The Cardinal Sins of Certain "Old School" DMs


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Grand Lodge

TriOmegaZero wrote:

I don't do any of that. Things seem to work out just fine.

You don't run NPCs, monsters, an over-all story, or keep track of combat when you DM? :-P


thejeff wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Ah...this age old argument as to whether a GM should accommodate players' Character concept by changing his campaign world...or even the campaign themes.

I am still on the side of Kirth Gersen, TriOmegaZero, and Scott Betts. But than again the because my experience as a GM has lead me to the simple fact that a campaign functions better when the players get to play what they want...and my experience as the player side of things that when GM do adapt and compromise the game is just 100% better.

Isn't the obvious, reasonable and immediate solution to the problem simply that both the players AND the GM should compromise? do the whole negotiation thing where neither side got exactly what they wanted, but both sides are at peace with the final result?

Whenever I start a game or have a player join a game that's already running I always communicate in advance, in the broadest terms possible, what kinds of characters work well for the campaign. If a player comes up with a concept they really like but doesn't fit, me and that player sit down and talk until we find some middle ground we both find acceptable. It's this outlandish thing where the players trust me to come up with the best game I can and I trust them not to do things just to spite me, and we all see eye to eye. You know, the kind of relationships friends have?

Sure if there is a conflict compromise are the solution...

I am saying is I have never had a issue with reworking a campaign to fit my players concepts. And I am starting to think there seemingly alot of GMs out there who for whatever reason just can't do that. And I think that is a problem.

I don't want a robot GM...but than again I really don't want Robot players either.

And I've never had a problem making a character to fit any campaign I was remotely interested in. Or saying "I'm not really interested in that campaign idea. If the rest of you want to go ahead with it I'll sit this...

If a GM can't adapt or change due to a character concept...that I very doubt the GM will adapt or change due to character actions in the game.


Kthulhu wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Then again, Ultron as the GM for entitled players probably wouldn't work out too well for them.

Um....I don't think Ultron as a GM would not work out for any player except if the players were also robots and/or AIs.

Ands really Ultron's campaigns would all be Warforged only with the goal of wiping out all organic lifeforms.

When you roll a natural 1, Ultron kills you (the actual player).

When your character dies, Ultron kills you.

The session begins with your 1st level character in the middle of a field, facing a dozen tarrasques.

Pretty much except I think Ultron would use Robot tarrasques.

Grand Lodge

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John Kretzer wrote:
If a GM can't adapt or change due to a character concept

I don't think that any DM/GM (in this thread anyway) has said that they can't adapt or change their campaign to fit a particular character concept, but they have said that not every character concept fits within certain campaigns. Big difference!

For example, I could fit a half-dragon ninja/monk/gunslinger into a Middle Earth campaign, but such a concept has no real place in a Middle Earth campaign. And having such a character would ruin the feel of a Middle Earth campaign setting (at least it would ruin the feel for all of the Middle Earth fans that I know)...


Then please don't play in my games.

I'm a grognard sinner, and I run DCCRPG, not Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Digitalelf wrote:
You don't run NPCs, monsters, an over-all story, or keep track of combat when you DM? :-P

Of course not. That stuff is hard!

Scarab Sages

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Quote:
"Hi, I'm a player. I never asked for you to do all that. So you don't get to lord it over me."

So why do you always QQ and roll your eyes whenever I want to take a break and play instead of DM?

Scum of the earth.


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Davor wrote:
So why do you always QQ and roll your eyes whenever I want to take a break and play instead of DM?

Just who the hell do you think I am?

Silver Crusade

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So, if the GM has proposed a modern-day "spies and private eyes" campaign (yes, more or less "real" earth)... the players have agreed to do this campaign and have stated interest--

then one player pops up and insists on playing a magic-using elf...

This is okay, because we should just give this player what he/she wants?

Take a different example: running standard, Golarion, Pathfinder-- as a GM, I should give in and let a player run a psionic character-- even though it has been clearly stated many times over that the table rules are Paizo Pathfinder products only (no 3.5, no 3rd party)?

That seems to be what some folks are suggesting here.

Shadow Lodge

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Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

So, if the GM has proposed a modern-day "spies and private eyes" campaign (yes, more or less "real" earth)... the players have agreed to do this campaign and have stated interest--

then one player pops up and insists on playing a magic-using elf...

This is okay, because we should just give this player what he/she wants?

Here ya go.

Shadow Lodge

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Digitalelf wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:

I don't do any of that. Things seem to work out just fine.

You don't run NPCs, monsters, an over-all story, or keep track of combat when you DM? :-P

TOZ's PCs kill a lot of orcs and eat a lot of pie.

Shadow Lodge

John Kretzer wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Then again, Ultron as the GM for entitled players probably wouldn't work out too well for them.

Um....I don't think Ultron as a GM would not work out for any player except if the players were also robots and/or AIs.

Ands really Ultron's campaigns would all be Warforged only with the goal of wiping out all organic lifeforms.

When you roll a natural 1, Ultron kills you (the actual player).

When your character dies, Ultron kills you.

The session begins with your 1st level character in the middle of a field, facing a dozen tarrasques.

Pretty much except I think Ultron would use Robot tarrasques.

LARP


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I am curious how many of you play in these groups with a tyrant GM and entitlement players? I am convinced these are straw men so help me see that they really DO exist!

Ok I have seen a few entitlement players but they usually quickly evolve out of that problem player role when they get kicked out of a game or two. A LOT of kids were raised with the mantra "You are the most important person" and it takes a few really hard smacks from the real world to set them straight.

But it takes extra effort to GM well. So tyrant GMs?! Are they an urban myth? Or is Scott right? Are there people who's sole motivation is to oppress their friends? Or is it more as I say and these so called tyrant GMs are just running a tight ship to keep things fun for their players. Some players as I say prefer unchanging rules and strict guidelines, they don't like standing on shifting sand when a GM is more convincable and rules are seldom set in anything firm. I guess these two outlooks are more like "I see rules as an obstacle to doing cool things" crowd and the "I see rules as the solid foundation I can build cool stuff upon" crowd. And each group will find their own place and individual members will conform or probably leave if they really don't like the stance their group takes.


John Kretzer wrote:
If a GM can't adapt or change due to a character concept...that I very doubt the GM will adapt or change due to character actions in the game.

Our experience differs. I've had great games with restrictive premises, in which I know we threw the GM for a loop more than once and drove events off in different directions he was expecting.

Not a sandbox, since that wasn't the setup, but far from a railroad either.

Shadow Lodge

Aranna wrote:
I am curious how many of you play in these groups with a tyrant GM and entitlement players? I am convinced these are straw men so help me see that they really DO exist!

I've never experienced it, but I've never played at a randomly-assembled group like PFS or Living Greyhawk or anything like that, or just joined an already-assembled group or pickup party from a FLGS. All of my players/GMs were people I knew prior to joining their games/inviting them to my games, and had a pretty good idea of what they expected and wanted out of a campaign.

It helps that now we as a collective group are putting together our homebrew setting, and that we pretty universally want something more toward the unusual end and away from the Tolkien ripoff setting.

I imagine the potential for this sort of thing is much higher with a newly-formed group of players, as it's more likely they'll have differing opinions or desires for what a campaign will entail, or be more strongly adamant about getting what they want out of a game. Sort of a social-dominance thing, whoever gets their way first sets the tone of games for the group from that point forward.


Orthos wrote:
Aranna wrote:
I am curious how many of you play in these groups with a tyrant GM and entitlement players? I am convinced these are straw men so help me see that they really DO exist!

I've never experienced it, but I've never played at a randomly-assembled group like PFS or Living Greyhawk or anything like that, or just joined an already-assembled group or pickup party from a FLGS. All of my players/GMs were people I knew prior to joining their games/inviting them to my games, and had a pretty good idea of what they expected and wanted out of a campaign.

It helps that now we as a collective group are putting together our homebrew setting, and that we pretty universally want something more toward the unusual end and away from the Tolkien ripoff setting.

I imagine the potential for this sort of thing is much higher with a newly-formed group of players, as it's more likely they'll have differing opinions or desires for what a campaign will entail, or be more strongly adamant about getting what they want out of a game. Sort of a social-dominance thing, whoever gets their way first sets the tone of games for the group from that point forward.

In my experience with restrictions, you're as or more likely to see them with unusual games as with stereotypical Tolkien ripoffs. Part of the "unusual" is often getting rid of the normal overused stuff. We did a game with no humans a few years back, for example.

Sovereign Court

We sometimes try that. Qucikly gets us bored. Did a no human campaign once too. Was pretty fun.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Aranna wrote:
I am curious how many of you play in these groups with a tyrant GM and entitlement players? I am convinced these are straw men so help me see that they really DO exist!

I've never experienced it, but I've never played at a randomly-assembled group like PFS or Living Greyhawk or anything like that, or just joined an already-assembled group or pickup party from a FLGS. All of my players/GMs were people I knew prior to joining their games/inviting them to my games, and had a pretty good idea of what they expected and wanted out of a campaign.

It helps that now we as a collective group are putting together our homebrew setting, and that we pretty universally want something more toward the unusual end and away from the Tolkien ripoff setting.

I imagine the potential for this sort of thing is much higher with a newly-formed group of players, as it's more likely they'll have differing opinions or desires for what a campaign will entail, or be more strongly adamant about getting what they want out of a game. Sort of a social-dominance thing, whoever gets their way first sets the tone of games for the group from that point forward.

In my experience with restrictions, you're as or more likely to see them with unusual games as with stereotypical Tolkien ripoffs. Part of the "unusual" is often getting rid of the normal overused stuff. We did a game with no humans a few years back, for example.

We deliberately added something to the lore of our world to assist in this, a basic explanation for how something, anything, could show up there. (The short version: the universe our homebrew world is in is a tiny bubble that contains the planet, its star, and a small surrounding bit of space. This bubble hurtles through other realities, picking up stray bits of lore and occasionally the unexpected passenger or three.) We specifically wanted a setting that added new, different things but didn't get rid of the old classics because we still had players who like them.

It's very deliberately an anything-goes, kitchen-sink type setting. Most if not all of us as both players and GMs strongly prefer saying "Yes, let's see how we can make this work" if it's at all possible and saying "No" as rarely as possible. So when we created our setting we made a world that was deliberately open to such things and had enough variance and flexibility in it that a place could be made for just about anything.

I think in the entire time we've been running this setting (almost 4 years now) the only thing any of us have said a flat No to is a Vampire PC in a party that had significant grudges against Undead, Vampires in particular, which was very clearly an issue of "There is no way that you'll be able convince the rest of the party to let you accompany them as an ally" more than "this doesn't fit in the setting". If it hadn't been adding a player to an ongoing campaign with significant reasons for a grudge, I'd likely allow it, with some variant of an ECL adjustment admittedly.


Orthos wrote:
thejeff wrote:
In my experience with restrictions, you're as or more likely to see them with unusual games as with stereotypical Tolkien ripoffs. Part of the "unusual" is often getting rid of the normal overused stuff. We did a game with no humans a few years back, for example.

We deliberately added something to the lore of our world to assist in this, a basic explanation for how something, anything, could show up there. (The short version: the universe our homebrew world is in is a tiny bubble that contains the planet, its star, and a small surrounding bit of space. This bubble hurtles through other realities, picking up stray bits of lore and occasionally the unexpected passenger or three.) We specifically wanted a setting that added new, different things but didn't get rid of the old classics because we still had players who like them.

It's very deliberately an anything-goes, kitchen-sink type setting. Most if not all of us as both players and GMs strongly prefer saying "Yes, let's see how we can make this work" if it's at all possible and saying "No" as rarely as possible. So when we created our setting we made a world that was deliberately open to such things and had enough variance and flexibility in it that a place could be made for just about anything.

I think in the entire time we've been running this setting (almost 4 years now) the only thing any of us have said a flat No to is a Vampire PC in a party that had significant grudges against Undead, Vampires in particular, which was very clearly an issue of "There is no way that you'll be able convince the rest of the party to let you accompany them as an ally" more than "this doesn't fit in the setting". If it hadn't been adding a player to an ongoing campaign with significant reasons for a grudge, I'd likely allow it, with some variant of an ECL adjustment admittedly.

If I was building a world for publishing, especially as the main campaign world for a game system, or if I was building a setting for long term multi-campaign home use, I'm aim for a kitchen sink approach too.

In general though, I prefer one-shot settings, designed for the needs of a particular campaign and thus often restricted to match the needs of that particular campaign. This is not only or even often "Tolkien ripoff".

Even with something set in a more kitchen sink world, the campaign itself might call for additional focus: If we're playing pirates, some classes or concepts might not work. If we're playing elven court politics others might not fit. Etc. Even though those classes, races and concept might exist in the setting, they still don't fit in that campaign.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:

If I was building a world for publishing, especially as the main campaign world for a game system, or if I was building a setting for long term multi-campaign home use, I'm aim for a kitchen sink approach too.

In general though, I prefer one-shot settings, designed for the needs of a particular campaign and thus often restricted to match the needs of that particular campaign. This is not only or even often "Tolkien ripoff".

Yeah that was the intent. We did the one-shot setting thing a few times, then moved on to using published settings (first FR, learned we didn't much care for it, then moved to Greyhawk), then decided screw that, we'll make our own, and use our own campaigns to write the histories. It was a deliberate choice for the purposes of being able to put in bits and pieces of older games into more current stories - fun callbacks for the players to recognize and remember.

Quote:
Even with something set in a more kitchen sink world, the campaign itself might call for additional focus: If we're playing pirates, some classes or concepts might not work. If we're playing elven court politics others might not fit. Etc. Even though those classes, races and concept might exist in the setting, they still don't fit in that campaign.

To each their own I suppose. I make a point of being flexible and allowing things. If a campaign is that focused that it forces me to be unable to do that, I'm simply not likely to run it.


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Orthos wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If I was building a world for publishing, especially as the main campaign world for a game system, or if I was building a setting for long term multi-campaign home use, I'm aim for a kitchen sink approach too.

In general though, I prefer one-shot settings, designed for the needs of a particular campaign and thus often restricted to match the needs of that particular campaign. This is not only or even often "Tolkien ripoff".

Yeah that was the intent. We did the one-shot setting thing a few times, then moved on to using published settings (first FR, learned we didn't much care for it, then moved to Greyhawk), then decided screw that, we'll make our own, and use our own campaigns to write the histories. It was a deliberate choice for the purposes of being able to put in bits and pieces of older games into more current stories - fun callbacks for the players to recognize and remember.

Quote:
Even with something set in a more kitchen sink world, the campaign itself might call for additional focus: If we're playing pirates, some classes or concepts might not work. If we're playing elven court politics others might not fit. Etc. Even though those classes, races and concept might exist in the setting, they still don't fit in that campaign.
To each their own I suppose. I make a point of being flexible and allowing things. If a campaign is that focused that it forces me to be unable to do that, I'm simply not likely to run it.

Whereas I get bored with "generic adventuring party" games. At least all the time.

Mind you, more of these ideas get brought up and then dropped for lack of interest than actually run, so it's not the GM comes up with some weird idea then everyone else is forced to play it. It's only when there's buy in that we actually go with the more restricted games. We rarely have problems with someone wanting to play something that's not appropriate, unless there was a misunderstanding about the nature of the game, which has happened.

Shadow Lodge

I could never do political intrigue games. I hate real-world politics too much, bringing that sort of thing into the game would make me unhappy as a player and is something I'd never consider as a GM. The closest I'd get would be a less-combat focused rendition of something like Curse of the Crimson Throne or Council of Thieves. More The Lies of Locke Lamora than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.


Aranna wrote:

I guess these two outlooks are more like "I e rules as an obstacle to doing cool things" crowd and the "I see rules as the solid foundation I can build cool stuff upon" crowd. And each group will find their own place and individual members will conform or probably leave if they really don't like the stance their group takes.

In my gaming group we have both types of GM'S and Players. For instance, we have one GM who has "the rule of cool," which is pretty much, if you describe something interesting or crazy and cinematically he'll pretty much let you at least try it. On the other hand we have a GM who is very tight and by the book, and pretty much everything must be accomplished within the confines of the rules and there's no deviation. Then we have people at multiple degrees in between the two extremes as well. It's funny but I've seen more than one philosophical debate on this pop up there.

Anyway, everyone manages to game tomorrow (though some people don't go to other people's games, and some GM's won't invite certain players) and have fun despite vastly different table styles. Is one right or wrong though? Probably not.

Orthos wrote:
I could never do political intrigue games. I hate real-world politics too much, bringing that sort of thing into the game would make me unhappy as a player and is something I'd never consider as a GM. The closest I'd get would be a less-combat focused rendition of something like Curse of the Crimson Throne or Council of Thieves. More The Lies of Locke Lamora than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

And I love political intrigue games! Running one right now actually and my players really enjoy it. So it takes all kinds, it's not one size fits all, or even one size fits all the time. I probably would never exclusively run political intrigue games, but I also don't exclusively run dungeon crawls or AP style adventures, though I enjoy all of them.

The Exchange

William Dymock-Johnson wrote:

Players want to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNTs) in your serious Tolkien fantasy for a variety of reasons. Or catfolk gunslingers, android beuticians, deep one fremen or whatever other bizare concept the've come up with.

1. They've come up with a really cool concept / backstory that happens to be a TMNT. Let em. They've put in the time and are reasonably hyped about it so go ahead. Even in Middle Earth. Just warn them that they'll be this total fish out of water and if they're ok then you've got a rocking campaign where Donatello raps with Elrond.

2. TMNTs have uber stats and the player wants one to be the uber stat monster who can do infinity+1 damage in a single round. Let em. They're playing out their power fantasies and that's okay. If they're a good player then there will be total voids in the TMNT's abilities that coincide with the rest of the party's strengths. And if they're poor? They'll eventually MDK Elrond and then you can sic Legolas on their ass. He does infinity+1 damage in the round before you, even if you're also Legolas, he's that good.

3. The player has just watched / read all of TMNT and really wants to be one. Let em. This player typically has the attention span of a kitten with ADHD. Three sessions in he'll be begging to change his character to a dwarf, or an elf or some other disgusting alien lifeform native to your setting. After that don't let them change again. Be a meanie.

4. The player has just bought the Turtles splatbook and wants to give a TMNT a spin. Let em. Ask to read the 'including TMNTs into your campaign' section. Then be prepared for a rather baroque Middle Earth campaign in which the party must deal with the machinations of both Sauron and the Foot Clan.

5. The player falls into the looney classification and has picked a TMNT because, there is no because with these players. Let em. Walk on the Valendamned wild side for a change and have a Middle Earth with velociraptors and gouald death gliders.

6. The player always plays Donotello. He's...

You do realize all of these could be reversed to show why the player should be the one to let the GM have his way, right?

1) The GM came up with this really cool Middle Earth setting. Let him. He put in the time and is reasonably hyped about it so go ahead. Even if you have to change your character.

and so on. Why should the relationship not only be asymmetric between what players wish and what GMs wish (remember, GMs are also players, they just feel a different function in the group)? Forget the gae terms "player" and "GM" - they are two friends. Each of them can concede some ground to the other.

Shadow Lodge

Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Orthos wrote:
I could never do political intrigue games. I hate real-world politics too much, bringing that sort of thing into the game would make me unhappy as a player and is something I'd never consider as a GM. The closest I'd get would be a less-combat focused rendition of something like Curse of the Crimson Throne or Council of Thieves. More The Lies of Locke Lamora than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
And I love political intrigue games! Running one right now actually and my players really enjoy it.

Out of curiosity, are all of your players about in the same area of the political spectrum? One of the big reasons I could never run an intrigue game, outside my own dislike of politics, is that my group is all over the political line. Inevitably the campaign would breach that "no religion, no politics" unwritten rule that keeps our friendships from being ripped to shreds.


Just want to point out that "players play what they want" =/= "generic kitchen sink." You can play a very highly-restrictive campaign, and still have players with free choice in their characters. All you need to do is match the restrictions to the group preference.

If you had a "no dwarves!" campaign theme in mind, and two of the three players indicate they want to play dwarves (BTW, this has actually happened to me on two separate occasions), then that restriction isn't really a good one for that particular group -- but any number of others might be. If I end up with two dwarven fighters, an elf wizard, and a human cleric, the players and I can still agree to restrict the campaign to "no Small races, no Furries, no evil characters, no rogues or bards, no gunslingers, etc., etc., etc."


Kirth Gersen wrote:

Just want to point out that "players play what they want" =/= "generic kitchen sink." You can play a very highly-restrictive campaign, and still have players with free choice in their characters. All you need to do is match the restrictions to the group preference.

If you had a "no dwarves!" campaign theme in mind, and two of the three players indicate they want to play dwarves (BTW, this has actually happened to me on two separate occasions), then that restriction isn't really a good one for that particular group -- but any number of others might be. If I end up with two dwarven fighters, an elf wizard, and a human cleric, the players and I can still agree to restrict the campaign to "no Small races, no Furries, no evil characters, no rogues or bards, no gunslingers, etc., etc., etc."

Do you then have to change those restrictions if new character joins for some reason? Replacement for a dead PC. New player joining. Whatever might bring a new PC to the game.

Is it really a restriction if it only applies after everyone has already decided not to do the restricted thing?

But yes, in general, if you pitch a game with a restriction and most of the players aren't happy with the restriction then something needs to change. Obviously they don't want to play that campaign. Maybe the campaign can be tweaked to salvage the parts they do like. Maybe the GM (or a different GM) can pitch a different campaign idea. Maybe the GM can go look for different players who do want to play this particular campaign.


thejeff wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:

Just want to point out that "players play what they want" =/= "generic kitchen sink." You can play a very highly-restrictive campaign, and still have players with free choice in their characters. All you need to do is match the restrictions to the group preference.

If you had a "no dwarves!" campaign theme in mind, and two of the three players indicate they want to play dwarves (BTW, this has actually happened to me on two separate occasions), then that restriction isn't really a good one for that particular group -- but any number of others might be. If I end up with two dwarven fighters, an elf wizard, and a human cleric, the players and I can still agree to restrict the campaign to "no Small races, no Furries, no evil characters, no rogues or bards, no gunslingers, etc., etc., etc."

Do you then have to change those restrictions if new character joins for some reason? Replacement for a dead PC. New player joining. Whatever might bring a new PC to the game.

Is it really a restriction if it only applies after everyone has already decided not to do the restricted thing?

But yes, in general, if you pitch a game with a restriction and most of the players aren't happy with the restriction then something needs to change. Obviously they don't want to play that campaign. Maybe the campaign can be tweaked to salvage the parts they do like. Maybe the GM (or a different GM) can pitch a different campaign idea. Maybe the GM can go look for different players who do want to play this particular campaign.

The disconnect I have with all this and something I keep seeing come up in the various threads is the idea that people are showing up at the table with a character in hand apparently with little to no connection to the setting material.

Now, I am not sure if this is because the GM isn't saying more than "Game on X day, show up" -- in which case you cannot really complain if you don't give detailed information -- or if the player is just coming up with something and then showing up regardless of what the actual game is.

It reminds me of watching Chopped with my wife -- it's a cooking show where you get mystery ingredients. All too often one of the chefs says something like "I plan to make a napoleon regardless of what is in the basket." And you know, it doesn't always work.

So, are people just making a character and then showing up to sell it to the GM, to get it into the game regardless? This is an alien idea for me, so I'm trying to see if that is what people are actually doing/seeing. My experience has been that you find out about the game and then make a character, most often with input from others and with the GM.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It's always been the first one for me. We show up and then find out what the game is like.

The Exchange

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Just want to point out that "players play what they want" =/= "generic kitchen sink." You can play a very highly-restrictive campaign, and still have players with free choice in their characters. All you need to do is match the restrictions to the group preference.

If you had a "no dwarves!" campaign theme in mind, and two of the three players indicate they want to play dwarves (BTW, this has actually happened to me on two separate occasions), then that restriction isn't really a good one for that particular group -- but any number of others might be. If I end up with two dwarven fighters, an elf wizard, and a human cleric, the players and I can still agree to restrict the campaign to "no Small races, no Furries, no evil characters, no rogues or bards, no gunslingers, etc., etc., etc."

This is very good for most cases, but the edge case of "one of my players wants to be a robot gunslinger, another wants to be a Tengu ninja and the third one wants to be a half-troll evil paladin"... well, you can work your restrictions around that, but what you'll have left will not be restrictions at all. So you will get a generic kitchen sink.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
It's always been the first one for me. We show up and then find out what the game is like.

Which works if you know you're playing some level of generic adventuring party. Or if you're going for a sandboxy, build the campaign around the characters thing.

Doesn't work for us. We play different game systems too, so both system and basic campaign concept are talked about when figuring out what we're going to do next.

There are also games where it would work even less well than PF. What would you bring if all you knew was you were playing GURPS? Or Hero System? You don't even know the genre at that point.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

We always play 3.x, so that issue never comes up.


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John Kretzer wrote:
thejeff wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Ah...this age old argument as to whether a GM should accommodate players' Character concept by changing his campaign world...or even the campaign themes.

I am still on the side of Kirth Gersen, TriOmegaZero, and Scott Betts. But than again the because my experience as a GM has lead me to the simple fact that a campaign functions better when the players get to play what they want...and my experience as the player side of things that when GM do adapt and compromise the game is just 100% better.

Isn't the obvious, reasonable and immediate solution to the problem simply that both the players AND the GM should compromise? do the whole negotiation thing where neither side got exactly what they wanted, but both sides are at peace with the final result?

Whenever I start a game or have a player join a game that's already running I always communicate in advance, in the broadest terms possible, what kinds of characters work well for the campaign. If a player comes up with a concept they really like but doesn't fit, me and that player sit down and talk until we find some middle ground we both find acceptable. It's this outlandish thing where the players trust me to come up with the best game I can and I trust them not to do things just to spite me, and we all see eye to eye. You know, the kind of relationships friends have?

Sure if there is a conflict compromise are the solution...

I am saying is I have never had a issue with reworking a campaign to fit my players concepts. And I am starting to think there seemingly alot of GMs out there who for whatever reason just can't do that. And I think that is a problem.

I don't want a robot GM...but than again I really don't want Robot players either.

And I've never had a problem making a character to fit any campaign I was remotely interested in. Or saying "I'm not really interested in that campaign idea. If the rest of you want to go
...

Conversely, "I've noticed it seems like there are a lot of players out there incapable of modifying their character concepts to fit the campaign they find themselves in. For whatever reason they just can't do it. And I think that's a problem."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

No disagreement there.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
It's always been the first one for me. We show up and then find out what the game is like.

For me it's the "when it seems like it's a few months from the current campaign ending, put out a list of things I'm interested in running with blurbs and restrictions in there, have people rank them in order of preference, add up the results, and run with what is chosen. Then there is a long time to shoot ideas back and forth on what people want to play, to hammer out any dents in making sure people get to play something they will enjoy even if it wasn't their first idea right off the bat, and to modify the campaign a bit to fit the player balance.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If I had a group last long enough to finish a campaign, that might actually work.

Shadow Lodge

deinol wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Dude, no one likes RIFTS anyway. :P
Everyone loves the RIFTS setting. It's the rules most people have problems with. ;)

The only thing I hate more than the fracking RIFTS setting is yet another fracking Drizzt Do'Urden clone. I hate RIFTS as a setting enough to gouge my eyes out if you attempt to force me to read yet another RIFTS rule book.

Just sayin'.


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knightnday wrote:
The disconnect I have with all this and something I keep seeing come up in the various threads is the idea that people are showing up at the table with a character in hand apparently with little to no connection to the setting material.

In general, I find if I say, "Strict Tolkien-only campaign, no nothing otherwise, and your name has to be translatable into Quentari or something or you get rejected," I'm typically not going to have any players, and consequently won't get to play. Alternatively, they might say, "Kirth DMing -- cool -- I'm in," but not have as good a time as they would have if I'd bothered to find out their preferences first. In either case, I'd count it as a loss.

On the flip side, if I say, "JAM called me and wants to play Savage Tide, I'm cool with that but maybe some modifications -- let me know what you guys are interested in," I typically get responses ranging from "Okay, but can we minimize the pirate-y stuff, because I'm pirated out after the AP," to "whatever, dude." That gives me the info I need to make sure it's on track with what everyone is actually interested in.

In other words, I NEVER set a campaign in stone without consulting the players first.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
knightnday wrote:

In

In other words, I NEVER set a campaign in stone without consulting the players first.

And the winner is......Kirth Gersen!

and the PC crowd goes wild!!


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
knightnday wrote:
The disconnect I have with all this and something I keep seeing come up in the various threads is the idea that people are showing up at the table with a character in hand apparently with little to no connection to the setting material.

In general, I find if I say, "Strict Tolkien-only campaign, no nothing otherwise, and your name has to be translatable into Quentari or something or you get rejected," I'm typically not going to have any players, and consequently won't get to play.

On the flip side, if I say, "JAM called me and wants to play Savage Tide, I'm cool with that but maybe some modifications -- let me know what you guys are interested in," I typically get responses ranging from "Okay, but can we minimize the pirate-y stuff, because I'm pirated out after the AP," to "whatever, dude." That gives me the info I need to make sure it's on track with what everyone is actually interested in.

In other words, I NEVER set a campaign in stone without consulting the players first.

See, here is where I think the disconnect is. By the time a setting has been set in stone for me, usually it's after players have perused the choices and selected one ... And up to the point where you pick one, it's one thing, but once you DO pick something I'd consider it a nice courtesy to just kinda try to go with the outlined restrictions for that particular campaign, and live within the outlines of its flavor.

Shadow Lodge

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In the end, it mostly boils down to

"GMs, know your players."
"Players, know your GMs."


And how about never setting a character concept in stone without consulting the gm first?

Shadow Lodge

*shrug* I admit, I'm weird in that regard. Nine times out of ten, my response to character concepts is "Play what you want. I'll make it work."


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Policy is made by those who show up. Whatever anyone thinks of it. So... if it's so easy to make all the changes required for the campaign to be a good fit for all six or seven players involved... I wish the one willing to make all those changes the best of times as the GM of that game. If that sounds like "pay up, or shut up", then so be it.

If someone suggested a generic, kitchen sink campaign where they did not intend to make a coherent plotline, deal with NPCs, keep track of combat, etc, I would be solidly uninterested in playing in that game. I would quite honestly get so much more out of playing WOW, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2, or any computer "rpg". Sure, I would get the chance to play a psionic elf cyberninja catgirl if that was what I wanted... but what for? Rolling the dice to kill one level-appropriate encounter after the other? Watching my PECC increase in levels, so she can take on slightly tougher (but still level-appropriate) encounters? Sorry. No harsh words if anyone gets their jollies from that, but it isn't for me anymore. I want a chance to play a character who learns, interacts, has emotions and relationships to people, and so on. Stats are necessary, but need to be held from consuming all the play time.

It is not a crime to make your character fit the campaign. If you don't want to do that, well, maybe you are more comfortable settling the campaign viewpoints of a group wanting to play a human tourist, a space marine, a my little pony, a xenophobic fremen, and a flumph.


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RDM42 wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
knightnday wrote:
The disconnect I have with all this and something I keep seeing come up in the various threads is the idea that people are showing up at the table with a character in hand apparently with little to no connection to the setting material.

In general, I find if I say, "Strict Tolkien-only campaign, no nothing otherwise, and your name has to be translatable into Quentari or something or you get rejected," I'm typically not going to have any players, and consequently won't get to play.

On the flip side, if I say, "JAM called me and wants to play Savage Tide, I'm cool with that but maybe some modifications -- let me know what you guys are interested in," I typically get responses ranging from "Okay, but can we minimize the pirate-y stuff, because I'm pirated out after the AP," to "whatever, dude." That gives me the info I need to make sure it's on track with what everyone is actually interested in.

In other words, I NEVER set a campaign in stone without consulting the players first.

See, here is where I think the disconnect is. By the time a setting has been set in stone for me, usually it's after players have perused the choices and selected one ... And up to the point where you pick one, it's one thing, but once you DO pick something I'd consider it a nice courtesy to just kinda try to go with the outlined restrictions for that particular campaign, and live within the outlines of its flavor.

And sometimes that's going to mean someone isn't going to be quite thrilled with all aspects of the campaign, because making the changes to thrill him would disappoint others. Then he gets to decide whether the cool bits outweigh the annoying ones.


Quite true for most concepts, as long as trimming, reskinning and similar substitutions for parts that don't work in that particular campaign can be made. Nine times out of ten something similar can be worked out. Or ninty percent of the original concept can be worked out, etcetera ...

Shadow Lodge

Sissyl wrote:
If you don't want to do that, well, maybe you are more comfortable settling the campaign viewpoints of a group wanting to play a human tourist, a space marine, a my little pony, a xenophobic fremen, and a flumph.

Hah! I'd give it a shot, sounds fun. =) I always love bizarro parties like this. They evoke so much "okay I gotta know how THAT party got together".

Shadow Lodge

RDM42 wrote:
Quite true for most concepts, as long as trimming, reskinning and similar substitutions for parts that don't work in that particular campaign can be made. Nine times out of ten something similar can be worked out. Or ninty percent of the original concept can be worked out, etcetera ...

While true, I suppose, that's not what I meant. I meant quite literally "Play what you want, I'll make it work" is my usual modus operandi.


KenderKin wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
knightnday wrote:

In

In other words, I NEVER set a campaign in stone without consulting the players first.

And the winner is......Kirth Gersen!

and the PC crowd goes wild!!

First off, there is no winner. There is no right or wrong way to play or GM. That's where 90 percent of the problems come from in these discussions.

Second, I see what you are saying Kirth but that isn't what is being tossed around in these threads. If it were, we'd have a lot less of "I came to the table with a noble drow centaur ninja and the GM went mad" or "these gosh darn kids and their catgirls."

In general it comes down to what has been said time and time again: communicate.


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Orthos wrote:
*shrug* I admit, I'm weird in that regard. Nine times out of ten, my response to character concepts is "Play what you want. I'll make it work."

And my response to that from the GM is "Can you give me something? World info? Something of what kind of game you want to run? Anything?"

I hate character creation in a void.

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