Page 1042 - Problem Solvent

24th Mar 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 1
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Problem Solvent
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Newbiespud 24th Mar 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
The accusation here is that Twi's player does this sort of thing accidentally, of course, not intentionally. For all of the fun I have as a DM pretend-shaking my fist at my rascally players, I can't say I've ever had the displeasure of someone vindictively going out of their way to disrupt the game and everyone playing in it for disruption's sake. Even from Fallout is Dragons' Masterweaver/Javolt, it was evident that the craziness came from a genuine (if perhaps twisted) place. Actually intentionally toxic play – even if it occasionally produces a fun story – is not something I want to portray or celebrate much in muh brand.

Anyway, here's Part 2 of the most recent Dusk City Outlaws game. It ends in fire.
Tales of New Dunhanen Session 16-2 - The Dry Run Job, Part 2: Podcast Video

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Werefrog 24th Mar 2018, 6:12 AM Bad player edit delete reply
The Werefrog had a player who would intentionally derail the game as best as he could. He would complain about the rails when given adventure hooks.

One time, to deal with him, after an out of character discussion of where the party wanted to go next so the adventure could be planned there, he decided his character suddenly wants to go in the opposite direction.

The Werefrog said, fine, your character goes that way. However, the rich guy who's hiring us still wants the rest of the party, and his price for the party remains provided we are successful. The rest of the party took the job.

Bad player started complaining about his character not having anything to do, and The Werefrog just said, no adventure was planned in that area, so he'll have to wait until I get something. The rest of the players had a decent adventure without his derailing.
clutchedbyanangel 24th Mar 2018, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
Sounds like he doesn't want to play RPGs?
Werefrog 25th Mar 2018, 8:59 AM nope, just a jerk edit delete reply
No, he was just a jerk who loved to cause problems.

At the M:tG tournaments The Werefrog ran, back when The Werefrog would do single elimination, he would show up with a deck designed to cause a draw. It ran 4 copies of Sharaharazad simply to prevent any game from ending in the time frame for a round.

His joy came from the disruption. When the game he was a part of ended, The Werefrog never allowed him to join a new game The Werefrog was running.
Freelance 24th Mar 2018, 9:52 PM edit delete reply
The only main adjustment I would make would be to say that things are rather peaceful over there right now, so you might make a few copper acting as a farmhand while the rest of the party adventures.
loyalChaos 26th Mar 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Nah, if he wants to be a disruption to other peoples fun, he can go and sit in the dunce corner like the left handed asshole he is.
Freelance 27th Mar 2018, 3:47 AM edit delete reply
Pretty much what I was suggesting, only in that his character would be doing something during the quest. Never said that The Werefrog had to bother with him for the rest of the game.
Jesin 2nd Apr 2018, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
"Left-handedness" has nothing to do with this.
Aname 24th Mar 2018, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
In my experience, there are two kinds of accidentally derailing players: the ones who are so smart they can figure out easy solutions to complex problems in one go, and the ones who naturally generate a level of chaos that only they are equipped to operate in.

(If they do both, it probably isn't accidental.)

We all have one of these players. Let's hear a story about yours.
TRR 24th Mar 2018, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
That's me.

In brief summary I've Attempted an assasination of an army general at level seven, discovered the identity of the thieves guild at level six, almost overthrew a cities government at level four and became an investigator of the gaurd forces that were hunting me.

all in the same group. I fear I may develop a reputation...
BR549 24th Mar 2018, 9:15 PM edit delete reply
Well, it wasn't "derailing", per se, as there weren't rails, but in a space-setting-mashup based game I'm in my Jedi Padawan got the GM's delighted awe when her suggestion to cut the Gordian knot we were tryinig to solve was the one and only possible path he HADN'T considered at all. (And it wound up being the one taken.)

Basically a group of warship AIs (For those of you who've seen Arpeggio of Blue Steel, these were in fact Fleet of Fog Mental Models, just IN SPACE!) were trying to figure out what to -do- now that they couldn't go home (for basically being "irreversably contaminated" by contact with organics and our creepy illogical ways). My character observed that the logical solution was that the one amongst them that the others had, originally, come to retrieve and/or terminate (before getting "corrupted") - the one /specifically designed as an infiltrator of human society/ - might be the one best suited to take command of showing them how to live as emotional individuals...
Dakkath 25th Mar 2018, 12:06 AM edit delete reply
Well, I can say that my demomare wizard in my Ponyfinder game has successfully derailed the GM/NPCs plans because of clever selection and use of spells on several occasions. When I'm not just metamagiced fireballing the hay out of things. Examples include turning the princess invisible because I beat the assassin on initiative, and blocking the view of the crowd to the evil bard (thus negating his performance) with a tiny hut spell.
The Froggy Ninja 25th Mar 2018, 7:08 AM edit delete reply
I was running the first Runelords module and the minmaxed hard rolled a fucking thirty on his gather information check before the festival started in the first session and discovered that someone was leaving the gates open so he had them closed and the goblins couldn’t get in.
Draxynnic 26th Mar 2018, 5:12 AM edit delete reply
So, the Twilight kind, and the Pinkie kind?
Guest 24th Mar 2018, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
Something tells me this will be the exact moment Discord steps in. Twilight will do something clever, and then something else will happen because she didn't address the actual source of the problem.
aerion111 24th Mar 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
In case the question might get lost on the previous page: "
Dusk City is about to end? [...] Are there any plans for any OTHER campaigns in the future? Not specifically Dusk City (or FiD), just anything involving roleplaying and such? "
Winged Cat 24th Mar 2018, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Well of course there are other campaigns planned. But you mean ones that NS specifically intends to run, right?

I have no doubt that he will, eventually, run at least one more game, whether or not that is planned right now.
Newbiespud 24th Mar 2018, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I don't think I'm gonna stop running games anytime soon. I think the next one is gonna be something like FiD 2.0, like I mentioned in the latest Story Time video.

But I think the more important point is: I'm not planning on stopping once [the current thing] is over. I'm just never 100% confident enough to announce what the next thing is going to be, because it's so dependent on the ol' muse.
albedoequals1 24th Mar 2018, 10:30 AM edit delete reply
I definitely have one of the non-malicious plot derailers. Not coincidentally, also a wizard. If there is a single spell that will completely neuter a boss, he always knows that spell and casts it the moment he sees said boss. He once ended an epic fight with a lich before the lich's first turn by using Create Pit to put the lich in a hole. The lich just helplessly yelled threats from the hole while the party casually looked for and found his phylactery. Every enemy since then has had the ability to either fly or climb vertical walls. :P

This same player also has a very strong genre sense, and will immediately guess the solution to puzzles based on some obscure cultural reference. Unfortunately, he's got a read on me, and he's usually right. I've taken to rolling dice for stuff just so that *I* don't know it, because then he won't figure it out so fast.
aerion111 24th Mar 2018, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, a Lich that can't get out of a hole is not a very good Lich. It's not even like they HAVE to fly to get out, spiderclimb, a high enough (magically boosted) jump, or just about any of a variety of options could get them out of there. They're a Lich, I expect them to know the occasional Utility spell. It's not like they're a 'Melee' class or other lesser being, they're supposed to be part of the superior 'Spellcaster' grup.
Thor 24th Mar 2018, 11:58 AM edit delete reply
Nothing ruins a warmage's day like giving them a problem that battle spells can't fix. Lots of DM monsters spend all their spell slots on combat magic and don't prepare any utility spells because it lets them concentrate more magic fire power. That works up until they fall in a hole.
Winged Cat 24th Mar 2018, 2:00 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
And then there are the warmages who have learned how to weaponize utility spells. This is advanced magic - but the sort of tactic one as high level as a lich is supposed to know through long experience. (Then again, even liches can grow complacent.)
Draxynnic 26th Mar 2018, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
In 3.5, concentrating spell selection on combat spells for an opponent that's only likely to be in one combat seems like an especially bad move: they're only likely to have five rounds or so in which they can use offensive magic IF THEY'RE LUCKY. While PCs might have to power through multiple fights in a day. Be realistic about their expected lifespan, give them enough offensive spells that they don't run out before they die, and give them the 'get me out of a tight spot' spells that will mean they get at least some of those offensive spells off.
Maligor 26th Mar 2018, 2:28 PM edit delete reply
A lich without a dispel spell?
Digo 24th Mar 2018, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
Derailing by accident or curiosity isn't so bad. When I give the PCs a problem to solve, I usually try to think up what solutions might come up. Like when I give the players a macguffin to get rid of and they simply book charter on a ship an drop it deep in the ocean halfway through the journey. Heh, that was admittedly clever and I let them get a win with it.
Guest 24th Mar 2018, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
I think it's only a problem when the DM can't improvise enough to keep up with the changing situation, or if they don't have enough setting material to pull out of their ass when needed.
Tell us a story... 24th Mar 2018, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
So... Tell us a story of when the GM had a good adventure and before or just as it begining, a player accidentally derail it destroying all the GM plans.
Winged Cat 24th Mar 2018, 1:57 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
These days, when I run a game, I am more and more explicitly looking for the PCs to break the challenge, and recruiting players who can and will do that. It is hard to run off the rails when the plot vehicle is (metaphorically) a hovercraft.

On the flip side, when I play, I am often the player who breaks plot. I have learned to discuss with the GM and other players in advance, and be explicit about my intentions early on - so I'm less "derailing" and more "setting up artillery to launch new rail into place before we get there".
Evilbob 24th Mar 2018, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
I think I'd enjoy playing with or GMing for you, Winged Cat.

Vindictive derailment is never fun if you're subjected to it (eg Old Man Henderson style, although according to the player the GM had it coming...). Twilight's derailments, on the other hoof, is delightful. It speaks more of a player getting invested and involved in the story and using story elements to solve problems, as opposed to OMH's pull-stuff-from-backstory-BS.

Unique problem solving is always more interesting than doing things the expected way.
SilverShadow4 24th Mar 2018, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
I was looking for this refrence!!! lol

Sauce for everybody else:
Jobany 24th Mar 2018, 5:05 PM edit delete reply
So I have had groups where one player wanted everything on rails, grand cut scene like reveals, and very little combat, the rest of the group enjoyed the rails being movable with the plot and having combat. Thankfully the one who wanted to be fully on rails decided to find a new game.
DeS_Tructive 25th Mar 2018, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
I never really had any problems with players derailing plots. I usually build the premise to be resistant against this kind of thing: The characters are within some sort of chain of command, the setting is designed around an "open world" concept, with some storylines progressing even if the players follow one of the other story hooks instead, etc.

When in doubt, I can always let the players ignore the pressing matters and set up the next session around the premise of the situation they'd ignored getting worse and more difficult to solve.

Also, when/if players come up with more logical points and better ideas, I usually run with them, it makes them feel accomplished when they "figured it out" beforehand.

It's a bit more difficult to do these things in a tavern style set up where the characters are hired by a stranger. But if they don't take the job, you can always make a whole playsession around doing nothing in a tavern. What worked for Seinfeld...
Hankroyd 25th Mar 2018, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
My players can't derails my plot ... ever ...
Because I don't do plot.
Well, I'm not improvising a whole campaign (one time one of us tried, it was an epic fail albeit a fun one). But usually for each session I have the starting point, the problem the players will have to encounter the major NPC, and three outcomes : ("The players did it". "The players failed". "Let's call it a draw".)
After 18 years GMing in that group I know I will never be able to imagine what kind of crazy demented action they will attempt. So I just make the NPC react honestly to what they do or don't. And it works pretty well.
The Forgotten One 25th Mar 2018, 3:37 PM Y'know, I didn't expect the God of Forgetting to Affect the Players Too edit delete reply
So wrote a long thing, but don't have an account, here's the short.

Made a character unsuited to setting. Team failed the plot and fell apart. I got annoyed with being ignored and created a forgotten deity of the void to explain it. Got out of hand, made whole pantheon. Tried REPEATEDLY to start a plot based on that. Failed.

Few years later being continually ignored led to the end of the world. Maniacally satisfying for me, but several others hated it.