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How to Get Murderhobos Roleplaying Again

Gimli art by M. Stewart

Are your players always swinging axes first, and asking questions later? Visceral combat is a big (and exciting part) of d&d, but you may feel your group hardly ever role-plays anymore, resolving every conflict with violence. So how can you deal with these so called Murder hobos? Check out our clever rules-twists that will get even the most die-hard combat junkies roleplaying again, plus give them a bonus to make combat even more memorable!

Do you feel your group has started to lean too heavily on combat? Are they killing off important NPC’s and always charging headlong into combat, when clearly other solutions are possible (or even preferable)? How can you incentivize your players to favor non-combat roleplaying instead of violence without feeling like punishment? Read on!


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Magic The Gathering’s recently added “energy” counters to their brilliantly designed set of game mechanics. We instantly (ha!) thought this makes a great fit for DnD, in particular as a reward for in-character roleplaying. The GM rewards the player or group with “energy” points (but you can name them any way you want), which can be used in various ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Every reward point collected multiplies earned XP the next time the GM hands out collected XP
  • For every reward point collected, players can choose to perform a heroic combat move. On a roll of 15+, a seemingly impossible action succeeds, resulting in a truly heroic scene!
  • Alternatively, players can choose to add collected points as a bonus to their attack
  • Reward points can be used to re-roll a failed skill check (handy in important moments)
  • Reward points can be used to buff a player’s ability score for one round

These are just a few ideas how you could use a point system, ranging from small bonuses to big ones. You as the GM will know how little or how much is needed to get their players to favor non-combat roleplaying. In each case, a reward system like this can help balance your group’s roleplaying, and even make combat more epic in the process!

How do you handle Murderhobo groups? Do you like this reward point concept? Shout out in the comments below and tag your murderous friends!

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