A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    You had said somewhere upthread that in particular it was because the caster was very rude and insulting in how they interacted with the stones that you thought it was a negotiation that had a chance of failure. In particular I think it was to do with the idea that you felt that ignoring the fact that they were so brusque would be railroading them by making their RP not matter, or something like that.
    I don't believe I said that.

    I said that bluntly making a demand of them called for a straight charisma roll.

    Coming up with some sort of good plan could have reduced the difficulty, and letting the information slip out over the course of a conversation might have obliviated the need for a roll at all.

    Now, I said that I often go out of my way to be rude or to do things in a more difficult manner to express my character, and would feel railroaded if the DM just ignored that and assumed I went with a polite response.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    My point was something like, Talakeal is saying 'I have no choice but to do things this way because of all of these mutually exclusive constraints I'm operating under.' and I'm saying 'You had a choice, but you made the choice at a different moment in the process than the moment you think is the one where you have to choose.' E.g. by building the world differently, it'd be possible to make something that would be easier to run for this kind of group without trampling verisimilitude so much. Basically I'm pushing back against the 'I'm so helpless here' narrative. Talakeal isn't helpless here, they've just systematically made choices that accumulate difficulty - retaining the two particular problem players, letting them set the pace of the table as a whole as far as things like not providing GM assists because those players will call 'railroading!', making particularly epic stories which require clever heroes to seem reasonable when the players aren't willing or interested in actually trying to be clever and avoiding chosen-one types of setups where the cleverness could just be a number on the players' sheets rather than something that has to be provided OOC (or again being afraid that it will be called 'railroading' and cause the players to have a fit), etc.

    The ability to change a situation originates from recognizing what choices you have the power to make, so I don't want to leave excuses that abandon potential agency that Talakeal could assert on the table unaddressed.
    You are making me sound like one of my players.

    Its not about being "helpless;" its about having multiple priorities and recognizing that each decision is going to have costs and consequences, and trying to find an acceptable compromise between them.

    I absolutely could run a game the way you want, or the way one of my players wants, or the way I want; but when I am sitting at the table with five other people, I have to find a compromise, and doing so is a conscious decision.

    Now, the one thing I cannot do is read my players minds; and I do have trouble telling when they are going to dig in their heels or have a temper tantrum, or cry railroading, and so I do sort of feel helpless in that regard. Now, I can and do try and minimize these things, but I am not going to completely sacrifice my own enjoyment of the game (or that of the other four players) to do so.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-18 at 06:26 PM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  2. - Top - End - #182
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I don't believe I said that.

    I said that bluntly making a demand of them called for a straight charisma roll.
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal
    The statue was absolutely in a helpful state of mind, just not a servile one, and so I left whether or not barking orders at it would work up to a roll of the dice.
    Then you're choosing to interpret a neutral 'hey, is there anything interesting in this room?' as barking orders and demanding a servile attitude.

    You are making me sound like one of my players.

    Its not about being "helpless;" its about having multiple priorities and recognizing that each decision is going to have costs and consequences, and trying to find an acceptable compromise between them.
    You've trained each-other into abusive patterns which make it hard to escape, because you flinch away from the things you could do which would just solve the problem. Every time there's one of these threads, you're like 'yeah I know I shouldn't game with these guys, but maybe next time it will be okay, they gave some indication that maybe they're mellowing out'. There have been dozens of suggestions as to how to fix your circumstance, but in each case you find a reason to not try rather than to try. So yeah, I do think you and your players have this in common.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Then you're choosing to interpret a neutral 'hey, is there anything interesting in this room?' as barking orders and demanding a servile attitude.

    You've trained each-other into abusive patterns which make it hard to escape, because you flinch away from the things you could do which would just solve the problem. Every time there's one of these threads, you're like 'yeah I know I shouldn't game with these guys, but maybe next time it will be okay, they gave some indication that maybe they're mellowing out'. There have been dozens of suggestions as to how to fix your circumstance, but in each case you find a reason to not try rather than to try. So yeah, I do think you and your players have this in common.
    NichG, at this point I feel like you are just twisting my wording in order to score internet points.

    "Demanding a servile attitude" and "Hey, is there anything interesting in this room," were never said. I explicitly said that she did not ask any questions, and instead bluntly gave the statue an order, and that because it was in a friendly but not servile state of mind it felt no compulsion to follow her orders, and left it up to a straight charisma roll.


    Likewise, this "advice" is worthless and, if I may be honest, borders on both hypocrisy and victim blaming. Choosing to try and fix a problem and reach a compromise is not "being helpless". Kicking players out of the group (or just completely giving up on trying to make the game enjoyable for myself) is just giving up rather than actually trying to fix a problem. I find it funny that you are saying I am "acting helpless" because I am choosing to try and fix a problem rather than just giving up because some stranger on the internet told me to.

    And no, I don't "know I shouldn't game with these people". The idea that I should abandon an activity that brings me great joy and ruin my relationships with some of my closest friends because some guys on a forum told me to is so absolutely comical I am having trouble putting it into words.

    If it really bothers you that much that I am asking for advice and working to correct problems rather than just nuking the game, you can just put me on /ignore and not have to worry about my problems anymore.


    Edit: And to be clear, I am not saying all of your advice is bad. Much like my gaming group, I enjoy most of our interactions. I just think that the "black and white thinking" of being told to either kick players out of the group or give into them 100% with no compromise is not helpful as either of those will make me less happy in the long run, where as working towards compromise and fixing communication issues could make me more happy in the long run. Just like I am not going to put you on /ignore because, on the whole, our interactions and pleasant and your advice is good, even if this particular line of dialogue does little more than frustrate me.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-18 at 07:06 PM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    NichG, at this point I feel like you are just twisting my wording in order to score internet points.

    "Demanding a servile attitude" and "Hey, is there anything interesting in this room," were never said. I explicitly said that she did not ask any questions, and instead bluntly gave the statue an order, and that because it was in a friendly but not servile state of mind it felt no compulsion to follow her orders, and left it up to a straight charisma roll.
    Would you demand a Charisma check if a character asked a random person on the street directions to the nearest inn? Or if someone asked a shopkeeper if they had any swords for sale? What I want here is for you to recognize and own the choice you made to demand a roll in this case. Because you're talking as if you had to call for a roll, as if it were the only fair or non-railroading or verisimiltudinous thing to do in that situation. And that's what's coming off as an excuse to me, to justify something that you either habitually just did, or even something you actually wanted to do but didn't want to actually own.

    Likewise, this "advice" is worthless and, if I may be honest, borders on both hypocrisy and victim blaming. Choosing to try and fix a problem and reach a compromise is not "being helpless". Kicking players out of the group (or just completely giving up on trying to make the game enjoyable for myself) is just giving up rather than actually trying to fix a problem. I find it funny that you are saying I am "acting helpless" because I am choosing to try and fix a problem rather than just giving up because some stranger on the internet told me to.

    And no, I don't "know I shouldn't game with these people". The idea that I should abandon an activity that brings me great joy and ruin my relationships with some of my closest friends because some guys on a forum told me to is so absolutely comical I am having trouble putting it into words.

    If it really bothers you that much that I am asking for advice and working to correct problems rather than just nuking the game, you can just put me on /ignore and not have to worry about my problems anymore.
    I mean, I've honestly been tempted. What bothers me is that this is a situation where I think you and your players are doing harm to each-other, and to others who join your group. And in that circumstance, and given that I do honestly think that something harmful is going on here, it doesn't feel like I should stand by and just say nothing. But I should probably recognize my own advice here that it's very unlikely anything I say will cause you to change this pattern of behavior. So yeah, for my own sanity I guess I'm done with these threads.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Would you demand a Charisma check if a character asked a random person on the street directions to the nearest inn? Or if someone asked a shopkeeper if they had any swords for sale? What I want here is for you to recognize and own the choice you made to demand a roll in this case. Because you're talking as if you had to call for a roll, as if it were the only fair or non-railroading or verisimiltudinous thing to do in that situation. And that's what's coming off as an excuse to me, to justify something that you either habitually just did, or even something you actually wanted to do but didn't want to actually own.
    That's actually a pretty good point.

    Asking someone a question is generally no test.
    Demanding someone do something for you generally requires a test.

    But, I suppose demanding someone tell you something really is just asking a question in a really rude manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I mean, I've honestly been tempted. What bothers me is that this is a situation where I think you and your players are doing harm to each-other, and to others who join your group. And in that circumstance, and given that I do honestly think that something harmful is going on here, it doesn't feel like I should stand by and just say nothing. But I should probably recognize my own advice here that it's very unlikely anything I say will cause you to change this pattern of behavior. So yeah, for my own sanity I guess I'm done with these threads.
    Well, if you are really done with me, I am sorry to see you go and thank you for your input.

    As I said in the above, I really do appreciate most of your advice, and I really do believe that feedback I get form this forum has greatly improved the quality of my gaming sessions even if you would prefer to see me abandon them entirely.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-18 at 07:33 PM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    And no, I don't "know I shouldn't game with these people". The idea that I should abandon an activity that brings me great joy and ruin my relationships with some of my closest friends because some guys on a forum told me to is so absolutely comical I am having trouble putting it into words.
    I don't think anyone has suggested that you should abandon the activity, merely to avoid doing it with a group of people where there's a significant chance any given session of someone having a meltdown and ruining the session. I suppose the latter part is true, but the relationships sounds so unhealthy (and that's coming from someone whose definition of friendship is pretty close to "someone I can argue with forever and who I don't have to bother being nice to") that I'm not sure ruining them is a bad thing. Besides, you can presumably keep hanging out with the people while doing an activity that doesn't provoke quite so many meltdowns.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    That's pretty common wisdom, but I don't think I agree with it.

    The same puzzle written down as a forum anecdote or as a lateral thinking riddle doesn't engage my additional senses, but is still exponentially easier to solve than it is at the table. Especially when, at the table, you can ask for clarification and additional context.

    I personally think it has a lot more to do with the additional cognitive load of trying to keep in character, imagine the scene, and the pressure of whatever stakes are on the line.
    I agree with the point of additional cognitive load of IC/imagination and pressure, but these are all additional factors - not the main reason.

    As you stated: the same puzzle, written down, is exponentially easier to solve. Why?

    Because when written down, the puzzle is communicated in written form. Not spoken. Question - do you read the text at the table? Or do you narrate it from your head? I'd suggest an experiment: post a puzzle, as you would communicate it at your table. Word to word. I'd love to know how you actually communicate at the table: it would help a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I don't think anyone has suggested that you should abandon the activity, merely to avoid doing it with a group of people where there's a significant chance any given session of someone having a meltdown and ruining the session. I suppose the latter part is true, but the relationships sounds so unhealthy (and that's coming from someone whose definition of friendship is pretty close to "someone I can argue with forever and who I don't have to bother being nice to") that I'm not sure ruining them is a bad thing. Besides, you can presumably keep hanging out with the people while doing an activity that doesn't provoke quite so many meltdowns.
    But see, my games are genuinely getting better. There has only been a single meltdown all campaign at that was very brief.

    My last session only had a single hitch, and that was just the players deciding to play staring contest with the GM for an hour was a productive use of their time and then we continued on with the game. Just a bit of boredom in an otherwise fine session lacking in any sort of OOC conflict whatsoever.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But see, my games are genuinely getting better. There has only been a single meltdown all campaign at that was very brief.

    My last session only had a single hitch, and that was just the players deciding to play staring contest with the GM for an hour was a productive use of their time and then we continued on with the game. Just a bit of boredom in an otherwise fine session lacking in any sort of OOC conflict whatsoever.
    How did that actually get resolved after an hour of pouting? Did they give in and do something else?
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    How did that actually get resolved after an hour of pouting? Did they give in and do something else?
    Yes. She summoned an earth elemental to scout inside the walls and explain the mechanisms to them.
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  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Its weird, but for some reason being a PC chops your IQ in half. I find the same thing is true when I am a player, its just really hard to think for some reason.

    And I know I am not the only one who has this problem, I see plenty of gaming meme's about replacing clue bats with clue 2x4s and DMs prepping by reading books about logic puzzles for preschoolers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lacco View Post
    I agree with the point of additional cognitive load of IC/imagination and pressure, but these are all additional factors - not the main reason.

    As you stated: the same puzzle, written down, is exponentially easier to solve. Why?

    Because when written down, the puzzle is communicated in written form. Not spoken. Question - do you read the text at the table? Or do you narrate it from your head? I'd suggest an experiment: post a puzzle, as you would communicate it at your table. Word to word. I'd love to know how you actually communicate at the table: it would help a lot.
    Hmmm… I seem to recall that my rejected 5-point plan included writing down all the facts you needed the players to know… getting it pre-vetted by the Playground… and handing it to them in written form, for them to read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I would say the players gave themselves nothing to work with by refusing to engage with the statues in any way; not even a "Hello, what's your name?"
    I'm sure you would.

    And the truth of that statement is completely irrelevant to the fact that, the part you have control over is you, not them. And that you gave them nothing to work with.

    Their skill (or lack thereof) at setting their Scrabble tiles has nothing to do with how you set the board for them. Except, of course, that your skill at setting the board determines the DC of their skill roll for utilizing it.

    That's the basic premise - and the basic lesson - of 3e: skill plus chance, vs difficulty.

    Only one of those variables is under your control: the difficulty.

    Why would you choose to make things more difficult for your players? Why wouldn't you take the opportunity to learn to make things easier for your players?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    They had already cast a speak with stones spell though. The resources and rolls are in the past. Why would they cast a spell and then refuse to use it?
    Perhaps because you turned their spell into "talk to one of Talakeal's NPCs", something you know that they hate to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    That's actually already a rule in my system.

    Keep in mind, the problem is not that they players are "stuck", its that the players refuse to expend more resources than are absolutely necessary to solve the problem.
    Something your system trains them to do, and/or exacerbates.

    Your history doesn't help, either.

    What is your plan to turn this around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Even win buttons need to be chosen correctly. I can't just magic missile a wall and expect that to make it rain.
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I agree that punishing players for bad plans isn't good policy;
    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that they had a bad idea. They didn't.

    What you did was punish them having a good idea.

    And that, you really shouldn't do.

    It's no wonder they shut down.

    What do you expect them to do when you punish them for having a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Yeah, like I said its hard. My players want a game which is impossible to fail, but also where they are treated like the greatest / smartest / richest / most powerful / most famous people in the land, but they also want it to be so easy that they can't possibly fail, but also don't want to be railroaded.

    I personally don't enjoy games without world-building and immersion.

    It is really really hard to satisfy all of those things at the same time.
    Seems really easy to satisfy if they're playing the gods.

    Probably pretty easy to satisfy before then, too.

    So what's the problem?

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And that you gave them nothing to work with.
    What's your definition of giving them something to work with then?

    I am not sure what more I could have done besides yanking their character sheets away from them and playing their PCs for them... I even broke the fourth wall and flat out told them what they needed to do and they still refused to do it out of stubborn pride.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Why would you choose to make things more difficult for your players? Why wouldn't you take the opportunity to learn to make things easier for your players?
    Seriously?

    Like, I am having trouble taking this seriously.

    Are you really saying that easier games always equal more fun and that nobody enjoys challenge in either the long or short runs?

    I have to be missing something here.

    Heck, if nothing else, because it teaches them how to solve problems on their own so we can play better games in the future.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Perhaps because you turned their spell into "talk to one of Talakeal's NPCs", something you know that they hate to do.
    Out of curiosity, why would you think a spell called "Speak with stones," wouldn't involve talking? Where is the transformation here? Why would they cast the spell if they hate talking?

    And as I have said hundreds of times, they don't need to actually talk in character or anything, talking to an NPC requires no more cognitive or social effort than declaring what weapon they are attacking with or whether they are getting through a door with lockpicks or by bashing it down.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Something your system trains them to do, and/or exacerbates.
    I don't know about that. Hoarding resources keeps biting them in the ass both in and out of character; I am hoping eventually they will get the message that a resource you are too scared to use is just a number on a character sheet rather than something that solves problems or makes the game more fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Your history doesn't help, either.
    Could you please do me a favor and actually say what you mean?

    Saying something super vague that also vaguely insulting is just kind of the worst of both worlds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    What you did was punish them having a good idea.

    And that, you really shouldn't do.

    It's no wonder they shut down.

    What do you expect them to do when you punish them for having a good idea?
    Could you explain where "Ok, you can now speak to the stones. What do you say to them?" is either a punishment or cause to shut down?


    That's a bit like saying that if the PCs bring a ghost-touch weapon to fight a wraith, you are punishing them by actually rolling out the combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Seems really easy to satisfy if they're playing the gods.

    Probably pretty easy to satisfy before then, too.

    So what's the problem?
    Games without risk or uncertainty are super boring for everyone involved.

    They refuse to play at high level.

    I find violent narratives where one side has no chance to be morally unsettling and not something I would enjoy being a part of.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-20 at 07:01 PM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    What's your definition of giving them something to work with then?

    I am not sure what more I could have done besides yanking their character sheets away from them and playing their PCs for them... I even broke the fourth wall and flat out told them what they needed to do and they still refused to do it out of stubborn pride.




    Seriously?

    Like, I am having trouble taking this seriously.

    Are you really saying that easier games always equal more fun and that nobody enjoys challenge in either the long or short runs?

    I have to be missing something here.

    Heck, if nothing else, because it teaches them how to solve problems on their own so we can play better games in the future.




    Out of curiosity, why would you think a spell called "Speak with stones," wouldn't involve talking? Where is the transformation here? Why would they cast the spell if they hate talking?

    And as I have said hundreds of times, they don't need to actually talk in character or anything, talking to an NPC requires no more cognitive or social effort than declaring what weapon they are attacking with or whether they are getting through a door with lockpicks or by bashing it down.




    I don't know about that. Hoarding resources keeps biting them in the ass both in and out of character; I am hoping eventually they will get the message that a resource you are too scared to use is just a number on a character sheet rather than something that solves problems or makes the game more fun.



    Could you please do me a favor and actually say what you mean?

    Saying something super vague that also vaguely insulting is just kind of the worst of both worlds.



    Could you explain where "Ok, you can now speak to the stones. What do you say to them?" is either a punishment or cause to shut down?


    That's a bit like saying that if the PCs bring a ghost-touch weapon to fight a wraith, you are punishing them by actually rolling out the combat.



    Games without risk or uncertainty are super boring for everyone involved.

    They refuse to play at high level.

    I find violent narratives where one side has no chance to be morally unsettling and not something I would enjoy being a part of.
    I gave you an example of "something to work with", in terms of the slightest bit of personality being evident from the statues. "Halt, who goes there" "what do you offer" "can I eat her liver?"

    If you want them to want to interact with your NPCs, give them things to latch onto. Just like you would with plot hooks, to get them to (initially) interact with your world.

    *That's* what you want to make easy.

    There's a difference between "make it easy for them to play the game" and "make the game easy".

    Don't give them unnecessary difficulty.

    Make the things you want them to do, easy to do. If you want them to talk to NPCs, don't give unnecessary resistance to them talking to NPCs.

    I can say this a few more ways, if you need me to. Do I need to, or can you hear what I'm saying yet?

    Give the players something to work with - or, at the very least, own that you didn't give them anything to work with, and that that makes the game harder for them. Recognize and own the choices you do have.

    IME, completely my bias from other games I've played, no, I don't expect stones to have personalities, especially in relation to a spell named "Speak with Stones". And you didn't give the players any player-facing personality traits for those statues. So I could totally see me failing the "DC Talakeal" roll there.

    -----

    "Could you please do me a favor and actually say what you mean?

    Saying something super vague that also vaguely insulting is just kind of the worst of both worlds."

    You have history with these players. Because of this history, they don't trust your NPCs, have no desire to spend time talking to your NPCs, and would prefer to murder helpful NPCs.

    It doesn't matter how unreasonable those conclusions are, they exist. They're baggage you should consider when evaluating your path forward.

    -----

    "Could you explain where "Ok, you can now speak to the stones. What do you say to them?" is either a punishment or cause to shut down?

    That's a bit like saying that if the PCs bring a ghost-touch weapon to fight a wraith, you are punishing them by actually rolling out the combat."

    If you cannot answer those questions yourself, *I* am not the right person to try to show you the answer.

    So the literal answer to, "could you explain" is "no - at least, not to you, not at this time".

    At best, I could comment that the result of choosing the correct answer of talking to the stone… was to sit bored for an hour… and then perform the hated act of wasting yet more mana on another path.

    That's not how you encourage such behavior.

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Write up is almost done, gonna take a few more days.

    So... I had a conversation with my players and it turns out that there was actually a miscommunication over what caused the game to halt and the resulting forum drama.

    It wasn't that they were afraid to speak in character / come up with something for their PC to say, its that they are still stuck in the "word game" mode and were trying to find a precise order to give the statues that couldn't possibly be misinterpreted or twisted.

    And so every time I told them they needed to come up with some reason for the statues to want to help them, that went in one ear and out the other, and then when I asked them what they say they were actually subtly changing the wording of the orders they gave to the statues each time without me noticing hoping to find some perfect combination of words that couldn't be willfully misinterpreted or twisted.

    Which is actually an even bigger problem; as they are always trying to play contract lawyer with their actions and screwing themselves over (see Roy and the Oracle) or accusing me of tricking them by using wordings that could be twisted and then not twisting them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I gave you an example of "something to work with", in terms of the slightest bit of personality being evident from the statues. "Halt, who goes there" "what do you offer" "can I eat her liver?"

    If you want them to want to interact with your NPCs, give them things to latch onto. Just like you would with plot hooks, to get them to (initially) interact with your world.

    *That's* what you want to make easy.

    There's a difference between "make it easy for them to play the game" and "make the game easy".

    Don't give them unnecessary difficulty.

    Make the things you want them to do, easy to do. If you want them to talk to NPCs, don't give unnecessary resistance to them talking to NPCs.

    I can say this a few more ways, if you need me to. Do I need to, or can you hear what I'm saying yet?

    Give the players something to work with - or, at the very least, own that you didn't give them anything to work with, and that that makes the game harder for them. Recognize and own the choices you do have.

    IME, completely my bias from other games I've played, no, I don't expect stones to have personalities, especially in relation to a spell named "Speak with Stones". And you didn't give the players any player-facing personality traits for those statues. So I could totally see me failing the "DC Talakeal" roll there.
    That makes a bit more sense.

    The thing in this case is that the statues don't realize they are under the spell so Kim has to be the one who initiates contact.

    Again though, I gave her a straight charisma roll to convince them, which is the same as I would have done if they had been living creatures in the same situation.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    You have history with these players. Because of this history, they don't trust your NPCs, have no desire to spend time talking to your NPCs, and would prefer to murder helpful NPCs.

    It doesn't matter how unreasonable those conclusions are, they exist. They're baggage you should consider when evaluating your path forward.
    Thank you! That's much clearer.

    Well, at least on your part. I still don't understand where my players are coming from though, as this "history of NPCs betraying them" seems to be almost entirely in their heads.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    If you cannot answer those questions yourself, *I* am not the right person to try to show you the answer.

    So the literal answer to, "could you explain" is "no - at least, not to you, not at this time".

    At best, I could comment that the result of choosing the correct answer of talking to the stone… was to sit bored for an hour… and then perform the hated act of wasting yet more mana on another path.

    That's not how you encourage such behavior.
    At this point I feel like I need a child psychology book.

    It seems like anytime I tell my players "no"* they either sit down and pout for an hour or explode and accuse me of railroading. And of course, the solution of never saying no is equally disruptive to the game and seems to reward them for their bad behavior. Its very frustrating (although as I said to NichG, it is getting much better, we just have ~hour long delays rather than wasting whole sessions with this bull).


    I am still curious about why you think my system encourages this behavior though, as it isn't really any different than any other game outside of 15MWD D&D; which as someone who grey up on AD&D, WHFRP, and World of Darkness sure comes across as the aberration rather than the norm. I really think the problem is that my players are a unique combination of miserly, perfectionist, and casual.


    *: Or, far more often, if I say maybe and have them roll for it and the dice run cold.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    So, on previous uses of Speak with Stone:

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In this case the parties divinations consist of talking to rocks or sending one's senses back in time. Neither demons or gods, or any actor with a will of its own, is involved.
    ... Except these new stones do have wills of their own, defy your requests to speak to them, and require Charisma checks and/or a good argument to persuade them for the spell to be useful. On other occassions, that hasn't been the case. Again, you're leaving the players to guess and play Read The DM's Mind to work out whether these particular stones are acceptable targets for providing useful information, or if it just won't work.

    It doesn't surprise me players are worried about getting contract lawyered out of their goal by picking the wrong wording.

    Since the player has no idea why Speak With Stones suddenly isn't working the way it did previously, all outcomes become possible for them. If they say they've come to rob the tomb, maybe the statues come to life and attack them. Maybe the solution is to invoke the name of a long-dead hero they have no way of knowing. Maybe these stones will never reveal the information since they're here to guard it, and Speak With Stones isn't an acceptable solution to this puzzle. Maybe the statues really want to see the sun and need to be physically carried out of the temple. Maybe touching them will set off a death trap. The player has no idea because they can't see what the GM wants them to offer. All they know is they've spent resources to no effect, and it looks like a bad idea to spend more since Speak With Stones didn't work as a solution even though it should have based on past play.

    Now, this isn't a big problem if the players trust the GM. Sometimes the spell fails because it's more fun that way is sometimes fine (there are systems that actively pay out Fate Points precisely to allow the GM to do this kind of thing). If the players know they're up for some cool run-away-from-the-boulder Indiana Jones action, they're probably fine with being told it doesn't work. But if they don't trust the GM - and your players don't trust you at all - it's just another arbitrary failure point from their point of view.

    With a different group this might work. But your group have openly told you they don't like puzzles, and they don't like talking to NPCs. "You spend mana on a spell, which turns into a puzzle where you have to talk to NPCs to figure out their motivation" was pretty obviously not going to go over well.
    Last edited by Reversefigure4; 2021-11-21 at 04:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    Again, you're leaving the players to guess and play Read The DM's Mind to work out whether these particular stones are acceptable targets for providing useful information, or if it just won't work.
    Again, when defined so broadly, every action in every RPG ever is "read the DM's mind" and it is thus a useless phrase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    It doesn't surprise me players are worried about getting contract lawyered out of their goal by picking the wrong wording.
    Ironic; you are twisting my wording to justify my players being afraid that that I will twist there :)

    But no, the rocks don't have any goals or agency, and will happily answer any questions asked of them, but they do have a rudimentary personality and are not compelled to follow orders. This is always how the spell has worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    Since the player has no idea why Speak With Stones suddenly isn't working the way it did previously, all outcomes become possible for them. If they say they've come to rob the tomb, maybe the statues come to life and attack them. Maybe the solution is to invoke the name of a long-dead hero they have no way of knowing. Maybe these stones will never reveal the information since they're here to guard it, and Speak With Stones isn't an acceptable solution to this puzzle. Maybe the statues really want to see the sun and need to be physically carried out of the temple. Maybe touching them will set off a death trap. The player has no idea because they can't see what the GM wants them to offer. All they know is they've spent resources to no effect, and it looks like a bad idea to spend more since Speak With Stones didn't work as a solution even though it should have based on past play.

    Now, this isn't a big problem if the players trust the GM. Sometimes the spell fails because it's more fun that way is sometimes fine (there are systems that actively pay out Fate Points precisely to allow the GM to do this kind of thing). If the players know they're up for some cool run-away-from-the-boulder Indiana Jones action, they're probably fine with being told it doesn't work. But if they don't trust the GM - and your players don't trust you at all - it's just another arbitrary failure point from their point of view.
    I see where your coming from here, but this isn't quite the case.

    The issue is that the spell allows the caster to ask questions of the stones, not to give them orders. As I said to NichG a few posts up, this really just comes down to phrasing, and if someone at the table had explained it the way NichG did I would have let it worked at the time.

    But again, there is no puzzle or guessing or mind reading here; I flat out to them both in and out of character that the spell allowed them to ask questions not give orders. The player refused, and so I said ok, fine, just make a charisma roll. This failed, which led to an hour of pouting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    With a different group this might work. But your group have openly told you they don't like puzzles, and they don't like talking to NPCs. "You spend mana on a spell, which turns into a puzzle where you have to talk to NPCs to figure out their motivation" was pretty obviously not going to go over well.
    Honestly, I don't know if my players have said they hate puzzles. I hate puzzles with a passion and only use them as a last resort if it makes sense within the world. But again, people have a habit of labelling any obstacle as a puzzle, just like they label being told "no" as either railroading or being asked to read the DM's mind, so your definition, my definition, and my player's definitions might not line up exactly.

    Only one player has said that they hate talking to NPCs, and he wasn't the one playing the earth mage. The rest of the group quite enjoy talking to NPCs; and one of them flat out said that he wouldn't play in any game without it when I offered to just run a mega-dungeon. Brian's problem is that he has "mental blocks"* where he simply cannot speak in or out of character and leaves everyone else guessing as to his motivation.

    *: His word not mine. It may be a side effect of his clinical depression, I don't know I am not a doctor. I assumed this is what was happening here, but now said that this was wrong, instead he was still riding the "word game" train and leaving me to guess about why.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-21 at 05:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But no, the rocks don't have any goals or agency, and will happily answer any questions asked of them, but they do have a rudimentary personality and are not compelled to follow orders. This is always how the spell has worked.

    ...

    The issue is that the spell allows the caster to ask questions of the stones, not to give them orders.
    If I understand this correctly, it failed because they said "I demand you tell me how to enter the tomb.", and that phrasing makes it an order rather than a question?

    If they had said "I ask the stone how to enter the tomb", would it have told them with no further rolls or obstacles to overcome?

    If they had said "I request you tell me how to enter the tomb", it also would have failed because that's a request, not a question? "Tell me how to enter the tomb" is not a question, and the pendantic answer to "Can you tell me how to enter the tomb?" is only "Yes".

    This seems like exactly the outcome you're trying to avoid where the players have to pick their wording precisely and 'contract lawyer' to avoid getting caught out.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    If I understand this correctly, it failed because they said "I demand you tell me how to enter the tomb.", and that phrasing makes it an order rather than a question?

    If they had said "I ask the stone how to enter the tomb", would it have told them with no further rolls or obstacles to overcome?

    If they had said "I request you tell me how to enter the tomb", it also would have failed because that's a request, not a question? "Tell me how to enter the tomb" is not a question, and the pendantic answer to "Can you tell me how to enter the tomb?" is only "Yes".

    This seems like exactly the outcome you're trying to avoid where the players have to pick their wording precisely and 'contract lawyer' to avoid getting caught out.
    Agreed. As I mentioned, I said as much to NichG upthead.

    The player demanded the statues tell them how to access the tomb, I reminded them that the spell lets them ask questions not give orders, player said they can't think of a question to ask and wanted to stick with orders, so I let it be decided by a straight persuasion roll; much like if they went to a random NPC to get information but couldn't think of a question to ask I would leave it up to a straight gather information roll.


    The problem is that the players have it in their heads that I am trying to trick them when, often times, I just don't understand what they are asking. So we get into this weird game were they try and use legalese that makes the answers less useful, and worse, interpret my answers as if they were tricks, sometimes even going so far as to do the opposite of what I tell them because they assumed I was tricking them and then accuse me of tricking them by not trying to trick them because I knew they would do the opposite of what I said. Its a really toxic situation that I am trying to untangle with more open communication.


    Although, I do think the core of it is probably how I view RPGs. As I mentioned, I see it as an opportunity to express your character and explore the world, while my players see it as a self-actualization exercise where I am standing between them and the fantasy of power and wealth. So when the player casts speak with stones I think of it as a cool opportunity to talk in character and learn more about the setting, while the players see it only as a way to get closer to their goal.
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  19. - Top - End - #199
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The problem is that the players have it in their heads that I am trying to trick them when, often times, I just don't understand what they are asking. So we get into this weird game were they try and use legalese that makes the answers less useful, and worse, interpret my answers as if they were tricks, sometimes even going so far as to do the opposite of what I tell them because they assumed I was tricking them and then accuse me of tricking them by not trying to trick them because I knew they would do the opposite of what I said. Its a really toxic situation that I am trying to untangle with more open communication.
    That's because you are trying to trick them, or at least obfuscating the outcome for them so much it might as well be a trick.

    Literally, in this case, it would have worked if they had picked ONE word differently, and said 'ask' instead of 'demand'.

    Most GMs would just let this slide past without any commentary, assume the character knew how their own spell worked and had phrased it correctly, and give the information.

    Some pendantic GMs might insist it be a question, but tell the player "Your character knows that demand won't work, and you need to rephrase the statement as 'I ask them to tell me how to open the tomb" or "How do I open the tomb?". But you won't tell the players exactly what it is that you want them to do because that's railroading them... even though there's only one type of answer that you'd accept to solve this 'How to use Speak with Stones correctly' scenario.

    (Many DnD systems require a magic word to activate an item, but very few GMs require the players to state the word every time their character uses the item, and fewer again demand it be pronounced correctly every time. It's commonly handwaved away).

    There's a direct cause and effect between requiring the players to be pedantic and precise with their wording, and why the players get pedantic and precise and concerned about using the wrong wording.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    That's because you are trying to trick them, or at least obfuscating the outcome for them so much it might as well be a trick.

    Literally, in this case, it would have worked if they had picked ONE word differently, and said 'ask' instead of 'demand'.

    Most GMs would just let this slide past without any commentary, assume the character knew how their own spell worked and had phrased it correctly, and give the information.

    Some pendantic GMs might insist it be a question, but tell the player "Your character knows that demand won't work, and you need to rephrase the statement as 'I ask them to tell me how to open the tomb" or "How do I open the tomb?". But you won't tell the players exactly what it is that you want them to do because that's railroading them... even though there's only one type of answer that you'd accept to solve this 'How to use Speak with Stones correctly' scenario.

    (Many DnD systems require a magic word to activate an item, but very few GMs require the players to state the word every time their character uses the item, and fewer again demand it be pronounced correctly every time. It's commonly handwaved away).

    There's a direct cause and effect between requiring the players to be pedantic and precise with their wording, and why the players get pedantic and precise and concerned about using the wrong wording.
    The problem here is attribution of malice.

    I was not trying to trick them, I was misunderstanding.

    As I have said, if someone merely said to me "Wait, isn't this just a question phrased as a demand?" I would have said "Oh, yeah. Good point."

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    Some pedantic GMs might insist it be a question, but tell the player "Your character knows that demand won't work, and you need to rephrase the statement as 'I ask them to tell me how to open the tomb" or "How do I open the tomb?".
    This is almost exactly what I did. Although, I wouldn't say it was being pedantic; it legitimately didn't occur to me until NichG explained it to me that they were essentially just framing a question as a demand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    (Many DnD systems require a magic word to activate an item, but very few GMs require the players to state the word every time their character uses the item, and fewer again demand it be pronounced correctly every time. It's commonly handwaved away).
    As I have said umpteen times already, there is a world of difference between requiring someone to act something out and requiring someone to tell you what they are doing.

    Simply saying "I say the magic word" or "I activate my magic item" are plenty good enough.


    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    There's a direct cause and effect between requiring the players to be pedantic and precise with their wording, and why the players get pedantic and precise and concerned about using the wrong wording.
    Assuming every mistake was made with malice and then doubling down on it is extremely toxic behavior.

    And, considering how many times they have lawyered themselves into trouble or ignored helpful advice for fear of a trick, its stupid and self-defeating as well.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-21 at 06:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The problem here is attribution of malice.
    I was not trying to trick them, I was misunderstanding.
    But the difference is totally indistinguishable from a player POV, as you know full well you have toxic players who will take the most hostile interpretation. The key words "What are you trying to achieve?" need to be a question for your players whenever you hit this point, following by you immediately taking the most charitable interpretation of their competence levels and giving them the best outcome that can be generated from the circumstance, or being very specific and clear about WHY something won't work, AND what the solution to it should be.

    All talking past each other isn't getting you anywhere.

    Assume that the characters are competent, successful people, who know how their own spells and abilities work, then directly inform the players what the problem is if one of them isn't working. Or, you know, be more permissive with your vaguely written spells and abilities.

    It looks like this:

    Kim: "I cast Speak With Stones and demand the statues tell me how to open the tomb."
    T: "It doesn't work." (having missed the point that this is a question).
    Kim: "Why not?"
    T: "What are you trying to achieve?"
    Kim: "I want them to tell me how to open the tomb."
    T: "That needs to be phrased in the form of a question. When you do so, they tell you that you need to pull the level under the 4th statue, etc..." (Don't make them do it, just assume the characters who are smart enough to cast magic to speak with stones know how to actually speak with stones...)
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    Assume that the characters are competent, successful people, who know how their own spells and abilities work, then directly inform the players what the problem is if one of them isn't working. Or, you know, be more permissive with your vaguely written spells and abilities.

    It looks like this:

    Kim: "I cast Speak With Stones and demand the statues tell me how to open the tomb."
    T: "It doesn't work." (having missed the point that this is a question).
    Kim: "Why not?"
    T: "What are you trying to achieve?"
    Kim: "I want them to tell me how to open the tomb."
    T: "That needs to be phrased in the form of a question. When you do so, they tell you that you need to pull the level under the 4th statue, etc..." (Don't make them do it, just assume the characters who are smart enough to cast magic to speak with stones know how to actually speak with stones...)
    As I said before, this is almost exactly what happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    But the difference is totally indistinguishable from a player POV, as you know full well you have toxic players who will take the most hostile interpretation. The key words "What are you trying to achieve?" need to be a question for your players whenever you hit this point, following by you immediately taking the most charitable interpretation of their competence levels and giving them the best outcome that can be generated from the circumstance, or being very specific and clear about WHY something won't work, AND what the solution to it should be.

    All talking past each other isn't getting you anywhere.
    Agreed.

    Talking past one another is very much the problem.

    In this case, even though we had the above exchange, it didn't work because we were on different wave-lengths.

    In the past, Brian has said that he lacks the social skills to decide what his characters say (again, I am NOT talking about acting it out or talking in character, just basic stuff like "I politely tell the king that I will require payment up front" or "I intimidate the guard into letting me past by threatening his family) and says it is more fair to resolve social situations by a straight die roll so that the characters skills rather than the players get to control the outcome. So, when he shut down here, I assumed this is what he was saying and thought that giving him a dice roll to get the information was what he wanted.

    At the same time, he was convinced that I was trying to twist his words in order to ignore the command, so was trying to find the perfect phrasing to his commands so that the statues couldn't possibly ignore or misinterpret it using legalese.


    So yeah, very much talking past one another.


    And of course, it still doesn't excuse the pouting for an hour before trying something else, which is of course the real issue, not the miscommunication or the bad ruling.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-22 at 01:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    And no, I don't "know I shouldn't game with these people". The idea that I should abandon an activity that brings me great joy and ruin my relationships with some of my closest friends because some guys on a forum told me to is so absolutely comical I am having trouble putting it into words.
    Honestly, and just speaking for myself.....nothing you have ever posted has given me the impression you enjoy these sessions or that you and your players particularly like each other. Time after time you describe an incredibly suspicious and toxic group that jumps on you and each other the first time something goes wrong, with zero trust or goodwill in evidence.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Sorry this took so long. Busy week. But here is the full write-up.
    Spoiler: December 1113: The Mandala of Dreams
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    Valentine calls the group together in the morning. She tells them that she met with Lady Abasinia and was given a special priority contract, written on odd circular paper. They are to retrieve an artifact called the Mandala of Dreams, which was being transported from an excavation in the Wasteland to Golgotha, some fifteen years ago, when it was stolen by Velonious’ raiders. The device resembled a collection of ornate type-writer keys held together by piano wire, and although its true operation is beyond her, in layman’s terms it influences the strands of fate in much the same way that a spirit’s kismet ability influences probability. Her companions believe she is describing either a dreamcatcher or a wind-chime.

    They ask tatters, and she says she doesn’t know anything about it, but perhaps their Raven friend might, for he is Velonious’ partner, and has a similar relationship to the warlord as Valentine does with

    Krystal, although she is vague about what exactly she means by that. The group is surprised by this revelation. They ask around the Old Cathedral if anyone knows where Raven-Dies-Talking is, and are told he was last seen camping out in the willow groves south of Black Lantern Hill; less than a day’s walk from Golgotha. Also, they learn that they were not the first people to have asked about him.

    When they find him, Raven-Dies-Talking explains that while it is true that he was once Velonious’ partner, that the two parted ways almost a decade ago, and tells the group that since that has happened, both have become more eccentric, Raven doubling down on his restless wanderings, and Velonious fixating on megalomaniacal power fantasies. He advises the group that they should always journey with people who are a different sort of crazy than they are, so that they can keep one another in check while still daring to push the boundaries.

    As for the Mandala, he and his siblings hid it, along with other potentially dangerous artifacts that they had no use for, in their slush fund, an old Golden Age Imperial tomb in the Dead Lands. He gives
    Quincy directions from Basewater Station that only he understands. When asked about defenses, he says that he is sure that dangerous critters have wandered in there from the Wasteland, but no serious resistance. He tells them that there were no undead, and when asked about traps, Raven apologizes and says that traps were his brother’s specialty.

    Given the urgent nature of their quest, the group buys tickets on the next train to the Dead Lands, a journey of at least three days. On the second evening, the group is approached by a large bearded man who introduces himself as Damon DeLucia. He tells Valentine that he was talking with her companion in first-class and would love to make her acquaintance as well.

    Valentine looks around, at first assuming Krystal is causing trouble by slipping into first-class uninvited, but when she sees that all of her companions are accounted for, she tells Damon that she doesn’t know who he is talking about. The man, flustered, apologizes and says that it is so rare to see an angel, that he just assumed that two of them on the same train must be traveling together.

    Damon tells the group that he is a lore-master for the Sidhe, and when they say that he looks human, he tells them that he is in fact not one of the fey, but is indeed what is called an “elf-friend”, an honorary member of their courts. He is on his way south to Marhanna, where he is going to attempt to mediate a conflict between the humans and the Fomorian Under Kings before it escalates into war.

    As Damon and Kim fall into a deep discussion about their cultures, Valentine slips away and goes to investigate this other angel in first class. She finds a tall armored man sitting at the bar, with four arms, wings, and a halo of golden light; and she assumes he is some mixture of human, angel, and asura. She slips next to him and introduces herself, and he awkwardly rises to his feet, kisses her hand, and introduces himself as Samuel. Looking around the crowded car, he sees every seat taken, and offers Valentine his own, but she declines, but he remains standing.

    They make small talk, and she tells him of her adventures. In an attempt to impress her, Samuel says that he once had tea with a golden dragon, at which point his companions have a lively debate about whether all dragons are evil or only most, and Samuel offers to resume this conversation someplace more private, an offer which she declines, for now.

    She inquires as to his business, and Samuel says that he can’t say, it’s a matter of national security. She presses him, and he strokes his mustache thoughtfully before telling her that he is on a secret mission for the Imperial Justiciar. Valentine tries to bluff him that she has clearance, dropping Lord Delacour’s name, but Samuel rebuffs her and says that the Justiciar are a civilian authority and have no dealings with the Templar.

    Two days later, they arrive at Basewater Station. The sun is blinding white against the sands of the Dead Lands, and the group can smell the distant ocean on the air, some of them for the first time in their life. They fill their packs with alkaline water, camel jerky, and biscuits which are harder than anything they ever imagined possible.
    They set off into the desert, Quincy following the trail signs.

    One night, Kim is awakened from a deep sleep by the most beautiful music she has ever heard calling her name. She leaves camp, and climbs to the top of a tall dune, and looks toward the coast, where she sees a crystalline monolith on the horizon. She makes to set off toward it when Krystal, who had been on watch, pulls her back and sternly tells her to focus on their current mission.

    The next day, it is apparent that they are being followed. Quincy spots four people, as well as something small and glowing that flits about.

    Valentine suspects Samuel, and as the sun climbs in the sky her suspicions are confirmed. They approach the other group cautiously, and Valentine asks why they are following them as delicately as she can.

    Samuel confesses that he suspects they are after the same treasure. Valentine reveals they are here for the Mandala of Dreams, and Samuel is relieved, for they are attempting to retrieve the Swords of Hakkake for Alice Shar of the Imperial Justiciar, and that they learned that its previous owner, Raven-Dies-Talking, stashed it in a tomb in the Dead Lands.

    The groups agree to work together to reclaim the artifacts, and to evenly split any other treasures they might find. Samuel introduces his companions; he is a crusader and a mystic, Vogel is a glaive master and outlaw who has slender black wings inherited from an ancestor who was either an air elemental or a bird spirit; Kale Blackheart is a young gunslinger and wandering philosopher, Carrie Jidan is a redheaded woman who serves as medic and quartermaster, and he has never caught their fairy’s true name, but they all call her Tinkerbell and she serves as their scout and enchanter.

    He also beckons for his last hidden companion; a glaistig named Shade. The creature resembles a large velociraptor with charcoal scales, and who serves as their tracker and poisoner.

    Valentine admits that she also has an ally hidden, and bids Krystal to reveal herself.

    The groups travel together, following Raven’s directions, but have trouble finding the tomb; it appears that the region has suffered earthquake damage and the entrance has been obscured by a rockslide. Eventually, they find a trail of blood that Shade identifies as belonging to an Oryx which climbs a rock wall and disappears into a crevasse.

    Quincy is reminded of the tail of the Sandewan, a creature that is said to live in the south and which leaves trails like this. None know what the creature looks like, but it is said that any who are brave enough to follow its trail and kill the beast may bring it before the king for great wealth.

    Before entering, the group stops for lunch, and Samuel brews tea in an enchanted pot that invigorates the souls of all of his companions, new and old alike.

    The groups climb the rocks and find that the crevasse leads into the tomb, although several side passages are completely collapsed, buried, or otherwise inaccessible.

    They find a few sarcophagi and open them to reveal jumbled bones and plundered grave goods. Some are trapped; Krystal can disarm most, although in one instance Samuel has to push her out of the way to deflect a poisoned crossbow bolt with his shield.

    They follow the blood trail down a long and slanted corridor and find a larger burial chamber. Within are three furry creatures that resemble overlarge wolverines with eight legs, their eyes and coats gleaming in the brazier light, one mother and two pups. Quincy thinks he could distract them with food, but the group doesn’t want to risk leaving such aggressive creatures alive behind them and decide to exterminate them. The creatures are put down relatively easily, but fight with incredible ferocity, and inflict more than a few wounds.

    As Anani and Carrie treat the group’s injuries and Quincy and Shade skin the creatures, the rest of the group investigates the tomb and cleans out the gory remains of the Sandewans’ previous kills.

    The braziers burn with eternal flames, likely connected by pipes to some deep underground well of natural gas. There are four statues of Atlantean warriors holding spears, two male and two female. The sarcophagus is that of a Templar, and is labeled as belonging to Sir Daniel, whom Kim thinks might be one of the Knights of the Round Table.

    Inside is a skeleton wearing ornate golden armor, whose position suggests he was trying to escape. Kim thinks he was buried alive, but Feur says that it is more likely he was reanimated by the necromantic wave that occurred last October. They take the armor, and Anani notices that the bones are those of a commoner, as a golden age Templar would almost certainly show signs of Atlantean lineage. Feur says this is a false tomb, and orders his companions to search for secret passages.

    Tinkerbelle and Kim search the room, find no evidence of hidden doors or hollow walls. The statues show no signs of articulation. Samuel is the only one strong enough to move them, but finds that they catch on a plinth of some sort if moved more than a few inches. The floor is sloped, and the dust in front of the coffin shows signs of being disturbed.

    Feur casts his senses back in time to the last time Raven-Dies-Talking was here, and sees a brief scene of a younger Raven standing in this room with a strawberry-blonde woman and an older man in a worn duster, and they appear to be having a bitter conversation about breaking their family ties before departing, but he doesn’t see a solution about how to open the tomb.

    The group is puzzled as to how to proceed, having no masonry tools heavier than Kim’s lapidary pick, and so she casts a spell to speak with the statues, demanding that they reveal their secrets to her, but they remain silent. Valentine advises that she maybe adjust her technique, and gives her a quick rundown on how to influence people by starting with small talk and working up to the asks, but Kim obstinately keeps the course.

    When it reveals no answers, she casts a passage spell upon the ground under the sarcophagus, and reveals a hole with four iron bars crossing it. Perplexed, she summons an earth elemental and commands it to examine the workings of the mechanics.

    In an empty voice, the creature tells her that it agrees with her, that surely the best use for an invincible colossus of earth and stone with power over all solid matter is to have it inspect the plumbing. It melds with the floor, and a few moments later emerges to tell them that cables run from the metal bars to the statue’s spears.

    Everyone glares at Tinkerbell for a moment before she shrugs and proclaims that they shouldn’t have sent a fairy to try and move rocks.
    When the spears are lowered, the bars retract, and the sarcophagus slides forward, nearly barreling Anani over as it does so, and revealing a sloping passage leading down into the true tomb.

    As they move down the sloped tunnel, Quincy notices a panel on the wall that was once flush but has shifted, revealing a chamber hidden beyond. Inside appears to be an embalming room, with numerous bodies wrapped or dismembered on tables, many of them in a disassembled state and tossed about the chamber. Kim takes a stash of books, and while Anani moves to pull some valuable chemicals off the shelf, the rotten wood collapses and fills the room with toxic gas that sears Quincy’s lungs. They do their best to seal the room behind them and move on.

    The hall is flanked by large statues of animal-headed figures, and a pair of them animate and block the companion’s path. Valentine tries to talk their way through, but when she tells them that she was sent by Raven-Dies-Talking, they attack. The group is surrounded on three sides, leaving the more vulnerable members flanked, and what follows is a short but brutal battle. The only serious wound occurs when Samuel finds his head caught between the fists of the golems on either side, and Feur needs to re-spool his timeline to prevent his death.

    Beyond the guardians is the gateway into the tomb proper. Feur, Samuel, and Kim, who make up the front rank of the group, suddenly begin convulsing and spasming. After a moment, it is revealed that they stepped on a large metal plate which was buried in sand and dust, and it released an electric charge into them. If a single person had attempted to cross, or a group of less hardy individuals, it may well have caused death by cardiac arrest, but the three hale warriors are only momentarily stunned. As they clamber backward, the trap appears to reset, and nobody can figure out how to disarm it or how much charge it has left, and Kim instead commands the stones on either side to create a stone bridge across it.

    After passing several more collapsed side passages, they follow an acrid chemical odor and enter into a large room with a pool of dark liquid in the center. Kim moves close to magically analyze it, detecting crude oil, human viscera, embalming chemicals, and venom. As she does so, a large tomb basilisk rises from the water and strikes.

    Samuel immediately puts his shield between Kim and the venomous reptile, and then pushes it into the wall, making sure not to let the creature get off even a single strike, for its venom can kill a man a hundred times over. His companions quickly rush into the room and cut its scaly body to bits.

    As Shade harvests the venom, the rest of the parties loot the six tombs that branch of from this chamber. In each, they find an obsidian sarcophagus, and inside a Templar’s skeleton clutching a ceremonial silver sword. In the last, they find the coffin shattered and filled with a strange red liquid, which congeals and moves towards them like a giant amoeba.

    It lurches out of the tomb, and Kale reacts swiftly, blowing it to pieces with a sudden rain of bullets, but each piece continues to move about on its own. What follows is an intense melee, with the ooze eating away at exposed skin as it is chopped into smaller and smaller pieces by its opponents. Eventually, it is reduced to such minuscule portions that can do no harm and only writhe around blindly. But it is not dead, and is slowly coalescing again. Anani tries to drain its life force, but doing so makes her feel light-headed and speeds her pulse to a dangerous rate.

    Within its remains are bits of bone and metal, and one decayed hand wearing a plain steel ring. Upon the ring is a stone that resembles a human eyeball, and Kim picks it up and wipes it clean. As she examines it, she notices the word “Isochrome” written on the inside. She slips on the ring and speaks the word aloud.

    The stone rolls from the ring, and Kim is suddenly overcome by vertigo and falls to her knees as her vision splits. After a few moments of getting oriented and experimentation, the group discovers that one can see through the stone eye as if it were their own, regardless of distance. They debate the usefulness of such a trinket.

    In the next large chamber, they see a score of mummified soldiers, seated about their own sarcophagi as if they were tables at a feast, as a pair of undead priests recite patriotic hymns in old Imperial.

    At the head of the room, a mummified knight sits upon a throne, and when he notices the living men and women, he raises his head and looks at them with burning emerald eyes.

    Shocked, they stammer for a moment and then say that they have slain the sandewan and are here for their reward.

    The skeletal figure, in a dry and ageless voice, tells them that he is neither savage nor king, let alone the king of the savages.

    Valentine then says they are here for the Sword of Hakkake and the Mandala of dreams, at which point the skeletal figure proclaims that that they are tomb robbers, how droll, and gestures for his minions to annihilate them.

    The mummies draw their weapons and move to surround the group, but Anani raises her holy symbol and commands them to stay back.

    While they are cowed by the aura of divine power, Kale and Quincy open fire, while Krystal and Shade move into ambush positions. Samuel charges forward, smiting the king’s guard with blasts of mystic energy. Vogel moves to assist him, but the ceiling is too low for him to fly out of reach and he is quickly born down, forcing Kim to decide to leave Anani’s protective shield and pull him back, the desiccated warriors crumbling beneath her lash.

    The mummified lord challenges Samuel to single combat, and the two square off, neither able to penetrate the other’s skillful defense.

    Once both of the undead priests are torn to pieces by gunfire, their lackeys lose faith and begin to falter, and Samuel offers his opponent the chance to surrender. After a moment’s consideration, the old warriors lays down his sword and tells them they are free to plunder his wife’s grave goods so long as they leave her body unmolested, for the return of the true king is neigh. Samuel swears to the oath.

    The surviving undead lay their fallen companions to rest, and as they do, Kim follows their master about, asking a million questions. He responds as little as is polite, but she learns that he lived approximately a century after Arthur’s death, and is descended both from the Knights of the Round Table and the monarchy that ruled this land before the coming of the Imperium and which vanished into the deserts after its decline.

    The groups search the room, but finds no evidence of either the Mandala or the sword. They do, however, detect a draft, and find a secret passage behind a tapestry; apparently not manmade but rather opened in the Cataclysm. They wonder how Raven-Dies-Talking got past the undead, but given the golem’s response to his name, they decide not to ask.

    The tapestry itself depicts an image of Arthur’s coronation which the mummy-lord assures them were weaved by someone who actually beheld the event. Kim studies it as objectively as she can and takes notes, but is disturbed to see several strange figures in the background, large crooked creatures like bald vultures with purple skin, four long gangly arms, and blood-red robes. She asks what they are, and the mummy does not know, but assumes they were emissaries from the fey or the Under Kings.

    Beyond the tapestry is a narrow ledge, slick with slime. It slopes down into the darkness, on the left side a rocky wall, on the right a drop into the darkness and the foul water a hundred paces below. It is slow going, with Shade leading the way as he is the only one who can easily keep his footing. Quincy spies a pair of enormous scorpions camouflaged on the wall above, and in a split second decision fires upon them before they can ambush those at the front of the line.

    The chitinous creatures descend upon them, cutting Shade off from the rest of the group. The saurian creature turns around and gets the front scorpion’s attention, deftly dodging its darting pincers and toxic tail.

    As the rest of the companions engage the scorpion’s mate, they also find themselves beset by the pincers of long-bodied arthropods which cling to the side of the ledge below. It is uncertain whether these creatures are opportunistic scavengers, the scorpion’s offspring, the scorpion’s prey, or all of them at once. The disgusting creatures use their long crablike claws to pull the less stable fighters from the ledge and leave them dangling over the abyss, unable to slay their attackers lest they be dropped.

    Carrie is able to stun one of the scorpions with her Atlantean pistol, although incapacitating a creature so large completely drains the weapon and it will be useless for the rest of the mission. Still, this gives Krystal the opening she needs to drive the Blackflame Blade into the twitching beast’s body and destroy what passes for its brain.

    Vogel and Samuel spend the entirety of the fight swooping out over the abyss and rescuing their comrades, while Kim reshapes the ledge, creating a stable platform below them. Eventually, the creatures are killed or driven off, scorpion and scavenger alike, although Anani is poisoned in the battle and left nearly out of commission for the remainder of the expedition.

    Descending into the natural caverns, they eventually find a passage that leads into a deeper tomb, larger and more elegant than the one above, built-in many ways like a palace, with marble columns, polished floors, and lit by hanging chandeliers.

    They pass into a large hall, so vast that the far end is lost to shadow, and with two exits on either side. Shade moves to explore one of these side halls, and finds a narrow passage littered with mummified cats, but then heavy portcullises drop down in front of all three doors, separating shade from the rest of the group.

    The party hears heavy stone grinding towards them, and soon they see a massive stone vehicle like Zara’s juggernaut but four times as large rumbling towards them. It is an ancient construct, piloted by a huge stone figure, a very stylized carving in the style of the indigenous people, and clad in ceremonial armor. Tinkerbell conjures a forcefield in its path, but its momentum is so great that this only slows it down.

    Kale and Quincy open fire upon the driver, but their bullets do little, and when it crashes through a support pillar, the group is sprayed by flying debris, and Quincy is knocked unconscious by falling rocks as the chamber begins to collapse.

    Kim deduces that this guardian’s function is to collapse the entire tomb rather than allow intruders to plunder its secrets. She again summons forth the earth elemental and bids it to use its influence the make sure none of the falling rocks strike her companions, and it tells her that she summoned it from an endless sea of featureless gray stone, and still its finds her task to be tedious.

    Kim then attempts to slow the juggernaut by casting spells which soften the earth beneath its wheels, transforming them into a muddy quagmire. This gives Samuel, Vogel, and Krystal the chance to mount it and strike at the driver, who swipes at them ineffectively with huge stone firsts. It takes some doing, but eventually, Samuel decapitates the colossus, and Vogel is able to jam the haft of his polearm into the mechanisms it was manipulating to bring the juggernaut to a shuddering stop.

    With the crisis averted, at least for the moment, they are able to open the portcullises. They then cross the grand hall into the tomb beyond. It is a relatively small room, but decorated with mirrors, hanging paintings, and carved walls. In the center is a throne, and atop it is the remains of a tall woman adorned in the adamant armor of a templar lord. The runes upon the base of her seat identify her as Lady Deionarra. Though Valentine is tempted to take her armor for the dwarves of Tahrr to refit, Kim tells her that this is probably the mummy’s wife and that they should respect their oath.

    Still, Krystal helps herself to the woman’s necklace. It resembles seven rectangles made from mirrored glass and Tinkerbell says it radiates illusion magic. The devil-girl fastens it about her own neck, but doesn’t sense any enchantment or notice any effect.

    Still, there is no sign of the artifacts that drew them here, so they continue on, although if it weren’t for Feur’s vision of the past, they would doubt they were even in the right tomb.

    Beyond the hall of mummified pets, they find another crevasse that leads into a large natural cavern with a sandy floor. Krystal can make out the form of a large creature sleeping in the gloom, and all of them can hear its breathing. They think it a dragon, although one lacking in wings. It is a saurian creature, with four dexterous limbs, a sinuous tail, and a long neck. Its head is fearsome, with curving horns and a pair of large fanlike ears.

    They fall back to discuss the creature, and conclude that they might not be able to take it in a fight, even at full strength, which they are certainly not at. They debate turning back and searching elsewhere, but shoot the idea down. Krystal volunteers to try and slay the beast alone, and Shade coats the Blackflame blade in the basilisk’s venom.

    Krystal creeps ahead and drives the envenomed blade into what she thinks is the dragon’s heart, and though the monster awakes, shaking and seizing, it is not killed outright, and it turns upon its attacker with startling speed. Krystal is nearly devoured, but Samuel rushes to her aid and jams his shield into the beast’s gaping maw, doing his best to choke the creature. It doesn’t work, and his shield is smashed to splinters, but the attempt serves as a distraction, allowing Vogel to swoop in and jam his voulge into the base of the creature’s neck, and the sudden blood loss, combined with the basilisk’s venom, is enough to send it into shock.

    Once the monster’s death cries stop, the cavern is filled with the soft wound of a woman wailing from beneath the sand. The tomb-raiders quickly move to uncover the source, and discover a ruby red blade buried in the sand beneath the monster’s nest. Samuel immediately wraps it in a heavy oilskin and binds it tight. He proclaims that this is what he is here for, but none are to touch it or even look upon it long, for it bears an insidious curse.

    He thanks his companions, and tells them he will not abandon them until they have found the Mandala of Dreams. They move to explore the rest of the tomb, but each of the companions can hear the blade in their minds, sobbing and pleading to be set free.

    On the other side of the grand hall, they find the architecture becoming crude and archaic, with heavy stone slabs roughly hewed. Mummified bodies are seen on spikes, and this looks like the remains of a gruesome torture chamber. In the center is a massive charnel pit filled with old bones, and above stands a huge sacrificial altar. Resting on the edge of the pit is a huge hideous creature which can barely be described, with a body like a bulldog or a bear, two-stories tall at the shoulders, with a dark oily carapace, burning eyes, lunatic teeth jutting in every direction, and long curling tusks so disproportionate they seem almost unreal.

    Vogel mutters that he has seen such creatures in the Wasteland, and warns his group that its anatomy is strange, it won’t be felled by any poisons they carry, and its flesh will sicken and twist anyone who tries to eat it. Anani, eager to get back some of her strength, asks if this extends to stealing its life force, and Vogel assures her that he knows nothing of such affairs.

    Again, they don’t fancy their chances against this monster. They aren’t even sure how it got down here, let alone what it eats. Valentine slips Quincy something she has been saving, a bandolier of adamant bullets she had forged in Tahrr, and tells the group she has a plan.

    Quincy, an expert at night-fighting, will use the Isochrome ring to get a clear image of the monster and then assumes a sniping position near the entrance to the grand hall, where his companions will set up an ambush point. Kim will then ward the area, so that the creature cannot pursue them should it survive.

    Quincy takes the magic ring and says the magic word, and then spends a few minutes getting used to it before having Tinkerbell place the eye stone in a place equidistant between him and the creature and with a good vantage point of the entire path between. Then he says a prayer and takes aim.

    The first shot rings loud in the corridors, and the monstrous aberration is immediately on its feet, sniffing about for the source of its sudden pain.

    The dragoon fires again, and the beast is off like a shot. He fires four more times, each time striking true and coating the stones with the creature’s sickly blood, but it never even slows down, and once the last bullet is out of his gun, Quincy immediately turns to flee, the nightmarish beast hot on his heels.

    Quincy leaves his rifle behind and fumbles for his sawed-off sidearm. As the creature fills the chamber with its wretched breath, his companions move to flank it and cut it to pieces with their various blades and bludgeons, Valentine coordinating their every move and Tinkerbell guiding them with cantrips.

    Quincy thinks it is probably already dead when he fires the scattergun into the monster’s eyes, blinding it, but the creature’s body hasn’t gotten the message. As Krystal teleports into a flanking position and jams her rapier repeatedly into its guts, the monster turns upon her, the only one of its attackers it can get to without testing its will against Kim’s wards.

    The demonic rogue runs from the dying, twitching, biting, bleeding thing, and Quincy is once more disoriented by the magic, for while he can see Krystal with his own eyes, she is completely invisible to the magic ring, and it looks as if the monster is attempting to do battle with something that isn’t there at all.

    After it finally stops moving, the group attempts to find Krystal and explore the charnel pit. Vogel warns them not to touch the creature’s body, its blood is poison and even in death, its jaws will bite anything they can and will never let go.

    Kim is shocked at the brutality of the chamber, and doesn’t understand how something like this could have existed in the golden age Empire, wondering if it isn’t perhaps a relic of something older.

    Digging through the dead, they find one ancient body which has been decorated with lipstick, and assumes it is one of Raven’s jokes. Slicing it open, they find the object they seek within its hollowed-out abdominal cavity, a strange and incomprehensible relic made of brass trinkets and runes and coils of wire and stranger things, which can only be the Mandala of Dreams. Valentine does her best to untangle it and place it gingerly within her pack.

    There are more tombs, but nobody wants to explore them, especially with the sound of weeping that fills their minds, and they move back to the surface, nodding silently as they pass the skeletal guardian, once more seated on his dreary throne.

    Once safely above ground, they take a rest and split up the treasure. Valentine offers Samuel his choice of the enchanted ring or the enchanted necklace, but he declines, and says that if he knows his companions, they likely already helped themselves to something when nobody was looking. But, as for mundane treasures, they do their best to split them evenly into twelve parts.

    They don’t make camp here, there are signs of lindwurms in the region, and instead press on. Kim wants to head toward the spires, but her companions refuse, although the blade of Tears tells her that if she sets it free, it will take her to the spires and show her all of their secrets. Kim doesn’t, but she is sorely tempted.

    When the group reaches Basewater Station, they part ways. Valentine offers her new friends positions in her warband, but they politely decline, they already have a mistress, and will be away on a secret mission in Masaria for some time.

    Valentine puts her charms on Samuel, and gives him her information, and he promises to visit her the next time his companions are near Golgotha.

    Once they have departed on a southbound train, Krystal sternly tells Valentine that she better not be planning on seducing the quarter-angel, but when Valentine asks her why not, Krystal falls silent and pouts sullenly.

    The train ride back to Golgotha is long and mostly silent.


    Overall good session, if a bit long.

    As I have said, the only real stumbling block was the party locking up after Kim was unsure how to talk to the statues, but that resolved quickly enough with no lasting bitterness.


    The other party searching for the sword was actually a PC party from a different campaign I ran almost 20 years ago, and it was good to see them again. I had the adventure set up so that things would drastically change depending on how they dealt with the rival party. It was a pleasant surprise to see them work together diplomatically and not betray anyone, for an overall fairly easy time of it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Azuresun View Post
    Honestly, and just speaking for myself.....nothing you have ever posted has given me the impression you enjoy these sessions or that you and your players particularly like each other. Time after time you describe an incredibly suspicious and toxic group that jumps on you and each other the first time something goes wrong, with zero trust or goodwill in evidence.
    That's the nature of forum communication.

    You don't make threads about ordinary things, and you don't ask for help fixing things that aren't broken.

    Like, I could make a thread about one of the many times that we all fell on the floor laughing about an old joke, but what would be the point? You guys wouldn't even get it without the context.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  25. - Top - End - #205
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Finally got around to reading the next round of the campaign. I'm utterly shocked, your players fully cooperated with another team, a suspicious team at that, without any backstabbing at all! Were your players replaced by doppelgangers?
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  26. - Top - End - #206
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

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    Sep 2009
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    Denver.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    Finally got around to reading the next round of the campaign. I'm utterly shocked, your players fully cooperated with another team, a suspicious team at that, without any backstabbing at all! Were your players replaced by doppelgangers?
    I was surprised as well!

    I think a big part of it was that Samuel was Bob’s PC in a previous campaign, and so Bob, the most paranoid of my players, knew OOC that he was a standup guy.

    Next session is done, hopefully I will have it posted in the next 48 hours.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  27. - Top - End - #207
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    So, I had some drama in my OTHER game last night. Not sure if it bears posting, let alone starting a new thread, but I thought I would share it to get some advice.


    Other game is D&D 5E, I am playing a level 5 wizard.

    A death knight threatens our part, the warlock and I try and talk it down.

    The cleric then blasts it with a guiding bolt, and the rogue shoots him with a sneak attack arrow.

    I cast protection from evil on the warlock.

    DK's turn, he takes the warlock down in one round even with protection from evil.

    I start desperately trying to come up with a plan, and most of them assume the warlock will be healed on the clerics turn.

    When the clerics turn comes around again, he hits the DK with another guiding bolt.

    Start of my turn, I say "Oh crap, you didn't heal (warlock)? Give me a sec" as I desperately try and come up with a plan to keep the warlock alive.

    Cleric's player then says "How about from now on you play your character and I play mine? This is the second time you have told me what to do (I have no idea what the first time was) and I am really pissed off."

    I am too shocked to reply directly, and instead just mumble that I am casting shield and bladeward on myself and standing over the fallen warlock.


    We keep fighting, and barely beat the DK through a combination of good rolls and the DM holding back and not using its most powerful abilities.


    After the session, the cleric's player say's that people telling him what to do is a major trigger, and if it happens again he is done with the game. I, still pretty shocked and not sure what to say, mumble a brief apology and tell him it won't happen again.


    So, I am kind of conflicted here.

    What I said could be seen as telling him what to do (although, since I didn't say it until after it was already done, I would say its more questioning / criticizing than demanding).

    But, I don't know, isn't players communicating and coordinating a good thing? I know as a DM many of my horror stories would have been prevented if the players talked to one another about tactics and coordinate their actions as a team.

    And I feel it was kind of an unfair kender situation in the first place, where his actions spoil our fun and nearly get us killed, and we don't say anything and roll with the punches, but then he gets mad.

    But yeah, I respect that he was upset, and would never dream of telling someone else how to RP their character as I have been "that guy" plenty of times where I put character motivation before the needs of the group. And I also enjoy the group and want to keep playing with them.

    Any advice for how I should handle this or what I should say or not say to the guy?
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  28. - Top - End - #208
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Vacation in Nyalotha

    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    This looks like yet another case of not everyone being on the same page. Questions to ask may include “Were the situation reversed, what would you expect to happen and what would you want to happen?”

    Picking the warlock up is the right tactical choice, it is the right ‘ensure everyone has participation fun’ choice, but it’s maybe the wrong RP choice for that specific character. Does the group highly value the ability for players to make IC choices that make sense but aren’t fun for the rest of the group? Will the characters not want to adventure with other characters who don’t seem to care about them?

    What did the warlock’s player think of this?
    Martials’ concepts don’t evolve past the mundane
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  29. - Top - End - #209
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    On Paper
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    Male

    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Sounds like the player has had some bad experience in the past with table captaincy. If your account is correct, you weren't telling him what to do, you were reacting to him not doing what you expected.


    I'd ask him what the first time was that you told him what to do to get a sense of what behavior he interprets as being ordered around, and in the future try to phrase things as asking him what his plan is so you can prepare appropriately.
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  30. - Top - End - #210
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: Talakeal's Campaign Diary (1 Day without a horror story!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But, I don't know, isn't players communicating and coordinating a good thing? I know as a DM many of my horror stories would have been prevented if the players talked to one another about tactics and coordinate their actions as a team.
    That honestly depends on the group and the players. In most of my groups players only get to coordinate when their characters do the same in game. There is also some "asking for strategic advice" allowed, but that can only come from a player who doesn't know what to do when their character suppossedly should know better. And that also never includes coordination as such.
    But other groups might be more lenient as far as metagaming is concerned and allow or even invite OT coordination as a default.


    However a celric being "reminded" that he could have used a healing spell instead of a damage spell ... i can see how someone reacts agressively to that. D&D has unfortunately a long history of clerics being relegated to healbot and that comes on top of the usual problems of telling people what to do.


    How to proceed urther ? Be careful to never again suggest an action for that character if it is not something your character says. Maybe even not ten. The player seems to value his authority over his character and might be prone to overreaction and it doesn't cost you much to accommodate him. It would be nice if yll the other problems were as easy to solve.

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