Where is the enjoyment for the DM?

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That's is what I meant - trying not to meta-game is part of a wish to be properly challenged.



Exactly right. If it is worth doing it is probably hard...a game of D&D is no different.

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

 

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

 

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

I think that collaborative play can work fine in out-of-combat scenes (where is it pretty much exactly collaborative story-telling) but when it comes to designing combat encounters, it could break down, because you know exactly what powers every monster has and while you may be able to prevent yourself metagaming, it's hard not to do so subconsciously.

Then don't try to prevent yourself, or others. Run encounters which are challenging even if you have perfect knowledge about the monsters. Not every monster cares what you might know about it, because you still have to roll to hit it and take the damage it deals.

And a key reason it's hard to prevent metagaming is because the alternative to using an advantage is that one might potentially lose an encounter, and there's no incentive, in or out of game, for doing that willingly. Out of game, you look stupid. In game, your character is dead.

Except.

You don't look stupid if the game still goes in an entertaining direction. And your character isn't dead if there was some other interesting way to fail. After implementing those changes, I saw no drop in metagaming, but I saw failure-preventiong metagaming drop signficantly.

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

I think that collaborative play can work fine in out-of-combat scenes (where is it pretty much exactly collaborative story-telling) but when it comes to designing combat encounters, it could break down, because you know exactly what powers every monster has and while you may be able to prevent yourself metagaming, it's hard not to do so subconsciously.



It works just fine in combat encounters as well because that has both game elements and collaborative storytelling - we're telling the story of this fight scene here in the alleyway (for example) which both challenges the players and characters and establishes elements about the characters (heroism, especially as it relates to chivalry which was something this character had as a trait) and the world (bad guys, shifty "dames," etc.).

The metagame is actually quite useful during play. It's decried as the death of immersion, but I think this is a limited view when you understand how it can be used to create challenges the players actually want to be challenged by. I have found that even if I build an encounter collaboratively, the players often make it way more challenging than I feel I might reasonably get away with if I had made it myself.

As I've mentioned before, this collaborative method means you get immersed in the scene and everything going on in it, and by extension, your character. Staying immersed solely in your character is very limiting in my view. It's defensive and full of potential for blocking with the age-old justification of "My character wouldn't do that."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I don't follow? How is it imersive to know exactly what the monster is going to do next, given that the majority of characters are not telepaths?
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I don't follow? How is it imersive to know exactly what the monster is going to do next, given that the majority of characters are not telepaths?



You don't always know what the monster is going to do next, though I'm not sure I understand what you mean exactly. Do you mean in terms of their powers used? Could you give me a for-instance?

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

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

You have no dm. When you put the miniatures on the table, how does the table know what the monsters are going to do next? Is it all random or what?
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I don't follow? How is it imersive to know exactly what the monster is going to do next, given that the majority of characters are not telepaths?



Like in a game of Magic the Gathering, you might know your friends deck but still be challenged by it. You might know one anothers deck and still both be challenged.

That said, I always like to have some surprises or twists. The devil is always in the details, and the monster book is a "guide of the general copy of the archetype of the monster" - this copy might be a little bit different, and in my game, often is.

Within; Without.

That isn't supporting your point. Magic is not imersive at all.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
That isn't supporting your point. Magic is not imersive at all.



Additionally, one cannot tell their opponent to change something about their deck mid-game or choose to ignore a rule whenever they wish.

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

 

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

 

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

You have no dm. When you put the miniatures on the table, how does the table know what the monsters are going to do next? Is it all random or what?



There's most definitely a DM. He's just another player with certain different things to do during play. One of those things is running the monsters. I will certainly ask players for input as we play. For example, if a given monster has a motivation of "to take control of the ship" and that goal is in jeopardy because of PC actions, I might ask, "Ragnar, you know Tony "The Oni" Maroni wants to take over the ship, having found that out from one of the juice junkies. He's badly wounded. What does Ragnar anticipate he might do in this situation?"

Maybe he fights to the death, flees, tries to strike a deal, whatever. Or maybe he does something totally surprising to everyone because Ragnar picked up on something that nobody else saw but that is really cool. Something the DM might never have considered that drives the action forward in an interesting way.

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

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Asking for imput is not all the same as doing something collaboratively.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
However you can still suprise your opponent or still be immersed, despite having knowledge of your opponent. Also, in sealed deck games, there is more immersion than in type 2.

Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.

Within; Without.

I don't follow? How is it imersive to know exactly what the monster is going to do next, given that the majority of characters are not telepaths?

Well, I don't think anyone was suggesting that they'd know exactly what the monsters would do. Collaboration tends to be more general than that, less detailed. But ok.

In game, it's often possible to know what one's opponent will do, based on what you know of them. Even a secretive enemy might telegraph their moves, and plenty of enemies are less than secretive.

I don't for a moment think that this will convince you. But it's how I would look at it. Any DM who wants to see how something can be challenging despite metagaming, can try running utterly transparent encounters. If nothing else, there are always the dice. Sure you know where the monsters are going to pop up, but that does that mean you can do anything about it?

You have no dm. When you put the miniatures on the table, how does the table know what the monsters are going to do next? Is it all random or what?

I'm not sure what you mean. There's still a DM.

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

Asking for imput is not all the same as doing something collaboratively.



Perhaps you could elaborate on exactly what you think we mean when we talk about playing collaboratively or, at least, what that means to you. It's clear that you thought there was no DM at our tables. Or that nobody "ran" the monsters, which isn't the case. That might give me a better starting point to answer questions. There are often a lot of assumptions and dishonest questions and outright attacks in these sorts of threads, from the usual suspects. I'm happy to correct any of those assumptions if they were arrived at due to lack of clear information on my part with further explanation.

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

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I've found there's little benefit in subverting the players' expectations and preferences. Sometimes it works out, but generally it doesn't. If someone says "Hey, that enemy has no reason to attack me!" fine, it doesn't attack them. I don't care. I might, though, think to ask that player next time, "There's an enemy in this encounter who has it out for you and will go out of his way to find an attack you. Who, and why?"

(The player might not like that idea, and would choose an enemy easily dealt with or avoided. I would probably, if I hadn't thought to already, then directly ask in what way this player would like to be challenged, so we can skip right to including those kinds of challenges for the player.)

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

I'd be more interested in figuring out WHY there is a DM under that style. Seems...highly redundant, doesn't it?

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

 

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

 

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

However you can still suprise your opponent or still be immersed, despite having knowledge of your opponent. Also, in sealed deck games, there is more immersion than in type 2.

Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.



Engagement is not immersion. I've never seen an immersive game of MTG...no one acts as a planeswalker and makes decisions as a planeswalker. It is always transparently a game.

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

 

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

 

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

However you can still suprise your opponent or still be immersed, despite having knowledge of your opponent. Also, in sealed deck games, there is more immersion than in type 2.

Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.



Engagement is not immersion. I've never seen an immersive game of MTG...no one acts as a planeswalker and makes decisions as a planeswalker. It is always transparently a game.



the immersion is in the details of the sequences of how the game plays out. I am sorry you never saw an immersive game of Magic, that sucks bro.

However you are ignoring my point. If you want honest discourse you address the content of what someone is saying, in this case, that Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.

Obviously, given your prior record, you will just insist that MTG isn't immersive, and continue to ignore my point. You don't have to like my analogy, however my point stands.

Within; Without.

Asking for imput is not all the same as doing something collaboratively.



Perhaps you could elaborate on exactly what you think we mean when we talk about playing collaboratively or, at least, what that means to you. It's clear that you thought there was no DM at our tables. Or that nobody "ran" the monsters, which isn't the case. That might give me a better starting point to answer questions. There are often a lot of assumptions and dishonest questions and outright attacks in these sorts of threads, from the usual suspects. I'm happy to correct any of those assumptions if they were arrived at due to lack of clear information on my part with further explanation.



Collaboration would seem to imply equal imput - no hierarchy of power or control.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I'm... not sure. I think in the case of the room, it would largely depend on the importance of the detail. If the room is identical to the room opposite for some reason( Hey! these rooms are identical. Maybe there is a secret compartment in the same place in this room!) then I would be sure to correct any misunderstandings. If the room is the back of a tavern, then go ahead and decide there is a cellar, or some old weapons or whatever.
As a broader question, I feel it applies in the same general way. 



The characters are engaged in a fierce fight with some enemies at an open gate to an outpost in the desert. There are some foot soldiers, but more deadly than that are the archers up on the wall who are raining arrows down on the PCs. One player says that his character runs past the gate and sees a ladder that he can grab to get up on that wall and start killing archers. The DM hadn't previously established that there were ladders laying around and there are none drawn on the map.

Would that be okay with you? Why or why not?


My first thought is that that archers have to get up on the battlements as well(and quickly). So, there would be an easy way for the archers to get up, and the character as well. 

However you are ignoring my point. If you want honest discourse you address the content of what someone is saying, in this case, that Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.

Let him have the point. It doesn't matter. A player can know exactly what a monster is capable of and still be challenged by it, if they want to be. If they don't want to be challenged by it, find out what they would like to be challenged by.

I know that people enjoy encountering challenges in which they don't have all the information. I get that. I think it's important to know the reason for that, though, and really find out what such a player is buying into.

Do they want to show that they are prepared for anything? If so, they're not going to find it enjoyable when the DM pulls out something they believe is outside of the DM's arsenal, or something that is tailored to get around their preparations.

Are they really fine with whatever the DM does? They'd better not make a fuss when the monsters hit the table. This is really just the default assumption of D&D: DM picks the challenges and players gamely take them on. That assumption breaks down easily, though.

A player is not allowed to require the DM to keep information hidden. What the DM hides is up to the DM. Players can choose what information they use or don't. Edit: The metagame of hiding and seeking information leads quickly to ridiculous levels of deception.

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

Collaboration would seem to imply equal imput - no hierarchy of power or control.

That's right. But players still control their characters, and the DM still controls the monsters. But the DM does not control players, and the players do not control the DM. Control over the game is freely given and taken. It takes some trust, but it's doable and winds up building even more trust.

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

A player is not allowed to require the DM to keep information hidden. What the DM hides is up to the DM. Players can choose what information they use or don't. 



No one can require that anyone does anything. This is a game after all. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Collaboration would seem to imply equal imput - no hierarchy of power or control.



That much is true. It is more equal. But there are still division of roles for the sake of ease. The DM performs the tasks that most DMs do - run the monsters, for example. The players do what they do - play their characters.

Now, with that as a baseline, the DM can reach across that arbitrary line and suggest things about the characters. And the players can do the same with regard to the monsters or the world. In that sense, a player's ability to affect the game is not limited to his or her character's fictional or mechanical ability to do those things.

Player wants to establish a ladder in the scene? There it is (DM says "Yes"), "and" it's got a scrap of fabric tied to it, a signal from your resource inside the outpost.

Similarly, DM wants to establish a familial connection between a villain and a PC. So it is. "Yes," says the player, "and the truth is that Titivullis Rex... he's my father."

So while "ownership" in the traditional sense is relaxed, there's still a division of roles to logistically manage the game.

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

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Collaboration would seem to imply equal imput - no hierarchy of power or control.

That's right. But players still control their characters, and the DM still controls the monsters. But the DM does not control players, and the players do not control the DM. Control over the game is freely given and taken. It takes some trust, but it's doable and winds up building even more trust.



How is that equal? PCs and monsters are (by game maths if nothing else) completely different. They tend to have different wishes and desires as well. The connection between the DM and his puppets is a lot weaker than the connection between the players and their characters.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
A player is not allowed to require the DM to keep information hidden. What the DM hides is up to the DM. Players can choose what information they use or don't. 

No one can require that anyone does anything. This is a game after all. 

Right. So, using or not using out-of-game information in-game is up to the players. DMs are well advised not to set up situations that rely on players not doing this. Collaboration is one way to do that.

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

Collaboration would seem to imply equal imput - no hierarchy of power or control.

That's right. But players still control their characters, and the DM still controls the monsters. But the DM does not control players, and the players do not control the DM. Control over the game is freely given and taken. It takes some trust, but it's doable and winds up building even more trust.

How is that equal? PCs and monsters are (by game maths if nothing else) completely different. They tend to have different wishes and desires as well. The connection between the DM and his puppets is a lot weaker than the connection between the players and their characters.

It's not precisely equal. But I've run situations in which I've had a strong preference for certain outcomes, and I got the players' buy in on that. They can do the same. I guess I'm not really sure what you're getting at. Do you believe that this method can work, or are you convinced it's can't and trying to find some contradiction within it? Because it does work.

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

My first thought is that that archers have to get up on the battlements as well(and quickly). So, there would be an easy way for the archers to get up, and the character as well. 



Cool. It's important to note that this ladder conceivably gives the character an advantage relative to the DM's prepared encounter. Many DMs would see this as a player trying to gain an "unfair" edge and say, "No, there is no ladder. You have to climb the wall. DC 20." The question I have is "Why would the DM do that?" He is shutting down the player's reasonable expectation that those archers had to get up their somehow. He's also narrowing down their range of choices for dealing with a given challenge to just one - climb the wall. And if there's a back and forth between the DM about what is there, what is not there (which can happen even if the DM is diligent with his framing of the scene), and whether or not a character has permission to do a certain thing, I submit that is detrimental to the game's pacing and immersion. (That's all my opinion.)

Now this was just a simple example of collaboration. It can be taken it further from there.

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

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

My first thought is that that archers have to get up on the battlements as well(and quickly). So, there would be an easy way for the archers to get up, and the character as well. 



Cool. It's important to note that this ladder conceivably gives the character an advantage relative to the DM's prepared encounter. Many DMs would see this as a player trying to gain an "unfair" edge and say, "No, there is no ladder. You have to climb the wall. DC 20." The question I have is "Why would the DM do that?" He is shutting down the player's reasonable expectation that those archers had to get up their somehow. He's also narrowing down their range of choices for dealing with a given challenge to just one - climb the wall. And if there's a back and forth between the DM about what is there, what is not there (which can happen even if the DM is diligent with his framing of the scene), and whether or not a character has permission to do a certain thing, I submit that is detrimental to the game's pacing and immersion. (That's all my opinion.)

Now this was just a simple example of collaboration. It can be taken it further from there.



Exactly, and all that matters is that the player does - or does not make it up the wall.

I wouldn't care about little details about how the player wants to get up the wall, I would try to find a way to make it interesting.

"Yes, and...  The ladder is rickety and the archers are taking aim at you."

If the DM is absolute the player "can't get up there" then no underhanded methods of sabotage are required. Just tell the player there is no such way up the wall at this point.

Within; Without.

I would like to ask a few questions of the OP, who started this discussion.

What is your definition of "Fun" as a DM?

What is your motive in being a DM?

What do you feel "ruins your games"?

Any examples from a situation that came up at your table?

What do you prefer for the most amount of fun? What system do you prefer?


You asked us a lot of questions, so I would like to get back to the core of the topic and ask what you feel prevents you from having fun.



I enjoy telling a story that weaves elements together. Having the players involved in the story. Providing 'Aha', 'oh crap', 'well that was creepy'  moments.

Generally the only thing that ruins games for me are schedule changes for the people involved that ends up preventing play and the campaign fizzles out.
However, the groups I have played with never run open ended timeline games anyway. Generally a large story arc is completed and we conclude the game.

I guess a serious failure of player engagement would ruin a game for me, but I have never really run into that.

Prefences for most fun? I'm not sure. Thats a really open ended question. I can say what I don't prefer( as player and DM) and that would be high court drama("who tried to poison the duke's mistress? Let's spend 2 sessions asking the stable boy and scullery maids a bunch of questions")

What system do I prefer? I have played tons of game systems in lots of genres. My favourite sword and sorcery system has to be Rolemaster.(at least the version I played quite a while ago) 
I would like to ask a few questions of the OP, who started this discussion.

What is your definition of "Fun" as a DM?

What is your motive in being a DM?

What do you feel "ruins your games"?

Any examples from a situation that came up at your table?

What do you prefer for the most amount of fun? What system do you prefer?


You asked us a lot of questions, so I would like to get back to the core of the topic and ask what you feel prevents you from having fun.



I enjoy telling a story that weaves elements together. Having the players involved in the story. Providing 'Aha', 'oh crap', 'well that was creepy'  moments.

Generally the only thing that ruins games for me are schedule changes for the people involved that ends up preventing play and the campaign fizzles out.
However, the groups I have played with never run open ended timeline games anyway. Generally a large story arc is completed and we conclude the game.

I guess a serious failure of player engagement would ruin a game for me, but I have never really run into that.

Prefences for most fun? I'm not sure. Thats a really open ended question. I can say what I don't prefer( as player and DM) and that would be high court drama("who tried to poison the duke's mistress? Let's spend 2 sessions asking the stable boy and scullery maids a bunch of questions")

What system do I prefer? I have played tons of game systems in lots of genres. My favourite sword and sorcery system has to be Rolemaster.(at least the version I played quite a while ago) 




Then a new editions rule set shouldn't disturb the way you run games that much, considering you seem to already use different elements of different systems?

Instead, you can adjudicate things as your game prefers. The only problem you will have is some players will start with "the new system" and know nothing else, and come into your game with that mentality which is why communicating with your players is so important.

Within; Without.

Reposting my hypothetical so that the conversation may continue on the topic of collaborative play:

The characters are engaged in a fierce fight with some enemies at an open gate to an outpost in the desert. There are some foot soldiers, but more deadly than that are the archers up on the wall who are raining arrows down on the PCs. One player says that his character runs past the gate and sees a ladder that he can grab to get up on that wall and start killing archers. The DM hadn't previously established that there were ladders laying around and there are none drawn on the map.

Would that be okay with you? Why or why not?



I'm very much interested in what DMs would do in this case. For the record, I don't think any particular approach to dealing with it is wrong, though I obviously have my preferences. 



I think this really is a non-issue. In collaborative play, the players can state the ladder exists and adjust the encounter accordingly. In normal play they can't; they would instead ask the DM whether there is any way for them to get up. The DM can either say there is a ladder or not and have the encounter balanced for either course. If a player announced that he was running past the guard my normal response would be "Ok, roll initiative" - this has triggered a combat system, and they don't get to avoid OAs by moving during box text.



There seems to be an assumption here that the DM has not properly or fully described a scene. In what game have you ever played where the DM did not give you all the details of an area or room up front? You should be able to base your decisions going forward on what has been set up. If there is question as to whether or not something is in or not in a room, it would likely be a hidden detail that must be discovered (usually by a skill check). So why is the player asking if something is there to begin with when he should already know what's in the room?
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
If someone thinks that "rolling dice and interacting with mechanics tends to damage immersion" and that immersion is a goal in and of itself, I would suggest that they would have more fun doing collaborative storytelling or improv rather than playing DnD. The majority of the rules in DnD are about the mechanics (slightly tautologous but there you go).



The problem with Centauri's logic is that rolling dice doesn't tend to damage immersion so long as the mechanical interaction fades into the background of player awareness. It becomes identical to holding a video game controller during an immersive game...the actual mechanic interface does not register to the player.

Now, do bad mechanics that demand time damage immersion? absolutely, this is where we get the concept of "bad controls" or a "bad camera" etc. Again, though, this is a spectrum issue rather than a digital one.



As far as I'm concerned, asking a question to the DM to help determine your course of action is not damaging to the immersion. No more than a dice roll is.

Edit: Side note, I sorely wish QTEs would go the way of the dodo. They're horrible. There is without a doubt a ten times better way to go about promoting interaction and story progression. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I wouldn't care about little details about how the player wants to get up the wall, I would try to find a way to make it interesting.

"Yes, and...  The ladder is rickety and the archers are taking aim at you."

Just be aware that "interesting" doesn't necessarily need to mean "more challenging." I think a character would expect to be shot at while climbing a ladder, and might even want to show how foolhardy or impervious they are, but I think it's unlikely that a player would find it interesting to have their idea turned into them dangling up in the air when a rung breaks. But maybe. Ask them.

If the DM is absolute the player "can't get up there" then no underhanded methods of sabotage are required. Just tell the player there is no such way up the wall at this point.

The point is that a DM shouldn't do that.

If a player establishes that there's a ladder, there's not really any grounds for the DM to say there's no way up the wall. It was just established that there is. That doesn't mean the DM can't challenge the player, but challenging them with an unclimable wall is somewhat out of the question.

Nothing stops the DM from saying "The ladder's too short," "You're too heavy," or whatever, but those are the "underhanded methods" you mention. They're CYA moves by the DM who didn't prepare for this eventuality.

If a player asks if there's a way up the wall, I think most DMs these days would say "Yes. Too many of them would then follow it with a "but." But it's a DC (21+your Athletics skill) check. But the archers will pick you off the wall. But [rolls an "intelligence check"] it occurs to you that it's a bad idea to get separated from the party.

The player clearly wants to get up the wall, and thinks its plausible to be able to get up the wall, or they wouldn't have asked. To say it's not, invites debate from the player. Ever notice how there seems to be a rules lawyer in every group? This is why. At "best," the player says okay, and then develops more of a tendency to assume that their ideas aren't going to work, and the DM comes here complaining that players never try anything that the rules don't explicitly say they can do.

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

However you are ignoring my point. If you want honest discourse you address the content of what someone is saying, in this case, that Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.

Let him have the point. It doesn't matter. A player can know exactly what a monster is capable of and still be challenged by it, if they want to be. If they don't want to be challenged by it, find out what they would like to be challenged by.

I know that people enjoy encountering challenges in which they don't have all the information. I get that. I think it's important to know the reason for that, though, and really find out what such a player is buying into.

Do they want to show that they are prepared for anything? If so, they're not going to find it enjoyable when the DM pulls out something they believe is outside of the DM's arsenal, or something that is tailored to get around their preparations.

Are they really fine with whatever the DM does? They'd better not make a fuss when the monsters hit the table. This is really just the default assumption of D&D: DM picks the challenges and players gamely take them on. That assumption breaks down easily, though.

A player is not allowed to require the DM to keep information hidden. What the DM hides is up to the DM. Players can choose what information they use or don't. Edit: The metagame of hiding and seeking information leads quickly to ridiculous levels of deception.




Here's where collaboration falls apart:

You have a player that wants to be challenged by the rules and monsters as run by another human being while working with a small group of other people to work through whatever that other human being has planned.

If you ask the player to challenge himself,  often the cry will be "no challenge, just rewards". Or even worse "get off your lazy ass and be the DM".

Both responses defeat the purpose of coming together to play a game. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I enjoy telling a story that weaves elements together. Having the players involved in the story. Providing 'Aha', 'oh crap', 'well that was creepy'  moments.



Cool. I don't tell a story, rather I watch it unfold during play through collaboration and dice outcomes. That all comes with the "oh crap" moments you also enjoy (so do I).

However, the groups I have played with never run open ended timeline games anyway. Generally a large story arc is completed and we conclude the game.



Also cool. I think a group is best served when they've framed the game more carefully together than simply leaving it wide open and hoping for the best.

Prefences for most fun? I'm not sure. Thats a really open ended question. I can say what I don't prefer( as player and DM) and that would be high court drama("who tried to poison the duke's mistress? Let's spend 2 sessions asking the stable boy and scullery maids a bunch of questions")



Me either! It can be done well, but it's not my preference. Not in D&D anyway. I see a lot of DMs attempt these kinds of scenes and they frequently fall flat usually due to blocking as the DM shuts down ideas to preserve some plot-related surprise or reveal.

What system do I prefer? I have played tons of game systems in lots of genres. My favourite sword and sorcery system has to be Rolemaster.(at least the version I played quite a while ago) 



Can't say I've tried that one.

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My first thought is that that archers have to get up on the battlements as well(and quickly). So, there would be an easy way for the archers to get up, and the character as well. 



Cool. It's important to note that this ladder conceivably gives the character an advantage relative to the DM's prepared encounter. Many DMs would see this as a player trying to gain an "unfair" edge and say, "No, there is no ladder. You have to climb the wall. DC 20." The question I have is "Why would the DM do that?" He is shutting down the player's reasonable expectation that those archers had to get up their somehow. He's also narrowing down their range of choices for dealing with a given challenge to just one - climb the wall. And if there's a back and forth between the DM about what is there, what is not there (which can happen even if the DM is diligent with his framing of the scene), and whether or not a character has permission to do a certain thing, I submit that is detrimental to the game's pacing and immersion. (That's all my opinion.)

Now this was just a simple example of collaboration. It can be taken it further from there.



The reason a DM does that? To offer a challenge to the PCs.

It is not shutting down a reasonable expectation. Ladders simply would not be on the outside of the wall. Unless of course the players brought one with them to the battle.

For a player to assume there is a ladder (after the DM has set the scene up) is shutting down the DM's reasonable expectation that the players will try to use what is in the scene given to them to advance forward. 
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However you can still suprise your opponent or still be immersed, despite having knowledge of your opponent. Also, in sealed deck games, there is more immersion than in type 2.

Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.



Engagement is not immersion. I've never seen an immersive game of MTG...no one acts as a planeswalker and makes decisions as a planeswalker. It is always transparently a game.



the immersion is in the details of the sequences of how the game plays out. I am sorry you never saw an immersive game of Magic, that sucks bro.

However you are ignoring my point. If you want honest discourse you address the content of what someone is saying, in this case, that Your players might know the "Gist" of what a "Monster Uses" but that doesn't mean they know what this copy of that monster uses.

Obviously, given your prior record, you will just insist that MTG isn't immersive, and continue to ignore my point. You don't have to like my analogy, however my point stands.



I see your boggle, citizen. Clearly you don't know what immersion means in regards to games...that's about the only way I can see you arguing against Fardiz's entirely correct statement that Magic is not immersive.

No, immersion is not in the details of the sequences of how the game plays out.

This is the basic definition for immersion in the context of a game...

“Immersion occurs when the gamer’s point of view is shifted to be within the game world.”

This does not happen in MTG. The game world of magic the gathering isn't even KNOWN to 99% of the people that play it...or they know a bare minimum. Hell, until a few years ago most people playing didn't know what what a planeswalker was much less that that was what they were playing as in the game.

Want proof? Find a random Magic player in a store and if they're playing Black ask them "Why did your planeswalker decide to align with Phyrexia during the invasion of Mirrodin? Seemed pretty evil...why side with them?" ...and prepare to get looked at as if you're insane.

As for your point...I don't even understand it. It doesn't make much sense in the context of...well...anything. Are you speaking in regards to MTG or D&D? What exactly? Seriously, explain.

And I am not ignoring your point...I am refuting it and stating you to be wrong. Magic is not designed to be an immersive experience. Engaging? Sure. Immersive, no. No card games are really.

Oh and that's speaking as someone that's done playtesting and design for three card game companies on four seperate games. Not once was I ever EVER asked anything about how much "immersion" the cards evoked...because the games are not made to be immersive.

In general, you are describing Engagement...being engaged with a game. Immersion is a seperate phenomenon. As it applies to roleplaying games immersion is also more clearly linked to the concept of Presence in the game, so much so that the two are virtually indistinguishable as far as the roleplaying aspect is concerned. The mechanics can be "immersive" only in that they are engaging on a level that supports presence or that presents tactical/cognitive engagement...or that they do not get in the way of either.

A game like Magic deals only in Engagement and Presence & Immersion are totally left by the way-side. Immersion only exists in regards to engagement with them because you can become engaged with the game and you lose awareness of the passage of time except as the game counts it. This is not the Immersion of a table top game...this is simply engagement. Full immersion in a game with a role (which MTG actually is) requires presence or once is not actually immersed because they are not acting from the point of view of the game world.

Get it?

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

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Edit: Side note, I sorely wish QTEs would go the way of the dodo. They're horrible. There is without a doubt a ten times better way to go about promoting interaction and story progression. 



Entirely agreed!

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

 

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

 

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