Should stubborn wrongheadedness be rewarded?

CrownedSun

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Validated User
#21
I suppose what made this stand out for me above typical garden-variety failure was two things.

Firstly, their utter conviction that this room was a puzzle with a solution that they couldn't find, and their refusal to be shaken from that (as noted, even in one case after I did make the OOC point that the previous occupant could fly). There was even talk of going backwards through the rest of the dungeon on the assumption that the trigger mechanism must be back there and they'd missed it.

Secondly, the fact that they were just kind of striving at nothing. It just felt a bit like they'd walked in to a room, decided it was filled with invisible ninjas (based on no evidence) and then spent the rest of the session trying to detect them, with each failure just reinforcing their belief in the ninjas and the threat presented by them. The repeated attempts where they were trying to figure out how to use a table to ascend the shaft were very much in this vein... (in fairness to the party I should point out that it was a magical floating table)
I definitely agree that as far as "the players going the entirely wrong direction," this is definitely one of the big winners. It's one thing for the players to waste a session, say, chasing red herrings in a murder investigation. It's quite another for them to do the same thing chasing a non-existent elevator in a ten by ten room.

I dunno, maybe its one of my failings as a ST that I tend to indulge players when they do things like this a little too much. Focusing on this stuff, instead of actually moving the story along and such. It's one thing to fail to stop the invasion of the horseheaded aliens from nebulon 5, and its quite another to fail to find 35 cents in loose change by riffling the cushions at your apartment.

Plus, of course, the storyteller getting frustrated isn't any better than the players getting bored in the end.

Oh, and the room with invisible ninjas? That cracked me up :)
 

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#22
well as a player in a dnd world, i would have trouble buying the premise and it would break my suspension of disbelief.

the notion that an experienced character would base "i wanna go downstairs for a snack in the middle of the night" on "do i have a teleport ready" or to not have bolt holes etc that weren't dependent on 4th level and up spells being available, or allowing himself to literally trap himself on his own bedroom if someone gets a dim anchor or anti magic shell etc... is all a bit far fetched just to provide a gimmicky desing dungeon.
In 3.5, featherfall is a first level spell and levitate is second level. I can forgive a mage for not making his home proof to antimagic if that's the level of power he's impressed with. :p
 

TonyLB

Wanna-be Super
#23
May I ask something? How much effort did the players put in to get to the point where they were at the bottom of this tower?

Because if it's just "You're walking along and you see, in a side passage, the bottom of this tower" then I think their obsession is just an obsession. Players are wierd.

If, however, it's "After defeating the ogre and his minions, then crossing the trap-laden killing floor, THEN riddling with the sphinx, you come to the bottom of this tower," then they'd have much more justification to think that there damn well better be something cool for them there.
 

Grymbok

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#24
In this context, "exception-based design" generally means that the DM can make shit up to serve the adventure's needs, without having to justify it by reference to an overarching ruleset. You want the tower to be proof against teleport? Behold, it is. Or you want there to be a dozen zombies inside? Behold, there are. The idea is that if it results in a fun game, then you can put it in, without having to worry about what feats/skills/powers/spells the NPC(s) would need to pull it off. It's assumed that all this stuff which happens behind the scenes doesn't need explicit mechanics underpinning it.

So, basically, rules-lite adventure design for a rules-heavy game.
Hmm. That's not how I've understood the term being used in the past, or how I understood it in the context of D&D 4e. To me, "exception-based design" is the Cosmic Encounter school of design, where there is a set of rules and then a set of powers which each don't follow them in one particular way. This approach (IMO) is fine when the number of exceptions is small, but as they grow it creates the possibility for damaging combos and inhibits "system mastery". But then I'm more the kind of person who feels that only the GM should need to worry about system mastery anyway.

What you're talking about is more what I've understood as "handwaving", which is something which can happen in any game, and generally happens orthogonally from the rules (although as it happens Savage Worlds explicitly encourages its use). The only game where I've ever found handwaving to be consistently rejected by players is D&D 3.5e, although I assume there are probably other games where it happens that I've just never played.
 

hong

Big glowy smiley-thing
#25
What you're talking about is more what I've understood as "handwaving", which is something which can happen in any game, and generally happens orthogonally from the rules (although as it happens Savage Worlds explicitly encourages its use). The only game where I've ever found handwaving to be consistently rejected by players is D&D 3.5e, although I assume there are probably other games where it happens that I've just never played.
Well, call it handwaving if you like, but that is the basic philosophy underlying 4E. Monsters are designed differently to PCs, because the former usually die fast and so should be quick to build and easy to use, while the latter hang around for months or years and can be as complex as the players want. Similarly encounters and locations are designed with a focus on gameplay rather than world building, and so on.
 

Grymbok

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#26
May I ask something? How much effort did the players put in to get to the point where they were at the bottom of this tower?

Because if it's just "You're walking along and you see, in a side passage, the bottom of this tower" then I think their obsession is just an obsession. Players are wierd.

If, however, it's "After defeating the ogre and his minions, then crossing the trap-laden killing floor, THEN riddling with the sphinx, you come to the bottom of this tower," then they'd have much more justification to think that there damn well better be something cool for them there.
A massive amount of effort. The entrance to the tower is at the end of the sixth (I think) level of the dungeon.

There is something cool for them there. There are some very cool things for them there. There just isn't a lift. They need to break out the fly spells or climbing tools to proceed.

I do agree with others who say that this is bad adventure writing, BTW. In hindsight I think it's a pretty poorly written adventure. Which is interesting, because when I read it through at first I thought it seemed really good. But that's life, and for various reasons I've not had the time to patch up its flaws as we go along outside of the weekly sessions. Hopefully now we've got over the "where's the lift" speed bump they'll enjoy the finale! :)
 

tesuji

Retired User
#27
In 3.5, featherfall is a first level spell and levitate is second level. I can forgive a mage for not making his home proof to antimagic if that's the level of power he's impressed with. :p
i live in a mere two story home and on a typical day i go up and down the stairs far more times than even a high level mage has spells available. and i would be really stunned that it somehow makes sense to have:
a - a lot of spells tied up with "upstairs/downstairs" spells
b - to wait 15 mins to load the open slots as needed
c - to invest my xp and gold into items instead of building stairs

now if this were "the whacky summer home build by the great mages alzheimers after he started going mad" thats one thing, and ould set the stage for the whacky things to come and be a lot of fun....

again that whole "clue" thing.
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
#28
Stop being an author. There is no "wrong" or "right". There is "fun" or "not fun". To hell with what the published adventure says, do what is fun for you and the group. A gm's job is to faciliate fun. Granted, what's fun varies from group to group.

So, if it would be more fun for you and the players, then let there be magical stairs that slide out of the wall when they trigger the hidden switch. If that wouldn't be fun for you and the players for some reason, then don't. If they are having fun, then you're doing a good job, enjoy it. If they are not having fun, then do something different, to bring the fun back.
 

macd21

Registered User
Validated User
#29
A
I do agree with others who say that this is bad adventure writing, BTW. In hindsight I think it's a pretty poorly written adventure. Which is interesting, because when I read it through at first I thought it seemed really good. But that's life, and for various reasons I've not had the time to patch up its flaws as we go along outside of the weekly sessions. Hopefully now we've got over the "where's the lift" speed bump they'll enjoy the finale! :)
While i haven't read the adventure, it doesn't strike me as odd (or bad adventure design) at all. Remember, this is Ptolus, a setting that inherantly takes this kind of thing into account. The fact is the place doesn't need stairs as far as its owner is concerned. Having stairs makes less sense than the absence of stairs.

i live in a mere two story home and on a typical day i go up and down the stairs far more times than even a high level mage has spells available. and i would be really stunned that it somehow makes sense to have:
a - a lot of spells tied up with "upstairs/downstairs" spells
b - to wait 15 mins to load the open slots as needed
c - to invest my xp and gold into items instead of building stairs

now if this were "the whacky summer home build by the great mages alzheimers after he started going mad" thats one thing, and ould set the stage for the whacky things to come and be a lot of fun....

c, above, makes perfect sense - plenty of mages would invest the xp and gold in magic items for flying. In any case, this is meant to be a vault, not the guy's home, so again it makes sense. Even if it was the guy's home - if I was a wizard, I might consider the lack of stairs a nice security feature. You may appreciate the stairs in your home, but I assume you don't have to worry about bands of adventurers/orc hordes/Drizz't breaking into your house and trying to kill you/steal your stuff/make our with your daughter.
 

Grymbok

Licensed to Ill
Validated User
#30
Let me try to explain better what's going on here with the great big tower. I'll stick it in spoiler tags I guess since it's from a published adventure.

(Spoilers for The Banewarrens)
Spoiler: Show

The Banewarrens started out as a massive underground vault built by an incredibly powerful good-aligned Cleric. He decided to try to gather all the most evil objects and creatures in the world and lock them away (based on the theory that if he destroyed them the evil within them would reform elsewhere, so they had to be contained). He worked in conjunction with a silver Dragon and an angel to construct this massive vault and the wards on it.

Having gathered many of the most evil banes in the world into his vault, Danar (the aforementioned Cleric) made the mistake of chancing a look at one of the evil books he'd found. He got sucked in, read the lot, and flipped out and became evil. He now of course had not a collection of things to be locked away, but useful artefacts for studying and supporting his new hobby of taking over the world.

He continued to gather new items though, as well as creating his own banes, and magical creatures etc., before launching a bid to take over the world. Which basically succeeded, and he quickly conquered the majority of the local continent. This continued concentration of evil in his house caused the planet itself to reject him, pushing his house (which was on top of his vaults) away from it, leading to the creation of the tall, impossibly high and narrow spire.

So it's more a case that he never bothered to put stairs in after the distance between floors became exaggerated, at which point he was pretty much god-like in power anyway. And as noted - what we're talking about here is not his house, but the vault he kept the Banes in. The vast majority of the Banes being things he left locked up even after turning evil. So he pretty much never went in there after the tower extension incident anyway


The PCs know all that other than some of the truth about just how powerful he was. The players were told all of that, but a long time ago and may have forgotten ;)
 
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