This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted  (Read 4086 times)

This Guy

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • ?
  • Posts: 642
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2021, 12:06:01 AM »
this is a real fuckin oblique way of getting to the point of "games aren't books and you shouldn't treat em like books." I mean i agree but just lead with the point instead of a broad rhetorical
I don't want to play with you.

Stephen Tannhauser

  • Curmudgeonly Refugee
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 702
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2021, 12:08:04 AM »
So, because that's how it is in the novels that is how it should be in the game?

If the desire is to evoke the experience of being caught up in a certain type of story, it seems logical to me that the game should be tailored to encourage that effect.  It may be that for every Shadow, Spider or Doc Savage, there were a dozen fledgeling pulp adventurers who never made it past their first story due to lack of reader interest, but I don't see the point in making the players play through that.

Quote
Are you trying to live in the game world or to write a Pulp?

Ah, that's the great thing about Pulp; there really isn't a difference. :)
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

STR 8 DEX 10 CON 10 INT 11 WIS 6 CHA 3

Sable Wyvern

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • S
  • Posts: 356
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2021, 12:35:31 AM »
I'm a fan of the threat of death.

However, this whole "why would anyone take the game seriously if the PCs can't die?" strikes me as very similar to, "what's stopping you from being an evil, axe-mudering, thieving rapist, if you don't believe in god?"

I'm quite confident it is possible to play a pulpy, action-adventure game where PC death is off the table, without being an arshole who decides to jump in a volcano just to prove a point. If it's only the fact that you'll lose your PC that's stopping you from doing stupid, disruptive things, the problem is you.

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2021, 12:46:25 AM »
So, because that's how it is in the novels that is how it should be in the game?

If the desire is to evoke the experience of being caught up in a certain type of story, it seems logical to me that the game should be tailored to encourage that effect.  It may be that for every Shadow, Spider or Doc Savage, there were a dozen fledgeling pulp adventurers who never made it past their first story due to lack of reader interest, but I don't see the point in making the players play through that.

Quote
Are you trying to live in the game world or to write a Pulp?

Ah, that's the great thing about Pulp; there really isn't a difference. :)

There needs to be one for the player to care about the PC
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2021, 12:50:37 AM »
I'm a fan of the threat of death.

However, this whole "why would anyone take the game seriously if the PCs can't die?" strikes me as very similar to, "what's stopping you from being an evil, axe-mudering, thieving rapist, if you don't believe in god?"

I'm quite confident it is possible to play a pulpy, action-adventure game where PC death is off the table, without being an arshole who decides to jump in a volcano just to prove a point. If it's only the fact that you'll lose your PC that's stopping you from doing stupid, disruptive things, the problem is you.

So you have faith it is possible but have never done it... But I'm the one doing religious arguments?

How many times must your character escape certain death by plot armor before you realize it's Scooby-Doo and stop giving a damn about your PC?

The PCs being impossible to kill might be okay for ONE adventure, a short one too, 3-4 sessions is my bet. Not for ongoing campaigns.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

This Guy

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • ?
  • Posts: 642
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2021, 12:55:27 AM »
So you have faith it is possible but have never done it... But I'm the one doing religious arguments?

How many times must your character escape certain death by plot armor before you realize it's Scooby-Doo and stop giving a damn about your PC?

The PCs being impossible to kill might be okay for ONE adventure, a short one too, 3-4 sessions is my bet. Not for ongoing campaigns.

so far seven years real-time, but I'll keep you posted if the lack of threat of death makes me stop giving a shit.
I don't want to play with you.

SHARK

  • Great White Hope
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3267
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2021, 01:06:59 AM »
Greetings!

In general, I think it is ok to provide Player's with just a *bit* of mercy--but DEATH should always be ever-present, and distinctly possible. especially so when the Player Characters are just stupid, juvenile, scattered, using poor tactics, going off and getting separated, not paying attention.

Fuck 'em. Let the beasts devour them! Curb stomp the fuck out of them. The Players either get their shit together, or have fun rolling up more characters.

I think it is important to remember that in a strict sense, yes, the DM/NPC's have or can have immense advantages. However, in running a normal scenario--it is the players that inherently possess several large advantages beyond base stats and mechanics which tilt many encounters in their favour--they are a united *group* with greater unity and cohesion, as well as having 3, 4, 5, or 6 different brains working against just the DM. That kind of dynamic translates into a significant advantage, in my mind.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Sable Wyvern

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • S
  • Posts: 356
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2021, 01:07:43 AM »
I'm a fan of the threat of death.

However, this whole "why would anyone take the game seriously if the PCs can't die?" strikes me as very similar to, "what's stopping you from being an evil, axe-mudering, thieving rapist, if you don't believe in god?"

I'm quite confident it is possible to play a pulpy, action-adventure game where PC death is off the table, without being an arshole who decides to jump in a volcano just to prove a point. If it's only the fact that you'll lose your PC that's stopping you from doing stupid, disruptive things, the problem is you.

So you have faith it is possible but have never done it... But I'm the one doing religious arguments?

How many times must your character escape certain death by plot armor before you realize it's Scooby-Doo and stop giving a damn about your PC?

The PCs being impossible to kill might be okay for ONE adventure, a short one too, 3-4 sessions is my bet. Not for ongoing campaigns.

Lots of people play without threat of death and claim to have fun. I see no reason to assume they're all liars just because they like something different to me.

I'm willing to guess people have even played Scooby-Doo, and had fun doing it.

But even if these people are deluded and not really having any fun ... why do you give a shit what's going on at their table?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 01:10:24 AM by Sable Wyvern »

Stephen Tannhauser

  • Curmudgeonly Refugee
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • S
  • Posts: 702
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2021, 01:23:25 AM »
There needs to be (a difference) for the player to care about the PC.

True enough, in itself. This is the same problem with running PCs in horror games -- one of the critical hallmarks of horror protagonists is that they don't know they're in a horror story, not until it's far too late to get out of it, and even by the time they realize they are in a horror story, they are quite often deliberately written to be less competent than your average gamer (or, for that matter, horror audience member) likes to think himself.

By the same token, even Pulp heroes don't "know" about their own plot invincibility; they evoke fear for their safety from the audience not because the audience genuinely thinks this could be the hero's last story (most know better) but by telling the story so skilfully that those cliffhanger reflexes go off in the audience despite themselves. It's a lot harder for the storyteller -- in this case the GM and the players -- to fool themselves the same way without something of a deliberate buy-in ... but I wouldn't say it's impossible.

That said, I would disagree that the only reason a player has to care about his PC is the fear of losing him. If you like playing the PC enough, playing him should be enjoyable regardless; perhaps a certain pit-of-the-stomach tension is gone, but that same tension never really shows up in James Bond or Indiana Jones films, and I contend they are still enjoyable and keep us caring about their protagonists and about whether those protagonists succeed or fail.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

STR 8 DEX 10 CON 10 INT 11 WIS 6 CHA 3

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2021, 01:39:05 AM »
I'm a fan of the threat of death.

However, this whole "why would anyone take the game seriously if the PCs can't die?" strikes me as very similar to, "what's stopping you from being an evil, axe-mudering, thieving rapist, if you don't believe in god?"

I'm quite confident it is possible to play a pulpy, action-adventure game where PC death is off the table, without being an arshole who decides to jump in a volcano just to prove a point. If it's only the fact that you'll lose your PC that's stopping you from doing stupid, disruptive things, the problem is you.

So you have faith it is possible but have never done it... But I'm the one doing religious arguments?

How many times must your character escape certain death by plot armor before you realize it's Scooby-Doo and stop giving a damn about your PC?

The PCs being impossible to kill might be okay for ONE adventure, a short one too, 3-4 sessions is my bet. Not for ongoing campaigns.

Lots of people play without threat of death and claim to have fun. I see no reason to assume they're all liars just because they like something different to me.

I'm willing to guess people have even played Scooby-Doo, and had fun doing it.

But even if these people are deluded and not really having any fun ... why do you give a shit what's going on at their table?

Exactly where do I claim someone didn't had fun?

Exactly where do I claim you can't have fun playing Scooby-Doo?

Exactly where do I say anything about what people do at their table?

In case you missed it I'm developing a Pulp game, the thread is in regards as MY game that I AM developing.

But a Pulp game isn't the same as a Scooby-Doo game is it?

Now please go ahead and build another set of strawmen, you're doing a great impression of the flatearthers I used to debate.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

mAcular Chaotic

  • All Evils of this World
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2122
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2021, 01:40:51 AM »
I don't really get the point of this thread... it's like you started it just to argue against the premise.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2021, 01:42:39 AM »
There needs to be (a difference) for the player to care about the PC.

True enough, in itself. This is the same problem with running PCs in horror games -- one of the critical hallmarks of horror protagonists is that they don't know they're in a horror story, not until it's far too late to get out of it, and even by the time they realize they are in a horror story, they are quite often deliberately written to be less competent than your average gamer (or, for that matter, horror audience member) likes to think himself.

By the same token, even Pulp heroes don't "know" about their own plot invincibility; they evoke fear for their safety from the audience not because the audience genuinely thinks this could be the hero's last story (most know better) but by telling the story so skilfully that those cliffhanger reflexes go off in the audience despite themselves. It's a lot harder for the storyteller -- in this case the GM and the players -- to fool themselves the same way without something of a deliberate buy-in ... but I wouldn't say it's impossible.

That said, I would disagree that the only reason a player has to care about his PC is the fear of losing him. If you like playing the PC enough, playing him should be enjoyable regardless; perhaps a certain pit-of-the-stomach tension is gone, but that same tension never really shows up in James Bond or Indiana Jones films, and I contend they are still enjoyable and keep us caring about their protagonists and about whether those protagonists succeed or fail.

But enjoying a movie, radio serial, tv show or novel isn't quite the same as playing a RPG is it?

I bet you could have fun playing a short-ish adventure where the GM is pulling his punches and gave you plot armor so thick you're immortal...

An ongoing campaign? Somehow I doub it.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2021, 01:44:24 AM »
I don't really get the point of this thread... it's like you started it just to argue against the premise.

As many of you know I'm doing a Pulp RPG, well there are not many sites in the interwebs better than The Pulp Avengers https://www.fantasylibrary.com/lounge/pulpavengers.htm And it is correct that the Pulp heroes didn't die, and many times neither did the villains. This is a neccessity when you're telling a story, or writting a serial or series of novels. It would be very awkward if The Shadow were to die.

But as an advice on how to run a Pulp RPG I find it perplexing. What's the risk then for the PCs? Why should your players care what happens? How are they going to immerse themselves in your world and take the dangers you present them with seriously?

Which is why the Thread's title is what it is.

Do you agree or disagree? Why? Do you have some other examples of Fiction Tropes that shouldn't make it ever to the rules/table?
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3532
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2021, 01:46:47 AM »
Greetings!

In general, I think it is ok to provide Player's with just a *bit* of mercy--but DEATH should always be ever-present, and distinctly possible. especially so when the Player Characters are just stupid, juvenile, scattered, using poor tactics, going off and getting separated, not paying attention.

Fuck 'em. Let the beasts devour them! Curb stomp the fuck out of them. The Players either get their shit together, or have fun rolling up more characters.

I think it is important to remember that in a strict sense, yes, the DM/NPC's have or can have immense advantages. However, in running a normal scenario--it is the players that inherently possess several large advantages beyond base stats and mechanics which tilt many encounters in their favour--they are a united *group* with greater unity and cohesion, as well as having 3, 4, 5, or 6 different brains working against just the DM. That kind of dynamic translates into a significant advantage, in my mind.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Yeah, I can see the "need" for a bit of plot armor being codified into the rules due to the Game being a Pulp game. But never thick enough the PCs are immortal.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6776
Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2021, 01:56:56 AM »
Lethality is pretty easy to modulate in most RPGs. What happens to a character that hits 0 HP?
They're knocked out.
They're dying.
They're dead.
Are the major results, and they sometimes bleed into each other. So for most adventures, I usually say 0 HP is knocked out. If the cause of damage is severe enough (falling into lava etc) I might say it's insta-death. For a Pulp game, you do want a bit of plot armor to emulate the genre. You never want to take character death off the table, except for extreme examples like Toon, because then there is no risk of death and players start to meta game it. But you can put emphasis on failure to accomplish a goal over pure lethality as the primary risk.
There, I think I repeated most of the replies I agree with. :D
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung