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D&D 5E As a Player, why do you play in games you haven't bought into?

Hussar

Legend
/edit - sorry @Umbran, didn't see your Mod text until after I posted this.

@Raunalyn, I am sorry you feel that I was slagging off the other players. I didn't mean to. I have no hard feelings for them and no particular need to air dirty laundry in public. I was using the situation as I understood it as an example for the discussion. You apparently remember things differently than I do, which is fair enough. It typically happens that people remember things differently.

In any case, I think I made my point about the game. Funnily enough, the first campaign you stopped playing in was about 50% urban. They spent a lot of time in cities. But, again, it became an exercise in frustration. Here I had a PC (not @Raunalyn's) with a pirate background. By 4th level, the group had a ship and a crew. The pirate PC player spent exactly zero time with the ship, made zero reference to it, and basically ignored its existence. Zero input.

I realize now that a lot of players are heavily reactive rather than pro-active. They want the DM to provide the adventures that they will go on but don't want to provide any real input about those adventures. Which, if you run a lot of fairly linear games or Adventure Paths, is fantastic. They are very enthusiastic when given clear directions and will jump right on. OTOH, I am not very good with that kind of player. I need more pro-active players who will tell me what they want to do and will make an effort towards achieving those goals in game.

For example, in my current group, I am reviving the old 4e series of adventures from the Chaos Scar, a remake of the old Keep on the Borderlands. Surprisingly, on a side note, 4e modules work fairly well in 5e. But, the players have gone all in on making their own plots. One play is worshipping the Chaos Ox, a god of his own devising, and has bought an inn in the Keep to use as a temple/bar. ((It makes more sense that what I'm writing here :D)) One character is a kobold exiled from her tribe searching for a dragon egg to bring back to her tribe. One character, out of the blue, asked if he could start harvesting monster bits for sale, using a nifty little set of rules found on Reddit. One character is a small god searching for who defiled her shrine.

IOW, I have really clear goals from the players to work with in addition to having my own campaign on the go. And I find that I actually am enjoying running a game again. The upshot of all this being, as I said before, know thy players and also know yourself. I tried to make the games work for the other group and I honestly failed. The games were not enjoyable, for me or the players particularly, and were largely train wrecks as far as I'm concerned. And it was all down to mismatched expectations.
 
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Raunalyn

Adventurer
Edit: In light of @Hussar's more measured post, I will be editing this to also be more measured.

As he mentioned in his post, he and I both remember things differently.

Nothing during the creation process interfered with his little game, which was a way for us to tie our characters together.. It didn't specify where we should place our attributes, or what race/class we were playing. It didn't even specify backgrounds. We were 1st level characters, and nothing I did couldn't have been edited or redone.
 
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Raunalyn

Adventurer
I've edited my post above as per @Umbran's warning. @Raunalyn, you might want to change your post as well. I have zero interest in he said/he said discussions because they won't go anywhere.
Fair enough...I will edit the post as best I can considering that it was quoted.

That being said, I do appreciate your more measured response, and I will do my best in the future to respond in a similar manner.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think you can just delete quotes now. Just edit your post and hit backspace. I think anyway. New forum stuff is a bit ... new. :D
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't see any intrinsic reason why the person operating the setting and NPCs needs to also be the mechanical judge.
When - and I'm not holding my breath - they invent a machine that can do all the mechanical judging I'd be happy to sit back and just operate the setting and NPCs.

Problem is, a lot of the mechanical judging often relies on (specific elements of) the setting, some of which may or may not yet have been revealed to the players/characters; which means having it all in one person still, alas, makes the most sense.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I don't see any intrinsic reason why the person operating the setting and NPCs needs to also be the mechanical judge. Its just that few people are going to want to be there for no reason but the latter, since it isn't an interesting role in and of itself.

True, and as a DM I often end up "back seat ruling" sometimes when a player. Like, if a player has a question about how an ability works, well, I know, so I answer.

Mostly it is habit, but I also try and help make sure the DM isn't doing everything.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
When - and I'm not holding my breath - they invent a machine that can do all the mechanical judging I'd be happy to sit back and just operate the setting and NPCs.

Problem is, a lot of the mechanical judging often relies on (specific elements of) the setting, some of which may or may not yet have been revealed to the players/characters; which means having it all in one person still, alas, makes the most sense.

Only true is you change a lot of stuff.

I mean, I can fully answer a lot of basic questions that happen. I'm not talking things like "what happens if I combine these two things" but things like "What does paralyzed mean mechanically"
 


Is there a reason we are continuing this semantic exchange?

I don't see anything at all semantic about noting there's quite a difference between people who have the necessary skills to GM, and whether they're willing to do so at a particular place and time. If you do, well, no one is forcing you to respond.
 

True, and as a DM I often end up "back seat ruling" sometimes when a player. Like, if a player has a question about how an ability works, well, I know, so I answer.

Mostly it is habit, but I also try and help make sure the DM isn't doing everything.

That certainly works in the "human rulebook" part but not the "deciding unusual situations or setting DCs" part.
 

When - and I'm not holding my breath - they invent a machine that can do all the mechanical judging I'd be happy to sit back and just operate the setting and NPCs.

Problem is, a lot of the mechanical judging often relies on (specific elements of) the setting, some of which may or may not yet have been revealed to the players/characters; which means having it all in one person still, alas, makes the most sense.

I'm not assuming the mechanical judge is a player; I'm assuming he's, effectively, a co-GM, and therefor can know all the setting elements the NPC operator does.
 


Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I'm the most experienced DM sometimes, so they will look to me for a "how the heck do I rule this" and I offer advice.

Fair enough. Even a lot of new GMs I've often seen get proprietary about such things, and there's Lanefan's comment above that has some relevance.
 

Hussar

Legend
I ADORE my rules guru players. I had one in 3e that knew the 3e rules like the back of her hand and, after a short while, I began defaulting to her rules interpretations since they were almost always better than my own.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, sorry your prima donna PC is just one member of a group and the campaign world doesn't revolve around the PC group. Kind of like how in real life we don't always get what we want.

Or, you know, maybe the Mary Sue thing isn't as dominant as you may fear.
 

Hussar

Legend
@Raunalyn did ask a very pertinent question though. What difference did it make that the players came to the session 0 with completely made characters? Well, here's what my expectations were and here's what I wound up with:

Expectation:

The character generation game that I was going to use would ensure that the PC's had ties to each other. But, just as importantly, they would have ties to events, NPC's and plots within Saltmarsh. Every PC would know at least one and probably several important NPCs, would know the political situation in Saltmarsh, and be embedded in the setting right from the outset.

What I got:

I got a 1/2 orc bard who wanted to sell self help books, a firbolg druid runaway slave who was exiled from her people, a paladin soldier whose player refused the offer of a free house in Saltmarsh as part of the background, an illusionist charlatan and a human ranger smuggler.

So, instead of hitting the ground running with things already settled, I had to spend the first two or three sessions trying to get as much information as I could from into the hands of the players so that they could make informed decisions about what they wanted to do, all the while trying to accommodate backgrounds that had virtually nothing to do with the campaign, and drop enough hooks to get them going on the introductory adventure - Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. I had to introduce locations, NPC's, politics and everything else, all in three hour sessions while still making the session interesting enough for everyone involved.

Oh, and did I mention no one actually read any of the setting background material that I presented?

So, yeah, it was a major problem for me when everyone ignored what I said and showed up with fully made characters.
 

@Raunalyn did ask a very pertinent question though. What difference did it make that the players came to the session 0 with completely made characters? Well, here's what my expectations were and here's what I wound up with:

Expectation:

The character generation game that I was going to use would ensure that the PC's had ties to each other. But, just as importantly, they would have ties to events, NPC's and plots within Saltmarsh. Every PC would know at least one and probably several important NPCs, would know the political situation in Saltmarsh, and be embedded in the setting right from the outset.

What I got:

I got a 1/2 orc bard who wanted to sell self help books, a firbolg druid runaway slave who was exiled from her people, a paladin soldier whose player refused the offer of a free house in Saltmarsh as part of the background, an illusionist charlatan and a human ranger smuggler.

So, instead of hitting the ground running with things already settled, I had to spend the first two or three sessions trying to get as much information as I could from into the hands of the players so that they could make informed decisions about what they wanted to do, all the while trying to accommodate backgrounds that had virtually nothing to do with the campaign, and drop enough hooks to get them going on the introductory adventure - Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. I had to introduce locations, NPC's, politics and everything else, all in three hour sessions while still making the session interesting enough for everyone involved.

Oh, and did I mention no one actually read any of the setting background material that I presented?

So, yeah, it was a major problem for me when everyone ignored what I said and showed up with fully made characters.
Yeah this sort of thing is a pain. It's interesting that there's so many people exhorting the GM should work with the players. Well, the GM does most of the work. The players have a responsbility to work with the GM.
 
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