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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Quertus kept mentioning this to, but never really followed up on it.

    I am really curious by what people mean by "permanently weakened" or "tying advancement to performance".

    IMO, my system is much better in that regard than any edition of D&D, where every monster you don't kill permanently leaves you down XP and every piece of gold you fail to loot puts you behind the WBL curve (in 3E) and, in earlier editions, also makes you miss out on XP.
    Simple, if a spell or ability that you don't need in the adventure can be used for crafting during downtime, then every spell/ability used during a fight is one less for crafting. And less crafting = weaker characters. In D&D, if you win in the end, you get all the xp and gold, even if your group is halfdead and fully exhausted. You don't get more xp/gold when you win more clearly. In your system, you get more crafting, when you win more thoroughly than when it is a close call. In D&D spending 80% of spellslots and HP and getting back with xp and gold feels great. In your system it feels like you just lost 80% of your crafting reserve.

    And for that matter, D&D, while better than your system in this regard, is still not the best here. Your group would probably fare better with benchmark levelling and rewards per quest so that you can't really miss out on XP or gold either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Yes, many times.

    Basically, their answers are just like the game I am running but significantly harder.

    But in practice that is clearly not what they want.
    Didn't you repeatedly claim they complained about your game being too hard. Did they ever literally demand "the game we want is at it is now, but harder" ? Or did you again just take their description and judge for your self that your games are less hard ?
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-08-02 at 12:07 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Simple, if a spell or ability that you don't need in the adventure can be used for crafting during downtime, then every spell/ability used during a fight is one less for crafting. And less crafting = weaker characters. In D&D, if you win in the end, you get all the xp and gold, even if your group is halfdead and fully exhausted. You don't get more xp/gold when you win more clearly. In your system, you get more crafting, when you win more thoroughly than when it is a close call. In D&D spending 80% of spellslots and HP and getting back with xp and gold feels great. In your system it feels like you just lost 80% of your crafting reserve.
    I don't feel this way. While it is technically true, it is on such a minuscule level and so drowned out by random dice roll that its like a middle aged person worried about their mortgage payment lamenting spending 1.50 every day getting fries with their lunch back at the high-school cafeteria.

    I think this is mostly psychological, and probably amplified on the forum where people are hearing things second hand rather than actually being familiar with the game.

    It is never going to be anything close to 80% of one's crafting potential, its going to be small bonuses here or there, like needing to roll a 17 vs needing to roll a 15 to craft your +1 armor or saving a 10% on a purchase now and then.

    Likewise, it isn't a "permanent" thing, its, at most, a couple of sessions. Someone who plays incredibly frugally might get their +1 armor a session or two sooner than someone who is wasteful, but they will both get it in the end. And, before too long, they will both be ready for their +2 armor, and due to exponentially scaling costs and rewards, the guy who got their +1 first isn't more likely to get their +2 armor first in any tangible sense.

    Ironically, if anything the frugal guy is the one who is permanently behind because he won't use consumables when things get tough, and consumables will make way more of a difference in any given fight than a couple pieces of slightly better gear.


    Again though, feelings and math don't often match up, and my players really do feel like perfectionists who stress out if they miss out on one little thing. But when I ask them if they would feel less stressed if I changed the system so they didn't gain any benefit from leftover materials so they could show off a bit and stress out, they said that would actually make it worse as they would then feel like anything they didn't use during the adventure would feel wasted and thus they would get into the even more stressful game of trying to read the DM's mind to tell when precisely the adventure would end so they could safely blow all their resources.


    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    And for that matter, D&D, while better than your system in this regard, is still not the best here. Your group would probably fare better with benchmark levelling and rewards per quest so that you can't really miss out on XP or gold either.
    I am not well versed in 4E or 5E, but I don't feel this pans out in the editions I have played.

    In all editions, lots of loot can be missed. Secret rooms and hidden treasures are very common, and most modules have "optional" areas to the dungeon that its possible to skip over, either deliberately or accidentally.

    In 3.X you sell and craft things for half the cost you buy them for, many spells have expensive material components, and a lot of treasure will be randomly generated and includes lots of consumables. Also, many "cure" spells have a huge cost, especially if you hire an NPC to do it, like the diamonds for resurrection. Combines with the WBL assumption baked into the game, and I think the "permanently behind for playing poorly" is a much bigger issue than in my game.

    And in AD&D it was even worse because XP fluctuated based on how you handled things. You got XP for killing monsters, not overcoming or avoiding them. You got double XP if you soloed a monster (imo the worst rule ever). You also got XP for treasure, much of which is hidden as I mentioned above. You also got class based rewards, so, iirc, fighters got bonus XP for every monster they personally attacked, wizards got xp for every spell they cast, thief's got xp for every skill they used, and priests got xp for every spell they cast "in service of their faith" whatever that means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Didn't you repeatedly claim they complained about your game being too hard. Did they ever literally demand "the game we want is at it is now, but harder" ? Or did you again just take their description and judge for your self that your games are less hard ?
    As I said up-thread, they never directly comment on difficulty one way or the other.

    Instead they say things like "If X, Y, or Z had happened, this could have gone very bad," or "Are you sure you calculated the difficulty correctly," or "I barely have any resources left after the mission."

    On the other hand, when asked about what their ideal difficulty point would be they describe something significantly higher than what I offer, for example the above quoted situation where they have a close call in about 5% of fights but say in their ideal game about 20% of fights would be a life or death struggle.

    Someone in the last thread told me that it is human nature to remember negative experiances seven times more vividly than positive, so I should divide everything my players tell me about challenge by 7 to get an accurate answer, so that if I want the "real" answer they remember my 5% close calls as 35%, and that to hit their 20% I need to actually have a 2.8% rate, which may be more or less true.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-08-02 at 02:05 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Update:

    Well, 4 days to the game and I am still not sure what, if any OOC conversation needs to happen.


    We had our session zero last weekend, and it went well. One thing I noticed though, despite Time Troll's objections to the idea, making everyone choose a faction has a huge impact on the game. It provides an easy hook and motivation to get everyone involved, and it completely changes the nature of some encounters I had planned, turning combat encounters to social or vice versa. And although its not any sort of direct agency, no single decision a player can make has such a dramatic impact on the long term shape of the game; I literally had to rewrite the entire long term outline every time a player chose a faction. Its wild.


    Edit: Also, thinking more about what I labelled as my frustrations with player hypocrisy. Thinking more about it, I think a lot of players just argue whatever will give them an advantage at the time rather than what they actually believe, which, according to my dad, is also how a lawyer is trained to operate. So one day they may argue in favor of CaW and the next for CaS, likewise they might one day argue for a simulationist reading of events and the next gaminst; maybe for them arguing with the DM using whatever logic will benefit their character in the moment is part of the game for them.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-08-03 at 08:57 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Update:

    Well, 4 days to the game and I am still not sure what, if any OOC conversation needs to happen.


    We had our session zero last weekend, and it went well. One thing I noticed though, despite Time Troll's objections to the idea, making everyone choose a faction has a huge impact on the game. It provides an easy hook and motivation to get everyone involved, and it completely changes the nature of some encounters I had planned, turning combat encounters to social or vice versa. And although its not any sort of direct agency, no single decision a player can make has such a dramatic impact on the long term shape of the game; I literally had to rewrite the entire long term outline every time a player chose a faction. Its wild.


    Edit: Also, thinking more about what I labelled as my frustrations with player hypocrisy. Thinking more about it, I think a lot of players just argue whatever will give them an advantage at the time rather than what they actually believe, which, according to my dad, is also how a lawyer is trained to operate. So one day they may argue in favor of CaW and the next for CaS, likewise they might one day argue for a simulationist reading of events and the next gaminst; maybe for them arguing with the DM using whatever logic will benefit their character in the moment is part of the game for them.
    That all sounds like great news! Choosing factions is a nice way to hook players into the world, and you should be re-writing your outlines based on player creation decisions. If the players know that their decisions are changing the story, they're far more likely to be invested.


    Re Hypocrisy: That sounds pretty standard, everybody wants to Win, it's mostly just a question of how far is a player willing to go to argue a point for some advantage.

    I find the best solution in those cases is to appeal to Game Momentum. Put your foot down, say "My ruling is going to stand for now so we can keep playing. After session we can discuss this and maybe change how this is handled going forwards". Give the players some time to cool off and remove the immediate mechanical incentive to Win the Argument by postponing it until later.

    You're WILLING to have this discussion, and the discussion will affect rulings going forwards, but right now you want to keep the game moving and not get bogged down in an argument.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    If I start to detect the onset of reasoning from personal benefit, I'll ask 'if an enemy were to use this in the future, would you be okay with it working the way you just suggested?'

    I'll also tend to explicitly pull back the veil and directly state the motivation for why I made something a certain way - metagame considerations, cosmology ties, etc - and I won't engage on defending things on bases other than that intent, nor will I fight changes which preserve that intent. So e.g. if there's too much argumentation from realism going on - 'I designed it to complement that ability from another class without overshadowing it - if your argument is that the mechanics are unrealistic given the description, what could we change the description to that would be realistic for these mechanics?'.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Let's see if I can make these points without quotes.

    The Farmer and the Wolf

    The farmer has said that the wolf is smart.

    The farmer is not known to be omniscient, nor an epic level Druid with Max ranks in Knowledge: nature.

    The farmer can be mistaken.

    The farmer has said that the wolf cannot be trapped.

    The farmer is not known to be omnicompetent, nor to be an epic level Druid with Max ranks in craft: trap.

    The farmer's trap could have been faulty.

    The party could ask the farmer question after question, or they could experiment for themselves.

    The farmer can be mistaken.

    The farmer is not known to be omnipotent, or an epic level Druid with Max items in survivability.

    The farmer survived attempting to trap the wolf.

    (If the GM had been Talakeal, the players don't want to get misleading information from the GM, they want to see it for themselves first hand.)

    Conclusion: the logical thing for the party to do is to attempt to trap the wolf. It is safe enough that a simple farmer could survive the attempt, they might well be better at it than the farmer, and they can obtain information firsthand from a failure.

    Human beings are terrible at noticing details, at communicating, and at jumping to conclusions.

    For example: I modified the facts sightly. If you noticed, and believed I could have done it on accident, then you already *know* they human witnesses are not trustworthy. If you didn't notice, you proved my point another way.

    So, wanting to test things for themselves? Could be a sign of anything from stupidity to genius, depending on the reasons and the test.

    The Farmer and the Wolf, take 2

    Do wolves have great senses? Sure, I'll believe that.

    Should the party's plan have worked? Probably not.

    Happily, your character knew that.

    This really *should* have been a great way for them to come back empty-handed, and then gotten your character involved as the brains / hired expert, depending on who hired whom.

    The resulting highway fight was facepalm worthy, IMO.

    Videogame logic

    Those of you who hate my long, rambling stories, skip to the next point.

    So, I've been introduced to this game called… Titan Quest, iirc. Long story short, I made an absolutely terrible build. And it doesn't matter. I can still breeze through 99+% of the encounters (ie, everything except the boss fights (and some of those, too)) on the strength of "everyman" abilities, and without trying, or thinking, or feeling any risk.

    The mobs are fairly mindless, and just walk into the most obvious of traps. They generally have almost no strategy beyond a D&D skeleton worthy "advance and attack" or "stand and fire".

    If I had played such games? I might communicate my desires to Talakeal similarly to the way that group does, but mean something *completely* different from what Talakeal heard.

    So what if, Talakeal, I joined your group, and, after talking it over with your players told you that we wanted, not 99+%, but 4/5 encounters (and *all* random encounters) to be like Titan Quest, where the enemies were both easy and mindless, such that a) I could fight them mindlessly and win, or b) fighting them with even your group's simplest tactics would steamroll them effortlessly (the "shooting fish in a barrel" level of "no resource expenditure" easy). Where only 1/5 encounters required any effort whatsoever, and even those are generally more cathartic than stressful (ie, as some would say, 1/5 have the *illusion* of challenge, without the reality of failure). And, to clarify that parenthetical, if the PCs are played utterly mindlessly, they should still have a 99+% survival rate, and 100% win rate, vs these "challenging" encounters - only *extreme* stupidity (of the type I described in CaW vs CaS vs bees) should ever result in death or defeat.

    How would you respond to that?

    Crafting Blues

    In short, @Satinavian has the right of it. I hadn't engaged that bit further because I simply couldn't think of how to explain "By having permanent downtime progress depend on not using ressources in fights, ressource use in fights feels bad" so concisely.

    Feels, not facts.

    Feels, not facts.

    Feels, not facts.

    Yes, rule of 3 would have me explain it *differently* rather than repetitively, but… feels, not facts, are what matter to this conversation. And this setup makes doing smart things feel bad.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-08-03 at 04:54 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #157
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    We had our session zero last weekend, and it went well. One thing I noticed though, despite Time Troll's objections to the idea, making everyone choose a faction has a huge impact on the game. It provides an easy hook and motivation to get everyone involved, and it completely changes the nature of some encounters I had planned, turning combat encounters to social or vice versa. And although its not any sort of direct agency, no single decision a player can make has such a dramatic impact on the long term shape of the game; I literally had to rewrite the entire long term outline every time a player chose a faction. Its wild.
    Good. I hope it works out.


    Edit: Also, thinking more about what I labelled as my frustrations with player hypocrisy. Thinking more about it, I think a lot of players just argue whatever will give them an advantage at the time rather than what they actually believe, which, according to my dad, is also how a lawyer is trained to operate. So one day they may argue in favor of CaW and the next for CaS, likewise they might one day argue for a simulationist reading of events and the next gaminst; maybe for them arguing with the DM using whatever logic will benefit their character in the moment is part of the game for them.
    If i had a player who did that i would either stop listening or kicking them. I think I even had one many years ago. I think I was a bit immature and went the "just don't listen and forbid/block everything they propose until you have discovered the real reason" route. Worked better than before and we played as such for at least another year. But when he left because of job reasons, the game got even better without all the mistrust and fake arguments. That is why i am now willing to instantly kick someone like that.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    , and by the time a player has gotten so frustrated they are acting out, they legitimately don't feel like playing anymore, at least in the moment.
    And that's the problem : Whenever a big argument breaks out at the gaming table (usually because one of the people gets frustrated), nobody feels like playing anymore. That game is tainted. That game is dead. That game session will not ever be fun again, not will it be an enjoyable memory. Stop playing immediately, and pick up the game at a later time when tempers have settled.

    You say they "call your bluff", but you shouldn't be bluffing. If a game devolves into hissy fits because the players (or yourself) are getting angry or frustrated, stop playing immediately. And do it every time it happens.
    And importantly, don't do it as a punishment. Doit simply because arguing is not fun, but maybe the next game will be better. For that night, break out the boardgames or the console, or have a chat if everybody manages to cool off, or just go home early. Don't try to play.

    I understand that you love playing and are not willing to step down from that abusive relationship you have with your players. But you said it yourself : most of your games are okay, and only 15-20% of them devolve into arguments (which is really an horrendous number of bad games, but whatever). Just shut off those failed game session short. There will be other, better games later.
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2021-08-04 at 08:10 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    I understand that you love playing and are not willing to step down from that abusive relationship you have with your players. But you said it yourself : most of your games are okay, and only 15-20% of them devolve into arguments (which is really an horrendous number of bad games, but whatever). Just shut off those failed game session short. There will be other, better games later.
    I said any given player only acts out 15-20% of the time. But when you have five players, that means the majority of sessions will have at least st one incident.
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  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Yes, that is why even acting out "only" 15-20% of sessions is way too often and would not fly at other tables.

    At the moment I am part of 4 different groups and in none is even one player that goes beyond 1%. I also can't remember a sigle incident in the last two years.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-08-04 at 08:40 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I said any given player only acts out 15-20% of the time. But when you have five players, that means the majority of sessions will have at least st one incident.
    Out of curiosity, can you enjoy the sessions where no incidents happen? Because if it were me, I don't think I would have very fun GM:ing knowing I was basically sitting on the social equivalent of a time-bomb that could go off at any moment (and probably will go off at least every other session).

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Yes, that is why even acting out "only" 15-20% of sessions is way too often and would not fly at other tables.

    At the moment I am part of 4 different groups and in none is even one player that goes beyond 1%. I also can't remember a sigle incident in the last two years.
    Indeed. I can't think of a single incident anywhere close to the ones that seem like everyday occurrences at Talakeal's table. Maybe people get irritated once in a while (even if it's rare) but I can't think of anyone going beyond maybe raising their voice a little.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-08-04 at 08:45 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I said any given player only acts out 15-20% of the time. But when you have five players, that means the majority of sessions will have at least st one incident.
    I thought you said you were willing to overlook the bad games because most of them were nice. If your so called "friends" display asocial behaviour 20% of the time and every single game turns into an argument, that's really different. If that's truly the case, then seriously, that's downright abusive. Stop playing now, and maybe stop seeing those people. They are not your friends, never were, never will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Yes, that is why even acting out "only" 15-20% of sessions is way too often and would not fly at other tables.

    At the moment I am part of 4 different groups and in none is even one player that goes beyond 1%. I also can't remember a sigle incident in the last two years.
    Yeah, I'm 120 sessions into my "Curse of Strahd" campaign, and we had 3 arguments between 2 players (one "elf vs dwarf" roleplay that went too far, and 2 instances of a bossy player frustrating another one). So overall, there's someone who gets angry at my table once every 40 games. And that's enough to have one player walk out of the campaign, and to seriously erode the pleasure I find at running this game, to the point I decided to change players for the next campaign I'll run at fall.

    I can't imagine being willing to run a game where nearly every session turns into an argument. That's not a bad game, that's a nuke-the-gametable-from-orbit-it's-the-only-way-to-be-sure level of awful
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2021-08-04 at 09:43 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Indeed. I can't think of a single incident anywhere close to the ones that seem like everyday occurrences at Talakeal's table. Maybe people get irritated once in a while (even if it's rare) but I can't think of anyone going beyond maybe raising their voice a little.
    I guess I am just used to a different environment than you.

    Playing cards or board games with my family, playing MMOs online, and playing Warhammer at the Games Workshop store all have a far higher rate of incidents than my tabletop RPG session.

    Heck, I don't think I have ever won a game of Warhammer except by forfeit, as the vast majority of players quit the moment that it looks like they are likely to lose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The Farmer and the Wolf
    The scenario was not that some farmer had tried catch the wolf himself and failed. It was that a wolf had been plaguing the village for some time and all of the local hunters and trappers had tried and failed to catch it in the past. I don't actually recall who actually paid the PCs, but it was probably some big rancher acting on behalf of the community rather than some local dirt farmer trying to do it all himself; after all standard treasure for even a first level party is several years wages for a commoner.

    And trying isn't the problem, its being upset at the DM when it doesn't work.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The resulting highway fight was facepalm worthy, IMO.
    Out of curiosity, why?

    Because I agree, its sort of meta-gamey, but that's what the players (claim) they want; balanced tactical fights on the combat grid, and it is shaping the narrative to give it to them.

    How would you feel if, for example, I had been the one who wanted to do the tree plan and the rest of the party wanted to stay in town researching chemistry? At that point, rather than a balanced combat, I am just giving the wolf a free meal if it ambushes me while I am alone in the dark on the road back to town.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So what if, Talakeal, I joined your group, and, after talking it over with your players told you that we wanted, not 99+%, but 4/5 encounters (and *all* random encounters) to be like Titan Quest, where the enemies were both easy and mindless, such that a) I could fight them mindlessly and win, or b) fighting them with even your group's simplest tactics would steamroll them effortlessly (the "shooting fish in a barrel" level of "no resource expenditure" easy). Where only 1/5 encounters required any effort whatsoever, and even those are generally more cathartic than stressful (ie, as some would say, 1/5 have the *illusion* of challenge, without the reality of failure). And, to clarify that parenthetical, if the PCs are played utterly mindlessly, they should still have a 99+% survival rate, and 100% win rate, vs these "challenging" encounters - only *extreme* stupidity (of the type I described in CaW vs CaS vs bees) should ever result in death or defeat.
    Aside from the mindless enemies part, that's exactly how my games do run, and by asking for mindless enemies you would basically just another voice in the chorus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    [Crafting Blues

    In short, @Satinavian has the right of it. I hadn't engaged that bit further because I simply couldn't think of how to explain "By having permanent downtime progress depend on not using resources in fights, resource use in fights feels bad" so concisely.

    Feels, not facts.

    Feels, not facts.

    Feels, not facts.

    Yes, rule of 3 would have me explain it *differently* rather than repetitively, but… feels, not facts, are what matter to this conversation. And this setup makes doing smart things feel bad.
    I really wish we could have a more in depth conversation on this, because it is actually useful system feedback.

    I just really have a hard time wrapping my head around how everything comes down to "permanent" progress.

    In my mind, my system has far less in the way of permanent consequences than most RPGs, to the point where basically nothing is permanent.

    Like, I still remember being bitter about missing out on XP rewards in AD&D that put me behind the entire campaign; like there was one time I was fighting a stone giant and was going to solo kill it, when one of the other players took a shot on it, making me miss out on several thousand XP, and then a year later when the campaign ended I was several thousand XP short of reaching max level (humanoid level limits in those days) and so that one attack by one ally permanently shut me out of "completing" my character.


    I am really, really, curious about what you mean by "And this setup makes doing smart things feel bad," as I can't see how this is true in any way. The closest I could think of is that taking a risk sometimes pays off (and sometimes doesn't) like in the case of not drinking a fire protection potion before heading into a dragon's lair and instead drinking healing potions after.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-08-04 at 11:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I guess I am just used to a different environment than you.

    Playing cards or board games with my family, playing MMOs online, and playing Warhammer at the Games Workshop store all have a far higher rate of incidents than my tabletop RPG session.
    Waitwaitwait, so playing tabletop RPGs with your usual players have a risk of incident somewhere in the 75-100 percent range* and these other have a far higher rate? Geez, different environments indeed. I've certainly played games with my fair share of sour losers and I know the online scene isn't... great at all times but this still baffles me.

    I suppose it explains why you keep playing with your group, at least, in a "well, better to be kicked in the crotch than shot in the head" sort of way.

    (*Okay, that's probably not exactly how you add up probabilities, but still)
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-08-04 at 01:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    (*Okay, that's probably not exactly how you add up probabilities, but still)
    Because math is fun:
    For independent events with a probability of p (0 <= p <= 1), then the probably of at least one of those events happening given N chances is 1-(1-p)^N

    4-5 players with a 15-20% chance (p=0.15 or p=0.20) would result in
    floor: 1-(1-0.15)^4 ~ 48%
    ceiling: 1-(1-0.20)^5 ~ 67%

    That was fun. However 48% is still too high a "bad night" failure rate for me. It would only be tolerable if a bad night was a net zero (it is clearly a net negative to Talakeal) and if a good night was twice as enjoyable as the best alternative (reading a good book? watching a movie?).

  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Because math is fun:
    For independent events with a probability of p (0 <= p <= 1), then the probably of at least one of those events happening given N chances is 1-(1-p)^N

    4-5 players with a 15-20% chance (p=0.15 or p=0.20) would result in
    floor: 1-(1-0.15)^4 ~ 48%
    ceiling: 1-(1-0.20)^5 ~ 67%

    That was fun. However 48% is still too high a "bad night" failure rate for me. It would only be tolerable if a bad night was a net zero (it is clearly a net negative to Talakeal) and if a good night was twice as enjoyable as the best alternative (reading a good book? watching a movie?).
    Ah, thank you. I was hoping someone would do the math. So yeah, maybe not quite 75-100 percent but 48-67 percent is certainly more than enough to justify my bafflement, especially with other activities having a "far higher" rate.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-08-04 at 03:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Because math is fun:
    For independent events with a probability of p (0 <= p <= 1), then the probably of at least one of those events happening given N chances is 1-(1-p)^N

    4-5 players with a 15-20% chance (p=0.15 or p=0.20) would result in
    floor: 1-(1-0.15)^4 ~ 48%
    ceiling: 1-(1-0.20)^5 ~ 67%

    That was fun. However 48% is still too high a "bad night" failure rate for me. It would only be tolerable if a bad night was a net zero (it is clearly a net negative to Talakeal) and if a good night was twice as enjoyable as the best alternative (reading a good book? watching a movie?).
    But do we know these are truly independent probabilities? One coin flip will not influence the next, but one person blowing up can easily lead to a chain reaction that would cluster these meltdowns into a smaller percentage of sessions.
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Honestly, get a new RPG group.

    It is easier said than done, but it CAN be done.
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Ah, thank you. I was hoping someone would do the math. So yeah, maybe not quite 75-100 percent but 48-67 percent is certainly more than enough to justify my bafflement, especially with other activities have a "far higher" rate.
    You're welcome. Math is fun.

    I too am baffled at the high rate, especially since it is with different groups of other people. Perhaps try a coop board game like Forbidden Desert?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    But do we know these are truly independent probabilities? One coin flip will not influence the next, but one person blowing up can easily lead to a chain reaction that would cluster these meltdowns into a smaller percentage of sessions.
    I would presume they are not truly independent probabilities. Even ignoring chaining, I would predict there is some overlap. I do not know enough statistics to suggest a good heuristic to adjust this calculation. The best I can do is adjust it to a 15-67% chance by assuming total dependence to total independence.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-04 at 03:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    But do we know these are truly independent probabilities? One coin flip will not influence the next, but one person blowing up can easily lead to a chain reaction that would cluster these meltdowns into a smaller percentage of sessions.
    That's what we thought, that Tal was willing to put up with his group because 80% of his games were fine (which would still be unacceptable. I mean, if my friends caused me grief once every 5 games, I would stop GMing and do solitary activities instead. I have a lot of unpainted minis and unplayed videogames, after all...). But he corrected us and said that nearly every session is crappy. So we can assume thet either those player meltdowns are independent (which seems unlikely, as you said), or that the individual player-meltdown chance are in fact much more than 20%

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post

    Out of curiosity, why?
    Because the wolf was too smart to fall into an ambush, but still willing to face-tank the same bunch of dangerous humans on the road. There's nothing wrong in either of them (lone wolves don't attack groups of humans in our world, but in games, that kinda happens "because gameplay and fantasy", so that does not shock me), but both of them in the same adventure feel inconsistent.

    If the wolf was that crafty and careful, then it would have been more thematically consistent (and more interesting) to have the players track it down to its lair, or ambush it when it comes for the village's herd, and have the final fight happen there.

    It's not a big thing, but it sounds like a contrary GM who refuses to let his players get any advantage. It's nothing on its own, but if it's representative of the game, it can build up frustration over time until someone gets angry.

    Remember the rule : "If the players do something that sounds stupid, ask questions to clarify, because there is probably a misunderstanding". In that GM's case, since the plan sounded like it wouldn't work for obvious reasons, the GM could have asked things like "You characters will be really obvious in those trees. Do you hide?" or "Most predators won't stand and fight in desperate situations. What's your plan if it tries to flee?"

    The problem with telling a player bluntly that their plan was idiotic, is that you are saying that the character AND THE PLAYER are stupid. Some will be good sports about it, but most will take it as an insult, and it will poison the game.
    As Quertus said, "Feels, not facts". RPGs are a social activity. What people around the table feel is far more relevant than what you think is the "true situation". Most people (myself included) think with their emotions first and foremost.
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2021-08-05 at 03:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    That's what we thought, that Tal was willing to put up with his group because 80% of his games were fine (which would still be unacceptable. I mean, if my friends caused me grief once every 5 games, I would stop GMing and do solitary activities instead. I have a lot of unpainted minis and unplayed videogames, after all...). But he corrected us and said that nearly every session is crappy. So we can assume thet either those player meltdowns are independent (which seems unlikely, as you said), or that the individual player-meltdown chance are in fact much more than 20%
    I just understood it as "every player is 15-20% likely to start such an argument during a session if not someone else goes first"

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    Because the wolf was too smart to fall into an ambush, but still willing to face-tank the same bunch of dangerous humans on the road. There's nothing wrong in either of them (lone wolves don't attack groups of humans in our world, but in games, that kinda happens "because gameplay and fantasy", so that does not shock me), but both of them in the same adventure feel inconsistent.

    If the wolf was that crafty and careful, then it would have been more thematically consistent (and more interesting) to have the players track it down to its lair, or ambush it when it comes for the village's herd, and have the final fight happen there.

    It's not a big thing, but it sounds like a contrary GM who refuses to let his players get any advantage. It's nothing on its own, but if it's representative of the game, it can build up frustration over time until someone gets angry.
    In my experience its actually the players refusing to let the GM get any advantage.

    The players get mad if:

    The monsters ambush them
    The monsters set traps
    The monsters make use of terrain
    The monsters pre-buff
    The monsters use hit and run tactics
    The monsters refuse to engage the party on their terms (for example a dragon that fights from the air)
    The monsters run away rather than fighting to the death
    The monsters avoid fights they can't possibly win
    The monsters require some sort of unusual tactics to defeat

    The players also want to be treated and rewarded like they are great heroes.

    And the players say they want "CaS tactical grid-based combat".

    So the GM warps the narrative to meet the sort of campaign they want.

    But the players then get mad if the GM warps the narrative in the other direction, finding reasons to negate the same tactics on their part that they would force the GM to find reasons to negate on the enemy's part.

    IMO tracking it to its lair was what the DM intended, but as player's in my group tend to get frustrated and give up if their first attempt doesn't work, an ambush on the road was the only way that that plot thread would have continued. Also, it was probably the only way that I wouldn't have been killed as I absolutely would find myself trying to complete the quest on my own while the rest of the party was back in town drinking their sorrows away (and the players are in the next room playing Nintendo).


    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    Remember the rule : "If the players do something that sounds stupid, ask questions to clarify, because there is probably a misunderstanding". In that GM's case, since the plan sounded like it wouldn't work for obvious reasons, the GM could have asked things like "You characters will be really obvious in those trees. Do you hide?" or "Most predators won't stand and fight in desperate situations. What's your plan if it tries to flee?"

    The problem with telling a player bluntly that their plan was idiotic, is that you are saying that the character AND THE PLAYER are stupid. Some will be good sports about it, but most will take it as an insult, and it will poison the game.

    As Quertus said, "Feels, not facts". RPGs are a social activity. What people around the table feel is far more relevant than what you think is the "true situation". Most people (myself included) think with their emotions first and foremost.
    My problem is that the players are smart enough to read clarifying questions as the GM telling them their plan is idiotic and react accordingly.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-08-05 at 09:41 AM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The players get mad if:

    The monsters ambush them
    The monsters set traps
    The monsters make use of terrain
    The monsters pre-buff
    The monsters use hit and run tactics
    The monsters refuse to engage the party on their terms (for example a dragon that fights from the air)
    The monsters run away rather than fighting to the death
    The monsters avoid fights they can't possibly win
    The monsters require some sort of unusual tactics to defeat

    The players also want to be treated and rewarded like they are great heroes.
    Why are you still playing with them?
    Do they have blackmail on you?

    Have you all tried a game of Paranoia for a change of pace?
    Honey Heist?
    Blades in the Dark?
    Microscope?
    Great Ork Gods?
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-08-05 at 10:02 AM.
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    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    My problem is that the players are smart enough to read clarifying questions as the GM telling them their plan is idiotic and react accordingly.
    Of course they do, because your gametable has an adversarial culture, where players and GMs constantly disrespect each other. You just said it yourself : the players are "smart enough" to know the GM "thinks their plan is idiotic". In that situation, the GM is not asking the question on good faith. And if you think they're idiots and patronize them, they'll pick it up and react badly.
    For a "let's clarify the situation" discussion to work, you have to actually mean it, and not simply try to take back control of the situation. The questions are not used to guide them back toward your prefered solution, it's to help them realise their own within the parameters of your game.

    When my players do something weird that has no chance to succeed, I don't think "What idiots! Guess I'll have to play 10-questions to save their asses". I know that, since they're not idiots nor *******s, either they misunderstood something, I misunderstood something (because the GM can be wrong, even about their own world and story), or we missed something implied by the rule, the declaration of intent, the situation or the gameworld. The question "Did you hide?" is genuine, because maybe the players thought that "we climb trees to set up an ambush" obviously implied they were hiding, or because they thought that the wolf's eyes are less of a problem than its nose, or because they think that the trees are a sufficient cover, like in the old "Robin Hood" movies that shaped our mental image of what a forest ambush looks like. Or they thought it was a very dense forest, when in my mind it was much sparser. Or maybe they DID say that they were hiding, and I didn't pay attention. And I can't know that, and allow us to adjust our "common image" of what's happening, or what is to be expected (like "A wolf probably will see you and flee") if I don't ask the question.


    I'd even say that asking those questions is basic courtesy : If I say "I hide behind a tree and let the patrol pass!", and the GM replies "OK, you stand still, until the patrols stops in front of you and look at you bemused : There was no tree, so you were just standing still behind a potted flower on the side of the road", then, unless we're playing a comedy game like Toon or Paranoia, that GM just made fun of me and disrespected me as a player, and I won't like it.
    If he clarified the situation, by saying "you're in the middle of fields, so there's no tree in sight, but you see waist-high barley fields, and a low wall on either side of the road. Do you want to use either of those to hide?", then he's helping me achieve what I wanted to do, and not telling me my plan is idiotic.
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2021-08-05 at 10:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In my experience its actually the players refusing to let the GM get any advantage.

    The players get mad if:

    The monsters ambush them
    The monsters set traps
    The monsters make use of terrain
    The monsters pre-buff
    The monsters use hit and run tactics
    The monsters refuse to engage the party on their terms (for example a dragon that fights from the air)
    The monsters run away rather than fighting to the death
    The monsters avoid fights they can't possibly win
    The monsters require some sort of unusual tactics to defeat

    The players also want to be treated and rewarded like they are great heroes.

    And the players say they want "CaS tactical grid-based combat".

    So the GM warps the narrative to meet the sort of campaign they want.

    But the players then get mad if the GM warps the narrative in the other direction, finding reasons to negate the same tactics on their part that they would force the GM to find reasons to negate on the enemy's part.
    Well yes, that's self-consistent with wanting an easy beer and pretzels campaign. In that case one wouldn't want symmetry between times the player has advantage and times the player has advantage.

    My problem is that the players are smart enough to read clarifying questions as the GM telling them their plan is idiotic and react accordingly.
    Do it anyhow. Communicating accurately is non-negotiable IMO.

    You mentioned the paradox of tolerance - this is one of those things. IMO whatever style of game a group of players wants to play is fine if the GM is willing to run it, but when a player asks for meta considerations which interfere with the ability of the group to actually function, that's off limits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    I know that, since they're not idiots nor *******s, either they misunderstood something, I misunderstood something (because the GM can be wrong, even about their own world and story), or we missed something implied by the rule, the declaration of intent, the situation or the gameworld.
    To be honest, I wouldn't rule out that Talakeal's players are just idiots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    To be honest, I wouldn't rule out that Talakeal's players are just idiots.
    Even if it was true, you can't allow yourself to think that if you want to play with them. Either you respect them (and that means taking them seriously during the game), or you don't play with them. You should never treat your players as some sort of unwashed rabble that you have to educate.

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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    To be honest, I wouldn't rule out that Talakeal's players are just idiots.
    Only getting one side of the story.
    I have a thought: tuning the game to the players is an interactive and iterative process.
    Getting the players to come half way is a communications intensive process, a negotiation process OOC.
    If that process is stalled or never got off of top dead center, bowling is the better idea for game night.
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    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
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    Default Re: Talking to my players

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    To be honest, I wouldn't rule out that Talakeal's players are just idiots.
    They are very specific level of smat idiot.

    Side note: I'm adding an advice appendix to the DtD rewrite I'm doing and rereading this thread for communication & problem solving advice.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

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