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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Immonen's Avatar

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    Default PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Okay, so here's the deal:

    I'm presently DMing a d20 Modern game. The PCs are 5th level, and are trying to storm a drug dealer's compound.

    The problem?

    They seriously consider it a brilliant tactic to just stand out in the open and shoot until all the mooks are dead. This is freaking ridiculous. They've already had 2 of them die from this.

    I think this behavior stems from the fact that they are given so many hit points to work with, and the mooks' pistols don't do enough damage to drop them before the battle is over.

    My fix that I'm contemplating: limit them to the hit die that they get at first level, have damage be how far over AC that the attack roll gets, and replace damage dice with a static bonus to this damage (only applied after the shot hits, of course). Toughness is the only way to improve hit points. That way, they'll figure out one way or another that cover is essential, and maybe try to stay out of gunfights where they're clearly outnumbered. Thoughts?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    It might be easier to just give one or two mooks bigger guns, especially if you made it obvious.
    You know, a couple of guys who went out and got some guns they saw in a movie (tommy guns, assault rifles, basically anything automatic and requiring two hands to use effectively [bonus points if it's illegal to posses]) and bragging about how they can shred anything.
    Also, make sure they know that there are rules for covering and have some understanding of how they work and that the environments are conducive to tactical play.
    Last edited by Epsilon Rose; 2011-06-27 at 02:45 AM.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    There is an even simpler way to make the group think SERIOUSLY about tactics, cover and the need for some common sense. This solution is called grenades. You'll be amazed how fast a group develops effective battle tactics after their first brush with one!
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    You could have the mooks use cover, instead. So that the players might get riddled with holes, but the mooks don't.
    Another tactic that works is:

    Let them. Let them storm in, and make sure you kill every last one of them (using tactics, yourself). This might get you some baffled looks, and a few exclamations of "OMG DM powerplay!" but after that, you could explain why it isn't such a good idea to stand still in front of dozens of gun-barrels.

    The main point you need to get across is that players aren't invincible, and, oddly, a story doesn't revolve around players. They need to understand that they're not the deities of your setting. Killing off one or two characters is maybe a good start, but by far the easiest way of getting your point across is, indeed, by means of a total wipe.

    Other fun strategies: Snipers! (make them run for cover!) Granades! (Make them run for cover!) Sneak Attacks! (Hit them where they don't expect it (use this tactic only once, but make it count!)).

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    The problem?

    They seriously consider it a brilliant tactic to just stand out in the open and shoot until all the mooks are dead. This is freaking ridiculous. They've already had 2 of them die from this.
    Too many action movies.
    The problem I faced with d20 modern is inadequacy of the system. By level 5 a D&D character is able to cast a fireball, to close a stomach wound with only a hand or to kill a normal person (1st level commoner) with a single punch on his face. It is able to resist an arrow shot on his chest, a fall from a 40ft peak and maybe (fighter, hi con) a lightning hitting him from the sky.
    While this is acceptable in a fantasy setting, in a real-life-like environment it become immediately odd.

    This said, the bold part make me think that there is not a "lack of perception" issue, but it is really their style of play.
    In my experience, talking in advance and explain advantages, disadvantages and consequences of their actions is useful to change tactical lacks.
    ...or to underline that your players really only enjoy the game if they can let their PCs be Chuck Norris.
    In a way or in the other, while the +AC bonus can effectively work, I don't think that homebrew is the solution of your problem

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    One grenade, or a shot from a bazooka, and all your problems will be solved. If not, their stupidity fully justifies a TPK.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    I'm not too familiar with d20 modern, but...

    I'd say you can further the action movie vibe while still teaching them it's a bad idea. For example:
    • The aforementioned bazooka, grenade.
    • The PCs stroll into the middle of an open area, and some mooks with an armored car try to run them over.
    • One of the bad guys has a sniper rifle, a vantage point and a few levels of assassin. Wait a round, death attack anyone standing in the open. Wait a round, death attack.
    • Couple the above with the fact that as long as the PCs stand out in the open, they make little headway. The bad guys use cover, total or partial, slowing down the rate at which the PCs can kill them.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryad View Post
    You could have the mooks use cover, instead. So that the players might get riddled with holes, but the mooks don't.
    Another tactic that works is:

    Let them. Let them storm in, and make sure you kill every last one of them (using tactics, yourself). This might get you some baffled looks, and a few exclamations of "OMG DM powerplay!" but after that, you could explain why it isn't such a good idea to stand still in front of dozens of gun-barrels.

    The main point you need to get across is that players aren't invincible, and, oddly, a story doesn't revolve around players. They need to understand that they're not the deities of your setting. Killing off one or two characters is maybe a good start, but by far the easiest way of getting your point across is, indeed, by means of a total wipe.

    Other fun strategies: Snipers! (make them run for cover!) Granades! (Make them run for cover!) Sneak Attacks! (Hit them where they don't expect it (use this tactic only once, but make it count!)).
    This. Just show mooks with a little more tactical insight, and they'll soon start to wonder what's wrong. Play inteligent enemies inteligently. NPCs will run for cover and attack unaware PCs. After one or two PCs drop, unable to hit hidden enemies, they may start to get the hint.
    The grenade idea is good too. Have one hit the whole group and deal some small damage. They'll likely shrug it off. Hit them again, harder. When the third hit, they'll probably complain. Just comment "you know, you are standing still in the middle of the open field. Of course they'll nuke you. You can still run for cover". Then hit them again, giving proper bonuses to however decided to follow your advice. The others will soon follow: "hey, why he's not hit?" "Because he's hiding behind a large rock, 30 feet away from the rest of you".

    Some groups just like to walk in and beat stuff up. They just need to learn when that's not a good idea to do it.
    Last edited by Roderick_BR; 2011-06-28 at 08:24 AM.

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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Have you actually just told them "Look guys, this is a semi-realistic game, you need to use cover and fight using tactics"? Cause if you haven't, you should do so before murdering their characters horribly to get a point across. If they still don't listen, then try an armored helicopter with an attached minigun, and a lone mook providing ground support with a bazooka from a nearby building.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Have you actually just told them "Look guys, this is a semi-realistic game, you need to use cover and fight using tactics"? Cause if you haven't, you should do so before murdering their characters horribly to get a point across. If they still don't listen, then try an armored helicopter with an attached minigun, and a lone mook providing ground support with a bazooka from a nearby building.
    To be honest: You shouldn't have to tell them that. A fantasy setting should also kill people who run towards their deaths.
    People have maybe been too spoiled with computer games where the player is some sort of god, but I still think that's a bad excuse for silliness.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    True, and I agree with you, I have a game that pretty much depends on the players not being stupid and charging a red dragon they have a grudge against while they're still level one, but have never outright stated "Don't or you will die". The point is that some people don't understand that, and it's kind of unfair to slaughter their characters without so much as a warning.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    The point is that some people don't understand that, and it's kind of unfair to slaughter their characters without so much as a warning.
    I don't, actually. I mean: It's a friggin' dragon!
    It's a bit like this: Five farmers who encounter an enemy tank. They're armed with machettes, sickles, maybe a gun. They have two options: Run/hide or attack.

    ...

    I think everyone should understand that 'attack' may not be the most survivable option. If the farmers attack, then nobody in their right minds would call it 'unfair' if they get shot to bits.
    They did get a warning: It's a TANK! It's a DRAGON! It's a CORPORATE BUILDING FULL OF BODYGUARDS!

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    I meant slaughter them for not using tactics, I wasn't referring to the dragon. The thing is, a lot of games don't use tactics, nor is there such thing as an unwinnable challenge. In a lot of games, the PCs can just rush whatever they're fighting, even if it's a dragon, and expect to win. Which is why I think it's always good to explain to people that that's not how your game works. Once. Then you can slaughter them for not listening.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    Okay, so here's the deal:

    I'm presently DMing a d20 Modern game. The PCs are 5th level, and are trying to storm a drug dealer's compound.

    The problem?

    They seriously consider it a brilliant tactic to just stand out in the open and shoot until all the mooks are dead. This is freaking ridiculous. They've already had 2 of them die from this.

    I think this behavior stems from the fact that they are given so many hit points to work with, and the mooks' pistols don't do enough damage to drop them before the battle is over.

    My fix that I'm contemplating: limit them to the hit die that they get at first level, have damage be how far over AC that the attack roll gets, and replace damage dice with a static bonus to this damage (only applied after the shot hits, of course). Toughness is the only way to improve hit points. That way, they'll figure out one way or another that cover is essential, and maybe try to stay out of gunfights where they're clearly outnumbered. Thoughts?
    D20M lethality stems from a couple of things.

    1. High damage dice on guns. Note that even the 2d6 from a stock handgun can tear through a significant portion of a PC's hit points. Hunting rifles? Oh, that can be 2d10.

    2. Ambushing matters. Flat footed. Lack of defensive options. Readied actions. High damage. Yeah, if they bumble into people prepared for them, things can go south in a heartbeat.

    3. Massive damage. Damage > con? Fort save or end up on the ground.

    4. Explosives. Yeah, 6d6 aoe attacks can do horrific things to people.


    Cover matters a lot. Remember to also add the situational advantage from posture. Note that laying down gives +4 to hit on ranged, and +4 to AC. This means that even a mook with a handgun can be a real problem if you just stand in the open and return fire.

    Even just using basic tactics and a bit of teamwork from the mooks, you should be able to really tear them apart. Make sure to point out how undergunned the mooks are compared to them, too.

    If you want to really make the point, an NPC with heroic surge, dual wielding machine pistols, with the double tap feat, can just walk into the room, spray them all down with automatic fire for three dice of damage. Twice. Give them time to take cover first. If they don't, well...it'll end swiftly.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Stuff.
    That's the thing though, I'm far from complaining that it's too lethal. I'm telling you about the PCs as an example of why it's not lethal enough.

    Yes, I have been throwing them intelligent enemies and bigger guns, that's the first thing I thought of. However, they're at enough of a level when their saves are +yes for most purposes, and if I give the mooks moar dakka, the PCs find a way to steal it.

    Yes, the system is quite lethal enough for the enemies, but it's basically a target range for the PCs.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Get better tactics or change the mechanics then. Have the badguys use massed fire with inferior weapons from cover, booby-traps, and try to sneak in and slit the PCs throats in their sleep... and then get REALLY nasty.

    Your ideal should be Tucker's Kobolds.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    Yes, I have been throwing them intelligent enemies and bigger guns, that's the first thing I thought of.
    Didn't you say they were level 5? They should still be in the basic classes (I forget the proper name). They shouldn't be that tough.

    However, they're at enough of a level when their saves are +yes for most purposes, and if I give the mooks moar dakka, the PCs find a way to steal it.
    That's why I suggested both large and illegal, that way if they try carrying them around the police will confiscate them and then start asking uncomfortable questions after running the bullets.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Intelligent enemies? Like.. What did they do?
    Take cover? That helps.

    But you know what really turns the tables? Numbers. If you've got a group of four adventurers, then anything less then four enemies is futile. They can just focus them down.
    Another thing that intelligent enemies can do is: Focus fire back at the PC's. Pick a PC that deals most damage, or looks most dangerous because of other factors. Focus all fire on that PC. Within as little as one round (maybe even less) the most dangerous PC is out of the picture.
    Remember: You have EVERYTHING a group of players has at their disposal. Plus: You always have the means to get what you want. The players don't; they have to work for it. But you... You can just say "LET THERE BE LIGHT" and see it was good.
    So in terms of equipment, floor plan layout, debris, enemy force size.. You call the shots.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Hmm, I had a similar problem, you see I decided to try my hand at DMing, (two party of level 16) but the one that started out first I noticed had no teamwork or strategy (when I threw in a test enemy to see what they could handle), so I ended up making an equal sized party of level 10s with standard PC gear for their level, and allowed them to decimate the PCs all the while showing them that I wasn't pulling rank on anything. Well halfway through the encounter they noticed that they need more teamwork and strategy... still waiting to see how they respond when they find their enemies were level 10 and that they get maybe 560xp for the fight, But hay, it worked so well I decided to stat the other party (in the same game) off the same way Well this was D&D, but the premise stands, I would suggest some smoke grenades (20%concealment+increasing fort saves to not loose your turn), someone with heat vision and a com system to keep them informed on where to shoot, maybe some snipers, maybe mines in the ground, and some nice level 3 enemies that can take their hits, and make someone a medic of some sort if you can. Also be careful not to give them too big of guns while trying to show them that their guns aren't big enough to save them from silliness.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    Didn't you say they were level 5? They should still be in the basic classes (I forget the proper name). They shouldn't be that tough.
    You can start most every advanced class by level 3.

    This is part of why I liked the VP/WP system from Star Wars d20 and Unearthed Arcana. Even if you got to be high-powered and real tough, a lucky shot from a blaster was still enough to end you.
    Last edited by Solaris; 2011-06-29 at 09:33 AM.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Air strike. They run, and when they find a place to hide, tell them to reconsider heir tactics.
    Fighter: "I can kill someone in a turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill someone in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill someone before my turn."
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    Okay, so here's the deal:

    I'm presently DMing a d20 Modern game. The PCs are 5th level, and are trying to storm a drug dealer's compound.

    The problem?

    They seriously consider it a brilliant tactic to just stand out in the open and shoot until all the mooks are dead. This is freaking ridiculous. They've already had 2 of them die from this.

    I think this behavior stems from the fact that they are given so many hit points to work with, and the mooks' pistols don't do enough damage to drop them before the battle is over.

    My fix that I'm contemplating: limit them to the hit die that they get at first level, have damage be how far over AC that the attack roll gets, and replace damage dice with a static bonus to this damage (only applied after the shot hits, of course). Toughness is the only way to improve hit points. That way, they'll figure out one way or another that cover is essential, and maybe try to stay out of gunfights where they're clearly outnumbered. Thoughts?
    This really sounds like an expectations problem to me. The way D20 modern rules are written the characters are more like action movie or wuxia heroes than anything realistic. The power level isn't as high as D&D, but 5th level characters are still beyond realistic in most aspects. I would recommend another system like GURPS.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    you could try just doubling bonuses from cover and such, that'd likely get them to think it worth it.
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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drolyt View Post
    This really sounds like an expectations problem to me. The way D20 modern rules are written the characters are more like action movie or wuxia heroes than anything realistic. The power level isn't as high as D&D, but 5th level characters are still beyond realistic in most aspects. I would recommend another system like GURPS.
    Had I the money. That's always the problem. :P

    There are 2 or 3 systems I actually have at my disposal, d20 is just what the players are familiar with, so I'm trying to keep it in the system. The more I read this thread, the more I do agree with you. The fixes I suggest are hideously overcomplicated, the fixes other people have suggested equate to "rocks fall, everyone dies". I might just use WoD, or hell, Dark Heresy would fit the bill for some of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Draco_Dei
    Your ideal should be Tucker's Kobolds.
    I had no idea what this was, then I read the article.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immonen View Post
    Had I the money. That's always the problem. :P
    GURPS Lite is completely and utterly free, and the rest of GURPS only really needs a single book. This isn't D&D, it doesn't require 3 fully priced books just to play (or the SRD).
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    GURPS Lite is completely and utterly free, and the rest of GURPS only really needs a single book. This isn't D&D, it doesn't require 3 fully priced books just to play (or the SRD).
    Oh, so it is.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    GURPS Lite is completely and utterly free, and the rest of GURPS only really needs a single book. This isn't D&D, it doesn't require 3 fully priced books just to play (or the SRD).
    I'd only disagree insofar as a lot of supplements are very useful, but especially for what the op is trying to do the core rules should be sufficient. Not sure if Lite would be enough, not familiar with it, but he could try that.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    "rocks fall, everyone dies"
    I think you'll find it more along the lines of: If players want to commit suicide, then the DM should let them.

    Edit: But yes; especially WoD has good systems to deal with this sort of thing. The limited amount of hit points and penalties on damage increase the feel of danger.
    However, WoD has its own limit: Rounds in combat, things like movement... They're not as well defined. The reason is simple: The system wants people to do stuff. But as it turns out, this may allow people to do too much stuff, so if you would implement WoD, I'd recommend using something like a grid map and movement distance rules and such.
    Last edited by Dryad; 2011-06-30 at 05:49 AM.

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryad View Post
    I think you'll find it more along the lines of: If players want to commit suicide, then the DM should let them.
    YES INDEED! I too am a pro-choice DM, who likes to make sure everyone gets the reward they deserve sooner or later....I do keep running out of characters though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryad View Post
    However, WoD has its own limit: Rounds in combat, things like movement... They're not as well defined. The reason is simple: The system wants people to do stuff. But as it turns out, this may allow people to do too much stuff, so if you would implement WoD, I'd recommend using something like a grid map and movement distance rules and such.
    It's simpler than that, WoD doesn't worry so much about combat itself. Most of the time in a well-structured game, the combat itself is won or lost at least 3 hours before it even begins. The emphasis is different with WoD, encouraging far more machinations and RP, and far less hack'n'slash psuedo-RP like D&D. I dunno about the idea of movement and grids, but a map certainly helps, the lack of formal strictures within combat is as much an opening of possibilities as anything else. What other system has such an easy-to-use stunt system for instance?

    Whereas I see Dryad's point, and agree on the broad strokes, I'd say WoD is NOT the system to be using for a bunch of players who can't get their heads around cover in D20 modern. They will die in under 3 hours in a WoD setting, without ever having to pull a weapon, the setting itself would pick them apart...
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: PCs are stupid, I will teach them.

    They will die in under 3 hours in a WoD setting, without ever having to pull a weapon, the setting itself would pick them apart...
    I know. Veklim, I think we're pretty much on the same line. :)
    But I might be a bit more cruel.. I'm the type of gal who will make her first story as scary and dangerous as is possible, with plenty of risk involved. I tend to set the mood with macabre roleplay, and hint often at the chance of death. I use dark, moody, music where possible, I introduce traps (and let them spring), and tend to make it so that it was the player's choice to have bad things happening to them. Characters die, and resurrection is rare. They'd have to re-roll.
    Politics and communication often play large roles, and I also tend to make the creepy things small, so that the players can júst see that it's not right.. But don't get the whole picture. Leave a lot to the imagination.

    All in all, such stories generally run for about four sessions. But my players keep asking for more and more, so I have to be doing something right. :P

    I take the 'dominatrix' approach very seriously for DMing, and so far, my players seem to love it to bits.

    Edit: For musical creepiness, think of things like:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ur0xoOwLE4
    There are many kinds of music that can help set the mood. Just don't forget: Never use happy, dancy music. Always use slow music, and keep it muted enough that everyone can still hear it, but it becomes part of the back-ground; merely slightly disturbing the player's emotions.
    Last edited by Dryad; 2011-06-30 at 07:31 AM.

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