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> Throwing GMs for a Loop, "Dang it, stop destroying evidence!"
DocMortand
post Mar 27 2006, 07:04 PM
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I'm just curious what stories GMs have out there where their players decided to abandon the GM's nice planned run and do something else, or destroy crucial evidence that would lead them to learn something earth-shattering, etc. I provide two examples, one from me (the lesser example), and one a story from one of my GM friends.

Example 1: I was running Brainscan, and a building where the key person was supposed to be was blown up due to a failed perception roll and a FAE Bomb with a PAC shell through it. *wince* Since this would have obliterated the crucial evidence in the railroad of a published adventure, I teleported the guy into a sudden late night inspection of the facilities next door, so all was well (nobody important was hurt at least at that point in the adventure.). Since I know one of my players will probably read this thread and comment in defense - it *was* partly my leading comments that led to the inadvertant explosion, but it still is a situtaiton which I'm sure other GMs have had to deal with.

Example 2: A friend of mine's campaign (Not SR but something else) involved a party of adventurers needing to clean out a demon-infested house. Rather than explore the house's library, or look for local information first, apparently one of the players said to the others "Who would know about demons?" Another one said "I know, the Pope!" And thus the entire party packed up and left for Rome, leaving the demon infested house for another day. To the GM's credit, he was savvy enough to actually let them go to Rome, BS their way to seeing the pope, and then get ambushed on the trainride back, but it is a perfect example of characters taking the bit in the teeth and going where they want to.

Thus my question is: how have you GMs handled such situations? I fully expect wierd stories to result. :)
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Kagetenshi
post Mar 27 2006, 07:09 PM
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Just let things roll. As long as you've put a couple paths to the destination, if the players close them all off that's their own lookout. Not every run needs to be successful.

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DocMortand
post Mar 27 2006, 07:12 PM
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You have any stories of when your players did that?
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Taran
post Mar 27 2006, 07:20 PM
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I had an awesome villain called variously Bokor and the Bokor, depending on whether you asked a person or a spirit. Creepy, powerful, a mage of a decidedly unusual tradition with a powerful connection to one PC's backstory. He wasn't all that smart tactically, so his followers got wiped, but he had a contingency plan in case he was threatened personally: a powerful spirit would head for the rigger, materialize in her van, and hold her hostage. Sure enough, when the Sam made it down onto the second level and cornered him, the Bokor sent his spirit off and proposed his deal: the runners withdraw, and in return the rigger doesn't get bludgeoned to death by a spectral cane.

The bastards didn't go for it. The Bokor got a face full of thermite and the rigger survived; contrary to the Bokor's hopes, she wasn't alone in the van.

Look for another of these in a month or so; I know how I expect the PCs to escape from Bug City, but pattern recognition tells me there's no way it'll actually happen that way. Does it count as expecting it if I simultaneously don't expect it?
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Dogsoup
post Mar 27 2006, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE (DocMortand)
Another one said "I know, the Pope!"  And thus the entire party packed up and left for Rome, leaving the demon infested house for another day.  To the GM's credit, he was savvy enough to actually let them go to Rome, BS their way to seeing the pope, and....

I laffo'd heartily. :rotfl:
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Geekkake
post Mar 27 2006, 09:25 PM
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I never try to anticipate for players' actions. I never assume they're going to do something, unless it's something unexpectedly stupid. I don't even plan, really. I come up with some NPCs. I flesh out those NPCs in my head until they're living people who hate me and keep staring into my windows with knives because I'm a bad parent and keep throwing them in front of PC gunfire.

Once the NPCs are ready, then there's the situation. Just that: a situation. A circumstance. Sometimes, even a series of events. But it's put in place by the NPCs, with zero consideration for the PCs, or the players. Then the NPCs move around the game setting and mingle with other NPCs, sometimes affected by PC actions, but for the most part, unaware and uncaring of the PCs at all.

The PCs can deal with the situation however they want, and I'll react to that. They could blow off the whole run and I'll come up with a situation for that as easily as their attempts to complete it.

Consequently, I rarely, if ever get stuck. My players know they can do any damned thing they want, and I have little to no expectations. Hell, half the time I come up with solutions to their situations two weeks after a PC buys the farm. Even I don't have a plan to begin with.

That isn't exactly what the OP was getting at, and I'm sorry for that, but I'm feeling mouthy. I'll be more relevant next time, I promise.
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 27 2006, 10:05 PM
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This happened twice in the Rhapsody Arc

First in Vienna after Leela (the central NPC) was abducted. Normally it was expected the team should have spent the session investigating the various sites (The Concert hall, the Hotel where she stayed, a small bistro where the meet between the people who perpetrated the abduction took place). There was actually a pretty big scene at the hotel which could have involved running into the Gendarme and a very angry and paranoid stepsister. However, hearing a reference to "Serbia" the team immediately jumped in the car and raced off to Belgrade.

Next, in the "Finale" segment, they were supposed to remain at the estate in England where Leela lived to guard her. Instead they forced their way (through negotiation) to accompany Leela's adoptive mother who had decided to help fly a news team to the Croatian border in Slovenia. While making their way through the Serbian countryside to scope out the scene of a firefight that ended with a small Tac Nuke detonation, back in the UK, Leela was arrested by British Immigration and "deported" (read "abducted") with no one to intervene.

When the players take shortcuts or tangents, I still "play out" what the NPCs are doing behind the scenes unless the team's action requires a reaction from them. (this was done in the second case above).

Recently I ran a short scenario where mistaken identity came into play. With the team falling for the red herring, I still played out the events for the real people they were supposed to shadow in parallel. After two "game days" following the wrong marks, they caught on to their error. Had they not, their real targets would have been kidnapped by the Red Vory.
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Wounded Ronin
post Mar 27 2006, 10:54 PM
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Going to Rome to see the pope was pretty badass. I wish I were cool enough to think of something like that in a game.
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Calvin Hobbes
post Mar 28 2006, 02:29 PM
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I once had a group of Shadowrunners brutally murder someone, some CFO or something, in a parking lot on camera, and then spend three games running from corp. drones, who they just tried to avoid rather than dealing with.

In the first ever game of Shadowrun I played, we got into a bar fight in the first ten minutes, and when our adept killed someone with a single punch, we panicked, figured we were dead for sure because he was a member of a game, packed up and fled town in the middle of the night, dropping the run completely in favor of describing how our characters used to live and how they lose everything that they had that they didn't need. I'm fairly certain the GM was pissed about that.
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Landicine
post Mar 28 2006, 05:42 PM
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I try to make pretty open-ended runs, so for the most part I don't have too many problems.

Because I had trouble getting my group together initially, I had several players start a week before others. When I had to get a new player into the group, I designed a small run around his character's abilities and job as a PI which would lead him to a really obvious trail another group had left on a previous run. He did a little bit of work, but spent much of that session sitting in his car. It threw me for a loop. I eventually had to get him into the group in a far more direct way. I still believe players doing the unexpected is better than players doing nothing at all...
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Daddy's Litt...
post Mar 28 2006, 08:24 PM
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I got into gaming through my now husband. His group had been playing for decades (back to when they were in HS in the 80's) They were very practiced at thinking on their feet. The best example they gave as "how to screw up the GM" was when they played Mercurial the first time. The GM did such a good job of playing Mercurial's multiple personalities that afterthe first meet the group hated her. Hated Max Foley and were tempted to take out a contract on her themselves.
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Jagermech
post Mar 28 2006, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE (Daddy's Little Ninja)
The best example they gave as "how to screw up the GM" was when they played Mercurial the first time. The GM did such a good job of playing Mercurial's multiple personalities that afterthe first meet the group hated her. Hated Max Foley and were tempted to take out a contract on her themselves.

huh, your group had the same reaction to that run too? What're the odds.


As a side note, my group ganked the dragon. They were bitter that way. :D
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warrior_allanon
post Mar 29 2006, 01:56 AM
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QUOTE (Jagermech)
As a side note, my group ganked the dragon. They were bitter that way. :D

your people did that to huh, to bad he ended up surviving and opening a resturant. We cheesed off our GM as well, one of the PC's that didnt play very often happened to be able to play for the two sessions this took and he was running a gecko shaman, instead of trying to sneak past the sentry guns, or blast our way past them and the guards, we literally walked up the side of the building and blasted our way in about the 22nd floor
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 29 2006, 06:48 AM
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I played in a game recently where my character worked for a dragon, who's eggs were snatched. She went all psycho and took off trying to find them. Almost immediately I foudn out where the folks behind it were at , but being a gargoyle shaman, I took the time to search for every little detail. Eventaully I uncovered the whole plot, and came back ( about five days alter) only to discover that the dragon had been missing for three days. So I eventually went down to where the baddies were at (bunch of blood mages) to discover the dragon sacrificed. She had traded her life for her eggs, since i had taken so long.They were trying to open another bridge for the horrors to come through by sacrificing a dragon. oops

30 kilos of CXII later.... well, let's just say it didn't go at all how the GM expected.
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Perssek
post Mar 29 2006, 02:29 PM
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QUOTE (Geekkake)
I never try to anticipate for players' actions. I never assume they're going to do something, unless it's something unexpectedly stupid. I don't even plan, really. I come up with some NPCs. I flesh out those NPCs in my head until they're living people who hate me and keep staring into my windows with knives because I'm a bad parent and keep throwing them in front of PC gunfire.


Funny. The SAME EXACT THING happens to me almost ALL THE TIME. Nowadays, I just think of a general layout of the session, that surely will change as fast as the pattern of a blood drop in a piranhas´ bowl.

Mostly, EVERY SINGLE campaign I did was trashed from the beggining. No matter how many clues I left in the way, or how many handy NPCs stay in their to say "go here, PLEASE!", they just go wherever and whenever they want. I mean, they´re not stupid, but they are SO paranoid most of the time, that they think that anything that happens to cross their way is a disguised lure that will eventually lead them to a horrible, messy death.

Not that they were wrong most of the time, but come on!

The worst time was during Dreamchipper - they literally threw the "low profile" idea through the window, maiming, harassing, torturing and killing (not exactly in that order) everybody in their way. For example: to find out the guy with the Gengis Khan chip (the "historian"), they´ve put the only two girls in the team (a sammy and physad) to catwalk in the barrens until they where harassed by the local gang "tax collector". Poor bastard...

Mercurial wasn´t any better - the only reason they didn´t kill Maria Mercurial was because one of the players FELL IN LOVE with her. Really.

But even if they are stupid, moronic, paranoid, violent, brute and clueless, they are still my players, and I care for them - I care about the best way to grind down their fictional lifes like a banana in a multi-bladed food processor.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Mar 29 2006, 02:58 PM
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QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
I played in a game recently where my character worked for a dragon, who's eggs were snatched. She went all psycho and took off trying to find them. Almost immediately I foudn out where the folks behind it were at , but being a gargoyle shaman, I took the time to search for every little detail. Eventaully I uncovered the whole plot, and came back ( about five days alter) only to discover that the dragon had been missing for three days. So I eventually went down to where the baddies were at (bunch of blood mages) to discover the dragon sacrificed. She had traded her life for her eggs, since i had taken so long.They were trying to open another bridge for the horrors to come through by sacrificing a dragon. oops

30 kilos of CXII later.... well, let's just say it didn't go at all how the GM expected.

Just to pick a few nits, I find this difficult to believe. When non-Great dragon females lay eggs, the eggs are entrusted to a Great dragon that the mother respects greatly, and that is the type of dragon the eggs develop into. The only exception is the rare female Great Dragon that lays eggs of her own - then obviously, she raises them herself.


Just to pick nits, sounds like a monster of a game, that. Blood mages? Yeck.
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Platinum
post Mar 29 2006, 04:55 PM
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Maybe she was a mother caused by a youthful indescretion, and decided to hide it.

Not everyone has dotsw.
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 29 2006, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
I played in a game recently where my character worked for a dragon, who's eggs were snatched. She went all psycho and took off trying to find them. Almost immediately I foudn out where the folks behind it were at , but being a gargoyle shaman, I took the time to search for every little detail. Eventaully I uncovered the whole plot, and came back ( about five days alter) only to discover that the dragon had been missing for three days. So I eventually went down to where the baddies were at (bunch of blood mages) to discover the dragon sacrificed. She had traded her life for her eggs, since i had taken so long.They were trying to open another bridge for the horrors to come through by sacrificing a dragon. oops

30 kilos of CXII later.... well, let's just say it didn't go at all how the GM expected.

The dragon in question wasn't Hestaby was it? That would really throw the timeline amok.

Had a couple of characters on a run to do the very task of egg napping...

Let's just say early retirement in their case was the best option.

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Taran
post Mar 29 2006, 10:01 PM
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Ooh, ooh, I've got another one.

They would not investigate the Turducken. No matter what kind of bait I dangled beneath their noses, they wanted nothing to do with that particular hook.
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Wounded Ronin
post Mar 29 2006, 10:03 PM
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QUOTE (Perssek)
QUOTE (Geekkake)
I never try to anticipate for players' actions. I never assume they're going to do something, unless it's something unexpectedly stupid. I don't even plan, really. I come up with some NPCs. I flesh out those NPCs in my head until they're living people who hate me and keep staring into my windows with knives because I'm a bad parent and keep throwing them in front of PC gunfire.


Funny. The SAME EXACT THING happens to me almost ALL THE TIME. Nowadays, I just think of a general layout of the session, that surely will change as fast as the pattern of a blood drop in a piranhas´ bowl.

Mostly, EVERY SINGLE campaign I did was trashed from the beggining. No matter how many clues I left in the way, or how many handy NPCs stay in their to say "go here, PLEASE!", they just go wherever and whenever they want. I mean, they´re not stupid, but they are SO paranoid most of the time, that they think that anything that happens to cross their way is a disguised lure that will eventually lead them to a horrible, messy death.

Not that they were wrong most of the time, but come on!

The worst time was during Dreamchipper - they literally threw the "low profile" idea through the window, maiming, harassing, torturing and killing (not exactly in that order) everybody in their way. For example: to find out the guy with the Gengis Khan chip (the "historian"), they´ve put the only two girls in the team (a sammy and physad) to catwalk in the barrens until they where harassed by the local gang "tax collector". Poor bastard...

Mercurial wasn´t any better - the only reason they didn´t kill Maria Mercurial was because one of the players FELL IN LOVE with her. Really.

But even if they are stupid, moronic, paranoid, violent, brute and clueless, they are still my players, and I care for them - I care about the best way to grind down their fictional lifes like a banana in a multi-bladed food processor.

I feel sad because no one has run these classic modules for me. And I really wish that I could derail them to.

Perhaps the best training for game-derailing would be to play Deus Ex with the objective of killing every killable NPC in each section of the game. Just apply the same principle to Shadowrun.

Practice on video games, perform in table top games.
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post Mar 29 2006, 11:19 PM
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QUOTE (Jagermech)
QUOTE (Daddy's Little Ninja)
The best example they gave as "how to screw up the GM" was when they played Mercurial the first time. The GM did such a good job of playing Mercurial's multiple personalities that afterthe first meet the group hated her. Hated Max Foley and were tempted to take out a contract on her themselves.

huh, your group had the same reaction to that run too? What're the odds.


As a side note, my group ganked the dragon. They were bitter that way. :D

The actual quote from Rich was "Hey we have to keep her alive. No one said she had to be conscious" He wanted to use a narcojet to knock her out and keep her in a closet for 5 days.

The look on the GM's face when he realized we were serious was...impressive.
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PBTHHHHT
post Mar 29 2006, 11:25 PM
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I'll probably have those moments soon. I've been playing for years and now I decided to step up to the plate as GM. So far, nothing has surprised me really because of all the crazy off the wall stuff the groups I've been in have come up. No panicked looks and such, just sitting back and thinking... 'yeah, that's something my group would have done, or no, we wouldn't have done that, but instead we would have suggested this...'
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Perssek
post Mar 31 2006, 01:20 PM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
I feel sad because no one has run these classic modules for me. And I really wish that I could derail them to.

Perhaps the best training for game-derailing would be to play Deus Ex with the objective of killing every killable NPC in each section of the game. Just apply the same principle to Shadowrun.

Practice on video games, perform in table top games.


Well, I have almost all of the 2nd Ed. books (missing the Imago Adventure and Matrix 2.0), and my players went through most of them. The first ones were the best, up until the bugs´appearance, when their luck started going down the drain.

Sometimes I feel they´re playing a pen-and-paper game of Streets of Rage (also known as Bare Knucles in some consoles), just kicking out EVERYTHING that goes on, so your exercise is a valid one, yes.

Bastards.
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hyzmarca
post Mar 31 2006, 01:38 PM
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If your PCs are going all Streets of Rage on the opposition you should counter by having Mayor Mike Haggar show up to end their rampage.
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Nikoli
post Mar 31 2006, 02:08 PM
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LOL, with the deputy mayor Cody
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