Page 581 - Lime-Flavored Light

14th Apr 2015, 6:00 AM
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Lime-Flavored Light
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Newbiespud 14th Apr 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Maintaining a balanced character focus is pretty important. Otherwise, one of the players starts looking like "the main character" and causing resentment in the rest. Or alternately, one player gets to ignored they feel like the fifth wheel. It might sound as easy as "don't play favorites," but some characters (and some players) (and some DMs) (and some campaigns) make it harder than it sounds...

49 Comments:

Toric 14th Apr 2015, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, that can also manifest in loot distribution. Sometimes a campaign genuinely doesn't accommodate any buy a few classes, but sometimes it's the GM. Sure, there's gold for everyone, but often it's only the paladin/cleric of the featured deity that get the one-of-a-kind relic or the fighter who gets the magic sword. I've often found myself getting skimped on the magic item split because there simply isn't anything my character needs or needs more than someone else's character.
Disloyal Subject 14th Apr 2015, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
At least you -get- magic items.
Actually, archeotech is probably a pretty good equivalent in 40K... My sniper just about went into a coma of bliss when she got her runed Best-Quality rifle. Maybe if the D&D group lives long enough, we'll find magic items for characters that aren't the Bard.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 6:19 AM edit delete reply
I always tell GMs that there has to be some die roll fudging when creating loot for a party. Maybe it cracks immersion when the dragon's treasure mysteriously has exactly the right weapons the party likes, and exactly something for everyone, but it's the best way to reduce chances of PCs being unhappy with a lack of getting something.

Another thing that helps is to track what treasure PCs get. Those who don't get any significant loot in one hoard should get first pick in the next find. :)
Morathor 14th Apr 2015, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
Our DM asked each player to create a wishlist, three to five items under a certain price limit that we would like to see. And then sometimes an item from somebody's wishlist will turn up. Don't know if that would work for every group/campaign but it does okay for this one.
Toric 15th Apr 2015, 5:59 AM edit delete reply
Well, when you specialize in light armor and kukris specifically in a campaign whose guide mentions swords, bows, and axes, you aren't likely to get anything from the book itself.

However, when your group is large enough that you have to squabble over every weapon, belt, headband, cloak, etc. it's even worse. Still more so when the GM decides to throw in extra encounters for treasure and his idea is to throw in the fully-supplied heavy armored corpse of a paladin with 90% of his gear going to the fighter types who've been getting the most anyway.
Digo 15th Apr 2015, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
In my experience the items that get fought over the most are Rings of Protection and Monk's Belts.
Mykin 16th Apr 2015, 12:08 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
I've only ever got two magical items in my history of playing DnD, both belonging to my cleric. The first being gauntlets of ogre strength and the other one was a named mace called "Lightbringer".

The only reason I got the gauntlets was because I was literally the only one that could benefit from them. I had an 8 strength score and since I was in the front lines a lot, having something that changed that to a 19 when I have to resort to melee helps. That and they were made for a halfling and I was apparently the only one that could comfortably put them on, so make of that what you will.

The mace I got because literally no one else wanted it. It was basically a +1 mace that glowed whenever it struck the undead (dealing radiant damage to them) and I was the walking beacon of light in the group, so it was automatically mine.

While we don't get too many items in the encounters system and their distribution system is...interesting, our DMs do try to make sure the items are of some use to our characters. Ironically, it meant that two melee focused items went to the resident armored mage. Still, I've made good use of the gloves in saving people's lives and getting out of sticky situations and the mace makes me feel important since it has a name attached to it (I like to pretend that it's a holy relic of my order, despite the fact that it doesn't really have a backstory to it). So it's all good.
Disloyal Subject 14th Apr 2015, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
One perk to railroady combat-heavy campaigns: less balancing of character time is needed. Then the pressure is on the players to keep up with the biggest munchkin in the party, and the GM to keep up with the abominations the players build for the inevitable arms race... Fun times, though I'd like to play a non-silly story-driven campaign sometime.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
I tend to favor combat-light campaigns cause I don't feel comfortable with those "arms races" against PCs. I know too many tricks to accidentally kill characters.
Toric 14th Apr 2015, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
I don't know why, but seeing the words "arms race" has made me want to incorporate some kind event where competitors must race using only their arms. Not necessarily attached, because I also considered this being an undead/construct thing.

Anywho, I don't make it an arms race when they are getting overpowering. Instead I change the pace or conditions of the fight so that they have to sacrifice power for tactics. Pit traps and obstructions to movement or line of sight can fundamentally change a combat, especially if you catch the munchkins in poor position/initiative.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 6:55 AM edit delete reply
I much prefer tactics over raw power in combat. *Nods*
Disloyal Subject 14th Apr 2015, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Tactics -are- infinitely more interesting, and without them a combat-intensive game can be little more than a mindless slugfest, but there's a certain hilarity to seeing who can roll the most damage dice in a single turn.
Toric 14th Apr 2015, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
Agreed. I'm the guy who keeps my best tricks in his hat until they would look really cool, and then I startle everyone by jumping to the top in damage dealt.

Examples, suddenly having the ability to grant EVERYONE a paladin's smite, or unleashing a massive munchkin combo attack that takes down a baddie in one round. Or, you know, swinging three times with sneak attack, critting twice, and hitting the last time so that sucker gets cut to pieces.

Even so, I prefer to be tactically useful over dealing cheesed amounts of damage. It often leads to some very painful encounters for my character, but it often makes the difference of the party's life or death when I run up to engage the dragon by myself to buy them time.
Raxon 14th Apr 2015, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Tactics are the most fun when you can add flavor to them. Illusionists are the best example of this, of course.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
I would have guessed cooks.
ANW 14th Apr 2015, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
Hey there.
How do you feel for a reverse riddle.
Can you come up with a riddle whose answer is friendship?
RandomRex6 14th Apr 2015, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
I'll go for the classic one from Yu-Gi-Oh.

"What's something you can show, but you can't see?"
ANW 14th Apr 2015, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
Too many possible answers for that one.
Friendship love air space
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
"What do you call the bond that encourages those you know to help you stash bodies."
Anaja 14th Apr 2015, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
Blackmail?
Specter 14th Apr 2015, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Well, it's not a riddle, but I thought it was hilarious when I found it.

"Friends ask why you're crying...
best friends already have the shovel ready to bury the loser that made you cry."
j-eagle12212012 14th Apr 2015, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
" This boat doesn't sail on water but exists in your heart and has room for whoever you see fit. What is it?"
Raxon 14th Apr 2015, 1:38 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT MY MAGICAL MEAT LOCKER!?
Toric 14th Apr 2015, 1:38 PM edit delete reply
What is Raxon's word for mutilating teammates to defeat the BBEG?
Raxon 14th Apr 2015, 1:39 PM edit delete reply
Raxon
Those are my chums!
Starphoenix 15th Apr 2015, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
It's a Ship.

*groans*
j-eagle12212012 16th Apr 2015, 4:25 AM edit delete reply
j-eagle12212012
A "Friend-Ship"
Zuche 14th Apr 2015, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
I've cause to believe that, "What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?" qualifies.
Digo 15th Apr 2015, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
That can work, yeah.
Disloyal Subject 15th Apr 2015, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42.
Twilight Sparkle has seven six-pointed stars on her cutie mark.
6x7=42
Twilight Sparkle is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Twilight Sparkle is the Element of Magic.
Friendship is Magic.
Ergo, friendship is the ultimate meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
you know that guy 15th Apr 2015, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
I love using the riddle from the Dawnstar Sanctuary: What is life's greatest illusion? My personal answer is purpose, but it can have many answers.
Joe the Rat 16th Apr 2015, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
Oh, I like that. You've inspired me to put together a list of open-ended riddles. Perfect for a riddle-creature who is looking for an answer to an unsolved question, not one of those wordplay puzzles ever so loved by halflings and dragons.

Also counts as a secret test of character: How you answer them reveals something about yourself.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
Balanced character focus is one of the hardest things about GMing a game. I want everyone to get their "15 minutes of fame", but going about it can be rough when players have widely different ideas of what kind of fame they want.

For example, in my Fallout Equestria campaign, my character Doc Wagon (earth pony surgeon) finally "got the girl", an exotic beauty unicorn named Mirror Armor. She's from a land outside Equestria (think Pony Iceland with vikings). So for a spotlight I prefer it be about Doc and Mirror hitting it off and growing closer with their relationship. Plus, there is this great potential quest in their future dealing with Mirror's father, a unicorn general from a supremacist unicorn society by the name of Ragnarok.

But of course it can't all be about Doc. Time needs to be devoted to the enclave pegasus who wants to strike it rich, the pegasus scientist who wants to rediscover ancient Equestrian technology that'll make the world better, and the pegasus diplomancer who doesn't know what she really wants in life.
Jannard 14th Apr 2015, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
Ugh, the one who doesn't know what he/she wants (especially when the player, by extension, doesn't know what he/she want's for the character). Those can be both the easiest and the very hardest to please.

It's cool, however, when you help said players discover what they want. Suddenly they can become more swept into your world than any other player in the table.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
Agreeable. And I do keep an eye out for ideas to help the character in question find a good long-term goal. It's nice when everyone has something to fight for, eh?
Specter 14th Apr 2015, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Specter
Spotlight? ... Oh yeah, the one thing I don't want to be in.

Sure, I have a character who plays of some significance to the party and game. But, eh, it's kind of hard to try for a goal when 80% of every character I play dies only a few sessions in (and nowhere near their goal).

I pretty much just play characters who have already reached their goal and just want to help others, and constructs (the Big Hero 6 kind where I just aid my party in some way, and not the Chappie kind).

(Edit: On a side note, some of my less spotlight-y characters have done more then they should have.
Mykin 14th Apr 2015, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
I'm more or less in the same boat as Specter here. In my experience, the characters that have specific goals tend to die or get shoved in a corner somewhere so the DM doesn't have to deal with them (like what happened to my spellthief). So, like Specter, I just play characters that just want to help others and stop other people from hurting others.

Really, the only character I have that gets any kind of special attention is my cleric. And you all know why. Moving on.

Though I have to admit, I'm glad my DM just doesn't care to give anyone their "15 minutes of fame". We have our fighter who doesn't really care about anything other than screwing everyone who isn't her, our wizard who gets frustrated easily at things and tends to provoke violence whenever it suits her (read: whenever the player stops playing his 3DS and realizes that we're in a confrontation. Regardless of if said confrontation is a simple disagreement with a merchant or not), our rogue who is convinced that my goody two shoes cleric is really the pinnacle of evil and wants to uncover his plans before it's too late, our barbarian who doesn't care about anything period, and our naive merchant who wants to get rich but is stuck on the "???" part of his plan.

While the last two wouldn't be all that bad, I just can't see it ending well for anyone if the rest of the players I end up playing with at the game store ever got their moment of glory. Mostly because I know they'll end up using it to make my cleric's life more difficult....more so than usual.
Winged Cat 14th Apr 2015, 12:24 PM edit delete reply
I tend to avoid campaigns where quick character death is a thing. (With one major exception, wherein I played a series of expendable - and soon expended - meatshields, but even then I knew this and played to it.) Most of my characters have specific goals, and actively work to get them - and tend to get them, even with uncooperative GMs (though quite a bit of persistence can be needed there, sometimes just declaring the goal has been reached once it's clear the GM won't object due to lack of caring).

When I GM, I try to fit each PC's character arc into the overall campaign arc. (Save when the players specifically tell me they don't have specific goals: they're just there for the overall ride.) Sometimes I start with the character arcs and weave a story from them, with no need for further plot. In those cases I can often just sit back and let the players run things for a while, just poking along with NPC & environment responses. (All the power and credit of being a GM, with almost none of the work, wheee~!) Just so long as I monitor for when things grind down and I have to get things moving again.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
Dang, y'all either have goals that the GM loves to murder for or luck is just not on your side. O.o`

All my characters have a goal, but I try not to aim high, like "rule a country" or "Be richer than Bill Gates". I do simple stuff like "win the hand of this NPC in marriage" or something. By far the easiest was playing as Trixie. It basically boiled down to:

"Get Attention."
Mykin 14th Apr 2015, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
Mykin
Well, my history with GMs just sucks and my luck recently seems to swing between ridiculously good to incredibly bad with little inbetween. I don't think my goals are that bad and they are usually as follows:

Get revenge on the bad guys
Uncover the secrets of [-insert whatever here-]
Keep my friends alive/Do good
Get rich/Complete the job
Stay alive

I have a hard time believing that any GM would hate those goals and I usually try to work with them to make it more detailed in interwoven into the plot (I haven't done it with my game store DM but he doesn't have a plot to work with that's story heavy, so it's a mute point). I'm just of the opinion that I get stuck with people who enjoy my characters' suffering more than I do.

The only place that I don't have to deal with this is, oddly enough, my PBP games. Whether because of how the system works or because people are generally nicer to me there, I don't know. That and Tuesday's game when we actually get around to playing a game.
Specter 14th Apr 2015, 9:57 PM edit delete reply
Specter
I have nice goals,
-Protect and serve my lord(ess) (usually a pc)
-Murder x
-Reach y
-Gain immortality (that goal I actually achieved)
-Work for/against z (individual, organization, nation)
-Tell an epic from my travels (Never. Completed. Once. I have had about 40 or so tries at that one)

Some of these are kind of hard when I have the apparent ability to roll five 1's in a row. Plus in some messed up fashion, I am able to predict the exact roll people will get in like five minutes advance (You will roll two Nat 1's, and then get triple 20 on boss). I have predicted just that, and it was glorious (for the player, not me).

... I'm like a puppet for life; Never able to really achieve independence, yet has the power to attain more then I should.
Disloyal Subject 15th Apr 2015, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
'Murder x' is always a favorite of mine. Just because my teammate is a moronic jerk doesn't mean I'll condone him being shot at with heavy vehicular weaponry.
Sadly, our employer rushed us off that space station, so I never did harvest the offending gunner's hands.

My characters seldom have goals so much as motives. However, my current backup character, a human cleric, is motivated by searching far and wide for his childhood best friend (a ranger) and asking him to be Best Man at his (politically arranged) wedding back home.
Bronymous 14th Apr 2015, 8:48 AM edit delete reply
Bronymous
I've encountered this a lot. While in Play-By-Post games it isn't as prevalent, I somehow always manage to play the character that gets shoved into the background. Usually its the other players that do it, as opposed to the DM, though- There are those players that absolutely will not let the others have a turn, always talking and asking more questions, even interrupting when the DM IS focusing on actions the others are taking. Some DMs at least make an effort when this happens, though, while others just roll with who's being more vocal, and obviously that's when I give up and go do something else, for a while, waiting for someone to bring up the fact I'm still around.

As a DM, I only have one game. It's a PBP, and like I said, its a less prevalent issue in those, but it still happens. In my game, some characters do get more attention, but mostly because they're the ones posting more frequently. I even make use of splitting the party more frequently, so that those that post more often can advance without waiting on the others or leaving them behind.

Ultimately, I feel like most of the responsibility of this phenomenon cannot be placed on the DM. It takes a really, REALLY terrible DM to intentionally focus all of his attention on a single player, or most of the group and exclude a single player, and most DMs don't want that. But it's something that player attitudes and behaviors lead to, and the DM has to figure out how to deal with.
Digo 14th Apr 2015, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, players need to exercise a level of patience and let someone else have their spotlight until it is their own turn. It's a thing to share.
Mykin 14th Apr 2015, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
Mykin
As I've said before, I try my best to make sure everyone has a turn and isn't shoved into a corner when I'm in a game. I used to have issues doing so, as I'm a timid person and I'm usually trying to shout over someone in order to make sure a player gets his input heard. Lately, I've been more comfortable in doing this, though it hasn't become any easier to do so at times.

Anyway, I do agree with your point. It's everyone's responsibility to make sure that everyone is included in the game and everyone gets their turn in the spotlight.
Disloyal Subject 15th Apr 2015, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
I concur. Sometimes you just have to sit on whatever perfectly awesome/ cool/ funny/ in-character action you just came up with, because it's someone else's time to shine.
Rokas 14th Apr 2015, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
Character "face time" balance can be hard. I've never GM'd or anything, but my friend who's been running our games clearly is stressed trying to keep it all balanced. Fortunately for him, most of us are pretty easygoing, though the D&D campaign we're running now is kind of a cluster. Think "just about everyone picked the wrong class for their play style" kind of thing. Yeah. I've been trying to make it easier on my friend since that started up.
LegendofMoriad 14th Apr 2015, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
As a GM, I've found that the players themselves end up determining how much spotlight they get. It comes down to force of personality.

In my most recent campaign, I've got several players that are very into it. They're hooked into the story, and can interact appropriately. On the other side, several players have trouble getting things done. They enjoy the game, but can't do as much due to lack of ingame knowledge or lack of system knowledge (Pathfinder).

I try to balance this by giving the struggling ones a hook. One player, a ranger, lost his companion, so he acquired a tiger. It died too, but then it came back as a spectre. Now, it keeps popping in and out of existance, and the character isn't sure what's going on. I dropped several hints to the party that there was something special about it. Some of them picked up on the fact that my villians for that arc were feline themed. Sadly, the player dropped out, due to schoolwork, before that ever culminated.

Long story short, as a GM, I try to find a means of incorporating players every session, as long as they are willing to reach for it.
Ariasa 15th Apr 2015, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
It was easy to please one of my characters in a campain we had in fallout equestria. I was playing a psycho minatour and all she wanted to do was punch...everything...it was succeeding~ in one of the battles we were fighting someone who had armor made out of grenades and had a explosive shield so he wasn't affected by them...so i mised togeather 6 different kind of drugs and took them all and literally kept punching him even with him trying to blow me up part way through. I took one of his grenades, pushed it through his shield which turned my arm into nothing but muscles and left it in there. i stood over him to make sure it went off and when it did his entire bomb armor went off. after the dust cleared i walked away with a giant hole in my chest and let out a blood curtailed yell. are medic healed me with there magic vines. it was glorious~