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Well I still like the fiction (which is the only thing I actually have read in a lot of Pathfinder issues so far). It can and often does add a lot of atmosphere to an adventure locality,which is something the other parts of the AP often fail to convey due to space reasons. I had to skip the last AP and the fiction was what I missed most. So I guess it's safe to say that the APs would lose at least some of their value for me if they came without fiction.
Another thing to consider is, that it may be only a problem for those players who can afford to play through all those APs. At the moment, I'm "only" reading the APs because I don't have a group, but when I think of my old group we probably would have needed at least 2 years to go through a single AP so this theme wouldn't happen at the game table as often as it is in the books. So assuming that I didn't read the AP I don't run I probably wasn't even aware of this coincidence.
Apart from that, I think that Lord Snow is right on the money. Most players aren't used to "lose" anymore and tend to consider it as unfair if it happens. So it would be a real stunt to involve them in events they can't (or arent't supposed to) win for story reasons. On the other hand most AP adventures are all about stopping threats so to have one or two bad things happening in their absence serve to remind them that they simply can't be everywhere.
I understand the criticism, though. It can be hard when such a catastrophe is the reward for you following the plotline aka doing what you are supposed to do by the author. Especially if you don't even have a choice or possibilty to do something against it. Personally, what I would like to see is to have the PC make the choice between different threats. And while they stop one threat letting the other events run their course. I'm not sure though that this is doable within the frame of an AP-format adventure because you would have to use space to describe events the PCs eventually won't have a part in. And it could be equally depressive for the players to know beforehand that there will happen bad things they can't stop (If we stop the assassination attempt on the king, noone will be there to stop the orc invasion).
Also: Final Fantasy games, Marvel and DC comics, a whole host of rpgs (TORG, Rifts, Amazing Engine, Shadowrun
The thing is: I love all those things, but that doesn't mean that I have to mix them with my usual D&D (and as an Extension of it: Pathfinder) stuff, which, for me, is pure Fantasy without any sci-fi influences.
We'll see what it means for the Numeria-AP. I guess, in the end, that it will contain a lot of things for me to mine of, but I doubt that I ever will want to play it as it is; but then, if other players love this, then that's all the reason I need not to be too adverse to this idea.
Your preference is a low power game, which is fine, but it is not something that this game was created to have in mind.
I'm well aware of this and actually admitted that in my first post to which you answered: "You don't balance for suck". The Rest was me explaining why what you consider to suck I actually consider worth playing.
I guess I'm just a bit sad that I really would have liked to like Pathfinder (RPG) especially when D&D 4E already went in another direction.
But the bottom can never be "too good".
That's where I disagree, because it depends on which kind of fantasy you wanna play. And my problem with modern D&D/PF is that basically you already start out as hero at level 1 while in former editions you could start from zero (or at least it was easier to pretend so).
When the Pathinder thing started the advice on converting 3.5 adventures was to simply assume that PFRPG characters were a level higher than their PF counterparts. That was kind of the moment I became aware that in Pathfinder the bottom already is too good for my tastes.
This is true whether you call it explicit memory vs implicit memory, conscious vs subconscious, mind vs soul.
I'm no expert on this topic so please allow me a question: Do you think that Modify Memory only erases explicit memory and if so, why do you believe that? I took a look at the spell and it seems to say that it erases "ALL" memory which in my mind could easily include implicit memories as well.
As I've stated repeatedly in the TF2 Pyro forums, you don't balance for suck, you balance towards the middle.
I don't think the fighter sucks. He's fine as he is. It's just that I think that Ryan Dancey was right about his 4 quartiles of play within D&D:
Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Problem being that I'm not interested the least in the last two quartiles (they are what suck as far as I am concerned), so I'd rather prefer them being thrown out of the game, instead of changing the fighter into something I'm not interested either.
What you propose was what WotC tried to do with 4E. From what I've heard and seen, they may have been successful to a degree, but that only resulted in me not wanting to play the game at all (because their level 1 characters were way to powerful for my tastes).
Why does the 16 year old, mostly uneducated rage machine, get more than the 18 year old, highly trained soldier?
Well I'm sure that when we kicked the Romans' asses 2000 years ago they asked themselves the same question ;)
The thing is that a fighter can be build as a highly trained soldier. But the fighter class can also be used to build an uneducated brawler from the street, an uncivilized barbarian or even a ranger (as a general concept). So to me, a fighter is just a template for "someone who fights".
Now I'm not arguing your specific points (in my mind, a fighter SHOULD HAVE Perception as a class skill and he surely should have more skill points than a barbarian).
But still you can do those multi-functional fighters and I don't care one bit if they are comparable to what you can do with other classes (especially as I think that most of the other classes are way too strong and should be nerfed heavily; but that's aside the point). And from a roleplaying perspective, it may make more sense to build a concept with the fighter than with say, a barbarian. Because historically speaking, not every barbarian in world history had the rage powers adscribed to the norse berserkers.
Yes, a Fighter can put points into Diplomacy. So can a Barbarian, or Bard. So that has nothing to do with being a Fighter, does it? A Commoner can put points into Diplomacy as well.
Well you could argue that the fighter, having much more feats than any other class, can use those feats to increase his Out-of-Combat abilities without sacrificing too much combat-wise. That's something other classes cannot and it's something which is class-inherent.
But the main point being made is that you can build such a fighter at all. So claims that the fighter is totally useless out of combat (a claim you didn't make in this threat but that can be seen all the time here or elsewhere) are simply wrong.
It's something, but you'd still need a very compelling reason to go with the fighter if you wanted UMD and diplomacy. I, for one, can't think of such a reason.
Well, in our games, I tend to be the one responsible for social skills simply because the other players don't care too much about it. And while I enjoy playing bards, it's still good to know that I can cover this area with other classes as well. Quite frankly, that reason's good enough for me.
Rules lawyers getting flack on an internet forum is a fairly interesting form of hypocrisy.
Well, in my eyes it's a natural reaction to some rule lawyers' arrogance to tell us that we're doing it wrong if we're not doing it according to the rules.
Though to be honest, I could live without both kind of arguments.
Well I really love the "Monster revisited" books. Great background for those critters and as they already existed in the game, they contain not much needing conversion (and probably will directly fit into your own game world.
Then the City books. You mentioned Magnimar, but the books for Korvosa Absalom and Kaer Maga also contain lots and lots of ideas to mine from.
Well, and if you already haven't a place for the Darkmoon Vale, you should really try to find it.
Its important to distinguish between special to the PCs and special to the players. Its very easy to make spell casters seem special to the characters. The DM just says "spell casters are rare in the world."
That's a good point, by the way. Magic doesn't necessarily needs to be rare to feel special. Even when running a game in the Forgotten Realms it's not as if there's an archmage or a mythal to find at every street corner. So for a lot of people, the party wizard may well be the first wizard they've ever seen in their whole life. It's their reactions what will make the wizard feel special not the behaviour of the other player characters.
Same goes for magic items. The +1 longsword you get after slaying the Dungeon's end boss may well feel special to you if it's the first or the only +1 longsword you encounter. It will feel a lot less special if every opponent you encounter seems to wear one.
See, in a setting like that the only class I would be able to will myself to play is a Wizard or MAYBE a Sorcerer if they didn't get screwed too much by 'not getting a proper education.'
You just have to be aware that the DSA wizard isn't nearly as powerful as his D&D equivalent. While there are no level limitations, the Manapool heavily restricts your ability to cast spells. The example wizard from the 4E PHB has 37 mana points. Each point of damage she causes with the Ignifaxius spell costs 1 mana point, so as a level 1 wizard, she probably can't cast this spell more than 4 or 5 times before she runs out of mana points.
That is if she successfully casts the spell. Because for each spell, she has to successfully pass a little skill challenge (basically she has to make three attribute checks in related attributes and may in sum not fail those checks for more than the number of talent points she has invested in the respective spell. And if she fails, she loses mana points as well), so the success isn't a given thing.
It's quite complicated (that's the reason I prefer D&D/PF over DSA though I really like the DSA setting), but it makes sure that the other classes have plenty of opportunities to shine even at high levels,while magic still has this little extra which makes it special enough to be attractive.
Real people don't do stuff on purpose to weaken themselves.
They don't do it on purpose. They do it all the time nonetheless (Cause nobody is perfect, right?). And even if told that they're making a mistake, they chose not to believe it (I guess all parents know what I'm talking about).
So roleplaying a real person means roleplaying a character who will sometimes make a non-optimal decision. That may even happen if the player behind the character knows that it is not an optimal decision.
I don't know if Power Gamers necessarily call this "a stupid idea" when confronted with this style of roleplaying. I know that jerks do.
Which, ironically, just means that the GM was obligated to hand out more magical treasure.
No he wasn't. In fact, the GM had much more control about how magical his world should be than he has nowadays. But then, the industry thought it would be a great idea to take this control out of the hands of the GM for pure economical reasons (if the players also can use the books, we'll sell more of them). I can't really blame them for wanting to sell their products but in my opinion that kind of thinking is responsible for much of the changes of the game which rub me the wrong way (Power creep being one of them).
To be honest, I don't buy your premise that magic in D&D never was special because of the existence of the M-U and the Cleric. Because then, you didn't need a high magic world to challenge the party, so the party's M-U could well be the exception than the rule (like Gandalf is part of a tiny group of wizards in LotR). Which also meant that the M-U didn't need to be able "to call fire and lightning down from the sky every gosh darn day" to feel special. And even if he eventually could, it could take years of gameplay to come so far (today, it takes mere months), so there was a long,long way to go.
The good thing being that the d20 system (which Pathfinder still is part of in all but name) is flexible enough to allow you the necessary modifications to play in low-magic worlds as well.
why was excalibur special? (aside from the sheath which is a completely different magic item discussion all together) it was just more powerful than other swords, it didnt light things on fire, it wasnt exceptionally powerful against one type of foe, it was just better than regular swords were and that made it special
I guess that's a great point, but it is also the reason some of us view +x weapons boring.
Magic items don't need to be exceptional to be special. Excalibur has a name and a legend attached to it and, as you put it, was just better than regular swords were. In other words, it was a unique weapon, even if, in game terms, it may not have been more than a masterwork weapon.
Now the +X weapon of today's D&D/PF is neither unique nor has it a legend or at least a name attached to it. In this respect, it doesn't really feel more special, than say, said masterwork weapon. I don't say that it is a fault per se, especially in a generic rule system where the designers cannot make any assumptions about your game world. But when I think back at the old Bazaar of the Bizarre entries (especially those written by Ed Grenwood) I don't remember the powers of the suggested items. What I do remember is their names and the stories delivered with them. And that's something I really miss in more modern products (including PF).
Which is why I try to add such stories to the items the PCs can find in a magic item shop even if it's just a lousy +1 dagger. Because even if there are a thousand daggers +1, there may only be one Chopper's Carving Knife.
Damon Griffin wrote:
Can you give me an example of how reading the fiction contributes to the DM's understanding of or preparation for the story the players will be playing out?
Tacticslion already made a most excellent post about it, so I'll just add another example. Between the events of Pathfinder #2 and 3, the party has quite a bit of travelling to make. I found the Pathfinder Journal in #2 invaluable in fleshing out the voyage (which was totally ignored in the adventure itself) between Magnimar and Turtleback Ferry.
I could probably cite other examples, where AP-fiction material directly found its way into my game; the truth, though, is, that I enjoy fiction mostly for it's own sake. And given that I'm one of those people who seldom get the opportunity to run or play in an adventure path, I mostly use the APs just for the enjoyment of reading. Which the fiction is a big part of.
Now it's true that in the meantime, there are other opportunities to get my reading fix. I obviously read the novels and the comics, but on the other hand, I've never come to read the Web Fiction nor the Pathfinder Chroniclers stuff. While I can't exactly say why that is, those outlets doesn't seem to be a good replacement for the AP fiction (which I read regularly), as far as I am concerned.
Meaning that I'd rather have the fiction stay where it is, especially as I'm not too exited about the idea of expanding the bestiary and other already existing AP features and adding new features (like the Set Pieces which I immensely liked) doesn't seem an option from what James said before.
Well, I'm not quite sure what to think about those changes. Apart from the adventure paths, I'd rather have short Dungeon Mag-Style adventures (the PFS scenarios kinda fill this niche, though I don't have much use for the Pathfinder Society Background). In this respect, the 32-page adventures already were too long for my taste so to explode the format to 64 pages probably is probably even more problematic when it comes to include it in my games.
On the other hand, the Red Hand of Doom - minicampaign was awesome and if the new format allows the authors to explore stories and plots too small for APs but to big for 32-pagers, this may get even better than what I get out of the APs.
Regarding point 2, I'm not sure if I would want to see too much additional material in the books. If it should shorten the adventure too much, then I'd probably not have any use for it anymore. Location backdrops in the vein of the AP #1's Sandpoint article would probably be fine, as would be other fluff. I could do without any additional crunch (if this is necessary for the adventure, it should be included there instead).
I'll surely give it a try though.
I think I'll bring up something I've pointed out before, but I think bears repeating. Volume 3 of the original D&D boxed set mentions Robots, Androids and Cyborgs as potential monsters. So, Sci-Fi elements have been in D&D since day one. So while anyone is perfectly justified in disliking Sci-Fi elements in D&D, as a matter of precedence such things are well established.
This is true, but on the other hand, not all of todays' players were there from the beginning. I started with AD&D 2nd (Realms mainly) and played nearly a decade long before becoming even aware of such influences in D&D. And even then, it wasn't in the form of any material I wanted to use but it was in form of references made by the Dragon/Dungeon staff.
And for people like me, the argument that it was there from the beginning doesn't necessarily hold much water. I have nothing but respect for the inventors of this great game, but reading through the old Dragon issues (and the old rulebooks as well) there are tons of thoughts (from Gary Gygax and other designers) I heavily disagree with. So I don't think that "it was there from the start" should be reason alone to let something stay as it was.
But then, that there are still many people enyoing this is a very good reason. Good enough for me, at least.
I guess I don't get why there seems to be some very vocal bias against it at all in any fantasy settings.
I guess that depends on which sources define the term "fantasy" for you. For me it was Michael Ende, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (I'm talking Narnia, not Perelandra^^) and while I learned to know about Howards & co. soon thereafter, in my mind Science Fiction and Fantasy are two totally different things since then.
Now I don't mind a healthy dose of Science-Fiction options in fantasy RPGs for those who like it but generally I tend to avoid such materials. I won't go out of my way to remove it from material I use (I wouldn't rewrite "Children of the Void", for example) but on the other hand, in fantasy settings I tend to simply ignore those regions heavily influenced by science fiction (Numeria and such).
That doesn't mean that I wouldn't play Steampunk settings or something like Star Wars. It's just that if I'm playing fantasy I don't want to explore sci-fi-based stuff.
And I can easily imagine that it breaks the suspension of disbelief for other people so I guess that's where the bias stems from.
I'm talking about when a compromise can't be agreed upon or am I always supposed to agree on a compromise?
No you aren't. Not always. Probably not even in the specific scenario you presented in this thread.
I wonder, though, if compromise generally is part of your arsenal as a GM or if you think that the players are the only ones who should compromise at all?
I find it hard to believe that you don't seem to understand that compromises are not always made, that sometimes a DM and a player cannot agree on something.
Oh I understand that perfectly well. I had it happen at my own table even. What I don't share is your opinion that in those cases the GM (and remember: I'm speaking from a GM standpoint because that's what I am 90% of the time) automatically should win just because he's the GM. I already explained how I think about it, so I won't repeat it. We could have had a nice chat about our different point of views, but you're obviously not interested in that kind of conversation.
So I'd rather repeat this: Have it your way then.
For one thing the CRB says so ...
Think the rulebook has all the answers? Then let's see that rulebook run a campaign - Mike Mearls
This is one of my favorite quotes regarding RPGs (and I could cite Gygax and Cook saying things in a similar vein. I actually think that there may be something in the CRB saying quite the same thing). What is in the core rules isn't the law. It's options. I take those options I like and simply ignore those I don't. And still play Pathfinder (or whichever other system I happen to play). I'm not saying that this is the only way of handling things. I'm just saying that it is mine, so "the CRB says so" isn't really a convincing argument as far as I'm concerned.
and secondly, please tell me how you are going to make a DM run a game that he doesn't want to run or run it a certain way that you want and he/she doesn't.
Well I don't. As said before there are myriads of possibilities, so as long as all parties involved are mature enough there's a solution to find which is acceptable for all. So there's no need to make anyone do anything.
In your specific case, something obviously went wrong, because no such solution was found. I wasn't there so I don't know if someone is to blame. The thing is that I can imagine a lot of ways how this could have been solved (some of them already offered in this very thread). But as far as I can gather from this thread the only option you offered was "just make a new AND different character already".
And I find it hard to believe that this really was the only option which would have been acceptable to you and/or the other players in this group.
It takes two people to form a compromise but sometimes there comes a time when both sides can't agree so the power shifts to the DM because he has the final say.
I guess that's where we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think in terms of power when it comes to roleplaying. To me it's a form of collaborative storytelling and I don't consider a game I run to be my game only. Depending on the system and the involvement of the players I may have more responsibilites because I have to run the rest of the setting while the players "just" have to run their character, but it's still our game so if problems or disagreements arise between me and a certain player, I'm happy to let the group (including me and my opponent) decide what to do. That can mean that we do it my way but it can also mean that I have to accomodate the player.
Well and if that's player entitlement, than so be it.
Do you think a player's wish should always be fulfilled?
The answer to that questions has two parts, first being that compromise isn't a one-way street. So no it shouldn't if the other players and/or the GM can't agree with for good reasons.
The second part is that over the years, I've found out that it is much more satisfying for me to run games revolving around what the players want, be it in terms of rules, setting or plot. For example, I actually like long backgrounds because they give me valuable input about what the players actually expect from the game. So if I offer, let's say, the RotRL-AP, I do encourage the players to play characters fitting into the campaign. But I'd rather change the campaign than force them to do so.
The ideal case would be that the campaign I run already fulfils all the wishes the players have. But knowing that this goal isn't reachable 100%, there's need to compromise and in this respect I don't think that the GM should have more say than the players.
This said, if you have agreed to a certain campaign, a certain ruleset and a certain gaming style, the decisions should be binding for all players (including the GM) and shouldn't be changed against the will of anyone in the group. The problem being, that those agreements are made informally most of the time and can be interpreted in different ways. And if you're assuming a "default" way of handling the game, you're actually allowing for a whole mountain of different interpretations. Because your default won't be other people's default most of the time.
That wasn't what I said at all. It's more like: if you accept such things just because they are in the rules then you'd better not start talking in terms of consistency and "realism" just because you don't wanna accomodate your players.
Oh and by the way the difference between dumping sand in my back yard and to have a wish as player is that the first thing immediately identifies you as a stupid idiot. And I don't think that that's the same as being a bit too invested in one's character.
Because it's goofy and uncreative that's why.
The problem I have with that, is that I've yet to see a single campaign (and I've seen many) which didn't include at least parts I consider to be goofy and uncreative. This includes campaigns written by the pros as well as (naturally) my own campaigns.
So in the end, the claim that something is uncreative and goofy (and I'm sure that I have claimed this more than once in the past myself) actually translates into "I simply don't like this".
There may be nothing more goofy and uncreative in the rules than the "raise dead"-spell. Nonetheless it's still considered part of the default assumption about how a pathfinder setting functions.
I don't like resurrection spells at all and can easily imagine to run campaigns where it simply isn't possible (if all players agree beforehand, that is). But assuming shallowsoul's default game includes those spells, I'm wondering why it's considered so bad to allow the player to play a nearly identical twin of it's deceased character if on the other hand it would be considered perfectly valid to revive the character via magic.
It's inconsistent, goofy and not creative? Well, sure, but on the other hands, we all probably know how much creativity a character you're really into can spark.
So if this player is a jerk, the problem isn't the character. But if not, disallowing to play the character he wants to probably causes more harm than good in the long run.
Yeah, the DSA region books belong to the best things ever written for any system (in my opinion at least).
DSA was what actually got me started with roleplaying and I still play it albeit with the old editions only. My kids are 6 and 8 so I need something which isn't too difficult to grasp and the 4th edition fails on this count big time.
I don't know about their awful business practices but I know some of the staff from my time at the Pathfinder translation team and I had the impression that they are genuinely interested in doing their best. I don't know about the experiences you hint at but I had never any problems with them businesswise.
What i do remember is that they had issues with quality control. I'm probably not allowed to talk too much about it but what I can say is that the german market is much more difficult regarding RPGs than the U.S. market. We germans may probably have invented s!!@storms and regardless what you do, you'll get critisized 99% of the time. And especially with international role-playing games there's a large chunk of the audience who'll prefer the original version over the translation no matter the quality. I know some excellent translations from former D&D publisher Feder & Schwert who got burned by criticism just because someone disliked the translation of a specific term.
DSA also has a tradition of being very inclusive as far as fan work is concerned. Problem being that this led many fans to think that they can tell the publisher what to do and what not. So anytime a publisher tries to change anything, we've got a little edition war at hand. And Ulisses trying to reorganize the brand has brought them a lot of badmouthing by people who felt left out.
At the end this means printing relatively small runs at relatively high cost, so they have to calculate quite hard what to afford and what not. I can easily see how this can lead to quality problems in certain areas, though I also have to say that I personally like my DSA books (I'm not looking too hard for existing flaws, so I'm probably just missing them ^^).
no it's still "Das Schwarze Auge" (DSA, The Dark Eye in english). Published in 1984, it wasn't much more than a D&D clone first, but in the meantime it has developed it's own setting which may be even more detailed than the Forgotten Realms.
The game is a bit more "realistic" than D&D, more medieval and even high-level PCs aren't supposed to be god-like characters who can beat the hell out of demon lords. It also shares the Paizo approach to support the system and the setting mainly through adventures.
And interestingly enough, the publisher (Ulisses Spiele) is the same who publishes the german localisation of the Pathfinder RPG. Which ironically means that, while there is a german version of the Pathfinder Beginner Box, there is still nothing comparable for DSA.
I found the thoughts about the responsibilities of the industry leader most interesting, though here in Germany, since 1984, this has never been D&D. But having two kids myself I'm glad that Paizo did something like the Beginner's Box, because "our" industry leader has nothing like this (and the rules of "Das Schwarze Auge 4th ed." may well be the most complicated, clunky rules ever written for an RPG (I love it nonetheless but could never use it to introduce my kids into the hobby).
So after all, we agree because that's what I'm talking about the whole time.
Bill Dunn wrote:
To make a suggestion is not ruling out anything. And your players making a counter suggestion isn't ruling out anything either. So up to this point, there is no dictating from either side of the game table.
The interesting thing is what happens next. Are you willing to try and find a solution to which both sides can agree or are you just saying: Well, looks like there is no gaming then.
No there may be perfectly valid reasons why you won't run a Vampires game (for example because you do not even know the rules). But let's just assume for the sake of the argument that you are not only able to run the system but you do even enjoy the game. It's just that you would enjoy Pathfinder even more?
Would you then deny your players their wish just because you want to "maximize your fun" as Shin Hakkaider put it?. Or would you rather fulfil their wish and still having fun?
I get the impression that according to you I should present ALL of the AP's and let the players choose.
No. If you feel comfortable presenting just 3 or 4 of them that's still fine. At least your giving them choice.
Also, there really is no choosing together. There are multiple players and ONE GM. If the players decide that they dont want to play something then you (as the magnanimous GM that you are...) are pretty much stuck.
I don't see the problem with that. To define what the players don't want to play is part of the process of finding out what they actually want to play. So they ruled out one of a bazillion possibilities. Poor me.
That is a decision that you make as a GM to be passively involved because to you compromise is more important.
I'm not passively involved it's just that my voice counts as much as each players' voice. I can make suggestions, I can give input as everybody else. And at the end we're deciding together what to do. There's nothing passive about that.
You also dont run one particular system and evil campaigns? So then your fun IS more important than that of your players in those circumstances.
Well I guess then I'm lucky that those circumstances don't exist as far as my players are concerned but technically you're right. But even then, there are a lot of other options available, there is a middleground to find. And by the way, that I don't run these things has as much to do with my abilities as with my preferences. I once tried to run an evil campaign and it was a desaster. I'm simply not good at it. I don't understand where the fun is in playing an evil character so I suck at presenting the players an enjoyable experience.
Be that as it may, but there's still a difference between trying to find a common ground with one's players and just dictating what game will be played.
If I let perspective players know what type of game that I run and let THEM decide if they want to play I'm a bad / poor / dictatorial GM for running / playing this way?
So you develop a campaign and a game style which are supposed to maximise your fun. Right? And then you invite other players to this game as long as they are content to follow the rules set by you.
That basically means that those players have to compromise in order to partake in your game. They may or may not have the same background as you and me (I'm 40, full-time job and two children, by the way), but the point is that they cannot maximise their fun as long as they haven't exactly the same taste you have (and given that no two persons are equal, this is impossible).
Meaning that the price they pay to be able to play in your game, is to accept that you have more fun than they have.
And there's the difference. I don't believe in my fun being superior to my player's fun just because I'm the GM. From my point of few, being the GM doesn't make me more important and apart from that I'm just a guy like anybody else.
So what I do is to invite my perspective players and then we decide together, what we play. They have the same vote like me, when it comes to which system and which setting to use, which style of game to play, which campaign and so on. Basically, I run what we want, not what I want. Exceptions being one(!) particular system and evil campaigns.
This may sound extreme to you but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm perfectly aware that other people handle this question in other ways and it may well be that you run great games within the parameters set by you.
But if you're not willing to compromise because you think that your fun is more important than my (or others) fun, just because your the GM and it is YOUR game, I wouldn't be interested to take part in this game.
You just made my point better than I could have.
How is being willing to run a game in one style but not another forcing a style onto your players that they don't like? Because that's what shallowsoul is saying.
No, that's not what he's saying. What he keeps saying throughout the whole thread is that the only opinion that counts is his. It's his game, it's his rules and there is no way he would even think about his players wishes as they already accepted to play exactly the game he offers when they rolled their characters.
Bill Dunn wrote:
There are thousands of possible game configurations I might be willing to run, but because I have certain ones I won't, it's my way or the highway?
Well I'm actually in the same boat with you, so no, that wasn't what I said or tried to imply. What I said was that those thousands of possible game configurations normally allow to find a middleground acceptable for all participants. So if my my players come to me with a suggestion I don't find acceptable my first answer wouldn't be for them to look for another GM. Instead we'll discuss the issue and try to find a solution.
And yes, compromising can mean that I do something I don't find enjoyable too much but am willing to tolerate it for the bigger enjoyment of my players (which is a reward in itself). Like you, there are types of games I won't run or play but on the other hand I wouldn't abuse my position as a GM to force a style of game onto my players they don't like.
Bill Dunn wrote:
If you, as a group, can't agree with the general style and ground rules, there's no point in playing that particular game with that mix of GM and players.
I agree, but first you should look for a compromise everyone can agree with.
what shallowsoul does (according to his answer to Gaekubs question) is to tell the players that there is no compromise. It's his way or no way.
And that's not cool in my book.
If I can't enjoy it then my dislike will spill over into the game and end up making everyone miserable.
To put it in your own words: "So that is what it's all down to, your fun and your story." No compromises because you think that you're more important than your players.
Well, have it your way, then.
By the way, I'm totally playing by the book, no houserules at all, no fudging. Still: nearly no character deaths.
You know before hand that Pathfinder relies on the roll of the dice and unless someone tells you any different you assume you are playing the default.
Well, our default is that the only rule that really matters is rule zero
Or in the words of Mike Mearls: Think the rulebook has all the answers? Then let's the the rulebook run a campaign.
There is no default how to roleplay in general or to play Pathfinder in specific. Just sayin'.
But that's it
Not quite. I've had players develop whole communities with history and all within the frame of their background. Once I used the background of my character to explain why there are wu jen dwarves in Eberron. And so on.
There is a lot of stuff you can implement in the character's background. it's not just childhood and apprenticeship.
@Scaevola: Don't get me wrong. If a character takes a risk, he has to live or die with the consequences. I also don't like fudging too much. So what I do (depending on my players) is to tone down the encounter challenge while granting the PCs boons like hero points to use in emergency situations. So if they don't do anything too stupid, their chances of survival are quite high(not guaranteed, though)
Bill Dunn wrote:
A good, particular story might depend on someone dying.
True. And if that's the case, I've no problems with my/a PC dying.
I would argue that there is nearly always at least one good reason to insist on the PC's death: that's how the situation actually played out.
That's where I disagree. Because the GM always could have prevented this outcome with the appropriate action. And sometimes he should have.
At the start of the campaign, you have no way of knowing if you're a Boromir or a Samwise.
That's also true. And as said before, I don't mind being Boromir or Ned Stark because that includes my character's death being meaningful. But what gets proposed by shallowsoul and others is that death has also to be accepted if it degrades a character to "Red Shirt #XYZ". And that's where we disagree because in my opinion that's what NPCs are for.
By the way thzere's a difference between Salvatore's Drizz't novels and Martin's GoT novels. The first are about Drizz't, the second about the Game of Thrones, not about Ned.
So basically what you do is back a DM in a corner by essentially saying that if your character dies you will lose interest in his campaign.
I don't have to, because it isn't his campaign. It's ours.
To put it into perspective: I'm the GM most of the time. But that doesn't mean that it is my game or that my opinion has more value than that of my players'.
So when we play it's not that I tell the players what we play and then let them decide which characters to build. What I do is letting them build their characters and then build the story around those characters. I present the setting, I present the plot developments but my decisions are heavily influenced by the players wishes and their characters actions and can be overruled by the players.
You may understand why character death without meaning kind of undermines our concept of play. If a certain character is essential for a story but suddenly dies then suddenly the whole campaign has to be rebuild. If it happens to often, the campaign will eventually crash.
Which is why we're really careful when it comes to character death. There is a fine line between "challenging" and "deadly". And we're working hard not to cross this line if it isn't truly important
That is what it's all down to, your fun and your story.
First off, that's not true. The simple truth is that a good story doesn't depend on anyone dying. Character death can add to a story, but if it doesn't it's just a waste of time (storywise). So if it doesn't add to anyones fun but diminishes the fun of the player losing his character, there is good reason not to insist on the PCs death.
Now if you are truly all for the story and role playing then you will see that trying to change things in order to bring back your favorite character isn't always going to be an option storywise and it needs to be accepted.
Well there's always raise death. Apart from that, story isn't unchangable. if the return of a character doesn't fit into a story, just change the story. It's as simple as that.
Your legacy is written and finished when you stand alive and well at the end of the campaign.
Right. That's the reason why I expect to stand alive and well at the end of the campaign and would never partake in a game where this possibility wasn't real. I've no interest in playing a "Boromir" if I can play an "Aragorn (or at least an Samwise)" instead.
Could you honestly see Drizzt being killed during Homeland? That's why using the "novel" analogy isn't good.
Well if Drizz't had been killed during Homeland, I had probably lost interest in this novel. And if my character is killed during a campaign I probably lose interest in this campaign. That's why using the novel analogy is perfect.
Just to be clear: I've had my share of character deaths (and they all hade a huge background)and I still think that the old school approach is a perfectly valid style of game. I also agree with most of what Erik Mona said regarding this topic in the interview in Kobold Quarterly #1.
The thing is, that is only one of many different approaches to roleplaying games. And just because I still use D&D rules that doesn't mean that I still have to play the same game since 1974. I've run and played in campaigns where not a single character died and we still had as much (or even more) fun as in traditional D&D-style games.
Your mileage may vary, of course.
2) RPGs can be pretty much exactly like novels if that is the way you want them to be, so why not just get a group that runs that way instead of acting like what you want is some kind of unattainable thing?
Well, just in case that you referred to my post above: That's exactly what I did :)
As for the rest:
How do novels always get brought into the discussion as an explanation of how character death throws them off their interest in the story?
Depending on the book, I read it because of the characters first and because of the story second. For example, I'm looking forward to reading Queen of Thorns mainly because of Varian and Radovan. Now I'm quite sure that I'll also like the story but I'm absolutely sure that, if one of those two should die that it would be a meaningful dead (aka for dramatic reasons). If not, that would probably be the end of me reading anything from Dave Gross.
So the point is that character death in novels is quite different from my PC dying just because of a poor roll of the dice.
certainly a book where a couple chapters here and there introduce a completely unrelated character and events happening to him that lead to his eventual inclusion
But that is not what happens in most games. Instead what happens most of the time has been ingeniously caricatured in "The Gamers". There's no introduction, just: "You seem trustworthy! Care to join us in our noble quest?"
Why can't you get deeply involved in your character, end up being in a situation where you die, accept the death and move on to another concept and story or is that one story your only one you can come up with?
Just some thoughts:
In Roleplaying Games, there are two things important for me personally: Story and character development within the frame of said story. I couldn't care less about the rules and I'm not into the tactical and strategical part of the game. I also have come to hate the technical part of character building, so I'd rather write a four-or-more-pages character background than building a new character.
So just as I would hate to read a novel/watch a movie where the character suffers death without meaning just to get replaced by some new and 'til then non-existent character, I don't like it too much if that happens in a roleplaying session. I'm well aware though that something like this can happen but it's nothing I'm looking for or think to be an essential/important part of the game.
Meaning that in the meantime I've come to prefer combat-light games with the focus on storytelling and character development and even when playing D&D/PF I'd rather avoid no-holds-barred-style games so that I can concentrate on those parts of the game I'm actually enjoying.
Nonetheless I agree with DM aka Dudemeister: without any risk there's no meaningful action. One the other hands there are a lot of risks to take without the consequence of failure being character death. So I wouldn't go so far as to say that a game where no one dies was meaningless. Because at the end of the day, the meaning of the game is not to win it but to have fun with one's friends.