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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

aramis erak

Explorer
For me it's not about how much authority I have, though. I could have more authority over other aspects of the game and I would feel the same way. For me it's about the PC being mine. I'm the only one, barring some sort of mechanical means like charm, who gets to control what he feels and does.



I understand that. While I haven't played as many different games you or [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] has, I have played other RPGs and experienced differences. I'm not saying the games that allow others to assert control over PCs are bad. They just aren't for me.
But you don't control the actions completely - only the attempts. Whomever sets difficulties and calls for rolls controls the outcome in most games.

The nearly universal pattern is...
Player states action attempt
GM either calls for a roll, states something in response, or indicates continuance (silently or not)
The player steps out of character mode into game mode, makes the roll
The GM takes the result of the roll and narrates the outcome of the action.
Repeat.

Exceptions are notable for being such:
Burning Wheel, both sides have to agree to the stakes, or the player has to abandon the action.
Brute squad has the order different (state attempt; roll dice; GM indicates success or failure; player narrates result. Repeat)
Mouse Guard also plays with player autonomy heavily... reducing it a lot.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
When the DM declares your character does X, how exactly at that moment are you taking on the role of that character in the fiction? It seems to me the DM is the one taking on the role of your character in the fiction at that moment...
In some cases yes, but in many, no... they're just resolving the inherent uncertainty of player narration in a strong-GM game.

I don't need to get into your character to determine if you missed your attack. I just need to describe (preferably plausibly) how it failed to inflict harm. (Potentially including narrating it skipping off and not doing any harm, but still connecting.)
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Reading over the comments here, and two things come to mind.

First, in the real world, it’s often true that we lose control of ourselves. We get angry at others, we act foolishly due to lust or love. We get influenced by others and act irrationally based on that influence. You see this kind of stuff all the time. People act without thinking things through. People make bad decisions all the time. We don’t actually have total control of ourselves.

Why shouldn’t a game have mechanics that can simulate this in some way?

Second, we all seem to agree that the game world is a shared fiction. Based on that, I’m not sure I understand folks balking at sharing some level of control over their character with the GM or others. Especially when it seems they’re fine with some examples of such.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
First, but somewhat tangentially, when the maiden winks at you and melts your heart, there is an ingame reason why your heart is melted - namely, the maiden's wink!
An in game reason that allows the DM to control my PC? Hardly. Absent some sort of mind control, I get to decide if the maiden's wink melts my heart.

It implies, for instance, that a fantasy game in which players spend about half the time playing their PCs as charmed is less "invasive" than a modern-day game in which players, for a few minutes each session, find the GM adding descriptions to what their players do, triggered by failed checks and with the purpose of reflecting things going wrong. But what is there about the logic of RPGing that explains this classification? Nothing that I can see. The activity is neutral vis-a-vis the fiction it engages with.

If the half-the-session charmed game is OK and fun, and a fine example of RPGing, then it doesn't make any sense for it suddenly to become an example of not-RPGing because we relabel all the fiction (so the charms become eg cute winks and charming voices). That would be a change in aesthetic, but not a fundamental change in the activity.
A different reason for something happening completely alters the event. It's the difference between being shot in the head as a hostage to show the police that the hostage takers are serious, and being shot and killed while saving the rest of the hostages. The activity is being shot and killed. The reason behind it alters everything, though.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
But you don't control the actions completely - only the attempts. Whomever sets difficulties and calls for rolls controls the outcome in most games.

The nearly universal pattern is...
Player states action attempt
GM either calls for a roll, states something in response, or indicates continuance (silently or not)
The player steps out of character mode into game mode, makes the roll
The GM takes the result of the roll and narrates the outcome of the action.
Repeat.
So what. Word games like this don't alter my point. Absent some sort of magic, mental control, truth serum or whatever, I still have total authority over my PCs decisions and feelings.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Reading over the comments here, and two things come to mind.

First, in the real world, it’s often true that we lose control of ourselves. We get angry at others, we act foolishly due to lust or love. We get influenced by others and act irrationally based on that influence. You see this kind of stuff all the time. People act without thinking things through. People make bad decisions all the time. We don’t actually have total control of ourselves.

Why shouldn’t a game have mechanics that can simulate this in some way?
Because it's unnecessary. I am fully capable of deciding if my PC gets angry at something he wouldn't normally get angry at or if uncontrolled lust strikes him. I don't need a DM to force that on me.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Reading over the comments here, and two things come to mind.

First, in the real world, it’s often true that we lose control of ourselves. We get angry at others, we act foolishly due to lust or love. We get influenced by others and act irrationally based on that influence. You see this kind of stuff all the time. People act without thinking things through. People make bad decisions all the time. We don’t actually have total control of ourselves.

Why shouldn’t a game have mechanics that can simulate this in some way?
Because roleplaying already allows for that
Because adding in such mechanics takes away moments where a player could be roleplaying
Because roleplaying games are inherently about having a character you can call your own - that you take on the role of in the shared fiction. Mechanics that usurp control of the character you call your own via whatever simulationist justification you want to come up with always ends up resulting in a character that's different than how you previously imagined.

When a character you are attempting to take on the role of in the shared fiction repeatedly changes from how you are imagining him that impacts your ability to take on that role (to roleplay him). I mean how could it not?

But more importantly if you enjoy those style of mechanics you should have them. It's just you should also be aware of what they are actually doing to the game you are playing.

Second, we all seem to agree that the game world is a shared fiction. Based on that, I’m not sure I understand folks balking at sharing some level of control over their character with the GM or others. Especially when it seems they’re fine with some examples of such.
In fiction control vs out of fiction control. I keep telling you all the difference. You all keep ignoring it.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
So what. Word games like this don't alter my point. Absent some sort of magic, mental control, truth serum or whatever, I still have total authority over my PCs decisions and feelings.
Yep. In fiction means of controlling a PC are inherently different than out-of fiction means of controlling one.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Because it's unnecessary. I am fully capable of deciding if my PC gets angry at something he wouldn't normally get angry at or if uncontrolled lust strikes him. I don't need a DM to force that on me.
Do you view an attack from an opponent that does damage to your PC as something the “DM forces on you”? Or the aforementioned Charm spell....you fail the save, is the DM forcing the charm effect on you?

If there are mechanics in place, then it’s not a case of the DM forcing anything. This is my point.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
If there are mechanics in place, then it’s not a case of the DM forcing anything. This is my point.
Replace DM with mechanic. Same thing different face.

Do you view an attack from an opponent that does damage to your PC as something the “DM forces on you”? Or the aforementioned Charm spell....you fail the save, is the DM forcing the charm effect on you?
In fiction is fine. Out of fiction is not fine. All you mentioned above are in fiction acts. Those are all fine.

Now if the DM said for no in-fiction reason you lose 50 hp - we would all be up in arms...
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
In fact let's flip the tables.

Should a DM ever have a PC lose 50 hp without having an in-fiction cause for the loss in hp?

What about, the maiden winks at you- you lose 50 hp. (no it wasn't magical, it was just a mundane wink)

This should be as acceptable as the maiden winks at you and melts your heart right?

If not, why not?
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Do you view an attack from an opponent that does damage to your PC as something the “DM forces on you”? Or the aforementioned Charm spell....you fail the save, is the DM forcing the charm effect on you?
No, because charm is an accepted part of the game. I know going into the game that there are in-fiction mechanics such as charm, dominate, command, etc., to assert control over my PC. A wink is not one of those and shouldn't be.

If there are mechanics in place, then it’s not a case of the DM forcing anything. This is my point.
I already said that there are some games with out of fiction mechanics, that allows the DM to assert control over my PC via something a wink, and that I wouldn't want to play one of those.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
No, because charm is an accepted part of the game. I know going into the game that there are in-fiction mechanics such as charm, dominate, command, etc., to assert control over my PC. A wink is not one of those and shouldn't be.



I already said that there are some games with out of fiction mechanics, that allows the DM to assert control over my PC via something a wink, and that I wouldn't want to play one of those.
I think what hawkeye is trying to ask is what for you is the difference between

an in fiction charm person spell exerting control over your PC and an in fiction wink exerting control over your PC.

I know what my answer is to that (magic can do anything it says it does, normal person to person interactions don't exert explicit control over a person)

I think that's the point he's driving on about (and the answer should be so obvious he didn't even need to ask but apparently isn't so)
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I think what hawkeye is trying to ask is what for you is the difference between

an in fiction charm person spell exerting control over your PC and an in fiction wink exerting control over your PC.
An in fiction wink has no ability to override a PC's normal reaction. Speaking personally, winks do absolutely nothing for me. Even coming from someone like Scarlett Johansson, who I consider one of the most beautiful women in the world, a wink wouldn't add anything more than if it came from Honey Booboo's mom. A charm spell on the other hand has the capability to have a PC act in a way he ordinarily would not.

I know what my answer is to that (magic can do anything it says it does, normal person to person interactions don't exert explicit control over a person)

I think that's the point he's driving on about (and the answer should be so obvious he didn't even need to ask but apparently isn't so)
Agreed.
 
In fiction is fine. Out of fiction is not fine. All you mentioned above are in fiction acts. Those are all fine.
But having someone wink at you is also an infiction act. I don't understand what distiinction you think you're pointing to here.

An in game reason that allows the DM to control my PC? Hardly. Absent some sort of mind control, I get to decide if the maiden's wink melts my heart.
No, because charm is an accepted part of the game. I know going into the game that there are in-fiction mechanics such as charm, dominate, command, etc., to assert control over my PC. A wink is not one of those and shouldn't be.
These are just bare assertions of preference. As [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] already noted.

I already said that there are some games with out of fiction mechanics, that allows the DM to assert control over my PC via something a wink, and that I wouldn't want to play one of those.
It's not "out of fiction". The wink occurs in the fiction. The melting of your PC's heart happens in the fiction. No difference from a spell.

And the rule that explains how winking works is something written down in a book. Just like the rules for "an accepted part of the game" that "know going into the game."

An in fiction wink has no ability to override a PC's normal reaction. Speaking personally, winks do absolutely nothing for me.
Mere assertion.

As many have pointed out - George Orwell probably most famously in relatively contemporary literature - everyone has their breaking point.

It also suggests significant ignorance of the variety of RPG designs out there. For instance, if you really want your PC never to be influenced by another PC's friendly behaviour, you can choose to play a game which allows that particular sort of immunity to be built into the PC.

And this also brings us back to the assumption that both you and [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] seem to be making but have not explicitly acknowledged let alone explained: what is the connection between playing a character and getting to decide whether or not that character is the sort of person who might be moved by a wink from another?

magic can do anything it says it does, normal person to person interactions don't exert explicit control over a person
This is just more assertion. In real life people influence one another all the time - eg someone calls out to you to stop, and you do; someone goes to shake your hand, and you respond; someone shows you a shocking image and it stuns you; someone you thought you hated smiles at you and offers you a cupcake that they brought into work from their birthday party on the weekend, and now you think you might have misjudged them.

In the context of a RPG, these are all infiction events that might occur, just like being ensorcelled.

Just as a game system might not always let the player choose whether or not the magic ensorcels his/her PC, so it might not always let the player choose whether or not the generous behaviour softens his/her PC's heart. The issues here go to aesthetics and the subject matter of the game, not to deep questions about "what is a RPG?"
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
It's not "out of fiction". The wink occurs in the fiction. The melting of your PC's heart happens in the fiction. No difference from a spell.
This is just flat out wrong. There is no power inherent to a wink that allows the wink to override the PC. None. Nil. Nyet. Zero. Zilch. Nada. They are very different.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Because roleplaying already allows for that
So? There are plenty of things that roleplaying allows for which can either be determined by player decision or by mechanical resolution, depending on the circumstances.

Because adding in such mechanics takes away moments where a player could be roleplaying
That’s odd. I would actually argue the opposite. It offers opportunities for roleplaying.

Unless you feel that roleplaying means you always get to decide exactly how your character acts at all times. But of so, then why bother with any mechanics at all?

Because roleplaying games are inherently about having a character you can call your own - that you take on the role of in the shared fiction. Mechanics that usurp control of the character you call your own via whatever simulationist justification you want to come up with always ends up resulting in a character that's different than how you previously imagined.
Sure. Characters change and grow based on what happens to them. Seems fine to me, unless one would prefer some kind of unchanging archetype of a character. Which in and of itself is fine....but then I have yo scratch my head about the importance of character in such a game.

When a character you are attempting to take on the role of in the shared fiction repeatedly changes from how you are imagining him that impacts your ability to take on that role (to roleplay him). I mean how could it not?
I suppose this could be true. But I don’t think it’s necessary. I’d expect most players would be quite capable of handling the winking maiden’s impact on their PC without the character being ruined.

Also, no matter what, most games do have limits on what you may want for or think about your character. You may want to play a character who is never swayed by others except when he chooses to be. This doesn't seem any more valid than my desire to play a character who never loses at swordplay. I can certainly have that character concept going into the game...but the rules are going to show me otherwise.

But more importantly if you enjoy those style of mechanics you should have them. It's just you should also be aware of what they are actually doing to the game you are playing.
Yeah, I’m aware of how they impact my game. It’s not by removing “true roleplaying”.

In fiction control vs out of fiction control. I keep telling you all the difference. You all keep ignoring it.
What out of fiction control? No one’s cited any examples that don’t take place within the fiction, at least not that I’ve seen.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Replace DM with mechanic. Same thing different face.

In fiction is fine. Out of fiction is not fine. All you mentioned above are in fiction acts. Those are all fine.

Now if the DM said for no in-fiction reason you lose 50 hp - we would all be up in arms...
I don’t see what connection you’re making here. What out of fiction reason are you citing? Why would a DM ever say “you lose 50 HP for no reason muhuhahahah!”?

I don’t think anyone here is advocating for anything so absurd. I know I’m not.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
That’s odd. I would actually argue the opposite. It offers opportunities for roleplaying.
No it doesn't. Without it I have the opportunity to roleplay the wink as not affecting my PC or as melting his heart. I have two opportunities on how to roleplay(more than two really). With the wink forcing my PC to act a certain way, it removes every other way to roleplay and only offers up one opportunity, instead of many. It takes away opportunities.

Unless you feel that roleplaying means you always get to decide exactly how your character acts at all times. But of so, then why bother with any mechanics at all?{/quote]

To resolve things that are in doubt.
 

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