D&D General What is player agency to you?

mamba

Legend
I've posted actual play examples from 4e D&D, from Burning Wheel, from Torchbearer and from Classic Traveller. I can provide more if you like. These are not hypotheticals - they are actual illustrations of high player agency play, with consistent and compelling gameworlds, emotionally powerful action, and no "player narrative control" beyond declaring actions for their PCs.
thanks, no need, I understand the difference, no further examples needed. I simply disagree that it means that the players have no agency in 5e as ‘we’ describe it / the DM has to guarantee an audience or agency ceases to exist.
 

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pemerton

Legend
So nobody is saying that the players have control over the narrative, but the players have to have to buy in to being sent to a different universe?
I have repeatedly contrasted the following two things:

*"Player narrative control", that is, players directly authoring elements of the fiction outside of their action declarations for their PCs;

*The GM making decisions about framing and consequences by having regard to, and drawing on, goals and aspirations that the players have signalled for their PCs, and they they put at stake via their action declarations​

The second thing is a way whereby players exercise agency over the content of the shared fiction without the first thing being necessary. The point made in the preceding sentence is fundamental to the design of many RPGs, including 4e D&D.

If the players have not staked the possibility of transdimensional travel, and the GM just introduces it by fiat, where is the player agency?

Let's say instead of the US they found themselves in the UK and try to see King Charles. They walk up to Buckingham Palace and demand to see the king. How you do you deflect and give a non-answer this time?
My first response is, suppose a dragon comes from Faerun to earth and tries to fly, how does it? Answer -it can't, as its wingspan and wing muscles will not generate sufficient lift to get its vast weight of the ground. Suppose a magic-user comes from Faeren to earth and tries to cast a spell, how does that work? Answer - it doesn't, there is not magic on earth.

But even the above two sentences are absurd - because as we all know Faerun is in fact imaginary, and so things can't come from there to earth

So let's suppose we're not talking about earth, but about some imagined earth to which magical beings can travel. My second response is, this as an example of game play it makes about as much sense as the previous one - you seem to be completely changing the genre of play, from heroic fantasy to gritty modern, and asking how do we make sense of the abilities of a fantasy PC in the new context?

.But let's suppose that we're not changing the genre: somehow, and for whatever reason, we're incorporating some imagined version of the present-day United Kingdom into our heroic fantasy RPG. Then how does the Noble PC obtain an audience with King Charles? The ways to me seem innumerable. After all, as we know, people are inclined to think the best of the character, who is welcome in high society. People assume the character has the right to be wherever they are, and other people of high birth treat them as a member of the same social sphere. So here's one possibility: the PC gravitates to Sloane Square (or wherever contemporary Sloane rangers hang out), hooks up with a gentleman or maid-in-waiting or whatever, is invited back to the Palace, and is introduced to the King.

I mean, all sorts of people in real life get to meet the King, so I don't see someone with the italicised traits couldn't.
 
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mamba

Legend
You’re wrong.
no, you are.

Unless we get past this point, we might as well end this discussion ;)

Either show why I am wrong, or we simply agree to disagree. You asserting something is not convincing

Personally I’d say we end it here, this has been going for 50 pages without a result, I doubt that will change
 

pemerton

Legend
I simply disagree that it means that the players have no agency in 5e as ‘we’ describe it / the DM has to guarantee an audience or agency ceases to exist.
I haven't made any of those claims. I have described it as low player agency, as all the players can do is make suggestions which the GM is a liberty to take up or set aside.
 

Oofta

Legend
I have repeatedly contrasted the following two things:

*"Player narrative control", that is, players directly authoring elements of the fiction outside of their action declarations for their PCs;​
*The GM making decisions about framing and consequences by having regard to, and drawing on, goals and aspirations that the players have signalled for their PCs, and they they put at stake via their action declarations​

The second thing is a way whereby players exercise agency over the content of the shared fiction without the first thing being necessary. The point made in the preceding sentence is fundamental to the design of many RPGs, including 4e D&D.

If the players have not staked the possibility of transdimensional travel, and the GM just introduces it by fiat, where is the player agency?

The player agency is that they agree to play with this DM. Sometimes things happen the players don't expect.

My first response is, suppose a dragon comes from Faerun to earth and tries to fly, how does it? Answer -it can't, as its wingspan and wing muscles will not generate sufficient lift to get its vast weight of the ground. Suppose a magic-user comes from Faeren to earth and tries to cast a spell, how does that work? Answer - it doesn't, there is not magic on earth.

But even the above two sentences are absurd - because as we all know Faerun is in fact imaginary, and so things can't come from there to earth

So let's suppose we're not talking about earth, but about some imagined earth to which magical beings can travel. My second response is, this as an example of game play it makes about as much sense as the previous one - you seem to be completely changing the genre of play, from heroic fantasy to gritty modern, and asking how do we make sense of the abilities of a fantasy PC in the new context?

.But let's suppose that we're not changing the genre: somehow, and for whatever reason, we're incorporating some imagined version of the present-day United Kingdom into our heroic fantasy RPG. Then how does the Noble PC obtain an audience with King Charles? The ways to me seem innumerable. After all, as we know, people are inclined to think the best of the character, who is welcome in high society. People assume the character has the right to be wherever they are, and other people of high birth treat them as a member of the same social sphere. So here's one possibility: the PC gravitates to Sloane Square (or wherever contemporary Sloane rangers hang out), hooks up with a gentleman or maid-in-waiting or whatever, is invited back to the Palace, and is introduced to the King.

I mean, all sorts of people in real life get to meet the King, so I don't see someone with the italicised traits couldn't.

So, let's suppose that we tell a story about

If someone walked up to Buckingham Palace and claimed to be king of Waterdeep, at best they'd be laughed at. There is no way they would be granted an audience with Charles.

In any case ... it's not worth arguing about. If you want it to work no matter how illogical in your game feel free. I wouldn't want to play in that game.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
No one has offered an actual example. They've offered either absurdities or vague hypotheticals. If you don't have any actual useful examples, that's fine, but then don't act surprised that I'm unimpressed by your argument. And don't ask me to strengthen it for you.
I am largely checked out of this conversation, but I want to signal boost this. I too feel that the examples given either go to ridiculous extremes (that would be funny if they weren't being used seriously), or avoid giving any specifics at all.

Well, if two sides are claiming that player agency matters, and one is exalting text that eliminates it, and one is pointing out text that supports it... I think I can tell who's being consistent.
Agreed.
 


pemerton

Legend
The player agency is that they agree to play with this DM. Sometimes things happen the players don't expect.
I consider that extremely low player agency. It is comparable to the agency of choosing to read a particular novel or watch a particular film.

If someone walked up to Buckingham Palace and claimed to be king of Waterdeep, at best they'd be laughed at.
That's because Waterdeep is imaginary.

This is why I said your whole set-up is absurd, and in fact contradictory, as it involves both asserting and denying the existence of Faerun.

But I notice you didn't address my actual example of how it could happen, under the premise that we are actually incorporating an imagined version of the contemporary United Kingdom into our FRPG play.
 

mamba

Legend
I haven't made any of those claims. I have described it as low player agency, as all the players can do is make suggestions which the GM is a liberty to take up or set aside.
others have, I just mentioned it as the point I was disagreeing with. I agree with the different levels of agency
 

mamba

Legend
I am largely checked out of this conversation, but I want to signal boost this. I too feel that the examples given either go to ridiculous extremes (that would be funny if they weren't being used seriously), or avoid giving any specifics at all.
I can tell that you checked out ;) … these ridiculous extremes are there to illustrate a point, not to be a realistic representations of play at the table. If anything they have shown the extremes the side you are agreeing with is willing to go to in order to cede no inch of agency
 

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