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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Ummm... there are a lot of movies, series, or plays that may feature fist fights, brawls, or other forms of physical conflict where there is no "risk of death" but simply in externalizing inner emotional conflict between characters. It may just be a mild-mannered person who finally throws a punch to show (1) they have "grown a spine" or (2) show how debased/desperate their situation has become that they have been pushed to this point (e.g., Jimmy Stuart in It's a Wonderful Life at the bank). Media with physical violence without the risk of death is probably even more common than media with the "risk of death." Consider that we had three Rocky movies of physical violence before "risk of death" really entered the picture with Apollo Creed.
    The physical conflict I refer to is that which arises in rpgs.

    Rpgs are what we are talking about - OK?

    Rpgs are the point, movies etc. merely the illustration.

    I really didn't think I had to spell out that we are talking about rpgs - it seemed entirely axiomatic, you know, from the title of the thread and every post thereafter...

    We are not talking about gentle fisticuffs in a black and white feelgood movie - we are talking (in the case of let's say D&D) about the longsword version of Rambo, if you want to use Stallone here.

    The term 'murder hobo' was coined from roleplay games - precisely because the conflict in these leads to death on a very, very regular basis.

    There is a simply MASSIVE proportion of the rules dedicated to how to kill, survive being killed and the process of dying and recovery.

    OF COURSE there are comedy movies, kids movies, romcoms, personality pieces and all the other types of story. But when was the last time a D&D campaign had no death-dealing conflict in it?
    Last edited by Caliburn101; Wednesday, 27th June, 2018 at 07:08 AM.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Please stop and consider the difference between the opinions, "I myself like X or Y, but not Z," and, "You should have X or Y, but not Z, because I like them."

    'Cause, this site is even more built on the idea that there isn't One True Way in gaming. And the latter is pretty strongly OneTrueWayism.
    Both are opinions; but the first is statement, the second is advocacy.

    Nothing wrong with advocating for what one likes or supports, is there?

  3. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn101 View Post
    The physical conflict I refer to is that which arises in rpgs.

    Rpgs are what we are talking about - OK?

    Rpgs are the point, movies etc. merely the illustration.

    I really didn't think I had to spell out that we are talking about rpgs - it seemed entirely axiomatic, you know, from the title of the thread and every post thereafter...
    You are impressing no one but yourself with this sort of attitude. Sorry that your illustration was terrible and phrased poorly. You want to talk about RPGs? Fine. Then do so. But it does not help your case when you use false illustrations as part of generalized statements that are demonstrably untrue and then act all uppity towards others. What does your posturing achieve here?

    The term 'murder hobo' was coined from roleplay games - precisely because the conflict in these leads to death on a very, very regular basis.
    The term 'murder hobo' says more about the play style or nature of the player characters than any actual risk (of death or otherwise) on the part of the player characters. That things often escalate to death in D&D says nothing about the presence (or absence) of suspense in RPGs as per the thread topic. It would be silly to conclude, for example, that since "risk of death" is required for good stories, that good stories filled with meaningful suspense are therefore produced by players wantonly killing, pillaging, and rampaging the lands and peoples across the countryside.

    But when was the last time a D&D campaign had no death-dealing conflict in it?
    In a D&D campaign? No. It's par for the course and part of the expectations of the game, essentially in the social contract that you will kill monsters. Though again, this says nothing about whether said "death-dealing conflict" has any actual suspense or whether the "death-dealing conflict" even creates said suspense or tension. We are not in a D&D thread, however, but a General RPG thread and multiple non-lethal/deadly RPGs exist. Does the threat of death exist in a No Thank You Evil campaign? Nope. Does a threat of death exist in a Fate super game? Potentially, but generally not because the conventions of the genre coupled with Fate's "being taken out" rules often leads to situations where the heroes find themselves defeated but alive.

    And this last point is where I would drive my own point. The "risk of defeat" does more to create suspense in RPGs and other previously listed media than the "risk of death," with death being but one form of defeat. And this gets back to @pemerton and Vincent Baker's original point that connects suspense with "victory." Simply surviving or "not dying" is not inherently victory. "Dying" and the "risk of death" in physical conflicts do not necessarily generate any real suspense. Building tension between "victory" and "defeat" drives a lot of conflict and suspense in many campaign narratives more so than simply risk of death and survival. For many games, IME, the suspense of the campaign, adventure, or session does not rest on the fulcrum of death, but, rather, on the player-driven question of "how will I be required to achieve victory?"
    Last edited by Aldarc; Wednesday, 27th June, 2018 at 02:02 PM.
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  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Why do you have an opinion on what other people's games should be?
    [...]
    Ultimately, the answer, "I find this is better, but you should choose what your players like best," is superior to, "I know what's better for your players than you do."
    (Emphasis mine)
    Aren't you doing here exactly what you're trying to condemn? Imho, your reaction to @Caliburn101 is totally out of proportion. Let's relax a bit and look again at what he wrote:
    if the players think they will always win, because you fudge it so that they do, then your game will not be as suspenseful as it could or in my opinion should be.
    (Emphasis mine)
    1. Note the conditional statement. 2. Note the qualifier IMO. I fail to see any One-True-Way-ism here.

    What am I supposed to tell a GM with a preference of fudging die rolls who then starts complaining that his games somehow fail to create a suspenseful atmosphere? Isn't it fine to point out the elephant in the room?

    I think it's totally okay to prefer a game of cinematic action where the PCs can feel completely safe at all times because they're the heroes of the story. But you need to be aware of and accept the disadvantages that approach may carry with it.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Both are opinions; but the first is statement, the second is advocacy.

    Nothing wrong with advocating for what one likes or supports, is there?
    Again, consider the difference between, "I like haggis. Haggis should exist," and, "I think everyone's meal should be haggis."

    There is advocacy for existence, and advocacy for pressing one's own desires on others. "I should be able to have the game I like" and "Your game should be the game I like" are not the same thing.

    I find it strange that it is difficult to see why these are different, or why the latter is a problem. Let me put it this way - ask for what you want for yourself, but don't force you will on others.
    Last edited by Umbran; Friday, 29th June, 2018 at 05:42 AM.
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  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn101 View Post
    I really didn't think I had to spell out that we are talking about rpgs - it seemed entirely axiomatic, you know, from the title of the thread and every post thereafter...
    Dude, do you realize how condescending this sounds? If not, be advised. If you did realize, please knock it off. Snark doesn't make you sound more correct.

    And, you seem to have missed the idea that folks might want their RPG to mirror what is seen in other media.

    We are not talking about gentle fisticuffs in a black and white feelgood movie - we are talking (in the case of let's say D&D) about the longsword version of Rambo, if you want to use Stallone here.
    The term 'murder hobo' was coined from roleplay games - precisely because the conflict in these leads to death on a very, very regular basis.

    There is a simply MASSIVE proportion of the rules dedicated to how to kill, survive being killed and the process of dying and recovery.
    Interestingly, in 5e, we find the following text:

    "Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable."

    So, I'd correct you to say that a massive proportion of the rules are dedicated to reducing the enemy to zero hit points, to "taking them down" so to speak. Whether that means death is a separate question.


    OF COURSE there are comedy movies, kids movies, romcoms, personality pieces and all the other types of story. But when was the last time a D&D campaign had no death-dealing conflict in it?
    Don't drive to the extreme and strawman the point in the process. We aren't talking about "no death dealing conflict." We are talking about how threat of death needs not be the only source of suspense - the piece may feature conflicts that aren't deadly. Not "the piece only has conflicts that aren't deadly".

    Mind you, we are talking about RPGs in general, not 5e in specific. There are games which are not comedy, but in which death is nigh non-existent. Many Superhero games, for example, simply because they are modeled on a genre in which character death is traditionally rare.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Interestingly, in 5e, we find the following text:

    "Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable."
    Bleah! Retroactive fiction! Ugh!!!

    This is something I'd change in a heartbeat: you'd have to declare whether you're striking to subdue before you swing, to indicate you're using a different combat style (e.g. flat of the blade, striking with the pommel, etc.).

    Saying "Oh, I only meant to knock him out" is kinda pointless after you've already killed him.

    Lanefan

  8. #88
    Can we stop talking about fuding? It's irrelevant to this thread. (Maybe some people think that D&D can't involve escalating stakes without fudging? But even were that so, this thread is in General RPGs, not a D&D sub-forum.)
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  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    And when I do ultimately put his hat on the foyer table of a brothel where cattle rustlers are partaking of entertainment, the question turns into what?

    Then, once we find out what what is, the question becomes what now (and what cost or what are we willing to risk)?
    This seems broadly similar to Umbran on Dread: it is known that some crisis will occur (the collapse of the tower => PC death; the need to confront the PC's brother); but there is uncertainty around when/how this will happen (until suddenly it does!).

    In terms of Vincent Baker's framing, this is not uncertainty about what the cost will be. It seems to be uncertainty about what might be achieved before paying the cost.
    Let me extend things a little bit to talk about cost as the relevant piece...

    Quote Originally Posted by chaochou View Post
    Yes, your daemon can open the safe, but you only have four humanity left and you don't want to hear what it wants you to do to your cat...

    <snip>

    This is a type of play where the imagining of setting, situation, conflict and opportunity comes from the players. It comes from the conceptions of the dramatis personae. If anything is decided prior to those characters being realised, the game will not feature the type of drama Vincent is discussing.
    So chao is talking about Sorcerer here, but its relevant.

    So the PC's big brother is the best man he ever knew. Raised him when their parents died. Is a retired, legendary Dog who lost his gun-fighting hand when a nasty infection from a wound took it that he got rescuing a child straight from the jaws of a mountain lion. But he lost worse than that. His wife and (would-have-been) first-born died in childbirth a few years ago and he hadn't seen him since.

    So what happens if his brother isn't in a shallow grave somewhere (maybe he lost a poker hand and more than that to a couple of rustlers) and that hat is now the possession of the man who took it from him.

    * What if his brother is in that brothel sinning something fierce and, when confronted, we CLEARLY won't just be talking this out.

    * What if his brother is in that brothel sinning something fierce and, when confronted, he won't comply with justice...nor will his rustler companions.

    * What if his brother is in that brothel sinning something fierce and, when confronted, he brashly bears the heretical branding and demonic influence of the rumored Sorcerer that has been corrupting this town...and the girl's face he was getting it on changes into a horrific visage and her hands and claws elongate...and unfixed objects suddenly rise of their own volition and hurtle through the air...

    Now all of these get a little bit worse. They get progressively more dangerous to the Dog/s, progressively more emotionally brutal, progressively more dangerous to the fallen brother, and progressively more costly (in social currency to the Dog with respect to his duty) to attempt to undo the damage to the brother's soul in the eyes of the King of Life, and potentially more costly to the Town and the Faithful if this wickedness isn't rooted out and justice not swiftly meted.

    So in each of these scenarios we have cost-related suspense. How will the Dog respond? What will he prioritize; family, his immediate duty before him, the ability to live and fight another day (for the Town)? If he lets his brother and/or the rustlers go, what havoc will they wreak before he catches up to them with the rest of the Dogs, and perhaps a posse, as backup? Will his companions go along with him, whatever he decides? What if they try to save/redeem the brother and its deemed to be nepotism by the Faithful or the territorial authorities? What if he doesn't and the fact that they allowed a legendary Dog perish under demonic influence utterly demoralizes the Town, therefore making it vulnerable to further Sin?

    In terms of mechanical implications, this conflict is going to impact the Dog (possibly severely depending upon how things go), and the likelihood is extremely high that his Relationship dice with his Brother are going to change.
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  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Bleah! Retroactive fiction! Ugh!!!

    This is something I'd change in a heartbeat: you'd have to declare whether you're striking to subdue before you swing, to indicate you're using a different combat style (e.g. flat of the blade, striking with the pommel, etc.).

    Saying "Oh, I only meant to knock him out" is kinda pointless after you've already killed him.

    Lanefan
    I guess if you make the decision in the instant that damage is dealt then you never have to retroactively unkill him.

    If you wait until after the DM applies the damage then yeah retroactive unkilling :bleagh:

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