D&D 5E Character play vs Player play

Can you please cite this? Where is this found in the rules? What divine powers? We're talking about a 1e paladin. He's not tied to a god. He only has to be Lawful Good. The idea that the knowledge is granted to me in a flash of divine insight is a post hoc rationalization and it is no different than, "Hey, I didn't notice this boxes over there." It's identical.
Oh, I thought we were just talking in general, non-edition-specific. I started with 2E, so I can't really speak on behalf of 1E.

However the paladin gets a warhorse, it is similar to the existence of boxes in a particular location, in that it would have been established by the DM before the game starts (or at the very least, long before it would be relevant), with zero input by the players.
 

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For instance, in D&D the game is designed to ensure that the events at the table include monsters, treasure etc rather than farming, peasantry etc. That is not a coincidence; it's a design feature.
That's not any sort of in-game event, though. There's nothing that happens within the game world that resolves in a manner depending on out-of-game stuff. You're just talking about pre-game premise stuff, when people sit around and decide that they want to play D&D rather than Shadowrun or Parsec or something. As a choice, it's entirely external to the game world.

I don't see how you can assert this as a general truth. For instance, I can tell you that I have played games in which hostility between two PCs absolutely had a bearing on the out-of-game relationship between two players. If one player's PCs keep killing another player's PCs, the first player may well get irritated at the second player.
I will re-assert this as a standing truth: It's just a game, and what happens in the game has no impact on the real world. Maybe some players have a hard time understanding that. Certainly, if one player makes a point of having her PC repeatedly kill off the PCs of another player (without sufficient in-game reason), then that player probably doesn't understand this.

That's the ideal, though. It takes some amount of maturity on behalf of all parties, but the designers shouldn't be held responsible for players who don't understand this.

I'm not sure what "outside the game" means here.
In this case, I meant before or after the session (or during a food break or something). If the in-game reason for why the character didn't brew certain potions (or whatever) is that the DM didn't want to deal with during game-time, then I would say that's bad. It's totally meta-gaming, and hurts the internal causality of the world. (I'm imagining a conversation between characters, where one asks why the other didn't have a certain potion ready, and the response is that the DM didn't want to deal with it.)

On the other hand, slowing the game down in order to work things out mid-session would also be bad. In this case, meta-gaming it would probably be the lesser of two evils.

The player might play a guardian angel, much as s/he typically players a character's familiar, pets, and even henchmen.
Sure, I think I saw rules for that in the DMG2 from 3.5, but it is very much the player adopting the role of a friendly NPC. Kind of like a henchperson, except you can't directly interact with it. And maybe that's something which changed along the line, but I've always understood that an NPC is definitionally not played by the player.
 

pemerton

Legend
You're spouting the largest fallacy to come out of the Forge... that the in-story structure doesn't matter.
I never asserted that, and I've never seen that asserted at The Forge either.

the fiction is only satisfying to most if it has the appearance of internal logic and causality.
And? That's such a modest constraint that it tells us almost nothing about how to design or GM a game.

In real life, I have spent a total of les than 3 weeks in London, a city of millions of people. In the course of those 3 weeks, on one afternoon I was walking in the neighbourhood of the British Museum with an Australian friend of mine who lives in London and, completely by chance, we bumped into the sister-in-law of that friend whom I hadn't seen for years and whom my friend hadn't seen for many months at least. She just happened to be walking through that area on her lunch break.

In the same period, my partner saw, on or around Oxford Street, her mother's best friend (who lives a few kilometres from us here in Melbourne). That woman just happened to be holidaying in London at the same time we were visiting there.

I have never bumped into either of these people by chance in Melbourne, despite Melbourne having a smaller population and smaller CBD, and despite the sister-in-law having lived here for most of the time I've known her, and despite the best friend having lived her for longer than I have been alive.

Unexpected things happen in real life all the time. (So, of cousre, do expected things.)

Are there boxes in the alley? Does the wizard have a beard? Neither a yes or a no answer violates any sort of internal logic or causality. But a decision needs to be made. You can't settle on a decision procedure simply by reiterating the importance of logic and causality.

When that fails, one no longer has any sense of story.
The only RPG I know of that advocates total failures of ingame causal logic is Toon - for obvious reasons. But unless you are deliberatley setting out to produce absurdities, maintaining ingame causal logic is very easy (subject to issues of being overwhelmed by detail - but that is not at issue in any of the play techniques being discussed on this thread).

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.
Yet James Bond takes tea and scones with every villain he faces. There are other instance in neighbouring genres, too, where villains and heroes pal around to various degrees before fighting (eg Magneto and the X-Men). If the players quit the game all that tells me is that the GM is not very good at conveying story and motivation. It doesn't tell me anything about the lack of ingame story logic.

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.
Personally, I've very rarely encountered this phenomenon in real life. I've read articles advocating playing a PC who remains terriried of kobolds even at higher levels, but I've never played with or GMed a player who took this approach. My players infer the capabilities of their PCs in the story from the mechanical capabilities of their PCs.

So if their PCs have grown more powerful, they will recognise that, whereas once the half-dragon was tougher than them, the tables have now turned.

What would violate ingame causality is if the PCs have grown more powerful in various ways (eg able to cast fireballs, able to cut through platoons of orcs, etc) yet they don't recognise this increased capability relative to the half-dragon.

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.

<snip>

The ongoing narrative shapes the play as much as the rules and the events at-table do.
The story as a player remembers it is an event that occurred at the table, in the real world. It is those words spoken by way of narration, and the player's memory of them, that is exercising causal power; not the fiction.

You cannot divorce them and still be roleplaying.
What cannot be divorced from what? Of course the fiction is relevant to a roleplaying game; that is one of the main things that distinguishes a roleplaying game from a boardgame. But that doesn't change the fact that the fiction doesn't exert causal power. The fiction is authored - it is a creature of the player experience, not a creator of the player experience.

If the GM decides that there are no boxes in the alley, or that the NPC wizard is clean-shaven, that is not just the GM "narrating the truth of the gameworld". That is the GM deciding the content of the gameworld. That decision may be a sensible one, or it may not be. But in judging whether or not it was a good or bad decision, appeals to the causal logic of the gameworld have no role to play.

Similarly if a player has his/her PC walk into a bar hoping to meet a particular NPC. The GM deciding that the NCP is there, or isn't, is making a choice. Neither possiblity is precluded by ingame causal logic. So in discussing what choice the GM should make, appeals to ingame causal logic have no role to play.

Upthread, [MENTION=386]LostSoul[/MENTION] gave as a reason for random rolling, rather than mere GM stipulation, that it removes bias on the part of the GM. That may be a good or bad reason, depending on your broader conception of what makes the game fun and engaging. But it isn't an appeal to ingame causal logic. It's an appeal to an aspect of the real-world play experience. That's why, even though for my own purposes it's not a technique that I adopt, it's a technique that makes complete sense to me.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Can you please cite this? Where is this found in the rules? What divine powers? We're talking about a 1e paladin. He's not tied to a god. He only has to be Lawful Good. The idea that the knowledge is granted to me in a flash of divine insight is a post hoc rationalization and it is no different than, "Hey, I didn't notice this boxes over there." It's identical.

Then why must he tithe to a LG religious organization and see LG clerics for penance? The class in 1e strongly implies religious connection.
 

pemerton

Legend
However the paladin gets a warhorse, it is similar to the existence of boxes in a particular location, in that it would have been established by the DM before the game starts (or at the very least, long before it would be relevant), with zero input by the players.
Do you mean that "it would have been", or "I would wish it to have been". I believe that you would wish it to have been. I am utterly confident that in most games it won't have been. The typical GM sorts out the warhorse quest at or around 4th level, when it becomes relevant.

Not only is this typical, it is what Gygax advocates in his DMG! (Much as he advises building the gameworld as the game unfolds.)

I will re-assert this as a standing truth: It's just a game, and what happens in the game has no impact on the real world. Maybe some players have a hard time understanding that. Certainly, if one player makes a point of having her PC repeatedly kill off the PCs of another player (without sufficient in-game reason), then that player probably doesn't understand this.

That's the ideal, though. It takes some amount of maturity on behalf of all parties, but the designers shouldn't be held responsible for players who don't understand this.
Your original claim was that "events that happen ingame have no effect on events that happen out-of-game". Now you've changed your claim from a descriptive one to a normative one: "The ideal player is one who is not affected, in his/her real-world disposition, by ingame events." I don't think the normative claim is true - I want my players to be affected by ingame events (eg to be moved by them), much as a novelist wants the reader to be moved by the events that s/he reads about. But in any event the normative claim is orthogonal to the point I was making, which is that good game design pays attention to the real world as the causal determiner of the play experience.

If the in-game reason for why the character didn't brew certain potions (or whatever) is that the DM didn't want to deal with during game-time, then I would say that's bad.
I would say that that makes no sense. A desire of the GM can't be an ingame reason, as the GM doesn't exist within the gameworld. I quickly narrated an ingame reason at the time - I can't remember now, but I think it was along the lines of "you're too tired to be bothered making potions".

I'm imagining a conversation between characters, where one asks why the other didn't have a certain potion ready, and the response is that the DM didn't want to deal with it.
Why would you imagine that? I've never heard of anyone playing a game in that style. It seems silly to me, except perhaps as cheap, 4th-wall-breaking humor Order-of-the-Stick style.

My point is that the salient ingame event - namely, the non-manufacture of potions - was not inferred from an known ingame state-of-affairs - that the crafter PC was too tired to be bothered. Rather, the igname event was stipulated by me (as GM) in order to get the game moving, and a relevant ingame cause was introduced as part of that stipulation process. This is how authorship works.

That's not any sort of in-game event, though. There's nothing that happens within the game world that resolves in a manner depending on out-of-game stuff. You're just talking about pre-game premise stuff, when people sit around and decide that they want to play D&D rather than Shadowrun or Parsec or something. As a choice, it's entirely external to the game world.
I am not talking about pre-game stuff. I'm talking about events in the gameworld.

I can give you an example if you like. Appendix C of Gygax's DMG has a table for town and city encounters, and the GM is advised (p 190) to "[c]heck for encounters every three turns as normally, or otherwise as desired." Three turns means thirty minutes of ingame time. The encounter chance is not specified, but in AD&D defaults to 1 in 6.

So that is an encounter, on average, once per 3 hours, or otherwise as desired. (On pp 9 and 110 Gygax advised the GM to disregard or manipulate "random" monster rolls in the interests of exciting play, pacing and not penalising skilled players. That would clearly permit an ingame event - namely, the encountering of a creature or NPC in a city - to be introduced for a metagame reason - making the session more fun. But I'll put this option to one side and focus on random determination.)

For nightime encounters, over 20% are with criminal types (assassins, bandits, thieves, ruffians etc). Over 10% are with undead or demon types (including night hags, will-o-wisps, etc). That means that PCs who spend a lot of time moving through a town or city at night are likely to meet criminals once a week or more, and undead or demons multiple times per month. These are ingame events, generated via a random table. That table has been authored - it didn't wriet itself! And that authorship was motivated by a desire to generate ingame events - like encounters with criminals or demons - that will be interesting and engaging at the game table.

This is not about choosing a game in advance of starting to play. This is about a procedure for generating ingame content. That procedure is written one way, rather than another, in order to achieve a real-world outcome: exciting encounters for the PCs. Considerations of ingame causation are secondary - if the GM rolls up a lich on the table, s/he is expected to have the GMing skills to narrate this lich into the ongoing fiction, and make sense of it, whether or not s/he had anticpated in advance the possibility of a lich turning up.

Likwise, considerations of simulation are secondary. Do these chances of meeting bandits and demons reflect their general prevelance in the gameworld, or is the table gerry-mandered in favour of putting the players (via their PCs) into engaging and challenging situations? Gygax doesn't tell us, and each GM is free to make of that what s/he will. (Although the GM who treats the table as simulationist might have trouble explaining how so many demons, undead etc keep coming into urban areas without completely wiping them out. For some GMs this is a challenge to be overcome by baroque world-building. For others it is a reason to avoid the simulationist interpretation. Gygax does not dictate one way or the other.)
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh, I thought we were just talking in general, non-edition-specific. I started with 2E, so I can't really speak on behalf of 1E.

However the paladin gets a warhorse, it is similar to the existence of boxes in a particular location, in that it would have been established by the DM before the game starts (or at the very least, long before it would be relevant), with zero input by the players.

Why? The horse only exists once I call it. Remember it cannot ever be more than about a week's travel from me. Ever. It only exists when I, the player, make it so. The DM has very little input.
 

Hussar

Legend
Then why must he tithe to a LG religious organization and see LG clerics for penance? The class in 1e strongly implies religious connection.

Implies but doesn't actually stipulate. Although to be fair, it's not too big of a jump.

But, that being said, do I have to tithe to the same diety every time? Which lg cleric can cast atonement over me? There really is nothing in the class tying it to a specific god. 3e makes this explicit by saying you can be a paladin of a cause.
 


But in any event the normative claim is orthogonal to the point I was making, which is that good game design pays attention to the real world as the causal determiner of the play experience.
And I strongly disagree on this point. A good game should ignore the real world as a factor. It should be written with the desired audience being players who are capable of playing this game, without bringing real-world issues into it.

I would say that that makes no sense. A desire of the GM can't be an ingame reason, as the GM doesn't exist within the gameworld.
We're in agreement on this point. It would be silly, which is why it should be avoided when possible - the easiest way to avoid having to acknowledge a meta-game reason is to not do things for meta-game reasons.

This is not about choosing a game in advance of starting to play. This is about a procedure for generating ingame content.
D&D - whichever edition you were quoting - is the game where night-time travelling will involve running into bandits every week, while intermittently encountering demons or undead. Is that the game you want to play? If so, then great. If not, then pick a different game. (A house-ruled version of D&D, with different encounter rates, is a perfectly valid option.)

That you choose to play a game, where certain events are more or less likely to happen, says nothing about the game itself. It is entirely exterior to the game. The game is what it is, and doesn't care whether or not you are playing it.
 
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pemerton

Legend
A good game should ignore the real world as a factor. It should be written with the desired audience being players who are capable of playing this game, without bringing real-world issues into it.

<snip>

D&D - whichever edition you were quoting - is the game where night-time travelling will involve running into bandits every week, while intermittently encountering demons or undead. Is that the game you want to play? If so, then great. If not, then pick a different game.
When you say "a good game should ignore the real world" I think you mean something like "a good game, during play, should not take metagame considerations as an input into decision-making".

But I was talking about The Forge's analysis of game design and game procedures. And these clearly are designd with thre real world in mind: as you say, you design for a desired audience. (Eg 4e is designed on the assumption that people in the real world are prepared to spend an hour or more resolving a single combat encounter.)

But once we recognise that we are designing for an audience, we can also recognise that some audiences want metagame considerations to be an input into decision-making during the course of play. D&D has always been open to this: as I've quoted upthread and pointed out again in my previous post, Gygax expressly canvasses this on pp 9 and 110 of his DMG. In particular, Gygax canvasses ignoring or overriding random rolls in order (i) to open up interesting possibilities (eg fudging secret door rolls during exploration) or (ii) to avoid framing skilled players (and their PCs) into excessively vicious random encounters or (iii) to narrate the defeat of a skilled player's PC as something other than death.

Such metagame-motivated procedures are not foreign to D&D. And they don't pose any risk of fourth-wall breaking silliness. The GM doesn't say "The elf finds the secret door because I think you'll find the stuff behind it fun". The GM says "After a thorough search, your keen elven eyes spot a faint crack in the wall . . ."
 

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