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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 06:08 AM
    Or, put another way, there is this tendency among a cross-section of the TTRPG culture to try to assume that action resolution mechanics are actually a gamestate unto themselves, rather than an input into a possible new gamestate. This is one of the reasons why the spellcaster vs martial dichotomy has been an issue for so long. In much of D&D, spellcasters spells are actually gamestates...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 05:15 AM
    I think a serious argument could be made for 3e. Giving monsters Strength and Constitution bonuses meant many monsters were tougher in comparison to fighters. Rock Paper Scissors saving throws meant PCs were more vulnerable to spells. 3e starts out fairly deadly and becomes more deadly as levels escalate.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 05:10 AM
    Labels from Masks. Shifting stats to reflect a shifting sense of self in teenage superheroes. Absolutely brilliant.
    54 replies | 2060 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 04:51 AM
    Here's my take: Character sheets and game mechanics are representative of the fiction, but they are not the fiction. They are tools we use to create a consistent compelling fiction. I feel it is a grave mistake to confuse the fiction with its representation because it lowers our overall investment in what is actually going on. Some games (even games I am quite fond of) make it all too easy to do...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:09 AM
    Oh man, we're having this conversation...yet again. It isn't just HP that are the problem for someone trying to model actual world biology and physics/collisions between objects. Its the whole thing. D&D's discrete parts (HP, AC, Attack Rolls) push against that idea as well as the combat round (be it 1 minute, 10 seconds, or 6 seconds). Worse still for the effort, when those 4 intersect? ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:33 AM
    But it is true to the fiction. The ogre that is tough for mid-heroic PCs is not tough for mid-paragon PCs. That's it. I mean, speaking purely about the fiction, what is inconsistent? This is not a statement about the setting or the gameworld inhabitants. It is a statement about mechanics. Changing the numbers used to resolve declared actions, and find out what happens in the ficiton,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:24 AM
    There's actually little evidence for this in the history of D&D. Most kobolds, goblins and 0-level humans will be either up or down if hit by a AD&D fighter with weapon specialisationm 18 STR and a magic weapon (damage die +1 for magic +2 for spec +3 for 18/01 STR = minimum 7 damage on a hit and typically quite a bit more). But I've never seen it suggested that this does not make for good play. ...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:41 PM
    I assume you understood the rest of the post and these two questions (I'll quote) are what don't make sense? 1) Do you think if those mechanics were in play, would they affect (a) the sensation of play overall, (b) your navigation of your thoughts, (c) your perceptions of what is happening (the gravity, the momentum), (d) your immediate meta reflections (which I don't know about you...but...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:21 PM
    Given that there's been some discussion about roleplaying, what it means to play a character, and what it means to find one's character challenged in a certain way, I thought I would post some quotes from Burning Wheel Gold. This spells out how I think about it pretty well. I'm quoting from the Revised edition that came out a few months ago. First, Jake Norwood's Foreword at p 6 (Norwood...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:30 AM
    What system are you talking about? 4e? 4e has no mechanic for turning the PCs into "minions" to fight much higher level antagonists. Rather, it has a mechanic for turning those higher level antagonists into solos and the like. This is because a game in which PCs are toggled either up or down would not make for very good play. I've bolded a few bits which demonstrate that you don't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:17 AM
    Go onto the next thing. Perhaps don't work with such a tight notion of "the adventure" or "that mission". Nothing. That's my whole point. There's not an end to possible RPGing because the PCs made their way easily through a castle. But this is purely external adversity: people used to like you but now they don't. It doesn't involve any sort of reevaluation or reconceptualisation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:15 AM
    I GM much more than I play a PC. When I play a PC this is what I am looking for - but more below on my personality weakness in this respect! As a GM I like to see what drives the PCs. I also enjoy the big moments of conflict, some of which are internal - or intra-group - and some of which are external. The first time I really played a character in this way was actually in a freeform Cthulhu...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:14 AM
    I'm going to start with some personal background. Before I ever touched any dice I got my start role playing in online free form communities associated with various fandoms. I also am a lifelong theater geek with a deep appreciation for the craft of acting. I have a group of friends who gets together every couple months to do read throughs of some of our favorite plays. Right now I'm currently...
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    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:03 AM
    It's a bit hard to express a view on this without more context, but I don't think it is such a thing. I'm not seeing that there is a situation suggesting to the PC (and his/her player) that, in fact, those who fight beside me are not worth dying for. But maybe I've missed something or otherwise misunderstood what you are describing.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 PM
    Forget for a minute what you feel about my analysis of your excerpt. Do you not think, for better or for worse, this would have changed the cognitive space you were occupying and the play experience of the other participants who bore witness to your PC's sacrifice? 1) Your character had a feedback loop (lets call it Nature) with 3 descriptors attached to it and both a positive and a...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 11:56 AM
    How is something at stake if you don't know what it is yet?
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:42 AM
    When I read this, I'm imagining a Texas Hold 'Em tournament where: 1) There was no codified "buy-in" $ figure for the tournament and we don't know what the participant's financial situation is going into the tournament (is this a desperate attempt to get a windfall at zero hour so a debt to the mob can be paid off?). 2) We don't know what their chip stack was when this hand was played. ...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 AM
    This earned a lot of xp, but the take-home needs to be emphasized. In real life we aren't characterizing ourselves. In real life we don't have nearly the expression of autonomy or internal locus of control that one characterizes their PC with in a game of AD&D, 3.x, and 5e D&D. In real life, our behavioral outputs are a collage of external inputs (from emotional provocateurs to those that...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:54 AM
    I don't see any challenge to characterisation. You tell us your character is someone who cares about little but being provided with a meal. And so in exchange for a promise of food you submitted yourself to a process that - as you describe it - you seemed to have no control over. As a result you have no soul - I don't know what that means in mechanical terms in 5e, but it doesn't seem to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:31 AM
    Your PC's actions have put your family at risk. When you decide to do have your PC do X rather than Y, how do you - as a player - know whether your are jeopardiding your relationship with your family? Who decides whether they stick with you or abandon you? And how? Is this is all just GM decides? This seems to rest on a premise that there is a finite amount of "challenge" which, if the PCs...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    Let's suppose your claim about human physiology was true, which I don't think it is. In 4e hp are not a model of that physiology. They are part of an action resolution framework. The primary mechanical marker of the power of a 4e creature, including the degree of physical trauma it can endure, is its level. By setting the level of a being, the GM is using a mechanical device to signal its...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:57 AM
    To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that. I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience. Do you mean transcript of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:49 AM
    As I've already posted, I don't think this thread is the place for a serious discussion of philosophy of action. Rather, I'm taking Davidson as a starting point. But if you are correct, then it follows that - in the example - four different actions have been performed. And if there were two prowlers, each alerted, then five different things would have been done. That is obviously absurd. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:27 AM
    I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP. I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point: imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day. In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check for their PCs...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:50 PM
    Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 04:06 PM
    These two accounts of 5e seem pretty congruent with one another. They remind me of a certain, fairly common, sort of approach to 2nd ed AD&D. I've also edited a post about half-a-dozen upthread having read these posts. EDIT: and I also just read this, which seems equally congruent with the other two posts:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:56 PM
    I don't understand. Are you saying that sometimes the GM has to ignore successful checks and treat them as failures because otherwise the players will win the game unfairly or too easily? That's a strange assertion, if it's the one you're making. I also don't understand what "combats that are unavoidable" has to do with anything. That's just more checks. If the player's dice are "hot" (as you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    An action declaration is a proposal that the fiction should include a certain content. For instance, I climb the wall is a proposal as to the content of the shared fiction, namely, that it includes the PC climbing the wall. I don't know what playing their character means here other than some improv acting. If the GM is deciding everything that happens, what else are the players contributing...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:39 PM
    I see. So TTRPG systems and play are not objective things and cannot be analyzed empirically and anyone that attempts to do so is a big jerk? Is that pretty much the gist? Following from that, youíve just wasted my (and others) time with a rhetorical request to evaluate 5e that you obviously had no interest in engaging with. Feels bad. Please donít make such requests, get sincere...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:52 PM
    * The ďLight ClockĒ in Torchbearer and how all of the other game mechanics are integrated perfectly with it and how, working in concert, they bring home the intended play experience (cognitive space inhabited, mood, theme, pace). * Same thing goes for Blades in the Dark with its holistic integration of all of its system machinery which engenders bold, devil-may-care scoundrels, each uniquely...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:10 PM
    I donít know what the point of this response was. It doesnít engage with anything Iíve said. You wonít me to...say that I donít know what Iím talking about? Huh? Further, itís a claim about me that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. What claim from ignorance do you think that Iím making that isnít backed by evidence and wonít stand up under scrutiny? If youíre looking for an example...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:04 PM
    I see this as somewhat similar to what I posted upthread - that in AD&D there's no systematic way to put your connection to family on the line.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:38 PM
    I've highlighted you use of the word things. I think you're using it to refer to certain sorts of events in the fiction. The sorts of things that might be presented on a messageboard in the form of a transcript. In my post I was talking about experiences had by the players, at the table. The transcript - the in-fiction events - is one component of these. But does not exhaust them. To give...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:23 PM
    I guess I'm assuming that - or wondering whether - there is more that can be said than just It's my preference. That is, that it's possible to articulate why it's good. Upthread, Lanefan asserted that 4e's hp mechanic is flawed because it doesn't conform to his expectations for a hp mechanic. That's a pretty strong claim - that his way of thinking is better. Presumably there's something that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 11:40 AM
    Action resolution in Burning Wheel (which can be ported to other systems eg Classic Traveller): * Intent and task action declaration; * Say 'yes' or roll the dice; * Success is success on both intent and task; failure is narrated by the GM by reference to intent and/or task as will keep things moving and maintain or increase the pressure; * Let it ride (ie results stand - no rerolls).
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:00 AM
    I'm afraid this will sound like damning with faint praise, but it is the result of an honest evaluation that comes from running and playing 5e. Much like Fate, I consider 5e to be a really well designed game that excels at a style of play I have very little interest in. 5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 AM
    Here is some rules text from Apocalypse World (which is one of the games Campbell was referring to), pp 12 and 194. The rule for moves is to do it, do it. In order for it to be a move and for the player to roll dice, the character has to do something that counts as that move; and whenever the character does something that counts as a move, itís the move and the player rolls dice. Usually...
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    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:03 PM
    Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:43 PM
    But on your own account this isn't true. Because the GM can always narrate something else. As you're presenting it, all the players get to do is make suggestions that the GM may or may not follow up on. How is that possiby a success, given the declared action? It's obviously a failure - the PC has not got what s/he wanted (namely, incriminating financial documents). So when do the players...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    My posts on this subject over the years (and in this thread) involve pretty intensive analysis on why resolution procedure/GMing technique/reward cycle/play ethos/PC build setup (a) objectively provides a different experience than(b) in many different areas (from table handling time to distribution of authority to intraparty balance to party: obstacle balance to cognitive workload and on and on)....
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    U Weíre complicated animals who live complicated lives. And these games, all of them, are complicated, relatively speaking. Nothing is ever one thing. But I think the line of evidence that I love running something like Dogs, something like 4e, while having many times more experience (and just as much enjoyment) with Moldvay Basic and AD&D1e is a pretty strong one.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:03 PM
    Iím not Campbell, but Iíll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that itís trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:23 AM
    I agree. The GM's primary role in TTRPGing (outside of a few instances) is (a) to know what adversity is relevant to this particular play and (b) bring that adversity to bear against the PCs in the imagined space in the most interesting/compelling/challenging/provocative (and these will be contingent upon the game) way possible. Above I mentioned a Dogs play excerpt. The adversity I...
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    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:13 AM
    FrogReaver I think you are starting from a faulty premise. You are assuming that game mechanics cannot meaningfully contribute to play despite having no direct experience of games where the rules are meant to supplement role play. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. They help us form mental models of who our...
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    5 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:57 AM
    In some game no one gets to decide if a mechanic is invoked or not. In Apocalypse World if a character attempts to do something in the fiction that triggers a move the mechanics must be applied. One of the things a GM must always say is Always Say What the Rules Demand.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Jim McGarva has a perfect catch-phrase for this sprinkled throughout the Strike (!) rulebook, which is basically a riposte to all of the stuff we heard about with genre-incoherent drift in 4e: "DON'T DEMAND NONSENSE!" One such quip is on fictional positioning and permissible action declarations: If I'm running Dogs and the player thinks someone is under the thrall of demonic...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 10:56 PM
    In one of my recent posts I referred to violations of genre, fictional positioning and system logic. In the Burning Wheel rulebooks Luke Crane makes the point by saying (something like) "no roll for beam weaponry in the duke's toilet". But that is all about vetoing or refusing to entertain certain action declarations. Lanefan was positing a successful outcome. As Ovinomancer has posted,...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:24 PM
    I think some games can, but I don't know if that's a product of the system or the people. My Apocalypse World and Burning Wheel, FATE, Dogs... they all tend to the gritty and streetwise. It's why I want to run The Veil - cyberpunk is a natural genre for my style, and Gibson one of my favourite authors. So my Prince Valiant might be a shade or two darker than yours, your Apocalypse World...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:24 PM
    Why? In a relatively traditional RPG a GM gets to establish a lot of fiction: much of the setting; many of the NPCs; the framing of many situations; the narration of failures; maybe other stuff too that I'm not thinking of at present. What is the function of successful checks if the GM also gets to establish what happens there too? I was just responding to what you posted:
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:16 AM
    I have neither said nor implied this. All I said was that Lanefan's example, in which the PC doesn't achieve what the player hoped for, is not a success and hence might be a feasible failure narration.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 AM
    I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think, though, that some systems can be more demanding on the players than others, and challenging in that sense. To give examples: Prince Valiant and MHRP tend to be relatively light-hearted in the situations they throw up; whereas Burning Wheel (and I suspect Apocalypse World) can be much...
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 05:27 AM
    Can you explain more what you mean about not being sure about incentives? Not sure about incentives interfacing with the decision-tree in a moment of thematic choice? Incentives that push back against the impetus to establish a win condition for a scene/arc or create extra obstacles to that win condition in exchange for advancement? Something else? Paragraph 1 Response: That makes...
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    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:59 AM
    I would hope this would be obvious, but a system which in no way constrains GM narration is offering nothing of value. It says nothing. Provides nothing. It has no teeth. If a die roll does not constrain GM narration what is the point except empty ritual?
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    3 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:55 AM
    I personally do not really care. I am not really interested in testing characters. I'm more interested in character exploration. Sometimes that means putting them through the crucible, but sometimes it does not. My own litmus test is if a scene will tell us something meaningful about a character. What's required is for everyone (GM included) to play with integrity and not put their creative...
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    1 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:23 AM
    You want each player to have created for their character a number of clearly defined relationships, beliefs, allegiances, dependencies and responsibilities. The creation of these should, of itself, create the arena for the game's action. The 'world' is a backdrop, the crucible in which the players' creations spark into life. Then you set the character's individual drives in opposition to each...
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    5 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Hussar, Lanefan - if narrowing of possible resolutions = the GM being bound by the results of checks, than sure, any system other than "GM decides" will have that consequence. But unless the dice are rigged then fails are possible, in which case fail scenarios are possible resolutions, and there is no narrowing of the range of possible resolution.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Your example doesn't show any narrowing of possible results. The scenario you describe is a possible failure narration; and it could be a success narration if that is what the player decides his/her PC searches for.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    I believe many more people have watched The Avengers than have watched The Seventh Seal. But that doesn't mean that every time I want to talk about the latter I talk about the former instead or as well. If people who only want to talk about D&D, or who have no interest in talking or reading about how other systems do things, don't want to participate in this thread, that's a risk I'm prepared...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:15 PM
    Reposted:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:55 PM
    In your case, you seem to know both BW and D&D, which are the two systems I referenced in the post of mine that you quoted. Do you have any thoughts about this mind flayer and false memories example that might draw on either of the systems? Or if you want to engage it by reference to another system, that would be interesting too!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:48 PM
    Do you have much experience with 4e D&D? It's a bit of an open question exactly what tools 4e provides, because the skill challenge is - as presented - such an open-ended or un-nailed-down framework that (experience suggests) needs users to bring ideas and/or experience from outside to really get the best out of it. I think a skill challenge might be able to handle the scenario you're...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:22 AM
    I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    This is an interesting question - in general, and about D&D play: To what extent is the GM permitted to rewrite player-authored PC backstory by drawing upon a combination of (i) situation and stakes and (ii) failed checks. In BW (for instance) I think this is fair game. The only version of D&D I can think of able to handle this is 4e. I don't really see how it would be done in AD&D. And from...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:02 AM
    If the player is avoiding expedience by sticking to conceptualisation, how is that conceptualisation going to be challenged? Or changed? If the player is at liberty to change conceptuatlisation in response to choices, what governs those choices? Self-evidently it can't be conceptualisation. You don't want it to be expedience. Is it whim? Do you have actual play examples to post that...
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    So I've skimmed the recent bits of the thread. In a follow-up post, I'm going to relay a recent PC:PC social conflict in Strike (!) and invite folks to chime in on how they perceive this anecdote (a) contrasts with gameplay where social conflict isn't formalized and (b) there are neither mechanical feedbacks nor PC build components involved. But first, I want to post some text from Strike (!)...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    I would be more than willing to discuss the merits of Exalted 3e elsewhere. It is a fundamentally different game that I feel delivers on the promise of previous versions of the game. Here I would like to focus on social mechanics, their effects, and implications.
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    0 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:16 PM
    But you don't know anything. You just blithely assert factless, empty garbage. You even accept, when challenged, total ignorance of the subject matter. As such, the key point in this exhange has been to demonstrate that your opinions are worthless.
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:08 PM
    (1) This thread is in general RPG. Not D&D. There's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:01 PM
    You posted this not too far upthread: Before you posted that, Campbell already posted on outline of mechanics from Exalted which contradict what you said: the player in Exalted (i) does not sit out of the loop, and (ii) does have input on how his/her PC would react. Further upthread I posted the Apocalypse World mechanics for PvP seduction/maipulation. In that system the player gets to...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:52 PM
    This is missing the point. One may as well ask, What story can't D&D produce? Well, if the players and the GM all get together and agree on it then you can play out Casablanca in D&D, can't you? (That was Campbell's point about consensus.) But the current topic of discussion is how that might be done, and what sort of play experience might be involved. The example of Exalted, for instance,...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:34 PM
    I guess you can assert things in ignorance, yet avoid error, if you get lucky. On this occasion though, your luck has failed you. The claims you make aren't plausible even within the compass of D&D, which includes the 4e skill challenge mechanic. They are completely wrong when it comes to other systems such as the ones that chaochou has mentioned.
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    2 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:54 PM
    Again, using the mechanics of Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits, then Blades in the Dark, then Apocalypse World demonstrate how these claims manifest themselves in actual play. Again, you can't and won't because your claims are a) completely empty and false and b) the product of complete ignorance of the available mechanics.
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    This completely misunderstands chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. The basic point is that, in the scenarios you keep putting forward, nothing happens to the PC's inner being or self-conception that the player did not choose. So the player choose that which s/he prefers....
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:35 PM
    Duel of Wits from Burning Wheel has been mentioned. It's an interesting example, because it permits PCs to be persuaded (by other PCs, or by NPCs) but doesn't change their underlying motivations/orientations. In the context of (say) a maiden trying to persuade a PC to help her, it can certainly permit that. And if the maiden is charming or flirty that can factor into her checks (eg FoRK...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:14 PM
    This is entirely ignorant of the range and applications of mechanics available and written into rpgs. You've clearly never read, far less used, any of them and yet seem completely certain of the impact of every one of them on the play experience. Explain how your persuasion situation is resolved in Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits. Then explain how it is resolved in Blades in the Dark. Then in...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:05 PM
    I'll leave the fidelity claim to one side. But the second claim is an empirical one. I'd be curious to see if it's true. Personally I doubt it - I don't have experience with Exalted, but in my experience with other systems that provide various sorts of systematic support for engagement with PC motivations and emotions the range of characters played - when considered in proportion to the overall...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:15 AM
    I think this is very important when approaching social/emotional conflict in RPGs. Otherwise there is a significant risk of all the characters turning out to be the same ie merely expedient. That's fine for Dying Earth but not desirable in general, in my view. Can you explain this further in relation to the system you've described? Is this the depletion of Willpower, or something else as well?...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Let me start off by saying I do not like viewing game mechanics through the lens of necessity. No mechanics are actually necessary. Anything can be resolved through consensus. That's what the online freeformers do. However, sometimes consensus is like boring and stuff. I'm going to start with an example of a system that I consider to have the most impact on player agency of the games I like to...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:46 PM
    If your perspective is that playing DitV is the same as playing DL, then I have to ask - have you played DitV, or any system like it? So now it's corrosive for people to talk about their play experiences, and what they found different in different systems? This is why I described you upthread as hostile to analysis. As for the idea that GNS is corrosive - the only anger and hostility I...
    217 replies | 14772 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:34 PM
    I can see why you say this. But for me, this brings us back to Campbell's remarks: The absence of choice in the example I provided occurred at the point of the killing. At that point, thie player learns - without having any say over it - that his PC is a killer. At that point, playing the character with integrity generates the crisis. There were subsequent events, too, that played on the...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 10:15 AM
    Yes, I mean faithfulness to what the unfolding fiction reveals about the character. Not accuracy. I was trying to build on what Campbell had said. There's the example that's been given by Umbran. Here's another example, which is based on an actual play experience I had many years ago now. The basic structure of the example is not too different from Umbran's. One of the PCs was a...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:53 AM
    I have already spoken on how social mechanics can serve as an immersion tool to help players feel what their characters should be feeling in the moment. Another crucial function can be to deliberately welcome the wholly unwelcome. It introduces outcomes which no one at the table would deliberately choose, but are nonetheless compelling. Vincent Baker calls this the fundamental purpose of RPG...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:27 AM
    I agree with Ovinomancer and Umbran that making a choice - even a hard choice - isn't a challenge to character and character concept of the sort that has been raised in this thread. Whether you need mechanics (social mechanics, emotional mechanics, whatever they might be) to generate that sort of challenge is a further question. My view is that you don't, although obviously they might help....
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:42 AM
    It means that the RPG can have story arcs comparable to other dramatic mediums. In film, think eg Casblanca. In literature, think eg The Human Factor. In genre fiction, think eg Han Solo (who, in Star Wars, turns out not to be the mercenary he thought he was) or Nameless, Jet Li's character in Hero (who in the end choose not to take the vengeance that he had pursued). Of course many other...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 02:53 AM
    B/X D&D as a wonderfully tuned focused sandbox dungeon crawling game that provides clear guidance on how to play is one of the better designed role playing games ever made. It does what it does very well. It's character options are remarkably well balanced (better than any edition barring 4e). I say this as someone who did not have the joy of playing or running B/X until the 4e era. My opinions...
    75 replies | 3001 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 03:56 AM
    I'm going to say something I expect will be controversial here. If I am playing or running a game that is supposed to be more character focused I absolutely do make aesthetic judgments of other players and I expect the same in kind. We should all be invested in each others' characters - be fans of them. For that to happen players should play their characters as if they were real people with...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 11:28 PM
    I run two versions of D&D; 4e and Moldvay Basic. So the answer is while D&D 4e can scratch an itch similar to Mouse Guard, Cortex+ , Dungeon World, and Mouse Guard, it and Moldvay Basic can't reproduce Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, Dread, Blades in the Dark, Torchbearer, My Life With Master, Sorcerer, and Star Wars like Strike (!) and Scum and Villainy. Because system matters.
    88 replies | 3245 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:48 AM
    In D&D there is no limit - neither a hard one, nor even a soft one based on principles - as to how many special abilities a GM can use and how many saves s/he might force. This is not a universal truth of RPG design: I quoted the principle from Prince Valiant upthread; Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic uses the Doom Pool to modulate the challenges the GM introduces; other systems have other...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:40 AM
    And by that we can reasonably extrapolate that for game purposes a cave troll has lots of hit points and-or a high Con score. <snip> Just as you can't say a creature described as being particularly tough (relative to other creatures) in the fiction doesn't have lots of hit points, you can't say a creature with lots of hit points (relative to other creatures) isn't tough. Put another way,...
    786 replies | 22793 view(s)
    1 XP
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Thursday, 18th July, 2019


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Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 11:25 PM - FrogReaver mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Iím questioning your definition because I donít know how it works. I canít comment on what @chaochou thinks, but I expect that it would likely depend on the system in place. He probably views things one way for Burning Wheel, and another for Blades in the Dark, and yet another for D&D. It sounds to me like you want players to play true to their character, right? So if someoneís playing a paladin whose vows include a vow of chastity, youíd expect the player to roleplay the character accordingly. Now, he could be devoutly chaste or it could be something he struggles with...really, itís up to the player how he decides to play it. Right? If the above is all true, then how can you ever say a player is ďcheatingĒ in what they decide? So yeah, if the player always takes the most expedient route, always makes the easiest choice...how is this a negative? It is simply what the player decided for their character and they are the sole authority of that characterís thoughts and feelings and decisions. How can the player ever ignore their character conceptualization when they alone can make de...
  • 09:49 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    @chaochou obviously feels always choosing what's expedient is not a good way to play. I happen to agree with him on that as I believe you do as well. The overall point is that the playstyle I suggest doesn't lead to that unless a player ignores their character conceptualization. You are way to hung up on my definition of always choosing what's expedient as cheating. Iím questioning your definition because I donít know how it works. I canít comment on what chaochou thinks, but I expect that it would likely depend on the system in place. He probably views things one way for Burning Wheel, and another for Blades in the Dark, and yet another for D&D. It sounds to me like you want players to play true to their character, right? So if someoneís playing a paladin whose vows include a vow of chastity, youíd expect the player to roleplay the character accordingly. Now, he could be devoutly chaste or it could be something he struggles with...really, itís up to the player how he decides to play it. R...
  • 07:58 PM - FrogReaver mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    In the absence of rules, how do you determine whatís cheating? If the rules state that a character decision is entirely up to the player, then how can there be a preferred choice? I mean, in most situations, Iíd expect a player to pick whatever he wanted and then justify that choice in any way he felt was suitable. If heís the sole authority on what his character thinks or feels, then how can a GM or any other participant decide that a choice heís made is cheating? It all seems very self-contradictory, no? @chaochou obviously feels always choosing what's expedient is not a good way to play. I happen to agree with him on that as I believe you do as well. The overall point is that the playstyle I suggest doesn't lead to that unless a player ignores their character conceptualization. You are way to hung up on my definition of always choosing what's expedient as cheating.
  • 05:08 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...ason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc might be established. (3) If someone's answer to the questions posed in the OP is the way D&D does it, end of story then they're welcome not to participat in the thread. If they're going to make ungrounded assertions that nothing else is really possible, well that's not very helpful either and is fair game for clarification or correction. (4) The most interesting thing for me at the moment - obviously I can't speak for others - is what are the necessary conditions for a genuine challenge to character concept? This is what Ovinomancer and I have disagreed about - I believe without undue acrimony! I would be very interested to hear what Campbell, chaochou and/or Aldarc thinks about it, should they care to weigh in. (Of course it's their prerogatibe not to.) My own views on this are heavily influenced by a certain conception of GM role in terms of framing scenes that put players under pressure by putting things that matter to the PC at stake. I don't know Exalted at all except from Campbell's accounts in this and other threads; and my experience with PbtA games is fairly limited, although I know the rulesets for DW and AW fairly well.
  • 04:34 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I don't need to know much specific about China to know there aren't elves there. Nor Do I need to know the specifics of a bunch of game systems to draw general conclusions about them. In short, I can be ignorant on specifics without being wrong.I guess you can assert things in ignorance, yet avoid error, if you get lucky. On this occasion though, your luck has failed you. The claims you make aren't plausible even within the compass of D&D, which includes the 4e skill challenge mechanic. They are completely wrong when it comes to other systems such as the ones that chaochou has mentioned.
  • 04:28 PM - FrogReaver mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    This completely misunderstands @chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. Right, but it did have to do with what chaochou said. In fact he didn't even defend it after I called him out on it. Then it isn't persuasion. I simply choose whatever is most expedient and justify my choice however I please. That was his rebuttal to the player choosing. There's nothing else that can be referring to except players that always make the most expedient decision (aka cheating)
  • 03:41 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Herein lies the problem. You are so convinced you must keep a player from cheating (choosing the expedient option) that you have invented mechanics that police the game to such a degree that those players who won't simply choose the expedient have a far less enjoyable time. If your players need policing to ensure they aren't just choosing the expedient option then those systems you describe certainly work better. If they don't then they are limiting.This completely misunderstands chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. The basic point is that, in the scenarios you keep putting forward, nothing happens to the PC's inner being or self-conception that the player did not choose. So the player choose that which s/he prefers. Depending on mood, table practices, etc, this might be the thing most likely to produce victory in the quest, or the thing most likely to be seen as entertaining, or even the thing s/he thinks is truest to the character as s/he conceives of it. Whatever the player chooses, s/he is not forced to confront something new or unexpected about his/her PC.

Sunday, 28th April, 2019

  • 04:23 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post Cthulhu Dark - another session
    ...heck for this, committing his sanity die, and thus resulting in a failed SAN check and going into a mad frenzy which resulted in another trip to Armand's clinic for some nerve tonic). That sort of player proactivity helps bind the paths of the PCs together and gives me more material to work with. Even at the end the PCs (Stone, Appleby, Armand) were essentially strangers who happened to have found themselves collective witnesses to some strange events, but not actually a group. (Whereas in our previous Cthulhu Dark session, at the end the PCs ended up cooperating to try and stop the horror.) Most of the RPGing I do focusesmuch more on "party play": in Burning Wheel and Cortex+ Heroic we've also had some of this sort of "separate stories" thing, but not the full "strangers with a shared experience" thing. My understanding is that this "separateness" of the PCs is a big part of Apocalypse World but that's a game I know only by reading and reputation, not from play. I'll call on chaochou to see if he will share any thoughts about managing non-party play and intertwining PC story paths.

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

  • 11:38 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    You keep projecting these pejorative onto peoplesí Preferences. Is it any wonder they donít embrace your ideas?When you start policing tone and courtesy without discrimination (eg where is your outrage at Maxperson calling the levels of drama in my game ridiculous?) then I might take these sorts of comments seriously. As far as embracing my ideas is concerned, I'm very happy with the number of posters who, over the years, have acknowledged my contributions and/or thanked me for ideas that they have adapted into their games. EDIT: I notice that chaochou has made the same comment as I have done. Thanks chaochou!

Friday, 1st March, 2019

  • 10:04 AM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    as I already posted upthread there are some contexts in which even the Death Knight's immunity to fear may be an example of "Mother may I" (eg as an important aspect of play, a PC has sworn to drive away the next foe s/he encounters by sheer terror alone, and then the GM presents a Death Knight as the next foe and thus dictates the failure of the PC's oath).There no Mother May I there, either. The player is not asking if his PC can do something. He is doing it. It's also okay to fail at something. Even something the PC swears to do.This goes right back to the issue innerdude was concerned with in the OP on the other thread, namely how do framing, player-chosen stakes, and adjudication/resolution interact? And as chaochou noted, we can't talk about these things meaningfully without attending to differences between systems. Upthread, Manbearcat and Ovinomancer, in reply to Numidius, explored this in the context of Dungeon World. Their point was that, although in DW all backstory authority rests with the GM, the principles of the game oblige the GM (i) to have regard to player-chosen stakes in (ii) adjudication - eg establishing the outcomes of an attempt to Spout Lore or Discern Realities - and (iii) framing. In respect of the lattermost, the GM is obliged to build on the fiction that was established via adjudication. Thus (i) feeds into (ii) feeds into (iii), and so even though players don't have backstory authority, their choices as to what matters - looking for secret doors, swearing oaths to drive foes away in terror, whatever it might be - ought to feed directly into the GM's authorship of the shared fiction. It would be incredibly bad DW GMing to simply frame the PC who has sworn the...

Thursday, 28th February, 2019

  • 10:27 AM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    OK, they're hidden information. Still something the DM knows and the player doesn't.This claim about monster abilities as hidden information is already making assumptions about play which, as chaochou said, presusppose a "Mother may I" approach. I posted a fairly long reply to Sadras about this and so refer you to that (it's around 50 posts upthread). Sure there's retries. How can there not be? We try the teahouse. If nothing, then half an hour later we try the teahouse again. If nothing, then leave off till sunset and try it again. [etc.] On this, I refer to AbdulAlhazred's posts not very far upthread: combat is traditionally an activity where the PCs are given the widest range of options. Heck, an AD&D fighter has, basically, NO options that are defined by rules outside of combat! Inside combat he has at least 3-5 basic options at any given time, maybe considerably more, that are covered by the rules (at least to some extent). The point is, if the DM says "no you cannot aim at the neck of the snake and cut its head off using a called shot." that is simply a rules adjudication, it isn't allowed by the rules. It might also be a 'no' to what might be considered possibl...

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019

  • 10:34 AM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Secret Backstory exists in combat (monster statistics)Monster statistics aren't secret backstory. They're not backstory at all. A fictional fact about a monster (eg death knights never flee in terror) is backstory, but is it secret? From whom? Not anyone who's read the Monster Manual. In 4e, not from anyone who makes a Monster Knowledge check. This goes to chaochou's point about conflation. This entire response rests on the word scene. A new parameter has now been introduced (at least to me) where it is ok to Say No as long as the scene is not resolved via that No. Have I understood you correctly?I don't think your notion of saying No is coherent. If a player makes a roll to hit, and the roll is a failure, the GM (in a system that has such a role of the more-or-less traditional sort - all the RPGs I play do so) will tell the player that the attack failed. No one on this thread has suggested that that is "Mother may I." It's a failed check. If a player engages in a contested check against the GM rolling from some NPC's stats, the check may fail. And the player may not know in advance what the chance of failure is (depending on game rules and table conventions about keeping GM-side stats secret). If the NPC's stat correlates to the fiction as presented by the GM, this will almost certainly not be characterised by anyone on this thread as...
  • 09:10 AM - Sadras mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I'm not confusing. I'm observing. If, in fact, player X is playing a PC whose wall raison d'etre is to drive a death knight away by causing fear, then your example would be analogous to the tea house example. But in the typical D&D combat the goal of the player is to defeat the monster. The attempt to cause fear has defeating the death knight as it's goal, and the failure of that spell doesn't bring the situation to an end. The death knight's immunity to fear doesn't dictate the resolution of the scene, subject to some of the very atypical examples I've already suggseted which - if they are in play - do give the death knight example the same character as @chaochou has referred to. It's not to do with the "pillar". It's to do with the structure of scene resolution. I don't think this is very obscure. This entire response rests on the word scene. A new parameter has now been introduced (at least to me) where it is ok to Say No as long as the scene is not resolved via that No. Have I understood you correctly? In DW, the GM never rolls any dice. So how would fudging occur? As per my response to @chaochou, I'm not focusing on a few specific games, I'm taking the definition of MMI some posters have understood it and testing it. As for how would fudging occur in DW I do not know. Can fudging occur via secret information (i.e. increasing hit points)? In the games I GM, I roll my dice like everyone else, and read out the results - exalting in my natural 20s (when GMing 4e). Ok. I don't believe I singled you out and said you fudge. I think you are making assumptions about play practices which don't extend to many RPG tables. That word m...
  • 03:20 AM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Well, you said that Sadras was making assumptions about play practices. I think that his assumptions are somewhat well-founded. I am sure that there are some tables that play diceless games. I am sure that there are some tables that play games with dice with no fudging. I think based on the available evidence that Sadras's questions about fudging do, in fact, "extend to many RPG tables."Sure. There are many restaurant tables at which meat is eaten. There are also many restaurant tables at which meat is not eaten. Hence an assumption that eating at a restaurant entails eating meat will not be true at many restaurant tables. The fact that there are many other tables at which the assumption holds is beside the point. There are many tables to which Sadras's assumptions do not extend. That is quite compatible with there being many to which they do extend. Given that I'm pretty confident that chaochou would characterise the tables to which they do extend as "Mother May I", I don't see how Sadras thinks that pointing to them undermines chaochou's analysis.

Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

  • 11:27 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...lthough there are obvious weaknesses in the mechanical implementation. You're confusing the entire combat as the Action Declaration.I'm not confusing. I'm observing. If, in fact, player X is playing a PC whose wall raison d'etre is to drive a death knight away by causing fear, then your example would be analogous to the tea house example. But in the typical D&D combat the goal of the player is to defeat the monster. The attempt to cause fear has defeating the death knight as it's goal, and the failure of that spell doesn't bring the situation to an end. The death knight has been narrated by the DM. Secret backstory the death knight is immune to x. The tea house has been narrated by the DM. Secret backstory the sect are not at the tea house.The death knight's immunity to fear doesn't dictate the resolution of the scene, subject to some of the very atypical examples I've already suggseted which - if they are in play - do give the death knight example the same character as chaochou has referred to. So it is fair to say if Hard No's can exist in the Combat pillar, why is MMI only attributed towards Social and Exploration pillars by some posters?It's not to do with the "pillar". It's to do with the structure of scene resolution. I don't think this is very obscure. But there are some big differences here. One fire is something your character handles in the setting and tries to apply to the Death Knight. Like if you have a spell, that is an ability your character has that is defined in the setting. The sect being at the Tea House isn't something the character can control in that way."Mother may I" and similar labels aren't intended to be descriptions of the imagined causal power of imagined PCs. They're descriptions of the actual causal power of the players in respect of the shared fiction.
  • 01:16 PM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ry" and I'm pretty sure you posted in that thread.) No one thinks that, if a GM narrates a room with a door but no windows, the action declaration "I climb through the window" is going to have a chance of success. Instead of talking about death knights I'm surprised you're not at least pointing to a more contentious example, namely, the immunity of the Duke to Intimidate checks in the example of a skill challenge in the 4e DMG. The same example skill challenge also establishes a way of learning this immunity, namely, via an Insight check. In the past I've said that I regard this as borderline in terms of the balance between reasonable framing and GM fiat by way of secret backstory. If a group of players were playing PCs who had no magical attack forms, and the GM framed those PCs into a situation which (i) very clearly invited a violent resopnse, and (ii) involved a being able to be hurt only by magical attack forms, then in my view that would be an instance of exactly what chaochou is talking about. Ther proverbial ancient red dragon in the first room of a first level dungeon would be another example. (Although that example obviously rests on assumptions about the broader form of gameplay - eg it will involve exploring dungeons - which may not be true in many games.) Perhaps I wasn't clear. No permission is required, we are talking about the resolution process. Action Declaration: Character goes to Tea House to find sect. DM: Despite the tea house being full of patrons, you find no sect member present. Action Declaration: I cast Cause Fear on the Death Knight in attempts to frighten him. DM: (Without making a saving throw) You successfully cast it, but your spell appears to have no affect as the Death Knight keeps on advancing. Both are automatic No's.In D&D, being told your fear effect doesn't affect the Death Kinght doesn't end the resolution process for fighting a death knight. (Unless the GM goes on to narrate The Death Knight keeps advancing ....
  • 12:18 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Folks (and I'm not singling you out by any means Bedrockgames, you already made your annoyance at this phrase clear long since and people should be able to remember it), why don't we stop worrying about 'pejoritive' and whatnot? I mean, I accept you consider the term pejorative and I haven't used it (in a long time at least, maybe I did at some point way back when). My real point is, there is a sense to what chaochou is actually saying. There is a class of RPGs in which the GM can say 'no', as in a hard no which isn't disputable. The reasons for the 'no' are potentially various. It could be a rule about pre-established fiction, simple 'this guy is in charge, its his game' or intended as some sort of refereeing mechanism. It doesn't really matter what the origin is, and it doesn't really matter how frequently it is used, or to what effect. There are other games where such a thing is mechanically impossible, or there is a 'soft no' which the use of some process or resource by the players can revoke. These are two separate classifications of games (even if they weren't I just invented them, and I have stated a pretty reasonable classification rule, so we can assume these classes to be established, right?) Again, I get that people get irritated, I'd just urge people to understand that there are meaningful distinctions which can be discussed, and that it should be possible to have a discussion about th...
  • 04:08 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ... I in the way I described. Using it pejoratively to describe a large swath of RPGs or play styles, is pretty meaningless I think. Certainly isn't going to illuminate anything. If you see a playstyle you don't like and sum it up as mother may I, you will entirely miss the reason people are engaging it (and you will be lacking the curiosity that Pemerton seemed so concerned people retain when analyzing RPGs). It reeks of bias. It is up there with magic tea party in that respect. That would be like me insisting on referring to games with narrative elements as "story time" systems. Folks (and I'm not singling you out by any means Bedrockgames, you already made your annoyance at this phrase clear long since and people should be able to remember it), why don't we stop worrying about 'pejoritive' and whatnot? I mean, I accept you consider the term pejorative and I haven't used it (in a long time at least, maybe I did at some point way back when). My real point is, there is a sense to what chaochou is actually saying. There is a class of RPGs in which the GM can say 'no', as in a hard no which isn't disputable. The reasons for the 'no' are potentially various. It could be a rule about pre-established fiction, simple 'this guy is in charge, its his game' or intended as some sort of refereeing mechanism. It doesn't really matter what the origin is, and it doesn't really matter how frequently it is used, or to what effect. There are other games where such a thing is mechanically impossible, or there is a 'soft no' which the use of some process or resource by the players can revoke. These are two separate classifications of games (even if they weren't I just invented them, and I have stated a pretty reasonable classification rule, so we can assume these classes to be established, right?) Again, I get that people get irritated, I'd just urge people to understand that there are meaningful distinctions which can be discussed, and that it should be possible to have a discussion about th...

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019


Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 04:20 AM - pemerton mentioned chaochou in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    Pemerton decided to XP a poster that had said twice that traditional-styled games are not games. Do you disagree with Pemerton on this issue?You'll have also noted, then, that I expressly stated my lack of consensus on that poster's account of OSR gaming. But the bigger point came up a year or two ago in a discussion between chaochou and SAelorn (I think my tagging won't work here because Saelorn has me blocked). Saelorn ran a line similar to Alexander Kalinowski, that all the players ever do in the context of a RPG is to make suggestions to the GM about how the fiction might change, and the GM actually makes all such decisions. chaochou's response to this was that, in a literal sense, it meant that only the GM actually played the game (ie made decisions that affect the state of the game, which in the context of a RPG is the content of the shared fiction). Other participants were simply advisers or kibitzers. I take Enthusiastic Grog to have been making a similar point - if everything about the shared fiction is the GM's unilateral decision, then only the GM is actually playing the game. I guess it would be possible to recharacterise the nature of the game - eg for non-GM participants, playing the game means making suggestions to the GM which s/he may have regard to in deciding how the fiction changes. But...


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Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 09:38 PM - Umbran quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Personally, I think these emotional responses are more about the authenticity brought by the players than anything system-specific. I think that while a system in and of itself cannot produce such authenticity, it can certainly get in the way of it. It can also likely encourage it - setting the players up in a good way to have such, to invite it. Bluebeard's Bride (from Magpie Games), and Ten Candles (from Calvalry Games) come to mind in that sense - games designed to enable players to "have all the feels" as the young'uns these days would say.
  • 02:36 PM - lowkey13 quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Finally, I think a genuine challenge to the character is completely seperate from one which challenges the player. That's a red herring, a totally false equivalence. Ideally, the player is comfortable, relaxed and relishing the process of authoring the character as it burns, and the creativity it affords them. I was curious about this last paragraph, as I'm not sure I fully understand this. Or maybe I do, and I disagree? Either way, I was hoping you could explain it. So, various TTRPGs and other RPGs have a closer identification of the player and the character; some might say that this can be either an artifact of the system, or an artifact of the style that one uses the system. Regardless, there is an emotional connection to, and identification with, the character and the fiction of the RPG. In such a circumstance, I would say that the player is not similar to the author of the character within the fiction (in other words, solely making authorial choices from an omniscient remove) but is mo...
  • 06:13 AM - pemerton quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I prioritize emotional immersion over intellectual immersion.I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think a genuine challenge to the character is completely seperate from one which challenges the player. That's a red herring, a totally false equivalence. Ideally, the player is comfortable, relaxed and relishing the process of authoring the character as it burns, and the creativity it affords them.I think, though, that some systems can be more demanding on the players than others, and challenging in that sense. To give examples: Prince Valiant and MHRP tend to be relatively light-hearted in the situations they throw up; whereas Burning Wheel (and I suspect Apocalypse World) can be much "heavier"/"deeper" (I'm not sure what the right word is). Both are fun, but the latter is more likely to leave a participant feeling drained than is the former.

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 11:57 PM - aramis erak quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    The character is really just a sheet of paper. It's the player inhabiting the idea of the character that gives it life. That's why I don't understand this idea that you can challenge the character socially, without challenging the player. When Umbran said that I was switching the challenge from the character to the player, I had a vision of Leslie Nielson in an interrogation room with a character sheet sitting on a chair, demanding that it confess. After a few minutes he turns to Nordberg and says, "I never thought it would be so hard to challenge a character." You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player. A challenge where the DM takes control and informs the player that his PC's heart warms is no less a challenge to the player than what we are describing. It's just a different sort of challenge. There are a great many challenges for the character that are not for the player, and best resolved with simple mechanical considerations. Some are ju...
  • 04:28 PM - FrogReaver quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    This completely misunderstands @chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. Right, but it did have to do with what chaochou said. In fact he didn't even defend it after I called him out on it. Then it isn't persuasion. I simply choose whatever is most expedient and justify my choice however I please. That was his rebuttal to the player choosing. There's nothing else that can be referring to except players that always make the most expedient decision (aka cheating)
  • 04:15 PM - FrogReaver quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Again, using the mechanics of Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits, then Blades in the Dark, then Apocalypse World demonstrate how these claims manifest themselves in actual play. Again, you can't and won't because your claims are a) completely empty and false and b) the product of complete ignorance of the available mechanics. I don't need to know much specific about China to know there aren't elves there. Nor Do I need to know the specifics of a bunch of game systems to draw general conclusions about them. In short, I can be ignorant on specifics without being wrong.
  • 04:05 PM - Aldarc quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Nor is it one unless you falsely accuse me of semantics and engage in an Ad Hominem attack against me like this one. Semantics is not different ways to define something. It's saying the same thing in a different way, which I did not do. The distinctly different definitions of challenge do not end up at the same place. They are different kinds of challenges. Take your false semantics accusation elsewhere.Actually, it is as "semantics" is fundamentally about 'meaning,' and you are currently doing what is referred to in the field of linguistics as 'lexical semantics.' For someone who likes to drop lexical entries into arguments, I'm surprised you don't know that. :D Again, using the mechanics of Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits, then Blades in the Dark, then Apocalypse World demonstrate how these claims manifest themselves in actual play. Again, you can't and won't because your claims are a) completely empty and false and b) the product of complete ignorance of the available mechanics.Yeah...
  • 03:29 PM - FrogReaver quoted chaochou in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Then it isn't persuasion. I simply choose whatever is most expedient and justify my choice however I please. Herein lies the problem. You are so convinced you must keep a player from cheating (choosing the expedient option) that you have invented mechanics that police the game to such a degree that those players who won't simply choose the expedient have a far less enjoyable time. If your players need policing to ensure they aren't just choosing the expedient option then those systems you describe certainly work better. If they don't then they are limiting.

Sunday, 26th May, 2019

  • 03:24 PM - pemerton quoted chaochou in post Situation, setting and "status quo"
    I get the gist of where you're going with your 'the setting is the situation' line. I think it's easier to think of it as a game where there is no 'adventure' seperate from day-to-day living.That second sentence also reminds me of the Edwards essay I posted a link to a little bit upothread. And what I'm really commenting on in this thread is my own relative unfamiliarity with GMing that sort of situation/"scenario". The closest I can think of is a certain sort of "tramp trader" Traveller, and that's not very close! When it comes to a discussion on 'status quo', I think it's important to see it in context. The driving theme in AW is 'scarcity'. Everything is scarce. Water, shelter, friendship, warmth, fuel, food, ammunition, tools, knowledge, medicine, transport... everything anyone wants and needs is hard to get. And anytime someone has it, someone else wants to take it. So everything is precarious, everything is under pressure. A character may have a nice rifle, but where do they get...

Wednesday, 24th April, 2019

  • 08:49 AM - Sadras quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    So you think the claim 'My game is more realistic than yours' is the same as 'My game is more immersive than yours'. The latter is clearly the self-righteous claim of a pompous tool. The former is as well, but pretends to be a claim of objective fact. Pompous tools aside, your stance comes from semantics, when I'm only using the shorthand version of attempting to describe something, which I believe we all understand which term is even used by designers. I do not believe designers are attempting to be pompous tools with claims of objective facts when they use the term to market a mechanic that your game does not possess. @Maxperson, you have said that no mechanic yields 100% unrealistic, whereas some mechanic yields a step towards realism however minute the step. I believe you also mentioned the mechanic needs to be designed with some competency and honesty (integrity). Out of interest how do you view the fumble on a 1? Is this a step towards realism?

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

  • 09:31 PM - Bedrockgames quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    That's because I'm not the one bleating about perjoratives - that's you. I'm simply highlighting the hypocrisy of complaining about just one set of perjoratives while feigning ignorance of the rest. I am not a fan of pejoratives in these discussions, regardless of who it is from. And the few times I've seen someone on my side say something I disagree with, I've posted a response. I am focusing more on one side, because I've been in a debate with Pemerton. So that is where my focus is. Plus I am not omnipotent and have not read every single post. If you have a post you want me to react to, feel free to share it.
  • 09:16 PM - Bedrockgames quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Well, then. Why don't you react when people's play gets called 'ridiculously unrealistic' completely without foundation. Your sense of the perjorative is utterly one-sided and one-eyed. If you point out this post, I am happy to react. I don't read every post on a given thread. I read mainly the posts that are responses to my own or ones that catch my eye. I simply don't have the time to follow every response. I've tried to be clear that I don't think there is anything wrong with these other types of play. I am just trying to put forward what I like. But I don't see you reacting to the pejoratives used by your side of the debate either.

Saturday, 2nd March, 2019

  • 04:02 PM - Ovinomancer quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    But why would people such as myself or pemerton, who spent a couple of decades playing that way with countless different people, need to do that? We donít call it Mother May I in ignorance, but from long-standing actual play experience. How many player led games have you run? For how many years? This is a very valid point. I don't think anyone arguing for more player-centric authority is unaware of how, exactly, DM-center authority works or has little experience with it. The other proposition, that most people have experience with more player-centric authority games, is not likely. This is because D&D and games that follow it's design leads are almost all DM-centric and are the 800-lb gorilla in the room. If you've played any RPG, it's most likely a DM-centric one. So, yeah, that will almost always cut only one direction.
  • 03:55 PM - Bedrockgames quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    But why would people such as myself or pemerton, who spent a couple of decades playing that way with countless different people, need to do that? We donít call it Mother May I in ignorance, but from long-standing actual play experience. How many player led games have you run? For how many years? We could trade blows over experience all day. I've been running games as well since the late 80s. I have run games in a number of styles. I don't run player led games. I am just not into them. I don't see how that would mean I have to accept your terminology. I am aware of such games and I have played in them (and I wouldn't refuse to play if one of my friends wanted to run one). But I do run lots of games where the GM decides. And I have made use of other techniques like say yes or roll the dice. I still think calling the GM decides 'Mother May I', is both pejorative and has the exact kind of effect I was talking about with dissociated mechanics. I am not denying your experience. I am not saying you...

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019

  • 06:57 AM - Sadras quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I'm going to try address everyone's reply as time permits. That seems like too sandy of ground to build an argument on. Are the people who want "to exempt the combat pillar from MMI" the same people who advocated for fudging on that thread? (Or vice versa?) Because your moral accusation of hypocrisy seems to presuppose that those exempting the combat pillar from MMI are those who also fudge or advocate the use thereof. I'm stating fudging occurs more often than not, at least by those who voted on the threads linked by lowkey13. Secret Backstory exists in combat (monster statistics), therefore given the broad definition of MMI that appears to exist within this thread I would think the only way to truly be MMI free as defined, is if there is complete transparency. So name me the game that you're talking about which isn't D&D which features such things. I'm not here to attack games, and I probably do not know as many games as you do. But your attempt to conflate them says that you suppose...

Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

  • 12:51 PM - Sadras quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Player asks, but is powerless to invoke any mechanical resolution to ascertain outcome. GM decides. Absolute rock solid Mother May I play happening right there. To argue otherwise is nonsense. ..(snip)... There are also games which say 'If you can't agree, the table decides'. Which at most tables sees the GM outnumbered by players about 3 or 4 to 1. There are systems where a player spends a bennie and says 'The sect members are drinking at the teahouse tonight' and it becomes true. In all those non D&D games are there monsters which are immune to certain effects or damage types? For instance, in 5e, Death Knights are immune to exhaustion, being frightened and poison. Does the table decide if these monsters may be immune? Can bennies be spent to overcome the immunity? If not, I suggest those games be included under your MMI label because the players' mechanical resolution includes some hard No's if particular damage is deemed irrelevant. To argue otherwise is nonsense.
  • 12:23 AM - Bedrockgames quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    So exactly why are you still participating in a thread which in post 2, page 1, you (falsely) said you weren't going to post in? Is it to learn something? Well, basically I changed my mind. When this thread started I was pretty ticked off about it (because I felt it was kind of an aggressive and insulting thing to launch a new thread just to attack my post). So that statement was more emotionally charged. But as I followed the discussion, I just found it hard to not weigh in. So I joined back. No, I am not here to learn something. More generally, I am on this forum to learn something. But in this particular case, I was drawn here by the fact that my post was used in the OP. I don't know, I'd feel kind of weird getting attacked like that, then coming in to meekly learn something from the poster attacking me. I am here because the thread was basically an attack against something I said on another thread, and an attack on a whole style of play. Plus, the OP is one of the more specious argum...

Monday, 25th February, 2019

  • 10:34 PM - Bedrockgames quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    No. That's your attempt to define MMI in a way which (you hope) doesn't include your own play because you won't accept other people applying an MMI label. Player asks, but is powerless to invoke any mechanical resolution to ascertain outcome. GM decides. Absolute rock solid Mother May I play happening right there. To argue otherwise is nonsense. Again, no. The point is that there are styles which are definitely not Mother May I because, for example, an action resolution system is well enough described that it can answer the question 'Are there sect members at the teahouse?' without the GMs preferences or judgements being part of it. There are also games which say 'If you can't agree, the table decides'. Which at most tables sees the GM outnumbered by players about 3 or 4 to 1. There are systems where a player spends a bennie and says 'The sect members are drinking at the teahouse tonight' and it becomes true. Definitionally, none of the above are Mother May I games. Bu...
  • 08:50 PM - lowkey13 quoted chaochou in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    No. That's your attempt to define MMI in a way which (you hope) doesn't include your own play because you won't accept other people applying an MMI label. Well, it's kind of weird for someone else to: 1. Assert that there is a "universal definition" for a term that doesn't have one; and 2. Demand someone else adopt what is clearly a pejorative term. Regarding the first point- I tried to find a generally accepted definition of "mother may I," but there isn't one because, well, duh. It's a made-up and pejorative term. If you do a search for it, you will find a divide between those who attempt to define it- See, e.g., https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/mother-may-i.630264/ ""Mother May-I" is saying 'No' instead of taking any of those options - and making it clear that the players require your permission to attempt anything that isn't explicitly spelled-out in the rules." and "When whether you can try or succeed is determined by the GM, instead of mechanics or setting. T...

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 03:45 AM - MoutonRustique quoted chaochou in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    To riff off an idea from The One Ring / Burning Wheel, you could give each character a number of Hope points equal to, say, half their Wisdom. When they run out of Hooe the character has succumbed to despair and has to retire. Now your characters have a currency to wager / lose on their travels and one which has an ongoing and long-term impact. In 4e, this could probably be folded into "death" saves - which would become more along the lines of "destiny" saves or "fate" saves (or something). It works pretty well with the idea of a major setback, wound, despair, or etc. Of course, it would probably be a good idea to increase the amount they have... maybe 5 ? To keep the screws on, a long rest in a safe place could allow only for the recuperation of a single "point". Players would need to complete a major quest to regain more. Or one could tie them to milestones - or something else, but it's a cool lever.


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