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Pelle
2020-01-15, 04:35 AM
Yeah, skill challenge mini games may sound fun in theory, but I think it's really easy for them to end up with the players making no real decisions. Just roll skill again and again with no reason to change what you do, that gets boring fast.

Try have a conversion with the rest of the party to see if they agree that they are supposed to engage with what the GM has prepped or not. It looks like they don't, and that's fine. It just means that it's not worth it to prep for these people and the GM should just expect improvise instead.

GloatingSwine
2020-01-15, 06:48 AM
Its not that the situation is bad; its just that the way the mechanics worked meant that it dragged on.

Basically, the ship had a condition track, every success moved it up one step, every failure moved it down one step, and it had to get ten points in either direction for the challenge to succeed / fail. And since we all had right around a 50% chance to succeed on any given skill test, we basically spent an hour just going back and forth around the middle.


As the first thing in an adventure, this probably wanted some kind of mercy feature. Something like only two consecutive failures move you down the track, the first one you just don't make progress.

Fundamentally something like that has to be designed to assume success because, well, if you don't then the game doesn't happen.

Scripten
2020-01-15, 10:14 AM
When I do skill challenges, the party tends to "succeed" regardless of whether they make their rolls or not. The majority of the mini-game is figuring out who to assign to what tasks (there are always multiples at any given time) and what resources to expend. If no resources are expended willingly, then I tend to filter down to taking HP or giving exhaustion, assuming failure on a roll. That said, I don't know how well such a skill challenge would work with your group, Talakeal.

The Glyphstone
2020-01-15, 11:39 AM
When I do skill challenges, the party tends to "succeed" regardless of whether they make their rolls or not. The majority of the mini-game is figuring out who to assign to what tasks (there are always multiples at any given time) and what resources to expend. If no resources are expended willingly, then I tend to filter down to taking HP or giving exhaustion, assuming failure on a roll. That said, I don't know how well such a skill challenge would work with your group, Talakeal.

Likely poorly, as they have proven violently allergic to negative consequences for their actions or choices.

The rare skill challenges I do tend to be more branching trees - multiple ways to bypass an obstacles with player choice on which to try. The net success/failures at the end of the set-length challenge determines what resources are expended (or regained sometimes).

Quertus
2020-01-16, 07:26 AM
So, I've been thinking about this skill challenge, and how poorly it modeled in-game reality.

You're on a sinking ship. By default, the condition track should not sit still - it should degrade every "turn"/action phase/whatever.

Character actions should almost never make the ship sink faster. It should almost never be optimal for someone to say, "nah, you guys have got this, I would just be underfoot, I'll sit this out", as was the case for Talakeal's character. This was quite literally an "all hands on deck" situation. More hands should have made the work lighter.

So, at the simplest, I might try… every "turn", the ship degrades 2 steps. Every turn, every character (and zombie!) can attempt a relevant ship check to improve the ship 1 step.

A more advanced system might allow really good rolls / more critical actions to increase the maximum number of steps gained (or even change the rate of progress lost!), or to limit the maximum number of gains from certain repeated actions (you can bail water infinitely, but there are only 3 patchable holes, for example). And to better model how long different actions take.

Thoughts?


Try have a conversion with the rest of the party to see if they agree that they are supposed to engage with what the GM has prepped or not. It looks like they don't, and that's fine. It just means that it's not worth it to prep for these people and the GM should just expect improvise instead.

+1 this.

Although I might use words like "linear adventure" and "sandbox" and "plot hooks", to try to get all of the players and the GM on the same page regarding expectations for the game. Because, right now, it sounds like maybe 2 people were expecting a high Participationism linear adventure, while 2 people were expecting either a sandbox, or better plot hooks.

NichG
2020-01-16, 08:21 AM
So, I've been thinking about this skill challenge, and how poorly it modeled in-game reality.

You're on a sinking ship. By default, the condition track should not sit still - it should degrade every "turn"/action phase/whatever.

Character actions should almost never make the ship sink faster. It should almost never be optimal for someone to say, "nah, you guys have got this, I would just be underfoot, I'll sit this out", as was the case for Talakeal's character. This was quite literally an "all hands on deck" situation. More hands should have made the work lighter.

So, at the simplest, I might try… every "turn", the ship degrades 2 steps. Every turn, every character (and zombie!) can attempt a relevant ship check to improve the ship 1 step.

A more advanced system might allow really good rolls / more critical actions to increase the maximum number of steps gained (or even change the rate of progress lost!), or to limit the maximum number of gains from certain repeated actions (you can bail water infinitely, but there are only 3 patchable holes, for example). And to better model how long different actions take.

Thoughts?


Mathematically, this won't really fix the fundamental problem that this kind of 'roll to move along a track' mechanic amounts to waiting for a random walk to reach a boundary. Which means it takes time proportional to distance squared (e.g. if the skill challenge is on a track with 10 states, it takes ~25 steps rather than ~5 steps to get to either end from the middle if it's balanced around a 50% success rate).

I'd tend to do something more like, stage the failing ship issue relatively close to an island or other nautical feature, and you have a fixed number of intervals during which you can either try to accumulate enough successes to stabilize the ship outright (at a fairly high difficulty), spend successes to secure cargo (so if the ship ends up sinking, you have supplies wherever you end up), save or help crewmembers who are in peril due to capsizing/etc events, put out a fire that is causing cumulative damage/increases in difficulties over time (with a risk that if it goes totally unaddressed, it hits the powder room), or change the ship's heading in the hope that you can e.g. beach it before it sinks entirely. These different actions would depend on different methods of contribution - not just skills, but spells/etc could give automatic successes if they're appropriate to the specific sub-situation (say, you get to add your skill check to the total pool needed to repair the ship, but a Repair spell grants a fixed +5 per spell level)

So in 5 rounds, the situation will be definitively resolved one way or another. But the players have to basically make judgement calls - is it feasible for us to go all-in and try to salvage the ship entirely? Or do we need to go for the lower-risk goal of directing the ship to the nearby island? In that case, how should we prioritize the various things that are going wrong along the way?

Pelle
2020-01-16, 08:28 AM
, while 2 people were expecting either a sandbox, or better plot hooks.

Possibly, but I think it's also a case of unrealistically high expectations. Sure, if the GM enjoys and have time to make a heavily prepped sandbox and is good at making plot hooks, that's cool. But a more fair to the GM approach is to help find reasons for why your character wants to engage with what the GM has had time to prep if you want prepped content.

Based on previous threads it seems like some of the players have mutually exclusive expectations; a mix of "don't tell me what my character should do, then I'm going to do something completely different" and at the same time expecting fair, perfectly balanced encounters and adventure days. If you do your utmost to avoid the designed challenges then you should also be fine with unbalanced encounters, IMO.

Talakeal
2020-01-16, 08:40 AM
So, I've been thinking about this skill challenge, and how poorly it modeled in-game reality.

You're on a sinking ship. By default, the condition track should not sit still - it should degrade every "turn"/action phase/whatever.

Character actions should almost never make the ship sink faster. It should almost never be optimal for someone to say, "nah, you guys have got this, I would just be underfoot, I'll sit this out", as was the case for Talakeal's character. This was quite literally an "all hands on deck" situation. More hands should have made the work lighter.

So, at the simplest, I might try… every "turn", the ship degrades 2 steps. Every turn, every character (and zombie!) can attempt a relevant ship check to improve the ship 1 step.

A more advanced system might allow really good rolls / more critical actions to increase the maximum number of steps gained (or even change the rate of progress lost!), or to limit the maximum number of gains from certain repeated actions (you can bail water infinitely, but there are only 3 patchable holes, for example). And to better model how long different actions take.

Thoughts?

Basically, the DM tried to modify the mechanics for a chase scene to represent getting a damaged boat into harbor before it sinks. In a normal chase scene, all of the fancy tricks carry a penalty for failure, and the DM did much the same. Unfortunately, he didn't include a basic run equivalent action (bailing water perhaps?) for untrained characters to do without risking the cost of failure.



Although I might use words like "linear adventure" and "sandbox" and "plot hooks", to try to get all of the players and the GM on the same page regarding expectations for the game. Because, right now, it sounds like maybe 2 people were expecting a high Participationism linear adventure, while 2 people were expecting either a sandbox, or better plot hooks.

I don't think plot hooks get more urgent / clear than "You are stuck in a small town where everyone is starving, the townspeople think its connected to the missing druid and are looking to form a posse to investigate."

I am kind of miffed at my party members. Originally I wanted to play the "dragon" character, but everybody wanted to play outcasts with no social skills or grand plans, so I remade my character to function as the party leader / face, and now everyone is grumbling about wanting more authority / respect and not wanting to listen to anyone.

zinycor
2020-01-16, 09:57 AM
My advice is to focus on the new player if he comes back, try to be the example and focus on being a team player. Hopefully this will be enough and at the very least you will get a decent game partner.

Quertus
2020-01-16, 07:54 PM
Mathematically, this won't really fix the fundamental problem that this kind of 'roll to move along a track' mechanic amounts to waiting for a random walk to reach a boundary. Which means it takes time proportional to distance squared (e.g. if the skill challenge is on a track with 10 states, it takes ~25 steps rather than ~5 steps to get to either end from the middle if it's balanced around a 50% success rate).

"If the mechanics are the same, then it will have the same mechanical issues" is tautologically true. However, if you say that, you must have missed how my mechanics differ.

Add 9 copies of Talakeal's character to the old skill track, and it makes the boat more likely to sink; add 9 copies of Talakeal's character to my progress track, and it makes the boat more likely to survive.


I'd tend to do something more like, stage the failing ship issue relatively close to an island or other nautical feature, and you have a fixed number of intervals during which you can either try to accumulate enough successes to stabilize the ship outright (at a fairly high difficulty), spend successes to secure cargo (so if the ship ends up sinking, you have supplies wherever you end up), save or help crewmembers who are in peril due to capsizing/etc events, put out a fire that is causing cumulative damage/increases in difficulties over time (with a risk that if it goes totally unaddressed, it hits the powder room), or change the ship's heading in the hope that you can e.g. beach it before it sinks entirely. These different actions would depend on different methods of contribution - not just skills, but spells/etc could give automatic successes if they're appropriate to the specific sub-situation (say, you get to add your skill check to the total pool needed to repair the ship, but a Repair spell grants a fixed +5 per spell level)

So in 5 rounds, the situation will be definitively resolved one way or another. But the players have to basically make judgement calls - is it feasible for us to go all-in and try to salvage the ship entirely? Or do we need to go for the lower-risk goal of directing the ship to the nearby island? In that case, how should we prioritize the various things that are going wrong along the way?

I mean, what I would actually do would be very different, too - I was just aiming to stick with the "track" tech (in case it mattered to Talakeal's system), and see if it could be implemented better.

Is that irrelevant? Should I explain how I would handle it in general?


Possibly, but I think it's also a case of unrealistically high expectations. Sure, if the GM enjoys and have time to make a heavily prepped sandbox and is good at making plot hooks, that's cool. But a more fair to the GM approach is to help find reasons for why your character wants to engage with what the GM has had time to prep if you want prepped content.

That's… within the zone of what I intended my comments to encompass.


Based on previous threads it seems like some of the players have mutually exclusive expectations; a mix of "don't tell me what my character should do, then I'm going to do something completely different" and at the same time expecting fair, perfectly balanced encounters and adventure days. If you do your utmost to avoid the designed challenges then you should also be fine with unbalanced encounters, IMO.

And, if so, that's something I'd like them to get out of that conversation.


Basically, the DM tried to modify the mechanics for a chase scene to represent getting a damaged boat into harbor before it sinks. In a normal chase scene, all of the fancy tricks carry a penalty for failure, and the DM did much the same. Unfortunately, he didn't include a basic run equivalent action (bailing water perhaps?) for untrained characters to do without risking the cost of failure.

That is a very interesting take on ship challenges. Or skill challenges. Either one.

I don't think in terms of a linear progress track, so… I've never considered the necessity of an explicit "run" action before? I guess I've allowed "I (untrained) assist x action" - like, "I carry stuff to them, to make it go faster".


I don't think plot hooks get more urgent / clear than "You are stuck in a small town where everyone is starving, the townspeople think its connected to the missing druid and are looking to form a posse to investigate."

Eh, to play devil's advocate, not really. We don't know the area; they do. We don't know the Druid, or the local spirits; they did. We are intruding foreigners; they are locals. There are so many reasons that the party should not be interfering / should leave this clearly vital quest to those more qualified. It's pure hubris for the party to get involved in local religious matters.


I am kind of miffed at my party members. Originally I wanted to play the "dragon" character, but everybody wanted to play outcasts with no social skills or grand plans, so I remade my character to function as the party leader / face, and now everyone is grumbling about wanting more authority / respect and not wanting to listen to anyone.

Did they tell you that you needed to be the leader / face? One of my favorite parties (my BDH party) would struggle with trivial social tasks, like not being run out of the town that we just saved. It was bloody awesome - literally, on both counts!

NichG
2020-01-17, 04:47 AM
"If the mechanics are the same, then it will have the same mechanical issues" is tautologically true. However, if you say that, you must have missed how my mechanics differ.

Add 9 copies of Talakeal's character to the old skill track, and it makes the boat more likely to sink; add 9 copies of Talakeal's character to my progress track, and it makes the boat more likely to survive.


That kind of difference only really matters in cases where varying the number of characters that are available to participate is something that you can make active decisions about. In this scenario, the ship has the crew it has, and if this skill challenge is worth running then the numbers should be in an interval where failure is actually possible. So in that case, the thing you describe (-2 each round, p(success) of +1 per person) is going to have a fixed number of people, which means that there is some set of DCs and +'s/-'s that would produce the same distribution of success/failure as well as challenge length as your system.

So adding that kind of shift doesn't really resolve the thing where this skill challenge went on and on without really concluding.

I think the real design error in this sort of track-based skill challenge framework is that basically once you have the set of participants and the parameters of the challenge (# of successes needed/# of failures allowed/etc), the outcome or distribution of outcomes is pretty much fixed (barring intentional bad choices on the part of the players, like using a skill where the expected result will be worse than doing nothing for example). So you're taking however long it takes in order to do what could be summarized by a bit of math and rolling a percentile check. In order to make it worthwhile to play through, intermediate results should lead to cases where new decisions have to be made. To make it really meaningful, those decisions should not just be a matter of optimizing a mathematical function, but should involve some degree of prioritization or the possibility of contrast between personal goals of the participants (so that the players don't just need to decide how to get what they want, but they have to decide how to navigate the compromise between what they want, what they can have, what the risk is, and what others might want).

Otherwise, it risks feeling like you're watching the DM take an hour just to roll a die.

Quertus
2020-01-17, 02:21 PM
That kind of difference only really matters in cases where varying the number of characters that are available to participate is something that you can make active decisions about. In this scenario, the ship has the crew it has, and if this skill challenge is worth running then the numbers should be in an interval where failure is actually possible. So in that case, the thing you describe (-2 each round, p(success) of +1 per person) is going to have a fixed number of people, which means that there is some set of DCs and +'s/-'s that would produce the same distribution of success/failure as well as challenge length as your system.

So adding that kind of shift doesn't really resolve the thing where this skill challenge went on and on without really concluding.

I think the real design error in this sort of track-based skill challenge framework is that basically once you have the set of participants and the parameters of the challenge (# of successes needed/# of failures allowed/etc), the outcome or distribution of outcomes is pretty much fixed (barring intentional bad choices on the part of the players, like using a skill where the expected result will be worse than doing nothing for example). So you're taking however long it takes in order to do what could be summarized by a bit of math and rolling a percentile check. In order to make it worthwhile to play through, intermediate results should lead to cases where new decisions have to be made. To make it really meaningful, those decisions should not just be a matter of optimizing a mathematical function, but should involve some degree of prioritization or the possibility of contrast between personal goals of the participants (so that the players don't just need to decide how to get what they want, but they have to decide how to navigate the compromise between what they want, what they can have, what the risk is, and what others might want).

Otherwise, it risks feeling like you're watching the DM take an hour just to roll a die.

Well, let's poke at those assumptions.

-----

You are assuming x characters. I am not.

In the original system, the optimal choice was for Talakeal's character to sit out, so (x-1) characters.

With my proposed changes, x characters would be better than (x-1).

Further, there is no guarantee that all the PCs participate. The Necromancer was hidden; the passenger could have roleplayed being shell shocked or something.

The most likely fail state under the original system was "Talakeal's character participates, plus bad luck". The most likely fail case under my system was "one or more PCs sit this out".

The optimal answer under the old system was "Talakeal's character sits this out; other characters expend resources". The optimal answer under my system would have been… everyone participates, and increases the number of participants if able (animate dead, summoning, whatever).

-----

You think it is optimal for there to be a risk of failure via the dice. I think it is optimal for there to be a risk of failure by player choices (and for that risk to map logically to in-game reality, rather than be a "gotcha").

-----

You believe in there being interesting decisions throughout. I… could go either way. Note that Talakeal lamented the lack of a generic option (for different reasons, granted). Still, some players enjoy choices, others enjoy the grind.

-----

Yes, if I modeled this from scratch, it would involve numerous issues and resources. You have cargo. Is it a resource (lumber to patch holes), an objective (valuables to sell later / provisions to eat later), or an obstacle (it's weighing the ship down, causing you to sink faster)? Well, it's all of those, but it's up to you to realize that, and decide what to do about it.

Talakeal
2020-01-17, 03:13 PM
Big problem for me was the dissonance (and to a lesser extent boredom) involved in doing nothing, but me participating was actively annoying the rest of the group as I was hurting their chance of success.

zinycor
2020-01-17, 03:47 PM
Big problem for me was the dissonance (and to a lesser extent boredom) involved in doing nothing, but me participating was actively annoying the rest of the group as I was hurting their chance of success.

Does the system have something similar to a help action? For whenever your particular skills don't fit.

Now, being a muscular character as you describe I would imagine your character would have plenty of useful things to do, I don't really see how your character could be considered useless?

Lord of Shadows
2020-01-17, 03:57 PM
Big problem for me was the dissonance (and to a lesser extent boredom) involved in doing nothing, but me participating was actively annoying the rest of the group as I was hurting their chance of success.


Does the system have something similar to a help action? For whenever your particular skills don't fit.

Now, being a muscular character as you describe I would imagine your character would have plenty of useful things to do, I don't really see how your character could be considered useless?

...Nor how your character participating in the festivities could hurt the party's chances of success.

zinycor
2020-01-17, 04:13 PM
Worst case scenario. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0951.html)

Talakeal
2020-01-17, 04:32 PM
...Nor how your character participating in the festivities could hurt the party's chances of success.

Failures took away a success, and I had less than a 50% chance to succeed at any of the applicable skills.


Does the system have something similar to a help action? For whenever your particular skills don't fit.

Sort of. I could have been standing around giving orders for a slight bonus, but from an RP perspective that would have looked really bad. The whole idea of the scenario was to reinforce trust in one another, so I went below deck to pump out water while leaving the ogre in charge; me standing up top barking orders while keeping my hands clean would have really undermined the scenario imo.


Does the system have something similar to a help action? For whenever your particular skills don't fit.

Now, being a muscular character as you describe I would imagine your character would have plenty of useful things to do, I don't really see how your character could be considered useless?

Logically no. As it was, the DM called for an athletics skill test, and I have less than a 50% chance of success on athletics.

zinycor
2020-01-17, 04:42 PM
Sort of. I could have been standing around giving orders for a slight bonus, but from an RP perspective that would have looked really bad. The whole idea of the scenario was to reinforce trust in one another, so I went below deck to pump out water while leaving the ogre in charge; me standing up top barking orders while keeping my hands clean would have really undermined the scenario imo.
Couldn't you be up there shouting inspiring words, singing a working song or doing anything else than barking orders to give this slight bonus to the others? Because yeah, shouting orders is kinda problematic, specially since your character doesn't know the first thing about navigating, But there other ways to be charismatic or expressing leadership without being in command.




Logically no. As it was, the DM called for an athletics skill test, and I have less than a 50% chance of success on athletics.

Weird for your character to be so bad at athletics. I imagined it would be one of her strong points.

Quertus
2020-01-17, 06:56 PM
Big problem for me was the dissonance (and to a lesser extent boredom) involved in doing nothing, but me participating was actively annoying the rest of the group as I was hurting their chance of success.

I had misunderstood - I thought your failure was annoying you, not that it was annoying the other players. Ugh.

Well, make lots of notes, and consider whether this is how you want your system to operate.

… is this idea of a skill challenge success track even from your system?

Talakeal
2020-01-17, 08:45 PM
I had misunderstood - I thought your failure was annoying you, not that it was annoying the other players. Ugh.

Well, make lots of notes, and consider whether this is how you want your system to operate.

… is this idea of a skill challenge success track even from your system?

It was a modified chase scene. Normally those who fail would fall behind, but wouldn't Actively hold the rest of the group back.



Couldn't you be up there shouting inspiring words, singing a working song or doing anything else than barking orders to give this slight bonus to the others? Because yeah, shouting orders is kinda problematic, specially since your character doesn't know the first thing about navigating, But there other ways to be charismatic or expressing leadership without being in command.

Weird for your character to be so bad at athletics. I imagined it would be one of her strong points.



It would be nice, but there just weren't enough skill points to go around, especially after the DM told me I needed crafting skills.

Quertus
2020-01-17, 10:04 PM
It was a modified chase scene. Normally those who fail would fall behind, but wouldn't Actively hold the rest of the group back.

You keep using those words. While they may answer my question from your perspective, they do not from mine.

So. Your system has a "chase" minigame, which operates similarly to this, except a) progress is measured individually, not cumulatively; b) your "chase" minigame includes a risk-free "run" option. Does that about cover it? Are we on the same page so far?

OK, fine, but… how do we get from there to here?

Is it, "my system has a 'combat' minigame, and the GM decided to give characters 'social AC & HP' based on their Wisdom, 'social attack bonus And damage based on their Charisma', and a maneuver list based on their skill ranks, and it was an abuse of the combat system that played nothing like combat or dialog"?

Is it, "my system only has one resolution mechanic, and the GM applied it to a scenario I had never imagined as best he could given the instructions in the rulebook"?

How do we get from your "chase minigame" to "(a travesty of) a sinking ship"?


It would be nice, but there just weren't enough skill points to go around, especially after the DM told me I needed crafting skills.

… what? So, after all that, you lowered your wisdom, and took crafting skills?

NichG
2020-01-18, 01:12 AM
Well, let's poke at those assumptions.

-----

You are assuming x characters. I am not.

In the original system, the optimal choice was for Talakeal's character to sit out, so (x-1) characters.

With my proposed changes, x characters would be better than (x-1).

Further, there is no guarantee that all the PCs participate. The Necromancer was hidden; the passenger could have roleplayed being shell shocked or something.

The most likely fail state under the original system was "Talakeal's character participates, plus bad luck". The most likely fail case under my system was "one or more PCs sit this out".

The optimal answer under the old system was "Talakeal's character sits this out; other characters expend resources". The optimal answer under my system would have been… everyone participates, and increases the number of participants if able (animate dead, summoning, whatever).

-----


I'm assuming that once the challenge is in play, the characters involved aren't variable. So if the parameters are fixed (valid skill list, people's skill ratings, etc) then there is a single decision point of 'who does what' that is trivial to optimize.

In that case, we can take two systems A and B, make those choices, and then let them play out. While the specific choices can vary - if in one case I make the easiest way to get successes Athletics, while in another case it's Diplomacy - the actual sequence of resolution will still be the same in both cases.

The thing here is, rolling 25-50 times in order to resolve the outcome of a single set of decisions is bad game design independently of whether in one case the decision involves everyone participating, whereas in the other case people sit out. That's because there is no actual 'participation' after the initial static decision.

Removing the longwinded resolution can make non-participation less impactful. Compare 'I did nothing during this 1 hour sequence' to 'I did nothing when the DM called for one person to make a Survival check to follow these tracks'. In universe both are multi-hour activities. At the table, one takes an hour and the other takes 30 seconds.



You think it is optimal for there to be a risk of failure via the dice. I think it is optimal for there to be a risk of failure by player choices (and for that risk to map logically to in-game reality, rather than be a "gotcha").


Its more that, if the dice rolling or simulation mechanics can't change the outcome, it would be better not to actually play it out. E.g.:

"You need 10 successes before 10 failures. You have a 90% success rate on each of your rolls the way you have allocated people. That means you have only about a 1 in a billion chance of failure over all. So your plan succeeds, let's move on."



You believe in there being interesting decisions throughout. I… could go either way. Note that Talakeal lamented the lack of a generic option (for different reasons, granted). Still, some players enjoy choices, others enjoy the grind.


I generally feel that good game design means respecting the players' time. That means that it's questionable to make things take longer for sake of the illusion of extended, involved gameplay. Replacing that with actual gameplay (meaningful, consequential decisions) or reducing the time spent to resolve things are both solutions.

Quertus
2020-01-18, 09:10 AM
I'm assuming that once the challenge is in play, the characters involved aren't variable. So if the parameters are fixed (valid skill list, people's skill ratings, etc) then there is a single decision point of 'who does what' that is trivial to optimize.

In that case, we can take two systems A and B, make those choices, and then let them play out. While the specific choices can vary - if in one case I make the easiest way to get successes Athletics, while in another case it's Diplomacy - the actual sequence of resolution will still be the same in both cases.

The thing here is, rolling 25-50 times in order to resolve the outcome of a single set of decisions is bad game design independently of whether in one case the decision involves everyone participating, whereas in the other case people sit out. That's because there is no actual 'participation' after the initial static decision.

Removing the longwinded resolution can make non-participation less impactful. Compare 'I did nothing during this 1 hour sequence' to 'I did nothing when the DM called for one person to make a Survival check to follow these tracks'. In universe both are multi-hour activities. At the table, one takes an hour and the other takes 30 seconds.



Its more that, if the dice rolling or simulation mechanics can't change the outcome, it would be better not to actually play it out. E.g.:

"You need 10 successes before 10 failures. You have a 90% success rate on each of your rolls the way you have allocated people. That means you have only about a 1 in a billion chance of failure over all. So your plan succeeds, let's move on."



I generally feel that good game design means respecting the players' time. That means that it's questionable to make things take longer for sake of the illusion of extended, involved gameplay. Replacing that with actual gameplay (meaningful, consequential decisions) or reducing the time spent to resolve things are both solutions.

Ah. Thank you for clarifying your position. I struggle to split hairs properly to make this statement, but… I and my preferences do not personally disagree with your gameplay philosophy; however, a) I can envision others having BadWrongFun, and b) there is a larger picture than you are giving credit for.

A) imagine a system with no significant decisions (beyond initial optimization), but the actual outcome is uncertain, and the GM does a masterful job of painting the progress, narrating how the individual rolls affect the scenario and build towards the final outcome. Also, Candy Land and High Ho Cherry Oh. Regardless of our intellectual feelings towards these games, they produce "fun" for some players, so I hesitate to simply declare them "badly designed".

B) it isn't just saving the ship - there is a larger world, a bigger picture. Is it optimal to throw maximum resources at the problem early on, to limit the likelihood of the probability "walk" being bad? Or is it optimal to save as many resources as possible for potential other challenges? Those with resources to spend (usually spellcasters) can have decisions and tension even in a simple random "walk".

So, yes, while I personally would absolutely want my games designed with the mindset you described (and, as I said, were I designing a "sinking ship" scenario from scratch, it would be a lot different than a "random walk skill challenge", hinging primarily on player skills and decisions, and secondarily on random "did you make your carpentry roll to make a patch that will hold from your finite resources?"), I think your statements about the fitness of various styles of games are not necessarily universal truths.

Talakeal, do you have any commentary regarding your group's preferences, or your intentions regarding your system?

kyoryu
2020-01-18, 12:19 PM
Forget game mechanics for a second. In the world situation as described, is there something that your character could have done? Again, in the world, not with the mechanics.

Talakeal
2020-01-18, 12:40 PM
Forget game mechanics for a second. In the world situation as described, is there something that your character could have done? Again, in the world, not with the mechanics.

Sure. Man the pumps. Which is what I did.


Ah. Thank you for clarifying your position. I struggle to split hairs properly to make this statement, but… I and my preferences do not personally disagree with your gameplay philosophy; however, a) I can envision others having BadWrongFun, and b) there is a larger picture than you are giving credit for.

A) imagine a system with no significant decisions (beyond initial optimization), but the actual outcome is uncertain, and the GM does a masterful job of painting the progress, narrating how the individual rolls affect the scenario and build towards the final outcome. Also, Candy Land and High Ho Cherry Oh. Regardless of our intellectual feelings towards these games, they produce "fun" for some players, so I hesitate to simply declare them "badly designed".

B) it isn't just saving the ship - there is a larger world, a bigger picture. Is it optimal to throw maximum resources at the problem early on, to limit the likelihood of the probability "walk" being bad? Or is it optimal to save as many resources as possible for potential other challenges? Those with resources to spend (usually spellcasters) can have decisions and tension even in a simple random "walk".

So, yes, while I personally would absolutely want my games designed with the mindset you described (and, as I said, were I designing a "sinking ship" scenario from scratch, it would be a lot different than a "random walk skill challenge", hinging primarily on player skills and decisions, and secondarily on random "did you make your carpentry roll to make a patch that will hold from your finite resources?"), I think your statements about the fitness of various styles of games are not necessarily universal truths.

Talakeal, do you have any commentary regarding your group's preferences, or your intentions regarding your system?

Not exactly sure what you are asking.

I wouldn't have run it as a chase, I would have had the party nominate a helmsman and had in roll a pilot test. I would have had everyone else tell me what they were doing, and roll appropriate skills tests, and eould then determine the difficulty of the pilot’s roll based on their successes.

An actual chase wouldn't have dragged on forever like this because the participants would have been caught or escaped one by one.

NichG
2020-01-18, 01:23 PM
Ah. Thank you for clarifying your position. I struggle to split hairs properly to make this statement, but… I and my preferences do not personally disagree with your gameplay philosophy; however, a) I can envision others having BadWrongFun, and b) there is a larger picture than you are giving credit for.

A) imagine a system with no significant decisions (beyond initial optimization), but the actual outcome is uncertain, and the GM does a masterful job of painting the progress, narrating how the individual rolls affect the scenario and build towards the final outcome. Also, Candy Land and High Ho Cherry Oh. Regardless of our intellectual feelings towards these games, they produce "fun" for some players, so I hesitate to simply declare them "badly designed".


We don't need to go to some kind of theorycraft of imagining how people might enjoy or not enjoy it, because we've actually been told in this case by one of the players involved that a thing they didn't like was that the game dragged on for an hour with the state of the progress track fluctuating back and forth around 50%. So we know that the time it took and the lack of driving progress towards conclusion were both elements of them having a bad time with this mechanic.

So a proposal that doesn't really alter that aspect, but makes it so that instead of them saying 'I bail out the bilge' they say 'I help mend the hull' doesn't resolve the problem. It was important to note this point because it might not be obvious to someone designing such mechanics (as it wasn't obvious to the DM, and as it appeared not to be obvious to you from your post) that this kind of slow resolution is a property of the formula 'roll dice until they add to X or -X', and doesn't have to do with e.g. whether or not you add on success/subject on failure, or just subtract each round but add on successes.



B) it isn't just saving the ship - there is a larger world, a bigger picture. Is it optimal to throw maximum resources at the problem early on, to limit the likelihood of the probability "walk" being bad? Or is it optimal to save as many resources as possible for potential other challenges? Those with resources to spend (usually spellcasters) can have decisions and tension even in a simple random "walk".


Well one, the problem in a skill challenge (if it's meant in e.g. the 4ed D&D sense) is that the bulk of the participation is siloed through things that don't consume resources - that is, you don't expend resources to choose to use one skill over another, or to choose to use a skill versus not using a skill. Moving out of the success/failure track model into something stateful (even if its just via using up 'cards' that can't be played again) does inject more actual gameplay choices, though different mechanisms for aggregating consequences will have an effect on how much the decisions do actually extend throughout the resolution rather than being front-loaded.

The other thing is that, if this was a single decision point resolved with one roll (rather than a sequence of rolls), that would also have the same 'bigger picture' relationship to other future challenges and the like. That is to say, the random walk isn't really adding more meaningful decisions, its just taking the same meaningful decision but diluting it over a longer interval of table time by making it appear to be multiple decisions.

William M. Pail
2020-01-19, 04:20 AM
Forget game mechanics for a second. In the world situation as described, is there something that your character could have done? Again, in the world, not with the mechanics.
Not getting what i expected,sometimes even disappointed.

zinycor
2020-01-19, 08:10 AM
Seems like everyone is focusing on just a particular skill challenge that could have been better... Which is ridiculous, even the greatest GM would have a boring poorly thought out challenge every once in a while.

Main problem here is the lack of cooperation between players. That's problematic and needs to be dressed. Personally I would just talk to the players and say that I am not interested on having to convince party members into behaving like party members.

Quertus
2020-01-19, 04:53 PM
Seems like everyone is focusing on just a particular skill challenge that could have been better... Which is ridiculous, even the greatest GM would have a boring poorly thought out challenge every once in a while.

Main problem here is the lack of cooperation between players. That's problematic and needs to be dressed. Personally I would just talk to the players and say that I am not interested on having to convince party members into behaving like party members.

Personally, while I addressed several issues, I am spending more virtual ink on this particular issue because 1) I got pushback on my response that seemed worth exploring, and 2) this is something directly under Talakeal's control to address well - or poorly - in their system.

So, for instance, were Talakeal a **** like me, their system might call out "adjudicating things", and say, "this one time, a GM tried to run a sinking ship scenario, and failed like <this>, when they should have done <that> instead.". Now, that might be fine for some players/GMs; others would doubtless be upset. Heck, Talakeal changing his system in response to the adventure could itself be viewed as sour grapes. It's a larger issue I'll continue to focus on throughout this thread.

Further, this was an hour of unfun activity for Talakeal (did the other players enjoy playing candy land?) in the first session. If this continues, it'll definitely be worth dealing with - and therefore may be worth nipping in the bud.

However, as a spectator, yes, the lack of party cohesion is concerning - or would be, if this weren't just the first session of "events threw you together - make it work". Granted, choosing that plan for Talakeal's dysfunctional group is itself highly concerning. That, plus the botched skill challenge, plus the questionable plot hook(s) for a seemingly singular plotline, plus the potential plot hole, really make this GM sound well out of his depth.

zinycor
2020-01-19, 09:35 PM
Personally, while I addressed several issues, I am spending more virtual ink on this particular issue because 1) I got pushback on my response that seemed worth exploring, and 2) this is something directly under Talakeal's control to address well - or poorly - in their system.

So, for instance, were Talakeal a **** like me, their system might call out "adjudicating things", and say, "this one time, a GM tried to run a sinking ship scenario, and failed like <this>, when they should have done <that> instead.". Now, that might be fine for some players/GMs; others would doubtless be upset. Heck, Talakeal changing his system in response to the adventure could itself be viewed as sour grapes. It's a larger issue I'll continue to focus on throughout this thread.

Further, this was an hour of unfun activity for Talakeal (did the other players enjoy playing candy land?) in the first session. If this continues, it'll definitely be worth dealing with - and therefore may be worth nipping in the bud.

However, as a spectator, yes, the lack of party cohesion is concerning - or would be, if this weren't just the first session of "events threw you together - make it work". Granted, choosing that plan for Talakeal's dysfunctional group is itself highly concerning. That, plus the botched skill challenge, plus the questionable plot hook(s) for a seemingly singular plotline, plus the potential plot hole, really make this GM sound well out of his depth.

Isn't this a first time DM? If so I wouldn't worry too much about plot holes or whatever, those are to be expected. A party not willing to work together is a problem, no matter the context, Specially in dysfunctional groups such as Tal's.

NichG
2020-01-19, 11:27 PM
I think it's worth saying, in comparison to other issues that have been discussed in this thread, I wouldn't describe this as a GM out of their depth or any sort of disastrous session. This is a group that had a player storm off in a rage over having a spell slot used during a session they weren't present in. So I wouldn't expect of a new GM to instantly make the group have excellent teamwork. That's unrealistic. At this point I don't really think further discussion of the group's internal frictions is all that productive - most things have been said already, and there's not much in the way of new information.

When I comment on the skill challenge, it's because it is something that does seem to have been an error, and is easily fixable in the future.

Quertus
2020-01-20, 08:08 AM
When I comment on the skill challenge, it's because it is something that does seem to have been an error, and is easily fixable in the future.

Also, the skill challenge is something where Talakeal has the option and opportunity to make social errors in addressing it, both as a player, and as a system designer.

In that regard, IMO, the first step should be to determine whether the other players enjoyed playing Candy Land; ie, enjoyed spending an hour narrating their actions while the GM narrated the results, with a mechanically and tactically uninteresting (and unrealistic) system. This will help us understand what the players value, and give Talakeal a better basis from which to make choices - as a player, a GM, and a system designer - in the future.

Talakeal
2020-01-21, 10:05 PM
Ok, so it looks like we have another serious issue.

I was told that while Bob and Dave were able to table their arguments for the sake of the new players, that I need to give them a damn good reason to be in the party at the start of the next session or they are just going to kill my character and take the boat by force.

Basically, both of them created characters with charisma as a dump stat and no social skills, and told me OOC that they do not want to be the party leader or the party face. Yet at the same time, they both want to be the "Captain", with all the respect and authority that comes with it.

Bob told me that his character is a sociopath and a narcissist who hates and distrusts everyone, and that all he wants in the world is respect. Keep in mind, that he is a poor, outcast, half-breed, fugitive, child necromancer. During the last game I offered to protect his character, and give him equal input and an equal voice in all decision; and I told him that if any outsiders asked about him I would pretend he was just our cabin boy to allay suspicion, but apparently this was a tremendous insult to his pride and he is now demanding to be in charge of the boat and given the highest rank of any of us to make up for it.

I told them that I have already remade my character twice for them, and I won't be doing it again.

So, it looks like, if someone doesn't have a brilliant plan, the next session is just going to devolve into a PvP scrum.

Quertus
2020-01-21, 10:47 PM
Ok, so it looks like we have another serious issue.

I was told that while Bob and Dave were able to table their arguments for the sake of the new players, that I need to give them a damn good reason to be in the party at the start of the next session or they are just going to kill my character and take the boat by force.

Basically, both of them created characters with charisma as a dump stat and no social skills, and told me OOC that they do not want to be the party leader or the party face. Yet at the same time, they both want to be the "Captain", with all the respect and authority that comes with it.

Bob told me that his character is a sociopath and a narcissist who hates and distrusts everyone, and that all he wants in the world is respect. Keep in mind, that he is a poor, outcast, half-breed, fugitive, child necromancer. During the last game I offered to protect his character, and give him equal input and an equal voice in all decision; and I told him that if any outsiders asked about him I would pretend he was just our cabin boy to allay suspicion, but apparently this was a tremendous insult to his pride and he is now demanding to be in charge of the boat and given the highest rank of any of us to make up for it.

I told them that I have already remade my character twice for them, and I won't be doing it again.

So, it looks like, if someone doesn't have a brilliant plan, the next session is just going to devolve into a PvP scrum.

Tell the GM, have the GM force them both to remake their characters. Period. No wiggle room here. If they cannot make characters who can work with the party, kick them from the group.

EDIT: also, take this opportunity to go back to your original character - the one you actually wanted to play.

Koo Rehtorb
2020-01-21, 10:57 PM
Your group is bad.

zinycor
2020-01-21, 11:33 PM
Weird, so your problematic player continues to be problematic despite the fact that nobody makes an effort to correct his behaviour? Who could have seen this coming?

Honestly, kick Bob out of the gaming group or leave yourself. No sense on keep going through this session after session. This would be hard to tolerate on kids, but on actual adults... Is unbelievable your group even tolerates him.

So yeah, as I said before, no sense on discussing the mechanics that a new GM should have used for a particular challenge if the social standing within the group is so disfunctional.

Lord of Shadows
2020-01-22, 05:43 AM
Ok, so it looks like we have another serious issue.

I was told that while Bob and Dave were able to table their arguments for the sake of the new players, that I need to give them a damn good reason to be in the party at the start of the next session or they are just going to kill my character and take the boat by force.

Step one: pull the pin on the grende...


Basically, both of them created characters with charisma as a dump stat and no social skills, and told me OOC that they do not want to be the party leader or the party face. Yet at the same time, they both want to be the "Captain", with all the respect and authority that comes with it.

Step two: toss the grenade and duck for cover...


Bob told me that his character is a sociopath and a narcissist who hates and distrusts everyone, and that all he wants in the world is respect. Keep in mind, that he is a poor, outcast, half-breed, fugitive, child necromancer. During the last game I offered to protect his character, and give him equal input and an equal voice in all decision; and I told him that if any outsiders asked about him I would pretend he was just our cabin boy to allay suspicion, but apparently this was a tremendous insult to his pride and he is now demanding to be in charge of the boat and given the highest rank of any of us to make up for it.

But, Dave wants to be Captain... Bob should rename his character HAL: "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.."


I told them that I have already remade my character twice for them, and I won't be doing it again.

So, it looks like, if someone doesn't have a brilliant plan, the next session is just going to devolve into a PvP scrum.

This group needs more than a brilliant plan. They need a miracle... or a Wish. I officially see no way "to prevent another one of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories." I hope Brian has enjoyed his brief tenure as a DM.

Ya know, it's sad, because a lot of really good gamers have tried their darndest to give the best advice they can think of on how to make this group work. Not just in this forum, but also elsewhere.

Final thought (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru)...

Pelle
2020-01-22, 07:43 AM
It is perfectly understandable that Bob's sociopath character is insulted and would like to start pvp conflict, that's ok. You need to tell him that you as a player don't enjoy the game when he plays such characters, and ask him to please help make the game more enjoyable. If he wants to play a sociopath narcissist who hates and distrusts everone, ask him to do it in a way that makes it fun for the rest of the table...

but to be a little fair, needing a party face/leader is something you have taken upon yourself, noone else has asked you to do that. You don't need every party role covered to have a fun game, so you should try toning down the bossing. Few people like having another player be the the boss in rpgs. Not that this party is going to play well by commitee either, though.

Talakeal
2020-01-22, 08:56 AM
but to be a little fair, needing a party face/leader is something you have taken upon yourself, noone else has asked you to do that. You don't need every party role covered to have a fun game, so you should try toning down the bossing. Few people like having another player be the the boss in rpgs. Not that this party is going to play well by commitee either, though.

Currently my “bossing” has come down to talking to an NPC innkeeper to get a plot hook, and then asking the party to go on the adventure for an equal share of the treasure. If I tone it down anymore, there literally won’t be a game.

I absolutely do not enjoy playing the party face, but I feel like if I don’t do it the game just won’t happen.

Pelle
2020-01-22, 09:26 AM
Currently my “bossing” has come down to talking to an NPC innkeeper to get a plot hook, and then asking the party to go on the adventure for an equal share of the treasure. If I tone it down anymore, there literally won’t be a game.

I absolutely do not enjoy playing the party face, but I feel like if I don’t do it the game just won’t happen.

Probably yes, but it's not like you need a high charisma to say yes to a plot hook. You can all play grumpy charisma-dumped characters, and still engage with the game. If the other players resent you for taking initative, try letting your character join the others in the negativity, and instead facilitate an out-of-character discussion of what you all want to do. Try push the other players to do something themselves and join them, instead of doing yourself something the others won't like.

zinycor
2020-01-22, 09:33 AM
Just ask Bob, as a fellow player, to please tone his bitching down, explain to him that you aren't trying to offend him or taking control of the party. If he doesn't agree, bring this issue to the whole table, and how it makes you feel, If that doesn't work, just leave.

Frozenstep
2020-01-22, 11:59 AM
Sociopath? Sure. They can still be intelligent and work with a group purely for their own gain, in character always ready to jump on a bigger opportunity but out of character always finding a reason for their character to stick with the group (the protection of a likely higher then average level group, monetary gain, denying offers by villians to join them because they think they'll just be betrayed by them). Why piss off a group of people that are relatively strong when you could use them instead?

Narcissist? Sure. A self-superior attitude can be anything from entertaining to annoying, but it's something parties can work with.

Both? Bad sign. It's one thing to be delusional, another to be willing to kill for coldly logical reasons. It's quite another to be willing to kill for delusional reasons. You're dealing with a madman who fundamentally cannot work with others. Any insult, real or half-imagined like this one, could result in death. A group of actual sociopaths wouldn't work with this guy, they still need to be able to trust eachother with something at least as much as "You'd be stupid to betray me at this point considering all the benefits me being alive and on your side confers".

If I were you, I'd ask Bob (and Dave?), with the DM there, what their goal is, out of character. Do they just want control of what the group is doing? Are they just trying to "play true to their character"? Ask what they imagine things look like if everything goes their way and they get what they want at every turn, and potentially how they'd feel if someone else got those things at every turn instead and how that'd make them feel. How is this supposed to be fun for the entire group?

Even if it's an evil campaign, it's still a group game. Pirates can betray each other, but for a story it's more entertaining if they do it over an artifact or map to some ancient treasure or just some object of real temptation. Your characters could fight each other over a broken ship and keep sabotaging and backstabbing eachother, but does that really sound more entertaining then grumbling and working together long enough to go out and find some actual treasure? At least fight on top of a pile of gold coins, it's a cooler place to die.

Your character doesn't need to be "Captain" or whatever of this group just because you have the highest social skills, so normally I'd say you could just let them have the captain title and offer your social skills as a tool for them, but in this case why would you work for a guy that's this delusional and violent? Who'd willingly get on a ship with a lit powder keg like that?

I do have brilliant solutions that could work, but all of them require Bob to act reasonably. Like if this guy states calmly, but firmly, that he should be captain because he's the most powerful, and that your character, sensing a longing for respect and prestige with his social skills, lets him have it, but still goes and finds the plot hooks and tries to tell the captain about it like "There's rumor of treasure at X! Can we go steal it, Captain?". But with Bob, that could be taken as trying to take control or something (which it is, but it's supposed to be subtle control that the in-character isn't aware of). If the out-of-character person isn't ok with a group dynamic that makes sense and isn't unbalanced, then I can't help.

Arbane
2020-01-22, 12:08 PM
If they both want to be captain, let them fight over it.

Then, as captain, have the winner keelhauled.

GrayDeath
2020-01-22, 12:17 PM
If they both want to be captain, let them fight over it.

Then, as captain, have the winner keelhauled.

As your groups have never managed to solve anything out of Game, this might be the best solution.

if they bitch afterwards, you can simply say Yous tarted it, I finished it. Quit your bitching!". ^^

zinycor
2020-01-22, 12:21 PM
Only thing I don't get is: If both Dave and Bob's characters want to captain, why do they want to kill your character?

Arbane
2020-01-22, 12:35 PM
This won't help with your players, but it might help with your game design: a post on 'difficulty' in RPGs (https://prokopetz.tumblr.com/post/190385611282/one-common-mistake-that-novice-and-sometimes).

Talakeal
2020-01-22, 12:38 PM
Sociopath? Sure. They can still be intelligent and work with a group purely for their own gain, in character always ready to jump on a bigger opportunity but out of character always finding a reason for their character to stick with the group (the protection of a likely higher then average level group, monetary gain, denying offers by villians to join them because they think they'll just be betrayed by them). Why piss off a group of people that are relatively strong when you could use them instead?

Narcissist? Sure. A self-superior attitude can be anything from entertaining to annoying, but it's something parties can work with.

Both? Bad sign. It's one thing to be delusional, another to be willing to kill for coldly logical reasons. It's quite another to be willing to kill for delusional reasons. You're dealing with a madman who fundamentally cannot work with others. Any insult, real or half-imagined like this one, could result in death. A group of actual sociopaths wouldn't work with this guy, they still need to be able to trust eachother with something at least as much as "You'd be stupid to betray me at this point considering all the benefits me being alive and on your side confers".

If I were you, I'd ask Bob (and Dave?), with the DM there, what their goal is, out of character. Do they just want control of what the group is doing? Are they just trying to "play true to their character"? Ask what they imagine things look like if everything goes their way and they get what they want at every turn, and potentially how they'd feel if someone else got those things at every turn instead and how that'd make them feel. How is this supposed to be fun for the entire group?

Even if it's an evil campaign, it's still a group game. Pirates can betray each other, but for a story it's more entertaining if they do it over an artifact or map to some ancient treasure or just some object of real temptation. Your characters could fight each other over a broken ship and keep sabotaging and backstabbing eachother, but does that really sound more entertaining then grumbling and working together long enough to go out and find some actual treasure? At least fight on top of a pile of gold coins, it's a cooler place to die.

Your character doesn't need to be "Captain" or whatever of this group just because you have the highest social skills, so normally I'd say you could just let them have the captain title and offer your social skills as a tool for them, but in this case why would you work for a guy that's this delusional and violent? Who'd willingly get on a ship with a lit powder keg like that?

I do have brilliant solutions that could work, but all of them require Bob to act reasonably. Like if this guy states calmly, but firmly, that he should be captain because he's the most powerful, and that your character, sensing a longing for respect and prestige with his social skills, lets him have it, but still goes and finds the plot hooks and tries to tell the captain about it like "There's rumor of treasure at X! Can we go steal it, Captain?". But with Bob, that could be taken as trying to take control or something (which it is, but it's supposed to be subtle control that the in-character isn't aware of). If the out-of-character person isn't ok with a group dynamic that makes sense and isn't unbalanced, then I can't help.

Pretty much how I feel.

It isn't that they want to control the group OOC, its that they are “just playing their characters” which happen to be a dumb thug who thinks himself entitled to whatever he can take and a sociopath with trust issues and delusions of grandeur.


As your groups have never managed to solve anything out of Game, this might be the best solution.

if they bitch afterwards, you can simply say Yous tarted it, I finished it. Quit your bitching!". ^^

Thats how it looks to be going.


Only thing I don't get is: If both Dave and Bob's characters want to captain, why do they want to kill your character?

Because I am currently the Captain. Bob flat out said he is waiting for Dave and I to kill one another before he uses the opportunity to defeat the winner while they are wounded.

zinycor
2020-01-22, 12:49 PM
OH! I didn't know you were the captain, that's weird, I imagined that if someone was the captain it would be the Ogre.

Frozenstep
2020-01-22, 03:01 PM
Pretty much how I feel.

It isn't that they want to control the group OOC, its that they are “just playing their characters” which happen to be a dumb thug who thinks himself entitled to whatever he can take and a sociopath with trust issues and delusions of grandeur.

Because I am currently the Captain. Bob flat out said he is waiting for Dave and I to kill one another before he uses the opportunity to defeat the winner while they are wounded.

Ask them if, out of character, they really want to play a group of characters that just collapses into infighting before they even do anything interesting? If they made their characters just a smidge more manipulative and patient, they could instead betray you after at least using you to find some treasure and disarm whatever traps are on the way. They're in control of their characters, they can write them to at least fit into some sort of story.

Is your DM aware of all of this? How do they feel about this?

patchyman
2020-01-22, 03:06 PM
I was told that while Bob and Dave were able to table their arguments for the sake of the new players, that I need to give them a damn good reason to be in the party at the start of the next session or they are just going to kill my character and take the boat by force.

Bob and Dave are bullying you. You are being bullied.

Look at it this way. Imagine you are in high school. You drop your pen and a classmate picks it up. When you ask for your pen back, the classmate responds that you have to do what he says or he will break it.

Your character has value to you. You have clearly spent time on the character and her backstory, including two rewrites. If they kill your character, that character is gone and you won’t just roll up the same character again.

So how do you deal with this?

Step 1: Recognize the situation.

You are being bullied by people you have described as your friends. That sucks. But to address a problem, you have to call it by its actual name.

People hate being called bullies. They love saying “I was just joking”, “You’re being overly sensitive” or, my favorite in RPG circles, “I’m just playing my character”. Don’t let them minimize or ignore the situation, and don’t minimize or ignore the situation yourself before they have a chance.

Step 2: Speak to your DM
You should speak with your DM. You should not expect the DM to solve the situation for you: as much as I wish that I was imbued with legendary interpersonal skills by donning the DM mantle, that doesn’t happen, and most DMs are just as clueless in dealing with other people as you are.

But you should still run the situation by your DM to confirm that you haven’t misread anything. If the DM offers to help, take him up on it (but manage your expectations). If the DM tells you you misinterpreted the situation, give his opinion due consideration. If the DM confirms your impressions, use him as a sounding board for ideas for the next steps.

Honestly, if this was the first time you described something like this, I would say just talk it over with Bob and Dave. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt the first time. You can try talking to them. It may even work. However, you have described a pattern of behaviour that goes back years, so I would proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: YMMV

Take my step 3 with a grain of salt. I tend to be of the opinion that “Thou shalt not suffer a bully to live”, but there are less extreme options that may also be successful.

That being said, Kill the necromancer before he kills your character. Surprise attack BAB full action, necromancer doesn’t get a chance to react.

It is currently a little unclear what you know that your character doesn’t, but what follows is my impression of what your character knows about the necromancer:
- the necromancer is very dangerous: he brings dead people back to life and if he sent his minions to attack you, he could probably kill you without your being able to effectively retaliate;
- the necromancer is unstable: he overreacts to non-existent slights;
-the necromancer is a sociopath who intends to become a supervillain;

Most damning of all, the necromancer isn’t charming enough to pull it off, so the party doesn’t really have a reason to want him around.

Meanwhile, your character doesn’t seem like the sort who would stick with a child in the unlikely hope of redeeming him.

Based on the forgoing, killing the necromancer before he kills you is the most reasonable course of action. This is the case even if the necromancer hasn’t threatened to kill you in-game: unstable budding supervillains are notorious for considering everyone else expendable and killing people who annoy them.

To put it a different way, Bob cannot invoke “give my character a good reason not to kill your character” without dealing with the flipside: “my character does not adventure with people that don’t have her back. You have created a character that is super untrustworthy”.

But overall, I echo what zincycor said: until Bob and Dave have a reason to change their ways, they won’t.

Lord of Shadows
2020-01-22, 04:09 PM
Talakeal, here's some thoughts that could pull everyone back together. Others have given some good ideas on how to confront the out-of-character issues. This would be more for DM/Brian to interrupt any in-character issues with a sudden new challenge to the PCs, especially those who want the ship as theirs.

DM/Brian could have an NPC appear who also "miraculously" survived the pirate attack (doesn't matter if it's true, they say that they are) and who wants to take over the ship :


Perhaps said survivor was a member of the crew who stayed hidden on the ship.

Perhaps said survivor was an officer - or the previous Captain - who had a special hiding place just for pirate attacks.

A rumor has started in town that the PC's were not the only survivors of the pirate attack. Perhaps someone claiming to be a crew member says they snuck off the ship after it docked and while the PCs weren't looking (doesn't matter if it's true or not).
Perhaps someone claims they washed ashore who also claims to be a crew member.

Perhaps some NPC or "local authority" in the port suddenly decides to lay claim to the ship as theirs:


By citing some legal connection to it (relative of the Captain, relative of a crew member, merchant who had cargo on board that was taken, etc.)

Employee of the merchant who owned the boat.

The boat is now a crime scene ("Piracy on the High Seas" or something equally as official sounding) and the local authorities seize it as evidence of said crime. All occupants are taken in for questioning - partly as witnesses but also to determine if any survivors were conspirators in the crime. Bob's character, as the only "survivor" of the crew (using his cabin boy cover), is looked at especially hard.

Perhaps someone claiming to be another survivor of the pirate attack points the finger at one of the PCs as being connected to the pirates and helped in some way (again, doesn't matter if it's true, some will believe it).

Deceptive NPC - perhaps with forged documents - who just wants the boat for its salvage value. Cold be a "respected" member of the community that the locals believe over the PC's.

The Pirates return:



Agents of the pirates are in the port town, and have been watching the PCs, looking for a chance to strike. Dead PC's tell no tales (of pirates they saw).
A ship appears in the harbor that the PCs recognize as the Pirate ship. Mayhem ensues.
A possible connection between the pirates and whatever happened to the Druid comes to the party as a rumor, or on something found on the Druid, or someone he told of his suspicions contacts the party directly.

DM/Brian could use any of these, feel free to suggest them, and point out that even if you have suggested something, only he knows how true it actually is. If DM/Brian seems reluctant or uninterested in any of these plot elements, your PC could report it to the party as a rumor heard in town of something about to occur. It might keep the other PCs distracted, wondering what may happen next. Use their fanatical craziness against them. Your character could then use that time to your advantage (gain allies, prepare responses, etc.)

Hope this helps...

kyoryu
2020-01-22, 05:17 PM
Let's be clear: If a player creates a character that is a sociopath and a narcissist, they are doing so deliberately so that they can have the character engage and sociopathic and narcissistic behavior down the road and use that in their defense.

They are pre-MyGuying. It is done deliberately as an excuse to be a jerk. There is no other reason to do that.

Arbane
2020-01-22, 07:31 PM
Next time the necromancer threatens you, grab the twerp and throw him overboard.
Get some help, and do the same thing to the ogre.

Or, you know, LEAVE. This game will not improve.

Koo Rehtorb
2020-01-22, 08:01 PM
{Scrubbed}

Talakeal
2020-01-22, 08:07 PM
Next time the necromancer threatens you, grab the twerp and throw him overboard.
Get some help, and do the same thing to the ogre.

That would be nice. The problem is I can't defeat the entire party, and as the pixie is the ogre's wife, there is no way they won't all gang up on me. The DM (and all of his NPCs) are apparently completely spineless when it comes to PvP, so help really won't be forthcoming.

Also, I kind of have a hang up about that. This goes back to one of my very first gaming horror stories, perhaps the first.

Back in high school, I was playing a rogue, and the party fighter was constantly bullying my character, both mentally and physically. It came to a head one day when my character (who was afraid of water) refused to swim a lake, and he decided to throw me in, where I was attacked by a lake monster and, being alone in the lake, nearly killed. I decided that my character had had enough, and coup de graced the fighter in his sleep that night.

The DM responded by having a level 20 cleric teleport in, true res the fighter, and cast imprisonment on my character. He then kicked me from the group. I found out that YEARS later the group was still meeting without me in secret, and only then it was because one of my other friends had been invited to their group, cancelled plans with me to game with them, and then told me a lie about it.

So I am really nervous about something similar happening again.

zinycor
2020-01-22, 08:16 PM
That would be nice. The problem is I can't defeat the entire party, and as the pixie is the ogre's wife, there is no way they won't all gang up on me. The DM (and all of his NPCs) are apparently completely spineless when it comes to PvP, so help really won't be forthcoming.

Also, I kind of have a hang up about that. This goes back to one of my very first gaming horror stories, perhaps the first.

Back in high school, I was playing a rogue, and the party fighter was constantly bullying my character, both mentally and physically. It came to a head one day when my character (who was afraid of water) refused to swim a lake, and he decided to throw me in, where I was attacked by a lake monster and, being alone in the lake, nearly killed. I decided that my character had had enough, and coup de graced the fighter in his sleep that night.

The DM responded by having a level 20 cleric teleport in, true res the fighter, and cast imprisonment on my character. He then kicked me from the group. I found out that YEARS later the group was still meeting without me in secret, and only then it was because one of my other friends had been invited to their group, cancelled plans with me to game with them, and then told me a lie about it.

So I am really nervous about something similar happening again.

You are worried about what? About going back to highschool? Can you just leave and find a new group? if you have any friends in this group you can still meet them outside of gaming or invite them to a working table.

Arbane
2020-01-22, 10:52 PM
To quote myself:


Or, you know, LEAVE. This game will not improve.

Have you considered finding another hobby? I have no idea why, but you seem to be a magnet for these Black Hand rejects.

But if you are determined to stick around, I just had a better* idea. Let one of them corner you, and hand off the captaincy when they threaten you. If they don't kill you after that, do the same with the OTHER one, too. Let THEM sort it out. (And when they complain, remind them that's metagaming.)

* For a value of 'better' that still thinks Paranoia was a great RPG.

Satinavian
2020-01-23, 01:17 AM
If you don't want to kill the other PCs and don't want to leave the group for good (both appropriate options), here is another thing you can do :

Have your character abandon the group after realizing they would not get along. Then declare that you as a player will take a break of a couple of sessions and then make a new character with Brian who is a better fit after the party dynamics between necromancer, ogre and pixie are settled.


Let them play without you for a time so they can't offload all the work of plot-finding, morivation and making the party work to you. Force them to invest in the game on their own.

Kane0
2020-01-23, 01:47 AM
I'm not going to say you should go full Henderson, but have you considered going full Henderson?

The Glyphstone
2020-01-23, 02:23 AM
As we all predicted, the game is about to implode because the sociopathic narcissist whose character is also a sociopathic narcissist has the GM and other players bending into pretzels to indulge his attention seeking temper tantrums. But hey, maybe pigs will fly and Bob's heart will spontaneously grow three sizes that day.

Talakeal
2020-01-23, 08:12 AM
Well, the DM is going to take Querus’ suggestion and tell them to make new characters who are both good and will get along with the party. We’ll see how it goes.

Friv
2020-01-23, 02:54 PM
I told them that I have already remade my character twice for them, and I won't be doing it again.

So, it looks like, if someone doesn't have a brilliant plan, the next session is just going to devolve into a PvP scrum.
Because I am currently the Captain. Bob flat out said he is waiting for Dave and I to kill one another before he uses the opportunity to defeat the winner while they are wounded.
Okay, so, it sounds like the situation may be temporarily resolved, but honestly I think this was about to resolve itself. Just name Dave the captain, let him become the focus of Bob's wrath, and take the new players and leave and start your own group with them.


The DM responded by having a level 20 cleric teleport in, true res the fighter, and cast imprisonment on my character. He then kicked me from the group. I found out that YEARS later the group was still meeting without me in secret, and only then it was because one of my other friends had been invited to their group, cancelled plans with me to game with them, and then told me a lie about it.

So I am really nervous about something similar happening again.
Serious question: why?

Not playing with people like that is the best possible outcome to dealing with people like that. You're saying that you are nervous that you might lose the opportunity to be bullied by *******s. That is what you are afraid of. Not being abused.

That is kind of a worrying statement, friend.

Quertus
2020-01-23, 02:59 PM
If you don't want to kill the other PCs and don't want to leave the group for good (both appropriate options), here is another thing you can do :

Have your character abandon the group after realizing they would not get along. Then declare that you as a player will take a break of a couple of sessions and then make a new character with Brian who is a better fit after the party dynamics between necromancer, ogre and pixie are settled.


Let them play without you for a time so they can't offload all the work of plot-finding, morivation and making the party work to you. Force them to invest in the game on their own.

This is also a good idea. I just expect that Talakeal will reject it out of fear that they might… hmmm… cancel the game entirely without him, or, once they get the game running better, that they might get it in their heads that Talakeal was the problem element (now, many old-timers might be elated at the notion of Talakeal no longer being in that toxic environment, even if it came from being forcibly ejected from the group, but that doesn't change the fact that Talakeal might consider it a reason to reject the plan).


Well, the DM is going to take Querus’ suggestion and tell them to make new characters who are both good and will get along with the party. We’ll see how it goes.

You know, in a normal group, I'd say that alignment has nothing to do with it; however, in your group, they may not comprehend that "evil" and "delusional sociopath" aren't synonyms. So, just this once, I'll agree with your GM's "good" prerequisite.

That said, you've got a "CR beyond your ECL" social challenge still to deal with: namely, you need to figure out how much of the resentment was from their characters vs from the players, and how much of that resentment was directed at your character vs at you. What are your plans in this regard?

The Glyphstone
2020-01-24, 01:15 AM
I suspect Bob's "good" character will have an irrational hatred of your character from the gate, however he chooses to justify it. Possibly even tailor-made to PvP your character. So be prepared for that as well.

jdizzlean
2020-01-24, 05:22 AM
I'm not going to say you should go full Henderson, but have you considered going full Henderson?


in the case where a full henderson, or 2 full henderson's might be appropriate, you are required by law to document it, and share it for all to read after the fact.

Pelle
2020-01-24, 09:35 AM
I suspect Bob's "good" character will have an irrational hatred of your character from the gate, however he chooses to justify it. Possibly even tailor-made to PvP your character. So be prepared for that as well.

It looks like Bob has a problem with accepting the premise of a game where his character has goals and work towards those by overcoming real challenges. I agree, playing a "good" character is not likely to fix the situation of the table dynamic, but at least playing evil characters seems like a blanket justification for poor behaviour to him.

zinycor
2020-01-24, 01:21 PM
Am starting to suspect Bob to be a teenager, I can't understand this behaviour from adults who have some degree of practice with roleplaying games.

Arbane
2020-01-26, 04:27 PM
Am starting to suspect Bob to be a teenager, I can't understand this behaviour from adults who have some degree of practice with roleplaying games.

There are an appalling number of bad adults in the hobby.

GrayDeath
2020-01-26, 05:10 PM
Indeed.

And Bob seems to be a professional Game Tester.

Ugh.

zinycor
2020-01-26, 06:39 PM
There are an appalling number of bad adults in the hobby.

I guess that's a possibility...
Anyway, Talakeal, find a new group. Role-playing games more popular than ever before and there are plenty of people looking for groups.

Talakeal
2020-01-27, 09:14 AM
So, we played again.

The game started with a lot of passive aggressive crap that ended up with everyone pissed at me and me pissed at everyone.

Dave gave a new variant of the “only playing my character” speech. He basically said that the party tension was what was fun for him, and he considers the bickering in town for two hours trying to get him to come on the mission to be the “real game” and the adventure to just be boring hack and slash, and that he has new interest OOC in playing a game where everyone just mechanically kills monsters as an efficient team as he has MMOs for that sort of hack and slash game.

In the end, Bob and I decided that our character differences are irreconcilable and we were going to play this session pretending we can work together so the DMs work isn’t wasted, but we will both drastically rework our characters before the next game so they are less at odds and have a shared backstory.


Adventure summary:
We are looking for work as mercenaries or treasure hunters in town while waiting for our boat to be repaired. No real work, but we are led to a spooky abandoned temple in the bayou outside of town which supposedly contains a cursed treasure.

We scout it out, and we see a congregation of ghouls (ghouls in my setting are not true undead, they are Lovecraftian degenerate humans) Sacrificing goats to a mass of tentacles in a bit.

We try and talk our way in, but they are not interested in conversation, and tell us that unless we are interested in providing a sacrifice or attempting to solve the riddle of clockwork, we are of no use to them. When we get tough, they mob us.

The necromancer conjures a wall of wall of ice to keep us from getting surrounded. The ogre gets mobbed. I slowly cut through the ghouls, It is slow going but they need a natural 20 to hit me, so my victory is inevitable.

The deacon turns out to be a mind flayer in disguise, and also an illusionist. Exactly what I have been afraid of happening happens, as he can see invisibility and is able to take down our pixie without much trouble, though the DM has mercy and has him knock her out then retreat rather than finishing her off or carrying her away.

I finish off the ghouls, and we get the ogre and fairy back on their feat. We follow the illithid through some tunnels, and at one point it drops an illusionary wall, allowing us to be ambushed by a pack of ghasts (these are legit undead). Our necromancer is able to charm them, but not before out party is infected with their disease.

We finally corner the illithid, who is surrounded by his elite guard. He drops a stinking cloud on us and retreats again. His elite guard kill most of the ghasts before we kill them and raise their bodies as zombies.

We search the rest of the temple, but find no sign of the illithid. We distract the tentacles with ghoul bodies to get past. In one room we find a strange clockwork sphere, presumably the riddle of clockwork, and loot it.

We also find a Scrag, who has been tortured and has had its limbs surgically amputated. It believes us to be a deception on the part of the illithid, and tells us that he will not give up his great secret. The rest of the group decides he isn't worth saving, and we put him out of his misery and collect his skull.

We learn that the tentacles belonged to a juvenile kraken that was the illithid’s master, and that they have both fled out to see through underground caverns. We loot the place for holy relics and get a decent bit of gold.


So, the actual game was pretty fun, the party dynamics not so much. I am really optimistic about Bob and I reworking our characters, but I know it is foolish to get my hopes up.

GrayDeath
2020-01-27, 01:53 PM
Wait wait wait....BOB and you agreed on something positive?

That must be Mirror Bizarro World now!

zinycor
2020-01-27, 06:13 PM
Dave gave a new variant of the “only playing my character” speech. He basically said that the party tension was what was fun for him, and he considers the bickering in town for two hours trying to get him to come on the mission to be the “real game” and the adventure to just be boring hack and slash, and that he has new interest OOC in playing a game where everyone just mechanically kills monsters as an efficient team as he has MMOs for that sort of hack and slash game.



This actually a great advancement, congratulations on getting Dave to declare his intentions.

Now, these are perfectly reasonable wants as long as the others are on board with them. Games with tons of tension between players can be very fun, as long as everyone is into that idea. See if you can meet those wishes, if a game full of inter party conflict is something that interests you. If not, then find out the others perspectives, maybe they agree with Dave, in which case you leave, or they agree with you, in which case Dave has to leave.

Personally, I wouldn't play such a game with Bob, as I feel that sort of game requires trust and friendship that your group lacks.

Quertus
2020-01-27, 10:38 PM
Sounds like you had an amazingly productive session. No, seriously - you actually have actionable information regarding the other players' playstyle preferences.

Now, the question is, what will you do with that information?

So, you've got Bob, and Dave. And, well, you. Let's start with you.

Why do we need to discuss you? Well, you may know (or think you know) your preferences, but you should practice articulating them. Go ahead - tell us what you like in a game.

Second is, last session made you angry. You should also go through and tell us what exactly made you upset. Get it out of your system. Because, IMO, you should enter the next session with a good attitude. Heck, not just next session, but the rebuild phase, too.

Which brings us to Bob.

So, Bob realized that your character differences are irreconcilable, and wants to work with you for y'all to rebuild both characters to work together? That's… just about the most awesome outcome possible!

Yet you responded with pessimism.

OK, why is that? Remind my senile brain why you think you and Bob have no hope of making your charters work together.

Then there's Dave.

Dave thinks that RPG combat is suboptimal. He's not wrong. Although, from your description, he comes off as childish rather than insightful. Where the truth lies will determine the optimal path forward here.

Dave enjoyed the party having to drag him kicking and screaming on the adventure. OK, that's a start. And I get that - I grew up on The Hobbit, after all. Quertus (my signature academia mage for whom this account is named) is an academic, not an adventurer - but "my friends asked me to" or "it's important" are examples of sufficient motivations for him. Now, we just need to get Dave to define the larger class of objects that he enjoys, and parse it for things that make for a more optimal experience for the rest of you.

Maybe he enjoyed being the center of attention. Maybe he enjoyed talking to the PCs, in character. Maybe he enjoyed being a detriment to the party. Maybe he enjoyed the social bit (ie, talking to NPCs would fulfill his desires, too, not just talking to the PCs). Maybe he enjoyed feeling like there was a personality to the characters beyond stats on a sheet, or beyond the players at the table.

If you can get him to define what he likes, everyone can work together to design a fun game, for everyone. One that isn't just combat, but (hopefully?) doesn't involve having to spend hours convincing Dave's character every session.

Duff
2020-01-27, 11:09 PM
Ask Brian. I'll suggest the counterpart to a "swear jar", that you drop a quarter into every time you do it; when it's full, you buy the group pizza.

Do I put a quarter in every time I answer a question at all or just every time I give a different answer than Brian?.

You put a coin in every time you answer a GM type question before Brian has the chance to think and then answer, He's new to the screen, so allow plenty of thinking time

kyoryu
2020-02-24, 01:27 PM
You put a coin in every time you answer a GM type question before Brian has the chance to think and then answer, He's new to the screen, so allow plenty of thinking time

Yeah. The issue isn't answering questions when asked. That's being a contributing member of the party.

Let him figure it out, accept his answers, and give advice when asked.

Talakeal
2020-03-23, 05:55 PM
Boy, I had a really long response that answered a bunch of individual points, but the forum went down at some point between the time I started typing it and hit submit, and at this point so much has changed in the game I don't think it was really relevant anymore.

So basically, we had one session where I got tired of trying to please everyone and just played for myself, which resulted in everyone passive aggressively sabotaging everyone else, the group TPKing due to lack of cooperation, and then the group breaking down into an OOC screaming match. When everyone calmed down, we decided to retcon the session and have everyone remake their characters to work better as a group. We played two sessions with the reworked characters, and it seems to be going ok. Then the quarantine happened and the game has been postponed indefinitely.

Two things about Bob though:

1: He still constantly bitches about how the game is too hard for him, and he really thinks that every single encounter is a hair's breadth away from a TPK and he only barely managed to salvage it through incredible luck and player skill.

2: He still values character wealth far more than either experience or story-line goals, to the point where his refusal to contribute to party expenses is seriously hurting our chances of success or our enjoyment of the game.



Yeah. The issue isn't answering questions when asked. That's being a contributing member of the party.

Let him figure it out, accept his answers, and give advice when asked.

That works, although I still feel like its a damned if you do / damned if you don't situation about whether or not to keep my mouth shut when he answers a question wrong.

More common though, is when someone just asks a question of the table as a whole rather than directing it at any one person, and then multiple people give conflicting answers.

kyoryu
2020-03-24, 11:25 AM
That works, although I still feel like its a damned if you do / damned if you don't situation about whether or not to keep my mouth shut when he answers a question wrong.

Say nothing during the game. If you feel like it's important, bring it up after the game.


More common though, is when someone just asks a question of the table as a whole rather than directing it at any one person, and then multiple people give conflicting answers.

Honestly, say nothing unless asked. If the answer is wrong, bring it up after the game. Your goal is to make sure you are supporting the GM.

zinycor
2020-03-24, 06:30 PM
Why don't you join an online game?, I have joined a few, even my irl group moved to discord since the corona virus attacked.

Anyway the benefit is that the initial compromise is super low, you can leave whenever you wish and no hard feeling.

In fact, you could create one right now, and many people here will probably join you, even out of curiosity.

Quertus
2020-03-25, 08:11 AM
So basically, we had one session where I got tired of trying to please everyone and just played for myself, which resulted in everyone passive aggressively sabotaging everyone else, the group TPKing due to lack of cooperation, and then the group breaking down into an OOC screaming match. When everyone calmed down, we decided to retcon the session and have everyone remake their characters to work better as a group. We played two sessions with the reworked characters, and it seems to be going ok. Then the quarantine happened and the game has been postponed indefinitely.

Two things about Bob though:

1: He still constantly bitches about how the game is too hard for him, and he really thinks that every single encounter is a hair's breadth away from a TPK and he only barely managed to salvage it through incredible luck and player skill.

2: He still values character wealth far more than either experience or story-line goals, to the point where his refusal to contribute to party expenses is seriously hurting our chances of success or our enjoyment of the game.

That works, although I still feel like its a damned if you do / damned if you don't situation about whether or not to keep my mouth shut when he answers a question wrong.

More common though, is when someone just asks a question of the table as a whole rather than directing it at any one person, and then multiple people give conflicting answers.

Curious about the reworked characters - what were they, and what do you think made them work?

Is Bob right on #1? You made the game - cab you rework it for #2? Remove all 1-shot items, and all need for one-shot items from the game? Still, if Bob won't pony up for party expenses, that points to Bob being a ****. But, to prove which is which, you need to make "party expenses" into permanent items: faster horses, banners of +x to fame, beds of expeditious rest, reusable coffin/shroud of Restoration or Resurrection, whatever, rather than his pet peeve of expendables.

GMs answer questions wrong all the time. IMO, at the best tables, if someone asks, "how do the grapple rules work?", and the GM misquotes the books, the GM is wrong, and, if a player knows better, or looks up the rules, they'll tell him so.

It is, of course, the GM's purgative(?) to make house rules; however, those should be stated up front, before session 1 starts.

You, however, are in the position of having written the rules, and having just run a game. This adds all kinds of complications and wrinkles, of the type you have demonstrated in the past both a lack of interest and skill in addressing. So… best bet is to tell the GM that you'd like to hear his opinion on the issue. And just listen to it. (Maybe get him to help you rewrite the rules, to prevent "sour grapes" rules).

zinycor
2020-03-25, 02:12 PM
In regards to the GM being wrong... the thing is, the GM and players have the right to be wrong or right. IF they interpret the rules wrong, as a designer you should take note of that and see if you should change something in how the rules are presented.

The fact that you are also a player in this scenario is... complicated.

Kane0
2020-03-25, 06:46 PM
So basically, we had one session where I got tired of trying to please everyone and just played for myself, which resulted in everyone passive aggressively sabotaging everyone else, the group TPKing due to lack of cooperation, and then the group breaking down into an OOC screaming match. When everyone calmed down, we decided to retcon the session and have everyone remake their characters to work better as a group. We played two sessions with the reworked characters, and it seems to be going ok. Then the quarantine happened and the game has been postponed indefinitely.


I think we pretty much all saw this coming.

The hiatus will probably be a good thing, either for you or for the others in the group. I trust you have other options for your time?

Talakeal
2020-04-12, 02:55 PM
Sorry for the long delay in responding. These are strange times and I don't have the opportunity to post from work anymore, and I don't think about gaming as much without a weekly group.


Why don't you join an online game?, I have joined a few, even my irl group moved to discord since the corona virus attacked.

Anyway the benefit is that the initial compromise is super low, you can leave whenever you wish and no hard feeling.

In fact, you could create one right now, and many people here will probably join you, even out of curiosity.

I have tried online gaming several times, I have never really gotten into it. I am a very quiet player, and also a very tactile one. This, combined with the lack of actual people around me and the plurality of distractions in my room make it very hard to actually get into the game or even keep track of what is going on.

We actually did an online game started from one of these threads a couple years ago. It went perfectly fine, but because of the medium it was really hard for me to get invested, and when it began to conflict with IRL problems I dropped out.


Curious about the reworked characters - what were they, and what do you think made them work?.

Basically, Bob has had a necromancer character that he has been wanting to play for years, and as I wanted to playtest the necromancy rules I suggested he use it. It turns out, that character had all sorts of psychological baggage attached to it that I wasn't aware of. We decided we couldn't make it work in a group, and he made a different necromancer who also has less mechanical overlap with our fairy bard.

I slightly tweaked my character mechanically, but also changed my backstory so that I have a history with Bob's new necromancer and a reason to work with and want to protect her.



Is Bob right on #1? You made the game - cab you rework it for #2? Remove all 1-shot items, and all need for one-shot items from the game? Still, if Bob won't pony up for party expenses, that points to Bob being a ****. But, to prove which is which, you need to make "party expenses" into permanent items: faster horses, banners of +x to fame, beds of expeditious rest, reusable coffin/shroud of Restoration or Resurrection, whatever, rather than his pet peeve of expendables.

Sure, I could make the game easier, but I don't think it would be fun for myself as a player or a GM. We have talked extensively on this forum about what the ideal difficulty is in the previous iterations of this thread. I personally think its in a good spot, with a close call every four or five sessions and an actual failure occurring once every 20 sessions or so, but Bob clearly does not.

Right now treasure exists as sort of a "score". You try and get as much treasure and expend as few resources as possible. That is how the game is set up. Without that risk, it becomes much more of a binary pass / fail. Bob see's any adventure where he doesn't come out of it proportionally wealthier than he went in as a failure.

I have tried other alternatives in the past, but that tends to stress out the other players. For example, I had one mission where cultists had kidnapped multiple people and were hoping to sacrifice them, and the players had to rescue as many as possible, but in that case they felt that not rescuing all of them was a horrible failure and felt terrible.