Where is the enjoyment for the DM?

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In this case, "entitled" means getting what they want regardless of its effects and/or at the expense of others, namely the DM.



Perhaps a better way to describe that is "players acting like jerks," not "entitled." Because players are entitled to a lot of things, including fun, but not at the expense of others. That's jerk behavior, not entitlement.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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The premise of this being a non-problem is that problems like this are very easily solved and resolved so they aren't worth stressing about.

Be polite, be firm and be consistent.


Centuari and Iserith seem to me to be the type of DM who enjoys having a different kind of FUN than you enjoy. They get fun, out of administrating a social event where people come together to have fun. The only flaw in their stance, is not everyone finds that to be fun. For instance, in my games, there are consequences for actions and those consequences are reliable. And yes, sometimes they are forced.

I also think there is a confusion of the issue.

You are making an attribution of Player Behavior and Conduct - to the advice given by Iserith and Centuari. You think they are telling you to "let the players pull shenanagans and ruin everything".


In truth, they are suggesting that players only behave that way because of psychological reasons; they are bored, unhappy, displeased, uninterested, uncommited emotionally...

So to correct this, they have a philosophy of "Player Ownership" where the player develops an emotional commitment because they "helped set up the table before the game".

(Someone won't quit Axis and Allies after first turn as readily if they had to help set up the board, trust me.)

They also believe that you can take the ideas players find FUN and INTERESTING to create situations that drive the game into your plot. They even tell you that players can dictate the plot with discourse at the game if you "follow" their ideas. This requires cooperation, not from the player to you but from you to the player.

That is what this is really about. You could look at this through Moral Agency. You think you are the "Primary Agent" who has "Power" over the "Secondary Agents" (or, patients). These patients owe you thus, respect and privelidge. They are supposed to "fall in line" because "you know best" which is a dictatorship. Centuari and Iserith are instead saying they want a "Democracy" and in such a system, the voice of the DM is important. Just as important as any other player, the DM has a different role but plays the same game.

Now that you understand the premise of their theory, (assuming you do), hopefully you can change your language a little bit and ask more about Player Behavior.


Player Behavior can destroy any good intended system, especially with less mature players or players who are there with a friend or significant other and got thrown in incidentally.


My answer is that Player Behavior will correct itself, if the players are interested in the story and characters. I have different views than Centauri and Iserith; as noted in earlier posts. However I will say that most DM's with happy players like Centuari, Isireth and Myself might be on to something when we say that Player Behavior is connected to other things in the game, relating to "Are the players really having fun?"

You, the DM are a player too, and I think you should lend credence and try it. Make sure to tell the players that you are also a player and want to have fun. Take down the DM screen, and set up a friendly approach that isn't "Us and Them" by partitioning "your area" from "their area" and while getting them adjusted to their characters talk to them about what you want and ask them what they want.

Natural boundries will draw themselves, as you could say, "lines that men know not to cross". Once those lines are in place, the rest of the game will unfold naturally and comfortably.

Within; Without.

Centuari and Iserith seem to me to be the type of DM who enjoys having a different kind of FUN than you enjoy. They get fun, out of administrating a social event where people come together to have fun. The only flaw in their stance, is not everyone finds that to be fun. For instance, in my games, there are consequences for actions and those consequences are reliable. And yes, sometimes they are forced.

There are consequences for actions in our games too. No one wants to play a game without consequences, but not all consequences are equally worth one's budget of entertainment time.

I don't know what you mean by "consistent." In the real world, consequences aren't consistent, and in the entertainment world that inconsistency is used to justify entertaining situations.

I think that maybe the fact that real-world consequences aren't consistent is part of why some people crave the consistency in their games. It's comforting for some to be in an environment in which if they follow the rules to the letter they will be rewarded. But D&D isn't actually such an environment, unless we limit our idea of reward to the accumulation of fictional loot. For spending my entertainment time, I want to have an interesting experience. I think a lot of people do.

You are making an attribution of Player Behavior and Conduct - to the advice given by Iserith and Centuari. You think they are telling you to "let the players pull shenanagans and ruin everything".

I can understand where this is coming from. That is, in fact, what can happen when collaboration is tried. Quickly, though, they realize that they're only ruining their own fun.

So to correct this, they have a philosophy of "Player Ownership" where the player develops an emotional commitment because they "helped set up the table before the game".

That's right. Not only do players better remember details they've helped invent (thereby killing the trope of players forgetting NPC names and placenames), but they want to see the things they helped invent actually be useful.

They also believe that you can take the ideas players find FUN and INTERESTING to create situations that drive the game into your plot. They even tell you that players can dictate the plot with discourse at the game if you "follow" their ideas. This requires cooperation, not from the player to you but from you to the player.

It's definitely a two way street. At the bottom of it all is trust. Trust makes any game style work, but some game styles only burn trust. A collaborative style burns trust, but also builds it back up.

Centuari and Iserith are instead saying they want a "Democracy" and in such a system, the voice of the DM is important. Just as important as any other player, the DM has a different role but plays the same game.

Basically. There's not really any voting, or taking it in turns to be a sort of "executive officer of the week." When I DM such games, I do a lot of pointing at people to put the spotlight on them, and politely asking others to pause and listen to what's being said. My next evolution will be to ask people to focus their ideas about what has already been presented.

My answer is that Player Behavior will correct itself, if the players are interested in the story and characters. I have different views than Centauri and Iserith; as noted in earlier posts. However I will say that most DM's with happy players like Centuari, Isireth and Myself might be on to something when we say that Player Behavior is connected to other things in the game, relating to "Are the players really having fun?"

Interested players can make any style work. Disinterested players can wreck any style. Some styles struggle to maintain interest, because they tend to be full of lectures and other information downloads that are dull even if the material is actually interesting. Other styles have an easier time building interest, because they get right to the heart of what interests the players.

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

The premise of this being a non-problem is that problems like this are very easily solved and resolved so they aren't worth stressing about.

Be polite, be firm and be consistent.



Right! And do this outside the context of the game, not with in-game consequences as some sort of behavior modification.

To be fair, you may be responding to a certain poster whose posts I can no longer view. So I'll respond to your excellent post.

Centuari and Iserith seem to me to be the type of DM who enjoys having a different kind of FUN than you enjoy. They get fun, out of administrating a social event where people come together to have fun. The only flaw in their stance, is not everyone finds that to be fun. For instance, in my games, there are consequences for actions and those consequences are reliable. And yes, sometimes they are forced.



Everyone we game with finds it fun because we have Session Zero. Those who don't like a given premise or approach are welcome to suggest other ideas. Or play a game more suited to their preferences.

My games are full of consequences. But they're interesting and the players likely asked for them directly. Or I asked them what they think would be fun to explore.

I also think there is a confusion of the issue.

You are making an attribution of Player Behavior and Conduct - to the advice given by Iserith and Centuari. You think they are telling you to "let the players pull shenanagans and ruin everything".

In truth, they are suggesting that players only behave that way because of psychological reasons; they are bored, unhappy, displeased, uninterested, uncommited emotionally...

So to correct this, they have a philosophy of "Player Ownership" where the player develops an emotional commitment because they "helped set up the table before the game".



Correct! It is possible, however, that players behave that way simply because they're anti-social jerks. Don't play with those people is my answer to that. I'd rather not play than have to DM defensively out of fear the players will act like jerks.

(Someone won't quit Axis and Allies after first turn as readily if they had to help set up the board, trust me.)



I don't normally like non-D&D analogies but this one is awesome. Thanks!

They also believe that you can take the ideas players find FUN and INTERESTING to create situations that drive the game into your plot. They even tell you that players can dictate the plot with discourse at the game if you "follow" their ideas. This requires cooperation, not from the player to you but from you to the player.



I don't prepare plots, but otherwise this is right on. If I may rephrase, I'd say that you take the ideas players find fun and interesting and your own ideas to create situations that drive the game.

That is what this is really about. You could look at this through Moral Agency. You think you are the "Primary Agent" who has "Power" over the "Secondary Agents" (or, patients). These patients owe you thus, respect and privelidge. They are supposed to "fall in line" because "you know best" which is a dictatorship. Centuari and Iserith are instead saying they want a "Democracy" and in such a system, the voice of the DM is important. Just as important as any other player, the DM has a different role but plays the same game.



I can't speak to what the other poster you're referring to thinks, but yes, the way I approach the game is not top-down as you say. Everyone has equal say.

Player Behavior can destroy any good intended system, especially with less mature players or players who are there with a friend or significant other and got thrown in incidentally.



Agreed! Jerks are jerks. Don't play with jerks. Because someone doesn't like your playstyle doesn't mean they're a jerk. But if they know your playstyle (Session Zero), play anyway, then demonstrate poor behavior during the game, they're jerks.

However I will say that most DM's with happy players like Centuari, Isireth and Myself might be on to something when we say that Player Behavior is connected to other things in the game, relating to "Are the players really having fun?"



You are onto something here. It's so basic, it's easy to miss. Many DMs frequently do.

You, the DM are a player too, and I think you should lend credence and try it. Make sure to tell the players that you are also a player and want to have fun. Take down the DM screen, and set up a friendly approach that isn't "Us and Them" by partitioning "your area" from "their area" and while getting them adjusted to their characters talk to them about what you want and ask them what they want.



Exactly.

Natural boundries will draw themselves, as you could say, "lines that men know not to cross". Once those lines are in place, the rest of the game will unfold naturally and comfortably.



In the case of our games, it's "Yes, and..." which comes with certain responsibilities. You can't use it to contradict existing fiction and you can't cross any lines with other players (such as being sexist or racist where the given group doesn't like that).

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

There's one assumption I'm making that I usually don't care to bring up.

One traditional way the DM has fun is by seeing the players engage with the story and setting that the DM created. That's fine and good, and I'm a fan of that myself.

One of the traditional ways a DM's fun is ruined is that the players ignore the DM's story, or don't remember the important details, or seem dead-set on disrupting the game, either with in-game antics or out-of-game complaints and pointed questions.

The two are related. Furthermore, the greater a DM's love of their own story, the more prone they seem to be to the downsides of letting the players loose in that story. Then it often becomes a vicious circle, with the DM imposing restrictions to force the players to interact with the world, and the players trying to buck those restrictions or find new ways to avoid, ignore, or wreck the DM's creation.

What a frigging rat race.

I don't like to bring this up because the simplistic answer to it is that the DM needs to write a more engaging story, and the clear implication is that I'm not capable of that. Perhaps both of those are true, but what's also true is that it is easier to get people involved with things they have helped create than with things they are told. Even TV shows get viewer feedback and shows don't keep their audience long if they subvert too many expectations. Or, rather, the audience they do have might change over time. If we assume that a DM wants a consistent group of players, then there's only so much churn he or she is going to want to undergo, and it therefore behooves the DM to work closely with the players to create the situations the players want to be engaged in, rather than to try to ascertain their desires indirectly. Who's got that kind of time?

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


My next evolution will be to ask people to focus their ideas about what has already been presented.



I will be interested in reading this because I would also like to work closer with my players to have them expound on certain things. I realized I could save myself a lot of "fine tuning" by getting more feedback.


Too bad we can't all have a nice good chat about some of these issues in further detail, it would benefit us all.

I think both Iserith and Centuari speak sound advice. 


What I mean by consistency is Players know if they approach a "Paid Pass" there will be "Harry, Burly and Poe" the 3 Hill Giants and "Dog Pack", featuring Bowser, Patches, and Ringo. The giants will each explain how they keep the road safe, then send Dog Pack to collect the payment (Humanoids inspired by Hound Archons). They also know if they say "I kick the guard in the nuts!" they will receive a beating from the guard. Likewise, they know if they feel the game is "dragging" they can tell me to pick up the pace a minute or call for game break.

As for predictability, they know what the "behavioral norms" are at my table and they know what accommodations I will make for their ideas.

In other words "They know how to behave" and I "know how to keep them behaving". I need to keep them entertained,  as said above "Entertainment Budget". They are aware of their own actions, which comes with maturity.


I will say this and I could be wrong but I think "Player Behavior" issues stem from immaturity or issues outside the game. I have seen a lot of players who you just can't win with (win = fun). Some people aren't "grown up" yet and this holds just as true for 40 year olds and 60 year olds.
(I see it at my college).

That said, I think corroboration is a good thing and we could probably iron out a lot of good ideas. I am new to the online community aspect of this, so naturally there are things you guys are ahead of me on. What I do have is about 20 years of DM experience, a 9 year old world which evolved over time to share the saga of quite a few players, even non-gamers. That coupled with my focuses of study, I believe gives me a lot to work with, however even I see need for continual improvement.

Hopefully, more ideas common to you and new to me will come forward. The only problem is, I don't have many questions or need much advice and don't see anything wrong in my own game. Instead, I just see an idea here or there which is worth the gold of a thousand dragon hordes.

Within; Without.

I will be interested in reading this because I would also like to work closer with my players to have them expound on certain things. I realized I could save myself a lot of "fine tuning" by getting more feedback.

Focus is important, because it's natural for every player to be more interested in the outcome of their character and the group than of any other character. Focus could potentially have players coming up with ideas that not only deal with their own outcome, but also impinge on the outcome of other characters. This happens in shows all the time.

Too bad we can't all have a nice good chat about some of these issues in further detail, it would benefit us all.

It's possible. It helps to ignore people who insist on being disruptive or dishonest.

I think both Iserith and Centuari speak sound advice.

Thanks.

They also know if they say "I kick the guard in the nuts!" they will receive a beating from the guard.

Would anyone be interested in that outcome? If not, why would it be a possible outcome? I agree it's plausible, but there are always other plausible outcomes, and the nice thing about a fantasy setting is not being utterly beholden to plausibility.

The consistency I offer my players is that if they take an action, the outcome will be interesting, whether it's win, lose, or push. I may enlist them to help me make it interesting.

Likewise, they know if they feel the game is "dragging" they can tell me to pick up the pace a minute or call for game break.

That's powerful.

I will say this and I could be wrong but I think "Player Behavior" issues stem from immaturity or issues outside the game. I have seen a lot of players who you just can't win with (win = fun). Some people aren't "grown up" yet and this holds just as true for 40 year olds and 60 year olds.
(I see it at my college).

That's certainly a big part of it. The main draw of RPGs is the ability to act out in ways you can't in real life.

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

The premise of this being a non-problem is that problems like this are very easily solved and resolved so they aren't worth stressing about.

Be polite, be firm and be consistent.


Centuari and Iserith seem to me to be the type of DM who enjoys having a different kind of FUN than you enjoy. They get fun, out of administrating a social event where people come together to have fun. The only flaw in their stance, is not everyone finds that to be fun. For instance, in my games, there are consequences for actions and those consequences are reliable. And yes, sometimes they are forced.

I also think there is a confusion of the issue.

You are making an attribution of Player Behavior and Conduct - to the advice given by Iserith and Centuari. You think they are telling you to "let the players pull shenanagans and ruin everything".


In truth, they are suggesting that players only behave that way because of psychological reasons; they are bored, unhappy, displeased, uninterested, uncommited emotionally...

So to correct this, they have a philosophy of "Player Ownership" where the player develops an emotional commitment because they "helped set up the table before the game".

(Someone won't quit Axis and Allies after first turn as readily if they had to help set up the board, trust me.)

They also believe that you can take the ideas players find FUN and INTERESTING to create situations that drive the game into your plot. They even tell you that players can dictate the plot with discourse at the game if you "follow" their ideas. This requires cooperation, not from the player to you but from you to the player.

That is what this is really about. You could look at this through Moral Agency. You think you are the "Primary Agent" who has "Power" over the "Secondary Agents" (or, patients). These patients owe you thus, respect and privelidge. They are supposed to "fall in line" because "you know best" which is a dictatorship. Centuari and Iserith are instead saying they want a "Democracy" and in such a system, the voice of the DM is important. Just as important as any other player, the DM has a different role but plays the same game.

Now that you understand the premise of their theory, (assuming you do), hopefully you can change your language a little bit and ask more about Player Behavior.


Player Behavior can destroy any good intended system, especially with less mature players or players who are there with a friend or significant other and got thrown in incidentally.


My answer is that Player Behavior will correct itself, if the players are interested in the story and characters. I have different views than Centauri and Iserith; as noted in earlier posts. However I will say that most DM's with happy players like Centuari, Isireth and Myself might be on to something when we say that Player Behavior is connected to other things in the game, relating to "Are the players really having fun?"

You, the DM are a player too, and I think you should lend credence and try it. Make sure to tell the players that you are also a player and want to have fun. Take down the DM screen, and set up a friendly approach that isn't "Us and Them" by partitioning "your area" from "their area" and while getting them adjusted to their characters talk to them about what you want and ask them what they want.

Natural boundries will draw themselves, as you could say, "lines that men know not to cross". Once those lines are in place, the rest of the game will unfold naturally and comfortably.



It is the bolded I disagree with. I also disagree with labeling a player as a "jerk", simply because they like to be able to break a game.

Edit: Furthermore, player behavior does not always correct itself if they are interested. They may become both interested and power hungry at that point. 
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/

My next evolution will be to ask people to focus their ideas about what has already been presented.





Too bad we can't all have a nice good chat about some of these issues in further detail, it would benefit us all.




The main reason no such discussion can take place is because a particular side of the conversation likes to dismiss anything the other side brings up as "non-existent" or they have no answer for and simply label the player or DM as a "jerk" and walk away from the argument. They're only interested in hearing agreements.
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/

In truth, they are suggesting that players only behave that way because of psychological reasons; they are bored, unhappy, displeased, uninterested, uncommited emotionally...

It is the bolded I disagree with. I also disagree with labeling a player as a "jerk", simply because they like to be able to break a game.

Edit: Furthermore, player behavior does not always correct itself if they are interested. They may become both interested and power hungry at that point. 



1. A player who enjoys "breaking a game" is similar to a player who screams "You Cheated" when you capture their rook or get a good dice roll in Risk, Settlers of Catan or Axis and Allies. There are clearly some kinds of players who are emotional, immature and may have other reasons for intrinsically breaking games; behaviors that can be corrected. There are other types of players who either don't enjoy the game so they either want to end the campaign, or they just enjoy irking you outside of the game so hey bring that into the game.
Most Players KNOW they are being a disturbance. Maybe they are just naturally disrespectful. Some players just enjoy "wrecking the game" and making it a contest to "beat the GM". Some players are just jerks. One who takes pleasure in mischief and causing agony is a jerk. There is a context for everything, however there are some players who just enjoy "peeing in the pool".

2. Power Hunger is not common among the players I play with. However some of them have and have had some power hungry characters just as they have had some vow of poverty characters or altruistic characters. Some have had the most evil characters you could fathom; One such character died a tragic, lame, critical hit death in a duel with an NPC with no way to "avert" death.

Because the player is a Vampire Adult Mercury Dragon, his defeater (A Naga High Chief), entombed him in the city. I had him awaken, in a state of madness. Wanting revenge against the world. He read the forbidden scroll with no name, then proceeded to write on the Empty Scroll, the spell of Armageddon. He plotted and planned, and seized 2 towers connected by an Astral Gate, defended by other Evil characters. His plan: Finish reading the scroll. The result: Kill the world spirit. This player caused the world great despair before he was killed by a mass sum of armies, and so many died to his words, that he was renamed a Kami; "One Who Speaks Death". This characters deeds caused other characters to experience havoc, from undead monsters raging to blighted crops spreading plague and sickness.

After his "Final Death", the world rejoiced, the characters celebrated and a great "Final Villain" was created from the result of a critical hit death that came about from Power Hunger.

Point is, sometimes there is a player who enjoys a power hungry character, other times a power hungry player. Tell that player to "run a bad guy in the next game" and remove his main character. Give him stat cards for the monsters and let him control some of the enemies. That will give such a player the "rage and glory" fun without disturbing anything. This will turn the player into an asset and possibly a future DM. I have seen it happen.

Within; Without.

I will be interested in reading this because I would also like to work closer with my players to have them expound on certain things. I realized I could save myself a lot of "fine tuning" by getting more feedback.



To be fair, you're probably getting it, just not directly. We prefer to get straight to the point, so to speak.

I'm guessing Centauri is thinking about Microscope RPG when referring to this next step.

Too bad we can't all have a nice good chat about some of these issues in further detail, it would benefit us all.

I think both Iserith and Centuari speak sound advice.



Thanks for your kind words. The issue is often (see the OP's replies as an example) that wild assumptions, dishonest questions, and outright attacks are what we get as responses to our particular approach. And only from some posters, really. But enough to make one wonder what they find so threatening about our method, especially if their game is running so awesomely.

What I mean by consistency is Players know if they approach a "Paid Pass" there will be "Harry, Burly and Poe" the 3 Hill Giants and "Dog Pack", featuring Bowser, Patches, and Ringo. The giants will each explain how they keep the road safe, then send Dog Pack to collect the payment (Humanoids inspired by Hound Archons). They also know if they say "I kick the guard in the nuts!" they will receive a beating from the guard. Likewise, they know if they feel the game is "dragging" they can tell me to pick up the pace a minute or call for game break.



I agree that consistency is important. Realism, logic, etc... not so much in a fantasy world. Fun trumps those concerns and is limited only to the imagination and what came before (consistency).

As for predictability, they know what the "behavioral norms" are at my table and they know what accommodations I will make for their ideas.



It's great when everyone's on the same page.

In other words "They know how to behave" and I "know how to keep them behaving". I need to keep them entertained,  as said above "Entertainment Budget". They are aware of their own actions, which comes with maturity.



I'm not sure I cotton to the whole "DM as Entertainer" thing. I'm told my games are very entertaining, but that's not solely because of me. Maybe not even mostly because of me. It's a group thing.

I will say this and I could be wrong but I think "Player Behavior" issues stem from immaturity or issues outside the game. I have seen a lot of players who you just can't win with (win = fun). Some people aren't "grown up" yet and this holds just as true for 40 year olds and 60 year olds.
(I see it at my college).



As I'm sure you agree, this is why it's important to work with people to set expectations before playing with them. It's okay not to like someone's game or playstyle. It's not okay to try to deliberately cause problems because of it. You act like an adult and you find another game instead of breaking this one like a jerk.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

A player who enjoys "breaking a game" is similar to a player who screams "You Cheated" when you capture their rook or get a good dice roll in Risk, Settlers of Catan or Axis and Allies. There are clearly some kinds of players who are emotional, immature and may have other reasons for intrinsically breaking games; behaviors that can be corrected. There are other types of players who either don't enjoy the game so they either want to end the campaign, or they just enjoy irking you outside of the game so hey bring that into the game.

I don't quite agree with this. Some people do enjoy taking a rulesystem to its limits and seeing what happens. I can see that, but if the DM and other players are on the same page with that player then I wouldn't think of that as disruptive behavior, but just the game as she is played - for that group.

What I don't see, is how, in a cooperative game, that approach can sustain one's interest. Sure, in Magic for instance, there's no reason not to make as poweful a deck as possible, even if that deck uses a massively cheesy and socially questionably strategy. Then Wizards makes a note of that strategy and makes a change to the game to either disallow that strategy, correct and error, or make the strategy less appealing.

Another assumption I make is that the players are not competing with each other, and would be willing not to compete with the DM if they didn't have to in order to wrest their enjoyment from the DM.

Most Players KNOW they are being a disturbance. Maybe they are just naturally disrespectful. Some players just enjoy "wrecking the game" and making it a contest to "beat the GM". Some players are just jerks. One who takes pleasure in mischief and causing agony is a jerk. There is a context for everything, however there are some players who just enjoy "peeing in the pool".

It's all about getting on the same page. "Session 0" refers only to the most ideal time to get on the same page: before play actually starts. It can happen at any time, and even happen repeatedly.

2. Power Hunger is not common among the players I play with.

Same here, but it must be acknowledged, as it has on numerous other occassions, that power-hungry players exist. The question is why? Power is not an end unto itself in the game. Anyone can stat up whatever character they want, and even pit it against any challenge they want. They don't need a DM or other players for that.

One reason - not the only one, but I think a primary one - is that power in the game means control. Characters without power have fewer options and they (and their players) are subject to the whims of the DM. Power means being able to shrug off whatever the DM throws at the player, and a look at some of the maximized spellcaster builds in 3.5 and any optimized characters in 4th Edition show a desire to not be affected by anything. All the immunities are up, all the mobility and range are up. They are all but guaranteed to go first in combat and neutralize any enemy before it can act. If this reminds you of how people describe Magic decks, it should. That should worry you. It should also make you think.

Those character control the game. Of course, the DM can easily challenge such a character, but those players would be quick to point out that the DM must "break" the rules of the game in order to do so. Those players have make themselves invulnerable, because there's no incentive not to. To leave any vulnerabilities puts them at the mercy of the DM to, if nothing else, kill that character which ends any fun the player was having with the character, or could have with the character.

Story games deal with this by making failure and weakness and vulnerability part of optimization (some games try to do this with "Flaws," but those tend not to work for various reasons, unless everyone's bought into the idea of interesting failure). In a story game, you can optimize your character like crazy, and you're rewarded with vast control over the game (compared to D&D), but this involves the creation not of an invulnerable titan but in a flawed, vulnerable, interesting character.

D&D lacks that kind of mechanism, so it must be handled manually. Players must be allowed to optimize as much as they want (since they will anyway), and then brought into help concoct challenges for their (and others') characters. Once they have control over what challenges their characters face, they lose their incentive for negating those challenges. It's a safe assumption that no one is going to spend time coming up with an idea specifically to utterly negate that idea.

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

Then it seems what I play is about 20% (or even less) D&D and about 80% Story Game.

I used to play MTG, and have been guilty of some exploitative decks.

I used to play Stasis/Chronotog/Kismet and Opposition/Derranged Hermit and Blue Control.


That style of "Halo Mode", happens in games like MTG, online games, and I suppose in D&D - there are just archetypes who prefer that style of play, which is why I suggest such a player to "control monsters and other misc. bad guys" or something because they get their giggles within the framework of what has been agreed upon as acceptable.


I been playing since Second Edition and used 3.0 and 3.5 but always used the books "as reference" for a homebrew system. Once I learned how far my game is away from D&D, I am left to realize my ideas might not be helpful to most players, especially those who "use the rules as-is" or "tournament player" types because my game isn't a hard-linem, on the rails type of "dungeon Crawl" (which is less than 1% of my games).

Within; Without.

Then it seems what I play is about 20% (or even less) D&D and about 80% Story Game.

Why not 100% D&D, 100% Story Game? Just because the RAW don't focus on story-telling as much as on number-crunching doesn't mean that the DM and players can't make it better themselves.

Rule 0: The Rulebooks are highly tentative suggestions; the DM and players are ultimately in control.

Founder and figurehead of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

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
A game is a fictional construct created for the sake of the players, not the other way around. If you have a question "How do I keep X from happening at my table," and you feel that the out-of-game answer "Talk the the other people at your table" won't help, then the in-game answers "Remove mechanics A, B, and/or C, add mechanics L, M, and/or N" will not help either.
Then it seems what I play is about 20% (or even less) D&D and about 80% Story Game.

I realize that I made that distinction above, but it's not necessarily a useful one. All story games do is provide incentives for characters to get into trouble. That's possible in D&D, too, and people do it all the time, but there are no actual guidelines for anything for the DM putting the PCs in trouble they are expected to get out of.

I used to play MTG, and have been guilty of some exploitative decks.

I used to play Stasis/Chronotog/Kismet and Opposition/Derranged Hermit and Blue Control.

And while those are annoying, there's not actually anything wrong with playing that way. Losing tends to be more boring than winning in a boring way. D&D by default has that same problem, so players would rather gather enough power so as to never lose than to do interesting stuff that increases their chance of losing. The common element here is that losing is boring. But losing doesn't have to be boring, as every story we enjoy demonstrates to us.

That style of "Halo Mode", happens in games like MTG, online games, and I suppose in D&D - there are just archetypes who prefer that style of play, which is why I suggest such a player to "control monsters and other misc. bad guys" or something because they get their giggles within the framework of what has been agreed upon as acceptable.

No, there's aren't "just archetypes." Saying that sidesteps a fixable problem. You can't not make people not want to exploit systems, but it is possible to channel that desire into something that creates an interesting game for all.

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


In truth, they are suggesting that players only behave that way because of psychological reasons; they are bored, unhappy, displeased, uninterested, uncommited emotionally...

It is the bolded I disagree with. I also disagree with labeling a player as a "jerk", simply because they like to be able to break a game.

Edit: Furthermore, player behavior does not always correct itself if they are interested. They may become both interested and power hungry at that point. 



1. A player who enjoys "breaking a game" is similar to a player who screams "You Cheated" when you capture their rook or get a good dice roll in Risk, Settlers of Catan or Axis and Allies. There are clearly some kinds of players who are emotional, immature and may have other reasons for intrinsically breaking games; behaviors that can be corrected. There are other types of players who either don't enjoy the game so they either want to end the campaign, or they just enjoy irking you outside of the game so hey bring that into the game.
Most Players KNOW they are being a disturbance. Maybe they are just naturally disrespectful. Some players just enjoy "wrecking the game" and making it a contest to "beat the GM". Some players are just jerks. One who takes pleasure in mischief and causing agony is a jerk. There is a context for everything, however there are some players who just enjoy "peeing in the pool".

2. Power Hunger is not common among the players I play with. However some of them have and have had some power hungry characters just as they have had some vow of poverty characters or altruistic characters. Some have had the most evil characters you could fathom; One such character died a tragic, lame, critical hit death in a duel with an NPC with no way to "avert" death.

Because the player is a Vampire Adult Mercury Dragon, his defeater (A Naga High Chief), entombed him in the city. I had him awaken, in a state of madness. Wanting revenge against the world. He read the forbidden scroll with no name, then proceeded to write on the Empty Scroll, the spell of Armageddon. He plotted and planned, and seized 2 towers connected by an Astral Gate, defended by other Evil characters. His plan: Finish reading the scroll. The result: Kill the world spirit. This player caused the world great despair before he was killed by a mass sum of armies, and so many died to his words, that he was renamed a Kami; "One Who Speaks Death". This characters deeds caused other characters to experience havoc, from undead monsters raging to blighted crops spreading plague and sickness.

After his "Final Death", the world rejoiced, the characters celebrated and a great "Final Villain" was created from the result of a critical hit death that came about from Power Hunger.

Point is, sometimes there is a player who enjoys a power hungry character, other times a power hungry player. Tell that player to "run a bad guy in the next game" and remove his main character. Give him stat cards for the monsters and let him control some of the enemies. That will give such a player the "rage and glory" fun without disturbing anything. This will turn the player into an asset and possibly a future DM. I have seen it happen.




1. It's not that these players think they're "breaking the game". To them, they're just doing what they think they should be doing (some of them, anyway, not all). To some, the game is simply about making a powerful character. Balance to the game and a challenging story be damned. I can in no way label that as being a jerk.

2. Consider yourself lucky. I'm fortunate enough to be with some players now that are more focused on role playing than power gaming. But I know people who are in general, not jerks. They just game in a manner that really kind of goes against what this board (and some others) preach and believe about table top roleplaying games. The thing is though, I know that there are many players like that. They're not jerks and it's downright insulting to call them such. (and I'm the one that gets flippin' modded for baits, trolling, and insults)

And for the record, I let them run evil characters that were...well...really really stupid power hungry evil bastards. They did not understand the concept of not running face first into death with their swords and spells swinging. Well, actually, they didn't understand the concept of evil not trying to dominate everything in sight either. I also attribute that to power hungry players. -.- Again, I can't label them jerks.

 
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/
A player who enjoys "breaking a game" is similar to a player who screams "You Cheated" when you capture their rook or get a good dice roll in Risk, Settlers of Catan or Axis and Allies. There are clearly some kinds of players who are emotional, immature and may have other reasons for intrinsically breaking games; behaviors that can be corrected. There are other types of players who either don't enjoy the game so they either want to end the campaign, or they just enjoy irking you outside of the game so hey bring that into the game.

I don't quite agree with this. Some people do enjoy taking a rulesystem to its limits and seeing what happens. I can see that, but if the DM and other players are on the same page with that player then I wouldn't think of that as disruptive behavior, but just the game as she is played - for that group.

What I don't see, is how, in a cooperative game, that approach can sustain one's interest. Sure, in Magic for instance, there's no reason not to make as poweful a deck as possible, even if that deck uses a massively cheesy and socially questionably strategy. Then Wizards makes a note of that strategy and makes a change to the game to either disallow that strategy, correct and error, or make the strategy less appealing.

Another assumption I make is that the players are not competing with each other, and would be willing not to compete with the DM if they didn't have to in order to wrest their enjoyment from the DM.

Most Players KNOW they are being a disturbance. Maybe they are just naturally disrespectful. Some players just enjoy "wrecking the game" and making it a contest to "beat the GM". Some players are just jerks. One who takes pleasure in mischief and causing agony is a jerk. There is a context for everything, however there are some players who just enjoy "peeing in the pool".

It's all about getting on the same page. "Session 0" refers only to the most ideal time to get on the same page: before play actually starts. It can happen at any time, and even happen repeatedly.

2. Power Hunger is not common among the players I play with.

Same here, but it must be acknowledged, as it has on numerous other occassions, that power-hungry players exist. The question is why? Power is not an end unto itself in the game. Anyone can stat up whatever character they want, and even pit it against any challenge they want. They don't need a DM or other players for that.

One reason - not the only one, but I think a primary one - is that power in the game means control. Characters without power have fewer options and they (and their players) are subject to the whims of the DM. Power means being able to shrug off whatever the DM throws at the player, and a look at some of the maximized spellcaster builds in 3.5 and any optimized characters in 4th Edition show a desire to not be affected by anything. All the immunities are up, all the mobility and range are up. They are all but guaranteed to go first in combat and neutralize any enemy before it can act. If this reminds you of how people describe Magic decks, it should. That should worry you. It should also make you think.

Those character control the game. Of course, the DM can easily challenge such a character, but those players would be quick to point out that the DM must "break" the rules of the game in order to do so. Those players have make themselves invulnerable, because there's no incentive not to. To leave any vulnerabilities puts them at the mercy of the DM to, if nothing else, kill that character which ends any fun the player was having with the character, or could have with the character.

Story games deal with this by making failure and weakness and vulnerability part of optimization (some games try to do this with "Flaws," but those tend not to work for various reasons, unless everyone's bought into the idea of interesting failure). In a story game, you can optimize your character like crazy, and you're rewarded with vast control over the game (compared to D&D), but this involves the creation not of an invulnerable titan but in a flawed, vulnerable, interesting character.

D&D lacks that kind of mechanism, so it must be handled manually. Players must be allowed to optimize as much as they want (since they will anyway), and then brought into help concoct challenges for their (and others') characters. Once they have control over what challenges their characters face, they lose their incentive for negating those challenges. It's a safe assumption that no one is going to spend time coming up with an idea specifically to utterly negate that idea.



To the bolded, I'm not sure I fully understand it either. But, it's managed to maintain the interest of my players for over 8 years now.

Apparently, they just really like combat. And want to be able to beat the living snot out of powerful monsters. I think maybe they're also addicted to the dice rolling.

I remember recently I had to argue with one of my players who went way out of his way to try and optimize/power game a level 20 monk. While the other two players in the group made a sort of optimized druid and a roleplaying focused paladin. I had to have a very long and angry discussion with this player (he's my brother, so it's not as angry or as big a deal as it seems) about trusting me to balance combat and that he should calm down with the power gaming and constantly asking me if he can bring new stuff in to break the game. (the questions were non-stop) Now, the druid's player does enjoy combat just as much, but he doesn't know the books front to back like my brother.
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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Do we really have to treat the players with such kid gloves? As if their delicate egos can't handle not getting everything they want all the time?

The use of hyperbole in those questions tell me that they are assumptions, not questions. I'll answer any honest questions you have, though.



Thats the second time you have asked me to be the one asking questions. I'm not clear on why that has to be the format. I was under the impression that we were all having a lively debate on the subject.
Thats the second time you have asked me to be the one asking questions. I'm not clear on why that has to be the format. I was under the impression that we were all having a lively debate on the subject.

You asked a question in the title of the thread. I assumed you wanted to understand. I'm happy to help you understand, but in order for that to work I need you to ask me honest questions about what you don't understand. Sarcastic questions are not honest questions.

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



Do we do the same thing when playing other games?
Do we fudge the rolls while playing monopoly so that no one gets kicked out of the game early? Or have the players choose what community chest card they get because they don't like the result?

Once you understand why that's not a fair analogy, you'll have some answers to all the questions your assumptions won't let you ask.


What kinda Yoda advice is that?
The core of the analogy does not require a specific game to make its point. No one gets upset when they lose(fail, die, whatever the label is) in any other type of game. Why are D and D players so delicate? I think the answer is that they are not, but there seems to be some fear of boring them.
Which I don't understand. I enjoy creating a character for the game. I can enjoy the success of the one character off by themselves for 10 or 15 minutes. I enjoy when the game leads to a session in the kings courtyard asking about who tried to poison the prince, or mindlessly hacking apart some goblins after solving some tricky puzzles. Being suprised by an interesting magic item, and how I might work with it, or trade it to the rogue for that item he has.
If my DM asks for input, I'll give it. But I am also content to see the wonders of a well planned world unfold.

I may try and run a high player input game sometime, but I still see the merits of a rich(for lack of a better word) world.

Thats the second time you have asked me to be the one asking questions. I'm not clear on why that has to be the format. I was under the impression that we were all having a lively debate on the subject.

You asked a question in the title of the thread. I assumed you wanted to understand. I'm happy to help you understand, but in order for that to work I need you to ask me honest questions about what you don't understand. Sarcastic questions are not honest questions.


You are allowed to provide your own opinions and input, maybe even ask questions yourself.
Just because I opened the thread as a series of questions does not mean that has to be the format.


What kinda Yoda advice is that?

Looks like it's going to be a while, then.

The core of the analogy does not require a specific game to make its point. No one gets upset when they lose(fail, die, whatever the label is) in any other type of game. Why are D and D players so delicate? I think the answer is that they are not, but there seems to be some fear of boring them.

Through your own fear, and the sarcasm you cover it with, I can see that you're very close to the answer.

Which I don't understand. I enjoy creating a character for the game. I can enjoy the success of the one character off by themselves for 10 or 15 minutes. I enjoy when the game leads to a session in the kings courtyard asking about who tried to poison the prince, or mindlessly hacking apart some goblins after solving some tricky puzzles. Being suprised by an interesting magic item, and how I might work with it, or trade it to the rogue for that item he has.
If my DM asks for input, I'll give it. But I am also content to see the wonders of a well planned world unfold.

I may try and run a high player input game sometime, but I still see the merits of a rich(for lack of a better word) world.

What you describe is everything going right. The other character's actions are successful and engaging. The intrigue, hancking, and solving are interesting. The surprise works. The world is well planned.

What happens when it's not? One thing that happens is that people come here, perplexed that their game isn't fun, even though the DM is in the DM's role and the players are in the player role. They're desperate to know what the problem is, why their players get bored when another character is doing something, why they want to kill the king and solve the goblins and destroy the traps. Why the magic items fall flat. Why they don't care about the world.

That's the problem addressed by the methods you don't understand. If you don't have that problem, and your players don't either, then what are you asking?

Like others, I assumed it was the DM failing to create an engaging world and the players being jerks. I realize now that that's rarely, if ever, the case.

Thats the second time you have asked me to be the one asking questions. I'm not clear on why that has to be the format. I was under the impression that we were all having a lively debate on the subject.

You asked a question in the title of the thread. I assumed you wanted to understand. I'm happy to help you understand, but in order for that to work I need you to ask me honest questions about what you don't understand. Sarcastic questions are not honest questions.

You are allowed to provide your own opinions and input, maybe even ask questions yourself.
Just because I opened the thread as a series of questions does not mean that has to be the format.

I understand the issue. I understand why all the stuff you don't seem to understand works.

So, here are my questions: Do you also want to understand? Do you have any questions? Or are you just here to complain about something you don't understand and have no interest in understanding?

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

No one gets upset when they lose(fail, die, whatever the label is) in any other type of game. Why are D and D players so delicate? I think the answer is that they are not, but there seems to be some fear of boring them.

Possibly because ending a game of monopoly and starting an identical new one is different than an amazing on-going story like Firefly having to go unresolved because "Oops."

Which I don't understand. I enjoy creating a character for the game. I can enjoy the success of the one character off by themselves for 10 or 15 minutes. I enjoy when the game leads to a session in the kings courtyard asking about who tried to poison the prince, or mindlessly hacking apart some goblins after solving some tricky puzzles. Being suprised by an interesting magic item, and how I might work with it, or trade it to the rogue for that item he has.
If my DM asks for input, I'll give it. But I am also content to see the wonders of a well planned world unfold.

And if one person comes up with content for people that he thinks is cool, it will probably be an average to good game. If everybody comes up with content that they all think is cool, then it will definitely be a great game.

I may try and run a high player input game sometime, but I still see the merits of a rich(for lack of a better word) world.

And how does more people coming up with cool content result in less cool content?

Founder and figurehead of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

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
A game is a fictional construct created for the sake of the players, not the other way around. If you have a question "How do I keep X from happening at my table," and you feel that the out-of-game answer "Talk the the other people at your table" won't help, then the in-game answers "Remove mechanics A, B, and/or C, add mechanics L, M, and/or N" will not help either.
And how does more people coming up with cool content result in less cool content?

The fear is generally that people will make "cool content" that only benefits them. In fact, some of this will initially happen when players are given more narrative control. When the brakes come off and they no longer have to run every plausibly idea past the DM in hopes that some part of it will get through and actually stick in the world, and while they're still under the impression that the DM's goal is still to counter every advantage they aquire, players will sometimes go a little overboard. It becomes hard for the DM to see where the challenge is, because the DM is also still used to the challenge coming from them.

So, that fear is somewhat valid, but I stand by my experience that talking to the players and understanding with them that it's partly up to them to create their challenges is enough to get them to rein it in a bit and start helping to create things that will challenge them, instead of doing away will all possible challenges. Because when you can fail and the game is still interesting instead of over, there's room to challenge yourself in fun ways. The game becomes about creating and dealing with those challenges, instead of locking everything down.

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




1. It's not that these players think they're "breaking the game". To them, they're just doing what they think they should be doing (some of them, anyway, not all). To some, the game is simply about making a powerful character. Balance to the game and a challenging story be damned. I can in no way label that as being a jerk.

2. Consider yourself lucky. I'm fortunate enough to be with some players now that are more focused on role playing than power gaming. But I know people who are in general, not jerks. They just game in a manner that really kind of goes against what this board (and some others) preach and believe about table top roleplaying games. The thing is though, I know that there are many players like that. They're not jerks and it's downright insulting to call them such. (and I'm the one that gets flippin' modded for baits, trolling, and insults)

And for the record, I let them run evil characters that were...well...really really stupid power hungry evil bastards. They did not understand the concept of not running face first into death with their swords and spells swinging. Well, actually, they didn't understand the concept of evil not trying to dominate everything in sight either. I also attribute that to power hungry players. -.- Again, I can't label them jerks.

 



1. This is why I said context is EVERYTHING. Some players don't mean any harm, they just have "faulty expectations" which need addressed. Maybe they have a friend who plays World of Warcraft and they told them "D&D is like WoW on paper..."?

2. There are players who are outright jerks and I won't hear any other claim. Those players aside, there are a lot of players who come from a different mode or generation of "Gamer" who has "Different Needs" and "Different Fun" they pursue. This is an issue of subjectivity and you, the DM can't fix it because it isn't broken. However, you can make a choice whether or not to amend your game to their expectations and negotiate a common compromise. Perhaps a player who just wants to "hack and burn" will be happy running monsters against the other players for example.

Likewise, some of "these players" need a "crack at the wheel", tell them to run a game for you. Once they get the jitters out of the way, they will "show you" the type of game they want. As you said, Tabletop RPG's have different meanings. Some of them are Final Fantasy and others are Skyrim. In Final Fantasy you can't kill commoners, in Skyrim you can. Making sure ALL players are on one page can address this issue.

3. I feel that many of these players are weak people in real life who feel dominated. Therefore, they project this into a Freudian "Pecking Order" where your game world bears the suffering of their anger. If all players are cool with that style of play, 100% hack and slash, running around screaming obscenities and kill/pillage everything in sight, then power to you. I would tell such a player that is not the kind of Game that I would enjoy running and it doesn't seem they would enjoy the same game that I enjoy. I would wish them good gaming and move on.

I don't always blame the player, but I will call a jerk a jerk but I will try to understand it because sometimes there is something in how the game is presented, or in something I did and other times they don't know they are "being a disturbance". Maybe they are new in town and in their last game, such was the norm. I like to get to the bottom of the well and explain myself; firm and polite, to the player. Because your right; 50% of "Those Players" actually aren't jerks. They are just a "Different Breed of Gamer" and they have "different needs" of entertainment. What can I say, some people like me enjoy Future Sound of London and my friend enjoys Insane Clown Posse.

Thus, I try to limit my ability to call someone a "Jerk" unless their motive is to ruin the game. I apologize if I sent the wrong message about that.

Within; Without.

But enough to make one wonder what they find so threatening about our method, especially if their game is running so awesomely.



Maybe I can illuminate with some concerns I've had, as well as some I guess with the approach.

1. Concern for quality. In RPGs, one tries to emulate fiction they've liked before, and the constant in most fiction is that it was largely produced by one person, not several. See also: too many cooks. Genuinely curious, do you find that campaigns under this style are consistent, or do they kinda go all over the place? In addition, if you view your worldbuilding abilities as better than your players', you might relent in giving them the reigns, especially if you see their additions as somehow inferior. This can be exacerbated if one feels that they've put more time into setup, as many DMs do, and thus feel more entitled to have a bigger share of the campaign as a whole. "The guy that spent ten minutes making a character sheet feels equal to the guy that spent hours balancing encounters and whatnot? Time for this DM to remind them of their place."

Naturally, people will put enjoyment of the game over any concerns of whether its novelization would win awards, but I wouldn't totally discount that concern. But I'll withold judgment on that count. Maybe collaborative games gel pretty well over time and maintain consistency of tone and content, rather than being schizophrenic.

2. Things better left unseen. Ever tried to get a reaction from someone, and have their non-reaction be so stifling that you wished you had never tried at all? That's what collaboration can feel like. You ask for rich detail from someone, and their creative nonstarter reveals a depth of emptiness that enervates your very soul. At least when they were non-contributing players they managed to put on a convincing facade of life, but now...

3. Confusion. Whenever somethings goes from having rules to not, it can be hard knowing how much and how often. When DM handles everything and PCs handle themselves, everyone knows what to handle. Freeform collaboration blurs that line, and there's a lot of adjustment necessary to bounce back from the removal of structure.

4. Selfishness. If we're to take DM statements at face values, a lot of the woes on this board are about when DM's try to appease their players to no avail. It's still selfish in that they're forcing a vision down players' throats, but there's an aspect of charity there. At least they're trying to accommodate. With collaboration, a lot of responses seem unabashedly self-interested. True, people can only reliably speak to what their own tastes are, but I dunno. There's something off about giving your two cents, and yet never filling anothers' coinpurse. This one's hard to describe; hopefully someone knows what I'm trying to convey.

5. Indulgence. I think this is the primary dividing line between the two views. Collaborators are pretty big proponents of all indulgence, all the time, supposedly. That's what games are for, right? Still, others would say that a world you simultaneously create and try to deal with loses drama. Probably overlaps with the advocates of nonrevokable character death.

The best way I can illustrate is with a contrast. In a RP I play, if any of us ever wants to majorly impact another's character, we need to blueprint the scene beforehand to make sure we don't do something someone would mind. The basic structure is planned, but the execution is what we do, and we enjoy that part of it.

In contrast, my brother doesn't like it. I once recommened Fiasco to him on the grounds that it has the parts of RPGs that he likes, but condensed. He rejected Fiasco, saying that it was too forced and inorganic.

Side note, if there's confusion to what I mean by my usage of asking and responding, I'm referring to the method in Dungeon world where active solicitation by questioning by the DM is the primary method by which collaboration occurs.



1. Concern for quality. In RPGs, one tries to emulate fiction they've liked before, and the constant in most fiction is that it was largely produced by one person, not several.

You'll see me refer to TV shows and movies a lot. Those might have one show runner, but they usually involve a lot of people. I believe even Tolkien solicited ideas from others at time.

See also: too many cooks. Genuinely curious, do you find that campaigns under this style are consistent, or do they kinda go all over the place?

They're as consistent as any D&D game I've ever seen, except the ones in which the DM allows absolutely no variance.

In addition, if you view your worldbuilding abilities as better than your players', you might relent in giving them the reigns, especially if you see their additions as somehow inferior. This can be exacerbated if one feels that they've put more time into setup, as many DMs do, and thus feel more entitled to have a bigger share of the campaign as a whole. "The guy that spent ten minutes making a character sheet feels equal to the guy that spent hours balancing encounters and whatnot? Time for this DM to remind them of their place."

Yes, I think this is a big part of the issue. DMs put in the work and feel that their time and effort (if not their brilliance) ought to be respected. Many players will go along with a garbage game for exactly this reason. But the solution isn't to cram a poor game down the group's throats, and putting in more work to make it "better" is probably throwing good time after bad, unless the DM has a perfect understanding of what the group didn't like.

Naturally, people will put enjoyment of the game over any concerns of whether its novelization would win awards, but I wouldn't totally discount that concern. But I'll withold judgment on that count. Maybe collaborative games gel pretty well over time and maintain consistency of tone and content, rather than being schizophrenic.

That's charitable of you.

2. Things better left unseen. Ever tried to get a reaction from someone, and have their non-reaction be so stifling that you wished you had never tried at all?

Yes. I commonly see this when a DM tries to drop some kind of incredible reveal or monumental treasure on a group.

That's what collaboration can feel like. You ask for rich detail from someone, and their creative nonstarter reveals a depth of emptiness that enervates your very soul. At least when they were non-contributing players they managed to put on a convincing facade of life, but now...

No, because you don't "ask for rich detail from someone." No one is put on the spot and made to perform. The DM might ask questions of a player, if that player responses would seem to be most relevant ("Okay, in the process of your Streetwise check, you stumble into an old contact. What's his name? What race is he? Did you part on good terms?" ) but if the player has no clue then that's apparently not the kind of detail he goes in for, and any pre-prepped detail from the DM probably wouldn't have made an impression either.

3. Confusion. Whenever somethings goes from having rules to not, it can be hard knowing how much and how often. When DM handles everything and PCs handle themselves, everyone knows what to handle. Freeform collaboration blurs that line, and there's a lot of adjustment necessary to bounce back from the removal of structure.

The DM doesn't go away. The DM is still there to guide the collaboration.

4. Selfishness. If we're to take DM statements at face values, a lot of the woes on this board are about when DM's try to appease their players to no avail. It's still selfish in that they're forcing a vision down players' throats, but there's an aspect of charity there. At least they're trying to accommodate. With collaboration, a lot of responses seem unabashedly self-interested. True, people can only reliably speak to what their own tastes are, but I dunno. There's something off about giving your two cents, and yet never filling anothers' coinpurse. This one's hard to describe; hopefully someone knows what I'm trying to convey.

Let me know.

5. Indulgence. I think this is the primary dividing line between the two views. Collaborators are pretty big proponents of all indulgence, all the time, supposedly. That's what games are for, right? Still, others would say that a world you simultaneously create and try to deal with loses drama. Probably overlaps with the advocates of nonrevokable character death.

I'm an advocate of nonrevokable character death. When it's what a player explicitly wants.

I don't know what makes you think that creating and "dealing with" a world would be hard. DMs already do that, and quite often on the fly. When you have trust and support, and you don't have to sweat getting a concept perfect, it's pretty easy to declare a detail as true and roll with it. It's easier, in fact, than asking if something is true, getting a partial yes, clarifying that, wondering about phrasing, and THEN acting.

The best way I can illustrate is with a contrast. In a RP I play, if any of us ever wants to majorly impact another's character, we need to blueprint the scene beforehand to make sure we don't do something someone would mind. The basic structure is planned, but the execution is what we do, and we enjoy that part of it.

Why not just ask them if you can do the thing to their character?

In contrast, my brother doesn't like it. I once recommened Fiasco to him on the grounds that it has the parts of RPGs that he likes, but condensed. He rejected Fiasco, saying that it was too forced and inorganic.

Fiasco is too forced and inorganic?

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

With #2, it's more what happens when you go in for detail, and you get what amounts to a big "I don't care." No DM wants to hear that, except in the dry sense of knowing what avenues to never go down with that player again.

#5, I should've clarified that I meant that from the perspective of a player. Many people enjoy a world that's, in a sense, indifferent to them, where their fates are left entirely to...well, fate, and the whims thereof. It has versimillitude, anyway. Real life doesn't seem to care about us too much, our lives are reactions against our circumstances. As CS Lewis said, we're adjectives, not nouns. That part of the world is what some players enjoy. What's the point of a hero's journey if they decide what stops would be cool?

Again, a DW example. A paraphrase of a conversation we had after his character died in the first session:

"So how come your cleric with a strength of 8 went into melee combat? He sucks at it, and he would've known he sucks at it."
"He had to do something; can't just sit around."
"Granted. But couldn't he have done something brainier, like spout lore regarding their weaknesses, or something?"
"In the books they don't have any weaknesses."
"It's not set in stone."
"That's crap. You can't just invent ways out of things."

Essentially, the malleability of a collaborative game ruined it for him.

And yup, thought his reaction against Fiasco was weird too. "But it has the zany, scheming, ambitious stuff you like."
"Yes, but it's so controlled. When things happen naturally due to player ambition in an otherwise neutral campaign, then it's magical. When it's the whole point, it loses its spontaneity."
And if one person comes up with content for people that he thinks is cool, it will probably be an average to good game. If everybody comes up with content that they all think is cool, then it will definitely be a great game.



I don't believe this is true.  Collaboration is no more a guarantee of greatness than anything else.

The TV metaphor is interesting.  My favourite programmes all have a lead writer that controls direction and they also take the story to places I never would, had I any input.

And if one person comes up with content for people that he thinks is cool, it will probably be an average to good game. If everybody comes up with content that they all think is cool, then it will definitely be a great game.

I don't believe this is true.  Collaboration is no more a guarantee of greatness than anything else.

The TV metaphor is interesting.  My favourite programmes all have a lead writer that controls direction and they also take the story to places I never would, had I any input.

And my favorite shows 1) have writers that encourage the fans to come up with cool ideas for the writers to then take the credit for and 2) have fan-bases that understand the importance of character death to the greater story, reducing the risk of a) the writers feeling the need to sacrifice drama to appease them and b) the risk of the fans asking for "leniency" as part of their epic ideas, which in turn reassures the writers that they can still get cool ideas from fans without having to take bad ideas with them.

And just because I personally could not have come up with some of the amazing ideas I've seen on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, Doctor Who/Torchwood, or Sherlock, doesn't mean that I should treat the fan-base as a single person (me): "If I couldn't come up with this idea, none of the other million fans are allowed to come up with any ideas" is not a good idea for any of the fans.

However, taking the TV metaphor too far distracts from the fact that the players are not just graciously sitting and listening to the DM give them the story that he sees fit to do so, they are also required to take part in the story itself, and if somebody has a cool idea (be he the DM or one of the players), it would work better to share the idea for the other people to help make sure it does happen, instead of hoping that they don't make it impossible by doing something that they didn't know would get in the way of something that they would've thought was epic if they had known. More ideas, not fewer. If the DM's brilliant story is so important to him, he can write it as a book.

Founder and figurehead of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

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
A game is a fictional construct created for the sake of the players, not the other way around. If you have a question "How do I keep X from happening at my table," and you feel that the out-of-game answer "Talk the the other people at your table" won't help, then the in-game answers "Remove mechanics A, B, and/or C, add mechanics L, M, and/or N" will not help either.
And if one person comes up with content for people that he thinks is cool, it will probably be an average to good game. If everybody comes up with content that they all think is cool, then it will definitely be a great game.

I don't believe this is true.  Collaboration is no more a guarantee of greatness than anything else.

The TV metaphor is interesting.  My favourite programmes all have a lead writer that controls direction and they also take the story to places I never would, had I any input.

And my favorite shows 1) have writers that encourage the fans to come up with cool ideas for the writers to then take the credit for and 2) have fan-bases that understand the importance of character death to the greater story, reducing the risk of a) the writers feeling the need to sacrifice drama to appease them and b) the risk of the fans asking for "leniency" as part of their epic ideas, which in turn reassures the writers that they can still get cool ideas from fans without having to take bad ideas with them.

And just because I personally could not have come up with some of the amazing ideas I've seen on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, Doctor Who/Torchwood, or Sherlock, doesn't mean that I should treat the fan-base as a single person (me): "If I couldn't come up with this idea, none of the other million fans are allowed to come up with any ideas" is not a good idea for any of the fans.

However, taking the TV metaphor too far distracts from the fact that the players are not just graciously sitting and listening to the DM give them the story that he sees fit to do so, they are also required to take part in the story itself, and if somebody has a cool idea (be he the DM or one of the players), it would work better to share the idea for the other people to help make sure it does happen, instead of hoping that they don't make it impossible by doing something that they didn't know would get in the way of something that they would've thought was epic if they had known. More ideas, not fewer. If the DM's brilliant story is so important to him, he can write it as a book.



I'm personally of the belief that the tv/movie metaphor for running/playing the game has tainted an otherwise enjoyable experience. Trying to make every game like a movie or tv show ruins a lot of the atmosphere and kills suspense.

It is also part of the reason I don't watch much tv anymore. 90% of what's on television sucks. 
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/
But enough to make one wonder what they find so threatening about our method, especially if their game is running so awesomely.



Maybe I can illuminate with some concerns I've had, as well as some I guess with the approach.



The statement of mine that you quoted is not answered by your response. I'd like to know why, if a given detractor of this method's games are working so great, why feel threatened by new ideas? Why make wild assumptions and ask dishonest questions in an open forum? (I'm not specifically referring to you, it should be noted.)

1. Concern for quality. In RPGs, one tries to emulate fiction they've liked before, and the constant in most fiction is that it was largely produced by one person, not several. See also: too many cooks. Genuinely curious, do you find that campaigns under this style are consistent, or do they kinda go all over the place? In addition, if you view your worldbuilding abilities as better than your players', you might relent in giving them the reigns, especially if you see their additions as somehow inferior. This can be exacerbated if one feels that they've put more time into setup, as many DMs do, and thus feel more entitled to have a bigger share of the campaign as a whole. "The guy that spent ten minutes making a character sheet feels equal to the guy that spent hours balancing encounters and whatnot? Time for this DM to remind them of their place."

Naturally, people will put enjoyment of the game over any concerns of whether its novelization would win awards, but I wouldn't totally discount that concern. But I'll withold judgment on that count.



I find campaigns like this are consistent if the DM and players are diligent about following "Yes, and..." which requires them to build from and never contradict existing fiction. 

I'll put my worldbuilding skills up against anyone else's any day of the week. But I'd be a fool and the worst sort of DM in my opinion to think whatever effort I may put into such an endeavor entitles me to anything more at the table than if I didn't do any worldbuilding at all.

Maybe collaborative games gel pretty well over time and maintain consistency of tone and content, rather than being schizophrenic.



Like any other game, the product is as good as what everyone puts into it. Tone and content are also matters of fact when it comes to "Yes, and..." You can't break tone and whatnot using that method, once it's established.

2. Things better left unseen. Ever tried to get a reaction from someone, and have their non-reaction be so stifling that you wished you had never tried at all? That's what collaboration can feel like. You ask for rich detail from someone, and their creative nonstarter reveals a depth of emptiness that enervates your very soul. At least when they were non-contributing players they managed to put on a convincing facade of life, but now...



I don't plan on getting reactions from other people. That's not in my control. Rich detail is certainly not what I expect out of other players. In fact, I encourage Twitter-length responses full of possibilities that someone else can build on rather than a novella about the intricate leatherwork of the prince's codpiece. Conciseness isn't a lack of detail - it's just hitting the details that matter.

I'm theorizing here and fully expect to be wrong, but I wonder if this bit is related to your feeling of needing to be entertained by the others at the table in some way. And that your entertainment comes from rich detail whether that's codpiece description or (from another thread) idle chit chat between the characters.

3. Confusion. Whenever somethings goes from having rules to not, it can be hard knowing how much and how often. When DM handles everything and PCs handle themselves, everyone knows what to handle. Freeform collaboration blurs that line, and there's a lot of adjustment necessary to bounce back from the removal of structure.



There's a lot of adjustment to any style of play when it's new to the people using it. Now that I'm an old hand at it, I can bring players into the style easier. I do this a lot for pick-up groups. Those of you who feel threatened enough by this style to start threads like this take note: We're increasing in numbers and the message of less prep and increased player engagement is definitely catching on. Before you know it, your players may well overthrow your regime. Oh no!

4. Selfishness. If we're to take DM statements at face values, a lot of the woes on this board are about when DM's try to appease their players to no avail. It's still selfish in that they're forcing a vision down players' throats, but there's an aspect of charity there. At least they're trying to accommodate. With collaboration, a lot of responses seem unabashedly self-interested. True, people can only reliably speak to what their own tastes are, but I dunno. There's something off about giving your two cents, and yet never filling anothers' coinpurse. This one's hard to describe; hopefully someone knows what I'm trying to convey.



When you're transitioning between the traditional model and the collaborative one, it's almost a guarantee that some players will try to take advantage of it as they test limits, especially if they're not fully aware of the responsibilities that come with the "Yes, and..." approach. That ends quickly once they realize they're getting around challenges they had a hand in creating, and that this is a complete waste of time for them. Then you'll notice it go the other way - the players will put their characters in increasingly dangerous situations or in spots the DM might never have thought he could get away with putting them in. Fun ensues.

5. Indulgence. I think this is the primary dividing line between the two views. Collaborators are pretty big proponents of all indulgence, all the time, supposedly. That's what games are for, right? Still, others would say that a world you simultaneously create and try to deal with loses drama. Probably overlaps with the advocates of nonrevokable character death.



If by "indulgence" you mean "action and forward motion," I'd say collaborative games have that as an edge over the slow crawl of the traditional approach. Our games lack no drama, even pickup games where the players haven't played together before. People were standing and applauding other players' successes in this weekend's game. It was that tense. Three out of four players completely failed their objectives, too. And they were happy about it because it made sense for those characters to have done so, even though nothing like that was planned from the outset. (Of course, that's anecdotal, but there are no hard facts in this kind of discussion.)

The best way I can illustrate is with a contrast. In a RP I play, if any of us ever wants to majorly impact another's character, we need to blueprint the scene beforehand to make sure we don't do something someone would mind. The basic structure is planned, but the execution is what we do, and we enjoy that part of it.



That doesn't sound far off from what people do in the collaborative approach.

In contrast, my brother doesn't like it. I once recommened Fiasco to him on the grounds that it has the parts of RPGs that he likes, but condensed. He rejected Fiasco, saying that it was too forced and inorganic.



And I find the traditional game of "DM May I" to be forced and inorganic.

Side note, if there's confusion to what I mean by my usage of asking and responding, I'm referring to the method in Dungeon world where active solicitation by questioning by the DM is the primary method by which collaboration occurs.



That's just one of many points of collaboration. Players that realize they don't need permission to establish fiction with the "Yes, and..." method don't need as much or any questioning.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

What kinda Yoda advice is that?

Looks like it's going to be a while, then.

 Through your own fear, and the sarcasm you cover it with, I can see that you're very close to the answer.

So, here are my questions: Do you also want to understand? Do you have any questions? Or are you just here to complain about something you don't understand and have no interest in understanding?



Lets just engage each other on the interesting topic. You don't have to try and take the role of wisdom dispenser.
And...thats about enough pop psychology as well. 
You are not the 'truth holder', waiting for me to move past my fear to accept the 'truth'




What kinda Yoda advice is that?

Looks like it's going to be a while, then.

 Through your own fear, and the sarcasm you cover it with, I can see that you're very close to the answer.

So, here are my questions: Do you also want to understand? Do you have any questions? Or are you just here to complain about something you don't understand and have no interest in understanding?



Lets just engage each other on the interesting topic. You don't have to try and take the role of wisdom dispenser.
And...thats about enough pop psychology as well. 
You are not the 'truth holder', waiting for me to move past my fear to accept the 'truth'







I hope you're starting to see what I was talking about earlier.
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/
Obviously there are merits to both view points about player input, especially given that they are far from obsolutes on either end.

A few thoughts:

Do you guys run standard published worlds or 'homebrew'? Do you think this affects this discussion?

Does high levels of player input, combined with 'death and failure' avoidance(for lack of a wordier description) create problems with breaking the 4th wall?
 
Obviously there are merits to both view points about player input, especially given that they are far from obsolutes on either end.

A few thoughts:

Do you guys run standard published worlds or 'homebrew'? Do you think this affects this discussion?

Does high levels of player input, combined with 'death and failure' avoidance(for lack of a wordier description) create problems with breaking the 4th wall?
 



I've run both. Considering that published worlds can be massively altered by the DM, no, I don't feel it has an effect here.

High levels of player input and the lack of death and/or failure do indeed break down the 4th wall. I also concur that they have a large impact on player immersion. Furthermore, it stops catering to a particular segment of players I enjoy being a DM for.

It's fine to suggest that everyone does the "shared storytelling" thing at a table. But it is not okay to suggest that it is the best way to sit at a table. Especially when a still rather large segment of the crowd still wants to play a game. It is also damn sure not okay to spew it everywhere on these boards and spam it on a daily basis. I will forever post against that inanity and crap. In other words, the war rages on.
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/
But enough to make one wonder what they find so threatening about our method, especially if their game is running so awesomely.



Maybe I can illuminate with some concerns I've had, as well as some I guess with the approach.

1. Concern for quality. In RPGs, one tries to emulate fiction they've liked before, and the constant in most fiction is that it was largely produced by one person, not several. See also: too many cooks. Genuinely curious, do you find that campaigns under this style are consistent, or do they kinda go all over the place? In addition, if you view your worldbuilding abilities as better than your players', you might relent in giving them the reigns, especially if you see their additions as somehow inferior. This can be exacerbated if one feels that they've put more time into setup, as many DMs do, and thus feel more entitled to have a bigger share of the campaign as a whole. "The guy that spent ten minutes making a character sheet feels equal to the guy that spent hours balancing encounters and whatnot? Time for this DM to remind them of their place."

Naturally, people will put enjoyment of the game over any concerns of whether its novelization would win awards, but I wouldn't totally discount that concern. But I'll withold judgment on that count. Maybe collaborative games gel pretty well over time and maintain consistency of tone and content, rather than being schizophrenic.

2. Things better left unseen. Ever tried to get a reaction from someone, and have their non-reaction be so stifling that you wished you had never tried at all? That's what collaboration can feel like. You ask for rich detail from someone, and their creative nonstarter reveals a depth of emptiness that enervates your very soul. At least when they were non-contributing players they managed to put on a convincing facade of life, but now...

3. Confusion. Whenever somethings goes from having rules to not, it can be hard knowing how much and how often. When DM handles everything and PCs handle themselves, everyone knows what to handle. Freeform collaboration blurs that line, and there's a lot of adjustment necessary to bounce back from the removal of structure.

4. Selfishness. If we're to take DM statements at face values, a lot of the woes on this board are about when DM's try to appease their players to no avail. It's still selfish in that they're forcing a vision down players' throats, but there's an aspect of charity there. At least they're trying to accommodate. With collaboration, a lot of responses seem unabashedly self-interested. True, people can only reliably speak to what their own tastes are, but I dunno. There's something off about giving your two cents, and yet never filling anothers' coinpurse. This one's hard to describe; hopefully someone knows what I'm trying to convey.

5. Indulgence. I think this is the primary dividing line between the two views. Collaborators are pretty big proponents of all indulgence, all the time, supposedly. That's what games are for, right? Still, others would say that a world you simultaneously create and try to deal with loses drama. Probably overlaps with the advocates of nonrevokable character death.

The best way I can illustrate is with a contrast. In a RP I play, if any of us ever wants to majorly impact another's character, we need to blueprint the scene beforehand to make sure we don't do something someone would mind. The basic structure is planned, but the execution is what we do, and we enjoy that part of it.

In contrast, my brother doesn't like it. I once recommened Fiasco to him on the grounds that it has the parts of RPGs that he likes, but condensed. He rejected Fiasco, saying that it was too forced and inorganic.

Side note, if there's confusion to what I mean by my usage of asking and responding, I'm referring to the method in Dungeon world where active solicitation by questioning by the DM is the primary method by which collaboration occurs.





Agreed. Better expressed as well, than my ranting.
Do you guys run standard published worlds or 'homebrew'? Do you think this affects this discussion?



I've run both. My preference having played in multiple styles is that, in the collaborative approach, I'd rather start with nothing and build the world together because then the players will tend to remember it more and be more engaged by it. The only exception is if I have a full group that has a good working knowledge of a published setting and are fans of it. That's the only time I'll use published, and we treat canon as fairly immutable by agreement, same as if we had established that fiction during play.

Does high levels of player input, combined with 'death and failure' avoidance(for lack of a wordier description) create problems with breaking the 4th wall?



It's only a problem if your skills at maintaining your own immersion are weak. Or if you are poor at compartmentalizing character and player knowledge in a useful way. In order to build a scene collaboratively, the players sometimes need to be "allowed" to draw upon metagame information so they can establish elements that the player wants to see but that the character can't necessarily make happen in the context of the game world. I advocate players using such information to help build an engaging scene and then, by extension, you become immersed in your characters. It's more of a "god's eye" view of the game and it breaks the tyranny of "My character wouldn't do that," because you're focused on the scene first and your character second. This is a more reliable and deeper form of immersion in my view. It has a way of drawing you in more easily than if you're just focused being Ragnar the Fighter.

I'm not exactly sure how the issues of death and interesting failure apply here with regard to your question except that the best way to break immersion is to no longer have an interface with the game (i.e. your character is pushing up daisies).

Regarding your last post, FamousErik, why do you feel the need to rant at all? If everything's working at your table, keep on doing that. 

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

High levels of player input and the lack of death and/or failure do indeed break down the 4th wall. I also concur that they have a large impact on player immersion.

How does allowing player input into making the death/failure scenes cooler result in not having death/failure scenes?

Founder and figurehead of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

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
A game is a fictional construct created for the sake of the players, not the other way around. If you have a question "How do I keep X from happening at my table," and you feel that the out-of-game answer "Talk the the other people at your table" won't help, then the in-game answers "Remove mechanics A, B, and/or C, add mechanics L, M, and/or N" will not help either.
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