Legends and Lore - Good Fences Make Good Players

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Legends and Lore
Good Fences Make Good Players

by Mike Mearls

Can the rules change bad players into good players?

Talk about this column here.

The last two paragraphs couldn't have been said better if I wrote the article myself.




EDIT: Thought I'd delete my earilier thread and throw my post up in here in an effort to keep things clean. ;)

Danny

The last two paragraphs couldn't have been said better if I wrote the article myself.




EDIT: Thought I'd delete my earilier thread and throw my post up in here in an effort to keep things clean. ;)


most considerate of you, mrpopstar, especially considering that you beat me to the punch by 2 minutes.  Smile
Is it bad that my first reaction to the article title was "well yeah, they're who we sell all of our loot to"
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Is it bad that my first reaction to the article title was "well yeah, they're who we sell all of our loot to"



Who do we sell our loot to?  I don't get your post, can you ellaborate?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Curses. Ninjaed.
I don't think the rules can fix anyone, DM or Player but I agree with Mike in that they can create a structure through which everyone has a chance to enjoy the game.
A bad player can use the system to ruin your game, which can make you hate the system. A good system doesn't give a bad player tools to be a jerk.
...whatever
A bad player can use the system to ruin your game, which can make you hate the system. A good system doesn't give a bad player tools to be a jerk.

No, but it definitely doesn't make them a good player either. OTOH it doesn't hurt. Seems like this week's column is really relatively uncontroversial. I would note that this is probably the column most complementary to the 4e approach. Though one could argue about how well 4e accomplishes the 'streamlined' aspect of things...
That is not dead which may eternal lie
At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.
======= Balesir
This was a great article.  I like how the description of bad players is as true today as it was when Mr Gygax wrote them.

Regarding using rules to make good DMs, I think Mr Mearls is right.  His last article didn't just say that you shouldn't use rules to make good DMs and leave it at that.  It added that it is critical for "designers to provide good DMing advice, easy to understand methods that beginners can learn, and flexible rules that help DMs build great campaigns and compelling adventures."

His point was that if you focus too much on using the rules to prevent bad DMs, you end up making them too restrictive for good DMs too.  At the same time, all of the things that go into make a system work well for the Players means that the DM shouldn't have to spend time "continually re-inventing" the system. 
I don't why, but I find those articles more and more... useless....

I know the word is harsh, but seriously, what is he doing here, and for the last weeks, other than telling self-evident truths on pnpRPGs that everyone already knows about...

Oh well, maybe I just miss the flame wars... don't know.
At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.



DMs are players too.. eh.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.



DMs are players too.. eh.



No they aren't, they aren't allowed to have fun either.

At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.



DMs are players too.. eh.



No they aren't, they aren't allowed to have fun either.




When I Dm my players know that if I'm not incessantly whining about how I need a crit to hit the Fighter after having his AC buffed out for a couple of encounters that they haven't done their jobs. :p
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."-Douglas Adams
I don't why, but I find those articles more and more... useless....




Heh, you ever read 'Up On A Soapbox' by good ol' EGG?


Re: this week's topic. 

News flash .. bad players ruin any game: team sports (e.g., soccer), competitive boardgames (e.g. Settlers of Catan), co-operative boardgames (e.g. Arkham Horror), groups in MMOs (e.g. Guild Wars, World of Warcraft).  RPGs are no different! 


Sadly the 'kick the guy out of your game!' advice from Gygax circa. '74 is still the best advice.  There's no cure for Jerkdom yet, even in this age of wonder and marvels ;)       

        

At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.

+1 on both accounts.
Sadly the 'kick the guy out of your game!' advice from Gygax circa. '74 is still the best advice.  There's no cure for Jerkdom yet, even in this age of wonder and marvels ;)



D&D has thought me that fire usually solves all my problems.

that or bees.

or bees that sting you with fire. 
3rd ed SRD, character sheets, errata & free modules 4th ed test drive - modules, starter rules, premade characters and character builder & character sheet, errata Free maps and portraits, dice, printable graph paper, campaign managing website, image manipulation program + token maker & zone markers

"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
Sadly the 'kick the guy out of your game!' advice from Gygax circa. '74 is still the best advice.  There's no cure for Jerkdom yet, even in this age of wonder and marvels ;)



D&D has thought me that fire usually solves all my problems.

that or bees.

or bees that sting you with fire. 


Sharks are nice too. Just not when someone jumps over one.
"Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ~Mark Twain
or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.
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Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


it's cause you need to make those bees into robot bees or ghost bees then light them on fire.
3rd ed SRD, character sheets, errata & free modules 4th ed test drive - modules, starter rules, premade characters and character builder & character sheet, errata Free maps and portraits, dice, printable graph paper, campaign managing website, image manipulation program + token maker & zone markers

"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
Or Zom-bees...

/leaving now

Cry Havoc!  And let slip the hogs of war!

or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


it's cause you need to make those bees into robot bees or ghost bees then light them on fire.



What about Vampire Robot Ninja Bees vs. Werewolf Cyborg Pirate Hornets?
At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.

DMs are players too.. eh.

Yeah, I would say so - but that doesn't seem to me to be Mike Mearls' viewpoint.
======= Balesir
I think 4e has taken great strides to support "good players" with info in the rule books and the Player's Strategy Guide, but, essentially, a "bad player" is going to be a "bad player" regardless of rules. The best thing to do, imo, is to talk to them, and if they don't change, kick them out of the group.
Follow my blogs! NOTES FROM THE SHADOWFELL -RPGs, TCGs/CCGs, Comics, etc. BEYOND THE AGONY -Horror and metal!
Boring column; no thinly-veiled insight into the 5th edition. And what happened to those fancy polls?
Boring column; no thinly-veiled insight into the 5th edition. And what happened to those fancy polls?



"This article didn't help me support my preconcieved notions! How boring!"
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


it's cause you need to make those bees into robot bees or ghost bees then light them on fire.

If it ain't giant, mutated, and radioactive then it ain't much!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


I don't want to live in a world with problems that cannot be solved by bees on fire.
or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


I don't want to live in a world with problems that cannot be solved by bees on fire.

Global Swarming?
That is not dead which may eternal lie
argghhh.... 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

or bees that sting you with fire.



I found that "bees that are on fire" were severely lacking in the problem solving department, though.


I don't want to live in a world with problems that cannot be solved by bees on fire.



Fire solves everything. Bees just sweeten the deal.
Fire Blog Control, Change, and Chaos: The Elemental Power Source Elemental Heroes Example Classes Xaosmith Exulter Chaos Bringer Director Elemental Heroes: Looking Back - Class and Story Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Xaosmith (January 16, 2012) Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Harbinger (May 16, 2012) Check out my Elemental Heroes blog series and help me develop four unique elemental classes.
Sadly the 'kick the guy out of your game!' advice from Gygax circa. '74 is still the best advice.  There's no cure for Jerkdom yet, even in this age of wonder and marvels ;)

If it was that easy, we wouldn't have that many threads dealing with it ;)

As for bees, some players are alergic to them, and murder is a bit drastic ;)

Sadly the 'kick the guy out of your game!' advice from Gygax circa. '74 is still the best advice.  There's no cure for Jerkdom yet, even in this age of wonder and marvels ;)



Exactly. It's not too hard to find players. DM's can be a bit more difficult to find, but players are a dime a dozen. Well...if you never leave your basement they can be difficult to find, but aside from that...there is no cure for Jerkdom, only banishment, lest the jerk infect others with his jerkness.
At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said! Laughing

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.

DMs are players too.. eh.

Yeah, I would say so - but that doesn't seem to me to be Mike Mearls' viewpoint.


Exagerating the distinction, its all that oldschool reflected through his lenses.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I find the "bad player" to be an oddity. See, there is something called freedom of association and if someone is obnoxious or unpleasant do not play with them. It's pretty simple. 
I find the "bad player" to be an oddity. See, there is something called freedom of association and if someone is obnoxious or unpleasant do not play with them. It's pretty simple. 



There's an old saying about don't play a RPG with someone you wouldn't want to socialise with outside of the game.
At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said!

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.

Well said.  Yet, Mr. Mearls came to the opposite conclusion last week.  Playing both sides of the fence? 

Up to this arcticle, he seemed firmly in the 'bad rules make good games' camp.  Is he finally backpeddling in the face of logic?  Or just throwing a symbolic bone to those demanding quality, before he heads off to oversee the development of the next HoS..?

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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At last, an article where I agree with almost all of what was said!

The general thrust, which I agree with, seems to me not so much "the system can make bad players good" but rather "the system can support players in being good players".  The odd thing is, as kendor has already mentioned in the comments to the article, this could just as well apply the the DM, the topic of last week's article.  Parse the last paragraph like this:

"A good player DM can overcome any of these shortcomings, but a player DM’s energy is better served in portraying his character monsters, immersing in the environment designing the world, coming up with cunning plans exciting and engaging encounters, adventures and campaigns and so on, rather than working against or continually re-inventing the system. A good system encourages good play DMing."

...and I think most roleplayers would agree with the idea of this, too.

Well said.  Yet, Mr. Mearls came to the opposite conclusion last week.  Playing both sides of the fence? 

Up to this arcticle, he seemed firmly in the 'bad rules make good games' camp.  Is he finally backpeddling in the face of logic?  Or just throwing a symbolic bone to those demanding quality, before he heads off to oversee the development of the next HoS..?


Heh, in the context of the ongoing discussion, it seems like this L&L article is a reaction in alarm to the responses last week about if we even need a DM at all. This week seems to grudgingly accept the need for clear rules - as opposed to DM tyrannical whim - but still frames these clear rules as an effort to keep players ruly and in their place - under the DMs thumb. Chuckle.