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World shattering events-That the PCs ignore

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Herpes Cineplex said:
And I think the reverse is also true: good GMs pay attention to what kind game their players want, and cater to that.
So long as one remembers that the DM is also a player, I agree with this completely.
 

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AlecAustin

First Post
painandgreed said:
By the mere fact that they've been given the duty to save the world means that not only is it possible but almost assured to happen. I've never seen a D&D campaign end with "You die. She dies. Everybody dies." Now the players are not only facing something they might not find interesting, but also they don't have any challenge in it either.

I know you caveated your comments by not aiming them at anyone in particular, but I just wanted to say a few things with regards to your comments about campaigns not ending in mass PC death.

I know that *my* last campaign, while it didn't end in a TPK, ended with... let's see... at least 6 out of 8 characters dead, due to a final fight vs. several mid-to-high level clerics, and a means of killing off the 'final boss' that resulted in a huge explosion. Several characters got hit by Destruction & Slay Living effects, while others just died from massive damage overage. The PCs' side won the fight, but it was a total bloodbath. A similar fight permanently killed 2 out of 6 characters at 6th level or so.

OTOH, I'm not the kind of guy who believes in prophecies, and there weren't any prophecies involved, although there definitely was a 'save the world' vibe going on.

Reading through a fair number of the pro campaign logs on WotC's D&D site also provides a fair # of TPK or near-TPK stories, which leads me to suspect that there's a certain old-school (i.e. 1st Edition) or hard-core (i.e. Simulationist, 10+ years of playing) playstyle which results in a higher character mortality rate than is typical. Heaven knows, if you check out the boards at either Malhavoc Press or Necromancer Games, you'll see your share of TPK stories resulting from their adventures.

And before you ask: If things went sour in a genuine end-of-the-world scenario in my game? The world would end. I've done it before.
 
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Evilhalfling

Adventurer
What do you do if you hit levels 10+ and you havent saved the world -
Or at least a kingom or two.

We are playing a reality falling apart storyline- and the players had lost focus due to a pair of sidetracks, and decided what they really wanted to do was go investigate a city on the southern end of the contient, passing up two quests on the way.
So I made up fun events in the abandonded city and made it clear it had nothing to do with the over plot. They found out that while they were gone, their ruler was assinated and their enemies had gotten a mystic dingus and dragon horde.
They also found out that only one kingdom was endanger of falling out of reality, and the great powers of other lands had pretty much said good ridance. This thread has reminded me that it has been a while since else in thier country has acted against the reality slippage. So, for reasons of dramatic irony, one of their current enemies is about to get assisnated by the archvillian of the previous campaign.
 

DragonLancer

First Post
I mentioned this thread to two of my players tonight (non-game situation), and both were a little shocked that they (as players) should be the driving force behind a game and/or campaign.

They agreed that they should have the right to decide what their characters do in such a world-shaking SL, but that if the DM has made that the basis of the campaign (whether the characters were made for it or not) it is their responsibility to play that SL and find ways to get involved.
 

Poisoner

First Post
DragonLancer said:
I mentioned this thread to two of my players tonight (non-game situation), and both were a little shocked that they (as players) should be the driving force behind a game and/or campaign.

They agreed that they should have the right to decide what their characters do in such a world-shaking SL, but that if the DM has made that the basis of the campaign (whether the characters were made for it or not) it is their responsibility to play that SL and find ways to get involved.

Wow, one of my threads got mentioned to someone I do not even know...I feel so honored. :)
 

AlecAustin said:
I know you caveated your comments by not aiming them at anyone in particular, but I just wanted to say a few things with regards to your comments about campaigns not ending in mass PC death.

Hmmmmmm, I don't think he's talking about a TPK, unless by "TPK" you mean "Total Planet Kill."
 
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Ryernad

First Post
Being that I am with a group that has been in the same campaign for going on 5 years now with the same characters, and relatively the same players for the entire time I can add something that happened to my group.

After one of the 'adventures' that the group was on, we decided to get some down time to lick our wounds a little and rest in a city for a change. After spending a few days in the city we began hearing rumors about continued losses in caravan traffic between one country and another along a specific route. Now that was an obvious bait for us to say, "Hey, that sounds like the perfect job for us to do!" But for whatever reason we chose to ignore it. I think one of the mages had decided to spend this time to learn some new spells so that was a big factor in our down time.

Not having taken the bait along the rumor control route, a few members of the group were approached by a merchant who asked us to travel with them as guards, as he knew of us and the tasks that we had hired out for in the past. Still declined the bait and decided to stay. All the while relaxing and meeting people. Restocking supplies, and our resident 'rogue' began finding a way to setup a perminent fence shop. Legally of course.

Still when that bait was not taken the leader of our group, who was a royal son to a Duke, was approached by a courier who gave him a letter detailing him to travel to this frontier post to see why no updates had been heard of for over a month. This we took, not because it sounded more interesting, which it did, but because he was now charged by his oath to his family and the country to obey. Little did we know that this frontier post was on the path that the caravan routes were traveling through and being abducted.

So all in all, as long as you do not force it on your party, or at least not to seem like your forcing it on them and make it seem like their duty, interesting, or different they may or may not bite the hook.

Now the events that transpired because of this little Duty to Country, and oh hey look caravans are being abducted adventure hook ended up to be an end of the world type setting which has taken 3 years to maintain and get near the end. And because of events that transpired during these events in other parts of the world because of the actions of the players, parts of the nations changed. War, conquest, that sort of thing. All because we as players fail to see the BIG picture at times.

Sorry this little explanation turned into a rant/ disertation.
I, like many others here have been DMing for a long time, for me its been 14 years. I have learned one major fact. The DM creates the immersive world and everything in it, a sandbox if you will. But its the players story thats being told, not the DMs. Yes the DM has a story line that he/she creates that the players have options of going down or not going down.

I'll give you an example. I spent 5 months putting together this crazy in depth campaign where there was 5 waring factions that when the group started the campaign together they were in the same graduating class of their starting faction. I planned for every foreseeable outcome and where they could go with the campaign. None of which they did, they chose to break off into their own faction midst the war and proceed to fuel fire between different factions causing them to do unrepairable damages to their armies and strongholds all the while the PCs were recruiting and looting wreckage and picking off the survivers. This continued until they were the only remaining superpower of the world. At which point they started waring amongst eachother, thus continuing the cycle. Absolutely none of this could have been predicted. But all of it makes for an amazing campaign for both the DM and the PCs. The DM has a responsibility to roll with the punches and not get butt hurt when things don't go his/her way.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
I agree with those who say true end of the world stuff is not the best. I think a major catastrophe though could happen if ignored. I also say these sorts of things are only for the highest level PCs. No 3rd level PC should be saving the world. He might save the village.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
I also say these sorts of things are only for the highest level PCs. No 3rd level PC should be saving the world. He might save the village.
This depends on what sorts of stories your group is interested in. The Lord of the Rings, after all, was a story about some insignificant hobbits who managed to save the world. That sort of story might not flow from the default assumptions of D&D, but it's certainly possible to manage in a role-playing game. I've run a number of campaigns that featured PCs who managed—through cleverness, daring, and a bit of luck—to have an outsize impact on the game world.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
As others have said, I think the problem in the OP is best handled outside of the game. Just checking in with everyone to see what sort of game they want to play. As a GM, I often check in with my players if their PCs seem to be pulling at new plot threads or want to head "off the map" (literally or figuratively). I don't have time for infinite prep, but nor do I want to drag the group on an adventure that they're not interested in.

Oddly enough, my longest-running GURPS campaign (10+ years) started in a somewhat similar fashion. It was supposed to be a sandboxy game, a bit of gritty street life in a homegrown setting inspired by some of the less fantastical stories from the Arabian Nights. I was running with a new crew of players with divergent personalities and we didn't have much of a session zero discussion, so the first few sessions were a bit rocky. (I don't even know if "session zero" was in common parlance back then... the internet was still a baby.) Different PCs were interested in different things and none of the many plot threads hooked the entire group. I wasn't sure what to do other than add some gleaming rails to the game. In a heavy-handed move, I introduced an artifact into the story—like Bilbo finding the one ring in Golem's cave but this was a magic lamp. This led to all sorts of shenanigans. Eventually, the lamp was stolen by evil cultists. The party debated what to do, ultimately deciding that this was not their problem. So the cultists used the lamp to launch the apocalypse. I was merciless to my campaign world, running with the whole evil-god-rising theme. I wasn't necessarily thinking that the PCs would get involved, but I figured it might become more of a dark "world falling apart" setting. To my surprise (and delight), these campaign events reforged the party. They dedicated themselves to figuring out a way to reverse the apocalypse. And an epic campaign involving empires, planes, and gods was born. It led to some of the best roleplaying that I've ever been a part of. Not at all what I expected, and I don't recommend most of the decisions I made in that early phase, but sometimes a great game can emerge from a messy start.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
This depends on what sorts of stories your group is interested in. The Lord of the Rings, after all, was a story about some insignificant hobbits who managed to save the world. That sort of story might not flow from the default assumptions of D&D, but it's certainly possible to manage in a role-playing game. I've run a number of campaigns that featured PCs who managed—through cleverness, daring, and a bit of luck—to have an outsize impact on the game world.
Point made. I probably would not run that sort of campaign. I'm the sort where if the world is at stake and the PCs fail then the world is done. I'm a let the dice fall where they fall kind of guy. So in general I almost never even at high level put the whole world on the line. The world goes down only after a long series of defeats at the hands of evil. It's more of a growing shadow than a sudden apocalypse.
 

nevin

Adventurer
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. Yes. Yes. Yes. Consequences are the DM s friend. As long as it's a doomsday that doesn't end the game.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Folks, please note that this thread is from 2004, and most of the posters in the thread no longer post here. I know, I miss a number of these names.

That said, the topic is interesting. My opinion is that if I put out there that then game is about X, and the players say 'meh,' this is not an ask by the players to continue to make the game about X and hit them with consequences. I've not properly done my job as GM, in that I haven't sold this to the players (this game is about stopping terrible thing X, either in session zero or in play) or I'm missing major cues about what my players want from the game. Perhaps this group is incompatible and needs to do something else or with someone else, or perhaps we need to realign expectations and revisit session zero, but I would be highly leery of thinking that this can be solved by continuing with my GM plot, playing solitaire, and telling the players the consequences of what I imagined without them.

Your mileage may vary.
 


aco175

Legend
@Ryernad welcome to the boards, thanks for participating and hope you continue. I was going to make some funny about world shaking events like 4th edition coming and going since 2004.
 

Campbell

Legend
I mean obviously if you make threats and do not ever follow through players will not take you seriously. If you set the stakes you should honor them. However setting the stakes that high is almost always a mistake if you want to give players any sense of freedom of action.
 

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