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Author Topic: Sode #13- 7 Words You Don't Say While Gaming  (Read 11028 times)
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Meg
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« on: May 12, 2008, 10:57:57 AM »

Thank you Carlin! 

This podcast is about what not to say at the table and why.

We also examine what these hot button words really mean.

Drama Queen/Rigmarole Player, Powergamer, Rules Lawyer, Munchkin, Metagame, Railroad, Realistic, Fair

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 01:48:00 AM »

The post was not bumped to the top when I moved it.  So here it is.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 01:56:48 AM »

Thank you Carlin! 

This podcast is about what not to say at the table and why.

We also examine what these hot button words really mean.

Drama Queen/Rigmarole Player, Powergamer, Rules Lawyer, Munchkin, Metagame, Railroad, Realistic, Fair



Taking public transportation in the land of Oz to attend an annual carnival and performing arts awards ceremonies is out of the question altogether, huh?  :couch
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 03:00:08 PM »

Very good episode...had me laughing my ass off quite frequently.

I liked the ice breaker too...though since we're only playing Star Wars Saga at the moment the only thing that came to mind was our (the players) childish delight in getting jobs on the outer rim. Big Grin ...although one of the characters is named Seck and at least once a game the GM will say "it's Seck's turn" and one of us will gleefully exclaim "it's time for sex!" but that's entirely specific to our game.
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Meg
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 03:02:13 PM »

Oo, good one!  That would really apply if you were playing a Firefly game... A job on the rim = Rim Job?

I still think my rapier comment was a moment of pure evil/ brilliance. 

That was totally unscripted by the way  Big Grin
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 10:28:25 PM »

Although I disagreed with the metagamer definition (you can get into a chat with me on it some time if you want) I very much enjoyed this episode.  I also thought the show quality was excellent.  Don't know what you did differently from the previous show but I very much enjoyed it.  My only complaint is that shows are not made often enough for me.  I want more. 

I wrote up a brief review on the HC boards at http://tinyurl.com/6hbqyr  [Note:  If someone can't get in because they don't want to register, I'm sorry.  It is our anti-spammer/idiot measures.  They work.
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 11:23:40 PM »

What is your definition of metagame?
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 11:35:07 PM »

In general (without too much typing - I'm a skyper, not a blogger) it is using information one knows outside of the game to influence decisions made within the game.  Note, that this is a very subjective term.  Example;  You fail your spot hidden roll.  Your character doesn't know he failed his spot hidden roll, he just sees nothing outside of the ordinary.  But then you (since you failed your roll) ask others to come in and do spot hiddens after the GM has said that you see nothing out of the ordinary.  Another example:  Someone else says "I'd like to make X skill roll to see if my character knows anything about Y."  If the player says 'Oh, I want to make that roll too!'.  That person would have NO way of knowing that the first character was making said roll or contemplating X.  That is using 'cross the table chat' (ie talk to the GM) to influence your decision.  In brief, that's a bit of my definition.  I invite further discussion over skype if you wish and have the time.  (If enough people are on tomorrow, perhaps we will get a gamer talk going Josh.)
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 11:54:29 PM »

I view the others chiming in when someone brings up a skill check more as the one player reminding the other player that he has an ability and not the player using out of character knowledge.
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 12:06:40 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metagaming
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 02:29:48 AM »

The Wikipedia article is misleading.  The metagame means “the game around the game”  as its tight definition.  The wikipedia definition:

“Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. In other words, sometimes using out-of-game information to affect one's in-game decisions.

Is an interpretation of that tighter definition.  It has the “written by committee” look of most Wikipedia articles.  It is nonsensical in a number of ways that ruins its credibility.  For example there is no entry of “metagame.”  Properly Metagaming, is the utilization of the metagame.  When you define the term as a noun it becomes clearer.  By the above it would be :

the Metagame is the “game” that transcends the “rule-set” of a game.  (I just cut out the weasel words)

This idea is backed up by the terms use in programming, politics and wargames.

Then we get into an issue where “out of character knowledge” lies.  Is it in the game, or is it in the metagame?  First off the location is not important in terminology because a) a term (out of character knowledge) exists to describe the specific.  And b) other phenomena exist to be described by metagame.

OoCK is like any other conversation then, so it can fall into either area.  Of course there is no inherent reason that Metagame or OoCK is bad (or good). 

As for the specific example of “do I know X?”  the problem is more in the structure of who gets to call for checks and when do they get to do it.  This is a problem of the games design.  When do people get to call for checks?  In most games the characters only get knowledge rolls when their character is confronted by the need of such information (as an aside this is not the case in all games).  So when someone asks “do I know X?” just say “maybe, but you only get to make skill checks when your character confronts the situation.”   

I should be around Thursday evening.
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2008, 07:41:40 AM »

Oo, good one!  That would really apply if you were playing a Firefly game... A job on the rim = Rim Job?

I still think my rapier comment was a moment of pure evil/ brilliance. 

That was totally unscripted by the way  Big Grin

Orc 1: "I think our raids should be more pillagier."
Orc 2: "Nah - they should be rapier"
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Meg
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2008, 10:22:33 AM »

Ok, so maybe it's a word that only nerds use as a dirty word?   
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2008, 07:36:19 PM »

The "railroading" discussion reminded me of one of my first gaming groups.  We were just figuring out how to manage effective exposition and get the party together and moving in the same direction.  Many, many, many of the first few sessions in a game were accompanied by the players repeatedly making a vocal imitation of a squeaky marker on a whiteboard with pantomime of an arrow being drawn.  When asked by the 'new guy' of the week, we'd let them know that this meant "Plot This Way!"

And I totally counted.  For 75 minutes I was wondering why there were 8 
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 12:11:41 PM »

honestly I think you could have dropped fair. It's not as emotional of a word as the other 7. Fair is basically just whining, but saying "it's not fair" doesn't have the impact that calling someone a munchkin does.

Railroading: It's bad DMing, false options are still railroading. A mentally dominated king that chases you out of town is a railroad. My biggest problem with railroading is the fact that I'm being shoehorned into something. It's that as a player I go through this whole social encounter, or espionage ect, in order to convince someone that gave me the same reaction as if I had just shot his guards for fun.

Rules-Lawyer:
I don't think I'm a rule lawyer. I let a lot of shit go. I try to only point out things that are going to come up often throughout the campaign, or are going to grossly unbalance an encounter. I don't like to have a TPK because the DM doesn't know the rules...



 
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2008, 12:21:12 PM »

Interesting discussion on rules lawyering.  Still in the midst of listening to the podcast.

What would your suggestions be for when you join a new game, and it turns out the DM and the entire group has a large misunderstanding of some of the most basic rules of the game?

Here is an e-mail I sent to resign from such a game, for your reading pleasure:

Craig,
 
I’ve given it some thought, and I’m not going to join your gaming group.  Your group’s dynamics and use of game time differ vastly from the game environment I prefer.
 
Your understanding of the rules also seems a bit lacking in places, and from experience I know I will not enjoy playing under a DM who does not fully understand the rules.  I asked initially about any house rules, and aside from some class restrictions, you said you had none.  It would have been fine if you had, but as a player I need to know about them, because the agreed upon rules (normally the PHB, etc, w/ additional house rules) make up the physics of how the world works.  When the DM alters rules through misunderstanding, that is the equivalent of suddenly the physical properties of the real world no longer working as they have been shown to work through history – it radically alters how one would act in the game.  I don’t enjoy finding these “surprises” come up in a game every week (thus why I asked about house rules to begin with.)
 
Please don’t take this as a bash on you or your group – you are free to play any way you choose.  I am merely trying to offer constructive criticism, as you indicated that you’ve had several players “flake out,” and leave your group.  My hope is to aid you in understanding potential reasons why they may be doing so.
 
The sneak attack thing.  It seems your whole group misunderstands how flanking and triggering sneak attack works.  I honestly encourage you to ask on the Wizard’s boards about rogues “flanking from range” to gain sneak attack.  I’ll even include some links to old threads that discuss it.  Also, look at the 9th level Ranged Flank ability of the Whisperknife prestige class from Races of the Wild.  Now, ask yourself why the class would grant that as one of its top-tier abilities (and limited to 10 feet, no less) if any rogue could flank from 30-foot range to begin with…
 
By the rules, flanking is only able to be done in melee, and only applies for those who are involved in the flank.  But, I encourage you to get your own answers.  In any event, I would caution that, should you keep your flanking rules as they are now, you should mention them to any other prospective players.  I know it would have radically changed how I would have made my character, had I known this house rule from the beginning. (I would have made an Arcane Trickster type character that was getting “free” sneak attack with rays almost every round…)
 
The sneak attack/flanking thing is just a part of a general encouragement to better understand the rules.  There were a few other (relatively minor) instances during the evening when you, and the group, displayed a lack of rules understanding.  You had a good presence and story-telling abilities, but they are not the only aspects required of good DM’s.  A good working understanding of the rules basics is also essential, and in my opinion you have some work to do there.  That’s not to say you need to know every nook and cranny of the rules, the Lord knows I need to look things up all the time, but the commonly-encountered combat and magic item rules should be firmly grasped.
 
Having the dogs run around and play fetch with squeaky toys was very distracting, and I could see that barring many people from joining your group.  Just something to consider as you try to recruit players.
 
Lastly, it seemed there was too much else going on.  Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the quesadilla, but I can eat at home.  I came to play D&D.  Everything we did in game while I was there (all 8 hours) could have been accomplished in about 3 hours of game time in most other games I’ve played in.  Don’t get me wrong, I love long game sessions, but not if I feel the time hasn’t been well utilized.  I need to have gotten a solid 6-7 hours of gaming in while there for 8 hours; my time is too valuable and the opportunity costs too high otherwise.
 
As to the threads about ranged flanking, here is a DM asking about ranged flanking: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=995900
 
Here is one with a player asking if he gets ranged sneak attack when two party members are flanking his target: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=998587
 
Here is one that tries to argue that the rules should allow ranged flanking, even though they do not: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1011489
 
Anyway, I wish you luck in finding a player that fits your group’s gaming style, and I hope this email provides you with some insight into possible reasons why some players haven’t stuck around in the past.
 
- Michael

There were a few other issues that made me uncomfortable with that group (Including the fact the DM woke up mere minutes before I arrived at 5 pm, because he was hung over after being arrested for DWI the night before, and neither he nor anyone in the group seemed to think that was a big deal...)
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Josh
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2008, 08:39:40 PM »

honestly I think you could have dropped fair. It's not as emotional of a word as the other 7. Fair is basically just whining, but saying "it's not fair" doesn't have the impact that calling someone a munchkin does.
 

Fair was one of the first 3 words that inspired this discussion.  This is a problem for GMs because it can ruin the mood for the whole group.  You are in a big fight and one character is getting low in hp and then all of a sudden they say, "its not fair."  Then the game grinds to a halt. 
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2008, 08:42:29 PM »

Had a character leave my 3.5 Ravenloft game for just this reason, a couple weeks before the Big Finale.  He's coming back to play 4e with us, but it was pretty emotionally tense at the time and honestly ruined the whole night.

honestly I think you could have dropped fair. It's not as emotional of a word as the other 7. Fair is basically just whining, but saying "it's not fair" doesn't have the impact that calling someone a munchkin does.
 

Fair was one of the first 3 words that inspired this discussion.  This is a problem for GMs because it can ruin the mood for the whole group.  You are in a big fight and one character is getting low in hp and then all of a sudden they say, "its not fair."  Then the game grinds to a halt. 
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2008, 12:39:18 AM »

I really liked the discussion on Rules Lawyers, especially the example about a guy going with Precise Shot + others only to find out that there's no penalty for firing into melee, I've been that guy before and it kinda sucks.  What I want to know is how you guys feel when a player knows the rules better than the DM, and points things out.  In my experience, it pisses the DM off, as it kinda undermines their authority, you know?  Any thoughts?
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2008, 02:40:18 AM »

I really liked the discussion on Rules Lawyers, especially the example about a guy going with Precise Shot + others only to find out that there's no penalty for firing into melee, I've been that guy before and it kinda sucks.  What I want to know is how you guys feel when a player knows the rules better than the DM, and points things out.  In my experience, it pisses the DM off, as it kinda undermines their authority, you know?  Any thoughts?
I have had this problem in actuality, I also have had the same problem as ksbsnowowl, where a DM thought that a ranged attacker was flanking a guy if there was another ranged attacker on the other side of a target.  This gm also did not understand that not all d20 books were cannon.  He thought that if it was printed he had to allow it.  So one of the players had some Mongoose book where one feat turns sneak attack into d8s.  He was also really stingy with magic items and spellcasters(as in level 1 mages should adventure with level 10 fighters) so while this was broken it was the only way the party had to be effective.

I also had a friend who hated 3ed because if you rolled a natural 20 on a crit confirmation you instantly killed the target and he had had 2 characters die like that.  I pointed out to him that that was not actually a rule.  He got really mad at his DM. 

I usually know the rules better than the GM.  And I would like to tell you that there is a trick to deal with that.  But there isn't.

The problem is, you can be nice and ignore the problems, but that usually means just biting your lip and that is not fun.  I just try to be upfront. 
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