D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept Help)

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D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept Help)

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

If you want to have a really memorable gaming experience try and kill your own party.

In the middle of a big fight find a point where you can kill a one or more members of your own party and escape with some loot.

My old D&D group sent a chain email in which we discussed our favorite D&D moments ever, and half of them were party conflicts resulting in the death of characters.

You may not enjoy having a fellow player stab you in the back and kill your favorite character, but you will never forget it.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

... people also never tend to forget that time they were kidnapped and had parts of their body mutilated until they were finally rescued. It doesn't mean they want to go and hang out with their torturer ever again.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby Decker » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:48 pm UTC

Ix, between this and this remind me to never play anything with you.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:... people also never tend to forget that time they were kidnapped and had parts of their body mutilated until they were finally rescued. It doesn't mean they want to go and hang out with their torturer ever again.


Well if friends stop playing D&D with you over some harmless, fictional game, backstabbing, they probably are not really your friends.

Also your analogy fails because it confuses real life with a game about fiction.

Now yes if every adventure turns into 'When will ixtellor backstab us', that will not work.
But if over the course of a few years you have the occasional party conflict... its good and memorable.

You will forget the 900th time you cleared a 'dungeon'. You will remember the time your groups Paladin lost their paladinhood, and in a fit of unbridled rage, killed half your group.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:33 pm UTC

Gee, you're right. People who piss on a couple of years of work on my part and some great times I've had pretending to be an elf or whatever are totally my friends, and I should take that sort of shitty behavior in stride.

Shit I remember? When Tom got to say "I attack the darkness" because it was a completely appropriate action. Using Stunning Fist at level 1 .. on an elephant... and it working. Killing three ogres at level 2 using the tried and true tactic of "RUN AWAY" combined with arrow potshots. My players stealing the doors off the dwarven stronghold because in my elaborate description of the outer defenses and huge door, I only realized where the hinges were when a player said "So the hinges are on the outside, right?"

Stupid silly goofy-ass shit. My drunkenstoned master convinced that the undead army was just a bunch of hallucinations, so he had no problem with sneaking into the huge overrun city to see what they were up to in there because they weren't really real. And pulling it off. Also, the fact that he was a spot/listen monster, and was able to see creatures of fire located in rivers of fire. Most of the spot/listen check calls were "Okay, everyone roll me a spot check, except Dahl-il, and if you fail you're surprised. Dahl-il, roll to see if you can make out the insignias on their cloak pins"

THAT'S the shit I remember fondly. The shit I want to forget involves some jackass trying to steal from the party and wondering why everyone just slaughtered him right then. Because then it was a hour long bitch fest before we got back to the reason we were there - to socialize, bitch about work, and pretend to be dwarves and half-orcs who managed to put aside their differences long enough to work together (which is different from liking each other) because otherwise it wasn't any fucking fun.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:22 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:THAT'S the shit I remember fondly. The shit I want to forget involves some jackass trying to steal from the party and wondering why everyone just slaughtered him right then. Because then it was a hour long bitch fest before we got back to the reason we were there - to socialize, bitch about work, and pretend to be dwarves and half-orcs who managed to put aside their differences long enough to work together (which is different from liking each other) because otherwise it wasn't any fucking fun.


D&D is a game.Your description makes it sound like you can't have fun with your REAL friends unless it is totally conflict free.

How would you ever play Axis and Allies?
"Holy crap Jim I thought we were friends, why the fuck are you attacking my aircraft carrier?"

Do you ever disagree or even discuss politics with your REAL friends?
"WTF Jim, Huckabee isn't some radical ideologue and you don't need to lump him in with Palin"

Ever played a LAN game?
"God dammit fucking shit Jim, I know this is free-for-all mode, but you fucking backstabbed my Zerg expansion base when you knew I was attacking Sallies Protoss fleet. Im out! fuck this and fuck you!!"

D&D is a game.
Once you evolve past dice rolling and get into roleplaying... there should be party conflicts.
And guess what... mature people can have fun being adversarial while playing a game.

Even all good parties can have conflicts.
Don't you dare try and kill my Paladins prisoner even though you are a Chaotic Good Wood Elf, and I just captured the Drow who killed your family. I gave Thelroz my word and swore on my Deity that he would receive a fair trial if he surrended peacefully.

There is no right or wrong way to play D&D. But to automatically dismiss party conflicts as 'not fucking fun' is immature and illogical.
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Re: D&D - Help with character progression...

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:35 pm UTC

Not all games are the same. Axis and Allies is a wargame with.. the Axis versus the Allies. LAN games, unless already set for team play, have the understanding that if you form any sort of alliance, even if the alliance never breaks due to backstabbing, at some point it will have to break in order for someone to win the game. D&D's a co-op "The three+ of us versus the DM" game where even the DM has to be on the side of the players for it to work right with no win conditions built in. At best, the win condition is getting to the end of the module.

And party conflict, while encompassing that douchebag Backstabbin' Ted, usually isn't used in the same way. Party conflict is usually the Elf and the Dwarf arguing loudly, maybe even coming to blows. Party conflict is usually the Paladin suspecting the Rogue of wrongdoing even though they're friends. Party conflict is usually the Knight trying to reconcile his Lord's actions and persona with the evidence the party has uncovered, disbelieving the party as the Lord the knight knows wouldn't do such things. Party conflict is usually two Paladins of the same god arguing about how a particular mandate is to be interpreted. Party conflict as douchebaggery is attacking a party member in the middle of a fight because you want to see what everyone else's reaction is.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Decker » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

Another example. My character from when I was playing D and D had very little respect for royalty or aristocrats. He, ran his mouth off a few times to one of our quest givers. Despite being the one with the highest diplomacy score, they made me stay behind when talking to said quest giver from that point on while someone else made a few diplomacy rolls to salvage the situation.
In my defense, the dislike for royalty thing was in the character bio from the beginning.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Party conflict as douchebaggery is attacking a party member in the middle of a fight because you want to see what everyone else's reaction is.
.


I agree with that part, and in the other thread was mostly joking.

However, if you play an evil character, a selfish character, a power hungry character, and religious zealot, and many many other scenario's you shouldn't shy away from party conflict because you think it will ruin the fun.

Role playing..... I don't get to be NOR want to be evil in real life, in Real life I break NO laws and treat all man with respect. But give me a neutral evil fighter who wants to rule the world... I will kill you if it benefits my goals.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Serrin » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

There's one major reason that D&D games should avoid conflict, unless it's planned for at the start: it messes shit up.

Part of the metagaming contract is that all PCs have a special shiny PC smell that causes them to cluster together and generally cooperate. This makes the game a lot easier for everyone. Can you imagine what would ensue if the group decided to be two different groups, just because? Or if one guy would rather wander off and find some dragons, instead of clearing out the dungeon? Or if half the party decides to kill the other half before the adventure even begins? Yes, that's right. One or more bored (possibly angry) people. Kill someone mid-game? They're going to be bored, since they can't play any more. Throw the adventure off-track? DM is going to be pissed you sent preparation straight down the toilet. Split the party? One fraction of the party is going to be bored at any given time unless you railroad them to be inseparable.

The way my old group handled it, after a series of betrayals and intrigues, is this: if you do anything intentionally counterproductive, you're out of the party. If you make too many "accidents", you're out. If you actually oppose the party, you die. You may die later that night when everyone gangs up on you in your sleep, Full Metal Jacket style, instead of in the middle of combat with the ogres. But you will die. Either way, the group actually resembled a real life group where people put their survival in another's hands. If you even smell disloyal, you're out one way or the other.

Really, really good roleplaying comes out of trying to resolve conflict WITHOUT violence, splitting the party, or succumbing to the poisonous lure of the PC smell.

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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Grop » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:52 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:However, if you play an evil character, a selfish character, a power hungry character, and religious zealot, and many many other scenario's you shouldn't shy away from party conflict because you think it will ruin the fun.

Role playing..... I don't get to be NOR want to be evil in real life, in Real life I break NO laws and treat all man with respect. But give me a neutral evil fighter who wants to rule the world... I will kill you if it benefits my goals.


I agree with that. However, unless your character has just met the rest of the party, they should already know about its personality and not trust it. Unless they decided to play naive characters (then maybe you'd better manipulate them than slay them) or you gave them no hint on your character's personality (which is poor roleplaying, imo), I think betraying them is okay.

If your character has just met them, and is incompatible with the group, you probably designed it wrong.

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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

Grop wrote:However, unless your character has just met the rest of the party, they should already know about its personality and not trust it.


I have been on adventures, where it never got past the opening encounter.
One time, a group of evil adventureres who had gone on a few quests togeather was in a dangerous location ( I forget the details) and got lucky enough to enounter another group of demi-humans and not the local bad guys? (I.E. Encountering a dwarf group in the UD instead of Driders).
The DM assumed that this would create the 'party'. But instead, 2 of the new members were 1st level Mages. (They had just rolled up new chars and were joining the level 3's or whatever)
So evil Fighter (Me) convinces another evil fighter (other dude) that these apprentice mages probably had spellbooks that we could sell for a lot of gold. So we end up killing the two level 1 mages, only to be killed by a lawful neutral fighter who felt he had a duty to protect, and then avenge them. The adventure ended with 1 survivor and never made it past that opening sequence. My friends still laugh about it to this day.

Serrin wrote:Can you imagine what would ensue if the group decided to be two different groups,


I have been on many adventures like that. Sometimes our 'plan' involves splitting up.
Group A escort the prince back to town, Group B finish hunting down the Minotaur Warlord.

The worst one involved a massive fight when Group A had discovered a major key to solving a puzzle and wouldn't share it with Group B who they did not trust. A Mage from group A tried to read the thoughts of a member of Group B, messed up some roll, and was discovered... resulting in a giant Brawl where Group A was wiped out with the exception of a Psionicst who barely managed to teleport away at the last second.
(I am still pissed about that initiative roll)

Because that surviving member was basically incompatable and unplayable with the Group B, he rolled a new character and the DM would use the Psionisct as an NPC that would constantly fuck with the group.

It all worked out fine, nobody ended a friendship. Its the most talked about adventure ever (in our group) with fond memories including the almost innocent characters who died that day.

Serrin wrote:The way my old group handled it, after a series of betrayals and intrigues, is this: if you do anything intentionally counterproductive, you're out of the party. If you make too many "accidents", you're out. If you actually oppose the party, you die.


Thats how it should be.
I don't recall any 'betrayals' that didn't end up with people rolling new characters.
Only becomes a major headache when its a high level campaign.

Which brings me to a new topic, maybe new thread:
The most important aspect of enjoying D&D, in my opinion, is having an emotional connection to your character. Yea new thread material.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby The Utilitarian » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

I'm with SecondTalon on this one: backstabbing your D&D party is a serious problem. Want to make an analogy to normal video games? Fine. it's TEAM KILLING. Nobody loves a team killer. I actually just recently abandoned ship on a pirate themed D&D game after one of the players decided that as soon as someone was knocked unconcious his first goal would be to attempt to loot that player's body and then throw him overboard. This is not good. Infact, not only did that game fall to pieces one session short of the rest of the party killing the character and excommunicating the player, but I found out afterwards that the problem player in question was pulling similar shit in another campaign he was playing in, from which he was also excommunicated.

Now yes, you CAN run evil campaigns with an implicit or explicit understanding that backstabbing and jackassery will happen, but people know the rules going in to such a game. There's an understanding that you're introducing a new element to the traditional D&D game.

Now, PCs can disagree, and sometimes that can even lead to dramatic changes in a game. I recall once upon a time when the party had captured an enemy solider, and were intent on torturing information out of him. Cruel, but the majority of the party felt it was justified given the stakes in play. The party cleric, however, disagreed. LG cleric of Boldrei (god of Hearth and Home in Eberron) felt that such actions were not justified, and thus when the conflict couldn't be resolved, decided that his character would leave the party rather than be part of such actions. Now, this was a big thing and a memorable moment, but he didn't do it to screw with everyone else, he just felt that it wasn't compatable with his character. Everyone backed him up on the decision out of game, even if the characters disagreed.

THAT is memorable, well played party conflict.

Betraying your party for cash is not. I don't care if your character would do it or not, if he would, you shouldn't have brought that character into the party in the first place.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:Now yes, you CAN run evil campaigns with an implicit or explicit understanding that backstabbing and jackassery will happen, but people know the rules going in to such a game. There's an understanding that you're introducing a new element to the traditional D&D game.
Oddly enough, in the few evil games I've ran/been in, the party is tighter knit than the good games.

See, in a Good Game, if you're a standoffish guy who occasionally goes against the best interests of the party, everyone else kinda does the whole "He may be a jerk, but he means well" "He's just a little misunderstood, let's give him another chance" "Alright, since he can't keep quiet when confronted with Royalty, let's just leave him in the Inn when we meet the king..."

In an Evil Game, if they're feeling nice the party calmly and logically explains the horrific things they're going to do to you, then kill you, then continue to explain the horrific things they're going to do to the body. And if there's a ring of regeneration involved, the fun never stops.

Good Party - Mess up, get forgiven, repeat. Evil Party - Mess up, get killed. Problem solved.

After the first evil game, where one character was put down repeatedly until he finally "got it" and realized what was going on (despite having it explained to him many times beforehand) the party was very tightly knit in a "Fuck with Tim, you're fucking with all of us. And we're not nice people" kind of way, where in some Good parties when Tim gets involved in something a little unsavory, some PCs help while some, still roleplaying, abstain either because they cannot be a part of it, or because of a "Tim made the mistake, he can figure his own way out" mandate.

All that said.. yeah, usually if you're going in to an evil game, you probably have an idea that it's going to be rough at first.

Bringing a character that would betray the group for some coin to a good game - you're a dick.

Bringing a character that would betray the group for some coin to an evil game - You're fine. And you're probably fully aware of what you just did, who you just pissed off, and since you've been traveling with them, you know fully what they're capable of. Sweet dreams!
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Decker » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:46 pm UTC

Now I want to try an evil game.
I think I'm too nice though.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

Really, Evil Games are just like Good Games, only you don't feel like a jerk for cutting off the merchant questgiver with a "I don't care. What do you want me to do, and how much are you paying...... uh huh, so clear out Goblin Cave, you give us 200 Gold, and we keep what we find? Sold. We'll be right back. Have that 200 gold ready.

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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:31 pm UTC

Chalk me up as someone who is happy to not play D&D with Ixtellor. If that means I'm not Ixtellor's friend... bonus?

It appears that, in your experience, massive inter-party PK is relatively common. It is a matter of "Will Ix's character go batshit again and kill us? Sigh, why bother creating a story with someone who plays like Ix."

I understand that is what you like doing: it isn't what I'm looking for in a game of D&D. I know people who play D&D like that: I don't play D&D with them. If one of my friends thought that my dislike of playing PK-D&D with him meant I wasn't his friend any more, I'd probably wonder about his priorities, and back away slowly. I won't dictate that he play cooperative D&D in order to be my friend, but I won't play PK-D&D with someone just because he's my friend. No more than I'd cross country ski every 2nd week with someone just because he's my friend (I don't like cross country skiing either). And if someone says "play PK-D&D or I won't be your friend", then ... so be it.

If I was playing a cooperative game of D&D, and someone started playing PK-D&D, I wouldn't feel at all bad saying "this is the wrong game for that", and if it kept up "feel free not to come back next week".

Similarly, if someone I got together to play board games with would constantly "join the other side" (play axis and allies as the Russians, and play to help out the axis, as an example)... I probably wouldn't want to play board games with that guy either.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Chalk me up as someone who is happy to not play D&D with Ixtellor. If that means I'm not Ixtellor's friend... bonus?


Chalk me up as someone who doesn't think your very bright.

You read a few anecdotal stories, by an anonymous person, without any context and your going to arrive at that conclusion?

In my 15+ years of playing D&D there were probably a grand total of 12 Player v Player battles.

So this whole "just backstab your party for kicks" isn't applicable. Every PvP battle was the result of role playing. For example in my previous discription of killing two level 1 mages, the previous adventure involved us killing a mage and after selling off loot, got the largest amount from his spellbook... hence the realization that mages spellsbooks are valuble. And then BAM here are two weak, mages with spellbooks.

There was never a surprise of an utter backstab. Players went in full well knowing we were dealing with evils OR it was the result of long standing grievances that finally came to blows.

The only evidence I have that this was a successful system, is that as my old 'core group' incorporated new players over the years... they all loved the way we played D&D. And those that have gone on to play with new groups in their 30's and 40's never find the same satisfying experience. (could be due to novelty). Oh that and the fact that everyone had a shitton of fun and massively enjoyed the experience soo much we are still talking about it 20 years later.

Decker wrote:Now I want to try an evil game.
I think I'm too nice though.


It just takes roleplaying. Create a character you love -- his name, his concept, his background, the reason he is a good gambler, his motivations, his long term and short term goals... and then its all good. (I assumed His, but her's works too)

Me and my friends enjoyed it more when we didn't do something 'just because' we need to do it that way to 'play the game'.

If the DM gives you a shitty setup and you don't go on his actual adventure and instead endup killing a town mayor because he refused to back you in a squabble with the local stablemaster... thats ok if its true to your character.

Frequently, veering off course from the DM's preset adventure is more rewarding.

"Fuck those goblin caves, lets steal a horse!"

I believe it actually makes people far better DM's when they can adapt on the fly.

DM "Well I did spend 3 hours making maps and creating NPC's, but if you guys are hell bent on doing that, then give me a few mins and let me jot down some things... but one last time... Are you sure you guys want to start a Zebra farm?"

The DM is there to describe the world and apply rules, IMHO, not dictate what your character does with their life.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Sir-Taco » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

I will never forget my first few games of D&D, the second one was hilarious. We arrived in a town and a few orcs decided to attack, in the combat that ensued our rouge ran off. Then me being a bumbling monk set the general store on fire... I forgot how. Everyone died apart from me, who jumped out of a window and ran away, and the rouge. To top it off one of the orcs managed to slice its own head off.

Man now I want to play some more.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby The Utilitarian » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:23 am UTC

Frankly Ix you're ad-hocing your original statement to the point of incoherence at this point. Your original assertion was
Ixtellor wrote:If you want to have a really memorable gaming experience try and kill your own party.

In the middle of a big fight find a point where you can kill a one or more members of your own party and escape with some loot.

And frankly that's a very different situation from
Ixtellor wrote:There was never a surprise of an utter backstab. Players went in full well knowing we were dealing with evils OR it was the result of long standing grievances that finally came to blows.

I don't know what point you're trying to push anymore, but your original statement certainly seems justification enough for me to not want to play D&D with you.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Nemiro » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:11 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:Frankly Ix you're ad-hocing your original statement to the point of incoherence at this point. Your original assertion was
Ixtellor wrote:If you want to have a really memorable gaming experience try and kill your own party.


To be fair that's not really the same as "Always kill your party it's really fun lolzlolzlolz". On the whole I think Ixtellor just plays D&D differently to you guys, with more emphasis on... letting the motivations of characters run their course in all situations, instead of curbing their personalities when it would be harmful to the group. Which (although I've never played D&D before) seems to me would be fine in some cases and less so in others. Losing a character that is very "old" would be a blow, to be sure, but younger characters, or as you said "evil campaign" characters that you value less could be quite funny I'd imagine.

Basically, as someone looking at this from the outside, I would say both could be fun.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:Frankly Ix you're ad-hocing your original statement to the point of incoherence at this point.


Well this topic was split off, and is now out of context.

A guy asked 'what should I do', and being in a mischievous mood I popped in and said "kill your party". I threw in the last line "you will never forget it" because that would in fact be true.

You may have noticed on the forums, but people say 'straight faced' things all the time in an effort to be funny or bizarre or outrageous or clever. I was shooting for outrageous.

However, I do believe that inter-party conflict isn't something you should shy away from, if you believe in honest role playing.

In the real world... evil people are never equals for very long. Either people start accepting one of the 'evils' as their leader and taking orders, or people starting getting wacked (See All of Human History).

So while I firmly believe that playing D&D in whatever fashion you deem is fun is ALWAYS right.... IMHO a good role player won't cling to illogical alliances because it helps the game mechanics.

The Utilitarian wrote:your original statement certainly seems justification enough for me to not want to play D&D with you.


I will give you the benefit of the doubt in that you didn't see the context and that sarcasm is a lot harder to detect on the internet than in person.

I hope you will grant me the same courtesy.

Nemiro wrote:Losing a character that is very "old" would be a blow


Yes it is. I would say losing any character you have invested significant time in can mentally and emotionally hurt.

One of my friends would go on a rampage when this happened to him.
Another one had the same MO. Calmly stand up, take his character sheet and throw it in the fireplace (for reasons unclear, we generally had a fire going) and leave the house without saying a word.

Other people would say "that sucked" hand me the Fighters handbook I need to role up a new character.

But always tempers calm, people realize its a game, and with unmatched fondness look back on those times as the best.

Its also what makes being a sports fan soo rewarding... the emotional highs and lows.

Even strong negative feelings can have a lasting and rewarding impact on your life.
(See Derek Fisher hitting a 3 pointer with .4 seconds left in the Western conference Playoffs against the spurs.... 90 seconds after Tim Duncun won the game with a miracle basket and left only .4 seconds on the clock... an impossible amount of time to make a shot)
HIGHEST of HIGHS to LOWEST of LOW's. Best game ever.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:27 am UTC

If I were to play a D&D game right now (one that is actually successful, since all the ones I've played were failed online ones) then I would probably play a Chaotic Evil/Neutral character who would only go along with the party for as long as they can keep her interested. Which might maybe mean betraying, murdering, or just leaving the party if they fail at that.

I don't see why a game as flexible as D&D should exclude certain playstyles... if my friends wanted to play D&D where there was a meta-agreement about parties and backstabbing etc. then... I honestly would probably not want to play even though I'd almost always play a character who was nice and agreeable. The same reason I really dislike and would not want to play with people in EVE who think that ninja salvaging is some kind of exploit that isn't intended and should be banned. If someone wants to roleplay an evil character, or in my case a character who wants to escape crushing boredom, then why can't they?

I think that things like this should be policed in game... because that makes the roleplaying experience even richer. Is seems like some people play D&D as though it's some video RPG. People who join your party aren't NPCs, nor are they necessarily intrinsic to the story, nor would they necessarily follow tropes associated with normal stories etc. D&D should be actual roleplaying... If someone joins your party and you hardly know them and they have an axe are you really going to give them your back in the upcoming mission or quest? If you know what they're capable of then there is even less reason to not expect them to do something to the party at one point.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Jesse » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:54 am UTC

Gels: It all depends on what kind of group you have. I feel like backstabbing the party is the easy way out, and is just cheap roleplaying I find. The last game I played in was building up some decent party conflict in that my character was a worshipper of death, and dearly wanted to die so he could see Death again. Another member of the party was a young mages soul, trapped in the body of a mechanical golem. Things started off badly between us, since as her soul is removed form her body I felt that it was an affront to Death. This mostly took place verbally until a point where I nearly died, and she was the one to heal me. Now, in most situations saving someone's life could heal that gap between us, but instead, because of my characters deathwish, it just amde him hate her even more.

In a quiet setting he'd have done something about it, however there were nearly always three other party members around, and even then his fear of Shay held him back from doing anything beside making the occasional threat. What I enjoyed about this was it's party conflict that can go on over the entire game. A backstab of the party lasts one session and then it's over one way or another.

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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

Jesse wrote:Gels: It all depends on what kind of group you have. I feel like backstabbing the party is the easy way out, and is just cheap roleplaying I find. The last game I played in was building up some decent party conflict in that my character was a worshipper of death, and dearly wanted to die so he could see Death again. Another member of the party was a young mages soul, trapped in the body of a mechanical golem. Things started off badly between us, since as her soul is removed form her body I felt that it was an affront to Death. This mostly took place verbally until a point where I nearly died, and she was the one to heal me. Now, in most situations saving someone's life could heal that gap between us, but instead, because of my characters deathwish, it just amde him hate her even more.

In a quiet setting he'd have done something about it, however there were nearly always three other party members around, and even then his fear of Shay held him back from doing anything beside making the occasional threat. What I enjoyed about this was it's party conflict that can go on over the entire game. A backstab of the party lasts one session and then it's over one way or another.


Only if the backstab is poorly roleplayed, or out of character. If the backstab in particular is an "easy way out" then it's probably just as bad as poor roleplaying in any other context, whether it be an inconsistant character, character derailment, or a Mary Sue. That also includes character derailment for the sake of keeping the group together.

The problems there are poor roleplaying not that backstabbing or attacking other player characters is inherently poor roleplaying. Although I might agree that it's harder to roleplay well, I still think discounting a playstyle in a game like D&D is wrong. Or rather that it's a show of bad will.

Even if I knew that everyone playing would be playing good characters and that they would never backstab and the party would stick together I would still be turned away from playing if, say, the DM came upto me and said that certain playstyles weren't allowed in their games. I can't exactly explain why, I suppose it's a prejudice to a certain extent. I just really dislike that type of attitude and it would really hurt my interest in playing the game.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Jesse » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:06 am UTC

I don't think anyone has said that it's banned in their games, this all seemed to start around the idea that backstabbing your party is something you should do to spice up the game, which Ix didn't mean in the way he said it, but it's gotten a bit out of that now. I've yet to have a backstab that isn't just bad RP yet, or an excuse for lack of imagination, which is why I'm generally against it.

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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:07 am UTC

I suppose no one has explicitly said they'd ban it. However there are similar attitudes about this stuff elsewhere which I would be surprised to not find from some people in D&D as well. For instance people who think ninja salving in EVE online should be banned (or a bannable offense) solely because they don't like it, when I'd argue the proper action is to take a stand against it in game... ie. kill ninja salvagers or attempt to get them killed, make a note of their character and gank them later, there are methods of dealing with it in game as there are methods of dealing with scamming in EVE online.

Why bother with a sandbox game if you're only allowed to play on the slide?
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:07 am UTC

I'd argue that it's because you and 3+ other people are taking 3-8 hours of their time to get together and do something fun. As it's a closed system, why play with someone who does nothing but piss you off?

IF you and your crew are fine with the unexpected party violence that ends with one or more PCs dead, have fun! Me, it's not my thing. Yelling matches, sure. One PC getting in a fistfight with another, okay. Death? Not my thing.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Vaniver » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:59 am UTC

Eh. I've played a number of evil wizards over the years, and the party has turned on a few of them- one campaign, I spent the second half of it playing a temporary character and playing the wizard who was now working for the evil guys. Story behind the spoiler later. While it was fun and memorable for me, it mostly detracted from the experience- Even in evil games where PKing was allowed/encourarged, it seems worse than a game that's meant to be competitive (for example, playing Diplomacy with your friends). D&D is, at its heart, a cooperative game, and should be played that way.

None of my evil characters have turned on the party; the ones that have fought the party have done so because the party decided they were too much of a risk and needed to be put down. Loose cannon characters in other games have mainly been a headache, though intraparty conflict did lead to significant roleplaying. That significant roleplaying was "how do we keep personality conflicts from tearing this party apart" instead of "I'm going to pretend to be a cool person in an exciting situation."

Spoiler:
So, we were fighting this evil organization headed by someone who wanted to be a god, and the minions were all his converts. Their strike teams used a lot of magical stuff, including an amulet that allowed them to teleport back to HQ. I was the party accountant, and so all of our magic loot went through my hands for IDing and then recording/selling/disbursing. We kept the amulet, thinking that we might do a surprise strike on them sometime, and specifically I kept it on my person.

We were traveling through the mountains to get to this vault where a sword was stored (it was one of five or so that was critical to the BBEG's plans), and had recently been attacked/betrayed/whatever by a random encounter. We see a group of figures up in the distance. I argued that they couldn't be up to any good, and we ought to launch the attack ourselves instead of exposing us to more risk; I seem to remember the party agreeing with me, and I launched off a fireball. They fought back, and we closed; the party realized they were dwarves, and the bard made a diplomacy check or something to convince them it was a misunderstanding and stop the fight, and used some whisper spell to communicate that to the rest of us. My options were finish off the dwarves (I think we had them down to a few), in contravention to the party's (or at least, the bard's) wishes, or standing down. I thought the second one was the better option, since while the character was racist against dwarves he also cared about the party and its mission, and so decided to do the thing that he thought would make them happier.

The party talked to the remaining dwarves and decided that we would help them take their dead to Dwarfton, their nearby city; once there, we talked to their king, who I failed to be properly deferential to and kicked me out of the city (the recent murders didn't help, either). Their seer was also able to determine that the assassin was evil, and so he was also requested to leave; the rest of them stayed and talked to the seer about scrying on the BBEG or something. I seem to remember the assassin also getting some agreement about his plan to kill me- but I don't remember too much.

He meets me outside and attacks; I decided that I wasn't sure that I'd win, and so I pulled out the amulet and used it.

The entire party gasped, then lamented that they had let me keep the amulet without thinking about it.

Once there, my wizard had to join the group or be killed; he then teleported (I think) to the vault and set up a number of traps with explosive runes for the party, including a ruse where I replaced the real sword with twelve identical long swords, each covered with Explosive Runes, and a stone with Magic Mouth on it to make it sound like a puzzle where the wrong choice would lead to an explosion. The party fell for it :P Eventually the DM decided to reinsert me into the party for the final few sessions, by having the wizard hatch a deal with one of the angelic patrons of the party to help me get out of my pledge of service to the BBEG, in return for me helping bring down the BBEG. I seem to remember that also being how I became a lich.

Before the BBEG fight, I acquired a scroll with Gate; a few rounds into the fight, I summoned a Balor, had it use Blasphemy to automatically paralyze the party, then it and I faced off with the BBEG, who unfortunately managed to Heal me before my Flesh to Stones took him down (and I had like a 50% chance of doing it on each one, too). The Balor took him down, then the DM had the party whisked away by the aforementioned angel before it could get to them. They didn't come back for my phylactery, so 1d10 days later I reformed.

The great thing, though? The dwarves weren't going to attack us- but the DM assumed that either we'd attack them, and they'd die, or we'd walk by, and they wouldn't contact us. He never thought we'd talk to them and visit their home, or attack them then pull back. Dwarfton had to be made up on the spot, and I ended up getting kicked out of the party because I made a decision to try and stay in the party (I imagine that if I had just finished off the dwarves, the party betraying me would have been delayed until later).
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:41 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I'd argue that it's because you and 3+ other people are taking 3-8 hours of their time to get together and do something fun. As it's a closed system, why play with someone who does nothing but piss you off?

IF you and your crew are fine with the unexpected party violence that ends with one or more PCs dead, have fun! Me, it's not my thing. Yelling matches, sure. One PC getting in a fistfight with another, okay. Death? Not my thing.


First of all I'd ask the question, why does someone playing in the other corner of the sandpit necessarily piss you off?

And you're talking about 'unexpected party violence' that, again, sounds like poor roleplaying as an out rather than something that was hinted at or that was reasonably expected from the character in question.


Edit:

I think that if a particular character's sole reason to join the party is that they will wait for an opportune moment to kill them and take all their shit (without the intent that the character grows attached to their party or gets involved in the 'quest') then that is more like coming into the sandpit and the throwing and kicking sand at other people. But if your character initially joins for the money, or the quest, or the fun and there are severe breakdowns in the relationship of party members due to certain actions the party takes and a character can't 'take this shit anymore' and decides they're better off killing some or all of the characters, or perhaps just leaving... then it would be absolutely poor roleplaying that would ruin the experience to NOT do that just because it would be nice if we all kept together.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:38 pm UTC

Proper roleplaying a group of elite small-unit combat specialists would involve never, ever taking anyone along who they didn't have good reason to trust implicitly. Because in small unit combat, if you don't trust the guy guarding your back, you are screwed.

This results in "proper roleplayed" D&D involving characters staying the hell away from your evil psychopath (even if they themselves are evil psychopaths).

Short game.

For D&D to work with a single DM in real life, the party needs to mostly stay together (bandwidth problems), and for everyone to get to play they have to be in the party. That means in order for your RL friend to play, your characters in-game have to trust that character enough to let the character travel along with them. This is the meta-game assumption that helps D&D parties happen.

If you are going to violate that meta-game assumption, then you should let the other players (not characters) know first. At which point, they should reject your PC when they meet, and you should sit in the corner waiting a few hours before you get to introduce your next PC. Which sucks.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:03 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Proper roleplaying a group of elite small-unit combat specialists would involve never, ever taking anyone along who they didn't have good reason to trust implicitly. Because in small unit combat, if you don't trust the guy guarding your back, you are screwed.

This results in "proper roleplayed" D&D involving characters staying the hell away from your evil psychopath (even if they themselves are evil psychopaths).

Short game.


Only if you're roleplaying a small group of elite combat specialists and not a group of people drawn together by fate, money, or circumstance to clear some dungeons...

For D&D to work with a single DM in real life, the party needs to mostly stay together (bandwidth problems), and for everyone to get to play they have to be in the party. That means in order for your RL friend to play, your characters in-game have to trust that character enough to let the character travel along with them. This is the meta-game assumption that helps D&D parties happen.


Do you think "Enough trust to travel along with them" is a lot? If you need a rogue's specialist skills but they are an evil prick your character might just keep an eye on them, not trust them, don't let them handle inventory, that is roleplaying... dealing with the situations and conflicts that arise from the emergent gameplay inherent in the sandbox system... What isn't roleplaying, what isn't sandbox, is implicit trust due to a meta rule that forces your characters to be roleplayed as though they're stupid or entirely contradictory.

If you are going to violate that meta-game assumption, then you should let the other players (not characters) know first. At which point, they should reject your PC when they meet, and you should sit in the corner waiting a few hours before you get to introduce your next PC. Which sucks.


'If you are going to'? If you're planning all the while to murder all your friends for fun, as I said previously, that is entirely different from just roleplaying your character well. If you are roleplaying well then you will have absolutely no idea from the outset whether or not your character will leave or, steal stuff, or backstab, because the actions your character takes should be dependant on the actions of not only the other PCs, but the NPCs and the DM. A neutral character might mediate, and it might not be an issue, or the lawful good character might make a big issue about an evil character, a chaotic character might accept that you need the evil person's skills to finish the job and that appeasing them to a certain extent is beneficial if it means you have more people on your side to get the job done.

That is what is so stupid about a rule like that, if the characters do stuff that entirely conflict with my character's history and would make my character distrust them forever, I have to ignore it? Why the fuck should I even play a roleplaying game at all if I can't roleplay? What is worse is that while this rule prevents people from legitimately roleplaying their character... it also prevents the other PCs from legitimately roleplaying their conflict, compromise, resolution, etc. with such a PC, and to a certain extent this rule could be seen as an out for poor roleplaying ability.



Edit: The way you're suggesting it, again, makes it sound like the people you play with play D&D as though it's a video RPG focused around combat and getting epic loot and saving the world, finishing epic quests, etc... and it seems like you treat roleplaying a secondary characteristic to that experience. Whereas I see it the other way around, I find the fun in having well written interaction between the characters, the NPCs, the world setting that has been established within a set framework of constraints and rules on how your character interacts.

A roleplay, a story, about a group of fellows or set off to do something great, but then the adventure ends early due to the break down of trust between the characters. Will greed or paranoia break apart the group? Or will they manage to band together to work past that and manage to pull great stuff off? Why is that necessarily less fun than a story where everyone is a bunch of holy light warriors and you go kill an enemy that the DM describes (perhaps eloquently) which has a certain set of statistical numbers which you roll on and calculate against each other statistics until the party or the enemy hits a certain threshold and you get XP, spoils, and save the world?

If my character, while trying to escape ennui, pisses off the party to the point that they brutally murder her... as long as the roleplaying isn't poor then I would be absolutely fine with that.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:46 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Only if you're roleplaying a small group of elite combat specialists and not a group of people drawn together by fate, money, or circumstance to clear some dungeons...

Going into a bunch of tight corridors to fight monsters with someone you don't trust is stupid.

Working as a merc in a small combat unit with someone you don't trust is stupid.

Of course, there is the "we are on the run for survival" kind of adventure. But once the pressure eases off, teaming up with someone you don't trust ... is stupid.

Do you think "Enough trust to travel along with them" is a lot?

Enough trust to travel with someone armed to the teeth and capable of killing you in your sleep, with the displayed inclination to kill things, in a land where nobody will prosecute them if they do so...

Fuck yes.
If you need a rogue's specialist skills but they are an evil prick your character might just keep an eye on them, not trust them, don't let them handle inventory, that is roleplaying...

If your character is stupid or desperate, hanging around with an evil prick that you don't trust for specialist reasons is reasonable. At the same time, you get the fuck away from them the moment you are no longer desperate.

Look: we live in a society where if someone kills us, they have an upwards of 50% chance of spending the rest of their lives in jail. Ie, they will probably get caught.

Even then, criminal organizations tends to consist of packs of people who trust each other, and if you aren't trustworthy within the organization you are marginalized. Huge parts of them are based around enforcing their rules on each other -- and the power structure tends to be highly hierarchical, with a small group of mutually trusting individuals surrounding the boss, and layers of trust and dependency going down (sort of like a feudal structure).

So yes, D&D characters who hang around with an evil prick of a thief that they have no reason to trust for longer than they are desperate are idiots. The players who do so are playing with their friend, which makes it make lots of sense.
That is what is so stupid about a rule like that, if the characters do stuff that entirely conflict with my character's history and would make my character distrust them forever, I have to ignore it? Why the fuck should I even play a roleplaying game at all if I can't roleplay? What is worse is that while this rule prevents people from legitimately roleplaying their character... it also prevents the other PCs from legitimately roleplaying their conflict, compromise, resolution, etc. with such a PC, and to a certain extent this rule could be seen as an out for poor roleplaying ability.

Make characters who have a reason to trust each other. Then the framework of the gaming table functions better.

If your character has no reason to trust the party, and vice versa, barring desperation or idiocy, the party should not be traveling with that character. Which makes for a boring play session, because either the kicked out character doesn't play, or the DM has to split his attention between different separate groups.
Edit: The way you're suggesting it, again, makes it sound like the people you play with play D&D as though it's a video RPG focused around combat and getting epic loot and saving the world, finishing epic quests, etc... and it seems like you treat roleplaying a secondary characteristic to that experience. Whereas I see it the other way around, I find the fun in having well written interaction between the characters, the NPCs, the world setting that has been established within a set framework of constraints and rules on how your character interacts.

While D&D is a set of rules about small unit tactics with an RPG element tacked on, the above is mostly true of most every tabletop RPG.

You have 1 DM. That DM cannot deal with two+ groups effectively. So either the party stays together, or only a fraction of you "play" at one time.

In many RPG worlds, there isn't a huge social structure hanging around that makes hanging around with strangers you don't know, don't trust, and cannot protect yourself against, possible with any kind of reliable safety. So in order for the party to stick together, the characters need to trust each other (ie, form a pack of some kind), be stupid, be desperate, or ridiculously reckless.
A roleplay, a story, about a group of fellows or set off to do something great, but then the adventure ends early due to the break down of trust between the characters.

Break down of trust? But why was there trust to start with?

We aren't talking about a nice, safe modern society. A stranger shouldn't be trusted simply because they are a stranger -- you only trust people you have a strong reason to trust, if you aren't a fool.
Will greed or paranoia break apart the group?

Paranoia? It isn't paranoid to get the fuck away from the evil assassin/thief.

It is insane to stay near that thief. Killing him is probably more dangerous (in a 'real' world) than just backing off. If that thief is controlled by some player who is about to be bored if the thief is written out of the story, the chance that the player will find some excuse to get violent goes way up, so killing him is safer.

Of course, killing the thief runs into the problem that you just massively increased the chance that some other strange misfit will show up that wouldn't have otherwise... weird that.
Or will they manage to band together to work past that and manage to pull great stuff off?

"Manage"? You say that as if it was a goal. Maybe for the players, but the characters? Working past "my lack of trust in the evil assassin" isn't a very common in-character goal.
Why is that necessarily less fun than a story where everyone is a bunch of holy light warriors and you go kill an enemy that the DM describes (perhaps eloquently) which has a certain set of statistical numbers which you roll on and calculate against each other statistics until the party or the enemy hits a certain threshold and you get XP, spoils, and save the world?

Who said anything about light warriors? I said people who have good reason to trust each other. Or, to be clear, people who are forced together out of desperation.

A bunch of criminal thugs can have good reason to trust each other. A set of charmed thralls of a sorceress queen can have a good reason to trust each other. A bunch of adventurers who grew up in the same town, who know about each other's "character" from stories that go back decades, can have a good reason to trust each other even if they don't personally know each other. A set of 5 people with a shard of ebon night embedded into their soul, who must find the true torch of Pelor or when they die have their souls consumed by the abyss, have a strong sense of desperation and a common goal that could lead to mutual trust.
If my character, while trying to escape ennui, pisses off the party to the point that they brutally murder her... as long as the roleplaying isn't poor then I would be absolutely fine with that.

Would you be ok with "the party isn't interested in your character coming along. Make another character."

And that happening for the first 5 weeks you play?

If that makes you think "then I'll make a character that attacks the other PCs if they refuse to let me join", then that is not being OK with it. The in-character party should have no negative repercussions from refusing your character, other than refusing your character (that character could attack the party when they refuse to let him travel with the party, but only if it is a in-character thing to do -- the fact that the character will become an NPC once the party rejects his introduction shouldn't change your characters behavior).

But wait! What if 4/5 of the party are willing to make their characters behave like reckless idiots and put their lives in the hands of utter strangers, many of which are visibly evil or otherwise mentally disturbed? Then the one player who doesn't join gets punished, because his character is probably tossed away.

It just doesn't work. One DM, one party -- party splits, game splits. Party stays together, game stays together. Meta-game agreement to "find a reason for the party to stay together", and someone who is a self described roleplaying purist decides that "his character would travel along (so, you know, the player can play), but otherwise not trust the group (or be trustworthy to them)." That, to me, is a very strange set of characteristics that these 5 near-strangers happen to all have.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Vaniver » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Make characters who have a reason to trust each other. Then the framework of the gaming table functions better.

If your character has no reason to trust the party, and vice versa, barring desperation or idiocy, the party should not be traveling with that character. Which makes for a boring play session, because either the kicked out character doesn't play, or the DM has to split his attention between different separate groups.
Indeed. I'm building a reason for the party to trust the evil wizard I'm playing in an upcoming game (what? They're fun!), and hoping that things will work out better. Them having a legitimate in-game reason to trust me is more important than just an out-of-game reason that Vaniver's never attacked them first.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:54 am UTC

Yakk wrote:
Do you think "Enough trust to travel along with them" is a lot?

Enough trust to travel with someone armed to the teeth and capable of killing you in your sleep, with the displayed inclination to kill things, in a land where nobody will prosecute them if they do so...

Fuck yes.


You're treating evil characters (not that the PCs would necessarily know they're evil...) as though they're cartoony psychotic evil who stab because "stabby and blood is fun!"... My chaotic evil character wouldn't really have all that much reason to randomly attack the party while fighting monsters or while asleep and turn the whole party against her...

Once again, as I said again, characters who are out to kill the party from the outset aren't really realistic characters, and that's poor roleplaying. Chaotic Evil characters aren't necessarily psychotic killers... The only reason she would ever come to blows with the party would be if the party gave her reason to. This is the aspect of roleplaying I was talking about previously... The difference between a Chaotic Evil character and a Chaotic Good character is that if the party really pisses off the evil one the evil one might come to violence... but seeing as they're out numbered they probably won't and the Good character would be much less likely to come to violence. The other difference would be intent.


While D&D is a set of rules about small unit tactics with an RPG element tacked on, the above is mostly true of most every tabletop RPG.


I'll assume you meant to say it's a "set of rules about small unit tactics with a roleplaying element tacked on" I disagree... D&D is a 'roleplaying game'... it fuses a game (the rules about combat and interaction with the world) with roleplaying. Opposed to a game, which is just statistics rolling against one another and opposed to free roleplay with no rules (and typically people with Mary Sues, God modders, puppeteers, unrealistically cartoonish characters) an RPG is both.

The genre 'RPG' for video games is often a misnomer... a term stolen FROM tabletop RPGs because they have a similar system of statistics and roles and leveling up etc. Only more recent ones really have any roleplaying as the term is meant in "Tabletop RPG" in them at all (like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.)

Paranoia? It isn't paranoid to get the fuck away from the evil assassin/thief.

It is insane to stay near that thief. Killing him is probably more dangerous (in a 'real' world) than just backing off. If that thief is controlled by some player who is about to be bored if the thief is written out of the story, the chance that the player will find some excuse to get violent goes way up, so killing him is safer.


Only if they're a poor roleplayer. Killing poor roleplayers who play cartoonishly evil characters is safer :-/.

"Manage"? You say that as if it was a goal. Maybe for the players, but the characters? Working past "my lack of trust in the evil assassin" isn't a very common in-character goal.


It's more an obstacle than a goal. Hence 'work past'. The assassin might be someone you're employed to take, or maybe they have unique skills that you need, maybe they're just the best person for the job, maybe they're the only person willing, maybe one of the other characters wouldn't come without their lifelong partner coming with them? There is infinite reasons that one might take an evil character in the party... again, not that they'd know that they're evil (unless you could stereotype in game about their class, like class X requires evil alignment so the characters could stereotype about how all Xs are usually kind of evil).

Really, if the evil character is obviously, from the start, evil, then it probably isn't being roleplayed all that well... especially since there really shouldn't be any situations where the morals of the characters are put to the test until after the journey starts. There isn't really more in game reason to distrust an evil character over a good character... after all the PCs possibly don't really know either of them and they have no idea about the person's history... a good character might get violent if they had a bad experience with criminals in the past and they find out one of the other PCs, while good, is a reformed criminal from the same gang that the other character has horrible relations with (for various reasons).

Again... I'd say that a well played evil character, unless they are actually entirely crazy (although I'd argue that, like the evil character who is out to kill the party from the start is a bad character to play) is only slightly more likely to get violent with the party than a good character is... and that should only really happen if there is an extreme breakdown between the characters and even then it might just only cause a leave.

Who said anything about light warriors? I said people who have good reason to trust each other. Or, to be clear, people who are forced together out of desperation.


My point was that I don't personally see a story of characters who join a party with an initial goal but then fail due to the breakdown of relationship between the characters (what you kept calling a "short game" or something) as being less fun than a story where there is no conflict between characters and the only conflict that exists is between the party and monsters.

Would you be ok with "the party isn't interested in your character coming along. Make another character."


If the party isn't interested in my character coming along then that is it. In real life you don't get to roulette who you work with until you find someone who you like... if you decline someone in real life you don't get them. So if they didn't want to play with my character then that would be it, game over, I'd head home and play some video games. It's not a matter of being sore about it, it's entirely understandable, it's just that that is the character I want to roleplay and if I am roleplaying that character and they get kicked out then that is the end of the story for her.

If that makes you think "then I'll make a character that attacks the other PCs if they refuse to let me join", then that is not being OK with it.


Did you even read anything I said in previous posts?

The in-character party should have no negative repercussions from refusing your character, other than refusing your character (that character could attack the party when they refuse to let him travel with the party, but only if it is a in-character thing to do -- the fact that the character will become an NPC once the party rejects his introduction shouldn't change your characters behavior).

But wait! What if 4/5 of the party are willing to make their characters behave like reckless idiots and put their lives in the hands of utter strangers, many of which are visibly evil or otherwise mentally disturbed? Then the one player who doesn't join gets punished, because his character is probably tossed away.

It just doesn't work. One DM, one party -- party splits, game splits. Party stays together, game stays together. Meta-game agreement to "find a reason for the party to stay together", and someone who is a self described roleplaying purist decides that "his character would travel along (so, you know, the player can play), but otherwise not trust the group (or be trustworthy to them)." That, to me, is a very strange set of characteristics that these 5 near-strangers happen to all have.


Again, I should point out, that you keep talking of evil characters as if they're necessarily psychotic... a good character can be mentally disturbed in much the same way an evil character can. A good character who has mental problems and grows paranoid of what the other party members are doing might attack them on the basis of self-preservation, or attack them on the basis of trying to do 'good'... while it would be weird to take someone who is obviously severely mentally disturbed it wouldn't really be all that strange to take someone who just doesn't feel all that much empathy... or someone who just doesn't care all that much about actually saving people but just finds adventuring fun, or wanting to find loot/rewards.

Really, a chaotic evil character would have to be either greatly mentally disturbed... or greatly emotionally disturbed from the actions of the party (ie. the party did something that conflicts with the character's history) to ever reasonably think of attacking them unless their character has absolutely no sense of self-preservation (and pretty much all have, except perhaps that example of the deathseeker earlier). This pretty much goes the same for a good character too...
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Vaniver » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:51 am UTC

Gelsamel, it's pretty clear that Yakk is talking about the character described in the OP, not evil characters in general. Ixtellor's talking about people who attack their party for the hell of it.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:55 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Gelsamel, it's pretty clear that Yakk is talking about the character described in the OP, not evil characters in general. Ixtellor's talking about people who attack their party for the hell of it.


I thought Yakk said he was talking about situations where you couldn't "implicitly trust" a particular character...
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Vaniver » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:04 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I thought Yakk said he was talking about situations where you couldn't "implicitly trust" a particular character...
And extended it to evil psychopaths too. Even if your group is the Manson Family- if someone seems like they will turn on you for fun or profit, then prolonged, voluntary interaction with them is an idiotic move. Alignment isn't the matter, trustworthiness is.
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:57 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:I thought Yakk said he was talking about situations where you couldn't "implicitly trust" a particular character...
And extended it to evil psychopaths too. Even if your group is the Manson Family- if someone seems like they will turn on you for fun or profit, then prolonged, voluntary interaction with them is an idiotic move. Alignment isn't the matter, trustworthiness is.


But Yakk said there should be a meta-agreement that the characters can trust each other (or rather that there is a reason that they should trust each other) but having a reason wouldn't prevent other events from happening that break that trust. Pulling an excuse out of your ass to stick together just because it's part of the agreement is ridiculous. And the original reason to go as a group could be any number of simple reasons. Perhaps even as simple as just that all the characters were hired individually but are required by their employer to work together...

The meta-agreement itself is ridiculous because if you want to require a reason for the party to stick together then it's part of the job of the DM to have a scenario that encourages partying and the characters to want to setup a party... there shouldn't be some extra-framework rule or assumption because these conflicts are things you can often be resolve reasonably game and if you can't reasonably, within roleplay, resolve the conflict... then you shouldn't just waive the conflict just because.

And... that gives me a really awesome idea for a scenario...
"Give up here?"
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"Do you think games are silly little things?"
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Re: D&D - Making it Memorable (Split from Character Concept

Postby Yakk » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:09 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:
Yakk wrote:
Do you think "Enough trust to travel along with them" is a lot?

Enough trust to travel with someone armed to the teeth and capable of killing you in your sleep, with the displayed inclination to kill things, in a land where nobody will prosecute them if they do so...

Fuck yes.
You're treating evil characters (not that the PCs would necessarily know they're evil...) as though they're cartoony psychotic evil who stab because "stabby and blood is fun!"... My chaotic evil character wouldn't really have all that much reason to randomly attack the party while fighting monsters or while asleep and turn the whole party against her...

No, I'm treating evil characters like modern criminals, or like greedy people in a land without practical law enforcement.

If someone is a stranger to you, and you kill them, you can take everything they own. In a pre law-and-order society, other than the risk of actually killing them, there where not negative repercussions from doing so. So, if you are selfish and a stranger lets down their guard, you proceed to dispatch the stranger.

Doing it while fighting monsters is stupid, because the monsters could win and kill you as well. Doing it while they are sleeping? Smart, because they are probably defenceless.

Of course, if you have a reason to mutually trust each other, that trust is valuable.

We live in a world where there are a myriad of social connections, and the information travels faster than footspeed, with a police force that is pretty darn good at tracking down people who commit murder. Even an "evil" person in a world like today would have to be a fool to commit murder out of anything except for desperation. Without fast communication, an effective police force, etc -- taking out someone is no longer nearly as dangerous, other than the direct conflict at the time.
Once again, as I said again, characters who are out to kill the party from the outset aren't really realistic characters, and that's poor roleplaying.

They aren't "out to kill the party", they are willing to do what it takes to get whatever they want. And if these weird strangers who have a lot of high value items are fools enough to let down their guard, they have much better treasure than the orcs do.
Chaotic Evil characters aren't necessarily psychotic killers... The only reason she would ever come to blows with the party would be if the party gave her reason to.

They have 100s of gp in items, are easy to kill, and there are very weak penalties for doing so.

And in any case, it doesn't matter if a given random heavily armed professional killer will do this to you: why would anyone trust a random one, when even if the one you hooked up with is a tad squeamish? The only people who kill near strangers for resources in todays society are fools. It is natural to project that onto a nearly lawless fantasy world... but it doesn't mean it is actually reasonable.

Xenophobia (fear of people who aren't just like you) is an effective survival strategy when your only safety is knowing someone well enough to trust them, and having them embedded in a web of mutual dependencies such that if they screw you they get screwed.
While D&D is a set of rules about small unit tactics with an RPG element tacked on, the above is mostly true of most every tabletop RPG.
I'll assume you meant to say it's a "set of rules about small unit tactics with a roleplaying element tacked on" I disagree... D&D is a 'roleplaying game'... it fuses a game (the rules about combat and interaction with the world) with roleplaying. Opposed to a game, which is just statistics rolling against one another and opposed to free roleplay with no rules (and typically people with Mary Sues, God modders, puppeteers, unrealistically cartoonish characters) an RPG is both.

No, I was stating how D&D was written. They took war-gaming rules, adapted them for small unit tactics, and then tacked on a roleplaying element.
Paranoia? It isn't paranoid to get the fuck away from the evil assassin/thief.

It is insane to stay near that thief. Killing him is probably more dangerous (in a 'real' world) than just backing off. If that thief is controlled by some player who is about to be bored if the thief is written out of the story, the chance that the player will find some excuse to get violent goes way up, so killing him is safer.
Only if they're a poor roleplayer. Killing poor roleplayers who play cartoonishly evil characters is safer :-/.
Cartoonish evil?

It isn't cartoonish evil to kill someone just because (A) you can get away with it easily, (B) there will be next to no repercussions from doing so, and (C) you'll make a small fortune off it.
It's more an obstacle than a goal. Hence 'work past'.

An obstacle? Trusting someone who isn't trustworthy is a mistake, not an obstacle.
The assassin might be someone you're employed to take, or maybe they have unique skills that you need, maybe they're just the best person for the job, maybe they're the only person willing, maybe one of the other characters wouldn't come without their lifelong partner coming with them? There is infinite reasons that one might take an evil character in the party... again, not that they'd know that they're evil (unless you could stereotype in game about their class, like class X requires evil alignment so the characters could stereotype about how all Xs are usually kind of evil).

If you don't know if someone is trustworthy or not, you avoid interacting with them. Because non-trustworthy people are ridiculously dangerous to trust, and you cannot have close-in interaction (such as travelling in a small group) without some degree of trust.

Thus, a party of D&D characters should have some reason to trust each other in-game that is reasonably strong. If you don't have such, then you either need a meta-game trustworthiness presumption, or you need to roleplay a bunch of fools who trust near strangers.

If you aren't roleplaying fools, and you don't have an in-game reason, then the remaining presumption is meta-game trustworthiness. So when your group of near strangers (the characters) gets together, and one of them ends up backstabbing everyone after a session or three, the other players being annoyed and aghast is reasonable: they had a presumed meta-game trust between players in order for the adventure not to have broken down on day 1, and the other player used it then had their character break it.

If a good percentage of your initial group forming doesn't reduce to a minority of the group actually sticking together, or contain some serious back-story trust-hooks, then you are either playing fools or using meta-game trust presumption.
Really, if the evil character is obviously, from the start, evil, then it probably isn't being roleplayed all that well... especially since there really shouldn't be any situations where the morals of the characters are put to the test until after the journey starts.

Yes, so your characters shouldn't be trusting those strangers. Barring a very strong reason to stick together, you should be avoiding spending a huge amount of time isolated with armed strangers who are not already proven to be trustworthy.
There isn't really more in game reason to distrust an evil character over a good character...

Yep! Don't trust good characters either. Trusting any stranger is foolish in a relatively lawless fantasy world. I mean, why isn't the stranger surrounded by people who trust the stranger? And if it is a group, how do I know they won't gang up on me?
Who said anything about light warriors? I said people who have good reason to trust each other. Or, to be clear, people who are forced together out of desperation.
My point was that I don't personally see a story of characters who join a party with an initial goal but then fail due to the breakdown of relationship between the characters (what you kept calling a "short game" or something) as being less fun than a story where there is no conflict between characters and the only conflict that exists is between the party and monsters.
False dichotomy much?
Would you be ok with "the party isn't interested in your character coming along. Make another character."
If the party isn't interested in my character coming along then that is it. In real life you don't get to roulette who you work with until you find someone who you like... if you decline someone in real life you don't get them. So if they didn't want to play with my character then that would be it, game over, I'd head home and play some video games. It's not a matter of being sore about it, it's entirely understandable, it's just that that is the character I want to roleplay and if I am roleplaying that character and they get kicked out then that is the end of the story for her.
Really? If every 80% of the time when you tried to join a D&D game with your friends, you where rejected, you wouldn't mind at all, and you'd keep coming back to try to play more?

Remember, your friends want to play with you. Their characters, having no serious connection to your character, have far less intrinsic motivation to "play' with your character.

You headed home -- but they want to play with you. Your character is kicked out, because they are roleplaying their characters, and not being fools and trusting some random stranger who came along. Why punish the players for their in-character roleplay decisions by leaving the game?
Did you even read anything I said in previous posts?
Yes. Why do you ask?
Again, I should point out, that you keep talking of evil characters as if they're necessarily psychotic...
No. I'm treating strangers in a lawless world as being dangerous things to trust. Without a reason to trust someone (a strong reason), a being in such a relatively lawless world should be much, much, much more cautious than someone in the world you live in.

Think of the worst neighbourhood you have heard of in the first world. Now imagine if every single place you have ever lived is at least that dangerous. Now imagine you are a woman being asked to come into a dark alley by some large man "my friend needs help, could you come down this ally to help?"

How much should you trust that large man -- a stranger, who might get something for harming you, and has a higher chance of being punished for doing something ridiculously bad to you than they would in a relatively lawless fantasy world? (remember, in a typical D&D game you'll be travelling through the wilderness with that guy)

Sure, maybe 90% of the time that guy who is asking for help from a stranger is going to be safe as houses. But that woman, in a bad neighbourhood, after dark, being asked to go down an alley has more reason to trust that stranger than one has to trust a random stranger in a lawless setting in a typical fantasy world.

I mean, that possibly evil assassin/thief you hired? So long as you are hanging around with someone you trust, don't let him know where you sleep, and never let your guard down around him -- good plan. Sleeping near the guy? Travelling through the wilderness with a complete stranger who is good with weapons and not afraid to use them? Bad idea.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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