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

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I don't understand how it is that people equate "railroading" or "illusion of choice" to "sin". It astounds me. If the players are aware and everybody in the group agrees to using these methods, then what is so wrong?


Also, I don't get how Matyr's example scenario is "railroading". Let's have a look at the bigger picture here:


There are 6 paths to choose from, all leading to different destinations. In 4 of them, the PCs encounter creatures, which appear in either path (the one the PCs choose, invariably), but not the others (the ones the PCs did not choose). I don't think it has been said, but I can safely assume that all four of those paths lead to different places. One might lead to a city, another to a forest, for example. It just so happens that no matter which one the players take, they will encounter creatures. Yet, in the end, it doesn't really matter.


What really matters is what the players did choose: the destination. The players didn't make their decision based on what they'd encounter. They said "We want to explore the forest!" or "We should check out the city, maybe buy some stuff!" The creature encounter is more or less filler (for lack of a better word), with a plot hook (which the players may choose to ignore), situated between places.


So we can then say that player agency was not removed simply because Matyr decided that an encounter would invariably happen at certain points; more often not, players don't get to choose when or if they encounter anything. He did present them with the choice of multiple destinations, which is something players can and should choose. What happens between those places is not up to them to decide. On top of that, he also lets the players choose how they approach the encounter, with the possibility of cleverly avoiding it. I have no idea how one could interpret this as "railroading".


Heck were it up to me, I might have put those velociraptors in every path. "What are velociraptors doing in a boat?" "Whoa, there's some mithral in this cave, but packs of velociraptors live here!" Both are potentially interesting starting points for adventures.


What would have constituted railroading? Well, if the players, before the game started, explicitly stated they didn't want to fight velociraptors, but Matyr had them fight some anyways, that would be railroading. If the players wanted to go into the cave, but Matyr flat out said "No, you must go to the forest!", that would be as well. I saw none of that. To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced he (or anybody so far, for that matter) is using the term "illusion of choice" in the proper context (no offence meant).


It seems to me like some people are taking offence to his style of play and trying to discredit it through association with something that has a negative connotation, by cherry-picking a specific instance and ignoring the bigger picture. Let's not forget that different playstyles cater to different players. There is no reasonable argument or debate to be had by continuing this line of thought; only emotions running wild and not thinking things through properly.

Ty Shire, I was starting to think Fardiz and I might actually just be loopy.

The other big bit is assuming the players don't have input or agency in what they are doing.  Like you said, there are different things at the ends of those roads.  Maybe the group has decided they want some political intrigue and are headed for Knine to jump into the Game of Houses.  Maybe they want to get into the seedy underbelly of Osrin and see how far down the rabbit hole goes.  Maybe their minds are full questions as to what lays in the deep parts of the dreaded Hylar jungle.  But down each of those paths lies one other thing, a wounded creature.  A wounded creature with a particularly valuable wound that they may be able to use, to one end or another, in their quest for glory / honor / fame / fortune or infamy.
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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 agree that railroad and illusions are bad way to DM for many reason. But I don't agree with blogger about the reason is that players will resent the DM when they find out the decepcion. That is just a guess from him. Many player don't know or don't care even if they know.

The real reason from DM perspective is because it is backwards and actually more work for DM with this methods. It is also because the point of playing is to make stories together out of things PCs do when they interact with DM's preparations (like a dungeon or ghost swamp or maybe a whole world), not to play to experience stories the DM make up. I still think to build the whole world is not necessary but is okay.
Here.

hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-...



So most of what I'm talking about is closest to Palette Shifting according to that article, but not exactly.  And he goes out of the way to say that having pregenerated material to put in blank spots on the map isn't an example of that (which I can assume means not even he thinks it is bad).

I don't agree with a lot of what that guy says.  At the bottom when he talks about what is really fun he lists 3 scenes that can all easily go in campaigns using my methods.  That and to this day the most talked about encounters without fail at the climactic ones where the players and I worked together to create something.  The players and I.  Meaning they told me what they basically wanted to do, and I built an encounter for them, placed it in "quantum flux" somewhere on their path and allowed them to discover it.

He also talks about the idea that you will force players to not be able to discern anything about the encounter before hand in order to keep the illusion to the last possible second.  That is horrible DMing, I agree.  It is also something that isn't important to this point.  If the Quantum Ogre is somewhere and they scry someplace where it would be reasonable that the Ogre is they are observing the Ogre.  Which means the Ogre's location collapses from all the possibles to where it actually is.  That is how Quantum observation works.  Finding distinct tracks or other signs is still an observation of the Ogre, so it will collapse when the players encounter it.  The purpose I am using for the Quantum factor of the Ogre is to let the players know there is an Ogre somewhere.  If they find the Ogre is in the woods and don't want to go that way, no worries.  But the Ogre is now there and that might effect things later on.

Now, to be fair to the article, there were a lot of links to other places that might explain his point of view further, and I didn't click them.  I just don't care enough to do that much reading.

The author gets upset about the forest village encounter and goes "why the hell did you build a random village?!?" and goes on to say that it would be better if you had tools to randomize it for you on the spot.  But why bother randomizing on the spot when you can spend more time customizing the village you think the players want to go to.  If the players are interested in big-city politics building a random forest village is probably useless.  If the players are interested in visiting one of the bordertowns to learn how the peasants are coping with the frequent goblin raids, it would probably be nice to have a fleshed out village for them to visit.  You can bring all the tools you want to randomize, or you could just bring the village.

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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

considering I've never had alcohol but apparently I can describe a yummy wine. Go figure.



And there's the problem with Yagamifire...  no alcohol.
  Just kidding.  

Yagami, you've got some good advice on campaign building.  I used to think you just trolled everyone, but I've seen that's not true.  At this point, I'm reading through what you have to say and sifting out what I think it important from how you say it.

However I think a lot of this is intellectual argument, that doesn't always pan out in the real world.  Sure, it'd be nice if every DM was able to come up with exciting challenges at the players' whims, but not everyone can do that and do it well.  I also think players should have a fair amount of input in world-building, and DM's shoudl have some small control over a Character, with the understanding that neither party will intentionally screw over the other.

If Matyr and his group are having fun playing D&D, then that's great.  
Based on what I've read of a LOT of poster's games, I would not have fun playing in their worlds/games. When LunarSavage was still posting, there was NO way I would have played in one of his games, but it sure sounded like he and his players had a blast with it.

There isn't one right way to play D&D.  There is a wrong way, and that's for DM's to lay out specific tracks and tell players this is what's going to happen today and I'll have my super-powerful DMPC save the day.  I think we can all agree on that. 

Not all DM's are good at improvising and coming up with new encounters on the fly.  It's a skill that needs to be learned, and more DM's need to try it.
I have a session tomorrow that I'm planning for.  So far I have: they can continue in to the cave looking for the merchant that they were asked to find, or they can skip it and move on.  I've got stuff in my head as to what will happen if they DO continue in the cave, and some alternate idea if they continue on.  And I've got a basic monster template to try and make stuff up on the fly.  I hope it's a fun day for the players.
Not all DM's are good at improvising and coming up with new encounters on the fly.  It's a skill that needs to be learned, and more DM's need to try it.

And I think that railroading outright robs DMs of the opportunities to study, practice and master improvisation. iChoice is a somewhat-decent in-between, but it requires the DM to still be willing to throw away anything and everything he's prepared should his players prefer anything other than what he's prepared... and in that regard, iChoice still somewhat robs DMs of the opportunity to learn and master improvisation because it's almost like you're placing players on rails around 50% of the time or more, depending on how railroaded the campaign is.

Between iChoice and outright railroading though, I'd choose iChoice.  Because at least with iChoice as how Martyr describes his actual play (which is better at explaining his position than how he actually explains the theory behind iChoice as far as I can tell), players are still given the option and ability to bypass the railroading.  And of all the types of railroading that can be done, the type which encourages the DM to place new tracks based on player input (rather than giving just the illusion of choice) that eventually leads to the desired destination is probably what I'd prefer the most.

But honestly, after being exposed to 13th Age, and after running 13th Age as done by Rob Heinsoo (see here), and with my improvisation being placed under the microscope over and over again (especially in this campaign), I really can't bring myself to wholeheartedly run predetermined adventures anymore, be it via adventure modules or by serious campaign pre-generating.  The fact that 13th Age gives such simple yet flexible tools for improvisation, combined with how I only need minimum prepping with the system -- in fact I only bring an Excel sheet with the monster creation formula, as well as a few other PDFs as well as dice nowadays (I sometimes improv magic items too, using player powers as a rough gauge on how powerful the magic item's effect should be) -- it's an exhiliarating experience that makes me much more excited about 13th Age than D&D Next.

And while I think iChoice as described by Martyr's actual gameplay is a decent compromise between railroad and improv, I'd say that DMs should still be encouraged to improv much more often and learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others, because the more time spent on the "safe" way, the less likely you'll be able to smoothly adapt to those unusual circumstances that can and eventually will come up.

Here's how I'd go about iChoice by the way:


  • just like I mentioned earlier, prepare stat-less custom monsters with various templates for various regions.


    • if there's a range of levels involved, stat up a minion, a standard, an elite, and a solo, then make template powers and traits


  • design the session with generic steps, rather than very detailed information on the matter


    • even a simple "get quest -> fight battle(s) -> gain reward" type plot would be fine, then forks in the decision portions in the plot line involve less of specific monsters in various locations and more of "please choose what fight you're getting" sort of decision-making (if you go south you'll fight a squad, if you go north you fight a solo, if you're meant to find orcs then going south means an orc army and north means an ogre or an orc chieftain, if you're meant to find dragons then going south means a kobold army and north means a dragon)


  • always prepare to throw away all your notes the moment players choose option W instead of A, B, C or D (this is the main if not only saving grace of Martyr's iChoice; without it I'm sure even more people would dislike iChoice)

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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.
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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 think I notice a connecion between the people who use illusions or railroads and published adventures or organization play like LFR. I think this is because both of them provide the DM with the wrong kind of prep. This prep means the DMs must to railroad or use illusions. To stay on the prep, which is not good prep to begin.

So my question for curious: Are you who likes railroads or illusion of choices introduced to DM-ing with publish adventures or also LFR? This is observation to understand better not accusation...
I think I notice a connecion between the people who use illusions or railroads and published adventures or organization play like LFR. I think this is because both of them provide the DM with the wrong kind of prep. This prep means the DMs must to railroad or use illusions. To stay on the prep, which is not good prep to begin.

So my question for curious: Are you who likes railroads or illusion of choices introduced to DM-ing with publish adventures or also LFR? This is observation to understand better not accusation...


Actually I ended up disliking prep due to LFR, especially Epic tier LFR.  Perhaps in Living Greyhawk, Pathfinder Society or other adventures that are generally considered as superior in quality...
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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
What I mean (damn english!) is LFR or publish adventures have a particular kind of prep that require you to use railroad and illusions a lot of the times. Obviously chaosfang you were expose to different game or way to prepare adventures. Some other people are not and so they use that model for their own preparations. So I wonder if these are connected. If you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR or have no played any other way, maybe this makes people think that way is good. When the reality is you can run games with very little prep and also not a lot of experience in improvisation another way.
What I mean (damn english!) is LFR or publish adventures have a particular kind of prep that require you to use railroad and illusions a lot of the times. Obviously chaosfang you were expose to different game or way to prepare adventures. Some other people are not and so they use that model for their own preparations. So I wonder if these are connected. If you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR or have no played any other way, maybe this makes people think that way is good. When the reality is you can run games with very little prep and also not a lot of experience in improvisation another way.


Actually LFR was the first set of adventures that I ran, and for awhile I thought that it was how you were supposed to run games (everything pre-written, different ways of saying how you ended up in the next encounter, everything laid out in a neat way with only a few adventures providing different paths, and most of those paths still end up re-merging down the main path).

The main things that contributed to the change of heart started with LFR's The Glorious Hunt I think, where you were stripped of gear and hunted down by werewolves (my LFR rogue-ish Fighter ended the adventure driven insane by the disease in that adventure and had to invoke the Charity Clause to be played again). Then there's the time I played LFR under a certain DM, where his MYRE adventures had a number of heavy-handed railroading.  Then there were the EPIC adventures of LFR, where there's a lot of heavy-handed railroading (some made sense, some didn't), which left some of my players dissatisfied. But the main thing that changed it all was that article by Wade Rockett about how Rob Heinsoo ran his 13th Age demos... and using that method for the first time.

If you have to prepare, prepare for only one adventure ahead at most. That was the advice given to me by one AD&D 2E player/DM, and even when actually preparing adventures and campaigns, I find that this is an excellent piece of advice.
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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.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

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
I think I notice a connecion between the people who use illusions or railroads and published adventures or organization play like LFR. I think this is because both of them provide the DM with the wrong kind of prep. This prep means the DMs must to railroad or use illusions. To stay on the prep, which is not good prep to begin.

So my question for curious: Are you who likes railroads or illusion of choices introduced to DM-ing with publish adventures or also LFR? This is observation to understand better not accusation...


LFR is unfortunately, almost by definition, on-rails.  You play the adventure proposed, or you go home because the DM won't have anything prepped if you decide 'screw it I wanna go to a different city'.  There's often a choice within the adventure, and a lot of them, particularly the investigation ones, excel at being a lot more sandboxy than most, but in the end, they're designed around a storyline which the players follow, rather than giving the players the option of where to go.

It's a shame, but they're really there to give people who don't have the time to prep and worldbuild, the ability to play.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
In my homebrew world that I have been running for a couple months now I have run to a small problem that I need advice on how to stop.

The party, unknown to them, killed off a major part of the story I was constructing. Basically in some instances my party has out smarted me. They came across an old run down fort that a group of orcs was using as a staging ground. The group saw a horse tied up outside of the main gates. The cleric would not let them outright kill the horse. So the thief, who was a halfling, got under the horse and unbuckled the saddle before they went inside.

After a clearing out the inner workings of the fort and chasing the "boss" outisde as he was fleeing. He fell off the horse and was knocked out. The party then killed him off. He was a level 6 half orc warrior, the party was at the time level 1, almost level 2.

So I reworte a few things in my story, it is an odd complicated story. Basically a lich is tricking the orcs into going to war with the elves. The lich just wants a select few elves dead as they were the ones that killed him when he was alive. But over time he has grown to hate all elves. That is the short version.

Anyways, I decided to show a little more of my hand, and had a Death Knight attack a cleric that the party was guarding on his way back to the capital city. The party ignored the skeletons and undead troll the Death Knight had with him, and went right at the knight. Thankfully none of them hit him so he basically ignored them as he pushed forward towards the cleric.

So what would be a good way to discourage these player from attacking people and things they has no business in doing so without out right telling them, you can't kill him, you should run in terror ... or at most try and talk to him.

This is how i would have done it, and is in line with the guy who says you don't treat it like an encounter.

You break your game up -Introduce the scene without rolls. When they exit the fort, this happens.

"The orc mounts up and kicks the horses thighs. It bucks up and runs off, bucking the orc and his saddle.  The orc turns around and whistles.  6 orcs appear.  The orc begins to run, leaving you to his friends.  Roll initiative."

Then you have the death knight.

"A darkly shrouded figure approaches wearing a skull mask; he points at your cleric and 3 skeletons rise around your group. He speaks arcane words and an undead troll rises amidst you.  roll initiative".

You've got to engage them, and don't EVER say "The wizard casts fireball, brad make a reflex..."  Instead say "Brad, reflex check.  Wow, good. The dark wizard throws a fireball at you, however you dodge it."

Use dialogue to present danger, and enforce it. Your players have evolved and learned to go straight for the death knight.  They will be surprised when "Your sword like a beesting bounces from his armor.  He smiles."  This provokes the player into finding a different way to kill him.  Alert the player.  But you don't wat the player to fight this guy.

You need to evolve with the players, and have a trick in every sleeve.  Make sure you know what your characters abilities are and incorporate the usage of those abilities into the game, so when they finally see this guy they don't want to waste the resources if they don't have to.  One thing you can do is let them fight.  You know what kind of a hit your players can take.  how about...

"The dark wizard angrily clinches his fist and shouts a word of power.  Everybody takes 20 damage and makes a save vs paralyze."

Impose your enemies.  It sounds like your players know you and your DM habits, so you need to develop new ones.  Maybe your players feel safe?  maybe they don't know who they should attack?  Players need to be given a context of reference that sets the pace, which in turn can be offered as advice. 

simply say at the begining of battle with the priest/death knight "The death knight may not be harmed until his troll is killed.  Keep the cleric safe!"  You might have him send rotating waves of skelletons the players have to control while fending off the troll.

Within; Without.

Okay, so chaosfang first ran LFR. Spaceinvader say it is railroads too. 

Matyr? Nerradetrok? Did you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR too? 
The fact that LFR is kinda railroady has very little bearing on how good a DM is.  If anything, LFR mods have taught me more about not railroading than anything, because they've taught me how boring it can be.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Were you expose to other methods or games before you decide there was a better way?

I want to know if the people who like illusions and railroads have only learned to DM from LFR or published mod. 
I fail to see how that makes any difference.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Okay, so chaosfang first ran LFR. Spaceinvader say it is railroads too. 

Matyr? Nerradetrok? Did you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR too? 



No, I did not start with LFR modules, or any premade modules.  I started DMing in a game where there really was no system and we just made up everything (game world, rules, characters) on the fly.  My first campaign as DM was in high school and we were all interested in the improv and none of us even had the actual books for 3e (which is what we were supposedly playing).  It was... Odd.

LFR is a little railroady, but that is because doing it any other way would be a really bad plan (at least at cons).  At most LFR stuff you have a great variance between DMs and the mods are supposed to be roughly the same for each playthrough and have a defined difficulty for them.  That being said, I rarely stick with the script and instead change the mod quite a bit to adjust to the player's skill level / interests. 
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
Were you expose to other methods or games before you decide there was a better way?

I want to know if the people who like illusions and railroads have only learned to DM from LFR or published mod. 



I don't understand how this is supposed to be relevant, to be honest.


And I really don't dig the comment about there being a "better way than illusions and railroads". The better way is whichever one works best for you and your group, be it railroading or sandbox, or anything in between. And even then, a group may shift between styles during a campaign.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />And there's the problem with Yagamifire...  no alcohol.
  Just kidding.  

Yagami, you've got some good advice on campaign building.  I used to think you just trolled everyone, but I've seen that's not true.  At this point, I'm reading through what you have to say and sifting out what I think it important from how you say it.



Thank you for the compliment. It's appreciated.

However I think a lot of this is intellectual argument, that doesn't always pan out in the real world.  Sure, it'd be nice if every DM was able to come up with exciting challenges at the players' whims, but not everyone can do that and do it well.  I also think players should have a fair amount of input in world-building, and DM's shoudl have some small control over a Character, with the understanding that neither party will intentionally screw over the other.



I think worrying about what "pans out in the real world" is foolishness. The airsoft team I play on has the motto "Perfection Tomorrow, Improvement Today" with the understanding that tomorrow will never come. We seek to constantly improve. DMs (or anyone playing a game really) should always seek to do the same or give up on criticising or playing the game. I also totally disagree that DMs should have ANY amount of control over a character if you are refering to actions or such. The PC is ENTIRELY the domain of the player. It is the PLAYERS character. It is their property. If one is worrying about an unspoken rule not to "screw over the other" then something is already wrong. This shouldn't even enter into the equation.

This is all part of the notion that one needs to balance against bad players or DMs...you can't do that. It is a design impossibility. As I said in another thread, you can't make something fool proof because they'll simply make a better fool. Instead, the game needs to be designed to operate as well as possible. Part of that is discussing the game and the approach to the game in a way that represents it being played as well as possible. Anything else is designing towards mediocrity.

I do not believe that every DM can do everything on a whim. I could not do that when I started. However, it is more important to give them tools to improve (which includes this forum and its advice) than it is to support them playing at a lower level. Can they get along at that level and improve as they go? Yes absolutely because that is reality. Should the game and other members of the game community seek to help that person improve? Yes absolutely. Instead of handing out participation trophies, we should be seeking to help everyone become an MVP. Is it possible? Of course not, there's only ever one MVP to a team...but that doesn't matter. The journey is what matters, not an impossible destination (perfection).

After all, would you want to sit down to play with a DM who outright states "Hey so you know, I've got no interest in improving how I do things."? I would hope the answer would be "of course not".

If Matyr and his group are having fun playing D&D, then that's great.  
Based on what I've read of a LOT of poster's games, I would not have fun playing in their worlds/games. When LunarSavage was still posting, there was NO way I would have played in one of his games, but it sure sounded like he and his players had a blast with it.



I would say this is impossible to know until you play it (that type of game that is). I can describe various food to you all day and part of it may disgust you...however description is a poor substitute for experience.

There isn't one right way to play D&D.  There is a wrong way, and that's for DM's to lay out specific tracks and tell players this is what's going to happen today and I'll have my super-powerful DMPC save the day.  I think we can all agree on that.



There are many wrong ways to play D&D. In fact, I'm going to have a post challenging that very soon.

Not all DM's are good at improvising and coming up with new encounters on the fly.  It's a skill that needs to be learned, and more DM's need to try it. I have a session tomorrow that I'm planning for.  So far I have: they can continue in to the cave looking for the merchant that they were asked to find, or they can skip it and move on.  I've got stuff in my head as to what will happen if they DO continue in the cave, and some alternate idea if they continue on.  And I've got a basic monster template to try and make stuff up on the fly.  I hope it's a fun day for the players.



I entirely agree with the first sentence of that quote. However, it (improvisation) IS the most important skill a DM can have while balancing that improvisation with fairness. Because of this, the game and its community should seek to help players reach a perfect level of improvisation...seeking less is to reinforce something less than ideal and there's no point to that.

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.

Okay, so chaosfang first ran LFR. Spaceinvader say it is railroads too. 

Matyr? Nerradetrok? Did you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR too? 



I've never ran LFR before, or even looked at any of the modules sicne I have no interest in the Forgotten Realms.
I have run through a few modules, and they've all seemed pretty forced and on specific rails.  I don't like that.
What I'm doing now is taking ideas from modules and trying to incorporate them in to the current game.  If the players aren't interested, I leave it at that. 
I have a couple of ideas in my head that haven't been planned, in which I lay out hints to see if the players are interested.  If they aren't, I let it go and go on towards something they are more interested in.

I'm going to keep trying to improv what's going on, giving players hooks  and then prepare minimally for which ones they bite.   If I fail at improv, then I'll have something to look back on and see where I've failed.

@YagamiFire - When I say the DM has some control over the character, I definitely do NOT advocate that a DM should ever say what a character does.  Never the actions.  What I mean is that the DM may insert some NPC with a connection to the PC's background, depending on what that background is.  And it's always something that can be tossed aside if the PC doesn't want to use it.   Usually things like old friends, relatives, etc.  Someone the PC may have a strong feeling towards, but maybe not.  If the PC doesn't care, then it's likely just a case of Mistaken Identity and we move on to something else.


What I'm seeing so far, with just a few sessions with this new game, is that the PC's don't seem to have any plans for what they want to do.  They have some history of who the character was, and some idea of who they want the character to become,  but nothing in the way of how the character changes, where they will go and what they will do to get there.  So, I'm providing a little direction for them by having adventures/quests offered to them. 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />@YagamiFire - When I say the DM has some control over the character, I definitely do NOT advocate that a DM should ever say what a character does.  Never the actions.  What I mean is that the DM may insert some NPC with a connection to the PC's background, depending on what that background is.  And it's always something that can be tossed aside if the PC doesn't want to use it.   Usually things like old friends, relatives, etc.  Someone the PC may have a strong feeling towards, but maybe not.  If the PC doesn't care, then it's likely just a case of Mistaken Identity and we move on to something else.



Ah I understand now.


What I'm seeing so far, with just a few sessions with this new game, is that the PC's don't seem to have any plans for what they want to do.  They have some history of who the character was, and some idea of who they want the character to become,  but nothing in the way of how the character changes, where they will go and what they will do to get there.  So, I'm providing a little direction for them by having adventures/quests offered to them. 



I think you are treating a symptom then rather than the problem. If your players start aimless it will be very easy for them to remain aimless. I find that often because of too much focus on character builds, mechanics and optimization etc that the actual CHARACTER part of "character sheet" falls through. The PCs are adventurers...them having no plans means they either do not understand the world thoroughly enough or that they do not understand their characters well enough. From your description it seems like the former. Players are generally either paralyzed by infinite choice (when they do not understand their character well enough to decide where or what to do given unlimited options) or are paralyzed by the mistaken belief that they have no choice and that something is being presented to them. Either is highly problematic. The first may lead to random acting out...and the second may lead to complete and total lack of motivation requiring the DM to essentially narrate the players actions.

I think your players need to know more about the world so that they can try and figure out how they fit into it and how they want to tackle it.

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.