Page 1550 - Terms and Conditions

22nd Jun 2021, 6:00 AM in Magical Mystery Cure
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Terms and Conditions
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Newbiespud 22nd Jun 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
Honestly, it can feel difficult. Stopping the flow, putting the onus on your players to make a decision and take responsibility for the table when they might not be prepared for that, facing the possibility you'll have to reverse and improvise a different path... It doesn't come easily or naturally when you're coming in with no heads-up or practice or resources. That's why there's so much emphasis lately on making group dialogue and consent checks a regular habit, because it takes time and practice and more than a little stumbling at first.

Anyway, Spudventures is back from its hiatus! And so is our D&D 5e campaign, The Forgotten Ones!
Session 29 - The Return: Podcast | Video

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



Guest 22nd Jun 2021, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
Digo 22nd Jun 2021, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
So how many of us GMs have a plan B versus those of us that just make ships up on the fly?
Fhaolan 22nd Jun 2021, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Mostly make it up on the fly. I've been GM for over 40 years (since the original D&D white box set was published), so I got my 'control freak' period out of my system a long, long time ago. Now it's basically the campaign world is happening and the players decide which plot threads (A good chunk of them from the backgrounds of the PCs) they're going to interact with. The worst thing for me is passive players who just want to have a story told to them. Which, to be honest, is my own problem. I don't get to be the player very often, and when I do I have trouble breaking out of that GM mindset and becoming an active player.
evileeyore 22nd Jun 2021, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
Ditto with Fhaolan (only 35 years a GM), but I never had a "control freak" period. I did learn very early on in my career that plots never survive contact with the Players, my lesson came from LARPing, where I very quickly learned that you cannot herd 300+ PCs, no matter how hard you try, you just have to toss grenades and put out lures and hope to sway parts of the mob into going along with you. And because it's a LARP and they work best when driven by Player engagement, you have to be ever prepared to go along with the Players, or at least ready to engage, temper, and build up what the Players are after.

I've never managed to get the same heights of enjoyment running a tabletop game that I get orchestrating the chaos of a massive LARP, but I keep trying anyway (I do enjoy GMing, it's just not the same mad rush and high of being a LARP GM). And yes, exactly like Fhaolan, because I'm so "used to" running LARPs (I ran them for almost 20 years) sometimes I just don't know how to engage with Passenger PCs*. It's fine as long as at least one Player is ready to take the reigns and push the party in whatever direction, but I've had a few groups where everyone decided to be passengers and that's tough row to hoe if you're not ready for it.

.* Like† Robin Law's Player Types I categorize Players into groups, It's just my groups are concerning Story Engagement: Leaders, Navigators, Supporters, Passengers, and lastly Antagonists.

Leaders they will advocate for and argue against story lines. They may do this actively or passively, but most Leaders are active about seeking story lines. They aren't always spotlight hogs, but when they are beware.

Navigators will see the potential in a story and chart it's course. For them it's less about what particular story is being followed, so much as they want to be helping guide it to it's conclusions.

Supporters enjoy actively engaging with stories, theirs, others, NPC's, they often don't care, but unlike Leaders they aren't pressing for one story over another, and unlike Navigators they aren't trying to guide it to it's conclusions, they're just happy to be involved along the way.

Passengers just want to sit back, munch popcorn, and watch the story unfold. They won't try to reroute the path, or look forward to see where it might be going, they just want to experience the ride.

Antagonists. This is a special case and this type is always bad for a group. Unlike the above, who can cause friction within a group, Antagonists are doing it for the friction or because they actively dislike "following the plot/storyline". The will try to derail other Player's stories, monkey wrench GM plans, upset all the apple carts. Sometimes they are very subtle about it, and can lay unnoticed for years. But most are pretty blatant and obvious. They have different ways of expressing this need, some are Spotlight Hogs and will be fine as long they get their time in the lights, other just like watching your worlds burn. Some hate particular storylines or storylines from a particular source (GM plotlines, romance stories, etc) and will be a happy other type so long as they don't encounter this particular storyline.

Most Players (except Passengers and Antagonists) are a combination of the above. Leaders will happily aid in other's stories as long as whichever one's they're pushing are also getting done, many Navigators are also Leaders (and all Navigators are Supporters) but some are not. Most Players are Supporters or Passengers. It's rare, but sometimes a Passenger will find a storyline they really click with and then sudden;y the other role (Leader, Navigator, Supporter) will rear up in them. Foster it, but don't be surprised when that fades once the that story is concluded.

Antagonists are tricky to deal with. Sometimes it's good to have someone who bucks the trend, who wants to go left when everyone is going right. Handle those types, the non-aggressive, non-jerkwad Antagonists gently. The aggressive jerkwads though? Show them the door as soon as you firmly figure out what they are. If the Player is new, they might not yet realize what they're doing, so sometimes a couple of talks can get them onboard with being a part of the team.

Now that last paragraph? That applies to tabletop games and groups. in a LARP? Relish your Antagonists. They are as useful as Leaders. Prize them. Having a Player that the other Players will often unite against is worth it's weight in gold. Just be careful they aren't one of the ultra-rare, definitely terrible and need to go, Cult Leaders. That's a topic for another discussion, but Cult Leader/Queen Bees can be truly toxic in a LARP and the breadth of the Player base can easily hide and foster their growth.

† Almost forgot: I kinda use Robin Law's Guide to Gamer Stereotypes... kinda. I mean, after 35 years I just have an instinct on how to put stuff out different Players will engage with and usually leave dangling threads for the different Player types without deliberately planning around the stereotypes. Like I don't sit down and try to figure out my Players, it's just a "thing" after all this time, I'm used to being flexible and "spontaneous". Super Secret Secret Squirrel Secret: It's not spontaneity, it's a deep well of Semper Paratus, back up plans for the back up plans for the back up plans. Like part of my brain is always spinning out "what ifs" so I've usually got a long string of branches I can deviate to if a branch get's truncated. It just looks like spontaneity because the Players don't think anyone could have predicted what they were going to do, and usually they're right. I often have to fudge and adjust the back plan on the fly. But anyway, no I just put out lures for the most prominent "Player Stereotypes" and whichever ones get picked up get run with. Sometimes I run the others to, just to keep the world feeling "alive and bigger than the PC's little corner".
FanOfMostEverything 22nd Jun 2021, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
I don't really have backups or main plans, just as many plot hooks as I can put together depending on where the PCs wander. Trying to predict my group is usually an exercise in frustration, so I just try to have a pile of contingencies in place.
Digo 22nd Jun 2021, 2:25 PM edit delete reply
Listening back on my Shadowtrot campaign, I think I was making up about 50% of everything on the fly.
Prairie Son 22nd Jun 2021, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
It's not so much that I have a Plan B but rather that there are things that will happen unless the PCs change it up somehow (which I generally leave up to them, barring the occasional quest hook). Which means I also have a bunch of stuff to have NPCs talking about instead of just the weather. Always a shock to new players to come into a village after dealing with a bandit problem to find out that people aren't talking about their exploits but instead the people who exposed the neighboring baron as a necromancer.
Winged Cat 22nd Jun 2021, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I have been known to make up (space and/or sea) ships on the fly, though the deckplans take long enough that they are best done outside of session.

Character ships are easier to make up on the fly, if you set the right circumstances with characters who are in the right moods. But it can be more fun to have these ships develop over multiple sessions, especially if they're PC to PC (no NPCs involved).
Kyman201 22nd Jun 2021, 1:35 PM edit delete reply
Having a Plan B implies I have a Plan A. Thankfully I know my usual players well enough that I can roll with most ideas and plans, and can usually work with their character concepts.

And this was a good moment in the comic. Sometimes you gotta check. Though the GM is right when they say "This communication is rough"
Jannard 22nd Jun 2021, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
Well, I've tried everything. I've run a couple one-shots where everything was made up on the fly; one was a resounding success, the other was rather mediocre. I've also done the whole "Got these plans, but the players want to do whatever so I roll with it", but it has been unusual. Then there's the "Plan A, and if that fails, Plan B (and sometimes even further into the alphabet)", in two variants: the "each plan is a different story", and the "all plans manage to re-rail the characters"; gotta say I think I'm too unsubtle to pull off the second variant without leaving the players with a sour taste, but actual results have been varied.
My greatest successes, however, have been those where everyone was on board and just played the story before them, and those where there's some clear, contained goal but the path to it is rather loose, so the players get to try their own approaches without getting too far off what I have had time to prepare. That last one has worked wonders on short campaigns, but it has required very strong foundation work.
Guest 22nd Jun 2021, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
I remember a time where I offered the party the chance to play heroes or villains. They chose to play villains, but once we got into it, some of them got really uncomfortable with it, so I made the decision to scrap it and start again as heroes.
aylatrigger 22nd Jun 2021, 10:21 PM edit delete reply
Usually make it up on the fly. I am too used to GMing Loonies that would mess up plans A-Ostrich. If I do something messing up their characters, I usually ask them if it is okay before even starting... Or just if they are okay with silly shenanigans on a whole.
albedoequals1 22nd Jun 2021, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
Interesting FiD universe explanation for why Twilight is unaffected
Cliff_Robotnik 22nd Jun 2021, 10:53 PM edit delete reply
I am honestly a little disappointed that the reason Twilight was spared the nonsense, because of OOC reasons... It'd of been better if the DM said she was already excluded due to "reasons", Even if it's a flat lie... Then again, unlike him, I am a veteran in the art of Asspull.

Make 'me think everything was already planned as such! MUAHAHAHA!!!
Guest 25th Jun 2021, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
I agree that that would be better in a real game, but this is a webcoimic. How would you show that DM is bluffing, in a way that's obvious for the readers but not for the players?