Space and time in RPG setting and situation

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
In most games I run, whether it’s D&D or something else, I don’t allow second attempts as you’ve described.
I allow the second attempt to be made. I don't allow it to change the result of the first attempt (i.e. no second roll) unless something has materially changed in the fiction in the meantime.
In D&D, I similarly don't allow multiple players to roll for their characters. The group essentially gets one roll, and if anyone else can help, then they roll with advantage. The result of that roll determines the outcome.

If we’re in a situation where multiple rolls seem like they’d make sense… like being at a locked door for over a day… then I simply grant success without a roll. Or I ask for a roll and use that to determine how much time it takes, rather than success or failure.
Which is kind of like a thinly-veiled take-20, a mechanic I very much dislike. I mean, if they want to spend all day trying to open a door that in game terms has already been determined as beyond their capabilities, then more power to 'em. I won't disallow them from going through the motions.
I mean, set the whole notion of meta aside. Just tell the player “it’s futile and the thief knows it is” and then get on with the game.
Except in the fiction the thief might not know (or might not be willing to admit) it's futile; and even though the player knows it is, playing the character true means that thief keeps on trying.

It's on the rest of the party to in-character convince him it's futile, or to leave him to it while they do other things, or whatever. Not on me-as-GM.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
I allow the second attempt to be made. I don't allow it to change the result of the first attempt (i.e. no second roll) unless something has materially changed in the fiction in the meantime.

Wait, so you mean you let them attempt it over and over, but don’t allow a roll? What’s the point of that?

Which is kind of like a thinly-veiled take-20, a mechanic I very much dislike. I mean, if they want to spend all day trying to open a door that in game terms has already been determined as beyond their capabilities, then more power to 'em. I won't disallow them from going through the motions.

It’s not a take 20, it’s simply the GM determining there’s nothing interesting going on, nothing at risk, so allowing them to succeed. This kind of thing happens all the time in play.

Except in the fiction the thief might not know (or might not be willing to admit) it's futile; and even though the player knows it is, playing the character true means that thief keeps on trying.

It's on the rest of the party to in-character convince him it's futile, or to leave him to it while they do other things, or whatever. Not on me-as-GM.

But you can tell the thief’s player that the thief knows it’s impossible. Why create a meta situation where none exists?

If the player truly feels the need to play the character in such a way that he’d not give up, then just narrate it as such. “After X hours of futility, you accept that you can’t open this door and allow your companions to convince you to leave.”

I can’t really see the need to allow that to take up any more game time than that.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Which is kind of like a thinly-veiled take-20, a mechanic I very much dislike. I mean, if they want to spend all day trying to open a door that in game terms has already been determined as beyond their capabilities, then more power to 'em. I won't disallow them from going through the motions.
There's nothing wrong with Take-20 but it's not something that's supposed to apply to any situation (or lock in this case), IMO anyway, and I don't think that's what was being suggested above. For my part at least, the lock in question would need to be somewhere in the normal range of locks the character in question could reasonably pick. In that case if you remove time and risk constraints I don't see the need to ask for a roll.
 

My point is that even there, there's nothing at all stopping the player from declaring "I try again", even if the act is already meta-known to be futile.
I'm saying the situation really CANNOT ARISE in most cases. Lets say the thief uses 'Tricks of the Trade' to pick a lock. There are 2 basic possibilities, 7+ and he has done it, or 6- and the GM tells you what happens next. That 'happens next' is going to be something that changes the situation to some degree or other. That is, guards appear, your lockpick breaks off in the lock, you pick the lock and find out the door is barred from the other side, etc. etc. etc. Now, maybe you deal with the guards and get another crack at the lock, it isn't impossible, but situations generally 'snowball' in these kinds of game, you'll probably need to be pretty lucky to end up back where you were before anytime soon. Frankly, the way I read 5e, it should play out pretty much the same there too, though the nature of the consequences is generally already determined before you try the picking.
I ran a dungeon once where the PCs found what was obviously a vault door in some Dwarven ruins they were exploring for other reasons. Equally as obvious was that this door hadn't been opened in ages, and so in hopes that the riches of a Dwarven kingdom might lie behind that door the party Thief set to work. Rules-wise, I have it that your initial roll is your final answer; and between his odds of opening this very difficult lock being slim-to-none in the first place and his initial roll being...well, let's just say rather sub-par...there weren't no way in hell he was going to pick that lock.

In-character, however, he was bound and determined to get through that thing no matter what. He spent all day at it, and eventually one of his approaches was novel enough that I gave him a second roll - which, if memory serves, came up much the same as the first one. He would have spent the next day there as well (and many more days, I'm sure!) except the party dragged him away under protest.
Yeah, and I'm not saying you couldn't produce this sort of narrative in Dungeon World either. I mean, its basically the equivalent situation. Now, its possible that the GM basically says "OK, you did finally open it, the thing is empty" (or maybe it has 3 silver pennies inside, they're good luck pieces ;).
In this case the vault had nothing to do with anything plot-wise, other than being a distraction for greedy Thieves. :) I don't even remember what if anything was in there.
I expect a success in a DW game would probably basically require the GM to put something interesting, fantastic, or maybe horribly dangerous, inside, though the sheer amusement value of the completely empty vault might tempt me.... BTW dummy, it was the VAULT which was made of solid (very tarnished) silver! hahahaha. ;)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Wait, so you mean you let them attempt it over and over, but don’t allow a roll? What’s the point of that?
I allow them to declare they attempt it over and over. If they want to be perhaps-foolishly stubborn, who am I to stop 'em?
It’s not a take 20, it’s simply the GM determining there’s nothing interesting going on, nothing at risk, so allowing them to succeed. This kind of thing happens all the time in play.
That's either a take-20 or is allowing them to succeed where they otherwise could/would not.
But you can tell the thief’s player that the thief knows it’s impossible. Why create a meta situation where none exists?

If the player truly feels the need to play the character in such a way that he’d not give up, then just narrate it as such. “After X hours of futility, you accept that you can’t open this door and allow your companions to convince you to leave.”
Violating the precept of never telling a player what that player's character does or thinks? Yeah, probably won't fly.

Also, if the party want to convince the thief to leave I expect that to be RPed out at the table; even more so if their methods of convincing go beyond just words.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm saying the situation really CANNOT ARISE in most cases. Lets say the thief uses 'Tricks of the Trade' to pick a lock. There are 2 basic possibilities, 7+ and he has done it, or 6- and the GM tells you what happens next. That 'happens next' is going to be something that changes the situation to some degree or other. That is, guards appear, your lockpick breaks off in the lock, you pick the lock and find out the door is barred from the other side, etc. etc. etc. Now, maybe you deal with the guards and get another crack at the lock, it isn't impossible, but situations generally 'snowball' in these kinds of game, you'll probably need to be pretty lucky to end up back where you were before anytime soon. Frankly, the way I read 5e, it should play out pretty much the same there too, though the nature of the consequences is generally already determined before you try the picking.
"Nothing happens" is always a viable result if it makes sense in the fiction. You fail to pick the lock: nothing happens. You fail to find the secret door: nothing happens (except some time passes).

I simply don't buy into the idea that you only roll when both success and failure cause change; for me if either one will cause change that's enough to prompt a roll. (sometimes success can cause no change but failure can, e.g. if you succeed in maintaining your hold on the rope then nothing new happens, but if you fail something - probably bad - does)
Yeah, and I'm not saying you couldn't produce this sort of narrative in Dungeon World either. I mean, its basically the equivalent situation. Now, its possible that the GM basically says "OK, you did finally open it, the thing is empty" (or maybe it has 3 silver pennies inside, they're good luck pieces ;).

I expect a success in a DW game would probably basically require the GM to put something interesting, fantastic, or maybe horribly dangerous, inside, though the sheer amusement value of the completely empty vault might tempt me.... BTW dummy, it was the VAULT which was made of solid (very tarnished) silver! hahahaha. ;)
The whole "events snowball" thing doesn't much appeal to me as a normal or common state of affairs; IMO scenes like that are best reserved for unusual or specific instances in order that they stand out as unusual.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Not only is there no reason this can't be relevant, but in most ways it makes far more sense than the idea that every magical item should be perfectly understood and usable by anyone who tries.
Just so long as one makes clear which version if the WoSDD is being invoked for the purposes if the argument. To avoid shifting premises.

To me, it has not so far been especially at issue how said wand, or wands generally, might work. Whether more or less sensibly. But rather, were a WoSDD to work a certain way, then what that should imply. Whether anything known about said wand until now is predictive.

It doesn't have to be, although most play rests on some amount of sustained meaning. Implicit predictions that turn out - repeatedly - to be true.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
I allow them to declare they attempt it over and over. If they want to be perhaps-foolishly stubborn, who am I to stop 'em?

You’re the GM. If I was a player at that table, I’d say “can we move this along, please?” And then if the other player wanted to continue wasting everyone’s time, I’d look to you to move things along.

I don’t have a lot of patience for self indulgence like that. Calling it role-playing doesn’t make it any better.

That's either a take-20 or is allowing them to succeed where they otherwise could/would not.

Why could they not, given the time they have? There seems to be no pressure or danger involved? So I’d say either don’t roll and let them succeed, or roll once and if they fail then they fail and you move along.

It seems like a big waste of time.

Violating the precept of never telling a player what that player's character does or thinks? Yeah, probably won't fly.

That’s silly. Certainly when they fail at an attack roll you don’t hesitate to tell them that they missed and they know it.

Roll results are what they are. Nothing wrong with saying “you realize this lock is beyond your ability” or similar.

Also, if the party want to convince the thief to leave I expect that to be RPed out at the table; even more so if their methods of convincing go beyond just words.

More power to you if that’s how you prefer to play, but that all seems pretty pointless to me. If I’m going to put the group in a situation where they have possible conflict with one another, I’d want it to be more meaningful than that. Something that says more about the characters beyond “I’m remarkably stubborn” and “we have no patience for his remarkable stubbornness”.

Connecting back to the topic, this is the kind of stuff that I’d prefer… as both GM and player… for time to be skipped so we can get to something more engaging.
 

Pedantic

Legend
There's nothing wrong with Take-20 but it's not something that's supposed to apply to any situation (or lock in this case), IMO anyway, and I don't think that's what was being suggested above. For my part at least, the lock in question would need to be somewhere in the normal range of locks the character in question could reasonably pick. In that case if you remove time and risk constraints I don't see the need to ask for a roll.
I think this is exactly backwards. The value of a Take 10/Take 20 mechanic is that they show precisely what is possible with absolute certainty, and ideally should have the requirements (and/or consequences) of using them laid out ahead of time. Take 20 tells you exactly what the "range of locks" a character can pick is, and provides a mechanical model for the situations in which you don't "need to ask for a roll."

Take 20 mechanically isn't an addition to 'don't roll if it doesn't matter', it replaces that model wholesale, by making it clear exactly what the capabilities of the character are, when they aren't under pressure. It's frankly a quite elegant mechanic that it's a quite a shame has been so deprecated in modern designs.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You’re the GM. If I was a player at that table, I’d say “can we move this along, please?” And then if the other player wanted to continue wasting everyone’s time, I’d look to you to move things along.

I don’t have a lot of patience for self indulgence like that. Calling it role-playing doesn’t make it any better.
Where I'll let it run as long as it takes; and I expect these things to be sorted out in character rather than at the table.
Why could they not, given the time they have? There seems to be no pressure or danger involved? So I’d say either don’t roll and let them succeed, or roll once and if they fail then they fail and you move along.
The latter is what I did, only they didn't move along - or at least one of them didn't. That's their right.
It seems like a big waste of time.
Oh, it was; and as DM I knew it. As characters, though, they didn't...and even if they had I don't think it would have stopped this thief. :)
That’s silly. Certainly when they fail at an attack roll you don’t hesitate to tell them that they missed and they know it.

Roll results are what they are. Nothing wrong with saying “you realize this lock is beyond your ability” or similar.
To which the response might well be "So what - I keep trying anyway. Something has to give here sometime.". In other words, the player is roleplaying a stubborn character doing what that character would do; and in my view doing what the character would do - particularly for something trivial like this - pretty much always trumps table concerns.
More power to you if that’s how you prefer to play, but that all seems pretty pointless to me. If I’m going to put the group in a situation where they have possible conflict with one another, I’d want it to be more meaningful than that. Something that says more about the characters beyond “I’m remarkably stubborn” and “we have no patience for his remarkable stubbornness”.
"Put[ting] the group in a situation where they have possible conflict with one another" implies a lot more intent than was the case in this instance. I had no idea the presence of a dungeon-dressing vault door would cause all that drama; all I could do was dance to the music they were playing and react to the actions they declared. :)

Then again, our parties are sometimes walking powderkegs anyway, ready to throw down on each other at the drop of a feather....
Connecting back to the topic, this is the kind of stuff that I’d prefer… as both GM and player… for time to be skipped so we can get to something more engaging.
Indeed; only what's engaging to you might not be to someone else (be it in or out of character), and vice-versa.
 

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