Page 1135 - Date Mining

27th Oct 2018, 6:00 AM in The Return of Harmony, Part 2
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Date Mining
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 27th Oct 2018, 6:00 AM edit delete
Story time! Any stories about making "open-ended" rulings, letting the players decide how to interpret it?

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Rastaba 27th Oct 2018, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
...all I can honestly think of is well played...very well played, Discord.

Also, first.
Hankroyd 27th Oct 2018, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
I avoid open ended instructuctions like plague.

Usually *open ended* just means *findind the most ludicrous and stupid way to barely not doing what you are supposed to do while pretending the opposite*
FanOfMostEverything 27th Oct 2018, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
In my experience, "open-ended" means "wander around aimlessly and discover the best way to shoot the entire party in the foot." So rather similar to your experience, yes.
Aeshdan 27th Oct 2018, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
Well, I'm pretty sure that that's exactly what Discord is trying to do here.
Hankroyd 27th Oct 2018, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
Except Discord wants things to roll out of hand by doing this ... I (and I guess my fellow GM) don't.
Digo Dragon 27th Oct 2018, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yeah, ludicrous aimless wandering shooting yourself in the foot pretending the opposite party.

If I were cursed, I'd try to get better because I would want to help Twi in this situation. I think all the drama of the curses played themselves out.
ThatGuest 27th Oct 2018, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
Amen Digo, amen. I wouldn't be surprised if in the next few pages Twilight finally snaps, tells everyone to shut up then goes on a massive "The reason you suck" speech to everyone and their 'hilarious' curses they haven't shut up about for more than 60 seconds with for the past 3 hours. That might be the point where Dash goes "You know what, she's right, screw this trainwreck I'm out of here." and leaves
aylatrigger 27th Oct 2018, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
I did a similar thing when I had a player under a mental influence thing. ...Which was also in a pony game... I just said looking into a mirror makes them covet the mirror more and more, and reflections in it give a bonus to sense motive...but eventually if that part is relied upon a lot it will start 'lying' to you and making the sense motive checks always reveal bad things about others. ...Also it was the only mirror that reflected the character (vampire), so he already was a bit obsessed with ti from the start.

There was also one game I played where a player who stuck his hand in an undead dragon's eye socket was told it gradually made him more 'dragony', and wanting to stick other things in said socket. We had to hide the head of it in a locked chest under lots of chains and ropes...and inside a bag of holding. Inside another bag of holding (this game did not have anything bad happen when you did that). And guarded. ...He ended up a mini dragon and on top of a hoard of all our possessions within like a day or two. We were bad at stopping him.

Though I like this type of thing as long as the player is okay with it. I have even let players roleplay enemy NPCs.
Boris Carlot 28th Oct 2018, 4:46 AM edit delete reply
Eh, I'm used to Shadowrun, where open-endedness tends to be more expected. Most of the jobs my Mr Johnsons give out is along the lines of: "I want [thing] done. You have a week. This is what I'll pay you. Any questions?" From there figuring out what the hell they want to do is like 3/4th of the game. I'm told that that can be a tough mindset for ex-DnD players to get into 'cause they're used to a more GM-driven structure.
Digo Dragon 29th Oct 2018, 7:07 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
It can be tough on players who aren't good with open-ended choices. Usually what I do is have the Johnson offer a few ideas on getting the job done so that the players can pick from a multiple-choice question rather than fill in the blank.
Demonu 30th Oct 2018, 9:00 PM edit delete reply
Open ended instructions is why I believe the 5E version of "Zone of Truth" would benefit much more from having its second paragraph removed because whenever anyone, PC or NPC, casts said spell, everyone suddenly starts pulling out long-winded excuses, semantics and other bullshit to circumvent the intent of the spell.
ThatGuest 27th Oct 2018, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
Right now Twilight is probably mulling over whether or not the rest of the party will get involved if she tries to kill Rarity right now, and if RD will help her do it. And then trying to decide whether to do it in game or IRL......
Kyu 27th Oct 2018, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Man, Twilight REALLY hates not having order. Kinda hard to minmax chaos, after all.
Probably not Karl 27th Oct 2018, 8:04 AM edit delete reply
See, that's just because she hasn't figured out the true secret to leveraging chaos. It's not who reaps the most benefit, it's who rides the wave of everything they planned being upended the best. Unless you're Discord, and then everything that looks like chaos is suspiciously exactly like he wants instead of actually random.
Rastaba 27th Oct 2018, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Until he starts arguing with himself in order to bounce ideas around...but that’s season’s away.
Guest 27th Oct 2018, 7:05 AM edit delete reply
Once I tried to run a game where the party started out as members of the same cult, but rather than name the deity I claimed that the deity answered to whatever name the individual chose to give it, to make the 'bond' between the player and their character's god more intimate.

As such, one player rolled up someone based on DBZ Abridged's Nappa and called the god Vegeta. Because references.
Hankroyd 27th Oct 2018, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
Vegeeeeeeta ... I'm praying you !
Guest 27th Oct 2018, 8:46 AM edit delete reply
If the players didn't want to roleplay jerk characters, it would be solves by a "Alright, it means that the magic doesn't work on us anymore. Yay, now let's get down to business."

But they will likely all decide they want to roleplay jerk characters.

With AJ being salty as an excuse as to why she doesn't get rid of her curse despite her hating it.
Thor 27th Oct 2018, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
For maximum RP power AJ should start being randomly compelled to lie. 50/50 chance no one but AJ knows.
Draxynnic 27th Oct 2018, 4:49 PM edit delete reply
Possibly even switching mid-sentence!
Kereea 27th Oct 2018, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
Yep. He's giving them a perfectly good out, while knowing that none of them bar maybe Fluttershy will take it. Pinkie's too committed to her role, Rarity's too into the drama, and AJ's both salty and also overthinking her curse to the extreme. And since Fluttershy's only "curse" is to not have a filter, the more annoyed she gets irl the more cursed she'll act anyway.

This is going to be the sort of thing that pisses off both Twilight and RD. They're more into the mechanics side, less into the roleplaying, especially when things are confusing, and their friends were just handed a perfectly good out that they both know their friend will. not. take. RD's likely to retreat to video games for a while and my guess is Twi will end up chatting with the GM after a freakout while Discord "entertains" the others...who may also rip him a new one OOC for upsetting Twilight in return.

In the end Discord will learn not to push social dynamics to the brink, the GM will learn when to assert themselves, and the group will relearn why they're pals. That's my guess.
HappyEevee 27th Oct 2018, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
So, DiscorDM is letting the players decide whether to continue, increase, or lessen their curses. Interesting. Very in-keeping with the chaos side of things and an easy out for anyone who might be tired of playing their character cursed. But I suspect most of the players will continue their curses for a bit, they seem to be having a good bit of fun with them.

I do hope AJ and RD will talk more, there's clearly some unresolved issues there that might be best settled by a moderated discussion over pizza, out of session.
ThatGuest 27th Oct 2018, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
The problem is they're too focused on their fun to realize that it's making things not fun for others. Like laughing because someone just fell down the stairs.
Guest 27th Oct 2018, 8:54 PM edit delete reply
He just had to say those magic words.
Composer99 28th Oct 2018, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
I think it's only right (and hilarious) that, right after Discord's announcement that the players should modify their curse according to their own lights, Twilight glares at Rarity.
Akouma 28th Oct 2018, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
So this one time our GM for Iron Kingdoms did an April Fool's thing where our characters ended up in New York for some reason. Basically any time the story could take a weird or silly turn, the GM would just ask us what we wanted to have happen. Such turns included having Iron Man show up to replace one of the party members, and one of the players finding their own character sheet and changing her height stat to hundreds of feet tall to fight Pokemon Master Kanye West and his onslaught of legendaries.
The Fish King 28th Oct 2018, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
So by the time Twilight is so upset that she shouts "Look out! Here comes Tom!" I would not be surprised if her player actually threw the rock through the game room's window.
Archone 28th Oct 2018, 5:22 PM edit delete reply
So... in previous pages commentators declared that Discord GM is railroading the players to ruin the game because he's oh so mean. And now... he's told the players they can decide EXACTLY what they want to do with the curses that don't actually cause any changes to stats or dice rolls, whether they even want to continue with the curses or change them or drop them entirely.

...And... people are still declaring that this latest act proves how bad he is. Apparently "you can do whatever you like" is an act of villainy, because whatever happens next is his fault and not the decisions of the player characters.
(meaning it apparently IS railroading. Because otherwise they'd be responsible for their own actions. But since everything is apparently Discord's fault, they're not responsible for their own choices and thus they must be getting... railroaded?)
obscurereader 28th Oct 2018, 6:24 PM Wait, what? edit delete reply
Hold on, who's declaring this latest act proves how bad he is, because this is somehow an expression of railroading? Most of the comments above are about how this open-ended declaration can lead to the players taking things too far, causing things to deteriorate further and lead to the inevitable freakout of Twilight's player.

Though honestly, a more logical - if slightly stretchy due to not having enough info on how Discord!DM operates OoC - angle to take if people are against Discord!DM is that Discord!DM is doing more of what Fluttershy said he was doing when she got cursed from a different angle - handing the players enough rope to either get out of their bind or tie around their heads so that when the in-character game inevitably destabilizes cause of the curses, everyone's blaming each other for not taking the out instead of Discord/Discord!DM, since technically all he did was play on their faults and they did the rest (which people could call foul on since, well, manipulative tendencies are not cool in general, if that's how you see Discord!DM's actions). It's not hard to draw the conclusion that this is more manipulation and subterfuge on Discord!DM if you subscribe to the idea that he's a sneaky - and possibly malicious - guy, after all.

And, to me at least, manipulating/playing the players still counts as railroading in a certain sense, since manipulating the players - OoC especially - essentially tricks/forces the players to subtly to follow the tracks you laid out for them through extremely underhanded means that betrays the player's unwritten trust in the dm to work, if that makes any sense. (One example would be the time I got tricked into throwing Glitterdust and inadvertently starting a fight with an old man - the dm said the old man was pointing a stick at the party, then paused to see if we would react. Since we didn't, he said to roll for Initiative, which I thought he wouldn't do unless it actually would turn out to be a fight, since I was playing a divination wizard at the time who could react in the surprise round - Foresight and all that, initiative shouldn't trigger unless it's important, right? Spoiler alert: he just wanted to make us do something bad and hurt an innocent npc pointing a regular walking stick at us, and was laughing hysterically at our response and the rogue ganking the old man after I threw Glitterdust at him. Honestly wouldn't be surprised if he was willing to Schrodinger's NPC that person into actually attacking us if we did nothing in that case.) It might turn out great in some cases with certain groups, but to me it's a violation of trust that I personally can't handle in a tabletop rpg after the number of similar situations I've been in that feature it - hence a negative reaction to this sort of thing personally.
Archone 29th Oct 2018, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Yeah... Obscurereader asks who is accusing Discord GM of railroading... then accuses Discord GM of railroading by being manipulative. And cites an example of a GM being a... bad GM (incidentally, I've dealt with similar crap from bad GMs. That's not railroading, that's just the GM being a jerk. You have my sympathies).

Thatguest implies that Pinky and Rarity are also being bad because they're ENJOYING THE GAME. Guest declares that Discord GM is to blame for the players doing something wrong (which goes with the assumption that what they are doing is in fact... wrong?).

Now I've dealt with bad GMs. I've also dealt with bad players. I've dealt with GMs who ragequit because someone objected to snide insults, or because they wanted to wield their authority like a central American dictator, or because of blatant bias. I've also dealt with players who chose to play antisocial characters and then claimed "I'm just roleplaying what my character would do," deliberately made stupid decisions and then got mad about the consequences, and engaged in abusive behavior towards other players.

So if Discord GM is highlighting the flaws of the players, then that allows for them to address them, fix them, and then get back to gaming in the absence of said flaws. Imagine what that would be like. Imagine having regular gaming sessions with a group where that kind of stuff DOESN'T happen. Because that's what it's really about: games. And having fun in a group.
obscurereader 29th Oct 2018, 4:27 PM Clarification edit delete reply
To clarify, @Archone: I was asking who, in the comments above your original comment, was accusing Discord GM of railroading - all the stuff after that in the next couple of paragraphs in my comment was more spitballing a more logical argument against Discord!DM (second paragraph - since the posited argument in your first comment that people were saying he's a railroady DM because he's manipulative seemed sketchy and weak at best, and to me felt a bit misrepresentative of the other commenters posting at the time) + explaining why I, specifically would consider that sort of thing an example of railroading (third paragraph). I fully admit to being biased against Discord!DM's actions as presented - and I'd be happy to be proven wrong about his intentions and/or have a logical reveal as to what he's really doing, but I'm also less inclined to give Discord!DM the benefit of the doubt due to previous experiences irl and going off of how everything is at this moment in-universe. (In addition, I don't enjoy how he might be trying to highlight the players flaws - to me, at least, it seems to be making them worse as players rather than making them better due to encouraging them to be jerks).

In addition, I can agree with the sentiment behind your response's last paragraph about gaming without having to deal with those kinds of flaws, but not with the execution in the actions of Discord!DM as presented. It's entirely possible to highlight the faults in people - but doing so through the game could possibly lead to confusion + distress on the player's part and lead to them doubling down on their flaws/not engaging with the flaws entirely rather than fixing them as intended. (See: Applejack overthinking her curse + Twilight's general distress at not being able to play the game as examples). It would've been much more effective, straightforward and respectful if they'd been approached out-of-game about the issues and everyone talked things out - this way, it's a giant cluster of confusion in and out of character that can end with a lot of people hurt and made theoretically worse people due to picking up bad habits, if that makes sense.
GrayGriffin 29th Oct 2018, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
Welp, you've shown your true colors. Saying that it's fine for players to ruin the fun of others as long as they're having fun, when D&D is supposed to be a collaborative game where everyone has fun together. Honestly I'm getting tired of all this hate on Twilight for being a "powergamer" who "deserves" this.
Archone 29th Oct 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
@GrayGriffin Yes! My true colors are revealed! I am the demon spawn! MUAHAHAHAH! I revel in misery! MUAHAHAHA!

Seriously. Four members of the game are enjoying themselves. One player is annoyed rather than... relax and have fun like the rest. "They're playing... Checkers! I wanted to play Chess! Chess is more intellectual and challenging, and how dare the game referee allow us to play Checkers instead! He's so mean!"
GrayGriffin 30th Oct 2018, 2:02 AM edit delete reply
Wow, tone down the sarcasm some, won't you? These two things are clearly not comparable, and Twilight isn't even the only player upset anymore. Even if she was, it's still not fucking fine if even one player is not having fun. In your analogy the players aren't playing checkers instead of chess, they're running around messing with stuff and arguing with each other while Twilight keeps trying to keep the board and pieces in place so that the game can actually go on.
Archone 30th Oct 2018, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
No, they're ROLEPLAYING. And having fun. And the player who enjoys overcoming challenges is annoyed because she wants them to stop roleplaying and focus on the next challenge. Even though nothing is stopping her from joining in on the fun... if you look back, you'll notice that Twilight has never actually done much roleplaying. For her, it's always been about the stats and the numbers and the beating of challenges.
GrayGriffin 31st Oct 2018, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
Um, I literally said that they were having fun, yes. And that their fun is ruining the other players' fun. WHICH. IS. A PROBLEM. Stop ignoring and twisting my comments.
Archone 1st Nov 2018, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
I'm not ignoring your comments, I'm DISAGREEING with them. I'm stating that while yes, Twilight is upset because of the others having fun, she doesn't have that much of a reason to be upset. They're having fun, but they're not having the kind of fun she wants to have. That's an unreasonable position for her to be taking.
ThatGuest 28th Oct 2018, 8:07 PM edit delete reply
Oh no I still blame the players for their own actions. Pinkie and Rarity are so far up their own egos they'll probably be nominated for oscars. AJ will stay cursed because now she's bitter and will probably want to be petty. And Shy will be too angry about everyone being stupid to uncurse herself either.
khyrin 28th Oct 2018, 8:27 PM edit delete reply
I sincerely hope this ends with DiscordGM Apologising along the lines of "I was just trying to get Celestia GM some back after you destroyed their plans so thoroughly. I tailored my plan to discomfit Twilight. I didn't think it would drive this kind of wedge into your group. I should have gotten to know you all better first."
Mr Wednesday 29th Oct 2018, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Not sure what to make of this decision. Clearly DiscorDM is offering an out. He specified multiple options. He didn’t say “you can all be uncursed now if you want” in so many words, but that’s clearly what he meant. If the players are continuing to do it, it’s harder to parse. It’s not exactly railroading, although it’s possible that they’re sticking with their curses out of fear that something worse would replace them.

As a player, when you are offered and refuse an out like this, and then the tension of the group boils over into a fight, that’s not on the GM, that’s on you. At least that’s my gut response.
Kereminde 29th Oct 2018, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, my gut response is the same when someone casually says "it's not like we're being watched".

When given an out like this, so neatly gift wrapped? Remember why a ten foot pole is often considered a vital part of the adventurer's "standard kit" . . .
Guest 29th Oct 2018, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
Discord GM is baiting them into a mistake with the good ol' "no responsibility for your actions" offer.

It doesn't change that they're going to willingly take the bait, which make it their responsibility in the end, but it still shows Discord GM is indeed being a jerk by helping them being jerks.
Cheerful_Dragon 17th Feb 2019, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Open ended? Closest for me was playing a Gilligan's Island adventure at a game convention once. I was Gilligan.

About 2.5 hours into the session, as we were getting near the end, I had the opportunity to completely mess up an instruction from The Skipper. So, I took it.

Derailed the adventure for half an hour, at least.
I think everyone enjoyed it.