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GM's Corner

You Can't Please Everyone

Game Masters unite! This is where those of you who run games can talk about your discoveries, pet peeves, advice for other GMs and anything else related.

Postby SQUAWK » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:34 am

Kabucha wrote:I take it that if a players is scouting ahead, then out of game we can't tell them to look in that direction.

Talking would be like "I go this way and you go that away."

How about "Delay your turn until I can get over to heal you."

"Don't block me I'm gonna charge on my turn"


Quite right, yelling out things in a battle like "Stay out of my way", or "wait for me to heal you" etc. seems pretty reasonable to me...it also allows a little for groups of adventurers who have worked together somewhat and spend a lot of time with each other even while the players don't.
But if someone is out on their own scouting, then (as hard as it is) we really shouldn't say anything unless we have a means of communication. They're scouting, they're on their own, offering advice really is a form of metagaming I suppose.
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Postby Le Grognard » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:22 am

But offering advice in those situations may be a help to the player. Or even the GM.

I'm thinking of those times when a player who isn't skilled or knowledgeable in the field their PC is portraying has to execute certain tasks. Such as an arcanist whose player doesn't have a lot of familiarity with the spells and processes involved. Or the scout being played by somebody who has very little experience doing that sort of thing. (Again, any of this advice should only be a short phrase or two and not a complete outlining of the rules involved and all the options available. Choice should be left up to the player. "Fine. If you want to put your hand on that hot stove, here's how you do it..." ;) )

Clarifying things can make the play run more smoothly. Even a GM needs help clarifying or focusing on something sometimes.
Last edited by Le Grognard on Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SQUAWK » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:56 am

Very true, however I think that helping in those situations should be restricted to rules etc.
If a player puts themselves into situations (or ends up in a situation on their own), then offering advice on what they should do or how to proceed seems a little like meta-gaming.
Offering suggestions on rules, or character skills etc. that can be used I think is perfectly reasonable, no one knows everything in the rules and we often miss things.
BUT - that means we do it for the GM too...even if it's not to the players advantage. Something I know has occured many times in our games.

For example: Player is scouting ahead in a forest and is out of sight of the group and comes across a group hiding in the woods. Advising the character on what action to take I think is a poor choice, pointing out how hiding and moving silently, helping out with rules while they try to do something clever is perfectly resasonable.
We all have rule books so picking them up and looking up rules while the GM and player are moving about can save a lot of time and hassle.
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Postby Le Grognard » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:20 am

Good point. I also agree that whenever there is a danger of action being interpreted as meta-gaming that we should err on the side of caution and not try it.

Nothing bugs me more than someone telling me how I should play my character when they're "not there".

Okay ... LOTS of things bug me more, but you get what I'm saying.
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Postby Kabucha » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:35 pm

yelling out things in a battle


I thought you had to wait your turn before you could say anything to another player?

Or would that be a swift action.
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Postby Le Grognard » Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:08 pm

It depends what you say, and whether it is in game or meta-game.

As was stated in another thread, talking is usually a free action anytime.
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Postby SQUAWK » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:49 am

I don't think a character saying something is all that big a deal (as long as it isn't a speech). I know I've read it that it's a free action that can be done anytime within reason and the GMs discretion. As long as the GM doesn't mind it does make some sense that someone can yell something out during a battle.
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Postby DemoMonkey » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:49 pm

It's entirely possible to please the entire party. It only requires that you play exclusively with yourself.




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I'm not sure I'm playing this game right.
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Postby Le Grognard » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:55 am

DemoMonkey wrote:It's entirely possible to please the entire party. It only requires that you play exclusively with yourself.




...
I'm not sure I'm playing this game right.


Now, see? You're not playing the RPG ... you're playing the miniatures game. :P

;)
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Postby Gunnvaldr » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:42 pm

I think this discussion sort of went a bit off topic regarding notes & turn sequence, which is more in common with the discussion in how to make gaming sessions go faster

But here's my stab at the discussion.

I feel it's almost as if we need to draw up a contract between players and GM. Or place a cautionary warning on our games like those on TV:

"Caution: Some aspects of this game world may not be to everyone's liking. Portions of this campaign may contain: dark overtones/different cultures/goofy animals/Deus Ex Machina DMPCs/free will/unfamiliar genres/real world decision-making processes/super science/etc..."

Does it have to come to: "If you don't like it, either belt up or go away"?

Le Grognard Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:39 am Post subject: You Can't Please Everyone


To a degree I believe this is the proper approach but should be taken into steps of how 'deep' you set the tone based on variables that I will discuss. The key is communication and cooperation between GM and the players. Setting ground rules so to speak.

Best thing to start by is give the players a good introduction article in what kind of campaign you are pressuring and how themed or indoctrinated it will be set.

Now there are a few things you have to consider with which person is playing your module.

A good reference is actually looking at the player section of the forum and looking at preferred 'stereotypes' players enjoy to be. Some players just always model their characters off their preference. Especially if they are new to a campaign settings and or gaming system.

Next is what personality they assign to those characters. Some players basically play the same persona, just in different bodies and world. I have friends like that who refuse to play anything other then their own made persona. So if they play a cheeky & bubbly persona, comes into conflict with the set dark and gloom environment. The more the difference between them, the more noticeable and comical it becomes.

Such abstract can distract players away from the tone you want to establish. There is similarity drawn to an GM to an Author's who uses the concept of protagonist vs. environment.

Now there are the other type of players who are open minded and willing to try out new roles and mechanics. They have to rely on how much content they know about the campaign world and their own 'image' in what their character is. Again they may refer to popular pop-culture and real life events.

These players can also break the tone of a module or be completely turned off by it because it wasn't what they imagine it to be. For example the concept of a player relying on a knightly code of chivalry and honour differs from a far east themed game base on the code of bushido and it's own honour. There is similarities that you can draw upon but in roleplaying it can go horribly wrong.

Another variable to look at is the GM's own view on the tone and theme of a module vs. the players view.

An example is the comparison of to people view of what is horror to them. Someone's version of horror is view A: Edgar Allen Poe stories while another person view is view B: is the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Anyone who is expect view B in a view A themed module will be sorely disappointed. Both for the GM and player.

So the use of 'in steps' is slow and very time consuming.

You basically play a 'pilot' of a tv series. Basically let the player experience an 'prologue' to the campaign after they read your introduction. You nail out the bugs and see if it works. The key is how deep you want to set the tone. A common ground by an agreement between the players and the GM should be establish for the general tone of a module.

Not to say you have your comic and out-of-theme moments. Those are welcome breaks. But I find giving incentives like rewarding XP for following an agree upon theme in a game does remind everyone what kind of game you are running.

I'll stop now. Too many thoughts running through my head and I don't want to ramble off topic..
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