Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 117

Thread: Protagonisting

  1. - Top - End - #31
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    VelociRapture12's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Kansas

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    I have often found that groups that have characters woven into the world can work, but only if the group has been playing the game together for awhile. The longer the group stays together the better the harmony between players is and it helps them understand how the story is flowing and when it is their time to shine. A new group doesnít quite get that and wonít care whose time it is because they donít know the other players very well/ at all.
    Avatar by linklele

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I see nothing wrong with...

    This is something completely different, this is a player demanding a story arc that doesn't fit the premise of the game. I was responding to Koo Rehtorb's post about specific character arcs not the OP about a player trying to hijack the campaign and demanding that the game focuses solely on him.
    Yes, my point exactly.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Yes, my point exactly.
    Well....eh....uh...I guess we are in agreement then.
    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.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I agree, I've run personal story arcs with great success. But then I've had players that don't want personal story arcs, just to quote one player I played with "I'm perfectly fine with playing a supporting role". He just wanted Hulk smash and that was fine with me because then I could just focus more on the other players.
    So much this. We don't all game for the same reasons, there is no one size fits all solution. Give each player what they want, rather than wasting time and effort giving them things that they don't care about. As in your example, where you gave narrative focus to the ones who wanted it, and just let Hulk smash.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Not focusing on the characters is a bad way to run a game. Ruins immersion and you feel that your character isn't part of the world. The sooner you start to focus on your character goals, ambitions and backstories the less time you have to focus on boring stuff that is irrelevant to the characters
    This is not what I said.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Seto's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Paris, France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Honestly - maybe the game wasn't very well run? My first thoughts are:

    1. It's normal that the Rogue wanted to react to the arc and find out what effect it had on his character, even if it wasn't "his" arc. When something happens, each player is within their rights to roleplay how their character feels about it. "My character is frustrated because I can't defeat my enemies" is not spotlight-hogging, it's legitimate. It's not "making it about himself", it's roleplaying. Now it's true that you shouldn't dwell on those things, just mention your character's reaction in passing. I wasn't there, and maybe he was too loud, or talked all the time instead of letting other players react; but if that's the case, the fault is with him not paying enough attention to others, not with "collaborative storytelling" or with the type of game you're playing.

    2. Therefore when you want to have a story arc focused on a character, the way to do it is not "shut up other players and let the right character roleplay". Everyone should have equal roleplay and reaction opportunities. But to make sure that the right character is owning "his" arc, make sure he's essential to doing things. If the Druid knows his island and the people on it, if the locals look up to him and ask him to lead the assault, if he knows essential shortcuts etc... The Rogue can roleplay all he wants, he won't take the spotlight away from the Druid.
    Avatar by Mr_Saturn
    ______________________
    ē Kids, watch Buffy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bard1cKnowledge
    Charisma, it makes the difference between "Oh hey, it's this guy!" And "oh hey it's this guy."
    My True Neutral Handbook, a resource for creating and playing TN characters.

    Check out my extended signature and the "Gitp regulars as..." that I've been honored with!

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    If the player wants to control what their party would do next, as their character would want to contol what their party would do next, then that'd be fine, so long as they don't OoC squirm when things don't go the direction they want.

    If the player wants to make **** up and willfully misinterpret what the DM says into bull to give their character more importants and spotlight... It's either a talk, a screwover or a boot.
    (though I don't mind if they're playing a crazed character and the player's on board with me)


    But I think on the flipside of things; I ****ing despise it when a DM changes/adds bull**** to your backstory without consulting you to shoehorn the character into something it's not. I believe you can add a few details in and add to it masterfully, though I've never seen someone do that.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I see nothing wrong with focusing on a narrative structure that puts one character in the limelight through some sessions. In fact I've played through whole campaigns where one players took the part of the "protagonist" as the campaign revolved around him reclaiming his homeland and rightful inheritance. I often run games in an episodic fashion where the focus shifts on one or two PC's for couple of sessions, this doesn't mean that the others just sit there twiddling their thumbs, watching the others play.
    I don't either (I see downsides, but they're not always applicable). I just recognize that it isn't the only narrative structure, and that the existence of other structures means that one can simultaneously dislike that structure and still favor narrative in general.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    But I think on the flipside of things; I ****ing despise it when a DM changes/adds bull**** to your backstory without consulting you to shoehorn the character into something it's not. I believe you can add a few details in and add to it masterfully, though I've never seen someone do that.
    Although I fully agree with this sentiment, I missed how it's relevant (if I had seen the relevance, I'd be ranting alongside you).

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Although I fully agree with this sentiment, I missed how it's relevant (if I had seen the relevance, I'd be ranting alongside you).
    It pushes you into the spotlight when you don't want to be.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So much this. We don't all game for the same reasons, there is no one size fits all solution. Give each player what they want, rather than wasting time and effort giving them things that they don't care about. As in your example, where you gave narrative focus to the ones who wanted it, and just let Hulk smash.
    More broadly, let each PC focus on what the player enjoys as much as is possible without detriment to the overall campaign and enjoyment.
    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

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Reading the example given, the player got frustrated and bored because the focus was on another character for too long for his tastes. It happens sometimes, honestly. I would suggest you as a DM try to not focus too long on a single specific character without allowing the others to interject. If someone has a certain passage they need to get through solo before the game can move on, tell the others there will be a break while you converse with this individual alone for a bit, take them aside and do what you need to while the others do something else, even allow them to roleplay amongst themselves if that is what they fancy or take bathroom breaks or play other games if this stretches on for too long. There is no problem if you write a lot of backstory for your character, but one has to remember that most of that is self-indulgant. The DM isn't likely to read all of it, but he might use some of it. This enrichens the game and makes it more interesting for you and can even help inform the other players about your character. Discuss your character with your DM.

    (Note that the advice to not write backstories is a dumb one, that just means you end up with a shallow cardboard cut-out that has no place or meaning and no driving force, a true murder hobo)

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Scripten's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordaedil View Post
    If someone has a certain passage they need to get through solo before the game can move on, tell the others there will be a break while you converse with this individual alone for a bit, take them aside and do what you need to while the others do something else, even allow them to roleplay amongst themselves if that is what they fancy or take bathroom breaks or play other games if this stretches on for too long.
    When I am able to (which, in my experience, is most occasions), I try to set up solo situations such that they happen simultaneously with difficult decisions or particularly challenging encounters. My group deliberates on roleplaying decisions a lot, so if I can take one player away from the table for a little bit, they can work through things and possibly come to a consensus without wasting too much time. They also appreciate having real surprises and secrets in the party, which is, I know, a big no-no around these parts, but they're generally mature about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordaedil View Post
    There is no problem if you write a lot of backstory for your character, but one has to remember that most of that is self-indulgant. The DM isn't likely to read all of it, but he might use some of it. This enrichens the game and makes it more interesting for you and can even help inform the other players about your character. Discuss your character with your DM.

    (Note that the advice to not write backstories is a dumb one, that just means you end up with a shallow cardboard cut-out that has no place or meaning and no driving force, a true murder hobo)
    Writing a ten-page essay backstory is fairly useless, IMO. For one thing, it puts all of the interesting parts of the character's life behind them, but it also makes it tougher for the DM to pull out useful information to bring the character into the adventure. The best backstories, for me, are ones that include no more than one or two inciting incidents, a smattering of mundane lifestyle details, and one to three important NPCs.

    I have no issue with someone who writes a huge backstory as long as they can isolate those items to hand to me, though. Assuming, of course, that they don't get upset when I miss a small detail about their third cousin's half-missing eyebrow.
    Avatar credit to Shades of Gray

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post

    Writing a ten-page essay backstory is fairly useless, IMO. For one thing, it puts all of the interesting parts of the character's life behind them, but it also makes it tougher for the DM to pull out useful information to bring the character into the adventure. The best backstories, for me, are ones that include no more than one or two inciting incidents, a smattering of mundane lifestyle details, and one to three important NPCs.

    I have no issue with someone who writes a huge backstory as long as they can isolate those items to hand to me, though. Assuming, of course, that they don't get upset when I miss a small detail about their third cousin's half-missing eyebrow.
    I agree, too long a back story is not very useful for me as a GM. Have this friend that would ramble endlessly about his character or future characters and write self masturbatury fiction about them which would end with him saying something like this

    "And that's why my character is secretly the Prince of Shadows and can manipulate shadows and darkness and teleport between shadows....and summon shades to fight for him"

    Or

    "And that means my character is a God, the brilliance is that he doesnt know about it!!!"
    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.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post
    Writing a ten-page essay backstory is fairly useless, IMO. For one thing, it puts all of the interesting parts of the character's life behind them, but it also makes it tougher for the DM to pull out useful information to bring the character into the adventure. The best backstories, for me, are ones that include no more than one or two inciting incidents, a smattering of mundane lifestyle details, and one to three important NPCs.

    I have no issue with someone who writes a huge backstory as long as they can isolate those items to hand to me, though. Assuming, of course, that they don't get upset when I miss a small detail about their third cousin's half-missing eyebrow.
    The bigger danger, to me, is that when you write that huge backstory, it's super easy to get invested in how things are going to happen with your character and really want them to go a certain way.

    And often this is done without talking to the rest of the group or knowing what the campaign is going to be like. So you've got this huge arc planned that may not be compatible at all with what the rest of the group, or the GM, are doing. And that's where conflicts start to occur.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Backstory...

    If a DM asks for backstories and isn't ready for what he gets, then what?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to give out a general "introduction to the land/some idea of what skills/background might be needed for the quest?".

    I've heard a lot about backstories. I understand that DMing can take a ton of time if you want details on your realm. How often is that communicated to the players in advance? [ok, I just left the "when the world becomes the kitchen sink" thread and this really hammered this home].

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Backstory...

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    If a DM asks for backstories and isn't ready for what he gets, then what?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to give out a general "introduction to the land/some idea of what skills/background might be needed for the quest?".

    I've heard a lot about backstories. I understand that DMing can take a ton of time if you want details on your realm. How often is that communicated to the players in advance? [ok, I just left the "when the world becomes the kitchen sink" thread and this really hammered this home].
    You are 100% correct on this. Clear communication between all parties is key.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't happen a ridiculous amount of the time, or people ignore it, and then you end up with disasters.

    "Hey, let's play D&D! Come up with characters and backstories, and we'll meet on <date>" is a recipe for disaster, and it's waaaaay too common.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Backstory...

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    If a DM asks for backstories and isn't ready for what he gets, then what?

    Wouldn't it make more sense to give out a general "introduction to the land/some idea of what skills/background might be needed for the quest?".

    I've heard a lot about backstories. I understand that DMing can take a ton of time if you want details on your realm. How often is that communicated to the players in advance? [ok, I just left the "when the world becomes the kitchen sink" thread and this really hammered this home].
    The group I am in tends to work together on characters and backstories.

    We have a session zero and then we might use a couple of months throwing ideas back and forth online until we are ready.

    For instance I'm going to run a mini campaign over a long weekend (3 days of play) in late september. The group is already preparing.

    As been mentioned the key is communication. Another factor is trust and knowing your fellow players
    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 - #49
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    There are backstories, and then there are backstories.

    The concept is good, but sometimes the execution is awful.
    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 - #50
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Backstory...

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    You are 100% correct on this. Clear communication between all parties is key.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't happen a ridiculous amount of the time, or people ignore it, and then you end up with disasters.

    "Hey, let's play D&D! Come up with characters and backstories, and we'll meet on <date>" is a recipe for disaster, and it's waaaaay too common.
    Obviously this is key, but I was thinking that even a token attempt at communication involving a "world and quest backstory" before expecting the players to fit into this world would help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    There are backstories, and then there are backstories.

    The concept is good, but sometimes the execution is awful.
    I suspect the problem isn't "backstory" so much as "predefined character arc" that refuses alteration by fellow players nor DM.

    Does "session zero" have to be done in person? That sounds like something that could be handled more or less offline, with possibly one short live teleconference. Yes, I've been out of the loop for awhile, why do you ask?

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    I suspect the problem isn't "backstory" so much as "predefined character arc" that refuses alteration by fellow players nor DM.
    I may weigh in on backstory and session 0 in a bit, but this notion of pre-planned character arcs really baffles me. I play the game to Explore the world, and find out what happens to the character. The notion of pre-plotted character arcs is, to me, like reading the ending of a book first.

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I may weigh in on backstory and session 0 in a bit, but this notion of pre-planned character arcs really baffles me. I play the game to Explore the world, and find out what happens to the character. The notion of pre-plotted character arcs is, to me, like reading the ending of a book first.
    That said, there is something to be said for arc-bait, where characters have a particular trait just asking to get pulled on. This can be especially true if building things between pairs of characters, and some of the most enjoyable roleplaying I've seen has been based on arc-bait getting picked up, particularly when you've got arc-bait on multiple characters that works together well.

    Take character secrets. Characters having a dark secret can inform their actions even if it never even threatens to show up, but it's so much more interesting when it's just under the surface, threatening to come up if not actively suppressed, where they need to actively work to hide it - until they eventually fail, the secret comes out, and it doing so allows for a turning point. Character secrets are built in arc-bait.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I may weigh in on backstory and session 0 in a bit, but this notion of pre-planned character arcs really baffles me. I play the game to Explore the world, and find out what happens to the character. The notion of pre-plotted character arcs is, to me, like reading the ending of a book first.
    This isn't about the player planning a story arc. It's about the player expressing wishes though his background and leaving questions.

    The best backgrounds leave a good question to be answered. In his backstory one of my PC's wound up in jail because a member of a rival merchant house was found bisected in his room at the inn.

    So he left me this question as a GM to answer. Who killed the rival and why? And why try to frame it on him?

    Another PC in the same campaign wrote a short story where his master in the slayer order was betrayed by a another slayer and killed and his character was left for dead. So he wants to find the slayer that killed his master. A simple revenge story.

    The third PC has parents that were connected to an assassins guild and his parents were poisoned when he was 15, his father died but his mother survived, but the incident left his mother invalid so he has spent his time trying to find some cure for his mother. The same night his parents were poisoned his twin sister ran off and he doesn't know why.


    The players aren't planning any story arcs, they are providing me with information that allow me to make build adventure, intrigue and mystery. Most of what we play is about the characters, it starts like a small snowball that just gets bigger and bigger as their actions have consequences.
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2018-06-11 at 09:39 PM.
    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.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Not focusing on the characters is a bad way to run a game. Ruins immersion and you feel that your character isn't part of the world.
    I don't agree with this as a solid rule - the characters are part of the world, not necessarily its focus, and sometimes it is more damaging to immersion to force events to thread into a backstory that has no reason to be entwined.

    Sure, it would seem out of place if natural intersection points aren't explored or acknowledged (if a character comes from a certain village, events lead the party to that village, and then no-one acknowledges the character when he is there, that would be jarring and detract from the atmosphere), but to me it is equally incongruous if coincidence conspires to have every event in the characters lives miraculously tie in to the events the party are currently involved in.

    It depends significantly the story being told, and the type of game being run. In a more open world game, or one consisting of a series of unconnected smaller stories, there is certainly more scope to tie backstories in, but if the game is more of a single epic quest (or just located geographically in a way that isn't compatible with a backstory element) then the coincidence needed to tie everyones stories into the larger narrative can often seem contrived and unrealistic.

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I don't agree with this as a solid rule - the characters are part of the world, not necessarily its focus, and sometimes it is more damaging to immersion to force events to thread into a backstory that has no reason to be entwined.

    Sure, it would seem out of place if natural intersection points aren't explored or acknowledged (if a character comes from a certain village, events lead the party to that village, and then no-one acknowledges the character when he is there, that would be jarring and detract from the atmosphere), but to me it is equally incongruous if coincidence conspires to have every event in the characters lives miraculously tie in to the events the party are currently involved in.

    It depends significantly the story being told, and the type of game being run. In a more open world game, or one consisting of a series of unconnected smaller stories, there is certainly more scope to tie backstories in, but if the game is more of a single epic quest (or just located geographically in a way that isn't compatible with a backstory element) then the coincidence needed to tie everyones stories into the larger narrative can often seem contrived and unrealistic.

    "Coincidence Pileup".

    Agreed, it gets eye-rolly pretty quick when everything neatly ties together and the story or campaign is on its 376th "it just so happens".
    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

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    This isn't about the player planning a story arc. It's about the player expressing wishes though his background and leaving questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    I suspect the problem isn't "backstory" so much as "predefined character arc" that refuses alteration by fellow players nor DM.
    Ummm...

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    The best backgrounds leave a good question to be answered. In his backstory one of my PC's wound up in jail because a member of a rival merchant house was found bisected in his room at the inn.

    So he left me this question as a GM to answer. Who killed the rival and why? And why try to frame it on him?

    Another PC in the same campaign wrote a short story where his master in the slayer order was betrayed by a another slayer and killed and his character was left for dead. So he wants to find the slayer that killed his master. A simple revenge story.

    The third PC has parents that were connected to an assassins guild and his parents were poisoned when he was 15, his father died but his mother survived, but the incident left his mother invalid so he has spent his time trying to find some cure for his mother. The same night his parents were poisoned his twin sister ran off and he doesn't know why.
    I mean, I normally have a half a dozen balls as a very low minimum that I'm juggling in the background of any given sandbox, and you think it's good for me to add 4-14 more?

    I've had players who didn't have the patience to last through an entire session for me to touch on their special snowflake background, and you want to encourage this behavior?

    I say this, not as any form of attack, but to explain exactly the level of confused I am as to how this works. Do you think that it's possible to build a bridge from where I am to somewhere where I can at least see what you're talking about?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I don't agree with this as a solid rule - the characters are part of the world, not necessarily its focus,
    The PCs should be the focus of the game, not of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    It depends significantly the story being told, and the type of game being run. In a more open world game, or one consisting of a series of unconnected smaller stories, there is certainly more scope to tie backstories in, but if the game is more of a single epic quest (or just located geographically in a way that isn't compatible with a backstory element) then the coincidence needed to tie everyones stories into the larger narrative can often seem contrived and unrealistic.
    Maybe it's just me, but I prefer for events to be engaging in their own right, not because of their connection to the PCs.

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Does "session zero" have to be done in person? That sounds like something that could be handled more or less offline, with possibly one short live teleconference. Yes, I've been out of the loop for awhile, why do you ask?
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    "Hey, let's play D&D! Come up with characters and backstories, and we'll meet on <date>" is a recipe for disaster, and it's waaaaay too common.
    Session zero is best done as a conversation.

    I come from a background that values role-playing above all else. Where "because it's what my character would do" would be consisted good behavior, and metagaming was the ultimate evil. One where the GM sets the ground rules and expectations, and, so long as those were followed, any problems in the game were the GM's fault. So my wording may have some bias from that.

    But session zero is best done as a conversation, where the GM explains the adventure, the player describes a prospective character, and they work together to tie the character into the adventure.

    Further, this is a good time to catch potential issues with party dynamics, from the statistical to "do we really want a Paladin, an Assassin, an Undead Hunter, and an Undead Master in the same party?" Or even to work to tie the party together and/or create / plan a party dynamic.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I agree, too long a back story is not very useful for me as a GM.
    I mean, personally, I write my backstory just for me, to inform my character's personality and decisions. I don't expect or want the GM to read it - it's supposed to be a black box, whose interface is session zero.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    "Coincidence Pileup".

    Agreed, it gets eye-rolly pretty quick when everything neatly ties together and the story or campaign is on its 376th "it just so happens".
    If the DM is responsible for providing all adventure goals, it may become a little contrived, yes. However, it doesn't feel that contrived in character driven games, where the players decide which goals to pursue. If the husband of one of the characters was killed by mobsters, it doesn't feel coincidental when the characters decide to get revenge on that mobster family, and also discover what other nefarious business the family was up to.

    I think the backgrounds provided by RazorChain sounded great for these kind of games. Not sure how he plays, but to me it would be natural to just round off the game when the characters has obtained their goals. Hitting them with another big eoic adventure afterwards would be coincidental again, but I'll rather start a new game with fresh characters.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    If the DM is responsible for providing all adventure goals, it may become a little contrived, yes. However, it doesn't feel that contrived in character driven games, where the players decide which goals to pursue. If the husband of one of the characters was killed by mobsters, it doesn't feel coincidental when the characters decide to get revenge on that mobster family, and also discover what other nefarious business the family was up to.

    I think the backgrounds provided by RazorChain sounded great for these kind of games. Not sure how he plays, but to me it would be natural to just round off the game when the characters has obtained their goals. Hitting them with another big eoic adventure afterwards would be coincidental again, but I'll rather start a new game with fresh characters.
    This is what I do. I just center the entire game on the characters.

    The Slayer in the revenge story, of course he's working with the bad guys that ties into another plot. Some plots mature slowly with the pieces coming together in the long run. So when my Players are satisfied or I get tired of the game and try to tie it all up, then the game ends.

    This is what I call a character driven game. It's almost entirely driven by the characters backgrounds and goals.
    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 - #59
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    This is what I do. I just center the entire game on the characters.

    The Slayer in the revenge story, of course he's working with the bad guys that ties into another plot. Some plots mature slowly with the pieces coming together in the long run. So when my Players are satisfied or I get tired of the game and try to tie it all up, then the game ends.

    This is what I call a character driven game. It's almost entirely driven by the characters backgrounds and goals.
    Yeah, sounds good.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I say this, not as any form of attack, but to explain exactly the level of confused I am as to how this works. Do you think that it's possible to build a bridge from where I am to somewhere where I can at least see what you're talking about?
    Recently I ran a one-shot adventure, where the characters were given a short mission in a big city. Not the focus of the adventure, but I had decided that in the background there was a conspiracy among the lesser nobles, and they had made contact with a diabolic cult of which it was possible to observe signs of during the adventure.

    Now, the players had made characters that fitted nicely together with what I had planned so far, and wanted to continue playing the characters. One was a nobleman, denounced from his family when he showed signs of demonic heritage at puberty, wanting revenge on his intolerant family. Another character was also a nobleman, heir to his family, caring mostly about proving his honour and progressing the status of his family.

    So after the intended one-shot, I just reevalauted the state of the world. It made perfect sense that the family of the outcast was involved in conspiracy, and his demonic features could be due to the cult somehow. Not so much a coincident that he's involved, it was already established that 40% of the noble families were in the conspiracy, and there were multiple hints of fiendish involvement.

    Already, his motivation is to get back at his family, and the other nobleman is motivated to stop the conspiracy for his family's honour. The players are now self driven, and pursue the goals of their characters. I didn't need to engineer hooks designed to draw a random stranger into this business, just play out how the conspirators naturally respond to the PCs and an adventure emerge by itself.

    Other times I have ideas for an exciting adventure, and cooperate with the players to make characters that want to be involved with it. So it depends what comes first, the DM wanting to run a specific adventure, or players wanting to run characters with a specific motivation or agenda.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Protagonisting

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    This isn't about the player planning a story arc. It's about the player expressing wishes though his background and leaving questions.
    Again, the issue is that when people write (especially long) backstories before talking to the rest of the group, it's entirely too easy for them to get way too invested in certain questions/aspects of their character that don't actually fit with the rest of the game.

    In many ways, it's the same problem as a GM deciding "this is the adventure" and trying to force it when the players are uninterested, or in forcing a specific outcome. Since everyone has input into what happens (through the actions of their characters if nothing else), gaming works best when everyone has a fairly open mind as to how things will turn out.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    The best backgrounds leave a good question to be answered. In his backstory one of my PC's wound up in jail because a member of a rival merchant house was found bisected in his room at the inn.

    So he left me this question as a GM to answer. Who killed the rival and why? And why try to frame it on him?
    And OTOH I've had people bring characters to a game where the character was an extreme anti-human elf that basically wanted to kill all humans and was in love with the princess of hte elves and a bunch of other crap.

    This in a game that was supposedly about hunting monsters.

    I'm not against backgrounds. But I am against people writing entire backgrounds on their own before even discussing their character with the group. That character idea wasn't bad per se. But it didn't fit in with the rest of the group at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I don't agree with this as a solid rule - the characters are part of the world, not necessarily its focus, and sometimes it is more damaging to immersion to force events to thread into a backstory that has no reason to be entwined.
    A lot of that depends on the style of game. In more open-table games, you can't really wind the events around the characters because who knows what characters you'll have? In other games, it's really good form to incorporate when possible. It's kind of a question of "is it about exploring a world that has independent existence, or is it a story about these specific characters?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I mean, I normally have a half a dozen balls as a very low minimum that I'm juggling in the background of any given sandbox, and you think it's good for me to add 4-14 more?
    Nope, you replace some of your balls with ones from the PCs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I've had players who didn't have the patience to last through an entire session for me to touch on their special snowflake background, and you want to encourage this behavior?
    Jerk players are jerks. And they'll be jerks regardless of the style of game or how it's run. Get rid of the jerks. (Minimizing damage in the process is useful, too!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I say this, not as any form of attack, but to explain exactly the level of confused I am as to how this works. Do you think that it's possible to build a bridge from where I am to somewhere where I can at least see what you're talking about?
    It's a matter of investment. When players write stuff into their characters, they're interested and invested in it. Using this increases player interest in your game. This is a good thing. (Again, different styles of game, caveat caveat caveat, blah blah balh).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Maybe it's just me, but I prefer for events to be engaging in their own right, not because of their connection to the PCs.
    Well, of course you think the events you come up with are interesting. That's why you come up with them. The players don't have that attachment.

    What I like to do whenever possible is to ninja the stuff. Take the stuff the players come up with, and then roll it into my plans. Take it, own it, twist it a little. Now the resulting ball is part of what they came up with (and are therefore invested in) and part of what I came up with (and am therefore invested in). Win/win!

    Think of it as more like Iron Chef. You get some ingredients, but it's up to you to add others and turn it into a tasty dish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    But session zero is best done as a conversation, where the GM explains the adventure, the player describes a prospective character, and they work together to tie the character into the adventure.

    Further, this is a good time to catch potential issues with party dynamics, from the statistical to "do we really want a Paladin, an Assassin, an Undead Hunter, and an Undead Master in the same party?" Or even to work to tie the party together and/or create / plan a party dynamic.
    Absolutely. I think the best process is to come to session zero with few expectations (on all sides) apart from the general pitch. Hash out details, including broad strokes of your characters. Then, take those broad strokes and come up with a background/backstory that works to support that basic character.

    The Fate Core Phase Trio also is a super cool thing because it ends up tying your characters together (getting rid of that annoying first session "why would I work with them" garbage) as well as giving examples of exactly what people think adventures with their characters should look like.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    This is what I do. I just center the entire game on the characters.

    The Slayer in the revenge story, of course he's working with the bad guys that ties into another plot. Some plots mature slowly with the pieces coming together in the long run. So when my Players are satisfied or I get tired of the game and try to tie it all up, then the game ends.

    This is what I call a character driven game. It's almost entirely driven by the characters backgrounds and goals.
    Which doesn't mean the GM doesn't get to introduce stuff. Even if you have an overall plot, you need bad guys and enemy organizations and all that stuff, right? Why not just crib it from what the players wrote?
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

Posting Permissions

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