A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life

Bedrockgames

Adventurer
Do you actually do this in your sandbox games?
If you are going to have multiple PC groups in the same sandbox campaign, my experience (just trying all the different methods I could) is this is the only real way to make it work----otherwise it can be maddening keeping track of the different areas and NPCs being affected by PC behavior. If the PCs are not intersecting that much, it is easier to hand wave. But I've had parties in two different campaigns end up in serious conflict with each other, and that proved very challenging to track. Having the time between sessions reflect real time is one easy way to manage it (though it has its downsides). However, honestly I didn't feel it was worth the trouble after about a year and half of trying to do that. I just said 'screw it this is a multiverse and both parties are in slightly different realities'. That approach ended up working a lot better for me personally. It also made things interesting because I got to see two very different realities play out over two campaigns in the same setting. There was still some intersection, but there was enough freedom to alter details, that it made my role as the GM more fun as well.
 

S'mon

Legend
Do you realize how bunker mentality in the midst of an all-important culture war this ...reads as?
Culture war?

So, Brendan and Pemerton should put their gaming differences aside, recognise their all-important political-cultural commonalities; and unite against ...me?
Not sure I like that idea... :uhoh:
 

pemerton

Legend
The problem is that nothing you described there comes close to rising to the level of Mother May I. It's a disingenuous use of the term as a pejorative to put down a playstyle that is different than yours.
You do realise, don't you, that I used the phrase "Mother may I" only because it was used in the post I was responding to.
 

S'mon

Legend
Do you actually do this in your sandbox games?
I did it for about 18 months in my multi-group Wilderlands Stonehell Dungeon game, yup. If group played weekly, a week would pass in game between delves. If fortnightly then 2 weeks passed. I am somewhat doing it (time passes roughly 1 month game = 1 month real) in my current two-group Primeval Thule campaign. In the Thule game adventures last typically 2-3 sessions, not a single session delve, so it needs to be looser.

My Stonehell game had the Dungeon as a pure sandbox. The Thule game is semi-sandboxy; there tend to be several hooks, and players bite on what interests or seek out contacts who provide more hooks. But it's a lot closer to 4e style than the Stonehell game was, eg I'll use Bangs, player Heroic Narratives are important, I'll use Pemertonian Scene Framing... :D
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You do realise, don't you, that I used the phrase "Mother may I" only because it was used in the post I was responding to.
Perpetuating incorrect definitions and/or pejoratives doesn't help a situation. It just makes it worse.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
This actually happened in 4e. It was a constant, never-ending, scorched earth campaign against a stupid gaming system. It took place all over the Internet, in hobby stores, at tables, and cons.
I've been kinda sorta following this thread, with roughly the same fascination as I would watching the halls of academia debate over the lunch menu for next week*, and I have to ask you one question:

Why are you using the past tense? :)


*To paraphrase the old canard, the debates on enworld about TTRPGs are so heated because the stakes are so small.
 

pemerton

Legend
I am somewhat doing it (time passes roughly 1 month game = 1 month real) in my current two-group Primeval Thule campaign. In the Thule game adventures last typically 2-3 sessions, not a single session delve, so it needs to be looser.
Right, the single-session delve does seem fairly crucial to making the Gygax system work. (Without the need for loosening.)

In the single-session delve sort of game, what do you do if the clock is about to strike midnight and - for whatever reason - the group is still stuck on the 7th level? (As best I recall, the canonical books - Gygax and Moldvay - don't address this.)
 

S'mon

Legend
Right, the single-session delve does seem fairly crucial to making the Gygax system work. (Without the need for loosening.)

In the single-session delve sort of game, what do you do if the clock is about to strike midnight and - for whatever reason - the group is still stuck on the 7th level? (As best I recall, the canonical books - Gygax and Moldvay - don't address this.)
I say "Ok you go home now.'

They have never been stuck at end of session, though there was the Out of Time Mine session where it was close and I had to be a bit generous in ruling when they had breached the temporal anomaly trapping them.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
I found this to be a strange response since my post was not intended to be hostile or dismissive of other games, styles or ideas. I predominantly tackled the realism issue as I understand it, but initially commented on the flexibility of D&D to cater to a larger degree of playstyle as some posts back it seemed as if the use/need of encumbrance and the general accounting of minutiae in the game was being questioned.
I apologize. I did not think that your post was hostile to other games, styles, or ideas. I do, however, get frustrated sometimes by how D&D sometimes monopolizes discussion on TTRPGs. I suspect that my outburst directed towards you likely came more from that frustration than anything else.

Having said that, it means nothing much given that @Aldarc views my Frost Giant write-up as MMI and our table does not.
About all I said regarding your Frost Giant scenario was that I disliked how you chose to adjudicate it. I was agnostic about whether it constituted MMI. Though at this point you were also trying to drag me into "picking a side" in that discussion between you and pemerton. :erm:

Perpetuating incorrect definitions and/or pejoratives doesn't help a situation. It just makes it worse.
Yes and no. Or at least, I'm of several minds about this. I study in a field drowning in incorrect definitions, inaccurate terms, pejoratives, and the like. We have more "correct" terms that we can use, but then sometimes people have no idea what we are talking about, so the subject becomes more esoteric. So many times we have to "bite the bullet" when discussing anything while tacitly acknowledging the inaccuracies and problematic elements of terms.

In our RPG context, this often arises, for example, when talking about "race." (And there is an entire megathread where people debated that kettle of fish, which I will not rehash here.) "Race" is common parlance within gaming circles, but there are a lot of problematic issues related to using the term in the context of RPGs, much as there is outside of gaming.

And while Mother-May-I has pejorative undertones, it is also an expression that is fairly easy to conceptualize in terms of the underlying issues being evoked: some form of play entailing players asking persmission from a single authority figure, who may then grant them permission. It asks you to apply your general knowledge of a fairly ubiquitous children's game to a more niche hobby game. So it unquestionably has some descriptive utility. How and where it applies, however, will be the points of contention. Also, I would note that it is not a pejorative that dehumanizes anyone, as it applies to a playstyle. (Playstyles aren't people.)

If the term is inaccurate, then usually it becomes incumbent on critics of the term to find a more accurate term for the problem described. No one has really offered one so MMI remains the default term in play and with people's default assumptions of its meaning and scope. Unfortunately, when asked about MMI, I think that some dismiss the MMI phenomenon entirely by saying simply "that's just how the game is played." In other words, it's a complete denial that the problem described exists or could exist, which I also find unhelpful.

Why are you using the past tense? :)
Weirdly enough, perhaps because enough time has passed and 5e "won," I think that there has been a retrospective warming up to 4e online, where even some of its vocal critics have shown more willingness to play it, to praise its strengths, or to reevaluate their initial stance on 4e as a legitimate part of D&D's legacy. And that has even included people pointing to things that 4e did better than 5e.

I'm sure there is truth in this, but I didn't like the OP either - and I'm definitely not inclined to be prejudiced against Pemerton or in favour of Brendan. So I think it's fair to say the OP is pretty abrasive!
Sure, but the two of you demonstrate a mutual ability to engage each other respectfully without presuming malice.
 
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hawkeyefan

Explorer
I think that a large part of the problem is that many folks seem to be looking for reasons to take offense, and once some offense is perceived, they will not let it go, even when the supposed offender clarifies or qualifies the statements, and explicitly says I meant no offense.

90 some pages in and people are still bringing up terms that upset them even though the use of the term was explained very early in the thread.

Personally, I don't care to take offense about anything anyone says here. I don't care how anyone feels about the way I like to play pretend, other than that it's interesting to me to discuss it. I may disagree, I may find a post abrasive or dismissive, but ultimately, spending time talking about that accomplishes nothing.

I think that we have to stop worrying about loaded terms. Or at least stop grinding discussion to a halt by decrying the use of a term rather than asking a poster what they mean by the term's use. Maybe give each other the benefit of the doubt that whatever stance we may have, we're not d-bags, and instead of assuming the worst, assume the best. Ask a question rather than toss an accusation. When someone says, "what I actually meant was...." maybe listen to them, and stop going back to an earlier post of theirs without taking the clarification into consideration.

If someone's actually being a d-bag, it's usually pretty clear to everyone involved. They've pointed it out themselves.

There have been some interesting points in this discussion, but it gets lost in the noise of people discussing what may or may not have offended them.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
Why are you using the past tense? :)
And with that, the followers of lowkey13 fall in behind and to the side of him shouting "D&D had been voted the best game" and "Death to Paladins". The mob led by a grinning lowkey13 then suddenly begins descending on a tight group of travellers led by one known only as Pemerton.

As the mob gets closer to the travellers, S'mon steals some more Pemertonian Scene Framing, while under his breath he mutters "I hope to see you again, friend," before disappearing from the scene altogether.

Ovinomancer packs up both his tents, his trick cards and his blocks before he too departs all the while shaking his head and thinking "This isn't real, this isn't real."

Aldarc offended by it all makes his protestations known. "This is not right, not morally, not ethically, I demand social..." his voice is drowned out from the growing mob.

At that point AbdulAlhazred turns to Pemerton saying "I never asked for this Pem, all I wanted was a piece of land to build on. Not this. You have to do something."

But Pemerton seems unperturbed as he begins picking up numerous backpacks fully loaded with dictionaries, encyclopedias, manuals, guides, handbooks and the like which he has written over the years. Impressively he seems to carry them all easily enough while moving unhindered.

Lanefan meanwhile loses his spellbook as it is bumped out of his hands by frantic Maxperson rushing past him. Lanefan makes an attempt to save his arcane tome from the shuffling feet, but the mob is too much and the tome is trampled and torn in the process. He sighs inwardly, but thankfully he prepared for this eventuality as he pulls out his backup spellbook.

Maxperson runs ahead charging off from the mob directly towards Pemerton smiling that his dream is finally being realised. The player of Maxperson pants from exhaustion.

chaochou, now a mad look upon his eyes, cries out wildly "They want to play, we will show them how players play! We will raise the stakes, we will not backdown, there will be NO SAY NO!"

Meanwhile Manbearcat rushes out to the centre, holding out his hands for both camps to stop the madness. But no one seems to be taking any heed. Why is that he thinks to himself, why can't people just be nice, it's like no one read his analytical self-help posters.

At this point Numidius wakes up from all the noise, but declines to leave the comfort of the warm waters of the bathtub. He reaches for a stack of arrows which are casually lying around, and throws them in the general direction of Maxperson.

Maxperson laughs at the feeble throw. The player of Maxperson laughs.

Bedrockgames excited by it all, makes a quick call "Hello Mother," Lanefan hears him say, the rest of the conversation is lost, except for the end, "But mother I want to join them." The call ends, Bedrockgames physically disappointed looks up at Lanefan and shakes his head in a no-fashion before leaving lowkey13's crowd.

Sadras still keeping up with the mob begins reading up on these travellers, learning about them and their capabilities. As he turns the pages, he notices two that are stuck together. "What is this," he exclaims, "a secret page?" He finally manages to pry apart the pages to reveal the traveller known as Pemerton...when he reaches the traveller's backstory, his eyes open wide. "It's a t..."

In the midst of all this chaos, a large space vessel lands, the words Umbran adorning its one side. A large staircase descends towards the ground as a man walks out introducing himself as Morrus, the General.

Hussar turns to lowkey13 and says rather angrily "If he's from Sigil," pointing at Morrus "then I'm out."

Saelorn's player turns to Hussar's player "You can't say that, that is meta-gaming. No-way, no-how your character knows about Sigil." He then turns to the DM for support.

The DM who strictly follows SYRTD makes the motion for Hussar's player to make a knowledge check. The player rolls a 1.

Saelorn's player smiles.

The DM instructs everyone to ignore the 1, as DM he is going to fudge it, so Hussar knew about Sigil. All the players leave the table except Max.

EDIT: No offense intended. Entire post is tongue-and-cheek. ;)
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The DM instructs everyone to ignore the 1, as DM he is going to fudge it, so Hussar knew about Sigil. All the players leave table but Max.
But .... did we get rid of the Paladins?

(I only regret that I have but one laugh to give for that!)
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Yes and no. Or at least, I'm of several minds about this. I study in a field drowning in incorrect definitions, inaccurate terms, pejoratives, and the like. We have more "correct" terms that we can use, but then sometimes people have no idea what we are talking about, so the subject becomes more esoteric. So many times we have to "bite the bullet" when discussing anything while tacitly acknowledging the inaccuracies and problematic elements of terms.

In our RPG context, this often arises, for example, when talking about "race." (And there is an entire megathread where people debated that kettle of fish, which I will not rehash here.) "Race" is common parlance within gaming circles, but there are a lot of problematic issues related to using the term in the context of RPGs, much as there is outside of gaming.

And while Mother-May-I has pejorative undertones, it is also an expression that is fairly easy to conceptualize in terms of the underlying issues being evoked: some form of play entailing a single authority figure granting permission to other players. It asks you to apply your general knowledge of one ubiquitous game to a more niche hobby game. So it unquestionably has some descriptive utility. How and where it applies, however, will be the points of contention. Also, I would note that it is not a pejorative that dehumanizes anyone, as it applies to a playstyle. (Playstyles aren't people.)

If the term is inaccurate, then usually it becomes incumbent on critics of the term to find a more accurate term for the problem described. No one has really offered one so MMI remains the default term in play and with people's default assumptions of its meaning and scope. Unfortunately, when asked about MMI, I think that some dismiss the MMI phenomenon entirely by saying simply "that's just how the game is played." In other words, it's a complete denial that the problem described exists or could exist, which I also find unhelpful.
I think this is a good example of how to handle the terminology. I personally felt that the use of MMI in the original thread was clear. The poster was using it as a way of describing GM authorization of game elements; he wanted to allow the player to introduce elements that interested him without having to rely on the GM for introduction of the content or approval.

In that sense, the term works perfectly. And if we toss out the idea that it's meant as a pejorative (and I know that historically, it can be used that way, but let's ignore that for now). GM Authorization does seem to be the default approach for many RPGs, including D&D. I don't think that's really in contention; the players are free to declare actions for their characters (within the established constraints of the fiction), and the GM establishes the likelihood of success or failure, usually by setting some kind of DC or target number for a skill check or other action. How exactly the GM decides on a target DC will vary, but usually it involves including relevant fictional factors such as range, quality, pressure, and the like.

Nearly everything in the game is filtered through the GM.

Whether that's good or bad or a mix of the two is up to personal preference.

I personally don't mind this style of play, but I do tend to incorporate as much player authorship as the system will allow. I have a 5E campaign, and my players routinely add things to the fictional world. It's not in as formalized or mechanically supported a way as other games may support, and I'd say that's the significant difference. D&D as written allows players to introduce fictional elements mostly through Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws, which is pretty minimal, and very likely front loaded at the time of character creation. There's no reason you can't incorporate more player authorship into the game in other ways, and I would say that the system itself is flexible enough to handle a lot of that, but if you decide to do so, you have to introduce optional rules or house rule it, and so on.

But even for my game which I consider to have a good deal of player authorship, I still think it falls into the GM Authorization category; that's exactly how the mechanics are designed to work. It's not a bad thing, and I don't know why some see this as bad, other than one phrase used to summarize it.
 

Numidius

Explorer
[MENTION=6688277]Sadras[/MENTION]
"NO SAY NO!" got me ;)

Btw, they were six arrows, two darts and a D10 minus 2 minimum1 arroheads... (submerges back his head in the bathtub)
 

S'mon

Legend
Good luck, or good management? And if the latter, by players or GM? (Eg how far do "generous" rulings go?)
The players once or twice stayed in the dungeon between sessions (no time passing) but it was their choice.

Normally when time comes to leave, if we are out of real time then they get out with no encounter checks. I assume they find their way back to the surface down what are usually well travelled routes - the pace of exploration is typically slow, a few rooms per session, with lots of cleared territory along safe route to their rear. I usually only do 1 or two encounter checks for the start of session travel to the exploration front - the dungeon frontier - reflecting repopulation & movement of monsters during the downtime, and so 0 checks when leaving is not implausible. Unlike hardcore Gygaxian play, I do not require players to navigate their way out in game.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
I really think Torchbearer is enormously instructive to this conversation. I would encourage everyone to buy the game and read it through (if not play it).

As a mash-up of (a much more punishing) Moldvay Basic and Burning Wheel, it combines classic dungeon crawl procedures with an indie ethos.

The game is an interesting combination of:

1) HEAVY systemization

2) while simultaneously having a significant classic GM role (which includes classic expectations of GM authority but does not include White Wolf’s Golden Rule or Rule 0) simultaneously guided by certain indie principles and techniques

3) but also heavy system constraint on the GM, large divestment of authority onto codified procedures, and plenty of shared authority with players (due to BW thematic flags and lots of resources that players can call upon).

I’m thinking about doing a play excerpt post, but the system is complex enough that I feel like I’d have to abridge/gloss over some things (and in-so-doing may lose relevant information). Maybe I’ll just do a small, peacemeal excerpt of an Adventure phase.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
I really think Torchbearer is enormously instructive to this conversation. I would encourage everyone to buy the game and read it through (if not play it).

The game is an interesting combination of: 2) while simultaneously having a significant classic GM role (which includes classic expectations of GM authority but does not include White Wolf’s Golden Rule or Rule 0) simultaneously guided by certain indie principles and techniques
I'm afraid that you are underestimating the pervasive power of Rule -1: Gamemasters will read and play assuming Rule 0 even when the rule is entirely absent.
 

Numidius

Explorer
I’m thinking about doing a play excerpt post, but the system is complex enough that I feel like I’d have to abridge/gloss over some things (and in-so-doing may lose relevant information). Maybe I’ll just do a small, peacemeal excerpt of an Adventure phase.
Please, do! And post the link here ...?
 

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