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Vorr
2013-01-15, 01:48 PM
So the Gentleman's Agreement got me thinking, how far does everyone go? As a GM what do you set as the limit? As a player what do you expect as a limit?

It seems most gamers agree on the obvious(to them) things that all most need to go with out saying. A GM must be fair. A GM must never lie, trick or mislead the players. The GM must never take advantage of things in the game. The GM must never have a ''no win'' spot in the game. Needless to say that (almost) every player automatically expects this from a RPG.

Then most gamers take the next step, that can be summed up as ''the players must be awesome heroes at all times to have fun. So the GM agrees to never target a character's needed items/equipment. The GM agrees to never take a player out of the game, by forcing a character do do nothing(like paralyzing them). The GM agrees to not optimize or otherwise make foes ''too'' powerful. The GM agrees to not have foes use things like intelligent tactics. The GM agrees to only use traps sparingly. Again, almost every player expects all of these too.

But then it will go further. A GM will agree to not target a character for any reason(they can only be 'targeted' as a part of the group). The GM will agree to not to anything to a character that might cause a player to ''not have fun'', for even a second. The GM will do things so the players will have fun, at all times, and by there definition of fun. Some, and far too many, players expect this.

The players, for the most part, simply agree to: ''not be a jerk''. The player will, in general, agree to follow the plot/story the GM sets out...as long as it does not come into conflict with the players personal definition of fun(and then the player can do whatever they want).

So:

As a Gm, how far do go? As a player, how far do you want a GM to go?

Sandwich8080
2013-01-15, 02:04 PM
As a GM, I let it be known at the start of campaigns that I will make things very difficult. That actually attracts a lot of people, as we live in a rural area and the other guy who will GM often makes things way too easy (handing out way overpowered treasure, having any encounter that seems like it might kill a character to "miraculously" be resolved, etc.) I would never make an encounter unwinnable, that just seems to ruin the point. I have only had one person say I was unfairly targeting them, and I've had other problems with them in the past so I can't say I'd rely on his word.

As a player, I absolutely love an "unwinnable at first" encounter. Anything that requires me to use my head to beat it makes me feel like I actually won and didn't just roll a set amount of dice to progress the storyline. I've only had one campaign I didn't care for, and that was because the GM wouldn't let me die. After the 6th time of being dropped to exactly -5 hp (playing 3.5), I realized he was not going to allow my character to die. That made the rest of the campaign feel meaningless.

Saph
2013-01-15, 02:11 PM
I'd say . . .


It seems most gamers agree on the obvious(to them) things that all most need to go with out saying. A GM must be fair. A GM must never lie, trick or mislead the players. The GM must never take advantage of things in the game. The GM must never have a ''no win'' spot in the game. Needless to say that (almost) every player automatically expects this from a RPG.

Yes to nearly all of these. The exception is never tricking the players I'll do that from time to time.


Then most gamers take the next step, that can be summed up as ''the players must be awesome heroes at all times to have fun. So the GM agrees to never target a character's needed items/equipment. The GM agrees to never take a player out of the game, by forcing a character do do nothing(like paralyzing them). The GM agrees to not optimize or otherwise make foes ''too'' powerful. The GM agrees to not have foes use things like intelligent tactics. The GM agrees to only use traps sparingly. Again, almost every player expects all of these too.

No to pretty much all of these.

Players must be awesome heroes: No. The players are the focus of the story, but whether they're awesome heroes or not is determined by the choices they make and the roll of the dice.
Never target a character's needed equipment: I won't go out of my way to do it, but it'll happen occasionally. Usually, though, an enemy who wants to hurt a PC won't go for their equipment, he'll just try to kill them.
Don't optimise or make foes too powerful: You'll get foes roughly as optimised as you are. Sometimes you'll get foes much more powerful/optimised than you are. Fighting such foes directly is not recommended.
Don't have foes use intelligent tactics: Hahaha!
Use traps sparingly: This is about the only one I agree with. Even so, from time to time it does make sense for enemies to place a ****load of traps, and in such cases I'll go to town. I mean, if you decide to go into a kobold warren, what are you expecting to run into?
I suspect you're a little off base with your 'almost every player'. :smallbiggrin:

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-01-15, 02:26 PM
"A GM must be fair" is a lot less common than the OP might think. *motions towards the Old Schoolers*

I think that "fairness" is at times a secondary concern. If you're running a combat competition, then sure, a GM should be fair. But a story? The GM is under no obligation to be "fair". In fact, I'd go a step farther: the GM is supposed to be just. That means hitting the players with the consequences of their actions. If they want to storm the castle, the just GM is obligated to give them a fittingly difficult challenge.

Though, I would think that it's more than possible to fudge this a bit to make things more dramatic. Still, being just as a GM is a good benchmark.

BlckDv
2013-01-15, 02:27 PM
As with so many things, I think a lot of this depends on a mutual understanding of terms.

To one person Homebrew monsters at all are cheating, to a second, Homebrew monsters with powers not covered by existing rules are cheating (Yeah, my meta-gremlin can steal a random die from the table once per round preventing the players from rolling it), to a third Homebrew anything is fine as long as the DM provides the correct info on knowledge checks, and so on. Similar fuzzy lines exist for many of your other terms.

I do my best to work around these semiotic issues by having pre-campaign sessions and handbooks. (Yes, I actually hand out bound plastic covered books to each player at my own cost, a luxury I admit). I cover the themes and tone of the campaign (sometimes after a pre-campaign planning session with players, sometimes as a "take it or leave it" invite to a game). I talk about what style of DMing is to be expected, Rules-Arbiter refereeing a set of challenges by strict rules, co-author in a story in which the needs of narrative may be a higher rule than a specific element of RAW, groundskeeper of an exotic fantasyland (When the king said a dragon ate his best knights, the swamp had peasants at the edges whispering of the deadly dragon and the ranger noticed an odd lack of large animals, don't complain that you thought it had to be some lesser monster because a Dragon is too tough a challenge... go to the "Woods of Nasty Goblin Raids" instead.)

In games that I run one constant line that is not subject to negotiate is 'Real Threat for Real Victory.' Any event which provides the PCs a chance at wealth, fame, glory, or whatever they seek will have a real chance of failure. The monster may win, the traps may kill you, the crafty doppleganger may replace your father and poison your reputation. In my games you will always know that if you won, you earned it, you never have the style of "chosen heroes with plot armor." I have no problem with gamemasters or players who want that, just don't expect it at my table.

Other elements are system specific. In 4e I will set down how I treat Marks, in L5R I will have a guide to Face, Honor and Glory. In Vancian systems I will cover how new spells are acquired, etc.

Assumptions kill games. I long ago learned that "wasting" a session to clear up as many of these as you can before you start play can take a game from falling apart after 3-4 months to lasting for years.

Friv
2013-01-15, 02:32 PM
I feel that you have entered into the discussion with an agenda, perhaps.

I don't agree that many of the steps you've listed in your second post are part of the "the players must be awesome heroes at all times" package, and I think that listing the package that way is an attempt to prejudice the thread. I also don't agree that the only player rule is "don't be a jerk", any more than all of the points that you listed boil down to the GM rule just being "don't be a jerk" - it is accurate, but also woefully less than the social contact that generally exists.


The second step that you've listed, if I discount the hostility, would be more summed up as "the players should always be having fun". It thus reads
* Don't remove equipment in a way that renders a player (not the character, mind you, the player) useless to their current task
* Don't take characters out of action for long periods of time without having something else for their player to do
* Don't create intended enemies so overwhelming that their use of intelligent tactics causes the players to have no chance of survival (or, for that matter, so overwhelming that they don't even need intelligent tactics to cause that).
* Don't design traps in such a way that the game screeches to a halt because the players now have to test each stone individually.

This is what most players expect, not "I must be amazing at all times". I would rate having fun several miles above being awesome as something I want out of a game. If I'm not having fun, why am I not doing something more worthwhile with my time?

1337 b4k4
2013-01-15, 02:46 PM
I think you have far too narrow of a list of things "everyone" agrees to. A DM must indeed be fair. Fair arbitration is the cornerstone of our hobby. But to say that I should never lie, trick or mislead the players? Absolutely I will do these things. My players should expect to run into tricks, traps, lies and misdirection all the time. Note however that this is different from lying about the game. As a DM it is my responsibility to ensure that players understand their options, the lying and telling them that Craft(Underwater Basket Weaving) will allow them to breathe underwater indefinitely is poor form.

As for taking advantage, this is a yes and no. My players should expect that I will use every advantage the monsters may have to the fullest extent. However, just as I expect my players not to abuse broken parts of the system (and equally to not abuse the resources they've been given in game breaking ways), so too will I never abuse the powers in game breaking ways either.

As for "no win" scenarios, absolutely will these be possible in the game. The players should always be aware that sometimes they will simply be outmatched, that running away is a valid and necessary tactic. The same goes for paralysis, powerful foes and intelligent monsters. Being awesome heroes means nothing if you aren't challenged for that description. If you can't handle an intelligent foe, if you can't find a way around the powerful monster or the paralysis, then you are not an awesome hero, no matter how much "God Mode" makes you feel like you are.

Here is the agreement tend to have with my players:

I am here to run a game that I find interesting and entertaining. It is my goal to entertain you and to be entertained in the process. I am willing and open to helping ensure that you have a good time overall and will make reasonable accommodations to that effect. I am not, however, responsible for your fun. You are responsible for ensuring that you are having fun as often as possible within the confines of proper social behavior. If you feel that I am doing something which is intentionally and directly hindering your ability to have fun (which is different from simply challenging you), then it is your responsibility to bring it to me, in a mature and reasonable manner. Your concerns will be considered and we will discuss how to resolve the issue you have. However, ultimately I am the one putting time and effort into creating a world for you to play in, and I will not be putting my own fun on hold to placate yours. If we do come to such an impasse, it is regrettable, but we may have to part company for this game, and perhaps try again with a different game or campaign another time.

awa
2013-01-15, 03:10 PM
The no win thing is also game dependent. I tend to run story based games where story is often more important than raw mechanics if I want to run a session where the pcs need to break out of jail i may very well put them in a situation where capture is really the only option my job as a dm is to make said capture reasonable and the escape satisfying.

Vorr
2013-01-15, 06:44 PM
I suspect you're a little off base with your 'almost every player'. :smallbiggrin:

You should read the ''gentleman agreement'' thread....


I feel that you have entered into the discussion with an agenda, perhaps.

Of course I do, I plan to take over the world!

Serisoulys, though...All I'm asking for is what limits do you put on an RPG? It seems (from reading other threads/talking to other players) that a lot of people not only put huge limitations on the games, but also automatically expect it.

I'm an Old School Killer Unfair Evil GM. Anything you might say you would not do in a game is the type of thing I do multiple times a game. And before anyone starts I'm not talking about the insane type of game, where the GM is attacking the players on some crazy power trip.

I'd be happy for others to list ''how far would they go".

I'd also like to hear from the player side.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-01-15, 07:23 PM
The only thing that I guarantee in my games is verisimilitude. The rest is mutable.

I've done everything from adventures where the plot (the interaction between the players and their enemies outside of combat) is everything and what few combats are present are slanted to make the players feel like total badasses but slow them down so the bad guy has more time to work to a meat-grinder of a dungeon crawl where being paranoid is the only way to survive for more than a few rooms; rooms filled with SoD traps, monsters that are way over the party's head, and environmental factors that are actively trying to eat the PC's to horror adventures where the best the PC's can hope for is to stave off catastrophe for a little longer to war-campaigns where the fate of nations hinges on the PC's actions and the difficulty they face is as much their choice as mine.

Trying to lock in one difficulty and one campaign style for even a single group is difficult. To do it for the community at-large is flat impossible.

FWIW, I find myself drawn to political campaigns of middling difficulty.

Saph
2013-01-15, 07:27 PM
You should read the ''gentleman agreement'' thread....

The thing is, most players aren't really that interested in formalising these sort of agreements as long as the fun stuff outweighs the bad stuff, they're happy. The one who do talk about it a lot aren't a representative sample.

There's also a certain amount of hyperbole in these discussions. After you've been hanging around on these boards for a while you notice that whenever someone posts a thread about a game problem, there will invariably be at least one person (and usually more) who will declare that the DM is a **** and that the player should walk out. This happens with sufficient frequency that you have to wonder how these guys and girls ever get to actually play. Either they're much more tolerant than they act, they have a very accommodating circle of friends, or they must spend most of their gaming life bouncing from group to group as every DM they play with fails to match up to their standards one after another (which would at least explain why they have so much time to post).

I also think a lot of people get mixed up between "this is annoying at the time" and "this should never happen". In-game setbacks can be annoying but make success much more satisfying when it comes, and spectacular failures are often remembered as much more entertaining than straightforward victories.

scurv
2013-01-15, 07:55 PM
I will have no win situations, Quite often you will be able to see them coming. Sometimes not. But If your character hears about a skeletal lord who can render you lifeless with a glowing eye... I do consider the players warned. But I like to talk! So if said skeletal lord is about to glimpse you to death, Maybe one could Talk their way out of the situation.

I do occasionally fudge things to help a player, but kids gloves come off when the group is level 4ish.

As the DM I won't cheat to the players detriment. Now i do reserve the right to tune encounters to fit the players. And with home-brewed stuff I do occasionally need to tweak an AC or Attack bonus.

And I am upfront. If a group of bandits are setting up an ambush to rob you. Anyone in a dress is getting ganked first! and people with the holy symbol are next!

And as for traps, The maps are the maps. If the npc's would realistically set up traps. Then there will be traps. And if you have no trap smith I will not DM wand away the traps.

As a final note. This DM can and will apply Karmic justice as needed. So players who habitually are the cause of the death of other peoples chars...May end up with Other issues to contend with.
If a player thinks neutral or chaotic neutral is just another word for evil May well end up finding out rudely about an alignment change they did not know they had.

Asheram
2013-01-15, 08:14 PM
I basicly have four points on my agreement.

1. Everyone should have fun

2. Grudges stay at the door, no one should be singled out from IRL reasons

3. Everyone should have fun.

4. Don't bring anything to the table which will slow down the gameplay (Complex rules, Level drain, taking too long with a caster) ,
and if you do then you should bloody well bring an easy way of speeding it up. (Knowing the rules Well, accepting that the DM might wing a level loss, damn well know what to cast before you play a caster)



(and it's the DM's job to find out what fun is for the respective player...)

Re'ozul
2013-01-15, 09:15 PM
My general rules when GM-ing are:

1) The GM will not lie or mislead in anything that is not in-game interaction (such as knowledge rolls, OOC questions). At the same time the GM does not have to answer any question about knowledge for which no in-game reason to know it exists. Further are the players to write down or otherwise note information aquired ingame and the GM is not required to regurgitate knowledge of this kind when asked (extenuating circmstances can exist however).

2) For any situation there exists at least one way for the player characters to exit said situation with their posessions, bodies and minds intact and several more with gradual decline in one or several of these areas. (retreat on part of the characters in the face of adversity is one possible course of action, the GM is not required to have all situations be easily surmountable by the characters)

3) Rule of cool is in limited effect

4) The GM may fudge the dice if he so wills as long as it is in favor of the players.

5) The GM may/is liable to steal any and all story/setting ideas that characters/players hypothesize on/about when given ingame information if those theories are better than what he had in mind.

6) There are no story inconsistencies, only "strange happenings that you need to investigate".

valadil
2013-01-15, 09:26 PM
Was going to type up my thoughts, but Saph said:



I'd say . . .


And pretty much summed up what I wanted to say with a couple exceptions.

I absolutely will trick players. I like surprising them. It's half the fun. I won't fight back if they see through the tricks, but if they forget to roll sense motive when my NPC lies his butt off, that's their problem.

No win situations can exist, but the PCs have to try pretty hard to make them happen. I've met some players who insist that if I put a dragon into the game, either the dragon has to be beatable or it has to be not home when they go to take its hoard. Sorry, no. If an NPC tells the level 1 players "avoid the marsh, the swamp dragon has been hungry again" and they assume that means there's free XP in the swamp, they're going to have problems. I won't push the players into a no win situation, but I won't make up nonsensical safety nets to make up for their stupidity.

TuggyNE
2013-01-15, 10:16 PM
The thing is, most players aren't really that interested in formalising these sort of agreements as long as the fun stuff outweighs the bad stuff, they're happy. The one who do talk about it a lot aren't a representative sample.

There's also a certain amount of hyperbole in these discussions.

Well, given that... perhaps you should post your thoughts over in that thread, so as to give a bit more of a representative sample? :smallwink:

huttj509
2013-01-15, 10:35 PM
No win situations can exist, but the PCs have to try pretty hard to make them happen. I've met some players who insist that if I put a dragon into the game, either the dragon has to be beatable or it has to be not home when they go to take its hoard. Sorry, no. If an NPC tells the level 1 players "avoid the marsh, the swamp dragon has been hungry again" and they assume that means there's free XP in the swamp, they're going to have problems. I won't push the players into a no win situation, but I won't make up nonsensical safety nets to make up for their stupidity.

The problem that can crop up there is game style.

In some games, that's a warning.

In some games, that's an adventure hook.

I've encountered many games where the idea "the DM wouldn't mention it if we weren't supposed to go interact with it" is valid. I've encountered many where it's a good way to be eaten by a dragon. This can then be (mis)interpreted as a killer DM "he sent us into the swamp where we got totally devoured with no chance of success!"

Not that there's really any solution, other than "figure out a way to determine assumptions about playstyle and many things which people take for granted and don't even think to ask about." While you're doing that, you can plan world peace as a way to relax with something easy.

Friv
2013-01-15, 10:38 PM
I'm actually going to go ahead and post the only rule that gaming groups should ever need:

1. Everyone should be enjoying themselves. If someone is not enjoying themselves, you have a problem that needs fixing.

Enjoyment, I must stress, is not quite the same thing as "having fun", inasmuch as it implies a broader concept. Frustrating things can, in the long run, be extremely enjoyable. Difficulties are enjoyable if you have a reasonable chance to overcome them.

Boredom is not enjoyable, which is the reason that taking people out of play is, as a rule, a bad idea. Similarly, too much splitting the party can lead to people not enjoying themselves, depending on the players (some will be happy to listen and offer OOC comments and advice, others not so much). Feeling like someone is picking on you is not enjoyable, nor is feeling like nothing you do matters (either because you're too awesome or because you're too useless).

navar100
2013-01-15, 10:42 PM
The DM is not the players' opponent/enemy. As long as the DM gets that, fully understands what that means, then everything else falls into place. As soon as the DM feels slighted the PCs succeeded at a task, are very good at something (obligatory: that doesn't cause the game to not function), or the players express happiness of what their characters can do, he needs to give up the chair.

Asheram
2013-01-15, 10:53 PM
Enjoyment, I must stress, is not quite the same thing as "having fun", inasmuch as it implies a broader concept. Frustrating things can, in the long run, be extremely enjoyable. Difficulties are enjoyable if you have a reasonable chance to overcome them.


I suppose I should change the "Fun" in my previous post to "Enjoyment". I've got a friend, we've started to measure how much the group has enjoyed the session depending on how far he has curled up into fetal position.
Let's just say that the tighter spot my group is in, the more they are enjoying it.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-01-15, 11:22 PM
The problem that can crop up there is game style.

In some games, that's a warning.

In some games, that's an adventure hook.

I've encountered many games where the idea "the DM wouldn't mention it if we weren't supposed to go interact with it" is valid. I've encountered many where it's a good way to be eaten by a dragon. This can then be (mis)interpreted as a killer DM "he sent us into the swamp where we got totally devoured with no chance of success!"

Not that there's really any solution, other than "figure out a way to determine assumptions about playstyle and many things which people take for granted and don't even think to ask about." While you're doing that, you can plan world peace as a way to relax with something easy.

On that note, I'd like to point out that I -always- tell new players that I place a premium on verisimilitude and that if you do something foolish your character -will- die, barring the dice-gods smiling on you. Putting foward such basic point on what to expect from yourself as a DM is courteous at the very least and, IMO, is both required to ensure smooth gaming and should be expected.

Using the above example of hearing about a dragon in the swamp; maybe it's a plot-hook, maybe it's just a bit of setting detail. If you simply assume that it's the former without seeking out further information you're gambling your character's life. Gather information and knowledge local exist. So do hirelings that can use these skills on the party's behalf. Divination is a thing. There's no excuse for going into the swamp without at least -some- idea what you're going to find and doing so anyway -can- get you killed. At least that's my policy.

LordBlades
2013-01-16, 04:43 AM
Apart, from the obvious (which can be summarized as 'don't be a ****'), here's a list of stuff that I do/I expect the group to do (depending on which side of the screen I'd be on):

-The group should agree on a target competence level and build chars accordingly (no god wizards in a group of fighters, but also no monks in a group of wizards).

- The playground should be kept level; if something's banned for PCs for mechanical reasons, it should be banned for NPCs at well.

-Keeping metagame to a minimum.

-No fudging. Rolling in the open preferred

-Keeping railroading to a minimum

ArcturusV
2013-01-16, 04:51 AM
I do my best to work around these semiotic issues by having pre-campaign sessions and handbooks.

Huh... I thought I was in a very small minority of people to actually do things like that. Almost all my campaigns are in home brewed settings/worlds and I always write up a primer, print off copies, hand them out to all my players.

Kasbark
2013-01-16, 06:55 AM
Okay, the first one i can attest to. I don't lie to my players or mislead them (unless in In Character for an NPC, i which case i'll obviously do it)

The second one i used to have an agreement with my players that if they used save or die/save or do nothing on enemies that was not just mooks, i would do the same. This worked reasonably well, but i still felt bad when taking a wizard out in round 2 of a 2 hour combat. When i did i generelly had them control some enemies during the combat, but still... Thats why my homebrew version of pathfinder has toned down those spells a lot, wither with a longer casting time, a save each round to end it, or simply nerfing the condition they inflict.

The third one i wholeheartedly disagree with. I will often go after just one character in a fight. I find thats a great way to make a combat interresting. Suddenly go after the druid instead of his meatshields - forcing him and the rest of the group to think on their feet and rethink their strategy.

Blacky the Blackball
2013-01-16, 10:50 AM
So the Gentleman's Agreement got me thinking, how far does everyone go? As a GM what do you set as the limit? As a player what do you expect as a limit?

I disagree with many of yours both as a player and as a GM. They don't match how our group plays....


A GM must be fair. A GM must never lie, trick or mislead the players. The GM must never take advantage of things in the game. The GM must never have a ''no win'' spot in the game. Needless to say that (almost) every player automatically expects this from a RPG.

There's nothing wrong with tricking players or sometimes having no-win situations.


Then most gamers take the next step, that can be summed up as ''the players must be awesome heroes at all times to have fun.

Sometimes the characters are playing little more than peasants scrabbling in the mood for whatever they can scavenge (e.g. in Warhammer). They don't need to be "awesome" to have fun.


So the GM agrees to never target a character's needed items/equipment.

If it makes sense for the people they are fighting to target their equipment then those opponents will do that. Similarly if it makes sense that equipment might be lost, it might.


The GM agrees to never take a player out of the game, by forcing a character do do nothing(like paralyzing them).

Absolutely not. Paralysis (and charm) are perfectly fine conditions to inflict on a character.


The GM agrees to not optimize or otherwise make foes ''too'' powerful.

The foes are what they are. Some will be far too powerful for the PCs to fight. Others will be a walkover. It's up to the players to be smart about who they avoid and who they pick fights with.

The world doesn't level up with the characters.


The GM agrees to not have foes use things like intelligent tactics.

Of course intelligent foes will use intelligent tactics. It would be silly for them not to.


The GM agrees to only use traps sparingly. Again, almost every player expects all of these too.

From my experience, very few players expect the sort of agreements you are listing.


A GM will agree to not target a character for any reason(they can only be 'targeted' as a part of the group).

If it makes sense for the opponents to target a character (either tactically or because that character has done something to upset them) they will.


The GM will agree to not to anything to a character that might cause a player to ''not have fun'', for even a second.

I don't understand this one. Having bad things as well as goo happening to your character is fun.


The player will, in general, agree to follow the plot/story the GM sets out.

Not at all. The GM sets out what's currently going on in the world and what the plans are or various groups and entities and it's entirely up to the players how much their characters get involved with it, and on which side. There's no such thing as a "story" being set out by the GM.


As a Gm, how far do go? As a player, how far do you want a GM to go?

Much, much less far than you on both counts, it appears!

White_Drake
2013-01-16, 11:07 AM
I hate it when the DM takes it easy on characters. I expect no quater, and when DMing give none. It can be a bit of a difficult for players who are used to those pushover DMs that bother with things like reasons for character death. My DMing style can be best encapsulated by TSR's wandering damage system. Any session that ends with my ripping up a character sheet while the player cries in front of me is good.

On a more serious note, I do enjoy grittier games, but by far most important is verisimilitude. Part of the reason I like sandbox games so much is because you can usually have a decent idea of, and even some control over, how much danger your character is in. If you want fabulous riches beyond most men's wildest dreams, attack the dragon. If you expect to survive the night after doing so, make sure you come loaded for bear, and with contingencies and good planning. If you are more cautious, you can take on lesser foes and work your way up to the dragon, although a non-static world may cause oth considerations to take prevalence.

Kyberwulf
2013-01-16, 11:40 AM
What about the Players responsibilities.
Shouldn't it be stated that players shouldn't metagame?
Shouldn't a Dm be allowed to create monsters outside of a Manual, without a player crying about how that isn't in the Monster Manual. Shouldn't a Dm Be allowed to create a situation where some spells can't be used, to create a better story situation, without the word "Railroad" being shouted before a door slams shut. Shouldn't Players create characters that have motives and goals, not just as stats that are meant to take on every situation and landslide a victory. Should classes be played for their cool factor, rather then their "tier" level?

What about the other side of the agreement. The Player side.

huttj509
2013-01-16, 12:00 PM
I think the largest benefit of a specific agreement on these things is not so much "you must do it this way," but making people think "wow, I always took [X] for granted. Maybe I should see if my new players (or old ones) have the same assumptions."

Over the various discussions of this sort of thing, I know I've encountered many times when someone's assumed playstyle just feels bizarre to me. If people can avoid being drawn into a defense/attack mentality it can be incredibly eye-opening, especially when you realize "oh, THAT'S where [person] was coming from in that game/session/thread."

In a similar vein, I know over the years there's been some good "pre-campaign questionnaire/checklist" posts on this forum...which I unfortunately don't have links to.

toapat
2013-01-16, 12:16 PM
Why do you think I gave up? I wrote the post that started tha topic, and because I'm not tuggyne, i didnt get to maintain control. The largest problem is that I saw the "sit down and shut up" handling I had of player entitlement removed. The DM should be allowed anything he chooses to so long as it is not Rule 0, even including pulling out players from an encounter so long as he can justify it.

shaddy_24
2013-01-16, 12:26 PM
I agree with the first set of rules. The second group is really dependent on situations and careful adjudication. I'm not saying they always have to be followed, I'm just saying that not following them can sometimes make a player feel useless or bored.

I've directly experienced that. We had one game where we were playing a mostly mundane party trapped in a dead end dungeon. The only way we had out was the bard using dimension door, and that's only if we could find our way back to the entrance. The DM used a group of Destratchan on us, and literally destroyed all my rogues equipment. My crossbow based rogue lost all his weapons and his armour. At level 11, that was over half my WBL in magic equipment. According to the base rules at least, he was nice enough to allow us to fix it all, but I literally couldn't contribute through the rest of that fight, and by the rules couldn't have done anything until we managed to work our way out again. I don't like destroying equipment because of that situation.

In a later encounter in the same dungeon, I was hit by a feeblemind and a 10 round stun. Same with the bard. The fight boiled down to the warblade whaling on the monster while it attacked the stunned party members because it would win if it fought the warblade one on one, and it should have won anyway with it's at will feeblemind against a level 11 group with no full spellcasters.

While I don't think the DM should avoid giving any challenges for the party, I think they need to carefully manage it so that players aren't left with literally nothing to do in a situation. I drove for half an hour to go to that session and spent 3 hours sitting around checking off a list of how long I was stunned.

Zeful
2013-01-16, 12:34 PM
Don't have foes use intelligent tactics: Hahaha!


How competently have you played enemy spellcasters in your games? Because if they're played at anywhere near the competency expected out of High-op caster players. Then they will not lose, and the PC's will die or be rendered irrelevant very quickly, as the most important part of playing a PC caster is not playing fair to any degree, and attacking the weakest parts of the enemy.

The weakest aspect of a player, in 90% of cases is magic, either magic items or active buffs. So Disjunction is pretty much always the most effective opening strategy.

Enemies, spellcasters especially, are not allowed to be as intelligent as the players are, as doing so ends games with player defeat in many cases.

navar100
2013-01-16, 12:52 PM
I hate it when the DM takes it easy on characters. I expect no quater, and when DMing give none. It can be a bit of a difficult for players who are used to those pushover DMs that bother with things like reasons for character death. My DMing style can be best encapsulated by TSR's wandering damage system. Any session that ends with my ripping up a character sheet while the player cries in front of me is good.

On a more serious note, I do enjoy grittier games, but by far most important is verisimilitude. Part of the reason I like sandbox games so much is because you can usually have a decent idea of, and even some control over, how much danger your character is in. If you want fabulous riches beyond most men's wildest dreams, attack the dragon. If you expect to survive the night after doing so, make sure you come loaded for bear, and with contingencies and good planning. If you are more cautious, you can take on lesser foes and work your way up to the dragon, although a non-static world may cause oth considerations to take prevalence.

In other words, you're a DM who hates his players.

Magesmiley
2013-01-16, 01:03 PM
So the Gentleman's Agreement got me thinking, how far does everyone go? As a GM what do you set as the limit? As a player what do you expect as a limit?

It seems most gamers agree on the obvious(to them) things that all most need to go with out saying. A GM must be fair. A GM must never lie, trick or mislead the players. The GM must never take advantage of things in the game. The GM must never have a ''no win'' spot in the game. Needless to say that (almost) every player automatically expects this from a RPG.

Then most gamers take the next step, that can be summed up as ''the players must be awesome heroes at all times to have fun. So the GM agrees to never target a character's needed items/equipment. The GM agrees to never take a player out of the game, by forcing a character do do nothing(like paralyzing them). The GM agrees to not optimize or otherwise make foes ''too'' powerful. The GM agrees to not have foes use things like intelligent tactics. The GM agrees to only use traps sparingly. Again, almost every player expects all of these too.

But then it will go further. A GM will agree to not target a character for any reason(they can only be 'targeted' as a part of the group). The GM will agree to not to anything to a character that might cause a player to ''not have fun'', for even a second. The GM will do things so the players will have fun, at all times, and by there definition of fun. Some, and far too many, players expect this.


As a GM, I play the NPCs and monsters as intelligently as their type indicates. This makes some battles relatively easy due to unsophisticated tactics and others incredibly difficult. It is the job of the players to react and handle these. The best players often learn some very effective tactics from their enemies too.

My players have to fight and work for most of their victories. I do let the dice fall where they may for the most part. Sometimes PCs die. Sometimes we end up with TPKs. I've had more than a few remark that my games are some of the most satisfying that they've played in for exactly this reason.

My monsters use tactics. Especially the smart ones. For example, I pull out all the stops when I use dragons. They'll target their enemies with the most effective tactic they have, based on what they see and know about the party. Dude in robes chucking spells? Fly over and get into their face to full attack them. Nasty guy with a sword? Circle overhead and breath on him. If a dragon has spells, use them (especially buffing before a battle). If I think that a dragon can't win the battle anymore based on what the dragon knows, it will fly away to recover and try for vengeance later. Sunder, grapple, tripping are all fair game if I think they will help the dragon win.

The key here though is that I factor in what the monsters know and how smart they are with how they act. A party that does a reasonable amount of thinking and has a decent plan usually does pretty well in my campaigns. Those that barge in thoughtlessly and try to smash through everything usually manages a TPK pretty quickly.

As far as lying or tricking the players - it depends on whether the information is about how the game works or if it is coming from NPC sources. Information about the game and rules is correct to the best of my ability. Information whose source stems from an NPC is a different matter. If the NPCs are being deceptive, there is usually (but not always) some way for the PCs to determine this if they play effectively. My rule of thumb is to model information similar to how someone can get information in the real world. Some people can be trusted to give you good info, some can't. Some will honestly try to help and give good information to the best of their ability. Others are lazy and will just make something up. Use real world common sense and you'll do ok usually.

I do occasionally use combat situations that the players can't win at. This will typically include the ability to run away or to give them another option to pursue. Not all battles in life can be won when you want to. Sometimes they need to do something else first in order to be able to deal with the problem. When I do this, I usually do it in a manner that makes it real clear that the PCs are totally screwed if they go wading into combat. Usually they get the hint.

White_Drake
2013-01-16, 01:37 PM
In other words, you're a DM who hates his players.

Sorry, I debated blue text, but thought that "on a more serious note" and the patently absurd nature of some of the statements was sufficient. In actuality, I only DM in the rarest of situations, when nobody else is available.

scurv
2013-01-16, 01:50 PM
There is one thing i did forget to mention. As a DM and as a player, I avoid the use of ESP and mind control.

But when I do DM, I may not pull punches, But I won't waste in game resources ether. If Duke BBG wants you dead, He may send an assassin. And it will be a Well Played assassin! But I also tend to let word leak to the party Or something just to make it sporting.

Yes you will note i use the word sporting rather then fair. Fairness implies equality and is highly subjective. Sporting is more making sure they have a chance.
Now this being said. The no win situation also holds the chance for Glory!

Vorr
2013-01-16, 03:02 PM
I hate it when the DM takes it easy on characters. I expect no quater, and when DMing give none. It can be a bit of a difficult for players who are used to those pushover DMs that bother with things like reasons for character death. My DMing style can be best encapsulated by TSR's wandering damage system. Any session that ends with my ripping up a character sheet while the player cries in front of me is good.


I agree with this. I'm super hard on the players. I've had tons and tons of players do the Cartman ''I'm going home'' walk. I've only ripped up a couple of character sheets, but have made dozens of players cry. It can be quite a shock to players who only had easy GMs in the past.

Doug Lampert
2013-01-16, 03:07 PM
How competently have you played enemy spellcasters in your games? Because if they're played at anywhere near the competency expected out of High-op caster players. Then they will not lose, and the PC's will die or be rendered irrelevant very quickly, as the most important part of playing a PC caster is not playing fair to any degree, and attacking the weakest parts of the enemy.

The weakest aspect of a player, in 90% of cases is magic, either magic items or active buffs. So Disjunction is pretty much always the most effective opening strategy.

Enemies, spellcasters especially, are not allowed to be as intelligent as the players are, as doing so ends games with player defeat in many cases.

Eh? That's a 3rd editions SPECIFIC problem, and this is not a third ed thread. It's one of the (many) reasons I don't play 3.x anymore. But 3.x PCs shouldn't FIGHT equal or higher level spellcasters on their home ground unless they're prepared to deal with an intelligently played spellcaster.

You DESTROY versimilitude if you don't have NPCs use their abilities competently.

"This dungeon protected by disjunction traps." I've HAD that sign outside a lair (which didn't have any such traps, someone just thought it would keep the pesky adventurers away), I've also had the lair without the sign but with the traps and no warning except the word that adventuring parties had disappeared in that area (they didn't spot the trap, then they got captured and ransomed, without what was left of their gear, the TPK came later when their precautions against SBT weren't quite good enough).

And aside from wizards my outsiders are RUTHLESS with things like Greater Teleport at Will and Ethrealness. My PCs eventually started filling MOST of their level 4 slots with dimensional anchor, because without that fights were simply unwinnable.

Oddly my players really liked that campaign and have asked me to run more in the same setting. ALMOST as if playing the rest of the world as intelligent and making things dangerous weren't really a problem.

DougL

ArcturusV
2013-01-16, 06:30 PM
And of course on the "Ruthless/Hard Times=Fun" road there Mr. Lampert, is my usual, "Your actions matter" rule I always DM. I think that's one of the things that easy DMs tend to forget about. They're too focused on not unduly punishing PCs that they often let obvious actions slide.

For an example was an Anima game I was a player in a short while ago. One of my fellow PCs was, well, a jerk character. In DnD 3.5 it would have been a clear Neutral Evil alignment. Stealing from party members. Trying to use Persuasion/Intimidate checks on party members to keep them in line as well. Using charming magic/effects to take serious advantage of NPCs (Including his wish fulfillment sexual fantasies because, well, some players are like that). Generally someone I was convinced at Loaded Dice as he wouldn't roll anyone else's dice or have anyone else roll for him (And the DM was okay with that) even when he had about 6 sessions in a row where everything he rolled was a 100, open rolled out until he had something like a 1,200 check result at second level. (Note: Normal ranges for second level specialists in a field might be about 70-150.)

Since the DM didn't step up to put some logical consequences on this character and let his insane (probably loaded dice because it broke any and all sense of probability) luck smooth out any issues he might have had... my character stepped in. In the wake of this PC he (who had been a victim of said character a few times and was already ticked at him) rallied a lot of his victims (including as he pointed out, people who got Charmed then "Seduced" by him were effectively raped), pointed out the more evil nature of him (He was doing things like summoning demons to overthrow a legal government so he could install himself as a ruler, then waking up an ancient dragon and trying to charm/dominate him into killing all the demons for him when the PC was only 4th level, and then drew the Lesser God of Indiscriminate Slaughter and Bloodshed into the world to try and kill the dragon), drew them together in one unified organization which basically had the full might of 5 different kingdoms going for it, and launched an assault on him which eventually got him severely wounded and forced him to ditch into self imposed exile never to bother the land again.

Of course said PC was crushed this happened behind his back, and painted me out as some glorious bastard who "Pulled a Watchmen" on him and twisted everything so he was evil instead of good. But he loved the campaign enough to demand a sequel in that setting.

And towards the end the only reason players and the DM wanted to finish out the campaign was because they were looking forward to what I was doing and found all the ways I twisted the plot and took the game a whole lot more interesting than the guy with the Cheaty Dice's plot twists (Which everyone hated to game out).

The DM, being a nice guy and NOT hammering this PC for his behavior and punishing him (As he deserved) but generally allowing him to do what he wanted and be as awesome as he wanted, and having his NPC enemies be wholly ineffective due to being overcome by Cheaty Rolls and a lack of useful tactics made the game boring. Everyone wanted to kill the game off (Except said cheaty player). It was when I was being a "glorious bastard" and purposefully working to make another PCs life much, much more difficult (And justly so) that people got interested in the game again.

Friv
2013-01-16, 07:47 PM
I agree with this. I'm super hard on the players. I've had tons and tons of players do the Cartman ''I'm going home'' walk. I've only ripped up a couple of character sheets, but have made dozens of players cry. It can be quite a shock to players who only had easy GMs in the past.

Ok.

Why?

What value is there in that?

Kelb_Panthera
2013-01-16, 07:51 PM
Ok.

Why?

What value is there in that?

It's probably just a matter of personality.

I love my best friend like a brother. There's no arguing that he's not a huge ass most of the time though.

The sort of behavior the quoted poster is talking about is likely part of his way of filtering out people he's not likely to enjoy hanging out with. The fact that it allows him to engage in a little schaudenfreude is a little psychological bonus.

scurv
2013-01-16, 08:00 PM
Ok.

Why?

What value is there in that?

I will try to remain neutral in this and look at it from two sides.

One he could have players who are self entitled. They tend to get a little prissy about not being able to take a dragon at level 2

Or he could be a hard arse DM, And those can be fun sometimes. It is nice to know you EARNED what you have sometimes. But the cost for that is alot of pain.

awa
2013-01-16, 08:00 PM
I never get people who say i made people (who they were supposed to be playing a friendly game with) cry like it's something to be proud of.

ArcturusV
2013-01-16, 08:07 PM
Sometimes someone is just an ass and most of the group is happy to see him get hurt over it. Almost any given DnD group has one player who is an ass in such a regard (in my experience of playing for about 20 years I'd say that's true about 90% of the time).

But even not counting that... if you invoke a response at that level. It means people had an emotional connection with your game. What happened in the game MATTERED to them. You created something that people like and are connected to at the level of cherished pets, etc.

Hard to argue that's not doing a superb job as a DM.

Now if it was "I made a guy rage and go home". No. Not so much a win. Just means that you managed to tick them off and that's not really fun.

kyoryu
2013-01-16, 08:11 PM
All that matters about the agreement/social contract is that all the players (including the gm) agree to it.

There's nothing wrong with a killer GM style. There's nothing wrong with a more narrative approach. As long as everyone knows what they're getting into. A misunderstood or broken contract is bad, no matter which way it's broken.

And why make players cry? Because you can't have positives without negatives. The deeper the lows, the greater the heights.

awa
2013-01-16, 08:14 PM
you can also make someone cry by being a bully. That doesn't make you a good dm.

Tvtyrant
2013-01-16, 08:21 PM
Things I expect from the DM:

1. The ability to alter the world. This is why I usually ask if I can take leadership; I like to create militias and priesthoods. The town of Yargleblargel needs my help the first few times, but if I suggest building a wall and raising a militia (and offering to help do both) and they refuse I am not going to keep saving it.

2. Fair arbitration. I shouldn't be railroaded by a no save sleep ability and thrown in a dungeon by a caster who automatically goes first. Or at least, not more than once or twice in a campaign. Enemies health should be a fixed marker before the fight; in essence I don't want arbitrary encounters.

Things I promise my DM not to do:

1. I will never make a character that focuses on instantly defeating everything. It is boring for both of us, and forces the DM to resort to #2 of the above.

2. I will not harm my companions unless it is a group infighting game. I may retire a character and have them walk away, but I will not fight with others.

Amphetryon
2013-01-16, 08:23 PM
Some Players expect the world in which they adventure to be perpetually representative of approximately level-appropriate encounters at all times. So do some DMs.

Some Players expect the world in which they adventure to be vibrant without regard to their own current level, so that a given spot on the map labeled "Here There Be Dragons" is certain to cause hardship for sufficiently green adventuring parties. So do some DMs.

Problems often arise when a group of Players from one of these schools of thought try to game with a DM from the other school of thought. Other times, problems are the result of a single group of Players within the same party who represent both schools of thought, complicating the DM's job in trying to facilitate both play styles at the same time.

kyoryu
2013-01-16, 08:27 PM
you can also make someone cry by being a bully. That doesn't make you a good dm.

Well, true.

If you make a player cry because they lost something of value, that they risked in order for something they cared about, then you're a pretty good GM. Making a game important enough that people feel those types of emotions is pretty impressive.

Doing by being a jerk and cheating is just being a bully.

TuggyNE
2013-01-16, 08:49 PM
I think the largest benefit of a specific agreement on these things is not so much "you must do it this way," but making people think "wow, I always took [X] for granted. Maybe I should see if my new players (or old ones) have the same assumptions."

Over the various discussions of this sort of thing, I know I've encountered many times when someone's assumed playstyle just feels bizarre to me. If people can avoid being drawn into a defense/attack mentality it can be incredibly eye-opening, especially when you realize "oh, THAT'S where [person] was coming from in that game/session/thread."

Oh, very much so. There are some general observations you can make about things that are almost never fun, but other than that there's a lot of variation, and much of it is entirely non-obvious.


What about the Players responsibilities.
Shouldn't it be stated that players shouldn't metagame?

Hmm, probably. DM either though. Something to consider, thanks. :smallwink:


Shouldn't a Dm be allowed to create monsters outside of a Manual, without a player crying about how that isn't in the Monster Manual.

That depends on the group agreement (and the skills of the DM), but in general I'd cautiously approve.


Shouldn't a Dm Be allowed to create a situation where some spells can't be used, to create a better story situation, without the word "Railroad" being shouted before a door slams shut.

Probably, within reason and once in a while. :smallsmile: (If every other encounter has customized rules that nerf one character, whichever character that may be, you have a bit of a problem.)


Shouldn't Players create characters that have motives and goals, not just as stats that are meant to take on every situation and landslide a victory. Should classes be played for their cool factor, rather then their "tier" level?

Honestly, that depends entirely on your playstyle. If the entire group just wants to wargame, D&D will probably do pretty well for that, and who's to say they're wrong for liking that? If everyone likes rich characterization and prefers to ignore or fudge rules, then roleplay-heavy campaigns will be fine, though D&D's heavy ruleset may get in the way. Or if all the players and DM like to merge good roleplaying with lots of mechanical savvy, D&D, again, will probably be quite suitable.

The problem only comes when you mix these (as Amphetryon mentioned, and probably others); someone who doesn't really care about much depth in their character will need a lot of patience to deal with someone who only cares about character depth, and vice versa, and the roleplaying optimizer may well look down on both. So it's important to minimize the amount of clashing ahead of time by figuring out what will work best for the group as a whole (and, very likely, adjusting membership over time).


Sorry, I debated blue text, but thought that "on a more serious note" and the patently absurd nature of some of the statements was sufficient. In actuality, I only DM in the rarest of situations, when nobody else is available.

Sorry, Poe's Law applies full-force here. :smallsigh:

Saph
2013-01-17, 02:45 PM
How competently have you played enemy spellcasters in your games?

Highly.


Because if they're played at anywhere near the competency expected out of High-op caster players. Then they will not lose, and the PC's will die or be rendered irrelevant very quickly.

Not really. My players are competent too.

Mark Hall
2013-01-17, 06:18 PM
It seems most gamers agree on the obvious(to them) things that all most need to go with out saying. A GM must be fair. A GM must never lie, trick or mislead the players. The GM must never take advantage of things in the game. The GM must never have a ''no win'' spot in the game. Needless to say that (almost) every player automatically expects this from a RPG.

IMO, none of these things are true.

If I, as a GM, do something with the NPCs, I should be able to "show my work", but I would get very annoyed at a player who insisted on it frequently. However, I see absolutely no reason I should not lie, trick, or mislead players in the guise of an NPC. My NPCs should certainly take advantage of things within their capabilities. And "no win" is a situation you get yourself in and, sometimes, just happens.

Mike_G
2013-01-17, 10:15 PM
I think the only gentleman's agreement should be "don't be a ****."

I don't care if the DM fudges things or homebrews or plays villains to the best of their advantage. I'm not a fan of an unwinable game, but there may be unwinable encounters withing the game. Times when you should retreat, or times when you need to face the consequences of your bad decisions. I don't like being presented with only one option. I like to at least have an illusion of free will.

I don't think there is a general expectation that the DM plays with one hand tied behind his back.

ArcturusV
2013-01-17, 10:26 PM
Yeah.

In fact I use nothing BUT homebrewed monsters myself. I think there is something lost in the game when your players can look at a monster you set out for them, or hear your description and go, "Oh it's a ____, I know exactly what it can do and how to beat it optimally". When everything is home brewed? No one knows what a monster might do until it does that. You get all that shock and surprise, fear of the unknown, etc, that just doesn't seem to happen when everything is right out of the book.

Kesnit
2013-01-18, 07:36 AM
Yeah.

In fact I use nothing BUT homebrewed monsters myself. I think there is something lost in the game when your players can look at a monster you set out for them, or hear your description and go, "Oh it's a ____, I know exactly what it can do and how to beat it optimally". When everything is home brewed? No one knows what a monster might do until it does that. You get all that shock and surprise, fear of the unknown, etc, that just doesn't seem to happen when everything is right out of the book.

Several years ago, I ran a short campaign that included a player who knew the MM very well. He couldn't optimize (thought a Monk with VoP was extremely powerful), but he knew monsters.

So when including monsters, I took things out of the MM and then changed their appearance. Orcs became Green Army Men. An ooze became Jell-o. A balor (not intended to fight) became Cthulhu. The stats were out of the MM, but without the MM description, the player couldn't metagame.

Avilan the Grey
2013-01-18, 09:32 AM
Regarding killing players and "taking it easy":

1. Everybody should have fun
2. Everybody should have fun
3. Everybody should have fun
4. Tailor your playing style to the group of players you have

and finally

5. If a player, despite doing something very stupid, can't handle having his or her character killed, then they SHOULD go home

Basically I would never play with a DM that had the attitude that a dead PC is a good PC, just like I as a DM tries to avoid it. To a degree. However if they do something dumb... then they should be laughed at as they perish.

During my years as a gamer and an occasional DM / GM I have encountered many idiotic suggestions, such as "I jump out of the window, pull my guns and shoot, then land on my feet in the wagon full of straw". Or as the DM put it after some dice rolls "You missed all your targets since you shot while falling down. Also, the wagon moved while you were jumping. SPLAT!".

Jay R
2013-01-18, 10:35 AM
The actual Gentleman's Agreement is that we all agree to play the same game.

It doesn't have to be the game I like.

It doesn't have to be the game you like.

It has to be a game that the players are comfortable playing.

And a true Gentlemen's Agreement is unspoken, and unwritten, having grown out of the history of the group.

In my current game, the Gentlemen's Agreement contains the following:

1. The players are all on the same side. Defend each other, work together, save each other.
2. We will be more-or-less the good guys.
3. The players will trust each other. The characters will be worthy of that trust.
4. Characters can keep secrets from each other. Those secrets will not cause bad things for the other characters.
5. The DM is creating a world, through which we travel. There will be many things there we cannot defeat. It is the players' job to avoid them, and to run away as necessary. The DM's job is merely to make it possible for us to get away, not to see that we do.
6. The DM will accurately describe what we see and hear. That often involves trickery, lies, etc.
7. We will start at 1st level. If we want to become awesome, we have to earn it.
8. There will be encounters for 1st levels. It will be possible to find them. It will not necessarily be automatic.
9. There will be triggers spread out over the world. If we pull one, we will set off the events connected to it.
10. If a character is knocked out of the game, the remaining party will do what is reasonable to get them back.
11. Unavoidable adventures will be survivable. "Survivable" doesn't me we will survive; it means it's possible.

I haven't discussed any of this with the other players. It's a true gentlemen's agreement.

And it doesn't have to match the one in your game.

kyoryu
2013-01-18, 03:24 PM
The actual Gentleman's Agreement is that we all agree to play the same game.

It doesn't have to be the game I like.

It doesn't have to be the game you like.

It has to be a game that the players are comfortable playing.

Exactly.


And a true Gentlemen's Agreement is unspoken, and unwritten, having grown out of the history of the group.

This is great if you have a long-term group. For new groups, it's probably better to get on the same page more explicitly.


And it doesn't have to match the one in your game.

This, to me, is the most important part.

TuggyNE
2013-01-18, 07:32 PM
And a true Gentlemen's Agreement is unspoken, and unwritten, having grown out of the history of the group.
[...]
I haven't discussed any of this with the other players. It's a true gentlemen's agreement.

I'm not entirely sure I understand this. Why is silent agreement considered the only way to handle this, when there are so many ways it can go wrong? Lack of communication can conceal resentments or annoyances or discomfort that are never strong enough to be voiced (especially in a conformist group), but are strong enough to decrease enjoyment... and quite possibly erupt some day.

Of course, if you have 30+ years of playing together, and no one in the group has ever erupted or left mysteriously or acted out, perhaps you've managed to actually get real agreement. Pardon my doubt.

Maugan Ra
2013-01-18, 09:07 PM
I've never understood the idea that a monster shouldn't fight intelligently. If you're an experienced group of bandits, for example, and upon studying the convoy you intend to ambush you spot one passenger dressed in flowing robes with arcane symbols on them and carrying an ornate staff, why in the world would you not open the ambush by pin cushioning the dude with twenty crossbow bolts?

(This, incidentally, is why my Wizards and the like tend to veer more towards the Harry Dresden school of personal appearance)

When I'm a player, I expect my enemies to fight sensibly, and plan around the assumption that they will do so. And by extension, I expect the INT 30+ Dragon or the Imperial Inquisitor to fight like ruthless bastards and tactically aware geniuses. Otherwise I always get the feeling that I'm not really fighting a Dragon, I'm fighting a puffed-up lizard with delusions of grandeur.

Jay R
2013-01-19, 10:41 AM
I'm not entirely sure I understand this. Why is silent agreement considered the only way to handle this, when there are so many ways it can go wrong?

I didn't say that was the only way to handle it. I said that's what a Gentlemen's Agreement was. That became the standard meaning in the early twentieth century, having nothing to do with role-playing.

[The original Gentlemen's Agreements had to do with agreeing to things, such as price-fixing and neighborhood segregation, that it would have been illegal to actually write down, or even talk about too directly.]


Lack of communication can conceal resentments or annoyances or discomfort that are never strong enough to be voiced (especially in a conformist group), but are strong enough to decrease enjoyment... and quite possibly erupt some day.

Don't worry; there's no lack of communication. When I started a D&D game a few years ago, I gave out a 4 page introduction. And our resentments and annoyances aren't hidden. We're human; we get on each other's nerves. But we've either talked about them or quietly decided to accept them.


Of course, if you have 30+ years of playing together, and no one in the group has ever erupted or left mysteriously or acted out, perhaps you've managed to actually get real agreement. Pardon my doubt.

We've acted out occasionally. But none of us are shy enough to leave mysteriously. If we have a problem, we'll either talk about it or accept it. We've only been playing D&D together for about five years, but we've been playing in the SCA together for an average of 18 years.


Pardon my doubt.

Doubt is fine; you don't know us.

Frozen_Feet
2013-01-19, 01:52 PM
I don't do "gentelemen's agreements". My gripe with the very concept is the same that I have with the concept of "Rule 0":

In all cases, the games I use have had any sensible rules that I've seen attributed to these concepts actually written down in the rules.

"GM makes the final call", "don't be a jerk" or "all players should have fun" are not part of some unwritten, unspoken whole when I can cite a damn page number.

On the flipside, if something is not part of the rules, then it's a guideline at best - not some inviolable courteousness policy. If my players don't like the way the game is going, they better speak their minds or vote with their feet.

Amphetryon
2013-01-19, 07:03 PM
I don't do "gentelemen's agreements". My gripe with the very concept is the same that I have with the concept of "Rule 0":

In all cases, the games I use have had any sensible rules that I've seen attributed to these concepts actually written down in the rules.

"GM makes the final call", "don't be a jerk" or "all players should have fun" are not part of some unwritten, unspoken whole when I can cite a damn page number.

On the flipside, if something is not part of the rules, then it's a guideline at best - not some inviolable courteousness policy. If my players don't like the way the game is going, they better speak their minds or vote with their feet.
How do you adjudicate Mounted Combat?

TuggyNE
2013-01-19, 11:23 PM
I didn't say that was the only way to handle it. I said that's what a Gentlemen's Agreement was. That became the standard meaning in the early twentieth century, having nothing to do with role-playing.

[The original Gentlemen's Agreements had to do with agreeing to things, such as price-fixing and neighborhood segregation, that it would have been illegal to actually write down, or even talk about too directly.]

OK, I guess that's true.


Don't worry; there's no lack of communication. When I started a D&D game a few years ago, I gave out a 4 page introduction. And our resentments and annoyances aren't hidden. We're human; we get on each other's nerves. But we've either talked about them or quietly decided to accept them.

We've acted out occasionally. But none of us are shy enough to leave mysteriously. If we have a problem, we'll either talk about it or accept it. We've only been playing D&D together for about five years, but we've been playing in the SCA together for an average of 18 years.

Ah, OK. It seems probable you're in a group that is both a bit lucky and a bit more sensible than the average. :smallcool:

1337 b4k4
2013-01-20, 10:20 AM
Ah, OK. It seems probable you're in a group that is both a bit lucky and a bit more sensible than the average.

Is this really true though? I know everyone has a horror story about "that one guy" but I can't for the life of me think of any gaming groups that I know of that is as dysfunctional as many of the people around here are assuming is common. I don't think it's lucky or more sensible than average for a group of gamers to occasionally get on each others nerves and either resolve differences amicably or just deal with them, that's the bare minimum I expect from any gaming group that will last more than one session. I realize that this hobby runs a gamut of people, and not all of them are adults, but I really don't think that a group of people (friends or not) behaving in a mature and adult fashion for resolving differences is uncommon.

Jay R
2013-01-20, 10:56 AM
Ah, OK. It seems probable you're in a group that is both a bit lucky and a bit more sensible than the average. :smallcool:

It helps that the youngest player is 44. Older groups aren't necessarily either smarter or nicer people, but we do tend to be a bit calmer. (With many notable exceptions that I wouldn't game with.)