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Author Topic: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions  (Read 56368 times)

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Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #150 on: January 17, 2012, 06:28:51 PM »
The other benefit to having players PM you their characters and you wait until they are all in, is if its a sci-fi/fantasy game with combat the party won't be balanced because no player knows what the other players have submitted.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #151 on: January 17, 2012, 09:14:17 PM »
Why is that a benefit? Having an unbalanced or non-synchronous party seems like it'd be a drawback for the sake of secrecy that'd end up causing problems down the line, where people making a party/characters together can A) avoid stepping on each other's toes, B) plan for synergy, and C) have characters who would want to travel together, not just stat sheets the GM has to work to integrate.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #152 on: January 18, 2012, 02:58:34 AM »
It encourages better RPing if a party isn't perfectly designed for a task. If the exact formula of skills isn't there, the party has to decide how to overcome obstacles by other means.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #153 on: January 18, 2012, 06:13:51 AM »
It encourages better RPing if a party isn't perfectly designed for a task. If the exact formula of skills isn't there, the party has to decide how to overcome obstacles by other means.
,

But at the opportunity cost of built-in party conflicts, which can harm RP as much as it encourages better RP. There's no 'better RP' that comes from a Paladin joining a party of all Evil characters other than "No, you cannot play that character, re-roll". The Bard with all his skills oriented around boosting allies in melee is completely superfluous when all of his teammates turn out to be full spellcasters. There is no need to be 'perfect for every task', but if you're grossly deficient in some key area, it becomes a problem for either the GM or the party. I'm having this exact problem in a tabletop game I'm actually running, where the characters were made independently and it turned out no one could fight effectively at range, in an adventure liberally dosed with flying enemies and ranged skirmishers. Options for solving this devolve to either me, the GM, re-writing the module and thus reality to spoon-feed them enemies they're capable of fighting, or one of them giving up the character they worked so hard on just so the group as a whole isn't doomed against the first group of flying archers.

Coordinating characters (and more importantly, backgrounds), on the other hand, is a great seed for encouraging RP, while also avoidingthe 'wait, no one can heal/pick locks/fight ranged enemies?' problem. Two characters want to be wizards? They can pick different magical specialities to cover more ground, and maybe they trained at the same wizarding school or were apprentices together. A upstanding Paladin and a thieving Rogue would have friction, but it can be smoothed if they'd met in previous history and learned a bit before they ever teamed up now.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #154 on: January 18, 2012, 06:43:55 AM »
I wasn't thinking of a game like D&D with its obvious exclusive alignment mechanics. In such cases some pre-planning is necessary; all things in moderation, I say.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #155 on: January 18, 2012, 07:31:18 AM »
I wasn't thinking of a game like D&D with its obvious exclusive alignment mechanics. In such cases some pre-planning is necessary; all things in moderation, I say.

Pretty much, though that also goes for, say, World of Darkness (you want your party to be roughly the same level of Morality), or other things. It may be my heavy background in system games, particularly table-based system games, but I just prefer pregame party formation because of the time it saves. I've been in too many games where everyone was just told 'Bring an X-level character', or 'Bring a character with Y experience spent', and what ensued was at least a full session (once, a total of 3) that amounted to 'You all meet in a tavern' where players of incredibly disparate backgrounds - not to mention alignments - tried to figure out why the heck their characters would decide to undertake a quest together. When the professional thief, the upstanding nobleman, and the powerhungry sorcerer arbitrarily decide they want to go find the Lost Orb of Phantastacoria together, it doesn't just break verisimilitude, it drags verisimilitude into a back alley and beats it with a claw hammer. Whereas with the players knowing each other's intentions beforehand, this can become the sorcerer seeking the Lost Orb for its arcane power and asking his childhood friend the nobleman to come along, while bringing a talented 'second-story man' the nobleman hired for his trap-springing prowess. It makes a smoother story overall, which is why my personal preference is not 'all four people bring me a character' but ' bring me a four-person party'.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #156 on: January 18, 2012, 07:56:23 AM »
I tend to mainly play freeform and even in those settings having an unbalanced party can cause the players to work together in more interesting or unexpected ways. An example is a group of not-necessarily-compatible people thrown together by a zombie outbreak.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #157 on: January 18, 2012, 08:13:21 AM »
Oh, in freeform I'm very much in favor of disparate groups, it does make for a better story - though keeping sheets secret simply for the sake of secrecy is bad form, and people should still be able to discuss their characters in the 'I'm playing a used car dealer' and 'I'm playing a doctor' sense.

Overall, system or freeform, I think it depends on the opening scenario more than anything else. When it's 'Group goes on adventure', work should be done to make sure the characters are compatible personality-wise, preferably skill-set wise as well. A zombie outbreak story practically requires building in isolation, a game where everyone is a veteran agent for a secret organization should be cooperative to a moderate degree. If it's 'Reality TV Show cast', it can be disparate and individual (for authenticity) or cooperation can be employed for exactly the opposite effect, building characters guaranteed to bounce off each other in interesting ways.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #158 on: January 18, 2012, 12:55:23 PM »
There are times, though, when you want to keep certain elements of character sheets secret - if the story is a murder mystery, for example, it would be really dumb to have all the players post their character sheets giving away which one of them "dun it".

Or suppose there is a traitor in the party? That needs to be kept secret from the other players.

Suppose each player has a secret ability that they choose from a list that you make available and is not revealed until it is used?

There are a whole host of really good reasons to keep character sheets secret.

A character's sexual orientation might be kept secret in a game where consent is required, to make life more interesting... Always a fun one, making a gobsmackingly gorgeous, gay character and waiting for the opposite sex to crash and burn at your feet!

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #159 on: January 18, 2012, 01:09:24 PM »
,

But at the opportunity cost of built-in party conflicts, which can harm RP as much as it encourages better RP. There's no 'better RP' that comes from a Paladin joining a party of all Evil characters other than "No, you cannot play that character, re-roll". The Bard with all his skills oriented around boosting allies in melee is completely superfluous when all of his teammates turn out to be full spellcasters. There is no need to be 'perfect for every task', but if you're grossly deficient in some key area, it becomes a problem for either the GM or the party. I'm having this exact problem in a tabletop game I'm actually running, where the characters were made independently and it turned out no one could fight effectively at range, in an adventure liberally dosed with flying enemies and ranged skirmishers. Options for solving this devolve to either me, the GM, re-writing the module and thus reality to spoon-feed them enemies they're capable of fighting, or one of them giving up the character they worked so hard on just so the group as a whole isn't doomed against the first group of flying archers.

Coordinating characters (and more importantly, backgrounds), on the other hand, is a great seed for encouraging RP, while also avoidingthe 'wait, no one can heal/pick locks/fight ranged enemies?' problem. Two characters want to be wizards? They can pick different magical specialities to cover more ground, and maybe they trained at the same wizarding school or were apprentices together. A upstanding Paladin and a thieving Rogue would have friction, but it can be smoothed if they'd met in previous history and learned a bit before they ever teamed up now.

In this case, aren't most melee classes able to fight at range? And if so maybe they would have to ascertain IC that they need to get to the nearest town and "trade in" something or buy a magical ranged weapon?  Times like that you do have to let the players problem solve for themselves. Maybe you don't rewrite the module but maybe lower the number of enemies that attack to even the odds more, but i wouldn't have people reroll, or rewrite to spoonfeed anything. Make them use their strategy based skills and logic to figure out how to fix it IC.  :p

I don't see a problem with having some small amounts of friction ina  group and making them work it out IC. Nor do i see issues with more than one class of the same sort. There have been many MMORPG groups that design an entire team of say Paladins or Warriors to go off and fight together. No ranged attacks in the lot.

In the end its up to the GM and how they want to handle it or have their players handle it after creation. In my opinion a game is only a game because the players make it so. Without players you have only a concept/idea. So in essence setting up a template is the best way to go with it and give some guidelines on what you want from them. The rest is really up to them.

Anyway just my two cents.




Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #160 on: January 18, 2012, 02:34:20 PM »
Any class can theoretically fight at range, but when all your feats and money are invested in melee, the end result is a character who sucks at ranged combat. It doesn't do any good to have a magical bow when you're still doing a quarter of your normal damage at half your usual accuracy - in this case, lowering the attacking enemies just increases the time it takes for them to murder the party while the fighter/rogue/whatever flails away uselessly with the newly bought magical weapon they're not specialized in. MMORPGs aren't really relatable because, with the exception of certain boss monsters/fights, there is nothing preventing those all-melee parties of Warriors or Paladins from simply closing the distance and getting into melee. A game like, in this case, D&D, all it takes is a pair of wings and the sword-swinging fighter is reduced to the effectiveness of an NPC.

The IC solution for 'we're getting murdered by flying enemies' is, unless you want to metagame heavily, 'Hire someone who can fight flying enemies' - i.e., one player re-rolling. Aside from that, the only options are from the GM angle, altering the module to account for party deficiencies. It ends up as a hassle for someone in the end, on either side of the screen, and it was a hassle for absolutely no reason except the GM decided to prohibit the players from talking to each other pregame where a bit of coordination would have solved the entire issue before it arose.


Chrystal gave good reasons - plot/story/theme-related reasons - when 'secret sheets' make sense. A simple blanket of 'It's good RP' just doesn't work, severely so in a system RPG designed to expect bringing certain things to the table.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 02:45:14 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #161 on: January 18, 2012, 03:33:07 PM »
A simple blanket of 'It's good RP' just doesn't work, severely so in a system RPG designed to expect bringing certain things to the table.
You keep going on about this. I already said its for freeform games.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #162 on: January 18, 2012, 04:27:55 PM »
You keep going on about this. I already said its for freeform games.

I wasn't talking to you - I was quoting and responding to Josietta. We are being polite here, so accusing me of 'going on' without actually reading the thread doesn't really help.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #163 on: January 18, 2012, 04:41:13 PM »
Now now, keep it civil shall we?

This is a public area and there's no need for either of you to start snapping at each other like that!

So, please will you both say sorry, admit it was a misunderstanding, and give each other a hug?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #164 on: January 18, 2012, 04:41:47 PM »
Can I be the guy in your avatar instead? ;D

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #165 on: January 18, 2012, 04:47:57 PM »
Sorry, there is no guy in my avatar. They are both women...

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #166 on: January 18, 2012, 04:53:33 PM »
Darn. Never mind then. :-[

Offline Laughing Hyena

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #167 on: January 18, 2012, 05:21:56 PM »
I'll pretend its a guy anyway on the motorboat binge.

Not that theres anything wrong with that.

 O:)

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #168 on: January 18, 2012, 05:31:18 PM »
No, but it was still a creepy comment, and I should feel bad.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #169 on: January 18, 2012, 05:34:43 PM »
That might be something to ask Veks about with the upcoming software.

Great idea, Hairy!

I know that table construction isn't that difficult, but when you're doing so much for a game, it can be annoyingly annoying  ;D

As for the other discussion (not the one about various aquatic machinery...remember, public ;) )I prefer to accept character applications via PM for my free-form games and then share them with any co-GMs.

No, but it was still a creepy comment, and I should feel bad.

Thanks for posting, appreciated, and now we can move on  ;D

Offline Aiden

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #170 on: January 18, 2012, 09:01:58 PM »
I prefer leaving people post their own sheets (in a specific thread) and letting them go back to edit at their leisure, also saving me from a MOUNTAIN load of PMs every morning.

Opening HaF, I would have 15+ PMs waiting for me.

Kendra would then discuss it, and green flag them or PM them to change. I guess it depends on the size of the game also.

Offline DarkWorld0BrightHope

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #171 on: January 20, 2012, 04:51:54 AM »
As I don't really feel it important enough to create a new thread for this I'll just see if I can toss about a few ideas here.

I am trying to work on making a RP for a small group of people on a noticebly smaller community style forum that I really rather not do completely on my own like I did for a previous full scale RP I did with them, hence coming here(nice place btw, glad to see this place finally exists).

So right now I am merely in the process of getting it all started. Such as determining world history, major cast and sects, the general politics, religion, and for a change maybe finding a more online friendly system to use over D&D(It has made things easier than pure freeform, and I do give it a healthy mix of freefoem regardless as it suits my style and speeds things up). At this point, I am mainly focused on the origin of the world/universe thing my potential RP is set up in.

So the bare basics, as this is a rudimentary set-up anyway, is that this will be a story where the world's main problems will not be what I want the PCs to be concerned about and rather a backdrop to their adventures to give them that immersive feel, instead of getting involved with the Originator versus the false creator story that overshadows them they'll likely be trying to discover the true origins of the world on their own or a path that takes them down that direction(not like I have this part figured out yet). The basic Origin theory for the world goes a little like a cross between the creation theory and evolution, but with a lot more... silliness involved(and the Originator character honestly could give a flip if someone believed in it or not, as the universe, time, etc is more or less its playground-having been the spawn that resulted from the big bang rather than the universe proper). Sure I am working on getting a lot of terms and such in(probably will be trying to get help in that area later >.>) that will help make my world feel lived in rather than simply being another world where everyone somehow speaks a language everyone else understands(fixed that issue in the other with a version of the universal translator but well, I am not dealing with a hyper modern or wven cyberized setting this time).

Blah, blah, anyways, I'm really just here to find out the things I would do well considering to add to this fresh from scratch world?

A bit vague I know, but I really don't know what to ask just yet, save I need to ask.
:/
Used to be so much easier in my creative prime... when I actually used my head.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #172 on: January 20, 2012, 07:40:44 AM »
Have you had a look at the world building thread yet?

Offline DarkWorld0BrightHope

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #173 on: January 20, 2012, 07:57:25 AM »
-.-" Yes, after I made this. -.-" Made a bit of difference in and of itself it did.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #174 on: January 20, 2012, 08:35:29 AM »
Good to hear it :)

That's probably the best place to chat about that, and get some feedback. If it's helped you crystalise any ideas further, all to the better.