30 Responses to 697 – White Smoke Mountain • 65

  1. Oooh…Bunker’s gettin sneaky…Martin appears to have been a bad influence on the guy.

    Or maybe Bunker was replaced at some point by Archie?

  2. Good on you Bunker. And in the second panel it should be “I expect there are a great many things about ME you do not know.” Reads kinda funky right now.

  3. Typo in third panel: Haysack should be haystack.

    I wonder where Bunkeris going with this. Shouldn’t their DM have read the module by now? He would notice if something suddenly changed.

    Martin thinks he’s so cool, but actually he’s pretty lame. Think about it. Some power gamers only think about leveling up, grinding experience, finding treasure etc, but at least they’re the ones who usually complain if a computer game or similar is too easy, because they want to feel they faced a challenge. Martin doesn’t care about roleplaying, or puzzling things out, or even winning, he simply wants to hoard stuff, but what’s the point? Unfortunately, people like him do exist. If he was a billionaire, he’d waste all his money on buying … whatever, doesn’t matter as long as he has it and no-one else.

    • I would consider that a player maturity question. I don’t normally draw a “powergamer” distinction from generalized munchkins because there doesn’t tend to be much of one that I’ve seen for serious dice’n’paper RPG. In general both are players who haven’t understood yet that there is no winning aside from having a good story and an interesting/fun time. Another way I would put it is that they don’t grasp yet that the whole thing is a co-operative, make-believe exercise and instead are misapplying a win-loss mindset–get-the-powerups and destroy all opposition–where that can cause lessened enjoyment for all.
      Of course not all GMs understand that their job is to make good stories the players want to have possible and occasionally to save the players from their own stupidity even. That hasn’t been my problem for years and years though.

      • Overall I think Martin just enjoys the feeling of getting away with things, and feeling smarter than everyone around him. It is certainly not mature, and it does fly in the face of what a cooperative game is supposed to be, but he does represent a type.

        (Thanks Christina. Got it.)

  4. Minor gaming habit note: This sort of attempted alteration or destruction of sensitive notes is just one of the reasons I tended not to have any comprehensible materials besides giant stacks of dead-tree, varying-level NPC character sheets and player-viewable location maps. Anything more sensitive than that is in code and is pretty minimal in size anyway. Why that level of effort? Because not having any worries whatsoever if you leave your notes in a player’s care for a week is golden.
    (And I might award brownie points for managing to decrypt the serious notes anyway and then change whatever details I feel compelled to change immediately after as a response.)
    What do other people do about this (potential) issue?

    • It’s a mix for me. In general, I don’t have that level of notes so my biggest worry about a player getting hold of my GM material would be that they’d decide I had nothing planned and lose faith in the game. I don’t run any fantasy at the moment and haven’t for a very long time so that sort of ‘map the dungeon, put a trap here and treasure there’ kind of planning isn’t something I need to do. Most of the clever stuff at the table is PC/NPC interaction and I’ll have an idea what the NPC’s want, what they can offer and what they are willing to do and then riff from there during the game.

      With secrets, I trust the players to differentiate player and PC knowledge to a reasonable degree so while I might do a bit of note passing, or secret stuff right at the beginning of a plot when I want some uncertainty at the table, once as players they’ve worked out what is actually happening then I’m happy to play the stuff open at the table so it doesn’t get so bogged down and insular.

      As an example, in my current Unknown Armies Firefly game the crew have caught a virus that causes them to hallucinate their fears. Initially I used notes to tell them what they were seeing so that it took them a while to piece together that they weren’t real. When they’d realised and one was checking the Cortex for a wave that another was supposed to have received but couldn’t actually have I just told them straight out that it wasn’t there. The characters then had a discussion about it. I could have written the player a note and let him announce from there, but I figured that that was insulting their intelligence to some degree and kind of pointless. All they need to work out now is that the Reaver attack on the ship can kill them because while it’s a hallucination, it’s being caused by the powerful NPC with psionics who can kill them with her brain…

      Aside from all of that, I carry my kit to and from gaming with me so wouldn’t be leaving it in someone elses care, not so much out of worry of what they might do as the fact that I like to have control over it so that if something happens it’s my fault.

      • Unreliable perspective is a damn fun device to play with once in a while but if you overdo it I’d caution you to be ready for attempted lynching.

    • “What do other people do about this (potential) issue?”

      I don’t do anything about it – no reason to. I trust my players not to cheat.

    • (General agreement with Ron.) I don’t play with anyone who would do anything like trying to go through my notes or computer to cheat on a game. However, I do like to add an element of cheatiness to the actual gameplay. While it should not normally be mandatory to win, I will allow any clever ideas for the players to seek unfair advantage over the bad guys they can come up with. Personally I think the idea of a straight-up fight to the death is both preposterous and unrealistic, except in cases of the most extreme personalities. (That is, slightly crazy.)

      • Speaking of unfair advantage seeking, there are players out there that will turn nasty traps or items into nearly unstoppable weapons. Like taking that Mirror of Opposition and using it on a medusa or beholder, or tricking an enemy into picking up that cursed weapon once they manage to get it loose from it’s victim…

      • Oh, if I couldn’t trust a player not to try character sheet fudging that would change fairly quickly one way or another.
        That said… I strongly encourage player curiosity in my world and plot to the point that story post-mortem is like a debriefing; my players make a guessing game out of hypothesizing what the other interesting parties were up to during the adventure and I either confirm or deny unless they’re stumped. I’d trust my players to not use out of character knowledge and to act in character with their character flaw limitations but to not read my notes? That’s like trusting a pothead not to smoke any of five kilos of hydroponic you stashed with them for a year!

      • On the topic of players trying to do interesting things, here’s a cyberpunk tale of players doing a funny one:
        There was a large gang alliance meeting between three motorcycle gangs that the players had been contracted to disrupt by any means necessary in order to prevent them from carrying out a joint operation at the end of the month. They dressed up as pizza delivery folks for the most successful pizza chain in the combat zone and did drive-by shootings with flash-bang grenades, SMG fire and a few RPG rounds. Originally the story behind that company was that it was run by awesome-level North Korean refugees which are so tough nobody fucks with them but I had to run with this. For the rest of that storyline it was a running gag that the pizza company (and its Triad backers) were often in gang skirmishes with the gangs who were at that meeting. Yes, that included pizza delivery cars and motorcycle packs zooming around shooting at each other.

  5. Note totally out of the blue here..

    Some chums and me decided to play AD&D last weekend.
    Man, i had totally forgotten how insanely deadly that game is on the PCs when they are level 1.

    End-result: GM/gamesystem 5 – Players 1.