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15th Nov 2011, 6:00 AM
Back to Square One
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Newbiespud 15th Nov 2011, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
This doesn't happen as often as you think. Rarely are the PCs lacking for any direction or motivation. They just... tend to be motivated in different, unexpected, and unusual ways.

47 Comments:

Falgaia 15th Nov 2011, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Pass Go, claim 200$. Sucks horses use bits instead.
Ranubis 15th Nov 2011, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
Ah yes, the dramatic reveal of the campaign's MacGuffin.

Players: "Oh no! Whatever will we do?"
GM: "Well, the six of you could go and retrieve the all-powerful artifacts that-"
Barbarian: "No time! Must fight! Charge!" *runs off*
GM: "... The 'five' of you could go and-"
AstroTrain 15th Nov 2011, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
It's always the freaking Barbarian with the 8 INT.
Shikome Kido Mi 17th Nov 2011, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
Or occasionally the rogue/bard type with high charisma and no WIS.
I remember the time ours decided that if we didn't know what to do next the best option was to climb up on the bloodstained evil looking altar and strap himself in.
Kiana 17th Nov 2011, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
I'm running a game right now where there have been a total of seven characters, only five at the moment. (One player left due to a job, one swapped characters.)

Only TWO of them had a WIS score over 13. Suffice to say I can't accuse them of not roleplaying their characters...
al103 19th Nov 2011, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
Or Wild Elf Fighter with 3 Int.
hrwilliams 15th Nov 2011, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
hrwilliams
Carpe GM!
SaddlesoapOpera 15th Nov 2011, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
"They just... tend to be motivated in different, unexpected, and unusual ways. "

THIS. A thousand times, this.

PCs have the mystical ability to focus like a laser toward whichever part of the campaign is the least fleshed-out. :P
banjo2E 15th Nov 2011, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
...OH.

I just realized.

Since this is DND instead of a kids' show, the Elements are an excellent subversion of the standard RPG Gotta Catch 'Em All convention in that you had the artifacts ALL ALONG. Which, in kids' shows, is far, FAR too overdone.
Annie Moose 15th Nov 2011, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
Wow. I didn't even think of it in those terms, but that's perfect!
Shining 15th Nov 2011, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Players almost never pay attention to the opening. Unless they're a "Ben" kind of player.
BEN 15th Nov 2011, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT
Moabite 15th Nov 2011, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
That's why every GM needs a big ol' clue stick for their players.
Kiana 15th Nov 2011, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
I call my 'clue stick' the Board of Education. It's a two-by-four.
scowdich 15th Nov 2011, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
Clue-by-four.
Lyntermas 15th Nov 2011, 9:01 AM edit delete reply
Why does everyone ignore the opening narration? It WILL mention the MacGuffin at some point. Luckily, all of them are in the same castle instead of spread to the four corners of the kingdom (except for the missing one).

Oh, I can't wait to see Twilight's reaction when NMM smashes them.
Twi: She did WHAT?
NMM: You ignorant foal. Now you will-
Twi: No, no, no, hold on. She smashed the Elements? She's not supposed to do that!
DM:They had imprisoned her before and they were currently powerless. It was in her best interest to do so.
Twi:Well,YEAH, but she's not supposed to actually DO it.
kriss1989 15th Nov 2011, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
DM: So, you want the mystical goddess who's had a thousand years to plan this, not do one of the most obvious things ever?
Twi: Well, yeah, it's traditional.
DM: Yes, because evil usurpers of the throne of the heavens really care about tradition.
Mecryte 15th Nov 2011, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
That's an unexpected change of pace. A pragmatic villain. This is blasphemy I tell you.
MirrorImage 15th Nov 2011, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
But of course it is! An evil villain just came in an announced "Hey, I took out your god."

I'm more interested in how the end of the episode is going to play out here. Has the DM planned for Twi and the others to represent the Elements or is Twi totally going to pull that one out of her plot?
Azureink 15th Nov 2011, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Azureink
RD: Are you a SPY?
TS: No, I'm a Wizard.

And thus do I learn what I asked a few comics ago. Twilight didn't listen to the part about the Elements, and that is why she didn't spend her time in the room researching it.

Which is in stark contrast to the TV show, where Twilight obsessed over the Elements.
Snowy 15th Nov 2011, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
It's nice when they don't know what is going on, it makes for interesting ideas
terrycloth 15th Nov 2011, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
The first campaign I tried to run (as an adult) was supposed to be set in a single city so that the players would have plausible deniability for happening to stumble over the clues.

So of course the first thing the party does is go buy airplane tickets. I actually used a giant forcefield to keep them inside. It's kind of embarassing lookng back at it.
Beard 15th Nov 2011, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
I like how Twilight's quietly gotten attached to Spike. Nice touch there.
MirrorImage 15th Nov 2011, 2:29 PM edit delete reply
Not so much attached as "The DM just took away a piece of my character for a reason that was never made clear."

Because honestly, what PC actually sleeps every 24 hours? (For those of you who run Goliaths and other races that can stay awake for 72 hours, shut up)
Azureink 15th Nov 2011, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
Azureink
Also, don't forget the "Trance" ability that Eladrin/Drow/Warforged/etc. have that allows them to sleep only four hours instead of eight, and they are still considered awake.
Torg 15th Nov 2011, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
This doesn't go over well in real games, but whenever I play a mage in Baldur's Gate they tend to develop a severe case of narcolepsy.
Shikome Kido Mi 16th Nov 2011, 3:58 AM edit delete reply
Well, sleep was rather vital to spell-recovery in previous editions of D and D.
Plus there was the whole fatigue rules/not being able to see in the dark/ torches making you a beacon for monsters issues with night time travel.

And yes, you want to fight monsters but preferably not ones sniping you with bows when you can only see sixty feet.
A Random Reader 15th Nov 2011, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
If your players go the wrong way, move the dungeons in front of them.
Limey Lassen 15th Nov 2011, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
Limey Lassen
I'm sure that library she's in has an illustrated reference guide on defeating ancient demigods. Look under "M" for "Macguffin".
Guest 15th Nov 2011, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
I'm sure Pinkie as a bardd could locate the necesary reference with a good Bardic Knowledge check.
Gadvac 15th Nov 2011, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
Oh, won't this be fun?
I must admit, I actually want to try D&D now. Curse my youth and inability to go wherever I'd like. ('Course, once I'm able to, I'll probably never have the funds. Oh, me.)
Kiana 16th Nov 2011, 1:51 AM edit delete reply
Internet games are useful for that. I never leave my house, but I run a My Little Pony campaign over Pidgin.
Angus 16th Nov 2011, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
I've never actually tried an internet game. How do you deal with things like the grid etc.? I guess there's probably a program somewhere that can help with it a bit.
Kiana 16th Nov 2011, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
GameTable is the program I use. RC8, specifically. A websearch should turn it up on the first page of results.

Sometimes I have to use Hamachi (virtual LAN program) to get it to work for everyone.
xuincherguixe 16th Nov 2011, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
There's always OpenRPG http://www.rpgobjects.com/index.php?c=orpg

Set of utilities and various rooms for various games. Some places will run games on forums, but play by post never really goes well for me.

You could do a google search for your local area and see if anyone is looking for new players. Though the youth part might make it difficult for you to get people to join. Might be worth a shot still though.
Kiana 16th Nov 2011, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
I don't personally like OpenRPG, but if you like it, go with it. It's all about finding what suits your preferences.
Urthdigger 16th Nov 2011, 1:48 AM edit delete reply
I often find I have to railroad my players simply because if I don't, they often won't have a damn clue where to go, they just wait for me to drop the next hook.
xuincherguixe 16th Nov 2011, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
Yeah. That's the other side of the problem. What to do with indecisive players?

No. Really. What do you do with them? I haven't figured that out.

I know how to make adaptable characters, but how does one get others to do the same? What I want to say is, encourage and help your players to develop motivation and history. That way you can separate yourself from your character and when faced with uncertainty the character, rather than the player can move forward.

Even then though, there needs to be something the players can react to.

Contacts can help here too. This is something that is more associated with modern settings, but let's face it. Kings and merchants needed information networks too. And what is an adventurer if not an exceptionally violent burglar who restricts their destructive acts to socially acceptable targets? Good thief will know to keep informed. The party might get associated with Librarians. Not every Chancellor is a villain. Might pay to have a good relationship with that guy. If he doesn't know anything, he'll know people that you can send to.

"Oh. So the lich mentioned the prophecy of Bgha'ghj'la-canibuyavowel when you destroyed it huh? Yeah. I'm familiar with that one. The stone steps of the swamps of despair will ascend to the crystal palace and the denizens between space will take them and the sun will be auctioned off at the markets of dread in the last ports to the oceans of endless blood and suffering. You can take a portal there. Our kingdoms derivatives trader once got assigned delivery and had to go to location there one time. I'll give you an address. You should either bring a bottle of wine or be prepared to take a swap on your upcoming treasure. I suggest the wine. Actually here, you've helped us out a bunch before, I'll have a servant fetch one from the cellar."
Kiana 16th Nov 2011, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
If my players are being indecisive when presented with multiple options, I remind them that while they mull it over, TIME IS PASSING.

If they take too long to decide what to do in combat, they automatically Delay their turn until the end of the round. (This also helps if the player is the type to ignore the game until their turn comes up, then not know what to do because of it.)

If it's about which plot hook to follow, which path to take, which NPC to save from falling over a cliff... Then I'll give a 'warning' remark implying one of the options is about to go away. And if they don't grab it fast, it does. The quest giver tells them to buzz off, he'll get someone else. That group of monsters chasing them catches up. The less athletic NPC drops.

Indecision is understandable, but I try to drive the point home that your CHARACTERS, in game, are being forced to make quick decisions. I give them some extra time to think, because they aren't their players, but there's a limit...
Catharsis25 16th Nov 2011, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
Too true. I, being a PC, have often gone off in strange, unexpected directions. Like WEST! I like WEST! Or, South-south East!
MirrorImage 16th Nov 2011, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
I'm more fond of the coinflip method.

1: "Ok, we've reached a fork in the cave. Which way do we want to go?"
2: "Idunno"
3: "Uhhh..."
1: *rolls a die* "We go that way! My character begins walking down the path like he owns the place."
DM: "You fall into a pit"
terrycloth 16th Nov 2011, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
In one campaign, we had a variant on that. I had a deck of cards enchanted to let the owner 'win' any game played with it. So when we needed to decide which way to go, I pulled them out and did a sort of tarot reading, and bet that following the card's advice would take us to our destination. The enchantment would have to show us the way (or else I'd 'lose').

I think the GM let it work but pulled some evil genie crap to make me regret it.
MirrorImage 16th Nov 2011, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm... that sounds like one of the deck of cards in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium.

Mountebank's Deck
This plain deck of cards looks crisp and new, suggesting that you are likewise new at the game.
You can attune this deck of cards to yourself by shedding six drops of blood on it during a short rest. From that point forward, whenever you draw or deal a card from this deck, it is of a suit and value of your choice. Anyone else who interacts with the deck finds it to be a normal deck of whatever game it is designed for. Only one creature can be attuned to the deck at a time.
Wynni 16th Nov 2011, 7:47 PM edit delete reply
What I like is when I do something I'd consider intelligent: getting heals and cures after a fight with werewolves? leading in a 'strange and unexpected direction' Simplest put: the DM was using a module, and we went from encounter A to encounter G - simply by doing something intelligent? o.0
Kiana 17th Nov 2011, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
Bard: Uses a sight range spell on a basilisk.
Wizard: Trips and falls down some stairs, then sticks around while skeletons approach.
Ranger/Druid multiclass: Mistook the basilisks for ABYSSAL basilisks and kept repeatedly pointing them out as such. (This was me. But in my defense, it was my first campaign and I hadn't slept in something like 36 hours. Highschool was a rough time for me.)

And the Bard in question was the VETERAN player.

So yeah, sometimes, assuming the party will be idiots isn't as unreasonable as it seems.
Guest 26th Jul 2014, 8:43 AM edit delete reply
It's funny to put important things in the campaign opening because no one ever listens to it
Venseyness 2nd Aug 2015, 11:13 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, the ponies have a point. That's just bad DMing. If somethings gonna be important later, put more on an emphasis on it than A SENTENCE. You can't always assume your players are gonna be geniuses that remember everything.