better gaming through chemistry - Page 14





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  1. #131
    Well, it's a bit late in the conversation, but let's pick this back up.

    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    I'm not sure I understand you. Interested, though.
    The arguement (to that point) went something like:
    Players should follow plot hooks.
    Only bad players build characters who don't follow hooks.
    Here's a bad DM not working with a player.

    So, it seemed to be that your example of bad DMing was set up to counter the idea of characters not following hooks. "not the right type of hook" does deal with some of the situations that crop up, but I have personally dealt with players who seemed to create characters where any hook was the wrong type of hook.

    And I do like to think that I'm at least a mediocre DM.

    edit: hence, asking if the possibility of a bad DM who does not work with a player was enough to rule out players trying to work with any DM.

    I was talking about the DM, but you could apply the same logic to any relationship.
    I agree, it does have to be give and take. However, I find that when I DM, I'm giving 90% of the time. I think that my players probably give about 10% and take about 40% of the time. They'd be taking less, but I do my darndest to force them all into dealing with each other in the same room. In previous games, they probably gave about 5% and took about 20%. So, obviously there's a function of how much my time gets spread among the players, and how well. That's one of the reasons I point this at being one of my better games.

    So, from my PoV, asking a player to give a little more is a small thing. Even if they give more than they get (which, as a player, I tend to do), they're still giving far less than I am as a DM.

    And that could be a large part of why "Guy" our resident loner orphan who has no friends is the least satisfying character to have in the game. However, when he drew a cool picture of his character, it helped.

    That brings up another good piece of advice: Communicate your desires to the other players and the DM. edit: Which is what you were saying.
    Yeah, but it can't be said clearly enough, often enough. Speaking of which, I need to talk to my DM about not manhandling my background.

    As long as we're here....I have this idea. I think that good play doesn't just 'happen'. Up until my recent superhero game, this particular group of players has never been strong on group cohesion or interaction. This is to the point where several party members will dispise another member of the party, who won't know about it because it's never mentioned.

    Each of our games starts out the same, the DM comes up with an idea for a game, people make characters and roll stats. We expect it to all work out. I've recently been trying to convince people that we should think as a whole. I think we can have a better time of it if we make characters who have an honest reason for sticking together, working together, and talking.

    It could be that, as a group, we just really suck.

    But, my superhero game is going pretty well. There are still some rough spots, and there's way more shy or distainful charcters than I'd have liked, but there is some working towards actual discussion between the characters. So I think there's hope for the group.

    I just think we need to make it happen.

    Hence, that whole communication thing.
    The things the rules say, the things the rules mean, the way that they're used, and the effect they have are all different things.

 

  • #132
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    ° Ignore Kamikaze Midget
    I see where you're going in that the good players are already good and the bad players just shouldn't play. But I think there are certain antisocial behaviors that COULD be targetted with a book like this. If your enjoyment arises from you being the star of a game and driving the plot with your character's actions alone, maybe some light reading on cooperative plot development could be helpful. Maybe some of these people really don't know HOW to give up some of the spotlight to the other players and still enjoy themselves. There ARE methods out there, but maybe they don't know them. This is one example of a person who is enjoying themselves at the expense of other people at the table's play. So there needs to be other options than "Cater to their enjoyment and let them steal the show." and "boot them they're just a selfish person and no book can change that."
    The thing is, these behaviors aren't just limited to the game. And they won't be controlled just by a book targeting the game. A tome that tells people not to be selfish won't have any effect on selfish people -- the issue is psychological. Selfish people can only not be selfish by a concentrated effort to change themselves. Which they can do, but it's not really any D&D book's place to tell them to do it.

    No D&D book can help a person not be selfish. Some gamers probably need a self-help book, or maybe just a good group of friends to be a motive for change. But a book isn't going to solve this problem.

    Thus, it seems like the book doesn't add anything to anyone's game. It won't make people who don't want to change change, and if those people wanted to change, they would do it with or without the book.
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  • #133
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
    The thing is, these behaviors aren't just limited to the game. And they won't be controlled just by a book targeting the game. A tome that tells people not to be selfish won't have any effect on selfish people -- the issue is psychological. Selfish people can only not be selfish by a concentrated effort to change themselves. Which they can do, but it's not really any D&D book's place to tell them to do it.

    No D&D book can help a person not be selfish. Some gamers probably need a self-help book, or maybe just a good group of friends to be a motive for change. But a book isn't going to solve this problem.
    I think a distinction needs to be made between players who have some gaming weaknesses and players who have more generalized social interaction problems. Are some player's gaming difficulties related to their social difficulties? Sure. Would most of those player benefit from a book of this nature? Heck, most of them would probably resent the advice it contained and become defensive. However, some of them would be open to "becoming a better gamer."

    I have known some people who seem pretty well adjusted away from the table, but sit across from them at the gaming table and things go south pretty quick. They become immature, selfish and rude. Why? In my experience, most of the players of this type look at gaming as a total escape and release. They feel that they can act in a way that they don't normally act. This is a stress release for them. The inner spoiled child comes out to play and the 9-to-5 nice guy adult gets locked up for a few hours. I am not sure if it they will take the advice offered in a gaming book that this is not acceptable behavior, but there is a strong probability that they might, I think. It sounds too simple, but some of this type of player have probably never been told that in gaming escapism it is not okay to drop the conventions of acceptable social interaction. They have possibly been bouncing from group to group or gaming with friends who tolerate the behavior.

    Those gamers who do not possess much in the way of social skills will not get much if anything from this book and probably wouldn't read it. They are not the only ones out there though. There are also those gamres who are pretty good, but constantly seek to be better gamers. They would definitely learn anything they could from a book of this type. So, the book would have to work on several different levels. It would have to have SOME basic advice, information on social contracts and such, as well as more intensive subjects like genre conventions, etc. I also like the idea of a chapter for the "whole group" instead of aimed at individual players.

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  • #134
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    ° Ignore Artellan

    burningvoid & LostSoul's style

    There's a fair number of 'Player Advice' articles on Heather Grove's BurningVoid website - http://www.burningvoid.com/rpg/play.php . They're divided into two groups - 'Character/Play' and 'Other'. For those that don't feel a book of this nature is worthwhile, do you feel that all of those articles are similarly useless?

    Actually the BurningVoid website has a whole series of articles on Free Will in Roleplaying, where I think the concept of Free Will roughly equates to LostSoul's "meaningful decisions that affect the story".
    http://www.burningvoid.com/rpg/gmfreewill.php

    I've played in some of LostSoul's campaigns and I can shed some light on his DMing style ... He's one of those DMs that, if the players are always following his hooks wily-nily, he'll eventually get bored. He wants the players to participate in the creation of the 'story', to come up with ideas that send the campaign in new directions. If the players haven't been doing so, one of the symptoms of his getting bored is he'll run sessions where there aren't any obvious choices of what to do, no clues as to which 'adventures' he had prepared in advance. I remember the first time this happened and it was a bit unnerving - like a feeling that if I didn't go where I knew the DM wanted me to, my character might end up stepping off the end of the world - but I've since gotten used to it. Basically I just realized that he wants campaign INPUT. Sending the whole campaign spinning because of a choice I make during the game is cool, but it's pretty hard to do; luckily he's just as happy with emails between sessions stating character goals.

    So as a player LostSoul wants to be able to have that same input into the campaign, whether through character background, communication with the DM about what he & his character want to do, creative in-session choices, etc.

    Anyway, I think the discussion on this thread has been excellent, not just the free will vs. railroading stuff but all the ideas for player advice. It's neat to see the merit of player advice being debated ... I'm definitely in the 'a player advice book is worthwhile' camp. (Else I probably wouldn't have read all those BurningVoid articles.)

    - Artellan

  • #135
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    ° Ignore Artellan
    Quote Originally Posted by The Shaman
    There's a reason some adventures and campaign settings and character archetypes become beloved classics - it's the elusive, hard-to-define-but-still-recognizible attribute called Quality. A game can be fun for the participants without posessing the enduring appeal that is one of the benchmarks of quality.
    I'm commenting on an old post here but I just wanted to mention, I've never seen anyone apply Metaphysics of Quality (a la Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) to role-playing before. Well done!

    - Artellan

  • #136
    Oh and one more thing, I do not think this book would be useful.

    Most people who might be inclined to buy it would find nothing in there they didn't know, either consciously or unconsciously, and the people who might benefit from it either wouldn't buy it, or wouldn't think anything in it applied to -them-.

  • #137
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    ° Ignore FickleGM
    Quote Originally Posted by Barak
    Oh and one more thing, I do not think this book would be useful.

    Most people who might be inclined to buy it would find nothing in there they didn't know, either consciously or unconsciously, and the people who might benefit from it either wouldn't buy it, or wouldn't think anything in it applied to -them-.
    I sort of agree with this comment, but the funny thing is that this in no way invalidates the feasibility of this sort of product. Look at the self help section of any bookstore and what do you find? Yes, shelves full of stuff that people already know, either consciously or subconsciously. So, while I would not purchase this, it may still have a place.

  • #138
    Hmm yeah. I guess it might sell well to people who like to read stuff they can nod along to, saying all the while "I'm like that!"

  • #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barak
    I guess it might sell well to people who like to read stuff they can nod along to, saying all the while "I'm like that!"
    I managed a bookstore many years ago, and I had the opportunity to ask a psychologist why people bought self-help books - that was the EXACT reason that she gave!

    That, and so they could look at their friends and say, "Oh, s/he is SO like that!"
    On weird fantasy: "The Otus/Elmore rule: When adding something new to the campaign, try and imagine how Erol Otus would depict it. If you can, that's far enough...it's a good idea. If you can picture a Larry Elmore version...it's far too mundane and boring, excise immediately." - Kellri, K&K Alehouse

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  • #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artellan
    ...I've never seen anyone apply Metaphysics of Quality (a la Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) to role-playing before. Well done!
    On weird fantasy: "The Otus/Elmore rule: When adding something new to the campaign, try and imagine how Erol Otus would depict it. If you can, that's far enough...it's a good idea. If you can picture a Larry Elmore version...it's far too mundane and boring, excise immediately." - Kellri, K&K Alehouse

    I have a campaign wiki! Check it out!

    ACS / LAF

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