Let’s talk about accomplishing things in game and having fun

  • So this actually came up from a conversation I was having with @Polaris, and I thought I’d pitch it to the community. During the conversation we brought up how rituals were generally boring ( @Puffy has said this many times) but many people (myself among them) always felt that if we weren’t doing something like a ritual , usually with some laborious build up (because we’ve been told again and again things need to ‘earned’ even if it wasn’t explicitly stated how) we weren’t doing it ‘right’.

    So he cited some great examples where in he used quests and things in the module already to push forward a plot. No reagents, no hedge magic, just quests, ig items, rping, and involving folks. Basically ‘make shit up and if that don’t work, make up something else.’ I’m trying to stick with the positive vibe we’re heading in (because it’s great for the server and gets people using their creative thinking caps).

    Don’t spoil stuff you’ve done recently if its pertinent to ongoing plots, but what’re some things you’ve done without ritual or DM involvement until the last possible moment that worked out or just made life fun for players?

    For me, a recent event that involved a few folks and went over really well was our Lightning Race event. With some help from @Vagabond and @MrPenguin-Phil , I made up some clues to locations around the server where people would find pieces of a poem/prayer to Akadi. Scattered about in random order it was a scavenger hunt across the module and when all the pieces were assembled, we conducted a simple ceremony (yes, technically ritual, but we didn’t expect big things anyway). People seemed to enjoy it, I got some tells saying it felt like a DM event and that people had fun so I counted that as a win.

  • Rituals can be awesome. but it depends on what you did to get what you're using for the ritual. The ritual itself is usually a boring affair but the ingredients can represent an incredible story. I'll give some examples later on, just wanted to point out that the fun of the ritual lies in the history of the ingredients used!

  • Not necessarily- some of the "rituals" I performed had poor Latok and Dobby at the edge of their seats every second because it had actual risk, too.

    Ultimately, the idea is, there is no "science" to it. Predictable build-up with predictable response (what hedge magic became, though that wasn't the original intention AT ALL) was what really killed both DM and player interest; It became "groan, shopping lists" for players, and "oh god, circles, shit in circles and spellcraft checks, UGH" for DMs. I

    It was a lack of creativity, because somehow, it became ingrained that "this is what you need to do" instead of "let's TRY this crazy shit". Hedge magic, as it was concepted, was a way to give players the ability to perform a hail-mary, sort of like a rogue trying to UMD a very high level scroll (as an example) which could either blow up in his face or get him out of a jam.

    That's not what it became, but that's what it was intended as, only players got salty when it blew up, and eventually, DMs stopped caring, feeling as "obligated" to run it as players felt "obligated" to do it.

    I supplied some examples to @TheTwistingWind about how it can be done from an OOC perspective. I'm reluctant to just post them in here, because it hasn't been all that long, and some of the players involved still play the same PCs.

    Really, when I played Starlord the Solutioneer, my OOC goal was to inject some creativity back into player's plots, give them some ideas on how to push their plots using only the resources of the module, and going to a DM only when there absolutely was no other option. My PC had never gotten any DM attention whatsover, but he didn't need it; That was the whole point, and I wanted to show how that could be accomplished.

    In the end, it's just about creativity. There's no "method" to the madness.

  • A ritual with no risk is boring. A more dangerous ritual can be fun.

    Like if you wish to make a lightning staff of utter destruction to prove you are favoured by Talos or something you'd do it on a high mountain close to the skies to be closer to the elements and on the way up you might get mauled by some bears or run into some giants, but hey they'd make good blood sacrifices to Talos.

    This would be more entertaining than just trying to make a staff in the spire even though they'd probably have staff making facilities.

  • It's a fair point though that it's a case of: do whatever is fun. Rituals with reagents work well because they give you something to aim for that might mean several expeditions to far flung areas of the module (I don't tend to aim for physical RNG objects, instead e.g. "salt from the salt marches"). But then I've got all my ritual reagents together and not gotten anywhere with it because yeah it's understandably a bit stale to interact with.

    I find dark creepy-horror rituals are fun no matter the build up. Bunch of skull-faced black-robed cultists spilling their blood in the ruins? Hell yeah.

    Everyone get butt naked and go fight giants in the mountains? You bet.
    Dress someone up in robes of Eldath and try to get them from Arabel to the Pool of Eldath without spilling a drop of blood (theirs or others)? Sounds cool.

    I say, use the items for the build-up when you don't have a DM, but don't expect that gathering the items guarantees you a DM.
    Try to make the ritual itself something that appeals to some people who want to partake. Make a big loud forum noise about it ("We're gonna have a big elven prayer at the Altar of Corellon and we'll all be in robes so please no bad guys gank okay?")

    The only resource that ever matters is player interest. However you get that, by quests or reagent hunts or just an IDEA that appeals, doesn't matter.

    It's late, my english isn't very good right now.

  • There's quite a lot of tools you can use with the player client now. Here's quick list off the top of my head:

    • A multitude of items you can gain from quests, which can be used as props.
      Items you can get from killing things (skinning etc, bones, meat, teeth, etc) also useable as props

    • You can drain blood from other characters, and this can then be left as a prop, or even thrown like a grenade like, which leaves a blood puddle placeable for about an hour or so, great for leaving twisted scenes (combine with bones/meat/skins for bonus points)

    • Notes, which you can write, and the full range of appearances for these notes, so it is impossible to tell if they were created by a player, or a DM.

    • Undead summons which can be left behind.

    • The ability to place any item into those undeads inventory, so that they drop them when destroyed.

    • NPC subdual, and tying rope, meaning you can leave various creatures to create a scene (combine with above prop items, and you've put together a mini DM like scene)

    • Animal empathy can also be used for the above as well, just, with animals only.

    That's just a few things I thought of now, there's probly a bunch more things.

    If you get a bit creative using all those tools, and think about what kinds of things you've encountered as part of DM guided stories, you might find you can actually do a whole lot of the very same things a DM did.

    If you start trying to do things like that, and find you cant quite get something to work as you wanted to, I'm pretty sure a DM seeing you trying to set cool things up would give you a hand with stuff too.

    You could also do things like - Link a gem to the signalling device, and give it to someone, tell them it will begin to vibrate as an omen that your doomsday scenario is about to begin.

    I mean, this is really, really vague and I might put down some specific examples of some stuff I've done, but there is a LOT you can do with the player client now.

  • Saving you post, Zool. For future reference.

  • My biggest complaint about rituals are that people miss the point. They think the point is do a ritual for Y.

    So they stock up on reagents, buy reagents from PCs, etc.

    No, no, no. The whole point was you were suppose to say to a DM "here's what I want to accomplish IC and OOC; I'm going to go find X, Y, Z by doing these quests and adventures and exploring this areas with parties and keeping people logged in doing fun exciting things and I know this PC has reagent Z I want so we're going to challenge him to a contest to win it from him or do him favors to gain it etc".

    The success of the ritual is not based on having X, Y, Z reagent--it was always and should always be based on how much real leg-work and fun was generated by gaining the ingredients. That's the fun part that makes me as a DM want to over see a five minute/ten minute ritual casting of a spell, invocation, or prayer.

  • i have never bought any ritual ingredient for just this reason.
    the "magic" is in the process of gaining the thing not the thing itself.

  • Accomplishing things. Lets see...

    My current PC is not a mage nor much of a diplomat. So anything that requires understanding arcane magic and how all that wizard stuff works, he reaches out to mages and gets them the tasks needed to move the plot forward. And when he needs to get important people or people in high places to share information or do something, he looks to those with the proper skills or relationships to speak with said people and get things done with them.

    Lets look at a plot I'm trying to finish (almost done!). Don't think there are much spoilers in there anyway. It was a DM plot that had stalled and I am trying to end it. First thing I needed to do, is learn about it. Forum reading, sure, but also, getting in touch with those that were previously involved. And learning from them who else was involved that was still around. I was almost starting from scratch as those involved left not long after I talked to them or had lost hope. There was my first challenge, getting them interested again.

    Tried to involve more people by taking to them of the case and discussing what we could do. Got the druids involved for their link to nature and they understanding of fey people. Involved local authorities cause well, kids are missing, its kind of our job to find them! Then involved various adventurers for all sorts of reason. Later in the plot, even found a way to involve the bad guys! Talk about your plot and get the perspective of others in it. This right there gives you a lot more options on ways to move forward because you have their ideas as well.

    What I did for my plot?
    Organized some hag hunts, where we just roamed around looking for hags while RPing and discussing the case (use of IG areas and CARES spawns).
    Had a negotiation session where the skills of those I involved help further the plot and gave them some fun RP (I hope anyway) (mini dm event with use of RP and also IG items to trade).
    Had involved a mage who was going to see to a ritual to find some clue but unfortunately, the player got eaten by RL.
    Got group to go out and captured a hag for interrogation (use of NPC subdue system).
    Tried setting a bounty on hag heads for players to win some decent items but that did not take... at least I tried.
    Asked and or hired people to help find ways to weaken the hags (I am best at helping others on their cases, so when I am stuck or out of idea, I seek out others to see what ideas they can bring to the table. Don't be afraid to ask for help or for ideas ICly or OOCly)
    Gathered a group to explore the Sword Herald Vault simply because the hags had done a ritual above it and perhaps we could find something within related. Did not expect any DM help on this but eventually got one hooked on the idea and we ended up finding another big clue for the plot. (use of local dungeon with a story to tie it to the plot)

    There is probably other things I could have done to involve even more people, should have done to earn something out of all this, though at this point, I'm running out of ideas. But I hope with all these, I manage to bring those involve some fun while pushing the plot further. I could've probably talked more with DMs or maybe brainstorm with others for more ideas? I don't know.

    Which I guess brings the point of communication.
    We should not be afraid to ask for feedback. Its the only way we'll know if what we are doing is involving, fun, and getting somewhere. We should not be afraid to ask help from those around us that we see succeed. They are doing something right to get their stuff move forward, I'm sure they will be more than happy to share ideas. And maybe help you with some pointers? See here, just by bringing up the conversation, we've already been given some good pointers from some of the DMs, and I'm sure players will also share their ideas on how to involve others or on how they've pushed a plot in the past.

    Keep on bringing that feedback folks, it helps tired, clueless people like me get some ideas to bring you all more fun and push things forward. (And help reduce the frustrations of feeling you're getting nowhere fast.)

    gah... wall of text. Sorry.

  • I never do rituals. I hate the laundry lists and I can never drum up enough interest from other players anyway. And 99.9% of the time, any ritual that is attempted fails miserably and just kills half your group when demons spawn everywhere because you used a single piece of baatorian steel...

  • "It's not just the destination, but what you do to get there that matters."

    There was a player ran event I was in a long time ago. Leaving notes and having players go on a scavenger hunt. Leaving behind ritual spots in public areas like when I was a cultist. Hosting a contest or tournament for a prize(bonus if it's more than a contest that isn't a PvP beatdown.) Leaving weak traps along well traveled wilderness areas. Best part is, if players take notice, then DMs surely will.

    There was talk of a play going on at the king's theater, and some IG posters were updated to reflect that. I was excited about something like that. 😃

    Best advice I can give is, just do stuff. No matter how stupid, risky, or how high the chance of failure is. If it's fun, engaging, and entertaining, the DMs will generally help you along. If not? You -still- win because the DMs will know "hey, this person is interesting. I wonder what they are up to today."

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