Episode 175 – why John loves and hates his PCs

* (0:38) Congratulating Chris.

* (2:22) Fear the Boot made it to 175.

* (3:19) Fear the Con 3 online ticketing and sign-up will be live on January 1st.

* (6:06) Chad has a sexy voice?

* (7:16) John’s current gaming situation.  You can find MapTools here.

* (9:48) Why John hates player characters.

* (11:25) A quick gaming story to explain an example.

* (13:32) Why GMs often make better players.

* (18:01) People that refuse to GM even once.

* (25:49) Players that lobby for power without conceding anything to the GM.

* (32:35) TPKs, challenge, and losing characters.

* (36:33) Why John loves PCs, starting with those that latch onto plot elements.

* (39:46) PCs who roleplaying in a meaningful manner.

* (45:53) PCs with connection to the setting help make the game more engaging.

* (48:54) Dan bitches about Chris.

* (57:05) When Dan loves his players most.

* (1:01:36) Upcoming topics for the next couple of shows.

Hosts: Chad, Dan, John, Pat, Wayne

Comments (12)

MunimortalDecember 30th, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I have had a bit of experience with this lately. I have 4 non-gamer friends who I have been introducing to RPGs (using 4E because its simple). Before we even rolled up characters I explained to them the whole idea of a GM. I always use the videogame analogy that I am merely the computer, the guy who runs the world and the monsters, but instead of trying to beat them, the GM creates a world for which they, the main characters, exist in. I find that its best to get them early, and too see the GM as a source of information on how the game works, or to explain the ramifications of their actions. Get em early is my advice. BTW, win for John for the SimGolf reference.

AkiDecember 31st, 2009 at 5:02 am

In my experience, people who GM are not always that good players. They seem to base too much of their expectations on how they would handle a situation, completely disregarding the differences in style and approach to running games.

One fairly extreme example of this would be a frequent GM who played in one of my games and got killed while attacking an opponent who I had underlined to be extremely dangerous. The player felt that because we had killed one such being in his game, he should be able to do the same, although I (and other players) were actively discouraging him from trying that. He died on the first round of combat and dragged another character with him.

Also, I am going to plagiarize the idea of GM Bill of Rights and will try to come up with one with my local gaming society/club/association.

Triggerhappy938January 1st, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Everytime you bring up this nonsense about GM rights, my players beat me. I just want you to know that.

The_VecnianJanuary 1st, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Wow…what a session guy’s! I tend to agree that GM’s as players are often good players…. however that said… Good GM’s / DM’s also tend have the uncanny ability to foresee where you are wanting to go with a story line and have the ability to screw the direction of the game (of course this is done just to see how the GM / DM handles the situation). Now in my particular case I’m rather good at adlib and getting them back on general course. However I’ve been in other session where the GM / DM are clueless how to handle this kind of situation.

Killing characters happens and it’s your job as a GM or DM to weave the formerly dead player characters new PC / NPC into the storyline and joining them into the group with the current hero’s.

Adlib provokes true roll playing and builds excellent material but creating too many sub plots end up like reading a Robert Jordan book. Who I truly like….but you get a sub plot that you wanted more of and you never get it resolved.

HeinerJanuary 2nd, 2010 at 9:10 am

I didn’t listen to the episode yet, but my RSS reader shortened the title of the episode to “why John loves and hates his P”, and somehow I assumed the last word would be “penis”.

That would have been an episode I’d listen to right away.

Just saying.

JOHNKELLYJanuary 2nd, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Good episode guys! John, I love your theory about GMs making better players.

Dan, while I agree that human nature is to win, I think that this doesn’t apply to Role-Playing Games since the purpose of Role Playing Games isn’t to win. The point of a role playing game is to tell a story that is interesting and draws the players in. Or else it would simply be a combat simulator. If someone is sitting down to play a game so that they can just win by surviving the GMs wrath as you put it, then that is (again as you said) retarded and, frankly you are just playing the game wrong. If you don’t want to tell a story, play the board game Descent instead.

The AberrantJanuary 4th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

This was one of your best episodes ever. I might make it required reading (hearing?) for my players.

And, for the record, Maptools rules! You really couldn’t ask for a better program at that price, and they have a good community helping out as well.

RyanJanuary 6th, 2010 at 9:57 am

With a cast of programmer, doctor, and lawyer types, I’m amazed not one of you is pedantic enough to not use PC as a synonym for player. PC is to player as NPC is to GM, dammit!

paganMarch 2nd, 2010 at 9:31 am

GMing has made me a better, more appreciative player. If you are intimidated by GMing for the first time, try running a game for new players, especially younger players (teens) that may have few hang-ups with “role playing”, and won’t know if you are “messing up”.

I whole-heartedly agree that “winning” means having fun and being part of a great story telling experience. That’s the one unique aspect about RPGs that cannot be overstated.

John’s likes/dislikes are a good checklist to set expectations for a new game and/or new players.

DaveJune 21st, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I’ve been listening to you guys for a few years now, and this episode is one of the few that I keep without deleting. Out of the 100+ episodes that I’ve listened to, this is easily my favorite. Kudos to everyone involved.

DanJune 23rd, 2010 at 3:50 am

Thanks, Dave! I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed the episode, and I appreciate you taking the time to write that.

Charles P FrederickOctober 2nd, 2022 at 2:11 pm

This was a great episode, funny and rpg relevant.

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