The “Whoops” List – Five Times Your Actions Had Seriously Unintended Consequences In A Video Game

Siding With A Murderous Tyrant Leads To Peace
Early on in the modern RPG classic Pillars of Eternity your fledgling adventurer comes across Gilded Vale – a place that no longer lives up to its namesake, as children here are born soulless and the mad Lord Raedric has taken to hanging anyone who looks at him sideways. It's all for the greater good he claims, insisting if he kills all the sinners who still worship a discredited god, the soul problem will resolve itself.

Of course at one point a group of rebels asks you to help overthrow the evil ruler, which you can certainly do, but the option presents itself to instead turn on the rebels and help Raedric remain in power. At the finale of the game when all of your actions have an impact on the ending, it turns out this is actually the correct choice to take

After you save the region from Waidwen's Legacy and children start being born with souls again, Raedric assumes his brutal tactics were responsible, and he stops murdering everyone and becomes a just ruler well loved by the people. Gilded Vale prospers and grows for the first time in decades.

On the opposite side, if you choose to kill Raedric and end his reign of terror, you actually doom the Gilded Vale, as he rises from the dead as an unstoppable deathguard and slaughters everyone in the region.

Destroying The Biggest Threat To Humanity Destroys All Humanity
Throughout Shadowrun: Dragonfall, your group of runners is convinced the dragon Feuerschwinge is stalking you, only to discover at the end that the dragon is actually being held hostage by Dr. Vauclair, a man obsessed with letting metahumanity proceed into the future free of any draconic meddling.

The game features a variety of distinct endings, but one that can really shake you to the core occurs if you decide to turn on your group and actually help Vauclair engineer a virus to kill all dragons across the planet. A year later humanity exists on the verge of extinction and the screen fades to black while you drink with your former mortal enemy – the brutal ork Audran - toasting the end of everything. Turns out that while dragons were a huge problem for metahumanity, they were also keeping gigantic horrors from emerging out of the depths of astral space and devouring all life. 

It doesn't become important until the very end, but Dragonfall is actually set several years in the past of the main Shadowrun storyline, before the draconic president Dunkelzahn sacrifices himself with blood magic to stop the horrors from arriving. If you kill all the dragons before that can happen, nothing saves metahumanity from total annihilation.

Helping The Downtrodden Gets A Whole Lot Of People Killed
From your first interaction with the ghoul bartender in Megaton, Fallout 3 goes out of its way to cast ghouls in a sympathetic light. They may be ugly, but that's not their fault, and they are constantly treated like second class citizens if they aren't shot on sight.

So when the ghoul Roy Phillips asks for your help in leaving the sewers to live in opulence with the humans of Tenpenny Tower, of course the option exists to find a non-violent solution and convince the residents of the tower to quit being species-ist and just let the downtrodden ghouls move in already. Through skillful negotiation (or some blackmail and murder, depending on your play style) you end racial segregation and bring about peace between two groups... for a few days anyway.

If you leave and come back three days later, every single human in Tenpenny tower has been murdered and dumped in the basement. Turns out the racists were totally right this time – they shouldn't have let the ghouls in, and you helped facilitate wide scale death for no reason. It's a harsh lesson about how no one is innocent and you really can't trust anybody in the D.C. Wasteland.

Defending Planets From Invasion Led To A Much Worse Invasion
In the insanely xenophobic Warhammer 40,000 universe, humanity always deals with any other species by shooting first and asking questions later, and that's no different in Dawn Of War 2. It was a foregone conclusion that the planetary defense forces and elite Space Marines would go to war when orcs started stirring on the planet Calderis at the beginning of the game.

During the campaign you continue to battle the orcish threat and eventually annihilate them – which turned out to be a pretty bad idea, as they were only there to get in the way of a much bigger invasion force. The Eldar, always one step ahead of humanity, had put the orcs in the path of the ravaging Tyranid horde to slow it down and give time to build up a large enough army to save the sector from being overrun. Too bad the humans had to show up and ruin that plan.

Ridding A City Of Gangs Turned Out To Be A Bad Idea
In a city consumed by gang violence, one man goes above and beyond the call of duty, single-handedly eliminating not only every single gang leader, but every last gang member! Thousands of criminals get riddled with bullet holes, blown up, or kung fu'd to death in your quest for peace. Robocop and Judge Dredd can only dream of the kind of vigilante justice meted out throughout the course of Crackdown.

Unfortunately it turns out the organization you had been working for installed those gangs in the first place so they could swoop in as the city's savior and create a totalitarian regime bereft of freedom – and you accidentally helped it all happen. But hey, the streets are safe now, so that's something.