D&D General What are Players?

HammerMan

Legend
Okay I have a theory about gameing styles... most (not all) of your style comes down to what you think the players are, but there are multi questions to this.

1) Is the DM a player?
2) Are the players writers creating a narative?
3) Are the PCs able to have any narrative control of the world (before/after/or during game play)?
4) Are the players the audience watching 'the show' of the game?
5) Are players trying to 'win' by beating everything as best they can, or are they trying to make the most intresting story, or are they (oh god I hate this one) doing just what there characters would do?


in my eyes the DM is a player, all of the players (including the DM) are only partially creating a narrative, and PCs ALWAYS can help narrative control of the work before/after game play and sometimes during. I believe the Players are the audience, and as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets. I also think we are at 50/50 between players trying to win and trying to make intresting stories (so I expect that they will not always take the best choice).

what about you? Don't feel constrained by JUST my questions, this is open ended... What are Players?
 

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Vaalingrade

Legend
in my eyes the DM is a player, all of the players (including the DM) are only partially creating a narrative, and PCs ALWAYS can help narrative control of the work before/after game play and sometimes during.
Agreed except sometimes is replaced by 'also'.
I believe the Players are the audience, and as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets.
I feel that sometimes having character secrets being secrets can be useful as long as they're not stepping on another player's deal. Like, no you aren't secretly Bob's father, because.... well you'll see.
I also think we are at 50/50 between players trying to win and trying to make intresting stories
Heh. The idea that one of our games can be 'won' or have an ending... Teehee.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Heh. The idea that one of our games can be 'won' or have an ending... Teehee.
one of the most fun games I ever played was after we "won"

2nd edition AD&D. the DM made a world and had a necro shadow lich going to take it over. Pretty standard adventures, we raided a few dungeons with whispers of the threat every now and then, but around level 6 (for me 2e allowed for different level PCs) we found out about her (don't remember her name just that she was a shadow that was also a lich and specialized in necromancy) we foiled a few plans, then quested for a sunblade and killed her...then hunted her phalactery that turned out to be the heart of a dragon...facing her again (but weaker) and the dragon we lost half our party but we won... day saved... all of that though was prolog.

DM said "Well thats the game" and we were like "Heck no we want to keep playing what about those dwarves we needed to help us reforge the armor, we still owe them, and the hobogoblin army that was her living forces are still around, and we never fount out about what that mindflayer was talking about when we killed him" so we went on and played for 2 years AFTER that... and every amazing story Becky tells of that campaign (She was a fellow player but this game made her WANT to try to DM) is in those 2 years after...
 


Players definitely write the story. I couldn't put more emphasis on that. Players are absolutely not the "audience". DMs that want that should write a book.

Only last night the players lied to the lords of Neverwinter, starting a war with the Moonshae Isles. That was not in any of my preparations (I'm the DM), but it's much too cool to pass on, so war it is! Looks like we're going boating.
 

Dausuul

Legend
1) Is the DM a player?
Yes, in the broad colloquial sense (the DM is one of the people playing the game).

No, in the sense of D&D jargon (D&D defines roles called "DM" and "player" and they are distinct). One could argue that a DM with a DMPC is filling both roles and should be considered a player; but in general, you are one or the other at any given moment.

2) Are the players writers creating a narrative?
No. The players are not writers, and thank God for that, because most people are truly abysmal writers.

Nor are they "creating a narrative." They and the DM are producing raw material--a sequence of fictional events--that could be turned into a narrative, but narration involves much more than just regurgitating a sequence of events.

3) Are the PCs able to have any narrative control of the world (before/after/or during game play)?
If by "narrative control," you mean, "insert details into the world external to their PCs," then the answer is technically up to the DM but practically almost always yes. Any detail of a PC's history before the start of the campaign is going to involve something external to the PC.

4) Are the players the audience watching 'the show' of the game?
Some of them are. This is the "wallflower" player who just rolls what they're told to roll and is mostly there to enjoy the company of friends.

5) Are players trying to 'win' by beating everything as best they can, or are they trying to make the most intresting story, or are they (oh god I hate this one) doing just what there characters would do?
Depends on the player.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
one of the most fun games I ever played was after we "won"

2nd edition AD&D. the DM made a world and had a necro shadow lich going to take it over. Pretty standard adventures, we raided a few dungeons with whispers of the threat every now and then, but around level 6 (for me 2e allowed for different level PCs) we found out about her (don't remember her name just that she was a shadow that was also a lich and specialized in necromancy) we foiled a few plans, then quested for a sunblade and killed her...then hunted her phalactery that turned out to be the heart of a dragon...facing her again (but weaker) and the dragon we lost half our party but we won... day saved... all of that though was prolog.

DM said "Well thats the game" and we were like "Heck no we want to keep playing what about those dwarves we needed to help us reforge the armor, we still owe them, and the hobogoblin army that was her living forces are still around, and we never fount out about what that mindflayer was talking about when we killed him" so we went on and played for 2 years AFTER that... and every amazing story Becky tells of that campaign (She was a fellow player but this game made her WANT to try to DM) is in those 2 years after...
For context:

My current campaign had the PCs get a sneak peek at the BBEG. She is some sort of creature that can kill and replace people, either by swallowing them whole or desiccating them to dust.

They took one look at her MO and... left.

The continent. They fled into the night and started rooting for side quests and doing their own thing, paranotically ignoring the shadow growing over the city that's now been taken over by the BBEG. It's been three years real time. They still have no intention of facing what they think to be John Carpenter's The Thing anytime soon.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
1) Is the DM a player?
My answer to this is "yes+" The DM is a different type of player. One who prepares a world for play and runs the NPCs. The DM also has final say in mechanical decisions.
2) Are the players writers creating a narrative?
Sort of. They have the limited scope of being an individual in the setting and can impact it.
3) Are the PCs able to have any narrative control of the world (before/after/or during game play)?
Mostly during play, but I encourage DMs to seek input and feedback on the world/setting whenever.
4) Are the players the audience watching 'the show' of the game?
On its face, this seems a bit limiting. I'd say yes, they are watching a "show" in the sense they dont know what the DM has prepared for the story. Though, they get to react and/or be proactive with the "show" of the game too.
5) Are players trying to 'win' by beating everything as best they can, or are they trying to make the most interesting story, or are they (oh god I hate this one) doing just what their characters would do?
All three? I mean beating things and surviving could be seen as a win state. Also, who wants a non-interesting story? I do expect my players to act as best they can in the character space without being unduly disruptive.
in my eyes the DM is a player, all of the players (including the DM) are only partially creating a narrative, and PCs ALWAYS can help narrative control of the work before/after game play and sometimes during. I believe the Players are the audience, and as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets. I also think we are at 50/50 between players trying to win and trying to make intresting stories (so I expect that they will not always take the best choice).

what about you? Don't feel constrained by JUST my questions, this is open ended... What are Players?
I seem to be in tentative agreement with your ideas on, "what is a player?".

Okay I have a theory about gaming styles... most (not all) of your style comes down to what you think the players are, but there are multi questions to this.
Now that you have some replies, are you going to expand on your theory about gaming styles?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Okay I have a theory about gameing styles... most (not all) of your style comes down to what you think the players are, but there are multi questions to this.

1) Is the DM a player?
2) Are the players writers creating a narative?
3) Are the PCs able to have any narrative control of the world (before/after/or during game play)?
4) Are the players the audience watching 'the show' of the game?
5) Are players trying to 'win' by beating everything as best they can, or are they trying to make the most intresting story, or are they (oh god I hate this one) doing just what there characters would do?


in my eyes the DM is a player, all of the players (including the DM) are only partially creating a narrative, and PCs ALWAYS can help narrative control of the work before/after game play and sometimes during. I believe the Players are the audience, and as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets. I also think we are at 50/50 between players trying to win and trying to make intresting stories (so I expect that they will not always take the best choice).

what about you? Don't feel constrained by JUST my questions, this is open ended... What are Players?
1. The DM is a player, but not a Player. Everyone playing the game is a player. The PCs are played by Players. The remaining player is the DM.
2. I suppose you could look like that, but they are only writing what their PCs do. The DM is the player writing the responses of the world to those actions. Together the narrative is created.
3. Not by default. The DM can enact house rules or optional rules to change that.
4. No.
5. It's a combination of all three in my opinion. They need to beat some things, but not everything. They want to have fun, and interesting is the way to do that. And the Players should roleplay their characters(what their characters would do) to make the first two things happen.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Now that you have some replies, are you going to expand on your theory about gaming styles?
my theory is pretty simple. and it comes in two forms, but can be broken down to "We don't speak the same language"

As much as we talk about Combat as war vs COmbat as theater vs Combat as sport, or narrative or Railroads, Illusionism, and Participationism, or what ever argument we make, it all comes down to us not understanding each other.
 

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