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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
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.
It's probably a good thing for me, then, that success/fail challenges are just one type of challenge and I can indeed be challenged in ways that are not success/fail.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Just putting this additional thought out there for you to consider: Some DM's ask "why" as a form of "preemptive policing". That is they realize (maybe not even consciously) that people feel a bit of social pressure when put on the spot to answer a question and know they will want to provide a good and acceptable answer. It's not hard to realize that a particular DM would disapprove of some non-in-character reasoning and so the player that sees such a DM occasionally ask "Why?" gets deterred from doing things not-in-character (or at least lying about it and finding a justification if they are). Not saying that you are doing it for this reason or that it's even having that effect but such does happen.
I've seen this mentioned twice now. I ask "why" all the time. Not in an effort to police the action, but to understand the action. If the player is getting from A to C and I don't understand how the PC got there, I'm going to ask why. The follow-up explanation sometimes helps me narrate the response properly or better. I also award bonus XP based on good roleplaying, and a lack of understanding will hurt the player's chances for that award, where the clarity gained by the explanation will often turn on the light bulb for me and help get the player the bonus.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
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.
It's probably a good thing for me, then, that success/fail challenges are just one type of challenge and I can indeed be challenged in ways that are not success/fail.
If you cannot succeed nor fail, how are you challenged? You keep insisting that there are other challenges that don't include possibility of failure, but you haven't presented the case -- you just assert it. Show the work.

Edit: multiquote is stuck
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
If you cannot succeed nor fail, how are you challenged? You keep insisting that there are other challenges that don't include possibility of failure, but you haven't presented the case -- you just assert it. Show the work.

Edit: multiquote is stuck
By making the hard choice obviously. I you can't fail to pick a choice, but none of the choices may be what you want, so there is no success. Challenge has more than one definition and not of them are binary. Trying to limit a challenge to success or failure is a False Dichotomy.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
So, success would be maintaining your chastity and getting the girl. How pseudo-zen of you.
Note my example didn’t have getting the girl as the alternate goal. It was getting the sword.

But Yes! To keep your chastity and get the girl is success if those are your goals. They used to call it marriage... ;)
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
If you cannot succeed nor fail, how are you challenged? You keep insisting that there are other challenges that don't include possibility of failure, but you haven't presented the case -- you just assert it. Show the work.

Edit: multiquote is stuck
Because there are other states than full success or full failure. The challenge is due to risk which is due to uncertainty. Pushing for full success can sometimes cause a greater risk for full failure
 
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FrogReaver

Explorer
By making the hard choice obviously. I you can't fail to pick a choice, but none of the choices may be what you want, so there is no success. Challenge has more than one definition and not of them are binary. Trying to limit a challenge to success or failure is a False Dichotomy.
I really don't understand why @Ovinomancer and others can't grasp this simple concept.

Challenges are about risk. Risk is based on uncertainity. However, even in a perfectly deterministic world, there is still uncertainty which means there is still risk which means there's still challenges. Thus, you don't need a randomization method like dice to produce uncertainty.

Chess actually makes a great example. Chess is a deterministic game and it's very challenging. It's challenging because there's always uncertainty because as a human we don't possess the knowledge of all game states. That lack of knowledge causes uncertainty which causes risk which causes challenge.

Now consider a simple game of a coin flip where you win if a heads is flipped. There's uncertainty there. You have a great chance to lose the game and no control over winning or losing (without cheating). That kind of a game doesn't present a challenge even though there could potentially be risk and uncertainty. The real challenge with such a game is the betting aspect. Do you continue to bet to try to win one more time or do you walk away. That's where the challenge in such a game really lies.

In RPG terms. I struggle to see a challenge simply resulting from the DM saying random maiden approaches you, make a save. That's not a challenge, even though there's risk and uncertainty IMO, as there's no decision point for the character or the player.
 
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Aebir-Toril

Explorer
I really don't understand why @Ovinomancer and others can't grasp this simple concept.

Challenges are about risk. Risk is based on uncertainity. However, even in a perfectly deterministic world, there is still uncertainty which means there is still risk which means there's still challenges. Thus, you don't need a randomization method like dice to produce uncertainty.

Chess actually makes a great example. Chess is a deterministic game and it's very challenging. It's challenging because there's always uncertainty because as a human we don't possess the knowledge of all game states. That lack of knowledge causes uncertainty which causes risk which causes challenge.

Now consider a simple game of a coin flip where you win if a heads is flipped. There's uncertainty there. You have a great chance to lose the game and no control over winning or losing (without cheating). That kind of a game doesn't present a challenge even though there could potentially be risk and uncertainty. The real challenge with such a game is the betting aspect. Do you continue to bet to try to win one more time or do you walk away. That's where the challenge in such a game really lies.

In RPG terms. I struggle to see a challenge simply resulting from the DM saying random maiden approaches you, make a save. That's not a challenge, even though there's risk and uncertainty IMO, as there's no decision point for the character or the player.
Yes, it's not a real challenge. Exactly.

Maybe [MENTION=16814]Ovinomancer[/MENTION] means that it's mechanical challenge, which it is (your character's probability of succeeding is tested, but that makes it less of a challenge and more of a "save or get charmed", which is honestly more of an attack than something that challenges the player.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Yes, it's not a real challenge. Exactly.

Maybe @Ovinomancer means that it's mechanical challenge, which it is (your character's probability of succeeding is tested, but that makes it less of a challenge and more of a "save or get charmed", which is honestly more of an attack than something that challenges the player.
I wanted to add, it's not just about challenging the player. Everything I've said also applies to the character.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
I honestly would even struggle to classify an in-combat attack against a PC or NPC as a challenge for them. The combat itself may be a challenge both for the player and the character. But a single attack from that combat is really just a piece of the overall challenge that's occurring

The challenge that comes from combat is determining what resources to use when, or whether you should save some for later in the day. Those are the combat challenges a player and a character face. (I say the character - presuming you believe a character is at least somewhat aware how much gas he has left in his tank for the rest of the day)
 

Aebir-Toril

Explorer
I honestly would even struggle to classify an in-combat attack against a PC or NPC as a challenge for them. The combat itself may be a challenge both for the player and the character. But a single attack from that combat is really just a piece of the overall challenge that's occurring

The challenge that comes from combat is determining what resources to use when, or whether you should save some for later in the day. Those are the combat challenges a player and a character face. (I say the character - presuming you believe a character is at least somewhat aware how much gas he has left in his tank for the rest of the day)
AC is not ability, and saving throw bonuses are not a skill (non-mechanical).

I agree completely.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
Could it be that players often prefer D&D combat over non-combat play largely because DM's can be pretty bad about making out of combat challenges where characters and players actually face risk due to uncertainty?
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I wanted to add, it's not just about challenging the player. Everything I've said also applies to the character.
The character is really just a sheet of paper. It's the player inhabiting the idea of the character that gives it life. That's why I don't understand this idea that you can challenge the character socially, without challenging the player. When [MENTION=177]Umbran[/MENTION] said that I was switching the challenge from the character to the player, I had a vision of Leslie Nielson in an interrogation room with a character sheet sitting on a chair, demanding that it confess. After a few minutes he turns to Nordberg and says, "I never thought it would be so hard to challenge a character."

You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player. A challenge where the DM takes control and informs the player that his PC's heart warms is no less a challenge to the player than what we are describing. It's just a different sort of challenge.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
The character is really just a sheet of paper. It's the player inhabiting the idea of the character that gives it life. That's why I don't understand this idea that you can challenge the character socially, without challenging the player. When @Umbran said that I was switching the challenge from the character to the player, I had a vision of Leslie Nielson in an interrogation room with a character sheet sitting on a chair, demanding that it confess. After a few minutes he turns to Nordberg and says, "I never thought it would be so hard to challenge a character."
I think there is a difference between challenging the player and challenging the character. I think it needs explored whether such you can ever challenge the character without challenging the player.

I don't view the character as a character sheet. IMO They exist in the shared fictional world that we have created. They can be challenged in that world the same way I can be challenged in this one.

You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player.
That's an interesting assertion and one I need to ponder on.


A challenge where the DM takes control and informs the player that his PC's heart warms is no less a challenge to the player than what we are describing. It's just a different sort of challenge.
The more I think about that the more I think that is not a challenge at all.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I think there is a difference between challenging the player and challenging the character. I think it needs explored whether such you can ever challenge the character without challenging the player.

I don't view the character as a character sheet. IMO They exist in the shared fictional world that we have created. They can be challenged in that world the same way I can be challenged in this one.
But all that shared fiction is in the minds of the players and DM. Only the sheet, dice, etc. are independent of that. It might be possible to challenge the character purely mechanically, but not socially. The social construct of the character is entirely mental, and entirety of the character's personality is inside the player of that PC. Others can interact with the character in the shared imagined space, but without some sort of active control over the PC in some way(mechanics), that's as far as it goes.

The more I think about that the more I think that is not a challenge at all.
Which is not a challenge? The original description of the maiden interaction, my description of the maiden interaction, or both?
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
[MENTION=23751]Maxperson[/MENTION]

You said: "
You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player. "

Fog of war style challenges will challenge both the character and the player. These are the challenges I propose as the most fun.

I believe there also contests like a game of basketball, a game of athletic ability and skill, that is very challenging (aka difficult to win) provided the opposing team is about equal to you. A game of basketball is typically going to need to be resolved purely by mechanical randomization in an RPG. In this instance your character can be challenged while the player is not. That's not a particualarly interesting or fun challenge for the player but I think it's probably best to classify this as a challenge.

I still don't think a single sword swing or single basketball shot should be called a challenge though.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
@Maxperson

You said: "
You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player. "

Fog of war style challenges will challenge both the character and the player. These are the challenges I propose as the most fun.


I said that in the context of the social challenge, though. Socially, I don't believe it is possible.

I believe there also contests like a game of basketball, a game of athletic ability and skill, that is very challenging (aka difficult to win) provided the opposing team is about equal to you. A game of basketball is typically going to need to be resolved purely by mechanical randomization in an RPG. In this instance your character can be challenged while the player is not. That's not a particualarly interesting or fun challenge for the player but I think it's probably best to classify this as a challenge.

I still don't think a single sword swing or single basketball shot should be called a challenge though.


That depends. If the PC is going to take a shot and the NPC goes for a steal or block, then it would be an opposed challenge in my opinion. You could term it a mini-challenge if you want, but it's still a contest.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer

I said that in the context of the social challenge, though. Socially, I don't believe it is possible.
I'm pretty much in agreement, though there are some that are insisting you can run social encounters the same way you run combat encounters. I'm not 100% sure if you really can or not (I heavily lean toward not possible as well), but I'm more concerned with that's gained by running a social encounter as a combat encounter. It seems to me that if even possible, that it's an inferior way of handling that situation? Is there anything I'm missing?

That depends. If the PC is going to take a shot and the NPC goes for a steal or block, then it would be an opposed challenge in my opinion. You could term it a mini-challenge if you want, but it's still a contest.
I like the term contest there
 

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