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    Default Subliminal Messaging

    As a DM, how do you convince players to do what you want (in terms of going a certain direction in a dungeon) without making it obvious that you are doing so?
    Last edited by bc56; 2018-01-02 at 07:32 PM. Reason: To clarify wording

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Be a good DM, and want to do what the players want(within reason).

    Alternatively, tell them what you want and don't try to make things too complicated.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    As a DM, how do you trick players into doing what you want (in terms of going a certain direction in a dungeon) without making it obvious that you are doing so?
    If you don't want them to have a choice, why are you pretending to give them one?

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    For something you want them to break:

    "You see this thing. It looks perfectly ordinary and quite breakable (or unbreakable, it doesn't matter, someone will break it)."

    Other than that, get an NPC to tell them something that will lead them in the right direction.

    Or just tell them which way will be most interesting to you and see if they care.

    One of my favorites is the Wand of Plot Detection. You don't have to tell them what it does. They'll never find out.

    Describe things in ways that sound like options.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    "The left hallway has scratch marks up and down the walls and floor. There is dried blood caked into the scratches throughout and rust colored pools litter the floor. The walls seem to pulsate slightly and after looking in that direction for only a few seconds you seem to feel light headed and uneasy.

    Down the right corridor are cupcakes and hot cocoa. Where would you like to go?"

    Also, the above posters make good points. You could just have the dungeon be linear if you really need the PCs to go a certain way. PCs always do the unexpected. If you need the location to be certain, remove false options. Being railroady isn't great, but doing it sometimes is fine.
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    are you asking us to do research into a setting you wrote yourself?
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    DMG 3.5e page 41:
    "If a player behaves in a way you don't want them to behave, talk to them about it. If they continue, stop playing with them. "
    By RAW, you have to stop playing with the guy.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Why would I want to do that?

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    Imp

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    I would never do anything so deceptive as to undercut their agency.

    I would just rearrange the dungeon so that whatever path they took is the one I wanted them to take.
    Yar! I'm a signature virus, copy me into your signature!

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    BardGirl

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Have an NPC steal their stuff and run away. They will chase him to the end of the world. Just have him run the way you want them to go.
    Last edited by Incorrect; 2018-01-02 at 06:16 AM.
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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by flond View Post
    If you don't want them to have a choice, why are you pretending to give them one?
    You misunderstand my intent. If I didn't want them to have a choice, I would not be putting a fork in the dungeon anyway.

    Let me explain:
    Down path #A, there is a locked door. Down path #B, there is the key. However, the key doesn't look like a key, so it would likely be overlooked if the lock isn't first seen. That is why I want the players to go down path #A first.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    You misunderstand my intent. If I didn't want them to have a choice, I would not be putting a fork in the dungeon anyway.

    Let me explain:
    Down path #A, there is a locked door. Down path #B, there is the key. However, the key doesn't look like a key, so it would likely be overlooked if the lock isn't first seen. That is why I want the players to go down path #A first.
    I like how you think, because else they'd have to backtrack? Hey...but what happens if there is someone with a lockpick when they go down path #A or they decide just to smash the door? We can't have our players come up with shenigans like that! But cool of you to give them choice though, we wouldn't want to take that away from them
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2018-01-02 at 07:20 AM.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    I would never do anything so deceptive as to undercut their agency.

    I would just rearrange the dungeon so that whatever path they took is the one I wanted them to take.
    Absolutely brilliant....it's a linear path but they don't know it......mwuhahah I like the way you think. If only we could find away to control their die rolls!
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2018-01-02 at 07:23 AM.
    Optimizing vs Roleplay
    If the worlds greatest optimizer makes a character and hands it to the worlds greatest roleplayer who roleplays the character. What will happen? Will the Universe implode?

    Roleplaying vs Fun
    If roleplaying is no fun then stop doing it. Unless of course you are roleplaying at gunpoint then you should roleplay like your life depended on it.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Every time your players do something you don't want them to do ask them "Are you sure you want to do that?" and start ruffling your papers ominously. They'll get the message.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    Have an NPC steal their stuff and run away. They will chase him to the end of the world. Just have him run the way you want them to go.
    this is too true. it's a running gag in my team to get our gear taken away. we both love and hate when that happens because it forces the players to think as a team and solve things aside from blasting everything in our path.

    that said, we did once go back after 8 sessions (read: 5 months irl) just to beat up the [redacted] son of a [redacted] that stole our stuff. we had a bunch of better gear, but it was the principle of the thing. that, and it was our starting gear that we had lovingly kept and upgraded until midgame. it brought closure that for the last session we went and got it back to finish the epilogue with it.

    as for subliminal messaging, i'd say hand out all the options, and let the players squabble it out. usually, there'll be a fink in the group that'll always err on the side of caution and investigation. could be a rogue, could be a scout or sniper. that dude will always be listened to when there's plot and advantages to be had. just make sure that the snooping choice is the one you want to hand out. be ready to improvise, especially if your team has access to explosives. alternatively, just wait for them to backtrack when they hit a hard stop: no enemies to kill? no obvious clues? a dead-end (with an unseen secret passage) perhaps? well, there was a fork a few rooms back, maybe there's a clue there.
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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    I would never do anything so deceptive as to undercut their agency.

    I would just rearrange the dungeon so that whatever path they took is the one I wanted them to take.
    Please tell me this was supposed to be in blue text.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Miller View Post
    "The left hallway has scratch marks up and down the walls and floor. There is dried blood caked into the scratches throughout and rust colored pools litter the floor. The walls seem to pulsate slightly and after looking in that direction for only a few seconds you seem to feel light headed and uneasy.

    Down the right corridor are cupcakes and hot cocoa. Where would you like to go?"
    That is a fantastic idea for making sure that the party goes down the left hallway. The cupcakes and hot cocoa are obviously a trap and most likely a trap without any treasure at that.

    Anyway I don't really see the need to have them go down route #1 first, although it may change the description for the key and or lock depending on which route they head down first. If you are set upon sending them down that hallway first though maybe have them glimpse something interesting scuttling down the hallway ahead of them. Or if the group often follows the left/right hand rule set it along that path. Or something of some sort attracts their attention like a glowing light. Nothing that I would really call subliminal.
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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I like how you think, because else they'd have to backtrack? Hey...but what happens if there is someone with a lockpick when they go down path #A or they decide just to smash the door? We can't have our players come up with shenigans like that! But cool of you to give them choice though, we wouldn't want to take that away from them
    Oh, if they want to smash or pick the door that leads to the area with monsters that will kill them because they need the XP from the area they should have backtracked to, they can certainly do that. I just don't want a TPK.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    It sucks that you are trying to ask a question and the response most people will give you is: "Why are you being so deceptive to your players! You are taking away their agency! You are a horrible DM!"

    When someone gives you the response you're looking for: "Please tell me that was in blue text, surely you are being sarcastic instead of trying to answer the question the guy is asking!"

    If you are just going to tell him how "deceptive" and "evil" he is for "taking away his player's choices", please don't reply at all. It isn't helpful and (in my opinion) makes you look bad.
    Last edited by Ronnocius; 2018-01-02 at 01:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnocius View Post
    It sucks that you are trying to ask a question and the only response people will give you is: "Why are you being so deceptive to your players! You are taking away their agency! You are a horrible DM!"

    When someone gives you the response you're looking for: "Please tell me that was in blue text, surely you are being sarcastic instead of trying to answer the question the guy is asking!"

    If you are just going to tell him how "deceptive" and "evil" he is for "taking away his player's choices", please don't reply at all. It isn't helpful and (in my opinion) makes you look bad.
    Thank you very much.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    So I guess lying to people is fine? Sorry, I'll show myself out.

    Seriously, if you don't want them to have choices, don't give them choices, don't pretend you are giving them choices and have them all go to the same place or give them choices and then deceive them into picking the one you want. =/

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnocius View Post
    It sucks that you are trying to ask a question and the response most people will give you is: "Why are you being so deceptive to your players! You are taking away their agency! You are a horrible DM!"

    When someone gives you the response you're looking for: "Please tell me that was in blue text, surely you are being sarcastic instead of trying to answer the question the guy is asking!"

    If you are just going to tell him how "deceptive" and "evil" he is for "taking away his player's choices", please don't reply at all. It isn't helpful and (in my opinion) makes you look bad.
    Which is why I am very careful to use blue text to answer the OP, else I'll get all the agency matters crusaders to tell us we're having badwrongfun, for all they know we're running a game for bunch of idiots who sorely need to be guided
    Optimizing vs Roleplay
    If the worlds greatest optimizer makes a character and hands it to the worlds greatest roleplayer who roleplays the character. What will happen? Will the Universe implode?

    Roleplaying vs Fun
    If roleplaying is no fun then stop doing it. Unless of course you are roleplaying at gunpoint then you should roleplay like your life depended on it.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Which is why I am very careful to use blue text to answer the OP, else I'll get all the agency matters crusaders to tell us we're having badwrongfun, for all they know we're running a game for bunch of idiots who sorely need to be guided
    If you are, you don't need to fool them. :)

    It's not a question of "no agency BAAAD" it's a question of not being duplicitous. And yes, I will crusade against people lying to their friends. Not sorry.
    Last edited by Airk; 2018-01-02 at 01:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Just put the locked door right at the intersection. And make it that they can not pick the lock or break down the door (or otherwise bypass it). That way they know they need a key and will come back here when they find it. It avoids all the false choice and the possibilities of your players not doing what you want.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Airk View Post
    If you are, you don't need to fool them. :)

    It's not a question of "no agency BAAAD" it's a question of not being duplicitous. And yes, I will crusade against people lying to their friends. Not sorry.
    It's not lying, he's just trying to help out his friends, steer them in the right direction so they succeed. You can't fault him for that just because he wants to control both the NPC's and the PC's. I mean a PC is just an NPC with the N removed!
    Optimizing vs Roleplay
    If the worlds greatest optimizer makes a character and hands it to the worlds greatest roleplayer who roleplays the character. What will happen? Will the Universe implode?

    Roleplaying vs Fun
    If roleplaying is no fun then stop doing it. Unless of course you are roleplaying at gunpoint then you should roleplay like your life depended on it.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Listen, I asked a serious question, and O don't want to hear a few dozen people passive-aggressively chastise me about trying to influence, not control the players' choices. I got some info on this from Angry, and I was hoping someone else could give me more tips, but all I got is "if you want to lie to your friends, I won't stop you, but I want to."

    http://theangrygm.com/mm-exit-mapping-part-1/

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    As a DM, how do you trick players into doing what you want (in terms of going a certain direction in a dungeon) without making it obvious that you are doing so?
    You don't.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    You don't.
    Would you care to elaborate? That could be up there for the most helpful comment on this thread, if there was some explanation.

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Airk View Post
    If you are, you don't need to fool them. :)

    It's not a question of "no agency BAAAD" it's a question of not being duplicitous. And yes, I will crusade against people lying to their friends. Not sorry.
    Yes, because trying to influence people to make decisions that will keep their characters alive is so incredibly manipulative, honestly any DM trying to give their characters a fair fight is such a manipulative con artist, he should be thrown in prison immediately. Also don't get me started on DMs who ask "are you sure" when their 1st level players try to fight a dragon. How dare he give them a chance to second guess themselves, obviously he is a manipulative puppet master controlling their every movement. DMs like this ruin the game, they should all be hunted down and burned at the stake.

    EXAMPLES OF DMs MANIPULATING PLAYERS:
    Our NPC guide suggests that we head north because it is the easiest path to the village? Get your torches and pitchforks out, because this DM is stealing all of our player agency!
    The tracks of the monster we are pursuing go left? What a con man, he is obviously forcing us to go left, I hate this railroading!

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    Would you care to elaborate? That could be up there for the most helpful comment on this thread, if there was some explanation.
    You present the situation using the information that the PCs would have, and you let them make their decision.

    If there's nothing there to distinguish the two corridors, then there's nothing for the PCs to see.

    If there is something to make one corridor seem different from the other, then you convey exactly that to the PCs, possibly contingent on rolls or some other mechanical factor.

    IMO, the GM should never be trying to trick the players. A NPC might be trying to, the environment might happen to, but the GM shouldn't as a starting goal be looking to trick the players for the sake of tricking them.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-01-02 at 04:03 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnocius View Post

    EXAMPLES OF DMs MANIPULATING PLAYERS:
    Our NPC guide suggests that we head north because it is the easiest path to the village? Get your torches and pitchforks out, because this DM is stealing all of our player agency!
    The tracks of the monster we are pursuing go left? What a con man, he is obviously forcing us to go left, I hate this railroading!
    If you're going to provide examples, you should provide examples of what you say you're going to provide examples of.

    Neither of those is an example of a GM manipulating or tricking or deceiving players, or of a GM railroading players, or of a GM infringing on player agency.

    If you intend to be sarcastic, it's not helping the discussion.

    If someone has actually expressed those responses to those situations, it's because they don't understand what they're talking about and are using buzzwords to get their way.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-01-02 at 04:09 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

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    Default Re: Subliminal Messaging

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    As a DM, how do you trick players into doing what you want (in terms of going a certain direction in a dungeon) without making it obvious that you are doing so?
    Part of the issue I think is that right off the bat, you are framing your desire as "tricking players" and that kind of terminology is all but guaranteed to rub people the wrong way. After all, a lot of us are players too

    Instead of a trick, this is a bit of a magic act - the illusion of choice. Steering your players towards the direction you want them to go in by making that route more attractive, or the other way(s) more foreboding or disinviting, at least at first. CRPGs do this all the time, and while it's a bit harder to pull off effectively in tabletop (as it's not a visual medium), it's still possible.

    I link Extra Credits videos a lot in this subforum because I believe wholeheartedly in a "GM as game designer" philosophy, and the one you'll want here is The Illusion of Choice - specifically 4:37 where they start talking about the very topic you're asking about, ways to make a player subconsciously choose the route you want them to take instead of the one you don't. This can be trickier in a cooperative game because the players might feel braver/stronger together and thus ignore your cues to go a different route, but it's not impossible to get the message across - you just have to tailor your methods to the strengths (and weaknesses) of your players.

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