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How to deal with a "true roleplayer".


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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, I'm having a devil of a time finding which Dragon it was in, but I definitely recall (for whatever that's worth) Gygax saying that not letting elves and orcs get raised was at least in part to offset their other powers, because if they could be raised then why would anyone play a human?
Yes, that rings a bell, but I too don't know the source.
I could, of course, be misremembering, but I'm pretty sure I'm not here. And hey, maybe Gygax ran meatgrinder games where raise dead was common.
I suspect that was the case. I mean hell, this is the guy who wrote Tomb of Horrors! :)
 



James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Ah, gotcha. The context was melee backstriking, so I wondered if the H and M stood for Hit and Miss and the S was something unknown. :)
Yeah sorry, I'm not sure when I started using those abbreviations to write down my abilities on my character sheet, so I sometimes forget that not everyone might know my shorthand.

Whether or not a Thief actually needs to roll those to successfully sneak attack is murky, but since the DMG does say anyone aware of you can foil the attempt, it always seemed best to prevent an enemy from using their normal means of detecting something moving up from behind. If, as in your example, the Thief manages to get to a place where they can't be seen, and they would be out of their direct line of sight to move up behind them, and they are engaged in a melee so they might not hear you, that should probably work, but that's still not something you can always rely on.

At least until you can get invisibility somehow and things get a lot easier.
 

Voadam

Legend
Yeah, sneak attack has become pretty common. Then again, for some reason the designers decided to make Rogues into big-time damage-dealers, which isn't exactly where their roots lie.
I always thought of the Gray Mouser and James Bond and later on ninjas as the archetypes for D&D thieves and so lightly armored effective dirty fighting skirmishers from 3e on worked for me as a mechanical role.

I was never really fond of the noncombatant ordinary guy Bilbo Burglar model for thieves.
 

Characters in GURPS get compensated for disadvantages so it's just part of min/maxing.

Sure, I suppose you can powergame it like there's no tomorrow. What drew me to it, though, and what made me think of it in the context of the OP's post, was the idea of building 3-dimensional characters who are as much about their flaws as their capabilities.

M&M 2e, and later Fate, showed me what can be done in this design space: When a disadvantage actually hinders you in a meaningful way, you get a narrative resource. When it's not actually being a disadvantage, it does nothing for you. So now people are encouraged to lean into their flaws, especially when they're low on narrative influence, and story beats just kind of happen!

Never played M&M, but have played quite a bit of FATE (and FUDGE before it... I was an reader of rec.games.design when the system was first hashed out in the early '90s). Love the system, though GURPS ultimately had more staying power for my groups. Regardless, I agree that the whole point of a disadvantage is to lean into it. I don't see that as much of an issue with adult players, but I have to guide younger players sometimes on this front.

Now some of you might say that this could all be avoided in Session 0 when everyone makes characters together. But I'm going to be honest; I have never witnessed a Session Zero where that happens. Somewhere beyond "who is going to be melee? Who can heal?" talks always break down and people create the exact character they want to play, without asking for much input.

Interesting. I'm not always a fan of formal session zeros because time is precious and I'd rather dive into the game. With that said, though, I often play with people who want to hash out a lot of the inter-party dynamics and backstory. "Oooh, if you're a thieving hedonist, maybe I'll be a holier-than-thou teetotaler. What might have brought us together?" With the GM providing hooks and guidance to make sure the character concepts fit with genre expectations and campaign vision. Often we do this informally over social media or at lunch or something rather than gathering around the gaming table. Once the basics are hashed out, we'll draft characters on our own and run them past each other before kicking off the campaign.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I always thought of the Gray Mouser and James Bond and later on ninjas as the archetypes for D&D thieves
Ninjas for me are the archetype for Monks more than Thieves.

James Bond might be an archetypal Assassin. Locke Lamora is a more recent, and very fine, archetype for a Thief.
I was never really fond of the noncombatant ordinary guy Bilbo Burglar model for thieves.
Fair enough, though IMO at very low levels most if not all characters should still be close to "ordinary guy" status. That status falls off later as they gain in levels, powers, etc.
 

Voadam

Legend
Ninjas for me are the archetype for Monks more than Thieves.
80s ninja media had a lot of martial arts but also a lot of stealth and climbing and deception and infiltration.

AD&D monks had martial arts but no stealth aspects at all. Bruce Lee much more than Michaelangelo and Rafael for me.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
80s ninja media had a lot of martial arts but also a lot of stealth and climbing and deception and infiltration.

AD&D monks had martial arts but no stealth aspects at all. Bruce Lee much more than Michaelangelo and Rafael for me.
Eh? AD&D Monks had the following Thief abilities: Open Locks, Find/Remove Traps, Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Hear Noise, and Climb Walls, all as a Thief of their Monk level.
 

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