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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 161 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [D&D] Preventing gamism becoming 'solved'?  (Read 10802 times)
apeiron
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Posts: 135

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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2003, 04:52:05 PM »

@ One thing you might try is having them create people rather than characters.  People grow up on farms, or maybe they were apprenticed to a shoemaker, or maybe they were really lucky and born to a noble family.  How does one go from chamber maid to paladin?  Make the players tell you a story about them and how/why they have the stats they have.  If they want a new or improved this or that, make it part of the story.  They have to find someone who knows how to swing a scythe as a weapon.  They have to go back to their bard/wizard school to learn feat X.  Maybe they have to choose between going with the party to the pubs or practicing summoning whatsits in the woods.  Have them make REAL choices in the story.  That may help illustrate the absurdity of min/maxing in the story.  If their peasant turned wizard has a high CON (to get Concentration ranks), the player better tell you about hard work in the field.

@ This is a vision issue, your players want different things than you do/the other players do.  Perhaps getting specific and saying outloud what each participant wants will help.  Does your campaign have a vision?  What is it about?  What is the theme?  Is there a lesson being taught, or a question to be answered?  Is it "get gold, exp, and magic items" or "a quest to rid Landia of the Whosits" or "Should mortals be allowed to gain immortality?".  If you don't know, they can't know.  When you have your Vision, use it to make all of your choices.  When deciding whether to allow this or that feat, refer to your Vision.  "This campaign is about X, Y, Z.  Would course A or B reflect that better?"  Similarly, players should use their character concept to make that choice.  

@ Are there personal issues involved?  Did X kiss Y's girlfriend at GenCon?  Is X an overgrown child exerting his insecurities on your time?  Perhaps being more selective about who plays in your game will help.  If someone is not on board with your game, don't prevent them from finding a game they will like better.  It is better to lose a player than have a derailed game.  One player can ruin it for everyone.

@ i know exactly what you mean by the photocopied character.  In Vampire i had a guy who had created a cam gangrel and then a sabbat brujah, the only difference were the disciplines.  Kinda annoying.

@ Many of these potential issues can be resolved by having each person say how they feel without blaming each other for this or that.  Then ask each player to say what they want for their character, for the party, and from the game as a whole.  Also start to expect a degree of honesty and integrity from each other.  Ask people what their intentions are.  Specifically what are they feeling and what are they trying to make the other person feel?  Just do so in a polite/firm way.  When ppl get called on their BS, they tend to clean up their act or leave.  

@ gotta go, star trek is on soon!
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Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2003, 02:43:52 PM »

Heh, for the guy with the 10' ball & chain, well, exactly how big are the corridors you're fighting in anyways?

-Jeff
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MachMoth
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2003, 03:23:52 PM »

That's one interesting fact I've noticed about the average D&D map.  Corridors average about 10' in width, and the average room usually ranges between 20' x 20' to as big as the table.  A single character takes up 5' to himself.  The scale is big.  The average D&D closet is the size of my bedroom.

Anyways, I hate the class/level balance.  Gameplay wise, the optimum level range is 4-6.  However, all of the abilities/prestige class/spells that the players want range 8-10 and even beyond.  The average 'focused' player can't start a prestige class until about 5th level.  The interesting abilities don't kick in for a few levels of that.  So, by time the player has the character getting where he wants him to be, the DM is past the prime material.

So, I've found that granting the players quicker access to prestige classes early on (lowering the requirements, so they can start around lvl. 3) lets the player diversify the character.  

Also, I've offered feats, and other character elements at reduced cost, free spells per day, two for ones, and other freebies.  However, these are always done as "clearance sales."  Players don't know when I will do it, or what it will be.  It's always a now or never inclusion, so the players can't plan ahead of time for it.  So, it may be in the player's better interest to take the "free specialization when you buy a long sword weapon focus," even if its not the best weapon in the game.  In the end, you end up with characters that aren't always "rule perfect," but are interesting and diverse.  Basically, its still a gamist element, just one that keeps people on their toes.  While I always maked them up on the spot, I suppose the fairest way would be to make them ahead of time, and draw them.  Actually, that sounds like more fun for the players as well.  I think I'll try that next time.
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Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2003, 04:37:37 PM »

I was being a bit flip, but it comes from experience.  In college I ran a D&D campaign for old time's sake, and let the players bring their characters from other campaigns.  One munchkin had a half-giant who carried the mattock of the titans.  I looked it up, and aparently this artifact had a 10' handle.  Given 10x10 widthxheight corridors, it was of course impossible to wield unless he stabbed with it, which most of us found humorous.

Unfortunately, he didn't take it that well, nor did he take other rulings in that vein.  I learned that some people can suspend disbelief a lot more than others, if the reward is great enough. :-)

-Jeff
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ADGBoss
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Posts: 384


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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2003, 03:38:21 PM »

Sorry to bust in so late on this but I have been back and forth on the forge, taking time off for work issues and recently hopped on (today in fact :) )

I think there may be two real issues here: 1) how to Diversify the characters and 2) How to challenge them.  This may seem a bit redundant and I apologise if it is, but I want to break down my answer into those two subjects.

Diversity in Party

My first question is why are the players not horrified by the fact that they are all playing the saem character? D&D Gamist Roleplaying is not a stock car race, taking slightly different models and modifying them slightly and trying to win the race.  Its more of an open model kind of competition, taking Honda Cvics and pairing them against Corvettes after each has been modified by the driver and his crew.  

What this party sounds like to me is a badly put together Special forces team.  All same or similar basic training with one or two specialties each to cover all the bases.  If thats how they want to play there are PLENTY of modern combat RPGs they could get involved in and perhaps that could be a sugegstion.

If the theme of the D&D game IS built around a group of similar characters, thats one thing but it sounds very traditional and that calls for traditional diversity.  So how do you force that? Its difficult to say the least but I would agree with the oster who suggested that you build in obvious situations in every session where a diversified party would be more useful.  Poison can be agreat equalizer.  So can dragons.  This though brings us to the second question...

How to challenge the part./b]

My first suggestion if take a look at the Living Greyhawk campaign module sof the RPGA. This is not an endorsement but the RPGA generally uses what they call an APL system.  Average PArty Level. What is challenging for a party of 6 characters at X Level.  I must say that many of the modules have been challenging from a gamist standpoint (note I did not necassarily say combat, Gamism and Combat are not synonyms).
That is the reward at the end is based on "beating" the module.  In effect each one is a mini SAT test for your characters.  (The better written ones are). Its free to joina nd free to download the mods, and reading a few may give you ideas.

However, my own preference for challenging a party in D&D (and in many games) is.... another party.  Even though you are outnumbered 3-4 brains or more to 1, you certianly have at your disposal, as a DM the very same arsenal available to the players.  Make use of it.  Make them race against time vs a well built and diversified group who can check for traps, sing songs, and have animal companions.  Maybe the will get the idea. Maybe they will not.  Players have a tendancy to way lay your best laid plans...

Sean
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