Author Topic: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations  (Read 5648 times)

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2011, 11:50:20 pm »
Oh, I know it can be tough to design an adventure such that everyone has a good time, especially when your players have different ideas about what constitutes a good session. I occasionally DM, and I'm about to embark on my first full-length (hopefully) campaign soon (Arcana Evolved, for those curious).

My peeve here, and with the DM who inspired this rage, is that when so much of your prep time goes into devising the machinations and goings-on of the larger world beyond the players (specifically, the machinations and goings-on that they have no ability to influence in-session) that you utterly fail to provide any form of challenge or interaction to all but one of your players, you've fucked up as a DM.

It's one thing if you can't get a player or players to get excited about the challenges you've set before them. It's quite another if you failed to provide those challenges in the first place.


In summary, my rant is not about the eternal "More roleplaying!" vs. "More combat!" struggle. It's about the somewhat less-talked-about "Being a goddamn Dungeon Master" vs. "Being a head-up-the-ass D&D fanfic author" debate.

Don Coyote

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2011, 12:00:05 am »
Oh, I know it can be tough to design an adventure such that everyone has a good time, especially when your players have different ideas about what constitutes a good session. I occasionally DM, and I'm about to embark on my first full-length (hopefully) campaign soon (Arcana Evolved, for those curious).

My peeve here, and with the DM who inspired this rage, is that when so much of your prep time goes into devising the machinations and goings-on of the larger world beyond the players (specifically, the machinations and goings-on that they have no ability to influence in-session) that you utterly fail to provide any form of challenge or interaction to all but one of your players, you've fucked up as a DM.

It's one thing if you can't get a player or players to get excited about the challenges you've set before them. It's quite another if you failed to provide those challenges in the first place.


In summary, my rant is not about the eternal "More roleplaying!" vs. "More combat!" struggle. It's about the somewhat less-talked-about "Being a goddamn Dungeon Master" vs. "Being a head-up-the-ass D&D fanfic author" debate.

Which is why a good DM is prepared AND able to fucking pull shit out of his ears, ass and hip pockets as needed should the PCs decide to not enter the scary cave system.

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2011, 12:02:20 am »
Really, making sure everyone participates and has a good time is trickier to pull off than you might imagine. For example, half my group (and I) prefer roleplay / problem-solving adventures, while one just wants to murder shit and another is kind of reserved and needs to be thrust into the spotlight in order to have fun. So it's a tricky balancing act. Lengthy combat sessions bore a couple players, lengthy roleplay bores a couple more. Variation is key in such a diverse group, but more single-minded groups I'd imagine it's not as much of an issue.

Our last session went by without any combat at all. While everyone else found something awesome to do (the rogue Magnificent Bastarding himself into becoming a high profile celebrity's drugdealer... the transmutationist and sorcerer conjuring ritual magic to save the airship they were aboard from dropping), after seducing a worker to get aboard the damn airship in the first place (yeah he's that guy) he was kind of non-participative for the rest of the session.

Also, may I say, good sir, that your game sounds completely apeshit bananas and seems like a lot of fun.



Our player group is, mercifully, pretty well balanced in terms of what we want, with some variations. Each of us can derive satisfaction from either roleplaying, skill-based enounters, or combat, just as long as we feel like we're doing something other than faffing about. One guy enjoys coming up with weird ways to overcome obstacles, another guy is happy as long as he can make use of his character's abilities (whatever those may be) from time to time, one girl just loves the spectacle of imagining epic acts of heroism and derring-do, and I tend to plow towards my character's perceived goal (regardless of what it is) with as much urgency as I can get away with.

Shatterbrain

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2011, 03:29:49 pm »
Really, making sure everyone participates and has a good time is trickier to pull off than you might imagine. For example, half my group (and I) prefer roleplay / problem-solving adventures, while one just wants to murder shit and another is kind of reserved and needs to be thrust into the spotlight in order to have fun. So it's a tricky balancing act. Lengthy combat sessions bore a couple players, lengthy roleplay bores a couple more. Variation is key in such a diverse group, but more single-minded groups I'd imagine it's not as much of an issue.

Our last session went by without any combat at all. While everyone else found something awesome to do (the rogue Magnificent Bastarding himself into becoming a high profile celebrity's drugdealer... the transmutationist and sorcerer conjuring ritual magic to save the airship they were aboard from dropping), after seducing a worker to get aboard the damn airship in the first place (yeah he's that guy) he was kind of non-participative for the rest of the session.

Also, may I say, good sir, that your game sounds completely apeshit bananas and seems like a lot of fun.


It was a good session. :D I might post the story sometime. The next session is going to be horror-themed, and if it goes half as well as I have it prepped the players should be shitting their pants and their characters should be rolling fright checks high enough to develop permanent mental disadvantages (running GURPS).
"Whoever stands on the highest mountains laughs at all tragic plays and tragic seriousness." -Friedrich Nietzsche

Wyldkat

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2011, 08:15:39 am »
I've played with GM's who have their world so detailed that it exists without the players, literally evolving as time goes on...  I got so bored I quit and that was the first and only campaign I ever quit from boredom.  If your character literally has nothing whatsoever to do for an entire game session something is severely wrong.

The thing that gets me as a GM is what to do when the PC's (who are supposed to be heroes in a particular game) simply don't give a shit about any plot hook thrown their way.  It's one player I have the most trouble with.  He goes out of his way to avoid every plot hook, no matter how suited to his character it is.  I mean I can pull adventures and changes in direction out of thin air with the best of them but he makes me want to bash my head into a wall...

Telarus

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2011, 08:37:44 am »
I've played with GM's who have their world so detailed that it exists without the players, literally evolving as time goes on...  I got so bored I quit and that was the first and only campaign I ever quit from boredom.  If your character literally has nothing whatsoever to do for an entire game session something is severely wrong.

The thing that gets me as a GM is what to do when the PC's (who are supposed to be heroes in a particular game) simply don't give a shit about any plot hook thrown their way.  It's one player I have the most trouble with.  He goes out of his way to avoid every plot hook, no matter how suited to his character it is.  I mean I can pull adventures and changes in direction out of thin air with the best of them but he makes me want to bash my head into a wall...

Hey Wildcat,

Iiiiinteresting to find out you game and GM. For situations like the above, I think the concepts of 'Flags' and 'Bangs!' are good to work with. Let me dig up some links. Some of the following terms were whiped up in the 'Indie' RPG community and there's a lot of hoo-ha about definitions. I suggest that if your not familiar with things like GNS (Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist motivations), and The Big Model (what came after GNS), and the differences between them, just ignore those terms or use them in their broadest sense.

Ok, I discuss things like Kickers, Flags, and Bangs in this thread: http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php?topic=21176.0

And actually I give an overview of "The Big Model" there, so you can get the rest of the ideas in context.

TL;DR - Force your players to write down something about their character's Story that they as Players care about (not something that "their character cares about"**). Hammer this "Flag" and give XP and other rewards for directly addressing threats to this concept/person/thing.

** -"I want to see my Paladin KILL DEMONS and SPLATTER THEIR ICHOR ALL OVER THE WALLS" is good. Don't accept "My character doesn't really have anything that ties him down" as that is a cop out. The Flag is supposed to be something that the PLAYER cares about. I know I'm hammering this, but it's the key to making techniques like Bangs and Kickers work.
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Wyldkat

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Re: A Word on Dungeon Masters and Their Beloved Creations
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2011, 02:00:54 am »
I've played with GM's who have their world so detailed that it exists without the players, literally evolving as time goes on...  I got so bored I quit and that was the first and only campaign I ever quit from boredom.  If your character literally has nothing whatsoever to do for an entire game session something is severely wrong.

The thing that gets me as a GM is what to do when the PC's (who are supposed to be heroes in a particular game) simply don't give a shit about any plot hook thrown their way.  It's one player I have the most trouble with.  He goes out of his way to avoid every plot hook, no matter how suited to his character it is.  I mean I can pull adventures and changes in direction out of thin air with the best of them but he makes me want to bash my head into a wall...

Hey Wildcat,

Iiiiinteresting to find out you game and GM. For situations like the above, I think the concepts of 'Flags' and 'Bangs!' are good to work with. Let me dig up some links. Some of the following terms were whiped up in the 'Indie' RPG community and there's a lot of hoo-ha about definitions. I suggest that if your not familiar with things like GNS (Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist motivations), and The Big Model (what came after GNS), and the differences between them, just ignore those terms or use them in their broadest sense.


Thanks, I'll look that stuff up and read the thread you linked to.  I've actually been gaming and GMing for about two decades.  My husband owns a game store (rpgs, ccgs, table top, board games, a few used console games).  I live in a geek commune (long story) and there are at least five systems and nearly twice that many games going at any point in time.  Problem is getting people in gear to actually play on a semi-regular basis.  I even started up an online story based gaming forum, but had the same problem with people being flaky.

I normally don't have too many issues with my players, but this one person tends to always play that way and I've sort of run out of ideas on how to deal with it.