Page 452 - Roleplay ABCs

10th Jun 2014, 6:00 AM
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Roleplay ABCs
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 10th Jun 2014, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
This probably could've gone on to become an extended recontextualization of Testing Testing 1, 2, 3, but I get the feeling I haven't been writing this tangent into a corner so much as writing it into a dark alley in the bad part of town. Best to get out while I still can.

34 Comments:

Kynrasian 10th Jun 2014, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
Kynrasian
I have to agree with RD's character. I hate an out-of-character info-dump when there's a perfectly in-the-know NPC right in front of me. Really kills the immersion when the DM would rather hand you a pamphlet than have the guy in front of you share what they know.
Digo 10th Jun 2014, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
What if the pamphlet is IN character? In an X-Files modern campaign, the GM had us investigate a cold case murder that went unsolved for 15 years.

Some clues, like diary entries, death threat notes, odd receipts for purchased things, etc. were actually created and handed out to us. This I think is the proper way to add info. It's a tangent prop with in-character info the PCs can read (in our case, evidence to figure out who the murderer was). :)

One NPC back in the CSI office was introduce via email. The NPC sent the team a quick message to introduce herself as the CSI staff on hand for a case we were on involving possible undead. Rather than infodump who the person was, we'd just write messages back and forth as we played the game and got to know her that way.
Night Sage 10th Jun 2014, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Night Sage
When someone is trying to find a specific book, handing them pieces of paper becomes in-character when they do find the book.
Digo 10th Jun 2014, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
Yep! And giving your PCs physical props (to me) seems like a better route so that your players remember the info. One GM I played under did that with puzzles. He gave us physical puzzle toys to deal with like Rubik's Cubes because the interaction was more engaging.
Kynrasian 10th Jun 2014, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
Kynrasian
Ok, it was a poor metaphor for when the DM reads, verbatim, whatever they've got written down to the player, rather than finding a way to give the information to the character by some in-character means.
Godzfirefly 10th Jun 2014, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
How, then, do you distinguish between what is known by the player before the NPC arrived and what the NPC tells you?

I do tend to prefer physically handed-over notes for this purpose, since the player can then peruse that info at their leisure. But, if you were unprepared for the question, writing a note can be time-consuming relative to verbal information.
Kynrasian 10th Jun 2014, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
Kynrasian
Well, hopefully, because being delivered in-character, the information wouldn't be available until it was reasonable to believe that the player only knows as much as their character.

Me and my co-DM tend not to do written notes because most of the information is stuff we'd share with the other players as soon as we learnt it anyway, but we have used them on occasion, whenever it's felt more appropriate to allow the player to decide who to tell.
MumaKirby 11th Jun 2014, 4:50 AM edit delete reply
MumaKirby
That's kind of the point though. The information probably would've been delivered IC, but she got a natural 20 on her knowledge check, so she knows a lot about them already. There aren't really a whole lot of ways to deal with that beyond some kid of infodump.

And I don't think giving over her DM notes on them probably would've been any more successful than saying it out.
Siccarus 10th Jun 2014, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
Though there are sometimes some things that a normal person in the world could know that a player wouldn't. For example the City guards all carry sacks of flower in case of Invisibility, or the names of kings and Countries.
Jannard 11th Jun 2014, 5:09 AM edit delete reply
That's actually the whole point of knowledge checks Siccarus. I feel this discussion is partially tangent to the comic, since we're talking about new information that could (and probably should) be delivered in character, rather than the kind of info resulting from a knowledge check, which HAS to be delivered through verbal or written infodumps, because it's what's already inside your character's memory. And which is the kind of informantion that is shown in this page of the comic, as a matter of fact.
MumaKirby 12th Jun 2014, 2:13 AM edit delete reply
MumaKirby
She just got a natural 20 on a knowledge check on them. This is an ic/ooc info dump.
kiapet 10th Jun 2014, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
So for the story today... Has the DM ever let a player run an NPC or other normal domain of the DM?
Digo 10th Jun 2014, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
I've had guests run an NPC on occasions. Guest being a friend who normally doesn't role-play, but doesn't mind trying out their hand at it just for the experience without being bogged down with the system itself just yet.

As for regular PCs, not really. Can't think of a time I seen it happen.
Night Sage 10th Jun 2014, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
Night Sage
When the strategizing portion of our session is over, and it is time to actually pull it off, I usually hand control of allied NPCs over to the players, that way my focus on the enemy NPCs doesn't make me forget the strategy in a crucial moment. I have 6 NPCs that I do not relinquish control in such a manner. Said 6, if they ever get involved with the current session, are important figures to the overlying plot line of the campaign, and I have my group do other runs, while learning things about the main plot.

As for allowing a player to take control as Applejack did here, such a situation hasn't come up yet. I personally hope I can do a good enough job so a situation like that never happens in this campaign of mine.
Blindfire 10th Jun 2014, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
I do this sometimes, usually whenever a player's character won't be involved in what's going on. So far, it's been their own fault that they're out of play for a while, so I usually compensate by giving them an NPC to play. I give them a brief rundown of the NPC's motivations, along with whatever they'd need to know, and let them take it from there. I run fairly freeform sessions anyway, so thus far it hasn't come back to bite me in an unfunny way. My players are actually one of the reasons I can get away with it, and thus far it's only happened a few times.

Other than that, most of the PC have an NPC companion of some kind that is part of the party. So most of the time if their PC is out of commission for a while, the player can take over playing as the NPC. Again, only happened a few times, but I prefer this to the other because the NPCs in the party tend to have the same motivation as the rest of the party.
Digo 10th Jun 2014, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
The few companions the PCs had would be familiars and animal companions. Not much RPing to be done there, but control falls mostly to the PCs to handle unless they express that I run them.

Only once did a PC take the Leadership feat, and the PC didn't want to control the minion, rather preferred I run it and they just provide stats and a general idea what they'd like the NPC to do. Said NPC became a scout for the party as their ability for magical communication was limited when the team sorcerer died in an attempt to defy Darwin with a vampire.
Dragonflight 10th Jun 2014, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
A couple of times. Mostly, if I'm running a conversation, and someone else suddenly pipes up with a comment the NPC could have said which was epic, I'll just tell everyone, "consider that said," and run with it.
Disloyal Subject 10th Jun 2014, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Yup, mainly when the DMPC is interacting with an NPC and the rest of our characters aren't present. I was the auxiliary for combat, and a more experienced player handled NPC roleplaying.
Raxon 10th Jun 2014, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Since the group was so good at metagaming the DM, I secretly took over the villain in the campaign, tweaked his methods just a bit, and threw everyone for a loop. My character was killed by the big bad near the end, and they were sure he had a policy against killing.

Needless to say, they had no idea.
Quin 10th Jun 2014, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
There has been plenty of times the Out-of-character info dump has been a tough trick to do.

Heck I've played with one guy who never even knew his contacts or the names of the current allied NPCs or even what the organizations even did.

Though some were good at rolling with it while not knowing much about it. While he didn't completely know everything there was about it he could certainly do a decent role play when the situation called for it.
Applejack 10th Jun 2014, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
I didn't learn anything! I was right all along!
mistriousfrog 10th Jun 2014, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
mistriousfrog
I am a bit like this, where I am much better at producing information when in a debate or argument. Just for fun I decided to mess with one of my players and OOCly point to one of the NPCs as the main villain.

A little background on this NPC, they were a 400 year old Elan who was once part of a world saving party 300 years ago, one of which became a god for their efforts. The party met her when she was held captive by a Geas which would kill her if she did anything but try to kill the party until they managed to gain access to an artifact which was stolen from them which cast miracle and undid the Geas.

After this I told my players, congratulations, you were just manipulated into wasting the only artifact which could have possibly stopped her. Presented a complex argument about all the manipulation the elan did behind the scenes, virtually all of which was made up, but it was such a good argument I almost changed my mind and made it true, just because it was actually better than my original villain.
FanOfMostEverything 10th Jun 2014, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
Ah, yes. Know your audience. As long as some form of confrontation is taking place, Dash's player is engaged. Brilliant.

Also, I really like the idea of half of Equestria saving it at least once. Ponyville's probably filled with hidden badasses.
Digo 10th Jun 2014, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Certainly could explain the low crime rates. XD
Disloyal Subject 10th Jun 2014, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I always assumed that was the case. There's always -somepony- ready to step up to bat when a monster comes calling! I picture them as kinda like Raptorans from 3.5: nearly all of them have class levels.
But then, I have a fondness for settings where anyone and everyone is dangerous, so I'm biased. Still... "Once Upon a Time in Canterlot," anyone?
FanOfMostEverything 10th Jun 2014, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. Ponies live in a candy-coated deathworld; they need to be awesome just to survive. Heck, in my headcanon, Octavia would make El Kabong proud with her more weaponized instruments. And she definitely isn't a member of the Royal Assassinorum, because there is no such organization.
Specter 10th Jun 2014, 6:05 PM edit delete reply
Specter
From the posts of: Digo, Disloyal Subject, and yourself, FanOfMostEverything, I for some reason want to start an evil MLP campaign, side with the villains who don't exist and the criminals who have not-so-honest jobs. (I will have to try to integrate it into a more player friendly way so that even I can have some criminal fun)
Specter 10th Jun 2014, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
Specter
dark alley in the bad part of town?

Are you in my neighborhood or something?
Specter 10th Jun 2014, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Specter
The manipulation of players into roleplaying (or something to that extent) is an art few would ever want to squander... I on the other hand have nothing to do with that (for today), and instead bring you lore in a fun colorful way!

(Warning: no warning this time)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E5FFFYRUgI

I have no idea what this game is or what it's about, all I know is that everypony looks hell of a lot cuter (and awesome-er) when in costume AND combat... :)
Disloyal Subject 10th Jun 2014, 9:58 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
As I understand it, Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) is/was the precursor to League of Legends and its derivatives. I believe it was originally a mod of a Blizzard game, probably Warcraft 3, but don't quote me on this.
Adens 10th Jun 2014, 2:47 PM edit delete reply
That video is a ponification of the DOTA 2 trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMzpLnQtVuE
Which is available on Steam, but the original DOTA was, in fact, a modded Warcraft 3 map. So we can actually quote you on it.
Jennifer 11th Jun 2014, 5:22 AM edit delete reply
Reminds me of a brainteaser in which a doctor argues with a patient - in order to induce adrenaline production.
Euric 11th Jun 2014, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
I have a session coming up soon where the players found a book of ancient history in looking for the connection between goblins and a mysterious moon symbol. I have a myth style story all written out, how do you think would be the best way to present it?
Zeeth 11th Jun 2014, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
There are a few ways.

* You could mock up a few sheets of illuminated text between posterboard covers. The physical prop would be awesome and fun to have. It would serve as a constant physical reminder that the players could consult as desired, until eventually they remember the details. You could even say that passing the book from player to player is as difficult as passing it between characters, so in a fight the character with the book can't just hand it to someone else trying to remember a certain detail. (At least, not without an intelligence or dexterity check to remember something or hand it off -- and then there's reading while in combat, which is definitely not recommended!)
* You could put on primal or aboriginal music (such as drums, didgeridoo, or Native flute) and dim overhead lights, then narrate the story by candle-light like a storyteller, priest, or shaman might. That experience would be awesome, and powerful experiences translate to strong memories.
* You could narrate some special effects and/or give bonuses when a party member does something specifically related to the myth so long as the artifact is in the party's possession. This last one builds recall by curiosity ("a mysterious twinkle on your sword", for example) or reward (you can hit the bad guys better), causing party members motivated by these things to get interested in the myth (sometimes retroactively).