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"Unclear On The Concept," or "Jingle jingle!"


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I've been playing roleplaying games since 1977, and I have seen some things. RPG games are a great way to get to know people, sometimes better than you wanted to. It gives an insight into their thinking, as well.

As most of you who know me, in person or by text on a screen, could figure out, I play RPGs for the STORY. I'm a person who enjoys immersion in a narrative, playing a character, building a world and a gripping moment... and poking my head out a little later and oh, my, it's been nine hours, who's chipping in for pizza?

 

Lot of people like that. Others play for different reasons. We all laugh about the "munchkin," the person who plays as if RPGs were a thing to "win," not caring about style or story, but motivated by sheer power and numbers. I've known a few who were obsessed by gold or XP; one in particular had to be restrained from killing couriers, NPCs, watchmen, bartenders and townspeople, regarding them as little walking packs of XP as opposed to figures in a narrative, much less real people. When a player asks the GM, "Are other players worth XP?" you know that there will soon be a problem.

I don't mean trolls. I've known people whose sole motivation in a game was to annoy the other players, and these people tend to weed themselves out sooner or later, either by getting bored or by actual social rift with the other people around the table. This isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about people who I've known who got immersed in the story... in a completely cockeyed way, somewhere between the story and the rules of the game. They were PLAYING the game, certainly, and doing so CORRECTLY, and were WILLING to work with the other players... in a non-troll way... but somehow found the line between story and acceptable, and managed to promptly trip over it. I have examples. 

True Story #1: 1990, or thereabouts, D&D, situation aftermath: the city has been partially destroyed, but the dragon is dead; what's left of the city watch is cutting it into chunks in order to remove it from the Artificer's Quarter. Some enterprising types are bottling dragon blood as hard and fast as they can, for sale to wizards and alchemists, and the watchmen are warning there'll likely be a hella tax on that, as the city is going to need the money to rebuild. Hundreds are homeless and about as many dead. Fires are still burning out of control in some parts of town. But the dragon is dead, and the survivors will rebuild. At the one remaining bar in town, the Lord Mayor, soot smudged and singed, gratefully gives the PCs a chest of gold for their heroism and powerful assistance; it was they who actually brought the monster down.

PALADIN: We should give the money back. They're gonna need it worse than we do.

 

CLERIC: I second the motion.

 

ROGUE: Shaddap, you're not here, you said you were out tending to the wounded.

 

CLERIC: I still get a vote in party affairs.

 

BARBARIAN: So maybe we take a cut for expenses, and give the rest back.

 

ROGUE: I could be okay with that. Dragon GOT to have a lair SOMEWHERE.

 

FIGHTER: We could do that and then make up the difference with the people.

 

PALADIN: How now?

 

DM: Come again?

 

CLERIC: Wha?

 

BARBARIAN: What do you mean?

 

ROGUE: Hah?

 

FIGHTER: We take a cut for expenses, give the rest back, and make up the difference from the people.

 

BARBARIAN: I'm still not getting you.

 

DM: What do you mean, make up the difference from the people?

 

FIGHTER: We GOT a reward from the CITY. NOW we get the reward from the PEOPLE.

 

WIZARD: (abruptly looks up from his bookkeeping)

 

CLERIC: (horrified expression)

 

ROGUE: Dude, protection rackets generally work better if you shake down the townspeople BEFORE the dragon poop hits the fan.

 

PALADIN: Dude, I totally do NOT understand how you expect to do this.

 

FIGHTER: We GOT a reward from the CITY. NOW we get the reward from the PEOPLE. I don't know how to make it clearer than THAT.

 

CLERIC: The city IS the people!

 

FIGHTER: Naw, naw, naw, the CITY is the ruling party, the lord mayor, and the guilds and %#[email protected] The PEOPLE are all these folks runnin' AROUND now who LIVE in the city.

 

BARBARIAN: I still don't understand how you expect to collect.

 

WIZARD: Or what penalties he expects to levy for nonpayment.

 

ROGUE: (laughs) He'll take off his helmet and use the horns like handles! He'll take up a collection! (mimes holding a helmet upside down by its horns) "Pardon me, sir, but we saved your city. Pony up! (mimes shaking the helmet, makes jingling noises) Awright, ma'am, saved the city, pay up! Jingle jingle! Saved your city! Killed the dragon! Pay up! Jingle jingle! Come on kids, saved the city, let's dig in them pockets! You with the cookie, break me off a chunk! Jingle jingle!"

 

DM: (facepalm)

 

CLERIC: (stares at the rogue, utterly appalled. Turns to look at the fighter, and somehow looks even more appalled)

 

PALADIN: (exactly as cleric, about a half beat behind)

 

FIGHTER: (outraged expression) You sayin' we ought to have done all this for FREE? I am OUT of HEALING POTIONS!

 

DM: (deep sigh) Harry, if you look out the window, you see the sky is still dark with the smoke from the fires--

 

FIGHTER: WE didn't start those fires!

 

DM: --that you didn't start, but the dragon did. Many of them are still burning, and them what aren't are still smoldering. While you sit here drinking ale that the barman gave you free out of gratitude, you hear the distant wailing of grieving mothers, the cries of lost children, the screams of the wounded and dying--

 

CLERIC: Oh, %@#$, how many heals do I still have?

 

PALADIN: I run outside, I still have a couple lay on hands left.

 

DM: ...the wounded and dying, still far too many to treat or to save. You hear the roars and cries of bucket brigades, shouting at each other about where to carry water, what to do, where to go. There is a crash as a building is pulled down to keep it from catching fire and spreading the flames across the street. Someone blows a horn blast. A church bell is tolling like mad; you don't know why. More screams. More cries of the anguished. Now, Harry, tell me precisely how you're going to get these people, most of whom have lost something, if not EVERYTHING... to pony up?

 

ROGUE: Jingle jingle!

FIGHTER: (crestfallen look)...........well, it was just an idea. %@#$. (pause) Say, Robby, when do you want to go look for that dragon lair?

 

******************************************

...and this was what I mean. Harry wasn't a BAD guy, but he was NOT clear on the concept, and since he dropped the idea out of shame afterwards, we never DID find out what he had in mind as far as "collecting a reward from the people."

******************************************

True story #2: 2007 or so, D&D. The Sultan of Mahalladoon has a problem: a local wizard has gone bughouse crazy and has taken over a local building downtown. It is a large, tall, local building, located smack in the middle of one of the better parts of town, and overlooking the Great Sook, the main market and economic center of the city ... into which said wizard occasionally lobs fireballs, now, when the mood takes him, reasons unknown. Thus, business is not good, and the Sultan is unhappy.

The city guard tried storming the place; the survivors limped back without having even cleared the courtyard. The assassins' guild took a try, and the sole survivor reports that the front door now opens directly onto a fifth floor balcony, whereas climbing IN a third floor window now takes you directly OUT a FIRST floor window, and all FIRST floor windows now take you to the same trapdoor atop the main minaret. Furthermore, if you walk in the front door, find yourself on the fifth floor balcony, and then try to walk back out that same door, it takes you to a windowless room somewhere indoors that's full of ravenous piranhakeets. INTERIOR doors seem to work logically... but anything on the outside of the building is now ensorcelled, and could spit you out ANYWHERE. The Guild has regretfully dropped the contract and refunded the Sultan's money. Said wizard is still cheerfully doing Zod knows what in there, and occasionally tossing fireballs into the Sook when it gets too noisy. And now, said Sultan has contacted the party. Can you foreigners of wisdom and power and magical might possibly help? Payment would be most generous.... if you are successful...


FIGHTER: So what's the building look like?

CLERIC: Plans are right here. Looks like it's about ten stories, with one of those big onion shaped domes on top. Hefty circumference, stone walls with stucco facing, six different balconies, and a sort of courtyard surrounding the whole thing.

RANGER: And every exterior window and door leads anywhere BUT where it APPEARS to lead.... but each destination appears to be consistent; it'll take you to the same place every time. But if you go BACK through it, it might take you somewhere ELSE... but still CONSISTENT. That means we can map it, by trial and error. 

WIZARD: Except that some of the destinations are more or less instant deathtraps. We know of two, but surely there's more. And we DO know that the trapdoor on the minaret, if used as an ENTRANCE, leads into the reception hall on the first floor. You have to go in through the top, then you start at the bottom, and presumably work our way up; whenever he tosses a fireball, he's seen doing it from the tenth floor balcony overlooking the sook.

FAIRY: ... so we DO know how to get IN, but then we have to fight our way up ten floors of Bog knows what. (dirty word). He'll probably know we're coming, too.

RANGER: Yeah... that seems likely. And he'll have all kinds of time to get ready for us. No way to get the drop on him, short of figuring out exactly where he is, and teleporting in or something. This seems likely to get some of us killed.

FIGHTER: Why don't we just level the building?

(Everyone looks at the fighter)

FIGHTER: He CAN'T be expecting THAT. And he'll be dead, we collect the reward. Worst comes to worst, we'll have to sift through the rubble for the body.

DM: Um... you haven't thought this through, have you?

FIGHTER: It'll just fall in the courtyard. Make a mess, sure, but problem solved, right?

DM: Um... no. The courtyard surrounds the building to a maximum width of twenty feet from the building itself on any given side. The rest of the building would fall smack into some of the most densely built and populated areas in town. Look at the map.

CLERIC: Dude, you're proposing collapsing a ten story building in a densely populated area?

FIGHTER: Well, we could evacuate the populace before we do it.

RANGER: Hm. Well, he sure thinks big.

CLERIC: Do you know anything about building demolition? Because if you're going to try to topple that building STRAIGHT DOWN, I bet anything he's (the DM) going to want to see your math. And check it. There's no WAY any of our characters know how to do that.

FIGHTER: So we just evacuate everything north, and then collapse it that way.

RANGER: Dude, I tried to do that with a tree once, in real life, with a chainsaw. It did not cooperate. 

FIGHTER: So we just evacuate everything within a 150-yard circle of the place, and then let it fall wherever.

DM: I suspect the owners of the properties within that circle might object, if they know what you've got planned.

FIGHTER: Well, we don't have to TELL them. Just say it's for their own safety, which is perfectly true.

RANGER: And you don't think the Sultan might have a problem with us accidentally devastating the Street Of Cunning Jewelers, by chance?

FIGHTER: Well, he wants to be rid of the crazy wizard. This would certainly do it.

FAIRY: At a cost of millions in real estate, business, and perhaps a few lives. And leaving a lot of people homeless. That seems kind of worse than a loony man pitching a fireball into the sook twice a week, somehow. Tell me again how you're Lawful Good?

 

FIGHTER: (exasperated) Well, the guy is EVIL! We are the GOOD GUYS! That MAKES this okay, right?

**************************************************

The Fighter (who was not the same player as in the previous story) finally admitted that perhaps his plan was flawed, after some ... well, actually, a lot... of discussion. There was some argument about whether crimes against property were actually EVIL evil, if performed for a good cause, and he didn't like the idea that rendering hundreds homeless and financially ruined just to get rid of an evil wizard was in itself EVIL, at least until the Fairy pointed out that unless the Fighter personally searched every house in the blast zone to make sure there were no puppies, kitties, or goldfish left behind by people who thought they'd be back home by nightfall, then he could not in all righteousness drop a building there and still hold the moral high ground.

 

Anyone else got any stories about players who were Unclear On The Concept?



 

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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I dunno, I like the knot-cutting approach of the fighter in story #2.  If anything, it sounds like the DM hadn't considered the possibility that someone might just want to level the building rather than deal with all this magical maze shenanigans.

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Yeah, it IS a valid, if messy approach. Until you realise exactly how close it is to other buildings of course. 

When the DM made that clear(saying that the courtyard is only 20' is a polite way of saying 'drop it, this doesn't fit with the story!' ), the idea should have been dropped. 

 

In the first story, maybe the 'Fighter' should have been allowed to play out his idea to teach him a lesson. 

(Ending up with getting him cursed and possibly a nasty nickname)

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Yeah, it IS a valid, if messy approach. Until you realise exactly how close it is to other buildings of course. 

When the DM made that clear(saying that the courtyard is only 20' is a polite way of saying 'drop it, this doesn't fit with the story!' ), the idea should have been dropped. 

 

In the first story, maybe the 'Fighter' should have been allowed to play out his idea to teach him a lesson. 

(Ending up with getting him cursed and possibly a nasty nickname)

 

If the players don't get to influence how the "story" turns out, why are they even there?  The "story" of any given RPG session is tautologically whatever actually happens in the session.  If the DM has a mind to how the story is "supposed" to go ahead of time, maybe he should just write a novel.

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I've certainly had players who have come up with very creative ideas on dealing with a situation, however none have ever tried to fleece the population of a city after they were already paid. Sounds like the fighter was more of a thief than the thief.

 

Scenario #2... yeeeeeeeeah destroying the tower is not an option. Setting a reverse trap to fling the fireball back at the wizard, though... I could see my players doing that. Or Dispel Magic on some of those points of entry/egress. ^_^

 

I've had many a facepalm moment where I thought I had set up something obvious, and the player never got it. One was the "bad guy turned ally against greater forces" whose physical body was on life support... the player found that readily enough, but never put two and two together. As far as he still knows, the Black Duke is still some dude in armor and the "unconscious" woman he found behind many many many multiple 20 layers of safeguards and high tech security did not click she was animating the robot armored "Duke." (Scifi tech in fantasy setting, the space faring Black Duke had crash landed on a high fantasy setting planet where the fae and humans were at war, the modern world high tech player provoked a demon and got sent there to "fix things.")

 

He left after "fixing things" leaving the Duke in charge. Oooooh he may yet be going back there. ::D:

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I'd agree that the fighter was certainly thinking outside the box... but I'd also consider the idea that the Sultan could have done that himself if he was that worried about a mad wizard, and that unconcerned with the well being of the populace and their properties. Mostly, I was stunned at his casual "Well, the ends justify the means" thinking. In particular, "Well, we are the good guys, and we are fighting a bad guy, and if no one gets killed, well, collateral damage doesn't matter at all, right?"

Which made it all the funnier after the fairy launched the "kittens and puppies" argument. The fighter really WAS a sweet person, but he really couldn't wrap his head around the idea that destroying several city blocks worth of property was an evil act, even if you cleared out the civilians first...

http://lifehacker.com/all-the-ways-dungeons-and-dragons-can-prepare-you-for-r-1788651635

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Yeah, it IS a valid, if messy approach. Until you realise exactly how close it is to other buildings of course. 

When the DM made that clear(saying that the courtyard is only 20' is a polite way of saying 'drop it, this doesn't fit with the story!' ), the idea should have been dropped. 

 

In the first story, maybe the 'Fighter' should have been allowed to play out his idea to teach him a lesson. 

(Ending up with getting him cursed and possibly a nasty nickname)

 

From "Hero Of The Imperium!" to "Run Out Of Town On A Rail" in twenty minutes or less...

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Yeah, it IS a valid, if messy approach. Until you realise exactly how close it is to other buildings of course. 

When the DM made that clear(saying that the courtyard is only 20' is a polite way of saying 'drop it, this doesn't fit with the story!' ), the idea should have been dropped. 

 

In the first story, maybe the 'Fighter' should have been allowed to play out his idea to teach him a lesson. 

(Ending up with getting him cursed and possibly a nasty nickname)

 

If the players don't get to influence how the "story" turns out, why are they even there?  The "story" of any given RPG session is tautologically whatever actually happens in the session.  If the DM has a mind to how the story is "supposed" to go ahead of time, maybe he should just write a novel.

 

 

The floor plans of the place clearly showed the size of the courtyard. 

 

Part of me agrees with you; part of the FUN of a good RPG session can VERY much be "finding that one angle the DM didn't consider." On the other hand, I've heard the same reasoning behind "Why can't I just kill and loot and slaughter anything I meet? If I can't do anything I want, what's the point?"

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In scenario #2

 

How thick was the building? What was the diameter, was it an octagon, circle, plus sign ground foot print?

 

What did the party expect to collapse the building with? What did they have that could generate that much kinetic energy?

 

Why didn't the Sultan just set up three ballista teams on top of nearby buildings, have them train their weapons on that tenth floor balcony, and skewer the wizard with 2-3 bolts next time he popped up to cast a fireball?

 

For that matter why didn't the Assassin's Guild just climb the exterior and place one or two operatives on that tenth floor balcony. Nevermind going inside, just gut the wizard when he poked his head out?

Edited by TGP
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In scenario #2

 

How thick was the building? What was the diameter, was it an octagon, circle, plus sign ground foot print?

 

What did the party expect to collapse the building with? What did they have that could generate that much kinetic energy?

 

Why didn't the Sultan just set up three ballista teams on top of nearby buildings, have them train their weapons on that tenth floor balcony, and skewer the wizard with 2-3 bolts next time he popped up to cast a fireball?

 

For that matter why didn't the Assassin's Guild just climb the exterior and place one or two operatives on that tenth floor balcony. Nevermind going inside, just gut the wizard when he poked his head out?

 

The building was circular, a ten story cylinder with an onion dome at the top. Walls were something like a foot thick. Stories were taller than usual, due to opulent high ceilings; total height of the building was something like 180 feet.

 

I have no idea how a fighter intended to collapse the building. Perhaps he intended to attack the darkness, or use his 1 oz. vial of universal solvent. The plan never went much further than was discussed above, thus actual demolition plans were never drawn up. There WAS a high level wizard and cleric handy, though, so possibilities existed.

 

The Sultan did indeed attempt to snipe the balcony, using both conventional and magical ordnance; his narrative to the players included the gruesome results of this (intended as a deterrent to the ranger, who specialized in archery the way Drizz't specialized in dual wielding mayhem).

 

And... um... durn good question. The wizard only poked his head out something like twice a week, so the assassins in question would have had to bring their own cover, lawnchairs, and sandwiches, I guess, and remained invisible or something until the wizard remembered that he really hated falafel stands or whatever... but the possibilities were certainly there. This is what I would call "thinking outside the box."

 

... as opposed to "damn the consequences..."

 

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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*chuckle* The suggested solution Mr. Thorne and I came up with involved an Anti-magic field on an arrow. Either there would be a fantastic sniper shot, or at the very least, one very de-powered wizard.

 

I .. actually, y'know, I do have a story. Actually, it appears I have a couple of stories.. um. Bear with me.

 

So, I'm part of a small party playing in a campaign. We've survived to past L10, and we managed to survive drow nonsense (... want to mess with a group? Stick a pre-destined Greater Teleport scroll in the loot. Guaranteed laughs. I came out of that with a rogue with a legit reason to hate drow). Anyway. we survived that. We even survived the guy who "Liked his assumptions". That is a quote. He didn't stay.

 

Right. So. We pick up a new player. He's new to the game, played some Musical Tables Pathfinder (PFS), but not really super savvy. He gets handed a premade sorcerer (Mr. Thorne built some characters for this sort of thing happening) and we rolled out for Part.. five, I think. Part five involved the destruction of a bunch of runes and some random drow-related crap ... it was fun. Anyway. The first rune we go after has the fun effect where the BBEG can taunt us via magical holograms. Naturally, she proceeds to do this, while we were trying to deactivate the rune.

New Guy has no really helpful items, so he decides to flip the hologram the bird while the rest of us are busy.

 

... some of you can probably guess what happened next. There are two kinds of magic hologram. The 'I can see you and talk at you, but not actually do anything to you' kind, and the other kind. The other kind lets you channel hostile magic through the image.

The BBEG happens to be a fairly high-powered caster. She nails New Guy's character with Implode. New Guy fails the associated save, to predictable results.

. .. ... The rest of us stopped laughing eventually, and got him resurrected; we did have some favors saved up with the local Shaitan.

 

Hm. Okay. So we've learned something from this. We move on, and manage to deactivate the rest of the runes but one. This one is .. guarded. And I don't mean 'a few mooks and some paltry locks'. I mean GUARDED, in the 'holy pants that's a lot of high-level drow' kind of guarded.

Right. So, we make a plan, and New Guy levitates his sorcerer up onto a building and casts some kind of Summon BALL OF SUN spell on the courtyard (I don't recall the actual spell, but the effects.. it was amazing). Now, assuming he's safe, he continues to hover up there while the rest of us bypass the gates and mangle our way through the courtyard... that was the plan, anyway.

Then the ghoul steps out.

Now, I'm a more-or-less savvy gamer. I know better than to take monsters at face value, even when it does appear that I am being offered a lol-worthy encounter. So everyone else is kind of laughing. New Guy is waving this off as harmless, and I'm sitting there thinking my share.

Ghoul targets New Guy's character, floating up there like a nice, juicy target... and hits him with Disintegrate. New Player fails his save. Again.

.. We did finish the campaign, but I lost count of the number of times we had to resurrect that one.

 

I should note that, despite a number of wacky accidents, New Guy has proved to be a quick study, and in fact is still gaming with us. He has greatly enjoyed rolling with the fallout from some of his design decisions.

 

For example; I was running Rise of the Runelords about the same time, and I said I needed someone to pull in a cleric. He jumped on this and pitched a dual-channel neutral at me. Now, we have a house rule at our tables involving negative energy that would have hit this character fairly hard.

I warned him of this; I took the time to explain what and why and the probable fallout. He insists.

I said 'okay', and off we went. Now, he joined the party a little late, but it worked out, more or less. He'd set up his backstory, and I looked at it, and took notes, and then ... then I twisted it all back on itself. This didn't come out until about book five (which I threw out completely after reading through it a couple of times and deciding I /didn't like it/.

By this point, the dual-channeling cleric (a winged aasimar!) has had some of the in-game issues with his channeling habits pointed out by other members of the party. He's made some conscious decisions to Do Things Differently as a result. And then ... then I shot them all full of sleeping poison (whinnis), locked them all in an underground jail, and just sat back and watched.

 

The cleric's mother - another winged aasimar - comes to talk to him. Sizing him up for sacrifice, which she doesn't exactly conceal. She's wearing a wholly different unholy symbol from his. Suspicion.

They figure out how to break out of the jail (tossed in wearing nothing but their underwear, cells in antimagic fields .. I did not make getting out a cakewalk), and they managed to find the high priestess in charge (the cleric's mother). Then they found the secret altar to Hastur, and ... I broke the cleric.

I broke the player a little bit too. When he recovered and had pieced it all together though, he was thrilled.

 

He has learned. ^^

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we never DID find out what he had in mind as far as "collecting a reward from the people."

 

 Oh, c'mon - everybody knows that when you hit people, gold falls out...  :rolleyes:

 

 

   Mike and the (Not-A-)Magic-Door

 

  "Mike" isn't his real name, but it makes for a better title, lol. And yes, this is one of those "what do you mean it's just a fake door?" stories - a classic tale of obsession, lol...

 

It's just before the end of 3.5, and I've jumped in as DM on a game that I helped a friend of mine design, after he decided it was just too cool an idea and he'd rather play it than run it...

"Mike" is somewhat new to tabletop, but a veteran videogamer. He's an okay guy, but he's a bit... "focused", shall we say.

Now, aside from just being one of those people that you just can't tell them anything, for the purposes of this story Mike is more specifically possessed of the absolute incontrovertible belief that everything in a game is there for a reason and has a specific purpose. To wit, he's that guy that smashes every last piece of pottery and furniture because there has to be something hidden in it (why would it be there if there wasn't?), and, despite years of dedicated MMO play, has never quite grokked the concept of "vendor trash" - he'd collect every last bent, rusted spoon and moldy old book, and if the merchants wouldn't buy it from him, he'd assume it was some sort of quest item...

 

During the first adventure, the party discovers a secret door cleverly disguised as the image of a door painted in a mural on the wall. This was the third of four murals in the luxuriously-appointed but long-abandoned underground lair of somebody who'd been dead for a really long time and wasn't particularly relevant to anything. Each of the murals had a door painted in the scene, and a keyhole set into the wall beside it.

The first had a regular door in it, frame and all, where the door in the painting would have been. The second had a somewhat concealed door in it (that looked like part of the painting from more than a couple feet away, but otherwise was just a door), and the third had a secret door that required manipulating several moving parts also cleverly disguised as part of the mural. The fourth door looked just like the first, but was just a fake, even though it had a real keyhole (with internal moving parts and all) carved into the appropriate place.

The party, having "defeated" the first three doors, comes upon the fourth one. Mike, playing the thief, attempts to pick the lock. He rolls extremely well, but the lock doesn't budge. The fighter and the barbarian are about to do rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to kick it, but Mike refuses to give up. He insists on rolling over and over, despite my telling him that he can't open it even with a 20 and the cleric and bard each giving him a bonus to his roll. The warriors don't have any success either, but accept it gracefully aside from a few parting kicks and swings at the door.

Eventually, Mike surrenders to the possibility that just maybe he can't pick it open, and both fighter and barbarian can't force it. After some more examination of the door, the rest of the party concludes that it's more than likely a fake door. However, to Mike's way of thinking, it wouldn't be there if there wasn't some way of opening it - this just means that there has to be some trick to it that they just haven't figured out, right? So let's puzzle this through... If the first door was a regular door... and the second one was a concealed door... and the third one was a secret door...

Obviously, the fourth one is a magic door.

Mike refuses to move on until he and everyone else in the party have poked/prodded/pushed every last inch of flat surface in the room, rearranged every last object, and uttered every combination of words and phrases in every last language the party speaks and made every gesture a human body can perform. Finally, after about twenty minutes of real-time, the party manages to persuade/cajole/threaten Mike out of his intention to head back to town in search of chickens and virgins to sacrifice. And yet, at that point, no one quite understood the true depths of the fixation Mike had developed on opening the "Magic Door"...

 

Fast forward to several character levels later. Since that first humiliating defeat by an inanimate object, inbetween adventures Mike has dragged the party back down into the underground lair twice - the fighter and barbarian have attacked the door with axes, picks, and magic weapons, and the wizard has assaulted it with Fireball, Knock and Dispel Magic. Mike not only had spent his own gold on a Dispel Magic scroll so the wizard could learn it, he'd even consulted a sage and hired a spellcaster to consult higher powers. At this point, Mike's near-psychotic pursuit of his life-quest to open the "Magic Door" had become a trope of the game and the rest of the party had somewhat gleefully decided to run with it and encourage him. I'd long since told everyone but Mike that the door was fake, but his fanatic intransigence on the matter had provided some great side quests.

By the time the party attempted a Passwall spell on the door - which just convinced Mike that the door opened into an extra-dimensional space - the party had tried both a Decanter of Endless Water and a Rod of Lordly Might on the door, the fighter and barbarian had both acquired Belts of Giant Strength (fire and hill, respectively) and Mike was researching rumors of the location of the Maul of the Titans. ::D:

The game ended shortly after that point, but Mike held firm until the end, and continued to argue with me about the door until I forced him to read through the paperwork and map for the underground lair that me and the other guy had drawn up at the start of the campaign, where it was clearly marked as a fake door.

 

 I never saw Mike or most of the others again after that game - which had only lasted a couple of months (even with all the additional side quests the party allowed Mike to drag them along on) as Mike's little "Ahab phase" had leveled-up the party at an alarmingly fast rate, lol - since the group's schedules had changed and we couldn't get enough of us together for another one. But, y'know...

I have a vague feeling that Mike may still be halfway-convinced that I was lying to him about that "(Not-A-)Magic-Door" being fake.

Edited by Mad Jack
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Ah...yes. We've had a few players that were...unclear on the concept, so to speak.

 

As I was recounting the first story to MrBoot, he reminded me that we'd had almost exactly the same thing happen, except this player was playing a Paladin. He was a brand new player, and had decided to take a paladin so as to get both fighting and healing abilities. Fair enough. We did warn him about how a paladin is expected to behave, how the alignment system is set up, etc. However, it became apparent within just a few sessions that both this player and us (MrBoot and I were taking turns running the campaign) would have been much happier if he'd taken a rogue.

 

This player, I'll call him K, thought and acted like a chaotic neutral rogue. All he thought about was loot, to the exclusion of everything else, and wasn't too fussed about where he got it from.

~~~~

There was one occasion when we were in a small town doing regular business (buying, selling, gathering intel, etc.), and MrBoot (the GM at the time) asked everyone individually what they were doing.

 

When he got to the paladin, K thought for a moment and said:

 

K: I'm going to go around town and collect donations.

 

GM: ...What?

 

K: Yeah, y'know, collect money. To help with our adventuring costs.

 

Me: (boggling at him in disbelief in the background)

 

GM: Uh....As a knight, the government takes care of all of your-

 

K: Well, we need more healing potions and rations. So I'm collecting donations.

 

GM: You...do realize that you are currently wearing armor that is worth more than a house?

 

Me: (still flabbergasted and trying to figure out how to explain, once again, to K that paladins are supposed to be GOOD PEOPLE)

 

The conversation continued in this circular pattern for a few minutes, before I managed to talk him out of it by explaining that these people, if they gave him anything, it would likely be just coppers, so why don't we just finish up our business in town and keep adventuring so we can acquire better loot?

 

K's girlfriend wasn't much better. She was actually playing a rogue, and on many occasions suggested or attempted to murder various NPCs who were helping us so that she wouldn't have to share food/gold/XP with them.

 

Either one separately would have been manageable, but together they only encouraged the other's behavior, and given that they were nearly half the group, it just wasn't working. MrBoot tried several different tactics to encourage (in-game, in-character) good behaviors, but nothing worked. We ended up dissolving the group because nobody was really having much fun any more.  -_-

 

That's not to say that a player focused primarily on loot and XP can't change; we had a similar brand-new player who was like that, but after MrBoot pulled him aside and explained how TTRPGs were different from video games, and kind of where the story was going, he improved substantially and became a very solid player. He just didn't understand the role-playing aspect of the game at first, so once he got it, he enjoyed it a great deal. He still liked gold and XP, mind you, but he sort of worked that into his character (a wizard) and rolled with it. :)

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

Edited by OneBoot
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That's not to say that a player focused primarily on loot and XP can't change; we had a similar brand-new player who was like that, but after MrBoot pulled him aside and explained how TTRPGs were different from video games, and kind of where the story was going, he improved substantially and became a very solid player. He just didn't understand the role-playing aspect of the game at first, so once he got it, he enjoyed it a great deal. He still liked gold and XP, mind you, but he sort of worked that into his character (a wizard) and rolled with it. :)

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

.. that puts me in mind of a kid we're presently training...

 

We picked him up around mid-session while .. hm. Can't really call him New Guy anymore, so.. Friend Thorne it is. so, Friend Thorne is GMing a ridiculous romp through the Emerald Spire. We say this because he's letting Mr. Thorne roll with a BoED-style Vow of Povery/Peace monk|cleric, I'm rolling with a Summoner|Rogue .. it's crazy on steroids, and it only gets weirder when New!Kid rolls in. He eventually settles on a kobold Sorcicle.

Turns out he's socialized in Society, and Society, bless their buttons, is a lot more like MMORPG than a home TTRPG. Especially when it comes to summons. Now, we've had to explain a few things to New!Kid. Specialization, diplomacy... how to NOT trip magical traps tripped by casting spells in/through them ... New!Kid is a good kid, but he has some issues.

And then we get to one of our fun house rules concerning summons. As a rule, barring combat damage and so on, a given conjurer will get the same summoned creature every time they summon that specific creature type. So, you summon celestial lions, you'll get the same lions, more or less. Archons? Same thing.

 

So, we're in a fight with something, and my character pulls in a celestial lion to speed our opponents along to the afterlife. New!kid decides it's perfectly alright to drop a fireball more or less right on top of hapless kitty. Lion isn't amused and it takes serious work to convince it that kobolds taste terrible and no amount of ketchup will fix that. My character isn't amused and goes off on the kobold, to the tune of 'what the *redacted!* do you think you're doing? You injured my summon, you *redacted* scaly little *blot*!' ... y'know, let's just go with 'she was annoyed', and suspects the majority of her ranting went over the kobold's head; New!Kid thought it was a good idea to run with the deaf oracle curse....

This leads to an out of character conversation wherein we have to explain this to New!Kid. Four times.

He never did it again, but now his summons have to have names.

 

His poor decision-making ability has contributed to considerable ooc entertainment and a fair amount of IC growling. He caught a bunch of us in a Silence spell and annoyed the monk as a result (actually, 'annoy' is the wrong word; the monk had to kill somebody, and if he hadn't be the peaceful type, I suspect there would have been kobold kebabs). We're really hoping he improves...

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