Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

This mentality of OP wizards in 3rd, 4th, 5th...


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

401 to 449 of 449 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>
Andoran

Steve Geddes wrote:

I kind of take people wanting to play as a given. I don't think it's a DM duty at all.

The DM has a world with things happening in it, the players have characters. Hooks help them get interested in what's happening. It sounds halfwayish to me and I don't understand the comment I quoted.

Could not disagree more. The GM's job is to make the world interesting so people want to play.

If the players aren't interested in the world and if their characters don't have hooks that make them want to do something to interact with the world, the campaign isn't going to last very long, because the players aren't going to care.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That's what I think too, so I have no idea what we're disagreeing about (let alone that it would be impossible to disagree more).

Nevermind, it's not terribly important, I suspect.

Andoran

You said "I kind of take people wanting to play as a given. I don't think it's a DM duty at all."


Arnwyn wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
I'm also curious for those who believe that rail roads in tabletop gaming are boring or bad, what is your opinion of adventure paths, which are basically railroad-incarnate (save, arguably, Kingmaker)?

Adventure Paths (or any adventure module, really) are not railroads. They are published detailed interlinked events and scenarios that may or may not occur depending on the players' choices.

As ciretose says, hopefully the AP is presented in such a manner that the players are invested enough that they care about these events and scenarios, and make decisions that will lead to the next event that would logically occur based on the "most likely" actions of the PCs and NPCs involved (which is what an AP is).

But the players don't have to.

Therefore, not a railroad.

(Some people are grossly misrepresenting what a "railroad" is. A railroad is an event or sequence of events that will occur regardless of the decisions the players make. While one can make an AP a railroad, a GM doing his/her job means that an AP isn't one - he/she will have logical events occur based on the PCs' actions. That may require additional work from the GM... nothing new there and welcome to GMing.)

Are you saying that adventure paths do not make assumptions as to the players' course of action? There's no real reason for them to say, "The players must do this, or else!" That doesn't serve any purpose. But the reality is that if the players do make certain decisions that run counter to the assumptions of the adventure path, the later adventures in the path will rapidly lose relevance. Not to mention, of course, suddenly putting the responsibility of developing the adventures in the DM's hands, which is a significant amount of work (something that many DMs turn to adventure paths to avoid).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Quote:
You said "I kind of take people wanting to play as a given. I don't think it's a DM duty at all."

Yeah - I meant that the demand is there. The people who turn up for the game are there because they want to play - the DM isnt required to generate that demand, he tries to meet a pre-existing demand. If the game doesnt suit the players, they'll still want to play, just not in the DM's game. (Unless it's really bad, I suppose).

I think the DM should try and construct a world and a story which grabs the players, interesting both him and them, which is what I think "meeting halfway" means - creating hooks that will pique the player's interests in the DM's creation. (Hence my original puzzlement at "If your players have to meet you halfway, you aren't doing a very good job creating hooks.").

As I said though, it's not terribly important.


Josh M. wrote:
So when the players make a decision as to what their characters would do, and if it doesn't fall right in line with the pre-plotted script, that's "refusing to meet halfway?" Um, wouldn't forcing the players to go down a path that their character may not be willing to go down be the same? Not every plot hook is a winner, and if they are not interested, then they just are not interested. When that happens, have fun forcing players into an adventure they wanted nothing to do with. It's not fun.

You are persistently misrepresenting my position. You seem convinced (or like to pretend that you're convinced) that what I advocate is a rigid, utterly inflexible game structure that allows for no player creativity of any kind, or any expression of an individual character's will. That is not my position. I'm not going to respond to the rest of your post (or even the above, in any greater capacity) because I'm going to let you reconsider what you are saying.

When you consistently try to tell someone that they do something a particular way without any personal familiarity with how they do it, despite them telling you that what you believe to be the case is not at all true, something is wrong. You are pushing for a point that should not be made. Reevaluate what you're arguing over, then come back and respond.


Steve Geddes wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If your players have to meet you halfway, you aren't doing a very good job creating hooks.
Isn't creating decent hooks for your adventures pretty much what "meeting your players halfway" means?

Bingo.

I explained what was meant. There shouldn't be any confusion. Anyone saying things like, "If you have to ask your players to meet you halfway, you're not doing it right," is either neglecting to read what people write, or is deliberately tossing out rhetoric to troll.

Meeting your DM halfway does not necessarily mean that you choose to bite onto hooks that your character would otherwise ignore. Ideally, the DM (and the adventure) will offer a number of overlapping hooks, both short- and long-term, that encourages all the characters in the party to continue along the path of the campaign.

What meeting the DM halfway does mean is that if the DM tells you, "We're going to play a campaign that is best-suited to a group of non-evil adventurers," you think long and hard about whether it's a good idea to play an evil PC, because you've been told ahead of time that the motivations and hooks that arise will not be geared towards that type of character.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Also, I give you again the example of when a bunch of PCs are at the beginning of the Age of Worms AP - literally at the entrance to the first dungeon - and then refuse to go in. That's not crap DMing, that's destructive behaviour by players. If you say "We are playing Age of Worms" and then the players refuse to play ball for no real reason - because they hadn't even played it enough to get bored, they simply didn't play it - they are making life deliberately hard for the DM and, frankly, doing themselves out of a cool experience (that initial dungeon, anyway). Most PC behaviour won't be that extreme, but there should be a general acceptance as to the overall goal of the game.

That doesn't mean the players have to follow the every dodgy whim and hook of the DM by any means. It doesn't mean that PCs have to do what is against the inclinations or interests of their character. But there is a basic understanding that the guy behind the screen has prepared something and put the effort in before today's session, so dicking him around is probably bad manners. The rest - how free the campaign is in terms of plotting, how divergent the plot is allowed to go, and so on - is down to playstyle and the compact between DM and players.

Andoran

Scott Betts wrote:


Bingo.

I explained what was meant. There shouldn't be any confusion. Anyone saying things like, "If you have to ask your players to meet you halfway, you're not doing it right," is either neglecting to read what people write, or is deliberately tossing out rhetoric to troll.

Or we don't agree with you.

There is a big difference between telling your players "This is the setting and these are they types of players that fit the setting" at the outset of a campaign and "You've got to meet me halfway and go into that dungeon even if it makes no sense to you." at various points throughout the campaign. The very first module of the very first AP had a completely optional dungeon, not to mention tons of side quest optional suggestions.

And back on the topic you keep forgetting you started and seem to be trying to run away from, it also means that if they players choose to delay or act in ways that would likely lead to negative outcomes based on the outline, they can get a very different outcome.

So when your Wizard says "I'm out of spells, and now that we've seen exactly what we are facing let's leave and come back when I've memorized all the right spells" the reasonable GM would have the bad guys say "Wow, we almost got taken out by those adventurers before they retreated, better adjust our plans to be ready for them, since we've seen them and know they are coming back."

Andoran

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Also, I give you again the example of when a bunch of PCs are at the beginning of the Age of Worms AP - literally at the entrance to the first dungeon - and then refuse to go in.

I would actually say it is crap GMing.

I haven't run Age of Worms, but I would assume there is some back story or reason PCs would want to go in the dungeon. And if there isn't, your job as GM is to create motivations for the characters.

That is your job. If you can't get your players excited about doing something in the game, that isn't on the players, that is on the GM.

I GM more often than I play at this point, and creating hooks is not hard if you listen to your players back story and work it in.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd say that yes, the GM has some responsiblity for making the games interesting, but I'd also say that the beginning of a campaign is one of the hardest things to do effectively. As such, most players who aren't complete jerkasses usually take the GM's hints and come up with some reason why their character should join the group / go to the dungeon / ect. Yeah, you can be a jerkass and say "I'm not going!"...but you're only robbing yourself of the fun of the adventure. After all, if you are really in the game only to sit in a tavern and do nothing...why bother with having the rules at all? Frankly, if I was a GM and the players were determined not to go on the adventure, I'd wrap it up by telling them they all lived boring lives and died of old age, and probably ask then not to say they were here to play the game unless they actually wanted to play the game.


ciretose wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Also, I give you again the example of when a bunch of PCs are at the beginning of the Age of Worms AP - literally at the entrance to the first dungeon - and then refuse to go in.

I would actually say it is crap GMing.

I haven't run Age of Worms, but I would assume there is some back story or reason PCs would want to go in the dungeon. And if there isn't, your job as GM is to create motivations for the characters.

That is your job. If you can't get your players excited about doing something in the game, that isn't on the players, that is on the GM.

I GM more often than I play at this point, and creating hooks is not hard if you listen to your players back story and work it in.

Before they(the players) even sit down to play they are told they are going to investigate a place to get treasure*. They(the players) should know before before they even make characters that the place they are going to is dangerous. I ran it, and I told my players up front. I also normally give my players a general idea of how difficult an adventure may be.

*At least that is how I read the intent of the author when I ran AoW(Age of Worms) anyway.

Either the players were not paying attention or the GM did a bad job of giving them enough info up front.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kthulhu wrote:
Yeah, you can be a jerkass and say "I'm not going!"

That's when the GM should hand him a blank character sheet and say "Then make a character that will." :)

Assuming, of course, that this is the beginning of a campaign and the starting premiss that a group of adventurers have gathered to explore a dungeon. Later in the campaign, if one character doesn't think it's a good idea to explore a particular dungeon, that's for the characters to discuss ICly.


Scott Betts wrote:
Josh M. wrote:
So when the players make a decision as to what their characters would do, and if it doesn't fall right in line with the pre-plotted script, that's "refusing to meet halfway?" Um, wouldn't forcing the players to go down a path that their character may not be willing to go down be the same? Not every plot hook is a winner, and if they are not interested, then they just are not interested. When that happens, have fun forcing players into an adventure they wanted nothing to do with. It's not fun.

You are persistently misrepresenting my position. You seem convinced (or like to pretend that you're convinced) that what I advocate is a rigid, utterly inflexible game structure that allows for no player creativity of any kind, or any expression of an individual character's will. That is not my position. I'm not going to respond to the rest of your post (or even the above, in any greater capacity) because I'm going to let you reconsider what you are saying.

When you consistently try to tell someone that they do something a particular way without any personal familiarity with how they do it, despite them telling you that what you believe to be the case is not at all true, something is wrong. You are pushing for a point that should not be made. Reevaluate what you're arguing over, then come back and respond.

You advocate "the illusion of choice." To me, that's about as rigid as it gets, just shy of handing out scripts. I dunno, maybe my players are just wildly different from yours. The instant someone in my groups gets a hint that nothing they do actually matters(most of them are DM's, much more experienced than I), and the game is going to happen a certain way regardless of their intentions, they leave. And I don't blame them. Maybe you just have really laid back, or even submissive players who are just along for the ride. Maybe my players are bull-headed pricks with entitlement issues. Who knows.

Let me ask you a serious question, no jabs or assumptions intended; do you predominantly run AP's, or do you ever homebrew? If you run APs/modules most of the time, I can kind of see where you favor "embracing the rails."

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Well this thread certainly went places.

Andoran

wraithstrike wrote:


Before they(the players) even sit down to play they are told they are going to investigate a place to get treasure*. They(the players) should know before before they even make characters that the place they are going to is dangerous. I ran it, and I told my players up front. I also normally give my players a general idea of how difficult an adventure may be.

*At least that is how I read the intent of the author when I ran AoW(Age of Worms) anyway.

Either the players were not paying attention or the GM did a bad job of giving them enough info up front.

If that is the hook, it shouldn't be hard to explain. If you can't get the players to make a group that wants treasure...

Paizo APs are easy since they have the players guide. Homebrew I usually discuss which setting they want to start in then have everyone talk to each other about backstories to make sure the group has a reason to be a group and stay together. T

Making the group want to do something is my job as GM.


Scott Betts wrote:
Josh M. wrote:
So when the players make a decision as to what their characters would do, and if it doesn't fall right in line with the pre-plotted script, that's "refusing to meet halfway?" Um, wouldn't forcing the players to go down a path that their character may not be willing to go down be the same? Not every plot hook is a winner, and if they are not interested, then they just are not interested. When that happens, have fun forcing players into an adventure they wanted nothing to do with. It's not fun.

You are persistently misrepresenting my position. You seem convinced (or like to pretend that you're convinced) that what I advocate is a rigid, utterly inflexible game structure that allows for no player creativity of any kind, or any expression of an individual character's will. That is not my position. I'm not going to respond to the rest of your post (or even the above, in any greater capacity) because I'm going to let you reconsider what you are saying.

When you consistently try to tell someone that they do something a particular way without any personal familiarity with how they do it, despite them telling you that what you believe to be the case is not at all true, something is wrong. You are pushing for a point that should not be made. Reevaluate what you're arguing over, then come back and respond.

From the way I read your post certain things, but not everything, will happen in your games anyway. That it the illusion of choice you were talking about.

I think others are saying that nothing is set in stone in their games. That is what the example with the ritual taking place, if the PC's waste too much time, was referring to.

If that is not what you meant then I am lost as to what you meant.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well this thread certainly went places.

Something about wizards, conductor hats, I dunno.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The entire issue was that Scott said that changing things if PCs delay was unfair and wrong.

The delay was so that the casters could stop to recharge, pick new spells, etc...

We were pointing out that in our games, delay has consequences. Scott was saying that it doesn't.


ciretose wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Before they(the players) even sit down to play they are told they are going to investigate a place to get treasure*. They(the players) should know before before they even make characters that the place they are going to is dangerous. I ran it, and I told my players up front. I also normally give my players a general idea of how difficult an adventure may be.

*At least that is how I read the intent of the author when I ran AoW(Age of Worms) anyway.

Either the players were not paying attention or the GM did a bad job of giving them enough info up front.

If that is the hook, it shouldn't be hard to explain. If you can't get the players to make a group that wants treasure...

That is why I was surprised the players did not go into the dungeon. To give more background on the intro. At least one PC should be from a major city, and the rest are in some dirt poor town. The PC(s) from the city hear about the treasure and contact the ones in the poor town, and say we are coming to visit. There are riches to be had. <--Those are not the exact words, but it is the general message.


ciretose wrote:

The entire issue was that Scott said that changing things if PCs delay was unfair and wrong.

The delay was so that the casters could stop to recharge, pick new spells, etc...

We were pointing out that in our games, delay has consequences. Scott was saying that it doesn't.

...which ties back into the wizards(insert other casters as needed) being OP because if a GM allows them to rest at will then that GM will have more trouble dealing with them than someone that does not.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
If that is the hook, it shouldn't be hard to explain. If you can't get the players to make a group that wants treasure...

Yup, that's kind-of my point, really. It isn't hard to explain. I wasn't there but I expect it was explained, given the trivialty of doing so. So there really is no other reason not to go down the dungeon, other than perversity on the side of the players. You can't blame that on the DM, other than maybe poor choice of people he associates with. (Actually, the DM in question thought this was great, but he was using it to explain that APs in general are crap as he had issues with Paizo.)

But the broader point is that playing D&D is a social thing involving give and take between players, including the DM. The DM is entitled to enjoy himself too. In the end, giving players what they want is the main pleasure. But there are other aspects, including story-telling - a DM who wasn't interested in that would be a bit dull. This is where play style comes in.

Quote:
Making the group want to do something is my job as GM.

Quite. You sound dangerously railroad-y there, but then again I suspect our positions aren't actually that far apart in reality. As I said above, it's my job to get the players to do the cool stuff. Of course, what's cool isn't simply down to the DM. A degree of flexibility around that as a DM is important. But also, where maybe we agree less, is that I try to be mindful of the future cool stuff to come, and nudge them that way.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ciretose wrote:

The entire issue was that Scott said that changing things if PCs delay was unfair and wrong.

The delay was so that the casters could stop to recharge, pick new spells, etc...

We were pointing out that in our games, delay has consequences. Scott was saying that it doesn't.

Actually, I don't think he is saying that. What he's saying is that the overall aim of the campaign should not be wilfully (or even unwittingly) derailed by player actions. If there is a timed situation, and the players decide to chill instead, there will be a noticable consequence. But that should be explained to them, either in game through a mouthpiece NPC, so they know - so that if they decide to chill, it's not because they didn't know what the potential consequences might be as players. But that consequence would not necessarily be the end of that campaign thread. You could work round the issue to take account of the issues thrown up by the unexpected situation, and generally move on. There are so many ways this could be done, and frankly any DM will know what they are. So the players' decisions have consequences, but not catatrophic consequences. (Frankly, if part way through a plotted campaign the PCs have the possibility of screwing up so much it falls apart, there may be more likely issues with the plot than anything else.) So the future cool stuff isn't wasted, the PCs will still make their way through the plot more or less in order, and what changes are details around the edge - (more enemies, additional encounters because X did or didn't happen, an impromptu side-quest, and so on). This, fundamentally, is "the illusion of choice" or, as I call it, DMing.

Now, if you have PCs saying "I'm just not doing that", you have a problem as a DM. But that's probably why most plots for long campaigns (and APs) generally involve the destruction of the world (or some other large catastrophic event) as a motivator - it's pretty churlish of a supposed "adventurer" to turn that one down because he's having "motivational problems". A plot hook that a PC simply can't turn down is pretty railroad-y, frankly, but again I see nothing much wrong with that.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


Actually, I don't think he is saying that. What he's saying is that the overall aim of the campaign should not be wilfully (or even unwittingly) derailed by player actions. If there is a timed situation, and the players decide to chill instead, there will be a noticable consequence. But that should be explained to them, either in game through a mouthpiece NPC, so they know - so that if they decide to chill, it's not because they didn't know what the potential consequences might be as players.

I know it isn't railroading, but this has always bothered me a little. Why explain it to them? What's the point?

Having an obvious best solution or course of action, especially when you have players whose characters you can count on to do the right thing, really sort of forces the plot train down a certain tunnel. For example, the party knows about a bad guy. The bad guy has a minion that gets captured and lets the PCs know his master is going to town X. Odd to the players, no one knows why he would go there, not even the mook. At this point, the party could go investigate the town or go do a dungeon for fun. If the mook says, "he is going to kill everyone in that town to make a point," I think it helps with PC decision making too much to be done all the time.

For me, the game is a lot more fun if not everything is on the table. The players have to be proactive in getting information in character or else things they wouldn't want to happen, happen before they know it. That way, there is a level of something extra to think about, "what do you think is going to happen?"


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Now, if you have PCs saying "I'm just not doing that", you have a problem as a DM. But that's probably why most plots for long campaigns (and APs) generally involve the destruction of the world (or some other large catastrophic event) as a motivator - it's pretty churlish of a supposed "adventurer" to turn that one down because he's having "motivational problems". A plot hook that a PC simply can't turn down is pretty railroad-y, frankly, but again I see nothing much wrong with that.

I have encountered this. It's part of why I focus on adapting and changing, instead of forcing scripted plot points. The "end of the world" motivator is nice, but you can't use it repeatedly or it loses its impact, gets redundant, and things start reading like a comic book.

For example, in my first D&D campaign I ran in Ravenloft, the PC's were around 3rd, maybe 4th level, and happened upon an old, desolate house, which was the plot hook for a romp through a haunted house scenario. One PC flat out refused to go near the house. He argued that he had no good reason to go there, and would rather just keep walking down the road. Even when I tried to motivate him in other ways to enter the house(storm brewing, disjointed howls coming from the nearby woods, etc) he still refused.

I tried to re-implement the adventure later on, as a task the PC's would be hired to do; investigate rumors of strange lights an sounds coming from a rickety old house outside of town... Same thing. PC refused.

Now, the problem pretty much rests on the *PC in this case. This guy in particular takes "just doing what my character would do" to an extreme, and typically circumvents the unwritten player/DM agreements such as cooperative storytelling, etc. But, my point being, that using the "end of the world" scenario on something like a 3rd level side-trek adventure would have been overkill.

*

Spoiler:

The PC in question has done this(sandbagging, refusing to actually "adventure") multiple times, in many campaigns, and has been called out on it by several DM's. But, he is a close friend, and is honestly a brilliant role-player and gamer. When he is properly motivated, he can really help a campaign come to life. But more often than not, he sandbags and drags the game down.


Josh M. wrote:


Now, the problem pretty much rests on the *PC in this case. This guy in particular takes "just doing what my character would do" to an extreme, and typically circumvents the unwritten player/DM agreements such as cooperative storytelling, etc. But, my point being, that using the "end of the world" scenario on something like a 3rd level side-trek adventure would have been overkill.

I had a player who did the same thing. Last game I had to directly tell him that his character needed to develop a taste for adventure or else he needed to make a new character.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Aubrey

The ability to delay for caster recharging was what started the whole railroad conversation.

And as I said above, a MacGuffin is not a railroad.

Creating something that your players want, or creating a problem your players want solved is very different than making your players go step by step through your pre-designed quest.

Using the first book of RoTRL as an example

Spoiler:
You tell the players they are in town for a festival. During the festival they get attacked by goblins.

They meet people in town as a result of becoming heroes including someone important to the 2nd book, and someone who is kidnapped in the 2nd act.

Then they have a series of optional side quests and are given a ton of exposition as to what is going on by an NPC.

If they don’t rescue the person, either because they take to long or don’t feel like it, the book handles how to deal with that.

Then there is an entirely optional dungeon.

Then they find out where goblins that attacked them live, as well as discovering those goblins are going to try and destroy the town if someone doesn’t stop them.

The fortress has multiple ways to deal with it, as well as multiple options should they “fail” on how to proceed.

If you only see one way for a well written AP to play out, that isn’t because those options aren’t there. Yes some of the AP modules have been railroads (which is why I don’t run those modules) but the vast majority are scenarios that are occurring that the PCs encounter and are given motivation to deal with.

How they deal with it is up to them.

As to the Age of Worms guy, considering the position he was taking he is far from a reliable source. If you tell your players to build characters that will want to get treasure from a dungeon and they don’t want to go in the dungeon, there is something else going on that what is being provided.

Using the haunted house example above, I would let them not go in the haunted house, but as time went on I would make things happen around them that were clearly being caused by something in the haunted house, and that got worse over time the longer they didn’t deal with the haunted house, consistent with whatever was going on in the haunted house plot.

Why? Because that is what would actually happen if they players do what they choose to do and leave the evil thing alone to keep doing evil things and becoming more powerful.

And if nothing bad would happen from them not going in the haunted house, then it must not be that important to deal with.

Which is my fault for not making it something that was important to them.

A railroad is called a railroad because there is one path to the end. Your players actions don’t change the outcome or the story.

A MacGuffin is a target that the players are trying to hit. Sometimes it moves.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
cranewings wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


Actually, I don't think he is saying that. What he's saying is that the overall aim of the campaign should not be wilfully (or even unwittingly) derailed by player actions. If there is a timed situation, and the players decide to chill instead, there will be a noticable consequence. But that should be explained to them, either in game through a mouthpiece NPC, so they know - so that if they decide to chill, it's not because they didn't know what the potential consequences might be as players.

I know it isn't railroading, but this has always bothered me a little. Why explain it to them? What's the point?

Having an obvious best solution or course of action, especially when you have players whose characters you can count on to do the right thing, really sort of forces the plot train down a certain tunnel. For example, the party knows about a bad guy. The bad guy has a minion that gets captured and lets the PCs know his master is going to town X. Odd to the players, no one knows why he would go there, not even the mook. At this point, the party could go investigate the town or go do a dungeon for fun. If the mook says, "he is going to kill everyone in that town to make a point," I think it helps with PC decision making too much to be done all the time.

For me, the game is a lot more fun if not everything is on the table. The players have to be proactive in getting information in character or else things they wouldn't want to happen, happen before they know it. That way, there is a level of something extra to think about, "what do you think is going to happen?"

Well, the main point of being reasonably explicit is so when you subsequently turn round and say, "Well, you didn't do X, so now Y has happened and you have to fight the summoned Horde of Dread when you could have just fought the evil wizard's henchmen," and they say "Well, how was I supposed to know that?" you have a leg to stand on. Don't get me wrong I control the flow of information to the PCs and don't tell them everything - a significant element of my campaigns is often finding out the hidden stuff as an impulse to moving onwards. But I think it's fair enough to let them make as informed a decision as they can about stuff without blowing whatever secrets you want to keep. After all, it's quite easy to miscommunicate something, or think you've said something when you haven't. The only stuff the PCs know is what you tell the players, so when they do something that seems a bit odd in the context it might be that they don't know something you think they know.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Josh M. wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Now, if you have PCs saying "I'm just not doing that", you have a problem as a DM. But that's probably why most plots for long campaigns (and APs) generally involve the destruction of the world (or some other large catastrophic event) as a motivator - it's pretty churlish of a supposed "adventurer" to turn that one down because he's having "motivational problems". A plot hook that a PC simply can't turn down is pretty railroad-y, frankly, but again I see nothing much wrong with that.

I have encountered this. It's part of why I focus on adapting and changing, instead of forcing scripted plot points. The "end of the world" motivator is nice, but you can't use it repeatedly or it loses its impact, gets redundant, and things start reading like a comic book.

For example, in my first D&D campaign I ran in Ravenloft, the PC's were around 3rd, maybe 4th level, and happened upon an old, desolate house, which was the plot hook for a romp through a haunted house scenario. One PC flat out refused to go near the house. He argued that he had no good reason to go there, and would rather just keep walking down the road. Even when I tried to motivate him in other ways to enter the house(storm brewing, disjointed howls coming from the nearby woods, etc) he still refused.

I tried to re-implement the adventure later on, as a task the PC's would be hired to do; investigate rumors of strange lights an sounds coming from a rickety old house outside of town... Same thing. PC refused.

Now, the problem pretty much rests on the *PC in this case. This guy in particular takes "just doing what my character would do" to an extreme, and typically circumvents the unwritten player/DM agreements such as cooperative storytelling, etc. But, my point being, that using the "end of the world" scenario on something like a 3rd level side-trek adventure would have been overkill.

*** spoiler omitted **...

Yeah, I see where you are coming from. Player personality is clearly key to the whole experience, and some people are just contrary. It's the compromise that comes from the social interaction aspect of D&D - your friend can be a knob sometimes, but he's a friend and you like having him around. On the other hand, maybe you should suggest, as a roleplaying challenge, he plays someone who likes to cooperate.

But also, to some extent I can sympathise with your friend - you are walking down a road, there's a big scary mansion, why would you go in (unless you have a particular desire to be killed)? I know it was a sidetrek and so not key to the campaign anyway, but perhaps the hook could have been a bit more compelling. My sidetreks (or subplots, rather) tend to be derived from the players themselves. A case in point was in my Eberron PbP, where a significant part of the game (but not the main plot) was about one of the PCs getting a haunted sword, and the ramifications from that. Again, not much problem running with motivation there - it was very up close and personal. Of course, somethings work a bit better in PbP rather than face to face, so all the weird stuff going on inside his head came off much better than it might have otherwise face-to-face. Of course, if the player had said "I'm not taking that sword!" then the whole thing wouldn't have worked. But then, he probably wouldn't have been playing his Valenar properly either, since this was an ancestral blade.

And yes, end of the world does get a bit old after a while. But maybe end of the kingdom, loved ones in peril, immortal soul in peril, that sort of thing. Or the pursuit or raw, unadulterated power...

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ciretose wrote:

@Aubrey

The ability to delay for caster recharging was what started the whole railroad conversation.

And as I said above, a MacGuffin is not a railroad.

Creating something that your players want, or creating a problem your players want solved is very different than making your players go step by step through your pre-designed quest.

Using the first book of RoTRL as an example

** spoiler omitted **

If you only see one way for a well written AP to play out, that isn’t because those options aren’t there. Yes some of the AP modules have been railroads (which is why I don’t run those modules) but the vast majority are scenarios that are occurring that the PCs encounter and are given motivation to deal with.

How they deal with it is up to them.

As to the Age of Worms guy, considering the position he was taking he is far from a reliable source. If you tell your players to build characters that will want to get treasure from a dungeon and they don’t want to go in the dungeon, there is something else going on that what is being provided.

Using the haunted house example above, I would let them not go in the haunted house, but as time went on I would make things happen...

I doubt the guy was flat-out lying (whatever my other opinions of him might be). Contrary players happen, as Josh points out. I think if players can create reasonable backstories for their PCs it gives something for the DM to hang at least initial motivations on. I've always found that very helpful.

On your other comments - like I said, I don't think our positions are very far apart in reality. I doubt any published AP really pans out in reality exactly as written (contact with the enemy and so on).

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

A railroad the players choose to ride is still a railroad, regardless of which route they choose.

Cheliax

I'm enjoying this thread a lot to be honest, but can we get a mod to split it? It seems to have derailed awhile back...and I think both the wizards question and the dm style question are both valid to discuss on their own


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


But also, to some extent I can sympathise with your friend - you are walking down a road, there's a big scary mansion, why would you go in (unless you have a particular desire to be killed)? I know it was a sidetrek and so not key to the campaign anyway, but perhaps the hook could have been a bit more compelling. My sidetreks (or subplots, rather) tend to be derived from the players themselves.

Right, and I agree. Which is why I didn't railroad the players into the haunted house. The player made a good argument as to why his character would not logically go into the house, so I had to abide by it.

The player made it very clear to me that he wanted no part of this adventure, so no rails were involved. I did, however, eventually question him as to what his purpose of making this character had been, if he's just going to run from everything and avoid the actual "gaming" part of it. Why bother playing in a genre-specific setting like Ravenloft, of all places, if you're going to avoid any possible interaction with the genre?


Personally I almost never use 'end of the world' plots - I don't really believe in them. My gameworld has a lot going on in it and most bad guys want to live in the world too, destroying it isn't particularly sensible for anyone.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Enslaving it, on the other hand...


Rockheimr wrote:
Personally I almost never use 'end of the world' plots - I don't really believe in them. My gameworld has a lot going on in it and most bad guys want to live in the world too, destroying it isn't particularly sensible for anyone.

Sometimes you don't need to destroy the whole world. Sometimes all you need is to destroy Tristram to get everyone moving.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A threat to destroy the campaign world is usually a ridiculous plot for a low level adventure. Given that you probably care about the campaign world more than your players do, it is scarcely less ridiculous than holding a knife to your own throat and threatening to kill the DM if you don't get your way.

At low levels, you are better off sticking to something along the lines of failure leaving the immediate neighborhood in very bad shape, and thus providing an adventure hook for the slightly higher level adventurers who come into the area from elsewhere to clean up the mess.

And who would those slightly higher level adventurers be? The new player characters who replace the original party after they get killed off, of course. The replacement characters would start off in a different area dealing with a slightly different set of problems. Once they deal with their local problems, they would hear about the problem that their predecessors failed to deal with and possibly head off to deal with it.

Eventually all of these local plots could be tied together into something bigger -- not a plot to destroy the world, but a plot that would make life miserable for large numbers of decent folk. In our own history, few if any villains have ever plotted to destroy the world -- but very many have had agendas to make life miserable for their neighbors. So the latter plot is not only more believable but easier to research.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Rockheimr wrote:
Personally I almost never use 'end of the world' plots - I don't really believe in them. My gameworld has a lot going on in it and most bad guys want to live in the world too, destroying it isn't particularly sensible for anyone.

Yeah, I wouldn't hit them at lvl 1 with "If you don't do this, the moon will crash into Earth (or wherever) and everyone will die!" But it wouldn't necessarily preclude me from tying the 1st level adventure ultimately into a plot where, at high level, the players stop the moon crashing into Earth. But maybe the 1st level adventure just requires them to rescue some dude, and they won't find out about the astronomical catastrophe for ten or more levels.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Josh M. wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
But also, to some extent I can sympathise with your friend - you are walking down a road, there's a big scary mansion, why would you go in (unless you have a particular desire to be killed)? I know it was a sidetrek and so not key to the campaign anyway, but perhaps the hook could have been a bit more compelling. My sidetreks (or subplots, rather) tend to be derived from the players themselves.

Right, and I agree. Which is why I didn't railroad the players into the haunted house. The player made a good argument as to why his character would not logically go into the house, so I had to abide by it.

The player made it very clear to me that he wanted no part of this adventure, so no rails were involved. I did, however, eventually question him as to what his purpose of making this character had been, if he's just going to run from everything and avoid the actual "gaming" part of it. Why bother playing in a genre-specific setting like Ravenloft, of all places, if you're going to avoid any possible interaction with the genre?

Not an easy one - I've has players "roleplay" themselves out of a campaign entirely because they've done stuff which was consistent with their character but has actually meant they couldn't really participate with that character. Again, the players have to be willing, to some extent, to meet the DM half-way, within the confines of what the group considers to be "acceptable" and in line with their play-style.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
But maybe the 1st level adventure just requires them to rescue some dude, and they won't find out about the astronomical catastrophe for ten or more levels.

I enjoyed Shackled City's theme of the PCs unknowingly aiding the villains in their plots, until they realize what is happening and see how everything fits together, and then have to put a stop to it. Also a good example of villains looking to enslave rather than destroy.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
But maybe the 1st level adventure just requires them to rescue some dude, and they won't find out about the astronomical catastrophe for ten or more levels.
I enjoyed Shackled City's theme of the PCs unknowingly aiding the villains in their plots, until they realize what is happening and see how everything fits together, and then have to put a stop to it. Also a good example of villains looking to enslave rather than destroy.

A very similar pattern of events emerges over the course of Rise of the Runelords. The end of Fortress of the Stone Giants is supposed to be an, "Oh no what have we done," moment.


No, you misunderstand, I don't only dislike 'save the world literally' plotlines at 'low levels', I dislike them in principle (at any 'level'). They don't ring true to me (usually).

I can buy someone is evil, but 'suicidally evil and capable of destroying the world' ... nah. Why would they want to? What do they gain by that?

There are a very few possibles, but by and large, destroying the world doesn't work for me.


Rockheimr wrote:

No, you misunderstand, I don't only dislike 'save the world literally' plotlines at 'low levels', I dislike them in principle (at any 'level'). They don't ring true to me (usually).

I can buy someone is evil, but 'suicidally evil and capable of destroying the world' ... nah. Why would they want to? What do they gain by that?

There are a very few possibles, but by and large, destroying the world doesn't work for me.

Well at a certain level of power, "destroy the world" doesn't have to be suicidal.

And "destroy the world" doesn't have to be quite literal either. Sterilize the surface world so the aboleths can reclaim their rightful place would be one possibility.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Rockheimr wrote:

No, you misunderstand, I don't only dislike 'save the world literally' plotlines at 'low levels', I dislike them in principle (at any 'level'). They don't ring true to me (usually).

I can buy someone is evil, but 'suicidally evil and capable of destroying the world' ... nah. Why would they want to? What do they gain by that?

There are a very few possibles, but by and large, destroying the world doesn't work for me.

I think it depends. Actually, my real-world campaign that's ongoing at the moment isn't a save-the-world scenario at all - the bad guys were more or less just minding their own business (though, to be fair, my hooks and so on for it are a bit weak too). I think the problem is that when a high level character has such massive capabilities (in particular, wizards) saving the village isn't that compelling a hook. Super-powerful characters kind-of call for a big challenge. Paizo APs sort of tail off at level 15 or so to prevent this stuff becoming an issue - the characters are good, but not that good. I understand the reasons (albeit that they come from the system just getting silly at high levels, which sort of arcs back to the point of the OP and spellcasters) but for my current campaign the goal was to play 4e through from 1st to 30th, to see what it was like (and it's part of my irritation with 5e appearing - this is our first and so far only 4e campaign) and I think it's a shame Paizo don't really go there with their own system (albeit that the Dungeon APs did).

And thejeff has a point in that "save-the-world" is short hand for a large, game-changing event that doesn't necessarily destroy the world. A planar invasion that doesn't necessarily destroy the world but turns it deeply inhospitable to normal inhabitants might count. Or even maybe mentally enslaving the populace. Or saving a big bit of the world (the usual approach of Paizo). In fact, I think the world actually being destroyed is only really an issue for one campaign I'm running, or even have run. And the villain is a suicidal nut-job with a seriously big grudge.


Rockheimr wrote:
I can buy someone is evil, but 'suicidally evil and capable of destroying the world' ... nah. Why would they want to? What do they gain by that?

You should read the Haunted Lands trilogy by Richard Lee Byers. Not only does Szass Tam have good reasons for wanting to destroy the world (the realms), he actually manages to convince others of the necessity. In addition, it's contains some great battle scenes that show that the author knows the 3.5 ruleset very well.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
A very similar pattern of events emerges over the course of Rise of the Runelords. The end of Fortress of the Stone Giants is supposed to be an, "Oh no what have we done," moment.

Just one more reason for me to pick up the hardcover.


Let me begin this by saying I think wizards and casters in general are very powerful. I don't think they're weak and they definitely don't need any buffs. Baseline, wizards are the most powerful class in the game, but they suffer when it comes to customization. All wizards have basically the same power suite, whereas other classes can customize themselves to be very powerful in different ways.

Something else to keep in mind is wizards are very powerful if they are played right. Some of the most useless, helpless, sneeze-on-them-and-they-die characters I've ever played with were wizards and sorcerers. So right away fighters have a small advantage- it's a lot harder to make them really bad.

I've played in several long-lasting campaigns in 3.5 and Pathfinder, mostly pre-made modules (RPGA Living Greyhawk and Pathfinder APs). Casters are always useful, but so are fighters, paladins, rangers, and barbarians. In Living Greyhawk, the rogue, ranger, and bear-druid were all just as useful and damaging as the evoker wizard. In Kingmaker, our primary damage sources were a fighter and a ranger, because they wouldn't run out of resources and SR didn't stop them. In Carrion Crown (currently level 12), the paladin walked down a trapped hallway and didn't care- the poisoned dart traps all missed his ridiculous AC. In Jade Regent, where we are level 5, primary damage comes from the shadow assassin, rogue/magus, and bear animal companion, though we do use a home-brew feat that lets weapon finesse builds add Dex to damage instead of Str when they finesse.

TL;DR: It's all about how you build non-casters. Wizards are powerful but not overpowered.


Melissa Litwin wrote:
Let me begin this by saying I think wizards and casters in general are very powerful. I don't think they're weak and they definitely don't need any buffs. Baseline, wizards are the most powerful class in the game, but they suffer when it comes to customization.

Wait - what?

Customization is one of the strengths of a wizard - every day, he can prepare different spells and adapt easily to changing environments.

Melee characters can't. So what if you're a specialized tripper and fight monsters where you'll have a 20% of tripping them? Or weapon-specialized fighter on slashing weapons and fight against undead with x/bludgeoning? Yes, you can still attack them, but you cannot play to your build. A wizard can simply prepare different spells the next day...

Melissa Litwin wrote:
All wizards have basically the same power suite, whereas other classes can customize themselves to be very powerful in different ways.

Yes, but this power suite contains everything from teleport, flying, invisibility, opening locks, summoning monsters, weakening/debuffing enemies, save or dies, save or sucks, environment control, charming/mind control, ....

While a fighter can customize himself to be slightly better at tripping. But a wizard has grease. Or to have a 1d10 hit dice for his single handed weapon instead of 1d8. But a wizard has scorching ray.....

401 to 449 of 449 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Community / Gaming / D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond) / This mentality of OP wizards in 3rd, 4th, 5th... All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.