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Puffin Forest’s In Depth Review of Pathfinder 2e


Scott Ruggels
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4 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

And the problem with that is, was the Player a good talker or the character a good talker? Skill rolls allow the character to know and do stuff a player doesn’t need to know or doesn’t.

 

While true, talking is at least something anyone can do (whether they're a skilled orator or not). Plus, talking is only way we have to influence the game world.

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15 hours ago, zslane said:

Combat was not the only objective resolution mechanism, and in fact, it was probably the least efficient in most cases, unless a poor GM left no other options open to the players.

 

I am curious what other objective resolution mechanisms you perceive. "Objective" means dependent on in-game mechanics, not GM assessment of the player or character's abilities with no mechanics backing that up.

 

14 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

"Bilbo meets Smaug" is what happens when the player has to talk to the DM and cannot depend on Diplomacy/Bluff.

 

Or it is what happens when a DM designs a non-combat encounter with nuances and layers similar to a combat encounter.  One successful roll to hit and one damage roll, even really good ones, rarely end a well-designed combat encounter.  One skill roll would similarly not end a well-designed non-combat encounter.  That scene can be envisioned as a series of skill rolls by each of Bilbo and Smaug.

 

11 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

That's the beauty of the encounter; Bilbo's player put forth a good effort, but it wasn't perfect. The situation was organic. Who could flawlessly match or exceed wits with a dragon unless they themselves were similarly ancient and/or well traveled? Had the player been able to steamroll ahead with a single toss of the die, I imagine the confrontation would have played out significantly differently.

 

How many "old school DMs" would say "Who could flawlessly match or exceed wits with a dragon unless they themselves were similarly ancient and/or well traveled?  Smaug sees through your bluff and glib talk, his nostrils flare and his keen dragon senses sniff you out.  **CHOMP**  Roll a new character and role play it better* next time."

 

* ie more in keeping with my vision of the campaign and your character's place within it.

 

6 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

While true, talking is at least something anyone can do (whether they're a skilled orator or not). Plus, talking is only way we have to influence the game world.

 

Sure.  A glib player can make a fantastic speech for a combat monster PC with INT 6, WIS 5 and CHA 3.  That does not mean the character should succeed because the player is clever, quick-witted and glib any more than his Mighty Warrior with 18/97 STR,  17 CON, 16 DEX should trip over his bootlace, drop his sword, fall to the ground and, wheezing, be unable to rise to his feet before being slain because his player is morbidly obese, struggles to lift two game books and needs two rest breaks to climb the stairs out of the basement.

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10 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

And the problem with that is, was the Player a good talker or the character a good talker? Skill rolls allow the character to know and do stuff a player doesn’t need to know or doesn’t.


This has been a pet peeve of mine for decades. Sure the lack of a skill system would force verbal improvisation l, but it advantages the glib smooth talker, and slights the introvert. This is my beef against a lot of minimalist or diceless systems, where it becomes nearly “Tyrrany of the Theater Majors”. As a GM, I love good role play, but I also like gaming with my friends, a few of which are not good role players, and it’s my job to make sure they all have a good time. So, I tend not to force those who aren’t sparkling conversationalists into socially uncomfortable situations, so I ask them to specify their approach, and then make a roll. I know nothing of bureaucratically and administration, but my Traveller character does, so I roll. It’s a balancing act, but I tend to err on the side of player comfort. 

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Think I see where this thread is going. 

 



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Before 2nd edition was released, I picked up a fair number of D&D/AD&D modules. There was rarely advice on how PCs might avoid encounters, but tons of advice on how to run an encounter. While the more while of player may have figured out that avoidance and stealing were more efficient means to level up, this style of game play does not seem to have been supported. In general, puzzles were puzzles and fights were fights. Puzzles you had to figure out, fights, you had to power through. Now it's been a long time since I read these adventures, so I reserve the right to be wrong. But, with that said, kill things, get stuff seems fundamentally enshrined in D&D, and I don't see that going away any time soon. All the rules I've seen for additional XP awards rarely seem to stack  up against Go. Hunt. Kill. [______]. 

 

Next we'll be debating that OD&D balanced high level wizards against fighters because [reasons], but come on. 

 



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He says, a hedge is a hedge.  

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6 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

While true, talking is at least something anyone can do (whether they're a skilled orator or not). Plus, talking is only way we have to influence the game world.

Actually that’s not entirely true. Introversion, spectrum, and social anxiety may limit

amplayer’s desire to talk. If the player is not disruptive and otherwise engaged with the game, I am not going to make them uncomfortable. Sure I will ask them questions, but role play can put a player into a vulnerable and potentially embarrassing situation, and a few players will clam up under pressure. I haven’t had a lot of these players, but I have had a few, and rolling their skills, especially social skills is allowed. 

 

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4 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Actually that’s not entirely true. Introversion, spectrum, and social anxiety may limit

amplayer’s desire to talk. If the player is not disruptive and otherwise engaged with the game, I am not going to make them uncomfortable. Sure I will ask them questions, but role play can put a player into a vulnerable and potentially embarrassing situation, and a few players will clam up under pressure. I haven’t had a lot of these players, but I have had a few, and rolling their skills, especially social skills is allowed. 

 

 

There are people with difficulties talking or expressing emotion, yes. It should be noted that not everyone that is introverted is introverted across the board (some open up in the right groups...particularly groups centered around their hobbies) and while social anxiety can be crippling, the DM/GM and fellow players ought to do their best to accommodate and encourage anyone to do their best. Also, we were discussing a system that doesn't feature social interaction Skills; if you're running a system where such mechanics are already factored in, that's a different story.

 

4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Sure.  A glib player can make a fantastic speech for a combat monster PC with INT 6, WIS 5 and CHA 3.  That does not mean the character should succeed because the player is clever, quick-witted and glib any more than his Mighty Warrior with 18/97 STR,  17 CON, 16 DEX should trip over his bootlace, drop his sword, fall to the ground and, wheezing, be unable to rise to his feet before being slain because his player is morbidly obese, struggles to lift two game books and needs two rest breaks to climb the stairs out of the basement.

 

The DM is well within their rights to say that a character with Low (that "l" is capitalized for a reason, as it is an official category) Intelligence, Low Wisdom and Semi (another category applied to Intelligence, but somewhat applicable here) Charisma isn't going to be tripping up, confounding or smooth talking anyone any time soon. If a player rolls well for their stats OR fully customizes their stats when Point Buy is an option, they should find opportunities to use them (be they an exceptional combatant or social chameleon). The point that tabletop roleplaying is a social event still stands; your argument that the social component ought to be diminished or removed because we don't impose player physical limitations on fictional characters isn't particularly new in our wider community and it isn't convincing me now.

 

You can argue that someone participating at the table - DM or player - doesn't necessarily have the Intelligence of a genius, the Wisdom of a sage or the Charisma of a seasoned politician and that's fair. To an extent, we hand-wave this away because the game would be impossible to run if participants had to directly emulate their character's mental attributes and because we recognize that trying and potentially failing* is more important than striving for one-hundred percent fidelity.

 

* Before you counter, no: failure doesn't automatically mean immediate death.

 

4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

How many "old school DMs" would say "Who could flawlessly match or exceed wits with a dragon unless they themselves were similarly ancient and/or well traveled?  Smaug sees through your bluff and glib talk, his nostrils flare and his keen dragon senses sniff you out.  **CHOMP**  Roll a new character and role play it better* next time."

 

If you want to run your game like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, go right ahead. There's nothing stopping a DM from putting in a monster capable of instantly killing the PC...except for a sense of what works and what doesn't. In my experience, if something like that occurs, it happened for a reason and not happenstance.

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To my mind this is the Roll Playing vs. Role Playing debate, and while I fall somewhere in the middle on that, my old school gaming background pulls me closer to the role playing camp than to the roll playing camp. When it comes to mental and social activities in the game, I want the players to do most of the work themselves, and not rely on dice rolls. My rule of thumb is simple: if you aren't comfortable portraying a character with high mental and/or social abilities, then don't make one. Turning everything you do into a dice rolling exercise places too much emphasis on the Game and takes too much focus away from the Role Playing. Combat is different, of course, because the usual flow of play is suspended while everyone plays a skirmish-level wargame for a couple of hours.

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I just have to disagree here. While role play is very important, but I am loathe to step on a players intent for their character, unless the character is unbalancing. If they want a chance to play Sherlock Holmes, and don’t have any deductive skills, I’m fine with that and I do not see Roll Play and Role Play as mutually exclusive. As a GM, I see my job as entertaining my players with a problem for the evening. Having good role players adds to my entertainment, but not all my friends can do it well. They are still my friends. The thing is,?one has to treat each player as an individual, and plan accordingly. 

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30 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I just have to disagree here. While role play is very important, but I am loathe to step on a players intent for their character, unless the character is unbalancing. If they want a chance to play Sherlock Holmes, and don’t have any deductive skills, I’m fine with that and I do not see Roll Play and Role Play as mutually exclusive. As a GM, I see my job as entertaining my players with a problem for the evening. Having good role players adds to my entertainment, but not all my friends can do it well. They are still my friends. The thing is,?one has to treat each player as an individual, and plan accordingly. 

 

What's your take on the proliferation of "Magic Marts"?

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7 minutes ago, Ragitsu said:

 

What's your take on the proliferation of "Magic Marts"?


Was not a thing when I ran, but in my campaign, mages might make items to sell for extra money, and pass word among other mages that might be interested. The

problem with ”Magic Marts” is that they are a magnet for thieves and smash and grabs, so magic items were  a bit rare.

Well,’the DM in a current 5e game I am in has a consignment broker that arranges sales between mages and interested parties. The broker does not keep stock,’but knows what is available and takes half payment up front. The next day the item and balance of payment are exchanged. I thought that was a fairly elegant solution. 

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I agree 💯 with Scott. I’ve been fortunate that the main players/GM who inspire me have always encouraged Roleplaying but didn’t have a bar to reach. I felt intimidated because the GM  actually did some comic art and stories and also was in theater for for fun. (I once took phy lim: Stutters,  cause when it was my turn on the spot I couldn’t say anything cool. Hey, mine as well get points for it! 😁). Anyways since they encouraged me (I put the pressure on myself never them) I’ve gotten better at it, and more comfortable too. I like what Matt Colville once said “you don’t have to make funny noises to be roleplaying. If you describe what your character is doing in third person that’s still roleplaying.”

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25 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I agree 💯 with Scott. I’ve been fortunate that the main players/GM who inspire me have always encouraged Roleplaying but didn’t have a bar to reach. I felt intimidated because the GM  actually did some comic art and stories and also was in theater for for fun. (I once took phy lim: Stutters,  cause when it was my turn on the spot I couldn’t say anything cool. Hey, mine as well get points for it! 😁). Anyways since they encouraged me (I put the pressure on myself never them) I’ve gotten better at it, and more comfortable too. I like what Matt Colville once said “you don’t have to make funny noises to be roleplaying. If you describe what your character is doing in third person that’s still roleplaying.”

 

The other Matt inadvertently set a difficult standard for the majority of DMs to reach.

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3 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:


Was not a thing when I ran, but in my campaign, mages might make items to sell for extra money, and pass word among other mages that might be interested. The

problem with ”Magic Marts” is that they are a magnet for thieves and smash and grabs, so magic items were  a bit rare.

Well,’the DM in a current 5e game I am in has a consignment broker that arranges sales between mages and interested parties. The broker does not keep stock,’but knows what is available and takes half payment up front. The next day the item and balance of payment are exchanged. I thought that was a fairly elegant solution. 

 

In my DragonQuest world, I have a gnome named Orvald. He's a procurer that tends to hang out in taverns. PC adventurers are sometimes offered jobs to procure for him.

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18 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

There are people with difficulties talking or expressing emotion, yes. It should be noted that not everyone that is introverted is introverted across the board (some open up in the right groups...particularly groups centered around their hobbies) and while social anxiety can be crippling, the DM/GM and fellow players ought to do their best to accommodate and encourage anyone to do their best. Also, we were discussing a system that doesn't feature social interaction Skills; if you're running a system where such mechanics are already factored in, that's a different story.

 

 

In an OD&D game, I would probably use some form of STR roll to determine whether a character succeeded with a feat of strength for which there are no rules, and a DEX-based mechanism to determine success or failure of an action based on agility.  If success and failure were both possibilities, I would not just decide whether the character succeeded or failed.  Why would I not similarly use an INT-based roll to see if the character remembers something about the campaign world which the player does not know (IIRC, there was an old DMG suggestion that a player spouting off rhyme and verse about various monsters because he read the Manual should see his character charged for substantial Sage fees) or a CHA-based roll to determine success in social interaction?

 

18 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

The DM is well within their rights to say that a character with Low (that "l" is capitalized for a reason, as it is an official category) Intelligence, Low Wisdom and Semi (another category applied to Intelligence, but somewhat applicable here) Charisma isn't going to be tripping up, confounding or smooth talking anyone any time soon. If a player rolls well for their stats OR fully customizes their stats when Point Buy is an option, they should find opportunities to use them (be they an exceptional combatant or social chameleon).

 

Here you seem to say that character abilities should matter.  You then move on to saying

 

18 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

The point that tabletop roleplaying is a social event still stands; your argument that the social component ought to be diminished or removed because we don't impose player physical limitations on fictional characters isn't particularly new in our wider community and it isn't convincing me now.

 

To me, however, the social element of the game does not require imputing player ability to their character.  I would not allow a player who is an olympic fencer, boxer or martial artist to impute those abilities on their character.  Neither would I permit a player who is a scientist to have his character develop gunpowder, firearms or explosives in a fantasy game, or even techniques to force iron and steel in a bronze age game, because the player knows the science.

 

Tub o' Blub gets to describe his character doing a Kirk shoulder roll through the mass of skeletons, nimbly leaping to his feet to bodyslam the evil necromancer, and we resolve that using his character's physical skills and statistics.  We do not ask him to demonstrate that shoulder roll in the hallway because "it's good role playing".  Similarly, the social introvert should be able to describe his suave Casanova character sidling up to that lovely young lady at the tavern and charming her into his room without having to provide the character's pickup lines in first person - the player describes what the character wishes to attempt, and the character's abilities, plus the dice, determine the results.

 

This is in no way preventing the socialization of the players in the game.

 

Should players get a bonus for really good descriptions of their characters' actions?  That's a table decision.  But, at least for me, the bonuses should be consistent.  What bonus does Tubby's character get for that description, as opposed to "I tumble past the minions and hit the guy in the back"?  The bonus for the glib player coming up with a great pickup line delivered convincingly should be similar.

 

Of course, the player's skills may also come to the fore tactically.  Arranging that tumbling roll so the character now flanks the necromancer, and gets a bonus, or so that he can shove the necromancer into a pit, will provide an example.  Similarly, having done the work to determine that the young lady at the bar is much more fond of violets than roses, and detests vulgar talk, and therefore working these into his approach, should carry bonuses.

 

But if player ability will override character abilities and mechanics, then get rid of the character mechanics.  If they will not be relevant to game play, just get rid of them.  No point letting players invest in social skills if their "role playing" will guide the results regardless of their investment in character skill.

 

18 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

If you want to run your game like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, go right ahead. There's nothing stopping a DM from putting in a monster capable of instantly killing the PC...except for a sense of what works and what doesn't. In my experience, if something like that occurs, it happened for a reason and not happenstance.

 

Smaug could clearly swallow Bilbo in a heartbeat.  He wasn't supposed to foolishly wander off (don't you know you NEVER split the party), and he could have snuck away invisibly rather than converse.  Is it the DM's fault that the player just assumes every encounter can be a victory for his outclassed character?  But hey, Bilbo's player put character resources into social skills, and quick-wittedness, so he should get to attempt their use accordingly.  In fact, perhaps the DM even placed this unbeatable combat encounter in the game specifically to let Bilbo's player, the one guy who did not dump CHA and INT to build a better Combat Monster, shine through the use of his non-combat abilities.

 

Or maybe he just likes Bilbo's player better because they're both part of the local improv theatre troupe, so the jocks that hang at the gym instead and play combat monster dwarves get to sit on the sidelines a lot while the DM runs BilboCentric scenes for his imrov buddy.

 

13 hours ago, zslane said:

To my mind this is the Roll Playing vs. Role Playing debate, and while I fall somewhere in the middle on that, my old school gaming background pulls me closer to the role playing camp than to the roll playing camp. When it comes to mental and social activities in the game, I want the players to do most of the work themselves, and not rely on dice rolls. My rule of thumb is simple: if you aren't comfortable portraying a character with high mental and/or social abilities, then don't make one. Turning everything you do into a dice rolling exercise places too much emphasis on the Game and takes too much focus away from the Role Playing. Combat is different, of course, because the usual flow of play is suspended while everyone plays a skirmish-level wargame for a couple of hours.

 

What I generally dislike about classifying this as "role playing versus roll playing" is that the player made their character, which should be designed for the role they intend to play.  Playing the dullard Fighter with the social skills of a pet rock as a shrewd Sherlock Holmes or a charming Casanova is not "good role playing", it is 💩role playing.  Taking every tactical advantage and playing a "character" with no character is also 💩 role playing. 

 

The high INT, high CHA wizard Face with a low STR does not describe how he levers the bars on the portcullis, he asks his burly buddy to get them past this impediment.  When the time comes to negotiate with the Duke, the low INT, no social skills Warrior stands back and looks mighty while the party Face does his stuff.

 

12 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I just have to disagree here. While role play is very important, but I am loathe to step on a players intent for their character, unless the character is unbalancing. If they want a chance to play Sherlock Holmes, and don’t have any deductive skills, I’m fine with that and I do not see Roll Play and Role Play as mutually exclusive. As a GM, I see my job as entertaining my players with a problem for the evening. Having good role players adds to my entertainment, but not all my friends can do it well. They are still my friends. The thing is,?one has to treat each player as an individual, and plan accordingly. 

 

Players can also interact socially out of character, and suggest actions for the player whose character is best suited to perform those actions rather than insist on their character being the center of attention in every scene.  Sharing the spotlight is the height of a good, social game.  When the shy, stuttering farmboy is approached  by the femme fatale, attempting to seduce her is more 💩role playing.  Describing the blushing farmboy tugging at his collar and falling hook, line and sinker for the femme fatale's wiles (all the while noting that, wow, we are in trouble when she springs her obvious trap) is far superior role playing.  That is the role the player designed his character to play.

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And whose to say the the written interaction between Bilbo and Smaug went down that way in the game? DM says Hey Smaug made his roll and noticed that you’re there, what do you do?” Player “ Well I’m going to sweet talk and flatter him.” DM “ok, like what ?” Player “ I don’t know something about his Dragonish, his ferocity and age I think!” DM “ok I’ll add that as a bonus to his reaction check”. Player “well?”. DM “ well he doesn’t attack right away”. Meanwhile the writer of the group envious what the actual conversation went down like.

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2 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Neither would I permit a player who is a scientist to have his character develop gunpowder, firearms or explosives in a fantasy game, or even techniques to force iron and steel in a bronze age game, because the player knows the science.

 

Oh, I definitely agree. Metagame knowledge should not be permitted to affect the game.

 

I just think that when it comes to intellectual and social abilities, this cuts both ways to an extent. Yes, we are playing characters who are not (usually) copies of ourselves, with abilities we don't necessarily possess. But RPGs are like boardgames where players have the unique opportunity to "play out" social interactions verbally, and to work out mysteries and find creative solutions to problems themselves. They should be availing themselves of these opportunities rather than sloffing off those responsibilities exclusively to dice rolls. Whenever someone uses dice to resolve a roleplaying opportunity they are, by its very definition, roll playing rather than role playing. Obviously any group is free to allow that if they wish; I'm just saying that it's like buying a boat but never taking it out onto the water. Might as well just buy a picture or model of a boat instead.

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Btw I’m not advocating one style versus another style. I believe each has its own merits.  It may seem I’m picking on Ragitsu but I’m not. I’m just pointing out that certain things have changed (whether good or bad) because of what came before. I see that the one of the things that people are enjoying with a OSR is that it is rules light and GM driven. That’s not saying it’s a bad thing but I know my younger not as sure of GMing self would feel overwhelmed without guidance i.e. rules. Now? I feel fine improvising rules that feel fair.

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9 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

Oh, I definitely agree. Metagame knowledge should not be permitted to affect the game.

 

I just think that when it comes to intellectual and social abilities, this cuts both ways to an extent. Yes, we are playing characters who are not (usually) copies of ourselves, with abilities we don't necessarily possess. But RPGs are like boardgames where players have the unique opportunity to "play out" social interactions verbally, and to work out mysteries and find creative solutions to problems themselves. They should be availing themselves of these opportunities rather than sloffing off those responsibilities exclusively to dice rolls. Whenever someone uses dice to resolve a roleplaying opportunity they are, by its very definition, roll playing rather than role playing. Obviously any group is free to allow that if they wish; I'm just saying that it's like buying a boat but never taking it out onto the water. Might as well just buy a picture or model of a boat instead.

And why are you presenting it as an either or choice?  You can have both work in conjunction.  As a player, I’m no Sherlock however I’ll roleplay as best as possible of what I’m doing as genius then let the dice dictate (unless the generous GM just approves) the result.

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31 minutes ago, zslane said:

Whenever someone uses dice to resolve a roleplaying opportunity they are, by its very definition, roll playing rather than role playing.

This is a hot load. 

Playing your character is role-playing.  Being a theater major is acting.  Learn the difference. 

If playing your character requires mechanical abstraction because your character is better at [thing] than you are, using that mechanical abstraction is role-playing. 

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If you're not doing at least a little bit of acting when playing an RPG you're basically just moving a piece around a theater-of-the-mind boardgame (I think the word "theater" is quite appropriate here). Doing that makes D&D not much different from Chainmail (with the fantasy supplement), which is not an RPG. A lot of people have grown up believing, thanks to video games, that any game which tracks the progress of a character over time is an RPG. And maybe that's all it takes for a video game to be a "video game RPG", but that's not what a TTRPG is. And you don't have to be an accomplished (or aspiring) stage actor to "play act" a character, or to engage your brain in solving the GM's puzzles and mysteries.

 

Yes, there are definitely areas in which heavy game abstraction is a practical necessity. Combat and most physical activities, for instance. When you don't want to abstract those things, you go LARPing. But mental and social activities do not require much abstraction (sometimes none at all). And the fact that mental/social actions involve the least abstraction possible is what separates an RPG from a boardgame.

 

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17 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

If they want a chance to play Sherlock Holmes, and don’t have any deductive skills, I’m fine with that

 

I am as well, but that doesn't mean they will get Sherlock Holmes level results.

 

RPG's are games and you can make any character you want that is allowed in that particular game.  If the player wants to make a Sherlock Holmes type character I will help them make one.  But if Bob makes Int 7 Igor the Barbarian from the ice plains for a PC and then suddenly wants to Sherlock the murder in Waterdeep. Well, I am all for letting him do what he wants. But Igor's sleuthing ability will most likely suck. 

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1 hour ago, Spence said:

 

I am as well, but that doesn't mean they will get Sherlock Holmes level results.

 

RPG's are games and you can make any character you want that is allowed in that particular game.  If the player wants to make a Sherlock Holmes type character I will help them make one.  But if Bob makes Int 7 Igor the Barbarian from the ice plains for a PC and then suddenly wants to Sherlock the murder in Waterdeep. Well, I am all for letting him do what he wants. But Igor's sleuthing ability will most likely suck. 

I find sometimes the hardest thing to do is to roleplay less than your ability or a hinderance like say Psy Lim: Rash. I know I shouldn’t rush into that obvious trap however that a Total limitation said otherwise.

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7 hours ago, zslane said:

 

Oh, I definitely agree. Metagame knowledge should not be permitted to affect the game.

 

I just think that when it comes to intellectual and social abilities, this cuts both ways to an extent.

 

Using my own social skills to substitute for skills I did not develop in my character is also metagaming.  So is bringing my knowledge of creatures in the game world when my character would lack that knowledge. 

7 hours ago, zslane said:

 

Yes, we are playing characters who are not (usually) copies of ourselves, with abilities we don't necessarily possess. But RPGs are like boardgames where players have the unique opportunity to "play out" social interactions verbally, and to work out mysteries and find creative solutions to problems themselves. They should be availing themselves of these opportunities rather than sloffing off those responsibilities exclusively to dice rolls.

 

 

This is a matter of degree.  We could sloff combat off exclusively to dice rolls.  "Your group has been ambushed by a raiding party of Ogres.  What do you do?"

 

My guess is that this is not resolved by making the players "role play" the Rogue's use of his Sneak Attack to target vulnerable parts of the Bugbears' anatomy, the Barbarian's mighty axe wing or the Wizard's lightning bolt and the Cleric's Searing Light.  I doubt it will be resolved by the Rogue rolling his Sneak Attack skill, the Warrior his Brutal Fighter skill, the Wizard his Magic skill and the Cleric his Piety skill to determine that the Bugbears are now defeated.

 

Rather, we will roll for initiative, the Rogue will attempt to flank, the Wizard and Cleric will cast their spells and the Barbarian will swing his axe, each describing individual actions in combat.  Each action will then be resolved by dice rolls, not by whether the player was able to get past the DM's guard and bean him with a cushion from the couch.

 

Similarly, an interaction encounter is not resolved  by "I use Diplomacy - here is my roll".  How are you using that Diplomacy? 

 

Perhaps I will try to persuade the Ogre leader than we are no threat to them, and sweeten the deal with a bribe of a couple hundred gold pieces.  Maybe I will brandish my Axe and ask that Ogre if he is SURE he wants a piece of this (Intimidation)!  I could try to trick the Ogres into chasing a (nonexistent) lower threat, higher profit target that passed us by a few minutes ago (Bluff).  Maybe I will try to Seduce the ogre.

 

There are lots of approaches which could be taken, some of which may generate small bonuses (Yeah, we can go after the bigger score that takes less work) or penalties (Why take a couple hundred gold when we can kill you and loot your corpses?).  One roll need not resolve the entire situation - maybe the ogres are persuaded not to attack immediately, or even to leave us alone for a bribe, but 200 gold is not enough - give us 2,000, and the donkey.  But we're way more likely to succeed if we have a character with massive social skills than one with an 8 CHA and no non-combat skills.

 

7 hours ago, zslane said:

Whenever someone uses dice to resolve a roleplaying opportunity they are, by its very definition, roll playing rather than role playing.

 

When someone uses dice to adjudicate the success or failure  of actions they have selected, based on the objective resolution systems of the game, they are playing that game.  Their choices are role playing.  The Barbarian may well not know that Ogres react to a physical threat with a "fight" instinct, so they are not likely to back down.  The player may know that, and know the characters are likely to take a beating if he does threaten them, but if he is playing "Tongor the Mighty, who backs down from no threat", having him decide to kiss ogre butt to avoid that beating is pretty 💩 role playing.

 

6 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Playing your character is role-playing.  Being a theater major is acting.  Learn the difference. 

If playing your character requires mechanical abstraction because your character is better at [thing] than you are, using that mechanical abstraction is role-playing. 

 

I will add that selecting the best possible means of achieving success using those objective resolution mechanics is not role playing - playing the foibles and failings of your character, as well as his strengths, is role playing. 

 

6 hours ago, zslane said:

Yes, there are definitely areas in which heavy game abstraction is a practical necessity. Combat and most physical activities, for instance. When you don't want to abstract those things, you go LARPing. But mental and social activities do not require much abstraction (sometimes none at all). And the fact that mental/social actions involve the least abstraction possible is what separates an RPG from a boardgame.

 

Playing Tongor the Mighty as a diplomat or a sleuth because, hey, the DM will let me even though Tongor lacks any social skills or sleuthing inclination is not role playing.  It is moving a playing piece around the board. 

 

5 hours ago, Spence said:

RPG's are games and you can make any character you want that is allowed in that particular game.  If the player wants to make a Sherlock Holmes type character I will help them make one.  But if Bob makes Int 7 Igor the Barbarian from the ice plains for a PC and then suddenly wants to Sherlock the murder in Waterdeep. Well, I am all for letting him do what he wants. But Igor's sleuthing ability will most likely suck. 

 

Sure - the player should be using Igor's natural sleuthing abilities (which is none), not trying to leverage the player's much higher deductive skills to make Igor a successful sleuth.

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