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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Nagol

Unimportant
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.

1e has a bunch. Loyalty of henchman has a variety of mechanical triggers a PC can manipulate. Morale of opponents is often manipulated in games of 1e I run. Reactions of NPCs can occasionally be twiddled with through circumstance and previous knowledge of the character and motivations of the NPC.
 

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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I don't quite know what you mean by "direct test".

Here's the full text of the Seduce/Manipulate move in Apocalypse World (p 87), although with some paragraph breaks interpolated:

When you try to seduce or manipulate someone, tell them what you want and roll+hot.

For NPCs: on a hit, they ask you to promise something first, and do it if you promise. On a 10+, whether you keep your promise is up to you, later. On a 7–9, they need some concrete assurance right now.

For PCs: on a 10+, both. On a 7–9, choose 1:
if they do it, they mark experience
if they refuse, it’s acting under fire
What they do then is up to them.​

This is player vs player, not GM vs player, but I would assume that your principle is meant to generalise to that case too. The roll here is all on one side: with a successful check, I can bring it about that your PC is under a mechanical penalty ("acting under fire") if they don't do what I tell them I want them to do.

Does that satisfy your direct test requirement?

Yeah, I'd say so. Players/GM is directly testing that particular unknown (how the PC will react) with a defined way to make that decision.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
every action is a reaction...

No. A character can and will on occasion take an action that is not in response to something that went before. As an example, my sitting to look at EN World this evening was not a reaction to anything. I just chose to do so at this time.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
No. A character can and will on occasion take an action that is not in response to something that went before. As an example, my sitting to look at EN World this evening was not a reaction to anything. I just chose to do so at this time.

yes it was. I cannot tell you of what, because I do not pretend to be omniscient. but it was a reaction
 

Yes there is such a thing as abuse of DM authority in 5e. Here are the roles of the DM from the 5e DMG.

"...And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them."

There is no rule that says the DM gets to run my PC for me. Nor is that part of his roles.
You quoted it: the DM has carte blanche to change the rules. He wants to "run your character" he can.

More to the point, as in the earlier examples of the OP, DMs have routinely, in describing the results of success or failure, filled in PC actions, reactions and responses.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You quoted it: the DM has carte blanche to change the rules. He wants to "run your character" he can.

More to the point, as in the earlier examples of the OP, DMs have routinely, in describing the results of success or failure, filled in PC actions, reactions and responses.

Soooo, that's not a rule that says the DM can run my character. At all. That's a rule that says that the DM can create house rules, and nobody is disputing that the DM can create house rules. House rules, though, have no place in a discussion about rules, and there are no rules that say the DM can run my character.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
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 think when you put it that way it's a fairly common view. For many people that's precisely roleplaying in an RPG is all about. They may not be able to put their view into words sufficiently well to answer all questions about it. I couldn't at the start of this thread. I am better at that now.

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

Per your definition of advocacy above it's not about advocacy at all. Establishing and maintaining a conception of the character I'm playing has nothing to do with aspiring for that character to do well.

It's something else. Something much deeper.

Consider this, I have a character with 6 int. I constantly am playing up that 6 int and putting my character in bad situations. So while I advocate for the character, for example when presented with 2 courses of action I think are equally likely for my PC I will tend to pick either the one that will be more fun for the group or the one that will be better for him. But barring that extreme case, the PC get's roleplayed in such a way that his flaws put him in bad situations without any need mechanics at all.

So getting back to the question, what is with the idea that Roleplaying in an RPG involves or requires maintaining character conception? IMO that character conception is how I as a player know what I'm roleplaying. That's not saying every detail of my character concept is worked out at the start of the game. Some of my character conception is emergent and evolves with the game as well. But without that character conception I have no idea what I'm actually trying to roleplay. That's why it's so important to roleplaying in an RPG.

So if something forces my character to do something that doesn't line up with my conception, it ends up being a startling realization that the character concept that I was trying to roleplay doesn't actually exist in this game.

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).

In Conan's case both things would be intergral to the Conan character concept. If the GM managed to force Conan to do something that the player envisioned the Conan character wouldn't do then the GM just broke that player's character concept - which brings with it a startling realization that the character you thought you were playing doesn't actually exist.

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?

I don't think so. RPG mechanics exist for a few reasons (of which testing a player's conception of his/her PC isn't one). The closest reason to your suggested feature is to resolve uncertainty - which is not directly related to testing the player's conception of his/her PC.

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.

If the goal isn't to test a players concept of their PC (as I believe that would make a strange reason for a mechanic in an RPG) but rather to resolve uncertainty then the principled ground is: "there is no uncertainty in how my PC reacts to the maidens wink, he ignores her because a woman that easy isn't worth his time".
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
yes it was. I cannot tell you of what, because I do not pretend to be omniscient. but it was a reaction

Dude, repeating the assertion without support does not make me (or, I expect, most of this audience) more likely to accept it. Nor does it make it true. You should either back it up with some reasoning, or abandon it.

Absolutes (like "all") are tricksy things. They often lead to extreme ends. I am of the sneaking suspicion that your position will be found to be non-falsifiable, or quite possibly equivalent to there being no free will, or both. The former is uninteresting to discuss, and the latter is pointless (kind of by definition - if there is no free will, discussing *anything* has as much purpose as discussing with a brick wall).
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Dude, repeating the assertion without support does not make me (or, I expect, most of this audience) more likely to accept it. Nor does it make it true. You should either back it up with some reasoning, or abandon it.

Absolutes (like "all") are tricksy things. They often lead to extreme ends. I am of the sneaking suspicion that your position will be found to be non-falsifiable, or quite possibly equivalent to there being no free will, or both. The former is uninteresting to discuss, and the latter is pointless (kind of by definition - if there is no free will, discussing *anything* has as much purpose as discussing with a brick wall).

Free will is not mutually exclusive with everything having a cause.

nor is discussion pointless even without free will - it can always be that this discussion was the pre-ordained one that will change your mind.
 

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.

It's not wordgames.

If someone else can say, "no, you don't" on any aspect of your action, they YOU are not in control. If the GM can call for a roll to succeed, you have had control taken away. If the GM can fiat say, "you failed," again, you've lost control over the character's actions.

You're expressing a fundamental disbelief in one of the most important elements that makes RPGing different from other forms of improv... you don't have control over the character you play at all levels. You have only as much control as the system and GM allows you to have.

Part of the implicit social contract of play is that you have to cede control over some aspects of the character over to either dice or the GM (or both) in order to play.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
1e has a bunch. Loyalty of henchman has a variety of mechanical triggers a PC can manipulate. Morale of opponents is often manipulated in games of 1e I run. Reactions of NPCs can occasionally be twiddled with through circumstance and previous knowledge of the character and motivations of the NPC.
All true, but those are PCs influencing NPCs. We're looking for examples of the less-common reverse, where NPCs can influence PCs without magic.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's not wordgames.

If someone else can say, "no, you don't" on any aspect of your action, they YOU are not in control. If the GM can call for a roll to succeed, you have had control taken away.
Actually, no you haven't. You always had - and still have - control over the action declaration, and when to make it, and how; but any action declaration is merely an attempt to do or change something in the fiction and is thus not invalidated by either success or failure thereof. But you don't have - and never had - control over what the the outcome might be*, thus the GM calling for a roll doesn't change your level of control.

If the GM can fiat say, "you failed," again, you've lost control over the character's actions.
This, on the other hand, does change the level of control in that the attempt has been rendered invalid at source: you've lost control of your ability to make a valid attempt to do (or affect) something in the fiction.

* - though you might have some control over things that might influence the outcome or change the odds - anything from plot bennies to bonus dice to magic items to whatever.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
All true, but those are PCs influencing NPCs. We're looking for examples of the less-common reverse, where NPCs can influence PCs without magic.

Assuming psionics are considered relabelled magic then I got nothing pre 4e. Early 4e had at least one martial manoeuvre that moved a PC without forced movement, but got somewhat patched up to allow player refusal. D&D has always allowed the player complete control over emotional and intellectual motivations and reactions.

Specific adventures, written as inconsistently as they were, might have a few examples of NPCs with persuasiveness so good it acts as if it were magic. Typical attempts to manipulate PCs in D&D rely on circumstance and situation, like telling the players that the widows and orphans will die in 1d6+1 rounds and thus they'll lose their mission bonus unless they are rescued first. It hasn't mechanically represented personality or motivation in game in a way to test it and specifically exempts PCs from those tests NPCs face -- like morale, intimidation, et al.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If someone else can say, "no, you don't" on any aspect of your action, they YOU are not in control. If the GM can call for a roll to succeed, you have had control taken away. If the GM can fiat say, "you failed," again, you've lost control over the character's actions.

I haven't lost control of the character's action in that circumstance. I simply do not control the result. My character still takes the action I desire, and the DM states the action failed. I've never argued that I should have control over the result of the action.

You're expressing a fundamental disbelief in one of the most important elements that makes RPGing different from other forms of improv... you don't have control over the character you play at all levels. You have only as much control as the system and GM allows you to have.

Part of the implicit social contract of play is that you have to cede control over some aspects of the character over to either dice or the GM (or both) in order to play.

No, that's not what I'm expressing. You're just confusing the result of the action with the action itself. They are two different things. The DM cannot tell me that my character doesn't try and take a running jump over the Grand Canyon. He can just tell me that I failed without allowing a roll, since it's an impossible feat to accomplish. In many, if not most RPGs, the player has full control over his PC's actions. I won't play the ones that don't allow full control for reasons that are not D&D, despite the failed attempts of some here to paint it that way.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This, on the other hand, does change the level of control in that the attempt has been rendered invalid at source: you've lost control of your ability to make a valid attempt to do (or affect) something in the fiction.

I disagree. Remember, [MENTION=6779310]aramis erak[/MENTION] is assuming a valid social contract, "Part of the implicit social contract of play is that you have to cede control over some aspects of the character over to either dice or the GM (or both) in order to play." That means that the DM isn't going to be using that fiat to cause an attempt that has a chance to succeed to auto fail, as that would violate the social contract. Telling the PC his character fails at an attempted task with no chance of success is not rendering the attempt invalid. It's simply the proper response to the attempted action.

 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
[MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION]

i think there is a pre-step I’ve been missing that changes everything

in d&d I cannot role play the character that can never lose at combat as such a character isn’t supported by the rules of the game. The pre- step is that I as a player don’t conceive of a character that the rules wouldn’t support

so in the case of the maiden winking melting my heart I can imagine a game that possesses such a mechanic so that I know not to conceive of a character possessing a trait that would be against said mechanic.

Maybe that hat is the real crux of the issue.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
[MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION]

i think there is a pre-step I’ve been missing that changes everything

in d&d I cannot role play the character that can never lose at combat as such a character isn’t supported by the rules of the game. The pre- step is that I as a player don’t conceive of a character that the rules wouldn’t support

so in the case of the maiden winking melting my heart I can imagine a game that possesses such a mechanic so that I know not to conceive of a character possessing a trait that would be against said mechanic.

Maybe that hat is the real crux of the issue.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
@pemerton

i think there is a pre-step I’ve been missing that changes everything

in d&d I cannot role play the character that can never lose at combat as such a character isn’t supported by the rules of the game. The pre- step is that I as a player don’t conceive of a character that the rules wouldn’t support

so in the case of the maiden winking melting my heart I can imagine a game that possesses such a mechanic so that I know not to conceive of a character possessing a trait that would be against said mechanic.

Maybe that hat is the real crux of the issue.
[MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION]

I think this above is precisely what you have been saying about it being okay as long as their is a mechanic
 

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