PDA

View Full Version : You had me at initiative...



Engar
06-24-2008, 01:30 PM
I am curious what people think of their storytellers. Since I am currently on hiatus it seems a perfectly safe time to see what others have to say about those who often ruin, er, run things...

ryan973
06-24-2008, 01:59 PM
Well normally i am the DM, however over the last few months other in my group have tried to take a wack at it. I totally love it when they do as it makes them really appreciate the effort it take sto have the right amount of combat and story. And to preserve balance wile still letting you rplayers have freedome to grow in the direction they choose. One of them however refuses to ever GM again becouse we did not liek his game. He actually did a great job but the growth was so slow that we got bored after awile.

Shadow Dweller
06-24-2008, 02:47 PM
That an indication of something there Engar? :mad:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
:laugh:

Engar
06-24-2008, 03:18 PM
I have an indication I am slow on the uptake. Type slower, I don't get it.

Valdar
06-24-2008, 03:43 PM
It's been a long time since I've played in a game I've enjoyed. I think the biggest problem I've had with DMs in the past is that I'm not part of their stories. Either the players are spectators to the stories (with NPCs doing all the heroics), or there's no story to begin with (i.e. running a module with no attempt to make the adventure relevant), or there aren't enough clues for the party to figure out what's going on so they can be part of it (highly convoluted plots or situations that the players don't get to know about).

I'd really like to play in a well-run game, but I've found that the best game out there for your tastes is the one that you can't play in because you're running it. I guess I'm ok with that for now.

Shadow Dweller
06-24-2008, 03:47 PM
I have an indication I am slow on the uptake. Type slower, I don't get it.
Just giving you a hard time about last saturday man, that's all.

Webhead
06-24-2008, 04:13 PM
I'd really like to play in a well-run game, but I've found that the best game out there for your tastes is the one that you can't play in because you're running it. I guess I'm ok with that for now.

That's why I need to clone myself, so that the other me can run the kind of games that I want to play in! :D

boulet
06-24-2008, 04:37 PM
"The game I'd like to play is the game I'm running" is something I've read quite a few times, not just on PnPG. To me, more than something unavoidable, like a destiny or a curse, it's an example of how difficult it is is to communicate about what we're looking for in a game and our tendency to avoid confrontation in gamers group. I think it's a fair assumption to say that most GMs want to make their players happy and are willing to curve the way they run games in order to satisfy the rest of the group.

Strangely groups, especially at the beginning of a campaign, or a pickup game, rarely take the time to check together what style of game they want to play. They will agree on a game system, maybe stuff like how heroic the PCs are, is it fantasy or political/investigation adventures... Rarely things like :what level of competition are you comfortable with inside the group, should we reinforce the group with shared background, will this background be significant during game sessions, is the GM going to regularly ask and accept feedback, is he/she open to players actually steer the wheel about the direction the campaign is heading...

I've been lazy and didn't often ask those type of questions in the past and I sure know that some of my games would have been more awesome if I had had this cooperative attitude with my players.

Engar
06-24-2008, 04:44 PM
LOL. I understand the sentiment. I have been very lucky to play with some excellent storytellers. However, I know there are some who see the role as rules moderators for a strategy game, directors for screenplay they wrote, bring a lot of baggage, or have some twisted real world agenda.

I don't mind venting about those, there are lessons there too (politely please). I am particularly interested in what players liked or disliked about a respected storyteller. What ideas worked or failed.

Webhead
06-24-2008, 04:54 PM
"The game I'd like to play is the game I'm running" is something I've read quite a few times, not just on PnPG.

Yes, it is quite common and I really think it has a lot to do with why a person runs a game in the first place. Think about it, a GM typically chooses a game because he has interest and excitement in the game. He probably has a fondness for the genre, style, and types of stories that the game evokes. He probably spends a great deal of time imagining cool ideas about what it would be like to be a part of the game. In essence, he has familiarized himself with it and said, "This is really awesome and I would love to play something like this. Since I know how the game works, I bet it would be a lot of fun if I ran it for my friends".

As much as you wouldn't really want to play in a game that you don't like, you really probably wouldn't want to run such a game and have to spend a great deal of time and energy on something that doesn't feel rewarding to you. I've tried running a game that I didn't really care for just because my players wanted to play it. It's generally best to avoid those things because it can not only lead to your own dissatisfaction, but it can lead to you running a lackluster or sloppy game, which will make your players dissatisfied as well.

Sorry for derailing your thread, Engar...:)

agoraderek
06-24-2008, 05:04 PM
i've played with "storyteller" dms. i usually found them to be railroaders, not terribly interested in what the characters wanted, and pretty much against anything that didnt fit or advance the "story" they were telling.

i told them there is a vehicle for what they wanted, its called "writing a novel"...

Shadow Dweller
06-24-2008, 05:27 PM
There's nothing wrong with story tellers as long as the story you tell isn't set in stone. If you have to railroad the PC's into something, make it something important and just be flexable with anything outside MAJOR plot points.

Engar
06-24-2008, 05:35 PM
Sorry for derailing your thread, Engar...:)

I thought the post was in the spirit of the topic.


i've played with "storyteller" dms. i usually found them to be railroaders, not terribly interested in what the characters wanted, and pretty much against anything that didnt fit or advance the "story" they were telling.

I used the term "storyteller" as more of a generic term for dungeon master. I agree, players are not pawns for the DM, railroading is the weakest form of player management, and that the story belongs to everyone. Sounds like a very bad experience. What did a better DM do differently?

cplmac
06-25-2008, 02:04 PM
Unfortunately, I am always the DM, since nobody else wants to do it. I have gained some knowledge in being more descriptive by reading some books whose stories are related to role playing. With reading some of the posts in the campaign invitations section, I would have to say that when I first started as a player, the DM's that I had back then were not that very good. Luckily, since I was just starting to play, I didn't realize this back then.

tesral
06-25-2008, 03:01 PM
The Friday game and Oakland U is running well. The DM is a young guy, fairly new, but he is doing a good job and I am digging the game. How much? It's a 70 mile round trip and with 4 buck gas I'm still going.

We get good role-playing and the plots are built around the characters.

Webhead
06-25-2008, 03:48 PM
We get good role-playing and the plots are built around the characters.

It's always nice when that happens...when you feel like the adventure is happening because of your character, not just happening around your character.

Engar
06-26-2008, 12:24 AM
Do most DMs out there use primarily modules or homebrew adventures? I always prefered my own creations and had trouble running modules, but a friend was much more comfortable with modules (and ran them flawlessly).

agoraderek
06-26-2008, 12:29 AM
Do most DMs out there use primarily modules or homebrew adventures? I always prefered my own creations and had trouble running modules, but a friend was much more comfortable with modules (and ran them flawlessly).

i run a homebrew campaign, but im not above using a (heavily modified) canned adventure if it fits the storyline and has some good ideas. i ran a "slavers" arc (a1-4, 1st ed) pretty much from memory at one point after my house fire destroyed my collection, just as filler until i had time to ressurect my campaign from the ashes. good times...

Farcaster
06-26-2008, 12:50 AM
I'd really like to play in a well-run game, but I've found that the best game out there for your tastes is the one that you can't play in because you're running it. I guess I'm ok with that for now.

I am one of those who is guilty of being a "story telling" DMs, but I strive to make sure that the players can take the story wherever they want. I generally have a beginning in mind, an idea for what is going to happen in the game, and how the campaign might end. But, I'm open to the players forging their own path. Now, if they ignore the plot altogether, it has a nasty habit of coming back to bite them later on down the road when whatever situation they were ignoring becomes far-far worse.

In any case, you're actually not too far off from where we game, Val. Maybe we should chat sometime.

tesral
06-26-2008, 02:14 AM
Do most DMs out there use primarily modules or homebrew adventures? I always prefered my own creations and had trouble running modules, but a friend was much more comfortable with modules (and ran them flawlessly).

I never have been able to run canned adventures as is. I tend to make them myself or to totally rewrite the things.

I still get them for the ideas if nothing else. Even if I turn it upside down it sparks my own creative urges.

Webhead
06-26-2008, 10:18 AM
I like to create a lot of my own adventures, but I've also gotten a great deal of use and fun out of various published adventure modules. Whenever I use a module, I read through it to understand the basic "plot" and "pacing" of it as well as be familiar with the primary characters and locations involved. Then I drop my PCs into it and set them free.

I tend to use the modules as more of an outline or guide to give me ideas for cool NPCs and encounters. While I may use the basic events or story of the module, there tends to be a lot of deviation from the "script as written" which I encourage. I want my PCs thinking for themselves, not being led around by the nose.

Engar
06-26-2008, 12:15 PM
I am one of those who is guilty of being a "story telling" DMs, but I strive to make sure that the players can take the story wherever they want.

I agree, the players are more important than the plan. Forgetting that can ruin a very good story very quickly. Ideally I want players to chose what I planned without realizing I cut a path for them. They often see where the story is going, which is fine too as long as it is fun. Sometimes I just want to wing it and ocassionally they make me.

Regarding modules, I just found few I liked overall and then had a hard time making those run smoothly without doing about the same amount of work as a homebrew. Maybe my view of them as time savers (like cliff notes) is the wrong approach.

Grimwell
06-27-2008, 01:14 AM
I never have been able to run canned adventures as is. I tend to make them myself or to totally rewrite the things.

I still get them for the ideas if nothing else. Even if I turn it upside down it sparks my own creative urges.
I'm exactly that way too. Modules just feel too restrictive for me to run them as they are printed. Abusing them into something that allows my players more freedoms and fun is my standard approach. They are great springboards, but not straight jackets.

I never say "The module does not say you can do that." or "You need to do X next to complete the module." I prefer to let folks play and empower their decisions one way or the other.

tesral
06-27-2008, 01:56 AM
They are great springboards, but not straight jackets.

I never say "The module does not say you can do that." or "You need to do X next to complete the module." I prefer to let folks play and empower their decisions one way or the other.

Never mind that the assumptions written into the module might not fit your gaming world or style. That is the majority issue that causes rewrites with me. It might be as simple as half Orcs have to go. It might be written around the Gullywhump cult that simply does not fit the world.

And yea, any tracks or wrap-around jackets have to go.

jkfoote
06-27-2008, 03:01 AM
I love my story telling DM, hes able to tell or get in a story and not railroad us into it. Like this one tie, we where playing BESM and we where in the night side, and this group whos major players where supposed to represent the 7 major sins, which they did quit well. In the end it turns out that they where working for a man, who just happened to be Hitlers Gay lover trying to res him, so that they could be together again.

It was the first twist in his stories we didn't see coming. it was great!!!!!!

Valdar
06-27-2008, 01:13 PM
In any case, you're actually not too far off from where we game, Val. Maybe we should chat sometime.

Sounds fun. Let me know if you want me to play a one-off NPC in one of your games sometime =)

Tamerath
07-07-2008, 04:24 PM
Back before I was a Dungeon Master (God, it feels like such a long time ago). I was invited to my first game by a guy named Kevin McRenalds. I think it was leading up to his last adventure before he graduated high school. I was hooked from that point on. He did a lot of really great games and really set the bar for me to excel by. In my hometown there are a lot of games going on...but when you ask most people who are their personal favorites it is always me and Kevin's games.

cplmac
07-07-2008, 09:23 PM
Actually, I don't mind getting the prewrote module to use for a campaign. I always have stuff that the party doesn't manage to get to and that is usually where I am able to write my own campaigns that extend outward from the original.

tesral
07-07-2008, 10:10 PM
Actually, I don't mind getting the prewrote module to use for a campaign. I always have stuff that the party doesn't manage to get to and that is usually where I am able to write my own campaigns that extend outward from the original.

I've used them, but they never survive me reading them unchanged. I've never run and unaltered commercial module. If nothing else customizing to fit where I place it in my world.

One thing I always change is anything where the success hinges on me rolling a die for the PC. I don't like hidden saving throws. I consider them no fun as a player and I don't use them as a GM.

Second: one solution problems. I work with what the players come up with. I don't write solutions to the problems. I just write problems. My players have brains and are creative people. I use that.

Engar
07-07-2008, 10:17 PM
It just does not seem to save that much work considering the rework and the money spent. Then I have very few modules and am probably not terribly proficient at selecting good ones or reworking them quickly. The few I do have I bought online a few years back for the maps (I always hated designing caverns and gladly paid for them) or I got for free and never even looked at.

Webhead
07-07-2008, 11:52 PM
...One solution problems. I work with what the players come up with. I don't write solutions to the problems. I just write problems. My players have brains and are creative people. I use that.

Aye. I don't decide ahead of time how the PCs are going to solve a problem. I present a problem and have them tell me how they are going to get out of it. If they come up with creative, clever plans that never even entered my thought process, I let them go for it and see how far it takes them. That said, some plans are better than others...:doh:

tesral
07-07-2008, 11:53 PM
It just does not seem to save that much work considering the rework and the money spent. Then I have very few modules and am probably not terribly proficient at selecting good ones or reworking them quickly. The few I do have I bought online a few years back for the maps (I always hated designing caverns and gladly paid for them) or I got for free and never even looked at.

There is some PDF stuff out there for cheap and free even. I'm printing one of the ones offered for taking the survey right now.

Tomcat1066
07-08-2008, 05:27 AM
My very first time playing D&D, we played a module. As far as I know, it was straight by the book. I haven't played a module since, and I've never run one as a DM. Of course, my combat encounters as a DM always work out to being far to easy. I'll get it right eventually thought ;)

As for types of DMs I've played with, it runs to extremes. Me and a buddy actually had a DM that couldn't handle the two of us role playing our characters because he expected the party to just meld together because of the game. Instead, the first member of the party we met insulted us, and we were playing evil characters. Yeah, the DM wanted to reboot the session five minutes in because he figured someone would die soon.

The most annoying type of DM for me is the railroaders. They know where they want the plot to go, and you will go there. They may be creative in HOW they railroad you, but it's really no different.

A buddy who DM requires everyone to submit a background and it must have some kind of flaw. As my character is seeking the murderer of his wife, he has used that to get me to go where he wanted me to go, since that's where the killer is. Of course, I was free to say "No thanks. She was always nagging anyways", and move on. I didn't, because my character wouldn't have done that, but as a player I liked knowing that I could, and the DM would have gone along with it as well.

Another DM I always enjoyed playing under was very freeform with his campaigns. In other words, you're recruited for X task (a favorite campaign was to take and hold an island from the elven nation). How we did it was up to us. It was awesome. Of course, we still lost the island, but only because my 200 men couldn't hold indefinitely against thousands of undead.

Really though, I've been fortunate. With the exception of the first DM I mentioned, I don't think I've really played under a "bad" DM. Even the railroader was a good DM most of the time (when he wasn't railroading). DMing is difficult, no doubt about it. I have nothing but respect to the DMs who do it well. It ain't as easy as it looks!