Too much freedom of choice? - Page 6 - Myth-Weavers


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Too much freedom of choice?

   
personally I usually do a mix, depending on the type of game I'm hosting.. and will usually make this clear at the start. if its story driven, I will probably say something like, plot driven adventure... if they just want to make character to do what ever, then they will probably get replaced... if this a table top setting, then I will probably have like a random +8 cr encounter level mix itself into the story... with the hint of your going the wrong way.

if its a free roam I will say, free roam exploration, enjoy... but don't get mad if you cant find something to do, go start a fight or try to save someone or something.

if its both, like one of my current adventures, I will give a well thought out story, an npc or two with a plan and say have at it. but will usually have some "end game" scenario known, that if they choose to except then lets see what happens, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
I think his underlying point is entirely a fair one, actually, which is ultimately that it's about expectations. If you make it very clear that a game is about, say, hunting down the Whatsit and retrieving it from the evil Evil Giants, and a player rocks up with a character who has no interest in the Whatsit, would rather join forces with the Evil Giants, but really just wants to go off and become a chef - they've pitched the wrong character for your game. Is it "railroading" to say, no, go get the Whatsit, damnit? Maybe. Probably what you should do as a DM is say, sure, your character becomes a chef and features in this story no more.
I play in the table-top version of this campaign (or something very similar). It was ugly when the campaign failed due to the chef's antics. People were pissed off at the player. People really pissed off at DM for allowing such BS. It permanently splintered the group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPQ_Purple View Post
There is a lot more in common once you recall that I only play freeform and thus the only rewards I can dish out are story rewards.
You'd do well to remember that I play freeform as well, and have what amounts to years of that under my belt.

Do you mean that if your players in a wuxia game deviate from your story idea, and during said "side track" defeat a previously undefeatable master, you wouldn't have the other NPCs treat them with respect for their martial skills?
That would be the equivalent of the above suggestion in freeform.

I'd find that hard to believe in a freeform game, though. As in the "I can't believe your GMing is so bad" kind of hard to believe!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
I think his underlying point is entirely a fair one, actually, which is ultimately that it's about expectations. If you make it very clear that a game is about, say, hunting down the Whatsit and retrieving it from the evil Evil Giants, and a player rocks up with a character who has no interest in the Whatsit, would rather join forces with the Evil Giants, but really just wants to go off and become a chef - they've pitched the wrong character for your game.
That is true. It's called "following the social contract of the game", though.

But it's not what the post I quoted was talking about.

Besides, there should be at least some flexibility.
Like, I've got a game about a tournament right now (my Nth attempt to run a pre-made module, and likely the last one). However, PCs that aren't interested in participating in the tournament can interact with people that have gathered for the tournament.

Quote:
The problem, I think, is that being a (good) DM is hard. Like, really hard. I sure as hell haven't hit the nail on the head, for one. There's a balance to be had with all these things - the ideal DM might offer the players the ability to provide input to the world and the story, yet is always there to do the hard work if none of them are interested, or to fill in the gaps.
I'm not sure how to understand the bolded part, so wouldn't comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsunami1768 View Post
lol, yeah it was a blunt and to the point statement, but was mainly to get the idea put out in as few words as possible.

side quests and what not are fine and keeps interest level high, but if their not going to and I will quote myself

if their not playing your game then why are they there, if you don't mind that they do whatever they want then your probably in the wrong conversation thread to begin with.
Yeah, and that's exactly my problem with what you wrote.

It's not "your game". It can be "your setting", but definitely not "your game".
Or at least, if you think it's "your game", why am I there? Obviously it's a mistake I've got to rectify by using the God-given two-legs means of locomotion...

It's "our game". And when it's "our game", your attitude is not just unhelpful, it's detrimental to the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
I'm not sure how to understand the bolded part, so wouldn't comment.
It's simply this - you give the players the opportunity to contribute to the worldbuilding, but what if they don't want to? Maybe I don't really give a damn, I just want to go kill stuff - well, my perfect DM would accommodate any playing style I choose to pursue, so would be totally OK with just producing the content, the plot, etc all by himself with zero input from me if that's what I wanted.

Again there's an element of that social contract thing - if you posit your game as more of a "collaborative worldbuilding" sort of thing, it's fair to expect the players to get involved. However, it typically falls upon the DM to pick up the slack - and even if it isn't fair to expect them to do so, this hypothetical superhuman DM who does everything amazingly would be able to do it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
It's not "your game". It can be "your setting", but definitely not "your game".
Or at least, if you think it's "your game", why am I there? Obviously it's a mistake I've got to rectify by using the God-given two-legs means of locomotion...

It's "our game". And when it's "our game", your attitude is not just unhelpful, it's detrimental to the game.
It's not just setting though; it can be your plot, too. It's a playstyles thing again but there's no reason why you can't have a completely railroaded plot. Even if you don't, if you're running a game which is about killing the Evil Giants and reclaiming the Whatsit, then why is that guy there if all he wants to do is cook masterful gourmet dishes? Yeah, sure, the flip-side can apply (why am I even here if the DM is basically playing against himself?) but it's a sliding scale, not a binary thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
It's "our game". And when it's "our game", your attitude is not just unhelpful, it's detrimental to the game.
understandable but if you as a DM is going to sit down and create a bunch of encounters, npcs, and other various things for your players to interact with and then they continually try to do other things that have no bearing with what your attempting to have them accomplish, then its no fun for you as a DM and their not playing your game..

if your not going to spend the time preplanning things to see how they interact with it and are just going to wing it based on a paragraph sized idea or a movie you watched then yeah whatever...

my comments and uses of words like my game is in regards to the effort put into such creations, not in the meaning of it being mine and not yours.... "Hey you want to play a game I'm running?" sure.... a few hours later... "Hey where supposed to be playing my game not doing whatever" that's the type of scenario that I'm talking about
edit; should you reward them for that, absolutely not.

Choice paralysis is a definite thing. Sometimes because people prefer more linear games, sometimes due to shyness or confusion.

I think talking things over at the start of a game and establishing a baseline of what the game is going to be about, and how it's going to work is a good thing. In fact, talking solves a great deal of issues.

This isn't to say that it fixes everything. There can still be issues due to various things. But talking is important.

Personally, I run both kinds of games - sandbox and linear adventures. They work well. The goal is to be _open_ to the players about what you're doing and looking for. Not that even in linear adventures, you can't have players shape the narrative on how they go about things.

May be rambling as it's late, but you get the gist.

Sometimes you can run a linear game that evolves more into sandbox if the DM is able to improvise and explore a diverted plotline.

I've started with a set story arc from a module and simply allowed the players to mutate it to their whim as the game progressed rather than force them to adhere to the script. The set piece encounters are obviously invalidated, but as DM you can usually salvage parts (mainly the NPCs or the McGuffin) and develop your own encounters that make sense within the new plot path.

Sometimes the diversion is minor and the original story arc is intact. It depends upon how much freedom of action the players expect. If they don't really care about that, you can keep them on the path with the usual promptings for a railroad adventure.

If they divert so severely that nothing of the original plot is salvageable, then it becomes obvious to me the players aren't interested in that plotline at all and I might as well come up with something more closely resembling what they are interested in. I can save the adventure's predesigned NPC's for another day, maybe bumping them up in power to stay relevant on a future attempt.

To answer Killerk's original question, I think it depends on the players. Some tend to be extremely reactive and are more comfortable with the linear adventure, so if your whole player group tends in that direction, a sandbox is going to baffle them. I've run into that with City of Azamar where a player just doesn't have an idea of what they want to do and expects the DM to provide a standard linear adventure for them. If the DM fails to do that, they lose interest and vanish.

Some players are proactive and thrive in a sandbox setting. They chafe under a linear adventure framework and love to do their own thing. I think knowing (or at least learning) your player's preferences helps a lot in designing a game to fit that personality. In some cases that is going to be discovered by trial and error, because players sometimes misrepresent their playing style in preliminary discussions about what they want as a group.

I know my limitations, and while I like sandbox-ish games (i.e., Skyrim), I know I can't do as good a job as what those games aspire to, so I don't bother.

I typically lean in the direction of structure, both as a player and as a GM.







 

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