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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:40 pm
  

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Just finished the fourth gaming session of Robotech.

The last session was a fierce dogfight, one player's aircraft had the engine criticaled out by a nat. 20. The player made a skill check to maintain control, but then failed two piloting checks to land. As G.M. I ruled he had crashed and we would figure out the details next session.

Upon sitting down today, I opened my RUE book to critical injuries, he rolled a "17" which is "lose hand". I informed the player his character had survived the crash but had lost two fingers.

The player informed me his character had commited suicide, which I had to ask him to repeat and left others at the table silent. The gaming session continued somewhat awkwardly with the remaining players.

I have been GMing and playing various RPGs for 25 years and NEVER seen a reaction like this. I asked the player if he was angry, and was told "no", but something was clearly wrong.

Thoughts on:
1) GM fairness of treating a crash-landing with a permanent injury?
2) Player killing his own character?

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:12 pm
  

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The player in question just posted this on our gaming group board:

Spoiler:
Quote:
So, what happens when a player takes a course of action a GM doesn't like, or that the GM feels violates the spirit of the session?

Here are a few options:

Make them role-play it out. You may think they are being dramatic, or irrational, but maybe they are playing in character. Robotech for example. When Myria looses to Max she wants to die. She is still top Zentradi Ace, still fully function, but she has been bested twice and wishes to die. What would happen to a regular Zentradi Pilot, with no renown, who is beaten and in some way crippled so he cannot perform the sole task he has been created by his Masters to perform. Either he marches into battle to die (infantry, no way he would receive another mecha assignment or a command as a cripple) or he makes an honorable end before the battle so as not to let his comrades down.

Don't like my choice? Make me play it out. So far his sole purpose it to pilot mech and kill the enemies of the masters. Also you previously had made it clear that if a character was killed you get a new clone to play. No the case anymore fine, but would be nice to know before the session starts. I thought it was a feature of the "lighthearted" (GM's words) campaign.

If my character, who I am role-playing, can find a reason to live before the end of the session great, but as is he is more useless to the Zentradi than a Betamax player. That would give me and him a reason to stick around.

As for being told I'm throwing a fit because my character will have a penalty. I asked okay, what is my penalty and was asked to leave the session. Again, if I am told I'm going to play a clone I'm a clone, if you want me to build the character give me a reason. But I'm not going to waste a session playing the character with a penalty if I plan to ditch him, because he's a clone. GM's in a "lighthearted" campaign don't start off by maiming characters.

Hope the rest of the campaign is enjoyable, hopefully it will find it's balance.


In response to the player's post I simply offered to meet in-person to talk. I received no reply but the player removed himself from the group.

I will simply state for any interested
Spoiler:
At the end of the previous session I informed the player we would work out the consequences of his character's crash before begining play.
Upon sitting down with the player, I explained what table he was rolling on and why. The player upon hearing the result was "loose a hand" which I stated would be modified to "loose two fingers" immediated responsed with "My character commits seppuku". Play had not yet begun as the other players were not even sitting at the table. This was a pre-game bookkeeping session.
The Robotech game is indeed intended to be "light-hearted" as my 3-year-old is frequently watching cartoons 10 feet from the table we play at. A detailed role-play of seppuku is not something I would allow in his preseence even if it would not what I consider a "knee-jerk" reaction from a player.
After being told he would not be playing in today's session as his character was now dead the player challenged e to "Invest me in my character" to which I informed him 1) he had killed his character and 2) we've only played 3 sessions, capped at 2 hours each, not my fault.


Last edited by foilfodder on Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:18 am
  

Hero

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
Posts: 803
Comment: They/Them
This sounds like it might have been a more heated exchange than accounts are reflecting. I don't give a hoot about Robotech as a setting, but there appears to be an argument for Zen. pilot suicide that is in keeping with it. If that player was expecting a light-hearted game where death and cloning are handled dismissively such as in Paranoia, then that player action isn't all that untoward, provided they weren't graphically explicit about it. Depending on how the injury was going to be reflected in-game, to immediately opt for suicide does seem like a lost opportunity.

Penalties for losing a couple of fingers (particularly if neither thumb nor index) should be no more than a couple percent on certain checks in a combat-focused game, and perhaps a bit of roleplaying akin to struggling to relearn the guitar leading to a newfound appreciation for Django Reinhardt for having been in the same boat. If the setting has cloning and transforming spaceships, I imagine there is some degree of advancement in medical prostheses, potentially eliminating penalties entirely after an adjustment period.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:32 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
This sounds like it might have been a more heated exchange than accounts are reflecting. I don't give a hoot about Robotech as a setting, but there appears to be an argument for Zen. pilot suicide that is in keeping with it. If that player was expecting a light-hearted game where death and cloning are handled dismissively such as in Paranoia, then that player action isn't all that untoward, provided they weren't graphically explicit about it. Depending on how the injury was going to be reflected in-game, to immediately opt for suicide does seem like a lost opportunity


I added a spoiler above describing the game-environment. Summary,
1) the player's post is misleading as they declared the suicide during GM-to-Player bookeeping prior to the group actually sitting down to begin play.
2) my 3-year-old is 10 feet away from the gaming table. We are not going to sit down to roleplay a suicide.

Curbludgeon wrote:
Penalties for losing a couple of fingers (particularly if neither thumb nor index) should be no more than a couple percent on certain checks in a combat-focused game, and perhaps a bit of roleplaying akin to struggling to relearn the guitar leading to a newfound appreciation for Django Reinhardt for having been in the same boat. If the setting has cloning and transforming spaceships, I imagine there is some degree of advancement in medical prostheses, potentially eliminating penalties entirely after an adjustment period.


If the player had been actually willing to play the character during a session there would be have been no penalties assigned for combat, which is a Zentradi warrior's focus.

I have been at sessions were characters have been "maimed". One character of mine in Rifts needed a cyborg arm after a natural 20 hit him in combat. Another character of mine was assigned an insanity by the GM after a brutal Beyond the Supernatural session. I played both characters in future sessions. Not all players are up to the challenge, the same Rifts campaign a Headhunter was crippled and the player opted to roll a new character rather than convert to full-borg.

If the player had waited for the session to begin and stated in-character "My fellow warriors, I have lost the will to fight and inform you that..." I would have at least let them deliver their own pre-emptive eulogy.

Instead, after learning about the injury, the player immediately stated to the GM, "My character commits seppuku" that is not role-playing.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:57 am
  

Hero

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
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Comment: They/Them
While there's an argument to be made that a single foreign word during bookkeeping doesn't constitute roleplaying so much as indicate a desire to instead roll up another clone (which according to the player's account was a presented option), the words maimed and crippled definitely have connotations to be avoided. Similarly, phrases such as up to the challenge and let them deliver are pretty loaded language, and are suggestive of the potential confusion regarding the spirit of the session the player alleges their actions may have violated.

I wonder to what degree there might be two separate factors: the casual nature of the character suicide, and how it was presented. Many tables have had a character perform an act from which they couldn't possibly survive, perhaps in the defense of others, or to simply go out in a "blaze of glory." Does providing a stronger narrative basis make that more palatable? Does that sort of action have a stronger narrative justification than the in-setting rationale given by the player? To what degree does a given action being more in keeping with the GM's spirit of the campaign endow a narrative with that justification?

Secondarily, to what degree does the language used affect the table's response? In the game Paranoia a player has multiple clones of the same character, referred to as a six-pack. This allows all sorts of euphemistic language around the notions of death and suicide. If the player instead said something like "I'm going to grab another soda" is the flippant nature of the act at all mollified?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:11 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
While there's an argument to be made that a single foreign word during bookkeeping doesn't constitute roleplaying so much as indicate a desire to instead roll up another clone (which according to the player's account was a presented option), the words maimed and crippled definitely have connotations to be avoided. Similarly, phrases such as up to the challenge and let them deliver are pretty loaded language, and are suggestive of the potential confusion regarding the spirit of the session the player alleges their actions may have violated.


The players demeanor screamed "cold-rage" to me. But obviously from the player's post they believed they had been violated.

So if presented with such a situation, wouldn't it be better to say to the G.M. either:
a) "Hey, I don't want to play a character missing two fingers, could we do something else with the injury, like fingers broken?"
Keep in mind the open-roll by the player result was "Looses Hand". I softened the roll without even being asked and was prepared to go farther.
b) "I'm done with this character, can I roll up a new one rather then role-play the injury?"

Expecting the GM to insert a new character immediately (based on the player's later post) for them not reasonable. "Hey guys, I know we only have two hours for a session, but ____ wants to roll up a new character so we'll have to wait to start." Sorry, not while I'm GMing. When he crashed the previous session I told the player the character would survive, but I'd have to think on injuries. If he wasn't keen on injuries he could have told me right there and spent the month downtime picking out a new character. Or tough it out for one sesison and roll a new character for next time.



My orignal post focused on two topics to avoid all this emotional, psychological analysis, which is really interesting to debate, but kinda fruitless.

1) If a player character crashes (not crash-lands) a jet, and is it fair to allow them to survive but have some kind of injury/consequence?
2) Is a player justified in "giving-up" on a character if placed in such a situation?


Last edited by foilfodder on Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:32 am
  

Hero

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
Posts: 803
Comment: They/Them
Again, I don't know much about Robotech, but it sounds like there was an in-setting justification for character suicide. Given the sensitive nature of the subject and where the conversation was happening, I could see it being hard to address the matter obliquely. That said, I've known plenty of people that adopt a video game mindset of dying to start over, and to immediately jump to "My character commits seppuku" instead of at least attempting nuance hints at the setting's approach to Zen. clones being used as justification after the fact.

As for the inital questions, expecting to walk unscathed from a plane crash is a bit silly, and unless it's a setting where clones are dime-a-dozen effectively using them as a source of healing is too. A discussion on a given game's tone often prevents people from butting heads about that sort of thing, but not always.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:24 pm
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
Again, I don't know much about Robotech...

As for the inital questions, expecting to walk unscathed from a plane crash is a bit silly, and unless it's a setting where clones are dime-a-dozen effectively using them as a source of healing is too.


Just for clarification, Zentradi are a warrior race that reproduces by cloning. Each clone has basic skills imprinted, but identify/personally/memory is not duplicated in the cloning process. Any character "clone" showing up is effectively an identical twin of the character, not the same individual in a new body.

EDIT: (March 10, 2020) Added spoiler on how their nature as clones relates to the game sessions:
Spoiler:
The first session took place on a Zentradi Factory Station under attack by Invid (who pilot crab-like mecha). The player characters were newly awakened Zentradi (programed clones with out real-life experience), who's goal was to re-take the control room to teleport (space-fold) away from the attacking Invid so the station could be purged of invaders without addition Invid reinforcements arriving.

Cloning comes into play, due to the nature of the first game-session: only one player had experience with the Palladium game system, so I explained to the players in advance that they were running an enemy gauntlet and causalties were expected.

Only three pre-gen characters were prepared, an Officer, a Soldier and an Ace Pilot, but I made photocopies so I had twelve available.

Each player had their pick of character sheets. The extra character sheets were run by me as NPCs, until a player was killed (stronger Invid can kill a footsoldier in one attack) at which point players were immediately given a former NPC to play. The clones were left behind after that first session.

The complaining player maybe frusterated that during that first session two other player received instant replacements yet he was denied one upon having his character suicide two sessions later, but the first gaming session was specifically designed to give players that edge. In the second session (role-play between Zentradi and Meltran) they left their "reinforcements" behind. No more escort of NPCs. Which held true to the third session (combat drop on alien world) and at the start of the fourth (when the player killed his character).


Last edited by foilfodder on Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:30 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:29 pm
  

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Comment: The silent thief of Rozrehxeson.
foilfodder wrote:
Thoughts on:
1) GM fairness of treating a crash-landing with a permanent injury?
2) Player killing his own character?

1) If it's fairly and consistently applied, and something they knew was a possibility, then that's fine.
2) It's their character, let them do what they want with it.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:16 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
Player sounds like poke to me....

That said if I was the GM I would have probably contacted the player ahead of game time, especially if it's a month of time between games, to hash things out about the injury etc and not do it day of

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:37 pm
  

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jaymz wrote:
Player sounds like poke to me....

That said if I was the GM I would have probably contacted the player ahead of game time, especially if it's a month of time between games, to hash things out about the injury etc and not do it day of


We're a bunch of working dads with kids, we're lucky to even manage once a month. The group has never agreed on a standard day/time of the week/month to meet so ever meet-up is a juggling act.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:10 pm
  

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Comment: Yeah yeah yeah just give me my damn XP already :)
foilfodder wrote:
jaymz wrote:
Player sounds like poke to me....

That said if I was the GM I would have probably contacted the player ahead of game time, especially if it's a month of time between games, to hash things out about the injury etc and not do it day of


We're a bunch of working dads with kids, we're lucky to even manage once a month. The group has never agreed on a standard day/time of the week/month to meet so ever meet-up is a juggling act.



Not for nothing but for most people on these forums are in the same boat, myself and the guys I play with included. When I say ahead of time I do not mean at the table literally ahead of game time. There's emails, text message, and Facebook messenger as three easy ways to go about it. That is precisely how I and those I game with manage to discuss games in any way with our schedules being as all over the place as they are.

Still say the player sounds like a poke though but that's me.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:06 am
  

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Comment: 24 was the start... We are Legion.
The player got mad he crashed. Was embarrassed and had a fit.

In said fit he 'Killed' his character to 'teach the GM a lesson' and dared you to call him on it.

Then expected to play the same character "Just roll out the next clone and lets keep going" sort. And or Roll a 100% new char to replace the one he killed off due to losing a few fingers?

Pardon my lack of fluffyness, but screw that guy. He's a manbaby used to having tantrums and getting his way. Who kills an entire character over a couple of fingers? Expecially in a scifi game. Any game really.

No. If you crash a flipping jet fighter, you're lucky not to burn to a horrible death. Two fingers is a heck of a lot better than a hand. While I'm attached to all 10 of mine, If I lost two it's not a 'HERMERGURD!!! MY LIFE IS OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVER!!" That's one whimpy 'Warrior' right there. "Oh no... I lost TWO FINGERS... now I must die"

My Scottish Ancestors would laugh at this alien whimp.

The GM was being nice and letting him keep most of the hand.

I'd have unabashedly taken the hand. Tell the dude "Stick a cybernecit/bionic one on there and get in the fight. Or stick a hook on there and GET BETTER till you're the best hook handed fighter pilot in the entire navy.

Kill a charter over two fingers.... Pfft. What the hades is THAT excrement??

Breetai had half his head eaten/burned away and lost an eye. Dude just screwed a metal plate on there and kept on going.

This dude's character is an embarrassment and if he killed himself over two fingers, I'd rule his Clone run had had too many copies and file that one for no further reproduction. Such a cowardly act would seriously make me question hatching out another one.

But the base problem is the player is a jerk. Let him go. Don't cater to that sort's demands/threats.

That said Jaymz is right. Dude had a phone, you could text/facebook message him at some point before sitting down to have that taken care of before people got tgether for 'only' 2 hours a month.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:49 pm
  

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foilfodder wrote:
1) If a player character crashes (not crash-lands) a jet, and is it fair to allow them to survive but have some kind of injury/consequence?
2) Is a player justified in "giving-up" on a character if placed in such a situation?

It depends on the culture the char grew up in and the char's personal beliefs and their state of mental health...whether or not the char will kill themself.

However, if the player said the char committed suicide, it is probably pointless to stop them from playing another char...(...reset to level 1 and base rank...) But there is nothing about the situation that says that you have to let the char die. If you want to keep that char in the game as an NPC then do it. Have the 'now NPC' char have new duties, with the PCs maybe running into the char every once in a while.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:17 pm
  

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Wanderer

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foilfodder wrote:
1) If a player character crashes (not crash-lands) a jet, and is it fair to allow them to survive but have some kind of injury/consequence?
2) Is a player justified in "giving-up" on a character if placed in such a situation?


drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
It depends on the culture the char grew up in and the char's personal beliefs and their state of mental health...whether or not the char will kill themself.



There is an important difference between
a) the player giving-up on a character because that character has sustained an injury
b) the player role-playing a character who has decided to end it all due to in-game events
I would not call this episode role-playing by any standard of play. It falls in the former, not latter case.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:06 pm
  

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Monk

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yah I acknowledged that. Said that right after what you quoted. then I gave a way for you not to just throw the char away.

old char (now NPC) to new char (PC), "I thought I had shot myself....but when I woke up in the hospital I realized I must of missed my heart and didn't want to die anymore. <etc...etc....>"

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:51 pm
  

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drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
yah I acknowledged that. Said that right after what you quoted. then I gave a way for you not to just throw the char away.


Okay, I misunderstood your intention. As GM I have zero interest in continuing the character, so he will remain deceased per the player's decision.


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