On Behavioral Realism

happyhermit

Adventurer
...
If there are ''a few" rules for bluffing and reading others....then there ARE rules. As a social game, a common ''trick" in poker is to tell stories or jokes or whatever to distract other players: you will find this in just about any strategy advice on playing poker, but it is NOT in the rules of the game.
...

So you are arguing that it's a binary proposition? That there are either rules or not rules for a thing? In that case D&D has rules for social interaction, exploration, pretty much anything.

If it clears it up any, Poker games can have no rules for bluffing and reading other players, but that doesn't stop those things from being an important part of the game, agreed?
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So you are arguing that it's a binary proposition? That there are either rules or not rules for a thing? In that case D&D has rules for social interaction, exploration, pretty much anything.

If it clears it up any, Poker games can have no rules for bluffing and reading other players, but that doesn't stop those things from being an important part of the game, agreed?
I think that the part of poker you're discussing is a poor fit. Specifically, as I noted above, the part you're talking about is the metagame -- the game that exists outside of the rules of poker. Bluffing, reading, calculating odds, etc., these are really part of a different game that occurs when you sit down to play poker. Nothing you do with bluffing affects how the rules of poker play out -- in fact, bluffing depends on those rules being immutable because it's the game that exists when you play the game of poker.

Meanwhile, roleplaying is, nominally, part and parcel of an RPG. Roleplaying is not a metagame that is created when you play an RPG; it's the objective, at least in part.

This is a careful distinction, but talking about how a game might or might not have rules for something really doesn't address a metagame that exists on top of the presented game. I can play poker and not bluff, not read, just the game as the rules say. I shouldn't be able to play an RPG without roleplaying.

And, really, you cannot, as the first part of playing an RPG is taking on a role via your character. Now, there's a lot of discussion about what roleplaying is, with some having extremely narrow definitions, but at it's most basic, it's just the playing of a role. Which you do if you play a character in an RPG, even if you never once put on a silly voice, provide dialog, or speak in the first person. Those things may be expectations of a table, a given group may constrain or incentivize roleplaying (@Celebrim clearly incentivizes speaking dialog in character for his games), but this isn't required by the rules. This is where table agreements and traditions start entering the game with expectations from outside the rules that then create constraints and incentives within the rules.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Not their authority. The rules. Unless you're saying the rules = DM authority, in which case d20 + modifiers = or greater than AC to hit is also the DM using his authority.
No, the PHB and the DMG clearly give the GM the authority to decide, but do not provide any operationalization of this. There's no rule you can point to and say, "here is where a paladin has a bad thing happen to them for not following their oath." Nor can you find where a paladin has crossed a line to become an Oathbreaker, just that such things exist somewhere. So, what you have here is an assignment of authority -- the GM decides what becomes of a paladin and their oaths -- and a loose constraint -- the GM may decide bad things if you don't follow your Oath. I say loose here because there's very little to say what following your Oath means in any given situations -- it's rather subjective. What did happen here is that the authority to decide what happens with character build, usually a player authority, has be explicitly reassigned to the GM in this case. That's the extent of the rules -- GM says.

Largely, a lot of 5e can be summed up this way. Not a bad thing.



The DM is not adding constraints. Those constraints are put into place by the rules.. They're called Breaking Your Oath and Oathbreaker, and you can read them in the PHB and DMG.
Those rules don't say anything other than GM decides. If the GM is having a conversation with their players about what constitutes oathbreaking, then that's the GM using their authority to apply both constraints and operationalizing oathbreaking.

I'm not suggesting anything that the rules don't do themselves.
You're implying the rules are much more robust than they are. The "rules" for oathbreaking are weak and don't provide the player with handles except that it's up to the GM. This makes the rules for oathbreaking entirely a matter of trusting your GM. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but it's fairly trivial to find horror stories on this exact topic that are both, well, horror stories and entirely within the rules as presented. IE, the GM is granted this authority with no constraints so even when outcomes might be less than desirable, their still within the rules. Suggesting the oathbreaking rules are more than the assignment of authority without constraint is adding things. Use of that authority is use of that authority, which is as I said, the GM adding constraints to the player (presuming the GM bothers to discuss it at all).

Now, I generally admonish others by going to bad faith play, so I'm going to admonish myself, here, and note that in good faith play the oathbreaking "rules" are usually sufficient. This assumes good faith between the player and the GM, so the outcome of "GM decides" should be clear and follow from the fiction and no one should be surprised. As I noted earlier, not having things tightly constrained or operationalized is okay -- 5e does just fine doing this quite a lot. And, a number of people like it this way. Some don't. Either way, it's good to be critically open about what's actually happening in play, even when you get good outcomes (because you're a well adjusted adult person playing with other well-adjusted adult people and not being jerks to each other, usually). In the case of the rules for oathbreaking, there are none outside a blanket reassignment of authority from the player to the GM to determine the PC build effects of player choices. And, this is fine.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
You should try reading the 5e books sometime. The entire PHB and DMG are written with roleplaying in mind. They describe roleplaying all over the place. As for being REQUIRED to roleplay, nothing in the game is REQUIRED. It's all optional. So what. Not being REQUIRED does not remove roleplaying from the game.

You think that you must use the crunchy part of the combat rules for an attack, but you don't. If the outcome is not in doubt, the DM is perfectly able to just say you win. Or, since it's rulings over rules, he can just say that you hit or miss and have you roll damage, or just choose the damage. There is no "must" with anything in the game.

If you choose to remove roleplaying from the game, you can and that's okay. But it's a part of the game unless you do actively remove it.

Well, if you don't use any D&D rules, then you are not playing the D&D game. If things are just ''decided" then not only are you not playing D&D, but your not even playing a game then. There is no place in the rules for Role Playing.


So you are arguing that it's a binary proposition? That there are either rules or not rules for a thing? In that case D&D has rules for social interaction, exploration, pretty much anything.

If it clears it up any, Poker games can have no rules for bluffing and reading other players, but that doesn't stop those things from being an important part of the game, agreed?


Maybe your thinking of some game other then D&D when you say D&D has rules for pretty much anything. Reading the rules would show that is not true. And it's not that D&D does not have rules for some crunchy mechanical in-game social interaction Like I said the game has maybe a whole page of social rules, compared to the 500 pages of combat rules. Or more simply put: there is no crunchy mechanical Social chapter in the rules (you know where a character would have a social AC and another character would have a base social attack and use the social maneuver ''make a valid point" with the feat of "logical argument" for a +2 bonus to hit)

Role Playing is something extra added outside the game, not as part of it.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
I think that the part of poker you're discussing is a poor fit.

I'm sorry, but I think a large part of why you think it's a poor fit is because it doesn't illustrate your point.

Specifically, as I noted above, the part you're talking about is the metagame -- the game that exists outside of the rules of poker. Bluffing, reading, calculating odds, etc., these are really part of a different game that occurs when you sit down to play poker.

Labeling some parts of a game the "metagame", correctly or incorrectly doesn't make them any less important parts of the game. You can label the most important parts of many games ie; social deduction games, trading games, alliance games, calling plays in football, a pitcher reading a batter, etc. etc.; "metagame" but that more often that not just leads to a lack of understanding of what those games are and how the rules influence that.

Adding more rules about those things DOESN'T mean the game will have more focus on those things, or that those things will function in a more satisfactory way.

To which the response is likely "Sure, that is easily observed, but ttrpgs are different." However, I am not the first one to make the observation that the same thing is true. Having more rules for things doesn't mean the game having will have more of that thing occur, or that it will be more satisfactory when it does.


... I shouldn't be able to play an RPG without roleplaying.

And you can't, unless you specifically choose a definition of roleplaying that means you can.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
Maybe your thinking of some game other then D&D when you say D&D has rules for pretty much anything. Reading the rules would show that is not true.

There are specific and general rules that cover most anything.

And it's not that D&D does not have rules for some crunchy mechanical in-game social interaction Like I said the game has maybe a whole page of social rules, compared to the 500 pages of combat rules. Or more simply put: there is no crunchy mechanical Social chapter in the rules (you know where a character would have a social AC and another character would have a base social attack and use the social maneuver ''make a valid point" with the feat of "logical argument" for a +2 bonus to hit)

You literally said; "If there are ''a few" rules ... ....then there ARE rules."

Role Playing is something extra added outside the game, not as part of it.

Your argument is with Ovinomancer on this point, not me.
 


Celebrim

Legend
I'm not sure if your just being funny here? No game in the history of forever has rules that cover most anything. Simply put: that would be impossible.

Would you like to place a bet of some sort on that? I believe I can prove to you that there is at least one RPG that has rules for everything.

Small bet perhaps. I get upvoted if you agree that I won. I'll upvote you if you think I haven't.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
Would you like to place a bet of some sort on that? I believe I can prove to you that there is at least one RPG that has rules for everything.

Small bet perhaps. I get upvoted if you agree that I won. I'll upvote you if you think I haven't.

I'm not sure we can have a bet on something that is impossible. If a single RPG did have rules for everything it would need, roughly, one trillion trillion pages of rules. And no game has that much.

To make a wild grab at any RPG from the last nearly 50 years of RPGs and say that you can find at least one game that has one rule about anyone subject...maybe? Like the obvious thing for me to say is find an RPG with a rule about dating: but I....er think...there was an All My Children RPG back in the time before time, and sure it had a rule like ''roll a 6d6 -1d6 equal to your beauty score vs his bachelor score to see if Blake Carlton dates your character". But to prove one or two RPGs...maybe...have a rule for something is not the point.

The point is, no single game....especially D&D has rules for everything.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
I'm not sure if your just being funny here? No game in the history of forever has rules that cover most anything. Simply put: that would be impossible.

So, guess your joke here is funny?

No joke, if you aren't being sarcastic, just talking about game design and rules.

Like I said, there are specific and general rules, it's easy to make a game with rules that cover everything. ie; Player attempts something, flip a coin to determine whether they succeed. Obviously it takes a lot more to make a game that will do this and people will also find good, but it's done all the time.

5e D&D has general rules that cover most anything ie; Player says what they want their PC to attempt, DM determines whether or not rolls must be made, then the results are determined.

This is not a new concept, free Kriegsspiel is from the 1800's.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
No joke, if you aren't being sarcastic, just talking about game design and rules.

Like I said, there are specific and general rules, it's easy to make a game with rules that cover everything. ie; Player attempts something, flip a coin to determine whether they succeed. Obviously it takes a lot more to make a game that will do this and people will also find good, but it's done all the time.

5e D&D has general rules that cover most anything ie; Player says what they want their PC to attempt, DM determines whether or not rolls must be made, then the results are determined.

This is not a new concept, free Kriegsspiel is from the 1800's.


Again, seems like a joke.

Sure you can have a rule that says ''flip a coin" to see if a character can do something...and it does not even matter if that is a ''bad rule": The point is more that the rule only covers ''if" a character tries something that has success and failure.

And such generic rules alone are pointless for RPGs, it's the whole reason why RPGs have lots of rules. To know simply if ''a thing" succeed does not tell you anything really.

The ability check to ''try something" goes all the way back to 1E, but it still only works in the larger framework of all the other rules.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, if you don't use any D&D rules, then you are not playing the D&D game. If things are just ''decided" then not only are you not playing D&D, but your not even playing a game then. There is no place in the rules for Role Playing.

D&D rule from the 5e DMG.

Page 236 "Ignoring the Dice."

D&D rules page 4 "The rules aren't in charge" and "The DM chooses when to abide by the rules and when to change them."

The DM can use those rules to just decide everything, and since according to you all it takes is using D&D rules to be playing D&D, what I described in my last post was playing D&D. ;)

That's actually the primary strength of D&D. You can play it in a myriad of different ways and still be playing D&D. 10 different tables can all be playing 10 different ways and still all be playing D&D.
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm sorry, but I think a large part of why you think it's a poor fit is because it doesn't illustrate your point.
Not sure I follow you. My point is that the poker game you're talking about is a metagame for poker. It's like claiming that character optimization is part of D&D. it is, and it isn't. It's an extra game that only exists when the first game does, and it's focused on gaming the underlying game. I think it's an excellent distinction to note the game presented from a metagame that exists on top of it. And that's what you're illustrating with your poker example.

It's a good point. Metagames almost always exist. But, I don't think it correlates to discussing how games function within their rulesets. It's, well, extra.



Labeling some parts of a game the "metagame", correctly or incorrectly doesn't make them any less important parts of the game. You can label the most important parts of many games ie; social deduction games, trading games, alliance games, calling plays in football, a pitcher reading a batter, etc. etc.; "metagame" but that more often that not just leads to a lack of understanding of what those games are and how the rules influence that.
I disagree. I think noting something is a game about playing a game is a pretty big distinction from discussing how a game plays by itself. As I said, I can play poker without bluffing -- this is pretty much what happens when you play against a computer. Certainly we can't claim that my inability to read the computer or bluff it means I'm not playing poker. The meta-level of games, where you play a game on top of the game, is very interesting, but, again, not actually part of the underlying game. Poker is separate from bluffing, but bluffing in poker requires poker to exist.

Adding more rules about those things DOESN'T mean the game will have more focus on those things, or that those things will function in a more satisfactory way.
I'd disagree on the first, somewhat, and agree strongly on the second.

Re, the first point, having robust rules for a thing usually will mean that a game will focus on that thing over an area that has weak or no rules. Take D&D. Granted, you can have a session that focuses on roleplaying, or shopping, or building a castle, but how much occurs how quickly there? Combat slows down and gets granular whenever it shows up in D&D -- it demands more focus for resolutions, and resolutions are always very precise and complete. D&D directs focus to the combat rules across lots of segements, from character build, to equipment, to strategic play, to tactical play in the combat engine. There's even the combat swoop, where you shift from the more freeform exploration/social pillars to the combat engine via the initiative roll, which particularizes timing and structure in a way the other pillars usually do not.

Does this always hold? No, it's general statement, not an absolute one. If a game system invests in robust rules to adjudicate an area of play, though, that area is usually going to be a focus for play, unless there's a strong effort to thwart this and use the system in other ways. That's something you can do, but then the system fights you a bit by not providing the robust systems while you avoid it's most robust systems.

On the second party, absolutely. More rules does not mean better rules. Or better outcomes. Heck, look at Palladium systems -- lots of rules, not great outcomes. You have to hack that system a bit to get it to even work.

To which the response is likely "Sure, that is easily observed, but ttrpgs are different." However, I am not the first one to make the observation that the same thing is true. Having more rules for things doesn't mean the game having will have more of that thing occur, or that it will be more satisfactory when it does.
Goodness, no. I have no idea why anyone would assume that.


And you can't, unless you specifically choose a definition of roleplaying that means you can.
Agreed. Usually when people do choose those definitions, though, it's pretty clear they're either engaged in a bit of one-true-wayism or just trying to derail the discussion. I do think that most systems leave roleplaying as an exercise for the players to develop rather than a place to provide operationalization. Just some light constraints and incentives and a bit of authority granting and that's it. 5e does this through the background system (which is an operationalization with incentives), the usual genre constraints, and authorities to the player for action declaration and the GM for resolution. This is enough, though, to get to roleplaying, and open enough to accommodate a number of definitions and styles of roleplaying.
 


pemerton

Legend
you could probably have a game where someone says, "I use persuasion on the guard.", rolls a dice and then successfully gets the guard to do something. But then the question arises, what did that character say that so persuaded the guard?
The only system I know where this might be a valid action declaration is 3E D&D (substituing Diplomacy for persusasion). I say "might" because I'm going here mostly on rumour and hearsay - I don't have very much 3E play experience.

But that's not a valid action declaration in 4e D&D, 5e D&D, Classic Traveller, Burning Wheel, HeroWars/Quest, DitV, Cortex+ Heroic, or Rolemaster. Because not actual action has been declared. All the player has done is nominate a mechanic s/he wishes to invoke. But s/he hasn't actually established any fiction that would invoke it.
 

pemerton

Legend
So, what I want to know is, how is that different from a skill check in 5e dnd?
Sure, the stats are different, but brawn and presence are pretty easy to translate, and fellowship sounds like a skill similar to 5e's Persuasion, but perhaps more about getting along with people and less about getting people to do things. (I miss "Diplomacy" as a name for the positive social interaction skill)

And an opposed check gives us an outcome that flows from the fiction just as much as your example, or combat. So, is it that Prince Valiant has everything named and described in a way that promotes a certain type of play, or is there something actually mechanical going on that isn't coming across?
I think that 5e D&D (i) doesn't have a clear system for extended PC vs PC social contest, and (ii) is ambigous over whether the outcome of a successful skill check is you did that well or you got what you wanted (roughtly task vs conflict resolution, without wanting to hang too much on tha parituclar terminology), and (iii) doesn't have a system for incorporating emotional/relationship components into a check.

I'm sure these things could be sorted out at a particular table, but I don't think they're there in the basic presentation of the rules. I think that makes it harder to get things going, or make some things obvious.

To elaborate on those thoughts a bit more: in D&D, if - during the course of the PC vs PC rivalry - one of the PCs suddenly escalates to violence, the whole arena of conflict is changed and there's no straightforward way to have the social conflict feed through into the new situation. Eg there's no obvious mechanic for the other PC to cow/shame the escalating PC into stepping down. I would generalise this point by saying - outside of some magical effects, and 4e skill challenges - D&D doesn't make it easy to establish finality in a scene simply via social interaction.

I also think that Prince Valiant "has everything named and described in a way that promotes a certain type of play" but I don't think that that is a separate thing bur rather is related to the features I've been describing above in this post.

All of this is before we get to the default XP-and-gp reward framework of D&D. Because, by default, social interactions tend not to yield either of these that also tends to make the seem secondary in play. 4e again is an exception, and you could easily drift 5e away from the default (though I don't think "milestone levelling" would necessarily help in this respect), but it is another feature of the game that differs from those systems that (as I've experienced them) tend to give the OP more fo what he's looking for out of the box.,

To finish, none of this is meant as a critique of D&D. It's meant as an attempt to reflect on how one might want to tweak/drift to get what one wants. If you - @doctorbadwolf - already have it then my thoughts are unncessary. But @Reynard did seem to be looking for some thoughts. (I hesitate to call it advice because I don't know 5e well enough. Maybe goal-oriented musings?)
 

pemerton

Legend
With respect to the tangent that has broken out - is roleplaying being used as a synonmy for character-oriented colour and narration? Or something in the neighbourhood? That seems unfortunate, because it would tend to imply that a lot of classic D&D play isn't RPGing at all.

The idea that there is a contrast between playing a character (in some think sense of that phrase) and engaging the mechanics of a RPG is itself an artefact of a certai approach to RPG design that is hardly the only way to do it. In a system like Burning Wheel or DitV or Apocalypse World or even 4e D&D the contrast doesn't obtain.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
Again, seems like a joke.

Still not a joke, but if poking fun at my honest attempts to communicate is what you need in these times, fine. It's the least of my concerns right now.

Sure you can have a rule that says ''flip a coin" to see if a character can do something...and it does not even matter if that is a ''bad rule": The point is more that the rule only covers ''if" a character tries something that has success and failure.

"The point"? You seem to be going from one point to another, that certainly isn't the point that I was addressing.

And such generic rules alone are pointless for RPGs, it's the whole reason why RPGs have lots of rules. To know simply if ''a thing" succeed does not tell you anything really.

The ability check to ''try something" goes all the way back to 1E, but it still only works in the larger framework of all the other rules.

They aren't pointless for ttrpgs, the ideas go back to the 1800's at least, this is not a D&D thing. Many ttrpgs outside of D&D use more general rules, and often have less specific ones.

Not sure I follow you. My point is that the poker game you're talking about is a metagame for poker. It's like claiming that character optimization is part of D&D. it is, and it isn't. It's an extra game that only exists when the first game does, and it's focused on gaming the underlying game. I think it's an excellent distinction to note the game presented from a metagame that exists on top of it. And that's what you're illustrating with your poker example.

It's a good point. Metagames almost always exist. But, I don't think it correlates to discussing how games function within their rulesets. It's, well, extra.

"Metagame" has several definitions, the one usually referred to when talking about ttrpgs is not the one you are using. The one most commonly referred to when talking about other tt games is not really what you are referring to either, as it usually refers to things that actually don't relate to the game being played directly. In social deduction games for instance, like The Resistance, trying to determine who the spy's are isn't considered "the metagame", it's the game. Whereas "metagame" refers to when one considers how they acted in past games, or outside of the game entirely. Like in Poker where the "metagame" is when you take in things you know about the player based on things outside of the game/hand being played. Or in a game with alliances like Cosmic Encounter it's the metagame when you choose to trust someone based on how they acted in past games.

You can say that all those things are the metagame, even though that's not how it's usually used, and basically say that many games are 90% metagame, but I don't think it's helpful.

...
I'd disagree on the first, somewhat, and agree strongly on the second.

Re, the first point, having robust rules for a thing usually will mean that a game will focus on that thing over an area that has weak or no rules.

Well, we aren't disagreeing by much here. What I was saying is that it doesn't neccesarily lead to it. I would almost agree with you on "usually", not long ago I definitely would have.
 

pemerton

Legend
Sure you can have a rule that says ''flip a coin" to see if a character can do something...and it does not even matter if that is a ''bad rule": The point is more that the rule only covers ''if" a character tries something that has success and failure.

And such generic rules alone are pointless for RPGs, it's the whole reason why RPGs have lots of rules. To know simply if ''a thing" succeed does not tell you anything really.
What RPGs do you have in mind? Cthulhu Dark doesn't have many rules at all, and is a good RPG. Prince Valiant has more intricate PC build than Cthulhu Dark, and slightly more complex action resolution, but doesn't have "lots of rules".

When you say To know simply if ''a thing" succeed does not tell you anything really you seem to be assuming that a thing is purely a task attempted by the PC and abstracted out of all the rest of the prior and subsequent fiction. But that's not the only way to approach action resolution. The most basic rule for resolution I know of that will tell us something, really is this: player declares intent and task; check is resolved (could be a coin toss, or something more intricate depending on system); if the player wins, the intent comes true; if the player loses, the GM says what happens.

That will generally give a pretty good RPG experience.
 

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