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5E "My Character Is Always..." and related topics.

5ekyu

Explorer
I think most gms have a two resolution process not unlike what iserith describes.

I Walk across the floor = auto- success without much of a check for stats.

Now, add in extra factors like drunk, floor shifting,floor collapsing... Task becomes uncertain.

Where i diverge from iserith as far as my games is in the insistance that character attributes are not to be considered in the auto-stage *and* in the implied scope or magnitude or frequency the "good strategy" comments seem to indicate.

The worries expressed by others about bad stat character in the hands of good skill players are very much concerns i have and things i have seen in play when GMs pushed "character" behind "player" in the resolution order.

I however would not go with the debonaire charisma guy as much as might see it instead as a player picking up on social clues, knowing themselves which button to push and so on... Not keying here on eloquence and charm when speaking to the GM as much as always giving the right answers the GM needs to hear to go to auto instead of character.

I suppose a somewhat obvious example would be hitting a riddle door and the questions being posed are about spells and the player playing the dwarf fighter being "that guy" who knows the books inside and out and answering all the questions even with a lack of knowledge, arcana etc and an 8 int.

To me, somewhere before i as gm would start to speak as strongly and as frequently about how good (as a gamer) a strategy working for the auto is or how bad a strategy it is to even get to your mechanics mattering i would be questioning myself on the way i was choosing to balance character and player as far as playing the game.

Its a matter of degree. I saw the guidelines as saying dont roll for silly stuff all the time not as saying essentially let auto-test be a gate you have to get past in order to have mechanics play a role.



Sent from my [device_name] using EN World mobile app
 

iserith

Explorer
Ok, but I believe that I have also seen you say elsewhere that an important element of your adjudication is that a sufficiently good course of action grants auto-success. (I hope that paraphrase is accurate.) On its face, that would seem to leave the door open to at least partially obviating the consequences of a low stat through 'smart play'. For instance, despite having an 8 CHA, might I have my character present himself as sufficiently debonair so as to gain an auto-success and avoid the roll entirely?
Yes, if there is no uncertainty as to the outcome and no meaningful consequence of failure. As the DMG says (page 237): "When a player wants to do something, it's often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character's ability scores."

The only way I can see around this is to grant auto-success only if a course of action would certainly succeed regardless of a character's abilities or skills. (Effectively, you allow arbitrary RP, but ignore it when adjudicating results.) Is that what you do? That would narrow the application of auto-success a bit from what I imagined that you use based on other posts of yours. However, it would by no means be the first time that I imagined incorrectly based on forum posts. Or, alternatively, not the first time I failed to see other ways out of what I perceived to be a dilemma.:erm:
I'm not sure what you mean by "arbitrary RP." Would you clarify?

For the record, the methods I employ are based on the rules for adjudication laid out on Basic Rules page 3 ("How to Play"), page 58 ("Ability Checks"), and DMG pages 236-237 ("The Middle Path," "Using Ability Scores").
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
Particularly in comparison with the physical abilities. A player can come up with a multi-levelled, intricate plan, or a coherent and strong argument that gives auto-success despite their character having low Int, Wis, and Cha. However the DM is unlikely to grant auto-success for a physical feat on a character with low physical ability based on whether the player can perform it.
You can absolutely gain auto-success on physical tasks with the right plan. Climbing up the sheer wall of a castle? Probably no roll possible. Use your grappling hook and rope? Strength (Athletics) check to climb the rope. Place a siege ladder against that wall ? No need to make a dice roll to see if you can climb a ladder.
 

redrick

Villager
This example isn't provided with enough context to know how I would handle it at the table.

If, through the course of questioning or investigating, the characters have learned that an enemy is planning to setup an ambush on the road to Big Town, it would be reasonable for the players to take precautions against this ambush. So the players might declare,

PLAYER 1: Ok, Gnarly Karl at the inn told us to watch out for an ambush on the road to Big Town, and Gnarly's never led us wrong before. Let's keep our eyes out.
PLAYER 2: Yeah, good idea.
DM: So, how are you going to "keep your eyes out"?
PLAYER 1: I guess we'll all keep watch at all times.
DM: If you want to be particularly alert while moving, you could move at a slow pace.
PLAYER 2: Yeah, ok, let's do that. We'll go slow and careful and we'll all keep watch for ambushes!

Now, if the characters have learned so much about the ambush that they know the specific location, I'd probably give them advantage without requiring any penalty, or, more likely, just scope down to character moves when they approach the location of the ambush, since they told me they were looking out for it. Now it comes down to individual characters trying to spot the ambushers and position themselves tactically.

And yes, if the characters had learned to expect an ambush on the road to Big Town, but the players just said, "Hey, ho, it's off to Big Town we go!" without saying anything about taking precautions or anything of the sort, well, shucks, sorry guys.

Alternatively, if players are reacting to specific details of the environment and taking precautions because, "That canyon road would make a great place for an ambush and we know Bad Bob has it in for us," then this would also potentially allow them to gain some sort of advantage for paying attention, processing what they know about the game world, and acting accordingly.

What I would not want to have is a lengthy and generic "travel procedure" that is declared rote at the beginning of every trip. As a DM, I would communicate with the players what their characters are assumed to be doing, and work on my own adventures and encounters to make sure they aren't so predictable and un-telegraphed to require a lengthy, generic procedure for crossing every room.

In short, players paying attention and interacting with specific details of the game world is good. Players feeling that they need to recite generic procedures that are totally divorced from the specific details of the game world at hand is bad.
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

I'm one of those "old skool" DM's who places Player choice/description over game mechanics/rolls. And yes, that means that a player who comes up with some intricate plan to overcome some obstacle, if the plan is solid enough for that situation to most likely work, will say "OK, you do it". As far as the Player coming up with that, even though his PC has Int 5, Wis 8, so be it. Likewise, the "suave, debonair, slick-talking RP" the Player does to woo some NPC...sure. His PC with the 4 Charisma? Yup. That'd be some mighty fine RP'ing! :) I encourage that all the way.

Now hold on...hold on... Just because I do let the Player choice/action/description "auto-succeed" doesn't mean stats are pointless or anything. Where the Player is going to loose out is when it comes time for me to dole out experience. If the player was constantly adding good idea's and tactics to overcome stuff...and his PC was supposed to be a dumb, hulking brute...then he was doing a very poor job of RP'ing said character. His, the Players, RP'ing would cause him to get less XP at the end of the session. That's the trade off. And, IME, it works.

Y'see, the game is called a "role-playing" game for a reason. The expectation is that the Player role-plays a fictional character in an imaginary story that he/she and everyone else at the table collectively create. If the player is sitting there playing the game as nothing more than an exercise in his/her ability to "master the mechanics/system", then that player isn't pulling their weight...IMHO. If a player wants to focus on the mechanics/system part, go for it...but don't make characters with ridiculously low dump-stats and then not RP those uber low stats. You want to come up with genius tactics? Don't put your 6 on Intelligence. Put it on Dexterity. Oh noes! Now the PC will get hit all the time in combat! Suck it up, buttercup. Better use your brains to come up with genius tactics I guess... ;)

And that, my friends, is how I roll. ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
I've borrowed from [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION] by having a codified set of 'jobs' you do while travelling for my current campaign. As exploration is a key feature (it's a hexcrawl), I wanted a stronger set of rules for travelling to help cement the themes.

So, when travelling, you can:

Trailblaze: by looking for the best paths you can reduce the terrain modifier for travel.
Navigate: Getting lost may be something you want to avoid (DC based on availability of visible landmarks/having a map)
Forage: not having to carry a lot of food when on a long trip can be handy!
Be Alert for Danger: watching out for dangerous creatures is a key to survival -- anyone not alert for danger has disadvantage on passive perception)
Be Alert for Hazards: watching out for dangerous terrain like crumbling cliffs or quicksand or pitfalls is a different thing than watching for bandits or goblins
Make a Map: taking time to record landmarks and good trails helps the next time you (or someone else) comes through this area.
Be sneaky: this takes a lot of effort, and means you're not doing the other things
Other: sometimes something comes up that's a whole job by itself, like pulling a litter or carrying an oversized load. Those jobs go here.

Speed of travel affects the effort needed to accomplish the above: pushing hard makes it more difficult to do the jobs (disadvantage), going slow makes it easier (advantage).

If you note, not looking out for danger already give disadvantage on perception, so going slow means that you're normal (and those looking out are at advantage), but going fast doesn't double the disadvantage. It also means that unless you have a class/race/background/feat feature that allows your to be alert in more circumstances, looking out of dangers is challenging for everyone at a fast pace.

I also give certain bonuses to some backgrounds that clearly tie into this system. The Outlander, for instance, can forage for free and gets advantage on navigation checks if they are Navigating.
I approve of the general idea. It is somewhat similar to the way The One Ring handles travel (it has four roles: Guide, Look-out, Hunter, Scout).

I will agree with the OP's core criticism: any time the players have an incentive to either be repetitive "I search for secret doors again" or to use the 'always' version "I am always searching for secret doors" something is broken. There needs to be a trade-off, such as a time cost, or a distraction from other duties. "Ok, you can always be searching for secret doors, but you will be so absorbed in that task that any time you need to roll for surprise you will have Disadvantage."
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Hiya!

I'm one of those "old skool" DM's who places Player choice/description over game mechanics/rolls. And yes, that means that a player who comes up with some intricate plan to overcome some obstacle, if the plan is solid enough for that situation to most likely work, will say "OK, you do it". As far as the Player coming up with that, even though his PC has Int 5, Wis 8, so be it. Likewise, the "suave, debonair, slick-talking RP" the Player does to woo some NPC...sure. His PC with the 4 Charisma? Yup. That'd be some mighty fine RP'ing! :) I encourage that all the way.

Now hold on...hold on... Just because I do let the Player choice/action/description "auto-succeed" doesn't mean stats are pointless or anything. Where the Player is going to loose out is when it comes time for me to dole out experience. If the player was constantly adding good idea's and tactics to overcome stuff...and his PC was supposed to be a dumb, hulking brute...then he was doing a very poor job of RP'ing said character. His, the Players, RP'ing would cause him to get less XP at the end of the session. That's the trade off. And, IME, it works.

Y'see, the game is called a "role-playing" game for a reason. The expectation is that the Player role-plays a fictional character in an imaginary story that he/she and everyone else at the table collectively create. If the player is sitting there playing the game as nothing more than an exercise in his/her ability to "master the mechanics/system", then that player isn't pulling their weight...IMHO. If a player wants to focus on the mechanics/system part, go for it...but don't make characters with ridiculously low dump-stats and then not RP those uber low stats. You want to come up with genius tactics? Don't put your 6 on Intelligence. Put it on Dexterity. Oh noes! Now the PC will get hit all the time in combat! Suck it up, buttercup. Better use your brains to come up with genius tactics I guess... ;)

And that, my friends, is how I roll. ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
i used to do the XP as carrot/stick thing until IMX it showed itself as a smack to the party/group as much as a smack to the particular PC/player. having a member of your team be weaker than the others means not only do they not do their jobs as well but also means the others may have to pull more weight.

I rarely saw my players get so hung up on their *experience numbers* beyond when it produced actual levels differences and so it was never a carrot/stick to *the* character as much as it was a hindrance to the party as a whole, especially when they had to cover the slack or heal up the other guy.

So, for this particular example, having the player fully sanctioned to bypass his character stats etc with full blessing as long as they advance at slower pace is just (in practice) punishing the whole party because "Doug" is doing exactly what i as Gm allow and even reward with auto-success. (Some would call this "good strategy", i imagine.)

I am sure, for some folks, that will be a successful tool, but over time i have moved well away from the *XP carrot/stick* approach for influencing players. i moved to what 5e calls "milestone" advancement maybe 15 years ago, maybe more.

But again, Xp as a tool for carrot/stick certainly can achieve a variety of results for different groups.
 

iserith

Explorer
i used to do the XP as carrot/stick thing until IMX it showed itself as a smack to the party/group as much as a smack to the particular PC/player. having a member of your team be weaker than the others means not only do they not do their jobs as well but also means the others may have to pull more weight.

I rarely saw my players get so hung up on their *experience numbers* beyond when it produced actual levels differences and so it was never a carrot/stick to *the* character as much as it was a hindrance to the party as a whole, especially when they had to cover the slack or heal up the other guy.

So, for this particular example, having the player fully sanctioned to bypass his character stats etc with full blessing as long as they advance at slower pace is just (in practice) punishing the whole party because "Doug" is doing exactly what i as Gm allow and even reward with auto-success. (Some would call this "good strategy", i imagine.)

I am sure, for some folks, that will be a successful tool, but over time i have moved well away from the *XP carrot/stick* approach for influencing players. i moved to what 5e calls "milestone" advancement maybe 15 years ago, maybe more.

But again, Xp as a tool for carrot/stick certainly can achieve a variety of results for different groups.
Have you ever considered that the approach you settled on 15 years ago in whatever game you were playing at that time doesn't necessarily apply to D&D 5e? Because while I don't give "roleplaying XP" like [MENTION=45197]pming[/MENTION] does, I have found that PCs at disparate levels in D&D 5e really isn't a problem due to the game's math. I have seen as much as a 7-level difference in the party and there was no problem. It certainly would matter in D&D 4e and D&D 3e, but this isn't those games. I would consider it unwise to apply my assumptions about other games to this game. I don't run games the same way when using different game systems. And why would I?

This isn't to say milestone experience is bad, but in my experience, your decision to use milestone XP based on some notion of level disparity being a problem in D&D 5e is unfounded.

As to your comment about "good strategy," in pming's game, it would depend on the player's priorities and the situation in play. If I care about leveling up faster (e.g. maybe I'm close to leveling up right now), then I won't always aim for automatic success when doing so would not be in keeping with the character's personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. If it's more important to aim for success than it is to earn whatever additional XP I might otherwise earn, such as in a case of a life-or-death situation, then foregoing the XP is the way to go.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
This example isn't provided with enough context to know how I would handle it at the table.

If, through the course of questioning or investigating, the characters have learned that an enemy is planning to setup an ambush on the road to Big Town, it would be reasonable for the players to take precautions against this ambush. So the players might declare,

PLAYER 1: Ok, Gnarly Karl at the inn told us to watch out for an ambush on the road to Big Town, and Gnarly's never led us wrong before. Let's keep our eyes out.
PLAYER 2: Yeah, good idea.
DM: So, how are you going to "keep your eyes out"?
PLAYER 1: I guess we'll all keep watch at all times.
DM: If you want to be particularly alert while moving, you could move at a slow pace.
PLAYER 2: Yeah, ok, let's do that. We'll go slow and careful and we'll all keep watch for ambushes!

Now, if the characters have learned so much about the ambush that they know the specific location, I'd probably give them advantage without requiring any penalty, or, more likely, just scope down to character moves when they approach the location of the ambush, since they told me they were looking out for it. Now it comes down to individual characters trying to spot the ambushers and position themselves tactically.

And yes, if the characters had learned to expect an ambush on the road to Big Town, but the players just said, "Hey, ho, it's off to Big Town we go!" without saying anything about taking precautions or anything of the sort, well, shucks, sorry guys.

Alternatively, if players are reacting to specific details of the environment and taking precautions because, "That canyon road would make a great place for an ambush and we know Bad Bob has it in for us," then this would also potentially allow them to gain some sort of advantage for paying attention, processing what they know about the game world, and acting accordingly.

What I would not want to have is a lengthy and generic "travel procedure" that is declared rote at the beginning of every trip. As a DM, I would communicate with the players what their characters are assumed to be doing, and work on my own adventures and encounters to make sure they aren't so predictable and un-telegraphed to require a lengthy, generic procedure for crossing every room.

In short, players paying attention and interacting with specific details of the game world is good. Players feeling that they need to recite generic procedures that are totally divorced from the specific details of the game world at hand is bad.
As a bit of explanation in the case that started me to make this thread, the setup provided numerous opportunities for gaining info and even specific "if they learned this then..." direct changes in terms of how far away things are noticed and so forth - three or four different encounter starts" depending on whether or not they gathered specific info on the ambush de jour.

The it added on top of that the generic "if they say blah blah they gain advantage on blah blah rolls" i mentioned.

So, no, it was not a "are they using info and prior knowledge" that was accounted for elsewhere already. it was a literal case of what i tend to call "magic words" on the player's part triggering advantage spearate from the whole gaining knowledge and interacting with environment.

But as for the bolded part of your comment, that would be where we part ways.

if as you say *the characters* gained knowledge of likely or potential ambush on the way... i would not require the players to make certain statements in order to not treat this as if the characters all developed amnesia in a sort by not taking routine precautions as their skills, backgrounds and natures would make reasonable. Especially if it were as seemingly contemporaneous as your comment seems to imply.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Have you ever considered that the approach you settled on 15 years ago in whatever game you were playing at that time doesn't necessarily apply to D&D 5e? Because while I don't give "roleplaying XP" like [MENTION=45197]pming[/MENTION] does, I have found that PCs at disparate levels in D&D 5e really isn't a problem due to the game's math. I have seen as much as a 7-level difference in the party and there was no problem. It certainly would matter in D&D 4e and D&D 3e, but this isn't those games. I would consider it unwise to apply my assumptions about other games to this game. I don't run games the same way when using different game systems. And why would I?

This isn't to say milestone experience is bad, but in my experience, your decision to use milestone XP based on some notion of level disparity being a problem in D&D 5e is unfounded.

As to your comment about "good strategy," in pming's game, it would depend on the player's priorities and the situation in play. If I care about leveling up faster (e.g. maybe I'm close to leveling up right now), then I won't always aim for automatic success when doing so would not be in keeping with the character's personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws. If it's more important to aim for success than it is to earn whatever additional XP I might otherwise earn, such as in a case of a life-or-death situation, then foregoing the XP is the way to go.
For your discussion about whether or not level disparity is as big a problem here than there and between games and so on...

You have a catch-22 in the argument it seems. *IF* level disparity is not a significant enough problem, then its use as a carrot/stick is also diminished., right? Sure, as i said, some players may be motivated by having a bigger integer in their XP box even with no level - level difference being a case of the most extreme Xp penalty/bonus hitting. But, IMX, not all that many players are really hung up on that number after even a short time role-playing. That number means nothing in play, barring a house rule allowing you to burn Xp. IF as you suggest even level disparity is not significant either, then that makes the Xp carrot/stick even more hollow as a tool.

That is the key for the XP carrot/stick that works its way across the systems - and i have seen it in multiple systems before and after switching to milestone - its either significant hit that affects the whole team or its an insignificant hit that isn't worth its trouble. i have not seen any system yet that manages to make character advancement a targeted at the player not affecting the group issue - and 5e and its rather traditional advancement system did not have any ohhh ahhhn wonderfully new way of handling it that broke that pattern. Slapping new numbers on editions does not mean one needs to throw away all one's experience with RPGs because they dont apply - usually quite the opposite..

And in response to your repackaging of my position, i chose to continue to use what 5e would characterize as "milestone Xp" because it has served me well in RPGs of various systems for many many years and there was nothing in the DND5e Xp advancement system that made me think it would serve me better. the fact that they came to see what they call milestone as an alternative worth putting into rule doesn't make me rethink that decision either.

As for your last graph about a playstyle where a player may have to choose "strategies" between how to advance quickly and how to "succeed more" when it comes to whether ot not to play his character in ways that fit his character traits or not... that is 1005 not what i would ever want to have happen in my games. That would be to me to be a fairly damning statement about a system. that certainly may be a fine set of "playstyle preferences" for your game or for other folks at other tables, but if i ever felt i put a system in place where "roleplaying your character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" or where "success at tasks in character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" i would feel as a GM that i had failed to deliver a reasonable system.

This would hit my "stupid rule" and die quickly.

i would feel incredibly stupid ever trying to tell a player that they should be weighing roleplaying vs success with rate of advancement hanging in the balance because that is the system i built/chose and what it was built/chosen to do.

others may not but hey, thats what it is.

Obviously at times roleplaying your character may indeed run counter to in-game odds of success and that is nothing exceptional in my experience - it happens at a fairly decent rate in complex situations - but adding advancement rate into that mix has never IMX helped make things better. I would hate for the approach a player chose for his character to deal with an in-game situation/task to be made based on "am i close to levelling up" and the XP consequences.

i thought that kind of thing (systems promoting players choosing in game character actions based on XP to be gained) was outdated when systems (even DND) began to award points for "overcoming monsters/encounters" whether it was by stealth or trickery instead of just "you get Xp if you kill the monster".


But i guess no idea ever goes away completely.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
As for your last graph about a playstyle where a player may have to choose "strategies" between how to advance quickly and how to "succeed more" when it comes to whether ot not to play his character in ways that fit his character traits or not... that is 1005 not what i would ever want to have happen in my games. That would be to me to be a fairly damning statement about a system. that certainly may be a fine set of "playstyle preferences" for your game or for other folks at other tables, but if i ever felt i put a system in place where "roleplaying your character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" or where "success at tasks in character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" i would feel as a GM that i had failed to deliver a reasonable system.

This would hit my "stupid rule" and die quickly.

i would feel incredibly stupid ever trying to tell a player that they should be weighing roleplaying vs success with rate of advancement hanging in the balance because that is the system i built/chose and what it was built/chosen to do.

others may not but hey, thats what it is.
Example: There are fourteen trolls in a lair, with a big pile of loot. This encounter is far above the expectation for success for the current group, but dice are dice so there's a chance. The best course for rapid advancement is to defeat the trolls and take their treasure. The best choice for the character is to not die trying to fight fourteen trolls because the odds of dying are very, very high. So, the best choice for continued success (to survive) is not the best choice for advancement.

This is an extreme example, but only because it highlights the constant tension even in 5e D&D between advancing quickly and succeeding more.
 

iserith

Explorer
For your discussion about whether or not level disparity is as big a problem here than there and between games and so on...

You have a catch-22 in the argument it seems. *IF* level disparity is not a significant enough problem, then its use as a carrot/stick is also diminished., right?
Your statement was, in effect, "I don't do XP that way because it penalizes the party because of level disparity." Which is an unfounded conclusion that you later admit was made in some other game because, obviously, D&D 5e wasn't around 15 years ago. I've suspected your criticism of the approaches of others was due to bringing in your assumptions from other games. I'm glad to see that confirmed in your own words.

XP is a carrot, not a stick. If you think it's a stick because of your unfounded assumptions imported from some other game, that's your issue right there. I recommend reading the D&D 5e PHB and DMG and revising your assumptions. It may help you understand where other people are coming from with their approaches to this game, even if you don't ultimately change your own approach.

Sure, as i said, some players may be motivated by having a bigger integer in their XP box even with no level - level difference being a case of the most extreme Xp penalty/bonus hitting. But, IMX, not all that many players are really hung up on that number after even a short time role-playing. That number means nothing in play, barring a house rule allowing you to burn Xp. IF as you suggest even level disparity is not significant either, then that makes the Xp carrot/stick even more hollow as a tool.

That is the key for the XP carrot/stick that works its way across the systems - and i have seen it in multiple systems before and after switching to milestone - its either significant hit that affects the whole team or its an insignificant hit that isn't worth its trouble. i have not seen any system yet that manages to make character advancement a targeted at the player not affecting the group issue - and 5e and its rather traditional advancement system did not have any ohhh ahhhn wonderfully new way of handling it that broke that pattern. Slapping new numbers on editions does not mean one needs to throw away all one's experience with RPGs because they dont apply - usually quite the opposite..
Experience points are just a metric for tracking advancement and, assuming that the players are interested in advancement, an incentive for doing the things that rewards them with XP. People tend to do the things they are incentivized to do. Milestone XP, for example, incentivizes players to engage with and complete specific, significant events or challenges. This is good when you want the players to follow a prepared storyline since doing anything other than following the prepared storyline has no XP reward. Milestone XP is still XP though - a major milestone is worth a hard encounter's XP and a minor one is worth an easy encounter's XP. You'll still have to deal with integers.

Your obvious disdain for XP as "an integer in a box" would seem to indicate you might not be using milestone advancement at all, but rather session-based or story-based advancement in which case the incentives for your players are something else - showing up for sessions, perhaps, or completing significant goals. Or maybe the DM just levels up the characters when he she feels like it.

So which do you actually use?

And in response to your repackaging of my position, i chose to continue to use what 5e would characterize as "milestone Xp" because it has served me well in RPGs of various systems for many many years and there was nothing in the DND5e Xp advancement system that made me think it would serve me better. the fact that they came to see what they call milestone as an alternative worth putting into rule doesn't make me rethink that decision either.
Outside of curiosity, I don't actually have a stake in what XP system you do use. It doesn't sound like you use milestone XP at all. But when you use unfounded assumptions based on some other game to criticize someone else's approach to the game, it seems reasonable to me to expect to be called out on it.

As for your last graph about a playstyle where a player may have to choose "strategies" between how to advance quickly and how to "succeed more" when it comes to whether ot not to play his character in ways that fit his character traits or not... that is 1005 not what i would ever want to have happen in my games. That would be to me to be a fairly damning statement about a system. that certainly may be a fine set of "playstyle preferences" for your game or for other folks at other tables, but if i ever felt i put a system in place where "roleplaying your character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" or where "success at tasks in character" is at odds with "rate of advancement" i would feel as a GM that i had failed to deliver a reasonable system.

This would hit my "stupid rule" and die quickly.

i would feel incredibly stupid ever trying to tell a player that they should be weighing roleplaying vs success with rate of advancement hanging in the balance because that is the system i built/chose and what it was built/chosen to do.

others may not but hey, thats what it is.

Obviously at times roleplaying your character may indeed run counter to in-game odds of success and that is nothing exceptional in my experience - it happens at a fairly decent rate in complex situations - but adding advancement rate into that mix has never IMX helped make things better. I would hate for the approach a player chose for his character to deal with an in-game situation/task to be made based on "am i close to levelling up" and the XP consequences.

i thought that kind of thing (systems promoting players choosing in game character actions based on XP to be gained) was outdated when systems (even DND) began to award points for "overcoming monsters/encounters" whether it was by stealth or trickery instead of just "you get Xp if you kill the monster".


But i guess no idea ever goes away completely.
See @Ovinomancer's post above. And note that my criticism of your criticism of @pming's approach is not an endorsement of his methods. Roleplaying (in the sense that you and pming are using the word, not how I would choose to use it) is rewarded with Inspiration in D&D 5e so that's how I do it in my games. I change how I award XP from campaign to campaign based on what I want to incentivize. Kind of like how I change my approach to DMing based on the game I'm playing rather than just stick to things I came up with 15 years ago when I was playing some other game.
 

Lanefan

Hero
Speaking for myself, I think judging whether someone's roleplaying is "inappropriate" based on some unsettled distinction about the character's ability scores is dangerous territory. The player is the one who determines what it thinks and says and how it acts. Everyone else can butt out as far as I'm concerned. It's not fair in my view to place arbitrary constraints on one's own roleplaying and characterization based on something like ability scores and then assume those same constraints apply to everyone else.
So what you're saying, in essence, is that the non-physical character stats are meaningless when it comes to roleplay. I could drop a 6 into each of intelligence wisdom and charisma and still roleplay as if I've put 15's in there.

The stats are supposed to be a guide as to what the character can or can't do - and, by extension, what limits you have or don't have when roleplaying it. Otherwise, why have them at all?

Of course, that doesn't mean a group couldn't establish a specific table rule about what it means to play a particular Wisdom score or whatever and then ask the players to buy in on that. For me, I don't see any particular upside to it that overrides letting people play as they will and rewarding them when they play to established personal characteristics via Inspiration.
What this kind of sounds like to me is the start of a justification for slamming or shaming players when they have their characters do intentionally stupid or suboptimal or even crazy things in the game via simply roleplaying to their low stats as well as their high ones. If I've got a 6 in wisdom I'm, by what you write, allowed to play as if I have a 15 wisdom...which means I'll end up being quietly expected by you and the other players to play as if I have a 15 and be given a bad time if I don't. The only end-result difference is I'll fail a few more rolls now and then. Big deal.

Lanefan
 

iserith

Explorer
So what you're saying, in essence, is that the non-physical character stats are meaningless when it comes to roleplay. I could drop a 6 into each of intelligence wisdom and charisma and still roleplay as if I've put 15's in there.

The stats are supposed to be a guide as to what the character can or can't do - and, by extension, what limits you have or don't have when roleplaying it. Otherwise, why have them at all?
You are welcome to play how you like and, at my table, act with whatever constraints you want based on anything you want including what you think an ability score means. You do not, however, get to say someone else must abide by the same constraints you voluntarily place on yourself.

What this kind of sounds like to me is the start of a justification for slamming or shaming players when they have their characters do intentionally stupid or suboptimal or even crazy things in the game via simply roleplaying to their low stats as well as their high ones. If I've got a 6 in wisdom I'm, by what you write, allowed to play as if I have a 15 wisdom...which means I'll end up being quietly expected by you and the other players to play as if I have a 15 and be given a bad time if I don't. The only end-result difference is I'll fail a few more rolls now and then. Big deal.

Lanefan
Again, I don't care how you choose to portray your character as long as it's fun for everyone and helps create an exciting, memorable story by playing. Why would I "slam"or "shame" players by having "their characters do intentionally stupid or suboptimal or even crazy things?" Someone might do so because of, for example, the Folk Hero flaw of "I'm convinced of the significance of my destiny, and blind to my shortcomings and the risk of failure." That'd be worth Inspiration.

Do you even Inspiration, bro?
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Your statement was, in effect, "I don't do XP that way because it penalizes the party because of level disparity." Which is an unfounded conclusion that you later admit was made in some other game because, obviously, D&D 5e wasn't around 15 years ago. I've suspected your criticism of the approaches of others was due to bringing in your assumptions from other games. I'm glad to see that confirmed in your own words.

XP is a carrot, not a stick. If you think it's a stick because of your unfounded assumptions imported from some other game, that's your issue right there. I recommend reading the D&D 5e PHB and DMG and revising your assumptions. It may help you understand where other people are coming from with their approaches to this game, even if you don't ultimately change your own approach.



Experience points are just a metric for tracking advancement and, assuming that the players are interested in advancement, an incentive for doing the things that rewards them with XP. People tend to do the things they are incentivized to do. Milestone XP, for example, incentivizes players to engage with and complete specific, significant events or challenges. This is good when you want the players to follow a prepared storyline since doing anything other than following the prepared storyline has no XP reward. Milestone XP is still XP though - a major milestone is worth a hard encounter's XP and a minor one is worth an easy encounter's XP. You'll still have to deal with integers.

Your obvious disdain for XP as "an integer in a box" would seem to indicate you might not be using milestone advancement at all, but rather session-based or story-based advancement in which case the incentives for your players are something else - showing up for sessions, perhaps, or completing significant goals. Or maybe the DM just levels up the characters when he she feels like it.

So which do you actually use?



Outside of curiosity, I don't actually have a stake in what XP system you do use. It doesn't sound like you use milestone XP at all. But when you use unfounded assumptions based on some other game to criticize someone else's approach to the game, it seems reasonable to me to expect to be called out on it.



See @Ovinomancer's post above. And note that my criticism of your criticism of @pming's approach is not an endorsement of his methods. Roleplaying (in the sense that you and pming are using the word, not how I would choose to use it) is rewarded with Inspiration in D&D 5e so that's how I do it in my games. I change how I award XP from campaign to campaign based on what I want to incentivize. Kind of like how I change my approach to DMing based on the game I'm playing rather than just stick to things I came up with 15 years ago when I was playing some other game.
Your "in effect" missed the point of my discussion mostly altogether - accident ot on purpose, who can tell.

The words "as much as" appeared twice in that first part of the quote. Did you see them?

The point being made was that the impact of the Xp boon/cutback was if it lead to a level disparity one that affects the party and the PC, "as much as". Its like the difference in a targeted spell and an AOE. In this case what is being talked about is hitting the whole party with a weaker character because of one players choices in how they play. that is just ineffective in my experience at serving to encourage individual players anything like a specific result for that character/player is.

To be clear, if one player roleplays well and gets a roleplaying bonus xp and another character doesn't care so much and "fails to get" that advancement and advances slower than the norm for the characters, the player who roleplayed is weakened by the other player's slower advanacement when they hit another encounter and the player who did not roleplay to standard is helped by the other player's bonus and those who just made the middle ground are left in the middle with a bit of both.

Then again some might feel level disarity isn't even a problem so its maybe a pretty weak carrot/stick after all which again makes it less appealing.

As for your somewhat limited view of milestone Xp... in XGtE it is described as based on the amount of hours a part is supposed to have taken, hours of expected play. In other products it was described more simply "At your option, you can use the milestone experience rule. Under this rule, you pick certain events in the campaign that cause the characters to level up."

So, perhaps the need for integers is a bit less mandatory? I confess i don't have all the adventure packs so i cannot say that all of them address milestone Xp the same way, if at all, but some clearly do use it as simply as completing a section or chapter or event and its basis in fact is "time expected".

As for you question - i have used all three of the ones you described at various times in various games bypassing often their normal Xp award sequence, just as i bypass the wasted math of the DND 5e core system Xp advancement rules. Sometimes i used several of them in the same campaign. But for individual incentives i relay on more targeted elements, not something as broad sweeping as character level.
 

Lanefan

Hero
You are welcome to play how you like and, at my table, act with whatever constraints you want based on anything you want including what you think an ability score means. You do not, however, get to say someone else must abide by the same constraints you voluntarily place on yourself.
Except I don't see the constraints as being voluntarily self-inflicted. I see them as forced on me - and on all players - by the game mechanics of the rolled/bought/assigned stat line. And if players intentionally choose to ignore those game-induced constraints that tells me they're not playing in good faith, which deserves to be called out.

Again, I don't care how you choose to portray your character as long as it's fun for everyone and helps create an exciting, memorable story by playing. Why would I "slam"or "shame" players by having "their characters do intentionally stupid or suboptimal or even crazy things?" Someone might do so because of, for example, the Folk Hero flaw of "I'm convinced of the significance of my destiny, and blind to my shortcomings and the risk of failure." That'd be worth Inspiration.

Do you even Inspiration, bro?
Nope. (my game isn't 5e; I'm in here because what's being discussed applies to all editions)

Lanefan
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Example: There are fourteen trolls in a lair, with a big pile of loot. This encounter is far above the expectation for success for the current group, but dice are dice so there's a chance. The best course for rapid advancement is to defeat the trolls and take their treasure. The best choice for the character is to not die trying to fight fourteen trolls because the odds of dying are very, very high. So, the best choice for continued success (to survive) is not the best choice for advancement.

This is an extreme example, but only because it highlights the constant tension even in 5e D&D between advancing quickly and succeeding more.
Wait? What? thats hilarious. man thats funny.

So, answering as if its serious...

As a plan for advancement, jumping 14 trolls and hoping you get enough dice luck to carry you thru may be seen by you as an example of DND 5e "advancement strategy" at work, but to me its a good example of why its so good we are not playing old school "kill monsters for experience" and "Xp by gp"

i would approach your example differently and expect similar reasoning from my and most players...

"If we can get the loot thats great. So, can we get the trolls distracted and out of the way so that we can grab the loot and only deal with one or two and maybe none of them while getting the loot?"

So, for example, maybe they find out that trolls have a taste for horse flesh, so they get a couple cheap horses and blood etc to try and set a distract and lure to draw the trolls away far enough they can take on a few stragglers or none at all and still get much of the loot.

Now, for some time now, in many games, pulling that off would still count as "beating" the encounter/challenge for purposes of Xp.

Of course, if the goal was to eliminate the trolls (to stop them raiding or pay them back for raids, etc) that would be a different objective and reward.

but yeah, jumping 14 trolls and likely getting killed as a sign of an advancement strategy - that was wonderful.

thanks for that.

great way to end a day of posting.

kudos.
 

Charlaquin

Explorer
Except I don't see the constraints as being voluntarily self-inflicted. I see them as forced on me - and on all players - by the game mechanics of the rolled/bought/assigned stat line. And if players intentionally choose to ignore those game-induced constraints that tells me they're not playing in good faith, which deserves to be called out.
They’re not in any way imposed by the rules of 5e.

Nope. (my game isn't 5e; I'm in here because what's being discussed applies to all editions)
The dissonance between your expectation of system-imposed roleplaying restrictions based on Ability Scores and the actual rules (or lack thereof) in 5e’s system would seem to indicate otherwise.
 

iserith

Explorer
Your "in effect" missed the point of my discussion mostly altogether - accident ot on purpose, who can tell.

The words "as much as" appeared twice in that first part of the quote. Did you see them?

The point being made was that the impact of the Xp boon/cutback was if it lead to a level disparity one that affects the party and the PC, "as much as". Its like the difference in a targeted spell and an AOE. In this case what is being talked about is hitting the whole party with a weaker character because of one players choices in how they play. that is just ineffective in my experience at serving to encourage individual players anything like a specific result for that character/player is.

To be clear, if one player roleplays well and gets a roleplaying bonus xp and another character doesn't care so much and "fails to get" that advancement and advances slower than the norm for the characters, the player who roleplayed is weakened by the other player's slower advanacement when they hit another encounter and the player who did not roleplay to standard is helped by the other player's bonus and those who just made the middle ground are left in the middle with a bit of both.

Then again some might feel level disarity isn't even a problem so its maybe a pretty weak carrot/stick after all which again makes it less appealing.

[MENTION=45197]pming[/MENTION] said he gives out XP for "roleplaying" to whatever standard he sets at the table. However much his post implies it's a stick, it's really a carrot - XP as an incentive to play in a particular way. You can choose to play otherwise and apply your skill to overcome the character's perceived shortcomings, but you may not receive as much XP as others who do play to the standard he expects. But of course you'd rather call it a stick because you already made your mind up about XP 15 years ago when you decided it led to undesirable level disparity or you dislike integers or whatever other grievances you may have. To the extent that your posts can be called clear at all, that much was clear. Above, you double down on the level disparity objection despite obviously having no experience with it in D&D 5e. I do, quite a lot of it actually, and I know that claim is bogus. In D&D 3e and 4e, you'd have the shadow of a point. But not in THIS game.

That said, the lack of a problem with level disparity doesn't detract from the efficacy of incentives. People tend to do what they are incentivized to do. To the extent that players want their character to advance in skill and power and the means for achieving that is gated behind performing particular tasks, it is reasonable to expect they will do those tasks.

As for your somewhat limited view of milestone Xp... in XGtE it is described as based on the amount of hours a part is supposed to have taken, hours of expected play. In other products it was described more simply "At your option, you can use the milestone experience rule. Under this rule, you pick certain events in the campaign that cause the characters to level up."
My "somewhat limited view" of milestone XP is taken directly from the DMG.
 

iserith

Explorer
Except I don't see the constraints as being voluntarily self-inflicted. I see them as forced on me - and on all players - by the game mechanics of the rolled/bought/assigned stat line. And if players intentionally choose to ignore those game-induced constraints that tells me they're not playing in good faith, which deserves to be called out.
In the Basic Rules, under the steps for character creation, it tells players to take their characters' race and ability scores into consideration when determining how the character looks and what his or her personality might be. It gives a number of suggestions for "higher" or "lower" scores about how a character "might" be. It does not say how they "must" be, nor does it say what a specific score forces a player to do. That is stuff you are adding.

Nope. (my game isn't 5e; I'm in here because what's being discussed applies to all editions)

Lanefan
It very clearly does not! Every edition is its own separate game. Drag your assumptions about one game into another one at your own peril.

(And more fool me that I would assume someone is discussing D&D 5e in a D&D 5e forum. Wow.)
 

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