Does the world exist for the PCs? - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    You'll find that a lot of DMs note that the biggest improvement they made in their games was when they transitioned from making a game FOR the players to making a game WITH the players.
    The answer is "yes" and "no". There are some worlds that I make that the answer is straight up "NO. You cannot be that here." because the whole premise of the game simply doesn't work if that thing happens here. IE: a no-magic world where someone wants to play a Wizard. Sorry, no Wizards allowed. No exceptions. Or a single-race or limited-race world. No exceptions. I've played with people who always need to be the odd-man out, and I've made allowances for that using the "under the hood" technique, where you play as whatever race you want mechanically but you are visually a member of one of the available races.

    But a setting needs some level of integrity and working with players is not an excuse to let them run roughshod over the setting premise in order to aid their need to special. Some settings just require a higher level of integrity than others.

    However, I will also tell players to hear out the whole premise before simply "making a character". IE: we're doing a drow campaign, where we play drow, and participate in drow politics, so after explaining that, if someone shows up the next week with a lizard-man character (literally, this happened, right after I explained the name of the game and they agreed to it!) I will hold up a firm hand and say NO.

    I know a lot of folks here promote the idea of "Yes but..." BUT quite frankly sometimes you gotta say "NO". I worked in retail. I know what happens when you say "Yes" or even "Yes but..." to customers. I've no desire to replicate that kind of arrogant entitlement at my table.

    I have a kitchen sink setting (two actually!) for people who want to play Wizards & Weirdos. I have two racially-limited settings (A human-centric world and a drow setting) for people who are willing to play something more specific. I'm happy to run my kitchen sink game for folks who want to play that way. But I'm not going to compromise the integrity of my other settings because they want to be special.
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  2. #52
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    Responding out of order because it making things flow better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    There's some philosphical rhetoric here I'm just not feeling. The game world isnt created for the PCs, the campaign is created for the PCs. They aren't the same thing. And even the campaign probably shouldn't be cteated for specific PCs, but rather a generic group. How generic is a design decision.

    What we are seeing here is a category mistake. Just because a particular campaign doesn't support any random group of PCs doesn't mean it's tailored for 4 or 5 specific PCs. Its not that binary. Generally though, the campaign is designed before the chatavters are rolled up. The PCs can can gave stakes and agency without bespoke campaign design.
    No, I disagree. Well, I'll agree that this is how it works in D&D land, and in many other games, but it's not a category error because you can build the world around the PCs. Answering the below at the same time, there's the model of No Myth, where nothing in the game world is set until play begins, and then it's defined in play according to the needs of play. PCs, in this kind of play, really need to have robust traits, beliefs, and goals, because these become the focus of the challenge of play, in that the GM's job is to frame scene that put these at risk. Play involves the creation of the world as a foil against the PCs, with PC failure resulting in the world becoming inimical to there goals and success moving those goals forward.

    This really only works in systems that are built to challenge these kinds of things. It does result in a world built around the PCs (and often by the PCs), and, done well, results in a deep and living tapestry of a world. Done poorly, it's as bad as a badly built D&D campaign.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    @Ovinomancer

    So, when you say "build around the PC", what are you actually referring to? That's the kind of phrase that could mean a lot of different things depending on who's talking.
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post

    Another way to think about this: D&D is - at the core - improvisational acting. You're sitting at the table improvising dialogue and actions for your PCs and NPCs. What are the basic rules of improv? What is the FIRST of those rules? There are a lot of ways to say these rules, but the first one is usually either, "Say YES" or "Don't DENY". What does that mean? Why is it there?
    This is not a universal play style. D&D can be and has been played without improv acting and its associated buzzwords. While improv can be fun and not a wrong way to play if the group finds that most fun, it far from being the only way to run a game. There are those who still enjoy the game aspect of play which has nothing to do with crafting a narrative or stringing together a series of improv skits.

    There are many ways to approach play which is an aspect that makes this gaming form so diverse and interesting even after all these years. Once you have a group of people who can have fun together the details of play style will work themselves out.
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  4. #54
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    I run a game for the players. The setting is part of what I run - and often the setting is tailored specifically to the type of campaign I want to run.

    The characters are the players avatars in the setting. But the setting doesn't cater to the characters, the setting caters to my needs as DM for telling the story and supporting the campaign.
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    I run a game for the players. The setting is part of what I run - and often the setting is tailored specifically to the type of campaign I want to run.

    The characters are the players avatars in the setting. But the setting doesn't cater to the characters, the setting caters to my needs as DM for telling the story and supporting the campaign.
    This brings up a related question: to what degree does the setting exist for the campaign? Some settings are tailored to tell a core story, a singular narrative and all the design choices support that one story. Other settings are intentionally broad and meant to be the place where any number of individual stories or adventures might occur.
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    This brings up a related question: to what degree does the setting exist for the campaign? Some settings are tailored to tell a core story, a singular narrative and all the design choices support that one story. Other settings are intentionally broad and meant to be the place where any number of individual stories or adventures might occur.
    Great question.

    I tend to run homebrew, so my settings are tailored to the campaign. But with many of my recurring players I do travelogues - where the party is constantly on the move as opposed to a home base they always return to. And for that I need to keep up lots of interesting places in terms of culture, geography, etc. So there's a lot of places that I just do in broad strokes with hooks that I'll detail if it looks like the characters will go there, but I've already been able to lay information abut those places beforehand because I had the broad strokes.

    What that ends up with is that I have a world that is rich enough for multiple campaigns to run in, but is still tailored to what I want to run.

    Last time I ran multiple campaigns in the same world I put 80 years between them so I could both celebrate the first campaign and make changes based on what the players did, but also so I could customize it for the campaign I wanted to run next. There was a new frontier that opened up, etc. (Side note: the first campaign in that setting ran 5 years, the second one ran 7. D&D 3.0 then 3.5. Much of that was exploring new places and cultures.)

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExploderWizard View Post
    This is not a universal play style. D&D can be and has been played without improv acting and its associated buzzwords. While improv can be fun and not a wrong way to play if the group finds that most fun, it far from being the only way to run a game. There are those who still enjoy the game aspect of play which has nothing to do with crafting a narrative or stringing together a series of improv skits.
    Improv just means you're writing it on the spot - unless you script your games, you are improvising them. So, really, you're saying that acting is not a universal part of a role playing game. Let's see what the PHB has to say about it:
    Roleplaying

    Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role. In this case, itĺs you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

    Roleplaying is a part of every aspect of the game, and it comes to the fore during social interactions. Your characterĺs quirks, mannerisms, and personality influence how interactions resolve.
    So, roleplaying is acting, and it is part of every aspect of the game. The tenants of good improve are absolutely relevant for RPGs.

    Eat the Green Eggs and Ham folks. Try these suggestions to work WITH your players. You'll like the results.

    As an aside: Another interesting thing for DMs to consider doing to improve their DMing - look up videos on how to be charismatic. While this will help you roleplay charismatic NPCs, it is not the reason I suggest it. A lot of these videos do a good job discussing how typical human interaction really works - and how to make a game fun for all your players. It'll help you with problematic players, and make things more fun for involved players.

  8. #58
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    The real actual world is an incredibly broad, diverse setting, and also extremely realistic*. Yet, if you watch a TV show set in the modern day, that show is often set in some corner of world that just happens to be ideal for telling those kinds of stories. Dr. House is always getting weird exotic medical cases; the CSI team is always up against some devious criminal mind; your favorite sitcom family just happens to wind up in wacky situations all the time. The writers of those shows did make the setting "just right" for telling those interesting stories. But to the audience, it looks like it's the other way around: we feel like we are watching those stories, instead of the billions of others in the world, because those are the interesting ones.

    It's like the age-old question, "Why do the protagonists in a zombie apocalypse movie always miraculously survive, when everyone else around them is dying?" Well, because if they died, we wouldn't make a zombie apocalypse movie about them. Likewise, in D&D, "Why does this village have exactly what a group of adventurers needs to serve as a base of operations?" Well, because if it didn't, we wouldn't be playing the game there; we'd be playing in one of the other thousands of villages which was better suited for being a base of operations for adventurers.


    * Usually.
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  9. #59
    I treat my D&D Worlds like quantum particles. Everything in the world is out there and exists in every possible state until observed by the PCs. Only then is its true status known.

    That's not to say that I cater everything 100% to the whims of the players. There are definitely important events happening in the world which are outside their control or view, but the only ones of these that I think about and make decisions on are the ones which will have some impact on the PCs, direct or indirect. And until those things do come into their field of view, they are always subject to change.

    Sometimes your first idea isn't your best idea, so keeping things malleable and allowing for a better idea to supersede a previous one leads to a campaign that ultimately feels better and more real than just sticking dogmatically to a lesser idea just because it was written on a page somewhere.
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  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    Improv just means you're writing it on the spot - unless you script your games, you are improvising them. So, really, you're saying that acting is not a universal part of a role playing game. Let's see what the PHB has to say about it:So, roleplaying is acting, and it is part of every aspect of the game. The tenants of good improve are absolutely relevant for RPGs.

    Eat the Green Eggs and Ham folks. Try these suggestions to work WITH your players. You'll like the results.

    As an aside: Another interesting thing for DMs to consider doing to improve their DMing - look up videos on how to be charismatic. While this will help you roleplay charismatic NPCs, it is not the reason I suggest it. A lot of these videos do a good job discussing how typical human interaction really works - and how to make a game fun for all your players. It'll help you with problematic players, and make things more fun for involved players.
    I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I have a pet peeve about what I bolded. It bugs me when people support their play style with "I know better than you and if you want your game to be better, do this. Different styles work for different people.

    P.S. This is just free advice and as such probably worth what you paid for it. Take it, leave it, I don't really care.
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