Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Players: Please Connect the Dots

Here's a handy tip for any player in a game run by a non-jerk GM: Don't make the enigmatic figure behind the screen guess what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes the GM is mentally juggling more stuff than is immediately obvious. Do yourself a favor and connect the dots for whoever is wearing the viking hat.

Last night was the second session of my new Sky Pirates of Eberron campaign. We still have a lot of kinks to work out but in general I think things are going swimmingly for the early stages of a new undertaking. The players were in the local equivalent of the Mos Eisley Cantina when a Warforged hauled ass out the front door, a bunch of cops following fast on its metallic heels. On Pat's move his Warforged Warlock (mentioned previously) sauntered over to the front door and casually vented all its waste orifices*. I dutifully drew in a little pool of urine and feces on the battlemat, but I was not able to figure out where Pat was going with this.

Pat was trying to use his character's own bodily wastes as an impromptu 'oil' slick, hopefully tripping the policemen and halting their pursuit. Normally I would have picked up on this. I've been gaming with Pat for over a decade and I have some ideas how his sick mind works. But at the time Pat was pulling this stunt I was busy doing something I almost never do in D&D. I was actually trying to manage a plot, what with factions and agents in the field and hidden agendas and clues and everything. Maybe to the players this encounter looked like little more than another Friday night at Bob's Country Bunker, but in my head there was a helluva lot going on.

If Pat had simply said in passing "Let's see those coppers try to catch that robot now!" then I would have been a mensch and come up with on-the-fly rules for slipping on robo-shit. As it was his efforts were wasted because the GM didn't have a clue. Now mind that this advice won't work if your GM is the kind of dillweed that will use your intentions against you. For that situation my advice is to get a new GM.

*Warforged biological functions and anatomy was the subject of much pre-session banter. I ruled that since Bluff is designated in some Wizards' book as the correct skill for seduction, therefore Warforged who took ranks in Bluff at 1st level would be built with genitalia. And like Mr. Data, they would be "fully functional". Little did I know where that conversation would lead me.