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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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  #51  
Old October 10th, 2018, 04:15 AM
kilemall kilemall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enoki View Post
I'll add this. With Traveller, because of the way characters are generated, and because I have a penchant for it, I will sometimes start with a split party. That is, the players are not in a unified bunch with a unified objective they can work together to.
Instead, they are given different motives and objectives, and these can be in conflict with other player's.
When I have done this, the veteran RPG'ers usually have serious difficulty playing in character. They're sort of "What do you mean I might have to get into a fight with other players?" It stuns them to think they aren't playing to a unified goal like a typical RPG would have them do.
Their mindset seems to be that TK'ing (Team Killing) or PK'ing (Player Killing) is something that is verboten.
Well, because of the unique way Traveller is set up in terms of character generation, I see the game as being one where this is not a bad thing. You are generating a character for a scenario or game, not one you might play for years that grows. That is a real serious difficulty for many RPG'ers to wrap their heads around.
Yes, I warn them up front about this, and stress that they should be prepared for it, but it often doesn't sink in.



TK was the exact opposite for D&D groups I associated with. The difficulty was NOT having a P/TK.


Well, come to think of it, Traveller too.
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  #52  
Old October 10th, 2018, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
TK was the exact opposite for D&D groups I associated with. The difficulty was NOT having a P/TK.


Well, come to think of it, Traveller too.
Isn't there often, or always, one player in an extended group who can't help themselves, has to hare off doing their own thing or pursuing their own goal to the detriment of everyone else? Who engages in conflict of some scope and scale and form with another player/s? Who doesn't want to play the scenario as given, but wants to seek their own ends regardless of what the scenario may have been written about?
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  #53  
Old October 10th, 2018, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
TK was the exact opposite for D&D groups I associated with. The difficulty was NOT having a P/TK.

Well, come to think of it, Traveller too.
They're fine with it when they want to do it, but get somebody that doesn't want to but is put in a scenario where they might have to and they really get all bent out of shape... go snowflake?
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  #54  
Old October 10th, 2018, 01:37 PM
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Way back when, I found that some d&d/ad&d DMs liked to make things too tough, some too easy. I tried to make it just right.

If the players are careless, some of their characters are going to die. The players need to listen.

Here is an example of what I did more than once.

Home players, I told them when their characters opened a door, the room was spotless. The characters were more than 50 feet down in a dungeon.

Some store players did as my home players did, the rest of the store players had their characters rush in.

My home players were almost all instantly suspicious.

The room was a trap. Why was there no dust ?

The entire floor would drop away, dropping characters down into a deep pit.

Home players tossed in a backpack tied to a rope, which was well anchored. The floor fell away, they retrieved the backpack, and kept going down the passageway.

Store players rushed their characters in, TPK.

Well, they thought there might be a gelatinous cube in there. They could have looked, or used a mirror, their characters did neither.

I pulled the same type of room, different dungeon, on another groups of game store players and their characters. Just 10 minutes earlier, other store players had warned them about that room with the fall away floor. They listened, nodded wisely, and TPK.
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Last edited by JimMarn; October 10th, 2018 at 01:38 PM.. Reason: typo
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  #55  
Old October 10th, 2018, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMarn View Post
If the players are careless, some of their characters are going to die. The players need to listen.

While they need to listen, they rarely do. And "store" players are less likely to listen because they're less likely to be "invested" in their PCs.

Quote:
Home players tossed in a backpack tied to a rope, which was well anchored. The floor fell away, they retrieved the backpack, and kept going down the passageway.

Store players rushed their characters in, TPK.
That's been my experience too. Not all "store" players, mind you, but a majority making choices like that often enough for me to expect and plan for it.

I often run one of the ATV Doubles at FLGS's game nights because they're quick, people understand hex crawls, and they mix combat with problem solving. I always players before the game about the lethal nature of Traveller combat and continue to warn them during the game via NPCs. Despite that, I've had groups TPK'd in the first scene at the vehicle park in Across the Bright Face because they choose fight the workers ambushing them.

The usual response to that early TPK? "Oh well. We can start over, right?"

The kinds of choices made when facing other potential threats in AtBF are much the same:

Dust pool?
Home players: "Can we go around?" "Let's scout ahead."
Store players: Drive on!"

Metal vapor vent?
Home: "Go around." "Drive slowly and time the vents."
Store: Drive on!

Liquid metal pool?
Home: "Go around."
Store: "It's safe to drive through, right?" (Yeah, a pool liquid gold, silver, sodium, etc. it totally safe for your ATV...)

It's that "I'll respawn" and "It doesn't really matter" mindset which sets most store players apart from home players.
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  #56  
Old October 10th, 2018, 03:31 PM
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After this week, I'll add the quality: Not too sick to play.
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  #57  
Old October 10th, 2018, 05:50 PM
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My Bright Face experience was that they usually destroyed the train, sometimes full bore atrocity.

And shot the workers before getting away, in one case classically drove over another 'team member' with the getaway ATV, missed the first time, tried again.

These are the same people that when I did 2300 chargen as an interesting psych test, they all without exception made sure they had demolitions skill.

I have dangerous friends and family.





But I mention it just to say that there is a third option rather then passivity vs. active team play.





I mentioned in another thread about playing the more modern ST RPG recently.

Apparently in most outcomes mentioned in their forums, these scenarios resulted in high attrition high shooting suboptimal results.

We went in and executed a near perfect mission, minimal losses of the opponents, maximum cooperation under the circumstances with massive intel advantages going into the final session coming up.

We got it done because we approached it like the highest standards of StarFleet officers in competence and smart moves, as captain I laid out orders and priorities that guided the away team towards optimal solutions, and I put the right mix of guys in charge with different instincts then mine that got better results then I would have.

I'm pretty convinced the other results were because of video game reflexes kicking in, definitely once the phasers are firing, and not role playing what StarFleet or even how a show played out.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Whipsnade View Post
Yes I am. I've used it, variations of it, and other "tricks" too. The players sitting in that one-off session can't even be bothered to chose between 2 choices let alone five.

Part of it is because the session is a casual one. It's a one-off, it's meant as an introduction, and no one is invested in either the outcome or PCs. I get that. What I don't understand is the passivity of the players, their inability to choose, their inability to even want to choose. It isn't as if it's a tricky puzzle either. I usually run one of the ATV Doubles specifically because the players must make choices; i.e. Which direction will you drive in? And they still can't or won't make a choice without constant input from me.

It's not all players, but it is a generational thing. People today want to be amused rather than amuse themselves. They're passive voyeurs rather than active participants but they'll scream out loud if they feel you're railroading them.
Yes, it's like being a comedian for a tough crowd. Players like that can be almost passive aggressive. It's as if they're trying to prove you can't entertain them.

I think a lot of this passivity comes from computer games, where there is an illusion of an open world but it's all pretty much scripted. Players discover that going in their own direction is futile, and obeying the preset story is the only way to get any amusement out of the game. Early d&d modules were also very structured, and similarly discouraged putting ones hands and feet outside the ride. Later on, things got a lot better and a lot more open, but there was still a preset story or mission to be accomplished in most adventures. At least later adventures let the players decide how they would accomplish the adventures goal.

So, players have been accustomed to having goals presented to them, and with computer games, they are often required to follow a predefined path.

Players accustomed to this can be seriously out of their depth when confronted with an unscripted sandbox.

They've never been required to think about who their character is and what motivates him. They've never had to ask why.

So they're in a game, but the familiar guides aren't there. The familiar story GPS isn't there. They're not being slapped across the face by a quest giver they can't avoid and getting ordered to go on a mystical quest. So they look to the ref and ask what they're supposed to do.

Then there's the players who dont care. They try it to see if it will entertain them. They expect *you* to entertain *them*. Theyre not invested, and they don't really want to put in any effort. Figuring out what to do is effort. Figuring out who your character is, and how he'll seek his fortune in a sandbox setting, is a lot of effort.

Traveller is particulary difficult for players like that, because traveller doesn't fit a simple easy to encapsulate narrative.

Star wars is bad empire vs. plucky rebels. You're on one side or the other, and you know your role.

It's difficult to describe traveller like that. It's hard to say well it's like (name popular show or book), because traveller has so much depth, and people rarely want to make the effort to read about the setting.
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  #59  
Old October 11th, 2018, 10:54 AM
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I play EQ and sometimes EQ 2. Both by the same company, but character death is handled differently.

In EQ, you can choose to resurrect where the character died, or at the bind point. Some years ago, in order to get your gear back, you had to go to the zone the chanracter died in and drag the corpse back to a zone where the the new version of your character could get their gear back. Now you just Gate/Portal the character to a safe zone, buy a resurrect stone with in game monies, and through a process get most of the xp back.

In EQ 2, all of that is gone. You just select where you want the character to come back to. XP dept occurs, but there are drinks to relcaim that.

In my ad&d world, it was more difficult than EQ.

I've been advised that I should have told players that characters up to third level, in ad&d, should just roll up another character. My home players didn't like that idea. The store players would just move to another DMs game session with lower chances of character death.

There were cautious store players, but they did typically get over ruled by the others.

At conventions I noticed players would just plow ahead, or be overly cautious. While its possible there were middle ground players, I didn't notice any.
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Old October 13th, 2018, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whipsnade View Post
It's that "I'll respawn" and "It doesn't really matter" mindset which sets most store players apart from home players.
I'm from the generation that played 10 cent arcade games until you ran out of lives or dimes plowing through map levels. But those games had no ending really, other than maybe a boss fight at the end or the game just didn't have anymore maps left in it (here's your top-10 high score for the day/EPROM). Such games were only about the score pretty much, though.
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