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View Full Version : I Like To Be Constrained (general gaming)



Goober4473
2008-06-27, 08:28 AM
This thought was brought on by thinking about the differances between 3rd and 4th edition D&D, but really has nothing to do with them directly.

So I was thinking about the options of making characters. People have been saying you can't make as many kinds of characters in 4th Edition as earlier versions of the game. But even before that, I remember tons of times playing in a setting I had set up and detailed, and some player would want to play a character that doesn't fit the setting, campaign, party, etc. at all. It really seems to bother a lot of people that they can't make any character they can imagine.

So, I love when players think outside the box and make weird characters with interesting stories, but sometimes what's been laid out sets limits on that. For example, a setting with no magic, but psionics. You can't play a wizard. I'm sorry, but it just isn't going to happen.

And thinking about all this, I realized that I like to be limited. I like to have boundries, because then within those boundries, I can let my creativity go nuts. I can think about how the setting affects my character, and how s/he fits into it, in context, rather than some arbitrary concept floating in a void waiting to be plucked out and put into a game.

Take the GURPS system for example. Great system. I love it. But if a GM told me, "make a 200 point character. Tech level 10." I'd be kind of lost for a little while, and then I'd start setting my own boundries. Maybe I'd end up making a whole society, planet, race, whatever, just to give myself a starting point. But if the GM gave me setting information, even something really simple like, "you're on an expedition from Earth to X, traveling on this space ship," and maybe a little about the state of Earth in the setting, I'd have an awesome starting place already set out for me, and I can flesh it out.

I guess ultimately I love all the details. When I'm presented with an open universe of anything I can think of, I can't focus on the details because I have to think about the large scale. When a system or setting presents me with more restrictions, I feel like the small choices are much more important, and I can spend all the more time on the details.

Anyways, just some up-all-night rambling. Any thoughts on this?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-06-27, 08:37 AM
Takes all kinds, I suppose. Personally, I just couldn't get Queen's "I want to break free" out of my head while reading your post :smalltongue:

Seriously though, some people just want to play a game and not have to scratch-build an entire mythos around one character. Others really hate having anyone tell them how to play their character - why, I'd say "class" is probably anathema to them!

Fortunately, the great wide capitalist world of RPGs provides for about every flavor of gamer. And if you're feeling Marxist, seize the means of RPG production and build your own system! :smallbiggrin:

Another_Poet
2008-06-27, 08:49 AM
Anyways, just some up-all-night rambling. Any thoughts on this?

I agree.

AP

OneFamiliarFace
2008-06-27, 08:51 AM
I'm totally with you on this one. As a DM, I love setting up single race campaigns, among other things (and I would like to head off naysaying on this one by saying that I always ask the players first. they have a blast with the idea). I enjoyed rumaging through my library of 3.5 books to find just the right feat or spell (almost like a 3.5 wizard and my note cards), but ultimately preferred to have to think why my character is this way.

Right now, the PbPs I'm are one where we hade to make undead (not too constraining), and one where our character had to represent one of the cards in a royal flush (constraining in very interesting ways).

But I'm more of a DM, so to sate my own self and all of my various players, I'm starting up two 4e PbPs. One will be an all-dwarf campaign for the roleplayers. And one will be a no-holds barred, I'm-making-rules-so-a-guy-can-play-Kenku, fightfest to try out the new 4e rules.

@Oracle_Hunter: All very good points. And one of the reasons this is such a great game. We can make it whatever we want! I would encourage people to try constraining themselves at somepoint though, just to try it out. You don't have to build a nation, just a personality (though I can see how that can sometimes be harder)!

Pronounceable
2008-06-27, 11:18 AM
I agree.

AP

I agree with him.

I also think RPGing shouldn't include mathematical exercise coupled with research. Though that may come from having dealt with crap like that and not want to do that in a damn hobby.

Green Bean
2008-06-27, 11:26 AM
This thread is much less kinky than I was expecting. :smalltongue:


Seriously, though, I see what you mean. It's tough to make a character if you don't know what the setting is, especially if you're using a system that doesn't have predefined classes. On the other hand, though, it's those systems that give you a lot of options that allow you to build a character close to your concept.

loopy
2008-06-27, 11:53 AM
I agree with him.

I disagree with this point of cnsvnc's on principle.

The principle being that it is cnsvnc that suggested it.

Sucrose
2008-06-27, 12:04 PM
I also feel this way, though not in exactly the same way as OneFamiliarFace.

I really like it when a campaign has a well-defined world, so that I can make my character a citizen of the setting. I don't really care one way or the other about limitations beyond what's present in the world.

That said, that applies to my character concept, not necessarily the mechanical implementation thereof. I like to be able to make characters that are both interesting to play and interesting to write. I like to have resource management, and I like abilities that can be useful in different ways in different situations.

I have no personal objections to limitations on race, but limitations on class could sometimes (all-Monk, or all-Fighter, mostly) be difficult for me to manage.

Pronounceable
2008-06-27, 02:43 PM
I disagree with this point of cnsvnc's on principle.

The principle being that it is cnsvnc that suggested it.

Objection! I refuse such accusations of suggestive behaviour.

Talya
2008-06-27, 02:51 PM
I Like To Be Constrained

I'm not sure that this is an appropriate topic...oh wait, that's restrained. Carry on.

Alchemistmerlin
2008-06-27, 03:08 PM
Exactly: Lack of options is why Candy Land is better than Checkers which is of course better than Chess.

Damn it do I want to be the Blue gingerbread guy or the Green?! I can't decide!

Dan_Hemmens
2008-06-27, 03:15 PM
That's pretty much my position.

I wonder, actually, if there's a correlation between people who like constraints, and people who play a lot of different systems. Because I can totally see how somebody who only plays D&D will want the game to be as flexible as possible, while those like me who don't really like to play the same game for more than about six months to a year will want a system that does something different.

ashmanonar
2008-06-27, 03:51 PM
This thread is much less kinky than I was expecting. :smalltongue:


Seriously, though, I see what you mean. It's tough to make a character if you don't know what the setting is, especially if you're using a system that doesn't have predefined classes. On the other hand, though, it's those systems that give you a lot of options that allow you to build a character close to your concept.

Honestly. People gotta stop doing that to me.

Rift_Wolf
2008-06-27, 04:17 PM
I'm in the mind that constraint games level out the playing field between newcomers and Senior splatbook. If at the start of the game you give a list of books you can use (And any newcomer can borrow DM's books if they want) it stops abuse, and also stops newcomers feeling they have to buy 40-50 of splatbook to keep up with other people. Also if you build a city with thoughts as to the highest level wizards, fighters, etc. it stops people being able to buy any magic item ("I'm afraid the local blacksmith-wizards aren't high enough level for your +3 vorpal keen greatsword" or "no-one in town knows how to make a continuous ioun stone of Girallon's blessing" sounds better than an arbitrary "no").
Constraints make for good encounter hooks as well. For instance, in a game I DM'ed, necromancy was illegal (punishable by death), however clerics could still request necromancy spells (As they were ultimately responsible to higher authorities than mortal law). After a LG cleric used a curse spell on a wanted criminal to bring him in for a bounty, the party was questioned to ascertain whether they were harbouring necromancers. I let them off with a slap on the wrist, but you get the idea.