Morphine: Easing the Pain of Playing D&D

Started by David C, February 05, 2009, 12:34:16 AM

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David C

QuoteWhy is it up to you to make him take a stance?

Callan, I kind of feel like his game is a lie.  "I want this to be about story, that's how I justify gimping your characters."  But then it isn't about story, because he doesn't know how to make the game about story. Maybe, if he at least realizes all he is running and will run is gamism, it will actually be good gamism.  If not then, he'll realize he has to figure out an unconventional solution. (But see below.)

To other people.  Nick is a very hard person to get to cooperate or speak to.  He doesn't want to admit anything is wrong on his part (even if he doesn't know any better.) I guess he just assumes he should be awesome at everything, and if he isn't, he's some sort of failure? 

Rustin, I think you've hit the nail on the head here.  I can't GM the group. Most of them are married or living a practically married lifestyle, and I am not.  Other things make it very hard for me to have the credibility to run the group, even if I ran Spirit of the Century, it'd probably be an abject failure.   Getting Nick to change his thinking is probably beyond my abilities as well.

Really, I'm at a loss here.  How could I handle this situation and keep my friends?  Is it possible?  If it isn't, how can I at least bow out gracefully?  Making things work doesn't seem an option, I kind of tried that approach in E-Mail, and don't expect things to go any better in person or with any other approach. 

...but enjoying the scenery.


Quote from: Rustin on February 09, 2009, 11:44:27 PMI have yet to hear a conversion story about a player who single handedly shows up to a group set in its objectivist snare, who then begins playing with feeling, and by sheer social force of will, turns the style of gaming around.

I haven't either. But I have seen systems that turn the style of gaming around for a group. When you have a group that is used to "playing by the rules" of the system, if you manage to expose them to a system with rules that essentially force them to play differently, you can change the nature of the game without them even realizing it. They still think they are "playing by the rules", and they are, but they are playing much differently than before.

As an example, just following the basic (and simple to learn) rules of Spirit of the Century, players essentially have no choice but to inject their character's personality and drives into the story. That's just how the FATE 3.0 rules work. When playing, it doesn't feel like this is what you are doing, to most D&D players. It feels more like "well, I need to get that bonus, so I need to do X", but X is, in reality something that is forcing them to claim the story.

In other words, it sounds to me like your group is trapped by the system you are using and will remain so until you at least try a different system.

You are helped somewhat in that it seems like your GM knows that something is off. The problem is, he has no idea how to fix it, because his thinking is wrapped up in a system that simply isn't that good at solving the problem. You've heard the phrase "the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions expecting different results"? That's what's happening here. You're not going to fix the problems in the D&D game you describe by playing more D&D.

Send nick the link to FATE 3.0 and have him at least read through the Character Creation chapter. The part he needs to see is the "five phases" of character design; because this represents a huge shift from how D&D works, and will probably be fairly eye-opening to him.

If he doesn't like reading on-line stuff, I will send him a copy of the book if he wants, on the condition that he run at least on real session of it.
What I think about. What I make.


Hi David.
How's the situation developed?

You may really want to try to get Nick and the others to play D&D4.
It still is D&D ... but it also has many very important differences; it may help your group to shift to a different way to do the same things ... maybe it would facilitate the understanding of what you all actually WANT and HOW to obtain it, in a very specific and practical way.

Or the one-shot experiment could be a good idea, but instead of FATE or SotC try proposing this: Storming the Wizard's Tower
It's a free download.
It's a much lighter thing to read and absorb than FATE/SotC.
It's basically D&D, so everyone will be already familiar from the start.

Just remember that it still is a work in progress.
The original manuscript uses A SEA of dice (all d6 , but multicolored ) ... this is functional but somewhat cumbersome so the author had decided to find an alternative way to handle things.
In alternative you can play it with poker cards ... but this too has ended up being less than optimal.
Everyone is now waiting for the new manuscript, that will feature a system that uses just one dice of any color for every player (that would mean 4 dice per player)(blue, red, white, green).

Both D&D4 and StWT are gamist designs.
But they may show you (particularly StWT) that "gamits" doesn't have to mean "senseless sequence of fights without plausible characters & story" ;)
Also, along with the rules and sometimes within the rules, they provide veeeery good advice and wisdom to both players and GM.
This alone may lighten something in the heads and hearts of you fellow players and GM.

Another option for an alternative game would be the Solar System.
I like it a lot!
This is actually a narrativist design, but thanks to how it works it can also appeal to people who like to have some tactical challanges and resource managment.
This one is, also, a goldmine of advice and wisdom about how to conduct play, how to handle game situations, how to adress player's issues, etc.

All this stuff (except for D&D4) doesn't require the reading of 300+ pages of rules.
So maybe Nick could actually consider trying it out ^_^
Alessandro Piroddi
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