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"You're tied up and knocked out. Why wouldn't they take your equipment?"


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

201 to 250 of 262 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:


The 4 pages of 'zomg spellbook gone' posts now have me wondering what the witch was so chappy about.

Indeed.

Contributor

BPorter wrote:
No one is suggesting that arbitrarily taking players stuff or putting them into no-win situations is a good thing. By all of the info provided by the OP, no such thing occurred. It DOES appear that a sense of player entitlement reared its ugly head, however.

By the same token, it may be taken as a player being upset at GM Fiat overstepping its bounds.

Everyone plays their characters differently, the same as everyone is a different person out of character. Some people have more emotional attachment to possessions than others. This also includes emotional attachment to imaginary possessions of their imaginary characters.

To give an example, one game I'd come up with an elaborate backstory for a wizard which centered around his familiar, and I won't go into other than to say that the familiar had been with him since childhood, was his best and only friend in the whole world, and he was incredibly emotionally dependent on him.

First game in, the GM has the BBEG incinerate the familiar, with the GM justifying this with various waffle about die rolls and so on, and an attitude that he couldn't understand why my character was upset because he could easily summon a new familiar just as good points-wise as the old one.

Myself? I'm in it for the roleplaying. The wizard went into deep mourning, decided the entire quest was pointless and meaningless, blew off all the cardboard authority figures the GM tried to trot out to give some variety of the "We all make sacrifices, son" speech, and bailed on the adventure. I also left the game.

This is not player entitlement. This is the player handing the GM a very clear character bio which says that X, Y, and Z are integral to this character. If you mess with X, Y, or Z, expect the character to react. If you destroy X, Y, or Z out of hand, don't expect the character to go along with your cardboard quest.

Other characters may not give a damn about their familiars, treating them as easily replaceable flying toadies or at best goldfish which you may be fond of in a general sense but will still flush down the toilet without a thought if they die and get a new one. And that's fine for them too.

I don't know what object was lost to that character, but it was obviously significant enough to the character that it bothered the player. That needs to be taken into account by the GM.

One of my players currently, as part of his character's backstory, has a sword that he's on quest to return to his master's family as a matter of honor. I've read this and I know that, if the characters are thrown in a prison and someone rips off their items, the character is going to get this sword back and is going to accept no imitations. Whatever quest I may have planned is going to get utterly derailed if I do anything to that sword.

And if I suddenly had it eaten by a rust monster? I'd be losing a player--and deservedly so.


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Keep this in mind when you read this. I'm not speaking of a jerk GM going after someone just to be a jerk. Okay.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
And if I suddenly had it eaten by a rust monster? I'd be losing a player--and deservedly so.

So when playing a game if anything bad happens to your player character you're saying that the solution is quit.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
The wizard went into deep mourning, decided the entire quest was pointless and meaningless, blew off all the cardboard authority figures the GM tried to trot out to give some variety of the "We all make sacrifices, son" speech, and bailed on the adventure. I also left the game.

I can almost understand the first part were you RP being sad and whatever.

What about the second part that is in bold? How is that not being an entitled player? Something bad happened and you not only stopped playing your character, but you also left the game.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
By the same token, it may be taken as a player being upset at GM Fiat overstepping its bounds.

From the information given you can't infer that. As far as we can tell with what was given there was no GM fiat.

The Witch and her crew got ambushed. They got knocked out and placed in jail for being failures. Then shock gasp there jailers took weapons/armor and some equipment. What's the problem?

How many jails to you know that would leave an item on your person?
Use common sense.

The OP even said that the Witch ONLY complained when the GM took gear for them being in jail. There is no mention of the Witch causing complaints about being knocked out and tied up. Only complaints about taking her gear while she was unconscious.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Brain in a Jar wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
The wizard went into deep mourning, decided the entire quest was pointless and meaningless, blew off all the cardboard authority figures the GM tried to trot out to give some variety of the "We all make sacrifices, son" speech, and bailed on the adventure. I also left the game.

I can almost understand the first part were you RP being sad and whatever.

What about the second part that is in bold? How is that not being an entitled player? Something bad happened and you not only stopped playing your character, but you also left the game.

Well, we (obviously) don't know the whole story. But was this just some random unfortunate combination of circumstances, or was it a case of a GM capriciously deciding to take some action which he knew would not be well received by the player, and which made no significant contribution to the advancement of the plot?

If it were the latter, then yes, the player is acting as though he were entitled to something; that the GM would honour the implicit contract between player and GM that this is supposed to be a fun activity for everybody.

Maybe the GM broke that contract; maybe he didn't, and in the fullness of time whatever plot device that was going to be hung on this hook would have become apparent. But even if that were the case (which we'll never know, as the character and player left the game) there seems to have been a mismatch in expectations.

Study your players, and take the time to get to know their characters. I know a couple of characters who will go to greater lengths to protect some possession (or companion) than they will to protect their own life. I'll probably make use of that at some point over the next year or so, but I'm unlikely to throw away that opportunity before then.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

<snip of stuff irrelevant to original discussion>

This is not player entitlement. This is the player handing the GM a very clear character bio which says that X, Y, and Z are integral to this character. If you mess with X, Y, or Z, expect the character to react. If you destroy X, Y, or Z out of hand, don't expect the character to go along with your cardboard quest.

So, conceding that in your example the GM went out of his way to kill the familiar, by the token of detailed bios, if you say "I'm the son of a god", the GM has to go along with it because you made it integral to the character?

<snip of more stuff about familiars, which again, aren't relevant as the character mentioned in the OP DIDN'T lose their familiar...>

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
And if I suddenly had it eaten by a rust monster? I'd be losing a player--and deservedly so.

Why? Because the player wasn't bright enough to protect the cherished weapon by using a backup weapon?

Poor player decisions beget poor player outcomes.

And all of this is great for "the joys of player backstory" threads, but I'm still not seeing the relevance to this one.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


To give an example, one game I'd come up with an elaborate backstory for a wizard which centered around his familiar, and I won't go into other than to say that the familiar had been with him since childhood, was his best and only friend in the whole world, and he was incredibly emotionally dependent on him.

First game in, the GM has the BBEG incinerate the familiar, with the GM justifying this with various waffle about die rolls and so on, and an attitude that he couldn't understand why my character was upset because he could easily summon a new familiar just as good points-wise as the old one.

Myself? I'm in it for the roleplaying. The wizard went into deep mourning, decided the entire quest was pointless and meaningless, blew off all the cardboard authority figures the GM tried to trot out to give some variety of the "We all make sacrifices, son" speech, and bailed on the adventure. I also left the game.

This sounds like the DM went out of his way to hit your character where they live. Or at least, your reaction to it makes it sound like that was how you interpreted it. That sucks.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


This is not player entitlement. This is the player handing the GM a very clear character bio which says that X, Y, and Z are integral to this character. If you mess with X, Y, or Z, expect the character to react. If you destroy X, Y, or Z out of hand, don't expect the character to go along with your cardboard quest.

This brings up something that bothers me. When players develop extremely detailed backstories for their characters, assuming they're not trying to justify a character advantage, they often paint themselves into a RP corner when something happens in story. It might be a "bad DM", but it might just be a dangerous life. If it's not the "bad DM" syndrome, it's life on the edge, deal with it and move on or retire the character and roll a new one. It sounds harsh, but sometimes life, especially an adventurers life, is hard and people may drop out and go back to a non-adventuring role. I have retired perfectly good characters because they got to a point where it made sense and it was satisfying to let them "live happily ever after". Or crawl into a bottle and destroy their liver :) I advise my players to have a fairly loose backstory (enough detail to be useful) and let the character do his growing in game. It saves on the devastated Wizard, suicidal Samurai problems. Ultimately, it's what happens in game that defines a character anyway. Imho, of course.

*edit* I have charts to help players with backstory and they can come up with their own, use the charts as guides and choose or let the dice fly and take what they get.

Contributor

Poor GM decisions beget bad story outcomes too.

Short of abusing metagame knowledge, there's no reason a fighter should expect his master's family heirloom to disintegrate on contact with the feelers of a goofy-looking giant bug. And if the goofy-looking giant bug walks up and eats the sword while he's asleep? That's even worse.

Backstories are put out as character hooks. If you tug on a hook, expect to get a response. If you smash it to pieces, expect another one--usually something involving repairing the damage, physical or emotional, which will have very little to do with whatever adventure you had planned.

If you are the GM, you are god for your world. If you come up with a scenario where the characters are captured, their gear is stripped, and some of it is lost for good, that is a decision you've made as a GM.

Your players will generally tell you this explicitly too, and you should honor it, no matter how silly it sounds.

I once had a player who was playing a barbarian who took great pride in his long Viking braids. He got attacked by a gremlin with a rod of wonder using an alternate chart. The alternate chart came up with "Target given new hairstyle." Everyone laughed except that player, who blanched, since his character was really tied to his own personal image which was his hair. So rather than cut or dye it, I said it was done up in a beehive.

It was silly and funny, but did no damage beyond the course of that one battle.

Contributor

R_Chance wrote:

This brings up something that bothers me. When players develop extremely detailed backstories for their characters, assuming they're not trying to justify a character advantage, they often paint themselves into a RP corner when something happens in story. It might be a "bad DM", but it might just be a dangerous life. If it's not the "bad DM" syndrome, it's life on the edge, deal with it and move on or retire the character and roll a new one. It sounds harsh, but sometimes life, especially an adventurers life, is hard and people may drop out and go back to a non-adventuring role. I have retired perfectly good characters because they got to a point where it made sense and it was satisfying to let them "live happily ever after". Or crawl into a bottle and destroy their liver :) I advise my players to have a fairly loose backstory (enough detail to be useful) and let the character do his growing in game. It saves on the devastated Wizard, suicidal Samurai problems. Ultimately, it's what happens in game that defines a character anyway. Imho, of course.

*edit* I have charts to help players with backstory and they can come up with their own, use the charts as guides and choose or let the dice fly and take what they get.

Having a character retire can be a fine thing. I've done it with any number of mine. Sometimes you come to a place where there's a satisfying or logical end to the narrative and it's reasonable to take it.

I also hear what you're saying by painting yourself into an RP corner. Some characters are like that. And it's also important to talk with your players to make sure that they've designed a character who will fit with the story you're planning to tell.

Of course, one of the worst things you can possibly do is tell players to design characters for Game X and then spontaneously drop them into Game Y in the first session. I've had two different GMs pull this. None of the players were pleased.

Andoran

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I agree that if a player through poor decision making should suffer the consquences. If someone playing a fighter keeps charging ahead leaving everyone behind. Even after repeated attempts to wait fior the rest of the party well the player controlling the fighter can't complain if eventually that gets his charcter killed. Now if I have a backstory that involves a item then I agree that having something like a rust mosnter or even worse a disenchanter screw with the item espcially when a player goes out of his way to protect the item. Is imo a case of bad dming. I rather have it stolen and have to go on a quest to to get it back.

Taking it away even after I wrote a backstory for it is a allowed just don't expect me to be happy as a player. Or try to pass it off as player entitlement if your remove it in such a way as the item is either useless or destroyed. I don't understand some dms. Players being unhappy about a bad decision by the dm is player entitlement. Yet screwing over a player is somehow acceptable by virtue of being a dm. Sorry but no that too is entitlement imo.

What is needed and not easy to do is for both Dms and players to reach some sort of balance when it comes to the issue of equipment. Playerrs should not ru ntheir characters without a care in the world and not expect their items to be stolen or taken away. Nor should the DM go out of his way to remove a item that is important to a characters backstory.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is the thread that can't stay on topic :)

Regarding the OP:
I think there is some agreement that this what shakes out (again, based only on the context provided by the DM, so skew is possible/likely):

The PCs go to a party. At said party, there are numerous oppurtunities for them to realize that the host is evil. There are banners with evil symbols on them, and people are acting kind of sketchy. The PCs decide to ignore it and press on, effectively walking into a trap that leaves them unconscious and tied up. At this point there are no complaints on the part of the PCs, and given the limited knowledge we have of the situation, we can't really call foul on the DM as our information suggests the PCs could have avoided this if they had noticed things and taken proper action. Everything is hunky-dory.

Fast forward to the next session, where the DM gathers character sheets and marks off select items that were taken during the imprisonment. Why not all were taken (as that would make sense) who knows? It is at this point that the witch (not wizard) starts complaining vehemently even though she still has access to her familiar. None of the other PCs seem to be upset. From our limited knowledge, the character is in the wrong. Yes, it could be that the item taken is one the player considers sacrosanct, but that all is extrapolation on our part. Given only the facts regarding the situation that we have, the player is the one overreacting.

On the topic at hand:
I agree with memorax that poor decision making should suffer consequences. Given the "I must deliver this sword to my master's family" scenario. I would consider the sword as fair game for plot hooks (maybe have it stolen), with the expectation that it remains recoverable. However, I also expect that the PC should be actually taking care of the sword. If they are running around wielding it in battle, it is entirely possible for it to get sundered/eaten by a rust monster. That is a natural consequence. If something is important, you should protect it. Failure to do so could have consequences.

There is a reason not everyone in Golarian is an adventurer. Adventuring is dangerous, you risk the possibility of losing things that are precious to you (in addition to your life). Moreover, if you are trying to defeat an evil wizard, it should be expected that they may target the things you care about in order to get to you. This is not to give permission for the DM to continually target these important items, but it is ludicrous to expect that just because this item is important to your character's backstory, it gets some kind of immunity. If someone approaches the game with the attitude "this thing is vitally important as my backstory and you can't touch it!", I don't think they have the correct attitude. Far better is the attitude of "this thing is vitally important as my backstory, and if you destroy it there will be long-lasting repercussions for my character".


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I think this basically comes down to

1. Avoid extremes. I believe very few people truly play the game entirely eschewing GM entitlement for player entitlement or vice versa, and there's no reason to assume or expect such a thing.

2. Have fun, and don't ruin other people's fun. If you take an action which you know will ruin someone else's fun, don't do it. (But there can be ways to take what might seem like a crisis event and turn it into a challenge, see below.)

3. Communicate. Players need to be open with their needs and intents and the GMs doubly so.

Kevin Andrew Murphy's story in mind, I had a situation where a player built up a backstory where he had a deep connection to his animal companion horse, and he really enjoyed roleplaying that out.

I sat down with him and talked with him, saying, "Look, you're having a lot of fun with your horse companion. I want to remind you, that being mounted can, versus intelligent opponents, make you and moreover your horse a target. I don't ever want you to feel like I'm targeting YOU or doing something personally against YOU if I decide an opponent would realistically, as his best tactical option, attack your horse. At the same time, I don't want to avoid an enemy attacking your horse if that makes sense. And in some circumstances, especially if things go poorly, your PC's horse could get killed. I want to let you know, I will not ever try to go out of my way to kill your horse, but I want you to be aware it is a possibility in the campaign. We cool on that?"

He responded that it was absolutely reasonable, that his character would of course do whatever it took to protect the horse but that he would be careful not to screw over the party. He acknowledged it was in fact a common tactic versus cavalry to kill the mount and he knew that was a risk to an expect and accept.

We were able to play then most reasonably. Horse fortunately never got killed (though it got stabled while they went into a dungeon, something I also warned him about ahead of time). But no fights or bad blood erupted because of combats where the horse did get wounded or disabled because I made sure the ground rules were set ahead of time and that the player was cool with them.

I think if that kind of communication and willingness to compromise happens a lot of pain can be avoided. I'm sure some will find me too lenient or a mollycoddling type for letting players get away with "anything" because I talk to and check in with them---but you know, I am usually a happy GM who has fun and to the best of my ability, my players are usually happy and have fun and tell me so (or when they're not, give me constructive feedback so I can fix things). In the end that's probably all that matters.


DQ I want to be a player in one of your games. :)

Cheliax

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I think "Look, you're having a lot of fun with your horse companion" is the Quote of the Day.


Yeah, so many of the hassles we complain about here on the boards are really best handled by the players trusting the GM and the GM trusting the players and both being willing to communicate about it.
If the GM's going to be a dick, you can't stop it with rules. You can do more to stop the players, but still not entirely. If nobody's being a dick, then most of these arguments don't matter.


I have always said it was a matter of trust.

Andoran

I agree that one of the elements is trust. When both parties trust each other. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Sometimes the DM says he is going to run a certain type of adventure and then runs something totally different. In most cases one that the pcs are not prepared for. While most players in my experience are trustworthy. Sme not so much. Only so many times a pc never misses before you start to want to see the player role in front of you. Or shows up to the game table with a class not allowed in the game. Even when told that class xyz is not allowed.

Silver Crusade

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"I'm playing a monk."
"I told you this game was based on a western medieval world, no monks."
"Monk is a core class, I'm just playing by the rules."
"Fine, you can be a monk, but a western monk. Orthodox. [bzzzz]"
"OK. Also, I'm an elf."
"I told you this was a human only game."
"Elf is a core race. I'm just playing by the rules, and the rules say..."
"GAME IS STARTING! GAME IS STARTING! ADVENTURE!"

Shadow Lodge

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Brain in a Jar wrote:
So when playing a game if anything bad happens to your player character you're saying that the solution is quit.

That's quite a conclusion you came to there, equating having a cherished companion murdered to losing a few coins to a pickpocket.

BPorter wrote:
So, conceding that in your example the GM went out of his way to kill the familiar, by the token of detailed bios, if you say "I'm the son of a god", the GM has to go along with it because you made it integral to the character?

If the DM approved the character, I would say yes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Riuken wrote:

"I'm playing a monk."

"I told you this game was based on a western medieval world, no monks."
"Monk is a core class, I'm just playing by the rules."
"Fine, you can be a monk, but a western monk. Orthodox. [bzzzz]"
"OK. Also, I'm an elf."
"I told you this was a human only game."
"Elf is a core race. I'm just playing by the rules, and the rules say..."
"GAME IS STARTING! GAME IS STARTING! ADVENTURE!"

I love Gamers. Though I think the first one has some of the better quotes:

The Gamemaster: You're going to backstab him with a ballista?
Nimble the Thief: Uh huh
The Gamemaster: With a ******* siege weapon?
Nimble the Thief: Uh huh
The Gamemaster: I can't believe I'm doing this.
[rolls the dice]
The Gamemaster: Well, that's 264 points of damage. You splatter Hunk all over the common room. The patrons shriek in horror and run out of the inn, occasionally slipping on blood and entrails. You're now alone in a room that looks like a vat of beef stroganoff exploded in it.


In my experience, it's never good to just put the players in that type of situation without giving them a chance to do something about it. Of course they're going to be upset when you tell them, "they knock you out and when you awaken, you're tied up and your gear is missing". Being vulnerable and at the enemy's mercy is bad enough, but if it "just happens", that's even worse. You will find that players won't be as upset if you act the event out with dice rolls. If a series of bad rolls end up resulting in that situation, it's not NEARLY as upsetting as just making it happen that way. In fact, if it happens due to bad dice rolls, those with a good sense of humor will laugh at the pickle they've gotten themselves into.

Besides, "just doing it" isn't necessary for this type of plot set up... there are lots of better alternatives. Having a figure who is out of their league (CR-wise) watching over them, giving them quests, and intimidating them is fun and effective. They can still try to do whatever they want, and you don't need to fudge any rules, touch their gear, or do anything to upset anybody. They know good and well that if they try anything funny with anyone significantly tougher than they are, they'll pay for it. Keeping the ball in THEIR hands like this makes it much less likely that anyone will get upset with you, because if anything bad happens to them it's because they've asked for it. And the real beauty of this approach is that you don't have to do ANYTHING besides insert a "there's something more powerful than you" figure. There's no need to actively find a way to place the players in a compromising position because players ALWAYS end up screwing themselves over.

Another option is to just bring in a large number of Warriors/Fighters with feats dedicated to grapple and other things that would help in restraining the characters, then let the encounter begin. With the right set up you can basically guarantee that your guys will be able to restrain the PCs. It may seem like a lot of work, but at least the whole thing will feel a lot more genuine and less "cheaty" to the players. "Oh, you're tied up and naked" is so much worse than making it happen through an encounter.

Oh and by the way... when using this approach, don't be an @$$ by having the stronger figure / restrainers kill the PCs unless the PCs just ask for it. It's already a set up, so there needs to be a REASON for it other than the DM just trying to best the PCs. That's grounds for a rage quit.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TOZ wrote:
BPorter wrote:
So, conceding that in your example the GM went out of his way to kill the familiar, by the token of detailed bios, if you say "I'm the son of a god", the GM has to go along with it because you made it integral to the character?
If the DM approved the character, I would say yes.

Have to love the Internet...

Obviously, if I'm asking if "the GM has to go along with it", the GM didn't approve the character in advance.

In other news, yes, that's a tree. Please don't lose sight of the forest.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BPorter wrote:
In other news, yes, that's a tree. Please don't lose sight of the forest.

Well, when you ask a stupid question, etc.


MendedWall12 wrote:
DQ I want to be a player in one of your games. :)

Well I hope we can make that happen someday. :) And not disappoint you too much. :)

Lamontius wrote:


I think "Look, you're having a lot of fun with your horse companion" is the Quote of the Day.

Heh.

Aranna wrote:
I have always said it was a matter of trust.

That was what I was trying to get at but said much more eloquently and succinctly. :)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
In other news, yes, that's a tree. Please don't lose sight of the forest.
Well, when you ask a stupid question, etc.

Not seeing the relevance of your post.

I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity. Clearly, my example did not have the GM in on the development of the characters bio nor did the GM approve it. Therefore, the comment that "if the DM approved the character" wasn't applicable.

A RPG is an interactive game with a give-and-take between players and GM. The need to avoid douchy behavior and not bringing a sense of entitlement to the game table is, and should be, a two-way street.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.


DeathQuaker wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:
DQ I want to be a player in one of your games. :)
Well I hope we can make that happen someday. :) And not disappoint you too much. :)

I would find that to be an interesting experience as well. Distance would of course be an issue. I might also like your cooperation on other things as well. Mwahahaha... Is your realm still one of love, joy, and mass destruction?

Shadow Lodge

Did I misread something somewhere? Why are so many people still talking about the familiar being killed, when it was established MANY posts back that Birdy was flying around free and happy?

Did we ever get a response to what exactly the item that the witch was so attached to actually really WAS?

Ironically, even if the witch HAD lost her familiar, she would still be far more viable than any other full spellcaster who lost access to their spells for whatever reason. HEXES, baby...hexes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:


Did I misread something somewhere? Why are so many people still talking about the familiar being killed, when it was established MANY posts back that Birdy was flying around free and happy?

Did we ever get a response to what exactly the item that the witch was so attached to actually really WAS?

Ironically, even if the witch HAD lost her familiar, she would still be far more viable than any other full spellcaster who lost access to their spells for whatever reason. HEXES, baby...hexes.

No, the familiar is still free and alive as far as we know. The gods, along with the OP and Witch, alone know what was actually taken. I think the discussion has devolved to secondary posts and been bogged down in a morass of "maybe", "if", "I think" and "might have been" :)

*edit* Oh, and side issues. Can't forget the side issues :D

Shadow Lodge

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So essentially it's turned into a GM-bashing session based on something that did NOT happen.

Can't really say I'm surprised, sadly.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.

Exactly.

Let's say you've got a character who has a long-lost family member. There's at least one of the Iconics with this background, so it's hardly an uncommon story element.

This character quests for his lost sister. Every spare copper he has goes to this end, every last promise of making a nice home somewhere is regretfully turned aside until he can fulfill this quest.

The only thing the character has of his sister's is a single scarf. Let's say it's a nice scarf, Vudrani silk or somesuch, that someone might want to steal, but the character doesn't flash it around. He keeps it folded up in a pocket except for those moments when he uses it to remind himself of his quest or he hands it to a soothsayer to use to make their divinations to find his sister more fruitful. They never have been yet, but at least all the soothsayers agree that having a personal object makes the divination easier.

So having no leads on the quest for his sister, the character is along on another quest so he can earn enough money to blow on soothsayers. While on that quest, the sister's scarf is stolen--it may have been taken by pickpocketing thieves, it may have been confiscated by palace guards then "lost" in the evidence room, whatever. What is going to happen is that the character is going to bail on whatever quest he's currently doing to earn money to pay soothsayers so he can attend to the more important quest of getting the damn scarf back.

Now the GM may be wanting him to focus on the quest to find the X, slay the Y, or return the Z to location 1, but unless the fate of the world depends on this--and the character who lost the scarf not only believes this but believes that he's crucial to its success--he's going to run off on his own quest to find the X, that being the scarf, and forget anybody else's MacGuffin hunt.

This isn't plot immunity: This is plot. A different plot than the GM might be running, but that's why players get to play their own characters.

As for the sister, what's happened with her is up to the GM. She may be dead, she may be undead, she may be alive but enslaved, or she may be alive, happily married, but unable to quest for her brother because she has five young children but the soothsayers keep telling her to stay home because one day her brother will show up and it will go badly if she's not home.

But until the character finishes that leg of his personal quest, that scarf is going to be a crucial character hook. The GM can't expect the character to ignore it and stay in character.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.

Example of the scarf

I totally get that the scarf can add plot. In fact, these types of items make good plot hooks. I think the concern is when there is a situation where the scarf will make or break the character and player's buy in.

If somehow the scarf was destroyed (kind of hard to think of scenarios with a scarf that is being taken care of. . . maybe all the PCs' clothing was burned when it was suspected they carried the plague?) what happens? Does the character take that loss and grow? Or does the player throw a fit?

Now, this all assumes that the scarf was destroyed in a logical way that doesn't needlessly single out the player in question or a rising escalation of things targeting the scarf. If the important past macguffin is destroyed in a logical way, and the player's response is outrage/quitting, that is a problem with the player. Furthermore, a DM should never be expected to make exceptions for special items. "They burn all your cloth in fear that it carries the plague, except for Gary's scarf, because they know that it is vitally important to him" just doesn't make sense.

In the end, the key is trust between the DM and player. A player has to understand that just because a particular item is special, it does not have plot immunity, and they have to trust that the DM is not going to be going out of his way to destroy said item needlessly. In turn, while the DM can use said item to weave plots, he should not do something like crusade for its destruction for no reason.

EDIT: rephrased/added to last sentence


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A few sessions ago the group I GM for ended up being captured and rendered unconsious by a group of trogs. It took a goodly number of bad dice roles but they pulled it off.

The woke up naked and shaved with with scales painted on their bodies in prepartation for being sacrificed. By they time they escaped they had nothing more than a couple of clubs and javenlins between them and were glad for it.

I didn't get any complaints and the group is able to look at the entire experience with humour. I'd say the players matter just as much as the GM.

That the witch referenced in the original post didn't see that the logic options are: All your stuff is gone or a total party kill seems odd to me.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:

So essentially it's turned into a GM-bashing session based on something that did NOT happen.

Can't really say I'm surprised, sadly.

I think perhaps you just might have misread something somewhere...

One page back, Kevin Andrew Murphy talked about a character he had whose familiar was killed...

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

To give an example, one game I'd come up with an elaborate backstory for a wizard which centered around his familiar, and I won't go into other than to say that the familiar had been with him since childhood, was his best and only friend in the whole world, and he was incredibly emotionally dependent on him.

First game in, the GM has the BBEG incinerate the familiar...

Andoran

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Scaevola77 wrote:
Furthermore, a DM should never be expected to make exceptions for special items. ... it does not have plot immunity,

Why? This isn't fact; it's a choice. And it's a choice that flies in the face of dramatic convention; in no half-decent fiction will such an item be casually be destroyed. If you bend towards storytelling, of course it survives. "They burn all your cloth in fear that it carries the plague, except that a girl enamored with you steals the scarf." "They toss all your clothes in a furnace, but the scarf falls to the side and doesn't get burned/is so light it gets blown out the chimney/is scavenged by an imp that's been following the party." The DM has extensive freedom to write the story, particularly when it goes along with what the players want.


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Scaevola77 wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.

Example of the scarf

I totally get that the scarf can add plot. In fact, these types of items make good plot hooks. I think the concern is when there is a situation where the scarf will make or break the character and player's buy in.

If somehow the scarf was destroyed (kind of hard to think of scenarios with a scarf that is being taken care of. . . maybe all the PCs' clothing was burned when it was suspected they carried the plague?) what happens? Does the character take that loss and grow? Or does the player throw a fit?

Now, this all assumes that the scarf was destroyed in a logical way that doesn't needlessly single out the player in question or a rising escalation of things targeting the scarf. If the important past macguffin is destroyed in a logical way, and the player's response is outrage/quitting, that is a problem with the player. Furthermore, a DM should never be expected to make exceptions for special items. "They burn all your cloth in fear that it carries the plague, except for Gary's scarf, because they know that it is vitally important to him" just doesn't make sense.

In the end, the key is trust between the DM and player. A player has to understand that just because a particular item is special, it does not have plot immunity, and they have to trust that the DM is not going to be going out of his way to destroy said item needlessly. In turn, while the DM can use said...

I'd add that if the player designs a personal quest for his PC, that needs to be run by the GM. Also and moreover, everyone needs to be on the same page for what the campaign's expectations are.

On one hand, if the GM says, "Give me complex backgrounds!" and a player hands the GM the story about the sister and the scarf and the GM says "Great!" and then promptly makes the scarf disappear and ignores the player's backstory, the GM is kind of being a jerk.

But if the GM says, "This is a simple dungeon crawling campaign," and the player hands the GM a lengthy story about his sister and the scarf, and the GM says, "Uh, this is going to be a simple dungeon crawl, I don't have time to design sidequests for your PCs, could you maybe save that idea for another time?" and then the player refuses and won't stop going on and on about his PC's sister story... well, I can see why the GM would be tempted to destroy the damned unwanted McGuffin.

At the same time, I get Kevin Andrew Murphy's point about player values. If a player spends a lot of time designing this character with the scarfy sister, then yes, the GM needs to pay attention to the subtext here--the player puts a lot of value on personal backstory and wants that to pay off and possibly help provide motivation for the PC. If the GM bears that in mind, it's probably going to help make the game easier for both of them. At best, it gives the GM story fuel to work with. At worst, it raises a flag to the GM that the player's values and desires may not match that of the GM's or other players. A good GM will alert the player to that. An immature one will not talk at all to the player about it and instead incinerate the scarf for the lulz.

In short, beyond trust, there's also a matter of keeping context in mind--or providing it, when necessary.


Kthulhu wrote:

So essentially it's turned into a GM-bashing session based on something that did NOT happen.

Can't really say I'm surprised, sadly.

Nope, it's turned into a OP bashing session based upon the fact that the Op won't answer our questions or give us critical info. And, that is a sure sign that whatever info the OP is hiding will turn us against him.

The rest of the time it's the usual "DMs are GAWDS they can do anything they want, and players should kiss their feet in gratitude" vs "DM's are swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood who need to be reminded once in a while who is really in charge!".

Note that I have been DMing since 1974, but I still err on the players side a bit.

(DQ- you make some excellent points)


Geo Fix wrote:

A few sessions ago the group I GM for ended up being captured and rendered unconsious by a group of trogs. It took a goodly number of bad dice roles but they pulled it off.

The woke up naked and shaved with with scales painted on their bodies in prepartation for being sacrificed. By they time they escaped they had nothing more than a couple of clubs and javenlins between them and were glad for it.

I didn't get any complaints and the group is able to look at the entire experience with humour. I'd say the players matter just as much as the GM.

That the witch referenced in the original post didn't see that the logic options are: All your stuff is gone or a total party kill seems odd to me.

Well, not that hard to do for 1st level PC's but for high levels, it takes a lot of GM jiggery to render all the PC's unconscious but none escaping or dead.

Your PC's should have woken up in the Trogs tummies and they know that. But you see, they went down fighting. That makes all the difference. They lost, you were merciful.

In this case, it was pure DM fiat. "You are surrounded and outnumbered 50-1, so they take you prisoner. You wake up with some of your stuff gone. I marked off a few items to remind you who is boss".


DrDeth wrote:
In this case, it was pure DM fiat. "You are surrounded and outnumbered 50-1, so they take you prisoner. You wake up with some of your stuff gone. I marked off a few items to remind you who is boss".

Yeah, but don't you see, there was someone flirting with one of the PC's! If that's not an obvious giveaway that the entire setting is one giant trap, I don't know what is. If the players had had an ounce of logic, they would have picked up on that obvious clue.


We need a sarcasm signifier for your posts, RY. Sarcasm is just one of the many services you offer, right?


I never make sarcastic posts.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

So essentially it's turned into a GM-bashing session based on something that did NOT happen.

Can't really say I'm surprised, sadly.

Nope, it's turned into a OP bashing session based upon the fact that the Op won't answer our questions or give us critical info. And, that is a sure sign that whatever info the OP is hiding will turn us against him.

The rest of the time it's the usual "DMs are GAWDS they can do anything they want, and players should kiss their feet in gratitude" vs "DM's are swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood who need to be reminded once in a while who is really in charge!".

Note that I have been DMing since 1974, but I still err on the players side a bit.

(DQ- you make some excellent points)

Wait, what??!?!

That's a hell of a conclusion to jump to. A bit "guilty until proven innocent", don't you think?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.

If the player works with the GM, I'm in agreement. However, if a player comes up with a bio and the GM isn't on board or sees it as problematic, if the player adopts a my-way-or-the-highway, that's an attitude of entitlement.

As others demonstrated up thread, not every character concept works in every campaign.

And as Scaevolla77 pointed out, losing cherished gear can provide other opportunities for character and plot development. It doesn't invalidate the character unless the player lets it.

And since it seems to need to be constantly mentioned in this thread, this all assumes the GM isn't a jerk.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

But is the DM being a jerk, that's the real question! :)

Contributor

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BPorter wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BPorter wrote:
I was expanding on the assertion made previously that a detailed character bio earned one a certain amount of plot immunity.

The assertion is based on DM buy-in. If there is no buy-in, there is no plot immunity.

Edit: Looking back, you have the assertion wrong, just as Brain in a Jar did. It is not that the bio earns plot immunity. It is that the bio shows a road map of what the character values, and what the player values about the character. And you cannot manipulate one without causing a reaction in the other.

If the player works with the GM, I'm in agreement. However, if a player comes up with a bio and the GM isn't on board or sees it as problematic, if the player adopts a my-way-or-the-highway, that's an attitude of entitlement.

As others demonstrated up thread, not every character concept works in every campaign.

And as Scaevolla77 pointed out, losing cherished gear can provide other opportunities for character and plot development. It doesn't invalidate the character unless the player lets it.

And since it seems to need to be constantly mentioned in this thread, this all assumes the GM isn't a jerk.

It's not entitlement to explain what you like/desire to play, and if a fit can't be made with a particular GM's world and/or playstyle, to take your marbles and go home. Everything is not everyone's cup of tea.

Losing cherished gear is only an opportunity for character and plot development only if it makes narrative sense. If it's just random happenstance, or worse, punitive crap, the only plot developments it's going to fuel are derailing of the GM's plot or derailing of the character's characterization. If the character questing to find his sister loses her scarf to some random BS and doesn't move heaven and earth to find it? That's a sure sign they've been replaced by a doppelganger, spellbound by an evil bard, or something similar to explain this sudden character shift.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
But is the DM being a jerk, that's the real question! :)

I don't know if he's a jerk, and hope he's not, but we scared him away about four pages ago, so we'll never know. :)

Cheliax

I want to know what was taken!

I'm like Brad Pitt pacing around and plaintively wailing "Whattt's in the baaahhhhhhhkkkss?!" to Morgan Freeman.

Awwwwwww what's in the box?! C'mon!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


It's not entitlement to explain what you like/desire to play, and if a fit can't be made with a particular GM's world and/or playstyle, to take your marbles and go home. Everything is not everyone's cup of tea.

Losing cherished gear is only an opportunity for character and plot development only if it makes narrative sense. If it's just random happenstance, or worse, punitive crap, the only plot developments it's going to fuel are derailing of the GM's plot or derailing of the character's characterization. If the character questing to find his sister loses her scarf to some random BS and doesn't move heaven and earth to find it? That's a sure sign they've been replaced by a doppelganger, spellbound by an evil bard, or something similar to explain this sudden character shift.

Why do you keep throwing around what-if scenarios to argue the extreme one-side of the argument? I can only say "assumes the GM isn't being a jerk" so many ways.

Nothing in the OP suggests that the GM was being a jerk. A whole host of people have chosen to infer that he/she was solely on the basis that A) the PCs got captured & B) ONE player in the group took issue with losing equipment.

Had the entire group rebelled, there's more to suggest a smoking gun of jerk-GM shenanigans. But there are a whole lot of assumptions being made attacking the OP for his/her (personal) character as a GM with little to no basis for doing so. Seriously, are we shooting for RPG.net flaming intolerance here where a GM can't get some opinions from fellow GMs without being attacked?

And while Kevin Andrew Murphy's Hypothetical GM Hour stories are great, and contain good advice, you keep creating one-sided scenarios to support a case that no one is arguing against. No one is saying GM-as-Tyrant is good, valid, or called-for.

However, assigning motives & criticisms to the person who started this thread based on assumptions & conclusions is not cool. So far all of those claims have been based upon a statement that a single player - who hasn't shown up to assert that the GM is a Tyrant-GM that I've seen - took issue with it.

So for all those piling on the "this GM was a jerk bandwagon", are you basing those criticisms on actual info presented or are you making some huge leaps in logic to see an offense that, by all appearances, isn't there?

=====

Note: In the original form of this post, I misread & then referenced/commented on a point made by DrDeth, unintentionally portraying his comments as saying something that was not his intent. I've edited this post to remove those references. The dangers of speed-reading on the Internet are ever-present. Again, apologies to DrDeth!


BPorter wrote:
We've got DrDeth claiming this GM is the "usual" GMs have a God-complex and run their games as tyrants.

Nope, you completely misread what I posted. I said we are annoyed at the Op for not answering questions and giving us too little to go on, thus assumptions have to be made. Heck we don’t even know what was taken or if other players complained, etc. I am choosing to assume the DM has some issues based not on what he told us, but what he’s NOT telling us, as that is usually a bad sign.

And then I said :

“The rest of the time it's the usual "DMs are GAWDS they can do anything they want, and players should kiss their feet in gratitude" vs "DM's are swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood who need to be reminded once in a while who is really in charge!"”

Which compares two common attitudes on this board. I didn’t say anything about this DM being ‘the usual” nor what the “usual” DM was. I compared two common attitudes here on this board whenever we have a DM vs player conflict.


Riuken wrote:

"I'm playing a monk."

"I told you this game was based on a western medieval world, no monks."
"Monk is a core class, I'm just playing by the rules."
"Fine, you can be a monk, but a western monk. Orthodox. [bzzzz]"
"OK. Also, I'm an elf."
"I told you this was a human only game."
"Elf is a core race. I'm just playing by the rules, and the rules say..."
"GAME IS STARTING! GAME IS STARTING! ADVENTURE!"

Linkified

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNe1UP3v1r8&feature=BFa&list=SPC94D9A19FF39 1865&t=0m51s

For some reason my youtube urls have been acting wonky on the boards, so I've included the entire url just in case. Not sure what the culprit there is.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:

Nope, you completely misread what I posted. I said we are annoyed at the Op for not answering questions and giving us too little to go on, thus assumptions have to be made. Heck we don’t even know what was taken or if other players complained, etc. I am choosing to assume the DM has some issues based not on what he told us, but what he’s NOT telling us, as that is usually a bad sign.

And then I said :

“The rest of the time it's the usual "DMs are GAWDS they can do anything they want, and players should kiss their feet in gratitude" vs "DM's are swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictators with delusions of godhood who need to be reminded once in a while who is really in charge!"”

Which compares two common attitudes on this board. I didn’t say anything about this DM being ‘the usual” nor what the “usual” DM was. I compared two common attitudes here on this board whenever we have a DM vs player conflict.

Re-reading your post, I was taken aback at the presumption that the OP needed to provide more details as it had a "guilty until proven innocent" tone to it. I don't know that you intended it that way, but that's how I read it.

As for the follow on comment, yep, I screwed up there. You clearly were talking about the "usual" two opposing sides, not the one side being "usual" behavior.

I'm sorry for misreading and then unintentionally misrepresenting what you said, and I'll edit the post to delete the reference to your statement.

Thanks!

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