Author Topic: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations  (Read 2313 times)

Cainad (dec.)

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A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« on: March 13, 2011, 08:43:18 pm »
Some DMs put a great deal of effort into crafting a large, detailed, and intricate world that their players will adventure in. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Indeed, there are many ways in which this can be seen as a very good thing, as it adds a great deal of depth to the experience of roleplaying a hero in a fantasy world. Busting down the evil lich's door and beating the shit out of his minions and stealing all his cool stuff can mean a lot more to some players if they're doing it for a reason beyond "get the XP and loot everything."

That said, your vast and epic setting doesn't mean JACK FUCKING SQUAT if no one wants to play in it.

You can have the biggest, most decked-out sandbox in the world, but it's gonna be one lonely sandbox if you don't remember that your players are supposed to be the most important group of four, five, or six assholes ever to stomp around in it.

It doesn't matter if that is completely unrealistic, or if your players are technically working at the behest of much more powerful people than them. Your players are THE most central thing to your setting, and not one nanosecond of the hours of brainpower you've put into crafting this setting and all of its grand cosmic machinations will ever mean more than a dried-out dog turd to anyone if you didn't craft it with the express purpose of being a place where a group of adventuring dorks can have a grand old time fucking it up and leaving their mark on it.


If your players are storming an Archmage's tower to recover an artifact for some other, more benevolent Archmage so that the good Archmage can keep vast and terrifying beings of cosmic horror beyond mortal comprehension from piercing the thin barriers between the Material Plane and the maddening Far Realm beyond, that's grand.

However, your players will NOT care or be even slightly happy about it if their role in this world-saving drama is to putz around for six hours doing jackshit while the rogue slowly and laboriously picks his way through the various locked doors and the ONE combat encounter that happens during the first three hours is completely piss-weak and lasts three rounds.

If you didn't want to write up a fun, well-balanced encounter where the Rogue, the Fighters, the Wizard, and the Ranger all have plenty to contribute, because you wasted all your time and energy on thinking up the "big picture" aspects of your beloved setting, then maybe you should fuck off with trying to be a Dungeon Master. Write up your campaign setting and put it online or try to publish it (LOL), so that some DM out there who actually gives a shit about entertaining his or her players and wants a convenient backdrop for their adventures can make use of it.

Or just write up the whole thing as D&D fan-fiction and post it on LiveJournal for all to ignore.

Just stop torturing your players. There's a goddamn reason none of them are making it easy to pull a group together anymore.

Luna

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 08:47:37 pm »
Oh, hells, yes.
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 04:44:54 am »
I take it you just had to sit through an episode of NPC Theater. :lulz:

Poor Cainad. 

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Cainad (dec.)

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 05:03:49 am »
I take it you just had to sit through an episode of NPC Theater. :lulz:

Poor Cainad. 

YOU should come to Tucson! We have the best DMs Evah.

The "Waiting For Godot" version of NPC Theater, perhaps. We did not encounter a single character other than two shitty constructs for the first two or three hours.

I ask of you, what is the point in designing an encounter set in an Archmage's muli-level library where nothing happens except for an endless series of Search checks and the occasional Open Lock or Disable Device? I was the Rogue in this most recent bucket of fail and started frantically doing my job as quickly as I could, in a desperate attempt to get my friends, the other players at the table, to the action, wherever the fuckign DM may have hidden it.

Why, for the love of everything that is holy, make a locked door that has a complex series of increasingly difficult locks if there is NO PENALTY for failure other than wasted time?

Don Coyote

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 05:45:16 am »
I need the DM's name and address. A 10 digit grid coordinate would work too.

He needs to be hurt. A lot. With pain. Painful pain.
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 05:18:33 pm »
I take it you just had to sit through an episode of NPC Theater. :lulz:

Poor Cainad. 

YOU should come to Tucson! We have the best DMs Evah.

The "Waiting For Godot" version of NPC Theater, perhaps. We did not encounter a single character other than two shitty constructs for the first two or three hours.

I ask of you, what is the point in designing an encounter set in an Archmage's muli-level library where nothing happens except for an endless series of Search checks and the occasional Open Lock or Disable Device? I was the Rogue in this most recent bucket of fail and started frantically doing my job as quickly as I could, in a desperate attempt to get my friends, the other players at the table, to the action, wherever the fuckign DM may have hidden it.

Why, for the love of everything that is holy, make a locked door that has a complex series of increasingly difficult locks if there is NO PENALTY for failure other than wasted time?

Didn't even trap the lock? Didn't even give it an alarm or anything? That's retarded.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 05:45:28 pm »
THIS.

I flood my campaign with mook bozoes, and I let the PCs decide how many they want to bypass.
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2011, 06:24:22 pm »
I mean, if I were to play Devil's advocate, I'd say that it could be that the DM is just doing this for the sake of suspense and that it probably precedes a session of extreme action and/or loads of dramatic revelations, but still. The central encounter of a session should always be at least somewhat deadly. Even I know that.
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2011, 06:28:51 pm »
I mean, if I were to play Devil's advocate, I'd say that it could be that the DM is just doing this for the sake of suspense and that it probably precedes a session of extreme action and/or loads of dramatic revelations, but still. The central encounter of a session should always be at least somewhat deadly. Even I know that.

Boredom <> suspense.

If I were any other player in the room, I'd be napping.

Now, the last session of our game didn't have any combat... but we were all doing stuff, info gathering, running around, and every player at the table was laughing his or her ass off, so, win across the board.  It doesn't have to be combat all the time... but if anybody at the table is bored for more than 15 minutes, you're doing it wrong.
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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

If Luna was a furry, she'd sex humans and scream "BEASTIALITY!" at the top of her lungs at inopportune times.

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 06:49:56 pm »
Yeah, tried to walk this no combat / dugeon tightrope myself last night.  Tried to keep the exhibition and plot hooks streamlined and interesting.

To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience.  (Which they CAN do, it just won't go very well for very long, depending.  :evil: )
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2011, 06:55:13 pm »
Yeah, tried to walk this no combat / dugeon tightrope myself last night.  Tried to keep the exhibition and plot hooks streamlined and interesting.

To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience.  (Which they CAN do, it just won't go very well for very long, depending.  :evil: )

Eh, I don't believe in fucking the DM's storyline for the sake of fucking the storyline.  As long as I'm having a good time with things as written, I'll cheerfully follow plot hooks... with the occasional side road, just to keep ya on your toes.
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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

If Luna was a furry, she'd sex humans and scream "BEASTIALITY!" at the top of her lungs at inopportune times.

I like the Luna one. She is a good one.

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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2011, 07:44:27 pm »
To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience. 

Does not compute.   :?
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2011, 08:19:59 pm »
To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience. 

Does not compute.   :?

3/4 are new to tabletop roleplaying.
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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2011, 08:38:13 pm »
To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience. 

Does not compute.   :?

3/4 are new to tabletop roleplaying.

Oh, they'll learn.   :lulz:

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Luna

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 08:43:31 pm »
To the PC's credit they are trying to play the game too, not just mess up everything to get experience. 

Does not compute.   :?

3/4 are new to tabletop roleplaying.

Oh, they'll learn.   :lulz:

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Heh.  Sooner or later...  But, then, I haven't yet found the need to disrupt things, having a good time so far.

I'm fairly sure I could convince the lot of them to do a frontal assault on the city guard while I sneak quietly out the back gate with all the loot...
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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

If Luna was a furry, she'd sex humans and scream "BEASTIALITY!" at the top of her lungs at inopportune times.

I like the Luna one. She is a good one.

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"Stop talking to yourself.  You don't like you any better than anyone else who knows you."