Page 2 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 229
  1. - Top - End - #31
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Black Jester's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    Having taken a class in behavioral psychology... you can 100% punish someone by rewarding everyone else and leaving them out. It is, specifically, punishment by removing a good thing or access thereto. I work in a psych hospital and we do this all the time. If you don't participate in the programming, you don't get the goodies that come with doing your part. That the kids experience it as and acknowledge it to be a punishment for not doing things is sufficient to prove the point.
    Yes, by establishing a base line of a group activity/reward, you basically establish a different baseline of assumptions ("This is a group activity, I am part of the group, so, I get the thing"). That is a different issue, though. By establishing privileges as something generally accessible, you establish expectations; unrewarded positive expectations do indeed create a punishment through frustration; on the other hand, the failed fulfilment of expected positive outcome of one's own behaviour ("Why should I put in this extra effort if it is just hard work and I don't get anything for it?") is at least as frustrating, if not more-so, because futility of owns action is a particular bad experience (enter your own worst case scenario about learned helplessness here). Also, steady rewards without recognizable effort create higher expectations or entitlement (enter your other worst case scenario about "spoiled kids" here).

    Your fallacy is to transfer this method of sanctioning to a situation of acknowledging individual merit and to assume that entitlement is, by itself, not a neutral concept. There are quite a few things that you as a player are entitled to: You are entitled to respect, a fair share of the GM's (and the other players') attention, consideration and the opportunity to have fun (you are also entitled to fitting seating, a share of the table real estate and so on, but these are so elemental one barely thinks about it until it becomes an issue). Acknowledging individual

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    If Jim thinks Tim insulted him when Tim meant no such insult, that won't do diddly to make Jim feel less insulted in the moment. And explaining that Tim didn't mean it that way probably won't make things immediately hunky-dory, either.
    As this is an example of subjective perception, I fail to see how this is relevant to the issue of rewards and punishment. A much better example would be: nurses are punished by the relative higher wages of surgeons.
    And even as silly as that comparison is, it still makes more sense than the idea that another player's bonus XP are a punishment for another player, mostly because, unlike money, XP are an infinite resource and no GM has a limited XP budget that the players somehow must share. Which leads to another, really important point: It's not like XP are a finite resource; just because some players have earned themselves an XP bonus, this doesn't mean that it comes at the cost of player 2's share of XP. Your attention as a gamemaster however is finite and in a very real sense, the players are always competing with each other for this attention, even though they are rarely aware of it. This becomes a lot more obvious if you run a game as the only adult in the room and with a bunch of ten year olds, believe me. Your attention will most likely focus on the player (or sometimes players) who demand it the most, because they are louder, more extrovert or require more attention to play their characters. Individual XP rewards are the only reliable way to mitigate the effects of this attention economy, by specifically addressing and rewarding the less loud players.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    The entitlement argument, hilariously enough, can be used here, too. Believing that receiving a good thing in the same amount as everyone else is a personal affront to you is a fairly entitled viewpoint.
    Consider this: If two students write a test, and student A gets a significant better grade than student B, because A studied and B didn't, under which circumstances could b legitimately claim that his worse grade is a punishment? Or that student A does not deserve (or is entitled to) a better grade through more effort?

    And while we are at asking bloody obvious questions: If a player does not participate in a game session or adventure, should he get the same amount of XP as those who did participate? And how do you explain this forced equalisation to the players who actually played the game in that time period?

    Quote Originally Posted by ImNotTrevor View Post
    In D&D, having the group advance as a whole unit makes sense. You work together as a TEAM. You succeed together or die alone. Singling out the weakest link in any given session is not going to make things cohesive, and a party member not helping is probably an OOC problem, not an IC problem. And, for the most part, since the bonus XP for doing things is 100% arbitrary, you won't be teaching them to play D&D better. Just to play it HOW THE GM PREFERS. Which doesn't help outside of that table.
    Apparently rewarding teamwork is somehow bad for teamwork. War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is obviously strength.
    Also, all in-game scenarios are the result of OOC activities, because characters are not seperate entities from their players. Also, the idea that XP rewards are fully arbitrary, is just plain wrong. They are directly linked to milestones (defeat a monster, solve a secret, find treasure) and social behaviour (help others, play nice). In the kid's games, I let the players set up their own short term goals (things they want to accomplish, like "getting a magical sword" or "befriending a dragon/unicorn") and miraculously, they very often achieve these goals through fate, I guess and a bit of their own efforts (meeting a dragon is one thing, but you obviously have to be nice and respectful to it if you want to be its friend). And guess what? The players mostly get what they wanted all along, they get an extra token of respect for it, and as result, they are giddy as only ten year olds can be and are super motivated (and I know the direction of the game for the next session or so to make sure that every player can achieve their goal, which makes it a lot easier to distribute attention and come up with plots).


    XP rewards are an instrument, and like most instruments, you need a bit of practice to use it well, but the truly arbitrary behaviour is to refuse to use the tools given to you at all and leave it to chance, and that's why the refusal of individualized XP is such a tell-tale sign of hack GMs.
    Cry Havoc and let slip the underdog of war

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Initiative that never stops or starts/ends and arbitrary times. I had one DM who would do things like have a villian monologue when the players wanted to roll for initiative and attack then declare a surprise round when the villian "suddenly" finishes monologuing and attacks. Players describing their character's preparedness were ignored. Same DM would also declare things like that an action happened after your initiative if you talked or said you were moving somewhere during a tense parley.

    On a related note I recently gave up on Shadowrun Dragonfall because the festival mechanics functioned like this. Forcing in initiative movement if there were hostiles aware of you anywhere in the zone. Say there are five rooms ahead of you. At least 1 has enemies waiting in defensive positions forcing you to move your team in initiative with action points and ending turns. You can't move your group in a loose formation each has to be moved individually. You also don't know how far you will get before enemies will react on their turn. Now I'd be ok with sending my team members from cover to cover like military squad or breach team, however what puts it over the top for me is that I don't know which advancement will trigger a reaction or allow me to spot enemies. This means I should be ending turn after every movement so that I can actually have a full turn when I open a door or turn a corner and find baddies and that's just too tedious for me.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    And while we are at asking bloody obvious questions: If a player does not participate in a game session or adventure, should he get the same amount of XP as those who did participate? And how do you explain this forced equalisation to the players who actually played the game in that time period?

    XP rewards are an instrument, and like most instruments, you need a bit of practice to use it well, but the truly arbitrary behaviour is to refuse to use the tools given to you at all and leave it to chance, and that's why the refusal of individualized XP is such a tell-tale sign of hack GMs.
    there is literally nothing wrong with a GM who doles out equal XP to the party (or just levels everyone up at certain milestones)
    I'm playing collaborative make-believe with some of my friends because we find it fun. we don't need to be "motivated" by XP. we aren't 10 year olds, dude.

    equalized XP means less work for the GM, an easy number to reference when making a new character, and everyone getting their toys at the same time.
    if that's what the people at the table want, why is that a bad thing?

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    I've played only with a couple of GMs who did different XP-rewards at the end of a session (contributed with ideas and plans, roleplayed actively... that kind of criteria). Which is... well, I found it took away a lot of the fun. Sometimes I'm tired when I show up to a session and I'm unable to think much about clever plans, or maybe my character is someone who is shy and quiet (so I had to act out of character to get attention for XP-reward there). But mostly, it felt like playing the game was work rather than fun. And that's not why I show up to game sessions.

    People can have off-days, or some are just naturally quiet or not comfortable with being lead or center of attention. And that's ok. Don't make them feel even more bummed out by denying them XP-rewards. Just make it fair for everyone involved. As a sidenote, one of my groups did away with rewarding XP and we just level up when we hit certain milestones in the campaign (we're playing published adventures), and we've mostly seen improvement in roleplaying. Teamwork is still 100% solid though and hasn't changed there one way or another.


    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    Does "had used on me" count?

    In which case turn-based role-playing. It's as horrendous as it sounds.

    I... what?

    Please, elaborate. My curiosity has been piqued!
    Elite Lurker
    Characters(on-going collection)
    Published:
    Red Hand of Doom: Soah | Shackled City: Green Sparrow | War of the Burning Sky: Sheliya | Reign of Winter: Raani | Strange Aeons: Ariste | Iron Gods: Hemali | Ruins of Azlant: Abelia | War for the Crown: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
    Homebrew:
    Othariel. Mystara - In progress

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    "Why should I put in this extra effort if it is just hard work and I don't get anything for it?"
    If gaming to you, at any point, becomes hard work, you should probably just stop.

    I mean, seriously. Cool actions will have influence in world. That, to me at least, is a way better reward than a number increasing.

    And I've played in games with differing XP levels between the party. It was utterly frustrating to be worse than the rest of the party cause I dared to swap characters to a concept I'd have more fun with. Or cause I clicked less with the GM than some other players (Extra XP for "good roleplaying" are a Pandoras box...)

    As for your point of different grades... Always, it is an obvious punishment. A probably deserved one, in this case, but to argue it isn't a punishment in some way is ludicrous.

    Worst house rules I played with... Monopolys Free parking money. In RPGs, starting new characters off below the party in terms of XP. Most of my houserules I stand by.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Floret View Post
    If gaming to you, at any point, becomes hard work, you should probably just stop.

    I mean, seriously. Cool actions will have influence in world. That, to me at least, is a way better reward than a number increasing.

    And I've played in games with differing XP levels between the party. It was utterly frustrating to be worse than the rest of the party cause I dared to swap characters to a concept I'd have more fun with. Or cause I clicked less with the GM than some other players (Extra XP for "good roleplaying" are a Pandoras box...)
    So much this.

    One GM I had who did reward XP for "good roleplaying"... I realised after a few sessions it quickly meant who dished out the most lol-worthy lines. Which was annoying since I was playing a Druid who was quiet and introverted, which meant I got extra XP for "roleplaying" once or something. And that was in a session were I was stepping horribly out of character because I wanted to test my theory that he was only rewarding those who were acting out.

    I don't even feel comfortable with doing rewards for roleplaying either (when I GMed L5R for a bunch of newbs, I did do it, but it was always rewarded to the entire group), since my personal tastes and preferences don't nescessarily jive with what a player might think is fun for them to do.
    Elite Lurker
    Characters(on-going collection)
    Published:
    Red Hand of Doom: Soah | Shackled City: Green Sparrow | War of the Burning Sky: Sheliya | Reign of Winter: Raani | Strange Aeons: Ariste | Iron Gods: Hemali | Ruins of Azlant: Abelia | War for the Crown: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
    Homebrew:
    Othariel. Mystara - In progress

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Seto's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Paris, France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Black Jester, I am a GM using the rule that everyone in the party gets the same XP, so I admittedly have a stake in the discussion, but... reading your comments, it seems to me like your problem is not so much with the "everyone gets equal XP" part, but with the idea that "XP will be the same no matter what happens in the session". Those are two very different ideas.
    I derive XP from what players accomplish, and give it accordingly. However, I give it out as group XP. It's still very much possible to encourage the behaviors you want and reward certain actions. It's just that, instead of "you were very brave and smart, you earned 100 XP for yourself", it's "you were very brave and smart, you earned the group 100 XP". Unless people are playing to be better than other characters, there's no reason it would feel unfair or counter-motivating. Even in the case where some PCs clearly pull more weight than others, the players who do the work generally feel proud and valued ("thanks to my character, we all got stronger"), and the ones who do less work (or were unable to show up at that particular session) are happy to not be left behind.
    In the specific case of "a player had to miss a session", they will still get the XP thanks to the group's accomplishments, but might not get the loot. I don't intervene in however the players decide to share treasure.

    Now, if your beef was with a GM saying "even though you all stayed at the inn all session long and nothing was accomplished whatsoever, everyone gains 100 XP because that's the progression I planned for", I agree, that would be a bad rule. Did I read you accurately?
    Last edited by Seto; 2018-09-30 at 12:28 PM.
    Avatar by Mr_Saturn
    ______________________
    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!

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    I... what?

    Please, elaborate. My curiosity has been piqued!
    Well imagine you're in the tavern, sitting there, drinking with your party, planning your next adventure together... and you can only join the conversation in turns, according to initiative order. You can't interject because it's not your turn and landing that good joke after the fact gets all the impact of a deflated balloon... Terrific way to lead a conversation, no?
    My attempt at non-awful fumble rules
    Arcane Archer minimal fix
    Expanding the Pathfinder Called Shots system
    ͼͽ

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    Well imagine you're in the tavern, sitting there, drinking with your party, planning your next adventure together... and you can only join the conversation in turns, according to initiative order. You can't interject because it's not your turn and landing that good joke after the fact gets all the impact of a deflated balloon... Terrific way to lead a conversation, no?
    Oh gods... xD So it is as bad as I imagined it to be.

    Maybe some additional rules of Attack of Opportunity on puns and the like?
    Elite Lurker
    Characters(on-going collection)
    Published:
    Red Hand of Doom: Soah | Shackled City: Green Sparrow | War of the Burning Sky: Sheliya | Reign of Winter: Raani | Strange Aeons: Ariste | Iron Gods: Hemali | Ruins of Azlant: Abelia | War for the Crown: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
    Homebrew:
    Othariel. Mystara - In progress

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Maybe some additional rules of Attack of Opportunity on puns and the like?
    Insult of opportunity, a la OotS?

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Luccan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    The Old West
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    Well imagine you're in the tavern, sitting there, drinking with your party, planning your next adventure together... and you can only join the conversation in turns, according to initiative order. You can't interject because it's not your turn and landing that good joke after the fact gets all the impact of a deflated balloon... Terrific way to lead a conversation, no?
    I had my new DM do that the other night. Kind of annoying, because I was trying to be the good player that got the characters talking (other than the DM, I'm the only one who has played before) and she knew that. Luckily we dropped it after the characters finally met up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    All Roads Lead to Gnome.

    I for one support the Gnoman Empire.
    I have a homebrew: A couple Generic Classes (Now with a new Feat and ACF!)

    Avatar by linklele

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    Your argument only makes sense if one assumes that XP are something the players are automatically entitled to and therefore one can take them for granted; under any other ideas of how XP could or should work in a game (let's say as a reflection of the actual experiences the charaters make or as a reward mechanism), your argument doesn't work.
    There are plenty of ideas about how it works, starting with the concepts of pacing mechanisms and downtime training.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    Being damned to do the same thing every day in and out, without any proper compensation or encouragement: Sisyphos could act as a nigh perfect analogy of what playing with a GM who refuses to hand out fair XP rewards and encouragements must feel like - but we have to imagine Sisyphos as a happy man, I presume, especially when we are him. Or worse, his warden.
    Speaking of that warden, the more fun interpretation is that, through tenacity and effort, Sisyphos is grinding down his rock until it is small and sharp enough to be used as a weapon...
    The thing about Sisyphus is that rolling a rock up a hill sucks, and he has to roll the rock up the hill. Those two are essential components, and the whole tale doesn't work well at all if he could just choose not to roll the rock up the hill and do something else instead, and also instead of rolling the rock up a hill it was something fun.

    This is without getting into how the viewpoint of XP as "compensation" pretty implicitly calls playing an RPG work, or the giant pile of assumptions that go into how not using individual XP rewards is "refusing" to hand them out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    And while we are at asking bloody obvious questions: If a player does not participate in a game session or adventure, should he get the same amount of XP as those who did participate? And how do you explain this forced equalisation to the players who actually played the game in that time period?
    The very term "forced equalization" includes an assumption that individual XP is how it is done by default, and that anything else is a change. As for how I explain it, the reward for playing a game is getting to play a game. I don't need to bribe my players with XP to play, because my games are fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    XP rewards are an instrument, and like most instruments, you need a bit of practice to use it well, but the truly arbitrary behaviour is to refuse to use the tools given to you at all and leave it to chance, and that's why the refusal of individualized XP is such a tell-tale sign of hack GMs.
    Using XP as a pacing mechanism is use of an instrument, and not leaving it to chance. Also the idea that you must use every single available tool is itself laughable - picking the tools that work well for what you're doing and only using them is entirely reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seto View Post
    Now, if your beef was with a GM saying "even though you all stayed at the inn all session long and nothing was accomplished whatsoever, everyone gains 100 XP because that's the progression I planned for", I agree, that would be a bad rule. Did I read you accurately?
    I'd push back on this as well. A group staying in the inn all session doing nothing is either boring (and thus its own disincentive), which means the GM failure was somewhere else entirely in not pushing the game somewhere more interesting, or it's an example of a good session that works well with a particular play style of very slow campaign movement heavy on scene-exposition where something like "the characters spend a night at an inn" turns into, well, the characters spending a night at an inn in close to real time. Pacing xp should probably go pretty slow in that sort of game, but it's a totally fine use of it.

    Sure, I'd find that game boring, but that's more an indication of a preference for a higher pace than anything.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2018-09-30 at 06:00 PM.
    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

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    In regard to rerolling initiative every turn:

    One of my favorite game systems (Mayfair's DC Heroes RPG) has that as a rule, BUT it definitely makes use of that to good effect. One of the best parts of this rule is that once initiatives are rolled, each character has to state what they are doing, in reverse order. And only after all the actions are stated do they actually take place.

    Imagine this in D&D:

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Slow guy: I'm casting magic missile at Fast Guy.

    Fast guy: I'm casting shield (making me immune to magic missile).

    DM: Okay, Fast Guy, you first cast shield and then, Slow Guy, you cast magic missile, which has no effect.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    So, you are able to react to what your opponents are going to do. That's huge!

    There are other complications (you are allowed to have contingencies, so Slow Guy could say "I cast magic missile unless Fast Guy casts shield, in which case I cast Meteor Swarm")... and you can also spend points called Hero Points to boost your initiative (but it might not help -- since you still might not win initiative-- and then you just lose your points; or it might be the crucial thing that lets you take the vitally important action first).

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

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    Worst Rule I actually played with: All PCs gain the same amount of XP, no matter what they do in the game. Infuriatingly unfair, removes the most effective motivational tool a GM has and it is just plain lazy. I got better, though.
    I give out the same amount of xp to the party, no matter what they do in the game. Giving xp for individual accomplishment isn't very fair far as I could tell, because it lead to DM making arbitrary decisions regarding how much XP something was worth.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    Worst Rule I actually played with: All PCs gain the same amount of XP, no matter what they do in the game. Infuriatingly unfair, removes the most effective motivational tool a GM has and it is just plain lazy. I got better, though.
    The best house rule my DMs have ever put: delete the XP system from all their campaigns. (Replaced by synchronized level up according to plot)

    Particularly in D&D, where having people of different level is a fun-killer. (And spells that ask to spend XP infuriating).

    The other post are asking "what if a player is absent", the answer is "he is doing something else in parallel". (We had a player frequently absent. He was charged of diplomaty with the different gods to have them join our side, and was traveling through the planes to negotiate when the player was absent)

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight
    As for how I explain it, the reward for playing a game is getting to play a game. I don't need to bribe my players with XP to play, because my games are fun.
    This is a stupid answer, because these rewards are of different order. XP is an in-game reward that exists to encourage specific in-game actions, where as "getting to play a game" because it's "fun" is an out-of-game reward which can only exists against a backdrop of no or less "fun" .

    They only meet at the middle when the quality and quantity of in-game rewards start influencing how "fun" a player finds your game. Which is hardly unimportant: imagine playing soccer without rules for scoring goals, or tetris without a score counter.

    Whether the game gives a score and for what has direct impact on the course of the game and thus whether it is engaging... sorry, "fun", to players.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    This is a stupid answer, because these rewards are of different order. XP is an in-game reward that exists to encourage specific in-game actions, where as "getting to play a game" because it's "fun" is an out-of-game reward which can only exists against a backdrop of no or less "fun" .

    They only meet at the middle when the quality and quantity of in-game rewards start influencing how "fun" a player finds your game. Which is hardly unimportant: imagine playing soccer without rules for scoring goals, or tetris without a score counter.

    Whether the game gives a score and for what has direct impact on the course of the game and thus whether it is engaging... sorry, "fun", to players.
    Games without scores are extremely common, starting with the vast majority of videogames made after the heyday of the arcade. On top of that, as I discussed extensively in that post XP does not have to be used as a reward. Given that the entire structure the question of why people who aren't there still get XP is that pacing mechanisms still apply to them because the game is still moving - but that's not particularly useful for hypothetical upset players going on about "earning" XP, where pointing out that playing a game isn't a chore they're being paid for potentially is.

    Granted, I've just had the good fortune of avoiding these people, so I can't really confirm how either response works in practice.
    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

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jester View Post
    Worst Rule I actually played with: All PCs gain the same amount of XP, no matter what they do in the game. Infuriatingly unfair, removes the most effective motivational tool a GM has and it is just plain lazy. I got better, though.
    There are plenty of ways to motivate a player other than xp. Just look up DM Inspiration.

    Also, to a lot of players the game itself is motivation enough. They find their motivation in the enjoyment they get from the adventures and the social interactions. By rewarding individual xp, the focus shifts from enjoyment to a sense of urgency to achieve things - things you feel your character normally might not do or say. It encourages people do go and do their own thing, rather than be part of the party who does things together.

    Example. The Barbarian will not stick around while the Wizard solves the door puzzle, because he's not smart enough to contribute anything useful and know he gets no xp for it... so instead, he'll just go down another corridor and find some more monsters to slay. Party divided, each doing their own thing. Is that what you want? I sure as hell don't, and my players don't either.

    If xp is your only means of motivating a player, that's when you're the hack DM. Not when you forego individual xp at the benefit of player.
    Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Games without scores are extremely common, starting with the vast majority of videogames made after the heyday of the arcade.
    So? That doesn't make what I said any less true. I could just as well say "games that are poorly designed are extremely common", that's how much of a red herring your statement is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight
    On top of that, as I discussed extensively in that post XP does not have to be used as a reward.
    ... then why does your chief counter example still use them as a reward? Using XP as a "pacing mechanism" is just rewarding hitting certain checkpoints instead of individual actions, but it's still a reward if it leads to character improvement.

    That's what causes the feel of it being "unearned". Saying "the game is still moving" doesn't address that. Yeah, we can assume the characters are still present and doing stuff... but unless their actions are actually played out, they improve for seemingly no reason. Without input, effort or thought from part of their nominal player.

    It's not hard to see why that would cause resentment, even if you personally lack such emotional response or think it is unwarranted.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Floret View Post
    I mean, seriously. Cool actions will have influence in world. That, to me at least, is a way better reward than a number increasing.
    Yeah, that's a strong incentive in RPGs. When you do cool stuff, you're the one in the spotlight, you're the one who's shaping the story, the hero who saved the princess, who negociated a peace treaty between orcs and elves, who protected the wizard during this fateful casting round, who finished the dragon, who solved that dastardly riddle. And you get to advance your character's agenda, or to steer the story in the direction you enjoy. That's huge!

    If I play the strong, silent type, it means my character will have trouble contributing meaningfully to the negociation scene, and that already stings a little (okay, if said negociation goes for a whole game session, that sucks a lot). I don't feel the need to drive it even more into the ground by giving bonus XP to everyone else.

    Doesn't mean there are no case where individual XPs are not a useful thing (in "organic" games where the stats change according to a character's activities like Runequest or Mous Guard). And I sometimes give bonus XP (or other rewards, like a homebase, an ally, a story arc...) to the group to aknowledge cool stuff that happened during the game. But I moved past the "individual XP as incentive" idea some time ago, as they were mostly an incentive to being a diva who hogged the spotlight.

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    ... then why does your chief counter example still use them as a reward? Using XP as a "pacing mechanism" is just rewarding hitting certain checkpoints instead of individual actions, but it's still a reward if it leads to character improvement.
    Nope, from the pacing point of view, it's not a reward, but a way to change the scale of the campaign over time with characters who are able to tackle tasks that were daunting at the beginning of the campaign, thus advancing the story. And they ensure that the game will not be stale, since the characters and stakes will change throughout the campaign.

    Doesn't mean they cannot also be a reward, of course. We all know that familiar rush that comes with XP, and the enjoyment of planning how we will spend them to become ubercool. But they are not only a reward, but also a pacing and evolving tool, a way to simulate some "zero-to-hero" stories, a way to keep the game fresh and to ensure the players will have new toys to play with.

    That's the reason why, in my last game, my players asked me to give them LESS XP per session. Not because they want to be punished, but because they felt the characters were changing and getting to their "ideal future self" too quickly.

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

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Worst houserules that come to mind from four different DMs,

    • When struck in melee, you may make a reflex save to avoid the attack. But only if you're the GM's girlfriend.
    • Repeatedly calling lawful characters out for non-lawful behavior, but never calling good characters out for outright evil behavior.
    • All enemies always use flawless tactics, even if they're mindless skeletons or something.
    • Conversely, all enemies always use the tactic of charging or blasting the closest PC, even if they're highly trained assassins or something.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "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
    Crystal Shard Studios - Freeware games designed by Kurald and others!

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    That's the reason why, in my last game, my players asked me to give them LESS XP per session. Not because they want to be punished, but because they felt the characters were changing and getting to their "ideal future self" too quickly.
    Yes, not all players have the need to level up and get powerful as soon as possible. I also see XP mostly as a pacing mechanism, there to ensure that players level up not too fast or not too slow. I think every 2-3 session is fine, so you get to experience each level, but not get too bored. Therefore I think it works fine to track individual xp, giving xp only to the characters of players attending the session. If the character/player is missing some sessions, it feels weird to just level up again without having done anything with the character, just because the other characters did.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn View Post
    There are plenty of ways to motivate a player other than xp.
    Irrelevant claim; the existence of other motivational methods has no bearing on the truth value of what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn
    Also, to a lot of players the game itself is motivation enough. They find their motivation in the enjoyment they get from the adventures and the social interactions.
    Which is equally true of soccer, yet the rules of scoring still have obvious impact on the shape of the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn
    By rewarding individual xp, the focus shifts from enjoyment to a sense of urgency to achieve things - things you feel your character normally might not do or say. It encourages people do go and do their own thing, rather than be part of the party who does things together.
    Now you're not even arguing against anything I said, you're affirming it via claimed example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn
    Example. The Barbarian will not stick around while the Wizard solves the door puzzle, because he's not smart enough to contribute anything useful and know he gets no xp for it... so instead, he'll just go down another corridor and find some more monsters to slay. Party divided, each doing their own thing. Is that what you want? I sure as hell don't, and my players don't either.
    Irrelevant question; I wasn't talking about what I want. Or you, for that matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn
    xp is your only means of motivating a player, that's when you're the hack DM. Not when you forego individual xp at the benefit of player.
    You can keep throwing accusations of being a hack between yourselves, thank you very much. Leave me out of it.

    ---

    @Kardwill: the only thing your post successfully establishes is that XP being a reward is not mutually exclusive with being something else... but that's not what I'm questioning. I'm saying the example was bad. Yours isn't any better, because your claim that XP as a pacing tool isn't a reward is basically followed by a list of things players would find rewarding.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2018-10-01 at 09:55 AM.

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn View Post
    Example. The Barbarian will not stick around while the Wizard solves the door puzzle, because he's not smart enough to contribute anything useful and know he gets no xp for it... so instead, he'll just go down another corridor and find some more monsters to slay.
    Or worse yet: the Barbarian is played by a smart player who is good at puzzles, while the super-intelligent wizard is played by a less intelligent player who has no interest in puzzles. So, the dumb barbarian sits around, thinking up solutions to the puzzles, while the wizard wanders off since there's no way that the wizard would be smart enough to figure out a puzzle.

    But, really, the ideal situation would be something like this:

    The door slams behind the party, trapping them in a small room. The only exit involves a puzzle along one side of a wall. However, while the PCs try to figure out the puzzle, the room starts slowly filling with monsters. Thus, the barbarian has something to do (fight monsters) while the wizard has something to do (roll intelligence checks to beat the puzzle).

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    I'm a big fan of the "all players get the same XP". For one thing, falling behind on XP can mean falling behind on abilities / combat effectiveness / etc..., making it harder to keep up with the rest of the players in terms of XP, and you end up in a spiral of being left behind without some help to catch back up again. This isn't particularly fun. It's especially noticeable at lower levels.

    The other, more philosophical reason, is that giving everyone the same amount of XP helps the party function better as a team. Not all contributions are quantifiable, or easily discernible.

    As an analogy, consider a football (soccer) player who has a particular style: in possession they find a good place to receive the ball, and make one good pass to set off an attack, which they execute with one touch. In attack they make runs which draw defenders away from where they should be, opening space for the other attackers to make the goal. Out of possession, they work hard to close down the opponents and never give them space, forcing them to make bad passes which can be intercepted. Else, they find an opponent on the attack and mark them out of the game.

    This player is likely to have very stats on most metrics: tackles, interceptions, goals, assists, touches of the ball. Probably "distance covered" will be their best one, but that's not a great indicator by itself. And yet this player is making an invaluable contribution to the team and the team may find they really struggle to get possession of the ball, or to get their attacks off well.

    If the team were being awarded XP based on what they did, this player might rightly feel left out.

    I prefer the attitude that the party plays as a team and wins as a team. Just because the GM isn't particularly cogent of a player's contribution, doesn't mean that player didn't contribute. Splitting XP equally between players regardless of how much they contributed means players will think more about the challenge in front of them than the XP they can get.

    Just my 2c.



    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMoon6 View Post
    In regard to rerolling initiative every turn:

    One of my favorite game systems (Mayfair's DC Heroes RPG) has that as a rule, BUT it definitely makes use of that to good effect. One of the best parts of this rule is that once initiatives are rolled, each character has to state what they are doing, in reverse order. And only after all the actions are stated do they actually take place.

    Imagine this in D&D:

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Slow guy: I'm casting magic missile at Fast Guy.

    Fast guy: I'm casting shield (making me immune to magic missile).

    DM: Okay, Fast Guy, you first cast shield and then, Slow Guy, you cast magic missile, which has no effect.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    So, you are able to react to what your opponents are going to do. That's huge!

    There are other complications (you are allowed to have contingencies, so Slow Guy could say "I cast magic missile unless Fast Guy casts shield, in which case I cast Meteor Swarm")... and you can also spend points called Hero Points to boost your initiative (but it might not help -- since you still might not win initiative-- and then you just lose your points; or it might be the crucial thing that lets you take the vitally important action first).
    I played one system like this, but my character was low dex and the party fairly large. It meant that I could go 15-25 minutes between announcing my action and then the action actually firing, at which point it wasn't that uncommon for it to have been invalidated by something the opponents did.

    That said, near the top of initiative order (when I rolled well) it was a lot more fun. Being able to react to bad stuff about to happen to me was great, and the more immediate feedback on my action made the downside a lot less. I'd be really willing to play this again with a small party of high initiative characters.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As for OP's actual question: I had a DM who would pretty much always give a surprise round to whoever attacked first, usually his monsters.

    I remember once we could hear a creature rooting through the dungeon, looking for us, and we could hear which direction it was coming from. So I resolved to set a trap for it by the door, and to ready an action to sneak-attack it as soon as it came through the door.

    "It comes through the door, and *rolls* fails its dex check to avoid the trap. Bad stuff happens to it, and it takes X damage. Enraged by this, it attacks the nearest person, which is you *rolls* and hits."

    "That only hits if I'm flat-footed."

    "You haven't acted in combat yet."

    "I had readied action to hit it as soon as it came through the door. What happened to that?"

    "It hits you first."

    "How? It didn't even know the trap was there, let alone me. I was really angling to get a surprise round against it with that readied attack."

    "Well, you weren't expecting it to attack you."

    "So IT gets the surprise round?"

    "Yes."

    I was not impressed.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    In my library
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Floret View Post
    (Extra XP for "good roleplaying" are a Pandoras box...)
    The only time I enjoyed this was when one player doing 'good roleplaying' got the entire party XP. Instead of the people who don't get RPXP being annoyed that they're less able to contribute EVERYBODY loves the person who got them more XP.

    The worst houserule I ever saw was free aims with all ranged attacks. Simply putting a scope on your gun mean you hit 98% of the time, and that was only because the system had automatic misses on 17s and 18s (it was a 3d6 roll under system). The end result was hitting was effectively based entirely on the opponent's Dodge skill, but because we compared Margin of Success (another houserule that was okay without the auto aiming) and Dodge tended to be lower than effective Attack values by ten or more attacks missed maybe three or four percent of the time.

    Worked much better when we were forced to use our unscopped sidearms, and so we spent most of the campaign leaving the rifles at home, but whenever we or the GM managed to justify pulling them out combats went from tense to hilarious (near perfect hit rates, 4d6 damage for a rifle, an average HP value of ten, and my character was the only person in the entire game to wear armour, the results are obvious).
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

    RIP Laser-Snail, may you live on in our hearts forever.

    Spoiler: playground quotes
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    This is a stupid answer, because these rewards are of different order. XP is an in-game reward that exists to encourage specific in-game actions, where as "getting to play a game" because it's "fun" is an out-of-game reward which can only exists against a backdrop of no or less "fun" .

    They only meet at the middle when the quality and quantity of in-game rewards start influencing how "fun" a player finds your game. Which is hardly unimportant: imagine playing soccer without rules for scoring goals, or tetris without a score counter.

    Whether the game gives a score and for what has direct impact on the course of the game and thus whether it is engaging... sorry, "fun", to players.
    ... ok?
    like, what you're saying isn't wrong, it's just... completely beside the point?

    the whole argument came from the idea that you have to use individualized XP as a motivator, and if you don't you're "just plain lazy" and a "hack GM" (his words).
    but that's simply not true at all - most people don't need to be motivated by XP to enjoy the game, or play it The Right Way, or whatever. that's what knaight was getting at.
    and hell, a lot of people here are arguing the opposite, that individualized XP just ends up encouraging the wrong things and harming the game more than equalized XP ever could.

    so yeah, what does anything you're saying have to do with that?
    Last edited by ijon; 2018-10-01 at 11:52 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Back when I played 2nd Ed one of the GMs I played with had a rule that on a roll of 1 whatever you're using breaks. Wooden club, steel sword, leather sling, Dwarven forged adamantium axe +3, roll a 1 and it broke. And by broke I mean in pieces, totally useless, magic all gone, none of this broken condition stuff. First game I ever played where players told me to fill my bags with whatever weapons I used, as they emptied we would use them for treasure. (the second was of course Rollmaster, where half the crits broke your weapon) One player found a Sword of the Lyons, really nice magic sword, something like you're invisible while wielding it and the sword is invisible while it's sheathed. Lasted about 20 minutes real time, it broke in the very next fight.

    Not really bad rules, but one time I played Battletech with a group that used house rules for a few things. Only, they didn't mention that they were using house rules. So I played with them, and then went and played with another group of friends, and looked like an idiot cuz I kept doing things that were against the rules and insisting that that's how it's played.

    I tend to prefer to keep groups at or very near the same XP total. It makes planning for them easier and you don't get players sitting and twiddling their thumbs sadly while everyone else is leveling their characters. In the few times where only some characters gets an XP award for doing something I usually try to even it out with the others characters when convenient.

    I've seen enough stupidly arbitrary XP awards that I tend to shy away from it. I played with one guy (briefly) who would award a female player at the table whenever she jiggled. The weird part about this was that this woman was not his wife, who was also at the table, and didn't have high enough "stats" to perform that "maneuver".

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Worst REAL house rules you've used

    Quote Originally Posted by hotflungwok View Post
    I've seen enough stupidly arbitrary XP awards that I tend to shy away from it. I played with one guy (briefly) who would award a female player at the table whenever she jiggled. The weird part about this was that this woman was not his wife, who was also at the table, and didn't have high enough "stats" to perform that "maneuver".
    For all that I prefer leaving XP to end game bookkeeping this seems less like a system issue and more a personal one. Creepers gonna creep.
    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

Posting Permissions

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