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"Don't get attached to your character..."

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RulezLawyerZ

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« Reply #30 on: (18:36:52/05-14-14) »
There are GMs out there that just cannot balance an encounter to save their lives.

I reject your proposition that all encounters should be balanced. There are some things that the characters just aren't going to be capable of doing, and hopefully the players will be smart enough to figure that out:

"How do we kill the giant wizard cyborg mecha-tank?"
"We don't. Run away!"

If not... well, that's natural selection in action. And it can be beautiful to watch :)

firebug

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« Reply #31 on: (18:47:24/05-14-14) »
2) How do you handle character death when it occurs?
I created a new character and the game continued. As a GM I've never seen one of the PCs die, and as a player I've only had 1 character die (it wasn't in a Shadowrun game anyway), but I'm a writer and take my PC the same as I'd take one of my original stories' characters - they're not expendable, but if they have plot armour that means they will never die then they'll become boring. I detest plot armour and stories where Status Quo never changes. There has to be that possibility for the full range of exploration of humanity, existence, and life - that includes growth as well as death, because if only one of those exist then the other is soured by the absence.

I agree, and I would add to that something that I've found very bothering.  People who go too far into the opposite and think characters have to die in order for a story to be good.  Usually this is people trying to ape George R.R. Martin's style, and it instead ends up feeling forced and immature. 
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Crimsondude

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« Reply #32 on: (21:08:49/05-14-14) »
I have no problem maiming or really fucking up anyone else's PCs/NPCs, but I've gone out of my way not to kill them or let them die because of a bad dice roll or something similar. It ultimately depends on the player and the GM coming to an understanding. Since almost all of our dice rolls were "public," my players had the option of just letting the dice speak for themselves. I do not show that kind of mercy to my characters, but to others' characters I am hesitant to destroy their investment without some forewarning or planning.

Vendetta Violent

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« Reply #33 on: (21:47:59/05-14-14) »
I'm running another Shadowrun campaign soon with players bringing in old characters from previous games. Though there needs to always be the threat of lethal repercussion to a parties actions there just is no alternative to a group that is playing characters that they really love and have reason to want to see succeed for other reasons then 'winning' the game. I mean look at us, most of us have forum avatars based off of successful characters that we've grown attached to.

Crimsondude

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« Reply #34 on: (23:01:41/05-14-14) »
Exactly. And if they die, (try to) give them heroes' deaths.

WellsIDidIt

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« Reply #35 on: (08:26:11/05-15-14) »
There are GMs out there that just cannot balance an encounter to save their lives.

I reject your proposition that all encounters should be balanced. There are some things that the characters just aren't going to be capable of doing, and hopefully the players will be smart enough to figure that out:

"How do we kill the giant wizard cyborg mecha-tank?"
"We don't. Run away!"

If not... well, that's natural selection in action. And it can be beautiful to watch :)
Sure, if the fight is supposed to be overwhelming, you can run an overwhelming fight. But there are GMs out there that somehow get the impression that Street Gangers should have 200k of ware, toss 17 dice to shoot, and attack in hordes of twenty as a low powered encounter.

As for my supposed proposition, that's entirely your creation. Not every encounter has to be balanced to the characters. If the GM can't balance any encounter though, it causes balance issues and stupid deaths. This is pretty much common sense.

prismite

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« Reply #36 on: (09:38:44/05-15-14) »
I totally agree that not every fight needs to be winable. I mean that in a roundabout way, of course, but the players need to know that they are strong, but there is always someone out there that is just THAT much stronger. That way, if nothing else, they still have a reason to continue playing their character(s).

On the other hand, though, I've played for multiple GM's who like to give a character with 20 karma a mission where the payoff is rediculous. In one example we brought down a hotel, but not before I found the vault underground that JUST happened to have 500,000 in jewels and such. Or the island we were hired to assault. We went in knowing that a Panamanian military force was already occupying the island and we would have a fight on our hands. My excitement wained when the GM ruled that the immense heat would have made them (the militia) NOT wear body armor and only carry SMGs. We took the island in 30 minutes with absolutely no challenge.
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Crimsondude

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« Reply #37 on: (15:50:16/05-15-14) »
There are GMs out there that just cannot balance an encounter to save their lives.

I reject your proposition that all encounters should be balanced. There are some things that the characters just aren't going to be capable of doing, and hopefully the players will be smart enough to figure that out:

"How do we kill the giant wizard cyborg mecha-tank?"
"We don't. Run away!"

If not... well, that's natural selection in action. And it can be beautiful to watch :)
Sure, if the fight is supposed to be overwhelming, you can run an overwhelming fight. But there are GMs out there that somehow get the impression that Street Gangers should have 200k of ware, toss 17 dice to shoot, and attack in hordes of twenty as a low powered encounter.

As for my supposed proposition, that's entirely your creation. Not every encounter has to be balanced to the characters. If the GM can't balance any encounter though, it causes balance issues and stupid deaths. This is pretty much common sense.

Exactly. Balance does not mean equal balance.

Shadowjack

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« Reply #38 on: (23:12:40/05-18-14) »
I'm surprised you guys haven't had more Shadowrun deaths. Although my group stopped using "The Hand of God" rule because it just felt lame and allowed people to live too easily. Not to say that once someone goes down in our campaigns it's 100% over, but it very well could be. If there is any game PC's should occasionally die in, it's this one. Imho.
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Eoghammer

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« Reply #39 on: (04:28:42/05-21-14) »
I play since 2nd edition and i have seen many death either from my runners companions, or me as runner or from my players
Most were caused by player stupidity like going in small group... Some where caused by unlucky trends...
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4+++SR5+++h+b++++UB++IE+RNm++gm+++M+++P+

RulezLawyerZ

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« Reply #40 on: (14:31:15/05-21-14) »
Exactly. Balance does not mean equal balance.

Really? Because that's pretty much the definition of the word "balance". I'm interested to know what you mean by that.

@WellsIDidIt, I admit, I read some bits into your post. I agree that while a particular encounter doesn't need to be balanced, the PCs should at least have an even chance of reaching their goals over the long-term (vagaries of the dice notwithstanding). A GM who thinks the point of the game is to kill off all of the PCs as quickly as possible isn't going to be a GM for very long before driving off all his or her players (unless you're playing Paranoia, of course).

Namikaze

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« Reply #41 on: (14:51:15/05-21-14) »
Really? Because that's pretty much the definition of the word "balance". I'm interested to know what you mean by that.

You gotta get some context here.  Crimsondude is saying that not every encounter has to be perfectly balanced for the players.  Sometimes it's worthwhile for the players or the NPCs to flee a battle that's overwhelming - too often people stand their ground and lose their character (or NPC) because of the idea that everything will always work out for their side in the end.  That stubbornness will get your character(s) killed.

I'm tangenting.  The point that Crimsondude and Wells were making is that not every situation should be ideally balanced.
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RulezLawyerZ

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« Reply #42 on: (15:01:23/05-21-14) »
Really? Because that's pretty much the definition of the word "balance". I'm interested to know what you mean by that.

You gotta get some context here.  Crimsondude is saying that not every encounter has to be perfectly balanced for the players.  Sometimes it's worthwhile for the players or the NPCs to flee a battle that's overwhelming - too often people stand their ground and lose their character (or NPC) because of the idea that everything will always work out for their side in the end.  That stubbornness will get your character(s) killed.

I'm tangenting.  The point that Crimsondude and Wells were making is that not every situation should be ideally balanced.

On that, I think we all agree.

JoeNapalm

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« Reply #43 on: (17:40:21/05-21-14) »
[NOTICE: This post is designated GM'S EYES ONLY. Players advised to move along.

There is nothing to see here.

Non-GMs reading beyond this point should immediately report to the nearest Player Re-Education Center for RETCON treatment.]



As a silver-back GM of the Old School Dojo, I'll drop my two nuyen into the well:

Just between us GMs, it's a good idea to kill someone on the 1st or 2nd Run. Just to show them that you've got the stones to let the dice fall where they may.

I'm not suggesting just up an offing a PC. Not at all. But someone screws up, someone rolls a bunch of skulls, my advice is - let the mechanics of the game grind them in its cold, heartless gears.

This is probably the most important thing you can do as a fledgling GM. Done right, killing a PC is the best damn thing you can do for your game.

Sounds callous, neh? Cruel? Maybe.

But I've had players THANK me for killing their favorite PC. Not right away, mind you...but once they saw objectively what it brought to the table, indeed they did.

If you kill a PC early in the campaign (and to be clear here, by "KILL" I mean "allow to be killed legitimately through their own series of bad decisions and poor rolls") your players will immediately grok that their Fate is uncertain. Any die roll could go sideways, and you...a heartless bastard born of the loins of Hades and Lady Luck...will not save them.

Thus freeing your hands to step in, when the story requires, and maybe fudge a little. *Grin*

And killing a PC early in the game is easy to fix - they're only a few points of Karma behind the rest of the group, and the only real investment they had in their character was whatever bond they developed during CharGen. They'll do the same (grudgingly, but they will do the same) during the next CharGen, and probably build a better character from what they learned.

Think about it. If I run a game for ages, and I never kill ANYONE they care about...where's the risk? Where's the challenge? Where is the fear?

Your job, as GM, is to be a good storyteller. The job of the Players is to meet you half way, by suspending their disbelief. But how can they live up to that if they know...really know, deep down, that you don't have what it takes to pull the trigger?

The best thing you can do for your players is to tell them, right from the start, that you are an impartial arbiter - you tell the story, but the dice are sacrosanct and you will abide by their ruling. This is a LIE - but they can never know this. They must believe - they must KNOW for a cold hard FACT - that you're a killer.

Once they know this, you remind them, from time to time, by killing an NPC they really love. These sacrifices make your game better, in the long run.

If there's one thing I know about GMing, it's the long run.  ;)


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« Last Edit: (17:45:57/05-21-14) by JoeNapalm »

Shadowjack

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« Reply #44 on: (04:59:33/05-22-14) »
[NOTICE: This post is designated GM'S EYES ONLY. Players advised to move along.

There is nothing to see here.

Non-GMs reading beyond this point should immediately report to the nearest Player Re-Education Center for RETCON treatment.]



As a silver-back GM of the Old School Dojo, I'll drop my two nuyen into the well:

Just between us GMs, it's a good idea to kill someone on the 1st or 2nd Run. Just to show them that you've got the stones to let the dice fall where they may.

I'm not suggesting just up an offing a PC. Not at all. But someone screws up, someone rolls a bunch of skulls, my advice is - let the mechanics of the game grind them in its cold, heartless gears.

This is probably the most important thing you can do as a fledgling GM. Done right, killing a PC is the best damn thing you can do for your game.

Sounds callous, neh? Cruel? Maybe.

But I've had players THANK me for killing their favorite PC. Not right away, mind you...but once they saw objectively what it brought to the table, indeed they did.

If you kill a PC early in the campaign (and to be clear here, by "KILL" I mean "allow to be killed legitimately through their own series of bad decisions and poor rolls") your players will immediately grok that their Fate is uncertain. Any die roll could go sideways, and you...a heartless bastard born of the loins of Hades and Lady Luck...will not save them.

Thus freeing your hands to step in, when the story requires, and maybe fudge a little. *Grin*

And killing a PC early in the game is easy to fix - they're only a few points of Karma behind the rest of the group, and the only real investment they had in their character was whatever bond they developed during CharGen. They'll do the same (grudgingly, but they will do the same) during the next CharGen, and probably build a better character from what they learned.

Think about it. If I run a game for ages, and I never kill ANYONE they care about...where's the risk? Where's the challenge? Where is the fear?

Your job, as GM, is to be a good storyteller. The job of the Players is to meet you half way, by suspending their disbelief. But how can they live up to that if they know...really know, deep down, that you don't have what it takes to pull the trigger?

The best thing you can do for your players is to tell them, right from the start, that you are an impartial arbiter - you tell the story, but the dice are sacrosanct and you will abide by their ruling. This is a LIE - but they can never know this. They must believe - they must KNOW for a cold hard FACT - that you're a killer.

Once they know this, you remind them, from time to time, by killing an NPC they really love. These sacrifices make your game better, in the long run.

If there's one thing I know about GMing, it's the long run.  ;)


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Good post. I tend to agree.

These days I handle things a little differently though. I let the dice roll true and if someone dies, they did. However, if I was going to cheat on a roll it would be in a less important scene, perhaps against grunts. It's a bit of an anti-climax to have some low level gangers geek a pc. It's much better if they go down to a major npc. I generally do a good job balancing my combat encounters but from time to time I do screw up and overestimate what my pc's can handle. If I feel I screwed up and I don't like the way the combat is going, I would consider bringing in reinforcements or some other equalizer to give the pcs a more fair chance, or even the upper hand. Ultimately, for me it is all about creating a good story and gaming experience. GM's that refuse to kill pcs are not really doing a good thing. The reason we make characters and use dice is because your character is supposed to actually have a chance to die. If you can't die, how do your decisions matter? It becomes more of a story than a game. There is no challenge when everything comes free.

Having the reputation as a GM who is willing to kill characters is a good thing. It makes everyone enjoy the game more and when they win a hard fight, they know they earned it. Player deaths can be very rich and they can even change the story of a campaign entirely. There are so many good things that come with it that it's a shame if it never happens. Any gm that miraculously manages to not kill a pc after decades is cheating on rolls or lining up extremely easy fights. Even then, eventually someone would probably die if the dice were honored.

Of course, a GM that is a bully out to kill characters is not a good thing. GM's should try to be reasonable in their approach. One last note: It is occasionally a good idea to pit the players up against a fight they have no real chance of winning. Make them realize that running is an option. Combat should not be perfectly balanced 100% of the time. Sometimes you have an edge, sometimes you are at a huge disadvantage, that is the best way to keep things realistic.
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