What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"? - Page 33
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  1. #321
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Almost certainly to some degree. I've never seen the rules.



    Ok sure, but can the players except by DM wheedling/persuasion override his choices?
    There are a number of mechanics whereby they can, in greater or lesser degrees.



    That's sort of interesting. I guess. So the player's get perfect information about the mark? You don't run into a situation where you are running a con or a heist, and whoops, you realize you've just stolen funds from the city's Kingpin?
    Not in the sense that they're suddenly up against a higher tier, but as a consequence to a string of failed actions this is absolutely possible. I haven't considered it, but it's also possible for the GM to set a clock on a mission that might increase the Tier of the opposition, if it makes sense to do so in the fiction.


    It may not be the right term, since I recognized that the players had a limited ability to modify probability of success (basically only by attempting moves that they were 'skilled' in). However, just because the odds are fixed doesn't mean that there isn't a winning strategy. You win by convincing the GM that you have some edge which maximizes the success stake while minimizing the failure stake. That is to say, you win by consistently getting the house to put more on the bet than you do. Since the odds are fixed, but the payoffs are not, the side with the safest wagers wins in the long run. However, it's entirely up to the GM to determine the ratio of the stakes - whether something has a big payoff or a big risk. The players can try to be persuasive, but ultimately they don't get to rig the game in their favor, which would make the game pointless. And that's what I mean about the GM "setting the difficult". By how he weights the stakes, he's acting as the judge of the skillfulness of the player's propositions.
    Oh, no, that's a great way to fail in the long run. If you only take the 'safe' bets, the mechanics and probability of failure means that the situation will snowball on you, sooner rather than later. That's a key thing about PbtA games -- if you think you can game them by being super careful and caution, it'll punch you in the nose right quick.

    For example, in my example above of a controlled, limited setting, the 4-5 option would dump the players into at least a risky position for the next task. The fail option is definitely going to be risky, with a number of possibilities moving into desperate depending on what they players do. The game is built to push back, which is why the players have so many resources and mechanics available to succeed in risky and dangerous situations.


    I don't see any Czerge principle violations in what you described.
    There aren't... I was talking about your initial post here where you detail concerns that are very similar to the Czerge principle. I was saying that the position and effect mechanics were to show how Blades can allow the example action declaration but still avoid the Czerge priniciple violation.


    I'm very happy to do so. It's just a really minor narrative element compared to the ones that show up in more Nar focused games. In my homebrew 3.X D&D game, I have destiny points that act as a minor sort of narrative currency in that they allow the player to mitigate luck and decide when they want to win or don't want to lose, and even to a small extent can allow the players to break the normal rules (such as asserting that they have a skill or feat in this scene that they don't normally have). Star Wars D6 has "Force Points". Mouseguard has not one but TWO types of narrative currency, and both are pathetically underpowered timid little things that don't do nearly enough or give the player nearly enough control over the action, especially compared to all the hassle that revolves around them.
    Then, sure, they're narrative points.

    It's pretty much inherent to success with complications, which as you note the game is geared to produce as the most common result. Throw in that I'd guess that this is mostly a "No Myth" or "Low Myth" game were the GM is encouraged to just sketch an outline of the major points, and you have an inherently GM empowering system presumably balanced by the players initial agency - "choosing the Score" - and occasional narrative control (rolling 6's or spending Stress).
    Amusingly, Blades actually has a pretty well detailed setting, but it's very closed. It's pretty much a single city, with lots of details, but those details are at the thumbnail sketch level only. You have a number of neighborhoods, with quarter page descriptions and a whole laundry list of gangs and organizations with a few sentences each (enough to establish some flavor). So, there's a lot of established myth in Blades, but there's plenty of room to add things in.

    Forgive me, but having never stolen a car I have no idea at all what that means, and I'm inclined to imagine that if I did steal a car, my feelings and concerns would be very different than the sort of people who normally steal cars.
    I'd suggest some Gone in 60 Seconds or the first Fast and Furious for some reference material. Perhaps with an adult beverage?

  2. #322
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    That's such a broad claim I don't know how to engage with it. I don't know what you are really claiming.
    Gandalf is an example of a "high-level" character that is common throughout a number of books who does little. He is more or less a talking plot device, ensuring the games moves in certain directions when it needs to and doesn't go in others when it shouldn't. He is a literary device that translates well into RPGs, a way of guiding the players without negating their actions.

    I use it a lot. The "wise old monk", the "faithful cleric", the "blind seer". Someone who directly participates very little but spends most of their time providing useful exposition to help the players better understand the world and make contextually appropriate decisions.

    What I am claiming is that good and enjoyable outcome for everyone almost never involves the DM using fiat to preserve his desired outcome, and certainly not to the degree that his actions are overt and persistent. If the GM uses his power of fiat to override disaster, then the players know that they've been let off the hook, and the outcome is artificial. It's not quite as deflating as discovering your chess opponent threw the game and let you win, but it's in the neighborhood. And if the GM uses his power of fiat to override success, then the players come to know that they really will only win when the GM lets them do so, and that everything is on rails. How well the players enjoy the destination depends on how they got there and why, and likewise the enjoyment of the GM tends to increase when they are using less and less heavy handed stage magic to keep the story going.
    Sure, I won't argue that. But to quote Futurama: "If you do just enough, people won't know you've done anything at all." That's my perspective on DMPC involvment. It's not the DM saving you from danger you've foolishly walked into. It's the DM giving you guidance before the danger even comes up that it is indeed dangerous, from within the world that the characters exist in.

    So you can imagine how much I've wanted my little bookworm to share the joy of the story with me. Trouble is, she doesn't respond to the story in the same way that I do. For example, long before she knew that Gandalf was going to die, she was rooting for his death because she hated the character so much. In fact, she let out a whoop of glee when he died. (I don't want to break her heart by telling her the character won't stay dead.) Her reasoning? Because Gandalf was doing everything in the story, and as long as Gandalf was around they could rely on him for everything. And in a very real sense she's right: Frodo even admits and much once he's gone, and Bilbo does as well. Gandalf is a character that HAS to leave the story for long periods. Otherwise, there is no story except his story.
    And I don't disagree with her. Gandalf has a very heavy hand in the beginning, though arguably Aragon has this problem as well. But contextually, the hobbits are exceedingly out of their league. Gandalf "does everything" in part due to the vast contrast between his character and the hobbits. And even when he's gone, many of the things the hobbits accomplish are done via others. Merry and Pippin can't take credit for the sacking of Isengard, all they did was convince the Ents to help and largely by coincidence.

    This is one of those areas were stories don't translate well into games.


    Technically, he never gets to fight the Witch King. It's a contest that never happens. He's about to confront the Witch King, when both are distracted - The Witch King by the charge of the Rohirrim and Gandalf by Pippin's plea to come and save Faramir.
    Technically. The point is this encounter was designed to be fought by a "player" and it was. The Balrog wasn't, so it wasn't. Sure, the GMdalf could have just let the party try to fight it, and die, but then the game would be over, the bad guy would win and the players would be complaining about why the DM put such a powerful monster there and not telegraph that the party wasn't supposed to fight it.

    This is a perfect example of what I'm saying. The DM (Tolkein) in this context had a specific outcome in mind: the loss of a friend to help motivate the players to continue on in their fight against evil without depending on the powers of a high-level character to keep them alive. Now, granted this is a book and not a game. And I'll be the first to argue that while games can translate into stories, stories do not always translate into games. But there are certain structural elements that do.

    The Author wants to write a good story that is enjoyable for their readers just as the GM wants to create an enjoyable game that is enjoyable for their players. That enjoyment is predicated on certain outcomes happening and certain outcomes not happening. This is why, for example, DM's ban PvP. They understand that there are bad outcomes from this type of play and these bad outcomes result in a lack of enjoyment from their players.

    TLDR: No, the GM should not cheat the players of victory or failure with fiat. Yes, the GM should guide the players towards outcomes that would produce high enjoyment for everyone involved.

  3. #323
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    And what is your character doing with this letter?

    You can do this.
    Heh. Ok, fair enough.

    Setting aside all snark, despite that being somewhat funny, I do agree with you actually. I honestly think that the difference between us is pretty small at the end of the day. Really, about the only difference is that I will skip the step where the DM calls for a roll, sometimes. Otherwise, most of our scenes will play out exactly the same.

    I recently had a perfect example come up in our Dragon Heist game last session. During the session, the PC's finally retrieve the Macguffin, only to be ambushed by Bregan D'arthe (sp) drow. Fight ensues.

    During the fight, half the party runs away with the Macguffin, leaving the other half of the party to slow down pursuit. One of the PC's left behind announces that she will show the fake Macguffin that the party has (that they picked up in an earlier session) and declare that she has the real thing, in order to confuse the pursuers. She then rolls a Deception check without me asking. I roll Insight checks for the drow and play continues.

    Now, as I understand it, the big difference here between me and @iserith is that @iserith will call for that Deception roll rather than the player simply going ahead and doing it. Our group skips that step simply out of expediency really. We're all experienced gamers and most of us have DM'd for a lot of years. We know, pretty accurately, what declarations will call for a roll without being told. Again, it's simply an extension of play experience and experience with playing with each other.

    OTOH, I doubt that the outcome would be any different at @iserith's table. And, really, I suppose this is a good example of goal:method, with the change that we skipped a step. Now, frequently, again because we've played together so long, we don't even need to make a declaration - it's a common enough action that it's just understood. "I scout ahead - Stealth X" is a perfectly acceptable thing to do at my table, again, because everyone understands exactly what's going on and there's no need to add in the extra steps of the DM asking for rolls.

    So, yes, @iserith, I do think that we're actually quite a bit closer than different. I might skip over some steps and take larger assumptions in others, but, since we've played together so long, it's pretty easy to know where the lines get drawn.

  4. #324
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    No one can be trusted with authorial power else they will ruin the game.

    The GM is assumed to maintain some degree of neutrality since, lacking an avatar in the world, they have no stake in the outcome and are not competing with the players. But if the GM places an avatar of themselves in the game, or takes a stake in it's outcome, or starts competing with the players then very quickly that becomes dysfunctional.

    You make the assumption that players shouldn't be allowed to take authorial power else they will ruin the GM's game. But it's not the GM's game that is at stake, but the players. Not only can players not be trusted with authorial power, but if they have no mechanism for sharing this power fairly, then they'll ruin each others game. Moreover, if they use their authorial power to introduce and resolve problems, they become someone that is telling themselves a story, which is surely the least interesting thing that you can do in all of story-telling.

    And I say that as a player. If I'm tasked with both setting the obstacles and resolving them, or if I have authorial power to overcome obstacles by fiat, then it is boring. *yawn*
    In your 5 examples, if the DM added any of those things, we'd be playing an RPG. But, when a player does that, suddenly we're playing make believe.

    Now, your last sentence, that it's boring, presumably to you of course, is closer to the truth IMO. It's not that a game suddenly becomes "make believe" but, rather, you just don't like that style of game. Totally fair. Not a problem. Can get right behind that. But, my definition of "role playing game" is quite a bit broader than "things I like".
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  5. #325
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    I did read Burning Wheel, many years ago, and failed to understand it at the time. I should give it another look now that I've got a better grasp of the play it's meant to create.
    As you know I'm a huige BW fan. I think it's a very demanding game - it's as mechanically intricate as (say) RQ or D&D 4e, but also has the character/thematic demand of the PbtA games you're familiar with. I could understand someone being put off by the intricacy of the mechanics. I spent nearly 20 years GMing RM, though, so I say bring 'em on!

    As you also know I haven't read or played BitD - but one impression I've got from discussion of it is that it uses some mechanical innovations to "tighten up" some elements of PbtA play, especially the complications on partial success and the choice of hard or soft moves. Perhaps a little bit similarly (at least at a sufficient level of generalisation), BW uses mechanics to "tighten up" those aspects of the character, and the character's engagement with the fiction, that in a "free descriptor" game like Over the Edge or Cthulhu Dark are handled much more at the level of table back-and-forth and GM intuitions.

    In those free descriptor games, if a scene or a resolution falls flat it's not always obvious who made the mistake when, nor how exactly it misfired. Whereas in BW, if a scene or resolution falls flat you can nearly always look and see what bit of the PC sheet the GM ignored, or what GMing principle was flouted.

    The above is a bit apropos of nothing, but might be of interest.

  6. #326
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    it's the player assuming some of the DM's role.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    I think this is malformed: you're asking if this action declaration violates a principle of the DM not controlling characters thoughts before establishing that the action declaration violates established norms on who has this authorial control. In other words, we can even reach your last question before resolving the authorial control one.

    And, simply, in 5e the GM has this authority, the player does not. So, again, we can't reach your last question without stipulating that the player has already broken the rules. In which case, I think your question is mooted.
    I'm happy to accept that it's malformed in the context of 5e D&D. But I don't see how that conclusion can be reached without giving some account of who has what authority over which bits of the the fiction. And saying that the player has authority over what his/her PC does, thinks and feels isn't going to do the job - because Hey, that's my old friend Frances - I ask her to let us through the gate! is an example of the player deciding what his/her PC does, thinks and feels.

    Nor do I think it's enough of an answer to say that players have no authority over any aspect of the fiction except action declaration and associated bodily movements by their PCs. Page 33 of the Basic PDF says that "Characters are defined by much more than their race and class. Theyre individuals with their own stories, interests, connections, and capabilities beyond those that class and race define." There are sidebar examples throughout the PDF of two characters (Tika and Artemis) who are distinguiished - as those sidebars emphasise - on the basis of non-mechanical details of the fiction. That seems an invitation to players to make up similar stuff for their PCs. Deciding on Ideals and Bonds seems also to invite the player to make up people and places that their PCs care about and are connected to.

    In the context of this thread, I think that @Hussar has made it fairly clear that one reason he doesn't like the "goal and approach" method of action resolution is that it privileges the GM's conception of key aspects of the ficiton over possibly differing conceptions held by the players. Others obviously disagree, taking the view that exercising such authority is the prerogative of the GM. But upthread, @Elfcrusher gave an example of a player authoring shared fiction invovling the stories told to a young PC by trial elders. I don't think many posters regarded this as a usurpation of the GM's authority. The general response to my post seems to be that the player deciding that the gate guard is her/his PC's childhood friend Frances is a usurpation of the GM's authority. But in some other recent threads I've seen criticisms of a GM narrating failure as some sort of oversight or carelessness on the part of the PC as a usurpation by the GM of the player's authority over deciding what his/her PC does, thinks and feels. Likewise there's a widespread view that it would be usurpation for a GM to decide that a PC didn't do what the player has said s/he does, because the GM thinks it is inconsistent with the PC's stats.

    These boundaries aren't crystal clear to me, and I'm a pretty experienced RPGer. I don't find them clearly articulated in the 5e Basic PDF. I'm sure I could get by in @iserith's game playing a "man with no name"-type character, but nothing in these threads has given me any indication of how I might go about playing a character who is genuinely embedded in the social context of the gameworld - even though the Tika/Artemis sidebars, and the more general tenor of chapter 4 of the Basic PDF, all give me the impression that the game is focused on such embedded individuals.

    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    It's somewhat related in that players being able to establish this sort of thing during play can mitigate or aggravate the difficulty of the challenge to the player. A player establishing that the character is old friends with the guard, who is presumably the obstacle in the challenge, may be mitigating the difficulty. Conversely, a player establishing that the character has a strained relationship with the guard (perhaps as a means to portray a personal characteristic and earn Inspiration) may be aggravating the difficulty of the challenge to the player.
    Goal and approach is - as I understand it - all about engaging the fiction so as to mitigate the difficulty of the challenge (or, perhaps, aggravating it so as to earn Inspiration).

    I'm not disputing that a boundary can be articulated which explains why I pull out my crowbar and use it to lever the door open is OK but There's my old friend Frances, one of the guards now - I ask her to let us through is not. I'm just saying that I haven't seen it articulated yet. And although you emphasise not carrying baggage from one game to the next, at the moment the only grasp I am getting on the boundary is by ignoring chapter 4 of the Basic PDF and instead remembering how most traditional RPGs allocated GM/player authority over the ficiton from the 70s through most of the 90s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    /snip

    I'm not disputing that a boundary can be articulated which explains why I pull out my crowbar and use it to lever the door open is OK but There's my old friend Frances, one of the guards now - I ask her to let us through is not. I'm just saying that I haven't seen it articulated yet. And although you emphasise not carrying baggage from one game to the next, at the moment the only grasp I am getting on the boundary is by ignoring chapter 4 of the Basic PDF and instead remembering how most traditional RPGs allocated GM/player authority over the ficiton from the 70s through most of the 90s.
    Well, isn't the basic difference fairly obvious? In the crowbar example, the player has a crowbar written on his character sheet. Presumably at some point in time before now, that character has bought/stolen/made/been gifted/somehow acquired a crowbar. There is no additional information being added after the introduction of the locked door.

    In the "old friend Frances" example, though, presumably that information has not been established prior to encountering "Frances". It's something that the player is adding to the fiction after the fact.

    Now, depending on where you fall on the "how much authority do player's get" scale, that latter action by the player is either completely off the table since only the DM is allowed to add in additional information after the facts are established, or, it's perfectly fine with a sense of "yes... and" in the game. 3e, for example, allowed you to spend Action Points in exactly this way. To be honest, I'm not really sure why 5e couldn't use Inspiration this way as well, although, as written, that would be adding additional rules and not following RAW.

    Every group will find a place somewhere on that spectrum generally.

  8. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Well, isn't the basic difference fairly obvious? In the crowbar example, the player has a crowbar written on his character sheet. Presumably at some point in time before now, that character has bought/stolen/made/been gifted/somehow acquired a crowbar. There is no additional information being added after the introduction of the locked door.
    I can see what you're saying, but I think there are a lot of cases where the contrast is not so clear cut. What if the equipment sheet has "burglarising tools" instead? What if, instead of a crowbar, we're talking about a stick of chalk that's been on the PC sheet since 1st level and in the game it's now 12 months and 10 levels later - is the chalk still there? How used up is it? The player is, here an now, deciding that nothing in the past 12 months broke the chalk or caused the PC to lose it, and is deciding that there's still enough there to be usable.

    And if the gear has been on the sheet since 1st level, what did the character do to acquire it? The rules don't say - equipping a 1st level PC can be a purely mechanical exercise, of changing numbers in the "money" column and adding items to the "gear" column with no correlative fiction at all.

    Turning to the NPC case, what if the PC sheet says "Raised in an orphanage before joining the army." Clearly that encompasses something, as in, it doesn't make much sense for those things to be true and yet there be no one in the gameworld who was a childhood friend and whom the PC hasn't seen before going off to fight in some war or other. When is the player expected or entitled to flesh it out. Do you have to write your whole biogrphy before play begins if you don't want to be the man with no name?

    Now in AD&D and B/X I don't think this really comes up, because those are very much focused on "man with no name" characters. But as I said, the 5e Basic PDF has a whole chapter on PC background, not to mention the running sidebars about Tika and Artemis, which are all about characters having context and backstory and connections and being much more than just some stats and an equipment list. How can that be true of the PC, yet it never be true that s/he bumps into an old friend? And if the player gets to decide what the PC feels, how can it be the GM who tells the player which NPCs are the ones the PC feels warmth towards?

    Again, I'm not saying that boundaries can't be drawn, but frankly the boundaries I'm seeing here are play this like you would play any other 80s/90s mainstream RPG, and if any disputes come up the GM resolves them. That's fine, but doesn't seem to fit with the idea that each game is its own thing to be taken on its own terms. And also makes it a bit less clear to me how it's meant to be obvious that an 8 INT doesn't impose some sort of constraint on permissible player action declarations.

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    Oh, hey, I'm in the same boat as you @pemerton. We're both very much on the "yes, and" end of the spectrum.

    Heh. I remember characters that had the same two weeks of iron rations on the character sheet from level 1 onward. Your description of chalk just made me smile.

    But, be that as it may, folks that are insistent that players do not have any authorial control would likely say that it's established that you have chalk, so, you have chalk. Did you replace that chalk as time went on? Maybe, probably, but, in any case, your character sheet says you have chalk, so you have chalk. Does your character sheet say anything about "Frances"? No? Then, well, it's not up to you, the player to introduce any sort of prior relationship with "Frances" during play. That's stepping on the DM's toes.

    And, well, as far as debating what stats mean, well, I tend to go on the other end as well. If you have no training in a skill and an 8 stat in that skill, you are failing what the game defines as Easy (DC 10) more than half the time. Which, to me, says that you aren't very good at whatever that task is. Even very easy tasks are failed significantly more often than someone with even a 10 stat and basic training in that skill (level 1=+2 proficiency bonus). As in that PC fails twice as often at the easiest of tasks as someone who has no particular innate talent and basic knowledge of that task.

    So, yeah, to me, and this is how I look at it, not necessarily how the game defines it, if your character has zero training in something and a below 10 stat in it, then well, your character sucks at that pretty hard. Which, to me anyway, means that that should be reflected in how the player presents that character. An 8 Int character with no training in history basically knows extremely little history. And what he or she does know is more often than not, wrong. If that character is coming up with intricate plans, well, to me, that's a badly played character. You want to be the strategist in the party? Cool. Spend at least some basic character building resources to reflect that. You want to be Sherlock Holmes and notice fine details that no one else catches? Fantastic. Don't play an 8 Int character with no training in Investigate and then expect me, the DM to let you bypass that.

    No amount of goal:method is going to change that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    If someone purposes something to be true, and yet places no boundaries on, you have to assume that the first thing I'm going to try is reductio ad absurdum. The boundary I purpose is at minimum, "And the DM agrees." Yet this boundary was suggested to violate the separation between the player and GM's prerogative. Thus, reduction to the absurd is not a logical fallacy, because we have no rule to suggest when or how the player's authorial power is to be kept in check, and players - unlike the GM - have no reason to not employ the tools provided to them to solve problems because that's the players role in the game. Fundamentally, if you give the power to author things to the players with no limits or boundaries, you've put the GM hat on the player and they can then resolve everything by fiat.



    If that is just a bluff check, how does it have any authorial power? I mean this is the sort of scene which in a movie, the protagonist walks by, and then the camera turns back to the guard who says, "Seemed like a nice guy, but my names not Joe."



    That may be true, but speaking as a GM, being asked to invent clues on the spot would be incredibly hard. Games that I'm aware of that go down this route do not do either of these things, but instead assume clues are found automatically and checks are made (or narrative resources are spent) to interpret what the clue means. That way, the GM can prepare the clues necessary for the scenario and you don't get into a situation where the player can keep trying different things until they finally browbeat the GM into inventing another clue.



    Yes, but these games tend to forgo most of the aesthetics of play normally associated with an RPG, and tend to take a form more resembling a story-telling game or a theater game. And even they tend to have a token that is passed between the participants which indicates who currently has the authorial control, so as to break ties and avoid endless contradiction.



    I'm not saying that you can't have fun in a game of make believe, but it will very quickly stop being an RPG. In particular, the problem with this is that in an RPG you are normally trying to achieve the experience of being Jayne Cobb in the episode "A Man Called Jayne". But if you the player are the one introducing the mystery, and the conflict, and providing the resolution to it, then the since of wonder, mystery, emersion, fear, frustration, and so forth that Jayne experiences will be inaccessible to you. It's one thing for the player to introduce a hook, "I'm a wanted outlaw." or "I had a botched heist on this world." It's quite another for the player to introduce the actual conflict.



    Most karmic systems go back to my statement that games that have authorial control in the hands of the players in some way tokenize that control and force the players to pay for it. For example, you may get to make a call to resolve a conflict using one of your 'chits', but if you do so, you have to give a 'chit' to the GM that they can then use to call an unexpected complication. Often they also let a player do the reverse, introduce a complication into a conflict that they were otherwise winning, in order to get a 'chit' that they can use in a later scene.



    Or, it just sounds like a player uncreatively adopting Deadpool's backstory. And again, sure, it might be fine for a player to begin play with this background and pay the appropriate character building resources to support that backstory, but introducing this into the middle of a game in response to the players imminent death is not really that fun for anyone. If the player can solve problems by fiat, then there is no reason for the player to face problems. You might as well play the old game were everyone writes a page in a notebook before advancing it along to the next player. And if you've played that game for any reasonable period of time, you know well why that game is not even remotely as popular as RPing an usually becomes an exercise in frustration for everyone.



    I guess... to me it just sounds like a player who wants to have all the spotlight and does not realize that they are playing a cooperative game.
    "you have to assume that the first thing I'm going to try is reductio ad absurdum. "

    No, you dont.

    I can assume that if we all agree to play a game where the players have a lot of freedom or even total freedom to create the fictions around their character scenes that we are not then trying to game that angle.

    It's not at all different from saying "hey, let's play a supers game and start as a rich super-team" and then not spend a ton of game time playing thru Spider-Man type resource challenges we just "write a check" or a "hey let's start at 10th level" and go to killing regular bands of goblins with squash scenes.

    Each group of players and their GMs determine essentially the various types of games and challenges they want to play in and they dont have to fit the same as others.

    Obviously, the higher end of authorship games setup different goals and objectives and are not for everyone. Some groups may want the rules to be written to limit them in an effort to stop "bad behavior" like pushing "ad absurdum levels, but others may not want that at all.

    Simply put it's not everyone's cup of tea.

    As for the belief of it not being an RPG or not, well, I like to leave those to the officially ordainded keepers of the universal definitions.
    XP Hussar gave XP for this post

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