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A question suggested by

Jonas Richter
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What is this overtext thing people are talking about?
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What sort of 'unimportant' details do you or your group often fall for? What is most likely to distract you and get you side-tracked?




Do you have a question you want asked as QOTD? Post here!

And if you want to find an old QOTD The big QOTD Summary and Subscription Thread Volume 2
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Geoffrey Burrell
United States
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When we talk about our favorite American college football team: The University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

GO HAWKS!!!!!
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Steven Mitchell
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Missing ones.

As in, the group is missing some key details, but isn't going to let that stop them from spinning up wild theories based on the vastly insufficient information they do have.

I usually let them do that for 5 to 10 minutes if they seem to be enjoying it, but then step in to remind them that if they want more information, it's far easier to go look for it than guess.

And no, I don't run one of those games where the facts change based on the wild ideas of the players. (I do make notes of good ideas for uses in later adventures, or even campaigns. devil )
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Alex Bokser
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All in all they're a pretty focused group (I've just left my RL group, so sadly it's "they" and not "us" anymore). Maybe what snacks they'd like to get for the next session..
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Alexandre Santos
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Buying equipment and/or planning for a mission.

It got so bad, eating most of our playing time, that I started to make ellipses between 'mission briefing' and being there. while assuming PC's equipped themselves reasonably (no missing rope incident).
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Kai S.
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A Beast I am, lest a Beast I become
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*sighs*

Cats...shake
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Danny Stevens
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Role playing since the beginning.
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The orcs are a growing menace in the east but, hey, I think I can bargain the local lord down another % point on my coal mine taxes if I do a deal using hirelings as highway patrol for him. Only, we need to change over the elevator mechanism to get more kilos of coal per lift.
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Tom Bruno
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nothing derails my pathfinder group than the visual aids our GM lovingly prepares. We seem to have developed the habit of picking apart everything he shows us. Some of the highlights that come to mind.
The halfling that is just a living bust statue
the boat captain that has hooves and looks like captain birdseye
the elf who cannot move his arms above the elbow
The town we visited with a settlements across the river called "sample house" and "scale 1 square = 10 meters"
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Peter Robben
Belgium
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And here...
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I should really add something smart and sparkly here.
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"ooooh, shiiiiniiee..."
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Pete
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It never fails. I make them check to see if they detect something. Maybe a trap. Maybe a clue. Maybe an enemy lying in wait. Or maybe nothing at all, just to keep them on their toes.

If they fail the check, they are paralyzed. They inexplicably transform into a bunch of Monty Python style philosophers and stand around theorizing what it is they do not know. I impress upon them the thought that their characters have no idea they do not know anything. They respond that the players need time to assess the meaning of the failed perception roll...possibly for hours.

Pete (sometimes just tells them what they did not find, thus validating this absurd behavior)
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Patrick Zoch
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Two things: Doors and Phantom Traps

Regarding doors, my group has never seen a door they did not want to open, going through all the motions of listening, inspecting, checking, lockpicking, etc. until they eventually open it. It does not matter if it is a door to a close or a false door. They want to check it out. I devilishly use this behavior to my own nefarious means. If I want to lure them down a hallway to an awaiting trap, I just place a door at the end of the hallway. They can't resist looking in it, even if is out of their way and the obviously conclusion to the adventure is through an open archway. They even have a chant "More Door, More Door" (sounding suspiciously like "Mordor, Mordor")

Regarding phantom traps, this is more a behavior born of missing an obvious trap. Afterwards, EVERYTHING is a TRAP! The doors, the walls, the ceiling, the chest, the table, the book, the candlestick, the stray pebble in the corner of the crypt, EVERYTHING! Everything is a trap and they spend countless rolls investigating for traps. And of course, once they get tired of looking for them, they trip another trap and the cycle starts all over again. My trap designs have purpose -- they are in location where one would expect them and perform a specific function such as a warning or protection. They are not random, so knowing when to look and when not to look should not be hard. But unfortunately, this same group plays with another DM whose traps are much more random, so they will never be cured.
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Steven Mitchell
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pdzoch wrote:
But unfortunately, this same group plays with another DM whose traps are much more random, so they will never be cured.


Don't give up hope on that front. I suggest a steady diet of obvious traps that are already sprung, in the obvious spots as you have been placing them already. Nothing tells the players that you are fair like a skeletal hand sticking out from under the pile of rocks that dropped out of a ceiling, with the old wooden trap door still flapping quietly in the air current. Plus, if done with a little atmosphere, it can be creepier than the unsprung version.
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Eric Jome
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I don't understand. Are you asking what distracts the players or the characters?
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William Hostman
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Alsea
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Archduke Norris Aella Aledon
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Characters: Any hint of a conspiracy, and they jump all over it. Even when not present.

Players: politics.
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M. B.
Canada
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Look down.
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Ooooo! Ahhhhh!
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Strange-looking side corridors/roads/paths/etc. Also, any hints of conspiracy.
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Brian M
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Thornton
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Hot guys.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
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Animals. When I GM, I guess I describe animals in more detail and frequency than other GMs. This is probably because I love animals and have studied zoology, so like to describe them.

But the players in convention games who don't know me get suspicious, or at least curious, about frequent animal descriptions. I had one player spend his only Fudge point to determine if a donkey was magical or not after he had failed his Farmhand roll. (It wasn't, but it was a very good donkey!)
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Brian M
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Actually, I'm really not sure what sort of thing this would mean. It is the sort of thing I see comments and RPG cartoons about, but I don't really know what it would look like in play.

RE: Traps

I'm really not fond of "searching for traps" in games (though a game could have solid mechanics for it, I've never seen one), so I use traps (rarely) in one of two ways:

1) I am nearly completely sure the PCs will see obvious signs warning them of the trap, and the interesting part will be figuring out how to get past it.

2) I am nearly completely sure the PCs will be totally surprised by the trap, and the interesting part will be figuring out how to get out of it.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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Mountain View
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Random NPCs I include for flavor, which the players then decide must be important and focus on. Of course, since they're focusing on them, I make them important retroactively, so I guess they're justified. Best example was the random pickpocket orphan the group of Solar Exalted caught and decided to adopt, eventually discovering that his father was Plentimon, God of the Dice, which explains why he was lucky enough to get caught pickpocketing a group of benevolent superhumans who would go on to conquer the world.
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William Hostman
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Alsea
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StormKnight wrote:
RE: Traps

I'm really not fond of "searching for traps" in games (though a game could have solid mechanics for it, I've never seen one)
You've never seen pre-3E D&D? the rules aren't good, but are VERY solid, in that they are a reliable rule that is clearly written as a game element.
10 minutes, 10x10' square of wall, 1 in 6 chance; Elves 2 in 6.
Thieves: whole room or single object, 10 minutes, percentile chance by level.
GM makes the rolls whether the trap is there or not.

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Brian M
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aramis wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
RE: Traps

I'm really not fond of "searching for traps" in games (though a game could have solid mechanics for it, I've never seen one)
You've never seen pre-3E D&D? the rules aren't good, but are VERY solid, in that they are a reliable rule that is clearly written as a game element.
10 minutes, 10x10' square of wall, 1 in 6 chance; Elves 2 in 6.
Thieves: whole room or single object, 10 minutes, percentile chance by level.
GM makes the rolls whether the trap is there or not.



OK, maybe "solid" was a poor choice of words. Just thinking, like, a meaningful rule that makes for interesting/enjoyable game play.
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William Hostman
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StormKnight wrote:
aramis wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
RE: Traps

I'm really not fond of "searching for traps" in games (though a game could have solid mechanics for it, I've never seen one)
You've never seen pre-3E D&D? the rules aren't good, but are VERY solid, in that they are a reliable rule that is clearly written as a game element.
10 minutes, 10x10' square of wall, 1 in 6 chance; Elves 2 in 6.
Thieves: whole room or single object, 10 minutes, percentile chance by level.
GM makes the rolls whether the trap is there or not.



OK, maybe "solid" was a poor choice of words. Just thinking, like, a meaningful rule that makes for interesting/enjoyable game play.

Many people enjoy the D&D rule as playable and amusing.... myself included. It's cheezy as hell, but it is fun. when running a dungeon as a press-your-luck delve quasi-board games...
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Brian M
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aramis wrote:
Many people enjoy the D&D rule as playable and amusing.... myself included. It's cheezy as hell, but it is fun. when running a dungeon as a press-your-luck delve quasi-board games...


Some people enjoy lutefisk to.
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T'Leynti
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I will fall for everything and be too suspicious about anything I should not be.
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Caroline Berg
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Washington
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Locked doors never fail to get their attention. Hints of books (even if the books are just there for flavor) will be scoured for useful spells or information. Often the characters have their own personal goals, which can easily sidetrack the main goals... though are just as important. And I go on tangents at the drop of a hat... so I am most likely to distract others! shake
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