game for everyone else—him, not his character.

And then make him read the fantastic advice we have collected about how to get along with the group and prevent “My Guy” from interfering with everyone’s fun. The top answer is phenomenal, as are several others. The links to JD Corley’s contributions to this discussion thread and to Rich Burlew’s excellent Making the Tough Decisions should, quite frankly, be required reading for everyone who wants to play an RPG. This player needs to learn, in particular, how to “Decide to React Differently” as Burlew puts it.