The 'Who the hell are you?' conundrum.



  • Maybe things have changed. But I can't help but feel this is still an issue. And if things go according to plan for the server, it will become an even bigger issue. (Plan = increased player base with EE)

    So for those that don't know me - I've been an on again off again player for years. I used to DM under the name King in Yellow - got bitter and jaded and now come back a bit, until I get frustrated and run off screaming in to the Canadian wilderness. Just putting it out there that I'm maybe operating off old observations that may no longer be relevant and I am a bitter grumpy old man.

    Be they application characters or otherwise, players are encouraged to create their own stories, their own drama, and do as much of this with out DM oversight and still be fun and inclusive. And from what I've seen in my most recent of stint back, the player base is nailing it pretty well. Players make some noise, get rewards and see actual action take place. It is still slow to see reflected on the server, but players need patience. I know there are few things as draining for a DM to open up the module for the seventh time in a week just to change a name on a plaque or something. So - playerside - peeps still gotta be respectful and chill.

    But that is a two way thing. I've seen lots of players who are jaw droppingly awesome. Almost every pc knows them, they have their hands in almost every pie (and trust me Krust knows about pies) and then work for weeks, sometimes months to move their plans in a particular way, then come across something that needs DM approval or oversight.

    This maybe they want to strike a deal with an NPC house, leverage some influence gained with PC or DM factions (all player driven) to get something from an NPC, or maybe it is just a promotion or reward or acceptance to a DM faction. And they get a curt, often OOC message, often public - that basically amounts to 'So - who the heck are you?'

    Maybe this doesn't happen as often as it used to. But it makes players afraid to even try. I mean, why bother starting your own plots, with out DM oversight if you get that kind of attitude. Why bother trying to impress PC in positions of power when clearly you need the eye of a DM to get noticed.

    In my mind, the solution is an extra step before the 'Who the hell are you?' statement. The DM team should either just put faith in players who's characters technically have the power to do things like promotions and what not. Or in cases where an PC is trying to make a power play, before they respond to the letter, maybe ask around a bit. Tap a few prominent players who have their ear to the ground, check the forums for activity see what this person has been up to. There is loads of info, no human can keep up, but a few extra minutes of research into a players activities can mean a big difference.

    And the difference is motivation. I am lucky. I consider myself a fairly well regarded player. I never have problems getting involved in plots. And as a former DM, there is a bit more trust shown with my choices. This isn't favoritism, I get told no so many times. (Hell... I remember when the DM's famously shot down one of Molochs app characters... Trust me kids. DM status isn't a free ride to unicorn city)

    BUT when I see a DM come off as aggressive (or passive aggressive) with an OOC 'who the hell are you?' or something similar - I feel demotivated. I can only imagine what the player who has put the work into it all feels like. And more passive or timid players maybe completely discouraged from even trying.

    So - is this still a problem? Is there a solution? Do the DM's think this is an actual issue? With more players (hopefully) on the horizons, we will have less eyes on player activity than we do now. IMO this is a pretty big issue that should be addressed now. But I've been known to make mountains out of molehills. That said - as always - if people are not comfortable speaking publicly about this, feel free to drop me a private message if you want any thoughts brought up anonymously.

    *EDIT: MOLOCH - Tossing a direct link to my response which, hopefully, addresses the FULL point here of how much it sucks to be a player who thinks you're accomplishing cool things only to have a DM admit they have no idea who your character is because this is exactly how the DM team asks people to approach things already to avoid this problem that comes up now and then. tl;dr - send in applications and talk to DMs privately when you want to do things in game and work with us to figure out how to accomplish them in a way that is fun for everyone!

    https://nodebb.cityofarabel.com/topic/41783/the-who-the-hell-are-you-conundrum/8*


  • Storyteller [DM]

    I haven’t seen this happen at all since I’ve been a DM, unless someone is writing letters off RtA. That said, this is just a perfect example of why screenshots and documentation are so important.

    We can’t always know what you’re doing, so PM a DM on discord and let them in the loop with what you’re trying to accomplish. This will increase your chances of being successful exponentially.


  • Admin [DM]

    If one DM is rubbing you the wrong way, go to another and work things out. Sometimes we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, just like players do.



  • Ok - ok - I think maybe the meat and potatoes of this has been missed.

    The point is that players often put in a lot of work, get known among the player base, and then try to get some stuff done, and are told the DM team has no idea who they are.

    It is demoralizing. The problem is only partially DM response to it. And I know from my time on the team when this stuff occurs it used to boil out in two ways.

    Informing the player ICly, OOCly or both that the DM team has no idea who they are and they should do more to get noticed. Which sucks if you've already put months of effort into something and are well known and established among the players.

    Or - and more often - there is a discussion in the DM forums about 'Who the heck is this person' that normally ends with a bunch of question marks and no one wanting to do the follow up work.

    Response is only part of it. I suppose if I was to boil it down to a thesis statement - it would be something like "If you want players to run plots and stuff on their own without DM oversight, be more prepared to reward players who you may not have even heard about."

    Just because one of the half dozen or so DMs hasn't heard of a PC making waves, doesn't mean the waves aren't there. And if a player is asking for something, and the team hasn't heard of them, maybe ask around a bit first.


  • Storyteller [DM]

    Sorry, but between working a full time job and giving lots of time to this server, I’m not going to on top of that make it my job to know every little thing happening; it’s just not feasible!

    The problem here is a lack of communication and not on our end. We are all very receptive and welcoming to discord messages from any one in the playerbase updating us on what is going on, what they’re trying to accomplish, etc.

    Even a link to a relevant forums post can go a long way. Ultimately, if you want to accomplish something, you need to open the channels of communication and tell us WHAT it is you’re trying to get done.



  • I gotta agree with Bowser here.

    Whilst some players hate forum work a little goes a long way. Like I have a forum post for almost all of my plots with IC reports and screenshots of what I'm doing and involving people

    If I need a DM for part of it I can then PM the link with a outline of what I'm aiming for and they have an easy reference point


  • Admin [DM]

    Can confirm with verk, whenever I suggest a perk for someone that they havent asked for. I always link their forum work / plot ticket cause it proofs THEY did they work. Plus it also gave me an idea that they would like the perk they are getting 🙂



  • I've raged about this topic before.

    Part of the disconnect is people think a DM will pay attention if they do cool things, so they shouldn't bother the DMs. This is, of course, incorrect. Squeaky wheels, but those kinds of people don't want to come off as attention whores. So they wait...and wait...and wait, and keep pushing until they lose all motivation and momentum.

    Another issue I've had is that even when I pester a DM about it, and show them proof, they ask "Can't you do this through a PC?" IF I COULD, I WOULD HAVE. /rant Anyways, we know the time of DMs is valuable, so if we ask, unless you can tell us about some PC to help us, chances are good there are no PCs. Every established player usually has an ear out for plots they can turn to their advantage. That means we pay attention to other PCs, their personalities, and their goals.

    Finally, there is a hard learning curve on this. Players who know the formula get stuff done. If the formula is posted, all plots will follow that formula and get boring. So it's hard to balance creativity and success.



  • Easy solution:

    Instead of sending a letter to the King asking for the surrender of Cormyr because you have a massive army of Shou horsemen about to sweep down to destroy him and all the players known and support your coup; talk to a DM ooc on Discord and talk through the situation.

    Its one of these things I can not stress enough!

    WE WANT YOU TO DO COOL THINGS--but no one pays us to monitor everything you do.
    So if you want to do something, talk it out with the DM team.

    And as Puffy says, understand we're human, if one of us doesn't like the idea--just ask them to post it for the rest of us to consider or come say "Hey, Moloch didn't like this idea, but Spiffy what do you think?"

    Then work with us, if we think you need a bit more to accomplish your goal; we can work out fun things to do to heighten the story and its excitement and give clear, measurable "you have done it".

    Often what I get is "I cut down 30000 trees and was on a DM quest, now I want a flying air ship so I can crash it into the Shadovar and destroy them forever" and I try to work out something that makes a bit more sense to the setting.

    I also get a LOT of people who are very impatient though, and say "give me X now! Its been 2 weeks of me waiting for my volcano fortress! why isn't it there?!" And I, sadly, don't know because I didn't even know you were filing out a volcano fortress with faction Z for six months because no one ever sent in an application alerting the DMs to what you want and why it'll be fun for the players.

    Sending those in BEFORE you do the thing helps, so we can watch that you do the thing.
    Because the idea of "trust the player" is cool--but sometimes the players who are LOUDEST will now be accomplishing things in outsized proportion to quieter players who do more fun things for people.

    The big thing for the DM team is responding quickly enough, and we're working on this now since any DM can ask us to have a decision in 72 hours if an idea is good for any application and no one objects in those 72 hours.

    I think letting us have a 3 day turn around is fair and gives us time to use discretion to 'trust' a player with thoughtfulness.


  • Admin [DM]

    Generally if an npc throws that at me, I respond with a lofty tale of my feats and accomplishments. If you don't take ignorance as a chance to educate someone on how amazing you are, you'll find that relying on your reputation is indeed difficult.

    In my experience it's been players more than dms that fail to recognize someone's success. Obviously the solution there is to turn on FD and start swingin'.



  • I don't write to NPCs for this reason.

    And often, players have an over inflated sense of worth when, in fact, they are simply lowly adventurers looking for a free handout.



  • I have whole forums full of screenshots and I have a list of actions I want to accomplish without a DM and I check them off as I go. Once I get all the non dm stuff done I tag the DMs in the forum and see what they say. Most of the stuff I did on Lexian was stuff I did without a dm and screenied it for DMs. I would later see the pay off when a DM WAS available. I do, however, dislike the “who the hell are you” posts. But in my most recent case it was legitimate because Jefferey Purdue is scitzo even by fey standards



  • @khamal

    Sometimes you get those kind of responses even when you aren't actually asking for anything.

    Not long ago I offered to aid one of the Old Town gangs and was basically told to bugger off, i wasn't asking for anything, was just offering a warning and saying i'd help if they wanted. The response was that I had to do them some kind of favour in order to win the chance of helping them, and I was left feeling that the entire endeavour was pointless.



  • I get turned down all the time. I write them anyway. Same way I would and do write players that could help push plots and yes ((gasp)) get stuff 🙂



  • @gloomy_sunday said in The 'Who the hell are you?' conundrum.:

    @khamal

    Sometimes you get those kind of responses even when you aren't actually asking for anything.

    Not long ago I offered to aid one of the Old Town gangs and was basically told to bugger off, i wasn't asking for anything, was just offering a warning and saying i'd help if they wanted. The response was that I had to do them some kind of favour in order to win the chance of helping them, and I was left feeling that the entire endeavour was pointless.

    Honest advise, it comes back to DMs have 0 idea what you want because OOC you've not given them a clue. Since we're still not paid, we don't have time to react the way the gangs ic would of "hey, how can I use this free help to my advantage" we have to go "with my limited play time, what does this player want to accomplish and how can I help them make it happen while adding fun to lots of people - since I have no idea, and they've not let us know and MAYBE some other DM knows what is going on I'll ignore this - or tell them to go get bent IC".


  • Storyteller [DM]

    @gloomy_sunday said in The 'Who the hell are you?' conundrum.:

    @khamal

    Sometimes you get those kind of responses even when you aren't actually asking for anything.

    Not long ago I offered to aid one of the Old Town gangs and was basically told to bugger off, i wasn't asking for anything, was just offering a warning and saying i'd help if they wanted. The response was that I had to do them some kind of favour in order to win the chance of helping them, and I was left feeling that the entire endeavour was pointless.

    I think it's important to keep in mind that IC is still IC... If a guy writes a group of angry gangsters some vague idea of how he can maybe help them, without explaining anything at all, it probably will end in them telling him to piss off.


  • Admin [DM]

    It's a flawed system, but bar a dm who is on 16 hours a day in rotating shifts with other dms, I don't see this being resolved...



  • @verk said in The 'Who the hell are you?' conundrum.:

    I gotta agree with Bowser here.

    Whilst some players hate forum work a little goes a long way. Like I have a forum post for almost all of my plots with IC reports and screenshots of what I'm doing and involving people

    If I need a DM for part of it I can then PM the link with a outline of what I'm aiming for and they have an easy reference point

    BOOM!

    Make it easy for the DMs to help you the way you want.



  • just to preface, I didn't not read this whole thread.

    It sounds like you collectively are saying there are communication problems.
    I agree!
    I've said this before, but I'm not going to search up the old comments and threads; I will provide a brief summary.

    Sooooo... people KNEW this was a problem FOR A LONG TIME I guess... because I guess that was the point of bringing in the PLOT TICKET system, right?

    I thought that was a great idea, but basically the way I used it, it was long and ramblie for the dm's to read it, and a lot of 'work' for me to constantly 'edit' it to make it worthwhile for dm's to read it.

    Conclusion:
    Don't require the dm's to read all of it, and don't force the players to organize it all really well all the time.

    Have a private forum where a player can put their own notes, that are private to them and the dm, so they don't have to worry about constantly spoilering things by sharing too much publicly; but the DM's WON'T read it all, all the time, and the players DON'T EXPECT THEM TOO- but let there be a forum thread or email that is private to players and dm's where a request can be made, where a player can link a PARTICULAR post they've spent time on making useful and coherent, and if DM's feel like scanning further notes, they could, but better yet, they could just ask players for more details, or other useful questions, and players could edit said particular post to add details they need... in fact, you could make its almost like a google doc, where a player 'flags' a post in their character's private plot thread/ forum for dm attention, and dm's can edit it (maybe in a different colour) like say at the end, put some questions, maybe some comments or even postive feedback about what they are doing, and maybe even put their dm moniker so a player might have an idea of WHICH DM to get back to who is actually interested in their plots/threads etc, since others may not know, may not want to know, and may not need to know.

    As far as like plot hooks and game world stuff, ie 'everyone' knowing more about what 'everyone' is doing, things they should know because their characters are in the world, not just because they are buddies with players who are in all the plots...

    some threads in the forums handle some of this already- rumour threads, announcements, etc... if you make sure people know where to look, and make it a habit that these things are regularly updated, it will become useful, maybe invaluable. And we know it DOESN'T have to be DM's who do this all the time- but it does take some work, and giving perks for people doing this stuff will motivate players to do so more consistently (and remember, it doesn't even have to be character based, just any player who is willing to make some threads that are useful 'happenings in the world' posts that maybe are humourous, a little bit vague or contain some intentional errors sometimes, essentially a little entertaining, a little bit informative for people who want to keep up with what is going on in the game world.

    Making 'each player' have to connect on a 'one on one basis' with each and every other player or dm in order to make connections, may be problematic. You can kind of create associations of control and accountability without forcing everything to be in a traditional and rigid hierarchy by using slightly different models, for instance, 'sociocracy' circles.

    To summarize sociocracy circles, basically different circles which have different connections, will have 'points of contact' from one circle going to another circle... so you could say the 'circle of dm's' is one circle that kind of tends to be on a higher hierarchy, to which other tangential circles may want to report to, possibly to a particular person within that circle depending on the circle which is relating to it, and who is taking responsibility for vetting and summarizing relevant information within their own circles... so you might say, what is another circle? let's say the militia faction players circle... and it may have connections to other player factions who are sharing information which does not have to go directly to or through the dm's, but say there are certain player responsible for sharing information between the purple dragon faction and the militia faction - if people from the DM circle want to know more about what is going on in either of those factions, or particular interactions between the two, then potentially they have an idea of who to go to to talk to regarding this.

    So, it probably sounds pretty complicated, right? it's not as complicated as it sounds... but in a dynamic system where people are changing characters regularly, and factions, and roles within factions, etc, it could definitely be problematic.

    So I guess maybe you might want to divvy some of this stuff up on a DM and PLAYER basis, vs say CHARACTERS, presuming said players have the time, willingness and interest...

    sorry I hope I'm not ranting too much about this stuff.

    You know, rather than ramble on about this stuff, I will post this, read some more posts, and look at peoples' feedback before I like go on too many tangents/ minutiae etc.

    I know I am barely even a reg at this point, so sorry if I'm poking my nose into stuff too much.



  • @khamal

    This happens so much.

    Players are responsible for building their own reputation and keeping a detailed plot ticket.


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