D&D 5E [+] Explain RPG theory without using jargon

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pemerton

Legend
I'm about to get a chance to play L5R 5e as a player soon. I have attached both my character sheet and the 20 questions worksheet where we nail down detailed information on who the character is. There's a strong emphasis during character creation on establishing relationships to the setting. Note how roughly 5 new NPCs come out of the character creation process. This is the sort of writeup I consider somewhat suitable for character exploration oriented play in trad game.
What's interesting is that you might start a Burning Wheel game with a character presented similarly - drama-laden backstory, vengeful inclinations, loyal to a leader who is young given her role. (I'm just trying to capture the highlights of what I got looking through your sheets.)

But I'm guessing that the expectation as to what will be done with them, in play, is different! For instance, in the exploration game I'd expect the GM to make decisions for the NPCs that might put the player (via their PC) under pressure (eg "Go and kill this person for me!") where those aren't related to a pass/fail or hard/soft move cycle driven by the player's own action declarations.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm fairly confident that Charlaquin's post is alluding back to this:

In character-exploration play, the character develops by "extrapolation" from the fiction. "What would make sense for this character?"
Nah, nah, nah. “What would make sense for this character” is only one concern. “What’s going to help me meet my goals” (Edwards might say “how do I win”) is another. “What’s going to be best for the party” is another. “How do I get out of this pickle” is hopefully another, at least a decent amount of the time. I want to weigh all these factors and maybe more, and what ever decision I arrive at, I just found out what the character “would do.” Whatever I may have gone in thinking the character would do doesn’t matter, because now I know when the chips were down, this is what they did do. And then I can work out why that may have been, and my character grows a bit more nuanced, a bit more developed.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Dude...I don't for a millisecond understand what your hang up is with that post.

Insults?

Jargon?

What are you talking about? @Charlaquin liked your post. Either of you guys want to lay out for me where the insults are? Where the jargon that makes that pretty damn simple post cause your eyes to "just glaze right over?"

And most importantly...where am I wrong? Can we maybe talk game stuff?

I mean. You talk "Forge jargon being divisive." The entire orientation of this thread (yourself from the word Go) was MAXIMUM DIVISIVE. And it wasn't people using "jargon" who were bringing that reflexive orientation to the party to the people they're engaging with.

I have never once been a jerk to you without cause. Never once. Can you say the same thing?
With regard to it being insulting, I was speaking more generally about certain jargon (in particular, Forge jargon), not necessarily anything you wrote in that post specifically. But if you are unable to see how what you wrote would be pretty unapproachable by a lot of D&D players, I honestly cannot help you there. I do wish you luck in future discussions though. I believe you are earnest in your desire to share and help.

Actually there were four rules. No jargon, no tautologies, no quoting, and only use examples from 5e.

I don’t want to say what these four rules are for fear of breaking them….but it rhymes with shmoshmerent.

 




pemerton

Legend
Nah, nah, nah. “What would make sense for this character” is only one concern. “What’s going to help me meet my goals” (Edwards might say “how do I win”) is another. “What’s going to be best for the party” is another. “How do I get out of this pickle” is hopefully another, at least a decent amount of the time. I want to weigh all these factors and maybe more, and what ever decision I arrive at, I just found out what the character “would do.” Whatever I may have gone in thinking the character would do doesn’t matter, because now I know when the chips were down, this is what they did do. And then I can work out why that may have been, and my character grows a bit more nuanced, a bit more developed.
OK.

So as well as "what would make sense for the character" we have expedience: meeting goals, getting out of a pickle; and also sociality/cooperation: best for the party.

This rests on certain premise: that there are goals to be met, that there are pickles to be got out of, that there is cooperation to be secured. Those are establishing parameters within which you're choosing.

I think one way to see the contrast with narrativist play is to imagine dropping those parameters.

First worry: mightn't my PC be hosed if I don't consider goals and pickles?! Answer: narrativist RPGing needs to adopt a different approach to consequence narration from what might be considered "normal" or "mainstream", especially in D&D.

Second worry: won't the group bust up, or fail in its mission?! Answer: in "story now" RPGing generally there is no mission. Group cohesion can be useful in the sense that it allows framing scenes in which multiple PCs are present; and it might make it easier to interweave the fates of multiple PCs. But it doesn't have the same salience as in some more "mainstream" play.

(A caveat: I'm talking about character-focused "story now". There are other approaches, but they're more boutique, or at least less commonly discussed, even among the "story now" gang.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Actually there were four rules. No jargon, no tautologies, no quoting, and only use examples from 5e.

I don’t want to say what these four rules are for fear of breaking them….but it rhymes with inshmoshmerent.
Just quoting you here because I thought that was genuinely funny and didn’t want my “laugh” reaction to be taken the wrong way given the heated nature of this discussion.
 

pemerton

Legend
See, ok, that makes sense to me!
I thought it might.

You're not back at square one (contra your post a page or so upthread). But you're stuck - with me, @Ovinomancer, maybe @FrogReaver? - around different ways of thinking about character, scenario, development, trajectory etc. Keep hold of your notion of "player-directedness" and that will help orient you. Then the rest might start to make sense. (Of course, there are no guarantees in this world.)
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
What's interesting is that you might start a Burning Wheel game with a character presented similarly - drama-laden backstory, vengeful inclinations, loyal to a leader who is young given her role. (I'm just trying to capture the highlights of what I got looking through your sheets.)

But I'm guessing that the expectation as to what will be done with them, in play, is different! For instance, in the exploration game I'd expect the GM to make decisions for the NPCs that might put the player (via their PC) under pressure (eg "Go and kill this person for me!") where those aren't related to a pass/fail or hard/soft move cycle driven by the player's own action declarations.

Pretty much. Also, the NPCs attached to the character will tend to be fairly high in resolution with defined motivations, plans and personalities that the GM will consider when resolving actions. I have brief writeups for a few of the NPCs that the GM will flesh out. When providing these writeups I'm primarily trying to leave room for the GM to expand them and build scenarios around them.

For example this is what I provided the GM with for my character's lord:

Shusuro Midori said:
Soshuro Midori.jpg

I serve Shosuro Midori, the surviving daughter of Shusuro Takashi, a powerful regional daimyo with a high ranking position in the Shosuro Cartel. Now that her father is no longer with us Shosuro Midori has inherited his lands and his stake in the cartel.

She is young. No younger than me, but young to hold such a weighty responsibility. I think her more than capable. In fact she kind of scares me sometimes. She is priestess with a command of both the kami and a gift for bending men's wills. Still she is young, stubborn, and impulsive.

She often asks me to speak freely in private, but will argue with me for hours. It's the strangest thing. Often I will say something she finds offensive, but will not punish me. However when I choose not to speak she becomes quite cross with me.

Shosuro Midori is upset with me for getting injured in a duel I fought for her honor and my glory. I'm not sure why - I won the duel and she benefited politically from it. She says it's her decision to decide how my skills should be used. Did she want me to decline?

It might not have been the duel she's upset about. I have been spending a good deal of my time trying to find out information on her father's killers. Shosuro Takashi insists. He insists a great many things. He speaks way more in death than he ever did when he was alive.
 

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