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Messages - nDervish

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Quote from: Nexus;817470
I thought character vs setting centric was a description of the campaign not the character creation process.

Quote from: Bren;817481
on re-reading nDervish’s post I agree with you that their description was mostly about likely to die vs. unlikely to die.

I was actually using "character-centric" and "setting-centric" as shorthand to refer back to my previous post in this thread, where I'd said

Quote from: nDervish;817189
The players I've seen who have had the most objection to random gen have also been very into "this is about my guy being a hero, so I want control over what my guy is like", while my randomness-preferring focus is more on "there are countless tales in the world, so let's find out what some of them are".  Focus on a specific character vs. focus on the setting as a whole.

"My guy is a hero" = character-centric = players more likely to want control over the details of the character.

"Discover a few of the many tales in this setting" = setting-centric = details of the character are less important.

The bits about frequency of character death were more along the lines of how each type of campaign tends to run (character-centric is all about the characters, so character death is usually considered a major problem to be avoided; setting-centric is primarily about the setting, sometimes to the point that the characters serve as little more than a vehicle to explore it, so it's much less significant if they die) and, specifically, about why random generation would be better-suited to setting-centric than to character-centric games, rather than as a definition of the two types.

Quote from: Hyper-Man;817549
An evaporating fan base :P

So true...

Not sure what I'd call my favorite system, so I'll go with the first system I can remember removing something from outright:  Savage Worlds.  No Soak rolls.

Quote from: tuypo1;817192

i dont really mind that sort of campaign but using it as an excuse for rolled stats is pretty stupid

Let me spell it out for you, then:

In a setting-centric campaign, PCs are likely to die and be replaced with new PCs.  If I roll a crappy character (or just one that fails to match My Vision Of What I Want To Play), then it's not such a big deal because he'll die before too long and I can roll a new one.  Also, random generation is usually (but not always) faster than character-building systems (point buy, etc.), meaning that, when my character dies, I can make a new one and get back into the game faster.  And, of course, if you're playing several characters over the course of the campaign, then the fluctuations in power level introduced by randomness will average themselves out over time.

In a character-centric campaign, PCs tend not to die very often, if ever.  Rolling a crappy character would really suck, because then I'm saddled with something utterly unlike My Vision Of What I Want To Play for the entire duration of the campaign.  And, since character creation is a one-time activity, it's less of an issue if creating a character takes a long time.

Now do you see why I say setting-centric campaigns are more suited to random character generation than character-centric campaigns?

Quote from: Sommerjon;817256
This is where players start scratching their heads a bit.
The players play the character, but the GM decides the outcome?  Am I actually playing the character or am I just suggesting actions for the Gm to decide if he likes it or not?

Depends on the system.  In Amber Diceless, yes, that's exactly how it works.  (Which is why I almost immediately quit running Amber - as a GM, I don't want to have to make those decisions without getting help from my dice.)

But you seem to be assuming a capricious (or perhaps even malicious?) GM who will rule based on the whim of the moment.  Were that the case, I would agree with you, but it's not something I've ever seen myself.  When I GM, I do my best to assess "if this situation were real, what things would factor into the outcome and how should I best resolve the interaction of those factors?", which allows players to make their own reasonable assessment of what's likely to result, regardless of whether they know the rules or not and regardless of whether applicable rules even exist or not.

And here's the real kicker:  It's the exact same thought process regardless of whether I end up applying existing, codified rules or making up something new on the fly.

If I were to be capricious or malicious, I could do so just as effectively regardless of the rules (or lack of them) in place, simply by choosing which rules to favor and which to neglect or, if a player were to call me on a neglected rule, by setting up the situation so that the rule I want to ignore doesn't apply.

"The players play the character, but the GM decides the outcome" (or at least the GM decides how to determine the outcome) is, ultimately, the way that every remotely-traditional RPG works.  (I can't actually think of any RPGs which don't work that way, but I'm open to the possibility that some indie title or other has discarded all semblance of GM authority over the system or setting.)

Quote from: Exploderwizard

A hard coded rule applied for the sake of rules consistency alone even though the circumstances in the game world do not support it is idiocy in action.

Quote from: Sommerjon;817256
That just defined every RPG out there. Good Job!

Doesn't define the RPGs I run.  I only apply hard-coded rules when the circumstances in the game world support their application.  If the rule doesn't fit with the in-game situation, I'll gladly ignore that rule, mechanical consistency be damned.  My ultimate loyalty is to the setting, not the system.

Quote from: tuypo1;816999
sure you can make things up as you go but its much better when its already an existing rule
Quote from: nDervish;817009
How so?  If that were true, then computer "RPGs" would be definitively superior to tabletop, since they only allow you to do things for which there's already an existing rule.
Quote from: Phillip;817089
Wrong. Why? Because some people want both more guidelines AND freedom.

That still doesn't answer the question I was getting at:  In what way is it "much better" to have an existing rule than rely on a GM ruling?

You don't even contradict me - if people want both more guidelines (existing rules) and freedom (ability to make things up as you go), then that implies that existing rules are not inherently "much better".

Quote from: Phillip;817086
Anyway, old D&D, Traveller, etc., presume as default an interest in the game as a sum of histories, as opposed to a single figure's career being all that matters.

Very good point!  The players I've seen who have had the most objection to random gen have also been very into "this is about my guy being a hero, so I want control over what my guy is like", while my randomness-preferring focus is more on "there are countless tales in the world, so let's find out what some of them are".  Focus on a specific character vs. focus on the setting as a whole.

Quote from: tuypo1;816999

sure you can make things up as you go but its much better when its already an existing rule

How so?  If that were true, then computer "RPGs" would be definitively superior to tabletop, since they only allow you to do things for which there's already an existing rule.

Quote from: Gold Roger;816438
A standart attack might be the blanket best option assuming normal circumstances, which makes sense to me and is preferable to the gimmicky scenario of 3rd edition trip monkeys. But once special circumstances come into play, the decision isn't so clear cut any more.

That depends on just how bad the mechanical disincentives are.

For OSR systems, I've seen several blogs promoting the house rule that, to do these kind of special combat maneuvers, you roll to hit twice and succeed if both hit.  If you have 50% to hit, that's 25% to disarm.  Unless your skills seriously overmatch your opponent's AC, it's just not worth it unless the maneuver is an immediate "I win" button if it succeeds (and perhaps not even then - 10% to hit = 1% to disarm).

For ACKS (the most recent D&D clone I've run), the general rule on special combat maneuvers is that you roll to hit at -4 and the target gets a save vs. paralysis to resist, which basically makes them useless across the board - by the time your hit rolls are good enough to reliably connect despite the -4 to hit, you'll be facing things with good enough saves to reliably resist.

While I definitely agree that there should be some cost to attempting special maneuvers so that you don't get things like the trip-monkeys you mentioned, those costs should not be so high that any attempt at special maneuvers is near-guaranteed to be just a wasted turn, even in situations where the maneuver would logically be appropriate.

Quote from: Kiero;816340
Whereas I don't see the need to get started so quickly. If this is a game that's going to last longer than a handful of sessions, it's more important to get the premise and characters nailed down, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Personally, I play to discover things in the course of the game.  Whatever is nailed down up front is removed from the pool of things to discover through play, so that's not something I value.  There are some things which I do still feel the need to establish up front, such as the general setting and campaign premise, but detailed character backgrounds are not among them.  But it's all a sliding scale and I can understand that others would want backgrounds to be established up front, even if I don't.

Quote from: Kiero;816340
The unseemly rush to get to play I would suspect is behind quite a few of the disconnects we see when a character who "evolves" in play turns out to be a jarringly bad fit for the group, since everyone had different ideas in mind and no one spent the time to talk them through.

I start making a character in my head from the time we agree on a setting, premise and starting situation. That requires thinking and discussion time, and I'd much rather put that effort in up-front, before play starts, than be trying to retcon and rework things in play.

Off the top of my head, I can't recall any characters who were jarringly bad fits for the group, regardless of whether they were designed or evolved, unless the player was also a bad fit, leading me to suspect that the problem was with the player, rather than with how character creation and development were handled.  I also can't recall ever needing to retcon and rework a character's in-play-developed details.  So it seems that, in this respect, your experiences and mine have been very different.

Quote from: Omega;816342

There are many heroes who start off deficient and either set out to improve themselves, or they work around that weakness and play up their other strengths, or they soldier on as they are. It is a common theme to see the everyman joe average and how they develop.

I don't see how that has any bearing on whether the character was randomly generated or not.  In the vast majority of such cases, I'm sure the author deliberately designed the character with those deficiencies so that they would then be able to develop in the ways/areas that the author desired.

I've never had a player flatly refuse to do random chargen, but I would say 80-90% of the people I've played with in the last year or two have balked at random chargen, even though they ultimately went along with "3d6 in order" for the ACKS game I ran.  All of these players are in the 20-30 age range and I'm pretty sure that only one of them had done random previously.  Having tried it, a few have requested random chargen in systems where it's not the norm and one really pushes me to come up with ways to make a random character for him even in games designed for point-buy with a large number of points.  On the other extreme, there's one guy who will do random chargen if asked to, but will also complain loud and long about how much he hates random chargen at every opportunity.

My personal preference leans heavily to randomness, because I rarely come to the table with an idea of what kind of character I want to play, so I like to let the dice surprise me as they let me discover who my character is.  I really love a good lifepath system, but, sadly, most games don't seem to have them.

Quote from: Tetsubo;816283
For me, building the character is part of the game.

I agree that building the character is part of the game, but I mean almost exactly the opposite of what you do in saying that:  When I play the game, building my character is part of what I'm doing.  I prefer to start playing quickly so that I can start building my character through play as soon as possible.

Quote from: mAcular Chaotic;816309
This might be a digression, but how would you achieve a kind of dramatic play style in D&D?

For instance, in combat, an enemy trying to disarm someone would be a tactical thing done during their turn, rolling a specific kind of roll against a specific kind of defensive roll, etc.

That specific example pretty much requires you to step outside the rules.  In most D&D variations, the rules say disarming, tripping, etc. is more difficult than hurting someone and it does no damage and if you fail to disarm/trip/etc., then you have no effect on your opponent at all.  It really discourages doing anything more than spamming standard attacks until someone runs out of HP.

In the broader sense, for the sort of things talked about in the OP, it's already been hinted at above:  The PCs lose a battle - they run or are captured or beaten down and turned loose with a stern warning or whatever - and then they deliberately prepare for a rematch.  "We wait until we gain 3 levels, then go back" is one way to do that, but probably the most boring option.  They could recruit new allies, preferably from among the enemies of their enemy.  They can research the guy who beat them and use that information to make a plan specifically to negate his strengths and exploit his weaknesses.  Make sure they're fully-healed with a freshly-memorized set of spells.  Try to arrange distractions to make the target of their vengeance expend some of his resources before the rematch.

The key point being that the way you exercise this trope in a game without metacurrency (Fate Points, etc.) is to take concrete in-game actions to improve your odds in the rematch instead of relying on "he beat me last time, so I automatically get to beat him next time."

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Generators in RPG's
« on: February 18, 2015, 05:43:18 am »
Quote from: languagegeek;816107
I do like random generators. Particularly the ones that are made up of bits and pieces that, after a bunch of rolls, emerge into something new and interesting. I’m not so fond of the "here are a bunch of hooks detailed out, roll a d20, then you’re off!".

Agreed.  I don't really even consider the latter to be "random generators" at all - it's a list of 20 ideas that you can select from randomly.  Each is complete.  They don't generate anything new at all, it's only the material that was put on the list by the original author.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Tag team DMing
« on: March 27, 2013, 05:51:05 am »
This is the default/recommended mode of play in all editions of Ars Magica, where they call it "troupe-style play".  So it's definitely been out there and seems to work for a lot of people.

Personally, though, I don't know that I'd like it all that much, given that I enjoy GMing far more than being on the other side of the screen.

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