PC vs Player Assumptions



  • How do you handle them?
    How do you tell the difference?

    I know, from what I've seen on the board, that they can be a big deal on Arx (for example). I'm already seeing them happen on SGM (the players know some of them since they know Stargate and they're having fun playing to their PC ignorance, but they don't know some others since they relate to game plot).

    As an ST/plot staff, how far do you let it go?

    I have no idea if and when a player is aware their player has it wrong and they're rolling with it (I for example sometimes consciously let my PC be wrong because ‘Well Jane wouldn't know this because it's not in her field of study’) or if they actually missed it. I know some people are totally fine with being wrong and I know others get ruffled feathers to later find out and will jab a finger at their sheet going ‘I have Intellect 5!’ (no matter their Notice is only a 2….).

    So many things can factor into this as well.

    Maybe they missed it because they followed a different path.
    Maybe they followed the red herring.
    Maybe they forgot about the huge plot hook you handed them last week and it was vital this week.
    Maybe they misread what they were given in the scene.

    At what point do you step in OOC and go hey, so, you're actually incorrect on your read of this… Or DO you step in? Do you let the fallout be IC?

    I understand there may be different approaches to this and I'd love to hear them.

    Personally, I love seeing how people open door number one, see their prize, then rush to door number two, see the trap, and report back to everyone that they need to go to door number two because it’s clearly the correct route. (assuming 'omg this is too obvious and blatant and we must be involved in a smoke and mirrors situation and and and and')

    On SGM, the team once spent an entire scene investigating a well. A WELL. It became their version of the gazebo.

    I find that shit fucking hilarious.

    But is there a point you need to take them aside and go: hey, you’re chasing waterfalls here. When is that point? How do you know what player will appreciate the warning (to hold them back from going on a path that isn’t going to provide a tangible reward) and what player won’t appreciate it (they don’t mind potential failure; some people enjoy the character growth it entails)?

    Now, as an ST, I will always insert something to guide people back on the path eventually (well, potentially guide: I won’t put things on rails, I’ll just add a new branch that COULD lead them back on the right path). I also have sometimes had these situations spark ideas in me that I like better than my original plan so I’ll follow the ‘wrong’ assumptions instead of my original plan.



  • @Auspice

    I really don't understand the question.

    Can you clarify succinctly?



  • @Ganymede said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    @Auspice

    I really don't understand the question.

    Can you clarify succinctly?

    How do you know if a character's read on a plot/scene is the character getting it wrong or the player getting it wrong?

    And do you correct them or not? (Because some people get very upset at being wrong and some don't.)


  • Pitcrew

    Isn't this basically just a discussion of "yes and" and "no but" storytelling again? In GH, some of my better plots are about the minor detail that my players jumped all over that, during the time, had no story attached to it.

    I will tell players when they are beating a dead horse though. Or when they are going the absolutely wrong way. I think you need to be honest with your players in order to keep a healthy community going. I don't want to waste anyone's time having them rp dead ends, and I don't want to waste my time either.



  • @bear_necessities said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    Isn't this basically just a discussion of "yes and" and "no but" storytelling again? In GH, some of my better plots are about the minor detail that my players jumped all over that, during the time, had no story attached to it.

    Yes and no.

    What if you see a log go up and it's Player A talking to Player B about a plot scene and Player A is giving Player B all the wrong information?

    Or Player A puts in a follow-up to research something and they're going on all the wrong assumptions?

    This isn't just the path they're following in the plot scene, but everything they pursue after it.



  • @Auspice said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    How do you know if a character's read on a plot/scene is the character getting it wrong or the player getting it wrong?

    You don't, unless you ask.

    And do you correct them or not?

    No. I presume a player understands what is happening. If they don't, it is incumbent upon them to ask for clarification.

    As I just did.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    Yes and no.
    What if you see a log go up and it's Player A talking to Player B about a plot scene and Player A is giving Player B all the wrong information?
    Or Player A puts in a follow-up to research something and they're going on all the wrong assumptions?
    This isn't just the path they're following in the plot scene, but everything they pursue after it.

    I don't comment on IC information handed down unless they are getting theme wrong. If a player puts in a job based on wrong assumptions I will address the wrong assumptions at that time if necessary. I mean, people make wrong assumptions irl all the time and still come to the right conclusion.

    You always have to come at something asking yourself how you would want staff to address if you were the player in question. Like, I dont know the exact situation here but just don't waste players time. Rp is a huge time suck, I dont want to find out I've been rping about the wrong thing for 4 weeks because staff didnt know if I was ICly or OOCly dumb and didnt want to interfere.


  • Admin

    @Auspice said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    How do you know if a character's read on a plot/scene is the character getting it wrong or the player getting it wrong?

    And do you correct them or not? (Because some people get very upset at being wrong and some don't.)

    There is no succinct way that fits-all-sizes.

    Players with PCs who are smarter, more social, craftier or generally apt in an area they themselves are not are always going to have issues which can range from minor incidents that might be missed to drama that explodes all over MSB.

    It's why generally speaking I advise against non-physical stats. You can't really really screw up playing someone who's 'strong' or 'fast' or 'a good archer'. You can fuck up playing a master detective who fails to pick up cues time after time even after the GM is hand-feeding them over.

    In table-top games you can regulate this much easier - the GM and player are more familiar with each other, they can communicate more efficiently and they emphasis on the party is greater; in a MU* no such link exists, which leads to mishaps.



  • @Arkandel said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    It's why generally speaking I advise against non-physical stats. You can't really really screw up playing someone who's 'strong' or 'fast' or 'a good archer'. You can fuck up playing a master detective who fails to pick up cues time after time even after the GM is hand-feeding them over.

    On the other hand, without non-physical stats a player has little system recourse if they may have difficulty comprehending language or expressing themselves, e.g., ESL, dyslexia, etc. Being allowed to check those stats, which a character by concept may be proficient at, would allow the player to ask for clarification as to what's going on, and gauge the accuracy of such clarification.



  • @Arkandel said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    @Auspice said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    How do you know if a character's read on a plot/scene is the character getting it wrong or the player getting it wrong?

    And do you correct them or not? (Because some people get very upset at being wrong and some don't.)

    There is no succinct way that fits-all-sizes.

    Players with PCs who are smarter, more social, craftier or generally apt in an area they themselves are not are always going to have issues which can range from minor incidents that might be missed to drama that explodes all over MSB.

    It's why generally speaking I advise against non-physical stats. You can't really really screw up playing someone who's 'strong' or 'fast' or 'a good archer'. You can fuck up playing a master detective who fails to pick up cues time after time even after the GM is hand-feeding them over.

    In table-top games you can regulate this much easier - the GM and player are more familiar with each other, they can communicate more efficiently and they emphasis on the party is greater; in a MU* no such link exists, which leads to mishaps.

    People really, really like to play smart characters though.

    It's a hard balance to strike.

    I try asking people what their goal is.

    People tend to throw 'catch all' nets which is... difficult as an ST (so, pro-tip: please don't do this). What I mean by 'catch all' is jobs like:

    'I want to find out everything on...'
    'I want to get all I can about...'

    These are frustrating as an ST. Because what I come up with might not be fun for you. It might not be what you wanted.

    A much better job is:
    'I'd like to eventually find a door to the Underworld. Can I do that?'
    'I want to craft a tool that will let me hurt supernatural beings. Is that something I can do? What would my first steps be?'

    Tell me your goal and I can help you get on the path. But casting out a wide, broad, vague net may seem like a good idea because it means 'ha ha I can't fail!' but it also means that I have no clue what your goal is so it's like ehhhhhhh.

    Anyway, off-topic.
    Back on topic:

    So @bear_necessities feels that if someone is RPing about the wrong thing it might be best to correct them (I'd probably want to be corrected, personally).

    But Gany's more in the camp of: it's on the player to ask for clarification.

    It's a difficult thing!

    I've had scenes where all the correct information is there, in the scene. And I know it's not a 'I failed at presenting it wrong' because other players got it right. It'll just be one or two who got it wrong. (if EVERYONE got it wrong, then I'd know: okay, I fucked up and was too vague.)

    So while, yes, it might be interesting to see where it goes: maybe it'd be best to reach out and guide them back so they don't get lost in the weeds.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    I try asking people what their goal is.

    ^ This. It's been many years since I've sat down and STed on a game for anything but tiny PRPs I spend the whole time worrying I'm failing at, since I'm way, way, WAY better at all of the 'behind the scenes' of staffing (world building, overarching metaplot writing, job processing) than I am at live GMing, but....

    Yeah. That's pretty much always been my solution. If you're way off base and straying over yonder, I'll ask.

    If you want to Do the Thing But Don't Know How, just message me and I'll spitball a few options with you. It may not be a quick and easy "Do #1, #2, #3, wiggle your butt once and wish really hard and then you can have the prize!", but I will cheerfully do a version of 'Here are a few ways you can approach this and/or here are the minimum requirements so snag them however you want'. Generally having an open-door policy about that and answering any questions they had with a pre-announced and firmly set boundary of "I will explain anything you want re: theme or decisions or plot, but this is not an invitation to try and argue me into changing it" seemed to prevent most issues. At least from my perspective, anyway. My players may have disagreed.



  • I'm a big opponent of "GM has a solution in mind and will let players flounder until they pull the ONE book out of 50,000 in a library that opens the secret door" GMing.

    Since rounds of RP in MU move in 30-45 minute increments, wasted time is costly. In RL TT gaming it could be seconds. So with that in mind I highly suggest GMs of MU scenes/PrPs reserve the right to use GM-magic or rolls to help move things along.


  • Pitcrew

    I feel strongly that respecting player time is important. If assumptions are off the rails and there is no way to tie them back in a new way to the plot/plan, then I try to make it clear that they reach a dead end/that approach will not work and they discover that ICly. If they continue to pursue, then oocly I will say no really, it wasnt a bad roll or anything, it just won't work and encourage or even offer some guidance if desired.

    Smart players dont always pick up the trail, and sometimes STs who think they are giving clear hints really aren't. It is ok and shouldnt be a value judgement on anyone. But if the player tangent doesnt inspire you to a new way to get them back on track, I think it's better to just say that they are taking the wrong approach, correct any misinformation of OOC thematic misunderstandings, and then help people get back on track, or if they do not want to get back on track it is okay to say that for time reasons you really cannot continue to support the mcguffin in further scene even if they are personally having fun with it (maybe they can run a prp about it that can continue on?)


  • Pitcrew

    I do want to caution against using 'some players got it' as proof that you weren't being vague and/or unclear. This was a HUGE issue with the pf crowd -- since some people had Way More Access to the people in charge, they had a way easier time understanding what the ST meant/was looking for, and it was used as proof that they were not being too obscure/etc. So it's really important to also pay attention to who it is that is picking up the clues. If it's the same few people every time, it might be worthwhile to look at it for fairness' sake.



  • Yeah I hate it when GMs say stuff like "Oh it was great. I watched the players fight with each other while trying to figure it out. All I had to do was sit back while they worked on it."

    No, bruh, you wasted their time.

    I agree with @Sunny though that if it's always the same player (especially one in-clique with GM) who always has the answers, then it's likely that some side-chatter is "helping" that player along. This happens a decent enough amount that I'm often suspicious of "friends" running PrPs for "other friends" that are designed to meet RP requirements for equipment or story arc purchases.

    (You need to participate in a PrP that involves fighting a demon to get the DEMON HUNTER MERIT, so your friend offers to run the PRP, lowballs the demon's stats, hands the player an easy win, meets requirements, talks them through what to do, then player gets the merit.)



  • And people wonder why people don't ST.

    'If some people get it and others don't, it's because the ST is giving someone an unfair advantage.'

    So now I'm sitting here going: shit, I don't do that. But now people might think I do. Awesome.


  • Pitcrew

    Some people just have a talent for picking up clues and putting together answers. I've known players who become infamous for coming up with potential answers that the GM goes "damn I wish it WAS that." It usually doesn't really have anything to do with intelligence or inside information; some people just have a knack for it. Maybe a certain level of experience with a GM might give a player an instinct for their particular style, the way that playing a bunch of point-and-click adventure games gives you an instinct for how a certain series might approach/construct their puzzles, but that's just familiarity.

    tl;dr some people just have a knack for it


  • Admin

    @Auspice If your happiness resolves around no one having something they feel entitled to complain about you will not be happy. This applies pretty much across to board to just about anything.

    Some people will complain about others having fun if they are not, and think it unfair. Whether they have a point or not is nearly irrelevant - they can, and will, voice their discontent.

    If you are really lucky or good they will voice it to you, directly, so you can at least address it.


  • Pitcrew

    I recommend against using that as a metric for the reason stated. It being a poor metric is neither accusation nor assumption.


  • Pitcrew

    @Roz said in PC vs Player Assumptions:

    Some people just have a talent for picking up clues and putting together answers. I've known players who become infamous for coming up with potential answers that the GM goes "damn I wish it WAS that." It usually doesn't really have anything to do with intelligence or inside information; some people just have a knack for it. Maybe a certain level of experience with a GM might give a player an instinct for their particular style, the way that playing a bunch of point-and-click adventure games gives you an instinct for how a certain series might approach/construct their puzzles, but that's just familiarity.

    tl;dr some people just have a knack for it

    And sometimes it's just because a player's mind works well for a specific GM. Like - a lot of 'mysteries' tend to boil down to 'how much do you think like the GM thinks', so someone can be REALLY GOOD at solving one, and absolutely horrible at solving another, and the only difference is that one is designed by someone whose thinking patterns the player 'gets' more easily.

    It's one of the reasons why I really try to lean towards relying on stats and statted abilities rather than player intuition for mysteries and investigations and riddles, these days. And trying to do less gating of information and more 'here's the information, which poses an interesting problem, NOW what do you do'.


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