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WarKitty
2012-07-14, 11:35 AM
So I have an issue. I have 4 players for an upcoming game, all good friends. 3 of the players play very deliberately, want to play good characters, and generally prefer to take their time and interact with everything. This is the kind of game I prefer to DM and my world is set up to encourage this.

My 4th player's idea of D&D is basically "I want to kill as much stuff as possible as quickly and with as much fire as possible." It's clear to me that he's not going to mesh well with the rest of the group. I've been trying to politely lay down some strictures for the game - no evil, no randomly killing NPC's for no reason, etc.

The trouble is he just doesn't seem to get anything other than "I'm being mean and not letting him play what he wants." I don't seem to be able to get across why I have the rules I do. Best I can tell, he sees D&D as a giant video game. And of course, he's my roommate and we play at our house.

huttj509
2012-07-14, 12:08 PM
"It's not 1 on 1. There's 3 other PCs there, and people need to be on the same page as to expectations, otherwise there's going to be a clash at table-time."

Rallicus
2012-07-14, 12:32 PM
Well, his statement isn't entirely untrue, save for the being mean part.

A good DM would allow it and let IC consequences take effect. Yes there will be clashes and yes, it might cause a shift from the generic "let's all be friends and have petty arguments pertaining to morality occasionally" PC group, but sometimes that creates the most memorable sessions.

If the three other players can be mature and work with the fourth player, then let him do what he wants. If he's evil and steps out of line, though, remind him that all actions have consequences. This might add more incentive to player four, because he'll be inadvertently roleplaying to avoid repercussions of his actions, rather than just going out slashing things to death.

My best, most memorable campaign involved a friend playing Krillen from DBZ with Super Saiyan hair, which I was originally opposed to. Just saying.

snoopy13a
2012-07-14, 12:34 PM
He has a simple choice: (1) Play nice as 4 out of the 5 people want to play nice or (2) Do something else. Quite frankly, you're aren't obligated to accomodate his wishes. Make him welcome but affirm that he must play within the group's playstyle or not at all.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 12:39 PM
Well, his statement isn't entirely untrue, save for the being mean part.

A good DM would allow it and let IC consequences take effect. Yes there will be clashes and yes, it might cause a shift from the generic "let's all be friends and have petty arguments pertaining to morality occasionally" PC group, but sometimes that creates the most memorable sessions.

If the three other players can be mature and work with the fourth player, then let him do what he wants. If he's evil and steps out of line, though, remind him that all actions have consequences. This might add more incentive to player four, because he'll be inadvertently roleplaying to avoid repercussions of his actions, rather than just going out slashing things to death.

My best, most memorable campaign involved a friend playing Krillen from DBZ with Super Saiyan hair, which I was originally opposed to. Just saying.

Eh, I've been in groups with that type of player before, and ended up quitting the game. It just wasn't any fun - I felt like all the focus was on the one loud character that wanted to kill stuff, and I couldn't do any of the things I enjoyed because he'd stomp in and ruin anything I tried to do.


He has a simple choice: (1) Play nice as 4 out of the 5 people want to play nice or (2) Do something else. Quite frankly, you're aren't obligated to accomodate his wishes. Make him welcome but affirm that he must play within the group's playstyle or not at all.

I don't think he really gets the concept of a playstyle....my impression is that the issue is more he doesn't understand that D&D is different from a video game. The whole point of the game to him is to kill things and get more XP and loot so you can become more powerful. I'm not really sure he gets the idea of roleplaying at all.

zorenathres
2012-07-14, 12:41 PM
if your player still insists to play it "his way", then how about showing him what happens when people push/ bash everyone else around? they get arrested, held in prison, & hopefully, given a mark of justice (hehe, Belkar) if they can't keep their hands to themselves.

its probably a bad idea, but considering your options (likely, you dont want to kick him out of the game since he lives with you), if you cant convince him that his actions have consequences, then show him what happens to people who cant play by societies rules.

no one should try to force this guy to play a goodie-two-shoes, but i guess its too much to ask that he shows a little self control when dealing with other people? (especially in a social setting).

Zerter
2012-07-14, 12:44 PM
Like has been mentioned, just deal with it in-game. It is not allowed in real life to be a raging psychopath, you have to 'play the game' so to speak to do so effectively (think Dexter or a banker). He kills/tries to kill a random NPC? 100+ ways to get him in a world of trouble if not kill him outright. Make sure the rest of the party understands they are not under any obligation to aid him in his playstyle or to include him in the group.

Togath
2012-07-14, 12:58 PM
he doesn't sound too bad, he just has a different playstyle, I'm sure if the op works on it, he could make the game enjoyable for the entire group, as long as the guy isn't killing quest givers before the pcs get the quests things could end up alright.

kamikasei
2012-07-14, 01:01 PM
You've identified where you think the problem lies, but the things you mention actually doing/saying about it seem kind of... tangential. What, besides "don't do this, that and the other" have you said to him?

I'm wondering whether he may be amenable to having the issue explained properly or whether he's already shrugged off such an explanation.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 01:45 PM
What's been said so far is something to the effect of "no evil characters and no killing random NPC's for no reason." I haven't been able to communicate the kind of playstyle I'm looking for - it just doesn't seem to come across. I just don't feel like he's creating a realistic character, or even sees the point in building one.

The trouble with letting him have his playstyle is I think it would dominate the game. I'm worried that I'd end up constantly battling with the player over how the game world works, especially if the way I build the world doesn't fit with the way he wants to play.

Autolykos
2012-07-14, 01:48 PM
A good DM would allow it and let IC consequences take effect.Normally, that would be the best option. But in this case, it's asking for trouble. If he doesn't agree about the game's premises, punishing him ingame will look even more like you being intentionally mean to him.
I'd still rather allow him to play a Belkar, tbh. You just need to make it perfectly clear that:

a) NPCs won't just let him get away with being blatantly evil.
b) There's always a bigger fish.

If you can agree on these points, it might work. Otherwise, there's not much hope of successfully playing together.

Zorg
2012-07-14, 01:54 PM
Maybe rather than trying to handle it midgame deal with it in writing inbetween?

When I started my Rogue Trader game I made a primer for everyone (https://www.box.com/s/7qayl4su6skp2o836ns2) outlining what would be the goals and rough style of the game.
It's a bit late for that but something similar, in regards to character backgrounds and whatnot might help - send them here (http://dreadpiraterose.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/100-questions-to-ask-about-your-role-playing-character/) and ask them to get the answers back to you for instance.

Otherwise try getting another player to talk to him so it doesn't seem like it's always just you on his case.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 02:16 PM
Maybe rather than trying to handle it midgame deal with it in writing inbetween?

When I started my Rogue Trader game I made a primer for everyone (https://www.box.com/s/7qayl4su6skp2o836ns2) outlining what would be the goals and rough style of the game.
It's a bit late for that but something similar, in regards to character backgrounds and whatnot might help - send them here (http://dreadpiraterose.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/100-questions-to-ask-about-your-role-playing-character/) and ask them to get the answers back to you for instance.

Otherwise try getting another player to talk to him so it doesn't seem like it's always just you on his case.

This is pre-game, not mid-game. The trouble I'm having is a player who looks at the stuff I send and says "But how is this related to the game? I just want to kill stuff, not fill out boring sheets. I don't understand why this is important."

Zorg
2012-07-14, 02:29 PM
Apologies, missed 'upcoming' in your OP.

In that case I'd just be blunt and say

"this information is relavent to me as GM as the core focus of the game will not be combat, but developing interesting characters and exploring a detailed world. I need to know [stuff] so I can plan to integrate your character's [stuff] better into the world and make them a part of it.
If you do not supply this information, I will be unable to properly plan for your character and there will, unfortunately, be less for you as a player to do."

or something similar.
One of my players gave me almost zero character background by the due date, so I was open and said if he didn't quickly he'd get less side quests and such. He still hasn't got anything to me after six months so hasn't had and character focussed adventures as I don't have any hooks to plan for. The player hasn't complained, but if he did I'd be straight and tell him why it is so.

Has this guy played D&D before? If he hasn't maybe try to dig up some transcripts of an RPG session to show him (I wouldn't reccomend a video as they all tend to be really awkward or overdone IMO). I know the old MERPS book had one in the opening chapter, so others might be around.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 02:37 PM
Apologies, missed 'upcoming' in your OP.

In that case I'd just be blunt and say

"this information is relavent to me as GM as the core focus of the game will not be combat, but developing interesting characters and exploring a detailed world. I need to know [stuff] so I can plan to integrate your character's [stuff] better into the world and make them a part of it.
If you do not supply this information, I will be unable to properly plan for your character and there will, unfortunately, be less for you as a player to do."

or something similar.
One of my players gave me almost zero character background by the due date, so I was open and said if he didn't quickly he'd get less side quests and such. He still hasn't got anything to me after six months so hasn't had and character focussed adventures as I don't have any hooks to plan for. The player hasn't complained, but if he did I'd be straight and tell him why it is so.

Has this guy played D&D before? If he hasn't maybe try to dig up some transcripts of an RPG session to show him (I wouldn't reccomend a video as they all tend to be really awkward or overdone IMO). I know the old MERPS book had one in the opening chapter, so others might be around.

He has not played any pen-and-paper games before. I think I'm dealing with a bad case of video gamer syndrome - the world exists primarily to provide the player with things to kill for loot and XP.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-14, 02:42 PM
The real question you need to ask yourself is whether (and how much) you're willing to accommodate your friend, or whether you just want him to play like everyone else. If there is no middle ground here for compromise, then you're better off telling your buddy, "Hey, sorry, you want to play in a way that we don't, so it's best all around if you don't play."

So, are you willing to compromise? How much? In what ways?

Kish
2012-07-14, 02:47 PM
My advice is:

1) Don't "deal with it IC." It's not an IC problem, it's an OOC one.
2) If you cannot, somehow, communicate to him that D&D is playing a character in a fantasy world rather than playing a loot-gathering avatar, then you should not try to play with him as it won't be any fun. Don't try to deceive him, just tell him...

Actually, based on what you've told me, I'm not sure what you can tell him because I'm not sure what he's capable of understanding. If he's your good friend, presumably he doesn't go through life in blow-it-up mode.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 02:50 PM
The real question you need to ask yourself is whether (and how much) you're willing to accommodate your friend, or whether you just want him to play like everyone else. If there is no middle ground here for compromise, then you're better off telling your buddy, "Hey, sorry, you want to play in a way that we don't, so it's best all around if you don't play."

So, are you willing to compromise? How much? In what ways?

That was kind of the point. I don't think a compromise is possible, but I don't know how to communicate what the issue is to someone who has never played. And he feels like people are just picking on him for no reason.

Kish
2012-07-14, 02:56 PM
Does he read fantasy? Watch fantasy movies?

He should have some frame of reference (real life, if not either of those) for "killing random people is Not Acceptable."

Tvtyrant
2012-07-14, 03:00 PM
I think the best way to get this across would be to simply tell him what an RPG is and why his character type would be disruptive. "An RPG is a collaborative effort to create an immersive world, in which the players take on the aspect of characters. The issue here is that the playstyle you are advocating does not fit into the world that we are attempting to create, and disrupts the other characters. There is nothing objectively wrong with that playstyle, but it doesn't fit with what we are doing here."

snoopy13a
2012-07-14, 03:05 PM
Have him sit in on the first session for an hour or so without letting him play. Say it is to give him a sense of how the game is played and an opportunity for him to learn the rules. After an hour, explain that if he likes the game, he can join in. If not, he can watch TV, read a book, play video games, or go out.

Think of it this way, if four out of the five of you wanted to watch a movie and the fifth wanted to go to a baseball game then you'd probably go a movie and the fifth person could decide whether or not to join. This is exactly the same.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 03:06 PM
The real question you need to ask yourself is whether (and how much) you're willing to accommodate your friend, or whether you just want him to play like everyone else. If there is no middle ground here for compromise, then you're better off telling your buddy, "Hey, sorry, you want to play in a way that we don't, so it's best all around if you don't play."

So, are you willing to compromise? How much? In what ways?

That was kind of the point. I don't think a compromise is possible, but I don't know how to communicate what the issue is to someone who has never played. And he feels like people are just picking on him for no reason.

Gavinfoxx
2012-07-14, 03:13 PM
"Okay, you don't get experience for killing. That's right, no XP for slaying things. You get experience for solving problems of the world around you, and reaching goals and advancing the plot. We are creating a shared fantasy world story, not an action game like a diablo clone where you kill stuff for loot."

Slipperychicken
2012-07-14, 03:15 PM
Bluntly let him know that his actions will have consequences, just like the real-world would. He can do these things, but he should know: There are reasons he doesn't go around murdering shopkeeps in the real world, and those apply to the game-world too.


-This is not Skyrim. Murdering random people means the police will hunt you down, imprison you, and sentence you to most of your life in prison, or even death. They might even kill you on sight. You cannot "pay a fine" for murder.

-I expect your character to be a person, not just a kill-machine. I don't expect you to be an actor right out of the box, but try to act like a reasonable person would. Think up some personal dreams and goals, trust me, it can make the game more enjoyable.

-For your first session or two, I will give you the opportunity to "undo" an action you have just taken, if it's particularly stupid or crazy.

-Your character does not know what XP is. Nor is he aware of "experience levels".

-Killing is not the only way to earn XP. If you talk your way past a Minotaur, or sneak by it, or subdue it nonlethally, or scare it, or trap it, you get the same XP as killing it.

kamikasei
2012-07-14, 03:18 PM
What's been said so far is something to the effect of "no evil characters and no killing random NPC's for no reason." I haven't been able to communicate the kind of playstyle I'm looking for - it just doesn't seem to come across. I just don't feel like he's creating a realistic character, or even sees the point in building one.
Okay, but have you said anything like what Tvtyrant suggests above? From what you're describing I'm getting the impression that the player is entirely unfamiliar with very basic concepts we tend to take for granted here, but that you're talking to him about much more minor issues without establishing why those things are relevant.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-14, 03:23 PM
That was kind of the point. I don't think a compromise is possible, but I don't know how to communicate what the issue is to someone who has never played. And he feels like people are just picking on him for no reason.

Well, maybe it's time to look outside roleplaying games for a moment to see how other mediums might be able to get your point across.

Conan the Barbarian (movie) vs. Game of Thrones (tv series): In Conan, a party of random folks happen to meet, travel around, steal stuff, kill other stuff, and piss off a snake-wizard-priest-god. There's plot and character development, but it's ancillary to the action, aside from occasional moments when the plot is used to justify one action over another. In Game of Thrones, there is very little action, and most of the conflict comes from competing ideas, desires, loyalties, lineages, secrets, beliefs, and so on. The conflict is mostly treachery, politics, and social maneuvering. Combat and even open war are extensions of the social conflict.

Doom vs. Halo: The original Doom starts you off in a room with a pistol. You walk forward and then shooting happens. This continues until you win the game. Halo starts you off with cut scenes and people talking, then combat, then more talking and combat interspersed to tell a story. Both are first-person shooters, but Halo goes out of its way to tell you why you're doing the shooting. Doom just puts ugly things between you and the objective.

Mass Effect vs. Final Fantasy: Both of these video games are listed under the roleplaying genre, but in Mass Effect, how you treat people changes how they treat you and how the game ends. In the Final Fantasy-style of game, you have little to no real say in the outcome of the game. You advance through a series of fights and puzzles, and the story happens around you.

If you're not familiar with these, I'm sure you've grasped the idea well enough to find something that both you and your friend are familiar with. Show him movies, books, and games that mirror the game you want to run, and then show him movies, books, and games that mirror the game he wants to play in. Compare and contrast. Talk to him about the two styles and see what he likes about both and what he dislikes about both. You may find some common ground, or at least help him better understand where you're coming from.

A major hurdle for you is that the "kill, loot, burn" style of play is incentivized by the D&D system. Killing gains you experience which gains you power. Loot gains you magic items which gain you power. And any good adventurer knows that fire is always the answer. It would be one thing if his concept or playstyle was outside the scope of the system, but it's not -- so he may legitimately not understand why you're objecting. To a new player, it might seem like watching Conan, but skipping all the bits that involve violence and plunder. That's a very short movie. Character abilities and game rules are devoted mostly towards combat and acquiring wealth. So, to him, he may be genuinely unable to understand why can't he play the game that the games wants him to play.

Mechanics aside, there are plenty of legitimate character designs which work just fine with that attitude. Paladins, war-clerics, and crusaders who devote their lives to purging the foes of the faith. Barbarians with little understanding of the subtle pursuits and a firm desire to drink, kill, and pillage their way to a glorious death. Pyromantic sorcerers whose mastery of magic stems from lighting as many things as possible on fire. There are great characters in all of these ideas and more.

So if you can use other mediums to explain what you want to do and how his vision deviates from that, and if there is a middle ground of shared desires, then maybe you can help him find a character who emphasizes the traits he likes (killing, looting, fire), but has some reason to restrain himself while around the rest of the party. Of course, the flip side of this is to give him opportunities to play his way, too. After all, if he has to change for everyone else, it's only fair that everyone else changes for him, too.

Belkar's dream-revelation (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0605.html) is a great example of a player who adapts (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0606.html) to the "rules" of his party (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0610.html) without really losing what makes him fun (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0611.html). And then he acts on it (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0616.html), but still comes off as good ol' Belkar.

So, in summary:
#1) Compare and contrast playstyles using other mediums, such as movies.
#2) Find what he likes, what you like, and what you share.
#3) Help him make a character who expresses his likes, but won't upset the party.
#4) Include elements which play to his desires, too!
#5) If you don't have a shared game, don't play with him.

Above all else, don't insult his playstyle. If he's new, he may not know any better. Or, if that really is his perfect game, then insulting it isn't going to win him over to your side. Emphasize how both the social conflict and the violent conflict are valid methods of playing the game, but for now, you're running a social conflict game. The less emotional you make it, and the more honest/factual you make the discussion, the better off you'll be.

Does that help?

Edit:


Okay, but have you said anything like what Tvtyrant suggests above? From what you're describing I'm getting the impression that the player is entirely unfamiliar with very basic concepts we tend to take for granted here, but that you're talking to him about much more minor issues without establishing why those things are relevant.

I'd like to emphasize this and second it. Start with the basics that we take for granted. He may understand your concerns more afterwards.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 04:06 PM
Ugh...tried to have a talk about immersion and backstory and failed miserably. Just got the "well if I have to have a backstory then I'll be the orphan that was found in the midst of the school building I just destroyed." Unfortunately that kind of event doesn't fit at all with the world I built (it's just not something a less than level 1 pathfinder character would be able to do), and I basically just got accused of being too inflexible because he doesn't see why he couldn't do that.

NikitaDarkstar
2012-07-14, 04:10 PM
Sounds like a heavy case of Computer-RPG syndrome, possibly quite specifically MMORPG's. To him RPG is RPG, while most people around here most likely feel a slight distaste at calling something like WoW a Role Playing game.

If he is an MMO player, ask him if he ever bothers reading up on the bits of lore he can find around the world. You know like talking to the city guards about other things than where the nearest auction house is, or if he reads the full quest text for a quest he picks up to see WHY he's doing what he does. Tell him that that will be the main focus of your game, the reasons behind the actions. Sure you'll get to the action parts eventually, but not right away.

Or if he's not into those types of games at all compare it to a Hollywood adaption of a book. There's nothing wrong with the movie and enjoying all the action, it's certainly a valid form of entertainment, but while the movie just ties all the action bits together with a few words here and there. The book on the other hand gives good, deep reasons and explanations for why things happened the way they did, and the action is actually a reaction to everything else.

That's sort of how I see D&D compared to videogame RPG's, the core elements are there, but D&D expands on it so much more.

You could also offer to run a session for him before you actually get started to show him what it's all about. Give him some action bits, some social bits, some sneaky bits and some magic bits. He might be more understanding after he's actually rolled a few dice and sees how things work.

Kish
2012-07-14, 04:11 PM
Whether he could do it isn't the point. (He probably could, if he was willing to use oil and a tinderbox instead of insisting he could do it with magic; people do in the real world, after all...) Just tell him something like, "So that character, who was Chaotic Evil even though I've already told you evil alignments aren't allowed, was convicted of mass murder and executed. Make another one. One who isn't a psychopath."

Or tell him that he can join the game if and when he's willing to pay any attention to anything you and the others are saying about what D&D is, instead of treating it like a shooting gallery.

NikitaDarkstar
2012-07-14, 04:18 PM
Ugh...tried to have a talk about immersion and backstory and failed miserably. Just got the "well if I have to have a backstory then I'll be the orphan that was found in the midst of the school building I just destroyed." Unfortunately that kind of event doesn't fit at all with the world I built (it's just not something a less than level 1 pathfinder character would be able to do), and I basically just got accused of being too inflexible because he doesn't see why he couldn't do that.

(And sorry for double posting, edit button didn't want to work.)

I honestly don't see why that wouldn't work. What says he couldn't have set fire to the school building intentionally or by mistake? Instead of saying "No, that doesn't work!" Ask him why. How/why is is character an orphan? How and why did he destroy the school? If it was intentionally, why did he do it?

Try saying "Yes, but..." instead of "No". If he feels like he's being blocked he'll just get more frustrated and less likely to cooperate. Keep in mind, since he doesn't know the game, he doesn't understand why he can't do what he wants to do, which means he doesn't understand why you're saying no. If he wants to have it in his backstory that he destroyed a school, let him if he can explain how he did it. If he says he did it with a fireball spell you can say "That's not very likely because that's a spell that takes an experienced wizard to cast. Maybe your character got a hold of some alchemists fire and broke the bottles instead?"

If it was unintentional, ask how it happened. Maybe he lit a candle and set a curtain on fire and soon it spread. Or he knocked something over in the schools chemistry lab? (Depending on what kind of school he'd be in of course.)

And again, try running a 1 on 1 session with him to let him get a feel for the game. It's easier to understand things if you have some idea of how it works.

Zale
2012-07-14, 04:27 PM
And if he must be a psychopath, encourage him to psychopath in the right direction.

Evil Goblins = Slaughter Away.
Non-Evil Townsfolk = Refrain From Slaughtering.

Zerter
2012-07-14, 04:40 PM
Running a 1-on-1 session sounds like a great idea. But whatever you do, don't compromise the game as the other players are involved because of this guy because it will ruin the fun for everyone (it is perfectly okay to ruin his however), don't let the terrorists win.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-14, 05:18 PM
I honestly don't see why that wouldn't work. What says he couldn't have set fire to the school building intentionally or by mistake? Instead of saying "No, that doesn't work!" Ask him why. How/why is is character an orphan? How and why did he destroy the school? If it was intentionally, why did he do it?

Try saying "Yes, but..." instead of "No". If he feels like he's being blocked he'll just get more frustrated and less likely to cooperate. Keep in mind, since he doesn't know the game, he doesn't understand why he can't do what he wants to do, which means he doesn't understand why you're saying no.

WarKitty, this is very good advice right here. "Yes, but..." is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

Someone once described it to me in this fashion:

"Our hero falls in a hole. Does he get out? If the answer is yes, then he climbs out and goes on his way, which is boring. If the answer is no, then he sits in the hole, which is also boring. If the answer is yes, but... ah, now we're getting somewhere."

If it helps you and your player create a character both of you are satisfied with, don't be afraid to have a character punch above their weight in a pre-game cutscene (your video game buddy should, I hope, understand the difference between cutscene power and in-game power). The important question isn't whether his character could or could not destroy the school. Like Nikita said, it's about why he did, and why he was there, and how he got to that point.

Every time a player gives you something, ask more questions. You can help guide the player through selecting which questions to ask.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 05:34 PM
And if he must be a psychopath, encourage him to psychopath in the right direction.

Evil Goblins = Slaughter Away.
Non-Evil Townsfolk = Refrain From Slaughtering.

Except I don't use any of the always or almost always evil races in my world. The whole point of the setting and scenario I have is to have players work in a world that's not divided into "good" and "evil."


WarKitty, this is very good advice right here. "Yes, but..." is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

Someone once described it to me in this fashion:

"Our hero falls in a hole. Does he get out? If the answer is yes, then he climbs out and goes on his way, which is boring. If the answer is no, then he sits in the hole, which is also boring. If the answer is yes, but... ah, now we're getting somewhere."

If it helps you and your player create a character both of you are satisfied with, don't be afraid to have a character punch above their weight in a pre-game cutscene (your video game buddy should, I hope, understand the difference between cutscene power and in-game power). The important question isn't whether his character could or could not destroy the school. Like Nikita said, it's about why he did, and why he was there, and how he got to that point.

Every time a player gives you something, ask more questions. You can help guide the player through selecting which questions to ask.

I guess my worry is that I just don't see the kind of character he wants as working within the system. It's not just that he's not paying much mind to how the setting works, My worry is that he seems to be responding to my pushing for a more in-depth character by saying "I want to be a crazy murderous psychopath, so I'm going to figure out what kind of character background will let me justify that" when what I'm asking for is "create a background so that your character has more depth and motivations than just killing people."

Analytica
2012-07-14, 05:59 PM
Maybe have this guy read sections of the PHB/DMG on roleplaying, DM:ing and backstory creation? Getting it himself as something from the "rulebook" might make it more accessible to him.

EDIT: Or challenge him. Can he make a murderous psychopath such that they could credibly have worked together with the rest of the party, as specified, for some time, and is likely to continue to do so?

Fatebreaker
2012-07-14, 08:05 PM
I guess my worry is that I just don't see the kind of character he wants as working within the system. It's not just that he's not paying much mind to how the setting works, My worry is that he seems to be responding to my pushing for a more in-depth character by saying "I want to be a crazy murderous psychopath, so I'm going to figure out what kind of character background will let me justify that" when what I'm asking for is "create a background so that your character has more depth and motivations than just killing people."

(emphasis added)

Well, two points that are less about him and more about you. First, it's not that his idea doesn't work within the system, it's that you don't like it within your campaign world. Second, what would make a crazy murderous psychopath work in your campaign world?

I mention this because his idea is perfectly viable somewhere under the broad umbrella which is D&D. This is an important distinction because it strikes at the heart of the misunderstanding between the two of you. D&D supports the mentality of "kill stuff until the treasure pops out." Helping him understand that your campaign world is not a place for people like this first begins with you being consistent and clear in your terminology. Otherwise, what he learns from you and what he learns on his own (or even from the rulebooks!) is going to come into conflict, which will only exacerbate the larger conflict between the two of you.

That said, if he wants to run a crazy murderous psychopath, that's fine. Look into that. Why does he want to play a crazy murderous psychopath? Why is he crazy? Why is he murderous? Why is he a psychopath? What made him each of those things? What does he do? Who or what does he murder, and why? Who does he not murder, and why? How does he get along with others? What kind of "others" does he manage to not kill? How does he survive in a world of bigger fish? What drove him to kill in the first place? What does he get out of it? Is it for business or pleasure? Is it because he can't help himself? Does he want to kill until someone kills him, or is he killing his way to the top?

Your buddy is just starting out on his journey into our hobby. "Wandering killer" is a decent place to begin. I dare say a hefty number of Playgrounders began their own hobby journeys with a variation on that particular theme! Don't ask too much of him right off the bat. Start small and work your way up. Give him something in-game that he likes. Another character, maybe. A pet. An item. Once he cares about it, have an NPC take it away. Sit back and watch the roleplaying happen. Best of all, when he uses violence to resolve that conflict, he's getting what he wants, while you taught him a little bit about roleplaying and acting in character. You both win, and maybe next campaign, he'll try something a little bit more ambitious. I'm actually doing the same thing with one of my players, and it's a lot of fun to watch her understanding and skill at roleplaying grow. Every time she creates a new character, it's more developed than the last one. Baby steps, man, baby steps.

Show him Jayne from Firefly. Jayne is only interested in fighting, women, and money. But Jayne is still a great character, with a surprising amount of depth (the most three-dimensional two-dimensional character I've seen on television). He has connections to other characters, some good, some bad, and he's a real person.

At some level, making him play the character you like isn't likely to happen. More importantly, it's not likely to be fun for him. So ask questions to find the kind of character he wants to play, then more questions to steer him towards (his) answers which let him play nice with others.

If you can't do that, or he won't do that, then don't play with him.

WarKitty
2012-07-14, 08:31 PM
(emphasis added)

Well, two points that are less about him and more about you. First, it's not that his idea doesn't work within the system, it's that you don't like it within your campaign world. Second, what would make a crazy murderous psychopath work in your campaign world?

I mention this because his idea is perfectly viable somewhere under the broad umbrella which is D&D. This is an important distinction because it strikes at the heart of the misunderstanding between the two of you. D&D supports the mentality of "kill stuff until the treasure pops out." Helping him understand that your campaign world is not a place for people like this first begins with you being consistent and clear in your terminology. Otherwise, what he learns from you and what he learns on his own (or even from the rulebooks!) is going to come into conflict, which will only exacerbate the larger conflict between the two of you.

That said, if he wants to run a crazy murderous psychopath, that's fine. Look into that. Why does he want to play a crazy murderous psychopath? Why is he crazy? Why is he murderous? Why is he a psychopath? What made him each of those things? What does he do? Who or what does he murder, and why? Who does he not murder, and why? How does he get along with others? What kind of "others" does he manage to not kill? How does he survive in a world of bigger fish? What drove him to kill in the first place? What does he get out of it? Is it for business or pleasure? Is it because he can't help himself? Does he want to kill until someone kills him, or is he killing his way to the top?

Your buddy is just starting out on his journey into our hobby. "Wandering killer" is a decent place to begin. I dare say a hefty number of Playgrounders began their own hobby journeys with a variation on that particular theme! Don't ask too much of him right off the bat. Start small and work your way up. Give him something in-game that he likes. Another character, maybe. A pet. An item. Once he cares about it, have an NPC take it away. Sit back and watch the roleplaying happen. Best of all, when he uses violence to resolve that conflict, he's getting what he wants, while you taught him a little bit about roleplaying and acting in character. You both win, and maybe next campaign, he'll try something a little bit more ambitious. I'm actually doing the same thing with one of my players, and it's a lot of fun to watch her understanding and skill at roleplaying grow. Every time she creates a new character, it's more developed than the last one. Baby steps, man, baby steps.

Show him Jayne from Firefly. Jayne is only interested in fighting, women, and money. But Jayne is still a great character, with a surprising amount of depth (the most three-dimensional two-dimensional character I've seen on television). He has connections to other characters, some good, some bad, and he's a real person.

At some level, making him play the character you like isn't likely to happen. More importantly, it's not likely to be fun for him. So ask questions to find the kind of character he wants to play, then more questions to steer him towards (his) answers which let him play nice with others.

If you can't do that, or he won't do that, then don't play with him0.

...that is way more depth than he wants. He just wants to kill because killing people is fun. I don't think it's possible to play the kind of character he wants to play in the group I have (like I said, the rest of my group is approaching it as an rp/strategy game).

I fundamentally don't think playing with this person is a good idea. The trouble is that he's my roommate, and he doesn't see why his character would be disruptive.

Arbane
2012-07-14, 09:02 PM
Like has been mentioned, just deal with it in-game.


THIS IS A BAD PLAN. THE KIND OF PLAN WHERE YOU LOSE YOUR HAT.

Seriously, explaining this stuff to him BEFORE play starts is the only sensible solution, and will save EVERYONE a lot of annoyance later. Use very small words and illustrations, if you think it will do any good.

Or tell him to go play XBox while you and the other three play.

Kish
2012-07-14, 09:08 PM
person is a good idea. The trouble is that he's my roommate, and he doesn't see why his character would be disruptive.
You're going to have to bite the bullet and tell him he can't play with you.

If he's completely incapable of understanding the concept that a roleplaying game can require morality, then he will probably be sore about your inexplicable and unreasonable (from his perspective) refusal to let him play for a while. You have a decision to make. Would you rather cancel the game, let him ruin it for the rest of you, or have him be sore for a while?

Fatebreaker
2012-07-14, 09:37 PM
...that is way more depth than he wants. He just wants to kill because killing people is fun. I don't think it's possible to play the kind of character he wants to play in the group I have (like I said, the rest of my group is approaching it as an rp/strategy game).

Well, let's look at the Order of the Stick. In the origin book, we learn that Belkar's "backstory" boils down to, "I was in jail, then I got out, murdered a dude for reasons only I would think were justified, then found a two-for-one deal on hookers. I joined an adventuring party to get out of town quickly in the company of heavily-armed stranges." V's backstory is likewise vague: V wants to acquire magical power, and one of the party members (Haley) tells V that the quickest way to acquire power is to go on adventures. Done.

From one perspective, neither of those are necessarily "good" backstories. From another, they're great backstories, because they succinctly define the motivations which will drive the character on down the line. Either way both Belkar and V grow over time, and there's still plenty of roleplaying and strategy for the other characters and the party as a whole. That's quite valid. If he plays as the party Belkar or V for a bit, and grows as a roleplayer later, hey, that's okay.


I fundamentally don't think playing with this person is a good idea. The trouble is that he's my roommate, and he doesn't see why his character would be disruptive.

If the two of you can't find a common ground, then don't play with him. Man up and tell him the honest truth:

"[Friend], I know you haven't had experience with these games. However, from our conversations, it's clear that you want to play a style of game which does not mesh with the style of game I and the others would like to play. There's nothing wrong with the combat heavy playstyle you're interested in, but it's not what this campaign in particular will be about. If we do a more violence-oriented campaign later, you're more than welcome to join us, but I think it's best if we start the campaign without you. You can watch if you like, and after a session or two, we can talk and see if what you've seen is something you'd still like to try. Do you have any questions for me?"

It's that simple. There's no blame. You make it clear that he cannot begin with you, but you've still included him by offering to let him watch and see. If he understands better after that what you're looking for, you can talk about it, but there are no promises. Try that and see how it goes.

Devils_Advocate
2012-07-14, 10:38 PM
Tell him that such a character wouldn't work as one of the protagonists of this story, but you'd be happy to let him play a recurring villain. Maybe you could even run some separate sessions for his character when he's not interacting with the PCs.

NikitaDarkstar
2012-07-14, 11:09 PM
If the two of you can't find a common ground, then don't play with him. Man up and tell him the honest truth:

"[Friend], I know you haven't had experience with these games. However, from our conversations, it's clear that you want to play a style of game which does not mesh with the style of game I and the others would like to play. There's nothing wrong with the combat heavy playstyle you're interested in, but it's not what this campaign in particular will be about. If we do a more violence-oriented campaign later, you're more than welcome to join us, but I think it's best if we start the campaign without you. You can watch if you like, and after a session or two, we can talk and see if what you've seen is something you'd still like to try. Do you have any questions for me?"

It's that simple. There's no blame. You make it clear that he cannot begin with you, but you've still included him by offering to let him watch and see. If he understands better after that what you're looking for, you can talk about it, but there are no promises. Try that and see how it goes.

Great advice right here.

And now for the thing I don't think you want to hear, but you might need to if this thread is anything to go by. You, Warkitty need to learn to let go of your fears, worries and be willing to try something you're not quite sure you can predict. I won't say control, because I don't think that's the issue here, but it seems to me you're essentially worried because you can't predict what he'll do. Either decide right now to give him a fair shot, with as much help as you can muster (since he's a newbie) or man-up and tell him that he can't be in the game and why.

Also if you really don't want him in the game, and really don't like the idea of playing with him around, see if you can play at someone else's home. I personally don't really like this idea without at least giving the guy a chance, but it's an option.

Knaight
2012-07-14, 11:33 PM
Normally, that would be the best option. But in this case, it's asking for trouble. If he doesn't agree about the game's premises, punishing him ingame will look even more like you being intentionally mean to him.

I'd say that the idea of a reactive world which will take meaningful steps to deal with PCs that act the way that PC acts can actually work - I've done it with new players before, and it's helped them realize how RPGs work and why the videogame style doesn't work. Sometimes things just need to be seen to be understood by some people, and they will realize that it isn't a matter of being intentionally mean, but of how RPGs work.

However, this is a case where I'd strongly advise against it, on account of how there are 4 other players. If it were a small group of newbies who just needed to be shown the ropes, and who need to get the freedom to do anything out of their system, it would work. One person in a larger group is not the right place to use that strategy.

Story Time
2012-07-15, 12:05 AM
You know, I really thought that this thread would be about table manners. :smallbiggrin:


For WarKitty:

Eh, I've been in groups with that type of player before, and ended up quitting the game. It just wasn't any fun[...]

Me too, actually.



He has not played any pen-and-paper games before. I think I'm dealing with a bad case of video gamer syndrome - the world exists primarily to provide the player with things to kill for loot and XP.

WarKitty, your Player is a, "Winner." They don't care about plot, or story, or character. They play Dungeons & Dragons like football, soccer, rugby, polo, or any other competitive sport. This player is a Fame-Hog who's focus is amassment and possibly greed. This player can not function in the game that you want because of their base ethic. Philosophy.

I'd hypothesize that this Odd Player doesn't really want to play. It seems more likely that they want to make up for some-thing else that they aren't getting in some other part of their life.

Here is the reason for my hypothesis:

...that is way more depth than he wants. He just wants to kill because killing people is fun.


If this Player has heard your explanation of what role-play is, how it should function in the table-top game you're playing, and he/she still refuses to play like the Group does...then some-thing else is wrong.

...the situation has to be handled out-of-game and out-of-character. It has to be resolved out in the room, on the carpet. Tell him, "I'm sorry, but no. Your character will disrupt the game. It will disrupt the game for all the reasons that you can't see. If you want, watch us play. Learn how we play and how we role-play. Take notes, if you want. But I am making a choice. This character is not acceptable."


The best advice, though, I think is this:

You're going to have to bite the bullet and tell him he can't play with you.

I whole-heartedly second this suggestion.




...and honestly, I'm sorry it's so hard. Let us know how things turn out, okay? If you need more help, let the thread know. :smallsmile:


Training New Players:
Keeping in mind every-thing that I said in the previous spoiler tag, there is one thing that I think will train any player to role-play faster than any-thing else.

Role-Play Experience Points.

...it's a basic game philosophy. "If a GameMaster wants a Player to repeat an activity, the Player should be rewarded for that activity."

Give out role-play experience like its going out of style. Give it so that the Players who role-play are closer to their next character level than the murder-mongers. Do this, and do it fairly for the entire Group. Soon enough it should click in that role-play offers faster Level Advancement.


...of course it's kind of hypocritical to say that. Dungeons & Dragons is a game system which has an Experience Table centered on defeating obstacles. Conflict, in other words. The only way to counter this is to give Experience Points, and other treasure, as rewards for co-operation.

That's just a thought...

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-15, 01:12 AM
Here's one way you might try describing the game:

"it's like this [friend], you remember when we were little and we would play pretend? Well for us D&D is kinda like that. Each of us pretends we're somebody else who can do things we never could in real life. The main difference is that we have rules to define those characters that we're pretending to be. If you approach it like a video game, then you're coming from completely the wrong angle."

Edit: on a completely unrelated note: typing long-winded posts with the wii's on-screen keyboard kinda sucks. :smallsigh::smallannoyed:

Togath
2012-07-15, 01:27 AM
Here's one way you might try describing the game:

"it's like this [friend], you remember when we were little and we would play pretend? Well for us D&D is kinda like that. Each of us pretends we're somebody else who can do things we never could in real life. The main difference is that we have rules to define those characters that we're pretending to be. If you approach it like a video game, then you're coming from completely the wrong angle."


Now I'm confused, Not being sarcastic, but your description sounds more like a larp then something such as one of the dragonquest/dragonwarrior games, [early] final fantasy games, or the diablo series of games, so a description like that could just confuse him more.
Or is what you mention the common view of what an rpg is?

Gavinfoxx
2012-07-15, 01:43 AM
Well, a Larp is when you are standing around saying stuff in character and maybe hitting people with foam swords, or conflict is done by rock paper scissors or something and people who have better stats in the relevant combat wins ties or whatever. D&D is done with dice on a table where you are sitting, not standing or walking around. But the description is pretty good in general.

Zerter
2012-07-15, 03:34 AM
THIS IS A BAD PLAN. THE KIND OF PLAN WHERE YOU LOSE YOUR HAT.

Seriously, explaining this stuff to him BEFORE play starts is the only sensible solution, and will save EVERYONE a lot of annoyance later. Use very small words and illustrations, if you think it will do any good.

Or tell him to go play XBox while you and the other three play.

It has already been explained to him before play starts. He does not want to accept it, fine. You can try again, try a 1-on-1 sessions. He can still play otherwise but the game might not any fun for _him_. Maybe he will turn out to be great player, I've seen at first terrible players turn out great, otherwise he'll feel like a victim and quit.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-15, 03:34 AM
Now I'm confused, Not being sarcastic, but your description sounds more like a larp then something such as one of the dragonquest/dragonwarrior games, [early] final fantasy games, or the diablo series of games, so a description like that could just confuse him more.
Or is what you mention the common view of what an rpg is?

Unless I'm mistaken, the only notable differences between larping and P&P are that in larping there tend to be many more people involved (with the attendant moving around) and knowing how to actually wield a sword makes a difference in your effectiveness. :smalltongue:

In all seriousness though, from what the OP has said, their group is heavy on RP and light on combat. To my mind that's closer to playing pretend than playing a video-game. Just because you're using pieces on a representative map, instead of strolling around a park/ your back-yard, doesn't really change all that much. You're still relying on your imagination to interact with a world that's made-up. D&D just provides a rule-set for handling the conflict that's necessary for an entertaining story. I grant freely that it's not necessarily idea for an RP heavy, light combat environment, but it's what the OP and his friends use.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-15, 03:44 AM
Now I'm confused, Not being sarcastic, but your description sounds more like a larp then something such as one of the dragonquest/dragonwarrior games, [early] final fantasy games, or the diablo series of games, so a description like that could just confuse him more.
Or is what you mention the common view of what an rpg is?

Unless I'm mistaken, the only notable differences between larping and P&P are that in larping there tend to be many more people involved (with the attendant moving around) and knowing how to actually wield a sword makes a difference in your effectiveness. :smalltongue:

In all seriousness though, from what the OP has said, their group is heavy on RP and light on combat. To my mind that's closer to playing pretend than playing a video-game. Just because you're using pieces on a representative map, instead of strolling around a park/ your back-yard, doesn't really change all that much. You're still relying on your imagination to interact with a world that's made-up. D&D just provides a rule-set for handling the conflict that's necessary for an entertaining story. I grant freely that it's not necessarily idea for an RP heavy, light combat environment, but it's what the OP and his friends use.

Story Time
2012-07-15, 04:39 AM
It's actually a good idea to ask people to dress up when they come to the table. It helps keep the focus In-Character.

Thiyr
2012-07-15, 05:19 AM
With all this talk of "This person is thinking of it too much like a video game", it got me wondering what kinds of games he/she actually does play. I presume it's probably, as has been suggested, more on the low plot high action end of things, or if there is plot, probably more railroad-y. If that's the case, I can easily see where the problem lies. That seems like it would more easily engender a sense of plot in games as something that is divorced from gameplay itself. If what you do in gameplay is irrelevant to how the world treats you, then why make the effort? Honestly, I don't think there's a solution in the short term. If you wanted to slowly condition this player to being more open to ideas outside of "kill it all", then I'd say a healthy diet of video games that DO incentiveize alternative means of overcoming challenges. Generally ones that are close enough that killing things is AN answer, but oftentimes isn't THE answer, and oftentimes isn't the easiest answer anyway. Both the original Deus Ex and the Metal Gear Solid series seem like good fits here. Heck, to an extent you could use the whole Black Isle library as a lead-in, especially with something like Planescape:Torment. Heck, near as I can tell (dueto not being able to finish it), torment's plot was pretty much "Let's figure out our own backstory", and The Nameless One is pretty much the conception of Player as Character in a literal sense, playing a number of different roles, each separate "lifetimes", so while it's all the same person, they each have separate and distinct impacts on the world...Hmm...I'm gonna need to ponder this more. But I digress.


In the short term, though, you're functionally trying to get the player to play monopoly when they really just want to play air hockey, and trying to find ways to get them interested when they just keep sliding the top hat across the board. It may be better in the long run to not have the player in the game. The other option would be that his expectations are met by a brick wall of the world saying no (which, admittedly, in this case I feel it should), and then having his view of roleplaying in general diminished due to one "poor" experience.

Now back to pondering this TNO as player as character idea.

Edit: "What can change the nature of a man" indeed. Clearly I'm too tired, because I'm finding the relevance of that to this topic far too interesting.

TheOOB
2012-07-15, 05:39 AM
I think you need to look at the problem from as far back as possible.

First off, you should tell the players that they are all responsible for making a character who can play well as part of the group. Setting that rule down can solve so many problems, and I implement that rule in any game so long as I'm not playing like Paranoia or Fiasco.

Explain that the party is full of good people, and they won't take an evil destructive person with them.

Second, you need to figure out what they are trying to get from your game. Every player is looking for something different in play, even if they don't know it. It sounds like that player is of the "Butt-Kicker" archtype, which means they get enjoyment out of winning fights and being badass. There is nothing wrong with that, you just, as a GM, need to make sure they have a chance to win and a fight and be a badass every session. Bored players tend to cause problems. If you can't fit the kind of play that player wants, I don't think they are a good fit for your group.

What you shouldn't do is try to force the player to roleplay more than they want, players get better at roleplaying over time, and it's never a good idea to force a player to play a way they don't like. You can mention that a course of action may not be a good idea, and if the character does something truly horrific find a way to punish them IN GAME(that is, send a powerful encounter they will severely hurt or even kill the player, they'll get the message, but it's paramount it feels organic, and not like your punishing them, a family member who happens to be a powerful fighter maybe). Don't let the other party members try to fight/restrain the character, that ruins groups.

Anyways, I'd strongly suggest reading over Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering(http://www.sjgames.com/robinslaws/). It talks a lot about player archtypes, and how to make everyone happy. Once you figure out what everyone is there for, it's easier to keep everyone happy.

WarKitty
2012-07-15, 08:30 AM
I'm aware of player archetypes. I just - well, in my best judgement from listening to him, I don't think there's a way to make the kind of character he wants to play work in the game.

The problem I had last time with this kind of character was that, in my experience, *everything* has to be about killing when you have one of them around. Other players can't play strategy or RP because the "I want to kill things" character will get bored and kill something. The game basically became all about controlling the one character, which isn't much fun for anyone else.

This is backed by my knowledge of him and my other players as a person; I know he tends to get bored fairly easily and is often quite loud and forceful when he wants to do something else - to the point where it's hard to hear other people. If that weren't the case I might be willing to be more flexible, but I'm dealing with someone that isn't all that good at handling conflict appropriately in the first place.

Anarion
2012-07-15, 08:40 AM
I know he tends to get bored fairly easily and is often quite loud and forceful when he wants to do something else

I know this is the Internet, where everything gets blown out of proportion, but honest question. Why are you even living with this person? It sounds pretty miserable. Is this one of those situations where you have absolutely no alternative? The guy must at least be capable of getting his end of the rent check in on time, so you have empirical data that adequately strong consequences will cause him to take actions he doesn't like. And if you respond by saying that actually, no, he doesn't pay his rent on time, then why are you living with him?

Edit: Oh and to answer the original question of this thread, run a one-shot private session and ask him "why" a lot. He walks into town and says he attacks the guard, you ask "why." If he says "I don't know" ask him if he would attack a police officer in real life, and go from there.

WarKitty
2012-07-15, 08:52 AM
I know this is the Internet, where everything gets blown out of proportion, but honest question. Why are you even living with this person? It sounds pretty miserable. Is this one of those situations where you have absolutely no alternative? The guy must at least be capable of getting his end of the rent check in on time, so you have empirical data that adequately strong consequences will cause him to take actions he doesn't like. And if you respond by saying that actually, no, he doesn't pay his rent on time, then why are you living with him?

Edit: Oh and to answer the original question of this thread, run a one-shot private session and ask him "why" a lot. He walks into town and says he attacks the guard, you ask "why." If he says "I don't know" ask him if he would attack a police officer in real life, and go from there.

It's not like that...he doesn't get angry-loud, just loud and excited and talks very quickly. It's more an ADD-thing from what I understand - he gets really excited and into everything, and he gets loud when he gets into things, and enjoys getting into arguments (we're all philosophers, so all of us have that trait to some extent). It's really not an issue most of the time as long as you have a reason for what you're saying, I just don't think it would work well in a D&D environment.

Frenth Alunril
2012-07-15, 09:10 AM
I don't think he really gets the concept of a playstyle....my impression is that the issue is more he doesn't understand that D&D is different from a video game. The whole point of the game to him is to kill things and get more XP and loot so you can become more powerful. I'm not really sure he gets the idea of roleplaying at all.

I had a friend, who was my roommate at the time, who played like this. He was double dealing and killing anything that gave him any kind of flak or personality. Finally, as some have suggested, I decided to make a move on this, and kind of preempt it.

Now, I told him that I would give him a personal adventure, something on the side so that Tsuki could live out his life. It would go as long as he could, but that didn't mean it was easy, and I would get to dictate the next character he played. He agreed.

When we played, they were looking for information, they would need to get that information from a bard. Tsuki went to an opera house where the bard was performing with a troupe. As they sat in the audience he made some horrible comment and wouldn't stop talking so I had an NPC aristocrat woman shush him. He naturally reacted with something along the lines of "shut your face you fat ugly cow!" (but, in a more vulgar tone.)

Naturally, saying that in the middle of an Opera house, in a loud voice, with all kinds of people in attendance made the Successful Merchant Husband of the woman he had just insulted challenge him to a dual. Tsuki naturally accepted and said he would kill the Merchant on the spot.

I had the Merchant call him to witness the crowd, and got him to back down and agree to first blood rules. They went out in the street, huge crowd watching, and went to it. NPC won, but Tsuki wouldn't quit. So the NPC went in for real damage and wounded Tsuki. (Lesson: Don't run a thief against a fighter in a dual, especially a fighter 20 years your senior.)

So, after the embarrassment, this only fueled the psychotic need for revenge and NPC slaying. A night later Tsuki has already learned where the man and his wife live. He sneaks to their house along the top of the border wall that keeps people from falling off the cliff along the backyards of the rich, into the sea. (it also protects their houses from cannon fire, etc...) Sneaks into their house, finds them in bed, and murders them in cold blood. Of course, an alarm is raised because of the clatter and some of the noise. Tsuki gets out the back door before the guards are on alert. He jumps up to the top of the wall as guards come running out of the house. And when they start telling him to stand still and come down he jumps into the sea.

Swimming rules! hahaha... He drowned. But, here I got to have some fun, I had the port guard pull him out, and resuscitate him. He got to play his murderous psycho all the way up to execution. The rest of the party went nuts when they couldn't find their "friend" and later, when they found him just as he was being brought to the block it caused for some interesting RP.

The player had a great time. After that, I handed him a LN Cleric of a LN god and told him that I was going to hold him to neutrality and lawfulness. He became a great player over the next few months, and still today, 7 years later, we play on the internet together.

Sometimes it takes time grow a character a player is invested in, and not have them think its just a set of numbers that chews through a script.

I wish you luck in this endevor

Jay R
2012-07-15, 09:46 AM
You might try showing (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0605.html) him (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0606.html) these (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0610.html).

Katana_Geldar
2012-07-15, 06:44 PM
He sounds like he's going to be disruptive, and disruptive players make it less fun for everyone else. And since he's used to video games, the cooperative nature of a tabletop is going to be new to him.

You could try him for one session and give him no obligation to stay. Chances are he'll get bored and not want to play with you again, but if not you need to do that DM's duty of telling a player they can no longer play with you. I've been there, it's not good but necessary.

dps
2012-07-16, 08:43 PM
Bluntly let him know that his actions will have consequences, just like the real-world would. He can do these things, but he should know: There are reasons he doesn't go around murdering shopkeeps in the real world, and those apply to the game-world too.


Yeah, how hard is this to understand? Your roommate can't be that dense.

WarKitty
2012-07-16, 09:18 PM
Yeah, how hard is this to understand? Your roommate can't be that dense.

I think it's more a case of "but it's a game, not real life, why would you play like real life?"

Gavinfoxx
2012-07-16, 09:26 PM
"Because that is how this particular game is run. My game is played like real life. If you go into a shop and murder the shopkeeper, the police come and put you away, and you might get executed by the Magistrate. You don't have to play in this game if you don't want to; it may be too realistic for you."

Devils_Advocate
2012-07-17, 06:43 AM
"Because I want to. I LIKE THINGS THAT YOU DON'T LIKE, okay? Like, you get how your favorite flavor of ice cream isn't objectively better than all the others, right? Please tell me that you understand that.

Playstyles are like flavors of ice cream. Except not. Because when a group of people all play a game together, everyone's playstyle becomes a part of everyone's experience. So it's less like flavors and more like odors. Playing a violent psychopath in a roleplaying group that doesn't like that is like smoking around a group of people who don't like that. It's discourteous. It's something that you should only do around people it's not going to bother, and it's not unreasonable for people bothered by it to ask you not to do it around them. You see what I'm saying?

If you demand that I run the setting differently in order to accommodate your character concept, that's telling me that I'm not allowed to run the game how I want to run it. And you don't have that authority, okay? Running a game for someone is something that I voluntarily do for fun, not out of any obligation that I have to that person. That means that I get to attach whatever conditions I want.

I'm not saying that you can't play however you want to play, generally speaking. You can play however you want to with whatever GM will accommodate you. I'm saying that you can't play in the way you're describing in my game. If you say 'Yes I can', that's telling me that I can't play how I want to play. Which is something that you should not tell someone."

Jay R
2012-07-17, 10:16 AM
If you want to play baseball when I'm running a football game, fine, I sympathize. But you can't play it on the football field, and you can't play baseball with us while we're playing football. Now either join the football game or get off this field.

kyoryu
2012-07-17, 02:53 PM
WarKitty, this is very good advice right here. "Yes, but..." is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

Someone once described it to me in this fashion:

"Our hero falls in a hole. Does he get out? If the answer is yes, then he climbs out and goes on his way, which is boring. If the answer is no, then he sits in the hole, which is also boring. If the answer is yes, but... ah, now we're getting somewhere."

That someone is probably Jim Butcher :)

EDIT: Found it! http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/2647.html


From another, they're great backstories, because they succinctly define the motivations which will drive the character on down the line.

I agree. The most important thing about backstory in a game is how it drives the character forward. Burning Wheel does a good job of this with its Beliefs systems. It also rewards players for following their beliefs, and in some cases for breaking them. That's something I intend to steal even if I run a different system.


If the two of you can't find a common ground, then don't play with him. Man up and tell him the honest truth:

This is the only real answer that can work. It's no different than any other game, really. If people want to play poker, but one person wants to play $100 buy-in, and the others want to play for pennies, they just shouldn't play together. This is no different.


This is backed by my knowledge of him and my other players as a person; I know he tends to get bored fairly easily and is often quite loud and forceful when he wants to do something else - to the point where it's hard to hear other people. If that weren't the case I might be willing to be more flexible, but I'm dealing with someone that isn't all that good at handling conflict appropriately in the first place.

So, you're dealing with someone that gets loud and forceful when they don't get their way? Danger, abusive personality present. Step one should be to make sure that the ground rules are absolutely laid clear, and that it is unambiguous that such behavior (focus on the behavior) will *not* be tolerated.

WarKitty
2012-07-17, 04:46 PM
So, you're dealing with someone that gets loud and forceful when they don't get their way? Danger, abusive personality present. Step one should be to make sure that the ground rules are absolutely laid clear, and that it is unambiguous that such behavior (focus on the behavior) will *not* be tolerated.

I've already explained that - he doesn't get angry, just loud and intense. My impression is it's more an ADD thing. He's just one of those people who seems to do every single thing at top intensity, including arguing. It's not hostile, but it is extremely distracting, and I'm more worried that it would take too much time and energy away from the game, especially since he'd probably want everything justified in extreme detail. I feel like my comment there is getting blown waaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion, though - it's one side thing, not some in-depth character analysis!

Elyssian
2012-07-17, 05:05 PM
One thing that could help is to look at the 1E rules about XP, where it wasn't killing things that got you XP it was treasure, where every gold piece was worth 1XP so getting a 100GP painting as loot got you 100XP. This along with the earlier comment suggesting giving experience for successful role play as opposed to just "roll" play. I also agree with the suggestion made to have him sit in on a session as an observer just so he has a better picture of your current game style. Perhaps after seeing how your group plays it will alter his perspective on the game some. I know my first impression of D&D was totally different than how I see the game today. I hope you are able to work something out that doesn't cause too much chaos IRL as this is your roommate. But IMO it really isn't worth ruining everyone's gaming just to cater to one persons preference if they can't/won't adapt there perspective.

Story Time
2012-07-17, 05:08 PM
I've already explained that[...]

...actually, I think that the initial purpose of the thread has been served? WarKitty has explained the situation and has received lots of responses. I don't know about every-one else, but I'd like to know what WarKitty plans to do.

...sharing the important, or tough, things that happen in Life is... Well, it can help people out. Some people like doing that. They talk about what they want to do to give them fortitude to then do it. And that's fine. :smallsmile: But...I'd like to know what you plan to do about the situation and when you plan to do it.

That's my request, I guess. :smallsmile:

Katana_Geldar
2012-07-17, 05:21 PM
Can I suggest to War Kitty to ignore the IC solutions to this problem then? This isn't a game issue, this is a player management issue and you handle those outside the game. That's the best solution, and it's one of a DMs duties.

By all means have consequences in your game, but not just because of this player. If you decide to let him play then observe him and the others. What can happen is players can hang together against him if he starts being disruptive. I've seen this happen myself when one player goes against the agreed plan for his own reasons and I had to say 'Stop! What are you doing?'.

WarKitty
2012-07-17, 05:37 PM
...actually, I think that the initial purpose of the thread has been served? WarKitty has explained the situation and has received lots of responses. I don't know about every-one else, but I'd like to know what WarKitty plans to do.

...sharing the important, or tough, things that happen in Life is... Well, it can help people out. Some people like doing that. They talk about what they want to do to give them fortitude to then do it. And that's fine. :smallsmile: But...I'd like to know what you plan to do about the situation and when you plan to do it.

That's my request, I guess. :smallsmile:

We talked. I ended up just saying straight-out "look, the kind of character you want to play just isn't going to fit in the game." I still don't think he got it, but we agreed that he's not going to be playing. I'm just frustrated because I still think he feels like I'm just being a control freak, and he really is a friend that I want good relations with. I just cant seem to get the play style concept across.

Like my example upthread. I was trying to communicate the idea that characters need more depth and motivations, and what he seemed to be hearing was "ok I need a backstory to explain why my only goal in life is to kill people." So I also explained that characters couldn't go around just blowing people up, so he said he'd be sneaky and only do it when the police weren't watching. And then I tried to explain that the kind of magic a kid would have access to just didn't fit with the backstory that he wanted (or with the kind of high-magic world I run - cities are warded, some little kid isn't likely to get through them, and he got upset with me for being inflexible and arbitrary.

*sigh* Feels like you can't win with non-gamers. Things are there for a reason, there are limits to the system, but I'm just running up against this idea he seems to have of how the game ought to work despite the fact that it's not even close to the setting.

Katana_Geldar
2012-07-17, 05:43 PM
Warkitty, you've done your best and he won't meet you halfway. That's all you can do and you made the best decision. Be content with that.

Story Time
2012-07-17, 06:00 PM
We talked.

...it's kind of sad. I can sympathize. But also, I'm glad WarKitty did it. I have at least one sensible reason why:


[...]running up against this idea he seems to have of how the game ought to work despite the fact that it's not even close to the setting.

WarKitty is the GameMaster. WarKitty decides what the game is about. Room-mate does not. If room-mate disagrees, room-mate is wrong and will make misery for every-one else in the game including WarKitty.

So...while I sympathize with the tension that the decision caused, I really do believe that this will be for the best. Maybe the two of you could play video games together or some other activity that he enjoys outside of table-top?

1
Also, I think that this statement is accurate. I approve.


Warkitty, you've done your best and he won't meet you halfway.

WarKitty
2012-07-17, 07:41 PM
WarKitty is the GameMaster. WarKitty decides what the game is about. Room-mate does not. If room-mate disagrees, room-mate is wrong and will make misery for every-one else in the game including WarKitty.

So...while I sympathize with the tension that the decision caused, I really do believe that this will be for the best. Maybe the two of you could play video games together or some other activity that he enjoys outside of table-top?

Yeah. The frustration is more that I feel like the tension is that he has absolutely no idea why he is wrong other than "I said so." It's a fantasy game, so he wants the fantasy trope crazy fireball wizard.

Dr.Epic
2012-07-17, 07:46 PM
"It's not 1 on 1. There's 3 other PCs there, and people need to be on the same page as to expectations, otherwise there's going to be a clash at table-time."

Yes. This. The game has other people besides him. Tell him they want to do something else and they outweigh him.

WarKitty
2012-07-17, 07:51 PM
Yes. This. The game has other people besides him. Tell him they want to do something else and they outweigh him.

The issue I'm hitting is more a case of "I don't understand why we can't do both, I want to blow things up and they want to do their weird roleplaying thing."

dps
2012-07-17, 09:35 PM
we agreed that he's not going to be playing.


Unfortunate, but that's probably for the best in this case.

Story Time
2012-07-17, 11:43 PM
Yeah. The frustration is more that I feel like the tension is that he has absolutely no idea why he is wrong other than "I said so." It's a fantasy game, so he wants the fantasy trope crazy fireball wizard.

...such a shame. :smallfrown: But at least you said so before the game actually began. Now there's a chance that he'll read a fantasy book to try to understand what the divide was. Or, he might try to watch or listen casually and through observation learn what role-play is about.

From the sound if it, it seems like he has no experience as a GameMaster. It seems like his focus is so far into Do that he's got less of a grasp of Design. And, possibly, because of this his sense of appropriateness is distorted. It's pretty clear that he doesn't understand. ...I wish I could think of a good reason why he might not understand. That might help you more, I think.

...still...I think it would be a good idea to try to find a mutually interesting activity so that some fun can be had even though his concept won't work at the game table.



The issue I'm hitting is more a case of "I don't understand why we can't do both, I want to blow things up and they want to do their weird roleplaying thing."

...it's not really funny at all...but it kind of makes me laugh. This image that the room-mate's idea of fun is, "Okay, I'll blow you up and you role-play being blown up." :smallbiggrin: But...that really removes all game and play themes from the table-top exercise.

And play is the key word in role-play. :smallsmile:

Synovia
2012-07-17, 11:52 PM
One thing that could help is to look at the 1E rules about XP, where it wasn't killing things that got you XP it was treasure, where every gold piece was worth 1XP so getting a 100GP painting as loot got you 100XP.

I don't think any of the version give you XP for killing things. They give you XP for overcoming an obstable, whether it is by killing the obstacle, finding a way around it, or simply avoiding it.

Jay R
2012-07-18, 09:56 AM
I don't think any of the version give you XP for killing things. They give you XP for overcoming an obstable, whether it is by killing the obstacle, finding a way around it, or simply avoiding it.

That's not actually true. The early game was pretty bloodthirsty. The first book in original D&D (Men and Magic) gave points when characters "meet monsters in mortal combat and defeat them". The same paragraph refers to "the monster's kill value".

The first expansion, Greyhawk, has a section on ""Guidelines for Awarding Experience Points for Monster Slaying".

The 1E PHB, page 106, refers to "Gaining experience through the acquisition of gold pieces and by slaying monsters, and states that your DM has "a chart of experience points to be given for monsters slain". Admittedly, there is one reference to experience for monsters slain or captures, but no reference for finding a way around it, or simply avoiding it.

The first sentence in the 1E DMG section on experience (pp. 84-86) refers to "experience for the points gained from slaying monsters and/or gaining treasure. The table is "for determination of x.p. to be awarded for slain opponents creatures. That section has several references to slain monsters. (It also includes a one-sentence reference that the DM could award points subjectively for tricking or outwitting monsters. This is not mentioned elsewhere.)

When Chivalry and Sorcery first came out, it was the first game I ever saw that explicitly included points for vanquished characters who were not killed, and my gaming group all considered it a new and startling idea.

Synovia
2012-07-18, 10:21 AM
Okay, so there hasnt been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things. (1977)

Fatebreaker
2012-07-18, 11:12 AM
Okay, so there hasnt been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things. (1977)

This is a mash-up of two posts of mine from an old thread. The short version is that 3.x awards experience points for killing things, but it hides this behind challenge ratings and formulas. Also, the DMG openly states that DM's who want to award non-combat experience need to create their own system for doing so. It then goes on to discourage DM's from doing this.

Anyhow, on with the quote!


To be fair, from a mechanics perspective D&D largely is about killing people and taking their stuff.

There's a little bit here and there in the rules about roleplaying, and it's gotten better in later editions, but even the 3.x DMG was reeeeeeeally brief and fairly vague on awarding experience points for noncombat challenges. On the other hand, every monster has a clear value given in exchange for killing it. In this case, "clear value" means that you gain experience and loot. How much experience is variable, and there is a formula for calculating (http://www.d20srd.org/extras/d20encountercalculator/) this variable. That said, the value is still clear -- a DM who does not award XP (or loot) for a creature is actively ignoring or contravening the explicit rules of the game. However, while combat (or traps) are clearly spelled out by the rules, the book is vague on more nebulous issues like "roleplaying." How much XP does a character gain for, as you say, overcoming a non-combat challenge? The rules do not say. I quote: "To [reward noncombat goals] you need to set up a system in which you can award XP for accomplishing goals and for actions and encounters that don't involve combat" (3.5 DMG, pg 40). It also recommends that only experienced DM's do this.

This is important because the mechanics of the game expose its core concepts. Ideally, they should also support those core concepts; your mileage may vary how well they do so. In this case, the mechanics of rewarding experience points clearly place a greater emphasis on combat. Non-combat challenges are outright handwaved as at the discretion of the DM. They are so secondary, in fact, that the system even openly advocates that dungeon masters not award experience for these things.

Compare with other games, where social and stealth challenges are given equal footing with combat challenges, and the rules expect a player to be rewarded for non-combat actions as well as combat ones. Mechanics influence play; D&D mechanics encourage play which revolves around combat and looting.

WarKitty
2012-07-18, 11:42 AM
Honestly, I just ditched XP for my last game. You finish a plot-line, you get a level.

Synovia
2012-07-18, 12:01 PM
The short version is that 3.x awards experience points for killing things, but it hides this behind challenge ratings and formulas.

The DMG uses the word 'defeat'. Defeat and Kill are not synonyms. 'Kill' is a single possibility within the set of things contained in 'Defeat.'

If a shrine has a guardian whose job it is to block a door, and you manage to invisibly walk by him, or get by him with any other means, you have 'defeated him' and should get exp.

Kish
2012-07-18, 12:20 PM
The short version is that 3.x awards experience points for killing things,
As Synova points out, quite wrong. 3.xed D&D awards experience points for overcoming challenges by any means, not for "killing things."

In your quote, you slip through "or traps" as a parenthetical, as though there was any possible way "getting by traps" was semantically identical to "killing things"!

Fatebreaker
2012-07-18, 12:49 PM
The DMG uses the word 'defeat'. Defeat and Kill are not synonyms. 'Kill' is a single possibility within the set of things contained in 'Defeat.'


As Synova points out, quite wrong. 3.xed D&D awards experience points for overcoming challenges by any means, not for "killing things.

Err, yes and no. The point was to highlight the divide between how the game treats combat and non-combat: defeating enemies (via magical or martial means) has a clear value of reward, while talking to them has (strongly discouraged) advice to houserule something.

That said, the post I was responding to was one about how the game doesn't reward you for killing things, to which I responded, "The game just hides it behind a formula." When you kill the monster, you get experience.

That might not have been clear. Does this clear it up?

Synovia
2012-07-18, 12:56 PM
Err, yes and no. The point was to highlight the divide between how the game treats combat and non-combat: defeating enemies (via magical or martial means) has a clear value of reward, while talking to them has (strongly discouraged) advice to houserule something.

That said, the post I was responding to was one about how the game doesn't reward you for killing things, to which I responded, "The game just hides it behind a formula." When you kill the monster, you get experience.

That might not have been clear. Does this clear it up?

The game does no such thing.

DMG 3.5, pg 37:

"Suppose the PCs sneak past the sleeping minotaur to get into the magical valut-did they overcome the minotaur encounter? If their goal was to get into the valut and the minotaur was just a guardian, then the answer is probably yes."

Your DM may discourage out-of-combat resolutions, but the game does no such thing.

Kish
2012-07-18, 01:11 PM
Err, yes and no. The point was to highlight the divide between how the game treats combat and non-combat: defeating enemies (via magical or martial means) has a clear value of reward, while talking to them has (strongly discouraged) advice to houserule something.

That said, the post I was responding to was one about how the game doesn't reward you for killing things, to which I responded, "The game just hides it behind a formula." When you kill the monster, you get experience.

That might not have been clear. Does this clear it up?
You were clear the first time. Just wrong. Sorry, no, the rules do not treat magical or physical violence as the only way to "overcome a challenge." If you talk your way past a level 9 hobgoblin fighter, guess what--you've overcome a CR 9 challenge, and that is not ambiguous in the rules at all.

Jay R
2012-07-18, 03:06 PM
Okay, so there hasnt been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things. (1977)

Well, that's better than your statement "I don't think any of the version give you XP for killing things." But it's still not true.

I've already cited the 1e PHB, which came out in 1978 (34 years ago), and the 1e DMG, which came out in 1979 (33 years ago). These were the rules until 2e came out in 1989, so they are the version used until 23 years ago.

The 2E rules are the first ones that unambiguously state that defeating it can be done other than by killing it, and takes three paragraphs trying to explain this obviously new idea.

So the clear, unambiguous statement that getting experience points for defeating monsters doesn't require slaying them is 23 years old in the D&D rules. The 1E version still in print in 1988, 24 years ago, gave points for slaying monsters.

Synovia
2012-07-18, 03:12 PM
Well, that's better than your statement "I don't think any of the version give you XP for killing things." But it's still not true.

That statement is 100% true. I've never read a 1E rulebook. It came out before I was born.




I've already cited the 1e PHB, which came out in 1978 (34 years ago), and the 1e DMG, which came out in 1979 (33 years ago). These were the rules until 2e came out in 1989, so they are the version used until 23 years ago.

The 2E rules are the first ones that unambiguously state that defeating it can be done other than by killing it, and takes three paragraphs trying to explain this obviously new idea.

So the clear, unambiguous statement that getting experience points for defeating monsters doesn't require slaying them is 23 years old in the D&D rules. The 1E version still in print in 1988, 24 years ago, gave points for slaying monsters.



Its still irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. Whether the rules changed 24 years ago, or 35, the rules have been, for a VERY LONG TIME, that killing a monster is only one of a large subset of thigns you can do to gain XP.

The argument that D&D discourages DMs from awarding XP for anything other than killing monsters, is patently false.

kyoryu
2012-07-18, 03:36 PM
That statement is 100% true. I've never read a 1E rulebook. It came out before I was born.

Then perhaps you should avoid making blanket statements in areas you do not have sufficient information.


Its still irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. Whether the rules changed 24 years ago, or 35, the rules have been, for a VERY LONG TIME, that killing a monster is only one of a large subset of thigns you can do to gain XP.

The argument that D&D discourages DMs from awarding XP for anything other than killing monsters, is patently false.

And it's true that even in older editions, DMs were expected to award XP for "not-killing". The XP for GP rule was explicitly for that purpose, and in fact served to make "killing things" often the least optimal path. In many cases, XP from treasure vastly outweighed what you'd get from killing things. This was a deliberate design goal.

If anything, you could argue that post-1e (not sure if the XP for GP rule was in 2e or not) actually drifted *more* towards "killing as a primary goal" as defeating monsters became the primary expected means of gaining xp.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-18, 07:02 PM
The game does no such thing.

DMG 3.5, pg 37:

"Suppose the PCs sneak past the sleeping minotaur to get into the magical valut-did they overcome the minotaur encounter? If their goal was to get into the valut and the minotaur was just a guardian, then the answer is probably yes."

Your DM may discourage out-of-combat resolutions, but the game does no such thing.

The answer is "probably" yes when you sneak.

The answer is definitely yes when you vanquish via combat.

The difference between "probably" and "definitely" is, in fact, a form of discouragement put forward by the system. Risking your life for "probably" reward is very different from risking your life for "definite" reward.


You were clear the first time. Just wrong. Sorry, no, the rules do not treat magical or physical violence as the only way to "overcome a challenge."

And I never claimed that it did. I simply showed how the game does reward killing with experience in response to a question as to whether or not it did. Moreover, I also displayed how the game focuses on this method of resolving conflicts. It has alternate methods, but they're very poorly defined, and yes, actively discouraged.


If you talk your way past a level 9 hobgoblin fighter, guess what--you've overcome a CR 9 challenge, and that is not ambiguous in the rules at all.

The 3.x rules are ambiguous about non-combat rewards. Combat has a clear value -- kill it, defeat it, vanquish it, and out pops xp and loot. Talk to it, and sometimes, maybe, possibly, rewards might happen.

Any time I (#1) talk to someone with the potential to be threatening, (#2) successfully do not enter combat, and (#3) attain some self-defined "win" condition, have I overcome a challenge?

Any time I walk from Point A to Point B and am not killed by dangers in a vague vicinity, have I overcome a challenge?

The rules are neither unambiguous nor explicit in this regard. In the above questions, sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes no. Killing (or defeating by combat) a monster within your challenge bracket results, unambiguously, in loot and experience, according to a formula. The language of the DMG is very clearly noncommittal in regard to what, aside from killing, qualifies as "defeating" an opponent. Compare this to killing, where the rewards actually are explicitly spelled.

At some level, you're missing the point: does the edition award you experience for killing?

Yes. The answer is yes.

Devils_Advocate
2012-07-18, 07:25 PM
The issue I'm hitting is more a case of "I don't understand why we can't do both, I want to blow things up and they want to do their weird roleplaying thing."
I already mentioned this, but in case you missed it: Is there any chance that you could bring him in as a villain?

WarKitty
2012-07-18, 07:28 PM
I already mentioned this, but in case you missed it: Is there any chance that you could bring him in as a villain?

I asked, he wasn't interested.

Jay R
2012-07-18, 09:56 PM
Well, that's better than your statement "I don't think any of the version give you XP for killing things." But it's still not true.That statement is 100% true. I've never read a 1E rulebook. It came out before I was born.

Red herring noted. I will revise my statement: "If you don't think so, then there are versions you don't know, and cannot speak about."

That better?

Kadzar
2012-07-18, 11:41 PM
To the OP: you have emphasized that he can't play because his he wouldn't work well with your group, and not because he's doing D&D wrong, right? Because if he read through the books, got excited about combat, and then you told him that D&D is never about combat, you have done him a disservice. Sure, he may not work out in your game, but he might fit right in with some other group. I don't personally like too much combat in RPGs (making agreements and trading favors is so much more fun) but I would never go so far as to say someone who prefers combat is objectively wrong.

Physics_Rook
2012-07-19, 01:10 AM
It sounds like the friend may be aware that their preferred playstyle differs from that of the other players.

It may be difficult for a GM to accommodate the different playstyles of a group of players.

If you have 4 players, and they've all agreed to a certain playstyle, it might make life easier on the GM, and by extension the players as well.

If 3 players have agreed to a certain playstyle, and a 4th's playstyle is completely different, it might cause more work for the GM and become unintentionally disruptive of the gameplay for the other players.

A pre-agreed playstyle may reduce the workload of a GM by reducing the likelihood of the players choosing options that lie outside of the playstyle.

The more differing playstyles in a game, the more work the GM may have to do to account for and accommodate them.

I'm not saying with certainty that differing playstyles are guaranteed to increase a GM's workload, I only suspect this to be the case.
I also suspect that great games can be had by a group of wildly disparate players (meaning that disparate playstyles and fun aren't mutually exclusive).
:smallsmile:

Devils_Advocate
2012-07-19, 12:55 PM
The frustration is more that I feel like the tension is that he has absolutely no idea why he is wrong other than "I said so."
Well. Um. Basically, is there actually any other reason why he's wrong?

The problem isn't that you can't include the sort of player character he wants to play. You could if you wanted to. You just won't because you don't want to, and you wouldn't find it enjoyable. That's a valid reason, and it sounds like he accepts it.

By "you" I mean either you the DM or your whole group, whichever one applies. Um, I guess that maybe he could be confusing "Because I say so" with "Because we say so", if the latter is the case. Is that the issue?

Otherwise... maybe the tension is that you think there's more reason why he's wrong than "I/we said so"? You've made a considered decision that his playstyle isn't for you, but that preference isn't somehow objectively correct, just like his isn't.

Synovia
2012-07-19, 12:58 PM
The answer is "probably" yes when you sneak.

The answer is definitely yes when you vanquish via combat.
.

No, it most certainly is not. There are plenty of situations where killing the minotaur would make the quest unsolvable.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-19, 01:26 PM
No, it most certainly is not. There are plenty of situations where killing the minotaur would make the quest unsolvable.

You would still get experience points for killing the minotaur.

Edit:

A DM may choose to withhold experience points for killing the minotaur, in which case he is making a deliberate decision to operate outside of or against the rules. This is entirely within his purview as the DM, but different from his decision as to whether or not sneaking your way past the minotaur is worth experience points.

Sneaking has the option, within the rules for rewarding experience, to deny or award experience.

Killing or defeating via combat simply awards experience ("When the party defeats monsters, you award the characters experience points" -- DMG, page 37). The DM has to apply a different rule (Rule Zero) to make it happen, because he has to change the way the experience-rules work. It's not him exercising an option within the rules; it's him exercising another rule entirely.

And once we add quest experience onto it, that's an entirely different subset of experience, found under "Story Rewards." It is worth noting that such rewards are considered optional and should "only be used by an experienced DM." This is also the section which says:


"To [reward noncombat goals] you need to set up a system in which you can award XP for accomplishing goals and for actions and encounters that don't involve combat."

The point of the matter is that killing the challenge definitely gets a reward, avoiding the challenge probably gets a reward, and whatever quest is associated with the challenge is entirely the subject of optional, semi-sanctioned houserules on the part of the DM.

That's a pretty clear indicator of priorities.

Synovia
2012-07-19, 01:42 PM
Killing or defeating via combat simply awards experience ("When the party defeats monsters, you award the characters experience points" -- DMG, page 37). The DM has to apply a different rule (Rule Zero) to make it happen, because he has to change the way the experience-rules work. It's not him exercising an option within the rules; it's him exercising another rule entirely.
.

Again, you're conflating the word Kill with the word Defeat. THEY DO NOT MEAN THE SAME THING.

If the entire purpose of the minotaur was to operate some machine within the temple, and you drowned it in the moat outside the temple, you did not defeat it.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-19, 02:23 PM
Again, you're conflating the word Kill with the word Defeat. THEY DO NOT MEAN THE SAME THING.

If the entire purpose of the minotaur was to operate some machine within the temple, and you drowned it in the moat outside the temple, you did not defeat it.

Umm.... No. You made it impossible to defeat the encounter the minotaur was part of; but, unless he threw himself on your sword, you definitely defeated him in combat.

Synovia
2012-07-19, 02:32 PM
Umm.... No. You made it impossible to defeat the encounter the minotaur was part of; but, unless he threw himself on your sword, you definitely defeated him in combat.

No, I didn't. If the encounter's best solution was to have the minotaur do something for you, and you killed him, the encounter was not impossible. The party MADE the encounter impossible (without figuring out some other solution), and thus shouldn't receive XP.

As a DM, if a player decides to just start killing innocent peasants, do you give him XP for that?

Fatebreaker
2012-07-19, 02:58 PM
Again, you're conflating the word Kill with the word Defeat. THEY DO NOT MEAN THE SAME THING.

If the entire purpose of the minotaur was to operate some machine within the temple, and you drowned it in the moat outside the temple, you did not defeat it.

A dead minotaur is a defeated minotaur.


Did the PCs defeat the enemy in battle? Then they met the challenge and earned experience points.


Each monster in [the Monster Manual] has a Challenge Rating (CR) that, when compared to party level, translates directly into XP.

A minotaur is intrinsically a Challenge. It has a Challenge Rating. If another party of equal level and equal numbers comes along with no interest in the temple, defeating the minotaur is still the same Challenge as it is for the party on the quest. Both parties would receive equal experience for killing the minotaur. The quest-party does not suddenly lose that experience just because they agreed to a quest. The minotaur does not become less of a Challenge. It does not lose that Challenge Rating just because it clocked in earlier today for its shift as Temple Guardian. No, Challenge Rating is clearly described as an intrinsic part of being a minotaur. Just by standing there, the minotaur is hanging a "FREE XP!" sign over his head.

Yes, defeat can mean killing. It can also encompass driving off, disabling, capturing, and all sorts of other things. But killing is certainly within the subset of "defeating," whereas "use to operate some machine within the temple" is not. Defeating is associated with battle, as the phrase "defeat in battle" is repeated throughout the section.

Larger quest or story goals, such as convincing the minotaur to operate the machinery inside the temple, are covered by the Story Awards rules on page 40-41. There is a distinct difference between the experience you get for "killing the minotaur" and the experience you get for "activating the machinery in the temple."

The point is, again, that fighting, killing, maiming, vanquishing, conquering, and viciously kicking the minotaur in the shins are all methods which gain experience. For convenience in both reading and writing, I collapse all of these into the word "killing." The game rules treat these as clear and reliable methods to success, if success is measured by "awards experience points."

The game rules treat other actions, such as the sneaking past example, as possible (but not certain) methods for success.

Still other actions (such as quests and roleplaying) are treated as houserules, as the game openly declares that the DM must make up such a reward system on their own.

This progression from reliable to possible to unclear is very much a form of encouraging or discouraging certain actions and behaviors. Your original assertion was that "there hasnt [sic] been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things," and yet we can see that 3.x clearly does -- monsters have an inherent Challenge Rating, and Challenge Rating has an experience point value which varies based on the number and level of characters involved. What it does not vary on, at least going by the rules, are things like whether or not the minotaur is intended to later be essential to the plot. It's still a minotaur, it still has a Challenge Rating, and it still awards experience points when you stab it, burn it, drown it, freeze it, smash it, shock it, maul it, explode it, disintegrate it, strangle it, shatter it, perforate it, petrify it, or feed it to a badger.

In short, not only does the game award you experience for killing things, it actively encourages killing because it is the most reliable form of experience.

-------

4e includes traps, hazards, skill challenges, and quests as threats "for the purposes of awarding experience points" alongside monsters, which more clearly brings such things under the same roof. Source is the Rules Compendium, page 291, by the way.

-------

On a more lighthearted note, if your players deliberately go around drowning minotaurs whom they know are vital to the plot, then you have much larger issues.

"Hey guys, I hear there's this minotaur at the temple."
"Yeah, we need him to operate the machine inside."
"Naw, that's boring. Let's drown him."
"High five!"

And of course, if they didn't know that the minotaur was vital to the plot, well, then that's yet another set of issues.

Kish
2012-07-19, 03:01 PM
Synovia, why are you letting Fatebreaker frame the debate in this manner?

If you kill a hostile minotaur whom the DM planned to help you with something else, you get XP for overcoming the direct challenge of the hostile minotaur. Sure.

If you talk the minotaur down? You get the same amount of XP, officially and unambiguously, because you've overcome the same challenge. Plus being able to get past whatever the minotaur was planned to help you get past. "Killing the challenge definitely gets a reward" is not a coherent sentence; you cannot "kill" a challenge, though one way to overcome a challenge which happens to be a living creature may (or may not) be to kill that creature. Why did Fatebreaker write that incoherent sentence? Why, because, to not admit the argument he's insisting on is wrong, he replaced the word "overcome" with "kill."

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-19, 03:13 PM
No, I didn't. If the encounter's best solution was to have the minotaur do something for you, and you killed him, the encounter was not impossible. The party MADE the encounter impossible (without figuring out some other solution), and thus shouldn't receive XP.

As a DM, if a player decides to just start killing innocent peasants, do you give him XP for that?

Sorry, poor use of pronouns. The you I meant in that statement was, "you, the players," not, "you, the DM." As for pc's killing random peasants, I give my players xp based on EL rather than CR. If I decide that by-standing peasants try to intervene and together the peasants constitute an encounter whose EL is not less than 4 levels below the party's, then yes I do. If the peasant is killed in the first swing, then the PC was probably of a high enough level that he didn't really expect any xp anyway, and would get pitifully little for his level if it's low enough for a cr 1/4 to be worth any xp for him at all.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-19, 03:29 PM
Synovia, why are you letting Fatebreaker frame the debate in this manner?

*wink* Because I rolled better on my Debate: Rules check.

That the rules also back me up was a nice circumstance modifier. I wouldn't call them a masterwork tool, though. 3.x isn't nearly well-crafted enough for that.


If you kill a hostile minotaur whom the DM planned to help you with something else, you get XP for overcoming the direct challenge of the hostile minotaur. Sure.

Yup.


If you talk the minotaur down? You get the same amount of XP, officially and unambiguously, because you've overcome the same challenge.

Nope.

The language in the experience points section makes defeating in battle clearly grant experience, but alternative methods are a judgement call. That uncertainty -- will the DM say yes? Will the DM say no? -- makes alternate methods ambiguous.


"Killing the challenge definitely gets a reward" is not a coherent sentence; you cannot "kill" a challenge, though one way to overcome a challenge which happens to be a living creature may (or may not) be to kill that creature. Why did Fatebreaker write that incoherent sentence? Why, because, to not admit the argument he's insisting on is wrong, he replaced the word "overcome" with "kill."

The minotaur is a Challenge all by himself; so is a Balor, a dragon, a kobold, a displacer beast, and every other monster in the book. You can "Kill a Challenge," in that Challenge is an overarching term which holds within it all monsters (Sidenote: can you kill an undead? Or an animated object? For our purposes, yes you can). Of course, rather than list every monster in every manual and every sourcebook, simply referring to them collectively as "the challenge" is much more convenient. Likewise, condensing a variety of violent concepts into "kill" is also convenient.

Kill (or, defeat in combat) is a clear result. It grants experience.

Alternatives are ambiguous. The may or may not grant experience.

In the end, Synovia's assertion was "there hasnt [sic] been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things," which is clearly false. The game very much rewards you for killing things, because "things" have an intrinsic Challenge Rating and Challenge Ratings have a clear value of reward as computed by a formula based on your level relative to the Challenge Rating and the number of contributing characters in your party. Ergo, the game rewards you for killing.

So why is Synovia letting me frame the debate in this way? Because, all joking aside, that's the debate he framed.

WarKitty
2012-07-19, 05:12 PM
Well. Um. Basically, is there actually any other reason why he's wrong?

The problem isn't that you can't include the sort of player character he wants to play. You could if you wanted to. You just won't because you don't want to, and you wouldn't find it enjoyable. That's a valid reason, and it sounds like he accepts it.

By "you" I mean either you the DM or your whole group, whichever one applies. Um, I guess that maybe he could be confusing "Because I say so" with "Because we say so", if the latter is the case. Is that the issue?

Otherwise... maybe the tension is that you think there's more reason why he's wrong than "I/we said so"? You've made a considered decision that his playstyle isn't for you, but that preference isn't somehow objectively correct, just like his isn't.

The tension is more that I don't think he understands why such a character wouldn't be enjoyable for the group. So it comes across as "I'm just not letting him have his fun because I think his kind of fun is bad", which is not the case.

kyoryu
2012-07-19, 05:18 PM
Maybe offer to run a hack'n'slash game for him, if he agrees to try your non-hack'n'slash game?

WarKitty
2012-07-19, 05:27 PM
Maybe offer to run a hack'n'slash game for him, if he agrees to try your non-hack'n'slash game?

I don't have time for 2 games.

Devils_Advocate
2012-07-19, 06:16 PM
The tension is more that I don't think he understands why such a character wouldn't be enjoyable for the group.
Well, heck, I often don't know why I like and dislike what I do! I ain't no psychologist. But not knowing what causes a preference doesn't make it less worthy of respect.


So it comes across as "I'm just not letting him have his fun because I think his kind of fun is bad", which is not the case.
Well, if you've told him "I don't think your kind of fun is objectively bad, it's just something that I personally dislike" and he's incapable of understanding that... I guess you could try to explain the idea that feelings about things aren't intrinsic properties of those things? But I wouldn't be optimistic about inoculating an adult with the concept of subjectivity, since one who doesn't already grok it is probably somehow resistant to the meme.

WarKitty
2012-07-19, 07:51 PM
Well, heck, I often don't know why I like and dislike what I do! I ain't no psychologist. But not knowing what causes a preference doesn't make it less worthy of respect.


Well, if you've told him "I don't think your kind of fun is objectively bad, it's just something that I personally dislike" and he's incapable of understanding that... I guess you could try to explain the idea that feelings about things aren't intrinsic properties of those things? But I wouldn't be optimistic about inoculating an adult with the concept of subjectivity, since one who doesn't already grok it is probably somehow resistant to the meme.

I don't even really personally dislike it - hack and slash games can be fun. It's just that the other players want *this* game to be about roleplaying and strategy, and I've found that an indiscriminate hack'n'slash character makes it almost impossible to do either rp or strategizing. That's the part that I feel like I can't get across - the fact that having the kind of character he wants to play in the game would in fact change what I have to do in ways that would prevent the kind of things I want to do.

Basically, what he's missing isn't the subjectivity. What he's missing is the social nature of D&D. He wants a game where he plays chaotic evil blaster while the next guy over plays lawful good schemer. I'm trying to say that just doesn't work.

Story Time
2012-07-19, 11:43 PM
What he's missing is the social nature of D&D. He wants a game where he plays chaotic evil blaster while the next guy over plays lawful good schemer. I'm trying to say that just doesn't work.

...and WarKitty is a good GameMaster for doing so...

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-20, 01:36 AM
Have you considered showing him this thread?

Sir_Gabes
2012-07-20, 02:52 AM
Try offering xp and loot bonuses for different styles of play. Like, in one game I ran I would offer extra xp and benefits for clever solutions. Punishing a player for acting out is not always necessary. Nothing is worse than belittling a player on your table.
Think like a video game. In dragon age: origins for example. Some of the better rewards were gained through persuasion. This means in order to get good rewards he will be inspired to look for different solutions.
Always give him a target to swing his sword at. I have a similar player in my group. If I sense him getting restless I toss him a disposable baddy. It could be a group of thugs, a pickpocket he needs to chase down or even a bar brawl. Make combat creative and throw in non lethal encounters for some good sporting fun.
The problem with punishing players in game is most punishments increase their justifications for being a sociopath.
"Aw I killed her so she wouldn't tell anyone."
Still there are occasions where you just need to take off the kid gloves.

Synovia
2012-07-20, 08:12 AM
*wink* Because I rolled better on my Debate: Rules check.

That the rules also back me up was a nice circumstance modifier. I wouldn't call them a masterwork tool, though. 3.x isn't nearly well-crafted enough for that.



Yup.



Nope.

The language in the experience points section makes defeating in battle clearly grant experience, but alternative methods are a judgement call. That uncertainty -- will the DM say yes? Will the DM say no? -- makes alternate methods ambiguous.



The minotaur is a Challenge all by himself; so is a Balor, a dragon, a kobold, a displacer beast, and every other monster in the book. You can "Kill a Challenge," in that Challenge is an overarching term which holds within it all monsters (Sidenote: can you kill an undead? Or an animated object? For our purposes, yes you can). Of course, rather than list every monster in every manual and every sourcebook, simply referring to them collectively as "the challenge" is much more convenient. Likewise, condensing a variety of violent concepts into "kill" is also convenient.

Kill (or, defeat in combat) is a clear result. It grants experience.

Alternatives are ambiguous. The may or may not grant experience.

In the end, Synovia's assertion was "there hasnt [sic] been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things," which is clearly false. The game very much rewards you for killing things, because "things" have an intrinsic Challenge Rating and Challenge Ratings have a clear value of reward as computed by a formula based on your level relative to the Challenge Rating and the number of contributing characters in your party. Ergo, the game rewards you for killing.

So why is Synovia letting me frame the debate in this way? Because, all joking aside, that's the debate he framed.


Again, Fatebreaker, you're making the giant leap that the minotaur is a Challenge. At no point has it been stated that the minotaur was hostile. There's nothing in the rules that says you get XP for killing cooperative entities.

It specifically says you have to overcome or defeat a challenge to gain XP. Killing a cooperative NPC is not overcoming or defeating a challenge.

The Glyphstone
2012-07-20, 08:15 AM
Have you considered showing him this thread?

If the guy he lives with can't convince him the truth, I doubt a bunch of random strangers on the internet will have any success. We're only a few steps above, say, XBox Live, in that regard.

SanguisAevum
2012-07-20, 08:55 AM
Again, Fatebreaker, you're making the giant leap that the minotaur is a Challenge. At no point has it been stated that the minotaur was hostile. There's nothing in the rules that says you get XP for killing cooperative entities.

It specifically says you have to overcome or defeat a challenge to gain XP. Killing a cooperative NPC is not overcoming or defeating a challenge.

Whether it is hostile/cooperarative or not to begin with is irrelevant. What matters is the outcome of the attack itself.

If the super friendly, BFF minataur is attacked by the party it was meant to help... then one of two things will happen.

1 - It doesnt fight back, and is mercelessly slaughtered - without presenting an appropriate challenge.

2 - It fights back. Presenting a challenge appropriate to its abilities.

Option 1 presents no EXP - there was no challenge.
Option 2 presents EXP as per the CR and EL tables - there was a challenge and it was overcome. (even if it wasn't MEANT to happen that way)

Fatebreaker
2012-07-20, 09:11 AM
Again, Fatebreaker, you're making the giant leap that the minotaur is a Challenge. At no point has it been stated that the minotaur was hostile. There's nothing in the rules that says you get XP for killing cooperative entities.

It specifically says you have to overcome or defeat a challenge to gain XP. Killing a cooperative NPC is not overcoming or defeating a challenge.

A minotaur (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/minotaur.htm) has a Challenge Rating of 4.


Each monster in [the Monster Manual] has a Challenge Rating (CR) that, when compared to party level, translates directly into XP.


Did the PCs defeat the enemy in battle? Then they met the challenge and earned experience points.

Yes, the minotaur is a Challenge, no, hostility doesn't matter, and yes, the rules do say that you get experience points for defeating it in battle.

The Glyphstone
2012-07-20, 09:20 AM
A minotaur (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/minotaur.htm) has a Challenge Rating of 4.





Yes, the minotaur is a Challenge, no, hostility doesn't matter, and yes, the rules do say that you get experience points for defeating it in battle.

A 1st-level Commoner has a Challenge Rating of 1/2. Would you also award XP to the party who goes on a slaughtering spree and butchers a town of unresisting civilians? That's exactly the 'everything exists to be stabbed in the face' mentality that Warkitty was fighting against.

Kish
2012-07-20, 09:27 AM
A 1st-level Commoner has a Challenge Rating of 1/2. Would you also award XP to the party who goes on a slaughtering spree and butchers a town of unresisting civilians? That's exactly the 'everything exists to be stabbed in the face' mentality that Warkitty was fighting against.
More than that, "Hostility doesn't matter" appears to indicate a belief that the word "enemy" in the book is meaningless. If it has a Challenge Rating, you get XP for killing it. Which...I'm sure there are people who play D&D that way without even realizing that they're using house rules, but it's certainly not what the books say, however many times Fatebreaker says it is.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-20, 09:38 AM
A 1st-level Commoner has a Challenge Rating of 1/2. Would you also award XP to the party who goes on a slaughtering spree and butchers a town of unresisting civilians? That's exactly the 'everything exists to be stabbed in the face' mentality that Warkitty was fighting against.

What I would do is simply not play D&D 3.x, because that's the behavior which the rules encourage.


If it has a Challenge Rating, you get XP for killing it. Which...I'm sure there are people who play D&D that way without even realizing that they're using house rules, but it's certainly not what the books say, however many times Fatebreaker says it is.

...so, direct quotes from the book are not, in fact, evidence that this is exactly what the books say?

Intriguing.

Kish
2012-07-20, 10:15 AM
A direct quote is evidence of what it says. What you apparently fail to grasp here is that the word "enemy" means something. Your direct quotes are evidence against what you are arguing, as they say perfectly clearly that XP awards are for overcoming challenges, and that defeating an enemy (not a friend) in battle (with or without killing it) is one means of overcoming one of the most straightforward types of challenges in the game, and you're attempting to use that direct quote to support, instead, a claim that XP is for killing things.

It's like if you quoted the Player's Handbook description of Lawful Evil and said, "You can see from this that the attitude that entire species ought to be wiped out is a perfectly Good one in D&D." You can quote. You can assert the opposite of what you have quoted. But you aren't making a good case by doing so.

WarKitty
2012-07-20, 11:10 AM
If the guy he lives with can't convince him the truth, I doubt a bunch of random strangers on the internet will have any success. We're only a few steps above, say, XBox Live, in that regard.

Given some of the stuff that's been said in this thread, I think showing him the thread would be entirely counterproductive.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-20, 11:11 AM
A direct quote is evidence of what it says.

Right. And what it says is that all monsters have a Challenge Rating that translates directly into experience points.

Seriously, I've posted the quote twice now.


What you apparently fail to grasp here is that the word "enemy" means something. Your direct quotes are evidence against what you are arguing, as they say perfectly clearly that XP awards are for overcoming challenges, and that defeating an enemy (not a friend) in battle (with or without killing it) is one means of overcoming one of the most straightforward types of challenges in the game, and you're attempting to use that direct quote to support, instead, a claim that XP is for killing things.

Okay. Let's roll with this for a bit. Just for fun.

How it feels towards me is irrelevant. It may consider itself friendly or hostile. That's up to it. But I get to decide how my character feels about it. The DM may want the minotaur to be my friend. I have no desire to be friends with any minotaurs.

I decide who my enemies are, regardless of whether those feelings are reciprocated.

-------

Once again, the point I'm refuting is:


Okay, so there hasnt been a version in 35 years that awards you experience for killing things. (1977)

This is clearly demonstrated as false. Moreover, it is false even if experience can also be awarded for other things, because the rules do award experience for killing things.

Killing the monster may not be the challenge (lowercase "c") that the DM intended, but it is still a Challenge (capital "C"), and thus intrinsically contains a certain experience point value.

On top of that, the language used to describe alternate methods -- sneaking, talking, quests, roleplaying, etc. -- paints those methods along a spectrum of uncertainty. Sneaking past the minotaur "probably" (but not definitely!) results in experience. Roleplaying and quests have their own separate sub-categories, described as totally optional, largely without guidelines, and openly described as a sub-system which the DM has to make up on his own. Now, none of that changes whether experience points are awarded for killing or not, but it is an interesting point to compare the definitive language used to describe defeating in battle versus the ambiguous language used to describe alternatives.

However, that the system includes ambiguous options for including alternatives does not change that the default rules put forward the following:

(#1) Monsters have Challenge Ratings. Challenge Ratings translate directly into experience.

(#2) "Defeating in battle" qualifies as "meeting the challenge" and "results in experience points." Killing is certainly within the realm of "defeating in battle."

As such, yes, the system rewards experience points for killing things.

Kish
2012-07-20, 11:34 AM
(#1) Monsters have Challenge Ratings. Challenge Ratings translate directly into experience.

(#2) "Defeating in battle" qualifies as "meeting the challenge" and "results in experience points." Killing is certainly within the realm of "defeating in battle."

As such, yes, the system rewards experience points for killing things.
Neither more or less true than, "The system rewards experience points for hopscotch." If hopscotch is the means of getting past a trap, then you've defeated the trap (which has a challenge rating...even though you can't kill it...) by hopscotch, therefore the system rewards experience for hopscotch.

You've also claimed that you get experience for killing creatures (anything with a Challenge Rating, which means everything) who are not challenging you, which is as wrong as if you were claiming you get experience for hopscotch on an ordinary floor. A standard human PC has a Challenge Rating equal to his/her level. If you commit suicide, do you get experience for an even-level encounter, such that two clerics capable of True Resurrecting each other have a means of getting infinite XP? If not, explain why not without saying anything that amounts to "because you get experience for overcoming challenges, not for killin' thangs." Or acknowledge that you get experience for overcoming challenges, not for killin' thangs.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-07-20, 12:05 PM
If the guy he lives with can't convince him the truth, I doubt a bunch of random strangers on the internet will have any success. We're only a few steps above, say, XBox Live, in that regard.

It's been my experience that sometimes the opinion of an outside party can have a surprisingly greater impact on one's opinion than any amount of discussion with the person(s) directly involved.

As for some of the harsher comments made: This is the internet. Some people are just tactless and/or vicious. I'm not saying that any of our fellow playgrounders are unmitigated trolls, but anyone who's spent more than a day or two in a web forum will know that trolls are out there.

Fatebreaker
2012-07-21, 10:06 PM
Neither more or less true than, "The system rewards experience points for hopscotch."

Sure. If your DM wants to run a game about hopscotch, he can create a system which does so.

Is D&D that system? Not by default. It can be made into one, if you want. I suppose you could use the balance (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/balance.htm) or tumble (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/tumble.htm) skills to stand in for hopscotch. But D&D as a system is not about hopscotch. The rules mention neither hopping nor scotching. There are no sourcebooks detailing different surfaces or box sizes or colors or patterns of... whatever you call the thing you hopscotch on. I dunno, I missed that part of elementary school. Is it a board? I'm going to call it a board. Anyhow, there are no descriptions of different boards and what DC's you need to pass to successfully navigate one. There are no guidelines for what kind of experience the DM should award for traversing the dreaded blue-and-white marble checkerboard pattern in Castle Skotchhoppin, lair to a coven of drider-schoolgirls who feast on all who stumble.

Your DM can decide that hopscotch is something he wants to award experience points for, in the same way that the DMG offers the option of awarding experience points for quests or for roleplaying or for noncombat solutions. It's a thing which your DM can choose to do, but that doesn't mean it's intrinsically what the system sets out to do. Some DM's award experience points to the guy who pays for the pizza. Does that make D&D a pizza-paying simulator? Is there a class or feat which gives me bonuses to my pizza-paying skills? Does this mean that every system since the 70ís has awarded experience for paying for pizza?

Of course not. It simply means that some DM's have awarded experience for paying for pizza since the 70ís, just as some tiny number of DM's have awarded experience for playing hopscotch since the 70ís. Those may be options, but they're not the default. And just because the option is there doesn't mean it necessarily holds equal weight with the default assumptions of the system, either. You can judge the intent of the system based on what kinds of conflicts it puts forward, the methods for resolving those conflicts, and the rewards for doing so. You can go a step further by evaluating the different conflicts, methods, and rewards in relation to one another. What gets discussed most? If there are options, what is the presumed default of the system? What incentive is given to take certain kinds of actions over others? What are the conflict resolution mechanisms, and what is the frequency and degree of success for each?

D&D has an incredible amount of rules dedicated to combat. Classes, feats, skills, spells, abilities, maneuvers, monsters, and rules, rules, rules. All of that is built on the idea that killing a monster gets you experience and experience levels you up. Even within the experience points section the DMG, you can see the emphasis simply by looking at the language used to describe the different types of actions and their rewards.

We'll get into that idea towards the end of all this. But first, a quote! And it's the very first sentence in the Experience Awards section, no less!


"When the party defeats monsters, you award the characters experience points."

That's a pretty clear message on what the system rewards players for.


You've also claimed that you get experience for killing creatures (anything with a Challenge Rating, which means everything) who are not challenging you, which is as wrong as if you were claiming you get experience for hopscotch on an ordinary floor.

Ah, and here we have the heart of it. If I kill a creature, it has an intrinsic Challenge Rating. Plug that (plus character level and party size) into a formula, and see how much experience comes out. It's a very straightforward action-reward mechanic. But if you hopscotch across the floor... nothing happens. Which is why I'm not claiming that you get experience for hopscotching on an ordinary floor.

Whether you're on a quest or just wandering aimlessly, killing something in your level bracket awards experience. On the other hand, sneaking aimlessly or talking aimlessly or hopscotching aimlessly does not award anything.

If you want those to matter, your DM has to decide to make them matter. The DM can even decide that killing monsters doesn't matter. Those are options which are available to him, but they're not, by default, set to "on."

And that's the key, really. Whereas hopscotch may or may not (and probably won't) earn you any experience, killing something in your level bracket does -- and by default.

Other options, from questing, to sneaking, to roleplaying, and yes, even to hopscotch, requires some input on the DM's part to make it return experience points as a reward for player action. But killing monsters? The system rewards that whether the DM builds around them or not.


A standard human PC has a Challenge Rating equal to his/her level. If you commit suicide, do you get experience for an even-level encounter, such that two clerics capable of True Resurrecting each other have a means of getting infinite XP?

D&D 3.x has poorly constructed rules. Who knew?

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Kish, Synovia, I've enjoyed this little discussion, but there's not really much else to say in it. Either you see the difference, both in mechanics and in language, in how the system treats combat versus how it treats other task resolution mechanics, or else you don't. You can read the pertinent sections of the DMG and draw your own conclusions.

My closing comment would be that, while this is the position the DMG puts forward, it's not the style of game I prefer to play in -- it's simply a good example of how a system encourages certain behaviors via the rules.

Which, conveniently enough, transitions back to WarKitty's problem:

WarKitty, your buddy may be new to roleplaying, and I have no real idea of what he has or has not read, or what he even knows about D&D. But if he's coming from a position of having read a little, he may very well have an impression -- one supported by the system -- that his desired character fits quite well into a game. He may think that this kind of character is what the game is about, and he may not understand why you would play a different way. My suggestion, however, is to try and find a system which rewards the kinds of actions you want to encourage. I'll give you an example:


Every character should be awarded one [experience] point for each of the following criteria that is met:

The character participated in that scenario.

The character achieved (most of) their objectives in that scenario.

The character failed to meet their objectives, but learned a valuable lesson.

The character contributed to achieving success in a significant way (e.g., right skill at the right time).

The adventure was extra challenging.

The character achieved a motivation goal (see Motivations, page 120).

The player engaged in good roleplaying.

The player significantly contributed to the session's drama, humor, or fun with roleplaying.

Look at what Eclipse Phase thinks is important. Contributing. Being challenged. Achieving objectives. Learning from failure. Working towards motivations. Good roleplaying. Having fun!

Also look at what it doesn't mention: combat. Killin' thangs, as Kish would say, doesn't net you any bonuses under the system.

Plenty of other games offer ideas in the same vein. Players are rewarded for their behavior, for having fun, and for in-game accomplishments. Harvesting everyone in sight for their tasty, delicious XP isn't encouraged by the rules. So maybe try again later with one of those games.

I think you'll find that a different game, which rewards different actions, will produce different behavior.

And if not? Ah, well. You'll get to try something new with your other friends! It's win-win!

Math_Mage
2012-07-21, 11:18 PM
However, that the system includes ambiguous options for including alternatives does not change that the default rules put forward the following:

(#1) Monsters have Challenge Ratings. Challenge Ratings translate directly into experience.

(#2) "Defeating in battle" qualifies as "meeting the challenge" and "results in experience points." Killing is certainly within the realm of "defeating in battle."

As such, yes, the system rewards experience points for killing things.

I take issue with the bolded premise. "Defeating in battle" is by no means a superset of "killing".

There is a happy medium between "The only valid sources of XP are DM-decreed battles" and "Anything I run across is a valid source of XP," and the location of that medium depends on the sort of game the DM and players are trying to have. You can try to rules-lawyer your interpretation, and you might even be able to find one solitary quotation that supports your point somewhere (not the ones already used, as they don't), but if you ruin the game in the process of imposing that interpretation, what's the point?