A Civil Playstyle Discussion


Gamer Life General Discussion

51 to 100 of 109 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

i also stole your ten paizobucks buster so don't f%+& with me


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Jokes on you, we got it at IKEA, and assembled it ourselves.


jokes on YOU, I disassembled it by accident hoping it would disgorge more money


it didnt


Okay, I'm derailing my own thread here. Moving on.


Scythia wrote:
I don't up the difficulty just because players optimize. I'm content to run Dynasty Warriors if that's what the players prefer.

Just remember that dynasty warriors doesn't go past level 8 conceptually.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As far as play style, I like to keep up it loose and make sure the game moves along. I also tend to err on the side of the players, both because I gotta live with them, and I remember my countless dead characters.

I like to run published adventures because having everything there not only saves time, it also allows me to expand on, improvise and tweak.

For example, Rise of the Runelords becomes Gravity Falls with hardly any effort.

Sovereign Court

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Here's two new, linked questions:

1. What do you think is the purpose of optimization?

2. If a party was especially well-optimized, would you scale up encounters accordingly, or would you see that as unfair?

1. Purpose of optimization in my opinion is to just build a strong as possible character mechanically via the ruleset. This can be based on the limits a concept provides, or can simply be just making the strongest character possible. It's up to the individual to decide.

2. Yes, but I always scale regardless of optimization. If a group is not particularly proficient, i'll scale down to fit their playstyle. If they are masters of the system ill scale up. The goalposts are always moving which is a bug or feature of 3.5/PF depending on the GM. As to fairness, I think as long as everyone is enjoying themselves its all good. Communication is tantamount especially with the variability of the 3.5/PF system. If I want to know if things are fair ill ask my players and adjust accordingly.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Scythia wrote:
I don't up the difficulty just because players optimize. I'm content to run Dynasty Warriors if that's what the players prefer.
Just remember that dynasty warriors doesn't go past level 8 conceptually.

What?

I don't think I've ever seen a level eight character kill 3k opponents in 30 minutes with the sounds of a flute.


I really don't want to try to answer all the particular questions presented in this thread

I want to have fun

It would be alright with me if the game were a bit kinky

Other than that, I get by.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Here's two new, linked questions:

1. What do you think is the purpose of optimization?

2. If a party was especially well-optimized, would you scale up encounters accordingly, or would you see that as unfair?

I like these questions, and I find as I continue to GM, and occasionally even play, that my opinion in their regard is increasingly fungible. The TLDR is I think it really depends on your group.

That said, I prefer it when optimization means that you've thought a lot about who your character is, how they fit into the world and the party, and that you've put in a lot of effort ensuring that that character concept works well with everyone else at the table (both other players and GM). That said, there's still a mechanical component to it, and as far as that goes it really depends on the player's focus. I, for example, really like characters who are resilient, and to an extent self-reliant; they should be experts in some field (even if it's only self-appointed), and dabble enough with everything else to be proficient in most situations they might reasonably find themselves in. My reasons are purely selfish; that way I get to weigh in on the greatest number of scenarios and thus increase my playtime (yuss, fist pump). Generally speaking, I think optimization is best described as achieving that end state of design where you gain the greatest enjoyment from the game. For some people this involves seeing big numbers on the rare occasion they roll the dice, for others it means having a really in-depth character to roleplay, for some it means having really random encounters or items to improv off of; everyone has their own desired end-state, and will vehemently defend the steps they take to ensure it.

Just as optimization varies by group, my response to it has to be measured in terms of what my players enjoy. I'm perfectly at home tuning an encounter, or even adventure-line to the party's strengths so that they feel they have to struggle and discover the world thoroughly to progress. More than once I've purposely caught them in a crossroads (typically at an early point in their life-span, where they can make adjustments) to point out to them areas where the party is weak, and needs shoring up. I think these sorts of tunings are excellent tools in your belt as a GM, but ultimately the story has to be about the characters, and the goal of the game should be having fun with friends. If someone has a strong build which is far and above others, then they should feel that. There should be encounters they can just breeze through to offset the times when they feel caught out. It's a juggling act, and how exactly you handle it as a GM is going to depend on a number of factors, but I find the best resolutions come when one incentivizes the players to push their character's limits. How do we do that? Well we give them options; they go around completing tasks for various rewards, some offered ahead of time, and some which come simply from doing the task. But the more they choose to engage in one sort of activity or another, the more you can silently pull the strings behind the stage and let the players seek out the more difficult challenges which would cause lesser adventurers (or players of less 'optimized' character builds) to quake and tremble in their boots. But that's me, I'm a puppet-master GM; everyone has to find their own style, and promote games which they enjoy running.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am grateful for this topic of conversation because I often feel like the odd man out in my own gaming group. This is not a bad thing, and I do not receive any disrespect from my friends, but it is a source of amusement that most of the time my playstyle is different from the others in the group. Fortunately, we have learned to make the most of the game all the same.

  • Roleplaying-to-combat ratios: 50/50 to 75/25. In a 4-part adventure, I prefer 2 purely RP encounters or skill challenges, 1 definite combat, and 1 encounter that is combat but has the potential to be non-combat under certain circumstances. By contrast, my gaming group is a little more like 50/50 or 25/75 in favor of combat. I have learned this by GM'ing for them and asking questions about what encounters/adventures they liked best.
  • Rules vs. flavor: I don't know if I see rules and flavor as oppositional, since each can exist without negatively impacting the other. But in those special circumstances where the rules make the flavor unpalatable, I add certain spices and sauces to the rules. There are plenty of options for manufacturing appropriate rulings to adhere to the flavor. My fellow gamers mostly feel the same on this point, though for a different reason - sometimes the rules get in the way of their glory.
  • Powerful and flavorful builds: Flavorful every time. Over the years I have gotten better at creating characters that can get their way one way or another, but I regularly sacrifice optimization for the opportunity to try out that one ability or feat or power or spell I never took before when it fits well with the concept. The rest of my gaming group agonizes over this. They want to play flavorful characters, but often balk horribly at the idea of sacrificing any optimization for it.
  • Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties: A little biased against noble parties because so much traditional fiction revolves around that core. But most of my characters have some quirk or incongruous detail. My iconic paladin, for example, is so very good and so very kind and so very open-minded that I rejoice when people can't stand to be around him because he is just too much or fly into a rage because nothing ever seems to bring his mood down. I think my group and I mostly agree on this one.
  • "Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination): Never been a fan of the pure sandbox, but this may have something to do with the fact that I grew up playing very linear RPGs. Conversely, the railroad can be annoying when I want to have a certain amount of freedom over my own destiny, so its the freeway for me. The rest of my gaming group is more open to the sandbox than I am, but we universally pan the railroad.
  • Silly vs. serious: Give me serious any day, with light-hearted scenes to break it up. My group and I also agree on this, but whereas their serious is "how to kill who opposes us" my serious is "how to best deal with the choices the rest of the party makes for us all".
  • Genre choices: I enjoy a variety of genres. Each has something to offer, and some are more evocative than others. I am particularly fond of modern fantasy, that being a fantastical setting with a lot of modern day influence. My gaming group prefers to keep a lot of the modern out of their fantasy.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

  • Roleplaying-to-combat ratios: An even mix, when possible.
  • Rules vs. flavor: Both?
  • Powerful and flavorful builds: Both.
  • Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties: Whatever fits the campaign.
  • "Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination): Each have their place, but I prefer freeway. I've never seen a successful true sandbox game run.
  • Silly vs. serious: Mostly serious, with appropriate RP humor/interaction.
  • Genre choices: Fantasy, Sci-Fi or some mix of the two.


Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

Sovereign Court

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

I like...no love having some risk of death. Depending on the game system and setting will determine how often I expect characters to die. In call of cuthlhu I expect a lot of death. Though in D&D/PF I expect there to be a little less and obviously there are things that make it happen less often. Sandboxes I expect there to be more death and "freeway" gaming as we have been calling it less so.

In recent years, we have been running a lot of APs in PF. I am finding myself more attached to my characters than in the past. We adopted Hero Points which allow us to stave off death if it happens. This is great on two fronts, players can keep their attached characters if they want, and GMs can take the kids gloves off. Players have to manage the resource so that element of risk and death are still there but not paralyzing for narrative and action. All the responsibility seems to be in the right hands.

As GM I tend to run mostly with the rules. However, i'm a rulings over rules guy so I can sometimes go away from RAW and even *gasp* fudge. Ill do so if I think an overruling will benefit the game. Its very seldom I need to do it. Id say the vast majority of my fudging is actually in the enemies favor. I often give them more HP to survive an additional round or two to make a combat seem more daunting.

As a player I extend the courtesy of allowing some leeway to my GMs. A good gaming group is built on trust. If I find I cant make it work with someone on either side of the screen, I usually try and filter that person out. Sometimes that person is me by leaving an established game. YMMV


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

My group tends to let the dice fall where they may. If there was no threat of death, then what's the point?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

I'll admit, I tend to be very wary of the actual threat of death. Yes, it happens at higher levels, but then it's just a matter of a few thousand gold pieces worth of diamond dust and you can forget about it. At lower levels, when you might not be able to afford it? Yeah, I'm always nervous if it seems like my character might die. The reason for this is simply how much effort I tend to invest in a character--to have all of that work and thought and planning blown away by bad luck generally makes me take some time away from the table to cool off.

It's a different story if I do something stupid or deliberately risky. In the first case... well, I did something stupid and paid for it. That's my fault. In the second case, I knew getting into it that I was risking my character, which means I've already mentally prepared myself for the possibility of death. I should note that I'm meaning "More risky than adventuring usually is" kinds of things here--playing through the average AP I expect to play the same character the whole way through, generally, as long as I don't do anything crazy.

I can play harsher campaigns, but they tend to not be my preference. I much prefer death to be rare and meaningful rather than random.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

Character death should be because they were stupid or nobel. The more lethal the situation, the more ways to raise or resurrect characters.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

In my 31 years of playing I've had precisely 1 TPK. I'm not a creampuff GM, but I also don't throw things at them they can't possibly defeat. I want them to feel the danger and the thrill of nearly dying in a combat situation, but I like them to live through it as much as they do. As much as I personally dislike the Resurrection spells, they know they're available if they need them, and they know they can afford them. Right now everyone is 12-14 level and the goal is to get to 20 then retire the campaign and begin a new one. I want them to make it as much as they do (I've never had a campaign get that far, either) but if they die there are ways to rectify it, one of them being Hero points which have rescued more than one character from death. Had it not been for those, there'd be only one or two original campaign characters left.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

Pretty low. Death, at least permanent death, is rare. Sometimes (usually unadmitted) fudging, but mostly just generally keeping the challenge level turned down a notch so we don't get to that point.

We tend to be more interested in problem solving and in figuring out just what is going on with the plot than in heavy combat.
Even in our Call of Cthulhu games, death was pretty rare. More fun to keep the Investigators alive and slowly drive them mad. :) (Actually our first Keeper was pretty lethal, but from then on, much more subtle.)

As for actual deaths in PF/D&D style games - maybe one a year. Maybe less. I'm curious to hear actual numbers. In some previous discussions, I've heard some talk such deadly game that I'd thought they were losing multiple characters most sessions, but it turned out their actual death rate wasn't nearly that. Admittedly their players may have gone to a more paranoid style than my group takes, so it's not easy to compare.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

Pretty much nil. Bringing in new characters is a chore. Still, if it happens, it happens. I would say that it actually gets more common as levels increase. I have no problem letting the dice fall when there are methods of recovery. (Death becomes just another condition to be removed.) So really, I try to make the PCs tough enough to survive until they have those recourses, and likewise prefer my own PCs have similar chances.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

I prefer a high level of potential lethality (although I'd like for there to usually be a chance for it to be avoided). My group doesn't like that though, so it generally gets fudged, I believe.

When I'm DM I run according to what my players want - usually that's 'no save-or-die effects and only kill us if we're stupid' but it does vary: Currently we're playing a game with all DM rolls in the open and one 'get out of situation free' uses per issue of the AP - currently they're in book 4 and have used 2 of their SOS usages - one to avoid a TPK, one to save just a single PC.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

My level of danger continues upwards as they level Kid gloves come off around 5 spike knuckles go on around 12 and the spiked +5 vorpal gauntlets go on at 16 and above. I think I legitimately do my best to kill them at level 19-20 without spiking the cr to ridiculous amounts.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

I like settings where there's a great deal of danger and grit (it gives the campaign a direction), although I'm not sure I'd enjoy a game with a high degree of danger and grit; A GM sitting in the room with a loaded gun and a s~$*-eating grin on his face would probably turn me off. I will fudge rolls if I feel a player is doing an exceptional job roleplaying, and has put themselves in a greater degree of danger than anticipated (or than they can manage) as a result of that. I'll also fudge if I catch a player lying/cheating repeatedly, although I'll start off with a verbal reprimand. Otherwise what happens happens, and my games can have high death counts if the players are not careful, but can also go death free if they're playing well. Recently I've gone back to the hero point system as an alternative to fudging rolls, and that has also reduced the risk of character death (at least until they run out of points).

I don't hate it when my own characters risk death, indeed several have walked a thin line between being suicidal and courageous in the pursuit of some goal. What I do hate is when the dice gods, in their almighty wisdom, decide to give me all ones the night we play such a scenario, but such are the breaks.

I will point out there's a distinction between danger and death. While the fear of death is the most common danger an adventurer faces there are others you can implement; gambling, addiction, family troubles, jilted or potential new lovers, missed opportunities (particularly in the face of another threat), and moral quandaries can all provide different types of danger to spice up a game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

I love high danger games where the tension maintains a pitch just below screaming. Such games can only maintain this tension for just so long before it wears thin and needs to evolve in some way, even if only in circumstance to maintain the thrill, but I dig it while I have it. I am also sensitive to playing characters whose lives are normally not filled with danger suddenly realizing the reaper lurks around every choice they make and how this affects them, often in ways they don't comprehend but that may be obvious through dramatic irony.

PC Death in my games is not common, but it does happen. I do not run a cutthroat campaign and in some circumstances have quietly fudged things from time to time because that particular death would have been meaningless. And sometimes a meaningless death is in itself meaningful! But most of players like to play "grizzled" types for whom death in the face of random dice rolls is a commonplace. In asking players I have DM'd for over the years, the majority prefer some kind of significance in their character's death. Not all, mind you! There are some who love the randomness of death as much as the randomness of creation, and I can appreciate that viewpoint. It just isn't what I come across often.

I don't hate much of anything, but when my characters are at risk of dying I begin finding significance in the death - and manufacturing it at the last moment, if I have to. People act differently when faced with their own imminent demise. The courageous are betrayed by cowardice, cowards find courage, a soul may be unburdened by "deathbed" confessions in either word or deed (a name cried in anguish speaks as much volume as a dagger placed between an old friend's ribs), etc. I seize the opportunity to impart a meaningful death for my own character if it is within my reach and doesn't come out forced.


I will say a constant amount of tension and every fight being a life or death struggle does get old after a while I had a dm that did that for years always felt like we barely survived (sometimes by fiat). It was exhausting would of killed (heh heh) for an encounter where I could of just hit something and had it die without horrible consequences.


I prefer not to kill the characters for no reason. I don't fudge the rolls (I use roll20, and use their built in dice roller, so they see the attack and damage rolls), but I typically won't outright kill the characters. Unless they are fighting something like an owlbear or wolf or something equally beast-like, I may have the creature kill the character if it brings them to that point, but if they are fighting more intelligent creatures like goblins or bandits, I will make them get taken prisoner if they happen to get brought down (5th edition lets you "pull your punch" and just knock your opponent out if you manage to bring them to 0 or below, which I make use of). I know how it is to be invested in a character and having it get killed. I lost interest a few times when that happened. Though I typically have many different character ideas floating in my head at any time.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Roleplaying-to-combat ratios
• More roleplaying than combat, but I'd qualify it as 'not combat over combat'... so roleplaying and planning and general character building sandboxing over 'lazer focused plot chasing'. I'm also about as close to a pacifist as a tabletop gaming character can get. Battle should always be the last option. Way more into exploring and interacting than stabbing slicing and burning.

Rules vs. flavor
• Flavor for sure. As a grognard I'm way more rulings over rules.

Powerful and flavorful builds
• Powerful means flavorful to me... There's not much flavor for a dude with an axe whose choices are 'I chop' or 'I wait for something to give me an excuse to chop'... On the other hand while I prefer my characters to be 'above competent' more than 'harrowed and in constant danger', I also prefer the bulk of my character's power to be artful and narratively rich 'fartin around having fun' power to match my preferred sandboxxy character driven playstyle.

Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties
• Cant stand evil parties, and I'd say 95% of all parties I've been in or ran for are 'too morally ambiguous shoot first ask questions later' for my personal taste. I'm a big fan of reckless behavior meets consequenses kinda guy.

"Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination)
• Sweet sweet sandbox for sure. Not to say that once the players have chosen a goal that highways arent what immediately follows as a natural consequence. Quantums and Schroedingers are, at the end of the day, as much a part of the game as any rule thats ever been written.

Silly vs. serious
• Middle of the road for me really. Marvel has been doing this really well for me. Yes the situation is serious, but unlike DC, we dont have to marinade in our own melodrama all the dang time. I'll take silly marvel over Emo DC ten times out of ten thank you. That doesn't mean I'm whole hog silly either though. Macho women with guns and Paranoia are a little too spaztic (sp?) for me.

Genre choices
• Contemporary supers with martial arts. I'm mostly a heroes unlimited/ninjas and superspies guy. Superheroes. Superspies... 80's action scenes. Cool one liners.


Quote:

"Roleplaying-to-combat ratios

Rules vs. flavor
Powerful and flavorful builds
Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties
"Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination)
Silly vs. serious
Genre choices"

I think a few these are misconceptions.

It seems to me that some of the more important distinctions in playstyle are generally ignored/unknown/unrecognized.

For example, how much combat is a completely different thing from how combat is handled. In one game I joined, not only did the players split combat from story, character builds were focused on the meta-game and I was even expected to twist my character to act according the meta game rather than staying true to the character. And when I tried to stay in character, I was told how much I was failing at being a team player as though the meta-game were somehow more important.

Additionally was this concept of roles which were not defined but somehow I was expected to already know a particular role and to fill that role. Of particular note in that case was that acrane casters are expected to identify potions, but I didn't know that and thus had no skill in identifying potions.

I think these kinds of differences in playstyle are more important to be recognized as having a greater impact on the enjoyment of the game.

Also, another distinction I would include would be player impact on the story. Similar the railroading question but I think of it like this, an rpg can be played as,

A, a minutures combat game with a story told tying all the game encounters together, very railroady the game is playing the encounters while the story is somewhat separate to be enjoyed and explaining why you are handling an encounter yet apart from the actual gameplay (like when you play Halo, the game is shooting enemies, the story give those enemies form, explains why you shoot them, and ties the game sessions together.)

B, the game is creating an interesting story. Characters are not just figures for combat, but are foci for a train of events and are supposed to heavily influence that story flow, with the game being the creation of a compelling and interesting story. Though mostly done freeform, this style has players affecting and creating the story as much as the gm, sometimes there are even rules for introducing story twists and plot pretzels, not to mention doing stupid but cool-looking stunts like swinging on chandeliers.

C, my preferred style actually, is where the game is basically an interactive book, where the players experience a story told by the gm through the senses of their characters. The point here is to have a well-defined character and to use that character as an avatar to explore the world or story being told/described/created by the gm.

Of these three, how much combat is quite variable, a game about soldiers is likely to have lots of combat, yet could still be the style of players creating the story or players having characters going through the gm's story.

Obviously these are the extreme points, but expecting to play a game being true to my character only to find myself in game where my character is expected to give way to meta-game optimization is not a good nor fun experience.


One time, everyone was naming characters after pop stars. I made a priest names George Michaels because I had just seen his video'"Faith". I didn't hear about his supposed gayness till later. We never had to play our characters like we knew who we were named after. We all had different instruments. There were no modules where being a band mattered.


"Supposed"? He's fully out as gay. :P


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Reminds me of that old post apocalyptic van damme movie where the good guy and bad guy were named after guitars... Cyborg... starring Van Damme as Gibson Rickenbacker and Vincent Klyn as Fender Tremolo. Good times.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

  • Roleplaying-to-combat ratios

    I love being able to create stuff and build a character into a setting, with goals and whatnot, but have all-too-often found that this is just fuel for what I call 'adversarial GMs' who see anything the character attempts to do that isn't combat as something to be torn down or destroyed. This happened to me most often in Vampire, which is more of a freeform game (where XP doesn't necessarily have anything to do with how many XP-bags you slaughtered or how many GP you took home), and I would almost inevitably retire my first-choice Ventrue / Nosferatu / Tremere / Toreador character for a Brujah with 5 dots of Potence and no goals other than 'punch things to death,' since the plot of the day was unlikely to get deeper than 'punch werewolves' or 'punch Sabbat' with the rare foray into 'punch infernalists' or 'punch technocracy robots.'

  • Rules vs. flavor

    Rules are the sacrifice I make to get flavor. I get that this is not universal, and that some people love to cook, but I find cooking to be the thing that gets between me and the part I like, eating. :)

  • Powerful and flavorful builds

    One and the same, for me.

    Parties should be exceptional. The group in Princess Bride or Lord of the Rings weren't 'a bunch of schmoes, out of their depth.' There was the strongest dude on the Brute Squad and the vengeance-obsessed best swordsman in the world on one team, and friggin' Aragorn and Legolas on the other.

    I have little interest in playing someone who is incompetent or 'below-average.' With point buy systems, like D&D and Pathfinder, I almost never 'dip' a stat below 10, since there isn't an aspect of my character I want to suck at. My fighters aren't morons with the social skill of deranged aardvarks, my wizards aren't feeble stick-men with the same lack of social skills, my sorcerers or clerics aren't morons who dumped Int to get that one more point of Wisdom or Charisma.

    That said, this is in D&D and PF. In GURPS, I was much more willing to 'dump' Str and HT on my mages, or Int on my fighters, because the points were worth so much more and could be spent on so many other things (advantages and skills). So there is a limit, it's just that in PF/D&D, the few points you can shave by dumping a stat isn't ever going to do more than many squeak out a single extra point of your primary stat, and to do that, you might have to dump multiple other stats, creating, in effect, multiple points of failure for your character, to get a +1 save DC or whatever. It just never feels 'worth it' to me.

    GURPS also, IMO, makes it more fun to roleplay a low attribute, while in D&D/PF, every group-member seems to have one or more stats dumped to anywhere from 9 to 6!, making it less interesting as a character trait.

  • Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties

    The entire genre seems to have been built on sketchy parties, from fantasy staples as Conan and Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser, to Cugel the Clever and Elric of Melnibone. I've read 20 or so Pathfinder Tales novels, and the protagonists are almost always self-centered and amoral, at best, or on a mad quest for revenge.

    And this seems to have carried over into the games I've played. I've tried to play some good clerics, only to be dragged down into the 'kill differently skinned people and take their stuff' slog that is required to gain experience and progress in games where XP comes from killing and taking (such as many video games, not just D&D), and while that's not a requirement for games like GURPS or Vampire, that mindset seems to have baked into the RPG community.

    I'd actually be both surprised and possibly excited to read some fantasy fiction about *moral* characters (or, conversely, flat-out bad-guys), and for these sorts of things to make enough of an impression that a new generation of gamers might be more interested in playing good characters (or evil characters) instead of banal loot-obsessed kill-anyone-who's-different 'heroes.'

  • "Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination)

    Both have their strong points. With the right group, sandbox can be amazing. With a group that needs direction, and has no real interest in 'creating their own adventure,' sandbox can be endlessly frustrating for both players and GM.

  • Silly vs. serious

    I don't much care for pure joke campaigns, but a few moments of levity can make even a Call of Cthulhu game fun. But, in my experience, that can't be forced, and is more a function of friends interacting than anything deliberately written to be 'funny.' (Since 'funny' is pretty darn subjective.) I've played and loved Toon, for instance, but I would *not* want whacky hijinks to show up in a Ravenloft campaign. So, I'mma straddle this fence over here, once again, and say that both have their place.

  • genre choices

    Superhero is my favorite. I don't much care for mechanical advancement (new levels, new feats, +1 to this save or that stat, etc.) as much as personal achievement style advancement, like building something (a community, a chantry, researching a new spell, etc.), and superhero games are more likely to *start* with cool powers like flight or teleportation, instead of gating them off to only be available at level X or Y. The hero starts a hero, but (generally) doesn't experience any quantum leaps in power. There is no 'I am X level, *now* I have an AoE, or *now* I have a travel power.' Batman starts out Batman. He didn't hit 5th level and learn how to fly. At 10th level, he's still Batman. Same deal with Thor. He had super-strength, flight and weather control at 1st level. He'll have super-strength, flight and weather control at 10th level, too. I'm also a big fan of inherent character capabilities and less of 'you need X magic items to keep up' baked into most MMOs or computer games, or D&D. Superhero games are far less likely to require my character to have a +X cloak of resistance by X level to meet some arbitrary notions of what my characters saves should be to be 'level-appropriate.' That sort of thing takes me out of the game and makes my 'hero' feel less like a 'hero' and more like a department store clothes mannequin. (MMOs take it to a new absurd level, with 'item level' or 'gear level' being an actual game stat, and certain adventure areas/dungeons being gated off to only characters with the 'appropriate' level of gear. Ugh.)

    Fantasy is my second choice. I love lots of fantasy novels, but game systems sometimes don't model them very well. (Almost no fantasy magicians, for instance, outside of the novels of Jack Vance himself, and like one dude in a Zelazny novel, use the fire-and-forget Vancian spell preparation model.)

    Sci-fi, which I love to watch and read, tends to be far too 'gear-centric' for my tastes, even more so than fantasy, when it comes to games. I'm not terribly into guns, even lasers and blasters, nor into genres that have blaster guns that inflict enough damage to melt steel and defenses of 'I have a shirt.' I'm looking at you, Traveller! (Forty five minutes of character generation, exactly 2 minutes of gameplay before being shot dead in the first few sentences of the introductory adventure...) I love me some Star Wars and Star Trek and Babylon 5 and Uplift War/Startide Rising, but have yet to play a really fun game set in one of those universes. (Even Trinity, which I loved to a not-rational degree, could be frustrating. Ooh, I've devoted a considerable amount of character resources to being great at this cool psionic power, which only one in a million humans can learn, and I can only use a couple of times a day, and it's amazing! And roughly a third as effective as this low-tier gun I bought over the counter, and that literally *everyone* can afford and carry casually.) Same with Star Trek. Spock's amazing, and there's only one of them in the universe. But a phaser is better, and there are millions of them.

    And yeah, I know that's not unique to games. A bullet beats a Bruce Lee in the real world, too, but I'd rather play a Bruce Lee than 'idiot with a pistol #7897233.'

  • Dark Archive

    DungeonmasterCal wrote:
    Whew. That took awhile. I need a Mtn Dew and a Hostess cupcake now.

    Ooh, I could use a cupcake hostess, too!

    Hostess, bring me another cupcake!

    (I read that too fast and got it wrong you say? I don't know, I've heard it both ways...)


    Combining comedy and horror takes some thought. Crawly undead clowns are very different than kid's party clowns.


    Kobold Cleaver wrote:
    Here's a new question: What is your preferred level of danger in a game? How common is PC death? Do you fudge it, or look for ways around it, or do you run a harsh, cutthroat campaign? Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?

    As a player, I don't enjoy it when death is constant. Dying once a session and having to make a new character would be a real pain. That said, I've rarely encountered that. Much more often I see GM's bending over backwards to avoid my death and I take a mildly sadistic pleasure out of pushing them further when I see them start to do it. I like failure being an option; that doesn't have to mean death, but it means framing combat as something other than life-death as success-failure then. If combat is life or death, then death has to be a possibility.

    As GM, I don't go out of my way to kill PCs, but I do it. Often times I present a post-death choice to the player if they want to return (and the game affords it). Currently running an E8 game, so there isn't a lot of readily available Raise Dead. I've given players conversations with gods/beings who strike a deal with the PC. If it's important to the player to have THAT character back, they'll take the deal. If they want to move on, they don't take the deal.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Don't know how I missed this.

    Quote:
    "Do you hate it when your own characters are at risk of dying?"

    Nope. The way I see it is, how can I feel good about beating the bad guy if there is no possibility of not beating the bad guy.

    Some say that having characters significantly better than npcs to the point of being demi-gods makes them feel powerful and heroic.

    But I just feel like that is a cheat. To me, it isn't heroic to win a contest you can't fail. It isn't power if someone else (i.e. the gm/module writer) stacks everything in your favor.

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    TheAlicornSage wrote:

    Some say that having characters significantly better than npcs to the point of being demi-gods makes them feel powerful and heroic.

    But I just feel like that is a cheat. To me, it isn't heroic to win a contest you can't fail. It isn't power if someone else (i.e. the gm/module writer) stacks everything in your favor.

    Being a superhero game fan, I want a little of both. I want the occasional cakewalk / goonstomp, where you smash through some minions and revel in your power.

    And *then* I want the nailbiting final encounter where one of the PCs could easily die, if they screw up.

    I just don't want *every* encounter to be a TPK-in-waiting, because even I, with my binder full of alternate characters I'm eager to try out, lose interest when everyone is playing a new character every month (and that one guy keeps writing 'mark 2' or 'mark 3' or whatever on his old character sheet and saying that his new character is the identical twin/triplet/etc. brother of his last character).

    "No, really, your majesty. We're here for the reward. I know that not a single one of us is one of the original five people you sent out on this quest, 'cause they all died either on the way to random encounters (who puts wyverns, stone giants and blue dragons on a random encounter table for 4th level characters, anyway?), during the climactic fight with the villain, or on the way back, but here's the crown you sent them to recover..."


    I was refering to the overall game, I'm fine with variance in individual encounters, I even prefer there being a wide variety from some encounters being the sort you need to run away from to the total stomp. But when all or even most encounters are nothing more than simple exercise routines that don't even break a sweat, then I have issues.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.


    Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    Whilst I take your point, I don't mind taking part in a campaign in which the characters who end it are all different from the ones who commenced it.

    I generally feel I'm experiencing a campaign as a player, rather than viewing it as a PC-related thing. From that (I expect rare) viewpoint, a TPK isn't actually the end of the campaign if a new bunch of adventurers head off on a related quest within the same overall story arc.


    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    Quite frequently on these boards I see GMs talking about needing to create 'real threat' to their players and ramping up encounters [creating more work for themselves in the process]...

    ... and then frequently use fudging to save the characters from the exact threat they themselves created.

    That's not to say these aren't useful tools in the GM toolbox, but using one tool only to use another to fix it seems like a wash filled with wasted time to me.


    Steve Geddes wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    Whilst I take your point, I don't mind taking part in a campaign in which the characters who end it are all different from the ones who commenced it.

    I generally feel I'm experiencing a campaign as a player, rather than viewing it as a PC-related thing. From that (I expect rare) viewpoint, a TPK isn't actually the end of the campaign if a new bunch of adventurers head off on a related quest within the same overall story arc.

    I've never had success with that. Losing a character or two over the course of a campaign works. We could probably even make the "everyone has died and been replaced, but one at a time and there's been continuity" thing work.

    But we like to tie plotlines and NPCs to characters and while a campaign can survive losing some of that, it doesn't survive losing it all at once. Generally of course, we resolve this by not having TPKs.


    Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
    thejeff wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    Whilst I take your point, I don't mind taking part in a campaign in which the characters who end it are all different from the ones who commenced it.

    I generally feel I'm experiencing a campaign as a player, rather than viewing it as a PC-related thing. From that (I expect rare) viewpoint, a TPK isn't actually the end of the campaign if a new bunch of adventurers head off on a related quest within the same overall story arc.

    I've never had success with that. Losing a character or two over the course of a campaign works. We could probably even make the "everyone has died and been replaced, but one at a time and there's been continuity" thing work.

    But we like to tie plotlines and NPCs to characters and while a campaign can survive losing some of that, it doesn't survive losing it all at once. Generally of course, we resolve this by not having TPKs.

    We don't generally any more either - my brother in particular, has developed a preference for each campaign to be tied to a single character, so if his PC dies we tend to drop the campaign and start fresh. In 'the old days' we used to work for us.

    We've also switched to APs in recent years which don't work as well as 'overarching threats with a variety of stories underneath' but rather are set up as a sequence of escalating events happening around a group of eventual heroes.


    I've toyed with the idea of having every player bring 2 characters, then having them draw from the deck of many things. I would replace the death with an ordinary skeleton with a scythe. Might be a good way to handle lame character concepts. "Your pastry chef just got a body guard!"


    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    The problem here is that you are discounting tactics. If players use actual intelligence (instead of just rushing in swinging blindly, a far too common thing in my opinion), then it can't be reduced to a simple binary, it's a stomp or a tpk.

    The point is for there to be challange, and enough tactics that even if one or even two characters drop that the remaining members can either still win (perhaps even do the occasional chess-like sacrifice one to bring the group victory) or at later levels grab their fallen friends and withdraw to regroup.

    As far as I'm concerned, if your only options are too easy or too risky of tpk, then something is wrong.


    I hate the concept of the
    "Boss Fight"


    TheAlicornSage wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Well, if you want to have an actual campaign, you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK. Because odds add up and if even one boss fight per level has even a 10% chance of TPK, you don't get very far.

    Now, they can seem tougher than they really are, but they can't actually be tougher. If they are, the campaign ends in a TPK.

    Even too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death leads to the kind of thing Set describes. That final encounter can be nail-biting, but it really should very rarely lead to actual death.

    The problem here is that you are discounting tactics. If players use actual intelligence (instead of just rushing in swinging blindly, a far too common thing in my opinion), then it can't be reduced to a simple binary, it's a stomp or a tpk.

    The point is for there to be challange, and enough tactics that even if one or even two characters drop that the remaining members can either still win (perhaps even do the occasional chess-like sacrifice one to bring the group victory) or at later levels grab their fallen friends and withdraw to regroup.

    As far as I'm concerned, if your only options are too easy or too risky of tpk, then something is wrong.

    Not really. Good tactics just change the point at which it's a TPK or a stomp. Nor did I say it's strictly binary. I said "you can't have more than a tiny minority of encounters have a significant chance of being a TPK". In some groups those could be encounters that would be TPKs if you just rushed in, but don't have a chance of it because the group used good tactics. That's fine, but it doesn't change the basic math: If the actual chance of a TPK (considering build and tactics and everything else, not just theoretical CR) is commonly anything but trivial, it will happen.

    I even commented on "too much of a chance of a single (unraisable) death". Sure, you can lost party members and still win the fight - but if that happens too often in a campaign you wind up in the situation Set described - where no one who set off on the quest survives to finish it and this random bunch the king's never seen before returns to collect the reward.

    On a fundamental level, the game is about producing a believable illusion of challenge and risk without actually involving as much risk as it seems. This is reflected in the basic encounter design rules. An Epic Encounter is still designed to be much weaker than the party. Even more so if the PCs are more optimized and played with better tactics than the NPCs.


    Terquem wrote:

    I hate the concept of the

    "Boss Fight"

    Likewise.


    Kobold Cleaver wrote:


    • Roleplaying-to-combat ratios
    • Rules vs. flavor
    • Powerful and flavorful builds
    • Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties
    • "Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination)
    • Silly vs. serious
    • Genre choices

    Rules definitely. Out of a sense of, "we all need to be playing the same game." That does not preclude bending of said rules or "rule of cool" moments but doing either too much starts to grant players powers and abilities they really shouldn't have and inevitably and unfairly favors the more extroverted and theatrical players.

    Power vs. flavor is a very false dichotomy. Good characters should be both.

    Not particular on party ethics, but pvp is strictly prohibited.

    Freeway. Nobody likes being railroaded with no chance to actually effect the outcome. However, I find sandbox to be an overwhelming amount of work for me as DM. Players also easily lose focus in this kind of game I find as they cannot keep track of everything they have been doing. Freeway allows for an overarching goal or villain without binding the players too strictly. The game I am running right now does this. The players need to solve the mystery of why a megadungeon became a dungeon in the first place. Exactly how they go about exploring and accomplishing this is up to them, as is what to do with the revelation towards the end.

    Serious plots with some sillier npc interactions.

    Traditional Tolkien-esq fantasy. I also like to mix in some light steampunk. Occasionally I will venture into science fantasy. However, the science/technology elements are usually not immediately apparent. I am a huge fan of Fred Saberhagen's books.

    51 to 100 of 109 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
    Community / Forums / Gamer Life / General Discussion / A Civil Playstyle Discussion All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.