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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default What am I supposed to do?

    Apologies in advance for length; this is complicated.

    I have a friend who's developing a "universal" RPG of his own, and who's put together a CthulhuTech game (in setting only)to test his system. I asked about joining that game, and we worked out a character designed to test what is basically his spontaneous casting system. Then he told me to "do my worst".

    See, I have something of a checkered past with RPGs, because I tend to think laterally too much. On the one hand, this has led to a passel of great stories; on the other, very few of these stories were the ones we had originally set out to tell. I kind of self-ban playing primary casters, let alone people with access to modern machine tools. So my worst is bad, but the DM assured me he could match whatever I could come up with as a sort of nerfed sorcerer (which is how he runs parapsychics).

    I took that to mean the enemies would be inventive too. Apparently it meant that nothing in the setting or system was fixed. Some of this makes sense, of course. I can take entire schools of magic being axed for being too powerful (organic chemistry and alchemy mix too well), even from a "basically complete" system, and my spells known halved after the fact, and so forth.

    What I can't take is when the same thing happens to the setting, following a sadly predictable pattern: if I need it, it's not true. When I want to dodge airborne surveillance by meeting someone under a tree, there aren't any parks or green spaces in arcologies. When I want to introduce home aquaponics as a money-making scheme (banking on the lack of greenery being a bit irksome to people), the arcologies are lousy with parks and everyone's full up on plants. The same has been true of nearly every aspect of my character's backstory; the surest way for me never to have met an NPC is to ask if I might still have their number from such-and-so incident a decade ago. Until they turn out to be evil, and suddenly we hung out all the time and he can pick me out of a crowd instantly. Bear in mind, I got my backstory written for me. Numbers jump based on who's asking, and I specifically have to give a detailed reason for any question I ask about the setting--and I can be sure that whatever the answer, it will last until I come up with a new plan based on the implications of that answer.

    Now, the other players have had this happen too, and unfortunately for most people involved I work well with all of them, so they've had it happen a lot more around me. The setting and system are both getting so twisted they're basically unplayable, and the whole thing has taken on a 1984-esque feel where we take nothing for granted because the old world gets constantly sucked down the memory hole. We can show him the chat logs where he definitely said X was true, and the response, paraphrased, is "that was when you wanted to [do A]. Now I'm ruling [X is false]."

    This is the same man who claims we can't derail his adventure because there are no rails and we're free to do anything. I suppose there aren't rails because we wanted to move something by train once.

    Now, I could just leave, but the DM's put a lot of time and effort into this setting and the sessions are still fun; the fundamental inconstancy of the universe just means my plans are a lot more chaotic, which is great in a secret agent game. I'd rather just figure out how to stop pushing his buttons before he nerfs his system beyond playability and goes nuts trying to come up with a setting where nothing we want to do is possible.

    So why might he be taking this approach to DMing, and how do I work with it?

    EDIT: We have a blog now, for dissecting the system:
    http://irolledazero.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2013-04-21 at 04:35 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    SilverLeaf167's Avatar

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Have you considered the possibility that the whole world is actually supposed to be one big Schrödinger's Cat scenario, and it's not just the DM screwing around? That whether something is true is redefined whenever you try to make use of it?

    Ruling that out, the problem is quite clearly the DM, not the system or setting. If he's a mediocre improviser and you've derailed his campaigns in the past, he might be overly cautious about it happening again (though this behavior is a very exaggerated way to handle it). Depending on his personality, he might also be doing it out of spite or to show you just how "powerful" the DMs. I can't really imagine him just trying to preserve his story or whatever, since acting like that is just as likely to ruin the main plot as it is to stop the campaign from being derailed.

    Are there some few, specific things that he lets you do without any problems? If yes, are those things the solution he proposes up front and shoves down your throat? Or are they something you can only discover randomly after having all your other plans shot down?

    That said, if you're all having fun, I don't think there's any real need to fix the problem, and having to worry about the system being nerfed is unnecessary unless the DM blames his ridiculous behavior on someone/something other than himself.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2013-03-09 at 04:09 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    As far as consistently allowed actions go, thus far I've always been able to buy coffee without any problems. So maybe coffee-shops are islands of stability in an increasingly mad world. Insofar as useful actions go, though, we typically hit upon them randomly. He's not the type to suggest things; asking him what we ought to do was the first thing I tried.

    While I haven't thought that the instability of the world is by design, thinking of it that way makes me feel a lot better.

    That said...we are having fun. Just once, though, I'd like an enemy to outsmart us, rather than having us be made to look foolish by forgetting some crucial fact that we knew when last we asked about it, and we're all getting kind of fatalistic about it. Before I came along, there was a reasonable chance that the party's intended course of action could play out.

    I suppose that, as far as fun goes, I'd like to lose rather than be disqualified for once. The game was pitched as two intelligent sides fighting a shadow war; it's a bit discouraging to sit down to play chess and be told there are no pawns in checkers. So I guess what I'm after is a way to understand what he wants out of all this retconning, so that the party can work with it.
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2013-03-09 at 04:41 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    So why might he be taking this approach to DMing, and how do I work with it?
    Because he's a bad GM. What you describe - the physical reality of the setting conforming to his desire to thwart you - is basic railroading. (The actual kind, not the Internet meme "having an adventure is railroadingW kind.) He sounds pretty immature, to boot - "Yeah you can try to wreck the system. *changes everything in response to you trying anything* Lol see I win."

    Unless you can talk to him about it (seems unlikely), your options are to endure it or to leave.
    Last edited by Rhynn; 2013-03-09 at 04:22 AM.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    That sounds utterly terrible. I'd be happy to take a huge poo on his work if he treated me like that.... Jeez!!! "I shot you" "NUH UH!!! I have a bullet proof vest!" Really that is the point of rules for crying out loud. Sounds like he is making his own system so he can be a power mad lunatic. I know I don't know this fella from Adam, but sounds weak.

    I'd just tell him I'm out. Maybe start my own group or see if anyone else wants to GM. I have better things to do with my time that have someone sit across the table from me and say Nope, no, can't, not now, didn't happen, wasn't like that....

    I'd walk out.
    Last edited by Surfnerd; 2013-03-09 at 01:19 PM.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    I'd like to recommend the old standby. Talk to your DM about this problem specifically. It's a surprisingly good way to influence people. I believe with candor and politeness, your friend will at least consider altering his style.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    That's not a game system.

    Well, okay, it's a game system if "wait for a tornado to come pick you up and deposit you at your intended destination" is a transportation system. Random, highly unlikely, almost guaranteed to hurt a lot.

    Serious advice? Since your gamemaster wants feedback, politely but plainly let him know that the methodology isn't resulting in a good game because players lack agency. Be prepared to deal with the likely rebuttal of "But you accomplished X, Y and Z!" -- maybe by showing a preponderance of times that the players could NOT deliberately affect the game, maybe just by saying "You asked for my feedback and that's my feedback."
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    One other thing I would look to try:

    instead of comping up with a clever plan that relies on something - like meeting under a tree, come up with two plans that rely on opposite answers to the easiest way to derail each other - so one plan for trees and one plan for no trees - that way when you ask "are there trees so I can do "X" and the answer is "no" you can immediately respond "this means I can do "Y". If the universe warps in front of you (as some of the posts above suggest and I agree is likely) you can start in character wording just what is going on with the world (something you can probably do already from things like the parks effect). Also if it warps back to have trees plan A is a go again.

    You might also consider asking the DM if you characters remember that there used to be no parks but now they are everywhere... If he is doing these changes and says "no, it's always been that way" then it is definitely time to talk to the DM about why.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    when you ask "are there trees so I can do "X" and the answer is "no" you can immediately respond "this means I can do "Y". If the universe warps in front of you (as some of the posts above suggest and I agree is likely) you can start in character wording just what is going on with the world (something you can probably do already from things like the parks effect).
    We've tried this before. Sequentially implemented plans usually see the variable in question flip repeatedly. Simultaneously suggested plans see the variable in question suddenly become a third option that foils both. Then our characters have their apartment broken into or something, without fail.

    Amusingly, this has extended to physical laws. I've lost count of the number of particles now "immune to special relativity".

    And we've asked before if we remember the world being different; we've always failed the Wisdom check to recall. The DC must be in the 50s by now.

    As far as starting a new game goes, none of the rest of us want to make the time commitment to prep and GM a game. If there were a way to avoid this guy rewriting the world, that would be a lot less hassle. That said, I like the idea of rolling with it and acting like the world keeps shifting around us. Playing Job: A Comedy of Justice: The RPG ... I can work with that.
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2013-03-09 at 06:10 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    We've tried this before. Sequentially implemented plans usually see the variable in question flip repeatedly. Simultaneously suggested plans see the variable in question suddenly become a third option that foils both. Then our characters have their apartment broken into or something, without fail.
    This is seriously the definition of railroading, and the reason that is a negative word.

    "We go this way."
    "You can't, the pass is snowed in."
    "We melt the snow with fireballs."
    "Frost giants show up to drive you away."
    "Great, my initiative is -"
    "They knock you out and you wake up [in place DM wanted you to go]."

    Except your GM isn't even doing it to direct play, just to thwart you. That is even worse. There is no way your DM can get any kind of useful feedback here, and if he tried to run a game like this to most any experienced players who aren't his friends, they'd walk out.

    I think you were joking when you suggested it, but if your GM has in fact codified railroading as a "system", that's the worst idea there is.

    Talk, then walk.

    Or, if you're unwilling to do that, why not match bad behavior with bad behavior? Derail play into long in-character discussions about how the physical reality around you just keeps changing. If that doesn't shame your GM into behaving... well, then nothing, I guess, since you want to stick around for a bad game.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Lord Torath's Avatar

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    I think you should talk to him, and if that fails, then yeah, start playing "Job: A Comedy of Justice: The RPG" and see just how far you can get the laws of reality to stretch.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Your GM might also need help understanding why it's bad and unfun for players to constantly lack agency. I don't have any great ideas on how to get that across, but it seems like it might be a key concept. If he thinks that what he's doing is great for y'all just like it is for him, then he's not going to care much about anything you say to the contrary.

    Maybe he thinks you get your jollies from fighting for control of the game, so he's just trying to give you the best game possible by providing a good struggle.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Okay, I spoke to the GM. At length.

    Apparently part of the reason we're being so hemmed-in is because he already wrote the major plot of the adventure, and us in it, as part of the ascension of his literal author avatar to godhood, so while we're free to do anything ("no rails"), the laws of the universe as delineated by his future in-game self prevent us going outside our assigned role and the world changing to thwart us is an artifact of that.

    As in, there's a character that is literally him in-game through some many-worlds shenanigans who's been going around to all of his favorite fictional universes and "fixing" them, and we're playing in one of the universes he's yet to "fix", and so we need to see how badly off we are before the god that is literally the GM in-universe fixes all our problems for us. Said deity is apparently literally invincible, as well, because he can read his OoC self's mind and knows what we're going to do before we do. Sort of. And apparently he can retroactively switch places with a clone of himself in case we manage to get around all of the above.

    At least that's everything I understood. I don't really know even what to call this other than "not at all how I'm used to playing RPGs".
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2013-03-10 at 07:56 PM.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Yeah, OK. "Wrote the plot in advance" is a warning sign. "Literal author avatar" is a warning in flaming letters a mile high, backed up by two major metropolitan orchestras and a metal band playing ominous music at 200 decibels.

    This is the point where you ask "Dude. What. The. ****? Is there any reason for our characters to exist outside of you showing off?" (Use more profanity if necessary. Watch him sputter. If he can't give you a good reason, politely inform him that while you'd be happy to read this story if he writes a novel, as a player in a game you expect some sort of agency. Make your frustration clear. Failing that, use the folding chair.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    The dark clouds above you part, and descending in the shaft of light is an old man wearing sunglasses, a beach shirt, and shorts, holding a shotgun.

    "AH AM ODE MAN HENDERSHON," the man says with a heavy Scottish, his voice slurring as he is obviously drunk, "AH WUNSH FOUGHT AGAINSHT THE TEERNY OF RAILROADIN, AND NAH I'VE COME TAH HAILP YOU."

    Do you accept his offer?

    Yes. You must work hard for many months at your desk or computer, writing up a two-hundred page backstory and being willing to change details as you go along. If your DM is the type to read such a thing, put in lots of spelling and grammar errors, and call it a rough draft that's good enough for the game.

    No. Go back to your other options.

    ---

    Given the "system" he's using, this probably won't work. But it might, until his author avatar comes along.

    It might convince him to speed up the time it takes to do that, though, and end the game sooner.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    As I recall, there's a standing ban on anything he hasn't read/doesn't want to read, and that goes double for backstories. And triple for scientific journal articles that contradict him. Anything we claim to have for in-character reasons that we haven't paid for with feats or skill points (that don't exist yet because he doesn't want to write them up) usually dies pretty quickly anyway. The most I've gotten out of him for more than a session or so is the ability to speak fluent Irish, and I'm saving having that retconned away for a special occasion. I don't think I can manage a 300-page backstory.

    That said, I may be able to become Old Man Henderson in-game. It's certainly something to look up to.
    Last edited by Trekkin; 2013-03-10 at 10:32 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Okay, I spoke to the GM. At length.

    Apparently part of the reason we're being so hemmed-in is because he already wrote the major plot of the adventure, and us in it, as part of the ascension of his literal author avatar to godhood, so while we're free to do anything ("no rails"), the laws of the universe as delineated by his future in-game self prevent us going outside our assigned role and the world changing to thwart us is an artifact of that.

    As in, there's a character that is literally him in-game through some many-worlds shenanigans who's been going around to all of his favorite fictional universes and "fixing" them, and we're playing in one of the universes he's yet to "fix", and so we need to see how badly off we are before the god that is literally the GM in-universe fixes all our problems for us. Said deity is apparently literally invincible, as well, because he can read his OoC self's mind and knows what we're going to do before we do. Sort of. And apparently he can retroactively switch places with a clone of himself in case we manage to get around all of the above.

    At least that's everything I understood. I don't really know even what to call this other than "not at all how I'm used to playing RPGs".
    What.

    Get out now.

    Alternatively if you want to stay, explain to him at minimum that this is an awful way to test a new system (which it sounded from the first post was the goal of the game).

    It may also be worth telling him that even mild author avatars (DMPCs) can go really badly. This is like a DMPC but orders of magnitude worse. This is like the ultimate Mary Sue made into an RPG.

    Let's put it this way: It is sort of implied in the Dark Tower books that the main reason our universe exists is so that Steven King will be around to write the books which will cause the events in the books to take place correctly. It was obnoxious then, and he only got away with it because a) it wasn't a major issue b) it had some clever aspects and hints early on c) He was Steven King (ignoring temptation to put this in all caps) and d) it wasn't part of a cooperative story telling game.
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    yuk Re: What am I supposed to do?

    This "campaign" that your GM is running just sounds like ego-stroking masturbation to me. Just butt-out dude. Seriously.
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    I am also in this game (and another in the same setting), The GM is actually writing a story on the plot, and its actually fairly good, however I have been noticing in my other campaign, everything my character has accomplished changes nothing since the whole thing is to kill a clone of the Gary Stu character.

    In the game being referenced here I am also playing myself (modified, with the ability to use magic, long story, as a character), and was content to ignore the mary sue in the other game, since I had this one to enjoy being able to try to make a difference, it has recently come to our attention that this is not really the case and now I am unable to ignore the issue.
    The character in question has a power that makes him have more or less absolute control of no less than 3 incredibly advance realities. Where anything he writes about the realities is considered Canon, which might be fine if typical wish warping were in effect, but since he is the GM as well it works perfectly, and he they began attempting to "unify the universe" and bring "better technology" to other worlds.
    Now perhaps this is just me, but Mind controlling major leaders and using time stop for months at a time to take over entire realities (ie mind controlling emperor palpatine into handing over the entirety of the empire) kind of irritates me, the unification of everything also annoys me since even in the most ideal scenario it results in the crushing of more obscure sciences and technologies, and takes away most of the strife that allows societies and heroes to grow. At worse cripples any science besides the one from his world and makes the entire multi-verse vulnerable due to lack of diversity.
    In theory I have the ability to ask the GM to let me have a power similar to the mary sues over a universe I made, but I tend to dislike that type of method for gaining power since I enjoy the struggle and the learning and improving on your flaws. Should I attempt to be an opposing force of chaos to balance out his force of order, to give us some slight chance of actually making a difference however small it might be, despite that requiring me to also get powers that could be considered marysuish, and most likely not working as well as his?
    Another Issue I have been having is that he told me anything that the NPCs can get the players would also have theoretical access to as well, which I accepted at first, since most of the things they had access to that I couldn't get had horrid side effects, but lately, I have been noticing when we want to use something and enemy has there is some reason we can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    It may also be worth telling him that even mild author avatars (DMPCs) can go really badly. This is like a DMPC but orders of magnitude worse. This is like the ultimate Mary Sue made into an RPG.
    PS: I mentioned to him that in all of my attempts at DMing, this was the most major cause of players dissenting, so I have made attempts to make powerful NPCs have flaws that make them more relatable and gives the players something to use against the BBEG, and even at my worst, at least the BBEG had to sacrifice something to get their power, which could be discovered and exploited by the PCs. So I suspect that he knows that DMPCs are typically bad, but assumes that his is more acceptable.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Okay, I spoke to the GM. At length.

    Apparently part of the reason we're being so hemmed-in is because he already wrote the major plot of the adventure, and us in it, as part of the ascension of his literal author avatar to godhood, so while we're free to do anything ("no rails"), the laws of the universe as delineated by his future in-game self prevent us going outside our assigned role and the world changing to thwart us is an artifact of that.
    Ahahahahahaaaaa.

    Yeah, your GM is horrible. I am not being hyperbolic. This is railroading in the most classic sense, but "perfectly justified." Plus a self-insert rising to freaking godhood? This is the sort of crazy crap you only even hear about like once a year. The only type of GM that is worse is the kind who actually abuses or outright attacks his players, and those are really rare.

    RPGs are not novels. You cannot write the plot. There is no plot. There is a story that emerges in gameplay from the interaction of situations, circumstances, characters, and the players' choices.

    Why would you continue to suffer through this?

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Okay, I spoke to the GM. At length.

    Apparently part of the reason we're being so hemmed-in is because he already wrote the major plot of the adventure, and us in it, as part of the ascension of his literal author avatar to godhood, so while we're free to do anything ("no rails"), the laws of the universe as delineated by his future in-game self prevent us going outside our assigned role and the world changing to thwart us is an artifact of that.

    As in, there's a character that is literally him in-game through some many-worlds shenanigans who's been going around to all of his favorite fictional universes and "fixing" them, and we're playing in one of the universes he's yet to "fix", and so we need to see how badly off we are before the god that is literally the GM in-universe fixes all our problems for us. Said deity is apparently literally invincible, as well, because he can read his OoC self's mind and knows what we're going to do before we do. Sort of. And apparently he can retroactively switch places with a clone of himself in case we manage to get around all of the above.

    At least that's everything I understood. I don't really know even what to call this other than "not at all how I'm used to playing RPGs".
    So basically, he has a DMPC who is a god.

    Run, don't walk, from that "game".


    Or if you must stay, have your character sit in a coffee shop all day till he runs out of money. Then have him sit on the street outside that coffee shop begging for money. Your DM will reality shift things soon enough so that he either dies or gets money for coffee, or gets forced to go on a quest to find a coffee shop.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Okay, I spoke to the GM. At length.


    Tell your GM that some guy on the internet said that HIS GAME IS BAD AND HE SHOULD FEEL BAD.

    If he's going to stonewall your every attempt to deviate from his script, you players need to GO ON STRIKE. Hand him your character sheets and tell him to let you all know how it works out, and save yourselves a lot of ongoing Kafkaesque frustration in his World of Futility.

    Or, if you feel like trolling him back for all that wasted time, you could turn it around on him: have all the players COMPLETELY IGNORE his stonewalling every time you get off the railroad tracks, and act like you CAN do whatever he's currently rearranging the laws of physics to prevent. Get the other players to go along with it, and see how furious he gets.

    Then go play RISUS or something. If he apologizes for subjecting you all to that fiasco, let him play, too. Maybe.
    Last edited by Arbane; 2013-03-11 at 02:27 AM.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
    I read this somewhere and I stick to it: "I would rather play a bad system with my friends than a great system with nobody". - Trevlac
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

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    Ashtagon's Avatar

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    If you're worried about no one else being willing to set up a campaign, propose a board game night instead. Settlers of catan has good reviews, so I'm told.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Or, if you feel like trolling him back for all that wasted time, you could turn it around on him: have all the players COMPLETELY IGNORE his stonewalling every time you get off the railroad tracks, and act like you CAN do whatever he's currently rearranging the laws of physics to prevent. Get the other players to go along with it, and see how furious he gets.
    I second this. Have all the players pretend the DM ruled whatever you WANTED him to rule, and just continue the game with a ghost-DM in that fashion. He'll get the message.

    What's he going to do? It's him against all of you. If he leaves, the group exists. If you all leave, there's no group.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    If you're worried about no one else being willing to set up a campaign, propose a board game night instead. Settlers of catan has good reviews, so I'm told.
    This is not even a bad idea. My group's been playing a lot more board games, including Eclipse and Arkham Horror, which means a lot of people who aren't into RPGs joining the table, too - and now one of the guys who hasn't played RPGs with us in years is wanting to try Fiasco or even Mouse Guard at one of the board game nights. Plus good board games are hella fun.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?


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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Thinking this one through a bit, my first reaction was to agree with everyone else (walk away) but it is not the only good option - especially as you say you like this guy's DMing.

    Probably your best option is to go back for another chat with the DM - but I will come back to that later, first let's think of some in-game responses which might help or spark other ideas:

    1) The world is going to pot until the DM turns up to save it and nothing you can do can help anything - so why try to help? - You could actively try to make things worse. Possible reasons includes being fed up at not being able to help; and option 2.

    2) Start a cult prophesying the coming "salvation" by the DM. This can be a nuisance cult, or it could actively try to speed up the DM's arrival by making things worse.
    If the DM was playing fair (which he isn't so meh) people would actually blame him for all the disasters when he turns up - after all they did happen so he could make things better. You won't be able to get mass rallies against him to happen as everyone will love him, but you might be able to operate as individuals trying to shoot/bomb/paintgun/whatever the DM when he arrives.
    Get it right and he will have to render your characters retired (probably not dead, but incapable of acting which equals not a PC) to stop you - at which point no PCs = no running the big I love me celebration afterwards.

    Now thinking about the above and back to talking to him.
    The obvious thing to start with is how very frustrating it is to play in a world where you cannot achieve anything - and how would he like it?
    What you can also do is point out that he might want to think about the implications of his character's actions - and tell him to look up Hero Syndrome. If he thinks about it the world your characters are on is in a bad way because of his character - his character is actually the ultimate "bad guy" responsible for all the woes he will "save" people from. Is that what he really wants his alter-ego to be?

    It might also be worth asking if he has read 'The Number of the Beast' or 'The Cat Who Walks Through Walls' by Robert Heinlein (more the second one). The basic premise is that all universes are reachable and that "all" includes fictional worlds (e.g. they visit Oz). At one point the protagonists speculate that they may be "up against an author". The big difference here is that they are not helpless though.

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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    It sounds to me from the OP that basically you're playtesting the system for the DM. Playtesting isn't really like actually playing the game. One of the things that supposed to happen when you playtest something is that things that don't work get changed, or even things that do work get changed to see if they work better some other way.

    So, some of what's described makes sense in context--for example, axing certain schools of magic because they're too powerful, or halving the starting known spells if the original rules made starting casters too strong. That's the sort of thing that's supposed to happen in playtesting, so I don't see a problem with it. But just randomly changing basic things about the setting to just to keep you from doing things the way you want isn't. The DM seems to be confusing "changing things in the rules that aren't working as intended" with "changing anything that let's the players actually plan their actions". Unless the point is that it's supposed to be a mindsc**w (which doesn't seem likely if it's intended as a universal system).

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    Sith_Happens's Avatar

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Well, since this game is allegedly supposed to be a playtest for a new system, the first thing I'd do before sitting back down at the table is demand to have a copy of the system in its entirety. If he hasn't written all of it yet, then he needs to.

    The next step is to get all rules-lawyery with your DM about his own game system, at every possible opportunity. While this sounds like something that would be in extremely bad taste, in reality it's exactly what you're supposed to be doing (assuming that this is in fact a playtest). Most importantly, every time he makes a ruling that contradicts the rules you've been given, make sure he knows that you can't playtest rules that you aren't using.

    Eventually, he'll either let you actually play his game, or admit that the whole thing is really just an excuse to stroke his own ego at your expense.
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Default Re: What am I supposed to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Well, since this game is allegedly supposed to be a playtest for a new system, the first thing I'd do before sitting back down at the table is demand to have a copy of the system in its entirety. If he hasn't written all of it yet, then he needs to.
    That is a LOT of work, even professional publishing companies don't usually do this. While an outline of the basic mechanics is a good idea, doesn't it seem like a lot of effort to rewrite the same stuff over and over again each time you need to revise the rules.





    As for the OP, how does the Cthulhu mythos actually fit in? It doesn't seem like it does at all, so maybe there is more going on here than the GM is letting on.

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