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Does the world exist for the PCs?

Riley37

Villager
Why does murderhobo play ruin your investment? They're still interacting with your setting, aren't they; and isn't that the goal?
That might be the sum of YOUR goals and ambitions, but it's not MY only goal.

Expecting them to interact with your setting in the particular way you want them to is a high-speed road to madness. :)
You say that as if I had not already arrived at madness.

I expect the players at *my* table to interact with the setting in ways which are not limited to "kill" and "loot", and I get what I expect, because I don't offer seats at my table to murder-hobo players.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Murderhobo play is in most cases bad faith engagement by the player or players. I dont force specific interactions on my players but I do expect them to pick up what I'm putting down. I'm making a couple of unstated assumptions about murderhobo play there, but im comfortable with that.
 

Reynard

Adventurer
Murderhobo parties in a setting with lots of internal consistency and logical consequences wouldn't be much fun for the players very long, I don't think.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
My world does not exist for the PCs. It exists independent of them. However, the campaign exists for the PCs, so they are usually central to what is going on immediately around them.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Murderhobo play is in most cases bad faith engagement by the player or players. I dont force specific interactions on my players but I do expect them to pick up what I'm putting down. I'm making a couple of unstated assumptions about murderhobo play there, but im comfortable with that.
I'm not typically worried about murderhobo play. The consequences of that kind of play usually curb the behavior. If the PCs start killing people, the world will kill them back. The PCs aren't the biggest and baddest. If they kill someone or something with important information, they will likely fail with what they are trying to do.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
In improv acting the goal is to riff off each other and generate some entertainment for a watching audience. (which is why things like Critical Role are not good guides to how to play; the first goal there is to entertain the audience, and true-to-character play suffers as a result)
You guys need to stop maligning the show. It started before they began streaming and will likely continue after we all move onto the next big thing. It’s incredibly hard to perform for an absent audience (they have no idea what the audience response is and thank the gods they don’t monitor the chat during the game), so they actually perform for the enjoyment of each other, which happens at many regular D&D tables I would suppose (certainly it does at mine even if I’m the one who does the most). And i wish my players spent half the time the CR players do developing their characters over the course of the campaign.

I’m not sure why this table gets such disrespect, when it is a major engine in the surging popularity of the game...
 

HJFudge

Villager
You guys need to stop maligning the show. It started before they began streaming and will likely continue after we all move onto the next big thing. It’s incredibly hard to perform for an absent audience (they have no idea what the audience response is and thank the gods they don’t monitor the chat during the game), so they actually perform for the enjoyment of each other, which happens at many regular D&D tables I would suppose (certainly it does at mine even if I’m the one who does the most). And i wish my players spent half the time the CR players do developing their characters over the course of the campaign.

I’m not sure why this table gets such disrespect, when it is a major engine in the surging popularity of the game...
I dont see anyone saying its a bad show? In fact, I don't see anyone really being critical about it much at all. We're simply saying 'Its not a good model for a standard D&D game', which isnt like...a black mark against it. For what it is, people like it and enjoy it so good on em glad they are creating a thing people enjoy.

But, well, it's meaningless as a model for D&D gameplay, because its goals and needs are different.

What is disrespectful about any of what I said? Honest question.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I dont see anyone saying its a bad show? In fact, I don't see anyone really being critical about it much at all. We're simply saying 'Its not a good model for a standard D&D game', which isnt like...a black mark against it. For what it is, people like it and enjoy it so good on em glad they are creating a thing people enjoy.

But, well, it's meaningless as a model for D&D gameplay, because its goals and needs are different.

What is disrespectful about any of what I said? Honest question.
Calling a legitimate D&D game meaningless, when it’s probably the most meaningful game around? We’re all ace DMs but no-one actually sees our game. This one guy (and players) actually show a game and it’s exceptionally good and everyone is quick to dismiss it as “not an example of real D&D”, “meaningless”.

I’m not sure why this burns my britches, but it all seems more like “tall poppy syndrome” than actual criticism. I certainly have things I don’t prefer about the way Matt Mercer runs his game, but I would never for one second criticise it as illegitimate, which is the subtext of these critiques. i.e. If you think CR is D&D, you’re wrong.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
. Why does murderhobo play ruin your investment? They're still interacting with your setting, aren't they; and isn't that the goal?:)
The goal may well be to interact in a certain way, of course. From keep your arms and legs inside until the ride has come to a complete stop setting tourism, to there's no point killing of a character -PC or NPC - If it's not going to make anyone cry, to SimCastle, to well we have the one ring let's teleport straight to mount doom, to oh yay! that same NPC rescued us and saved the kingdom again, to oh no I'm not touching it you touch it I'm not going to touch it.. hey! Mikey! ....


....that is to say, in the first 25 years of the hobby, we found every possible dysfunctional way to play it. It's just not fair to expect 5e to cater to all of them, without a little effort on our part.

...but, about murderhobo play, specifically, it's not really a style, it's just a mean-spirited label for how D&D often shook out when you were just random rolling nameless characters until one had a series of lucky breaks and got powerful enough to survive and stringing together unrelated modules into a campaign.
You learned that life was cheap and magic items were invaluable, and that the next cache of magic items wasn't going to be anywhere near the last.
So you moved around - sometimes even unwittingly between worlds - killed whatever was in that next module, and took their stuff.
That's really more home invasion robbery.
And, since you were often at least nominally hire by local authorities, a lot more like paramilitary security consultants than hobos.

(Also, I guess hobos have really let their image slip since the early 20th century.)
 

HJFudge

Villager
Calling a legitimate D&D game meaningless, when it’s probably the most meaningful game around? We’re all ace DMs but no-one actually sees our game. This one guy (and players) actually show a game and it’s exceptionally good and everyone is quick to dismiss it as “not an example of real D&D”, “meaningless”.

I’m not sure why this burns my britches, but it all seems more like “tall poppy syndrome” than actual criticism. I certainly have things I don’t prefer about the way Matt Mercer runs his game, but I would never for one second criticise it as illegitimate, which is the subtext of these critiques. i.e. If you think CR is D&D, you’re wrong.
Well, a couple points here. I get that you enjoy the show, but you even addressed it as a show. Your initial complaint was 'I wish people would stop disparaging this show'

Because, again, it is a show.

People behave differently when they know they are observed. I know that if I decided to put my game on display and stream it, that I would run it differently because I am no longer trying to run a game I would be hosting a show.

And you are right, it seems like something other than actual criticism because it is not criticism. I am merely calling it what it is and pointing out that, unless you are trying to entertain an audience, you should probably not use the show as a guide or example of how to run a game. Much like, if I wanted to learn tips on how to run a game of FATE, I would be very ill served to go ask a DM whose done D&D and D&D-alikes and to sit in at his table and then try and model my behavior on that. It is simply just not the same thing!

Is it criticism against the D&D DM? Of course not! Does it make what the D&D DM is doing 'meaningless'? No, at his table and for his players and for those looking to run that style of game it has plenty of meaning. If you want to learn how to run a successful stream or a game that is meant to be observed, you should definitely go study and practice what Mercer and Co. are doing. It has a meaning and people enjoy that meaning. But when a new DM wants to learn how to DM, it is a bad choice to use as a role model unless that person wants to put on a show.

I get it though. You really like it, so you are very protective of it, I understand. Its like if someone trash talks your favorite sports team. Or someone says 'I don't like firefly'. Fans will get mad, its not about reason or rational, its an instinctive thing. You view it as an attack on you, because its something you love. But it isn't. Again, I'm not even saying I dislike the show! (For the record, I dont? but I dont enjoy watching streams in general of anything so thats not really a mark against it its just my tastes)
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
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.
Um, no. Roleplaying is not acting. The definition you posted doesn't say "acting" or any form of act anywhere. Roleplaying is the act of playing a role. That doesn't require acting. If you say, "Bob the Fighter swings his sword," that's roleplaying -- you're playing the role of Bob the fighter. It isn't, however, acting.

And, no, again, you do not have to charismatic to roleplay a charismatic character because, again, you do not have to act to roleplay. I can roleplay a charismatic character by saying, "Bob the Bard spins a wonderful tale about how heroic it is to slay dragons to encourage the King's army to stand against the dragons impending attack!" This is roleplaying. This is not acting.

Can you act? Absolutely, and a lot of people have fun acting. However, acting is sufficient but not necessary for roleplaying.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
For me, the best games to play, the best gaming experiences, happen when a player character can shape the world through their in game actions and the group of players can tell a story.

As soon as I feel like I am not in control of my destiny in the game, I lose interest. When every place I turn, when every rock I uncover, is somehow revolving around me and the party? The world loses any interest for me.

Those kind of words are poorly designed, because there is no mystery, there is no choice, just a paper thin illusion that the DM crafted 'especially for us'...which is fine and all, but I want a world where I help shape through my decisions and actions, not through the fiat of someone who knows whats best for my party. If the world is properly designed, there is room for me and my party to make decisions and interact with it that feel more 'real'.

Maybe the Empire of Doom doesnt have *anything to do with us as characters*...at least at first, when its created. In fact, its better that it does not!

Because then, during ACTUAL PLAY, we the party may decide how we want to interact with the Empire of Doom. Do we want to engineer its downfall, and work against it at every turn? Or maybe, just maybe, we can ally with them to bring down someone else whom we decided we don't like? Or perhaps we want to infiltrate it from the inside? Maybe we don't care about it at all and would rather explore the wilds and find monsters and treasure.

The thing is? When play begins...we the players *do not know* what we want quite yet. Neither does the DM. So if he's designed it around us and decided that it's going to be our major nemesis? He has ripped away any agency we had regarding it. There is no choice. They are the BAD GUYS and now we must fight them. Maybe we didn't want to fight them. Maybe thats not the story that wouldve been told if the group had been allowed to make decisions.

I believe that the core of the DnD experience...indeed, most tabletop gaming experience...is allowing the players to decide what their characters are to the world. Not designing a world that forces that choice on them.

Which is what those who are 'designing the world for the specific PCs' are doing, whether they acknowledge it or not. And if that is the world building advice the DMG is giving to players? It is terrible, bad advice. This isn't a book or a play or a show, its a tabletop game. If you wanna tell a cool story go write a book, DMing isnt for you. Let the story emerge on its own, get out of its way.
Oh, I disagree (I know, in this thread it's shocking!). If the players are involved in world generation, then their PCs are already hooked into the world from the start -- they've helped build it to challenge their PCs. Again, this takes a system that actively challenged fundamental PC build choices so that the world continues to evolve in play to challenge the PCs, and D&D is not one of these systems. If your experience is D&D or similar heavily GM driven games, you probably lack the exposure to these techniques and an understanding of how they work. This isn't a slight, nor is it even a bad thing -- it's just a different thing. It's not better (or worse), just different. These games work in a fundamentally different way that games like D&D work, and they can produce very deep and very involved worlds that are, literally, built around the PCs during play.

Now, for D&D games? Yeah, you can't really build a game around the PCs. There's no supporting mechanics to make this work, and the system doesn't have any way to engage in this kind of play. D&D requires prep and GM worldbuilding as a fundamental building block. If you try to do otherwise, the system fights you and you'll either have a bad time or end up tossing the system out when it gets in the way and just make it up as you go (which can be awesome, but requires the right table).
 

HJFudge

Villager
Oh, I disagree (I know, in this thread it's shocking!). If the players are involved in world generation, then their PCs are already hooked into the world from the start -- they've helped build it to challenge their PCs. Again, this takes a system that actively challenged fundamental PC build choices so that the world continues to evolve in play to challenge the PCs, and D&D is not one of these systems. If your experience is D&D or similar heavily GM driven games, you probably lack the exposure to these techniques and an understanding of how they work. This isn't a slight, nor is it even a bad thing -- it's just a different thing. It's not better (or worse), just different. These games work in a fundamentally different way that games like D&D work, and they can produce very deep and very involved worlds that are, literally, built around the PCs during play.

Now, for D&D games? Yeah, you can't really build a game around the PCs. There's no supporting mechanics to make this work, and the system doesn't have any way to engage in this kind of play. D&D requires prep and GM worldbuilding as a fundamental building block. If you try to do otherwise, the system fights you and you'll either have a bad time or end up tossing the system out when it gets in the way and just make it up as you go (which can be awesome, but requires the right table).
I agree with you. But I can't comment on the systems who might do this well, as you are very right. I havent been exposed/played with those systems. The closest thing I have played is probably Microscope but thats...a very different thing and isn't something with characters, really?

Regardless...assume all of these posts I make are from the perspective of d20 D&D-alikes worldbuilding needs! I fully acknowledge that another system that is unlike these might have different methods that work better when playing and engaging with those systems!
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Well, a couple points here. I get that you enjoy the show, but you even addressed it as a show. Your initial complaint was 'I wish people would stop disparaging this show'

Because, again, it is a show.

People behave differently when they know they are observed. I know that if I decided to put my game on display and stream it, that I would run it differently because I am no longer trying to run a game I would be hosting a show.

And you are right, it seems like something other than actual criticism because it is not criticism. I am merely calling it what it is and pointing out that, unless you are trying to entertain an audience, you should probably not use the show as a guide or example of how to run a game. Much like, if I wanted to learn tips on how to run a game of FATE, I would be very ill served to go ask a DM whose done D&D and D&D-alikes and to sit in at his table and then try and model my behavior on that. It is simply just not the same thing!

Is it criticism against the D&D DM? Of course not! Does it make what the D&D DM is doing 'meaningless'? No, at his table and for his players and for those looking to run that style of game it has plenty of meaning. If you want to learn how to run a successful stream or a game that is meant to be observed, you should definitely go study and practice what Mercer and Co. are doing. It has a meaning and people enjoy that meaning. But when a new DM wants to learn how to DM, it is a bad choice to use as a role model unless that person wants to put on a show.

I get it though. You really like it, so you are very protective of it, I understand. Its like if someone trash talks your favorite sports team. Or someone says 'I don't like firefly'. Fans will get mad, its not about reason or rational, its an instinctive thing. You view it as an attack on you, because its something you love. But it isn't. Again, I'm not even saying I dislike the show! (For the record, I dont? but I dont enjoy watching streams in general of anything so thats not really a mark against it its just my tastes)
Pretty much, and we have seen a lot of it over the years, if one wants to one can always find someth9ng about somebody else's DnD game to use in one's own mind to say it's "not real dnd", "not good dnd" or "not a good example of dnd" because you want to.

It tends to be easy to be dismissive - like saying it's not a good guide for running a game... however you want to divide it from a game.

But hey, we get it you do not like Critical Role... and it shows.

To each his own.

But addressing your "guide points"...

I certainly would not (taking your last guide dig) point a new DM wanting to learn how to DM... their game is not at all beginner level. Then again, I wouldn't use mine either. Though we do bring in new players- most recently a newbie who watched critrole.

But as for it bring an example of how to game or one way to run a DnD game for more experienced groups, I think it's a pretty good example for that. But just "watching others gm" is not usually imo the best teaching or guide approach in general.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
I agree with you. But I can't comment on the systems who might do this well, as you are very right. I havent been exposed/played with those systems. The closest thing I have played is probably Microscope but thats...a very different thing and isn't something with characters, really?

Regardless...assume all of these posts I make are from the perspective of d20 D&D-alikes worldbuilding needs! I fully acknowledge that another system that is unlike these might have different methods that work better when playing and engaging with those systems!
For one that has a bit of both, so it might be a good entry, look at Blades in the Dark. This is a game where you play criminals doing criminal things to, mostly, other criminals. The setting is pretty thin -- a single city post magical apocalypse with a little bit of history (which may or may not be correct). And I mean a little bit. The city has some thumbnail sketches of neighborhoods, a few thumbnails of institutions, and a lot of thumbnails of various gangs and factions in the city (around 20 or so). These are pretty thin -- just a bit of color, nothing concrete. Here's one: "The Dimmer Sisters (ii): Housebound recluses with an occult reputation." That's it.

So, in character creation, the PCs each establish a friend NPC and a rival NPC -- these are important NPCs that will make appearances. The PCs describe their relationship to these NPCs, and they show up at the best and worst times. The players also establish a vice and a vice dealer for their PC. This is also an axis play with revolve on. They also establish which factions might like them and which factions do not, creating a dynamic tension right at the start of the game. Then play goes, with the players declaring scores -- and the players say what these are -- who they want to hit, why, and how. This makes some factions/NPCs mad, some happy, but the dynamic of the game will change, often radically, as play progresses and the players have to balance the way the system puts constant pressure on their PCs vs what they hope to accomplish for their PCs. The GM preps nothing -- the role of the GM is almost entirely reactionary. There's nothing to prep between sessions because the game handles itself in play. And, if you read a few play examples of Blades, you'll see it can build a very, very interesting world around the players as those thumbnails get fleshed out in play and the PCs build up interesting details about the world.

For instance, the Dimmer Sisters in my game are a big focal point. The Sisters Dimmer are very much fleshed out, and my players' characters are very, very keen to keep the Sisters happy so they'll help and not be inclined to turn their disfavor upon them. Because, despite never, ever being seen outside the house, those that the Sisters disfavor find pretty gruesome ends -- if they're lucky.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
Calling a legitimate D&D game meaningless, when it’s probably the most meaningful game around? We’re all ace DMs but no-one actually sees our game. This one guy (and players) actually show a game and it’s exceptionally good and everyone is quick to dismiss it as “not an example of real D&D”, “meaningless”.

I’m not sure why this burns my britches, but it all seems more like “tall poppy syndrome” than actual criticism. I certainly have things I don’t prefer about the way Matt Mercer runs his game, but I would never for one second criticise it as illegitimate, which is the subtext of these critiques. i.e. If you think CR is D&D, you’re wrong.
I agree with you on these points. I have only seen pieces of CR, as I'm not a fan of streamed games. Having said this, the CR team does not play that differently from our table, except for them being professional actors. They are certainly more polished and watchable than my group would be, but in terms of player engagement and story content? Seems like D&D to me.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Well, a couple points here. I get that you enjoy the show, but you even addressed it as a show. Your initial complaint was 'I wish people would stop disparaging this show'

Because, again, it is a show.
Oooh, you got me!

And you are right, it seems like something other than actual criticism because it is not criticism. I am merely calling it what it is and pointing out that, unless you are trying to entertain an audience, you should probably not use the show as a guide or example of how to run a game. Much like, if I wanted to learn tips on how to run a game of FATE, I would be very ill served to go ask a DM whose done D&D and D&D-alikes and to sit in at his table and then try and model my behavior on that. It is simply just not the same thing!
Actually it’s the most brutal criticism because you’re saying that it is so far removed from D&D that it is not even worthy of discussion. It is apparently “meaningless” in regards to playing the game.

I get it though. You really like it, so you are very protective of it, I understand. Its like if someone trash talks your favorite sports team. Or someone says 'I don't like firefly'. Fans will get mad, its not about reason or rational, its an instinctive thing. You view it as an attack on you, because its something you love. But it isn't. Again, I'm not even saying I dislike the show! (For the record, I dont? but I dont enjoy watching streams in general of anything so thats not really a mark against it its just my tastes)
I do like the show and I find some episodes to be very educational as Matt regularly deals with unique interesting encounters and his scene setting is exemplary. But I also find some episodes to be incredibly boring as the players endlessly debate their options. That’s how we know this is a game and not just a show. If they were worried about pleasing an audience they’d try and cut that out.

Anyway that’s enough of a side-track from me.
 

MrDM69

Villager
I think a better question would be "Does the world exist for the NPC's?", considering the NPC's only exist for the benefit of the PC's, and they only exist when the characters are around.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Um, no. Roleplaying is not acting. The definition you posted doesn't say "acting" or any form of act anywhere. Roleplaying is the act of playing a role. That doesn't require acting. If you say, "Bob the Fighter swings his sword," that's roleplaying -- you're playing the role of Bob the fighter. It isn't, however, acting.

And, no, again, you do not have to charismatic to roleplay a charismatic character because, again, you do not have to act to roleplay. I can roleplay a charismatic character by saying, "Bob the Bard spins a wonderful tale about how heroic it is to slay dragons to encourage the King's army to stand against the dragons impending attack!" This is roleplaying. This is not acting.

Can you act? Absolutely, and a lot of people have fun acting. However, acting is sufficient but not necessary for roleplaying.
Roleplaying is not acting, though acting is roleplaying. However, "Bob the fighter swings the sword," is also not roleplaying. The person controlling is not playing the role, but rather is just dictating how he's moving his piece. It's like playing Monopoly when I say, "7! The car lands on Virginia Avenue." Had the person said, "I swing my sword," that would be the person inhabiting and playing the role with no acting involved, rather than just dictating a piece move. Similarly, I can roleplay Monopoly if I really feel like it. I just have to say something like, "7! I put myself into gear and screech off, corning around the jail and stopping at Virginia Avenue."
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
What do you think?
Ooh, I do love a question with a great 'exception-oriented' answer. "It depends on the type of game we're playing."

In a low fantasy setting, one where magic is rare, magic items even moreso, and the players are meant to feel on the edge of their seat, constantly challenged, and worried for the lives of their characters from even basic, rugged bandits... well then the world exists without regard to the players and their characters. It is a living, breathing world of which they are a part, and the stories rarely flow into the 'epic' category of Dungeons and Dragons. It is typically dark, fatal, and brutal - and the world persists even long after the players, and their characters, have moved on.

No adventuring stores - the players need their own crafts, or to make connections to have gear created for them. No recognition of what an 'adventurer' even is - my group tends to find interesting things to do without anything being custom tailored to them and what they do. The setting lends itself to this type of play, and this type of world creation.

Then, there's the 'other hand', in which we're playing almost anything else (sci-fi, high fantasy, etc). In this case, when 'adventurer' is a known, expected, and reacted-to title, the world is far more specialized for the PCs, because these are closer to the epic, heroic tales of a brave few changing the world around them.
 

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