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Someone asked a question about how to deal with wanting to play a plan-focused, stealthy character in a group that essentially consisted of melee types playing a 'Kick In The Door, Screaming Death Threats' style of play, with no time for plans or even common sense stealth measures (like trap-checking).

It was deleted, but i'm asking it again out of genuine curiosity - how do you deal with that, as a player?

Although this has the DnD 3.5e tag, this question is applicable to multiple roleplaying systems, so i'm interested in answers for other systems, too.

I'm looking for Good Subjective answers here, not something within the rules. That said, any advice on the subject printed in a rules-book or internet article i'm interested in hearing, too.

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Have you asked the DM how he feels about you being the sneak guy? Sneak guys have a tendency to require more 1-on-1 time with the DM than a group of kick in the door types. –  jmucchiello Jun 5 at 17:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 33 down vote accepted

Each Game Is Different

It sounds like your problem is with 'play style'. You want a game where your cool scouty guy can go and scout, scrag a few guards, and get the players into the enemy fortress with none the wiser until the alarm gets raised - when the players are already in the mage's sanctum. Killing him. Messily.

Instead, what you've got is players who are playing 'Kick In The Door, While Screaming Epithets' style of play. And that's fine. That is their chosen style of play. But i'm going to suggest a few things to get you what you want, while also letting them get what they want.

Be forceful, but not a jerk about it. This is a piece of social interaction advice for when you need attention. Have your character step up, stare people in the eyes, and lay out a plan in no-nonsense terms. Include the stage at which the party smashes everything. Have it be AFTER the stage at which you sneak in, and set things up for them to smash everything. Even Barbarians can see the advantage in 'sneaking up on stuff', Ambush is a good part of Kick In The Door Style Play suited to your character. AS LONG AS YOU EXPLICITLY PROMISE THEM SMASHING STUFF. Do not forget that step.

Do stuff ahead of time - Hand a note to the GM. It reads 'I sneak ahead of the party, and scope out the lay of the land, looking for traps and sentries'. If the GM immediately responds with logistical problems with this (sneak speed vs walk speed etc), that is unusual for Kick In The Door style play. Counter by leaving earlier than party after rest, getting teleport stuff like Shadow Jaunt or Boots of Leaping and Striding + better speed enhancers, etc. Don't try to be ultra specific step by step in notes, just very general, like 'assassinate the guards' not 'approach behind guard 1 throw stone do this that the other etc'. In Kick In The Door style play, specifics are waived in order to keep the action flowing. So just unspecifically assassinate some guys and then when the party kicks in the door, they see corpses and you smoking some guy's pipe, gesturing with your thumb towards a hallway and going 'Hey, I marked the way to the Sanctum, cleared it of traps and guards, get going'. It's also SUPER MERCENARY to be a scout enabler.

Reactive skill checks - Sense Motive, Spot, Listen, Readied Actions - these all allow you to be a 'sneaky, ready for anything' type without needing to specifically have the party wait around while you do stuff. Anticipating Ambushes is nearly as good as setting up ambushes in terms of sneaky rogue credentials.

Flourish In Towns - Gather Info, buying poisons, 'knowing a guy', feel free to just assume that in towns you are God. Invent things to do to force-multiply team stuff with knowledge, poisons, potions, buffs, cool training for the fighter, etc. 'In Town' is when Kick In The Door players typically do stuff that doesn't involve kicking in the door - milk it.

Badass Stunts - You've got mobility skills. Use'em. In Combat. For crazy stunts not listed in the PHB. Again, Kick In The Door style play tends to be more fluid and less rule-oriented - use that. Ride the Barbarian while firing your crossbow, swing across the room on a chandelier, hell, do a backflip. Describe your stuff as awesome, even if it's just a random Tumble roll. You're the Swashbuckling Hero, in Kick In The Door. Readied Sniper actions can take out mooks about to attack a friend in the back, and crazy stuff like Ranged Disarm or Pin can be performed without the feat with a friendly GM. Shooting the material component out of a wizard's hand is 'worth a round of drinks' level crap. The game is about combat? Milk that combat for all it's worth.

Lord of Planning. If the group doesn't have anyone calling shots, simple, very simple, shots can be your job. You can set things up before combat briefly, and you can yell obvious things in combat. People generally like that, and it let's you use your brain in the combat without actually stopping them smashing everything. Which is what they want to do.

Being That Guy - Some people enjoy chessmastering a team of grunts to victory. Those people are called, Wizards, or Sergeants. Sergeants don't exist in DnD, so you'll be playing a wizard, also called a G.O.D. wizard. Treantmonk wrote a guide on this. Read it. The long and the short of it is - if your fighters don't organize, organize for them by changing the battlefield so whatever they're doing is the optimal thing. They ignore archers and wade into the melee enemy? Solid Fog the archers. They end up surrounded? Wall of Ice off half the enemies. One of them is in a corner getting wailed on? Benign Transposition with a summoned monster. Preferably one with a Fire Shield already on it. So forth.

Finally, have fun. If you don't enjoy Kick In The Door style play ?at all, and you can't find things you enjoy about it - don't try to change everyone in the group. Go and find a group that does elaborate planning and worldbuilding, and play with them. As a tip, ANYONE playing Ars Magica is doing this to a ridiculous extent.

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...well, you either give up on the idea or you play with a group that wants to do more plan-stealthy play.

There are many play styles that are mutually incompatible. This is one of them, especially as you describe the group as not even doing "common sense" stuff, which means they're here to play an action-movie game.

Flip it: think about the last time you played in a group and there was the one player who wanted something very different than what you were into (like, say, the player who wants to chat with the fish monger for 2 hours), and how that affected play. If you know what you want doesn't fit with what everyone else wants, don't try to force it to work. Either get what you can get from that game in good faith, or move on and find other folks to play with who want what you want.

It's a lot easier these days with internet games, local play and the ability to find other folks as well.

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