What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?

pemerton

Legend
I have used them less than thst. L much prefer the blue delving to be in-game mysteries and the like.

The last riddle session I was in was three weeks ago. One of them hinged on the english spelling and pronunciation of a word, so it did not even cover the scope of our own real world, much less have a "in character in a fantasy world tie." So its answer definitely required leaving character.

And, it was not one that seemed uncommon as rpg riddles go.
Well, here's the most recent riddle that I used - which is a while ago now!

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the sphinx then came out, and told them that they must answer a riddle before they could pass further into the Mausoleum. I had mixed together abilities from a MM and MM2 sphinx, so they could either choose between accepting the challenge but suffering a debuff until answering it; or rejecting the challenge but granting the sphinx a power up. They chose to accept.

I wrote the riddle a few weeks ago on the train:

In the green garden, a sapling grows,
In time the tree dies, a seed remains.
In the grim garden shall that seed be sown,
Among the black poplars a new tree, a new name:
Shade shall it cast,
Frost endure,
Dooms outlast,
Pride cure.​

Appropriately enough, it was the player of the ridiculously zealous paladin of the Raven Queen who first conjectured that the subject of the riddle was the Raven Queen herself - first her mortal life, than her life after death in which she took on a new name ("the Raven Queen") and took control of the Shadowfell and death, of winter, and of fate.

When the players had reached agreement on this, they offered their answer. The sphinx accepted it, but insisted that they also tell him whose pride will be cured. After generic answers ("everyone dies"), which did not really satisfy the sphinx, the fighter/cleric answered "Us". The sphinx replied "Well, yes, you," and this was the clue for the player of the invoker/wizard, who answered "The gods" - because the fighter/cleric is now God of Jailing, Pain and Torture (having taken up Torog's portfolio). The sphinx then allowed them to pass down the stairs to the principal room, to venerate the dead queen.
[/sblock]

Before that I used a riddle from a 4e module, though in my campaign it was located in a different fictional context:

[sblock]
The invoker/wizard translated the supernal on the altar that announced that it contained the Ebon Flame. He prepared Object Reading (taking an hour) while the other PCs studied the sculptures and improvised some defences from the rubble where the floor had broken up. He then placed his hands into the marked slot and released his Object Reading. He learned that the altar had been made by Moradin and Pelor; that the Ebon Flame was within it; and that he was the first to touch it since it had been built. The altar itself spoke a riddle in Supernal (again from E1) - in summary form, what is the formless, colourless thing that moves the gods and causes victims of those who ignore it?

I was impressed that within five minutes or so of discussion the players had narrowed their options to Justice or Compassion/Benevolence. (Hope had also been canvassed but rule out as too non-specific; the contribution of the tiefling paladin of the Raven Queen, as played by his player, was to comment that this seemed to be about one of those good ideals rather than something like pride or revenge, and therefore the others could work it out.) The consensus seemed to be "Compassion", but the word had to be spoken in Supernal by the invoker/wizard, and he refused to place Compassion before Justice (he serves Erathis, Ioun, Bane, Vecna, Levistus, the Raven Queen, and Pelor only rather secondarily). Speaking the word "Justice" the altar blasted him with a crit for 77 points of damage, back into the angel of desolation where he took a bit more damage and had to be healed up before having another go. He then reluctantly spoke the word Compassion, and the altar opened up revealing the Ebon Flame - from which the form of Miska the Wolf Spider immediately burst forth (stats attached below).
[/sblock]

I can't remember the third, which was early in paragon tier. I believe I took it from a riddle book, but made sure it was not anachronistic.

Anyway, I hope the two actual play examples illustrate why I don't think that riddles have to involve breaking character or shifting the focus of play outside the fiction. Of course they have to be the right riddles.
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh, I thought the player was describing all that. Nvm!





And that's my goal for a fun and exciting game!

I like it when I can take a bathroom break and when I get back my character sheet has defeated the BBEG.
Oh, hey, I've REPEATEDLY stated what works for me and mine and been very, very clear that I'm not in any way saying that it will work for you. I fully believe that folks should find a table that works for them and not try to proclaim any single way is better or not, regardless of how much it follows the advice of the game writers. :D
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Well, here's the most recent riddle that I used - which is a while ago now!

[sblock][/sblock]

Before that I used a riddle from a 4e module, though in my campaign it was located in a different fictional context:

[sblock][/sblock]

I can't remember the third, which was early in paragon tier. I believe I took it from a riddle book, but made sure it was not anachronistic.

Anyway, I hope the two actual play examples illustrate why I don't think that riddles have to involve breaking character or shifting the focus of play outside the fiction. Of course they have to be the right riddles.
The raven queen examplexseems to show one of my #3 either a player-only or a character challenge can overcome it. **if** there was some check or trait that could have in-character led that paladin to the answer it's even more so because the answer option is character as well as player. In that, it foesnt rrl on the **player** knowing the Raven Queen story - their character does.

The second is it seems an example of my #4 - both are required (if I read it tight) because specific language skills in character *and* a riddle answered in player are required.

Riddles do not have to be player only, no argument there. They just fo seem to be that way quite often.
 

pemerton

Legend
The raven queen examplexseems to show one of my #3 either a player-only or a character challenge can overcome it. **if** there was some check or trait that could have in-character led that paladin to the answer it's even more so because the answer option is character as well as player. In that, it foesnt rrl on the **player** knowing the Raven Queen story - their character does.

The second is it seems an example of my #4 - both are required (if I read it tight) because specific language skills in character *and* a riddle answered in player are required.

Riddles do not have to be player only, no argument there. They just fo seem to be that way quite often.
I think at my table they're probably closer to your 1 (? I'm not sure I'm remembering your categories correctly), in the sense that there is not going to be any check made. At the table, the discussion is all between the players, playing their characters - so eg in the second you see the player of the paladin declining to take part because he's not interested in debating "good" ideals; and in the first, he is the one who is most excited about being in the Mausoleum of the Raven Queen, and so it's not a coincidence (although also not guaranteed) that he is the one who works it out first.

I don't know 100% how this fits into your conception, or [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION]'s, or [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION]'s - I would say it is challenging the player's ability to inhabit and play as his/her character. And of course it takes for granted that the player is immersed in the fiction of the campaign (riddle 3) or its moral logic (riddle 2). I think the first riddle - the one I can't remember - was probably weakest in this repsect because it didn't draw enough on that immersion.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I think at my table they're probably closer to your 1 (? I'm not sure I'm remembering your categories correctly), in the sense that there is not going to be any check made. At the table, the discussion is all between the players, playing their characters - so eg in the second you see the player of the paladin declining to take part because he's not interested in debating "good" ideals; and in the first, he is the one who is most excited about being in the Mausoleum of the Raven Queen, and so it's not a coincidence (although also not guaranteed) that he is the one who works it out first.

I don't know 100% how this fits into your conception, or [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION]'s, or [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION]'s - I would say it is challenging the player's ability to inhabit and play as his/her character. And of course it takes for granted that the player is immersed in the fiction of the campaign (riddle 3) or its moral logic (riddle 2). I think the first riddle - the one I can't remember - was probably weakest in this repsect because it didn't draw enough on that immersion.
The reason I counted the sphinx as #3 was a perception (maybe wrong) that they had options to just bypass it and fight with debuff or some such, so they could default punt back to solving it with charscters.

I would not see it as default involving the charscter both ways **if ** it relied on the player knowing the raven queen story. If they can do a religion check and have their character's knowledge play a role, that's different. But the "immersion" equating to "did I memorize the lore myself" (if that is what you meant) would not be a linkage I work at. I dont expect the life cleric hesler to learn medicine yo show "immersion" or the thief player to learn lock picking.

But its entirely possible I misread your immersion exsmple.
 

pemerton

Legend
The reason I counted the sphinx as #3 was a perception (maybe wrong) that they had options to just bypass it and fight with debuff or some such, so they could default punt back to solving it with charscters.

I would not see it as default involving the charscter both ways **if ** it relied on the player knowing the raven queen story. If they can do a religion check and have their character's knowledge play a role, that's different. But the "immersion" equating to "did I memorize the lore myself" (if that is what you meant) would not be a linkage I work at. I dont expect the life cleric hesler to learn medicine yo show "immersion" or the thief player to learn lock picking.

But its entirely possible I misread your immersion exsmple.
For me, the comparison between knowing the mythic history of your god which has been a principal focus of the play and the character, and knowing about how locks work or medicine works, is completely inapt.

It's more like, in a B2 campaign, the player knowing the difference between an orc in the Caves and a soldier of the Keep.
 

Hussar

Legend
I wonder if there isn't some overlap between those who insist that there are no "character" challenges and those who insist that the DM should never take any control over a PC?

The reason I think this is because, if you accept that there is a separation of the character and the player, then stating something like, "You believe that NPC" isn't telling the player what he thinks at all. The DM is stating what the character believes. Because the character and the player are not the same thing, when the DM does this, he's not telling the player what to think, but, rather, he's telling the player that the character believes X and the player is now somewhat expected to take that into consideration when taking further actions.

To me, there's no difference between saying, "You believe the NPC" (you in this case meaning the character) and, "You take 10 damage from the orc's sword". In both cases, it's the character that is being affected, not the player. It's not like you reach over an punch your players when the PC takes damage in the game. Well, maybe some folks do, but, generally, I'd say no, most don't.

If you think that there is separation between the player and the PC, then most of these issue go away.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
I wonder if there isn't some overlap between those who insist that there are no "character" challenges and those who insist that the DM should never take any control over a PC?
I'd be interested in the response as well, since I subscribe to the later, but not the former.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
For me, the comparison between knowing the mythic history of your god which has been a principal focus of the play and the character, and knowing about how locks work or medicine works, is completely inapt.

It's more like, in a B2 campaign, the player knowing the difference between an orc in the Caves and a soldier of the Keep.
Ok. Not sure u get your "it's more like" cuz whatever you mean by "a b2 campaign" is lost on me. It could be several things. But that's fine. Maybe you meant the 39 year old module, maybe not.

But, for me, I dont see a difference in "you are playing a lock expert character but you the player's knowledge of locks in the campaign is key to this challenge not the character's" and "you are playing the Raven Queen expert character but you the player's knowledge of the Raven Querns lore in the campaign is key to this challenge, not the character's"

Dont get me wrong, it's great if the player did all that, remembered all that and made the connection and it was in character too, but to me at the end of the day the character has spent *one would think* years or months at this, far far far more than a session a week, as a major part of their belief and life. Meanwhile I hope none of my players go as far as that with my games.

So, for my games there would be a "refer to character" option, maybe it's not just an oblique similarity in the life cycle but some aspects of the art, the phrasings, the accent or pronunciation etc thst sync up with Raven Queen Lore that a character reference can reveal.

But it's not gonna be a case of "hey, Joe, I know you have the new baby but really you should a spent a little more time reading the baby raven queen lore"

To me "the character I play is an acolyte of the raven queen and is very well versed in her lore" does not equate to orcrequire "ok, here is the list of links on RQ lore so you better start studying cuz when it matters its gonna be your knowledge that matters."

Note - I fully expect you do not take it to this extreme, but to me, it does seem like your example is calling out the player's knowledge of the lore (specifically the birth/life cycle of the queen's history (not the more day-to-day stuff the PLAYER references like say domain or domain features and traits) and unless I missed it gave no reference to being able to refer to the character's knowledge in this case. - to check on whether or not the character knows it.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I wonder if there isn't some overlap between those who insist that there are no "character" challenges and those who insist that the DM should never take any control over a PC?

The reason I think this is because, if you accept that there is a separation of the character and the player, then stating something like, "You believe that NPC" isn't telling the player what he thinks at all. The DM is stating what the character believes. Because the character and the player are not the same thing, when the DM does this, he's not telling the player what to think, but, rather, he's telling the player that the character believes X and the player is now somewhat expected to take that into consideration when taking further actions.

To me, there's no difference between saying, "You believe the NPC" (you in this case meaning the character) and, "You take 10 damage from the orc's sword". In both cases, it's the character that is being affected, not the player. It's not like you reach over an punch your players when the PC takes damage in the game. Well, maybe some folks do, but, generally, I'd say no, most don't.

If you think that there is separation between the player and the PC, then most of these issue go away.
I do not step that far. So, I dont see the connection.

When it comes to the insight vs lies etc, I tell the player what their character picks up.

There is a big difference between "the signs you can see point to him being truthful" (or the more common language " he seems to be telling the truth") and "you believe them" So, in my games part of.the "on the same page" we get to early is that at any time it's my intent as GM to actually say "these thoughts are in your head" it will be far more explicit than that. That these are just ways of describing what characters perceive.

I am not a GM who says that the consequence of failed insight checks etc must be the PC belief, not at all. I got lots more ways to make that check meaningful.

But I dont see any linkage between that and the character challenge issue myself.

But I certainly suppose someone could. If the whole deception vs insight us in a GMs mind a test of the player, then yeah, I suppose it's possible that leads to something very different on a failure than I might give.

"Yeah, that guy in the bar was full of it. I watched him and saw a couple obvious whoppers, a few sky ones and hey, probably missed some. You gotta get up pretty early in the day to fool... to... hey... where is my pouch? The pouch with the ring we found! It's missing? How did it... wait... what... what halfling? I didn't see no halfling... I was watching the... oh crap."
 

zedturtle

Explorer
And that's my goal for a fun and exciting game!

I like it when I can take a bathroom break and when I get back my character sheet has defeated the BBEG.
I think I've come up with the perfect example of challenging the character versus challenging the player, although it's not in-genre. Let's say that we are playing a game where the PCs are the bridge crew of an exploratory starship that often comes across new and exciting situations and sometimes does battle with aggressors, alien and otherwise. Let's also pretend that we're writing up the various actions that the crew can take in battle and we write up one for the Tactical Officer:

Shields!
When you take this action, you can reallocate the shields' strength between the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern, Port-Bow, Port-Stern and Aft locations*. The total shield strength is equal to the Ship's current Shield Strength plus your passive Intelligence (Tactical Operations) and each location must receive at least one point.

Example: Wumbo has an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) of +6 and their Ship has a current Shield Strength of 10, meaning that the total shields' strength must add up to be 26. Anticipating an attack on the port side, they set Port-Bow and Port-Stern to 11 each, and assign only 1 point to the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern and Aft sections.

OR

Shields!
When you take this action, you try to anticipate your attackers' most likely targets and reconfigure the ship's shields to prevent damage. Make an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) check against your opponents' highest passive Dexterity (Targeting Systems). On a success, the ship has resistance to damage until the beginning of your next turn. If you succeed by 5 or more, the ship is immune to damage until the beginning of your next turn.

—•—

Now obviously those are two different kinds of rules and you'd never intermix those rule styles. But both rules consume the same resource (a player's action on their turn). One challenges the player to anticipate the attack position. The other challenges the character — the player is under no obligation to figure out where to reallocate the shields, but we figure that the character does do a good job if they succeed at the skill check.

—•—

* Of course our theoretical starship game uses a hex-grid for combat, because anything else would be barbaric.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I think I've come up with the perfect example of challenging the character versus challenging the player, although it's not in-genre. Let's say that we are playing a game where the PCs are the bridge crew of an exploratory starship that often comes across new and exciting situations and sometimes does battle with aggressors, alien and otherwise. Let's also pretend that we're writing up the various actions that the crew can take in battle and we write up one for the Tactical Officer:

Shields!
When you take this action, you can reallocate the shields' strength between the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern, Port-Bow, Port-Stern and Aft locations*. The total shield strength is equal to the Ship's current Shield Strength plus your passive Intelligence (Tactical Operations) and each location must receive at least one point.

Example: Wumbo has an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) of +6 and their Ship has a current Shield Strength of 10, meaning that the total shields' strength must add up to be 26. Anticipating an attack on the port side, they set Port-Bow and Port-Stern to 11 each, and assign only 1 point to the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern and Aft sections.

OR

Shields!
When you take this action, you try to anticipate your attackers' most likely targets and reconfigure the ship's shields to prevent damage. Make an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) check against your opponents' highest passive Dexterity (Targeting Systems). On a success, the ship has resistance to damage until the beginning of your next turn. If you succeed by 5 or more, the ship is immune to damage until the beginning of your next turn.

—•—

Now obviously those are two different kinds of rules and you'd never intermix those rule styles. But both rules consume the same resource (a player's action on their turn). One challenges the player to anticipate the attack position. The other challenges the character — the player is under no obligation to figure out where to reallocate the shields, but we figure that the character does do a good job if they succeed at the skill check.

—•—

* Of course our theoretical starship game uses a hex-grid for combat, because anything else would be barbaric.
To me those are both testing the charsacter examples.

One is z resource allocation that directly accesses the PC traits. The other is a check based one with more success-fail than resource spend but it still directly utilizes the charscter stats.

In short, no matter which of those you choose "who the charascter is" will matter to the outcome. If you put in the ships tactical officer or the ships cargo loading guy - it matters - because direct changes likely occur with the switch.

By the way, I see nothing st odds eith those two examples in same game, they could easily show different shield designs or training..

But a better kind of example would be having some sort of player-side puzzle to solve the "starship command codes" to turn off the other ship shields. If figuring out that code does not require PC stats, so that the cook and the cargo handler do not have different chances than the medic or the science officer, the results and solutions never touch "character."
 

zedturtle

Explorer
To me those are both testing the charsacter examples.

One is z resource allocation that directly accesses the PC traits. The other is a check based one with more success-fail than resource spend but it still directly utilizes the charscter stats.

In short, no matter which of those you choose "who the charascter is" will matter to the outcome. If you put in the ships tactical officer or the ships cargo loading guy - it matters - because direct changes likely occur with the switch.
In the first example, the player is allocating the shields for various locations. A player with better spatial/tactical awareness will do a better job than a player without those traits.

In the second example, the only thing the character is allocating the shields for various locations. The success of the allocation is based solely on the randomness of the dice roll.

In both cases, the player decides to take the action. But in the first example, the player also gets to determine the results.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
In the first example, the player is allocating the shields for various locations. A player with better spatial/tactical awareness will do a better job than a player without those traits.

In the second example, the only thing the character is allocating the shields for various locations. The success of the allocation is based solely on the randomness of the dice roll.

In both cases, the player decides to take the action. But in the first example, the player also gets to determine the results.
But in the first example, the character's stats determines how much shielding there is. So the choices that led to those stats and the character stats themselves apply as do the choices made now. So it is a challenge that the character matters to.

perhaps this is party of the problem - the definitions of "challenge the character" does not include "no player choices".

Take "i cast wall of fog". that is an action that involves a character trait and an expendable resource and a choice to use it. No die roll is needed. The player chooses where to put it. So, whatever challenge led to needing or deciding to cast wall of fog challenged the player and the character. Its likely no other characters could do this, or at least relatively few, so "this character here" matters - even though no die roll was made.

Similarly, the character who needs to pick a lock might have auto-success, while others wont, as long as they don't try it when under a disadvantaged effect. So again, a combo of character stats and player choices.

Nothing in "challenge the character" says the player must be irrelevant - in a fight the player who chooses whether to to concentrate his attacks and where to move with a plan in mind will often fare much better than say someone who lets a random roll decide his actions - player choices will seriously affect the outcome as well as the character stats.

Now, if your example was such that there was no boost to shields from character stats *and* literally anybody can operate that console and assign the shields even if they had never seen a starship, then thats challenging the player directly - the character at work become irrelevant - any warm or cold body will do (and perhaps some non-bodies - it is scifi.)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I think I've come up with the perfect example of challenging the character versus challenging the player, although it's not in-genre. Let's say that we are playing a game where the PCs are the bridge crew of an exploratory starship that often comes across new and exciting situations and sometimes does battle with aggressors, alien and otherwise. Let's also pretend that we're writing up the various actions that the crew can take in battle and we write up one for the Tactical Officer:

Shields!
When you take this action, you can reallocate the shields' strength between the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern, Port-Bow, Port-Stern and Aft locations*. The total shield strength is equal to the Ship's current Shield Strength plus your passive Intelligence (Tactical Operations) and each location must receive at least one point.

Example: Wumbo has an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) of +6 and their Ship has a current Shield Strength of 10, meaning that the total shields' strength must add up to be 26. Anticipating an attack on the port side, they set Port-Bow and Port-Stern to 11 each, and assign only 1 point to the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern and Aft sections.

OR

Shields!
When you take this action, you try to anticipate your attackers' most likely targets and reconfigure the ship's shields to prevent damage. Make an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) check against your opponents' highest passive Dexterity (Targeting Systems). On a success, the ship has resistance to damage until the beginning of your next turn. If you succeed by 5 or more, the ship is immune to damage until the beginning of your next turn.

—•—

Now obviously those are two different kinds of rules and you'd never intermix those rule styles. But both rules consume the same resource (a player's action on their turn). One challenges the player to anticipate the attack position. The other challenges the character — the player is under no obligation to figure out where to reallocate the shields, but we figure that the character does do a good job if they succeed at the skill check.

—•—

* Of course our theoretical starship game uses a hex-grid for combat, because anything else would be barbaric.
I think the folks talking about "challenging the character" are mostly just confusing the concepts of "challenge" and "difficulty."

"Challenge" is a situation in which the player has to make decisions to affect an unknown outcome. "Difficulty" is how likely the undesirable outcome of that situation is to come to pass, often requiring tougher decisions on the part of the player to overcome the challenge. The better those decisions in context, the more difficulty is mitigated and the better the odds of a favorable outcome. The worse those decisions in context, the more difficulty is aggravated and the better the odds of an unfavorable outcome. The character represents, among other things not relevant to this topic, a suite of options the player may be able to employ to help overcome the challenge or, as in D&D 5e and ability checks, backup for when the proposed action has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure.

In the case of your above example, the player is being challenged in both situations since the player has to make some decisions to affect an unknown outcome. With the "Shields!" option, the player is presumably choosing this action over other action options in the moment ("Fire Torpedos!" or "Fire Phasers!" perhaps) for reasons known to the player. Otherwise there is no choice here and thus no challenge to anyone, just random number generation if that. So, presuming there is a meaningful choice, the player is being challenged here. It's just that in the second "Shields!" option, it looks like the player just has less input. If there is no choice, again, there is no challenge - not to the player, and of course not to the character (which is just a tool for the player).

When some of you are talking about setting up situations that are tougher on the character or that are in line with the character's abilities, you're really just talking about making the tool that is the character less effective or more effective for the player to use to overcome the challenge. If you present a combat challenge with a fire-immune fire elemental to a wizard who has taken all fire spells, for example, you are not challenging the character - you are challenging the player and have made the tool by which the player can overcome the challenge less effective, thereby increasing the difficulty. If conversely you present a combat challenge with a bunch of fire-vulnerable mummies to that same wizard, you've made the tool by which the player can overcome the challenge more effective, thereby decreasing the difficulty. In either case, it is the player who is being challenged since it is the players' decisions that impact the outcome of the challenge.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Oh, hey, I've REPEATEDLY stated what works for me and mine and been very, very clear that I'm not in any way saying that it will work for you. I fully believe that folks should find a table that works for them and not try to proclaim any single way is better or not, regardless of how much it follows the advice of the game writers. :D
:hmm:

I've been reading that sentiment a lot lately :uhoh:

This needs to be a drinking game: Drink a mug of ale every time someone says something like "I'm just saying what I do; you do you." :lol:
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I think I've come up with the perfect example of challenging the character versus challenging the player, although it's not in-genre. Let's say that we are playing a game where the PCs are the bridge crew of an exploratory starship that often comes across new and exciting situations and sometimes does battle with aggressors, alien and otherwise. Let's also pretend that we're writing up the various actions that the crew can take in battle and we write up one for the Tactical Officer:

Shields!
When you take this action, you can reallocate the shields' strength between the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern, Port-Bow, Port-Stern and Aft locations*. The total shield strength is equal to the Ship's current Shield Strength plus your passive Intelligence (Tactical Operations) and each location must receive at least one point.

Example: Wumbo has an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) of +6 and their Ship has a current Shield Strength of 10, meaning that the total shields' strength must add up to be 26. Anticipating an attack on the port side, they set Port-Bow and Port-Stern to 11 each, and assign only 1 point to the Forward, Starboard-Bow, Starboard-Stern and Aft sections.

OR

Shields!
When you take this action, you try to anticipate your attackers' most likely targets and reconfigure the ship's shields to prevent damage. Make an Intelligence (Tactical Operations) check against your opponents' highest passive Dexterity (Targeting Systems). On a success, the ship has resistance to damage until the beginning of your next turn. If you succeed by 5 or more, the ship is immune to damage until the beginning of your next turn.

—•—

Now obviously those are two different kinds of rules and you'd never intermix those rule styles. But both rules consume the same resource (a player's action on their turn). One challenges the player to anticipate the attack position. The other challenges the character — the player is under no obligation to figure out where to reallocate the shields, but we figure that the character does do a good job if they succeed at the skill check.

—•—

* Of course our theoretical starship game uses a hex-grid for combat, because anything else would be barbaric.
I've been thinking about these debates (this thread, and the Insight one). It occurs to me that both sides keep describing the most extreme version of the other side, e.g. it's "the player solves a multivariable calculus problem" vs. "the DM makes passive checks for the characters without ever asking the players for input". It's pretty hard to reconcile differences when you start with such a huge gulf.

Instead, what I've been thinking, is that the goal should be to come up with two variants of a scenario that are as close to each other as possible, but that one camp chooses version A, and the other camp chooses version B. That would help us identify where the actual disagreement is, and help both sides better understand the other side's position.

And there's [MENTION=6830534]zedturtle[/MENTION] (of course...he's got expertise in Diplomacy) doing just that.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
:hmm:

I've been reading that sentiment a lot lately :uhoh:

This needs to be a drinking game: Drink a mug of ale every time someone says something like "I'm just saying what I do; you do you." :lol:
What if what they say is: "Well you might as well be playing tic tac toe if you want to totally eliminate the roleplaying and just make it a mindless boardgame, you loser. But no offense meant. I'm just saying what I do; you do you."

Do you still have to drink? Or maybe it's not a matter of "have" to, more like you need to.
 

Satyrn

Villager
What if what they say is: "Well you might as well be playing tic tac toe if you want to totally eliminate the roleplaying and just make it a mindless boardgame, you loser. But no offense meant. I'm just saying what I do; you do you."

Do you still have to drink? Or maybe it's not a matter of "have" to, more like you need to.
Well no. Unlike my dungeon crawl campaigns, my drinking game is not like a mindless boardgame, and so you gotta judge the context of their actions. In your example, there is no hint of sincerity, so there's no need to take a drink . . . and I see I need to errata in that the phrase must be spoken with a modicum of sincerity. What amount of sincerity constitutes a modicum is left to the disgression of the the judge - this isn't a mind drinking game, after all!

But, uh, this is just how I play my drinking game. You're free to play it in whatever way works best for you.
 

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