December 19, 2011

Gaming Etiquette

Our HackMaster gaming group has just completed the adventure Dusk of the Dead and we decided as players to jump into the Plague of Cosolen adventure.  Right now our base of operations is the Manor  House from Frandor's Keep.  Most of our players have a couple of PCs of different levels in an around the Manor.  One guy only had one PC and he died during our last battle.

Plague of Cosolen is an adventure for 3rd to 4th level PCs.  There is a little flexibility to be had since we are only a group of four players.  Cosolen is a country or two away from our current location, but not too far that we cannot journey out there.  The only issue is who is going to make said journey and how are we going to get there.  I have two PCs of the appropriate level, a 3rd level Human Ranger and a 3rd level Dwarven Thief.  Two of the other three players only have one available PC each and the 3rd guy is rolling up a 1st level PC.  He is probably bringing in a Human Fighter, but he really wants to bring in a Mage.

Halaran, 3rd Lvl Ranger
Half of the group's makeup is dictated by available PCs.  We have a 3rd level Human Cleric of the Caregiver and a 3rd level Elven Ranger.  In a small group it should be common etiquette that you don't duplicate roles for the most part and try to play something the group needs.  Bringing in my Ranger would be bad form in my opinion.  Besides, from a role-playing perspective it would not be a good idea for him to leave the Manor.  Technically he's the one that owns it as he discovered the deed and we thought it best that a human register the title since the powers that be are a bit ethnocentric.  That leaves me bringing in my Dwarven Thief.  I'm not too excited about this prospect because while he is a good character, I rarely play thieves and he's just a supporting guy in my mind.

Another bit of gaming etiquette is that you don't force someone to play a character they don't want to.  The other guy is leaning towards bringing in his Mage and that would leave the party woefully underpowered.  The Cleric doesn't, or shouldn't, fight, nor should a Mage.  The Thief is a poor fighter and that would leave the Ranger to herself.  One on one the Ranger is not a bad fighter, but we really need a heavy hitter.  With HackMaster, if you are going to double up on roles, double up on fighter types.  In my opinion, you should be 1/4 fighters, 1/2 secondary fighters, and 1/4 other.  I'd even go so far as to suggest that your fighter types be broken up into heavy hitters and fast hitters.  Usually those weapons that can deal a ton of damage go awfully slow.

Hildigrim, 2nd Lvl Traveller Cleric
The Sunday night game isn't the only HackMaster game I play in.  I'm in a Wednesday night online game where we rotate GMs.  Each GM runs his own game, so I have three PCs for those games with only one currently being used.  The currently used PC is an Elven Rouge, very much NOT a fighter, but I also have a Halfling Cleric and a Dwarven Fighter.  The Cleric is more a skill-monkey than anything, but we already have a Cleric.  I want to bring in the Fighter.  His background is that he's actually the little brother of my other Dwarven Fighter, so there is part of a hook to bring him in to the game.  The only issue is that he's under another GM.

It is not cool to blindly bring in a PC from another GM's campaign.  GM styles from one table to another vary widely.  Some GMs are a bit on the Monty Haul side and others might be extremely chintzy with treasure.  Heck, the campaigns might be on completely different game worlds and be using different versions of the rules.  There is also the blatant opportunity to cheat as a player when bringing one PC in from another GM.  Gaming etiquette dictates that you get prior permission from both GMs before attempting to switch.

Balen, 4th Lvl Fighter
My home GM, who is my wife, was ok with me bringing in my Dwarven Fighter Balen.  It helps that I've been documenting his adventures from the get-go and she was "around" from the character's creation.  I checked with the other GM to see if he was planning on continuing his campaign.  He wants to GM again, but probably with a different set of PCs and maybe even some custom rules and game world.  Essentially my PC from his earlier campaign was going to be an orphan.

Now that I have permission to play Balen, and we have a good reason for him to venture out from his current location to where the other PCs are, I'm set.  The other guy in our group could probably bring in his Mage if he chooses to do so and we wouldn't be screwed fighting wise.

As a group we could have tried to dictate that the other player plays his Fighter or that I have to play the Thief, but neither situation would be fun for the players.  Now we might all die because we don't have the best mix of skills, but as long as we can have fun up to that point, it doesn't matter.

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