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Gnome Trickster

pres man's page

7,632 posts (8,325 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 10 aliases.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
No, it's not difficult to get into the US higher education system, and that's one of the problems. The majority of US universities practice "open admissions," but as soon as you're in, you're immediately tracked into a remedial program that more or less guarantees that you won't actually complete the degree, while accumulating unsustainable amounts of debt.

I am not sure what you mean by using the phrase "tracked into a remedial program".

Students who apply to colleges and universities often have deficiencies in their scholarly abilities (minority students are disproportionally represented in these often due to poor primary and secondary education opportunities, families with little means of supporting their children educationally, etc.). What should school do about these deficiencies?

Let's take mathematics as that is the one I know the most about and is also the most widely needed remediation. Students who don't know that -16 + 3 = -13, let alone a lot of other arithmetic basic knowledge, are ill prepared for being placed in a college algebra course. Colleges could say, "Tough luck, put them in college algebra and let them sink or swim." Some might reasonably criticize this as setting the students with deficiencies up for failure, taking their money (forcing them to collect debt), and gain little real education since they are so far over their head that they have no idea what is happening.

Alternatively, schools could not require a mathematics course for any non-STEM major. Though I would imagine most universities would not look favorably on that and it would quickly turn some degrees into being viewed as not worth much (lower standards are rarely a selling point for employers). Thus some individuals may end up wasting a lot of money going to such a school only to still have to take the courses in order to get a degree from a reputable university.

A third option might be to create alternative mathematics courses that didn't use algebra. Still like the no math alternatively this ultimately is going to do devalue those degrees. Part of the problem with high school diplomas is you have people with 3 years of mathematics that never did anything more complicated than balancing a check book. I am not sure making similar mathematics courses at the college level would be ultimately the best choice.

Or we could put the students in say college algebra, but also force them to take support courses. Again, this is a shell game, you are still driving up the cost for the courses, and this may not be enough help to compensate for the deficiencies within a single semester.

The current system, used by most colleges and universities (though most universities actually kick the students to the community college level) is to try to access where the student's current skills are and then have a series of courses that students take to build themselves up to the level in order to take college algebra. One should consider the fact that anyone graduating from a high school, should have the skills to take and pass college algebra. Lacking those skills may represent not just one year of high school, but possibly something like 8 years of missing mathematics education, to think that amount of learning is going to be corrected in a single semester is ludicrous.

Now, I personally think the current system is the best choice as someone that cares about mathematics and values it for everyone. Ideally, there should be no need for remedial courses, but we don't live in an ideal world. We have students who dropped out, who didn't try to learn math and avoided it all costs. We have students that didn't go to college right out of high school and instead spend perhaps a couple decades working and haven't used what they knew in years. And of course there are those hard working students that have just got a bad roll in life and had horrible teachers/school systems.

But the reason that students that need remediation often aren't successful in finishing their schooling is multifaceted only some of it has to do with anything the school as control over it.

One thing I found interesting to learn is that she is actually an elected democrat. This might put some republicans in the state assembly in a dilemma, support a position your party generally supports or get the chance to knock down a member of the other party.

To save this endangered breed, eat it

“Every endangered species must have a purpose to survive,” says Henderson.

Why do I eat meat? I want animals to survive.

Saw the movie Wednesday. I am one of those that is more of it being a blah movie over all. I didn't hate it, but I am not in love with it either. I will say this about it, it was definitely not a Green Lantern. It was much better than that, but of course that isn't shooting too high.

I actually enjoyed the first half to 2/3 of the movie. I felt it went down hill after ...

They did the whole one year later thing.

Thinking about it, I would have preferred something like ...

The movie is the same up until Reed escapes and Ben agrees to work with the government.

We then have scenes of Ben going into dangerous areas and basically killing terrorist and such, become more and more numb to the death he is spreading. Meanwhile Reed is trying to rebuild the teleporter and is keeping track of Ben's activities, become more and more upset at how his friend is being used. They convince Sue to use her skills to find Reed to help finish the new teleporter to go back. She requests music selection X (probably something classical, but not necessarily European), because it is similar to the pattern that Reed thinks. Johnny is being preped to be the new weapon, against his father's wishes.

They find Reed's hideout and capture his equipment, but not him. Seeing his plans bust, he decides to go help his friend Ben instead. Ben is being sent to take out a rebel group that is trying to overthrow the Latveria government, destabilizing the region. Just as Ben is about to crush a 15 year old rebel, Reed grabs his arm and stops him. Reed tells him, "This is not you. Let me help you." Ben says, "It is too late, I'm a monster now." And breaks down, all of the guilt of the pain and murder he has done in the last year or so coming to the surface. Reed says something like, "You are not a monster, you are my friend. I am sorry I left you, this is all my fault. Please help me fix it." They agree to go and break Johnny and Sue out of the military base. All of this is observed by a figure near by, in a suit with a green cloak.

Flashback, on the planet Doom pulls himself out of the ooze. His suit DOESN'T fuse to him though he is badly scarred. Instead he is gifted with the ability to blast powerful energy from his hands. He basically goes all Kahn and uses his superior intellect to build himself of a containment suit out of his environmental suit, thus controlling his energy blasts. One of the pods was left on the planet, along with some parts following the explosion. Doom uses these to construct a new pod and returns to Earth secretly. He decides he needs to take over world and starts an insurrection in Latveria, "Home is where the heart is." Since Reed stops Ben, Doom is able to take over Latveria and establishes himself as supreme ruler. Most of his abilities are due to his superior intellect and technology, but he is able to produce energy blast, that he uses his suit to focus and control.

Doom sends secret info to the government about how to finish the teleporter and they send some animals as a test run. These animals get gooed and come back and start mutating. Reed and Ben show up to free Johnny and Sue. In the chaos, Franklin is killed by creatures. Ben destroys the teleporter saying it is too dangerous despite it being possibly the only way for him to be cured. The team joins forces and stopped the monsters. The government decides to let the FF go as free agents and stops experimenting on teleporting to world Zero. There is some discussion how Ben thinks he is still a monster and Sue says something like he isn't, he just one of them family. And Johnny makes a crack (pun intended) about how monsters maybe can run around without clothes, but Ben is a person and people need to wear pants.

End credits. Post credits seen, Doom is seen on T.V. giving a speech to the U.N. as the new leader of Latveria. The FF (Ben now with a pair of Kevlar type shorts) look at each other with "Oh crap"/"What the frak" expressions.

Haven't read all the posts, but the defining feature of good vs. evil is the treatment of "innocents". If you harm innocents (intentionally and/or regularly), then you are evil. If you protect innocents (as much as you are able), then you are good. Neutral help those they care about and harm those that they hate, but generally don't step in one way or another to aid or harm random innocents.

So the question you have to ask is, are innocents being harmed by the deliberate actions of the being? If the answer is yes, they are evil. If the answer is no they are being helped, then the answer is they are good. If the answer is innocents are not being dealt with at all, then they are neutral. And remember, the answer to this is not what the being believes the answer is but what the universal forces know the answer to be.

Part of the problem with doing research for polygamy is comparing legal traditional to illegal polygamy. Of course if the act is illegal it is going to be related to higher incidents of illegal activity. This has less to do with the institution itself and more with the people willing to participate in an illegal activity. Also the cases that are most likely to be seeing by the public at large are the ones with drastic abusive practices as those are the ones that are statistically more likely to be noticed by the authorities. So first you'd need to remove the criminal punish to the activity, so that those that are "good" actors can come out into the light and present as statistically significant practitioners.

Of course one could examine countries where the practice is legal. Yet in that case you'd have to compare the practice to other marriage situations within the country itself. That is you can't compare legal polygamy as practiced in say Libya with legal traditional marriage in the U.S. There are so many other cultural differences between the two that abuses might seem the fault of polygamy, but may instead be due to the larger culture. So you'd have to compare traditional marriage in Libya to legal polygamy in Libya and see if there is a great chance of abuse. It may be that there is no statistically significant difference between the two.

EDIT: As to public support, I just saw a stat that said support has gone from 5% in 2006 to 16% now. That is a more than 3x increase in less than 10 years.

thejeff wrote:
pres man wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
pres man wrote:
It is starting.
... and in a week, it will be finishing. The local clerk will deny the application, Mr. Collier will sue and lose at the first round, and continue to lose for as far as he can push the appeal.

Sounds a lot like Baker v. Nelson. And we saw that ultimately didn't stop the same-sex marriage movement. So I would not be so confident that it will be "finished" anytime soon. Sure there will be lots of loses along the way, but ultimately the fundamental rights of marriage, recognition, and respect can not be oppressed forever. Obergefell v. Hodges just proved that.

EDIT: But more accurately, the current era of plural marriage rights actually began when part of Utah's cohabitation law was found unconstitutional. This is more akin to when the SCOTUS found sodomy laws unconstitutional.

It's possible. At this point, as I've said before, regardless of the legal theory involved, the public support isn't there. Win the public support and the legal theory will follow.

If they follow the same-sex marriage movement, they will first have to get all of the laws prosecuting these relationships to be deemed unconstitutional. You'll hear a lot of, "We don't need government recognition, we just don't want to be prosecuted for living our lives how we want." Once that is done, then they will start looking at getting some marriage type rights for the non-officially married "spouses". With a final call for full marriage rights. It certainly take awhile to get all of this done, but not nearly as long as it took for same-sex marriage, since the road has already been plowed. The public has already accepted that consenting adults should be able to form relationships without government interference.

@Orfamay Quest: Child welfare is irrelevant to the issue since it has been proven that marriage isn't about children. That argument has been dismissed, thus you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

Orfamay Quest wrote:
pres man wrote:
It is starting.
... and in a week, it will be finishing. The local clerk will deny the application, Mr. Collier will sue and lose at the first round, and continue to lose for as far as he can push the appeal.

Sounds a lot like Baker v. Nelson. And we saw that ultimately didn't stop the same-sex marriage movement. So I would not be so confident that it will be "finished" anytime soon. Sure there will be lots of loses along the way, but ultimately the fundamental rights of marriage, recognition, and respect can not be oppressed forever. Obergefell v. Hodges just proved that.

EDIT: But more accurately, the current era of plural marriage rights actually began when part of Utah's cohabitation law was found unconstitutional. This is more akin to when the SCOTUS found sodomy laws unconstitutional.

It is starting.

As others have touched on, the reason why the so called "marriage equality" advocates do not wish to show support for plural marriage is due to the nature of the majority of the people that live in these relationships. The majority of these relationships are religious in nature (most often fundamental Mormons or Muslims).

Due to the rocky relationship between marriage equality advocates and religious individuals, it should not be any surprise that marriage equality advocates are not willing to fight for a group of religious individuals' marriage rights.

I believe Roberts did discuss the historical aspects of plural marriage. I think the idea of a marriage being between a man and woman historically had to do with the idea that while a man might have several wives, each one is bound to him by an individual marriage. There is not one marriage that binds all the people to each other. So if a man had three wives, he also had three marriages, one for each wife. So each individual marriage was between a man and a woman, thus Roberts was factually correct. This was because in most societies historically same-sex people couldn't marry each other. So different wives couldn't be married to each other, even if they were already married to the same man.

The allowance of same-sex marriages changes that dynamic and allows (obviously not legally ... yet) a group to form a single marriage, as there is no reason that same-sex partners couldn't be married to each other as well as to opposite-sex partners.

thejeff wrote:

What constituency? Does the movement for same sex marriage even claim to be in favor of polygamous marriage? Has public opinion changed in favor of poly marriage?

You are right, they are as morally upstanding as those that supported interracial marriage, but looked down on same-sex marriage. Well that is until others made it popular to support it, then they changed their tune.

There is no constituency with enough political and legal clout to get it done? You mean there is no constituency with enough influence to overturn the current marriage system? I guess I just dreamed the last week's decision and this entire thread, but I could have sworn that there is in fact a very large constituency with enough influence to get this done if they would actually stand for what they say they believe. But hey, they got theirs right, so why bother.

Lord Snow wrote:
Just to throw one example in the air, say you have a group of four splitting into one group of two and two other groups of one. There are six kids, all of whom have been raised communally by the whole group, such that four have one parent in the couple that stayed together and on in one of the individuals who set on their own way, and two are of the individuals who went separately. Both the couple and the two individuals each wants possession of as many kids as they can get. Now on top of the children conundrum say that the group lived in two apartments in the same floor of the same building (essentially owning that floor) and three cars and a trust fund to get the kids through college and...

Currently I have three parents. One mother, one father, and one stepmother. If my father and stepmother were to get divorced, then my stepmother would have no legal standing for a parental relationship with me. So in your example, there is a two parents and two step-parents. Once the marriage is dissolved the step-parents can feel like they have a relationship with the children that have no biological connection to them, but they would not have any legal standing for such. We already handle this. Likewise, I would not have any legal claim upon my stepmother after a divorce, so she would not be required to contribute to a college fund or some such.

Three cars and four adults? How about two adults and one car? Again, we already handle this. Divorces are messy, that is why we give judges latitude to handle the specifics, because as you say it is too difficult to write a law that covers every situation.

We already have pre-nuptial law, why not make this a requirement for plural marriage. Also this court decision changes things. Before if you had one man and three women involved (the "traditional western" version of plural marriage), you had to have three marriages. The women couldn't be married to each other, instead each one was individually married to the man. Now we can have one marriage for all of them since women can now marry women. This means that the marriage must be agreed upon by all parties.

Saying the legal can't handle that is silly. We have multiple owners of businesses and sometimes someone wants to leave (usually get bought out) or some owners want to bring in a new owner (either the whole group agrees or those that don't get bought out). We handle that type of thing already. I fail to see a big difference.

Also there is something distasteful for people to claim that some people should have their rights withheld because it causes some paperwork difficulty. People are being harmed right now because we as a society can't get past our own prejudices and get our act together. I don't expect proponents of "traditional marriage" to embrace plural marriage, but those that say they support polyamorous relationships and also same-sex marriages (i.e. non-"traditional marriage") should be ashamed of themselves for not supporting plural marriage (if they don't of course).

When history looks back on them, they will be no more noble than those that stood against mixed race marriages.

It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy

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Ultimately the religious bakers and florists should probably get out of the wedding business if that is too big of problem for them. They can always sell "tiered cakes" and not "wedding cakes" and "party arrangements" and not "wedding arrangements".

BigNorseWolf wrote:
pres man wrote:
I just had this crazy thought that it might be made of Valyrian steel and they could be melted down and reforged the steel into weapons (like they did with Ice) and give the South a large number of weapons to fight the walkers.

Unfortunately no.

Tywin lanister had trouble buying one. Noble houses pass them down from generation to generation and he couldn't find a house willing to sell there's at a price he could afford. I think there's about 30 in the country.

And what better way to show the power and wealth of the king than him sitting on a pile of it?

Like I said, it was a crazy thought.

I just had this crazy thought that it might be made of Valyrian steel and they could be melted down and reforged the steel into weapons (like they did with Ice) and give the South a large number of weapons to fight the walkers.

I have a question. The swords the iron throne is made up of, what type of metal are they?

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When someone else is taking a turn and he starts talking, put your hand up to the person's turn it is in a show of having them stop and stare at the guy speaking out of turn. Continue doing so without saying anything until he stops. Then turn back to the person's turn it is and ask them to continue. Repeat.

If he asks why you keep doing that, let him know that you find it hard to concentrate on the person who is speaking with him talking/playing music, etc.

Doesn't look like they burned him. Would be kind of ironic if zombie Snow had to choke a runt.

Didn't Mel promise Stannis a son? Given her powers, she is likely to be able to fulfill that promise (perhaps one of the reasons he was willing to sacrifice Shireen). Sansa can't give him that kind of guarantee. I think if Stannis takes Winterfell, he is going to put everyone to the sword (Bolton, Stark, guilty, innocent, man, woman, child) given the sacrifice he made he is not going to be inclined to pick and choose.

I don't think we know how far the brotherhood without banners is.

Ramsay kills Walda, blames it on Sansa.

Bolton cuts Sansa's throat and tosses her in a river.

Brienne drags her body out of the river and has her resurrected.

Sansa becomes Lady Stoneheart.

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GM Thinking: I have statted out a group of thugs in town that the party will have to deal with.

Party: We are done in this town, we are going to leave and head to the mountain area.

*GM erases some words and writes new ones in*
GM Thinking: I have statted out a group of highwaymen that the party will have to deal with.

Ironic timing.

A guy who is seen speaking in a degrading manner about homosexual individuals is then shown wanting to exploit/assault under-aged girls.

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Jodokai wrote:
pres man wrote:
This is how I imagine games go for those people that can't differentiate the GM from the NPCs.
This his how I imagine games go for those people that use a GMPC

Just be glad it is not this.

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I think Dany is

going to go let the kids out.

Also it is harder for the Boltons to attack and burn them down if they make landfall north of the wall than south.

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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Thanks for that pres. Perfectly chosen link, massive respect.

Well it was either that one or this one. LOL

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This is how I imagine games go for those people that can't differentiate the GM from the NPCs.

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I personally pity any player that confuses me the GM with Thog, the full orc CG cleric.

The good news is Americans over estimate percentages of the population that fit verious demographics. So if said groups are "over exposed" in a gaming product the population probably won't even notice.

Looks clear.

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Also there is something deliciously ironic about someone assuming everyone in the group was 100% lying when they agreed to the GM running a GMPC, but were 100% honest when they agreed with someone complaining about GMPCs. Isn't it possible that someone didn't really care either way and just agreed either way in order to not make waves?

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Jodokai wrote:
If you're a GM who has a character that goes around with the party and consistently fights their battles with them, most players aren't going to like it.

Let's say "many" not "most". It might be a majority, it might be a majority in one corner of the gaming community, or it might not be a majority at all. Since we have no valid way to measure it, lets avoid claims that it is absolutely a majority and just agree that it would bother a significant portion of the gaming community.

And yes, there is a preference from many gamers that GMs and players should keep their roles separate. I, myself, don't quite understand that viewpoint, but then I am more of a beer and pretzels type of gamer. I want to hang out with people I like and do fun stuff. I'm not looking to play a versus type of game most of the time.

Jodokai wrote:
They'll put up with it, and may even tell you they're okay with it, but most of the time, they're really not. They only do it because you're the GM, none of them want to GM, and if they make you mad you might stop GM'ing.

Look, I will be honest here. Anytime I hear something like this it strikes me as a "backfire effect" comment. The "backfire effect" is one someone who holds a strongly held opinion is faced with data (notice I am not saying proof or truth or fact) that contradicts that opinion. In some cases instead of reevaluating their opinion with the new data they try to dismiss the data. That is what this looks like to me. GMs and players that said they had good experience are being told, "You are too stupid to be aware that the players hated the experience and didn't want to upset you by telling you."

There are some groups that do in fact ask for GMPCs to be included without the GM suggesting it. There are groups that will go out of their way to resurrect a GMPC, despite the GM suggesting they not bother. Different groups have different ways of having fun.

Jodokai wrote:
I would bet 9 times out of 10 if someone did a hidden poll and the GM would never find out who voted what, there would be none of those GM run characters around.

I would bet that 2-3 people would say get rid of it, 2-3 people say keep the damn thing I love it, and 4-6 would say "Huh?" Of course there is no way to take a valid sample, so let's drop it how about?

Jodokai wrote:
Think of the difference between what I would call "Good" NPC's and "Bad" NPC's as in Dragon Age: Origin the dwarves Bodahn and Sandal are good NPC's, the dwarf Oghren would be a bad NPC.

Haven't played the game, could you give some context?

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The Last Ringbearer was indeed surprisingly good. It made me want to run a campaign where the heroes were monsterous races and the bad guys were the traditional races.

There can be DMPCs that are badly done under my definition, but they would be badly done like PCs are badly done.

Using DMPC to describe a character that is not in way, shape, or fashion like a PC at all would be like telling someone there is a dangerous dog out there only to come to find out they are talking about an alligator. Terminology means something and it just doesn't seem to make any logical sense to me to use a term, PC, to describe something that doesn't remotely match the way the term is typically used.

And I am not changing definitions, this is the definition I have used for more than a decade. I understand if others do not want to change their definition. I am merely showing why my definition is logically derived.

Non sequitur?

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DrDeth wrote:

I agree that "The above quote is a good starting point.." actually it's a excellent starting point. But sadly, DMPCs can and have been more powerful than a standard party member. of course then, they are almost always BAD DMPCs, but again, what we're doing here is defining the term DMPC (hey, I am a grognard so I get to use DMPC, OK? ;-) so that Bad DMPCs arent DMPCs at all.

But certainly there can be Bad DMPCs and Good DMPCs.

It would depend on what you mean by "bad DMPCs", if you mean a badly run character that in no way, shape, or form resembles a PC at all, then yes following my definition such does not exist. A DMPC to my thinking is a "DM run character that is a pseudo-PC". If it looks nothing like a PC, it can't in my mind be labeled a DMPC. Now if by "bad DMPCs" you mean a character that is equivalent in power and standing as a standard PC, but is run very poorly, then sure those exist. There are also poorly/badly run normal PCs as well as I am sure we are all aware of.

Now I am not saying that there aren't very badly run DM controlled characters, certainly they are. But if they don't resemble PCs in power and scope, then they shouldn't be described as DMPCs, using my definition. Perhaps a phrase like Abusive NPC or DM's Pet NPC or some such would be more appropriate.

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*cracks knuckles* Okay let's do this.

What is a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

"Allies come in two types: ... The latter function as party members and earn a full share of experience points and treasure just as any other character does. Essentially, these latter allies are adventurers who just happen not to be controlled by players. They differ from cohorts and hirelings (see below), who work directly for the PCs."
(3.5 DMG, p. 104)

The above quote is a good starting point for understanding what I view as a GMPC. Generally, if you didn't know it was the GM running the character and couldn't distinguish it then from any other PC, then it would be a GMPC. What does this mean? It means that the character would be built using the same character generation rules as the rest of the PCs (wealth, abilities, class choices, etc). This also means the character can't be played as if it has information about things it shouldn't have.

What isn't a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

A character that demonstrates abilities not inline with the PCs (either too strong or too weak) and/or demonstrates knowledge not inline with what PCs could have. Also a character that benefits more than the PCs from loot and storyline considerations. The basic idea is if the character doesn't resemble how PC would be built or run, then it can not be a GMPC because it doesn't match a PC at all. This means that most of the "GMPC"s that people complain about aren't GMPCs by my definition, because they don't resemble PCs in any way, shape, or fashion. If it can't be confused with a PC, it can't then be a GMPC.

How should a GM run a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

The GMPC should be a support character, there as an equal party member but as not the team leader. Most likely the GMPC should find itself either in the back of the marching order or in the middle, but not in the front. This means GMPCs shouldn't be scouts and trapfinders. If a party lacks a trapfinder, a GM should consider if including the traps even makes sense (Example where a trap might not make sense.) as a lot of times traps are included in illogical places and only there for a rogue type to have something to do.

The advantage of not being a party leader or scout as it avoids much of the concern of metagaming people have. If you are not in the front it is likely that someone else will walk into a trap before you get the chance, no conflict with ingame/outgame knowledge. If someone else decides a guard should be mind-controlled, again no conflict. That doesn't mean the character should be standing there passively waiting for orders, but the character should be clearly a "beta-(fe)male" type of character.

Why doesn't the above make the character inherently un-PCish? (according to pres_man)

Let's be clear, there is no one way for people to play. Some people play very Alpha characters, always pushing the party in directions they want to go. Often "suggesting" feat and equipment choices to others. Always looking to get the best gear for their character, no matter if such gear might benefit one of their party members better. Yet, not everyone plays this or wants to play this way. Many people rather take a supporting role and see the party as what is important. This means they might make suggestions, but are fine not making the final decision (basically the difference of a Spock vs. Kirk mentality). Because players and their PCs can be support, this means if a GMPC is played this way they are still being played in a way that a PC could be. This doesn't make them un-PCish, merely not an Alpha PC type.

Aren't GMPCs just NPCs? (according to pres_man)

Well technically yes, of course any character not controlled by the PCs is a NPC (and some that are might also be NPCs; familiars, mounts, cohorts, followers, etc). A GMPC as mentioned above is a special type of NPC ally, one that functions ingame (and outgame mechanically) identical to a PC. Most other NPCs do not function this way. But yes, technically a GMPC is an NPC.

GMs can't have the same experience as true players, right? (according to pres_man)

First off, let me point out that I have been discussing GMPCs, the characters, not GMs, the people running the characters. Yes of course a GM is going to have a different gaming experience running a GMPC than a true player will have running a PC. This is not relevant to the description of a GMPC though, nor to its use ingame. Experience players have different game experiences than novice players as well, we don't say their characters are not PCs because of this. GMs experience running the character, how attached the GM is to the character, or any other of a number of emotional issues are irrelevant to whether a character is a GMPC. All that matters is the character is treated ingame (and mechanically out of game) as an other PC. This means that if the GM "cheats" to keep the character alive, they should be "cheating" for all of the other PCs as well. If they are not, then the character is not a GMPC. If the GM puts specific loot for the GMPC, then they should be putting specific loot for the other PCs, otherwise it is not a GMPC.

Isn't metagaming always bad? (according to pres_man)

First we need to define what we mean by metagaming. I think how most people are using it we said it means using out of game knowledge to influence (usually to the benefit) the actions of a character in game. This is not always a bad thing. Consider when a player loses a character, this means the player has to sit out. But if they quickly make a new character and want to bring them into the group, it is often beneficial for the players to use metagame knowledge smooth over the introduction of the new character. Making the player sit out longer because, "we don't have any reason to trust this stranger", while perhaps good "role-playing" is poor gaming. It is also good metagaming for the GM to take into consideration the party make up when designing loot on occasion. A holy avenger isn't going to do a lot of good in a party without a paladin, you might as well drop more gp. While a monk might like to see some monk weapons on occasion (almost never included in random loot).

The way to avoid bad metagaming is to (1) avoid putting the character in a situation where you have to metagame (see above about avoiding being a leader or scout) and (2) develop a distinct personality and mode of behavior for the character. If the character never searches for secret doors unless another party member asks them to help, then it will not be metagaming for them not to search when the GM knows there is a secret door. When it comes to information in game, the default for all characters should be, "Why would they know that?" This goes for a PC encountering a troll for the first time as well as a GMPC arriving at a new town and looking for a contact.

Does the GMPC always end up being center to the story? (according to pres_man)

Well if you are running a module or AP, probably not unless you are using a provided NPC as the GMPC. But for more homebrewed games, this is a problem common with the GM's significant other or close friend playing as well. Why? Because those people and the GM tend to discuss the game out of play time much more than your standard player and the GM. The GM then has a better idea about what they find interesting and what connections can be made to the story. The solution to this isn't to tell the GM to get rid of the GMPC or make their friends and significant others not play.

No the solution is to interact more with the GM and give them more ideas about what you would like to see happen with the story related to your character. If you want your paladin to get that holy avenger tell the GM that and ask that they work it into the plot. Maybe the party could help someone and it is given as a reward at some point. You want a pegasus as mount, but don't want to take leadership, then ask your GM about it.

I know as a GM, I am always looking for ways to make games click better with the characters. Saying your character only cares about killing things and buying better gear is not all that helpful for developing a story. Also since you don't care why you are killing stuff or buying gear, then you shouldn't probably complain when it is around the story of the GMPC (or the GM's girlfriend's character).

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I think I figured out the problem, and the problem is language.

You say, "you cannot help us solve it" and yet you acknowledge the (undesirable to you) possibility of a mentor or tutor relationship, which as I am sure we all realize do help people to solve problems. The key there is that it is the people, and not the tutor/mentor that are solving the problems.

What you mean to say is not, "you cannot help us solve it", but instead "you cannot solve the problem WITH us." You want someone that gets equal enjoyment at the specific problem being solved as you do instead of vicarious enjoyment.

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BigDTBone wrote:
You dont have the option of "Help me figure out stuff"

Why not? You have yet to clarify what is wrong with that position.

Again, have you ever tutored someone before? This is the common practice, you don't tell them the answer and you don't just sit silently. There are other options.

Again, if a player is just plain ignorant or the GM is being willfully ignorant, how is the party more harmed in the latter case than the former?

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I guess I am confused here. A PC that doesn't know what is going to happen, just because the player doesn't know, is function identical to a GMPC that doesn't know what is going to happen because the GM chooses not to have the character know. In both cases the characters don't know. You don't punish players for being incidentally ignorant, I fail to see the issue for a GM being willfully ignorant. The party is no worse off in either case.

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As for the GM knowing all about what is going to happen, maybe I might expose you to the phrase, "The best plotted adventure never survives contact with the players."

Your emphasis is on "player" while mine is on "character". This is where the disconnect is. I am not saying the GM can be a fully realized player, you can't "solve" your own riddle for example. But the character, since the GMPC is a character I would think this is the relevant part, can be a fully engaged part of the party.

Let me clear though, as a player only, if I already know the answer to a riddle, I do not give the answer. Does that make me dead weight if I would rather the other players get an opportunity to figure it out? If as a player I am already familiar with a module/AP and I don't tell everyone where to go, what to get, who to trust and not trust, etc., does that make me dead weight? If as a player we come across a creature whose weaknesses and strengths I am familiar with (perhaps I have encountered it before in another game or run it in a game before), and I don't use that information for my own or my party's benefit, does that make me dead weight?

What I do do is give hints to my fellow players ("What do they mean by 'Speak Friend and enter'?"). I go over details we have already encountered. Basically I act to give those that don't know the details a chance to discover them. Seeing gaming to me isn't about "winning". I don't have to be the one that solves the puzzle. When the group solves it, I still get the benefit. I don't approach gaming from a "ME" standpoint but an "US" standpoint both as a player and a GM.

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If my character doesn't typically search for hidden levers, why would my character start to do so when I the GM know there is actually a hidden lever? And since my character doesn't normally search for hidden levers, why would his not searching for the one in this case cause the party to view him or me as "dead weight" all of a sudden? Play the character, not the player.

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Those of us who have tutored in areas of study like mathematics often know the best way to get someone to find an answer isn't (1) to tell them the answer outright or (2) say nothing. And I would hardly say that tutors are "deadweight". I think you might be holding all players and PCs to a specific standard that isn't valid when you say, "full-on party members". Certainly different players are active in different amounts when different aspects of the game are in play. Not everyone has to be Sherlock for them to be contributing members.

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So a party member that doesn't know the answer must be deadweight?

Could the GMPC be responsible for inventorying the clues up to that point for the group? That seems like an asset to any party trying to solve a puzzle and one extremely suited for a GMPC.

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Who knew I had super-human capabilities?

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I remember having a conversation about DMPCs (it was on Wizards' site, back during the height of 3.5 days) and this fellow poster said that DMPCs knew everything that the DM knew. In fact, he went further and said that every single NPC knew everything that the DM knew by default. It was up to the DM to remove certain knowledge from the NPC, and that it was very likely the DM would forget to remove some knowledge from the DMPC and that is why they couldn't work. I mentioned that it seemed more logical to approach NPCs as knowing nothing and then adding what knowledge they should have. That way if you forget to add in something, there is little harm.

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I do find the whole, "The GMPC might have to interact with another NPC and that is just GM mental masturbation," idea a bit strange. I mean are there never two or more relevant NPCs "on stage" at the same time? A king, the queen, and the councilor? A general and his XO? Or is it always one "talker" NPC and a bunch of mooks?

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