Author Topic: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt  (Read 12246 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

InnaBinder

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1610
  • OnnaTable
    • Okay - - Your Turn: Monte Cook's Message Board
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2011, 12:21:12 AM »
^^
The example case of the orcs, depending on the bigger picture(a simple retrieval is just a fetch quest), you could have them go on to the next town, and a few days later get news from survivors that the previous town had the people set on fire and the buildings raped by orcs. There needs to be some overarching impact, or its not so much a plot as an event or quest.

Acording to Agita, everything that happens is plot, because he claimed everything the DM throws at the players counts as plot.
I don't think I'd disagree with that definition of 'plot' for the purposes of this discussion.
Winning an argument on the internet is like winning in the Special Olympics.  You won, but you're still retarded.

I made a Handbook!?

kitep

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2011, 03:13:55 AM »
^^
The example case of the orcs, depending on the bigger picture(a simple retrieval is just a fetch quest), you could have them go on to the next town, and a few days later get news from survivors that the previous town had the people set on fire and the buildings raped by orcs. There needs to be some overarching impact, or its not so much a plot as an event or quest.

Monsters by CR is pretty handy. I don't think the gamemastery guide is on the PFRD though, but ImperatorK's link seems to have that covered.

Hadn't thought of that.  When the OP said "plot", I assumed she meant a pre-planned adventure.

InnaBinder

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1610
  • OnnaTable
    • Okay - - Your Turn: Monte Cook's Message Board
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2011, 03:40:55 AM »
^^
The example case of the orcs, depending on the bigger picture(a simple retrieval is just a fetch quest), you could have them go on to the next town, and a few days later get news from survivors that the previous town had the people set on fire and the buildings raped by orcs. There needs to be some overarching impact, or its not so much a plot as an event or quest.

Monsters by CR is pretty handy. I don't think the gamemastery guide is on the PFRD though, but ImperatorK's link seems to have that covered.

Hadn't thought of that.  When the OP said "plot", I assumed she meant a pre-planned adventure.

Point of order: I'm not a 'she'.   :p
Winning an argument on the internet is like winning in the Special Olympics.  You won, but you're still retarded.

I made a Handbook!?

weenog

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1706
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2011, 03:53:21 AM »
Or knowing me, I'll play it for laughs, and each day will have the same guy coming in wailing about his family, and how the last group of adventurers went out and never came back.  Then another group.  Then another group.  Until there's a veritable pile of bodies if the PCs ever do get around to it.

Self-replenishing corpses and treasure?  Necromancers must love your sense of humor.
"We managed to make an NPC puke an undead monster."
"That sounds like a victory to me."

kitep

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2011, 06:41:24 AM »
Self-replenishing corpses and treasure?  Necromancers must love your sense of humor.

No, just poking fun at the trope that "nobody has ever returned".
But now that you bring it up, I'll make sure there's an orc shaman to animate all those dead adventurers.

veekie

  • Organ Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 9034
  • WARNING: Homing Miko
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2011, 09:32:53 AM »
Hadn't thought of that.  When the OP said "plot", I assumed she meant a pre-planned adventure.
Pre-planned adventures and published modules are much more restricted yeah, especially the old school variety which is a sequence of things that the PCs encounter. For those however, you'd be expected to tell the players, "we're running X, its about Y, alright?" and they'd be expected to object right there or roll with it.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Kasz

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • **
  • Posts: 68
    • Email
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2011, 01:53:46 PM »
Plot happens - deal with it

That's what you need to tell your players. Yes, the Ogre is guarding the magic sword needed to kill the dragon... oh you're going to leave and do something else... that's cool.

2 sessions later.

"you overhear a bard in a tavern talking to some sellswords"

And the King of TownA fought the dragon bravely... landing few blows that could have been mortal to the beast, alas some foul sorcery protected it and the King was slain, the town... lost to the mindless destruction, innocents died in the thousands and the human empire have lost their largest source of "resourceA"

They can ignore plot... but the plot won't ignore them.

InnaBinder

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1610
  • OnnaTable
    • Okay - - Your Turn: Monte Cook's Message Board
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2011, 03:33:01 PM »
Plot happens - deal with it

That's what you need to tell your players. Yes, the Ogre is guarding the magic sword needed to kill the dragon... oh you're going to leave and do something else... that's cool.
As I indicated in the 1st post, I've seen this behavior almost every time I've sat down at an RPG, regardless of which side of the GM screen I'm on; they're not just my players.  Telling folks "Plot happens - deal with it" reads, from here, as the same fundamental answer as "stop doing that, Bob", and to reference the 1st post again, I don't see that as actually addressing the root of the problem.  Players expressing this concern in-game are doing so from a position of dissatisfaction, as far as I can tell.  Telling them to 'suck it up' isn't fixing the problem, regardless of how diplomatically you say it.
Winning an argument on the internet is like winning in the Special Olympics.  You won, but you're still retarded.

I made a Handbook!?

kamikasei

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • **
  • Posts: 71
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2011, 03:58:44 PM »
Don't tell them no to do it. Ask them why they do it. Get the group discussing it.

Is this with a particular group of players (though not always with the same GM), or something you see even in totally unconnected groups? In the latter case... I don't know, there's not really a general solution for this, you'd need to deal with it case-by-case.

The core of it, I think, is respect for the work the GM puts in, and trust that she's not simply doing it to box in the players. It's much easier for a player to try to throw the GM a curve ball than it is for the GM to manage all the reactions an unexpected action should produce in the game world and keep them consistent while providing engaging challenges to the players at a suitable pace and keeping them emotionally invested in the progress of events. Yes, reacting gracefully to the unexpected is an important GM skill, but continually trying to catch the GM out just because is simply bad form. I mean, if throwing out hooks to involve the PCs in ongoing events is railroading, and letting the players go off and do their own thing instead while those events continue to unfold in the background is "punishing the PCs for not following the plot", that just sounds like a lose/lose for the GM.

Do you have specific examples you could describe?
"But the delight and pride of Aulë is in the deed of making, and in the thing made, and neither in possession nor in his own mastery; wherefore he gives and hoards not, and is free from care, passing ever on to some new work."
Bardiche/Raising Heart OTP.
[spoiler]
[/spoiler]

archangel.arcanis

  • Organ Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 2938
    • Email
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2011, 04:15:30 PM »
I'm pretty squarely in the Plot happens camp. My players know that there are events in the world that will go a way they probably don't want unless they do something about it. If they choose to ignore it then they will happen the way I figured they would without any interference. I don't punish the players for it, but the world keeps moving with or without them. I will often try and have things my players do have some effect on the plot items even if they aren't directly involving themselves in the plot. ie That dragon and kobold worshipers they killed were actually a major supplier of metals to Team Evil, so now TE has their plans slowed while they find a new supplier.

Similar to that I've always told my players that the creatures are the level they are and I won't hold back if they start a fight they can't win. The most glaring case of this was in a town where they Mayor and his wife were working for a Lich. The party kept antagonizing them after they were pretty sure they were the source of trouble but had no proof. I told the party they suspected the Mayor and his wife were calling in their boss to help deal with the party. They ignored it and ended up fighting a level 13 lich at level 8 or so.
Clerics and Druids are like the 4 and 2 in 42. Together they are the answer to the ultimate question in D&D.
Retire the character before the DM smacks you with the Table as the book will feel totally inadequate now.-Hazren

InnaBinder

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1610
  • OnnaTable
    • Okay - - Your Turn: Monte Cook's Message Board
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2011, 04:47:13 PM »
Don't tell them no to do it. Ask them why they do it. Get the group discussing it.

Is this with a particular group of players (though not always with the same GM), or something you see even in totally unconnected groups? In the latter case... I don't know, there's not really a general solution for this, you'd need to deal with it case-by-case.
It's with essentially every group of players I've ever gamed with (I started gaming more than 30 years ago, so my memory of the early groups may be a bit fuzzy, hence "essentially"), in 4 different states of the USA.  They're not otherwise connected to each other, weren't all for the same system, and as indicated, I'm not the instigator of the issue.

Quote
I mean, if throwing out hooks to involve the PCs in ongoing events is railroading, and letting the players go off and do their own thing instead while those events continue to unfold in the background is "punishing the PCs for not following the plot", that just sounds like a lose/lose for the GM.
At least one (different) player in the groups I've seen consistently reacts to hooks with some variety of "let's get on board/run from the plot-bus, kiddos."  I perceive handing out less XP to those who go off and do their own thing instead of following the GM's plot as "punishing the PCs," and have been told on these very forums that using the justification of storyline continuing around the PCs to throw inappropriate CR (or other system-equivalent) encounters at the PCs is bad GM behavior.
Winning an argument on the internet is like winning in the Special Olympics.  You won, but you're still retarded.

I made a Handbook!?

PhaedrusXY

  • Organ Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 8022
  • Advanced Spambot
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

kitep

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
  • **
  • Posts: 62
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2011, 08:54:20 PM »
Point of order: I'm not a 'she'.   :p

Oops, sorry  :(  I was using the D&D generic she.

Actually, since I posted the above, I've read your thread about gaming in the library.  So now I know.

kurashu

  • Donkey Kong
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • K?
    • Androgynous Moose Hippy
    • Email
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2011, 09:02:08 PM »
If the players have that big of a problem win plot and just want to imagine kill things, there are countless table top games they can play: Zombies!!!, Munchkin, Munchkin Quest to name a few. The best thing is you can play those as well since the rules are your ref an the deck is your DM.

Bloody Initiate

  • King Kong
  • ****
  • Posts: 798
    • Email
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2011, 09:26:32 PM »
I don't have the same hate for railroading that a lot of people do. A lot of times GMs just haven't had the time to prepare a sandbox, or that's just not what they wanted to do. When I see the plot looming, "the GM wants this" is the LAST comment I make and it's usually reigning in another player who hasn't figured it out yet. I love having choices and I dislike hackneyed ways of directing me, but I also don't expect every GM to deal with all of my group's BS or cater to my particular preference/playstyle.

To me the world is more interesting when it responds, and a lot of people mistake a GM's effective world-building for railroading, because they build a world that responds and the players just wanted a world full of interesting dummies. You think you've encountered some god-monster that the DM inserted just because you play like an ass but there's a good chance that god-monster was there before you ever set foot in the campaign world.

If a DM has a serious issue railroading, I probably won't play much under them when given a choice. Beyond that I tend to try to keep my fellow players in line, because either a.) the DM is learning and we have to live with them for awhile or b.) the DM is a stranger which means we're probably at a convention or something where being asses is just bad manners because we'll be rid of him/her soon and you can't expect strangers to play to your style. I tend to have pretty decent DMs, I don't do it often myself, so I accept them as they are... or I join the rest of my group in shredding their campaign to tatters and typically the emotional defeat is enough to discourage them in the future.

It may just be because I'm more often the "voice of reason" or whatever, but usually I spend my efforts keeping everyone harmonious. My own agenda is extremely simple, so it's not difficult to serve. Thus when there's an issue with direction I spend more time helping the GM keep things subtle or keeping my group's oddballs from careening off course.
I don't employ memes. Mass-produced ammunition, even from reputable manufacturers, tends to malfunction on occasion.

veekie

  • Organ Grinder
  • *****
  • Posts: 9034
  • WARNING: Homing Miko
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2011, 10:55:20 PM »
Plot happens - deal with it

That's what you need to tell your players. Yes, the Ogre is guarding the magic sword needed to kill the dragon... oh you're going to leave and do something else... that's cool.
As I indicated in the 1st post, I've seen this behavior almost every time I've sat down at an RPG, regardless of which side of the GM screen I'm on; they're not just my players.  Telling folks "Plot happens - deal with it" reads, from here, as the same fundamental answer as "stop doing that, Bob", and to reference the 1st post again, I don't see that as actually addressing the root of the problem.  Players expressing this concern in-game are doing so from a position of dissatisfaction, as far as I can tell.  Telling them to 'suck it up' isn't fixing the problem, regardless of how diplomatically you say it.
The root cause is beyond you. Literally.

A lot of GMs treat the Plot as an excuse to tell their story to the players, who basically wind up feeling like they're just actors in someone's script. The natural overreaction is the punish the GM by fleeing any and all plot and basically doing anything that can't be reasonably expected just to have some freedom of action.

This is compounded by a legacy of games where:
-GM-Player relationship is adversarial. A significant number of older games treat it as a contest between Player and GM, within rules. An example is the original Tomb of Horrors.
-Game plots are equated to theater or book plots(they are not, they only share elements), and the critical part is that game plots are a confluence of actor and environment, following book plots make it linear.

WoD players know this well, oWoD has a bad case of Powerful NPCs doing all kinds of cool things and the PCs are supposed to be the audience, hooks in your backstory are abused to cause misery to the character. The backlash is the Trenchcoat-Katana-Orphan-Loner, a combat powerful character that has no possible attachment to plot, and thus cannot be exploited.

You can't solve this by changing your GMing. Your most feasible option is to talk it through with them, work out why they are avoiding Interesting Things so badly. The second option is to cave and offer them endless rolled encounters.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 10:56:59 PM by veekie »
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

oslecamo

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1940
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2011, 11:22:29 PM »
The second option is to cave and offer them endless rolled encounters.

Why is that a bad thing? Isn't the very core idea of D&D to find interesting creatures, murder them, loot the bodies, rinse and repeat? Maybe they indeed don't care about insane orcs that rape buildings, and want to go inside dungeons to see if they can find a dragon.

Killing psycho out for blood and treasure is a fantasy archetype after all. :smirk

Kajhera

  • Hong Kong
  • ****
  • Posts: 1167
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2011, 01:09:01 AM »
The second option is to cave and offer them endless rolled encounters.

Why is that a bad thing? Isn't the very core idea of D&D to find interesting creatures, murder them, loot the bodies, rinse and repeat? Maybe they indeed don't care about insane orcs that rape buildings, and want to go inside dungeons to see if they can find a dragon.

Killing psycho out for blood and treasure is a fantasy archetype after all. :smirk

My players and I tend to get very confused as to why the half-green dragon vampire druid is in league with the half-silver dragon formian.

I think possibly I need to find a better encounter roller.

oslecamo

  • Grape ape
  • *****
  • Posts: 1940
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2011, 01:22:05 AM »
The second option is to cave and offer them endless rolled encounters.

Why is that a bad thing? Isn't the very core idea of D&D to find interesting creatures, murder them, loot the bodies, rinse and repeat? Maybe they indeed don't care about insane orcs that rape buildings, and want to go inside dungeons to see if they can find a dragon.

Killing psycho out for blood and treasure is a fantasy archetype after all. :smirk

My players and I tend to get very confused as to why the half-green dragon vampire druid is in league with the half-silver dragon formian.

I think possibly I need to find a better encounter roller.

But that's even better! Now that you got the player's atention, throw the plot of green and silver dragons teaming up to take over the world with their spawns! :D

Kajhera

  • Hong Kong
  • ****
  • Posts: 1167
Re: "It's a Plot-Monster! RUN!" - Thoughts on Player Revolt
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2011, 02:11:24 AM »
The second option is to cave and offer them endless rolled encounters.

Why is that a bad thing? Isn't the very core idea of D&D to find interesting creatures, murder them, loot the bodies, rinse and repeat? Maybe they indeed don't care about insane orcs that rape buildings, and want to go inside dungeons to see if they can find a dragon.

Killing psycho out for blood and treasure is a fantasy archetype after all. :smirk

My players and I tend to get very confused as to why the half-green dragon vampire druid is in league with the half-silver dragon formian.

I think possibly I need to find a better encounter roller.

But that's even better! Now that you got the player's atention, throw the plot of green and silver dragons teaming up to take over the world with their spawns! :D

While I've run plots with half-dragons, green dragons, vampires, druids, silver dragons, formians, and half-demon formians, um...I'm really coming up with a blank on half-silver dragon formian. What happened?