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Talakeal
2016-10-30, 02:39 PM
So a few weeks back I was reading Scion and I noticed that the characters in that game have virtues which will must be rolled against and, if the roll is failed, compel the character to act against their best interests to uphold their virtue.

I didn't like the idea of losing control of my character all the time, and felt it could make for an adversarial game, but whenever I brought it up to anyone I was told some variant of "It is a mechanic to enforce RP so that you act out character motivations rather than being perfectly logical all the time."

Now, my gut response is to say that I know how to RP my character better than the dice do and I don't need any help to do something stupid because it is what my character would do, but then I realized something:

The other people at the table get mad when you do something self-destructive because it is "what your character would do," other players don't like dealing with the consequences and GM's don't like their game derailed by foolishness. It is so pervasive that "I was just doing what my character would do!" is shorthand for a problem player or "that guy".

So then, why is it considered a good thing that a game has built in mechanics to encourage disruptive or self destructive behavior in the name of RP when that is generally considered a bad thing?

Or is it just that people LIKE mechanics that force them to act out because they can blame their behavior on the dice if anyone tries to give them flack for it?

It seems a strange paradox to me. Any thoughts?

Jama7301
2016-10-30, 02:46 PM
Or is it just that people LIKE mechanics that force them to act out because they can blame their behavior on the dice if anyone tries to give them flack for it?

Kind of. The dice give a "Not my fault that things broke bad" out.

My guess is that in a game like D&D, the disruptive behavior is seen more as a choice, versus it being built into the game you described. When it's a choice, some people can see it as a person trying to make things complicated or take attention away from the scene (I take the kings crown and try to entertain everyone, to lighten the mood). It sounds like a game of Scion comes with the understanding that things will get derailed by people failing these compulsion checks. It'd be like getting mad at a player for failing a Saving Throw in 3.5.

veti
2016-10-30, 02:52 PM
You're describing a way of codifying RP, rather than just making it up as you go along.

I haven't played the game, but from a position of complete ignorance I feel confident that there are times when having "enforced consistency" in your roleplaying would be an extremely frustrating thing. "When I chose $VIRTUE, I didn't mean that!" So you have to put more hard work into character generation (specifying virtues that do reflect your character accurately, whatever that means). But I also feel confident that, having done that, the roleplay can be made more consistent using a mechanic like this.

Whether or not that's a good thing - that's another question.

And yes, you're right in that it gives you - and everyone else - an alibi when they choose to do something against the party's interests/otherwise unpopular. Again, how that will play out at your table is more than I can see. (Although based on past form, it seems highly likely that you'll be back here in a couple of weeks complaining about how the other players are doing it.)

Talakeal
2016-10-30, 03:23 PM
I haven't played the game, but from a position of complete ignorance I feel confident that there are times when having "enforced consistency" in your roleplaying would be an extremely frustrating thing. "When I chose $VIRTUE, I didn't mean that!" So you have to put more hard work into character generation (specifying virtues that do reflect your character accurately, whatever that means).

Its actually worse than that. All characters have four virtues which are predetermined by you based on the pantheon you belong to, the only choice you get is exactly how likely you are to be compelled by any given one (minimum 40%).


Again, how that will play out at your table is more than I can see. (Although based on past form, it seems highly likely that you'll be back here in a couple of weeks complaining about how the other players are doing it.)

No need to worry about that, I already left that group, I am just musing on game design theory now.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-10-30, 03:36 PM
The other people at the table get mad when you do something self-destructive because it is "what your character would do," other players don't like dealing with the consequences and GM's don't like their game derailed by foolishness. It is so pervasive that "I was just doing what my character would do!" is shorthand for a problem player or "that guy".

So then, why is it considered a good thing that a game has built in mechanics to encourage disruptive or self destructive behavior in the name of RP when that is generally considered a bad thing?

"I was just doing what my character would do!" is more a problem when you're hiding being a piece of **** behind it. It's for things like the rogue stabbing everyone else in the party in their sleep to steal their stuff.

Also, expected character behaviour varies based on the game you're playing. Making self-destructive choices in something like D&D is inappropriate because the game isn't about that. In other more RP focused games then it can totally be about that.

Arbane
2016-10-30, 03:38 PM
It's White Wolf (Or Onyx Path. I think they're called now). I think Adventure! was the ONLY game they ever put out that didn't have some sort of Mandatory Angst Mechanic that will occasionally override the player's control of their character. (It made sense in Vampire, where trying to cram down murderous bloodthirst is a major part of the character. Other games? Maybe not so much...)

Kish
2016-10-30, 04:55 PM
"Should my character act in a way that's to the detriment of the group?" is a more complicated question than


The other people at the table get mad when you do something self-destructive because it is "what your character would do," other players don't like dealing with the consequences and GM's don't like their game derailed by foolishness. It is so pervasive that "I was just doing what my character would do!" is shorthand for a problem player or "that guy".
presumes. Obviously, it's entirely possible to be an ass and derail the game using "I was just doing what my character would do!" as an excuse. But "your character must function like a perfectly optimized murderbot in battle without regard for any considerations that might dictate otherwise, roleplaying is for when we're not using dice" isn't better, in my opinion. And more to the point, a group which expects the "perfectly-optimized murderbot" behavior has no business going near any White Wolf game. Ever.

Darth Ultron
2016-10-30, 05:02 PM
So then, why is it considered a good thing that a game has built in mechanics to encourage disruptive or self destructive behavior in the name of RP when that is generally considered a bad thing?

Or is it just that people LIKE mechanics that force them to act out because they can blame their behavior on the dice if anyone tries to give them flack for it?

It seems a strange paradox to me. Any thoughts?

It's simple rules worship. If it is in the rules, it's fine. But if it is just a person ''acting out'', it's bad.

Khi'Khi
2016-10-30, 05:03 PM
While I agree that mechanizing decision-making is a poor solution, I understand the logic behind wanting players to actually RP a character's emotion and thought process. Players are often far more "informed" than their characters in terms of storytelling tropes. It becomes a little jarring when the barbarian who dumped INT down to an 8 for some reason knows not to take the glowing ruby off the pedestal, just because the player saw Indiana Jones.

The biggest thing I see in regards to this is failed knowledge rolls. The player knows they botched, so they try to make their character act on their failed knowledge as little as possible, rather than RPing the failed knowledge fully and taking the consequences.

GrayDeath
2016-10-30, 05:14 PM
As the local Scion Specialist (or something similar ^^) let me answer that:


Its actually worse than that. All characters have four virtues which are predetermined by you based on the pantheon you belong to, the only choice you get is exactly how likely you are to be compelled by any given one (minimum 40%).




Wrong.

Firstly you are only forced to choose MOST of your virtues according to your pantheon (ergo depending on your GM one or 2 are free to be switched, with the consequence of your pantheon-kin looking at you strangely ^^)., secondly they can range from 1 to 5, which has nothing to do with the percentage per se, as thats both the number of dice you roll (and btw you have to succeed on that roll, not fail it ^^) if you opr the DM think you need a compel and the bonus you can get for "acting according to that virtue".

Even if the roll is successful you dont lose control entirely, you just have to act according to the virtue.

As an Example: say your character has the Courage Virtue at 3. Courage is personal courage, the Warriors Courage, fighting duels, proving who is better, being couragoeous for yourself/your Ideals (unlike Valor which is more akin to a Soldiers bravery but I digress).

Now your enemy has shown to be very dangerous, and while you (with a Warriors Virtue) are likel the best equipped to deal with him, you dont think your chances great.
You try to run.
Your DM tells you to roll for Courage, and you roll one success.

Now you will not flee, but that does not tell you HOW to engage the enemy. You can rund istraction, you can challenge him to personal combat (maybe on a field of your choosing) etc.
Limiting your choices, yes.
Taking them away, no.

If you dont want to do that you can spend a point of Willpower and supress your virtue for the scene. And run like a coward to fightn another day. :)


Also you forgot to mention that virtues have their Upsides as well.
Every time you act in a way that fits to a certain virtue you can spend a point of WP and instead of getting one success, you get to roll as many dice as you have points in that particular virtue.



In my opinion its one of the best parts of Scion, as the central virtues (and in part vices) of Demigosds and Gods are integral parts of their legends.


Would I like such a system in other Settings? Aside from Exalted, probably not.
But for that kind of games it fits perfectly.

Talakeal
2016-10-30, 05:36 PM
As the local Scion Specialist (or something similar ^^) let me answer that:





Wrong.

Firstly you are only forced to choose MOST of your virtues according to your pantheon (ergo depending on your GM one or 2 are free to be switched, with the consequence of your pantheon-kin looking at you strangely ^^)., secondly they can range from 1 to 5, which has nothing to do with the percentage per se, as thats both the number of dice you roll (and btw you have to succeed on that roll, not fail it ^^) if you opr the DM think you need a compel and the bonus you can get for "acting according to that virtue".

Even if the roll is successful you dont lose control entirely, you just have to act according to the virtue.

As an Example: say your character has the Courage Virtue at 3. Courage is personal courage, the Warriors Courage, fighting duels, proving who is better, being couragoeous for yourself/your Ideals (unlike Valor which is more akin to a Soldiers bravery but I digress).

Now your enemy has shown to be very dangerous, and while you (with a Warriors Virtue) are likel the best equipped to deal with him, you dont think your chances great.
You try to run.
Your DM tells you to roll for Courage, and you roll one success.

Now you will not flee, but that does not tell you HOW to engage the enemy. You can rund istraction, you can challenge him to personal combat (maybe on a field of your choosing) etc.
Limiting your choices, yes.
Taking them away, no.

If you dont want to do that you can spend a point of Willpower and supress your virtue for the scene. And run like a coward to fightn another day. :)


Also you forgot to mention that virtues have their Upsides as well.
Every time you act in a way that fits to a certain virtue you can spend a point of WP and instead of getting one success, you get to roll as many dice as you have points in that particular virtue.



In my opinion its one of the best parts of Scion, as the central virtues (and in part vices) of Demigods and Gods are integral parts of their legends.


Would I like such a system in other Settings? Aside from Exalted, probably not.
But for that kind of games it fits perfectly.

Aside from the switching virtues part* none of that is new information or contradicts what I said.

In Scion a success is a 7+ on a 10 sided dice, thus at minimum you have a 40% chance to succeed on a virtue roll.

I wasn't attacking Scion per se, I was just wary about how it would actually work out in play and how it could lead to adversarial GMing and a lot of metagaming. But then I started thinking about how weird it is that it flips the normal expectations of player behavior.

To expand on your example with one of my own, in a recent game of Werewolf we were badly hurt and enemy reinforcements were on their way, the rest of the group wanted to run from what was almost certain to be a deadly encounter but I decided that my character was far too stubborn to give up now and would stand and fight with or without her pack-mates. The rest of the group (including the ST) got extremely frustrated at me for disrupting the game with a potential TPK because I was playing my character.

If we had been playing Scion though, it would have instead required me to roll a courage virtue NOT to stand and fight, which is apparently now a good thing because it coerces you into acting in character.


*: I totally missed the rules for switching virtues, that actually does make it a lot better. Is it in the core rules? And is it something that happens during character creation, a choice made over the course of play, or both?

Dragonexx
2016-10-30, 05:44 PM
The way I see it, all this bull**** is about not trusting players to play their characters, thus creating rules that force them to. If a player doesn't want to roleplay (or more likely, not roleplay in a way that strokes the GM's ego) then forcing them to won't make them happier or have more fun.

Darth Ultron
2016-10-30, 05:47 PM
"I was just doing what my character would do!" is more a problem when you're hiding being a piece of **** behind it. It's for things like the rogue stabbing everyone else in the party in their sleep to steal their stuff.


It is worth noting that few players fully role play a character, even more so with anything even slightly negative.

For example a classic player made backstory might have ''afraid to death of spiders''. Yet, a bit later during the adventure when they encounter a whole tunnel full of spiders and webs that player is just like ''whatever, I just walk on''. And if the DM points out the fear of spiders the player will just say ''oh, yea, she is totally afraid and everything..ok? So she walked on, what does she see."

And that is why some games force things with rules so the player can't just ignore it.

Talakeal
2016-10-30, 05:52 PM
The way I see it, all this bull**** is about not trusting players to play their characters, thus creating rules that force them to. If a player doesn't want to role-play (or more likely, not roleplay in a way that strokes the GM's ego) then forcing them to won't make them happier or have more fun.

The cynical side of me wants to say that both mechanics that force a character to RP and telling people that "just playing my character" is not an excuse to disrupt the session are different ways of telling people that they need to step in line and play the way the GM wants them to play.


It is worth noting that few players fully role play a character, even more so with anything even slightly negative.

For example a classic player made backstory might have ''afraid to death of spiders''. Yet, a bit later during the adventure when they encounter a whole tunnel full of spiders and webs that player is just like ''whatever, I just walk on''. And if the DM points out the fear of spiders the player will just say ''oh, yea, she is totally afraid and everything..ok? So she walked on, what does she see."

And that is why some games force things with rules so the player can't just ignore it.

Counter example:

My character in a recent game was very afraid of water.

We were swimming through an underwater cavern and my character got lost in the dark and started to panic. One of the other player characters saw that I wasn't with them when they got to the other side and went back for me. I said that my character would probably attack the other character in such a situation, drowning and panicking and being grabbed by someone they can't see. It would only be natural for her to fight the other character, which could lead to both of us drowning (as I understand it this is a significant danger IRL as drowning people often panic and drag their rescuer down with them).

The DM told me not to disrupt the game and ruin the fun for other people by initiating PVP.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-10-30, 06:07 PM
The point is, there's nothing inherently wrong with rules forcing characters to behave in certain ways. But these rules are heavily game/genre dependent and shouldn't be applied to most games.

Kish
2016-10-30, 06:26 PM
The cynical side of me wants to say that both mechanics that force a character to RP and telling people that "just playing my character" is not an excuse to disrupt the session are different ways of telling people that they need to step in line and play the way the GM wants them to play.



Counter example:

My character in a recent game was very afraid of water.

We were swimming through an underwater cavern and my character got lost in the dark and started to panic. One of the other player characters saw that I wasn't with them when they got to the other side and went back for me. I said that my character would probably attack the other character in such a situation, drowning and panicking and being grabbed by someone they can't see. It would only be natural for her to fight the other character, which could lead to both of us drowning (as I understand it this is a significant danger IRL as drowning people often panic and drag their rescuer down with them).

The DM told me not to disrupt the game and ruin the fun for other people by initiating PVP.
Which leaves us with what I said before: If this is the same group, them trying a White Wolf game is a disastrously bad idea. Not to say incomprehensible.

(As for the cynical side of you, tell it that apparently it has the answers it wants all figured out without input from anyone else, so it makes little sense for it to ask questions.)

GrayDeath
2016-10-30, 07:03 PM
You can choose other ones at Creation, yes.
I reread, and you can switch all but one, however that makes buying the pantheon/parent purviews more expensive. Might also reduce the cost of other pantheons special boons, each by one xp point per different/same virtue.


You might switch to Dark Virtues (the Titanspawn variant) if you are really really unlucky (and Evilz^^) during the game, but I for one do not know of a way to switch them inGame.
They are a central part of what makes you more than mortal, so changing them is seemingly not really a thing. ;)

Also for the roll: yes, I know the roll statistics, but the way you said it it seemed like "every action has a 40% chance of a virtue making me do something else" ewhich I wanted to refute.

First you ahve to be in a Situation that you want to do something, then it has to contradict a virtue you have, then the DM ahs to decide no other of your virtues directly supports that action (you never roll conflicting virtues, would be farr too miuch rolling for too little effect^^) and THEN you roll and are influenced.
If you manage to be close to out of WP though, it CAN happen that you really floip (rolled more successes on the Virtue roll than you have WP left and you are truly controlled by it).

Still I like the system. Its well done to evoke the feel of great passions and the dangers and boons they provide.

And its up front, so whoever doenst like them sees it right there, not like some of say....D&D`s more hidden problems.
Or Scions own for that ^^

Genth
2016-10-30, 07:13 PM
I think you may have the idea of Virtues in Scion wrong. The first thing to understand is Scion is built around 'Heroic Tropes' being a thing, and there being a cosmic force (fate) which will literally bend reality to make what narrative causality says should happen, happen. As a Scion, you are partially made up of Ichor, literally 'Fate-stuff'. And part of that heritage are the Virtues, the way your pantheon and you as a person, are fatebound to act.

The mechanics, just to clarify, although I think you've understood are thus: If you have Courage 3, and you want to act in a way which would be cowardly, by the definition of heroic stories, you need to roll 3d10, and if any of them succeed, you are forced to act with courage. This isn't about forcing you as a player to make your character do something, it's about your character being forced by their own basic nature to do something. Your character may very well not want to act in the way they have to, but they are forced by Fate to do so.

You get advantages from this as well, significant advantages. Your Courage 3 will allow you to spend a point of willpower to roll 3 extra dice for an action. Say 3 extra dice when rolling damage to smite your enemy right in the face.

And personally, I love it. It's very metanarrative and enjoys the kind of trope lampshade-hanging that I personally really enjoy. "Struggling against" your virtues is entirely appropriate for a story arc.

OH, and THEN, there's Titanspawn and Dark Virtues. Having to roll virtues to NOT betray their group. Knowing that betraying their group is a foolish idea, and will cause them more trouble, but inexorably forced to do it by their nature.

But, if that kind of story doesn't interest you, then Virtues are not the best course of action. They're able to be excised from the game, or, like social skills in 3.5/PF, only applicable to NPCs

Max_Killjoy
2016-10-30, 08:05 PM
I think you may have the idea of Virtues in Scion wrong. The first thing to understand is Scion is built around 'Heroic Tropes' being a thing, and there being a cosmic force (fate) which will literally bend reality to make what narrative causality says should happen, happen.


For me, as a writer, a GM, or a player, that sounds like nightmare fuel.

Genth
2016-10-30, 08:51 PM
For me, as a writer, a GM, or a player, that sounds like nightmare fuel.

Then... don't play Scion? Or read Discworld Novels? Or read OOTS?

My point is that this kind of storytelling and setting isn't unheard of, and personally I really enjoy it.

Talakeal
2016-10-30, 09:27 PM
Geeze, I wish I had gotten this much interest in Scion when started a thread about it a couple weeks ago.


I think you may have the idea of Virtues in Scion wrong. The first thing to understand is Scion is built around 'Heroic Tropes' being a thing, and there being a cosmic force (fate) which will literally bend reality to make what narrative causality says should happen, happen. As a Scion, you are partially made up of Ichor, literally 'Fate-stuff'. And part of that heritage are the Virtues, the way your pantheon and you as a person, are fatebound to act.

The mechanics, just to clarify, although I think you've understood are thus: If you have Courage 3, and you want to act in a way which would be cowardly, by the definition of heroic stories, you need to roll 3d10, and if any of them succeed, you are forced to act with courage. This isn't about forcing you as a player to make your character do something, it's about your character being forced by their own basic nature to do something. Your character may very well not want to act in the way they have to, but they are forced by Fate to do so.

You get advantages from this as well, significant advantages. Your Courage 3 will allow you to spend a point of willpower to roll 3 extra dice for an action. Say 3 extra dice when rolling damage to smite your enemy right in the face.

And personally, I love it. It's very metanarrative and enjoys the kind of trope lampshade-hanging that I personally really enjoy. "Struggling against" your virtues is entirely appropriate for a story arc.

OH, and THEN, there's Titanspawn and Dark Virtues. Having to roll virtues to NOT betray their group. Knowing that betraying their group is a foolish idea, and will cause them more trouble, but inexorably forced to do it by their nature.

But, if that kind of story doesn't interest you, then Virtues are not the best course of action. They're able to be excised from the game, or, like social skills in 3.5/PF, only applicable to NPCs

Ok, I didn't realize that Virtues where an actual IC aspect of the universe, I thought they were a meta-game construct to help players RP.

That's actually kind of horrifying, and I don't mean from a game design standpoint, I mean that actually sounds like the premise of a cosmic horror setting. Having some fundamental force of reality that shapes your destiny and can (relatively) easily overwrite your free will to get you to go along with its seemingly unknowable goals actual makes me think a lot more of a Call of Cthulhu inspired setting than a mythological one. It feels less like player gods among men and more like playing sleepers in the Matrix.

Out of curiosity, do the people in the game know that Virtues exist and that Fate is an active force pulling their strings? If so I can't imagine that the central conflict of the game isn't about the gods working to destroy / change fate to earn their freedom (kind of like oWoD Mage's Ascension war) or that interactions between Scions don't just come down to trying to manipulate the other's Virtues, after all when trying to kill a powerful Aesir wouldn't it be far easier to simply goad him into killing himself by doing something suicidal to appease his courage rather than actually trying to fight him?


Which leaves us with what I said before: If this is the same group, them trying a White Wolf game is a disastrously bad idea. Not to say incomprehensible.

(As for the cynical side of you, tell it that apparently it has the answers it wants all figured out without input from anyone else, so it makes little sense for it to ask questions.)

Kind of confused by your post.

I have only been in two groups recently, one which played Werewolf and the other which played Mage, both are White Wolf games. Which group are you referring to?

Also, my cynical side didn't ask any questions, it just made a statement. I asked questions as a whole person of which cynicism is only one small part.

Max_Killjoy
2016-10-30, 09:44 PM
Ok, I didn't realize that Virtues where an actual IC aspect of the universe, I thought they were a meta-game construct to help players RP.

That's actually kind of horrifying, and I don't mean from a game design standpoint, I mean that actually sounds like the premise of a cosmic horror setting. Having some fundamental force of reality that shapes your destiny and can (relatively) easily overwrite your free will to get you to go along with its seemingly unknowable goals actual makes me think a lot more of a Call of Cthulhu inspired setting than a mythological one. It feels less like player gods among men and more like playing sleepers in the Matrix.

Out of curiosity, do the people in the game know that Virtues exist and that Fate is an active force pulling their strings? If so I can't imagine that the central conflict of the game isn't about the gods working to destroy / change fate to earn their freedom (kind of like oWoD Mage's Ascension war) or that interactions between Scions don't just come down to trying to manipulate the other's Virtues, after all when trying to kill a powerful Aesir wouldn't it be far easier to simply goad him into killing himself by doing something suicidal to appease his courage rather than actually trying to fight him?


Agreed. From an IC perspective, it's horrifying.

From an OOC perspective, it's disturbing to watch a work of fiction or an RPG eagerly embrace those sorts of tropes like that, unless it's intended as satire.

flond
2016-10-30, 10:08 PM
Agreed. From an IC perspective, it's horrifying.

From an OOC perspective, it's disturbing to watch a work of fiction or an RPG eagerly embrace those sorts of tropes like that, unless it's intended as satire.

Why? Tropes aren't bad. Conventions aren't bad. Going for the stereotypical ending isn't bad. Innovation isn't bad either, but it's not the end all be all. Things get repeated because, unless you're a glimmering star of the genre, what's worked before often works.

Mr Beer
2016-10-30, 10:20 PM
Something similar in GURPS with Disadvantages. You get extra points to spend for them and some Disadvantages will compel you to engage in self-destructive behaviour if you fail a trigger roll. You get more points for more problematic behaviour and tougher trigger rolls. A Berserk rage that triggers almost every time you are injured is worth -30 points and something like being a compulsive party animal on an occasional basis would be -2 (IIRC). I think it's a reasonable way to give players extra points to spend but ensure that have the attendant problems that go with them.

RazorChain
2016-10-30, 10:28 PM
Gurps has this in the form of Disadvantages that give you character points that you can spend on attributes, skills and advantages.

I'm not a huge fan of it because players always tend to maximize their points by choosing the easiest to avoid disadvantages. Now I just ignore the rules and ask players to pick a couple or make some new.


The disadvantages can be something like Greed, Bad Temper, Lecherous, Miserly, Overconfidence etc. and they have control rolls, the player can always chose to fail his control roll. Now I never had any issues with the control rolls unless the GM forces you to roll them all the time. Now if you are playing a greedy bastard to start with then you should act it. But in my experience it is most often the players themselves who bring up what disads their characters have to have an excuse to act against their and the groups best interest.

Now I have nothing against this as it often leads to interesting roleplaying situations like when one PC sold the group out because he was greedy and then bailed them out again because he had sense of duty to his friends. This lead to him being able to infiltrate the evil organization and the group to take it down from the inside.

Genth
2016-10-30, 11:05 PM
Ok, I didn't realize that Virtues where an actual IC aspect of the universe, I thought they were a meta-game construct to help players RP.

That's actually kind of horrifying, and I don't mean from a game design standpoint, I mean that actually sounds like the premise of a cosmic horror setting. Having some fundamental force of reality that shapes your destiny and can (relatively) easily overwrite your free will to get you to go along with its seemingly unknowable goals actual makes me think a lot more of a Call of Cthulhu inspired setting than a mythological one. It feels less like player gods among men and more like playing sleepers in the Matrix.

Out of curiosity, do the people in the game know that Virtues exist and that Fate is an active force pulling their strings? If so I can't imagine that the central conflict of the game isn't about the gods working to destroy / change fate to earn their freedom (kind of like oWoD Mage's Ascension war) or that interactions between Scions don't just come down to trying to manipulate the other's Virtues, after all when trying to kill a powerful Aesir wouldn't it be far easier to simply goad him into killing himself by doing something suicidal to appease his courage rather than actually trying to fight him?


Fate acts more on the Divine then they do Scions, and more on Scions then they do Mortals. To be mortal is (almost) to be free of fate. One reason the Gods envy them.

Scions and Gods definitely know of Fate, and often will know about virtues - there are Boons and abilities which allow you to read and know what another Scion's virtues actually are. And this is reflected. Some gods, Odin and Loki in particular are practically defined by their opposition and their desperate scrabbling to break free of Fate. It's absolutely within the game's purview to try and find a way to break free of Fate. Other than becoming mortal, it's impossible, but people still try. There's even a Titan whom is trying to manipulate fate by acting like the Abrahamic God, and convincing its followers to worship it, and trick monotheistic religions into worshiping it, because then Fate might actually grant it the power of the Abrahamic God. Fate is felt in almost every aspect of the game.

And yes, it's absolutely a sound strategy to manipulate stronger Scion's virtues. That's at least one reason why there are abilities designed to read them. As well as abilities that grant others (usually mortals) temporary virtues like Loyalty.

PersonMan
2016-10-31, 02:29 AM
I think it's also a matter of expectations.

In a game where you can lose control of your character, who then does something possibly damaging or trouble-causing, that's part of the expected challenge. It's not just "can we beat X enemy", it's "can we beat X enemy while dealing with our own weaknesses that could screw us over in the wrong situation".

In a game like DnD, the challenge is external. Can you kill the dragon before it kills you? Can you avoid the undead horde and escape their lich master to warn the town? Throwing in something like "my character is deathly afraid of [X] and goes into a panic at the sight" creates internal challenge that is generally not expected and, importantly, offers no reward. Overcoming an external challenge gives a reward, but the DM won't give you more XP because your claustrophobic sorcerer was nigh useless for one of the fights.

A set of rules regarding such matters both formalizes expectations (so no one is surprised when it comes up) and generally offers rewards. It could be that losing control or being disadvantaged by your X-phobia gives some sort of metagame currency, or that the mechanic is a double-edged sword type deal - if it's hard to resist your X-phobia or equivalent, you also gain an equivalent bonus to Y.

GrayDeath
2016-10-31, 06:17 AM
So when I wrote thats integral part of feel and setting (which obviously states its not just a metagamey construct, ah well), it was just invisible, Talakeal?

Good to know. :smallcool:

Cluedrew
2016-10-31, 08:02 AM
In a game where you can lose control of your character, who then does something possibly damaging or trouble-causing, that's part of the expected challenge. It's not just "can we beat X enemy", it's "can we beat X enemy while dealing with our own weaknesses that could screw us over in the wrong situation".I think this is important. The "type" of game can determine whether or not it is appropriate.

Not only in terms of challenge but in terms of tone. D&D is not about people dealing with their own problems, it is about them overcoming external challenges. So that is what the rules focus on. Other games have different focuses.

For instance risking drowning two character because of background might be a bit much in D&D. Perhaps it would be better to say she freaks own for a moment but then calms down after she recognises her rescuer. I can't say for sure but maybe.

Max_Killjoy
2016-10-31, 09:34 AM
Why? Tropes aren't bad. Conventions aren't bad. Going for the stereotypical ending isn't bad. Innovation isn't bad either, but it's not the end all be all. Things get repeated because, unless you're a glimmering star of the genre, what's worked before often works.

It's bad when those tropes and conventions allow the observant reader, watcher, or player see how the story or game is going to play out step by step.

It's bad when we're rolling our eyes because we've been here before one hundred times before, and while the dancers are different all the moves are being repeated yet again.

It's bad when we know what's going to happen to each character within minutes of their introduction because the writers are all painting by numbers from the same kit.

It's bad when every story follows the same format because all the stories those writers have been exposed to followed that format.

Amphetryon
2016-10-31, 10:03 AM
It's bad when those tropes and conventions allow the observant reader, watcher, or player see how the story or game is going to play out step by step.

It's bad when we're rolling our eyes because we've been here before one hundred times before, and while the dancers are different all the moves are being repeated yet again.

It's bad when we know what's going to happen to each character within minutes of their introduction because the writers are all painting by numbers from the same kit.

It's bad when every story follows the same format because all the stories those writers have been exposed to followed that format.

That means every story ever is bad, or that you're using an unusual definition of 'observant reader.'

Earthwalker
2016-10-31, 10:27 AM
It's bad when those tropes and conventions allow the observant reader, watcher, or player see how the story or game is going to play out step by step.


Surly the system where a dice roll is used you cant say how things are going to play out step by step as randomness is introduced with a dice roll.


That means every story ever is bad, or that you're using an unusual definition of 'observant reader.'

I have to agree with this.

Segev
2016-10-31, 10:32 AM
Scion (and Exalted before it) uses those Virtue-forced behaviors to guide players to play flawed heroes who lose control of their emotions. It can be a frustrating mechanic, but White Wolf tends to be of the school of thought that you should rule 0 heavily in favor of making a good story, so if the ST and the player don't like the dice results here, ignore them. What it's MEANT to do is help the D&D player (kind-of the expected "norm" of background for gamers) to realize that it's okay or even required to do sub-optimal actions.

Uncharitably interpreted, White Wolf doesn't trust players not to metagame. Not to ignore their PC's cares and emotions in favor of the player's desire to win.

Personally, I think White Wolf isn't wrong for this distrust, but they are making a mistake a lot of game designers do, and blaming the players for what is, essentially, a shortcoming of their mechanical system. And then trying to patch it by forcing them to act against their best interests. I won't go into too much detail, as I've spoken for essay-length post after essay-length post on this subject before and don't want to belabor it here, but a better design philosophy for what White Wolf is trying to achieve is to design mechanics which give the player rewards he cares about in the game for acting the way the PC is meant to be tempted to act.

Stepping away from Scion for a moment to another White Wolf staple, Vampire actually does this fairly well: by making "blood points" the 'mana' that powers their supernatural abilities (the cool stuff that makes playing a vampire awesome), they naturally simulate the hunger and temptations to over-feed. Sure, you can survive on one blood point per night, but if you gorge yourself regularly, you're always flush with fuel for your magic.

Max_Killjoy
2016-10-31, 11:24 AM
Scion (and Exalted before it) uses those Virtue-forced behaviors to guide players to play flawed heroes who lose control of their emotions. It can be a frustrating mechanic, but White Wolf tends to be of the school of thought that you should rule 0 heavily in favor of making a good story, so if the ST and the player don't like the dice results here, ignore them. What it's MEANT to do is help the D&D player (kind-of the expected "norm" of background for gamers) to realize that it's okay or even required to do sub-optimal actions.

Uncharitably interpreted, White Wolf doesn't trust players not to metagame. Not to ignore their PC's cares and emotions in favor of the player's desire to win.

Personally, I think White Wolf isn't wrong for this distrust, but they are making a mistake a lot of game designers do, and blaming the players for what is, essentially, a shortcoming of their mechanical system. And then trying to patch it by forcing them to act against their best interests. I won't go into too much detail, as I've spoken for essay-length post after essay-length post on this subject before and don't want to belabor it here, but a better design philosophy for what White Wolf is trying to achieve is to design mechanics which give the player rewards he cares about in the game for acting the way the PC is meant to be tempted to act.

Stepping away from Scion for a moment to another White Wolf staple, Vampire actually does this fairly well: by making "blood points" the 'mana' that powers their supernatural abilities (the cool stuff that makes playing a vampire awesome), they naturally simulate the hunger and temptations to over-feed. Sure, you can survive on one blood point per night, but if you gorge yourself regularly, you're always flush with fuel for your magic.

In general, White Wolf didn't trust players to not have "bagwrongfun" with their game/setting. They wrote entire chapters haughtily informing us of the appropriate form of fun that was to be had with their games.

Segev
2016-10-31, 12:28 PM
In general, White Wolf didn't trust players to not have "bagwrongfun" with their game/setting. They wrote entire chapters haughtily informing us of the appropriate form of fun that was to be had with their games.

They did, yes. It's less bad in Exalted and Scion than it is in oWoD books. I haven't really read nWoD books closely enough to be sure in them. (It's not terribly present in Innocents.) But they're particularly bad about lecturing that you should spread your dots around at chargen rather than min/maxing (literally; taking some things as high as they go and leaving others at their minima)...even though their bonus point/dots vs. XP mechanics blatantly encourage the exact opposite.

That is, character generation uses "dots" and "bonus points" to buy up your traits. It costs flat amounts of each to buy up each new rank of a stat or power, so adding a third costs as much as adding a second, fourth, or fifth at chargen. Just multiply your total ranks by the cost-per-rank and you're good to go. Experience Points, which are how you improve after chargen, get progressively more expensive per rank as you go up in ranks. You essentially have to pay what you already paid plus one more increment to gain the next rank.

So it's slower and more costly to go from 3-5 ranks in XP than it is to go from 1-3 ranks in XP. Which means optimally, you want to max out your "best" areas at chargen and then spend XP to raise the secondary points of interest. Which is exactly opposite to how White Wolf's oWoD books tend to lecture players on how to build characters. With insinuations that you're a dirty powergamer if you play their system intelligently.

GrayDeath
2016-10-31, 12:53 PM
That (nd especially seeing Scions recurring Power Boosts at becoming DG and G) is why we always simply used Bonus Points instead of XP.
Everything costs the same, always. ;)

Mind I am not arguing the Scion System is perfect (or even particularly good^^), just saying the fluff and some mechanics are more than good enough for me and my group to spend the effort of some houseruling and keep playing.
;)

Quertus
2016-10-31, 01:08 PM
Humans are notoriously terrible at communication. One possible interpretation is that systems have mechanics for acting in a suboptimal manner as longhand for "this is the type of game where you can RP imperfection", while systems that do not have such mechanics are attempting to communicate that one should not RP anything but tactical perfection.

Whether or not this is intentional, this is certainly the way many will take it.

While this theory has merit, as has been mentioned with the theme of internal vs external challenges, I, personally, dislike this idea. For one, I feel that how one "should" RP should be more dependent on group than on setting or rules set used. For example, in D&D, arguably a paragon of optimal play, my signature character is playable and fun specifically because I RP him in a way that is not optimal.

Then there is the issue of losing control of your character. I am a huge supporter of role-playing. Heck, it's 2/3 of the words in my favorite hobby. I think systems that attempt to take control away from the player via "role-playing aids" are heresy, and are the second worst thing, after alignment, to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs.

Yet, despite this, I have no issue with Virtues in Scion removing control of one's character. Why? Because they are not a "role-playing aid", they are a form of supernatural mind control. They represent a supernatural influence literally taking control away from the character.


Surly the system where a dice roll is used you cant say how things are going to play out step by step as randomness is introduced with a dice roll.

Sufficiently skilled individuals can generally predict the outcome of a MTG game, or a war game, before the game even starts. Despite the seemingly random nature of dice, cards, etc. Heck, DMs who claim to build "balanced" encounters are inherently claiming this ability.

But, here, were talking not about such randomness affecting combat outcomes, but, rather, about predicting the flow of the narrative.

Surely you've seen movies where, 15 minutes in, you knew what was going to happen, and how it would all turn out? I know I have.

Sometimes, that's what you want. Sometimes, it's not. Personally, I like for the hero to get the girl, but don't like to be able to predict every single important plot / character growth detail from the intro. In an RPG, I like to be surprised - not by chaos, not by inconsistency, but by complexity. By there being too many cool things for me to have predicted them all.

So I would probably come to actively dislike Scion's Virtues if they started to make the story predictable. Which they would, if, for example, the heroes were unable to resist them.

Speaking of which, AFB, but, IIRC, don't they work like this:

When the virtue is triggered, the player has a choice. He can have the character act in accordance with their Virtue. Or he can spend a resource (willpower?) to have them ignore / overcome their Virtue. Or he can roll to attempt to ignore the Virtue. If the roll fails, the Virtue fails to take hold, and they can act normally. If the roll succeeds, Bad Things Happen, which is worse than if they had just followed the Virtue in the first place.

GrayDeath
2016-10-31, 01:12 PM
Indeed.

Exactly what I wrote further up.
Although a simple Virtue "success" isnt that bad, it gets really bad if your temporary Willpower is lower than the number of successes though....


I`m feeling ignored here, so I`ll leave.....not that anyone will notice....:smallfrown:








:xykon: .... and return with the Wrath of a Fire, Death and Epic Dex Scion! ^^

Kapow
2016-10-31, 01:45 PM
Gurps has this in the form of Disadvantages that give you character points that you can spend on attributes, skills and advantages.

I'm not a huge fan of it because players always tend to maximize their points by choosing the easiest to avoid disadvantages. Now I just ignore the rules and ask players to pick a couple or make some new.


The disadvantages can be something like Greed, Bad Temper, Lecherous, Miserly, Overconfidence etc. and they have control rolls, the player can always chose to fail his control roll. Now I never had any issues with the control rolls unless the GM forces you to roll them all the time. Now if you are playing a greedy bastard to start with then you should act it. But in my experience it is most often the players themselves who bring up what disads their characters have to have an excuse to act against their and the groups best interest.

Now I have nothing against this as it often leads to interesting roleplaying situations like when one PC sold the group out because he was greedy and then bailed them out again because he had sense of duty to his friends. This lead to him being able to infiltrate the evil organization and the group to take it down from the inside.

The Dark Eye ("Das Schwarze Auge" - a german RPG) has something similar. It's called something like negative attributes.
Greed, Fear from X, Curiosity, Prejudices against X, ...
It is even integral to some races, cultures and professions (e.g. dwarves have fear from open seas, because their dense bodies don't swim very well and they haven't a lot of contact with the sea and wizards have curiosity, because only people who have that trait will become wizards)
You can reduce those drawbacks by spending XP (and time, and sometimes invest into psychological treatment)

I never had problems with this. Normally, those disadvantages don't need to be rolled, as the players chose them and play their characters accordingly. It's if you have high numbers and/or the GM thinks it would be interesting (for the story) for the character to get overwhelmed by their fears/urges, that rolls are made.

It is all fine if you play those traits out in other games, but if for some those numbers on the sheet help getting in character, nothing wrong with that too.

But perhaps that's just me, I like D&D and VtM (and a lot of other systems - okay I like reading RPG rules and settings and ... :smallwink:).

Talakeal
2016-10-31, 01:45 PM
So when I wrote thats integral part of feel and setting (which obviously states its not just a metagamey construct, ah well), it was just invisible, Talakeal?

Good to know. :smallcool:

I am sorry, I misunderstood what you meant, I am not ignoring you.



I thought you meant it was important for the feel of the setting that you play characters who have strong virtues that act in accordance with, not that being forced to act in accordance with your virtues is a tangible setting element. A sort of chicken and the egg thing if you will.

Like, if I was running a game set in Camelot where the PCs were knights of the round table, it is integral to the feel of the setting that they all follow the code of chivalry, but this is because only very chivalrous people are likely to become a knight of the round table, not because being a knight instills you with a supernatural compulsion to act in a chivalrous manner.


I think this is important. The "type" of game can determine whether or not it is appropriate.

Not only in terms of challenge but in terms of tone. D&D is not about people dealing with their own problems, it is about them overcoming external challenges. So that is what the rules focus on. Other games have different focuses.

For instance risking drowning two character because of background might be a bit much in D&D. Perhaps it would be better to say she freaks own for a moment but then calms down after she recognises her rescuer. I can't say for sure but maybe.

It was Mage, not D&D, I got freebie points for selecting phobia as a flaw.

Although honestly I think the any game that claims to be a "Role-playing" game should take internal challenges and motivations as seriously as external ones.


Why? Tropes aren't bad. Conventions aren't bad. Going for the stereotypical ending isn't bad. Innovation isn't bad either, but it's not the end all be all. Things get repeated because, unless you're a glimmering star of the genre, what's worked before often works.

If character's are only making decisions based on a trope rather than their actual character or logic that is jarring. If an external force is taking away a character's free will and forcing them to comply to the tropes that is horrific. Now, in a existential horror movie or a satire this can both work well (Cabin in the Woods and Stepford Wives work as both) but in a standard story we like the verisimilitude that having characters act in a consistent manner in line with in story justifications for their actions.

Now, surely you can see why it is horrifying in character? I can think of all sorts of examples, but many of them are pretty dark and skirt the forum rules, so I will be brief: If you are periodically influences or taken over by an external power and forced to make decisions that adhere to stereotypes but do not personally agree would be best for you / what you want that throws the whole notion free will, guilt / innocence, and consent / victimization out the window and reduces people to mere playthings and caricatures.

Max_Killjoy
2016-10-31, 02:07 PM
Gurps has this in the form of Disadvantages that give you character points that you can spend on attributes, skills and advantages.

I'm not a huge fan of it because players always tend to maximize their points by choosing the easiest to avoid disadvantages. Now I just ignore the rules and ask players to pick a couple or make some new.


The disadvantages can be something like Greed, Bad Temper, Lecherous, Miserly, Overconfidence etc. and they have control rolls, the player can always chose to fail his control roll. Now I never had any issues with the control rolls unless the GM forces you to roll them all the time. Now if you are playing a greedy bastard to start with then you should act it. But in my experience it is most often the players themselves who bring up what disads their characters have to have an excuse to act against their and the groups best interest.

Now I have nothing against this as it often leads to interesting roleplaying situations like when one PC sold the group out because he was greedy and then bailed them out again because he had sense of duty to his friends. This lead to him being able to infiltrate the evil organization and the group to take it down from the inside.


To me, the difference is that in GURPS or HERO, the player chooses that complicating factor, that potential loss of control, for their character. In Scion, the potential loss of control is forced on every character.

Then again, I'm the player who, in Vampire, took high Willpower, Self-Control, Courage, etc, and Merits like Iron Will, to specifically avoid loss of character control. In general, I loath anything that takes control of the player character away from the player, and I'm very careful as a GM to only use such things against players who I **KNOW** will enjoy playing along with it.

Mr Beer
2016-10-31, 02:14 PM
In general, White Wolf didn't trust players to not have "bagwrongfun" with their game/setting. They wrote entire chapters haughtily informing us of the appropriate form of fun that was to be had with their games.

So much this. White Wolf can take credit for introducing some different RPG approaches when they did but the pervasive hipster editorialism was pretty hard to take.

GrayDeath
2016-10-31, 03:05 PM
I am sorry, I misunderstood what you meant, I am not ignoring you.



I thought you meant it was important for the feel of the setting that you play characters who have strong virtues that act in accordance with, not that being forced to act in accordance with your virtues is a tangible setting element. A sort of chicken and the egg thing if you will.


Its actually both.
And again it contributes to the feel.



[


If character's are only making decisions based on a trope rather than their actual character or logic that is jarring. If an external force is taking away a character's free will and forcing them to comply to the tropes that is horrific. Now, in a existential horror movie or a satire this can both work well (Cabin in the Woods and Stepford Wives work as both) but in a standard story we like the verisimilitude that having characters act in a consistent manner in line with in story justifications for their actions.

Now, surely you can see why it is horrifying in character? I can think of all sorts of examples, but many of them are pretty dark and skirt the forum rules, so I will be brief: If you are periodically influences or taken over by an external power and forced to make decisions that adhere to stereotypes but do not personally agree would be best for you / what you want that throws the whole notion free will, guilt / innocence, and consent / victimization out the window and reduces people to mere playthings and caricatures.

Just choose the right virtues for your Character Concept, spread your dots accordingly, and you will have the exact amount of (dis)advantage you want.

(of course the sneaky and shy trickster/assassin with the Virtues of Duty, Expression, Harmony and Valor has problems^^)

Also, use less Hyperbole. Unless you are a God with 4 virtues at 5 and a Willpower maximum of less than that there is no "always".

Although it becomes more likely later on, nothing forces you to invest in Virtues (i usually do though) after CC.


Yes, it can be horrifying that your inner God drives you, it can also be exhilarating, interesting, or simply uncomfortable, all depending on Strength, frequency, Character Personality and what Virtues are involved.


If one does not like the concept, good, your taste.
Maybe you hate the mere thought of not total control of your Character, maybe you find it insulting that something tells you when to play up his Virtues, who knows.

But if you criticize it please do it for the "right" reasons (my second Scion Game at all had a GM that used Virtues almost the way you describe them ... until I told him (after rereading) that was wrong).


For my taste its a great mechanic for the feel (both the fluff of "Virtue matters" and the growing problem of "my virtues are driving me this way".
But I am fully aware not all players share that view.

Segev
2016-10-31, 03:09 PM
Personally, I'd have tried to design it such that the successes on your Virtue roll were how much Legend you gained if you went along with it, and how much it cost you to fight against it (or maybe a die penalty the ST could apply at any point in the scene). Encourage doing what Virtues exhort, but don't force it. Heck, players might push for Virtue rolls to see if doing something stupid but dramatically appropriate could also yield them more Legend to spend.

(For those who aren't aware, "Legend" is the 'mana' of the Scion system.)

GrayDeath
2016-10-31, 03:17 PM
There are some Boons that allow such a thing RAW (Tuatha come to mind) and you always can channel or surpress your virtuis with Willpower.

But you summed up one of our Houserules quite well.

CharonsHelper
2016-10-31, 03:45 PM
Heck, players might push for Virtue rolls to see if doing something stupid but dramatically appropriate could also yield them more Legend to spend.

To play devil's advocate, they could push for those Virtue rolls to be done in non-threatening situations where the disadvantage was minimal to gain Legend, and then fight against it if it were going to actually be detrimental.

Note: I actually mostly agree with you - I just like pointing out potential negative intended consequences of such things.

Segev
2016-10-31, 03:49 PM
To play devil's advocate, they could push for those Virtue rolls to be done in non-threatening situations where the disadvantage was minimal to gain Legend, and then fight against it if it were going to actually be detrimental.

Note: I actually mostly agree with you - I just like pointing out potential negative intended consequences of such things.

Oh, sure. It definitely isn't perfect as I laid it out. Just an improvement, to my mind, over the way it is now. I'd probably try to refine it further if I were writing for money. :smallwink: Or had more time and energy even without.

Arbane
2016-10-31, 04:22 PM
In general, White Wolf didn't trust players to not have "bagwrongfun" with their game/setting. They wrote entire chapters haughtily informing us of the appropriate form of fun that was to be had with their games.

....And people went and played Trenchcoat: the Katanaing with them anyway. :smallbiggrin:

Kish
2016-10-31, 05:54 PM
Now, surely you can see why it is horrifying in character? I can think of all sorts of examples, but many of them are pretty dark and skirt the forum rules, so I will be brief: If you are periodically influences or taken over by an external power and forced to make decisions that adhere to stereotypes but do not personally agree would be best for you / what you want that throws the whole notion free will, guilt / innocence, and consent / victimization out the window and reduces people to mere playthings and caricatures.
That's hyperbole, but, as someone else pointed out: Yes, as a child of a god you have less free will (when various forms of mind control aren't in play, anyway) than someone who was the child of two humans would. Yes, it's intentional. Yes, a character who finds that horrifying and envies mortals despite their relative powerlessness is a valid character concept.

Cluedrew
2016-10-31, 09:11 PM
It was Mage, not D&D, I got freebie points for selecting phobia as a flaw.

Although honestly I think the any game that claims to be a "Role-playing" game should take internal challenges and motivations as seriously as external ones.... And I fell for the Play grounder's fallacy.

And I would agree with you, although the are some schools of thought that the internals of a character are too complex to model with rules anyways.

Quertus
2016-11-01, 07:19 AM
And I would agree with you, although the are some schools of thought that the internals of a character are too complex to model with rules anyways.

Yeah, given how complex the human mind is, the only thing complex enough to model it, that is at all likely to be used at the gaming table... is the human mind.

Sure, one could write rules to successfully model the human mind (although anyone who tells you that have done so before we have universally accepted artificial intelligence is a liar), but they would be so complex that no gamers would use them. Not even GURPS* enthusiasts.

* btw, what game currently holds the title for most complex rules, that people love because of the depth & complexity of the rules? I feel like someone must have outdone GURPS by now.

Segev
2016-11-01, 08:56 AM
If I were to write rules for modeling "the mind," I'd restrict it to ways of representing to the player the temptations and urges the character is feeling. I'd try to reduce the distance the player experiences between what he wants and feels and what his character wants and feels.

As an example, the classic "seductress" scenario has the beautiful woman using her wiles to convince a character to shirk his duties or otherwise do something for her that he shouldn't or otherwise wouldn't, simply because her sexy presence makes him giddy or because he hopes to "get some" later. A player...isn't seeing the femme fatale, and probably doesn't find the GM's voice to be all that sultry, and also is unlikely to a) want to get the reward promised personally from the GM, and b) probably doesn't expect to even if it would be of interest.

So the player, who doesn't want Bob the Barbarian to fall for the trick because it will negatively impact his ability to beat the seductress's party in an upcoming competition, doesn't feel the temptations to agree or go along with her requests. But his character, in theory, does.

So you need some means of giving the player a sense of the same yearnings through game mechanics. Bonuses for "going along" with it, or penalties for resisting, are the best tools I can think of. Justify them as morale boosts or hits. As a *ahem* well-rested bonus or a "sleepless night" penalty, perhaps.

Depending on the resources in the game's mechanics, other rewards or penalties could also be offered.


As a general rule, "Fate Points" and similar, I find, to be insufficient. Accepting the offers of them invariably leads to situations where you have to immediately spend the one you just got, and maybe additional ones, to get out of them, and you're still worse off than you would've been if you didn't. Resources granted as rewards need to be more granularly useful, so that even if you have to spend some of the reward to get out of the trouble caused by "giving in," you're still possibly coming out ahead.

Earthwalker
2016-11-01, 10:49 AM
[snip]

As a general rule, "Fate Points" and similar, I find, to be insufficient. Accepting the offers of them invariably leads to situations where you have to immediately spend the one you just got, and maybe additional ones, to get out of them, and you're still worse off than you would've been if you didn't. Resources granted as rewards need to be more granularly useful, so that even if you have to spend some of the reward to get out of the trouble caused by "giving in," you're still possibly coming out ahead.

I have run Fate for a while now and I think only once did accepting a fate point require spending an additional fate points and that's after handing out I would guess about 50 fate points.

I do agree the situation you describe can happen but for me it has been very infrequent.

Segev
2016-11-01, 12:33 PM
I have run Fate for a while now and I think only once did accepting a fate point require spending an additional fate points and that's after handing out I would guess about 50 fate points.

I do agree the situation you describe can happen but for me it has been very infrequent.

It may just be the groups I play with and our play-style. I haven't actually played Fate; the example that rises first to my mind is actually Hero Points in Mutants and Masterminds. But "Fate Points" seemed a more generic term for this forum.

As an example, it tends to be something like, "Hey, guys, I'll give you a hero point if you allow me to auto-capture you rather than you trying to fight your way out of it."

Hawkstar
2016-11-01, 01:29 PM
Rules set expectations for games. A system that makes "Your character can do something against the wishes of the party" a rule turns it from "Player trolling the group" to "How the game is meant to be played." It could also be the game explicitly telling the player "This is your character in the game. Not theirs. Have him do what he would do."

You don't run Paranoia like D&D. You don't run D&D like Paranoia.

Frankly, however, I find the "It's what my character would do!" bogeyman here to be a problem with a lack of trust between players more than anything else. Then again, I usually have more problems with people getting angry about 'It's what my character would do" than the people actually having their character do what their character would do.

Talakeal
2016-11-01, 02:14 PM
My goal is not to hyperbolize or bash Scion. As I said in my other thread, I have no idea how the game actually works out in play, I am just afraid of what could potentially happen if you have an extremely adversarial, metagamey, or literal group / storyteller.


Also, the idea about being exhilirated by losing control is something I hadnt considered. It totally makes sense, a repressed person finally having an excuse to cut loose, but its not the type of character I usually play; sort of a double wish fulfilment. I normally play the character I want to play, not the guy who wants to be the guy I want to be, although I agree that it is a perfectly valid character concept, just not one that appeals to me.


I like to be in total control of my character, yes. I dont like it when the rules or the GM presume to know what my character would do better than I do.

Which is not to say I object to mechanics like mind control or the like. I dont mind being mind controlled, its actually kind of fun to cut loose and vent your frustrations by having an excuse to kill you own party now and again /evilgrin. But I play characters who are going to react to the mind control, not just passivly accept it. Which could cause problems in a game like Scion if the ST doesnt want to make a game about fighting fate and trying to become mortal.

The Glyphstone
2016-11-01, 02:18 PM
Isn't it sort of a given by now that any time someone in a group you join does something or says something, it's going to be considered bizarre/hostile/unreasonable/wrong by the sane people here? You really do live in Bizarro Gaming Universe.



I am just afraid of what could potentially happen if you have an extremely adversarial, metagamey, or literal group / storyteller.

AKA every storyteller you've ever played under, apparently.

Talakeal
2016-11-01, 02:29 PM
Isn't it sort of a given by now that any time someone in a group you join does something or says something, it's going to be considered bizarre/hostile/unreasonable/wrong by the sane people here? You really do live in Bizarro Gaming Universe.



AKA every storyteller you've ever played under, apparently.

Nah, the previous storyteller for this group was amazingly awesome. Then he moved away and I dont know about the new guy...

Hawkstar
2016-11-01, 02:29 PM
I am just afraid of what could potentially happen if you have an extremely adversarial, metagamey, or literal group / storyteller.The problem is the 'extremely adversarial, metagamey, or literal group', not the rule. (That said, by giving the dice the say, it actually could help out by making it something that comes 'from the dice', not the whims of a perceived-to-be-capricious player. If a character's virtue says he'd do something that is suboptimal/against the group, it's because his character really would do so, not because the player wants to screw the group over in the moment.

Genth
2016-11-01, 03:32 PM
Talakeal, may I present a scenario I actually ran in a Scion game? I'm curious about how you'd react to a story like this. And I'd like to preface it with noting that my players responded really well to it and liked it.

The band had to infiltrate a skinhead (of the far-right variety) concert, which they knew was being organized by an enemy Scion. What they didn't know what that this was a Scion of the Aesir, skilled in Jotunblut, and had assistance from an Etin Skald. The music in the concert was laced with power, and was instrumental in actually making the skinheads stronger - by giving them two temporary dots of Valor and a dot of willpower. When in a fight, these skinheads could gain those two bonus dots of valor and have a significant advantage, but it also made them much more liable to anger. The Scions also were affected by the music they had to make a willpower roll. One of the Scions botched it, and got the dots of valor. Cue a set of really rather over-muscled bad guys insulting him, and although getting into a fight here was a really bad idea, the character was asked to make that Valor roll, and succeeded - meaning he was forced to throw a punch.

Some things to note -

As soon as they failed the willpower roll, they were told that they had those two valor dots.
The Scions with Epic Perception or Wits could get the hint the music wasn't entirely natural.
This wasn't in a situation where the Scions were in serious danger. (Although the skinhead rolled 8 out of 8 for his accuracy roll, and similarly high on the damage so the Scion did actually end up taking some nasty damage >.>)

What would your reaction have been to a similar scenario?

Talakeal
2016-11-01, 03:37 PM
The problem is the 'extremely adversarial, metagamey, or literal group', not the rule. (That said, by giving the dice the say, it actually could help out by making it something that comes 'from the dice', not the whims of a perceived-to-be-capricious player. If a character's virtue says he'd do something that is suboptimal/against the group, it's because his character really would do so, not because the player wants to screw the group over in the moment.

Oh for sure.

Its just that the way certain rules are written lends them to creating bad experiances when combined with certain player types more than others.

For example, in 3.X the rules for Sarrukhs, creating magical traps, Genesis, and the expanded alignment rules BoED or BoVD can easilly wreck a game when read by an overly literal person.

On paper virtues seem like they could be one of those rules.


Talakeal, may I present a scenario I actually ran in a Scion game? I'm curious about how you'd react to a story like this. And I'd like to preface it with noting that my players responded really well to it and liked it.

The band had to infiltrate a skinhead (of the far-right variety) concert, which they knew was being organized by an enemy Scion. What they didn't know what that this was a Scion of the Aesir, skilled in Jotunblut, and had assistance from an Etin Skald. The music in the concert was laced with power, and was instrumental in actually making the skinheads stronger - by giving them two temporary dots of Valor and a dot of willpower. When in a fight, these skinheads could gain those two bonus dots of valor and have a significant advantage, but it also made them much more liable to anger. The Scions also were affected by the music they had to make a willpower roll. One of the Scions botched it, and got the dots of valor. Cue a set of really rather over-muscled bad guys insulting him, and although getting into a fight here was a really bad idea, the character was asked to make that Valor roll, and succeeded - meaning he was forced to throw a punch.

Some things to note -

As soon as they failed the willpower roll, they were told that they had those two valor dots.
The Scions with Epic Perception or Wits could get the hint the music wasn't entirely natural.
This wasn't in a situation where the Scions were in serious danger. (Although the skinhead rolled 8 out of 8 for his accuracy roll, and similarly high on the damage so the Scion did actually end up taking some nasty damage >.>)

What would your reaction have been to a similar scenario?

OOC I would have no problem with that, it seems like a perfectly cromulant scenario to me.

IC it depends on what character I was playing and what the consequences of throwing the punch were, but probably not too strong a reaction.

Arbane
2016-11-01, 07:46 PM
* btw, what game currently holds the title for most complex rules, that people love because of the depth & complexity of the rules? I feel like someone must have outdone GURPS by now.

D&D 3.5.

I think it's actually more complex than GURPS in play, though it's hard to measure.

If you mean 'math during character generation', HERO System is still around and still has fans.

ImNotTrevor
2016-11-02, 01:47 AM
It's bad when those tropes and conventions allow the observant reader, watcher, or player see how the story or game is going to play out step by step.

It's bad when we're rolling our eyes because we've been here before one hundred times before, and while the dancers are different all the moves are being repeated yet again.

It's bad when we know what's going to happen to each character within minutes of their introduction because the writers are all painting by numbers from the same kit.

It's bad when every story follows the same format because all the stories those writers have been exposed to followed that format.

This basically says "I and some numberless vague amount of other people dislike these things."

There are people that like them, too. Which isn't incorrect.

If you don't like the tropes, don't play the game. Done.
If you do like the tropes and the gameplay, play the game and have a good time. Done.

There's nothing wrong with having a game about Gods of Mythology and Ancient Legend that has elements to reinforce the common threads found in the stories of Ancient Mythology, especially surrounding Gods and Demigods. Not everyone has the literary analysis chops to figure out what all of those common threads are, but they might be able to feel that the threads are there even if unable to name them.

Most people who play Shadowrun are only passively aware that the system really cares a lot about Racism as a concept, and plays HEAVILY into the core Cyberpunk theme of Man Vs. The Machine. (ie, getting cybernetic implants literally damages and weakens your soul) If you ask most players of Shadowrun what the core narrative themes of the game are, it will probably get an answer something along the lines of "Gear Porn." Which isn't entirely inaccurate, but it's also not really what we're asking about.

Most people don't know how to make a world/setting feel apocalyptic beyond "Make it broken and dirty," which isn't really what Post-apocalyptic narrative is about. (Namely, the conflict of Human Nature vs. Civilization, as well as the distortion of the familiar into unfamiliarity.)

Anyways, all of this rambling to say:
Encouraging/enforcing tropes isn't inherently bad. It's just one of several valid approaches to making a TRPG.

Talakeal
2016-11-02, 03:45 AM
This basically says "I and some numberless vague amount of other people dislike these things."

There are people that like them, too. Which isn't incorrect.

If you don't like the tropes, don't play the game. Done.
If you do like the tropes and the gameplay, play the game and have a good time. Done.

There's nothing wrong with having a game about Gods of Mythology and Ancient Legend that has elements to reinforce the common threads found in the stories of Ancient Mythology, especially surrounding Gods and Demigods. Not everyone has the literary analysis chops to figure out what all of those common threads are, but they might be able to feel that the threads are there even if unable to name them.

Most people who play Shadowrun are only passively aware that the system really cares a lot about Racism as a concept, and plays HEAVILY into the core Cyberpunk theme of Man Vs. The Machine. (ie, getting cybernetic implants literally damages and weakens your soul) If you ask most players of Shadowrun what the core narrative themes of the game are, it will probably get an answer something along the lines of "Gear Porn." Which isn't entirely inaccurate, but it's also not really what we're asking about.

Most people don't know how to make a world/setting feel apocalyptic beyond "Make it broken and dirty," which isn't really what Post-apocalyptic narrative is about. (Namely, the conflict of Human Nature vs. Civilization, as well as the distortion of the familiar into unfamiliarity.)

Anyways, all of this rambling to say:
Encouraging/enforcing tropes isn't inherently bad. It's just one of several valid approaches to making a TRPG.

I don't think that is what Max is saying, I think his point was that overusing tropes can make a story dull and predictable, rather than saying that any work that utilizes tropes to explore a theme is inherently bad.

Segev
2016-11-02, 09:07 AM
I don't think that is what Max is saying, I think his point was that overusing tropes can make a story dull and predictable, rather than saying that any work that utilizes tropes to explore a theme is inherently bad.

If so, it's an unfair characterization of the game's he's criticizing, then, as they don't "overuse" the tropes so much as invoke them mechanically so that they are not something you have to ignore the rules and common sense to incorporate.

CharonsHelper
2016-11-02, 09:32 AM
This basically says "I and some numberless vague amount of other people dislike these things."


I think that Max has said before that he doesn't actually like any TTRPGs (I think he said that he kinda liked a couple old ones) - so one should probably take his criticisms with a grain of salt.

(Admittedly, the system doesn't sound like my schtick either.)

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 09:47 AM
If so, it's an unfair characterization of the game's he's criticizing, then, as they don't "overuse" the tropes so much as invoke them mechanically so that they are not something you have to ignore the rules and common sense to incorporate.


There's a thin line between a system that's in tune with the atmosphere of the setting/campaign so that it doesn't get in the way or cause disconnects... and a system that intentionally pushes cliches.

One of the problems I have with many tropes is exactly that they're in conflict with "common sense" -- I'm never going to have any patience with tropes, plot elements, etc, that require the idiot ball to be handed around, inexplicable selective ignorance on the part of characters, warped characterization, etc.

Segev
2016-11-02, 09:49 AM
There's a thin line between a system that's in tune with the atmosphere of the setting/campaign so that it doesn't get in the way or cause disconnects... and a system that intentionally pushes cliches.

One of the problems I have with many tropes is exactly that they're in conflict with "common sense" -- I'm never going to have any patience with tropes, plot elements, etc, that require the idiot ball to be handed around, inexplicable selective ignorance on the part of characters, warped characterization, etc.

I am not entirely sure you understand what tropes are, given the above statement. Tropes are commonly-recurring elements in story. Not even restricted to fiction. They're inescapable, in part because of how the human mind works. We gain understanding by labeling things, and the labels give our minds power over those things to make connections between them and learn to infer things from them.

Tropes absolutely can be used badly, but they can also be used well, and they're often used unconsciously or in ignorance if people doing the writing haven't studied them.

ComradeBear
2016-11-02, 09:55 AM
I don't think that is what Max is saying, I think his point was that overusing tropes can make a story dull and predictable, rather than saying that any work that utilizes tropes to explore a theme is inherently bad.
To echo Segev, a criticism of poor use of tropes in pre-planned, generally one-author fictional prose/film doesn't mean diddly when talking about a game system played by multiple people which produces a story(ie, some stuff that happened in a certain order) that is likely never written down.



If so, it's an unfair characterization of the game's he's criticizing, then, as they don't "overuse" the tropes so much as invoke them mechanically so that they are not something you have to ignore the rules and common sense to incorporate.
And also this.



I think that Max has said before that he doesn't actually like any TTRPGs (I think he said that he kinda liked a couple old ones) - so one should probably take his criticisms with a grain of salt.

(Admittedly, the system doesn't sound like my schtick either.)
There ain't nothin' wrong with disliking the mechanicsm

And once you're to the point that the entire hobby is displeasing to you.... you might need to find a new one. And I don't mean that in the trollish "GTFO, scrublord" way but more the "Dude, why would you spend your free time on a thing you don't like?"

Otherwise, my advice is to follow the Game Dev creed:
If you think up a game idea, and the idea doesn't exist, it's now your responsibility to make it happen.

So good luck!

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 10:17 AM
I am not entirely sure you understand what tropes are, given the above statement. Tropes are commonly-recurring elements in story. Not even restricted to fiction. They're inescapable, in part because of how the human mind works. We gain understanding by labeling things, and the labels give our minds power over those things to make connections between them and learn to infer things from them.

Tropes absolutely can be used badly, but they can also be used well, and they're often used unconsciously or in ignorance if people doing the writing haven't studied them.

I'd say they're inescapable because most human minds see patterns even when there's no pattern there, and so presume that something is "of a trope" even when it's really not... and because too many writers take common story elements to be prescriptive rather than descriptive. ( See, the multitude of fictional works written deliberately to check off all the points in Campbell's analysis, generating Yet Another Hero's Journey. )

Another problem with "tropes" is baggage. If a character or setting element or plot element "hits a trope", many observers will assume that the rest of the trope applies regardless of the reality. See, the guy I used to game with who would assume that any character with white hair, or from an elder race, or with an intelligent sword, or who is sickly, or so on, is "An Elric expy".

Overall, it doesn't help that most "we're invoking the trope" moments are really just excuses to have characters doing something out of character or even just plain stupid, or someone covering for an utterly contrived and unlikely cliche of a plot "twist".

In general, when someone says "tropes are being invoked", I hear "this story or game is being done paint-by-numbers".

Earthwalker
2016-11-02, 10:57 AM
[snip]
Overall, it doesn't help that most "we're invoking the trope" moments are really just excuses to have characters doing something out of character or even just plain stupid, or someone covering for an utterly contrived and unlikely cliche of a plot "twist".


I do not play Scion but wasn't the original argument that when you play a character that has the courageous trait then the game mechanically causes you to act courageous some times.

Which you refer to as

"characters doing something out of character"

What is an in character way for a character describe as courageous to act ?

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 11:37 AM
I do not play Scion but wasn't the original argument that when you play a character that has the courageous trait then the game mechanically causes you to act courageous some times.

Which you refer to as

"characters doing something out of character"

What is an in character way for a character describe as courageous to act ?

"Courage" is a lot more than foolhardy headlong bravado.

Earthwalker
2016-11-02, 11:48 AM
"Courage" is a lot more than foolhardy headlong bravado.

That is true it doesn't change the fact the system is designed that if you play a courageous character it has mechanics to make you act more courageous.

That is in no way is acting out of character.

The system may not be as nuanced as you and others may wish but it still doesn't mean that it forces you to act out of character.

I would say the fault of the system is it cant map your character to the level you would be happy with.

Segev
2016-11-02, 12:09 PM
I'd say they're inescapable because most human minds see patterns even when there's no pattern there, and so presume that something is "of a trope" even when it's really not... and because too many writers take common story elements to be prescriptive rather than descriptive. ( See, the multitude of fictional works written deliberately to check off all the points in Campbell's analysis, generating Yet Another Hero's Journey. )

Another problem with "tropes" is baggage. If a character or setting element or plot element "hits a trope", many observers will assume that the rest of the trope applies regardless of the reality. See, the guy I used to game with who would assume that any character with white hair, or from an elder race, or with an intelligent sword, or who is sickly, or so on, is "An Elric expy".

Overall, it doesn't help that most "we're invoking the trope" moments are really just excuses to have characters doing something out of character or even just plain stupid, or someone covering for an utterly contrived and unlikely cliche of a plot "twist".

In general, when someone says "tropes are being invoked", I hear "this story or game is being done paint-by-numbers".

Then what you hear is "people who are not naturally talented/yet skilled in writing are trying to use building blocks to tell their story rather than molding it out of unformed clay."

Absolutely, analysis can apply tropes that are not intended to a work. They may be right, or they may be wrong. And of course we find patterns even where none exist. But we also find patterns where they do exist. And even when they don't, they can be useful for analysis up to the point where we realize they're not there, and that process itself defeats the "see them when they're not there" problem...because now we know they're not.

Tropes help us discuss things succinctly. The very fact of analyzing something as being or not being a representative of a particular trope is useful to understanding it and its parent work better. The names also help us discuss preferences. It's a lot easier to express that you like a certain kind of story if you have language to describe it in broad, categorical terms rather than having to say "I like this list of specific stories; I hope you can discern the common element I like out of them versus the elements that don't make them what I like about them."

Obviously you don't use tropes as checklists to write stories. But if you are telling a story and can recognize tropes you're using, you can manipulate them more skillfully, and also sharpen your ability to research similar works and compare and contrast the techniques used with them. If you feel like your story is too clichť, you can more easily identify the source of that problem if you can nail down the trope you're abusing.


And in RPG design, if you're trying to evoke particular flavors of setting/story/genre, knowing the tropes that go into it helps you to design mechanics that complement and evoke them, rather than making a generic fantasy heartbreaker and plastering it onto a setting you kind-of think covers what you want, and then turning around and writing a lengthy author tract in your rulebook telling people how they shouldn't use the rules you've written the way you've written them, but should self-censor for "fun" because "optimal play is boring" and playing to the genre is fun even if the rules don't support playing to the genre and punish you for trying.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 12:09 PM
That is true it doesn't change the fact the system is designed that if you play a courageous character it has mechanics to make you act more courageous.

That is in no way is acting out of character.

The system may not be as nuanced as you and others may wish but it still doesn't mean that it forces you to act out of character.

I would say the fault of the system is it cant map your character to the level you would be happy with.


Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of an entire human personality -- it's better to not try to use mechanics to "make a character act in character", as those mechanics will always fall short of what the player can do.

Segev
2016-11-02, 12:21 PM
Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of an entire human personality -- it's better to not try to use mechanics to "make a character act in character", as those mechanics will always fall short of what the player can do.

While the first statement is not untrue, neither is the statement, "Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of human combat." That doesn't mean games are bad for trying.

The fact that combat and social interaction have vastly different sets of goals and behaviors means that mechanics for one cannot likely be used well for the other. And we have spent a lot more time on developing combat mechanics than social ones, with the further handicap that social mechanics frequently try to grow out of the combat ones (which are unsuited in structure to modeling them).

Earthwalker
2016-11-02, 12:44 PM
Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of an entire human personality -- it's better to not try to use mechanics to "make a character act in character", as those mechanics will always fall short of what the player can do.

Doesn't this also follow with everything ?

For example

Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of the realities of combat -- it's better to not try to use mechanics to "model combat", as those mechanics will always fall short of what the really happens.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 01:02 PM
While the first statement is not untrue, neither is the statement, "Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of human combat." That doesn't mean games are bad for trying.

The fact that combat and social interaction have vastly different sets of goals and behaviors means that mechanics for one cannot likely be used well for the other. And we have spent a lot more time on developing combat mechanics than social ones, with the further handicap that social mechanics frequently try to grow out of the combat ones (which are unsuited in structure to modeling them).

Combat mechanics are generally unsuited to resolve social conflicts, yes. The other attempted solutions sometimes involve mechanics that are very vague and generic, so that (IMO) they're equally bad at mapping/resolving combat and social and intellectual.

To me, one of the major differences is that two players can, informed by their character's nature and abilities and personality, hold an in-character social exchange between the characters. Two players would not (we hope) engage in a knife fight to resolve combat.




Game mechanics cannot in general map the nuances and complexities of the realities of combat -- it's better to not try to use mechanics to "model combat", as those mechanics will always fall short of what the really happens.


As noted above, combat mechanics are necessary because (we hope) the players are not trying to stab each other or beat each other about the neck and head in order to resolve an in-character combat.

Talakeal
2016-11-02, 01:24 PM
T think this thread is that it has split into several concurrent topics and people are assuming others are talking about a different topic than they are. Some people are discussing Scion, some narrative mechanics RPGs in general, some tropes in fiction, some RP mechanics in RPGs in general, and others discussing mind control in RPGs, fiction, or real life.


That is true it doesn't change the fact the system is designed that if you play a courageous character it has mechanics to make you act more courageous.

That is in no way is acting out of character.

The system may not be as nuanced as you and others may wish but it still doesn't mean that it forces you to act out of character.

I would say the fault of the system is it cant map your character to the level you would be happy with.

The problem is that for your virtues you have to choose four broad terms from a very small list (and some are chosen for you based on heritage).

Playing someone who will never back down from a fair fight is not the same as someone who will take any dare no matter how suicidal, likewise you could have someone who follows a strict code of honor that they would never break but doesn't give a toss about the laws of society, but the system lacks the distinction to tell the difference.

Which leaves it in the hands of the ST, which, imo, is a worse place to leave it than in the hands of the controlling player.

Cluedrew
2016-11-02, 01:27 PM
There was a thread dedicated to this topic (although it focused on social manipulation) a while back. I think it was called "On Dice Controlling Your Character". Anyways from what I can recall there were a couple of relevant points.

One is if you want to have a mental/social/personality advantage or disadvantage of the character (not player) you are going to have to encode at some point. Otherwise it is just characterization (... which I suppose is enough in some cases so you don't have to), that may beyond the player to represent. The traditional example is a player trying to play a character with more social skills than they have.

Another is take the character into account. Which here would mean get the right compulsions for your character.

The other is to leave wiggle room. Any mechanics I have seen that take control away from your character and work usually hand control back to you after making a big circle around possible actions. One appropriate & in-character action is almost always in their.

To Talakeal: Yeah... what are we supposed to be talking about?

Talakeal
2016-11-02, 01:31 PM
To Talakeal: Yeah... what are we supposed to be talking about?

My initial point was wondering why there was an apparent double standard where people liked "disruptive characterization" and thought it was a great RP aid, but thought it was terrible when based on player choice and the hallmark of a "problem player".

Of course I foolishly used Scion as an example in my OP, which of course triggered a pseudo edition-war.

GrayDeath
2016-11-02, 01:33 PM
The problem is that for your virtues you have to choose four broad terms from a very small list (and some are chosen for you based on heritage).

Playing someone who will never back down from a fair fight is not the same as someone who will take any dare no matter how suicidal, likewise you could have someone who follows a strict code of honor that they would never break but doesn't give a toss about the laws of society, but the system lacks the distinction to tell the difference.

Which leaves it in the hands of the ST, which, imo, is a worse place to leave it than in the hands of the controlling player.

No, it doesnt.

Strict Codes can be done without having Harmony (the Society Virtue if there ever was one), also do not forget that the number of dots directly says how strict the Virtue applies. The lowest (ergo no points spent) parts even say you barely care at all.
I know you dont really know the mechanics, but maybe stop posting as if you did then? ;)

A person with say Duty 3 is fulfilling his job even if it inconveniences them and oftten thinks about it.

One with Duty 5 however puts Duty ABOVE EVERYTHIN ELSE. All the time. in every situation where it applies.

Also there are more than a few virtues, but they have to have a certain widtzh (and tropiness) or they wouldn`t be virtues.

I mean of course you can play a Character with "Always protects young beautiful redheads in the hours between 7 and 11, unless they are taller than 5ft 6" or "mostly is not impressed by weak enemies taunting him" but those wont do for gallantry or Courage replacements ^^



Edit: and no, you foolishly used an example you did not understand and that triggered an explanation-avalanche (and the ubiquitous amount of opinions on the topic the internet provides for everything). ;)

Segev
2016-11-02, 02:17 PM
Combat mechanics are generally unsuited to resolve social conflicts, yes. The other attempted solutions sometimes involve mechanics that are very vague and generic, so that (IMO) they're equally bad at mapping/resolving combat and social and intellectual.

To me, one of the major differences is that two players can, informed by their character's nature and abilities and personality, hold an in-character social exchange between the characters. Two players would not (we hope) engage in a knife fight to resolve combat.

The distinction arises when social interaction is supposed to actually be part of the RP, and not just an incidental side thing that you might do for kicks between the real gameplay of kicking in doors and taking monsters' stuff.

Facetiousness aside, if you want to be able to play a big burly barbarian hurling boulders the size of cars, or a mage casting magical polymorph effects with a wave of your hands, mechanics support this despite you being a decidedly non-magical 90-lb. nerd. ("You" being generic; I obviously do not know if any particular poster here is 90 lbs. or some other weight, and I only strongly suspect none of you are magically inclined.)

If you want to be able to play a sultry seductress or a fast-talking charlatan who can talk a guy out of his clothes or his wallet faster than he could remember his wife's name, therefore, it is reasonable to want mechanics to support you doing so if that is the kind of thing the RPG in question is selling as part of its gameplay. Less important in "high adventure action" D&D, but critical in a game centering on the court of a decadent empire.

When you say, "Meh, just act it out based on what you think your characters would do," you're not actually answering the call the game says it answers, any more than "meh, just discuss how your characters fight, based on knowing their fighting styles and skills and the environment, and decide between yourselves how it turns out" answers the call for a game surrounding combat.

The rules for social interaction do need to be built quite differently than those for combat. And that's not something we yet have great systems for, though some do try. Personally, I think the key tool in designing such systems will have to involve what I've mentioned before: creating incentives and temptations and disincentives for the PLAYER wrt his gameplay experience that parallel the incentives, disincentives, and temptations his character experiences for IC influences. Because the player isn't going to care if his character's knees go weak at the smile of the seductress when his IC political goals involve ignoring what she's saying.

Just as the fighter in combat would have every incentive to justify that he dodges all the incoming blows, merely "RPing" that he's getting tired and how close it all was by saying so, the courtier could "RP" how tempting the temptress's smile is, but ultimately say his character is too focused on the goal to let the distraction thwart him.

Earthwalker
2016-11-02, 02:35 PM
My initial point was wondering why there was an apparent double standard where people liked "disruptive characterization" and thought it was a great RP aid, but thought it was terrible when based on player choice and the hallmark of a "problem player".

Of course I foolishly used Scion as an example in my OP, which of course triggered a pseudo edition-war.

When the disruption is happening because of the rules I feel its implied if you as a group have chosen to play a system with these rules in you all accept it will happen and so its not disruptive.
If the disruption is not codified in the rules then it seems bothersome.

I mean when I start playing FATE it was clear that people would be compelled and those compels would disrupt the team mission. (I even warned my players of this and check they were ok to use the system)

My game of Pathfinder plays so much different than my game of FATE and they have different goals and results.

Oh yeah and one additional thing when its coded into the rules its generally the same amount of disruption generated equally by all players, not just one player doing it.

Segev
2016-11-02, 02:39 PM
When the disruption is happening because of the rules I feel its implied if you as a group have chosen to play a system with these rules in you all accept it will happen and so its not disruptive.
If the disruption is not codified in the rules then it seems bothersome.I think this is the crux of the answer to Talakeal's query, yes.

Think of it this way: While some don't like having it in the game, nobody gets mad at the player for his Barbarian being mind-whammied by the evil enchantress into doing something against the party. Losing control of your character to Virtues or the like is similar: it's something your character does that creates complications, but it's not the player deliberately setting out to make things harder for the other players.



Oh yeah and one additional thing when its coded into the rules its generally the same amount of disruption generated equally by all players, not just one player doing it.

This is also a good point. Disruption from a problematic player is often a form of spotlight-stealing/hogging. If it's not voluntary, it is taken out of the player's hands and he's hardly the one hogging the spotlight with it, usually.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 02:41 PM
To be blunt -- I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something.

Genth
2016-11-02, 03:25 PM
To be blunt -- I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something.

Unless you are playing a character literally made out of legend, who's base substance is formed and manipulated by stories and in particular myth, and are granted access to the powers that come from that heritage by virtue of beings *so* entirely made out of story-stuff that they are caricatures of themselves and expect you to be also.

That's the premise of Scion.

Kish
2016-11-02, 03:56 PM
It's not a human personality. That's part of the point. Fundamental to the introduction story of Scion: Hero is that one doesn't need to know the child of Thor or the child of Loki personally to predict that the first will try to free the slaves as soon as he learns that there are slaves and the second will stab him in the back.

GrayDeath
2016-11-02, 04:03 PM
Or not, as both CAN counteract their nature (also they interestingly have the same 4 base virtues ... just in very different point spreads ^^).

Hawkstar
2016-11-02, 04:16 PM
Combat mechanics are generally unsuited to resolve social conflicts, yes. The other attempted solutions sometimes involve mechanics that are very vague and generic, so that (IMO) they're equally bad at mapping/resolving combat and social and intellectual.

To me, one of the major differences is that two players can, informed by their character's nature and abilities and personality, hold an in-character social exchange between the characters. Two players would not (we hope) engage in a knife fight to resolve combat.In all my years of experience gaming, this has NEVER been seen to be true, even at the best of tables. There are too many pressures to act 'out of character', largely due to not actually being in the place at the moment as the person.

Floret
2016-11-02, 04:23 PM
To me, one of the major differences is that two players can, informed by their character's nature and abilities and personality, hold an in-character social exchange between the characters. Two players would not (we hope) engage in a knife fight to resolve combat.

As noted above, combat mechanics are necessary because (we hope) the players are not trying to stab each other or beat each other about the neck and head in order to resolve an in-character combat.

But even IF it is possible, and if you prefer it, more power to you, why should social stuff be the only exception to "My characters skills are distinct from my own". I mean, if a player that is not the best with social skills wants to play a social character, should they be barred from that?

I guess the most central point is: If we simulate the rest of the world and interactions, why not simulate that part as well, and support it with rules? Just because we can do that IRL? We can also do a lot of other stuff IRL, it only requires more preparation and is generally called LARP. But outside of a LARP, when my character's stats determine how good they are at stuff, why exempt Social stuff, just because it, like everything else, cannot be exactly mapped?
Because you like it that way? That would be a valid preference, but one should not assume it is the only possible, or "the best" way (Except of course best for oneself).

On another note: I also like to have rules to tell me how my character (Or the characters of my players) are influenced by Socially apt people. I am rather confident in my ability to talk, and talk people into things, but not so confident that I will sway exactly those characters/players that would resist based on their differences in skill. Being able to roll for that and tell "yeah, you believe him" or "She kinda made you angry" is a huge boon to me, and one I would sorely miss if a game would not have any social mechanics.
But maybe this is also partially influenced by me Larping, and seeing TRPGs as a really quite distinct thing, that I want different things from. I do not want "Larping light, only for social stuff". I want to play stuff I can't as easily IRL, and that includes characters being defined by stats, at least concerning "what can they do that is gamerelevant, and how good are they at it".

Talakeal
2016-11-02, 04:32 PM
A person with say Duty 3 is fulfilling his job even if it inconveniences them and oftten thinks about it.

One with Duty 5 however puts Duty ABOVE EVERYTHIN ELSE. All the time. in every situation where it applies.

Also there are more than a few virtues, but they have to have a certain widtzh (and tropiness) or they wouldn`t be virtues.

I mean of course you can play a Character with "Always protects young beautiful redheads in the hours between 7 and 11, unless they are taller than 5ft 6" or "mostly is not impressed by weak enemies taunting him" but those wont do for gallantry or Courage replacements ^^

Yes, overly narrow codes are difficult to model. But overly broad codes turn characters into caricatures and result in all kinds of ridiculous situations. Neither one is ideal imo.



Edit: and no, you foolishly used an example you did not understand and that triggered an explanation-avalanche (and the ubiquitous amount of opinions on the topic the internet provides for everything). ;)


That may be so, but in my experience no matter how carefully you choose an example or research its subject matter you will always get into a debate with someone who is pedantic enough to lose sight of the forest for the trees.





I know you don't really know the mechanics, but maybe stop posting as if you did then? ;)
)

Serious question, is there an elaboration on virtues somewhere in the back of the core book or one of the splat books?

Because I have read the virtue section in the rulebook many times now and I don't think I am failing to understand it, it is only 4 pages long and written in pretty black and white terms (although I admit I did dismiss the sidebars thinking they were optional rules), and I am just not seeing a lot of the things you are talking about. For example, I can see nothing about having to roll a virtue more or less often because of the rating, merely the chance of succeeding when you do roll.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 04:54 PM
But even IF it is possible, and if you prefer it, more power to you, why should social stuff be the only exception to "My characters skills are distinct from my own". I mean, if a player that is not the best with social skills wants to play a social character, should they be barred from that?

I guess the most central point is: If we simulate the rest of the world and interactions, why not simulate that part as well, and support it with rules? Just because we can do that IRL? We can also do a lot of other stuff IRL, it only requires more preparation and is generally called LARP. But outside of a LARP, when my character's stats determine how good they are at stuff, why exempt Social stuff, just because it, like everything else, cannot be exactly mapped?
Because you like it that way? That would be a valid preference, but one should not assume it is the only possible, or "the best" way (Except of course best for oneself).

On another note: I also like to have rules to tell me how my character (Or the characters of my players) are influenced by Socially apt people. I am rather confident in my ability to talk, and talk people into things, but not so confident that I will sway exactly those characters/players that would resist based on their differences in skill. Being able to roll for that and tell "yeah, you believe him" or "She kinda made you angry" is a huge boon to me, and one I would sorely miss if a game would not have any social mechanics.
But maybe this is also partially influenced by me Larping, and seeing TRPGs as a really quite distinct thing, that I want different things from. I do not want "Larping light, only for social stuff". I want to play stuff I can't as easily IRL, and that includes characters being defined by stats, at least concerning "what can they do that is gamerelevant, and how good are they at it".


The problem is that those social rules that allow someone's character to do social things that the player might not be as good at, are then too often turned around and used as a way for the GM, for whatever reason, to violate the player's agency, and take the P out of the PC.

ComradeBear
2016-11-02, 05:01 PM
The problem is that those social rules that allow someone's character to do social things that the player might not be as good at, are then too often turned around and used as a way for the GM, for whatever reason, to violate the player's agency, and take the P out of the PC.

That's a GM problem, not a rule problem.
And in this instance you're demanding that the GM be incapable of being a character who is convincing unless he really is, while having no problem with the GM being a character that can tear your arm off and beat you to death with it.

Now that I think about it, this complaint is really Meta-game centric. It allows no division between what the character knows/observes and what the player feels suspicious about. You the player can still be suspicious that the King is an imposter, but if Devlin the Advisor is convincing enough, he could assuage your CHARACTER'S concerns without assuaging yours. But then again, you likely have more information than your character does. So that's going to cause an imbalance.

Genth
2016-11-02, 05:02 PM
The problem is that those social rules that allow someone's character to do social things that the player might not be as good at, are then too often turned around and used as a way for the GM, for whatever reason, to violate the player's agency, and take the P out of the PC.

The problem is that the lack of social rules that allow for GMs to have NPCs react reasonably to players, are then too often turned around and used as a way for players, for whatever reason, to completely ignore what NPCs are doing and take the M out of the GM.


(Hope I used the forum's colour conventions right there >.>)

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 05:05 PM
The problem is that the lack of social rules that allow for GMs to have NPCs react reasonably to players, are then too often turned around and used as a way for players, for whatever reason, to completely ignore what NPCs are doing and take the M out of the GM.


(Hope I used the forum's colour conventions right there >.>)


If the GM can't manage a little basic deception on the part of NPCs, maybe someone else should GM.

Especially if the alternative is allowing every NPC what is effectively mind control.

Never mind that openly telling the player "your character believes this or reacts like this because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how you envision the character reacting" is pretty much the least convincing or enjoyable thing that happens in gaming.

Genth
2016-11-02, 05:14 PM
If the GM can't manage a little basic deception on the part of NPCs, maybe someone else should GM.

Especially if the alternative is allowing every NPC what is effectively mind control.

Never mind that openly telling the player "your character believes this or reacts like this because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how you envision the character reacting" is pretty much the least convincing or enjoyable thing that happens in gaming.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/SPMKQLLpyeM/hqdefault.jpg

Bored of this now, I'm off, don't play Scion Max, you won't enjoy it, sorry I can't suggest a system you will enjoy since that appears to be an impossibility

Floret
2016-11-02, 05:21 PM
If the GM can't manage a little basic deception on the part of NPCs, maybe someone else should GM.

Especially if the alternative is allowing every NPC what is effectively mind control.

Never mind that openly telling the player "your character believes this or reacts like this because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how you envision the character reacting" is pretty much the least convincing or enjoyable thing that happens in gaming.

1) And if a PC can't figure out the GM is lying, maybe someone else should play. Screw insight checks!
2) "Mind control" is a strong word for convincing people. Is a Real-Life convincing person excerting Mind control? Surely not. Then why would an NPC or PC doing that be?
3) And telling your player "No, you were hit, because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how sure you are your character would totally dodge that" is differen? How exactly?
Point is, the dice force players to accept results for actions affecting their characters, even negatively, all the time. Just as soon as it comes to social stuff, this seems to be such a big problem for you. Why? How is the one loosing more agency than the other? People being convincing rarely leads to your death or prolonged injury and suffering, combat does so all the time (At least to the injury. But both lead to a great takeaway of agency) but with that, I have never earnestly heard the argument made, that it should be up to the player to decide whether or not their character was affected by what the NPC did.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 05:21 PM
Bored of this now, I'm off, don't play Scion Max, you won't enjoy it, sorry I can't suggest a system you will enjoy since that appears to be an impossibility


You should have been bored of it a while back, since the thread isn't really about your precious Scion.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 05:23 PM
1) And if a PC can't figure out the GM is lying, maybe someone else should play. Screw insight checks!
2) "Mind control" is a strong word for convincing people. Is a Real-Life convincing person excerting Mind control? Surely not. Then why would an NPC or PC doing that be?
3) And telling your player "No, you were hit, because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how sure you are your character would totally dodge that" is differen? How exactly?
Point is, the dice force players to accept results for actions affecting their characters, even negatively, all the time. Just as soon as it comes to social stuff, this seems to be such a big problem for you. Why? How is the one loosing more agency than the other? People being convincing rarely leads to your death or prolonged injury and suffering, combat does so all the time (At least to the injury. But both lead to a great takeaway of agency) but with that, I have never earnestly heard the argument made, that it should be up to the player to decide whether or not their character was affected by what the NPC did.


False equivalency much?

Combat != social interaction, social interaction != combat.

Floret
2016-11-02, 05:24 PM
False equivalency much?

Combat != social interaction, social interaction != combat.

But how? And for what reason are the two so deeply and essentially distinct in that regard?

Arbane
2016-11-02, 05:34 PM
But how? And for what reason are the two so deeply and essentially distinct in that regard?

Most of us have actually tried social interaction at some point.

ComradeBear
2016-11-02, 05:39 PM
Most of us have actually tried social interaction at some point.

Isn't that intensely tangential to the point being made?
(Namely that mechanising physical conflict and mechanising verbal conflict are both perfectly valid goals)

Floret
2016-11-02, 05:42 PM
Most of us have actually tried social interaction at some point.

And how is that relevant to distinguish the loss of agency through dicerolls from combat to social stuff? I mean, there has to be SOME actual answer, so much as people are pointing to it.

(But maybe here again the fact that I have fought at least in some capacity in combat slants my perspective. I am trying to understand, however. And your statement does not explain - in any way, really - why we should treat one loss of agency as totally different from another, since it is not in severity, and if anything the reverse.)

Cluedrew
2016-11-02, 05:44 PM
To be blunt -- I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something.Neither do I. But let me paint a situation for you. Your character is faced with a choice. You know which solution your character would choose, but you also know that the best choice is a different. So do you break character or do you make a bad choice?

Breaking character violates your character concept. But making a bad choice might annoy the other players (even if they would have fun tracking down the mugger after you wake up). And if there are rules to encourage bad choices, then it becomes more acceptable and you can get bonuses back for it.


The problem is that those social rules that allow someone's character to do social things that the player might not be as good at, are then too often turned around and used as a way for the GM, for whatever reason, to violate the player's agency, and take the P out of the PC.Could you please elaborate?

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 05:53 PM
But how? And for what reason are the two so deeply and essentially distinct in that regard?


For starters -- using combat as either a metaphor or model for social interaction misrepresents it as something it's not -- something inherently adversarial; based only on domination, deception, power, attack, and defense; something inherently zero-sum, in which there are only winners and losers in any encounter.

Floret
2016-11-02, 05:58 PM
For starters -- using combat as either a metaphor or model for social interaction misrepresents it as something it's not -- something inherently adversarial; based only on domination, deception, power, attack, and defense; something inherently zero-sum, in which there are only winners and losers in any encounter.

Okay, so you are now missing my point entirely.
My question is NOT, and has never been (And I thought I had been quite clear:smallconfused:), "can/should you model combat and social interaction with the same rules" (To which the answer is probably "yes/Probably not")
My question is, how is loss of agency through failed dicerolls in combat (Or Running away, or crafting, etc.) inherently distinct from loss of agency through dicerolls in social interactions?

How you model the respective things with specific rules was never put up for discussion, at least not by me.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 06:18 PM
Okay, so you are now missing my point entirely.
My question is NOT, and has never been (And I thought I had been quite clear:smallconfused:), "can/should you model combat and social interaction with the same rules" (To which the answer is probably "yes/Probably not")
My question is, how is loss of agency through failed dicerolls in combat (Or Running away, or crafting, etc.) inherently distinct from loss of agency through dicerolls in social interactions?

How you model the respective things with specific rules was never put up for discussion, at least not by me.


None of the other situations result in the effective loss of the player's control over their character's thoughts, feelings, intentions, beliefs, etc.

Hard-effect rules for social interaction quickly devolve into what amounts to a "soul hack" of the player character.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-02, 06:20 PM
I think social rules to influence characters work best when taking one of these approaches:

They don't demand that your character do something, they just provide incentives for going along with it and/or penalties for not.

or

You provide an incentive for both people to engage in an argument and make it two-directional, both of them trying to persuade the other person of a thing. AND both people have to agree OOCly that their character could theoretically be persuaded of this thing if they were to lose the argument. If you don't want to risk being persuaded then you're free to walk out on the argument.

GrayDeath
2016-11-02, 06:25 PM
Yes, overly narrow codes are difficult to model. But overly broad codes turn characters into caricatures and result in all kinds of ridiculous situations. Neither one is ideal imo.




That may be so, but in my experience no matter how carefully you choose an example or research its subject matter you will always get into a debate with someone who is pedantic enough to lose sight of the forest for the trees.






Serious question, is there an elaboration on virtues somewhere in the back of the core book or one of the splat books?

Because I have read the virtue section in the rulebook many times now and I don't think I am failing to understand it, it is only 4 pages long and written in pretty black and white terms (although I admit I did dismiss the sidebars thinking they were optional rules), and I am just not seeing a lot of the things you are talking about. For example, I can see nothing about having to roll a virtue more or less often because of the rating, merely the chance of succeeding when you do roll.

Sidebars contain explanations and examples, as well as suggestions on how to implement the rules.

So yeah, they and the scion companion contain more, also I am assuming you are not familiar with many storytelling systems?
Unlike D&D and similar hard ruled systems they almost always offer multiple raw interpretations for rules.

Just give the books (all four, ignore the allied pantheon and ragnarok entirely they are bad) a thorough read if you want. Except the adventures it will help you understand almost as much as playing in Obe of my scion games :p

Jokes aside: do it. They're fun to read and maybe you'll even want to play it afterwards

Floret
2016-11-02, 06:45 PM
None of the other situations result in the effective loss of the player's control over their character's thoughts, feelings, intentions, beliefs, etc.

Hard-effect rules for social interaction quickly devolve into what amounts to a "soul hack" of the player character.

But are those really more fundamentally important to have under player control all of the time than the player's bodily integrity? Note I am not suggesting players be played entirely by the GM or something (Too much work for me, anyways...) but am suggesting that letting go of a bit of control due to sufficient NPC ability to influence the things is not inherently more wrong.
But I will concede that they do differ in what you loose (full) control over. I just don't see why these things in particular are holy cows not to be touched.
(For example of player agency and where I draw the line, I personally hate the way DnD does combat hits. If an enemy attacks me, the GM rolls for that enemy, and if he rolls well, he hits me. I have no control over the matter. This, for me, is a loss of agency I chafe against and would need some convincing to play in a system that has this. But if you give me a contested roll a'la Shadowrun, or simply put all rolls in player hands as Symbaroum does, I am fine. Which, incidentally, is something that goes that way in Social mechanics as well - if I don't get to roll a defense (Or get to choose not to do that) that is indeed a no-go, at least for me. For me, agency is about having the option and roll in your hand - but if you fail, you fail. And if someone with sufficient skill tries to get you, in whatever way and whatever context, you probably should roll.)

And, as others said: The rules being used that way are a GM/PC problem, not a problem inherent in the rules. If they devolve into that with the groups you play with, sure, don't use them. But don't blame the unusability of such things on the rules. The GM has all the power in the entire game world - they need to know how to use it responsibly anyways. In all regards.

Cluedrew
2016-11-02, 06:57 PM
Hard-effect rules for social interaction quickly devolve into what amounts to a "soul hack" of the player character.What about soft-effect? (Here I mean something that gives you a range of options, possibly some sort of buy out.)

Segev
2016-11-02, 07:33 PM
To be blunt -- I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something.So... if the DM is incapable of convincing you, personally, that betraying your IC goals for IC rewards that you, OOC, will not experience is worth it, is incapable of tempting you with immediate rewards that overwhelm your long-term judgment, is not able to play the charming man with amazing persuasive ability well enough to persuade you that your character should be persuaded, that's the GM's fault and you should get somebody who is able to manipulate people like Littlefinger does to GM.

Seriously, you DO need rules to tell you how your character feels about something when you aren't in the thick of it, experiencing it yourself. At least, if how your character feels is important to the game. For exactly the same reason you need rules to tell you when your character is too tired or injured to continue traveling or fighting or working. Or is out of whatever special something lets him use magic. Because just as you can say "I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something," you can say "I don't need rules to tell me how much pain my character is in" or "I don't need rules to tell me how tired my character is."


The problem is that those social rules that allow someone's character to do social things that the player might not be as good at, are then too often turned around and used as a way for the GM, for whatever reason, to violate the player's agency, and take the P out of the PC.If a GM is going to violate player agency, he doesn't need rules to do it. However, there's a reason I advocate for the kind of social rules I do, and the design paradigm does its best to avoid "you are compelled to do this because your character is persuaded." Instead, it is designed to give game-play rewards that mirror the IC temptations (or game-play penalties that mirror the IC disincentives) presented by the social rules.

Bring the player a taste of what the character is experiencing through gameplay. Temptations involving enjoyment "in the moment" come with gameplay rewards (perhaps morale bonuses, or an in-game resource, or something) to tempt the player. Disincentives come with gameplay penalties if they're ignored, to make the player feel off-put and displeased by it (perhaps morale penalties, costing a resource, or reducing future rewards of resources).


If the GM can't manage a little basic deception on the part of NPCs, maybe someone else should GM.Because "deception" is the only form social interaction takes, and "you're compelled to pretend you believe my obvious OOC lie" is the only mechanic ever invoked in social systems.


Especially if the alternative is allowing every NPC what is effectively mind control. Hence not allowing compulsion, but instead applying (dis)incentives for going along with successful social efforts.


Never mind that openly telling the player "your character believes this or reacts like this because of how this die roll turned out, doesn't matter what you think or how you envision the character reacting" is pretty much the least convincing or enjoyable thing that happens in gaming.Eh, you could argue that "your character is made a fool of by failing a reflex save and sliding through the mud, no matter what you think your character's grace and dignity should be based on how you envision him," too. But regardless, I advocate for social mechanics not compelling behavior, but rewarding and penalizing it, instead.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 08:00 PM
Neither do I. But let me paint a situation for you. Your character is faced with a choice. You know which solution your character would choose, but you also know that the best choice is a different. So do you break character or do you make a bad choice?

Breaking character violates your character concept. But making a bad choice might annoy the other players (even if they would have fun tracking down the mugger after you wake up). And if there are rules to encourage bad choices, then it becomes more acceptable and you can get bonuses back for it.


Personally, I largely address this by making characters who largely do not need to do stupid things to be in character.

The rest is covered by having a group that isn't obsessed with "winning".




Could you please elaborate?


See the aforementioned "soul hack" potential of hard-effect social interaction rules.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-02, 08:17 PM
So... if the DM is incapable of convincing you, personally, that betraying your IC goals for IC rewards that you, OOC, will not experience is worth it, is incapable of tempting you with immediate rewards that overwhelm your long-term judgment, is not able to play the charming man with amazing persuasive ability well enough to persuade you that your character should be persuaded, that's the GM's fault and you should get somebody who is able to manipulate people like Littlefinger does to GM.

Seriously, you DO need rules to tell you how your character feels about something when you aren't in the thick of it, experiencing it yourself. At least, if how your character feels is important to the game. For exactly the same reason you need rules to tell you when your character is too tired or injured to continue traveling or fighting or working. Or is out of whatever special something lets him use magic. Because just as you can say "I don't need rules to tell me how my character feels about something," you can say "I don't need rules to tell me how much pain my character is in" or "I don't need rules to tell me how tired my character is."

If a GM is going to violate player agency, he doesn't need rules to do it. However, there's a reason I advocate for the kind of social rules I do, and the design paradigm does its best to avoid "you are compelled to do this because your character is persuaded." Instead, it is designed to give game-play rewards that mirror the IC temptations (or game-play penalties that mirror the IC disincentives) presented by the social rules.

Bring the player a taste of what the character is experiencing through gameplay. Temptations involving enjoyment "in the moment" come with gameplay rewards (perhaps morale bonuses, or an in-game resource, or something) to tempt the player. Disincentives come with gameplay penalties if they're ignored, to make the player feel off-put and displeased by it (perhaps morale penalties, costing a resource, or reducing future rewards of resources).

Because "deception" is the only form social interaction takes, and "you're compelled to pretend you believe my obvious OOC lie" is the only mechanic ever invoked in social systems.

Hence not allowing compulsion, but instead applying (dis)incentives for going along with successful social efforts.

Eh, you could argue that "your character is made a fool of by failing a reflex save and sliding through the mud, no matter what you think your character's grace and dignity should be based on how you envision him," too. But regardless, I advocate for social mechanics not compelling behavior, but rewarding and penalizing it, instead.


The sort of "gameplay rewards" and other mechanisms used to entice foolishness on the part of characters usually don't tempt me as a player.

The only thing that's ever going to motivate me to have a character do something, is if I actually think that's what the character would do.


(Not exactly the same as social rules, but in the old WEGd6 Star Wars system, I'd routinely forget the whole Force Points thing, until it go to the point that I had a character that just completely traded away the ability to use Force Points to modify dice rolls, for some other stuff. )


I understand my limits as a roleplayer, and so there are certain things that my characters will have enough in common with me that I'm not outside my abilities. I don't play characters so unintelligent or ignorant that I get bored due to not contributing to discussions in-character. I don't play characters who are much less numb than I am to the sorts of temptations we're talking about.

RazorChain
2016-11-02, 09:18 PM
Neither do I. But let me paint a situation for you. Your character is faced with a choice. You know which solution your character would choose, but you also know that the best choice is a different. So do you break character or do you make a bad choice?

Breaking character violates your character concept. But making a bad choice might annoy the other players (even if they would have fun tracking down the mugger after you wake up). And if there are rules to encourage bad choices, then it becomes more acceptable and you can get bonuses back for it.

Could you please elaborate?


This is based on trust, trust between players and GM. I run a game where the players make sub optimal decisions all the time because they are made IC. But the players know I'm not going to kill their characters for it and piss on their graves while berating them for their stupidity. The players know that their sub optimal choices are somtimes going to lead to complications down the road but that is actually fun too!

I tell my players there are no bad choices, only different consequences. But then I'm running a game that is akin to Game of Thrones or the Witcher where a seemingly good choice may have bad consequences.

Making bad choices in character is a huge part of roleplaying for me, else I could just play myself.
There are only few instances for me that are exempt from this and that is when it ruins the party/game. Of course if your character concept is ruining the game then you have to compromise.
The player that screams DON'T YOU DARE MAKE ME COMPROMISE MY CHARACTER CONCEPT is usually just a phallushead that wants to ruin the game.

If players are required to make optimal choices all the time then they should min/max as much as they can, memorize the monster manual and use their knowledge to overcome obstacles. Memorize every rule that they can abuse and play ruthless characters that don't mind sending young orphans down corridors to spring some traps.

Segev
2016-11-03, 11:32 AM
Personally, I largely address this by making characters who largely do not need to do stupid things to be in character.

The rest is covered by having a group that isn't obsessed with "winning". So...

You never play characters that have emotional investment nor who can be emotionally manipulated, who have personality flaws or vices which can be exploited, or who have attachments to others which can be used as leverage against them? It sounds like you play classic murderhobos exclusively.


The sort of "gameplay rewards" and other mechanisms used to entice foolishness on the part of characters usually don't tempt me as a player. Ah, so you'd never play a vampire who gives in to hunger to get a quick top off of blood points, even though it will make the upcoming tense scene more manageable and less likely to result in your character messing up in ways that screw over the party, because taking that quick top-off entails risk and work in disposing of that corpse you might make?

See, half the purpose of the "incentives" is not just to "tempt you into making bad choices," but rather to build the system such that the tensions you as a player feel are between weighing whether it's really that bad of a choice, given the consequences. Done well, the choices are difficult, not just because one is a quick reward for long-term risk while the other is putting off rewards for a long time, but because there is actually risk, gameplay-wise, in either choice, and choosing your risks and managing them is part of the game.


The only thing that's ever going to motivate me to have a character do something, is if I actually think that's what the character would do. And? The rules are there to give you suggestions as to what they would do.

Because maybe, just maybe, you're this brilliant uber-RP genius who can perfectly get into the moment, and perceive the NPCs and other PCs as EXACTLY as skilled at social activities as the CHARACTERS are supposed to be (not as their players are), and PERFECTLY judge how that will impact your character without biasing it with what YOU PERSONALLY would rather have happen.

But even if so, O RP God, we mere mortals aren't so blessed with your perfection. We have biases. We have desires for how things should go in the short and long term. And we want our characters to be better than temptations, which leads us into conflict with others who want their characters to be supreme tempters.

It is, again, no different than WANTING your character to be a better swordsman than that other character, so you only "let him lose" if you know that's what would happen. But since you "know" he's a great swordsman (and aren't going to pay attention to that character-stealing nonsense on your stat page that says otherwise), you no-sell the other guy's sword skills. Your guy is better! ...what do you mean the other player thinks HIS guy is better? How dare he invalidate your concept that way!?



I understand my limits as a roleplayer, and so there are certain things that my characters will have enough in common with me that I'm not outside my abilities. I don't play characters so unintelligent or ignorant that I get bored due to not contributing to discussions in-character. I don't play characters who are much less numb than I am to the sorts of temptations we're talking about.Except that you're not experiencing those temptations, so you are inherently more numb than your characters are. When your DM starts talking about how sexy the succubus is as she tries to talk you into just one little kiss, you're almost certainly not experiencing the hormonal rush your PC is, nor the...physiological responses, nor that niggling urge to give in even though you know it's a bad idea because it can't hurt THAT much compared to how GREAT it would feel...

No, you're not experiencing it. You're only experiencing an imagined form of it, and can also imagine that your good-hearted youth is strong enough to resist such tawdry temptations. What do you mean the DM is making social rolls against him? That's mind control! how dare he!?

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 11:53 AM
So...

You never play characters that have emotional investment nor who can be emotionally manipulated, who have personality flaws or vices which can be exploited, or who have attachments to others which can be used as leverage against them? It sounds like you play classic murderhobos exclusively.


Since when did emotional investment equate to the character doing stupid things to remain in character?

This is why I've grown disgusted with so much of the fictional work that's out there... the writer wants a plot or scene or twist that requires a character to do something ridiculously stupid, so character is given an "emotional reason" to do something stupid. Pretty soon, "emotional investment" equates to "will do something stupid". :smallannoyed:




Ah, so you'd never play a vampire who gives in to hunger to get a quick top off of blood points, even though it will make the upcoming tense scene more manageable and less likely to result in your character messing up in ways that screw over the party, because taking that quick top-off entails risk and work in disposing of that corpse you might make?

See, half the purpose of the "incentives" is not just to "tempt you into making bad choices," but rather to build the system such that the tensions you as a player feel are between weighing whether it's really that bad of a choice, given the consequences. Done well, the choices are difficult, not just because one is a quick reward for long-term risk while the other is putting off rewards for a long time, but because there is actually risk, gameplay-wise, in either choice, and choosing your risks and managing them is part of the game.


No, I've never played that vampire... across multiple past PCs, if they were low enough it would cause troubles in the next situation, then they'd just come out of a situation very much bad enough that the least of their worries was the risk and cleanup of feeding.




And? The rules are there to give you suggestions as to what they would do.

Because maybe, just maybe, you're this brilliant uber-RP genius who can perfectly get into the moment, and perceive the NPCs and other PCs as EXACTLY as skilled at social activities as the CHARACTERS are supposed to be (not as their players are), and PERFECTLY judge how that will impact your character without biasing it with what YOU PERSONALLY would rather have happen.

But even if so, O RP God, we mere mortals aren't so blessed with your perfection. We have biases. We have desires for how things should go in the short and long term. And we want our characters to be better than temptations, which leads us into conflict with others who want their characters to be supreme tempters.

It is, again, no different than WANTING your character to be a better swordsman than that other character, so you only "let him lose" if you know that's what would happen. But since you "know" he's a great swordsman (and aren't going to pay attention to that character-stealing nonsense on your stat page that says otherwise), you no-sell the other guy's sword skills. Your guy is better! ...what do you mean the other player thinks HIS guy is better? How dare he invalidate your concept that way!?


This "but it's just like combat!" canard, and the associated condescending tone and snark on your part, are getting really old really fast.


I'll put this as bluntly as I can, one last time, and then I'm done.

My character wants exactly what I say my character wants.
My character feels exactly what I say my character feels.
My character is exactly who I say my character is, within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in.

Those things are internal to my character, and need

End of story, that's it.




Except that you're not experiencing those temptations, so you are inherently more numb than your characters are. When your DM starts talking about how sexy the succubus is as she tries to talk you into just one little kiss, you're almost certainly not experiencing the hormonal rush your PC is, nor the...physiological responses, nor that niggling urge to give in even though you know it's a bad idea because it can't hurt THAT much compared to how GREAT it would feel...

No, you're not experiencing it. You're only experiencing an imagined form of it, and can also imagine that your good-hearted youth is strong enough to resist such tawdry temptations.


Or rather, if I say that their character feels it no more than I do, then the character feels it no more than I do. If I say my character does not respond to those temptations, is either numb to them or feels something else that completely locks them out, then that's it, end of story, as long as I'm consistent in that characterization.

This is not a play or movie in which someone is being handed a script. The GM is not handing out roles for the players to act out, or "blessing" the players with a pre-arranged story-telling. Each player decides who their character is, and what their character feels, and what their character wants.

As a GM, my policy was that I would only impose external control on the internal state of a character when I knew -- KNEW -- that the individual player would welcome that aspect of RPGs and not take issue with it. In terms of "social temptations", I never asserted any control over the PC's reactions, I only gave the player the opportunity to have their character respond as they, the player, saw fit.

This idea that someone else knows the player's character better than the player does, leads to nothing but arguments of "Well your character wouldn't do that" or "Well your character wouldn't feel that way". I left that bullcrap behind when I was in middle school, there's nothing fun or productive in losing entire situations on debates over how someone else's character should feel about something.




What do you mean the DM is making social rolls against him? That's mind control! how dare he!?


Again, that tone is getting really old, and this is the last time I'm going to let it pass. Next time, you go back on ignore, this time permanently. You have no standing and no cause to attempt to speak down to anyone in that manner, and I have no intention of wasting my time any further on it.

Floret
2016-11-03, 12:48 PM
This "but it's just like combat!" canard, and the associated condescending tone and snark on your part, are getting really old really fast.


But why is it a Canard? It is an argument that you have yet to actually give a satisfying answer for, and declaring it an invalid question is not really doing that, if you don't show HOW it is an invalid question. Why are combat and social stuff so inherently distinct for you? (Apart from probably needing DIFFERENT rules, sure)


Or rather, if I say that their character feels it no more than I do, then the character feels it no more than I do. If I say my character does not respond to those temptations, is either numb to them or feels something else that completely locks them out, then that's it, end of story, as long as I'm consistent in that characterization.


But at that point you are using the fact that Social stuff in RPGs is just a representation of what is going on, to categorically set yourself above certain methods of influence.
At which point I also could, say that you are unaffected by the stab of the enemy, and rolling for damage anyways infringes on your control of the character. RPGs are not, aside from Larp (Not even really then, but getting close at least) a perfect representation of what is going on. Perfect control of a character is only gonna happen in purely narrative games without any rules (And those possibly don't qualify as games anymore). As soon as you have rules, control of your character is taken away. Why is control being taken away such an inherently evil thing when it comes to one aspect, but not for others?
Note that I do understand that you can have a preference for not doing that. But you are not, to my reading comprehension, saying "I prefer to have perfect control over my characters reactions to social situations, and will not play any games that infringe on that." It would be a different preference from mine, sure, but perfectly valid.
But what at least comes across in what you are saying is "Having a player loose control over the character's reaction to social situations, no matter how limited, is evil and not to be done under any circumstances" and that does rub me the wrong way.


This is not a play or movie in which someone is being handed a script. The GM is not handing out roles for the players to act out, or "blessing" the players with a pre-arranged story-telling. Each player decides who their character is, and what their character feels, and what their character wants.

But that is not what we are suggesting, and also highly polemic. (Also, that each player decides exactly what their character feels at any given moment, and what the character wants at any given moment, is in fact a preference of yours, and not universal truth. Sure, it might be a widely held preference, but I have experienced players (And sometimes been a player, albeit in Larp) that do want some guidelines for how their character experiences certain situations. Some people have fun playing a role that is in some parts predetermined. Giving that your own spin and infusing the pre-given parts with your own interpretation can be highly satisfying.)
What we are (or at least I am) suggesting is not that the GM hands out roles, but that certain ingame events can have different effects on the characters than they do the players. Which should be fairly selfevident. Your role can be resistant to social manipulation, seduction and stuff like that. Sure. If that is reflected in the character's stats, this should really be no problem, and any rolls done to influence you are rather likely to fail. But if you say that the only way for an NPC to manipulate the PCs should be for the GM to literally manipulate the players then... that seems to violate player agency to me far more, as it affects them directly, and not only their control of the characters.

Cluedrew
2016-11-03, 12:56 PM
Personally, I largely address this by making characters who largely do not need to do stupid things to be in character.

The rest is covered by having a group that isn't obsessed with "winning".Good point, although if I may built off of this I think there is a scale here between "don't play to win" and "have the character play to win" where you can stay in character.

I think there is a scale because... my group sit really close to the "don't play to win" side. In fact I usually group the party into two groups, the competent and the incompetent. It usually comes out about half and half.


This is why I've grown disgusted with so much of the fictional work that's out there... the writer wants a plot or scene or twist that requires a character to do something ridiculously stupid, so character is given an "emotional reason" to do something stupid. Pretty soon, "emotional investment" equates to "will do something stupid". :smallannoyed:For me the opposite, the hero never makes mistakes, is even worse. The hero having no flaws that ever get them into trouble (not even in small ways) makes the entire story feel like a cut out. Mind you I have seen some pretty terrible "well we needed this to happen" moments but I can't remember any that have ruined the entire story for me. On the other hand I can think of 3 stories that were ruined by "too perfect" protagonists.

Besides making a comment about my personal and subjective taste, I just want to point out it can go either way.

Also I forward crafting as a possible system to make metaphors with instead of combat.

Telok
2016-11-03, 01:06 PM
Questions: How is "save vs. fear or run away in terror" in D&D different from something like "roll romance to resist the seduction" in Pendragon? How is "I diplomacy to convince the mayor" different from "I roll honor to convince the mayor"?

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 01:07 PM
But why is it a Canard? It is an argument that you have yet to actually give a satisfying answer for, and declaring it an invalid question is not really doing that, if you don't show HOW it is an invalid question. Why are combat and social stuff so inherently distinct for you? (Apart from probably needing DIFFERENT rules, sure)



But at that point you are using the fact that Social stuff in RPGs is just a representation of what is going on, to categorically set yourself above certain methods of influence.
At which point I also could, say that you are unaffected by the stab of the enemy, and rolling for damage anyways infringes on your control of the character.


A setting in which a human being could not resist social influences via willpower, personality differences, stubbornness, etc, would be at least as divergent from the reality we have all our own experiences with, as a setting in which a human being could resist sharped metal moving with force via willpower, personality differences, stubbornness, etc.


Differing reactions to "social stimuli" are internal to the character.

Differing reactions to "being stabbed" would not be internal to the character, but rather part of the physical interaction of their body with the knife.

Floret
2016-11-03, 01:27 PM
A setting in which a human being could not resist social influences via willpower, personality differences, stubbornness, etc, would be at least as divergent from the reality we have all our own experiences with, as a setting in which a human being could resist sharped metal moving with force via willpower, personality differences, stubbornness, etc.

Okay, this is definitely true. But what, out of all that we have said, makes you think this is about not being able to resist them via those things? What I am arguing is that Willpower, stubbornness etc. be coded into the rules, and the ability to withstand social pressure be based on the willpower of the character, ie. the dice and not the willpower of the player.
Noone said that social influences should be impossible to resist :smalleek: Just that the ability to resist or not be not 100% up to a decision of the player, but to the dice at least in some capacity.


Differing reactions to "social stimuli" are internal to the character. Differing reactions to "being stabbed" would not be internal to the character, but rather part of the physical interaction of their body with the knife.

Not necessarily, but I do get where you draw the line. (For example, certain reactions to seduction aren't really all that internal. But that would devolve into pedantry.) I mean, I still disagree that this line has to be drawn, but I see where you draw it.
Out of interest: Are you as inherently opposed to Sanity damage that occurs for example in Cthulhu?

Segev
2016-11-03, 01:31 PM
Since when did emotional investment equate to the character doing stupid things to remain in character? So...

You never stay in bed longer than is wise. Never stay up later than is wise. Never take anything but the optimal choice in your real life, even if the immediate temptations are to do otherwise. You don't waste money on luxuries, because they won't help you do better at your career. You never are talked into buying something you don't need based on it being amusing to own (or other reasons). You don't ever buy food because it tastes good, even though it's more expensive or less healthy for you; you only buy and consume optimal food for health and frugality. You never give in to emotional ploys, never are pushed to make decisions in anger that you might regret later, and are always totally rational and in control.

Just like a PC played by a player who decides that emotional investment isn't going to make the character take sub-optimal actions. (i.e. "do stupid things.")

There is literally no reason in many game systems for a PC to buy more than the basic rations he needs to survive, at the cheapest quality that fails to cause him a penalty. In fact, because it costs more in-game-resources (money, in this case) to get higher quality, the game punishes the player for his character doing so. The player doesn't enjoy the exquisite meal; he just fails to be able to afford the shiny new magic item later on, or is short on the bribe for the official that would let him bypass an otherwise-nasty encounter.


This is why I've grown disgusted with so much of the fictional work that's out there... the writer wants a plot or scene or twist that requires a character to do something ridiculously stupid, so character is given an "emotional reason" to do something stupid. Pretty soon, "emotional investment" equates to "will do something stupid". :smallannoyed:Are you... not familiar with human beings?

"Something stupid" doesn't have to be suicidal. It can just be "man, I drank too much last night 'cause I was having so much fun doing it." It could be "I rolled over and went back to sleep after hitting the snooze bar, rather than getting up and getting my day going so I could be unrushed to get to work." I can be "I yelled at my friend because I had a bad day and was in a bad mood, and now things are awkward between us."

Seriously, if every PC was as rational as the player who isn't experiencing what they're going through, and each of us were PCs, we'd never make a lot of the very silly choices we make out of laziness, apathy, or emotional impulse.


No, I've never played that vampire... across multiple past PCs, if they were low enough it would cause troubles in the next situation, then they'd just come out of a situation very much bad enough that the least of their worries was the risk and cleanup of feeding. So, in other words, you found it suddenly in character to feed...because there was a mechanical motivation to do so, rather than merely saying "oh, by the way, after that kind of fight, you're STARVING," and you saying, "No, he can resist that hunger, let's move on."


This "but it's just like combat!" canard, and the associated condescending tone and snark on your part, are getting really old really fast. "It's just like literally anything where your character has limitations that you're not experiencing," actually.


I'll put this as bluntly as I can, one last time, and then I'm done.

My character wants exactly what I say my character wants.
My character feels exactly what I say my character feels.
My character is exactly who I say my character is, within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in.

Those things are internal to my character, and need

End of story, that's it. Which means that your character is actually far less of a person than his player, since his player can just have him be a totally rational robot who never - by your own admission - does "something stupid" because he's emotional. He never makes mistakes based on immediate desires. Unlike his player (unless you're actually an Ubermenche who never does anything sub-optimal for your long-term goals, like bothering with luxuries or wasting time on a frivolous game or discussing it on the internet).

Let's try reframing your points:

My character can do what I say my character can do.
My character is exactly as skilled as I say my character is.
My character is capable of exactly what I say he is, within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in.

This is, in fact, what you're demanding, in the not-so-narrow region of social interaction.

Translate it to any other form of interaction and it becomes obvious why it's flawed. "My character couldn't possibly be too tired to lift that half-ton cart. Just because he's been travelling all day carrying his maximum load doesn't mean he's any weaker than I say he is!"


Or rather, if I say that their character feels it no more than I do, then the character feels it no more than I do. If I say my character does not respond to those temptations, is either numb to them or feels something else that completely locks them out, then that's it, end of story, as long as I'm consistent in that characterization. So all your characters are perfect rationalists who are multiple steps removed from what's happening to them.

They can resist any amount of pain, because you're not feeling it and you decide they're strong enough willed to do so. They never get desperate due to hunger, because you're not hungry so why should their pain and craving make them feel temptations you don't feel?

In other words, your characters aren't people. They don't feel. They are tempted only by what tempts you.


Which...actually is in line with what I have been saying, honestly. That's why my ideal social mechanics create temptations for you. That vampire's hunger in story is a craving for blood that he's having trouble denying. But OOC, you want him to be ready for that upcoming trouble. Both you and your PC justify it by saying that you just came out of a nasty situation which makes hiding a corpse the least of your problems. Which is working exactly as intended.

Without that mechanic, you could be told all the GM likes that after that nasty ordeal, you're starving, and there's this helpless-looking mortal over there, but you'd just decide that the trouble of hiding a corpse isn't worth it on top of what you just dealt with and are about to deal with, so your PC "heroically" ignores it...because he doesn't feel anything you don't say he feels.


This is not a play or movie in which someone is being handed a script. The GM is not handing out roles for the players to act out, or "blessing" the players with a pre-arranged story-telling. Each player decides who their character is, and what their character feels, and what their character wants. Nobody has suggested that. What's been suggested is that your character feels things you do not, and that he experiences urges you do not experience, and that to adequately simulate situations like that, you need to feel a game-play push that simulates the urge/temptation/desire your PC is feeling in character.


This idea that someone else knows the player's character better than the player does, leads to nothing but arguments of "Well your character wouldn't do that" or "Well your character wouldn't feel that way".Which is why, instead, I suggest mechanics which give you a sense of how strong the sensations and emotions are that affect your character.

Frankly, you're sounding like you just want to no-sell social interaction, because there's no way your character could ever be persuaded by anybody. He's a robot.


I left that bullcrap behind when I was in middle school, there's nothing fun or productive in losing entire situations on debates over how someone else's character should feel about something.Agreed. Just as there's nothing fun or productive in losing entire games of cops and robbers debating over whether you can hit the rope the robber is dangling from or not. Instead, we have mechanics to determine that.

And, again, since you brush it off with a "bah, I'm never tempted by such things," despite the fact that you played right into it in the vampire situation, I will point out that my ideal mechanics instead put the gameplay decisions on the level of the personal-temptation decisions the PC is feeling. Now that the silver-tongued urchin has successfully pleaded with you for aid, you can do him that favor out of the pity he evokes or you can endure "guilt pangs" which penalize you in the upcoming difficult situation. From your perspective, helping him out now becomes an extra task, but you have to weigh whether avoiding the extra work and complications is worth the penalties.

Or perhaps it's worth "good deed points" that can be spent on your heroic character's Good Guy powers, but that favor is awfully risky and/or time consuming; is it worth it when you've got this other thing coming up? Is the reward sufficient to make up for the trouble?


Again, that tone is getting really old, and this is the last time I'm going to let it pass. Next time, you go back on ignore, this time permanently. You have no standing and no cause to attempt to speak down to anyone in that manner, and I have no intention of wasting my time any further on it.
Okay, what tone? Sarcasm? I'll see if I can restrain myself, but seriously, Max, you have some solid groundings...and then you veer off into high-handed declarations of One True Way that don't match with others' experience, and get offended that they don't agree. Sarcasm is just a way of pointing it out. I wouldn't discuss with you if I didn't think you had something there to discuss. (There are posters who I generally ignore because I know they're not going to heed anything anybody else says and will willfully cling to illogic with a smug sense of superiority...so it's not worth the effort. I don't have anybody on ignore, because I don't want to be confused as to what's being said, and I might address their broad misconceptions in discussing things with others if I worry they'll lead people astray.)

Anyway, if you want to ignore me, that's your prerogative. I just find it weird that disagreeing with you and pointing out with sarcastic agreement where the problems I have with your position are is that offensive to you.

Segev
2016-11-03, 01:33 PM
Differing reactions to "social stimuli" are internal to the character.

Differing reactions to "being stabbed" would not be internal to the character, but rather part of the physical interaction of their body with the knife.

That's not actually true. The same stab in the same spot can send one man into shock, leave another struggling to function but at an impaired rate, and have still a third able to tough through it due to pure adrenaline high. Even if they're of reasonably equivalent physiques and overall health levels. "My guy can tough through the pain" is technically potentially true, absent anything in the mechanics to judge otherwise.

Lord Torath
2016-11-03, 02:02 PM
That's not actually true. The same stab in the same spot can send one man into shock, leave another struggling to function but at an impaired rate, and have still a third able to tough through it due to pure adrenaline high. Even if they're of reasonably equivalent physiques and overall health levels. "My guy can tough through the pain" is technically potentially true, absent anything in the mechanics to judge otherwise.Example: "Piece of shrapnel tore up that nerve cluster my first tour. Had it moved"

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 02:13 PM
Let's try reframing your points:


My character can do what I say my character can do.
My character is exactly as skilled as I say my character is.
My character is capable of exactly what I say he is, within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in.


This is, in fact, what you're demanding, in the not-so-narrow region of social interaction.


That's not reframing, that's bordering on a strawman. "What I want" and "what I'm physically capable of" are not identical sets, and yet people keep trying to make the two concepts equivalent.




despite the fact that you played right into it in the vampire situation,


Yes, I'm sure you think that's what happened.

Lord Torath
2016-11-03, 02:15 PM
That's not reframing, that's bordering on a strawman. "What I want" and "what I'm physically capable of" are not identical sets, and yet people keep trying to make the two concepts equivalent.The argument is that you are trying to make "What I want" and "What I'm socially/mentally capable of" identical sets.

Floret
2016-11-03, 02:16 PM
That's not reframing, that's bordering on a strawman. "What I want" and "what I'm physically capable of" are not identical sets, and yet people keep trying to make the two concepts equivalent.

But "What I want" and "What I'm socially capable of" (Including resisting seduction, manipulation and the like) are also not identical sets, yet you want to make those two equivalent.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 02:20 PM
Out of interest: Are you as inherently opposed to Sanity damage that occurs for example in Cthulhu?


As it is, yes. Inevitable, irrecoverable damage to an abstract "sanity" based on learning things "man was not mean to know"... meh.

There are ways I could see doing it, based on things like PTSD or delusional denial from the mental stresses involved in some of the encounters, etc, that wouldn't make me roll my eyes.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 02:24 PM
But "What I want" and "What I'm socially capable of" (Including resisting seduction, manipulation and the like) are also not identical sets, yet you want to make those two equivalent.


The argument is that you are trying to make "What I want" and "What I'm socially/mentally capable of" identical sets.

"What I want" and "what I'm capable of" are not equivalent on the active side -- in terms of the person trying to seduce or manipulate or persuade someone else. I obviously can't convince anyone of anything.

On the "resisting" side? Yeah, they're pretty much equivalent.

Lord Torath
2016-11-03, 02:33 PM
"What I want" and "what I'm capable of" are not equivalent on the active side -- in terms of the person trying to seduce or manipulate or persuade someone else. I obviously can't convince anyone of anything.

On the "resisting" side? Yeah, they're pretty much equivalent.If that were true, no one would ever engage in self-destructive behavior. Of any kind. There would be no drug addicts; cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco would disappear, and Alcoholics Anonymous would go out of business due to lack of customers.

Floret
2016-11-03, 02:34 PM
"What I want" and "what I'm capable of" are not equivalent on the active side -- in terms of the person trying to seduce or manipulate or persuade someone else. I obviously can't convince anyone of anything.

On the "resisting" side? Yeah, they're pretty much equivalent.

uhm... Sorry to tell you, but no. No they are not. Not by miles.
If they were, it would be impossible to convince people to do things they don't originally intended to do. Evidently this is possible.

Are you really telling me that you have never been talked into something, talked someone into something, or witnessed someone been talked into something? Because that is someone failing at the resisting side. And I can guarantee you, people do not WANT to do all the things they get talked into. They just get moved to the point where they consider the action the right/least wrong thing to do. Note: GET MOVED. Noone wants their position on something to be changed. But it happens. So evidently, "what you want" and "what you are capable of resisting" are not equivalent. This is not how social stuff works. If it were, social stuff just wouldn't work at all.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 02:38 PM
If that were true, no one would ever engage in self-destructive behavior. Of any kind. There would be no drug addicts; cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco would disappear, and Alcoholics Anonymous would go out of business due to lack of customers.


uhm... Sorry to tell you, but no. No they are not. Not by miles.
If they were, it would be impossible to convince people to do things they don't originally intended to do. Evidently this is possible.

Are you really telling me that you have never been talked into something, talked someone into something, or witnessed someone been talked into something? Because that is someone failing at the resisting side. And I can guarantee you, people do not WANT to do all the things they get talked into. They just get moved to the point where they consider the action the right/least wrong thing to do. Note: GET MOVED. Noone wants their position on something to be changed. But it happens. So evidently, "what you want" and "what you are capable of resisting" are not equivalent. This is not how social stuff works. If it were, social stuff just wouldn't work at all.


Then I guess their "not wanting to" wasn't as real as they told themselves.

HidesHisEyes
2016-11-03, 02:54 PM
So a few weeks back I was reading Scion and I noticed that the characters in that game have virtues which will must be rolled against and, if the roll is failed, compel the character to act against their best interests to uphold their virtue.

I didn't like the idea of losing control of my character all the time, and felt it could make for an adversarial game, but whenever I brought it up to anyone I was told some variant of "It is a mechanic to enforce RP so that you act out character motivations rather than being perfectly logical all the time."

Now, my gut response is to say that I know how to RP my character better than the dice do and I don't need any help to do something stupid because it is what my character would do, but then I realized something:

The other people at the table get mad when you do something self-destructive because it is "what your character would do," other players don't like dealing with the consequences and GM's don't like their game derailed by foolishness. It is so pervasive that "I was just doing what my character would do!" is shorthand for a problem player or "that guy".

So then, why is it considered a good thing that a game has built in mechanics to encourage disruptive or self destructive behavior in the name of RP when that is generally considered a bad thing?

Or is it just that people LIKE mechanics that force them to act out because they can blame their behavior on the dice if anyone tries to give them flack for it?

It seems a strange paradox to me. Any thoughts?

My experience has been overwhelmingly the other way: you're "that guy" if you DON'T like putting roleplaying before doing the best you can for the game. For me, the thing is that it's not just roleplaying, it's also a game, and games have objectives and win conditions. Once I know what the party's goal is I want to play the game in a way that helps us achieve that goal. If that conflicts with "what my character would do" then I've made the wrong character for that game, and that's my problem. The moment I catch myself thinking "but would my character do that?" I feel like I'm NOT roleplaying anymore because what my character wants and what I want, as a player in a game, are at odds. So I don't want to feel pressured to act out of alignment with the party's goals whether the pressure comes from the other players or from a system rule.

ComradeBear
2016-11-03, 03:06 PM
Then I guess their "not wanting to" wasn't as real as they told themselves.

Holy crap. "If you can be convinced it's because you already wanted to do it in secret."

That's.... a really disturbing thought process and can be used to justify really, REALLY unethical and disgusting behaviors. Just...
Wow.

Jay R
2016-11-03, 03:37 PM
So a few weeks back I was reading Scion and I noticed that the characters in that game have virtues which will must be rolled against and, if the roll is failed, compel the character to act against their best interests to uphold their virtue.

I didn't like the idea of losing control of my character all the time, and felt it could make for an adversarial game, but whenever I brought it up to anyone I was told some variant of "It is a mechanic to enforce RP so that you act out character motivations rather than being perfectly logical all the time."

It's a mechanic to recognize that people aren't perfect, and that emotional pressures on the character don't affect the player's emotions. I have no problem with the idea that a character has temptations not to do the right thing. I could describe my current behavior as, "Jay R knows that he needs to be painting the house. He fails his roll on his duty virtue, and is talking about role-playing on the internet instead."

If I were somebody's character, the player would of course have the character paint the house, so as not to mess up the coming weekend. But the player wouldn't feel tired and disinterested the way I do. So the most efficient way to simulate my current actual behavior is to have a roll on a virtue, which I have failed.


So then, why is it considered a good thing that a game has built in mechanics to encourage disruptive or self destructive behavior in the name of RP when that is generally considered a bad thing?

Different people like different things. People like things differently at different times. People accept different rules in different games.

You're comparing different attitudes in different situations, and wondering why they are different.

Doesn't matter why. They are.


Or is it just that people LIKE mechanics that force them to act out because they can blame their behavior on the dice if anyone tries to give them flack for it?

No. This deliberately false interpretation would not be in the mind of anybody who chose to play the game.

Making a virtue roll to do the right thing in a situation in which people often fail to do the right thing makes perfect sense. It is not the same thing as a player deciding to do something that hurts other members of the party, and the rest of the party will never equate them.


My character wants exactly what I say my character wants.

So what? I want the house painted. But I couldn't make myself work on it this afternoon. Similarly, there is no logical path from "My character wants to defeat the monster" to "My character is a perfect automaton who never backs down to fear, depression, confusion, laziness, or any other emotion."

If this doesn't apply to your character, then your character is not like any person in life, history, or legend.


My character feels exactly what I say my character feels.

By contrast, my character feels fear, sleepiness, friendship, suggestive, etc. on a regular basis, because of spells. And when my character looks down a 1,000 foot chasm, he'd be nervous, even if I said he wasn't.

Your statement is not the same as, but leads to the same conclusions as, "My character is morally perfect and unaffected by many emotions, unlike any person ever."


My character is exactly who I say my character is, within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in.

I have no problem with this statement at all. I would have no problem with the first two statements, if you included the same proviso -- "within the limits of what can be built in the campaign that character is in."

But of course, if you do that, you've dropped your entire point. We are talking specifically about the limits of what can be built into a Scion campaign. And that includes human weakness and the need to roll to live up to your highest virtues and ideals - just like real people.

CharonsHelper
2016-11-03, 03:45 PM
So...

You never stay in bed longer than is wise. Never stay up later than is wise. Never take anything but the optimal choice in your real life, even if the immediate temptations are to do otherwise. You don't waste money on luxuries, because they won't help you do better at your career. You never are talked into buying something you don't need based on it being amusing to own (or other reasons). You don't ever buy food because it tastes good, even though it's more expensive or less healthy for you; you only buy and consume optimal food for health and frugality. You never give in to emotional ploys, never are pushed to make decisions in anger that you might regret later, and are always totally rational and in control.

At the very least, we know that everyone reading this spends way too much time on obscure RPG message boards instead of doing something productive. :smallbiggrin:

Floret
2016-11-03, 03:51 PM
Then I guess their "not wanting to" wasn't as real as they told themselves.

No. Just... no. This is not how humans, talking people into things, social interactions and anything works. Making people think they want something is NOT "finding out they wanted to do it all along". It might be changing what they want, at least for the moment. But that concept is incredibly distinct from what you are saying here.
This makes me think you have ACTUALLY never experienced a person talking someone else into something, from whatever perspective. Because this is so much not how humans work. And how social interactions and getting people to do/feel/agree with things work.


Holy crap. "If you can be convinced it's because you already wanted to do it in secret."

That's.... a really disturbing thought process and can be used to justify really, REALLY unethical and disgusting behaviors. Just...
Wow.

Also, this.

And also: This STILL does not make your character's social stuff and willpower identical to your own, or is in any way, shape, or form a convincing argument that a player's control over these aspects of their character should be absolute (Beyond putting points in stats, sure)

Segev
2016-11-03, 03:57 PM
Yes, I'm sure you think that's what happened.
Given that the goal of the mechanic is to get the player to at least be tempted to have his PC take the risky action of being a blood-drinking murderer at times it's appropriate for the PC to do so, and you've in the past indicated that you would not take such "stupid" actions, and are offended that your character would be "required" to by some mechanic telling you how strong your character's will wasn't when it came to resisting, and yet you then not only said "sure, I'd kill that guy for blood points," but also came up with an IC and OOC justification for why you'd do so...

...yes, the system is working as intended. You altered your choice of your PC's behavior based on those mechanics, showing that you were, in fact, at least tempted to do so by the mechanics (and, in fact, outright persuaded to).

So yes, it's what I think happened. Unless you can provide some evidence to the contrary, I will continue to do so, and find condescending denials to be rather unconvincing.


"What I want" and "what I'm capable of" are not equivalent on the active side -- in terms of the person trying to seduce or manipulate or persuade someone else. I obviously can't convince anyone of anything.

On the "resisting" side? Yeah, they're pretty much equivalent.
Why? What makes that so much more special than whether or not you can continue to function in spite of, say, being drugged with a KO drug? Or being able to ignore pain? Or being able to exert your muscles just a little harder to actually pull yourself over that wall despite being exhausted?

What separates this from any other instance where your character concept is "threatened" by being incapable of holding fast or achieving a goal?

edit: No, I shouldn't ask that. Because I intuitively understand. What separates it is that we are used to our characters having limits to what they can do based on game mechanics, but we're not used to having our character's thoughts not be, on some level, our own. It goes to, in part, a sense of identifying with the character. We tend not to view our characters as game pieces, but as "costumes" we wear, even when we pretend things for their personalities other than what we, ourselves, would do. (I doubt most people who've played evil characters would do the evil things their characters do, for example.)


Which is why my push is for things like the "blood point" mechanic, rather than things like the "Virtue behavior" mechanic.

Max_Killjoy says he wouldn't be swayed, and seems put out that I believe he's demonstrated the opposite with the vampire example, but regardless of WHY he chooses to have his vampire engage in bloodthirsty behavior (where, absent the mechanic, he wouldn't because he wouldn't have his character do "stupid things" for a hunger he, himself, doesn't feel), the mechanic causes him to have his PC do so.

Perhaps, then, I am expressing it badly. What I want and advocate for are the social mechanics to alter what is a "stupid choice" so that the "man, you gave in to that temptation? How stupid are you?" question is only valid IC, not OOC. The mechanics work out such that, OOC, the gameplay choices have made the socially-manipulated choice less stupid as a gameplay choice.

Does that make more sense?

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-03, 04:16 PM
In terms of convincing people to do things, I think maybe it's helpful to establish some different categories:

1 - Things that you could never be persuaded to do short of magic.
"It'd be a great idea if you went ahead and jumped off that cliff."

2 - Things you really don't want to do but could theoretically be pressured to do.
"Just try cocaine once. You'll like it. I promise."

3 - Things you don't particularly want to do, but could be persuaded of.
"I know you don't really like my friend but let's go get lunch and hang out anyway."

4 - Things you want to do but know you probably shouldn't.
"You can finish that paper later. Let's go out."

Obviously this is a vast simplification and it's really more of a sliding scale than fixed categories, and obviously the examples vary based on the person.

I think it's important to recognize people's right to have things in category 1 and 2 for their characters, some people will just never budge on some things. I also think that if you want to be good at roleplaying you should think long and hard before putting a thing in category 1 and 2. If you stuff almost everything that comes up in there then you're probably not playing a real person.

I also feel like a lot of people who push back against social systems are working on the assumption that they involve someone else rolling dice at you and forcing you to do a thing. That's bad design and shouldn't be what happens.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-03, 04:17 PM
For some reason, when I say "doing something stupid", people are reading it as "doing anything that's not 100% controlled, advantageous, and tactically/strategically perfect." When I say that characters shouldn't be forced into doing stupid ridiculous things for the sake of "story" or "drama", people think I want 100% flawless perfect robotic characters. Somehow a false equivalency was established between "the seductress convinces the PC to let her in the secret base despite the PC knowing how monumentally risky and stupid it is to even consider doing so " and "you hit the snooze button an extra time".


As far as I'm concerned, character hijack is far far too big of a risk in most of these "roleplaying encode" rules, and I'm not going to change my mind. I'd rather see bad roleplaying than see the rules or the GM impose someone else's vision of the PC on the player.


Beyond that, I'm done with this exchange, it's going nowhere productive. It's devolved into people arguing against caricatures and strawmen of what I actually said.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-03, 04:26 PM
Given that the goal of the mechanic is to get the player to at least be tempted to have his PC take the risky action of being a blood-drinking murderer at times it's appropriate for the PC to do so, and you've in the past indicated that you would not take such "stupid" actions, and are offended that your character would be "required" to by some mechanic telling you how strong your character's will wasn't when it came to resisting, and yet you then not only said "sure, I'd kill that guy for blood points," but also came up with an IC and OOC justification for why you'd do so...

...yes, the system is working as intended. You altered your choice of your PC's behavior based on those mechanics, showing that you were, in fact, at least tempted to do so by the mechanics (and, in fact, outright persuaded to).

So yes, it's what I think happened. Unless you can provide some evidence to the contrary, I will continue to do so, and find condescending denials to be rather unconvincing.

To be fair I do think that this is a slightly different situation. There's a difference between tempting someone with OOC rewards like "xp" and making it clear IC that feeding on someone fuels your magic powers. If a vampire knows that drinking blood will power him up then it's not really modeling temptation for the player. The vampire can be making an IC choice to power up.

Floret
2016-11-03, 04:29 PM
In terms of convincing people to do things, I think maybe it's helpful to establish some different categories:

1 - Things that you could never be persuaded to do short of magic.
"It'd be a great idea if you went ahead and jumped off that cliff."

2 - Things you really don't want to do but could theoretically be pressured to do.
"Just try cocaine once. You'll like it. I promise."

3 - Things you don't particularly want to do, but could be persuaded of.
"I know you don't really like my friend but let's go get lunch and hang out anyway."

4 - Things you want to do but know you probably shouldn't.
"You can finish that paper later. Let's go out."

I also feel like a lot of people who push back against social systems are working on the assumption that they involve someone else rolling dice at you and forcing you to do a thing. That's bad design and shouldn't be what happens.

Mind if I steal that classification (at least as a basis) for some game mechanics?^^
(Also I agree with the rest, especially with the "someone else rolling at you" thing being something that should not happen. But I have expressed my dislike of DnDs combat mechanic at a previous point already :smalltongue:)


For some reason, when I say "doing something stupid", people are reading it as "doing anything that's not 100% controlled, advantageous, and tactically/strategically perfect." When I say that characters shouldn't be forced into doing stupid ridiculous things for the sake of "story" or "drama", people think I want 100% flawless perfect robotic characters. Somehow a false equivalency was established between "the seductress convinces the PC to let her in the secret base despite the PC knowing how monumentally risky and stupid it is to even consider doing so " and "you hit the snooze button an extra time".

Probably because at a certain point you, as a response to people suggesting "your character might do something you as a player know might be disadvantageous/even though you as a player might not be as convinced as your character" equated that with "doing something stupid" and brought the term into the discussion.
Also, despite how much you mark out the "PC", this does not change the fact that what you are arguing for is having their knowlege, for the sort of situation described, be identical to the players. So... no. The character might not suspect the woman is not actually interested in him, but wants to manipulate the base. Or is too turned on to think about it. And possibly even despite the player suspecting something. (Really, I as a GM will not go ahead and actually try to boner the intelligence out of the players whenever I have a seductress/seductor appear and seduce their characters. That feels... unethical, uncofortable, and a whole bunch of other stuff.)

Segev
2016-11-03, 04:38 PM
For some reason, when I say "doing something stupid", people are reading it as "doing anything that's not 100% controlled, advantageous, and tactically/strategically perfect." When I say that characters shouldn't be forced into doing stupid ridiculous things for the sake of "story" or "drama", people think I want 100% flawless perfect robotic characters. Somehow a false equivalency was established between "the seductress convinces the PC to let her in the secret base despite the PC knowing how monumentally risky and stupid it is to even consider doing so " and "you hit the snooze button an extra time".


As far as I'm concerned, character hijack is far far too big of a risk in most of these "roleplaying encode" rules, and I'm not going to change my mind. I'd rather see bad roleplaying than see the rules or the GM impose someone else's vision of the PC on the player.


Beyond that, I'm done with this exchange, it's going nowhere productive. It's devolved into people arguing against caricatures and strawmen of what I actually said.
I sympathize. And apologize a little for contributing, though it doesn't seem like a straw man because the simple fact is that you never defined a line where you'll let your PC do something less than optimal, and without mechanics to guide WHY you should decide that THIS time, the NPC was persuasive enough to get you to buy a gewgaw, but not LAST time, it's very arbitrary and very easy to simply default to "not in my interest as player" being the guide.

It is, in fact, what happens even to the best of RPers a lot, because you also have the reverse problem: how do you determine if you're "only" doing something you know you shouldn't so that you're not always deciding to do the optimal thing? Now, you can go a long way with "the GM or other player has to persuade me that my PC would do this." But it still then removes any ability of the GM (or other player) to rely on the game to convince you that the (N)PC is just THAT persuasive. or even show you how persuasive they are.

Turning it around, you also have no tools beyond your own persuasive ability to make your PC more persuasive. If you wanted to play a silver-tongued devil who could consistently talk people into buying the Brooklyn Bridge (or equivalent scams), wouldn't you be irritated by the GM no-selling your every effort because it's "not what the NPC would do?" With no mechanics to say otherwise, you don't have grounds to argue that they WOULD, after all.




To be fair I do think that this is a slightly different situation. There's a difference between tempting someone with OOC rewards like "xp" and making it clear IC that feeding on someone fuels your magic powers. If a vampire knows that drinking blood will power him up then it's not really modeling temptation for the player. The vampire can be making an IC choice to power up.

To a degree, yes. The trouble is that I don't really have a good system to use as an example for dealing with social pressures. Exalted 3e tries, but still misses the mark a bit because it ultimately falls back on forcing behaviors.

One way to approach it might be to have resources that are expended to bring out the best in a character. Scale the balance such that it's just slightly harder than it "should" be to do average tasks, and then give some sort of "emotional reserve" or "morale" points which allows people to focus on a task and bring their abilities to par or over par in order to succeed. One could even justify this as your mental reserves getting exhausted as you get exhausted throughout the day. Doing stuff is tiring.

The social rules could be used to either directly diminish these reserves when you refuse to go along (not ever compelling you if you can't "pay up," but denying you the resources for the future in the mental exhaustion of resisting the exhortations), or increasing costs to use them when defying the persuasive efforts. Conversely, acting in direct accord with the persuasion might either grant bonus reserves or reduce costs to gain results.

Sleeping obviously could restore them, but so could doing "fun things." Indulging in hobbies or even vices might help. You could model a lot with such a thing, just using "feeling good" from doing what's fun vs. "feeling drained" from doing what's boring or irritating, and combining it with persuasion abilities that make it easier to go along or harder to do things in defiance of them.

Segev
2016-11-03, 04:45 PM
In terms of convincing people to do things, I think maybe it's helpful to establish some different categories:

1 - Things that you could never be persuaded to do short of magic.
"It'd be a great idea if you went ahead and jumped off that cliff."

2 - Things you really don't want to do but could theoretically be pressured to do.
"Just try cocaine once. You'll like it. I promise."

3 - Things you don't particularly want to do, but could be persuaded of.
"I know you don't really like my friend but let's go get lunch and hang out anyway."

4 - Things you want to do but know you probably shouldn't.
"You can finish that paper later. Let's go out."

Obviously this is a vast simplification and it's really more of a sliding scale than fixed categories, and obviously the examples vary based on the person.

I think it's important to recognize people's right to have things in category 1 and 2 for their characters, some people will just never budge on some things. I also think that if you want to be good at roleplaying you should think long and hard before putting a thing in category 1 and 2. If you stuff almost everything that comes up in there then you're probably not playing a real person.

I also feel like a lot of people who push back against social systems are working on the assumption that they involve someone else rolling dice at you and forcing you to do a thing. That's bad design and shouldn't be what happens.
I also want to chime in to say I like this classification system. I do think it might be tricky to draw the line between category 1 and 2, though. I'm pretty sure I'd never, ever give in to a persuasive effort to get me to drink, smoke, or do drugs; I've spent my entire life simply seeing those things as repugnant activities (in the personal sense, not in the "how dare others do it" sense). While I can see it being slightly preferable to being shot on the spot, or seeing somebody else murdered (so if somebody held a gun to my or somebody else's head and said "do it or I shoot," that might do it), I don't know that that falls in 2 or 1, still, because "you should jump off this cliff" might be something I'd do sooner than get myself or somebody else shot, as well (on the grounds that there's a higher chance of survival, or at least enjoying the time before splat).

Which highlights the challenge, because Super Persuasive Dude who is pushing alcohol on you may or may not be able to overcome 2, but certainly couldn't overcome 1 (as long as he's not using magic).


That said, my proposed approach to the problem would model your choice of category 2 by, to borrow our vampire analogy, accepting that yes, you're out of blood points, and yes, this is going to be hard or even deadly without refilling, but you ARE resisting the temptation to feed ANYWAY. Even if it would be REALLY satisfying (and get you really cool powers to use).

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-03, 06:05 PM
Mind if I steal that classification (at least as a basis) for some game mechanics?^^

Feel free! :smallsmile:


Which highlights the challenge, because Super Persuasive Dude who is pushing alcohol on you may or may not be able to overcome 2, but certainly couldn't overcome 1 (as long as he's not using magic).

I think this is dependent on the theme of the game, honestly. Maybe in a "realistic" setting you can't persuade someone to do 2. But if you're playing a setting where characters are supernaturally talented at things then maybe persuading someone to do 2 opens up as a possibility.

CharonsHelper
2016-11-03, 06:46 PM
If you're going to have social rules force a PC to do something, there should still be a choice on their end. A few systems do that - I was inspired by a couple and put my own tweak on things in the system I'm writing (Space Dogs). With Intimidation you can't force someone to do something specific, but you can force them to react.


This is your ability to frighten with words, or to just give off a general aura of menace.
Use an action to make an Intimidation check. You take a -1 penalty for each square away that you are. The DC to hit is the targetís Brw+Pscyhe+10 / 2xBrw+2xPsyche+10. The first DC is a partial success, while the second DC is a full success. There are also other potential modifiers to the DC (see below table).
Target is unarmed -2
You are unarmed +4
Target is a larger scale +4 per scale difference
Target is a smaller scale -4 per scale difference
Target is wounded (Lifepoint damage) -2
Already attempted Intimidation against the target within 24hrs -4 (cumulative Ė so the 2nd attempt would be at -4, and the 3rd attempt at -8 etc.)
Circumstance modifier at GM discretion +/- X


On a partial success the target is forced to take at least one Forced Reaction as soon as possible, and on a full success they are forced to take at least three Forced Reactions. If any options are impossible for the target to perform in the next round, it may not be selected as an option. For example, if a target is securely tied up to a chair and cannot accomplish numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, or 7, they are forced to do only number 3 or 6 even on only a partial success.

Forced Reactions
1. Raise their hands and back away slowly.
2. Give you something that they think that you want.
3. Tell you something that they think that you want to hear. (may or may not be the truth)
4. Get out of your way quickly.
5. Put something solid between you and them. (A door/bodyguard etc.)
6. Spend 1 point of Psyche. (May be done more than once.)
7. Attack you at a -4 penalty. (Counts as 3 options.)

Note -

1. It's hard to get a full success without some extra modifiers.

2. Psyche is a sort of mana & mental HP at the same time.

3. A -4 penalty to hit is pretty significant in Space Dogs. Think a -7 or 8ish in a d20 system.

RazorChain
2016-11-03, 10:25 PM
I also want to chime in to say I like this classification system. I do think it might be tricky to draw the line between category 1 and 2, though. I'm pretty sure I'd never, ever give in to a persuasive effort to get me to drink, smoke, or do drugs; I've spent my entire life simply seeing those things as repugnant activities (in the personal sense, not in the "how dare others do it" sense). While I can see it being slightly preferable to being shot on the spot, or seeing somebody else murdered (so if somebody held a gun to my or somebody else's head and said "do it or I shoot," that might do it), I don't know that that falls in 2 or 1, still, because "you should jump off this cliff" might be something I'd do sooner than get myself or somebody else shot, as well (on the grounds that there's a higher chance of survival, or at least enjoying the time before splat).

Which highlights the challenge, because Super Persuasive Dude who is pushing alcohol on you may or may not be able to overcome 2, but certainly couldn't overcome 1 (as long as he's not using magic).


That said, my proposed approach to the problem would model your choice of category 2 by, to borrow our vampire analogy, accepting that yes, you're out of blood points, and yes, this is going to be hard or even deadly without refilling, but you ARE resisting the temptation to feed ANYWAY. Even if it would be REALLY satisfying (and get you really cool powers to use).


Once I thought I would never smoke....and all it took was a pair of pretty legs.
She is long gone from my life but I'm still smoking.

Talakeal
2016-11-04, 12:52 AM
Making a virtue roll to do the right thing in a situation in which people often fail to do the right thing makes perfect sense. It is not the same thing as a player deciding to do something that hurts other members of the party, and the rest of the party will never equate them.


I just can't accept this.

If it is the exact same situation, exact same character, exact same reasoning, exact same cause, and the exact same consequence, the only difference is who is making the call, a dice or a human brain.

For a moment let's pretend I am playing a proud Viking warrior who follows the code of the Aesir. One of my allies is losing a fight and asks me for help. My character refuses because part of their philosophy is that anyone who needs help in a fight deserves to die. The other PC dies, and their player is sad, and as a result of their death the entire party fails their mission.

If we were playing D&D and I decided that my character wouldn't help in this situation I am a bad person and ruining everyone else's fun.

If we are playing Scion and the dice decide that my character wouldn't help in this situation it is "good RP" and anyone who doesn't like it is wrong.

Exact same character. Exact some conclusion. Exact same outcome. Exact same consequences. The only difference is the method for determining what the character would do in that situation, a dice or a human brain.


A failed Courage roll allows a character to: avoid the prospect of battle, resist a physical challenge, surrender to an opponent, give aid to another warrior in battle, accept such aid when offered

PersonMan
2016-11-04, 05:25 AM
The only difference is the method for determining what the character would do in that situation, a dice or a human brain.

Not really. In making a mechanic for something, you bring it into the game. It's expected. Sort of like how in DnD it's expected that there's a chance of failure in attacking, for example, so no one will be angry at you for failing to hit an enemy no matter how crucial it is. Similarly, in Scion, there's an expectation of 'you may be unable to do X in Y situation', which everyone has ahead of time, so in Y situation no one is upset when you can't do X.

It's also a matter of communication. Saying "X will never do Y" before the party goes into a situation requiring Y creates an expectation and removes their ability to rightfully complain if they need X to Y, because they know they wouldn't. On the other hand, saying "Oh, X would never do Y" when Y is immediately necessary creates a sort of 'gotcha' moment out of nowhere.

It's the difference between seeing a road sign saying "roadworks in progress", then having to use one lane rather than two, knowing why / expecting it, and having to deal with someone suddenly breaking expectations and driving into your lane.

ComradeBear
2016-11-04, 08:08 AM
If it is the exact same situation, exact same character, exact same reasoning, exact same cause, and the exact same consequence, the only difference is who is making the call, a dice or a human brain.
These differences are indeed there.
And also Player Buy-In.
The players have already accepted that this is a thing. If they didn't, then they wouldn't be playing. Add in that the mechanic doesn't operate on pure personal volition, and now there's two really big reasons why people don't get peeved.



For a moment let's pretend I am playing a proud Viking warrior who follows the code of the Aesir. One of my allies is losing a fight and asks me for help. My character refuses because part of their philosophy is that anyone who needs help in a fight deserves to die. The other PC dies, and their player is sad, and as a result of their death the entire party fails their mission.

If we were playing D&D and I decided that my character wouldn't help in this situation I am a bad person and ruining everyone else's fun.

This is because the only reason you didn't help was your own choice to not do so. If it is the first time this has come up and you never announced this belief before, it's a double middle finger surprise.



If we are playing Scion and the dice decide that my character wouldn't help in this situation it is "good RP" and anyone who doesn't like it is wrong.

This is a very different conclusion than I think anyone reaches. Because in this instance you're not portraying your character exactly to your personal desires/opinions of what they would do. A game mechanic is getting involved and limiting options. Unlike the above situation, Talakeal is not in control.

There is a VERY large difference between acting 100% under your own volition, and having your volition co-opted by an outside force/judge.



Exact same character. Exact some conclusion. Exact same outcome. Exact same consequences. The only difference is the method for determining what the character would do in that situation, a dice or a human brain.

In the first, Talakeal likely doesn't feel like helping and so this characterization is a flimsy, last-second excuse not to. (As it usually is IRL with these sorts of players) (also this isn't accusatory, it's just using a convenient name)
If it legitimately IS a previous part of his character, it has come up already many times and been mentioned before. Nobody is expecting you to. They might be peeved that this time it cost a life, but in THIS situation the fallout is much less.

If the dice/the mechanics decide, the players have already accepted (AND PROBABLY EXPERIENCED!) characters having their options limited by their mythic DNA taking over. When this happens, Talakeal is probably acting contrary to the code to begin with to trigger the response. Ie "I'm gonna go help Character A." Rather than doing nothing. You show willingness to help, and make an effort to, and get denied by the dice.

And in fact I'm starting to kind of like the concept when played as these individuals literally losing control of themselves in favor of the bits of Pure Myth that make them up. Sure, it influences their normal personality to a degree, but at the same time they can attempt to fight it. And that's a pretty cool way to play it that might even be what the designers intended. It allows you to explore themes like Genetics and Lineage and how this affects your decisionmaking and behavior, how your lineage can determine so much of your life, etc. It's a pretty intense theme, and so you'd definitely want full player buy-in to explore it, but yeah. Neato opportunities.

Segev
2016-11-04, 08:12 AM
Once I thought I would never smoke....and all it took was a pair of pretty legs.
She is long gone from my life but I'm still smoking.

We never know if we'll really act as we think we will until we're tested.

I've considered drinking/smoking/etc. so repugnant that I never had an interest in it for so long that I expect I wouldn't find any girl so attractive that she could get me to smoke. In fact, smoking is a big turn-off for me, anyway. But you never know.

There are a lot of things I don't think I'd do and would be uncomfortable even considering doing, but which I've stayed out of situations where it might even come up. So I've never been tested on them.

Talakeal
2016-11-04, 01:38 PM
I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?

In my experience it is always a worst of both worlds situation; in a game with no mechanics for RP you have to ignore RP in favor of efficiency. In a game where there are mechanics for RP you either have to choose between being effective or being true to your character OR get forced into doing things your character would never do, typically because the system doesn't understand how reward structures work (Riddle of Steel) or has overly broad ideas of what constitutes a personality trait (most White Wolf games).


In the first, Talakeal likely doesn't feel like helping and so this characterization is a flimsy, last-second excuse not to. (As it usually is IRL with these sorts of players) (also this isn't accusatory, it's just using a convenient name)
If it legitimately IS a previous part of his character, it has come up already many times and been mentioned before. Nobody is expecting you to. They might be peeved that this time it cost a life, but in THIS situation the fallout is much less.

I have kind of been assuming good faith this whole discussion. If the common conception is that people want to be jerks and just use "I am only doing what my character would do," as an excuse to be jerks then the whole thing falls down and I can see why people have a problem with it.

In my experience though, people who are doing things just to be jerks and people who are doing things just to stay in character are pretty easy to tell apart and both of them get roughly equal amount of flak from the rest of the group.

Also, in my experience it is not necessarily a matter of expectation or for-warning either:

For example, the last time I played Pathfinder my character was an honor-bound knight who followed a very strict code of chivalry, and I made this very clear from the beginning. I would not attack women or children, fight people who were unarmed, stab people in the back, or betray my liege. Everyone knew about this from session one, yet every time it made the encounter more difficult the other players, and the DM, gave me crap for it.

Hell, when 4E D&D came out several of my players left the group to start their own 4E campaign. They told me that I could play, but I had to understand that one of the "rules" of 4E was that you weren't allowed to RP during combat and that I wouldn't be allowed to play if I didn't do my best to win every scenario regardless of whether or not my character actually had a reason to want to kill the "bad guys".

Jay R
2016-11-04, 01:49 PM
I just can't accept this.

If it is the exact same situation, exact same character, exact same reasoning, exact same cause, and the exact same consequence, the only difference is who is making the call, a dice or a human brain.

As long as you cling to that false belief, you will never understand this situation, or what the Scion rules represent.

These are very different characters, with very different reasoning, with a very different cause.

Trying to help and failing is NOT the same thing as refusing to help. It's not the same reasoning, it's not the same cause, and it's not the same character.


For a moment let's pretend I am playing a proud Viking warrior who follows the code of the Aesir. One of my allies is losing a fight and asks me for help. My character refuses because part of their philosophy is that anyone who needs help in a fight deserves to die. The other PC dies, and their player is sad, and as a result of their death the entire party fails their mission.

If we were playing D&D and I decided that my character wouldn't help in this situation I am a bad person and ruining everyone else's fun.

If we are playing Scion and the dice decide that my character wouldn't help in this situation it is "good RP" and anyone who doesn't like it is wrong.

The dice did not decide that he would have a selfish philosophy of not helping his teammates. They decided that when he wanted to help his teammates, his bravery left him and he couldn't make himself do it. It's a virtue roll, not a policy roll. He doesn't even make this roll unless he is the opposite of your Viking, and had already decided to try to aid his companion.


Exact same character. Exact some conclusion. Exact same outcome. Exact same consequences. The only difference is the method for determining what the character would do in that situation, a dice or a human brain.

Don't kid yourself. These are completely different situations, completely different motivations, completely different conclusions.

In the first case, the character doesn't want to aid his allies. He has decided he wants to be selfish.

In the second situation, the warrior wants to be brave enough to jump in to save his ally. But bravery is a virtue, and we can't always live up to it. So he tries and fails.

Trying and failing is NOT the same thing as choosing not to try.

It's like comparing a fighter who doesn't swing his sword with one who swings and misses. Yes, in one case the player decided not to hit, and in the other case the dice decided. So in both cases, the enemy isn't hit. But these are very different people doing very different things.

If my character is about to die, and you decide your character will not help him, yes, I will be annoyed with you, and not want to play with you any more.

If my character is about to die, and you try to help but fail in the attempt, I will consider you a loyal ally, and somebody who is fun to play with.

Or it's like two people who are bribed with a sack of gold and a Dominate spell. One takes the gold and switches sides because he's greedy. The other does it because he failed a saving throw. Yes, they took the same action. And yes, in one case the player decided, and in the other the dice did. But the first one is a traitor and the other one is a loyal comrade. I'm committed to rescue him if I can. No resemblance.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-04, 01:53 PM
I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?


I don't know how to make it happen deliberately, but the group I gamed with for well over a decade always expected that characters would be characters, and did not supreme tactical robots of perfection.

The flipside expectation was that characters would be at least passably competent in ways that made them interesting to get into "adventures" and "conflicts" with, and have some element of their personality that would explain them getting involved in such. The one thing we wouldn't tolerate was the character defined by and stuck in their unwillingness to get involved in anything and/or their incompetence.

If someone wanted to start off with a fish-out-of-water or newb PC, we were completely OK with that, but the player had to be willing to have the character grow, both as a fiction-character and as a game-character. One player who didn't last said, paraphrasing, "but this character is trying to avoid conflict and doesn't have any combat skills or any reason for getting involved, that's the concept" when we asked him why he wasn't spending ANY experience on anything to contribute to the game/group.

In character-driven campaigns, the characters have to actually drive.

Kish
2016-11-04, 01:54 PM
In my experience though, people who are doing things just to be jerks and people who are doing things just to stay in character are pretty easy to tell apart and both of them get roughly equal amount of flak from the rest of the group.

Also, in my experience it is not necessarily a matter of expectation or for-warning either:

For example, the last time I played Pathfinder my character was an honor-bound knight who followed a very strict code of chivalry, and I made this very clear from the beginning. I would not attack women or children, fight people who were unarmed, stab people in the back, or betray my liege. Everyone knew about this from session one, yet every time it made the encounter more difficult the other players, and the DM, gave me crap for it.

Hell, when 4E D&D came out several of my players left the group to start their own 4E campaign. They told me that I could play, but I had to understand that one of the "rules" of 4E was that you weren't allowed to RP during combat and that I wouldn't be allowed to play if I didn't do my best to win every scenario regardless of whether or not my character actually had a reason to want to kill the "bad guys".
That's a problem with your group. It has nothing to do with systems (beyond that, as I already said a couple times, people like that are a particularly bad fit for White Wolf games). People who think like that complain, in a "no one could possibly dispute that they're doing something bad" way, about Elan acting like he's stupid instead of divorcing his ability scores from anything that might make life harder for the other PCs and acting like a tactically optimized murderbot who occasionally says silly things when there's no way it could affect anything, and about Roy still being a single-classed fighter. People who value roleplaying are out there, but there's no way to turn people who are interested in "winning" and think of "that roleplaying stuff" as an optional extra at best, and something as ridiculous as deciding you're going to hop on one leg during a baseball game for no reason at worst, into people who value roleplaying.

TLDR: Not "from the rest of the group"--"from the rest of THIS group." Get on the same page with the rest of the players (who want a tactical wargame) or find a group that values roleplaying.

Talakeal
2016-11-04, 02:19 PM
As long as you cling to that false belief, you will never understand this situation, or what the Scion rules represent.

These are very different characters, with very different reasoning, with a very different cause.

Trying to help and failing is NOT the same thing as refusing to help. It's not the same reasoning, it's not the same cause, and it's not the same character.



The dice did not decide that he would have a selfish philosophy of not helping his teammates. They decided that when he wanted to help his teammates, his bravery left him and he couldn't make himself do it. It's a virtue roll, not a policy roll. He doesn't even make this roll unless he is the opposite of your Viking, and had already decided to try to aid his companion.



Don't kid yourself. These are completely different situations, completely different motivations, completely different conclusions.

In the first case, the character doesn't want to aid his allies. He has decided he wants to be selfish.

In the second situation, the warrior wants to be brave enough to jump in to save his ally. But bravery is a virtue, and we can't always live up to it. So he tries and fails.

Trying and failing is NOT the same thing as choosing not to try.

It's like comparing a fighter who doesn't swing his sword with one who swings and misses. Yes, in one case the player decided not to hit, and in the other case the dice decided. So in both cases, the enemy isn't hit. But these are very different people doing very different things.

If my character is about to die, and you decide your character will not help him, yes, I will be annoyed with you, and not want to play with you any more.

If my character is about to die, and you try to help but fail in the attempt, I will consider you a loyal ally, and somebody who is fun to play with.

Or it's like two people who are bribed with a sack of gold and a Dominate spell. One takes the gold and switches sides because he's greedy. The other does it because he failed a saving throw. Yes, they took the same action. And yes, in one case the player decided, and in the other the dice did. But the first one is a traitor and the other one is a loyal comrade. I'm committed to rescue him if I can. No resemblance.

Jay R, I am not sure if it changes your point, but you actually have the example backwards.

The code of the Aesir is all about one on one challenges, and they believe that aiding in a fight robs their ally of their glory.

A scion can only help their ally if they FAIL a virtue roll, otherwise their belief in the code of the aesir is too strong for their logical mind to overcome and they refuse to help.

Both characters are Viking warriors who live by the code of the Aesir, and both players made the decision to follow said code at character creation. AFAICT the only difference is that in D&D the character can decide whether or not the circumstances warrant a breach of their code while in Scion it is up to the dice.

In my mind the example boils down to this: If it is "good RP" to play a character who puts their code above their allies lives, it should be "good RP" regardless of which system you are playing the character in.



That's a problem with your group. It has nothing to do with systems (beyond that, as I already said a couple times, people like that are a particularly bad fit for White Wolf games). People who think like that complain, in a "no one could possibly dispute that they're doing something bad" way, about Elan acting like he's stupid instead of divorcing his ability scores from anything that might make life harder for the other PCs and acting like a tactically optimized murderbot who occasionally says silly things when there's no way it could affect anything, and about Roy still being a single-classed fighter. People who value roleplaying are out there, but there's no way to turn people who are interested in "winning" and think of "that roleplaying stuff" as an optional extra at best, and something as ridiculous as deciding you're going to hop on one leg during a baseball game for no reason at worst, into people who value roleplaying.

TLDR: Not "from the rest of the group"--"from the rest of THIS group." Get on the same page with the rest of the players (who want a tactical wargame) or find a group that values roleplaying.

Its actually different groups I have had this problem in. The real clincher was the same DM who always berated me for playing the afore-mentioned knight was the same guy who, when I said I had reservations about playing Scion because of the virtue system, told me that it was because "I am a power gamer and just can't handle mechanics that force me to put RP above min-maxing".

Segev
2016-11-04, 03:25 PM
I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?

Not really. As long as the character's actions are solely determined by the player, the player deciding that he's going to screw over the party "because it's what my character would do" is going to bear the brunt of the party's displeasure. (Note that I include any act or inaction which causes the party to do poorly in "screw over the party," here. I just don't want to bother re-explaining what I mean each time.)

As long as there is room for disagreement over what a character "would" or "should" feel/do in any moment, the player being the sole arbiter of what he actually DOES feel/do means that anybody who disagrees with the player's decision will feel that the player has injected his desires into it. Remember, this is why we have resolution mechanics for whether your character DOES hit somebody in combat, or CAN climb that wall, or IS able to notice that other guy sneaking around over in the shadows. Because if we didn't have mechanics, all we'd have was the individual players' (or the GM's) decision as to whether it does or does not...this time.

Adding mechanics to emotional or social decision-making allows an impartial arbitration over those situations where dispute might arise. That's why it removes the "ugh, you're just being a bad player!" taste, because it becomes no more the player's choice than if the player tried to roll a grapple check to stop the thug from pasting the mage, but failed (and so the mage got pasted).

In fact, to illustrate the difference, imagine there are no grapple rules, but you decide, "Okay, my character will try to grapple the thug, but I don't think he'll succeed, so he doesn't." "But, that means my mage gets pasted! Why would you do that?" "I'm just playing my character!"

Contrasted with the existence of grapple rules: "Okay, my character grapples...crud, he fails." "Oh no, my mage is going to be pasted!" "Sorry, man; dice just weren't on our side."

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-04, 03:29 PM
In my mind the example boils down to this: If it is "good RP" to play a character who puts their code above their allies lives, it should be "good RP" regardless of which system you are playing the character in.

Well, I don't know what else to tell you other than "system matters". You should play the game that the system is designed for.

Stealth Marmot
2016-11-04, 04:00 PM
For example, the last time I played Pathfinder my character was an honor-bound knight who followed a very strict code of chivalry, and I made this very clear from the beginning. I would not attack women or children, fight people who were unarmed, stab people in the back, or betray my liege. Everyone knew about this from session one, yet every time it made the encounter more difficult the other players, and the DM, gave me crap for it.



HOW did that make encounters more difficult?

The only situations I see is "No backstabbing" is refusing to flank, and that's just showing poor tactics. A "backstab" in the dishonorable sense is attacking someone who was someone who trusted you, not getting on the weak side during a battle.

As for fighting unarmed people, that should only apply if they are not a wizard or other spellcaster, or a monk. And even then you can take that time to tell the unarmed people to surrender, use intimidate checks to demoralize, potentially use spells or other buffing abilities, even kick the disarmed weapon away so that the person can't grab it again in hopes that they will surrender. Or hell, attack one of the ARMED ones. This should NOT be a major issue.

The only other one is refusing to attack women when it turns out their dual wielding Barbarian Dervish, and if you are doing that you're just sexist.

The Glyphstone
2016-11-04, 04:12 PM
Apparently every encounter he fought was against teenage female monks who fought exclusively with back-kicks. That's the sort of bizarro insanity that would be par for the course with Tak's usual sort of game group/DM.

Talakeal
2016-11-04, 04:28 PM
HOW did that make encounters more difficult?

The only situations I see is "No backstabbing" is refusing to flank, and that's just showing poor tactics. A "backstab" in the dishonorable sense is attacking someone who was someone who trusted you, not getting on the weak side during a battle.

As for fighting unarmed people, that should only apply if they are not a wizard or other spellcaster, or a monk. And even then you can take that time to tell the unarmed people to surrender, use intimidate checks to demoralize, potentially use spells or other buffing abilities, even kick the disarmed weapon away so that the person can't grab it again in hopes that they will surrender. Or hell, attack one of the ARMED ones. This should NOT be a major issue.

The only other one is refusing to attack women when it turns out their dual wielding Barbarian Dervish, and if you are doing that you're just sexist.

Rarely. One time a monster was attacking one of the other players and I walked up to it and told it to turn around and face me rather than just stabbing it in the back. And late in the campaign I came upon the BBEG in his lair and told him to pick up his weapon and face me, and he refused to pick up his weapon until he had cast several buff spells on himself first.


Not really. As long as the character's actions are solely determined by the player, the player deciding that he's going to screw over the party "because it's what my character would do" is going to bear the brunt of the party's displeasure. (Note that I include any act or inaction which causes the party to do poorly in "screw over the party," here. I just don't want to bother re-explaining what I mean each time.)

As long as there is room for disagreement over what a character "would" or "should" feel/do in any moment, the player being the sole arbiter of what he actually DOES feel/do means that anybody who disagrees with the player's decision will feel that the player has injected his desires into it. Remember, this is why we have resolution mechanics for whether your character DOES hit somebody in combat, or CAN climb that wall, or IS able to notice that other guy sneaking around over in the shadows. Because if we didn't have mechanics, all we'd have was the individual players' (or the GM's) decision as to whether it does or does not...this time.

Adding mechanics to emotional or social decision-making allows an impartial arbitration over those situations where dispute might arise. That's why it removes the "ugh, you're just being a bad player!" taste, because it becomes no more the player's choice than if the player tried to roll a grapple check to stop the thug from pasting the mage, but failed (and so the mage got pasted).

In fact, to illustrate the difference, imagine there are no grapple rules, but you decide, "Okay, my character will try to grapple the thug, but I don't think he'll succeed, so he doesn't." "But, that means my mage gets pasted! Why would you do that?" "I'm just playing my character!"

Contrasted with the existence of grapple rules: "Okay, my character grapples...crud, he fails." "Oh no, my mage is going to be pasted!" "Sorry, man; dice just weren't on our side."

That's a good point, but it is a very tragic one.

The means that it is impossible to actually have a role-playing game where you are actually allowed to play your character to the best of your ability, because you either have the other players mad at you for doing the IC thing rather than the optimal thing or you have the dice forcing you to do something wildly out of character because the system designers didn't create enough granularity in the rules.

Which is, of course, a problem with the complexity of the human mind. Grapple rules are fairly straightforward, but trying to map someone's thoughts and emotions taking into account the specific circumstances and their feelings to all the players herein is a virtual impossibility.

Segev
2016-11-04, 04:46 PM
That's a good point, but it is a very tragic one.

The means that it is impossible to actually have a role-playing game where you are actually allowed to play your character to the best of your ability, because you either have the other players mad at you for doing the IC thing rather than the optimal thing or you have the dice forcing you to do something wildly out of character because the system designers didn't create enough granularity in the rules.

Which is, of course, a problem with the complexity of the human mind. Grapple rules are fairly straightforward, but trying to map someone's thoughts and emotions taking into account the specific circumstances and their feelings to all the players herein is a virtual impossibility.

Nonsense. People manage to RP just fine all the time. The key is to remember that "what your character would do" doesn't have to be destructive to the party. If you want to play the sort of game where that happens, play a system which supports it. Which makes it so that you're not actively choosing to lose at the objective set forth by the game/scenario/scene in order to "play your character."

There's no reason your character has to fail that grapple check just to be "in character," if there aren't rules for grappling. If it's better for the game to have him (however amazingly) just this once be good enough at it to save the mage, why not have it happen that way?

If it's better for the game for your character to just this once happen not to be watching as the thief does something nefarious, why not decide THAT way, rather than that your PC had to be watching when it happened and has to do something party-damaging about it (especially if the thief's action is beneficial to the party...just against your PC's moral/ethical code).

If you want a game where those kinds of character weaknesses or traits come to the fore as obstacles for the players to deal with, play one that supports that play style.


I honestly got sick, ages ago, of being told that I had to play AGAINST the obvious "good gameplay move" in order to be "in character." I count it a flaw in the game's design when that happens. If vampires are said to feed ravenously and leave trails of bodies in their wake, but the mechanics rules make the amount of blood they even have use for too little to kill anybody, I resent being told I'm a "bad roleplayer" for playing a smart vampire who doesn't leave a trail of obvious presence to alert and anger vampire hunters. If you want me to play a ravenous vampire, or even to play a vampire "conflicted" about his hunger issues who faces a real struggle to resist the craving, give me mechanics that call for that, that make that make sense.

Don't make the optimal move be counter to how you insist everything behaves.

Stealth Marmot
2016-11-04, 05:02 PM
If you want me to play a ravenous vampire, or even to play a vampire "conflicted" about his hunger issues who faces a real struggle to resist the craving, give me mechanics that call for that, that make that make sense.

Don't make the optimal move be counter to how you insist everything behaves.

This is a point that I think is rarely brought up when it should be more. Rules and mechanics should inform behavior, not contradict it. If you want to make that punch to the gut feel like it hit hard, have it do non-lethal damage and demand a fort save to not keel over. If you want the players to respect the fact that they are walking through a sewer, ask for fort saves if they don't take precautions against disease.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-04, 05:09 PM
That's a good point, but it is a very tragic one.

The means that it is impossible to actually have a role-playing game where you are actually allowed to play your character to the best of your ability, because you either have the other players mad at you for doing the IC thing rather than the optimal thing or you have the dice forcing you to do something wildly out of character because the system designers didn't create enough granularity in the rules.

Which is, of course, a problem with the complexity of the human mind. Grapple rules are fairly straightforward, but trying to map someone's thoughts and emotions taking into account the specific circumstances and their feelings to all the players herein is a virtual impossibility.


It's not impossible.

The first part is to stop looking at this as a binary choice between a move that is pure to the truth of roleplaying and IC but but tactically "stupid"... or a move that is tactically sound but utterly "cynical" and OOC.

Talakeal
2016-11-04, 05:09 PM
Nonsense. People manage to RP just fine all the time. The key is to remember that "what your character would do" doesn't have to be destructive to the party. If you want to play the sort of game where that happens, play a system which supports it. Which makes it so that you're not actively choosing to lose at the objective set forth by the game/scenario/scene in order to "play your character."

There's no reason your character has to fail that grapple check just to be "in character," if there aren't rules for grappling. If it's better for the game to have him (however amazingly) just this once be good enough at it to save the mage, why not have it happen that way?

If it's better for the game for your character to just this once happen not to be watching as the thief does something nefarious, why not decide THAT way, rather than that your PC had to be watching when it happened and has to do something party-damaging about it (especially if the thief's action is beneficial to the party...just against your PC's moral/ethical code).

If you want a game where those kinds of character weaknesses or traits come to the fore as obstacles for the players to deal with, play one that supports that play style. .

Out of curiosity, how far would you take that?

For example, there is a party of four characters, according to their backstory they are all "good guys" and "heroes". An NPC farmer comes up to them and says that a gang of raiders murdered his family, and he will give his part a bag of gold (his entire life savings) if they bring his family's murderers to justice. One of the players then murders the farmer, takes the bag of gold, and splits it up amongst the other party members. When asked what he is doing he says "Fighting raiders would be a risk to our party, murdering a lone farmer less so. And we get the same bag of gold either way, I was just doing what was least risky for my party."

Now, none of the party members are playing paladins or clerics or the like, there is no mechanical penalty for what they did. Is the player who murdered the farmer a problem player? How about if his party members object to his behavior? Are they now problem players?

How about if the numbers are reversed? 3 of the PCs want to murder the farmer, and only one of them is against it. Who is the problem player there?


I honestly got sick, ages ago, of being told that I had to play AGAINST the obvious "good gameplay move" in order to be "in character." I count it a flaw in the game's design when that happens. If vampires are said to feed ravenously and leave trails of bodies in their wake, but the mechanics rules make the amount of blood they even have use for too little to kill anybody, I resent being told I'm a "bad roleplayer" for playing a smart vampire who doesn't leave a trail of obvious presence to alert and anger vampire hunters. If you want me to play a ravenous vampire, or even to play a vampire "conflicted" about his hunger issues who faces a real struggle to resist the craving, give me mechanics that call for that, that make that make sense.

Don't make the optimal move be counter to how you insist everything behaves.

I do sympathize with you about the vampire thing, but understand it goes both ways. For example, in that game where I was playing the knight and got chewed out by the DM for RPing too much at a disadvantage, I would also periodically get called out by the DM for "Meta-gaming" and acting too smart, for example one time we fought a werewolf leading a pack of dire wolves, I lacked a silver weapon, so I concentrated on killing the dire wolves while my party members who did have silver weapons focused on the werewolf.
Basically, your vampire example is someone telling you that you are wrong because you are choosing to play a smart character instead of adhering to genre tropes, while mine are telling me that I am wrong because I am choosing to play a principled character in spite of mechanical tropes.

ComradeBear
2016-11-04, 05:29 PM
Out of curiosity, how far would you take that?

For example, there is a party of four characters, according to their backstory they are all "good guys" and "heroes". An NPC farmer comes up to them and says that a gang of raiders murdered his family, and he will give his part a bag of gold (his entire life savings) if they bring his family's murderers to justice. One of the players then murders the farmer, takes the bag of gold, and splits it up amongst the other party members. When asked what he is doing he says "Fighting raiders would be a risk to our party, murdering a lone farmer less so. And we get the same bag of gold either way, I was just doing what was least risky for my party."

Now, none of the party members are playing paladins or clerics or the like, there is no mechanical penalty for what they did. Is the player who murdered the farmer a problem player? How about if his party members object to his behavior? Are they now problem players?

How about if the numbers are reversed? 3 of the PCs want to murder the farmer, and only one of them is against it. Who is the problem player there?

The problem is that expectations were not laid out clearly. And the party has no veto power over blatantly stupid, blatantly against-the-point-of-the-game actions. Or the GM is really bad at bringing down consequences for these actions. (And the system is likely ALSO not bringing down consequences with...well...consequence.)




I do sympathize with you about the vampire thing, but understand it goes both ways. For example, in that game where I was playing the knight and got chewed out by the DM for RPing too much at a disadvantage, I would also periodically get called out by the DM for "Meta-gaming" and acting too smart, for example one time we fought a werewolf leading a pack of dire wolves, I lacked a silver weapon, so I concentrated on killing the dire wolves while my party members who did have silver weapons focused on the werewolf.
Basically, your vampire example is someone telling you that you are wrong because you are choosing to play a smart character instead of adhering to genre tropes, while mine are telling me that I am wrong because I am choosing to play a principled character in spite of mechanical tropes.

Those are two examples of essentially the same thing but from opposite directions. Namely:
The mechanics and the fiction are at odds, or the bigger sin in my eyes, the mechanics and the desired gameplay loop/themes of play are at odds.

Segev
2016-11-04, 05:33 PM
Out of curiosity, how far would you take that?

For example, there is a party of four characters, according to their backstory they are all "good guys" and "heroes". An NPC farmer comes up to them and says that a gang of raiders murdered his family, and he will give his part a bag of gold (his entire life savings) if they bring his family's murderers to justice. One of the players then murders the farmer, takes the bag of gold, and splits it up amongst the other party members. When asked what he is doing he says "Fighting raiders would be a risk to our party, murdering a lone farmer less so. And we get the same bag of gold either way, I was just doing what was least risky for my party."

Now, none of the party members are playing paladins or clerics or the like, there is no mechanical penalty for what they did. Is the player who murdered the farmer a problem player? How about if his party members object to his behavior? Are they now problem players?There are a number of angles to attack this from; I am going to use just two in the interests of keeping this, if not brief, then at least not so long that it hurts to read.

1) If 3 of the 4 players want to play "good guys," and to go out and kill bad guys and win gold and stuff, then the one taking the "optimal" action of murdering the farmer and taking the gold has acted against the interests of the table. Now, I can see where you're trying to argue that he took the "optimal gameplay move," but he really didn't, because...

2) ...actions have consequences. This guy just committed murder and did so without even tacit approval of the powers that be. If there's a chance that law enforcement might discover what he's done, then he's made things much harder on the party in the long run. Even if that's a non-issue (which it could be for any number of reasons), he's killed off a potential source of additional quests, cut off the possibility of getting further rewards or good reputation, etc. Furthermore, he's likely cost the party XP and more loot that they would have gotten if they'd taken the quest. And if they take it anyway, he's not gained them anything.


"Good" has rewards beyond the immediate, if the GM isn't failing miserably at running a living world.



How about if the numbers are reversed? 3 of the PCs want to murder the farmer, and only one of them is against it. Who is the problem player there?The odd man out, assuming that he wasn't misled about the nature of the game and party, and thus knew this was a possibility. If he was misled, then the fault lies wherever the misunderstanding arose. It is something to handle OOC, and determine if the odd man out wants to play the game that's actually being run, or leave. It's not his fault if he misunderstood and decides it's not what he wants to play, as long as he handles it respectfully.


I do sympathize with you about the vampire thing, but understand it goes both ways. For example, in that game where I was playing the knight and got chewed out by the DM for RPing too much at a disadvantage, I would also periodically get called out by the DM for "Meta-gaming" and acting too smart, for example one time we fought a werewolf leading a pack of dire wolves, I lacked a silver weapon, so I concentrated on killing the dire wolves while my party members who did have silver weapons focused on the werewolf.Not really enough information for me to judge, here, but I would hazard that a knight might know silver is a werewolf's weakness without too much trouble. This is, however, a situation where either mechanics don't exist or were not invoked, so once again you're left with the choice of determining if your character's "in character" action is helpful or harmful to the party.

The fact that your DM scolds you no matter what doesn't surprise me, but speaks more to your DM than anything else, I'm afraid. You do seem to have pretty lousy DMs. Or at least the same lousy one over and over.


Basically, your vampire example is someone telling you that you are wrong because you are choosing to play a smart character instead of adhering to genre tropes, while mine are telling me that I am wrong because I am choosing to play a principled character in spite of mechanical tropes.In a game where the "principled" character isn't really expected, mechanics won't back him up, and you won't reap the rewards of your principled reputation because the DM isn't going to bother with them. In such a game, yes, you're hurting the party by playing a character that doesn't fit in.

I won't say "you're a bad person" or anything. But you will generally be diminishing your own and others' fun when you play against the mechanics. Unless everybody's playing against them, in which case they're usually fast and loose at that table anyway.

I loathe being punished by a game for playing a character a particular way, and so I tend to heed the mechanics' guidance and avoid character traits which are actively punished for no compensation. e.g. playing a blind character in D&D (without having the condition inflicted through play, I mean; that's just a consequence, and honestly is likely to be resolved before too long thanks to magic).

Cluedrew
2016-11-04, 06:42 PM
That's a good point, but it is a very tragic one.In addition to what others have said I would like to add that there are multiple effective paths forward (I suppose only one is optimal, but in an environment as complex as an TTRPG good luck figuring out what it is). So you still have plenty of options to choose from and hence to express your character.

For example let my compare two of my characters: Greg and Ammanda. They were both heavily armed and armoured mercenaries and were mostly combat focused. Greg used the threat of violence and his remarkable reputation to get things done, resorting to actually doing things only as a fallback. Ammanda's approach can be summed up as "I shoot it." And they both managed to do... I was going to say 'just fine' but really they didn't. That is not how our GM runs games. They both survived and were appreciated by the rest of the group, so that is something.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-04, 07:07 PM
I think I should also point out something else that makes characters that don't play well with the group very frustrating. There's generally an unspoken agreement in groups that you can't kick other PCs out of the party. If someone's constantly messing things up for the party there can be a sense that there's nothing you can do about it in character, leading to either OOC bitching or just sullen resentment.

RazorChain
2016-11-04, 10:11 PM
I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?

In my experience it is always a worst of both worlds situation; in a game with no mechanics for RP you have to ignore RP in favor of efficiency. In a game where there are mechanics for RP you either have to choose between being effective or being true to your character OR get forced into doing things your character would never do, typically because the system doesn't understand how reward structures work (Riddle of Steel) or has overly broad ideas of what constitutes a personality trait (most White Wolf games).

I have been playing many years with the disadvantage rules in GURPS and it poses no problem with roleplay or mechanics because the groups I've been playing with aren't comprised of idiots But then again there you chose your disads and code of honor is an disad because it limits your freedom.

Outside of D&D there are lot's of people that accept roleplay over tactics, in fact lot of systems encourage roleplaying over string of fights tethered together with a meaningless plotline. There are a lot groups where combat is secondary to roleplay.



I have kind of been assuming good faith this whole discussion. If the common conception is that people want to be jerks and just use "I am only doing what my character would do," as an excuse to be jerks then the whole thing falls down and I can see why people have a problem with it.

In my experience though, people who are doing things just to be jerks and people who are doing things just to stay in character are pretty easy to tell apart and both of them get roughly equal amount of flak from the rest of the group.

Also, in my experience it is not necessarily a matter of expectation or for-warning either:

For example, the last time I played Pathfinder my character was an honor-bound knight who followed a very strict code of chivalry, and I made this very clear from the beginning. I would not attack women or children, fight people who were unarmed, stab people in the back, or betray my liege. Everyone knew about this from session one, yet every time it made the encounter more difficult the other players, and the DM, gave me crap for it.

Hell, when 4E D&D came out several of my players left the group to start their own 4E campaign. They told me that I could play, but I had to understand that one of the "rules" of 4E was that you weren't allowed to RP during combat and that I wouldn't be allowed to play if I didn't do my best to win every scenario regardless of whether or not my character actually had a reason to want to kill the "bad guys".


If you are playing with people who want to Win in RPG's then the players are more interested in the tactical aspect of the game. They are in essence playing a wargame and the GM is setting up scenarios that they have to win.

When a player comes with a character that has some limitations the GM should see roleplaying opportunites not scold the player for coming with a character that isn't a super optimized murder hobo. This is based on trust, trust between players and GM. I run a game where the players make sub optimal decisions all the time because they are made in character. But the players know I'm not going to kill their characters for it and piss on their graves while berating them for their stupidity. The players know that their sub optimal choices are somtimes going to lead to complications down the road but that is actually fun too!

If players are required to make optimal choices all the time then they should min/max as much as they can, memorize the monster manual and use their knowledge to overcome obstacles. Memorize every rule that they can abuse and play ruthless characters that don't mind sending young orphans down corridors to spring some traps. In essence they can just forgo the roleplaying altogether and focus on the best tactics to win* the game



*You cannot win a game against an opponent (GM) who has unlimited resources

HidesHisEyes
2016-11-05, 07:55 AM
...In making a mechanic for something, you bring it into the game...

This is a really important point, I think. This whole discussion is about how much of the game WORLD makes its way into gamePLAY. There are all sorts of reasons why a character might fail to do something that benefits the party, or fail to act in complete alignment with what the player wants. It is by no means a forgone conclusion that those things should be a part of the actual game, enforced by the rules or otherwise.

It totally depends on the type of game you're playing. In my favourite type of game - which is about heroism, exploration and monster-bashing - I find it HARDER to roleplay my character if I'm forced to think "would my character do this?" every time I make a decision. If I've made a hardcore pacifist in a game about fighting then I've made the wrong character. Likewise if I've made a Viking who believes no one should ever receive help from their allies on a game about teamwork and party-based gameplay.

Now I'm not saying bringing such roleplaying concerns into the gameplay is inherently bad or can't be done well - I think FATE does it fantastically well. And I'm not saying I never enjoy that style of game - as it happens I am at this moment sitting in a coffee shop about to go across the road and play FATE, and I'm looking forward to it. And I'm certainly not saying that anyone with a different preferred game style from me is "wrong", as that's obviously ridiculous.

What I AM saying is that I think it's a mistake to start from the simulationist assumption that every part of the game world should be present in the game experience regardless of the style of game being played. And if some aspect of the game world doesn't belong in the game experience you're aiming for, then the question of whether it should be enforced by the rules is irrelevant.

Jay R
2016-11-05, 11:22 PM
I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?

Yes, of course. But step one is to stop pretending that they are objecting to "playing a character first". They're not.

They are objecting to not helping the party.

They don't care, and will never care, why the character won't help the party. Saying "code of the Aesir" help. Never use those arguments again. Nobody cares.

Not helping the party because of playing a character first? They won't like it.
Helping the party because of playing a character first? They will like it.
Not helping the party as a perfectly logical tactician? They won't like it.
Helping the party as a perfectly logical tactician? They will like it.

If your character helps the party, they will approve of playing a character first. That is how to change it so that they won't object to playing the character first. Just play a character that helps the party.

A few months ago, my character jumped in front of his team-mate's enemies and took their attacks, to save the team-mate's life. It wasn't being "a perfectly logical tactician"; it was "playing a character first". Nobody objected. In a different game, my character suggested that somebody else should get the armor we found, because she had almost lost her life in that battle. It was a cool, in-character thing to say, and everybody loved it.

Playing the character first is not the issue. Not helping the party is the issue.

Talakeal
2016-11-06, 12:28 AM
Yes, of course. But step one is to stop pretending that they are objecting to "playing a character first". They're not.

They are objecting to not helping the party.

They don't care, and will never care, why the character won't help the party. Saying "code of the Aesir" help. Never use those arguments again. Nobody cares.

Not helping the party because of playing a character first? They won't like it.
Helping the party because of playing a character first? They will like it.
Not helping the party as a perfectly logical tactician? They won't like it.
Helping the party as a perfectly logical tactician? They will like it.

If your character helps the party, they will approve of playing a character first. That is how to change it so that they won't object to playing the character first. Just play a character that helps the party.

A few months ago, my character jumped in front of his team-mate's enemies and took their attacks, to save the team-mate's life. It wasn't being "a perfectly logical tactician"; it was "playing a character first". Nobody objected. In a different game, my character suggested that somebody else should get the armor we found, because she had almost lost her life in that battle. It was a cool, in-character thing to say, and everybody loved it.

Playing the character first is not the issue. Not helping the party is the issue.


I totally get what you are saying and I agree with you on all points.

Basically, the reason I created this thread was when I told my group I wasn't comfortable with Scion having a rule that said that if I didn't make a certain dice roll I couldn't help my party (or suffer from countless other forms of plot induced stupidity), and felt that it was a frustrating rule that could obstruct cohesive team play.

They told me that it was a good rule because it was there to "force me to RP my character well," and that good RP was more important than being a team player.

What I don't understand is that IF we agree that good RP is more important than working as a team (and again that is a big if) when the dice decide that is what my character would do, why is it no longer true that good RP is more important than working as a team when I decide that is what my character would do?

And again, I am assuming good faith. That I have gotten into a situation where my pre-established character traits come into direct conflict with the good of the party and I legitimately can't think of a way to satisfy both, not just because I feel like being a selfish jerk and am just making up excuses to justify my behavior.


Edit: And I think I figured it out to some extent, I believe it might actually go back to some sort of a GNS divide. A "gamist" obstacle to party cohesion, in this case a dice roll, is seen as just another obstacle to overcome. On the other hand a "narrativist" or "simulationist" obstacle like character motivation is less tangible, and thus most people perceive it as someone arbitrarily deciding to hinder the party for no reason.

Segev
2016-11-06, 01:00 AM
Edit: And I think I figured it out to some extent, I believe it might actually go back to some sort of a GNS divide. A "gamist" obstacle to party cohesion, in this case a dice roll, is seen as just another obstacle to overcome. On the other hand a "narrativist" or "simulationist" obstacle like character motivation is less tangible, and thus most people perceive it as someone arbitrarily deciding to hinder the party for no reason.

That is the crux of it, yes. For it to be un-forced by the rules of the game, an "in character" action to the detriment of the party would have to be so painfully obviously in character that everybody at the table would actively object to anything else before it would not come off, to some extent, as the player making a choice to screw over the party. Not "making a choice that screws over the party," but "making a choice to screw over the party." As in, "with the deliberate intention of."

But if it's the rules of the game... well, it's no more the player's fault than it was his fault when he failed to make a saving throw against that Domination spell that has the GM making his character attack the party now.

Jay R
2016-11-06, 01:12 AM
What I don't understand is that IF we agree that good RP is more important than working as a team (and again that is a big if) when the dice decide that is what my character would do, why is it no longer true that good RP is more important than working as a team when I decide that is what my character would do?

It's still not as simple as "good RP is more important than working as a team".

In Scion, a virtue roll does not represent a rational decision at all. It represents those times when a character responds emotionally rather than making a rational decision. It's not modeling a thinking process. It's modeling an unconscious reaction.

Many games don't model that kind of emotional response. But having an emotional reaction that makes you do something you wouldn't normally do is something that can happen. Don't equate that withe the rational decision you would have made. They are not the same thing.

Evidently, somebody tried to over-simplify what the Scion rules are to you by saying that it's enforcing RP. There's some truth to that, but it's not the whole thing. It's more accurate to saying that it models when your lifelong training makes you do something you didn't decide to do. In some ways it's closer to a Will saving throw.

In high school, somebody tried to poke at my friend David with the eraser end of a pencil. David, who was on the fencing team, didn't ever really think about it. He automatically parried, and the pencil point wound up penetrating the other guy's hand. David didn't decide, "I will choose to parry in a way that could inflict pain." He saw a point coming at him and reacted.

The other guy understood (eventually), and didn't get mad at David. If David had decided to try to penetrate his skin with a pencil, he would have gotten mad - quite rightly.

Similarly, if a player decides his character would try to help his team-mate, but the virtue role says that his training prevents it, that's one thing. Deciding he doesn't want to help his friend is something else.

No teammate will ever equate refusing to help with wanting to help but failing. They are totally different events.

HidesHisEyes
2016-11-06, 05:45 AM
... It's not modeling a thinking process. It's modeling an unconscious reaction.

Many games don't model that kind of emotional response. But having an emotional reaction that makes you do something you wouldn't normally do is something that can happen. Don't equate that withe the rational decision you would have made. They are not the same thing...

That's why I think it's a simulationist decision, from the sound of it (to be fair I haven't played Scion). It models something in the game because that thing can, as you say, happen in real life. Is that a good enough reason to put something in a game? No, I don't think so, but then I'm not really into simulationism generally. Could there be some other reason to have that mechanic in the game? I'm sure there could, but the important thing is that it depends on the game and it's not automatically, inherently a desirable thing. Certainly if someone suggested I implement something similar in a D&D game I would be tempted to laugh at them.

Cluedrew
2016-11-06, 07:43 AM
Not helping the party because of playing a character first? They won't like it.You have obviously never played with my group. In one extreme case the party, instead of forming into one, became two factions that battled it out for the rest of the campaign. Mind you it never gets vicious, so we are working towards the same goal of having a fun game. And I think there is an understanding about that. And when there wasn't, we had a problem player.

ComradeBear
2016-11-06, 09:03 AM
You have obviously never played with my group. In one extreme case the party, instead of forming into one, became two factions that battled it out for the rest of the campaign. Mind you it never gets vicious, so we are working towards the same goal of having a fun game. And I think there is an understanding about that. And when there wasn't, we had a problem player.

There are exceptions to every rule, but it's all based on player buy-in. If the players don't all agree to that kind of game, then don't try to have it. If they do, then feel free. The longer a group has been around, the more likely they are to be fine with in-party pvp because a lot of trust already exists.

But I don't think Jay R's assessment of Talakeal's group is incorrect. And it may be the case that the proper approach to sticking with a group long-term is to understand what kind of characters a given system encourages, and play one of those. D&D encourages cooperation. Character concepts that limit cooperation run counter to what the game wants, and what players of said game are, by default, buying into. Until the group has built up a good amount of trust, then they won't be sure if you're legitimately RPing or just being a butt when your character refuses to help. Hence the complaints of being a Powergamer and being bad at RP.
They have no reason to assume your character is being RPd well until they've seen you roleplay cooperative characters well. And I'm not sure how being a powergamer figures in, but if nobody else at the table is optimizing at all, or isn't talkimg about optimizing, don't say that you are and act surprised when your character does something cool that he/she is optimized for.

Another option would be to play as a Mute. Yes. A Mute. A relatively obedient, unspeaking sort of person who just helps the party out and doesn't interfere with their goals at all. Just as an experiment to see how they react. Be sure to roleplay it out, obviously. The character should point, gesture, and express emotion like a normal person. They just don't speak aloud. See if that changes the reactions any.

Bohandas
2016-11-06, 10:18 AM
"Should my character act in a way that's to the detriment of the group?" is a more complicated question than

presumes. Obviously, it's entirely possible to be an ass and derail the game using "I was just doing what my character would do!" as an excuse. But "your character must function like a perfectly optimized murderbot in battle without regard for any considerations that might dictate otherwise, roleplaying is for when we're not using dice" isn't better, in my opinion.

Unless you're playing a Marut inevitable

Cluedrew
2016-11-06, 02:34 PM
There are exceptions to every rule, but it's all based on player buy-in.This is true. I mean I've only played a few groups but even with that small sample size the current group I play with is weird.

I guess I just wanted to make the point that there are exceptions.

Stealth Marmot
2016-11-07, 02:51 PM
This discussion reminds me of a mechanics I was looking to implement in a 3.5 game that I designed. It was called "Stress"

The concept behind it was similar to "Sanity" from Call of Cthulu. The idea is that characters gain stress from events that happen around them, as it rises the characters start suffering mechanical problems such as penalties to Concentration checks and will saves.

To remove stress, you need to engage in pleasurable activities or other activities that reduce it, such as getting an uninterrupted night of sleep,drinking at a bar, spending a couple hours praying, etc.

It was a clumsy mechanics that was not very well designed by me, but I would like to implement something like that into a game to encourage players to actually feel the impact of being constantly assaulted.

One of the biggest ones was that being knocked unconscious by lethal damage. It is a situation where you end up helpless and believe you may be dying, only to be brought up, and your character just treats it like a mild inconvenience?

I get it, this is heroic fantasy, and PTSD is not exactly what we want to deal with in D&D, but I would like to see a real mechanic that could be used to push people to spend more time thinking about what their characters are feeling. Heroic fantasy has emotion too.

Jama7301
2016-11-07, 03:10 PM
This discussion reminds me of a mechanics I was looking to implement in a 3.5 game that I designed. It was called "Stress"

The concept behind it was similar to "Sanity" from Call of Cthulu. The idea is that characters gain stress from events that happen around them, as it rises the characters start suffering mechanical problems such as penalties to Concentration checks and will saves.

To remove stress, you need to engage in pleasurable activities or other activities that reduce it, such as getting an uninterrupted night of sleep,drinking at a bar, spending a couple hours praying, etc.

It was a clumsy mechanics that was not very well designed by me, but I would like to implement something like that into a game to encourage players to actually feel the impact of being constantly assaulted.

One of the biggest ones was that being knocked unconscious by lethal damage. It is a situation where you end up helpless and believe you may be dying, only to be brought up, and your character just treats it like a mild inconvenience?

I get it, this is heroic fantasy, and PTSD is not exactly what we want to deal with in D&D, but I would like to see a real mechanic that could be used to push people to spend more time thinking about what their characters are feeling. Heroic fantasy has emotion too.

Maybe look at Blades in the Dark and their Stress mechanic. Once a character maxes their stress (Decreased by engaging in their Vice), they suffer one of a list of personality scars. If they suffer enough of them, they end up quitting adventuring, because they don't have the heart for it anymore.

DKing9114
2016-11-12, 02:41 AM
Taken to far, this can take RP agency out of the hands of the player, but I think it's fine in moderation-and can actually enhance the experience. It can help to enforce RP if a player has his low intelligence Berserker Barbarian acting as an expert tactician, or making up for low charisma scores with the player trying to charm the GM and other players. For that matter, if one of the players has a copy of the monster manual, simply rolling a knowledge check for his/her character to have the information the player has access to is an example. In games where characters have explicitly stated flaws (particularly if those flaws are taken in exchange for advantages), players may otherwise try to munchkin their way through with flaws that are easily avoidable, like giving a murder hobo some drawback in social situations.

One system that does this fairly well is SUPERS. While the system has its problems, the mental hindrances disadvantage is a fairly solid way of giving flaws some weight. If a situation comes up that triggers your flaw, roll to resist. If you pass, nothing happens; on a failure, you will take a penalty until you give in to whatever urge you have. It doesn't take agency away from the player, but does reflect how the character has a different set of needs than the player does, as well as how resisting an impulse can take its toll.

Earthwalker
2016-11-15, 08:17 AM
I totally get what you are saying and I agree with you on all points.

Basically, the reason I created this thread was when I told my group I wasn't comfortable with Scion having a rule that said that if I didn't make a certain dice roll I couldn't help my party (or suffer from countless other forms of plot induced stupidity), and felt that it was a frustrating rule that could obstruct cohesive team play.



Can I just check some things with the OP and others that know Scion.

Firstly when you played Scion were you forced to play as an Aseir ? Were you forced to take points in bravery ?

I don't know the game but from posts on this thread it seems many other options were available to player characters. So knowing if you choose this type and get this trait you will encounter this problem, then don't choose that.

You aren't comfortable with the rule being there, if you don't take the tribe (class, whatever) and trait then that rule existing shouldn't bother you as you will never see it in play.

Nothing seems to be mentioned if there is an up side to traits. I am guessing their is. If you have bravery and do something brave you get a bonus on that. So as well as giving you an outlook and helping define your character the traits also give a mechanical advantage in the game ?
I am just asking as all that is talked about is the negative aspect for some reason.

Finally a few times people have mentioned being forced to do something. Do the traits really force you ?
Is there some currency that allows you to ignore the negative side and just do what you want ? If so the game isn't really forcing you surly as you can ignore it.

If you choose Bravery as a trait and then consistently want to be not brave, should you really have bravery as a trait ?

Talakeal
2016-11-15, 01:59 PM
Can I just check some things with the OP and others that know Scion.

Firstly when you played Scion were you forced to play as an Aseir ? Were you forced to take points in bravery ?

I don't know the game but from posts on this thread it seems many other options were available to player characters. So knowing if you choose this type and get this trait you will encounter this problem, then don't choose that.

You aren't comfortable with the rule being there, if you don't take the tribe (class, whatever) and trait then that rule existing shouldn't bother you as you will never see it in play.

Nothing seems to be mentioned if there is an up side to traits. I am guessing their is. If you have bravery and do something brave you get a bonus on that. So as well as giving you an outlook and helping define your character the traits also give a mechanical advantage in the game ?
I am just asking as all that is talked about is the negative aspect for some reason.

Finally a few times people have mentioned being forced to do something. Do the traits really force you ?
Is there some currency that allows you to ignore the negative side and just do what you want ? If so the game isn't really forcing you surly as you can ignore it.

If you choose Bravery as a trait and then consistently want to be not brave, should you really have bravery as a trait ?

I actually was the OP.

I have read the Scion core-book, so I can give you a rundown of the mechanics, but I am sure someone with a fuller understanding of the game will correct me.


You choose a pantheon, and every pantheon has four virtues. You can trade some (not all) of your pantheon's virtues for those of another pantheon, but doing so has major social ramifications.

Every virtue has a list of a half dozen or so broad actions which you get a bonus on. The stronger the virtue, the higher the bonus.

Every virtue also has a list of half a dozen or so broad actions which you cannot do, many of them are self destructive or anti-social. To perform these actions you must either spend a willpower point or roll a test, the stronger the virtue the harder the test.

So yes, you can spend willpower to bypass the test, but willpower is used for a lot of other things and is in rather short supply. Also, by RAW there is no cool-down on it (at least in the core book) so if you have an overly literal DM you could just have a situation where you are compelled to do something self destructive every turn and run out of willpower in a matter of moments.

I didn't talk about the up sides of virtues because they weren't really relevant to the example. Just like every thread about "should my paladin fall?" doesn't go off on a tangent singing the praises of divine grace and lay on hands.

Bravery as a trait is fine. But bravery also comes with a ton of baggage, each of the virtues is extremely broad. For example courage (the one we were talking about earlier) has a lot of Viking culture built into it. Its not just being brave like refusing to flee danger or shy away from risks, it actually forbids you to decline any challenge, avoid a fight, surrender, ask for help, or aid an ally.

Earthwalker
2016-11-17, 04:41 AM
[snip]
So yes, you can spend willpower to bypass the test, but willpower is used for a lot of other things and is in rather short supply. Also, by RAW there is no cool-down on it (at least in the core book) so if you have an overly literal DM you could just have a situation where you are compelled to do something self destructive every turn and run out of willpower in a matter of moments.


I am of the opinion that if a GM is just throwing the same situation at you forcing you to spend willpower to avoid until you run out so he can run the situation he wants, thatís a problem with the GM not the system. You may disagree.



[snip]
Bravery as a trait is fine. But bravery also comes with a ton of baggage, each of the virtues is extremely broad. For example courage (the one we were talking about earlier) has a lot of Viking culture built into it. Its not just being brave like refusing to flee danger or shy away from risks, it actually forbids you to decline any challenge, avoid a fight, surrender, ask for help, or aid an ally.

It appears that Scion is a role playing game about playing Viking (and other pantheons ?) Demi Gods with poor impulse control. (someone can correct me if I am wrong)

It also appears that the character concept you wanted to play was something other than Viking demigod with poor impulse control. Which is fair enough but probably means you shouldnít be playing Scion. For me that donít mean Scion is bad or the rules donít work.
From the discussion in this thread it appears the rules work fine to model what they are wanting to model.

GrayDeath
2016-11-17, 11:19 AM
I did it a few times already, in this thread even, but OK, once more:

Scion is about playing the Children of the Gods.
There are (Ūn the Corebook) 6 Panthea, each including 6-12 different parent-Gods/Goddesses.

Each Pantheon has a Set of 4 Virtues, one of the Aesirs (the Norse Gods) is Courage, the "personal" Bravery Type, a bit mixed up with "if you dont do it yourself its not worth mentioning", opposed to Valor, which is another Set of Bravery (more the Soldier than the lone Warrior one, it includes protectin those that cannot protect themselves for example).
The other 3 Aesir Virtues are Endurance (pretty selfexplationary), Expression (being merry, celebrating, not hiding your emotions) and Loyalty (to a Person/People).

So yes, if you go Aesir you have to expect that you are going to be pulled a certain direction. Namely that of individual prowess, Expression, Focussed on personal Loyalty and Family/Tribe.

And get big bonuses if following instead of resisting, as applies to all panthea (the most opposed virtuewise would likely be the Pesedjet (the Agptian Gods), with a Set made up from Conviction (the will to accept "bad things" to achieve goals), Harmony (simply put the "Heravenly Design" Virtue, that puts not disturbing the way things are meant to be/Balance), Order (Law almost exclusively, though it can be debated whose, also being fair to the extreme) and Piety (faith, Traditions of Faith, their parents and their Pantheon are massivley respected).

Your Divine Heritage drives you, and that can of course be boon or bane.

So to sum it up: If you despise such systems generally, dont play Scion.

If you can get to like them, choose your Pantheon Carefully (TM), if you cant put your points where you want them (Loki for example has very likely replaced Loyalty and Courage with other virtues, even before some story-Event sthat I do not want to spoiler).

Talakeal
2016-11-17, 02:29 PM
I am of the opinion that if a GM is just throwing the same situation at you forcing you to spend willpower to avoid until you run out so he can run the situation he wants, thatís a problem with the GM not the system. You may disagree.



It appears that Scion is a role playing game about playing Viking (and other pantheons ?) Demi Gods with poor impulse control. (someone can correct me if I am wrong)

It also appears that the character concept you wanted to play was something other than Viking demigod with poor impulse control. Which is fair enough but probably means you shouldnít be playing Scion. For me that donít mean Scion is bad or the rules donít work.
From the discussion in this thread it appears the rules work fine to model what they are wanting to model.

It is a GM issue, yes, but some systems lend themselves towards it. A "by the book" GM is not necessarily a railroading GM, but in Scion they are one in the same. Likewise, a tactically minded GM (or player) can use this as an IN CHARACTER strategy; apparently virtues are a known thing in the world, and a character in the game can convince anyone to do anything if they appeal to their virtues enough. I am imagining a smart BBEG would always employ a strategy much like the Simpson children asking Homer the same question over and over again for days on end until he eventually gives in.


But again, my point was not to trash on Scion. I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-11-17, 02:33 PM
But again, my point was not to trash on Scion. I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

I think the middle ground is most games. You're citing two extreme examples from opposite ends of the scale.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-17, 02:39 PM
But again, my point was not to trash on Scion. I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.


To me, it's more that D&D depends entirely on the GM and players to make the decision as to how "character driven" versus "strategic" the decisions and actions should be, and leaves entirely in the hands of the players to decide what their characters would do even in the most character-centric -- there are no rules either way.

Scion, on the other hand, appears to require the group to actively ignore the RAW in order to put those decisions in the hands of the players.

Segev
2016-11-17, 02:39 PM
There's no "refresh rate" on the virtues being rolled because it's only supposed to happen once per stimulus. There is, obviously, some human judgment call in what qualifies as a "new" stimulus, but it shouldn't be too hard for reasonable people to agree in most situations.

This means that you will not have the same ongoing situation in a scene trigger your Virtue multiple times. Fail the Virtue roll (or spend the WP) once, and you should be good vs. that particular ongoing/recurring stimulus, at LEAST for the duration of a given scene. You don't have to spend WP or roll Courage each time Klingon Bob insults your honor, mother, sister, brother, dog, or fashion sense. Resist his taunts once, and you're not compelled by your Virtue to fall prey to it again. (Now, an ongoing social attack may result in similar, and he might get bonuses based on your Courage to apply it. In fact, were I STing, that's how I'd model it, rather than forcing you to fail a Courage roll.)

Berenger
2016-11-17, 03:14 PM
In general, Scion's virtues aren't a bad concept, it's just that the phrasing is sloppy in some cases.



Courage

A hero's worth is measured by the foes he defeats in battle, and Courage measures a Scion's drive to test his mettle against the deadliest opponents he can find. Further, the Scion holds other warriors to his own high standards. Heroes must fight their battles alone and live or die by the skill of their sword-arm. Death is something to be faced stoically, even embraced, for it is better to die in an epic struggle with a worthy foe than to live a callow life without struggle.

Characters use Courage to: fight powerful foes, resist the effects of supernatural fear or compulsion, take death-defying risks A failed Courage roll allows a character to: avoid the prospect of battle, resist a physical challenge, surrender to an opponent, give aid to another warrior in battle, accept such aid when offered.

Virtue Extremity: Berserker Fury. The Scion is so overcome with shame at his perceived weakness that he flies into a murderous rage, hurling himself at his foes without regard to his own safety. If there are no foes left to fight, the Scion will attack any other living thing he can reach, seeking to expiate his cowardice in violence and bloodshed. Berserker Fury lasts for the duration of the scene.

I underlined the part which I think you referred to. This half-sentence tries to encompass a complicated subject in six words and fails. The goal of that entry is, obviously, to provide a couple of guidelines how the concept of honor (from a viking warrior point of view) might be incorporated in the behaviour of a character. The problem is that this particular half-sentence, taken literally, would be madness even from the perspective of the Most Hardcore Viking Hero Ever because vikings were teamplayers. In battle, they acted in a highly coordinated and cohesive fashion, that is to say as a ship crew (at sea) or in a shield wall (ashore) and aided one another in battle all the time. Because, you know, they weren't a bunch of rabid video game berserkers whose prime concern was getting to Valhalla as quick as possible. What they considered dishonorable was intervention in an agreed-upon duel between two warriors, but certainly not saving each others behind in a free-for-all battle.

GrayDeath
2016-11-17, 04:30 PM
It is a GM issue, yes, but some systems lend themselves towards it. A "by the book" GM is not necessarily a railroading GM, but in Scion they are one in the same.

Simply wrong.
Please do not transport your experiences in Bizzarro land to Scion, especially not if multiple people tell you you are getting it wrong.
And most importantly do not state it as "fact", that is just asking for flame wars and is not making it easier for other people who have questions about it. ;)
(I dont want to rekindle the discussion of what Railroading is, but let me say this: unless you are using Darth Ultrons Definition then no, no use of Scions Virtues by anyone but an utterly BAD DM qualifies. And even then it has to be done with the aim of keeping the PC`s "on the plot" to do so.




Likewise, a tactically minded GM (or player) can use this as an IN CHARACTER strategy; apparently virtues are a known thing in the world, and a character in the game can convince anyone to do anything if they appeal to their virtues enough.


The first part is correct, the second is oversimplified and overextended to such a degree that I just passed my Virtue Roll (Intellect ^^=), and hence have to correct you. ;)
I`ll do it by responding to your example below.




I am imagining a smart BBEG would always employ a strategy much like the Simpson children asking Homer the same question over and over again for days on end until he eventually gives in.


If the BB is human, and hence not himself "slave" to his (dark) Virtues he might think of this.

But aside from very specific examples and situations the "big Players" tend to avoid that, most likely because of the likeliness of fate to ... enact vengeance (not the Virtue^^).
And maybe mutually assured Destruction of Agency via Virtue-Mobbing. ^^

More mechanically: Segev poihted out the most important stuff already.




But again, my point was not to trash on Scion. I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

As others said: there is. Lots of it.
Just, sadly for you, obviously not in any of your groups. :(

Talakeal
2016-11-17, 04:48 PM
Simply wrong.
Please do not transport your experiences in Bizzarro land to Scion, especially not if multiple people tell you you are getting it wrong.

Could you please do an in depth response to the post above yours? Berenger seems to be saying exactly what I am; that the rules for virtues try and do too much in too little space, and an overly literal or by the book reading of them will result in ridiculous situations.

This isn't an issue unique to Scion though, paladins in D&D suffer from a similar problem. I don't play a paladin as a result, but I don't think I am alone in this, a quick search of this (or any other D&D forum) will find a mountain of threads arguing about whether or not a paladin should fall, so clearly this problem exists beyond "bizarro land".



Edit: Also, it isn't really "multiple people telling me I am wrong," it is you telling me I am wrong over and over and over and over again without actually showing me how I am wrong. This is despite my constant protests that I don't actually care about Scion or have any interest in debating the merits of the game, I was merely using it as an example because it was the game I happened to be discussing when the topic came up.

Mr Beer
2016-11-17, 05:10 PM
I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

That middle ground is occupied by most RPG groups, at least here on the Prime Material; obviously not in the Demiplane of Talakeal's Bizzarro RPGers.

Talakeal
2016-11-17, 05:18 PM
That middle ground is occupied by most RPG groups, at least here on the Prime Material; obviously not in the Demiplane of Talakeal's Bizzarro RPGers.

I am pretty sure that if you look at this very thread you will see more than a few people who fall outside of this supposed middle ground whom I have never interacted with outside of this forum.

This is starting to get kind of tiresome. It was funny when Glyphstone started saying it, because I have run into a larger than normal sample size of problem players, but it is starting to just be used as an argument to dismiss anything I say.

I have known about half a dozen gamers over the years who appear to have genuine psychological problems. I have also known dozens of perfectly normal people whom I have never had a problem with, let alone started a thread about. For every one "problem" gaming session I have five sessions where everything goes by fine.

Heck, I don't think I have ever heard someone say "I am just RPing my character" in person, but I see it all the time on the internet as a code-word for bad players.

Mr Beer
2016-11-17, 05:26 PM
Thing is, you personally either perceive or experience RPGs in binary terms. This is very clear from your posts, what the 'always' and the 'nevers'. But RPGs are played by people, who are generally the opposite of binary. Your experience of RPGs where people play at one or other end of any given spectrum simply doesn't line up with other posters' experience of RPGs, as can be demonstrated by reading through any of your threads.

Hence, the Bizarro World meme.

Talakeal
2016-11-17, 05:58 PM
Thing is, you personally either perceive or experience RPGs in binary terms. This is very clear from your posts, what the 'always' and the 'nevers'. But RPGs are played by people, who are generally the opposite of binary. Your experience of RPGs where people play at one or other end of any given spectrum simply doesn't line up with other posters' experience of RPGs, as can be demonstrated by reading through any of your threads.

Hence, the Bizarro World meme.

/whoosh.

If that is what it is about I had no idea.

I figured it was because I tell a lot of gaming horror stories because I:

a: Have dealt with a higher than normal percentage of "problem players"
b: stick it out rather than leaving when in a bad situation
and c: am the type who likes to talk my problems out rather than bottling them up


I had no idea it was because people viewed me as being an overly binary person, and it seems doubly weird because I don't like to take absolute views. Look at some of my posts on the media board where I get into it with both the hardcore "word of god" people and the hardcore "death of the author" people because I view things like "canon" as ultimately subjective and think that a black and white viewpoint is ultimately shortsighted and leads to an incomplete understanding.

Heck, my main problem with the virtue rules in Scion as discussed in this thread is that it uses too many absolutes and it requires the GM and players to work together to form a common sense understanding of what the rules are trying to say rather than just taking them at face value. Also, not coincidentally, my main problem with discussing 3.X on this forum is that most posters tend to take on a firm RAW or RAI stance in spite of common sense where as I prefer to take a more middle of the road stance.

Honestly if people are perceiving me as totally black and white and binary it is probably because I am using careless word choices. For example if I say "all the time" I am using it to mean "Frequently, repeatedly, as in He goes to that store all the time." while other people read it as "Continuously, without interruption, as in That old refrigerator is running all the time,".

Mr Beer
2016-11-17, 09:16 PM
I'm not saying that you personally are binary, but rather that you relate RPG experiences which are, for example: 'I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws'.

So, you continually either perceive and/or experience binary RPG situations, which is not what other RPGers are experiencing...hence Bizarro World.

Cluedrew
2016-11-17, 10:46 PM
This is starting to get kind of tiresome. It was funny when Glyphstone started saying it, because I have run into a larger than normal sample size of problem players, but it is starting to just be used as an argument to dismiss anything I say.To me it is the opposite (although the despite will look for any ground to make there stand in). The reason it is "Bizzarro" is because we can't find any explanation as to why it keeps happening. The three factors you mentioned are part of it, but still you seem to have much worse than average luck in this regard.

There are poster, who shall remain nameless, who complain about their bad experiences. Usually it is one off or other times I can see in their writing their attitudes which are actually causing (or at least aggravating) these problems. I have seen absolutely none of this in you. And I have read enough of your posts that I am fairly confident there isn't any major problems.

And yet you continue to have terrible luck. It is, in a word, bizzarro.

(And yes, the healthy middle ground exists. I hope you find a group that lives in it.)

PersonMan
2016-11-18, 02:58 AM
I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

I would argue that going so far as to play a character in a suboptimal manner during combat and such is already on the edge of 'middle ground'.

For me, in combat/obstacle/action focused games like DnD, the 'town scene' is a perfect place for this sort of thing. There's no stress to perform or interdependence, so if your character goes off to do one little errand and arrives back five hours later, heavily intoxicated and missing three daggers they lost in a bet, you're unlikely to get a large negative reaction. It's related to the idea of where challenge comes from - playing your character in a way that produces a lot of extra challenge can be annoying (especially if it isn't brought up earlier), whereas it's a lot less problematic for someone who get into flaw-based antics in the safe environment of The Town.

It helps that one character causing trouble in combat is also seen as worse, because it could lead to a TPK and therefore the end of all the adventuring, while someone who is unable to resist the siren song of "get drunk and boast about your adventures to those attractive bar patrons" is unlikely to do anything worse than mildly weaken themselves one way or another. In fact, if they're consistent, it's possible that their behavior becomes a boon, as the DM can put hints or plot hooks into bars and know that this PC will find them during their carousing.

RazorChain
2016-11-18, 05:17 AM
But again, my point was not to trash on Scion. I was wondering why there is no middle ground where it is ok to RP your own character flaws. In D&D type games you will be shunned if you play your character in a suboptimal manner, in games like Scion the dice dictate when it is or isn't ok to act on your character flaws.

I hate to break it to you but you are have different expectations from RPG's than the people you are playing with. Every player and GM comes to the table with expectations and these can vary, even the same person can have different expectations for different games. Before I continue I'm just going to say that different styles are not wrong, they are just different.

You clearly want to roleplay while the others want to game. They want to solve problems in optimal, efficient way. They aren't there to immerse themselves in the game world, acting out their character or experience the fun NPC's the GM has made. NPC's aren't real, they are only an excuse for the GM to use funny voices. So when they have taken all the gold from the poor NPC villagers for killing the vicious monster that is eating their children. They don't care how stripping them of wealth affects the NPC's or their lives. Those NPC's arent real so they only think of the gold they've made to buy that adamantium armor and the xp they've made so they can become more powerful and more efficient. Heck the most optimal solution to lure the monster out of hiding is probably grabbing one of the NPC villager brats and use him as a bait.

So If you show up with a wizard that doesn't have an INT of 18 then you're just an idiot to them because it's not optimal and if you aren't optimal then you are not there to win the game. This kind of gamers are the ones you meet that are talking about interesting builds. They usually don't define their character by concepts, personality or background...that gets slapped on as an afterthought. Combat and overcoming obstacles is the meat of the game to them. There is a reason for a joke in dragon magazine where a villager runs into the village and screams "Everybody run, there is a fighter coming and he only needs 5xp to lvl 20!!!" This type of player is a large portion of the RPG community and are largely the reason why some people maintain that all PC's are essensially Neutral Evil despite what alignment they are playing.

Now it seems you want to roleplay, you want to immerse yourself in a game world, don't see NPC's as statblocks or a means to more money. You want to act out your character, flaws and all and put a trust in your fellow players and GM that you won't get berated or killed for acting in character.

So in essence you want different things from a game than your group.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 09:45 AM
I hate to break it to you but you are have different expectations from RPG's than the people you are playing with. Every player and GM comes to the table with expectations and these can vary, even the same person can have different expectations for different games. Before I continue I'm just going to say that different styles are not wrong, they are just different.

You clearly want to roleplay while the others want to game. They want to solve problems in optimal, efficient way. They aren't there to immerse themselves in the game world, acting out their character or experience the fun NPC's the GM has made. NPC's aren't real, they are only an excuse for the GM to use funny voices. So when they have taken all the gold from the poor NPC villagers for killing the vicious monster that is eating their children. They don't care how stripping them of wealth affects the NPC's or their lives. Those NPC's arent real so they only think of the gold they've made to buy that adamantium armor and the xp they've made so they can become more powerful and more efficient. Heck the most optimal solution to lure the monster out of hiding is probably grabbing one of the NPC villager brats and use him as a bait.

And I would tell those players that the NPCs are exactly as real (or not real) as the gold, the armor, and their own PCs... and more real than the XP.

Those players are engaged in the RPG version of solipsism. If they don't want to treat the NPCs or the setting as "real", why should the GM treat their PCs as at all "real"?

Quertus
2016-11-18, 10:08 AM
We never know if we'll really act as we think we will until we're tested.

I've considered drinking/smoking/etc. so repugnant that I never had an interest in it for so long that I expect I wouldn't find any girl so attractive that she could get me to smoke. In fact, smoking is a big turn-off for me, anyway. But you never know.

There are a lot of things I don't think I'd do and would be uncomfortable even considering doing, but which I've stayed out of situations where it might even come up. So I've never been tested on them.

The me of my youth would be shocked and horrified at who I've become. I'd actually be willing to kill in self defense, or in defense of another. The horror.

But, for the most part, I've stayed true to my convictions, and, if anything, become more set in my ways.

But, you're right. I never could have guessed I'd become the type of person who would be willing to kill.


These differences are indeed there.
And also Player Buy-In.

Player buy-in is huge. And very relevant. However, show me someone who does not, in principle, consent to there being role-playing in a role-playing game, and I'll show you someone who fails my test of Personhood.

And there is a difference, but I'd liken the difference more to willingly engaging in PvP, vs being mind controlled into attacking your allies. Because Scion's virtues aren't about role-playing, they're about your character losing control to Fate.

Which gets to the OP's question: if you allow mind control in your games, does that automatically excuse all forms of PvP? Can it be legal to kill in self defense, yet murder somehow still be illegal?


I suppose my actual question is: Is there a way to change the gaming groups expectations of play, so that they will accept people playing a character first and a perfectly logical tactician second, without having to put in hard coded mechanics to dictate player behavior?

Is there a way to change corporate culture such that people care about the customer, not just making a buck? Can people be conditioned to accept abuse? Yes, but it's not easy.

Your best bet is to collude with a DM who cares about role-playing. There are many ways of encouraging role-playing; one of my favorites was the group that went totes meta, and would OOC ask "why?" whenever a character did something unexpected.

Like me, they would have loved your "viking morality" (whether or not it was historically accurate, so long as it was internally consistent). The exploration aesthetic, applied not IC to the world, but OOC to everyone else's character.

However, as I'm sure you know, there's more to character than holding the idiot ball. Not every role-playing choice has to be horribly suboptimal to be valid. Let's look at the way some of my characters approach combat.

Winx will bellow out a challenge, and charge straight into the thick of combat. Of course, he's a melee striker / tank, so this makes tactical sense. Or, if there's an obvious leader / biggest guy on the other side, he'll single them out, and challenge them to a duel, and not want help from his allies. Not optimal for a team tactical game, but not a horrible, game-destroying plan, either.

Raymond will dive for cover, and attempt to spot holes in the enemy's strategy / coordinate his allies. If things look bad enough, or if there is a sufficiently tasty opportunity, Raymond may mind control a key member of the opposition, or pull out some other trick. This makes some tactical sense, as Raymond is a (somewhat) physically weak character who generally uses very finite resources to accomplish tasks.

Armus will generally act as a skirmisher, and attempt not to draw too much attention to himself. This makes sense, as he is... not a particularly strong combatant. However, in his longest-running party, he often started combat my moving to protect someone who was more durable than himself. This was a bit of tactical brilliance that demonstrates how Armus was even better at tactics than I am.

Blade is likely to be very vindictive, and attack anyone who has hurt him. This actually makes some tactical sense, as he is a striker / tank. He will also vindictively target those who have hurt his allies, which, while less tacticaly perfect, still isn't a bad idea.

Quertus typically asks the rest of the party / the mundanes, "you got this? Good." while reading a book, or sketching an interesting spell / dwoemer / item / monster / glyph / whatever. This makes some sense, as Quertus is accustomed to having to choose when to utilize his finite resources, and has come to believe it is the job of the mundanes to handle things, and the responsibility of the wizard to deal with the things that the mundanes cannot. Quertus does, however, hold the idiot ball, but this is a good thing - how else can one run a tier 1 wizard in a party with a fighter and a monk without overshadowing them?

Woody's approach to combat is completely unpredictable. This can be good, as it keeps his foes guessing. In the boss fight of one campaign, his response was literally to pop popcorn, sit back, and watch. Of course, the actual combat was completely irrelevant, and Woody acted once the McGuffin of Fate appeared. But, unless you are literally overcoming your demons, Woody isn't much of a team player.

None of these characters always made optimal choices - and they certainly wouldn't make the same choices, even in combat - but they are able to have distinct personalities in ways that don't "completely ruin the game" for those who only care about the tactics minigame.

So I recommend, when you find a new group, that you work on building trust. Trust in you, that you aren't "that guy", here to "completely ruin" the combat minigame by holding the idiot ball. And trust in role-playing, that it doesn't have to be disruptive.

For example, one of my favorite characters to play in a new group was Amalak. I only ran him in groups where I knew that the DM would have people call out name & AC. This was because the most important reason for picking him was that his AC was worse than AC 10. Now, this may not seem important these days, but, back in my day, I never met a group that wouldn't swear that was impossible. They'd be sure I was a noob who hadn't read the rules, and try to explain how I was wrong, or help fix my character. Invariably, they would be shocked to discover that I was, in fact, correct: this one goes to 11. Often, they'd offer to give my character some armor, rings of protection, etc, and I'd explain how he was from a custom religion, a death cult where it was against their religion to avoid death through such means. They trained not to dodge blows until they had a Dex penalty to AC, were forbidden to wear armor, and had a special granted "power" that made them immune to any magical boost to AC. Unlike most death cults, Undead were anathema to them.

This established a number of things: I know the rules.
I am a rules lawyer.
I will use my powers against my character's best interests.
I care about role-playing.
And, as my next character (or previous characters I would talk about) would undoubtedly be very different, I have a wide range of interests.


(oh, btw, tactically, Amalak was a decent front-line combatant, and great heal-bot).

My recommendation is that you think about what message you want your characters to send about your playstyle... and build characters accordingly.



In my experience it is always a worst of both worlds situation; in a game with no mechanics for RP you have to ignore RP in favor of efficiency. In a game where there are mechanics for RP you either have to choose between being effective or being true to your character OR get forced into doing things your character would never do, typically because the system doesn't understand how reward structures work (Riddle of Steel) or has overly broad ideas of what constitutes a personality trait (most White Wolf games).

I'm sorry for your bad luck. By not having rules for role-playing, you can roleplay at whatever level you choose. There is no floor, and no ceiling.

Once you introduce rules, you introduce a floor and a ceiling, as well as a... style. While it can be interesting to learn from such systems, I believe a good group is much better served by developing that for themselves.


I don't know how to make it happen deliberately, but the group I gamed with for well over a decade always expected that characters would be characters, and did not supreme tactical robots of perfection.

The flipside expectation was that characters would be at least passably competent in ways that made them interesting to get into "adventures" and "conflicts" with, and have some element of their personality that would explain them getting involved in such. The one thing we wouldn't tolerate was the character defined by and stuck in their unwillingness to get involved in anything and/or their incompetence.

If someone wanted to start off with a fish-out-of-water or newb PC, we were completely OK with that, but the player had to be willing to have the character grow, both as a fiction-character and as a game-character. One player who didn't last said, paraphrasing, "but this character is trying to avoid conflict and doesn't have any combat skills or any reason for getting involved, that's the concept" when we asked him why he wasn't spending ANY experience on anything to contribute to the game/group.

In character-driven campaigns, the characters have to actually drive.

So, two things. The easiest - and this can probably be applied to almost everything in this thread, and half the things in other threads - is that this sounds very group dependent. My signature character only works because he holds the idiot ball in combat. If I brought the full power of a tier 1 wizard to bat in a party of mundanes, I doubt anyone in the playground would expect a fun game.

The second is, what, exactly, is wrong with the non-combatant character archetype? (other than that it's often not much fun to play)?


Not really. As long as the character's actions are solely determined by the player, the player deciding that he's going to screw over the party "because it's what my character would do" is going to bear the brunt of the party's displeasure. (Note that I include any act or inaction which causes the party to do poorly in "screw over the party," here. I just don't want to bother re-explaining what I mean each time.)

As long as there is room for disagreement over what a character "would" or "should" feel/do in any moment, the player being the sole arbiter of what he actually DOES feel/do means that anybody who disagrees with the player's decision will feel that the player has injected his desires into it. Remember, this is why we have resolution mechanics for whether your character DOES hit somebody in combat, or CAN climb that wall, or IS able to notice that other guy sneaking around over in the shadows. Because if we didn't have mechanics, all we'd have was the individual players' (or the GM's) decision as to whether it does or does not...this time.

Adding mechanics to emotional or social decision-making allows an impartial arbitration over those situations where dispute might arise. That's why it removes the "ugh, you're just being a bad player!" taste, because it becomes no more the player's choice than if the player tried to roll a grapple check to stop the thug from pasting the mage, but failed (and so the mage got pasted).

In fact, to illustrate the difference, imagine there are no grapple rules, but you decide, "Okay, my character will try to grapple the thug, but I don't think he'll succeed, so he doesn't." "But, that means my mage gets pasted! Why would you do that?" "I'm just playing my character!"

Contrasted with the existence of grapple rules: "Okay, my character grapples...crud, he fails." "Oh no, my mage is going to be pasted!" "Sorry, man; dice just weren't on our side."

This assumes a group that assumes the worst, and doesn't talk about character motivations.

Which is an unfortunately fair assumption.

I think that this is what the OP needs to change in their group(s), and something I, personally, would love to see changed in gamer culture. Put more generally, the ability to sit down to a role-playing game, and by default have people as engaged in the role-playing aspects as the tactical aspects as the story aspects as the "talky bits" as the...

To have people care about the other people at the table. Just because it isn't your personal a aesthetic, just because it isn't your turn, just because whatever, doesn't mean you should disengage.


It's not impossible.

The first part is to stop looking at this as a binary choice between a move that is pure to the truth of roleplaying and IC but but tactically "stupid"... or a move that is tactically sound but utterly "cynical" and OOC.

Agreed. Hopefully I covered this above. Perhaps a first baby step could be to give an OOC "why" when selecting your target: I shoot this orc because it's closest; I shoot this goblin because it damaged grog; I shoot this cultist because their fashion sense offends me, etc.


There are exceptions to every rule, but it's all based on player buy-in. If the players don't all agree to that kind of game, then don't try to have it. If they do, then feel free. The longer a group has been around, the more likely they are to be fine with in-party pvp because a lot of trust already exists.

But I don't think Jay R's assessment of Talakeal's group is incorrect. And it may be the case that the proper approach to sticking with a group long-term is to understand what kind of characters a given system encourages, and play one of those. D&D encourages cooperation. Character concepts that limit cooperation run counter to what the game wants, and what players of said game are, by default, buying into. Until the group has built up a good amount of trust, then they won't be sure if you're legitimately RPing or just being a butt when your character refuses to help. Hence the complaints of being a Powergamer and being bad at RP.
They have no reason to assume your character is being RPd well until they've seen you roleplay cooperative characters well. And I'm not sure how being a powergamer figures in, but if nobody else at the table is optimizing at all, or isn't talkimg about optimizing, don't say that you are and act surprised when your character does something cool that he/she is optimized for.

Another option would be to play as a Mute. Yes. A Mute. A relatively obedient, unspeaking sort of person who just helps the party out and doesn't interfere with their goals at all. Just as an experiment to see how they react. Be sure to roleplay it out, obviously. The character should point, gesture, and express emotion like a normal person. They just don't speak aloud. See if that changes the reactions any.

Hmmm... I guess I half agree with you. I think the group matters; I don't think that the "age" of the group is the only - or even the most important - factor. The culture of the group is probably my biggie.

I agree the OP should craft his characters deliberately. But I believe playing someone who is tactically a support character, while not strictly necessary, is better than playing a member of the supporting cast.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 10:32 AM
So, two things. The easiest - and this can probably be applied to almost everything in this thread, and half the things in other threads - is that this sounds very group dependent. My signature character only works because he holds the idiot ball in combat. If I brought the full power of a tier 1 wizard to bat in a party of mundanes, I doubt anyone in the playground would expect a fun game.

The second is, what, exactly, is wrong with the non-combatant character archetype? (other than that it's often not much fun to play)?



First, I don't care much for characters who are defined by an archetype. It's paint-by-numbers storycraft. Each character should be that specific character, not "a human fighter" or "the smart one" or "the magical girl" with some details tacked on.

Second, there's nothing wrong with a character who starts out unsuitable for "adventuring" or "mystery solving" or "crime fighting"... or naive... or scared... or whatever -- the problem is when the player defines the character by those things so that's always what the character will be and they'll never pick up any combat or investigation or research skills of any usefulness.

Player -- "My character is the scrappy noob!"
GM -- "You've been reading too much TV Tropes, stop picking archetypes and make an actual character."

Floret
2016-11-18, 10:46 AM
Player buy-in is huge. And very relevant. However, show me someone who does not, in principle, consent to there being role-playing in a role-playing game, and I'll show you someone who fails my test of Personhood.

And there is a difference, but I'd liken the difference more to willingly engaging in PvP, vs being mind controlled into attacking your allies. Because Scion's virtues aren't about role-playing, they're about your character losing control to Fate.

Well, the problem is, when different people say "role-playing" they mean very different things. So if I say I am consenting to a "role-playing game" meaning Type A, but then get a "role-playing game" Type B, I would imho be very justified in saying "ya know what, this isn't for me" and walk out on the group. Or discuss with the group how to make the game more to my liking, but if the rest is fine with Type B, why spoil their fun?
So, depending on the different perceptions of the term, some people might very well not like there being "role-playing (Type A)" in a "Role-playing game (Type B)" :smallwink:
And be perfectly justified in that dislike.
(To maybe fill the example with more meaning, if someone defines role-playing as "having a character to play that can do cool stuff I can't", putting them into a game of "role playing is basically improv acting" people might be a very bad idea, and the first player being against there being "role-playing" in his "Role playing game" perfectly justified, since this is not the kind of Role-playing he likes. To paraphrase a very apt statement someone else said about LARPs some years back: RPGs aren't really ONE Hobby. They are more like 20, and I play about 7.)



I'm sorry for your bad luck. By not having rules for role-playing, you can roleplay at whatever level you choose. There is no floor, and no ceiling.

Once you introduce rules, you introduce a floor and a ceiling, as well as a... style. While it can be interesting to learn from such systems, I believe a good group is much better served by developing that for themselves.

I don't think that's necessarily true, though. Yeah, introducing a floor is probably inevitable, but I don't quite follow how you unavoidably introduce a ceiling. I mean, as long as I fullfill the requirements the system gives me (the floor), how am I limited in going into more detail and beyond that in any way? I give you that there are probably systems that DO introduce a ceiling, but the necessity of that happening... I'd have to be convinced, and as of now am not. (To be fair, you did not bring any arguments yet, you just postulated it. So hearing your reasoning for that might very well proof enlightening^^)
(Also, the qualifier of a "good" group is somewhat nebulous. How do you even define that, and how do you know you are in one? Or, in other words: How can I determine if I am better off with taking a system as a base, or by letting everything run free?)

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 11:24 AM
First, I don't care much for characters who are defined by an archetype. It's paint-by-numbers storycraft. Each character should be that specific character, not "a human fighter" or "the smart one" or "the magical girl" with some details tacked on.

Second, there's nothing wrong with a character who starts out unsuitable for "adventuring" or "mystery solving" or "crime fighting"... or naive... or scared... or whatever -- the problem is when the player defines the character by those things so that's always what the character will be and they'll never pick up any combat or investigation or research skills of any usefulness.

Player -- "My character is the scrappy noob!"
GM -- "You've been reading too much TV Tropes, stop picking archetypes and make an actual character."

So.... it sounds like, since I doubt you want everyone to manage the impossible feat of creating a wholly original creation entirely unlike any character seen before, that you don't like characters being described in terms of archetype, regardless of if they fit an archetype. (Literally every character fits an archetype, because there are so many at this point.)

Because otherwise this is an impossible standard.

GrayDeath
2016-11-18, 12:51 PM
Could you please do an in depth response to the post above yours? Berenger seems to be saying exactly what I am; that the rules for virtues try and do too much in too little space, and an overly literal or by the book reading of them will result in ridiculous situations.

This isn't an issue unique to Scion though, paladins in D&D suffer from a similar problem. I don't play a paladin as a result, but I don't think I am alone in this, a quick search of this (or any other D&D forum) will find a mountain of threads arguing about whether or not a paladin should fall, so clearly this problem exists beyond "bizarro land".



Edit: Also, it isn't really "multiple people telling me I am wrong," it is you telling me I am wrong over and over and over and over again without actually showing me how I am wrong. This is despite my constant protests that I don't actually care about Scion or have any interest in debating the merits of the game, I was merely using it as an example because it was the game I happened to be discussing when the topic came up.

I do not intend to defend Scions Rule System (it has flaws, some gaping holes even, but the Virtue System is none of them ...unless taken without any inflection, at face value, word for word, where it delivers Examples, FLair, Myth and Meme....). I merely tried to explain to you where you were wrong witrh your assumptions, and tried to help you see it as it was meant to work..
Honestly, I think I will not bother any longer.

Obviously you really cannot say anything in a nonbinary way, as you found out above. (and seemed shocked about it).

To you either a rule is absolutely perfect at face value, and clear to understand for EVERYBODY (stated in your obvious disfavour of "gasp" DM and palyers actually having to come to an agreement!), or it is rubbish.
Doesn`t that strike you as ... odd?


And unless something has been said to you in the EXACT words (instead of the meaning, I for one tried explaining the troubling point in a multitude of different ways, unlike your post implies WITH examples) you cannot seem to remember it.

So I will stop replying. After this last few lines, with the intend for you to actually [B]ponder [B]


Scion is based on the aptly named Storyteller System.
Its Rules are much much more vague than D&D (if you exclude the way things are rolled, which is always the same, unlike D&D). It does not have D&D`s Combat Focus for one, neither does it have its (badly executed, seeing wizards and Fighters are considered balanced but still) Balance thought.
More Guidelines, less strictly worded (and even D&D has lots of trouble with lots of shoddy wording mind!).
This is intentional.

Quertus
2016-11-18, 01:07 PM
First, I don't care much for characters who are defined by an archetype. It's paint-by-numbers storycraft. Each character should be that specific character, not "a human fighter" or "the smart one" or "the magical girl" with some details tacked on.

Second, there's nothing wrong with a character who starts out unsuitable for "adventuring" or "mystery solving" or "crime fighting"... or naive... or scared... or whatever -- the problem is when the player defines the character by those things so that's always what the character will be and they'll never pick up any combat or investigation or research skills of any usefulness.

Player -- "My character is the scrappy noob!"
GM -- "You've been reading too much TV Tropes, stop picking archetypes and make an actual character."

I think I understand, but just to be sure...

You would have no problem with my player describing me as a pacifist, especially since that has changed over my lifetime. But you would take issue if my player defined me... as/by a single archetype, like "gamer #42"?

This makes communicating about characters a bit difficult though, doesn't it? If I say I'm a gamer with an interest in computers... well, how far do I have to go before I sound less like a stereotype and more like a real boy to you?


Well, the problem is, when different people say "role-playing" they mean very different things. So if I say I am consenting to a "role-playing game" meaning Type A, but then get a "role-playing game" Type B, I would imho be very justified in saying "ya know what, this isn't for me" and walk out on the group. Or discuss with the group how to make the game more to my liking, but if the rest is fine with Type B, why spoil their fun?
So, depending on the different perceptions of the term, some people might very well not like there being "role-playing (Type A)" in a "Role-playing game (Type B)" :smallwink:
And be perfectly justified in that dislike.
(To maybe fill the example with more meaning, if someone defines role-playing as "having a character to play that can do cool stuff I can't", putting them into a game of "role playing is basically improv acting" people might be a very bad idea, and the first player being against there being "role-playing" in his "Role playing game" perfectly justified, since this is not the kind of Role-playing he likes. To paraphrase a very apt statement someone else said about LARPs some years back: RPGs aren't really ONE Hobby. They are more like 20, and I play about 7.)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means :smalltongue:


I don't think that's necessarily true, though. Yeah, introducing a floor is probably inevitable, but I don't quite follow how you unavoidably introduce a ceiling. I mean, as long as I fullfill the requirements the system gives me (the floor), how am I limited in going into more detail and beyond that in any way? I give you that there are probably systems that DO introduce a ceiling, but the necessity of that happening... I'd have to be convinced, and as of now am not. (To be fair, you did not bring any arguments yet, you just postulated it. So hearing your reasoning for that might very well proof enlightening^^)

The human mind is far more complex than any system people will actually play. Any system that rewards you for following this oversimplification of personality is providing Pavlovian reinforcement of a ceiling.


(Also, the qualifier of a "good" group is somewhat nebulous. How do you even define that, and how do you know you are in one? Or, in other words: How can I determine if I am better off with taking a system as a base, or by letting everything run free?)

Hmmm... What's the opposite of "dysfunctional"? A group where you could actually sit down and have a conversation about play style, and everyone walks away feeling it was productive, with no hurt feelings. You know, kinda the opposite of Bizarro World.

Floret
2016-11-18, 01:32 PM
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means :smalltongue:


Right back atcha, to be honest. :smallwink:
I am aware we are operating under different definitions of Role-playing, with me having a much broader definition. (For better or worse) If I had to define mine I would probably come out at something along the lines of "Role playing is playing a Role/Character in a (Role Playing) Game" which is a bit tautological, I admit, but with my goal to not divide into "Real" and "Fake" Role playing, that's what you get.
But, I have not yet actually managed to understand what exactly you mean by role-playing. Is it in any way close to being the "Role-playing is actually improv acting" example? Because I find that to be a weirdly and unhelpfully limited definition, given that a vast part of what people call Roleplaying is excluded by it.
(And, as we all hopefully have learned from the desaster in the Player/GM-led thread, using definitions different from what other people use can cause heavy issues with communicating)



The human mind is far more complex than any system people will actually play. Any system that rewards you for following this oversimplification of personality is providing Pavlovian reinforcement of a ceiling.

I mean, sure, it si. But... how is it doing that? It rewards me for hitting the beats, but as long as it doesn't punish me for improv-ing between the required ones, how is this actually limiting me? I mean, sure, following the beats and only the beats does provide a ceiling (One being identical with the floor), but that is not given by the system, but instead by the player playing the system.



Hmmm... What's the opposite of "dysfunctional"? A group where you could actually sit down and have a conversation about play style, and everyone walks away feeling it was productive, with no hurt feelings. You know, kinda the opposite of Bizarro World.

The opposite of "dysfunctional" would be "functional", I believe :smallwink:
And alright. But... to be completely honest, that definition does not strike me as particularly related to whether or not the group could profit from a guideline-system for roleplaying.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 02:03 PM
I think I understand, but just to be sure...

You would have no problem with my player describing me as a pacifist, especially since that has changed over my lifetime. But you would take issue if my player defined me... as/by a single archetype, like "gamer #42"?

This makes communicating about characters a bit difficult though, doesn't it? If I say I'm a gamer with an interest in computers... well, how far do I have to go before I sound less like a stereotype and more like a real boy to you?


Yes, that's close to one part of the problem. If "your player" came to me and said "I'm playing a pacifist", I'd say "that's it?", in the same way I'd respond to someone who said "I'm playing a wizard".

The second part is when the player has a concept for the character that drastically limits their participation or contribution to what the other player characters are doing inside the game, and clings to that concept as THE defining aspect of the character.


Now, as for "gamer with an interest in computers", that's very generic. If introducing yourself to someone, do you say "Hi, I'm (your name) ", or do you say "Hi, I'm one of millions of (insert generic "archetype" here) " ?




The human mind is far more complex than any system people will actually play. Any system that rewards you for following this oversimplification of personality is providing Pavlovian reinforcement of a ceiling.


Too true. Rules that try to define personality are almost inevitably going to come up short.

Segev
2016-11-18, 02:07 PM
So are rules that try to define combat. Unless you're making a simulation that models the precise motions and interactions of all the muscles in the body with the physics of the objects and forces being employed in the battle, down to expressly describing the exact kind of damage and the force-equations on the now-wounded parts of the body to evaluate impedence of function and rate of blood loss and loss of blood's impact on other internal organs' performance.... you'll be applying a ceiling to how well you can RP combat.

You know, unless you decide that the model gives you the gross, in-game effects and that you can fluff WHY those effects are manifesting however you like.

At which point you can do the same for social mechanics working on a model of a character's psyche.

Lord Torath
2016-11-18, 02:32 PM
Yes, that's close to one part of the problem. If "your player" came to me and said "I'm playing a pacifist", I'd say "that's it?", in the same way I'd respond to someone who said "I'm playing a wizard".

The second part is when the player has a concept for the character that drastically limits their participation or contribution to what the other player characters are doing inside the game, and clings to that concept as THE defining aspect of the character.


Now, as for "gamer with an interest in computers", that's very generic. If introducing yourself to someone, do you say "Hi, I'm (your name) ", or do you say "Hi, I'm one of millions of (insert generic "archetype" here) " ?It's the difference between saying "My character is a Rigger, who likes shooting stuff with drones" and "My character is a Rigger. She likes cats, hates cars (prefers bikes or her feet), generally prefers to use non-lethal force (except for Toxic Shamans, who killed her aunt, uncle, and cousins, Die! Die! Die!), and thinks anything made by Renraku is worse than useless. An Archetype is a starting point, and shouldn't wholly define your character.

The Glyphstone
2016-11-18, 02:39 PM
So are rules that try to define combat. Unless you're making a simulation that models the precise motions and interactions of all the muscles in the body with the physics of the objects and forces being employed in the battle, down to expressly describing the exact kind of damage and the force-equations on the now-wounded parts of the body to evaluate impedence of function and rate of blood loss and loss of blood's impact on other internal organs' performance.... you'll be applying a ceiling to how well you can RP combat.

You know, unless you decide that the model gives you the gross, in-game effects and that you can fluff WHY those effects are manifesting however you like.

At which point you can do the same for social mechanics working on a model of a character's psyche.

Sounds like the combat mechanics for FATAL.

Segev
2016-11-18, 02:41 PM
Sounds like the combat mechanics for FATAL.

Oh, please, FATAL was not written by somebody with enough understanding of how limbs are linked together to write rules that would work in that level of detail. :smalltongue:

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 02:51 PM
So are rules that try to define combat. Unless you're making a simulation that models the precise motions and interactions of all the muscles in the body with the physics of the objects and forces being employed in the battle, down to expressly describing the exact kind of damage and the force-equations on the now-wounded parts of the body to evaluate impedence of function and rate of blood loss and loss of blood's impact on other internal organs' performance.... you'll be applying a ceiling to how well you can RP combat.

You know, unless you decide that the model gives you the gross, in-game effects and that you can fluff WHY those effects are manifesting however you like.

At which point you can do the same for social mechanics working on a model of a character's psyche.

They are also essentially stating that of the various Stances one can RP from, Actor Stance is the One True Right Way, when it is not.

To define what I mean by the Stances, Stances are another creation of the Forge, used to attempt to describe one of the many complexities of the RPG experience.

Now, notes about Stances before I continue:
Nobody uses just one. Everyone switches around, but many have a favorite.
This is not prescriptive, nor is it designed to account for any of a million individual scenarios in which you devise a thing that might be between stances. It doesn't matter if it's between. There's nothing wrong with straddling a line, here.
This is for Players, not GMs.

Actor Stance:
This is where you try to live in your character's head and do things because they would do so. Narrative reasoning comes before action.

Pawn Stance:
This is where you really don't care what the character thinks. The character is a game piece. You take actions for mechanical reasons, no narrative reasoning required.

Author Stance:
Similar to Actor Stance, but the reasoning is inverted. You make a decision for mechanical/tactical reasons, and apply a narrative reason why afterwards. (For instance if you build a really well optimized undead-killer cleric and decide that they are so good at killing the undead because undead killed their family and they devoted their life to the slaughter of the undeceased.)

Director Stance:
Basically mini-gm stance. You establish scenes, perhaps even describe some NPC actions, basically do some of the GMs job for them.

Those are the 4 stances as I know them. Now to dive in for realsies:

Metagaming/Immersion are a false dichotomy. Theres a lot of nuance in there, and saying that having a metagaming reward for RP "kills immersion" might very well only be true for you.
(Now, I'm biased here, in that I think the whole concept of Immersion is a huge load of bunk, because barring mental health issues an in inability to separate fantasy from reality, you will never stop being aware that you are playing a game. You will not feel the sword in your hands and smell the sweat of the thief's neck as you strangle them to death. You will not feel the blows against your character as if made to your own person. You are separate from your character, and any attempts to get into their head will be limited by the sheer fact that they are not real, they do not exist, only you exist, and it is YOU who makes decisions. Not them. So when a GM wants to tempt the character, they CAN'T. Because the character isn't real. But you, friend, you ARE real. And so they can tempt YOU.

That is why the mechanics exist. When you engage in those mechanics, switch to author stance. Make a good reason why their opinion was swayed, at least temporarily. Stretch those creative muscles. The character isn't real. Anything you SAY is their reaction, IS their reaction. The character has no autonomy at all. Only you. So when we need to appeal to someone, again, we cannot appeal to the character. Because they are not real. We can only appeal to YOU. Because you're the real one.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 02:57 PM
So are rules that try to define combat. Unless you're making a simulation that models the precise motions and interactions of all the muscles in the body with the physics of the objects and forces being employed in the battle, down to expressly describing the exact kind of damage and the force-equations on the now-wounded parts of the body to evaluate impedence of function and rate of blood loss and loss of blood's impact on other internal organs' performance.... you'll be applying a ceiling to how well you can RP combat.

You know, unless you decide that the model gives you the gross, in-game effects and that you can fluff WHY those effects are manifesting however you like.

At which point you can do the same for social mechanics working on a model of a character's psyche.


I just don't see them as the same:

1) Things like motivation and personality and mental processes and "psyche" / "soul" are internal to the character, whereas combat and even social interaction are external to the character.

2) Most of us can't safely engage in actual lethal combat or even a close approximation thereof, as even most gamers lack the skill and training to even remotely work out combat on an actual physical level... most gamers frankly lack the knowledge to work out combat on the imaginary level, especially with the way fiction typically misrepresents combat.

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 03:26 PM
They are also essentially stating that of the various Stances one can RP from, Actor Stance is the One True Right Way, when it is not.

To define what I mean by the Stances, Stances are another creation of the Forge, used to attempt to describe one of the many complexities of the RPG experience.

Now, notes about Stances before I continue:
Nobody uses just one. Everyone switches around, but many have a favorite.
This is not prescriptive, nor is it designed to account for any of a million individual scenarios in which you devise a thing that might be between stances. It doesn't matter if it's between. There's nothing wrong with straddling a line, here.
This is for Players, not GMs.

Actor Stance:
This is where you try to live in your character's head and do things because they would do so. Narrative reasoning comes before action.

Pawn Stance:
This is where you really don't care what the character thinks. The character is a game piece. You take actions for mechanical reasons, no narrative reasoning required.

Author Stance:
Similar to Actor Stance, but the reasoning is inverted. You make a decision for mechanical/tactical reasons, and apply a narrative reason why afterwards. (For instance if you build a really well optimized undead-killer cleric and decide that they are so good at killing the undead because undead killed their family and they devoted their life to the slaughter of the undeceased.)

Director Stance:
Basically mini-gm stance. You establish scenes, perhaps even describe some NPC actions, basically do some of the GMs job for them.

Those are the 4 stances as I know them. Now to dive in for realsies:

Metagaming/Immersion are a false dichotomy. Theres a lot of nuance in there, and saying that having a metagaming reward for RP "kills immersion" might very well only be true for you.
(Now, I'm biased here, in that I think the whole concept of Immersion is a huge load of bunk, because barring mental health issues an in inability to separate fantasy from reality, you will never stop being aware that you are playing a game. You will not feel the sword in your hands and smell the sweat of the thief's neck as you strangle them to death. You will not feel the blows against your character as if made to your own person. You are separate from your character, and any attempts to get into their head will be limited by the sheer fact that they are not real, they do not exist, only you exist, and it is YOU who makes decisions. Not them. So when a GM wants to tempt the character, they CAN'T. Because the character isn't real. But you, friend, you ARE real. And so they can tempt YOU.

That is why the mechanics exist. When you engage in those mechanics, switch to author stance. Make a good reason why their opinion was swayed, at least temporarily. Stretch those creative muscles. The character isn't real. Anything you SAY is their reaction, IS their reaction. The character has no autonomy at all. Only you. So when we need to appeal to someone, again, we cannot appeal to the character. Because they are not real. We can only appeal to YOU. Because you're the real one.

Damn ignore system doesn't fully function, so might as well respond to this, since I didn't realize I was reading your post until halfway through.

First of all, when you say "immersion is bunk", the thing you go on to describe is a silly caricature of immersion (the scent of straw is strong, in fact). Actual "immersion" does not require the player to forget that they're playing a game, or to have mental health issues, or to be unable to separate fantasy from reality. People reading books or watching a movie don't forget what they're doing or lose their sense of reality, and yet immersion in the story happens even there.

Second, I'm tired of the term "narrative" being applied to both character-driven decisions and storytelling-driven decisions. You describe "actor stance" as driven by in-character decisions, and then describe this as "narrative reasoning". One group tells me that "narrative focus" means that the game is character-driven, and then another group goes on and on about "narrative focus" being "story now" and "exploring premise and theme" and a bunch of other NON-character-driven stuff that almost always ends up treating characters and setting as contrivances, and continuity and coherence and consistency as impediments to "great story!" Character-driven and storytelling-driven focuses need to have different names, because they're DIFFERENT THINGS.

( This is also part of why I've gotten sick of the "big model" and "GNS" and related attempts to slice up gaming -- they make far too many conflations between things that are actually at odds, and between focus and mechanics... and generally reflect unspoken agendas and biases. )

Third, this whole thing with stances... not sure why you'd call "mechanical decisions first" "Author Stance", it just sounds like "pawn stance" with wallpaper. As for "pawn stance", at that point you might as well just go play a board game.


Really, I wouldn't want to be involved in a gaming group that took this "stances" stuff seriously, or who hammered and hammered and hammered on this "your character isn't real your character isn't real your character isn't real" garbage.

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 03:28 PM
I just don't see them as the same:

1) Things like motivation and personality and mental processes and "psyche" / "soul" are internal to the character, whereas combat and even social interaction are external to the character.

2) Most of us can't safely engage in actual lethal combat or even a close approximation thereof, as even most gamers lack the skill and training to even remotely work out combat on an actual physical level... most gamers frankly lack the knowledge to work out combat on the imaginary level, especially with the way fiction typically misrepresents combat.

Most players lack the ability to accurately simulate an entire other person and their entire lifetime of memories, motivations, emotions, and temptations, too.

Even individuals with Disassociative Identity Disorder (aka "multiple personalities") don't actually have multiple personalities. Assuming an additional identity is a way to "disassociate" from a circumstance or emotion. So yeah, this argument doesn't hold up well. >.>

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 03:38 PM
Most players lack the ability to accurately simulate an entire other person and their entire lifetime of memories, motivations, emotions, and temptations, too.

Even individuals with Disassociative Identity Disorder (aka "multiple personalities") don't actually have multiple personalities. Assuming an additional identity is a way to "disassociate" from a circumstance or emotion. So yeah, this argument doesn't hold up well. >.>


So you're saying that only someone with a mental disorder can even come close to roleplaying a character?


Would you like to trade in your shovel for a backhoe at this point?


Seriously, you accuse other people of "one true wayism", and then turn around and make this sort of crass and belittling and haughty statement against people who view the hobby differently than you do, or have different RPing techniques than your over-analytical (and frankly cold, stiff, and dreary, and IDK, maybe even post-modernist) "stances" and "your character isn't real" ?

Really? "Your character isn't real, you are"? Who exactly do you think doesn't know this, that you have to offer it up as some sort of grand revelation?

There's a vast difference between the delusion that a character is literally real, and the kind of emotional investment and depth that treats a character as "real", in the sense of verisimilitude. Your attempts to conflate the two and preach about it are just plain insulting and arrogant.

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 03:54 PM
Damn ignore system doesn't fully function, so might as well respond to this, since I didn't realize I was reading your post until halfway through.

First of all, when you say "immersion is bunk", the thing you go on to describe is a silly caricature of immersion (the scent of straw is strong, in fact). Actual "immersion" does not require the player to forget that they're playing a game, or to have mental health issues, or to be unable to separate fantasy from reality. People reading books or watching a movie don't forget what they're doing or lose their sense of reality, and yet immersion in the story happens even there.


I used exaggeration, but I personally don't believe immersion is the be-all, end-all of RP. And I reject the idea that not being sufficiently immersed means you aren't really RPing.



Second, I'm tired of the term "narrative" being applied to both character-driven decisions and storytelling-driven decisions. You describe "actor stance" as driven by in-character decisions, and then describe this as "narrative reasoning". One group tells me that "narrative focus" means that the game is character-driven, and then another group goes on and on about "narrative focus" being "story now" and "exploring premise and theme" and a bunch of other NON-character-driven stuff that almost always ends up treating characters and setting as contrivances, and continuity and coherence and consistency as impediments to "great story!" Character-driven and storytelling-driven focuses need to have different names, because they're DIFFERENT THINGS.

I suppose I would have been better suited saying "fiction-based reasoning" since rhe reasoning comes from the Fiction layer of the game rather than the Mechanical layer.

Sorry to trigger... whatever that was by using Narrative instead of Fiction.



( This is also part of why I've gotten sick of the "big model" and "GNS" and related attempts to slice up gaming -- they make far too many conflations between things that are actually at odds, and between focus and mechanics... and generally reflect unspoken agendas and biases. )

I apologize for being one of many trying to understand the infinite intricacies and interactions inherent to RPGs.



Third, this whole thing with stances... not sure why you'd call "mechanical decisions first" "Author Stance", it just sounds like "pawn stance" with wallpaper. As for "pawn stance", at that point you might as well just go play a board game.

Do you not consider that perhaps there are other reasons they might be attracted to the unique gaming opportunities afforded by tabletop games that are not available in other board games?
And it should be noted, (and in fact I did note), that people are rarely just of one stance always. And that the same person can assume all four stances over the course of a single session. Switching stances moment-to-moment is really, really common.



Really, I wouldn't want to be involved in a gaming group that took this "stances" stuff seriously, or who hammered and hammered and hammered on this "your character isn't real your character isn't real your character isn't real" garbage.
The character is a piece of paper and some ideas in your head.
In the same way Harry Potter isn't real, the characters in an RPG are not real.

The idea that the characters in an RPG aren't real should be the LEAST controversial thing I said. >.>

Enixon
2016-11-18, 03:58 PM
So you're saying that only someone with a mental disorder can even come close to roleplaying a character?


Would you like to trade in your shovel for a backhoe at this point?

Seem more like he's saying that most players lack the ability to accurately simulate an entire other person and their entire lifetime of memories, motivations, emotions, and temptations, then elaborating on it by commenting on the fact that even people that have mental disorders that make then literally think and believe that they are actually another person, rather than just pretending to be one at the game table, still tend to have bleed through from their original self.

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 04:02 PM
So you're saying that only someone with a mental disorder can even come close to roleplaying a character?

Nope!

I'm saying there is a similar amount of inability to simulate accurate combat without rules as to simulate an entire fictional person's psyche. Everything else you said is not things I was talking about in that post. :D



Seriously, you accuse other people of "one true wayism", and then turn around and make this sort of crass and belittling and haughty statement against people who view the hobby differently than you do, or have different RPing techniques than your over-analytical (and frankly cold, stiff, and dreary, and IDK, maybe even post-modernist) "stances" and "your character isn't real" ?
You're making qualitative arguments about what I'm saying without subtantiating where I've said that any given technique is the one true right way. Though I did offer reasoning for why having mechanical incentives for the RP side is not a bad thing, either. There is a perfectly valid motivation for doing so.



Really? "Your character isn't real, you are"? Who exactly do you think doesn't know this, that you have to offer it up as some sort of grand revelation?

That wasn't my argument. My argument was that we can't appeal to a person who isn't real. But we CAN appeal to someone who IS real.

Stick to points I'm making, pls.



There's a vast difference between the delusion that a character is literally real, and the kind of emotional investment and depth that treats a character as "real", in the sense of verisimilitude. Your attempts to conflate the two and preach about it are just plain insulting and arrogant.
When, exactly, did I conflate the two? I simply said that humans are imperfect simulators of other humans, and so RP mechanics have valid reasons for being a thing.

If you want me to not put words in your mouth, you can't expect me to let you put them in mine. :P

Dr_Dinosaur
2016-11-18, 04:03 PM
It's simple rules worship. If it is in the rules, it's fine. But if it is just a person ''acting out'', it's bad.

So the way you run games, except using rules everyone, not just the DM, can actually read and understand?

Max_Killjoy
2016-11-18, 04:59 PM
Nope!
I'm saying there is a similar amount of inability to simulate accurate combat without rules as to simulate an entire fictional person's psyche.


Everything I've seen in gaming tells me otherwise. The scale and distribution of the ability shown to "get into the head of the character" is entirely different from the scale and distribution of the ability to "get up and act out a fight scene involving dangerous weapons / techniques". Or maybe I've just been very lucky in terms of the people I've gamed with overall.

(And never mind the difference in risk between "hitting each other with swords" and "try to get into a character's head".)

In fact, there's an entire field of research into intelligence that looks at the ability of one thinking entity to understand that another person -- even a fictional / hypothetical person -- has a different point of view and different knowledge from that entity. Other species display it to varying degrees (dogs are better at it than many primates, in fact), but it peaks sharply in human beings. That ability to "model" another person in one's own head appears to be a key aspect of human intelligence.




Everything else you said is not things I was talking about in that post. :D


Oh, no, it's right there in your posts, all right.




You're making qualitative arguments about what I'm saying without subtantiating where I've said that any given technique is the one true right way. Though I did offer reasoning for why having mechanical incentives for the RP side is not a bad thing, either. There is a perfectly valid motivation for doing so.


Gee, sorry if I mistook the utter disdain you displayed for concepts of RPing that you don't see as valid, for you contributing inflated importance to your own way of doing things.




That wasn't my argument. My argument was that we can't appeal to a person who isn't real. But we CAN appeal to someone who IS real.

Stick to points I'm making, pls.


So you repeatedly hammer on "your character isn't real", as if it's a revelation, but that's not your point?

OK...


As for appealing to the character, maybe it just doesn't work for you, but for other players, it is possible to appeal to something that they understand that their character would be appealed to by, and to then have their character appealed to by that thing.

The "problem" comes when the player says "my character isn't appealed to by that thing", and the GM believes that what the GM wants the player character to be appealed to by, is more important than what the player has decided. In my experience, this often originates from the GM having something in mind that "makes a better story" or "makes for an interesting challenge" or whatever, and considering that more important than consistent characterization (and this is where we get into RPGs delving into the sins of bad writing that plague so much of our fiction).

At that point, instead of pressing the issue, maybe the GM should say "either this player really means it and really believes this about their character, or this player is not interested in his character experiencing this sort of plot element, and either way I should move on and not drag the game down with a dispute". And no, this is not in any way the same as the player refusing to allow their character to be hit with a weapon or whatever -- one is internal to the character dealing with their inner working and desires and makeup... while the other is external and relates to their physical interaction with the setting/world and other characters.

Of course, if these "nature of the character" mechanics you're in favor of were set up to accurately model the actual nature of the character's internal workings, that would be one thing... but they rarely are. Instead, they're usually set up to make the character vulnerable in additional and "interesting" ways, to make for "better stories".




When, exactly, did I conflate the two? I simply said that humans are imperfect simulators of other humans, and so RP mechanics have valid reasons for being a thing.


Where did you conflate the two?

Really? How about I quote the comment again:



(Now, I'm biased here, in that I think the whole concept of Immersion is a huge load of bunk, because barring mental health issues an in inability to separate fantasy from reality, you will never stop being aware that you are playing a game. You will not feel the sword in your hands and smell the sweat of the thief's neck as you strangle them to death. You will not feel the blows against your character as if made to your own person. You are separate from your character, and any attempts to get into their head will be limited by the sheer fact that they are not real, they do not exist, only you exist, and it is YOU who makes decisions. Not them. So when a GM wants to tempt the character, they CAN'T. Because the character isn't real. But you, friend, you ARE real. And so they can tempt YOU.

Right there.




If you want me to not put words in your mouth, you can't expect me to let you put them in mine. :P


Hard to stop doing something I've never actually started doing.

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 06:12 PM
Everything I've seen in gaming tells me otherwise. The scale and distribution of the ability shown to "get into the head of the character" is entirely different from the scale and distribution of the ability to "get up and act out a fight scene involving dangerous weapons / techniques". Or maybe I've just been very lucky in terms of the people I've gamed with overall.

(And never mind the difference in risk between "hitting each other with swords" and "try to get into a character's head".)

In fact, there's an entire field of research into intelligence that looks at the ability of one thinking entity to understand that another person -- even a fictional / hypothetical person -- has a different point of view and different knowledge from that entity. Other species display it to varying degrees (dogs are better at it than many primates, in fact), but it peaks sharply in human beings. That ability to "model" another person in one's own head appears to be a key aspect of human intelligence.

You're talking about Theory of Mind.
(Ironic since you accused my of psychobabble previously and here we are quoting neurology and psychology.)

And that's all well and good. But it's entirely different from internally simulating another person's entire personality, history, emotions, and experiences.




Oh, no, it's right there in your posts, all right.


Appeal to the Stone.



Gee, sorry if I mistook the utter disdain you displayed for concepts of RPing that you don't see as valid, for you contributing inflated importance to your own way of doing things.


Ref?

http://i.imgur.com/rVQQyUVl.jpg

Thanks, ref.



So you repeatedly hammer on "your character isn't real", as if it's a revelation, but that's not your point?

OK...

I repeated the assertion twice. >.>
Yes, i used all-caps but I'm also lazy and do that instead of italics or bold. (Also because I post from my phone and it's a pain to do lots of formatting, and I still tend to mess up.)



As for appealing to the character, maybe it just doesn't work for you, but for other players, it is possible to appeal to something that they understand that their character would be appealed to by, and to then have their character appealed to by that thing.

The "problem" comes when the player says "my character isn't appealed to by that thing", and the GM believes that what the GM wants the player character to be appealed to by, is more important than what the player has decided. In my experience, this often originates from the GM having something in mind that "makes a better story" or "makes for an interesting challenge" or whatever, and considering that more important than consistent characterization (and this is where we get into RPGs delving into the sins of bad writing that plague so much of our fiction

At that point, instead of pressing the issue, maybe the GM should say "either this player really means it and really believes this about their character, or this player is not interested in his character experiencing this sort of plot element, and either way I should move on and not drag the game down with a dispute". And no, this is not in any way the same as the player refusing to allow their character to be hit with a weapon or whatever -- one is internal to the character dealing with their inner working and desires and makeup... while the other is external and relates to their physical interaction with the setting/world and other characters.

Of course, if these "nature of the character" mechanics you're in favor of were set up to accurately model the actual nature of the character's internal workings, that would be one thing... but they rarely are. Instead, they're usually set up to make the character vulnerable in additional and "interesting" ways, to make for "better stories".

Appealing to the character is functionally the same as appealing to you, which in some regards weakens what I'm saying and in others strengthens it.

By your method, there is 0 capacity to use mechanics to enhance natural persuasiveness. It makes it impossible to play socially adept characters if you are not exactly that socially adept. Which is a limitation not placed on physical combat. The ONLY way to fix this without using "mind control" based on rolls is to incentivise the player, rather than the character. Yes, you can think of a million reasons why the halting, cumbersome, and poorly presented words of Mike might not convince you. But by going along with what he's asking, you get this goodie in exchange for ignoring his personal weaknesses and focusing on the skill his character has.
And if we want to have anyone play whatever character they want, we have to make sure that even Mike can have a chance to be convincing.

Hence, RP-based mechanics are not there to make sure Max has a bad time. They're there to help Mike have a good time. If you can convince people without rolls, hooray. Some people can't. And they get to have their fantasy adventure just as much as you do.



Where did you conflate the two?

Really? How about I quote the comment again:



Right there.

Oooooh, sorry. Try again.
That's not me making any comments on verisimilitude, but rather that barring said things, you won't lose track of literal reality. (Which is a thing I have seen people demand. It's an unrealistic demand.)
Unless you want to assert that I'm lying about my meaning. Which would be something something pots and kettles.




Hard to stop doing something I've never actually started doing.
See above.

Cluedrew
2016-11-18, 08:19 PM
Personally I like the idea of rules that interact with a character's personality. Not to say in all cases, or all implementations of it, but I like the idea, here are some reasons why:
Stories are about people (or at least the ones I like are) and people are defined in part by there personalities. So I like bringing that into the game with mechanics. (Referencing ideas like "proportion of rules is relates to proportion of play time".)
Without mechanics, personalities can influence decisions, but they can't influence ability. If I want my character to be better at things that require waiting because she is patent, in most systems I have to buy up each skill individually.
People say that social things are too complex to represent accurately in rules. But so is every other thing the rules cover (and even if they aren't I haven't seen true-to-life combat system ever) and we get by with approximations there. So I don't feel that using approximations hurts here.
Loss of control, this may sound odd but the fact I don't have complete control is part of the draw of an RPG system. The surprise and the occasional unwanted outcome give the experience something I can't get in writing, where I have complete control.*
Encoding things in the system can serve as a communication tool (as well as an incentive) to help show what the game being played with the system is about. And given the amount of bad gaming stories that come from bad communication, I think that is good.
I'll admit I enjoy the novelty of a good personality system, because it is done well so rarely.

*Or in theory I have complete control while writing, sometimes the characters disagree.


http://i.imgur.com/rVQQyUVl.jpgI probably shouldn't be as amused by these things as I am.

Quertus
2016-11-18, 08:43 PM
Right back atcha, to be honest. :smallwink:
I am aware we are operating under different definitions of Role-playing,
But, I have not yet actually managed to understand what exactly you mean by role-playing. Is it in any way close to being the "Role-playing is actually improv acting" example? Because I find that to be a weirdly and unhelpfully limited definition, given that a vast part of what people call Roleplaying is excluded by it.

Hmmm... I don't have a good definition of role-playing. Closest I can come is this: Role-playing is making choices for the character, as the character. Which is related to but separate from acting.

Any other definition is of no use to me, as this definition (approximately) matches what I care about when I say I enjoy role-playing.

If I am provably wrong in my definition, and there exists a more precise word that I should be using instead, then I will happily adopt the new terminology. Until then, I will continue to describe my major sources of enjoyment in playing RPGs as role-playing, tactical combat, solving puzzles, exploration, and rules lawyering, and my minor sources of enjoyment as "having magic" and "rolling dice". With "consistency" as a requirement.

But that's a bit far afield of the thread topic, I think.

The "Role-playing" aesthetic expects that different characters will likely have different responses to the same stimulus, just as different people will have different responses.

For example: A small girl goes to hand <character> a flower.

Victoria gets down to the child's level, and asks, "how much?"

Quertus performs a magic trick, "changing" the flower into a coin for the girl.

Woody asks, "where's your mother?", but probably knew the answer to that question 5 minutes before meeting the girl.

Armus assumes its a trap, and, if his allies are nearby, he accepts the flower. If not, queue a long series of questions regarding exactly what Armus sees and remembers seeing, before taking whatever action feels right at the time.

Although, depending on what else is going on, any of my characters could just as easily ignore the girl.


I mean, sure, it si. But... how is it doing that? It rewards me for hitting the beats, but as long as it doesn't punish me for improv-ing between the required ones, how is this actually limiting me? I mean, sure, following the beats and only the beats does provide a ceiling (One being identical with the floor), but that is not given by the system, but instead by the player playing the system.

Well, World of Darkness games seem a good example. IIRC, they only require you to push the button for cheese one per session for the role-playing reward. More often for regaining willpower.

It's been a while... I remember gaming the system for willpower being an issue, but don't remember having significant problem with the role-playing reward. No, I take that back: it was difficult to convince people to roleplay better than the minimalistic way that the system encouraged - more difficult than if there had been no system. So, yeah, I really can't say that it was "better than nothing". :smallannoyed:

Which is different from my ceiling complaint. The ceiling in such a game would be in how often one has to contrive a reason to earn the cheese, or how often one acts out of character in order to earn the cheese.


The opposite of "dysfunctional" would be "functional", I believe :smallwink:
And alright. But... to be completely honest, that definition does not strike me as particularly related to whether or not the group could profit from a guideline-system for roleplaying.

You're absolutely right - that definition has nothing to do with whether a group could profit from a guideline-system for roleplaying. That definition defines my guess as to what group would profit more by sitting down and rolling their own role-playing encouragement cheese. One which matches their themes, their preferences, their biases, their blind spots.


So are rules that try to define combat. Unless you're making a simulation that models the precise motions and interactions of all the muscles in the body with the physics of the objects and forces being employed in the battle, down to expressly describing the exact kind of damage and the force-equations on the now-wounded parts of the body to evaluate impedence of function and rate of blood loss and loss of blood's impact on other internal organs' performance.... you'll be applying a ceiling to how well you can RP combat[/i].

You know, unless you decide that the model gives you the gross, in-game effects and that you can fluff WHY those effects are manifesting however you like.

At which point you can do the same for social mechanics working on a model of a character's psyche.

Hmmm... I feel like this is a trick question. I mean, I feel like the world having consistent rules - in or out of combat - is important to role-playing.

Further, simpler-than-reality combat rules are a boon to role-playing, as they consume less headspace, thereby leaving more headspace for emulating your character's personality ("role-playing") in combat.


They are also essentially stating that of the various Stances one can RP from, Actor Stance is the One True Right Way, when it is not.

To define what I mean by the Stances, Stances are another creation of the Forge, used to attempt to describe one of the many complexities of the RPG experience.

Now, notes about Stances before I continue:
Nobody uses just one. Everyone switches around, but many have a favorite.
This is not prescriptive, nor is it designed to account for any of a million individual scenarios in which you devise a thing that might be between stances. It doesn't matter if it's between. There's nothing wrong with straddling a line, here.
This is for Players, not GMs.

Actor Stance:
This is where you try to live in your character's head and do things because they would do so. Narrative reasoning comes before action.

Pawn Stance:
This is where you really don't care what the character thinks. The character is a game piece. You take actions for mechanical reasons, no narrative reasoning required.

Author Stance:
Similar to Actor Stance, but the reasoning is inverted. You make a decision for mechanical/tactical reasons, and apply a narrative reason why afterwards. (For instance if you build a really well optimized undead-killer cleric and decide that they are so good at killing the undead because undead killed their family and they devoted their life to the slaughter of the undeceased.)

Director Stance:
Basically mini-gm stance. You establish scenes, perhaps even describe some NPC actions, basically do some of the GMs job for them.

Those are the 4 stances as I know them. Now to dive in for realsies:

Metagaming/Immersion are a false dichotomy. Theres a lot of nuance in there, and saying that having a metagaming reward for RP "kills immersion" might very well only be true for you.
(Now, I'm biased here, in that I think the whole concept of Immersion is a huge load of bunk, because barring mental health issues an in inability to separate fantasy from reality, you will never stop being aware that you are playing a game. You will not feel the sword in your hands and smell the sweat of the thief's neck as you strangle them to death. You will not feel the blows against your character as if made to your own person. You are separate from your character, and any attempts to get into their head will be limited by the sheer fact that they are not real, they do not exist, only you exist, and it is YOU who makes decisions. Not them. [b]So when a GM wants to tempt the character, they CAN'T. Because the character isn't real. But you, friend, you ARE real. And so they can tempt YOU.

That is why the mechanics exist. When you engage in those mechanics, switch to author stance. Make a good reason why their opinion was swayed, at least temporarily. Stretch those creative muscles. The character isn't real. Anything you SAY is their reaction, IS their reaction. The character has no autonomy at all. Only you. So when we need to appeal to someone, again, we cannot appeal to the character. Because they are not real. We can only appeal to YOU. Because you're the real one.

Yeah, no. Those other things aren't role-playing, not as I read your text.

And, for the bolded part, I can only say, that's the difference that makes Real (TM) roleplayers.


One group tells me that "narrative focus" means that the game is character-driven, and then another group goes on and on about "narrative focus" being "story now" and "exploring premise and theme" and a bunch of other NON-character-driven stuff that almost always ends up treating characters and setting as contrivances, and continuity and coherence and consistency as impediments to "great story!"

That sounds like just about the worst thing ever. At least for me.


Most players lack the ability to accurately simulate an entire other person and their entire lifetime of memories, motivations, emotions, and temptations, too.

Even individuals with Disassociative Identity Disorder (aka "multiple personalities") don't actually have multiple personalities. Assuming an additional identity is a way to "disassociate" from a circumstance or emotion. So yeah, this argument doesn't hold up well. >.>

... That's fair. Most people can't. But it is a skill that can be trained to reach levels where I, at least, have difficulty perceiving the difference. And that's all that matters to me, personally.

ComradeBear
2016-11-18, 11:40 PM
Hmmm... I don't have a good definition of role-playing. Closest I can come is this: Role-playing is making choices for the character, as the character. Which is related to but separate from acting.
Remember this. I'm gonna use it in a minute.



Yeah, no. Those other things aren't role-playing, not as I read your text.

Using the above, Actor Stance fits your definition exactly.
So I hope you're not saying NONE of the stances count as roleplaying, because at least 3 touch on or follow your definition above.

Actor Stance is exactly what you call roleplaying.
Director Stance is essentially the same but with greater scene-framing authority lent to you by the GM.
Author Stance is Actor Stance but backwards. We decide what the character does first, and create the fictional reason afterwards. (Many people do this without realizing it.)



And, for the bolded part, I can only say, that's the difference that makes Real (TM) roleplayers.

Everyone who sits at the table playing a roleplaying game is a Roleplayer. *shrug*

I think Pawn Stance has the least level of connectedness to a character, but as I've emphasized several times now, and now do in all-caps:
PEOPLE SWITCH STANCES CONSTANTLY DURING A GAME.
YOU ARE NOT A "X STANCE" ROLEPLAYER. IT MIGHT BE YOUR FAVORITE BUT PEOPLE SWAP CONSTANTLY, AND MAY ENTER ALL 4 IN ONE SESSION.

Also

STANCES ARE NOT PRESCRIPTIVE. THEY JUST DESCRIBE ONE PART OF THE MYRIAD INTRICACIES OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PLAYER, MECHANICS, AND FICTION.

That is all.





... That's fair. Most people can't. But it is a skill that can be trained to reach levels where I, at least, have difficulty perceiving the difference. And that's all that matters to me, personally.
That's acting.
And yet they are still themselves, portraying a person in their own style.
This is why Casting exists. This is why we still watch Hamlet.
Because Leonardo DeCaprio's Hamlet will be different from Patrick Stewart's Hamlet or Adam Sandler's Hamlet even if the lines are all exactly the same. Because they are not 100% separate from the character. They bring their own personal beliefs, expressions, and readings of the lines that change how the character is portrayed and seen by the audience.

I have seen many depictions of the character Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. In some, he is a put-upon man, angry at the cruelty of those surrounding him. In others he is a greedy wretch of a man. Depends on the actor.

In short, even Actors do not fully separate themselves from the character. This is why we like to imagine things like "What if Kurt Russel had played Han Solo instead of Harrison Ford?" Because it makes a difference. A difference that you will notice.

Quertus
2016-11-19, 12:11 AM
By your method, there is 0 capacity to use mechanics to enhance natural persuasiveness. It makes it impossible to play socially adept characters if you are not exactly that socially adept. Which is a limitation not placed on physical combat. The ONLY way to fix this without using "mind control" based on rolls is to incentivise the player, rather than the character. Yes, you can think of a million reasons why the halting, cumbersome, and poorly presented words of Mike might not convince you. But by going along with what he's asking, you get this goodie in exchange for ignoring his personal weaknesses and focusing on the skill his character has.
And if we want to have anyone play whatever character they want, we have to make sure that even Mike can have a chance to be convincing.

Hence, RP-based mechanics are not there to make sure Max has a bad time. They're there to help Mike have a good time. If you can convince people without rolls, hooray. Some people can't. And they get to have their fantasy adventure just as much as you do.


This is, to me, an issue that can be solved by the people Mike it's trying to convince being better at role-playing. So... not the only way. Not even the best one, IMO.


Personally I like the idea of rules that interact with a character's personality. Not to say in all cases, or all implementations of it, but I like the idea, here are some reasons why:
Stories are about people (or at least the ones I like are) and people are defined in part by there personalities. So I like bringing that into the game with mechanics. (Referencing ideas like "proportion of rules is relates to proportion of play time".)

Without mechanics, personalities can influence decisions, but they can't influence ability. If I want my character to be better at things that require waiting because she is patent, in most systems I have to buy up each skill individually.

Hmmm... I think I like this. Off hand, I see no way that applying "crunchy" adjectives to my characters would hinder my role-playing. Quertus is "specialized", Armus is "paranoid", etc.


People say that social things are too complex to represent accurately in rules. But so is every other thing the rules cover (and even if they aren't I haven't seen true-to-life combat system ever) and we get by with approximations there. So I don't feel that using approximations hurts here.
Loss of control, this may sound odd but the fact I don't have complete control is part of the draw of an RPG system. The surprise and the occasional unwanted outcome give the experience something I can't get in writing, where I have complete control.*

And here's where we, if not disagree, at least have different things we care about.

While you may not care, I, personally, am hampered by role-playing "approximations". Combat... I like to have the tactical level, say, 3e D&D has. But that's me.


Encoding things in the system can serve as a communication tool (as well as an incentive) to help show what the game being played with the system is about. And given the amount of bad gaming stories that come from bad communication, I think that is good.

I can see this helping those who aren't in a group that is able to have good, open, positive discussions about these things, true. And I can see the value to those who cannot express their desires. Assuming, of course, that they can find a game that meets their desires in the first place.

And, yes, communicating "theme" in this manner, while not impacting role-playing, would be of benefit to those who game with me, but care about theme.

ComradeBear
2016-11-19, 12:26 AM
This is, to me, an issue that can be solved by the people Mike it's trying to convince being better at role-playing. So... not the only way. Not even the best one, IMO.

This option is basically "Instead of supporting Mike, just have everyone else let him win."

That's not just a non-solution, it's pretty much patronizing. "Everyone else step up and pretend to be convinced by Mike because he's not persuasive." Most similar stories involve kids with physical/developmental problems doing sports things. It will not go unnoticed. It will come across as patronizing. Mike's victories will feel hollow.

Quertus
2016-11-19, 12:50 AM
Using the above, Actor Stance fits your definition exactly.
So I hope you're not saying NONE of the stances count as roleplaying, because at least 3 touch on or follow your definition above.

Actor Stance is exactly what you call roleplaying.

It comes close. Which is why I said "none of the other", as opposed to "none".


Author Stance is Actor Stance but backwards. We decide what the character does first, and create the fictional reason afterwards. (Many people do this without realizing it.)

Your example of this occurred during character creation, IIRC. And it's kinda the opposite of what I consider role-playing.


Everyone who sits at the table playing a roleplaying game is a Roleplayer. *shrug*

Everyone who gets drafted into a war is a warrior? Everyone who has sat at a table and had lunch with me is a programmer? Not by my definitions.

Nor do I define everyone who has sat at the table and gamed with me as a Roleplayer, tactician, rules lawyer, actor, munchkin, DM/GM, riddle solver, mapper, artist, or anything else you could describe some players as.

But that's how I use my words.

I have thus gamed with several people who have never in their lives Roleplayed - and most of them will admit as much.



I think Pawn Stance has the least level of connectedness to a character, but as I've emphasized several times now, and now do in all-caps:
PEOPLE SWITCH STANCES CONSTANTLY DURING A GAME.
YOU ARE NOT A "X STANCE" ROLEPLAYER. IT MIGHT BE YOUR FAVORITE BUT PEOPLE SWAP CONSTANTLY, AND MAY ENTER ALL 4 IN ONE SESSION.


I'll have to think about it more, but, from your initial descriptions, I did not recognize all four as something I'd seen, and certainly don't consider at least one of them to constitute "role-playing" any more than it constitutes "munchkin behavior" or "railroading". Actually, it probably qualifies as those better than it qualifies as roleplay, IMO.


STANCES ARE NOT PRESCRIPTIVE. THEY JUST DESCRIBE ONE PART OF THE MYRIAD INTRICACIES OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PLAYER, MECHANICS, AND FICTION.

That is all.

I interact with the fiction by rolling dice, but that doesn't make the act of rolling dice role-playing. This is where I'm having problems with your definitions.

EDIT:


This option is basically "Instead of supporting Mike, just have everyone else let him win."

That's not just a non-solution, it's pretty much patronizing. "Everyone else step up and pretend to be convinced by Mike because he's not persuasive." Most similar stories involve kids with physical/developmental problems doing sports things. It will not go unnoticed. It will come across as patronizing. Mike's victories will feel hollow.

No, it's, "everyone act like you're scared of the cardboard dragon, because it is supposed to be scary". That's acting.

Roleplay like your character finds Mike's character convincing, because Mike's character is convincing (even though Mike isn't) is role-playing.

In the right group, it isn't patronizing or hollow.

Floret
2016-11-19, 06:57 AM
Hmmm... I don't have a good definition of role-playing. Closest I can come is this: Role-playing is making choices for the character, as the character. Which is related to but separate from acting.

Any other definition is of no use to me, as this definition (approximately) matches what I care about when I say I enjoy role-playing.

If I am provably wrong in my definition, and there exists a more precise word that I should be using instead, then I will happily adopt the new terminology. Until then, I will continue to describe my major sources of enjoyment in playing RPGs as role-playing, tactical combat, solving puzzles, exploration, and rules lawyering, and my minor sources of enjoyment as "having magic" and "rolling dice". With "consistency" as a requirement.

You might not be wrong in defining it that way, but: That is, imho, a terrible way to design definitions. You define the sort of role-playing you like, and then turn around and say "The rest isn't roleplaying". That is akin to me defining what food I like, and turning around and defining everything else as "not food". (Are fish food? Aubergines? Stinky cheeses? Is beer a beverage? I mean, certainly. I would never touch any of them to my mouth lest I have the misfortune of tasting them, but that does not make them not food.) So excluding everything else does nothing to help communicating, and you really should (as you already say) use a different word for what you mean. "Roleplaying I enjoy", for example. I mean, I think I do somewhat get what you mean by Role-playing, and I am aware that it is a definition used not only by you, I just find it a terrible and confusing way to phrase what you want to convey. (I am pretty sure you mean the same thing rulebooks talk about when they suggest giving out extra XP for "Good Roleplaying". Which, at least in those vague terms, is a mechanic I am highly against, but digressing...)
There is a reason scientists go ahead and differentiate Implications and Implicatures. To talk about things a layperson might refer to with the same term, but to better communicate the nuances.
To be honest, I don't have a perfect replacement term myself. Maybe something like Character-acting. Or Role-acting. Now just hope it catches on :smalltongue:


Well, World of Darkness games seem a good example. IIRC, they only require you to push the button for cheese one per session for the role-playing reward. More often for regaining willpower.

It's been a while... I remember gaming the system for willpower being an issue, but don't remember having significant problem with the role-playing reward. No, I take that back: it was difficult to convince people to roleplay better than the minimalistic way that the system encouraged - more difficult than if there had been no system. So, yeah, I really can't say that it was "better than nothing". :smallannoyed:

Which is different from my ceiling complaint. The ceiling in such a game would be in how often one has to contrive a reason to earn the cheese, or how often one acts out of character in order to earn the cheese.

Uhm... how does this provide a ceiling? Just because you don't HAVE to do more than the requirement (The floor), doesn't make that a ceiling. A floor is created by giving incentive for going at least up to a certain level, or punishing staying under it. For there to actually be a ceiling, there has to be some incentive to stay below a certain level, or punishment for crossing over it. And I just don't see how the second derives from having the first?
I mean, sure, players might go with "meh, good enough, I fullfill the requirements", but that does not constitute a mechanical ceiling, but is player-internal. (Also, one could argue that player would probably not gone much above that (or even to that level) if the floor was not there.)
And was it really more difficult? How do you measure that? Also, again, this does not consitute a ceiling. Which you do agree. I still don't understand where the ceiling comes from, though :smallwink:



You're absolutely right - that definition has nothing to do with whether a group could profit from a guideline-system for roleplaying. That definition defines my guess as to what group would profit more by sitting down and rolling their own role-playing encouragement cheese. One which matches their themes, their preferences, their biases, their blind spots.

I think the two are mostly orthogonal to each other. I think that a functional group is a group that should meet to Roleplay together, and a dysfunctional one should disband. Seriously, there is no fun to be had there, and it would be better for all involved. Inside a functional group, if you go and say "We take this system" or "we write up this system" is a difference of preferrence.



Yeah, no. Those other things aren't role-playing, not as I read your text.

And, for the bolded part, I can only say, that's the difference that makes Real (TM) roleplayers.


You mean role-actors? :smalltongue: (Seriously, the terms as you are using them now makes you seem like an elitist ****.)



... That's fair. Most people can't. But it is a skill that can be trained to reach levels where I, at least, have difficulty perceiving the difference. And that's all that matters to me, personally.

As can fighting, crafting, and all other things (Except maybe magic, but holy **** there are some great Larpmages out there where you start doubting reality). A completely off-topic suggestion: Have you tried Larping? Cause at least for me (in Germany, different scene, I know), it scratches those itches roleplaying seems to scratch for you just way better. Leaving me room for enjoying massive dicepools, having characters capable of stuff you never would be and such similar things in TRPGs. And the best thing: In rule-less Larp, noone will argue with your definition of Roleplaying, as it is the default assumption :smallwink: But that might not exist where you live. I dunno. Back to the thread.


No, it's, "everyone act like you're scared of the cardboard dragon, because it is supposed to be scary". That's acting.

Roleplay like your character finds Mike's character convincing, because Mike's character is convincing (even though Mike isn't) is role-playing.

In the right group, it isn't patronizing or hollow.

Problem is: Everyone else had to invest hard currency (XP, or whatever the system calls it) into the things their character is good at, but they are not.
But Mike now is excempt. And at that point, if we act like Mike is supposed to be convincing, but not rolling dice for it because the mechanics aren't there: How do we differenciate between someone who is bad at being convincing and has a character that is convincing, and someone who is bad at being convincing and playing a character that is also bad at convincing? With your method, the second will suddenly be convincing as well. And nuances of convincing (Being able to convince the farmer, but not the hardened veteran, the king, but not his advisor, etc.) kinda... fly out the window if you just act, without any mechanical involvement to judge. Since the real-world representation is no longer in any way accurate.
(Also, if, at the table, the GM literally went ahead and said "this is a scary dragon, act like it", I would have exactly the same problem. Unless he made me roll against a Fear-Effect of the creature, and I failed that. THEN I would go ahead and be scared - and not just because someone said so, but because while comparing the skills of our characters (The dragon being one in this case) the GM/dragon came out on top. The same thing applies for me in Social situations. If there is a win, whether by actually being convincing IRL (Which I do in TRPGs only give bonuses for, and still expect a roll, tbh, to prevent the problem of "wait, this is legitimate character power without investment") or by the dice falling that way - great! That feels like a win. But if not... that does, at least for me, ring very hollow. We can't talk our way through a fight by "acting like Martin is a great fighter and will just deal with the goblins". No, we either (Reserved pretty much for Larping) have a "real" fight, or we roll the dice. So why should social situations/being convinced be any different? As your example is ALSO equivalating stuff inside and outside the social arena :smallwink: )

Cluedrew
2016-11-19, 09:05 AM
Hmmm... I think I like this. Off hand, I see no way that applying "crunchy" adjectives to my characters would hinder my role-playing. Quertus is "specialized", Armus is "paranoid", etc.I'm glad I'm making some sense. It can be done well or not, but in my experience systems with detail tend to do it better, if only because the designers but thought into it.


And here's where we, if not disagree, at least have different things we care about.

While you may not care, I, personally, am hampered by role-playing "approximations". Combat... I like to have the tactical level, say, 3e D&D has. But that's me.It is fine that we disagree or similar, but I'm not sure what you mean by your second paragraph. By approximations I meant things like HP, which approximates your physical health into a single number.

Or broader categories, for instance "paranoid" could mean is actually paranoid and sees danger everywhere, are very aware of the situation and the dangers in it, or is a former Secret Service agent and has all sorts of checks and double-checks as part of their routine, even though it is just habit at this point. Sure you could have a different trait for each of these but the effects of these are about the same so group them together and let flavour decide the differences.


I can see this helping those who aren't in a group that is able to have good, open, positive discussions about these things, true. And I can see the value to those who cannot express their desires. Assuming, of course, that they can find a game that meets their desires in the first place.

And, yes, communicating "theme" in this manner, while not impacting role-playing, would be of benefit to those who game with me, but care about theme.It is only necessary in groups where they can't have that sort of discussion, I think it can still be a useful tool in those discussions (which you should probably have regardless). This is comes from my particular history of starting with relatively generic systems (D&D level) and then joining a group where they play specialized systems where the system itself is the entirety of the pitch. Which is why I don't play some games with them.

What do you mean by theme?

ComradeBear
2016-11-19, 09:11 AM
It comes close. Which is why I said "none of the other", as opposed to "none".
You'll need to explain the qualitative difference between "make decisions based on the character's personality" and "make decisions based on the character's personality" that makes it close but still different.




Your example of this occurred during character creation, IIRC. And it's kinda the opposite of what I consider role-playing.

You actually described yourself doing this with Quertus, your own character, earlier. You described having the mechanical/metagame motivation of not wanting to have him outshine everyone else by virtue of being a wizard. And so he "holds the idiot ball" during combat. I'm sure you gave him the personality for that, too.
You made a mechanical decision, and applied a fictional reason to it.
Author Stance.
So unless you want to strip yourself of being a roleplayer, Author Stance is a perfectly valid way to roleplay a character. And most will likely never notice if you do it.

For instance, I had a player create a character and play that character for an entire session, and only after they had some established behaviors/mechanics/equipment for that character did they answer the "why" questions about them. And that character probably now has the most complete and compelling backstory in the group.

Author Stance.

You can also do that in the middle of a game. I do it a lot while playing (not GMing.) And basically nobody notices because I don't advertise it. I had a character who ended up going out of his way to take a little girl back to the continent she came from, because instead of abandoning her to her fate, as was expected, I as a player wasn't comfortable with that outcome. So I internally decided that he had a soft spot for children and tended to help them out, even though otherwise he only ever looked out for #1.



Everyone who gets drafted into a war is a warrior?

Warrior, Noun:
a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict

Lemme know when your definition gets into the dictionary on that one. Because until then, the answer is YES.



Everyone who has sat at a table and had lunch with me is a programmer?
Of course not. Because that's pants-on-head logic and assumes no one but programmers eat lunch while at tables occupied by Mr. Quertus. However, they could be considered Lunch-eaters.



Nor do I define everyone who has sat at the table and gamed with me as a Roleplayer, tactician, rules lawyer, actor, munchkin, DM/GM, riddle solver, mapper, artist, or anything else you could describe some players as.

The second definition of roleplaying if you google it is "participating in a roleplaying game."
So... there's precedent for your definition not being the generally accepted one, at least.



But that's how I use my words.

You may use your Peanuts however you jingle.



I'll have to think about it more, but, from your initial descriptions, I did not recognize all four as something I'd seen, and certainly don't consider at least one of them to constitute "role-playing" any more than it constitutes "munchkin behavior" or "railroading". Actually, it probably qualifies as those better than it qualifies as roleplay, IMO.

It's still a stance you can take at the table. A player who spends all day in Actor Stance can switch to Pawn Stance for a variety of reasons related to one particular scene or situation. (Such as if their barbarian has been dominated and the GM is giving them instructions via notes.)

Once again, since it seems to get missed, anyone can do any stance at any time for various reasons .



I interact with the fiction by rolling dice, but that doesn't make the act of rolling dice role-playing. This is where I'm having problems with your definitions.

Rolling dice is another one of the myriad ways of interacting with the fiction, but not one of the ones Stances seeks to describe.

Perhaps it is better to describe the Stances as various named states and positions from which you can control your character at any given moment.



No, it's, "everyone act like you're scared of the cardboard dragon, because it is supposed to be scary". That's acting.
That's not letting someone win. Your example is explicitly allowing someone to win because they have no chance of doing so on their own.



Roleplay like your character finds Mike's character convincing, because Mike's character is convincing (even though Mike isn't) is role-playing.

We signal that Mike'w character is convincing through mechanics that he invests points in. Because, as Floret brilliantly put it, otherwise he gets something for nothing. And this all collapses once he's interacting with NPCs.
You need rules.



In the right group, it isn't patronizing or hollow.
It will always be patronizing to be the only guy who gets to skip convincing everyone else because they have to be convinced by you X times per session.

Victories you didn't roll for and were softballed to make you happy will always be hollow.

Talakeal
2016-11-19, 10:19 PM
Uhm... how does this provide a ceiling? Just because you don't HAVE to do more than the requirement (The floor), doesn't make that a ceiling. A floor is created by giving incentive for going at least up to a certain level, or punishing staying under it. For there to actually be a ceiling, there has to be some incentive to stay below a certain level, or punishment for crossing over it. And I just don't see how the second derives from having the first?
I mean, sure, players might go with "meh, good enough, I fullfill the requirements", but that does not constitute a mechanical ceiling, but is player-internal. (Also, one could argue that player would probably not gone much above that (or even to that level) if the floor was not there.)
And was it really more difficult? How do you measure that? Also, again, this does not consitute a ceiling. Which you do agree. I still don't understand where the ceiling comes from, though :smallwink:


The rules won't have the granularity to award really deep RP. They will forbid / punish / withhold rewards from people who go beyond what the game rewards. They also encourage you to act out of character to get the rewards, and stunt character growth.

For example, if my character trait is "alcoholic" most games will reward me every time I get drunk or go out of my way to get booze. But they will actively punish me (or at the very least withhold rewards) if my character works to overcome their addiction, goes out of their way to avoid alcohol entirely (because they know they can't stop at just one drink), or even play a long con where they avoid drinking now so that they can get more alcohol in the future.

Heck, just look at the 3.5 RAW for playing a paladin. Going by the book really limits your options; you have to act like a ridiculous caricature in certain situations and the rules like to provide a clear black and white answer to what could be an interesting moral dilemma with no clear right answer.



Warrior, Noun:
a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict

In my experience quoting the dictionary in an argument rarely ends well. It lacks the verbosity to really get into the specifics of the matter, has multiple definitions, and many things are subjective.

A lot of words that the dictionary lists as synonymous actually have subtly (but very important) distinctions between them which you can't explore if you can't get past the brief summary the dictionary offers.

It also tends to derail actual conversation into semantic arguments or excercises in talking past one another.

Just my experience though, YMMV.



As can fighting, crafting, and all other things (Except maybe magic, but holy **** there are some great Larpmages out there where you start doubting reality). A completely off-topic suggestion: Have you tried Larping? Cause at least for me (in Germany, different scene, I know), it scratches those itches roleplaying seems to scratch for you just way better. Leaving me room for enjoying massive dicepools, having characters capable of stuff you never would be and such similar things in TRPGs. And the best thing: In rule-less Larp, noone will argue with your definition of Roleplaying, as it is the default assumption :smallwink: But that might not exist where you live. I dunno. Back to the thread.


I don't know about Quertus, but in my experience LARPING and free form gaming are the opposite of what I consider RPing. When I RP I try and get into the head of someone I am not, while in a LARP I am always going to be bound by my own physical limitations, and it is really hard for anyone to picture my character as anyone but "me".

Also, working within the characters limits are essential, something that can't really be done in free-form or rules-less games unless the group is incredibly in-sync.

How does LARPING handle the exploration elements? The fantastic monsters, the epic vistas, and strange and alien magic?

georgie_leech
2016-11-20, 02:41 AM
The rules won't have the granularity to award really deep RP. They will forbid / punish / withhold rewards from people who go beyond what the game rewards. They also encourage you to act out of character to get the rewards, and stunt character growth.

For example, if my character trait is "alcoholic" most games will reward me every time I get drunk or go out of my way to get booze. But they will actively punish me (or at the very least withhold rewards) if my character works to overcome their addiction, goes out of their way to avoid alcohol entirely (because they know they can't stop at just one drink), or even play a long con where they avoid drinking now so that they can get more alcohol in the future.


Honestly, I'm having a hard time seeing this as an obstacle, per se. Making a deliberate choice to change who you are as a person or to overcome your addictions is hard.

Keltest
2016-11-20, 08:37 AM
No, it's, "everyone act like you're scared of the cardboard dragon, because it is supposed to be scary". That's acting.

Roleplay like your character finds Mike's character convincing, because Mike's character is convincing (even though Mike isn't) is role-playing.

In the right group, it isn't patronizing or hollow.

I've been on Mike's end of the gaming table a couple times. I can confirm from personal experience that it is both patronizing and hollow, and you are better off just letting mike abstract the persuasion.

Cluedrew
2016-11-20, 09:49 AM
The rules won't have the granularity to award really deep RP. They will forbid / punish / withhold rewards from people who go beyond what the game rewards. They also encourage you to act out of character to get the rewards, and stunt character growth.Starting with "the rules will not do a good job" is a dangerous premise. Still I can't really fault you with that, considering the success rate. D&D is a pretty good example of how to NOT do a lot of these sorts of things.

Unless we are just discussing detail and not quality. To which I reply, would combat crafting be more fun if instead of needing a set of tools and some wood to make a small boat, you needed prepared lumber, nails, a hammer for driving nails, a mallet for knocking the lumber into place and the tar mixture used to seal cracks between boards in the hull? And this doesn't even have a sail. Also I am not a shipwright and have no idea of the real life accuracy of what I just said.


Honestly, I'm having a hard time seeing this as an obstacle, per se. Making a deliberate choice to change who you are as a person or to overcome your addictions is hard.Perhaps something like this should actually be implemented as a character flaw, rather than just a trait you get a bonus every time you play to it. In the later case I imagine you could have an interesting ark that ends with alcoholic getting crossed off the character sheet.

Talakeal
2016-11-20, 02:56 PM
Starting with "the rules will not do a good job" is a dangerous premise. Still I can't really fault you with that, considering the success rate. D&D is a pretty good example of how to NOT do a lot of these sorts of things.

Unless we are just discussing detail and not quality. To which I reply, would combat crafting be more fun if instead of needing a set of tools and some wood to make a small boat, you needed prepared lumber, nails, a hammer for driving nails, a mallet for knocking the lumber into place and the tar mixture used to seal cracks between boards in the hull? And this doesn't even have a sail. Also I am not a shipwright and have no idea of the real life accuracy of what I just said.

Perhaps something like this should actually be implemented as a character flaw, rather than just a trait you get a bonus every time you play to it. In the later case I imagine you could have an interesting ark that ends with alcoholic getting crossed off the character sheet.

More like fleshed out rules for RP would be "too complex" rather than bad.

The ship builder analogy is a good one, but fails on three points:

1: Most characters will not be ship builders, in fact it won't even come up in the vast majority of games. All characters will have a personality. If we are playing a game where every character were expected to be a ship builder I would expect complex (or at least detailed) rules for ship building.
2: The human psyche is orders of magnitude more complex than the most complex ship ever built.
3: Some games (notably 4E) actually have left crafting totally free form and in the hands of the players.

Floret
2016-11-20, 04:36 PM
The rules won't have the granularity to award really deep RP. They will forbid / punish / withhold rewards from people who go beyond what the game rewards. They also encourage you to act out of character to get the rewards, and stunt character growth.

For example, if my character trait is "alcoholic" most games will reward me every time I get drunk or go out of my way to get booze. But they will actively punish me (or at the very least withhold rewards) if my character works to overcome their addiction, goes out of their way to avoid alcohol entirely (because they know they can't stop at just one drink), or even play a long con where they avoid drinking now so that they can get more alcohol in the future.

Heck, just look at the 3.5 RAW for playing a paladin. Going by the book really limits your options; you have to act like a ridiculous caricature in certain situations and the rules like to provide a clear black and white answer to what could be an interesting moral dilemma with no clear right answer.

By not specifically rewarding the granularity, they are not constructing a ceiling, they are failing to put the floor on the level of "Roleplaying"(Roleacting) you deem perfect for you.
And, yes, the thing you describe would fail to reward the play you deem perfect - but: If you want to play what you describe, using the character trait "alcoholic", if the system has that close a definition of what constitutes "roleplaying an alcoholic" was probably a non-ideal choice on your part. Something like "Repentant alcoholic" or "dry alcoholic" might fit the bill far, far better. Sure, the system needs to have some free-form or at least consider such things in its list of options, but I am arguing with what is possible, and not with any specific system.

Also: I never said that it was impossible to build a ceiling, just that it was not a necessary follow-up of having a floor. And I am still not convinced of THAT assertion. :smallwink:



I don't know about Quertus, but in my experience LARPING and free form gaming are the opposite of what I consider RPing. When I RP I try and get into the head of someone I am not, while in a LARP I am always going to be bound by my own physical limitations, and it is really hard for anyone to picture my character as anyone but "me".

Also, working within the characters limits are essential, something that can't really be done in free-form or rules-less games unless the group is incredibly in-sync.

How does LARPING handle the exploration elements? The fantastic monsters, the epic vistas, and strange and alien magic?

I mean, sure, you are bound by your physical limitations somewhat. I will never be able to play a dwarf. Or whatever else of the "small races" that are so very abundant. But with makeup, applications, wigs, contact lenses and similar things, and even just with very clever usage of how your clothes are sewn and body posture, you can extend that range quite a bit. (Someone once wondered how I had grown 10cm since play ended. I obviously didn't, I just changed my default posture.)
And... that is a weird shortcoming. I had no problems seing other people's characters as distinct from them, nor they my character as distinct from me. I don't think that that is actually much more likely in LARP as it is in TRPGs, at least in LARP you had some optical help for imagining the character. (Distinguishing "no, the person behind the character does not actually hold these terrible views", for example, is perfectly common.) I mean, sure, your characters tend to look more similar to you than they do in TRPGs, but I don't think that fact actually constitutes much of an argument. People have doppelgangers IRL as well.

How is working within character limits impossible in free-form or rule-less games? (Technically, by "rule-less" I mean following "The two rules": 1) if someone plays at you, show SOME reaction; 2) If playing at someone, don't expect a specific reaction.) You set your character limitations, and act within them. The limitations of the character come from you playing them and wanting them more than being enforced by outside rules, but exploiting those is, funnily enough, while easy, not necessarily fun: You can think your character up to be the most powerful dude ever, but if everyone else reacts to your blows as if they were normal blows, because they just don't believe what you did merited more reaction than that, your blows are functionally normal blows, no matter how powerful you want your character to be.
Free-form/rule-less LARP can be insanely frustrating for powergamers, as they don't actually weild any measurable "power" that they can guaranteedly influence others with.

As for the last question... don't know how that relates to the rest of the argument but (With examples of what I experienced already, keep in mind, Larp can vary wildly, and German Larp is somewhat different from American afaik): Fantastic monsters are a combination of makeup, animatronics and special effects (Buffed up Chaos warriors coming out of (fog machine) fog; Golem Suits...); epic vistas a matter of choosing the appropriate location (Looking down through the forested valleys from the tower of an old castle); Magic a matter of effects (well-hidden microphone and speakers on a mage for thundering voice, a fireball-shooter hidden on the wrist shooting a fireball out in the sky to threaten back the bandits). All doable, with certain planning and willingness to invest time, effort and money.

Segev
2016-11-20, 05:19 PM
I just don't see them as the same:

1) Things like motivation and personality and mental processes and "psyche" / "soul" are internal to the character, whereas combat and even social interaction are external to the character.

2) Most of us can't safely engage in actual lethal combat or even a close approximation thereof, as even most gamers lack the skill and training to even remotely work out combat on an actual physical level... most gamers frankly lack the knowledge to work out combat on the imaginary level, especially with the way fiction typically misrepresents combat.

Most of us can't actually talk a guard into betraying his post or a king into heeding our advice on dealing with foreign threats, either. The idea that physical capability is "external" but social and intellectual ability is "internal" is a false dichotomy. Anything which changes the world around you or enables you to enact such changes is equally "external" and dependent on the actor's ability to successfully engage such action.

Mechanics let you determine said capabilities objectively, without resorting to cops and robbers style declarations nor relying on imperfect shared understanding of the scene to help you decide if you and the other players are playing fairly or god-moding past all obstacles. Or creating problems for bad reasons ("I got convinced to turn on you. I'm just playing my character!")

Cluedrew
2016-11-20, 05:45 PM
More like fleshed out rules for RP would be "too complex" rather than bad.I suppose... but a game that is too complex would not as good as one that had just the right amount of complexity would it not? (Assuming everything else is equal.)

Also I don't really understand the three failures of the ship builder analogy. I don't think they effect/go against my main point which I will try stating directly: Representing the full complexities of a thing in real life can be unnecessary in a game and at times harmful to the game/system.

Following Segev: Also muscle memory comes from our brains, as do our social skills. (Or lack there of.) And so a lot of physical abilities are also very internal as well. Then again, all mussels are internal to our body.

Quertus
2016-11-20, 07:23 PM
You might not be wrong in defining it that way, but: That is, imho, a terrible way to design definitions. You define the sort of role-playing you like, and then turn around and say "The rest isn't roleplaying".

Ok, lemme stop you right there. Since I doubtless wasn't clear on this point, this isn't the way I chose to define the word. This is the way I do define the word, because this is the way it has been defined to me since back before the internet and Google became the answer to everything.

This definition happens to have value to me, because it roughly matches something I like; trying to change that definition to make it overly inclusive waters down the meaning of the word, making it no longer have value to me.

So, yes, in the interests of communication, I defend my definition... Unless, of course, I'm demonstrably wrong.

Thus, if, as you say, I'm not wrong... well, actually, either way, I'd recommend the invention of new words to differentiate my narrow definition from your broad one.


(I am pretty sure you mean the same thing rulebooks talk about when they suggest giving out extra XP for "Good Roleplaying". Which, at least in those vague terms, is a mechanic I am highly against, but digressing...)

To be honest, I don't have a perfect replacement term myself. Maybe something like Character-acting. Or Role-acting. Now just hope it catches on :smalltongue:

Depends on the system (many conflate role-playing with acting, for example), but, yes, that's the right general idea for what I mean.

Those replacement terms sound like they have too much "acting" to me. :smalltongue:


Uhm... how does this provide a ceiling?

For there to actually be a ceiling, there has to be some incentive to stay below a certain level, or punishment for crossing over it.

One must break immersion, and break out of character, often enough and long enough to push the button once per session in order to receive cheese. Which, granted, can be zero times in a given session.

Not a terribly low ceiling, but a ceiling nonetheless.


Problem is: Everyone else had to invest hard currency (XP, or whatever the system calls it) into the things their character is good at, but they are not.
But Mike now is excempt. And at that point, if we act like Mike is supposed to be convincing, but not rolling dice for it because the mechanics aren't there: How do we differenciate between someone who is bad at being convincing and has a character that is convincing, and someone who is bad at being convincing and playing a character that is also bad at convincing? With your method, the second will suddenly be convincing as well. And nuances of convincing (Being able to convince the farmer, but not the hardened veteran, the king, but not his advisor, etc.) kinda... fly out the window if you just act, without any mechanical involvement to judge. Since the real-world representation is no longer in any way accurate.
(Also, if, at the table, the GM literally went ahead and said "this is a scary dragon, act like it", I would have exactly the same problem. Unless he made me roll against a Fear-Effect of the creature, and I failed that. THEN I would go ahead and be scared - and not just because someone said so, but because while comparing the skills of our characters (The dragon being one in this case) the GM/dragon came out on top. The same thing applies for me in Social situations. If there is a win, whether by actually being convincing IRL (Which I do in TRPGs only give bonuses for, and still expect a roll, tbh, to prevent the problem of "wait, this is legitimate character power without investment") or by the dice falling that way - great! That feels like a win. But if not... that does, at least for me, ring very hollow. We can't talk our way through a fight by "acting like Martin is a great fighter and will just deal with the goblins". No, we either (Reserved pretty much for Larping) have a "real" fight, or we roll the dice. So why should social situations/being convinced be any different? As your example is ALSO equivalating stuff inside and outside the social arena :smallwink: )

Hmmm... Let's start with the Dragon. The dragon is my running example for actors in a play, not for players in an RPG. The director is informing the actors who are asking "what's my motivation?" that "that cardboard prop represents a very scary dragon".

However, I did run into exactly the scenario you describe. A GM was describing this crazy amalgam creature, and I had my character burst out laughing at it. The GM was upset, and pointed out that this creature was specifically engineered in the setting to draw upon the worst of Man's fears, and was supposed to be terrifying, not comical. Shrug if you say so. So I had my character's laugh take on a slightly unhinged, manic tone. I still thought the creature was a joke, but roleplayed my character to be affected by how "scary" the creature was.

Now, your comments about Mike confuse me, as they're about the opposite of what I'd expect. ... Hmmm... Unlike in previous posts, I suppose I left out a few details. The theory here is that the group knows how convincing Mike's character is supposed to be, and probably just how convincing Mike usually is (or isn't). And respond accordingly, whether or not the system has any corresponding mechanics.

Just like when the "scary dragon" is a cardboard prop, and the "beautiful princess" is being played by a guy.


You actually described yourself doing this with Quertus, your own character, earlier. You described having the mechanical/metagame motivation of not wanting to have him outshine everyone else by virtue of being a wizard. And so he "holds the idiot ball" during combat. I'm sure you gave him the personality for that, too.
You made a mechanical decision, and applied a fictional reason to it.
Author Stance.
So unless you want to strip yourself of being a roleplayer, Author Stance is a perfectly valid way to roleplay a character. And most will likely never notice if you do it.

Bonus points for paying attention, and making an example really relevant to me. :smallwink:

Yes, I absolutely do metagame. I not only recognize this fact, I also recognize that one of my flaws as a gamer is that I do not do so as much as I probably should.

But that in no way makes me believe that Metagaming is or should be called role-playing.

It doesn't matter to your point, but just for the record, Quertus didn't hold the idiot ball because of game balance, Quertus held the idiot ball because of Quertus. That's the character I wanted to run: the Bilbo Baggins of the mage world, an Academia Mage unhappily thrust into a deadly world.

Hmmm, this is harder to say than I thought. The... particular instantiation of "Academia Mage" that is Quertus, that has his particular background, training, personality, etc, happens to also be abysmal at the tactical aspects of combat, as opposed to just being unhappy about being involved in combat in the first place.

Now, as it so happens, this particular personality is not only fun for me to roleplay, but it also happens to be very advantageous for game balance purposes. If I had tried to run Quertus, say, at Tippy's table, I'd probably have been forced to create a new character / run someone else.

But, where I've played Quertus, there has been Pavlovian reinforcement, both from my enjoyment playing him, and in others accepting a tier 1 who does not overshadow them, for me to make his behavior continue. And nothing, IC or OOC, to make him let go of the idiot ball in combat.


Warrior, Noun:
a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict

Lemme know when your definition gets into the dictionary on that one. Because until then, the answer is YES.

The second definition of roleplaying if you google it is "participating in a roleplaying game."
So... there's precedent for your definition not being the generally accepted one, at least.

So, assuming that my definition of role-playing is one of the Google definitions, perhaps even the first, then I'm not completely wrong to define it as I do.

However, it sounds like I am wrong to consider broader definitions of warrior or role-playing to be wrong. Fair enough. And terribly unfortunate, from a communication standpoint - like how "man" can mean "human" or the subset of that species that has 2 "X" chromosomes, or... however the rainbow community defines it.

So, seemingly, "role-playing" can mean anything done in an RPG, or the subset of that which involves making choices for the character as the character, the latter of which is one of the things I value when playing RPGs. I have a difficult time seeing the value in saying that one plays RPGs to do RPG things, so one would hope that my meaning would still be obvious...


Of course not. Because that's pants-on-head logic and assumes no one but programmers eat lunch while at tables occupied by Mr. Quertus. However, they could be considered Lunch-eaters.

I do not require everyone who plays D&D with me to roleplay. I mean, sure, I like fellow roleplayers, but if you sit down to D&D as a pure war gamer, here to play undead Battletech, that's fine with me, too. Not everyone who games with "Quertus" is a Roleplayer.


We signal that Mike'w character is convincing through mechanics that he invests points in. Because, as Floret brilliantly put it, otherwise he gets something for nothing. And this all collapses once he's interacting with NPCs.
You need rules.

Ok, I'm a big fan of rules (for most parts of most games, at least), but there are freeform RPGs with no rules. And in those, my system of role-playing will continue to work just fine.

There are also systems, like, say D&D 3.x, that allow characters to spend resources on social skills / abilities / stats... but then do not allow them to utilize said skills / abilities / stats on other PCs. IMO, good role-playing almost demands that the rules be supplemented with something... and "role-playing", as I define it, seems to fit the bill nicely.



It will always be patronizing to be the only guy who gets to skip convincing everyone else because they have to be convinced by you X times per session.

Victories you didn't roll for and were softballed to make you happy will always be hollow.


I've been on Mike's end of the gaming table a couple times. I can confirm from personal experience that it is both patronizing and hollow, and you are better off just letting mike abstract the persuasion.

And you think I haven't? I'm flattered.

I know, it's hard to imagine, but I haven't always been this irresistible charismatic engine of raw charisma. I, too, have known the pain of being unable to convince others. And I can confirm from personal experience that there do exist ways of making charismatic characters act in play as more charismatic than their players that doesn't come off as patronizing and hollow.

Talakeal
2016-11-20, 07:36 PM
Also I don't really understand the three failures of the ship builder analogy. I don't think they effect/go against my main point which I will try stating directly: Representing the full complexities of a thing in real life can be unnecessary in a game and at times harmful to the game/system.[/COLOR]

Maybe I misunderstood you then.

I thought you were saying something along the lines of "If you can reduce something as complex as shipbuilding down to something as simple as rolling a craft skill check, surely you could find a similarly simplified mechanic to determine player behavior."


By not specifically rewarding the granularity, they are not constructing a ceiling, they are failing to put the floor on the level of "Roleplaying"(Roleacting) you deem perfect for you.
And, yes, the thing you describe would fail to reward the play you deem perfect - but: If you want to play what you describe, using the character trait "alcoholic", if the system has that close a definition of what constitutes "roleplaying an alcoholic" was probably a non-ideal choice on your part. Something like "Repentant alcoholic" or "dry alcoholic" might fit the bill far, far better. Sure, the system needs to have some free-form or at least consider such things in its list of options, but I am arguing with what is possible, and not with any specific system.

Also: I never said that it was impossible to build a ceiling, just that it was not a necessary follow-up of having a floor. And I am still not convinced of THAT assertion. :smallwink: .

No, just no. The perfect level of a floor for me is none at all. I am totally fine if someone wants to play "Mike the fighter" who has the personality of a slab of concrete and only lives to kills monsters and take their stuff. I would never play such a character, and if I was in the group with them I would do my best to engage them and draw them out of their shell, but I would never begrudge them their right to RP (or not RP as the case may be) what I consider to be a shallow character.

Now, as for defining a ceiling, we need to actually figure out what system we are talking about. Does the game punish you for failing to RP? Does it reward you for good RP? Does it flat out forbid you to act in a way contrary to your predefined nature? Do the dice dictate your options? What for do the punishment / rewards take? Are they something minor and temporary like a +2 to your next dice roll, or something that will permanently cripple your character like earning no XP for the session?

If the reward is big enough to matter to encourage RP (raising the floor) then it is also going to discourage behavior which the system does not see as RP (thus also lowering the ceiling).

Say for example my character has a code of honor to never harm a woman. To "raise the floor" the system would reward me for protecting women and / or punish me for harming them. But, say part of my character backstory is that when I was a small child I was physically abused by one of my aunts, and as a result when we are fighting a bandit queen who is the spitting image of my aunt I ignore my code of honor and take out my repressed childhood trauma on her, beating her to within a half inch of her life. Now, this is in character behavior that I would certainly consider roleplaying, but at this point most system would then either punish me or withhold my reward, thus I have to choose between doing what I think my character would do and what the system rewards. IF the punishment / reward system motivates me enough to "raise the floor" it will also, in this case, motivate me enough to ignore RP in favor of the rewards, thereby "lowering the ceiling".

Earlier in the thread someone sarcastically used the example of "Always protects young beautiful redheads in the hours between 7 and 11, unless they are taller than 5ft 6" as something that is ok for a character to do but not something the system should reward, but if you actually wanted a character with anywhere near the depth that I am comfortable RPing at (and I am by no means claiming to be the worlds best or deepest RPer) then I would need dozens of pages of such stipulations, more than I would ever be able to actually sit down and write out, let alone get anyone else in the game interested in reading.



Free-form/rule-less LARP can be insanely frustrating for powergamers, as they don't actually weild any measurable "power" that they can guaranteedly influence others with.


This is kind of a loaded statement, don't you think? Although I do actually share this sentiment, I would have just phrased it as:

"Free-form/rule-less LARP can be insanely frustrating for people who like to be immersed in a fictional world because their characters don't actually have any defined capabilities and thus cannot interact with the setting in any predictable manner."



As for the last question... don't know how that relates to the rest of the argument but (With examples of what I experienced already, keep in mind, Larp can vary wildly, and German Larp is somewhat different from American afaik): Fantastic monsters are a combination of makeup, animatronics and special effects (Buffed up Chaos warriors coming out of (fog machine) fog; Golem Suits...); epic vistas a matter of choosing the appropriate location (Looking down through the forested valleys from the tower of an old castle); Magic a matter of effects (well-hidden microphone and speakers on a mage for thundering voice, a fireball-shooter hidden on the wrist shooting a fireball out in the sky to threaten back the bandits). All doable, with certain planning and willingness to invest time, effort and money.

I actually cannot fathom this. This is so far outside of my realm of experience that I am not sure I can even have a meaningful argument about it. That style of gaming must be totally alien to me and what you get out of gaming must be totally different than what I get out of gaming.

I will say that I don't think that even if I had all the time and money in the world I could pull of even a tenth of the scenarios I have ran / played in over the years.



I mean, sure, you are bound by your physical limitations somewhat. I will never be able to play a dwarf. Or whatever else of the "small races" that are so very abundant. But with makeup, applications, wigs, contact lenses and similar things, and even just with very clever usage of how your clothes are sewn and body posture, you can extend that range quite a bit. (Someone once wondered how I had grown 10cm since play ended. I obviously didn't, I just changed my default posture.)
And... that is a weird shortcoming. I had no problems seing other people's characters as distinct from them, nor they my character as distinct from me. I don't think that that is actually much more likely in LARP as it is in TRPGs, at least in LARP you had some optical help for imagining the character. (Distinguishing "no, the person behind the character does not actually hold these terrible views", for example, is perfectly common.) I mean, sure, your characters tend to look more similar to you than they do in TRPGs, but I don't think that fact actually constitutes much of an argument. People have doppelgangers IRL as well.

Ok, so the character I have been playing and thoroughly enjoying for the last three years:

Is a different gender than myself.
Is a different ethnicity than myself.
Is four inches taller than I am.
Is a hundred pounds lighter than I am.
Is fifteen years younger than I am.
Has a different voice range and accent than I do.
Has a different hair style and color than I do. As well as a different eye and skin color.
Has a different fashion sense than I do.
Has significantly different facial features and body type than I do.
Is in significantly better shape than I am even discounting my bad back and asthma.
Is a talented gymnast and fencer while I am so clumsy I literally have trouble walking and chewing at the same time sometimes.
Is a trained surgeon while I am barely competent to put on a Band-Aid.

If I even tried to LARP this character I would look ridiculous and no one would be able to see past it or take anything I did seriously. Plus I would have to cut off most of my hair and shave my beard, which is a lot to ask out of a game. I would also not enjoy the game, and I would literally kill myself if I seriously tried for some reason, as she is the type who never gives up and, as I said above, is in significantly better shape than I am. Plus, I literally can't do the things she does, and am not sure why LARPing would be any more immersive than table top if I have to constantly "play pretend"; for example rolling a dice to perform surgery is, in my mind, no more or less immersive than simply kneeling over someone and waving my hands while wiping away fresh blood.


And yeah, I could make a character who didn't have any of those features that would be easier to LARP. But then we have made the problem worse rather than better; I want to play the character I want to play and the rules of the game are fighting against me.

Cluedrew
2016-11-20, 08:12 PM
Yes, I absolutely do metagame. I not only recognize this fact, I also recognize that one of my flaws as a gamer is that I do not do so as much as I probably should.Metagaming has so many negative connotations that it is surprising to here anyone say they don't metagame enough.


Maybe I misunderstood you then.

I thought you were saying something along the lines of "If you can reduce something as complex as shipbuilding down to something as simple as rolling a craft skill check, surely you could find a similarly simplified mechanic to determine player behavior."What we have here is a breakdown in communication. Anything to say about the new clearer version?

I suppose you could boil it down you didn't want to bother with characterization as an important part of the game. But I'm not so interested in that game, at least not as an role-playing game.

Quertus
2016-11-20, 08:25 PM
Metagaming has so many negative connotations that it is surprising to here anyone say they don't metagame enough.

Said negative connotations are exactly the reason I don't metagame as much as I should. That never stopped me from rules lawyering, because I immediately saw how valuable playing by the rules was, but it was not as immediately obvious to me how important doing things for reasons other than "that's what the character would do" was. I'm still learning to overcome the stigma of Metagaming.

Hawkstar
2016-11-21, 12:46 AM
Metagaming has so many negative connotations that it is surprising to here anyone say they don't metagame enough.
And doing what your character would do has so many negative connotations I'm surprised anyone bothers roleplaying. Between these, I'm shocked this hobby even exists.

Snark aside - So many people here cling to The Giant's 'Decide to (re)Act Differently" quote that they seem to ignore the immediately prior one, which outright encourages the "But it's what my character would do!" behavior - His Samurai decided to throw caution to the wind, running into trap after trap after trap. At that table, that could easily be seen as "Jackass Behavior" because it clashes with the party's goal to take it safer, and puts a strain on resources (Either healing, or leaving the party down a man when they're dead). A lot of players are either insecure enough to never risk the "Throw caution to the wind" part to play their character in the manner that they actually want to, or are in a group that's hostile to doing such.

If you have a problem with "But that's what my character would do", it means you have a problem with roleplaying. Maybe the problem is in the character made. Maybe the problem is the player is being disingenuous, and using it as an excuse to be a jackass when it ISN'T what his character would actually do. But most of the time, at least in my personal experience (And is pointed out in that article), it's something the character really would do based on their values and ethics. If the problem is the character is disruptive, that could very well be a problem during Character Creation - but it may not be apparent if there aren't personality-defining mechanics in place.