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Author Topic: When the GM say "Better Watch Out"...  (Read 3935 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: June 30, 2002, 10:46:08 AM »

OK, My friend is getting ready to wind down his D&D3e campaign for his homebrewed system which is based heavily on R. Talsorian's Mekton II/Z and Cyberpunk system, although it is a fantasy game (Willingham's Ironwood to be precise)

Anyway, have you as a GM ever done something like this: warn your players about certain disavanges or whatever and, by the way you give the warning it's pretty obvious that you don't expect anyone to take that disadvantage.

e.g. my friend said something to the effect of "If you take "Mute" I will make you play mute. That means no speaking in character during the game.

I must be a glutton for punishment because for his game I'm seriously considering taking a bug-guy race thing he's got for my character who is mute (bug language and all "clickity click click") and a spellcaster, magic in this game requires a lot of modifier juggling. And I thought I hated his D&D house rules.

So, basically I'm taking a race that if he weren't in disguise (like in The Mummy with robes & mask and a helper guy who speaks for me as a hanger-on NPC) would be killed on sight by most people, has a disadvantage basically designed to restrict a player's interaction with the game. (Did anyone here see Casino Royale with David Niven. Notice how Woody Allen played mute. Wasn't that funny?) And making this character a non-combatant (which is usually suicidal in this guy's games) and thus relies on overcomplicated spellcasting to give my character his "thing." (and if you care, I'm considering making this character female because it needs a twist)

Now, why I'm putting this here is to see what the Forgites can tell me. I think my enjoyment of this game will be limited anyway, so I'm not just picking a character type that'll be difficult just to give myself a hard time. I'm sort of thinking of it as making a statement. If it doesn't go well, I may wind up rolling up a new character anyway, but at first I'd like to make a statement about the playing style he sems to be aiming at...nobody. Maybe somebody, but I'm not sure who. (And please, no concern for my enjoyment. I've walked home five miles in the rain just to spite the rain)

Now, am I really making a statement here? Is there a better way to do it?

I may not take your advice because I am that stubborn, but I do appreciate it.
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2002, 11:16:13 AM »

Jack,

You could just tell your GM that the play style he seems to be pushing for doesn't work for you.  Tell him how his strictures cut down on the amount of fun you have playing, or at least how they fail to add anything you want to see.  Then tell him what you do want to see and play, and maybe pitch a few character/scene ideas at him.

Creating a difficult character, just so it can die horribly to prove how "broken" the GM's style is, seems a bit passive-aggressive.  Talking to him straight up has the advantage of not wasting any play time, so not annoying other players.  It also keeps you from wasting your time.  After all, if he refuses to make any changes, you know you'd probably have more fun playing with somebody else (or starting your own group) than forcing yourself to sit through and un-fun game in hopes it gets better, somehow.

Lon
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2002, 11:44:34 AM »

Passive aggressive?? huh... Hadn't thought of it like that.

For what it's worth, I want to play this character because it sounds cool. I mean put typical fantasy world in fron of me where you could play human, elf, dwaf or creepy, creepy bug guys and I'll take the bug guys. That's just me. Were we playing Orkworld, I'd probably play one of those Orks who're tatooed black because of some disgrace, but he actually isn't dishonorable but he's a rare albino Ork, which is regarded as a sign of weakness. So his disgrace is being born with light-colored skin and he put himself in self-exile because of it.

...I digress, but you get the idea of what sort of thing I tend to look for.

In either case, I'll have to consider what I'm going to do fairly carefully now. Chances are, my best option is to leave this group and start my own but I know damn well I won't do that. Because of my work schedule, I hadn't gamed regularly for the last four years and I could easily just not play anymore if this were to happen.  But, we'll see. SOmeone my wife works with apparently plays and they might make good "Wheel victems" as my wife said.

I guess what I'll do is see about getting a group going on the side and if that pans out, I'll probably leave the other group. As far as the whole character thing, I think I'll play what I want to play, which sure as hell isn't a freaking elf like everybody else seems to leaning toward. Whether I do the bug guy or not will take some heavy thinking.
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2002, 01:39:51 PM »

Jack,

Hey, go with the Bug Guy.  Maybe one of the reasons your GM is so heavy into the style he does is because he hasn't seen anyone do anything interesting with something different.

Then again, maybe he's just the GM equivalent of a "Mad Slasher" (to use Arron Allston's player types), and he does rules-clunky combat games to work out his personal issues.

Do his settings include lots of really tall towers? :)

Lon
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2002, 04:10:47 PM »

Jack,

I'd say . . . explain to the GM *why* you want to play bug girl.  Tell him what you think will be neat about it.  See if he can get into it.

At least then, there's a chance he'll try and work with you rather than against you.  Only a chance, but it's better than nothing.

Gordon
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2002, 04:40:09 PM »

Quote from: Uncle Dark
Then again, maybe he's just the GM equivalent of a "Mad Slasher" (to use Arron Allston's player types), and he does rules-clunky combat games to work out his personal issues.


Actually, this is an interesting point. He usually isn't a "mad slasher" type per se, but lately he's been into little but wargames, wargames, wargames. His latesy obsession is Block Wars, some kind of Lego wargame. And from what I've told you about the other players, they sure as hell don't stretch him beyond combat sort of stuff.

Come to think about it, not to toot my own horn but he often tells people that I'm the best roleplayer he's ever had. Whatever the hell he means by that. I sure as hell don't see it, but what do I know? I want to make the bug guy female because it needs a twist.

IME he has been he sort of GM who'd work with you on stuff like this. He just hasn't had many reasons to work with anybody lately since I wasn't there. Or such is my theory.

This puts a little more optomistic shine on things.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2002, 12:55:14 PM »

You really don't want to talk to him about it, do you, Jack? People keep on mentioning it, and you keep on ignoring the advice and hoping that you can come up with some other solution.

Quote
IME he has been he sort of GM who'd work with you on stuff like this. He just hasn't had many reasons to work with anybody lately since I wasn't there. Or such is my theory.


I'll try again. You could ask him. Then it wouldn't be theory.

Is he hard to talk to or something?

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2002, 02:24:41 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Is he hard to talk to or something?

Pretty much. You don't talk to the guy, you kind of listen. It's kind of sad, actually. He was my best friend and all of that. We used to be roommates. When I moved out, we used to call each other every week. As time went by, I was less enthusiastic about calling him because I tired of listening and nodding while he rambled on about whatever.

And for the record, he's "Ted", the friend "Ted" I mentioned...wow, maybe two years ago who's kind of opinionated and you can't convince him otherwise or to even see the value in it.  (In that old post, I think it was here but maybe it was on GO, "Ted" hated Magic: the Gathering and the people who played it.  Then all of a sudden, he actually gave it a try and he decided he liked it.)

So, I'm not sure what I'll do about "Ted" but I already know from past experience that talking with the guy, at least on certain issues, will yield little fruit.

I don't know. Now I'm starting to feel guilty because I'm just venting at this point with no real plan of action to take. I think I need to just take a plan and go with it.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2002, 03:14:41 PM »

Hey Jack,

There's obviously some particular interpersonal issues here, so that makes "advice" a really tricky task.  But I do want to point out . . . the issue you started off with, the "GM warns against certain disadvantages" thing, has *nothing* to do with a general communication with the guy about your character idea . . . unless you MAKE it about that.  Which, given your description of his personality, would not be a good thing.  

In other words, you don't have to "challenge" what he says/thinks/believes in order to talk to him about your character.

Good luck, however you decide to approach it,

Gordon
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2002, 03:49:55 PM »

Quote from: Gordon C. Landis
But I do want to point out . . . the issue you started off with, the "GM warns against certain disadvantages" thing, has *nothing* to do with a general communication with the guy about your character idea . . .

Yeah, I know. Things kind of wandered away from the subject line of this thread. I just think that's a stupid thing to do, though. "If you take an disadvantage, I'm going to make you play it." and such usually spoken with the same, almost childish attitude of "I say it was a touchdown and if you don't like it, I'm going to take my ball and go home."

Not quite said like that, but, you know, still annoying.
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Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2002, 04:27:04 PM »

I hate to ask this, but why shouldn't a GM insist that any disadvantages taken to gain points in a game be actually roleplayed out? If the character is mute and doesn't have some sort of gesture-based communication, he or she shouldn't talk in the game.

If everybody hates the bugs, then don't complain if a bug character who gets found out gets squished.

And, by the way, yes I have told  people upfront the problems with taking disadvantages that they were contemplating (someone wanting to play an Athiest in a true medeval setting).
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Mark Eddy
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2002, 05:04:31 PM »

It's not so much what was said as how he said it that bothered me. See above post.

And, to be honest, if he didn't think playing a bug guy was really a viable option for any player, then he shouldn'te offered it because he knew damn we I would take it.

I don't know why I select character types like this, but I do. I just want something interesting . Not another damn elf. It's like he's going "here's something interesting to play" *dangle* *dangle* "Oops, you really shouldn't play that. Heh heh"
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xiombarg
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2002, 12:14:48 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
And, to be honest, if he didn't think playing a bug guy was really a viable option for any player, then he shouldn'te offered it because he knew damn we I would take it.

As an aside, putting away all the issues you seem to have with this GM, it is not uncommon for a GM to not think things through and offer options they really don't want in the game; most GMs like to think they're offering their players a lot of options.

And this can be true even after discussion. There is a GM here in Salisbury that runs a lot of D&D. Whenever she runs D&D, she usually tells you you can play "anything you want". But if you play a character that isn't a straight-up D&D "adventurer" type who is motivated to do the "good" thing no matter what (i.e. if there is a shade of grey in the character at all) she gets upset. And this is after me and other players asking her over and over if there are certain types of characters she'd rather us play, and she says "no", so it's not like there's no communication here.

A lot of time a GM doesn't realize a character isn't a fit until it's created.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2002, 07:47:03 AM »

Quote from: Mark D. Eddy
I hate to ask this, but why shouldn't a GM insist that any disadvantages taken to gain points in a game be actually roleplayed out? If the character is mute and doesn't have some sort of gesture-based communication, he or she shouldn't talk in the game.


As Jack said, it's not that he's not correct, it's just that by saying this he's indicating that he doesn't trust the players. Remember, he said it before play, not as a correction. He feels that the players might take mute to get the points for it (or for whatever reason) and not play the disad. Which speaks volumes. At the very least its patronizing. At worst, it indicates a lack of trust and possible playstyle incompatibilities. You often see this in Gamist GMs playing with Sim or Narr players. The player feels that since he's not playing to win, that he can be trusted to play out his disads appropriately and at his discretion. The Gamist GM may feel that players taking an Author stance approach to such attributes may be abusing the game from a "Fairness" perspective. Thus violating their Gamism.

In the actually dysfunctional version of this behavior (which we might be seeing here; hard to tell) the GM is so paraniod about "cheating" players that he goes out of his way to ensure that the players know before hand that he will punish infractions, and not allow any chicanery or abuse as he sees it. Then he proceeds to see every little mistake as abuse. The mute player makes an innocent joke about the current situation, and the GM takes that as signalling the other players.

This is often just a sign of current or previous GNS incompatibility. And can be dealt with appropriately.

Mike
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