D&D General Styles of Roleplaying and Characters

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Oofta

Legend
How do you handle it as a player though? Most of your responses in this discussion have been about how you view rules from the player perspective, so that’s what I was asking.

Do you feel it’s up to you to determine what your PC knows? Or the DM? Or some combo? What if you have different ideas on what would be common knowledge or knowledge available to a PC?



Can you elaborate? I’m not following this; are you speaking as a DM or player? It also seems to be about what you know; what about the character?

When do you deploy dice?

I ask the DM if I know unless it's been previously established that I should based on play history and background. Assuming that I personally know something or think my PC should know because of some background I've shared with the DM.

For example, pretty much everyone knows what trolls are in my campaign world. If I've never played with a DM I don't assume my PC knows. But they may or may not know anything about a random monster or bit of information that's not common. Who was the 4th ruler of the Kingdom of Whatzit? Maybe the PC happened to come across it in their studies, maybe not. If they established that they are of noble birth and are proud of the fact that they can trace their ancestry back to the founding kings and queens of the Kingdom of Whatzit then they know it. They can't just make up justification on the spot.
 

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If they established that they are of noble birth and are proud of the fact that they can trace their ancestry back to the founding kings and queens of the Kingdom of Whatzit then they know it. They can't just make up justification on the spot.

But if Whatzit was just introduced for the first time in the game, how is it decided who knows what about it? How can this not be decided on the spot?

There are plenty of ways this can be handled, and none are right or wrong, I’m just curious how you guys decide these things.
 

Oofta

Legend
But if Whatzit was just introduced for the first time in the game, how is it decided who knows what about it? How can this not be decided on the spot?

There are plenty of ways this can be handled, and none are right or wrong, I’m just curious how you guys decide these things.
The DM decides how common the knowledge is as explained in the DMG under Running the Game > Using Ability scores. It can go anywhere from automatic to impossible to know. People are always free to remind me of something in their backstory or some previous event that will increase the odds of them knowing, but like a lot of things it's up to the DM.

EDIT: I also don't get too hung up on meta-game knowledge especially when it comes to monsters unless it's taken to the extreme. My preference is that a player checks with the DM first to know things like fire being required to stop a troll from regenerating.
 

We are talking about RPGs, of which D&D is one among many.
The fact that other RPGs have mental mechanics has no bearing on how our table plays D&D 5e. I guess that fact can help the discussion in that one might adopt such mechanics if they felt it would be fun for them at their table.

It depends on who you ask. Some people dislike the Battlemaster and Inspiring Leader because the abilities imply that the inspires them (without their consent). It's much like some of the hang-ups people have with the Warlord from 4e. There are plenty of past threads where this issue has been discussed and rehashed.
That's a new one to me that someone would be opposed to having their PC buffed by an ally. I suppose it could be on their fellow players to ask for consent before granting a buff to their PC if that was a sensitive topic at their table.
 

What would be obvious? Could a DM and player differ about what’s obvious? If they do, does it go to a dice roll?
Yes, the DM and player could have differing opinions about what's obvious. The DM decides, ultimately, whether to grant the knowledge or not or to call for a roll. Ideally, the DM adjudicates in a manner that reflects the truth of the world in the context of the PC's background/abilities and, perhaps, what the player suggests their PC is doing to obtain said knowledge.
 

The DM decides how common the knowledge is as explained in the DMG under Running the Game > Using Ability scores. It can go anywhere from automatic to impossible to know. People are always free to remind me of something in their backstory or some previous event that will increase the odds of them knowing, but like a lot of things it's up to the DM.

EDIT: I also don't get too hung up on meta-game knowledge especially when it comes to monsters unless it's taken to the extreme. My preference is that a player checks with the DM first to know things like fire being required to stop a troll from regenerating.

So as a player, you may offer some input about a given bit of knowledge, but ultimately it’s up to the DM if you know it, don’t know it, or need to roll to determine if you know it?
 

In effect, this offloads and diffuses some of the potential table drama of the "that's what my character would do" excuse onto the dice resolution mechanic.

I found this comment (at the end of a much longer post) interesting, and maybe telling.

My first reaction was that I don't really experience table drama around "that's what my character would do", so "offloading and diffusing" it to dice is a solution to a problem I don't have. And that, in turn, feels analogous to how some of these conversations about player knowledge and metagaming go: some of the approaches to "solving" metagaming don't feel useful to me, because I don't see metagaming as a problem in the first place.

Then what occurred to me is that a lot of participants in this conversation (and others) just seem to take the whole thing a lot more seriously than I do. Which may explain some of the difference in viewpoint. Thinking back to other hobbies I've been involved in, there's always a small contingent of adherents who take the hobby very, very seriously, and get wrapped up in minor philosophical differences and points of ethics. (I've been in that group on occasion.)

Meanwhile, the vast majority of hobbyists just...have fun.

And I think that's the group I'm in when it comes to gaming. I just like to have fun. All this stuff about which method of roleplaying is the highest art form, and which methods are major breaches of etiquette, just doesn't get me very excited. I don't like being told that my approach is a low-brow form of roleplaying, but...really...maybe it is. It just sounds like so much work (and, to me, a lot less fun) to try to follow all those rules, and I guess I just don't really appreciate the goal one is striving for by doing so.

If this were a Tolkien forum, I'd be the guy staring blankly at the Tolkien scholars debating whether "Noldor" or "Caliquendi" is the proper term (or whatever it is they argue about) while I'm thinking, "Yeah but Legolas kicked @$$ in the movies."

So, yeah, anyway...I'm bowing out again. Y'all have at it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I guess I would ask those who eschew mechanical tools what sort of techniques do you use to keep players focused in the moment? How do you create a social environment where players feel free to play against group interests when it's in character?
Perhaps oddly, for me that's never been a problem. Player focus is going to come and go no matter what, but creating an environment where players can freely play their characters is easy: all I do is tell 'em anything goes as long as it stays in character and that I-as-DM don't care if they spend a session fighting each other or gong their own ways etc. instead of dealing the adventure.

Actually, on thinking a bit more, creating that environment might also be helped sometimes downplaying or even denying the importance of the adventure or story in my own mind as DM, if-when it threatens to get in the way of what the character(s) want(s) to do.
How do you handle emotional stakes in a way that feels right?
I don't, generally. I sit back and let them figure it out for themselves. :)
 




overgeeked

B/X Known World
Want to elaborate a bit? I mean, I’m al for dice being used to determine something, but I expect it’s not the sole method you and your group use.
At a guess. If it's something your character would know, it's automatic that they know it. If it's something your character wouldn't know, it's automatic that they don't know it. If there's a question of whether they'd know it or not, you roll. Lanefan uses a modified version of AD&D, so likely a roll-under INT check.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
At a guess. If it's something your character would know, it's automatic that they know it. If it's something your character wouldn't know, it's automatic that they don't know it. If there's a question of whether they'd know it or not, you roll. Lanefan uses a modified version of AD&D, so likely a roll-under INT check.
Yes, with the roll often modified - sometimes significantly - by the relative obscurity (or not) of the knowledge in question.

And sometimes even seemingly-obvious knowledge isn't always right there on the tip of the brain. For example, I've walked up and down Fort St (a main road that runs from my home to the harbour downtown, about a mile away) hundreds if not thousands of times in my life, yet if you out of the blue asked me what business is on the northwest corner of Fort and Blanshard (a major intersecting street downtown) odds are very high that I wouldn't have a clue.

Flip side is that very obscure knowledge isn't impossible for someone to randomly have. What this means it that my "window" for getting people to roll is probably much wider than some.
 

Okay, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

So a DM determining what you may or may not know, or using dice to determine it is acceptable. Understood.

So what’s the significant difference if the DM or mechanics determine how your character feels or reacts to a situation?

I accept that there is a difference; I’m not challenging anyone’s preference. I myself don’t really like when I play D&D and the DM moves into that space.

But what is it that makes one area acceptable, and the other not?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
And sometimes even seemingly-obvious knowledge isn't always right there on the tip of the brain. For example, I've walked up and down Fort St (a main road that runs from my home to the harbour downtown, about a mile away) hundreds if not thousands of times in my life, yet if you out of the blue asked me what business is on the northwest corner of Fort and Blanshard (a major intersecting street downtown) odds are very high that I wouldn't have a clue.
Do you like ramen? If you do you should try Menbow, a ramen place by the Empress Hotel downtown. If it's still there. Fantastic ramen. The wife and I went in 2018. The miniature museum was pretty cool, too.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Okay, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

So a DM determining what you may or may not know, or using dice to determine it is acceptable. Understood.

So what’s the significant difference if the DM or mechanics determine how your character feels or reacts to a situation?

I accept that there is a difference; I’m not challenging anyone’s preference. I myself don’t really like when I play D&D and the DM moves into that space.

But what is it that makes one area acceptable, and the other not?
Jumping back in here because I think the answer to this question was discussed earlier in this thread but has since gotten lost.

Put succinctly, in my opinion, how a character feels or reacts to outside stimuli defines who that character is as a (fictional) person. By contrast, whether or not a character has been in a situation where they learned a particular factoid about the campaign setting (and/or whether or not they remember that factoid) does not define who that character is as a (fictional) person.

So a mechanic that tells you how your character feels or reacts I see as redefining a character in a way that a mechanic that tells you if your character knows a particular bit of lore does not.
 


Oofta

Legend
Okay, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

So a DM determining what you may or may not know, or using dice to determine it is acceptable. Understood.

So what’s the significant difference if the DM or mechanics determine how your character feels or reacts to a situation?

I accept that there is a difference; I’m not challenging anyone’s preference. I myself don’t really like when I play D&D and the DM moves into that space.

But what is it that makes one area acceptable, and the other not?

How many times does it need to be repeated? There's a difference between knowing something and your emotional reaction and though process in relationship to that knowledge. If you truly can't understand or accept that other people do see a clear distinction, I don't see any reason to discuss it further.
 

Hussar

Legend
As far as "leadership" it's not in my book.
Apologies - Inspiring Leader.

Same argument applies though.

I see that people have said that since it "only" grants temporary HP, it's not telling you what you feel. That's not what the feat states though. My inspiring words make you feel so good that you are now stronger than you were before.

Note, that the Battlemaster "Rally" ability works the same way.

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But, like @hawkeyefan said above, what is the difference between them? @Oofta, you keep stating that they are totally different but actually give no reasons why they are totally different. They are both mental processes. Why is it acceptable that one mental process - knowing something, being inspired by something - is determined by the mechanics, but, another mental process - being afraid of something say, is not?

Both are determining something about your character. Both are establishing truth about your character. Both are clearly changing your character in some way - do you know X or not? Heck, you're even allowing the dice to determine the history of your character - did he study X? But, it's completely different to have mechanics that reflect prior established emotional states of the character?

Note, mental mechanics are never created out of thin air. You would never just be afraid of something. You would be afraid of something (to continue the example) because it was CHOSEN BY THE PLAYER that you are afraid of that thing. How is "Afraid of spiders" any different than "studied at Dave's Super Smart Wizard School"?
 
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How many times does it need to be repeated? There's a difference between knowing something and your emotional reaction and though process in relationship to that knowledge. If you truly can't understand or accept that other people do see a clear distinction, I don't see any reason to discuss it further.

Oofta, I’m just asking you what the difference is. I believe there is a difference. I’m not gonna tell you what you say is wrong. If the distinction is clear to you, then I expect you can explain it.

If you can’t, that’s also fine, but then just say that. Don’t act like there’s some failing on my part.
 

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