Page 179 - Root of the Fun

25th Sep 2012, 6:00 AM in Dragonshy
<<First Latest>>
Root of the Fun
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Newbiespud 25th Sep 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Instead of scripting together a series of combat and social encounters, don't underestimate the power of an explorable world filled with things the players want. To this day, the most successful individual session I've ever run involved creating a small city filled with useful things for the players to find and just letting them pick what to look for first.

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



Digo 25th Sep 2012, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Really? You mind telling my players this lesson? :D
Zeus 25th Sep 2012, 6:03 AM Trixie is coming! ;) edit delete reply
Trixie is coming! ;)
Ranubis 25th Sep 2012, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
Fancy Pants approaches!
CharginChuck 25th Sep 2012, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
A wild Braeburn appears!
Ranubis 25th Sep 2012, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Fancy Pants uses Blaze Kick!
reynard61 25th Sep 2012, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
If a Zebra you should see,
Zecora's what her name will be!
Digo 25th Sep 2012, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
I'd love to see how Pinkie's player gathers the entire town into a flash mob for her "Smile Smile Smile" song. XD
Cain 25th Sep 2012, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
yhea, every party needs to meet the voodoo vendor who lives a few miles out of town.
Lyntermas 25th Sep 2012, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
TS: Alright, I go to sleep.
GM: As you sleep, you dream about the scary descriptions that your friends gave of the mysterious stranger. An image of her laughing with yellow eyes crosses your vision.
TS: Okay, you can stop that now.
GM: What?
TS: You know, the whole "mysterious stranger is evil" bit. I'm not falling for it. Zecora came into town, dug at the ground, and gave a little rhyme. That's it.
GM: ...You wake up the next morning. As you look in the mirror, you find that your horn is floppy and is covered in blue spots. You are now incapable of performing magic.
TS:...That zebra's going down.
Digo 25th Sep 2012, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
I love how the easy way of getting a PC against your NPC is to have one of their favored abilities nerfed :D
Cain 25th Sep 2012, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
imagine if Zecora had bone decoration...
Ranubis 25th Sep 2012, 4:19 PM edit delete reply
You attack my hometown? Alright, fine.
You wage war against the forces of Light? Not my problem.
You steal my +3 harmonica? YOU DIE.
Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
...It would well suit the zebra that they shun.

That was a well-needed laugh, Lyntermas. Thank you.
Eyepoppee 25th Sep 2012, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
The DM admitted to trying to impress RD player. I ship it!
Chris 25th Sep 2012, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
So, DM (and by proxy, every NPC)xRainbow, right? I guess that means...

*puts on shades*

Everypony Loves Dash.
Truthkeeper 25th Sep 2012, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
I'd be interested in more details on this business of setting players lose in a city and letting them find stuff. Sounds like an interesting change of pace.
CJT 25th Sep 2012, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
I've done something similar with a forest exploration adventure, and there's an important caveat: Don't count on the players stumbling into anything by random chance.

A city full of adventure hooks, rumours, plots, vendors, and so forth is great; the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting for 3.5/Pathfinder is based on a city like that.

Be prepared to feed hooks to the players once they've made it clear what they're interested in, though. The random number gods and player decisions will conspire against you it you leave it to chance or let the players wander blindly through a pregenerated map.

They missed almost all of the interesting bits in my pregen forest, instead fighting random encounters until wandering back out again. In hindsight, instead of making a physical map with encounters in it, I should have made an encounter flowchart that let them take a random path through it but always brought them to interesting and increasingly-revealing places.

Long story short, be prepared to fudge rolls on the rumour tables, NPC encounter tables, and the like. That said, a richly detailed setting is one heck of a lot of fun to play.
MirrorImage 25th Sep 2012, 5:51 PM edit delete reply
And combine all of the above with the concept of "Why not?" I would start off by giving the general flavor of a city and the major hubs and let the players tell me where they want to go or what they want to look for.

I don't mention an herbalist, but if the wizard wants to go find one to restock on Ritual Supplies, then there might be an herbalist set up somewhere.

I don't mention any kind of armory, but if the Rogue believes he needs a new dagger, there's probably an open-air forge / smithy somewhere who can fashion a new point.

And each of those has plenty of potential for plot hooks. The herbalist may be concerned about some unusual tracks near one of her usual harvesting location. The smithy might engage in some good-natured conversation and mention bandits on the south road.

DMing has the potential to be rather easy (and fun for the DM) if you let the players drive the story.
Hennith95 25th Sep 2012, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
From the other side of the DM screen, some of the most fun sessions my 3.5 DM has run were completely non-combat explorations of an interdimensional museum. I'm fairly certain that most rooms were vague ideas before we entered them and started announcing what we were looking for. In one two or three hour session, we had about 20 minutes of plot relevant material, but so many shenanigans that we didn't care.

On our way to the MacGuffin, we passed through halls of display cases (labeled "LOOT - HELP YOURSELF"), a room of statues (including one that may have been a former nemesis of my character), a petting zoo full of docile monsters, and even a cafeteria (run on Rods of Splendor and populated by hobos). At one point we found an animated lamp post, and a few players used it as a pogo-stick to travel between exhibits. We even went to the gift shop for some fun but useless trinkets.

We came out of it with some nice items, some interesting character interaction, and a few people suddenly able to talk to birds.

Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 7:10 AM edit delete reply
I never saw this co--ohgodtheyfoundmeaga--
Zodo 25th Sep 2012, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
My entire philosophy of DMing is based on making a robust world. This starts by having characters with full, unique personalities. When your players are surrounded by a community of people that have different reactions to what happens, it lets them be more fully immersed in the world.

It has an added side effect that I don't have to have a railroad script. The players react however they like, and the world interacts with them no matter which path they take.
Digo 25th Sep 2012, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
I find that half my players don't do well when given too many choices in an "open-sandbox" style game. They need a wee bit of railroading, usually in the form of obvious hints or sliced Marita for bread crumbs. ;)
Raxon 25th Sep 2012, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Marita. Is that a new type of delicious cheese?
Digo 25th Sep 2012, 10:50 AM edit delete reply
It's a bread company. ^_^
They have a bakery/factory not far from me and everyday around noon it smells awesome like best pony.
Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
I suppose there are worse vices than huffing ponies.
Anon 25th Sep 2012, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
Maybe it's the sleep deprivation talking, but now I'm tempted to make an NPC named Marita for the players to meet, and then avenge.
CJT 25th Sep 2012, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
I've tried this, and the main difficulty I run into is that I end up having to do a huge amount of world-building, and 90% of it is never seen (because the NPCs don't find or follow up on the relevant plot hooks).

Others who are more successful at it than I am have either worked from templates ("interesting NPC #7" doesn't have a role until the players decide they want to talk to the mayor) or were just really, really good at improv and remembering details they'd improvised in the past.

That said, two other people who've DMd games I've been in _did_ make incredibly detailed worlds for the heck of it. Just be aware of the amount of effort that takes. If it's an end in itself, great; write it all down, and make a campaign-bible to share with people after the fact. I wasn't in that position, and when I realized I was literally spending 10 hours of prep for every hour of gaming that was happening, I changed my approach.

Your mileage may vary.
CJT 25th Sep 2012, 2:51 PM edit delete reply
(Err, because the _PCs_ don't find or follow [etc].)
Digo 27th Sep 2012, 5:58 AM edit delete reply
As an aside, apparently reading too early in the morning leads to oddball WTF moments.
Read the first line in your post under the impression it was part of the "Huffing ponies" topic. Hilarity ensues.
Dragonflight 25th Sep 2012, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
What I usually do is I occasionally remind players that the world is far larger than the small amount I've shown them so far. If they want to see more, they have to go looking for it.

Then, when they do, I just stay half a step ahead of them, and keep adding stuff. I usually make what I add tie in to whatever it is they're doing. If they're convinced there's a conspiracy, they'll find one. If they're looking for signs of unethical medical experiments on superpowered people, they'll find something.

Of course, it's not a sure thing that it's guaranteed to be what they want. My favorite example of this was a Marvel Advanced superhero game I ran, where they were looking for signs of drug smuggling. They found a small facility concealed underground near an otherwise unassuming little runway in the back end of Florida.

The Heroes hit the facility, and were surprised to discover everyone in it dropped with one blow. In fact, there were no supers, and no advanced threats. The entire base went down extremely easily.

It was only after going through the database afterward that they discovered it was actually a secret SHIELD base studying the drug-smuggling habits of known drug cartels so as to build up a list of who needed dealing with.

After they realized their horrible mistake, their mind-controller altered the agents' memories so that they thought laser-equipped mutant alligators had swarmed the facility. They pulled all security footage and doctored the records, and pulled out. They very carefully never spoke of the event to anyone, but would snicker and smirk whenever they heard someone at SHIELD from then on refer to the unknown mutant mastermind who sicced a whole attack group of mutant alligators with laser rifles on one of their covert bases...
ThousandYearSunrise 25th Sep 2012, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
Not terribly relevant, but I had a thought. I was reading Darths and Droids, and I suspect that the GM in THIS comic is in fact Sally from THAT comic. Wouldn't that be amazing?
Boden King 25th Sep 2012, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
I think it would make more sense if Sally was Pinkie Pie, and that this took place years after Darth & Droids.
ThousandYearSunrise 25th Sep 2012, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
I dunno, Sally would totally invent a world like Equestria. If I had to guess that she was anyone in the campaign, I'd guess Applejack.

But yeah, it would have to be years after Darths & Droids.
Malroth 25th Sep 2012, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
Yeah but that would make Rainbow Dash Pete
Ranubis 25th Sep 2012, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
DM: Sally
Twilight: Pete
Rainbow Dash: Jim
Applejack: Ben
Rarity: Annie
CJT 25th Sep 2012, 2:33 PM edit delete reply
Rainbow isn't trying to derail the game to the extent Pete would.

How about: Rainbow is played by Pete's _kid_? Think of that, and worry.

(Nephew or little cousin works too.)
ThousandYearSunrise 25th Sep 2012, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
You people are assuming that the rest of the group followed her. In my mind, Sally goes to college, meets some people interested in gaming, and volunteers to be the GM. Getting some advice from her old GM, she customizes a system and builds a pony-based campaign. The other six players are people she meets, either in college or in the surrounding area. What's cool about this is, if we accept that one guest comic miniseries as canon, where we learn that Applejack is cousins with one of the players from Grand Line 3.5, that provides a direct link between at least three "Campaign Comics."
Ranubis 26th Sep 2012, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
Ooh, I like this idea. Always good to think about the next generation of players.
Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
I'm actually happier keeping their universes separate in my mind. It just doesn't feel right to think of Rainbow Dash as the new Jim, you know?
Newbiespud 25th Sep 2012, 7:39 PM edit delete reply
I generally like the idea that all the Campaign Comics take place in the same alternate universe and don't necessarily know of each other, but I don't bind myself to that idea.
ThousandYearSunrise 26th Sep 2012, 5:22 AM edit delete reply
But then again, they do occasionally make reference to each other's subjects. I'm pretty sure Pete from Darths & Droids talked about Lord of the Rings at one point. And one of the things I like about Campaign Comics is meeting people who never experienced certain aspects of pop culture.
Cain 26th Sep 2012, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
if it's not them, have Discord played by Pete. It would fit, Pete's the one who would go for the ugly look for all the bonuses.
XandZero2 25th Sep 2012, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
I've recently been trying my hand at GMing a play-by-post sand-box using the Pony Tales system.

I don't know how a real-time game would work, but I do like how a pbp gives me time to ad-lib and react to what the players throw at me.

And I've got to say, it's been pretty interesting so far. I like how the campaign's going - though to be fair, the PCs were kind of being railroaded before now (they were even on a train and everything). I just gave them free reign in a city though (a pony version of New Orleans - New Orreigns), and I'm curious to see what happens next.

Wish me luck, fellow RPers!
Demonu 25th Sep 2012, 11:34 AM edit delete reply
Only because revealing a bomb-jacket underneath the actual jacket would have been OOC for my pony to do :)

And be careful what you wish for.
The bomb-jacket is just one (ir)rational explination away ;)
Ramsus 25th Sep 2012, 9:13 PM edit delete reply
Good to know I wasn't the only one thinking of ways of how to literally derail our railroad train. Mine involved pie. Then I just decided to throw the pie in Demonu's character's face instead. =)

And I totally agree with you Xand. The slower time scale allows me to really think more and thus be better at the whole improvisation thing. (Also since it seems like half of my ideas come from when I'm in the shower this would make a real time game very very awkward.)
Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
Luck and entertainment in abundance, Xandzero2.
Sirrus 25th Sep 2012, 10:20 AM Combat v. Roleplay edit delete reply
I've always played in or DM'd for groups that prefer combat to roleplay interaction. Not by any real decision or preference on my part, mostly circumstance and the people I tend to play with. As much as I enjoy combat on a mechanical level, it would be nice to have some more socially-oriented game nights. I think the problem is that I'm playing with a lot of green players and I'm relatively new to DMing, so I'm still finding my comfort zone even though I'm very familiar with all the rules. It's hard to botch a combat. Well, unless you TPK, but that's beside the point! I'll have to just up and ask my players about these kinds of things sooner than later. I think there's some people in the group who really want to try more RP but don't speak up about it.
CJT 25th Sep 2012, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
My best suggestion, if this is a combat-focused campaign?

Give them an ally or two... and give the allies personality. That should be enough to let some of the players get attached to them (as long as the players are the bad-asses of the group).

Then, once there's attachment, give the ally goals. Maybe they have relatives in town they care about. Maybe they want to retire filthy rich, and actually _do_ it after a particularly good haul. Maybe they want to open a weapon shop. It can be anything.

Then have the players encounter them again during town runs. All of a sudden, town runs don't just get glossed over - there's a friend that they want to say "hi" to.

Have a couple of these running at any given time, and at some point down the road, the players suddenly realize that there's a whole world out there, that runs itself. The goblin raids on the town they'd normally have ignored are suddenly a problem, because their old buddy Steve the Innkeeper is losing business. Politics they'd normally have ignored become relevant - taxes are going up because of a border-war that's turning ugly.

Non-combat options also suddenly become interesting, if the players are presented with a problem that combat might actually make worse. Be careful how you set this one up, though - true hack-n-slashers might pick the "kill the tax collectors, declare the town a sovereign state, and kill the military sent to crush us" approach. It's more useful in an "NPC hostage" situation, as the characters will be more likely to think creatively if they actually care if the hostage lives or dies.

Stairc 25th Sep 2012, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
To be fair Newbiespud, the gathering resources was half the fun. Gathering the resources in an explorable area was the awesome setup. Then the payoff was getting to use them to kick ass in combat - with the finale of nuking that lich with our airship and blowing Kevral's mind.

Twas an adventure in two parts, like a joke with a great punchline.

Not to say that the lesson of explorable areas is any less valid of course - just pointing out that that session was awesome for lots of reasons. =)
Dr. Klaus 25th Sep 2012, 12:46 PM OH GOD edit delete reply
I ran this impromptu campaign in Chicago with my brother and my friend. They started out in a port, my brother having sent for a mail-order bride and actually receiving a mercenary Avenger. So they go to the closest town, Crayola, and stay at an inn. They kill a thief who tries to kill them in their sleep, and head out for the cartographer's. He tries to kill them by locking them in the basement and flooding them with water from a bucket. They smash down the door, which flattens him, then they throw the taxman who suddenly comes to collect taxes in the bathroom and they gas him in there. Then they head to a bank, which is on fire, attempt to take the vault, kill six firemen, return to the house and alchemically corrode and dispose of the bodies in the bathtub, and they hop out of town.

When they encounter some travelling goblin merchants on the road? They stop only to wish them a nice day and continue on their way.

Of course players like NPCs. It allows them to make their own enemies. Throw them actual monsters and they'll try to diplomacize.
Greywander 25th Sep 2012, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
This is exactly why pen and paper roleplaying holds so much appeal over video or computer game RPGs. If I want to go and slay hordes of monsters, then there's any number of Western RPGs I could choose from. If I want to be railroaded through an epic campaign, JRPGs will generally do that.

The thing about the pen and paper variety is that I can have the freedom to do whatever I want, and the gamemaster will be able to construct appropriate reactions in ways video games never could. (Just make sure your GM is okay with that style of play first.) I've always been drawn more toward the simulation aspect of pen and paper gaming. Here's you, here's the world, what wouldst thou deau? Run for president, take over the world, track down the guy that murdered your family, start a business empire, become a vampire, destroy the universe... all of the above! The possibilities are endless once you're no longer bound by the strict limitations inherent in video games.
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 1:42 PM edit delete reply
Gods curse it, people, I liked my campaign until you gave me perspective. My psychosis is working full time to lend me moral support here. But that's neither here nor there.
What I'm actually writing about is that tatters of harmony campaign. I just finished a 5-page archive for that, and it seemed like an epic quest...that ended about halfway through the first dungeon. Were there ever any posts past that shade-thing in the Everfree Castle?
Also, where did the log for Stairc's PonyTales beta campaign go? I can't find them on the ponytales forum.
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
I remember asking for Stairc's campaign backlog before, but I was hoping to find the actual post log for the campaign. Or was it not play-by-post?
LoganAura 25th Sep 2012, 5:58 PM edit delete reply
Not PBP. We have a few summaries, but they're about a month or two of games behind.
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 6:20 PM edit delete reply
And your old pathfinder campaign? Tatters of Harmony?
Wait...Did that move exclusively to the comments section? If so, around which comic did it start? If you can just give me an off-the-top-of-your-head ballpark guess, I'll find it., that was a lot of dashes.
LoganAura 25th Sep 2012, 6:48 PM edit delete reply

It's own thread.
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
This is what I just finished reading. The last post is from August 30...2012...a month ago...for an international campaign...yeah, this makes sense now.
LoganAura 25th Sep 2012, 8:33 PM edit delete reply
We got 3 or so posts in the works. It's not my fault that they're multiple pages :(
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 9:04 PM edit delete reply
No, I love that they're multiple pages. It's great for us spectators. I just misjudged the dates. Like that one time I commented on a forum post that was exactly two years old, to the day, thinking it had been made that morning.
sunbeam 25th Sep 2012, 9:05 PM edit delete reply
Also related is the time I got my first restraining order...
HMorris73 25th Sep 2012, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Reminds me of how people tend to point to the darker and more action oriented scenes when trying to convince others of the show's appeal. Like saying "See? These ponies are badass!" Which is true, but there's a *lot* more to them than that. That's basically what the DM's been doing with Dash's player, trying to show that this pony setting can be just as "adventure-y" as any other but neglecting what makes it different and special in the process.
Aratrok 25th Sep 2012, 5:46 PM edit delete reply
I'm confused. Isn't this based on 4e? 4e is a straight up wargame that obstructs skill use and RP, no 4e player in their right mind would want to use that system for actual roleplaying over 3e or Pathfinder.
bubbambjr 25th Sep 2012, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
Newbiespud 25th Sep 2012, 7:36 PM edit delete reply

Wow, this takes me back. I remember that the first 70 pages of the comic had quite a few comments like this. Man, what a blast to the past.
Stairc 25th Sep 2012, 7:52 PM edit delete reply
Hennith95 25th Sep 2012, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
I don't think that 4e obstructs skill use and RP, it's just not as big of a focus. All of the skills from 3e are still there, just some of them have been lumped together under one category. Search + Spot + Listen = Perception, etc. I personally prefer to have a larger selection of more narrowly defined skills for roleplaying, but I've seen people in my Encounters group making it work in 4e.

I think it all boils down to how much the DM and players want to get into the roleplaying, regardless of the system being used.
Stairc 26th Sep 2012, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
Yep. And Pony Tales: AOH has even fewer individual skills than 4e. So that must have almost no roleplaying at all. ;)

It's kind of sad that 3e got people thinking that the more dice they're rolling and the more numbers on their sheet, the more roleplaying they're doing.

I shudder to think what they think of Improvisational Theater Groups. They have no skill checks at all. If they're not roleplaying... Wonder what they're doing all day.
CJT 26th Sep 2012, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
I've been playing 3.x for quite a while. Roleplaying isn't usually done by die rolls - the die rolls are only there to tell you how well you do when you roleplay that you're trying something tricky (Diplomacy checks, Bluff checks, Knowledge checks, etc).

My understanding from others who have examined both systems is that 4e leaves out most of the auxiliary rules and information that would make it easy to run the non-dungeon segments of adventures. 3.x and Pathfinder both give you a fair amount of information about the level distribution of NPCs you'd find in a typical town, the various craftspersons and professionals who would exist, the various things you could buy or commission, terrain and overland travel rules, and so forth. While I haven't read the 4e rulebooks myself, a friend who looked into 4e a while back said that there were explicit statements to the effect that out-of-dungeon segments were going to be glossed over due to not being the focus of play.

That type of report (true or untrue) is why quite a few of the 3.x players I know look down their noses at 4th Edition.

You _can_ roleplay in any game. The degree to which the game rules make it easy or difficult to do so is what's usually being commented on.
Zuche 25th Sep 2012, 9:46 PM edit delete reply
I'm beginning to wonder if this misconception will outlast D&D itself.

I'm very glad Pathfinder was there for the people who wanted to stick with 4E. I congratulate Paizo for recognizing and making excellent use of the opportunity given to them, and I hope they'll continue to know success well beyond my lifetime.

But 4E has been very good to me in ways you claim it can't provide. Your perception is not my limitation.
Greywander 25th Sep 2012, 11:09 PM edit delete reply
I'm confused. Since when did pure roleplay need rules? I've participated some forum based roleplay before, and the only rules were those that encouraged courteous behavior (on the part of the players, not the characters). Game mechanics have never been required for roleplaying, we only choose to use them because they give a more consistent structure to the world, and because that element of chance can influence the story in a direction that a whim wouldn't even think to go.

We are, of course, talking about roleplaying GAMES, but you only really need rules for things that are the focus of the game. Peripheral elements need fewer rules, or even none at all, but that doesn't mean the players can't still engage in them. This is why D&D tends to have the heaviest focus on combat rules, because the focus is on fighting the forces of evil. A political RPG would have more rules for social interactions; influencing voters, gaining allies among one of the political bodies, sweet talking the media, et cetera. An economic RPG would focus on rules regarding supply and demand, harvesting and processing raw materials, transporting goods, etc. But that doesn't mean Sir Smashalot can't run for office, or Senator Silvertongue can't open a business, or CEO Moneybags can't start a bar fight. Although, if the focus of the game shifts, it might be time to change to a different ruleset.
Anvildude 26th Sep 2012, 7:38 PM edit delete reply
For those looking for a less Combat Oriented RP, check out Nobilis (or Nobilus). Uses a similar "dot" based skill system to Exalted, but the game itself is much more politics based than straight up combat.
Cain 26th Sep 2012, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
I can't judge about 3e, I have no practice with it. I wonder how 5e is going to be though, I've signed up for the beta testing.
Frerichs0 25th Sep 2012, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
Since most of you play D&D or a equivalent of that I have a question. Can anybody point out a decent place to play D&D online? Besides for the video games I've never played D&D before so if anybody could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it.
Stairc 25th Sep 2012, 7:52 PM edit delete reply
Stairc is a decent place to start.
Frerichs0 26th Sep 2012, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Thank you for the information.
Anvildude 26th Sep 2012, 7:39 PM edit delete reply
Also, maybe see if you can get something going in the D&D Online MMORPG? I can imagine there'd be some opportunities for RP in there, if you're with an RP group.

HopeFox 26th Sep 2012, 2:40 AM edit delete reply
This is the sort of principle under which I run most of my games. The main plot is there for when the players want to pursue it, but I try to accomodate whatever else they want to do with their characters.

I'm running a D&D game set in a fantasy version of Regency England at the moment, and the PCs have no shortage of stuff to do. The only real problem is that they their individual goals and storylines are so disparate, since the party consists of a naval ensign, a clergyman, a career criminal, a baronet's daughter and the wife of a gentleman farmer. They adventure together just fine, but there's not a lot of personal plot that can involve each other. I'm working on it, though.
Greywander 26th Sep 2012, 10:23 AM edit delete reply
I've seen some comments about this sort of thing on earlier comic pages. If their backstories and goals are vague enough, I'd look for ways to tie them together. For example, if two characters are looking for a person, then perhaps they're actually looking for the SAME person? Or maybe both the people they're looking for work for some sort of evil organization, thus tying in the individual character goals with your campaign. Maybe the person one character is seeking out is actually one of the other PCs, but neither of them knows it. Perhaps the heirloom that was stolen from one character is actually a long lost macguffin, one that another character is supposed to retrieve and protect, but doesn't know its origin. Maybe someone, like a sibling, spouse, parent, or close friend, from one character's backstory is deeply involved in another character's backstory.

I'm assuming, of course, that each character does have some sort of background and a personal goal. Without knowing the details of either, there's not much specific advice I can give you on tying them together, but hopefully I've given you some ideas.
Ranubis 26th Sep 2012, 1:34 PM edit delete reply
I wholeheartedly support the idea of a DM taking the backstories of the PC's and making their own touches.

As an example, I presented my character in Stairc's game as a banished Royal guard, part of a family who have served Princess Celestia and who hold a deep mistrust of Princess Luna from the Nightmare incident. Even with that, I was worried that I was imposing too much on DM Dan's world.

To say that he took my initial design and turned it into something amazing is a huge understatement. The tweaks and twists he's done to this campaign using my backstory have been amazing. Heck, my own character has changed so much over the campaign, along with the rest of the party. He may have started as a gruff guard focused on his perceived enemy, yet now he's part-Nightmare and having a serious look at his life.
Oblivious 26th Sep 2012, 10:40 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, yours is the one that Dan tweaked the most, followed closely by Heat Wave's. I'm looking forward to anything Dan adds to any of the other characters' back-stories, since he's done a great job at adding little touches here and there, if he hasn't been able to do big additions like with Alky and Heat Wave.
Penn 7th May 2013, 2:18 AM late but edit delete reply
I've actually had horrible experience with this idea. Whenever I try that players just stare at me expecting me to tell them of the next quest. Even then half the time I need to leave bread crumbs. Maybe its just people around here but they really expect a A to B to C story