Thursday, April 14, 2016

I Want Them To See The Wolverine Coming


Ok, so.

The specific example Robin Laws uses here is really really really really not helpful because it brings in a bunch of side issues.

So don't read this article and respond to the specifics of the example Laws uses.

Experience tells me that blog readers really like to get into the weeds about examples so I'll repeat that:

Don't read this article and respond to the specifics of the example he uses.
Sie nicht diesen Artikel lesen, und er verwendet, um die Besonderheiten des Beispiels reagieren.
Je, si kusoma makala hii na kujibu specifics ya mfano anatumia.
이 기사를 읽고 그가 사용하는 예의 특성에 응답하지 마십시오.
No lea este artículo y responder a las características específicas del ejemplo que utiliza.
Maa ko ka yi article ati ki o dahun si awọn pato ti awọn apẹẹrẹ ti o nlo.
Ne pas lire cet article et répondre aux spécificités de l'exemple qu'il utilise.
Ne olvassa ezt a cikket, és válaszoljon a sajátosságait a példa is használja.
不要讀這篇文章和他使用的例子的細節作出回應。
Nie czytaj tego artykułu odpowiedzi do specyfiki przykładzie on używa.

As usual, if you do this in the comments anyway you will be mocked mercilessly.

Got that? Instead let's look at the nut of the issue, which, shorn of the specifics, is a problem any GM might face...

The question is this: What do you do if one PC is about to take an action which will radically change the direction of the game for everyone to one you know for a fact the other players don't want to do?

Laws recommends breaking the fourth wall, which I might also do.

But, speaking through that wall, I wouldn't say what Laws says. Instead I'd say this "You gonna let them do that?".

If Nightcrawler wants to play heroes rescuing kittens from trees instead of outlaw mutants on the run, they need to roll initiative to keep Wolverine from stabbing that crooked cop. Just like in a real X-Men comic.

If:

-the action is taking place where no other PC is around to stop Wolverine from stabbing the cop (and the other players are NOT OK with that)

or

-Nightcrawler trying to stop Wolverine from stabbing a cop isn't the kind of pvp action the players signed up for

...then the GM has to accept responsibility that they fucked up. They designed (or purchased and robotically carried out) a scenario where Trish's Wolverine act--instead of propelling the game--got in the way of what Lisa and Freckles and Jo-Jo wanted to do. The GM should do better next time.

Trish is at your table to be Trish. You, as a GM, need to know Trish and to create scenarios which utilize Trish's impulses (and Lisa's and Freckles' and Jo-Jo's) to propel it, not make Trish feel "dysfunctional" for doing a thing which creates exactly what so many Indie designers try to get dice to do: make drama.

If you like Trish as a human, you will be able to get Trish into the game, regardless of playstyle. The only reason to boot someone is if they, as a person, suck--and wanting to kill a cop or a bishop or a gnome king does not a sucky person make--even if that isn't something that is going to make the game better that day.

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24 comments:

  1. My players are all Trish and that works just fine.

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  2. My players are all Trish and that works just fine.

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  3. "You, as a GM, need to know Trish and to create scenarios which utilize Trish's impulses (and Lisa's and Freckles' and Jo-Jo's) to propel it..."

    "Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering" described Robin's views on how to do exactly this. How about a similar volume that captures your views? I'd love to read a "How to DnD Real Good" book detailing your perspective.

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    1. It absolutely does not do that, - as the link to my review of that book above totally lays out. As for my gming advice, thats what the blog's for

      Delete
    2. Yeah...very much enjoying the blog. Just started reading it.

      I understand that you do not think Robin's book does that, but I think that was Robin's intention.

      An organized book containing your ideas on how to "know Trish and to create scenarios which utilize Trish's impulses" would be something I'd buy. That's all.

      Looking forward to MotBM.

      Delete
  4. Cyclops & Storm used to blast Wolverine all the time while screaming "NO MURDER!"
    Wolverine would begrudgingly be cool with no murder.
    But if Trish doesn't want to play Wolverine as begrudgingly cool with it, maybe make it a Sentinel instead of a cop?

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  5. http://i.imgur.com/avOXg2B.jpg
    Isn't beating down figures of authority standard PC behavior?

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    Replies
    1. This is the part where you get mocked mercilessly focusing on the specifics of the example and missing the entire point of the post.

      Delete
  6. Ok, I'm confused.

    Is Trish unaware of the nature of the game we're playing? Is the nature of the we're playing OK with Trish's actions? Is Trish acting in sync with the genre, or is she actively being problematic?

    To put it more plainly, did we all (including Trish) sign on for a Silver Age game and she suddenly wants to go Iron Age for no real reason?

    Over the past few years I have seen this but really don't get it. We instituted an impromptu rules that has stuck called 'The Editor'. The Editor is a group consensus on whether or not a contested action 'fits' in the game.

    Usually however, Wolverine attacks the bad guy, and in classic comic book fashion you later learn the guy isn't dead. "Wolverine! You could've killed that man!"

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    1. I think the point of the post is that Trish wants to play her character her way. And it's not wrong of her to do so.

      The screw-up is on the GM for not anticipating this and setting up a situation that could generate player conflict. A good GM should know his players and avoid pitfalls like this.

      Because now the other players are pissed at Trish, she's going to get defensive and angry, and now no one's having any fun.

      The worst thing the GM could do, incidentally, is to try and "do-over" the situation. You can't go backwards. Learn from the experience and move on both inside and outside the game.

      Delete
    2. "Is Trish unaware of the nature of the game we're playing?"

      It doesn't matter, we want to play with Trish so we have to use Trish's impulses as part fo the game

      "Is the nature of the we're playing OK with Trish's actions?"

      It is as I said int he post: the other players did not sign up for this action but they did sign up to play with Trish.

      "Is Trish acting in sync with the genre, or is she actively being problematic?"

      She might be out of genre, but she cannot possibly be "problematic". She is Trish, we decided to play with Trish, Trish is acting like Trish, which is what _we_ signed up to by inviting her.

      If we invited Trish, we asked for a version of the game which includes Trish's actions.

      Delete
    3. Have you had any players that you all wanted to play with but whose desired game was the antithesis of the other players' desired game? That is to say, you want to include the player but you're having these specific difficulties actually doing it.

      In such a situation, do you have advice leading to other outcomes than (A) New player is left out, (B) New player joins, discouraged because game isn't what they want, (C) New player joins, everyone else discouraged because the game is suddenly absolutely not what they wanted.

      I think I can see what your philosophy is on this, but it's difficult to understand how to implement without some more concrete examples. I totally dig not wanting to give examples because people will just latch onto the minutia of the examples, but it would help to see how you have solved similar dilemmas in the past.

      Delete
    4. "Have you had any players that you all wanted to play with but whose desired game was the antithesis of the other players' desired game? That is to say, you want to include the player but you're having these specific difficulties actually doing it."

      No.

      Delete
    5. I am currently having this problem with my campaign (it's only been 3 sessions and I'm a first time DM)

      One of my players has no interest in combat, dungeon crawling or interacting with the plot the other PCs are embroiled in.

      The only thing they seem to enjoy is wandering around town and forcing me to improvise new NPCs for them to interact with every few minutes - which would be fine if they didn't sit at the table bored and inattentive when it did come time for combat or dungeon crawling or plot stuff the other PCs care about.

      Delete
    6. 1. Warn the other players when the player is about to do this

      2. Talk to the entire group about this person's behavior. They migjt have a specific problem with the way the campaign's going overall or it might be a personal conflict

      Delete
  7. Gamified, Scott needed Logan not to be killing people because they're heroes and that would empty the team Karma pool.

    Perhaps not an actual game mechanic, but don't the rest of the players have social capital they can utilize themselves to institute some limits? At some point, the heores on the team have to stand up and enforce their moral code, or they're all going to be on the run and playing Trish's game.

    Just more evidence for the pile that Character is really, really important: otherwise, the little emotional consequences don't matter.

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  8. What are some tricks you would use to get a player to engage with a game when their characters are consistently cop-murdering-Wolverines?
    What if they are isolating their character from the other PCs as well?
    What if they are killing the NPCs that you are trying to bring them into the game with?
    At what point does Trish need to be talked to about how she's distracting away from other peoples' fun at the table by playing a cop-murdering-Wolverine? Or do you just skip the talk and stop gaming with Trish?

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    1. i don't understand how "getting players to engage with a game" is a problem. Killing a cop is engaging the game.

      I don't understand what you mean by "isolating". Everyone play s in the same room.

      IF they kill the NPCs you bring in then, ok, you are running a game which includes killing NPCs. How is that a problem?

      Trish needs to be talked to only if the other players can't handle Trish in-game using the methods described int he post, I guess

      Delete
    2. Let's assume for all of these examples, that nobody particularly cares about the NPCs Trish is killing...

      re: "getting players to engage with a game"
      I guess, let's say Trish is sitting at the table with Reggie and Sonya.
      Reggie is hunting bad guys and Sonya is doing legwork which assists Reggie but she doesn't get her hands dirty. Trish is completely avoiding all of that. She's not hunting bad guys, she's not assisting, she's just doing her own thing in a sewer somewhere.
      Is the game then "Reggie and Sonya hunt bad guys while Trish shoots cops from random alleyways, alone and unloved"?
      If you want to pull Trish into the action of hunting bad guys, instead of shooting cops, what sort of tricks would you employ to make her interested? Or is that anathema to your GM style?

      re: "isolating"
      She's hanging out in sewers, popping up from random alleyways, and hiding her tracks whenever she can. She's not engaging with bad guys or the other PCs, despite the fact that she's in the room and is aware of what Reggie and Sonya are doing.

      re: How is that a problem?
      It's not really. She's shooting cops, right? So the cops are going to start noticing the pattern after half a dozen deaths and that just means riot gear, SWAT teams, and heavy ballistics. Consequences in-game might be on the way.
      But how would you handle Trish if she is indiscriminately killing all NPCs? Street food vendors, meter maids, taxi drivers, young wealthy couples out for a late night movie with their anachronistic son. Just keep the in-game consequences coming at her and pretend that it isn't slightly disturbing that she's completely ignoring the bad guy plot happening with Reggie and Sonya while she murders attempts to bring her into it?

      You like playing with Trish, so at some point you either just accept that she's a rogue loner who is never going to engage with the other players in-game, or at some point you address that it's kind of weird that she's not engaging with the other players in-game. Right?
      I'm wondering if there is ever a point where you might address it.

      Delete
    3. "Is the game then "Reggie and Sonya hunt bad guys while Trish shoots cops from random alleyways, alone and unloved"?"

      It's whatever's going on. Could be that I guess.

      "If you want to pull Trish into the action of hunting bad guys, instead of shooting cops, what sort of tricks would you employ to make her interested? Or is that anathema to your GM style?"

      I guess it's anathema? I'd just let her do her thing. If it got annoying I'd just go "Uh Trish? You wanna join the rest of the party?"

      "She's hanging out in sewers, popping up from random alleyways, and hiding her tracks whenever she can. She's not engaging with bad guys or the other PCs, despite the fact that she's in the room and is aware of what Reggie and Sonya are doing."

      Then she's in the game. Not a problem.
      I mean--if Robin is hunting the Penguin while Batman is hunting the henchmen, that's still an episode. not an issue.

      "
      Just keep the in-game consequences coming at her and pretend that it isn't slightly disturbing that she's completely ignoring the bad guy plot happening with Reggie and Sonya while she murders attempts to bring her into it?
      "
      it ISN'T disturbing. The street food vendors wouldn't be there unless the players were free to do as they pleased with them. There's no "pretending". The pieces are on the board because they are there to be played with.

      And Trish likes Sonia and Reggie (or else they wouldn't all be in the room together) so sooner or later it will all come together.

      I mean, John Snow hasn't seen Arya in YEARS--it's still a story.

      Delete
    4. Okay, cool.
      Sorry if this seemed tangential and unrelated.

      I don't think it's disturbing that she's killing imaginary people but I've had players who deliberately ignore what the other players are doing and I find that disturbing.

      Delete
    5. Either those players get along irl or they don't.

      If they do: they should be able to talk about it like grown ups.

      If they don't: they shouldn't be playing together.

      Delete
    6. I agree.
      I was just trying to suss out where Zak the GM ends and Zak the Grown Up begins. I think you've answered that already.

      Delete