DM problem - low level PC killing people they shouldn't be able to ...

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One needn't have either a sandbox world or an overarching plot planned out. It's surprising how much can be collaboratively created on the fly, and it's a surprisingly fun approach.



And it works with every group every time in all settings everywhere...
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But, then, that's an example of someone in the group wanting to do something and the DM saying "No". That's not really an example of people doing what they want to do and crafting a tale together.

True. It's just unfortunate how often that's the case. Sometimes "no" isn't even said, but the disincentive for going off the path is clear.

A better example of this kind would be if the DM simply included what was done in that building into the story. Perhaps there was some beggar in there who had something to say about the world. It didn't have to be something grand or even plot-changing. Even if it was just more "flavour" I would have been happy.

The DM could even turn to the players and say "You encounter something interesting. What is it?" Their apparently random choice is made interesting for everyone, and the DM is supplied with hooks that the players are known to be interested in - because they came up with them.


One needn't have either a sandbox world or an overarching plot planned out. It's surprising how much can be collaboratively created on the fly, and it's a surprisingly fun approach.

And it works with every group every time in all settings everywhere...

True, but it works best with open-minded, trustworthy people.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.



One needn't have either a sandbox world or an overarching plot planned out. It's surprising how much can be collaboratively created on the fly, and it's a surprisingly fun approach.

And it works with every group every time in all settings everywhere...

True, but it works best with open-minded, trustworthy people.



That was sarcasm... It actually doesn't work with all people everywhere all the time.  I know several of my past groups where that just wouldn't fly at all and the game would be a standstill.

I like how you then go to imply that if it doesn't work it is because the players are somehow not trustworthy and closeminded.  Your method is so awesome it even weeds out liars and bigots.
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Your method is so awesome it even weeds out liars and bigots.

I'm blushing from all these compliments!

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Your method is so awesome it even weeds out liars and bigots.

I'm blushing from all these compliments!




I know right?  They should use your method of playing DnD as the second interview step to getting into federal office.  Would clean up all these problems with politicians in 1 4 hour gaming session.
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Since this is the thread I started ...

My world is a combo of both.

I have a big wide open world, with things going on around the PC, not because of the PC. I let them do pretty much what they want. Sure I throw them bones now and them. Like right now in game they are taking jobs from a Guild. In the second game session they happened to stumble upon the precursor to a huge war, that is going to happen. The PC think they know what is going on, and I have been keeping track of what my NPC are doing as they go about their business. It is possible to have both an open world with a big under story to it. As a DM all I have to do is think ahead a week or two and know where my NPCs are. Not that big a deal.

To say one playstyle over the other is wrong ... well is just wrong. It should be about what the PC wants.  My PC like that their are bigger things goin on around them, and that they aren't the most important people in the world.

So am I wrong for giving my PC what they want?

So saying something works everytime with every group is not correct. A DM should, with in reason, give the PC what they want.  A smart DM wouldn't start off a level 1 PC with a Vorpral Sword, as an example of something that would be in the with in reason thing.

With the case that I stated to open this thread ...

The PC killed off someone they could have gotten information out of to know what is going on in the world around them. Since they didn't they don't know anything first hand. Since they killed off someone big and bad, when they came across a Death Knight, the went right at him. That was my initial problem. And since then I have solved that problem.
The PC killed off someone they could have gotten information out of to know what is going on in the world around them. Since they didn't they don't know anything first hand. Since they killed off someone big and bad, when they came across a Death Knight, the went right at him. That was my initial problem. And since then I have solved that problem.

Glad to hear it.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.


"My group wants to have fun, but also we are told this is not the point of D&D. I am very confuse."


You rolled very well on your diplomacy check, and I'd like to give you bonus XP for this sentence. 




Having fun is why people sit down to play D&D, but it is not the mechanical point of the game of D&D. Two seperate things. Yokel is taking what I have said out of context.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


I know right?  They should use your method of playing DnD as the second interview step to getting into federal office.  Would clean up all these problems with politicians in 1 4 hour gaming session.



And yes, Matyr you've uncovered the great toxicity of the mind-set you've lampooned: thinking a system is awesome and good for everyone except for those people that are bigots, jerks or close-minded.

Basically a way of saying "My way is best unless you're a jerk".

It's complete BS but it's BS wrapped up in a shiney, buzz-wordy bow and sometimes people just eat that up.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I feel like the issue here is that you believe Ichoice is somehow cheating.

 

I didn't say that. I said the lack of choice happens because of cheating, and illusion of choice serves to mask the lack of choice.

"Gaming the system to make something happen".  Making something happen is the DM's role.  If he/she can make a much better experience for their players by being able to accurately use the materials they have prepared then I agree. You are gaming the system to make a better game for the players.  You cheater you.



No. The DM's role is not to make something happen. The DM's role is to arbitrate, impartially. DMs should not be pushing for any specific outcome.

Your logic is that lack of choice is bad, thus anything that gives them lack of choice is also bad.



Not quite so much. Lack of player agency is bad. When the player's influence is no longer the chief influence in the game, you're indeed looking at a problem. 

But lack of choice is something that is going to happen to some extent regardless of what you do. 



Say what now?

The PCs walk up to the village of Brin. They want that village to be the village of Eastwick, it isn't its the village of Brin.  But they want to choose to say that village is Eastwick, but its your world so you say "sorry thats the village of Brin.  If you want Eastwick you have to do XYZ in order to get there."  Or better yet the PCs want to go to Brin, however since they last heard of Brin there has been a meteor that hit that area.  They are unable to choose to go to Brin (although they can dance in the craetor where it used to be).  Is this also bad since you are limiting their choices by destroying Brin in the world? 



You're misunderstanding, in a big way. When anyone says players should have choice, they don't mean the players are gods that get to shape the world. It means that the PCs are free to do as they please, without interference from the DM.
I've realized that there is no middle ground here we can make it to.  This is another edition war or alignment problem.  We aren't going to agree in any way.  My only hope is that people would choose to respect that their way of doing it isn't the only way to do it.  That won't happen, but its a hope at least.
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I've realized that there is no middle ground here we can make it to.



A married couple has a problem. Their house is beset by termites. The husband says, "kill the termites." The wife says, "life is sacred, let them live." Eventually, they reach a middle ground and kill exactly half of the termites. They have now taken life, and their house is still being eaten. This is quite literally the textbook example of something known as "Golden Mean Fallacy." When one party is correct, and the other is incorrect, it is fallacious to assume that the middle ground is best simply because it is the middle ground.

In the words of Ayn Rand, "In everything there is a right way, and a wrong way, but the middle way is always evil." 

This is another edition war or alignment problem.



Holy crap, Yagami wasn't kidding. You really do like your buzz words don't you? 

We aren't going to agree in any way.



You mean you're going to persist in your mistake? Forgive me if I'm less than shocked.

My only hope is that people would choose to respect that their way of doing it isn't the only way to do it.



Recognize, yes. Respect, no. This is where Murphy's Law comes in. "If there are two ways of doing something, the incorrect way will always be done first." 

That won't happen, but its a hope at least.



I won't respect something that doesn't warrant it.

If you want to take choice away from the players, just create a party of characters on your own, and run a glorified playtest. The gaming table is not the DM's personal stage to act on. The DM is in fact the man behind the curtain. You know, the one that you're supposed to pay no attention to.
I've realized that there is no middle ground here we can make it to.  This is another edition war or alignment problem.  We aren't going to agree in any way.  My only hope is that people would choose to respect that their way of doing it isn't the only way to do it.  That won't happen, but its a hope at least.


I think there really wouldn't be any "middle ground" or "respect [your] way of doing it" because illusion of choice (iChoice) -- especially when the illusion is lifted -- can either be a great way of circumventing the circumstances that you're stuck with, a.k.a. you only considered one path, coerce the players into that path regardless of choice, and then when asked what the alternatives really were you just end up being as poker-faced as possible, which some may call lazy DMing; or just plain cheating the players out of actual choice (aChoice) a.k.a. railroading.

iChoice is the easier path, but must be used sparingly if at all, and just like any lie must be constantly maintained if it were to remain acceptable. The moment the illusion is broken, don't expect players to trust you so readily afterwards.  If at all.

aChoice for me is the better path, because even though it puts more pressure on the DM, even if the DM fails to effectively improvise himself, all the DM has to do is remember that this is a group activity: if he can't make up stuff for himself, he can ask for ideas directly, then later on as he learns what sort of plot hooks and motivation cues the PCs (and players) have, he can then pick up from there. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .



By successful, I'm guessing you mean everyone had fun. Well, in the words of Lafayette, "You can like it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not still mayonnaise." If your players like getting railroaded while you tell your story without allowing the players to actually influence events, then more power to you. Just don't ever let them know there's something high quality out there than mayo, because once they get a taste, they won't want what you're offering then anymore, and you won't have any actors to order around.

"My group wants to have fun, but also we are told this is not the point of D&D. I am very confuse."


You rolled very well on your diplomacy check, and I'd like to give you bonus XP for this sentence. 





Having fun is why people sit down to play D&D, but it is not the mechanical point of the game of D&D. Two seperate things. Yokel is taking what I have said out of context.



My subtle joke being "You did well on that dice roll, which was part of the rules. Here's bonus experience, which isn't part of the rules". =)

Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .

I wouldn't use termites as an example. If you don't do anything about them the house will collapse regardless of what you do. In case of a D&D campaign though the house will only collapse if your players start poking at it. I know from experience that there are ample of players out there who really don't care too much about proactive gaming or even about having big choices as long as they are having fun fights, get to feel like the hero and are given the illusion of choice. In fact, my current Saturday specifically asked me NOT to go for a sandbox game and to entertain them with my story (we did discuss at session 0 what kind of story they wanted). I am sure they would balk if I would truly railroad stuff, but they would never poke at the foundations if I did gave them an ichoice and tend to follow the tracks, happy as long as I give them the occassional choice in tracks.
Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .



By successful, I'm guessing you mean everyone had fun. Well, in the words of Lafayette, "You can like it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not still mayonnaise." If your players like getting railroaded while you tell your story without allowing the players to actually influence events, then more power to you. Just don't ever let them know there's something high quality out there than mayo, because once they get a taste, they won't want what you're offering then anymore, and you won't have any actors to order around.

Nonsense. Not everybody likes the same things. There are certainly types of food liked by more people than other types of food, and some stuff you could eat is pretty lethal*, but you can eat mayonnnaise just fine.

* And the lethal stuff in D&D really has more to do with jerk and immature behavior.

Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .



By successful, I'm guessing you mean everyone had fun. Well, in the words of Lafayette, "You can like it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not still mayonnaise." If your players like getting railroaded while you tell your story without allowing the players to actually influence events, then more power to you. Just don't ever let them know there's something high quality out there than mayo, because once they get a taste, they won't want what you're offering then anymore, and you won't have any actors to order around.

Nonsense. Not everybody likes the same things. There are certainly types of food liked by more people than other types of food, and some stuff you could eat is pretty lethal*, but you can eat mayonnnaise just fine.

* And the lethal stuff in D&D really has more to do with jerk and immature behavior.




I think Zaramon's point is more that if you continue to eat what you are used to eating you may think it is of the finest quality when really it's just what you're used to.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .



By successful, I'm guessing you mean everyone had fun. Well, in the words of Lafayette, "You can like it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not still mayonnaise." If your players like getting railroaded while you tell your story without allowing the players to actually influence events, then more power to you. Just don't ever let them know there's something high quality out there than mayo, because once they get a taste, they won't want what you're offering then anymore, and you won't have any actors to order around.

Nonsense. Not everybody likes the same things. There are certainly types of food liked by more people than other types of food, and some stuff you could eat is pretty lethal*, but you can eat mayonnnaise just fine.

* And the lethal stuff in D&D really has more to do with jerk and immature behavior.




I think Zaramon's point is more that if you continue to eat what you are used to eating you may think it is of the finest quality when really it's just what you're used to.



Which ignores the possibility that after sampling other things you would still find the thing you were eating was your favorite food.
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!



except that isn't ichoice at all...
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!



except that isn't ichoice at all...


iChoice would be something like

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Pork it is!" (uses vegan meat regardless of what the players said, uses pork flavoring to make sure it tastes like pork) 
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!



except that isn't ichoice at all...


iChoice would be something like

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Pork it is!" (uses vegan meat regardless of what the players said, uses pork flavoring to make sure it tastes like pork) 



Closer.  Only the food analogy also breaks down a lot if you go any further than just taste.  If you limit it to just taste then that works fine.

DM has tofu.

Asks party:
"What do you want to eat?
Party: "Pork"
DM: *Makes tofu identical to pork and serves pork.

Again, it assumes you are only talking about taste. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Guess I'll continue running successful multi-year campaigns full of termites then.  Since clearly my way is the wrong way and everyone else is better at all of this .



By successful, I'm guessing you mean everyone had fun. Well, in the words of Lafayette, "You can like it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not still mayonnaise." If your players like getting railroaded while you tell your story without allowing the players to actually influence events, then more power to you. Just don't ever let them know there's something high quality out there than mayo, because once they get a taste, they won't want what you're offering then anymore, and you won't have any actors to order around.

Nonsense. Not everybody likes the same things. There are certainly types of food liked by more people than other types of food, and some stuff you could eat is pretty lethal*, but you can eat mayonnnaise just fine.

* And the lethal stuff in D&D really has more to do with jerk and immature behavior.




I think Zaramon's point is more that if you continue to eat what you are used to eating you may think it is of the finest quality when really it's just what you're used to.



Pretty much. And if people are honest with themselves, there is no such thing as a favorite food. Tastes change over time, and they are more likely to fluctuate given exposure to different things. Just because someone likes something, doesn't mean there isn't something of much, much higher quality out there. Personal preference also doesn't much speak to the quality of any food, especially if you have nothing else to compare it to. That was Lafy's point as well.
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!




Nice way to compare D&D to something that isn't D&D
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!




Nice way to compare D&D to something that isn't D&D



Lol. Oh, that's too good.
The best thing about ichoice is you can choose from three different plates of food and always get the same thing no matter what you choose!

"Do you want steak, chicken, or pork?"
"Pork!"
"Chicken it is! Because it is all I prepare!"

Mmm... ichoice is delicious!




Nice way to compare D&D to something that isn't D&D



Still fairly accurate.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Closer.  Only the food analogy also breaks down a lot if you go any further than just taste.  If you limit it to just taste then that works fine.

DM has tofu.

Asks party:
"What do you want to eat?
Party: "Pork"
DM: *Makes tofu identical to pork and serves pork.

Again, it assumes you are only talking about taste. 



And if you tell them you're serving them pork you're still lying regardless of how it tastes.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Closer.  Only the food analogy also breaks down a lot if you go any further than just taste.  If you limit it to just taste then that works fine.

DM has tofu.

Asks party:
"What do you want to eat?
Party: "Pork"
DM: *Makes tofu identical to pork and serves pork.

Again, it assumes you are only talking about taste. 



And if you tell them you're serving them pork you're still lying regardless of how it tastes.



Which is the illusion part.  You don't say its pork.  You call it dinner and hand it to them.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Closer.  Only the food analogy also breaks down a lot if you go any further than just taste.  If you limit it to just taste then that works fine.

DM has tofu.

Asks party:
"What do you want to eat?
Party: "Pork"
DM: *Makes tofu identical to pork and serves pork.

Again, it assumes you are only talking about taste. 



And if you tell them you're serving them pork you're still lying regardless of how it tastes.



Which is the illusion part.  You don't say its pork.  You call it dinner and hand it to them.



Except you told them they could go left or right. In reality, there was NO left or right. There was "the DM's way". You are lying to them. Period.

Is it valid? Sure if you're happy with that I suppose...but it does nothing to create trust between players & DMs. Illusion is deception. Deception is lying.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Closer.  Only the food analogy also breaks down a lot if you go any further than just taste.  If you limit it to just taste then that works fine.

DM has tofu.

Asks party:
"What do you want to eat?
Party: "Pork"
DM: *Makes tofu identical to pork and serves pork.

Again, it assumes you are only talking about taste. 



And if you tell them you're serving them pork you're still lying regardless of how it tastes.



Which is the illusion part.  You don't say its pork.  You call it dinner and hand it to them.



Except you told them they could go left or right. In reality, there was NO left or right. There was "the DM's way". You are lying to them. Period.

Is it valid? Sure if you're happy with that I suppose...but it does nothing to create trust between players & DMs. Illusion is deception. Deception is lying.



Except the players did go right or left, but what was in right or left was different based on what they chose to do.

"Illusion is deception.  Deception is lying." - No wonder you are one of the people having the eternal alignment argument... 
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Except the players did go right or left, but what was in right or left was different based on what they chose to do.

"Illusion is deception.  Deception is lying." - No wonder you are one of the people having the eternal alignment argument... 



Uh...because I know the definition of words?












Noun









  1. A false idea or belief: "he had no illusions about her".

  2. A deceptive appearance or impression: "the illusion of togetherness".





Hmm...false idea...deceptive...yeah seems like lying to me.


I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

See, I have been wondering for a while now why there are some players on these boards who are scared of these phantom DMs who railroad them, rule against them when in doubt, and are just generally out to get players. Now I know why. DMs advocating decieving their players is sickening.
I have a questions about sandbox vs Railroad.

I'm a fairly new DM, only about 2 years now.  I'm not comfortable with my improvisational skills and letting players have a completely open sandbox, where they can go wherever they want to and go on whatever adventure they'd like.  Frankly, I'm not sure I can whip up good encounters (combat or skill challenge) on the fly. 

As a DM, I'd like to run a game that has a story thread, not one that I've specifically designed, but one that the players add to and branch off where they'd prefer to go.    I don't get the point of a completely open sandbox, beause it seems aimless to me.  Players would go on random adventure after rndom adventure, levelling up just seem pointless.  It doesn't seem like there's a goal.  Now, if players let me know what their goals are, I'd love to craft some basic adventures that cater to the character's story. 

I don't want to run a game on tight rails- where I have the player's destinies written out and they have to follow along where I tell them to.  I don't think ANYONE is advocating a game like that.    So what then, constitutes railroading?  

What I aim for is a series of interconnected adventures within certain boundaries. 
Is it wrong for me to offer several options for adventures, letting the players choose which one sounds most fun to them?  This would be done with hooks, based on their character's history and how the player has said they'd like the character to play out. 
If I have players who seem like they are just along for the ride, whose characters don't have any real motivation, even after prodding in character and away from the table, is it alright to give the party an adventure with guidelines, some wide rails? 

I have a general outline for where I'd like the campaign to go.  It's short, so I'll post it here. 
Set in Eberron.  Heroic tier- palyers are hired to complete the Seekers of the Ashen Crown module.  This is modified to tie in better with later points.  Once that module is done, player may go on to return the crown to the Goblins or the Elves.  They may be hired to search for a hidden Creation Forge in the Mournland.  A recurring theme is the return of the Goblin nation and aberrants reappearing.  Depending on who gets the Ashen Crown, the Last War may be restarted.  May end heroic tier with a fight against a reincarnated/warforged Dragon.  Paragon tier- hints of a Lord of Dust trying to return to this plane.  Players may search out the pieces of an eldritch machine that would re-bind the creature, thus saving the world. It's a re-vamp of Against the Giants, with far less Giants. 

Is this outline a campaign on rails?  Note that, if the players and characters aren't interested, we drop it and move on to something else, something that hopefully the players are interested in.
Before I continue, I'd like to inform you that I've been DMing for around... 3 years now, so we're not so far apart in terms of experience.

I have a questions about sandbox vs Railroad.

I'm a fairly new DM, only about 2 years now.  I'm not comfortable with my improvisational skills and letting players have a completely open sandbox, where they can go wherever they want to and go on whatever adventure they'd like.  Frankly, I'm not sure I can whip up good encounters (combat or skill challenge) on the fly.

When I began DMing, I was DMing a couple of LFR campaigns, which is a pretty safe thing to do since these are pre-made adventures, with a bit of railroading from time to time.

My biggest eye-opener for DMing would be The Night I Called the Undead Out, as one of my friends had the party split, which made me panick quite a lot especially because the module said that I could/should allow party-splitting. In my panick I forgot the LFR rule that said that I should be taking NPCs/monsters from the module when in doubt, but thankfully the DMG's rules helped me out with the custom monster creation rules, so I was able to think up a bunch of monsters on the fly for that encounter, which to this day is fondly remembered by my players.

When I think back to it, it was a very lousy improv, but it was exciting and everyone had fun.  And that's the most important thing, and why iChoice (and sometimes bad DMing in general) works: having fun is why we play games in the first place, so any "secret formula" that would make our games "fun" -- regardless if it involves rollplay, roleplay, regular TPKs, story-focused gaming, sandbox, or anything and everything in-between and beyond -- we'd recognize as a winning formula, regardless if we've been told that it's bad DMing or not.

As a DM, I'd like to run a game that has a story thread, not one that I've specifically designed, but one that the players add to and branch off where they'd prefer to go.    I don't get the point of a completely open sandbox, beause it seems aimless to me.  Players would go on random adventure after rndom adventure, levelling up just seem pointless.  It doesn't seem like there's a goal.  Now, if players let me know what their goals are, I'd love to craft some basic adventures that cater to the character's story.  

I can understand if you're hesitant about the sandbox approach but there's one thing you seemed to have overlooked: sandbox doesn't necessarily have to be storyless (unless you want computer-style sandbox).  In fact, you can achieve exactly what you want within a sandbox environment.

Think of it this way: if you or your players have this certain BBEG in mind that's affecting the world, in a sandbox environment that BBEG will have a set of goals himself, which he will try to accomplish regardless of who or what is in his way. Unless the players intentionally steer away from this BBEG and his plans -- in which case, you might want to just make the BBEG accomplish his goals and A) have the players live with the consequences of the BBEG's actions, and B) redesign your entire campaign to fit what the players really want -- they'll likely bump into him or his lackeys, and there'll likely be friction, especially if/when abused townfolk seek the PCs' aid.

13th Age** does it better: the leveling system involves "DM determines when you level up", and you're not required to hand out gold and gear like crazy, and the system does equip you with the tools needed to cater to the character's story and enrich the character's story by a LOT.  This is done by providing you with predetermined Icons (whose name you can and should change to fit the campaign), that each has his and her own agenda, and represents a certain aspect of a campaign; e.g. the Orc Lord is the epitome of violence, the Crusader is the champion of the dark gods, the Emperor is the representative of civilization.  In addition to those Icons, players gain "relationship dice" that allows their PCs to not only be associated with the organizations that these Icons represent (if not the Icons themselves), but also utilize favors from these organizations and even alter the campaign in rather unusual ways: from invoking supernatural events when needed the most, to creating entire campaigns on the fly! And finally, each PC gets this Unique Thing that is truly unique (no duplications allowed for each campaign, not even monsters get to duplicate what the PCs' Unique Things are).  Bringing it all together, and combine it with their backgrounds, and it's a crazy wonderful concoction

The important thing about the sandbox approach isn't in creating the world and filling it with the most minute of details, then throwing PCs in it.  The important thing about the sandbox approach is that the world is alive; constantly being rendered from the pixels that fill your currently-blank mind perhaps, but alive nevertheless.  When PCs kill, scavengers eat the carcasses.  When PCs get caught for criminal activities, word gets around.  When PCs abandon a dungeon (regardless if it's because there's nothing else to do, or if they decided to take extended rests prematurely), something happens to that dungeon between the time they leave and the time they return.  When PCs return to their regular inn, the bartender might actually start introducing himself and maybe chit chat with the PCs, then after a few times if the city is struck hard economically the inn might be closed and abandoned, or a brigand raid might have the bartender injured or killed.  None of that actually requires a pre-built sandbox world, just the imagination and logic needed to (eventually) recreate the world.

Of course, admitting that you could make mistakes and that the players have the right to help correct those mistakes also goes a long way, especially in building player trust.

I don't want to run a game on tight rails- where I have the player's destinies written out and they have to follow along where I tell them to.  I don't think ANYONE is advocating a game like that.    So what then, constitutes railroading?  

Think of a railroad and compare a car to a train: a train can get you to places faster and without fail, yet a car can get you to places where the rails don't pass through. It's hard to get lost when you've got tracks to follow, but for those whose destination isn't along those rails, being able to drive around is much better.

Railroading works almost exactly as trains and railroads: the objective of railroading is to just keep the players on the tracks. Regardless if it's by laying out new tracks, deception/illusion or by outright manhandling of the PCs (the "you go to this place, no questions asked" method), the important thing is that the PCs reach the destination you've determined.  They actually released an article here in WotC on the subject, teaching DMs how to properly railroad (hint: it's the laying of new tracks to ensure that they eventually reach their goal).

What I aim for is a series of interconnected adventures within certain boundaries. 
Is it wrong for me to offer several options for adventures, letting the players choose which one sounds most fun to them?  This would be done with hooks, based on their character's history and how the player has said they'd like the character to play out. 
If I have players who seem like they are just along for the ride, whose characters don't have any real motivation, even after prodding in character and away from the table, is it alright to give the party an adventure with guidelines, some wide rails?



First off, you need to ask the group, "what would be fun for you?" Designing for combat when the players want socializing can easily result in none of your hooks actually mattering.

Second, the best advice given to me by one of the more veteran DMs in my group is this: always prepare for at most one session ahead, only one session ahead.

Finally, the only thing you really need in this case would be the plot hooks, as sometimes the plot itself -- and in the case of 13th Age, the campaign itself -- can be done impromptu, depending on what the PCs and players do.

I have a general outline for where I'd like the campaign to go.  It's short, so I'll post it here. 
Set in Eberron.  Heroic tier- palyers are hired to complete the Seekers of the Ashen Crown module.  This is modified to tie in better with later points.  Once that module is done, player may go on to return the crown to the Goblins or the Elves.  They may be hired to search for a hidden Creation Forge in the Mournland.  A recurring theme is the return of the Goblin nation and aberrants reappearing.  Depending on who gets the Ashen Crown, the Last War may be restarted.  May end heroic tier with a fight against a reincarnated/warforged Dragon.  Paragon tier- hints of a Lord of Dust trying to return to this plane.  Players may search out the pieces of an eldritch machine that would re-bind the creature, thus saving the world. It's a re-vamp of Against the Giants, with far less Giants. 

Is this outline a campaign on rails?  Note that, if the players and characters aren't interested, we drop it and move on to something else, something that hopefully the players are interested in.

The outline is a decent framework to start with, and the fact that you're willing to drop the campaign in favor of something more interesting means that you're not really running the thing on rails.  Just within a rough, flexible framework (which is how TRPG systems in general should be designed IMHO).  Given how you're heavily using modules like I used to do, it's a pretty decent way of running things.

On my part, I plan to revisit Eberron, take the most iconic groups/foes and possibly make Icons of them, have everyone's characters converted from 4E to 13th Age, and continue my campaign from there.  We're no longer using modules anyway, and we're currently exploring the stories of each of the characters, currently the half-elf storm sorcerer who is a member of House Lyrandar and is currently having talks with House Orien's representative regarding a series of unusual hijinks that have been occurring since the Mark of Creation (mentioned in the Eberron Campaign Guide) was found.  A bit of Icon-related campaign randomizing where my job would be more to string all the elements together into a coherent shouldn't hurt much, seeing as that's how I'm going about my other 13th Age campaign [ the Final Fantasy-style "you're the (children of the) holy warriors of light and must save the world" bit's been done to death I think, might as well try something else... ]

** no I'm not their spokesperson, just someone genuinely excited about the system
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If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I have a questions about sandbox vs Railroad.


Railroading is when you force them down a paricular path and don't allow deviation.  If you are allowing your characters to make choices that effect things, pick different paths and take the adventure they want to you aren't railroading.


I'm a fairly new DM, only about 2 years now.  I'm not comfortable with my improvisational skills and letting players have a completely open sandbox, where they can go wherever they want to and go on whatever adventure they'd like.  Frankly, I'm not sure I can whip up good encounters (combat or skill challenge) on the fly. 



As discussed on here a lot of times, although I seem to be in the minority here, Ichoice can help with this problem.  If you have especially interesting encounters or ones you think the players will enjoy you can leave the encounter vague except for the interesting points and then let the encounter stay in limbo until the characters meet certain conditions rather than go to only one place.  The example I used earlier, which is intended to be basic, is that of the goblin patrol.  The goblin patrols are in the mountains to the east somewhere.  If the players go through the pass to the north they will encounter a goblin patrol, if they go through the pass to the south same goblin patrol, if they go under the mountain - Same goblin patrol.  After they have encountered the patrol in one of the routes, it is set there.  They won't encounter it anywhere else and you should adapt the encounter to meet the circumstances.  Its a little bit of improv, but leans harder on planning ahead of time.


As a DM, I'd like to run a game that has a story thread, not one that I've specifically designed, but one that the players add to and branch off where they'd prefer to go.    I don't get the point of a completely open sandbox, beause it seems aimless to me.  Players would go on random adventure after rndom adventure, levelling up just seem pointless.  It doesn't seem like there's a goal.  Now, if players let me know what their goals are, I'd love to craft some basic adventures that cater to the character's story. 



Having your players tell you their goals and working with them so that you can create together a story that will go after those goals is an excellent plan.  There are some things I would recommend keeping behind the screen (more than others here would likely suggest), but yeah make a story for them.  The only part that is important is to make the story simple and fluid enough to adapt to the situation.  Don't have thing X as the only way to get to Y which they will need for Z.  That way has rails and can be frustrating for players.  Now, you can take what they want to do and make stories from it, but keep in mind that their goals might change.  Or, even after talking at length, you two are not on the same page as to what the character wants to do.  Basically be mindful of your player's inputs on things and don't try to shove a quest hook down their throat.


Is it wrong for me to offer several options for adventures, letting the players choose which one sounds most fun to them?  This would be done with hooks, based on their character's history and how the player has said they'd like the character to play out. 



No, that is an excellent plan.  But if you give the characters the choice of up or down be ready and don't get mad or try to throw them back on the path if they choose left.


If I have players who seem like they are just along for the ride, whose characters don't have any real motivation, even after prodding in character and away from the table, is it alright to give the party an adventure with guidelines, some wide rails? 



Yep.  Some groups even like a more structured path.  These tend to be newer players, people who are big readers/console gamers rather than big roleplayers.  See the different player Archetypes in the DMG2 (I think).


I have a general outline for where I'd like the campaign to go.  It's short, so I'll post it here. 
Set in Eberron.  Heroic tier- palyers are hired to complete the Seekers of the Ashen Crown module.  This is modified to tie in better with later points.  Once that module is done, player may go on to return the crown to the Goblins or the Elves.  They may be hired to search for a hidden Creation Forge in the Mournland.  A recurring theme is the return of the Goblin nation and aberrants reappearing.  Depending on who gets the Ashen Crown, the Last War may be restarted.  May end heroic tier with a fight against a reincarnated/warforged Dragon.  Paragon tier- hints of a Lord of Dust trying to return to this plane.  Players may search out the pieces of an eldritch machine that would re-bind the creature, thus saving the world. It's a re-vamp of Against the Giants, with far less Giants. 

Is this outline a campaign on rails?  Note that, if the players and characters aren't interested, we drop it and move on to something else, something that hopefully the players are interested in.



Here is what I would avoid "The players are hired".  Contrast it to  "the players are offered a job doing X".  If they don't take the job have things happen and change.  Maybe another group took the job and died in the process prompting another chain of events.

"recurring theme" - great.  Specific enough to be useful, vague enough to be applied all over.

Hope I helped
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As discussed on here a lot of times, although I seem to be in the minority here, Ichoice can help with this problem.  If you have especially interesting encounters or ones you think the players will enjoy you can leave the encounter vague except for the interesting points and then let the encounter stay in limbo until the characters meet certain conditions rather than go to only one place.  The example I used earlier, which is intended to be basic, is that of the goblin patrol.  The goblin patrols are in the mountains to the east somewhere.  If the players go through the pass to the north they will encounter a goblin patrol, if they go through the pass to the south same goblin patrol, if they go under the mountain - Same goblin patrol.  After they have encountered the patrol in one of the routes, it is set there.  They won't encounter it anywhere else and you should adapt the encounter to meet the circumstances.  Its a little bit of improv, but leans harder on planning ahead of time.

Personally I see no reason as to why you couldn't take full advantage of 4E's custom monster system in this regard.  Have the monsters utilize the exact same basic stats, with a "goblin" template", a "kobold" template, and an "orc" template.  If they go north they encounter goblins (use the goblin template, otherwise exactly the same powers), if they go south they encounter kobolds (use the kobold template, otherwise exactly the same powers), and if they go anywhere else they'd encounter orcs (use the orc template, otherwise exactly the same powers).  You'd need a slightly greater amount of preparation, but at least you'd ensure that your illusion of choice is well-maintained, because even if you're using the same stats, you give the nameless faceless opponent enough features to make them recognizably goblin, orc or kobold or whatever other monster you could think of.

[ In the case of 4E, goblins shift when an attack misses them, kobolds shift as a minor action, and orcs get a free basic attack when they die (plus charging-related bonuses). Anything else is up to you. ]

If you're going to give the illusion of choice, make sure that the illusion is perceptively real enough. Especially if the party decides to split and you'd have to run both the north and south pass.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
As discussed on here a lot of times, although I seem to be in the minority here, Ichoice can help with this problem.  If you have especially interesting encounters or ones you think the players will enjoy you can leave the encounter vague except for the interesting points and then let the encounter stay in limbo until the characters meet certain conditions rather than go to only one place.  The example I used earlier, which is intended to be basic, is that of the goblin patrol.  The goblin patrols are in the mountains to the east somewhere.  If the players go through the pass to the north they will encounter a goblin patrol, if they go through the pass to the south same goblin patrol, if they go under the mountain - Same goblin patrol.  After they have encountered the patrol in one of the routes, it is set there.  They won't encounter it anywhere else and you should adapt the encounter to meet the circumstances.  Its a little bit of improv, but leans harder on planning ahead of time.

Personally I see no reason as to why you couldn't take full advantage of 4E's custom monster system in this regard.  Have the monsters utilize the exact same basic stats, with a "goblin" template", a "kobold" template, and an "orc" template.  If they go north they encounter goblins (use the goblin template, otherwise exactly the same powers), if they go south they encounter kobolds (use the kobold template, otherwise exactly the same powers), and if they go anywhere else they'd encounter orcs (use the orc template, otherwise exactly the same powers).  You'd need a slightly greater amount of preparation, but at least you'd ensure that your illusion of choice is well-maintained, because even if you're using the same stats, you give the nameless faceless opponent enough features to make them recognizably goblin, orc or kobold or whatever other monster you could think of.

[ In the case of 4E, goblins shift when an attack misses them, kobolds shift as a minor action, and orcs get a free basic attack when they die (plus charging-related bonuses). Anything else is up to you. ]

If you're going to give the illusion of choice, make sure that the illusion is perceptively real enough. Especially if the party decides to split and you'd have to run both the north and south pass.




Yep, that sounds like a perfectly good plan to me.  Granted the party splitting up might mean you have to change everything as either one of those encounters should stomp half a party on their own, but thats another matter entirely.
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
@Matyr, @Chaosfang-  Thank you both for your advice, I think it helps immensely.

I'm now thinking that a better term for the game I'm trying to run is one on the Highways.
There's different places you can go, using Interstates, regular highways and backroads to get there.  Players are driving the car, I just give them information about what cities/towns are out there and they choose how to get there.  There are boundaries, as in, you can't go off the map, but not specifically only one way to get there.  Players are driving the car, we find new roads as we go along. 

As for dropping hints and having themes, I already know that what what I think is easy to see may be unrecognizable by the players.  Subtlety doesn't always work, and there will not be a companion character to give them hints about where I want them to go.  Between sessions, I'll be asking palyers where they want to go and what they want to do, then work on stuff for the next session or two.

I've ditched XP as a levelling measurement, and letting the PC's level up at appropriate times.  Sometimes after completing a tough adventure, sometimes after 2 shorter ones.  It depends on where it seems to fit the most.

Speaking of Splitting the Party:  I have done it once before in an encounter series that I planned, but ended up abandoning much of.
I purposely split the party, without their permission, in what should be seen as a horrible instance of railroading.  Players were split into 2 groups of 3, and I split them according to role, so it wouldn't be too imbalanced.  For the combat encounters, I created level-appropriate encounters for each group, and let Party 1 influence the outcome of Party 2's combat, and vice versa.  They were split into mirror realms in a Feywild/Shadowfell tower.  Magic runes allowed them to make a skill check in the Feywild, to have a corresponding rune do something in the Shadowfell, and vice versa.
At first, the players weren't too thrilled with being split, but it ended up being a successful encounter, as they had fun.  Months later they still talked about it.  It was horrible railroading, but it ended up fun.

For now, I've got a little setup that will let me create enemies on the fly.  I'm trying to keep it very simple.  1 or 2 attacks, and some iconic feature.  I don't want them all to be meatbag #1-4, because that's no fun.

EDIT:   As for "players are hired"  That was the one and only "players must do this" that I've set up so far.  And that was partially in response to the Session Zero question of "Why are you guys working together?   Will this work for you?"