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Ouch.. the "Quests" post is hurting my brain..

 
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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:08 pm    Post subject: Ouch.. the "Quests" post is hurting my brain.. Reply with quote

Is it just me or is this amongst the stupidest things I've ever seen proposed for table top gaming in my life?

"One of the suggestions in the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is to give players a visual, tactile representation of a quest as soon as they begin it. At the start of the adventure, after the baron has briefed the characters on their mission and been bullied into paying them more than he intended, you can hand the players an index card spelling out the details of the quest -- including the agreed-upon reward. In the middle of the adventure, when the characters find a key with a ruby set in its bow, you can hand them a card, telling them that finding the matching lock is a quest."

Have we really gotten to the point that we need a "quest log" for tabletop games? I mean, they are handy in online games where you have 40 or 50 "quests" at once from all over the world. But for tabletop? Ugh.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been following some discussion of the "Quests cards". Personally, I think it was a waste of space on the Dragon issue column Design and Development. I see things two possible ways.....

1. That quest cards will receive little more than 2-3 paragraphs in the DMG and that it is one of a few different ideas to keep the game focused. If this is indeed the case, I thought "Certainly WOTC could find something more useful about 4th edition to write about and post on their electronic Dragon magazine than this. In which case it was a waste of space considering the possibilities of what they could have used the space for.

2. The other possibility is that quest cards are basically a incorporated game mechanic or very stong suggestion that they wish to promote. If this is the case, it is likely to receive more attention than a casual suggestion and they are changing the direction of the game a bit.

If this is indeed the case, I'm expecting that once 4th edition hits the stores, that sooner or later we will be able to buy generic quest cards to use in the game. Most likely a deck of cards with space to write details, the cards show different quest concepts, like treasure, a monster, that sort of thing. I see these quest cards as a sort of advanced marketing for an upcoming product.

For my campaign, these cards would be useless. The idea of handing players a written card which reminds them or tells them that this is what they are suppose to do....well I don't babysit, railroad, or spoonfeed the PCs. As a DM I offer multiple adventure options in which they are able to choose from. The options are introduced to their characters through the coarse of playing, not in an outside DMing style manner. If the PCs don't show an interest in the options, the game continues until more options and angles are introduced either by the DM or things the players choose themselves. Once I have a good idea of where they are headed, I work on the details.

I have read that some folks see these as a playing prop. As described in the Design and Development article, I don't see it this way. To me, a prop is a clue, a letter, or a picture of what their characters see, that sort of thing. Not a reminder of what they are suppose to be doing.

As the DM I keep pretty good notes about the events of the campaign, essentially a journal. Players don't read the journal, if there is a recap in between games, I read it to myself, then paraphrase it to remind the players what happened a couple of weeks ago. The players take a few notes themselves, usually when they want to remember someone's name or where they lived. Once in a while I ask them to write certain things down. Quests cards will not replace the way I or the players keep notes.

Given the examples the author gave on how one would utilize quest cards, a few questions came to mind.

Quote:
One of the suggestions in the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is to give players a visual, tactile representation of a quest as soon as they begin it. At the start of the adventure, after the baron has briefed the characters on their mission and been bullied into paying them more than he intended, you can hand the players an index card spelling out the details of the quest -- including the agreed-upon reward. In the middle of the adventure, when the characters find a key with a ruby set in its bow, you can hand them a card, telling them that finding the matching lock is a quest."


In the example of the baron, the agreement has been reached between the lord and the PCs. On the quest card the DM writes down the conditions of the quest....what the characters are to do, seek out, that sort of thing, in addition to what the baron agreed to give them in return. Now the PCs may decide to say the heck with the quest after the card has been given to them. A choice they may make, which is fine. But let's say they complete the quest. The PCs return to the lord and expect payment. The DM knows that the lord had no intention on keeping his word and that he used the PCs to get something done. The players return the quest card to the DM and expect payment. Then the DM drops the bomb shell, the lord isn't going to pay up.

Now certainly not all quests are going to end up this way, most won't. The point is that the DM may know of certain conditions of the quest which cannot be written down for the players to see. The players having this card in their possession are likely to get use to the idea that what is agreed on in the card is what they are going to receive in return. They may easily lose the understanding that the lord could screw them over, and when it does, take it personally, and out of character because of the expectations the quest card introduced into the game.

If the players are good role players and mature, this isn't likely to occur. For newer and perhaps younger players it easily could. The mechanics or suggestions offered by the game should not in any way raise trust issues between the DM and the players. Holding back on honoring a quest card as written could do this for some players. Not a situation helpful to roleplaying and maintaining a healthy campaign.

The second example given in the authors article indicates that a quest card could be handed out when the players find a valuable key and that locating the matching lock is a quest they may undertake.

This seems odd. So the players are walking through the dungeon and discover the key. Suddenly, the DM pulls out a quest card and says there is a matching lock to go with it. If your looking for a quest, go find the lock.

Now from a character's point of view, how exactly does this happen. Does one of the characters suddenly decide that they think there is a lock that matches and if they can find it there may be something more valuable to be found. Personally, the first thing I'd think of is that it is a key to door, then a chest, then maybe something else. However, as a player I would evaluate the possibilities and through roleplaying my character make mention of it to my companions. The idea comes from me and thus through my character. It does not go from the DM, through me, to the character. t's kinda like the DM telling you "This is what your character thinks about a situation". What the character thinks, is my job, not the DMs. The DM tells me what my character sees, smells, hears, etc. Not thinks. Having the DM tell me that there is a matching lock and then introducing that idea at the table through my character seems weird, sort of like being railroaded. Sure I don't have to find it, but it comes across like thats what the DM wants me to do.

Now to be fair to quest cards, we don't have the rules in our hands. There may be a lot more to these cards than meets the eye. But with the information given at this point in time, it's what I think.
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mortellan
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good posts, I agree with it all especially the roleppaying connotations.

In my own words, I think this IS wizards testing the waters for future collectable quest card boosters. They do it for their minis and they are the company that brought us M:tG, so this should be a slam dunk. Secondly this fits the direction of D&D development which, tongue in cheek, is dumbing down the game. Tsk.
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vormaerin, it sure ain't you.

This IS the stupidest idea ever seen for a tabletop rpg.

Worryingly, I've got to add the words "so far" to the above statement, because Wotc are not even close to the finished product yet. Can they trump this? Surely not.
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smillan_31
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe when the PC's encounter an NPC they're supposed to be sent on a quest by the DM could put on a pointy dunce hat with a big yellow exclamation point painted on it.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that rule did make it into the index.
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I've seen those hats in the products section at Wizards.
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Denakhan
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiya.

As posted...

Quote:
One of the suggestions in the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is to give players a visual, tactile representation of a quest as soon as they begin it. At the start of the adventure, after the baron has briefed the characters on their mission and been bullied into paying them more than he intended, you can hand the players an index card spelling out the details of the quest -- including the agreed-upon reward. In the middle of the adventure, when the characters find a key with a ruby set in its bow, you can hand them a card, telling them that finding the matching lock is a quest."


Problem. Big, honkin', stinky problem. What if the Barron is lying? What if the 'quest' is just a red herring? You see, *actually* the Baron has sent them into the dungeon to find this key which opens a magical box in the dungeon. This box contains a potion that, when poured into the towns wells, will instantly turn all the well water into pure, spring-fresh water...or that's what he told them. In reality, there is no key, no box, and no potion. He just sent them into the dungeon so that they would get killed off and waste time down there...allowing him to carry on his evil machinations.

...so how does this 'quest card' work then? Won't the players be rightly P.O'ed when, after wandering around every nook and cranny in this dungeon for the last 5 game sessions, the DM hands them a quest card that says "You've been had. The Baron lied. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200xp. In ur fase, sukkazz!".

The only way for these quest card things to work...is if they are *always* true, or the DM *always* gives them a 'real' quest card revealing the ruse...and, of course, the xp for 'completing the quest' (re: finding out it was fake). Ok idea...too bad it's not going to work. At all.

Maybe the fellas attempting to write the 4e should specifically tell their play testers to play test it, and rather than figure out and work with the rules, that they should try and figure out and break the rules...they'd probably find a LOT more flaws that way.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't been on their play testing committee but I agree, in order to find problems, you have to do more than just play, you have to try and break the system in order to find the holes.
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just sounds like an idea best suited to a board game; it makes no sense in an RPG where interaction and multiple story strands are the norm. I agree with Mortellan that future product development is the ultimate aim of this.
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds fine to me, particularly if your players forget to take their Ritlin. Laughing
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CombatMedic
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the 'Quest card' idea is pretty dumb, frankly. The business of ''agreed upon reward'' irks me- since when does the DM negotiate with the players as to the nature of their PCs' rewards/treasure/whatever?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silly people. Surely you all recognize the quest cards as being ripped from computer games, don't you? And doesn't that tell you anything?

Hasbro as expressed its disinterest in hardcopy publishing, and thus we get 4e putting as much info as possible on the 'net. It's all the first phase in a plan to shift the entire roleplaying business to an entirely online model. Quest cards are merely another step in that direction.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bubbagump wrote:
Silly people. Surely you all recognize the quest cards as being ripped from computer games, don't you? And doesn't that tell you anything?

Hasbro as expressed its disinterest in hardcopy publishing, and thus we get 4e putting as much info as possible on the 'net. It's all the first phase in a plan to shift the entire roleplaying business to an entirely online model. Quest cards are merely another step in that direction.


Hey, that's no fair, I said something like this once when I first started posting before 4th edition was even announced. No, good, lousy, post stealing, just looking for something good to say, sort of guy.

Eileen once said:
If we ever see a 4th edition I think it will electronic and quite poessibly not even in book form.

I remember saying something about an increase in modules as they were winding down on materials as well, but I can't find that post. Oh well. At least I was wrong about the "no book form".
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
No good, lousy, post stealing, just looking for something good to say, sort of guy.


Yeah, I'm like that. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - so much venom on what I thought was an innocuous idea. I actually liked it, mostly because my campaign has been running for 10 years with the same players and characters, and we all often forget details. They have tons of "quests" and other things on their to-do list. I thought this was just an example of a helpful idea for managing campaign to-dos, not a mandate that comes with in-game consequences, etc. Sometimes the PCs agree on a course of action, and sometimes they put one on hold. Having a card just makes it one more thing I will remember to bring up again later, when it can do the most harm/good...

ROB
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OleOneEye
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am with you, Rob. I have given bonus XP for completing missions or story arcs ever since I started playing the game. Quests don't really seem any different. Writing the quest on an index card seems the same thing as the notes players have always taken.
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