D&D General What are Players?


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SirFrog

Explorer
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?
No to all of the questions
 

HammerMan

Legend
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.
maybe I am just used to different players... I actually had (pre covid when we were at my or my buddy's house 2-3 times a week) had the host, who was the paladin watch the ranger scouting (who was told it was a bad idea) run into a monster with tremor sense and a high perception ask "wait can we pause for like 2-3 minutes... then go make popcorn, put it in 4 plastic cups, hand them to the other 3 player keep one for himself then said "Okay, you can get back to Jon getting slaughtered now" as the rest of the team eat popcorn and ended each round with a quick conversation about stuff going on in game...
 


maybe I am just used to different players... I actually had (pre covid when we were at my or my buddy's house 2-3 times a week) had the host, who was the paladin watch the ranger scouting (who was told it was a bad idea) run into a monster with tremor sense and a high perception ask "wait can we pause for like 2-3 minutes... then go make popcorn, put it in 4 plastic cups, hand them to the other 3 player keep one for himself then said "Okay, you can get back to Jon getting slaughtered now" as the rest of the team eat popcorn and ended each round with a quick conversation about stuff going on in game...

Fun!

I said this before in another thread: I just assume the PCs eventually get back together and discuss what they've learned in their respective scenes without having to act it out and waste valuable table time. I'd much rather have engaged players than have them leave the room, physically or mentally or iPhonically, because "your character wouldn't know that" type of play. Of course, as DM, I don't care a lick about meta-gaming which I understand is a real concern at other tables. Caring about meta-gaming is honestly just too much work for very little payout, IMO.

Even if the ranger in the example did get slaughtered without any of the other PCs witnessing it, at our table it is up to the players how they want to engage with that knowledge. "I've got a bad feeling about [ranger character]... they've been gone an awfully long time" would suffice to keep things moving. I realize YMMV for others.

TLDR: in 5e at least - players are people who are gathered to have fun and create a memorable, exciting story together.
 

HammerMan

Legend
it was...okay maybe not for Jon and/or his ranger

I said this before in another thread: I just assume the PCs eventually get back together and discuss what they've learned in their respective scenes without having to act it out and waste valuable table time. I'd much rather have engaged players than have them leave the room, physically or mentally or iPhonically, because "your character wouldn't know that" type of play. Of course, as DM, I don't care a lick about meta-gaming which I understand is a real concern at other tables. Caring about meta-gaming is honestly just too much work for very little payout, IMO.

Even if the ranger in the example did get slaughtered without any of the other PCs witnessing it, at our table it is up to the players how they want to engage with that knowledge. "I've got a bad feeling about [ranger character]... they've been gone an awfully long time" would suffice to keep things moving. I realize YMMV for others.

TLDR: in 5e at least - players are people who are gathered to have fun and create a memorable, exciting story together.
Yeah, and I have found that on occasions where "secrets are kept" it is still easier to just say "I don't tell you guys about X"

It also stops players who have swiss cheese memories and aren't not takers but are playing decent Int/Wis in game from having to stop mid telling to ask the DM to repeat stuff... the people with the better memories and or note takers got it
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Fun!

I said this before in another thread: I just assume the PCs eventually get back together and discuss what they've learned in their respective scenes without having to act it out and waste valuable table time.
I don't assume any such thing!

I also want to give the scout's player the ability (dare I say, agency) to give the report in his own words when he returns. This allows the player, in-character as the scout, to (intentionally or otherwise) ignore or emphasize particular elements of what the scout discovered; while also being far more believable in that getting an own-words report is how it'd work in real life.

Obviously if the waiting party have means of scrying the scout that's a different matter, but that's pretty rare IME at anything other than high levels.
I'd much rather have engaged players than have them leave the room, physically or mentally or iPhonically, because "your character wouldn't know that" type of play. Of course, as DM, I don't care a lick about meta-gaming which I understand is a real concern at other tables. Caring about meta-gaming is honestly just too much work for very little payout, IMO.
For me, both as DM and player, metagaming ruins the game. People metagaming has been the cause of more out-of-character arguments over the years than has any other single element - even alignment, if you can believe that! - as some players just can't help themselves from (ab)using player knowledge their characters wouldn't have and, further, can't help themselves from telling other players what their characters should do in situations their own PCs have no knowledge of.
Even if the ranger in the example did get slaughtered without any of the other PCs witnessing it, at our table it is up to the players how they want to engage with that knowledge. "I've got a bad feeling about [ranger character]... they've been gone an awfully long time" would suffice to keep things moving. I realize YMMV for others.
Provided the waiting PCs allow a reasonable amount of in-game time to pass before getting worried about their scout, fine. (most of the time they set a vague in-character deadline e.g. "If I'm not back by dawn send in a search party 'cause it means I've found trouble I can't handle")

It's when the waiting PCs start mounting a rescue mission as soon as (unknown to them) the scout finds trouble that believability goes out the window. Or when non-involved players keep making suggestions instead of letting the scout's player make his own decisions about what the scout will do, where it will go, etc.
 

I don't assume any such thing!

I also want to give the scout's player the ability (dare I say, agency) to give the report in his own words when he returns. This allows the player, in-character as the scout, to (intentionally or otherwise) ignore or emphasize particular elements of what the scout discovered; while also being far more believable in that getting an own-words report is how it'd work in real life.
If that's fun for your table, that's great. For our 5e table, it's truly a waste of our valuable time to have someone reenact a scene for everyone at the table who just witnessed it - and for, what? To maybe give the scout's player a chance to withhold some information during a cooperative game? That just doesn't jive with our playstyle. There are plenty of other fun opportunities for interparty bickering that we don't need to employ such tactics.

Obviously if the waiting party have means of scrying the scout that's a different matter, but that's pretty rare IME at anything other than high levels.
Sure, that's cool.

For me, both as DM and player, metagaming ruins the game. People metagaming has been the cause of more out-of-character arguments over the years than has any other single element - even alignment, if you can believe that! - as some players just can't help themselves from (ab)using player knowledge their characters wouldn't have and, further, can't help themselves from telling other players what their characters should do in situations their own PCs have no knowledge of.
Yep. It certainly has and continues to do so for some. I mean, "players telling other players what their characters should do" - full stop - is something that should be employed very sparingly. Perhaps only as advice if a player is taking too long. Otherwise, everyone should be ready on their turn. Are you listening to me, players? Be ready on your turn! Sorry... I digress.

Honestly, the best thing I ever did for our table (and my own enjoyment of DMing) was to throw metagaming and all the frustrating thought-policing that comes with it to the curb. It is really a self-imposed frustration that doesn't need to be part of the game at all. Instead, I urge players to focus on interacting with the game world via their PC before taking action on any metagaming assumptions. Truly the best advice I ever got here for running the game. YMMV.

Provided the waiting PCs allow a reasonable amount of in-game time to pass before getting worried about their scout, fine. (most of the time they set a vague in-character deadline e.g. "If I'm not back by dawn send in a search party 'cause it means I've found trouble I can't handle")

It's when the waiting PCs start mounting a rescue mission as soon as (unknown to them) the scout finds trouble that believability goes out the window. Or when non-involved players keep making suggestions instead of letting the scout's player make his own decisions about what the scout will do, where it will go, etc.
Sounds like a mismatch of expectations which is why you might sometimes hear people here talk about wanting the players to provide "reasonable specificity" for what their PCs are going to do next . If the scout was going out to do scouty things and the rest of the party agreed they were setting up camp then waiting until dawn to go find said scout if need be, well, we're going to resolve their respective actions just like that. No take-backs. The scout's scene gets resolved - and if it goes badly and they don't return, guess what? It's dawn and we go back to the rest of the party to resolve what they're going to do next. No sneaky early rescue mission b/c the players already got to decide what they were going to do and when.


Coda: @Lanefan while we play different editions and we don't agree on a ton of things (although I am noticing more and more similarities over time), I just wanted to say I do appreciate reading what you have to offer. Sometimes it strengthens my resolve for how I do things. Sometimes it teaches me something new. Anyway, thanks.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yep. It certainly has and continues to do so for some. I mean, "players telling other players what their characters should do" - full stop - is something that should be employed very sparingly. Perhaps only as advice if a player is taking too long. Otherwise, everyone should be ready on their turn. Are you listening to me, players? Be ready on your turn! Sorry... I digress.

Honestly, the best thing I ever did for our table (and my own enjoyment of DMing) was to throw metagaming and all the frustrating thought-policing that comes with it to the curb. It is really a self-imposed frustration that doesn't need to be part of the game at all. Instead, I urge players to focus on interacting with the game world via their PC before taking action on any metagaming assumptions. Truly the best advice I ever got here for running the game. YMMV.
I have a very long history of (certain) players who are/were pretty much incapable of following the bolded advice without using out-of-character knowledge - if they had it. Pretty much the only way to stop it was to make sure their character knowledge and player knowledge matched where possible; and from there it became easier to just do the same for everyone.

It's far easier if-when the scout is an NPC as then I can simply roll to see what's found or missed and then give an in-character report on her return - if she makes it. That's exactly the same experience I want for the non-scout players if-when the scout is a PC, only it by necessity takes longer as the scout-player and I have to RP the mission either by note or in another room.

That said, we're generally not as fussed about at-table time as some others seem to be; particularly if we're playing in person any downtime can be used to grab another beer or get some snacks or whatever.
Sounds like a mismatch of expectations which is why you might sometimes hear people here talk about wanting the players to provide "reasonable specificity" for what their PCs are going to do next . If the scout was going out to do scouty things and the rest of the party agreed they were setting up camp then waiting until dawn to go find said scout if need be, well, we're going to resolve their respective actions just like that. No take-backs. The scout's scene gets resolved - and if it goes badly and they don't return, guess what? It's dawn and we go back to the rest of the party to resolve what they're going to do next. No sneaky early rescue mission b/c the players already got to decide what they were going to do and when.
Agreed. It's when the specificity isn't provided - even to that vague degree - that problems can and do arise. As DM I often have to ask, before a scout leaves on such a mission, how long the party intend to wait before becoming concerned.
Coda: @Lanefan while we play different editions and we don't agree on a ton of things (although I am noticing more and more similarities over time), I just wanted to say I do appreciate reading what you have to offer. Sometimes it strengthens my resolve for how I do things. Sometimes it teaches me something new. Anyway, thanks.
Thanks for that! Very kind of you to say. :)
 





Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In my opinion, no. He is adjudicating the game
RAW and my experience say that you are wrong. If all he was doing was adjudicating, someone else would be making the adventures and playing the NPCs/Monsters. Adjudicator is just one of the hats this player is wearing.
 

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