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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Abuse of the need to have fun  (Read 13250 times)
hyphz
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Posts: 157


« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2004, 08:28:18 AM »

Quote from: TonyLB

At the same time... When guarding a caravan you know the terrain through which you'll be pasing.  You have ample opportunity to send scouts ahead and gather important intelligence.  You have a home base (albeit mobile) that you can trick out with traps and defenses.  Any villains that want to accost you must then come to you, and fight on your ground, on your terms.


Ummm... I'm sorry, but I can't see this.

Send a scout ahead?  How are they going to move faster than the caravan?  And, if we do find that there are enemies up ahead, what can we do?  The caravan still has to go there.  It's still us who has to go to them.

And, how exactly can you set traps on a caravan?  Leaving aside the fact that we probably need to minimise carrying weight, and making anything in D&D takes at least a week - the enemies aren't going to come up and explore it.  All it takes is a guy at the appropriate range away, prepping a fireball spell.  And we have to go stop him - thus fighting on his terms.  

But moreover is the fact that, if we did set traps and defenses ahead, then the DM could just say: "Ok, you don't see any enemies on the way in.  You guess your traps got all of them.  That's the adventure, guys."  Great.  This isn't the DM being passive-aggressive or offensive - it's just logically what the characters would experience.  

This was the first point of the thread.  The enemies can force us to fight on their terms, because they don't care if they don't fight at all.  Our characters might or might not, but the players do, because they need to have fun.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2004, 08:57:00 AM »

Hello,

OK, full stop.

Hyphz, in terms of pop psycholgoy, you are stuck. That means that you are (a) committed to being upset about something and (b) equally committed to maintaining the conditions that upset you.

Folks? Listen up here, 'cause it's important. Go read all the actual play type threads and posts Hyphz has presented, historically. He is stuck.

It doesn't matter what we say any more. All the good phrases, advice, and issues have been presented, and they are awesome. With any luck, a number of other people reading this thread or who've posted to it have benefited. For instance, I think I just saw Raven and Marco aiding and abetting one another's points in a positive fashion, and if you don't think that's notable, then I dunno what.

But for you, Hyphz? No more. No more, people. Stop helping. It's reflection time for Hyphz. He is stuck. Tony, in particular, nothing you're saying is accomplishing anything - consider what Raven and StalkingBlue have said, 'cause if Hyphz isn't processing that, he's not processing anything. He wrote (italics his):

Quote
Of course the problem with this is that if you could do it, then you'd have an entire game where the PCs were just hanging around in an enclosed area watching NPCs fall into traps, assuming they were panicking, and watching them do stuff. And then when they left, you'd have to... umm, sit and wait for the next group to arrive and do it again. Which would suck, especially for everyone other than the thief. I actually have at least a decent feeling that this stuff can't be done by PCs in RPGs at all without breaking the game.


Full stop. Read all of Hyphz's actual play posts. Reflection time.

Best,
Ron
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Marco
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« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2004, 09:07:05 AM »

Quote from: jdagna


The game economics, power-balancing, etc. are all fluff.  They all skirt the core issue and never have to lead to the "therefore..." part of the argument.  They don't even strengthen the point made by the "therefore..."



Ya know, usually I agree with you. But not here. Firstly my "therefore" isn't a conclusion of a logical argument as you seem to think I mean it. It's a conclusion taken from the original post.

As in: "I read the post to say 'We're underpowered and therefore not having any fun.'" Could someone else have fun with the same situation? Sure. No argument. But the original post was, IMO, pretty clear.

Now, you say that opening the conversation with "I'm not having any fun" is good. I don't disagree--but where do you go from there?

Any reason you pick (anything) will have all the objections you mentioned. If the player says "Make guarding the cart fun" the GM can say "that's not realistic."

I agree that all the objections you raised could apply to my suggestion that the players be increased in power. But so what?

If you don't give me a reason you're not having fun, and, ideally, a suggestion then you're not making a reasonable request either. I agree with you on step 1--but what's step 2?

Step 2 is a discussion of what's going wrong. My analysis, in this case, is that it's that the characters are subtly underpowered for the game-world. Fixing that would, IMO, solve the host of problems that were mentioned.

Making a cool adventure that'll happens when someone guards the cart, however, is a good solution--but not, IMO, one that is 'right' for that group.

The problem, I assess (and you can disagree with my assement if you want--I'm cool--but I'd prefer you not  misunderstand the basic message) is that there's a mechanical imbalance in the game-space that is created not by the raw numbers but by the situations.

Since the basic form of the situations are fine (everyone goes into the dungeon), changing the numbers is the solution I'd suggest. But the discussion is still meta-game. The player says "this isn't fun--and this is why it's not fun--and this is what I'd suggest we do about it."

That's the statement the GM can't respond to without saying "I don't really give a damn."

Crossposted with Ron: JD, you can PM me if you wanna.
-Marco
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S'mon
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Posts: 126


« Reply #33 on: October 01, 2004, 02:33:42 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
You just want empty hack-and-slash and looting, he wants some realism in action and consequence. Or perhaps he's being Gamist, and using every mistake you're making against you, whittling away your resources, when you aren't looking to Step-On-Up at all.


This is how it sounds like to me - D&D is set up as a Gamist game, and it seems like the GM is running it that way.  If the GM arbitrarily prevented solutions to the challenges he sets in order to railroad a certain conclusion I can see why you might have a complaint, but it sounds like the players just don't want to make the effort.  Eg if you don't like your cart being raided:

1.  Don't bring a cart.  Use backpacks like Real Men.  :)
2.  Leave the cart in a safe & well hidden spot a half day's journey from  the dungeon.
3.  Leave guards (maybe cohorts, or PCs whose players are absent that session) protecting the cart.

I got a similar thing in my D&D game - the PCs kept on camping just outside the dungeon entrance, so they could enter it with full spells the next day.  They kept getting attacked in the night by the irate dungeon inhabitants, and having placed themselves at a considerable disadvantage would frequently lose PCs.  Yet they kept doing it, prompted by the Wizard player who would do _anything_ to avoid entering a dungeon on less than full spell-slots.
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S'mon
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« Reply #34 on: October 01, 2004, 02:41:13 AM »

Quote from: hyphz
Again, the objection is that this "smart" behaviour is cheating because if the PCs were "smart" too they wouldn't be in the dungeon at all.  They'd have collapsed the entrance to stop the threat getting out.  Need to find the riches in the vault somewhere in the mansion that's full of horrible ghosts?  Mansion's made of wood, is the vault magically protected?  Probably?  Ok, we burn down the mansion and the magical protection ensures the vault's the only thing left.  Who cares about a bunch of ghosts, after all?

Now, of course, to actually do this sort of thing would be a social contract violation, and would be seriously messing up the game, so we don't do it.  


This is all valid behaviour in a Gamist game, where the object is to overcome the challenge set.  IMC outclassed PC groups have often collapsed the dungeon entrance to Seal The Evil Within - this means they fail to rescue the prisoners, get the treasure or whatever, and will get less XP too, but that's their choice.  I haven't seen PCs burning down a mansion, and this might be a bad idea - according to 3e rules ghosts are immune to mundane fire so you'd probably just annoy them and get attacked by a whole mansionload of ghosts at once, but if you timed it right so you could do the whole thing during daylight hours, it might just work.

I think players refusing to Step On Up in a Gamist game is more a social contract violation than refusing to follow the adventure 'as written' - that might be a contract violation if everyone had signed up to an 'Illusionist' type game where you follow the predetermined story to its conclusion, but D&D 3e isn't designed that way.
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S'mon
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« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2004, 02:59:34 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Hyphz, in terms of pop psycholgoy, you are stuck. That means that you are (a) committed to being upset about something and (b) equally committed to maintaining the conditions that upset you.


He's committed to not talking to his GM & committed to not adapting his play style to fit his GM's play style (by eg getting NPCs to guard his cart, or having a PC Rogue scout out the area in advance, or burning down the wooden mansion)?  It kinda seems like that I guess, but I'm not sure.  It seems like he has a low opinion of his GM and doesn't want to be disabused of that opinion by eg talking to the GM and finding out that the GM would actually be ok with PCs using innovative solutions like burning down the mansion.
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2004, 05:44:54 AM »

I'd like to nominate "Burning down the mansion" for best Step-On-Up phrase for September.
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NN
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Posts: 93


« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2004, 09:25:53 AM »

I think some of the blame lies with the material.

Seems that this DM either wants a Sim-ish game or a "Big-Gamist" game where the whole enviroment rather than just the dungeon is a challenge.

I dont think plodding through unconnected Dungeon magazine adventures supports either of these types of play.
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S'mon
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Posts: 126


« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2004, 11:59:45 PM »

I've found this thread very useful in helping me think more clearly about certain issues that arise in D&D-style play.  Clearly it's possible for a GM to abuse the player-GM contract by taking advantage of the players' living up to expectations by having their PCs act in-genre;  having his NPCs act out-of-genre to the PCs' detriment might qualify.  An example would be - PCs go into dungeon, an old mine, hunting the villain; villain was actually hiding outside dungeon and promptly collapses the mine entrance once the PCs are inside, sealing their doom.  In a low-level D&D game that might seem unfair, because there's so much weight of expectation on the players to _go in the dungeon_.  In a high level D&D game the PCs can be expected to have resources to overcome such a challenge (eg teleport) so it would no longer be 'unfair'.
It seems pretty clear that this isn't what's going on in this particular case - the GM's style doesn't seem at all unusual for a D&D game - which raises the second issue this thread has made me aware of, that players will seek out a Gamist game then complain when they're actually challenged - and refuse to do anything in-game to overcome the challenges (post guards, use scouts).  Most charitably this could be described as a chasm between player & GM expectations - player wants to play tabletop Diablo and sees anything else as unfair,, GM wants a Gamist universe where almost anything can be a challenge, and/or a very realistic universe where NPCs behave plausibly and actions have believable consequences.  The GM's style seems much closer to what I expect from a D&D game, but it's good to be aware that there are players with a very different attitude.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2004, 07:05:47 PM »

I think any further posters beck check Ron's moderating post.

Not in relation to trying to help hyphz, but in context to this post: It looks like the GM, by using the module, stipulated in the social contract a certain arena of step on up. Think of a sphere, in which play is supposed to happen and not outside of it (eg, you go into the dungeon. You don't sit in a tavern playing darts and flirting with buxom maids...even though relatively that could be far more rewarding, risk Vs reward wise for both player and PC).

Then he's extended that sphere of options for his input/monsters actions. Of course this breaks unspoken social contract, but it also has an interesting 'burn down the mansion effect'. Where the greater sphere of available options laid open means that play would not occur just withing the inner sphere of allowed actions. Players wont just work within the modules confines, thus rendering the modules material moot for the most part since it'll be taken on from varying vectors (snipe all the castles inhabitants, stuff like that).
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Philosopher Gamer
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S'mon
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Posts: 126


« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2004, 02:17:52 AM »

Quote from: Noon
It looks like the GM, by using the module, stipulated in the social contract a certain arena of step on up. Think of a sphere, in which play is supposed to happen and not outside of it (eg, you go into the dungeon. You don't sit in a tavern playing darts and flirting with buxom maids...even though relatively that could be far more rewarding, risk Vs reward wise for both player and PC).

Then he's extended that sphere of options for his input/monsters actions. Of course this breaks unspoken social contract


My impression is that this isn't what's happening here, although I only have 1 POV to go on.  There doesn't seem to have been any actual case where the players went outside the box with their PC actions and the GM said "adventure's over, go home" - ie I don't get the impression that the GM restricts players to the box of the preset module's expected behaviour while allowing his NPCs to act outside the box.  It sounds more like he's running a gamist game which for D&D is kinda the point.  I agree with Ron that hyphz doesn't seem interested in being helped and so offering hi advice is pointless.  I have found this thread very helpful though in clarifying some potential problems I need to look out for both as player & GM.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2004, 10:50:22 PM »

Quote from: S'mon
Quote from: Noon
It looks like the GM, by using the module, stipulated in the social contract a certain arena of step on up. Think of a sphere, in which play is supposed to happen and not outside of it (eg, you go into the dungeon. You don't sit in a tavern playing darts and flirting with buxom maids...even though relatively that could be far more rewarding, risk Vs reward wise for both player and PC).

Then he's extended that sphere of options for his input/monsters actions. Of course this breaks unspoken social contract


My impression is that this isn't what's happening here, although I only have 1 POV to go on.  There doesn't seem to have been any actual case where the players went outside the box with their PC actions and the GM said "adventure's over, go home" - ie I don't get the impression that the GM restricts players to the box of the preset module's expected behaviour while allowing his NPCs to act outside the box.

Ah, the monsters stealing their cart?

Hold on for a moment before you say that's within the expected behaviour for the module. If so, where is the line drawn? If you include the cart raiding, where does it stop? If I go into the dungeon and my aunt Martha is kidnapped in a town fifty miles away, have I failed at stepping on up?

Basically the line is drawn at anything that would encourage the opposite of the modules intent - the opposite being to not adventure. Ie, standing by the cart, burning down the mansion, leaving after the monsters draw back to stronger forces.
Quote


It sounds more like he's running a gamist game which for D&D is kinda the point.


I think your mistaking simulationist for gamist. In gamist play, the idea is that the player can do something about the challenge presented with his own guts and strategem. The challenge presented was the dungeon...they couldn't do anything about the challenge which was the cart stealing challenge when the dungeon challenge was presented.

It may seem like they could have handled the cart, in that they could have set traps on the cart, or hid it somewhere really sneakily or such. But part of the challenge the GM gave was the rush involved, which removed any hope of such resources. Without the players being able to do anything about it through guts or skill because there were zero resources to work with, there is no gamism there.

In simulationism, just because you don't have resources to combat something, doesn't mean that something wont happen. In gamism, it wont happen...because if it does, it's not gamism. It's just setting the scene or talking or switching CA.
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Philosopher Gamer
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S'mon
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Posts: 126


« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2004, 01:27:17 AM »

Quote from: Noon
[
Ah, the monsters stealing their cart?

Hold on for a moment before you say that's within the expected behaviour for the module. If so, where is the line drawn? If you include the cart raiding, where does it stop? If I go into the dungeon and my aunt Martha is kidnapped in a town fifty miles away, have I failed at stepping on up?
[/quote]

In my game if the PCs wre dumb enough to haul a cart through the wilderness to a dungeon (so they could get more loot?), certainly bad stuff could happen to it.  I've never seen such behaviour though* - and if PCs IMC do leave valuable stuff like horses outside a dungeon, certainly they'll hide them and/or set guards.   If they don't I'll roll to see if bad stuff happens.  so would most D&D DMs I reckon.

*I bet the scenario didn't require that the PCs bring a cart along!

I think I'll let this thread rest now.  :)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2004, 05:31:26 AM »

Hello,

If I see one more word regarding the fucking cart in this thread ...

Never mind. Great thread, everyone, in terms of helping us all understand where one another's coming from. Let's close it now.

Best,
Ron
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