Why are we okay with violence in RPGs? - Page 12
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  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by MGibster View Post
    You might be surprised. Many soldiers have stated they experienced a feeling of elation after killing the enemy. They might feel bad when they get a chance to reflect upon it later but in the immediate aftermath? Often it's joy. The killed the people who were trying to kill them, they won, and they survived. Happy times.
    I cannot rule out that possibility, not this side of the actual experience. I can extrapolate from past experience, such as the incident I mentioned earlier. I was happy and proud that I had accomplished my goal (stopping the original attacker), without paying the price of my life, or even any bloodshed; I also, in an overlapping interval, got the shakes.

    Here's a hot take: humans vary.

    I've known humans who delight in squashing spiders. I've known humans who would go to the effort of capturing a spider (with paper or some such) and carrying it to the door, to remove it without harming it. I've known humans who did the former at one age, and the latter at another age.

    Some humans feel joy after killing, in certain circumstances. That doesn't mean all humans, nor all circumstances. General Patton, on at least one occasion, expressed joyful responses, on seeing the carnage of a battlefield, and his emotional responses were notably different than the emotional responses of several of his fellow humans in the immediate area (and in the same army).

    "The right wing, where I stood, was exposed to and received all the enemy's fire... I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound." - George Washington, in a letter to his brother, 1754. Perhaps humans such as Washington, and humans such as Patton, are a minority; and when their particular response becomes situationally useful, those humans rise to the top, much as Rudolph rose to the top *only when Christmas Eve was foggy*. Under other circumstances, they might not. I find the whistle of a bullet charming, largely insofar as it means that particular bullet *didn't hit me*. I'm glad that my species includes both me and Washington.

  2. #112
    Immortal Sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riley37 View Post
    Yes. On the first page, I raised a distinction between colonialist and non-colonialist violence.
    Kay, I rather lightly skimmed the last 8 pages. I hope you're aware that your singular response to the OP doesn't mean you've got the final answer on things. I also wasn't talking to you in particular, so I'm not really sure where you're going off with the rest of this.

    AD&D has a colonialist endgame: at Name Level, a PC can build a keep and kill all monsters around it, with the result that peasants show up, build farms, and pay taxes to the PCs. Celebrim and I may disagree on whether that constitutes colonialism, and whether that's the default context for Keep on the Borderlands; well, we agree on many things and disagree on many things. There are D&D games with non-colonialist and possibly with anti-colonialist story arcs.
    Oooookay?

    There's also, as you say, significant differences between collective and individual scales of violence. "Braunstein" was a Napoleonic war game, which considered significant individuals as factors in the progress of battles: if the battle happens in a town, then what happens if someone kills the mayor of the town? Arneson's "Blackmoor Bunch" (eg Sir Jenkins and the Bishop of Blackmoor) shifted the game from an overview of a battle (literally looking down onto the table-top diorama of a battlefield) to a zoom-in on named individuals; and that was a step from war-games towards D&D. (These steps happened *before* Arneson started using the "Chainmail" rules, if I understand correctly.)
    That's some interesting name dropping there, but not being familiar with all of those things makes this paragraph wasted on me. I'm not saying I'd like a more in-depth response from you, I'd actually prefer no response.

    Hey now. You could make some points and arguments about how *often* DMs reward non-combat solutions. I'd take interest in well-researched assertions about changes in rewards, across the expansion and evolution of TRPG, and which game publishers introduced which mechanics in which editions.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA "well researched" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

    Omg I'm sorry but pulling the "I need you to cite your sources." card in an internet discussion forum is just hilarious to me. You can browse the various threads about awarding XP on this various forum to find that DMs are less likely to reward XP for non-combat situations and resolutions than for combat ones.

    Your categorical and unqualified statement has been counter-factual at least since 1981, when "Champions" was first published, since the Champions rules for XP are not specific to defeating enemies. (If the Big Bad Guy plots to poison the city's water supply, then *any* method of foiling his plot counts as success.) There are published 5E D&D "Adventurer's League" scenarios which include XP rewards which are *only* earned by non-violent resolution of problems. My PC got 50 XP, for example, when the party encountered a dire wolf, and my PC cast Speak with Animals, enabling us to get past the wolf without bloodshed. That's not some DM's house rule; that's direct from the scenario as published by WotC.
    Also, lets just assume for a moment that the primary game I play, like most people on this forum, is D&D. So doing some more name-dropping with games that aren't D&D really isn't going to get you much credit.

    Secondly, pulling out a game that was developed only a few years ago, and obviously accounted for people who were interested in rewarding non-combat situations doesn't help your argument.

    I've played in numerous games and I'll tell you one surprising commonality: killing monsters gets you the best XP. Not killing stuff gets you reduced or no XP.

    Anyway, wanted to get back to this, but I don't have any real interest in further discussion with you.
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  3. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    .

    Anyway, wanted to get back to this, but I don't have any real interest in further discussion with you.
    Im not choosing sides, but that seems to be an invitation to let you have the last word, and Im guessing thats not gonna happen...
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  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    I've played in numerous games and I'll tell you one surprising commonality: killing monsters gets you the best XP. Not killing stuff gets you reduced or no XP.
    Does your "numerous" includes CPRGs? You apparently haven't played anything in Hero System (XP by story arc), nor anything using Chaosium's "Basic Role Playing" mechanics such as Call of Cthulhu (skill improvement by skill use), nor Traveller, nor Shadowrun, nor anything from White Wolf. Or maybe you've played numerous and diverse games, all at the same DM's table, all following that DM's preferences and assumptions, no matter what each game's book says.

    If you are neither willing to learn from games that aren't D&D, nor from the current edition of D&D, then maybe you're just not interested in learning? In which case, feel free to never hit REPLY to anything I write, ever again, starting now.

  5. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riley37 View Post
    Does your "numerous" includes CPRGs? You apparently haven't played anything in Hero System (XP by story arc), nor anything using Chaosium's "Basic Role Playing" mechanics such as Call of Cthulhu (skill improvement by skill use), nor Traveller, nor Shadowrun, nor anything from White Wolf. Or maybe you've played numerous and diverse games, all at the same DM's table, all following that DM's preferences and assumptions, no matter what each game's book says.

    If you are neither willing to learn from games that aren't D&D, nor from the current edition of D&D, then maybe you're just not interested in learning? In which case, feel free to never hit REPLY to anything I write, ever again, starting now.
    If I ever need lessons in how to be a pretentious jerk I'll be sure to keep you in mind.
    Last edited by Morrus; Friday, 14th June, 2019 at 01:05 PM.

  6. #116
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    Let's be cool, folks. It's true that a variety of games offer different ways to award experience. I think the salient point is that the majority of mainstream RPGs assume violence will be a component of the campaign. Even games like Trail of Cthulhu and Call of Cthulhu assume the PCs will engage in combat at some point during the course of an investigation.

  7. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWills View Post
    As you might guess, the scientific community is having no more certain response than the theological community.
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe. The question of whether we are born good or evil makes little sense, when we *define* good and evil only after we are born!

    If so, it could explain our fascination with violence. Our "be nice to others; don't repay evil with evil; play nice" side is mostly in control and is our default state.
    There's a problem with discussing our "default state".

    Consider, for a moment, a housecat. There are housecats that have grown up without significant human interaction, that we call "feral". In areas where we have such animals living mostly in land not developed by people (say, feral cats in the woods), we might call their behavior after a few generations in this state to be the "natural" or "default" behavior for cats. This would be overlooking how domestic cats have been with humans for ten thousand years or so, but, for sake of argument - we can consider the behavior of cats that grow up without human influences as "natural". And we can contrast that with the behavior of cats who do live with humans.

    We cannot, however, do that same for humans. There are no humans in the "wild" state - where "wild" is "without human influence". We are social animals, so our natural state is *with* human influence. Our "default" is "adapted to live within a community of other humans".
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  8. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by MGibster View Post
    the salient point is that the majority of mainstream RPGs assume violence will be a component of the campaign. Even games like Trail of Cthulhu and Call of Cthulhu assume the PCs will engage in combat at some point during the course of an investigation.
    True, and a useful salient point.

    I once ran a TRPG as part of an elective writing class for a middle school. The PCs went into a jungle, and fought various mutated monsters along the way to the source of the mutation: the ruins of a secret nuclear and chemical weapons lab... and a surviving scientist who'd developed a (lots of hand-waving here) symbiotic micro-organism which enabled plants and animals to adapt to the wasteland. Mission sponsors wanted his lab notes. He didn't want to hand them over. PCs brokered a compromise. So when I told them that they'd won, and they could backtrack to base... and because they'd also gained mutations, and learned to usefully control those mutations, we could assume they easily won any fights... they were displeased. They demanded a Boss Fight. They insisted that there should be a Boss Fight. They did not feel victorious without one.

    So I had the local government, displeased that their lab had been found, and trying for a cover-up, send a military team to capture the forward base of the team's sponsors. (The same sponsors who had pushed the PCs to take the lab notes by force.) That military team was sufficiently bad-ass and sufficiently Black Hat, for the middle school students to enjoy playing their PCs in a Big Fight, overcoming the soldiers and freeing the Mission Control team from captivity.

    This particular example did not involve XP for those characters. Their "advancement", such as it was, came from studying, then cultivating and harnessing, the mutation process, to gain super-powers. They were just deep in the trope - whether from movies which hinge on Big Fight Scenes, or from CPRGs, or a mix of factors, I cannot say for sure.

  9. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    Omg I'm sorry but pulling the "I need you to cite your sources." card in an internet discussion forum is just hilarious to me. You can browse the various threads about awarding XP on this various forum to find that DMs are less likely to reward XP for non-combat situations and resolutions than for combat ones.
    Sources or not, though, @Riley37 does - somewhat obliquely - raise an interesting point: reward mechanisms in RPGs have changed over the years, and it'd be interesting to know if there's ever been any competent research done on how playstyles adapt and morph as a result of these changes both within successive editions of a game and across the hobby as a whole.

    An easy example of what I'm talking about: early-days D&D was very risky for the PCs and gave x.p. for treasure recovered. This put a strong focus on looting every shred of valuable material from the dungeon ("Greyhawking" was, I think, the term for this), and so the foundational goals of play were to a) survive and b) get rich.

    Then x.p.-for-g.p. went away with 2e, leaving combat as the main (and sometimes only!) source of x.p. The game was still risky for the PCs' though, and so the goals shifted to being a) survive and b) kill everything you can.

    Over the editions since, the risk-to-PCs factor has slowly but steadily diminished, and thus so has the difficulty in achieving the 'survival' goal. So now there's only one goal left: if it moves, kill it.

    A pushback aginst this trend has seen the development of non-x.p.-based levelling and-or 'milestone' levelling, core in numerous systems and now an option in 5e D&D. For many reasons I'm not at all a fan of this and will never ever use it in any game I run, but I can appreciate it as at least an attempt to solve a legitimate problem.

  10. #120
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    @Lanefan, I'm not sure I agree with your premise. AD&D, while lethal at low levels, was not particularly dangerous at higher levels. Granted, save or die effects might have made it more dangerous, but, most save or die effects are not a result of combat - poisons, traps, that sort of thing. By the time the PC's were about 6th or 7th level, they were among the most powerful combatants in the game. By double digit levels, they were competently taking on unique monsters.

    And, really, to me, the shift from 1e to 2e wasn't all that great. We killed everything we could in 1e because, well, why wouldn't you? Outside of dragons, there was virtually nothing that could take on a PC one on one and the group of 6-8 PC's plus a few henchmen and whatnot could mow through a LOT of combat.

    I found 3e a LOT more deadly than AD&D to be honest. The massive increase in monster damage while the PC's didn't actually get a whole lot more HP's than in AD&D meant that I was killing PC's straight up in combat pretty darn often. It was hard not killing PC's, to be honest.

    And, you're ignoring the fact that from 3e forward, the game codified non-combat Xp awards. Plenty of 3e and later modules have text to the effect of, "convincing so and so to do such and such grants a CR X xp award." Something you rarely, if ever, saw in earlier editions.

    If anything, I think as time has moved on, we've moved farther and farther away from the whole "murder hobo" approach to the game. At least the modules have gone this way. Heck, look at Waterdeep Dragon Heist. You could get through most of that module with barely any combat and still get the reward at the end. Actually, to get the reward at the end, you have pretty much zero choice about not engaging in combat. Engaging the guardian of the treasure is a pretty much guaranteed tpk.

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