Schrödinger's Rogue

After last night's Tomb of Annihilation session, I've observed the following phenomenon that I'm going to call Schrödinger's Rogue. Some time after the party enters a room, a PC (often, but not always, a rogue) will declare that they did not in fact enter the room. However, after nothing terrible happens to the party, they will start asking questions about the room, despite not having said that they went into the room to see any of it. So the rogue is simultaneous in the room and not in the room.

Anyway, I told the player and the table that from here on out, I'm going to assume that all of you stick together unless someone tells me otherwise beforehand. Because I am not spending the time before every room to ask each player if they go in or not. That would bog the game down to no end. Not to mention, the inevitable "I never said I went in there!" when something does go wrong for the party.

Anyone else experience this?
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
I haven't seen it that I've noticed in the campaigns I'm running, but those aren't dungeon crawls, though, so it wouldn't make sense. I've played in campaigns where there wasn't clarity on things like Door Procedures or marching order or things like that, and a player or two would try to game the lack of clarity in an attempt to improve survivability. I think as the DM that making your presumptions clear is probably the best way to handle it.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Are you running the game theater of the mind or tableau vivant? If the latter, it should be obvious who's in the room or not since their mini/token will have moved into the room.

If you're doing theater of the mind, I think it's even more important to establish a marching order and to give the people in the front ranks some kind of authority to establish the party's movement. The assumption is you're following behind the front rank unless you state otherwise and the window for declaring so is very short.
 

Big Bucky

Villager
I’ve definitely had that happen. I don’t use a battle map so I’ve found it helps if you are frequently giving summaries of what people are doing. “Ok Ragnor is inspecting the wall for any openings, Beedle is going to pick up the idol to see if anything happens, Grom what are you doing?”. I feel like it helps set the scene.

I also set up default assumptions like you said. I have them come up with a marching order at the start of the campaign and assume that is what they are doing until told otherwise. I also don’t have them pick a watch order. If something comes in the middle of the night. I roll a die to see who happens to be awake. The GM has too much to keep track of to bother with the nit picky stuff.
 
Or just have the monsters in the hall for a couple of sessions, that'll learn him pretty quick. More seriously, and this really applies more for TotM, just have the party come up with a default room clearing protocol. Whatever standard procedure is for them. That'll save a bunch of decision making and declaration on the front end and you'll still always know where Schrodinger is.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I’ve definitely had that happen. I don’t use a battle map so I’ve found it helps if you are frequently giving summaries of what people are doing. “Ok Ragnor is inspecting the wall for any openings, Beedle is going to pick up the idol to see if anything happens, Grom what are you doing?”. I feel like it helps set the scene.
Yeah, I do this kind of thing too. As soon as a player says they're doing something that would require entering the room, I say "Okay - so you're entering the room?"

Nine times out of ten when I say this, there is in fact no danger and they can enter the room safely. Also about nine times out of ten, the question causes hesitation and wariness. I try to cultivate just the right level of paranoia in my players; not so much that they become paralyzed with fear, but enough that they don't ever feel... quite... safe. :)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If there's ever any question I ask before it becomes relevant one way or another. Otherwise assume the party sticks together in an established marching order.
 

toucanbuzz

Adventurer
Reminds me of Knights of the Dinner Table. When something good was happening, they'd later say their characters were in the room. When a trap went off, they'd come up with reasons they weren't in the room, leading the DM to one day require minis...



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After last night's Tomb of Annihilation session, I've observed the following phenomenon that I'm going to call Schrödinger's Rogue. Some time after the party enters a room, a PC (often, but not always, a rogue) will declare that they did not in fact enter the room. However, after nothing terrible happens to the party, they will start asking questions about the room, despite not having said that they went into the room to see any of it. So the rogue is simultaneous in the room and not in the room.

Anyway, I told the player and the table that from here on out, I'm going to assume that all of you stick together unless someone tells me otherwise beforehand. Because I am not spending the time before every room to ask each player if they go in or not. That would bog the game down to no end. Not to mention, the inevitable "I never said I went in there!" when something does go wrong for the party.

Anyone else experience this?
Yes....especially in Tomb of Annihilation due to the more old school, procedural method involved in classic dungeon delving. It was a shift in the playstyle my group's been using for some time.

The timing of entering a room, the positions of where everyone is at a certain time (when a trap goes off, for instance), and the party order.....all that stuff becomes hyper relevant.

We quickly had to adopt a standard Marching Protocol and a standard Door Protocol. These were the assumed defaults. I'd ask at a relevant point "Standard Door Protocol?" and they'd either confirm, or they could tell me what changes they wanted. If they didn't speak up at that point, then that was it. Then, once the door was opened, I asked each player in order what their character did. Kind of force an initiative in that way, and have everyone declare actions one at a time, in order.

It can take some work to get used to asking all these details, and sometimes it can be tedious. That adventure, which I plopped into my ongoing campaign, was a real challenge in that regard. The Protocols helped, but I also loosened up a bit as the adventure went on, and things got better. I focused more on the denizens of the tomb more than the traps.
 
I should have mentioned that yes, I run Theatre of the Mind. So that does make things more nebulous.

I think next time I will talk about establishing a marching order. I imagine it's going to be the two barbarians in front, but again, best to not assume.

Can't say it wasn't tempting to have a couple Tomb Dwarves show up to do some life-draining on the rogue.
 
I like having a little list of habitual actions for a party. Standard marching order, standard watch rotations, standard room clearance, shizz like that. It speeds things up more than you'd imagine and it mirrors pretty well how well trained groups of professionals tend to handle routine tasks.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It also helps if you're telegraphing threats well. Players can pick up on clues as to when they should be more cautious than usual or whether everything looks pretty clear. And even if they don't manage to pick up on the clue and run afoul of some hidden threat, they can't say you didn't drop any clues which preempts perception of the challenge as a "gotcha."
 
Honestly, I don't think I'll have to do anything...on his first session, while everyone else was short-resting after the battle with the flaming skull and swarms of undead spiders (shudder), during which he just hid (at the time, I thought he was preparing for a solid sneak attack, but no, he just stayed hidden and did nothing), he decided to go explore the Tomb on his own. I kept expecting him to turn back, but no, he kept going until he nearly fell to his death, then proceeded to fall for the classic mimic-as-a-treasure chest. It's a small miracle he survived that.

Kill the rogue if he is outside the room
Kill the rogue if he is inside the room.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
After last night's Tomb of Annihilation session, I've observed the following phenomenon that I'm going to call Schrödinger's Rogue. Some time after the party enters a room, a PC (often, but not always, a rogue) will declare that they did not in fact enter the room. However, after nothing terrible happens to the party, they will start asking questions about the room, despite not having said that they went into the room to see any of it. So the rogue is simultaneous in the room and not in the room.

Anyone else experience this?
Yes, sadly.

Fortunately we use a grid-and-map much of the time, so it's easy to see where PCs are; but if (when) I see character pieces suddenly being retroactively repositioned at the first sign of danger the DM smackdown hammer comes out in a hurry.

As for the Rogue here, asking questions is actually OK (s/he could always be calling into the room from outside "What do you see in there?" "Did you check so-and-so?" etc.) but if s/he actually starts interacting with anything in the room while at the same time not being there then we have a problem.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
You need this thread:

Pin the players down on what they're doing and where they are when one PC starts to do something before you adjudicate what the outcome of that PC's action is
 

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