dnd 4e – How to handle when a player wants the DM to hard-bend the story for his/her epic idea of outcome?

I’m a DM. My level 11 player, at the first stepping stone of a Paragon Tier, started to fantasize, moreover, insist on a particular outcome for him for level 21 (Epic Tier). In short: he wants to die, then reborn as a Revenant, also, he wants to acquire certain legendary items.

The campaign I’m DMing is actually a campaign that we started with DND 3e and played since 2008. We spent hours doing nothing but strictly role-playing without hitting a single dice. The story also emerged to be both complex and exciting.

I’m concerned that my level 11 player developed a “power-leveling-sickness” and is willing to break with the company to get the destiny that he wants to be engineered for himself. Something that I don’t want to be a part of as a DM. It is not fun to rape the game just to print huge numbers on a character sheet.

I’m in great need of guidance.

gm techniques – A player loves the story and the combat but doesn’t role-play

Together with my best friend Jon, we’re in a group of people who enjoy RPG’s. I’m GMing for several years in this larger group. Other friends of that group also GM. I’m the most story-oriented GM, the other GMs are mostly one-shots and Door-Monster-Treasure oriented.

Recently, we started a new campaign. I’m GMing and there are 5 other players, including Jon, for the first time in a group with me. That campaign, I said from the start, even when only pitching it, would be very story-oriented and there would not be many combats. So every player made their character focusing on that. Jon doesn’t read much English so we built his character together. His pitch for the character was that he likes to hit and we made a very fight-oriented character. That’s OK, even though I reminded him that there wouldn’t be many combats.

Now in session 1 and 2, there were combat moments, so Jon was happy. But session 3 came and it was mostly a downtime session. Jon was disappointed that there weren’t many combats and made his character look for illegal fights to make some bucks. Fine, so we did that, and it was great as I surprised the players with some tricks.

Now, I saw Jon during that session 3 and basically he didn’t speak much. He let the story flow and was following the story, actively, reacted to it outside-the-game, but did nothing much in-game except following other characters. Other players weren’t really aware that Jon’s character was mostly passive except for the illegal fight as they were having real fun and they didn’t see the time fly.

I’ve spoken with Jon and he told me that he was a bit sad there wasn’t more combat, but he really enjoyed the story unfolding before him, and he excitedly looks forward to the next session, even though I told him it’d be like this session 3 where I plan no combat.

Separately, Jon really wanted me to introduce his GF to D&D so last week I GM’d a one-shot for Jon, his GF and his GF’s sister (who incidentally also loves D&D, but is nowhere in my usual groups). For that one-shot, I used Candlekeep Mysteries’ level 1 story, removed a few monsters because there were too many for only 3 players. And again Jon was there to follow the story, genuinely enjoying it outside-the-game, but the two in-game drivers were his GF (very good player for a first-time player) and her sister. Jon’s character did nothing but the fighting bits or providing help when needed.

I know that the important is that everybody has fun in the games, but I want to make sure that these sessions appeal to everyone, including Jon.

I will definitely speak with Jon more about this topic, but I’m wondering if I should completely change my view on my campaign, making it more combat-oriented that I intended despite the initial expectation that it’d be a story-based campaign? If so, how should I handle this? Also, will Jon be a problem-player? If yes, how should I handle that part?

number theory – Is the story about Fermat’s writing on a margin true?

Yes, it is true. Fermat’s own copy was used in the publication
of Diophantus by Fermat’s son Samuel,
and he included Fermat’s notes. The original with Fermat’s handwriting is lost.

Fermat made many remarks on the margin of Diophantus. There remarks inspired Euler and others, and eventually all his statements were proved,
though the proof of the last one took a while.

For the general question: yes people wrote on margins. I guess this was the original purpose of margins. Many old books were even bound with several
blank pages in the beginning or more frequently at the end, to give more space for people to write their notes. Yes, books were expensive. But a book, especially a scientific one, was considered not a decoration object but rather a tool for work. And once one had some substantial thoughts or remarks when reading the text, the most natural place to record them was the margins, or sheets attached to the book.

design process – UX & Agile: What criteria could change the complexity of a UX user story?

I’m part of a cross functional dev team, we are applying Agile and also we are trying to adopt UX. Now, we have a difficult moment to estimate the UX user stories. What criteria can be involved to estimate the complexity points? Also I’m interested in listening to other similar experiences (UX Designers that apply Agile).

software engineering – Is providing an evidence of a resolved bug or a finished user story responsibility of a developer?

If you, as a developer, claim that the bug is resolved, then it is QA’s job to see if this is true, make sure that the bug is completely resolved and not only in some cases, and possibly to re-open a Jira, WHILE PROVIDING MORE INFORMATION.

For example, it happens that a bug happens in situation X, but also in situation Y. The original Jira reports the bug in situation X, and the developer fixes it. What your QA person does (asking for evidence that it is fixed) is pure nonsense. Your answer should be “do your job and test it”.

A reasonable QA person will test the fix and maybe find that it happens in situation Y as well. If they are good at their job, they will reopen the Jira and add that situation X is fixed, but they found another situation Y where the bug happens. They may decide that Y is different enough to make it a new Jira. A bad QA person will just say “not fixed” and reopen it and waste everyone’s time.

reference request – How did the story of Kim-Vu type inequalities continue?

I am interested in the concentration of polynomials of random variables. I have been reading Boucheron, Lugosi, and Massart’s “Concentration inequalities” and they give some references. However, it is a 2013 book, so there naturally isn’t anything that came after that.

Specifically, I am interested in the low-expectation regime: I have a constant-degree polynomial of Bernoulli variables which are all heavily biased towards zero. Moreover, there may not be that many terms and I am trying to set the bias of the Bernoulli variables to be as small as possible while getting sufficient concentration. I am interested also in the lower tail, so things like Janson’s deletion method will not help (or will it?).

I have found “On the concentration of multivariate polynomials with small expectation” from the year 2000. Have there been some developments since then? Something tighter or easier to use? I would also be interested in other recent Kim-Vu type inequalities as they may have reference to what I need in the “related work” section.

project management – Cost estimation from agile story points

I am new to project management. I have been through a series of lectures.
I am stuck with a problem and have no idea how to proceed with it. I would highly appreciate it if anybody could give me pointers.
Below is the mentioned problem.

I need to calculate how much time will it take and cost us to complete a project with the below-mentioned data.

Total story points – 200.
5 people working but they are not 100% available.
The initial estimation is 20 points per 2 weeks iteration.
total planned iterations 10.
Situation after 4 iterations:
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Can anybody help me to know how much it will cost and how much time it will take?


story – How might investigating a prison break be accomplished?

I can’t think of a way to concisely fit my entire question in the title, but here goes.

I’m currently running Dark Heresy 2e for my group, as my second time GMing a game (the first time was short-lived, and hardly counts). They’ve successfully tracked down and captured a recidivist who recently escaped from a prison world, but I intend for them to investigate that prison world next and find that not only was she broken out by an outside force, but that the party in question was hired by a rival Inquisitor with a grudge against the group’s employing Inquisitor.

The planet in question is not yet fleshed out, so the answers to the following questions might help me accomplish that.

With background out of the way, here are the questions:

  1. How might someone break a small group of prisoners out of a penal colony and get them off-world? I want to make it believable that the person who broke them out was a professional, but also make it not too hard to figure out for a group with a couple rookie RPG players at low level. My brain is kind-of bricking right now; I can’t think of something interesting that isn’t too easy or has already been done.

  2. How can I drop hints that it is this rival Inquisitor without making it plainly obvious, so that the party can’t simply take the evidence to a tribunal and have him arrested? Ideally, they find tangential evidence, enough that their Inquisitor is sure that it’s him, but not enough to have a trial, so that it’s up to the party to chase him down.

Any additional advice you could offer is also appreciated.

system compromise – What’s with this seemingly nonsensical Bitcoin “hack” story about a kid with 400 BTC live on his malware-infested PC?

I read this very strange story yesterday, and I really need to ask about it:

Hackers knew that everyone would be staring at the sun and away from their computers, so they chose that precise moment to pounce. Erik watched the eclipse like the rest of the world but he happened to get tired of it a little early,. He returned to his computer to see crazy flickering and movements on his screen. Oh st, he said to himself, and somehow he booted them from his system just in time.** (Amazingly, he didn’t lose any crypto to hacks, but says his email and Twitter were compromised for months.)

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-bull-run-compared-ogs

(Emphasis added by me.)

To me, this reads like a scene from some garbage TV series with “CSI” in the title rather than reality. As if somebody who knows nothing about computers is trying to make up a story about “hackers” based on what they have seen in Hollywood movies.

“Crazy flickering” and “movements” on his screen? Why would they do anything involving the GUI at all? Why would they need to wait until he was away from the computer? How could a human possibly detect somebody connecting via the network cable and snatching his wallet.dat? Was he really storing all those 400 BTC in his “live” Bitcoin Core?

And how would they get access to his machine in the first place? This just doesn’t sound like a real story. It sounds like a dumbed-down/made up fictional story which just makes no sense. You don’t just “hack” somebody like that. It would have required either some sort of serious exploit (unlikely) or the planting of a trojan by sending him an e-mail attachment or something… But is a person with 400 BTC really likely to execute random executeables sent to them by strangers?

It just doesn’t sound right to me. Even if it’s “dumbed down” to make a “good” story (it’s just nonsensical to me), it really makes me wonder what actually happened…

Is the Chronicles of Darkness line suitable for play with a Story Teller and two players?

Yes, I play Mage The Awakening (one of the core lines in the Chronicles of Darkness) with only one player on a regular basis and while I have never maintained a long term game with exactly two I have neve let having only two of the players being available prevent a session.

The key to playing with very small groups is to tailor the challenges to the characters. This of course is good advice in any game, but with small groups that don’t have a broad set of resources to draw from it becomes vital. Most of the challenges they face should be of a kind that can be directly addressed with the skills and powers possessed by the players. If and when you do give them more open ended challenges that their skills are not directly suited for, be willing to follow their lead in making the resources they look for to get around your challenge available.

This is somewhat easier with Mage where the powers given to the characters are very broad and flexible by design, but the general principle works with the entire Chronicles of Darkness.