On Behavioral Realism

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Part of my feeling of the PC's wanting to sleep outside, is that they have presented a perfect opportunity to mess with them, like:
PC's: "We're going to camp outside in the woods."
Me: "Really?" Menacing chuckle, looks in book, rolls some dice, "Wow!" Evil laugh. "So who is taking first watch?" Grin.

Usually they will pack up and head to an Inn or somewhere.
 
I like it when the PCs are exemplary for what they do different than (most of) the rest of the world rather than just because they happen to be PCs.
Ok, but do your players like it? (I'm guessing not, or you wouldn't have started this thread.) Again, it sounds like you want to impose an aesthetic.

There are lots of people who don't take baths, and/or who sleep outside of town in the woods. Sure, most of them are homeless. But there are some wealthy eccentrics who do really weird things.

It seems like your "Behavioral Realism" is close to synonymous with "normal" behavior. I, for one, don't want my players (or my characters) to be bound by what is statistically most likely.
 

Reynard

Legend
Ok, but do your players like it? (I'm guessing not, or you wouldn't have started this thread.) Again, it sounds like you want to impose an aesthetic.

There are lots of people who don't take baths, and/or who sleep outside of town in the woods. Sure, most of them are homeless. But there are some wealthy eccentrics who do really weird things.

It seems like your "Behavioral Realism" is close to synonymous with "normal" behavior. I, for one, don't want my players (or my characters) to be bound by what is statistically most likely.
I am not trying to impose anything. I am trying to encourage a thing. There's a world of difference. I don't think my players have a "don't tread on me" attitude so much as they just don't really think about it. They aren't intentionally playing Howard Hughs level eccentrics, they are just pinching pennies for better gear.

Ultimately, I think that it's not up to me. I can describe the world as a place where you really, really want to take a bath after climbing out of the dungeon, but I can't make them do it.
 

Longspeak

Explorer
I have not really encountered this problem.

Now... most of the time, players don't want to RP this. They want to say "I get a room, a bath, a meal, and some sleep. What's next?" And that's valid. Some don't even want to have to say it. It falls under the category of "uhh.... duh!" for them. Of course they get a room, wash up, eat and sleep. Why did we have to waste time discussing it?"

I've had players who want to explain or narrate details. "I get a room in the finest in, have a hot bath in water scented with lavender, eat a delicious meal of succulent roast pig with potatoes and fresh greens, then take the serving wench to bed with me if she be willing. What's next?" Or Cheaper versions. "I get the cheapest room I can find, and eat my own rations..."

I've had players who want to RP some of the minutia. "I want to haggle with the innkeep over the price. May I?" "I'd like to see a menu for dinner, please?"

And there have been times when I wanted to introduce something during this down time. "Your baths are uninterrupted, but as you're enjoying your supper...."

But for the most part, these are background details the players IME don't generally want to waste a lot of time on. When they DO, it's as framing for something else they want to play. "As we're sitting down to supper, I have a question I want to ask Rolf about his actions in that last combat..."

As GM, part of my job is to let the players have the scenes they want between the scenes I create. So I always let them, though there's a balance. You can't let one player frame a dozen scenes while the rest twiddle thumbs.

In my current D&D and Numenera, last time I narrated reaching town, first thing half the players did was ask about places to bathe, or soft beds. One asked for any food that "wasn't burned over an open flame."
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I've started giving out stronghold benefits (Dragon Heist) such as when the party takes a long rest in their nice comfy beds in the tavern they own (Trollskull Tavern) they get 2 temp hit points. Really doesn't affect the combats, but they love it.

One could do something similar by increasing healing rates, granting advantage on the next saving throw, temp HPs, etc. Or, one could go the other way and every long rest not taken in a comfortable environment (warm safe bed) reduces their hit point maximum or the amount of healing they receive from long rests. (i.e. after 5 days in the wild, you gain all but 5 hit points from a long rest, you have to use healing dice or magic to get those back).

Depends upon the game you are playing :)
 
It really depends on your players. My group very much roleplays in a realistic manner (other than suicidal tendencies to adventure). A PC noble will buy the nicest room in the inn, another might buy rounds of drinks for people in the tavern, while another might try to seduce someone with gifts. Admittedly 5E D&D helps with this, since money has little use outside of buying better armor (and potions of healing if permitted by the DM). Other RPGs (such as L5R) don't focus on money, allowing more freedom for characters to act as they feel they should.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
A few years back I was participating in a one shot GURPS Fantasy game as a player and the adventure depended on all the PCs being in the same inn for the night. We had pre-made characters and one of the players picked the ranger and insisted that he would sleep in the woods outside the gated city while we slept in the inn. After a few minutes of other characters trying to coax him into staying at an inn the GM just skipped it and let us go get him when we found out adventure was afoot. What I learned from this GM is that sometimes it's better to just let the player dig their heels in even if it's silly and find a way to work around it.
 

pemerton

Legend
A few years back I was participating in a one shot GURPS Fantasy game as a player and the adventure depended on all the PCs being in the same inn for the night. We had pre-made characters and one of the players picked the ranger and insisted that he would sleep in the woods outside the gated city while we slept in the inn. After a few minutes of other characters trying to coax him into staying at an inn the GM just skipped it and let us go get him when we found out adventure was afoot. What I learned from this GM is that sometimes it's better to just let the player dig their heels in even if it's silly and find a way to work around it.
It sounds like your GM resolved this issue. To me it looks like an error of assumed technique - that is, the adventure author seems to have framed where do you sleep? as if that was a question for the players to answer - and then hoped that they give the "right" answer - whereas what was need was a hard frame along the lines of OK, so as you are asleep at such-and-such an inn. There's nothing to be gained by framing something as a matter for player decision-making when, in fact, it's not.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
It sounds like your GM resolved this issue. To me it looks like an error of assumed technique - that is, the adventure author seems to have framed where do you sleep? as if that was a question for the players to answer - and then hoped that they give the "right" answer - whereas what was need was a hard frame along the lines of OK, so as you are asleep at such-and-such an inn. There's nothing to be gained by framing something as a matter for player decision-making when, in fact, it's not.
I don't think it was an error by the author. The GM described us all coming back from an adventure and looking forward to some rest describing the inn we had selected to stay in. That's when Mr. Ranger made it clear in no uncertain terms that he was sleeping out in the woods. It was a game night filled with player characters going off on odd tangents like that. Most of which was not the least bit entertaining in my opinion.
 

bloodtide

Explorer
It's almost impossible for most players, most people even, to imagine life as anything except modern 20/21 st century life. Life was very different before 1900(or really 1950), but most people have no idea what it was like at all. And life in say 1300 of D&D times, is even more so beyond that.

Take the Inn Example. To a modern person, once they ''rough it" for a week in the wild they do just love ''getting back to normal" of civilization: running clean water, made food and drink, a soft bed, fun and games. Though this is from a modern person who has all that in normal life. The average adventurer type most likely grew up on a farm...in 1300-1500. So no running water, no electricity, no phone, no lights, no motorcars. They eat and drank things that were not exactly ''supermarket clean'. Most everything was room temperature (no refrigeration). They had to hunt and trap and kill and prepare all most all their own food. They did not bathe much...maybe once a month. They made a lot of their own stuff. Made things were crude too, but that was the best they could do without machines and modern materals.

So the typical rough adventurer would not much stay at an Inn.....that is a place for ''soft" people. To use the modern equivalent: it's like having a servant feed you with a utensil and you'd stand still as they would wash, clean and dress you. Few modern people would like that...
 

BrassDragon

Explorer
Health and hygiene issues aside, normal human beings wouldn't be able to cope with the amount of death, danger and violence a typical adventuring party deals with on the regular... that stuff leads to long-term behavioral effects that we're only beginning to understand in the real world. Even games that are supposedly 'gritty' have superhuman thresholds before players experience mechanical consequences or are required to roleplay the trauma (e.g. seeing a Deep One decreases your sanity score but getting shoved by a robber going for your purse wouldn't even register in a typical game but might require counseling for a real person.)

Is it fun to explore these themes as an arc or two? Sure. Is it fun to factor these things into every choice players make at any moment? Not my cup of tea.

The most precious commodity for all my roleplaying groups is time. It's hard enough to get everyone together and commit to several hours of uninterrupted fun. I don't want to waste too much time on stuff that doesn't enhance the core fantasy.

Figuring out precisely how the vampire prince of New York pays his taxes, whether your half-orc gets hypothermia when emerging from the underground lake or if the smuggler's hair is sufficiently clean to pass as an Imperial officer... all these details are time sinks for very slight returns with the added risk of undermining our shared expectations of the game.
 
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Reynard

Legend
It's almost impossible for most players, most people even, to imagine life as anything except modern 20/21 st century life. Life was very different before 1900(or really 1950), but most people have no idea what it was like at all. And life in say 1300 of D&D times, is even more so beyond that.

Take the Inn Example. To a modern person, once they ''rough it" for a week in the wild they do just love ''getting back to normal" of civilization: running clean water, made food and drink, a soft bed, fun and games. Though this is from a modern person who has all that in normal life. The average adventurer type most likely grew up on a farm...in 1300-1500. So no running water, no electricity, no phone, no lights, no motorcars. They eat and drank things that were not exactly ''supermarket clean'. Most everything was room temperature (no refrigeration). They had to hunt and trap and kill and prepare all most all their own food. They did not bathe much...maybe once a month. They made a lot of their own stuff. Made things were crude too, but that was the best they could do without machines and modern materals.

So the typical rough adventurer would not much stay at an Inn.....that is a place for ''soft" people. To use the modern equivalent: it's like having a servant feed you with a utensil and you'd stand still as they would wash, clean and dress you. Few modern people would like that...
The intent isn't to enforce medieval realism, it's to encourage behavior that shows the adventurers are actual real people underneath all that spikey armor. I don't care if they act like people from 1300, I would just like if they acted a little more like real people.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
The intent isn't to enforce medieval realism, it's to encourage behavior that shows the adventurers are actual real people underneath all that spikey armor. I don't care if they act like people from 1300, I would just like if they acted a little more like real people.
It's entirely arguable that they are. People in real life react to incentives. It appears that your players are reacting to the incentives in your game: avoiding unecessary costs so they can prioritize thise things that actually relate to survival and goal realization. If you want them to act as you want them to, no amount of generalized aesthetic desire will do so if the incentives you have in place support acting differently. In other words, this is partly your fault for not establishing an incentive structure that encourages desired behavior. Continuing to wistfully wish it would be different while not changing the incentives is a waste of time: it won't magically change on its own.

Whether or not you should is a different, and subjective, discussion.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
Continuing to wistfully wish it would be different while not changing the incentives is a waste of time: it won't magically change on its own.
He's asked for advice and has been pretty receptive to it. I don't think Reynard is just wistfully wishing things were different.

The fact of the matter is that some players view their characters much as one might a chess piece. In real life, most people who have spent weeks adventuring, risking their lives, eating iron rations, and returning with a hoard of treasure aren't going to pass up a chance to sleep under a roof, do a little drinking, and fill their bellies with a decent food. But the player isn't the one sleeping in the woods, standing watch, and eating those godawful iron rations day-after-day; the game pawn is the one suffering. Which is a legitimate way to go about your role playing business even if it's not one that I personally prefer myself.

On the other hand, I have learned that throughout recorded history we can find plenty of examples of people who don't do the normal thing. Enough to where I feel comfortable with a PC who is so bizarre as to prefer the woods and iron rations to an inn serving rabbit stew. Especially as how this kind of behavior will not typically have an adverse impact on the game. We just don't focus on those kinds of things in most fantasy adventure games.
 

bloodtide

Explorer
The intent isn't to enforce medieval realism, it's to encourage behavior that shows the adventurers are actual real people underneath all that spikey armor. I don't care if they act like people from 1300, I would just like if they acted a little more like real people.
It's a bit odd to say the least that you'd want modern realism in a medieval setting.

It seems the complant is that the players are not acting in exactly the ways you want them to act so you can feel the fictional characters are real people. You might say ''all people" do whatever it is you say they ''must" do....but you'd be wrong. People are people. People do lots of...well, stuff. Watch the news and go meet some people: you will find everyone does not think like you.

You force the players to do things...but it's a bit pointless, and will only last as long as you force it too. Have the king say he won't meet with the smelly, dirty characters and just the player will just say "whatever my character cleans up...so, ok, now we go to the king". If having the players do that for a second counts, then you have a 'win'.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
He's asked for advice and has been pretty receptive to it. I don't think Reynard is just wistfully wishing things were different.

The fact of the matter is that some players view their characters much as one might a chess piece. In real life, most people who have spent weeks adventuring, risking their lives, eating iron rations, and returning with a hoard of treasure aren't going to pass up a chance to sleep under a roof, do a little drinking, and fill their bellies with a decent food. But the player isn't the one sleeping in the woods, standing watch, and eating those godawful iron rations day-after-day; the game pawn is the one suffering. Which is a legitimate way to go about your role playing business even if it's not one that I personally prefer myself.

On the other hand, I have learned that throughout recorded history we can find plenty of examples of people who don't do the normal thing. Enough to where I feel comfortable with a PC who is so bizarre as to prefer the woods and iron rations to an inn serving rabbit stew. Especially as how this kind of behavior will not typically have an adverse impact on the game. We just don't focus on those kinds of things in most fantasy adventure games.
What incentives are in place? There's an incentive for modern people to bathe -- social ostracism being a real thing most eould like to avoid. Saying it's just a "some players" thing is passing the buck and ignoring that without incentive all you're doing is hoping people play the way you'd like. That there's zero benefit to the players, and often a cost, for doing so gets elided. I mean, you could get lucky and have players that find enjoyment in such play and so incentivize themselves, but, again, that relying on wistful wishing rather than a good look at whether you're actually playing the game you want.
 

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