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  1. #41
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    I ain't really interested in a book that tells players who like certain styles that they can go screw themselves.

    Because the DM is the final arbiter, the DM needs advice on what his game will please and what it won't. Because the DM usually has one of the final says in if someone can join the group or not, the DM needs to be able to identify what kinds of people his game will interest and what kinds of people it won't. The player, on the other hand, only has to identify his own needs. What makes the game fun for HIM. There doesn't need to be a manual on how to be a "good player," because each player will find what makes them happy and gravitate towards it, and that's the best kind of player you can be -- the kind who knows what he wants and goes for it.

    The DM does need to be aware of what makes other people happy, and that tastes don't always mesh up. They need to be able to identify these qualities to maximize their own enjoyment, and the enjoyment of those havin' fun at their table. The players don't really need to be told what makes them happy -- they already know it. They measure each DM against that. But a DM, because he has to wed the joy of several different people, needs to know how to find what other people are looking for.

    I'm not interested in a tome that tells players to go along with the DM's story even if they're not enjoying themselves, to compromise their own enjoyment because the DM works oh so hard. Pheh. I don't want complacent players who only agree with me to be "good players." I want active participants. And that requires each individual player to identify what they want and to demand it out of me, and me to either rise to the occasion or say "you'll have to find someone else to give you what you want."
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  • #42
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    This is a very interesting thread. Just as there are many opinions on what being a good GM means, I'm sure there are many on what being a good player means. For me, it varies from group to group, from GM to GM, from game system to game system, and sometimes from session to session.

    For instance, I like to know the rules of the system that I'm playing. This means that I will often come across situations where something is being done against the rules. For me, what I do after that depends on the attitude of the GM. Often times, GMs like it when I point things out, but some would rather that I didn't.

    I think the most important characteristic for a good player is adaptability/flexibility. Being able to try something new, take a chance, go with the flow.
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  • #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hague
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    If it's players that're willfully bucking, I consider that metagaming in a bad way, and respond with appropriate actions; I brook no disruptions in the game.
    I agree with you there. That's just bad play. (ie. Jackassery)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hague
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    Identifying the plot isn't the problem - that's what clues are for, in whatever form they take: a series of high-tech robberies, mysterious disappearances, whatever. The important thing is to establish a pattern of events that points at the greater whole. It's not simply reaction, it's action - while the PCs are busy looking at this, their opposition is doing that, proactively and reactively. The GM isn't a passive dispenser of entertainment; IMO, a good GM has to be active in helping things along while remaining fair.
    Let me see if I get this right: the plot is all about pacing. The PCs do whatever, but the plot* is like their smack addiction, drawing them into some dope fiend's den to get a fix. Each choice they make is like another hit of plot, which makes them want another hit even more, and so on, until we have a climax and finally the resolution.

    * And by plot we mean: the NPCs and what's happening to them + their motivations, and the ways that the NPCs interact with the PCs, which force the players to make choices.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
    -- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
    Burning Empires: Boldaq
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  • #44
    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
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    I agree with you there. That's just bad play. (ie. Jackassery)
    Yup. And life's too short to waste it on people who aren't there to both enjoy themselves and help everyone gain enjoyment.


    Let me see if I get this right: the plot is all about pacing. The PCs do whatever, but the plot* is like their smack addiction, drawing them into some dope fiend's den to get a fix. Each choice they make is like another hit of plot, which makes them want another hit even more, and so on, until we have a climax and finally the resolution.

    * And by plot we mean: the NPCs and what's happening to them + their motivations, and the ways that the NPCs interact with the PCs, which force the players to make choices.
    Pacing is definitely a part of plot and, IMO, the very hardest part, thanks to the disconnect between realtime and game-time. But yes, hitting them with interesting plot elements at a good, measured rate is definitely something to aim for. Lemme see if I can break a few things down here.

    PLOT:

    *Pacing - Making sure events don't move too fast or too slow. Too fast and you get frustration, too slow and you lose interest.

    *Engaging elements - make sure that the plot structure has something to appeal to the players. If possible, it's a good idea to make the elements personal in some way; an old vendetta, a link to their origins, etc.

    *Structure, Not Stricture - the plot is, when it's working well, an organic structure. It doesn't only react it acts. By its nature, the structure has to be mutable, adapting to events in the game, both PC and NPC. Plots should always feel like the players are affecting their outcome at every step of the way.

  • #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janx
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    Yup. Henry's got my point.

    If in the 1st adventure, the DM offers you a treasure map, a missing mayor's daughter, and rat infested sewer, and you still can't find anything to do in town...then you're missing the plot.
    I think that's partly the DM's fault, and partly the players.

    The players should come up with characters who have a reason to adventure. Or else what's the point? Why does your guy want to do anything then? Make up a guy with a reason to pick up sword and shield or go home.

    The DM should give the players interesting choices where even doing nothing creates consequences. If the players can do nothing and stay alive, why would they want to go spelunking through rat-infested sewers? Doing nothing must be a choice, just like any other.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
    -- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
    Burning Empires: Boldaq
    Keep on the Shadowfell

  • #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hague
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    PLOT:
    Cool. Now that we have a definition of plot, how do we suggest that players "follow" it?

    1. Create characters that are full of engaging elements. Backstory should be one bubbling cauldron of plot hooks. The game starts when your PC's life changes forever and you can't do what you've been doing before. (eg. Luke Skywalker sees his aunt & uncle burnt to a crisp by Stormtroopers.)

    Well, there's one...
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
    -- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
    Burning Empires: Boldaq
    Keep on the Shadowfell

  • #47
    Well, those aren't the only parts of plot, but they're important ones. As for hooks, you've hit the nail on the head:

    Make it personal.

    Think about it - in every good piece of fiction, things don't just happen, they happen to the characters in the story. Being detached from the action is a good way for players to lose interest.

    Another tangent - heap trouble on the characters. Bury 'em in it. Don't introduce a new problem when they've overcome and old one, introduce it when they're halfway to completing whatever. Disarming a bomb, three seconds left? The door bursts open, bad guys rush in guns blazing! Keep the pressure on. When things are quiet, that's when the players and their characters should start getting suspicious and worried.

    The gentle art of listening - players tend to be an amazingly paranoid bunch. Roll some dice, throw out some vague clues or indications of where the action lies...then just listen. Often, even groups that won't give you a straight answer when asked directly will give you a good clue as to their wants if you just shut up and listen. Likewise, when the plot seems like it's not going a certain way, listen - your players might have ideas on what's going on that you hadn't thought of.

  • #48
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    One thing such a book should discuss is what the players can do when it's not their turn or the GM is giving long periods of attention to other players. After a fw minutres of just sitting there looking at my character sheet, even a good GM's descriptions begin to sound like droning. I'm very used to being in the commander's chair and used to always talking, acting, or reacting.

  • #49
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    This might interest you: Burning down the firewall
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
    -- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
    Burning Empires: Boldaq
    Keep on the Shadowfell

  • #50
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    I think the book also ought to contain things the PCs can do to help build up the shared gameworld, thereby taking some pressure off the DM.

    For example, say the PC is a monk who's part of the Order of the Ebon Hand. Well, the PC's player ought to work on these questions -- why does the order exist? what are its core tenets? how many members does it have and what are their typical races/classes? where its is headquarters?

    And so forth. Obviously, the player also needs to realize that anything he creates can be (and likely will be) modified by the DM to integrate it into the campaign. But I'm sure all DMs can say that modifying something is a lot easier than creating it from whole cloth.

    And yes, I stole the name Order of the Ebon Hand from an old Magic: the Gathering card. So sue me.

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