Sudden Yet Inevitable Betrayal

Let me set the stage. Your party has been summoned by your quest giver. He that tasked you to venture into the rotten heart of the Three Dooms Swamp to retrieve the final shard of the Styxian Puzzle. You meet to give him you hard-won prize and use it to forever bind the Black Duke to his layer of the Abyss. But your Patron just smiles as he claims the jagged shard. “Bind him? I intend to control him. And through him the work!”

Cue maniacal laughter.

Meanwhile your players are exchanging “I told you sos” and paying off the player who bet he was evil all along.

The revelation of having been working for the bad guy all along has gotten old, been usable ironically, and then gotten old again. It’s painful in television when the characters steadfastly refuse to listen to your screams that they’re being scammed and insist on being stupid. But it’s even worse in Tabletop Games as it’s not just the villain betraying the party but the GM. She’s their window to the world, she’s the source of all truth, and she betrayed them by making them care about someone who only wants to backstab them. Or worse, the players know they’re being set up and have the awkward choice of jumping through the villain’s hoops or refusing and walking away from the plot and all that was planned.