Does the world exist for the PCs? - Page 8
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  1. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    I think some of us would suggest your first mistake was planning an ending in the first place. I strongly believe that RPG play is NOT storytelling. We tell stories about play, and that's awesome, but we are playing a game. Sometimes, to some degree or another, that game borrows narrative tools as part of the play process.
    Who says I'm planning an ending? I think you're reading way, way to much into that statement.

    I plan for possibilities. When I put a villainous NPC in the world as a major player, I generally come up with a vague notion of what that encounter will look like once the players force an encounter. Sometimes the circumstances of the campaign change such that my original idea no longer makes any kind of sense once that encounter comes to pass.

  2. #72
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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.
    WOAH WOAH WOAH. Hold up there bucko. A square is a rectangle yes, but that doesn't mean that rectangles are all squares! Something having improvisational elements is not the same as something being Improv and needing to follow the rules that people apply to theatrical improv!

    You're making a substantial leap by saying "we're making stuff up" to saying that "because you're making stuff up, you ought to be following XYZ ruleset for making things up!"

    Eat the Green Eggs and Ham folks. Try these suggestions to work WITH your players. You'll like the results.
    It is equally possible that we won't like the results. IME, the results have not been substantially superior enough to warrant universal application.
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  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    To take people to a more relatable view of this topic.

    DM buys a campaign setting. It is a desert wasteland like Athas/Dark Sun filled with brutal NPCs and constant danger. It has no connection to the Feywild and thus has withered. He studies it and loves it. He is an expert on every page on the setting and expands it to create his own unique touches. He is prepared with dozens of story hooks, adventure locations and great CHARACTER AGNOSTIC storylines.

    Then he finds his players.

    Player 1 wants to play a Tempest Cleric that was a former pirate.

    Player 2 wants to play a Fey Pact Warlock Firbolg.

    Player 3 wants to play a Dwarven Barbarian.

    Two of those three PCs do not fit into the setting well.

    Do you tell the players, "No, you can't play that PC. It doesn't fit into my game?" Is telling a player "No" unnecessarily likely to result in the best experience for the player?

    Do you have them be from far away and just ignore their background and motivations? Is that exciting? Or is that going to leave the players feeling like the DM is playing with himself and the PCs are just there to watch... If they're not interwoven into the story meaningfully, they're meaningless. For an example of stock adventures where this is a problem see the old Dark Sun modules.

    Or, do you adjust your world to give these PCs a reason to be there. Do you find a place where a sailor might come from and give this PC a reson to travel to this wasteland. Do you add a storyline about a weak connecion to the Feywild that allowd the Feypact Warlock to get his powers and give him motivations to return the world to a lush place...
    Ultimately, in case like this, if you've communicated with your players about the type of game you want to run and they still come up with a set of freaks that won't fit in, and won't adjust to fit, then clearly you're at an impasse and that game isn't going to work. But that doesn't mean that the better approach is to design the game simply around what the players want to play if that isn't going to make the DM very happy because he really wanted to run something else for a while. At some point, based on the Dark Sun pitch, some player (and Player #2, I'm looking at you) should have said, "Nah, I'm not really feeling it," and either bowed out or triggered the process of finding another pitch rather than deciding to play something that was a clear non-starter.

    I know you're on a "design the game WITH the players" kick, but sometimes the campaign inspiration starts, or is even full realized, from one side of that player/DM divide and they should be able to at least pitch it and see what kind of interest surfaces. If there isn't enough, shelve it for another time and pitch something else or let someone else sit behind the screen for the game they want to pitch.
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  4. #74
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    If I'm the one writing the campaign you better believe its going to be a game I'll enjoy running. It takes months to write a good campaign and five minutes to roll up a character. There's no way I'm doing the former to service the latter. That's just not how it is. I tell my PCs what kind of game its going to be (the pitch) and then they make characters that fit (or don't). If a player wants a different camapign he's always free to write that game himself. I don't put up with murderhobo play for the same reason - Im the one with by far the greatest investment and that's not the game I want to run.
    Last edited by Fenris-77; Sunday, 2nd June, 2019 at 02:09 AM.
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  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    A couple threads active right now got me wondering about this: in your opinion, does the world and its doings exist primarily for the benefit of the PCs, as opposed to it existing and going on despite (or even in spite of!) the PCs?
    The function of the gameworld is to support a game. So it exists for the participants - real people in the real world.

    In most RPGs - including D&D - the majority of the participants play the game by using their characters (the PCs) to engage the gameworld. What form that engagement takes, and how - in the fiction - the PCs fit into their world, will probably differ from table to table.
    Last edited by pemerton; Sunday, 2nd June, 2019 at 02:19 AM.

  6. #76
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    I used to have some homebrew worlds that I made or took over and modified for a new campaign. We played for several years over a few campaigns in one world and kind of expanded the settled area where each campaign took place. There were ties across the world from old games and NPCs that came back. We switched to Netir Vale for 4e and back to FR for 5e. Not because the old world was not working, but because FR has a lot of details for you already over the last 30 years. Plus the boxed set was in FR when we switched to 5e.

    FR creates the frame for the DM to tailor, but a lot is there and there are lots to pull from. I was just making a Waterdeep adventure and pulled out the 2e Volo guide. I just took things from 2e and put them in the 5e game. It was not 'real' since those NPC would have been dead, but who cares. The game is for the PCs and players and none of them met the owner of the inn or tavern before.

    I would think I plan 75/25% for the players and have background things go on less so. Playing in a published world makes it a bit easier not having to come up with every place and NPC. When I was creating the Waterdeep section of the module I planned a alley encounter with a thus who happens to be someone who set up the PC in his background. Another player suddenly wanted to break off from the other players and have his PC go to the bad part of town to look for action. He wanted to set up a contract assassination on someone. I needed to improv the whole thing since I had no idea he was going to do this. I ended up tying the other PC to the hit job and moved the site of the encounter to a new location, but the players do not seem to know thins.

    So I guess I am taking the parts of the game that I made to fit in with what the PCs are doing. I try to not force the players to make decisions on things that I planned, but try to find a way to use what I already made.

  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    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.
    True. But there is subjective and objective truth. There are also a lot of things that seem subjective, but due to the realities of how similar people actually are, are essentially objective.

    Regardless, I'll refrain from further posts on this topic. The amusing irony of telling people they have no choice but to consider the input of others is wearing off.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    True. But there is subjective and objective truth. There are also a lot of things that seem subjective, but due to the realities of how similar people actually are, are essentially objective.
    I realize you're not going to post in this thread anymore, but for the record: that's not how subjective and objective work like, at all.
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  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    If I'm the one writing the campaign you better believe its going to be a game I'll enjoy running. It takes months to write a good campaign and five minutes to roll up a character. There's no way I'm doing the former to service the latter. That's just not how it is. I tell my PCs what kind of game its going to be (the pitch) and then they make characters that fit (or don't). If a player wants a different camapign he's always free to write that game himself.
    I was almost completely with you up to here. But then...
    I don't put up with murderhobo play for the same reason - Im the one with by far the greatest investment and that's not the game I want to run.
    ...you said this. Why does murderhobo play ruin your investment? They're still interacting with your setting, aren't they; and isn't that the goal?

    Expecting them to interact with your setting in the particular way you want them to is a high-speed road to madness.

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    A couple threads active right now got me wondering about this: in your opinion, does the world and its doings exist primarily for the benefit of the PCs, as opposed to it existing and going on despite (or even in spite of!) the PCs?
    I am in the camp that favors the world existing for the benefit of the PCs. Whenever I design a setting I think about the elements I'm adding and ask myself whether or not my players will care. Will they care about how the economy works? Will they care about the mythology I've created regarding the gods? Should I spend a lot of time coming up with distinctive kingdoms for the PCs to visit? Sadly the answer is usually no because they're not going to care unless it's something that's important to game play.

    I usually don't care of a campaign setting makes sense. My primary concern is that it's a fun place for the PCs to have adventures.

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