The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Traps, puzzles, dead-ends, and player knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Admittedly, I probably didn't understand half of what you were saying, but why would you ever be vague / avoid straight answers as GM? What were you trying to accomplish?
    In character stealth or deception.

    A failed perception roll to notice a hidden enemy. "There doesn't appear to be anyone there," but a more straightforward answer will either risk giving away information the character doesn't have or, worse, be an outright lie.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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

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    Default Re: Traps, puzzles, dead-ends, and player knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In character stealth or deception.

    A failed perception roll to notice a hidden enemy. "There doesn't appear to be anyone there," but a more straightforward answer will either risk giving away information the character doesn't have or, worse, be an outright lie.
    Then your problem with the current group may be the difference between you wanting only IC info and them wanting Meta information. Absolutely drop IC and go Meta to avoid outright lying.

    Quite frankly, I don't hide stuff behind the "IC only" wall (I also roll openly, the DM Screen is only for quick reference and to hide my notes)

    If the Player rolled Perception, but not high enough to detect the Assassin/Ninja - sure, I'll say "Jason doesn't see anything".

    But, if the Player asks how Freddy got the drop on their PC (Jason) I'll simply tell them what the Perception DC was (and the conditions that let them hide), and remind them of their total.

    But, not sure if you changing would really help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuebi
    On a baseline, I think it is a helpful philosophy to design and plan your game based on the thought: "I want them to overcome this."
    Resist the "I don't want it to be easy" urge.
    I've had what I thought were Super Hard Puzzles and the Players solved it in less than 5 minutes game time; I've also given what I thought were super easy problems and that turned into a three session game as they fought to figure it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuebi
    Clues, explanations, provided knowledge and all that serve to give the players the tools to deal with whatever obstacle they might encounter. And I (try) to design all of my encounters, whether they are combat or puzzle, in a manner that also promotes a decent game flow.
    Very nice. After the Encounter is dealt with, share some OoC banter about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuebi
    In that sense, dead-ends, fakes or any sort of challenge based around "hit wall until either your head or the bricks break" is something I avoid like the plague.
    After three failed attempts by the PC/s to find something - I simply inform the Players of the fact that it is indeed a Dead End. Loss of In Game Time shouldn't be too big a deal, but wasting too much RL Time can be frustrating.

    @Stuebi

    1. I'd add that rewarding players for IC efforts is also helpful. Didn't plan a secret compartment in the desk, but the PC got well over 20 with their Investigate check? (Also, don't make them roll for each drawer where only a good roll there finds stuff) Take a quick Break and put something that might help with the next Encounter, even if it's the BBEG's notes on the expense of building the Trap - or comments on how proud they are at obtaining (or how expensive for feeding) the Monster.

    2. Kinda lines up with my comments above.

    3. Trial and Error, like any other Style, is Dependent on the Players. Session Zero should be where the Genre and Style are determined.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-30 at 11:19 AM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Sep 2015

    Default Re: Traps, puzzles, dead-ends, and player knowledge

    Dead ends and red herrings have some important prerequisites:
    - they must not block the critical path to completion
    - in-game time must be a resource

    Even then first of those two can be tossed if there's competition involved. Either directly, as in modules originally designed for tournament play. Or inherent to the campaign, as in party A failing to proceed and loot a dungeon results in Party B doing so later.

    But ultimately that's why dungeon modules are so often designed with multiple critical paths, as well as plenty of dead ends. Because until D&D (and other RPGs) started removing in-game time as a resource, it mattered if you wasted time exploring a dead end. And you, as a player, were fully aware that you were spending a resource, and it could result in a failure of the adventuring session, and possibly even loss of your character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Yes, there are missions, quests, and jobs. But the players' primary goal at level n is to reach level n+1.

    Therefore any encounter where PCs can earn experience points is not pointless.
    Well said. Although, earning XP in the most efficient way possible may be a subsidiary goal. For example, in classic, combat as a serious risk compared to figuring out a way to get XP from GP without combat. It wasn't pointless, but it certainly wasn't optimal. Because you have to survive in order to reach level n+1.

    And of course there isn't any assumption that you will always be presented the opportunity to have meaningful encounters. Sometimes figuring which are the meaningful ones out for yourself is the challenge.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

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    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Traps, puzzles, dead-ends, and player knowledge

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Resist the "I don't want it to be easy" urge.
    I've had what I thought were Super Hard Puzzles and the Players solved it in less than 5 minutes game time; I've also given what I thought were super easy problems and that turned into a three session game as they fought to figure it out.
    https://www.yesthievescan.com/thieve...ve-the-puzzle/
    http://www.handbookofheroes.com/arch...c/sword-skills
    http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-6-35/

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGirl

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    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Traps, puzzles, dead-ends, and player knowledge

    I think the issue with wrong paths and red herrings is: if clues are a reward for completing certain encounters, and I have my choice of encounters, than getting a red herring, even if I immediately recognize it as a red herring, feels like a failure. I feel stupid for having chosen to engage with the encounter, and wasted time and character resources on something with no reward. In this way, I think that when you are placing a red herring, you should ask yourself "If I put a cursed sword as the only treasure here, how would my players feel?"
    Also, logistical concerns aside, there's another part of the three clue rule. If every scene only had one clue in it, and every scene can only be found with one clue, then your plot line is perfectly linear. The three clue rule is meant to open up your mysteries and make them less railroady.
    Non est salvatori salvator,
    neque defensori dominus,
    nec pater nec mater,
    nihil supernum.

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