*chuckles* A hit, a palpable hit!
Okay, sorry, that was just a little bellow the belt.
Was it? Then you have my apologies!
I mean, I'm not against hits, strictly speaking. But it wasn't intended to be a hit. I was clarifying my logic for answering what amounted to "you might do your best, and still end up disappointed".
But there is ONE thing you can do in freeform that you can't do in a system: Play without a system!
Can you do that in freeform, though
Fine, I'd rather give you that one. As I said, I wasn't intending to make this a case for using systems or going freeform.
To prove that, I'd note myself that there are also very good systems that wouldn't provide a challenge to the kind of people I was talking about. They just can't, for the same reason you can't do that in freeform. It's part of the rules that the players control the outcomes and define what effect they had on them! As pointed above, that's not what some people would see as a challenge.
The solution is simple. Use a system, even if it has no written rules, that might conceivably challenge and engage the players!
So, my point wasn't "use a system, n00b". It was "know your players, and what would be a challenge to them, then you'll know how to challenge them". And it's simple enough to know what people want in a RP. You ask them, before the game even starts!
I think my "reputation" (due in some minimal amount to the fact that I have "freeform" listed under "offs" in my O&Os
) preceded me and served to confuse my point. Admittedly, it was my fault as well, since I wrote a short answer and went to sleep!
The ones I've written since then should teach me to do otherwise. At least until the next time!
Other than that, I'm going to give the same answer that you gave in a different thread:
If you mean "know your players, and what works for them", that's exactly my point since first replying in the thread. I now wish I was clearer back then
As for dealing with the "problem player", Thufir, this is probably why you have an orange badge and I don't, my friend! And again, this is WHY this forum exists. I would never have thought of using the guy's "abilities". Gives me an idea on how I could have better handled the situation I encountered....
I'm pretty sure my tag is green, but whatever. You're right, this is why this forum exists. And if my post gave you an idea, that's why I'm writing long walls of text instead of sleeping
You might also want to check this article
for inspiration. Although I suspect the last part would be the one that you'd find most interesting
So, this creepy character shows up early. While she is hanging around outside the meeting place, she encounters a couple of even creepier characters (NPCs) who appear to be staking out the place. What does she do? Especially when the two NPCs spot her and move threateningly towards her... Oh yeah, that would actually have been fun!
Sounds like fun indeed.
And I think this is a great way of "dealing" with "problem players". Bring in a NPC or a sub-plot that they have to respond to in some way that requires them to use whatever their "problem" has been for the benefit of the team.
Word of warning, that's only good until it becomes an OOC problem. If IC behaviour is causing problems with another player, put your foot down.
But yeah, that's the gist of it. And it doesn't even have to be "for the benefit of the team", so much as "to bring events we'd find interesting". The characters might very well hate you for it! As long as it engages the players, by offering an unexpected twist, or interesting complications, or new opportunities, or whatever, it's all good.
Both of you honestly have some really great ideas for each of your styles.
I frankly think we have a similar style, just with some different trappings
. I mean, we even agree women are awesome and we both like them
My biggest problem with systems games, Thufir, is that I don't have a ton of time these days. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to do a couple of posts before work, and then a decent handful of long, well written ones at night. What I'm worried about is how long even the simplest fights would take if I required a roll for each attack from both sides. Do you have any method for speeding it up?
One post per day would rank you as one of the most serious players in most games I can think of, freeform or system. I mean, most other players wouldn't be able to match this, so you'd have to wait anyway!
Besides, let's make it clear. I'm not trying to persuade you to play with systems or anything! You asked how to create challenge in a freeform fight. My answer was "prepare to be disappointed". I simply happen to know some people that wouldn't see it as a challenge no matter what you do.
But, if you're asking about speeding system fights, I've got a couple of tricks, yes. However, let me make it clear I'm not talking about D&D and D&D-like systems here!
First, you can use a system where each round can be your last. It makes playing round-by-round much more fun. Also, since this applies both ways, the fights seldom last long. Granted, sometimes that's not what you want. But if you run a game where you don't want fights except the ones the characters consider important enough to risk death? That's a great way to do that!
Second, use a system where the whole fight can be one roll, but doesn't have to be! There are a number of systems like this, with Heroquest 2 being the one I'm thinking about right now.
The catch is that the fight is usually not to the death. In most games like this, you set the stakes before the fight, and they're usually not "kill or get killed", but things like "pound them until they surrender or die if we win, but if the characters lose, they get hurt badly enough to run away". Of course, there are consequences to either one, including mechanical ones, so it's still better not to engage in fights that don't matter.
Fights that are strictly to the death in these systems are the fights with NPCs like your personal nemesis, and they get more screen time. You also have a more "detailed" combat system for them, but you simply decide which one to use, depending on how important the fight is to the game. Kobolds get a single roll after you set the stakes, unless they become major enemies (quite possible, if the characters run from them). The Evil Duke who ordered your father killed and set you off to the path of adventure? That one gets more screen time!
Third, as mentioned by TheGlyphstone, roll a lot of dice at once. I'd add, ask for a "script" from the players, and you can use your 100 rolls to run a couple rounds, until something interesting happens that warrants a change in scripts - like an NPC getting defeated and freeing up some of the characters, or a situation arising that wasn't covered in one of their scripts.
When it comes to freeform, I guess really it's all about finding players you can trust. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards making characters with vulnerabilities or limits so I couldn't God-mod if I wanted to. (plus, IMO, it makes them more interesting.) A healer that takes the injuries he heals onto himself, for example.
It's part of it, but I'd say it's more about finding people that want the same thing you do. That includes having the same idea of what is a challenge.
Would either of you be interested in GMing something simple, like a quick dungeon crawl, or a short campaign if I get approved? I'd really like to see you in action. I'm one of those 'learn by doing' kinds of people.
That's honestly a really good question...
I have paused the game I was running on E., but might consider something really simple. Not a dungeoncrawl, though, I simply don't find them too fun. Besides, players think I'm trying to kill their characters when they meet some Tucker's kobolds
What I hate are the players that do whatever they want, often very obnoxious or disruptive things, with "Because I'm Evil!" being the sole motivation for their actions. Enter "Vindale", a CE wizard with a talent for game disruption. This was my 'favorite' exchange with his player, to give you an idea.
"So your cart arrives in Melvaunt safely, the driver thanks you for your business-"
"I'm not paying him."
"I'm not going to pay. How's he going to stop me?"
"He's not. The captain of the knights paid for your trip already, remember?"
"Oh. Then I kill him and take my money back."
"Whatever, fine. When you pull your knife or whatever he gets scared and gives you everything the captain paid for your trip. Give yourself one gold and let's please keep moving."
"I go kick in a peasant's door and rape his wife."
"Dude. What? Why?!"
"Because I'm F___ing Evil! Get it?"
At that point, you should just laugh and point. Also, make him listen to "when you're evil", just because it's fun and a good song.
After you're done laughing at him - sorry, that's beyond stupid, and it's not the character's fault - you sit him down and explain several things to him. You know the speech, I guess. "The worst people you know always had reasons for their behaviour, and most of them sincerely believed they're good people. The ones that claimed to have voices in their heads telling them to do similar things, were driven by the voices, symptomatic of untreated mental illnesses. Do you really want to play one of those? If yes, the GM determines what the voices say, not you, like evil deities. And if that's not your intention, why in hell did you decide that a meta-game mechanic written on your character sheet, is justification enough for this behaviour?"
Well, that's how I begin, at least. If he wants to kill people and claims he wants the voices, great! I've got some demons that would be glad to abuse him and tell him to kill people of a particular religion they find loathsome. Of course, by doing this, he'd also create a diversion, engaging the forces of said religion to chase him. Some real cultists would be doing something else in the meantime... Did I mention "use them, don't fight them" in my last post
And if he gets angry at me laughing, he's free to leave before we get to that. Not worse than what you got with this guy.
If you find it funny, just imagine it another 20 times in the same session and you'll start to see my point. My group's original solution was to be patient and try to treat him like ones of us in hopes he'd come around, but patience wanes after a few sessions of that. Luckily for all of us, he practically gift wrapped me a solution by the third session by declaring he was going to a magic shop to steal components and potions.
"*exagerated sight* Do you really go into one?"
"Yes, and I gr-"
"Okay. So we're clear. You just confirmed you're going into an emporium filled with magical trinkets and weapons, along with successful adventurers who are just itching to use their new toys. Awesome. So the moment you walk through the heavily warded door with malicious inte-"
"I cast detect magic!"
"Oh, you detect magic all right. Roll a fort save."
In short, the shoppers and shop keepers tire him to shreds and disintegrated the corpse. We offered the player a chance to make a new, not evil character, but he refused. Good times all around.
You wasted three sessions on this guy?
I mean, that was obviously not an in-game problem. Why did you insist on solving it through in-game means? Better yet, didn't you explain him that this isn't how evil works neither in your setting, nor in the real world. If he insists to change this, he can go look for another game, or he can stay and try what your game has to offer.
Much cleaner and faster, if I'm allowed to say so.
That's honestly a really good idea. I can see it working really well with things like spot and listen checks too. I could just PM the results and not even announce a check was made...
I can see that speeding up combat a good amount, unless we're playing 4th edition, now that everyone has a half dozen skills to pick from each encounter.
If you want to use a system that requires separate rounds, this, and also, make the players give you a script for a couple rounds and run it until something notable happens.
A "script" written by me might well be something like this. "I attack him, going aggressively for vulnerable zones. If I see his defence is hard to break, I revert to more defensive attacks until I tire him out or land a shocking strike that lowers the chance he could use it to his advantage if I pay less attention. When that happens, I press aggressively again, striking with a more damaging attack, using deception to pass around his defences". This could well run for the whole fight, or until he lands a shot before I manage to land mine, or if he manages to trip my character on the initial attack. But if it's successful, there you go, a fight in one post!
But, even more importantly, make the battle fun. If it's about killing some kobolds, I'd give you a script as above. If one kobold is trying to run away with a sacred artefact that I might know or not, while another is just attacking the weakest member of our party, and three others are running in the other direction to the one with the artefact, likely using the time to kidnap some helpless civilians
Let's play it round by round, I wouldn't mind making the decisions that obviously are going to have consequences
Nah, Chaotic Stupid is the same concept applied to people who are 'Chaotic Neutral' - the ones who try to give the king a wedgie, flip a coin to decide between crossing a bridge and burning it down then jumping off, and literally backstab their party members mid-combat because 'they're Chaotic!"
You give those character specific names?
I'd rather give the character a Darwin award and hand the player a new character sheet
Yeah, Stupid Evil players are the worst and most obnoxious. I just flat-out ban Evil alignments in my tabletop games because I'm sick of having to deal with them.
And I just ban alignment as an element of the game. Problem solved and the characters can still be as nasty or nice as their concept requires