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  • File :1201318015.jpg-(206 KB, 350x460, train1.jpg)
    206 KB Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:26 No.1068484  
    ITT stories where you've escaped the DM's railroading. I'll start.

    My DM loves to use a fear that you can't save against to let his villains get their speech out, set up or always get the first attack on us. Well, we get a new player who rolls up a Paladin. During the DM's latest villain's speech where in we're all "paralyzed with fear" the new player picks up his mini and puts it down right in front of the BBEG and says "I'm immune to fear so I charge and smite him while he's talking."

    The best part, he wasn't smug or cocky or anything. He was honest to god surprised when the DM started to get flustered.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:32 No.1068505
    Fuggin AWESOME. I've had to recall that Pallys can do that from time to time... but I thought they extended that aura to like 15 feet? Anyways... hmm... railroading...

    Members of my party were exploring some ruins (A ninja with his accomplices.) They were approaching the front door when one of the redshirts said 'Hey, there may be traps. I'll check it out.' The PC agrees, and watches him walk up to the door. RIGHT BEFORE the DM could say 'He triggers a trap', the PC turns to him and says "He sets off the trap and dies, right?"

    I have never before seen a grown man slam his fist down so hard on a table... it ruined his ENTIRE NIGHT.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:37 No.1068522
    They're the only ones who are immune to fear. Everyone gets a +2 (I think) save against fear effects.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:37 No.1068524
    Let's get angry over being predictable!
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:38 No.1068527
         File :1201318719.jpg-(274 KB, 900x1273, YogSothoth.jpg)
    274 KB
    "Alright, as you enter the cult's temple a horr-"
    "Uh, no, we're not going in there."
    "Yeah, what Steve said, see we've been talking, and we JUST realized that when Steve said he was a civil engineer, what that might mean for 'rickety McShitwagon' the temple here."

    Arguments, demolished temple, and annoyed monsters struggling out of rubble later, the group had fallen apart, then come back together again in the space of an hour over Ogre Battle 64.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:39 No.1068529
    It was the standard low level campaign, and we were being railroaded. All of the rest of the players went along with it, "Durp durp durp!"

    So I killed the fuckers.

    I killed all three other members in their sleep.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:42 No.1068539
    Chris: Hey, Gwen you up for the RPG tonight?
    Gwen: Uhm... No, I'm sorry, I'm busy... Y'know, studying.
    Chris: Alright, how about tomorrow night?
    Gwen: I'm, uh, well, it's a BIG exam.
    Chris: When...When are you free then?
    Gwen: Look, uhm, can we talk about this later Chris, I really don't know it's all so stacked up...
    Chris: Oh. Kay.

    Chris: The crypt awaits before you, a large stone slab of a door taunting you with its goddamn immovable bulk.
    Billy: Uh, alright, can you play Gwen's character and have her use that ring-
    Chris: No, she says no. Says she's busy.
    Giles: Oh Jesus.
    Chris: Know what else? She turns to you all, and rips off the mask to reveal she's the lich all along.
    John: What? But I remembe-
    Billy: . . .Well, I ask
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:45 No.1068552
    I've mentioned this on /tg/ before:

    So, our DM is having us hunt for a serial killer. We picked up a new party member who all of the other players knew was the killer. Well, in the end, the player does his "unexpected" double-cross and locks us in somewhere where we are meant to die from lack of air. While the player was grinning like a chicken shit and the DM was about to describe how we die from lack of oyxgen, the party Rogue uses Dimension Door (Had some feat that gave him SLAs.) The DM was speechless, the player was gawking as we appeared before him and proceeded to kick the ever-loving crap our would-be killer.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:46 No.1068555

    There are really three ways to solve railroading:

    1 - Murder of other PCs (th only unprotected class)
    2 - Suicide (see 1, less extroverted)
    3 - Call the GM on his bullshit

    All three of them lead to just as much shit as playing the fucking game - but it is shorter. I HATE being railroaded. I think almost every RPG that gives GM advice encourages it, though.

    That is why Spirit of the Century and Donjon, et al rock so damn much. The new school is much more player friendly without sacrificing any fun, I think.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:46 No.1068557
    So we had this stupid elf following us around because she wanted to go somewhere and figured that travelling with a strange group of former mercenaries would be the safest way to go.

    We were all neutral, and she was always getting us into trouble. So naturally, the last time she wandered off and got caught by some bandits, we just said "well, I hope they rape her gently", and we went on our way. I think she had something to do with the story. At the very least, it pissed off the DM that we let his plot hook machine get killed.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:47 No.1068560
    Lies. No one else in the world knows about Ogre Battle 64.

    That world would make a good campaign setting...
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:50 No.1068570
    Do you want me to take a picture of the manual?

    Cause, uh, I don't have a digital camera. But I have it!
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)22:51 No.1068572

    Last night some prick who had just seen "Saw" and apparently had GMed at Origins (gasp!) was pitching a scenario like this.

    Why do GMs think they are fooling people with this gimmick shit.

    Good on you for finding a way out (literally!).
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:03 No.1068621
    that was an elaborate troll, intended to stir up some nerd rage
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:06 No.1068632

    Maybe, but all of us know someone who runs like that - always trying to write some novel with us players as the fill-in dialogue.

    Hell, games with metaplots are like that nowadays! "You can't do cool shit - our fluff-fic NPCs are doing it! Know your role!"
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:13 No.1068657

    I've dealt with a GM who has way, way too many NPCs associated with the party who almost always drive the story. They are also almost always female. It's also utterly impossible to kill any unique bad guy.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:17 No.1068668
    Two worst signs of a bad metaplot:

    The NPCS are the only one who can advance the plot


    You [insert number here] are the only ones capable of completing this task.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:20 No.1068676

    These do bother me too. We are in a 3.5 game right now and we are almost to the end of the game - final "dungeon".

    We are the chosen ones of a prophesy and only we can stop the bad guys. One of the guys hardly ever shows up...makes the prophets seem kinda half-assed.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:23 No.1068685
    God, that's awful. I hate the plot armored villains, especially the ones that are Finger-Quotes "deep". An actual quote from our group:

    "I power attacked for full, leap attacked, smited, crit with a scythe and rolled max damage. I did [somewhere in the area of 200 damage]. He's a Wizard. He is not still standing."
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:30 No.1068703

    Every unique character has a backstory. I'm sure they've very interesting and the GM spent alot of time thinking it up. But my paranoid, pistol wielding inventor doesn't want to hear it. He, in fact, makes a point of (trying to) kneecapping people mid dialogue.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:33 No.1068710
    i joined in a campaign with this one DM, he apparently wouldn't give or let anyone else buy any magical weapons. NPCs and enemies would have magical gear all the time, but they would mysteriously vanish/fall off the boat/the guy would somehow get away and the other players would either have died since they were melee with no good gear(level 5s and 6s that were happy the dm had given one of them a +1 knife or some crap) or have been left with little or no rewards.

    when i brought in my character i had been using a few times before, they were like "wow a bag of holding I, and wands."

    the next dungeon we encounter the week later just so happens to have a +4 greatsword that deals additional "twilight" damage and has a burst effect, which just happens to be the main weapon of the DM's favorite player.

    also he would play an npc that was actually a party member who was the cousin of said fav, so he was constantly leading the group around by their noses.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:35 No.1068717
    Are BBEG speeches entertaining for anyone but the DM? I've never gained anything interesting out of one. They're always just annoying and make me want to start shooting at the guy mid-speech. The DM got pissed after a couple of these, so I started sending our tank of a warforged against them instead.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:37 No.1068720
    Yeah... I think that's one of the many reasons why a good DM doesn't just provide the illusion of choice, but throws multiple intertwining options into their game world.

    When I prep for a campaign, I don't consider myself ready unless the party has at least five groups that are either already pissed at them or may become pissed at them... That and I have fairly proactive villains at first until the party gets organized enough to start going after their favorite assholes.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:40 No.1068725
    I never use BBEG speeches... I find them to be a bit of a cliche'. Nothing says "I'm important and you're not" like a villain who won't give the players the time of day while at the same time throws a reasonable amount of resources at the party.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:42 No.1068729

    I had one of my BBEG's erect a wall of force and start delivering one. The party mage then summoned an AoE spell on her, prompting her to swear profusely at the party and run out of it.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:43 No.1068730
    unless the heroes are imprisoned/captured/there is some kind of nigh unbreakable barrier between them, i usually have only two to three quick sentences like:
    i am pain and terror. my name is bob, and i am going to kill you now. goodbye fools. or i have him say these things AS he is taking his turns like I AM PAIN AND TERROR *downs its once* MY NAME IS BOB*hits twice* and NOW YOU DIE!*hits last time*

    if its something really dramatic like a cool entrance or some such then maybe stretch it a bit, but you have to make the players NOT want to interrupt you.
    >> Anonymous 01/25/08(Fri)23:51 No.1068751
    One time we sorta did the opposite. The party had been captured and the DM made it abundantly clear that we were expected to escape. We decided that we were captured fair-and-square and that we would wait out our internment.

    He had the solitairy guard fall asleep. When we failed to act the keys slipped out of his grasp. After still not attempting to escape the guard fell over, knocked open the gate, and knocked himself out. The DM got the point when we called for another guard to let him know our cell had been damaged.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:05 No.1068815
    We had one similar to this where we met a mysterious ranger in the forest of this kingdom where the rightful heir to the throne had disappeared some time ago. Once we realized what was going to happen, we started calling him Aragorn. The DM abandoned the campaign and someone else took over.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:07 No.1068822
    I was about to demand that we join forces and make a campaign setting, but then I got off work.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:07 No.1068824
    I've only seen one BBEG "speech" that seemed to work. One of our players was beginning negotiations (I.E. He had a hostage.) and the BBEG actually said his peace on it. Paraphrasing, it was something like this:

    "You speak of justice, Champion, but look at what is in your arms. She is 5. She has done nothing wrong, and yet the blade is at her neck. Is this the justice you speak of?"

    It was something along those lines. Needless to say it was a lot more eloquent, but you get the idea.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:09 No.1068830
    i had a friend dm a group, there was one dungeon hallway that was covered in cob webs that had a ton of rubble at the end, the tunnel had collapsed.

    the group decided that they were gonna try to dig through the debris to see if there was anything in there or on the other side of it. they dug for three days worth of ingame time and still nothing, they actually ran out of food and had to go back to town to restock, and they went back in again, and again nothing, the dm was actually telling them there isn't anything there.

    they went back to town to restock.... and this time they hired gnome miners. it got to the point that they had not only spent all the money they had gotten from the dungeon so far on paying the gnomes, but they had also spent more gold then they would have gotten from the rest of the entire dungeon.

    my dm friend told them he was gonna go upstairs and watch tv and to call him when they decided to fire the gnomes and continue the campaign. he was laughing about it when he told me the tale.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:13 No.1068843
    Try dming a successful game without railroading
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:19 No.1068874
    >>Try dming a successful game without railroading

    Doing so now.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:32 No.1068954

    What awful communication problems. The players wanted something, and clearly wanted it bad -- it would have been a lot more fun to insert something rather than "haha, man those guys are stupid, trying to make their own fun. psh, investigating flavor text? it's like they expected a caved in corridor to lead to a room! what morons!"

    Of course, it's equally stupid of the players to ignore the GM's explicit "that was nothing, let's move on." Sounds like they were frustrated or bored for some reason.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:38 No.1068988

    Every game I've GMed. Build a world with plot hooks in it, and then improv improv improv.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:40 No.1069001

    There's a difference between offering your players choices (and possibly even suggesting a course of action) and outright forcing them to do what you've planned.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:41 No.1069004
    I know, it's so difficult having multiple quests ready to throw at them so that they can CHOOSE, and then when they decide to mess up the quest to have to think what to do.

    If you have to railroad them to the destination then you're making your scenario way to fucking important and have shown poor planning ahead for not having any backup plans for having failed missions.
    >> Dagda !hTbo821v7U 01/26/08(Sat)00:41 No.1069006
    Both approaches can work poorly or work well. It depends on whether the GM's good with that style of play. Some GMs can handle both styles of play. Some just suck.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:49 No.1069045
    is it railroading to have it where they HAVE to go through a series of caves and tunnels to get out of a sunken tower they are in( because the top is now kinda caved in) in order to get to a cathedral to get help for the village they are in? i am setting up various alternate routes through the cave system, each with unique encounters and etc, but is the act of making them go through the tunnel system railroading?
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:56 No.1069049

    Dungeon layout (at least in my eyes) isn't the biggest issue when trying to avoid railroading. Still, multiple routes are nice, as are multiple ways to solve an encounter.

    What real railroading would be is denying the players the option to try and get to the cathedral another way. Never say "no, you can't do that." It's far better to say "yes, but there *will* be consequences" and pull a shit eating grin. Let them try out their ideas. If it's a good one, it works. If it isn't so good, be sure to throw some grief their way.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:56 No.1069051
    Well-constructed plot and player freedom are mutually exclusive. You cannot write a story in which you have no idea what the characters will do.

    Planning a good story 100% free of railroading is impossible and hopeless, the best a DM can do is make a good setting and hope for the best.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)00:58 No.1069068
    A lot of trouble happens because the GM comes up with what THEY think is cool, or what they think the players will think is cool.

    The they force the players to choose from those options. The players will almost always choose one because, well, they came to play, and most would rather play in an okay (or even a bad game) than no game at all.]

    The easiest way to avoid the above is to ask the players what they want to do. Get them all in a room, and have them in on the campaign. One player might want to be a knight reclaiming their honor. The rogue might be out and looking for that big score. The Cleric might be interested in exploring his faith.

    Ask the players what kind of games they enjoy. Do they like dungeon crawls? Do they prefer political campaigns? Do they like more talky and less smashy, more smashy and less talky, or more of an even mix.

    Take what the players want, and use that as the basis of the adventure. Try to work hooks and adventures around what they've told you they want to. Be prepared to have enemies retreat or die if combat drags on, or increase their HP a little bit if it looks like they won't last more than 2 rounds.

    Tailor suit the campaign to the players, and watch their eyes light up as they're able to do what they want to do, and thank you for it. More often than not, they'll be more engaged and impressed than they would have been with your elaborately detailed, epic, and well written (or so you think) campaign.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:03 No.1069083
    >>Well-constructed plot and player freedom are mutually exclusive. You cannot write a story in which you have no idea what the characters will do.

    No. The GM alone cannot write a good plot when they have no idea what the players will do, as well as next to no idea what they want, what their goals are, or what the player likes.

    Which is why players should be part of the design of the story. Compared to "normal" games, a really good story happens when both the GM and players are reacting to one another, and letting things grow from there. Between sessions, ask the players what they enjoyed, and what their plans are, and then create material based on that.

    Try to present yourself, not as an obstacle, but as an enabler. You're not there to put stuff in their way to keep them from their goal. You're there to help make achieving their goal a more entertaining experience. You handle the stuff that they, as the main characters of the story, shouldn't have to worry about.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:07 No.1069102
    Even if you do know what they want, laying out a plot means you have to assume the players will do certain things, and assuming the players will do something is the road to disaster.

    Furthermore you have the added complication of not just writing a story for one person, but four (or however big your group is), and it is extremely unlikely that they are all going to want the story to go the same direction.

    Sorry. When all you ever hear is players complaining about DMs and DMs complaining about players, it's easy to become cynical about all this.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:07 No.1069105
    You're right. You can't write a story where you don't know what the characters will do. But you know what?

    A roleplaying game is not a fucking novel. It is a game. You don't write the story. You set up a scenario and see how others react to it.

    More importantly, you can have a very good plot and give the players total freedom. The trick is being able to connect things together on the fly and the ability to roll with the punches.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:08 No.1069106
    True dat. I-dea STOLEN!


    I almost agree with ouy. I usually rely on a nice setting, some key players, and theire general plans. then based on the players actions, i make counteractions. kinda like my NPC are non-player CHARACTERS as opposed to non-player fodder. they have goals and skill, and based on their actions, the PC's have reasonable time to react and counteract their plans. or join in.whatever they feel like.

    I reallly TRY not to get them to do specific things, but hey, im only human.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:08 No.1069109
    Simply put, if you engage the players in thw world/story/plot, then when things happen, they won't feel like, "Haha! I'm messing up the GM's plot!" they'll think "Hey, I'm messing up the plot I helped create!"
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:20 No.1069157
    >>the best a DM can do is make a good setting and hope for the best


    While I haven't DM'd for long, it took me some time to realize that this is the only way to do it. On the plus side, this often leads to great stories afterwards.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:33 No.1069206

    >>they won't feel like, "Haha! I'm messing up the GM's plot!" they'll think "Hey, I'm messing up the plot I helped create!"

    That is a beautiful way to put it.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:43 No.1069242

    >>Even if you do know what they want, laying out a plot means you have to assume the players will do certain things, and assuming the players will do something is the road to disaster.

    You will have a MUCH better idea of what their response will be if you ask them in general what they want to do, compared to if you just try to predict (or dictate) it by yourself.

    >>Furthermore you have the added complication of not just writing a story for one person, but four (or however big your group is), and it is extremely unlikely that they are all going to want the story to go the same direction.

    That's why you get everyone together. When a bunch of people all reach some kind of consensus, generally, everyone is happier. At least compared to when only one person controls everything based on limited knowledge and zero direct input regarding what they wanted.

    >>Sorry. When all you ever hear is players complaining about DMs and DMs complaining about players, it's easy to become cynical about all this.

    Yeah, I was like that too.

    That's when I looked at what my favorite GM's had done, and why I changed my style from, "I am god. Look at my amazing world! Now choose your own adventure, which I'm sure you'll enjoy!" to "So what would *YOU* guys want to do with this session/campaign/world? How was that? What would you like to try next?"

    Put those "superior" world building, acting, and writing skills to the test and use them to build, not just YOUR world and story, but also that of the players.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:50 No.1069275
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    My players know that any surprise bonus they might get from acting like anti-dramatic cocks will be negated by my wrath.

    I have trained them well.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:51 No.1069278

    Some great tips from these guys. Cheers.

    In most of my successful games I start with getting a good, solid background from my players. I work elements into their stories that will help link plots together some time down the road. I get the players to tell me where they would like their characters to go. It helps me put together plots much easier.

    And how do I put together plot lines that players can't mess up? Here's the big secret--I just put out some collections of hints and clues leading towards whatever revelation I have in mind, and if they players stumble upon a 'wrong' idea of where things are going I tend to go with it. If suddenly everything they've seen since day one makes perfect sense pointing to Source B, I'm not going to railroad them towards Source A. I'll roll with things. Not only does it make the players feel great ("Wow, I discovered the prince's evil plot!") but knowing that my players are having fun makes me feel great.

    And as for BBEG speaches? I get them off all the time without laming out with DM fiat. Players learn early on in my games that if something is willing to talk instead of just zerging it's usually worth their time to hear what it has to say. That evil cleric poncing about like a kansas city faggot is probably going to drop some hints for the next plot point. It also helps that I tend to treat every npc as though it wants to live. Everything that doesn't have a damn good reason to fight to the death tends to take off when the situation becomes unwinnable. If flight isn't an option they'll surrender.

    Good players will realize that a captured foe is worth far more than a dead one.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:57 No.1069299
    >>Everything that doesn't have a damn good reason to fight to the death tends to take off when the situation becomes unwinnable. If flight isn't an option they'll surrender.

    Yes! It's amazing how many cannon fodder thugs, two bit muggers, and hungry animals/raiders tend to always fight to the death. I feel pretty confident throwing higher CR creatures at my players, knowing that attacker will always attempt to retreat well before they reach 0 HP.

    The only things that don't back off or retreat are either too stupid/mind controlled/suicidal.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)01:59 No.1069307
    It makes planning a bitch when one session you ask what they want to do for a campaign then they give you suggestions you plan out everything and the next session they say they want to do something completely different making all the hours of work you did useless because they decided they wanted to try and take over the town instead.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:02 No.1069321

    Exactly! I hate PCing and knowing that if I don't 100%->0% a monster then it will just stand there and keep swinging forever.

    Plus, when running a game, if monsters flee and/or surrender, the PCs start to realize it's actually a viable option. They pick up on their enemies using it and it can lead to some really interesting encounters. More than once I've had players surrender to a BBEG who was going to end them, only to come to see his point of view and turn their attentions towards a real problem. That LE warlord trying to take over the borderlands might be a bastard, but he's keeping orcs and gnolls from raping and pillaging the area, so in a large way he's on their side.

    Personally, I love having villains have coinciding goals with the players. It always tends to make the roleplay involved much more enjoyable.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:04 No.1069330

    So what you do is build one set of encounters, and maybe two floor plans. Change the fluff of the encounter depending on where they go, and rename the BBEG of the dungeon appropriately. BAM! Railroaded the PCs into going through the adventure you prepped while at the same time giving them the illusion of free choice.

    It's like forcing a card for a magic trick.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:06 No.1069336

    It's the vidya gaems what does that.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:06 No.1069339
    >>It makes planning a bitch when one session you ask what they want to do for a campaign then they give you suggestions you plan out everything and the next session they say they want to do something completely different making all the hours of work you did useless because they decided they wanted to try and take over the town instead.

    When you ask what they want to do, do you ask in general, or do you inquire as to why they're doing it, and what they plan to do?

    Do you follow up at all whenever you see a player?

    Because the only reason I can think of for players to intentionally tell you one thing, and then go behind your back and decide to do something totally opposite is because they don't trust you.

    Players that think you're asking what they plan on doing just so you can muck it up, not because you want to help them make it unfold more dramatically.

    That, or they're jerks... or you're just making up scenarios that don't happen.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:09 No.1069342
    except they don't want to take down any BBEGs or go through a dungeon or do any kind of roleplaying, they want to test combat skills on barkeeps, commoners, wenches, aristocrats and farm animals at times I think i'm dming for belkar and such
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:12 No.1069356

    Then tell them to grow up and stop playing with them, maybe? If the only reason they play is so they can pick fights with locals and rape barmaids AND you don't like running that kind of game then you really have two choices. Stop running the game, or tell them to sack up and stop being little bitches.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:14 No.1069360

    Well if they want to fight barkeeps, wenches, and commoners, try to build on that.

    Maybe turn it into a campaign where they're out to make a name for themselves, not as heroes, but as outlaws. Billy the Kid, Scarface, Pulp Fiction, or Overlord kind of stuff.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:15 No.1069364
    problem is that most of the dming is online so I generally get tards, then when I try to improv they complain there isn't enough rp or story.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:20 No.1069375

    So don't play with tards. The anonymity of the intarweb makes normal people jackasses. There are good players out there, but they tend to be few and far between. I've had a couple of fairly good online roleplaying games I've run and played in. The way we got a good group together to play is to join a couple of games. You'll probably be with two or three knuckledraggers and, if you're lucky, 1-2 decent players.

    Trade emails with the good ones. Swap aim addies. Keep in touch. LATCH ON FOR DEAR LIFE.

    Then, after three or four fail games, your friend list has a group of players that will most likely work out pretty well.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:27 No.1069395
    Actually, my best campaign so far has been online. Yes, I only have 2 players, but because of the anonymity, they have no problems with being more open and expressive with their characters- resulting in some pretty amazing RP.

    Combat has evolved into something used for dramatic effect. Trading blows is no longer seen as the first course of action when you meet the Lycanthropes or Orcs. Spilling of blood is a rare event that is taken VERY seriously.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)02:35 No.1069413

    I wasn't trying to suggest all online players are tards, I was simply pointing out it's harder to profile bad players without meeting them face to face. It's a lot easier to spot a terrible munchkin neckbeard in person than via exchanged emails.

    And I love campaigns where combat is the last resort. It's one of the reasons I like to use the wounds/vitality system--a stray critical hit or two can kill you no matter what your level. You HAVE to take it more seriously.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)03:00 No.1069507
    Not on rail-roading but on the concept of an overall story being told without railroading.

    Basically I pulled a bad guy from Elder Evils (which is fantastic btw) And thought up how i wanted the campaign to end and how I wanted it to begin. All the middle ground I decided would be mutable, (with more open ended goals in mind, such as "I want a dungeon encounter around this area")

    So the concept is that if there's a big enough event happening, the characters will care enough that they want to stop it. And then by having whatever they encounter in some small tiny way be connected to the overall big picture, so when everything wraps itself up it seems like one solid story.

    If i need to lead my players around to the "big" story points I just make it so it happens around them. That way it feels like the world is going on around them and they happen to be apart of it all.

    Well that's how I feel it should go, I'm still only one adventure deep into this thing and its barely gotten its feet wet. (Running a Mega-Group adventure is a feat in itself, 9 people O_o)
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)03:03 No.1069519

    This guy has it down pat. Good luck with that campaign.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)03:04 No.1069522
    The DM decided we should all pass out and awaken in an unknown realm. So the doors slam shut and the air disappears. We point out our Con scores let us go for ages, and in the meantime, we smash the wall down to climb out. The corridor also has no air, and the front door is locked.

    So we smash that down too, and he says "Fine. You don't pass out, the god just comes to see you."

    "Yeah, bitch. We don't take invites from gods, they come and see US!"
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)03:27 No.1069574
    DM was forcing my group along a certain story line, no real choices in the matter. We were walking through some bullshit town and get stopped by an NPC. He starts asking for our help and tells us of a quest to go on with lots of compensation. Everyone else is going along with it because we all knew he had nothing else planned.

    I was playing a minotaur. A Chaotic Neutral minotaur. I said "I'm gonna eat him." The DM looked at me like I was crazy. I rolled a natural 20. His NPC roll was a 1. He laughed so hard he fell out of his chair.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)03:40 No.1069606
    I loled. I loled hard.

    Man, has anyone here ever tried a boss DIALOGUE? I mean, seriously. Everyone dreads getting Talked At, Then We Throw Down.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:00 No.1069637
    A great BBEG speech I had was in this weird giant lab like place. Honestly, the Bad guys who tried to speech we could stop mainly due to we hated it from a previous DM. So this gnome comes along, talking about his previous dreams. Wizard uses a high level spell to fry his ass. Down he goes.

    But while we're congratulating ourselves, he comes out of another hallway, continuing slightly where he left off saying "As I was saying.." Covered in goo and a hum down the hallway. We did this two more times before he finished the albeit short speech, and he began to attack.

    Throughout the fight, he died four more times, confusing the fuck out of us. And whenever we tried to loot a body, the parts would begin to rot like Father Time buttraeped em.

    So we went lookingg around, and found empty vats wherever he came from. Then we found one that wasn't empty, but something had fallen ontop of it, killing the BBEG inside. APparently he kept multiple clones nearby with organic magic items being cloned by the real deal items we found with the dead clone.

    Not the most conventional, but it turned the tide from annoying to downright creepy real fast till we found out.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:03 No.1069642

    If they were clones then how were they able to know of the events that transpired with the other clones?
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:03 No.1069645
    Cool story, bro
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:06 No.1069650
    Real time streaming downloads. Duh.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:19 No.1069680
    Wow, your party sounds like a bunch of jackasses.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:23 No.1069689
    Man I always just have my villains deliver speeches during combat. If the players ask how they can spit out four paragraphs during a sword swing I just say it's one of those anime "Action line background" moments.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:29 No.1069698

    You're thinking sci-fi clones. The D&D clone spell creates a husk your soul goes to when you die.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:29 No.1069702

    I make a roll of a 1 or 20 mean a lot. On a one roll you can possibly drop your weapon, or accidently throw it mid swing, or even have a spell backfire. Nothing says bad luck like your fire spell catching your gloves, and then your shirt, on fire as you throw it.

    Then on a natural 20 I give critical hits the potential to sever limbs, permanently cripple, and even outright kill. The first time I saw a Hit Location Die I thought it was cheesy, but I've come to love it. NPCs are much more careful about open fighting. While they sometimes get lucky and decapitate the big villan in the first round or two they also have to worry about that happening to them.

    I had one player get very, very pissed off when he lost a hand to a warg, but ended up working it into his role playing of the character. He went from a half-giant fighter using a Large sized great sword to having to use his back up dagger through the rest of the dungeon. To counter this later on he got a longsword and started tying a sheild to his stump arm. I let this be a major cripple for two or three sessions, and then I not-so-subtly told him about half-golems. There was also a player who was a monk and lost a leg at the thigh. He worked it in VERY well: he took up drinking, like it was to drown his sorrow, and he eventually takes on the Drunken Master prestige class and would commonly use his crutch as an improvised weapon. The fighter suggested he look into getting a golem replacement like he did, but he refused it saying he didn't want to rely on anything but his own body. Then the wizard, being the dumbass he was, got jealous of the fighter's special arm, and so he cut his own off and got a ghost arm. I had no way of telling him it was retarded because it fit perfectly in with his character. He'd always took his chaotic alignment seriously.

    Somewhere back there I went from sharing my ideas on a mechanic to telling a story.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:32 No.1069708
    Summary of this thread:

    >Bawwwww, the NPC tried to talk to us but we're only interested in fitan and lootan so we attacked mid-sentence, screw the DM if he's bored
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:43 No.1069743
    I normally leave journals, schematics and research data around for the PC's to pick up after a fight. Except for when I don't, that tends to make them worried that something bad is going down.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)04:49 No.1069767

    My BBEGs don't talk AT the pcs, they talk WITH the pcs. When the BBEG comes out and starts off with "Hi there, great job killing my pet beholder. What brings you to my lair?" I find it makes a nice enough dramatic statement while at the same time enabling the players to learn a little bit about this guy, what he's up to, and why they want to kill him in the face.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)05:36 No.1069867
    >I make a roll of a 1 or 20 mean a lot. On a one roll you can possibly drop your weapon, or accidently throw it mid swing, or even have a spell backfire. Nothing says bad luck like your fire spell catching your gloves, and then your shirt, on fire as you throw it.

    God, I fucking hate DMs that do this. Why does the mightiest fighter in the world have a 5% chance of dropping his weapon in combat?
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)05:44 No.1069885
    Actually, considering the mightiest fighter in the world will have four attacks, he has a roughly 20 percent chance to stuff up in combat, as opposed to a level 1 wizard, who only has a 5 percent chance.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)05:48 No.1069891
    I don't do it on a one alone, if you roll a 1 there's another roll to see what happens. There's about a 50% chance you just miss, dropping your sword is about 25% of dropping it, 20% of throwing it a bit away, and then the last 5% has the potential of breaking your weapon.

    Having a 5% chance of loosing or breaking your weapon would just be retarded.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)05:54 No.1069899
    Our old DM intruduced a NPC named "Scarlet Fal'kra D'el" in our campaign. It was a major mary Sue and rail roaded the fuck out of us [ Oh no Scarlet Slut's family is kidnaped and she compells you with her innocence to save them! ]
    BUT this was all part of the DM's cunning plan to introduce her as are new enemy and introduce our Black Guard Allie.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:01 No.1069905
    the trick to railroading is not to be obnoxious about it. a few methods i've used a few times (don't use more than two or three times each, or they become irritating and liable to get shit thrown at you) that have kept things interest.

    1. room filling with acidic vapor that nauseates (1 standard action per round) and deals minor damage (BBEG is immune to acid). nothing quite like having your hero enemies on all fours getting re-acquainted with their stomaches while delivering your rant.

    2. likewise, the BBEG's mindless goons (constructs, undead, enchanted people, etc) are roughing it up with the party whilst he blabs from a safe location.

    3. Hold Person, Mass if you're feeling like being a dick.

    3A. Hold Monster for that twat half-dragon you've somehow ended up with (gb2/fchan dammit).

    4. an illusion spell of the BBEG that delivers the rant, but he's not actually there to get interrupted. this one resulted in massive lolz for everyone except the barbarian who rushed him as usual.

    5. put your party in a situation where violence would be inadvisable. this can be social (drawing swords at a masquerade thrown by the local royalty = 15th level royal guards booting your asses into jail) or physical (ancient temple of Pelor devoted to peace shoots assfisting magic at anyone attacking anyone else in a particular room).

    that said, the best kind of plot armor is the villain that's a horrible coward. nothing makes a party forget about being railroaded quite like making the BBEG curse their existence and run like a girl, especially if they do something particularly humiliating to him (e.g. knocking his helmet off - not only is it a cool magic item, but they can taunt him with it when they meet again) in the process.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:18 No.1069921

    Yeah, I didn't like playing with that group. The DM and one player (then later, a different game, they swapped roles) were intent on antagonising each other, as they are close friends.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:25 No.1069933

    Why are the king's guards able to individually kill dread wraiths, 12 headed hydras and hamatulas?

    Royalty have lots of guards, with expensive (up to +3 for everything) equipment. They don't have heroes of legend for it - those guys are out being adventurers.

    If one of those goes near the king, it's for a desperate "Maruts are attacking and we need help! HUEG rewards!" quest, or to inform him that he has been replaced.

    PCs don't attack the king because either there are too many low-level guards, or because they can't be fucked actually going through the process of running a kingdom, and can't just find a vending machine to put all the gold coins in, anyway. They want magic items, not "lots of gold and a bad reputation", and they want awesome challenges, not "I rule the kingdom after killing an old man."

    Besides, it's more epic to rule a kingdom by saving his hot daughter (she always get kidnapped, whether by dragons, wizards, cultists or Bowser) and marrying, then fucking, her.

    In the ass.
    >> pedantus pomposomous 01/26/08(Sat)06:25 No.1069934
    probability doesn't work that way.
    4 chances to roll a 1 means a 1-(.95^4) chance in a round. about 18.5%... crap. you did say "about", didn't you.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:28 No.1069941
    Nothing says "This is MY kingdom!" than fucking the princess in the ass.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:33 No.1069950

    Well, it's only proper, isn't it?

    And if you have a good enough Escape Artist modifier, you can cram your whole body up there, and spring out in front of the king.

    "Surprise! Guess where I'VE been! I think we can all agree that this is my kingdom now, right?"
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:34 No.1069952
    speak for yourself. my DM knows better then to trust any of my characters with anything that might possibly be used as a weapon withen 500 ft of any royality or even generally well off people. All this after one game where i did just that.

    Forged invitation to royal ball - 2k gold
    Various bribes to ensure good seating - 4k gold
    Gold Plated soup spoon - 10 gold
    The look on that old fucks face when i carved his heart out and claimed his throne? Priceless.

    There are somethings that adventuring cant buy, for everything else theres carefully planned violence.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:36 No.1069959
    I know I'd sign the deed to my house over to anyone who suddenly rockets out of my daughter's ass. I'd be far too impressed not to.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:44 No.1069972
    ITT: People who BAWWW at the idea that their character isn't the centre of the world.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:48 No.1069977
    tl;dr faggot
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:51 No.1069984

    a basic DMG rule to avoiding PC catastrophe is to always have someone better than them if they decide to go off and run the world.

    anyway, the campaign in question was a fairly large empire with massive material wealth, ergo the royalty could afford to have terribly meaty goons to protect him. my party was smart and didn't try anything stupid (guys wearing adamantine plate armor with halberds that are practically oozing magic and wearing tabards with the royal insignia on them ought to dissuade all but the munchiest PCs), so the show of force was all that was necessary.

    anyway, the special thing about PCs isn't that they're high level (because sometimes they aren't, anyway...), it's that they're in the right place at the right time and have the conviction and/or motivation to get the job done - also usually choice information or key details, that way the king can't send his 15th level guards off to do the PC's job for them.

    (assuming the king isn't in on the conspiracy that's the background of this particular campaign, but i've got a flair for politics and intrigue and the party is loving it, so hey, run with what works!)
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:54 No.1069991
    "Oh, so I guess these are the huge, impassable mountains surrounding our path on all sides? :rolleyes:,"

    "No, feel free to climb over them. Make it a shortcut, I just hope you have a shitload of ranks in climb jump and balance, or you'll end up a stain on a crag,"

    Did I handle that situation well?
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)06:57 No.1069998

    fairly well. another good one to use is $random_villager from the town they've been camping in warning of scary snow monsters in yon mountains and that they should stay on the path.

    have a few frost giants written up if anyone is feeling particularly ballsy.

    multiple paths (some beaten more than others) is a lot more fun than a railroad, even if they end in the same place.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:00 No.1070005

    I only ever have one road to one place, but try to always have three roads available, am I still a railroading fag?
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:06 No.1070015
    If players insist on dicking about and assassinating Good King Roland to try and claim the throne, then they ought to be prepared for the consequences.

    Firstly, monarchies do not work that way. If Roland dies, then his eldest son will becomes king, or if no sons then is brother, or other nearest male relative.

    The new king will most likely then hire adventurers of his own to go and visit retribution on the PC's for assassinating his Dad/Brother/Uncle etc.

    Supposing the PC survives all this and is somehow able to claim the throne, making him spend all his time worrying about taxes and uppity noblemen should soon make him regret his dickery
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:10 No.1070031

    i don't think so, but i am a DM, so my opinion might be slanted.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:17 No.1070049
    Do you let them run off into the woods thinking there is a path? If no, then yes you're railroading them.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:28 No.1070063
    One of the best campaigns I played in was an interesting mix of two gaming groups at once. One DM was playing with two groups at separate times, but brought the stories together. One group assassinated the king, the other group (which I was in) was hired to take out the assassins who murdered the king. Up until the session before both groups came together we didn't know there even was another group. Group 1 (as I'll now call the king killing group) knew there were adventurers after them, but didn't know it was actual players either. They spent their times planning, running, getting a stronghold, preparing defenses and such while we were tracking them and preparing to attack. Group 1 had a rogue, a fighter, and a sorcerer, and they worked mostly by stealth. My group had a psychic warrior, a fighter, and a Cleric of Heironeous (me) and we were mostly strait forward combat types. Group 1 fled to the ruins of an old fort and holed up there to wait for the battle, while we stocked up on gear and prepared for the fight. Both groups were told at the end of the session before the battle would happen that there was another group, and that we'd be playing against each other in the next game.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:29 No.1070064
    At the session of the battle the DM came to us first, and we did about ten minutes of the game that it took to get up to where Group 1 was while they were in another room discussing plans. Then we moved into the room with them and the battle started. The DM had done a very good job of having us evenly matched, and so a lot of it was down to luck of the dice and good planning. The rogue had been turned invisible by their sorcerer and got a good shot in on our Fighter. Their fighter had was hanging above the door by a wall fixture and dropped down on the psychic warrior, and I took on the sorcerer. By the end it was just the psychic warrior and me left alive on our side and we'd captured their fighter. I was able to bring our fighter back to life and we drug the bodies of the other PCs back to the kingdom. After it all there was plenty of hand shaking and congratulations over a game well played. None of us could believe the DM had pulled it off so well. At the end we came to an agreement with the fighter on their side, resurrected their other members, and made one large group. They were told the king was evil and had to be stopped from attacking another kingdom, while in truth the king was a kind man who was framed. We all worked together to go after the people who'd given them the job. It was all in all a very well played and interesting game. And then we go in one little fight and my mom got scared and said "you're moving in with your aunti and uncle in Bel-Air."
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)07:29 No.1070065

    If you'd ever been in a fight, you'd know that they happen very, very fast. Too fast to decide if you're going to run or not until (usually) it's too late.
    >> Anonymous 01/26/08(Sat)13:18 No.1071060

    Not in a game of heroic fantasy, bub. Last I checked guys in the Real World don't have potentially hundreds of hit points and can be killed by tripping and landing the wrong way.

    Past first level, characters in most fantasy RPGs are pretty much superhuman.

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