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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

I don't quite get this.

The player decides I wink at the maiden. Who gets to decide whether it's also true that I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink? They're too different descriptions of the one action, so framing things in terms of difficulty doesn't seem to help.
Actually they are not different descriptions of the same action. " I wink at the maiden" is an action. The player has complete control of this action. How an action is reacted to or received is not part of performing that action. Desired effects are just that- desires. Actual outcomes or consequences of actions are often not within the original actor's scope of control. In this case I soften the heart is one possible outcome or consequence of the winking action certainly but there may be others completely unknown to the winking player character. Player agency extends to what they actually say and do. Reactions to those words and actions both from GM controlled NPCs and other player characters are not part of that agency.
 
nothing is outside the scope of a given instance of RP, just because it's outside the scope of what the system in use does, or does well, as the participants can hypothetically fall back on freestyle/make-believe/non-systematic RP.
I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP.

I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point: imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day.

In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check for their PCs (influenced by the presence of Leader and Tactics skill in the party). In classic D&D they don't.

So in Traveller, the players have made a choice - eg by not retreating in good order - to risk breaking in disarray in pursuit of victory. The D&D players cannot make such a choice - they can choose to play their PCs as breaking in disarray, but it's not a risk that they've taken, because at every point they have control over what their PCs do, and can always choose - should they wish - to retreat in good order.

This is an example of what I mean by saying that different systems produce different experiences. And it is why I don't agree that you can replicate those experiences via freeform roleplaying.
 
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A classic article on the analysis of actions (Donald Davidson, "Actions, Reasons, and Causes" (1963)) gives the following example:

I flip the switch, turn on the light, and illuminate the room. Unbeknownst to me I also alert a prowler to the fact that I am home. Here I need not have done four things, but only one, of which four descriptions have been given.​
pemerton said:
The player decides I wink at the maiden. Who gets to decide whether it's also true that I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink? They're too different descriptions of the one action, so framing things in terms of difficulty doesn't seem to help.
Actually they are not different descriptions of the same action. " I wink at the maiden" is an action. The player has complete control of this action. How an action is reacted to or received is not part of performing that action.
As I've already posted, I don't think this thread is the place for a serious discussion of philosophy of action. Rather, I'm taking Davidson as a starting point.

But if you are correct, then it follows that - in the example - four different actions have been performed. And if there were two prowlers, each alerted, then five different things would have been done. That is obviously absurd.

Hence - in the context of RPGing - the question is one of deciding what descriptions of the PC's actions are true. For instance, who decides that not only is it a true description of the action that I wink at the maiden, but aso that I melt the maiden's heart with my wink?

Desired effects are just that- desires.
Not when they occur. When - to go back to Davidson's example - the room is illuminated, that's not just a desire. It's an event that occurs. And an action has been performed - I illuminate the room. Which is the same action as I flip the light switch, although under a different description. The argument that it is the same action is as above - any other view leads to metaphysical absurdity. (For instance, suppose there's a painting hanging in the room - it is now also true that I make the painting visible. Were that a separate action, then by changing what is in the room, and hence what true descriptions of rendering things visible can be given, I would change the number of actions performed by the light-switch-flipper. Which is absurd.)

Actual outcomes or consequences of actions are often not within the original actor's scope of control.
Yes. Unbeknownst to me I also alert a prowler to the fact that I am home. This doesn't change the fact that these are true descriptions of a single action.

What do others think about who does, or should, get to establish the truth of descriptions of PC actions, and how?
Player agency extends to what they actually say and do. Reactions to those words and actions both from GM controlled NPCs and other player characters are not part of that agency.
This is one possible answer to the question asked in the OP. Obviously it's not the only one.
 
I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP.
I was searching for some way of making a statement general enough to avoid implying any specific system or set of assumptions.

But, y'know, RPGing is something we all do. Any time we do that, is an 'instance,' right? So, in any given instance, we might decide to go beyond the scope of the system we're using, or even merely the scope of what it does well. And, /if/ we're a group with a good dynamic, we may even be able to get away with it and produce a given hypothetical experience.

It's an idea that's positively tautological. You have an imagination? You can roleplay! The scope of roleplaying in that naïve sense is prettymuch limitless. And, you can, hypothetically, always fall back on that.

So if you're trying to discuss differences among some systems, and you say "you can't roleplay in that system" or "it's impossible to do inveigle a framistatt in that system" or whatever makes you feel good about your this system that isn't that system, the fans of that system are going to be able to come back and say "sure I can! I just did a week ago last Tuesday!"

I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point
It won't help, but OK...
imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day.
In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check (influenced by the presence of Leader and Tactics skill in the party). In classic D&D they don't.
Yippee. In a given hypothetical instance of play under either system, they might stand and fight, or lay down a suppressive fire with their incinerators and fall back by squads, or break and run, or try to negotiate, or something else.

It's just that, in one system, the result of a resolution mechanic will give them tools to determine that, and, in the other, they'll fall back on whatever conventions, habits, or consensus they can come to without those tools.

So in Traveller, the players have made a choice - eg by not retreating in good order - to risk breaking in disarray in pursuit of victory.
OK, that's not in the example, but I can see how it might've been implied.
The D&D players cannot make such a choice - they can choose to play their PCs as breaking in disarray, but it's not a risk that they've taken, because at every point they have control over what their PCs do, and can always choose - should they wish - to retreat in good order.
If they wait too long, it may not do them any good to retreat in good order, or they still might well not do so for whatever reason under their version of the freestyling they fall back on when the system offers them nothing.

This is an example of what I mean by saying that different systems produce different experiences. And it is why I don't agree that you can replicate those experiences via freeform roleplaying.
Nod. You're talking about the experience of using the system, not the experience of the roleplaying activity. And, yes, you're trivially right that using a system is a different experience from not using one. Yet, I'm also trivially right (to just as little purpose) in saying that you can generate the same roleplaying experience in the absence of a system..
 
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In a given hypothetical instance of play under either system, they might stand and fight, or lay down a suppressive fire with their incinerators and fall back by squads, or break and run, or try to negotiate, or something else.
To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that.

You're talking about the experience of using the system, not the experience of the roleplaying activity. And, yes, you're trivially right that using a system is a different experience from not using one. Yet, I'm also trivially right (to just as little purpose) in saying that you can generate the same roleplaying experience in the absence of a system.
I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience. Do you mean transcript of events that occur in the fiction? Or something else?

You seem to be asserting that deciding whether the PCs are beaten up by the orcs, or vice versa, by freeform RP is the same experience as resolving that question in D&D using its combat mechanics. But I don't think that's a very widely held view. If I were to start a thread asking whether it makes any difference to combat resolution to use combat mechanics rather than (say) GM decides or the whole table talks it out, I think every poster would say that it does.

Except you?
 
To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that.
Yeah, the actual play experience will be subjective, so looking for the difference there will, at most, uncover some dusty system artifacts that might reveal which system was used, but nothing much more.

Now, whether via system procedures, or via some naïve-RP/freestyle/make-believe consensus, the same persons could have established the same elements of the fiction in the same order.

I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience.
Good. It's nice being the one using confusing terms for a change. ;P

Well, I don't think I'm trying to draw a distinction between the two. I am trying to draw a distinction between the, I guess 'high level,' experience of roleplaying, and the, I guess 'low'/detailed level, experiencing of system artifacts.

Do you mean transcript of events that occur in the fiction? Or something else?
No. In that one example alluded to a transcript, /because it was hypothetically happening on UseNet/ and text is what we had (and still have, here) to work with.

The example could have as easily been of play in progress.

You seem to be asserting that deciding whether the PCs are beaten up by the orcs, or vice versa, by freeform RP is the same experience as resolving that question in D&D using its combat mechanics.
I /could/ be, yes. I'll happily acknowledge that for 10000 trials of stomping orcs in D&D, you'll get 9999 that feel like D&D to them, and for 10000 trials of freestyle orc-stomping you might get IDK, 17... so /could be/ the same experience.

So, maybe that's part of what I'm observing: a system might deliver similar experiences consistently, while freestyle consistency is based only on the consistency of the group doing it.

But I don't think that's a very widely held view.
I would suspect not.

But I am comfortable holding /extremely/ unpopular views. ;)

If I were to start a thread asking whether it makes any difference to combat resolution to use combat mechanics rather than (say) GM decides or the whole table talks it out, I think every poster would say that it does.
Nod. Yet you wouldn't get the same result for a "Social Pillar" scene, would you? Even though they're both just fictional events that can be modeled by mechanics.


That's why I think these discussions get so fouled up. Because they quickly become not about the system, which can be objectively described, evaluated & analyzed, but about "the experience" or "the agenda" or the something-in-Forge-speak-which-means-the-reverse-ogive-of-what-it-sounds-like-it-means - which quickly becomes totally subjective.

So, really, it's fine to say "System X has no resolution mechanic for Y." But, as soon as you extend that to "So whaddaya system-X weasels do when Y?!? Huh! Suckers!!!" our even a less overtly offensive "You can't do Y in system X" or, worse, a more intellectual "you cant duplicate the experince of doing Y in system Z using system X," you're getting on a retreat-into-subjectivity merry-go-round. Because, of course, the weasels /can/ do Y, they can Y all they want, and have done, on numerous occasions, in fact, system X is ideal for Y precisely because it leaves them the freedom to Y as they judge best fits their group.
Yeah.
You can't argue with logic like that.
For obvious reasons
 
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To save us from yet another hit-points-and-what-they-mean debate, I'll throw in just this: realism.

In real life each of us has a certain threshold of physical damage or trauma we can withstand before our body shuts down and we die. And, though we don't numeritically measure it by hit points, the general concept is the same.

If, for example, I go out this afternoon and get hit by someone riding a bicycle my "hit points" (i.e. my body's natural resistance to externally-inflicted trauma) are good enough to give me a reasonable chance of survival. If instead I get hit by a car going at standard street speed, my "hit points" will be put to a severe test and quite likely won't be enough to save me..though they might. However should I get hit and run over by a freight train my "hit points" don't have a chance of saving me: I'm done.

To the bicycle I'm a significant opponent. To the car I'm enough to do some damage but that's it. To the train I'm a bug to be swatted aside.

But what's the one thing that doesn't change? My actual physical resilience. My "hit points". The actual amount of trauma I can survivably sustain is the same in every instance.

4e minion rules don't reflect this at all.
Let's suppose your claim about human physiology was true, which I don't think it is.

In 4e hp are not a model of that physiology. They are part of an action resolution framework.

The primary mechanical marker of the power of a 4e creature, including the degree of physical trauma it can endure, is its level. By setting the level of a being, the GM is using a mechanical device to signal its toughness in the fiction. Secondarily this is reflected in its defences and any special abilities it might have. Thirdly, this is reflected in its hit points.

A minion's hp are simply a toggle: is it up or is it down? This tells us that, when it engages activities of its levels toughness, it is highly vulnerable. This is related to probabilities of not enduring trauma. To requote from your post:

If, for example, I go out this afternoon and get hit by someone riding a bicycle my "hit points" (i.e. my body's natural resistance to externally-inflicted trauma) are good enough to give me a reasonable chance of survival. If instead I get hit by a car going at standard street speed, my "hit points" will be put to a severe test and quite likely won't be enough to save me..though they might.

I have bolded the probability markers you have used. In everyday life we call this luck. In 4e D&D hp do not model only physiology. Among other things they model luck. Giving a minion 1 hp is indicating that this being has little luck - if it is successfully hit by an opponent of the appropriate degree of toughness, it goes down.

We can see all this in the account of the tiers of play (4e DMG, pp 146-47; very similar text can be found in the PHB, pp 28-29):

Heroic characters navigate dangerous terrain and explore haunted crypts, where they can expect to fight savage orcs, ferocious wolves, giant spiders, evil cultists, bloodthirsty ghouls, and shadar-kai assassins. If they face a dragon, it’s a young one that might still be searching for a lair and has not yet found its place in the world . . .

Paragon-level adventurers explore uncharted regions and delve long-forgotten dungeons, where they confront savage giants, ferocious hydras, fearless golems, evil yuan-ti, bloodthirsty vampires, crafty mind flayers, and drow assassins. They might face a powerful adult dragon that has established a lair and a role in the world. . . .

Epic characters traverse otherworldly realms and explore never-before-seen caverns of wonder, where they fight savage balor demons, abominations such as the ferocious tarrasque, mind flayer masterminds, terrible archdevils, bloodthirsty lich archmages, and even the gods themselves. The dragons they encounter are ancient wyrms of truly earth-shaking power, whose sleep troubles kingdoms and whose waking threatens existence.​

When (for instance) paragon tier PCs confront a ghoul - which is of typical toughness for heroic tier PCs - that ghouls is not terribly tough. One well-placed blow (ie in mechanical terms, an attack that hits) will drop it.

Your apparent lack of appreciation of these facts about 4e is why I have repeatedly asserted that you don't seem to understand how the 4e combat meahcics work.
 
If you're looking for a fully-game-mechanical means of generating or forcing such conflict then no, you won't find it.

But that in no way means the system doesn't or can't support it. In 1e that connection can be put on the line via story elements introduced by the GM (most often), by the PC's own player (less common), or by another player/PC (rare, but I've seen it happen).

Example. It'd take me all afternoon to fill in the whole backstory, but the here-and-now upshot still in process of being played out is this: up until now my PC has always put duty first: duty to mission, duty to Empire, duty to law, etc. at cost of friendships, potential romances, possessions, and even on at least one occasion her life. Recent events have put her family - who she hasn't had contact with in years and to whom she has never felt any real sense of duty (she rather looks down on them as the peasants they are) - in severe danger, and in the process of choosing between her duty to the party/mission and rescuing her family I've learned something about her: when put to it she'll see to her family first.

Game mechanics had nothing to do with any of this - in effect (and probably unintentionally!) the DM put a story-based challenge to the character.

And I'm sure you'll dismiss this as being a choice rather than a challenge...so in advance I ask, what's the difference?
Your PC's actions have put your family at risk. When you decide to do have your PC do X rather than Y, how do you - as a player - know whether your are jeopardiding your relationship with your family? Who decides whether they stick with you or abandon you? And how?

Is this is all just GM decides?

in on-the-fly games where a player searching for a secret door can (on success) add one to the fiction, bypassing potential obstacles seems to become much easier. Example: party trying to sneak into a castle

<snip>

in a system where the players can in effect author their own way in via repeated searches for secret doors (on a different bit of wall each time) then the gate guards can quickly become little more than window dressing.
This seems to rest on a premise that there is a finite amount of "challenge" which, if the PCs avoid it, means the players win and everyone goes home.

That is not how any system I'm familiar with works. If the PCs are successful in sneaking into the castle and doing whatever they hoped to do, then the game keeps going. The GM makes up more stuff. The players declare more actions.

When everyone is happy that the story of these particular PCs has come to an end, then they can start a new game.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I play D&D all the time. From a rules standpoint, it doesn’t do a whole lot to help roleplaying. In 5E, you have your class which defines your overall role as part of the party. You have your race and background which give some idea of your role in society. You have your alignment which gives you your overall moral views. There’s a bit of overlap with them, but that’s what these things do.
I wouldn't say any of those things help roleplaying (well maybe they help put new players in the right mindset)

In addition to that, 5E has Traits, Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws. These things give you some more specific facets of your character. This is the kind of thing I think most long time players have always done to some extent, but now it’s formalized as part of character creation.
I can't think of the last character where I really sit down and mapped those out.

Just to give some context. In my current campaign I've played a number of different characters. I want to hone in on my first and my current.

My first was a super intelligent Fighter whose curiosity led him to becoming a wizard. That curiosity coupled with his lower wisdom was so profound the character played like a mad scientist. He had a thirst for knowledge and experimentation that outweighed his desire for personal safety. This often forced the party into dangerous situations they either would have bypassed or otherwise been better prepared for.

In hindsight I suppose I could have codified this character with bonds and flaws but I doubt it would have led to a character who played and developed as organically. For example, when first seeing something he mistook for an undead, he became fascinated with bringing living creatures back from the dead in the hopes of obtaining immortality and started pursing necromancy. That wasn't the path I had originally planned for him (nor was it one he could have envisioned for himself). It developed seamlessly and organically due to his reactions to the world around him.

Or take my current character. A Barbarian / Rogue with an Int of 6. He is dumb as a brick, but strong and fast and very hardy. He has the personality of a gentle giant for the most part. However, he will fiercely defend his friends. He doesn't care for much in the world except having someone that will provide him a meal everyday. For example, just this last campaign he agreed to have a magical ritual performed on him by a powerful cult member that had the potential to flat out kill him if it failed and would take his soul if it succeeded. He agreed to this because the cult member agreed to feed him and the party didn't overly try to persuade me not to go through with it. The ritual was successful. So I'm still alive and now with no soul. The cult member afterwards even volunteered to help us out of our current predicament. It's uncertain how much his helpfulness was influenced by me volunteering, but I imagine it had some effect.

So these are the elements of the 5E D&D rules that pertain to roleplaying. You certainly can come up with a limitless combination of them to create a unique character.
I'm not sure I would say they pertain to roleplaying. They pertain to your characters identity in the world. I mean there are limitless Dwarf Sailors that can be roleplayed.

But none of them have strong mechanical implications.
Which helps me as strong mechanical implications would be a bigger hindrance than a help to me.

Even alignment has lost its teeth.
Thank the gods!

The idea of switching alignment used to be a kind of scary thing. There could be severe repercussions if it happened. Not any more. Now you can play your character however you want.
Which you speak of almost as if that's a bad thing. For me it's the greatest thing ever!

Other than race and class and background, the other stuff could shift if the player decided.
In my current campaign race and possibly even class isn't guaranteed to stay the same. Background is pretty immutable though - though we often find background details being added by the DM, such as you meet this guy you know from your time as a blacksmith etc.

Have a flaw that comes up at a really inconvenient time? Ignore it! Tempted to steal despite your Lawful Good alignment? Shift To Neutral!
And the creative freedom that provides me is wonderful! Just because you have a flaw or a general moral compass doesn't mean you always abide by it. My characters behave the same way.

With minimal effort, any such change can be justified with fictional reasoning.
Sure. It can be hard to break out of the cycle of always doing what's most expedient. Especially since you always have that option.

Without any rules to incentivize roleplay, it becomes uncertain and inconsistent.
It becomes glorious. What you call incentivizing roleplay, I call shoehorning me into roleplaying something a specific way whether it's the way I envision my character or not - Or more likely, I just wouldn't play a character concept in such a system that said mechanics could invalidate.

Sure, a group of players may revel in their characters and “play them true” regardless of how challenging that may make things for them. That’s great! I think my group largely does that.
I think most experienced players and groups largely do this.

So while there are things in D&D that help players roleplay, they aren’t all that compelling. Nor are they really unique to D&D. Most games have similar elements to class, race, background, and so on. At best, D&D 5E allows players to decide what they’d like for their character...which can be a good thing. But as you’ve pointed out, there are pros and cons to everything. We could just as easily say that D&D 5E allows players to be totally inconsistent in how they portray their character.
Sure - but I don't think that characterization does my experiences with the system justice.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I'm afraid this will sound like damning with faint praise,
You do, but that's okay. Thanks for answering the challenge. Assuming it's actually a challenge since it was issued without dice ;)

but it is the result of an honest evaluation that comes from running and playing 5e. Much like Fate, I consider 5e to be a really well designed game that excels at a style of play I have very little interest in.
You definitely have the qualification to answer!

5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs with carefully managed spotlight balancing.
Sounds good so far

The character generation rules do a good job of generating characters that have some interesting bits of characterization, but few outside entanglements.
See to me, I would phrase that as, the character generation rules provide newer players with some nice training wheels for providing interesting characterization. All the real good stuff, like outside entanglements comes when they take off those training wheels.

The resolution system is completely opaque to the players. The systems that encourage role play are about light characterization and not playing with integrity.
I think I more or less follow, but I wouldn't phrase it as systems that encourage roleplay - since that obviously means you are excluding 5e as a game that encourages roleplaying.

In my experience from both sides of the screen it is not a good game for diving deep into character. It's not really designed for that. It's like really good at what it does though.
Strange how a post that's supposed to be telling me what D&D 5e can do that other's can't resorts to telling me the things 5e can't do that others can...

For what it's worth I would not layer in social mechanics with teeth to 5e. Every player's real motivation is assumed to be resolving the adventure. I do not think there really is extra room to give there. Players' hands are already pretty tied.
My primary motivation these days is playing my character. I do tend to make characters that would at least be decent adventurers as being a successful adventurer is an important characteristic of any character I make for 5e.

Please do not think I'm being cute when I talk about GM mediated story telling. That is exactly what a large portion of the audience wants and a lot of the games I play are actively hostile to it.
Maybe I'm not aware of any baggage that term carries but on it's surface it seems like a pretty good description of D&D 5e. The GM does mediate the story (or at least most of the story) of a D&D 5e game.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Now can someone tell me how that sort of play is going to put fundamental pressure on the player's conception of the character? I've not seen that in the real world, and I'm not seeing it in these descriptions either.
We have given you all kinds of examples. You dismiss them all because there's no dice involved.

So let me give you a 5e example with dice this time. Tonight my character volunteered for a magical ritual whose outcome was uncertain that would on a failure kill him and on a success take his soul. The ritual succeeded and so now my PC has no soul.

Note that it was fully in my control to volunteer for this and that I roleplayed my character honestly in volunteering. Note that neither outcome was a good outcome for me - but one much worse than the other. Does this example qualify as a challenge to my characterization?

If not why not?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
The transcript might be the same, but the play experience won't have been.
Yes, different mechanics can influence different play experiences.

Note: a play experience is not a roleplay experience. What I mean by this is - Many play experiences are achieved by introducing mechanics that influence play toward a certain kind of experience, but those mechanics simply increase drama and/or tension for the player without actually doing anything for the actual roleplaying. I think you may be confusing mechanics that enhance play to evoke a certain feel and certain tensions with enhancing roleplay.

Additionally, in order to achieve that play experience, those systems put more limitations on your roleplay decisions than systems without those mechanics.
 
Sure. I would just love once to hear their take on the pros of 5e in relation to roleplaying.
Its an RPG, the whole thing is about roleplaying. Relative to the other WotC eds the biggest 'pro' in 5e is the DM - DM Empowerment.

But, the real "pro" of 5e is...
What can it do that all these other systems can't?
Move product in volumes not seen since the 80s.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Ill answer your question:
Let me preface this with: thank you for answering the question.

1) 5e doesn’t get enough credit for its Social Interaction mechanics. In a system that is about GM-mediated puzzle-solving, they did a great job of exemplifying that with a subsystem that feels like Wheel of Fortune or Pictionary in play...which, coincidentally is similar to trying to get to know a person and influence them.
Interesting description. It's not one I would have made... but sounds good so far!

2) Background Traits, though limited, do a great job of providing the kind of cross-character player fiat that was only available to spellcasters in AD&D and 3.x.
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here.

3) Lair and Legendary Actions are quite good for thematic and tactical dynamism. If only they were orthodox across monsters.
agreed, but I'm not sure how that impacts roleplaying. Very good mechanic though.

4) 5e makes no bones about its emulation of AD&D. I called it AD&D 3e in the play-test because it was utterly obvious that they were surveying, consulting, and designing with intent toward that paradigm. What does it do well:

* The heavy GM mediated experience of 2e where players are touring a setting or being run through a preconceived metaplot (either GM conceived or an AP). The opacity and GM facing resolution machinery and the GMing ethos (spotlight balancing, lead storytelling, et al) allows for GMs to deftly curate the experience, deploying Force and Illusionism where necessary to achieve the desired result of the experience of the setting, metaplot, and fun for casual players who are inclined toward a more passive role (which is a HUGE number of players), heavy on characterization and some GM-curated dice throws to actualize character concept in his/her story medium.
Great description. Still a little light on how all that relates to the roleplaying aspects. But the post isn't over yet!

* It’s probably the best hexcrawl game on the market (or at least the ones I’ve run). The exploration mechanics/measurements/PC tools are integrated very well. So it does a good game with a predefined, tightly scaled map with various threats and goings-ons for players to navigate and engage strategic decision-making (where to go, how to go there, what resources to allocate). So 1e but vastly superior.
Great description again. Though I'm feeling a little deprived since your great descriptions don't seem to be relating the games benefits for roleplaying and you definitely would be good at capturing that idea if you tried.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Following from that, you’ve just wasted my (and others) time with a rhetorical request to evaluate 5e that you obviously had no interest in engaging with. Feels bad. Please don’t make such requests, get sincere replies, and then completely ignore them. If you think TTRPG analysis isn’t useful, or actively harmful, why are engaging in a thread like this?
I forgive you for your rush to judgement. Now please don't do it again.
 
Note: a play experience is not a roleplay experience.
True, if youre playing poker or polo or pachinko, your play experience is not a roleplay experience. And, if you're playing Hamlet or Naughty Schoolgirl or Devil's Advocate, your roleplay experience is not a game-play experience.

But if you're playing an RPG, it really /should/ be both.

Additionally, in order to achieve that play experience, those systems put more limitations on your roleplay decisions than systems without those mechanics.
Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal with being limitted by any mechanics at all, unless your car breaks down on the way to a session.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
These two accounts of 5e seem pretty congruent with one another. They remind me of a certain, fairly common, sort of approach to 2nd ed AD&D.

I've also edited a post about half-a-dozen upthread having read these posts.

EDIT: and I also just read this, which seems equally congruent with the other two posts:
I think they were excellent accounts of 5e. I think they hardly touched on what 5e does good IN RELATION TO ROLEPLAYING. But I'll be happy for what I got even if it wasn't completely what I asked for.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
True, if youre playing poker or polo or pachinko, your play experience is not a roleplay experience. And, if you're playing Hamlet or Naughty Schoolgirl or Devil's Advocate, your roleplay experience is not a game-play experience.

But if you're playing an RPG, it really /should/ be both.
I think there's a distinction there that is overlooked. A mechanic can influence one, the other or both IMO. I think there's a lot of one true way baggage that often prevents us from acknowledging that's the case and acknowledging things in an RPG sometimes have nothing to do with roleplaying value.

Is that undesirable? Because, if it is, freestyle RP is totally a thing, and you won't need to deal with being limitted by any mechanics at all, unless your car breaks down on the way to a session.
Honestly, if freestyle RP had a DM that arbitrated the experience in a mutually agreed upon setting, it really wouldn't play much different than how I approach D&D.

The only difference would be the combats - and I must admit I rather enjoy the combat minigame even though I recognize it's about the furtherst thing from roleplaying that you can get (even though you can occasionally roleplay during it)
 
take my current character. A Barbarian / Rogue with an Int of 6. He is dumb as a brick, but strong and fast and very hardy. He has the personality of a gentle giant for the most part. However, he will fiercely defend his friends. He doesn't care for much in the world except having someone that will provide him a meal everyday. For example, just this last campaign he agreed to have a magical ritual performed on him by a powerful cult member that had the potential to flat out kill him if it failed and would take his soul if it succeeded. He agreed to this because the cult member agreed to feed him and the party didn't overly try to persuade me not to go through with it. The ritual was successful. So I'm still alive and now with no soul. The cult member afterwards even volunteered to help us out of our current predicament. It's uncertain how much his helpfulness was influenced by me volunteering, but I imagine it had some effect.
Tonight my character volunteered for a magical ritual whose outcome was uncertain that would on a failure kill him and on a success take his soul. The ritual succeeded and so now my PC has no soul.

Note that it was fully in my control to volunteer for this and that I roleplayed my character honestly in volunteering. Note that neither outcome was a good outcome for me - but one much worse than the other. Does this example qualify as a challenge to my characterization?

If not why not?
I don't see any challenge to characterisation. You tell us your character is someone who cares about little but being provided with a meal. And so in exchange for a promise of food you submitted yourself to a process that - as you describe it - you seemed to have no control over.

As a result you have no soul - I don't know what that means in mechanical terms in 5e, but it doesn't seem to require you to approach your character any differently.

30 years ago I GMed an AD&D game in which one of the PCs, in order to be returned to life, had to be treated by a sage. The result of the sage's herbal treatment was that the PC permanently turned blue. That's a cute enough result, but it's not a challenge to the player's characterisation of the character.

What do you see as the challenge to your characterisation in the example that you have provided? What deep commitment or self-conception was put at stake?
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I don't see any challenge to characterisation. You tell us your character is someone who cares about little but being provided with a meal. And so in exchange for a promise of food you submitted yourself to a process that - as you describe it - you seemed to have no control over.

As a result you have no soul - I don't know what that means in mechanical terms in 5e, but it doesn't seem to require you to approach your character any differently.

30 years ago I GMed an AD&D game in which one of the PCs, in order to be returned to life, had to be treated by a sage. The result of the sage's herbal treatment was that the PC permanently turned blue. That's a cute enough result, but it's not a challenge to the player's characterisation of the character.

What do you see as the challenge to your characterisation in the example that you have provided? What deep commitment or self-conception was put at stake?
In 5e having a soul has no mechanical effect.

I've not yet decided how to portray a character that has no soul. There is going to be some difference for sure. Whatever that difference is, that is what was put at stake.
 

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