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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You're missing my point, but that's partly on me for not being consistently explicit. There are no consequences to characterization. Your characterization is not at risk. Everything you mention here is external to the character -- and, I'm not, nor have I been, talking about that. So, I get you fine, it's you missing my points.
Nah. You just somehow don't understand what it is that I do. You see, if my knight whose concept is a knightly paragon of virtue gets put into that situation, he may or may not succumb to the maiden's wiles. His character is indeed at risk, as if he does succumb, his concept is dead or dying. Not only that, but if he succumbs, I then have to struggle with he reacts to his fall. Does he do the right thing and marry her? Probably. Does he fall into a great depression, perhaps drinking or not doing anything, including the quest? Maybe. Does he try to atone? Does he pretend it didn't happen and do double duty on knightly virtue stuff? And so on. Lots and lots of character development and risk to who and what he was.

I didn't mention that stuff, because it was so obvious that if it was a hole, you could drive an 18 wheeler through it, so I figured you'd understand.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
But even so, rolling a die or having the DM dictate a failure of chastity...or even just a temptation...is kinda boring. In my opinion.
Isn't what he is suggesting what is classically referred to as roll playing. When you roll dice to determine if your characters heart is melted, if you are tempted etc.

Aren't playstyles heavy in such mechanics also classically deemed simulationist.

I find it strange that the playstyle I'm advocating for has been referred to as roll-playing and simulationist etc, but that such mechanical tests that [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] and others keep referring to actually would be much clearer examples of such terms than anything I've advocated for.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yep, sandboxes are impractical, but back in the day, lots of people did populate the whole thing. Even in outline, it is a lot of work.

The one thing a sandbox needs, beyond the fact that the tower exists, is how much of a challenge that tower is, and what the basic challenge consists of (is it a wizard, a dragon, or what?) Without that information, the GM cannot telegraph how hard it is, and PCs cannot make meaningful choices (which is what sandbox play has been argued to center upon).

In the style Ovinomancer is referencing, you don't even have an outline. The world description may b e a couple of paragraphs of flavor text, and everything else is generated à la minute.

Some game engines (like Cortex+) can generate much/most of the content out of die rolls and context.
Yeah. I understand that there are some significant differences, but there are a lot of similarities as well. I also don't think, in fact I know, that you don't have to know how much of a challenge the tower is. It's a name on a map and as soon as the PCs express interest in finding out, you can improv it, roll it, or determine what challenge level it is while they are doing their research or travelling towards it, so that any needful telegraphing can occur.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Nah. You just somehow don't understand what it is that I do. You see, if my knight whose concept is a knightly paragon of virtue gets put into that situation, he may or may not succumb to the maiden's wiles. His character is indeed at risk, as if he does succumb, his concept is dead or dying. Not only that, but if he succumbs, I then have to struggle with he reacts to his fall. Does he do the right thing and marry her? Probably. Does he fall into a great depression, perhaps drinking or not doing anything, including the quest? Maybe. Does he try to atone? Does he pretend it didn't happen and do double duty on knightly virtue stuff? And so on. Lots and lots of character development and risk to who and what he was.

I didn't mention that stuff, because it was so obvious that if it was a hole, you could drive an 18 wheeler through it, so I figured you'd understand.
Great example of a concept evolving through play. Nothing wrong with that, unless it's someone other than the player that gets to choose to evolve the concept.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Great example of a concept evolving through play. Nothing wrong with that, unless it's someone other than the player that gets to choose to evolve the concept.
I can't think of any of my concepts that survived from conception to the end of the campaign without changes, often significant ones. People evolve and so do my characters.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
What I have learned form this thread is that when I run a game where some of the players are die-hard simulationists who need rules for everything the GM does, when I want to have someone fall in love, all I should do is this:
Oh please, no one has asked for rules for everything the GM does. I'm fine with him doing nearly anything. The only thing I ask for is that he don't try to control things about my character for which there aren't mechanics for - and that if an NPC does that the NPC be special. I have no problem with a single special maiden doing what is described. I have a problem with every maiden doing what is described (barring some kind of setting where all maidens are extremely special simply by virtue of being a maiden).

GM: The maiden winks at you ... what's your will / determination / mental resistance ?
Player: <number>
GM: <Rolls behind screen> your heart is melted by the wink.

So the interesting thing here is that if the GM is actually doing some sort of rule, everyone is happy. If the GM is not, then half the people are furious. But this is completely not observable, and so it boils down to "do I trust the GM to be fair?"
It boils down to whether the maiden in question is special. The DM giving her the special ability to melt hearts with a wink is very observable whether he names the ability in play or not. Trust actually isn't much of a factor IMO as all of this works just fine in the game of a random stranger who I don't know.

This is exactly the same situation as if the GM doesn't roll dice. If the GM says "The maiden winks at you and melts your heart" without consulting rules, it's the same thing -- do I trust the GM? If I do, then great, something fun will happen. If I don't, then I'm upset.
It's not much of an RPG if the DM dictates how your character thinks and feels for you, especially without consulting any dice to do so.

Consulting rules makes zero difference here. It's just a question of whether or not you trust the GM to set up the game to be fun. Adding a veneer of rules on top is just a comfort blanket for gamers who really like rules
It makes all the difference. It's not about trust. It's about NPC specialness. It's not about trust, its about not taking overt control over a PC's character. I don't need a DM I trust, I need a DM that creates special NPC's if he wants to contest something normally uncontestable about my character and I need him not to take overt control over my PC.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Nah. You just somehow don't understand what it is that I do. You see, if my knight whose concept is a knightly paragon of virtue gets put into that situation, he may or may not succumb to the maiden's wiles. His character is indeed at risk, as if he does succumb, his concept is dead or dying. Not only that, but if he succumbs, I then have to struggle with he reacts to his fall. Does he do the right thing and marry her? Probably. Does he fall into a great depression, perhaps drinking or not doing anything, including the quest? Maybe. Does he try to atone? Does he pretend it didn't happen and do double duty on knightly virtue stuff? And so on. Lots and lots of character development and risk to who and what he was.

I didn't mention that stuff, because it was so obvious that if it was a hole, you could drive an 18 wheeler through it, so I figured you'd understand.
All those things may happen, yes. But they happen if the player decides that they happen. So in that sense, there is no risk.

If we take the idea and instead apply it to combat, perhaps that will make it clearer. When I enter combat, only I decide how my character is affected. The DM tells me an orc attacks me....I declare it is a miss. A spell goes off? My character avoids the effects.

Yes, I could decide to say that the orc’s attack inflicts 12 HP of damage, or even that it was a critical and my PC lost an eye! I could decide that the spell incinerates my PC, and his adventuring days are done!

But however it actually plays out, is all up to me.

So, given that these things can happen to my PC, combat’s just as risky for my PC as it would be for PCs where the game functions normally.

Right?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
All those things may happen, yes. But they happen if the player decides that they happen. So in that sense, there is no risk.
I have no control over what the DM does that might impact my character's character, though. As he challenges me, sooner or later things will happen that cause my character to deviate that I have no control over.

If we take the idea and instead apply it to combat, perhaps that will make it clearer. When I enter combat, only I decide how my character is affected. The DM tells me an orc attacks me....I declare it is a miss. A spell goes off? My character avoids the effects.

Yes, I could decide to say that the orc’s attack inflicts 12 HP of damage, or even that it was a critical and my PC lost an eye! I could decide that the spell incinerates my PC, and his adventuring days are done!

But however it actually plays out, is all up to me.

So, given that these things can happen to my PC, combat’s just as risky for my PC as it would be for PCs where the game functions normally.

Right?
But you have no control over if or when an orc attacks. Going outside is a risk, because you might be attacked and sooner or later, playing with swords causes someone to lose an eye.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Isn't what he is suggesting what is classically referred to as roll playing. When you roll dice to determine if your characters heart is melted, if you are tempted etc.

Aren't playstyles heavy in such mechanics also classically deemed simulationist.

I find it strange that the playstyle I'm advocating for has been referred to as roll-playing and simulationist etc, but that such mechanical tests that @Ovinomancer and others keep referring to actually would be much clearer examples of such terms than anything I've advocated for.
I think you are trying to adopt too narrow a definition of "roleplaying". There's nothing inherent in the term that suggests the person doing the playing must also choose the role.

A game where you draw cards and act out the emotions and intentions you find on your card could still be roleplaying.

Just not the sort I like.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
All those things may happen, yes. But they happen if the player decides that they happen. So in that sense, there is no risk.

If we take the idea and instead apply it to combat, perhaps that will make it clearer. When I enter combat, only I decide how my character is affected. The DM tells me an orc attacks me....I declare it is a miss. A spell goes off? My character avoids the effects.

Yes, I could decide to say that the orc’s attack inflicts 12 HP of damage, or even that it was a critical and my PC lost an eye! I could decide that the spell incinerates my PC, and his adventuring days are done!

But however it actually plays out, is all up to me.

So, given that these things can happen to my PC, combat’s just as risky for my PC as it would be for PCs where the game functions normally.

Right?
If you are talking about a game in which "Seductive Wink" is a known mechanic, and has been defined in the way that sword attacks and the like are, then sure.

But otherwise it sounds like you're conflating "DM Fiat" with actual rules.

EDIT:

Alternatively, here's how to make the comparison apples-to-apples:

The orc makes an attack and does 12 damage according to the rules of the game, and the DM says, "Suddenly you have an overwhelming sense of your own mortality and sink into melancholy."

There. That's an apt comparison to "The maiden winks at you and melts your heart."
 
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hawkeyefan

Explorer
I have no control over what the DM does that might impact my character's character, though. As he challenges me, sooner or later things will happen that cause my character to deviate that I have no control over.

But you have no control over if or when an orc attacks. Going outside is a risk, because you might be attacked and sooner or later, playing with swords causes someone to lose an eye.
But the outcome is always up to the player. They may choose to lose an eye, yes....out of some sense of realism or because they think it’ll be dramatic or any other reason. But it’s up to them. They don’t ever have to lose an eye, or fail a save, or face any other outcome that they don’t want to face.

But you didn’t really answer my question. If combat works for me where I decide the outcome, but it works for you along the traditional D&D type expectations, who faces more risk in combat? Me or you? Or is it the same?
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
If you are talking about a game in which "Seductive Wink" is a known mechanic, and has been defined in the way that sword attacks and the like are, then sure.

But otherwise it sounds like you're conflating "DM Fiat" with actual rules.

EDIT:

Alternatively, here's how to make the comparison apples-to-apples:

The orc makes an attack and does 12 damage according to the rules of the game, and the DM says, "Suddenly you have an overwhelming sense of your own mortality and sink into melancholy."

There. That's an apt comparison to "The maiden winks at you and melts your heart."
I didn’t mention the maiden’s wink. I’m asking if combat mechanics for a game worked in such a way that the player decided the outcome of combat for their character, would you consider such a system more or less risky than the traditional D&D combat system?
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I didn’t mention the maiden’s wink. I’m asking if combat mechanics for a game worked in such a way that the player decided the outcome of combat for their character, would you consider such a system more or less risky than the traditional D&D combat system?
Well, that's exactly how I handle PvP. (Thanks, [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION]!)

I'm actually tempted to ask you to define "risky", but I'll assume the LCD meaning and say "less risky".

Point?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
All those things may happen, yes. But they happen if the player decides that they happen. So in that sense, there is no risk.

If we take the idea and instead apply it to combat, perhaps that will make it clearer. When I enter combat, only I decide how my character is affected. The DM tells me an orc attacks me....I declare it is a miss. A spell goes off? My character avoids the effects.

Yes, I could decide to say that the orc’s attack inflicts 12 HP of damage, or even that it was a critical and my PC lost an eye! I could decide that the spell incinerates my PC, and his adventuring days are done!

But however it actually plays out, is all up to me.

So, given that these things can happen to my PC, combat’s just as risky for my PC as it would be for PCs where the game functions normally.

Right?
It depends on how the scene is framed. There can be risk in such combats (though what you describe is not a combat resolution system I would enjoy).

Let me give an example. Perhaps if you fight too well the King notices but the captain is jealous and if you don't fight well the king doesn't notice you but the princess notices just how weak you are and since she carries carries favor with the king you are kicked out of army and if you fight just well enough then might get selected to be on the front lines of the next great battle.

-All of those scenarios carry a risk and a possible reward depending on if you overcome the risk.

It's a different kind of risk for sure, but even then there's potential risks involved - sometimes no matter what choice you make.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Well, that's exactly how I handle PvP. (Thanks, @iserith!)

I'm actually tempted to ask you to define "risky", but I'll assume the LCD meaning and say "less risky".

Point?
Just that systems that leave outcomes up to the player are less risky than those that resolve them in other ways. Could be combat, could be social encounters.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But the outcome is always up to the player. They may choose to lose an eye, yes....out of some sense of realism or because they think it’ll be dramatic or any other reason. But it’s up to them. They don’t ever have to lose an eye, or fail a save, or face any other outcome that they don’t want to face.
It isn't about "want." I may want to remain a paragon of knightly virtue, but if the circumstances warrant a fall, it's going to happen whether I want it to or not. I'm not going to play in bad faith and avoid something that is warranted, just because I don't want it to happen.

But you didn’t really answer my question. If combat works for me where I decide the outcome, but it works for you along the traditional D&D type expectations, who faces more risk in combat? Me or you? Or is it the same?
There's more risk with the random method. There is still risk with you deciding things..........if you're playing in good faith anyway.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Just that systems that leave outcomes up to the player are less risky than those that resolve them in other ways. Could be combat, could be social encounters.
Cool, but you've moved the goalposts. The debate is between zero risk and risk, not more risk and less risk. That you've acknowledged that there is at least some risk with me deciding the outcomes is enough for me. Some risk is all I've argued.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not really. Suppose that the first is stated by the GM, the player makes a Resist Passion roll, and fails, and then the GM state the second. How did this situation suddenly change from "test" to "manipulation"?
It didn't. The invokation and use of a mechanic (the Resist Passion roll) kept it at 'test', which was then failed, thus giving the GM the right to narrate the results of said failure. All is good.

But the second statement without any mechanics involved isn't a test, it's a manipulation.

Or to give a different example. The GM has described the dungeon corridor that the PCs are standing in. The player says I walk down the left-hand path, inspecting the ceiling as I go. The GM responds, OK, after about 10' you find yourself falling - that bit of floor was an illusion! Is that "test" or "manipulation"?
It's magic, which allows a certain amount of bypassing the normal rules. Same idea, in a way, as how a charm spell allows a DM to make a PC do/feel things he might otherwise not.

However, let's say it wasn't an illusion but just a simple pit. The player has stated the PC is specifically looking at the ceiling, so the GM just deciding that the PC doesn't see the pit coming* might be fair game; though I think most would give some sort of perception roll in any case and have that one roll kind of serve two purposes: a) did the PC notice anyhting odd about the ceiling and b) did the PC happen to notice the pit ahead.

* - one has to ask why the rest of the party aren't warning this poor sot to watch where he's putting his feet. :)

I wrote the OP, so I can condidently say that you are wrong about this. The OP says nothing in particular about what the mechanics and system conventions might be around establishing true descriptions of PC actions - for instance, what resources might need to be spent in order to be permitted to make a description true. It deliberately and expressly makes the range of possibilities a matter of discussion!
Actually, that it says nothing about the mechanics and system conventions being used says to me quite specifically that there are none being used at all (otherwise they'd have been mentioned, hm?) and thus it's an example of a player dictating an NPC's reaction.

I think you may have missed the point of the OP. I described an action - I wink at the maiden, melting her heart - in the course of inviting discussion about how these descriptions of actions might be made true of the fiction. The OP canvsasses decision-making and checks - for D&D players, this at least roughly corresponds to the difference between spell-casting and thief abilities.

I don't know why you would equate a player decision-amking ability with bypassing game mechanics.
But that's just the point: you didn't just describe an action. You described an action (winking at the maiden) and its result (melting her heart) all in one. The action is fine, but describing the result without reference to either it being an attempt only or to any system mechanics or conventions is where the problems arise: it reads as if game mechancs ARE being bypassed by player fiat - which is why I turned the example around to make it GM fiat so you and others could see the problem for what it was.

The whole point of the OP was that simply saying The players decide what their PCs do isn't a useful description of any RPG, given that I wink at the maiden, melting her heart is a true description of what a PC does, but isn't something that a player normally has the unfettered power to make true in a RPG.
Actually, no it isn't.

'I wink at the maiden' is a true description of what a PC does. 'Melting her heart' is merely a description of, one must assume, the PC's goal in doing it; but without the co-operation of the maiden there's no implied guarantee that this goal will be achieved...except by use of either game mechanics (which aren't mentioned) or GM fiat (which, as mechancs aren't mentioned, becomes the default). It's merely an attempt, and thus should be phrased as such.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This still makes no sense. Are you talking about the fiction (in which nothing has hp - hit points are not a part of the gameworld) or about resolution mechanics?
Hit points per se aren't a part of the game world but what they describe - a creature's general degree of toughness and resilience - is.

Take a typical ogre. They're usually pretty tough and can take a few solid hits from pretty much any other ogre before going down - this is represented in game mechanics by their usually having a decent amount of h.p. - let's for argument's sake say 60 each. So two of these ogres get into a fight - they whale on each other a while until one goes down bruised and bleeding and the other steals his cake. We're good so far, right?

Now take those same two ogres (who have recovered from their fight) and have them fight two low-level characters who are each capable, let's say, of doing about 15 points damage per round given good rolls. The ogres give it out, they take it, good fight, and for these purposes who cares who wins.

But now let's put these same ogres - who for consistency's sake should ALWAYS have toughness represented by 60 h.p. - and make them minions, and put them up against a high-level character who with good rolling can give out maybe 45 h.p. damage per round. If these ogres could keep their normal toughness they'd on average give that PC at least a 3-round workout before going down...but they're minions, meaning with good rolling the PC can wipe them out in a hearbeat. This is where the glaring inconsistency arises with minion rules, particularly when applied to larger and-or (usually) much tougher creatures.

(my actual numbers above are probably all far too low given 4e's hit point ranges, but the principle still applies)

Likewise. I don't think you understand how 4e's combat rules work.
I don't understand how they can work when viewed through any sort of lens of internal consistency.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure, if that's how you think characters are tested, I suppose it is boring.

Instead, picture the knight on a holy quest that has sworn a vow of chastity until the quest is complete. Then, a maiden melts his heart with a wink. The knight now has to decide between his love for the maiden and the importance of his quest, and, either way, we'll learn something about this character.
Agreed so far.

I think another problem with conceptualization here is the difference in how games that risk character play versus those that don't. In general, a game where the GM has some authority over character are those games that also play in the moment and not according to a preconceived plot. In the case of the knight above, the quest isn't something the GM has already written up in their notes but instead something that occurs from play. In that case, the knight suddenly deciding to go with the maiden doesn't derail the planned story because that choice is the story at that moment. Whereas in games with heavy GM authority that prefer inviolable character conceptualization (like D&D), this kind of sudden shift is difficult to deal with because the system relies so strongly on GM prep.
Oddly enough, it's not the GM's notes that are put in jeopardy here: it's the player's notes. :)

Why, you ask? Because one expects that a player is going to have some sort of basic idea about what makes a character tick, and will maybe even have some notes to that effect e.g.:

Chastain rose to knighthood from the common ranks, and though he tries to be noble he cannot forget his roots. As a means of separating himself from the free-swinging peasant society in which he was raised, he has sworn to remain chaste and pure until marriage, to only ever marry once, and to not entertain the thought at all until he has either completed a significant quest or won a significant tournament at the lists and thus proven himself worthy of the love of a lady of noble standing.

And then the maiden winks at him...and those notes suddenly might not mean as much as they did a moment ago.

The GM's notes (or lack thereof) don't much matter here - whether she's prepped the quest or not, this sort of thing can happen in any game; and it's just part of a GM's job to be able to hit curveballs like this when they arise. :)
 

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