D&D 5E Character play vs Player play

And, I really think that people tend to take the idea of player authorship far too far. I mean, we started with the example of adding a couple of boxes in a location where it is perfectly reasonable to find boxes. It's not like there we are adding hover cycles or NPC's. Add a couple of boxes, find a secret door, pull a card when you need it - while these things might be unlikely, they're not terribly unbelievable. There's no breaking the fourth wall, it's all fitting with genre and no one's trying to rewrite the game.
exactly, I don't want to have to explain and describe every rock... so when a PC says "I grab a rock and throw it at him" I don't expect DMs to say "I didn't describe a rock there" same with the boxes...
 

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Sadras

Legend
Personally, I think it is more polite/acceptable for a player to ask through the character "My character looks around expecting to see boxes because of [some reason]. Does he see any boxes he can use for cover/climbing...etc?"

Generally as DM I'm more prone to say yes, if the player's logic is sound and fits in with the setting I have previously described/implied.

The same can be done with expectant NPCs at a locale/event.

Some have stated that the explorative-style game produces the least emotional investment in the roleplaying game. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. If that is your experience, it is my opinion that explorative style games are not your forte.
 
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Thus, we have quasi metagame mechanics that allow players to invoke the fact that their character, not the player, but the character, is lucky.
You can have lucky characters, sure, but you don't need or necessarily want characters who invoke their own luck. In many games, such a luck mechanic requires the metagame act of the player invoking that luck on behalf of the character, in spite of it being something that the character has no control over.

As mentioned, though, there are plenty of ways to have a lucky character that don't require granting authorship power to the player in order to work. Halfling luck (re-roll any natural 1 on a d20) was my previous example, but anything in 3.x that granted a luck bonus to a check is an example of the character being lucky without requiring the player to act out-of-character.

Inigo could have a +2 luck bonus on Perception checks, or a +2 luck bonus on any checks directly related to his vengeance quest. In terms of 5E, he could probably gain inspiration on such a check, since they tie into his motivations. There are lots of ways you could represent this sort of thing, without needing the player to assert authorial control beyond that allowed to the character.

Given the number of viable alternatives, you really have to make a firm design decision that you want players to have agency beyond just their characters. As a designer, you have to want things to turn out more in line with the laws of narrative causality than with internal causality, which is a controversial decision; many people feel strongly on that topic, one way or the other.
 
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Hussar

Legend
You can have lucky characters, sure, but you don't need or necessarily want characters who invoke their own luck. In many games, such a luck mechanic requires the metagame act of the player invoking that luck on behalf of the character, in spite of it being something that the character has no control over.

As mentioned, though, there are plenty of ways to have a lucky character that don't require granting authorship power to the player in order to work. Halfling luck (re-roll any natural 1 on a d20) was my previous example, but anything in 3.x that granted a luck bonus to a check is an example of the character being lucky without requiring the player to act out-of-character.

Inigo could have a +2 luck bonus on Perception checks, or a +2 luck bonus on any checks directly related to his vengeance quest. In terms of 5E, he could probably gain inspiration on such a check, since they tie into his motivations. There are lots of ways you could represent this sort of thing, without needing the player to assert authorial control beyond that allowed to the character.

Given the number of viable alternatives, you really have to make a firm design decision that you want players to have agency beyond just their characters. As a designer, you have to want things to turn out more in line with the laws of narrative causality than with internal causality, which is a controversial decision; many people feel strongly on that topic, one way or the other.

Oh, sure, I agree with this. You certainly don't need to. But, again, you're missing the point. It's not about need or not need. It's about the existence of such mechanics in D&D. Do these mechanics exist in D&D? Yup, they do. Have they existed in the game since virtually the first day? Yup, they do.

End of story.
 

Oh, sure, I agree with this. You certainly don't need to. But, again, you're missing the point. It's not about need or not need. It's about the existence of such mechanics in D&D. Do these mechanics exist in D&D? Yup, they do. Have they existed in the game since virtually the first day? Yup, they do.
I don't know if I'd go that far. In 5E, for example, this mechanic is relegated to a double-optional feat (each feat being explicitly optional, where feats in general are also optional), and the default core uses the less controversial expression of luck. In 3E, this sort of thing was either well-aside from the core (showing up in an obscure supplement), or else magical in origin.

I can't particularly think of anything like this from older editions. The previous examples of the warhorse and thieves guilds are not written in a way such that the player has any say over that outcome; it just happens, as a natural result of world events. You might be able to request such things from the DM, but not in any sort of rule-bound way, and with no greater likelihood of success than if you suggest the next loot parcel contain a particular magical item.

Edit: I guess I could see how you might interpret them as giving some amount of control to the player, by encouraging him or her to work with the DM in establishing certain elements of the setting. Even that, if interpreted as such, would still be a far cry from actively in-game triggering something like luck.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
things must have been pretty screwed up to start with if those people made it better.

I suppose if the bar is low enough though even a drunk midget with a ball and chain on his ankle could hop it.

Edwards had a few insights that are particularly adroit. I personally find it to be a solid foundation, but he then went and built a house of cards on top of that solid granite foundation...

Most especially adroit, and missing from his later efforts, was the initial recap of the rec.games.frp discussions. Namely,
  • there are 3 basic modes of rules: rules that primarily provide guidance/direction to the story directly (narrativist), rules that primarily attempt to simulate an underlying reality (simulationist), and rules that primarily focus on being a balanced game (gamist)
  • There are separate groups of players attracted to each mode of rules
  • that players attain the most satisfaction from a game when the rules support their preferred mode of play.
  • That designers need to design with mechanics aimed at their target audience, rather than everyone.
What he didn't allow for was that some players are not in one of those corners.

Envision that space as a large triangle... Ron Edwards (and many other Forgites) focused solely on the points; rather than the central space. Many players desired systems are in that central space, or along an edge.

Many of the earlier observations about play-space were quite valuable.

Many of the later derivations appear to be crazy-talk of the Batshit variety (terminology due to Dr. Edwards being a Biology specialist in Bats). Part of that is that they kept redefining the terms to mean different things over time. Part of that is that they were looking for a singular "one true way." Part of that was that they rejected outsiders as having valid opinions. Part of it was their arrogance - the occasional "you don't really like it, you only think you like it" comment really drives home how arrogant some posters could be. (And yes, I have personally experienced that, first hand. Ron claimed I didn't know what I liked, when I joined the forge specifically to provide playtester feedback to a designer I was playtesting for.)

The problem with the forge is separating the wheat from the chaff... and there turns out to be a lot of chaff.
 

Sadras

Legend
Great post [MENTION=6779310]aramis erak[/MENTION].
I am not a Forgite. I do appreciate that some went to all the trouble of analysing our hobby and its various styles, at times a little over the top for me, but I must have seen too many posts which thumped on particular styles of play my group and I enjoy. That attitude tends to alienate people. However I think your post provided an insight to the Forge's work that I never had before. Thanks for that.
 

pemerton

Legend
For me, one of the better features of the Forge - and relevant to this thread - is that they rather ruthlessly refuse to use ingame logic - the logic of the gameworld - to analyse what is happening during the actual play of an RPG. Rather, they focus on the decisions taken by the actual, real people playing the actual, real game.
 

Edwards had a few insights that are particularly adroit. I personally find it to be a solid foundation, but he then went and built a house of cards on top of that solid granite foundation...

Most especially adroit, and missing from his later efforts, was the initial recap of the rec.games.frp discussions. Namely,
  • there are 3 basic modes of rules: rules that primarily provide guidance/direction to the story directly (narrativist), rules that primarily attempt to simulate an underlying reality (simulationist), and rules that primarily focus on being a balanced game (gamist)
  • There are separate groups of players attracted to each mode of rules
  • that players attain the most satisfaction from a game when the rules support their preferred mode of play.
  • That designers need to design with mechanics aimed at their target audience, rather than everyone.
What he didn't allow for was that some players are not in one of those corners.

Envision that space as a large triangle... Ron Edwards (and many other Forgites) focused solely on the points; rather than the central space. Many players desired systems are in that central space, or along an edge.

I see things somewhat differently.

G: Things that the community the Forge came from (White Wolf would-be fans who found the games didn't deliver on their promises) thought were deeply uncool but Edwards thought they should at least respect. In this he was right and succesful.

N: What the Forge was actually interested in, having found White Wolf games were not fit for purpose. And The Forge was stunningly successful at creating this type of game to the point that most of the early Forge on the subject is a lot less illuminating than a single playthrough of Fiasco and one of My Life With Master or Monsterhearts. (I'm not saying it was valueless at the time - just that we've moved far beyond that - Forge Narrativism's obsolescence is due to its success).

S: Everything else. Genre-sims with semi-abstract mechanics like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying aren't remotely the same as Process-sims like GURPS. If anything this was a category made for the jumbled mish-mash of good ideas and poor execution that was Vampire: the Masquerade and even AD&D 2E.

And what the theory doesn't account for is that incoherence and flexibility are not the same thing - but look very like each other unless you are careful.

The problem with the forge is separating the wheat from the chaff... and there turns out to be a lot of chaff.

As with any theory or philosophy that isn't auto-winnowing (and the only auto-winnowing examples I can think of are things like mathematics where you need direct validation).

For me, one of the better features of the Forge - and relevant to this thread - is that they rather ruthlessly refuse to use ingame logic - the logic of the gameworld - to analyse what is happening during the actual play of an RPG. Rather, they focus on the decisions taken by the actual, real people playing the actual, real game.

Here we agree :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For me, one of the better features of the Forge - and relevant to this thread - is that they rather ruthlessly refuse to use ingame logic - the logic of the gameworld - to analyse what is happening during the actual play of an RPG. Rather, they focus on the decisions taken by the actual, real people playing the actual, real game.
Which on the surface seems utterly self-defeating from any sort of analysis perspective, as decisions taken by the players are - or most certainly should be - based on and driven by the internal logic of the game world.

It's like analysing the motion of a ship at sea without bothering to look at what's generating the waves and-or how waves work at all: sure you can find out how much the ship rolls, the timing, pattern, and so forth; but you still have no idea what is behind said motion.

Lan-"it's how I roll"-efan
 

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