Challenge the Players, Not the Characters' Stats - Page 7




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    Quote Originally Posted by The Little Raven View Post
    If the entire focus of a challenge is on challenging the player, what is the point of having a character at all? If switching from one character to another has no appreciable difference in the encounters, as all encounters will be directed towards Brendan and not Kelleshan or Arqos or any of my characters, then what's the point in making a character?
    The point of having characters is a point of contract that players sign among them so that this can be based on explicit rules. Since a roleplaying game is a social game this better be made explicit by the rules so the need for different characters.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu View Post
    I reject the entire dichotomy. RPGs aren't an "either/or" situation.

    Do I challenge the characters? Yes, every time I run a combat, pit them against a skill challenge, or have them pick up a die in any way, shape, or form.

    Do I challenge the players? Yes, every time I introduce a mystery plotline or require them to solve a problem based on a clue I dropped six games ago (and yes, I do that), every time I run a combat--since they have to decide tactics--and every time I pit them against a skill challenge, since they have to decide which skills to use, and how.

    Riddles? Players first, but if it's going to stop the game dead, resort to dice. Ditto puzzles, though I don't use puzzles very often.

    AFAIAC, the game doesn't happen without challenges to both. The notion that you must pick one or the other, or that any given edition disallows one or the other, is utter nonsense. One edition may do so differently than other editions, and that might not be to everyone's tastes, but that's not the same thing at all.

    Edit: And it looks like Psion beat me to at least part of my point.
    If it is a roleplaying game it is not a sum operation (this AND this). It should be the same thing. In a roleplaying game the character challenge is the same as the player challenge and the challenge is always a social decsion -what I/my character decides to do inside the group.
    What you are describing here is not a roleplaying game. It is rather a mish mash of different games: a board game(tactics), a knowledge-logic game(riddles) or a game of observation (clues).

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    Quote Originally Posted by xechnao View Post
    You roleplay a game to do-live things with other people (your friends) you do not have the chance to do our life. The roleplaying experience is developed in this social environment.
    What you are describing instead is called "fantasizing".
    Except, of course, if your only option is to play online with complete strangers.

    Not everyone gets to have the best-case scenario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw2 View Post
    Are we talking about eliminating all skill rolls, or only some types of skills. Because the argument that "your character does the heavy lifting, you do the heavy thinking" implies that there is still a need for a rule defining certain traits that in no way could pass from the player into the game world.

    Take sneaking: You can say "My character sneaks past the guards", and if the player has a good idea of what's in the area that can be used as cover you could possibly require them to state what they are hiding behind. But how do you adjudicate how silently they walk? Without a Sneak skill you either can't or you have to give a player such a detailed knowledge of their character's body and the surface they'll be walking over and then hope they know something about how walking silently works and the whole process becomes "describe the physics".

    You can make similar arguments for many skills: players can't pick a lock when they aren't actually holding the pick and feeling how the mechanism is moving, they can't make a disguise without knowing how all the parts look fitted together. I can't see how to adjudicate these actions without a mechanical system that reflects the interior of the game world.
    What one needs to know regarding say sneaking is what one needs to know to roleplay by taking decisions: so his risk and what is at stake (chances of success -and what success means- and consequences of failure)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irda Ranger View Post
    What if you're playing a game where navigating is part of the challenge to the players? Wouldn't that be a bit like playing basketball with a vacuum-hoop that just sucked the the ball in if you got it within 10' of the backboard? e.g., not as fun because it's not as challenging?
    I'm so bad at basketball that I'd take your offer of making the game easier. For some people some things aren't challenges, they're just hard and boring. And they're boring because they don't challenge peoples' real skill.

    No amount of advice is guaranteed to help me solve a puzzle: my skill is creative description, not puzzle solving. But if I have something I can roll that will make the DM give me the answer I can take that and make an interesting description of how my character figures out the solution.

    If you want to challenge the player at first, fine. But if they're not any good at it then either stop expecting it out of them or give them a way to change it to whatever skill they are good at. Otherwise what's the point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xechnao View Post
    What one needs to know regarding say sneaking is what one needs to know to roleplay by taking decisions: so his risk and what is at stake (chances of success -and what success means- and consequences of failure)
    I'm sorry, I don't understand you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw2 View Post
    Except, of course, if your only option is to play online with complete strangers.

    Not everyone gets to have the best-case scenario.
    If by online play you intend online descriptions (messaging) of the gameplay decisions roleplaying requires so that all participants can see and share, then this is equally valid in theory IMO as messaging qualifies for practically any information one may need to transmit. If by online play you mean decide how to move and click your programmed sprite (MMOs), I do not think this qualifies as roleplaying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Little Raven View Post
    If the entire focus of a challenge is on challenging the player, what is the point of having a character at all?
    Play Paranoia; you'll see why having very little disconnect between player and character might be a fun twist!

    Though that's the exception, not the rule, and I agree with the original intent of your question.
    --neuronphaser

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    I prefer RPG campaigns that do all of the above; challenge the player through their characters ("What would Conan do?"), challenge the characters directly ("Hey look, a puzzle"), and challenge the characters directly (so the players can experience being faux-awesome).

    And I'm perfectly happy if the game uses different task resolution systems at different times in order to accomplish this (ie, sometimes negotiations are handled by a skill check w/modifiers, sometimes solely by talking, and other times solely by roll).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallus View Post
    I prefer RPG campaigns that do all of the above; challenge the player through their characters ("What would Conan do?"), challenge the characters directly ("Hey look, a puzzle"), and challenge the characters directly (so the players can experience being faux-awesome).

    And I'm perfectly happy if the game uses different task resolution systems at different times in order to accomplish this (ie, sometimes negotiations are handled by a skill check w/modifiers, sometimes solely by talking, and other times solely by roll).
    I hate puzzles. They are one of the surest ways to get me to stand up and leave a game.

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