In game character preparedness

Bagel
Bagel
edited September 2010 in General Discussion
Have you noticed your players having their characters prepare for specific situations they think they might have to overcome, or do they just optimize for general performance and hope for the best? For example, the BBEG in my current campaign is a devil worshipping Lich. The players have fought devil minions a couple times now and each time they encounter damage resistance because devils are not easily injured by weapons that are not either blessed or made of silver. The characters are intelligent and have good resources, so I think first thing they'd do when going up against a known foe is research its weaknesses and exploit them. Am I alone in thinking this way?

Comments

  • super_rats
    super_rats
    Posts: 24
    I've found it rare that characters research weaknesses to exploit a specific enemy or spend the money to gear up for it.
  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    I'd say that's mostly true as well. Because, well, I hate to say it, but it's metagaming. Because I've *done* research like that, and prepared accordingly, only to have the DM swap all of the monsters out to things I didn't have the right equipment for...
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Rase, have I ever dm'ed for you, because that is exactly what I would do.
  • Curufea
    Curufea
    Posts: 161
    I've not played a game where monsters were important enough to require preparation for a loooong time...

    Generally PCs I've been with have planned according to things their characters know. I've virtually never encountered player-knowledge based preparation.
  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Dusk,

    It feels like that sometimes, it really does. I wish it were true, though. I would be honoured to be one of thine players.
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    The honor would be mine, Rase, ol' buddy!
  • Bagel
    Bagel
    Posts: 11
    The thing is, it's character knowledge as well as player knowledge in this case as they've made the in-game knowledge checks to find out why their attacks weren't doing as much damage.
  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    No, sir, the honor would be mine!

    Wait, your players use knowledge checks? Oh, right... I suppose you're *not* running a campaign where the PCs are allowed the roam the planes, and they're all from the *same Prime Material world* (Also known as Primes - the characters, and half the times, the players as well). And not by design either. They're just obsessed with FR. So no, they don't know about upper planar creatures. They have mad ranks in Knowledge (Forgotten Realms) though. They're getting better at reading my descriptions and figuring out clues, though.

    ...although half the time, they can't be bothered to read descriptions, and ask me something I just described.
  • super_rats
    super_rats
    Posts: 24
    Spending gold for a specific enemy is not what they want to spend their money on. They'll probably survive the encounter anyway, even though it will be harder, and then not be set back X number of gold. Silvering their weapons delays getting the shiny toy they are saving their gold for. Unless at least half of the monsters they will ever face are more difficult without silver weapons, then most players will never pay to get a silvered weapon unless the cost of doing so is trivial for them.
  • gnunn
    gnunn
    Posts: 423
    I've actually run into a bit of an opposite problem - Overpreparing for monsters that don't really warrant prep. My players are about to raid a guild run by vampires whom the players have seen keeping pet rust monsters. My greedy players are so worried about their magic items rusting that they went out and bought entire loadouts of mundane, non-metal weapons and armor for dealing with the rust monsters, thus completely nerfing their ability to fight vampires (i.e. no silver or magic weapons!)

    They do intend to keep their standard gear in the party's bag of holding, but I was really surprised at their mis-prioritization of threat levels. Maybe they will refine their strategy before things go down... or maybe they will learn a valuable life lesson. A bag of caltrops and some ranged weapons can go a long way.
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850 edited September 2010
    Wow, that's pretty hilarious. You know, I think I might just steal the idea of pet rust monsters for my own campaign Grunn. My players have amassed a good bit of treasure and they are thinking about going up against some Druidic Lycanthropes. But perhaps the Lycanthopes are savvy enough to try and wear down the offensive power of the PC's ahead of time by sicking their Rust Monsters on'em.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
    Post edited by arsheesh on
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    The egg-timer approach to preparation comes in handy, sometimes. I think if I saw my players putting too many of their proverbial eggs into one figurative basket (metaphorically speaking), I would have the villains "spy" report back to the villains about said preparations, set an egg timer, and tell them when the bell goes off, no matter what they've decided, roll initiative.

    I'm all about players immersing themselves in the world, thinking the way the characters would, not the way a person sitting on their couch with a game controller in one hand and a printed-out GameFAQ in the other. As soon as I see stuff like that going down, its' Duskreign's Wrath Time.
  • Curufea
    Curufea
    Posts: 161
    I'd be more lenient though if a player has a character that is more intelligent than they are - to help them come up with plans, I'd be quite willing to let them have longer than real time, and to discuss things with others. It's a good way to simulate and roleplay genius level characters. Although that may occur in genres other than fantasy more often :)
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Sometimes brilliant people spend too much time planning and not enough time acting. Perhaps if I was dealing with a highly-intelligent character, I would offer an internal-monologue to the player, giving him a few key insights that the player may not have otherwise come up with, but the timer thing is still appropriate. It creates a feeling that the world does not go into hibernation while they discuss strategy.
  • Curufea
    Curufea
    Posts: 161
    True - I guess it depends on the game and the players. There can be too much help from GMs as well, and it may cause players to feel like they're being railroaded. So I think a mix is good.
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Agreed. There is always the risk of spoiling them, or spoiling the experience for them.

    Like I said, it's the kind of thing I would only use when it became apparent that they were spinning in circles.
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