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  1. #81
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    As a DM, I don't really bother too much with "plot".

    My campaigns go like this:

    1) Present the PCs with 2 or more "hooks" for adventures.
    2) Players choose hook or tell me they want to do something else
    3) I build an adventure around the hook(s) they choose to follow
    4) The adventure concludes. Based on the results of the adventure, the actions of NPCs and whatever else, some hooks are removed and some new ones are added.\
    5) repeat at step 2.

    This way, the story or plot or whatever you want to call it developes more out of the players' and NPCs' actions than out of some story-line of my making.

    As a player, I can't stand it when the DM has some over-arching plot and tries to paint me and the other players into it.
    "A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." -Aesop

 

  • #82
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    why do players hate DMs so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    I'm against putting bad advice in the book.

    If the DM presents 3 plot hooks and the players think they are boring - guess what, the DM messed up. He came up with 3 boring plot hooks. Maybe the game will get more exciting if the players follow those plot hooks, but maybe not. Telling players to slavishly follow any plot hook (or boring plot, as it unfolds) that the DM comes up with is bad advice, in my opinion, because you're just going to reinforce bad play.
    i totally DISAGREE with this

    there are only 36 basic plots. to say you don't like three of them limits design; limits options.

    it also undermines faith in the DM that a simple sewer excursion couldn't be more... couldn't be a discovery of a ruin or ancient holy place

    lastly, it precludes the posibility that the DM might have something up his sleeve... and maybe... just maybe ... the first three plot hooks are setting the tone...'

    the pcs don't get to make any character they want AND dictate the story the DM tells them ... not without paying for the ride

    next they'll be telling the DM what sort of monsters they want to fight, to match their perfectly chosen favored enemy

    this kind of attitude is precisely why the book has merit

    its about compromise... on all sides of the table... and both sides of the screen

    its time to put the onus back on the PCs... make them responsible for something

    - jim
    author of the World's Largest Dungeon, Ultimate Toolbox, King for a Day, and more

  • #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Awkward
    While it's easy to focus on antisocial behaviour as something we don't want to see in players, I think that's a bit too easy....What we should be asking for is a guide for the already-okay players that will help them improve their style. That will be more difficult, more subtle, and more valuable.
    No question - I was responding to a particular point that I thought was overreaching.

    These are the extremes of behavior that fit the more general principle of...
    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    YOUR fun is not okay if it detracts from my fun...
    ...a principle that extends equally to the GM as it does to the players.

    More subtle and insidious examples might include deliberately copying or undermining another player's character concept or attempting to "run" another player's character - while this may be fun for one player, it's certainly not for another player. This is also true of players who try to "break" the game-world (wall of iron and fabricate, anyone?) for their own profit or amusement.

    I think one of the best principles elucidated so far is...
    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    The players should come up with characters who have a reason to adventure. Or else what's the point?...Make up a guy with a reason to pick up sword and shield or go home.
    This seems so obvious, but I've heard story after story of players who characters avoid adventures because it's not "something my character would do" for decades now.

    Another idea that should be conveyed more effectively than I think it has been, and one which comes back to the idea that it's the GM's "job" to entertain the players, is that adventuring life is supposed to be difficult and dangerous to the characters: there is a chance that they will fail, that they will get hurt, and that they may die. Part of the enjoyment of gaming should come from facing risks with the potential for lasting consequences to the character - the idea that a character should never face permanent death, for example, is anethema to this. This expectation should be planted in the back of a player's mind from the start, IMHO, as well as some idea of how to handle it should this come to pass ("My character died! What now?").
    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!

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  • #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    fun is certainly a goal.... but your fun is as important as the fun of person X, Y, and Z sitting at the table with you... and wouldn't be cool if everyone promoted each other's fun, instead of just their own?
    I addressed this in Formless, going so far as to incorporate the drafting of a social contract into the game's rules. While the examination of social contracts in Formless has been simplified to reach as wide an audience as possible, there's really a lot more to it - that said, it boils down to exactly what you've said above.
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  • #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    i totally DISAGREE with this

    there are only 36 basic plots. to say you don't like three of them limits design; limits options.
    I think I may not have explained myself properly.

    I may not like "hunting for rats in the sewers", but that's not to say I don't like the generic plot IIX or whatever. (Although I do like that plot hook. And I can't figure out what generic plot that one links up with - based on George Polti's "36 Dramatic Situations".)

    If I'm not interested in a plot, I'm not interested. Telling me that I should be is just going to mess me up. And drive me away from the game, after I've kicked myself too many times for not enjoying the DM's plots. "I guess I just can't play RPGs."

    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    it also undermines faith in the DM that a simple sewer excursion couldn't be more... couldn't be a discovery of a ruin or ancient holy place
    I understand. It's a question of trust. If I had built up a relationship of trust with my DM, I'd be interested to see where things were going even if I found the plot hook boring.

    But - putting advice in a book to players that tells them to follow plot hooks that they find boring is just bad advice. You'll have players who do what the book says, come away thinking, "I did what I was told, and I had no fun. I guess RPGs are just not for me." Even when that's not the case.

    So, you say, I won't put advice in the book that says you have to follow boring plot hooks. Great! We agree. Make sure you say exactly that - if you don't spell it out, people can get the wrong idea. "Follow the DM's plot hooks" means "follow the ones you like and follow the ones you find boring." (I know there's a more succinct way of saying this. )

    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    and maybe... just maybe ... the first three plot hooks are setting the tone...'
    If it's a boring plot, the tone you're setting is "This is a boring game."

    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    the pcs don't get to make any character they want AND dictate the story the DM tells them ... not without paying for the ride
    I don't want the DM to tell me a story. I can go to the library to get that, or turn on the TV.

    If you do want the DM to tell you a story, fine; but not all players do, and unless you specify that your player advice applies only to certain people, I would consider it bad advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    next they'll be telling the DM what sort of monsters they want to fight, to match their perfectly chosen favored enemy
    Right, because I took levels in the Ranger class and didn't care whether or not I would get to use my abilities.

    The players are telling the DM what kind of monsters they want to fight. All you have to do is look at their character sheets. Rogues want to fight Sneak Attack-able creatures. Clerics and Paladins want to fight undead. A Fighter with Improved Disarm wants to fight guys with weapons. etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim pinto
    this kind of attitude is precisely why the book has merit
    Play nice now!

    Regarding the title of your post, there are a lot of players who "hate" DMs because of all the bad experiences out there. RPGs generally give a lot more power to the DM. (In a social game, I think that's a mistake.) A lot of DMs use this power irresponsibly. And a lot of players get pissed off because of it.

    So anyway, what are the player's responsibilities?

    - Play nice with other people. ie. Don't be a jackass. If you can't do that, go back to kindergarden.
    - When you make your character, make sure he has a reason to adventure in whatever world/setting/system you agreed to play. If all the characters that you want to play don't fit in or have a reason to adventure in a certain setting or system, don't play. Don't spoil everyone else's fun by saying "My guy wouldn't do that." Pick up the dice or go home.
    - Make sure that you make it clear to your DM what kind of plot hooks you're going to bite on. Don't have him waste his energy by making up stuff you're not going to want to play.
    "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"
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  • #86
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    OK, here are my .02 (I know you have all been waiting)

    I agree with Jim's reasoning, I hate the same style players he does and think they have hurt my enjoyment of the game. That being said the Amber Diceless RPG has some great advice for players and GMs alike.

    As for not following a DMs plot hooks, I don't get it. There is a reason you are sitting at the table and if protesting a plot hook because you have some wacked out allignment and personality combo is going to get your rocks off, more power to you, but in the end, I don't think it is much fun. I have been in too many games where players have neutral characters that just reiterate that they don't care about helping people that they do whatever they want. They expect the DM to rewrite the story and then complain in the future there is not enough plot and too much combat. I really miss playing the game with close friends, and IMO, it is hardly worth playing without them.

    I wouldn't buy a book on the subject, but think it would make a great free .pdf or a recurring article in Dragon or on a website. As with any self help, I believe a little dose here and there is better than being vomitted on all at once.

  • #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital M@
    As for not following a DMs plot hooks, I don't get it. There is a reason you are sitting at the table and if protesting a plot hook because you have some wacked out allignment and personality combo is going to get your rocks off, more power to you, but in the end, I don't think it is much fun.
    Let's say the DM has written an adventure where everyone starts off in a city. They are going to have to go into some dungeon to get the MacGuffin. He tells you to make a background, and have something in it that details why you ended up in the city.

    So your guy saw his wife killed by an Ogre Mage with one eye and he's followed him to the city. He's even taken a level (or two) of Ranger to get Favoured Enemy: Giants.

    Naturally, you want to go after the Ogre Mage. But it doesn't happen the first time. "Okay," you say, "I don't really care about the MacGuffin, but I'll wait and see. He probably couldn't work in the Ogre Mage. DMing is hard work; I'll cut him some slack. Next time."

    Next adventure, more MacGuffin hunting. Not an Ogre Mage in sight. No leads, nothing.

    Repeat.

    How often do you go after the MacGuffin (which you don't care about) while the DM ignores what you do care about (the Ogre Mage)?

    Or, to put it another way: how often do you do what the other guy wants, and put off what you want to do? How much more important is his fun than yours?
    "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"
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    Keep on the Shadowfell

  • #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    I'm against putting bad advice in the book.

    If the DM presents 3 plot hooks and the players think they are boring - guess what, the DM messed up. He came up with 3 boring plot hooks. Maybe the game will get more exciting if the players follow those plot hooks, but maybe not. Telling players to slavishly follow any plot hook (or boring plot, as it unfolds) that the DM comes up with is bad advice, in my opinion, because you're just going to reinforce bad play.
    But that's DM advice. If the DM has a problem with coming up with interesting plot hooks or engaging his players, he needs to go to a source for DM advice, like Robin's Laws or the DMG II or what-have-you.

    Let's assume for a second, that the DM's plots aren't boring, and perhaps that the players feel like they should take his bait when it's offered. Take that as a baseline condition. Now, assuming that we send the DM off to read some DM advice books, what are we going to tell the players while he's off doing that? To sit around and depend on him to make a good game for them? Or to themselves assist the DM in making a good game? And how should they go about doing that? That's what the book will be about.
    Formerly known as Dr. Awkward

  • #89
    Quote Originally Posted by LostSoul
    How often do you go after the MacGuffin (which you don't care about) while the DM ignores what you do care about (the Ogre Mage)?

    Or, to put it another way: how often do you do what the other guy wants, and put off what you want to do? How much more important is his fun than yours?
    Two different questions. The first seems to ask: "If a DM can be bad, why should we entertain the possibility of a good player?"

    The second question gets to the heart of the whole thing, which is really about give and take. On average, I'd guess that the general equation of how often you do something that you want to goes something like 100%/(2+number of players in game). This does ignore the possibility of a situation where multiple people can do what they want at the same time.

    In your second question, is 'the other guy' referring to another player, the DM, the rest of the group or a bum down the street?

    And, in terms of character background, I've run into this weird phenomina. No one in my group tells me about their backgrounds. I give out character points for it, and I still barely get it. In one situation I was the last person in the group to hear about a character's family and background. They had spent weeks thinking about it. They talked to the rest of the group about it several times. I, the DM, just never heard about it.

    In the case of the Ogre Mage section, there are a lot of possible reasons for the enemy not being included. However, that's where the whole communication thing comes up. There's probably a good way to bring up the fact that you'd like to see the Half Ogre come up sometime.
    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.

  • #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shaman
    A player who cheats is a bad player.

    A player who is disruptive, in or out of game, is a bad player.

    A player who is selfish is a bad player.
    But these problems are much deeper than D&D can handle. Selfishness, disruption, and cheating are psychological issues, not gameplay issues, and I wouldn't expect any D&D book to be able to handle those beyond "Don't do it." Not without being more of a self-help book than a game supplement, anyway. "Don't Cheat, Don't Be Selfish, and Don't Cause Trouble" are rules for any sort of personal interaction, and it'll take more than a guidebook to disabuse someone of those tendancies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Pinto
    i think big picture thinking is the enemy of short-sighted ' immediate gratification ' gaming... which i think is supported by the small challenge mentality of video games

    (there was an article in psychology today about how video games hurt people's abilities to set goals, because video games fail to have long term challenges.)
    Hahahahahaha, wow, that's a lot of unsupported conjecture....

    Crackpot theories of attention span aside, I'm just not interested in a book where the author basically espouses his own dream of the ideal gamer while critizing those who don't adhere, and everyone congratulates everyone on a job well done removing an unwanted element from society.

    What's it add to my game? What does it enable my players to do? It won't stop the occasional bad apple from sitting down, and it won't help the good ones do anything other than what they do anyway. I don't need any sort of book to tell my players how to enjoy themselves -- they do it just fine. I don't need any sort of book to try and convince them that there's some "higher goal" than enjoying themselves, either. Because, quite simply, in D&D, there isn't.
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