In this week’s game, the party briefly met a powerful dude on the road. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that the party had every reason to believe that the person was powerful.
The party greeted him warily. The man replied, “I have killed many people today, so leave me alone.”
The party of 7th and 8th level characters did so, giving the man a wide birth. The man wore religious symbols of an unrecognizable faith.
The party went on into a large city and asked around at their various temples to see if anyone recognized the symbol the man wore. One popular, legalistic group, one that follows the sun god Atura, did recognize the symbol. They even recognized the description of the man. The Atura group notified the party that the man was “a killer of innocents,” and that “they should have killed him.”
After our gaming session ended, I had two players tell me that they were supposed to kill the disreputable man. I didn’t quite understand this. Their characters didn’t honor Atura so why were they supposed to do anything?
In my game the players aren’t “supposed” to do story elements that I lay before them. They do or they don’t on their own. There is the potential for death and reward in most things that they decide to do. They are adventurers after all, having chosen to be killers of evil creatures and robbers of graves. What they are “supposed” to do, in order to move “my” story forward, doesn’t enter into it. It’s their story.