Bounty Ended with 200 reputation awarded by doppelgreener
4 we prefer that people don't signal their edits in text, but this is perfectly fine just stripping that word out. (see: http://meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/3454/) i've also replaced the square brackets with parentheses, but if you have a preference by all means put the square brackets back.
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[Edit: If(If you know that you have a habitually-cake-throwing character, then you can prepare for it in advance! Instead of "that wasn't in my mental script!" you have the advantage, and can have a response lined up ready! I'd discourage too many OP disintegrations, though: most lower-levels would just wipe it off and say something like "Freaking Malks!". Only a fellow Malk would be amused or distracted by it... and THAT encounter would be a delight to play! "Oh my! Beetroot? Delicious! You MUST give me the recipe! Torturers! Take this one to the dungeon kitchens: I will have his secret!" ])

[Edit: If you know that you have a habitually-cake-throwing character, then you can prepare for it in advance! Instead of "that wasn't in my mental script!" you have the advantage, and can have a response lined up ready! I'd discourage too many OP disintegrations, though: most lower-levels would just wipe it off and say something like "Freaking Malks!". Only a fellow Malk would be amused or distracted by it... and THAT encounter would be a delight to play! "Oh my! Beetroot? Delicious! You MUST give me the recipe! Torturers! Take this one to the dungeon kitchens: I will have his secret!" ]

(If you know that you have a habitually-cake-throwing character, then you can prepare for it in advance! Instead of "that wasn't in my mental script!" you have the advantage, and can have a response lined up ready! I'd discourage too many OP disintegrations, though: most lower-levels would just wipe it off and say something like "Freaking Malks!". Only a fellow Malk would be amused or distracted by it... and THAT encounter would be a delight to play! "Oh my! Beetroot? Delicious! You MUST give me the recipe! Torturers! Take this one to the dungeon kitchens: I will have his secret!")

3 edit from comments
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[Edit: If you know that you have a habitually-cake-throwing character, then you can prepare for it in advance! Instead of "that wasn't in my mental script!" you have the advantage, and can have a response lined up ready! I'd discourage too many OP disintegrations, though: most lower-levels would just wipe it off and say something like "Freaking Malks!". Only a fellow Malk would be amused or distracted by it... and THAT encounter would be a delight to play! "Oh my! Beetroot? Delicious! You MUST give me the recipe! Torturers! Take this one to the dungeon kitchens: I will have his secret!" ]

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

[Edit: If you know that you have a habitually-cake-throwing character, then you can prepare for it in advance! Instead of "that wasn't in my mental script!" you have the advantage, and can have a response lined up ready! I'd discourage too many OP disintegrations, though: most lower-levels would just wipe it off and say something like "Freaking Malks!". Only a fellow Malk would be amused or distracted by it... and THAT encounter would be a delight to play! "Oh my! Beetroot? Delicious! You MUST give me the recipe! Torturers! Take this one to the dungeon kitchens: I will have his secret!" ]

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

2 Forgot a "Solution:" section.
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If your players are playing their characters then you are a really lucky GM, and you should be proud of them.

But yeah, I understand. We've spent ages preparing an encounter for the group. We've gone over all their possible approaches dozens of times and put stuff to gently railroad them into the right places to cover every eventuality. And yet still, the group will never, ever stick to our mental script of the encounter.

The Malkavian, completely in character, throws a cake at our Seriously Badass Evil Villain. That wasn't in our mental script! Aaagh! Tell him off!

No. The player has just thrown us a bone, the ability to build on the actions of the character while at the same time showing the personality of our villain. We're a lucky GM indeed.

How does our villain react?

  • Does he unflinchingly ignore the missile as beneath him, and let it bounce off and roll away unheeded, perhaps casually dabbing at the cream with a lace kerchief as he berates the party?
  • Does the cake just dissipate into nothingness as it flies towards him?
  • Does he block it effortlessly with his staff?
  • Does one of his minions catch it from the air, crush it, and fling it contemptuously to one side?

The contempt the villain shows, the way the humor of the situation falls completely flat and unnoticed by him, will only build the villain's stature in the eyes of a player.

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

If we let the players have those characters, and then we place them in a setting in which they cannot both play those characters, and still have fun... then we messed up somewhere. Where?

  1. We let some players into our group who are just so mean and ill-spirited that they are out to ruin the game for everyone. Solution: let them back out again.
  2. We're just not doing our atmosphere-building well enough, so our sense of atmosphere is destroyed by nothing more than a flung cupcake. Solution: Ask whether our villain would let his thunder be stolen by a Malk cupcake? Yes? Then that's fine. No? Then get in his head and role-play him!
  3. We are caring too much about setting and atmosphere. We want, perhaps, the players to be hanging on our every word, instead of having fun. Solution: accept that if the players are having fun, we're already winning at being a GM! Even if they aren't enjoying themselves as we had planned!
  4. We let the players have the wrong characters for our campaign. Solution: apologize to them, explain what the campaign's about, and ask them to re-roll.
  5. We have created the wrong setting for this encounter, given the party and the players. Solution: play it through, learn from it, and change the setting for future encounters to work better with the party dynamic.

If your players are playing their characters then you are a really lucky GM, and you should be proud of them.

But yeah, I understand. We've spent ages preparing an encounter for the group. We've gone over all their possible approaches dozens of times and put stuff to gently railroad them into the right places to cover every eventuality. And yet still, the group will never, ever stick to our mental script of the encounter.

The Malkavian, completely in character, throws a cake at our Seriously Badass Evil Villain. That wasn't in our mental script! Aaagh! Tell him off!

No. The player has just thrown us a bone, the ability to build on the actions of the character while at the same time showing the personality of our villain. We're a lucky GM indeed.

How does our villain react?

  • Does he unflinchingly ignore the missile as beneath him, and let it bounce off and roll away unheeded, perhaps casually dabbing at the cream with a lace kerchief as he berates the party?
  • Does the cake just dissipate into nothingness as it flies towards him?
  • Does he block it effortlessly with his staff?
  • Does one of his minions catch it from the air, crush it, and fling it contemptuously to one side?

The contempt the villain shows, the way the humor of the situation falls completely flat and unnoticed by him, will only build the villain's stature in the eyes of a player.

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

If we let the players have those characters, and then we place them in a setting in which they cannot both play those characters, and still have fun... then we messed up somewhere. Where?

  1. We let some players into our group who are just so mean and ill-spirited that they are out to ruin the game for everyone. Solution: let them back out again.
  2. We're just not doing our atmosphere-building well enough, so our sense of atmosphere is destroyed by nothing more than a flung cupcake. Solution: Ask whether our villain would let his thunder be stolen by a Malk cupcake? Yes? Then that's fine. No? Then get in his head and role-play him!
  3. We are caring too much about setting and atmosphere. We want, perhaps, the players to be hanging on our every word, instead of having fun.
  4. We let the players have the wrong characters for our campaign. Solution: apologize to them, explain what the campaign's about, and ask them to re-roll.
  5. We have created the wrong setting for this encounter, given the party and the players. Solution: play it through, learn from it, and change the setting for future encounters to work better with the party dynamic.

If your players are playing their characters then you are a really lucky GM, and you should be proud of them.

But yeah, I understand. We've spent ages preparing an encounter for the group. We've gone over all their possible approaches dozens of times and put stuff to gently railroad them into the right places to cover every eventuality. And yet still, the group will never, ever stick to our mental script of the encounter.

The Malkavian, completely in character, throws a cake at our Seriously Badass Evil Villain. That wasn't in our mental script! Aaagh! Tell him off!

No. The player has just thrown us a bone, the ability to build on the actions of the character while at the same time showing the personality of our villain. We're a lucky GM indeed.

How does our villain react?

  • Does he unflinchingly ignore the missile as beneath him, and let it bounce off and roll away unheeded, perhaps casually dabbing at the cream with a lace kerchief as he berates the party?
  • Does the cake just dissipate into nothingness as it flies towards him?
  • Does he block it effortlessly with his staff?
  • Does one of his minions catch it from the air, crush it, and fling it contemptuously to one side?

The contempt the villain shows, the way the humor of the situation falls completely flat and unnoticed by him, will only build the villain's stature in the eyes of a player.

As GMs, it's not about us: it's about the players' characters, and about the players' fun. If they're having fun, great. If we're upset because our carefully-crafted atmosphere got ruined, then that's sad... but also just plain wrong-headed.

If we let the players have those characters, and then we place them in a setting in which they cannot both play those characters, and still have fun... then we messed up somewhere. Where?

  1. We let some players into our group who are just so mean and ill-spirited that they are out to ruin the game for everyone. Solution: let them back out again.
  2. We're just not doing our atmosphere-building well enough, so our sense of atmosphere is destroyed by nothing more than a flung cupcake. Solution: Ask whether our villain would let his thunder be stolen by a Malk cupcake? Yes? Then that's fine. No? Then get in his head and role-play him!
  3. We are caring too much about setting and atmosphere. We want, perhaps, the players to be hanging on our every word, instead of having fun. Solution: accept that if the players are having fun, we're already winning at being a GM! Even if they aren't enjoying themselves as we had planned!
  4. We let the players have the wrong characters for our campaign. Solution: apologize to them, explain what the campaign's about, and ask them to re-roll.
  5. We have created the wrong setting for this encounter, given the party and the players. Solution: play it through, learn from it, and change the setting for future encounters to work better with the party dynamic.
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