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Author Topic: Pearls before swine?  (Read 1029 times)

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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Pearls before swine?
« on: December 03, 2004, 01:22:54 PM »
Usually I manage to excite and thrill my players, engage them and keep the story vibrant and alive. Oh, the hours of fun we've had!

But some times I begin to wonder. Is all my effort in vain? Could I just as easily just whipped out my old and battered D&D random encounters table and just rolled for new monsters all night long?

If one of our favourite authors get put on the screen, the directors quickly shave all but the most superficial layers of the story. The raped masterpieces are thus screened and stories with the former depth of the pacific ocean barely retains depth on par with a carpark puddle... No I am not talking about LoTR so Jackson fans may resheath their swords.

I have no problems on the GMing front, but it amazes me how easy it is to entertain the players with a battle and how much harder I have to work to create the same enthusiasm for political intrigue and dark mystery.

Luckily there are players that like story quality and luckily I am adept at giving even my munchkins a fun time. [sarcasm] After all I got those D&D random encounters and a quick battle with troglodytes mounted on giant lizards will save any evening[/sarcasm]
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Pearls before swine?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2004, 01:30:40 PM »
Note: I was thinking about a couple of my players. Some of my players are here with me now and felt unfairly treated. They love political intrigue they claim and demanded I immediately announced that they had no connection whatsoever with this article.

*AG's eyes are filled with panic as he looks around for lawyers sent by angry players*
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Offline Strolen

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Pearls before swine?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2004, 05:30:16 PM »
Sometimes I wonder if the rules themselves are to be blamed. I have long ago dumped most published games to a more freeform or simplified version that allows us to play the game vs. playing the rules.

It seems that all the rules are structured towards the physical (or magical which equates to the same sort of thing anyway) aspect of the game and the story telling gets only a little blip inside the books. Playing the game their way makes you learn a ton of rules that basically dictate your characters actions but do nothing for the mental aspect. Oh, yes, you have a wisdom score, but that is only used to find out what kind of proficiency you are able to use...(or skill or class, whatever).

The worn out DM and player spends so much time mastering the rules system that often tiimes they feel like they missed out on something if they go through a session that doesn't have a fight or if they don't get to use their stats. An entire game without character sheets is a rarity.

Then these same companies sell washed out adventure after adventure as supplements to the dry rule system. Some of them have good stories with them but many of them...argh, you got to be kidding me.

It is hard to peg what I am seeing and I might be wrong from my detached and skewed perspective. I have a rather detached yet negative feeling about many of the rule systems and products that I have seen and I hold these feelings with really no justification so don't ask me to quantify my thoughts. I will not buy adventure books anymore and my favorite part of Dungeon Magazine is the Side Treks but I don't buy any of those magazines anymore and rarely page through them at the news stand. If I want an idea I will find something here or on the net that has stories and ideas that make gamers happy, not the publishers. I am in my own detached reality and it suits me just fine.

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Offline MoonHunter

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Pearls before swine?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2004, 10:12:28 AM »
There are some nights that your players just want to kill things, even the really nice ones.  There are some nights that they want character depth and intrigue. There are some nights they want to take charge; while others they want to be spoon fed a rollicking adventure. If you give them too much of one thing, they will want something else.  You are balancing upon the head of a pin, trying not to fall towards any given direction.

Sometimes I swear that the players are the random encounter chart.

Gming is a balancing act. You have a story to tell versus a game to run, you have a continuing campaign versus the needs of the players for this night (let me not tell you about the stupid brick superhero TRUCK whos players thought Action Man was "da Bomb" so we had TRUCK trying to be Action Man (James Bond with enhanced speed, strength, and intelligence, with action/ extreme sports skills) ... so he tossed out the predone personality for the character).  You muddle on the best you can. Every session can not be perfect, but over all you work for well above average.  The goal is that someday, somebody will say, "I loved this campaign where...." and it will be your campaign.

So while players may be swines (which could explain why they are not married), casting pearls before them will eventually pay off... for those few times when they can rise above their normal level of play and be great. Those are the times you remember. Those are the times you are gaming for.
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