D&D General What are Players?

HammerMan

Legend
or are they (oh god I hate this one) doing just what there characters would do?
As long as that does not become an excuse for doing something that is un-fun for others at the table then sure, although I don't really care for that phrasing either.
I have had to explain to problem players "You MADE the character, and you ultimately decide what they would or would not do, so if you decide to do X, Y, or Z, that is YOU who decided not the paper in front of you."
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
I have had to explain to problem players "You MADE the character, and you ultimately decide what they would or would not do, so if you decide to do X, Y, or Z, that is YOU who decided not the paper in front of you."

Yes, it's something that needs to be said now and then to some players, and usually because they are inherently troublemakers. The case of the "really hard core roleplayer" happens, but is in my experience much more rare, although it requires the same response.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
yes, and again this is why I don't do passing notes or in other room meetings... when player A is off at thieves guild the others are the audience... even if the thief is plotting to betray the party (although we don't do that any more either).

I wanted to ask you from your original post, but forgot about it, is this what you referred to as "as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets" ?

Because for me it's not exactly the same thing, but I'll explain more once I have a better idea of what you think, I just don't want to answer completely out of the topic.
 

Oofta

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?
The DM is playing a game, they are not a player.
2) Are the players writers creating a narative?
In a sense. They're writing their PC's narrative in how they act and respond. But it's improv theater within constricted scenarios, constricted by both the scenes that the DM provides and the rules of the game.


3) Are the PCs able to have any narrative control of the world (before/after/or during game play)?
The DM sets the stage, the players have control what they say and attempt to achieve. In my games they aren't in control of anything other than their PCs though. While they can make suggestions and 95% plus of the stuff they make up for background and history is fine, I retain editorial control. I want the world to make sense and remain consistent.

So I guess it depends what you consider narrative control.
4) Are the players the audience watching 'the show' of the game?
Sometimes. Sometimes the DM is presenting a scene, sometimes another player has the spotlight at the moment.
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?
It's a game. The goal is to have fun hanging out and trying to enact a character in a fantasy world. So ... yes it's just what their character would do, but that doesn't mean they can use that as an excuse to be asinine.

One of the things I discuss in my session 0 is "don't be a jerk" and "play someone who wants to be part of a team".
 

payn

Legend
and with the answers we have so far I can see there is no consensus on any of this...witch I suspected. Now I can argue I am right and you are wrong until I am blue in the face, but really we are all right...for our own games.

The fact that in my games DMs are players too, and all players have (some) narrative control, and that my players are the writers/actors (someone said improv actors so that fits the mix) and audience all in one. That doesn't mean that if your game you see the DM as not playing, give 0 narrative control out side of the character to the PCS and see them as players moving pawns more then writer or audience that you are wrong...

but unlike almost any other game (Zelda, Monopoly, Poker, Basketball ect ect) we sre all pretty much playing different games
This feels a lot like a self fulfilling prophecy. I think there is much more agreement here than you give credit for. There are many styles of Poker and folks love to argue about which one is superior to another. There is a lot of variance in styles of play, that have little to do with the type of poker game. This is another case of folks thinking RPGs are some unicorn destined to go undefined and impossible to theorize. They are not.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Yes, it's something that needs to be said now and then to some players, and usually because they are inherently troublemakers. The case of the "really hard core roleplayer" happens, but is in my experience much more rare, although it requires the same response.
I have nothing but respect for the woman who once told me "it's what my character would do" knowing it would break her from the party, handed me her sheet, and pulled out a new one to create a new character un pomted... I just see the phrase way more abused then used.
 

HammerMan

Legend
I wanted to ask you from your original post, but forgot about it, is this what you referred to as "as such I have 100% banned out of game secrets" ?

Because for me it's not exactly the same thing, but I'll explain more once I have a better idea of what you think, I just don't want to answer completely out of the topic.
what I mean is that when we were in HS we would pass notes, take players in other rooms (if we had these new magic boxes we would have texted). Now half the fun of our characters NOT knowing is that we the players DO know... we watched the other player have the conversation...

it also helps that sometimes we have goldfish memories and someone else can remind us out of game "You DO remember your character is the only one that knows X" and then let the player decide what to do with the info only they have.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I have nothing but respect for the woman who once told me "it's what my character would do" knowing it would break her from the party, handed me her sheet, and pulled out a new one to create a new character un pomted...

While on the one hand I agree that this is somehow awesome, creating a new character rather than modifying an existing one is actually more disruptive to the party and possibly the table than just modifying a trait of the character. It's still, in essence, rather selfish rather than adaptative to the table's need, although it is certainly being much less a wangrod.

I just see the phrase way more abused then used.

Indeed...
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
what I mean is that when we were in HS we would pass notes, take players in other rooms (if we had these new magic boxes we would have texted). Now half the fun of our characters NOT knowing is that we the players DO know... we watched the other player have the conversation...

it also helps that sometimes we have goldfish memories and someone else can remind us out of game "You DO remember your character is the only one that knows X" and then let the player decide what to do with the info only they have.

OK, it's more clear, thanks. Because while I agree that, especially with good players, it's much easier not to pass note and to have everyone watching everything that happens, it is separate from the characters not having in particular personal secrets from their history.

Finally, I know that on the internet you need to have an extreme opinion, and while I agree that in general, passing notes and having secrets is not the best things, there are still cases where it makes for better drama, so I don't forbid myself from doing that in my games, I just try to restrict it to the rare cases when it's truly beneficial, and we have a global agreement about this at our tables.

Note that the remote playing and VTTs have created possibilities here, and that some people who like secrets have used that to revive the practice a bit too much, and DM should be aware of this.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
OK, it's more clear, thanks. Because while I agree that, especially with good players, it's much easier not to pass note and to have everyone watching everything that happens, it is separate from the characters not having in particular personal secrets from their history.

Finally, I know that on the internet you need to have an extreme opinion, and while I agree that in general, passing notes and having secrets is not the best things, there are still cases where it makes for better drama, so I don't forbid myself from doing that in my games, I just try to restrict it to the rare cases when it's truly beneficial, and we have a global agreement about this at our tables.

Note that the remote playing and VTTs have created possibilities here, and that some people who like secrets have used that to revive the practice a bit too much, and DM should be aware of this.
My take is that as far as possible player knowledge should equal character knowledge; thus if one PC is off scouting and the other PCs have no way of knowing what's happening to said PC, that scouting should be handled by note or in another room for one simple reason: my experience is that no matter how good their intentions may be, some players are simply incapable of separating player knowledge and character knowledge when it really matters. Scout gets in over her head and oh, look, suddenly the party are sending in a rescue mission where in reality they'd have had no way of knowing the scout was in trouble until much later when she failed to return.

Never mind that doing it this way gives the scout PC's player the chance to give a first-person report on returning to the party, which report may or may not be accurate and allows for said inaccuracy to be or not be intentional.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Never mind that doing it this way gives the scout PC's player the chance to give a first-person report on returning to the party, which report may or may not be accurate and allows for said inaccuracy to be or not be intentional.

That's why I try to be flexible in the approach, and why people in our game use message a lot, or have a familiar riding on the rogue's shoulder, etc. That gives me some flexibility, because ultimately it's a compromise between fun and verisimilitude. To each his own...
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
While on the one hand I agree that this is somehow awesome, creating a new character rather than modifying an existing one is actually more disruptive to the party and possibly the table than just modifying a trait of the character. It's still, in essence, rather selfish rather than adaptative to the table's need, although it is certainly being much less a wangrod.
This falls right into the "it's what the character would do" mantra - a mantra I follow closely - and in the past I've roleplayed myself right out of games this way: my current PC left the party for [in-character reasons] and there was no believable way to bring in a replacement.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
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?
That's a great topic to introduce. One thought is that players are those who enter-into a game from outside, and in grasping and upholding its mechanisms meet the lusory expectations of other players. Thus your question could become - what are the lusory expectations of other players given their grasping and upholding of the mechanisms of an RPG?

This could seem to exclude 4) save that players always have a duality: they remain members of their real world, while subjecting themselves into the game world. So players are both performing the show, and watching it. Miguel Sicart uses that to construct a theory about game ethics (not one I fully agree with, though.)

In 5) you capture some player motivations. I suspect that we need to divide game into game and metagame in order to more fully understand their behaviour. Actually, we should consider the real world they exist in, and the game and metagames they subject themselves to.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I probably agree that a player should not keep secrets from the DM. (Of course, players can keep secrets from each other.)

If the DM is unaware of something, it simply doesnt exist in gameworld.

And whatever the secret might be, the DM and player would both have to agree on it anyway.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
For those saying that the DM is not a player, this is from the PHB page 5.

"One player, however, takes on the role of the Dungeon Master (DM), the game's lead storyteller and referee. The DM creates adventures for the characters, who navigate its hazards and decide which paths to explore."

In D&D, the DM is objectively a player, but he is not a Player(player of PCs).
 

Mercurius

Legend
Yet another example where "One True Wayism" creeps in, and there's a tendency for people to argue that there's one proper way to do it and everything else is wrong or, at least, inferior.

It really depends upon the table, and the agreements between DM and players. That is pretty much it, with lots of variations from that.

Or rather, the "right way" is what is right for a specific table and the enjoyment of everyone involved.

Some people like a game where players co-create the world and narrative, in a collaborative approach that may even involve rotating DMs, who are more arbiters and less so the singular storyteller. Others take the approach that the DM is the omniscient and omnipotent storyteller, and the players act with agency within the story but have no control over the world itself or what occurs outside of their character's actions.

There isn't a wrong way. Or rather, the only "wrong way" is either if it isn't working with a particular group and/or one thinks that everyone should follow their way, because their way is the "Best Way" (i.e. One True Wayism).
 





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