Nah, We'll Pass...

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Above all, be mature about it.  Being a diva and turning your nose up at obvious plot points?  Thats the height of childishness.

You're focusing on the way the plot is turned down. It's not necessarily rudely or childishly. The point is that it's not what the players would prefer, and there's little reason to force players to interact with a plot they aren't engaged with.

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


It's polite to at least sample a meal before declining it, but it's also common for people to be allowed to season meals that have been served to them.



Asolutely.  You've been invited to a friends and you're not going to try it?  Rude.  It's not like anyone is going to have an alergic reaction to a scenario that "may contain nuts"

Meh, to each his own. I see no reason why I should insist on changing views that don't need changing, but just to note:
1. No I did not know you ran Mutants & Masterminds, YagamiFire.  I don't even know most of the other games you run.
2. As far as I can tell, 4E was heavily mismanaged from the start, and funny enough, the person handling the mechanics even then is also the person handling the mechanics of D&D even as it moves towards 5E/DDN.




1. Fair enough. Suffice to say I am very familiar with some of the things you mentioned and have run or played with those elements for years. M&M just does them better than 4E.

2. Hence, my hopes are not high at all. Kinda expecting a fustercluck.

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.



Asolutely.  You've been invited to a friends and you're not going to try it?  Rude.  It's not like anyone is going to have an alergic reaction to a scenario that "may contain nuts"




Players are at a game to play their characters, not to dance to the My Previous Plot crafted by the awful novelist oh I'm sorry I mean struggling writer oh I'm sorry I mean bad DM.

Your view of DM/player dynamic is completely off. The DM does not serve the players...the DM reacts to the players.

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.


It's polite to at least sample a meal before declining it, but it's also common for people to be allowed to season meals that have been served to them.

Asolutely.  You've been invited to a friends and you're not going to try it?  Rude.

Maybe the players invited the DM to their hous. Maybe they think of their character or party as the thing that was made for the DM, and that the DM should respect.

It's not like anyone is going to have an alergic reaction to a scenario that "may contain nuts"

So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them? A few weeks later, encouraged by the fact that everyone went along last time, the DM brings another plot along that bears the hallmarks of the last one. Are the players allowed to try to head that off?

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

Actually, it's immersion breaking. As a player, I'm focused on roleplaying my character in reaction to what's around me. If I have to take time to tell the DM what's in a room I've never encountered before, I can no longer focus on roleplaying my character. Plus, it makes no sense for me as a PC to determine what's in a strange room, outside of perhaps my own house (which I hopefully decorated, unless I'm super rich and just had my servants do it). If the DM says there are thumb screws in the torture chamber and no iron maiden, I wouldn't take issue with that. In fact, my character may not even identify it as a torture chamber at first, which is a potential roleplaying element denied me, by making me determine what's in it.



As for immersion, you control that because it's a feeling. Immersing yourself in the game despite the guy next to you texting, the rancid flatulence of the jerk who just cropdusted the table, or the football game on in the background is a skill, just like improvising is a skill. You have to work at it. The mere mention of a mechanic shouldn't be enough to take someone out of their character's skin. If it is, it's time to work on that.

Asking what you see in a torture chamber shouldn't be "immersion-breaking" either. If it is, you might want to work on your skills.

That seems a strange thing to say. I understand it from the DM-side of the screen, but kinda annoying if you had an awesome idea the night before as a player. The DM shutting you down saying "No, you can't do that, you promised me that you'd do this instead" would be a heart-breaker. I assume in that sort of situation the DM would:
1) Force them to play the planned content regardless because they promised
2) 'All roads lead to Rome' it up by the methods mentioned in the previous +220 posts
3) Throw the situation/adventure/encounter out the window or save it for later and rely on impro



I agree that the players should have their choice and the DM should just improvise (or shouldn't have prepared a plot in the first place). But what if a DM without such skills was acting in reliance of his players' agreement? Jerk move on the part of those players. They broke their word.

I love to use the buy-in at end of session, but either due to lack of skill, lack of forced pacing or lack of luck I've rarely been able to end the session at the right time to set up the next hook. It doesn't help we tend to play Friday or Saturday night when people are burned out from their week, so end of session is occasionally when someone goes to sleep.



Usually the players I have complain that they can't get to sleep after a game. Engagement wakes up the brain better than Mountain Dew. One thing I also do is pay particularly close attention to pacing in our games. If I run a game between 8 pm and midnight, at 11 pm, I start watching what the players are doing and look for a cliffhanger ending to happen (maybe they decide to get into a fight or there's some big reveal, etc.). If it happens at 11:01 pm, then we're done. Start with action, end on cliffhanger, start with action the following session. And so on.

This always annoyed me in video games. Do some DMs do this too? If the players/characters have deduced that the baddie is hiding in the cave, not his tower, I see no reason to force the players into the tower.



Yes, some DMs do this. It's actually pretty common. It's an almost certain sign of a plot.

Unless, of course, the tower holds the key to open the cave's secret door, or whatever. I'm not sure if 'get boss key' counts as "content" or counts as  "forcing a sequence of events that may introduce negative feelings to the players."

Using the example:
DM says: 'You've started on the quest. You know the Big Bad Evil Guy is in the cave. The key to the cave is in the tower.'
Is it:
1) Content because you're only describing the world
2) Plot because you've 'forced' them to go into the tower before they go to the BBEG
3) Story because they interact with the tower & the key?
4) Originally content, then plot when they start to do it, then story while they're doing it?



It's content, as described. Story is what the PCs do with that content. I would add that it's not particularly great content. Not having a key to a door is not the only way to get through a door in my view.

I might be misunderstanding, but I found skill challenges the easiest thing to do on an impromptu basis. I tend to use the simplistic '4 success before 3 failures' approach though, and tend to throw out the abstraction of  'primary skills.' I just ask what their character does (and mechanically what skill it is) and try to RP with that.



They are the easiest to improvise, yes.

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

@zippy

To answer your question about battles. In an average 3-5 hour session, we can have anywhere between 1-5+ combat encounters. Our last game, which lasted 5 hours had 4 combat encounters based around an arena tournament. The combats wouldn't have lasted so long, but the arena included puzzles and traps into the combat which made them more strategic and complex.

In the session before that, we only had a multiple encounters with some zombies that lasted about 10-15 minutes, IIRC. And that's all encounters combined.

Before that, we had a session that was devoted to exploration mostly for the 3 hours and a final combat that lasted about...15 minutes with a BBEG.

I play 3.5, and my players have gotten really good at combat over the years. They love to strategize and they are very much, kick in the door style players. Literally, their only concern is just to make god like characters that can decimate everything they come across (in the current campaign, I let them build a town and their only concern was to make the town into an army so they could attack nearby kingdoms, they had literally, zero other goals). I think it sucks, and it stifles me a bit as a DM, but it's what they enjoy. But they also enjoy exploration and some minor roleplaying. So I get to throw this elements in quite a bit. But I can never ignore the numbers with them. -.-

But if you need tips on speeding up combat, all I can say is learn the PCs and their abilities and balance encounters appropriately. Also, not every encounter needs to be at their level. Throw in some weaker encounters that they can rip through. Save the strong stuff for when you need to slow them down or they're nearing the end. Or do the opposite. Start out strong and get weaker and weaker with the opposition. Then spring a nasty surprise on them when their guard is down.
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/
Lets face it, deciding to ignore the adventure the Ref has spent X amount of time developing for your pleasure is the ultimate *ick move.

I think this traps us, both as players and DMs. This gets turned into people agreeing to go along with anything a DM gives them, which prevents any chance for explicit feedback when things (inevitably) go wrong. Any frustrations are repressed, and emerge in passive ways, rather than getting dealt with in positive ways.

As a game master myself, I expect a little trust from my players and they should trust that a meal I place in front of them will be at the very least edible, and hopefully tasty.

Interesting analogy. As with all analogies, it's of limited usefulness for trying to convince others, but I'll play with it for a bit.

It's common to ask people what they want to eat before preparing it.

It's common to collaborate with others (including the people who will be eating the meal) in the preparation of a meal, accepting ingredients they want to have or dishes they bring, and working with those.

It's polite to at least sample a meal before declining it, but it's also common for people to be allowed to season meals that have been served to them.

Departing from analogy, if a DM doesn't have anything else prepared, and isn't sure how to make the session interesting if the players don't bite, it's fair for the DM to admit this and try to convince the players to go along. I'd expect players to convey exactly what their disinterest stems from, and give the DM a chance to revise, with those issues in mind. That's collaboration. It's collaboration at gunpoint, but it's still collaboration.

It's rarely so extreme that an entire table will reject something a DM has prepared, or enjoy nothing from it. But spend time around this board and the player board and you will read many, many stories about DMs who, though their players are polite, can't seem to get engagement at the table. The players go through the motions but don't remember facts, don't follow up leads, don't ask questions, etc. They're not engaged. To go back to the analogy, they're eating just enough to be polite, when what a DM wants is for people to devour the meal, noting the interesting combinations and guessing at the secret ingredients. If they'd helped with the meal, they'd know what they ingredients and combinations are in advance, but no one necessarily knows what it will taste like. It might even be bad, but everyone involved is more likely to give it a try, at least enjoying what they added to it.



Wrong. Things do not always inevitably go wrong. As far as frustrations, if you're frustrated because you feel you wasted your time, that's your fault. Perhaps you need to find something you enjoy. Instead of pretending to be a DM and then turning yourself into a player without a character at the table.
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/


Asolutely.  You've been invited to a friends and you're not going to try it?  Rude.  It's not like anyone is going to have an alergic reaction to a scenario that "may contain nuts"




Players are at a game to play their characters, not to dance to the My Previous Plot crafted by the awful novelist oh I'm sorry I mean struggling writer oh I'm sorry I mean bad DM.

Your view of DM/player dynamic is completely off. The DM does not serve the players...the DM reacts to the players.



Technically, the DM does both.
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/
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Actually, it's immersion breaking. As a player, I'm focused on roleplaying my character in reaction to what's around me. If I have to take time to tell the DM what's in a room I've never encountered before, I can no longer focus on roleplaying my character. Plus, it makes no sense for me as a PC to determine what's in a strange room, outside of perhaps my own house (which I hopefully decorated, unless I'm super rich and just had my servants do it). If the DM says there are thumb screws in the torture chamber and no iron maiden, I wouldn't take issue with that. In fact, my character may not even identify it as a torture chamber at first, which is a potential roleplaying element denied me, by making me determine what's in it.



As for immersion, you control that because it's a feeling. Immersing yourself in the game despite the guy next to you texting, the rancid flatulence of the jerk who just cropdusted the table, or the football game on in the background is a skill, just like improvising is a skill. You have to work at it. The mere mention of a mechanic shouldn't be enough to take someone out of their character's skin. If it is, it's time to work on that.

Asking what you see in a torture chamber shouldn't be "immersion-breaking" either. If it is, you might want to work on your skills.

That seems a strange thing to say. I understand it from the DM-side of the screen, but kinda annoying if you had an awesome idea the night before as a player. The DM shutting you down saying "No, you can't do that, you promised me that you'd do this instead" would be a heart-breaker. I assume in that sort of situation the DM would:
1) Force them to play the planned content regardless because they promised
2) 'All roads lead to Rome' it up by the methods mentioned in the previous +220 posts
3) Throw the situation/adventure/encounter out the window or save it for later and rely on impro



I agree that the players should have their choice and the DM should just improvise (or shouldn't have prepared a plot in the first place). But what if a DM without such skills was acting in reliance of his players' agreement? Jerk move on the part of those players. They broke their word.

I love to use the buy-in at end of session, but either due to lack of skill, lack of forced pacing or lack of luck I've rarely been able to end the session at the right time to set up the next hook. It doesn't help we tend to play Friday or Saturday night when people are burned out from their week, so end of session is occasionally when someone goes to sleep.



Usually the players I have complain that they can't get to sleep after a game. Engagement wakes up the brain better than Mountain Dew. One thing I also do is pay particularly close attention to pacing in our games. If I run a game between 8 pm and midnight, at 11 pm, I start watching what the players are doing and look for a cliffhanger ending to happen (maybe they decide to get into a fight or there's some big reveal, etc.). If it happens at 11:01 pm, then we're done. Start with action, end on cliffhanger, start with action the following session. And so on.

This always annoyed me in video games. Do some DMs do this too? If the players/characters have deduced that the baddie is hiding in the cave, not his tower, I see no reason to force the players into the tower.



Yes, some DMs do this. It's actually pretty common. It's an almost certain sign of a plot.

Unless, of course, the tower holds the key to open the cave's secret door, or whatever. I'm not sure if 'get boss key' counts as "content" or counts as  "forcing a sequence of events that may introduce negative feelings to the players."

Using the example:
DM says: 'You've started on the quest. You know the Big Bad Evil Guy is in the cave. The key to the cave is in the tower.'
Is it:
1) Content because you're only describing the world
2) Plot because you've 'forced' them to go into the tower before they go to the BBEG
3) Story because they interact with the tower & the key?
4) Originally content, then plot when they start to do it, then story while they're doing it?



It's content, as described. Story is what the PCs do with that content. I would add that it's not particularly great content. Not having a key to a door is not the only way to get through a door in my view.

I might be misunderstanding, but I found skill challenges the easiest thing to do on an impromptu basis. I tend to use the simplistic '4 success before 3 failures' approach though, and tend to throw out the abstraction of  'primary skills.' I just ask what their character does (and mechanically what skill it is) and try to RP with that.



They are the easiest to improvise, yes.



Again. Load of manure to the bolded.

And only a lazy selfish DM blames the players for not being able to immerse them, then tells them that if they can't immerse themselves, they're doing it wrong. Why even be at the table? 
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/
Again. Load of manure to the bolded.

And only a lazy selfish DM blames the players for not being able to immerse them, then tells them that if they can't immerse themselves, they're doing it wrong. Why even be at the table? 



True immersion is to be so into your character's skin that you can report what you see through his own eyes, what you hear through his own ears, and be able to describe it all back to the others at the table through your character's perspective. The DM may be able to influence this, but can't reliably control it. The player has a role to play in it as well, especially since immersion is a feeling and feelings are under the control of the person feeling it. Unless of course you can't control yourself, which would make sense considering some of the vitriol on display. Some players are better at this than others, naturally.

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

Again. Load of manure to the bolded.

And only a lazy selfish DM blames the players for not being able to immerse them, then tells them that if they can't immerse themselves, they're doing it wrong. Why even be at the table? 



True immersion is to be so into your character's skin that you can report what you see through his own eyes, what you hear through his own ears, and be able to describe it all back to the others at the table through your character's perspective. The DM may be able to influence this, but can't reliably control it. The player has a role to play in it as well, especially since immersion is a feeling and feelings are under the control of the person feeling it. Unless of course you can't control yourself, which would make sense considering some of the vitriol on display. Some players are better at this than others, naturally.



Why do you need to control it? There's no need to control it. The DM determines what's in the world, relays that to the player, and whatever they feel after that is all them. But the player doesn't need to decide whether or not an iron maiden is in the torture chamber to be immersed. In fact, for many, it does the opposite.

A DM only need influence his players. If you feel the need to control their very thoughts, that speaks volumes about yourself. 
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/
Why do you need to control it? There's no need to control it. The DM determines what's in the world, relays that to the player, and whatever they feel after that is all them. But the player doesn't need to decide whether or not an iron maiden is in the torture chamber to be immersed. In fact, for many, it does the opposite.

A DM only need influence his players. If you feel the need to control their very thoughts, that speaks volumes about yourself. 



I agree, the DM doesn't need to control it and can't. The player doesn't need to decide the contents of the torture chamber, but he can. For the so-called many for whom this somehow ruins their immersion, I contend they need to work on their ability to feel immersed, if they value immersion in their games.

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

Why do you need to control it? There's no need to control it. The DM determines what's in the world, relays that to the player, and whatever they feel after that is all them. But the player doesn't need to decide whether or not an iron maiden is in the torture chamber to be immersed. In fact, for many, it does the opposite.

A DM only need influence his players. If you feel the need to control their very thoughts, that speaks volumes about yourself. 



I agree, the DM doesn't need to control it and can't. The player doesn't need to decide the contents of the torture chamber, but he can. For the so-called many for whom this somehow ruins their immersion, I contend they need to work on their ability to feel immersed, if they value immersion in their games.



To the bolded: we will forever disagree. I despise your method of DMing. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as DM.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the player for your shortcomings. Stop 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/
To the bolded: we will forever disagree. I despise your method of DMing. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as DM.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the player for your shortcomings. Stop it. 



I disagree that we disagree. You're right - the DM can't control immersion and there's no need for him to do so. You also said that whatever the players feel is on them. So there you go, we agree. It's okay to agree with me, you know.

And I don't despise your method of DMing. Whatever works for you and yours is great, I'm sure.

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

To the bolded: we will forever disagree. I despise your method of DMing. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as DM.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the player for your shortcomings. Stop it. 



I disagree that we disagree. You're right - the DM can't control immersion and there's no need for him to do so. You also said that whatever the players feel is on them. So there you go, we agree. It's okay to agree with me, you know.

And I don't despise your method of DMing. Whatever works for you and yours is great, I'm sure.



We disagree on the part about what the player can create. He can not determine what's in the damn room.
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/
To the bolded: we will forever disagree. I despise your method of DMing [allegedly counting on the players to do everything for you while you just watch]. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as DM.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the player for your shortcomings. Stop it. 

Couldn't somebody just as easily say:

I despise your method of playing [allegedly counting on the DM to do everything for you while you just watch]. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as Player.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the DM for your shortcomings. Stop it.

Hence, the best games are where everybody is building the game, instead of either 1 person building vs. X-1 people watching OR X-1 people building and 1 person watching.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

We disagree on the part about what the player can create. He can not determine what's in the damn room.



That's fine. You place limits on player creativity. I don't. It's just a stylistic difference. I wouldn't despise a game where I couldn't establish elements in a scene though, nor would I call that DM a control freak (contrast with "lazy") for not letting me do so.

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 despise your method of DMing. Whatever works for you and yours is great, I'm sure.

We disagree on the part about what the player can create. He can not determine what's in the damn room.

Because that's not how it works in video games that are already completed - by somebody the players can't see or talk to - by the time they sit down to start playing?

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

To the bolded: we will forever disagree. I despise your method of DMing [allegedly counting on the players to do everything for you while you just watch]. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as DM.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the player for your shortcomings. Stop it. 

Couldn't somebody just as easily say:

I despise your method of playing [allegedly counting on the DM to do everything for you while you just watch]. It's lazy, selfish, and reeks of resentment at the role you've taken as Player.

As for the rest of it, that's you again blaming the DM for your shortcomings. Stop it.

Hence, the best games are where everybody is building the game, instead of either 1 person building vs. X-1 people watching OR X-1 people building and 1 person watching.



Unfortunately, my own method doesn't include the player doing nothing but watching. They're interacting with what I create and making decisions to influence how things proceed. If you despise that, feel free.

Everyone building the game sucks though.
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/
Iserith, obviously for a player to describe what's in a room isn't immersive. What's immersive is for a player to halt the flow of the game to ask about details that any reasonable person would already assume are present. Is there an iron maiden in the torture chamber? Are there windows in the front of the inn? Et cetera.

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

Iserith, obviously for a player to describe what's in a room isn't immersive. What's immersive is for a player to halt the flow of the game to ask about details that any reasonable person would already assume are present. Is there an iron maiden in the torture chamber? Are there windows in the front of the inn? Et cetera.



Exactly. Why establish meaningful details to the scene from your character's perspective when you can instead put a dedicated gatekeeper on the doling out of those details, forcing people to ask questions out-of-character to get those details?

You can't say that inn has windows in the front. You have to ask if it does. When a player asks that, I wonder if that's in-character or out-of-character? Hmm.

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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You can't say that inn has windows in the front. You have to ask if it does. When a player asks that, I wonder if that's in-character or out-of-character? Hmm.

It's obviously in-character. Otherwise how could we have hilarious scenes about dwarves pushing on pull doors or talking about "rolling"?

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

Pretty clear Iserith doesn't actually know what the word "immersion" means in regards to games.

The very act of having to describe something for content for the game is opposite to the nature of total immersion as it changes the players perspective. It is the equivalent of having to switch a CD in a video game so that you can continue receiving game content. Even in simple engrossment level immersion a player becomes unaware of the "interface" they are using to interact with the game and that interface moves to the background of their awareness. In tabletop gaming that interface is the human nature of the DM...by shifting the attention of content-generation from the DM back to the player it makes the player have to "down shift" from a level of immersion to a lower level. The flow of content presentation has been interrupted.

What Iserith seems to be describing and touting is the lowest form of immersion...bare engagement with content. While having engagement is important, it is the barest minimum of someone interacting in a positive, meaningful way with a game. It signals, basically, interest and nothing else...

Then again, as LunarSavage has pointed out, a lot about the style and attitude being discussed seems to revile the role of the DM...it seems to be the style of a player that desperately wants to play and that cannot fulfill the regular responsibilities of the DM, in some cases because they feel resentment towards the players when the players make certain decisions (as implied by Centauri)...so if someone thinks like that and is also satisifed with bare minimum engagement that would seem logical. Low effort in...low results out. Since the core conceit seems to be a desire to DO less I don't find it difficult to believe that the output would be less important as well.

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, of course, the important psychological issue that Centauri and Iserith are both utterly missing, is that while someone is acting to build information for themselves, they are thinking in terms of being 'on site'. That is, they are putting themselves in the locale because they are attempting to gather more data that is relevant to them being there.

When you change that to the locale giving information to the player VIA THE PLAYER that shifts the interface of the game from DM to player. In that situation, the player then becomes their own interface with the game...they feed information to themselves. When presented with a problem in a game, this would be the equivalent of a video game player having to look something up in a manual or online. When presented with content in a game, this would be the equivalent of the player reaching a screen that says "Imagine Room X" instead of being graphically presented with Room X.

When a DM shifts the interface from themselves to players (as occurs in collaborative) you are asking the person to remove themselves from thinking as their character and to, instead, think as the content-creator for the game. This is how the interface shift occurs. It moves from "DM presents content->given to player->player reacts" to "DM presents limited content->player asked to fill in remainder->player fills in->DM approves->player reacts". The process has been made longer and the interface has been shifted back and forth.

This is poor design from an immersion stand-point. Fine interface for collaborative story-telling, yes...but not for a game seeking to immerse someone.

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.

 Maybe the players invited the DM to their hous. Maybe they think of their character or party as the thing that was made for the DM, and that the DM should respect.

Sure, but they are still asking the DM to do the cooking.

So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them?

Course they are.  As you might with yu friend who cooks for you.  Think I said as much in a post, although that may have been deleted because I dared to use an asterisk to mask a not rude word

 Maybe the players invited the DM to their hous. Maybe they think of their character or party as the thing that was made for the DM, and that the DM should respect.

Sure, but they are still asking the DM to do the cooking.

So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them?

Course they are.  As you might with yu friend who cooks for you.  Think I said as much in a post, although that may have been deleted because I dared to use an asterisk to mask a not rude word




What you will notice here (and this is for everyone reading, not just The_Jagged) is that Centauri is presenting an "either/or" fallacy where either the players can go along with a bad plot OR they can offer details/ideas for the game.

Of course, those details/ideas are created for the GAME itself...

There is, naturally, another option...the players can use their characters to act as they desire and pursue things in game that they will enjoy. This, one will note, does NOT require the players to make up content for the game. It merely requires the players to have their characters be active and pursue goals while requiring the DM to be capable of presenting a reasonable world where goals can be pursued by individuals.

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.

Sure, but they are still asking the DM to do the cooking.

So, if they don't ask the DM to "do the cooking" then they are allowed to be more free in their choices? Then perhaps the DM should simply choose not to do as much cooking (and the players not expect them to do as much), so that the players can be more free to choose the experience they want, instead of choking down (however politely) what they're served.

So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them?

Course they are.  As you might with yu friend who cooks for you.  Think I said as much in a post

Then we agree, because that's what collaboration is. Players already say things like "Ooh, I bet this has to do with..." or "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..." or "Oh, another adventure like this? I was hoping we'd...."  If players are allowed and encouraged to collaborate (with the DM helping provide focus), all of that can become explicit declaration instead of hope and assumption, which is too often (and too easily) brushed aside to make room for something that's preprepared, but less satisfying.

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

Sure, but they are still asking the DM to do the cooking.

So, if they don't ask the DM to "do the cooking" then they are allowed to be more free in their choices? Then perhaps the DM should simply choose not to do as much cooking (and the players not expect them to do as much), so that the players can be more free to choose the experience they want, instead of choking down (however politely) what they're served.

So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them?

Course they are.  As you might with yu friend who cooks for you.  Think I said as much in a post

Then we agree, because that's what collaboration is. Players already say things like "Ooh, I bet this has to do with..." or "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..." or "Oh, another adventure like this? I was hoping we'd...."  If players are allowed and encouraged to collaborate (with the DM helping provide focus), all of that can become explicit declaration instead of hope and assumption, which is too often (and too easily) brushed aside to make room for something that's preprepared, but less satisfying.



One will note how, repeatedly, Centauri's cost/benefit analysis for his approach necessarily relies on the existence of a bad DM doing a bad job of DMing so as to make his own approach look preferable.

One would wonder if this means that Centauri has ONLY played with bad DMs and has, therefore, been scarred by those experiences resulting in him always equating a certain style with those bad DMs or if, in fact, Centauri himself is the one that enacts those poor behaviors as a DM when he runs a game under a certain style.

Previously I would have thought the former was more likely...but with his statements about "resentment" earlier in this thread, it makes me believe that Centauri falls into certain traps as a DM when undertaking a certain style. If that is the case, the posting style pointed out here would be simple projection where Centauri must villify a style to shift the blame for his own emotions from his attitude to the nature of the style. So instead of being something inherent to himself he may have to work on, it becomes something inherently wrong with the style therefore making it a less-than-desirable style.

Gun's don't kill people. People kill people.

Styles don't ruin games. Bad DMs ruin games.

And here Centauri keeps repeatedly putting forth a style that diminishes the impact/role of himself as a DM. Hmm. Intriguing.

I do so love psychoanalyzing.

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.



Players are at a game to play their characters, not to dance to the My Previous Plot crafted by the awful novelist oh I'm sorry I mean struggling writer oh I'm sorry I mean bad DM.

Your view of DM/player dynamic is completely off. The DM does not serve the players...the DM reacts to the players.



Thats not the picture thats being painted here.  Player characters ignoring obvious plot hooks are not providing feedback, they are being divas, throwing their toys out the pram.  Who knows what delights may have awaited?  The players certainly don't.

The DM is no more a slave to the player-characters than the players are chained to their chairs.  D&D is a communial activity and eveyone is there to have fun.  If little Timmy's dual-wielding barabarian "Wouldn't Do That" then little Timmy is free to go where ever he likes.  Just don't expect the DM to follow.
Thats not the picture thats being painted here.  Player characters ignoring obvious plot hooks are not providing feedback, they are being divas, throwing their toys out the pram.

It's not the most helpful feedback, but it is feedback.

Who knows what delights may have awaited?  The players certainly don't.

They might have a pretty good idea of what awaits. But they almost certainly have ideas about what they'd like to have await.

The DM is no more a slave to the player-characters than the players are chained to their chairs.  D&D is a communial activity and eveyone is there to have fun.  If little Timmy's dual-wielding barabarian "Wouldn't Do That" then little Timmy is free to go where ever he likes.  Just don't expect the DM to follow.

Of course. Ideally, there's collaboration at the table, rather than wholesale dictation by anyone.

One main question of this thread is why, if players have to go along with the plot anyway (or be considered brats), the plot is offered to the players at all? Why not assume they're on it, and skip the scene in which it's offered to them, as if they had a choice?

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

Thats not the picture thats being painted here.  Player characters ignoring obvious plot hooks are not providing feedback, they are being divas, throwing their toys out the pram.

It's not the most helpful feedback, but it is feedback.

Who knows what delights may have awaited?  The players certainly don't.

They might have a pretty good idea of what awaits. But they almost certainly have ideas about what they'd like to have await.

The DM is no more a slave to the player-characters than the players are chained to their chairs.  D&D is a communial activity and eveyone is there to have fun.  If little Timmy's dual-wielding barabarian "Wouldn't Do That" then little Timmy is free to go where ever he likes.  Just don't expect the DM to follow.

Of course. Ideally, there's collaboration at the table, rather than wholesale dictation by anyone.

One main question of this thread is why, if players have to go along with the plot anyway (or be considered brats), the plot is offered to the players at all? Why not assume they're on it, and skip the scene in which it's offered to them, as if they had a choice?



Sure, they have an idea about what they would like to have. But if they reject the plot hook, they'll never know if what they wanted in the first place is somewhere past the point of entry. And even the most half-assed decent of DMs would have that what they want in there eventually.

As to the rest of it, hopefully, a DM wouldn't offer only a single hook or plot to bite into. But if they do, so be it. Find out what awaits past that initial screen, at least. If you're not interested, just politely decline attending the next game until something comes along you are interested in.
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/
As to the rest of it, hopefully, a DM wouldn't offer only a single hook or plot to bite into. But if they do, so be it. Find out what awaits past that initial screen, at least. If you're not interested, just politely decline attending the next game until something comes along you are interested in.



Good and reasonable advice.

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

As to the rest of it, hopefully, a DM wouldn't offer only a single hook or plot to bite into. But if they do, so be it. Find out what awaits past that initial screen, at least. If you're not interested, just politely decline attending the next game until something comes along you are interested in.

Good and reasonable advice.

But for heaven's sake don't speak up and offer ideas.

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

But for heaven's sake don't speak up and offer ideas.



No, definitely not. Immersion. Or something.

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

So almost 30 pages of this thread have gone by, and here's what we've learned.

Group A: "I like to let my players contribute a lot to the world they're playing in. That way, they're sure to like what they find."

Group B: "I like to keep the world mysterious, so that players can be consistently surprised and don't have to worry about anything but their characters."

Group A: "Your way is stupid!"

Group B: "Nuh-uh!"

Wow, forums, amirite?



To respond to the OP, I like to freewheel it. I'll come to the table with 2 or 3 loose events in mind that may or may not occur. Sometimes I'll come up with a few specifics, but never anything that I'd be upset to let go of.

Another key aspect of my style is to have a few big events unfolding in the world at large. That way, the PCs can have limitless entry points into whatever problems the world might be facing, and they might encounter it at almost any time. The PCs don't want to follow the deep gnomes and help free their people from slavery in the Underdark? Cool, there's also this cult of Vecnites that's been up to no good. I'll flesh out the major villains, determine their wants and needs, but other than that, how the players will (or will not) encounter those villains is up to them.

So my point of advice: Have some idea of the big things, and let those inform the little things that happen in individual sessions. 
So almost 30 pages of this thread have gone by, and here's what we've learned.

Group A: "I like to let my players contribute a lot to the world they're playing in. That way, they're sure to like what they find."

Group B: "I like to keep the world mysterious, so that players can be consistently surprised and don't have to worry about anything but their characters."

Group A: "Your way is stupid!"

Group B: "Nuh-uh!"

Wow, forums, amirite?



I see Group A explaining their style when attacked and responding with: "Hey, if what you're doing works for you, go for it" and Group B telling Group A that they're lazy, despised, and are breaking immersion.

Otherwise, yeah, wow, forums.

To respond to the OP, I like to freewheel it. I'll come to the table with 2 or 3 loose events in mind that may or may not occur. Sometimes I'll come up with a few specifics, but never anything that I'd be upset to let go of.

Another key aspect of my style is to have a few big events unfolding in the world at large. That way, the PCs can have limitless entry points into whatever problems the world might be facing, and they might encounter it at almost any time. The PCs don't want to follow the deep gnomes and help free their people from slavery in the Underdark? Cool, there's also this cult of Vecnites that's been up to no good. I'll flesh out the major villains, determine their wants and needs, but other than that, how the players will (or will not) encounter those villains is up to them.

So my point of advice: Have some idea of the big things, and let those inform the little things that happen in individual sessions. 



Good approach, and good advice. What might you suggest a DM do who doesn't go with that approach but prefers to write plotted adventures instead and whose players go "off-script?"

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

IF A DM SCRIPTS EVERYTHING HE'S BAD AT DMING HURRRRRRR.

(Sorry, wanted to engage in the spirit of forum dwelling for a moment.)

 But for realsies, my advice would be to take the time you need to get things where you need them. What I mean by that is to take a 10-minute break and see how the PCs' new activity of choice would impact the story that you have lined up. There's almost definitely SOME tie-in that could be made that could utilize most of what you prepared initially.

Example time! Say you have this big dungeon planned with the BBEG that the PCs have been hunting for a couple sessions now. Instead of descending into the depths of the dungeon, where you've clearly indicated the action is, they decide to go information gathering back in town. So what could be the tie-in here? Well, maybe the main source of information for the PCs has been turned by the BBEG. This could lead to false information or a lack of cooperation. Maybe there IS another approach that would enable the PCs to bring a capable NPC down into the dungeon with them, assuaging their fears while also moving the story along. In either of these cases, it only takes a few minutes of figuring out how events/people/places are connected, and then you can hop right back in the game.

Ultimately, any solution provided for the prep-driven DM is going to be a bit railroady, but presumably, if that is your DMing style, you don't mind some minor amount of railroading. Even as much as I love improv, sometimes my story necessitates that the PCs have no other options for a short time.
So almost 30 pages of this thread have gone by, and here's what we've learned.

Group A: "I like to let my players contribute a lot to the world they're playing in. That way, they're sure to like what they find."

Group B: "I like to keep the world mysterious, so that players can be consistently surprised and don't have to worry about anything but their characters."

Group A: "Your way is stupid!"

Group B: "Nuh-uh!"

Wow, forums, amirite?

If it helps, iserith and I did try to start a calmer, more civil thread on the same topic, I'm just not sure how well but it didn't work.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire