Episode 481 - Trap Card

Anything related to our regular or bonus episodes.
User avatar
Hal
Dan's Road Rubber
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:10 am
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Hal » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:15 am

When I was a kid, I used to play this game with my cousin we called "Boom! You're Dead." We'd build space ships and what-not out of Legos, then one person would attempt to fly his spaceship down the hall, while the other person had filled said hall with defensive emplacements, and your goal was to avoid all of those defenses and make it safely to the end.

No one ever made it safely to the end, of course.

"Boom! You're dead! You just flew past this anti-ship missile launcer."
"No, see, my ship has an anti-missile shield generator."
"But these are shield-penetrating missiles specifically designed to get through shields."
"Yeah, but the ship also has special armor that protects against missile explosions."
"Except these missiles are equipped with armor-penetrating drill tips."

On and on and on that would go. The game was more about explaining why you did/didn't die than actually avoiding anything. Usually this game just ended in frustration, because my older cousin had much more patience (and much more creativity) for explaining why he wins and you lose.

I hope the relation to the episode topic is obvious.
http://mrhalbert.blogspot.com, Wherein I talk about gaming and, um, stuff.

User avatar
Lord Foul
Kangaroo, Buffalo, and Chris, OH MY!
Posts: 44800
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:23 am
Location: Great Britain

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Lord Foul » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:40 am

Hal wrote:On and on and on that would go. The game was more about explaining why you did/didn't die than actually avoiding anything. Usually this game just ended in frustration, because my older cousin had much more patience (and much more creativity) for explaining why he wins and you lose.

That sounds like every political debate ever in the history of everything.
"...with frikin' lasers!"

User avatar
Ikoma
Actually Slew the Baron
Posts: 12413
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Pleasant Grove, UT
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Ikoma » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:45 am

Wow. I had a huge reaction listening to this episode. This behavior is so frustrating to me as a GM. And seems very related to the over-planning thing that can happen to some parties as they try to have a contingency plan for their contingency plans.

Ultimately, I think I need to have a little chat with my players. I want them to succeed. With big dramatic, overcoming-the-odds moments. And I pull it off... occasionally. But it feels like I often do so by overcoming my player's tendencies to avoid risk at all costs.
ImageImageImageImageImageImage

User avatar
Hal
Dan's Road Rubber
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:10 am
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Hal » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:53 am

Regarding the actual show topic, I'll end up repeating things that were said in the episode, but when has that ever stopped me from commenting?

I think players who employ Trap Cards come in two kinds. The first would be those who have been trained by a GM who pulls this kind of nonsense. That GM who will find a way to punish you no matter what; Dan talked about dealing with one of these guys in the episode. If you're a fire mage, all of his monsters have fire immunity. If he hears your plans to sneak in the back entrance, suddenly that's where all of the guards are posted. If the monster has an Achilles heel, he's wearing Adamantine boots. Players who deal with GMs like this get used to having to explain in the clearest details what they're doing just so the GM doesn't find a way to screw them over (though this usually doesn't work.)

For this player, it would probably help to get them to trust you. If you fail this roll, the game is not going to end, I'm not going to punish you, and you can still enjoy an interesting game because of it. (We're not playing by Blackleaf rules here.)

The second kind of player is the one who is inherently afraid of failure. For whatever reason, they don't think they can enjoy the game if they don't succeed on every roll, so they're doing this to mitigate any possibility of failure. If they prep enough, they're hoping you don't ask them to roll (or the DC is so low they practically can't fail); if they do botch the roll, the "trap cards" let them avoid any consequences for failure.

In this case, I almost think the better route is to play a different game with this player. D&D 5E was an example given, where you either get Advantage or Disadvantage and that's all there is to it. For a player like this, you might want something rules light, where the game doesn't care if you over-define things or not. (Conversely, maybe it's better to go with a super-crunchy system for them; the system defines things so well that they can't play their Trap Cards because it's not mechanically possible.)
http://mrhalbert.blogspot.com, Wherein I talk about gaming and, um, stuff.

User avatar
clintmemo
Paid to GM
Posts: 22072
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:38 am
Location: Louisville KY
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby clintmemo » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:06 pm

As a GM, I think the best way to combat this in the long run might be to make failure as fun and memorable as possible.
2018 Goal: Learn to set goals.
Achievement Unlocked: Publish a Second Story
Sojourn Volume 2

User avatar
Azhrei Vep
Player Possessed NPC
Posts: 27159
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Azhrei Vep » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:12 pm

Hal wrote:Regarding the actual show topic, I'll end up repeating things that were said in the episode, but when has that ever stopped me from commenting?

I think players who employ Trap Cards come in two kinds. The first would be those who have been trained by a GM who pulls this kind of nonsense. That GM who will find a way to punish you no matter what; Dan talked about dealing with one of these guys in the episode. If you're a fire mage, all of his monsters have fire immunity. If he hears your plans to sneak in the back entrance, suddenly that's where all of the guards are posted. If the monster has an Achilles heel, he's wearing Adamantine boots. Players who deal with GMs like this get used to having to explain in the clearest details what they're doing just so the GM doesn't find a way to screw them over (though this usually doesn't work.)

For this player, it would probably help to get them to trust you. If you fail this roll, the game is not going to end, I'm not going to punish you, and you can still enjoy an interesting game because of it. (We're not playing by Blackleaf rules here.)

The second kind of player is the one who is inherently afraid of failure. For whatever reason, they don't think they can enjoy the game if they don't succeed on every roll, so they're doing this to mitigate any possibility of failure. If they prep enough, they're hoping you don't ask them to roll (or the DC is so low they practically can't fail); if they do botch the roll, the "trap cards" let them avoid any consequences for failure.

In this case, I almost think the better route is to play a different game with this player. D&D 5E was an example given, where you either get Advantage or Disadvantage and that's all there is to it. For a player like this, you might want something rules light, where the game doesn't care if you over-define things or not. (Conversely, maybe it's better to go with a super-crunchy system for them; the system defines things so well that they can't play their Trap Cards because it's not mechanically possible.)


I'll add a third type: Someone who legitimately believes they have cooked up a clever and near-perfect plan, and is waaaay too excited to get it all out, right there in the moment. Like the player equivalent of the "shocking GM reveal that nobody actually cares about".

And, uh ... it's more than a little embarassing to look around and realize you just did that.

Again.

Yup.
Julia wrote:You don't understand the amount of dick I get ... in my giant American Hoohah.
PS Fuck you Cafepress

User avatar
Aisha
Audio Engineer
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 11:18 pm
Location: Behind Brodeur
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Aisha » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:29 pm

I forgot to mention that another good way to sweat the players is fake-checking the rules from a particularly menacing splatbook or chapter.
"Hexalicious" is not an appropriate flavor designator.

User avatar
Hal
Dan's Road Rubber
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:10 am
Location: Baltimore
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby Hal » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:32 pm

Aisha wrote:I forgot to mention that another good way to sweat the players is fake-checking the rules from a particularly menacing splatbook or chapter.


"What are your Wisdom and Con saves?"

"Why?"

"No reason."
http://mrhalbert.blogspot.com, Wherein I talk about gaming and, um, stuff.

User avatar
clintmemo
Paid to GM
Posts: 22072
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:38 am
Location: Louisville KY
Contact:

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby clintmemo » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:09 pm

Azhrei Vep wrote:
I'll add a third type: Someone who legitimately believes they have cooked up a clever and near-perfect plan, and is waaaay too excited to get it all out, right there in the moment. Like the player equivalent of the "shocking GM reveal that nobody actually cares about".

And, uh ... it's more than a little embarassing to look around and realize you just did that.

Again.

Yup.


If my player is that into what is going onto my game, I'm not going to complain.
2018 Goal: Learn to set goals.
Achievement Unlocked: Publish a Second Story
Sojourn Volume 2

User avatar
VaMinion
Hot Cherry Bendovers!
Posts: 5141
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: Occupied Virginia

Re: Episode 481 - Trap Card

Postby VaMinion » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:52 pm

I'll add a fourth type of player to Hal and Azhrei's three: someone who has been trained that they shouldn't trust other people (GM or player) to describe their character's actions. So you end up having to be painfully specific to prevent other people from setting your character up as something they aren't.
Cursing is like a spice. And sometimes you're making thai.


Return to “Fear the Boot”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Gyro LC and 4 guests