D&D 5th Edition With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base - Page 18


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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I don't know what Manbearcat had in mind, but in my game it would be the GM, not the player, who narrated the gorge. (Not that there is anything wrong with player authorship in this context, but it is not how 4e, Burning Wheel, HeroWars/Quest or Maelstrom Storytelling is written to be played.)

    As for agency, how does it deprive your PC of agency for the GM to narrate a gorge? That's the GM doing his/her job: providing adversity?
    By arbitrarily throwing a gorge in the way to explain how a ride check got missed? That sounds more like a thwart than just designing some adversity into the game.

    It robs the PC of agency because the PC didn't cause his check to fail, the gorge did. What's the PC's feedback that he failed? In-character perspective says he didn't, it says something else intervened. It sure doesn't indicate to the player character. And that's one major reason I don't like that style of play... not that it has anything to do with 3e vs 4e vs any other potential edition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    What's the PC's feedback that he failed? In-character perspective says he didn't, it says something else intervened. It sure doesn't indicate to the player character.
    The PC has no concept of a check being rolled in the first place. Therefore, the PC has no concept of success or failure with a check. The PC's perspective is that of whatever sensory information the words exchanged (the running narrative) at the table provide him.

    Let me attempt to illustrate my position with a real-life anecdote. I will use a martial example from my earlier life:

    - I grew up a baseball player and played through college so I was highly proficient compared to your average person.
    - I typically had good command and good stuff and some nights I had great command and great stuff.
    - One game in particular I can recall where my fastball was crisp, my changeup was dying late and my curveball and slider were darting viciously. I also had command of all four of those pitches and could put them where I wanted. I had shut teams out with far worse stuff and command.
    - I was pitching against an average team which I should have carved up.
    - For whatever reason, the fiction of that game (to map it to DnD) was strangely at odds with a proper process simulation of what should have been the results of that game. I got shelled. I'll never forget it. Totally inexplicable. With the command and stuff that I had, and the ability level of the opponent team, it should have been a walkthrough. I would execute the exact pitch that I wanted, and it would be nasty, and some bum would find a way to get to it and "hit it where they ain't". It totally ruined my immersion that I'm a very good pitcher in my world.
    - The exact opposite tale unfolded for me as well. Poor stuff. Poor command. Above average opponents. Worked my way out of jams. People fouled off mistake pitches they should have squared up. This also ruined my immersion. I had poor stuff and poor command on that day against a good opponent and found a way to get it done.

    Like PCs would be, I was totally unaware of any "skill checks" being rolled...just the resultant reality (fiction) of executed pitches being hit and poorly executed pitches not being hit...and it certainly wasn't process simulation that would logically follow from a computer model simulation of the inputs going into those 2 games. This anecdote (and I've been involved in or witnessed dozens just like these) and those like them are illustrative that much gets lost in the wash of real life. Entropy emerges where it should not persist...and it finds a way to proliferate. Binary, Linear, Process Simulation does not provide me this level of dynamism and it certainly doesn't provide me the dynamism of Indiana Jones or Star Wars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    One reason I am a bit loath to use the technique is the addition of the gorge can negate player choice in character design.

    <snip>

    I remember one case in a CHAMPIONS campaign where I was playing an illiterate superhero and the GM resolved something like a skill challenge with my player reading from a book.
    I think this is about GMing skill, and also (as @Manbearcat said) about letting that player use his/her PC's local knowledge to advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    By arbitrarily throwing a gorge in the way to explain how a ride check got missed? That sounds more like a thwart than just designing some adversity into the game.
    It's not arbitrary, though. It's triggered by a failed check, which the player is aware of.

    And (in a game of heroic fantasy adventure) a gorge isn't a thwart, it's an opportunity (to escape, to trick your pursuers into riding their horses over the edge, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    It robs the PC of agency because the PC didn't cause his check to fail, the gorge did.
    I still don't get this. The PC rides, as an agent. The PC deals with the gorge, as an agent.

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    What's the PC's feedback that he failed? In-character perspective says he didn't, it says something else intervened.
    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post
    The PC has no concept of a check being rolled in the first place. Therefore, the PC has no concept of success or failure with a check. The PC's perspective is that of whatever sensory information the words exchanged (the running narrative) at the table provide him.
    In addition to what Manbearcat said, I would say - the PC does know that simply riding isn't going to lead to a successful escaoe, given there's a gorge in the way. And therefore knows that, if s/he is going to escape, something else will have to be tried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Canuck View Post
    No... but the board game is a board game, just like RPG is a role-playing game.
    If you treated Castle Ravenloft like a campaign, leveling up three or four times and RPing your character, how different would it be from the D&D RPG?

    If you took the Delve game rules, added more levels, and slipped some DM monster control or scenerio design would it be an adequate 5th Edition?
    After all, it's an evolution of 4e, uses the D&D IP, is balanced yet simple, and there's very little DM fiat. What more do you need for D&D?
    Unless I'm badly misinformed, the board game is a board game. It doesn't have a shared imaginary space, nor PCs with a life in the fiction, nor a GM providing narratively meaningful adversity.

    It's bascially a version of Talisman, isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    The amusing thing here is that Gygax himself considered class balance to be very important. And introduced a huge range of rules into D&D that are there to facilitate class balance. See, for example, the differing XP tables. Or the giving the fighters a free keep at level 9 or so when the wizards get a tower. Or even weapons doing bonus damage against large monsters and certain powerful spells having a serious danger of backlash. All things put into the game to assist with class balance. (And, not unsurprisingly, the bulk of the rules that the designers of 3.0 were kind enough to remove from the game). 1e did not, of course, go far enough so they added weapon spec to the fighter, and added Cavaliers and (ack) Barbarians.

    Because Gygax considered it important, and generally did a good job complete with effectively a massive amount of playtesting, fixing things when they broke, people didn't have to worry about it so much. Gygax didn't allow Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit to happen - so the wildshaped bear with a bear companion summoning a swarm of bears to beat up the fighter was an issue that didn't arise.

    I'm not sure who D&D Next players are going to be. I don't see them being Pathfinder players - WotC is not as good as Paizo at what Paizo does. I don't see them being 4e players - WotC is busy pissing all of us off. And I don't see them being people who stuck with AD&D - no published system is going to be a match for more than a dozen years of experience. I further don't really see D&D Next as a true OSR game for various reasons. And it certainly isn't an "appeal to the Indy crowd" game or a "let's change the language used from that of tabletop wargames to that of WoW because that's what people these days know" game.

    I just don't see the market segment they are aiming at.
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  • #176
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I think this is about GMing skill, and also (as @Manbearcat said) about letting that player use his/her PC's local knowledge to advantage.
    It's not skill -- he was a skilled GM -- its human fraility. Illiteracy is rare enough and far enough outside that GM's experience he simply kept forgetting and framing scenes / delivering resolutions that involved looking at and understanding words in the heat of play.

    It's not arbitrary, though. It's triggered by a failed check, which the player is aware of.

    And (in a game of heroic fantasy adventure) a gorge isn't a thwart, it's an opportunity (to escape, to trick your pursuers into riding their horses over the edge, etc).

    I still don't get this. The PC rides, as an agent. The PC deals with the gorge, as an agent.
    And the PC is thinking "If I ride well enough, fast enough, I can escape! Oh wait I failed to go the right way! If only I knew the terrain of my home town better / was more perceptive / <better at whatever other excuse can be provided as to how a gorge is a reasonable failure for a riding check> I wouldn't be at risk to get caught! If I live, I better improve my ability to spot gorges!!!"

    So, where's the character feedback? The agency of the PC is continuous not scene framed.

    Fast forward 5 levels, the character is much more perceptive, area knowledgable and being chased through the same area. He's improved all sorts of skills relating to "spotting gorges", but has only minimally improved Riding. He fails a Ride check and ends back up at an impassable gorge again (the GM thought a full-circle moment was appropriate).

    Where was the PC agency again? How was the PC allowed to react and adapt to the world around him? The PC reacted to the failure to the best of its ability and that reaction was wrong because the game feedback was wrong -- the gorge wouln't be avoided because "spotting gorge" skills were improved; it'd be avoided because Riding improved.

  • #177
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Unless I'm badly misinformed, the board game is a board game. It doesn't have a shared imaginary space, nor PCs with a life in the fiction, nor a GM providing narratively meaningful adversity.

    It's bascially a version of Talisman, isn't it?
    Heh, when I play a good game of Talisman there is a shared imaginary space, my PC has a (limited) life in the fiction with allies, friends, rivals, and enemies. Although no GM, the players cooperatively add meaing to the game's adversity.

    And anecdotally Ravenloft at least is more RPG like than Talisman. People have extended the rules into "campaign" play with character improvement and variation in purpose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    And the PC is thinking "If I ride well enough, fast enough, I can escape! Oh wait I failed to go the right way! If only I knew the terrain of my home town better / was more perceptive / <better at whatever other excuse can be provided as to how a gorge is a reasonable failure for a riding check> I wouldn't be at risk to get caught! If I live, I better improve my ability to spot gorges!!!"

    So, where's the character feedback? The agency of the PC is continuous n
    ot scene framed.

    Where was the PC agency again? How was the PC allowed to react and adapt to the world around him? The PC reacted to the failure to the best of its ability and that reaction was wrong because the game feedback was wrong -- the gorge wouln't be avoided because "spotting gorge" skills were improved; it'd be avoided because Riding improved.
    We still seem to be missing each other. Take my anecdote above. Extend it to any martial exercise (and one non-martial exercise):

    - How is it that an excellent pitcher with his best stuff (James Shields has done this untold times this year) and command suddenly and inexplicably lose it after cruising for 5 innings?

    - How is it that skateboarders, divers, floor exercisers cannot stick the landing every single time on a trick/dive/routine that they've practiced an enormous number of times?

    - How is it that a professional basketball player (primarily a jump shooter) cannot consistently put away jump shots at the same general percentage clip in a game-in/game-out basis?

    - How is it that a professional soccer player can completely miss the net on a penalty kick?

    - How is that Rafa Nadal (2008, 2010 winner and 2011 runner up) can manage to not even advance past the second round in this year's Wimbledon?

    -How can a world renowned geophysicist and a father of paleogeography be on the wrong side of the "Continental Drift" hypothesis when facing off against a meteorologist/climatologist by training?

    Funny things happen in singular moments. No one reproduces their acumen with perfect delivery and sometimes other oddities interfere to change the course of the moment. However, after a significant body of work is established (number of data points are collated) and then regressed to the mean, their level of proficiency will be clear.

    That is merely an explanation on your own terms. I can think of any number of sensible outcomes if required but I don't even agree with your premise, to be honest. I've played a considerable portion of my gaming life whereby every single check statically produced the very next "physical micro-moment" binary outcome. With respect to the creation of dynamic, interesting fiction (the design aim here...not process simulation) I have found this unbelievably unfulfilling (as have my players) over the course of time. Having the next fictional happenstance not be an "(i) immediate, (ii) PC perspective (iii) micro-evolution" from the last check allows for a considerably wider scope of fiction and a much more interesting game for us (you can actually reproduce Indiana Jones Chases and Star Wars Cantina moments with some measure of reliability). If you allow it to (i) be a few moments removed from the last (if you must), (ii) from the perspective of "is this compelling fiction", (iii) macro-abstraction, you will have much greater control on the the aimed-for level of dynamism and a greater chance at satisfactory trope reproduction....both from "check to check" and through the aggregation/outcome of the Skill Challenge. That is our design aim at our table with skill challenges. You can do that and still "simulate" the entirety rest of the gameplay (combat, rudimentary skill checks) till your heart's content if that is your wish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    By arbitrarily throwing a gorge in the way to explain how a ride check got missed?
    It's not arbitrary. The failed check led to the gorge being described.

    The gorge is how the die roll was explained in the game fiction. This translation process is core to RPG play.

    This "quantum state" thing is still, after all this years, silly. Every and all game settings --unless the entirety of the campaign area is a 10' X 10' room with one orc and one pie-- can be said to exist in a "quantum state" because they are mostly undefined. It doesn't matter how much of a map/fake-encyclopedia fetishist you are, most of your world is blank paper/empty screen. RPG campaigns take place in settings marked by an extreme paucity of detail -- we just pretend/agree not to notice.

    Noticing is kinda bad form. Usually.

    It robs the PC of agency because the PC didn't cause his check to fail, the gorge did.
    This is a lot of overthink, no?

    Deciding by fiat the attempt failed would be robbing the PC of agency. Describing their failure --because of the players bad roll-- via the gorge is not.

    edit: well, since someone XP'd me for it, I might as well put this back in...

    You seem to be using a definition of "agency" which implies the DM mapped every centimeter of their campaign world.
    Last edited by Mallus; Saturday, 28th July, 2012 at 03:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post

    - How is it that an excellent pitcher with his best stuff (James Shields has done this untold times this year) and command suddenly and inexplicably lose it after cruising for 5 innings?

    - How is it that skateboarders, divers, floor exercisers cannot stick the landing every single time on a trick/dive/routine that they've practiced an enormous number of times?

    - How is it that a professional basketball player (primarily a jump shooter) cannot consistently put away jump shots at the same general percentage clip in a game-in/game-out basis?

    - How is it that a professional soccer player can completely miss the net on a penalty kick?

    - How is that Rafa Nadal (2008, 2010 winner and 2011 runner up) can manage to not even advance past the second round in this year's Wimbledon?

    -How can a world renowned geophysicist and a father of paleogeography be on the wrong side of the "Continental Drift" hypothesis when facing off against a meteorologist/climatologist by training?

    .
    I believe those could all be explained by a roll of the dice. Sometimes the dice fall where they are expected to, and the numbers on the character sheet produce more-or-less the results expected. However -even in systems with a bell curve- I've seen the dice go on a hot or cold streak for someone.

    There is also the 'human element.' Sometimes, somebody does something which seems at odds with what is logical given the situation. Sometimes, this leads to die rolls which wouldn't otherwise need to be made. Whether that leads to success or failure, the fact is that that element of choice -the human element- created a situation which wouldn't have been there otherwise.

    Then, in some circumstances, those two things happen at the same time.

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