No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

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ArcticFox
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No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:22 pm

Another rant is WAY overdue.

So last Friday I'm running my D&D session and the party of PCs is having an encounter with a very large, very grumpy Cloud Giant.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" demands the giant.

Aaaaand every single player says something different. Mostly it's smart-alecky nonsense that people say to get a laugh, but don't actually intend for their characters to say. (That's INTENSELY annoying for a DM to deal with, but more on that later.)

"We're here to kick your butt in."
"We're here to fight the evil cult"
"We're here to sharpen our blades on your bones."
"I have no idea."
"Who are you?"
"I'm just here for the beer."

Yadda yadda yadda. Then they players start to discuss, among themselves, what they should do. Mind you, this game is happening in real time so the giant is literally standing there waiting for them to give him a coherent answer. Unsurprisingly, he quickly becomes impatient and attacks.

What the players don't know is that killing this giant results in the entire dungeon, a floating castle, to crash into a mountainside. There is an opportunity to negotiate with the giant, who is actually opposed to the same enemies the PCs are. (the evil cult.) But that, of course, assumes that a fight doesn't ensue.

Now, once they become aware of the fact that the giant's death triggered the castle to start falling, and that they could have recruited him to help, they start griping at me. "Hey! We told the giant we were here to fight the cult." (We?) "Yeah," says the guy who said something about fighting the cult. "I told him that." and nods, knowingly. The rest of the party joining in.

Okay let me explain something to all of you PCs out there who do this kind of garbage to your DM. You aren't clever by tossing out a dozen different statements and then crying foul when the one correct answer didn't work. It's like no matter what the correct response was, as long as SOMEBODY randomly tossed it out there these people expect it to count in their favor.

No. That's lazy. That's hedging bets. For starters, it isn't my job to pick out the one right answer from the wave of noise as every smart aleck in the party tries to play Evening at the Improv at every opportunity for a comedic one-liner. It's also not my job to warn you when you're doing something stupid.

So the castle hits the mountainside and, predictably, the party doesn't react well when their characters are suddenly in mortal peril. "But wait!" Every body shouts. "The Wizard cast Feather-Fall on the whole party!" Well, no... He didn't. He said he was going to if necessary, but he didn't actually cast the spell. "Yes I did." Insists the Wizard. "I said it as soon as the castle started falling." Well, that MIGHT be true, (more on that later as well) but how can I know that when all the amateur comedians are lunging at the chance to do one of two things, all simultaneously:
  • Make wisecracks about the castle's insurance policy
    Start whining about why the castle shouldn't be hitting the mountain so quickly.
So the castle hits the peak of a mountain and the party thinks they can just safely land on the side of a snowy mountain peak and start searching the wreckage for treasure. :roll:

Some do's and don'ts for good RPG gaming:

DO: Keep your mouth shut when the DM is telling you what's going on, describing a room, or answering someone's question. It's rude to talk over someone, but it's also annoying when the information has to be repeated back to you because you weren't paying attention the first time. If you find the game that boring, don't play.

DON'T: Treat every conversation in-game as a chance to show of your keen wit in front of your friends. The DM is trying really hard to set a particular mood, and you ruin it, taking people out of the game, by your wisecracks. You may be the funniest guy in the world, but the other gamers didn't show up to listen to your stand-up routine. They came to play D&D.

DO: Make your character's actions clear to the DM. Let the DM know what, exactly, your character is doing. It is not the DM's job to anticipate what you plan to do or react as if you did. On a related note:

DON'T: Say you're preparing an action and then just assume that it got done. If you tell the DM "I will cast Feather-Fall if the castle starts to drop" that's great, but players are CONSTANTLY changing their minds about what they want to do, so just telling the DM what you INTEND to do is NOT the same as telling the DM you're actually DOING it.

I'm to the point where I'm so frustrated by this nonsense I'm thinking of taking a break from DMming for a little while and asking one of the players, who is also a DM, to take over so I can just play.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ccgr » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:08 am

Sounds like you need to play to show them how it's done! Good story as always.

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Chozon1 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:42 am

Castle falls, everyone dies. >_>

I dunno. I get flustered and mildly embarassed easily, so sometimes I would respond in a smart aleck fashion to cover that up.

Mostly though, I think it means people aren't taking the game seriously. Not "I drew my own magic runes" seriously, but "I want everyone to have a good time" serious.
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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Sstavix » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:03 am

Sounds like a good argument for initiative. ;)

"OK, wizard, you're up! What are you doing?"

"I'm going to start casting Feather Fall if the castle is falling."

"News flash, genius - the castle is falling. Are you casting or not?"

"Yeah, come on, wiz!"

"Ahem... Brother Bardbarian? Is it your time for initiative?"

"Erm... no."

"One more outburst like that will cost you experience points. All right wizard, are you preparing to cast a spell, or are you actually casting a spell?"
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:41 pm

The problem is that initiative only kicks in once combat starts. Prior to that, it's just roleplaying.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Sstavix » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:09 am

The problem is that initiative only kicks in once combat starts. Prior to that, it's just roleplaying.
I wouldn't limit it to just that, though. If two (or more) players start competing to see who gets to go first, have them do an initiative check to determine who acts first.

As the DM, you could decide to use something other than Dexterity to determine the winner, too. For example, if two players are competing to solve a puzzle first, have them use their Intelligence modifier instead, to see who wins. In the conflicting conversation example, you could have the characters roll for initiative using their charisma modifier. Whoever wins the roll is the one the giant regards as the leader, and that's the answer he'll accept, regardless of what the others say.
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

My blog: Writing from Idaho

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:53 pm

The problem is you're imaging a rather more organized situation than what we actually have. :D Remember most of the stuff people start chiming in with isn't meant to be in character in the first place, it's just wisecracks.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Sstavix » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:37 am

But if it's happening in real time, that means what happens in the table is happening in the game, too! ;)

I remember in the Planescape setting that there was one faction called the Transcendant Order, also known as the Ciphers. Their main belief was that through action you could understand the multiverse. So whatever first occurred in their minds must be the correct option and is what they did.

This worked on the meta level, too. Whatever the player said is what their character did - even if the player was joking or didn't mean what they said. So if the player jokingly says "Talking is boring. I think I'll smack the demon in the nose with my axe," they couldn't take it back. The DM would rule that that is exactly what their character did. Needless to say, that could lead to some rather amusing, uncomfortable situations.

So I'm thinking you may want to rein in your players a bit. ;) If you say that the events of a scene are happening in real time, emphasize that what they're saying is what their characters are saying. Maybe after a few party wipes, they'll get the idea. ;)
"All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." -- Noah Webster

My blog: Writing from Idaho

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:01 pm

So I'm thinking you may want to rein in your players a bit. ;) If you say that the events of a scene are happening in real time, emphasize that what they're saying is what their characters are saying. Maybe after a few party wipes, they'll get the idea. ;)
Yeah we had actually come up with a similar system... If a player says something out loud, their character said it. If they didn't mean it that way, they could make a diplomacy check to try and take it back, to represent the PC having more common sense than the player. We hadn't implemented that yet, it was to begin on my next DMming session. That will be a while though, because I was feeling a little burned out so I asked one of the players, who expressed an interest in running a campaign, to take over for a while. As of this coming Friday, my Level 1 Human Paladin is in action at last!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ccgr » Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:54 pm

Have fun and show them how it's done!

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:56 pm

Hehe we'll see. It'll be up to the DM to deal with the excess yakking now. I can help by setting an example.

He and I are going to have dinner on Thursday to conference about it. I'm interested in what he wants to talk about.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Chozon1 » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:25 am

Does "We need to talk" ever end well?
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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:26 pm

Sure it does!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:01 pm

Well this one ended great. Apparently he as having some new-DM jitters and wanted to talk and get some advice. I told him the most challenging part is managing the personalities of all the players while still making the game engaging and interesting for everyone. Everybody in our group likes him and he's smart so I think he'll be fine.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: No, That's YOUR Job. A Rant

Postby Chozon1 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:20 am

Awesome. ^_^ That's really cool.
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