Sunday, March 7, 2021

Doing Something "Nice" for my Players.....and the Unintended Consequences


Doing Something "Nice" for my Players.....and the Unintended Consequences
This is my second attempt at a post because my earlier almost-finished post.......I thought it was a bit much as it had some adult content about the time one of my player's PCs was kidnapped to be sacrificed to an evil deity....the method of sacrifice was the "adult" part.

I was inspired to tell that story initially because I found the printed out (huge, like most of the table big) map I had mounted and laminated. This encounter had a couple of possible outcomes, from the straight-up gruesome (for that one PC) to a TPK, or even just a complete bloodbath. It ended up going the bloodbath route, but that happens when you have three women (players and PCs) facing off against a deviant murderous cult that happened to also abduct the orphan the party had taken a liking to........

If given the opportunity I like to have really nice maps to play on, but coming up with nice maps....even if you're just finding and using other people's maps, takes a lot of resources (mostly time). I usually just end up with some props and a good set of Staedtler markers and Chessex Battlemat. If I'm running a bunch of tables, like when I'm head GM, I'll maybe splurge on some clear acetate you can buy at the fabric store. I can easily draw out one map and then make copies and hand out the maps for GMs to plop down quickly on an empty battlemat. Works for me!

If I expect a big battle, especially a challenging (i.e. potential PC death or TPK) encounter I'll more likely go all out. If I'm fortunate enough to find someone else's map (like something from Dyson Logos) I'll take and get it printed up, preferably at the UPS Store or FedEx Kinkos, but I'm not above printing it at home and piecing it together. Mount that map on some foam core and cover it with lamination......good to go, though if I'm really lucky and have the time, I'm not above creating a 3d model using Hirst Arts bricks or insulation foam.

Of course, as a GM, creating terrain pieces for table-top play is not just fun, but a means of me continuing or pre-planning the fun outside of the normal game-time. Generally speaking if I think the players might get their PCs killed, more than just the normal dangers of a game session, I like to treat them to some thing "extra". Of course if you do this enough then you can establish a pattern....

...and as a GM I love establishing patterns. Nothing like being able to mess with your players at the table using Out Of Character (OOC) knowledge. If they get used to potentially ugly battles being preceded by the GM whipping out a custom laminated map....then I can mess with their heads, and expectations, by whipping out a nice map for a mundane encounter. I once had the party spend a good 20', table-top time, checking the room five times for a secret or hidden door because there HAD to be something beyond the walls if I had bothered to slap down a full-color & laminated map.....

Good times.

Makes me wonder what "special things" other GMs do for their players that are outside of the norms. Also, how do other GMs mess with their players (aside from making them do surprise random rolls for no reason....) the former, by all means comment here, but if you have some juicy (but not too mean) ways to mess with players, hit me up outside of the Tavern....too many eyes in here!

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