I have a question for you, /tg/. Let us take a hypothetical situation to illustrate my question. As a DM, if you had spent a great deal of time and effort to come up with a very nice rough plotline for your players to follow and had made a decent start on getting into it, but right as you get into the meat of it it is almost instantly brought to a crashing halt because of one inconsequential feature you implemented without any real thought of it having the capability to butcher your plan, would you consider it reasonable to alter this inconsequential thing to prevent it from creating this disaster? What if the reason it caused so much trouble was down entirely due to luck, totally and utterly outside of the players control? Would you rigidly stick to following what the dice said, or would you value the story instead? I'm not saying railroading, variation and improvisation within the story is an absolute must. But could this not be considered a form of railroading by luck?
I'd make a plot detour based on the event that occurred, and have it lead back to the main plot once they deal with the consequences of what happened.
>>52154233Would you say, if you were in the position of this hypothetical DM, that it's fair to cut out a portion of the main plot (around 80% of it has to be reworked at the very least) which could take potentially weeks of planning due to consequences that weren't of the players' making?
>>52154401Can't really say without specifics.
>>52153364Never rigidly stick to the dice, but never go just with your own narrative either. You need to strike a balance between the two.
>>52154451What specifics do you want? For the sake of a conversation, I'll elaborate on whatever you want.
It's not railroading if the players don't see it.Pretty much the only rule you need is that once you make a call you stick with it. No plot rewinds.
>>52153364Do you mean something like this?>Thought up X plotline for your players>Due to feature Y, from time to time, there is a small chance of Z happening>Z happening would completely ruin your X plotlineHonestly unless the result of X plotline being ruined is somehow more interesting, I think it's okay to get rid of feature Y, especially if the players don't know much about it yet.Randomization exists solely to provide interesting opportunities. If the opportunities are not interesting there is no point in blindly following the randomization unless it would threaten the consistency of things.
>>52154514A fair point on railroading, but the question was do you think rigidly sticking to what dice say at a large expense to your narrative is worth it, and could that be considered a type of railroading on its own?Sticking with your decision can be commendable, but when doing so forces you to sacrifice something that should not have been, would it not be worth reconsidering?
All of this can be avoided if you turn your plot into a series of narrative chunks, instead of a "book". In a (typical) book, all the events follow in a nice linear fashion, which is bad for roleplaying games. Instead, use the aforementioned chunks. Now you have a narrative with parts that you can move around, in order to improvise.
>>52154533That is quite close to what I had in mind, and I think I have to say I would be inclined to agree with your stance on it. I'd like to hear as many views on it as possible, though. I think there are merits to both sides.
>>52154461Fifth post best post
>>52154569What if this hypothetical disaster occurred mid-narrative chunk and forced you to immediately cancel it to replan your now butchered plot?
>>52154451seconding thisLike, I'm having trouble even imagining what could possibly have killed '80%' of a plot due to one dice roll or whateverMaybe some seriously dumb shit like 'main villain confronts heroes to cackle pointlessly in a situation where they could actually be attacked and killed and has no possible lieutenants or anything'Or 'Player designated as Chosen One to wield the Sword of Plot' bites the dust against Dire RatAnd both of those really point towards 'GM has incredibly rigid, awful railroad plot' in mind which OP swears isn't true
>>52154654OP here, I didn't say killed, I said it requires removing a portion of the plot and reworking at least 80% of it, a worst case figure. Reworking is the key phrase here. I also never said it was one dice roll, you can imagine it as multiple consecutive rolls that were nearly the worst possible outcome you could have gotten if you want. I also said what caused it was something inconsequential, so nothing involving the BBEG or anything that is actually significant to the plot. Just some random throwaway thing, like some random NPC that wasn't intended for much rolls amazingly while the players don't, resulting in disaster for the players. It's certainly a sandbox result, but is that worth the damage it does to the plot?
>>52154775It's important also to remember that in regards to this hypothetical scenario, this disaster was brought about by sheer luck, nothing the players could have altered no matter what they did.
>>52154775okay why would you prepare 80% of the plot beforehand? just make stuff up.
>>52153364Playing devil's advocate for a minute; you might benefit more than you think by sticking to the dice or consequence that you didn't think of when creating the plot.In roleplaying games, stories are created, not told. Allowing the plot you had in store to go off the rails is a lot of work and can be very stressful; but it also takes the game into new territory. It's like rolling on a table to generate a world or story, it's a natural simulation built in to the game mechanics. There is value to that kind of mentality. It makes the decisions on the part of the player more engaging because their consequences are much bigger than they were before this moment.
>>52154832For the sake of having an overarching story that has a coherent beginning, middle and end, I suppose? My idea of 'rough' is to have a basic outline of what you want and the variation comes in from how you get from one to the other. When something terribly odd results from something it shouldn't have and makes a lot of that basic outline invalid in its current state, do you messily patch it back together or do you make that inconsequential thing what it was supposed to be? Personally I am more in favour towards what you're talking about. I like to improvise almost entirely. But I'm asking for thoughts on what you would do within the confines of this specific scenario.
>>52154874Indeed, you're absolutely right and I think you put it very well. Your plot can sometimes be brought to much more interesting places than you first thought by something unexpected happening. My original question however had in mind is this the right thing to do when these consequences are a result entirely of the dice, not what the player did? Is it fair to punish a player for something they couldn't ever predict happening and then, while in that situation, they lost all control of what they could do because of bad rolls?
>>52154914I prefer it when the GM comes to the table with nothing in his mind, and just starts making things up as he goes, that way it's authentic gaming. I help him by asking leading questions ("Is the innkeeper a retired hero? Maybe he lost his sword years ago and wants us to retrieve it?"), and together we craft an authentic gaming session instead of some prepackaged pap.
>>52153364Just go with it.I had a thing where a bunch of NPCs were being sacrificed for some sort of Aztec vampire blood orgy thing and I made a table that had the PCs, various "plot-important" NPCs, and then just randos on it. So like, I rolled 7 or 8 d100s, and generally anything above 20 was just "some random guy" but 1-20 were the PCs and other NPCs. One of them was supposed to be the one who was going to give them some exposition and was formulating an escape plan, but, of course, her number came up.I could have just fudged it and killed off a different character, but instead I just went with the dice roll, and I think that ended up being more interesting, since suddenly it was up to the PCs alone to figure out how to get out of the situation.
>>52154914The way I look at it, as a DM you provide a framework for stories to be created. You create settings and events but the players and dice decide how they progress. If your players follow a red herring half way across the continent, when they come back the BBEG's plans may have progressed past the point that the PCs can stop them. The rest of the world doesn't exist in a vaccum when the PCs are absent, things are still happening that they could or could not influence depending on if they're at the right place at the right time. Nothing says that the players always win. If they don't stop the BBEG then you better believe he's going to see his plans through to the end.
>>52154994I'm not disputing this being a fun thing to do. The question I'm asking however cannot be separated from the element of 'is it the right thing to do to if this path of unforeseen consequences results from a situation in which the players had no control?' Using your example, what if your PCs, despite all the thinking they would do, couldn't ever get out of this situation on their own? Everything they tried was foiled by bad rolls. Thus, the question of dice versus narrative. Do you side with the dice and go with what they tell you at the cost of the narrative or do you lean more towards upholding the narrative and run the risk of railroading? Or, if you tread the middleground, which do you decide to follow in the previously suggested scenario?
>>52155067I agree with the idea that players don't always win. It actually frequently annoys me that some people think their characters are unstoppable or destined to 'win'. Something like that just entirely takes the fun and point out of it for me. The question however remains, do you let the dice dictate everything or use your DMing discretion to alter things that the players unfairly had no influence over?
>>52155174If they keep fucking up rolls, eventually either that's too bad and they die or you figure out some contingency where their fuckups loop back around to create some sort of happy accident that gets them out of the situationThat's how I see it at least
>>52155350Seems fair to me, depending on how the player got into the situation where their rolls then fuck them over.
>>52155254Honestly that's something only you can answer. I personally believe if that's how the dice fall then run with it. Maybe throw them a bone in the form of something that if played correctly could give them a helping hand but ultimately it would be up to the players to make the most of it.
>>52155455So your advice would be to use DMers discretion and neither stick rigidly to the dice always nor always force your narrative?
>>52154552>A fair point on railroading, but the question was do you think rigidly sticking to what dice say at a large expense to your narrative is worth it, and could that be considered a type of railroading on its own?This shouldn't be a compromise you have to take. Design your plot around key events disconnected from chronology or geography. If a key point of your plot is PCs rescue a princess' caravan being attacked by bandits it shouldn't matter that they be in Full-of-Bandits Woods on the 9th of December, that event happens once the PCs start traveling.
>>52153364story beats rules! Anytime, anyhow and everywhere!!!
>>52155898But what if something happens in the middle of a key point like this that throws off everything else you had in mind, and is immediately so devastating the in-progress key plot point has to be abandoned over something completely unimportant?
>>52155947It's impossible to help you out when discussing such a vague premise. Either provide specifics or I'll assume your just softly trolling.
>>52155986I'm not trolling, it's a genuine premise. I said before, ask what you want specified and I'll elaborate.
>>52156019I want to know what event the dice fucked the player(s) on, why it was so important your entire plot hinged on it, and what about it is so critical that them not doing well has nigh on doomed the plot.
>>52156713I will construct a scenario that provides specification for all of this. Let's say there are two people who wish to infiltrate or assault a compound. The reason for wishing to assault it is because within it is a hostage of critical importance to one of the two. The compound is surrounded by underlings with the boss inside, with the hostage who very quickly is running out of value to their captor. One of the two opts to infiltrate the compound while the other causes a distraction in the form of directly assaulting it. The person who wishes to infiltrate is totally undetected, reaching a position where they could essentially ice-pick climb their way onto the roof of the compound where they would have access to its interior. Depending on the time period of your setting, we'll say this character has some way to detect things. For example, if it's a fantasy setting they have a way to magically detect life, or if it's modern/futuristic some sort of motion tracker, or heartbeat sensor. This is currently being prevented, either from being magically blocked or technologically jammed. Thus, while climbing to the roof, suddenly without warning a guard dog leaps down onto the infiltrator. In midair the dog catches the person, rolling a 19 on a 1d20 for damage. The player rolls between 1-5 to shake the dog off. The dog rolls another 19 for damage. The damage system being used requires this to be severe damage, so the player's leg is torn off, leaving them almost instantly crippled. Meanwhile the other player has no vested interest in rescuing the hostage, only coming along because of a deal. They realise the infiltrator is in trouble and kills the dog, although the damage is already done, the infiltrator passing out. Having no reason to carry out the intended goal, they drag the infiltrator off, leaving the hostage to die. All plans from that point onwards required either the hostage to be rescued, or the BBEG to at least be reached.Continuing next post.
>>52157065Neither of these things happened due to the spontaneous inclusion of something that was intended to do nothing more than slow the player down, not borderline kill them before anything had happened. In my opinion the infiltrator in this situation had their only preventative measures cut off from them and suffered greatly due to terrible luck multiple times in a row. Thus, the question remains, would you have stuck totally to the dice in this situation, requiring a rework of all plans, or would you have thrown the player a bone?
>>52157139Two more things I want to know are: why did the dog think it was a good idea to make this leap of faith on the off chance it bit this guy on the way down, and second why you are so evasive with your situations. If you're worried about your players reading this then you wouldn't have provided a situation that specific.As for the matter of dice, I would let them get stuffed in this situation. If you're using a damage system where a dog tearing your leg off with 2 good rolls is possible your players should have had a reasonable expectation of high mortality chances. For instance, in Only War and Dark Heresy it's so easy to be permanently fucked there's a table for each body part.
>>52158718Why the dog did it, it could be any number of reasons. Perhaps it was so territorial it went for it, or the fall wasn't great enough to hurt it much if it missed. I am also not worried about the players nor the DM reading it, in fact I think it would be good to see how other people would handle it as a learning experience. As far as I'm aware I'm not being evasive, just giving answers to what's asked. There is no high expectation of mortality for this scenario.
>>52154953>My original question however had in mind is this the right thing to do when these consequences are a result entirely of the dice, not what the player did? Is it fair to punish a player for something they couldn't ever predict happening and then, while in that situation, they lost all control of what they could do because of bad rolls?It may not be fair, but it can be interesting. The linchpin of tragedy is when circumstances outside of a character's control destroys them. A character suddenly tumbling into a trap and dying may not be something out of Shakespeare, but it emphasizes the weight that mechanics have on the story. In a video game, being punished by RNG when it was completely outside of your control is always going to be bullshit. In a roleplaying game, however; the purpose is to create a story. If the game mechanics are not being utilized, it undermines their importance to the narrative. This causes a feedback loop where the regression of the rules creates a regression in player agency. A good dungeon master has to strike a balance between keeping things on track and letting the dice fall where they may. I think we all agree to this on principle, but I'm arguing that one should be extremely cautious to change what otherwise would occur through the rules.
>>52157065>All plans from that point onwards required either the hostage to be rescued, or the BBEG to at least be reachedThen have the hostage rescued by a third party, Han Solo, who's just looking for a payout.PCs need to either pay him or rescue the hostage from him.While PCs are doing either, the BBEG forces attack Han in retaliation.Boom.Most times you think you're painted in the corner, you just have to go out the window.But if you are too lazy or uninspired to come up with an out, then yeah, you can just ignore a die roll once in a blue moon.
>>52158990What the dog was territorial of its roof-home?Was there any check to hear or see the dog?The damage system sounds stupid, not just the criticals but the 1-20 damage, like is the attack roll and damage roll combined into one here?
>>52157065so you fail your hostage rescue, the hostage dies, the group is shamed, they must either go on a quest to restore their honor or move on to another kingdom where they can start fresh. In this new kingdom start your plot over with a different lead up, if they missed out on 80% of what was written like you said that seems to me like you just write another 20% and still be able to use all your work.
>>52158990>Why the dog did it, it could be any number of reasons. Perhaps it was so territorial it went for itThis is not in any way a good reason. A dog, while territorial is not stupid enough to jump off a perfectly good roof to have a chance at possibly biting some jackwagon on the way to it's probable death.>There is no high expectation of mortality for this scenario.I also don't buy into this, either one of two things:>A: The DM chose the wrong thing for you CR(or equivalent measurement of difficulty for the encounter)>B: As I said before, if you're in a game where 2 good wound rolls is enough to permanently gimp your character from a fucking dog bite, you can't tell me there wasn't a reasonable expectation of high mortality. If a dog can do that imagine what even the meekest of mooks could do with a short sword/9mm.So as yet another follow up question, what is the setting, fantasy? Sci-fi? Steam/diesel/shit punk?
>>52154775GIVE ME THE DEETS
>>52157065You sound like a shitty DM.
>>52154461>Never rigidly stick to the dice, but never go just with your own narrative either. You need to strike a balance between the two.This.
>>52160106There was no way to check if the dog was there. There is no attack roll, just straight up damage.>>52160273You're quite possibly in general right with this post. Fantasy setting.>>52162781>>52157065>>52157139>>52164285What's to say I'm a DM?
>>52168632Who are you?
>>52171034No one important. I kind of lied by saying my OP was an entirely hypothetical scenario, but I don't have time right now to explain that properly. If when I'm back in 2 or 3ish hours this thread is still up, I'll unravel the mystery for anyone interested.
>>52153364Without knowing anything else, I'd say that I'd just ignore it if and openly state "listen fellas, I didn't think it would cause this much of a problem, I'm sorry, let's just ignore this and move on with the game."
>>52171118OP here, time to properly elaborate on all of this in case there's actually a single person who cares. The 'hypothetical' scenario I created was something that actually kind of happened, which I'm sure you already figured out by now. >>52157065>>52157139These two posts are almost entirely accurate in what went down, but I left out that I was a player, specifically the infiltrator. The setting is fantasy and my character is a necromancer (yes I know I'm terrible for it). The other player was also the DM. The dog was also not a dog, in the actual event it was an undead puma. The rest proceeded as told. I framed it as a hypothetical scenario in the hopes of engaging as many people as possible in the discussion with the intent of showing it to my DM, who is fairly new to DMing, so that he would have something to consider in the future. Namely the concept of DMers discretion. The answer for why /tg/ of all places is because had I tried to explain it directly to the DM they would never be able to see past the possibility of me as a player just complaining and having a selfish angle on this because I didn't like how it turned out. The way I see it, a great way to know if you're doing something good or not, or to get opinions on something you're doing, is to get the opinion of total strangers who have no bias for or against you as a person in any way. For anyone who got a dodgy answer that's keeping an eye on this, hopefully this properly answers things for you.