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Thread: Their is no "Sanity Clause": DM
07-20-1999, 02:25 AM #1Kenneth GauckGuest
Their is no "Sanity Clause": DM
- -----Original Message-----
From: James Ruhland
Date: Monday, July 19, 1999 6:24 PM
>Fine points. And your previous message had some good points, too.
>But it can be overdone ("I have everything that will happen to the player
>scripted out at least two years in advance, and he'll get his oportunity to
>a Rule Action when I deem it appropriate, not sooner, not later.")
That is out of hand. Because it ignores one perfectly appropriate responce
to DM provided information -- ignore it. One possibile scenerio I presented
to my Overthane of Baruk-Azhik was to assist some gulley dwarves that lived
a nomadic life between the realms of Coeranys and Chimearon. He wasn't
interested in helping them. IMO as DM, there were no consequences. Other
times the consequences are minimal. I informed the player that his father
had already promiced him to the daughter of another noble. He balked. He
broke the marriage agreement. It irriated the noble in question (though not
enough that she would no longer be helpful), he had to pay her some GB's
(return the dowery sent years ago) and it raised some concerns among the
nobles. The player was willing to fork over some GB's, irriate this noble,
and raise a few questions.
>Say you have a plotline in mind where a neighboring ruler is kidnapped,
>and this leaks out to the player (say he has spys in the other dude's
>[...] You expect that the player
>will organize the "real" rescue mission. . .but the player surprises you,
>and instead of leading a heroic rescue mission, his response is to take
>advantage of the situation to grab a border province from his sometime ally
>and neighbor (a province which, lets say, had been disputed between them in
>the past but presumably all that was put behind them when they developed
>closer relations, and you didn't think the player would take this tack
In this case I look at my script for the realm being attacked. Who were his
percieved enemies, what plans (if any) did they have in the works.
Deployments would be based on that, and that alone. Any changes made would
be for dramatic interest only. Maybe a unit of irregulars happened to have
been in the province by coincidence. They were being deployed there because
of the abundant harvest in the province. It might make for some fun if
that unit made some hit an run attacks on isolated units. Not to ruin the
players plan (that is never my goal) but to highten the tension of being in
enemy territory. Likewise, if I had earlier recorded the loyalty as being
quite low, perhaps the people would rise up and support the invader (+4 to
the investiture roll) or maybe I had recorded the loyalty was near the top
of the scale, maybe a levy unit would form behind the enemy and take
captives from the wounded, or interupt supplies.
Because I have a strong idea of what is going on in the world, I can make a
fair estimation of what the proper consequence is for every action. The
script is not to write a history of Cerilia my self, I don't need players
for that. Its so that when players act I know where all the other actors
were on stage. I just hate the idea that every other realm takes no
actions, all their loyalties are "neutral". I like to know the
personalities of the other realms, work out their key NPC's, give them all
goals and favorite approaches.
The other thing I do is to script more actions than they could possibly
Here is a list of the story arcs I had going while my campiagn lived and
The campaign was centered on Baruk-Azhik
1) The nobility was wary of the new Overthane, and were looking for reasons
to question his discions
2) there were several factions in the Great Council, one led by the eldest
Thane, Wulfram Ironvein, one led the Grand Judge Baim Earthkore, and a small
one composed of the High Priest and one of the thanes. In general, if the
Ironvein faction said "up" the Earthkore faction said "down". I had
elaborate political agendas for both factions, the High Priest favored
anything that enhanced Moradin or all dwarves. So when the regent acted, I
knew who in the Council would respond, and how.
3) Rhormarch was still one realm ruled by the King who is listed as dead in
the Brecht manual. He died as described there in year 3 of the campaign. I
got the players interested in his realm, then killed him and started to tear
the realm apart into civil war. The players took a much greater interest
[IMO] than they would have if I started the realm as described.
4) The Chimera was collecting magical ingrediants for some as yet unknown
purpose. It was Necromancy, not a shocker, but the players had not acted on
any of the adventure hooks that might have clued the players in.
5) It turned out that a Rjurick priest of Kirken was in fact a bastard son
of the dead duke of Osoerde, and was William Moergan's half brother.
6) The ruling family of Kiergard was still alive and hiding in Kiergard
causing trouble for the Gorgon. One of our players, a female bard, was a
member of this family sent to Baruk-Azhik for her safety. She died early on
(so much for it being safer in Baruk-Azhik) but I always knew that her
brother was Brand Mornsinger. When the player (now playing a dwarven
priest) found out about the link, he was thrilled that references to his old
PC were still being made.
7) The Gorgon was on the move. He would get more and more aggresive until
he swept through all of Anuire once again. At campaign start he was at war
with Sielwode. The Overthane tried to stay friendly with Sielwode without
8) Osoerde was trying to weaken Diirk Watershold and replace him with a
puppet guilder. The Overthane stood up for Watershold, assisted William
Moergan, and even planned an invasion of Osoerde. Nothing ever much
happened along this line of events, but it was definatly a live wire. The
non-regent PC's had two adventures of their own in Osoerde.
9) Binsada imagined it could lead a great campaign against its neighbors
(this is strait out of the Binsada Players Secrets) and word reached the
Overthane, and he made a diplomatic mission to Binsada to gauge her
10) There was an underdark in my Cerilia, and the dark dwarves were
spreading the worship of their gods. The vile cults were a common adventure
hook for the players. The Overthane wanted to crush them, and there were
two priest PC's, one who had made the extermination of the cults his primary
mission in life.
11) The Orog wars. There were several campaigns against them, and one
hapless battle cost me three PC's, all humans.
11) Avanil and Boeruine were at war.
12) There were gulley dwarves living a nomadic existance in the Cypress
Valley, between Coeranys and Chimaeron. They made several pleas to the
Overthane for a variety of reasons. He always ignored them.
In a given season, there would be news from several of these story arcs, and
one to three random events. Some would have no consequences (the heavy hand
of the DM), some would have minor consequences, only a few would be things
you absolutly ought to respond to.
I wanted more opportunities every season than there were actions, so players
had to pick and choose. And always, one of the choices was "I'll accept the
consequences, I am doing X".
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