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Zerter
2012-07-23, 12:39 PM
Okay, so I had this idea:

I've seen this trend in my party for characters to make decisions first based on what is advantagous for their characters and to explain how it fits in their background/character/alignment afterwards (I'm not immune to this). What I want to do is set up scenarios in which characters are confronted with what's the same decision twice, once in a situation where it's to their advantage and once in a situation where it's to their disadvantage. They should not be aware that it is the same decision (it should not be obvious at first, tho it should be when explained).

This way you can reward those that play consistently and 'prove' that a player is making decisions based on metagame factors.

What I am still working on is concrete ideas: seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice. Anyone has any ideas on that?

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-23, 01:02 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about trying to catch someone meta-gaming unless it's really detracting from everyone's fun. I'm a bit of a carrot & stick DM myself, but for metagaming issues it's usually best to leave the stick & give juicy rp bonus xp-carrots. Little nudges are almost always more effective in the long-run than big pushes, especially if you trying to avoid bad blood between friends.

NiteCyper
2012-07-23, 01:08 PM
OP:


Okay, so I had this idea:

I've seen this trend in my party for characters to make decisions first based on what is advantagous for their characters and to explain how it fits in their background/character/alignment afterwards (I'm not immune to this). What I want to do is set up scenarios in which characters are confronted with what's the same decision twice, once in a situation where it's to their advantage and once in a situation where it's to their disadvantage. They should not be aware that it is the same decision (it should not be obvious at first, tho it should be when explained).

This way you can reward those that play consistently and 'prove' that a player is making decisions based on metagame factors.

What I am still working on is concrete ideas: seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice. Anyone has any ideas on that?

Psychology has a famous example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem): Most people would agree that they'd let one die to save more than one. One would sacrifice one person to save five. However, how people decide on a comparable situation alters when the problem is rephrased thusly:



A tr[uck] is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you - your only way to stop the tr[uck] is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five.


Given the controversy over just this, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments. Given the controversy over alignments, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments.

For a great dissertation on alignment, check out the corresponding chapter in the Tomes (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547) (A.K.A. Dungeonomicon, but I think it's actually in one of the other tomes compiled in the .PDF). You know what, the dissertation is too good to not quote here.




Unlike the Revised Necromancer Handbook, which is a compilation of the Necromancy rules as they stand, what you are reading now is the rules for Necromancy as they should be. We feel there is a need for this because despite (or let's not kid ourselves, because of) the considerable amount of space spent given over to Necromancy in officially sanctioned products, the classical Necromancer does not function under the rules as written. Vampires can't run or be staked, there aren't any prestige classes that make you any more of a necromancer than you are with the base classes, and honestly no one even knows how the basic necromancy spells work. Not because they are stupid, but because the rules for such things are contradictory in several key places.

4.1 The Morality of Necromancy: Black and Gray
The rules of D&D attempt to be all things to all people, and unfortunately that just isn't possible if you're trying to make a system of objective morality. By trying to cater to two very di erent play styles as regards to the moral quandaries of the use of negative energy, the game ends up catering to neither - and this has been the cause of a great many arguments for which there actually are no possible resolutions. Ultimately therefore, it falls to every DM to determine whether in their game the powers of Necromancy are inherently evil, or merely extremely dangerous. That's a choice which must be made, and has far reaching implications throughout the game. That's an awful lot of work, and most DMs honestly just don't care enough to be bothered with it, and I understand. Fortunately, we have collated those changes for you right here:

4.1.1 Moral Option 1: The Crawling Darkness
Many DMs will choose to have Negative Energy in general, and undead in particular, be inherently Evil. So much so that we can capitalize it: Evil. And say it again for emphasis: Evil. That means that when you cast a negative energy wave you are physically unleashing Evil onto the world. When you animate a corpse, you are creating a being whose singular purpose is to make moral choices which are objectionable on every level.
That's a big commitment. It means that anyone using Inflict Wounds is an awful person, at least while they are doing it. The Plane of Negative Energy is in this model the source of all Evil, more so than the Abyss or Hell. It's Evil without an opinion, immorality in its purest most undiluted form.

4.1.2 Moral Option 2: Playing with Fire
Many DMs will choose to have Negative Energy be a base physical property of the magical universe that the D&D characters live in - like extremes of Cold or Fire it is inimical to life, and it is ultimately no more mysterious than
that. An animate skeleton is more disgusting and frightening to the average man than is a stone golem, but it's actually a less despicable act in the grand scheme of things because a golem requires the enslavement of an elemental
spirit and a skeleton has no spirit at all.
The Plane of Negative Energy in this model is precisely the same as all the other elemental planes: a dangerous environment that an unprotected human has no business going to.

Implications
It's not actually enough to simply make a sweeping generalization about the morality of Negative Energy and leave it at that. Like a buttery flapping its wings, such changes will eventually cause Godzilla to destroy Tokyo. Or
something like that, I stopped math at Calculus.

Totally Guy
2012-07-23, 01:09 PM
I have a question. But first of all lets examine the concept of reward; Reward is encouragement to act in a particular way. By rewarding particular actions you can produce the kind of gaming that you want to play. It looks like that's your intention.

How secret is it meant to be?

I think that as soon as you demonstrate that you reward that particular behaviour then the player will be very aware of choices that are similar to other choices with a different perspective. The conflict (and trust me it's still a good one,) is whether the reward is worth the in fiction consequences of the characters disadvantaging themselves.

If it's a total secret that that's what you are doing then the players cannot use that knowledge to inform their choices and consequently aside from occasional mystery rewards nothing changes.


I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 01:11 PM
@kelb_pantera:

Well, that's the idea. I want to hide a big juicy reward in good role-playing. But I don't want it to be vague, ("I feel like you are playing your character well as opposed to them (which is always implied) so here's a reward!") because that will create resentment with players that also feel like they are playing "in character". I want to be able to very directly point out OOC that a player actually sacrificied something to play out their characters and the people that don't get a reward did not in case of a discussion.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 01:16 PM
@Totally_guy:



I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.

That's actually a good idea. I think I'll use this.

It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 01:31 PM
Given the controversy over just this, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments. Given the controversy over alignments, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments.

The kind of example you give seems perfect in that it shows that a lot people are not consistent in their decision making and trying to enact something similiar would make for interesting D&D.

I do agree that a focus on alignments might not be the best idea, I'll try to get every player to write down on their own a personal philosophy of some kind. Still means I need ideas however.

As to the part you quote, we tend to make a distinction between actual evil and actual good (which your alignment represents) and the forces of evil and good (inflict spells are a force of evil, so a Paladin may not use them since he follows the code of someone that's a force of good, but inflict spells are not actually evil, so if you do nothing but inflict spells all day it won't change your alignment one bit. Similiarly solars can do the most evil stuff imaginable when following orders and won't care at all because they don't think for themselves being a force of law and good and not a actual lawful good being.).

Synovia
2012-07-23, 01:33 PM
Alignment is supposed to be descriptive, not predictive. Its not supposed to determine what a character will do, but more describe what he did do.

When you look at a particular act, and you say "a good character wouldn't act like that," you're ignoring the fact that good characters don't only do good things. People make mistakes and are inconsistent. A character may do something terrible one moment, and wonderful the next, and that may be completely consistent within the character's persona.

In two seemingly identical situations, a character may act one way once, and the other way the next, and still be consistent. In the truck/fat guy example above, I could see the character throwing the fat guy if hes a stranger, but not throwing the fat guy if he's family. I'd rather have my players weighing decisions on context, then acting unilaterally.

its not your job, nor is it desirable, to try to force every act to align with the character's alignement.

NiteCyper
2012-07-23, 01:42 PM
It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.

Reaction image

http://rayraysunshine.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/photo-of-jackie-chan-freaking-out.jpg (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/my-brain-is-full-of-fk)


I think that as soon as you demonstrate that you reward that particular behaviour then the player will be very aware of choices that are similar to other choices with a different perspective. The conflict (and trust me it's still a good one,) is whether the reward is worth the in fiction consequences of the characters disadvantaging themselves.

If it's a total secret that that's what you are doing then the players cannot use that knowledge to inform their choices and consequently aside from occasional mystery rewards nothing changes.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-legacy-discussion/316252-role-playing-intelligence-2.html#post5778559



I tend to give RP bonuses for exceptional play. So if the 8 Int character keeps acting like the 16 Int player, it will be noted, pointed out, and he'll lose out on that Exp.
While novel, this can be rebuked for the possibility of undesirable shaping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaping_%28psychology%29).

"Dude, what are you doing? You aren't supposed to bla-bla-bla."
"But my last DM rewarded us for it." You are deciding what is good roleplay, passing judgment on a player's roleplay efforts, and connecting what roleplay that you like, to power. Moot if you play for just the numbers, but otherwise...

Intrinsic motivation (http://www.intropsych.com/ch09_motivation/intrinsic_and_extrinsic_motivation.html) vs. extrinsic
When children were told to finger-paint explicitly for a reward, when later they were posed with the opportunity to fingerpaint, they were less likely to do so of their own volition. That is the consequence of extrinsic motivation called motivation crowding theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation_crowding_theory).

When fingerpainting children were given a reward because they were finger-painting without foreknowledge, they were more likely to fingerpaint of their accord. They didn't start finger-painting FOR a reward, they did it because they wanted to and then were rewarded for their innate desire. That's intrinsic motivation.

So, while RP XP isn't all bad, pointing out that one'll lose out on RP-XP extrinsically-motivates (and thus motivation-crowds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation_crowding_theory)), making players less likely to RP without the promise of a reward. One can decide to only reward for successively better RP-performance. Do not be so hasty in giving (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0125.html) your horse-players a lick of that salt-cube of power, lest ye are nipped in return for more.





I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.

That's actually a good idea. I think I'll use this.

I'll try to get every player to write down on their own a personal philosophy of some kind.
Hopefully, you don't try to enforce this too hard resulting in the stifling of character development. It encourages the player to disguise ulterior motives better. Honestly, that to me is just roleplay(ing XP).

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-23, 01:49 PM
@ zerter: You're absolutely right, in that being vague will end very poorly; and I thoroughly agree with totally_guy, that its a good idea to get the players to define their characters outlook for you. In fact, rp rewards for character consistency would be nearly impossible to give without a clear definition of the character, though rp rewards for dramatic acting are still easy to drop.

I actually require my divine caster characters' players to provide me with their characters' philosophical outlook, if they don't pick a patron deity.

Meta-gaming can be irritating, but if everyone's having a good time, you probably shouldn't worry about it over-much.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 01:58 PM
Your last sentence doesn't make sense. Without parentheses, it becomes:

Uh... that seems like a perfectly logically sentence to me... You not being able to follow my "insane troll logic" does not make the logic any less logical.


Hopefully, in trying to enforce this too hard, character development isn't stifled. It encourages the player to disguise ulterior motives better. Honestly, that to me is just roleplay(ing XP).


What Synova said

I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.

Because I'm me I'd like that to be in a original way and this seems like a good way to do that because you're basically playing your campaign as normal and at some point you're saying, "Hey guys, even though we had a perfectly normal session there was actually an additional layer of thought behind it." Which in my book is good DMing, but that might just be insane troll logic.

I also don't worry about meta-gaming really, we have great sessions and when not DMing I tend to be the worst meta-gamer in the group. I just want to (slightly) encourage people to play in-character.

Synovia
2012-07-23, 02:01 PM
I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.

The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".

Zerter
2012-07-23, 02:08 PM
The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".

No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions. We don't have any scenario's yet but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.

I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.

I gotta go by the way, but I'll be back later today.

FistsFullofDice
2012-07-23, 02:14 PM
Anyone has any ideas on that?

Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good. I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.

Totally Guy
2012-07-23, 02:37 PM
http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-legacy-discussion/316252-role-playing-intelligence-2.html#post5778559

How do you sustain that dynamic?

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-23, 02:37 PM
I think I should clarify my position on what is bad metagaming vs. what is unacceptable metagaming.

Bad metagaming is things like playing your character smarter than his int would indicate or choosing not to charge because the dm said the enemy readied an action, even though you've built a charger that has otherwise been fighting with reckless abandon. While these are annoying, they should be neither punished nor rewarded, though a discussion might be in order.

Unnacceptable metagaming is things like saying, in character, "That's a troll! we need to use fire or acid, otherwise we won't be able to kill it." right after hearing the description even though your character has no ranks in any knowledge skills and you didn't even roll the dice; or having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party. These are the kinds of things that should be actively discouraged. I do however feel that these things should be discouraged by rewarding their opposite behaviors, rather than by punishing them directly.

These are your friends, not your children, after all. (usually)

Synovia
2012-07-23, 02:42 PM
No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions. We don't have any scenario's yet but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.

You can't flesh out a full personality in a couple of lines on a piece of paper. Character definitions/bios/etc are skeletons. The real character is what is in their head.



I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.
No, they're not free to go against what they have on the page, because you're penalizing them for that.

Forget whats on their sheets. Put them in situations where they have to make interesting decisions, and then watch the fallout.

SowZ
2012-07-23, 02:44 PM
Trying to catch your players in a trap to prove to them they are roleplaying poorly may detract from their fun or upset them. If you feel they are metagaming, bring it up a bit but let the players control their own characters. As long as the story works and everyone is having a good time a DM doesn't need to worry too much about alignment.

Besides, roleplaying should go 'what would my character do' before 'what would my alignment do' otherwise you, as the DM, limit certain types of personalities and motivations and inadvertently encourage shallow characters. Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.

A good character is just as vulnerable to this and to say, "That isn't a good action so a good character shouldn't do it" or something similar takes away the possibility of much character development. Unless it is something like slaughtering a peasant, I think it best to just leave it.

Tyndmyr
2012-07-23, 02:45 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about trying to catch someone meta-gaming unless it's really detracting from everyone's fun. I'm a bit of a carrot & stick DM myself, but for metagaming issues it's usually best to leave the stick & give juicy rp bonus xp-carrots. Little nudges are almost always more effective in the long-run than big pushes, especially if you trying to avoid bad blood between friends.

This. Giving reliable little bonuses for roleplaying your char well, even when it's not mechanically advantageous to you will make your players happy(and at least a little tempted to pursue the bonus xp nuggets).

A bigger "you're hypocrites" scenario will lead to all manner of justifying why they are not, in fact, hypocrites, and justifications as to why both decisions were reasonable for their char(and who knows, they might be).

NiteCyper
2012-07-23, 03:43 PM
http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-legacy-discussion/316252-role-playing-intelligence-2.html#post5778559
How do you sustain that dynamic?
I'm not sure what you mean, but I hope the elaboration in this post, which reinforces ideas that I've made previously, suffices to answer.

It's funny how empty that quotes of my posts are because the Giant in the Playground Forums quoting doesn't quote nested quotes.


I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.

Because I'm me I'd like that to be in a original way and this seems like a good way to do that because you're basically playing your campaign as normal and at some point you're saying, "Hey guys, even though we had a perfectly normal session there was actually an additional layer of thought behind it." Which in my book is good DMing, but that might just be insane troll logic.

I also don't worry about meta-gaming really, we have great sessions and when not DMing I tend to be the worst meta-gamer in the group. I just want to (slightly) encourage people to play in-character.


Sorry about the insane troll logic comment, I've taken that down since I understand that paragraph. Let me reassert and elaborate on how the following still doesn't make sense (of the two paragraphs of yours that I initially didn't understand):


It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.

I'm sure that by "intent" you mean "intend".
By "than will be", do you mean "then if I am"?
By "and then explain the logic why", do you mean ", I will explain the logic as to why"?


My point about motivation-crowding (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13603202&postcount=9) still stands, though you may have missed it due to my constant reconstruction.

Here's an example of it: When I was in elementary school, we had a yearly raffle. Raffle tickets were earned by doing good deeds with the easiest and most common source of tickets stemming from the disposal of litter on the grounds, and being spotted by a supervisor while doing so. Looking back on it now, it definitely suffered from the motivation crowd theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation_crowding_theory). If there was litter in front of me and no supervisor around, I'd think "why throw this away when there's no supervisor around to give me a raffle ticket for disposing of it? I could not dispose of it and save until there is one." At that point, the system has backfired. The problem is due to, but I don't want to go into detail about, schedules of reinforcement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement#Schedules_of_reinforcement).

A second and perfect example is the Underdome in Borderlands. Killing enemies normally rewards XP and has a chance of dropping gear. But, in the Underdome, kills do not reward XP, and on average, the loot that appears (not from the enemies) at the end of five waves (which you may not necessarily reach, being a binary (http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=1533.0) check) is bad.

Now, to bring it back to D&D, players may suffer from the same problem. The two main sources of entertainment for playing are crunch and roleplay. Combat is rewarded with goods and martial glory. We don't know what those goods are until we loot the bodies. We are rewarded for martial prowess with martial glory. This is all known to rely on the encounters generated by the DM themself. Too weak or too powerful enemies = bad combat.

I can only recall the DM encouraging roleplaying by roleplaying themself. Rather than using extrinsic motivation, the DM intrinsically motivates by making an example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modelling_(psychology)). Provide me with a good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward? Avoid the grey area that is social interaction that is supposed to be covered by the skill system (as via Diplomacy, Bluff, etc.).



The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".
This supports what I quoted of myself in EN World in this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13603202&postcount=9) post.


No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions.


You can't flesh out a full personality in a couple of lines on a piece of paper. Character definitions/bios/etc are skeletons. The real character is what is in their head.

>implying character definition is not an ongoing process


I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.


No, they're not free to go against what they have on the page, because you're penalizing them for that.

Rewarding being predictable and not rewarding character development is a bad thing. Another way to look at what you're doing is asking someone to write a story, and then giving them a treat based upon whether or not that you think it's good.

You can make or break someone in a way that they shouldn't necessarily be affected by a D&D game (I'm talking about their self-worth as a writer), and unless one possesses serious literary credentials, I don't think that you should be trusted with that power. It's not something that should be done without serious credentials, because otherwise it's an out-right, pretentious ****-move.

The player is being encouraged to fit the personality to do what they want into their background. That sentence sounds like what you intend, but I mean to point out the flaw in creating a character that is narrow in code of conduct. The chaotic player will be rewarded more easily because they can do what they want and explain it as being cuckoolandy (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Cloudcuckoolander) after the fact. They could be doing something along the same lawful vein, but just explain that it's being done for different reasons each time. Even adhering to chaos is lawful in its own way.


Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good.
That refers to delayed/deferred gratification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_gratification).


I think I should clarify my position on what is bad metagaming vs. what is unacceptable metagaming.

Bad metagaming is things like playing your character smarter than his int would indicate or choosing not to charge because the dm said the enemy readied an action, even though you've built a charger that has otherwise been fighting with reckless abandon. While these are annoying, they should be neither punished nor rewarded, though a discussion might be in order.

Unnacceptable metagaming is things like saying, in character, "That's a troll! we need to use fire or acid, otherwise we won't be able to kill it." right after hearing the description even though your character has no ranks in any knowledge skills and you didn't even roll the dice; or having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party. These are the kinds of things that should be actively discouraged. I do however feel that these things should be discouraged by rewarding their opposite behaviors, rather than by punishing them directly.

These are your friends, not your children, after all. (usually)

I agree on the difference that you define (inferrable which is a real word, spell-checker).

I do not agree with your feelings on your method of motivation. You have the misconception that punishment is something that belongs to a particular demographic. Rather than by demographic, the form of motivation (A.K.A. operant conditioning) should be categorized by such as the behaviour to which it is applied and the (expected) outcome.

What should be known is that punishment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment_%28psychology%29) is only effective to "reduce[] the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future". It is not to be used to encourage. See also negative reinforcement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement#Positive_and_negative_reinforcement) which can be confused with punishment. Punishment is the application of pain/displeasure. Negative reinforcement is the removal of pleasure.


Trying to catch your players in a trap to prove to them they are roleplaying poorly may detract from their fun or upset them. If you feel they are metagaming, bring it up a bit but let the players control their own characters. As long as the story works and everyone is having a good time a DM doesn't need to worry too much about alignment.

Besides, roleplaying should go 'what would my character do' before 'what would my alignment do' otherwise you, as the DM, limit certain types of personalities and motivations and inadvertently encourage shallow characters. Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.

A good character is just as vulnerable to this and to say, "That isn't a good action so a good character shouldn't do it" or something similar takes away the possibility of much character development. Unless it is something like slaughtering a peasant, I think it best to just leave it.
I agree with SowZ.


Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.
SowZ essentially brings up that the issue is also about communism vs. capitalism and enlightened self-interest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_self-interest).


This. Giving reliable little bonuses for roleplaying your char well, even when it's not mechanically advantageous to you will make your players happy(and at least a little tempted to pursue the bonus xp nuggets).
I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
"What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give me two more treats."

Potential thing(s) to respond to


I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.

We don't have any scenario's yet
but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.

kyoryu
2012-07-23, 03:52 PM
To follow up on Totally Guy's post, Burning Wheel does exactly what he suggests.

Character-defining things (beliefs, traits, instincts) generate a second award path from the typical advance-for-doing-stuff mechanics. These rewards (philosophically similar to fate points) are, in a lot of ways, the meat of the system, and they really define how characters can pull themselves along.

So, BW manages to avoid a number of these issues in interesting ways.

1) Characters are awarded for going along with their Instincts and Traits *when doing so is a detriment*.
2) Characters are awarded benefit for pursuing their Beliefs. They can also be awarded benefits for *breaking* their Beliefs - if doing so is done in a way that reinforces said Belief. This would be like Batman struggling with a decision to kill a villain to save a city. Doing so would go against his Belief, but in this case "the exception proves the rule" as most would have no issue with this.
3) Two of the three categories are defined by the players themselves, and *can be changed* to show character growth.
4) Traits are periodically voted on/off based on how the character has been played. If you have the Cowardly trait and don't play it up, you lose it.

The end result is, in my experience, a system which is much more focused on actual roleplaying than most. This seems to be pretty common with BW players.

Tyndmyr
2012-07-23, 03:53 PM
I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
"What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give

It can absolutely go too far...but balance in terms of what you reward definitely has to be a thing. Reward only combat, and things tend to skew towards combat solutions. Reward only talking, and pretty soon we have sob stories for xp.

I like to reward cleverness, creative solutions, flavorful actions, and of course, completing challenges. The exact mix is of course up for debate, but you'll want to balance them in some way.

SowZ
2012-07-23, 03:59 PM
For me, roleplaying is its own reward. I do it because I enjoy it. Some players do it for the same reasons, other players don't have as much fun with it. IF a player has less fun with it, I don't punish them for focusing on what they enjoy. For this reason, I don't give roleplaying XP. I make sure players roleplay 'enough' that it doesn't take the players who do enjoy rp out of it. But I won't punish or reward people for being better at developing the story or better actors. At least not in D&D, where the game itself doesn't encourage that.

NiteCyper
2012-07-23, 04:03 PM
I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
"What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give me two more treats."
It can absolutely go too far...but balance in terms of what you reward definitely has to be a thing. Reward only combat, and things tend to skew towards combat solutions. Reward only talking, and pretty soon we have sob stories for xp.

I like to reward cleverness, creative solutions, flavorful actions, and of course, completing challenges. The exact mix is of course up for debate, but you'll want to balance them in some way.
I should've added that the important thing to fix the possibility of that situation is to intrinsically motivate instead of extrinsically.
Extrinsic motivation reward: The player does it for the reward.
Intrinsic motivation reward: The player does it for its own sake and is rewarded.

That situation is a Skinner box (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinner_box), where the lab rat is the player, the pressing of the lever is having the DM recognize roleplay that deserves XP, and the food dispenser (or electrode inserted into the (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleasure_center#Rodent_experiments) pleasure center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleasure_center)) is XP. Yay, science!

Another pithy explanation: Determining combat effectivity is straightforward. There are definite numbers to go by. Determining how good roleplay is isn't. Compare ice sculptures to oil paintings to graphic designs to the art of, even, throwing a baseball. There is the curveball (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball), slider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slider), and slurve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slurve). One may throw the best curveball while another throws the best slider. They're styles, and the debate of which is the best could probably never end.

Of course, picking out particularly good or bad examples isn't hard. I mean, let me be clear, I just typed a sentence that can't be wrong, ipso facto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology). But, outstanding instances of excellence are what normal roleplay XP is for. The system the OP (Zerter) proposes can succeed, but only, and I say again, with sufficient literary merit and adhering to the proper form of psychological motivation. Not that extrinsic motivation is impossible, but motivation-crowding is immoral (unless the player is an addict).

Totally Guy
2012-07-23, 04:03 PM
Check out the Dungeon World character sheets for a decent interpretation of XP for alignment use. The Kickstarter for this game did really well.

Cleric:
Good: When you put the dead to rest or bring a friend back from the brink mark XP.
Evil: When you disturb the dead mark XP.

Fighter:
Good: When you defend those weaker than you mark XP.
Neutral: When you defeat a worthy opponent mark XP.
Evil: When you kill a defenseless or surrendered enemy mark XP.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 05:00 PM
Okay, first of all. I am now thinking about fleshing this out even more and making it a actual game between two high beings that have a bet of some kind. This way if a player gets rewarded and another player wants to open a discussion it can be held IC and if the player makes a valid point the being can reward him as well. Also I can just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic AND I can have an literal deus ex machina which adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!


Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good. I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.

A good contribution, though I use it to some extent already. Not based on good/evil but more in the sense that doing good stuff for people will be activally remembered by those people (I make sure of that) and doing bad things to people or society can come back to bite you in the ass (people will come looking for revenge if it makes sense for them, you can be put on wanted posters if linked to a crime leading to... stuff.).


I'm sure that by "intent" you mean "intend".
By "than will be", do you mean "then if I am"?
By " and then explain the logic why", do you mean ", I will explain the logic as to why"?


It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.

Okay, I don't really understand what you mean. I'll believe you when you say the sentence is not build right so I'll try to break down what I am saying:

It's not meant to be a secret --> I mean: the players are not supposed to know the scenarios are also (also meaning that they will be logical scenarios in the campaign world consistent with their adventure/quests/whatever) set up to test if they play their characters consistently, but,

After I play out the scenarios ("I intent to 'play this out') there might be one or more players that receive a reward while others do not, the players that do not receive a reward will most likely complain about it and then it was my intention to explain the OOC logic. Meaning it is set up as a secret initially but it is meant to be explained eventually and therefore is not really a secret.



I can only recall the DM encouraging roleplaying by roleplaying themself. Rather than using extrinsic motivation, the DM intrinsically motivates by making an example. Provide me with a good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward? Avoid the grey area that is social interaction that is supposed to be covered by the skill system (as via Diplomacy, Bluff, etc.).

See the thing is, I don't disagree with you. It's just that I want to put in a reward one time and see what happens and I want to do that in a thought out manner. This for any number of reasons: the guy that's always role-playing well but seeing the meta-gamers get the mechanical rewards all the time might get some satisfaction out of it (this is not really as strong in my campaigns as in others, but still), it might make players reflect, it might lead to an interesting discussion in which I have to concede that I was wrong (which makes the players happy as well. See what I did there? No you did not because you're too happy basking in the glow of the discussion you just won!).


>implying character definition is not an ongoing process

Yeah, I'm really just using it as an example. Of course the characters will get more fleshed out, I'm not really sure what the point of discussing this here, no one is argueing that characters are set in stone.



Rewarding being predictable and not rewarding character development is a bad thing. Another way to look at what you're doing is asking someone to write a story, and then giving them a treat based upon whether or not that you think it's good.

You can make or break someone in a way that they shouldn't necessarily be affected by a D&D game (I'm talking about their self-worth as a writer), and unless one possesses serious literary credentials, I don't think that you should be trusted with that power. It's not something that should be done without serious credentials, because otherwise it's an out-right, pretentious ****-move.

The thing is, I reward character development all the time. I make sure to reward character development because I would marry character development if that would not be something that makes no sense at all. You're acting like this is the norm for me even though I come to this forum and make a post about something new that I want to try (indicating you know, that it's not.). Doing new stuff because I want to grow and see if I can give the players a more filling experience, that actually sounds like character development to me!

Also I'm not really going into the personal sphere with this which is where you're headed once again, so I'll just concede that I am extremely arrogant and pretentious.


View Post
Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.

I agree with this, that's why the scenarios need to be set up in a way that makes sure it can't be explained away like that. But hey, if there's an argument and they end up winning it, that's rewarding as well.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-23, 06:14 PM
@ nitecyper: Do you think you could simplify what you're saying a bit? I'm sure if I take the next hour or two to process it, I'll figure it out, but I suspect I'm not the only one that doesn't understand at a glance.

NiteCyper
2012-07-23, 06:21 PM
Okay, first of all. I am now thinking about fleshing this out even more and making it a actual game between two high beings that have a bet of some kind.
High beings, like Boccob, Heironeous, Pelor, Wee Jas, etc., the deities a character worships?
A bet of some kind, like the fate of middle-earth balance of the Material Plane?


This way if a player gets rewarded and another player wants to open a discussion it can be held IC and if the player makes a valid point the being can reward him as well. Also I can just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic AND I can have an literal deus ex machina which adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!
I won't fault the scapegoat of being able to "just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic". That IS flavourful.


Deus ex machina [...] adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!
Deus ex machina? Yeah, fun! ^^;


See the thing is, I don't disagree with you. It's just that I want to put in a reward one time and see what happens and I want to do that in a thought out manner. This for any number of reasons: the guy that's always role-playing well but seeing the meta-gamers get the mechanical rewards all the time might get some satisfaction out of it (this is not really as strong in my campaigns as in others, but still), it might make players reflect, it might lead to an interesting discussion in which I have to concede that I was wrong (which makes the players happy as well. See what I did there? No you did not because you're too happy basking in the glow of the discussion you just won!).

You don't disagree with me? Looking back, I disagree with myself. I answered my own question: "A good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward" is commonly XP rewarded to intrinsic motivation.


You made a big leap by falling back to the "social experiment" defense. That wasn't present before.


Yes, I did see what you did there. Being wrong on purpose to incite the players and so the players can call you on a fallacy.


Thanks for making me LOL.



Yeah, I'm really just using it as an example. Of course the characters will get more fleshed out, I'm not really sure what the point of discussing this here, no one is argueing that characters are set in stone.
The argument isn't that "characters are set in stone" but that your system immorally encourages those "characters [who] are set in stone". At least two people argue such that you've been implying otherwise.


The thing is, I reward character development all the time. I make sure to reward character development because I would marry character development if that would not be something that makes no sense at all.


You're acting like this is the norm for me even though I come to this forum and make a post about something new that I want to try (indicating you know, that it's not.). Doing new stuff because I want to grow and see if I can give the players a more filling experience, that actually sounds like character development to me!

No, I'm not acting like this is the norm for you. By the very fashion in which you've engaged this topic, you've given the impression that this is a new thing that you want to try and not the norm (for you).


Again the "social experiment" defense which wasn't present before. I'm not saying that it's bad, but that it could've come up sooner.



@ nitecyper: Do you think you could simplify what you're saying a bit? I'm sure if I take the next hour or two to process it, I'll figure it out, but I suspect I'm not the only one that doesn't understand at a glance.
I don't think that that I could simplify (other than using smaller words), but I could elaborate more, but that would take ages. Elaboration would simply consist of doubling each sentence; Simplifying means writing more.

I can't believe this hasn't rolled over to a second page yet.

Zerter
2012-07-23, 06:36 PM
High beings, like Boccob, Heironeous, Pelor, Wee Jas, etc.?
A bet of some kind, like the fate of middle-earth balance of the Material Plane?

Something like: you got Bob the Solar and you have John the Pit Fiend. Their day jobs are spend fighting an endless war against each other for the very soul of existence, but at night they play poker in the same place (the 'glass deer' gambling establishment at the astral plane which is run by a bunch of hyperactive, hypergreedy, goblins, the characters know the place from a previous campaign) and share laughs. One day they get into a discussion and make a bet: the stakes? As always: a gold piece. The reward for the player? A solar's smile. +2 on charisma based skills when interacting with good beings all of which subconsiously react to the solar's approval of the character.


The argument isn't that "characters are set in stone" but that your system immorally encourages those "characters [who]] are set in stone". At least two people argue such that you've been implying otherwise.

That's true. I'm just trying to say thats not really the case in the entire campaign, just as far as this one event is concerned.



Again the "social experiment" defense which wasn't present before. I'm not saying that it's bad, but that it could've come up sooner.

Well, I was not really looking to defend what I wanted to do when I made the original post, I just wanted ideas basically. Though I guess it is good I know this subject might raise some discussion at the table.

I'm going to bed by the way, *yawn*.

PersonMan
2012-07-25, 10:45 AM
Unnacceptable metagaming is [...] having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party.

Actually, this depends on the character(s). I've played some before that would just fall off the cliff rather than climb down, because for them the pain and injury of hitting the ground is overshadowed by getting to their destination faster. Of course, it only makes sense if the entire party does it, or else they just sit at the bottom waiting.

(Besides, jumping off a cliff is viable from caster level 4 (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Feather_Fall) in most parties.)

SowZ
2012-07-25, 11:21 AM
There's absolutely no reason a fifteenth level Barbarian wouldn't jump off a cliff knowing they will be fine. You may as well say that in a DC game where I play Superman I am metagaming if I don't take precaution when a guy with a .22 pistol is threatening me.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-25, 11:30 AM
Knowing that jumping off the cliff won't kill you, isn't the same thing as knowing something won't -hurt-. The metagaming is in the fact that most normal people try to avoid unnecessary pain. If there's a reason, any reason really, that the character should be in a big enough hurry that a bit of pain is acceptable that's one thing. If they're risking serious, albeit temporary, injury just for the sake of convenience.... Seriously, have you ever known anyone at all that would do something like that?

Totally Guy
2012-07-25, 11:31 AM
There's absolutely no reason a fifteenth level Barbarian wouldn't jump off a cliff knowing they will be fine.

That's not a setting I'd be happy to play in.

awa
2012-07-25, 12:10 PM
Your 15 level barbarian may be so tough that the minor short term injury of the fall is next to nothing to him.

sure it will sting a little but compared to that time he was swallowed by a purple worm and had to cut his way out from the inside it might seem trivial.

SowZ
2012-07-25, 01:16 PM
That's not a setting I'd be happy to play in.

Well, that is your prerogative, but by the time you are in the teens the whole shtick behind D&D is that you are a hero of epic proportions, comparable to Greek myths.

A legendary hero jumping off a cliff to catch a Wyvern with no fear of falling because he knows he is immune to it is kind of built into the system. Would you expect a 10th level fighter to put his hands in the air and drop his sword just because he is unarmored and a few piddly bandits point their crossbows at him?


Knowing that jumping off the cliff won't kill you, isn't the same thing as knowing something won't -hurt-. The metagaming is in the fact that most normal people try to avoid unnecessary pain. If there's a reason, any reason really, that the character should be in a big enough hurry that a bit of pain is acceptable that's one thing. If they're risking serious, albeit temporary, injury just for the sake of convenience.... Seriously, have you ever known anyone at all that would do something like that?

I'm not saying there is no reason not to jump off the cliff but instead that there is no reason the Barbarian wouldn't know that jumping off the cliff will not cause permanent damage to him.

kyoryu
2012-07-25, 02:10 PM
Well, that is your prerogative, but by the time you are in the teens the whole shtick behind D&D is that you are a hero of epic proportions, comparable to Greek myths.


For 3.x, maybe. I don't know if that's really the case for earlier versions, and even then making it to the teens in earlier versions was pretty rare.

Earlier versions were, IMHO and experience, much more down-to-earth in terms of their expected power levels.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-25, 02:22 PM
Well, that is your prerogative, but by the time you are in the teens the whole shtick behind D&D is that you are a hero of epic proportions, comparable to Greek myths.

A legendary hero jumping off a cliff to catch a Wyvern with no fear of falling because he knows he is immune to it is kind of built into the system. Would you expect a 10th level fighter to put his hands in the air and drop his sword just because he is unarmored and a few piddly bandits point their crossbows at him?

I have no problem with the barb jumping over the edge to get at an enemy, and of course I wouldn't expect a fighter to throw down his weapons unless he was certain he couldn't win. What I have a problem with is a player having his character do something that would be patently absurd IRL and then justifying it with an argument about game mechanics.


I'm not saying there is no reason not to jump off the cliff but instead that there is no reason the Barbarian wouldn't know that jumping off the cliff will not cause permanent damage to him.

See that's just it. I'm saying that in my example, and I admit it may not have been the best example, there is no reason to jump off the cliff, but the player decided to do it anyway because he knew he wouldn't be injured that badly. I suspect we have more of a communication error here, than a difference of opinion.

enderlord99
2012-07-25, 02:36 PM
This thread seems to be really argumentative. It should probably be locked.

Knaight
2012-07-25, 03:03 PM
No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions. We don't have any scenario's yet but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.
There are a huge number of places this can go wrong. For one thing, the definitions given are loose approximations of the character in the head of the one defining them, so there is a problem there. Then, your interpretation will differ from that of the player, due to variance in language, which throws it yet off. Added to that is that characters evolve through play, and it usually takes a while to settle into a character, which is somewhat unpredictable. Basically, you are stating you know the characters because the players partially described an incomplete concept in loose terms, after they have evolved some even from the tightened concept.

This won't work, and acting on it won't end well, particularly as concerns accusations of metagaming for what is good roleplaying - actual people are hypocritical and make different responses to near identical stimuli all the time, punishing it in a character practically forces them to be 2d. Nothing good can come of this.

SowZ
2012-07-25, 03:06 PM
I have no problem with the barb jumping over the edge to get at an enemy, and of course I wouldn't expect a fighter to throw down his weapons unless he was certain he couldn't win. What I have a problem with is a player having his character do something that would be patently absurd IRL and then justifying it with an argument about game mechanics.



See that's just it. I'm saying that in my example, and I admit it may not have been the best example, there is no reason to jump off the cliff, but the player decided to do it anyway because he knew he wouldn't be injured that badly. I suspect we have more of a communication error here, than a difference of opinion.

Sure, yeah, jumping off a cliff to save a couple hours of hiking is a pretty stupid image. Especially since the vast majority of an adventurers career is spent traveling, with maybe a few minutes per week spent fighting. An adventurer has more in common with a UPS driver than an MMA fighter, jobwise.

I'm just saying that at a certain point, the character 'knows' they are close to invincible via mundane things. I have heard it called metagaming when a high level Fighter is unconcerned about a dozen city guards or unenchanted weapons/low level traps. This is more what I am arguing for, that they really wouldn't worry about those things, not really that adventurers should be masochistic in their use of hit points.

kyoryu
2012-07-25, 03:11 PM
Sure, yeah, jumping off a cliff to save a couple hours of hiking is a pretty stupid image. Especially since the vast majority of an adventurers career is spent traveling, with maybe a few minutes per week spent fighting. An adventurer has more in common with a UPS driver than an MMA fighter, jobwise.

I'm just saying that at a certain point, the character 'knows' they are close to invincible via mundane things. I have heard it called metagaming when a high level Fighter is unconcerned about a dozen city guards or unenchanted weapons/low level traps. This is more what I am arguing for, that they really wouldn't worry about those things, not really that adventurers should be masochistic in their use of hit points.

With all respect, D&D has *always* failed any semblance of a realism check due to the use of hit points in such scenarios. (Fighting a dozen guards I can possibly see, but not the rest). Accepting this is part of the buy-in to the system. If you can't buy in to that, play something else.

It's not reconcilable. You just agree "meh, whatever, the game is still fun" and get on with it.

SowZ
2012-07-25, 03:30 PM
With all respect, D&D has *always* failed any semblance of a realism check due to the use of hit points in such scenarios. (Fighting a dozen guards I can possibly see, but not the rest). Accepting this is part of the buy-in to the system. If you can't buy in to that, play something else.

It's not reconcilable. You just agree "meh, whatever, the game is still fun" and get on with it.

The easiest thing to do and still have internal consistency is to say that even mundane classes become supernatural by about the sixth level and treat them like superheroes or Herculean people. Beowulf fought a giant monster naked because of his superb strength. Joab flung himself over a city wall in verbal tradition. D&D emulates this moreso than realistic medieval combat.

I would expect the Hulk to give a fifty foot drop and a 9mm smg no more than a passing thought because to a reasonable degree he knows his powers. A D&D character should be granted the same treatment.

Zerter
2012-07-25, 05:29 PM
There are a huge number of places this can go wrong. For one thing, the definitions given are loose approximations of the character in the head of the one defining them, so there is a problem there. Then, your interpretation will differ from that of the player, due to variance in language, which throws it yet off. Added to that is that characters evolve through play, and it usually takes a while to settle into a character, which is somewhat unpredictable. Basically, you are stating you know the characters because the players partially described an incomplete concept in loose terms, after they have evolved some even from the tightened concept.

This won't work, and acting on it won't end well, particularly as concerns accusations of metagaming for what is good roleplaying - actual people are hypocritical and make different responses to near identical stimuli all the time, punishing it in a character practically forces them to be 2d. Nothing good can come of this.

Yes. Giving a character or more characters a small reward once while one or more others might not receive one will totally force the entire party to be 2d for the rest of their lives and start the unravelling of the fabric of reality.

*I* don't state anything by the way. A solar does. The solar does happen to think he is perfectly capable of judging people, and we don't want that solar to go against his character.

Given the strong reactions this minor event seems to bring out I can only say I am more convinced that it will make for a interesting and worthwhile thing to implement. Though I would still like feedback on how to best make it work, which was kind of the original point of the thread.

kyoryu
2012-07-25, 05:36 PM
The easiest thing to do and still have internal consistency is to say that even mundane classes become supernatural by about the sixth level and treat them like superheroes or Herculean people. Beowulf fought a giant monster naked because of his superb strength. Joab flung himself over a city wall in verbal tradition. D&D emulates this moreso than realistic medieval combat.

I would expect the Hulk to give a fifty foot drop and a 9mm smg no more than a passing thought because to a reasonable degree he knows his powers. A D&D character should be granted the same treatment.

Why? There's absolutely nothing in the mechanics *except* for hit points to suggest that a Fighter is on his way to becoming the Hulk.

In fact, if you look at the core areas that D&D tries to simulate (dungeon crawling and medieval combat), those areas are pretty consistent with "highly skilled normal people". It's only when you get into falling damage and deliberately letting someone hit you with a sword and hte like that the simulation gets wonky.

But you have a serious lack of consistency with either description. And you know what, that's *okay*. It doesn't make the game unplayable. It just means sometimes you've gotta suspend the disbelief and get on with having fun.

Knaight
2012-07-25, 05:38 PM
Yes. Giving a character or more characters a small reward once while one or more others might not receive one will totally force the entire party to be 2d for the rest of their lives and start the unravelling of the fabric of reality.

Because demanding that your players play their characters to fit your vision of them is so conducive to roleplaying.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-25, 06:43 PM
Huh..... just noticed the word "alignment" in the thread title. :smallredface:

Alignment is something too nebulous to deal with by positive/negative reinforcement methods. If you don't think that a character is acting within the paramaters of his alignment, have a talk with that player about it, but don't try to get his behavior to change by reward/punishment. It can only end poorly.

I actually encourage anyone that might read this to have a solid discussion about alignment with their group, but unless someone in the group or the campaign's antagonists have class features or spells that care about their alignment, it's generally safe to just ignore alignment altogether.

kyoryu
2012-07-25, 06:53 PM
Huh..... just noticed the word "alignment" in the thread title. :smallredface:

Alignment is something too nebulous to deal with by positive/negative reinforcement methods. If you don't think that a character is acting within the paramaters of his alignment, have a talk with that player about it, but don't try to get his behavior to change by reward/punishment. It can only end poorly.

I actually encourage anyone that might read this to have a solid discussion about alignment with their group, but unless someone in the group or the campaign's antagonists have class features or spells that care about their alignment, it's generally safe to just ignore alignment altogether.

Also, in general, the "right" answer to characters not acting in accordance with their alignment is to change their alignment, not to prohibit certain actions.

SowZ
2012-07-25, 06:56 PM
Also, in general, the "right" answer to characters not acting in accordance with their alignment is to change their alignment, not to prohibit certain actions.

However, if a DM changes a characters alignment that DM should not expect the characters actions or personality to change further to match the new alignment. Alignment, when used, is a 'which one best fits' not a 'how do I fit into an alignment.' This system seems to encourage characters that fit cleanly into an alignment whereas the most interesting characters are usually at least a little tricky to pinpoint exactly.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-25, 07:08 PM
Also, in general, the "right" answer to characters not acting in accordance with their alignment is to change their alignment, not to prohibit certain actions.


However, if a DM changes a characters alignment that DM should not expect the characters actions or personality to change further to match the new alignment. Alignment, when used, is a 'which one best fits' not a 'how do I fit into an alignment.' This system seems to encourage characters that fit cleanly into an alignment whereas the most interesting characters are usually at least a little tricky to pinpoint exactly.

I agree with you both, and I'll add that if you feel your player's behavior warrants an alignment change, you should let him know ahead of the actual change, so he can modify his behavior if he wants to.

awa
2012-07-25, 10:12 PM
first i agree with some of the above posters alignment should not be a straight jacket the character acts how ever he acts and then you try and find the alignment that best represents those actions.

second a level 20 barbarian can with a running start shatter an iron door with a single blow.

reliable put a sperm whale in a headlock

or jump 50 feet.

that does not particularly sound like mid evil warfare to me
heck most epic heroes couldn't pull of some of those things

Zerter
2012-07-26, 03:37 AM
Because demanding that your players play their characters to fit your vision of them is so conducive to roleplaying.

I'm glad you've come around to see my point :smallsmile:.

Totally Guy
2012-07-26, 04:39 AM
Greg Stafford was a man who was GMing games about knights. But he was pissed off that his players didnít act like knights. Not like real knights. Not even like fantasy knights.

He designed his game, King Arthur Pendragon, to beat that. In that game the players stat out pairs of personality traits. Kindness and Cruelty are a pair and you split 20 points between them both. Lets say you have 17 in Kindness and 3 in Cruelty, to then act in a way that is cruel requires a test to see if you can overcome your kindness.

Itís a game with a big stick that you get hit with if you play some character other than the one on your sheet.

It looks awesome but unfortunately when I was playing this game I didnít get it because I was stuck in a particularly closed mindset at the time having only played D&D and WoD style games previously.

I think that you need a game other than D&D in order to get the tools you so obviously want. D&D players buy into the D&D rules. Itís a particular mindset. Your ideas are things that the players are not bought into so you need to find games that have those ideas already and see if the players will buy into those games.

Zerter
2012-07-26, 05:39 AM
Okay, I'm going to put this into some more context here since I don't really feel like I'm getting this across. Last time I prepared a campaign I spend a day every week of going back and forth to the university writing stuff down on the train (two hours a week). There was a hook where the players would come come together and get introduced to the plotlines (we always play the same custom setting). There were five major plotlines written out with various contingencies so they could develop depending on what either the players were interested in them, what sides they took and if they failed or succeeded.

In terms of freedom in following plotlines and playing out your character it was do whatever you want. There were three instances where a PC stabbed another PC. Some plotlines were pretty much ignored. At some point a series of event lead to one player fearing the revenge of a powerful person (this was a evil campaign up to this point) and the entire group switched sides to a good organisation mid-session (on the other side of town) and the campaign was set up to handle this despite it not having come up as a possibility in-game up to that point.

39 pages of preparation went into the campaign. This thing we're talking about in this thread would not be 1/4th of a page (solar + pit fiend make bet related to two events that take place related to other plot-lines, solar appears deux ex machina style to talk to party. This and some fluff.) and it might not come up at all. So when I keep hearing that it will force the players in some kind of straight jacket for the rest of their lives or that I am better off switching systems I wonder how many more times I have to repeat that this is really a minor event in the campaign.

Also, I know the players intimately. We've all played weekly for almost two years in 10-12 hour sessions. The campaign will be designed around their specific personalities and their pleasures. To give a concrete example of this:

Last campaign involved the party working for a Pit Fiend. One of the characters (a gunslinger) had the mission to kill him from the beginning. This was presented to him as being pretty much impossible. At some point as a way of bonding the Pit Fiend (a gun user himself) takes the party out hunting at various planes. They are given special bullets to take out creatures in a single shot. At the most dangerous part of the hunt they stalk out a angel. The Pit Fiend takes down the angel, turns his back on the gunslinger and gets shot with the special outsider slaying bullet (as far as he is concerned a risky move since not gauranteed to work). The player succeeds and takes great satisfaction from his clever solution to the problem, gloating that he outsmarted me as I look in my preparation work and see what follows his pick from two possible options (he kills the pit fiend on the hunt, he does not).

Unlike what a lot of people seem to think for some reason, players are often predictable. I know how this Solar event will probably play out with it putting the spotlight on one player that is usually a backbencher and generate mostly positive emotions (outweighing the negative of the players that don't get a cookie, but who are happy to see the other player rewarded since he usually is not). Lets say the entire encounter lasts 20 minutes. That's 1/33th of a single session in an campaign. So even if you think it's a terrible idea to have the solar reward someone for good behaviour, do we really really need to continue having a discussion about how this is going to break the entire campaign?

hewhosaysfish
2012-07-26, 06:31 AM
Zerter, correct me if I'm wrong here because I dont want to put words in your mouth:

You are planning to do this because you want to motivate one or more players to change the way they roleplay (to encourage "good aligment role-playing").

People are objecting to your plan because they believe it will/may unintentionally encouage other, less desirable behaviours.

Your rebuttal is that it's only a "small reward" for a "minor event", that it's too insignificant to have any real impact on how your players play.... despite that fact that changing how the players play was the whole point of the entire excercise.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-26, 11:00 AM
stuffwait..... in the thread title, are you asking for advice on how to reward better rollplaying, or are you asking what would be a good reward for a Good outsider to give a player? Because if it's the latter I think this whole thread has been discussing the wrong premise.

SowZ
2012-07-26, 11:31 AM
snip

Wait, yeah, are you talking about rewarding good alignment roleplaying or rewarding Good alignment roleplaying? Like, as in rewarding someone not for playing to their alignment but for being literally good? If the second, a Solar would reward that, sure.

awa
2012-07-26, 10:40 PM
if you are the opening post is really not clear

Zerter
2012-07-27, 06:14 AM
You are planning to do this because you want to motivate one or more players to change the way they roleplay (to encourage "good aligment role-playing").

People are objecting to your plan because they believe it will/may unintentionally encouage other, less desirable behaviours.

Your rebuttal is that it's only a "small reward" for a "minor event", that it's too insignificant to have any real impact on how your players play.... despite that fact that changing how the players play was the whole point of the entire excercise.

I wanted to make them reflect on it for a moment in hopes that it will lead to some minor development and that it will lead to an interesting experience. But the campaign is really meant to have a ton of interesting experiences, some of which contradict each other since they cater to different players with different needs. This thread was made because for this one little thing I felt unsure on how to best pull it off.


if you are the opening post is really not clear

Yeah, so read the entire thread. My opening post was about concrete ideas on how to do it, which I've seen maybe three replies adress. Though it did lead to the Solar idea which pretty much writes itself in an actual campaign.



Wait, yeah, are you talking about rewarding good alignment roleplaying or rewarding Good alignment roleplaying? Like, as in rewarding someone not for playing to their alignment but for being literally good? If the second, a Solar would reward that, sure.

I'm talking about both in the case of the Solar. The events need to be set up in a way that they are the same (you serve Good by going against your own interest). Naturally this needs to cater to the specific personalities of the characters, so if they are different I'll need different beings but that's not a problem.

Mark Hall
2012-07-27, 03:10 PM
Okay, so I had this idea:

I've seen this trend in my party for characters to make decisions first based on what is advantagous for their characters and to explain how it fits in their background/character/alignment afterwards (I'm not immune to this). What I want to do is set up scenarios in which characters are confronted with what's the same decision twice, once in a situation where it's to their advantage and once in a situation where it's to their disadvantage. They should not be aware that it is the same decision (it should not be obvious at first, tho it should be when explained).

Have you seen the new Hackmaster? Most specifically, it's honor system?

Basically, your GM rates you on four criteria... Alignment, Class, Defense of Personal Honor, and General Role-playing. This results in a change of honor between -12 and 16 points per level... with 16 being "I swear your character is in the room with us" and -12 being "Dude... did you grab the right sheet? 'Cause your LG elven wizard is starting to look like last game's CE gnome titan fighter."

Honor has a few uses. For one thing, it's a gauge of how people treat you... someone with Great honor is going to be believed over someone with Average or Low honor. Honor also provides static metagame effects... with Average honor, you get a +1 to a single roll each session; with Great honor, you get a free reroll once per session. You can also "burn" honor, spending an amount (depending on your level) to either at +'s to a given action, or burning a lot to allow a complete reroll.

It is a system that gives concrete bonuses for good roleplaying. For selecting your alignment correctly, playing the character you've picked, and not letting yourself get punked by a kobold.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-27, 09:57 PM
Oh wow, did we ever address the wrong issue. LOL:smallbiggrin:

I like the idea of a powerful good outsider speaking to the party and possibly granting some sort of boon. That would be pretty cool.

(I never use chatspeak. That's how absurd I think this misunderstanding was. :smalltongue:)

NiteCyper
2012-07-27, 10:57 PM
Tl;dr: You're in over your head.

Continuing the argument that I feel ended a while ago:


Yes. Giving a character or more characters a small reward once while one or more others might not receive one will totally force the entire party to be 2d for the rest of their lives and start the unravelling of the fabric of reality.


Alignment is something too nebulous to deal with by positive/negative reinforcement methods. If you don't think that a character is acting within the paramaters of his alignment, have a talk with that player about it, but don't try to get his behavior to change by reward/punishment. It can only end poorly.


So when I keep hearing that it will force the players in some kind of straight jacket for the rest of their lives or that I am better off switching systems I wonder how many more times I have to repeat that this is really a minor event in the campaign.


People are objecting to your plan because they believe it will/may unintentionally encouage other, less desirable behaviours.

Your rebuttal is that it's only a "small reward" for a "minor event", that it's too insignificant to have any real impact on how your players play.... despite that fact that changing how the players play was the whole point of the entire excercise.

The two issues are that (1) it takes a lot of know-how to apply the mechanic that you want to apply well, and (2) it can induce more of a repercussion than initially fathomed. The former involves literacy (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13603929&postcount=20) and the latter involves psychology. The latter refers to the ethics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics) AND morals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality) of the social experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_experiment).

I'm stopping here because I don't want to further discuss this as it applies to D&D and transcends the boundary between in-game and out-game. Stuff like the inclusion into D&D of rape and eroticism, murder and torture, etc. is too hot of an issue to touch. However, I don't immediately feel, after what's been worked out, that the experiment absolutely warrants self-termination. For SCIENCE!


What you want to read:

What I am still working on is concrete ideas: seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice. Anyone has any ideas on that?
I think that the easiest way to find scenarios would be to check people's definitions of the alignments, as a scenario would likely be listed to help define the definition with.


Good characters and creatures protect innocent life.

[...]

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Hey now, the fat man problem is a good scenario for this. Any listed in the trolley problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem) article, most likely. Finding scenarios for this is probably as easy as Googling more trolley problems.

Hmm, a problem I see with this mechanic is that proper fulfillment of it may be fulfilled by sufficient Knowledge (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm). Bob the player may not know all of the controversy, ramifications, and philosophy behind the trolley problem, but what about his character? Would you make it such that in-character Knowledge is inapplicable to a reward system for an oddly, distinctly out-of-character-in-character interaction?

Next up, Evil:


Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

[...]

"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

This implies a sub-split of Evil: a lack of compassion, ruthlessness vs. a proclivity to grief. Harder to adjudicate because it might technically be the same amount of evil to kick a dog horse aside as to kick it aside and decide to beat it mercilessly, especially past death. Oddly, Good does not have this sub-split. If a puppy were about to be run over, Good doesn't have the option to let it be run over (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty).

Parameters: Too weak to be materially important, too important to alignment, but not too important to be ignored. Protecting the innocent.

Excuse incompleteness of the preceding, as it was a draft that I've saved until now, and I'm sleepy.

To be questioned: Do such scenarios exist? As in the trolley problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem) article, there is much discussion over the difference between the principle with which it is believed that the problem disharmonizes. I'm sure the controversy is over whether such scenarios exist, id est (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases:_I#id_est)


seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice.


If it cannot be proved that such scenarios exist, it is a fool's errand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe_hunt) to ask for them. The fact that there rises so much controversy over...well, everything of this matter, it is important, Zerter (the OP), to tell us...your ethical and moral standards as will be applied to the game that you plan to implement the proposed mechanic in. Reading the article's discussion of the problem, it brings it back to the issue of alignment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alignment_%28Dungeons_%26_Dragons%29). If you haven't, I highly recommend that you read the write-up on alignment in the legendary Tomes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13603000&postcount=3). It's short, it's funny, it's comprehensive, it's smart...just do it.

Oh god, I just re-realized how wrapped up this whole mechanic is in ethics and/or morals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_and_morals#Morality_and_ethics). I tried to break away from it in the front spoiler.

Look, I'm not going to tell you, as I've already told you in this post, that you shouldn't do it outright. What I will say is that this is half-or-less the forum that you should be posing your question to; You should be posing your question to a philosophy forum. The mingling of the lay-people with the knowledgeable in such a complicated matter generates much distraction.

Indeed, I may have to go on to add, alongside the assertion that proper implementation of the mechanic requires regulation from an accredited literate and literary pundit, proper implementation of the mechanic requires regulation from an accredited philosopher of ethics and morality. Just as theoretical optimization apparently requires some form of advanced mathematics called "set theory analysis (http://web.archive.org/web/20070327062814/http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=707947)". The ethics and/or morality includes psychology.

I only took an introductory Philosophy course as an elective. I didn't even know that there is a difference between ethics and morals. **** everything.

Zerter
2012-07-28, 04:16 AM
StuffUh... you want a scenario, fine. This is not the best since it relies on OOC stuff, but:

The players are presented with a scenario to help a old lady cross the road. They do it. The players are presented with a scenario to help a old lady cross the road. Out-of-character they have information that the second old lady will reward them handsomely if they do not. They do not do it. The solar says, "WTFBBQ, I was on my way to reward you guys, but then for some reason you did not help the other old lady cross the road."

Though googling the trolley problem is not a bad idea for some inspiration!

I'm just going to ignore all the stuff about credentials and such by the way, I've already said that I'm not going to bring this discussion in the personal sphere.


Have you seen the new Hackmaster? Most specifically, it's honor system?

Sounds like a little bit bigger than I wanted to go, but it does read as a nice system. I might implement something along these lines, what I'm considering right now is not doing it as a houserule but rather have the Solar in this example reward someone with what you would call honor points and have other NPCs/events do the same with honor/dishonor points. This has the added benefit that the players have to figure out how this stuff works, keeping them on their toes and adding a layer of intrigue for them.

zlefin
2012-07-28, 07:29 PM
i'm gonna suggest something simple and straightforward: encourage the players to choose a deity they worship.
If they do things their deity likes (and that thus fit their alignment/worldview), their deity gives them bonuses (small, and probably through intermediaries like clerics, unless they're really high level).

If no existing deity fits what they want, let them make one up.

QuidEst
2012-07-28, 07:56 PM
:smallconfused:

So what if my character has development? Or I don't have a formula for how my character reacts to things? Currently, I've got a character who's not a nice person, but genuinely feels it's to his advantage to act nice for the time being so that people will trust him. Do I miss out on rewards or get to justify anything?

How about thisÖ you propose the system to your players, with the traditional method (XP and loot awarded for accomplishments) as an alternative. See which they'd prefer, and go with that. I'd personally find being meta-gamed out of meta-gaming to be really obnoxious.

NiteCyper
2012-07-28, 11:15 PM
So what if my character has development?

Zerter, the OP, basically asserts that character development will not be stifled. Here's one cogent quote of many:


The thing is, I reward character development all the time. I make sure to reward character development because I would marry character development if that would not be something that makes no sense at all.
I won't even nest the full quote of mine that Zerter is responding to because it makes a huge matryoshka. Seeing the respondee quote won't help; I'll agree with any sentiment that the quote's latter sentence is unintelligible. It's a trait of Zerter, but hey, English may not be their first language.


Or I don't have a formula for how my character reacts to things?
Then, I suppose that you'd be treated just as one who does not write a back-story in a game where back-story = XP. I suppose that the reasoning is that what you trade in opportunity for sticking-to-character XP is metagaming capitalism (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13603929&highlight=capitalism#post13603929). But let's not get personal.

This implies that Zerter's proposition fills a deficit to those who stick to character vs. metagamers.


Currently, I've got a character who's not a nice person, but genuinely feels it's to his advantage to act nice for the time being so that people will trust him. Do I miss out on rewards or get to justify anything?
Being "not a nice person, but genuinely feel[ing that] it's to [your character's] advantage to act nice for the time being so that people will trust him" is exactly the kind of behaviour that Zerter is trying to promote. It is specifically you who shall not "miss out on rewards". Justification is a pricklier pear, involving back-story, your ability to fabricate a justification, and predictability (as Zerter interprets you as a player).

I don't like to be immodest, but I encourage you to, if not read through the entire thread, read the posts of Zerter and me. I quote often, so it'll be easier to keep up. This thread is now definitely in the territory of "hard to play catch-up on" to new-comers.

QuidEst
2012-07-29, 08:41 AM
SorryÖ I did not read through very thoroughly. (Or more honestly, much at all.) The idea of having some fixed aspect (whether alignment, a short code for characters who do not consciously have a code, a deity, etc.) is one that initially rubs me the wrong way. Considering it more, though, I can think of cases where I'd probably enjoy it more (provided it's well handled, but just about anything can be ruined by a bad DM). I'll go back later today and read over properly to provide a more though-out response.

Rorrik
2012-07-29, 09:14 AM
I have a character who behaves like this regularly. He'll fight anyone for the xp, unless they seem like they will beat him or give him information to finish a quest that offers more xp.

However, in our latest campaign I've quite enjoyed (and I think he has as well) guiding his character into situations where his character becomes emotionally attached to people his powerful allies want to kill. I've also allowed him to endear himself to three powerful, but opposing forces, forcing him to make a decision which to side with based on his character and what he wants for him without knowing very well which will turn out better for him. On the one hand, there's the power of two nations he may be able to gain control of, on the other a a young paladin with a personal grudge against him who trains specifically to kill him. I think I've made the choices seem equally compelling enough that he'll either decide based on alignment, or really put some effort into roleplaying a change of heart for his character. I look forward to it as something he's never done before.