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View Full Version : Crafting, teamwork, retcons, and the DM's role.



Talakeal
2019-03-24, 12:25 PM
Ok, so in my campaign I give a certain amount of downtime for crafting after every adventure.

Everyone in the group is a crafter of some sort, and they pool their resources and frequently craft items for one another.

In last weeks session one of the players was sick and I let the other players control his character. During the downtime at the end of the session one of players asked if the sick player's character could craft a relatively inexpensive item for them, and I said sure.

This week the player found out about it and said that they had no right to have his character craft something without his permission. He is demanding that I retcon it.

I then asked him what he even wanted to craft. and he said that he wanted to start on a grand project to improve one of his own items instead. Now, my system uses logorythmic costs, so, in short, it is going to take him ten sessions worth of downtime to get the same bonus for his own item the same bonus that he gave the other character's gear in one session.

The other player is now saying that if he does this he is no longer going to be a team player, and from this point on 100% of his own crafting will go to improving his own gear as he feels that he is being taken advantage of. Now, while I agree spending ten sessions to give yourself the same bonus you could give another player in one session is being a terrible team-player, this reaction is even worse, and is going to put a huge crack in the party in terms of both efficiency and goodwill.

I am also not sure I like the precedent of demanding the DM to retcon actions your character took while you were absent, especially over something so minor and petty.

So, what do you guys think I should do as the DM?

Fiery Diamond
2019-03-24, 02:59 PM
Maybe try something a little less extreme than logorhythmic scaling? Maybe I'm weird, but in my opinion nothing short of "this is a campaign-long objective (or half-campaign objective) should ever take 10 sessions worth to do unless it's the actual adventure itself.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 04:12 PM
Ok, so I just got a message from the player in question. He told me that he is doing it in principle to spite the rest of the group, myself included, because we "Treated him like a slave and literally stole his resources without having the decency to ask him."

So I guess this is a much bigger issue than I thought.


Maybe try something a little less extreme than logorhythmic scaling? Maybe I'm weird, but in my opinion nothing short of "this is a campaign-long objective (or half-campaign objective) should ever take 10 sessions worth to do unless it's the actual adventure itself.

While the exact numbers might need some tweaking, it appears to be working as intended. The idea is to reward balancing out resource distribution over hyper-specialization.

zlefin
2019-03-24, 04:26 PM
retcon it away. and if someone misses a session, just send them a message that they can decide how to spend their crafting time and just have it ready by the session after.


tell the other player that it's a matter of rights; it was improper of everyone to ghost a character and spend their limited/valuable resources (Crafting time/money; ghosting them wiht no permanent cost/opportunity cost for the adventure itself is probably fine), so that has to be retconned away.
also, it's selfish and dumb of them to now work only on their own items in response. it would be reasonable to refuse to make items for the character who's spending all their time on their big project; but that's no reason to refuse to help out with the rest of the party who have not done so (assuming they haven't done so and there aren't any other problems with the balance of work done between them)

JoeJ
2019-03-24, 04:32 PM
Unless you have some existing agreement about what happens when a player misses*, you should retcon and the let the player control their character.

And then you should, as a group, come to some sort of agreement about what happens the next time one of the players can't be there.


(edit: *and if you do have an existing agreement about this, remind everybody involved what that agreement is.)

DeTess
2019-03-24, 04:34 PM
Ok, so I just got a message from the player in question. He told me that he is doing it in principle to spite the rest of the group, myself included, because we "Treated him like a slave and literally stole his resources without having the decency to ask him."

So I guess this is a much bigger issue than I thought.

I doubt you'd get this response form a single isolated incident, so it sounds like you might need to have a chat with he entire group to air out whatever frustrations triggered this. I agree that having the other players spend someone's limited and apparently important resources like that without asking is wrong and should be retconned, as something like this could have just been asked for between sessions over whatever medium of communication you use.

NecessaryWeevil
2019-03-24, 04:35 PM
The present players and the DM assumed the absent player would not have a problem with the crafting. It turns out the assumption was wrong. Now everybody knows better and, in this group, PCs of absent characters now simply vanish until the player returns. No ill will was intended, it was all a misunderstanding, the crafting is retconned. Can we please shake and make up and return to having fun? That's how I would try to sell it.

Both players are overreacting.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 04:40 PM
I doubt you'd get this response form a single isolated incident, so it sounds like you might need to have a chat with he entire group to air out whatever frustrations triggered this. I agree that having the other players spend someone's limited and apparently important resources like that without asking is wrong and should be retconned, as something like this could have just been asked for between sessions over whatever medium of communication you use.

This is the first time this has happened.

One sessions worth of crafting time is hardly a valuable resource at all; they are mad over the principle rather than the actual cost.


The present players and the DM assumed the absent player would not have a problem with the crafting. It turns out the assumption was wrong. Now everybody knows better and, in this group, PCs of absent characters now simply vanish until the player returns. No ill will was intended, it was all a misunderstanding, the crafting is retconned. Can we please shake and make up and return to having fun? That's how I would try to sell it.

Both players are overreacting.

I agree both players are overreacting.


Although I proposed the vanish solution, but said that absent characters would not get a share of treasure as the result, which caused the players to both unite and turn their anger on me and said that I was just being "pissy," which might not be too far of the mark; at that point I felt like a parent of small children that don't know how to share who just takes their toys away rather than watch them squabble over them.

Quellian-dyrae
2019-03-24, 04:44 PM
My usual rule of thumb is that when I'm NPCing a player, I won't spend limited resources for them - even if I know it would be a good idea strategically. Now, my games are mainly PbP M&M games, while my understanding is that this is a real-time D&D or PF game, so the situation will be somewhat different - when I'm NPCing a PC it's for a turn or two when I need to move things along and they haven't posted, not for an entire session when they can't make it. So it does make sense in that situation to be willing to use some limited resources on their behalf, such as spell slots. But non-renewable resources, such as perishable items, downtime, gold and XP if those are involved, and so on, it's probably a good idea for the DM not to spend on a player's behalf without prior permission.

That being said, it's entirely reasonable given their past activities for you to have assumed the player in question would have been cool with it. Saying the party was treating him like a slave and doing something else to spite them is an overreaction. Likewise, it'd be an overreaction for the other player to no longer assist the rest of the team with crafting where it's otherwise reasonable to do so. I mean, I assume this isn't the first time someone's asked for help with some crafting and the other player said they have something they're already working on but maybe next time, or some such.

My suggestion would be to apologize for the incorrect assumption, retcon the crafting, and allow the player to now spend the downtime resources as normal - including allowing the other player and the rest of the group to make any requests and suggestions they might have as normal. That should hopefully satisfy the first player that he's in control of his resources, and the second that the norms for teamwork have not been changed.

It's probably also worth talking with the group to establish some guidelines going forward for what risks are fair to take and resources fair to spend in situations where the DM or group are controlling an absent player's PC.

EDIT: And that was all well and thoroughly ninja'd.

Quertus
2019-03-24, 05:31 PM
Ok, so I just got a message from the player in question. He told me that he is doing it in principle to spite the rest of the group, myself included, because we "Treated him like a slave and literally stole his resources without having the decency to ask him."

So I guess this is a much bigger issue than I thought.

It is, but it's also a different issue.

It's about assumptions.

The absent player assumed he could just show up next session, and tell you what he did during downtime.

The rest of the party just assumed that they could control his character.

You all assumed. Bad y'all.

The absent player was the most correct. That is, what his character would choose to do a) is his to choose, and b) might be affected by the events of the session, and so c) cannot be chosen beforehand, or d) by the other players.

The player gets to do exactly one thing: make decisions for their character. Don't take that away.

Retcon. Explain to your group - and yourself - why this makes sense. Have more formal rules covering this scenario moving forward, so that no one has to assume.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 06:58 PM
Man, now the two players are going back and forth seeing who can overreact the most and I am having to listen to their increasingly over the top revenge fantasies, and if I try and explain that there will be consequences for abandoning the party I become the bad guy. Ugh. FML.


Ok, so let's take this back a bit.

In the past if a player cancels at the last minute I have generally been in groups where we let one of the other players control them or the DM runs them as an NPC.

To do otherwise creates issues with both game balance and plot.

I don't want to cancel the game for a single absent player.

Likewise if the PC just disappears into a plot hole it creates narrative issues, but also balance issues. I need to rebalance the whole adventure on the fly, and if I don't I am risking a TPK.

Furthermore; there is the issue of loot / XP. I like to give them to absent players because otherwise it creates imbalance issues, and apparently I am being "pissy" if I don't give them to absent players.

At this point it seems I am between a rock and a hard place.

zlefin
2019-03-24, 07:36 PM
Man, now the two players are going back and forth seeing who can overreact the most and I am having to listen to their increasingly over the top revenge fantasies, and if I try and explain that there will be consequences for abandoning the party I become the bad guy. Ugh. FML.


Ok, so let's take this back a bit.

In the past if a player cancels at the last minute I have generally been in groups where we let one of the other players control them or the DM runs them as an NPC.

To do otherwise creates issues with both game balance and plot.

I don't want to cancel the game for a single absent player.

Likewise if the PC just disappears into a plot hole it creates narrative issues, but also balance issues. I need to rebalance the whole adventure on the fly, and if I don't I am risking a TPK.

Furthermore; there is the issue of loot / XP. I like to give them to absent players because otherwise it creates imbalance issues, and apparently I am being "pissy" if I don't give them to absent players.

At this point it seems I am between a rock and a hard place.

why are they going back and forth? (or have you not decided yet about whether to retcon or not?)
an enforced "calm down until we can talk this over" is justified.

The Glyphstone
2019-03-24, 07:38 PM
Why are you even surprised at this sort of thing anymore, Talakeal? This isn't unusual for your players, it's 100% in line with everything we've come to expect out of them and your Bizarro Gaming Universe in general.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 07:38 PM
why are they going back and forth? (or have you not decided yet about whether to retcon or not?)
an enforced "calm down until we can talk this over" is justified.

I said he could make the choice, either we played it as was or we retconned his character from the scenario but would then not get a share of the treasure. Which resulted in a bunch of threats, bile, and name calling directed towards both me and the other player instead of a decision.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 07:43 PM
Why are you even surprised at this sort of thing anymore, Talakeal? This isn't unusual for your players, it's 100% in line with everything we've come to expect out of them and your Bizarro Gaming Universe in general.

I don't know. I honestly thought we were getting better. I had a new group and about six months of good gaming, and now rapid backsliding.

Honestly at this point it seems like my players have spent the last month in a competition with one another to see who can overreact the most over every minor perceived slight.


This isn't even the worst drama this week; but the other one is primarily not game related so I am not going to give any details; but let's just say it ended up pretty damned extreme.

Quertus
2019-03-24, 07:51 PM
Man, now the two players are going back and forth seeing who can overreact the most and I am having to listen to their increasingly over the top revenge fantasies, and if I try and explain that there will be consequences for abandoning the party I become the bad guy. Ugh. FML.


Ok, so let's take this back a bit.

In the past if a player cancels at the last minute I have generally been in groups where we let one of the other players control them or the DM runs them as an NPC.

To do otherwise creates issues with both game balance and plot.

I don't want to cancel the game for a single absent player.

Likewise if the PC just disappears into a plot hole it creates narrative issues, but also balance issues. I need to rebalance the whole adventure on the fly, and if I don't I am risking a TPK.

Furthermore; there is the issue of loot / XP. I like to give them to absent players because otherwise it creates imbalance issues, and apparently I am being "pissy" if I don't give them to absent players.

At this point it seems I am between a rock and a hard place.

Ah, thanks! I was trying to remember "FML" for about a week (darn senility).

Anyway...

There is no good answer. There is only the answer that works for your group.

I once wrote out the complex decision algorithm to use for my character should I be absent, and the table of situational statistics that represented my character. The GM took one look at that, and cancelled any session I could not attend. Mission successful.

If you didn't care about "balance" and "challenge" so much, you wouldn't have to rebalance the encounters.

No, seriously.

In a group of ~14 players, we usually cancelled (read: played something else) if even 2 players could not attend. But, one night, only 3 players made it (because of the blizzard). Those of us who were there roleplayed our characters on watch, chatting.

I'm a war gamer. I get "challenge" and "balance". I really do. But an RPG is a really strange place for such concepts.

Anyway, smack your players upside the head, grab them by their ears, sit them down, and tell them to either act like adults, or you'll treat them like children. Continue the conversation according to their response.

Know your group. Find out which imperfect solution works for your group.

Obviously, personally, I think that, in this scenario, "tell me what happened, and I'll tell you what I do during downtime" is the winner.

But what happens to PCs of absent players during the game proper? That's clearly something y'all have to decide for yourselves.

zlefin
2019-03-24, 07:54 PM
I said he could make the choice, either we played it as was or we retconned his character from the scenario but would then not get a share of the treasure. Which resulted in a bunch of threats, bile, and name calling directed towards both me and the other player instead of a decision.

did the player want to be retconned from the scenario entirelyy?
or did he just want the crafting part retconned?

if the latter, he'd be justifiably annoyed at the choices you offered.

Quertus
2019-03-24, 07:54 PM
I said he could make the choice, either we played it as was or we retconned his character from the scenario but would then not get a share of the treasure. Which resulted in a bunch of threats, bile, and name calling directed towards both me and the other player instead of a decision.

That's... Just... Wtf material. Isn't it? How does this answer not make you as juvenile as your players? Or am I misunderstanding something here?

Do you bring the Bizarro World with you? Do you actively cause your problems? Because that's what I just read.

Why is "you get the treasure, and you choose how your character spends his downtime" not a valid solution?

EDIT: what he said ^

The Glyphstone
2019-03-24, 07:59 PM
I don't know. I honestly thought we were getting better. I had a new group and about six months of good gaming, and now rapid backsliding.

Honestly at this point it seems like my players have spent the last month in a competition with one another to see who can overreact the most over every minor perceived slight.


This isn't even the worst drama this week; but the other one is primarily not game related so I am not going to give any details; but let's just say it ended up pretty damned extreme.

I suggest checking your local Yellow Pages under 'Wizard', or at least 'Witch Doctor'. Get a thorough examination for any lingering curses in case you accidentally damaged a mummy sarcophagus or defiled an ancient Native American burial ground at some point in your life. At this point it seems the most likely explanation for why every single group you've ever played in or run a game for goes balls-up insane after a certain point.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 08:02 PM
did the player want to be retconned from the scenario entirelyy?
or did he just want the crafting part retconned?

if the latter, he'd be justifiably annoyed at the choices you offered.

He was pissed that someone else played his character at all, the crafting was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I told him he could retcon it entirely or just roll with it, but I was not going to let him pick and choose what was retconned and what wasn't; although I probably would have even done that if it had been phrased nicely rather than couched in a bunch of hyperbole and threats.


That's... Just... Wtf material. Isn't it? How does this answer not make you at juvenile as your players?

It was a bit exasperated, but no, nowhere near as juvenile as my players.

Saying "you can either have your character participate in the scenario and be played by someone else, good or bad (within reason) and get an equal share or loot, or have your character not participate and not get a share of the loot," is a bit of an ultimatum, but (imo) not anywhere on the same league as "If you don't craft this one item for me I will NEVER craft again," or "If you don't craft I will never help the party again, up to and including running away with the loot rather than healing them if they get injured,".

Likewise, having another character craft a single item for another, which they do every single session, is not nearly the same as saying that he was "literally robbed and enslaved by my fellow players".

B1okHead
2019-03-24, 08:06 PM
I'd kick either/both of the players from my group. Worst case scenario I'd cancel the game. No gaming is better than bad gaming imo

Quertus
2019-03-24, 08:36 PM
He was pissed that someone else played his character at all, the crafting was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I told him he could retcon it entirely or just roll with it, but I was not going to let him pick and choose what was retconned and what wasn't; although I probably would have even done that if it had been phrased nicely rather than couched in a bunch of hyperbole and threats.



It was a bit exasperated, but no, nowhere near as juvenile as my players.

Saying "you can either have your character participate in the scenario and be played by someone else, good or bad (within reason) and get an equal share or loot, or have your character not participate and not get a share of the loot," is a bit of an ultimatum, but (imo) not anywhere on the same league as "If you don't craft this one item for me I will NEVER craft again," or "If you don't craft I will never help the party again, up to and including running away with the loot rather than healing them if they get injured,".

Likewise, having another character craft a single item for another, which they do every single session, is not nearly the same as saying that he was "literally robbed and enslaved by my fellow players".

Let me put this differently.

Player: I missed the session, and so lost the joy of getting to play the character and experience the world while they played without me. But at least I get to handle the downtime. Wait, what? They took that from me, too? Why would they do that? There is absolutely no reason for them take that choice from me. I oppose this on principle.

GM: well, someone had to play your character while you weren't there, so I let them also play the part that you could have chosen now, too. If you want me to retcon them playing the downtime, I'm going to retcon your character into not being there at all.

...

My question remains, why it's it alien to your mindset to just retcon the downtime, but not the adventure? Why not give them the choices that they could have made once you told them how the session went?

Also, in that group? I'd half expect PCs of absent players to give all their worldly possessions to their fellow PCs before committing suicide.

Yes, the GM has a responsibility to the absent players.

(EDIT: really, so do the other players, but...)

EDIT: the nuances of every decision you make, how and why you make them, affects the group. I ask you again to ponder to what extent you bring Bizarro World with you.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 08:48 PM
Let me put this differently.

Player: I missed the session, and so lost the joy of getting to play the character and experience the world while they played without me. But at least I get to handle the downtime. Wait, what? They took that from me, too? Why would they do that? There is absolutely no reason for them take that choice from me. I oppose this on principle.

GM: well, someone had to play your character while you weren'tAlso, in that group? I'd half expect PCs of absent players to give all their worldly possessions to their fellow PCs before committing suicide.
there, so I let them also play the part that you could have chosen now, too. If you want me to retcon them playing the downtime, I'm going to retcon your character into not being there at all.

...

My question remains, why it's it alien to your mindset to just retcon the downtime, but not the adventure? Why not give them the choices that they could have made once you told them how the session went?


Yes, the GM has a responsibility to the absent players.

(EDIT: really, so do the other players, but...)

Because you are phrasing it as a reasonable request, not a hyperbolic statement full of rage and threats.

The thing is, it isn't about enjoying downtime or even RPing his character / power gaming. He is taking a suboptimal and antisocial action purely to spite the other player for daring to play his character while he was gone.

And keep in mind, it is, as you pointed out, now a matter of principal. The other player is now forever screwed as he will NEVER get his item crafted, as the player is punishing him for daring to "rob and enslave his character". And when I pointed out that he didn't have anything better to craft at the time and it was the optimal decision, he doubled down on the matter and decided to dedicate himself to a grand product which will take ~10 sessions for a negligible benefit, thus harming the entire rest of the party.

doctor doughnut
2019-03-24, 09:03 PM
I think this is all the DMs fault. Right from the second the DM decided what the players character did.

The best, and really only, answer is: the player character does whatever they player wants. So, as DM, you really should have just said ''no". Or maybe you could have contacted sick player and asked them?

Some one misses a game as they are sick...a good reason....and when they come back they just the supprise of ''oh, hehe, he is what we did behind your back with your character". Well, how would you expect them to feel?

This is why ''no'' is the best and only answer.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 09:16 PM
Well, how would you expect them to feel?

This is why ''no'' is the best and only answer.

I would expect them to be fine with it. I have gamed with dozens of groups over dozens of years, and I have never seen someone react like this to what is otherwise a very common thing. I have missed sessions and had someone else play my character until I got back without issue, and I have played other people's characters while they were gone without issue.

Players miss sessions, it happens, its just not feasible to cancel the game every time a single player can't make it, especially if you are in a large group where people have RL commitments.

So let me ask you, how would a theoretical "perfect DM" handle it? Just cancel every session if a single player can't make it? Have the character's of absent players instantly disappear into hammer space plot or game balance be damned?

doctor doughnut
2019-03-24, 09:27 PM
So let me ask you, how would a theoretical "perfect DM" handle it? Just cancel every session if a single player can't make it? Have the character's of absent players instantly disappear into hammer space plot or game balance be damned?

Yes? This is the way I have always done it, and the way I have seen most other games do it. "Real Life Writes the Plot" and all.

If your really obssessed with some sort of perfect fictional reality, you can just say the character was lost or trapped or stuck or such.

And if your game is so badly balanced they it can't handel a character being gone...well, you'd need to work on your balance.

Fun Twist: I've done this a couple time: when a player misses a game....they get replaced by a doppeganger (or demon or whatever). The poor players, baddly meta gaming of course, just ''think" the DM is playing the "real" character.....and wow, do they get a huge shock when they find out they have been fooled. It's great fun.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 09:31 PM
If your really obssessed with some sort of perfect fictional reality, you can just say the character was lost or trapped or stuck or such.

Yeah, as I said, dozens of groups over several decades, never seen it done that way and never (before now) seen anyone object to it.


And if your game is so badly balanced they it can't handle a character being gone...well, you'd need to work on your balance.

That is literally the exact opposite of what the word "balance" means.

NichG
2019-03-24, 09:36 PM
Your job is not to ensure that the party makes optimal decisions, has a high level of teamwork, or to punish what you see as irrational behavior. Your job is to adjudicate outcomes fairly and mediate between players. When you made an ultimatum to the player to allow the crafting or have their treasure docked, you were basically saying to them 'I think your concerns are invalid and I will not hear them or take them into account, I'm just going to use my position of power in this situation to make you back down'. That doesn't answer the player's concerns, and furthermore it makes it seem more likely that those concerns will never be satisfactorily respected within the group. So what rational action do they have left in such a situation?

If you're playing an iterative cooperation game where someone defecting can extract value from you without giving you a chance of getting what you want in return, it's a nearly optimal strategy to declare the ultimatum 'I will work with you, but if you betray me more than X times I will always betray you from then on'. What the player is doing is actually an almost optimal rational response in the situation where there's something they care about which has basically been refused to be acknowledged. They're punishing the group because it's the only power you've left them to resolve this dispute after, from their point of view, dismissing their concerns as petty.

If you want to mediate this, you have to take a position where you aren't judging the validity of their concerns, but rather trying to find a compromise that addresses the concerns of both sides. Once you've taken a side, it's only going to escalate.

You could for example say 'this time, you get your item for free, you get your downtime back, and in the future any resource expenditure or character decision with lasting consequence has to be okayed by the absent player in advance; that's how I'll run it from now on, and that's where the rules part of this discussion ends. If there's still a problem between you two, we need to work it out as a group of players rather than as you asking the DM for a ruling'

Quellian-dyrae
2019-03-24, 09:38 PM
Okay...here's what I'd suggest at this stage.

First, you have to nip this whole matter of principle idea in the bud. Admit that mistakes were made. You assumed Player A would be cool with others controlling his character for a session and doing the crafting. Player B assumed it was a fair question to ask if Player A's character would be doing the crafting. Player A took reasonable offense to a perceived violation of agency. All of these assumptions were reasonable, and all of them were wrong. It happens. What is important now is getting the game back on track so that everyone can have fun.

As best I can tell, the session went through with no apparent downside to Player A's character aside from the expended downtime resources. Refund those, and remove the item that was crafted with them. Allow Player A to use them on something else if he wants to. Allow the rest of the team, including Player B, to make their usual input and requests as they normally would. This should still work to establish that nobody was trying to intentionally take advantage of Player A, and that normal teamwork is still in effect.

As for playing his character in the session, it happened, it was an innocent error. If he really wishes to retcon his character out of the prior session entirely, for good and ill, let him do so. Or if he's satisfied with the fact that the session resulted in more benefit than loss to his character, let it stand. The choice of whether or not to retcon the session should be irrelevant to the choice of what to do with his downtime, since they're two separate circumstances.

A discussion with the entire group should take place to establish reasonable guidelines for how to handle absent players in the future. Emphasize that it is much easier for you as DM if they can be NPC'd to some degree, but if anyone really has problems with it hash out alternatives. I agree that someone else playing absent PCs is perfectly acceptable and often a better solution than just having them vanish (and a way better solution than cancelling the session for everyone), but everyone does need to be on board with it, and there does need to be some ground rules. Things to consider include, but are not necessarily limited to:
-Is everyone okay with the DM or a different player playing their character? And who would they prefer to play them?
-What resources are allowed to be used when someone else is controlling the character?
-How much risk is the character allowed to be made to accept on behalf of the party?
-Does the character get role-played, or does it just kinda passively follow along and contribute to mechanical challenges? In the former case, you may also want to establish guidelines for just how much creative control the controller has, to make sure nobody forces a PC to act in a way its player would regard as out-of-character.
-If something does happen during a session that the player is fundamentally opposed to, what recourse is available?

I...think that should more-or-less address everyone's fundamental concerns in a reasonable and neutral manner so the game can again start moving in a positive direction. If your players still insist on threats, ultimatums, and conflict...well that suggests underlying problems that I know I'm not equipped to offer advice on, beyond "try to talk it out".

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 09:47 PM
Your job is not to ensure that the party makes optimal decisions, has a high level of teamwork, or to punish what you see as irrational behavior. Your job is to adjudicate outcomes fairly and mediate between players. When you made an ultimatum to the player to allow the crafting or have their treasure docked, you were basically saying to them 'I think your concerns are invalid and I will not hear them or take them into account, I'm just going to use my position of power in this situation to make you back down'. That doesn't answer the player's concerns, and furthermore it makes it seem more likely that those concerns will never be satisfactorily respected within the group. So what rational action do they have left in such a situation?

If you're playing an iterative cooperation game where someone defecting can extract value from you without giving you a chance of getting what you want in return, it's a nearly optimal strategy to declare the ultimatum 'I will work with you, but if you betray me more than X times I will always betray you from then on'. What the player is doing is actually an almost optimal rational response in the situation where there's something they care about which has basically been refused to be acknowledged. They're punishing the group because it's the only power you've left them to resolve this dispute after, from their point of view, dismissing their concerns as petty.

If you want to mediate this, you have to take a position where you aren't judging the validity of their concerns, but rather trying to find a compromise that addresses the concerns of both sides. Once you've taken a side, it's only going to escalate.

Keep in mind, the "ultimatum" wasn't until after they had already been screaming at and threatening each other for quite some time. He was LONG past the point of punishing the rest of the group before I said a word.

It was less of an ultimatum and more of an exasperated "cut the baby in half" solution to them expecting me to side with one of them over the other when they were both being completely overblown and irrational.


Okay...here's what I'd suggest at this stage.

First, you have to nip this whole matter of principle idea in the bud. Admit that mistakes were made. You assumed Player A would be cool with others controlling his character for a session and doing the crafting. Player B assumed it was a fair question to ask if Player A's character would be doing the crafting. Player A took reasonable offense to a perceived violation of agency. All of these assumptions were reasonable, and all of them were wrong. It happens. What is important now is getting the game back on track so that everyone can have fun.

As best I can tell, the session went through with no apparent downside to Player A's character aside from the expended downtime resources. Refund those, and remove the item that was crafted with them. Allow Player A to use them on something else if he wants to. Allow the rest of the team, including Player B, to make their usual input and requests as they normally would. This should still work to establish that nobody was trying to intentionally take advantage of Player A, and that normal teamwork is still in effect.

As for playing his character in the session, it happened, it was an innocent error. If he really wishes to retcon his character out of the prior session entirely, for good and ill, let him do so. Or if he's satisfied with the fact that the session resulted in more benefit than loss to his character, let it stand. The choice of whether or not to retcon the session should be irrelevant to the choice of what to do with his downtime, since they're two separate circumstances.

A discussion with the entire group should take place to establish reasonable guidelines for how to handle absent players in the future. Emphasize that it is much easier for you as DM if they can be NPC'd to some degree, but if anyone really has problems with it hash out alternatives. I agree that someone else playing absent PCs is perfectly acceptable and often a better solution than just having them vanish (and a way better solution than cancelling the session for everyone), but everyone does need to be on board with it, and there does need to be some ground rules. Things to consider include, but are not necessarily limited to:
-Is everyone okay with the DM or a different player playing their character? And who would they prefer to play them?
-What resources are allowed to be used when someone else is controlling the character?
-How much risk is the character allowed to be made to accept on behalf of the party?
-Does the character get role-played, or does it just kinda passively follow along and contribute to mechanical challenges? In the former case, you may also want to establish guidelines for just how much creative control the controller has, to make sure nobody forces a PC to act in a way its player would regard as out-of-character.
-If something does happen during a session that the player is fundamentally opposed to, what recourse is available?

I...think that should more-or-less address everyone's fundamental concerns in a reasonable and neutral manner so the game can again start moving in a positive direction. If your players still insist on threats, ultimatums, and conflict...well that suggests underlying problems that I know I'm not equipped to offer advice on, beyond "try to talk it out".

Well, that would work except that player A will NEVER craft for player B again and will not craft for the rest of the party for the next ~10 sessions.

This is basically giving player A everything they want, and teaching them that threatening the rest of the group and bullying the DM over trivial things is the best way to get ahead in the game, and punishes player B for daring to take an innocuous action that best for the team at the time.

Quertus
2019-03-24, 10:01 PM
So let me ask you, how would a theoretical "perfect DM" handle it? Just cancel every session if a single player can't make it? Have the character's of absent players instantly disappear into hammer space plot or game balance be damned?

What would the perfect GM do?

He would vary the response to match the group.

He would discuss this with the group ahead of time.

And, depending on my character, he would cancel every session I miss. :smallwink:

Yes, there are times when Aragorn is about to enter the City of the Dead, and you don't want to run the session without his player. There are other times when, meh, everyone's just killing orcs, or just sitting in a jail cell, is fine if only Fili's & Bilbo's players showed up.

Some players are only there to roll dice & war game. Some players are only there to hang out with their friends. If these players miss a session, it's fine to game without them. Especially when it's me.

Some players are there to roleplay. If the character likely cares about the planned scenario, you don't want to game without them without clear instructions from them.

Some players are into the mystery, the continuity, the details. You probably don't want to game without them at all. Especially when it's me.

From what I said above, it should be clear that the same player can fall into different roles with different characters or in different games.

Know your players. In this case, communicate with them. That's what *I* think that the perfect GM would do.

EDIT: hammer space follows much the same rules. It works with some groups in some campaigns, not with/in others.

Quellian-dyrae
2019-03-24, 10:02 PM
Well, that would work except that player A will NEVER craft for player B again and will not craft for the rest of the party for the next ~10 sessions.

This is basically giving player A everything they want, and teaching them that threatening the rest of the group and bullying the DM over trivial things is the best way to get ahead in the game, and punishes player B for daring to take an innocuous action that best for the team at the time.

...Well, no. The whole point of the above is that's it's assuming a full reset. "Mistakes were made. This is how it should have happened from the beginning. Now can we all stop fighting over it?"

"Player A will never craft for Player B again and will not craft for the rest of the party for ~10 sessions" falls under "if the players wish to continue with threats, ultimatums, and conflict." Basically, I think, if your players are reasonable, that if you present the above solution as a way to clean slate everything (i.e. Player A will be expected to craft for the rest of the team just as he usually would - no more and no less - because nobody was trying to take advantage of him so there is no reason to punish them by refusing to craft) it should work fine.

Yes, it does give Player A what he wants, because what Player A wanted wasn't unreasonable. How he went about trying to get it was unreasonable. That's happened, there's nothing you can do about it. Your options now are, everyone sticking to their guns and everyone's fun suffering from it, or everybody taking a deep breath, going back to the beginning, and taking a new tack for the good of the group and game as a whole. If everyone is willing to do that, this is a minor issue that is easy to resolve. If they aren't...well, yeah, you have bigger problems on your hands.

If Player A takes from that the inaccurate lesson that threats and bullying are to his advantage, well that's unfortunate and might cause you grief later. Try to present it so he doesn't draw that conclusion, I guess. But I don't think teaching Player A a lesson in appropriate conflict resolution is really a higher priority than trying to get your game and group functional again, from your standpoint as DM.

NichG
2019-03-24, 10:06 PM
Well, that would work except that player A will NEVER craft for player B again and will not craft for the rest of the party for the next ~10 sessions.

This is basically giving player A everything they want, and teaching them that threatening the rest of the group and bullying the DM over trivial things is the best way to get ahead in the game, and punishes player B for daring to take an innocuous action that best for the team at the time.

Player A has more power to ruin your game than you have to preserve it. You can't approach this situation with the assumption that you're the authority figure here, issuing moral judgements. Your only positive outcome is if you can make both players feel like they won. Don't try to teach lessons.

Quertus
2019-03-24, 10:12 PM
Oh, for the future? If someone cannot make a session, and doesn't want their character played, *and* you / your system / your style involves tightly calibrated balance? The simple solution is to have a number of NPCs equal to the number of missing PCs temporarily join the party.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 10:21 PM
Player A has more power to ruin your game than you have to preserve it. You can't approach this situation with the assumption that you're the authority figure here, issuing moral judgements. Your only positive outcome is if you can make both players feel like they won. Don't try to teach lessons.

Boy, that's refreshing to hear.

These days it seems the forums are all about respecting DM authority and Rule Zero Łber alles.



...Well, no. The whole point of the above is that's it's assuming a full reset. "Mistakes were made. This is how it should have happened from the beginning. Now can we all stop fighting over it?"

"Player A will never craft for Player B again and will not craft for the rest of the party for ~10 sessions" falls under "if the players wish to continue with threats, ultimatums, and conflict." Basically, I think, if your players are reasonable, that if you present the above solution as a way to clean slate everything (i.e. Player A will be expected to craft for the rest of the team just as he usually would - no more and no less - because nobody was trying to take advantage of him so there is no reason to punish them by refusing to craft) it should work fine.

Yes, it does give Player A what he wants, because what Player A wanted wasn't unreasonable. How he went about trying to get it was unreasonable. That's happened, there's nothing you can do about it. Your options now are, everyone sticking to their guns and everyone's fun suffering from it, or everybody taking a deep breath, going back to the beginning, and taking a new tack for the good of the group and game as a whole. If everyone is willing to do that, this is a minor issue that is easy to resolve. If they aren't...well, yeah, you have bigger problems on your hands.

If Player A takes from that the inaccurate lesson that threats and bullying are to his advantage, well that's unfortunate and might cause you grief later. Try to present it so he doesn't draw that conclusion, I guess. But I don't think teaching Player A a lesson in appropriate conflict resolution is really a higher priority than trying to get your game and group functional again, from your standpoint as DM.

Ok, so this requires knowledge of psychology and a bit of knowledge of my system.

Basically, the resource used for crafting is time. You can work towards a project, but you can't just bank time. Its essentially use it or lose it, and there was nothing else anyone needed for him to craft.

When the player was told that there was literally nothing else he could have crafted that session, he then said that he was going to begin work on a grand project which will take him 10+ sessions and only has a 25% chance of success, which will give his character the exact same benefit as the item he crafted for the other character in a single session with a near 100% chance of success.

Now, you can also use your downtime assisting other characters with their crafting.

So basically, he has three options:

A: He crafts the item that the other player needs.
B: He crafts nothing last session and doesn't benefit from his downtime.
C: He spends the next ~10 sessions working on a grand project that is likely to fail, and even if it succeeds provides no more benefit to his character than option A would provide the other character, with the added cost that he cannot assist any of the other characters with their crafting during this time.


Option A was, imo, clearly the optimal choice.

But now all three choices are poisoned.

If we go with option A one player will feel that his wishes are being ignored and his character is being "robbed and enslaved"
If we go with option B the points are wasted and I am "just being pissy"
If we go with option C then the entire party has to suffer through with the player's stubborn selfishness and will likely feel their concerns are being ignored and will want to get revenge somehow.


At this point I think I am going to go with option D and just introduce some house rules to how crafting works to see if I can't sidestep the situation.

Talakeal
2019-03-24, 10:33 PM
Oh, for the future? If someone cannot make a session, and doesn't want their character played, *and* you / your system / your style involves tightly calibrated balance? The simple solution is to have a number of NPCs equal to the number of missing PCs temporarily join the party.

As I said, I have literally never seen anyone object to having someone else playing their character for a session, so I didn't think it would be an issue, and certainly not to this degree.

But yes, I absolutely do have NPC mercenaries available to the party and I will make that an option in the future.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 01:31 AM
In my opinion you should say you are sorry for taking control of the absent player's character, explaining that you thought this wouldn't be such a big deal. Retconning the incident out.

Then ask the players to behave at the table and not trying to screw each other, otherwise, they will be expelled from the group.

And that's pretty much it.

Over all, seems like the group has some serious confidence issues, hard to play with a group like that. On a personal note, I also wouldn't appreciatte it if people took control over my character or I was left out from having a part of the treasure or experience because of not being at a session. But that's just me.

Imbalance
2019-03-25, 07:04 AM
Were there any considerations at the time to communicate with the absent player? I'm new to to D&D, so if this is a social taboo please correct me, but was there any opportunity to send a text or a quick call to ask what the absent player would like to have his character do this session? Even if he's not up to live participation, particularly not in person, he could still have input for a downtime activity, no? Is that not done?

Just seems like a minor communication issue has become a major problem. Sounds like you need to ask your group how all should proceed together. Let majority rule.

Satinavian
2019-03-25, 08:35 AM
Option A was, imo, clearly the optimal choice.

But now all three choices are poisoned.

If we go with option A one player will feel that his wishes are being ignored and his character is being "robbed and enslaved"
If we go with option B the points are wasted and I am "just being pissy"
If we go with option C then the entire party has to suffer through with the player's stubborn selfishness and will likely feel their concerns are being ignored and will want to get revenge somehow.


At this point I think I am going to go with option D and just introduce some house rules to how crafting works to see if I can't sidestep the situation.That is for your players to work out, not for you.

If you try to solve this problem, it will only be perceived as "taking sides". That won't be helpful.
And yes, Option C should stay a possibility. If the player really does not want to craft for others, it is on them to persuade him otherwise or ake their discontent known.

If the group gets weaker because it can't manage teamwork, well, that is on them. And for them to recognize and eventually solve.




Also don't change the rules just because your players don't dmake the decisions you think they should make.

OverLordOcelot
2019-03-25, 08:45 AM
Keep in mind, the "ultimatum" wasn't until after they had already been screaming at and threatening each other for quite some time. He was LONG past the point of punishing the rest of the group before I said a word.

My rule of thumb is that if someone is screaming at me and making threats, I don't want them around me any more. This goes beyond a game, if someone things that shouting/screaming/yelling/etc, or making temper-tantrum style threats is appropriate behavior, then I have no desire to hang around with them. (If they're making actual threats of violence I'll file a police report, I don't mess around with that nonsnese, but I don't think that's what is meant here). If it's one of those groups where telling one person 'you're not welcome anymore' will destroy the group, then so be it - I have a ton of different games, hobbies, movies, and TV shows that I could spend time on, even if I manage to alienate every gamer in the area (which is absurdly unrealistic) I have things that are more fun than tolerating this kind of behavior again.

I don't really know what would fix this situation, but if it were me I would just end the situation where people believe they're allowed to scream at me.

Thrawn4
2019-03-25, 09:00 AM
This is basically giving player A everything they want, and teaching them that threatening the rest of the group and bullying the DM over trivial things is the best way to get ahead in the game, and punishes player B for daring to take an innocuous action that best for the team at the time.
Would this teach them that there is a calm solution for everything, and that there is no reason to shout?

We ARE talking about adults, aren't we?

Also, have you asked them whether they really can't imagine that this was an honest mistake rather than ill will?
The answer might provide some insights.



As an aside:



When the player was told that there was literally nothing else he could have crafted that session, he then said that he was going to begin work on a grand project which will take him 10+ sessions and only has a 25% chance of success, which will give his character the exact same benefit as the item he crafted for the other character in a single session with a near 100% chance of success.


So, how is this balanced? Does the other player have a different skill level/specialization, or why can he accomplish the same effect with minimal effort?
(no criticism, just curiousity)

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 09:02 AM
That is for your players to work out, not for you.

If you try to solve this problem, it will only be perceived as "taking sides". That won't be helpful.
And yes, Option C should stay a possibility. If the player really does not want to craft for others, it is on them to persuade him otherwise or ake their discontent known.

If the group gets weaker because it can't manage teamwork, well, that is on them. And for them to recognize and eventually solve.

Also don't change the rules just because your players don't make the decisions you think they should make.

The problem is that, as the Game Master, they are demanding I retcon the previous session, so it is my decision, and it will look like I am taking sides.

Likewise, he knows he is making a suboptimal decision, at this point it is a matter of pride.

Imo if the rules are creating conflict between the players they are bad rules.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 09:06 AM
So, how is this balanced? Does the other player have a different skill level/specialization, or why can he accomplish the same effect with minimal effort?
(no criticism, just curiousity)

To use a D&D analogy, he already has a +2 sword and rather than making a +1 sword for his friend he is upgrading his sword to a +3.

Creation costs and difficulties scale exponentially to encourage growing outward rather than upward.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 09:12 AM
So, is kicking them out of the game a possibility?

Lord Torath
2019-03-25, 09:45 AM
How about next session:

Apologize for running Player A's character while he was gone. Offer him the chance to reclaim his time, and apply it (just this one time) to a project of his choice.

Apologize to Player B. Offer him the same benefit Player A's crafting granted him.

Get the group to agree what happens to players who miss a session. What actions can and cannot be taken on the missing player's behalf.

Then formalize the resolutions you come up with into a document at get the players to sign it.

I realize that it is LONG. I've tried to keep it as concise as possible while still being clear, but I believe it's important to cover ALL these items. The ones you think don't need to be mentioned may just be the ones that turn out to be more important than the others. I will even suggest that you go so far as to read it aloud before beginning any campaign. If you're running an open game such as at a game store then read it at the beginning of every session and/or have print copies that can be handed out. Have players read along and take them home, and give them your email address so they can provide feedback. If a new player joins the campaign in progress then have THEM read it aloud so there can be no excuses. It will also provide a DM with the ability to say, "We will now re-read the Manifesto because somebody at the table needs to be reminded of what it says." Heck, just add a last line that reads: "By signing this document, or even by simply agreeing to play in the game which is informed and governed by this document, I agree to abide by its precepts (even if I disagree with some of them) and accept that I will be asked to leave if I cannot or will not do so."
... and have them sign it.
________________________________________
1. The first job of everyone playing the game is to enjoy it. It is the whole point to the exercise. If you're not having fun why are you here?
2. Be constructive. If you're not having fun try to do something about it. Donít be disruptive in the process. You are there to enjoy yourself, but not to be passively entertained, and not at the expense of others at the table. Active participation is a necessary component - as is your maturity and restraint.
3. Communicate DANG IT! If you aren't having fun as a player, even though you may think it's very obvious, it's quite possible the DM or other players aren't going to know unless you say something. If youíre not enjoying your experience as DM you donít have to put up with it. Nobody can force you to run a game. Sometimes you become the DM just because everyone else wants to avoid the job more than you do, but remember that no one can take advantage of you without your permission. If you have a problem with ANYTHING in the game: rules, behavior of a player, etc. then SAY SO! ESP is not a standard human ability.
4. The day a DM can't deal with a helpful suggestion or even hard, sincere criticism from players about the campaign is the day the DM needs to give up the chair. The game does not revolve around stroking the DM's ego.
5. A campaign is not absolutely under a DM's control. When PCs take actions within the campaign the campaign needs to adjust to take those actions into account. Through their characters actions the players WILL make changes to the game, therefore the DM cannot and should not attempt to force the campaign to go ONLY in directions he planned for because the freedom that is necessary for player characters can and will foil prearranged plans.
6. Things do not always go as the DM plans (see #5). For this reason among others the DM should really not be seeking to dictate a story. The only way to get characters to play out the story the DM believes they should play out is to force them to. Campaigns are about the player characters. They weave stories created and heavily influenced by the characters actions. D&D wasn't intended to be a game where player characters were simply plugged into a story preordained by the DM and then required to go through the motions to fulfill it. You must provide opportunity for the characters to do things yet not constantly try to control what they do to fit what you wanted. DM's should keep their stinking noses out of EVERY decision that a player makes for a PC unless it's absolutely necessary to maintain order, or specific in-game rules suspend a players control over his characters actions.
7. Danger levels: The most satisfying combats are usually the ones that take characters right to the edge of death, with the very real danger of death being present, yet without actually crossing that threshold unnecessarily. But not only is the game designed to randomize events but even small differences in so many areas combine to make it impossible to plan perfectly. Combat encounters are never a sure thing regardless of how meticulously designed they are. So, while the edge of disaster is the most exciting place to be it is also is the most likely way for events to slip out of control. This is just something that needs to be kept in mind by everyone.
8. A DM who truly sets out to deliberately kill the PCs has no business being a DM. The DM has at all times and in all ways the ability to kill the PCs whenever he bloody well feels like it, so if the DM's does intend to kill the characters what kind of fun is that for anybody? A DM who gets his jollies by thoughtlessly causing players to lose favorite characters and create new ones which they know will stand no better chance of long-term survival doesn't deserve the patience his players undoubtedly have to give him. If the DM is running combats at the edge of danger where the fun is (see #7) then PCs will occasionally die anyway. See also # 17.
9. Even given #ís 7 and 8 above it is still in everybody's interest for a campaign to have places, creatures, or encounters that the PCs are not actually able to defeat. It gives a campaign world a needed aura that it does not exist purely for the benefit of the PCs, but has a life of its own. Without it the world becomes a place where the dangers within it always scale precisely - and therefore unrealistically - to the PCs capabilities. There is never anything like a real "Canyon of Doom" or legendarily undefeatable monster if its power is always adjusted to what the PCs can immediately handle.
10. Given #9 (that there are people and places that the PCs cannot and should not face) part of the DM's job is to make sure that the players and their characters are suitably warned about lethal dangers. That goes back to #8 Ė that it is never the DM's job to set out to kill the characters. It is the players responsibility to pay attention to those warnings without anyone needing to break character. But if the characters ignore warnings (for whatever reason) the DM is then justified in applying what he actually knows to be lethal force in an encounter. Still doesn't mean he should, just that it canít really be held against him if he does. What this means for players is that the bull-headed notion of always fighting to the death, never retreating, and never surrendering will ultimately lead only to a TPK (total party kill) which is no fun for anyone.
11. Fair Play: It is generally in the interest of "fair play" for the DM to have the rest of his campaign world operating largely under the same rules that the PCs do. PCs and NPCs should have much the same limitations and open possibilities, but to get fanatical about "being fair" in this regard is not in anyone's interests either. It would mean that the DM is restricted in creating new and interesting challenges for the characters. While there are innumerable options within the existing rules, being allowed to create new rules, singular exceptions to rules, and even things that would not otherwise be possible under the known rules is a DM's prerogative. Only if the DM overuses or abuses this privilege are the players being cheated in any way. The "rules" never have, and never will, contain the absolute answers for everything in a campaign. It may also be that the DM needs to explain some changes up front. Fair play also applies between players. Characters are inherently unequal - in ANY version of the rules - and cannot be made equal; not by balancing feats, skills and abilities; not by everyone having identical ability scores; not even by everyone using completely identical characters because player skill and choice makes a difference too. Enjoyment of the game should not rely on NOBODY possibly having more fun than you at a given time. If it does then you're too immature for MY games. The DM needs only to try to make sure that the gap between one PC and another isn't TOO excessive.
12. As a corollary to #11, the players and their characters are not always bound by "the rules" in what they can do (or at least in what they can attempt.) There simply isnít a rule for everything. One of a DM's biggest jobs is adjudication and adaptation of rules to the many situations that arise within a game. So by definition PCs can at least attempt to do things outside of the rules. In fact they generally get extra credit for such creativity (unless they make themselves a pest by constantly trying to do things not covered by the rules). To then deny the same privilege to the DM would be silly; to expect the DM to religiously follow rules when the players donít.
13. The dice donít run the game - the DM does. There are many charts, tables, formulae, etc for DMís to use in running the game. Naturally, using dice produces random results - at least as random as the tables and charts allow. The game, however, is not LIMITED to the dictates of charts and tables which is why there is the position of DM at all. I feel that not only is the DM free to expand or restrict the tables and formulae, but that he is free to alter dice rolls as well. At least those rolls that would negatively affect the PCs. A little of that (very little!) goes a long way and just because you can doesnít mean that you should. To fudge things in the favor of the players is a useful tool to have as long as appropriate consequences of BAD decisions by the players or their characters are not being removed as a result. This is a DM's escape clause so it should be used only when as a DM you NEED (not just want) to alter results. To arbitrarily adjust results against the PCs is not a good idea at all. It often serves no purpose but to enforce a preconceived conclusion that the DM has Ė that the DM wants to force the PCs to conform to his personal vision, meaning that the players control of their own characters is rendered pointless. Remember that as DM it is your job to lose to the PCs - A LOT. I have found that slavish obedience to the dice and their results is too often just an attempt to dodge the responsibilities of the DM as primary instigator of a fun, interesting, and exciting game. The DM already has vast latitude; he can arbitrarily decide how many and how often dice rolls get made as well as many of the modifiers that would affect them. To then say that he must always, unwaveringly accept dice rolls only as-is or else be branded "unfair" or even a cheat is ludicrous. Similarly, there may be times when players should NOT have to roll to succeed regardless of what the rules say. See also # 18.
14. The DM is certainly not required to roll his dice in the open and should normally be discouraged from doing so. There may be factors at work behind the screen that the players should not, and need not be able to deduce by meta-game mathematics. Players and/or their characters will not always know every bonus and penalty that can and is being applied. Also, given #13, it prevents the DM from attempting to work things in the PC's favor without unnecessarily revealing that heís doing so. Players on the other hand should always roll their dice openly. Nothing is kept secret from the DM because the DM needs, and still has adjudication and veto power - the precise details for which are not necessarily important for players to know. The only situation I can think of where a player can hide his rolls is as regards another player - but even then the DM still has authority to see all rolls, even if all the players don't.
15. Differences of Opinion About Rules: Conventional wisdom suggests that whenever it is at all feasible rules-lawyering should be kept to a minimum during the game. Players should concisely state the substance of objections, the DM should make a ruling after listening to all sides, and if players take exception to the ruling it should be noted - but then play should proceed. If a DM is not out to screw the players but to simply provide the best game possible there are very few problems whose minutia could not wait until later (even until after the session is over) to hash out. Also, the DM is not perfect and not everything he rules on in a game should be considered a new law graven in stone. If they make mistakes and change their minds later it doesnít mean everything from earlier events needs to be "retconned." See #16 below.
16. Retconning or Retcon is short for Retroactive Continuity. It means to "turn back time" to the point where a mistake was made and begin playing again from that point. When bad rulings, oversights, meta-game complications, or bad/boring plots go REALLY bad this is one way to fix things, but it is never very satisfying. If things have not degenerated too far it may be best to handle things this way, but there comes a certain point where it is better to simply accept what has taken place - no matter how stupidly or badly it was done - take it in stride and move forward. The level of screw-up that leads to taking this route always seems to involve a character's death making resolution of the problem more emotionally charged for players than would normally be the case.
17. The DM is not there to formally oppose the players despite what you may read in comics. He is there to provide the world for the characters, things for them to do within it, and to adjudicate their actions. If the DM sees himself as the opponent for the players Ė he wins. The only question then is how tedious and humiliating an experience he makes it for the players. He gets to make up anything and everything that the characters encounter. There is no ability for the players to trump that, so there can be no purely antagonistic position between players and DM without the DM simply being a gigantic ass.
18. Characters die. They can Ė and should Ė occasionally die permanently. It is my firm belief that resurrection magic is in the game only because it is so easy for characters to die and playing on the edge of disaster is more fun and exciting (see #7), but unless permanent character death is more than just a theoretical possibility that never really occurs there is no fear of death and playing "on the edge" is meaningless. Players must accept the real possibility that a favorite character can and will die permanently and that the DM canít predict when and who it will be. Very seldom will a character even be able to willingly go out in a cinematic blaze of glory. Such things are simply very hard to engineer because the game isn't designed to facilitate it without just throwing all rules to the wind and narrating a predetermined outcome.
19. Players must learn the rules. Nobody needs to pass a rules knowledge test or memorize it all - not even the DM - but it's more than reasonable to expect that players read the entire Players Handbook and be able to understand it. Anyone new to the game needs to accept that they will need to do a lot of reading and put some effort into learning the game, and there is a lot of information they need to absorb right from the start. The basics of the game can be taught in short order, perhaps an hour or at most one game session. After a few sessions of play they should NOT require having basics repeatedly explained. Only if the DM informs players up front that the rules DON'T MATTER, or the player actually has learning disabilities is anyone excused from achieving a general, functional knowledge of the game. Older editions in particular have elements that are confused or questions left unanswered. DM's are required to fill in those gaps in ways suitable to their game. Players should accept that not everything has a single, easy answer or definition.
20. Regarding "Table Rules": Wherever the game session is taking place respect the host and the hosts property. Don't make a mess. Clean it up if you do. Behave. You are a GUEST so act accordingly. Assist the host and/or DM in getting others to respect the Table Rules. Sadly, it is necessary to state that this includes being mindful of your own hygiene. Just because nobody tells you, "You stink!" doesn't mean that you don't. They may want to tell you so but are TOO polite to do so, they don't know how to do it tactfully, or rightly fear that it will be taken for an insult rather than an appropriate reaction to YOUR social offensiveness. This means bathe/shower before a game, wear clean clothes, and brush your teeth. Any simple request that you clean yourself up, stop interrupting, stop being an ass, pay attention to the game instead of the phone/computer/book/your navel lint/etc. must NOT be considered an insult. It will be considered a FAVOR to you; an opportunity to better yourself as a person if not as a player. A simple, direct apology and CORRECTION of the situation is all that should be necessary. Players are typically responsible for their own food, drinks, etc. unless arrangements are made ahead of time. It is BASIC manners to reciprocate other players hospitality if/when it comes to be your turn to host the game. If you so desire or cannot afford to do so then advise people well ahead of time so that other arrangements can be made.
21. There are some game rules which despite being rules are subject to wide interpretation. What alignment means to you and how it works is probably chief among these. Paladins and their obligations are related and a close second. How certain feats actually function, or maybe just what you will and won't allow players/PCs to do are variables. These things MUST be clarified at the start and perhaps even occasionally restated - even if you go by the book. Really, this should be assumed under #3 but communication (or lack thereof) is the single most common cause of ALL problems in D&D. The DM should not always assume the players know what he wants, how he interprets things, or runs things. These things must be TOLD to players early and often to eliminate misunderstandings and arguments. If players are not given this information then they should demand it - and if it isn't provided they must not be held to fault for implementing their own interpretations.
22. Players are obliged to be fair and reasonable to other players, as well as for their characters to act likewise towards other PCs. There is no excuse for either you or your character to be an ass. NONE. The only exception being if the ALL the players are mature enough for their characters to be openly antagonistic of each other, and that the DM has made it clear from the start that such behavior is to be allowed, as well as how it will be kept in line. This is NOT an unreasonable restriction upon roleplaying but is, in fact, a very basic supposition of the game: the PCs, an often radically diverse party of individuals, nonetheless DO adventure together for money, glory, and other mutually agreeable ends. This means that right from the start, as a player you are largely obliged to find reasons for your character to LIKE the other PCs, not openly antagonize them. It means that no player gets to dictate to the other players the circumstances of their participation in the game in general; no character gets to dictate to another character how they are to be treated in the adventuring party, nor may an exclusive collection of two or more players/characters exert such control over one or more others. The DM is obliged to maintain this atmosphere of civility and cooperation, or, if it has been agreed by all beforehand to allow crossing that line, he is obliged to keep in and out-of-character attitudes and behavior from becoming disruptive.
23. The DM is not required to allow a character to actually play out in the game anything that the player wants. What that means is that particularly if the player is about to do something the DM feels is either really stupid or openly disruptive he should stop the game and get clarification or correction before proceeding. For example, if a character is about to kill an NPC for no reason, then rather than allow it to happen the DM should stop the player and find out what's going on. Determine the player's/character's motive. If the players response is unsatisfactory he should DISALLOW the action from taking place at all and let play proceed from THAT point instead of proceeding from the point AFTER the disruptive act has been allowed to occur and trying to pick up the pieces. Communication flows both ways and the DM does not need to act as if players should be forbidden to ever knows what goes on in a DM's mind or behind the DM shield. When a DM makes rulings there is no reason not to freely explain why he rules as he does unless there is in-game information involved that PCs should not be privy to. DMs should be capable of providing explanations for their rulings beyond, "because I said so."
24. The players run their characters - the DM does NOT. Unless players are being disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive the DM should keep his stinking paws off controlling the PCs. The DM does not dictate what the PC's do except if some form of in-game magical control has removed it from the player (such as charm, or lycanthropy) - and then the DM needs to be VERY judicious about what he does with the character. The ONE THING players get to control in the game is the attempted actions of their characters. DM's should interfere with that control only in extremis and with great care and caution even then. This extends to not interfering with treasure distribution. Although the DM determines what treasure is found it must generally be left up to the players and their characters to determine how it is distributed - unless it is done so badly as to be disruptive or patently unfair to other players.

You may want to have different rulings in there. You may want to include specific rules for what happens to the characters of missing players. Personally, I'd allow absent players to still determine their down-time crafting, as that's something that can be emailed in. But again, that's just me.

For your next session, I'd bring several print-outs of this (printed with wide margins for adding notes), plenty of snacks, and a promise of a free magic item for their characters (nothing too powerful, and subject to DM approval - maybe have a list of allowed items they can choose from) to anyone who stays for the whole night as a reward for spending two-to-three hours putting together a manifesto instead of pillaging a dungeon.

If someone disagrees with a particular point/rule, put it to a vote. In cases of a tie the DM gets the deciding vote on whether the rule gets included in the manfesto.

After you have all the rules voted on, print out copies, and every signs before playing.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 10:46 AM
You know, thinking back on it, this is just a symptom of a larger problem.

The player in question knows he is making a suboptimal decision, and he is only doing this to punish the other players for daring to "steal his stuff".

But thinking back, this is just part of a longer pattern. This player has:

Refuses to chip in on party expenses.

Chewed out fellow players for turning down a reward for good deeds.

Insisted the party split all treasure evenly rather than simply having a group slush fund.

Refuses to purchase any consumables even when it is the clearly optimal path.

Tries to find rules exploits to squeeze every copper out of the world.

If the group finds a magic item he insists the player who gets it pays him an equal share of its value, up to the point of demanding they sell the item if they dont have the cash.

When the other players noticed that, due to the above, as well being generally thrify and miserly with his crafting and spending habits, his character had twice the total wealth of anyone else in the party and brought it up to him, he pulled a victim act and told me that I shouldnt allow the other players to, quote, make him feel bad for being better with money than they are.

So I am really starting to think the player in question has some sort of obsession with accumulating fictional wealth and or never learned to share, and this is just the latest expression of a larger problem.



How about next session:

Apologize for running Player A's character while he was gone. Offer him the chance to reclaim his time, and apply it (just this one time) to a project of his choice.

Apologize to Player B. Offer him the same benefit Player A's crafting granted him.

Get the group to agree what happens to players who miss a session. What actions can and cannot be taken on the missing player's behalf.

Then formalize the resolutions you come up with into a document at get the players to sign it.

I realize that it is LONG. I've tried to keep it as concise as possible while still being clear, but I believe it's important to cover ALL these items. The ones you think don't need to be mentioned may just be the ones that turn out to be more important than the others. I will even suggest that you go so far as to read it aloud before beginning any campaign. If you're running an open game such as at a game store then read it at the beginning of every session and/or have print copies that can be handed out. Have players read along and take them home, and give them your email address so they can provide feedback. If a new player joins the campaign in progress then have THEM read it aloud so there can be no excuses. It will also provide a DM with the ability to say, "We will now re-read the Manifesto because somebody at the table needs to be reminded of what it says." Heck, just add a last line that reads: "By signing this document, or even by simply agreeing to play in the game which is informed and governed by this document, I agree to abide by its precepts (even if I disagree with some of them) and accept that I will be asked to leave if I cannot or will not do so."
... and have them sign it.
________________________________________
1. The first job of everyone playing the game is to enjoy it. It is the whole point to the exercise. If you're not having fun why are you here?
2. Be constructive. If you're not having fun try to do something about it. Donít be disruptive in the process. You are there to enjoy yourself, but not to be passively entertained, and not at the expense of others at the table. Active participation is a necessary component - as is your maturity and restraint.
3. Communicate DANG IT! If you aren't having fun as a player, even though you may think it's very obvious, it's quite possible the DM or other players aren't going to know unless you say something. If youíre not enjoying your experience as DM you donít have to put up with it. Nobody can force you to run a game. Sometimes you become the DM just because everyone else wants to avoid the job more than you do, but remember that no one can take advantage of you without your permission. If you have a problem with ANYTHING in the game: rules, behavior of a player, etc. then SAY SO! ESP is not a standard human ability.
4. The day a DM can't deal with a helpful suggestion or even hard, sincere criticism from players about the campaign is the day the DM needs to give up the chair. The game does not revolve around stroking the DM's ego.
5. A campaign is not absolutely under a DM's control. When PCs take actions within the campaign the campaign needs to adjust to take those actions into account. Through their characters actions the players WILL make changes to the game, therefore the DM cannot and should not attempt to force the campaign to go ONLY in directions he planned for because the freedom that is necessary for player characters can and will foil prearranged plans.
6. Things do not always go as the DM plans (see #5). For this reason among others the DM should really not be seeking to dictate a story. The only way to get characters to play out the story the DM believes they should play out is to force them to. Campaigns are about the player characters. They weave stories created and heavily influenced by the characters actions. D&D wasn't intended to be a game where player characters were simply plugged into a story preordained by the DM and then required to go through the motions to fulfill it. You must provide opportunity for the characters to do things yet not constantly try to control what they do to fit what you wanted. DM's should keep their stinking noses out of EVERY decision that a player makes for a PC unless it's absolutely necessary to maintain order, or specific in-game rules suspend a players control over his characters actions.
7. Danger levels: The most satisfying combats are usually the ones that take characters right to the edge of death, with the very real danger of death being present, yet without actually crossing that threshold unnecessarily. But not only is the game designed to randomize events but even small differences in so many areas combine to make it impossible to plan perfectly. Combat encounters are never a sure thing regardless of how meticulously designed they are. So, while the edge of disaster is the most exciting place to be it is also is the most likely way for events to slip out of control. This is just something that needs to be kept in mind by everyone.
8. A DM who truly sets out to deliberately kill the PCs has no business being a DM. The DM has at all times and in all ways the ability to kill the PCs whenever he bloody well feels like it, so if the DM's does intend to kill the characters what kind of fun is that for anybody? A DM who gets his jollies by thoughtlessly causing players to lose favorite characters and create new ones which they know will stand no better chance of long-term survival doesn't deserve the patience his players undoubtedly have to give him. If the DM is running combats at the edge of danger where the fun is (see #7) then PCs will occasionally die anyway. See also # 17.
9. Even given #ís 7 and 8 above it is still in everybody's interest for a campaign to have places, creatures, or encounters that the PCs are not actually able to defeat. It gives a campaign world a needed aura that it does not exist purely for the benefit of the PCs, but has a life of its own. Without it the world becomes a place where the dangers within it always scale precisely - and therefore unrealistically - to the PCs capabilities. There is never anything like a real "Canyon of Doom" or legendarily undefeatable monster if its power is always adjusted to what the PCs can immediately handle.
10. Given #9 (that there are people and places that the PCs cannot and should not face) part of the DM's job is to make sure that the players and their characters are suitably warned about lethal dangers. That goes back to #8 Ė that it is never the DM's job to set out to kill the characters. It is the players responsibility to pay attention to those warnings without anyone needing to break character. But if the characters ignore warnings (for whatever reason) the DM is then justified in applying what he actually knows to be lethal force in an encounter. Still doesn't mean he should, just that it canít really be held against him if he does. What this means for players is that the bull-headed notion of always fighting to the death, never retreating, and never surrendering will ultimately lead only to a TPK (total party kill) which is no fun for anyone.
11. Fair Play: It is generally in the interest of "fair play" for the DM to have the rest of his campaign world operating largely under the same rules that the PCs do. PCs and NPCs should have much the same limitations and open possibilities, but to get fanatical about "being fair" in this regard is not in anyone's interests either. It would mean that the DM is restricted in creating new and interesting challenges for the characters. While there are innumerable options within the existing rules, being allowed to create new rules, singular exceptions to rules, and even things that would not otherwise be possible under the known rules is a DM's prerogative. Only if the DM overuses or abuses this privilege are the players being cheated in any way. The "rules" never have, and never will, contain the absolute answers for everything in a campaign. It may also be that the DM needs to explain some changes up front. Fair play also applies between players. Characters are inherently unequal - in ANY version of the rules - and cannot be made equal; not by balancing feats, skills and abilities; not by everyone having identical ability scores; not even by everyone using completely identical characters because player skill and choice makes a difference too. Enjoyment of the game should not rely on NOBODY possibly having more fun than you at a given time. If it does then you're too immature for MY games. The DM needs only to try to make sure that the gap between one PC and another isn't TOO excessive.
12. As a corollary to #11, the players and their characters are not always bound by "the rules" in what they can do (or at least in what they can attempt.) There simply isnít a rule for everything. One of a DM's biggest jobs is adjudication and adaptation of rules to the many situations that arise within a game. So by definition PCs can at least attempt to do things outside of the rules. In fact they generally get extra credit for such creativity (unless they make themselves a pest by constantly trying to do things not covered by the rules). To then deny the same privilege to the DM would be silly; to expect the DM to religiously follow rules when the players donít.
13. The dice donít run the game - the DM does. There are many charts, tables, formulae, etc for DMís to use in running the game. Naturally, using dice produces random results - at least as random as the tables and charts allow. The game, however, is not LIMITED to the dictates of charts and tables which is why there is the position of DM at all. I feel that not only is the DM free to expand or restrict the tables and formulae, but that he is free to alter dice rolls as well. At least those rolls that would negatively affect the PCs. A little of that (very little!) goes a long way and just because you can doesnít mean that you should. To fudge things in the favor of the players is a useful tool to have as long as appropriate consequences of BAD decisions by the players or their characters are not being removed as a result. This is a DM's escape clause so it should be used only when as a DM you NEED (not just want) to alter results. To arbitrarily adjust results against the PCs is not a good idea at all. It often serves no purpose but to enforce a preconceived conclusion that the DM has Ė that the DM wants to force the PCs to conform to his personal vision, meaning that the players control of their own characters is rendered pointless. Remember that as DM it is your job to lose to the PCs - A LOT. I have found that slavish obedience to the dice and their results is too often just an attempt to dodge the responsibilities of the DM as primary instigator of a fun, interesting, and exciting game. The DM already has vast latitude; he can arbitrarily decide how many and how often dice rolls get made as well as many of the modifiers that would affect them. To then say that he must always, unwaveringly accept dice rolls only as-is or else be branded "unfair" or even a cheat is ludicrous. Similarly, there may be times when players should NOT have to roll to succeed regardless of what the rules say. See also # 18.
14. The DM is certainly not required to roll his dice in the open and should normally be discouraged from doing so. There may be factors at work behind the screen that the players should not, and need not be able to deduce by meta-game mathematics. Players and/or their characters will not always know every bonus and penalty that can and is being applied. Also, given #13, it prevents the DM from attempting to work things in the PC's favor without unnecessarily revealing that heís doing so. Players on the other hand should always roll their dice openly. Nothing is kept secret from the DM because the DM needs, and still has adjudication and veto power - the precise details for which are not necessarily important for players to know. The only situation I can think of where a player can hide his rolls is as regards another player - but even then the DM still has authority to see all rolls, even if all the players don't.
15. Differences of Opinion About Rules: Conventional wisdom suggests that whenever it is at all feasible rules-lawyering should be kept to a minimum during the game. Players should concisely state the substance of objections, the DM should make a ruling after listening to all sides, and if players take exception to the ruling it should be noted - but then play should proceed. If a DM is not out to screw the players but to simply provide the best game possible there are very few problems whose minutia could not wait until later (even until after the session is over) to hash out. Also, the DM is not perfect and not everything he rules on in a game should be considered a new law graven in stone. If they make mistakes and change their minds later it doesnít mean everything from earlier events needs to be "retconned." See #16 below.
16. Retconning or Retcon is short for Retroactive Continuity. It means to "turn back time" to the point where a mistake was made and begin playing again from that point. When bad rulings, oversights, meta-game complications, or bad/boring plots go REALLY bad this is one way to fix things, but it is never very satisfying. If things have not degenerated too far it may be best to handle things this way, but there comes a certain point where it is better to simply accept what has taken place - no matter how stupidly or badly it was done - take it in stride and move forward. The level of screw-up that leads to taking this route always seems to involve a character's death making resolution of the problem more emotionally charged for players than would normally be the case.
17. The DM is not there to formally oppose the players despite what you may read in comics. He is there to provide the world for the characters, things for them to do within it, and to adjudicate their actions. If the DM sees himself as the opponent for the players Ė he wins. The only question then is how tedious and humiliating an experience he makes it for the players. He gets to make up anything and everything that the characters encounter. There is no ability for the players to trump that, so there can be no purely antagonistic position between players and DM without the DM simply being a gigantic ass.
18. Characters die. They can Ė and should Ė occasionally die permanently. It is my firm belief that resurrection magic is in the game only because it is so easy for characters to die and playing on the edge of disaster is more fun and exciting (see #7), but unless permanent character death is more than just a theoretical possibility that never really occurs there is no fear of death and playing "on the edge" is meaningless. Players must accept the real possibility that a favorite character can and will die permanently and that the DM canít predict when and who it will be. Very seldom will a character even be able to willingly go out in a cinematic blaze of glory. Such things are simply very hard to engineer because the game isn't designed to facilitate it without just throwing all rules to the wind and narrating a predetermined outcome.
19. Players must learn the rules. Nobody needs to pass a rules knowledge test or memorize it all - not even the DM - but it's more than reasonable to expect that players read the entire Players Handbook and be able to understand it. Anyone new to the game needs to accept that they will need to do a lot of reading and put some effort into learning the game, and there is a lot of information they need to absorb right from the start. The basics of the game can be taught in short order, perhaps an hour or at most one game session. After a few sessions of play they should NOT require having basics repeatedly explained. Only if the DM informs players up front that the rules DON'T MATTER, or the player actually has learning disabilities is anyone excused from achieving a general, functional knowledge of the game. Older editions in particular have elements that are confused or questions left unanswered. DM's are required to fill in those gaps in ways suitable to their game. Players should accept that not everything has a single, easy answer or definition.
20. Regarding "Table Rules": Wherever the game session is taking place respect the host and the hosts property. Don't make a mess. Clean it up if you do. Behave. You are a GUEST so act accordingly. Assist the host and/or DM in getting others to respect the Table Rules. Sadly, it is necessary to state that this includes being mindful of your own hygiene. Just because nobody tells you, "You stink!" doesn't mean that you don't. They may want to tell you so but are TOO polite to do so, they don't know how to do it tactfully, or rightly fear that it will be taken for an insult rather than an appropriate reaction to YOUR social offensiveness. This means bathe/shower before a game, wear clean clothes, and brush your teeth. Any simple request that you clean yourself up, stop interrupting, stop being an ass, pay attention to the game instead of the phone/computer/book/your navel lint/etc. must NOT be considered an insult. It will be considered a FAVOR to you; an opportunity to better yourself as a person if not as a player. A simple, direct apology and CORRECTION of the situation is all that should be necessary. Players are typically responsible for their own food, drinks, etc. unless arrangements are made ahead of time. It is BASIC manners to reciprocate other players hospitality if/when it comes to be your turn to host the game. If you so desire or cannot afford to do so then advise people well ahead of time so that other arrangements can be made.
21. There are some game rules which despite being rules are subject to wide interpretation. What alignment means to you and how it works is probably chief among these. Paladins and their obligations are related and a close second. How certain feats actually function, or maybe just what you will and won't allow players/PCs to do are variables. These things MUST be clarified at the start and perhaps even occasionally restated - even if you go by the book. Really, this should be assumed under #3 but communication (or lack thereof) is the single most common cause of ALL problems in D&D. The DM should not always assume the players know what he wants, how he interprets things, or runs things. These things must be TOLD to players early and often to eliminate misunderstandings and arguments. If players are not given this information then they should demand it - and if it isn't provided they must not be held to fault for implementing their own interpretations.
22. Players are obliged to be fair and reasonable to other players, as well as for their characters to act likewise towards other PCs. There is no excuse for either you or your character to be an ass. NONE. The only exception being if the ALL the players are mature enough for their characters to be openly antagonistic of each other, and that the DM has made it clear from the start that such behavior is to be allowed, as well as how it will be kept in line. This is NOT an unreasonable restriction upon roleplaying but is, in fact, a very basic supposition of the game: the PCs, an often radically diverse party of individuals, nonetheless DO adventure together for money, glory, and other mutually agreeable ends. This means that right from the start, as a player you are largely obliged to find reasons for your character to LIKE the other PCs, not openly antagonize them. It means that no player gets to dictate to the other players the circumstances of their participation in the game in general; no character gets to dictate to another character how they are to be treated in the adventuring party, nor may an exclusive collection of two or more players/characters exert such control over one or more others. The DM is obliged to maintain this atmosphere of civility and cooperation, or, if it has been agreed by all beforehand to allow crossing that line, he is obliged to keep in and out-of-character attitudes and behavior from becoming disruptive.
23. The DM is not required to allow a character to actually play out in the game anything that the player wants. What that means is that particularly if the player is about to do something the DM feels is either really stupid or openly disruptive he should stop the game and get clarification or correction before proceeding. For example, if a character is about to kill an NPC for no reason, then rather than allow it to happen the DM should stop the player and find out what's going on. Determine the player's/character's motive. If the players response is unsatisfactory he should DISALLOW the action from taking place at all and let play proceed from THAT point instead of proceeding from the point AFTER the disruptive act has been allowed to occur and trying to pick up the pieces. Communication flows both ways and the DM does not need to act as if players should be forbidden to ever knows what goes on in a DM's mind or behind the DM shield. When a DM makes rulings there is no reason not to freely explain why he rules as he does unless there is in-game information involved that PCs should not be privy to. DMs should be capable of providing explanations for their rulings beyond, "because I said so."
24. The players run their characters - the DM does NOT. Unless players are being disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive the DM should keep his stinking paws off controlling the PCs. The DM does not dictate what the PC's do except if some form of in-game magical control has removed it from the player (such as charm, or lycanthropy) - and then the DM needs to be VERY judicious about what he does with the character. The ONE THING players get to control in the game is the attempted actions of their characters. DM's should interfere with that control only in extremis and with great care and caution even then. This extends to not interfering with treasure distribution. Although the DM determines what treasure is found it must generally be left up to the players and their characters to determine how it is distributed - unless it is done so badly as to be disruptive or patently unfair to other players.

You may want to have different rulings in there. You may want to include specific rules for what happens to the characters of missing players. Personally, I'd allow absent players to still determine their down-time crafting, as that's something that can be emailed in. But again, that's just me.

For your next session, I'd bring several print-outs of this (printed with wide margins for adding notes), plenty of snacks, and a promise of a free magic item for their characters (nothing too powerful, and subject to DM approval - maybe have a list of allowed items they can choose from) to anyone who stays for the whole night as a reward for spending two-to-three hours putting together a manifesto instead of pillaging a dungeon.

If someone disagrees with a particular point/rule, put it to a vote. In cases of a tie the DM gets the deciding vote on whether the rule gets included in the manfesto.

After you have all the rules voted on, print out copies, and every signs before playing.

I hope you didn't type all that out on my account!

I don't know though, I don't think I would feel comfortable signing a contract to play a game, especially if I strongly disagree with some of the contents.

I think my group would have an even stronger aversion, and I think it for more likely that they would simply leave the group over it rather than actually modifying their behavior.

Satinavian
2019-03-25, 10:59 AM
The problem is that, as the Game Master, they are demanding I retcon the previous session, so it is my decision, and it will look like I am taking sides.

Likewise, he knows he is making a suboptimal decision, at this point it is a matter of pride.

Imo if the rules are creating conflict between the players they are bad rules.
Retcon the downtime but not the session.

A player should be allowed to do suboptimal decisions for whatever reasons he has. It he can't, then the optimal decisions stop being actual decisions. It is fie to play suboptimal for pride.

I don't think the rules are creating conflict. That comes from elsewhere.




So I am really starting to think the player in question has some sort of obsession with accumulating fictional wealth and or never learned to share, and this is just the latest expression of a larger problem.
You are probably right.

And know what ? That is fine. The player is taking a big effort to have imaginary wealth on his character. That is something he draws enjoyment from. Why would you want to take that away ? Let him have his well earned wealth and feel rich.

You already said that it is suboptimal, so ihe can hardly be overshadowing the rest this way.

The only problematic one you listed was "refusing to share in in party expenses". But even that might be context dependend.

Lord Torath
2019-03-25, 11:08 AM
I hope you didn't type all that out on my account!Copy-Paste is a pretty great feature, I'm sure you'll agree. This is something I keep on file, and share with anyone I'm gaming with (whether as a player or a DM).


I don't know though, I don't think I would feel comfortable signing a contract to play a game, especially if I strongly disagree with some of the contents.

I think my group would have an even stronger aversion, and I think it for more likely that they would simply love the group over it rather than actually modifying their behavior.Did you mean "leave the group over it" instead of "love the group over it"? I'm going to assume that you did.

You are already playing with social contract, but unfortunately, not everyone in your group agrees on what it stipulates. The point of the manifesto is to get everyone to agree to play by the same social rules. As for not signing a contract you don't agree with, the point of this thing is to have everyone talk about each item on there, and adjust it as necessary for your particular group. Eliminate points no one agrees with, and add any points you feel are missing. Again, you can add a section for Treasure Distribution, or for handling PCs when their player is absent. If you don't like something in the manifesto, talk about it with the group and change it. Get everyone to agree on how you will play the game.


You know, thinking back on it, this is just a symptom of a larger problem.

The player in question knows he is making a suboptimal decision, and he is only doing this to punish the other players for daring to "steal his stuff".

But thinking back, this is just part of a longer pattern. This player has:

Refuses to chip in on party expenses.

Chewed out fellow players for turning down a reward for good deeds.

Insisted the party split all treasure evenly rather than simply having a group slush fund.

Refuses to purchase any consumables even when it is the clearly optimal path.

Tries to find rules exploits to squeeze every copper out of the world.

If the group finds a magic item he insists the player who gets it pays him an equal share of its value, up to the point of demanding they sell the item if they don't have the cash.

When the other players noticed that, due to the above, as well being generally thrifty and miserly with his crafting and spending habits, his character had twice the total wealth of anyone else in the party and brought it up to him, he pulled a victim act and told me that I shouldn't allow the other players to, quote, make him feel bad for being better with money than they are.

So I am really starting to think the player in question has some sort of obsession with accumulating fictional wealth and or never learned to share, and this is just the latest expression of a larger problem.This is exactly the type of problem that the manifesto is designed to solve. Player A is playing a solo game, where he wins if he has more money/magic than everyone else in the party. The rest of the party is playing a team game, where they work together to succeed. See point 22: Players are obliged to be fair and reasonable to other players, as well as for their characters to act likewise towards other PCs. There is no excuse for either you or your character to be an ass. NONE. The only exception being if the ALL the players are mature enough for their characters to be openly antagonistic of each other, and that the DM has made it clear from the start that such behavior is to be allowed, as well as how it will be kept in line. This is NOT an unreasonable restriction upon roleplaying but is, in fact, a very basic supposition of the game: the PCs, an often radically diverse party of individuals, nonetheless DO adventure together for money, glory, and other mutually agreeable ends. This means that right from the start, as a player you are largely obliged to find reasons for your character to LIKE the other PCs, not openly antagonize them. It means that no player gets to dictate to the other players the circumstances of their participation in the game in general; no character gets to dictate to another character how they are to be treated in the adventuring party, nor may an exclusive collection of two or more players/characters exert such control over one or more others. The DM is obliged to maintain this atmosphere of civility and cooperation, or, if it has been agreed by all beforehand to allow crossing that line, he is obliged to keep in and out-of-character attitudes and behavior from becoming disruptive.If Player A feels that he cannot abide by this rule, he can object to it in the planning session. You take a vote, and go with the majority. If he still feels he cannot be a team player, he may, in fact, decide to leave. From what I gather it doesn't sound like the other players will mourn him much.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 11:21 AM
You are probably right.

And know what ? That is fine. The player is taking a big effort to have imaginary wealth on his character. That is something he draws enjoyment from. Why would you want to take that away ? Let him have his well earned wealth and feel rich.

You already said that it is suboptimal, so ihe can hardly be overshadowing the rest this way.

The only problematic one you listed was "refusing to share in in party expenses". But even that might be context dependend.

Its a problem because he gets really nasty if he feels he isn't getting his fair share, and constantly derails the game with his penny pinching.

Likewise refusing to help the party frustrates everyone, especially if it causes them to fail.

Satinavian
2019-03-25, 01:03 PM
Does this "not helping the group" constitute of anything beside his refusal to use the money or ressorces interchangable to money of his character to the benefit of the other PCs ?

If not, yes, let him do that. Even if you would play differently.


Of course he has a problem if the other characters engage in what he thinks is reckless spending and then want to "pool ressources". He wants to get something out of being frugal. Something for his character.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 02:21 PM
Does this "not helping the group" constitute of anything beside his refusal to use the money or ressorces interchangable to money of his character to the benefit of the other PCs ?

If not, yes, let him do that. Even if you would play differently.


Of course he has a problem if the other characters engage in what he thinks is reckless spending and then want to "pool ressources". He wants to get something out of being frugal. Something for his character.

I am sure he would agree with you. But when you have conversations like:

Sarah: Well, Dave is dead again, everyone chip in 5000gp for the ressurection.
Bob: No, Dave died, I say the ressurection comes out of his pocket alone. If you all want to be stupid and throw money away go for it, but it isnt my responsibility.
Sarah: But he died protecting you!
Bob: He's the fighter, that's his job. Tell you what, if we are going to start charging people for doing there jobs then I refuse to cast on the parties behalf unless you give me 500gp per spell level!

And then the next week:

Me: In the dragons hoarde you find 30,000 gold pieces and a Hackmaster +12.
Sarah: Wow Davem congrats on the new sword!
Brian: Yeah man, we will really kick some butt now!
Bob: Wait a minute, how much is that sword worth?
Me: About 400,000 gold.
Bob: Well then Dave, it sounds like you owe me 100,000 gold to cover my share of the sword.
Dave: But I dont have that much...
Bob: Tell you what then, you can either sell the sword and split the proceeds, or I can loan you the 100,000k, but I expect to be paid back with interest!
Sarah: Bob, don't you think you are being a little selfish?
Bob: How dare you try and make me feel bad for being better with money than you! Just because you always throw your gold away doesn't mean I should suffer, if anything I should be the one making you feel bad!*


And then not to see him as being unusually selfish and / or hipocritical.


I personally don't have a problem how they play their characters, I just wish they would learn to a team and stop bickering.

But when the players are actively threatening or bullying eachother over it I kind of feel I need to step in before the game implodes.


*This is a true story. The names have been changed to KoDT characters to protect the innocent. Also note that the are OOC conversations.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 02:24 PM
I am sure he would agree with you. But when you have conversations like:

Sarah: Well, Dave is dead again, everyone chip in 5000gp for the ressurection.
Bob: No, Dave died, I say the ressurection comes out of his pocket alone. If you all want to be stupid and throw money away go for it, but it isnt my responsibility.
Sarah: But he died protecting you!
Bob: He's the fighter, that's his job. Tell you what, if we are going to start charging people for doing there jobs then I refuse to cast on the parties behalf unless you give me 500gp per spell level!

And then the next week:

Me: In the dragons hoarde you find 30,000 gold pieces and a Hackmaster +12.
Sarah: Wow Davem congrats on the new sword!
Brian: Yeah man, we will really kick some butt now!
Bob: Wait a minute, how much is that sword worth?
Me: About 400,000 gold.
Bob: Well then Dave, it sounds like you owe me 100,000 gold to cover my share of the sword.
Dave: But I dont have that much...
Bob: Tell you what then, you can either sell the sword and split the proceeds, or I can loan you the 100,000k, but I expect to be paid back with interest!
Sarah: Bob, don't you think you are being a little selfish?
Bob: How dare you try and make me feel bad for being better with money than you! Just because you always throw your gold away doesn't mean I should suffer, if anything I should be the one making you feel bad!*


And then not to see him as being unusually selfish and / or hipocritical.


I personally don't have a problem how they play their characters, I just wish they would learn to a team and stop bickering.

But when the players are actively threatening or bullying eachother over it I kind of feel I need to step in before the game implodes.


*This is a true story. The names have been changed to KoDT characters to protect the innocent. Also note that the are OOC conversations.

Again, Is kicking him out an option?

Lord Torath
2019-03-25, 02:35 PM
So how does "Bob" react when he gets a Shield of Monster Blinding (or some other magic item perfect for his build)? Does he pay each of the other players 1/4 the gold-piece value of his new magic item without prompting?

It seriously sounds like you and the other players need to sit this guy down and let him know that his style of playing is not welcome at your table. If he wants to change his play style, great. If not, the door's right over there. He may try to negotiate, and you may need to explicitly spell out what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 02:42 PM
Again, Is kicking him out an option?

Not really, no. Not without disbanding the entire group.


So how does "Bob" react when he gets a Shield of Monster Blinding (or some other magic item perfect for his build)? Does he pay each of the other players 1/4 the gold-piece value of his new magic item without prompting?

It seriously sounds like you and the other players need to sit this guy down and let him know that his style of playing is not welcome at your table. If he wants to change his play style, great. If not, the door's right over there. He may try to negotiate, and you may need to explicitly spell out what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Oh no, you see he is playing the all powerful wizard, so it is in their best interests to hold onto all the caster gear, as everyone knows that scrolls and staves will help the party far more than a mere sword.

Seriously though, most of these examples are several years old and he has gotten a lot beter about it since then.

But apparently another player spending some of his resouces while he was gone triggered the green eyed monster that lurks in the back o his head and brought it back with a vengeance.

zlefin
2019-03-25, 02:46 PM
I wonder if the player would actually have minded if his char was only ghosted for the play part, but he got to control his crafting. regardless of whether the player says they minded being ghosted at all, it might mostly be the crafting part that bugged him.

if they're a bad fit for the group, they're a bad fit for the group. it again sounds like a session 0 failure issue about what the standards are.

I agree it would be useful and demonstrative to hear what the player does in cases wherein the described kind of "strict sharing limits" work to the disfavor of the player. that would help differentiate taking advantage vs a strong belief in that kind of fairness.

Quertus
2019-03-25, 03:45 PM
So, there's as lot here, and you clearly haven't been keeping up with your group. At this point, I'd strongly recommend having a fresh GM, to sort out the group... social contract.

The one player is absolutely in the right to be smart about his money, and to not want others attacking him for it. That said, there are ways he could be doing it wrong - even my most efficient penny-pincher players know the value of a party fund, or of allowing someone to borrow against future earnings in order to keep a useful item.

I'd love to play in your group a couple of sessions, to get firsthand experience with your players, to have a better understanding of the specifics of the situation.

Short of a new GM, perhaps a neutral arbiter could assess what everyone finds fun, and help y'all with your dysfunctional social contracts. Because, whether you realize it or not, whether you've signed anything or not, you're all laboring under the delusion of a social contract (see "never had a problem with sunstone playing the PC of an answer player before") without actually having said contract. You're all busy making assumptions about what is OK - bad assumptions at that.

I'd volunteer, but, honestly, I know that I'm not charismatic enough for that task. Of the people who have posted in this thread, I'd favor... NichG, personally. Why? Because I disagree* with him. But, despite that, I can understand and respect his reasons / reasoning. There's posters whose conclusions i agree with more than his, which might bias me towards assuming that their reasons are reasonable (even if they aren't). What you need is someone with the social skills and reasonable nature to command respect from your players. I don't mean command respect like a drill Sargent, I mean like "this guy deserves our respect". I don't mean social skills like a used car salesman, pulling a fast one, I mean someone who has skills at reading people and mediating disputes.

As much as I love the detail of (and most of the details of) the example contact, I think I'd balk at signing an actual contact (unless it contained clear advantages, like what I get when the GM railroads or otherwise breaches the contract), and I suspect such measures are equally ill suited for your group. However, using that as a base, or even as a conversation starter, for a *real* session 0 seems somewhere between appropriate and a requirement. Your group seems to need something that detailed as the final product of the session 0 discussion.

* Not completely disagree or anything, just on a few points.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 04:16 PM
The one player is absolutely in the right to be smart about his money, and to not want others attacking him for it. That said, there are ways he could be doing it wrong - even my most efficient penny-pincher players know the value of a party fund, or of allowing someone to borrow against future earnings in order to keep a useful item.

Out of curiosity, would you say the same thing if it were real life money involved? For example, if we rotated for paying for the pizza each session and when it was his turn to pay he always comoletely stiffed the delivery guy out of a tip?

In my mind there is a line between being frugal and being a selfish jerk, and he has crossed this line on several occasions.


So, there's as lot here, and you clearly haven't been keeping up with your group. At this point, I'd strongly recommend having a fresh GM, to sort out the group... social contract.

The one player is absolutely in the right to be smart about his money, and to not want others attacking him for it. That said, there are ways he could be doing it wrong - even my most efficient penny-pincher players know the value of a party fund, or of allowing someone to borrow against future earnings in order to keep a useful item.

I'd love to play in your group a couple of sessions, to get firsthand experience with your players, to have a better understanding of the specifics of the situation.

Short of a new GM, perhaps a neutral arbiter could assess what everyone finds fun, and help y'all with your dysfunctional social contracts. Because, whether you realize it or not, whether you've signed anything or not, you're all laboring under the delusion of a social contract (see "never had a problem with sunstone playing the PC of an answer player before") without actually having said contract. You're all busy making assumptions about what is OK - bad assumptions at that.

I'd volunteer, but, honestly, I know that I'm not charismatic enough for that task. Of the people who have posted in this thread, I'd favor... NichG, personally. Why? Because I disagree* with him. But, despite that, I can understand and respect his reasons / reasoning. There's posters whose conclusions i agree with more than his, which might bias me towards assuming that their reasons are reasonable (even if they aren't). What you need is someone with the social skills and reasonable nature to command respect from your players. I don't mean command respect like a drill Sargent, I mean like "this guy deserves our respect". I don't mean social skills like a used car salesman, pulling a fast one, I mean someone who has skills at reading people and mediating disputes.

As much as I love the detail of (and most of the details of) the example contact, I think I'd balk at signing an actual contact (unless it contained clear advantages, like what I get when the GM railroads or otherwise breaches the contract), and I suspect such measures are equally ill suited for your group. However, using that as a base, or even as a conversation starter, for a *real* session 0 seems somewhere between appropriate and a requirement. Your group seems to need something that detailed as the final product of the session 0 discussion.

* Not completely disagree or anything, just on a few points.

Online sessions never seem to work out for us, but if you are ever in Colorado we would love to have you.

zlefin
2019-03-25, 04:37 PM
many people disagree on where the proper line is between frugality and selfishness; and also on what appropriate standards of financial conduct are. sometimes it has a basis in who they are (i.e. it runs very deep into their biology somehow) or is based on past experiences.

the previously listed examples don't seem that out of line to me (depending on circumstances).

also, some people are opposed to tipping in general.

Quertus
2019-03-25, 05:27 PM
Out of curiosity, would you say the same thing if it were real life money involved? For example, if we rotated for paying for the pizza each session and when it was his turn to pay he always comoletely stiffed the delivery guy out of a tip?

In my mind there is a line between being frugal and being a selfish jerk, and he has crossed this line on several occasions.



Online sessions never seem to work out for us, but if you are ever in Colorado we would love to have you.

Well... There's this girl who wants to travel to all 50 States with me, so... Some year, I may take you up on that. :smallwink:

Now, understand, I started my post hours ago, back before you detailed examples. The pizza example... Is much more complex than you think.

So, I've unknowingly violated unspoken social contracts before. When I was then informed of the social contract, I had a decision: accept it, reject it, or negotiate it. I've known idiots who, when I was being disadvantaged by the social contract, nonetheless attacked me for getting anything out of it (:smallconfused: :smallfurious:). I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I've aggressively negotiated social contracts before.

But I would have nothing against someone who a) made the same $ as I did, and b) choose to not participate in the pizza, and brought his own crust of bread, choosing to spend his money on video games instead.

When he calls everyone else idiots for wasting their money on pizza? Well, he's not wrong... but he probably lacks the social skills to understand what the group is getting out of (inefficiently) being a group.

A lack of social skills is hardly itself grounds for kicking someone, especially from a gaming group. But, the question is, does the group have the social skills to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and to explain the difference to him? Is he willing to behave acceptably?

I'll go ahead and answer "no" for your group for that first part. Which leaves you in a quandary. Even if you can figure out which of his behaviors are actually problematic, y'all seemingly lack the social skills to explain the issue. Most groups do, IME. So, you're left with a disadvantageous social contract, and the choice to accept it (bad gaming) or reject it (no gaming), unless you can magic up a solution to allow you to reasonable negotiate it.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 06:41 PM
Well... There's this girl who wants to travel to all 50 States with me, so... Some year, I may take you up on that. :smallwink:

Now, understand, I started my post hours ago, back before you detailed examples. The pizza example... Is much more complex than you think.

So, I've unknowingly violated unspoken social contracts before. When I was then informed of the social contract, I had a decision: accept it, reject it, or negotiate it. I've known idiots who, when I was being disadvantaged by the social contract, nonetheless attacked me for getting anything out of it (:smallconfused: :smallfurious:). I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I've aggressively negotiated social contracts before.

But I would have nothing against someone who a) made the same $ as I did, and b) choose to not participate in the pizza, and brought his own crust of bread, choosing to spend his money on video games instead.

When he calls everyone else idiots for wasting their money on pizza? Well, he's not wrong... but he probably lacks the social skills to understand what the group is getting out of (inefficiently) being a group.

A lack of social skills is hardly itself grounds for kicking someone, especially from a gaming group. But, the question is, does the group have the social skills to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and to explain the difference to him? Is he willing to behave acceptably?

I'll go ahead and answer "no" for your group for that first part. Which leaves you in a quandary. Even if you can figure out which of his behaviors are actually problematic, y'all seemingly lack the social skills to explain the issue. Most groups do, IME. So, you're left with a disadvantageous social contract, and the choice to accept it (bad gaming) or reject it (no gaming), unless you can magic up a solution to allow you to reasonable negotiate it.

But in your example he isn't partaking of the pizza.

The player in questin fully expects an equal share of all rewards and activities the party engages in, and condescendly lectures the rest of the group about how important it is that everyone gets an equal share even if he did nothing to contribute.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 06:55 PM
I say explain to him that you, he and every player is there in order to have fun, his attitude of being a greedy ******* gets in the way. If he doesn't stop doing that, he will have to leave the game.

That, or have the other players be as petty with him. Have the fighter also charge him for everytime he takes damage or attacks someone. if he wants to be healed by the cleric, he will also have to pay. If he wants to treat the other party members as mercenaries, then the other players can play as such.

Now, I don't recommend the second solution, it leads to every player feeling tired and teaching the wrong lessons for the future. However, that's the vengeful way, and vengeance is a reward on its own.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 07:13 PM
I say explain to him that you, he and every player is there in order to have fun, his attitude of being a greedy ******* gets in the way. If he doesn't stop doing that, he will have to leave the game.

We had that conversation several years ago. It was what resulted in the whole "You have no right to try and make me feel bad simply because I am better with money than you guys," spiel. Although, to be fair, he has gotten a lot better at it and we haven't had any major issues until the other night when the idea of making something for another character when he wasn't there sent him over the deep edge.



That, or have the other players be as petty with him. Have the fighter also charge him for everytime he takes damage or attacks someone. if he wants to be healed by the cleric, he will also have to pay. If he wants to treat the other party members as mercenaries, then the other players can play as such.

That's exactly what was happening that prompted me to create this thread, the players were each coming up with increasingly extreme ways to passive aggressively ideas for retaliation.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 07:17 PM
We had that conversation several years ago. It was what resulted in the whole "You have no right to try and make me feel bad simply because I am better with money than you guys," spiel. Although, to be fair, he has gotten a lot better at it and we haven't had any major issues until the other night when the idea of making something for another character when he wasn't there sent him over the deep edge.

That's exactly what was happening that prompted me to create this thread, the players were each coming up with increasingly extreme ways to passive aggressively ideas for retaliation.

Then it's time to have the chat again, apologize for taking control of his character, but make it clear that this uncooperative behaviour will not be tolerated.

BTW, if you go with the retcon, don't penalize the guy with diminished experience or treasure, after all, it was your doing that caused the problem.

If he continues to behave like an *******, kick him out.

Talakeal
2019-03-25, 07:38 PM
BTW, if you go with the retcon, don't penalize the guy with diminished experience or treasure, after all, it was your doing that caused the problem.

I absolutely refuse to accept any responsibility for this. Sometimes I make mistakes, this isn't one of them.

Allowing other players to play absent players characters has been standard practice in in every group I have ever been in as well as numerous APs that I listen to, as is docking absent players XP and / or treasure.

If this guy has such an aversion to it that he is threatening to kill his fellow party members over a trivial expenditure and likens it to slavery then it is his damned responsibility to let everyone else know, especially when I specifically asked if there was any problematic elements I needed to avoid or on the multiple occasions when another player was missing and we had someone else play their character while he was at the table.

As for XP, I do group wide milestone levelling so he is going to get XP no matter what he or his character does.

As for treasure, it makes no sense at all that if his character is going to stay and not contribute that I should step in and force the rest of the group to bring him back an equal share.

And on the issue of the retcon and crafting points that caused this, well, at this point either way they are going to be wasted out of spite and screw the entire party over, so it makes no practical difference whether I allow the retcon or not except for which of the players is more pissed off.

Quertus
2019-03-25, 07:40 PM
But in your example he isn't partaking of the pizza.

The player in questin fully expects an equal share of all rewards and activities the party engages in, and condescendly lectures the rest of the group about how important it is that everyone gets an equal share even if he did nothing to contribute.

Well, of course everyone gets an equal share, regardless of their contribution. And, if your group is too dumb to get it, then it just makes sense for him to condescendingly lecture them.

Or so your player likely believes.

Thing is, he's not wrong - in that, that definition of "fair" is not only fairly common, but is, in fact, the predominate stance in my rather extensive gaming experience.

Myself, I start there, then add a "balance to the table" clause that - contrary to most anyone else's first instincts - says that he who contributes least may need extra, to achieve balance (if we're caring about that kind of thing).

What is the penalty for dieing? Well - assuming that the character wasn't an idiot, and that their death was the result of their inferior capabilities? The "penalty" should be bonus levels / powers / whatever, to bring them up to par. Same kind of "penalty" applies to not being able to contribute.

So, this specific, very small subset of the players beliefs? This belief that everyone should get an equal share? I've got his back on this. It's not the only way to play, but it's certainly better than most alternatives. IMO, your group should never play any way other than this.

zinycor
2019-03-25, 07:44 PM
I absolutely refuse to accept any responsibility for this. Sometimes I make mistakes, this isn't one of them.

Allowing other players to play absent players characters has been standard practice in in every group I have ever been in as well as numerous APs that I listen to, as is docking absent players XP and / or treasure.

If this guy has such an aversion to it that he is threatening to kill his fellow party members over a trivial expenditure and likens it to slavery then it is his damned responsibility to let everyone else know, especially when I specifically asked if there was any problematic elements I needed to avoid or on the multiple occasions when another player was missing and we had someone else play their character while he was at the table.

As for XP, I do group wide milestone levelling so he is going to get XP no matter what he or his character does.

As for treasure, it makes no sense at all that if his character is going to stay and not contribute that I should step in and force the rest of the group to bring him back an equal share.

And on the issue of the retcon and crafting points that caused this, well, at this point either way they are going to be wasted out of spite and screw the entire party over, so it makes no practical difference whether I allow the retcon or not except for which of the players is more pissed off.

It doesn't matter if you feel is unfair, you apologize to make things work, and stand yourself as the bigger person, a moral ground so to speak.

That way when the ******* refuses to cooperate, then you kick him out with no regrets and with everyone knowing he was given many chances to change his behaviour.

That, or you just kick him out of the group if things are as bad as they seem.

On the other hand, me personally, I would never agree for someone else to play my character if I can't make it into a session, nor Would I ever play someone else's character. Very curious that this is such a normal thing at your table.

zlefin
2019-03-25, 07:49 PM
tala, it looks to me like you should at least accept some responsibility, as to me it seems you shouldn't have allowed the ghosting of his crafting choices; and that you did make a mistake in allowing that.

Quertus
2019-03-25, 08:33 PM
I absolutely refuse to accept any responsibility for this. Sometimes I make mistakes, this isn't one of them.

Allowing other players to play absent players characters has been standard practice in in every group I have ever been in as well as numerous APs that I listen to, as is docking absent players XP and / or treasure.

If this guy has such an aversion to it that he is threatening to kill his fellow party members over a trivial expenditure and likens it to slavery then it is his damned responsibility to let everyone else know, especially when I specifically asked if there was any problematic elements I needed to avoid or on the multiple occasions when another player was missing and we had someone else play their character while he was at the table.

As for XP, I do group wide milestone levelling so he is going to get XP no matter what he or his character does.

As for treasure, it makes no sense at all that if his character is going to stay and not contribute that I should step in and force the rest of the group to bring him back an equal share.

And on the issue of the retcon and crafting points that caused this, well, at this point either way they are going to be wasted out of spite and screw the entire party over, so it makes no practical difference whether I allow the retcon or not except for which of the players is more pissed off.

No, you have acted in ignorance, just as I have done before, and doubtless will do again. Being ignorant in no way makes this not your fault. That you thought you had good reason to not be ignorant (having numerous games directly or indirectly under your belt) in no way changes the fact that you were ignorant of the fact that not all players are OK with other people playing their characters in general, and even I (who can be fine with it, depending on the character and the scene) raised an eyebrow at the whole "player continued to puppet him during downtime".

So, no. This is your mistake, assuming something was in the social contract without ever actually discussing it.

Was it a reasonable mistake to make? Absolutely. Should anyone be upset at you for making it? Absolutely not. After all, the absent player did exactly the same thing, assuming... well, I don't know exactly what he assumed would happen, but, at a minimum, he assumed that what did happen wouldn't.

So, don't bring Bizarro World with you. Admit to your mistake, acting in ignorance. You can even say that there's this **** online who kept beating you up about the fact that, contrary to your experience, there's actually multiple ways to run the "absent player" scenario, and that it's something that should be discussed as a group. Nobody did that. Admit your part in that, move on to finding solutions together.

If your player is a ****, remind him that he made similar assumptions, not asking you about how his character was going to be handled until he got there the next session.

Talakeal
2019-03-26, 07:41 AM
tala, it looks to me like you should at least accept some responsibility, as to me it seems you shouldn't have allowed the ghosting of his crafting choices; and that you did make a mistake in allowing that.

Responsibility sure, I am the DM and I do have final authority.

But responsibility does not mean that I am at fault or that it is all on me.


On the other hand, me personally, I would never agree for someone else to play my character if I can't make it into a session, nor Would I ever play someone else's character. Very curious that this is such a normal thing at your table.

It isn't just my table though, it is every table I have ever played at or even heard of. I have played with quite a few groups, I have also read quite a few blogs, listened to several gaming podcasts, and watched several APs.

I have seen and heard various approaches, having the DM run them as an NPC, having another player run them, having them quietly fade into the background and just imagne that they are there doing there thing but not calling them out, and finding an excuse to seperate them from the party for a time.

I have never heard that the only acceptable thing is to just put them into a wuantum null state where they do not exist until the controlling player can come back to retroactively decide on their actions.

I will admit that I am unusual in that I insist on giving absent PCs full XP, loot, and downtime, which appears to be pretty rare.



No, you have acted in ignorance, just as I have done before, and doubtless will do again. Being ignorant in no way makes this not your fault. That you thought you had good reason to not be ignorant (having numerous games directly or indirectly under your belt) in no way changes the fact that you were ignorant of the fact that not all players are OK with other people playing their characters in general, and even I (who can be fine with it, depending on the character and the scene) raised an eyebrow at the whole "player continued to puppet him during downtime".

So, no. This is your mistake, assuming something was in the social contract without ever actually discussing it.

Was it a reasonable mistake to make? Absolutely. Should anyone be upset at you for making it? Absolutely not. After all, the absent player did exactly the same thing, assuming... well, I don't know exactly what he assumed would happen, but, at a minimum, he assumed that what did happen wouldn't.

So, don't bring Bizarro World with you. Admit to your mistake, acting in ignorance. You can even say that there's this **** online who kept beating you up about the fact that, contrary to your experience, there's actually multiple ways to run the "absent player" scenario, and that it's something that should be discussed as a group. Nobody did that. Admit your part in that, move on to finding solutions together.

If your player is a ****, remind him that he made similar assumptions, not asking you about how his character was going to be handled until he got there the next session.

Being at fault implies you did something wrong or abnormal. It is not the same as contribiting, causing, or being responsible.

If someone is acting normally they are not st fault for other people have unusual problems. If I am driving in a safe and legal manner and someone darts into traffic I am not at fault for hitting them, if I work at a restraunt and someone with a nut allergy orders a dish with nuts in it I am not at fault for serving them.

In this case it is the players responsibility to make his wishes clear, he has been gaming with us for years, its not like he never had the opportunity to do so, and I explicitly asked before the game began if there was anything they had a problem with and he said nothing.

As for bizarro world, in this case it really seems like the forums are bizarro world.

The idea that an absent players character must simply dissapear game balance or setting consistency be damned and the DM must not have any say on their actions is such a strange idea, especially when discussed as an absolute.

Likewise in real life investors in a business venture receive a share of the net profits proportional to their contribution. The idea that someone who demands a share without an investment or demands their share be taken out of the gross profits, let alone both, is a grifter who is taking advantage of his partners, not merely being fiscally wise.

Note that one can still object to their partners reckless spending hurting their personal take, but that is a different issue and not what was hapoening here.

zlefin
2019-03-26, 08:14 AM
I think you're 15% at fault for the situation as a whole. (and 70% at fault for letting others ghost his downtime like that)
you don't bear the entire fault, but you do bear a portion of it, fault can be parcelled out partially. you may disagree of course.

zinycor
2019-03-26, 08:27 AM
I don't think anyone has implied that you are a 100% at fault here. In my opinion, if your experience tells you that controlling other people's characters is normal, then you are absolutely justified in your actions. However, I still don't see the problem with apologizing, saying someting along the lines of: "Hey dude, I didn't think it would upset you to have your character craft a few items for the others while you were out, sorry about that. But you better stop being an ******* to the others or I will be forced to kick you out of the group"

Simple and effective.

Now, while I don't agree with this player being a **** to the rest of the table, I do understand he being upset about others playing his character while he was away. Then again, this is just me and my experience, others may think differently.

Lord Torath
2019-03-26, 09:35 AM
Then it's time to have the chat again, apologize for taking control of his character, but make it clear that this uncooperative behaviour will not be tolerated.It is, indeed, time for the chat again. Discuss what happens when players miss a session, how treasure is distributed (as DM, you should sit out this part of the discussion as much as possible, unless the players are having trouble), what sorts of behavior will be permitted, both in and out of game, how down-time is handled, etc. It's time to get everyone to re-negotiate your social contract, and be certain that everyone knows what it entails. It will not be easy, and it will not be fun, but it will make the following sessions much better. Again, good snacks and the promise of an in-game reward might make this easier.

Also, it's okay to apologize for something you've done in ignorance. You did not act in malice, but you still did something that violated the social contract he thought you were playing under1. So apologize to him for spending his down time without his permission. This will not harm you, and can help bring tensions down far enough that you can speak reasonably with each other. You can also apologize for getting frustrated and/or losing your temper (assuming you did). Leave his actions completely out of your apology, though. Apologize for getting frustrated, but don't mention the behavior that frustrated you as part of your apology. If he asks, you can certainly say why you felt frustrated, but don't mention it as part of your apology unless he asks. That keeps your apology about you, and won't make him feel like you're attacking him, which will just make him more defensive and less reasonable.

You don't need to apologize for his actions though, or for the tension he's brought to the group. He may apologize for his actions; he may not. If he doesn't offer an apology, don't demand one.

After you apologize, tell the group that you were operating on the idea that it was okay to do minor things with an absent player's character, and that Bob felt it was unfair. Use that to segue into a renegotiation of the social contract your group will play under going forward. The manifesto I posted earlier is a good starting place for this, but it's only a starting place. I'd recommend you read a point, then ask each person how they feel about it. Change wording, re-write, or delete as determined by your group. After you get to the end, ask if there are things the group wants to add. Print out copies, and tell the players to read over it before the next session to see if they've thought of something else that needs to be added/removed.

For anyone who wants to know what the manifesto covered without reading three pages of text, here are the main ideas of each point:
1. Weíre here to have fun.
2. Be constructive, not destructive, to other players (including the DM).
3. Communicate!
4. DM should be able to take constructive criticism.
5. DM should adjust the campaign based on actions of the PCs.
6. DM should not railroad the story.
7. Combat is most exciting when itís dangerous.
8. DM should not deliberately try to kill PCs.
9. Itís good to have places/things too powerful for the PCs to defeat.
10. DM needs to clearly communicate when things are too powerful for the PCs to defeat.
11. NPCs should generally follow the same rules the PCs use. But only generally.
12. PCs should be able to attempt things not covered in the rules.
13. The DM runs the game, not the dice.
14. DM is not required to roll dice in the open (but he can if he wants to).
15. Donít interrupt the game with long rule arguments.
16. Retcons are to be avoided, but may be used in extreme circumstances.
17. DM shouldnít try to ďwinĒ by beating the players.
18. Characters will occasionally die Ė permanently.
19. Players should learn the rules of the game.
20. Treat your host with respect, use good personal hygiene, and chip in for/provide your own food and drink (according to arrangements made by your group).
21. Alignment and paladin codes need to be clearly communicated to the players. If players do something ďagainst codeĒ, assume they forgot, and give them a refresher and a chance to change their action.
22. Donít be a jerk OoC, or IC unless itís agreed on beforehand.
23. DM can prohibit disruptive PC actions.
24. Players run the PCs, the DM does not.Again, take these points, discuss with your players, and adjust to fit your group. This is an example of a way to play, not the example of The One True Way to Play.

1 That you thought it was okay and he didn't is just another sign that you need to get everyone to agree exactly what the social contract covers.

Quertus
2019-03-26, 09:45 AM
Being at fault implies you did something wrong or abnormal. It is not the same as contribiting, causing, or being responsible.

If someone is acting normally they are not st fault for other people have unusual problems. If I am driving in a safe and legal manner and someone darts into traffic I am not at fault for hitting them, if I work at a restraunt and someone with a nut allergy orders a dish with nuts in it I am not at fault for serving them.

In this case it is the players responsibility to make his wishes clear, he has been gaming with us for years, its not like he never had the opportunity to do so, and I explicitly asked before the game began if there was anything they had a problem with and he said nothing.

Thank you for the perfect example; the customer didn't order something with nuts, you served them something with nuts, without asking, just assuming that it would be fine, because it's always been fine.

Asking "is there anything you have a problem with" is good, but when you say "no", and then I start applying electroshock therapy at the gaming table, you may realize that there are things you never even considered that anyone would ever do that, yes, you really do have a problem with, please remove the shock collar!

You made an honest mistake, believing that no one would or even could have a problem with this. You were wrong. Own that mistake, and both retcon and forward-con (session 0, but after session 1) accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, this sounds like the type of player most groups want to kick (or punch, or headbutt). But, IME, most "problem" players can be taught. I hear most people's stories of "problem" players, and I'm like, "I know that guy. He's fine, so long as you...".

You digging in, and not admitting to your mistake, and not fixing it? That will just make things worse. You fixing it the wrong way can also make it worse. People are complicated. It takes very good people skills to turn a "problem" into an "asset".

Talakeal
2019-03-26, 10:17 AM
Thank you for the perfect example; the customer didn't order something with nuts, you served them something with nuts, without asking, just assuming that it would be fine, because it's always been fine.

Asking "is there anything you have a problem with" is good, but when you say "no", and then I start applying electroshock therapy at the gaming table, you may realize that there are things you never even considered that anyone would ever do that, yes, you really do have a problem with, please remove the shock collar!

You made an honest mistake, believing that no one would or even could have a problem with this. You were wrong. Own that mistake, and both retcon and forward-con (session 0, but after session 1) accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, this sounds like the type of player most groups want to kick (or punch, or headbutt). But, IME, most "problem" players can be taught. I hear most people's stories of "problem" players, and I'm like, "I know that guy. He's fine, so long as you...".

You digging in, and not admitting to your mistake, and not fixing it? That will just make things worse. You fixing it the wrong way can also make it worse. People are complicated. It takes very good people skills to turn a "problem" into an "asset".


True he didn't explicitly order peanuts, but he did order a dish that he knows I put peanuts in, to continue the analogy.

He has been playing with us for years, he knows that is how we handle absentee players, yet he continued playing with js and never said anything.


It is, indeed, time for the chat again. Discuss what happens when players miss a session, how treasure is distributed (as DM, you should sit out this part of the discussion as much as possible, unless the players are having trouble), what sorts of behavior will be permitted, both in and out of game, how down-time is handled, etc. It's time to get everyone to re-negotiate your social contract, and be certain that everyone knows what it entails. It will not be easy, and it will not be fun, but it will make the following sessions much better. Again, good snacks and the promise of an in-game reward might make this easier.

Also, it's okay to apologize for something you've done in ignorance. You did not act in malice, but you still did something that violated the social contract he thought you were playing under1. So apologize to him for spending his down time without his permission. This will not harm you, and can help bring tensions down far enough that you can speak reasonably with each other. You can also apologize for getting frustrated and/or losing your temper (assuming you did). Leave his actions completely out of your apology, though. Apologize for getting frustrated, but don't mention the behavior that frustrated you as part of your apology. If he asks, you can certainly say why you felt frustrated, but don't mention it as part of your apology unless he asks. That keeps your apology about you, and won't make him feel like you're attacking him, which will just make him more defensive and less reasonable.

You don't need to apologize for his actions though, or for the tension he's brought to the group. He may apologize for his actions; he may not. If he doesn't offer an apology, don't demand one.

After you apologize, tell the group that you were operating on the idea that it was okay to do minor things with an absent player's character, and that Bob felt it was unfair. Use that to segue into a renegotiation of the social contract your group will play under going forward. The manifesto I posted earlier is a good starting place for this, but it's only a starting place. I'd recommend you read a point, then ask each person how they feel about it. Change wording, re-write, or delete as determined by your group. After you get to the end, ask if there are things the group wants to add. Print out copies, and tell the players to read over it before the next session to see if they've thought of something else that needs to be added/removed.

1 That you thought it was okay and he didn't is just another sign that you need to get everyone to agree exactly what the social contract covers.


I apologized days ago.

The issue was whether or not to allow the retcon as, either way it would seem that I was showing preferential treatment.

But the other, far less stubborn, player has also come forward and asked me to do the retcon and said he will simply pay out of pocket to have an NPC craft the item for him even though we all know that it is suboptimal for everyone involved, so I am going to allow it just to make everyone happy.

zinycor
2019-03-26, 10:21 AM
Ok, but what will you be doing about the ******* player?

Lord Torath
2019-03-26, 03:48 PM
I apologized days ago.

The issue was whether or not to allow the retcon as, either way it would seem that I was showing preferential treatment.

But the other, far less stubborn, player has also come forward and asked me to do the retcon and said he will simply pay out of pocket to have an NPC craft the item for him even though we all know that it is suboptimal for everyone involved, so I am going to allow it just to make everyone happy.In that case, retcon "Bob's" crafting time to wherever he wants it, and give Player B his Sword+1 (or whatever item you had "Bob" craft for him) at no cost. Both "Bob" and Player B get their way, with no favoritism.

And then get everyone to discuss your social contract. Seriously.

Quertus
2019-03-26, 04:11 PM
In that case, retcon "Bob's" crafting time to wherever he wants it, and give Player B his Sword+1 (or whatever item you had "Bob" craft for him) at no cost. Both "Bob" and Player B get their way, with no favoritism.

And then get everyone to discuss your social contract. Seriously.

You know, normally, I'd say that player A was a **** for taking player B's downtime to benefit himself, and should therefore, if anything, get a penalty for having done so, not a reward.

However, in this case, given my mantra of "balance to the table", it may not be an entirely unreasonable compromise, given player B's superior (and likely antisocial) optimization.

Talakeal
2019-03-26, 04:23 PM
You know, normally, I'd say that player A was a **** for taking player B's downtime to benefit himself, and should therefore, if anything, get a penalty for having done so, not a reward.

We do crafting as a team though. Everyone in the group has some form of crafting ability, and everyone makes things for everyone else. The only difference was that one of the players was absent that session.

zinycor
2019-03-26, 04:45 PM
And what will you do regarding the problem player?

Quertus
2019-03-26, 05:40 PM
We do crafting as a team though. Everyone in the group has some form of crafting ability, and everyone makes things for everyone else. The only difference was that one of the players was absent that session.

I mean, if you didn't "craft as a team", I'd be faceplant face palming over that.

It's just that, while I was controlling your character, I decided that the thing that helps help the group most was something that helps my character. And your character did that.

When I can see no reason not to let the player handle his downtime when he got back, it just feels... wrong.

Now, just to check - people have been absent before? And the absent player B* had run other people's characters before? Including their downtime? If so, and this player knew he was going to be absent, and knew from experience what was going to happen, then flipped out about it? If that's the case, then that's some pretty special, Bizarro World you've got there.

I can only assume that he's upset about something else, and just emoting poorly.

To try to get a clearer picture: who built for whom that session? B -> A... What else was made for downtime?

When that player controlled other people's PCs, for whom did he have them build stuff with their downtime?

And, lastly, is there preexisting bad blood between those two players or -and I know this is a long shot, because it requires role-playing - between those two characters?

* I may have the labels wrong

Talakeal
2019-03-26, 09:07 PM
And what will you do regarding the problem player?

At this point probably nothing, compared to what I have been through in the past this is relatively minor.

Although I am still kind of steamed at him for calling me names because I responded to fifteen minutes of overreactions and threats to betray the party and destroy my campaign by telling him that if they couldn't compromise I was just going to assume he didn't craft anything while away.


I mean, if you didn't "craft as a team", I'd be faceplant face palming over that.

It's just that, while I was controlling your character, I decided that the thing that helps help the group most was something that helps my character. And your character did that.

When I can see no reason not to let the player handle his downtime when he got back, it just feels... wrong.

Now, just to check - people have been absent before? And the absent player a* had run other people's characters before? Including their downtime? If so, and this player knew he was going to be absent, and knew from experience what was going to happen, then flipped out about it? If that's the case, then that's some pretty special, Bizarro World you've got there.

I can only assume that he's upset about something else, and just emoting poorly.

To try to get a clearer picture: who built for whom that session? B -> A... What else was made for downtime?

When that player controlled other people's PCs, for whom did he have them build stuff with their downtime?

And, lastly, is there preexisting bad blood between those two players or -and I know this is a long shot, because it requires role-playing - between those two characters?

* I may have the labels wrong

Everyone has crafted many things for everyone.

It wasn't a "just so happens," it was literally the most efficient use of party resources, we sat down and did quite a bit of math and discussion first.

I do crafting at the end of the session because players can use per session resources like spell slots and action points to modify the results of crafting rolls and I update the online character sheets between sessions; it saves a lot of book keeping and keeps mistakes from being made.

As far as I know there is no serious bad blood between the players. As for characters, well, everyone in the campaign is family and working towards the same goals, so aside from a bit of sibling rivalry there is nothing between them that I know of.

I cannot specifically recall player A running anyone else's character before. He has not done so in the current campaign because he already has an NPC sidekick and I don't want to overburden him with a third character. But he has been at the table many times when one player ran another's character.


Also, getting a bit more information, apparently one of the other players kind of instigated the issue between sessions by texting him a message saying "Boy, it turns out your character is really strong when someone who knows what they are doing is playing her. Maybe if you are real nice player A will give you a few pointers before we play again!".

Also, thinking back, there have been hints of this behavior before. I remember about six or seven years ago he was several hours late for a game and I ran him as an NPC until he arrived. When he got there he was miffed that I had been "wasteful" with his spell slots and decided to sit the session out rather than go through the adventure without a full loadout. But there was certainly no blowup or formal declaration of not wanting to have anyone else play his character, and I had honestly forgotten about it until today.

Lord Torath
2019-03-27, 07:53 AM
Wait, I was under the impression that "Bob", the player who penny pinches, refuses to contribute to team expenses, and blew up at having his crafting time spent on another player was also "Player A", and Player B was the player who directly benefited from "Bob's" absent crafting time, and when "Bob" exploded, offered to pay an NPC for the item so "Bob" didn't have to use his crafting time for it. Did we switch who A and B are?

Talakeal
2019-03-27, 08:02 AM
Wait, I was under the impression that "Bob", the player who penny pinches, refuses to contribute to team expenses, and blew up at having his crafting time spent on another player was also "Player A", and Player B was the player who directly benefited from "Bob's" absent crafting time, and when "Bob" exploded, offered to pay an NPC for the item so "Bob" didn't have to use his crafting time for it. Did we switch who A and B are?

Yes, my bad. Fake names are hard.

geppetto
2019-03-27, 02:39 PM
I am sure he would agree with you. But when you have conversations like:

Sarah: Well, Dave is dead again, everyone chip in 5000gp for the ressurection.
Bob: No, Dave died, I say the ressurection comes out of his pocket alone. If you all want to be stupid and throw money away go for it, but it isnt my responsibility.
Sarah: But he died protecting you!
Bob: He's the fighter, that's his job. Tell you what, if we are going to start charging people for doing there jobs then I refuse to cast on the parties behalf unless you give me 500gp per spell level!

And then the next week:

Me: In the dragons hoarde you find 30,000 gold pieces and a Hackmaster +12.
Sarah: Wow Davem congrats on the new sword!
Brian: Yeah man, we will really kick some butt now!
Bob: Wait a minute, how much is that sword worth?
Me: About 400,000 gold.
Bob: Well then Dave, it sounds like you owe me 100,000 gold to cover my share of the sword.
Dave: But I dont have that much...
Bob: Tell you what then, you can either sell the sword and split the proceeds, or I can loan you the 100,000k, but I expect to be paid back with interest!
Sarah: Bob, don't you think you are being a little selfish?
Bob: How dare you try and make me feel bad for being better with money than you! Just because you always throw your gold away doesn't mean I should suffer, if anything I should be the one making you feel bad!*


And then not to see him as being unusually selfish and / or hipocritical.


I personally don't have a problem how they play their characters, I just wish they would learn to a team and stop bickering.

But when the players are actively threatening or bullying eachother over it I kind of feel I need to step in before the game implodes.


*This is a true story. The names have been changed to KoDT characters to protect the innocent. Also note that the are OOC conversations.



Team: Bob we have decided your character is a selfish A hole and we dont want him on the team anymore. In the morning we are heading west, you may head in any other direction. Should we see you again we will assume you are a bandit and execute you post haste.

geppetto
2019-03-27, 03:00 PM
We do crafting as a team though. Everyone in the group has some form of crafting ability, and everyone makes things for everyone else. The only difference was that one of the players was absent that session.

So you created communism and are surprised that it couldnt handle adversity and eventually collapsed into arguments and threats? Why?

Talakeal
2019-03-27, 03:24 PM
Team: Bob we have decided your character is a selfish A hole and we dont want him on the team anymore. In the morning we are heading west, you may head in any other direction. Should we see you again we will assume you are a bandit and execute you post haste.

The problem is that there is strength in numbers and neither PC caliber individuals nor players are in great supply.


So you created communism and are surprised that it couldnt handle adversity and eventually collapsed into arguments and threats? Why?

The system works perfectly if everyone is a rational actor motivated by self interest, its only when people start acting irrationally out of spite that... oh right, humans.

Quertus
2019-03-27, 03:52 PM
The system works perfectly if everyone is a rational actor motivated by self interest, its only when people start acting iraationally out of spite that... oh right, humans.

Nice try, but you didn't quite kill me to choking on my food when I read that. :smallbiggrin:

Gallowglass
2019-03-27, 03:57 PM
Talakeal,

Look, I get it. This group of players, ******* included, aren't just players in your game. You guys are friends. And kicking ******* out of the group would break up the game and break up the band. After all 90% of the game is fun, its just the 10% that sucks.

A lot of the people on this board don't seem to have friends, or play with their friends, so they are willing and able to say "**** you" and leave games or "**** you" and kick people out.

(More of them are able to internet-tough-guy it and say they would when they wouldn't)

That being said, we aren't you, aren't in your situation. As an outside observer, its hard to say "buckle your knees and give in to the ******* to keep the peice" because that's just going to reward him for throwing his hissyfit and teach him that his behavior will be rewarded.

But, as you are unwilling or unable to kick him from your group and you want to keep playing your game then I take it at your word that you are looking for advice.

So here it is.

Apologize to the *******. "Look, *******, you've been in this game for years, you know that when you are absent someone else is going to play you. You know how we group-mind the crafting. I really didn't expect you to object. For that I'm sorry. So I'm going to retcon it. You can spend your crafting on what you want. And from now on, when you are absent, we won't play you and we won't make decisions for you. But, we are your friends. You have to understand we didn't do this to try and abuse that, this was an honest mistake. I hope you can accept that."

Then apologize to the affected player. "Look, guy, I'm sorry that ******* is being *******. But you know he's an ******* and will keep being an *******. Its not new. I'm going to let you have your sword as if he crafted it. We'll just say that a random NPC crafter showed up, made it for you, and you were his 1000000th customer so you got it for free. There were balloons and confetti and a big fake check. I'm asking you, as the reasonable person, to drop it and not let it keep us from having fun."

Then get together the group and say "Look guys, I"m sorry. I didn't think about how we did things when a player was absent might be controversial. So we're going to make some changes. From now on, if a player is absent, the character will be absent. No one will play that character. I will have some NPCs to slot in if we need someone to fill a role for an adventure. We'll continue to split party treasure as we have because their is no fundamentally fair way to do so. Its not fair to say "player A wasn't here this session so they don't get a share" when the treasure is a culmunation of an adventure that spanned several session, most of which they were here for. So we keep that the same as ever. And if someone is missing from a crafting session, we will text or call them if we need to know what they want to do with their character or else leave them out until they show up for the next session. Its important for you guys to know that this game is important to me and your friendship is important to me. I didn't mean to offend any of you. And I know you guys didn't mean to offend each other. No one here tried to abuse anyone, it was just an unfortunate experience. Can we just drop it and move on knowing that we'll make better choices going forward?"

In other words, suck it up, take responsibility for something that wasn't your fault, eat crow and do what you have to do to get the game and group back on track.

And if you can't stomach that then you REALLY have to decide how important keeping this game and group going is to you. Because it never matters how right you are. It never matters how wrong they are. You can't make others realize their own shortcomings and you can't expect them to be the adult, not with their track record.

All you can do is do what you can do to get where you want to be. Back in the game, back in the group, and past this stupidity. Because that's where you want to be and you can do -that- to get there.

Talakeal
2019-03-27, 04:25 PM
Thank you. I'll do exactly that.

geppetto
2019-03-28, 09:32 PM
The problem is that there is strength in numbers and neither PC caliber individuals nor players are in great supply.

Always choose quality over quantity.




The system works perfectly if everyone is a rational actor motivated by self interest, its only when people start acting irrationally out of spite that... oh right, humans.

Exactly. Your playing with humans. Besides from a character perspective its not really self interest to help someone else if your a selfish person. IC he could probably ditch the rest of the group or watch them all die and not shed a tear.

Making stuff for people who dont really matter to you is meh. Making stuff for yourself that you intend to keep whether they're around or not is whats optimal. He might ditch these guys in the next town after all. Then that crafting was totally wasted.

Talakeal
2019-03-30, 10:45 AM
Besides from a character perspective its not really self interest to help someone else if your a selfish person. IC he could probably ditch the rest of the group or watch them all die and not shed a tear.

Making stuff for people who dont really matter to you is meh. Making stuff for yourself that you intend to keep whether they're around or not is whats optimal. He might ditch these guys in the next town after all. Then that crafting was totally wasted.

Being selfish =/= equal rational self interest.

If you are an adventurer you depend on other adventurers to keep you alive AND to make you rich / powerful / famous.

Planning the future around the idea that you might decide to ditch your current party members, who have proven themselves both loyal and competent, to join up with a group of unproven randos isn't really rational.

GloatingSwine
2019-03-30, 11:20 AM
To use a D&D analogy, he already has a +2 sword and rather than making a +1 sword for his friend he is upgrading his sword to a +3.

Creation costs and difficulties scale exponentially to encourage growing outward rather than upward.

Logarithmic increases in cost are still maybe not the best way of encouraging that. If you're going to have an option that's impractically long and stupid to achieve, just don't have the option.

Diminishing returns with sensibly increasing costs would do better.

(For reference, to extend the D&D metaphor, a +1 sword gives 1/8 damage extra, but upgrading it to a +2 only adds 1/9 extra, and from +2 to +3 only adds 1/10 extra. So upgrading your + numbers already includes diminishing returns, even if people think they're getting the "same amount" each time they're not).

Talakeal
2019-03-30, 01:33 PM
Logarithmic increases in cost are still maybe not the best way of encouraging that. If you're going to have an option that's impractically long and stupid to achieve, just don't have the option.

Diminishing returns with sensibly increasing costs would do better.

(For reference, to extend the D&D metaphor, a +1 sword gives 1/8 damage extra, but upgrading it to a +2 only adds 1/9 extra, and from +2 to +3 only adds 1/10 extra. So upgrading your + numbers already includes diminishing returns, even if people think they're getting the "same amount" each time they're not).

Logarithmic costs have worked fine for years. Rewards and crafting abilities increase at roughly the same rate, so you do keep pace, but people can and do occasionally push ahead into the next tier.

That being said, I am still adjusting costs, and the logarithmic scale is unlikely to stay in the game.


As for the D&D metaphor, magic weapons also give a bonus to hit. If your damage is increasing from other sources, for example feats or stat increases, you might actually get a larger bonus out of each plus as hit is multiplicative damage is additive.

geppetto
2019-03-31, 11:54 PM
Being selfish =/= equal rational self interest.

If you are an adventurer you depend on other adventurers to keep you alive AND to make you rich / powerful / famous.

Planning the future around the idea that you might decide to ditch your current party members, who have proven themselves both loyal and competent, to join up with a group of unproven randos isn't really rational.

Of course it does. Other people die, retire, change alignments, get transferred, take an arrow to the knee, etc etc. Assuming the people who happen to be around you on this particular life and death mission will always and forever be around you on every life and death mission is ridiculous. You certainly dont do that in the real military.

Nevermind life expectancy, which varies widely just in terms of natural lifespan in most game systems.

These people are almost all MORE THEN LIKELY to disappear at some point. Along with the stuff you made for them.

Plus, you probably just joined up with a group of randos in session 1 the way most games start. So if it worked out okay the first time why assume you would do a worse job now that your older, wiser and more powerful?

If anything your likely to find a much better group of randos now that you know more about what to look for.

Logically the only really smart thing to do is take your money, ditch the group, and hold auditions for replacements for the new group you start as the leader. And then because your not a desparate, broke rookie anymore you should stay in the lair and send those new rookies out on their own missions, and be very careful about your risk vs reward when choosing those missions and horde your gold like scrooge mdduck.

In short you already made it buddy. Wealthy and powerful. Why are you still wandering around with these homeless murderbots anyway? Your only in it for the moolah. Its time to wisely invest what you have and sit around getting fat and comfortable.

GloatingSwine
2019-04-01, 03:09 AM
Logarithmic costs have worked fine for years. Rewards and crafting abilities increase at roughly the same rate, so you do keep pace, but people can and do occasionally push ahead into the next tier.

That being said, I am still adjusting costs, and the logarithmic scale is unlikely to stay in the game.

I'm finding it hard to think of an example of anyone using logarithmic cost.

Exponential, yes. Logarithmic, no.



As for the D&D metaphor, magic weapons also give a bonus to hit. If your damage is increasing from other sources, for example feats or stat increases, you might actually get a larger bonus out of each plus as hit is multiplicative damage is additive.

Again though that has diminishing returns. If your chance to hit is 50% and you add 5% (+0 to +1) then you've gotten a 10% benefit. If your chance to hit is 55% and you add 5% (+1 to +2) you've gotten a 9% benefit, and so on.

Diminishing returns plus increasing costs are enough of a balancing factor to not need to have the costs increase to "I'm only doing this ever out of spite" levels.

Satinavian
2019-04-01, 03:40 AM
I'm finding it hard to think of an example of anyone using logarithmic cost.

Exponential, yes. Logarithmic, no.
Oh, i have played (and designed) some of those systems.
You do that if you really want to encourage cooperation and want to have impressive large scale projects without individuals being all that powerful on their own and unprepared. It is a system where small increases in ability or max resources you could handle always multiplies your power. It can be quite fun as long as there are hard, difficult to raise caps on the maximum cost you can handle.

But yes, what has been described here sounds more like exponential cost not logarithmic. But there might be a similar benefit for cooperation scaling.

Edreyn
2019-04-01, 05:43 AM
I admit - I only read a few posts on the first page.
So, what I'd do?

I would allow both players to keep what they crafted, but warn that it will be only this time. And for the future, I'd suggest player's vote, if things like choosing for another person are allowed.

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 08:58 AM
Of course it does. Other people die, retire, change alignments, get transferred, take an arrow to the knee, etc etc. Assuming the people who happen to be around you on this particular life and death mission will always and forever be around you on every life and death mission is ridiculous. You certainly dont do that in the real military.

Nevermind life expectancy, which varies widely just in terms of natural lifespan in most game systems.

These people are almost all MORE THEN LIKELY to disappear at some point. Along with the stuff you made for them.

Plus, you probably just joined up with a group of randos in session 1 the way most games start. So if it worked out okay the first time why assume you would do a worse job now that your older, wiser and more powerful?

If anything your likely to find a much better group of randos now that you know more about what to look for.

Logically the only really smart thing to do is take your money, ditch the group, and hold auditions for replacements for the new group you start as the leader. And then because your not a desparate, broke rookie anymore you should stay in the lair and send those new rookies out on their own missions, and be very careful about your risk vs reward when choosing those missions and horde your gold like scrooge mdduck.

In short you already made it buddy. Wealthy and powerful. Why are you still wandering around with these homeless murderbots anyway? Your only in it for the moolah. Its time to wisely invest what you have and sit around getting fat and comfortable.

Keep in mind that we are only talking about about equipment for use in the field here, not take home pay or anything like that.

If one of your allies dies their gear will likely stay in the group and be repurposed for their replacement. Depending on the setup people might not even be take their gear with them when they leave the party.

Likewise, a competent party directly increases each individual member's chance to survive and to get rich, and suceeding on their missions also likely helps with intangibles like one's reputation and the furthering of their cause.

Its pretty hard to argue that giving your bodyguard the best armor or your medic the best drugs / surgical tools doesn't directly translate into increasing your own odds of survival.

Now, the default assumption for an RPG is that the party will stick together and that they are all roughly equally competant. Whatever the in character explanation for this is, it is an in character fact.

I typically require the players to have some bond beyond merely meeting in a tavern, friends, family, lovers, a shard patron, etc. Likewise I typically pnly have one high level party operating in any given region at any given time, which is going to be either the PCs or their direct rivals.

The idea that you are a hot stuff rich and famous high level character while your party is a bunch of low level random schlubs just isn't borne out by the reality of being a PC, and even if your party wasn't on the same playing field, who is to say that they are the ones holding you back? Competance aside, our hypothetical miserly borderline sociopath is probably the one who is the liability to the party.



I'm finding it hard to think of an example of anyone using logarithmic cost.

Exponential, yes. Logarithmic, no.




Again though that has diminishing returns. If your chance to hit is 50% and you add 5% (+0 to +1) then you've gotten a 10% benefit. If your chance to hit is 55% and you add 5% (+1 to +2) you've gotten a 9% benefit, and so on.

Diminishing returns plus increasing costs are enough of a balancing factor to not need to have the costs increase to "I'm only doing this ever out of spite" levels.

Logorithmic costs have worked fine for me for years, althohgh I am still tinkering ith the implementation the concept seems to be fine for my purposes.

It isnt just used for spite, characters can and do craft next tier items on occasion, its just that in this case the player in question is choosing to spite his allies for having the audicity to play his character while he was away.

In my experiance, Neither exponential costs or diminishing returns are enough to dissuade people from just putting everything they have into pumping up their main piece of gear (usually a weapon) to the expense of everything else they own, let alone their companions.

zinycor
2019-04-01, 10:36 AM
I agree with gepetto, that is a difference focal outcome, and a valid way to have a character behave on a book. However in play, it doesn't work, the structure of the game, the expected behaviour from everyone at the table, reign supreme.

If one of your players isn't willing to play as a team player, and others do, then he should leave, maybe find a different group that would fit him better.

You and the other players are here to have fun/a good time, if this player gets on the way of that, kick him out.

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 11:38 AM
I agree with gepetto, that is a difference focal outcome, and a valid way to have a character behave on a book. However in play, it doesn't work, the structure of the game, the expected behaviour from everyone at the table, reign supreme.

Just to clarify; Which part do you agree with? And which part works for a book but not a game?


I guess my argument boils down to that when you are part of a group of 3-6 people and that group frequently engages in life or death situations, what is optimal for the group and what is optimal for the individual are typically one and the same.

In a society with millions of people are few selfish sociopaths can benefit greatly be fleecing the populace, but if you have a significant portion of the society doing so its going to be worth for everyone involed, including themselves.

NichG
2019-04-01, 11:55 AM
It would be good to separate your own ideas of what constitutes optimal rational behavior from your role as an arbitrator. 'You were using your agency suboptimally' isn't an appropriate DM response to a player saying 'I don't like it when my agency over my character is interfered with'. It's potentially a fair point for another player to make since they are captive to the suboptimal behavior, but not for the DM.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 12:01 PM
Just to clarify; Which part do you agree with? And which part works for a book but not a game?


I guess my argument boils down to that when you are part of a group of 3-6 people and that group frequently engages in life or death situations, what is optimal for the group and what is optimal for the individual are typically one and the same.

In a society with millions of people are few selfish sociopaths can benefit greatly be fleecing the populace, but if you have a significant portion of the society doing so its going to be worth for everyone involed, including themselves.

What neither one of is doing is creating a believable character. A real, believable character has an OUT. A plan for the day they will stop adventuring.

They dont plan to just endlessly fight until something manages to kill them. Or they are hobbling out of the old adventurers home on arthritic knees with a walker and a colostomy bag hoarsely yelling "charge the orcs".

Believable, realistic characters know that this whole adventurer thing is temporary. And they have some plans for when they are going to quit and what they are going to do at that time. And intelligent, believable characters, just like intelligent people take steps along the way to prepare for that day.

Which for them means a day when the most important thing in life isnt how many plusses someone has on a to hit roll or how great their buddies armor is. When your retired and sitting in your little keep surrounded by baby PC's and retainers, and your biggest worry is whether bob the blacksmith paid you his taxes or not what good is that magic sword you wasted time crafting for someone else doing? Its long gone with them. If you made yourself a better thingamajig instead thats something you can pass down to the grandkids, give to the captain of your homeguard to use, or just sell after a bad crop to balance your budget.

The only way it makes sense to craft for other people is as part of a trade where they are giving you something of equal value.

Pelle
2019-04-01, 12:06 PM
Logorithmic costs have worked fine for me for years, althohgh I am still tinkering ith the implementation the concept seems to be fine for my purposes.

It isnt just used for spite, characters can and do craft next tier items on occasion, its just that in this case the player in question is choosing to spite his allies for having the audicity to play his character while he was away.

In my experiance, Neither exponential costs or diminishing returns are enough to dissuade people from just putting everything they have into pumping up their main piece of gear (usually a weapon) to the expense of everything else they own, let alone their companions.

If it's logarithmic costs, one +2 item is cheaper than two +1 items, right? How is that supposed to encourage teamwork? If so it makes sense that the player wants to spend his resources to increase his +1 to +2 instead of helping out his friend to make a more expensive new +1...

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 12:15 PM
It would be good to separate your own ideas of what constitutes optimal rational behavior from your role as an arbitrator. 'You were using your agency suboptimally' isn't an appropriate DM response to a player saying 'I don't like it when my agency over my character is interfered with'. It's potentially a fair point for another player to make since they are captive to the suboptimal behavior, but not for the DM.

Agreed.

But at the time the player was absent and in at case I dont see anything wrong wit OKing what I see as optimal behavior barring explicit instructions to the contrary.

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 12:18 PM
If it's logarithmic costs, one +2 item is cheaper than two +1 items, right? How is that supposed to encourage teamwork? If so it makes sense that the player wants to spend his resources to increase his +1 to +2 instead of helping out his friend to make a more expensive new +1...

I may be using logarithmic differently.

I am used to it being used in things like pH and the richter scale where every whole number is ten times the magnitude of the previous.

So in this case a plus two sword is worh as much as ten plus one sword and a plus three sword is worth as much as ten plis two swords or a hundred plus one swords.

zinycor
2019-04-01, 12:21 PM
Just to clarify; Which part do you agree with? And which part works for a book but not a game?


I guess my argument boils down to that when you are part of a group of 3-6 people and that group frequently engages in life or death situations, what is optimal for the group and what is optimal for the individual are typically one and the same.

In a society with millions of people are few selfish sociopaths can benefit greatly be fleecing the populace, but if you have a significant portion of the society doing so its going to be worth for everyone involed, including themselves.

If the selfish guy doesn't care for this group as anything else than group he is currently with... then he doesn't care about them, or manipulating them.

From that perspective, if the group finds a big pile of loot, then it should distributed equally (if not more for the selfish guy) .

After all, what does he care about the "party" or it's effectiveness, he is looking out only for number 1.

Again, fine character for a book, not so much a game.

Quertus
2019-04-01, 12:24 PM
I admit - I only read a few posts on the first page.
So, what I'd do?

I would allow both players to keep what they crafted, but warn that it will be only this time. And for the future, I'd suggest player's vote, if things like choosing for another person are allowed.

This parallels what I believe is the most popular (and best) base opinion on the matter: give them stuff, then discuss the problem.

I think that there's a cool "social contract" that's worth reading (I can't do links to individual posts from my phone, sorry) - but not worth signing (some people, such as myself (and, the OP suspects, his players) would balk at that particular notion). It's long, but it's a good read for "here's what you might want to discuss in Session 0", and one particular group's answers to those questions.


It would be good to separate your own ideas of what constitutes optimal rational behavior from your role as an arbitrator. 'You were using your agency suboptimally' isn't an appropriate DM response to a player saying 'I don't like it when my agency over my character is interfered with'. It's potentially a fair point for another player to make since they are captive to the suboptimal behavior, but not for the DM.

I'm... torn. On the one hand, I completely agree with you. OTOH, I wonder if the GM couldn't wear both hats. Could a GM say, "as GM, I agree that this usurped your agency, and we need to fix this. But, as a tactician, this wasn't an idiotic use of your actions, was it?"

Of course, it depends on what you're optimizing, I suppose, as I segue to the next post.


What neither one of is doing is creating a believable character. A real, believable character has an OUT. A plan for the day they will stop adventuring.

They dont plan to just endlessly fight until something manages to kill them. Or they are hobbling out of the old adventurers home on arthritic knees with a walker and a colostomy bag hoarsely yelling "charge the orcs".

Believable, realistic characters know that this whole adventurer thing is temporary. And they have some plans for when they are going to quit and what they are going to do at that time. And intelligent, believable characters, just like intelligent people take steps along the way to prepare for that day.

Which for them means a day when the most important thing in life isnt how many plusses someone has on a to hit roll or how great their buddies armor is. When your retired and sitting in your little keep surrounded by baby PC's and retainers, and your biggest worry is whether bob the blacksmith paid you his taxes or not what good is that magic sword you wasted time crafting for someone else doing? Its long gone with them. If you made yourself a better thingamajig instead thats something you can pass down to the grandkids, give to the captain of your homeguard to use, or just sell after a bad crop to balance your budget.

The only way it makes sense to craft for other people is as part of a trade where they are giving you something of equal value.

Hmmm... So, do your characters (or the subset of your characters with this particular mindset) ever optimize their chance to survive to retirement by helping their party members?

It seems that things like "your life" or "the willingness to sacrifice themselves to save you" would be more than "equal value" for making other people items.

Let alone that the whole party is craters, so... seems like that would be as thing.

OP - what's the current "player X made for player Y" ratios looking like in your group? Ie, is the one player an island, who has made 100% of their own gear, gotten nothing from anyone else, and made nothing for anyone else? If 5 PCs, had everyone spent 20% of their time creating for each PC? Etc. What do these numbers actually look like at your table?

Pelle
2019-04-01, 01:33 PM
I may be using logarithmic differently.

I am used to it being used in things like pH and the richter scale where every whole number is ten times the magnitude of the previous.

So in this case a plus two sword is worh as much as ten plus one sword and a plus three sword is worth as much as ten plis two swords or a hundred plus one swords.

Yeah, that was what I initially thought you did. I think that would be exponential costs as GloatingSwine said, i.e. cost = 10^modifier etc. Logarithmic is the inverse of exponential, and logarithmic scale is used for pH and so on as you said, to linearize exponential concentrations.

So, exponential cost, and I guess you could call it logarithmic increase in the modifier with resources invested instead (modifier =log [resources])...

Lord Torath
2019-04-01, 01:44 PM
I think that there's a cool "social contract" that's worth reading (I can't do links to individual posts from my phone, sorry) - but not worth signing (some people, such as myself (and, the OP suspects, his players) would balk at that particular notion). It's long, but it's a good read for "here's what you might want to discuss in Session 0", and one particular group's answers to those questions.Here' I'll re-post the social contract, complete with the author's (D+1) full introduction. The only modifications I have made to this is to remove some of his swearing (I trust he will find it in his heart to forgive me for this).D&D Manifesto
Occasional bumps in play after adopting the 3rd Edition rules led me to realize that players are just not always operating on the same page as I am. What I say/mean and what they hear/understand are often quite different things. All DMís face similar problems to one degree or another. Everyone has different ideas of what the approach of a DM or player should be to the game so they may have erroneous assumptions about what those approaches actually ARE. No matter how many years youíve been discussing rules and little bits of "game philosophy" what you have specifically in mind and what your players understand to be the case are, too often, two very different beasts. Though it had always been a consistent issue before then, in 3rd Edition this produced highly undesirable arguments with players over in-game situations that I decided could and SHOULD have been avoided by communicating with my players as much as I did with people online about D&D. So, I decided to more formally set out some principles of what I think my job is as DM. Itís what I think is the job of every DM. Itís the "rights and responsibilities" of everyone including players. Itís the differences between what the DM can do, should try to do, and is obligated to do.
This document is based on discussions I have read and participated in for decades now on the internet - including before there was even a World Wide Web. Any number of personal conversations and game situations over decades of playing have also contributed, as have my own independent study of the issues. I havenít personally experienced everything discussed below, but everybody will have seen some part of it in their games and faced resolving the issues created.
You may believe differently than I do on specific issues. This isnít meant to be a full-blown set of house rules, but a general philosophy to be basing house rules upon. Itís a "same page" for all the participants to work from regardless of the specific rules a DM later applies. As such, when it is edited to fit YOUR ideas it should make a good companion to any collection of house rules you assemble. Discuss it with players. Get their input. Add, modify, delete. I'm not trying to dictate to you how to play - I'm just telling you that you need to have this discussion with your gaming group before you start playing so you can begin and maintain an open dialogue.
I realize that it is LONG. I've tried to keep it as concise as possible while still being clear, but I believe it's important to cover ALL these items. The ones you think don't need to be mentioned may just be the ones that turn out to be more important than the others. I will even suggest that you go so far as to read it aloud before beginning any campaign. If you're running an open game such as at a game store then read it at the beginning of every session and/or have print copies that can be handed out. Have players read along and take them home, and give them your email address so they can provide feedback. If a new player joins the campaign in progress then have THEM read it aloud so there can be no excuses. It will also provide a DM with the ability to say, "We will now re-read the Manifesto because somebody at the table needs to be reminded of what it says." Heck, just add a last line that reads:
"By signing this document, or even by simply agreeing to play in the game which is informed and governed by this document, I agree to abide by its precepts (even if I disagree with some of them) and accept that I will be asked to leave if I cannot or will not do so."
... and have them sign it.
________________________________________
1. The first job of everyone playing the game is to enjoy it. It is the whole point to the exercise. If you're not having fun why are you here?
2. Be constructive. If you're not having fun try to do something about it. Donít be disruptive in the process. You are there to enjoy yourself, but not to be passively entertained, and not at the expense of others at the table. Active participation is a necessary component - as is your maturity and restraint.
3. Communicate DANG IT! If you aren't having fun as a player, even though you may think it's very obvious, it's quite possible the DM or other players aren't going to know unless you say something. If youíre not enjoying your experience as DM you donít have to put up with it. Nobody can force you to run a game. Sometimes you become the DM just because everyone else wants to avoid the job more than you do, but remember that no one can take advantage of you without your permission. If you have a problem with ANYTHING in the game: rules, behavior of a player, etc. then SAY SO! ESP is not a standard human ability.
4. The day a DM can't deal with a helpful suggestion or even hard, sincere criticism from players about the campaign is the day the DM needs to give up the chair. The game does not revolve around stroking the DM's ego.
5. A campaign is not absolutely under a DM's control. When PCs take actions within the campaign the campaign needs to adjust to take those actions into account. Through their characters actions the players WILL make changes to the game, therefore the DM cannot and should not attempt to force the campaign to go ONLY in directions he planned for because the freedom that is necessary for player characters can and will foil prearranged plans.
6. Things do not always go as the DM plans (see #5). For this reason among others the DM should really not be seeking to dictate a story. The only way to get characters to play out the story the DM believes they should play out is to force them to. Campaigns are about the player characters. They weave stories created and heavily influenced by the characters actions. D&D wasn't intended to be a game where player characters were simply plugged into a story preordained by the DM and then required to go through the motions to fulfill it. You must provide opportunity for the characters to do things yet not constantly try to control what they do to fit what you wanted. DM's should keep their stinking noses out of EVERY decision that a player makes for a PC unless it's absolutely necessary to maintain order, or specific in-game rules suspend a players control over his characters actions.
7. Danger levels: The most satisfying combats are usually the ones that take characters right to the edge of death, with the very real danger of death being present, yet without actually crossing that threshold unnecessarily. But not only is the game designed to randomize events but even small differences in so many areas combine to make it impossible to plan perfectly. Combat encounters are never a sure thing regardless of how meticulously designed they are. So, while the edge of disaster is the most exciting place to be it is also is the most likely way for events to slip out of control. This is just something that needs to be kept in mind by everyone.
8. A DM who truly sets out to deliberately kill the PCs has no business being a DM. The DM has at all times and in all ways the ability to kill the PCs whenever he bloody well feels like it, so if the DM's does intend to kill the characters what kind of fun is that for anybody? A DM who gets his jollies by thoughtlessly causing players to lose favorite characters and create new ones which they know will stand no better chance of long-term survival doesn't deserve the patience his players undoubtedly have to give him. If the DM is running combats at the edge of danger where the fun is (see #7) then PCs will occasionally die anyway. See also # 17.
9. Even given #ís 7 and 8 above it is still in everybody's interest for a campaign to have places, creatures, or encounters that the PCs are not actually able to defeat. It gives a campaign world a needed aura that it does not exist purely for the benefit of the PCs but has a life of its own. Without it the world becomes a place where the dangers within it always scale precisely - and therefore unrealistically - to the PCsí capabilities. There is never anything like a real "Canyon of Doom" or legendarily undefeatable monster if its power is always adjusted to what the PCs can immediately handle.
10. Given #9 (that there are people and places that the PCs cannot and should not face) part of the DM's job is to make sure that the players and their characters are suitably warned about lethal dangers. That goes back to #8 Ė that it is never the DM's job to set out to kill the characters. It is the playersí responsibility to pay attention to those warnings without anyone needing to break character. But if the characters ignore warnings (for whatever reason) the DM is then justified in applying what he actually knows to be lethal force in an encounter. Still doesn't mean he should, just that it canít really be held against him if he does. What this means for players is that the bull-headed notion of always fighting to the death, never retreating, and never surrendering will ultimately lead only to a TPK (total party kill) which is no fun for anyone.
11. Fair Play: It is generally in the interest of "fair play" for the DM to have the rest of his campaign world operating largely under the same rules that the PCs do. PCs and NPCs should have much the same limitations and open possibilities, but to get fanatical about "being fair" in this regard is not in anyone's interests either. It would mean that the DM is restricted in creating new and interesting challenges for the characters. While there are innumerable options within the existing rules, being allowed to create new rules, singular exceptions to rules, and even things that would not otherwise be possible under the known rules is a DM's prerogative. Only if the DM overuses or abuses this privilege are the players being cheated in any way. The "rules" never have, and never will, contain the absolute answers for everything in a campaign. It may also be that the DM needs to explain some changes up front. Fair play also applies between players. Characters are inherently unequal - in ANY version of the rules - and cannot be made equal; not by balancing feats, skills and abilities; not by everyone having identical ability scores; not even by everyone using completely identical characters because player skill and choice makes a difference too. Enjoyment of the game should not rely on NOBODY possibly having more fun than you at a given time. If it does then you're too immature for MY games. The DM needs only to try to make sure that the gap between one PC and another isn't TOO excessive.
12. As a corollary to #11, the players and their characters are not always bound by "the rules" in what they can do (or at least in what they can attempt.) There simply isnít a rule for everything. One of a DM's biggest jobs is adjudication and adaptation of rules to the many situations that arise within a game. So by definition PCs can at least attempt to do things outside of the rules. In fact they generally get extra credit for such creativity (unless they make themselves a pest by constantly trying to do things not covered by the rules). To then deny the same privilege to the DM would be silly; to expect the DM to religiously follow rules when the players donít.
13. The dice donít run the game - the DM does. There are many charts, tables, formulae, etc for DMs to use in running the game. Naturally, using dice produces random results - at least as random as the tables and charts allow. The game, however, is not LIMITED to the dictates of charts and tables which is why there is the position of DM at all. I feel that not only is the DM free to expand or restrict the tables and formulae, but that he is free to alter dice rolls as well. At least those rolls that would negatively affect the PCs. A little of that (very little!) goes a long way and just because you can doesnít mean that you should. To fudge things in the favor of the players is a useful tool to have as long as appropriate consequences of BAD decisions by the players or their characters are not being removed as a result. This is a DM's escape clause so it should be used only when as a DM you NEED (not just want) to alter results. To arbitrarily adjust results against the PCs is not a good idea at all. It often serves no purpose but to enforce a preconceived conclusion that the DM has Ė that the DM wants to force the PCs to conform to his personal vision, meaning that the players control of their own characters is rendered pointless. Remember that as DM it is your job to lose to the PCs - A LOT. I have found that slavish obedience to the dice and their results is too often just an attempt to dodge the responsibilities of the DM as primary instigator of a fun, interesting, and exciting game. The DM already has vast latitude; he can arbitrarily decide how many and how often dice rolls get made as well as many of the modifiers that would affect them. To then say that he must always, unwaveringly accept dice rolls only as-is or else be branded "unfair" or even a cheat is ludicrous. Similarly, there may be times when players should NOT have to roll to succeed regardless of what the rules say. See also # 18.
14. The DM is certainly not required to roll his dice in the open and should normally be discouraged from doing so. There may be factors at work behind the screen that the players should not, and need not be able to deduce by meta-game mathematics. Players and/or their characters will not always know every bonus and penalty that can and is being applied. Also, given #13, it prevents the DM from attempting to work things in the PCsí favor without unnecessarily revealing that heís doing so. Players on the other hand should always roll their dice openly. Nothing is kept secret from the DM because the DM needs, and still has adjudication and veto power - the precise details for which are not necessarily important for players to know. The only situation I can think of where a player can hide his rolls is as regards another player - but even then the DM still has authority to see all rolls, even if all the players don't.
15. Differences of Opinion About Rules: Conventional wisdom suggests that whenever it is at all feasible rules-lawyering should be kept to a minimum during the game. Players should concisely state the substance of objections, the DM should make a ruling after listening to all sides, and if players take exception to the ruling it should be noted - but then play should proceed. If a DM is not out to screw the players but to simply provide the best game possible there are very few problems whose minutia could not wait until later (even until after the session is over) to hash out. Also, the DM is not perfect and not everything he rules on in a game should be considered a new law graven in stone. If they make mistakes and change their minds later it doesnít mean everything from earlier events needs to be "retconned." See #16 below.
16. Retconning or Retcon is short for Retroactive Continuity. It means to "turn back time" to the point where a mistake was made and begin playing again from that point. When bad rulings, oversights, meta-game complications, or bad/boring plots go REALLY bad this is one way to fix things, but it is never very satisfying. If things have not degenerated too far it may be best to handle things this way, but there comes a certain point where it is better to simply accept what has taken place - no matter how stupidly or badly it was done - take it in stride and move forward. The level of screw-up that leads to taking this route always seems to involve a character's death making resolution of the problem more emotionally charged for players than would normally be the case.
17. The DM is not there to formally oppose the players despite what you may read in comics. He is there to provide the world for the characters, things for them to do within it, and to adjudicate their actions. If the DM sees himself as the opponent for the players Ė he wins. The only question then is how tedious and humiliating an experience he makes it for the players. He gets to make up anything and everything that the characters encounter. There is no ability for the players to trump that, so there can be no purely antagonistic position between players and DM without the DM simply being a gigantic ass.
18. Characters die. They can Ė and should Ė occasionally die permanently. It is my firm belief that resurrection magic is in the game only because it is so easy for characters to die and playing on the edge of disaster is more fun and exciting (see #7), but unless permanent character death is more than just a theoretical possibility that never really occurs there is no fear of death and playing "on the edge" is meaningless. Players must accept the real possibility that a favorite character can and will die permanently and that the DM canít predict when and who it will be. Very seldom will a character even be able to willingly go out in a cinematic blaze of glory. Such things are simply very hard to engineer because the game isn't designed to facilitate it without just throwing all rules to the wind and narrating a predetermined outcome.
19. Players must learn the rules. Nobody needs to pass a rules knowledge test or memorize it all - not even the DM - but it's more than reasonable to expect that players read the entire Players Handbook and be able to understand it. Anyone new to the game needs to accept that they will need to do a lot of reading and put some effort into learning the game, and there is a lot of information they need to absorb right from the start. The basics of the game can be taught in short order, perhaps an hour or at most one game session. After a few sessions of play they should NOT require having basics repeatedly explained. Only if the DM informs players up front that the rules DON'T MATTER, or the player actually has learning disabilities is anyone excused from achieving a general, functional knowledge of the game. Older editions in particular have elements that are confused or questions left unanswered. DMs are required to fill in those gaps in ways suitable to their game. Players should accept that not everything has a single, easy answer or definition.
20. Regarding "Table Rules": Wherever the game session is taking place respect the host and the hosts property. Don't make a mess. Clean it up if you do. Behave. You are a GUEST so act accordingly. Assist the host and/or DM in getting others to respect the Table Rules. Sadly, it is necessary to state that this includes being mindful of your own hygiene. Just because nobody tells you, "You stink!" doesn't mean that you don't. They may want to tell you so but are TOO polite to do so, they don't know how to do it tactfully, or rightly fear that it will be taken for an insult rather than an appropriate reaction to YOUR social offensiveness. This means bathe/shower before a game, wear clean clothes, and brush your teeth. Any simple request that you clean yourself up, stop interrupting, stop being an ass, pay attention to the game instead of the phone/computer/book/your navel lint/etc. must NOT be considered an insult. It will be considered a FAVOR to you; an opportunity to better yourself as a person if not as a player. A simple, direct apology and CORRECTION of the situation is all that should be necessary. Players are typically responsible for their own food, drinks, etc. unless arrangements are made ahead of time. It is BASIC manners to reciprocate other players hospitality if/when it comes to be your turn to host the game. If you so desire or cannot afford to do so then advise people well ahead of time so that other arrangements can be made.
21. There are some game rules which despite being rules are subject to wide interpretation. What alignment means to you and how it works is probably chief among these. Paladins and their obligations are related and a close second. How certain feats actually function, or maybe just what you will and won't allow players/PCs to do are variables. These things MUST be clarified at the start and perhaps even occasionally restated - even if you go by the book. Really, this should be assumed under #3 but communication (or lack thereof) is the single most common cause of ALL problems in D&D. The DM should not always assume the players know what he wants, how he interprets things, or runs things. These things must be TOLD to players early and often to eliminate misunderstandings and arguments. If players are not given this information then they should demand it - and if it isn't provided they must not be held to fault for implementing their own interpretations.
22. Players are obliged to be fair and reasonable to other players, as well as for their characters to act likewise towards other PCs. There is no excuse for either you or your character to be an ass. NONE. The only exception being if the ALL the players are mature enough for their characters to be openly antagonistic of each other, and that the DM has made it clear from the start that such behavior is to be allowed, as well as how it will be kept in line. This is NOT an unreasonable restriction upon roleplaying but is, in fact, a very basic supposition of the game: the PCs, an often radically diverse party of individuals, nonetheless DO adventure together for money, glory, and other mutually agreeable ends. This means that right from the start, as a player you are largely obliged to find reasons for your character to LIKE the other PCs, not openly antagonize them. It means that no player gets to dictate to the other players the circumstances of their participation in the game in general; no character gets to dictate to another character how they are to be treated in the adventuring party, nor may an exclusive collection of two or more players/characters exert such control over one or more others. The DM is obliged to maintain this atmosphere of civility and cooperation, or, if it has been agreed by all beforehand to allow crossing that line, he is obliged to keep in and out-of-character attitudes and behavior from becoming disruptive.
23. The DM is not required to allow a character to actually play out in the game anything that the player wants. What that means is that particularly if the player is about to do something the DM feels is either really stupid or openly disruptive he should stop the game and get clarification or correction before proceeding. For example, if a character is about to kill an NPC for no reason, then rather than allow it to happen the DM should stop the player and find out what's going on. Determine the player's/character's motive. If the players response is unsatisfactory he should DISALLOW the action from taking place at all and let play proceed from THAT point instead of proceeding from the point AFTER the disruptive act has been allowed to occur and trying to pick up the pieces. Communication flows both ways and the DM does not need to act as if players should be forbidden to ever knows what goes on in a DM's mind or behind the DM shield. When a DM makes rulings there is no reason not to freely explain why he rules as he does unless there is in-game information involved that PCs should not be privy to. DMs should be capable of providing explanations for their rulings beyond, "because I said so."
24. The players run their characters - the DM does NOT. Unless players are being disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive the DM should keep his stinking paws off controlling the PCs. The DM does not dictate what the PCs do except if some form of in-game magical control has removed it from the player (such as charm, or lycanthropy) - and then the DM needs to be VERY judicious about what he does with the character. The ONE THING players get to control in the game is the attempted actions of their characters. DMs should interfere with that control only in extremis and with great care and caution even then. This extends to not interfering with treasure distribution. Although the DM determines what treasure is found it must generally be left up to the players and their characters to determine how it is distributed - unless it is done so badly as to be disruptive or patently unfair to other players.
1. Weíre here to have fun.
2. Be constructive, not destructive, to other players (including the DM).
3. Communicate!
4. DM should be able to take constructive criticism.
5. DM should adjust the campaign based on actions of the PCs.
6. DM should not railroad the story.
7. Combat is most exciting when itís dangerous.
8. DM should not deliberately try to kill PCs, but PCs will probably die occasionally.
9. Itís good to have places/things too powerful for the PCs to defeat.
10. DM needs to communicate when things are too powerful for the PCs to defeat.
11. NPCs should generally follow the same rules the PCs use. But only generally.
12. PCs should be able to attempt things not covered in the rules.
13. The DM runs the game, not the dice.
14. DM is not required to roll dice in the open (but he can if he wants to).
15. Donít interrupt the game with long rules arguments.
16. Retcons are to be avoided, but may be used in extreme circumstances.
17. DM shouldnít try to ďwinĒ by beating the players.
18. Characters will occasionally die Ė permanently.
19. Players should learn the rules of the game.
20. Treat your host with respect, use good personal hygiene, and chip in for/provide your own food and drink (according to arrangements made by your group).
21. Alignment and paladin codes need to be clearly communicated to the players. If players do something ďagainst codeĒ, assume they forgot, and give them a refresher and a chance to change their action.
22. Donít be a jerk OoC, or IC unless itís agreed on beforehand.
23. DM can prohibit disruptive PC actions.
24. Players run the PCs, the DM does not.

Regarding having players unwilling to sign this document, the main idea here is to adjust the document so that your players are comfortable signing it. You get everyone around the table with some snacks and go through the document point-by-point and see how everyone feels about it. Make whatever changes your group feels are necessary. Some groups have DMs roll in the open. In that case, Point 14 will need to be changed. Some groups might disagree with Point 13. Some groups might want to add a Point 25: Behavior of PCs when their player misses a session. Maybe a Point 26: How romantic interactions will or will not be roleplayed/resolved at the table. The point is, you get everyone to agree what "meta rules" you will play by so everyone knows what's expected of them. Then you can call out players (and DMs) who are violating it. "Hang on, you agreed to abide by these rules, but you're currently doing this, which violates Point X. Stop it!"

NichG
2019-04-01, 02:17 PM
Agreed.

But at the time the player was absent and in at case I dont see anything wrong wit OKing what I see as optimal behavior barring explicit instructions to the contrary.

Given that the player then explained 'I am not okay with you acting on my behalf in my absence if it costs me resources', the correct response as an arbitrator for the group is then to say 'Oh okay, I understand that now, I will respect that moving forward' (or at least 'okay, I acknowledge that from your point of view this wasn't kosher but there's also the issue that game has to run in your absence, so we have to find a compromise solution'). What I hear from the focus on the optimality point (whether you mean to say this or not) is: 'I was right to do it, and how you feel doesn't matter because it was wrong from this particular objective point of view that I like'.



I'm... torn. On the one hand, I completely agree with you. OTOH, I wonder if the GM couldn't wear both hats. Could a GM say, "as GM, I agree that this usurped your agency, and we need to fix this. But, as a tactician, this wasn't an idiotic use of your actions, was it?"


In this case, I think focusing on the optimality part of this discussion is at best just sort of venting, but at worst it's a way of trying to avoid the problem by focusing on something objective and 'easy' to argue where it's possible to win or be right or wrong, versus a difficult social situation in which there are going to be uneasy compromises. If that desire to just make the situation go away carries over to interactions with the player, that's going to be a bad thing.

Of course as a DM you can tell the player that you think something is a suboptimal action. But it's another matter to say the equivalent of 'because you want to do this suboptimal action, you lose the right to have your desires at this table respected'. If you signal that, it's kinda over.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 03:26 PM
Hmmm... So, do your characters (or the subset of your characters with this particular mindset) ever optimize their chance to survive to retirement by helping their party members?

For free? With limited resources? Absolutely not. I'll cast a spell on them. I can just go to sleep and get those back. Its effectively an infinite resource. My time and gold are not. If you want me to make something for you instead of myself with those things you had better be able to cough up something of equal value.

With a long term ally I will possibly do it in exchange for a larger share of future loot until a set GP amount has been reached.


It seems that things like "your life" or "the willingness to sacrifice themselves to save you" would be more than "equal value" for making other people items.

Nope. Because they also get that from me in combat. We are on equal terms already there. I dont also owe them labor and wealth outside of combat for it. Thats part of the social contract of soldiers in any unit. You FIGHT for each other. You dont WORK for each other.

As in my national gaurd unit gets called up, we fight together and then go home. We might get called up and fight together again. Doesnt mean when i go back to working at the car lot I need to kick part of my commission down to the sarge so that he buy a better sidearm for next time. Thats his responsibility.

Or even that i need to take part of my combat pay while we are there and buy someone else body armor if they cheaped out on us and didnt send enough for the amount of guys we had. Yes the more armored people there are the better chance we all have of being successful in combat situations. But you dont expect other people to buy you extra gear. If you want it you buy it for yourself.

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 03:41 PM
As in my national gaurd unit gets called up, we fight together and then go home. We might get called up and fight together again. Doesnt mean when i go back to working at the car lot I need to kick part of my commission down to the sarge so that he buy a better sidearm for next time. Thats his responsibility.

Or even that i need to take part of my combat pay while we are there and buy someone else body armor if they cheaped out on us and didnt send enough for the amount of guys we had. Yes the more armored people there are the better chance we all have of being successful in combat situations. But you dont expect other people to buy you extra gear. If you want it you buy it for yourself.

And if mechanic is part of your job description?

zinycor
2019-04-01, 04:57 PM
And if mechanic is part of your job description?

Huh? I don't understand your point there talakeal

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 05:06 PM
Huh? I don't understand your point there talakeal

I am saying that comparing letting your teammates use gear that you crafted for them to going out and buying things for them with your paycheck kind of fails when you consider that there are people for whom making stuff for the teammates is actually part of their job.

zinycor
2019-04-01, 05:09 PM
Well, maybe an adventurer party, that takes the whole thing more as a job, could work out nicely, as long as everyone buys into the idea that they are not in that for the family or friendship, but for the money or the job. I could see that working, you could even have a rotative cast of characters, who work under a contract, with clear responsabilities and sanctions. They could be paid instead of going for loot, that way any loot they find they should report to a superior officer, who assigns them some rewards, not necesarily related to the loot they just found.

A group of professionals, not adventurers, could be interesting, and it may apply for this particular player.


I am saying that comparing letting your teammates use gear that you crafted for them to going out and buying things for them with your paycheck kind of fails when you consider that there are people for whom making stuff for the teammates is actually part of their job.

If your job is to make those items, then yeah, but (If we are going by the logic of a job) this particular person not only needs to craft and pay for the craft, but also participate o nthe adventure, pulling double duty.

Again, most groups solve this by just being friends and caring for each other. This doesn't seem to be the case.

Example: You expect the doctor in a militar operation to do medical things, not to be on the frontline. If he goes to the frontline, is either his responsability, or you better pay him extra for doing such a thing.

Quertus
2019-04-01, 05:57 PM
@Talakeal - any estimates on "who built for whom" percentages (or, as I worded it above, the current "player X made for player Y" ratios looking like in your group? Ie, is the one player an island, who has made 100% of their own gear, gotten nothing from anyone else, and made nothing for anyone else? If 5 PCs, had everyone spent 20% of their time creating for each PC? Etc.) What do these numbers actually look like at your table?


Regarding having players unwilling to sign this document, the main idea here is to adjust the document so that your players are comfortable signing it.

It's the signing, not the document, that's the issue. I'd enjoy someone detail-oriented enough to run a thorough session 0, and to keep written records of our decisions.

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 07:19 PM
Well, maybe an adventurer party, that takes the whole thing more as a job, could work out nicely, as long as everyone buys into the idea that they are not in that for the family or friendship, but for the money or the job. I could see that working, you could even have a rotative cast of characters, who work under a contract, with clear responsabilities and sanctions. They could be paid instead of going for loot, that way any loot they find they should report to a superior officer, who assigns them some rewards, not necesarily related to the loot they just found.

A group of professionals, not adventurers, could be interesting, and it may apply for this particular player.



If your job is to make those items, then yeah, but (If we are going by the logic of a job) this particular person not only needs to craft and pay for the craft, but also participate o nthe adventure, pulling double duty.

Again, most groups solve this by just being friends and caring for each other. This doesn't seem to be the case.

Example: You expect the doctor in a military operation to do medical things, not to be on the frontline. If he goes to the frontline, is either his responsability, or you better pay him extra for doing such a thing.

Every character is (in theory) equally competent. If a guy makes a pure doctor (or craftsman) he should not fight. If the guy is making a combat medic with both combat and medical skills (as most people do because combat is more fun than sitting back at the base all day), he should do both, because neither one is going to be as good as a pure character.

I don't see why I guy who does two roles adequately should get extra pay over a specialist who does one roll excellently.

If you are purchasing skills and not using them you are making a bad character, end of story. If you are purchasing skills and refusing to use them for the good of your allies, you are also kind of a ****.

I would say this about a crafter who doesn't craft, a doctor who doesn't heal, a survivalist who doesn't forage for food, an academic who keeps his knowledge to himself, or any other player skill.



Given that the player then explained 'I am not okay with you acting on my behalf in my absence if it costs me resources', the correct response as an arbitrator for the group is then to say 'Oh okay, I understand that now, I will respect that moving forward' (or at least 'okay, I acknowledge that from your point of view this wasn't kosher but there's also the issue that game has to run in your absence, so we have to find a compromise solution'). What I hear from the focus on the optimality point (whether you mean to say this or not) is: 'I was right to do it, and how you feel doesn't matter because it was wrong from this particular objective point of view that I like'.



In this case, I think focusing on the optimality part of this discussion is at best just sort of venting, but at worst it's a way of trying to avoid the problem by focusing on something objective and 'easy' to argue where it's possible to win or be right or wrong, versus a difficult social situation in which there are going to be uneasy compromises. If that desire to just make the situation go away carries over to interactions with the player, that's going to be a bad thing.

Of course as a DM you can tell the player that you think something is a suboptimal action. But it's another matter to say the equivalent of 'because you want to do this suboptimal action, you lose the right to have your desires at this table respected'. If you signal that, it's kinda over.

Again, I agree.

If the player wants to take the suboptimal route that it his prerogative, but deciding to take the sub-optimal route simply to spite another character is venturing into dangerous territory.


TOP - what's the current "player X made for player Y" ratios looking like in your group? Ie, is the one player an island, who has made 100% of their own gear, gotten nothing from anyone else, and made nothing for anyone else? If 5 PCs, had everyone spent 20% of their time creating for each PC? Etc. What do these numbers actually look like at your table?

The barbarian is an alchemist who has crafted numerous potions. Everyone uses potions as they are a party resource, but the sorceress is very miserly and makes a point about only using consumables as a last resort.
The fighter is a metal worker who has made a hammer for himself, armor for himself and the barbarian, and an assortment of various skill tools.
The ranger is a wood worker and animal trainer who has trained her own guard bunyip as well as crafting a bow and a spear for herself and shields for the barbarian and fighter.
The sorceress has trained her own henchwoman and has assisted the rest of the party with most of their crafts.


What neither one of is doing is creating a believable character. A real, believable character has an OUT. A plan for the day they will stop adventuring.

They dont plan to just endlessly fight until something manages to kill them. Or they are hobbling out of the old adventurers home on arthritic knees with a walker and a colostomy bag hoarsely yelling "charge the orcs".

Believable, realistic characters know that this whole adventurer thing is temporary. And they have some plans for when they are going to quit and what they are going to do at that time. And intelligent, believable characters, just like intelligent people take steps along the way to prepare for that day.

Which for them means a day when the most important thing in life isnt how many plusses someone has on a to hit roll or how great their buddies armor is. When your retired and sitting in your little keep surrounded by baby PC's and retainers, and your biggest worry is whether bob the blacksmith paid you his taxes or not what good is that magic sword you wasted time crafting for someone else doing? Its long gone with them. If you made yourself a better thingamajig instead thats something you can pass down to the grandkids, give to the captain of your homeguard to use, or just sell after a bad crop to balance your budget.

The only way it makes sense to craft for other people is as part of a trade where they are giving you something of equal value.

If you are talking about it being realistic for a character to save a share of their treasure for retirement rather than putting it all back into their gear, I fully agree with you*, but that is not what I am talking about.

A guy who is only out for himself is unlikely to ever get to the point where he can retire as a successful adventurer, he is likely going to either wind up dead in a dungeon or, more likely, unable to find an adventuring party who thinks he is worth his share of the treasure over someone with a more goal oriented mind.

Now, you may see communism when I talk about pooling resources, but I don't, I see a startup company where people own shares of the venture and split profits accordingly, and that what you produce on company time is company property rather than belonging to any given individual.
Now sure, you could do a Knights of the Dinner Table style group where everyone tallies their contributions to the group and hand out shares accordingly, but imo this is a lot of extra paper work for not much fun, and imo, likely to result in much smaller shares for everyone involved as people who put lining their own pockets as a higher priority than the success of the team tends to mean a lot lower success rate.

Likewise, if someone wants to be a part of the adventuring company you look at what skills he brings to the table. Why on earth would you ever bring in a level 5 fighter / level 5 artificer (but who won't ever craft for anyone else's benefit) vs. a level 10 fighter?

In my mind, at least from a game oriented perspective, you have three priorities while adventuring:

1: Stay alive.
2: Complete the mission (be it rescuing the princess, killing the evil wizard, sealing the hell-gate, whatever)
3: Haul out as much treasure as possible.

Now, how you prioritize these will vary from person to person, but anyone who is thinking about their retirement account at the detriment of these three goals is a serious liability, and it can easily get to the point where this guy would be kicked out of any rational party but he is only there because nobody wants to kick the player from the group. See the old "but I am only doing what my character would do!" excuse.

Also, I think we might just be talking about different things; I am picturing something more like Q making gadgets for the field agents being part of his duties as quartermaster for MI6, not having a guy spend his weekends hawking his wares at the craft fair so that he can afford to buy office supplies for the failing company.

*Although, now that I think about it, most people IRL live paycheck to paycheck, as do most sword and sorcery protagonists. When your gear directly relates to your ability to survive and to earn treasure, it might actually make sense to just put everything back into your gear and then sell it all for a massive amount when you are ready to retire.

zinycor
2019-04-01, 09:07 PM
Look talakeal, I only see a few solutions to your situation here:

1- You keep playing with this group as you have so far, waiting for the next problem with assholish player to happen, then repeat again.
2- You threaten to kick the guy out, if he continues to be an *******, you kick him out (I recommend this)
3- You make the moves so there is a new social contract for the players that facilitates playing with this guy.

*Assuming the problem player is a guy.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 09:33 PM
And if mechanic is part of your job description?

Then I fix jeeps for people. I dont buy them and give them away.


I am saying that comparing letting your teammates use gear that you crafted for them to going out and buying things for them with your paycheck kind of fails when you consider that there are people for whom making stuff for the teammates is actually part of their job.

What your talking about is armorers, or engineers.

And in neither case does the person in question run out, spend their own money on parts and then put them together for free and give them away. Other people buy the parts and pay you for your labor.

The equivalent would be your character having the skills to build something a teammate doesnt so the teammate pays all the GP cost AND gives the crafter some agreed upon reward for their time and labor and then the crafter uses their skills and hands over the finished product upon payment.


Well, maybe an adventurer party, that takes the whole thing more as a job, could work out nicely, as long as everyone buys into the idea that they are not in that for the family or friendship, but for the money or the job.

I work with my actual brother, IRL. I do not expect him to show up 40 hours for free. He gets a paycheck.

Why in gods name would you assume that just because your job is fighting rather then something else that you have the right to expect friends and family to do it for you for free? Do you regularly take advantage of friends and family IRL for labor?

If anything the fact that you care for these people should make you MORE motivated to properly compensate them for their time and effort rather then less so.

"family business" is NOT a synonym for slavery.

NichG
2019-04-01, 09:55 PM
Again, I agree.

If the player wants to take the suboptimal route that it his prerogative, but deciding to take the sub-optimal route simply to spite another character is venturing into dangerous territory.


Consider a veteral player who intentionally steps on the niche of another player at the table whom they're having a disagreement with, because they know how to get the system to let them do that: "If the player wants to take the optimal route that is his prerogative, but deciding to take the optimal route simply to spite another character is venturing into dangerous territory."

The fact that one's actions would be optimal doesn't justify using IC considerations to resolve OOC disagreements any more than when the actions are suboptimal. The issue here is the OOC elements of the disagreement, not the optimality.



Now, you may see communism when I talk about pooling resources, but I don't, I see a startup company where people own shares of the venture and split profits accordingly, and that what you produce on company time is company property rather than belonging to any given individual.

For what it's worth, the startup I'm working for paid me extra when they asked me as the only native English speaker at the company to go over some translations of PR materials for them (keeping in mind, my job description for them is software development). I found it a bit surprising that they did so, but they offered without being asked and I consider it to be a better example of respectful, professional behavior that they did rather than just saying 'hey, its 9pm on Sunday but we need this out tomorrow morning, look it over for us'.

A lot of what's going on in this situation is about respect.

(I'd actually be suspicious of any startup or business that offered profit sharing as the only compensation - in high risk ventures, it's actually a very exploitative thing to do because for example the person who first initiates the project will likely do so because they feel that they are in a sufficiently secure financial position to take a few losses while waiting for a win (or may sustain themselves with other income such as investment income or income from another job). Whereas someone who is actively job-seeking rather than job-starting will more generally be in a position where they are not getting something they need to survive or thrive - at which point, any high risk elements of the venture would be disproportionally likely to wipe them out.)

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 10:04 PM
Then I fix jeeps for people. I don't buy them and give them away.

What your talking about is armorers, or engineers.

And in neither case does the person in question run out, spend their own money on parts and then put them together for free and give them away. Other people buy the parts and pay you for your labor.

The equivalent would be your character having the skills to build something a teammate doesn't so the teammate pays all the GP cost AND gives the crafter some agreed upon reward for their time and labor and then the crafter uses their skills and hands over the finished product upon payment.

I work with my actual brother, IRL. I do not expect him to show up 40 hours for free. He gets a paycheck.

Why in gods name would you assume that just because your job is fighting rather then something else that you have the right to expect friends and family to do it for you for free? Do you regularly take advantage of friends and family IRL for labor?

If anything the fact that you care for these people should make you MORE motivated to properly compensate them for their time and effort rather then less so.

"family business" is NOT a synonym for slavery.

How I typically handle it:

Your job is adventurer.

As an adventurer you are a managing partner in an adventuring party. The party may also have employees (i.e. hirelings).

Adventuring parties make most of their money as contractors as mercenaries, rescue teams, bounty hunters, and the like but also occasionally organize their own treasure hunting expeditions and sometimes even work pro-bono when the world needs saving or whatever.

As an adventurer you are expected to use whatever skills you have to ensure that:

A: The party completes its mission.
B: Everyone survives.
C: You take away as much treasure as possible.

In exchange all of your expenses (including material cost) are paid out of the party's gross profits.

You are then paid an equal share of the party's net profits.

I believe that covers everything? Except maybe the exact ratio of time spent in the field vs. time spent doing prep work vs. time spent on leave.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 10:06 PM
If you are talking about it being realistic for a character to save a share of their treasure for retirement rather than putting it all back into their gear, I fully agree with you*, but that is not what I am talking about.

Yes it is what your talking about. Making things for yourself IS putting that money away for later. Gear can be sold when its not needed anymore. Like after you stop adventuring.


A guy who is only out for himself is unlikely to ever get to the point where he can retire as a successful adventurer, he is likely going to either wind up dead in a dungeon or, more likely, unable to find an adventuring party who thinks he is worth his share of the treasure over someone with a more goal oriented mind.

Your not "all out for yourself" some some selfish prick for expecting to get paid a fair wage for your time and labor. That sounds like something an old plantation owner would say.


Now, you may see communism when I talk about pooling resources, but I don't, I see a startup company where people own shares of the venture and split profits accordingly, and that what you produce on company time is company property rather than belonging to any given individual. .

The problem is that you seem to view ALL TIME as company time. To hear you tell it if this character were to die they should raise him as a zombie and yell at him for slacking off.




Now sure, you could do a Knights of the Dinner Table style group where everyone tallies their contributions to the group and hand out shares accordingly, but imo this is a lot of extra paper work for not much fun, and imo, likely to result in much smaller shares for everyone involved as people who put lining their own pockets as a higher priority than the success of the team tends to mean a lot lower success rate..

Most groups tally things up relatively equally without the expectation of eternal slavery to the murderbot collective. And surprisingly no, it doesnt result in a lower success rate.




Likewise, if someone wants to be a part of the adventuring company you look at what skills he brings to the table. Why on earth would you ever bring in a level 5 fighter / level 5 artificer (but who won't ever craft for anyone else's benefit) vs. a level 10 fighter?

Because your a decent human being whose willing to pay him a fair wage for his labor?




Also, I think we might just be talking about different things; I am picturing something more like Q making gadgets for the field agents being part of his duties as quartermaster for MI6, not having a guy spend his weekends hawking his wares at the craft fair so that he can afford to buy office supplies for the failing company.

Q was an employee getting a paycheck. And I guarantee he wasnt running out and spending that paycheck on all the parts for those gadgets before giving them away.


*Although, now that I think about it, most people IRL live paycheck to paycheck, as do most sword and sorcery protagonists. When your gear directly relates to your ability to survive and to earn treasure, it might actually make sense to just put everything back into your gear and then sell it all for a massive amount when you are ready to retire.

Exactly. You probably keep a few choice bits to pass on to your heirs but on the whole you sell the crap you dont need and re-purpose the wealth.

zinycor
2019-04-01, 10:21 PM
I work with my actual brother, IRL. I do not expect him to show up 40 hours for free. He gets a paycheck.

Why in gods name would you assume that just because your job is fighting rather then something else that you have the right to expect friends and family to do it for you for free? Do you regularly take advantage of friends and family IRL for labor?

If anything the fact that you care for these people should make you MORE motivated to properly compensate them for their time and effort rather then less so.

"family business" is NOT a synonym for slavery.

Dude wtf? I didn't say anything of the sort. relax

Talakeal
2019-04-01, 10:22 PM
Your not "all out for yourself" some selfish prick for expecting to get paid a fair wage for your time and labor. That sounds like something an old plantation owner would say.

You are receiving an equal share of all treasure for using your skills to benefit the party. That is literally the exact same thing except that the wages are not stagnant and generally significantly higher than the standard wages that a hireling would get.

Also, its kind of funny how you went from "communism" to "slavery" when they are pretty much on the exact opposite sides of the economic spectrum. Make up your mind?


The problem is that you seem to view ALL TIME as company time. To hear you tell it if this character were to die they should raise him as a zombie and yell at him for slacking off.

Is this actually based on anything I have said or are you just letting off some steam yelling at a strawman?


Most groups tally things up relatively equally without the expectation of eternal slavery to the murder-bot collective.

Ok, so does this only apply to crafting?

If I put my skill points into fighting, I am expected to fight for standard wages. If I put my skill points into healing, I am expected to heal for the standard wage. If I put my skill points into thievery I am expected to scout and disarm traps for the standard wage. But if I am a crafter, I deserve more than anyone else because reasons? I guess because I do most of my work back at home base rather than in the field?

And again, not sure where you are getting this "eternal slavery" thing.


And surprisingly no, it doesn't result in a lower success rate.

Agreed, that is surprising. And counter to my experience.

In my experience people will engage in whatever behavior you reward.

In 2E AD&D there were optional rules for bonus XP. For example, if you killed a monster solo you got double XP, and so we made sure to only engage monsters 1 on 1, even though that was risking death for the party. Likewise we found excuses to cast all of our spells because you got bonus XP for each spell cast, even though it was much smarter to leave spells in reserve incase we got ambushed while resting.

If you were handing out shares and charging each other for various tasks I can easily see the game going in the same direction.


Because your a decent human being whose willing to pay him a fair wage for his labor?

So "decent human being" means paying someone the same wages as someone who is twice as qualified?


Q was an employee getting a paycheck. And I guarantee he wasn't running out and spending that paycheck on all the parts for those gadgets before giving them away.

Right... and the PC crafter is getting a share of the profits in exchange for his time and labor. And likewise the party is paying for all of the parts that he uses.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 10:30 PM
How I typically handle it:

Your job is adventurer.

As an adventurer you are a managing partner in an adventuring party. The party may also have employees (i.e. hirelings).

Adventuring parties make most of their money as contractors as mercenaries, rescue teams, bounty hunters, and the like but also occasionally organize their own treasure hunting expeditions and sometimes even work pro-bono when the world needs saving or whatever.

As an adventurer you are expected to use whatever skills you have to ensure that:

A: The party completes its mission.
B: Everyone survives.
C: You take away as much treasure as possible.

In exchange all of your expenses (including material cost) are paid out of the party's gross profits.

You are then paid an equal share of the party's net profits.

I believe that covers everything? Except maybe the exact ratio of time spent in the field vs. time spent doing prep work vs. time spent on leave.

Sure but the mission is only time spent ACTUALLY OUT ON A MISSION. Not every single second of your life from the minute you meet these people unto eternity.

What your talking about is crafting OUTSIDE of missions. Thats extra work on free time. Thats labor that deserves fair compensation. Furthermore your talking about making that crafter pay the out of pocket creation costs for the OVERTIME work and then just hand it over to someone else in exchange for what? A warm and fuzzy feeling?

Thats absolutely absurd and no real person would ever agree to it. Its complete metagaming.

geppetto
2019-04-01, 11:02 PM
You are receiving an equal share of all treasure for using your skills to benefit the party.

No. You are receiving an equal share for fighting with the party. On missions. NOT for selling them your soul and every minute of your life from first handshake until your dead bones have rotted and turned to dust.

What you do OUTSIDE of missions is extra. And should be compensated accordingly.



Also, its kind of funny how you went from "communism" to "slavery" when they are pretty much on the exact opposite sides of the economic spectrum. Make up your mind?

LOL umm no. Communism is absolutely the definition of slavery to the state. The only difference is who owns you.


Is this actually based on anything I have said or are you just letting off some steam yelling at a strawman?

Yes. Your describing being part of an adventuring party as being an eternal slave to the murberbot collective who own your every waking moment and everything you do with it.


Ok, so does this only apply to crafting?

If I put my skill points into fighting, I am expected to fight for standard wages. If I put my skill points into healing, I am expected to heal for the standard wage. If I put my skill points into thievery I am expected to scout and disarm traps for the standard wage.

Those things happen ON MISSION. Just like if I have to use my crafting skill to fix some machine to ON MISSION I can be expected to do it.



But if I am a crafter, I deserve more than anyone else because reasons? I guess because I do most of my work back at home base rather than in the field?

I swear your being deliberately obtuse. Which seems to be the problem with this whole situation. And most of your problem situations actually.

Back at base is FREETIME OUTSIDE OF THE MISSION. And yes, outside of the mission is my time off. And if you want me to work on my time off then you owe me money for it.

Just like if i loan some guy from the tavern money and he doesnt pay me back I dont have the right to go demand the party fighter break his legs for not having my money. If I want to hire him as muscle for my own project outside of the mission I need to pay him for it. I'm not entitled to his fighting ability on a whim just because we happen to be in a party together.




Agreed, that is surprising. And counter to my experience.

Your experience is apparently consistent, catastrophic and hilarious failure. Perhaps you should stop referring to it as something to continue to emulate in the future.

Your stories are like the Jerry Springer show of gaming.






So "decent human being" means paying someone the same wages as someone who is twice as qualified?

He isnt twice as qualified. You want something crafted and he is 0% as qualified at that. And yes btw different jobs DO get paid at different rates, have you never had a job? Cause ya know they dont all get paid the same.




And likewise the party is paying for all of the parts that he uses.

Thats not how you made it sound in the description. You made it sound like this character is paying his own GP out of pocket AND his time to craft this item for someone else.

If thats not the case then they only owe him for his OUT OF MISSION labor. And he still has to agree to it. Otherwise we're back to the involuntary unpaid labor thing, which is ya know, slavery.

Satinavian
2019-04-02, 02:35 AM
The way i have mostly seen and played it (outside of certain theme groups) is that the gear of every adventurer is his own alone. Caring for it and upgrading it is his responsibility alone and obviously he will take it with him if he leaves the party. If he dies, it goes to his heirs by default.

What people do in downtime is their own buissness. That certainly does include crafters.

Now in practice most crafters would still be crafting for other party members. Because crafter players want to use those abilities to let their character shine. But usually the crafter character will have the best crafted gear, which kind of helps him to contribute to the actual adventures even if he has sunk so many character building ressources into crafting.

If the crafter crafts for others, he makes always a better deal than an NPC would. In most cases he would craft for free but would not cover any material costs or other needed ressources beside making his ablities available. Also he decides what is crafted when and would probably craft for others only when he doesn't want to do an upgrade for himself.

He would not craft or not craft for free for party members he really doesn't like. Even if that theoretically would boost the whole party power. Sure that is inefficient. But that comes from people hating each other and not trusting each other being forced to work together. That won't likely get best results.



So my experience and feeling about what is normal are far closer to what geppetto described. But i am not really opposed to handle it any other way if the group agrees. But it seems here the group doesn't actually agree.

Kesnit
2019-04-02, 06:27 AM
I can't figure out why so many people think the crafting player is doing this out of spite. This is what it sounds like to me: "I had plans for my crafting, and I've been planning this for a while. Now I'm finally in a position to do what I want. However, I had the unmitigated gall to be sick and miss a game, and without asking me, you all ruined my plans. If I'd been there, I would have told you what I was doing. Now I have to not only waste downtime that would have gone towards what I want, I have to recover the resources you all decided I spent."

I played an Artificer in a 3.5 game several years ago. I had to retire the character to NPC because of a lack of downtime to craft, but while I was playing him (and even after I retired him, since he continued to craft for the party), I got an up-close look at what crafting entails, and it is a lot of planning. Very little of his efforts went into his own gear, as he was crafting for everyone else. Had I continued to play him, I could see getting frustrated because everyone was making demands on my time and not being able to deal with what I needed for myself.

Sir_Chivalry
2019-04-02, 07:02 AM
Spinning out of this, wouldn't the fairest compensation to a crafter character be:

*costs suppose 3.5 crafting costs

Paying 50% or more for mundane (as crafting costs 33% plus time) perhaps less if the crafter is generous. 50% leaves them with the same benefit as selling it at the next market

Paying more than 70% of the item's cost for magic items (50% plus 4% in xp which is worth 5gp per 1xp), with 70% being "at-cost". I may be mistaken and the crafter might want to not be compensated for lost xp (after all being behind eventually nets extra xp)

This has been the rule at my table and the payment I rendered to other players in other games but I'm honestly curious if this is overly generous, not good enough or too math obsessed.

Side note, I'm pretty sure an artificer 5/fighter 5 is mainly contributing by enchanting his and his allies' weapons and armour, fighting alongside his homunculus, possibly having golems or shield guardians depending on necessary CL (afk atm). To imply the artificer can only meaningfully make up for not being a full fighter by being the team's crafter is sort of shortsighted

GloatingSwine
2019-04-02, 07:37 AM
No. You are receiving an equal share for fighting with the party. On missions. NOT for selling them your soul and every minute of your life from first handshake until your dead bones have rotted and turned to dust.

What you do OUTSIDE of missions is extra. And should be compensated accordingly.


On the other hand, preparation for the adventure is part of the adventuring company's business activity.

Adventure relevant downtime is going to impact how well the party is prepared to do its missions, so it's reasonable to expect some level of co-operation in doing it.

(It might be best in a crafting heavy game like Takaleal described in the OP where everyone is some kind of crafter to somewhat formalise this as separate from personal downtime, like "Each character contributes X time to a crafting pool which the players agree between them how to spend, they then have Y time to spend on personal projects")

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 08:09 AM
I can't figure out why so many people think the crafting player is doing this out of spite. This is what it sounds like to me: "I had plans for my crafting, and I've been planning this for a while. Now I'm finally in a position to do what I want. However, I had the unmitigated gall to be sick and miss a game, and without asking me, you all ruined my plans. If I'd been there, I would have told you what I was doing. Now I have to not only waste downtime that would have gone towards what I want, I have to recover the resources you all decided I spent."

That is possible, but not at all what he said.

The player was pissed that another player spent his crafting time.

I told him that I allowed the other player to use his crafting time because it was literally the only thing that he could have completed that session and that you can't bank the points, so it was either use them or lose them.

At which point he pronounced that if that was the case he would be devoting them all to a project that he likely wont complete before the end of the campaign and furthermore proclaimed that he would never craft anything for the player who tried to "rob and enslave him" again.

It really sounded like he was just pissed off and looking for a way to rationalize lashing out, but without mind reading there is no way to be sure.


The way i have mostly seen and played it (outside of certain theme groups) is that the gear of every adventurer is his own alone. Caring for it and upgrading it is his responsibility alone and obviously he will take it with him if he leaves the party. If he dies, it goes to his heirs by default.

What people do in downtime is their own buissness. That certainly does include crafters.

Now in practice most crafters would still be crafting for other party members. Because crafter players want to use those abilities to let their character shine. But usually the crafter character will have the best crafted gear, which kind of helps him to contribute to the actual adventures even if he has sunk so many character building ressources into crafting.

If the crafter crafts for others, he makes always a better deal than an NPC would. In most cases he would craft for free but would not cover any material costs or other needed ressources beside making his ablities available. Also he decides what is crafted when and would probably craft for others only when he doesn't want to do an upgrade for himself.

He would not craft or not craft for free for party members he really doesn't like. Even if that theoretically would boost the whole party power. Sure that is inefficient. But that comes from people hating each other and not trusting each other being forced to work together. That won't likely get best results.

So my experience and feeling about what is normal are far closer to what geppetto described. But i am not really opposed to handle it any other way if the group agrees. But it seems here the group doesn't actually agree.

This is pretty much exactly the same system I use, which Geptto has described as being simultaneously communism and slavery, so I am not sure why you say it is closer to Geoetto, who has claimed that he would never craft anything for the party without adequate monetary compensation.

Although in my case the players do typically object to the idea of a dead guys stash going to his heirs because that is wealth that is dissapearing from the game.


No. You are receiving an equal share for fighting with the party. On missions. NOT for selling them your soul and every minute of your life from first handshake until your dead bones have rotted and turned to dust.

What you do OUTSIDE of missions is extra. And should be compensated accordingly.

LOL umm no. Communism is absolutely the definition of slavery to the state. The only difference is who owns you.

Yes. Your describing being part of an adventuring party as being an eternal slave to the murberbot collective who own your every waking moment and everything you do with it.

Those things happen ON MISSION. Just like if I have to use my crafting skill to fix some machine to ON MISSION I can be expected to do it.

I swear your being deliberately obtuse. Which seems to be the problem with this whole situation. And most of your problem situations actually.

Back at base is FREETIME OUTSIDE OF THE MISSION. And yes, outside of the mission is my time off. And if you want me to work on my time off then you owe me money for it.

Just like if i loan some guy from the tavern money and he doesnt pay me back I dont have the right to go demand the party fighter break his legs for not having my money. If I want to hire him as muscle for my own project outside of the mission I need to pay him for it. I'm not entitled to his fighting ability on a whim just because we happen to be in a party together.

Your experience is apparently consistent, catastrophic and hilarious failure. Perhaps you should stop referring to it as something to continue to emulate in the future.

Your stories are like the Jerry Springer show of gaming.

He isnt twice as qualified. You want something crafted and he is 0% as qualified at that. And yes btw different jobs DO get paid at different rates, have you never had a job? Cause ya know they dont all get paid the same.

Thats not how you made it sound in the description. You made it sound like this character is paying his own GP out of pocket AND his time to craft this item for someone else.

If thats not the case then they only owe him for his OUT OF MISSION labor. And he still has to agree to it. Otherwise we're back to the involuntary unpaid labor thing, which is ya know, slavery.

Again, at this point it sounds like you are just ranting at a strawman rather than actually trying to have a discussion.

While communism may work out something like slavery in practice, on paper a group of people who all do an equal amount of work and pool their resources is about as far as you can get from one guy owns eveything and forces everyone to work for free.

I never said characters work every moment for the good of the party or that they dont make things for personal use during their downtime. Exactly what percentage of the characters downtime is soent working towards the party is just fluff and can be safely handwaived away. There is no ingame penalty or advantage for Rping your character as a workaholic, a slacker, or anything in between.

While the actual mission might only take a few hours plus travel, it typically requires a tremendous amount of preperation and planning, and typically everyone is putting in a lot of extra work depending on their skills.

The crafter is crafting, hes, but the scholar is doin research, the face is making connections and scouting out leads, the ranger is scouting paths and caching food, the merchant is appraising and fencing the loot and dealing with accounting, someone is training the hirelings, the medic is providing longterm care to the people who were wounded in the field, etc. Even the big dumb fighter who has no skills except for combat is going to be spending a tremendous amount of time training.

Think about your average heist movie and how much time they spend planning and prepping vs. actually going on the heist itself.

And again, it is silly to purchase skills that you don't intend to use. If someone devotes a significant amount of their character build to crafting and doesn't craft for the party they are simply underpowered and not competitive in the job market. The rest of the party has no reason to hire on such a person; they will instead find someone who is fully dedicated to the skills they were hired on to use.

You know, you talk about my bad experiances and my stories being like Jerry Springer, but I have literally never had a player who has raised any of the issues that you are. Typically people who play crafters do so because they like crafting, and suceeding and surviving are always a higher priority than squirreling away everything they can for some hypothetical retirement. You are coming across to me as the epitome of the selfish player who is just out for himself and hiding behind the cover of RP, so you might want to look in the mirror before throwing shade at my players.


Spinning out of this, wouldn't the fairest compensation to a crafter character be:

*costs suppose 3.5 crafting costs

Paying 50% or more for mundane (as crafting costs 33% plus time) perhaps less if the crafter is generous. 50% leaves them with the same benefit as selling it at the next market

Paying more than 70% of the item's cost for magic items (50% plus 4% in xp which is worth 5gp per 1xp), with 70% being "at-cost". I may be mistaken and the crafter might want to not be compensated for lost xp (after all being behind eventually nets extra xp)

This has been the rule at my table and the payment I rendered to other players in other games but I'm honestly curious if this is overly generous, not good enough or too math obsessed.

Side note, I'm pretty sure an artificer 5/fighter 5 is mainly contributing by enchanting his and his allies' weapons and armour, fighting alongside his homunculus, possibly having golems or shield guardians depending on necessary CL (afk atm). To imply the artificer can only meaningfully make up for not being a full fighter by being the team's crafter is sort of shortsighted

I have never actually seen an artificer played in D&D, I assumed they were all about the crafting.

Replace artificer five with two tenth level fighters, one who devotes all of his feats to fighting and all of his skills to adventuring and the other who devotes most of his feats and skill points to crafting.

If the second guy insists on receiving full market value for anything he crafts he is strictly an inferior choice for the party, they would be far better served by taking the first guy and then buying gear from NPCs.

Satinavian
2019-04-02, 08:34 AM
This is pretty much exactly the same system I use, which Geptto has described as being simultaneously communism and slavery, so I am not sure why you say it is closer to Geoetto, who has claimed that he would never craft anything for the party without adequate monetary compensation.

Although in my case the players do typically object to the idea of a dead guys stash going to his heirs because that is wealth that is dissapearing from the game.

Because the way i described, the crafters craft for the party because the player wants to do that, not because they are expected. And they use only the amount of time and ressorces they feel like using this way with using as much for themself as they wish or maybe even waste time with non crafting if they feel like that. And they decide what to craft, even if that is not what helps the party most. And they decide for whom they craft. They can play favourites and actually tend to do so. And they can ignore people.
And all of that is ok, they don't get pressure to act differently. There is no sense of entitlement to do otherwise.

Now it is possible that there is some communication problem, but to me that does not sound like what you would want to have.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 08:43 AM
Because the way i described, the crafters craft for the party because the player wants to do that, not because they are expected. And they use only the amount of time and ressorces they feel like using this way with using as much for themself as they wish or maybe even waste time with non crafting if they feel like that. And they decide what to craft, even if that is not what helps the party most. And they decide for whom they craft. They can play favourites and actually tend to do so. And they can ignore people.
And all of that is ok, they don't get pressure to act differently. There is no sense of entitlement to do otherwise.

Now it is possible that there is some communication problem, but to me that does not sound like what you would want to have.

So I guess it really boils down to not wanting to play with jerks then?

If one member of the group hates another and is snubbing them as a result you have an issue that needs to be solved as it hurts the group as a whole. In my mind it really doesn't matter if it is in or out of character, or if it is about crafting or any other role.

Edit: Although, is it really wierd to expect people to use their character abilities to help the party? That has always just kind of been te default assumption in any group I play.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 09:04 AM
I swear your being deliberately obtuse. Which seems to be the problem with this whole situation. And most of your problem situations actually.

Your experience is apparently consistent, catastrophic and hilarious failure. Perhaps you should stop referring to it as something to continue to emulate in the future.

Your stories are like the Jerry Springer show of gaming.


Ok, I just can't let this go.

First off, if you think I am consistently lying, why are you even engaging me?

Second, I have gone entire campaigns with no problems. I just dont ask for advice on the forums when everything is going great, why would I? Its a basic principle of feedback that every negative comment represents atleast ten satisfied people because if everything is going fine nodoby says anyting.

Third, it seems really wierd that you consider my games a disaster because my players arent selfish enough, and it makes you look really bad that you consider my game a tran wreck but state that if you were a member you would be causing far worse problems than my problem player.

But yeah, even if you totally discount my experiances and oppinions and dismiss me as a liar, it is a well known principle of both game design and business management that whatever metric you measure and or reward is the one people focus on to the exclusion of the bigger picture. Don't take my word for it, the research is readilly available.

Satinavian
2019-04-02, 09:13 AM
If players hate each other, you have a problem that should be solved. It usually has nothing to do with the game but can easily spoil the fun for everyone. Mild dislike might be acceptable though.

If characters hate each other, you might have a problem. Or not. Maybe you have another source of drama that can be used to make the campaign memorable. Or you have a handicap ramping up the challangge making it more exciting. Really depends a lot on the players and what kind of game is played.


Now i can't remember a game where crafting led to problems like in your group. Even if crafter players had all the freedom to act however they wished, they tended to actually help. But i know some players who would have quite a problem with those freedoms being taken away and who might even stubbornly refuse to craft anymore if their abilities would be treated as ressourses for others to use.

Not that reasonable players would be prone to such undignified outbursts as your player demonstrated.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 09:21 AM
If players hate each other, you have a problem that should be solved. It usually has nothing to do with the game but can easily spoil the fun for everyone. Mild dislike might be acceptable though.

If characters hate each other, you might have a problem. Or not. Maybe you have another source of drama that can be used to make the campaign memorable. Or you have a handicap ramping up the challangge making it more exciting. Really depends a lot on the players and what kind of game is played.


Now i can't remember a game where crafting led to problems like in your group. Even if crafter players had all the freedom to act however they wished, they tended to actually help. But i know some players who would have quite a problem with those freedoms being taken away and who might even stubbornly refuse to craft anymore if their abilities would be treated as ressourses for others to use.

Not that reasonable players would be prone to such undignified outbursts as your player demonstrated.

Pretty much, yeah.

Note that I am not saying that an IC conflict is an OOC group problem. I am saying that if two players have eachother Will cause problems for the group dynamic OOC, amd if two characters hate eachother it will cause problems witht he group dynamic IC.

There can be some overlap of course, but they don't have to be the same thing, a dn from a narrative standpoint a bit of IC group drama is good for the game OOC.

Sir_Chivalry
2019-04-02, 09:36 AM
I have never actually seen an artificer played in D&D, I assumed they were all about the crafting.

Replace artificer five with two tenth level fighters, one who devotes all of his feats to fighting and all of his skills to adventuring and the other who devotes most of his feats and skill points to crafting.

If the second guy insists on receiving full market value for anything he crafts he is strictly an inferior choice for the party, they would be far better served by taking the first guy and then buying gear from NPCs.

Okay well not knowing what an artificer is certainly explains it, yes.

Let's assume your premise could happen, that this fighter is using some rulebook variant that lets him substitute his HD with CL and make certain skill checks to model spell requirements (because we're still assuming 3.5 since artificer was just here a second ago).

At the end of the day, assuming all those fighter feats translate into taking item creation feats or artificer-based feats from Eberron, the fighter is still better than a warrior class or CW Samurai (damning praise though that is)

This crafter still has proficiency in all armour, all shields and all simple and martial weapons, which means they're better than what you thought an artificer was previously. They can still swing a greatsword in fullplate, only now they've crafted both so they're likely above the curve on power levels. Assuming they're a dwarf (because why not, now that you don't have Artificer's need for charisma) they're fairly good at crafting metal and stone, two somewhat common magic item materials

And if your metric is comparing them to a 10th level fighter . . . well at 10th level the fighter might as well be support anyways compared to the spellcasters so this guy's still fulfilling a niche that Regdar over there isn't.

But to address the original matter.

Your player's resources shouldn't have been used while he wasn't there. If you all talked about it beforehand, he was there when you all decided how to use his resources at the time, but this really is a matter of the problem being cumulative. The player is well within his rights to play selfishly but any attempts to overstep (pay me for the magic item you found, but I'll keep all magic items pertaining to me without compensating you because that's what's best) should have been smacked down immediately. Almost every time I've played in a game where people were that obsessed about keeping WBL even between them, they all ended up dead because magic items are often unbalanced in distribution.

Consider the end of Savage Tide's City of Broken Idols, where the party finds, with a little searching, a sunblade and a ring of evasion at once. This marks a massive amount of value in what the party is carrying up to that point, and if your player was in the party the team may well abandon this room right before the boss and trundle back to Sasserine (the only big city thus far) to liquidate two KEY ITEMS for the fight ahead rather than give the sunblade to either the rogue or melee fighter in the group (as it's simultaneously a light and two-handed weapon that hurts undead and fiends) and give the guy with the best reflex save the ring. This may well lead to a rogue (or frontline bard in our case) being massively better equipped for a time than the rest of the party. And if someone in the group started complaining and wouldn't let it lie? I would likely have told them to either accept it and move on (with the expectation of treasure down the road that might help them), or to kindly leave as they were disrupting the game.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 10:02 AM
You know, thinking about it, 95% of my "horror stories" are caused by the same two people.

1: From 2014-2017 I played under a DM who was both a control freak and a pathological liar.

2: One of my players uses the game as ego validation and cares only about big numbers on his character sheet. If he gets bored with all the RP, he fails at something, or he is required to expend a resource that could potentially increase one of the numbers on his sheet for anything else he gets really mad and starts looking for people to blame.


Okay well not knowing what an artificer is certainly explains it, yes.

Let's assume your premise could happen, that this fighter is using some rulebook variant that lets him substitute his HD with CL and make certain skill checks to model spell requirements (because we're still assuming 3.5 since artificer was just here a second ago).

At the end of the day, assuming all those fighter feats translate into taking item creation feats or artificer-based feats from Eberron, the fighter is still better than a warrior class or CW Samurai (damning praise though that is)

This crafter still has proficiency in all armour, all shields and all simple and martial weapons, which means they're better than what you thought an artificer was previously. They can still swing a greatsword in fullplate, only now they've crafted both so they're likely above the curve on power levels. Assuming they're a dwarf (because why not, now that you don't have Artificer's need for charisma) they're fairly good at crafting metal and stone, two somewhat common magic item materials

And if your metric is comparing them to a 10th level fighter . . . well at 10th level the fighter might as well be support anyways compared to the spellcasters so this guy's still fulfilling a niche that Regdar over there isn't.

But to address the original matter.

Your player's resources shouldn't have been used while he wasn't there. If you all talked about it beforehand, he was there when you all decided how to use his resources at the time, but this really is a matter of the problem being cumulative. The player is well within his rights to play selfishly but any attempts to overstep (pay me for the magic item you found, but I'll keep all magic items pertaining to me without compensating you because that's what's best) should have been smacked down immediately. Almost every time I've played in a game where people were that obsessed about keeping WBL even between them, they all ended up dead because magic items are often unbalanced in distribution.

Consider the end of Savage Tide's City of Broken Idols, where the party finds, with a little searching, a sunblade and a ring of evasion at once. This marks a massive amount of value in what the party is carrying up to that point, and if your player was in the party the team may well abandon this room right before the boss and trundle back to Sasserine (the only big city thus far) to liquidate two KEY ITEMS for the fight ahead rather than give the sunblade to either the rogue or melee fighter in the group (as it's simultaneously a light and two-handed weapon that hurts undead and fiends) and give the guy with the best reflex save the ring. This may well lead to a rogue (or frontline bard in our case) being massively better equipped for a time than the rest of the party. And if someone in the group started complaining and wouldn't let it lie? I would likely have told them to either accept it and move on (with the expectation of treasure down the road that might help them), or to kindly leave as they were disrupting the game.

Yeah, we should have discussed it before hand. We didn't, so instead I had the absent characters do what I felt was the most optimal, or in the case of the one angry player the only thing, that they could craft at the time.

Its funny though, by D&D raw you actually are required to force the party to split all treasure evenly, including magic items. i have never actually seen anyone play that way, but according to the PHB selling the magic items is indeed the correct thing to do.

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 10:26 AM
Ok, I just can't let this go.

First off, if you think I am consistently lying, why are you even engaging me?

Second, I have gone entire campaigns with no problems. I just dont ask for advice on the forums when everything is going great, why would I? Its a basic principle of feedback that every negative comment represents atleast ten satisfied people because if everything is going fine nodoby says anyting.

Third, it seems really wierd that you consider my games a disaster because my players arent selfish enough, and it makes you look really bad that you consider my game a tran wreck but state that if you were a member you would be causing far worse problems than my problem player.

But yeah, even if you totally discount my experiances and oppinions and dismiss me as a liar, it is a well known principle of both game design and business management that whatever metric you measure and or reward is the one people focus on to the exclusion of the bigger picture. Don't take my word for it, the research is readilly available.

Talakeal,

First I want you to know that I like you as a poster, in as much as I've interacted with you. You seem earnest and like someone I'd be happy to kick back and have a beer with.

But, man, you have GOT to get a handle on your pathological need to have everyone like you. This entire thread stems from you wanting a disengenous ******* you game with to be happy when, frankly, he wants to be unhappy.

You outright point out in your posts that Gepetto is just yelling at straw-men of his own hallucinations and imagination and is no longer in anyway interacting with your actual arguments or statements. He's advanced to the point where, to make up for the fact that he is wrong about everything, he's just going to yell louder, move goalposts and use hyperbole so he doesn't have to recognize he's wrong. I mean, its gone through communism into slavery. Two more posts and we'll have nazis.

You are never going to change his mind. You are never going to have the last word. Every post you make he'll post another rehash of his straw-men ravings.

/frozen: Let it go... let it gooooo..../

zinycor
2019-04-02, 10:37 AM
I even reported Gepetto, he is really going overboard

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 10:41 AM
I even reported Gepetto, he is really going overboard

You know who else reports people?! Nazis!!!


*/that's two/*

Wuzza
2019-04-02, 10:52 AM
/back on topic.

Your player was douche.

Cant see a problem retcon'ing his crafting, but aside from that, he cant expect everyone else to assume what his character wanted to do. I'd give him the option to have his character DM/player controlled, or be written out for the session and miss out on gold/treasure/xp. (which you did) As long as you give everyone the same option, there surely cant be any complaints?...

(my party aren't douches, so I bump up their xp if they miss sessions, and the party split the loot with them as well, whether written out or PC controlled)

If he's not mature enough to be reasonable, personally, I'd let him leave. Life is too short to put up with this sort of ****.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 10:57 AM
Talakeal,

First I want you to know that I like you as a poster, in as much as I've interacted with you. You seem earnest and like someone I'd be happy to kick back and have a beer with.

But, man, you have GOT to get a handle on your pathological need to have everyone like you. This entire thread stems from you wanting a disengenous ******* you game with to be happy when, frankly, he wants to be unhappy.

You outright point out in your posts that Gepetto is just yelling at straw-men of his own hallucinations and imagination and is no longer in anyway interacting with your actual arguments or statements. He's advanced to the point where, to make up for the fact that he is wrong about everything, he's just going to yell louder, move goalposts and use hyperbole so he doesn't have to recognize he's wrong. I mean, its gone through communism into slavery. Two more posts and we'll have nazis.

You are never going to change his mind. You are never going to have the last word. Every post you make he'll post another rehash of his straw-men ravings.

/frozen: Let it go... let it gooooo..../

Thanks Gallow.

I will readilly admit that my obsessive nature and inability to let things go is one of my biggest flaws.

That, combined with my naive sense that everyone is nice and reasonable deep down and that our differences must stem from a miscommunication tend to give me a lot of trouble, both at the gaming table and on the forums.

VelociRapture12
2019-04-02, 11:04 AM
Just gonna throw my hat into the ring.

I am in a pathfinder game where the party has a craft monkey. He has built his character around nothing but crafting, (To the point where he can craft at half cost and in half the time.) He is not charging any above cost price for his services to the party. Instead of that he decided to start a company and "hire" the party as his workers. He looks at it as keeping his investment well protected. By doing this he can craft all our items at cost and still have time to craft more and better items while making gold. It keeps us as a party happy and keeps him happy as he isn't being "gipped" on any potential profits.

mAc Chaos
2019-04-02, 11:17 AM
Honestly it sounds like kicking him out is the best answer. Maybe both. Then start with new players.

Cygnia
2019-04-02, 11:18 AM
Yeah, Rule 0 needs to be in play: "Don't be an *******"

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 11:34 AM
Its funny though, by D&D raw you actually are required to force the party to split all treasure evenly, including magic items. i have never actually seen anyone play that way, but according to the PHB selling the magic items is indeed the correct thing to do.

I'm sure you can find a [citation] for that, so I don't doubt it. But that's stupid.

Back in 1st E and 2nd E it wasn't assumed that you could buy anything you wanted or sell anything you found. The magic-mart sensibility didn't exist by default. So you found your magic treasure and you made due with what you found. If you wanted to buy/locate something specific you went through role-playing hoops to do so. The grentleman's agreement was that the DM would provide items that made sense for the party rather than just a pile of random ****. Fighty McFightson likes axes instead of swords? Then we'll put an axe +3 in that loot instead of a sword + 3. Boom. Everyone's happy.

I know crafting existed, but I no longer remember the mechanics of it. I just know that you -could- make wands, staves, scrolls and the like. But I don't recall how the mechanic worked.

Now, we have stringent WBL expectations and the default expectation I see on this board is "we are going to sell everything for half cost and buy what we want."

In my mind, if you do that, you should be at half WBL, or near as such, because in the standard treasure allotment, magic items you are going to sell make up a large % of the loot pile. Raw money a small %.

Assuming you are playing a "by-the-book" random treasure generation type campaign (which I never have played in one) I would assume you would get the WBL amount of treasure, sell it for half, and end up lower than WBL.

I suppose that's where crafting comes in. Because with crafting you can get the magic items you want for half the cost by making them.

To me, this is all tedious bookkeeping and contrary to "heroic adventure" but I get that just because its not my thing doesn't mean there aren't others who enjoy it. You do you and all that.

But in every game I've played, we get magic items and, if someone wants it, they keep it. If multiple people want it, they can roll for it, keep track of who got the last item, or sell it and split the cost. Only the things no one wants get sold for half cost and split.

But, then again, I play with adults who recognize they are playing a game for fun, not an economic simulator where they win if they are greedier than everyone else.

Lord Torath
2019-04-02, 12:36 PM
I know crafting existed, but I no longer remember the mechanics of it. I just know that you -could- make wands, staves, scrolls and the like. But I don't recall how the mechanic worked. The reason you don't remember the mechanics for 1E/2E crafting is that there really weren't any to remember. You had to be a certain level to make potions, and a slightly higher level to make permanent/charged item, but other than that, it was all at the DM's discretion. You tell the DM what you want to make, and he tells you what you need to make it. It could be "real" ingredients, like the 2nd talon from a basilisk's 3rd left paw/foot/claw, or it could be fantastical ingredients like the roar of a spider or the footstep of a snake.

Talakeal, you really do need to have a sit-down with everyone in your group to discuss the social rules you're going to play by. Until you do, "Bob" is going to continue to take advantage of you and the other players, and play the victim when you try to call him on it.

Quertus, if you agree with the rules your group comes up with and you agree to abide by them, why are you against signing your name to state your intention to abide by them? What exactly is it about putting your name to the rules that bothers you? I realize this may be hard to explain, but I'd appreciate it if you'd try.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 01:34 PM
The barbarian is an alchemist who has crafted numerous potions. Everyone uses potions as they are a party resource, but the sorceress is very miserly and makes a point about only using consumables as a last resort.
The fighter is a metal worker who has made a hammer for himself, armor for himself and the barbarian, and an assortment of various skill tools.
The ranger is a wood worker and animal trainer who has trained her own guard bunyip as well as crafting a bow and a spear for herself and shields for the barbarian and fighter.
The sorceress has trained her own henchwoman and has assisted the rest of the party with most of their crafts.

So, the Sorcerer isn't benefiting from anyone else's crafting, and has a "this is unfair/unequal" leg to stand on if others are benefiting from their crafting? Yeah, that certainly could cause problems. Good to know.


In exchange all of your expenses (including material cost) are paid out of the party's gross profits.

You are then paid an equal share of the party's net profits.

I believe that covers everything? Except maybe the exact ratio of time spent in the field vs. time spent doing prep work vs. time spent on leave.

Are people's crafting costs coming out of the group fund? It adds to the unfairness either way, but it colors which type of unfair it is.


You know, thinking about it, 95% of my "horror stories" are caused by the same two people.

So, don't play with those people?


Yeah, we should have discussed it before hand. We didn't, so instead I had the absent characters do what I felt was the most optimal, or in the case of the one angry player the only thing, that they could craft at the time.

Wait, *you* had the PC take the action? I though that this was "the group decided", not "Talakeal decided". The latter make your refusal to accept any responsibility the outcome... sketchy.


Its funny though, by D&D raw you actually are required to force the party to split all treasure evenly, including magic items. i have never actually seen anyone play that way, but according to the PHB selling the magic items is indeed the correct thing to do.

I mean, it only makes sense, right?

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 01:47 PM
Are people's crafting costs coming out of the group fund? It adds to the unfairness either way, but it colors which type of unfair it is?

If my system used crafting costs materials would either come out of the gross party pool or the net share of the character who receives the item, depending on how the group wanted to do it.

I have never had a group decide that the crafter has to supply the materials.

My current system handwaves material costs for crafting thihgh so it is merely a flavor text issue though.


So, don't play with those people?

As for the GM, I dont play with him anymore, not since he threatened to beat me up over a game two hears ago.

The other guy, Bob, is a bit trickier as he is literally the one who organized my current group. He is also typically ok to play with, its just that when he does get upset he tends to sulk and say hurtful things that tend to bug me later rather than disrupting the game at the time.


I mean, it only makes sense, right?

Maybe? I mean, selling a holy avenger because the paladin couldnt afford to buy it off his teammates might be fair from a financial sense, but it sure hurts the entire party in the long run.



Also, the player requested how crafting was spent and I approved it. As I said it was literally the only thing he could have crafted at the time and the points would have been lost otherwise, so in my mind it was a bit of a no brainer.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 02:37 PM
Quertus, if you agree with the rules your group comes up with and you agree to abide by them, why are you against signing your name to state your intention to abide by them? What exactly is it about putting your name to the rules that bothers you? I realize this may be hard to explain, but I'd appreciate it if you'd try.

I suspect you meant to post this question in another thread, did you not? Or am I being senile again?

To attempt to answer your question... hmmm... there are several reasons. It's complicated. But I think that there's one that lives at the happy intersection of "sane" and "relatable", and it's already been stated by a previous poster: the assumption good will.

Signing a contract, to my mind, sets the wrong tone for the game. It's like if the GM is contractually obligated to provide 2.3 character deaths per session, maintain WBL, and run every Type (3e reserved word) of monster every 5 sessions. Or the PCs are contractually obligated to say the same number of lines.

Now, if the contract has defined remedies, where if the GM ignores the rules or prevents a rules lookup it lets me declare the treaty in abeyance and name the Grisellas to arbitrate, or every time the group agrees that the GM is railroading his cute sister removes an article of clothing, or every time the GM makes an inconsistency, we get a free artifact / beanie / ability to change reality, that's one thing.

But the tone of a signed document is not conducive to the "helping everyone to follow the rules, helping everyone to help everyone to have fun" atmosphere I generally desire. Soon to be naked GM's cute sister not withstanding.


Back in 1st E and 2nd E it wasn't assumed that you could buy anything you wanted or sell anything you found. The magic-mart sensibility didn't exist by default. So you found your magic treasure and you made due with what you found. If you wanted to buy/locate something specific you went through role-playing hoops to do so. The grentleman's agreement was that the DM would provide items that made sense for the party rather than just a pile of random ****. Fighty McFightson likes axes instead of swords? Then we'll put an axe +3 in that loot instead of a sword + 3. Boom. Everyone's happy.

Well, I like everything except that gentleman's agreement. Quertus, my signature academia mage, for whom this account is named, even has a spell to remedy that particular problem - and I don't think it's a custom spell.

I enjoy the "how do we make this work" minigame; your "gentleman's agreement" would reduce my fun.

So, good for some tables, not for others.


I know crafting existed, but I no longer remember the mechanics of it. I just know that you -could- make wands, staves, scrolls and the like. But I don't recall how the mechanic worked.


The reason you don't remember the mechanics for 1E/2E crafting is that there really weren't any to remember. You had to be a certain level to make potions, and a slightly higher level to make permanent/charged item, but other than that, it was all at the DM's discretion. You tell the DM what you want to make, and he tells you what you need to make it. It could be "real" ingredients, like the 2nd talon from a basilisk's 3rd left paw/foot/claw, or it could be fantastical ingredients like the roar of a spider or the footstep of a snake

There was a little more to it than that, but, yeah, it wasn't a strong "system". And there was a % chance of failure. So, ask that adventuring for components, and 2d6 months later, you could have nothing to show for your efforts.


Now, we have stringent WBL expectations and the default expectation I see on this board is "we are going to sell everything for half cost and buy what we want."

In my mind, if you do that, you should be at half WBL, or near as such, because in the standard treasure allotment, magic items you are going to sell make up a large % of the loot pile. Raw money a small %.


Assuming you are playing a "by-the-book" random treasure generation type campaign (which I never have played in one) I would assume you would get the WBL amount of treasure, sell it for half, and end up lower than WBL.

IIRC, WBL kinda assumes you sold everything - people should have the option to top for treasure to have *double WBL* (and then sell for half what they don't want).


Only the things no one wants get sold for half cost and split.

Well, yeah. But "I want everything" needs to pay for what he wants. What gets split is the total value, not just the value of the unwanted stuff.

Otherwise, Quertus my signature academia mage, for whom this account is named, would really drag the party down with his museum pieces.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 02:42 PM
Maybe? I mean, selling a holy avenger because the paladin couldnt afford to buy it off his teammates might be fair from a financial sense, but it sure hurts the entire party in the long run.

Actually, usually, selling the paladin into slavery would help the party in the long run (increase their wealth, free them up to perform more dubious actions). :smallwink:

I find it sad that the 3e mentality really is, "is a Holy Avenger really worth the money? Really? Because I don't think it is.". So, in 3e, I think that the party might be better off selling the Holy Avenger, tbh.

I liked the game better before magic item shops were a thing.

Talakeal
2019-04-02, 02:50 PM
Also, permanent spells, including magic items, drained a permanent point of constitution from the caster in AD&D.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 03:20 PM
Again, I play with adults who are there to play a game and have fun not actively try to screw over their friends.

My table is certainly different than yours.

... there's a difference between "actively trying to **** over your friends" and "roleplaying concerns other than Determinator-level adventuring".

Besides, you never know when a "museum piece" may turn out to be the McGuffin you absolutely required in order to complete the campaign. :smallwink:

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 03:30 PM
... there's a difference between "actively trying to **** over your friends" and "roleplaying concerns other than Determinator-level adventuring".

sure.

However you consider this scenario...

Player 1: "okay here's the list of seven magic items we got. Everyone look to see if you want any of them and we'll sell the unwanted ones and split it."

Player You: "I WANT THEM ALL"

to be "roleplaying concerns other than determinator-level adventuring"

And I consider it to be "actively trying to **** over your friends."

We obviously aren't going to agree on that. *shrug* my table is different than yours.

For what its worth, however, I agree with you about missing the days before the magic mart. And I also get some pleasure out of coming up with creative solutions when given magic items that aren't perfectly customized for your characters.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 04:04 PM
sure.

However you consider this scenario...

Player 1: "okay here's the list of seven magic items we got. Everyone look to see if you want any of them and we'll sell the unwanted ones and split it."

Player You: "I WANT THEM ALL"

to be "roleplaying concerns other than determinator-level adventuring"

And I consider it to be "actively trying to **** over your friends."

We obviously aren't going to agree on that. *shrug* my table is different than yours.

Actually, I was thinking of things like Psychic Warrior / Sorcerer gishes, or Bards, who are generally a waste of space, but can use most items. Or people with UMD, who *can* use all items. And contrasting them to more specialized characters, who look at random loot, and say, "well, nothing for me there. Again.".

And, yes, I was also wondering how your rule worked with characters like Quertus, my signature academia mage, for whom this account is named, who likes to keep things that aren't necessarily useful.

So, no, I wasn't saying "player me wants them all", but I have gamed with both **** and non-**** players whose characters technically could use most items. And ****s who would call "dibs" on everything. And I've run collectors like Quertus, and sentimental fools like Armus.

Under the "equal share" system, none of these characters ****s over the party.

So, again, just how does your system work for such characters? Because it sounds to me like the answer is, "it doesn't".

Have I misunderstood?

zinycor
2019-04-02, 04:34 PM
What? Bards being a waste of space? That's weird.

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 05:07 PM
Actually, I was thinking of things like Psychic Warrior / Sorcerer gishes, or Bards, who are generally a waste of space, but can use most items. Or people with UMD, who *can* use all items. And contrasting them to more specialized characters, who look at random loot, and say, "well, nothing for me there. Again.".

And, yes, I was also wondering how your rule worked with characters like Quertus, my signature academia mage, for whom this account is named, who likes to keep things that aren't necessarily useful.

So, no, I wasn't saying "player me wants them all", but I have gamed with both **** and non-**** players whose characters technically could use most items. And ****s who would call "dibs" on everything. And I've run collectors like Quertus, and sentimental fools like Armus.

Under the "equal share" system, none of these characters ****s over the party.

So, again, just how does your system work for such characters? Because it sounds to me like the answer is, "it doesn't".

Have I misunderstood?

As I stated, this is something we just won't agree on.

You are subscribing the greedy "I want everything" to a character trait. I subscribe it to a player trait.

Why yes, Quertus, your signature academia mage, for whom your account is named, could use that expensive hat of randompowerness, but he has never used randompowerness and doesn't excel at it and probably won't need it, but he -could- so rather than sell it and split the cost, he's going to demand to keep it because of the rules everyone agreed to and, and, and, and its quertus, not me the player, who likes to abuse the rules because he's just so much more clever than you. I mean than the other characters. Yeah, see its a character thing... that's it. I can't be held responsible, I'm just playing my character *nod nod* now I'll just take that trident of fish command and that bane baldric. I know we don't have any inquisitors, but I could UMD it! I've not made a melee attack since fifth level and my body slot is already filled but I -could- use it so I'm taking it. You know. in case.... Again, this is Quertus guys. I'm just playing my character. you can't hold that against me!

you are never going to see what I see because you aren't going to accept any personal responsibility when you could blame the rules and "playing my character" instead. "If you didn't want me, I mean Quertus, to abuse the rules well you shouldn't have made them so abuseable!"

I'm certainly not going to see it your way. so *shrug*

and, yeah, if I played with you or played with Talakeal's players, we'd have to use an "equal share" system. because when you can't trust the other players, you have to have more elaborate rules so nobody takes advantage. That's sad, but that's what you get. Some people cheat at monopoly.

I'm very very happy that I play with the people I play with.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 05:23 PM
What? Bards being a waste of space? That's weird.

Well, in 2e, they were "best caster", because they got Fireball, and leveled faster than Wizards.

In 3e? I haven't seen a useful Bard - well, that I can remember. Darn senility. But "jack of all trades" is traditionally the most suboptimal choice.

Oh. Never mind. Just remembered the party where the Bard was MVP. I guess I stand corrected.

I don't remember a more *optimized* party having a successful Bard, though.

zinycor
2019-04-02, 05:25 PM
Well, in 2e, they were "best caster", because they got Fireball, and leveled faster than Wizards.

In 3e? I haven't seen a useful Bard - well, that I can remember. Darn senility. But "jack of all trades" is traditionally the most suboptimal choice.

Oh. Never mind. Just remembered the party where the Bard was MVP. I guess I stand corrected.

I don't remember a more *optimized* party having a successful Bard, though.

In 5e is one of the best classes as well.

Quertus
2019-04-02, 05:27 PM
and, yeah, if I played with you or played with Talakeal's players, we'd have to use an "equal share" system. , you have to have more elaborate rules

Well, most of what you said either misses the point or misrepresents. And I'll probably never get you to see what I'm actually saying. But at least we agree on the important bit here.

Gallowglass
2019-04-02, 05:29 PM
In Pathfinder, Bard is a great class...

...for all the other characters... its a walking talking singing +2 to everything we do! with cure and utility spells! And it can do all the social rolls so we don't have to!

In all seriousness, I play with one DM who really loves making us roll lots and lots of skill checks, especially knowledge checks, so the Bard is very useful when skill challenges are plentiful.

Speaking of which, and speaking of the "making do with magic items you get rather than what you want", several years ago, I played a bard in a game intending to be a support and illusion caster. Then the DM dropped a plot specific intelligent scimitar on the party that I ended up with because "no one else wanted to retool around scimitar." A few feat retrains later, picking up the dervish archtype and dancing dervish feat (or whatever they are called) and I was out-damaging the fighters fairly consistently.

geppetto
2019-04-03, 01:38 AM
On the other hand, preparation for the adventure is part of the adventuring company's business activity.

Adventure relevant downtime is going to impact how well the party is prepared to do its missions, so it's reasonable to expect some level of co-operation in doing it.

(It might be best in a crafting heavy game like Takaleal described in the OP where everyone is some kind of crafter to somewhat formalise this as separate from personal downtime, like "Each character contributes X time to a crafting pool which the players agree between them how to spend, they then have Y time to spend on personal projects")


Yes they should cooperate. But that cooperation should be
"hey crafter bob, i see you can build X, and I would really like an X. What can we work out to get you to build me an X?"

Not
**whip cracks "Bob, get your lazy bones over here. Your part of this group and we own you dawn to dusk 7 days a week. You can sleep when your dead now make my X right now you selfish slacker. I dont care what you want, my X is the best way for me to chop goblins so get to work".

geppetto
2019-04-03, 01:52 AM
Ok, I just can't let this go.

First off, if you think I am consistently lying, why are you even engaging me?

Second, I have gone entire campaigns with no problems. I just dont ask for advice on the forums when everything is going great, why would I? Its a basic principle of feedback that every negative comment represents atleast ten satisfied people because if everything is going fine nodoby says anyting.

Third, it seems really wierd that you consider my games a disaster because my players arent selfish enough, and it makes you look really bad that you consider my game a tran wreck but state that if you were a member you would be causing far worse problems than my problem player.

But yeah, even if you totally discount my experiances and oppinions and dismiss me as a liar, it is a well known principle of both game design and business management that whatever metric you measure and or reward is the one people focus on to the exclusion of the bigger picture. Don't take my word for it, the research is readilly available.

perhaps you should have googled the definition of obtuse before this little rant.

But really the repeated "anyone who disagrees with me is a selfish jerk" gets to the heart of the issue. Your a dictatorial GM who really wants to play the characters too and just tell a story to a captive audience. Thats what all the "optimal choice" and "why dont they just do exactly what I think everyone should do" is all about. You see it in the railroading thread too. Anyone who points out a flaw in your little plan, or a different way of looking at it is dismissed out of hand because of course "everyone whose doing it right" must be doing it exactly the way YOU would do it.

Theres no other way to properly run a character or a game, Nope. Just your way and your "optimal actions" and anyone with a different idea of how to play their character (or just wants to make their own meaningful choices at all) must be a "selfish jerk".

Yup, no tin pot dictators here.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 07:13 AM
So I had a thought. What do you do when the players simply cant come to an equittable decision regarding division of loot / labor?

In real life you would either dissolve the partnership or take them to court and let a judge decide.

Now, it is obviously not practical to replace party members and force people to play new characters, nor is it ideal to actually dissolve the gaming group over such a petty argument.

Now I am all for player agency, perhaps a bit too much, but when you get to the point where the players are actually threatening to abandon their party members or let them die as they were in my group I am wondering if it might not be reasonable for the DM to step in and arbitrate in the same way that in an irl contract dispute you would bring in an outside mediator or bring them to court.

Thought?




@ Geppetto:

I am well aware of what obtuse means. When you put "deliberatelely" infront of it, it is effectively lying.

But at these point we aren't even arguing, let alone having a conversation. You are name-calling and hurling insults at a strawman rather than actually criticizing anything I have actually said and done so there is really no point in responding.

Quertus
2019-04-03, 07:33 AM
So I had a thought. What do you do when the players simply cant come to an equittable decision regarding division of loot / labor?

I mean, you already covered that 3e had default rules for what "equitable division" means. If your players cannot come to an agreement to supercede that, you return to the published default. This doesn't sound hard. So why are you asking?

If it's because you don't like the answer, then create a thread where you publish your own answer, and let us tear it apart give you feedback on ways it might be suboptimal. If you accept our "ways it might break the game" would never happen in Bizarro World, then "publish" it as the default in your system.

Still, if you're trying to take control of the PCs, like with their downtime actions, then that's as big red flag that your system should be put on the shelf next to Fatal, IMO.

Satinavian
2019-04-03, 07:38 AM
Now I am all for player agency, perhaps a bit too much, but when you get to the point where the players are actually threatening to abandon their party members or let them die as they were in my group I am wondering if it might not be reasonable for the DM to step in and arbitrate in the same way that in an irl contract dispute you would bring in an outside mediator or bring them to court.

Thought?

Bad idea. That is simply not the place for the DM. Unless all parties really beg you to arbitrate, you should stay out of decisions that the adventurers have to make. Even if it is collective decisions and they have problems compromising.

It would be better to dissolve the adventurer party and start over with new characters with a better match than have the GM decide.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 07:41 AM
I mean, you already covered that 3e had default rules for what "equitable division" means. If your players cannot come to an agreement to supercede that, you return to the published default. This doesn't sound hard. So why are you asking?

If it's because you don't like the answer, then create a thread where you publish your own answer, and let us tear it apart give you feedback on ways it might be suboptimal. If you accept our "ways it might break the game" would never happen in Bizarro World, then "publish" it as the default in your system.

Still, if you're trying to take control of the PCs, like with their downtime actions, then that's as big red flag that your system should be put on the shelf next to Fatal, IMO.

The 3E PHB and DMG both say that there is a default way to handle distribution and and that it IS the DMs responsibility to make sure the players stick to it and to handle any inequities that come up.

BUT it doesn't ever mention how to do it and most people ignore it, and in my experiance most everyone rejects it out of hand both at the table and the forums, see Sativinian's response below yours.

Satinavian
2019-04-03, 08:00 AM
Oh, i have played in several D&D groups using said default method with all the math involved. It is equal and kinda natural. And it actually is explained somewhere, even with an example.

And you still keep useful items instead of selling everything. Others get more money in turn. You could also use intra-party-debts if there are good items and not enough money in the loot.


It is just players deciding to use that method. Not DM deciding to do so. Because ingame it is the characters doing this not the NPCs.

zinycor
2019-04-03, 08:10 AM
The way players distribute their riches is their business, normally I wouldn't bother to worry. If needed, We would discuss it OOC And come to a desicion then, normally, based on some kind of math.

Quertus
2019-04-03, 08:17 AM
Better to discuss it at Session 0, before it comes up, IMO.

I've yet to see anyone argue for something other than equitable distribution (like 3e recommends? We really need a citation) who wasn't up to something.

EDIT: and I'll second, "dissolve the party, start over with a better session 0". Repeat this until your group gets good at session 0 / gets on the same page. I lost count of how many times one of my tables had to do that, because we walked in with very different assumptions about what was the "obvious right" way to play, and what constituted BadWrongFun. We slowly worked through everyone's assumptions, tried out "impossible" one-shots, until we found what worked for our group.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 08:20 AM
The way players distribute their riches is their business, normally I wouldn't bother to worry. If needed, We would discuss it OOC And come to a desicion then, normally, based on some kind of math.

I agree.

But I have had several occasions over the years when the players simply can't come to an agreement, at which point we are kind of at an impasse.


Oh, i have played in several D&D groups using said default method with all the math involved. It is equal and kinda natural. And it actually is explained somewhere, even with an example.

And you still keep useful items instead of selling everything. Others get more money in turn. You could also use intra-party-debts if there are good items and not enough money in the loot.


It is just players deciding to use that method. Not DM deciding to do so. Because ingame it is the characters doing this not the NPCs.

Well, yeah, but the 3E books state that it IS the DMs job to ensure that the PCs all stay within a certain wealth range of one another, despite not having any guidelines about how.

On the other hand, the book states default loot distribution as a rule, not an option, and the players characters have no more right to deviate from it than the wizard does to start casting spells off the cleric list and rolling 4d6 instead of a d20 for skill checks. This is the RAW, but again I have never seen anyone actually play by it.

zinycor
2019-04-03, 08:24 AM
I agree.

But I have had several occasions over the years when the players simply can't come to an agreement, at which point we are kind of at an impasse.


I can tell you that if one player threatened the others in some way, we would kick him out.

Quertus
2019-04-03, 08:28 AM
I agree.

But I have had several occasions over the years when the players simply can't come to an agreement, at which point we are kind of at an impasse.



Well, yeah, but the 3E books state that it IS the DMs job to ensure that the PCs all stay within a certain wealth range of one another, despite not having any guidelines about how.

On the other hand, the book states default loot distribution as a rule, not an option, and the players characters have no more right to deviate from it than the wizard does to start casting spells off the cleric list and rolling 4d6 instead of a d20 for skill checks. This is the RAW, but again I have never seen anyone actually play by it.

So, when impasse, default to RAW. Again, what's the issue?

I actually just did this with some kids who couldn't agree on what to watch. I turned something on at random, and said we're watching this until y'all agree on something. They hated the random show, and quickly picked Coralline.

Session 0, explain the 3e default, ask if the group wants to have a contract deviating from that, done.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 08:32 AM
Better to discuss it at Session 0, before it comes up, IMO.

I've yet to see anyone argue for something other than equitable distribution (like 3e recommends? We really need a citation) who wasn't up to something.


Citation from pages 167-168 of the PHB:

Splitting Treasure: Split treasure evenly among the characters who participated. Some characters may be of higher level than others, or some might happen to have done more on a particular adventure than others did, but the simplest, fastest, and best policy is to split treasure up evenly.
Special Items: While gems can be cashed in for gold pieces and the coins split evenly among adventurers, some treasures canít be split up so easily. Magic items, for instance, can be sold, but only for half of what they would cost to buy, so itís usually better for characters to keep them. When a character gets a magic item, count half its cost against his or her share of the treasure. For instance, if Jozan, Lidda, Mialee, and Tordek split a treasure of 5,000 gp and a +1 large steel shield, the group would count the magic shield as worth 500 gp, roughly half the price someone would have to pay to buy one. Since the treasure is worth 5,500 gp altogether, three char-
acters would each get 1,375 gp, and the fourth char- acter (probably Tordek or Jozan) would get the shield (valued at 500 gp) plus 875 gp in coin.
If more than one character wants a single item, those interested in it can bid for it. For example, Jozan and Tordek both want the shield, so they bid over how much theyíre each willing to ďpayĒ for it. Tordek wins the bid at 800
gp. That means the total treasure is 5,800 gp. Mialee, Jozan, and Lidda each get 1,450 gp, and Tordek gets the shield (800 gp) plus 650 gp.
A character can only bid as much as his or her share of the treasure would amount to, unless he or she has extra gold pieces or treasure to back up the bid. For example, if Tordek had no other treasure from earlier adventures, the most he could bid for the magic shield is 1,250 gpóhe would get the shield, and the other three char-acters would split the5,000 gp.
If no one is willing to take a special item, the party members should sell it (for half its cost, as listed in the Dungeon Masterís
Guide, if they canfind a buyer)and split the gold evenly.

Costs: Sometimes characters incur costs on adventures. A char- acter turned to stone by a basilisk may need a break enchantment spell, and it costs at least 450 gp to pay a cleric to cast that spell. (See Table 7Ė8: Goods and Services, page 128. A cleric must be at least 9th level to cast break enchantment, which is a 5th-level spell). The default policy is to pay these costs out of the treasure found on the adven- ture, as a sort of ďadventurerís insurance,Ē and then to split what- everís left.

Party Fund: The party may also want to have a pool of money that its members can use to buy things that benefit the whole group, such as potions of healing or holy water.

Amassing Wealth: When you and your friends have split up the treasure among the characters, record your characterís share on your character sheet. Soon, he or she will have enough gold to buy better weapons and equipment, even magic items.

Quertus
2019-04-03, 08:40 AM
Thinking about it, it may be that you have a problem player.

See, I had this player who knew the rules. Whether knew that the roles were against him, he'd ask for a ruling, hoping that the GM would give him something better than the rules. Him asking a question was always a red flag, as it was guaranteed that, when you looked up the rules, it wouldn't be in his favor.

Yet another reason to have strong rules, and to always look them up when you are uncertain.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 08:41 AM
I can tell you that if one player threatened the others in some way, we would kick him out.

Note that they are threatening to withold aid in character, not actually threatening violence in or out of character.

At worst its things like "If I dont get that magic shield I am just going to stand back and let the monsters eat the mage," or "If you dont craft that new mace for me I am going to stand back and let you bleed out rather than healing you next time you get hurt."


So, when impasse, default to RAW. Again, what's the issue?

I actually just did this with some kids who couldn't agree on what to watch. I turned something on at random, and said we're watching this until y'all agree on something. They hated the random show, and quickly picked Coralline.

Session 0, explain the 3e default, ask if the group wants to have a contract deviating from that, done.

That's more or less what I do.

But by having a default, or telling the players they have to abide by it if they can't agree, I feel like I am overstepping my role, and judging by this thread (and a few previous ones on similar topics) I get the feeling that there is a large percentage of the player base that feels I am absolutely overstepping my bounds by doing so.

zinycor
2019-04-03, 08:47 AM
Note that they are threatening to withold aid in character, not actually threatening violence in or out of character.

At worst its things like "If I dont get that magic shield I am just going to stand back and let the monsters eat the mage," or "If you dont craft that new mace for me I am going to stand back and let you bleed out rather than healing you next time you get hurt."


I Would kick him out, not willing to play the game as a team is reason enough to be kicked out at my table.

Satinavian
2019-04-03, 08:52 AM
But by having a default, or telling the players they have to abide by it if they can't agree, I feel like I am overstepping my role, and judging by this thread (and a few previous ones on similar topics) I get the feeling that there is a large percentage of the player base that feels I am absolutely overstepping my bounds by doing so.
Well, yes, you would It is not your buissness what the default should be or what the group should do when they can't agee.

Talakeal
2019-04-03, 09:04 AM
Sometimes posting on the forum is like seeking the advice of elves, they will answer both yes and no at the same time, and you will always walk away feeling like an inferior being.

Quertus
2019-04-03, 09:19 AM
That's more or less what I do.

But by having a default, or telling the players they have to abide by it if they can't agree, I feel like I am overstepping my role, and judging by this thread (and a few previous ones on similar topics) I get the feeling that there is a large percentage of the player base that feels I am absolutely overstepping my bounds by doing so.

I would say that, mid game, it certainly could be you overstepping your authority.

But, in session 0, anyone has the right to bring up potential game constraints for discussion, and the GM can kinda just state them. So you could say,

"3e default loot distribution (equal shares, after sale value, sell off anything you cannot afford to keep), unless anyone has an alternative to discuss"

Or

"Strict WBL. When you walk out that door, you have WBL. No matter what treasure we've gotten, no matter what's been stolen, no matter what crafting feats you have, no matter how many consumables you've used, you have full WBL, period. No more, no less."

Or anything else similar.

zinycor
2019-04-03, 09:25 AM
Sometimes posting on the forum is like seeking the advice of elves, they will answer both yes and no at the same time, and you will always walk away feeling like an inferior being.

What? I believe everyone has been pretty clear.

NichG
2019-04-03, 09:37 AM
So I had a thought. What do you do when the players simply cant come to an equittable decision regarding division of loot / labor?

In real life you would either dissolve the partnership or take them to court and let a judge decide.

Now, it is obviously not practical to replace party members and force people to play new characters, nor is it ideal to actually dissolve the gaming group over such a petty argument.

Now I am all for player agency, perhaps a bit too much, but when you get to the point where the players are actually threatening to abandon their party members or let them die as they were in my group I am wondering if it might not be reasonable for the DM to step in and arbitrate in the same way that in an irl contract dispute you would bring in an outside mediator or bring them to court.

Thought?


So much of this depends on the 'why'. If there is animosity between the players for some reason, changing characters or campaigns or forcing the issue to follow a standard pattern won't resolve the underlying instability of the table - you have to address that animosity, which may indeed involve some players leaving. I had a pair of players who, OOC, really hated each-other for reasons unrelated to the particular game and one eventually drove the other away. Changes to the rule set or even having the group work out a social contract would not have resolved that issue. Basically, if its like that, it isn't actually 'petty' - there's something underlying it that is more serious. This could either be a particular interpersonal issue, or even a player who is trying to exert social dominance over the rest of the group.

On the other hand, if the 'why' is in-character, then I'd let the players work it out in character. If for example someone made a paladin who is above material concerns and wants a share of treasure simply in order to tithe it, while someone else is adventuring only to accumulate 1 million gp to revitalize their hometown's economy and turn it into a ski resort, while someone else is an antiquarian and doesn't want to sell anything that could go to a museum, then the negotiation belongs between those personalities and not at the meta-level. That becomes as much of a game challenge as killing a dragon or choosing your spells for the day. So that situation is relatively easy even if it can be a bit tedious when the players don't actually know how to navigate the RP minefield they created.

A third situation is that you have a group of people who for the most part haven't made characters with very much stake in the particulars of wealth distribution (e.g. to them it's just a mechanic like XP and has almost no in-character meaning except that the game forces you to care or be underpowered), but one or two players have decided to care about it in character. In which case, the main thing you should do is to make sure that you don't get one half of the table arguing OOC while the other half of the table thinks they're arguing IC. One option here is that you can offer to make houserules and character options available (or even do a total change of ruleset) such that the basic ability to participate isn't tied as strongly to wealth, so that those who don't care about it can have their characters stand back from the discussion without crippling themselves. There are various ways to do this but it's a fairly involved side discussion.

Talakeal
2019-04-07, 10:06 AM
Well, we had another session. It went absolutely fine. Everything's fine. The everything's OK alarm is going off.

I talked to the players and said apologized for what happened, let them both keep their items, and asked them not to threaten each other in the future. I told them that if it was at all possible I would replace missing players with NPC mercenaries in future sessions.


I also asked if they wanted to make any changes to how we distribute loot or if we needed a hard rule dividing crafting, and said that I would stay completely out of it so long as they could come to an agreement. They unanimously said that loot distribution in the game works fine as is.

zinycor
2019-04-07, 11:17 AM
That's good to know. Good luck and good gaming.

Thrudd
2019-04-07, 01:38 PM
Well, we had another session. It went absolutely fine. Everything's fine. The everything's OK alarm is going off.

I talked to the players and said apologized for what happened, let them both keep their items, and asked them not to threaten each other in the future. I told them that if it was at all possible I would replace missing players with NPC mercenaries in future sessions.


I also asked if they wanted to make any changes to how we distribute loot or if we needed a hard rule dividing crafting, and said that I would stay completely out of it so long as they could come to an agreement. They unanimously said that loot distribution in the game works fine as is.
The only thing you might want a hard rule for is procedure for a missing player- A. agree to give over total control, including resources- B. NPC status for the character, no permanent resource use- C. character strictly off-limits/is functionally or actually non-present, etc. Maybe each player can choose how their character is treated when absent.

Talakeal
2019-04-07, 01:50 PM
The only thing you might want a hard rule for is procedure for a missing player- A. agree to give over total control, including resources- B. NPC status for the character, no permanent resource use- C. character strictly off-limits/is functionally or actually non-present, etc. Maybe each player can choose how their character is treated when absent.

Keep in mind, in the system I am using there is no permanent resource expenditure.

The crafting system, what caused this whole problem, doesn't cost XP or gold or anything else like in D&D, the only question is "You have X days worth of downtime, what projects are you working on?"

Thrudd
2019-04-07, 01:56 PM
Keep in mind, in the system I am using there is no permanent resource expenditure.

The crafting system, what caused this whole problem, doesn't cost XP or gold or anything else like in D&D, the only question is "You have X days worth of downtime, what projects are you working on?"

Well whatever it is- it would help avoid future problems if everyone knows and agrees to what will happen with their characters when they are absent.

Talakeal
2019-04-07, 10:48 PM
Hey question:

To the people who say it is inappropriate for the DM to get involved in resolving conflicts between the players over loot distribution or similar things; how do you feel about DM's who forbid PvP in their games?

zinycor
2019-04-07, 11:31 PM
Hey question:

To the people who say it is inappropriate for the DM to get involved in resolving conflicts between the players over loot distribution or similar things; how do you feel about DM's who forbid PvP in their games?

I think the Gm should only get involved to make sure situations in game don't cause problems OOC, as such, thee GM should not accept PvP situations related to outside of character situations.

Other than that, is more of a decision that the whole table should come to, rather than the GM forbiding it.

Quertus
2019-04-07, 11:58 PM
Second the "whole table" bit.

It is generally "the table" that should have a culture. Session 0 is the optimal time for *the table* to discuss their culture, assumptions, deviations from the norm, etc. Any one player - including or especially the GM - forcing things mid game runs the risk of being a petty tyrant.

Satinavian
2019-04-08, 01:27 AM
Hey question:

To the people who say it is inappropriate for the DM to get involved in resolving conflicts between the players over loot distribution or similar things; how do you feel about DM's who forbid PvP in their games?
Ideally it is a group decision in session 0. In practice it is often a group decision when it first comes up because it is quite rare. This is still ok.

Only in two instances it is a DM decision :
- It can be campaign premise
- It can be one of the things the DM vetos not as DM but as participant at the table because he is really uncomfortable with it and doesn't want it in the game.

NichG
2019-04-08, 02:33 AM
Hey question:

To the people who say it is inappropriate for the DM to get involved in resolving conflicts between the players over loot distribution or similar things; how do you feel about DM's who forbid PvP in their games?

I think it would be fine to have a game where you say up front 'I don't like running games with PvP, so if you join/if you want me to DM, the expectation will be no PvP' or 'I don't like running games where characters bicker constantly - I'd like to ask you all to find a way to cooperate'. That's establishing expectations, and the DM gets veto power there, since no one has the right to force them to run a particular game.

I think it would be bad form to resolve a PvP situation by, for example, telling the player of the paladin that his character acknowledges the necromancer's right to exist and to raise the dead every so often, and the player of the necromancer that his character agrees to only animate mindless undead.

Similarly, saying I find 'here is how you decide to handle loot' to be bad form, while 'please decide how to handle loot before next session' is fine.