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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
In the fiction as viewed externally by real-world viewers, yes; because it's been set up that way.
And as viewed internally by the real-world creators and enactors of that fiction.
But as viewed from the POV of a character within that fiction? No.
Well, of course not, their POV is dictated to them by those creating the fiction. The villain or foil or extra will not behave as if they knew those were their roles, but they will behave in accord with them, none the less, because both their actions and their imagined perception & beliefs are imposed upon them by their creators.

That character would have no way of knowing any of this - it would just carry on living its life. And it's that viewpoint that I use when looking at game/system/world design
Why, when no one will experience the game from that PoV?

The players will know who is a PC, who an NPC, and often have a good idea of what sort by how the DM presents them. The DM of course, knows these things with greater certainty.
The characters in question are all-unknowing of their own role & nature, as they have no independent knowledge of, perception of nor control over their own being. They will know, perceive, believe what they are imagined to.
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Do you think that human beings are under their own conscious control at all times? Were you under the impression that attraction to people is somehow governed by conscious will? There is plenty of power in the simplest of human interactions. If you really want to try to argue that, with someone who knows psychology, you probably lose.
Of course not, but I'm the only one qualified to make that determination for my PC on a case-by-case basis.. The DM doesn't have the inside track to my PC the way that I do.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Should or should it not be is another question. Why not? Haven’t we all known people who don’t always act in their best interests because there’s a person who can always get under their skin, or because they’re a sucker for a pretty face, or any other number of things?
Sure, but if my PC is a sucker for a pretty face, then I've set that up in advance and let the DM and players know about it. That sort of character flaw is up to me to decide on, not the DM. And that goes for all of the other RPGs that I've played.

Sure, these things can be roleplayed without mechanical rules in place to promote them, but having such rules doesn’t deny roleplaying. It promotes it.


Without mechanics: I have dozens(at least) of ways that I can choose to roleplay the situation.

With mechanics: I have one way that I can choose to roleplay the situation.

Mechanics like that stifle roleplay by highly limiting the multitude of roleplaying options down to a single one.

Right. It pretty much always goes back to D&D and only D&D with you. It tends to make these discussions that are about RPGs in general a bit challenging.
Only not, as I spelled out multiple other games that I've played where my character was my own.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
This is a genuine question. What is being “overridden”? Let’s assume some kind of mechanics are at play and it’s not a case of a GM dictating results, but let’s also assume it has nothing to do with magic in the fiction.
As the player, I know how the PC will react to the wink. I think about the situation, the immediate history between the winker and my PC. I consider other factors like lack of sleep or other possible mitigating factors. And then I come up with how my PC will react, and that is in fact how he will react. If I think there are multiple valid ways that he could react, I will sometimes make a personal roll.

If the DM just flat out decides that my PCs heart is warmed by the wink, he has overridden the PCs proper reaction, unless of course I have also determined that to be the proper reaction and would have roleplayed that anyway. The DM isn't in a position to know what the proper reaction for my PC is, so more often than not he will get it wrong.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
That's my first post in this thread and immediately you post this ugly comment without even trying to engage in conversation with me.

I was even directly answering the OP original question with my post: "What do others think about who does, or should, get to establish the truth of descriptions of PC actions, and how?" Well, not directly, but my answer is clearly there: the way 5e is written with its basic play loop is my preference for who gets to establish such and how it's done.
Slow down. It's not an insult. It's a statement that no progress can be made while basic assumptions are so far apart.

And, yes, I love 5e's play loop. I'm a champion of it, when discussion how 5e plays. But, if you assume that's how a game should be play, it will prevent discussion of other ways to play games so long as you don't look up from it. You can prefer it, that's awesome! Go for it. But, if that's what you see when you discuss how authorities are assigned, then you'll not be able to discuss how those authorities can be assigned differently. I'm not sure why this is so hostility inducing.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
Me in direct response to you: "D&D has nothing to do with this. Here are at least a half dozen other RPGs that I've played that are the same way.

You and [MENTION=61721]Hawke[/MENTION]yfan: "So it's all D&D with you.''

C'mon guys, really?
Yup. You're locked into a mindset that's best represented by D&D, even if you've played other games that support that same mindset (or, given some of the games on the list you presented, you've played those games and brought with you the D&D mindset and so didn't see a difference).

I mean, you're defending taking authority away from the player so long as the mechanic used has the word "magic" associated with it. That's pretty locked in -- you can't even see that "magic" isn't doing any work there. I get it, you've played the game so long and had that be part of it that you've built up a set of rationalizations to excuse it from examination. It's just "magic," so of course it can take authority away from the player. And, because it's "magic," it's different from any other thing that takes authority away from a player, even if the mechanics and result are similar. A maiden cannot soften your PC's heart without "magic", even if the mechanics are you failing a check and being limited in how you can roleplay your character because of that. To you, you've already excused "magic," so there's no need to examine it anymore. But the maiden, well, that gets full scrutiny -- and disparate results.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
That's a level of GM control over PCs that I suspect would cause mutiny at most typical tables.

It also gets the whole idea of cause-and-effect backwards: you've got the effect retroactively forcing the cause(s) (which, by the way, isnt how things work!) rather than the cause(s) leading to an end effect.
I think it might get your table in mutiny, but most? Doubtful.

As for cause and effect, well, don't look to closely at D&D, then. You might notice that you determine the effect of an attack roll and then go back and determine the cause for the description. Or, most any check, really. Other games move the check even further in front of the resolution so as to be able to resolve an intent and then determine the action, but D&D does a decent bit of this as well, just a bit later in the chain. Sure, to be able to attack with a sword, you have to already be within melee range and have a sword, so some 'causes' are established, but what happens with the attack is resolved by the roll and then backfilled with narration. Other games might just take the intent to attack and roll and let that determine if you closed, or even had the sword in hand, or ended up with the same results as the D&D resolution. I mean, to use the old saying, we've already agreed on a transaction, we're just haggling over the price.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Of course not, but I'm the only one qualified to make that determination for my PC on a case-by-case basis.. The DM doesn't have the inside track to my PC the way that I do.
OTOH, you may not fully apreciate what the NPC represents.
When there are conflicting visions of, or other sources of uncertainty about, the fiction, complete/functional games provide mechanics to resolve them.
D&D mostly does so for magic, and given it's history & place in the hobby, that prejudice has become pervasive.
But, it's not absolute, and some games do try to deliver more functionality.
For instance, storyteller notoriously introduced a dramatic system (resolution mechanic) for seduction.
Hero Systems has a mind control power that needn't be supernatural in nature. FATE certainly goes there.
Etc...
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
The function of players in RPGing is often described as deciding what their PCs do. ...
I'm sure I've caused enough trouble already, but this reminded me of something.
A while back there was a discussion of just how badly D&D did the S&S sub-genre, and it set me to thinking about other ways of handling magic...
...one idea that drifted by was the possibility of a game, the central focus of which was retaining control of the PC, with the 'price' of magic being increased danger of loss of that control: imperiling the soul, transforming into a monster, giving into obsession, etc...
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
OTOH, you may not fully apreciate what the NPC represents.
Frankly, it doesn't matter what the NPC fully represents. The only part that matters is what my PC can perceive. In this case a wink. Everything else unknown to me is irrelevant unless it's magic, mind control or some other special power that could actually override what my PC is going to do.

When there are conflicting visions of, or other sources of uncertainty about, the fiction, complete/functional games provide mechanics to resolve them.
When there are conflicting vision of how a PC reacts, the player wins(unless playing a game where that doesn't happen).

D&D mostly does so for magic, and given it's history & place in the hobby, that prejudice has become pervasive.
But, it's not absolute, and some games do try to deliver more functionality.
Not more functionality. Different functionality. Whether a system is more or less function will be determined by the individual and what he wants to get out of a system. A system where the DM can override me and make my PC do something he wouldn't do is far less functional to me than a system that can't.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Frankly, it doesn't matter what the NPC fully represents. The only part that matters is what my PC can perceive. In this case a wink. Everything else unknown to me is irrelevant
Your PC could hypothetically perceive more than the DMs description gets across to you. And there could be less perceptible, less readily articulated, factors that go into influencing his emotional response.

I mean, we don't always understand the sources of our emotional responses, do we?
unless it's magic, mind control or some other special power that could actually override what my PC is going to do. When there are conflicting vision of how a PC reacts, the player wins(unless playing a game where that doesn't happen).
Unless the game in question gives final authority to the player of the PC, it'll go to a resolution system, or, in the absence thereof, to the more usual final arbiter: the GM.

Not more functionality. Different functionality.
More. Scope if fairly quantifiable.

Whether a system is more or less function will be determined by the individual and what he wants to get out of a system.
Hypothetically, you might not use all a system's functiinality, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

A system where the DM can override me and make my PC do something he wouldn't do is far less functional to me than a system that can't.
Any system that makes the GM final arbiter is such a system.

For instance, in the 5e play loop, if you declare an action to interact with a certain preternaturally adorable maiden, you just might get your heart melted in the results the DM narrates.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Sure, but if my PC is a sucker for a pretty face, then I've set that up in advance and let the DM and players know about it. That sort of character flaw is up to me to decide on, not the DM. And that goes for all of the other RPGs that I've played.
If you’ve set it up in advance and let the DM know about it, then why can’t he challenge the character with that flaw? I mean, it’s literally a part of the 5E character sheet. Same as Strength and Armor Class and all the other things you decide about your character. Yet the DM can challenge those things (meaning put the character into situations that test those traits) and no one thinks anything of it.

But list an actual flaw on the character sheet and then expect that to only be introduced by the player? Or that only the player decides if this weakness matters?

It’s a missed opportunity on the part of 5E. Instead of doing something meaningful with the Traits/Ideals/Bonds/Flaws they tied it to Inspiration...the most ironically named game mechanic there is.

Other games offer a deeper look at this area.


Without mechanics: I have dozens(at least) of ways that I can choose to roleplay the situation.

With mechanics: I have one way that I can choose to roleplay the situation.

Mechanics like that stifle roleplay by highly limiting the multitude of roleplaying options down to a single one.
How so? Can you give an example?

Only not, as I spelled out multiple other games that I've played where my character was my own.
Ah fair enough. I should have said “D&D and games that function exactly like it”.
 
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hawkeyefan

Explorer
As the player, I know how the PC will react to the wink. I think about the situation, the immediate history between the winker and my PC. I consider other factors like lack of sleep or other possible mitigating factors. And then I come up with how my PC will react, and that is in fact how he will react. If I think there are multiple valid ways that he could react, I will sometimes make a personal roll.

If the DM just flat out decides that my PCs heart is warmed by the wink, he has overridden the PCs proper reaction, unless of course I have also determined that to be the proper reaction and would have roleplayed that anyway. The DM isn't in a position to know what the proper reaction for my PC is, so more often than not he will get it wrong.
I said let’s say mechanics are involved, not that the GM just decides how the PC reacts. Maybe the maiden makes a Persuasion check or a Consort roll or a Diplomacy action....whatever mechanic may be relevant for the game. Let’s say the GM rolls well....or that the player rolls poorly on a save or whatever.

Obviously, with 5E, this doesn’t really work because that’s not how the game is set up. But let’s imagine someone homebrewed some rules or that we’re playing a different game. The rules are disclosed ahead of time, so players realize this may happen. I think this can really add to a game.

But to keep it to 5E....let’s say the DM has the maiden wink at you. Under “Flaws” on your character sheet you’ve written “I am a sucker for a pretty face.” You ignore the wink and declare some other action, not being influenced by the maiden. In your opinion, would the DM be out of line to say “So you just ignore this pretty girl?”
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Your PC could hypothetically perceive more than the DMs description gets across to you. And there could be less perceptible, less readily articulated, factors that go into influencing his emotional response.
Sure. Misperception, both more and less than what is really there, is a common occurrence. If I get it wrong based on misperception, that's a valid response to what is being perceived.

I mean, we don't always understand the sources of our emotional responses, do we?
Not always, but it's rare that I don't. Those times that I don't, some self-reflection usually sheds light on it. I'm pretty in tune with myself.

For game purposes, it's up to me to decide whether or not my PC has an atypical emotional response.

Hypothetically, you might not use all a system's functiinality, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Sure, but to me that extra functionality is functionally useless, so to me the functionality is less than other games.

For instance, in the 5e play loop, if you declare an action to interact with a certain preternaturally adorable maiden, you just might get your heart melted in the results the DM narrates.
This would be an abuse of DM authority in a game like 5e. Unless spelled out in advance and accepted by the players, it's understood that this won't happen.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
If you’ve set it up in advance and let the DM know about it, then why can’t he challenge the character with that flaw? I mean, it’s literally a part of the 5E character sheet. Same as Strength and Armor Class and all the other things you decide about your character. Yet the DM can challenge those things (meaning put the character into situations that test those traits) and no one thinks anything of it.
Of course he can challenge it. That's what, "She winks at you." is. A challenge to that flaw. Now it's up to me to roleplay how my PC engages that challenge via his flaw.

But list an actual flaw on the character sheet and then expect that to only be introduced by the player? Or that only the player decides if this weakness matters?
Neither. It's up to the player how to respond when it's introduced, though.

It’s a missed opportunity on the part of 5E. Instead of doing something meaningful with the Traits/Ideals/Bonds/Flaws they tied it to Inspiration...the most ironically named game mechanic there is.
I agree that they could have gone much further with this. However, as it currently stands, it has as much meaning as you give it. We often bring them up ourselves whenever we see moments that apply. If I'm playing a short tempered barbarian, I'm going to roleplay the short temper on a regular basis. We generally forget inspiration anyway, so these things are just roleplayed without any other reward than having fun roleplaying them. As a DM, though, I do give extra RP for that sort of thing, and even more when the appropriate moment is detrimental to the PC/Party, as it's harder to play up those flaws at those moments.

Other games offer a deeper look at this area.

How so? Can you give an example?
Sure.

Example 1: the wink does nothing.
Example 2: the wink warms my PC's heart.
Example 3: my PC thinks she's really into him and begins pursuing her affection in earnest.
Example 4: my PC think she's just being flirty and flirts back.
Example 5: My PC enjoys the wink as flattery, but it doesn't warm his heart. Perhaps he flatters her back.

And so on.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
But to keep it to 5E....let’s say the DM has the maiden wink at you. Under “Flaws” on your character sheet you’ve written “I am a sucker for a pretty face.” You ignore the wink and declare some other action, not being influenced by the maiden. In your opinion, would the DM be out of line to say “So you just ignore this pretty girl?”
If my character is a sucker for a pretty face, I would ignore the wink and declare another action only if there were a valid reason for it. Perhaps I found out during the course of play that 6 of her last 7 husbands died mysteriously and the 7th was never found. If the DM doesn't have an idea on why I am not being influenced, then it's not out of line to question it that way. At that point I'd let him know the reason why it's not having the effect it would ordinarily have.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
For game purposes, it's up to me to decide whether or not my PC has an atypical emotional response.
Only if the game gives you that option instead of providing a resolution system (or as part of it.)
For example, there was a resolution mechanic for seduction - and quite a lot of other things that might play on emotions (3 of 9 stats were social, one of those was Manipulation), but you could also take a Merit, Blaise, that immunized you from a lot of them, even supernatural ones.
Sure, but to me that extra functionality is functionally useless,
Irrelevant.
This would be an abuse of DM authority in a game like 5e
No such thing, in a game like 5e: it simply has faith in the DM. It might mean you're a bad fit for that hypothetical DMs hypothetical campaign, which is totally legit.
 
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.
I don't even know what this means.

I'm talking about events in the fiction. In the fiction, there is no such thing as "overriding the PC". There is just one human affectig another. This is a real thing that happens in the real world all the time, so I have no trouble imagining a fantasy wold in which it happens.

Galadriel melts Gimli's heart. Aragorn melts Eomer's heart. Frodo almost melts Gollum's heart. Etc. This is a recurrent them in classic fantasy stories.
 
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?
To resolve things that are in doubt.
What's in doubt? That's not an a priori category. It's a function of genre conceits, table expectations, system design, probably other stuff too.

A RPG could be designed where every time I get to decide whether or not the NPC influences me. Or not. It could be designed where every time I get to decide whether or not I dodge the bullets. Or not.

Just as D&D has an armour class, and RQ has a parry/dodge roll, so a system could have a "harden my heart" roll - The Dying Earth uses a version of this; so does Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic.

These design decisions go to the aesthetics of the play experience (eg a system in which a player can always choose not to be affected by emotions and social interaction generates a certain pressure for all ultimate resolution of conflicts to take place in other arenas). They don't tell us whether or not it is a RPG.
 
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