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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Your example plays into the point I was trying to make: sure in this case it's a difficult check, but a hot-rolling player who makes a series of these successful checks is going to bypass all the interesting stuff, regardless of whether it's pre-authored or made up as a failure consequence, and quickly end up on the throne. That really cool idea about the father's ghost in the crypt will never enter play, which is kind of sad.

That's all I was getting at.
Why is success not interesting? If Vertigan's player succeeds we get to play through warm embrace of blood brothers. Vertigan is still a fugitive, in the citadel of his enemy. He still needs to decide his next move. Is now the right time to stage another coup? Draven, his younger bastard brother, thinks so, but Draven always sees blood. Vertigan's forces are still in disarray. To add to all that Vertigan gets word that the Lady Saris, his lover, has escaped her husband's estate to the south a fortnight ago, but has not yet arrived to the citadel. Bandits are known to travel the path. What does Vertigan do?

Success should be just as interesting and consequential as failure.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
What are great mechanical resources of a cooperative game?
Yeah, I did kinda undersell that, didn't I?

An example of 5e mechanical support for a cooperative game would be the hp mechanic & BA - together they make outnumbering the enemy and focusing fire a simple, winning strategy, and allowing yourselves to be outnumbered, even by inferior foes, a losing one. I would not call that a great, or strong, or good, or OK mechanical resource for a cooperative game … it might rise to the level of 'rudimentary' and is essentially accidental. In contrast, the 4e implementation of Roles would be an example of a mechanical resource that helps it function as a cooperative game, and, is even clearly intended as such. I might rate it "OK," or, to be fair, since there's actually kind of a lot to role-support, even "good."

Great? Not sure I've seen one in an RPG.


A RPG might be fully non-competitive and hence at the cooperative end of your spectrum, and yet not involve party play in the sense that D&D and Traveller traditionally do.
A game could be downright competitive, and still involve such play - the PCs could be cooperating for survival, but competing for an ultimate goal, or just the richest rewards, for instance.

I think I was just off-handedly pointing out a middle that seems to get excluded a lot. (I can't actually recall if I meant it as a counterpoint... looking back at the post, I was more or less agreeing, I think.)

For instance, my Dying Earth game had two players. I think three would also be fine, but five - my standard 4e group size - would be too many. I've done BW with four and I think even that is a bit crowded.
This is just me going off on a tangent, but, y'know, 4e's worked surprisingly well, IMX, with a party of 2. One stunning example: and adventure that had stymied a party of 5 for weeks was very successfully completed in one session, when only 2 players showed up.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
On the more character focused front both Masks and Scion 2e have strong support for cooperative game play.

In Masks every time you enter battle against a dangerous foe as a team you generate a Team pool that's based on team cohesion and unity of purpose in the fiction. You can spend Team from the pool to add +1 to another player's roll, but only if your character could legitimately help their character. This is a big deal in a system where labels/attributes top out at +3. There are also rules for defending another character from attacks. You can also comfort or support another character and if they open up they can choose to shift labels, clear a condition, or gain experience. There also other ways to shift labels (attributes) which can be helpful to help other players' characters succeed at what their trying to attempt. Finally, every playbook gets two Team moves to cover what happens when you share a celebration with someone or share a weakness or vulnerability with someone.

Scion is a game about a band of Scions, children of the gods, who are building their legend by accomplishing heroic deeds together to eventually maybe become gods themselves. Cooperative play is built directly into the experience system. Players get experience for accomplishing a set of player defined deeds. Short term deeds are meant to be something you can accomplish every session and are character specific goals, but there's experience bonus if all the player characters accomplish their short term deed in one session. Long term deeds are supposed to be something that becomes the focus of the game for a session or takes multiple sessions to achieve. These are character specific, but you can't get experience for another long term deed until every player character has accomplished theirs. Finally there's a band deed which represents a shared group goal that is supposed to represent a monumental task. This is shared by the entire band. Characters grow in Legend, the game's power stat when they have achieved one short term deed, one long term deed, and one band deed. So to progress individually it is to your advantage to help each other accomplish your individual goals.

Scion also uses a shared metacurrency, Momentum that is generated through failures and some other means. Spending it is a group decision. This can help to add group cohesion. Additionally one of the options you can spend extra successes on when you attack is to provide an Enhancement (bonus successes) to another player character's attack on the same opponent. It also has really strong defending rules.
 

Sadras

Explorer
Yeah, I did kinda undersell that, didn't I?

An example of 5e mechanical support for a cooperative game would be the hp mechanic & BA - together they make outnumbering the enemy and focusing fire a simple, winning strategy, and allowing yourselves to be outnumbered, even by inferior foes, a losing one. I would not call that a great, or strong, or good, or OK mechanical resource for a cooperative game … it might rise to the level of 'rudimentary' and is essentially accidental. In contrast, the 4e implementation of Roles would be an example of a mechanical resource that helps it function as a cooperative game, and, is even clearly intended as such. I might rate it "OK," or, to be fair, since there's actually kind of a lot to role-support, even "good."

Great? Not sure I've seen one in an RPG.
Interesting. My immediate understanding for cooperative mechanics were resources such as Spells (Bless, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Haste...etc), Bardic Inspiration, Flanking, Help action, Paladin Auras...etc
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Interesting. My immediate understanding for cooperative mechanics were resources such as Spells (Bless, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Haste...etc)
Spells are very flexible resources. Regardless of class, any given caster could go his whole career without expending a single slot on a buff, healing, or other obviously-cooperative spell.
Bardic Inspiration, Paladin Auras
Those are decent examples of class features that primarily help someone else, yes, and they can't be readily diverted to other uses (the Aura can be under-developed by not devoting points to the right stat, but it'd be inefficient considering how good the aura can be). And they're even on classes that, on examination of the mechanics, can be effective support characters if intentionally built & used that way.

But support-orientation of some classes is only an element of what might make a game (/with classes/) cooperative. Do other classes 'need' that support or synergize with it? Together, with those synergies, what can they accomplish?
For instance, the most basic form of support in D&D is healing. With healing, you can get through a longer 'day,' which put more pressure on the daily-resource classes to conserve their resources, and thus contribute less to each encounter...
...using spells or class abilities to enable more frequent recharges would be much more synergistic, and leads, in D&D, to balance-wrecking 5MWDs. OTOH, healing can help keep a specific ally active in a specific encounter, and thus continue making all his per-round contributions through the whole thing, which at least shores up that character's contribution when it might otherwise drop.

Flanking, Help action
Optional rule & questionable efficiency, respectively, so more poor-to-OK support for cooperation, if you work at achieving it.

But, still, even taken all together, nothing I could credit as "great mechanical resources" as a functional cooperative game.
The system mastery and favorable rulings (because nothing works without the DM) involved in unlocking and interlinking the potential cooperative synergies (and avoiding dissynergies and pitfalls like the 5MWD) in 5e, could be seen as a challenging cooperative game, in itself, though. ;)
 
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hawkeyefan

Explorer
So in regard to cooperative mechanics....I don't know if this will qualify exactly as what [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] is describing, but Blades in the Dark has some good examples.

The most basic is the option to assist another player with any action roll. You simply state how you help them, and then spend 1 stress, and they get an additional d6 to roll for their action. Every action roll in Blades is a dice pool of d6s, with a full success on 6, partial on 4-5, and failure on 1-3. So it's a pretty meaningful element in the game, and can really swing things toward success. As mechanics go, it's pretty straightforward, so I don't know how "great" this would be considered.

Players also have the option to have their characters suffer the consequences of a failed action by another character. So if my character failed his Skirmish roll, and was about to take Harm by getting stabbed in the gut by his opponent, another character can step in and take the hit for me. So they would suffer the Harm instead of my character, although they could attempt to reduce the Harm by making a resistance roll, and/or applying armor.

You can also take Group Actions. So let's say the whole team wants to sneak across a courtyard toward a manor. You choose one Leader for the group action, and then everyone rolls the relevant Action (in this case Prowl) and everyone shares the best result of all the group rolls. The Leader has to take 1 stress for each failed roll. This really increases the chance for everyone to succeed, but at risk to the leader of the group action.

Beyond those methods, there are several playbook abilities that are very much designed around assisting other crew members. Some are tweaks to the above actions, others are more focused on helping the group overall through downtime or Crew Advancement.

One of the biggest cooperative aspects of the game is the Crew. The group has its own character sheet, means of gaining XP, and cool options or abilities when the Crew advances. I'd have to say this is likely the most compelling group mechanic I've seen in a RPG. It really pushes the idea of the team working toward mutual goals and mutual benefit.

What adds to that is the fact that a lot of the other game elements can really push for conflict among the group. It's a nice balance where you have people that are working together, but have conflict and difference of opinion that actually matters.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
So in regard to cooperative mechanics....I don't know if this will qualify exactly as what [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] is describing, but Blades in the Dark has some good examples.
I guess on some level I'm defining a negative space or something. ;)

One of the biggest cooperative aspects of the game is the Crew. The group has its own character sheet, means of gaining XP, and cool options or abilities when the Crew advances. I'd have to say this is likely the most compelling group mechanic I've seen in a RPG. It really pushes the idea of the team working toward mutual goals and mutual benefit.
Everything leading up to this, yes, it's stuff that works to cooperate, but that last ties it together.

What adds to that is the fact that a lot of the other game elements can really push for conflict among the group. It's a nice balance where you have people that are working together, but have conflict and difference of opinion that actually matters.
That's probably part of what separates a tense character-driven RPG that's cooperative from a solid cooperative boardgame, like Pandemic...
 
So I read the following in the review of PF2 just posted on the front page:

You should also read the introductory chapter because it’s a great introduction to roleplaying games in general. It’s everything you’ve ever tried to describe about our favorite hobby condensed into an easy-to-digest single page. It's the culmination of all the wisdom our hobby has fumbled its way into since the dawn of TTRPGs.​

To my mind, this is the sort of thing that pushes against solid analysis of RPGs and the play experience they deliver. Rather than trying to explain what is distinctive or noteworthy about PF as a RPG, and the sort of play experience it seems likely to provide, it asssumes there is some single thing called RPGing that has a cumulated wisdom that the Paizo designers have summed up for us.

I'm guessing, for instance, that that 'culmination of all the wisdom" says nothing about how to place pressure on a character to reveal his/her true character in the way that has been discussed in this thread.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
So I read the following in the review of PF2 just posted on the front page:
You should also read the introductory chapter because it’s a great introduction to roleplaying games in general. It’s everything you’ve ever tried to describe about our favorite hobby condensed into an easy-to-digest single page. It's the culmination of all the wisdom our hobby has fumbled its way into since the dawn of TTRPGs.​

To my mind, this is the sort of thing that pushes against solid analysis of RPGs and the play experience they deliver. Rather than trying to explain what is distinctive or noteworthy about PF as a RPG, and the sort of play experience it seems likely to provide, it asssumes there is some single thing called RPGing that has a cumulated wisdom that the Paizo designers have summed up for us.

I'm guessing, for instance, that that 'culmination of all the wisdom" says nothing about how to place pressure on a character to reveal his/her true character in the way that has been discussed in this thread.
Well, to be fair, it's an introduction to a F20 game. I know it's frustrating that it seems many F20 players aren't even aware of other styles of play, but I'm not sure that a one page introduction to PF2 is the place to get into all the rpging techniques out there. The truth is that the majority of players are going to be happy sticking to a more traditional style. I feel players that want more will hopefully look around and find Story Now, diceless games, Burning Wheel philosophies, etc. It's not really in Paizo's best interest to encourage players away from typical F20 play. You can do your style of putting pressure on the character in F20, but it's going to be a more awkward fit?
 
Well, to be fair, it's an introduction to a F20 game. I know it's frustrating that it seems many F20 players aren't even aware of other styles of play, but I'm not sure that a one page introduction to PF2 is the place to get into all the rpging techniques out there.
I'm not commenting on what's in the PF2 book. I'm commenting on the review. It makes sense for the PF2 book to explain what sort of play experience one might expect from the game it presents. It is flat-out wrong, though, for a reviewer to characterise such an explanation as "the culmination of all the wisdom our hobby has fumbled its way into since the dawn of TTRPGs".

I mean, in the "how to play" parts of In a Wicked Age Vincent Baker suggests as one of the material requisites for play a bottle of wine, and at a certain point says words to the effect of if you're done building your character and others are still going, maybe it's time for you to pour the wine. No one would suppose that tthat is universal advice for all RPGing; and clearly Baker isn't suggesting that it is. PF2 and it's advice (which I suspect doesn't tell us when is a good time to pour the beverages) is no different in this respect.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I actually consider Pathfinder 2e pretty progressive as far as most mainstream role playing game texts is considered. There is general sense for the most part that the rules should be followed and a healthy respect for following the fiction. No where in the text does it suggest overriding the rules or changing the fiction for the stake of the story. The advice for setting DCs is entirely from the context of the fiction. It also returns time and time again to the idea that the game belongs to the whole group. There are allowances for GM judgement calls, but the examples are always as an advocate for the fiction. I'm a big believer in GM judgement applied in a disciplined way. Although there are continued calls to "the story" the text clarifies that the story is about the player characters and the choices they make. It also makes overtures to several indie techniques like lines and veils, setting stakes, and failing forward. There is also no mention whatsoever about fudging dice rolls.

It also generally does a good job of clarifying that it's talking about how to play Pathfinder, not role playing games in general. There's really only one section I find problematic. Here it is:

Pathfinder Core Rules said:
What Is a Roleplaying Game?


A roleplaying game is an interactive story where one player, the Game Master (GM), sets the scene and presents challenges, while other players take the roles of player characters (PCs) and attempt to overcome those challenges. Danger comes in the form of monsters, devious traps, and the machinations of adversarial agents, but Pathfinder also provides political schemes, puzzles, interpersonal drama, and much, much more.

The game is typically played in a group of four to seven players, with one of those players serving as the group’s Game Master. The GM prepares, presents, and presides over the game’s world and story, posing challenges and playing adversaries, allies, and bystanders alike. As each scene leads into the next, each player contributes to the story, responding to situations according to the personality and abilities of their character.

Dice rolls, combined with preassigned statistics, add an element of chance and determine whether characters succeed or fail at actions they attempt.
I have no objections to this as a description of playing Pathfinder. In fact it sounds like a game I could be interested in playing or running. This is not a knock on Pathfinder as a game. Where it falls down is as a description of all roleplaying games. As an example Monsterhearts and Masks are definitively not concerned with overcoming challenges. Like you advocate for your character and we play to find out what happens, but your goal as a player is to play with integrity and passion. Overcoming gamist challenges and skilled play is not really the objective.

This can be seen clearly in their experience systems. In Masks you mark potential for failing a roll, opening up to a team mate, for exposing a weakness or vulnerability, and for going along when provoked by a team mate. There are other conditions, but you get the idea. In Pathfinder you get experience for defeating monsters, winning social conflicts, and achieving objectives. I was actually impressed with all the non combat awards, but fundamentally you got rewarded for winning. That's good. Pathfinder is a game about overcoming challenges, but not all roleplaying games are.

Basically what I'm saying is that you don't really need to define what a roleplaying game is. You can just define what your game is. I think it's actively helpful to do so because you can clarify exactly how your game is played with less carryover baggage. This is what Masks does. It's actually what Pathfinder does for the most part - just not in that one section, but is far as mainstream texts go it's pretty good in this regard. Far better than most.
 
[MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION] - a thoughtful post about PF2. I'll suggest, at least half-seriously, that you write a brief review! I think your take will shed some interesting light that many other reviews will not.

I think the idea of overcoming challenges is rather complex, or at least multi-faceted, in the RPG context. In what I suspect might turn into a long-ish post, I'll try and work through four examples I know well from experience.

4e D&D clearly involves the PCs confronting challenges; and, as players, one central goal is to overcome them. It says so right on the tin: the world needs heroes. And heroes overcome challenges and thereby make things better in the world. It's the GM's job to frame the challenges. At least as I have played 4e the players have quite a role to play in establishing the fictional context and components for the GM in framing those challenges, by the way they build their PCs and thereby hook them into the cosmological conflicts of the setting. In the actual play, it's the trying to overcome that takes precedence - in combat working through your character's mechanical possibilities, in combat and moreso in non-combat looking for ways to engage and leverage the fiction. You can get a lot of fun game in before you find out whether or not you actually succeeded in overcoming; and you get XP for trying (in skill challenges, and for the foes you bested in a combat even if you lost it overall) and not just for succeeding. This is a significant contrast with AD&D.

The maths of 4e tend to make PC success the norm. I therefore think it's not strongly gamist in the classic D&D sense. There is a tactical optimisation element in combat; but at least as I've experienced it a lot of the pleasure is in finding out how the victory transpires, what this reveals about the characters, what the costs are, as well as a lot of fun fantasy colour.

Burning Wheel involves the PCs confronting challenges or obstacles, because they are fighting for what they believe. The game incentivises trying through a combination of its fate point award rules (which are triggered by playing to your character's goals/personality rather than by winning) and its advancement rules (which require taking on impossible obstacles as well as possible one) and its approach to failure (which is one of the earlier articulations of "fail forward" ie failure is by reference to intention, not task, and so propels the story forward by setting up new obstacles).

The maths of BW make failure commonplace. For this reason, among others, it's very gritty compared to 4e. There is undoubtedly a lot of scope in BW for skilled play - the player in my group who plays a super-tactical sorcerer in 4e is, in BW, the best at scripting both for Duel of Wits and Fight! (BW's social and melee resolution frameworks) and is very good at optimising his chekcs to get PC advancement without too much PC setback. But at least for me both as GM and player what I enjoy is the story and character dimension. I find at a system that it really lets the character come to life in play.

Prince Valiant is at its heart about playing knights. Mostly when we play Prince Valiant in our group its 3 players, all knights (one started as a squire but got knighted in play). There is another member of the group who occasionally joins us for Prince Valiant and plays a wandering entertainer, but the action is still oriented around knightly deeds with the entertainer a companion of theirs. There are undoubtedly challenges in the sense of jousts to be fought, maidens to be rescued, boars to be hunted, etc but the emphasis of play is on participating in these challenges in a knightly fashion, not winning them. The PCs in my game have probably lost as many jousts as they've fought but that hasn't stopped them advancing (a lot of XP - called Fame in the system - are earned for participation and others are eanred for performing valiant or noteworthy deeds; that doesn't requre winning).

There is really no gamist aspect to Prince Valiant. It is mechanically very simple and is all about making choices for your PC and finding out what happens. Even though failure is quite common it is not at all gritty because the consequences of failure tend not to be severe either in the fiction or the system, and you don't fail to be a good knight just because you lost a joust or two!

Finally Classic Traveller. This doesn't really involve challenges at all. The PCs aren't heroes, aren't knights, and aren't fighting for what they believe. As we play it, it's about taking on missions from patrons who - given the PCs' histories and skill-sets - have a reason to seek them out. It's also about accounting and buying and selling so as to try and meet the upkeep costs on your spaceship. It can get gritty, but not with the same emotional intensity as Burning Wheel. Of course there are obstacles in the way of the PCs getting what they want - that's pretty much the mininum for any sort of story - but they aren't what play is about. And there's little room for skilled play in Traveller of the sort that figures in BW and 4e, simply because of how the mechanics work - you're just declaring actions and hoping to roll well while adding a bonus that you have no control over (PC gen is largely random and PC growth during play is close to nil).

When I look at the PF2 text Campbell quoted - A roleplaying game is an interactive story where one player, the Game Master (GM), sets the scene and presents challenges, while other players take the roles of player characters (PCs) and attempt to overcome those challenges. Danger comes in the form of monsters, devious traps, and the machinations of adversarial agents, but Pathfinder also provides political schemes, puzzles, interpersonal drama, and much, much more - that seems to me to actually describe Prince Valiant rather well, and also 4e D&D, even though those two systems produce very different play experiences. From this I infer that while no doubt true of PF2 it doesn't take us very far in understanding what the PF2 play experience will be. I'd start with how common is loss?, and what are the consequences for loss? as questions whose answers can vary wildly across RPGs and the answers to which will help tell us a bit more about how PF2 plays.
 

GrahamWills

Registered User
>Overall, when I run a game, I require all my players to prioritize making the game fun for everyone above anyone else. A play style that says "if my character would do that I will do it even if it makes the game less fun for other people" would be counter to the social contract I expect.

This is presupposing a story plot or antagonist that the players are expected and required to team up to defeat. Yes, in that style of play, this can be a problem because this style emphasizes team over individual. But, if there is no prepared story and the game follows the action, then the paladin refusing doesn't derail the game, the game is now about what happens next.
Are you responding to a different post by mistake? I am talking about respecting other players and you seem to be responding about fully pre-plotted stories. There's no question about de-railing anything; you're dragging plot in to a conversation that it wasn't part of.

For the canonical paladin example, the problem is that very often no-one except the paladin player want the game to be about what happens next. It's a selfish move by the player that says "and now the game is about me, my character's desires and his inner self". The point is that you are changing the game in a way that prioritizes what you think is fun at the expense of everyone else. Its why players who say "that's what my character would do" vie with rules-lawyers as the most disliked form of player a GM has to handle. I'd honestly prefer to run for someone who cheats occasionally rather than someone who is not willing to have their character do something "out of character" to make the game fun for all.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, to be fair, it's an introduction to a F20 game. I know it's frustrating that it seems many F20 players aren't even aware of other styles of play, but I'm not sure that a one page introduction to PF2 is the place to get into all the rpging techniques out there. The truth is that the majority of players are going to be happy sticking to a more traditional style. I feel players that want more will hopefully look around and find Story Now, diceless games, Burning Wheel philosophies, etc. It's not really in Paizo's best interest to encourage players away from typical F20 play. You can do your style of putting pressure on the character in F20, but it's going to be a more awkward fit?
Stupid question: what does 'F20' mean here?
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
Are you responding to a different post by mistake? I am talking about respecting other players and you seem to be responding about fully pre-plotted stories. There's no question about de-railing anything; you're dragging plot in to a conversation that it wasn't part of.

For the canonical paladin example, the problem is that very often no-one except the paladin player want the game to be about what happens next. It's a selfish move by the player that says "and now the game is about me, my character's desires and his inner self". The point is that you are changing the game in a way that prioritizes what you think is fun at the expense of everyone else. Its why players who say "that's what my character would do" vie with rules-lawyers as the most disliked form of player a GM has to handle. I'd honestly prefer to run for someone who cheats occasionally rather than someone who is not willing to have their character do something "out of character" to make the game fun for all.
Yes, the reply was intentional. If you are playing a game where there is a) no expectation of what comes next except that it will follow current play and b) paladin's recalcitrance drives the story somewhere in an unappreciated direction, your problem is far more fundamental than playstyle -- you have a fundamental mismatch of what game everyone is playing and need to address that outsude of play. I assumed you weren't talking about this and so addressed a difference in a), as that will cause a similar problem.

If you intended to discuss how mismatched expectations will cause bad play, okay, but that's true of any style so it's not a valid criticism.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
Stupid question: what does 'F20' mean here?
Not a stupid question. It's a term I picked up from Robin Laws' and Ken Hites' podcast. Refers to fantasy games coming off D&D which use d20. It's a good term that I latched on to, and have been using without thinking that it's probably not that wide spread.

Look at me using jargon. Usually I'm the one that's confused.So proud.😂
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Are you responding to a different post by mistake? I am talking about respecting other players and you seem to be responding about fully pre-plotted stories. There's no question about de-railing anything; you're dragging plot in to a conversation that it wasn't part of.

For the canonical paladin example, the problem is that very often no-one except the paladin player want the game to be about what happens next. It's a selfish move by the player that says "and now the game is about me, my character's desires and his inner self". The point is that you are changing the game in a way that prioritizes what you think is fun at the expense of everyone else. Its why players who say "that's what my character would do" vie with rules-lawyers as the most disliked form of player a GM has to handle. I'd honestly prefer to run for someone who cheats occasionally rather than someone who is not willing to have their character do something "out of character" to make the game fun for all.
From the start I have approached this discussion with the assumption of an overwhelming unity of purpose. The central conceit is that this is what we have all agreed to do. We have created a powerful set of expectations. This is the fun the group wants to have. If that is not the case we need to discuss if this is the game we want to play. Maybe we'll play something else. Maybe we'll go our separate ways and find games that suit us. Playing Passionately is something to do together. It really does not meaningfully work if we do not have strong collaborative partnerships and a shared commitment. That's why being fans of each others characters is so important because to go where we need to go we need to know we will not abandon each other. Otherwise it's not fun.

In general I'm done with games where there is no unity of purpose. Whatever the aims of play I want us to embrace them wholeheartedly. Like if we're after gamist play including a strong focus on skilled play of the fiction let's do that. We can work together and celebrate each others triumphs and talk about them later. It's not my bag, but if we're going to be story advocates let's do that hard too. Let's play off each other and create grand arcs. If it's about the GM's story than let's play into it. Again not my bag, but the important part is let's have clear expectations and enjoy one another's play. I just have to know what we're all about. I've been in games where everyone is trying to have their own individual fun and nobody pays attention when other people are contributing. It sucks. It sucks so much harder than playing a game that is not ideal for me. I need dance partners.

Look that paladin's player may be trying to Play Passionately on his own and that is totally not appropriate if clear expectations have been set to the contrary, but the same is true of a Monsterhearts player or GM who tries to take control of the story while the rest of us are committed to playing to find out. Both are clear violations of the social contract. Here's the thing: the impulse behind both isn't like wrong or selfish in isolation. The selfish part is trying to play a completely different game than we've agreed to. It's like if we agreed to play euchre and a player starts placing bets and talking crap about the great hand they have. Let's not shame the desire. Just the behavior.

I would like to note that I have also seen this sort of recalcitrant behavior in games like Apocalypse World where a player latches on and won't let go. In my experience this sort of behavior is not evidence of wanting to play to find out, but rather holding really hard onto a character concept rather than approaching play with curiosity and emotional vulnerability. When another player has their character interact with yours you are supposed to really consider the impact. In my experience its indicative of wanting to control how the game will play out. This can be fine when it occurs in the context of a collaborative group who will negotiate this things, but that is not what we are doing when we Play Passionately.

I am willing to discuss this further if we can really consider what the other person is saying.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
[MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION] - all ficion in the world is created without models in the sense you are insisting upon, except for a certain subset of the fiction created by RPGers.
Certain authors are notorious for having laid out the world in excruciating detail before putting pen to paper about the story itself. I would argue that, given their age at time of writing, neither Tolkien nor CS Lewis were RPGers, but both noted their worlds are modeled first, then written. Doc Smith clearly has more ideas than make it into Lensman, things that retain internal sense, but are not actually detailed out in the novels, and has a deep seated sense of how it worked. Verne was notorious for his attentions to minute (and manufacturable) detail; his radium driven Nautilus is astonishingly excellent as a prediction of the technology. And HG Wells was a gamer, albeit a miniatures wargamer, not an RPGer, but his writings have the same level of world creation as any RPG-fiction writer.

Hell, I'd love to see what HG would have done with an RPG... as his Little Wars is a delightful read, and not a bad game at all.

Campbell said:
A player should not be prioritizing their character above all us. What they should be prioritizing is following the fiction, playing to find out, and being a fan of all the main characters (PCs).
In your playstyle, perhaps.

In Burning Wheel, playing to push your character's goals over those of other characters is explicitly part of the intent. And why the game has a "any conflict needs a roll" rule within it.

Alien, the preview "Cinematic Starter Kit" explicitly has hidden agendas for the PCs.

You're being rather noisesomely chauvinistic about your play style over all others.

My preferred style is no in-party violence, and only limited in party conflict. I want players to engage both with their character and the story...

But there are many styles of play that, in the right groups, work.


Maybe I’m not fully understanding what you’re saying....but this is why I describe it as a tail wagging the dog situation. Game stats are meant to reflect story elements, not define them.
The character building process in quite a few games begins with generating game stats, not story elements.
Old school D&D, for one.
Traveller... the backstory even is generated mechanically in CT, MT, TNE, T4, T20, and T5....
R Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk (2013/2020) and Mekton (I, II, Z) have random backstory generation and random attribute generation (albeit roll them all, then place).

Many groups, the story arises out of play, not out of some prior fictional stricture. The character often arises out of the stats and the play, rather than the other direction. GM as operating system for an open world, rather than GM as story pusher.

Some people can't handle random generation conceptually. Others can't handle non-random conceptually, tho' that's a bit less common. Most can handle either, but prefer one or the other.

Ideally, the game arises out of a combination of the group-members' desires and their interactions with the rules at a level comfortable for all involved.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Interesting. My immediate understanding for cooperative mechanics were resources such as Spells (Bless, Cure Wounds, Featherfall, Haste...etc), Bardic Inspiration, Flanking, Help action, Paladin Auras...etc
Those are a limited form. I'd call them direct cooperation measures...

But there are more indirect methods...

AMSH had an option for a group Karma Pool, which all players could donate to and draw from as needed.

The One Ring has the fellowship pool, generated at start of adventure/story, which one can draw from if no one objects; if more than half the group objects, drawing from it generates a point of shadow.

These are passive cooperation methods; they require no effort at time of use by the others to justify.

Then, there are options like in Modiphius 2d20 where you give up your later action to help someone on their action.

And in Fria Ligan's Alien (and Tales from the Loop, and Mutant Year Zero) when the group has to overcome something, the group picks ONE person to roll, based upon who has the best chances, but then the others provide help, and the group is to abide by the one roll.

In Burning Wheel, helping someone binds one to the results... be they good or bad.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
In your playstyle, perhaps.

In Burning Wheel, playing to push your character's goals over those of other characters is explicitly part of the intent. And why the game has a "any conflict needs a roll" rule within it.

Alien, the preview "Cinematic Starter Kit" explicitly has hidden agendas for the PCs.

You're being rather noisesomely chauvinistic about your play style over all others.

My preferred style is no in-party violence, and only limited in party conflict. I want players to engage both with their character and the story...

But there are many styles of play that, in the right groups, work.
What bothers me about this part of your post is that it's seeking injury so that it can respond with insult. [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION] has been explicit that he's discussing how his preferred playstyle works, has taken pains to contrast to other styles without demeaning them, and was, in the part you quoted, directly responding to question about his preferred playstyle. You had to be looking to be offended, here. Expressing enthusiasm for and answering questions about how one might like to play should be seen as a good thing, not something to prompt you into pulling out the dictionary to say "foul, unpleasant, and excessive prejudice," especially when a casual read disproves such a statement.

Also, and I say this with obvious irony given my routine typos, it's noisome.
 

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