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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    Only if they try to identify it using the method that we apparently really don't want them to use: trial-and-error.

    Absolutely every other solution at their disposal to identify the cursed ring leads to no Gotcha at all.

    I guess this could lead to the PCs deciding to never trust anyone again, but that seems like an overreaction.
    It leads to the PCs learning "If we do things the DM doesn't expect/like we get punished." Then the game becomes less about "figuring out how to solve problems" and more about "figuring out what solutions the DM would approve of."

    If you want to discourage them from solving the problem in a creative way you don't like, remove the problem and let all magic items be instantly identified. Don't give the players a problem, then punish them when they take a solution you don't like, ESPECIALLY if that's your idea of "teaching them." Ye gods. Talk about betraying your players.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    It leads to the PCs learning "If we do things the DM doesn't expect/like we get punished." Then the game becomes less about "figuring out how to solve problems" and more about "figuring out what solutions the DM would approve of."
    These are pretty closely related when the DM is making up the problems.

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    These are pretty closely related when the DM is making up the problems.
    So if your players come up with a solution you would never in a thousand years have thought of, what do you do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    So if your players come up with a solution you would never in a thousand years have thought of, what do you do?
    Reward if it makes sense, punish if it doesn't.

    Of course it's not actually punishment in the moral sense, because it's just a game. A better word is "penalize".

    I think you should try looking at the positives of DM judgement, rather than just the negatives.

  • #35
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    Numbers added in quote below, for reference...
    Quote Originally Posted by Obryn View Post
    1. Remembering on my end to add +X to attack and damage while keeping it mysterious from the player
    2.Keeping track of unknown magic items and telling players to refer to them as "Magic Sword you found in Room 17 of The Cupcake and Pastry Dungeon"
    3.Spending half an hour in a game of 20 questions every time the party finds a magic doodad
    4.Spells requiring 100 gp pearls and/or a wizard in order to be able to tell basic information I'd rather not keep track of.
    For 1 and 2 above, item numbers are your friend.

    Party finds a magic ring of unknown purpose. You note it as item #87 on your DM's treasury list, along with what it does; whichever of the players is keeping treasury notes it on her list as #87 - Ring. Then when a player reminds you "Hey, I'm wearing ring 87" you can quickly look it up and remind yourself what it does, if you've forgotten. The players can also put on their list any field-testing results they get e.g. "not flight or speed, not water-walk, might be water-breathe but nobody really wants to test".

    For 3, above, most parties eventually develop a testing procedure once they've encountered various things items can do; this to me is no problem.

    4 is used back in town when 1-3 fail.
    Quote Originally Posted by slobo777
    Now a character forgetting he was wearing the unidentified ring, and wishing out loud for a cup of hot chocolate (and then getting it) was a thing of epic-always-to-be-remembered fun of course . . .
    In my game it was a feather bed, deep in a dungeon, that would not fit out the door of the room it appeared in.

    That was 15 years ago, and the player still hasn't lived it down.

    Trial-and-error field testing for the win!

    Lan-"years ago I, in character as a so-called dumb Fighter, wrote our group's field-testing guide"-efan
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  • #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    Reward if it makes sense, punish if it doesn't.

    Of course it's not actually punishment in the moral sense, because it's just a game. A better word is "penalize".

    I think you should try looking at the positives of DM judgement, rather than just the negatives.
    And what are the positives, exactly?

    The players start to act more like how the DM wants, rather than in ways that they ENJOY?

    This does not seem like a win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Numbers added in quote below, for reference...
    For 1 and 2 above, item numbers are your friend.

    Party finds a magic ring of unknown purpose. You note it as item #87 on your DM's treasury list, along with what it does; whichever of the players is keeping treasury notes it on her list as #87 - Ring. Then when a player reminds you "Hey, I'm wearing ring 87" you can quickly look it up and remind yourself what it does, if you've forgotten. The players can also put on their list any field-testing results they get e.g. "not flight or speed, not water-walk, might be water-breathe but nobody really wants to test".

    For 3, above, most parties eventually develop a testing procedure once they've encountered various things items can do; this to me is no problem.

    4 is used back in town when 1-3 fail.
    My point wasn't that I don't know how to do this. My point was that I don't want to do these.

    -O

  • #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    It leads to the PCs learning "If we do things the DM doesn't expect/like we get punished." Then the game becomes less about "figuring out how to solve problems" and more about "figuring out what solutions the DM would approve of."
    I agree. Entirely.

    But, as far as I'm concerned, this thread is pretty much "Hey the PCs are doing something I don't approve of; how can I, the DM, make it so they don't?"

    It may well be that I've misunderstood the OP and that isn't actually the question he's trying to ask; I'd be happy to hear some clarification from him.



    Cheers,
    Roger

  • #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    I agree. Entirely.

    But, as far as I'm concerned, this thread is pretty much "Hey the PCs are doing something I don't approve of; how can I, the DM, make it so they don't?"

    It may well be that I've misunderstood the OP and that isn't actually the question he's trying to ask; I'd be happy to hear some clarification from him.

    Cheers,
    Roger
    Yes, that's the gist of it. But it would be good to have a solution that steers back to fun and genre-relevence, as opposed to player/PC punishment.

    As a DM, I guess I don't enjoy "we've found some treasure, now let's do chicken impressions" in the same way as I don't enjoy "lets pause the game for a 15 minute discussion of WoW and Monty Python". Both are fun things to pass the time, but neither are really playing the game I want to play.

    Magic items with a little mystery are good for me. So is simply allowing game mechanic or automatic identification (in 4E I just give players the item cards after a Short Rest).

    5E seems to like the mystery idea by default, which is cool. It was definitely a fun thing to do in the first few years of play. However, as a jaded player/DM of over 30 years, I'll forgo the mystery element if there's a good chance of it turning to farce.

    The question from the OP could be phrased as - what approaches are there, other than the slightly ridiculous example in the playtest document, to keep some genre mystery around magic items, and still allow for serendipitous discovery of item powers?

  • #40
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    I prefer another method of identifying magic items that doesn't use trial and error or instant identification. It's called:

    Give the DM a dollar.

    If you want your magic items to be magic and identified give me a dollar. If not, enjoy your sword of swordness JERK! :P

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