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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This is where a lot of conflict ton such issues arises - I've been working with my group for something like a decade. They trust me not to screw them over on a whim. Folks reading about my session on the message boards don't really know me from Adam, don't trust me, and worry that I might be screwing my players over on a whim.

Well, Adam IS the Antichrist. If they don't know you from Adam, that might be where the trust issues come in. ;)
 

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An immersion-oriented player is going to try his-her best to do exactly this, as that's the whole point of immersion: to perceive things as your PC would perceive them.
The PCs perceive exactly as the players & GM imagine they perceive, with the complication that they all need to be on the same page.

So, in one sense, perceiving as your character is easy (because their perceptions are under your conscious control), and, in another, impossible (because you can't un-know that).

TTRPGs - as opposed, say, to LARPs - present tremendous barriers to immersion by their very nature, overcoming them seems to be a rarefied, fleeting, and intensely personal thing.

Obviously. But that's just table knowledge.
So are the specifics of the system you're using.

No, but in theory they would have perceptions, knowledges and beliefs given that they are in theory sentient inhabitants of their setting;
Not on theory nor in fact, rather in our imaginations.
and those perceptions, knowledges and beliefs don't extend to seeing little tags on foreheads saying PC or NPC or BBEG or whatever.
Exactly. So, we don't (unless breaking the 4th wall) imagine that they're aware of their status within the game - even though you are necessarily aware of that status.

Put another way: imagine these characters are real people
That's redundant, they're necessarily imaginary people, by definition.
Now, is everything you just saw through all those characters' eyes consistent with itself no matter which set of eyes you happened to look through - whether it was a PC, an NPC, a commoner, a minion?
If that's how you imagined it, yes. If not, no.

If yes, then all is good
Then, if no, you gotta ask yourself: "Self, why did you imagine it that way?"

But, if every persons perceptions of a hypothetical world were aligned and formed an internally consistent world, it'd be a very unrealistic setting. (Which is fine, fantasy should get a free pass on realism.)

bar full of common working people who look ready to fight, and yep: there they go. Fists flying, bottles smashing, a good old-fashioned donnybrook - black eyes all round and maybe a few broken bones, but in the end nobody dies and the bartender has a big mess to clean up.
Ok, so the bartender sees that as y'know, Friday. We see it as establishing a little something about the setting & genre - violence in the setting is common, but not quite as dangerous or acrimonious as in reality.
This time, however, most of the people involved drop dead the first time they take a good hit from anything - including getting hit by the same guy that hit him last week - because one of the new people has a PC tag on its head and suddenly all these brawlers are panes of thin glass.
I'm sorry, are you saying they see the tag, but, otherwise, he's just another brawler? Or that he, like the bartender is just watching the show?

Also, why has the lethality of violence shifted? Even in the presence of rules that speed up combat like that, non-lethal attacks presumably remain non-lethal, no?

How in any way is this internally consistent?
It's not, nor is it consistent with the use of minion rules & the presence (or participation) of a PC that far above the level of the crowds regularly scheduled violence, that they need to be modeled as minions.

Rather, if the PC in question just watches the fight, nothing changes: it's narrated just like the one from last week.

Similarly, if he's incognito, and trying to stay that way, the resolution won't be a combat, he might make some checks (depending on the system) to conceal his prowess, just put in a good showing to fit in.

If he does wade in full-bore, though, things change. There's a regular whirlwind of destruction all of a sudden, the new guy is knocking the toughest regulars cold as fast as they can come at him.

What do the regulars do? Team up and all teach the new guy a lesson? Or are they too preoccupied with their personal grudges and squabbles?

If the former, the whole fight gets played through and either the PC leaves the regulars unconscious or just plain given up (or fights his way out ofbthe place), or they bear him down by weight of numbers.

If the latter, the rest of the fight is just a backdrop, only the patrons that actually emerge from it to take on the PC get resolved under the minion rubric, the rest is narrated (and it doesn't matter if some of those who do take him on may already have battered in the narration of that backdrop of a barfight or not - not needing to track such things is part of the point, it speeds up the combat and reduces the bookkeeping burden on the DM, if it's also a little more abstract, well, the system it's appended too is likely pretty abstract, already).
 

People understand the mechanics and there were probably saves or something involved. But when there isn't that comfortable buffer of mechanics to fall back on people treat the whole thing very differently, which I also find very interesting, since the difference in actual effect is minimal to nonexistent ...
You might also find there's resistance to adding mechanics to cover something of the sort, or even to applying existing mechanics.

For instance, if there's a mechanic to tell or detect lies, a player who invokes such a mechanic to confirm his suspicion an NPC is lying, and fails, may continue on the assumption of falsehood, because he failed.
Say you did all the rolling behind a screen, all the saves and whatever, and then just narrated the effect. I suspect you'd get a ton of push back about it that
Depends on the expectations and conventions of the group. Back in the day, rolling a lot of stuff behind the screen, or calling for rolls without explaining what they were until the result was known (a 20? Ouch, that can't be under your DEX! A 1? Ouch, failed that save!) was SOP.

There's something in there that's key to the RPG experience but I can't quite put my finger on it.
Good faith, maybe?


I didn't provide a crazy example, but to answer your question, it would be a valid reason and here's why. Sometimes people who have flaws can just overcome those urges. Now, if the player is doing it all the time and/or only at times when it would be detrimental to the PC/party, then he's abusing the system
Some systems are just open to abuse or limited in scope. At that point, it's a matter of trust.

OTOH, some systems cover stuff like that. For instance, if you decide to impose an RP limitation on your character on Hero, you get points back for defining it as a psychological limitation (which, ironically, is not technically a limitation, but a disadvantage). Depending on how many points you take, you may be able to make a check to overcome your issues and act rationally in spite if them. And, related mechanics can model outside influences, as well.

No, it's not flawed. It just requires that the player not play in bad faith.
Or, yes it is flawed, or just limited in scope, or running aground on expectations, but if you're all playing in good faith, you can still reach a reasonable resolution.
 

pemerton

Legend
4E Probably has the most because it essentially shed the distinction of “because magic” and just had all kinds of abilities that could inflict a status on a character, whether the source was arcane or martial or divine, etc. didn’t matter all that much. So 4E allowed for more examples by basically treating more actions the same as magic.
That second sentence has the potential to be controversial! I'd put it this way: the designers realised that the relationship between a certain sort of mechanical design, and the infiction category magic, is contingent and a matter of aesthetics.

So for a brief period D&D design caught up to Greg Stafford c 1989! (I'm referring there to Prince Valiant, of course - the most undeservedly neglected FRPG there is. I don't get the contrasting degree of widespread love for Pendragon.)
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Some systems are just open to abuse or limited in scope. At that point, it's a matter of trust.

All of them are. Trust is necessary with any game. I have yet to see a game where cheating can't happen.

OTOH, some systems cover stuff like that. For instance, if you decide to impose an RP limitation on your character on Hero, you get points back for defining it as a psychological limitation (which, ironically, is not technically a limitation, but a disadvantage). Depending on how many points you take, you may be able to make a check to overcome your issues and act rationally in spite if them. And, related mechanics can model outside influences, as well.

Which is fine. I'm all for rewards and other encouragement to engage in that sort of roleplay.

Or, yes it is flawed, or just limited in scope, or running aground on expectations, but if you're all playing in good faith, you can still reach a reasonable resolution.

If you're playing in good faith, it runs quite well and is not a flawed system. If you have someone who is playing in bad faith, the system still is not flawed. The person playing in bad faith is the flaw.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think you'll find that the answer to these two questions is the same!

No. I'm talking about having the PC engage in an action(not the mechanical term related to combat), which has absolutely nothing to do with conditions. It was an absurd comment, as is your response here.

@hawkeyefan and I are wondering what you envisage melting someone's heart as requiring or dictating.

So you guys have been saying that if the DM says, "The woman winks at you and melts your heart," I can just say, "No she doesn't, it has no effect on me at all?" If that's the case, then I have no real objection. I just haven't seen any indication that the above is what you guys are saying. You should be more clear.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
I'm okay with that, but only as long as the DM is not playing my PC at all. The DM can never know my PC as well as I do, and I don't want the frustration of seeing him play my PC wrong time and time again, which is what will happen if he is allowed to play my PC.

The example being used is a good one. "The woman winks at you and melts your heart" has just dictated exactly how the PC responds to the wink.

I remember a Champions game I was a player in. My PC had the Physical Limitation: Can't read. Almost every session (until I stopped), the GM framed a scene with me reading a book or at the library helping another character research through texts etc. He could not remember that the PC simply could not participate in that way. And that was something not subtle nor general. Of course GMs will get stuff 'wrong' about PC motivations, preferences, and expectations especially since many of the ideas may never have been discussed at all.
 

pemerton

Legend
So you guys have been saying that if the DM says, "The woman winks at you and melts your heart," I can just say, "No she doesn't, it has no effect on me at all?"
No. We're asking you what action you think is required on your PC's part. At least I am. (And I'm pretty sure the same is true for [MENTION=6785785]hawkeyefan[/MENTION].)

My heart being melted isn't an action. It's an emotional state. What action do you think is required/dictated by that state?
 

I didn't provide a crazy example, but to answer your question, it would be a valid reason and here's why. Sometimes people who have flaws can just overcome those urges. Now, if the player is doing it all the time and/or only at times when it would be detrimental to the PC/party, then he's abusing the system and would need to be talked to after the game. If it's just once in a while, then it's fine.

Sorry, the highly specific example of having found out in play that 6 of her 7 husbands had vanished seemed a bit unlikely as a reason why the wink would not affect your character as opposed to something more routine like the character resisting the urge to give in to a pretty face. That’s all I meant.

The latter part of your comment is what I’m getting at. This kind of stuff absolutely falls to the group’s shared expectations for the game and the like. And it may go perfectly fine that way. I think it’s more likely with a longstanding hroup of players who’ve established trust, as [MENTION=177]Umbran[/MENTION] mentioned.

But, absent a group of players being together for years, such rules can replace that trust. They establish what can happen and when and how, and so in. They can provide a clear process for how such interactions are handled.

Again, this all depends on the game and the mechanics, and with 5E D&D it’s left up to the group pretty much entirely.

No, it's not flawed. It just requires that the player not play in bad faith.

Semantics. It’s a weak point meaning it’s subject to abuse through bad faith play. It’s the same thing.


Because you claimed that a Melted Heart dictated exactly what happened. But since the phrase “melted heart” is kind of vague, I figure I’d check the Condition descriptions to see the exact effects.
 

All of them are. Trust is necessary with any game. I have yet to see a game where cheating can't happen.

Which is fine. I'm all for rewards and other encouragement to engage in that sort of roleplay.

If you're playing in good faith, it runs quite well and is not a flawed system. If you have someone who is playing in bad faith, the system still is not flawed. The person playing in bad faith is the flaw.

Well all systems have flaws and are subject to abuse of one kind or another. My point is that the Flaws in 5E are flawed because it’s purely incentive based to have a player actually roleplay the Flaw in any meaningful way. If he does so, he gets Inspiration. That’s it. So no matter what else comes up, no matter how closely it may fit the character’s Flaw (or Traits, Bond, or Ideals, really) the player can always simply ignore it, and all that happens is he is not awarded Inspiration.

As a system designed to inspire roleplay, this seems very limited to me. Yes, some players will “play in good faith” as you describe it and they’ll embrace their Flaws and all the complications they may bring. Others won’t. Does that mean they’re “playing in bad faith”? I don’t know. It’s certainly not cheating given the rules as presented....but it seems a bit weaselly to me. “I’ll only acknowledge this drawback if I feel like it”....just doesn’t really do it for me.


No. I'm talking about having the PC engage in an action(not the mechanical term related to combat), which has absolutely nothing to do with conditions. It was an absurd comment, as is your response here.

I think I’ve clarified now....It was just a joke to prove my point.

So you guys have been saying that if the DM says, "The woman winks at you and melts your heart," I can just say, "No she doesn't, it has no effect on me at all?" If that's the case, then I have no real objection. I just haven't seen any indication that the above is what you guys are saying. You should be more clear.

Well the thing is the wink scenario was broadly presented, and with no specific system in mind. So I’ve been trying to discuss it in that broad kind of “any game” context, assuming relevant mechanics. The specific outcome was also not established, and I think that and other relevant fictional factors would have a part to play.

I wouldn’t assume a wink would have the effect of a charm spell.....seems extreme. I think I gave an example not long ago of the winking maiden then asking the PC to help kill the king being unlikely, but to buy her a meal seems perfectly reasonable.

However, this would really all depend on the system in place.
 

pemerton

Legend
Upthread the notion of roleplaying - what it is, what it isn't - was raised.

The closest to a consensus position that was put forward was that it involved playing the role of a character in a fictional world. In a RPG, there is an additional element of advocacy for the character on account of it being a game, where the participants therefore in some sense aspire to do well.

A number of posters - with [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] in the forefront - seem to take it that (at least in the context of RPGing) roleplaying also involves or requires establishing and maintaining a conception of the character one is playing.

I'm curious about this. Is this a particularly strong or focused version of advocacy? Something else?

And why are PC emotional states such a focus of discussion in relation to it? If my character is Conan the Barbarian, who - as we all know - "came . . . black-haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet", then maybe being a throne-treader is more central to my character conception than exercising control over my character's melancholies and mirths (and lusts, for that matter).

And going back to advocacy - isn't one typical feature of RPG play to test the player's conception of his/her PC? Am I really as righteous as I think? As resistant to temptation? As capable of conquest?

There are any number of ways a game can test such things. But it's not clear why the arena for testing should, on some principled ground, exclude the emotional life of the PC but not his/her physical life.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sorry, the highly specific example of having found out in play that 6 of her 7 husbands had vanished seemed a bit unlikely as a reason why the wink would not affect your character as opposed to something more routine like the character resisting the urge to give in to a pretty face. That’s all I meant.

I read about that sort of thing happening on pretty much an annual basis, often multiple times. Maybe not 7 times, but black widows aren't a crazy example. There are also other things that can influence reactions. I was working retail in a corporate store many years ago. One of the models came down to the department I was working in and was flirting with me. While the flirting was going on a kid who was maybe 4 walked by with his mother. The model took note of them and said in a very serious tone, "I just hate kids. When they bother me, it makes me want to drown them." And just like that there was no attraction left whatsoever and pretty much nothing could have brought it back. Deal breakers are very common and don't have to be major like a black widow.

Because you claimed that a Melted Heart dictated exactly what happened. But since the phrase “melted heart” is kind of vague, I figure I’d check the Condition descriptions to see the exact effects.

Melted heart was actually a misstatement on my part. I believe the example is warmed heart, which is not quite as extreme, yet still a bit vague. What it does imply, though, is that my PC likes this woman to some degree, which is not necessarily where I would take my PC, and could in fact be where I don't want my PC to go. The DM isn't in tune enough with a character to make that kind of decision for one.

Well all systems have flaws and are subject to abuse of one kind or another. My point is that the Flaws in 5E are flawed because it’s purely incentive based to have a player actually roleplay the Flaw in any meaningful way. If he does so, he gets Inspiration. That’s it. So no matter what else comes up, no matter how closely it may fit the character’s Flaw (or Traits, Bond, or Ideals, really) the player can always simply ignore it, and all that happens is he is not awarded Inspiration.


Yes, all systems are flawed. I didn't go there, because I figured that wouldn't be useful or clarifying, and figured that since you'd be aware of that, you probably meant serious or major flaws. I don't see the 5e system as having serious or major flaws. It may not go as far as I would prefer on encouraging this sort of roleplay, but that's a personal preference and not indicative of a flaw on 5e's part.

I look at 5e's system as being light so as to just kinds put into the minds of new players ideas on how to roleplay and create characters with flaws and personality traits. I think it's deliberately weak in order to allow the game to work with various playstyles.

As a system designed to inspire roleplay, this seems very limited to me. Yes, some players will “play in good faith” as you describe it and they’ll embrace their Flaws and all the complications they may bring. Others won’t. Does that mean they’re “playing in bad faith”? I don’t know. It’s certainly not cheating given the rules as presented....but it seems a bit weaselly to me. “I’ll only acknowledge this drawback if I feel like it”....just doesn’t really do it for me.

I think that if the players are using the system and a player is always avoiding by virtue of "I just happen to resist this time." when the chips are down and it's tough to roleplay, that's acting in bad faith. It depends on the group and what they decide to use. Some won't use flaws and such at all. Others will say use them if you want, when you want. Others will have the expectation that these things will be roleplayed. It's really the last group where the bad faith can rear up.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The example of a NPC maiden softening a PC's heart with a wink came from you. So what system did you have in mind? I don't think the onus is on me to flesh out your example! If you think your example is underspecified then flesh it out yourself!

In the OP I put forward, as a description a PC's action, I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink.
And as that also has no context or mechanical references to back it up, neither - quite intentionally - does my reverse example.

In fact, that was my whole point in making that example: a player trying to affect an NPC should be bound by the same strictures as a GM trying to affect a PC in the same way. In the original example, the PC declares both the action (the wink) and the outcome (the softened heart) without the NPC getting a chance to resist as a) no mechanics are referenced and b) the wording is phrased as a statement of fact rather than an attempt, or a question - it's a done deal.

So why, I asked myself, is this sort of thing acceptable in one direction but not the reverse; and so I put the reverse example out there to bring this to light.

Systems I can think of where that is a permissible action declaration include Prince Valiant (probably a check on Presence + Glamourie; it might also be done by using a Storyteller's Certificate to Incite Lust as a special effect), Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic (a check intended to inflict a Complication, or perhaps Emotional or Mental Stress, depending on context and further elaboration), Maelstrom Storytelling (I think I got the example from a rulebook example of a Quick Take), 4th ed D&D if the table is in the right mood (it would be a CHA check, or in the right context perhaps a Bluff or even a Diplomacy check - 4e is not super-prescriptive in respect of what skills can be used to do what), even Burning Wheel or Rolemaster if the setting/genre is not too grim (a Seduction check). I can't remember the scope of Seduction in The Dying Earth but I wouldn't be surprised if it covers this sort of thing also.
And every single one of those examples references a game mechanic that ends up determining whether the heart is in fact softened or not; and that's fine.

But the original example did not. The NPC's reaction was simply narrated as a part of the action declaration, implying said reaction was a fait accompli and somehow bypassed game mechanics entirely.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Upthread the notion of roleplaying - what it is, what it isn't - was raised.

The closest to a consensus position that was put forward was that it involved playing the role of a character in a fictional world. In a RPG, there is an additional element of advocacy for the character on account of it being a game, where the participants therefore in some sense aspire to do well.

A number of posters - with @FrogReaver in the forefront - seem to take it that (at least in the context of RPGing) roleplaying also involves or requires establishing and maintaining a conception of the character one is playing.

I'm curious about this. Is this a particularly strong or focused version of advocacy? Something else?

And why are PC emotional states such a focus of discussion in relation to it? If my character is Conan the Barbarian, who - as we all know - "came . . . black-haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet", then maybe being a throne-treader is more central to my character conception than exercising control over my character's melancholies and mirths (and lusts, for that matter).

And going back to advocacy - isn't one typical feature of RPG play to test the player's conception of his/her PC? Am I really as righteous as I think? As resistant to temptation? As capable of conquest?

There are any number of ways a game can test such things. But it's not clear why the arena for testing should, on some principled ground, exclude the emotional life of the PC but not his/her physical life.

Why do you think that people here are saying that emotional life of the PC should be excluded from testing? I find such tests to often be more engaging than the physical ones.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't understand what your example has to do with minion rules.

Minion rules are a mechanical device in some systems (4e D&D perhaps most famously, but certainly not exclusively) for adjudicating declared actions (in 4e D&D, mostly fight-y actions) by players for their PCs. If your ingame inhabitant sees her doughty working people cut down with little trouble by Conan and friends, where is the inconsistency?

Consistency is a property of, and often a virtue of, a fiction. Minion rules are a device for establishing the content of a shared RPG fiction in certain contexts. If you mis-use the rules you might get poor fiction. Likewise in Moldvay Basic if you misuse the rules for DEX checks - eg require a DEX check every 10' to avoid the PCs falling down like Charlie Chaplin on a bad day - you'll get stupid fiction. But everyone knows that that's not how you use DEX checks.

Mutatis mutandis for minion rules.
When a PC is around, minions have 1 h.p. When there's no PC around, they have h.p. suitable to whatever creature type they are.

A bar full of minion brawlers can have an ordinary bar fight without a PC present, but once a PC shows up things get weird because the very presence of the PC changes the mechanics for all those minions. Consistency, meanwhile, flies off across the lake...

In response to [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] you say:

I don't really follow the detail of this. My take away - drawing in part on your earlier posts - is that you don't like a system which permits some mechanism to establish a PC's emotion other than player decision, unless that mechanism correlates to or gives expression to an in-fiction thing that bears the label magic.
For me at least, the point is not one of dislike of such effects where there's a mechanism, it's one of dislike of situations where the effects happen with NO mechanism.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I have no problem with D&D. I love D&D....I play it all the time. But this is an area of play that doesn’t seem to be a focal point for D&D. A PC being influenced by an NPC in some mechanical way....are there any examples that don’t involve magic? I’m trying to come up with some, and the only thing I can think of is Surprise in combat, but nothing else.
The first one that leaps to my mind are 4e forced-movement (push-pull-slide) effects in combat; and trample/pushback rules in earlier editions. And traps, where an NPC actually sets them off just at the right moment. But those are physical effects, though still mechanical in nature.

A PC being mentally influenced without magic - Intimidate, Bluff, and Persuasion skills can try, if a DM has the stones to do it. But after that, there's not much.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
No. We're asking you what action you think is required on your PC's part. At least I am. (And I'm pretty sure the same is true for @hawkeyefan.)

My heart being melted isn't an action. It's an emotional state. What action do you think is required/dictated by that state?

Yes it is an action.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Upthread the notion of roleplaying - what it is, what it isn't - was raised.

The closest to a consensus position that was put forward was that it involved playing the role of a character in a fictional world. In a RPG, there is an additional element of advocacy for the character on account of it being a game, where the participants therefore in some sense aspire to do well.

A number of posters - with [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] in the forefront - seem to take it that (at least in the context of RPGing) roleplaying also involves or requires establishing and maintaining a conception of the character one is playing.

I'm curious about this. Is this a particularly strong or focused version of advocacy? Something else?
Something else, I think: without a conception of the character one is trying to portray to base said portrayal on, one's portrayal risks being inconsistent and-or conflicted. The advocacy then comes from the portrayal, as informed by the concept.

And why are PC emotional states such a focus of discussion in relation to it? If my character is Conan the Barbarian, who - as we all know - "came . . . black-haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet", then maybe being a throne-treader is more central to my character conception than exercising control over my character's melancholies and mirths (and lusts, for that matter).

And going back to advocacy - isn't one typical feature of RPG play to test the player's conception of his/her PC? Am I really as righteous as I think? As resistant to temptation? As capable of conquest?

There are any number of ways a game can test such things. But it's not clear why the arena for testing should, on some principled ground, exclude the emotional life of the PC but not his/her physical life.
Strange though it may sound, I agree with you here. Character emotions very much should be fair game for testing.

But testing, not manipulating.

"The maiden winks at you and tries to melt your heart" is a test, and a perfectly valid one at that.
"The maiden winks at you and melts your heart" is a manipulation. See the difference?
 


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