What is *worldbuilding* for? - Page 22
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  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
    They sound kind of like someone who is tired of GM'ing and wants to play, but doesn't trust anyone else to GM for them, so they want a game were the GM just handles rules adjudications then gets out of the way while the players all describe how cool their characters are and how they are going to succeed (in a cool fashion) at whatever it is they have decided they are doing.
    I got the exact same impression.

  2. #212
    The Worldbuilding is an additional value to RPG and war game.
    You can always stay on the micro level. The battlefield or the dungeon level.
    But over time, players want more immersive feelings.
    The worldbuilding was very brief 30 years ago, but now in 2018 people want just more.
    The players want more background for their characters and an more precise description of the 'rest of the world'.

  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
    They sound kind of like someone who is tired of GM'ing and wants to play, but doesn't trust anyone else to GM for them, so they want a game were the GM just handles rules adjudications then gets out of the way while the players all describe how cool their characters are and how they are going to succeed (in a cool fashion) at whatever it is they have decided they are doing.
    Wow! Why the nastiness, folks? @pemerton begins threads to explore theory and gameplay that he's interested in. You have no obligation to join in the conversation if you find his ideas distatasteful.

    Despite the occasionally contentious topic, pemerton's tone remains measured, sometimes in the face of considerable pushback. There's really no need for the ad hominem attacks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkbard View Post
    Wow! Why the nastiness, folks? @pemerton begins threads to explore theory and gameplay that he's interested in. You have no obligation to join in the conversation if you find his ideas distatasteful.

    Despite the occasionally contentious topic, pemerton's tone remains measured, sometimes in the face of considerable pushback. There's really no need for the ad hominem attacks.
    That was in no way an ad hominem attack, or even "nasty" and I'm offended that you would misrepresent it as such.

    Please don't try to create drama where it doesn't exist.
    Last edited by Caliban; Wednesday, 24th January, 2018 at 07:29 PM.

  5. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    @Mercurius

    If the GM has the inherent power to veto/filter/manipulate, then it is inherent that the GM is not bound by action resolution. Having regard to it when you're not inclined to overturn it is not a mode of being bound.

    This then relevant to your question "Why not (1) through (4)?" (3) and (4) aren't avaiable to an omnipotent GM, because they only make sense if the GM is bound.

    An omnipotent GM can, of course, make a dice roll or call for one from the player: but as s/he has the power to disregard/override it, it is nothing more than a suggestion, an additional factor that s/he might consider.

    This is why I don't like it as a GMing method: when I'm GMing I want to find out what happens; not to take suggestions, consider input, and the decide what happens. The way I do this is by following the rules for action resolution.

    You say that only an abusive GM would decide that "my guy wins" without action resolution: but in fact that is exactly what is happening every time a player looks for a map in the study (or a mace in the tower, or whatever) and the GM says "no, it's not there" on the basis of his/her notes. This is the GM playing his/her study (tower; world in general) as a "character" who is not subject to action resolution and always gets to win over player action declarations.

    The point is obvious for races between PCs and NPCs. My point is that it is equally the case for any other situation in which the player is declaring an action for his/her PC in the hope of success.
    Pemerton, this is why I see you as a bit of a purist: you don't seem to make any differentiation between GMing that uses fiat very sparingly, vs. frequent use.

    You seemingly use it 0% of the time. I use it <5% of the time, maybe 1-2%. Do you see a difference between that and someone who uses it liberally, say 20+% of the time?

    Again, fiat is -- at least when I'm GMing -- simply a kind of failsafe that I will only use if I feel that it would greatly improve the play experience or campaign. I'll give you an example - not a real example, but the type of situation where I will fiat.

    I often resorted to some kind of fiat in 4E combat, when it got "grindy." Even when we become proficient at it, reduced monster HP, etc, there was invariably a point in which the outcome of the combat was 99.99999% certain: the monster was going to die. Let's say the monster has 33 HP left and a rogue does a rather dramatic sneak attack and does 29 HP of damage...I would often call that a kill shot.

    Another example: There's about an hour before the end of a session, but there are several rooms before the PCs get to the room with the treasure and/or big bad guy. I might have one or two of those in-between rooms cease to exist, because I think the game experience would be better served by reaching the final room before the session ended.

    Or what about rolling random encounters - if I roll something that I think would be boring or tedious or detract from the game experience, I might roll again or choose something. Similarly with treasure. If I'm rolling treasure in a chest (because rolling for treasure is fun), and I roll a halberd +2 and no player is proficient in halberd, I might change that to something that a player can happily use.

    And yes, all options are available to an omnipotent GM: it just requires judgement and self-discipline. I understand why you feel the way you feel, but I also don't experience the need for that kind of purity in my game, or that it detracts from it in any way.

    Like you, I enjoy "finding out" what happens next - but that doesn't require being 100% pure about every single action resolution. I'm happy with 95% purity .
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  6. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'll just reply to this for the moment.

    I gave an example upthread. One of the PCs in my Burning Wheel game is subject to Force of Will (approximately equal to Domination, in D&D terms) from a dark naga. He has been since his second session.

    The player wrote a Belief about serving his master (maybe with a more detailed than that - I haven't got the PC sheet in front of me), and since then has been pursuing that belief. The player plays the game just like everyone else, with exactly the same degree of agency in declaring actions for his PC and finding out what happens.
    Is the naga in consistent communication with the PC? If yes, then in theory the PC would be receiving instruction now and then (if not constantly) as to how to react to or initiate developments and would be forced by the Force of Will to obey. If no, then the enslavement is irrelevant and - after writing the appropriate Belief on the character sheet - both the player and PC can proceed pretty much as they would otherwise normally do.

    Also, when you said enslavement I was thinking of an actual slave-master situation as in Roman times. Magical domination takes away any option other than full obedience - the victim (if under constant instruction) becomes little more than an automaton, and if not will still act on what it's been told to do when the chance arises. Kind of like the Imperius curse in Harry Potter.

    EDIT: OK, I'll also respond to the comment about doubt.

    You say it's in doubt as to who will win the race, but not as to where the map is. But the only reason that it's in doubt as to who wins the race is because no one has written that bit of the story yet.
    An analogy, though not the greatest, might be that the race is an opposed check where the search is a passive check.

    The location of the map could just as easily be unwritten.
    It could, though if the map holds any great importance its location should be noted somewhere.

    I think of things like this as - again for lack of a better term - hard-coded. The map's in the desk drawer in room 14.

    Similarly, the outcome of the race could just as easily be written - there are modules, for instance, that specify that certain NPCs escape or survive no matter what actions the players declare.
    Yeah, I've never been a big fan of that sort of thing either (Dragonlance DL1-DL12, if memory serves, is rife with examples of this throughout). It's certainly possible to give NPCs all kinds of out clauses and escape strategies, but for my part if the dice say the NPC dies now then dead it is; and any plans I may have had for it in the future go down the drain. It's just another type of curveball.

    So why does the GM get to decide that the map is here rather than there, without need to subject that to the rigours of action resolution? I'm not saying there's no answer, but it can't be because the GM has decided. That's just begging the question.
    Why does the DM get to decide? Because it's the DM's job to set things in place within the dungeon and gameworld - this is part of what makes a DM's role different from that of a player.

    An analogy is perhaps a Christmas present or an Easter egg. Somebody has to have wrapped/hidden it, and thus already know what's inside or where it is; and that somebody is analagous to a DM setting up the game world for the players to discover.

    Also, the very term "action resolution" is here a bit misleading. Yes a PC has declared an action, and that action gets resolved...but the resolution of that action only applies to the PC and her immediate surrounds, not to anything static within the rest of the game world. Thus, "successfully" searching for the map in room 11 shouldn't have the map suddenly move there from room 14 - instead, all it accomplishes is to determine that the map is not in room 11. You allow action resolution to affect the game world itself, which as a side effect makes the game world unrealistically malleable - more like a dream world than a real one - where things move around to suit the action resolution. (and yes, they move around - unless you posit the map never existed anywhere in the game world before being found, which is even more unrealistic)

    For consistency, realism, and believability it works better the other way around, where the action resolutions are bound by the constructed world / setting / dungeon.

    Lanefan

  7. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Is the naga in consistent communication with the PC? If yes, then in theory the PC would be receiving instruction now and then (if not constantly) as to how to react to or initiate developments and would be forced by the Force of Will to obey. If no, then the enslavement is irrelevant and - after writing the appropriate Belief on the character sheet - both the player and PC can proceed pretty much as they would otherwise normally do.

    Also, when you said enslavement I was thinking of an actual slave-master situation as in Roman times. Magical domination takes away any option other than full obedience - the victim (if under constant instruction) becomes little more than an automaton, and if not will still act on what it's been told to do when the chance arises. Kind of like the Imperius curse in Harry Potter.
    Well, in a particular game it depends what the priorities are and how the magic works in that setting.

    A RPG is at the one and the same time a bunch of PCs in a gameworld and a bunch of people sitting down and socialising. The relative importance of these activities varies from group to group and day to day.

    One thing I'm very sensitive to is imposed changes on a PC that could make them no longer satisfying to their player. I'm talking about mid to long term changes here, not short term ones - it's reasonable to expect a player to put up with a short-term condition such as an injury or mind whammy.The one thing that players have nominal control of even in conventional games is their PC - anything that potentially messes up that PC long-term is an issue to consider carefully. Long term mind control of a PC definitely has the potential to be problematic, depending on how it works.(crippling injuries were the other issue that could make a PC unfun or unplayable in the eyes of their player. In the majority of RPGs I've been in the players can retire characters on request, though the referee may try to persuade them not to.

    I've seen a number of referees make promises to players that PC issues were temporary over the years, and in some cases these promises were broken.


    Some systems of magic are absolute and deterministic, but can be run differently, and there are magic systems which are considerably more ambiguous and amenable to negotiation. If the mind control effectively makes the PC an NPC, then forcing the player to keep playing the character seems cruel and unusual punishment.

    However, if the priority in the game is that the player keeps playing that PC, that means the mind control has to be tolerable and the PC still playable.Seeing as the game magic is entirely fictional and doesn't exist, it can work any way that group wants it to work. Consistency that makes the participants miserable is arguably foolish and counterproductive.

  8. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastrd View Post
    Congrats. You're free to play the way you enjoy. That doesn't make your way the "right"way, but it seems that was the entire purpose of this thread - and we all knew it.

    Your inability to understand why I prefer to play a different way has no bearing on the validity of that playstyle. Happy gaming.
    Three things:

    (1) I've never talked about a "right way" to play. I started a thread with a question: some posters answered it (@Nagol, @Caliban, etc). Some other posters - @Mercurius, @Lanefan - asserted or implied that by asking the question I was insulting them. To be frank, that's on them, not on me. If they don't want to answer the question "what is GM worldbuiling for", or think that the answer is so self-evident that to ask the question is to commit some RPG faux pas, well, no one is forcing them to post in the thread.

    (2) What makes you think I don't understand why you prefer to play a different way? When I say "This is why I don't like such-and-such", what makes you think I'm telling you why you shouldn't like it?

    (3) I've replied with courtesy and honesty to all your posts in this thread, and have not attacked you or your preferences (unless you consider me explaining why my preference are different an attack - in which case see (1) and (2) above). I'm a little surprised that you don't seem capable of doing the same.
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  9. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastrd View Post
    I got the exact same impression.
    You could just ask. I'm still here.
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  10. #220
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    First, as I've mentioned you in another recent post - I do want to thank you for the courtesy of your posts in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
    fiat is -- at least when I'm GMing -- simply a kind of failsafe that I will only use if I feel that it would greatly improve the play experience or campaign. I'll give you an example - not a real example, but the type of situation where I will fiat.

    I often resorted to some kind of fiat in 4E combat, when it got "grindy." Even when we become proficient at it, reduced monster HP, etc, there was invariably a point in which the outcome of the combat was 99.99999% certain: the monster was going to die. Let's say the monster has 33 HP left and a rogue does a rather dramatic sneak attack and does 29 HP of damage...I would often call that a kill shot.

    Another example: There's about an hour before the end of a session, but there are several rooms before the PCs get to the room with the treasure and/or big bad guy. I might have one or two of those in-between rooms cease to exist, because I think the game experience would be better served by reaching the final room before the session ended.
    I see important differences here that I don't think you do. I think that is probably connected to other ways that we talk about RPGing.

    Deciding to give the players a win is a form of saying "yes". It's therefore not the sort of GM veto I am expressing a dislike for. Personally I don't do it in my 4e combat - if the monster has 4 hp left (or even better, 1 hp left) and therefore gets another turn, I like to taunt the players about that. That is because my own preference is to "say 'yes'" only when the stakes are not low, and as I experience the play of 4e, once the combat mechanics have been invoked, the stakes are not low.

    If I were to say "yes" in this way, then I would tell the players. Part of what I see as distinguishing "say 'yes' or roll the dice" from illusionistic GMing is that the GM doesn't conceal his/her methods from the players.

    The example of the rooms is to me quite different, as it does not involve action resolution at all. That is all GM framing. In a classic dungeon crawl game, rewriting the map like that would be a species of cheating. In my own games, given that they are not classic dungeon crawl games, there is no map in the relevant sense and I frame scenes as we go along. So what you describe is completely unremarkable to me.

    Neither is an example of using secret backstory to block a declared action, which is what I was referring to in the post you quoted when I talked about the GM being bound by action resolution. And said that deciding that the map isn't in the study ndependelty of action resolution is no different from deciding that the NPC wins the race independently of action resolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
    what about rolling random encounters - if I roll something that I think would be boring or tedious or detract from the game experience, I might roll again or choose something. Similarly with treasure.
    Neither of these is an example of action resolution. They are both examples of content introduction.

    Gygax talks about this in his DMG - I quoted the passages, and discussed them, in another recent thread (it is on the last page of the "What is XP worth?" thread). He expressly contrasts (though without using this terminology) rolls to introduce content (like wandering monsters, or finding a secret door that leads to an exciting part of the dungeon) with action resolution rolls that resolve a conflict (like fighting wandering monsters, or escaping fromm them, or being killed by a monster), and encourages GMs to manage the first set but not to interfere with the second set (except perhaps to mitigate the long term, but not the short term, consequences of a well-played PC being dropped to zero hp), as that would be "contrary to the major precepts of the game."

    In most of my GMing I don't use random content introduction, as it seems to serve no useful purpose: in accordance with the "standard narrativistic model" I introduce content that will speak to the concerns/motivations/thematic drives of the PCs (as evinced by their build and play).

    In my Traveller game I do use random content introduction, because that is a big part of Traveller. The most recent example was the roll to encounter a starship while leaving a system. I had one of the players make the roll. It turned up a pirate cruiser; I interpreted that in a way that made it fit into the ongoing action of the game (ie a vessel connected to the bioweapons conspiracy that that PCs are investigating and (perhaps) trying to thwart).

    All this is orthogonal to my reasons for no liking "omnipotent" GMing, which is about how pre-authored content is used to constrain action declarations, not about how content for new scenes/situations is established.

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