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Beginning to Doubt That RPG Play Can Be Substantively "Character-Driven"

One of my gaming groups tends to do Adventure Paths, and I hate them (the adventures; I love the people). There's nothing to engage with but the grind toward the Big Climax. I never conceive of the character as anything other than a bundle of mechanics. I don't care if we succeed at the Final Boss Fight. I actually kinda hope we don't, because I don't think the world in the Adventure Path is worth saving.

I believe we are very much on the same page here, possibly the same paragraph.
Yup. I tend to only play those kinds of paths if that's what everyone else wants to do, or if it's for a one shot, or if we just want to try a system out. They don't tend to last long because no one really cares all that much about what's going on in them.

I prefer a more dynamic mode, overall. Like I said, I don't mind if the GM has some kind of loose "plot" in mind, as long as I'm free to engage with it how I'd like, and even better if it's been tailored to my and other players' characters in some way.

Such is possible with D&D, but from what I've seen it takes a group of players and a DM that are very comfortable with one another, and who work together a lot on how the game should function.
 

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I prefer a more dynamic mode, overall. Like I said, I don't mind if the GM has some kind of loose "plot" in mind, as long as I'm free to engage with it how I'd like, and even better if it's been tailored to my and other players' characters in some way.

Such is possible with D&D, but from what I've seen it takes a group of players and a DM that are very comfortable with one another, and who work together a lot on how the game should function.
That's the kind of D&D game I try to run. I usually describe it as the characters pick their goal/s, and the order in which they pursue them. I figure out what's between them and their goals. I prefer for there to be multiple threads dangling for me to pull on, but it's entirely up to the players/characters how to respond. The two tables I run are in game stores, and I didn't know half the players at either table before starting the campaign; which I guess means I think it's not as hard in D&D as all-a-that, but I readily admit I have good players.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
It’s more a question of whether GM Force can be used in a principled manner.
Anything which can be used can be used in a principled manner.

It's not a "can" question, it's a "should" statement, and "will it be used in a principled manner by the current GM?"

Edit: given Manbearcat's redefinition which I'd previously missed, the deleted text was erroneous.
 
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aramis erak

Adventurer
In that case the "secret" is redundant - necessarily stuff the players don't know is not known by them (ie secret from them).
The player could have said, "My master left and I don't know why." In which case the secret is why, and they know to look for it. It can be a driving personality element, with the details/resolution left to the GM. So, that there is a secret is known to the player, but the content isn't.

Secret is a term with multiple layers of meanings.
 


Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
@lowkey13 You have my respect. This conversation ran its course many pages ago when people stopped having a discussion and started telling everyone else what others really meant or implied with their own words. Time to disengage and find another fun topic with friends and no-nothings. ;)
 

I'm going to meta-analyze this for you, as you did for me!



I'm not going to be respectful, and I'm going to put on the old equivalent of HTML BLINK to show it.



I'm not going to engage with what you wrote. I'm going to summarize it in a way that it was not meant, I'm going to be really annoying about it, and I'm going to signal to other people that typically agree with me that I'm on board with them by accusing you of being an edition warrior, etc. despite knowing that you aren't.

I'll use "With respect" a few more times to show just how little I respect you in this post, but make sure I accuse of all sorts of things that aren't there. But you know, "with respect" because I need you to know that I think you aren't worthy of it, whatsoever.



Good? Good. I mean, I've seen a lot of stuff, but rarely have I seen someone go off on me and call me an edition warrior and a troll because I make the point that people aren't agreeing on the definitions that they are using. Which, of course, was evidenced in the posts immediately after yours.

But hey, what do I know? I'm probably just a know-nothing moron, right? Good thing you put me in my place.
Alright, just was about to start follow-ups.

Lowkey, seriously, I have no clue how you came up with that summation of what I wrote.

It’s not even in the same dimension of what (I thought) I actually wrote.

This is what I meant to write:

* I don’t want to engage with meta-analysis of board culture, psychology, and forum posting ethics (completely leaving to the side of whether the take that was in your post about them was correct or not). There is a tendency on this board for these meta-analyses and they tend to dominate conversations when they emerge. I’m not interested in them so I’m not going to engage with that portion of your post. I’m going to engage with our disagreement over the term/usage/relevance if Force.

* There was nothing in there calling you an edition warrior or a troll. Not even close. I said that sucks that people do that, and I agree that it happens now and again, but it’s many times reduced since 4e left prominence.

That is pretty much it. Looking at that and the original, I still don’t understand where your pereception of what I posted is coming from.

People reading this:

Please call me out on this if what I wrote contained all of that offense cause holy crap...dead...serious. I need to know because, if so, I’ve got some serious issues that I need to sort out (some kind of disconnection from what I’m writing).

If folks say that what you have written above is the substance of my post and offense-worthy in the same way, I’ll apologize a thousand times, and take some nice time away to figure out how in the hell Im so removed from what I’m typing.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm going to meta-analyze this for you, as you did for me!
Mod Note:

You really should have disengaged rather than post this snark. The tone ensures that the party you are nominally writing to will accept none of it. They will just think you are being more of a jerk.

Try this, folks - if you think someone is disrespectful, or even just full of crap and not listening... just don't answer them. I know that human psychology is such that there's a super-strong desire to counter every imagined slight. But that urge does not serve well here.

Learn to walk away, please.
 

I’m willing to accept it and I’m absolutely willing to apologize.

I seriously want 3rd party feedback that what I wrote was what was what should have been inferred in that encapsulation and should have brought that much offense taken by another person through it.

I talk to my friends in real life in stark ways. I assume that all of you guys understand I’m your, and you’re mine, friend.

I wouldn’t spend the years “hanging out” with you guys if I didn’t feel that way. My disagreements with real life friends are much more vehement than this!

But in that post, I was simply trying to say what I captured in the directly above and then bridge to the part of the conversation I wanted to engage with.

Man, what a weird way to start the day.
 

darkbard

Explorer
People reading this:

Please call me out on this if what I wrote contained all of that offense cause holy crap...dead...serious. I need to know because, if so, I’ve got some serious issues that I need to sort out (some kind of disconnection from what I’m writing).

If folks say that what you have written above is the substance of my post and offense-worthy in the same way, I’ll apologize a thousand times, and take some nice time away to figure out how in the hell Im so removed from what I’m typing.
I readily admit I am inclined generally to see your posts in a positive light (largely because of your frequent attempts to disengage from meta-nonsense and your overall generous and self-reflective attitude in posting), but my immediate take was, "how did lowkey get that from this?!?" I don't see what lowkey does. Like, at all.
 


And as a quick aside, it seems that virtually everyone disagrees with my take on continuum vs binary wrt Force and possibly other elements of what I’m saying about Force, so the challenge that lowkey put forth in that post about that seems like a good one (given that context), so I’m glad to have that challenge (to force, lol?, me to crystallize my thinking, and perhaps revise events of it; though I’m not there yet).

Finally, I’d appreciate it if people who don’t like me or generally disagree with me to weigh in on the subject above, even if just through PM.

I’m out for awhile.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
One addendum right quick:

First PLEASE DON'T GET HUNG UP ON THE CONNOTATIONS OF THE WORD CHEATING.
I'm going to chime in on this. The negative aspects of "cheating" are not so much connotation as denotation. The dishonesty and breaking of trust is baked into common use. If you don't intend them, don't use that word.

And if you do intend them, you better be ready to be called out for insulting someone.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If I had to guess, I’d say that the dismissal of the meta topic was seen as a dismissal of the entire post?
It does kind of read that way.

And, to be honest, how people use terms, or resist changes in use, IS a problem. Frequently. Any time you see (or are involved in) an argument over terminology, it is likely useful to step back and think about what everyone is really arguing about. Because the terminology is a means to an end, an argument over terminology is going to be a proxy fight over something else.

And dismissing that is basically saying, 'I don't really care what anyone else is saying - I just want to say what I am saying." And that's not discussion.

Lowkey's problem was in going snarky, instead of just saying, "Dude, this is dismissive of X, Y, and Z."
 



Define "principled". Whose principles?
I don’t think there would be an agreed upon standard, so it would have to come down to what the specific group wants and expects.

So for Manbearcat, no amount of force would be acceptable. For my group of players, some would be, but with the expectation that it not be applied in a way that negated some result of player choice. Still others would expect force as part and parcel of the gaming experience.

The middle ground is going to be pretty vague and hard to gauge unless the participants all discuss it, or as @prabe mentioned, if it’s all kind of worked out as they play.

So in this sense, I’d say principled use would imply that the expectations of all participants have been considered and the GM proceeds accordingly.
 

And dismissing that is basically saying, 'I don't really care what anyone else is saying - I just want to say what I am saying." And that's not discussion.
I don’t think that was at all the tone of that post. It was more “I’m not going to defend my opinions against baseless accusations of attributing other playstyles as badwrongfun, but instead I’m going to focus on what I think is the relevant topic”.

Basically, “I’d prefer to have a conversation about gaming techniques rather than a conversation about how to converse about gaming techniques”.

It seemed to me that it was the use of the term “degenerate”. I took lowkey’s exception to the term being that it implied a certain playstyle was a degenerate playstyle. I took Manbearcat’s reply to clarify that what he meant was “a desired mode of play that has somehow become an undesired mode of play”.

I think that was a clarified well. The point was also made that such clarification shouldn’t be needed as often as it seems to be around here, and I feel like that seems to be what caused the confusion.

But a dismissal of the original post? Not at all.
 

darkbard

Explorer
hawkeyefan's take lines up pretty neatly with my own. This doesn't need to be about drawing up sides, of course; it does, however, reveal how different folks can have such widely divergent takes when reading the same thing. <shrug> Maybe we can all try to focus on engaging the substance of discussions and not look to take umbrage* so quickly?

*No offense, Umbran. ;^)
 


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