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What if the players forget...


PhilHibbs

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I haven't decided how mean to be. I don't like being mean as a GM, but I don't want to be too lenient either.

The characters went to King Berevenenos's tomb and promised to send offerings at Sacred Time in return for his loot.

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

I think realistically when they got back home with the loot, they would tell everyone what happened and the promise to send tribute would be mentioned. So I think it would be a bit harsh to say they forgot in-character.

Some GMs would just say "they forgot, they suffer, har-de-har". And if that's the way the group works, fine. I'm not sure my group works that way.

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59 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

My players pretty much did the same. I had Berevenenos's spirit appear at sacred time (it is abstract) in Step 7. Omens for Next Year and give them an Ill-favored omen for the following year. The thane of Apple Lane has lost some popularity amongst his tenants and the other villagers. While they did

Spoiler

kill a dragon, awake a new goddess, and

generally save the day, all of this is a bit abstract for the hamlet, especially when a dead king comes with an Ill-favored omen. The group are now looking at how they can seek forgiveness from the king.

Edited by David Scott
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Perhaps there's an in-between solution/compromise.

Have it that they have actually done the offerings for the past 2 years, but that they are considered insufficient or inappropriate. Thus, Berevenenos appears to express displeasure, and the PCs have to act on that.

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19 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I haven't decided how mean to be. I don't like being mean as a GM, but I don't want to be too lenient either.

The characters went to King Berevenenos's tomb and promised to send offerings at Sacred Time in return for his loot.

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

I think realistically when they got back home with the loot, they would tell everyone what happened and the promise to send tribute would be mentioned. So I think it would be a bit harsh to say they forgot in-character.

Some GMs would just say "they forgot, they suffer, har-de-har". And if that's the way the group works, fine. I'm not sure my group works that way.

 

until something is not regularly done, I consider that not said = not done.

so now what to do ?

did you forget it too (two seasons) or did you want to see what they do ?

if you forget, I think that a INT roll for all pc is nice, and if someone succeed, do a kind of "flash back", maybe with a little penalty or more sacrifice needed than firstly required

if you did not forget, that means you decided to not engage yourself, that they have to suffer the consequences. First time, could be some nightmares every week (1mp the morning, until they sacrifice 1 POW or renegociate -more sacrifice every worship-, things like that) If they continue, the penalty could become hard curses

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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IMHO a question is how much you want the players to be immersed in Glorantha.  In Glorantha assuming a bargained-for obligation to sacrifice is a big deal.  It would reflect on both INT and Honor if forgotten.  In the RW sacrifice is an ancient fiction. Easily ignored.  

My bias would be toward making it a big deal.  Yes to dreams and then apparitions.  INT and also Honor rolls flashback if you want to be nice.

 

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On 8/15/2022 at 1:38 AM, PhilHibbs said:

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

I would just remind the players OOC that the PCs made the promise, and let them determine what their PCs do. I don't know what leniency has to do with it, unless you think there is a problem with your players' behaviour that you're trying to correct by punishing them. At that point I wonder whether this is about playing a fun game. The players are absolutely more likely to forget than their characters, and it's vastly more interesting to have the fulfilment or not of promises be a matter of intention on their part.

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On 8/14/2022 at 11:38 PM, PhilHibbs said:

I haven't decided how mean to be. I don't like being mean as a GM, but I don't want to be too lenient either.

The characters went to King Berevenenos's tomb and promised to send offerings at Sacred Time in return for his loot.

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

I think realistically when they got back home with the loot, they would tell everyone what happened and the promise to send tribute would be mentioned. So I think it would be a bit harsh to say they forgot in-character.

Some GMs would just say "they forgot, they suffer, har-de-har". And if that's the way the group works, fine. I'm not sure my group works that way.

Cut the suckers a break.  It is likely many days since they made that promise, and people from Glorantha know better than to break a sworn oath.  I would make them roll INTx5 to "remember something important", by way of a reminder, then when one of them makes the roll, tell them what they have forgotten.  It then becomes their in-game moral choice as to what they do, rather than something they forgot to do as players that got them in trouble because the GM was mean.  RPGs are about trust and having fun, and seriously, this isn't something the characters would forget, but human players have lives to distract them.  That's my opinion at least.

Edited by Darius West
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8 hours ago, jenh said:

I don't know what leniency has to do with it, unless you think there is a problem with your players' behaviour that you're trying to correct by punishing them.

Absolutely not, I don't know where you got that from!

8 hours ago, jenh said:

At that point I wonder whether this is about playing a fun game.

Call me "baffled". If I had posted "I'm going to punish them for this, har-de-har" then I would expect a response like that. If you re-read my post I think it's clear that is not what I am saying.

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The question may well be, not whether or not to be "tolerant" of this kind of omission, but whether or not it would create an interesting story of "punishing" the adventurers for not keeping their promise. It may involve the players more in their characters and the world, or they may find it unfair. So you need to know them well.

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5 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

A couple of our players kept some of Berevenenos' magic items (I recall the the super-javelin, possibly others), then, a year later, "compromised with" (actually, aided) a Dragon.  As GM I have them a stern talking to, and they returned all the items.

I was a bit mean with Harmast who got javelin (Adrinor?). I made him roll POW v POW every time he used it (once, at the beginning of combat), and the first time he failed (Battle of the Queens, no less), it flew off never to be seen again. Well, it might make a comeback. I think I said he saw it flying around the battlefield, someone else must have snagged it, or maybe it was just having fun on its own.

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10 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Absolutely not, I don't know where you got that from!

Call me "baffled". If I had posted "I'm going to punish them for this, har-de-har" then I would expect a response like that. If you re-read my post I think it's clear that is not what I am saying.

You said you didn't want to be too mean, nor too lenient, and that you were not wanting to be punishing. You explicitly want to know how mean to be. I think that being mean at all is not really what I'd consider part of a fun game, and that the simplest and best solution to the underlying matter of whether it's the players or the PCs who forgot is to ask the players. No meanness, no leniency, because it's not operating on that spectrum at all.

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1 minute ago, jenh said:

You said you didn't want to be too mean, nor too lenient, and that you were not wanting to be punishing. You explicitly want to know how mean to be. I think that being mean at all is not really what I'd consider part of a fun game...

Ok, my bad. I was using "mean" as a synonym of "strict". Fair point.

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On 8/14/2022 at 9:38 AM, PhilHibbs said:

I haven't decided how mean to be. I don't like being mean as a GM, but I don't want to be too lenient either.

The characters went to King Berevenenos's tomb and promised to send offerings at Sacred Time in return for his loot.

So far, two seasons later, they seem to have forgotten about their promise. Do I presume that this means that their characters have forgotten, or is it something that the characters are less likely to forget than the players?

I have found over the years that it is very easy for Players to forget various NPC's and promises.  Does that mean the Character has forgotten?  Maybe or maybe not, and I find it easiest to put it in the roll of the dice at that point.

I'd just use one of the following:  

1) if they took a Passion related to the event, or used/expressed a Passion in taking the promise/oath, then invoke that to see if they remember.

2) if they no Passion was expressly taken, then do they have a relevant Passion (probably Honor or Devotion, perhaps Loyalty if temple/clan/city related)? And if so, invoke that to remember.

3) otherwise, fall back on the INT x5% roll.  Suddenly, one night in a dream they recall the event, and can figure out how to act accordingly.  And if that fails, then the angry spirit, etc. comes back to haunt them at an appropriate time.

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2 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I have found over the years that it is very easy for Players to forget various NPC's and promises.  Does that mean the Character has forgotten?  Maybe or maybe not, and I find it easiest to put it in the roll of the dice at that point.

This seems a common sentiment among respondents to this thread, and I'm really curious as to why. If the player remembers, they are choosing whether the character remembers or forgets. This is the ideal state - we'd all like our players to remember everything, and make choices for/as their character. When the player forgets, we don't get to the ideal state by introducing a new mechanic to figure out what's going on with the character. We get there by reminding the player.

Is it that there is an assumption that if the player remembered, then of course the character would remember and do the thing? And that in such a case, where the player forgets, there is now an opportunity for the GM to slip in some drama that would otherwise never occur? I'm really grasping at (terrible) straws here; I just don't understand what the desired goal is for any approach other than reminding the player.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Ok, my bad. I was using "mean" as a synonym of "strict". Fair point.

Hey Phil, I read it the same way, but having seen ya and read ya fer a while I figured you weren't that mean a sort! I mean that sort of mean...
(zounds)

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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3 hours ago, jenh said:

This seems a common sentiment among respondents to this thread, and I'm really curious as to why. If the player remembers, they are choosing whether the character remembers or forgets. This is the ideal state - we'd all like our players to remember everything, and make choices for/as their character. When the player forgets, we don't get to the ideal state by introducing a new mechanic to figure out what's going on with the character. We get there by reminding the player.

Is it that there is an assumption that if the player remembered, then of course the character would remember and do the thing? And that in such a case, where the player forgets, there is now an opportunity for the GM to slip in some drama that would otherwise never occur? I'm really grasping at (terrible) straws here; I just don't understand what the desired goal is for any approach other than reminding the player.

That's a good question.  I'd certainly advocate for the ideal state.

But there are plenty of times when a player forgets aspects of their character (it is why the character sheet, whether paper or electronic, is important so as to note both the gains, new weapons, spells, etc. and the obligations, oaths, etc.).  As a GM I could intervene in either case and say, "remember you've got that obligation to Queen Leika!" or equally "remember you just recently got the Lightning spell - might be useful".  But I feel like it takes away from Player agency for me to do so.  Others might feel different, but it makes me feel like I'm now partially playing their character.  So, I prefer to use an in-game mechanic, much as I might ask for Scan or Search rolls, for the characters to recall what they have or what they might have obligations towards.  

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9 hours ago, jenh said:

I just don't understand what the desired goal is for any approach other than reminding the player.

It can introduce new scenarios or situations (aka, quests).

If the character has forgotten, and the spirit comes back to tell them it's not pleased, then it gives the characters another round of adventure. This can be very handy for when the GM hasn't fully prepared something for the session, or can be used as an easy hook to get them to do something they were avoiding.

As for whether the character remembered or not (instead of the players), also get that it may have been a fairly memorable event to the character, but then lots of other life and adventure stuff happens as well, and it can be easy to ignore or forget some things - like a very quickly mumbled "yeah yeah, we'll honour you - now give us the stuff!" - especially if the characters don't have an Honor or strong relevant loyalty passion.

 

And, on a bit of a side note, it also encourages players to do some of the bookkeeping that they usually expect the GMs to always do. In this case, if they made that promise to Berevenenos, then they should have written it down on their sheet, or other diary-type thing, and look over said sheet regularly. Not expect the GM to remind them.

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Another example of this is in The White Bull campaign on YouTube - they were given an obsidian sword by the dragonewts, and instructed to return it via a magical process at a dragonewt plinth. They never did! They, and the GM, seem to have forgotten entirely about the obsidian sword!

Now something like that is a little more obvious, the characters themselves have this constant reminder, there's a shiny black sword in their possession (unless they left it behind somewhere on the adventure, or it was stolen).

If it were ever raised in game, I'm sure Jeff would say something like "Oh yeah you returned that via the plinth, it was really impressive, but we did it offscreen to save on the effects budget".

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13 hours ago, jenh said:

Is it that there is an assumption that if the player remembered, then of course the character would remember and do the thing?

how many times have you met a player that remember an oath and says "my character forget it " ? 😛

 

your choice is a good choice for your table if everybody is happy with that.

But there are other tables, and it is interesting to share different practices, and accept that other could have done the right choice for their table.

 

That doesn't mean white (GM doesn't manage the oath at all, or GM tells them what they committed before the too late issue) or black (hey do you remember you promised that ? too late !). GM may give alerts (dreams, little curse then find a shaman or priest to understand why, things like that)

 

the fun, for me, is to manage the first time (one or two years) the oath. Then if it is done correctly, no reason to repeat year after year, their is this ritual, then this one, then this one, that would be boring, for me.

My game is more focused on social interactions, so it is more important to know what you committed. Meeting the ghost of a legendary king is something very relevant in my play. More than having a great shield. If the players remember they have a shield and use it against dragons, they should remember how they get this shield.

 

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