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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
With respect - I think it is more that you expressed your idea here... very poorly.



It became controversial because... well, your words didn't say this. Sorry.
I didn't have any trouble understanding him. If you don't add words to what he said, you can avoid the conclusion leapt to.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I was trying to say that, if you are in complete control, you always have the ability to say, "Nah, this has no impact," and so there is never a challenge to the core. Challenge does not happen in a position of certainty.
That's simply untrue. I have been in a position where I can make the decision and I have been plenty challenged. I am frequently significantly challenged by situations that come up in game. Which way do I go with my character? It's not certain until the decision is made, which occurs after the challenge. The result of that challenge may be in my total control, but the challenge is there.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I didn't have any trouble understanding him. If you don't add words to what he said, you can avoid the conclusion leapt to.
Without actually adding any words I still think he says (intentionally or not) what I first assumed. But you apparently read something entirely different.

It's funny how that works.

Sometimes I think we should all communicate in nothing higher level than assembly language.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
That's simply untrue. I have been in a position where I can make the decision and I have been plenty challenged. I am frequently significantly challenged by situations that come up in game. Which way do I go with my character? It's not certain until the decision is made, which occurs after the challenge. The result of that challenge may be in my total control, but the challenge is there.
Yeah. Once again I find myself in the unfamiliar position of agreeing with you. :)

"You feel your heart melt, despite your vow. What do you do?" is one kind of challenge.

Having the maiden wink at you, and knowing that you both have to seduce her if you want to achieve the McGuffin, and knowing that it's going to jeopardize something if you do so, is another kind of challenge.

Or, heck, even just being tempted by the awesome story developments of letting your character break his vow, presents an interesting roleplaying challenge.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If you don't add words to what he said, you can avoid the conclusion leapt to.
What conclusion?

If you are going to accuse folks of jumping to things, please be clear. Misunderstandings cannot be corrected when you are being vague.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That's simply untrue. I have been in a position where I can make the decision and I have been plenty challenged.I am frequently significantly challenged by situations that come up in game. Which way do I go with my character? It's not certain until the decision is made, which occurs after the challenge. The result of that challenge may be in my total control, but the challenge is there.
With respect, two things -

1) I was speaking about a challenge *to the core of the character*. You are talking about a challenge to *you*, the player. You don't get to change th referent, and then asses my statement against the new referent.

2) I was also pretty clear about what I was talking about when I spoke of challenge in this context. If Chris Claremont writes a comic book about a conflict between Professor X and Magneto, there is no actual challenge to Professor X - only the illusion of one.

2a) You, the player/author may feel anxiety, uncertainty, angst, or other emotions over making a decision - but in the sense I defined it, this is not a "challenge", for the simple reason that there is no success or failure to be had. Mr. Claremont does not "succeed" if Professor X wins the comic book fight. You don't "fail" if the knight chooses chastity over Excalibur. The choice *isn't a test!*
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yes, although I haven't personally played them. (And is why I made a reference to Ace of Aces.) In a perfect world I would spend some time investigating and then post, but I do feel compelled to observe that RNG-less combat hasn't exactly caught on. I suspect there's a reason for that.
In a very practical sense, nothing that isn't D&D has really caught on. What was the statistic Morrus gave - 40 million people play D&D? By comparison to that, everything else is just an corner experiment, isn't it? Market realities have so much say in the success of a line that I don't think we can say market success speaks to the whether the mechanical design is flawed in concept all that much. Which is to say, yeah, if your mechanic sucks decaying donkey through a straw, your game won't succeed. But, having really awesome mechanics really doesn't mean you'll succeed either.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This is why I keep saying that you don't understand 4e's mechanics and combe resolution system.

Not all tough creatures in 4e have many hp. For instance, the PCs in my game have fought hobgolbins - undoubtedly skilled warriors - who had 1 hp. They have fought devils from the depth of the hells who had 1 hp.
Yes, and IMO that's an outright glaring error in how 4e handles these things.

4e uses many mechanical devices to present a creature as tough: hit points; Fortitude defence; various special abilities; and most of all level.
Put another way, it dredges up the old glass-cannon monster design issue from 1e and dials it up to 11. Why in the name of sweet bejeebers would a designer take a known problem and intentionally make it worse?

This is just nuts - you're now saying that 4e is inconsistent and mistaken because it uses a different combat resolution framework from the one that you're used to!

Absolutely bizarre.
Not bizarre at all. I'm saying it's mkstaken because to make that system work one has to make a conscious decision to throw out internal consistency when it comes to creatures within the setting; and given as there's systems out there which work perfectly well without forcing this decision, it boggles the mind that someone would design a system that requires it.

One thing that defines a creature is its [toughness/resilience/resistance to wounds/however you want to phrase it], shown in the fiction by how much physical harm or abuse a creature can withstand and still be functional and shown at the table by hit points. Hit points are a constant in the moment*, in that if a creature has 60 hit points here it has 60 hit points there and everywhere else, no matter its situation or who/what it's dealing with.

* - though they can, of course, change over time e.g. as an adventurer gains (or loses!) levels or a monster goes from child to adult.

Now true, sometimes against really powerful foes those 60 h.p. won't provide much of a buffer - but almost without exception they'll provide more of a buffer than just 1 h.p. will.

Defend it as you will, there's no getting around that when put under the light of internal setting consistency it's a poor and badly-designed mechanic particularly when applied to creatures that by their very nature should be resiloient enough to withstand a hit or two from almost anything.

As a pure game-play mechanic I'm sure it works great - but it's just that, an unnecessary game play mechanic that does nothing except remind players that this is nothing more than a game.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What I'm struggling with here is to understand the point you are making about risk.

I do get that risk and uncertainty make (or can make) games more exciting. But the consequence of a risk gone awry does matter. Traditionally (at least in my experience) in an RPG some of the things exposed to risk are:
- Health/Life
- Treasure/Possessions
- Allies
- Reputation
- XP/Levels (in older versions of D&D, for example)
- Maybe some other stuff I'm not thinking off at the moment.

Sure, "Character Concept" could be added to this list. But I'm not sure what that achieves, except to annoy people who think they should be in control of the concept. How about forcibly changing the character's name? Their physical description? Their class?
AFAIC all of those are fair play - I've had effects crop up in my games over the years that have done all these things.

One easy example of a forced change to character concept is a forced alignment change e.g. from a Helm of Opposite Alignment. But that's both mechanical and forced.

I think the type of challenge being brought up here is less (or not at all) mechanical or mechanics-based.

There's a problem with the Excalibur example, in that a sword like Excalibur can reasonably be expected to provide some mechanical combat benefits to its wielder and thus the player has to choose between maintaining a character concept or gaining some combat benefits - a non-mechanics option vs a mechanics one. This somewhat takes the choice out-of-character.

Oh, wait, real life example: the now-defunct Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity. Which you will note didn't make the cut for 5e. That adds (or used to add) another kind of risk. Does it make the game better to forcibly change the gender of a character?

Your answer may be 'yes', and if so that's illuminating. My answer would be 'no', except as comic relief, and maybe that gets to the heart of the difference in viewpoint.
It may or may not make the game better to actually have it happen, but I think it does make the game better to have it be out there as a known or rumoured threat - never mind I've once or twice in my games had some particularly chaotic characters actively seek such things out to use on themselves just for the hell of it. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
1) I was speaking about a challenge *to the core of the character*. You are talking about a challenge to *you*, the player. You don't get to change th referent, and then asses my statement against the new referent.
Given a decent level of immersion there shouldn't be all that much difference between the two.

2) I was also pretty clear about what I was talking about when I spoke of challenge in this context. If Chris Claremont writes a comic book about a conflict between Professor X and Magneto, there is no actual challenge to Professor X - only the illusion of one.

2a) You, the player/author may feel anxiety, uncertainty, angst, or other emotions over making a decision - but in the sense I defined it, this is not a "challenge", for the simple reason that there is no success or failure to be had. Mr. Claremont does not "succeed" if Professor X wins the comic book fight. You don't "fail" if the knight chooses chastity over Excalibur. The choice *isn't a test!*
Not all tests are strictly pass-fail.

Sometimes all options lead to varying degrees of failure and-or success e.g. choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils.

The questing knight, for example. Forget Excalibur for a moment, and let's just say he's on a quest to retrieve a McGuffin. (let's for argument's sake say he's also straight; and betrothed) At some key moment, probably when he meets her, he realizes the McGuffin's final guardian is its current rightful owner, a very comely commoner lass who seeks a noble husband. Before long he realizes that seducing her is an option, thus presenting him with a lot of to-him-unpalatable choices:

He can choose not to seduce her and thus maintain his chastity while failing his quest
He can choose to seduce her and succeed on his quest while breaking his vow of chastity (and maybe also his betrothal)
He can take the item by force or guile, thus marking himself as a thief and-or liar - though a chaste one
He can denounce her as evil (whether verified mechanically or not) and kill her, thus marking himself as a murderer
He can, rather unchivalrously, kick the problem down the road via letting the rest of his party deal with her while intentionally standing aside.

Every one of these options has elements of pass and elements of fail, all in one; because every one of them tests at least two of: loyalty to vows made; loyalty to quest; respect for laws of the land; and general chivalry. And I'd say this would represent a challenge to all of the character, the character concept, and the player.
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
What conclusion?

If you are going to accuse folks of jumping to things, please be clear. Misunderstandings cannot be corrected when you are being vague.
If you need me to tell you what conclusion you reached that you then blamed on another poster's phrasing... well, I'm just gonna have to let you wonder about that.
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
That's simply untrue. I have been in a position where I can make the decision and I have been plenty challenged. I am frequently significantly challenged by situations that come up in game. Which way do I go with my character? It's not certain until the decision is made, which occurs after the challenge. The result of that challenge may be in my total control, but the challenge is there.
Yeah. Once again I find myself in the unfamiliar position of agreeing with you. :)

"You feel your heart melt, despite your vow. What do you do?" is one kind of challenge.

Having the maiden wink at you, and knowing that you both have to seduce her if you want to achieve the McGuffin, and knowing that it's going to jeopardize something if you do so, is another kind of challenge.

Or, heck, even just being tempted by the awesome story developments of letting your character break his vow, presents an interesting roleplaying challenge.
Then what does a success on this challenge look like and how does it differ from a failure?

You're confusing a choice, even a hard one, with a challenge. You can fail to overcome a challenge, or succeed at it, but you can't fail or succeed at a choice.
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
Yes, and IMO that's an outright glaring error in how 4e handles these things.

Put another way, it dredges up the old glass-cannon monster design issue from 1e and dials it up to 11. Why in the name of sweet bejeebers would a designer take a known problem and intentionally make it worse?
No. Just no. Read 4e sourcebooks, and then come back.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Then what does a success on this challenge look like and how does it differ from a failure?

You're confusing a choice, even a hard one, with a challenge. You can fail to overcome a challenge, or succeed at it, but you can't fail or succeed at a choice.
Oh, I see. You're trying to look at the choice itself as a challenge. I was looking at the choice as a small component of a larger challenge. Or, really, a piece of two larger challenges, with the dilemma being that choice A gets you closer to succeeding at the first challenge, but further from succeeding at the second, and vice versa. So the two challenges are: a) maintain your purity, and b) get the girl. (For whatever larger purpose both serve.)
 
I'm saying it's mkstaken because to make that system work one has to make a conscious decision to throw out internal consistency when it comes to creatures within the setting
Greater internal consistency, actually. Hit points are /very/ abstract, and they goof up the internal consistency of a world quite a lot. Particularly in the oddity of high-hp creatures being un-killable when fresh, by attacks that can kill them when worn down a bit (or when caught helpless). I mean, what's "deadly" in AD&D? A dagger, at 1-4/1-3? Laughable! ...until you're killed by one because in your sleep.

The ways you can die are just too varied for Xhps and Y dice of damage to capture, even adding saves and critical hits didn't solve it, just created more issues with said highly-dubious internal consistency.

Secondary roles were a step in the right direction. The 'same' monster could be /much/ harder for one set of characters to kill than another to a degree that would have required giving the more powerful set untenably high damage to represent. So hps & defenses, instead, moved relative to the league a creature was operating in. Greater challenges could be handled in greater detail than just bigger numbers, lesser challenges handled quicker & more simply than just smaller numbers without becoming irrelevant. (What's the complaint about 5e monsters? Giant sacks of hps? Because they're being arbitrarily kept on one hp scale.)

It modeled fiction much better than arbitrarily locking each creature into a set of fixed numbers that only modeled it well in one sort of situation (typically facing enemies of similar power levels)Which is fair, from a game-design perspective, since that's what's likely most common and germaine in play, and limiting scope isn't beyond the pale when designing a game.
But it's possible for a game to go further and enable more sorts of situations, challenges, & stories.

and given as there's systems out there which work perfectly well without forcing this decision, it boggles the mind that someone would design a system that requires it.
Except those systems never worked perfectly well, they have well-known and increasingly serious issues as level increases.

As a pure game-play mechanic I'm sure it works great.
Well, in a game, that's ultimately what matters. If a mechanic creates a superior play experience, and expands the possible scope of fiction that play can model, that's a pretty worthy mechanic.
 

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