What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
What's the objection to the player changing the game state to gain advantage? Isn't that something that good players try and do?
Sorry, I should have been more specific. Changing the game state by having your character do something is fine. I was talking about changing the game state from the DM's side of the table. E.g., "Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, a piece of the ceiling collapses, landing on the evil necromancer."

(Maybe there are RPGs where that's part of game play? Could be fun. But this is the 5e forum.)

Like all these things there are gray areas in the middle, of course, and I'm sure we could both come up with examples of players narrating a change in game state for advantage that would be fine. But the existence of twilight does not disprove the difference between day and night.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
Sorry, I should have been more specific. Changing the game state by having your character do something is fine. I was talking about changing the game state from the DM's side of the table. E.g., "Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, a piece of the ceiling collapses, landing on the evil necromancer."

(Maybe there are RPGs where that's part of game play? Could be fun. But this is the 5e forum.)

Like all these things there are gray areas in the middle, of course, and I'm sure we could both come up with examples of players narrating a change in game state for advantage that would be fine. But the existence of twilight does not disprove the difference between day and night.
Remember how last month a couple people were asking that we include an edition tag to our new threads? When I saw that, I wondered "why the heck would we bother doing that when this is the 5e forum?" . . . and that's when I noticed this is now the D&D forum.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Remember how last month a couple people were asking that we include an edition tag to our new threads? When I saw that, I wondered "why the heck would we bother doing that when this is the 5e forum?" . . . and that's when I noticed this is now the D&D forum.
Oh, right.

Well it is the D&D forum, anyway.
 
What's the objection to the player changing the game state to gain advantage? Isn't that something that good players try and do?
It's something skilled players do - but you can leave their alignment out of it.
It's never been clear to me exactly how a 5e GM is meant to decide that some action has an uncertain outcome, or not, and how the DC is to be set.
The DM uses his judgement, based 36 years of D&D experience (since the mode-average DM presumably started with the storied Red Box).

Or he fakes it.
 
When a town guard says " Halt who goes there?" then the guard is challenging the character. The player isn't present in the setting.

Do I win? :p
 
OK, but that doesn't quite fit witih "playing by following the rules".
When the rule calls for the DM to exercise judgement, it does. Circular? Maybe, but dems da rulez.
So "skilled" is to "good" as "smoother" is to "better"?
Skilled is to good as legal is to lawful or beige is to neutral.

It was a pun.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM? I mean, [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION] talks about a player who asks a stream of questions in order to hit upon the "magic question" that allows the player to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules. I talk about players that try for a stream of action declarations in order to hit the "magic declaration" that allows them to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules.

The problem isn't in the strengths or weaknesses of a given approach, the problem is with players playing in bad faith. It's not that goal:approach solves the problems, it just shifts the problem of the player playing in bad faith to the left.

What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question".

Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D
 
Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM?
The DM is a major functional element of the game. So, no, it shouldn't be an issue, let alone the issue.

Not to deny it's a thing, but the DM is also in a position to influence the player, and if anything, a superior one. It's a social activity, absent tight rules of decorum and formal, unambiguous procedures, social activities are rife with such, and merely minimized or just obfuscated, even with them.

It's not that goal:approach solves the problems, it just shifts the problem of the player playing in bad faith to the left.
The Left?

I thought we weren't supposed to talk politics. ;)
 
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Celebrim

Legend
Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM?
Well, it's a issue, I'm not sure it is the issue. A lot of the issues that I've been talking about have nothing to do with anyone playing in bad faith.

I mean, [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION] talks about a player who asks a stream of questions in order to hit upon the "magic question" that allows the player to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules.
Well, no, that's not quite what I said. What I'm talking about is player trying to manipulate the propostion->fortune->resolution cycle in order to move a game that is played normally Fortune in the Middle, to one which is moved to Fortune at the End. The advantage here is that the player has now gotten the DM to agree to the player's stakes, which in a typical Fortune in the Middle game are not explicit. Whether the player is trying to do this referring to the rules or not, the point is that the player is effectively negotiating for a stake in a game that has no mechanisms for setting stakes. So sure, maybe he does at some point roll a skill check or cast a spell or do something in the rules using a resource on his character sheet, but he only agrees to do it after the DM has agreed that a certain outcome will happen if he does.

That's a bit different, and I don't like being coopted in to your argument.

What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question".
I'm really not following where you are going this except that you think you've found by twisting around something I've said some sort of "gotcha" in some argument I'm not a part of.

Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D
Honestly, I don't know what you are talking about now.
 

Hussar

Legend
Heh. Not a major deal [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION]. Just pointing out the irony. Not a worry. Interesting points you are making actually and apologies for giving in to a bit of humour.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM?
I don't think the game imagines that the players or DM are playing in bad faith. That is a social problem, not a problem of adjudication or the rules from which that process is derived.

What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question".
It looks to me that you are conflating different people's positions and even topics again and trying to drag @Celebrim into whatever crusade you appear to be on.

Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D
But you said in this very thread that you do.
 
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Hussar

Legend
*backs away very slowly and carefully *

Ok folks. You have just witnessed a totally failed attempt at humour.

Sorry.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Nevermind. Sometimes it takes clicking the "Post" button to recognize that I'm not contributing.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
Heh. Not a major deal [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION]. Just pointing out the irony. Not a worry. Interesting points you are making actually and apologies for giving in to a bit of humour.
Ok, sure. No hard feelings.

My state in this thread is that I would be happy to discuss the difference between challenge to a player and challenge to a character, but I'm not sure anyone is interested in that. I have very much got the feeling that this is a continuation of several other arguments and that for the people who were involved in those other debates, this is mostly a proxy argument for whatever was being debated in those arguments.

I don't really know what the position is of everyone in the thread. I don't know what side arguments that they were involved in. It's been a long thread and I haven't closely followed everyone's stance. At this point, it would require me taking notes to really know what all has been argued and what people believe.

In general, I noticed that in the "opposition to the idea camp", we had two mutually contradictory positions arise:

1) Some argued that there was no such thing as "challenge to character", and that every challenge was a challenge to player.

2) Some argued that while yes, there was such a thing as "challenge to player", that challenges to the player violated the spirit of the game and that therefore every challenge ought properly be a "challenge to character".

Some seemed to be trying to argue those two points at the exact same time.

There has been a significant and potentially interesting sub-thread that arose over what I call a game's proposition filter - that is to say, in what form must (or should) a character make declarations in play. And a potentially interesting discussion could be had over why a proposition filter is inherently tied to the notion of "challenges to player" and "challenges to character".

Given that I can point to cases in this thread where you have completely misunderstood my position, I think it's highly likely that the irony that you think is there isn't, and that's the reason I didn't get the humor. But, as I'm also someone that frequently doesn't get humor, maybe the irony is there and I'm just not seeing it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
[MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION], I think you're seeing things a little black-and-white. Some things (climbing a wall) have little or nothing to do with player capability in my game. It's a straight die roll if the outcome is uncertain. It relies only on your Strength(Athletics) score and the luck of the die. Some things, like figuring out how to disarm a complex trap may be a mix of player skill and PC abilities with the players figuring out what skill to apply where to ensure success. Other things, like resolving a mystery, or deciding whom to support in a political drama are primarily player challenges.

At least that's how I see it. You could stretch it and say that if your PC has a high athletics score that makes climbing the wall simple that it was the player who ultimately decided where to put ability scores and proficiencies but that's pretty tenuous connection to me.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
My state in this thread is that I would be happy to discuss the difference between challenge to a player and challenge to a character, but I'm not sure anyone is interested in that.
First: Your ability to know what they want is limited to what they tell you. Your ability to guess their actual desires with only internet-level contact is... minimal. I don't suggest engaging in it.

Second: If you are not getting what you want out of a conversation, even after reasonable levels of trying to communicate that, it is perhaps best to simply accept that the conversation isn't for you, and leave. If, after 375+ posts, you don't see what *you* consider teh appropriate discussion, maybe recognizing that what you want isn't going to be here.

These are at the core of self-policing.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
*backs away very slowly and carefully *

Ok folks. You have just witnessed a totally failed attempt at humour.

Sorry.
Do you know why it failed? Do you wanna know why it failed? Well I'll tell you why it failed.

First let's show that attempt at humor:

What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question".

Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D
Slapping a big fat smug smile emoticon at the end of a joking comment might work, it might get us to laugh at ourselves. Placing that joking comment immediately after a paragraph calling out people as hypocrites, though, turns the whole thing into an ugly mess that makes you look like you're insulting us with a big fat smug smile on your face.

So: If you're gonna make a joke, make it a separate post, is what I'm saying.

Or: Maybe try poking fun at yourself before trying for playful teasing of others. It really helps to take the sting out of the barbs.
 

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