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    Opening the world
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 01, 2004
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    From: Nyrond

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:09 am  
    Opening the world

    Hello All,

    I am in a discussion with my players who are new to the World of Greyhawk. One of the problems I am facing is that half of my group is young (21 years old). They have grown up under the watchful gaze of video games, assured hot meals and an unwritten understanding that they would be rock stars, movie stars, business magnates or the true movers and shakers of the world. They haven't grown up on a farm, been boyscouts, served in the military or really ever had to worry about paying bills. To quote, "This sucks! My dad is making me pay for my own cell phone bills now." Shocked

    Armed with this arsenal of facts, I have tried to bring the WoG into living, breathing, reality. Or at least as much as imagination will allow in the game and God am I regretting it! Sad Admittedly we could all run a good campaign within one hex of the world. We could run it in one of the many cities that cover the Flanaess alone. One of the problems I'm running into is that my players cannot understand the world or the people that inhabit it. Whether the npc's are from a sleepy fishing village in southern Keoland, farmers from the city of Loftwick, merchants from Gradsul, bandits from the Dreadwood or barbarians from the Hool Marshes. I have tried to bring different customs, beliefs, gods and culture to the game with almost astonishing failure with alarming regularity.

    My younger players have grown up with 3.5 edition rules. If it doesn't say we can do it in the book or if we don't have the skills or feats, then we obviously cannot do it. I ask, "Do you want your mage to climb the crumbling wall?" "I can't" replies one of my players. I ask why not and he said, ""Because I don't have the climb skill." Shocked Mad After a bout of drinking and contemplating being a truck driver, I tried again during the next session. They simply cannot wrap their minds around the fact that the npc's have lives, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and personal agenda's. They see the npc's as one of two groups of mindless entities; they are either there to help (read: give potions of healing) or they are there to be killed. When the party commits some transgression of epic porportion, some heinous faux pas or commit some treasonous act and the npc's kill them, the players are shocked and confused. They can't understand why elves would kill a druid for poisoning a river. They can't understand that taking a barmaid against her will will cause the town to seek justice. They can't understand why their god won't let them have certain divine spells when they don't do anything to honor the god. They don't understand why the men of the Hold of the Sea Princes don't get along with the men of Southern Keoland. OH MY GOD, HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT YOUR 1st LEVEL FIGHTER HAS NEVER HEARD OF MORDENKAINEN!!!??? HE'S THE LEADER OF THE CIRCLE OF EIGHT!!!! Uh, because my fighter is from a village of 150 people outside of Kimberton and well, I don't run in those circles and I've never been more than five miles from my village. (honest excerpt from my players having a conversation).

    They look at the big map and see...nothing. They see names, places, forest and that's it. They don't realize the people inhabiting the world are different. They look at the rulebook and argue. They will stop the game to discuss the rules. The rules are important. They judge what they can do when they get at a certain level. When I get to 6th level, I can get the Leadership feat. Then I'll get followers. Um, pardon me, but you have fired up every village in southern Keoland. Where are you going to get followers? But, the rulebook says I attract them with this feat! Yes, it does, but what have you done to earn a repuyation as a strong leader to these people? Well, the rulebook says that I get followers, so I don't see why I couldn't get followers from Seaton. Seaton? You tried to poison and set fire to the city! Why would anyone from Seaton follow you? There's a bounty on your head! But you said there was a temple to Heironeous there. The warriors from that temple will follow me, so will the ex-soldiers. You mean the one's that are loyal to the Lion Throne? Yeah, those are the ones. You mean the ones that were living in a reserve for old veterans. The reserve that you burned down?

    You see my problem. Sad Please advise. Thanks.

    Dwarf from Nyrond
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:53 am  

    I sympathize Confused

    Hardly uncommon though for new players to view their PCs and everyone else as a cardboard collection of numbers most new players use the rules as a safety net instead of using their imagination it is simply a mix of fear and laziness.

    Unfortunately like children they have to be encouraged to let go of there "security blanket" on their own, if you snatch it away, some will become dreaded "rule lawyers or powergamers" intent on winning rather then having fun exploring their characters and the world.

    Most players after they gain some playing experience tend to want to move beyond this into role-playing, however the DM can help this along Wink

    Some things I have seen help:

    1) Give RP bonuses for play, not large but enough that even the greedy rule obsessed will alter style if rewarded and once tried...

    2) Simply put allow the players to fail nothing drastic but after being run out of town as thugs instead of heroes sooner or later they should clean up their image.

    3) Character backgrounds produced with DM approval can help players invest in their character btw NO Nobles make them humble origins; it may help them view the NPC commoners differently.

    4) Narrow the world, if your campaign ranges too far early on, the players feel they can simply pick up and leave; find an rp reason to stay in the area that will force them to deal with the consequences of their bad behavior by seeing the same NPCs which allows you as the DM a chance to "flesh them out".

    5) Game hints priests, local constable, bartender whoever to "advise" these young bucks that their is a certain acceptable behavior and should learn (church isn't happy, reputation proceeded them no welcome here etc.)

    6) Provide NPC companion (that you control) through some PC heroic action to form an attachment hopefully to become the guide to how the outside world works.

    Hope this Helps Smile
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:03 pm  

    I see several problems. Which ones are you referring to specifically?

    The biggest one would appear to be game system failure. Your players simply don't know the rules as well as they think they do, and apparently neither do you.
    The Climb skill can be used untrained. Even if a PC has no ranks in it, he can still try. Depending on just how difficult what you want them to climb is it may in fact be impossible for them to succeed, but that doesn't mean they can't do it.
    Knowledge of Mordenkainen is a function of a specific skill, Knowledge (arcana). For a player to claim knowledge of Mordenkainen, you can reasonably expect him to make a skill check. Given the PCs are from the Sheldomar, the DC should reasonably be above 10. That means no PC without ranks in the skill should know the name. As for those with the skill, since Mordenkainen doesn't operate in the Sheldomar, the DC should be reasonably high that barring a lucky roll, a low level bard or wizard won't know much more than his name is on a bunch of spells. However, I should note that there is a rather harsh limit on how much players "don't" know by those rules, as the DC for even "really tough questions" is topped out at 30. While reasonable modifiers can be expected to bump this up to around 40, a 10th level wizard will have 13 ranks + 4 Int modifier (at the least), for a +17 to his roll before adding in any modifiers for magic items or feats. At that level, a PC is likely to know why Mordenkainen mutters "Rosebud" before he dies. (And the gets a true resurrection so he doesn't lose a level of course.)
    As for leadership, the player is right that he should still attract followers. You are also right in wondering where they will come from. The solution is rather simple though - he attracts outlaw scum from the fringes of the Hool Marsh. That they will be as hunted by the authorities as any village burning PC, and likely to quickly qualify him for a leadership penalty for losing too many followers (and you did apply the penalties for the PC being a known sociopathic criminal to begin with of course), is the PCs problem. High level and high Charisma aside, I expect he'll still come up a bit short in raising his barbarian horde (or whatever it was he was expecting).

    To resolve this, I would suggest simply becoming more familiar with the rules, and making sure the PCs become more familiar with them as well. Where necessary, smack them down for presuming information they couldn't have.

    A second problem appears to be more specific rules interpretation, specifically alignment and related issues. Apparently this group wants to be Evil, but may think Chaotic Neutral allows them to be gratuitously evil as long as they rescue some puppies to balance it out. You must simply make it clear that this is not true, and the Neutral alignments all reflect a specific, separate alignment, not based on just running tallies of Good and Evil (or Lawful and Chaotic) acts.

    As for the cavalier attitude towards NPCs, this is indeed a common flaw in the vast majority of CRPGs, and is worse in CGs. Only a few get the extensive programming to actually smack you down for being an enemy of the people. (Like Fallout 2, which I'm replaying yet again. Of course, Fallout 2 had so many ex-D&D writers involved in it, that shouldn't be too surprising.) As with alignment, you must simply take some time and make it clear that things work differently.

    If you can, I would suggest trying to explain the alignment and NPC reaction in CRPG terms.
    "You don't have the skill to know that, so you don't get the option to bring it up when talking with the NPC."
    "He won't give you Quest 2 until you have completed Quest 1."
    "After you do something bad in this village, it won't let you get any more quests there."
    "You can only get that feat if you complete a mission for a particlar NPC first."
    And of course, when they complain:
    "Yeah well, that is how the designers wrote the code. Since you don't have the clue book or the cheat codes, you can't do anything about it!"
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:55 pm  

    Crag,

    The funny thing is, the young players in my group base what their characters can do on what level they achieve. Sad There is no thought to what they can do until they reach "X" level. I have one older player, whose character is 4th level, that is forming strong bonds with a guild house, townsfolk and dwarves in hopes of accomplishing certain personal goals (creating an import/export business himself). Because there is nothing in the rule book to suggest this can be done, my younger players can't think of the concept. No matter what I try, the "kids" as I refer to them can't break away from the limits of the rulebook.

    I have one younger player that is playing a druid. He wants to shape change into a silver-back gorilla. I have told him he can't on the grounds that he has never experienced such an animal and silver-back gorillas do not inhabit the Dreadwood Forest (his home). He argues that his Knowledge of Nature should allow him to shapechange into one and he cites off all the bonus' and such for a knowledge check. I have simply explained "Dude, your characer has never seen one or met one. Your character has never ventured more than 60 miles from his home and he is still within the confines of the Dreadwood. Don't worry, we'll make an adventure where you will encounter one and then you'll be able to shapeshift into one." He still gets bent out of shape.

    Samwise, thank you for proving how my younger players act during a game. They rattle off rules and bonus', but fail to explore their characters motivations and actions with their imaginations. The WoG is a piece of shallow print, but the rules are the true meat and depth of the game. I told them one session, "You have been asked to find a wagon that has been lost during an attack on a caravan. The weather has remained constant and dry. The plains are fields of wheat and high grasses and not generally traversed. The wagon is heavily burdened. The attack took place two days ago. There is a farmer who can lead you to where the attack took place." My younger players were in an uproar and immediately wanted to hire a Ranger because, "None of us have the Track Feat, so we can't possibly find wagon tracks. How are we supossed to succeed?" My older player wanted to know who was hiring them, what goods were in the wagon, how long did they have to find the goods and what was the reward.

    Dwarf from Nyrond
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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:23 pm  

    And once again, you describe a less than full knowledge of the rules.

    Based on that description, I'd say the DC to follow that trail is pretty danged low. You can follow tracks with the Survival skill if the DC is 10 or lower.
    I'd check for that before I went looking for a ranger. And, if I could, I'd look for a dog trained to track before I looked for a ranger. Cool

    Likewise that druid player is very definitely off, as the rules are quite clear that you can only change into an animal that you have seen, rank in Knowledge (nature) not being relevant.

    So again, you need to take some time to go over the rules with the players, and make it clear to them that they need to know more than just a few casual examples. It won't matter how much they get into the game setting if they don't have a reasonable grasp of the game system.

    As for having them develop their characters, I would suggest looking at the options in the rules for training, not just for levels, but also for skills and feats, and going over those with the players. Explain that getting access to certain things requires more than just gaining levels, and that must take the time to make actual contacts with people to ge that access.
    You can also look at and discuss the sections dealing with non-monetary and non-magical rewards, and make the presentations of those more prominent. If the players see an actual "Rescued the Caravan Award" or what not, with a list of skills and feats it makes available to them, they will see a more direct connection between what they are doing and what they want to get. (Of course, it can also lead to them cherry picking what they want to do, and refusing tasks that offer nothing they are interested in. Proper design should cover for that.)
    Finally, you may simply have to accept that they aren't interested in role-playing. Some people just like killing stuff, and any background is completely and totally lost on them. You can keep trying to get them interested in it, but you will most likely just be wasting your time. Give them stuff to kill, and let them kill.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:16 pm  

    The answer is simple. Kill them all, explaining that you rolled a natural 20 and have cleave, then find another group.

    Or you can start pushing them through the whole educational process over, in which case I can recommend some fine 1st grade readers.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:37 pm  

    Ah the young are so dense sometimes Confused

    I won't go into rule detail because your desired goal dwarf seems to be to get the young blockheads beyond the rules as the focus of the game.

    It seems the 4th level player seems to be a role-player; any chance of him "helping" his comrades along to adventuring maturity?

    Perhaps you can motivate him to help or atleast curb the more violent outbreaks by rightly suggesting his characters goals will be hindered if not destroyed when his image is blackened because of his association with a bunch of thugs.

    Finally as drastic step; I played a game as a PC where ALL experience was awarded based on role-playing, no more xp for killing or treasure, just how well a person played his character. (end of the session)

    I loved it but it seems to be too radical a concept for many players to accept.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:09 pm  

    Hello Folks,

    Anced_Math, too funny! Smile Crag, thank you for your support. My role-playing player, the 4th level chap, has tried to curb the younger ones. He simply told me that I will have to scrap all my goals and walk "the kids" through the game slowly and with baby steps. That and he has given up on them and will use their characters for his characters own ends. Shocked Laughing

    As Samwise is so intent on constantly pointing out, I do not have complete and total knowledge of the rules. I openly admit this fact without reservation or shame. The problem is that my younger players define their sharacters not by imagination or personality, but through feats, attributes and rules. Now admittedly we all do this to some degree, but I'm trying to get them to understand that the villagers of the village they just walked into may not want them there simply because they are different. Maybe the characters carry sickness, disease or bandits. The fact is, the villagers don't know. If the characters dress in red, they may not get the best treatment by people along the southern coast of Keoland. If they travel across northern Furyondy, the locals may not appreciate the half-orc. The elves may be viewed with suspicion in the Lortmil Mountains or Ulek b/c Celene has reserved itself. The city of Monmurg is not an open city. The orcs will eat you and kobolds will use poison and traps. These are the things I am having trouble getting across to the younger players.

    Again, thank you for your insights! And I miss the Wild Coast.
    Dwarf from Nyrond
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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:51 pm  

    Yes, the Wild Coast... years and years of quality roleplaying flushed with just a stroke of the pen. Maybe we should retake it.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:30 pm  

    I think you are missing my point Dwarf.

    Complete knowledge of the rules is not the be all end all of the game. I went and looked everything I cited here up to be sure of it. I don't have to do that generally, as a decent number of the people I play LG with have a decent, non-weasel understanding and appreciation of the rules, and I can trust them to relate things to me without having to worry they are trying to put something over on me every five minutes. (The few that I do worry about doing that are known by me and others, and I generally get support I need from the decent players to keep them in line.)
    But since your problem is, as you've said repeatedly, that the players are only relating to things by the rules, the most direct solution is going to be through those very rules.

    Yes, can do what and Anced Math and Crag suggested, and just brute force slaughter them over and over until they "learn." I suspect what you will more likely manage is to reduce your group to one player. Most people get very tired, very quickly, of someone trying to "teach" them how to "have fun." And the most common reaction to that is to go find someone who will instead indulge them instead of abuse and insult them. Since I expect you'd rather not do that, I am focusing on how you can use the rules to your advantage.
    While many people consider the complexity and scope of the D20 rules to be the enemy of a DM, this is not true. As I noted for Knowledge skills, there are a number of irritating things that can't be overcome without a direct Rule 0 change, there are many more, and many more options, that can help you fine tune the game to run the way you way you want it to. This is particularly true with players who rely on the rules for everything. Make the rules your servant instead of your enemy, and you will get significantly better results from them.

    Or not. In which case just go ahead and try to organize another group. I've dumped players whose style I found excessively incompatible with my preferences. Given that it is easier to adapt your style than find a group these days, I was focusing on how to adapt.
    Mad Archmage of the Oerth Journal

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    Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:10 pm  

    Another idea that MAY work is a litle more non-conventional but it should work. Theres a game that can teach the basic rules thats a computer game. The Temple of Elemental computer game has a good grasp on the rules and in a media they understand. Typically it can be found at any Game Stop in the bargain bin for like $5- $15 depending on region. But its a good play and its turn based (which means just like in the game) they have to take their turn.

    Now another point of advice for the players esp the new ones is for them to get ahold of the D&D Book for Dummies, don't laught too much b/c this book breaks the game down into small-baby-step/bite-size bits the players and even you youreself can get used to and quickly!

    So between the two of these you should get the rules down AND get them to learn that the game setting isn't just another Diablo-like video game crawl! I hope this helps.
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:02 pm  

    I'd ditch the "kids" and keep the more mature player. I've found a campaign with just a couple of players or even a single player who are into role-playing is way more enjoyable than trying to change a bunch of rules-lawyers and power-gamers into decent role-players. They'd probably be happier playing computer games and you'll be much happier without them. After all you're there to have fun, right?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:45 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    t they aren't interested in role-playing. Some people just like killing stuff, and any background is completely and totally lost on them. You can keep trying to get them interested in it, but you will most likely just be wasting your time. Give them stuff to kill, and let them kill.


    I had a group like that with youngsters. They called background and dialog and other role (not roll) features called "flavor text".

    A rules suggestion on my part would be to have them fill out all the untrained skills with the stats so they know what their bonus is for things like climb and such.

    As a roleplaying suggestion, I suggest you have a "helper" NPC tagalong. When I had a group of kids playing, I had a kobold rogue/monk/drunken master NPC who did whatever was necessary advance the plot by making or failing rolls as needed. By showing what a pitiful drunk kobold could do, they learned they could do it too and better.

    Also, you don't have to kill their characters at least not right away. Torture them by having the court magicician/high level constable/high level capture them, take all their stuff. have the trial and banish by teleportation to the other end of the map. Tick them off to the point where they want to still play but still also want to get home to kill/kick butt the mage. Now they HAVE TO travel just to get home and along the way learn a few things about cultures along the way.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed May 03, 2006 8:01 am  

    Dwarf,

    I am with you 100% on this.

    I currently run a campaign with six players that has now been going for two years and I have some great players and some that are like what you have been describing.

    The difference is in the way that they view their characters. The good players flesh out their characters, detailing their religions, beliefs, histories and what motivates them. They have input "flaws" into their character's personalities.

    The bad players would love Samwise's campaign. (I say this with all due respect to Samwise. I have read his posts for a long time now, and he is likely a great DM in his own campaign.) They focus on the rules. "My character can do this, or my character can do that..." Give me a break! If your magic user character wants to be able to speak trollish simply because his Int rating says he can learn another language, you better have a really good justification for how he would have learned that language! You dont just pick up trollish at the pub over a weekend! "Bad players" focus on rules and see their characters as a pile of stats, rather than what they are- characters. In fact, I had one player who almost didnt play because all of his stats (S,I,W,D,Cn,Cr) were normal! There were no 18's in there. "Not even a 17", cried the player.

    Imagine that, a character with "normal" abiliites! How in the world could someone be successful with a character like that? I wanted to slap him.

    Thankfully, four of the six players in my campaign are not rules lawyers. They play the game the way it was intended to be played.

    The DM makes the rules and the books are guidelines within the campaign. My better players dont even own Players' Handbooks. They simply roleplay their characters, and do what they want to do. Sometimes things that they want to attempt work out for them, sometimes they dont.

    As to your example of followers for your fighter character, I have handled situations like that using "random" encounters. The fighter saves a merchant from brigands and escorts the merchant to the next town. There, the deeds of the figter spread, and one or two "followers" end up offering services. Maybe one of them was one of the merchant's escort. They tell a friend or two about their new liege and over time, voila! Followers! It happens more naturally and feels right.

    What I would NEVER do is have a situation like the following in my campaign: Paladin hits fourth level and automatically, he summons his warhorse. Are you kidding me? Why not just play a video game?

    Dwarf, it sounds like you know what you are doing, IMHO. Put the rulebooks away and tell your players to do the same. Use them sparingly, if at all. One previous poster also mentioned "shrinking" the world, to make your characters "dig in" and roleplay more. I hadnt thought of that, but what a great idea. Make them get to know the herbalist in their town. Make them roleplay with the locals in the tavern. Make them barter with the merchant. When they get comfortable with that, then introduce your world's politics and events to them.

    One parting piece of advice is this. Everytime we sit down to play, I have the players start roleplaying some mundane thing to get them warmed up. For example, if the session begins in the Green Dragon Inn, I will have the thief tell me what the common room looks like; in detail. What does he smell? What does he hear?

    Then I will ask the cleric to tell me of the patrons in the bar.

    Then I have the fighter describe his companions in the party, and let them correct him if he describes them "incorrectly".

    This may seem anally fixated, but it takes less than ten minutes and after this warm-up, the players are focused and ready to play.

    Oh yea, one more thing. Tell your players that they should be paying their own cell phone bills too.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri May 05, 2006 4:43 pm  

    Hello All,

    NathanBrazil hit it on the head, my younger players have referred to the actual story as "flavor text." Their view is, the "flavor text" is okay, but the game is about rules. Shocked Slante, I like your idea of having them describe what they see and smell. Maybe then I can get them to focus on the differing cultures of the Flanaess. I think I will keep them rooted too. There is plenty of trouble just across the pond in the Hold of the Sea Princes. So should they make forays into that area, they will be able to see two distinct cultures...if not more. Thank you folks so much for helping me open the world to my younger players.

    I Miss the Wild Coast,
    Dwarf from Nyrond
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    Fri May 05, 2006 5:42 pm  

    Slante:

    You have no idea how my campaigns run.
    In fact, I doubt you realize just how long some of my campaigns have run, or how many people have played in some of them.
    So you are much better off not making any assumptions about it, or who would like it.

    People are entitled to play the game however they like, and enjoy the game however they like. The most destructive thing for the hobby has always been the insatiable need to first classify players, and then arrange some hierarchy, with your personal style on top.
    For myself, I prefer to classify everyone as a gamer, then play the game, and worry about playing styles last, excluding only those who blatantly cheat. I am sure many find that "inferior." I prefer to play.
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    Sat May 06, 2006 7:25 am  

    Samwise,

    You are correct, I have no idea how long your campaigns have run, but I am pretty sure about my assumptions.

    I have DMed for 23 years, which may not be a long time in this forum. I say that only to establish that the 2-year campaign I mentioned earlier is not my first.

    I used to run games like you appear to. Brandishing books and bureaucracy about and taking what is otherwise a great game and turning it into something bound by the rulebooks.

    Then I grew out of that. I went back and read some of EGG's older material (particularly the forwards) and established what in my mind is a better way to play. That is to use the rules as something to fall back onto simply to resolve the more difficult situations.

    Dont get me wrong, I use saving throw tables and level advancement charts, but to have a character simply acquire a new feat out of the blue with no explanation as to how they learned it is asinine.

    This is a fantasy role-playing game- it should remain one. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to focus more on players roleplaying than some lousy set of rules.

    As I write this, I know that you are going to come back at me with some biting remarks, and that is okay. I obviously hit a nerve with you. To anyone else reading this other than Samwise, understand that I have deep respect for Samwise and his contributions to this board. I have read many of his posts on canon and admire his research, ideas and interpretations. This isnt personal and I do not mean to sound like I am belittling him or his campaign.

    To each his own, right?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat May 06, 2006 4:53 pm  

    Slante wrote:
    Samwise,

    You are correct, I have no idea how long your campaigns have run, but I am pretty sure about my assumptions.

    I have DMed for 23 years, which may not be a long time in this forum. I say that only to establish that the 2-year campaign I mentioned earlier is not my first.


    How nice.
    I've DMed for 27 years.
    I've run campaigns that have lasted for over 3 years.
    I've had groups that have lasted over 5 years.

    Quote:
    I used to run games like you appear to. Brandishing books and bureaucracy about and taking what is otherwise a great game and turning it into something bound by the rulebooks.


    Appear to?
    At what point have I said anything about how I run my campaigns?
    I've offered suggestions on how to deal with certain player types. I have never said anything about whether that is how I run my campaign.
    And while those examples have indeed developed from experience, they still do not stand as a direct representation of my preferred gaming style.

    Quote:
    As I write this, I know that you are going to come back at me with some biting remarks, and that is okay. I obviously hit a nerve with you. To anyone else reading this other than Samwise, understand that I have deep respect for Samwise and his contributions to this board. I have read many of his posts on canon and admire his research, ideas and interpretations. This isnt personal and I do not mean to sound like I am belittling him or his campaign.


    If you respected me, you wouldn't make assumptions about my campaign, particularly in the manner you are doing.
    Further, if you didn't mean to be belittling, you wouldn't constantly use such comparative words in your descriptions of what you assume my campaigns, and thus myself and my players, are like.

    So the only "biting remarks" I am going to give are to ask that you stop trying to score points off me. I don't take it kindly.
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    Sun May 07, 2006 5:27 am  

    Theres no point in continuing this thread along the last few posts. Further posting in this thread along these lines will be moderated.
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    Sun May 07, 2006 7:00 am  

    Okay, I apologize for upsetting any who took offense at my remarks.

    Its just a game after all, isnt it.
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    Sun May 07, 2006 5:20 pm  

    Everyone plz let's get back on topic.

    I feel the best games come about when rules; that tend to break the atmosphere are minimized.

    These are "characters" not stats, some of the best games I've seen and played were with people that could care less about stats, weapons or levels. I think that is what DwarffromNyrond is looking for; a way to get his players to "see beyond the books".

    Rule should not become a straight jacket when t-shirt and jeans are enough. At the end of the day the only rule is to have fun. Wink
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    Mon May 08, 2006 5:49 am  

    I am with you Crag.
    In the current campaign that I am running, I have some great players and one or two who arent so good.
    Arguably, the best one is playing a druid of Obad Hai. The character's stats are crap, he has few hit points and is next to useless in combat. Seeing this, the character actually used these weaknesses in stats to flesh out a beautiful character who is sickly and weak physically, but has had to retreat into his mind and his faith to prosper. He even created a healing ritual that occured to his charcter as a youth that left him covered in black runes that were scribed into his skin.
    On top of this, the player has detailed what must be the entirety of his faith/religion and plays his druid like he was out of a book, even making it difficult on the others if his faith gets in the way. i.e. the party wants to kill a collared and chained wolf that guards a lodge and the druid steps in to prevent it.
    You get one or two players like that in a group and the general play level rises to new heights. All of my players (well, barring one) step up to the newly raised bar when the druid player is about.
    As to rules, Samwise made an interesting point earlier that I would like to comment on. He suggested that the poster (DwarffromNyrond) needed to have a clear and thorough understanding of the rules. He is correct, but it also is immensely helpful when the players also have a keen understanding of the rules.
    To be frank, I dont recall the last time I had to brandish a rule on a player! They know the rules, and abide by them. Occasionally, I have to make a judgement call, and the players dont whine about it because it happens so infrequently.
    The bottom line is that thorough rules knowledge on all parts coupled with outstanding role-playing is what makes a complete game, IMHO, and like a good boxing match, the DM needs to make a refereeing call as infrequently as possible to impact the game.

    EDITED BY DETHAND 08-05-06 13:53
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    Fri May 12, 2006 4:25 am  

    DwarffromNyrond wrote:
    As Samwise is so intent on constantly pointing out, I do not have complete and total knowledge of the rules.


    First off, I'm not interested in peeing on anyone's campaign style.

    Secondly, I -think- Samwise meant that your PLAYERS incompletely understand the rules -- at least the second time he said it. Your post certainly seemed to illustrate your players' mindset that if they don't have a +10 in something, it's worthless to try.

    I don't have a win-all solution. Explain that the rules are only half the equation. Point out that not all tracks are impossible to follow, not all walls are hard to climb, and villainous actions have unpleasant consequences -- and if you have to (gasp) mention the actual rules that govern this, so be it. Sink to their level.

    It might be fun and hip and clever to trash rules and rules-talk, but rules are there for a reason, and are slightly easier to read than the DM's mind.
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    Wed May 17, 2006 6:26 am  

    I would simply switch to an easier d20 variant, like CnC or Core... I had the same problems with my players, and now with CnC everything works marvellously well. Smile
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