Page 533 - Positive Press

23rd Dec 2014, 6:00 AM
Positive Press
Average Rating: 5 (4 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 23rd Dec 2014, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Trying to sway a passionate crowd is probably one of the toughest common social challenges in a game, short of convincing a dragon to part with some of its hoard. You have to use broad, sweeping gestures to speak to a crowd. Such gestures can easily backfire horribly if you miscalculate even slightly, and sometimes they'll completely misinterpret what you're saying anyway.

Playing a crowd as a DM is super-easy. It's basically one character with multiple heads. Actually, yeah; it's the social encounter equivalent of a hydra.

44 Comments:

Desparil 23rd Dec 2014, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
"It's not rocket science."
- Famous last words

Tell a story about a time you talked up how easy something was going to be, then failed spectacularly when the time came to put your money where your mouth was. Whether it was the fault of cursed dice or because it was actually a terrible idea in the first place, I'll leave that up to you guys.
FanOfMostEverything 23rd Dec 2014, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
It was so simple. All we had to do was help push a wagon out of a river. By the time anyone rolled higher than a 6 on a Strength check, all that was left was a pile of cracked boards and some waterlogged cargo.
Desparil 23rd Dec 2014, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
Clearly you forgot the most important lesson from Oregon Trail - never try to ford the river. It always ends badly.
jdb1984 23rd Dec 2014, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
Except when the river in Oregon Trail is to shallow to caulk the wagon and float it
Toric 23rd Dec 2014, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it swim
Digo 23rd Dec 2014, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Family members don't float too well either.
Digo 23rd Dec 2014, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Usually the point of failure in games I've been in was that one or more other PCs decide to either change the plan without consulting someone or they just don't follow the plan at all.

Happened a lot in Shadowrun. We get a job to protect some protesters from police brutality (the Johnson is paying us to prevent the crowd from giving the police a reason to shoot). No problem, we made a plan to show up in plainclothes, hiding among the crowd. We talked to the leaders of the protest and we scoped the area so that we can get an idea of how to handle the situation should someone get out of control.

We dig up some info that the company being protested against (a major bank that was doing shoe shady foreclosing practices) had hired a few goons to pretend they were part of the protesters and incite the police to shoot, making the protest look bad and the police as just defending themselves. Well the team changed the plans and decided to attack the hired goons in the subway en route to the protest.

This left me alone at the protesting site to defend the crowd. And hey, guess what? One of the goons showed up because he took the bus instead of the subway. It just so happens that the one goon and I were both mages, except he was a skilled combat mage while I was just a healer/buffer. I had to solo this guy in a magic fight, flinging spells and counterspells at each other. Somehow, I managed to do it! Barely.
Mabbz 23rd Dec 2014, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Allow me to summarise my necromancer illusionist's plan:

"So I'll use magic to make myself invisible and sneak attack that one. Dont worry, I've done this sort of thing before. It should work, especially since they are more focused on the dryads. And anyway, with you lot backing me up I doubt I'll come to any serious harm if things go wrong."

It was his second ever fight. It was also his last. He managed the sneaky part, was standing right behind a completely unaware, stationary target, swung his staff...

And completely missed.
Desparil 23rd Dec 2014, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
Now that's what I'm talking about! Any plan that involves a wizard sneak attacking with a staff is probably not as good of a plan as its mastermind thinks it is.
j-eagle12212012 23rd Dec 2014, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
@Mabbz

I know that feeling lol. Every Rogue I've ever played has had that happen to them.
Digo 23rd Dec 2014, 1:14 PM edit delete reply
Trixie: "Trixie is invisible, sneaking, and the target has his hand caught in the elevator door. Trixie cannot miss!"

Die Roll: *Crit failure*

GM: "You kick the elevator door back into track and it opens, freeing your opponent who runs down the hall."

Trixie: "#$%!#$!!"

(True story)
Specter 23rd Dec 2014, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Rogue: "Ok guys, this hotel only lets in humans without paying a fee, which all of you aren't. So I'll walk in and get a few coins so we get you guys in."

Cleric: "Dude, we don't need the 5-star treatment, we can go and sleep in a dumpster for all I care."

Rogue: "It's a simple trick. They won't even know they've lost anything."

Fighter: "You said that last time, and know we have a paladin following us."

Rogue: "$20 says I make it."

Paladin: "You're on."

Bard: "Just be careful, ok? We don't really know what they have, so just don't go after the employees, got it?"

Rogue: This is me we're talking about, I don't risk it if I don't need to."

Cue two game hours later, in the general health hospital.

Cleric: "You shouldn't have gone in there."

Rogue: "How was I suppose to know that guy was a godfather!?"

...

Paladin: "Where's my $20 bucks?"
Mykin 23rd Dec 2014, 11:41 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
My sorcerer in Pathfinder was being attacked by a swarm of rats in an old abandoned shack out in the middle of a swamp when our Catfolk Brawler decided it would be faster to pull a Kool-aid man style entrance through a wall instead of running around and taking the back door. I questioned the logic behind this but he assured me that, with an 18 strength score, he could do it and save my character from being eaten alive. Then his fist got stuck in the wall...and then his head followed by his other fist. He eventually made it through once another party member helped push him through while he was kicking more parts of the wall down.

To add to the humiliation, everyone assured me that it would be easy to wipe out a swarm of rats in a couple of turns. 9 turns later, we resorted to burning down the shack just to make the rats leave us alone.
Desparil 23rd Dec 2014, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
9/10 would read again
Raxon 23rd Dec 2014, 1:41 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
Allow me to tell you about the death rattle. Raxon was pretty cocky, and made a toy to show to friends, and give to one couple as a gift for their baby. He crafted a beautiful wooden rattle, brightly colored, with gold inlay.

On top of that, he enchanted it to promote healthy bone development. This is where things took a turn for the worse. The child loved the toy, but a few minutes later, began crying and swinging the rattle around.

They called Raxon in, and after checking the kid out, realized that there was a fatal error in the rattle. It was trying to promote healty bone growth, but the bones were growing too much, causing them to grow together and lock up.

Raxon had to put the infant to sleep and remove the arm, then grow a new one for the child. Apparently, the effect was that it traveled up the arm. Within six hours, the child would have died in excruciating pain, due to the spine and ribs locking up, suffocating the kid.

Raxon replaced the rattle with one that made lights and sparkles when you waved it around, and didn't give you magical bone cancer.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why testing is important for any new enchantment, no matter how simple or harmless.
Super_Big_Mac 23rd Dec 2014, 3:14 PM edit delete reply
Super_Big_Mac
"Relax, I just need to fail one roll and the dragon will either kill me or let me go. Then we can leave!"
-Me (OOC), right before Bard Simpleton became a dragon's daddy.
Raxon 24th Dec 2014, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
... Did you roleplay the conception?
JackobolTrades 24th Dec 2014, 12:06 AM edit delete reply
During an espionage and political maneuvering campaign of Pathfinder, the party split in order to track down the insurgent group that was threatening the city's government. We aren't here to talk about the first group, though. This other half of the group was made up of two divine casters and a Ranger, so Intelligence was not in high regards here. This group followed signs into the absurdly spacious sewers and found themselves at a very conspicuous metal panel. This panel, that was very obviously a door, was flush with the sewer wall, but had a small space that it could slide to one side. It had not handle or visible hinge.

The group started by trying to push the panel in. which didn't work. Then, they tried pulling on the door, which they couldn't do because there was no handle. Then they tried pushing on the door again because maybe their strength rolls hadn't been high enough. When that didn't work, they tried sliding the door, first to the wrong direction, then in the right direction. There was now a small gap between the edge of the door and the edge of the sewer's wall.

So the group decided to try forcing the door to continue sliding. This, of course, did not work. They, they thought of pushing on the door. When a strength roll was high enough to warp the door inwards, they tried sliding the door back and forth.

After ten minutes of trying to get this door open, one of the divine casters, who happened to be a gnome who's dump stat was strength, got the bright idea of pulling on the metal panel where it separated from the wall. On the ensuing natural 20 strength roll, because he had assumed one was incoming, he tore the entire door off of its hinges and threw it against the opposite side of the sewer. The party congratulated the gnome on a job well done, then inspected the door for the very powerful enchantment that must have been on it.

They found out that the catch-hinge was designed to click together when the door slid to the side, and then allowed the door to open outwards. All they had to do that entire time was to slide the door, and then pull on the ensuing gap.

To this day, the party does not trust any door that seems too easy to open, and insists on simply breaking down doors on the slightest chance that they might be more complicated than just using the door handle.
ZReporter 23rd Dec 2014, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
The party was trying to figure out a way how to defeat this villain. Each of us had different plans.

Our pirate hired local gang thugs to attack the villain's base... that was about as effective as sending thugs to fight a mob boss.

Next on the list was our mage. He tried using the magic lore to try to find out some sort of back exit or escape that could be used to get in. Turns out he kept it simple without any magic.

That left mine to turn out a simple trick. With a premade alchemy mixture I melted a window and allowed us to sneak in when the guards would be focused outside instead of watching the inside of the base. We all got in really easily...
Just to find out we were breaking into a meeting with all the other villains of the area.

So yes I had I break into a meeting full of every deadly crook and villain as they all stared at me. Initiate combat and roll to flee.
Desparil 23rd Dec 2014, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Ah, the classic punishment for failing to look before you leap. This is why so many old school players are so anal about making Detect Noise rolls or Listen checks at EVERY door before opening it.
ANW 23rd Dec 2014, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
You guys missed me, because I missed you.
Today I'll do story time, for the DMs out there.
What is the best way to get your players into a quest they refuse to do.
"You guys want to go to the inn. Be hard to do so without any money."
Wouldn't you know it, their gold pouches were stolen.
And by one of the quest NPC.
Works ever time.
Disloyal Subject 23rd Dec 2014, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I don't think I've ever played a character who has just one coinpurse. Sure, there's the obvious one on the belt, but there's also one on the inside of their pants lying flat against the inguen, two or three in their backpack, and sometimes one in their boot.
Rakos 24th Dec 2014, 3:25 AM edit delete reply
The 'Obvious' coin purse that is carried by every character I ever play is normally filled with caltrops, or if I'm a druid it's filled with bees, lots of bees.
ANW 24th Dec 2014, 3:20 PM edit delete reply
Yes, but what new guy would do that?
Specter 23rd Dec 2014, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
Specter
I don't I've even played WITH a coin purse, it was always pockets or backpacks, or in the rogue's pocket cause I don't trust myself with my own money.
Malroth 24th Dec 2014, 3:40 PM edit delete reply
Malroth
Coinpurse filled with rocks and 1 gold piece upon which i've cast Illusionary script with the suggestion "I need to turn myself in to the city guard before that creepy gnome gets revenge". If the Pickpocket drops said gold piece in a thieves den then even more halarity ensues.
Digo 23rd Dec 2014, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Given the proper motivation, it's easy to get a crowd to do what you want. The trick of course is finding what motivates a crowd. And I don't mean the self-destructive method of threatening the crowd. I mean getting the crowd to agree with you by making them think you'll give them what they desire out of going along with your idea.

I remember an incident where town vendors/shop owners all received letters from the town mayor demanding they close shop tomorrow. This angered everyone because a closed store makes no money. The mayor was busy in another part of town, so his assistants were trying to calm the crowd, and were failing.

I managed to step in and take control, telling everyone that there is a delegation coming tomorrow, but because of the required security needed at the venue the delegation was going to use, there would be no way to enforce a close of all shop, and furthermore the shops are far enough from the delegation that the two shouldn't affect each other. I then told the assistants that it would be easier to simply have security keep a barrier between the two areas as it'll require less work.

It managed to pacify the crowd and helped prevent the assistants from getting strangled. Later we found out the orders were not of the mayor, but forged by some guilty party trying to undermine the delegation's business in town.
Toric 23rd Dec 2014, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Only thing easier than playing a crowd is playing a mob of children. It is by far one of the most entertaining and rewarding NPCs for player and DM alike, and all you have to do is make them shriek, imitate a bad role model, and engage in idol worship of the exact wrong character.
Curb 23rd Dec 2014, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
Curb
Well, as a GM, I've seen some spectacular screw ups before.

Like my aforementioned heroes going to capture the loli villain only to find her in the middle of a sleepover with all her super powered loli minions...that ended with Benny Hill chase scene through the villain's tower and into the city.

But a recent one, as a player, involved the Dead Reign RPG. We were playing survivors gathering at a Suvivalist Compound (mine and my brother's place) when the party decided to go back into town for a last sweep, even after we told them it was a bad idea. The phrase, 'Don't worry, what's the worst we could find' came up...god they were idiots.

We told them the boarded up building were already looted to sealed for a very good reason...there was talk about handling a few zombies that lead to them unleashing 30 of the damn things from the boarded up church! We had to fight our way back to the vehicles and leave, with two of them trying to use their cars to run down zombies, one of the them nearly colliding with the gas station (would have exploded and killed us all, the pumps were leaking alot of vapor). We ended up leaving the group due to schedualing issues, last we heard, they nearly kill themselves every session...feel bad for the GM.
No-Kaboom! 23rd Dec 2014, 1:53 PM edit delete reply
It was just a Help of Opposite Alignment, but it caused a pretty big mess in our group. A lot of the players were hungry to work out some evil-ish aggression.

Needless to say, there was a lot of betrayal and bloodshed. By the time it was all settled and remove curses handed out completely, my barbarian and one other brutish fighter-type were down to our last dregs.

"Here. Grab the other side of the cursed helm." My character told the other musclebound.

"Between the two of us, we should be able to snap it in half and never have to worry about it again."

That player was hesitant as he didn't want it to explode and kill us both, since we were so damaged. I assured him that it was not going to explode. It wasn't a Staff of the Magi or an artifact, so it didn't do anything like that.

The GM, of course, decided that my barbarian had no way of knowing that and bit me with it. The helm exploded for using player knowledge, and took us both out.
Filkin 23rd Dec 2014, 1:55 PM edit delete reply
Roleplaying a crowd in a peaceful situation is easy. In a fight, not so much. I was DM for a Deadlands game, and the posse had persuaded about thirty of the townfolks to mount up against an Indian cult. The resulting combat ended up taking abut three hours too long, mostly due to the posse's stupidity of era tactics.

And the winner for kills? Stampeding horses!
Disloyal Subject 23rd Dec 2014, 10:03 PM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Mass combat rules can be handy for situations like that where the PCs have numerous allies/minions, even if they need to be houseruled in from other systems.
Zebasiz 23rd Dec 2014, 1:58 PM edit delete reply
It was my first game of Exalted, me and another guy were dragonblooded (Was that the right term? Been years, can't remember the specifics) and were traveling north to meet up with the rest of the party. (Due to scheduling, the group had to be split for a session.)
We arrived at a simple small town.

Before I continue, let me describe our 2 characters: I was working along a sneaky, social guy. So I was rather normal and well received. While my "cousin" was a Roc rider. So... He had a giant ride-able war bird with him. And for reasons lost to time, decided to enter town with me, with the bird walking along behind him.
Naturally, people were a bit scared of the giant death bird walking into town, and so we tried to calm them down.
Oh dear.

For the social rolls to try and calm the crowd, we both rolled almost ALL One's. Which is critical failure of unimaginable degrees~

Inbetween bouts of laughter about how horrible this would turn out, we role-played it as us trying to calm the town by saying things such as:

"It's ok! He's a very well trained bird. He RARELY eats people anymore!"
"Don't be afraid. He ate before we got here, he won't be hungry for a while yet!"
"We promise we'll keep an eye on him when near children!"

End result: The town had felt oppressed and terrorized long enough, gathered several other cities together and started a revolution. =/
Quod Erat Demonstrandum 23rd Dec 2014, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
Summary: Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie started an era of social upheaval.
DragonPrime 25th Dec 2014, 4:51 AM edit delete reply
Good one!!
ZhonLord 23rd Dec 2014, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
One of my first 3.5 campaigns ever I was playing a dwarven duskblade. We entered our first dungeon, and we ran up against a statue with a glowing orb in its hand, and a sign saying "focus thy desire". I went first, saying this would be a piece of cake, and focused on the scepter wielded by the necromancer we were here to kill.

In response, the statue's orb glowed bright red, and the ceiling opened up into a swarm of undead rats. I got off one Burning Hands before the swarm finished my character off and I had to reroll. It was the first big lesson I ever had in not being an idiot in dungeons.
Specter 23rd Dec 2014, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
Specter
Did somebody say ROCKET SCIENCE!
j-eagle12212012 24th Dec 2014, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
Happy Hearthwarming eve everypony
Mykin 24th Dec 2014, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
Happy Hearthwarming Eve to you too! And to Everyone else as well! Merry Christmas!
Specter 25th Dec 2014, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Happy holidays everyone.
Raxon 24th Dec 2014, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Merry Christmas to all! I apologize for not having anything special for christmas, I have been distracted lately. Now, back to my very important missions.

Praise the sun!
Guest 24th Dec 2014, 8:22 PM edit delete reply
Praise the sun you magnificent bastard!
Specter 25th Dec 2014, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Oh no, more sun bros. It's bad enough my brother is one. (Please don't comment attack me, I just don't play the game.)
Disloyal Subject 25th Dec 2014, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Holy Trinity confirmed: Emprah, Sun, and Helix.