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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    That does seem consistent now, thanks for clarifying.


    You also said that it is preferable to change the NPC's behavior over the PC, since the PC is likely to be fleshed out far better than the NPC. (Paraphrasing from memory, since I can't find the exact quote right now, correct me if I misunderstood you please.). I agree with that in general. But out of curiousity, let's assume a theoretical situation where the NPC is a recurring character, maybe even a recurring character from several campaigns that is well known to the players (but not necessarily to the characters). Would you still consider it okay to change the behaviour of that NPC to something that the players know is incongruous with their previous behavior, for the sake of one player's actions?
    No problem.

    For the record, the list of reasons to prioritize having NPCs "choose differently" is neither mine, not exhaustive.

    That out of the way, I would risk assuming that those who weigh it based exclusively on how "established" a character is might well give an established NPC equal weight to an established PC, and treat them equally.

    Now, as I've said in describing my own stance, I fall into category 2 - look for alternatives that are in character. I don't expect me to (knowingly) pick options that are out of character.

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    Hmmm… you have made me see what is probably an actual inconsistency in my stance. Or, rather, in true Smallville style*, forced me to weigh my convictions against one another.

    So, there are times - especially at a time skip! - where you've got some wibbly wobbly wiggle room. So, if I bring Quertus to a new world, there's a little wibbly wobbly between "the last time I played him" and "when the adventure starts". To facilitate fun, I'm willing to be flexible with how we fill that in. Or, alternately, I'm a needy **** about wanting that filled in with something that will get the party together. "So, I met your character on the road into town, and you offered Quertus lodging? Works for me. Magic is outlawed? ****. Do we want this drama? We don't? OK. Would your character have mentioned it? What about if Quertus did magic - would your character have turned him in, or could Quertus have learned about this that way?"

    That's fairly normal, I suppose. Where you've let me see that my convictions oppose one another, in a way related to the above, is with this NPC question. And it's complicated.

    So, if this NPC has been "out of circulation" for a while, and (somehow unexpectedly) their (known) personality causes problems at the table? I can actually see me checking if they couldn't have had a life-changing event between their last appearance and now. And then evaluating how much more or less fun I think that this change might make them for the group (where the act of them changing - off camera no less! - is itself likely to add to or detract from the group's enjoyment).

    So, if push came to shove, there are ways I might sacrifice "pregenerated data purity" for "fun".

    Huh.

    So, I guess my hierarchy** is role-playing / physics, fun, facts? Because any fun that violates role-playing or physics (which I cannot find a way to put in opposition to one another) isn't worth having (in an RPG context). Whereas my senility makes me less partial to facts? Maybe. Don't hold me to any of this, I'm still working through it all.

    For those who believe that "fun" is primary - what if someone wanted to ignore turns, or how chess pieces moved? What if they told you that "fun" should take priority over such silly things, and they should be allowed to add checkers and bits of string to your chess game, and move them whenever and however they want?

    At what point do you say, "that may be fun, but Chess clearly isn't the game we are or should be playing"?

    Note: as a rule, when I ask something as a question, it's a question. I myself have several answers, based on my knowledge of child psychology, my experiences in numerous games, and my own stance on RPGs.

    Much like with how I hold that the ends justify the means, but only if you realize that the means are part of the ends, I hold that, while fun may be the goal, there are things that are still required for the fun, that take priority over making more fun, because they come at too high of a cost. Or something.

    * I can only assume, having never (knowingly) played the game
    ** I feel like I'm building a VtM "hierarchy of sins" for a new "roleplayer" clan
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-05-28 at 02:35 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Every person gets to choose how much they roleplay, and what they enjoy.

    If I enjoy rolling dice, that is independent of whether you enjoy rolling dice.

    No one (but you?) is talking about overriding the fun of the group. *I* am talking about maximizing and safeguarding the fun of the group.

    I'm honestly not sure where your disconnect is.
    I owe you an apology, I have re-read how I posted my comments and it was coming off very much as an attack on you and that was not my intent.

    I was trying to get where you are coming from and I do have a much better idea now.

    Once again confirming I really couldn't run a game you would be happy with, but that's all good. We all have different tastes.
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  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    No problem.

    For the record, the list of reasons to prioritize having NPCs "choose differently" is neither mine, not exhaustive.

    That out of the way, I would risk assuming that those who weigh it based exclusively on how "established" a character is might well give an established NPC equal weight to an established PC, and treat them equally.

    Now, as I've said in describing my own stance, I fall into category 2 - look for alternatives that are in character. I don't expect me to (knowingly) pick options that are out of character.

    Spoiler: a Small(ville) aside
    Show
    Hmmm… you have made me see what is probably an actual inconsistency in my stance. Or, rather, in true Smallville style*, forced me to weigh my convictions against one another.

    So, there are times - especially at a time skip! - where you've got some wibbly wobbly wiggle room. So, if I bring Quertus to a new world, there's a little wibbly wobbly between "the last time I played him" and "when the adventure starts". To facilitate fun, I'm willing to be flexible with how we fill that in. Or, alternately, I'm a needy **** about wanting that filled in with something that will get the party together. "So, I met your character on the road into town, and you offered Quertus lodging? Works for me. Magic is outlawed? ****. Do we want this drama? We don't? OK. Would your character have mentioned it? What about if Quertus did magic - would your character have turned him in, or could Quertus have learned about this that way?"

    That's fairly normal, I suppose. Where you've let me see that my convictions oppose one another, in a way related to the above, is with this NPC question. And it's complicated.

    So, if this NPC has been "out of circulation" for a while, and (somehow unexpectedly) their (known) personality causes problems at the table? I can actually see me checking if they couldn't have had a life-changing event between their last appearance and now. And then evaluating how much more or less fun I think that this change might make them for the group (where the act of them changing - off camera no less! - is itself likely to add to or detract from the group's enjoyment).

    So, if push came to shove, there are ways I might sacrifice "pregenerated data purity" for "fun".

    Huh.

    So, I guess my hierarchy** is role-playing / physics, fun, facts? Because any fun that violates role-playing or physics (which I cannot find a way to put in opposition to one another) isn't worth having (in an RPG context). Whereas my senility makes me less partial to facts? Maybe. Don't hold me to any of this, I'm still working through it all.

    For those who believe that "fun" is primary - what if someone wanted to ignore turns, or how chess pieces moved? What if they told you that "fun" should take priority over such silly things, and they should be allowed to add checkers and bits of string to your chess game, and move them whenever and however they want?

    At what point do you say, "that may be fun, but Chess clearly isn't the game we are or should be playing"?

    Note: as a rule, when I ask something as a question, it's a question. I myself have several answers, based on my knowledge of child psychology, my experiences in numerous games, and my own stance on RPGs.

    Much like with how I hold that the ends justify the means, but only if you realize that the means are part of the ends, I hold that, while fun may be the goal, there are things that are still required for the fun, that take priority over making more fun, because they come at too high of a cost. Or something.

    * I can only assume, having never (knowingly) played the game
    ** I feel like I'm building a VtM "hierarchy of sins" for a new "roleplayer" clan
    Can you actually separate roleplaying/physics from fun? Or would you rather say that violating roleplaying/physics destroys your fun? Semantics, I know, but might be relevant for the discussion.
    In general, I'd say that if a game isn't fun, it's not worth playing. That's also what I tell my players; don't be afraid to tell me that you don't want to play on a particular day or a particular group. If you don't want to, it's not worth forcing yourself. It's a hobby, not a chore. That doesn't mean you can just throw rules overboard, because playing within the rules is part of what is fun for me. As such, I wouldn't allow anyone to move a chess piece illegally even once.

    However, chess is a different kind of beast than RPG; it is competitive and it is a game that is intentionally symmetrical. But even in an assymetrical competitive or cooperative board game, there are rules that make sure the game is balanced in a certain way (how well it is balanced depends on the game in question). Staying within those rules, again, is part of the fun. Sure, I can go and make up rules for Arkham Horror that will make it easier for me to win; but then I can just declare myself the winner right from the start and do something else with my time.

    But RPGs are different. In an RPG there is an expectation that one side will hold back by design. The GM will always hold the power to just delete the PCs off the board with overwhelming forces that they have no hope of competing against. And most RPGs have no rule that says the GM is not allowed to do that. But then, that's no fun for the players; not for me as a GM, either, but there are probably (terrible) GMs out there that would get enjoyment out of doing that. So there are parts of an RPG that go above and beyond the rules. One reason for that is that a RPG doesn't have a win condition; there isn't a defined end point that the people involved work towards by default. As such, winning isn't the goal, or at least not the only possible one; there have to be other goals, and everyone has to decide on their personal goal for themselves. Clashes happen when two or more people involved have incompatible goals. If the GM's goal is to explore political intrigue while the players goal is to measure their optimization skills against whatever the Monster Manual has to offer, neither side will be happy. If the players want to explore the psyche of their characters while the GM wants to do a dungeon crawler, no one will get the experience they are looking for. If one player wants to have intra-party comflict while the others want to be harmonious, there will be OOC conflict.

    That's where fun again comes into it. Fun is not one of the factors that makes up a game; fun is the ultimate goal of the game; it even transcends winning in a competitive game, for I can lose a game and still have fun, or reversely win a game but have no fun doing so. And all those factors, like rules, physics, facts, even controversial topics like illusionism, railroading, fudging and so on should be measured by whether they contribute to or detract from the fun. And if there's one point that we all should agree on it is that the answer to that is not the same for every one of us, and that answering this differently doesn't make anyone a better or worse person at RPG, just a possibly incompatible one.

    Interestingly, this is similar to the M:tG theory of various player archetypes (Johnny/Timmy/Spike), who all have different reasons for playing and want different things from it. It's just much more pronounced and diverse in RPGs, because those provide a far broader spectrum of possible experiences and ways to play.
    Last edited by Morgaln; 2019-05-29 at 05:59 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #214
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Continuing our probably mostly off-topic conversation…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    Can you actually separate roleplaying/physics from fun? Or would you rather say that violating roleplaying/physics destroys your fun? Semantics, I know, but might be relevant for the discussion.
    Oh, even more semantics - by "fun", I *probably* mean "maximizing the fun had by the group". No guarantees that I consistently use or used it that way. Or even ever use it accurately that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    In general, I'd say that if a game isn't fun, it's not worth playing.
    Agreed. To continue the above, an RPG without role-playing is… too suboptimal, and should be replaced with a more optimized experience.

    Thus, as I said before, in the all but incomprehensible event that I were in an RPG where I couldn't roleplay / where my role-playing (not just of one particular character, but role-playing in general) was a detriment to the group's fun, I would simply not play RPGs with that group.

    Now, as to my own fun, I can play a war game with no role-playing, and have fun. But my RPG fun mandates (me) role-playing, and (the GM) following physics, the rules, etc. Technically, if another *player* cheats, it doesn't completely kill the fun, and I'll just assume that it probably increases their fun more than it is a detriment to mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    That's also what I tell my players; don't be afraid to tell me that you don't want to play on a particular day or a particular group. If you don't want to, it's not worth forcing yourself. It's a hobby, not a chore.


    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    That doesn't mean you can just throw rules overboard, because playing within the rules is part of what is fun for me. As such, I wouldn't allow anyone to move a chess piece illegally even once.
    See above. I agree for GM, but shrug when other players feel the need to make illegal moves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    However, chess is a different kind of beast than RPG; it is competitive and it is a game that is intentionally symmetrical. But even in an assymetrical competitive or cooperative board game, there are rules that make sure the game is balanced in a certain way (how well it is balanced depends on the game in question). Staying within those rules, again, is part of the fun. Sure, I can go and make up rules for Arkham Horror that will make it easier for me to win; but then I can just declare myself the winner right from the start and do something else with my time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post

    But RPGs are different. In an RPG there is an expectation that one side will hold back by design. The GM will always hold the power to just delete the PCs off the board with overwhelming forces that they have no hope of competing against. And most RPGs have no rule that says the GM is not allowed to do that. But then, that's no fun for the players; not for me as a GM, either, but there are probably (terrible) GMs out there that would get enjoyment out of doing that. So there are parts of an RPG that go above and beyond the rules. One reason for that is that a RPG doesn't have a win condition; there isn't a defined end point that the people involved work towards by default. As such, winning isn't the goal, or at least not the only possible one; there have to be other goals, and everyone has to decide on their personal goal for themselves. Clashes happen when two or more people involved have incompatible goals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    If the GM's goal is to explore political intrigue while the players goal is to measure their optimization skills against whatever the Monster Manual has to offer, neither side will be happy.
    Eh, it's no more incompatible than "me having the spotlight" and "you having the spotlight". That is, it's simply a matter of the group's ability to blend these competing needs. IME, it's actually easier to "share" the spotlight when the players are after different things. It's like an orchestra, where different instruments are playing different parts of the song. Done right, I find it much richer than a simple melody.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    If the players want to explore the psyche of their characters while the GM wants to do a dungeon crawler, no one will get the experience they are looking for.
    Absolutely disagree, from experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    If one player wants to have intra-party comflict while the others want to be harmonious, there will be OOC conflict.
    Well, yes. That's one I cannot combine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    That's where fun again comes into it. Fun is not one of the factors that makes up a game; fun is the ultimate goal of the game; it even transcends winning in a competitive game, for I can lose a game and still have fun, or reversely win a game but have no fun doing so.
    Yup, totally agree. From experience. Ennui wins MtG, but Cosmic Larva is bloody fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    And all those factors, like rules, physics, facts, even controversial topics like illusionism, railroading, fudging and so on should be measured by whether they contribute to or detract from the fun. And if there's one point that we all should agree on it is that the answer to that is not the same for every one of us, and that answering this differently doesn't make anyone a better or worse person at RPG, just a possibly incompatible one.
    Mostly agree. There's also some morality questions involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    Interestingly, this is similar to the M:tG theory of various player archetypes (Johnny/Timmy/Spike), who all have different reasons for playing and want different things from it. It's just much more pronounced and diverse in RPGs, because those provide a far broader spectrum of possible experiences and ways to play.
    Which one wants pretty pictures again?

    Building decks for others, I've learned that MtG is also quite vast in its spectrum of likes. I'm… still working on finding vocabulary to describe the "experience" several people were after.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-05-30 at 09:11 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    So I have been thinking a lot about the topic this last week.

    Firstly, to those of you who say I should just play the game without Legendary Actions (or whatever other things they bitch about); that could work, but I don't really think so. My prediction is they will just find something else to whine about, and I will have hurt the narrative credulity of my campaign world in the process.

    To those who are saying I should just make the campaign easier and always let the PCs get their way, I have a theory about that. I think that people are much better at knowing they are upset when things are too hard than when they are too easy. Currently they are frustrated, but they don't know why and are looking for scapegoats. If I make the game too easy I think it will just be them not having fun because they are bored, but not knowing why and not being able to articulate it, if that makes sense?


    Ok, so I really think my players are just kind of whiny. I don't think my campaign actually is that hard; my current game has ben running for just over a year now and the party has had one TPK (brought on by an unlucky random encounter roll) and two close calls. They have not "failed" a single mission that they set out to accomplish, although they have let a few opportunities escape them by playing overly cautiously. Going back through my records of previous campaigns, significantly less than 10% of all adventures end in defeat, and in those cases its almost always the PCs coming up with a crazy scheme that backfired and caused negative consequences like hostages being killed rather than traditional loss because of high difficulty / poor dice roles / poor planning.

    One of my players likes to create min/maxed characters that go all offense, and anytime his offense doesn't work or something dares to attack him, he whines up a storm and finds whatever excuse he can. A few months ago it was "railroading" for giving a monster a breath attack, one really egregious example from a few years ago involved him being unable to teleport away from an evil demigod who had "space" as his portfolio and he went on a rant about how I was "punishing him for not caring about the stupid lore of my world", and just last session he was bitching about how large monsters who grapple are unfair to mages because when he puts a six in strength and dex he has no chance of resisting their grapple without a nat 20.

    My other player, the one who bitches about legendary actions, and lair actions, and size categories, always bitches when he feels the rules are "asymmetrical". Like when I ran the "Complex of Zombies" and he was playing a vampire, and he bitched up a storm that the zombies had a life leech aura that functioned "better" than his health draining ability, and it was just unfair because all undead life-stealers should follow the same rules, or how in my Heart of Darkness campaign NPCs receive half health, yet don't receive half healing meaning that the same healing effect does a higher percentage of their life.


    Also, on a related anecdote; a few months ago one of my players mentioned that he always finishes the adventure without any spell slots left and that most of the party is fairly wounded. I think he was trying to tell me that I needed to town it down, but that is exactly the level of difficulty I am aiming for, so that the PCs always win by the skin of their teeth, and I responded with "Huh. I guess I must be doing a really good job of balancing the encounters then," not really knowing what to say, and he took it that I was dismissing his concerns / making fun of him and has grumbled about it several times since.
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  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Play with better people.

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post

    Ok, so I really think my players are just kind of whiny.
    Isn't that what we've been trying to tell you for the better part of a year now, if not longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Play with better people.
    The sad thing is that this is what counts as 'better people' for Talakeal. If you don't recall, his earliest threads were truly the gaming groups from hell.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2019-05-31 at 12:54 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Also, on a related anecdote; a few months ago one of my players mentioned that he always finishes the adventure without any spell slots left and that most of the party is fairly wounded. I think he was trying to tell me that I needed to town it down, but that is exactly the level of difficulty I am aiming for, so that the PCs always win by the skin of their teeth, and I responded with "Huh. I guess I must be doing a really good job of balancing the encounters then," not really knowing what to say, and he took it that I was dismissing his concerns / making fun of him and has grumbled about it several times since.
    Talakeal, I think you missed something fundamental here.

    A player cited for you details of the difficulty of the current state of the game. You think the player was stating that the current state of the game was more difficult than their preference. You replied that those details matched the difficulty you aimed for. Unspoken you said that the player's differing preference has no relevance to what difficulty you aim for. The player took that as dismissing their concerns / making fun of them and has been unsatisfied by that DM behavior every since.

    I think it goes without saying that the preferences of each member of the group matter. However I don't think your player knows whether you know that or not. You left the player with the impression that the only balance preference that matters was your own.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-31 at 01:38 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Talakeal, I think you missed something fundamental here.

    A player cited for you details of the difficulty of the current state of the game. You think the player was stating that the current state of the game was more difficult than their preference. You replied that those details matched the difficulty you aimed for. Unspoken you said that the player's differing preference has no relevance to what difficulty you aim for. The player took that as dismissing their concerns / making fun of them and has been unsatisfied by that DM behavior every since.

    I think it goes without saying that the preferences of each member of the group matter. However I don't think your player knows whether you know that or not. You left the player with the impression that the only balance preference that matters was your own.
    Yes, that is something that i already mentioned a couple of times. But Talakeal usually ignores it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Yes, that is something that i already mentioned a couple of times. But Talakeal usually ignores it.
    It’s always good to take what people say in good faith, and not from a stance of “I am correct and will show you why you’re wrong.”

    If people are upset, they’re upset. Listening to that is critical.
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  11. - Top - End - #221
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    I have a question for people.

    Earlier we were talking about PCs acting differently based on the needs of the game.

    Do you think it is bad for DM's to do the same? Because I have said that when designing an adventure I try and keep the relevant NPCs as close to the PCs level as is plausible without breaking the setting, and that I tend to play my NPCs "smarter" if the PCs are doing well and "dumber" if the PCs are struggling, although obviously within the bounds of what is reasonable for their character.

    Anytime I have tried to explain this to one of my PCs they have reacted with horror at the notion. Thoughts?


    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Isn't that what we've been trying to tell you for the better part of a year now, if not longer?

    The sad thing is that this is what counts as 'better people' for Talakeal. If you don't recall, his earliest threads were truly the gaming groups from hell.
    Yeah, this group is actually pretty good. I just have two players who like to complain and bicker a lot. But that is absolutely nothing compared to groups I have been in in the past, where threats of physical violence spiraling out of inconsequential game issues were not terribly uncommon.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Talakeal, I think you missed something fundamental here.

    A player cited for you details of the difficulty of the current state of the game. You think the player was stating that the current state of the game was more difficult than their preference. You replied that those details matched the difficulty you aimed for. Unspoken you said that the player's differing preference has no relevance to what difficulty you aim for. The player took that as dismissing their concerns / making fun of them and has been unsatisfied by that DM behavior every since.

    I think it goes without saying that the preferences of each member of the group matter. However I don't think your player knows whether you know that or not. You left the player with the impression that the only balance preference that matters was your own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Yes, that is something that i already mentioned a couple of times. But Talakeal usually ignores it.
    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.

    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.

    Basically, I am already running the game as "easy mode" as I can without breaking it. The players almost never fail, and if I make it any easier I am going to have a run-away Monty Haul effect where the players resources start to spiral out of control exponentially as they are going to be able to take out foes (and gain rewards) far above their level which will result in being even more OP. And I am speaking from experience here. And it is really hard to run such a campaign as anything but an over the top power fantasy and, imo, most of the players didn't sign up for that, and even the one player who did would probably get bored pretty quickly.

    Note that the opposite can also be true if the game is too hard.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-05-31 at 10:37 AM.
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have a question for people.

    Earlier we were talking about PCs acting differently based on the needs of the game.

    Do you think it is bad for DM's to do the same? Because I have said that when designing an adventure I try and keep the relevant NPCs as close to the PCs level as is plausible without breaking the setting, and that I tend to play my NPCs "smarter" if the PCs are doing well and "dumber" if the PCs are struggling, although obviously within the bounds of what is reasonable for their character.

    Anytime I have tried to explain this to one of my PCs they have reacted with horror at the notion. Thoughts?
    Did they say where their horror came from?


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.

    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.

    Basically, I am already running the game as "easy mode" as I can without breaking it. The players almost never fail, and if I make it any easier I am going to have a run-away Monty Haul effect where the players resources start to spiral out of control exponentially as they are going to be able to take out foes (and gain rewards) far above their level which will result in being even more OP. And I am speaking from experience here. And it is really hard to run such a campaign as anything but an over the top power fantasy and, imo, most of the players didn't sign up for that, and even the one player who did would probably get bored pretty quickly.

    Note that the opposite can also be true if the game is too hard.
    The bolded part is pretty much the issue. It seems that you're only taking in your own preferences for the game's difficulty. The difficulty may be exactly where you intend it to be, but the thing is that this players seems to think that where you want the difficulty to be is too difficult.

    Maybe instead of just saying that that's exactly how difficult you want it to be, you could ask "so how difficult would you like it to be?" And have a conversation about it. It may well be that they're okay with hard encounters for BBEGs and such but would prefer an easier time with less prominent antagonists.
    Last edited by MrSandman; 2019-05-31 at 11:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    Did they say where their horror came from?
    Basically that doing so is meta-gaming and therefore cheating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I have been thinking a lot about the topic this last week.

    Firstly, to those of you who say I should just play the game without Legendary Actions (or whatever other things they bitch about); that could work, but I don't really think so. My prediction is they will just find something else to whine about, and I will have hurt the narrative credulity of my campaign world in the process.

    To those who are saying I should just make the campaign easier and always let the PCs get their way, I have a theory about that. I think that people are much better at knowing they are upset when things are too hard than when they are too easy. Currently they are frustrated, but they don't know why and are looking for scapegoats. If I make the game too easy I think it will just be them not having fun because they are bored, but not knowing why and not being able to articulate it, if that makes sense?


    Ok, so I really think my players are just kind of whiny. I don't think my campaign actually is that hard; my current game has ben running for just over a year now and the party has had one TPK (brought on by an unlucky random encounter roll) and two close calls. They have not "failed" a single mission that they set out to accomplish, although they have let a few opportunities escape them by playing overly cautiously. Going back through my records of previous campaigns, significantly less than 10% of all adventures end in defeat, and in those cases its almost always the PCs coming up with a crazy scheme that backfired and caused negative consequences like hostages being killed rather than traditional loss because of high difficulty / poor dice roles / poor planning.

    One of my players likes to create min/maxed characters that go all offense, and anytime his offense doesn't work or something dares to attack him, he whines up a storm and finds whatever excuse he can. A few months ago it was "railroading" for giving a monster a breath attack, one really egregious example from a few years ago involved him being unable to teleport away from an evil demigod who had "space" as his portfolio and he went on a rant about how I was "punishing him for not caring about the stupid lore of my world", and just last session he was bitching about how large monsters who grapple are unfair to mages because when he puts a six in strength and dex he has no chance of resisting their grapple without a nat 20.

    My other player, the one who bitches about legendary actions, and lair actions, and size categories, always bitches when he feels the rules are "asymmetrical". Like when I ran the "Complex of Zombies" and he was playing a vampire, and he bitched up a storm that the zombies had a life leech aura that functioned "better" than his health draining ability, and it was just unfair because all undead life-stealers should follow the same rules, or how in my Heart of Darkness campaign NPCs receive half health, yet don't receive half healing meaning that the same healing effect does a higher percentage of their life.


    Also, on a related anecdote; a few months ago one of my players mentioned that he always finishes the adventure without any spell slots left and that most of the party is fairly wounded. I think he was trying to tell me that I needed to town it down, but that is exactly the level of difficulty I am aiming for, so that the PCs always win by the skin of their teeth, and I responded with "Huh. I guess I must be doing a really good job of balancing the encounters then," not really knowing what to say, and he took it that I was dismissing his concerns / making fun of him and has grumbled about it several times since.
    About the player who complains about "asymmetrical" rules; have you ever explained to him what it would truly mean to have symmetrical rules? As an example, do you allow players to roll social stats (Charisma, bluff, and the like) to convince NPCs of something? Now propose to that player that NPC's should be allowed to do the same: roll Charisma to convince his character to do something, and his character would then be forced to do whatever the NPC suggested, assuming the roll succeeded. If the player balks at the idea (as he rightfully should), you can tell him that if he's not willing to give up the advantages of asymmetrical rules, he has no right to demand the removal of disadvantages.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    About the player who complains about "asymmetrical" rules; have you ever explained to him what it would truly mean to have symmetrical rules? As an example, do you allow players to roll social stats (Charisma, bluff, and the like) to convince NPCs of something? Now propose to that player that NPC's should be allowed to do the same: roll Charisma to convince his character to do something, and his character would then be forced to do whatever the NPC suggested, assuming the roll succeeded. If the player balks at the idea (as he rightfully should), you can tell him that if he's not willing to give up the advantages of asymmetrical rules, he has no right to demand the removal of disadvantages.
    Actually, that is one area where I DO use symmetrical rules.

    I let the controlling player (the DM in the case of NPCs) set the difficulty of all social rolls used against their character.


    Edit: Not that I don't totally agree with the overall point of your post, I am just commenting on that one example.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-05-31 at 11:49 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have a question for people.

    Earlier we were talking about PCs acting differently based on the needs of the game.

    Do you think it is bad for DM's to do the same?
    Because I have said that when designing an adventure I try and keep the relevant NPCs as close to the PCs level as is plausible without breaking the setting, and that I tend to play my NPCs "smarter" if the PCs are doing well and "dumber" if the PCs are struggling, although obviously within the bounds of what is reasonable for their character.
    For my answer, it's "No".

    I think I understand, since I try to run a "Living World", where there are things (NPCs and Monsters) already in place, that have "pre-determined" attitudes/behavior.

    I won't change what is in the Area/Region.

    (Adult Dragon in "Favorite Terrain"; Beholder in Temple Ruins; Giant/s in stronghold, etc)

    But, I will "adjust" what Creatures (ie: Wyrmling Dragon) and/or resources that are available, or change their behavior (within reason) to match the Tier (so, maybe the 3rd Level Party does meet the Adult Dragon, but it thinks they are amusing) as well as the Players and their Style/s.

    Anytime I have tried to explain this to one of my PCs they have reacted with horror at the notion. Thoughts?
    Yeah, my "no Legendary Actions" suggestion was meant to maybe show your Player/s that without them, the game would be "too easy" and become boring.

    But, your note saying that they would just find something else to complain about, shot that down.

    Sometimes you just can't win.

    **Edit**
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I let the controlling player (the DM in the case of NPCs) set the difficulty of all social rolls used against their character.
    That really didn't work for me.
    Most times I'll just do the normal "opposed Roll".
    Deception or Persuasion versus Insight.

    But sometimes to speed things;
    I will let them choose either:
    Roll Deception or Persuasion verses the Target's Insight + 10
    Or
    the 3x "passive" rules:
    Roll Deception or Persuasion versus DC 10 + HD/Lv + Wis.

    Whichever is chosen applies to all sides.
    This makes it more "fair" since the Player can't suddenly say that the DC to "convince" or "trick" them is (suddenly) much higher. (Or argue that them doing those should be easier - if they rolled low)
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-05-31 at 01:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Actually, that is one area where I DO use symmetrical rules.

    I let the controlling player (the DM in the case of NPCs) set the difficulty of all social rolls used against their character.


    Edit: Not that I don't totally agree with the overall point of your post, I am just commenting on that one example.
    That is interesting; I've never met anyone doing that. I guess your players are not complaining about that (or do they?) because being allowed to set the difficulty gives them a certain control over the situation. Now I'm tempted to try that in a group once just to see how works in practice.
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    "Choose differently" isn't about mechanics, or even about playing dumb. It's about figuring out a valid excuse OOC for the IC actions you need to happen to keep the game running to be performed. It doesn't always work, but it works far more often than those who cling too tightly to "it's what my guy would do" tend to think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have a question for people.

    Earlier we were talking about PCs acting differently based on the needs of the game.

    Do you think it is bad for DM's to do the same? Because I have said that when designing an adventure I try and keep the relevant NPCs as close to the PCs level as is plausible without breaking the setting, and that I tend to play my NPCs "smarter" if the PCs are doing well and "dumber" if the PCs are struggling, although obviously within the bounds of what is reasonable for their character.

    Anytime I have tried to explain this to one of my PCs they have reacted with horror at the notion. Thoughts?
    That can be taken in a few ways. Assuming I udnerstand you correctly and you are talking about more than simply adjusting CR if you feel they fail too often/steamroll your encounters, which is normal, then yes, this is bad.

    Why? because if it goes further you are actually punishing your players for acting smart/being succesful. Where you should be doing the opposite.

    This seems to fall into the same vein as increasing DC`s for actions high level palyer CHaracters do to keep it interesting" or "not ahve them auto succeed" (the epitomal CLimb check that suddenly went from a 12 for a level 1 Character to a 25 for a level 8 for example).

    Now, I dont know your palyers personally, so what I am going by are your posts and the only argumentative/whiny player I have had longer than 2 sessions, so please take it as wanting to help:

    You should never "adjust" the World to the Players more than the world logically would do itself, especially if youa re running anything remotely sandboxy.

    Why? Because people enjoying sandboxy play also usually enjoy Versimilitude.

    Lets say your Level 5 party breezed through a Troll Encounter easily. After that, their next enemies (random or planned9 should in no way ever change to more difficult ones because of that. Or the raiding orcs suddenly acting like Ghengis Khan was leading them.
    Or a BLack Dragon appearing "just to make it harder"....etc.

    Now, if after they continue destroying Trolls easily, a few weeks later, a large band of Trolls led by a Hag decide to go on the offensive against them, thats internally consistent and "realistic".


    Edit: I would not call it cheating, but yes, it is metagaming, and a type of metagaming that is done against the palyers and has no even remotely positive effect I can think of unless your group sucks balls as hard as Spaceballs Space Sucker ^^



    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post

    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.

    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.

    Basically, I am already running the game as "easy mode" as I can without breaking it. The players almost never fail, and if I make it any easier I am going to have a run-away Monty Haul effect where the players resources start to spiral out of control exponentially as they are going to be able to take out foes (and gain rewards) far above their level which will result in being even more OP. And I am speaking from experience here. And it is really hard to run such a campaign as anything but an over the top power fantasy and, imo, most of the players didn't sign up for that, and even the one player who did would probably get bored pretty quickly.

    Note that the opposite can also be true if the game is too hard.

    Now I am the last GM who would advocate to design the whole Campaign "just as the Players would do it themselves", as Iw ant to ahve fun as well, and the main pull on DMing for me is to be able to let others play in my world.

    THat said, a Palyer said that he thought your Game was too hard.

    You said "I dont care, I think it fits" and went on doing it that way.

    And you dont see the problem there?

    Let me suggest improving your Communication as well, because, as I tend to say in all my games, Communication is EVERYTHING.
    If y player comes up to you as DM and posts valid Feedback of ANY kind, you listen, you remember, and you act accordingly.

    One of the main things that has nothing to do with DM preference being more impoertant is Difficulty.
    Unless your palyers signed up for "hard Mode, no take backs" and like it, ALWAYS listen if they have valid feedback about difficulty.
    Even if you dont see your description as difficult, thats only your opinion. For me, outside hardcore D&D ANYTHING with a TPK thats not caused by sheer stupidity is out of the ordinary, and every death matters.

    Again, unless youa re running Rappan Athuk or similar stuff, or all your palyers are new and or etc...^^

    (Disclaimer: WHining alà "but I wanted that sword" or Why cant my Wizard grapple better than the barb?" or "But I should be able to fly because...." is something altogheter different ^^).
    Last edited by GrayDeath; 2019-05-31 at 01:25 PM.
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    So, there's a lot going on here. I've tried to pull out what I hope are some of the more important bits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.
    If you learn nothing else, learn this simple life lesson: if you are in a situation where you do not see what's wrong, that is when it is the *most* important for you to be creating a dialog.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Also, on a related anecdote; a few months ago one of my players mentioned that he always finishes the adventure without any spell slots left and that most of the party is fairly wounded. I think he was trying to tell me that I needed to town it down, but that is exactly the level of difficulty I am aiming for, so that the PCs always win by the skin of their teeth, and I responded with "Huh. I guess I must be doing a really good job of balancing the encounters then," not really knowing what to say, and he took it that I was dismissing his concerns / making fun of him and has grumbled about it several times since.
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.
    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    Now I am the last GM who would advocate to design the whole Campaign "just as the Players would do it themselves", as Iw ant to ahve fun as well, and the main pull on DMing for me is to be able to let others play in my world.

    THat said, a Palyer said that he thought your Game was too hard.

    You said "I dont care, I think it fits" and went on doing it that way.

    And you dont see the problem there?

    Let me suggest improving your Communication as well, because, as I tend to say in all my games, Communication is EVERYTHING.
    If y player comes up to you as DM and posts valid Feedback of ANY kind, you listen, you remember, and you act accordingly.

    One of the main things that has nothing to do with DM preference being more impoertant is Difficulty.
    Unless your palyers signed up for "hard Mode, no take backs" and like it, ALWAYS listen if they have valid feedback about difficulty.
    Even if you dont see your description as difficult, thats only your opinion. For me, outside hardcore D&D ANYTHING with a TPK thats not caused by sheer stupidity is out of the ordinary, and every death matters.
    So, I'm mildly torn here. On the one hand, I think that it is important for the GM to set the tone of their POV events:
    • that sounds like I did a great job making RPG CaS to me;
    • yeah, I really need to simultaneously boost the offense & lower the defense of the encounters, so that you still barely scrape by, but finish the fights faster, and so still have a few spells left;
    • yeah, y'all keep winning - I really need to make the fights tougher, so that my "dead PC" folder can grow.


    However, as tempting as a witty quip to explain that PoV may be, it should also leave room for the conversation to continue, rather than shutting them down. So maybe continue with something like: "why? What do you think it should look like?"

    A big issue of CaS, for me, is that it doesn't matter what PC I bring, the adventure will be X challenging. You're removing the players' agency to affect the challenge level, promising that, anything that they do, the world will compensate. And you've even made rather related comments in this thread, asking if the world should be adapted to the PCs. My answer is a firm "no" on that front (but, then, I hate CaS in an RPG (but love it in a war game), so I'm biased).

    I think you and your players need to have a good Session 0, where you discuss RPG theory and design accordingly, and the inclusion of a good communicator, who will catch when things like this happen, and force y'all to deal with it appropriately.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    this is bad. Why? because if it goes further you are actually punishing your players for acting smart/being succesful. Where you should be doing the opposite.
    Just wanted to say that I agree with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Actually, that is one area where I DO use symmetrical rules.

    I let the controlling player (the DM in the case of NPCs) set the difficulty of all social rolls used against their character.
    Now, some might disagree with me in calling this out as "important", but hear me out.

    First, kudos for this. I do something similar, in that I "just roleplay" the NPCs, same as the players "just roleplay" the PCs.

    Now, that said, I will still use skills to determine *how well* you offer a steak to the vegetarian, to know how you come off, but it doesn't change whether they'll eat it.

    Other than my applauding you for doing this, the reason that this is important is that it can come off as you removing their agency to affect the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I have been thinking a lot about the topic this last week.
    So have I. My thought was this: your players won't run the game? Fine. But they have to make the system / make the house rules. Then you play a short (4-5 session) game 100% by those rules. Then y'all discuss. Repeat until y'all have come to an agreement. Or, at the very least, you've got more information to work with.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-05-31 at 06:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    That can be taken in a few ways. Assuming I udnerstand you correctly and you are talking about more than simply adjusting CR if you feel they fail too often/steamroll your encounters, which is normal, then yes, this is bad.

    Why? because if it goes further you are actually punishing your players for acting smart/being succesful. Where you should be doing the opposite.

    This seems to fall into the same vein as increasing DC`s for actions high level palyer CHaracters do to keep it interesting" or "not ahve them auto succeed" (the epitomal CLimb check that suddenly went from a 12 for a level 1 Character to a 25 for a level 8 for example).

    Now, I dont know your palyers personally, so what I am going by are your posts and the only argumentative/whiny player I have had longer than 2 sessions, so please take it as wanting to help:

    You should never "adjust" the World to the Players more than the world logically would do itself, especially if youa re running anything remotely sandboxy.

    Why? Because people enjoying sandboxy play also usually enjoy Versimilitude.

    Lets say your Level 5 party breezed through a Troll Encounter easily. After that, their next enemies (random or planned9 should in no way ever change to more difficult ones because of that. Or the raiding orcs suddenly acting like Ghengis Khan was leading them.
    Or a BLack Dragon appearing "just to make it harder"....etc.

    Now, if after they continue destroying Trolls easily, a few weeks later, a large band of Trolls led by a Hag decide to go on the offensive against them, thats internally consistent and "realistic".


    Edit: I would not call it cheating, but yes, it is metagaming, and a type of metagaming that is done against the palyers and has no even remotely positive effect I can think of unless your group sucks balls as hard as Spaceballs Space Sucker ^^


    One of the main things that has nothing to do with DM preference being more impoertant is Difficulty.
    Unless your palyers signed up for "hard Mode, no take backs" and like it, ALWAYS listen if they have valid feedback about difficulty.
    Even if you dont see your description as difficult, thats only your opinion. For me, outside hardcore D&D ANYTHING with a TPK thats not caused by sheer stupidity is out of the ordinary, and every death matters.
    To clarify, I am talking when you are building the world, not retroactively changing it on the fly.

    For example, if a level 4 brawler says "I am feeling bored and need some practice, I am going to go down to the local tavern and see if I can pick a fight with the toughest guy there," I am probably going to have the toughest guy there, who I am creating on the sport for the sole purpose of this encounter, be about level 4. I am not just going to have the brawler go stomp on level zero commoners, nor am I going to whip there as with a 17th level monk who is slumming it tonight.

    Likewise, I am not talking about monsters being played super dumb or super smart, just if there is a point where the monster can choose from two valid options I will generally pick the one that will make for a more fun encounter, which usually means a closer fight.

    My understanding is that, for example, most every video game lies to their players and adjusts difficulty on the fly. (Here is a video I saw recently on the subject).

    As for whether it is punishing the players or not, that is a deep philosophical issue. In my opinion I feel that such games are punishing me for being bad as they are denying me all the content the game has to offer and rewarding me for doing will for letting me take on the biggest challenges it has to offer. One could also argue that you are punishing players by denying them the joy of actually playing the game; for example if the player wants to slay dragons with a sword and shield but the clearly optimal strategy is to simply poison the dragons food and wait for it to die it could be argued that you are punishing them for being smart as they never actually get to slay the dragon like they signed up for.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    One of the main things that has nothing to do with DM preference being more impoertant is Difficulty.
    Unless your palyers signed up for "hard Mode, no take backs" and like it, ALWAYS listen if they have valid feedback about difficulty.
    Even if you dont see your description as difficult, thats only your opinion. For me, outside hardcore D&D ANYTHING with a TPK thats not caused by sheer stupidity is out of the ordinary, and every death matters.
    Yeah, I agree, I probably only have one TPK every five years or so, and when it is it is almost always caused by freakishly bad luck or sheer stupidity (usually both).

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    That said, a Player said that he thought your Game was too hard.

    You said "I don't care, I think it fits" and went on doing it that way.
    In retrospect that is certainly how I believe he perceived it.

    The player in question complains that every single game he has ever played is too hard regardless of DM or system. A 100% win ratio is not good enough for him. If his character is ever injured or taken out of action he will bitch up a storm. In this particular case what he wanted was to have a bunch of spells left over at the end of every mission (instead of just most missions) so that he could sell them and break ahead of WBL.

    He came to me with "proof" that the game was too hard by showing me that the average mission used almost 100% of the party's resources to complete, which I told him was exactly what I was aiming for because anything else leads to a snowball reflect that results in a Monte Haul cake walk or a hopeless death spiral.

    Basically, it comes down to a fundamental mismatch of playstyles. He wants to play the tabletop equivalent of Diablo where he just grinds on waves of trivial monsters to power up his character. He isn't interested in the tactical combat, storyline, exploration, or social interaction, pillars of the game.

    Or, in short, I don't know how I could make the game any easier without de-emphasizing combat (which he doesn't want) or making a game that is fundamentally boring and devoid of conflict.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.
    Well, I will say it blunter then. This will result in losing some nuance. I do not mean to come across quite as the text of this post does. That is the cost of being blunt.

    Edit: Looks like you ninja'd this post a bit with your reply to GrayDeath. I will leave it here in case it helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.
    From everything they could hear, you did dismiss their opinions. You were aware enough to realize they prefered an easier game than the difficulty you are targeting. However everything after that is solely referencing your preference for difficulty. It is at difficulty X because Talakeal prefers that difficulty. When a player has a different preference, you ignored it. The only thing you demonstrated caring about was whether the actual difficulty matched YOUR preference. Of course the player is going to feel like you dismissed their opinion. Of course the player is going to feel like you don't care about their preferences. I would not be surprised if the player had their own horror story thread. This is what you communicated to the player. Did you mean all of it, probably not. Did they walk away with that message, yes. Do you consider it a problem that you give the player that impression?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Basically, I am already running the game as "easy mode" as I can without breaking it. The players almost never fail, and if I make it any easier I am going to have a run-away Monty Haul effect where the players resources start to spiral out of control exponentially as they are going to be able to take out foes (and gain rewards) far above their level which will result in being even more OP. And I am speaking from experience here. And it is really hard to run such a campaign as anything but an over the top power fantasy and, imo, most of the players didn't sign up for that, and even the one player who did would probably get bored pretty quickly.

    Note that the opposite can also be true if the game is too hard.
    Already you have shown the player more respect behind their back than in front of it. You have reached a conclusion about the optimal difficulty for the group you are running for. You have considered some of their preferences, and imagined their other preferences. In an ideal world, if you were right, then no player would ever come to you asking for it to be easier/harder. Hmm. But a player did just that. They came to you stating that the difficulty you aimed for did not match their prefered difficulty. In the face of that evidence, you ignored it and focused on the evidence that your aim was precise.


    In summary:
    1) You are telling your players their opinions don't matter. This is an issue (especially if you don't mean it).
    2) You are forgetting to reevaluate your conclusions when faced with new conflicting data. This is an issue.

    My advice to you:
    Improve Communication. Both in listening to the players and in demonstrating that you are listening.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-31 at 07:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Well, I will say it blunter then. This will result in losing some nuance. I do not mean to come across quite as the text of this post does. That is the cost of being blunt.

    Edit: Looks like you ninja'd this post a bit with your reply to GrayDeath. I will leave it here in case it helps.


    From everything they could hear, you did dismiss their opinions. You were aware enough to realize they prefered an easier game than the difficulty you are targeting. However everything after that is solely referencing your preference for difficulty. It is at difficulty X because Talakeal prefers that difficulty. When a player has a different preference, you ignored it. The only thing you demonstrated caring about was whether the actual difficulty matched YOUR preference. Of course the player is going to feel like you dismissed their opinion. Of course the player is going to feel like you don't care about their preferences. I would not be surprised if the player had their own horror story thread. This is what you communicated to the player. Did you mean all of it, probably not. Did they walk away with that message, yes. Do you consider it a problem that you give the player that impression?



    Already you have shown the player more respect behind their back than in front of it. You have reached a conclusion about the optimal difficulty for the group you are running for. You have considered some of their preferences, and imagined their other preferences. In an ideal world, if you were right, then no player would ever come to you asking for it to be easier/harder. Hmm. But a player did just that. They came to you stating that the difficulty you aimed for did not match their prefered difficulty. In the face of that evidence, you ignored it and focused on the evidence that your aim was precise.


    In summary:
    1) You are telling your players their opinions don't matter. This is an issue (especially if you don't mean it).
    2) You are forgetting to reevaluate your conclusions when faced with new conflicting data. This is an issue.

    My advice to you:
    Improve Communication. Both in listening to the players and in demonstrating that you are listening.
    You are making an awful lot of assumptions here.

    I have told the player in question everything I have posted above.

    I am making the game as easy as I can without it collapsing into a Monty Haul success spiral, and he knows this. He is trying to give me mathematical evidence that the game is harder than I intended, and I told him that his mathematical proof only shows that the game is at the known and intended balancing point. Which actually has very little to do with difficulty now that I think about it.

    For example, if we were talking about D&D 3.5, and someone made a "horror story" thread about how their DM was too hard, and then they had math proving it because he was throwing three encounters a day at them with monsters that were almost equal to the parties CR, and they were only at double the DMG's recommended WBL guidelines, how would respond to him?*


    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    You have reached a conclusion about the optimal difficulty for the group you are running for. You have considered some of their preferences, and imagined their other preferences. In an ideal world, if you were right, then no player would ever come to you asking for it to be easier/harder. Hmm. But a player did just that. They came to you stating that the difficulty you aimed for did not match their preferred difficulty. In the face of that evidence, you ignored it and focused on the evidence that your aim was precise..
    I don't get what you are saying here. You seem to be implying that all complaints are equally valid, which is obviously ridiculous. The world is not perfect, we can't always get what we want, even if everyone is hearing our complaints and doing our best to correct them because there are always costs and tradeoffs, and often time people do not even know what they really want.


    *Edit: I just realized that actually did happen once back on the old WoTC forum. I can't find an archive of it, but basically my players (who constantly complained that the game was too hard because I played my monsters too smart) posted a thread asking for help, and the forum basically laughed at how OP their characters were and how Monty Haul the campaign looked from the outside and told them not to worry, that I was obviously such a pushover DM I would never let anything bad happen to them.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-05-31 at 08:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    You are making an awful lot of assumptions here.
    I did say that post would be blunter at the cost of losing a lot of nuance. I also was replying based only off of what you had told us about what you had told the player. At the time of the post, that information had some omissions.

    And, again, I am being blunter & less nuanced than normal because you expressed trouble seeing the problems. Being flashing inaccurate depictions might be easier to see than gentle nuanced depictions. Please keep in mind the tone is not intended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I am making the game as easy as I can without it collapsing into a Monty Haul success spiral, and he knows this. He is trying to give me mathematical evidence that the game is harder than I intended, and I told him that his mathematical proof only shows that the game is at the known and intended balancing point. Which actually has very little to do with difficulty now that I think about it.
    You believe the player was asking you to tone down the difficulty.
    You responded to them only in terms of how the data matched the difficulty you had chosen to aim at.
    The player, reasonably, heard you communicate a disregard for their statement of a differing preference.
    Perhaps that player, reasonably, now believes you don't care or consider their preferences. DM horror stories have been written over less.
    Regardless of whether that was intended, and especially since it was not intended, that is an issue you could improve upon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I don't get what you are saying here. You seem to be implying that all complaints are equally valid, which is obviously ridiculous. The world is not perfect, we can't always get what we want, even if everyone is hearing our complaints and doing our best to correct them because there are always costs and tradeoffs, and often time people do not even know what they really want.
    If you conclude X is the optimal way to satisfy the preferences of all involved. Then every time someone complains it is evidence against your conclusion. I am not implying all evidence is equal strength. When you get evidence that supports refuting your conclusion (say when a player is brave enough to mention the difficulty not matching their preferences), it is wise to reevaluate your conclusion. However you did not (according to what information you have provided). If that is accurate, then that too is an issue you can work upon.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-31 at 08:34 PM.

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    Talakeal, have you tried running an easy- mode Monty Haul Diablo-like campaign where the party trivially steam rolls everything without ever taking damage? Are you sure these players wouldn't enjoy that, or are you just assuming that because you couldn't see yourself enjoying it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Talakeal, have you tried running an easy- mode Monty Haul Diablo-like campaign where the party trivially steam rolls everything without ever taking damage? Are you sure these players wouldn't enjoy that, or are you just assuming that because you couldn't see yourself enjoying it?
    I have run a lot of Monty Haul games over the years, when I first started DMing I often tried to buy players enjoyment in an ultimately unsustainable manner.

    Nowdays I fell that I still run a bit on the easy side, but Imhave never tried to go intentionally over the top easy. I wouldn't enjoy it, and while some of my players might enjoy it I feel it likely that they would more likely feel patronized or just plain bored. Still, maybe once I am at a point in my life where I have more time and opportunity to game I will try something more experimental.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have run a lot of Monty Haul games over the years, when I first started DMing I often tried to buy players enjoyment in an ultimately unsustainable manner.

    Nowdays I fell that I still run a bit on the easy side, but Imhave never tried to go intentionally over the top easy. I wouldn't enjoy it, and while some of my players might enjoy it I feel it likely that they would more likely feel patronized or just plain bored. Still, maybe once I am at a point in my life where I have more time and opportunity to game I will try something more experimental.
    Normally I'd say 'it's important that you enjoy what you run' and therefore, if you have players who cannot enjoy the kind of gaming you need in order to have fun, you should not play with them. As simple as that.

    However, you've previously said that for you bad gaming is preferable to no gaming, then there's a bit more leeway there. That leeway is likely going to involve compromising your own enjoyment (thus, the 'bad' in 'bad gaming').

    Even if you know that you wouldn't enjoy a zero-challenge Monty Haul game - either playing in it or running it - you're ignoring what the player in your group is saying about what they would enjoy. They're saying, effectively, 'yes, I want a Monty Haul game where I can have power fantasies without having to work for them'. You're telling them that, no matter what they say, you refuse to believe that that's actually what they want.

    It might be that they have played such games and do actually enjoy that more than actually being challenged. Or it might be that they haven't played such games and might eventually become bored with them, but until they've actually experienced it for themselves they still would rather try and become bored than having a challenging game that doesn't give them what they want. Or they could just be wrong about what they want. However, if you don't actually take what they said seriously (especially if you make it clear through being patronizing or ignoring them that you aren't taking it seriously), they're going to try to solve their discontent by acting out instead of by talking to you, because talking to you won't ever solve anything for them. And so you're going to get them whining, or attempting to sabotage your ability to GM, or things like that.

    These players (or this particular player perhaps) don't sound like people I would bother to GM for. I would say to them 'we want incompatible things, find another table'. But, if you're not going to simply tell them that what you want is incompatible, then your choices are either to just live with this kind of constant level of acting out and learn to ignore it, or make compromises that will diminish your own enjoyment.
    Last edited by NichG; 2019-06-01 at 02:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    A big issue of CaS, for me, is that it doesn't matter what PC I bring, the adventure will be X challenging. You're removing the players' agency to affect the challenge level, promising that, anything that they do, the world will compensate. And you've even made rather related comments in this thread, asking if the world should be adapted to the PCs. My answer is a firm "no" on that front (but, then, I hate CaS in an RPG (but love it in a war game), so I'm biased).
    Quoting this because I feel it could make for an interesting discussion, albeit in a seperate thread - on one hand, I disagree with the implication that equal challenge will play or feel the same on different power levels - a Fighter and a Wizard will perform significantly different even if the challenge matches their power (this holds true whether or not one is stronger than the other btw).

    On the other hand, I do agree that a lot of adjusting to the party is a little overdone - while I'm fine with it on a story level (plot hooks that engage the particular characters et al), you do not need to pump enemy HP on a highly offense-oriented group or remove all traps and locks from the game because nobody took the relevant skills. Let the players figure out how to handle an unorthodox group composition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Maybe the reason that I am ignoring it is that I am not seeing whatever it is that I am not seeing.

    From my perspective the player feels the game is too hard, presented evidence, I said that his evidence showed that the difficulty was not too hard but rather where I had intended it, and he took that as me dismissing his opinions.

    Basically, I am already running the game as "easy mode" as I can without breaking it. The players almost never fail, and if I make it any easier I am going to have a run-away Monty Haul effect where the players resources start to spiral out of control exponentially as they are going to be able to take out foes (and gain rewards) far above their level which will result in being even more OP. And I am speaking from experience here. And it is really hard to run such a campaign as anything but an over the top power fantasy and, imo, most of the players didn't sign up for that, and even the one player who did would probably get bored pretty quickly.

    Note that the opposite can also be true if the game is too hard.
    Ok, let's try it again.

    You tend to include ressourse management as a major aspect of the game. That is fine. And your players usually don't complain about it.

    You include a lot of "Risk vs Reward" structures. That is also fine. Letting your players choose how risky they want to act should lead to them being more happy.


    But then you always complain that it doesn't work. They tend to choose "wrong". They play it safe. They don't engage the fun encounters you prepared. Or are not willing to do so after you have their ressources depleted due to dangerous journeys. Or they just complain that your rule system makes the fight too difficult. Or they try to game the rules for an easy win.

    And you react by making the low risk options even lower on reward, including "no reward". You tweak the rules or adjucate until they are as powerful in comparison to encounters as you would think is right. You adjust the system until they more or less have to take risky options.


    All of that is counterproductive. Your players don't like as much risk as you would like as a player or as a DM. The encounters you think are challanging and fun are not fun for your players. The encounters you think are boring because too weak are what your players think feels right.


    There is no such thing as an objective optimal difficulty. You try to prove that your game is "not too hard" but that is an excersize in futility. What was it ? One wipe and 2 near wipes in one year ? You might think that is low. But others might find that rather high and they are not wrong. It is all subjective. The victory on knifes edge that you so like might not feel that good for your players. It seems to feel more like "That was a close call. We shouldn't have gotten ourself in that much danger"


    That alone is bad enough of a mismatch. But then you also like randomness. You use random encounters, random crafting, random trading, random events ... Randomness makes things even more difficult because it makes planning harder and a group loosing is usually more detrimental than a group winning is beneficial. If your players are kinda risk averse, more randomness is a bad thing.




    Your players want an easier time. Even if that nearly kills progression, they choose this way as you have experienced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Normally I'd say 'it's important that you enjoy what you run' and therefore, if you have players who cannot enjoy the kind of gaming you need in order to have fun, you should not play with them. As simple as that.

    However, you've previously said that for you bad gaming is preferable to no gaming, then there's a bit more leeway there. That leeway is likely going to involve compromising your own enjoyment (thus, the 'bad' in 'bad gaming').

    Even if you know that you wouldn't enjoy a zero-challenge Monty Haul game - either playing in it or running it - you're ignoring what the player in your group is saying about what they would enjoy. They're saying, effectively, 'yes, I want a Monty Haul game where I can have power fantasies without having to work for them'. You're telling them that, no matter what they say, you refuse to believe that that's actually what they want.

    It might be that they have played such games and do actually enjoy that more than actually being challenged. Or it might be that they haven't played such games and might eventually become bored with them, but until they've actually experienced it for themselves they still would rather try and become bored than having a challenging game that doesn't give them what they want. Or they could just be wrong about what they want. However, if you don't actually take what they said seriously (especially if you make it clear through being patronizing or ignoring them that you aren't taking it seriously), they're going to try to solve their discontent by acting out instead of by talking to you, because talking to you won't ever solve anything for them. And so you're going to get them whining, or attempting to sabotage your ability to GM, or things like that.

    These players (or this particular player perhaps) don't sound like people I would bother to GM for. I would say to them 'we want incompatible things, find another table'. But, if you're not going to simply tell them that what you want is incompatible, then your choices are either to just live with this kind of constant level of acting out and learn to ignore it, or make compromises that will diminish your own enjoyment.
    If the players were unanimous in this I would tend to agree, but they really aren't.

    I have one guy who complains when he sees asymmetrical rules.

    And one guy who is a classic munchkin who can't handle losing or being told no, and complains any time he suffers a set back no matter how minor; if he has to expend a resource, if an enemy hurts his character, or if his plan fails.

    The rest of the group is pretty drama free.

    The first guy wouldn't care if the game were easier because there is still asymmetry.

    I don't think I can run a game that is easy enough for the second guy, and certainly not one that the rest of the table (let alone myself) would enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Ok, let's try it again.

    You tend to include ressourse management as a major aspect of the game. That is fine. And your players usually don't complain about it.

    You include a lot of "Risk vs Reward" structures. That is also fine. Letting your players choose how risky they want to act should lead to them being more happy.


    But then you always complain that it doesn't work. They tend to choose "wrong". They play it safe. They don't engage the fun encounters you prepared. Or are not willing to do so after you have their ressources depleted due to dangerous journeys. Or they just complain that your rule system makes the fight too difficult. Or they try to game the rules for an easy win.

    And you react by making the low risk options even lower on reward, including "no reward". You tweak the rules or adjucate until they are as powerful in comparison to encounters as you would think is right. You adjust the system until they more or less have to take risky options.


    All of that is counterproductive. Your players don't like as much risk as you would like as a player or as a DM. The encounters you think are challanging and fun are not fun for your players. The encounters you think are boring because too weak are what your players think feels right.


    There is no such thing as an objective optimal difficulty. You try to prove that your game is "not too hard" but that is an excersize in futility. What was it ? One wipe and 2 near wipes in one year ? You might think that is low. But others might find that rather high and they are not wrong. It is all subjective. The victory on knifes edge that you so like might not feel that good for your players. It seems to feel more like "That was a close call. We shouldn't have gotten ourself in that much danger"


    That alone is bad enough of a mismatch. But then you also like randomness. You use random encounters, random crafting, random trading, random events ... Randomness makes things even more difficult because it makes planning harder and a group loosing is usually more detrimental than a group winning is beneficial. If your players are kinda risk averse, more randomness is a bad thing.




    Your players want an easier time. Even if that nearly kills progression, they choose this way as you have experienced.
    Wow. I have to say, I am impressed at how well you have been following my threads!

    I actually have responded to a lot of my player criticism and forum feedback, for example I have removed random encounters and the penalty for losing.

    I honestly don't know if I have made the low risk options no reward, is that a specific reference to something I said?

    My current campaign was a bit of an experiment because I was trying to run a hex-crawl style campaign in a game system that wasn't really designed for it and it got off to a shaky start, but I think that the players (and my house rules) have more or less gotten into a good spot and we haven't really been having any trouble with the game recently; we booted the one problem player in the group, and the two complainers have just been doing the same grumbling that they have since high school.
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