Geas and Quest effects in 4e

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How do you use them? Can you even use them?

Thoughts and opinions on if they have a place in this edition, or how you've actually implemented them. I'm curious to know how the board lines up on the issue.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Geas would probably work best as a curse (any curse really) with the required action being what is needed to break the curse. Quest effects could be worked in somehow or another I would think, though how is really a toss up since they could probably fit into at least two categories of usage.

So, short answer, yea, they could work. Though how is likely varied from person to person.
I'm not entirely sure what fantasy trope (sword of Damocles maybe?) geas or quest is really supposed to emulate. To me, it screams: "The DM can't think of any other way for me to jump through his hoops, so I'm now compelled to do so by a spell... or else."

There are much better and less cheesy ways to achieve the same end, the easiest of which is to simply ask the players directly what they believe would compel their characters to take on a certain quest or the like, then use it. Heck, they might even suggest geas or quest. But at least then you have their buy-in and engagement rather than their reluctant compliance with an in-game control measure. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

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I'm not entirely sure what fantasy trope (sword of Damocles maybe?) geas or quest is really supposed to emulate. To me, it screams: "The DM can't think of any other way for me to jump through his hoops, so I'm now compelled to do so by a spell... or else."

There are much better and less cheesy ways to achieve the same end, the easiest of which is to simply ask the players directly what they believe would compel their characters to take on a certain quest or the like, then use it. Heck, they might even suggest geas or quest. But at least then you have their buy-in and engagement rather than their reluctant compliance with an in-game control measure. 

Right. Quest and geas effects didn't "work" in past editions, except when the players were gung-ho for the idea anyway. That's still necessary and sufficient in 4th Edition.

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

What Iserth and Centauri said. 


Why do you want to use one of the effects, what is your goal with this effect? Is there something specific you want to accomplish.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

I'm not entirely sure what fantasy trope (sword of Damocles maybe?) geas or quest is really supposed to emulate. To me, it screams: "The DM can't think of any other way for me to jump through his hoops, so I'm now compelled to do so by a spell... or else."

There are much better and less cheesy ways to achieve the same end, the easiest of which is to simply ask the players directly what they believe would compel their characters to take on a certain quest or the like, then use it. Heck, they might even suggest geas or quest. But at least then you have their buy-in and engagement rather than their reluctant compliance with an in-game control measure. 

Right. Quest and geas effects didn't "work" in past editions, except when the players were gung-ho for the idea anyway. That's still necessary and sufficient in 4th Edition.




You guys must have horrible players. I've used geas to guide over half an entire campaign. They didn't like it in the beginning, but they accepted it after they realized my implementation of it didn't really have too huge an effect on their usual gameplay.

So basically, I'm saying your methods suck. I'm going to be really blunt from here on out. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
If you must railroad your players another "in the rules" option would be to use the character motivations optional rules from DMG2 with the character's normal motivations over ridden by the geas effect.

The way I see that it could be used with out upsetting some players is if it's like the labours of Herakleas and the geas that appeare in Irish tradition. Less a curse thrown by someone else but a willingly accepted punishment to keep yourself honest. 
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
You guys must have horrible players. I've used geas to guide over half an entire campaign. They didn't like it in the beginning, but they accepted it after they realized my implementation of it didn't really have too huge an effect on their usual gameplay.

So basically, I'm saying your methods suck. I'm going to be really blunt from here on out. 


Not a good way to start out the conversation.

Whther a Geas is effective or not is if the players are alright with the idea. If they aren't, and it's forced on them, they're going to be annoyed for the rest of the session.
Gonna have to agree with LunarSavage though I'll be a little more...restrained in my condemnation ;)

First to answer a question of "WTF is this supposed to emulate?!"...well, Hercules and his labors is a great example.

Second this all depends on how things are done. If the situation arises where a player fails a save and gets hit with a Geas or whathaveyou that is a case of "crud happens". My players would take it as an opportunity (like they treat everything) to see where it goes. After all, it's almost certainly going to be something dangerous...and dangerous things are rewarded by the mechanics of the game itself. They will get loots & XPs. Hooray! It also gives them plenty of potential drama and that makes for interesting times.

The problem arises when tables blur the line into a "narrative" model where there is a story to derail or to force...so a Geas either derails an existing story narrative by taking it in a sudden different direction or it forces a story narrative onto the players by giving them an in-game force compelling them. This, of course, is all caused by the existence of a pre-conceived story...and there-in lies the actual problem. If there IS NO STORY then there is nothing to derail or to force. Instead, a geas or quest simply becomes a new event/situation for the PCs to deal with in whatever way they so choose. It is not the DM giggling as he enacts part of his master plan, it is simply an NPC taking an action that would make sense for the NPC to do.

And fair is fair...I've also had players use geas/quest to great effect.

Curses are similar to this. In fact, one of my players started my current game with a powerful curse on him involving a weighted stone around his neck. And he did so at his own request because he had a cool idea. Interestingly enough, he fully expected this curse to last a while since Remove Curse requires at least a 5th level cleric and those aren't super common AND most won't just cast such a powerful miracle for free. Well, they happened to randomly stumble upon a group of friendly hobgoblins who randomly had a 5th level cleric of the hobgoblin god-king in their company. After they fought alongside each other, the hob cleric took a whack at removing the curse stating that his was the most powerful god...I rolled...Nat-20...the stone dropped off. This happened in like the 8th or 9th session. Everyone was flabberghasted...heck I was shocked! It was awesome!

That lead to the hobgoblin telling the PC that he must travel to the hobgoblin capital within 1 year and offer up his service to the god-king to fulfill one task. Now, no geas or quest was involved in this...it was just something the hobgoblin stated as compensation...and the player embraced it whole-heartedly. It's becoming one of his most repeated talking points both in and out of character and something he references constantly some-20 or so sessions later.

They then turned the tables on Curses by using one to weaken a dwarf assassin released into their custody to help them find someone else. What was good for the goose became good for the gander. And that was cool too!

So, like so much, I will say ithat Geas/Quests can become a major issue when a story is presumed (or being preciously crafted by a wannabenovelist...uh I mean Dungeon Master)...they can also become an issue when players take game-events personally instead of accepting the game as a game and using the events of the game to craft interesting situations for themselves. After all, there's a big difference between exclaiming "That sucks!" and claiming "That isn't fair!"...the first can be legitimate but doesn't mean it has to be negative...the latter is usually someone acting out because something in a GAME hasn't gone their way...which is a sign of immaturity.


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.

In fact, one of my players started my current game with a powerful curse on him involving a weighted stone around his neck. And he did so at his own request because he had a cool idea.


An example of how these kind of things SHOULD be used.
In fact, one of my players started my current game with a powerful curse on him involving a weighted stone around his neck. And he did so at his own request because he had a cool idea.


An example of how these kind of things SHOULD be used.



Ah hah but there's the rub...

A few nights later, while that PC was on watch after having the curse removed...the fire flared up and out of it stepped the Evil Pirate King Captain Talon that placed the curse on him. Paralyzed with fear (he botched a Fear check) the player watched as Talon slapped a new weighted stone on him, and then pushed him through the ground and into an ocean of saltwater, teleporting him through the dirt somehow. He overcame his paralysis and tried to swim but slowly started to drown. The other players woke up to his thrashing and managed to wake the PC up before he drowned...he woke up, vomited up lungfuls of salt-water and realized that Talon had attacked him in his dream and that he was never physically present.

At that point the player of the formerly cursed PC shook his head in a relieved way and said "Wow...I was seriously scared that he was going to be cursed again. Halz'zorak [the PC] would have been super-depressed to have a few days of freedom just to have that S.O.B. curse him again..."

He was in NO WAY prepared to be upset that he had gotten cursed again...on the contrary, he was just worried about how it would impact his character emotionally...worried but emotionally charged and heavily invested. If it had been reality and Talon had, somehow, been able to actually-factually accomplish in reality what was experienced in the nightmare spell, the player would not have been upset with me...upset at the situation sure, but it would have just been fuel for him to invest in his character further (which is what he did based on the vision anyway, using it to fuel his character)...not a reason for him to lash out against me.

In the end, it comes down to maturity. He was acting maturely with the situation and looking at it as a game...and looking at the events as something happening to his character and not to himself.

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.

In one of my games, one of my players is an eladrin fey-pact hexblade.  She came up with the character story that she's from one of the other Courts (Bramble/Autumn, I think), but that in a bit of rebellion (or something to that effect), she made a deal with the Prince of Frost, and now is cursed with having to feed souls to "the entity" that grants her her powers.  At some point during the roleplay, the rest of the group has decided that they're going to help free her from this Curse.  At the moment, they're still early on in Heroic Tier, but if they're still interested once we get to late Heroic or early Paragon, we can work out some multi-level (or even tier-encompassing) story of how to earn her freedom, by hook or by crook, and what precisely to do with her once that's happened (either simply refluffing how her powers work, or retraining to a different pact — like making a new deal with White Well or something — or even retraining her class somehow; don't know yet, anything's possible, and there's plenty of time to worry about it later).

To me, this is the best way to handle it, within the scope of 4e anyway: either take a story idea that a player has come up with, or suggesting one of your own, and then going with it.  Instead of having mechanics force characters to do things against the wishes of the players, why not recruit the players to help you with it, so that they're doing so willingly instead?  The fluff can say that they're "required," but having willing co-conspirators is a heck of a lot easier than coming up with arbitrary mechanics to hold unwilling players at gunpoint.  (Kinda like a certain A-word that I won't bring up in this discussion, because I'm tired of reading about Batman.)
coming up with arbitrary mechanics to hold unwilling players at gunpoint.  (Kinda like a certain A-word that I won't bring up in this discussion, because I'm tired of reading about Batman.)



Sounds more like an arbitrary DM that will find ways to make players do what they want at gunpoint anyway.

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.

My point is, that it doesn't really matter if the players accept it or not.

There are good ways to implement it and bad ways. All players hate to feel powerless, and this is what a curse is generally designed to do upon failure of any saving throw. But this is what players must accept. Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.

In the end, geas and other curses implemented to move them in any one direction is total fair game and should not be written out of the game, especially based on the concept of "my players don't like it". 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.



I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.



I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?



The players, obviously.

Characters often find themselves in crap situations and they just have to deal with it because the player or DM puts them there. Those fictional bastards are at our total mercy. mwuhahahahaha.... 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
The players, obviously.

Characters often find themselves in crap situations and they just have to deal with it because the player or DM puts them there. Those fictional bastards are at our total mercy. mwuhahahahaha.... 



I see, interesting. I can understand a player having fun with a character in a bad spot. But I can't understand the desire to put a player in a position to not enjoy something about the game.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.



I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?



Not to put words in Lunar's mouth, but I think what he means in general is that if a player turns "bad thing happen to character" into "this sucks for me!" because they cannot accept that, in a game, luck might mean a bad turn of events, then that player is not mature enough to be playing a game and, therefore, not worth gaming with.

After all, where is the line drawn?

I don't like to get cursed! Okay...no geas/quest

I don't like to have to make new characters! Okay...no death.

I don't like to lose turns! Okay...no paralysis or the like.

I don't like to find stuff I don't want! Okay...no random treasure.

I don't like to be unprepared! Okay...no surprise rounds.

I don't like to be shown to be weaker than someone! Okay...no higher level NPCs.

I don't like to be vulnerable! Okay...no HP damage.

Where does it end? If ANY of those things create a negative play experience on the part of the player does it mean it should be eliminated? And if not...where is the line drawn? When is the line drawn?

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.

The players, obviously.

Characters often find themselves in crap situations and they just have to deal with it because the player or DM puts them there. Those fictional bastards are at our total mercy. mwuhahahahaha.... 



I see, interesting. I can understand a player having fun with a character in a bad spot. But I can't understand the desire to put a player in a position to not enjoy something about the game.



It's my opinion and experience that players that deal with a variety of situations, from the undesirable to the enjoyable will be more creative in the game than when they only face one or the other.

It's a balancing act.

And if you don't understand that, I'm not going to attempt to explain it to you. I know what trying to explain foreign concepts to you leads to. And I don't want another 1000+ post thread of us going in pointless circles. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
The players, obviously.

Characters often find themselves in crap situations and they just have to deal with it because the player or DM puts them there. Those fictional bastards are at our total mercy. mwuhahahahaha.... 



I see, interesting. I can understand a player having fun with a character in a bad spot. But I can't understand the desire to put a player in a position to not enjoy something about the game.



You are assuming desire on the DMs part though. I do NOT desire, as a DM, to have players not like something about the game...but it is an inevitability of playing a game. If I am playing Street Fighter against my friend Sam he has become frustrated before (as I have) when a weird interaction in the game results in a lost round...or when a misjudgement results in a loss...or when something proves to just be irksome. Such is a game, however.

Games are not all sunshine and lollipops...however, how one reacts is ENTIRELY in the hands of the player. Setbacks do not have to be a personal affront...they only become that when the person treats them such...when they take the game personally.

It is not desire on the DM's part...it is merely inevitability at work. Bad stuff can happen. After all, missing attacks is frustrating at times...yes? So, by certain logic, missed attacks should be removed since they are not enjoyable.

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.

 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.



I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?



Not to put words in Lunar's mouth, but I think what he means in general is that if a player turns "bad thing happen to character" into "this sucks for me!" because they cannot accept that, in a game, luck might mean a bad turn of events, then that player is not mature enough to be playing a game and, therefore, not worth gaming with.

After all, where is the line drawn?

I don't like to get cursed! Okay...no geas/quest

I don't like to have to make new characters! Okay...no death.

I don't like to lose turns! Okay...no paralysis or the like.

I don't like to find stuff I don't want! Okay...no random treasure.

I don't like to be unprepared! Okay...no surprise rounds.

I don't like to be shown to be weaker than someone! Okay...no higher level NPCs.

I don't like to be vulnerable! Okay...no HP damage.

Where does it end? If ANY of those things create a negative play experience on the part of the player does it mean it should be eliminated? And if not...where is the line drawn? When is the line drawn?



That's fairly accurate.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />It's my opinion and experience that players that deal with a variety of situations, from the undesirable to the enjoyable will be more creative in the game than when they only face one or the other.



One only experiences highs when they have experienced lows...otherwise one is traveling along a straight line.

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 don't know, Lunar. It almost sounds like you're saying "fun" isn't the point of D&D. If the point of the game is fun, why should we be subjecting players to things that are not fun to them? Characters are fair game to toy with, sure. But players?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I don't know, Lunar. It almost sounds like you're saying "fun" isn't the point of D&D. If the point of the game is fun, why should we be subjecting players to things that are not fun to them? Characters are fair game to toy with, sure. But players?



As Centauri says, "we're done here".
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I don't know, Lunar. It almost sounds like you're saying "fun" isn't the point of D&D. If the point of the game is fun, why should we be subjecting players to things that are not fun to them? Characters are fair game to toy with, sure. But players?



I will note that you haven't addressed any of the points. The logic you're positing doesn't hold water. It breaks down rapidly under even a modicum of stress.

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.

In fact, one of my players started my current game with a powerful curse on him involving a weighted stone around his neck. And he did so at his own request because he had a cool idea.


An example of how these kind of things SHOULD be used.

Exactly. Such an idea can also originate with the DM, but it's likely to be bucked if simply imposed. Players will happily impose things on their characters that a DM could never get away with. And if they don't, then that's just not the kind of character they want to play.

The term is "deprotagonization." It means making a character seem not like the hero the player imagines it to be, or, more generally, just not like the character the player wants it to be. Some players have very broad ideas of heroism, and some don't. Some think being enslaved, surprised, knocked out, or killed is very unheroic, and could point to classic heroes who tend not to be any of those things. A DM can point to heroes who are all those things, but it doesn't work to tell a player that that's the kind of hero they're playing. It requires buy in.

Fortunately, pretty much all heroes fail in interesting ways, so that's a good fall back. Might as well get buy in for that too, though.

 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.

I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?

I'm starting to see this as "I rely on the rules to provide outcomes, and everyone should be ready to accept any outcome the rules provide. Otherwise they're asking for more than the game provides." I can understand this, but I think it's an overreliance on the rules. Yes, many people have rationalized boring game outcomes as acceptable - lots of people like Monopoly, or so they claim - but it's important to understand that they're not objectively acceptable. But, then, no one should be forced to play with people who have made other rationalizations about what they find enjoyable.

"Not a player worth my time," though petulant, is a fine reason not to play with someone. One hopes it's more civilly stated to their face, but again some people are good at rationalizing unpleasant consequences.

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

In fact, one of my players started my current game with a powerful curse on him involving a weighted stone around his neck. And he did so at his own request because he had a cool idea.


An example of how these kind of things SHOULD be used.

Exactly. Such an idea can also originate with the DM, but it's likely to be bucked if simply imposed. Players will happily impose things on their characters that a DM could never get away with. And if they don't, then that's just not the kind of character they want to play.

The term is "deprotagonization." It means making a character seem not like the hero the player imagines it to be, or, more generally, just not like the character the player wants it to be. Some players have very broad ideas of heroism, and some don't. Some think being enslaved, surprised, knocked out, or killed is very unheroic, and could point to classic heroes who tend not to be any of those things. A DM can point to heroes who are all those things, but it doesn't work to tell a player that that's the kind of hero they're playing. It requires buy in.

Fortunately, pretty much all heroes fail in interesting ways, so that's a good fall back. Might as well get buy in for that too, though.

 Any player who will not accept that a bad roll of the dice can force them into situations they don't enjoy is not a player worth my time as DM.

I think I know the answer but want to be totally sure of your meaning: Who does "they" (I bolded above) refer to in that sentence? The players or the characters?

I'm starting to see this as "I rely on the rules to provide outcomes, and everyone should be ready to accept any outcome the rules provide. Otherwise they're asking for more than the game provides." I can understand this, but I think it's an overreliance on the rules. Yes, many people have rationalized boring game outcomes as acceptable - lots of people like Monopoly, or so they claim - but it's important to understand that they're not objectively acceptable. But, then, no one should be forced to play with people who have made other rationalizations about what they find enjoyable.

"Not a player worth my time," though petulant, is a fine reason not to play with someone. One hopes it's more civilly stated to their face, but again some people are good at rationalizing unpleasant consequences.



More proof that you don't understand.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I'm starting to see this as "I rely on the rules to provide outcomes, and everyone should be ready to accept any outcome the rules provide. Otherwise they're asking for more than the game provides." I can understand this, but I think it's an overreliance on the rules. Yes, many people have rationalized boring game outcomes as acceptable - lots of people like Monopoly, or so they claim - but it's important to understand that they're not objectively acceptable. But, then, no one should be forced to play with people who have made other rationalizations about what they find enjoyable.



I see it as "I know the player doesn't find this fun, but I have total justification by this flaw in the rules to inflict this un-fun outcome." Or "The rules say you have to find fun in this. If you don't find it fun, the problem is you, not the rules."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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Exactly. Such an idea can also originate with the DM, but it's likely to be bucked if simply imposed. Players will happily impose things on their characters that a DM could never get away with. And if they don't, then that's just not the kind of character they want to play.



But that doesn't resolve with the fact that the PLAYER would not have been upset with me if the curse had been re-imposed by the big evil that is the characters nemesis. On the contrary, he was ECSTATIC over the situation...not happy mind you...but excited by what it could mean for his character. His character was potentially imposed upon...not the player and he understand that. Maturity.

The term is "deprotagonization." It means making a character seem not like the hero the player imagines it to be, or, more generally, just not like the character the player wants it to be. Some players have very broad ideas of heroism, and some don't. Some think being enslaved, surprised, knocked out, or killed is very unheroic, and could point to classic heroes who tend not to be any of those things. A DM can point to heroes who are all those things, but it doesn't work to tell a player that that's the kind of hero they're playing. It requires buy in.



"Deprotagonization" is not a word. It is, at best, a buzzword that is invoked to mean whatever the user wants it to mean. Again, how do you resolve a player that does not want ANYTHING negative to happen to their character if they see it as (so-called) deprotagonization? Being knocked unconcious...being struck...being put upon...being successfully lied to...etc? How is a line drawn? Where is the line drawn? At what point is it okay for you, as a DM, to say "Oh THAT kind of negative effect is okay but THIS other one isn't"?

I'm starting to see this as "I rely on the rules to provide outcomes, and everyone should be ready to accept any outcome the rules provide. Otherwise they're asking for more than the game provides." I can understand this, but I think it's an overreliance on the rules. Yes, many people have rationalized boring game outcomes as acceptable - lots of people like Monopoly, or so they claim - but it's important to understand that they're not objectively acceptable. But, then, no one should be forced to play with people who have made other rationalizations about what they find enjoyable.



It is completely impossible to judge something as boring or exciting. After all, you are condemning Monopoly but I know people that LOVE Monopoly. Do I think they're weird? Sure...but they do not find it boring. Hence, "boring" is a subjective opinion...and you, therefore, cannot say what will or will not be boring to someone else with any great precision. After all, a negative thing can be VERY interesting...making it the opposite of boring. And a casino where you always win (a positive thing) is very quickly a boring experience. Again, no highs without lows. By advocating that "only" interesting things happen you are simultaneously stating something that is impossible to regulate or create (especially since people often themselves don't know what they will necessarily find interesting) while also creating an environment where, even if it did occur, in many cases the "fun" would become the mundane.

I, of course, invoke the Incredibles clause: When everyone is super...no one will be.

"Not a player worth my time," though petulant, is a fine reason not to play with someone. One hopes it's more civilly stated to their face, but again some people are good at rationalizing unpleasant consequences.



For clarity, you wrote this in another thread in regards to a DM "Find a play-by-email or play-by-post game, and play in that instead. Some people even have success playing over Skype. Having a small local D&D community is no longer an excuse for subjecting oneself to a horrific player or DM" and that is a direct quote. Since you are, in effect, saying the DM is not worth the players time, are you advocating a "petulant" response? Not a judgement call...just wondering if these are being equally judged as "petulant" since they seem identical.

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 see it as "I know the player doesn't find this fun, but I have total justification by this flaw in the rules to inflict this un-fun outcome." Or "The rules say you have to find fun in this. If you don't find it fun, the problem is you, not the rules."

I'm generally fine assuming it's the latter. There are people with pretty anti-social ideas of what's fun, but generally I think DMs are as surprised as anyone when they follow the rules to their logical conclusion and the result is not well received. They check to make sure they're playing right, and when they are assured of their accuracy all that's left is to blame the players' attitudes.

This is why it tends to bug me when I hear from designers who bend or break the rules in their games to make them fun, rather than adhering to the rules and finding the "right" outcomes fun. Why aren't they eating their own dogfood, if that's what they're expecting us to do? All I've been able to figure out is that it's not what they're expecting us to do, despite giving us minimal explicit guidance otherwise.

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

Ever notice how closely rules discussions wind up sounding like arguments over religious dogma? There's a reason for that.

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

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I see it as "I know the player doesn't find this fun, but I have total justification by this flaw in the rules to inflict this un-fun outcome." Or "The rules say you have to find fun in this. If you don't find it fun, the problem is you, not the rules."



So, in your opinion, you always know what will be fun for someone else and they always know what will be fun for them...yes?

If that is not true, then you are simply using a flawed philosophical concept to justify imposing what you or others thing wil be "fun" but could certainly be "un-fun" onto the people at the table. Or "the way we play makes it so we must be having fun. If you don't find it fun, the problem is with you, not with how we game"


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'm generally fine assuming it's the latter. There are people with pretty anti-social ideas of what's fun, but generally I think DMs are as surprised as anyone when they follow the rules to their logical conclusion and the result is not well received. They check to make sure they're playing right, and when they are assured of their accuracy all that's left is to blame the players' attitudes.

This is why it tends to bug me when I hear from designers who bend or break the rules in their games to make them fun, rather than adhering to the rules and finding the "right" outcomes fun. Why aren't they eating their own dogfood, if that's what they're expecting us to do? All I've been able to figure out is that it's not what they're expecting us to do, despite giving us minimal explicit guidance otherwise.



Huh. That's weird...wait a second...


“The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don’t need any rules.”
–Gary Gygax


“Rule 0: The unwritten rule in tabletop role-playing games (such as Dungeons & Dragons) which grants the game master the right to suspend or override the published game rules whenever s/he deems necessary.”

Oh...oh yeah...

Then again, that's pretty obscure...where would you ever find that?

www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...

Oh. Oh crap.

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.

Ever notice how closely rules discussions wind up sounding like arguments over religious dogma? There's a reason for that.



Actually I tend to notice how in many discussions one side is willing to cite and reference facts and written material...while the other can only spout dogmatic rhetoric without anything of actual, factual substance to back it up while also misrepresenting or outright ignoring the facts being presented to them.

In that way, to me, it feels more like one person presenting the facts regarding evolution to a creationist than it resembles two religious people debating.

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'm generally fine assuming it's the latter. There are people with pretty anti-social ideas of what's fun, but generally I think DMs are as surprised as anyone when they follow the rules to their logical conclusion and the result is not well received. They check to make sure they're playing right, and when they are assured of their accuracy all that's left is to blame the players' attitudes.



I can see DMs reaching that decision, I guess, if they believe the rulebooks are some kinds of religious text as you say. But it's very easy to tailor any outcome in a way that makes that individual player have fun, even if the rules say it should be that un-fun thing instead. It's just a matter of asking, which seems to be a problem for many DMs (or players) to do directly. That's been obvious in a ton of threads lately.

This is why it tends to bug me when I hear from designers who bend or break the rules in their games to make them fun, rather than adhering to the rules and finding the "right" outcomes fun. Why aren't they eating their own dogfood, if that's what they're expecting us to do? All I've been able to figure out is that it's not what they're expecting us to do, despite giving us minimal explicit guidance otherwise.



Excellent point.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I can see DMs reaching that decision, I guess, if they believe the rulebooks are some kinds of religious text as you say. But it's very easy to tailor any outcome in a way that makes that individual player have fun, even if the rules say it should be that un-fun thing instead. It's just a matter of asking, which seems to be a problem for many DMs (or players) to do directly. That's been obvious in a ton of threads lately.



Except that, at least in my own case (and probably many many MANY others), asking for permission to do something that is fully possible within the scope of the game would be a betrayal to my players sense of immersion and challenge...and this is something they have expressed either directly or indirectly.

It occurs to me that a DM that has to constantly ask what could be fun for his players must be a very poor listener indeed otherwise they might, y'know, know what could be fun for their players.

Excellent point.



I suppose it would be if it weren't so easily disproven...which it was. So...not really.

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" />I can see DMs reaching that decision, I guess, if they believe the rulebooks are some kinds of religious text as you say. But it's very easy to tailor any outcome in a way that makes that individual player have fun, even if the rules say it should be that un-fun thing instead. It's just a matter of asking, which seems to be a problem for many DMs (or players) to do directly. That's been obvious in a ton of threads lately.



Except that, at least in my own case (and probably many many MANY others), asking for permission to do something that is fully possible within the scope of the game would be a betrayal to my players sense of immersion and challenge...and this is something they have expressed either directly or indirectly.

It occurs to me that a DM that has to constantly ask what could be fun for his players must be a very poor listener indeed otherwise they might, y'know, know what could be fun for their players.

Excellent point.



I suppose it would be if it weren't so easily disproven...which it was. So...not really.



And God forbid a DM do something that he thinks is fun, while his players do not.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />And God forbid a DM do something that he thinks is fun, while his players do not.



By Gygax's gnome-infested beard! What might occur if said thing ended up BEING fun by some strange occurance?! Why the very nature of reality itself might unravel! Madness! MADNESS! It's almost as if a DM might be more privy to insight regarding the game and it's players than even the players themselves who are unaware of how something might be presented or enjoyed in it's entirety!? INSANITY!

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" />And God forbid a DM do something that he thinks is fun, while his players do not.



By Gygax's gnome-infested beard! What might occur if said thing ended up BEING fun by some strange occurance?! Why the very nature of reality itself might unravel! Madness! MADNESS! It's almost as if a DM might be more privy to insight regarding the game and it's players than even the players themselves who are unaware of how something might be presented or enjoyed in it's entirety!? INSANITY!



I'm living out there on the edge, man. THE EDGE.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I'm living out there on the edge, man. THE EDGE.



I dub thee Sir Lunar the Savage, Forgemaster of the Smith of Aero!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nqcL0mjMjw

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.

And God forbid a DM do something that he thinks is fun, while his players do not.



Why would I choose that when I can choose something we both find fun?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith