A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life

pemerton

Legend
In an RPG, if something isn't precluded by the rules, it is NOT included in the game at all unless the DM says it is.
Sure, anyone can have a new idea, but in 1e it was the DM who could put it into the game. And those ideas were not automatically included by virtue of not being precluded.
It still remains the case that there is not a shred of a reason to think the first-quoted claim is true.

Even if one accepts your claim about AD&D - and in practice there were AD&D games where PCs invented new player-side elements, like races and classes - that provides no reason to suppose the first-quoted claim is true, because that putative feature of AD&D doesn't generalise.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
You don't specify "only," unless you mean only.
I guess that I should not be surprised by more intellectually dishonest semantics from you. Assuming people aren't trying to score points in a debate and actually demonstrate a willingness to discuss the matter in good faith, most would not apply such a ridiculously restrictive, literalist reading of "only." Otherwise we find ourselves in the discussion where the dishonest argument that "Ron Edwards does not include the word 'experience' since it is 'only knowledge and perceptions,' so character experience is not part of Actor stance" is presented as a valid reading of the definition.

So where does 'motivations' factor into the definition? I would wager that most halfway intelligent people would implicitly recognize that it is entailed in the "decisions and actions using..." part of the phrase, especially given that motivations generally inform the thought process of decisions and actions most (ir)rational agents make.

So you found someone else who is of the opinion that motivation is necessary. How does that have anything to do with The Forge's definition? And as I said, the motivation for the PC is there in the forest example. It's not a deep motivation, but it is in fact a motivation of the PC.
Surely you recognize that the definitions provided by the Forge are fairly minimal or barebones? I don't think that they were meant to be all-comprehensive of everything that is entailed in or surrounding the understanding of the terms. This is generally how we understand how definitions work. Definitions are minimally descriptive but not comprehensively prescriptive.

Here's a tidbit you forgot to bold in your quote above.
The blog entry and emboldened text were meant to highlight the inclusion of "motivations" in the understanding of the Actor stance. It was not meant to highlight or discuss anything else. So your attempted "gotcha moments" kinda fall flat. But if you are making yourself feel better about yourself for feeling clever, then I'm glad you are getting something out of this conversation, but you are missing the point.

Edit: If you want to use this blog entry to argue with pemerton about walking into a forest or whatever, then you are welcome to do so. But again, my purpose was simply to correct your error regarding the exclusion of "motivation" in the general understanding of the Actor stance. Nothing more.

You also missed this part.
Except for the part where I mention it towards the end. If you are going to respond, please bother to put in a modicum of effort to read what I wrote, Max. That is a courteous thing to do. Otherwise it makes you look like an inconsiderate dolt.

What does stance have to do with trolls? Trolls are not even a part of this particular discussion.
Simply bringing this back 'round to an earlier point. I am permitted to do that. ;)
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It still remains the case that there is not a shred of a reason to think the first-quoted claim is true.

Even if one accepts your claim about AD&D - and in practice there were AD&D games where PCs invented new player-side elements, like races and classes - that provides no reason to suppose the first-quoted claim is true, because that putative feature of AD&D doesn't generalise.
Sure, and not one of those side elements made it into the game without the DM's okay. Either specifically after looking it over, or in general if he told the player that they could just add things. Without that permission, though, they didn't make it into AD&D games.

And again, your claim that failure to preclude = inclusion hasn't been supported by you at all. It's just a claim you make. I on the other hand have a myriad of quotes by Gygax, as well as reason(no longsword nukes being automatically included) to back me up.
 

pemerton

Legend
So what we have is The Forge, the place that invented the stances saying that ONLY character knowledge and perceptions are required, and you don't say "only" without meaning only, especially a place like The Forge which spends a lot of thought on wording.
Declaring an action "using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have" precludes using knowledge and perceptions that the character doesn't have - such as the player's belief that adventure and XP are to be found in the wood.

In the same Ron Edwards essay, the following passage can be found:

Another common misunderstanding of Actor Stance is to confound it with "acting" in the histrionic, communicative sense - using a characteristic voice, gestures, and so on. The communicative and demonstrative aspects of "acting" are not involved in Actor Stance at all, which only means that the player is utilizing the character's knowledge and priorities to determine what the character does.​

I've highlighted the relevant phrase. The contrast between actor and author/pawn stance is precisely between declaring an action based on extrapolation from the character's mental states and declaring an action because that will serve some real-world purpose.

Ron Edwards is, in fact, not terribly careful about how he provides canonical statements of his key concepts. Which is not uncommon even in academic social science, let alone work being done in this sort of context. You can see this also in his discussion of "story now", where he provides a canonical definition of narrativism as engaging with a premise in the literary sense, but then provides as an examplea of a narrativist-inclined games The Dying Earth RPG, which doesn't really engage with a premise but rather aims at producing ironic humour that will entertain the real-life participants.

But if one reads the whole essay, the analysis usually becomes clear. On this occaion you appear not to have done that, though, as you seem to be resolutely asserting that an action declaration can be driven by real-world priorities and yet be actor stance.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I guess that I should not be surprised by more intellectually dishonest semantics from you. Assuming people aren't trying to score points in a debate and actually demonstrate a willingness to discuss the matter in good faith, most would not apply such a ridiculously restrictive, literalist reading of "only." Otherwise we find ourselves in the discussion where the dishonest argument that "Ron Edwards does not include the word 'experience' since it is 'only knowledge and perceptions,' so character experience is not part of Actor stance" is presented as a valid reading of the definition.
Trying to write of the specific use of "only" as something that they threw in for the hell of it and didn't really mean is just more of your disingenuous arguing style. And character experience is only a part of actor stance insofar as it gives the PC more knowledge and perceptions to base its actions on.

Surely you recognize that the definitions provided by the Forge are fairly minimal or barebones? I don't think that they were meant to be all-comprehensive of everything that is entailed in or surrounding the understanding of the terms. This is generally how we understand how definitions work. Definitions are minimally descriptive but not comprehensively prescriptive.
Sure, which is why I'm willing to accept the simple motivations(or better) as being a part of it, since they are automatically included with declarations.

The blog entry and emboldened text were meant to highlight the inclusion of "motivations" in the understanding of the Actor stance. It was not meant to highlight or discuss anything else. So your attempted "gotcha moments" kinda fall flat. But if you are making yourself feel better about yourself for feeling clever, then I'm glad you are getting something out of this conversation, but you are missing the point.
Pointing out that it only requires motivations and not a multi-page theses on motivations is not a "gotcha" and to accuse me of that is just more disingenuousness on your part. A simple motivation fits the blog's requirements.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So making decisions based on PC knowledge and perceptions is author stance? Once again, The Forge's own definition of actor stance is below. And no, I did not retroactively put a motivation onto the PC. The PC's motivation ("I want to see what is in the forest) was first and primary.

"In Actor stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have."

So we see, ONLY knowledge and perception matters for actor stance. We can't even include motivation at all, since it specifies ONLY those two things. However, as I pointed out, the motivation is entirely the PC's anyway.
You bolded too late. The stances are about where decisions are made, not just what thry are made with. If you're in Actor stance, you can explain why you went into the forest at that time because the decision was made solely within the character's frame -- ie, his knowledge, motivations, and needs.

If you can't explain why at the time if the decision, but can backfill that reason using only knowledge the character has, that Author stance, because the decision is made and then the character's knowledge is considered.

You can easily do Author stance within your personal limitations on character knowledge. In fact, the player knowing trolls are harmed by fire but choosing to have his PC act without this knowledge because the player considers that cheating requires Author stance -- the decision is based on player motivations, not PC motivations.

Once again, you've chosen to focus on one part of a definition and ignore the rest, much like you did with arbitrary.
 

pemerton

Legend
A very simple motivation is all that is necessary to meet that blog's position, so "I want to see what is in the forest." is sufficient. Curiosity is a great motivator.
Sure. Is it established that your character is curious? Then the decision to explore the forest might be taken in actor stance.

Are you, the player curious, so you decide to have your PC explore the forest and impute that motivation to your PC? Then the decision to explore the forest has been taken in author stance. (If the imputation doesn't occur, we have an instance of pawn stance.)

None of this is rocket science.
 

pemerton

Legend
your claim that failure to preclude = inclusion hasn't been supported by you at all
I don't even understand what this means. I certainly haven't claimed it.

I'm not making any sort of claim about the structure or inner logic of RPG rules. I'm saying that your claim that the GM is the authority for determining whether something new (a new rule, a new story element) is incorporated into a RPG is without foundation. That authority can be allocated to non-GM participants.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Trying to write of the specific use of "only" as something that they threw in for the hell of it and didn't really mean is just more of your disingenuous arguing style. And character experience is only a part of actor stance insofar as it gives the PC more knowledge and perceptions to base its actions on.
You are making a Strawman argument, Max. That is most definitely disingenuous.

Pointing out that it only requires motivations and not a multi-page theses on motivations is not a "gotcha" and to accuse me of that is just more disingenuousness on your part. A simple motivation fits the blog's requirements.
I am arguing genuinely, Max. I am skeptical, however, that you are, particularly given the earlier strawman. The "gotcha moments" I mention are your whole "you forgot this part" spiel. I am inclined to believe that they are meant to be gotcha moments due to your tone and repetition of the phrase, with me "forgetting" implying that you are uncovering a fault. At least that is how I genuinely read it. Either way, they do not speak to the contextual purpose or argumentative thrust of my post, which I clarify in my edit that I have since added to the post you quote.

I'm not making any sort of claim about the structure or inner logic of RPG rules. I'm saying that your claim that the GM is the authority for determining whether something new (a new rule, a new story element) is incorporated into a RPG is without foundation. That authority can be allocated to non-GM participants.
At the very least, this assumption of authority varies throughout RPGs.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
In the same Ron Edwards essay, the following passage can be found:

(snip)

Ron Edwards is, in fact, not terribly careful about how he provides canonical statements of his key concepts. Which is not uncommon even in academic social science, let alone work being done in this sort of context.

(snip)

But if one reads the whole essay, the analysis usually becomes clear.
Not to be a dink, but as a critical theorist, Ron Edwards was a heckuva biologist.

Or, more generally, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. There is certainly nothing wrong with academic critiques of RPGs (and the accompanying jargon), but it's a bit much to use obscurantist* terms that are certainly not generally accepted, and to continue to refer to those definitions and to an essay that is hardly universally accepted in order to make your points.

Or, put another way, I can quotes Barthes to the cows come home, but it doesn't mean that someone can't enjoy J. K. Rowling, and while RPGs are just as much of a subject of academic interest as anything else, one rarely convinces people by defining terms.




*Yep, I read what you wrote Ovinomancer. ;)
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Not to be a dink, but as a critical theorist, Ron Edwards was a heckuva biologist.

Or, more generally, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. There is certainly nothing wrong with academic critiques of RPGs (and the accompanying jargon), but it's a bit much to use obscurantist* terms that are certainly not generally accepted, and to continue to refer to those definitions and to an essay that is hardly universally accepted in order to make your points.

Or, put another way, I can quotes Barthes to the cows come home, but it doesn't mean that someone can't enjoy J. K. Rowling, and while RPGs are just as much of a subject of academic interest as anything else, one rarely convinces people by defining terms.
This is fair, excepting that other posters took up the terminology and definitions to make their own arguments. I think, at that point, calling someone out for referring to the shared source of argument is a little weird.


*Yep, I read what you wrote Ovinomancer. ;)
Yay?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
This is fair, excepting that other posters took up the terminology and definitions to make their own arguments. I think, at that point, calling someone out for referring to the shared source of argument is a little weird.
Maybe. I mean, I try to check in every 200 comments* or so .... and maybe I'm wrong, but IIRC, it seems to me that one poster introduced those terms, and then continues to use them and further add details to them.

I mean, sure, you could criticize other people for debating over playstyles given the use of obscurantist terms that they aren't perfectly familiar with, but there are no winners, here. It would be like if I began to introduce specialized terms from my profession into a regular argument over something else, and then someone else argued with me over those terms, and I kept dredging up examples of why they're wrong using the specialized definitions.

It's not that I'm wrong, but it's also not helpful. To quote myself- "one rarely convinces people by defining terms." Or, as I try to think of it- jargon is helpful when it is a shortcut to talking to people who are familiar with it for getting across shared concepts, but it is decidedly unhelpful when you are arguing (or convincing) people who don't necessarily agree with you.


That's the exact mix of resignation and disgust I strive for in all my relationships. :)


*Masochism.
 

Numidius

Explorer
Edwards "played" with the concept of Stances in his 2001, little, humorous rpg Elfs. The following quote is from an old online review:

"Rules-wise Elfs is quite simple. A character has three stats, a sort of alignment, a one-sentence description, a kill list, and an equipment list. For reference I present one of our playtest characters:

Lystria, Spunk: 3, Low Cunning: 2, Dumb Luck: 2, Oral personality, ego-tripping bimbo.

All in-game actions are resolved by first stating your intent and then rolling 3d10 versus Spunk; dice that roll Spunk or less are counted as successes. If you can narrate your stated intent as being especially sneaky or childish, you get to add your Low Cunning to your Spunk, thus increasing your chances of success.

However, Dumb Luck is what makes Elfs stand out from the crowd. To get the Dumb Luck bonus added to your Spunk, you must make two action statements; one for what your character would want to happen, and one for what you want to happen."
The actual resolution bit was missing in my previous quote:

" If you get three successes, your character's action succeeds. If you get one or two successes, your action succeeds. And if you fail, you fail. This novel mechanic is the source of much of the silliness of Elfs, as using Dumb Luck is an excellent way to hose your buddies."

In the example of the Pc entering the forest looking for trail, applying stances as per that above, I guess:
Pc intent: looks for a tavern, a hot soup, and asks if forest is dangerous. Player intent: Pc enters the forest clueless. Rolls...

Then maybe, Pc intent: find a trail and get out safe; Player: gets lost and captured by creatures. Rolls...

Sounds funny, but also provides a framework to show that realism, bad outcomes, complications, adversity, can come from the Player POV; the Gm (or other Players) then might elaborate on what kind of creatures dwell in that forest, and so on. It requires a "double-think" process from participants not dissimilar to that of immersive, no-metagame, play.

Edwards' Trollbabe rpg, has a more rigid framework: the Player faces: Pc normal declarations (Actor stance?); call for conflicts (Director st?); after roll, failures are narrated by Player, incorporating bits from scene/Npcs, in Author stance (?) cause retroactively (after the roll) gives an in fiction reason for failing. [Edit. Maybe Director's, since uses 'the world' to narrate, also]
Also after failures, Player may choose, from a list of situations, one in order to reroll (Pawn / Director stance).
Successful Pc rolls are narrated by Gm (Actor/Author/Director stance, depending on what is narrated)
Relationships of the Pc are listed on the sheet and their usage is under Player control (Pawn stance), while their feelings are under Gm's control (Actor stance).
Death of the Trollbabe can occur only if: Player attempts a reroll when already Wounded; fails; the Gm, in this case only, describes how she is KOed plus a very bad outcome; if Player does not like it (Pawn stance), describes how the Pc dies (Author stance).
 
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pemerton

Legend
Not to be a dink, but as a critical theorist, Ron Edwards was a heckuva biologist.

Or, more generally, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. There is certainly nothing wrong with academic critiques of RPGs (and the accompanying jargon), but it's a bit much to use obscurantist* terms that are certainly not generally accepted, and to continue to refer to those definitions and to an essay that is hardly universally accepted in order to make your points.
I'm not the one who introduced Forge terminology into this thread.
[MENTION=6688277]Sadras[/MENTION] introduced discussion of "stance", and [MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION] embraced it.

I think [MENTION=463]S'mon[/MENTION] may have been the first poster to use GNS/GDS terminology, but my memory on that is hazier.

But if other posters want to use that termnology, I'm happy to engage with it.
 

pemerton

Legend
One source of frustration in playing a character in a RPG can be when player priorites and character priorities very obviously come inrto conflict. I'm thinking of the sort of situation in which the player has to choose to be faithful to the PC, but get hosed in the game play; or can make a choice that will avoid being hosed, but seems like a distortion of the character.

Iin my own experience of long-term group play using relatively traditional systems, part of the required player skill-set is anticipating and managing these possible conflicts. One example I have in mind, which I think I already mentioned upthread, has to do with intraparty conflict: a player who declares hostile actions against another PC, but who ameliorates the degree of hostility compared to what s/he might do against a NPC, is trying to remain true to the character (along the line of actor stance) but has "massaged" the character's motivations/deciions by having regard to the practical demands of group play at the table (author stance).

Another example which is frequently mentioned by posters on these boards is building a PC who has a reason/motivation to go "adventuring" with the other PCs. This reduces the likelihood that the plaeyr will find him-/herself torn between chosing something that would make sense for the character, and choosing something that works for the game at the table.

The troll example - in which the player knows what is required, but has to pretend that the player does not - is an instance (in my view) of the frustration I mentioned very much coming to the surface. A quite different way to ameliorate the frustration from the one mentioned by [MENTION=6785785]hawkeyefan[/MENTION] (that is, of coming up with a clever way of bringing the non-hosing action declaration back into consistency with the PC's mental states) is to use ad hoc adjduciation by the GM, or systematic system changes, to render the staeks of the encounter less of a hosing for the player (eg think about how in The Empire Strikes Back the "troll" captures Luke rather than killing him). I woudn't expect a game in which [MENTION=6785785]hawkeyefan[/MENTION]'s approach counts as "cheating", by giving the player an "unfair advantage" in the encounter, to consider this alternative pathway. But it's one that eg RQ suggests, by having combat outcomes that are less binary than D&D's, and by making capture and ransom a more significant part of the game.

Another frequent oddity (and perhaps more oddity than frustration) of the sort I'm talking about is the contrast between the shock/fear that many characters might be expected to feel when confronted by horrible monsters, and the lack of such feelings at the table as the players plan how their PCs will tackle this most recent encounter. I like how 4e handles this for (at least some) monsters, like the Deathlock Wight which has a "Horrific Visgae" that inflicts psychic damage and causes the characters to recoil in horror; or the Tyrant Fang Drake (? 4e's version of a T-Rex), which has a roar that stuns those who hear it, freezing them with terror. Prince Valiant and Cortex+ Heroic use similar devices within their own mechanical frameworks. In all these cases, the upshot is that the player doesn't need to deliberately choose the "in character' but "losing rather than winning" option of RPing his/her PC's fear - the game mechanics take care of it instead.

As a player, my ideal state is one of "inhabitation" - that is, the emtions and choice situation I experience as a player closely correspond to those confronting my character. BW produces a fair bit of this eg my character has an instinct to interpose himself between innocents and danger, and so do I (because if I act on my instnct to the detriment of my character I earn a fate point); blind declaration in combat means that I experience the same "fog of war" as my PC; etc.

As a GM, one of the best "inhabiation"-inducing mechanics I've seen in play is the 4e Chained Cambion's psychic chains ability, which (in the fiction) binds two characters with the same torment and frustration that the cambion itself experiences, and at the table binds two players together in a way that (given the dyamic nature of the typical 4e combat) produces increasing frustration and recrimination (eg because even when one player saves against the efffect, s/he is still subject to it until tthe other player also saves).

That one has always stood out for me becauase of the way in produced "inhabitation" in respect of intra-party adversity and hostility rather than the more straightforward cases such as cooperation, gratitude and the like.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Declaring an action "using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have" precludes using knowledge and perceptions that the character doesn't have - such as the player's belief that adventure and XP are to be found in the wood.
Right, which is why I'm not doing that.

Another common misunderstanding of Actor Stance is to confound it with "acting" in the histrionic, communicative sense - using a characteristic voice, gestures, and so on. The communicative and demonstrative aspects of "acting" are not involved in Actor Stance at all, which only means that the player is utilizing the character's knowledge and priorities to determine what the character does.
Sure. I'm not doing that, either.

Ron Edwards is, in fact, not terribly careful about how he provides canonical statements of his key concepts. Which is not uncommon even in academic social science, let alone work being done in this sort of context. You can see this also in his discussion of "story now", where he provides a canonical definition of narrativism as engaging with a premise in the literary sense, but then provides as an examplea of a narrativist-inclined games The Dying Earth RPG, which doesn't really engage with a premise but rather aims at producing ironic humour that will entertain the real-life participants.
Not being careful with something like "only" seems very reckless to me. Even so, my declaration regarding the forest involves only knowledge and perceptions that the PC has, and has a motivation of the PC.

But if one reads the whole essay, the analysis usually becomes clear. On this occaion you appear not to have done that, though, as you seem to be resolutely asserting that an action declaration can be driven by real-world priorities and yet be actor stance.
If by "you seem to be resolutely asserting..." you mean "has never asserted," you would be correct. I have asserted, and ONLY(the real use of "only") that I am working with PC knowledge, perceptions and motivations.
 

Hussar

Legend
So making decisions based on PC knowledge and perceptions is author stance? Once again, The Forge's own definition of actor stance is below. And no, I did not retroactively put a motivation onto the PC. The PC's motivation ("I want to see what is in the forest) was first and primary.

"In Actor stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions using only knowledge and perceptions that the character would have."

So we see, ONLY knowledge and perception matters for actor stance. We can't even include motivation at all, since it specifies ONLY those two things. However, as I pointed out, the motivation is entirely the PC's anyway.
Ok, fair enough. Let's work with [MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION]'s definition here and see where it leads us.

So, we have "forest" and ... "not forest (?)" as our two options.

Now, since motivation is not necessary for actor stance, "I want to see what is in the forest" should be discounted. That's a motivation. It's irrelevant.

So, [MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION], justify your choice of going to the forest as opposed to the "not forest" without referencing motives. You have easy to travel open fields and a forest (apparently without a trail since that's been specified earlier). So, why are you going to the forest? What reason would the character have for going there? The character is curious? Why? The character has no background, thus, no personality, thus, no curiosity. That was also established earlier.

The character could just as easily travel to the "not forest". There's no real reason for the character to enter the forest. And, certainly, if we're traveling, not going into the trackless forest is a more plausible choice. There is no actual in-character justification for traveling into the forest.

Thus, it's not actor stance. For actor stance to have any meaning, you MUST HAVE an actor in the first place, which means establishing motivations for that character outside of the player's motivations. Since you haven't established an actor, there's no actor stance to be taken.

But, yeah, I think [MENTION=6799753]lowkey13[/MENTION] has the right of it. I'll go back to lurking for another couple of hundred posts. It's fun watching people try to bang their heads on the wall of Max, but, my own morbid curiosity has been satisfied, so, it's back to lurking.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You bolded too late. The stances are about where decisions are made, not just what thry are made with. If you're in Actor stance, you can explain why you went into the forest at that time because the decision was made solely within the character's frame -- ie, his knowledge, motivations, and needs.
So it doesn't matter if I have a 30 page list of my PC's motivations or no set list, I'm not going to step out of character to explain why I am declaring something for my PC. The motivation is there through, from the declaration above regarding the forest, to the in depth background. It doesn't cease to be actor stance just because I haven't explained the motivation to the DM.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm not the one who introduced Forge terminology into this thread.

[MENTION=6688277]Sadras[/MENTION] introduced discussion of "stance", and [MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION] embraced it.

I think [MENTION=463]S'mon[/MENTION] may have been the first poster to use GNS/GDS terminology, but my memory on that is hazier.

But if other posters want to use that termnology, I'm happy to engage with it.
I'm just using it, because I've seen you use it a lot. It's not something I usually talk about as I don't think it's all that helpful.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, [MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION], justify your choice of going to the forest as opposed to the "not forest" without referencing motives. You have easy to travel open fields and a forest (apparently without a trail since that's been specified earlier). So, why are you going to the forest? What reason would the character have for going there? The character is curious? Why? The character has no background, thus, no personality, thus, no curiosity. That was also established earlier.
I already answered this. To look for a trail to follow. That decision was made entirely with character knowledge and perceptions.

And, certainly, if we're traveling, not going into the trackless forest is a more plausible choice.
We don't know that it's trackless. I'm going in to find out. When I get in, my PC will have more knowledge and perceptions upon which to base further declarations.
 

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