Out-of-character discussion.   Posted by Dungeon Engine.Group: 0
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 158 posts
Fri 1 Jun 2018
at 05:49
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Damara:
Can we blast the floor with holes in that one room ?

Yes, you can. I want to explore your thoughts with that, though. What are you going with that?
Damara
 player, 91 posts
 AC:16 F:14 R:12 W:15
 HP 28/28 MBA +6 1d12+7
Fri 1 Jun 2018
at 07:14
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I wanted to see if the liquid came up that we could hear.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 160 posts
Fri 1 Jun 2018
at 21:39
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
In reply to Damara (msg # 303):

Reply posted. I'm happy to tell you what's down there. It's not about the mystery, its about the party not being able to immediately gang up.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 161 posts
Mon 4 Jun 2018
at 19:04
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I'm finishing up my very last day of my certificate program, but tomorrow I'll move things forward. Sounds like the one definite suggestion was to try for the library.

If no one is really feeling much for either of these options, remember they can be avoided. I'd really enjoy hearing what kind of encounter elements would really engage you and either give another route that features those elements, or modify one of these two to include them.
Amnon the Wise
 player, 48 posts
 AC 17 F14 R14 W14
 25/25 MBA +7 Surge 8/8 V3
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 16:11
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Think Orm might be able to talk to the sentries?
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 163 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 16:31
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Amnon the Wise:
Think Orm might be able to talk to the sentries?

Do I think that? Yes, I think he or Tysria certainly could. This facility probably contains details of how any security measures work and could be dealt with, and they're probably in Dwarven, making those two the most likely to be able to understand them and put them to use.
Damara
 player, 94 posts
 AC:16 F:14 R:12 W:15
 HP 28/28 MBA +6 1d12+7
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 16:36
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Yes but they need to sign the users agreement and no one reads those ^_^
Amnon the Wise
 player, 49 posts
 AC 17 F14 R14 W14
 25/25 MBA +7 Surge 8/8 V3
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 16:45
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Well, I meant it more in a probing "hey Orm, go talk to the robots in dwarvish" sort of a way.  But since we're talking about it...

Can Orm, without causing hostile reaction, ask the sentries to let us through without attacking?  And if it's not a binary yes/no, what sorts of rolls would be permissible to achieve those ends?
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 164 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 16:55
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Damara:
Yes but they need to sign the users agreement and no one reads those ^_^

Good point.

Amnon the Wise:
Can Orm, without causing hostile reaction, ask the sentries to let us through without attacking?  And if it's not a binary yes/no, what sorts of rolls would be permissible to achieve those ends?

Yes, he can do that. Whether any rolls were called for would depend on his approach, but if he's trying to talk to them, gauge their responses to what he's saying and convince them to let you all pass, it would involve some very difficult Bluff and Insight checks. Probably less difficult for him or Tysria, since they're dwarves speaking (presumably) Dwarven, than it would be for the rest of you, but still difficult. If you can find some details about what the constructs might key off of or respond to, the difficulty would be lower.

I don't mean that as a block either. Disabling this security measure is a valid approach and a good idea, and I think it can be made an interesting task that's easier (or at least has a more agreeable set of stakes) than facing off against the constructs. We'd be treating it effectively as a complicated and dangerous door, that can be opened with a key that you might be able to find in this dungeon.

By the way, what do you feel should be the stakes of facing the constructs directly? I have thoughts, and they involve the stakes being other than "you kill them or they kill you."
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 165 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 17:02
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Let me also say that if neither facing the constructs nor searching for information about them seems engaging, and the other room doesn't grab you either, I offered that we could come up with another route that is equivalently risky, but more engaging for you. I actually really enjoy doing that.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 167 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 17:37
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I'm all for Damara continuing her investigation, but I'd also be happy with just sharing what the deal is with this room. But I want to give you what you want out of this encounter. I gather that you just want to investigate for now. What would you say the ultimate goal is?
Damara
 player, 97 posts
 AC:16 F:14 R:12 W:15
 HP 28/28 MBA +6 1d12+7
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 17:38
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I want to go to the library, but I am having fun testing this liquid and that room.
It is interesting.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 169 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2018
at 17:48
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Damara:
I want to go to the library, but I am having fun testing this liquid and that room.
It is interesting.

I'm glad it's interesting. I'm concerned that I'm giving you incomplete information at best, and misleading information at worst. That's why I am offering to tell you what's going on: so that you can have a better sense of how what I'm describing relates to anything mechanical.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 171 posts
Thu 7 Jun 2018
at 16:07
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Here's what's going on. You are welcome to read this, and treat the information however you want, including as character knowledge. My intent is that you not feel stymied or blocked, and that my vague explanations not be the only thing for you to go on.

The library antechamber

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
The constructs respond to flashes of light, sent in a coded pattern. The original occupants of this dungeon carried small devices that could do this for when they wanted access to this room. There components for such devices can be found around the dungeon: a gear box, a lens and various code disks.


The room with the flame vents

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
This is a heat exchanger, which is part of what keeps the place so cold. It's one of the few remaining functional systems.

Two ochre jellies are under the floor. They try to get close to the vent flames to stay warm. They'll attack warm bodies that enter, squeezing up through the holes in the floor. They're not particularly vulnerable to cold, but they want to stay warm.


Amnon the Wise
 player, 50 posts
 AC 17 F14 R14 W14
 25/25 MBA +7 Surge 8/8 V3
Fri 8 Jun 2018
at 00:20
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
regarding the stuff for the flashing box, are these the sort of things we will have passed by and regarded as junk?  Or are there very deliberate locations for these elements a la a video game "pieces of the key" style quest?

Also if it is the former, would there be rolls associated with either finding the pieces or assembling them into a working contraption?
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 172 posts
Fri 8 Jun 2018
at 02:49
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Amnon the Wise:
regarding the stuff for the flashing box, are these the sort of things we will have passed by and regarded as junk?  Or are there very deliberate locations for these elements a la a video game "pieces of the key" style quest?

Also if it is the former, would there be rolls associated with either finding the pieces or assembling them into a working contraption?

I don't think you've laid eyes on any of the parts you might use, but there's a chance they're in among some of the junk.

I was thinking there would be further rolls to explore the dungeon with the intent of finding construct-interfacing artifice. But I'm open to anyone's preference on how to handle it, short of creating an actual map.

Then there's the question of stakes. I think you should be able to get past the constructs no matter what, but with a risk of them attacking until the response device is set correctly. But I'm open to other stakes.
Orm Stormhammer
 player, 28 posts
 AC 19; F 15: R 13; W 12
 HP 31/31; Surges 13/13
Sat 9 Jun 2018
at 22:59
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I am off to Orkney tomorrow so posting will be a bit scattered for the next 10 days.  Hope that's all right.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 173 posts
Mon 11 Jun 2018
at 14:15
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Orm Stormhammer:
I am off to Orkney tomorrow so posting will be a bit scattered for the next 10 days.  Hope that's all right.

That's fine, of course. It might mean that someone else steps in and takes over the point position from Orm, but we'll see.

This is a good time to level-set a bit, though. I always advocate talking amongst a group when there's any confusion. And I want to make sure I'm not confused and that I'm not confusing you.

My intent for the dungeon was to handle it mostly abstractly, via two concurrent skill challenges: one for finding the hoard, one for making headway in a damaged and dangerous environment. I had been trying not to call out that I was doing this, because I find that it brings out certain behaviors from players. They want to optimize their approach to the challenges, which is fine in principle but results in many players not participating at all, as the group puts forward the characters with the best skill modifiers. Or, players focus on ways for their best skill to apply, even if it's a stretch. Some GMs have ways that they think deal with those behaviors, but I don't find that they work very well outside of explicit player buy-in.

Which I can't get if I don't put what I'm trying to do in the open. So that, in case I wasn't clear, is how I started this exploration.

Then, I decided I wanted to put in some monster situations in the middle of the skill challenges. I forget why. I think I felt that we needed some focus, since the skill side didn't seem to have much traction. Or I was eager for something exciting and less abstract. So, I created the two set ups you're facing now.

The impression based on the change in posting rates is that folks are unsure what to do. The lack of an initiative order never helps with that. But I could also be wrong, because there's definitely investigation going on. I think it's that I didn't intend to prompt investigation, but I can see how I did.

Investigation worries me because it's so easy for the wrong impression to be conveyed and I don't want people to, say, go into an encounter thinking that a certain tactic will give them an advantage when it won't or that a plan will work when it won't. I feel like, especially when players are just trying to figure out what to do, that's just discouraging for them.

I'd be happy to make engaging with the constructs a skill challenge that you can pull off with just what you have in your packs. As I envisioned it, there's no easy way past them and they'll attack you if you try to go past, no matter what you say or do. Sensing that you wanted to disarm them, I decided that was possible, just not trivially. I want there to be some challenge, no matter the approach.

Anyway, that's where I'm coming from. If I'm misinterpreting it wouldn't surprise me, but please do clarify for me what your expectations and preferences are. I'm not fishing for compliments or asking for reassurance. I really just want to angle things toward the way you expect them to go.
Amnon the Wise
 player, 51 posts
 AC 17 F14 R14 W14
 25/25 MBA +7 Surge 8/8 V3
Wed 13 Jun 2018
at 23:36
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Well on one hand, my week's been kind of funny, so sorry for not posting more.

On the other, I can't quite tell what is optimal with either challenge.

Let's start with the library--since it seems to be the one we're staring at right now.

I currently cannot help with this challenge as it is mechanical and of foreign (to me) make.  I cannot direct people to find "key" pieces or manipulate the AI of the sentries through social skills.  I could possibly help "break" the sentries, but that would initiate combat and risk a death no one needed take if someone could take advantage of the nonviolent solution.

Therefore my optimum play is wait for someone else to solve the puzzle.  My optimum plan that involves me doing something is to say screw the puzzle and initiate combat.

Now, it would be easier to make a decision if I could tell if the library sentries were a "puzzle" encounter--where violent attempts to subvert the puzzle will be met with instant death.  And a "combat" encounter--where attempts to pacify and win through cunning will be hard-pressed.  If I understood that better, I might be able to make a decision.

________________________________

On another front it is concerning to hear that this dungeon was designed as a Skill Check...especially considering the nature of rolling dice in this game.  Not that either elements are bad, but if combined without informing us, the result will tend toward a slower game.

If we don't know we are supposed to be rolling dice to achieve our goals, we won't be doing so because the act of rolling dice requires an extra step of asking permission first.

So at the end of the day, it's helpful to know, even if it doesn't change much now.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 174 posts
Thu 14 Jun 2018
at 15:31
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Amnon the Wise:
Well on one hand, my week's been kind of funny, so sorry for not posting more.

No problem.

Amnon the Wise:
On the other, I can't quite tell what is optimal with either challenge.

Let's start with the library--since it seems to be the one we're staring at right now.

I currently cannot help with this challenge as it is mechanical and of foreign (to me) make.  I cannot direct people to find "key" pieces or manipulate the AI of the sentries through social skills.  I could possibly help "break" the sentries, but that would initiate combat and risk a death no one needed take if someone could take advantage of the nonviolent solution.

Therefore my optimum play is wait for someone else to solve the puzzle.  My optimum plan that involves me doing something is to say screw the puzzle and initiate combat.

Okay, good feedback.

First of all, no one is at risk of death, unless they want to be. I don't aim to kill characters for exactly the reason highlighted here: it makes some players hesitant to try things. Now, failure still has to be on the table, or this stops being any kind of game. Right now, I'd probably default failure to "you get less than the full hoard," though I'm open to other ideas.

I'm not sure why you say you can't direct people to find "key" pieces. I can certainly understand not wanting to, though.

Amnon the Wise:
Now, it would be easier to make a decision if I could tell if the library sentries were a "puzzle" encounter--where violent attempts to subvert the puzzle will be met with instant death.  And a "combat" encounter--where attempts to pacify and win through cunning will be hard-pressed.  If I understood that better, I might be able to make a decision.

In case I haven't made that clear in this post, it's the second. I had not gotten around to putting the monster blocks in the "challenges" post, since I didn't know if I'd need them, but I'm always happy to tell people whatever they want to know about what they're facing.

Even if the constructs were way out of the party's league, like I said, I don't want to kill characters. But to make that easier on myself, I generally don't put in things I think are out of a party's league, unless they want me to and we have a way for them to fail that they think is interesting.

Amnon the Wise:
If we don't know we are supposed to be rolling dice to achieve our goals, we won't be doing so because the act of rolling dice requires an extra step of asking permission first.

Ah, thank you for this. It lets me make some important clarifications.

You're not supposed to be rolling dice to achieve your goals. Or, rather, you are but only if the characters do something that requires a dice roll. Which feeds into my other clarification:

It's not about "asking permission" to roll dice. I'm sorry if I made it seem that way. The way I am trying to do things is for the players to do something, commit to taking an action, and then to roll if what they're doing relates to a particular skill, has a chance of both failure and success, and has interesting stakes. Ideally, this doesn't slow the players themselves down, because they simply describe what they're doing, and I either describe the outcome, or ask for a roll. And I don't think there's an appreciable net downside compared to the players simply rolling when they think they should, since many player-initiated rolls outside of combat are extraneous. For instance, one might have approached these constructs with a social skill, and rolled a high number, expecting a positive result, when that's plausibly not helpful, or only helps partially.

But if it doesn't work for people, then it doesn't work. If nothing else, I can see that it's hard to judge the "interesting stakes" aspect and whether something should have a chance of success or failure, unless I anticipate and post the DC. I want people to be able to use their skills, so I propose this: If you think something makes sense to apply to a situation, go ahead and roll. If you meet or beat DC 13 (for now), you'll get a success. It might be only a step toward overall achievement of the particular aim, but it will make some difference. As a general guideline, completely reversing or negating a situation will require multiple rolls, unless it's part of a skill challenge - and in future, I'll make it clear when one is going on.

I suggest we decide that the party makes it past this part of the dungeon in some interesting way, and then reaches the hoard. I was going to have there be another dragon there, but I have a different idea. If there's anything you'd particularly like to encounter, please let me know and we'll make it work.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 175 posts
Tue 19 Jun 2018
at 14:18
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
Thanks for your interest and participation. I am going to close this game down. I need to work on my approach to improvised locales and how I deal with risk-mitigation from players. Then maybe I'll try again.

I hope you all had fun!
Amnon the Wise
 player, 53 posts
 AC 17 F14 R14 W14
 25/25 MBA +7 Surge 8/8 V3
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 15:26
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
A shame to hear, but for what it was worth, I had fun.

Please let me know if/when you wish to try again.  I'd be more than willing to come along for the ride.
Dungeon Engine
 GM, 176 posts
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 15:32
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
In reply to Amnon the Wise (msg # 323):

Thanks for the compliments and the encouragement!
Damara
 player, 101 posts
 AC:16 F:14 R:12 W:15
 HP 28/28 MBA +6 1d12+7
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 15:34
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I had fun too even though it was short and Dragons are awesome enemies.
Orm Stormhammer
 player, 29 posts
 AC 19; F 15: R 13; W 12
 HP 31/31; Surges 13/13
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 22:58
Re: Out-of-character discussion.
I agree.  Fighting a dragon when you are 1st level (even a baby dragon) was great.