D&D 5E Character play vs Player play

Thanks for answering and just so you know I am not ignoring your request . . .

Since I setup the hypothetical(s), I'm going to hold off on answering how I would handle these situations for a bit. It might seem to some like I am feathering the nest if I jump in too early or become a discussion just about how I would handle it rather than give everyone the same starting point for their own expression.
fair enough

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Isn't that for the player to decide? Even if there are no newspapers in a setting can't a player introduce the concept as a ruse and explain what they are? Would a GM be forced to deny the player the ability to say whatever he likes in character?

If a player's response to "There's no such thing as a newspaper in this setting" is "I don't mind. I'll just explain what one is" then yes, the player can say what they want. But at that point it's clear everyone is on the same page. In any tabletop RPG the information you have is limited and a likely reason for a move that makes no sense to the DM is that there's been a miscommunication somewhere. And something like newspapers there are normally either something the player expects that exist or are a gimmick because it's a fun idea.

That there are no major newspapers or equivalent in the setting is information that the character would certainly have that the player would very plausibly not. And any plans involving such things need cross-checking. (Not having the characters' assumed knowledge at least pointed out comes under the heading of 'Zipper GMing' - "Ha! You didn't specify you were putting your junk away first! Take d6 damage to something very sensitive" (more commonly "You forgot to say you were opening the hangar bay doors before you launch. Your X-wing crashes."))

I'm not aware of any actual games fitting your Entitled GM situation, either. So that must make both equally non-existent? Not since 1994 or so, anyway.

Oh, I can think of a few. Anything with Rule 0 is one that allows entitled GMs to do whatever they want and prohibits entitled players. A good GM won't go full entitlement - but the capability is there in the rules.


Oh, I can think of a few. Anything with Rule 0 is one that allows entitled GMs to do whatever they want and prohibits entitled players. A good GM won't go full entitlement - but the capability is there in the rules.

We're discussing actual games, though, or so you said. So were you a player or the GM, and how did you handle each situation?

We're discussing actual games, though, or so you said. So were you a player or the GM, and how did you handle each situation?

Actual games = actual published games. And for actual played games I left the game after discussion (no gaming is better than bad gaming). And for the record D&D 4E was the last one I saw full scale DM entitlement in (which was far from the only problem with that GM who for some reaosn can't keep players). The one before that, and a far worse case, was Werewolf: the Forsaken in about 2006 - and that was truly spectacular. To the point of having one DMPC per PC - each doing what the PC did but better. I left that one as well.

aramis erak

Ok, the notion on the table is that early RPG's contained no story gaming elements explicitly in the design. Is that a fair way of putting it?

No. You're ignoring the nature of the difference in clades in what appears to be claim of no difference; logically, tho, if there was no difference, there would be no debate.

In the Traditional games, the mechanics are about what a character can do. There are story considerations, rarely, such as the paladin's mount and alignment restrictions, but the mechanics are about what he can do.

Oh, and in your example of Paladins, the quest for mount doesn't exist in OD&D; it's an AD&D addition. The Paladin in OE Sup 1 just gets a horse as a special mount, and it's automatic if he's not taken a new one in the last 10 years.

In the serious storygames, there are not mechanics about what a character can do, but lots of mechanics about who can make the determination, and when a player can add stuff to the story without needing GM approval.

And there is a lot of space that's neither Traditional nor Storygame. Games where it's still about who can do what, but have certain mechanics that are about adding stuff to the narrative space in a GM-like way, but without needing to be the GM.

As an example...

Hard core storygame approach to a Star Trek Episode: A starts narrating a klingon ship. B doesn't want it; the mechanics determine how much ability B has to reject A's narration.

Hard core trad approach. The player wants a Klingon story - he thus directs the ship to the Klingon border, and hopes the GM gives him one. The GM wants a klingon story, he simply puts the klingons in, and the players either suck it up, or leave the table.

Hybrid Approach (Burning Wheel): the GM narrates a ship approaching, player uses a character skill to define that it's a klingon skill. GM sets a difficulty, and if the player makes the roll, the GM has to suck it up. If the roll fails, the GM can still choose to implement it, but in a way other than desired, or decide it really isn't a klingon.

Hybrid approach (Fate): The GM narrates a ship approaching. Player wants it to be klingons, so plunks down a fate point to declare it's a klingon before the GM describes what it is, or that it's klingons aboard a stolen ship if the GM has described some other empire's ship. GM has to suck it up, unless everyone else at table agrees it was a bad idea; if it was rejected, the player gets his fate point back.

Soft-trad approach: GM narrates a ship approaching; player asks if he can tell if it's klingon. GM considers whether or not it being klingon matters, and if not, may decide it is. Likewise, if it makes no sense, he just ignores the player's "input" into the story.


OK, so help me. How do I explain that I believe that traditional role playing and D&D as created by Dave and Gary and published by TSR then later WotC is a game with Variable amounts of PC Authorship and that it is not wrong deviant or anti tradition to ratchet that variable up or down?
Remember that part where I said I made my Wisdom check, and therefore staying out of the main thrust of this discussion? Yeah, I'm not going to tell you how to do that. You can't convince them. They can't convince you. I'm just letting people know that veering towards insults and getting even more tribal is only going to hurt things.

Again, though, I want to make sure this much is clear: Play what you like :)

I am sure I am not the only person who has started a campaign where not every PC's background is fleshed out. On your approach that seems to literally mean that they have no parents and no memory of where they grew up.
By my approach, if it's undefined then it's irrelevant. If it was going to be relevant, then it would have been defined.

If you want fill it out as you go along, then it's bad to make it up as it would be relevant, because that goes against the roles of DM and player by having the player try to describe the environment.

Um... I don't understand what you are saying here, could you please rephrase it, I get you are disagreeing that the point of the game is to have fun, but not why...
I agree that the point of the game is to have fun, but I disagree that giving authorship to the players during the game is a way of making the game more fun.

The same way you could say "Hey can I have grown up in this city," "Cool we can crash at my parents ohouse here." the same way you could say anything else... it's you and the DM making up the world as you go.
The game isn't "you and the DM making up the world as you go," though. The game is the DM making up the world, and the player-characters exploring it.

so in the Ninja clan example, is it ok if we always knew that the character was from this kingdom? We still would have the same situation, just instead of my Ninja clan being somewhere in the world it would be somewhere in this kingdom?
Yes, that's an example of the world playing out as previously established. You have suggested that this is true, and the DM has already agreed with you that it is true (or else your backstory would have been vetoed), and so it's just a true fact of the world. You-the-player are not exercising authorship in the game.

you lost me again... why should we know that answer out of game with out asking, and how is can and does any real difference? Is this really the difference in phraseing?
Because you went over it with your DM ahead of time. Asking "can" would be asking the DM to change things, where asking "does" is only asking about what's already true. And you should know if ninjas are already there, because it's your character and you know your own backstory.


The state of the door, as open or shut, has been determined by means of a random roll. But the random roll was bound up in resolving the player's declared action "I flee!" I think the idea behind it is that the payer's investment in Athletics skill is an investment in having episodes of play in which his/her PC succeeds in virtue of athletic prowess. Being lucky with the door is one way of evincing that prowess.

That makes sense to me. I wonder if there is a better way to use this technique than relying on the DM to remember to narrate appropriate fiction.

If the GM resolves the state of the door by a separate random roll, and then factors that into the DC of the Athletics check, there will still be a need to narrate some other reason why the PC succeeds/fails (it's unlikely that such a factor is going to be internal to the PC - most people's athletic performance is relatively constant over repeated trials). Perhaps a low roll by the player reflect that the cultists were faster than the PC thought, or were better positioned to catch him/her. May as well make it Schroedinger's door, as Schroedinger's cultists' atheltic prowess!(? - I'm interested in your thoughts on this.)

If I understand correctly, the PC is making an Athletics check to resolve the action "I flee!"* I'm not sure how exactly we are resolving this - is the PC rolling against a DC and that's it, or are we using an initiative system? If it's just a DC, everything is abstract and up in the air for narration - the whole situation is a "Schroedinger's escape".

If we are using initiative, then I imagine the PC would use a move action to get up the stairs, roll Athletics to break it down, and if successful continue on, while the NPCs would move and attack on their turns. I think you'd narrate each task's success/failure in the typical fashion - "You slam into the door but it holds", "The cultist is able to grab on to you", etc.

* - I don't think I could resolve that using my game system - I'd need more information before we could proceed, which is the point. ;) I'd have to ask, "How exactly are you fleeing?"


Ok, rolling back to the Paladin's Warhorse since I want to beat that horse a little more.

Ways in which this Mechanic is a Story Game Element:

1. It is initiated entirely by the player. The DM is obligated by the mechanic to provide the opportunity to gain the mount whenever the player does so.

2. It's quantum. According to the DMG, the mount will appear no more than 10 miles away from wherever the PC is at the given time. No matter what. So, if I call the mount on Tuesday in Waterdeep, it appears somewhere within ten miles of me. If, instead, I step through a portal to Greyhawk and call the mount of Wednesday, it STILL appears within 10 miles of me. And, note, every single paladin can do that, so the world is filled with these potential mount quests floating around waiting for the character's player to initiate the quest.

3. The quest is tied to the character's level. If I call for the mount at 4th level, I get a fighter that "tests my mettle" as an example. If I wait until 8th level, I test my mettle against a fighter that's going to be higher level than the first one, since the challenge is tied to my character level.

4. The mount refreshes. Every ten years, like clockwork, I can get a new mount, complete with new quest. The game world moulds itself to my clock, because it's ten years after the first mount dies. How does that work? The gods can only make horses so fast? It takes that long to get a new fighter to test my mettle? What?

Is this hard core story gaming? No, of course not. I'm not even remotely claiming that it is. But, it is at the very least a story gaming element, which [MENTION=10479]Mark CMG[/MENTION] has flat out claimed never existed in early versions of RPG's. That it's not in OD&D isn't really that big of a deal. I'm going to say that AD&D is early enough for this discussion.

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