Choose the Illusion: Dungeon Mastering - Page 15





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  1. #141
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    I Defended The Walls! Dragon Age RPG D&D

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    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    There are players who believe all games are railroads, and see walls/tracks where they don't exist.

    Here's a post where a DM discusses running an improvised game, one of the players spent the session searching for the rails, and was only happy once he thought he was 'back on track'. In fact the rails he thought he was on, did not exist.
    According to the player's response to you, that wasn't the case. What I took from it (which is also what the player said) was that he simply was concerned about whether his choices were relevant, which is definitely not something that a player who just wants to get back on the rails would be concerned about.

    There are strengths and weaknesses to each approach.

    A plotted game can marginalize the value of having choices (or in particularly bad plotted games, offer no choices at all), but can offer an epic storyline that keeps players riveted to their seats. The plotted story allows the DM to pour all of his time and energy into a single storyline, and thereby maximize the awesome thereof. In a good plotted game it shouldn't matter that players don't have a sandbox of choices, as the players shouldn't have any interest in leaving the "rails", because those rails are part of the best roller coaster they've ever ridden.

    A sandbox game rewards choice, but may feel too unfocused for some. A good sandbox game makes player choices matter, and enables them to play exactly how the players want to play. A bad sandbox, on the other hand, may leave the players aimless, wandering without any clue as to what they might do next. In a good sandbox, the DM drops plenty of clues about, and gives the players the freedom to succeed or fail based on their own choices. This style relies at least as much upon the players as the DM to make it awesome.

    In my own games, I prefer a blend. Sometimes I give them the freedom to do whatever they desire. (Even when not, I always make sure that their choices matter.) Other times I want to lead them to a specially prepared scene; one that will stand out in their memories for a long time to come. It's possible to do so without being heavy handed; you just have to know your players and how to properly motivate them. I think each style has a place and a time.

 

  • #142
    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Agent
    Well, as you said yourself, it's incredibly difficult to prep the branching structure necessary to deal with divergent player choices if you're trying to pregenerate those plots. This leaves you with two options:
    What? You must have me confused with someone else. I'm the one who said that it's generally pretty easy to predict the actions of players and that most prep time should probably be spent on that.

    Again, why am I getting labeled as a pre-scripting DM? I have made absolutely no comments about my own game.

    My point is, it doesn't matter. You're describing things that have nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

    Look, if plot=pre-scripted actions with no allowance for player choice, then we really can't continue here. That's NOT what plot means. Again, it's the whole, "Plot=railroad" thread that continues throughout these types of conversations. Which is utter and complete ballocks.

    S'mon, by his own example, has a plot. The orcs are invading. The players decide to try to rally the barbarians. The players generate the plot. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. OTOH, some DM's might frame things a little more strongly and start the adventure with the decision to try to get the barbarians to help already made. Fair enough so long as the player's are groovy with that, no harm no foul.

    However, you're trying to say that having a plot means that the resolution is pre-scripted. Again, that's not what plot means. Plot is simply the actions taken during a story (or during play for that matter). In a novel, the plot is obviously pre-scripted, but, in improvised play, obviously the plot isn't pre-scripted. It can't be, since that would generally defeat the purpose of improvisation.

    But, just because you have improvisation doesn't preclude plot. So your example of the two chess games falls entirely flat. You could have two chess games, one where the players are only planning one move ahead, and one where the players are both planning 5 moves ahead - that's the difference that I'm talking about.

    But, they're still playing Chess. The end result is not fixed, nor should it ever be. The two games will be different, given the level of forward thinking that's going on, but, that's just playstyle and each group should find a level that they are comfortable with.
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    S'mon, by his own example, has a plot. The orcs are invading. The players decide to try to rally the barbarians. The players generate the plot.
    The orcs were not intended as a plot, just backdrop. I didn't expect the game to focus on them. The players decided to attack the orcs, and as you say they generated an orc-killing plot, in retrospect. That (sequence of events) is not the normal meaning of 'plot' used in games, and that's where people have take issue with you, but I'm not going to argue it's not plot.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #144
    Ok, S'mon, what is the "normal" meaning of plot used in games?
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanaelialae View Post
    A sandbox game rewards choice, but may feel too unfocused for some. A good sandbox game makes player choices matter, and enables them to play exactly how the players want to play. A bad sandbox, on the other hand, may leave the players aimless, wandering without any clue as to what they might do next. In a good sandbox, the DM drops plenty of clues about, and gives the players the freedom to succeed or fail based on their own choices. This style relies at least as much upon the players as the DM to make it awesome.
    This is certainly true. The greatest thing a DM can ask for is motivated and engaged players. A sandbox game doesn't come together if the players simply look to to the DM and say " Here we are now. Entertain us."
    Death is for amateurs -Charlie Sheen

  • #146
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    A sandbox game doesn't come together if the players simply look to to the DM and say " Here we are now. Entertain us."
    That sounds stupid and contagious.
    IAAL...and an MBA. No, really!
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  • #147
    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Well, as you said yourself, it's incredibly difficult to prep the branching structure necessary to deal with divergent player choices if you're trying to pregenerate those plots.
    What? You must have me confused with someone else.
    Are you sure? I could have sworn you said it was a heck of a lot of heavy lifting that will never see play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    But then you run into the problem of DM workload. If you design your adventures to the point where you can possibly have so many outcomes, you're pretty much required to do a heck of a lot of heavy lifting that will never see play.
    Guess you're right. I must be mistaking you with the guy who hacked your account and has been posting messages under your name. My bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Ok, S'mon, what is the "normal" meaning of plot used in games?
    Here's the thing: We've done that. Most recently, in post #136, I clearly defined plot as "a sequence of events". (For purely narrative purposes we might want to nail that down a little more specifically as "the sequence of events which occurs in a story", but since you apparently don't want to define the term "story", either, let's not open that can of worms.)

    You're the one who refuses to explain what you mean by the use of the word "plot".

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Look, if plot=pre-scripted actions with no allowance for player choice, then we really can't continue here. That's NOT what plot means. Again, it's the whole, "Plot=railroad" thread that continues throughout these types of conversations. Which is utter and complete ballocks.

    S'mon, by his own example, has a plot. The orcs are invading. The players decide to try to rally the barbarians. The players generate the plot. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. OTOH, some DM's might frame things a little more strongly and start the adventure with the decision to try to get the barbarians to help already made. Fair enough so long as the player's are groovy with that, no harm no foul.

    However, you're trying to say that having a plot means that the resolution is pre-scripted.
    And here, again, we see your sophistry.

    (1) You attempt to re-conflate pregenerated plot with plot generated during gameplay.

    (2) You use the latter to claim that the former isn't railroading.

    (3) Then you slide right back to talking about pregenerated plot.

    (4) And then you, yet again, claim that a pregenerated/pre-scripted sequence of events isn't pre-scripted because it's also possible to have a sequence of events that is generated during play.

    If you literally can't figure out the difference between "events I determined before play began" and "events that were determined during play", then there's really not much more to discuss, right? At that point you'll be telling us that you have a complete conceptual block where this topic is concerned and continuing the discussion with you would be like attempting to discuss color choices with a blind person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Agent View Post
    Negating player choices has a few consequences:

    (1) It negates the defining point of playing a roleplaying game. Roleplaying is, after all, the process of making choices as if you were your character. If you negate those choices, you are negating the very process of roleplaying. (The open question, of course, is whether or not the benefits you're theoretically accruing from negating choices outweighs the penalties.)

    (2) For similar reasons, you are negating the group creativity of the table. If you can't figure out why that's a bad idea, I can't help you.

    (3) It reduces the spontaneity of the game experience. This is usually noticeable by the players (even when GMs fool themselves into thinking the players haven't noticed); it is always known to the GM.
    Also, as an addendum that occurred to me overnight:

    (4) It increases the GM's responsibility for player satisfaction. (If the players are free to choose their own path and their own solutions, they can generally be relied on to choose the stuff that they'll find entertaining. If the GM is negating those choices, however, the GM makes himself responsible for satisfying the players.)

  • #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Ok, S'mon, what is the "normal" meaning of plot used in games?
    Plot created pre-play, by the GM.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExploderWizard View Post
    This is certainly true. The greatest thing a DM can ask for is motivated and engaged players. A sandbox game doesn't come together if the players simply look to to the DM and say " Here we are now. Entertain us."
    Very true. 'Must spread XP' etc.
    Sandbox needs active, self-motivated PCs. With my 1e AD&D Yggsburgh sandbox, all the players seem such - maybe it helps they're all 'old school' guys - but there's still a notable disparity between (a) on the one hand the guy who wants to take the setting and twist it to his own own ends, by eg marrying into Yggsburgh nobility, another guy who pays lots of attention to events & NPCs and immediately groks what's going on so he can use it to his/the group's advantage, and (b) at the bottom end the distracted player who takes no notes, doesn't pay attention, doesn't remember stuff, doesn't even know what's in his PC's spellbook. If I had a group of type (b)s I don't think the game would be a success.
    ***Henry/S'mon Super Quick d20 NPC Generation System*** The Gods of the Copybook Headings With Terror and Slaughter Return!

    eriktheguy, on S'mon's latest idea:
    There are 2 major problems with your idea:
    1: It is far too awesome
    2: see 1

  • #150
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    I Defended The Walls! Dragon Age RPG D&D

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    The idea that players who prefer a pre-plotted game rather than a sandbox are somehow lacking in some respect is a clear logical fallacy. As I stated before, both styles have their merits and drawbacks.

    I've personally known good players who enjoy both styles of game! So what, do they magically turn "stupid and contagious" when playing in a pre-plotted campaign, but become self-motivated when playing in a sandbox?

    It comes down to a play style choice, and it really is that simple. There's plenty of creativity to be had in either. It's not even necessarily an either/or choice; my campaigns combine elements from both styles.

    If you don't like the pre-plotted style, then don't play it. However don't try to imply that sandbox players are a superior breed; that's both illogical and smacks of badwrongfun.

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