Page 6 of 11 FirstFirst 1234567891011 LastLast
Results 151 to 180 of 303
  1. - Top - End - #151
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Mid-Rohan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    There are two conceits here that naturally lead to your conclusions and they are the premises which are incorrect.

    1: Spontaneous DMing cannot also be high in quality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Very few people can just ''make up stuff'' in one second and have it be any good.

    So this is the Lazy DM Quantum Ogre type game right? The DM just sits back, and only reacts to the players. And when and if the players to ever pick any sort of plot or story to follow: the players just make up every single detail, that the DM then just uses and makes right in front of the characters.
    2. A Game cannot have "no paths" and be meaningful since we require every choice and action in the game to have a logical progression.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Ok, if there are no paths, then the game is a pointless random mess. How could it not be? Even if the characters just want to kill a giant rat in a cave...they have to first go over to the cave and then attack the rat. And 1.go to cave, and 2. attack rat IS a path....a very, very, very simple one...but still a path. But if a sandbox has NO paths, even that simple thing can't happen.
    To the first conceit, Spontaneous DMing can be superior to planned DMing. A Spontaneous Game will always have a tendency to be more Whimsical as opposed to Logical, but a Logical Game isn't intrinsically BETTER than a Whimsical Game. It may be intrinsically PREFERABLE to YOU, but not definitively superior, because such judgments are subjective, not objective.

    It's like saying that a carefully written comedy routine will ALWAYS be better than an Improv routine. This is just not in any way objectively true. Now, a person might find they enjoy carefully written comedy better than improvised comedy, but then you could easily find another person who feel the opposite.

    To the second conceit, you seem concerned that the word "path" must mean ANY logical progression of events. I believe the intended meaning from others using the word would be better described as, "a set of requirements placed upon the player to evaluate their 'success.' "

    Yes, a game that lacks any logical progression doesn't much represent the common RPG session. However, there is a great diversity in common RPG games in exactly how restrictive the "win conditions" are to the quests the heroes pursue.

    In a Sandbox, there are no DM assigned "win-conditions." There are only self-appointed goals set by the players. The "Meaning" behind each task is whatever the Player makes of it. This does NOT mean the DM has to bend over backwards to every Whim the players fancy, but it DOES mean practicing an aggressively minimalist degree of control over the game. The Sandbox DM works hard to design a world that speaks for itself, then steps out of the way and lets the players make of it what they will (applying consequences to their actions/inaction as appropriate). They offer supplementary prompting and installing railroads in the places where the Sandbox fails to stimulate.

    Yes, this is "normal," though that word is meaningless.

    In a Linear Game, the DM has a particular goal in mind and the players craft characters specifically designed to meet that chosen objective (or adapt their character concept to the goal). The nature of the intended goal will place certain requirements and expectations on the players, since failing to meet the objective fails to meet the fundamental purpose of the game.

    But do note that having a rigorously defined purpose and goal doesn't automatically make the game more meaningful. The DM could choose a Quest to be the world's most faithful dishwashers. If they can get a group of players interested in that game, more power to them.

    But the difference between Sandbox and Linear isn't how much or little they care about the profundity of the game. It's about how they measure success. In a Linear Game, the DM chooses some things they would like to see happen in the game and plans around it. In a Sandbox, the Players decide at every step which actions/inaction would create for them the best and most interesting progression.

    And in some games, these two measurements of success can be virtually indistinguishable because the players and the DM are on the same page about what they would like to have happen in the game. This is why there is a sliding scale spectrum of games that tend to be more Linear and games that tend to be more Sandbox (naturally concluding that there are at least a few that sit squarely inbetween).

    They're all "Normal" games.

  2. - Top - End - #152
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Ok, if there are no paths, then the game is a pointless random mess. How could it not be? Even if the characters just want to kill a giant rat in a cave...they have to first go over to the cave and then attack the rat.
    Ok, how about this: "There are no paths predetermined by the GM." The GM doesn't plan a plot based on the rat being killed (with or without contingency plans for what will happen if the rat survives). The GM isn't writing a story. The players are.

    "There are no paths" means that the GM's preparation is "there's a cave over here with a big rat in it; if the PCs stop in the village nearby, they'll hear about it" and not "the PCs will go to this cave to kill the giant rat and get a giant cheese wheel as a reward from the local farmers; after that, the Vermin Exterminators' Guild will try to recruit them for a mission against an even bigger rat".

    Things still have to happen in a logical order. PCs can't just walk through walls if they want to travel through a maze.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    But to say the game is like the real world is saying the non-game activity is dull and boring. I don't want to dispel any illusions, but in the real world nothing much ''adventure worthy'' happens.
    There is no "non-game activity". Do you mean the time between encounters? If the PCs decide to ride camels across a desert to an oasis and there's nothing but sand between them and their destination, you don't need to pay it the journey in real time. The GM looks at the map and sees there's nothing but sand, determines that there aren't any random encounters on the way, and says "You follow the caravan for three days. In the afternoon of the third day, you spot the oasis on the horizon."

    If you think the real world doesn't have anything "adventure worthy", history shows you're extremely mistaken. Try reading a book without dragons once in a while. There's no way Sir Richard Francis Burton, Sir Ernest Shackleton, or King Leopold I of Belgium (to name a few off the top of my head) weren't PCs.

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    So this is the Lazy DM Quantum Ogre type game right?
    If by "Lazy DM" you mean having incredible creative abilities to do whole encounter designs in just a few minutes (I aspire to that level) and by "Quantum Ogre" you mean creating content to fix into the exact situation and series of choices that lead up to this point (which is almost opposite what it normally means), then yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    To the first conceit, Spontaneous DMing can be superior to planned DMing. A Spontaneous Game will always have a tendency to be more Whimsical as opposed to Logical, but a Logical Game isn't intrinsically BETTER than a Whimsical Game.
    You know on the player- side, I actually removing linear structure actually creates more thoughtful decisions. Because they matter. It doesn't matter what crazy ideas I bounce around in a linear game, because the adventure will bounce it back. In a more open game, the characters and motivations will effect the direction of the plot, so people think them through a bit more to make sure they go in a fun direction. (According to the games I have observed at least.)

  4. - Top - End - #154
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    What if a new hook emerges from the events of a session?
    I guess that's a logical progression of unfolding events.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So what's the actual difference between establishing before the campaign starts that an NPC princess has lost her brother to an attack by demonic forces and has decided to dedicate her life to rooting out and destroying infernalists... and establishing as a result of the events of the ongoing campaign (an during an actual session of play) that an NPC princess has lost her brother to an attack by demonic forces and has decided to dedicate her life to rooting out and destroying infernalists?
    For someone like me who has run campaigns on only improvisation it doesn't matter at all. But the impression from players that take their sandboxes very seriously is that quantum ogres and improvising is tantamount to cheating.

    Part of the charm is supposed to be that you can stumble upon things that are vastly beyond the PC's powerlevel.

    If you are improvising you might be tempted to adjust the power level to the party, whereas if you rely on random rolls the party may have the luxury of stumbling upon a dragon that eats them at the start of the campaign.

    For me the sandbox is the setting, not a type of game. If I run a Cyperpunk game and the setting is Night City then that's the sandbox. If the PC's want to leave to New York then I won't stop them and shift my focus on developing NY further.

    The structure of the campaign really doesn't matter because if I have a campaign world then nothing in it is off limits.
    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.

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    I thought I'd be mad. But DU is one of the highest quality trolls I've ever seen. Coming back to read how he twists everyone's simple phrases by completely ignoring key points and restating things out of context is just amazing.

    I am watching a master at work. Although, honestly, if how he responds to players in his games how he responds to people on these forums, I can completely understand how in his mind sandbox=random mess. Or really any concept= any other concept because of a total unwillingness to perceive anything that doesn't match with his random psuedo definitions.
    Last edited by Wasteomana; 2018-02-11 at 10:22 PM.
    Interested in giving 4e D&D a shot? All players, new and old, are welcome to join us over at the Guild Living Campaign on Roll20. Feel free to post on the thread or PM me for more information.

    You can also follow me on Youtube. I am currently working on a series of videos aimed at helping Dungeon Masters from all editions work at improving the craft that is being a DM with my series Beg Borrow and Steal.

  6. - Top - End - #156
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    That's because Sandboxes ARE "Normal" games. Linear Games are "Normal" games. They're just different styles of Normal Games, which is why both terms are meaningful.
    Well, yes, my point is that a normal game is both a sandbox and linear...so much so that you don't even need to say it. It's like making the point to tell people you live on the planet Earth or telling the worker at the Dive Up window, that you drove up to after placing your food order, that your food order is ''to go''.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Nobody playing "Sandbox" games has a problem. You are the one struggling to understand them. The problem is with your understanding, not the principles they utilize.
    I only see people doing whatever they want, and then putting the Sandbox label on it....or more simply Sandbox=Cool.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Wrong on so many levels. Simple counterexample: NASCAR (or any looped race). You're not trying to go anywhere new, just trying to get there first. You go around in pointless circles, but the challenge is in perfecting your technique and racing alongside skilled competitors.
    Not really sure of your point here, as ''looped races'' are not games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    In Looped Racing, you follow the path the same as your competitors, not going anywhere in particular, but trying to go there the fastest.
    How are you comparing loop racing to an RPG? Are you like doing ''magical chairs'' around the gaming table and trying to ''win a race''?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Then, in some games, you follow a path just to see where it will take you. You aren't deciding to go to any particular place, but to change your location to any other particular place. Pointless? Not in the least, though it does tend to have a more derivative, more emergent meaning. Many stories about the wandering traveler who just set out to see what was actually out there, not having any point of reference from which to decide on where they would go.
    And I've addressed this lots of time. Yes, it does seem there are a lot of players that like to aimlessly wander and do random, meaningless things during the pre-game introduction. And that is great, if you like that sort of style.

    But, again, most players, after pointlessly wandering around, will finally pick something meaningful to do an start some normal game play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    Sandbox games aren't about "doing trivial stuff" like washing dishes, doing laundry, or walking the dog. They're about placing the story motivation on the player rather than the DM.
    But then the game is not a sandbox, as your talking about something that takes like less then a minute. The DM says ''what do you players want to do?" The players say ''fight a dragon'', and then the Dm makes that adventure.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    OR you can abandon that particular quest and pick up another one whenever you fancy. The quest that you decide as your "Big Main Quest" might be left unfinished and instead pursue an unrelated quest. Maybe because the new quest is bigger and more meaningful, or maybe just because your characters had personal motivation to settle down or lay low for a while.
    Sure you could, if you were a jerk. You could also say you will show up to the game at the set time of 6 pm, and then not show up until 10 pm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    No, they can't make stuff up, but in a Sandbox game, they can get partway into the story and say, "I don't want to do this quest anymore."
    I'm not sure why this is a big deal, unless the players want to be jerks. Like, ok, the players can call the DM up and say ''we are never playing again!''. Er, ok. So the players then leave and do something else? Not really a big deal.

    But if the players just want to ''not do things anymore'' like every hour or day or week, then they are just being jerks. And really few DMs would even bother with such players.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    At this point, the DM should either provide new primary motivating quests, adjust the factors in the old quest to make it more appealing, or retire the game.
    But now your really crossing the line to Jerk Tyrant players. Like the characters encounter a locked door, and the players whine and cry like two year olds....so the DM says ''oh, I was mistaken, the door is unlocked''. THAT is not even a game....it's just so twisted wish fulfillment waste of time for the cry baby players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post

    To the first conceit, Spontaneous DMing can be superior to planned DMing.
    Well, in reality planning beats improv just about every time...and just about always for complicated things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    To the second conceit, you seem concerned that the word "path" must mean ANY logical progression of events. I believe the intended meaning from others using the word would be better described as, "a set of requirements placed upon the player to evaluate their 'success.' "
    A path sure does sound like a logical progression of events. Your ''other usage'' sounds like a Test. Or maybe even just ''the game rules''?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    In a Sandbox, there are no DM assigned "win-conditions." There are only self-appointed goals set by the players. The "Meaning" behind each task is whatever the Player makes of it. This does NOT mean the DM has to bend over backwards to every Whim the players fancy, but it DOES mean practicing an aggressively minimalist degree of control over the game. The Sandbox DM works hard to design a world that speaks for itself, then steps out of the way and lets the players make of it what they will (applying consequences to their actions/inaction as appropriate). They offer supplementary prompting and installing railroads in the places where the Sandbox fails to stimulate.
    I get that some DMs are just weird and don't want to take any credit for making/running the game and really want to bend over backwards to make it seem like they are doing nothing. Even more so, a great many DM's seem to think their setting and/or NPCs ''talks to them'' inside their head. So the DM can sit back and say it was not ''them'' that had the dragon attack the PCs; the voices inside the DMs told them to do it.

    And any plot that is based on logic has set and obvious ''win'' or ''victory conditions''. Again, it's how reality works. If the players want to say, rob a bank, then they ''win'' once they have their characters rob the bank. But nothing else will count as a win.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    But the difference between Sandbox and Linear isn't how much or little they care about the profundity of the game. It's about how they measure success. In a Linear Game, the DM chooses some things they would like to see happen in the game and plans around it. In a Sandbox, the Players decide at every step which actions/inaction would create for them the best and most interesting progression.
    This makes no sense. Like ok, the players in a sandbox want to kill a dragon and loot it's lair. The DM, as well as Reality, Logic and Common Sense all say ''well then the players MUST have thier characters do things and take actions to kill the dragon and loot it's lair. "

    But your saying the players can just say ''our characters go fishing for six hours...and we decide the dragon is now dead, what loot was in it's lair" ?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Ok, how about this: "There are no paths predetermined by the GM." The GM doesn't plan a plot based on the rat being killed (with or without contingency plans for what will happen if the rat survives). The GM isn't writing a story. The players are.
    Ok, well, this might make sense. So your saying a Sandbox game is one where the DM willing ''acts and plays dumb''? Like, most of the time there will be a clear path that even an average five year old can see, but the DM will just sit there and be like ''I see no paths'', and just play with their fidget spinner until the players ask the DM to react to something their characters do?



    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    "There are no paths" means that the GM's preparation is "there's a cave over here with a big rat in it; if the PCs stop in the village nearby, they'll hear about it" and not "the PCs will go to this cave to kill the giant rat and get a giant cheese wheel as a reward from the local farmers; after that, the Vermin Exterminators' Guild will try to recruit them for a mission against an even bigger rat".
    Now see I call the first one a normal game, and the second is a game with a jerk DM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    There is no "non-game activity".
    I'm talking here about things like where the players go and have their characters hang out at a bar for several hours of real time. Or aimlessly wander and look for plot hooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    If you think the real world doesn't have anything "adventure worthy", history shows you're extremely mistaken. Try reading a book without dragons once in a while. There's no way Sir Richard Francis Burton, Sir Ernest Shackleton, or King Leopold I of Belgium (to name a few off the top of my head) weren't PCs.
    My point is real world adventure is nothing like or even close to fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    If by "Lazy DM" you mean having incredible creative abilities to do whole encounter designs in just a few minutes (I aspire to that level) and by "Quantum Ogre" you mean creating content to fix into the exact situation and series of choices that lead up to this point (which is almost opposite what it normally means), then yes.
    Well, no. A lazy DM simply does nothing to prepare, they just show up and are like ''lets game''. An doing the Quantum Ogre is just putting the plot of the adventure always directly in front of the characters, no matter what they do. (to me this is reverse railroading and is the worst type of railroad).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    You know on the player- side, I actually removing linear structure actually creates more thoughtful decisions. Because they matter. It doesn't matter what crazy ideas I bounce around in a linear game, because the adventure will bounce it back. In a more open game, the characters and motivations will effect the direction of the plot, so people think them through a bit more to make sure they go in a fun direction. (According to the games I have observed at least.)
    This does not make sense though.

    If a game has a plot and linear structure, and follows logic and make sense....and a player has a goal of/desire to do X, then they must follow path X.

    Like the players want to rob a bank. As they have their characters go to the bank at midnight and say ''we have them walk in and take all the money''. But, the DM will ''bounce back'' with ''the bank door is locked''. So the characters can't just walk in...and have to try something else. But in a more open game the players can just say ''my motavation is my character is greedy'' and then all the loot from the bank is there?

  7. - Top - End - #157
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I guess that's a logical progression of unfolding events.
    I'd ask why a "pre-campaign plot hook" can't be part of a logical progression of events, with the campaign starting point simply being another point in time.


    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    For someone like me who has run campaigns on only improvisation it doesn't matter at all. But the impression from players that take their sandboxes very seriously is that quantum ogres and improvising is tantamount to cheating.

    Part of the charm is supposed to be that you can stumble upon things that are vastly beyond the PC's powerlevel.

    If you are improvising you might be tempted to adjust the power level to the party, whereas if you rely on random rolls the party may have the luxury of stumbling upon a dragon that eats them at the start of the campaign.

    For me the sandbox is the setting, not a type of game. If I run a Cyperpunk game and the setting is Night City then that's the sandbox. If the PC's want to leave to New York then I won't stop them and shift my focus on developing NY further.

    The structure of the campaign really doesn't matter because if I have a campaign world then nothing in it is off limits.
    Quantum Ogre can be a bit of a boogieman, IMO. Sometimes there's a solid in-"fiction" reason for the encounter to happen regardless... such as the PCs are being watched. I think sometimes people assume that any encounter that isn't dead-locked in stone in one particular place in time is a "quantum ogre", which is taking it way too far.
    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

  8. - Top - End - #158
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, yes, my point is that a normal game is both a sandbox and linear
    And that point is incorrect.

    You literally are saying a normal game is on both opposite ends of a spectrum.

    I myself am currently running a linear game rather than a sandbox game for the first time in maybe four years. But according to you, what must be impossible because of you thinking actions leading to consequences makes a game linear.
    Spoiler: Old Avatar by Aruius
    Show
    http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q56/Zeritho/Koboldbard.png

  9. - Top - End - #159
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    And that point is incorrect.

    You literally are saying a normal game is on both opposite ends of a spectrum.

    I myself am currently running a linear game rather than a sandbox game for the first time in maybe four years. But according to you, what must be impossible because of you thinking actions leading to consequences makes a game linear.
    Well, lets see if I describe a game and you say what it is?

    1.The DM makes the setting and mega story of the game world. And puts in details of the current events, with plot hook.
    2.The Players then look over the details and either decide to follow a plot thread or maybe pick a plot based on the details, but not one specifically on a 'hook'.
    3.The DM then makes and flushes out that plot. It has a beginning and end and lots of details.
    4.The game play starts and the players are free to do whatever they want to have their characters try and do to follow the plot they picked and get to the successful end. An average DM will have at least a couple plot path threads to follow, and a good DM will have a dozen or more. The players don't ''have'' to follow any one plot path.
    5.As the characters move along the plot, they can change and effect plot events..but, in general they won't effect the plot itself unless they are demigods(or the game makes no sense).


    So like my example from before: A land with an evil baron. The players decide ''ok, lets take down the baron''. Now both the average DM and the good DM have made the Rebels. A group of good folk opposed to the evil baron..as a plot path thread. It's kind of ''obvious'' to get help from the rebels, and also smart. BUT if the players really want to just ignore the rebels they can (it's not a good idea, but they can do it.) Now the average DM (and the Casual/Lazy DM) only make up maybe two or three plot path threads (the bad DM only makes one) . The good Dm makes up around 10 to 20.

    Now, for any DM except the Good DM as it is rare for it to happen to a good DM, it's possible for the players to think of something the DM did not think of ''to do'' to get to the end of the plot. And very often it will even be something the DM did not even make. So the average DM will have a bit of a struggle trying to improv and make stuff up. The casual/lazy DM ''likes'' to pretend to be surprised by the players so they ''don't think things up'', but it's possible for the casual DM, sometimes, to be good at just ''whipping stuff up''. The Bad DM does not have the skill, desire or ability to think beyond their one plot path they have made, and will want to do that, no matter what.

    Now the players can NEVER just wish stuff to happen. They can't just say ''oh the baron has a daughter and she is walking alone in the woods and we grab her and hold her for ransom and force the baron to surrender and we loot his stuff''. But, if the DM says the baron does have a daughter, the players can try to find her and grab her with their characters in normal game play. Though even if the characters do grab her and hold her for ransom there is not a guarantee it will work out exactly as the players wish (after all the evil baron might just say ''bah, kill her!", for example)

    So as you can see the game has Freedom (the so called sandbox) and Structure (the linear plot)

  10. - Top - End - #160
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    So like my example from before: A land with an evil baron. The players decide ''ok, lets take down the baron''. Now both the average DM and the good DM have made the Rebels. A group of good folk opposed to the evil baron..as a plot path thread. It's kind of ''obvious'' to get help from the rebels, and also smart. BUT if the players really want to just ignore the rebels they can (it's not a good idea, but they can do it.) Now the average DM (and the Casual/Lazy DM) only make up maybe two or three plot path threads (the bad DM only makes one) . The good Dm makes up around 10 to 20.

    Now, for any DM except the Good DM as it is rare for it to happen to a good DM, it's possible for the players to think of something the DM did not think of ''to do'' to get to the end of the plot. And very often it will even be something the DM did not even make. So the average DM will have a bit of a struggle trying to improv and make stuff up. The casual/lazy DM ''likes'' to pretend to be surprised by the players so they ''don't think things up'', but it's possible for the casual DM, sometimes, to be good at just ''whipping stuff up''. The Bad DM does not have the skill, desire or ability to think beyond their one plot path they have made, and will want to do that, no matter what.

    Now the players can NEVER just wish stuff to happen. They can't just say ''oh the baron has a daughter and she is walking alone in the woods and we grab her and hold her for ransom and force the baron to surrender and we loot his stuff''. But, if the DM says the baron does have a daughter, the players can try to find her and grab her with their characters in normal game play. Though even if the characters do grab her and hold her for ransom there is not a guarantee it will work out exactly as the players wish (after all the evil baron might just say ''bah, kill her!", for example)
    Is there a reason why you label people good and bad DM's seemingly at random? Like, nobody is turning this into a 'you are a good or bad dm' but you.

    I don't know how this is seen as anything but trolling. You turn every discussion that might get to a point into an insulting rant.

    "The casual/lazy DM 'likes' to pretend to be surprised by the players so they 'don't think things up'...." Is there a purpose for that that isn't just being a troll? Serious question.
    Interested in giving 4e D&D a shot? All players, new and old, are welcome to join us over at the Guild Living Campaign on Roll20. Feel free to post on the thread or PM me for more information.

    You can also follow me on Youtube. I am currently working on a series of videos aimed at helping Dungeon Masters from all editions work at improving the craft that is being a DM with my series Beg Borrow and Steal.

  11. - Top - End - #161
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, no. A lazy DM simply does nothing to prepare, they just show up and are like ''lets game''. An doing the Quantum Ogre is just putting the plot of the adventure always directly in front of the characters, no matter what they do.
    Well... then no that is not the type of game I'm walking about.

  12. - Top - End - #162
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Berlin
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    And that point is incorrect.

    You literally are saying a normal game is on both opposite ends of a spectrum.

    I myself am currently running a linear game rather than a sandbox game for the first time in maybe four years. But according to you, what must be impossible because of you thinking actions leading to consequences makes a game linear.
    DU is still basically correct. Letīs not use normal as a term, that's misleading, let's say a non-storytelling game, as that's more fitting in contrast to classic rpgs.

    The GMs job in any classic game is to provide the content, from world to locations, npc to encounters, the whole shebang. You either create and prep that, or you train up your skills to come up with high quality content on the fly, no difference, basically all content is gm-made. It doesn't make much of a difference whether that's used for a linear or non-linear game, most of it will be created to be fun for the players to encounter and explore in one way or the other, why else would it be included when not?

    That's what's so annoying when people say stuff like "the world is my sandbox".

  13. - Top - End - #163
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Beleriphon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Protecting my Horde (yes, I mean that kind)

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    If you think the real world doesn't have anything "adventure worthy", history shows you're extremely mistaken. Try reading a book without dragons once in a while. There's no way Sir Richard Francis Burton, Sir Ernest Shackleton, or King Leopold I of Belgium (to name a few off the top of my head) weren't PCs.
    I think the biggest thing to remember in RPG context the vast majority of humans are nameless NPCs.

  14. - Top - End - #164
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    DU is still basically correct. Letīs not use normal as a term, that's misleading, let's say a non-storytelling game, as that's more fitting in contrast to classic rpgs.

    The GMs job in any classic game is to provide the content, from world to locations, npc to encounters, the whole shebang. You either create and prep that, or you train up your skills to come up with high quality content on the fly, no difference, basically all content is gm-made. It doesn't make much of a difference whether that's used for a linear or non-linear game, most of it will be created to be fun for the players to encounter and explore in one way or the other, why else would it be included when not?
    This brings up what is, IME, a very common failing of RPG theory and analysis. To use a bit of a math metaphor, in asking "are these different along the X axis?" and getting (at least what some perceive as) a "No" answer, the question then entirely ignores differences on the Y, Z, etc axes.

    There's a big difference here that's being ignored by saying "the GM has to do it all either way".

    If it's made for a linear campaign the GM is able to (and likely tempted to) focus almost entirely on the aspects of the game that they know will come up. The GM can put their probably limited resources (time, energy, creativity) into a very specific set of details. But anything that gets slightly off the rails will show that the setting is a bit of a 2D facade like an old movie set, unless the same GM who wants to run a linear and pre-plotted campaign is also somehow a GM who is skilled with improvising material on the fly. It's very easy for a linear campaign to end up with a "stage dressing" world, that's only "living" when the PCs are present, because it's all designed specifically around a series of presentations for the PCs.

    If it's made for a non-linear campaign, the GM has strategically balance breadth and depth, and be willing and ready to expand the specific from the general. Both the GM and the players need to have a shared understanding of the setting, its "basic principles", and the framework-level information, so their expectations don't diverge. While the setting and NPCs might still all be controlled by the GM, there's more that's being informed by the player's decisions -- for example, the players decide they want to follow some NPC to their hometown, the GM might have an idea of where it is or what size it is, but they're going to have to fill in details on the fly based on what's already know of the geography, culture, population, etc of that area. The world however is far more likely to be "alive", because it changes over time and responds dynamically to character interactions, PC and NPC.


    I go for the non-linear, which is why I don't see any difference between "game world" and "setting"... there is no stage, there are no sets, and the entire world is the setting, because the players could in theory take the game anywhere their characters can get to.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-12 at 11:59 AM.
    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

  15. - Top - End - #165
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, lets see if I describe a game and you say what it is?

    1.The DM makes the setting and mega story of the game world. And puts in details of the current events, with plot hook.
    2.The Players then look over the details and either decide to follow a plot thread or maybe pick a plot based on the details, but not one specifically on a 'hook'.
    3.The DM then makes and flushes out that plot. It has a beginning and end and lots of details.
    4.The game play starts and the players are free to do whatever they want to have their characters try and do to follow the plot they picked and get to the successful end. An average DM will have at least a couple plot path threads to follow, and a good DM will have a dozen or more. The players don't ''have'' to follow any one plot path.
    5.As the characters move along the plot, they can change and effect plot events..but, in general they won't effect the plot itself unless they are demigods(or the game makes no sense).


    So like my example from before: A land with an evil baron. The players decide ''ok, lets take down the baron''. Now both the average DM and the good DM have made the Rebels. A group of good folk opposed to the evil baron..as a plot path thread. It's kind of ''obvious'' to get help from the rebels, and also smart. BUT if the players really want to just ignore the rebels they can (it's not a good idea, but they can do it.) Now the average DM (and the Casual/Lazy DM) only make up maybe two or three plot path threads (the bad DM only makes one) . The good Dm makes up around 10 to 20.
    These are much more linear games, albeit ones with large numbers of branches.

    The pure sandbox doesn't have the GM plan out the future events. Just the current state. Depending on what the players have their characters do, or not do, and how successful they are at their actions, the GM then advances time and knows the new current state of all things he had placed in the world. Some will have interacted with each other, and some will not. All will have something change, even if it's just that they're a week closer to harvest in Tinyville Thorpetown.

    The Evil Baron has this band of rebels, as you lay out. The GM hasn't expressly planned, necessarily, how the PCs will interact with these rebels to lead them to victory against the Evil Baron by facing each of his Wicked Knights in succession in their three Dark Castles. But he may well have all three Wicked Knights with their Dark Castles planned out. And he knows how the Baron and the Knights will act in response to the good rebels in his territory, based on what the rebels will do.

    If the PCs get involved, all of that changes. The GM isn't making up something random, here, though, nor is he scrapping a whole campaign of preparation. He knows, now, what impact the PCs' actions have had, and how this changes the rebels' plans, and how this impacts the reactions of the Knights and Baron.

    The GM hasn't planned out a dozen ways - four leading to Knight 1, four to Knight 2, three to Knight 3, and one to the dragon that the Baron has been secretly breaking to his will - that the PCs may follow if they choose. Instead, he knows what the Knights and Baron are up to. The PCs come up with what they want to do, and go try to do it. No need to hunt for the Quest NPC to let them advance the quest by picking one of the prescribed paths. Come up with a plan and pursue it.

    Now, not all players will like that approach. Many may well appreciate some solid hooks pointing them down possible paths.

    Neither kind of game is "cooler" than the other.

    But, to answer your quoted bit, you're describing more linear games. Lots of choice about which line to follow, from your "good GM," but still linear because, once they've picked it, you've planned out "lots of details" on a particular path they must pursue or give up and return to another hook to try a different tactic. You have lots of paths planned. That's a ton of work! If your "good GM" is sufficiently talented at planning paths and reading his players, it may be indistinguishable from their perspective from a sandbox; the GM has accounted for literally everything they'd think to try and want to do. But it's possible to run a true sandbox without that much planning ahead. It's not even that the sandbox is superior; if players want to pursue a specific plot to topple the evil Baron and are happy with interesting hooks that provide clear quest objectives along the way, established by the GM via his NPCs, that's a great game.

  16. - Top - End - #166
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    This brings up what is, IME, a very common failing of RPG theory and analysis. To use a bit of a math metaphor, in asking "are these different along the X axis?" and getting (at least what some perceive as) a "No" answer, the question then entirely ignores differences on the Y, Z, etc axes.

    There's a big difference here that's being ignored by saying "the GM has to do it all either way".

    If it's made for a linear campaign the GM is able to (and likely tempted to) focus almost entirely on the aspects of the game that they know will come up. The GM can put their probably limited resources (time, energy, creativity) into a very specific set of details. But anything that gets slightly off the rails will show that the setting is a bit of a 2D facade like an old movie set, unless the same GM who wants to run a linear and pre-plotted campaign is also somehow a GM who is skilled with improvising material on the fly. It's very easy for a linear campaign to end up with a "stage dressing" world, that's only "living" when the PCs are present, because it's all designed specifically around a series of presentations for the PCs.

    If it's made for a non-linear campaign, the GM has strategically balance breadth and depth, and be willing and ready to expand the specific from the general. Both the GM and the players need to have a shared understanding of the setting, its "basic principles", and the framework-level information, so their expectations don't diverge. While the setting and NPCs might still all be controlled by the GM, there's more that's being informed by the player's decisions -- for example, the players decide they want to follow some NPC to their hometown, the GM might have an idea of where it is or what size it is, but they're going to have to fill in details on the fly based on what's already know of the geography, culture, population, etc of that area. The world however is far more likely to be "alive", because it changes over time and responds dynamically to character interactions, PC and NPC.


    I go for the non-linear, which is why I don't see any difference between "game world" and "setting"... there is no stage, there are no sets, and the entire world is the setting, because the players could in theory take the game anywhere their characters can get to.

    I agree, even if you are running a "linear" campaign, one RPG's biggest strength is that you can go off the beaten path, solve problems in different ways or just do something completely different. Therefor the sandbox should be in place else you'll have a western movie set. This is why the idea of the sandbox as a type of game is a bit alien to me.
    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.

  17. - Top - End - #167
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I agree, even if you are running a "linear" campaign, one RPG's biggest strength is that you can go off the beaten path, solve problems in different ways or just do something completely different. Therefor the sandbox should be in place else you'll have a western movie set. This is why the idea of the sandbox as a type of game is a bit alien to me.
    I think this goes back to my earlier post that treating "railroad" and "sandbox" as nouns somewhat misses the point.

    "Railroad" is a verb, a GM action involving a lot of bad GM practices (violating player agency, disregarding established facts, deceitful illusionism, etc).

    "Sandbox" works better when changed to an adjective, in a scalar assessment of how "sandboxy" a particular campaign is. Few RPG campaigns actually have no "sandboxiness" in them, it's just a matter of how much each one has. One might even surmise that the ability to decide which weapon to use, or when and who to attack, is a degree of "sandboxiness".
    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

  18. - Top - End - #168
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I think this goes back to my earlier post that treating "railroad" and "sandbox" as nouns somewhat misses the point.

    "Railroad" is a verb, a GM action involving a lot of bad GM practices (violating player agency, disregarding established facts, deceitful illusionism, etc).

    "Sandbox" works better when changed to an adjective, in a scalar assessment of how "sandboxy" a particular campaign is. Few RPG campaigns actually have no "sandboxiness" in them, it's just a matter of how much each one has. One might even surmise that the ability to decide which weapon to use, or when and who to attack, is a degree of "sandboxiness".

    True, we talk about linear game not that I'm running a railroad game. But then again I don't know how much time GM's spend on the surroundings of the modules their running so that anything that has things developed outside the beaten path is sandbox to them.

    I never run anything without having a good grasp of the setting unless it's a one shot. If I can't answer general questions about the setting (sandbox) then I'd not consider myself a very good GM
    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.

  19. - Top - End - #169
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    True, we talk about linear game not that I'm running a railroad game. But then again I don't know how much time GM's spend on the surroundings of the modules their running so that anything that has things developed outside the beaten path is sandbox to them.

    I never run anything without having a good grasp of the setting unless it's a one shot. If I can't answer general questions about the setting (sandbox) then I'd not consider myself a very good GM
    Personally, I've never run a published linear module as a GM, and never really wanted to. They seemed incredibly pointless to me from the start -- why not just play a video game if you're on the rails anyway?

    IMO, much of the appeal of the TTRPG run by and played by people sitting around together at a table or wherever was always the wide-open range of possibilities and imagination. See also, why I dislike classes and class-like character build mechanics.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-12 at 03:12 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

  20. - Top - End - #170
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Personally, I've never run a published linear module as a GM, and never really wanted to. They seemed incredibly pointless to me from the start -- why not just play a video game if you're on the rails anyway?

    IMO, much of the appeal of the TTRPG run by and played by people sitting around together at a table or wherever was always the wide-open range of possibilities and imagination. See also, why I dislike classes and class-like character build mechanics.
    It's funny because when I started running games as a preteen I didn't run modules but then as a teen I started running AD&D modules. I think my group got really burnt when playing through the Time of Troubles modules which is one of the most awful excuses for an adventure trilogy that exists, the thoughts of it just puts bile in my mouth.

    For me published modules are alright for people who like such a thing and probably great to inspire new people to the hobby. So I might draw inspiration from published modules and adapt to my games and do so infrequently.
    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.

  21. - Top - End - #171
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Mid-Rohan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Personally, I've never run a published linear module as a GM, and never really wanted to. They seemed incredibly pointless to me from the start -- why not just play a video game if you're on the rails anyway?
    I don't have time yet to respond to everything I would like to in this thread, but this one point I can manage.

    The benefit of linear games is Focus. Many players get a creative blockage (commonly known as "writer's block," but it applies to every creative effort) when faced with too many choices (or worse, a totally blank slate).

    Clearly, the opposite is true as well. Some people are so inconsolably creative that they balk at even the smallest degree of restrictions.

    But linear games are a great place for newer players to learn the game, or a busy group invest less time, or an advanced group to really explore how far the rails can be bent by playing a single module over and over to see what their character is really capable of.

  22. - Top - End - #172
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Well, lets see if I describe a game and you say what it is?

    1.The DM makes the setting and mega story of the game world. And puts in details of the current events, with plot hook.
    2.The Players then look over the details and either decide to follow a plot thread or maybe pick a plot based on the details, but not one specifically on a 'hook'.
    3.The DM then makes and flushes out that plot. It has a beginning and end and lots of details.
    4.The game play starts and the players are free to do whatever they want to have their characters try and do to follow the plot they picked and get to the successful end. An average DM will have at least a couple plot path threads to follow, and a good DM will have a dozen or more. The players don't ''have'' to follow any one plot path.
    5.As the characters move along the plot, they can change and effect plot events..but, in general they won't effect the plot itself unless they are demigods(or the game makes no sense).


    So like my example from before: A land with an evil baron. The players decide ''ok, lets take down the baron''. Now both the average DM and the good DM have made the Rebels. A group of good folk opposed to the evil baron..as a plot path thread. It's kind of ''obvious'' to get help from the rebels, and also smart. BUT if the players really want to just ignore the rebels they can (it's not a good idea, but they can do it.) Now the average DM (and the Casual/Lazy DM) only make up maybe two or three plot path threads (the bad DM only makes one) . The good Dm makes up around 10 to 20.

    Now, for any DM except the Good DM as it is rare for it to happen to a good DM, it's possible for the players to think of something the DM did not think of ''to do'' to get to the end of the plot. And very often it will even be something the DM did not even make. So the average DM will have a bit of a struggle trying to improv and make stuff up. The casual/lazy DM ''likes'' to pretend to be surprised by the players so they ''don't think things up'', but it's possible for the casual DM, sometimes, to be good at just ''whipping stuff up''. The Bad DM does not have the skill, desire or ability to think beyond their one plot path they have made, and will want to do that, no matter what.

    Now the players can NEVER just wish stuff to happen. They can't just say ''oh the baron has a daughter and she is walking alone in the woods and we grab her and hold her for ransom and force the baron to surrender and we loot his stuff''. But, if the DM says the baron does have a daughter, the players can try to find her and grab her with their characters in normal game play. Though even if the characters do grab her and hold her for ransom there is not a guarantee it will work out exactly as the players wish (after all the evil baron might just say ''bah, kill her!", for example)

    So as you can see the game has Freedom (the so called sandbox) and Structure (the linear plot)
    Dude. Is it possible for you to debate without trying to insult people?

    I'm also not sure why you mention "Now the players can NEVER just wish stuff to happen", since no one has mentioned anything of the sort in regards to sandbox or linear games.

    There is something I'm confused about with your description which makes it hard for me to place it exactly in regards to the spectrum of sandbox to linear, Number 2. Am I correct in understanding that this examination of the details by the players/choice of the players in regards to what plot-point they want to do is before play rather than during play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    DU is still basically correct. Letīs not use normal as a term, that's misleading, let's say a non-storytelling game, as that's more fitting in contrast to classic rpgs.
    What? I very much disagree whether or not storytelling has anything to do with whether a game is linear or not, or sandbox or not.

    The GMs job in any classic game is to provide the content, from world to locations, npc to encounters, the whole shebang. You either create and prep that, or you train up your skills to come up with high quality content on the fly, no difference, basically all content is gm-made. It doesn't make much of a difference whether that's used for a linear or non-linear game, most of it will be created to be fun for the players to encounter and explore in one way or the other, why else would it be included when not?

    That's what's so annoying when people say stuff like "the world is my sandbox".
    In my view, how the content is made has nothing to do with whether something is sandbox or not.... You are sort of arguing against points that I haven't made....
    Spoiler: Old Avatar by Aruius
    Show
    http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q56/Zeritho/Koboldbard.png

  23. - Top - End - #173
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Personally, I've never run a published linear module as a GM, and never really wanted to. They seemed incredibly pointless to me from the start -- why not just play a video game if you're on the rails anyway?

    IMO, much of the appeal of the TTRPG run by and played by people sitting around together at a table or wherever was always the wide-open range of possibilities and imagination. See also, why I dislike classes and class-like character build mechanics.
    One way to utilize published linear modules is as options for the players to pursue. One of many things going on. You can literally drop one in a sandbox world, and if the players don't bite, let its plot advance on the "without the PCs" path. Linear adventures do tend to spell out what the bad guys are trying to accomplish. It doesn't take much - especially for a GM running sandboxes preferentially - to reason out how the bad guys' plans working would impact the setting.

    It's also possible to take a linear adventure and run it like a sandbox. It might go way off the rails, but you know the setup and status and it gives enough information for a GM to improvise if he wants to.

    Well, assuming it's a GOOD linear module, and not one where the PCs are so on rails that they may as well not be present. I'm still looking at you, Witchfire Trilogy.
    Last edited by Segev; 2018-02-12 at 05:12 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #174
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Berlin
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Witchfire Trilogy.
    Oh, that was a crass one.

  25. - Top - End - #175
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Oh, that was a crass one.
    I know!


    ...for those unfamiliar with it, the PCs are literally superfluous to the module. They do not make a difference. If they succeed at everything and make the "right" choices, they will have a front-row seat and a favored place as the destined NPC sweeps to victory. If they fail, they miss out on seeing parts of the plot surrounding the NPC unfold. If they succeed but make the "wrong" choice, they get a third-row seat to watching the NPC sweep to victory and get to "enjoy" being on that NPC's crap-list. Said NPC is a vengeful sort. In fact, 3/4 of the NPC's motivation in the module is revenge.

    I'm not exaggerating. The players' choices only determine how much of the action they get to observe. There are dungeon crawls, and in theory mysteries to uncover, but solving the mysteries only gets you to the cutscene, and doing the dungeon crawls gets you to the next cutscene. Failing at them means you miss the cutscene. It doesn't actually matter if you're there or not; plot progresses the same way.

  26. - Top - End - #176
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I know!


    ...for those unfamiliar with it, the PCs are literally superfluous to the module. They do not make a difference. If they succeed at everything and make the "right" choices, they will have a front-row seat and a favored place as the destined NPC sweeps to victory. If they fail, they miss out on seeing parts of the plot surrounding the NPC unfold. If they succeed but make the "wrong" choice, they get a third-row seat to watching the NPC sweep to victory and get to "enjoy" being on that NPC's crap-list. Said NPC is a vengeful sort. In fact, 3/4 of the NPC's motivation in the module is revenge.

    I'm not exaggerating. The players' choices only determine how much of the action they get to observe. There are dungeon crawls, and in theory mysteries to uncover, but solving the mysteries only gets you to the cutscene, and doing the dungeon crawls gets you to the next cutscene. Failing at them means you miss the cutscene. It doesn't actually matter if you're there or not; plot progresses the same way.
    What...

    Was this at least a bad attempt to modulize some novel attached to the game? Or was it actually from scratch? I mean, that's on the Mass Effect 3 level of bad design... just wow.
    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

  27. - Top - End - #177
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I know!


    ...for those unfamiliar with it, the PCs are literally superfluous to the module. They do not make a difference. If they succeed at everything and make the "right" choices, they will have a front-row seat and a favored place as the destined NPC sweeps to victory.

    <SNIP>
    Nothing players enjoy more than being reminded they are less important than the NPC in every way.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I know!


    ...for those unfamiliar with it, the PCs are literally superfluous to the module. They do not make a difference. If they succeed at everything and make the "right" choices, they will have a front-row seat and a favored place as the destined NPC sweeps to victory. If they fail, they miss out on seeing parts of the plot surrounding the NPC unfold. If they succeed but make the "wrong" choice, they get a third-row seat to watching the NPC sweep to victory and get to "enjoy" being on that NPC's crap-list. Said NPC is a vengeful sort. In fact, 3/4 of the NPC's motivation in the module is revenge.

    I'm not exaggerating. The players' choices only determine how much of the action they get to observe. There are dungeon crawls, and in theory mysteries to uncover, but solving the mysteries only gets you to the cutscene, and doing the dungeon crawls gets you to the next cutscene. Failing at them means you miss the cutscene. It doesn't actually matter if you're there or not; plot progresses the same way.
    Sound almost as bad as the Times of Troubles or Avatar Wars as it's also called in Forgotten Realms. There you get to play second fiddle and watch the awesome NPC's from the books...Cyric, Kelemvor and Midnight (Mystra) become Gods. And of course Elminster makes an appearance just to tell you how awesome he is. If you are a DM that likes to play DMPC's that adventure trilogy is going to arouse you to new heights.
    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.

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Berlin
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    What...

    Was this at least a bad attempt to modulize some novel attached to the game? Or was it actually from scratch? I mean, that's on the Mass Effect 3 level of bad design... just wow.
    Witchfire, Curse of the Azure Bonds and such are good examples when somebody wants to tell a "tight" story to such an extend that the actual role-playing moves to the background of it. I think you can say that modules like these gave linear modules the bad rep they have in some circles..

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Why 'Sandbox' is a meaningless phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Wasteomana View Post
    Is there a reason why you label people good and bad DM's seemingly at random? Like, nobody is turning this into a 'you are a good or bad dm' but you.
    Well, the labels are not at random. If you do X, your a Bad DM; if you do Y you are a Good DM. For example, if a DM makes an adventure with only one path and then demands and forces the players down that One Path, that DM is a Bad DM. See how that works?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wasteomana View Post
    "The casual/lazy DM 'likes' to pretend to be surprised by the players so they 'don't think things up'...." Is there a purpose for that that isn't just being a troll? Serious question.
    A good number of DMs like to be surprised by the actions the players take in the game; this is fun for some DMs. But any Good or even just experienced DM will be hard to surprise as they will have already though of all the ways and actions that can be done to reach a goal. So, in order to be surprised, the DM needs to try and not think about all the details or at least try not to remember them. Then when the players do something, the DM can at least act surprised. It's Illusionism for DMs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I go for the non-linear, which is why I don't see any difference between "game world" and "setting"... there is no stage, there are no sets, and the entire world is the setting, because the players could in theory take the game anywhere their characters can get to.
    Odd, that I sort of agree with Max here.

    But it's not about linear...as if the game makes sense has any sort of meaningfully plot and story it has to be linear. I do think people get too caught up in the idea that linear=a tiny nitpicky railroad DM power trip detail, or something negative like that. Like it's bad to say ''linear'' as that high light and admits the DM is all powerful in the game. Or even more simply, again, Non-Linear=Cool.

    But linear events are not so specific, and are often vague. Like say the characters agree to help the king and to go rescue Princess Buttercup from imprisonment in the Dark Tower; this means in order to do this goal....the characters must go to the Dark Tower. And see, that is a linear progression of a plot. A=meet king---->B=Accept quest and C=characters go to the Dark Tower.

    Or like the characters want to kill a pack of werewolves living in Bunglewood. So this is vaguely A-characters want to kill a pack of werewolves living in Bunglewood to B-the characters MUST go to Bunglewood and at least interact (though most likely fight and kill) the werewolves. Now the players are free to have their characters try ''all most anything'', but they still must go from A to B.


    The Setting, is really more about DM Skill, Dedication, Experience and the dreaded Time Investment. The Time Investment is the easy one: a lot of DMs, and all Casual and Lazy DMs, don't have the ''time'' to invest in doing things for the game. This is the whole reason the RPGs have adventures: then the DM needs to only make up a very narrow chunk of the game world/setting. The DM does not need to make up 100 towns if the characters will spend the whole game in and around a single town.

    The DM Skill, Dedication, and Experience is all about how good the DM is. A good DM can seamlessly handle anything, so even if the players really make some sort of wild left turn, it utterly would not matter and the players would never even notice a slight bump. The good DM's game rolls on, no matter what happens, with the same level of quality. The Good DM's world has no ''sets'' or such; everything everywhere in the world is always perfectly made at the same level of quality.

    But, of course, Average or Bad DM's can't do this....and this is where you will get anything that is slightly off the rails will show that the setting is a bit of a 2D facade like an old movie set, a cartoon, or worst of all, a video game.

    But DM Skill, Dedication, Experience and the dreaded Time Investment...or if the DM is good, bad or just average, has nothing to do with the game being linear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post

    The pure sandbox doesn't have the GM plan out the future events. Just the current state.
    But then your saying the pure sandbox game makes no sense and is just a random pile of nothing. Like:

    Normal Game: The evil cult plans to summon the demon at midnight on the last day of the year (a plan for a future event). The characters might or might not know that, either way they will try an take actions to stop it...and depending on what they do, and how successful they are, they might prevent, delay or stop the summoning.

    Sandbox Mess: The evil cult might do something sometime. The characters might or might not know that, either way they will simply do pointless random things.....and depending on what they do something might happen sometime.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post

    If the PCs get involved, all of that changes. The GM isn't making up something random, here, though, nor is he scrapping a whole campaign of preparation. He knows, now, what impact the PCs' actions have had, and how this changes the rebels' plans, and how this impacts the reactions of the Knights and Baron.
    This is just Being a good DM, and has nothing to do with the type of game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    But, to answer your quoted bit, you're describing more linear games. Lots of choice about which line to follow, from your "good GM," but still linear because, once they've picked it, you've planned out "lots of details" on a particular path they must pursue or give up and return to another hook to try a different tactic. You have lots of paths planned. That's a ton of work! If your "good GM" is sufficiently talented at planning paths and reading his players, it may be indistinguishable from their perspective from a sandbox; the GM has accounted for literally everything they'd think to try and want to do. But it's possible to run a true sandbox without that much planning ahead. It's not even that the sandbox is superior; if players want to pursue a specific plot to topple the evil Baron and are happy with interesting hooks that provide clear quest objectives along the way, established by the GM via his NPCs, that's a great game.
    Of course, being a Good DM is a lot of work. Really being a Good Anything, takes a lot of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    Dude. Is it possible for you to debate without trying to insult people? ....
    I follow the advice of Yoda, I don't ''try'' to do anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    There is something I'm confused about with your description which makes it hard for me to place it exactly in regards to the spectrum of sandbox to linear, Number 2. Am I correct in understanding that this examination of the details by the players/choice of the players in regards to what plot-point they want to do is before play rather than during play?
    I'm not sure what your asking here.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •