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World shattering events-That the PCs ignore

Poisoner

First Post
I am sure a lot of DMs have wanted to do world shattering events, the kind of events that change the world as the PCs know it, and often involves saving it. Now, what to do if your PCs just say "meh" and go on their way after hearing the dommsday omen from some mysterious figure. Would it be fair to have them adventure for normal for a while, then have the event occur because the PCs did nothing to stop it?
 

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Galeros said:
I am sure a lot of DMs have wanted to do world shattering events, the kind of events that change the world as the PCs know it, and often involves saving it. Now, what to do if your PCs just say "meh" and go on their way after hearing the dommsday omen from some mysterious figure. Would it be fair to have them adventure for normal for a while, then have the event occur because the PCs did nothing to stop it?

Yes, but I'd say drop some more clues anyway.

Giving out a certain doom prophecy and then not doing anything about it makes a campaign world look less "real". Though nothing really happens offscreen in a campaign world, the players need to feel like it does - that life goes on all around them, even in lands far away. That's what makes a campaign feel like a real place.
 


VirgilCaine

First Post
If the PCs ignore a doomsday prophecy in a world where these things are undeniably real...gee, they must be pretty bad roleplayers. I might even speed it up because of that.
 
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painandgreed

First Post
As a DM and player I tend to stay away from the "you must save the world" senarios. "Ok, the world is about to end and the gods and the epic level kings are all sitting on their asses and it's up to my 3rd level character to save the day? Riiiight."

If they really are fated to save the world while other things are going on around them, then they will probably get more than one chance to pay attention. in fact, there is probably nothing they can do to stay uninvolved. The warnings and omens will get more and more obvious until there is no doubt as to what they are to do (Of course, it will be harder for them to do it at that point.) If they ignore the cryptic warnings and the desperate pleas, then the bad guys know they're the ones and will try and hunt them down forcing them to save the world to save themselves.
 

VirgilCaine

First Post
painandgreed said:
As a DM and player I tend to stay away from the "you must save the world" senarios. "Ok, the world is about to end and the gods and the epic level kings are all sitting on their asses and it's up to my 3rd level character to save the day? Riiiight."

I didn't think it was "you" more like "someone must do X to save the world."
I would NEVER have a prophecy that needed a specific person.
 

dreaded_beast

First Post
Crothian said:
Also, show that other people are trying to stop it...and failing.

Great idea! I may use it soon.

Back on topic, I've already done something like that in my campaign. In fact, the PCs didn't have any chance to stop it from happening. However, they have the ability to change the world for the better, after the fact.

Basically, we are in the Forgotten Realms. Meteors fell from the sky, striking all of Faerun and leaving destruction everywhere. The meteors were fragments of a second Slaad Spawning Stone, bringing hordes of Slaad to FR. In addition, each stone held within it a Tarrasque. Plus, the PCs released a high-level demonic sorceress, who promptly proceeded to open gates to the Abyss and started summoning demons.

Right now, the PCs are hanging around a city filled with refugees. They want to make forays to a nearby city infested with Slaad and demons, in order to fight and gain some "quick exp".
 

Chimera

First Post
VirgilCaine said:
I didn't think it was "you" more like "someone must do X to save the world."
I would NEVER have a prophecy that needed a specific person.

Still, same basic reaction, especially if "others are trying and failing". Why would our party stand a chance in this circumstance???

As a GM, I avoid these things like the railroading plague that they are. I use megaplots, but NEVER "one path, one small group, can stop this thing" plots.

If the party ignores the megaplot, they're going to get killed along with everyone else who gets caught in it.

If they're avoiding it because they don't know what to do, then it's time to pull out the Friend/Ally/Patron card. Not some random unknown joker who ropes them in out of the blue, but a friend or past acquaintence who asks if they can do certain tasks along the road to resolving the megaplot. They can always refuse. If the party is only interested in the side plots and minor actions, then the Ally who runs the show gets the glory. If the party shows interest in following the major plots and taking charge, then they will get an opportunity to run the show and get the glory.

OR....The problem is resolved by others. Period. And thus the party gets none of the glory. Heck, depending on their actions, they may gain a reputation as cowards or selfish jerks.
 

The Grackle

First Post
I'm gonna vote the other way.

If players don't bite on a plot-hook, forget it and cast another line. It probably just didn't sound fun to them, and forcing people to play un-fun scenarios usually doesn't work out.
It's hard, but I always drop my plans (that I worked so hard on!) if the players go off in some expected direction. I'll just salvage pieces of what I had planned to use against them later, but they'll never know that.

So some mysterious figure said some crap. What does he know? He was probably just exagerrating to sound cool. No problem. But the cool Temple of Death, you can bet they're gonna run into that thing no matter where they go. (I drew maps!)
 


Whimsical

Explorer
Galeros said:
I am sure a lot of DMs have wanted to do world shattering events, the kind of events that change the world as the PCs know it, and often involves saving it. Now, what to do if your PCs just say "meh" and go on their way after hearing the dommsday omen from some mysterious figure. Would it be fair to have them adventure for normal for a while, then have the event occur because the PCs did nothing to stop it?
Sure, in fact such an event occuring just brings new opportunities for adventure for the PCs. But with the bonus of having their world shaken up and the rules changing. Did the bad guy win and conquer the world? Now the PCs are being hunted by the authorities and they have to learn to survive and preservere outside of the normal societal structures that they were used to. Heck, this would be a great time to transform your campaign to a Midnight campaign. You don't have to be heavy handed with the guilt and constant reminders that the PCs could have done something. Just be neutral in determining the outcome of the bad guys winning, then implement it. As long as the world didn't disintegrate, the game can continue.

There was an example of this in one of my DM's 2nd ed. Forgotten Realms campaign. We were around 9th level or so when an NPC relative approached the PC of one of the new players of the game. After giving him the troubling news from home that things are going on, the player just listened and did nothing. Then the DM got upset at us and shut the game down because we didn't take the plot hook. He resented that we didn't do the heroic thing. I had to remind the DM that our group only SEEMED heroic because our plot hooks have always started with an NPC offering to pay us to do something for him, then after we completed it we were regarded as heroes. I also explained that he should just determine the logical consequenses of our inaction and just change his game so that instead of only spending one adventure shutting down the underdark invasion we would have to spend ten adventures that features our home region's war against the underdark who has a strong foothold where our PC's home town used to be. He then did this and it was fun because our characters became part of the region's military during this time and we earned some prestige with our successful missions.
 
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DragonLancer

First Post
If they don't at least investigate this prophecy, then tough, the world-shattering event happens and changes the world (hopefully for the worse).

If players don't bite on what the DM is working on, then why are they playing?
 

Herpes Cineplex

First Post
The Grackle said:
I'm gonna vote the other way.

If players don't bite on a plot-hook, forget it and cast another line. It probably just didn't sound fun to them, and forcing people to play un-fun scenarios usually doesn't work out.
[...]
So some mysterious figure said some crap. What does he know? He was probably just exagerrating to sound cool. No problem. But the cool Temple of Death, you can bet they're gonna run into that thing no matter where they go. (I drew maps!)
And this has the virtue of actually being the CORRECT answer. The rest of you guys could learn from this man. ;)


No, seriously, I agree with The Grackle. Most of the time when I've seen a big, world-shaking plot hook ignored (either as a GM or as a player), it's been because it genuinely doesn't interest anyone. Maybe it's a big, epic plot hook, but the players have 2nd-level characters and were hoping for more of a "local hero" vibe from the game. Maybe they wanted to play the bad guys. Maybe they wanted to play wealthy rock stars. Maybe the plot hook had something about it that screamed "THIS WILL NOT BE FUN" to them (something to do with undead when the party is rogue-heavy and has no cleric, for example).

The point is, if the players turn up their noses at the plot-hook you've dropped in front of them, you'd better believe there's a reason for it. Something about the plot idea turned them off, and the smart thing to do is try and figure out what they objected to. Usually it's not too difficult (hell, you can just ask them about it at the end of the session and generally get a clear, useful answer). Sometimes you'll be able to appease whatever qualms they had and get them to follow along, but sometimes you'll find out that they just don't want to do it.

And at that point, you can back-burner the idea, or you can try introducing it in other, more appealing ways (emphasizing bigger rewards and minimizing risks), or you can just take all the prep work you did and slide it somewhere that they ARE interested in going. As said above, the cool Temple of Death that you drew maps for is going to get used in one form or another no matter what, so why pitch a hissy-fit just because maybe it won't be part of the epic, world-shaking plotline your players don't give a rat's ass about? ;)

--
and preparing things that they want to do is always a better use of your time
ryan
 

I think such an event requires a lot of setup. You can't just assume the PCs will want to intervene. First you need to know what they're interested in and then link those interests into the event.

The exception to this would be a campaign where everyone knows and agrees from the outset that the PCs are the archetypal "heroes" out to save the world. I've seen this work too. Sometimes players just want to get on with things and they're not particularly interested in the reasoning behind it.
 

shilsen

First Post
DragonLancer said:
If players don't bite on what the DM is working on, then why are they playing?

Presumably because they expect to bite on plots and subjects which actually interest their characters.
 

Mr. Kaze

First Post
Never force your players to go against the end of the world. If you want a big world-saving/world-ending game, negotiate that with the players in metagame.

If, however, they walk into a plot hook and take it (line & sinker), then you shouldn't feel bad if they fail to grasp the repercussions of what's going on. For example, releasing an imprisioned goddess who's a bit annoyed about her condition and wants to vent her frustrations on a hit-list that she's developed while having extra time to sit and think... (Works especially well for plot hooking into an abandoned campaign that the players wanted to get back to. :lol: )

Or if, by combination of many ignored plot hooks, the party fails to do anything except save/kick puppies while forces of good and ill slow-burn the world away into tiny cinders, well, bummer for the world. But that level of conflict probably shouldn't even be plotted out until at least level 8, probably more like level 10 (lest they go for the plot hooks immediately). And start it with the gentleness of geo-political unrest and rumors from the horizon...

But a conventional campaign doomsday scenario shouldn't just "pop up". There's a few billion people in the world and one party of adventurers won't be the one to solve things without a suspension of disbelief. And if you try to use a prophecy to ensure that only the party can do it, then you're certain to have people leaving your game or being disintigrated or other such unfortunateness just to spite the prophecy

::Kaze
 

DragonLancer

First Post
shilsen said:
Presumably because they expect to bite on plots and subjects which actually interest their characters.

An event leading to the end/shake-up of the world, SHOULD interest their characters. If not, I repeat my previous question, why are they bothering to play?

The DM creates the game and creates the plot. Some of that revolves around the characters, but when the DM puts effort into creating a big epic campaign like this, the players should be playing to be the heroes who stop or pospone the cataclysm.
 

Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
Hypersmurf said:
Some huge event like "All the Modrons are marching!"?

Nah... surely no PCs would ever ignore something like that...

I bet even in New Zealand you can hear me crying.

When my PCs don't bite at huge plot hooks, I figure that's okay - but the event happens anyways. Maybe I use it to make some other group of adventurers famous, maybe no one fixes it and horrible things happen that the PCs still have to cope with. Either way, it makes the game more interesting by providing a "living" background.

The real question here is: why are your players purposefully ignoring adventure hooks? If they have other more fun places to adventure, or want to finish another plot, that's one thing. If they aren't having fun in the game and are trying to tell you that by being obstinate, that's quite another.
 

The_Universe

First Post
Piratecat said:
I bet even in New Zealand you can hear me crying.

When my PCs don't bite at huge plot hooks, I figure that's okay - but the event happens anyways. Maybe I use it to make some other group of adventurers famous, maybe no one fixes it and horrible things happen that the PCs still have to cope with. Either way, it makes the game more interesting by providing a "living" background.

The real question here is: why are your players purposefully ignoring adventure hooks? If they have other more fun places to adventure, or want to finish another plot, that's one thing. If they aren't having fun in the game and are trying to tell you that by being obstinate, that's quite another.
I agree with PC - if you lay out a prophecy of impending doom, and in the metaplot, that prophecy is "real," you have a responsibility to your tale to bring on the destruction.

If the only real prophecies or portends or omens are the ones that the PCs latch on to, you've seriously hampered any verisimilitude that the world you game in may have. To give your players veto power by default is fine if you have a very casual game, but it's not going to help your game make sense. Unless you follow through on the very real dangers you present them, you're just handing them a shopping cart, and asking them to stroll through the "danger store."

"Pick what you want, and that's what will be dangerous!" you're telling them.

Of course, it's possible that the omen just doesn't seem like it's all that big of a deal to them - at that point, it's a matter of miscommunication out of character for all of you, rather than uncaring ignorance on the part of the players.

But, if the City of Nerflheim will fall to the Dragon Armies if the Rod of Goo isn't placed on the Altar of Dropperfart by midnight during the Feast of Saint Whippergrin, and the PCs don't follow up (and you have a good reason why others don't succeed, instead) you'd damn well better make sure that the City of Nerflheim falls to the Dragon Armies. Otherwise, why should they believe any other prophet or portend?
 
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Poisoner

First Post
Piratecat said:
The real question here is: why are your players purposefully ignoring adventure hooks? If they have other more fun places to adventure, or want to finish another plot, that's one thing. If they aren't having fun in the game and are trying to tell you that by being obstinate, that's quite another.

They arent, right now they are pretty much doing their onw thing. We play in the Forgotten Realms and they areheading to Luskan, on their way to the spine of the world to go and kill a dragon(well, they hope to find one and kill one). I figure I will let the fight a young one to appease them. My players are unpredictable, I was going to have an NPC Cleric they know tell them about this, but it will be a while from now as they have already done two major things in the past. I am just wondering what to do if they ignore it.

Another question I may as well ask is if I have the enemy of this epic plot be in multiple parts(Mind, body, and soul) would it be okay to have certain NPCs they know well to fight the other two while they fight one, the premise being that all parts must be fought at the same time, and each part is in a different part of the world. My players are not fond of long monotonous journeys, so I think that might work out for them.
 
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