What Can A Player Do?

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Well for one, explore. Check out the scenary, the location. Go check out that empty room or vacant lair. If your DM hasn't outfitted the place, then he can damn well get to work and outfit it.

The DM isn't there to tell you a story. The DM is there to present situations and encounters and help you interact with them. If he wants you to be part of telling a story, there are bonafide story telling games out there, but you're not playing roles in them, you're crafting stories and relating them to an audience; who then get to pick up on what you've just told and add to it, redirect it, reinvent it, or something like that.

So if your DM presents you with vacant terrain, get your fellow players into checking it out, and insist he come up with something to check out.

Player 1: A "20" on the Spot Check, what did I find?

DM (grumpy, but inspired by the roll): You spot a roll of paper hidded beneath a layer of dust in one corner.

Player 2: Could be a scroll, check it out.

[Paper turns out to be, as decided by the DM, a rough map indicating a lair and treasure. The party now as something more to investigate, and the DM has an excuse to incorporate a new monster he found on-line.)

So, what would you have your character do?
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Well for one, explore. Check out the scenary, the location. Go check out that empty room or vacant lair. If your DM hasn't outfitted the place, then he can damn well get to work and outfit it.

Wow. The DM is not the players' employee. The belief that the DM has to have everything "outfitted" in case the players explore is a very damaging one.

The DM isn't there to tell you a story. The DM is there to present situations and encounters and help you interact with them. If he wants you to be part of telling a story, there are bonafide story telling games out there, but you're not playing roles in them, you're crafting stories and relating them to an audience; who then get to pick up on what you've just told and add to it, redirect it, reinvent it, or something like that.

Have you played any story games? Some are like what you describe, but by no means all of them. And anyway there's no reason why D&D can't be run the same way.

So if your DM presents you with vacant terrain, get your fellow players into checking it out, and insist he come up with something to check out.

Player 1: A "20" on the Spot Check, what did I find?

DM (grumpy, but inspired by the roll): You spot a roll of paper hidded beneath a layer of dust in one corner.

Player 2: Could be a scroll, check it out.

[Paper turns out to be, as decided by the DM, a rough map indicating a lair and treasure. The party now as something more to investigate, and the DM has an excuse to incorporate a new monster he found on-line.)

That's best case, and will probably involve some delay as the DM scrambles to fill in details that the players are demanding.

The example you gave is the time for the DM to turn to the players and say "You tell me: what did you find?" and to continue asking questions until there's a clear path forward.

So, what would you have your character do?

Move on to something more interesting than "vacant terrain."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Wow. The DM is not the players' employee. The belief that the DM has to have everything "outfitted" in case the players explore is a very damaging one.



Actually he is, and if he doesn't want to do the work he really shouldn't expect the players to show any interest in the game. Preparation is the key here, and if you're not willing to do the preparation you'll be running boring, uninteresting sessions.

Have you played any story games? Some are like what you describe, but by no means all of them. And anyway there's no reason why D&D can't be run the same way.



I have, and in those games I've told stories. One thing I have not done is play a role as one does in a roleplaying game. Now, can you name a few story telling games? Do they include roleplaying? If so, then its not a story telling game.

Story: An account of events.

Roleplaying: Pretending to have a different vocation (children's Let's Pretend for the most part) or a different person (roleplaying games).

In roleplaying it should be noted that events are happening right then and there. For all they're imaginary events does not mean they can't be happening in the moderator's sub-creation.

The example you gave is the time for the DM to turn to the players and say "You tell me: what did you find?" and to continue asking questions until there's a clear path forward.



Does he have to? What if he can't think of any questions? What if the players are having a hard time coming up with ideas? What if their ideas mess with his plans/ Oh heck, what if he needs more time?

Move on to something more interesting than "vacant terrain."



And then another party member finds something in that "vacant terrain."
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
Wow. The DM is not the players' employee. The belief that the DM has to have everything "outfitted" in case the players explore is a very damaging one.

Actually he is, and if he doesn't want to do the work he really shouldn't expect the players to show any interest in the game. Preparation is the key here, and if you're not willing to do the preparation you'll be running boring, uninteresting sessions.

This has nothing to do with me, so there's no need to say "you."

There's a long way from "have everything outfitted" to "not doing the work." A DM can do a reasonable amount of work, and not have to be prepared for every possible nook and cranny the players might poke into. Expecting more than that is a recipe for DM burnout and there are few enough decent DMs.

Do you seriously believe that the DM is the players' employee?

Have you played any story games? Some are like what you describe, but by no means all of them. And anyway there's no reason why D&D can't be run the same way.

I have, and in those games I've told stories. One thing I have not done is play a role as one does in a roleplaying game. Now, can you name a few story telling games? Do they include roleplaying? If so, then its not a story telling game.

Then what's your point? If my table is telling a story and it includes roleplaying, then it's not a story telling game, according to you. So, I don't see why D&D can't be used as a basis for storytelling. I don't advocate the DM just telling a story, but getting the whole table involved. That's what I do.

In roleplaying it should be noted that events are happening right then and there. For all they're imaginary events does not mean they can't be happening in the moderator's sub-creation.

Right. Or anyone else's at the table.

The example you gave is the time for the DM to turn to the players and say "You tell me: what did you find?" and to continue asking questions until there's a clear path forward.

Does he have to?

No, but he doesn't have to spend time coming up with details that the player might not care about anyway.

What if he can't think of any questions?

Then he probably can't think of any answers, either.

What if the players are having a hard time coming up with ideas?

Then why should they expect the DM not to have a hard time?

What if their ideas mess with his plans/

The DM shouldn't have plans, but anyway they're already messing with his "plans" by taking interest in terrain he didn't plan on fleshing out.

Move on to something more interesting than "vacant terrain."

And then another party member finds something in that "vacant terrain."

Fine by me. You just asked what my character would do.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Actually he is, and if he doesn't want to do the work he really shouldn't expect the players to show any interest in the game. Preparation is the key here, and if you're not willing to do the preparation you'll be running boring, uninteresting sessions.



Want to know what my response is to entitled players behaving like I owe them something?

[PG-13]

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1XLY2e3BZ8

Actually he is, and if he doesn't want to do the work he really shouldn't expect the players to show any interest in the game. Preparation is the key here, and if you're not willing to do the preparation you'll be running boring, uninteresting sessions.



Want to know what my response is to entitled players behaving like I owe them something?

[PG-13]

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1XLY2e3BZ8





#winning.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
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[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
If a DM is the player's employee, I demand back pay.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
(Snip recalcitrance)



If you really don't want to run a good game, why not let somebody else give it a try who'll actually make an effort?

Am I giving you a hard time?

Yes. Moderating a game is not an easy thing to do and takes a lot of effort. You're not willing to put the effort in, then don't kvetch when people show disappointment in your lack of effort.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
If a DM is the player's employee, I demand back pay.



If you want pay you need to do a better job. You're not some special flower with a right to riches just because you jot some notes down and roll a few dice. You want pay for what you do, then put some effort into it. A bit of verve and style would be nice.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
I'm sorry, A-K, but who in the Nine Hells died and made you judge & jury of other players'/DMs' games?

If they're doing it their own way in their own games, that has no effect on you whatsoever, so I'd suggest laying off. Also, you've got 4 billion threads, you're starting to become another WilliamWyverjack / Bajatmerc which is not a good thing. Calm down.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
If a DM is the player's employee, I demand back pay.



If you want pay you need to do a better job. You're not some special flower with a right to riches just because you jot some notes down and roll a few dice. You want pay for what you do, then put some effort into it. A bit of verve and style would be nice.

Laughable. I haven't charged admission since the 80s and only then because I was a poor kid paying my way through college so I couldn't afford all the books and 'props' that I like to add to the game. I put plenty of work into the game, however. I don't actually demand back pay (it was a sarcastic statement in response to your laughable premise). I, like so many DMs, do it because we enjoy it.

It doesn't matter if the DM did as I did and create a 5000 year history of multiple continents, the development of the cultures thereon, a unique cosmology, numerology, astrology and historical perspective on the philosophies of the multiple cultures including the genealogies of the major NPCs up to 6 generations back, the pantheons of animistic, philosophist, diabolic, celestial and abyssal dieties and their relationships (including the possibilities for sectarian divisions within each individual philosophy), combined with of course a methodology for determining far-reaching divinational abilities by providing a 'book of prophecy', not to mention the heraldry of the top 20 houses of the 34 major kingdoms of this world or if the only effort the DM put into his game is to write an X on a piece of paper... that's his X. If the players don't want to adventure in my world or find it dull, that's their prerogative, if they don't want to see what resides in and around the mysterious X of this DM's 'weak' efforts, that's fine. But if they do... I'm just saying, that X is the DM's X.

If it's not a fun X to play on, then the player is welcome to write his own X, of course. He may even add a Y and a Z and (may or may not) be a much more entertaining DM. At any rate, regardless of the effort (or lack thereof), I'm pretty sure no one sets out to run a poor game. The amount of effort doesn't necessarily reflect the enjoyment of the game either. I could describe in graphic detail the exact textural qualities of a million square miles of dirt with an inch by inch account of every ant, spider and beetle but this probably wouldn't translate into a good game.

To the point.. the amount of effort the DM makes is irrelevant to this topic... whether he makes a a quick sketch or a highly realistic portrait of the world... it is his creation, open to share with the players.... if the player wants to play in that world, then he should play by the rules of the moderator.

If he thinks he can do better, he should give it a go. Even writers like to read.


A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
(Snip recalcitrance)

If you really don't want to run a good game, why not let somebody else give it a try who'll actually make an effort?

Am I giving you a hard time?

Yes. Moderating a game is not an easy thing to do and takes a lot of effort. You're not willing to put the effort in, then don't kvetch when people show disappointment in your lack of effort.

You are a class act, my friend. Don't ever change.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

(Snip recalcitrance)

If you really don't want to run a good game, why not let somebody else give it a try who'll actually make an effort?

Am I giving you a hard time?

Yes. Moderating a game is not an easy thing to do and takes a lot of effort. You're not willing to put the effort in, then don't kvetch when people show disappointment in your lack of effort.

You are a class act, my friend. Don't ever change.



With a vote of confidence like that... Thanks for the encouragement.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
If it's not a fun X to play on, then the player is welcome to write his own X...



Of course. But making it interesting is a damn hard thing to do.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
I have to admit, I like to push my GMs a bit when it comes to description, but I give them a little more to go on than "I make a spot check, what do I see?"

We typically play really low combat, mystery-oriented, cthulhu-type scenarios so we try to mimic groups that flesh out the scene in our description as well as "feed me."

For example:  When your character walks into the proverbial bar..it's "Hey, there's people in here.  I go over to the red-haired, toothless, peasant in the corner..you know, the one smoking the pipe, yea, him, and try make him feel important before I hit him up for info?"

When the plot of the scenario leaves room for arbitrary 1"exploration", those can be a little brittle when it comes to good use of my limited gaming time.

jh

Gamer Chiropractor - Hafner Chiropractic 305 S. Kipling st,Suite C-2, Lakewood, Co 80226 hafnerchiropractic.com

If it's not a fun X to play on, then the player is welcome to write his own X...



Of course. But making it interesting is a damn hard thing to do.

In my humble opinion (which is the standard introduction for a self-righteous diatribe, I do believe)...

I feel that the most important traits of a good DM are the qualities of leadership...

1. The best leaders are willing to put in at least as much work as the people they lead, maybe more.

2. The best leaders bring out the best in the people they lead.

3. The best leaders listen to the people they lead.

4. The best leaders are not people-pleasers or sycophants.

5. The best leaders are fair and consistent, passionate yet rational.

6. The best leaders are not tyrants.

7. The best leaders can admit when they are wrong and make amends.

I think the current trend to put 'power' in the hands of the players is actually lessening the experience for the player and the current trends of the RPG industry as a whole are to be sycophantic toward such players in a hope to increase revenues by playing toady. I believe it is a counter-productive strategy because it undermines the one thing that is probably the most important aspect of the game... interest. If the same philosophy were applied to golf, it would be like running a pipe from the tee to the flag; it might improve the score, but wouldn't improve the game.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Besides all the points about the DM not being the players' employee, If the players are checking around places where the DM hasn't got any plans, there are maybe 4 different things which can happen:
1)The Dm allows it, having prepared an inch for inch map of the entire setting on a one to 32 scale beforehand. There is no real tension, because there's no motivation to go there, and so no overarching plot, and the players are just playing hikers who happen to be rather heavily armed.
2)The DM Simply says that there's nothing there, and carries on. The players fell like their freedom has been restricted, but if the DM has prepared an engaging plot (Infinitely easier than mapping a whole island, let alone setting, speaking as someone who's tried both) hten they'll probably be forgiven. The pot moves on at a decent pace.
3)The DM has a set of dungeons, plot pointers etc. No matter which cave you explore, it leads to the same dungeon. The plot moves on, same as option 2, but the players have an illusion of choice. If 2 is railroading, this is an open topped carriage ride through a scenic route
4)The DM has a set of dungeons unrelated to the plot. This allows the players the freedom to explore a 'living'(ish) world, without the DM spending an infinite amount of time mapping every single patch of 'unremarkable terrain'. Pointless spot checks on said unremarkable terrain reveal that it is indeed unremarkable.
Bah, if the players want to know what's in some COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED place that I would never in a million years ever thought of them going, I'd ask them what they expect to find there.  I'd ask them what sort of place they think it is.  And I'd use that to create the place.

DMs aren't going to prep an entire world beforehand, that's a recipe for burnout.  Let the players give you some inspiration and go from there.  The idea that a single DM could map everything in a WORLD is ludicrous.  A single human being could not DOCUMENT (I'm not saying create.  I'm saying DOCUMENT) every location in New York City if they were given a decade.  That's one city.  In one country.  It's not even the largest.   
I sort of engineered my latest campaign world in reverse... I started with having the players make the type of character they want to play and mixed all their ideas into a blender to make the starting point, only adding pieces of the world as the story, events and various adventures and encounters led them to further exploration. Some parts of the world are filled with pretty detailed areas, the rest are narrowed down into vague ideas of where civilization ends and the wild outlands begin.

If a player were to suddenly leave town and make a beeline through the desert, I'd appeal to the role-player and ask why his character would do that. Maybe he's a mystic cleric going out to be at one with the spirit world, for instance. Sometimes the character is just going out and about to get away from it all. Real people do that, so I'm not going to forbid it.. even if I have nothing 'prepared'.

What I've found helpful is to figure out how far the players can travel in a given day and have some basic thoughts in mind what is in any given direction up to that point. If the area is currently not developed, I know before hand if they are following a merchant road and can 'wing' some basic merchants or bandits along the way, maybe some friendly soldier patrols or if they are following a game trail and can wing some basic animal encounters or interesting terrain features and simple monster lairs. The whole time, though I am always looking for things that may somehow vaguely tie something-anything in with areas I have made more preparation with. Failing that... sometimes a random NPC met on the road is interesting enough to get the party to follow him on whatever quest he happens to be on at the time... usually something that ties in with some adventure I prepared already, but sometimes something off-the-wall and totally winged....

Sometimes it is interesting to just place an ENIGMA. If the players are way out in the wilds... put a big statue or something there. You don't have to know exactly what it means, but the player's speculations might spark some ideas for you.

My players never figured out (but always remembered the big white marble hand thrusting up out of the side of the mountain... they went exploring in the direction of the other hand and after several difficult terrain encounters and random monsters... they finally found it!). They now refer to these two hands... spaced nearly 500 miles apart as The Hands of God. Their second generation characters went back and discovered the calm palm outward gesture had changed into a fist! Yet the stone radiates no magic. I'll make it do something important eventually... something to do with some quest they happen to be on at the time, I'm sure. Maybe a cryptic message found on some 'exploration' says... "Crush the stone of light between the hands of the pale god of the mountain valley". Wing it.

A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.