D&D 5E Character play vs Player play


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It's utterly crucial, if you are designing an RPG, to recognise that the play of the game is dictated by events and phenomena in the real world, and not by events and phenomena in the imagined world.
Yes and no.

If you're designing a game, then you should obviously bear in mind that it is a game, so it should be playable. It doesn't matter how descriptive or accurate your mechanics are, if the net result is a game which is unplayable.

If you're talking about the events which occur within the game world, then they should not need to take into account the politics and preferences of the players at the table. If PC 1 is fanatically loyal to PC 2, but highly suspicious of PC 3, then that has zero bearing on the out-of-game relationship between Players 1, 2, and 3; and vice versa. If your players take issue with the content of the game being run, then that's something you should address outside of the game; if they're bored with the random lightning show, then assure them that more interesting things may happen later on if they stick with it, or ask if you should be playing a different game entirely.

Much of it comes down to communication, and expectations on what the game is about, but there's no reason why you would want to address that in-game.
 

What in game cause allows my paladin to call his warhorse? You may only reference in game elements to explain this. Why can I call it today and not yesterday? And why can I call it when I want to?
It's based on your success in championing the causes which grant your divine powers. Once the powers-that-be deem you have accomplished a certain amount, they send this companion to you. The knowledge that you can call your mount is granted in a flash of divine insight.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Ok. I'll bite.

What in game cause allows my paladin to call his warhorse? You may only reference in game elements to explain this. Why can I call it today and not yesterday? And why can I call it when I want to?

Your deity speaks to you in a dream, telling you to go to the daisy hill horse farm, find the lame colt, and rescue it from the knackerman, who cometh soon.

pemerton said:
It's utterly crucial, if you are designing an RPG, to recognise that the play of the game is dictated by events and phenomena in the real world, and not by events and phenomena in the imagined world.
@pemerton ...
You're spouting the largest fallacy to come out of the Forge... that the in-story structure doesn't matter.

Sure, the real-world events generate the fiction... but the fiction is only satisfying to most if it has the appearance of internal logic and causality. When that fails, one no longer has any sense of story. And for many people, the reaction they choose isn't based upon the real world events, but upon how they perceive the story.

Sure, it might be mechanically better to face down the Half-Dragon... but the pattern of ass-kicking he's given in chapter I & II makes any players VERY reticent to face him in Chapter III... even tho' mechanically, they are far more than a match for him now.

That's in story elements combining to shape a player's decisions. Yes, it's all based upon things that happen at the table, but that's utterly irrelevant, because the player is deciding based upon the story as he remembers it, not based upon hit point totals nor AC's.

Likewise, if the Half-dragon were to simply invite the raiding PC's into his parlor for tea and scones in chapter III, the players would be rather unlikely to accept, and would probably quit the game, for lack of story-logic.

The ongoing narrative shapes the play as much as the rules and the events at-table do. You cannot divorce them and still be roleplaying. And I've had some absolutely wonderful boardgaming sessions using AD&D 1E rules... No story, just a dungeon to be cleared in boardgame style.
 
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Ridley's Cohort

First Post
No, not even a little bit. There's no reason to believe that his finding that secret door has anything to do with his invocation. There's no reason to believe that he wouldn't have found it, if he hadn't said it.

Except for the fact that it is narrative convention for things to happen when the plot demands it, or when it is most dramatic. Those rules don't apply within the game world, though; at best, they might apply to the game world, and even that is a matter of great contention.

It is perfectly reasonable for a character in a D&D setting to believe they have a "guardian angel" that can twist fate at critical moments and might be influenced by sincere words, regardless of whether there are mechanics that support that belief. Such a belief is undeniably plausible, based on the norms of a magic rich setting. And a character can act in accordance with a belief that is wrong (both the false positive and false negative cases could be fodder for roleplaying).

It is perfectly reasonable to have mechanics whereby the player does the heavy lifting for the role of guardian angel, with specified resource points to spend. For some players, that might break immersion; for other players, it might increase immersion.
 

It is perfectly reasonable for a character in a D&D setting to believe they have a "guardian angel" that can twist fate at critical moments and might be influenced by sincere words, regardless of whether there are mechanics that support that belief. Such a belief is undeniably plausible, based on the norms of a magic rich setting.
There's a huge difference between a character believing something, and it actually being true. And even if it is true, for some high-magic settings, the player is playing the PC - the player isn't playing the guardian angel.

Unless you're playing a game where the players routinely have control over NPCs, but that isn't D&D (unless you're into DMG2 territory, for how to change the game dynamic).
 

@pemerton ...
You're spouting the largest fallacy to come out of the Forge... that the in-story structure doesn't matter.

Sure, the real-world events generate the fiction... but the fiction is only satisfying to most if it has the appearance of internal logic and causality. When that fails, one no longer has any sense of story. And for many people, the reaction they choose isn't based upon the real world events, but upon how they perceive the story.

And you're misrepresenting The Forge and the larger fields of roleplaying, improvisational theatre, and collaborative storytelling of which tabletop RPGs with dice are only a tiny fraction. I've experience in quite a few of those subsets.

And one thing I've learned is that there is only one circumstance where internal logic and causality is not a primary concern that people try to hold to as a matter of course. That is the situation where there is too much to remember. Either because the thing's been going on for too long (hour long group improv can easily get this way) or because the rules are too much to remember (see HERO for details) and people refer to the rules rather than referring to the fiction established by the group.

As for the idea that in-story structure doesn't matter actually being an idea that came out of the Forge? The obviously Forge-influenced games like My Life With Master trivially disprove that.

Sure, it might be mechanically better to face down the Half-Dragon... but the pattern of ass-kicking he's given in chapter I & II makes any players VERY reticent to face him in Chapter III... even tho' mechanically, they are far more than a match for him now.

Congratulations. You are playing D&D or some other simulationist game. And what you are finding is a mismatch between what the rules say (that it's mechanically better to face down the Half-Dragon and you're far more than a match for it) and the story considerations (making you want to run). This is evidence of bad rules design. That the experience that you are trying to get from the story does not match the incentives the rules give you.

And it is this sort of bad design that the narrative games of the Forge are trying to fix.

That's in story elements combining to shape a player's decisions. Yes, it's all based upon things that happen at the table, but that's utterly irrelevant, because the player is deciding based upon the story as he remembers it, not based upon hit point totals nor AC's.

It sounds to me as if you want to play a Storygame - or at least a post-Forge narrative game. One where the story considerations line up with the rules. And where the rules of the game do not tell you that smart play is at odds with accepting the narrative as laid out so far.

The ongoing narrative shapes the play as much as the rules and the events at-table do. You cannot divorce them and still be roleplaying. And I've had some absolutely wonderful boardgaming sessions using AD&D 1E rules... No story, just a dungeon to be cleared in boardgame style.

Indeed. This is part of the point of Forge style narrativism. The rules and the ongoing narrative should line up and that when they are at odds people are going to have problems with both the story and with the rules (different people with different parts of this). This is where Edwards' objection to incoherence IMO comes from. That when the incentives provided by the rules (smart play) don't line up with what people are trying to do (tell a story) things are going to fracture along some line or other.
 

aramis erak

Legend
[MENTION=4139]Neonchamelion[/MENTION] - Not a mismatch - it's the way simulationist games have usually played out. Players usually react based upon the narrative, not the mechanics. There's a large enough subset who don't, however...

One of the elements most frustrating is that the forgites seem to think they are the only ones whose games involved roleplaying.

As for the post-forge narrativist games, the only one I've felt was worth a damn was the engine Wick used in Blood and Honor and in Houses of the Blooded. Make the game about who gets to answer the questions "Did I succeed? How Well did I succeed? What else happened."

Otherwise, give me a somewhat gamist-simulationist ruleset, any day.
 

[MENTION=4139]Neonchamelion[/MENTION] - Not a mismatch - it's the way simulationist games have usually played out. Players usually react based upon the narrative, not the mechanics. There's a large enough subset who don't, however...

One of the elements most frustrating is that the forgites seem to think they are the only ones whose games involved roleplaying.

As for the post-forge narrativist games, the only one I've felt was worth a damn was the engine Wick used in Blood and Honor and in Houses of the Blooded. Make the game about who gets to answer the questions "Did I succeed? How Well did I succeed? What else happened."

Otherwise, give me a somewhat gamist-simulationist ruleset, any day.

First, I've yet to see evidence that the Forgists didn't all know that roleplaying predated The Forge. Which means that the claim you are making that they thought their games were the only ones involving roleplaying is trivially false. (That they think their games are the best for roleplaying is a different kettle of fish.)

Second, if you are meant to play simulationist games based on the narrative without paying attention to the rules what are the rules there for?
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
There's a huge difference between a character believing something, and it actually being true. And even if it is true, for some high-magic settings, the player is playing the PC - the player isn't playing the guardian angel.

Unless you're playing a game where the players routinely have control over NPCs, but that isn't D&D (unless you're into DMG2 territory, for how to change the game dynamic).

Nonsense. There is not a huge difference unless you insist on trying to make a mountain out of a very small molehill. To think of the "guardian angel" as an NPC is an ideological and narrow viewpoint -- it can be done that way but it is not the only option.

A player both plays the character and are advocates for the character's perspective/interests at a meta level, among other things. That is D&D and always has been. In fact, it is true for nearly every RPG. Really.

To pick a silly trivial example, every time a player picks up a second die and says "No, that one has been unlucky tonight. This one for the saving throw" they are breaking immersion and playing "guardian angel" at a meta level. The character does not have lucky dice. But the player does, and employs the luckier die both for personal enjoyment and as advocate for the PC's interests.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

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