View Profile: hawkeyefan - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:47 PM
    I think that there is so much material in the book, and most of it is very good, but I don’t think most games need all of it. I ran it for characters that were higher level than the intended starting point, so I had to alter a few things, and drop some others. The things that I dropped that spring to mind most readily are Arghynvostholdt (sp?), the winery/druid plot, and the Izek Strazni as a...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th July, 2018, 03:07 AM
    I haven’t seen or read the play, but I know the general plot. How possible would it be to try and recreate the adventure that the play is about? I’d try and hew closely to that so that the players possibly make more of a connection from the game to the play. I don’t think edition matters, but I agree that lower level is likely better for a game of this kind. In 5E, level 3 is a solid starting...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th July, 2018, 02:50 PM
    Star Wars. Plenty of gaming material. Plenty of lore to draw from. And if you don’t want to play in the Star Wars universe, reskin the elements into something else. Starfinder is also a good recommendation, especially for gamers familiar with D&D.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd July, 2018, 07:39 PM
    Sorry to take so long to reply. I think this is just due to a difference in play style. I don't roll for random encounters at all. I choose when and where encounters may happen based on the player choices, and what makes sense for the setting, and what will make for fun play. Well, no....I'm talking about very basic knowledge. "What's to the north of town?" and the like. I find that...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 11:53 PM
    Okay, right. Thanks for the answer...I was genuinely curious. Now that you mention it, I do recall those kinds of rules from the older editions. Much like racial level limits, my group pretty much always ignored them. Same thing with a lot of the Planescape rules for magic. If you’re X number of planes away from your deity, you cast spells as a Y level cleric, where Y equals Level - X. All of...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 09:43 PM
    Yeah, sorry...that was unclear on my part. The goal of seeing resolution of the stories is more a character goal than a player goal, although the players all want to see their character goals realized. But they know there is a chance that may not happen. There's no pre-determined narrative in play. There are ideas that I have on where things will go, but those are largely dependent on the...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 04:43 PM
    I don't think you can absolve the DM of all responsibility. I'm not saying that the players are not contributing...not at all. They're making decisions that have led to this point. However, so has the DM. Now, I'm not advocating for never allowing a dangerous situation to occur. In the above example you gave of the wizard, he rushed in without being careful. And he got smacked for it. So he's...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 04:20 PM
    Okay, fair enough. I don't know the goals of play off the top of my head, so I don't know how much my game may vary from those. But I also kind of assume at least some amount of personalizing for every game. As for there not being a plotline....how is that the case? Even something as simple as exploring a ruin and taking the treasure there is a plot. Now, my game tends to have pretty...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 07:05 PM
    Yeah, I think clear communication about game expectations solves much of this problem. Depending on that conversation, the game can then proceed accordingly. This really depends on the goals of play. For my group, there is a scenario that exists, and their PCs have come into the scenario and have been interacting with it long enough that it's pretty much "their" scenario. So for my...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 06:29 PM
    That's fair, thanks for clarifying. I didn't mean to take as harsh a stance as it likely seems that I have. I was just surprised at how often a TPK was being mentioned. I think it's because I was more focused on this part of the OP: So I was looking at it as a way to help mitigate the danger when the PCs get in over their head, and in a way that doesn't ruin immersion or isn't totally...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 06:07 PM
    Yeah, I realize that this is relevant to my style, and that there are other games that would work this way and everyone would have fun. But tying it back to the OP.....he asked for ways to mitigate the situation when the PCs got in over their heads. He gave an example of the Fire Giants only having 14 HP each as an example of a bad way to handle it, and asked for better ways. To me, a TPK...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 05:01 PM
    Good questions, and I'll be interested to see how people reply. Here are my answers: 1) I have presided over one TPK in my entire DM career, going back to the 2E days. Plenty of individual character deaths, but only the one TPK. 2) The one time it happened, they accepted it, but they were upset. It was a fitting end given the particular story and what they had chosen, but they were still...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 04:49 PM
    It's hard to get a full picture from that description, and it certainly seems that the players continued to make bad decisions over and over, but I'm sure there were ways it could have been avoided. I think perhaps then this needs to be explained to those advocating for TPKs, no? There are so many ways that they can be avoided. And plenty of those "getaway cars" are ones at the...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 04:45 PM
    I don't think that any single one of them is bad, really, but I generally do see a TPK as a bad thing. Sure, there may be examples that folks can provide where a TPK was fun and rewarding, and perhaps even furthered the story. This is why I'm not saying that a TPK should absolutely never happen. I question it as advice given to a DM who asks how to handle a situation where his players have...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 01:28 AM
    I think that there must be a series of decisions for the DM to make that leads to a TPK. The players are certainly contributing, but still the DM is making decisions along the way that head in the TPK direction. The DM picks or rolls a very difficult encounter. The DM doesn’t give ample warning that it may be a deadly encounter. The DM does not allow for other ways of dealing with the...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 01:10 AM
    I’m not saying you should introduce elements out of the blue. I think that in any case, there are options along the way that can easily avoid a TPK. The dragon’s a good example, as it can likely easily kill a whole party. Does it need to? Can it simply eat one PC and send the others scurrying while it shouts “tell the other mortals of my greatness” or something like that. Or maybe it does...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 12:55 AM
    Yeah, my views are geared toward my style of play, or at least a game similar in style. We play a very story heavy game. To clarify, the story is based on ideas the players have brought to the game in addition to some I’ve brought as DM. The story does emerge through play, but there’s a good deal of effort put in by all. So the idea of a TPK seems totally negative. I think it would have to...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 10:18 PM
    No, I don't think you have. Yes, the players are mostly at fault here. I agree with that. Whatever happens is on them. However.....a TPK is just beyond necessary. This is my point. the DM has to work to make a TPK happen. there are any number of opportunities for the characters to get out of it. And even if they somehow don't get out of it, there are still options for the DM to avoid killing...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 08:15 PM
    I don't think a TPK should never happen....I realize my posts may sound that way, but I think they can serve a purpose. However, I think that it would likely be very rare where a TPK can add to a game. By nature, it subtracts. Generally, a TPK amounts to a lot of wasted effort for everyone in the game. All the work put into these characters and the story they are building so far is simply...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 05:18 PM
    Doesn’t seem like this is the issue to me. Although I do think the DM is a storyteller, I don’t think the players are puppets. I think they’re also storytellers. And their characters likely have stories to tell...ideas they’ve come up with and also ideas presented to them by the DM. One thing I will say is certainly a railroad is a DM deciding to have a TPK. A TPK absolutely cannot happen...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 05:07 PM
    No where did I say that the characters should never run into anything beyond them from a combat perspective. In fact, I am all for that idea. However, if they choose to engage such a creature, I think that a TPK is probably too harsh of a punishment. Especially since the DM has directly contributed to what happened. And for what it’s worth, I think that a TPK is just as much a punishment for...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 02:43 AM
    Yeah....I think you missed my point. Hopefully my additional posts make ot clearer for you.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 09:37 PM
    I guess? Is that what she’s considered? As you can probably tell, those designations don’t matter all that much to me, so I don’t know which deities and beings are which rank. Has 5E actually established these kinds of ranks again? I don’t know off the top of my head.
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 08:46 PM
    No, I get it. I'm not the one offering a TPK as an answer to the question. I'm not questioning the difficulty of a TPK....just questioning how readily it's offered as a "solution" to the problem in the OP.
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 08:41 PM
    Sure, I get that. My point is that even if you did decide to attack (a foolish action, but hey, we've all done foolish things as players) it doesn't have to result in a TPK. The DM is the one who put the Hill Giant in your path. So he's contributed to the situation. Now, you may have a bunch of players who are experienced enough to know that a Hill Giant is deadly to low level PCs. But...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 08:35 PM
    Okay, the Stone Giant may not have been the best example....I forgot they're less hostile than most giants. But I think your comment about "if they decide to fight, well, we have backup characters ready" is more what I'm talking about. Sure, it's unlikely they'll win against such a creature at low level, but I don't know if it has to be that they all die. Really, I'm not against PC...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 07:55 PM
    Right....Primus doesn't seem to have worshipers in the traditional sense. Perhaps all Modrons would be considered his followers, but I don't think that's really accurate. They're almost more like an extension of him. Same with the Lady of Pain. She won't allow people to worship her. Yet she can block the highest of deities from entering Sigil. Certainly she's worth inclusion in discussions of...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 04:56 PM
    Sure, I think that clear communication about these things is necessary. In your example, you provided a list of possible threats, and cautioned the players to take appropriate steps to avoid them. I think that part of your example is great. But there were still rolls that took place, correct? They favored the PCs, but it was still possible for them to randomly encounter the Stone Giant, right? ...
    293 replies | 6619 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 03:19 PM
    I’m kind of surprised at how often TPKs are being condoned. I am all for encounters where combat is a bad idea for the PCs, and all for maintaining danger for the PCs. But I also realize that when I present them with a challenge that is beyond their ability to defeat in combat, I’ve chosen to do so. Everyone seems to site the players’ choice to resort to combat as justification for a TPK....but...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 12:32 PM
    How so?
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 01:18 AM
    Yeah, I know the terms came up from time to time, but I prefer how they tended to go with just “Powers” as a catch all. Especially when being used “in world” rather than in relation to game mechanics. The term would apply to deities, powerful planar beings like demon princes, beings that are not so easily categorized (such as Primus)....and so on.
    61 replies | 2332 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 04:55 PM
    Plenty of good advice already. I’m a big proponent of putting the PCs in the path of foes that are beyond them as far as combat goes. However, the PCs need not run away from all such encounters...alternate paths to success are a big part of our game. Sometimes, they have to talk their way out of a fight, or sneak, or magic, or whatever. I think if you establish this early, then the lesson...
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 04:29 PM
    Yeah, absolutely. And in conversations between characters about that, I’m sure “greater” and “greatest” would come up a lot, and that’s fine. But other than that exception, the classification system that the game uses would seem very artificial if used by characters.
    61 replies | 2332 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 02:33 PM
    I’m very partial to how Planescape termed all the gods and similay powerful beings as “Powers”. It’s a nice term that doesn’t carry the typical connotation that a term like “god” does. And it’s broad enough to use for all such beings...so that greater deity, intermediate deity, and the like don’t really matter. Sure, in game terms maybe those designations may mean something to some games at...
    61 replies | 2332 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, 02:20 AM
    Meh he got offed by a vestige of Orcus back in the day, so the current Primus isn’t the same one from all those past events. When Primus dies, one of the next tier of Modrons is elevated to become the new Primus. There’ve been a few of them I think
    61 replies | 2332 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, 01:24 AM
    I’ve always found that having a player roll a die, and then not revealing any kind of result to be a pretty basic way to build suspense. Even if there is no need for a roll. If you had a scene where you wanted to build tension, I’d probably have a series of such rolls combined with some fitting narration to help establish the feel. Some of the rolls may be for a skill check or what not, and...
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 02:37 AM
    Yeah, we’ll have to see. The confrontation seems very likely, but that could change. And even if that confrontation does happen, I wouldn’t force that outcome. Especially not in the case of something like a PC’s death. So if it doesn’t actually come to pass...I don’t think anything’s actually “gone wrong”. The Mercenary’s cryptic last words will remain cryptic. Or perhaps there’s some other...
    48 replies | 1228 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 06:02 PM
    Suspense is definitely all about timing. When will the PC achieve what they want to achieve? Delaying that outcome is the source of suspense, as has been mentioned. In addition, what are they willing to do to achieve their goals? I’d say this is more about drama than suspense, but the two are related. As for PC death, I think that can be a source for suspense. If the PC has a goal, but his...
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 05:51 PM
    So I had an interesting idea come to me for my 5E campaign that has time travel shenanigans. The party Fighter recently had a final showdown with his one time mentor, an aged mercenary who’s sided with the villains because he thinks they’re bound to win. So the Fighter killed the Mercenary...and I had the Merc’s last words be “Now we’re even”. The idea is that the Merc is at a past event...
    48 replies | 1228 view(s)
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  • hawkeyefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 06:40 AM
    So one of the angles I’m going with in my campaign is predetermination versus free will. Are events fixed? Can you change the past, or the future? I’ve not really decided the actual answer. I want to see what my players come up with and how events come to pass. I’ve been sure to present both ideas, primarily through two characters. One is an oracle of sorts who sees possible futures and tries...
    48 replies | 1228 view(s)
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Sunday, 1st July, 2018

  • 01:13 AM - pming mentioned hawkeyefan in post The not quite TPK
    Hiya! Hello So my other thread about encounters that are "too" powerful (on purpose!) and potential TPKs really seemed to have touched a nerve, but it also got me thinking. There is a TPK - which can wreck a campaign, let's be honest here - and there is the single PC death. ---SNIP--- Has anyone gone through a "partial TPK"? How did it work out for your party? See the other thread for my long-winded replies (mostly to hawkeyefan) for details on my thoughts. But for this thread...the problem isn't a "TPK", it's how you are structuring/defining "campaign". Here's how my campaigns works: Day 0: A, B, C and D are created and begin their adventuring careers. Day 1 - 7: They travel from town to upper level of the ruins/dungeon near by, and back twice. Each haul brings wealth, information, and a slow realization that something...or somethingS...in the deeper level is causing the monsters withing the complex to ascent to higher levels, or being pushed out into the wilderness where they are killing sheep and terrorizing farmers. Day 8 - 10: PC's venture back into the ruins/dungeon and descend a bit too far, too quickly. They end up all getting trapped by the organized bad guys who end up killing (and eating) all of them. TPK. Day 40: Players roll up characters E, F, G and H. I say to the Players PC's "You have all come to this little town from wherever you used to live a normal life. This is your Adv...

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 02:34 AM - pming mentioned hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Hiya! hawkeyefan, rather than respond point by point and end up with another mini-novel, I'll just make a few comments about your last reply to me. Re: The DM makes the tables/charts...so he's ultimately accountable. I don't think this is a fair assessment of claiming it's "still the DM's choice". At least not any more than anytime any other dice are involved in the game. Having a random encounter table for The Giant Hills written up weeks, months or years prior to the PC's going there doesn't put the DM 'on the hook' for when PC's encounter a Hill Giant there that kills them all. By that logic, a DM who writes "Room 22: Cooking Room - a large fire pit is in the center, with a huge 4' diameter glass cauldron (2" thick) suspended over top from chains attached to the ceiling, containing an undulating dark-grey mass. In the cauldron is a Grey Ooze that attacks any who come within striking distance"...is "responsible" for when the wizard with only 11hp's rushes over to the cauldron because he wants it b...

Saturday, 12th May, 2018

  • 11:09 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...his backstory to try and make the dungeon actually make sense in the context of a consistent, coherent world. This seems to me to be exactly the sort of distinction Hussar is drawing, between adventure design and worldbuilding. You believe he's stating personal preference and applying these reasons to... himself only as opposed to making a general statement about why he believes world building is bad in general? If so that seems like an interesting way of interpreting his statement, and certainly not how I read it. I don't blame you for your preferences, and I'm sure they've formed as a result of your actual experiences, but I don't think they are universal enough to consider worldbuilding as bad. I just don't think it's all that different from any other tool the DM can use....they can be used effectively, or they can be abused.Let's take it, for the sake of argument, that Hussar's comments are grounded primarily in personal preference grounded in personal experience. Are hawkeyefan's grounded in anything more robust or objective? I doubt it. In other words, the claims worldbuilding is not bad is not grounded more firmly than the claim that worldbuilding is bad. So what's the objection to Hussar that doesn't apply to hawkeyefan? That he's hurting feelings? EDIT: Another reason in favour of up-front world-building, or at least an aspect of current game design that will tend to force some world-building by default, just occurred to me: the increasing importance of and emphasis on character backgrounds. <snip> one of the first questions to arise in any sort of character history or background is going to be "where am I from?"; and the second is likely to be a variant on "how did I get to <where the campaign starts>?"; and answering these questions - likely for a variety of races and classes within your starting party - is by default going to force a surprising amount of world-building. <snip> So, unless a DM wants to end up with something of a hod...

Friday, 27th April, 2018

  • 09:52 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    So in your view worldbuilding - as opposed to setting-building - only starts when you're trying to, say, determine the distance and terrain between the Keep and the Threshold region from B-10 or the Village of Hommlet from T-1? If so, that works too.Well, as I recently replied to hawkeyefan, I don't think of world building in terms of amount. I think of it in terms of method. The traditional, and in my view far-and-away most common, way of thinking about worldbuilding for RPGing is that the GM does it, often (even typically) in advance of play, and more-or-less independently of the players, and even moreso independently of any particular moment of play. (So maybe the players contribute in session zero, but not afterwards.) That method of worldbuilding not only establishes a setting - in virtue of doing that, it also establishes a function for that setting and a way that it will be used. (This has been discussed in detail in the other thread.) There are other ways of establishing setting than this sort of GM-worldbuilding. And of course presenting a situation also establishes some setting (eg that a deceptive evil priest exists). It's these different methods for establishing setting, which give it a different function in play, that I care about. Ah, but to mak...

Saturday, 3rd March, 2018

  • 06:43 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...haracter'. Advocacy isn't really relevant here, although presumably a character is a vehicle for the player to express some sort of desire about what she wants to play. I would call 'actor stance' (I haven't really used these terms) to be 'playing in first person', but in my discussion first person isn't really material either. What is material is that the player is taking, within the game world and its fiction, the characteristics, the AGENCY (ability to do things in the game) of the character. This is what you mean by 'no meta-game' presumably. As with pemerton, I find it odd that anyone would assert that players bound to character stance have the same agency WRT the fiction as one's who don't live within that limit. Beyond that though, Pemerton's point includes that a player CAN be entirely in what I call character stance and STILL exercise agency over the fiction, and that this is a common method of play. I think it is what most of us are really debating about here. You, Lanefan, hawkeyefan, et al often maintain that you take into consideration player motivations, desires, suggestions, possibly even to the level of players establishing fictional elements via making checks (IE I search for a secret door and one shows up if the search is successful) in some cases. I think there's an unbroken continuum in a practical sense from my 'spherical cow' endless random maze where all decisions are pointless, on up through Arnesonian (poor guy gets shafted on credit too much) dungeon play, to various degrees of GM establishment of and utilization of fixed backstory and hidden positioning, on up through all the degrees of GMs cooperating with players to put the elements they want into the story, finally on up to formal scene framing (standard narrativist model) play, and into formal systems of player authorship, and finally unconstrained group authorship. In this context I think it is reasonable to get back to the original discussion of world building (which I would generalize to m...

Tuesday, 27th February, 2018

  • 07:16 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...s (Toon) . Well, I did consider these two genre, and I agree that they are on the 'not focused on exploration' end of the spectrum. Still, they have SOME exploration built into them (Toon is hard to categorize, its mostly slapstick, but it COULD involve exploring a novel environment now and then). Still, most games include, at least, some sort of 'investigation' as an element, and MANY, maybe even most, RPGs are quite heavy on exploratory activity of some sort. I mean, I'm thinking of games I've played in the last 10 years, it was pretty far up there as a part of the agenda of all but a couple. Did I say one person? [Goes back and checks] Nope. I've run with multiple GMs cooperatively so it'd be pretty foolish of me to say so. OK, I think its fair to say that most of the discussion here didn't involve multi-GM setups. Those, IME, are rare, though certainly not unheard of (I've done several myself, they're fun). Now, I can't say how much your gaming is of this type. I'm guessing hawkeyefan and Lanefan and others are not usually playing this way. The vision needs to be kept separate form the players otherwise you have a situation where the group that needs to find a solution already knows all the information. That pretty much negates puzzle solving. Now there are playstyles where the players are playing to find out "what happens next" as opposed to "how it works and what do we do with it" where having all the (partial) available information in advance isn't a problem, but I find puzzle solving is the opposite if fun if I already know where every piece goes. I think I have said that there's a point here. It is basically what the Czege Principle is all about. You can't both author a challenge and be the one to resolve it. The reasons may not always have to do with hidden information exactly, but in spirit its the same kind of issue, you're playing both sides of the field. Of course it WOULD be possible to have different players know different things, so I think we can'...

Sunday, 25th February, 2018

  • 01:50 PM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    It isn't about TRUST, it is about "what is the most reliable and useful process by which to translate the player's agenda and wants into the narrative so they get to play characters that address those things?" That's all it is about. Why go through the roundabout process of having a GM devise an entire setting in detail without reference to the players, and then try to translate that into addressing what they are interested in? Why make every element of the plot and setting the sole responsibility of the GM so that he has to figure out a way to understand what the players want and then do it, instead of just having the player say <snip hypothetical example>I think this relates to hawkeyefan upthread asking "Is it binary?" (ie player- vs GM-driven play). I guess it can be non-binary in the sense that the GM adapts whatever it was s/he wrote in advance to respond to the player agendas - but then what work is the GM-driven stuff doing on that occasion of play? I think this also relates to the distinction between prep and pre-authorship. Having some stuff ready in advance (eg in Traveller, given that's what I've been GMing recently, some worlds, some ships, some NPCs good to go) can be handy. That's different from having a setting that already answers the questions that are likely to come up in play (like "Who hear can be bribed?" or "What can we learn about aliens?").
  • 03:10 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    This is why I disagree with your premise in the OP as the boardgame style is still VERY prevalent today (in particular in D&D games) and this is clearly evident given the AP and modules which are being published by WotC. EDIT: The type of player agency you require for your games is just not as important in the (for lack of a better term) boardgame style where fictional positioning of the map is done by the DM.I think this is an important point. The boardgame type play does involve a very different sort of agency. But Lanefan doesn't describe a boardgame type of play in his posts - he talks about PCs in a town, talking to NPCs to be assigned missions which involve travelling overland and interacting with various other beings. I don't think hawkeyefan plays in the boardgame style, either. The boardgame style depends upon a very high degree of austerity in the setting, so that everything that is salient and relevant is not only known by the GM, but is relatively straightforwardly knowable/learnable by the players (this will obviously vary across tables - for Gygax GMing Rob Kuntz the standardf for learnability is pretty liberal, but that's because the latter is a very experienced player who has a very high familiarity with the former as a GM). Repeated exploration of the dungeon, strong and knowable conventions around how the dungeon-state evolves in response to PC incursions, etc are all part of it. Meaningful scope for player choice in how to explore and clear the board is also a part of it. I don't think a module like Sunless Citadel meets these standards - just to give one real-world example. I think that White Plume Mountain does.

Saturday, 24th February, 2018

  • 01:28 AM - Sadras mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    The people who disagree with you, myself included, have years of experience of that type of play - so we know it has zero player agency. You, on the other hand, don't have a single minute of play experience of the type of game which I, and @pemerton and @Manbearcat and @AbdulAlhazred say does offer player agency. In other words, you approach this topic from a position of complete and profound ignorance, while we do not. This is fair, however it is painfully obvious that the two camps define player agency differently and this is what seems to be causing the disconnect in the debate. @Maxperson, @Lanefan @hawkeyefan and others (including myself) have not hidden the fact that player authorial control is limited in our games, we just do not equate player agency with authorial control over the setting. Step 0 is agreeing to the definition of agency 2 : the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power : OPERATION 3 : a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved : INSTRUMENTALITY and authorial power Ability to author elements into the fiction As a first step, I propose for the sake of the debate that @pemerton's camp (i) Defines player agency as the ability to declare action declarations only and NOT exercise authorial power (again just for the sake of the debate); The second step, is for @Lanefan's camp to (ii) Acknowledge that due to the DM's authorial power, his/her NPCs have greater agency (able to declare a greater number of actions) than the PC's. This point seems like a fairly obvious one to accept. Finally, the resultant conclusion being (...

Thursday, 15th February, 2018

  • 09:27 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...yes" to player action declarations, Classic Traveller's mechanics for things like perception, searching, etc are a bit weak. But it will still flow from action declaration. For instance, an ealier patron encounter (the result of the action declaration "I chill at the bar of the Traveller's Aid Society hoping to meet a patron), and the way that encounter unfolded in the back-and-forth of free roleplaying, has established constraints on the logic of the conspiracy. In the session we played on Sunday the PCs elected to attack the conspirators rather than take a bribe from them. Had they taken the bribe, we would then probably have had to make a further reaction roll when discussions ensued; and (say) a good reaction would impose further constraints on tenable narration of subsequent fiction. Etc. The only "collaboration" that is necessary is a shared sense of genre and fictional position that supports solid framing, action declartions and narration of consequences. Eg the example that hawkeyefan offers makes no sense, as nothing in the fiction makes it remotely plausible that Sauron would be in Rivendell; and even if Boromir could perceive a long way (not absurd - he went to Rivendell in response to a dream, after all) he can't attack at that distance. Similarly, if it's established that the PCs are in a cave, then "I search the study for the map" is not a reasonable action declaration. (Just as with Luke Crane's example: no roll to find beam weaponry in the Duke's toilet.)

Wednesday, 7th February, 2018

  • 12:45 PM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Framing a scene can (usually does if not always) lead to worldbuilding. A tower has been established through the framing - a tower that wasn't there before. I don't know how you can't see it. I believe this is where everyone is having the disconnect with you.What disconnect? Obviously framing a scene with a tower establishes setting. My point is that it is not pre-authored. It occurs on the spot as part of the ongoing back-and-forth between players and GM. This relates back to a reply upthread to hawkeyefan. One consequence of pre-authored setting is that the GM may (frequently does, I believe) use it to declare actions unsuccessful based on secret considerations of fictional positioning. (This is what the map example has mostly been about.) Another is that the pre-authored setting reflects the GM's conception of the concerns/themes/direction of play. As I posted just upthread of this, the idea that there is no interesting difference here strikes me as no more plausible than the idea that conversing with a friend is no different from reading a script to them.

Sunday, 4th February, 2018

  • 09:53 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    hawkeyefan, what you describe doesn't sound wildly different from the Traveller ambergris episode I described upthread. Where we may differ in approach (or not) is the following: (1) Tthe extent to which the player-chosen backstory elements (eg ties to the Shades) provide the material for the challenges of play. The more this stuff is "going where the action is", the closer we are. (2) The extent to which player concenrs (as evinced through PC motivations) have a thematic/value-type dimension to them rather than a purely utilitarian/efficiency aspect. The more of the former, the easier to force the players into choices where there is no optimal solution (as opposed to simply a cost-benefit calculation to be made). From what you posted, I didn't work out whether or not the PC has loyalty to the Shades. (3) The method of resolution of the intrigue. That could be more like the "solve the GM's puzzle" or more like my own preferred approach of "frame a check, and then resolve it".

Saturday, 3rd February, 2018

  • 06:52 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    hawkeyefan: the idea of "finding the map as a challenge" proveids an answer to the OP question "what is (GM-preauthored) worldbuilding for"? Here is my understanding of what you mean by "finding the map as a challenge": The GM writes that the map is in X place. The players "explore the gameworld" (that's metaphor), which is to say they make moves by declaring actions for their characters that trigger various bits of narration by the GM: eg "We look behind the tapestry." "There's nothing there but a whitewashed brick wall." Some of this narration contains clues that point (directly or indirectly) towards X. Eventually, the players declare "We go to X and [insert appropriate details that pertain to how one might search X] and look for the map." Assuming the details are correct, the GM tells the players "You find the map." That's the sort of play that I personally don't enjoy. I mentioned upthread that in my Traveller game I had to resolve an attempt to find trinkets of alien manufacture...

Friday, 2nd February, 2018

  • 05:03 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...uthfully, I think when I hear you guys debating about the map in the room and who gets to decide where it is and when, I think the essence of the question, from a scene-framing standpoint, has been lost. What is this map about? Why is the PC trying to find it? What is he willing to stake on finding it, and what are the consequences if it isn't found? I mean, if its just a map that you might find by chance, then who cares? If it isn't something that the players know will shape the story, then it doesn't even exist. I mean, until some element enters into the story, its just a notion in someone's imagination, or maybe a note scribbled in a notebook that nobody else has ever read. Does a tree make a sound if it falls in the forest and nobody hears it? Does an imaginary map exist if nobody finds it? The point being that that whole debate is pointless until you talk about the greater context. In a Gygaxian sort of game the map is simply a possible resource that may or may not be found, and hawkeyefan is right, a check to find it resolves nothing but the check, either way the character succeeded. pemerton SHOULD see it the same way! NOTHING IS AT STAKE THAT WE KNOW OF, so there cannot BE 'success' or 'failure' by his criteria! Once the map NEEDS to be found, because it is now a part of the narrative in terms of furthering or resolving some conflict in the game, then by pemerton's method of play, the PLAYER is entitled to (either by fictional positioning of his character, or by use of a meta-game construct in the rules of play) exercise his agency in the game to bring about a chance of finding that map, regardless of any 'puzzle-solving' aspect of the game. If its just a matter of the character lacking the knowledge to have the agency to control his destiny then in 'Pemertonian' terms the scenario is a railroad, or at least lacks a potential positive outcome that could exist. Its not the case that the player must get his way, BTW, it is only the case that he should have a way to WA...

Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 01:28 PM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    You mean you thwarted player agency by having secret information in the form of pre-generated worlds that would trigger GM narration when the players traveled there - instead of letting the players impose their will on the fiction by declaring what kind of worlds they wanted to find.The players didn't express any such preference (ie there was no player agency at work there). If they had, the process might have been different. See the discussion upthread, in response to Ovinomancer and hawkeyefan, of the difference between players looking for more fiction and players wanting a particular content to be part of the fiction.
  • 10:32 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... stuff isn't agency, except in the most mininal sense that it's an alternative to everyone just sitting there silently. And you're right that I don't think killing an orc is, of necessity, the same thing in the fiction as finding a map. It might be more significant. It might be less significant. Obviously they involve different imagined causal processes. The reason I say they're structurally equivalent is not just that they're legal moves, but that they're legal moves for the same reason: both add new information to the description in a way that is genre faithful, consistent with already established fiction, salient to the game participants, etc. People can have any number of reasons for saying that only the GM can make one of those moves. But those reasons can't include anything about what is "realistic", or any allged necessary consequence for resolution methods resulting from the metaphysics of actual maps and actual deaths. ****************************************** hawkeyefan, I'm replying only to those bits of your post where I think I've got something interesting to say in reponse. So here you mean things like the GM deciding this is going to be a court intrigue based game in a D&D style setting meaning that the player who wanted to be a barbarian is kind of SOL, right? <snp> I don't think I as the GM wield my secret knowledge like a club to bash the players with. I establish elements of the games that I think will be compelling. I don't do it simply to thwart my players and any ideas that they may have. <snip> When you comment on the worst version of GM backstory boiling down to the Gm reading a story to the players...is that all that different from the GM reading the results of rolls on random tables to the players?Here I think I just want to say a bit more about how I see things. By GM control over "big picture" I don't mean so much the setting/genre conventions you raise - I see that as more about reaching group consensus on setting...
  • 02:06 AM - pemerton mentioned hawkeyefan in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...ion coming out of action resolution (eg Streetwise). I went the first way on this occasion, which I'm not sure was the best way but as it hapened no wheels fell off.) So the players, when they ask, "Are there any alien artefacts at the market", have a chance of the answer being "yes". But I didn't just "say 'yes'". The relevant PC has Education 13 (a high score) which we've already established is a doctorate in Xeno-Archaeology. So that establishes, as a matter of fictional positioning, that he might recognise alien trinkets. (The other PCs have no real chance, as they don't have the right fictional positioning. That wasn't controversial at the table.) But I called for a check - it succeeded - and so I described the alien trinket that he noticed for sale. This is the GM reading/telling the players stuff. Now, I have preferences that this not be done from pre-authored notes. That relates to the third of the consequences of GM-preauthored worldbuilding that I mentioned in my reply to hawkeyefan not far upthread; and is also described clearly in Eero Tuovinen's account of the "standard narrativistic model" that I linked to somewhere upthread: I prefer a game which is focused on stuff that the players bring to it (via PC build, evinced thematic/trope/"wouldn't it be cool if . . ." desires, etc). Whereas GM pre-authorship (which eg Lanefan advocates should be done without knowing anything about what preferences and PCs the players might bring to the game) tends to make the focus one that speaks to the GM. Relating this to agency: when the game play (at some moment) is predominantly the GM telling the players stuff, then it is the GM who is exercising agency. The fact that that players pressed the button that triggered the GM's narration doesn't change that. But if the GM's narration draws upon, responds to and incorportaes stuff that the players have brought to the game, then the GM's agency is building on their prior exercises of it. Whereas if the GM is telling them stuff t...

Sunday, 10th September, 2017

  • 09:57 PM - Helldritch mentioned hawkeyefan in post How viable is 5E to play at high levels?
    Stalker0 Check on page 37 for some advice I gave. May not be perfect but it's a start. Many others gave some of their "tricks" to either run encounters or simply build them. With all the ideas on this thread, you should find something that suits you. Sacrosanct I tend to agree with you. But a small guideline can help a lot the novice DM. hawkeyefan All of what you posted above as an answer to Stalker0 is correct. Using Sacrosanct approach isn't bad either. I am also for more intelligent played monsters. Be it from a highly combative instinct or higher intellect. And again, a small guideline can help a novice DM by quite a lot. Although I really feel that 5e is usable in high level campaign from the box. The work needed to do so can be quite high for the DM that don't have the time to build encounters with heavy experience calculation or the time to make simulations like I do. In that respect, our friend CapnZapp is right to ask for better suited tools to make high level campaign easier to make. Although I may seem to be on the "everything's ok" side, I am really in the middle ground on that subject. I did used heavy modifications at the beginnings of 5e. I've had my share of one way fights. It took me 3 months to find out what was going wrong with the way I was playing. All my simulations were off by quite a lot. It is only by e...

Tuesday, 15th August, 2017


Friday, 4th August, 2017

  • 03:07 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned hawkeyefan in post Resting and the frikkin' Elephant in the Room
    Apparently so does everyone else who has responded to you. :D OTOH, there ARE systems out there that are very much grounded in a world building approach. Traveller, GURPS, HARN, Battletech, just to name a few off the top of my head. But, as soon as you try applying D&D mechanics to an actual world, it falls apart. You too huh? :p Well, given that you XP's hawkeyefan's defense of your position, I'm going with your position being that for a game to support worldbuilding it should have defined systems for worldbuilding that integrate at least somewhat into the mechanical systems. But this just describes a mechanical aid to worldbuilding, and doesn't actually define worldbuilding. As hawkeyefan notes: Otherwise it's a downward spiral of madness. Wait...how can towns exist in a world where there are giant, flying, fire-breathing predators? Wouldn't dragons always destroy any town that came along? Well, maybe the explanation is that many towns have a wizard that is high enough level to at least give the dragon pause. Oh, but then we have NPCs overshadowing our PCs, and that stinks. Okay, well then maybe it's because enough archers, even really low level characters, can bring down a dragon with enough time. Meh, then that makes dragons kind of lame, no? But this is trivially solved by worldbuilidng a number of ways. Just to toss out a few: dragon...


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Friday, 29th June, 2018

  • 12:51 AM - cbwjm quoted hawkeyefan in post Is Primus a Great God or Overgod in 5e?
    Okay, right. Thanks for the answer...I was genuinely curious. Now that you mention it, I do recall those kinds of rules from the older editions. Much like racial level limits, my group pretty much always ignored them. Same thing with a lot of the Planescape rules for magic. If you’re X number of planes away from your deity, you cast spells as a Y level cleric, where Y equals Level - X. All of that was far too fiddly for us. I don’t think anything remotely close to such codification has been added to deities and planes in 5E though, has it? I've not seen anything like the diminishing clerical power from 2e in 5e. It was also something that I ignored. Also like you, I ignored the max spell level for clerics of demigods and lesser gods and the demihuman level limits, though to be fair, I don't think we ever hit the level limits when we played 2e.

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 11:58 PM - pming quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Hiya! I don't think you can absolve the DM of all responsibility. I'm not saying that the players are not contributing...not at all. They're making decisions that have led to this point. Ok. I think on this point we are just going to do the old "agree to disagree" thing. :) When a DM rolls something random, or pre-places it, and that gets a PC killed or a TPK I don't see the DM as having any tangible involvement in the deaths other than he's the one making the rolls, or wrote it down in the past. I think our disagreement is on the "power" of the Dice Roll. I see the moment the DM makes a dice roll ("for realzies"...not for "show" when he's already predetermined something for whatever excellent reason he must have), the moment the dice hit the table it absolves the DM from the outcome. The DM is "giving up" his claim on the narrative and leaving it in the hands of fate. I don't think that I'd feel the need to offer information. But I also don't tend to make my players "gather inform...
  • 11:32 PM - Elderbrain quoted hawkeyefan in post Is Primus a Great God or Overgod in 5e?
    How so? Divine ranks mattered directly to PC and NPC Clerics because in prior editions (i.e. 2nd) a deity's rank determined what the maximum spell level it could grant to Clerics - don't have my book in front of me, but it went something like Demigods could only grant up to 5th level, Lesser 6th level, and Intermediate and Greater gods 7th level (7th level at the time being the highest level spells for Clerics). So it mattered game-mechanically what the rank of the god your PC Cleric worshiped was.
  • 10:30 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Yeah, sorry...that was unclear on my part. The goal of seeing resolution of the stories is more a character goal than a player goal, although the players all want to see their character goals realized. But they know there is a chance that may not happen. There's no pre-determined narrative in play. There are ideas that I have on where things will go, but those are largely dependent on the players' decisions. So a TPK wouldn't disrupt that goal, so much as I think that it disrupts both of the meta goals that you sited, at least for my group. They're at 11th level and well invested in their characters and the stories we've created so far. The campaign has a feeling of being "theirs" to the point that if I wiped them out and then they used alternate characters to resume, it would not feel the same. This campaign is THEIR story alone. I hope that's clear. And they have lost 3 party members along the way, not to mention several NPC allies....so it's by no means a case of me taking things e...
  • 05:27 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Okay, fair enough. I don't know the goals of play off the top of my head, so I don't know how much my game may vary from those. But I also kind of assume at least some amount of personalizing for every game. The goals of play to be clear are a meta thing - this refers to the goals the players and DM are pursuing in terms of the game experience. The game sets forth two specific goals (paraphrased): everyone having fun and creating an exciting, memorable tale during play. Groups may add to those goals and I think it's a good idea to be specific about them so that the group has a clear focus on what it's trying to achieve. This informs which house rules and table rules might be implemented to help achieve those additional goals. You stated: "So for my group, the resolution of that scenario is the goal of play. Denying any sense of resolution by having a TPK would ruin that goal of play." If I were you, I would formally add the bolded bit to the goals of play for the group. I would then set up...

Wednesday, 27th June, 2018

  • 07:29 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    This really depends on the goals of play. For my group, there is a scenario that exists, and their PCs have come into the scenario and have been interacting with it long enough that it's pretty much "their" scenario. So for my group, the resolution of that scenario is the goal of play. Denying any sense of resolution by having a TPK would ruin that goal of play. Again, this is particular to my style, yes. When I refer to the "goals of play," I'm referring to the ones stated by the rules themselves. Anyone adding additional goals of play to that or changing the default ones can expect different results. My players have no expectation that they will get to see the end of some plotline or whatever because there isn't one. I suppose for me, no one has given a compelling reason where a TPK is the favored result. Meaning that the TPK as a result offers something not offered by any other option. So far, it seems to me that two reasons have been sited in support of the TPK: - maintaining a sense...
  • 07:02 PM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I don't think that any single one of them is bad, really, but I generally do see a TPK as a bad thing. Sure, there may be examples that folks can provide where a TPK was fun and rewarding, and perhaps even furthered the story. This is why I'm not saying that a TPK should absolutely never happen. I question it as advice given to a DM who asks how to handle a situation where his players have foolishly gone up against an encounter that is too tough for them. Who made the list that you rolled from? Who placed the area that list pertains to? Setting aside the whole "neutral DM" aspect of the discussion, the DM has still made several choices in regards to this. So even if ultimately, a die is used to randomize the encounter....the die is randomizing from details chosen by the DM. Even if it's a list in a published game book, the DM has chosen that list. And this is fine....I am not saying this is a bad thing, or a bad way to handle it....but the DM has made choices about these things. He is no...
  • 06:44 PM - Satyrn quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    So I was looking at it as a way to help mitigate the danger when the PCs get in over their head, and in a way that doesn't ruin immersion or isn't totally lame, like having the giants all suddenly drop very quickly. . . . They Might Be Forgiving Giants 98776
  • 06:26 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Yeah, I realize that this is relevant to my style, and that there are other games that would work this way and everyone would have fun. But tying it back to the OP.....he asked for ways to mitigate the situation when the PCs got in over their heads. He gave an example of the Fire Giants only having 14 HP each as an example of a bad way to handle it, and asked for better ways. To me, a TPK isn't much to offer as a solution. I would say that the TPK isn't the solution to the problem in and of itself - setting up your game and group expectations such that a TPK as an outcome isn't that big a deal is. This way, you don't have to fudge the giant's hit points or whatever to save the PCs. You won't be inclined to save them in the first place. And even in games where PCs are replaceable and the likelihood that a TPK can happen is high.....many players will still not be happy about it. I think that the concept of a group that's okay with a TPK is really small. Yes, they exist under the righ...
  • 06:22 PM - Satyrn quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    What started me down this avenue of the comversation is that so many were advising @Ancalagon in response to his OP to go with a TPK. To me, that seems a bit extreme. Especially since he ends his post asking for ways to avoid drastic measures to save the party. I think we were advising him not to hold back on a TPK if that's where the dice actually lead. I was anyway. The scenario he provided in the OP read to me to be of the sort where (by player and DM decisions, good and bad) all previous decisions have led up to the moment where the dragon's breath weapon is charged and the players are huddled together, clutching their last hp, and Ancalagon's asking "should the dragon breathe on them?" "It probably should - unless it's a forgiving dragon" is what I'm saying. At this point, a TPK is a reasonable ending, and pulling the trigger is a fine choice. Indeed, not pulling it might prove quite unsatisfying for the players, especially if it comes across as the DM saving the party.
  • 05:09 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    There are so many ways that they can be avoided. And plenty of those "getaway cars" are ones at the DM's disposal. It probably bears repeating that this only matters to folks who play the way you do - with a plot heavily influenced by work the players and DMs do prior to the game which would be curtailed or wasted in the event of one or more PC deaths and for which it might not make a lot of sense for backup PCs to take over the same plot. If you don't set up you game this way, as many in this discussion probably don't, then one or more PC deaths just isn't a big deal and there's no need for the DM to throw "getaway cars" in there to save the players from their decisions and bad luck. Nothing is wasted or curtailed and backup PCs can jump in to continue.
  • 08:10 AM - Lanefan quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I think that there must be a series of decisions for the DM to make that leads to a TPK. The players are certainly contributing, but still the DM is making decisions along the way that head in the TPK direction. The DM picks or rolls a very difficult encounter. The DM doesn’t give ample warning that it may be a deadly encounter. The DM does not allow for other ways of dealing with the encounter beyond combat. The DM does nothing to mitigate the deadliness of the encounter. The DM has the monsters pursue PCs who try to flee. The DM has the monsters kill any down but living PCs. Again, the players can certainly continue to make things worse for themselves...attacking when they could sneak away, not running when they realize they’re in trouble, and so on. But the DM still has to make decisions for the TPK to happen. And sometimes it only takes one bad event to act as a seed for a series of other worse events, in an otherwise relatively ordinary situation. The only TPK I've ever DMed wa...
  • 06:32 AM - pming quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Hiya! I think that there must be a series of decisions for the DM to make that leads to a TPK. The players are certainly contributing, but still the DM is making decisions along the way that head in the TPK direction. The DM picks or rolls a very difficult encounter. The DM doesn’t give ample warning that it may be a deadly encounter. The DM does not allow for other ways of dealing with the encounter beyond combat. The DM does nothing to mitigate the deadliness of the encounter. The DM has the monsters pursue PCs who try to flee. The DM has the monsters kill any down but living PCs. Again, the players can certainly continue to make things worse for themselves...attacking when they could sneak away, not running when they realize they’re in trouble, and so on. But the DM still has to make decisions for the TPK to happen. As for the campaign vs characters thing...I’m not sure if I agree with you. My campaign is taking place in the same setting all our campaigns have taken place in ...
  • 05:04 AM - 5ekyu quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I think that there must be a series of decisions for the DM to make that leads to a TPK. The players are certainly contributing, but still the DM is making decisions along the way that head in the TPK direction. The DM picks or rolls a very difficult encounter. The DM doesn’t give ample warning that it may be a deadly encounter. The DM does not allow for other ways of dealing with the encounter beyond combat. The DM does nothing to mitigate the deadliness of the encounter. The DM has the monsters pursue PCs who try to flee. The DM has the monsters kill any down but living PCs. Again, the players can certainly continue to make things worse for themselves...attacking when they could sneak away, not running when they realize they’re in trouble, and so on. But the DM still has to make decisions for the TPK to happen. As for the campaign vs characters thing...I’m not sure if I agree with you. My campaign is taking place in the same setting all our campaigns have taken place in since the AD&D days. ...
  • 02:27 AM - Sunseeker quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I just fail to see the upside to a TPK. Or at least enough of an upside to it to ever suggest it as advice on wjat to do with players who make foolish decisions for their characters. There's a reason I like playing Tabaxi. I am fundamentally a cat. As such, I greatly enjoy toying with my players, but killing them is boring. Foolish decisions may present opportunities to teach "Hey, don't poke the friendly dragon in the eye!" but generally speaking I seek to teach my players to learn from their mistakes. Players I have noticed have an impressive capacity to meta-game the knowledge that benefits them (such as where the hidden door is) and an equally impressive capacity not to metagame the common sense I try to teach them. HOWEVER, I find that they're much more likely to retain the knowledge of "FIRE HOT!" if I keep their PCs alive.
  • 12:39 AM - pming quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Hiya! No where did I say that the characters should never run into anything beyond them from a combat perspective. In fact, I am all for that idea. However, if they choose to engage such a creature, I think that a TPK is probably too harsh of a punishment. Especially since the DM has directly contributed to what happened. Ahhh...I misread. My bad, sorry! :) I disagree with it being too harsh though. Technically, every death in the campaign is directly contributed to the DM...even PC vs PC, as the DM could have chosen to have the fight interrupted by something/somebody. But I don't think that's what you were aiming for, right? More along the line of "the DM rolled an encounter, it came up Hill Giant, there is an Ogre encounter possibility, so the DM could have chosen Ogre so the PC's had a much better chance of survival....but he/she went with Hill Giant". That kind of "direct control" is what you are referring to? If so...I still disagree. ;) Now, if the PC's encounter a Hill Gi...

Tuesday, 26th June, 2018

  • 10:54 PM - jgsugden quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    .... Nope.....sorry, but a TPK is a choice the DM makes.Not entirely true. I once killed a 6th level party with a single kobold. They decided to scale down a cliff to come at the Kobold Lair from an unexpected angle - ABOVE! They didn't spot the kobold on watch on the cliff above, and the lonely kobold was too scared to fight them... but not to cut the rope. All the PCs fell. All died when the falling damage was pretty high per die. As a DM, I described the scenario. I set up the challenge. But the PCs decided to attack it from an angle I had not expected, and it backfired on them in a way none of us expected. As a DM I could have said, "Nope. I'll just write the lone kobold lookout out of the adventure." I could have decided not to have the kobold try to kill the PCs. But where does that mentality end? Should I have a giant decide not to attack a PC because a max damage critical could take them down? Both bad luck and bad decisions can put the PCs into danger. I beli...
  • 10:47 PM - Maxperson quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    Yes, the players are mostly at fault here. I agree with that. Whatever happens is on them. However.....a TPK is just beyond necessary. Necessity has nothing to do with it. Nothing is necessary with D&D. This is my point. the DM has to work to make a TPK happen. there are any number of opportunities for the characters to get out of it. And even if they somehow don't get out of it, there are still options for the DM to avoid killing the entire party (rescue from allies or another faction, capture and then the story becomes about escape, the bad guys simply loot them and leave them for dead but don't actually finish them off, etc.) That's as bad or worse than the fudging/cheating discussion in the other thread. Avoiding killing the party should only happen if it makes sense given the encounter. Doing otherwise lets the players know that death is nothing to fear, because the DM is just going to rescue you. If the players charge into a red dragon lair, they are going to be toast unless s...
  • 09:53 PM - iserith quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I don't think a TPK should never happen....I realize my posts may sound that way, but I think they can serve a purpose. However, I think that it would likely be very rare where a TPK can add to a game. By nature, it subtracts. Generally, a TPK amounts to a lot of wasted effort for everyone in the game. All the work put into these characters and the story they are building so far is simply gone. Any story hooks the DM has put out for them.....gone. Any ideas that the players have brought to the characters in terms of long term goals....gone. If the DM had taken those long term goals and incorporated them into some of the ideas he had for the game....gone. Now, some of this effort can of course be salvaged or repurposed. But I think the question is more "is this TPK worth all that effort?" And my answer would almost always be "no", especially not if the same lesson could be taught to the players with a lesser punishment. Or when such a defeat could be the springboard to new avenues of adven...
  • 09:15 PM - Maxperson quoted hawkeyefan in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    No where did I say that the characters should never run into anything beyond them from a combat perspective. In fact, I am all for that idea. However, if they choose to engage such a creature, I think that a TPK is probably too harsh of a punishment. Especially since the DM has directly contributed to what happened. And for what it’s worth, I think that a TPK is just as much a punishment for the DM as the players in a lot of ways. The DM is directly contributing to any PC death simply by virtue of being the DM. A direct connection is not enough to override a TPK. If the group enters a cave and starts heading downward and they start hearing noises ahead, and then I describe Elminster's severed head lying on the floor, it's dead eyes staring at them, it's on them if they continue and get wiped by whatever killed Elminster. That's a bit of an exaggeration to make my point. The point is, that if they are given clear warning that something is way beyond them, I have absolved myself of any respon...


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