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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Why can't a PC full attack and cast a spell and activate a supernatural power all in the same round?

    Why can this monster?

    The ability to do so clearly exists - what's a PC gotta do to gain / duplicate that ability?
    How about a Hasted Scourge-Aasimar Cleric:
    -Channel Divinity, Spiritual Weapon, hasted Weapon Attack (which is a Full Attack for a Cleric), and maybe an Opportunity Attack too.
    -Radiant Consumption, Mass Healing Word, readied action to attack from Haste.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Spend their entire life as a dragon and also still be a dragon. Dragons cast spells while attacking because they're big magical monsters who are naturally good at casting spells as part of maulings.
    That's almost useful.

    So, my goal becomes to use Dragon blood to breed a new race of super soldier gishes, and use them and their superior action economy to take over the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Why should they be able to?
    That's exactly my question about the Dragon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Look, this is something that has gone terribly wrong with D&D: Instead of the rules being there to model the object, the object has to be bent around in such a way that it has to conform with the rules.

    Take a look at games that handle "speed" as a real factor, either in the more abstract sense of "Initiative passes" like you get in ShadowRun or World of Darkness, or in a more concrete sense of "tick systems", like Splittermond. Then compare that to the simplified combat round setup you have in 3E+ D&D. You´re old hand at this and repeatedly say that AD&D 2nd is you fav. edition, so you should know how the original idea of the "combat round" was to model all that happens in that particular time frame at once, step by step. Hence why spell casting could be interrupted, how weapon specialization with the 3/2 format works and all of that.

    Now "Legendary" and "Lair" actions go beyond the simple action economy of 5E and model what the creature should really be capable of. A fully-fledged Dragon simple has more to offer than your regular Grey Elf Arcane Knight with his bow and puny spells.
    If the rules are there to model the object, as you put it, then there should be something definable about the object that gives it this special status in the rules.

    Then, when the PCs know that they need to fight a small army of orcs, and such action economy advantages would really come in handy, they should be able to point to that "something", and figure out what they can do to get it.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-05-17 at 06:00 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Then, when the PCs know that they need to fight a small army of orcs, and such action economy advantages would really come in handy, they should be able to point to that "something", and figure out what they can do to get it.
    So i guess what I'm understanding is that you fundamentally are against a system where the NPC enemies have any ability that the PCs can't get if they are willing to put enough resource behind it? I think I understand what you are saying now. YOu are less concerned about the lack of logic to the individual item as you are a fundamental fairness that every entity, player or NPC, should be able to get access to it.

    I can understand and respect that. I don't agree with it, but I understand and respect that. If that's what takaleal's players are saying, then I guess they need to go back to 3e and leave 5e.

    How do you feel about the monster-only feats from 3e? Do you allow PCs to take them?
    Last edited by Gallowglass; 2019-05-17 at 06:06 PM.
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    I'm imagining this guy when he's lvl 20, asked to give a speech for the graduating class of the Magicianl Institute of Theurgy: "Who will answer the call? If you're smart, not you! Abandoning my comrades to certain death has made me the successful mage I am today. When the world sends a hellcat to rip out the throats of your friends, you stay on that floor and milk as much healing out of your healer as possible."

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    They can feel however they want to feel. But it's six donuts either way. I think it a legitimate conversational purpose to try and point out the reasons why their perception of the problem does not jive with the reality of the situation in the hopes of getting them to change their mind about it.
    Yes, if there is no difference, then a discussion with them can lead them away from their objection.
    Or there might be a difference that is invisible, or at least a non issue, to us but not to them.

    There is a mechanical difference in action order between Legendary actions vs non Legendary actions. That might be a root of the objection. Although the asymmetry is another likely candidate for the root of the objection. Roots for objections to asymmetry are even harder to address IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    how about...

    I think its valid to find changed rules troubling as you are still getting used to them. And I think its valid to say "after giving it a try I just like the old way better." ?
    Quite diplomatically put. That would be a good way to help diffuse Talakael's social tension.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    Hey now! That's signature worthy....
    Sure. What you said in that context was obviously right so you were obviously right about that.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-17 at 06:25 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    How many turns did the Dragon get between PC1's turns? Do you see how that might feel different to PC1 than if the Dragon did all of that on the Dragon's single turn? Do you see why some players might prefer A to B despite you preferring B to A? Several times in this thread posters have explained why Legendary actions might feel worse than non Legendary action solutions. We have done this because Talakeal's players have an objection that Talakeal has forgotten to describe in detail. Each time you replied with "No, think about it like this instead" like you did in the remainder of the post. Knowing why someone might not object is not as useful until we hear why Talakeal's players object. However in the meantime it might be wise if we all recognize some of the possible objections. Instead of saying "No, think about it this way instead". We get it, you do not object to Legendary actions and even like them. I don't object to them and I have tried to be productive by trying to figure out why Talakael's players might object.

    Now, rather than saying they can't feel like that. Could we examine possible roots to that criticism and ways to address them other than by saying "No, you are wrong, clearly your 6 donuts are a half dozen donuts." Maybe the players prefer having more time before the enemy can react even at the cost of having the dragon react more at once.

    PS: Roughly half of this frustration is at Talakeal rather than you.
    Why exactly are you so frustrated?

    I am giving all the information my players give me, basically it boils down to "PCs and NPCs playing by different rules just feels unfair."
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Why exactly are you so frustrated?

    I am giving all the information my players give me, basically it boils down to "PCs and NPCs playing by different rules just feels unfair."
    I was frustrated because I did not know which of the following 2 frustrating cases we were dealing with. Now I am frustrated because it is a frustrating case.
    A) Talakeal did not find out why the players dislike the asymmetry. (The case at hand)
    B) Talakeal did find out but did not mention it. (Not the case)

    From plenty of these previous threads Talakeal, the forum has given you the advice to talk/ask/listen to your players when a disagreement occurs. That fundamental advice helps "socially disarm the situation or mechanically change the rules". In marketing the fundamental rule is "Location Location Location", in DMing the fundamental tool is "Communication Communication Communication"

    Ask then why they feel it is unfair. Done right, this lets them know you recognize and respect that they find the asymmetry to be unfair, ALSO it lets them know that you want to understand why it feels unfair, AND it lets them know you want to address their underlying concerns. Once they communicate why it feels unfair, then you can explain the benefits the asymmetry gives you. Once you have done that, then you can together figure out how to create the best possible solution. There might be a really simple solution, but it will only be visible to those that know the situation.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-17 at 07:53 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Why exactly are you so frustrated?

    I am giving all the information my players give me, basically it boils down to "PCs and NPCs playing by different rules just feels unfair."
    They've given you the reason and yet there's still a lot of arguments here about whether the reason is valid. That's really not for anyone but them to decide. True Polymorph lets you become one of these legendary creatures yet per Monster Manual errata you do NOT gain the legendary actions. Again PCs and NPCs play by different rules and your Wizard-Dragon is only a Half-Dragon.

    I'm slightly offended by some of the posts I've seen inferring that this perception is absurd and enjoy even less the continued reference to mechanics when it was flat out stated to be a perception problem. I don't think anyone objecting to legendary actions truly cares about whether it's mechanically similar or not so I'm not sure why that discussion is happening at all. The fact that it's more or less realistic is also not on the table because it's blatant cheating. It has nothing to do with people not being used to the new rules; it has to do with the new rules not being consistent between enemies and allies. Some players actually enjoy planning their turns around a predictable initiative system and even that has been thrown out the window by actions that can happen any time the DM feels like it, regardless of what the creature JUST DID during the occupying time slot as it would appear in the mind.

    I've said my piece, the players have said theirs, all that's left is for understanding or solutions. I'm done here and I hope you resolve your dilemma peacefully.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Writing on my phone, so editing quotes to a manageable length is not feasible right now.

    I did not “do it again” or even at all. Telling people that “six” and “a half dozen” are he same thing, and the only difference is the presentation, doesn’t tell them how they feel. It does express why I think they are making a poor choice to feel differently about the two presentations.

    I’m not telling anybody how they feel. I may be telling them hat I believe hey should feel differently, and be providing reasons I think they can. It seems like choosing to look at something in a way that makes one upset when one has a way to look at it hat is fine with one is a poor choice. After all, people like being happy more than upset.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Writing on my phone, so editing quotes to a manageable length is not feasible right now.
    We are at an impasse. At this point we will not convince each other so Agree to Disagree.

    Plus, it is not like we can help much until Talakeal talks to their players. Even a difference only in the presentation results from some mechanic of the presentation and we need the players to tell us.

    Edit: Shortened to increase clarity.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-18 at 02:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    We are at an impasse. At this point we will not convince each other so Agree to Disagree.

    Plus, it is not like we can help much until Talakeal talks to their players. Even a difference only in the presentation results from some mechanic of the presentation and we need the players to tell us.

    Edit: Shortened to increase clarity.
    I have talked to my players, many times. I just talked to them yesterday about the issue.

    They do not like it when NPCs and PCs follow different rules.

    This has been a problem with my group (some current players and some former players) going back decades. I remember when I ran the original Dragonlance modules which had a rule that the DM only needed to actually keep track of NPC caster's two highest level spell slots and below that just assume they had the spell they needed; I loved this rule because it made very little difference in game but made it so much easier to DM, but my players hated it and when I proposed continuing to use it in future D&D campaigns my players threatened to walk.

    Likewise my players have often demanded that I give enemies random attrition to even the playing field; because they have to ration their abilities to go through the dungeon I need to have the monsters already injured and with empty spell slots to keep it fair. This was especially bad in Werewolf where every character has three resource tracks (rage, gnosis, willpower) and the NPCs would often go nova in combat because they were about to die anyway.

    I have tried using analogies of other RPGs or tabletop miniatures games where "minions" "heroes" or "monsters" use different rules to explain the necessities of game balance, but they always say that they don't like those rules either,



    It doesn't actually seem to be an argument about fairness or verisimilitude or anything like that, merely the idea that different pieces playing by different rules in the same game feels fundamentally wrong to them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kyutaru View Post
    The fact that it's more or less realistic is also not on the table because it's blatant cheating.
    Before you go, could you please explain where the blatant cheating is here? We are just following the rules exactly as written.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    That's why my initial advice was the liberal use of a cattle prod with them.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Just suggesting the blatantly obvious:

    if they dislike different Rules for Player Characters and NPC`s THAT much, why dont you just use a system that uses the exact same rules for all of them?
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    Just suggesting the blatantly obvious:

    if they dislike different Rules for Player Characters and NPC`s THAT much, why dont you just use a system that uses the exact same rules for all of them?
    Because we don't want to find and learn an entirely new system that may or may not be the game we want in other ways?

    Heck, even modifyimg the games we do play would be a nightmare for everyone involved as I tend to play games that have "meta-narrative mechanics" like action points and rerolls that would make play slow to a frustrating crawl and be a nightmare to track, not to mention the players would then pitch a fit about the NPCs not having to ration them like they did in Werewolf.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    The your players either need to accept that they’re playing an asymmetric game, or acknowledge that they don’t want to and switch to a symmetric game

    They don’t get to have their cake and eat it too.

    Also it’s worth listening to them a bit more on rules disputes - the responses earlier indicate that they feel you are being unfair in terms of ruling in favor of the enemies when disputes come up. Revealing enemy abilities before battle could help too.

    (Note that “attrition rules” are asymmetric anyway.)
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    I used to be very firmly on the side of absolute symmetry between PCs and NPCs. I've come to see it much differently now, but I guess I can see where those arguments come from. I just can't agree with them anymore. 3E's biggest illusion isn't that you can be a hero or adventurer in a fantasy land; it's that the rules realistically portray some kind of objective reality. Well, I guess I could understand the desire to have sapient NPC enemies operate under the same rules as PCs. Not so much with dragons and other monsters.

    Legendary actions exist to solve a very concrete problem - action economy in boss fights. Unless the boss enemy is overwhelmingly more powerful than the PCs, they can drown it in their own actions. Particularly if they have action denial abilities. It's not like it's a D&D-specific problem, either. In our Dark Heresy game, we had this antagonist who dismantled our melee specialist in close combat when they ended up fighting one on one. But when we fought him later, he went down in a single round to a hail of overwatch fire. Since then our GM has added extra actions in various forms to all bosses. And it's worked much better.

    In other words, if you get so hung up on the rules being an accurate representation of the world's physics (which they will never be), you better have some other idea on how to let players have battles against dragons, vampire lords and what have you.
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-05-18 at 01:14 PM.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have talked to my players, many times. I just talked to them yesterday about the issue.

    They do not like it when NPCs and PCs follow different rules.
    So there is no underlying reason. Huh, I did not predict that. There were myriad possible underlying reasons, but sometimes something is the reason itself.

    Well in that case have you considered making the enemies using the PC rules, judging their CR via the NPC rules, and then treating them as real entities that use some of their resources each day? Maybe notice how few resources the PCs use on their downtime days and apply that as a reasonable attrition to NPCs in the NPC's base. Maybe walk the players through the process once or twice so the players could see how much more effort it is to create a humanoid boss, and then a Dragon using PC rules than it is using NPC rules. Showing them the waste of time might help them empathize with you and suggest better solutions / compromises.

    If there had been an underlying reason, then you could try to have your cake and eat it too. But if that is the root of the matter, then the solution is the clunky one.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-18 at 01:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    So there is no underlying reason.
    There is. It looks like the player see themselves in competition with the GM, so they demand "fair play". That's also why they react so badly when monster abilities get changed or monsters act in a way that is closed to characters. Overall, that's a pretty stupid and toxic approach to gaming that will lead nowhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    There is. It looks like the player see themselves in competition with the GM, so they demand "fair play". That's also why they react so badly when monster abilities get changed or monsters act in a way that is closed to characters. Overall, that's a pretty stupid and toxic approach to gaming that will lead nowhere.
    Eh they seem to like the tactical approach in gaming and do not like it when they are surprised by abilities that they didn’t expect.

    That’s why I suggested just basically showing the stat blocks at the beginning of combat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I find the idea that everyone acts in discrete turns to be extremely gamist and immersion breaking to begin with, and the idea of something taking its actions gradually over time rather than in one distinct burst of activity actually helps with my view of the narrative.
    Me too, I like combat systems that mess with that at least a little bit. And we are willingly to not be competitive about it, just through out turn order and figure out who goes next straight from friction.

    Have you considered asking them to solve the problem? Outline what you want from legendary actions and offer to try* any solution they can find to those problems? I feel it is a long shot but... maybe it will work.

    * From previous stories be very explicate about the possibility of going back to the old rules if it doesn't work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    So there is no underlying reason. Huh, I did not predict that. There were myriad possible underlying reasons, but sometimes something is the reason itself.
    It may be the root cause (or the root cause is "this is what I am used to and changing it pulls me out of my comfort zone") but I feel they haven't quite been able to put their figure on why yet. It might be "universe consistency" but since its Talakeal's players I want to say it is a desire to win and strip their foes of any advantage. I may be misjudging them.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    There is. It looks like the player see themselves in competition with the GM, so they demand "fair play". That's also why they react so badly when monster abilities get changed or monsters act in a way that is closed to characters. Overall, that's a pretty stupid and toxic approach to gaming that will lead nowhere.
    Sigh
    1) Of the possible underlying reasons there are plenty of non toxic reasons. Including many guesses listed in this thread. Please don't presume malice when there is equal likelihood of virtue or at least neutral reasons instead.
    2) Talakeal is the only one with first hand knowledge. If they say there is no underlying reason, we have no way to disprove that to Talakeal unless Talakeal gives information that contradicts their statement.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-18 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    The rules are the same. Just let them play monsters if they want to. It may take some eyeballing of the balance for a bit, but the only thing stopping it from being “the same rules” is the line of “no PCs may take these races/builds.”

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    I'd be interested in whether / how much gamers' opinions on whether NPCs and PCs should use the same rules varies based on what subsection of the game is in question.

    Character creation?

    Combat?

    Social interactions? (Including NPC vs NPC.)

    Skill uses (such as determining whether an NPC succeeds at a task they're doing for a PC).

    Etc.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-05-19 at 07:29 AM. Reason: missing word "varies", shouldn't post while that tired
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'd be interested in whether / how much gamers' opinions on whether NPCs and PCs should use the same rules based on what subsection of the game is in question.Etc.
    It depends on the game. I don't think there's a "right" way to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'd be interested in whether / how much gamers' opinions on whether NPCs and PCs should use the same rules based on what subsection of the game is in question.
    Koo Rehtorb is right. Which way the pros and cons balance out depends on the intentions of that game session or moment.

    Character Creation:
    1) Balance is hard either way-
    Both symmetry and asymmetry create different balancing hardships for me as a DM. D&D 3rd edition used mostly symmetry but tried to articulate the difference in calculating balance for PCs vs NPCs because other circumstances (like attrition and lifespan) would be asymmetric. In contrast D&D 5th edition used an asymmetric system. To support the symmetry 3rd edition had to clearly communicate intuitions about how to calculate the balance and we still had to worry about WotC being bad at estimating ECL for monstrous PC races. In contrast 5th edition is easier for me to create a balanced NPC but has not communicated the intuitions, so I have to blindly rely on the calculators while my intuitions break numerous presumptions. How can an archmage be an appropriate encounter for low level PCs.
    2) Asymmetry allows for faster NPC generation. This can be quite useful if you are making lots of NPCs.
    3) Symmetry allows players to use the cool things monsters get. There is a reason people played Monstrous PC races in 3rd edition. It might be neat to play a beholder, and I don't mean a dwarf "refluffed" as a beholder. Symmetry makes this much easier to adjudicate as a DM.

    Combat:
    Obviously it matters to some players. I am ambivalent between using a multi tiered NPC group VS using legendary actions to solve the action economy imbalance. If I were better at balancing I might even permit the action economy imbalance.

    Social Interactions:
    NPC vs PC is sometimes mechanically supported (Save vs Charm) and sometimes Roleplayed (Tell players the argument the NPC tells the PCs). Everyone find a different place to draw this line. I have drawn a similar line in the case of PC vs PC interactions. I could definitely see drawing a line in the case of NPC vs NPC interactions. Especially if the possibility of failure might impact the outcome of a PC plan. Say if the PCs have alerted the Queen about the Viser's innocence, the Queen might actually roll a save vs the Butler's domination spell. All in all I definitely lean towards symmetry in this case for all the major agents. The background characters background interactions still don't need rolls ever (too many dice).

    Skill uses:
    Yeah, I could definitely see using symmetry for skill uses. If a check does not need a roll, it does not matter if the character is a NPC or a PC. If the check needs a roll, then the character rolls it. Especially if the result impacts a PC's plan.

    Etc.:
    No. There needs to be an absolute asymmetry between the PCs and NPCs on the use of the word etc. The word frequency of "etc" should be a universal constant for all characters in the realm.

    Conclusion:
    I generally see symmetry as more useful for my gaming situation. However I have mutually exclusive desires in Character Creation and ambivalence in Combat. Furthermore I can imagine different valid gaming styles that would differ from me on each point.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2019-05-19 at 12:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'd be interested in whether / how much gamers' opinions on whether NPCs and PCs should use the same rules based on what subsection of the game is in question.

    Character creation?

    Combat?

    Social interactions? (Including NPC vs NPC.)

    Skill uses (such as determining whether an NPC succeeds at a task they're doing for a PC).

    Etc.
    I tend to strongly prefer asymmetry in rules as well as campaigns in which the rules are mutable/extensible (and where that transformation is an expected part of play). But at the same time, I prefer strong narrative consistency (which does not mean symmetry, but symmetry violations can impinge on it in some cases). I tend to see the rules as a metagame construct first and foremost, rather than as describing the world first and foremost with the metagame consequences following from there.

    The GM could run a game by only ever describing in-character experiences and never say a word about anything else, leading people to draw right or wrong conclusions about how even their own character works. But as a metagame conceit, it is useful (for planning, feeling of agency, etc) for some of those things to not be left uncertain. Having players be unaware of how their characters' work tends to be more to the detriment of the game than to its benefit in most cases, so even if it would be more realistic if no one actually got to know the rules by which their character functions, it's beneficial to issue a guarantee: 'this is how your stuff functions, so you can figure out what actions to take or how to build your character'. It makes for a much better game that way, but not because of realism or verisimilitude - it's actually (in my view at least) entirely a game-level consideration.

    When the GM specifies something as a rule rather than describing an in-character point of view or experience, to me they're saying 'I would like you to be able to take this as a guarantee of how something will work going forward'. Not everything in the world has to be covered by such guarantees, and each such guarantee can have a limited context for which it holds. Having an explicit guarantee about how an NPC's abilities work can be metagame-beneficial in some contexts, just as not having that guarantee can be beneficial in other contexts.

    Instead of saying that 'the rules should be symmetric', I would tend to say that 'the GM should commit to the natural consequences of the fiction that they introduce'. So it's fine if an NPC has different stats and skills than my character, but if that difference leads to some consequences at the level of the fiction in one context, then those consequences should be carried forward to other contexts in which they would logically still apply. For example, if it's established that there's a character in the setting who is narratively established as being able to freely edit the past and no one else can do anything to acquire that ability, that's fine. But if my character is interacting with them, that ability shouldn't suddenly go away just because I might convince them to edit the past on my behalf for example. Or if there's an enemy who can narratively tank nukes and punch out cities, if I convince them to join the side of the PCs they shouldn't suddenly become vulnerable to things that wouldn't have harmed them before.

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I'd be interested in whether / how much gamers' opinions on whether NPCs and PCs should use the same rules based on what subsection of the game is in question.
    It will largely depend on what the actual game is and how it is supposed to be played. It´s also very dependent on how and what the rules are used for in the first place.

    For example, a game with a heavy focus on "balanced combat" and with a tight mechanical structure supporting this, cannot really use the same character generation rules for PCs and for NPCs. A, say, CR 6 Harpy has a stat core that is based around the fixed structure of "CR 6 normal skirmisher" with added features that model what makes the harpy different from other "CR 6 normal skirmisher" monsters, so wings, stinks a lot and such. Reason being that the Harpy is purpose-build

    The again, even a game with deep roots in "model in-game reality" can have some problems here, unless you play a very human-centric game. A Troll will be way more powerful, robust and enduring than a Human, including the archetypical regeneration ability. There's nothing "unfair" about it, it´s just the difference between Human and Troll, expressed in stats.

    The same differences crop up in other areas of the game, too. A game with a focus on "model in-game reality" will most likely be heavily based on modeling actions and tasks and use a task-based resolution mechanic. The tasks of "cook a meal" or "weave a basket" should be universal and resolved in an identical way across the board, for example by using the cooking skill in an identical way - grilling a steak will always be, say, DC 10.

    That would be different in a "challenged-based approach", similar to "balanced combat". Most likely, the game will then use various sub-systems, like "social", "exploration", "chases" and such, with the internal logic being build around the difficulty and complexity of the whole "challenge", while skills are the necessary interface to interact with it, but by themselves reflecting nothing.

    So, overall, I think it´s mood unless we talk about the nature of the game first.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    So i guess what I'm understanding is that you fundamentally are against a system where the NPC enemies have any ability that the PCs can't get if they are willing to put enough resource behind it? I think I understand what you are saying now. YOu are less concerned about the lack of logic to the individual item as you are a fundamental fairness that every entity, player or NPC, should be able to get access to it.

    I can understand and respect that. I don't agree with it, but I understand and respect that. If that's what takaleal's players are saying, then I guess they need to go back to 3e and leave 5e.

    How do you feel about the monster-only feats from 3e? Do you allow PCs to take them?
    This took some thought.

    Suppose we were to make an RPG about an antimatter / dark matter / whatever universe invading the "normal" universe. Suppose that, in this game, brings from the various universes literally follow different laws of physics.

    In that scenario, I would have no problem with different universe characters having different abilities.

    If one could only play PCs from one universe, I might grumble a bit (why can't I play CoC as the Cthulhu monsters? Trying to achieve my goals in an alien land while hiding from investigators sounds fun), but I could accept it.

    If physics says that a dragon gets lots of attacks/actions because of its size and shape, and PCs can Polymorph to attain that size and shape, but do not get the attacks/actions, then the logic falls apart.

    Sure, you could claim that it's a matter of training, of skill at using the form - but then that just leads to a desire for rules about practicing with a form, or spells to emulate / steal / remove skill at a form. If no Wizard has ever developed a spell to make a dragon feel awkward in its own body, and therefore lost its Legendary Actions, then the setting just feels dumb. The setting shouldn't have to hold the idiot ball to not fall apart.

    Everything that is a part of the setting should be able to be interacted with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I have talked to my players, many times. I just talked to them yesterday about the issue.

    They do not like it when NPCs and PCs follow different rules.

    This has been a problem with my group (some current players and some former players) going back decades. I remember when I ran the original Dragonlance modules which had a rule that the DM only needed to actually keep track of NPC caster's two highest level spell slots and below that just assume they had the spell they needed; I loved this rule because it made very little difference in game but made it so much easier to DM, but my players hated it and when I proposed continuing to use it in future D&D campaigns my players threatened to walk.

    Likewise my players have often demanded that I give enemies random attrition to even the playing field; because they have to ration their abilities to go through the dungeon I need to have the monsters already injured and with empty spell slots to keep it fair. This was especially bad in Werewolf where every character has three resource tracks (rage, gnosis, willpower) and the NPCs would often go nova in combat because they were about to die anyway.
    I agree with your players. My monsters / NPCs are often wounded / not at full capacity, and do not treat this as their one and only appearance in the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    For example, if it's established that there's a character in the setting who is narratively established as being able to freely edit the past and no one else can do anything to acquire that ability, that's fine. But if my character is interacting with them, that ability shouldn't suddenly go away just because I might convince them to edit the past on my behalf for example. Or if there's an enemy who can narratively tank nukes and punch out cities, if I convince them to join the side of the PCs they shouldn't suddenly become vulnerable to things that wouldn't have harmed them before.
    This type of shenanigans can certainly lead to the desire for PC / NPC symmetry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    It will largely depend on what the actual game is and how it is supposed to be played. It´s also very dependent on how and what the rules are used for in the first place.

    For example, a game with a heavy focus on "balanced combat" and with a tight mechanical structure supporting this, cannot really use the same character generation rules for PCs and for NPCs.
    You've just described war games, which absolutely can and generally do use the same character generation rules for PCs and for NPCs*.

    *To the extent that such have NPCs
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-05-19 at 07:51 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Last month (or was it two months ago?), the problem in the Gaming Group From Bizarro World was that they were retreating back to town after every fight to ensure they were had maximum resources. Now they want every fight they encounter to also be depleted of a % of their health/resources/spells?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I tend to strongly prefer asymmetry in rules as well as campaigns in which the rules are mutable/extensible (and where that transformation is an expected part of play). But at the same time, I prefer strong narrative consistency (which does not mean symmetry, but symmetry violations can impinge on it in some cases). I tend to see the rules as a metagame construct first and foremost, rather than as describing the world first and foremost with the metagame consequences following from there.

    The GM could run a game by only ever describing in-character experiences and never say a word about anything else, leading people to draw right or wrong conclusions about how even their own character works. But as a metagame conceit, it is useful (for planning, feeling of agency, etc) for some of those things to not be left uncertain. Having players be unaware of how their characters' work tends to be more to the detriment of the game than to its benefit in most cases, so even if it would be more realistic if no one actually got to know the rules by which their character functions, it's beneficial to issue a guarantee: 'this is how your stuff functions, so you can figure out what actions to take or how to build your character'. It makes for a much better game that way, but not because of realism or verisimilitude - it's actually (in my view at least) entirely a game-level consideration.

    When the GM specifies something as a rule rather than describing an in-character point of view or experience, to me they're saying 'I would like you to be able to take this as a guarantee of how something will work going forward'. Not everything in the world has to be covered by such guarantees, and each such guarantee can have a limited context for which it holds. Having an explicit guarantee about how an NPC's abilities work can be metagame-beneficial in some contexts, just as not having that guarantee can be beneficial in other contexts.

    Instead of saying that 'the rules should be symmetric', I would tend to say that 'the GM should commit to the natural consequences of the fiction that they introduce'. So it's fine if an NPC has different stats and skills than my character, but if that difference leads to some consequences at the level of the fiction in one context, then those consequences should be carried forward to other contexts in which they would logically still apply. For example, if it's established that there's a character in the setting who is narratively established as being able to freely edit the past and no one else can do anything to acquire that ability, that's fine. But if my character is interacting with them, that ability shouldn't suddenly go away just because I might convince them to edit the past on my behalf for example. Or if there's an enemy who can narratively tank nukes and punch out cities, if I convince them to join the side of the PCs they shouldn't suddenly become vulnerable to things that wouldn't have harmed them before.
    This is related to one of the faults that crops up in video games and comic books, where antagonists seem to lose a chunk of their power once they become a protagonist or temporarily take on a protagonistic role.

    So the character who was barely beatable with the combined efforts of all the heroes, suddenly becomes no more powerful than any one of them, or joins sides with them only to get punked when he/she is jobbed to hype the big threat of the current story. The character who was "cut scene awesome" when they were out of the player's hands becomes a creampuff once they're actually recruited.

    In fact this fault in fiction and games is so common that it has its own page.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-05-19 at 11:25 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: Legendary Actions and More of Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Last month (or was it two months ago?), the problem in the Gaming Group From Bizarro World was that they were retreating back to town after every fight to ensure they were had maximum resources. Now they want every fight they encounter to also be depleted of a % of their health/resources/spells?
    Oh, wow, I missed that - that's so funny when you put those together!

    Of course, it could be two different players driving those two things…

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