Waxahachie
 member, 154 posts
 The horn that wakes
 the sleepers
Mon 21 May 2018
at 15:23
Re: How do *you* run?
Welcome to the site. I think it's a great place to run games, and hope you join our community. There was some overlap between the questions and my answers, so I just answered the first one.

quote:
What do you see as the unique challenges to the medium and how do you overcome them?

  • Very long games. Play-by-post (PBP) takes a game that might take 1-2 nights in a live game, turning them into several month endeavors. Over this time, players might forget critical details, disappear, or other. A lot of the issues basically stem from this reality.
  • Forgetfulness is a challenge. Regardless of medium, this can be a thing unless you game every week. Keep a running list of clues or information discovered, if that's an aspect of your game. This helps make sure that someone's character can remember what happened to them one day before, even though that event might have taken place five months ago in real time.
  • More on forgetfulness - that can be a problem for GMs. Another way I overcome this or mitigate for it is to keep my threads well organized. It makes it easier to keep a post of clues running to have events as well organized as possible. Going back and rereading things is always an option.
  • Attrition. If you're recruiting players you don't know from previous interactions to be reliable (more on that later), you run the risk of them disappearing for no apparent reason. I recommend recruiting 1-2 more than you need for a scenario. You may have to run a larger game than you want, but it's more disrupting to lose 2 of 4 players than it is 2 of 6.
  • Combat drags things out. I'm constantly experimenting with better ways to do this using rules and scenario design/adjustment, but it's something to be aware of and proactively plan for.
  • Literacy. This is a text medium, and everyone has their own preferences and writing styles, which may not match well. Use your RTJ and player recruitment process as a way to match your own preferences in this regard to the writing styles of your players.


Over time, I recommend cultivating a group of friends on the site. Having quality players and friends in your games is a boon, and smooths out any rough edges in the PBP process. I didn't plan to do this, it just sort of happened, but if I could lay out a roadmap it would be something like this:

- If you run a game, and have some players that are really good, invite them to a future games you run.
- If you find that one of these folks is running a game, maybe join their game and support their endeavors. (You might be likely to find more people like them playing in their games).
- If you like someone's post, send them a PM to let them know or mention it OOC.
- If you see a player you like in a game you play in, ask your GM if they mind if you recruit them to a game of yours (as a courtesy). You could do that either by PM, or with your GMs permission an OOC post.
- Join games on the site that match what you are looking for generally and where you think you might make some of these high quality connections.
engine
 member, 598 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 15:41
Re: How do *you* run?
liblarva:
Thought sniping. It's weird. Most players are fine with internal thoughts on display for all to see, but others will use their internal (but openly posted) thoughts to snipe at other characters / players and this is disruptive to no end. This is solved by not allowing internal thoughts to be posted in game.

Oh, yeah, I hate that. I like that term for it. I haven't run into that as a GM, luckily, but I've seen it some as a player.

ScooterinAB:
The other big problem I've seen is what I call babysitting. Some published games have a lot of back and forth between the GM and players/players and other players. In a live game, it doesn't take more than a few seconds to ask the GM for a roll modifier or to adjudicate something, but in pbp, that can take a week.

Again, the only solution I can think of is to not do this. For example, I love FFG Star Wars, but do to the constant back and forth needed to build dice pools and declare rolls, I have no idea how people play it by post. Freeform games do well here, but there are published games that don't require this kind of babysitting.

Various editions of D&D see a lot of play (or at least ads for play) on this site, and others, and that game has the potential to be very "babysitty." At a table, discussion and negotiation over which modifiers or abilities apply are known to take up large swaths of game time.

Apart from this, there's a tendency among players (and a tendecy among GMs that they expect this from players) for them to ask for clarification. "Can I do X?" Maybe the GM hadn't described the scene completely, maybe the player misread or didn't read something, maybe the player isn't familiar with the rules, or maybe the rules are ambiguous. The player honestly wants to know an answer, so they ask. And, as alluded to, hours or days pass before the question is (or the questions are) resolved, making an already slow process much slower.

My approach to this is to empower the players to answer the question on their own. I have done this at the table too; rather than have to make a decision that a player might not like, or might not find plausible, I let the player decide what they think makes sense, and I back them up on their decision.

I've had some pretty good luck with this. Yes, the PCs have the potential to have lots of things go their way, and negate their opposition, but this is little different from what they'd get if they just asked me, because (again in the interest of time and not arguing) I tend to let them do what they're asking. I find that it builds trust, increases immersion, and keeps the game from bogging down in arguments. It also gives the players some control over the difficulty level, and on the pace of the game. If they want an encounter to be harder, they can "rule against" themselves.

If they make things consistently easier, I can always push the other way and make things harder, or I can talk to them, and find out in what kinds of situations they'd be more willing to accept more challenge.

So, that's the other thing: communication. It's not always easy to get people to respond openly and honestly about what they like or don't like about a game, but I recommend asking open and honest questions: How is this working? What would you like the game to include? Is this part moving fast enough for you? How can we make it move the speed we want?
liblarva
 member, 545 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 17:09
Re: How do *you* run?
> Scope and pace.

Scope is just something to avoid. Running a standard module can take months. Running a 1-20 adventure path can take years. But thatís mostly due to system handling time. What you call babysitting.

> Babysitting.

I call this one system handling time. One roll in D&D requires 6+ steps that take a few seconds in meatspace but can take a few days each in pvp games. Player declares intent. GM acknowledges. Player asks if itís a roll. GM agrees. Player rolls. GM adjudicates. And thatís for a basic roll. When you enter combat things escalate from there. Especially with simulationist games. Old World of Darkness where thereís four rolls to resolve each action (to-hit, avoidance, damage, soak)...plus thereís things like celerity...forget it.

Thereís three solutions. 1. Presumptive rolls. Players assume a roll will be needed, make the best guess for what stats or skills would apply, and roll. The GM can then use or discard the roll as necessary. Be upfront about this though. Some players wrongly assume if they make the roll itís a possible action and that their roll stands. 2. Collapsed combat. Instead of four rolls per action in games like oWoD, collapse that to a single contested roll per round. Both sides declare intent and make one roll each. Whoever rolls high gets their goal. Damage is measured by the difference in successes, or whatever. 3. Donít use game systems with lots of system handling time. Fate, Powered by the Apocalypse, Gumshoe, HeroQuest, Risus, etc. all have far less handling time than D&D, WoD, GURPS, M&M, etc.

For me, itís usually presumptive rolls and collapsed combat.

Related to this is strict initiative. It kills games dead. Just donít do it. Iíve found that declaring the round open, letting everyone post their action (in whatever order), waiting until theyíve all posted, then adjudicating everything at once. All but one player has posted? Give the last player 24-48 hours from the opening of the round post before theyíre skipped. Be strict with that or the game drags and dies. Some people like to try to game it by waiting and always posting last, some people have odd schedules or live in different time zones. Real life happens, but youíre running a game. Gotta keep things moving.
biscuit
 member, 31 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 17:17
Re: How do *you* run?
One other solution not mentioned by liblarva is to have the GM roll the dice. It can speed up things significantly, and if you don't trust your GM to be fair, then you should probably be playing with a different GM.

I personally prefer this method as it allows me to role-play more than roll-play, and speeds things up significantly. In a multiplayer combat, it can be resolved in a matter of a couple of days, instead of weeks.
engine
 member, 599 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 17:25
Re: How do *you* run?
liblarva:
Thereís three solutions. 1. Presumptive rolls. Players assume a roll will be needed, make the best guess for what stats or skills would apply, and roll. The GM can then use or discard the roll as necessary. Be upfront about this though. Some players wrongly assume if they make the roll itís a possible action and that their roll stands.

I used to do this, but found I didn't like it for that reason. PCs enter an area and a fusillade of Perception checks fire off, even though there's nothing to see. What I've been trying to do is just have the PCs do what they want and I tell them if a roll is required, what kind and what the DC is, so they can roll and describe success or failure (sometimes I'll tell them a bit more upfront about what success and failure would look like, so they know the stakes - I'll let them back off an action if they want). If the characters have a lot of options to throw at a task to push it over the edge, I guess it could still get complicated, but so far this is working for me, except that it's hard to break people of the habit of "helpfully" providing pre-rolls.

liblarva:
2. Collapsed combat.

I usually don't collapse combat, but I will shorten it. I have used similar approaches at the table. Mostly this is about the opposition having goals other than killing the PCs. Ideally, the PCs have other goals too. The goal might be as easy as reaching a certain location or obtaining an item and can happen faster than the normal pacing mechanisms of the game would generally allow for. One side can win and the other lose before anyone's HP (or whatever) are dropped very far. Or, if one side is quick, they can block an easy win and convince the opposition to back off for now.

liblarva:
Gotta keep things moving.

Yes, and along those lines I recommend not going back to correct things. Doing that is bad enough in face-to-face games but in PBP it can really take time to untangle even part of a turn and redo things. Some players aren't going to like it if mistakes go uncorrected, but try to keep moving forward as much as possible.

biscuit:
One other solution not mentioned by liblarva is to have the GM roll the dice. It can speed up things significantly

Agreed. I do this with off turn actions, like opportunity attacks. I post enough information about the monsters that the players can, on their turn, roll any attacks they think they provoke. When I post, I include any attacks I think the monsters have provoked.
liblarva
 member, 546 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 18:02
Re: How do *you* run?
engine:
Mostly this is about the opposition having goals other than killing the PCs. Ideally, the PCs have other goals too.


Yeah. Absolutely. To me that's more about good GMing than handling time for a game system.
engine
 member, 600 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 18:31
Re: How do *you* run?
liblarva:
Yeah. Absolutely. To me that's more about good GMing than handling time for a game system.

Mostly, sure, but it can be both. If the goal is just to kill the other side, then it takes as long as it takes and even when the fight is all but over, there's often a feeling that it needs to be played out to the end to see if the losing side might get lucky. But with just about any other goal, there's often a good spot for the opposition to decide, plausibly, that enough is enough and bail out of the situation. The "good GMing" provides a way to have shorter encounters, without compressing the game's rules.
liblarva
 member, 547 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 22:37
Re: How do *you* run?
In reply to engine (msg # 12):

Some goals take longer than others. A five round encounter still takes five rounds to resolve, no matter the goal. Some systems force that to take longer in real time than others. My point was only that for some, especially in pbp games, the system itself takes too long without modification. The thread is about common problems with pbp games. Some systems are inherently problematic simply due to handling time. Not the case for you? Great. But itís the case for others. Myself included.
engine
 member, 601 posts
Mon 21 May 2018
at 22:41
Re: How do *you* run?
liblarva:
Not the case for you? Great. But itís the case for others.

Depending on why that is, and whether they're willing to change their approach, it might not have to be the case for them, at least not to the full extent.
baxtheslayer
 member, 12 posts
Tue 22 May 2018
at 05:38
Re: How do *you* run?
quote:
Min-max, power gaming, rules lawyering, and invulnerable / no conflict players.


I actually find these issues are easier to resolve with this medium.  Face-to-face, min-maxing and power gaming require thorough research and familiarity with the player's characters to mitigate.  That's time added to character creation that most people find slows the process down.  Rules lawyering can stop a game in its tracks as a specific rule is researched and adjudicated.  Via PBP, I find I can spend a good deal of time reviewing characters before the game and reviewing actions during the game before needing to post and can cover a lot of ground with a single post.  You're not interrupting a turn in progress, wasting a limited about of time to play with page flipping and dithering.

quote:
Player attrition.


quote:
Posting rates.


quote:
So, that's the other thing: communication. It's not always easy to get people to respond openly and honestly about what they like or don't like about a game, but I recommend asking open and honest questions: How is this working? What would you like the game to include? Is this part moving fast enough for you? How can we make it move the speed we want?


Eh.  I tried to get a FATE game going ex nihilo - starting from game creation and moving into character creation and then play.  We never got past game creation because (from what I can tell) people didn't want to actually go out on a limb and say what they liked or disliked.  I'd throw out posts with half a dozen suggestions and ask which of the options people like best, but only got "That's fine" as a response.  No one wanted to commit to anything.  The process started in one direction but since only two of the six players were providing meaningful input it drifted in another direction until several players dropped out because it wasn't going how they wanted.  I chalk it up to:

quote:
Literacy.


I thought I was clear about what I was trying to do, but it seems the players weren't on the same page.  So, I'm trying to learn to be much more specific and direct during the recruitment process.

quote:
Over time, I recommend cultivating a group of friends on the site. Having quality players and friends in your games is a boon, and smooths out any rough edges in the PBP process.


I'm starting to think this is really the way to go.  I know there are some people from that first test drive that I'm wary to allow into future games I run, and some who I would welcome enthusiastically.  I'm trying to decide how much I think was due to misunderstanding my intent and how much was due to unreliable players.

quote:
Presumptive rolls. Players assume a roll will be needed, make the best guess for what stats or skills would apply, and roll.


This is actually how I ran a VtR Chicago game on here for several months.  Of course, I would argue that player's should know the system well enough to know which stats or skills apply to specific actions without having to guess (new players learning the system and strange one-off scenarios notwithstanding).  If your Vampire is going to case a rack, you may as well throw that Wits + Composure (+ Auspex).  If I feel like using it I use it, and if you roll an exceptional success damned if I don't put something in that scene (even if I hadn't planned on it) to make it worth your while.

quote:
Iíve found that declaring the round open, letting everyone post their action (in whatever order), waiting until theyíve all posted, then adjudicating everything at once.


I thought of this as well and plan on using this method in my Renegades of the Metal Age FATE game.  Get everyone's actions all at once and then post once to summarize the round.

Speaking of FATE, if anyone is planning on running that, I'd caution you against using the by-the-book Phase Trios.  I found it slowed things down immensely waiting for players to post their ideas for their Phases and waiting to see if the other players accepted their suggestions.  Even though the Phases don't need to follow a certain order, most of the players felt it necessary to use them as an extended, consecutive origin story.  Next time I start a FATE game, I'm going to come up with a different method so that the players can make their characters without thinking they need to wait for others to post things.

quote:
system handling time


I agree that some systems would take longer to run than others.  I think the DnD/Path/Starfinder games are medium on the scale - players should know which skills are required for which tasks and can roll without needing to know any modifiers or the DC.  The GM can modify the raw result and compare to the DC during his post.  Monster ACs, SRs, and other defenses can be posted (I would never do this face-to-face, for immersion reasons, but this can save many days of posts) so that players can roll against them when they declare their actions.  I don't think I'd try running ShadowRun on here.  I love the game, but you can't make any roll until you know the penalties, you must roll your attack and defense (though, these can be simultaneous) before you can roll your damage resistance (since the successes on the attack modify the DV).  It might be possible to be very sharing with monster stats and allow the players to roll their defenses or the GM can simply do all the dice rolling with access to player character sheets, but either of those solutions still takes a lot of paperwork.

This message was lightly edited by the user at 05:43, Tue 22 May.

engine
 member, 602 posts
Tue 22 May 2018
at 14:14
Re: How do *you* run?
baxtheslayer:
quote:
So, that's the other thing: communication. It's not always easy to get people to respond openly and honestly about what they like or don't like about a game, but I recommend asking open and honest questions: How is this working? What would you like the game to include? Is this part moving fast enough for you? How can we make it move the speed we want?

Eh.  I tried to get a FATE game going ex nihilo - starting from game creation and moving into character creation and then play.  We never got past game creation because (from what I can tell) people didn't want to actually go out on a limb and say what they liked or disliked.  I'd throw out posts with half a dozen suggestions and ask which of the options people like best, but only got "That's fine" as a response.  No one wanted to commit to anything.  The process started in one direction but since only two of the six players were providing meaningful input it drifted in another direction until several players dropped out because it wasn't going how they wanted.  I chalk it up to:

quote:
Literacy.


I thought I was clear about what I was trying to do, but it seems the players weren't on the same page.  So, I'm trying to learn to be much more specific and direct during the recruitment process.

Like I said: "It's not always easy to get people to respond openly and honestly about what they like or don't like about a game." Fate, in particular, can be hard for people to understand who haven't read up on it and aren't really into the concept. Lots of people prefer that the GM just serve stuff up and they react to it.

None of that means that communication isn't worthwhile. I request play input in D&D as much as I do in Fate or Dungeon World. Sometimes people are receptive, other times not. If not, I just keep going the way I want, and if they dislike it I remind them to offer more feedback next time.

And yes, I've had trouble that appears to stem from people just not being willing to read. I can understand that, having been that person myself. I know I don't like it when people have a really meandering writing style, and I know I do that myself. I've been trying to get more direct.
korodikrisz
 member, 18 posts
Tue 22 May 2018
at 20:33
Re: How do *you* run?
A few things I worth mentioning, however, I mostly play, rarely GM.

A good way to make people playing, even as a player, is to act. Not like roleplay, but as taking actions. I specifically write my responses in a way that others can react. Often I see GM's requesting a writing example (for a few years I evade these games...), and those games often devolve into everyone writing 2 paragraphs of their thoughts (or about well written nothing), but not really acting, not playing the game. Like they are taking the game out of roleplaying GAME, and try to act like professional writers instead...

The other thing is backgrounds of their characters. As a GM I always ask player NEVER bring their character background. The GAME is about the PRESENT and the ACTIONS of the players. Be mindful of the past and the future, but never on the expense of the present. Otherwise people turn into peacocks, each trying to present how deep and longly written their characters are in the first few days, and then at every NPC interaction.

As a GM, always write something something players can react to.

What I found strange, if I do the same as a player, others start playing more "reactive", and the game generally speeds up. I have seen one player leaving because he felt I'm always running somewhere, but the others started posting one reactive message each day.

As for powergaming, I actually find it "wanted" both tabletop and PBP games (except in non-violence games). Mostly when people get into a life and death situation, they take their chances to survive with as much chance as they can, instead intentionally handicapping themselves, which I also find important in an RPG. Unless you go for a Darwin award.
Hunter
 member, 1440 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Wed 23 May 2018
at 00:40
Re: How do *you* run?
Someone mentioned post rate so I'll bring up an often overlooked addition.   Post length.

It's important to set not only how often you as a GM expect a player to be able to post but some GMs also put a minimum post length.   Be aware that there are players (like myself) who simply don't write a paragraph or more every post.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 209 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Wed 23 May 2018
at 12:17
Re: How do *you* run?
Posting Rate - I will usually list how often I post, and request a minimum number of posts per week. I also ask for notification of an absence, and a general trend of actions if I need to NPC someone due to slow posting or vacation.  ("My character stays in the middle"  "My character will scout ahead with his bow out")

Rolls - I play more D&D and Pathfinder, so I also usually request that if my players are attacking/doing an active action that they make their roll with all the necessary modifiers (damage, DCs, etc), and narrate their actions just up to the point of success or failure.  "I swing my sword with great panache at the goblin" for a high roll, "I give a feeble chop" or something for a low roll.  Then as a DM I narrate the exact hit and give the mechanical outcome.

For passive rolls or extra rolls initiated by me, like Perception checks or saves in the middle of combat, I handle those for the sake of speed.

Player Attrition - I usually try to get six or so for a 4-person game, but I've occasionally ended up with a party as big as 9 or low as 1.  The 1-person games are when people just stop posting, usually due to a combination of "not wanting to hog the spotlight", real life issues, or my own delays in posting.  The 9-person game is still going strong because I was able to get replacement players.  Not replacement characters, replacement players.  I have a cleric who's on his 4th or 5th owner, a barbarian who's on his 3rd.  I give the player leeway to tweak the character sheet, give them a plot synopsis, and we've kept that game going for going on 5 years.

Writing Sample/Style: I like people to have a good character concept and I like them to have a background, particularly so I know why they're adventuring.  It doesn't have to be extensive, but I can have a lot of fun with plot hooks and NPCs if I know a couple things about the characters.

I also want to see a writing sample so I can evaluate their language skills.  If they don't care enough to at least use a spellchecker and employ basic punctuation and capitalization skills, it really makes their posts difficult to read.  I don't want to have to edit their posts for clarity before I can even think about responding.  If the player doesn't care to make themselves clear, I am not sanguine about their ability to post consistently and well.

Plot - As others have said, if you have a mystery-style plot, make sure you have a thread dedicated to gathering the evidence in one place for reference.  A meatspace gaming group might have to keep track of that for hours or maybe days.  A pbp group has to remember those clues for weeks.

For combat, don't be afraid to make it short, but brutal.  Spending too much time fighting can make everyone forget what the heck they were fighting for.  Skip random combat encounters, or gloss over them in the narrative ("a few goblins tried to attack your camp on the third night, but you fended them off handily").  Keep it to the main thrust of the narrative so no one forgets what they're doing.
baxtheslayer
 member, 13 posts
Wed 23 May 2018
at 17:01
Re: How do *you* run?
quote:
intentionally handicapping themselves


Ha. This.  I definitely have a reputation as a powergamer with my group, but in my mind, if I say my character is good at something, I want them to be good at it.  I've seen a bunch of people at my table talk about how their character is a 'master wizard' or 'could talk the scales off a kobold' but don't have the stats to actually succeed.  When I'm making a fighter, I want him to be good at fighting, not mediocre at fighting and diplomacy and spellcraft and stealth.  Take a long, hard look at the movie Taken and tell me what his Charisma was... He didn't intimidate or persuade anybody to do anything (except his friends) and half the villains dismissed him nonchalantly til they were getting throat-chopped.  So, yeah, I min-max most games.  Ironic, really, cause I tend to gravitate towards unfeasible character ideas (like my Unarmed Strike TWF Ninja in PF - so badass but so should have taken a magical katana instead) and am usually the least helpful character in the party.

quote:
a thread dedicated to gathering the evidence in one place for reference


My VtR Chicago game I ran here had a dedicated website listing all the NPCs they'd met and what they knew about them, as well as a modified Google map with prominent locations marked and described.  There was also a list of the various plots the PCs were running and a tributary of info regarding the main story.  I definitely enjoy creating detailed digital handouts.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:07, Wed 23 May.

engine
 member, 603 posts
Wed 23 May 2018
at 17:16
Re: How do *you* run?
baxtheslayer:
When I'm making a fighter, I want him to be good at fighting, not mediocre at fighting and diplomacy and spellcraft and stealth.

That oversimplifies the issue of "min-maxing." It is less about characters that are good at a thing and more about characters that are so good (often through dubious implementation of the rules) that a reasonable approach to GMing the game is not challenging for the PCs.

Yes, partly it's about characters that are only good at one thing, which can cause issues, but ones that I think can be largely resolved with discussions with the players. If a character is only good at fighting, the player benefits themselves and the rest of the game if they're willing to help the GM figure out how to make fighting a large and frequent aspect of the game.

As for players who "handicap" themselves, well, sometimes people want a harder game than the GM will give them, especially when their rules mastery would make the game very, very easy. Smashing everything can be fun, but it can also get boring, and if the GM is not receptive to the idea of increasing the difficulty, one must adjust where one can.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 210 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Thu 24 May 2018
at 06:45
Re: How do *you* run?
It also helps, in situations where player style doesn't seem to match the game, for the GM to be very up-front with the mix of the game at the get-go.

This game might be someone's favorite system and a cool-sounding module for a lot of people, but if they don't realize you expect it to be 50% roleplaying and diplomacy, 40% sleuthing, and 10% combat, that will disappoint someone who wanted to play a specialist archer who doesn't have much in the way of social skills.

You might also be tweaking a particular module to have less combat, say due to the length of time combat takes on RPoL.

Being very upfront with your players during the RTJ and character creation phase will help with some of these game/character mismatches.
baxtheslayer
 member, 14 posts
Sat 2 Jun 2018
at 21:11
Re: How do *you* run?
quote:
That oversimplifies the issue of "min-maxing."


Um...

I was specifically referring to things like throwing all your points in one stat at the expense of others.  Min-maxing.  Having the minimum in some stats to get the maximum in others.  I've had many GMs and players look down on that because it's an "unrealistic" character, but I look at lowering a Barbarian's Strength to give him a 'reasonable' amount of Charisma to be handicapping my own character.


I have yet to see a game where a player intentionally exploited the system to ruin the game for everyone else.  If that's happening, the issue isn't power gaming - it's a player breaking Wheaton's Law.  The reasonable approach to GMing that is asking them to straighten up or leave.

I see many more instances of people being excited about their characters and finding seeming loopholes in the rules.  In those cases, there's usually one session of surprise and then the group comes up with ways to resolve the madness, either by house ruling, or an alteration of enemy tactics, or simply by everyone adopting the brokenness and making it the standard. I think if a GM can't make a game challenging because of a single player, it's due to lack of experience, and reading up on GM advice regarding the system or the problem or RPGs in general may help.  No big deal, since everyone had to start somewhere.

I've had plenty of moments where players surprised me, but there was never a case where I couldn't find a reasonable solution.

In FFG Star Wars, having a Force and Destiny character in an Edge of the Empire game is certainly interesting.  Lightsabers negate almost any armor, but the book describes how to handle giving out such a powerful tool.  Even so, I wanted the Jedi to feel like a Jedi, so I simply planned my encounters appropriately.

Aberrant, on the other hand, I simply avoid. If I were to run, it would be with the disclaimer you character might meet someone whose powers are so diametrically opposed you may have little or no chance of surviving the encounter.  That's just the nature of the system, and it's not hard to make frighteningly powerful characters.

As for the GM not wanting to make the game enjoyable for the players, that seems very strange indeed.  Everyone in my group is there to have fun.  If something detracts fun that we try to fix it, almost always preemptively.  We're all friends, so we usually know if we're enjoying the game.  If you don't know your players or GM well, feedback is essential.

I also agree with being up front about the expected challenges the group will face.  I'm finding equally important is asking what the players what they want to do and ensure you include that if possible or alert the player if it wouldn't fit in the scenario.  All back to communication, again.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:12, Sat 02 June.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1360 posts
Sat 2 Jun 2018
at 22:03
Re: How do *you* run?
Isida KepTukari:
you expect it to be 50% roleplaying and diplomacy, 40% sleuthing, and 10% combat,


This very over-simplifies game style.

Players might want more or less influence on the background narrative, or they might care more or less about consistency and details.

Even in combat there can be differences. Some may play combat more like chess focusing on the rules and numbers for their strategy, while others may focus more on character narrative and environment for their strategy.

Though aside from that I rather agree, communicating about how the game is expected to be played is a very good thing.
liblarva
 member, 548 posts
Sat 2 Jun 2018
at 22:21
Re: How do *you* run?
baxtheslayer:
I have yet to see a game where a player intentionally exploited the system to ruin the game for everyone else.  If that's happening, the issue isn't power gaming - it's a player breaking Wheaton's Law.  The reasonable approach to GMing that is asking them to straighten up or leave.


I have yet to see a game where a player intentionally exploiting the system hasn't ruined the game for everyone else.

By definition, min-maxers and powergamers are out to ruin the game.

To be clear, the problem isn't one of players building glass cannons. That's par for the course, really. That's the max part of min-maxing, but the min is not a dump stat or two. The min is when they try to minimize the consequences of their choices. They are mostly whiny glass cannons. The moment a GM rightfully hits them where they're weak (which any GM worth their salt should do), they bitch and moan and whine to no end. You can see posts about this across gaming forums, groups, pages, subs, etc. "I dumped all my stats and money into an orc street sam and he can effortlessly soak anything short of a bazooka to the cornea. My GM hit me with mind control! What a douche! How do I make myself immune to mind control in the cheapest quickest way possible?"

That's the min right there. Minimizing the consequences of your choices. Make a character who's great at one thing, fine. But you're short-changing the group some skills that won't be covered, and 99 times out of 100 that player is going to bitch to no end the second the GM hits him where he's weak. That's session, game, and often group destroying behavior right there.

And no, it's not the GMs fault for hitting the character where they're weak. Some players just don't want consequences to their choices. They're bad players and shouldn't be playing RPGs. Getting hit where you're weak is a role-playing opportunity. Take it. If you're not interested, then you're not interested in RPGs. Try wargaming or video games instead.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1361 posts
Sun 3 Jun 2018
at 03:19
Re: How do *you* run?
Potentially relevant article,
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2v...e-of-Understanding#1

The thing is, some players want to game, and that means playing the rules at the expense of narrative versmilitude, and then when the gm does something based on story or takes advantage of story, it is hated because there was no basis for such actions according to the rules and therefore they can't foresee the possibility, and that makes it feel like being cheated, just like if you played chess and the opposition moved theiir king 3 spaces in one turn while claiming they are allowed because the game piece is shaped like a dragon.

Other players are the opposite.
baxtheslayer
 member, 15 posts
Mon 4 Jun 2018
at 04:38
Re: How do *you* run?
quote:
I have yet to see a game where a player intentionally exploiting the system hasn't ruined the game for everyone else.


Ouch!  Yeah, I'd look for a new gaming group.  Or, speak to the problem player.  Again, someone intentionally ruining the game isn't an issue with powergaming.  Powergaming is just the means they're using to their end.  If they want to ruin the game there that badly, they'll find a way without needing to optimize their character in a novel way.  Flipping the table works equally well.  As would secretly sabotaging other player's actions during the campaign.

If a player acted like that at my game table, they'd be asked to leave.  And I'm not just talking about myself.  All my friends would agree - we get together to roleplay, not to be jerks to each other.

I suppose that's the benefit of playing face to face.  And returns to the advantages of finding good players.  I've already blacklisted some people I've met on here and I have a lot better idea of the questions to ask before the game starts to weed out problem players.
engine
 member, 614 posts
Mon 4 Jun 2018
at 18:09
Re: How do *you* run?
liblarva:
By definition, min-maxers and powergamers are out to ruin the game.

That's only one definition and a highly uncharitable one. What they are doing might in fact ruin the game they're in, but that's not necessarily their intent. If it turns out to be once the GM and other players have spoken with them, then, yeah, they should not be gamed with.
Hapax Legomenon
 member, 11 posts
Mon 4 Jun 2018
at 18:23
Re: How do *you* run?
In my experience, there's little correlation between minmaxers (people who strive to manipulate game mechanics to their character's benefit) and jerks (people who ruin the game for everyone when bad things happen to their characters).

They're two entirely separate categories.

The most sullen crybaby I've ever had the misfortune of gaming with couldn't design mechanically a well thought out character if his life depended on it.  My regular in-person gaming group has several minmaxers and several players who aim for what are affectionately termed "RP builds," and yet has no jerks who ruin games over IC consequences.
horus
 member, 500 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 5 Jun 2018
at 03:01
Re: How do *you* run?
Herein lies the danger in generalizations (including this one):  if they are not made with reference to a context in which they apply, it's easy to mistake their intent and their applicability.

Min-maxers are good people to have in a play-test situation, as they will exploit any holes in your game design which may have been overlooked.  I've been working a design for an anime' based game for the last couple of years, and my last playtest session was very educational for me in this respect.

So far what I see is everyone speaking from their own experiences, their own frames of reference, and many of us seem to have varied experiences (and varying perspectives on those experiences).

I'm personally finding out that I have a bit further to go before I can consider myself a successful RPoL GM, but I'm willing to make the trip.