What makes you so special that you get to play your snowflake anyway?


Gamer Life General Discussion

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Generic Dungeon Master wrote:
Hence the use of the word *restraint*

And I believe that the vast majority of "I've got 35 years GM experience" comments have exercised quite remarkable restraint. Every such message I've seen in this thread, and most others where it comes up, the GMs who say such things universally present them as "here's my background and here's what I've observed in my career" not "I'm better than all of you."

Thus I don't see the need to have to post something about how such GMs need to "exercise restraint."

They almost always do. To a fault even.


pres man wrote:
ciretose wrote:
pres man wrote:
Immortal Greed wrote:

This is not the film industry though Erick.

Players are not professionals paid to be there.

Even more reason to treat them as with respect, since they aren't getting money for being treated poorly.

And the GM is getting paid at your table to run things they don't want to run?

That might explain your position...

You seem to be of the belief that we are discussing a zero sum game here. That if you show respect to the players, the GM must therefore be disrespected. I would say that if that is your truly held belief that it is a bit sad.

I personally believe it is possible to show both sides of the screen respect. Asking a GM to include something they hadn't included originally isn't being disrespectful IMO. Now demanding it be included is. Telling a player that the character doesn't fit the setting after listen to the player attempt to explain how it could, isn't disrespectful, dismissing the idea out of hand is, IMO.

Would you in turn admit that 'hadn't included'. And 'specifically excluded' are completely different things?

Its the difference between a specific denial and a 'no comment'


Well we should consider that there is an aspect of diminishing returns to experience. The GM that has been doing it for 35 years is only possibly marginally better than the GM that has been doing it for 20 years, who is possibly only marginally better than the GM that has been doing it for 10 years.

Also, experience is valuable if it is being updated. A GM that has been running games with the same people for 35 years, using the exact same system, not having exposure to any other gaming groups, trends, systems, etc, may actually be worse than someone who has only been a GM for 5 years, but has run games with lots of different people dealing with lots of different perspectives using several different systems with different rule assumptions. In that case the experienced GM may be locked into their earlier way of thinking and may not be able to adapt.

I mean, yeah a 35 year veteran umpire is better than someone that has only been doing it for 2 weeks, but they might actually be worse than a 5 year veteran if there have been changes to some of the rules. The 35 year veteran might keep trying to go to the old rule.

Hell just look at how many groups playing PF keep trying to revert, accidentally many times, to 3.5 rules for various things. Someone who never played or ran 3.5 might actually be a better PF GM than someone who did play 3.5.

Arssanguinus wrote:
Would you in turn admit that 'hadn't included'. And 'specifically excluded' are completely different things?

Could be completely different things. But it is not really relevant to treating someone with respect. A player that says to a GM, "I know you said there aren't any paladins in your setting, but here is how it could work ..." isn't being disrespectful to the GM unless the player starts demanding the character be included after the GM has considered the merits and still decided to excluded the class.

Silver Crusade

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Generic Dungeon Master wrote:
Hence the use of the word *restraint*

And I believe that the vast majority of "I've got 35 years GM experience" comments have exercised quite remarkable constraint. Every such message I've seen in this thread, and most others where it comes up, the GMs who say such things universally present them as "here's my background and here's what I've observed in my career" not "I'm better than all of you."

Thus I don't see the need to have to post something about how such GMs need to "exercise restraint."

They almost always do. To a fault even.

Exactly!

No one here has presented their years of experience as an 'I know everything about role playing' statement.


pres man wrote:

Well we should consider that there is an aspect of diminishing returns to experience. The GM that has been doing it for 35 years is only possibly marginally better than the GM that has been doing it for 20 years, who is possibly only marginally better than the GM that has been doing it for 10 years.

Also, experience is valuable if it is being updated. A GM that has been running games with the same people for 35 years, using the exact same system, not having exposure to any other gaming groups, trends, systems, etc, may actually be worse than someone who has only been a GM for 5 years, but has run games with lots of different people dealing with lots of different perspectives using several different systems with different rule assumptions. In that case the experienced GM may be locked into their earlier way of thinking and may not be able to adapt.

I mean, yeah a 35 year veteran umpire is better than someone that has only been doing it for 2 weeks, but they might actually be worse than a 5 year veteran if there have been changes to some of the rules. The 35 year veteran might keep trying to go to the old rule.

Hell just look at how many groups playing PF keep trying to revert, accidentally many times, to 3.5 rules for various things. Someone who never played or ran 3.5 might actually be a better PF GM than someone who did play 3.5.

Arssanguinus wrote:
Would you in turn admit that 'hadn't included'. And 'specifically excluded' are completely different things?
Could be completely different things. But it is not really relevant to treating someone with respect. A player that says to a GM, "I know you said there aren't any paladins in your setting, but here is how it could work ..." isn't being disrespectful to the GM unless the player starts demanding the character be included after the GM has considered the merits and still decided to excluded the class.

Point for me is that if you are tryingfor things which are specifically excluded I consider the onus of the extra work, or at least starting it, is on that player.


Arssanguinus wrote:
Point for me is that if you are tryingfor things which are specifically excluded I consider the onus of the extra work, or at least starting it, is on that player.

That is something I can not disagree with.

Silver Crusade

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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
I would argue that arbitrarily killing off PCs through things like traps, which have utterly no story importance, is disrespectful, at least for a lot of playstyles. If the point of the game is to tell a story about a certain group of characters, characters dying for basically no reason is antithetical to that goal. I've never witnessed a PC dying due to a trap, or a random encounter, or just bad luck and thought the game was better off for it happening. Every time, I've thought that it would have been better if the PC had never died for such an inconsequential reason.
Bad things should never happen to a PC. Having things attack them is mean.

Congrats, ciretose, you win the gold star first prize for reading comprehension!

There's many ways for PCs to face negative consequences. They could be taken prisoner, the big bad could get the important McGuffin, NPCs they care about could die, etc., etc. All of these allow the game and the story to continue on.

To expound on my earlier points, in other forms of fiction, important characters dying for narratively unimportant reasons is rare. As a random example, take the original Dragonlance trilogy. Sturm Brightblade didn't die to a random trap he failed a perception check to notice. He died sacrificing himself to protect others at an important point in the story. Even works like Game of Thrones, which are known for a high body count, don't have important characters killed off for arbitrary, inconsequential reasons.

All I can tell you Vivianne is that you would not enjoy my games.

That is okay though.


These sorts of threads always make me chuckle.

There is a certain amount of "theorycrafting" involved in the participation I see in messageboards, as well as a real difficulty in communicating any subtleties or attempts at humor, and the end result is that everything seems to swing between ridiculous extremes like a rabid pendulum.

Case in point: Everyone agrees that mutual respect would mean that a player would ask a GM to consider including something currently not allowed in their campaign.

But the next comment is always something like "Yeah, and the player shouldn't start demanding if the GM says 'no'."

But that's almost never what happens in the real world. Here is what happens.

GM: "I know that it might not be popular, but for very important story reasons my campaign world is one where PCs just can't be constructs of any sort."
PLAYERS: "OK, that's cool."
Later....
PLAYER1: "Hey, I know you don't allow constructs in your campaign world, but I've got this cool concept about a Pinocchio type character and he'll only be a 'construct' for a few levels, so would that be cool?"
GM: "Well, that sounds like an interesting concept, and I hate to ever say 'no' to a player, but there are just certain.... reasons that won't work in my campaign world."
PLAYER1: "Well, I understand that you don't like the idea, but I think you aren't really getting my proposal here. If you can give me some more details about why you don't allow constructs, I'm sure we can work something out."
GM: "I'm already a bit nervous about telling you 'no' and letting you know there are story reasons behind it. That's information your characters would not have already. Let's just go with a 'no-construct PC' approach and I can run a game later where you play a construct."
PLAYER1: "Well, I've already put two full days into this concept, and I really want to play it. I think you are being too narrow-minded here and should work with me to help make this work."
GM: "Hmm... well, I can't say I appreciate being called "narrow-minded" but I'll try to overlook that and just say that there are always some limitations to every game. You can't play a god, or a rock, so I don't see what the problem is with choosing a concept that is not a construct. This is my world, after all. I've spent a lot of time on it."
PLAYER1: "Well, how about if my character is like a construct but isn't really one. I mean he would mechanically be a construct but for game purpose we'll just say he's an odd sort of undead. The important thing is that the character is soulless."
GM: "I've got my hands full getting ready for the first session, and I just don't have time right now to try to work in what you are asking for in a way that satisfies my expectations for my game world. So let's just move on, OK?"
PLAYER1: "I never realized that you were so close-minded about simple things. I think you're better than that. Let's give this one more try."
GM: "ENOUGH! Go find another game. You aren't playing in this one."
PLAYER1: "Jerk-ass controlling, narrow-minded idiot! I'll never play with you again!"

So, in that (admittedly fictional, but I believe somewhat plausible) exchange, at what point did the player or the GM cross the line from "reasonable" to "unreasonable?"


shallowsoul wrote:
...trap use isn't a player option so as a player you shouldn't be worried if I use traps or not.

I'm really not trying to be disrespectful here, but this quote is perfect example of the kind of superficial understanding of the game process that I think is leading to a lot of these misunderstandings about the player's role in creation.

It is plain folly to believe that the player should not be concerned about what kind of playstyle the GM is going to follow. I advise any player that is interested in, you know, having a good time playing his character, to be very, very concerned about this.

For instance (and this example is a little slight but it will do for now), Rogues are virtually useless in some people's games, and indispensable in others, and which one it's going to be is dependent entirely on who the GM is and the kind of game they run.

And here we've come to the problem with this thread as a whole. It is predicated on a very, very narrow understanding of the ways this hobby/activity can be approached, perceived or engaged in. You need to know that people are coming to the table with wildly different perspectives about the following issues, to name just a few-

1. The role of the GM
2. The goal of the gaming experience
3. The way rules should be implemented
4. The relative value of RAI/RAW
5. The conventions of the fantasy genre
6. The value of preserving or challenging those conventions
7. What it means to roleplay
8. Whether the focus of combat should be strategic or tactical
9. How much combat there should be vs. how much roleplay
10. The value of balance, concerning PVE
11. The value of balance, concerning PVP

I could go on and on. The important thing to consider here is that none of the approaches to the above issues can be considered "wrong." People have given this a lot of consideration, and believe me when I say that the various schools of thought about these things all have respectable arguments.

That is why the only approach that is "wrong" is for a GM to assume and try to dogmatically enforce that "gaming is X." Because if you have a sophisticated understanding of the manifold approaches and arguments, you simply will not be able to maintain that kind of attitude. You just won't.

And finally, I am going to make another attempt to get this across, because it is a key point I am making and I notice that people do not seem to be addressing it:

Gaming is collaborative.

You see? What I'm saying is that:

Gaming is collaborative.

And when I say that, the thought I'm trying to get across is that:

Gaming is collaborative.

The GM is not the performer and the players audience members; rather, everyone involved is both of those things. And look, yes, some players may like the approach of "GM decides world and playstyle, and the players get the f**k in line." And that's totally fine. But it's simple minded to refuse to engage with players that have another perspective.

In my experience, many players become frustrated not because they are being denied, but because they know the GM denying them is doing so from a place of ignorance rather than a place of understanding. That's my problem with many of the posts in this thread by those favoring total GM authority: the specific comments they are making, in many cases, reveal that they do not completely understand the argument.

Silver Crusade

Erick Wilson wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
...trap use isn't a player option so as a player you shouldn't be worried if I use traps or not.

I'm really not trying to be disrespectful here, but this quote is perfect example of the kind of superficial understanding of the game process that I think is leading to a lot of these misunderstandings about the player's role in creation.

It is plain folly to believe that the player should not be concerned about what kind of playstyle the GM is going to follow. I advise any player that is interested in, you know, having a good time playing his character, to be very, very concerned about this.

For instance (and this example is a little slight but it will do for now), Rogues are virtually useless in some people's games, and indispensable in others, and which one it's going to be is dependent entirely on who the GM is and the kind of game they run.

And here we've come to the problem with this thread as a whole. It is predicated on a very, very narrow understanding of the ways this hobby/activity can be approached, perceived or engaged in. You need to know that people are coming to the table with wildly different perspectives about the following issues, to name just a few-

1. The role of the GM
2. The goal of the gaming experience
3. The way rules should be implemented
4. The relative value of RAI/RAW
5. The conventions of the fantasy genre
6. The value of preserving or challenging those conventions
7. What it means to roleplay
8. Whether the focus of combat should be strategic or tactical
9. How much combat there should be vs. how much roleplay
10. The value of balance, concerning PVE
11. The value of balance, concerning PVP

I could go on and on. The important thing to consider here is that none of the approaches to the above issues can be considered "wrong." People have given this a lot of consideration, and believe me when I say that the various schools of thought about these things all have respectable arguments.

That is why the only approach...

I know my post isn't as long as yours but I can some it up with just a few sentences.

You have obviously mistaken just what "playstyle" means and it's function.

Silver Crusade

Here is what we have so far.

1: I immune to restrictions no matter who's table I am sitting at.

2: If a DM applies restrictions then he is a bad DM and lacks creativity.

3: A DM is supposed to talk with the player until the player gets to play what he wants because the DM didn't think it through long enough.

4: Compromise equals "player gets what they want".

5: Using traps are disrespectful to players.

6: Doing anything that can hurt a player's character is wrong.

7: I'm sure I missed some.


Matt Thomason wrote:
Generic Dungeon Master wrote:

I kind of wish people would learn to use restraint when throwing around their "years of experience as a Dungeon Master" as part of an argument.

I have 37 years of experience as a DM, and I am a s~$+ty DM.

I have to admit half the time I see people do that (and I'm not targeting anyone in this thread here), I then look at the comment being made and my first thought is "huh, with that many years behind you how come you still don't know any better?"

My first thought is usually that the person likely hasn't been alive for the length of time they claim to have been DMing.


my first thought was that was the joke of the alt posting the comment
but your thoughts are thoughts too I guess


ciretose wrote:
You must hate Game of Thrones.

Going for a second gold star first prize in reading comprehension? I explicitly used GoT as an example of a work where, despite the generally high amount of deaths of the books, important characters aren't killed in trivial and arbitrary ways. E.g. Ned Stark died due to what happened and how he acted after Robert Baratheon's death. He didn't die because he failed a perception check while in a cave as part of some tertiary fetch quest.

Meaningful character death can make the game better and more fun for everyone. Pointless and inconsequential makes it worse. Wasn't your mantra was that we should do what makes the game better?


Rictras Shard wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
Generic Dungeon Master wrote:

I kind of wish people would learn to use restraint when throwing around their "years of experience as a Dungeon Master" as part of an argument.

I have 37 years of experience as a DM, and I am a s~$+ty DM.

I have to admit half the time I see people do that (and I'm not targeting anyone in this thread here), I then look at the comment being made and my first thought is "huh, with that many years behind you how come you still don't know any better?"

My first thought is usually that the person likely hasn't been alive for the length of time they claim to have been DMing.

This sort of comment (both Matt's and Rictras's) strike me as the sort of thing people say either because they are cynical, or because they like to appear to be cynical.

I have had a number of on board and private message exchanges with a number of GMs who, like me, have been operating in the role of GM for multiple decades.

In virtually every case I have been struck not only with how well they know the game, but by how reasonable, helpful and impassioned they are about the game. They are among the most helpful and knowledgeable posters on these boards.

This sort of thing reminds me of the well known cliche that goes like this: "The older I get, the smarter my parents were."


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Adamantine Dragon wrote:
So, in that (admittedly fictional, but I believe somewhat plausible) exchange, at what point did the player or the GM cross the line from "reasonable" to "unreasonable?"

That was actually a really accurate and funny script you wrote.

Both are being unreasonable, because both began the conversation with their minds made up. Each is trying to persuade the other, rather than both being genuinely open to the possibility of acceding.

I will say, however, that the ball is in the GM's court in this example. For one, he's the one with important, relevant information (the reason constructs are unacceptable in this particular game) that he is unwilling to share in the conversation. Secondly I offer the old Spider man maxim "With great power comes great responsibility." Ultimitely, the GM DOES have more authority/power, and with that comes the responsibility to keep a cool head and resolve disputes as amicably as possible. Not that the player has no responsibility for this, but the buck stops at the GM.

Importantly, the first thing the GM in your example failed to ask was "Why do you want to play a construct?" or "What is the necessity in this character concept being a construct?" Something to that effect. If it were me, after the player answered that question I would first try to identify whether there was some other way to achieve what the player wanted without the part that was problematic for me. If there was no way to do that, I would then genuinely consider whether I could work the concept in somehow. If I came to the conclusion that I could not, I would say something like the following:

"So, here's the thing. You have managed to find the one thing that would be most problematic to include in this story. While that's kind of impressive in a way (lulz), it still leaves us at something of an impasse. In this story, there is a secret plot element which will be revealed later. That secret involves constructs, and is the reason I don't want to allow you to play one. Now, there are two ways we can go here. Although I would much prefer not to, I could tell you the secret. At that point, I think you will probably realize why you playing a construct would be a problem, and then give up the idea. And then you would know the secret, which would make the reveal later less fun for both of us. On the other hand, I suppose there is a chance that when I tell you, you will come up with a way that I have not been able to see for you to be a construct that doesn't violate the story. But even then, you'll know the secret and it won't be as cool later. But, if you don't care about that, and assuming I can trust you not to metagame and, of course, not to tell the other players, I will tell you the secret now. Think about it first."


shallowsoul wrote:
You have obviously mistaken just what "playstyle" means and it's function.

Well, let me tell you something: I love to learn. But I think you're going to have to elaborate a little.


shallowsoul wrote:

Here is what we have so far.

1: I immune to restrictions no matter who's table I am sitting at.

2: If a DM applies restrictions then he is a bad DM and lacks creativity.

3: A DM is supposed to talk with the player until the player gets to play what he wants because the DM didn't think it through long enough.

4: Compromise equals "player gets what they want".

5: Using traps are disrespectful to players.

6: Doing anything that can hurt a player's character is wrong.

7: I'm sure I missed some.

I think we are somehow reading different threads...


Vivianne Laflamme wrote:


Meaningful character death can make the game better and more fun for everyone. Pointless and inconsequential makes it worse.

Full disclosure: I am agreeing with most of your arguments, Viv. In this case, however, I think you are being as dogmatic as your interlocutors. "Pointless and inconsequential death" is many players' bread and butter. It certainly was Gary Gygax's.


I honestly don't know how long I've been GMing, since I started before my brain had fully formed.

I'm sure my exploits as a 6 year old GM don't contribute much to the weight of my arguments on the forums.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

I honestly don't know how long I've been GMing, since I started before my brain had fully formed.

I'm sure my exploits as a 6 year old GM don't contribute much to the weight of my arguments on the forums.

Au contraire! At the very least, at the age of 6, you were learning game management skills. And no doubt you learned some things NOT to do. (I assume you are joking, but my point still stands.)


OK, so in my above player/GM conversation, Erick feels the GM crossed the line first, but also feels that both the player and the GM were coming to the table with no intention to compromise.

Any other interpretations?


What's missing from that hypothetical conversation is the other players.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
What's missing from that hypothetical conversation is the other players.

Let's assume the other players were not present, and that the conversation occurred over email (which is how these things are generally worked out with my own player group).


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Adamantine Dragon wrote:

OK, so in my above player/GM conversation, Erick feels the GM crossed the line first, but also feels that both the player and the GM were coming to the table with no intention to compromise.

Any other interpretations?

I'm afraid the player crossed the line for me with the following

Quote:
PLAYER1: "Well, I've already put two full days into this concept, and I really want to play it. I think you are being too narrow-minded here and should work with me to help make this work."

At that point, the player crossed the line from asking to play something to being insulting and demanding. While the GM could certainly ask more leading questions as Erick suggested, there isn't any call to start getting bent out of shape and attacking the GM.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

OK, so in my above player/GM conversation, Erick feels the GM crossed the line first...

No, not exactly. I actually agree with knightnday that the player crossed the line first with his "narrow minded" comment, which, given what the GM in the example was saying up to then, was uncalled for.

But I am also saying that the GM missed a lot of important chances to negotiate more effectively, and that doing so is more his job than the player's.


Erick Wilson wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

OK, so in my above player/GM conversation, Erick feels the GM crossed the line first...

No, not exactly. I actually agree with knightnday that the player crossed the line first with his "narrow minded" comment, which, given what the GM in the example was saying up to then, was uncalled for.

But I am also saying that the GM missed a lot of important chances to negotiate more effectively, and that doing so is more his job than the player's.

Erick, by "crossed the line" I don't mean "was rude and insulting." I mean "Did not demonstrate appropriate willingness to respect the other person's desires."

Does that change your calculus?


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Rictras Shard wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
Generic Dungeon Master wrote:

I kind of wish people would learn to use restraint when throwing around their "years of experience as a Dungeon Master" as part of an argument.

I have 37 years of experience as a DM, and I am a s~$+ty DM.

I have to admit half the time I see people do that (and I'm not targeting anyone in this thread here), I then look at the comment being made and my first thought is "huh, with that many years behind you how come you still don't know any better?"

My first thought is usually that the person likely hasn't been alive for the length of time they claim to have been DMing.

This sort of comment (both Matt's and Rictras's) strike me as the sort of thing people say either because they are cynical, or because they like to appear to be cynical.

Quite possibly ;)

On the Paizo boards, I can say it's been a fairly even split. Half the veteran GMs I've seen have things down very nicely. Half seem kinda like jerks - and again, I'm not referring to this particular thread when I say that, as I think pretty much everyone here has made a good point from their particular P.O.V. (even if that P.O.V. has in many cases been nothing to do with the original argument that spawned this thread... but even then it's given related points to think about.)

I've seen more than a few "Only my way is the right way" people in other threads quoting their years of experience to back them up. I don't think I've seen any of them in this thread though.

The original context is long-lost in the previous thread now, but boiled down to "how to deal with the overly-insistent player that doesn't take 'no' for an answer about their bad-fitting character concept." We've taken more than a few diversions from that along the way, with many people that just read the words "special snowflake" without ever seeing the original context and diving in to defend a hypothetical player they are seeing as wrongly maligned.

Liberty's Edge

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In my 40+ (20+ DMing)* ** years of life it's been my experience that some tables are for some folk, some tables aren't. Find the table that suits you and grab on with both hands.

*the numbers are irrelevant. This should be common sense with age not being relevant to anyone over the age of 14.
** I'm an average DM at best but I must be doing something right because people keep sitting at my table, and I use the Benevolent Monarchy system.

Some people like story telling (story > rules) aspects...
Some people like a more gamist (25% RP, 75% Can I break the system...) approach...
Others love simulationist (50% storytelling, 50% gamist) games...

Others just like drama and getting people fired up.

-Vaz


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


Erick, by "crossed the line" I don't mean "was rude and insulting." I mean "Did not demonstrate appropriate willingness to respect the other person's desires."

Does that change your calculus?

Hm, perhaps. Though what's the use in determining who crossed that particular line first? Ultimately, neither one demonstrated that willingness, and then both became inappropriately confrontational. It's the confrontationalism that eventually shut down the argument though, and that escalation was begun by the player. But, you know, players are going to do that stuff. GMs should know that and come with their thick skin on.


Erick, I think that line is the critical line, because until that line is crossed, the "rude and insulting" line almost never gets crossed.

It is my own opinion that there is a particular place in this exchange where one person pushed this too far, and everything that occurred afterwards was pretty much inevitable from there. But I purposefully constructed this exchange in such a way that I think different people will see that point crossed by different participants. And that, I think, is why this argument will never end.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Erick, I think that line is the critical line, because until that line is crossed, the "rude and insulting" line almost never gets crossed.

It is my own opinion that there is a particular place in this exchange where one person pushed this too far, and everything that occurred afterwards was pretty much inevitable from there. But I purposefully constructed this exchange in such a way that I think different people will see that point crossed by different participants. And that, I think, is why this argument will never end.

Interesting. So, spill. What's your take on it?


Nah, I want to let this germinate a bit. Maybe it won't, but I don't want to prejudice the comments. I know from too many other threads that there are a fair number of regular posters who will take a contrary position to mine just because it's my position. I'm not even sure if they are aware of that propensity. No doubt they will take a contrary position on this comment too. :)

Liberty's Edge

Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
ciretose wrote:
You must hate Game of Thrones.
Going for a second gold star first prize in reading comprehension? I explicitly used GoT as an example of a work where, despite the generally high amount of deaths of the books, important characters aren't killed in trivial and arbitrary ways.

You did. And I don't think your definition of "arbitrary" fits.

If you don't think the characters killed off in Game of Thrones were main characters killed off, you are wrong. If you don't think many considered the way they were killed as unneeded, you are wrong.

Eddard was arguably the main character of the first book and was killed as a last second betrayal. So was Robb, arguably the hero of the 2nd book.

The reason they died was to tell the audience that no one is safe. Same reason Joss killed Wash and Jamie's hand was cut off. Same reason why that trap taking out your buddy isn't trivial or arbitrary.

It is showing this is a dangerous world, where heroes aren't safe. Even your snowflake.

So stay on your toes, pay attention, and feel the tension. Because you never know...

Liberty's Edge

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The player crossed the line when they put two days into a concept that was explicitly noted as not being available in the game.

The moment the player was wrong was when he said "Well, I've already put two full days into this concept, and I really want to play it. I think you are being too narrow-minded here and should work with me to help make this work."

Which means to me "I am more important that you, I put my time in and my time is important (even though it is exactly what you said not to do) and you are being narrow-minded not giving me what I want."


I do not find traps disrespectful to the players; I am not I even understand what is meant by that. Is it disrespectful for someone to get killed by goblins if that is what happens? Kobolds? Orcs? What is the exact level of threat that has to be established before the safety net is removed?

Adventuring is dangerous. Entire races are built with the idea that they use traps, and just because someone on the boards said rogues are no good and don't worry about traps, that doesn't invalidate their use.

Yes, it can suck to devote time and energy into a character and have them die. I've run across a number of players (mostly in online games) who were adamant that their PCs should only be injured or inconvenienced in methods that they approve of. They were often told by others that they may want to write stories about the character instead, so they can have total editorial control.

When you play the game and leave things to chance with dice, or faulty assumptions about classes, or just bad tactics, then characters can die. Death isn't the end of the game, it can be the beginning of a number of interesting possibilities.

Silver Crusade

If you think the longer you work on your character the more his chances of living increase you are sadly mistaken. In my games that is.

Shadow Lodge

That's why I spend no time on my characters. :D

Silver Crusade

What gets me are the people who act like they have just come up with the one and only concept that they have ever and will ever come up with.


I will say, that as both a player and a GM, I am fine with arbitrary character death. I roll the dice in the open as a GM, and we play them as they lie. I don't game with Blackleafs and we don't spend a lot of time weeping over lost characters, though there have been times my wife has said she wanted to sit out a session or two because she didn't have another concept immediately in mind to play (she gets pretty intense into the character and doesn't look for greener pastures until she needs to, unlike me who usually has about 10 ideas bouncing around).

Now I do find it a bit humorous that GMs that say they demand to be intricately involved in the character creation process so that they can engineer the game to work properly with the [approved] motivations of the character, are also saying they are fine with arbitrary character deaths. I would think those two ideas would be at odds. What is the point of designing a campaign tied intimately to the character's backgrounds and motivations, if you are willing to wipe them out and bring in totally new characters? Seems to me like you are doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain.

Grand Lodge

shallowsoul wrote:
What gets me are the people who act like they have just come up with the one and only concept that they have ever and will ever come up with.

Yeah, I hate those guys.


ciretose wrote:

The player crossed the line when they put two days into a concept that was explicitly noted as not being available in the game.

The moment the player was wrong was when he said "Well, I've already put two full days into this concept, and I really want to play it. I think you are being too narrow-minded here and should work with me to help make this work."

Which means to me "I am more important that you, I put my time in and my time is important (even though it is exactly what you said not to do) and you are being narrow-minded not giving me what I want."

This.

No question in my mind the player crossed the line first.

Liberty's Edge

TOZ wrote:
That's why I spend no time on my characters. :D

I run my concepts by my GM before I invest any time in actually building them.

Silver Crusade

pres man wrote:


Now I do find it a bit humorous that GMs that say they demand to be intricately involved in the character creation process so that they can engineer the game to work properly with the [approved] motivations of the character, are also saying they are fine with arbitrary character deaths. I would think those two ideas would be at odds. What is the point of designing a campaign tied intimately to the character's backgrounds and motivations, if you are willing to wipe them out and bring in totally new characters? Seems to me like you are doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain.

Do you find it humorous because you don't understand how to run a game that allows a character to be really involved in the world but still have the real threat of danger hanging over them?

or

Do you find it humorous because you don't understand how to have a game where the current actions of the character are what is writing the story?

or

Do you find it humorous that you don't understand how to run a game where the end hasn't been written yet and isn't in stone?

I'm curious.


I find it humorous because I do know how to run a game where I am not "doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain."


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Every time a player smiles, or laughs, or gasps, is all the gain that I could ever hope to want for.


Generic Dungeon Master wrote:
Every time a player smiles, or laughs, or gasps, is all the gain that I could ever hope to want for.

Hippy.

;D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
pres man wrote:
I find it humorous because I do know how to run a game where I am not "doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain."

Heh, ain't it the truth.

I can't begin to relate the number of times I've spent hours constructing a custom miniature for a boss I've wanted to bring to the table, then spent additional hours creating the creatures specifications and then worked that into an encounter...

All to see the wonderful critter destroyed in three rounds of combat.

Sigh. :(


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
pres man wrote:
I find it humorous because I do know how to run a game where I am not "doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain."

Heh, ain't it the truth.

I can't begin to relate the number of times I've spent hours constructing a custom miniature for a boss I've wanted to bring to the table, then spent additional hours creating the creatures specifications and then worked that into an encounter...

All to see the wonderful critter destroyed in three rounds of combat.

Sigh. :(

I can only imagine how you'd feel if:

"Hey guys. Guess we've got enough treasure from this one. We've pretty much wiped out the bad guys other than checking this last room, so I guess the town will be safe now. The guards can likely handle anything we left. Time to go home!"


Matt Thomason wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
pres man wrote:
I find it humorous because I do know how to run a game where I am not "doing a lot of extra work, for very little gain."

Heh, ain't it the truth.

I can't begin to relate the number of times I've spent hours constructing a custom miniature for a boss I've wanted to bring to the table, then spent additional hours creating the creatures specifications and then worked that into an encounter...

All to see the wonderful critter destroyed in three rounds of combat.

Sigh. :(

I can only imagine how you'd feel if:

"Hey guys. Guess we've got enough treasure from this one. We've pretty much wiped out the bad guys other than checking this last room, so I guess the town will be safe now. The guards can likely handle anything we left. Time to go home!"

Has totally happened. I drew an entire tower map in Gimp, overlaid all the masks to reveal areas according to searches and then put in all the tables, bookshelves, etc....

That was in addition to all the NPCs and monsters I populated the tower with.

The party decided not to go to the tower.

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