24

The Campaign: Against The Clock

May 1, 2017 by Tim


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Zach
Zach
4 years ago

This just goes to show you the perceived power of the GM. 4 should have stabbed 3 in the face for leaving her out of the game for so long. Instead, 3 continues to selfish the gameplay..

Mnemnosyne
Mnemnosyne
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Mmmh, I sort of have a mixture of agreement and disagreement; in most groups I’ve been in, the player will get to control a secondary character of some sort – take over a hireling or something – until they can bring their new character in/get their character resurrected. Either that or the new character comes in very soon afterward; like, if they die in a dungeon, somewhere in the next few rooms (basically, as soon as they’re done building the replacement character) there’ll usually be a prisoner that the group happens to find and release that joins them, things like… Read more »

Zach
Zach
4 years ago
Reply to  Mnemnosyne

Consequences Shmonsequences. 4 likes to play dangerously. So maybe she dies. At least if she dies she can roll up another character. The problem with this setup is that the GM is preventing her from doing that by keeping her in a near-death state.

At the tabletop level, having to lose a character that you’ve grown attached to is consequence enough for foolish actions. Considering that she stabbed 1 in the face with a pencil for simply making a jibe about her bad rolling, I’m amazed that 4 has shown as much patience as she has with 3.

RP
RP
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

OMG, 4 rolling dices for the monsters? The group is gonna be so fucked.

Is this comment by any chance foreshadowing?

Me-me
Me-me
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I agree with most of what you said, but I take issue with the idea that these specific consequences are justified. Did 4 know that going for the corewood would result in assassination attempts? Did the party get a chance to notice, or avoid, or even Pelor-forbid fight these assassins, that they presumably failed to do? It just seems like it was an unavoidable Sphere-of-Annihilation-in-the-Statue’s-mouth thing, and now 4 has to engage in tasks unrelated to the game that was agreed to be played. It’s a form of railroading. I hope at least they’re going to be allowed to sow… Read more »

tiamatt
tiamatt
4 years ago
Reply to  Me-me

It’s very possible that 4 knew, she seemed to have a very good grasp of her character’s backstory (good enough to tell a extremely believable lie to that spirit that fool him, her allies and for most of the arc, the reader) so I have to think that she knows about the possible consequences, but just like her in game and “RL” character she didn’t care about such things. Which actually doesn’t surprise me considering the players seem to have infinite lives so death as a consequence would have a lot less of a effect on her, especially considering her…interesting… Read more »

Merlin
Merlin
4 years ago
Reply to  Me-me

If you read back at the beginning of this arc they clearly mentioned that she failed to make a reflex save

Christopher
4 years ago
Reply to  Merlin

Oh man a single saving throw to avoid going from full health to dead, how exciting and engaging that must have been as a player!

EthernetGuru
EthernetGuru
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Our current 5E campaign has a related scenario. Our party was wandering the tombs when our greedy 8 level wizard wandered through a trap in an unscouted portion of the dungeon. He became impaled with poison dart trap and failed the con save. He is now sleeping for 5000 years :/

The best part is the wizard is our most powerful party member that we had relied on too heavily to kill the monsters. Since he is still in our party as we drag him around our CR is still high and our DM is not easing up.

Thunderbolt92x
Thunderbolt92x
4 years ago
Reply to  Zach

Well, to be fair 1, 2 and 4 all got a character arc already. Seems only right that 3 gets his.

justhalf
justhalf
4 years ago
Reply to  Thunderbolt92x

This is basically my reply to anyone else condemning this arc =/

Christopher
4 years ago
Reply to  justhalf

Just because they all got one doesn’t change the fact that having these story arcs where only one character gets to do something and everyone else just has to watch isn’t particularly fun. This one is just especially bad about it because its just the DM roleplaying with himself while he silences/kills off the other players so they can’t interrupt.

Stephen
Stephen
4 years ago

Out of curiosity has anyone played a tabletop where the DM also maintained a player character in game? The ones I have participated in / my perception has always been that the DM would only interact through NPCs, and I imagine a slew of potential issues with a setup that doesn’t hold to this. It works well in this storytelling context, but I am wondering if it has worked for anyone in the wild?

Mnemnosyne
Mnemnosyne
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen

It’s not super uncommon, but it is more likely to fail than succeed since DMPCs tend to cause problems whether intentional or not. Even a DM that is very fair and never biases things in favor of his DMPC is likely to have issues simply stemming from the situation. One issue I’ve very commonly seen is people asking the DMPC for advice or opinions on how to proceed. This puts the player in an impossible situation: he knows the correct answer to any question or situation, because he’s the DM. His character doesn’t. But the human mind isn’t perfectly compartmentalized… Read more »

SilverShadow4
SilverShadow4
4 years ago
Reply to  Mnemnosyne

Of all the issues I’ve had with DMing, that has never been one of them. As a co-DM I was still playing a character and for me it’s very easy to seperate player (and DM) knowledge from character knowledge. They either know it or they don’t. As for the asking for an opinion or advice from the DMPC, the same could be said if the party were to ask the same of an NPC. At that point it’s up to the DM or the dice whether that person knows or not. If the DM is having trouble keeping those seperate… Read more »

Me-me
Me-me
4 years ago
Reply to  SilverShadow4

The one time I played a DMPC, I basically treated it as an NPC at all times. No initiative, follows directions, even with the power of class levels. He was there to fill a role that was otherwise unfulfilled, and the real players had to drive the story on their own.

When asked for directions, he gave as much advice as would a bartender. Like you say, he knows it or he doesn’t. Simple as that.

Craig
Craig
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen

Played a 3.5 game a few years ago where the DM was also playing an orc barbarian with really low Int and Wis. Whenever he started chuckling to himself and rolling dice, while nothing else seemed to be going on, the dread question became, “Uh, has anyone seen Drog lately?”

Brucky
Brucky
4 years ago

The DM’s character sure is running the show, instead of letting the actual players shine. Hell, one of the players has to sit there in total silence for the entire duration of this arc? How fun.

RM UNCorporated
RM UNCorporated
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

See Best Served Cold, Into the Fire and whatever the one with the Corewood was called.

Padraic
Padraic
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim, I get the concept. Her character cannot act due to her injury and Player 4 is free to communicate, but cannot do anything beyond what the DM says she can do for the moment. I’ve had to play an NPC as a PC being a DM before way back in AD&D 2ndEd. I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons for years! I’m really hoping your reply was supposed to be for another comment. I was trying to comment on the fact that, basically due to 3’s comment about “none has ever returned” was ominous enough that it could have been… Read more »

Me-me
Me-me
4 years ago
Reply to  Padraic

Your hopes fulfilled! His reply *was* for another comment!

Padraic
Padraic
4 years ago
Reply to  Me-me

Yeah, it looks like it was changed shortly after I posted my reply. I have to admit, I felt a bit hurt…

Diamond655
Diamond655
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

My personal opinion about 4 being out for now; She can easily be allowed to run an NPC or even help 3 run the adventure itself, she doesn’t exactly have to sit and twiddle her thumbs until the session is over. Hell, for all you guys know, Tim already has plans along those lines.

Diamond655
Diamond655
4 years ago
Reply to  Diamond655

Err, whoops, was meant to be it’s own comment, not here.

Brucky
Brucky
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Still, how fun is it to sit at a table and watch everyone ELSE play a lengthy campaign? Sure she can converse with the other players, but any DM worth his screen would find a way to let her play also, like the commonly-suggested “let her control an NPC for the time being” route. One game I played (yes, I’ve played such games) even let a player roll dice for him and let the player help with making DM decisions so that they didn’t feel left out. Led to some truly great scenarios.

Padraic
Padraic
4 years ago

And there are thousands of TTRPG gamers out there knowing exactly what this means! It’s like you took the best parts of “The Sunless Citadel” and added “Tomb of Horrors” for flair! Hehehehe I don’t ever want to play with you as a DM! But then, I’m sure you and I would have fun with my Elven Ranger/Rogue!

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

I’ve played and ran. Tended to let my character act more as an npc during those time only chiming in when he/she would normally have. Hardest way to not metagame. Running game with things that are immune to my fav spell. Had to run my mage like I normally would play even though as DM I knew it was ineffective.

RM UNCorporated
RM UNCorporated
4 years ago

Fact (?): The TRIAL OF THE SUN is literally going to the top of the mountain and then being struck by a super focused solar flare. As such due to priests not able to wear good armor and Zealots not permitted due to not being allowed to bear a weapon on the mountaintop (and people preferring to keep their hands) it is very rare for anyone to endure the sheer amount of heat and energy which strikes with the might of 10 volcanic eruptions. If only they had someone capable of not only surviving flames of such heat but perhaps… Read more »

Tim
Tim
4 years ago

I’ve seen a DM use branching encounters where he pre plans several possible next rooms, etc, and even the DM doesn’t know what’s going to be in the next room until they explore it and he rolls a die to see which of the scenario’s he came up with is in actual use. This made it very easy for his character to talk about rumors of possible outcomes without having any knowledge of what actually lied ahead and without putting too much strain on character / person separation.

Egz
Egz
4 years ago

I like the comic, thank you for free content.

Egz
Egz
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

No problem, never got to do a DnD myself so I find it really interesting to see the story unfold.

Adam
Adam
4 years ago

Hey Tim. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Every character should have a chance to explore their own story. When I design a campaign, I form a loose idea, get the players to provide me their characters backstory, and then weave the world around them. As for 4, there are consequences. And I fully support the player not knowing everything or they’d start to meta their characters. You build a world, and that world has rules, sometimes players have to guess. If you automatically knew every consequence, the game wouldn’t be as exciting. As for 4’s role this campaign.… Read more »

Dan
Dan
4 years ago

In a story heavy campaign (as this certainly has been so far) stories like this can be very effective and even fun for the effectively silenced character. Sure, they’re visiting 3’s home and will be exploring his character development, but 4’s character is the ultimate motivation. So while she doesn’t get to act, she gets to see and hear others react and even risk their lives in order to save her, as well as consider whether or not she is even worth it. Now, if this was just a dungeon crawl, that won’t work. But in an RP heavy game,… Read more »