"Oddities" in fantasy settings - the case against "consistency"

Based on observation, I think our sim-oriented brethren prefer to see documented character attributes (i.e., what's on the character sheet) focused on "desert island" attributes. That is, the abilities the character would still possess if they were teleported naked onto an isolated desert island halfway across the planet.

Social privilege and status would be something more like a magic item, something that can be taken away depending on the narrative. The ability to automatically gain a castle and followers in AD&D works against that, but I don't think a lot of sim-oriented players think those are well-designed abilities, anyway.
Whereas I find them to be some of the best rules in the game, though I think it would be cool to introduce them at low level (IE get a few followers at level 2, etc ). Still I think they are the most interesting rules AD&D has in it. I could really care less about whether they're realistic in any sense, if that can even be assessed.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
Ultimately, I find no reason to adhere to PC rules when creating NPCs. I'm simply not going to be arsed to go through that level of process when a much simpler one that produces the same results is available. There is simply no difference in the game experience at the table. It appears to be a case of the tail wagging the dog simply because some people perceive a need for parity between PCs and NPCs.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You have some (not full, but certainly some) inclinations toward simulation of process/internal causality within ruleset. @Lanefan , you do as well (until you don't!...the boundaries for both of you appear to be somewhere around the intersection of laborious prep and table handling time...its not clear to me exactly where that is on any given rules component).

What do you guys think about the social statistic of Precedence in Torchbearer? It is a rating that serves two purposes:

1) By comparing your relative ratings (Adventurers start at 0, High Clergy at 6, Sovereigns at 7), Precedence gates those who can outright Convince, Haggle, Convince Crowds, and Trick.

2) If your Precedence is greater than your opponent’s, you gain +1s per point greater in Negotiate, Convince and Convince Crowd conflicts.

+1 Successes are added to passed or tied rolls. So its a huge deal, especially when Margin of Success is important (like in Conflicts).
Interesting. Torchbearer's been on my must-check-into list for a while now but I still haven't got to it, but at first blush that does sound like it has some potential. I might tweak it a bit in order to avoid automatic success or failure situations - there's always a small chance of a peasant being able to persuade a sovereign - but the foundation looks good.

I'd probably also have Charisma play into this somehow, in a D&D sense; maybe as a further (minor) modifier?
What do you think about Precedence? As a piece of game tech, it (along with its cousin Might; for physical conflicts) mightily serves challenge-based play priorities. But I would think it would do work for you guys with some of your Sim priorities.
Thanks for the tip! :)
 

pemerton

Legend
I realize you're just being a wiseguy, but I have to point out that the fact that was a route for advancement at one time does not mean it was the only way someone could be a castle owner. The arrow doesn't have to point both ways.
Just to reiterate @AbdulAlhazred's point: we could say exactly the same about being able to cast a Fireball spell.

EDIT: And I see @AbdulAlhazred already posted this exact point!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So I assume this is basically a measure of one's social rank? One one of my "maybe I do something with this at some point" setting ideas is sort of Celtic/Arthurian dark ages setting, where social rank like this is very important, and I've though it might be good idea to model it in some way. But the issue with stats like these is that they only work for very homogenous societies, and more diverse and multipolar the world is, less sense they make. Like in my current setting of Artra the clans of the desert orcs or the human hunter gatherer's of Xendu really wouldn't give a toss if your father was some super posh noble from Ilum or Marut. Conversely to the Marutians the priestly class is very important, and the nobles that are related to the priest-king himself are held in high esteem as they're though to share his sacred blood. But Marutians wouldn't really care one bit if some orc's ancestor was a honourable and mighty warrior, even though that would be a big deal in the orc society.
Well, yes; if you're dealing with a different society than your own there's naturally going to be some modifiers based on all sorts of factors (e.g. language barriers, societal prejudices, history, politics, etc.); even I can see that, and I only learned about this system two posts up the thread from yours! :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You wanted NPCs to follow the PC rules...
That doesn't answer my question. Why do monarchs need to have 9 HD or levels?

Or are you thinking that to be a monarch you have to have reached name level and gone the stronghold route? That might apply to some of the nobility but not necessarily to kings and queens, 'cause most monarchs are just born into the role and eventually inherit the job from Mom or Dad.
 

Interesting. Torchbearer's been on my must-check-into list for a while now but I still haven't got to it, but at first blush that does sound like it has some potential. I might tweak it a bit in order to avoid automatic success or failure situations - there's always a small chance of a peasant being able to persuade a sovereign - but the foundation looks good.

I'd probably also have Charisma play into this somehow, in a D&D sense; maybe as a further (minor) modifier?

Thanks for the tip! :)

You're welcome :)

On the sentence I bolded:

* The social conflicts in question would use Will for the Disposition (basically Hit Points) of each side in the conflict. Will + the afformentioned Precedence + certain Nature tags is the Torchbearer equivalent to D&D Charisma.

* The social conflicts in question would involve several actions that employ a PC's Persuador, Orator, Manipulator, Haggler, and maybe Lore Master. Also possibly Nature for an add-on (pending player currency, pending Nature tags, pending player decision-point to gamble with Nature) and maybe a Wise.

So I assume this is basically a measure of one's social rank? One one of my "maybe I do something with this at some point" setting ideas is sort of Celtic/Arthurian dark ages setting, where social rank like this is very important, and I've though it might be good idea to model it in some way. But the issue with stats like these is that they only work for very homogenous societies, and more diverse and multipolar the world is, less sense they make. Like in my current setting of Artra the clans of the desert orcs or the human hunter gatherer's of Xendu really wouldn't give a toss if your father was some super posh noble from Ilum or Marut. Conversely to the Marutians the priestly class is very important, and the nobles that are related to the priest-king himself are held in high esteem as they're though to share his sacred blood. But Marutians wouldn't really care one bit if some orc's ancestor was a honourable and mighty warrior, even though that would be a big deal in the orc society.

I think there is probably a non-intrusive, easy solve here:

* The default civilization of the game has a Precedence scheme that is indexed for the majority of play.

* Any particularly relevant cultures that deviate from that scheme would have (a) have their own Precedence scheme and then (b) there would be an inter-civilization/culture adjustment (+/-) Precedence that serves almost like a faction relationship adjustment/rating between the civilizations/cultures.

Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy.
 

Ultimately, I find no reason to adhere to PC rules when creating NPCs. I'm simply not going to be arsed to go through that level of process when a much simpler one that produces the same results is available. There is simply no difference in the game experience at the table. It appears to be a case of the tail wagging the dog simply because some people perceive a need for parity between PCs and NPCs.
I mean I rarely build NPCs as with full actual PC rules either. It is just an approximation. Like for example I take "knight" monster statblock, and replace parry and leadership features with some spells and we have and eldritch knight or something close enough, or give "bandit captain" a sneak attack and so forth.

Like I get that for usability it is useful to sometimes streamline things. If I had infinite time and brainpower, I would prefer full PC rules for NPCs, but I don't, so trade-offs need to be made. I just want them to feel sameish.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I mean I rarely build NPCs as with full actual PC rules either. It is just an approximation. Like for example I take "knight" monster statblock, and replace parry and leadership features with some spells and we have and eldritch knight or something close enough, or give "bandit captain" a sneak attack and so forth.

Like I get that for usability it is useful to sometimes streamline things. If I had infinite time and brainpower, I would prefer full PC rules for NPCs, but I don't, so trade-offs need to be made. I just want them to feel sameish.

That's absolutely fine. Honestly, for D&D, I largely do the same kind of thing. I start with a statblock of some sort, and then tweak it a bit to get what I want. I also have a few NPCs that I may generate like I would a PC. And then I have a bunch that I whip up in whatever other way may suit. Sometimes, due to time constraints or in an effort to keep a game moving, I'll just create a four number stat block that will consist of AC, HP, Attack bonus, and other bonus, with the other bonus being used for saves or skills or anything else that may come up.

I think, however, that the verisimilitude, such as it is, of NPCs comes not from their stats and how they're derived, but from their place in the fictional world, and their portrayal there. My players have never questioned any of the NPCs I've made, regardless of which of the above methods I used.

It's odd to see folks who very often claim they want the mechanics to "get out of the way" or "fade into the background" are so preoccupied with how those mechanics are determined, and that the mechanics seem to impact their perception of the game so much.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I mean I rarely build NPCs as with full actual PC rules either. It is just an approximation. Like for example I take "knight" monster statblock, and replace parry and leadership features with some spells and we have and eldritch knight or something close enough, or give "bandit captain" a sneak attack and so forth.
Then....what are we even disagreeing about? If you're willing to make those changes, then you're pretty much saying class progression isn't actually binding for NPCs. And while there are a lot of related subtopics in this thread, that point is certainly one of the main ones.
 

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