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Avianmosquito
2016-11-20, 11:50 PM
This is an optional mechanic that I haven't run in a campaign yet (as it is unnecessary in my current group) but have had ready to go for quite some time (as I knew it would be needed some day). It is meant to make people who aren't as into the roleplaying aspect behave like sane people instead of sociopathic murder-hobos. I've never been very certain of this mechanic, which is why I so far have only used morale and will as a resistance to divine spells, but I'm getting two new players for my next campaign and since they're both coming from D&D there's about an 80% chance (slight exaggeration) each of them is going to be a tribalistic murder-hobo and this system WILL be required. So, here I am, posting this for review of the specific mechanics of this system, so it can be efficient and functional when the time comes to use it. (The specific mechanics, not the core concept.)

Basically, the morale mechanic is a mechanic in which you have a stat called morale that diminishes when you do the kinds of things sane people feel bad about, and a stat called will that reduces the amount of morale damage that you take so that you can be an evil bastard and feel less bad about it. It is especially meant to penalize pointless violence of the kind D&D encourages with its alignment system. The specific mechanics are below, tagged for length.


Morale is a depletable derived stat. It is equal, normally, to your resolve score. When it is depleted, you take a penalty with a set duration and morale is reset to full. Any overkill in the hit that depleted your morale carries over and depletes morale again, so a massively powerful morale hit may deplete your morale more than once. If the same penalty is inflicted more than once, as happens in the case of a massively powerful morale hit, the effect duration lengthens without changing the magnitude. When the penalty takes effect is up to the GM, usually at the end of an event but sometimes sooner if the GM feels it is needed to stop an action in progress. (Say, your player is currently slaughtering orc children "so they don't grow up to spread their kind", and you need their conscience to kick in RIGHT NOW.) Morale naturally regenerates at 1/hour.

Will is a defence that removes its value from all morale damage, also normally equal to your resolve score. Will can negate smaller hits so that most characters will face few issues from minor acts of jerkassery and the effects of them can largely be left to karma. Real, serious, lasting harm tends to deal too much damage for will to stop.

Morale damage from actions is generally determined by the action and who you did it to. Assault, for example, infers an amount of morale damage equal to the victim's charisma, with a multiplier based on who they were to you. (1x for neutral parties, 2x for friends, 4x for loved ones, 1/2 for enemies and 1/4 for mortal enemies.) Murder, however, gives a value TEN TIMES this high. This, however, is only if you attacked unprovoked. If the attack has adequate provocation or if the violence is part of a fight, the penalties are half this high (before will). Additionally, if you are attacked the penalties are a quarter this high. That doesn't mean you can't get hit by a penalty when you kill to defend yourself, just that it'll be short lived and ultimately not as important.

The penalty depends on the action in question. For example, having your morale broken by assaulting somebody gives the short-lived "Assault" penalty, which lasts one day per stack and halves your agility bonus from attacks. Having your morale broken by murdering somebody gives the much harsher penalty "Murder" penalty, which prevents you from aiming attacks and lasts one week per stack. Given that murdering somebody usually involves assaulting them, it is possible to have both active at once, which makes it very difficult to land attacks.

There are talents that allow you to mitigate this. "Extreme prejudice" treats all members of a particular group (as broad or narrow as you want, put the group in parenthesis, nothing is off-limits) as mortal enemies and can be taken multiple times to target multiple groups. For example, you can take "Extreme Prejudice (Orcs)", "Extreme Prejudice" (Hipsters) and "Extreme Prejudice (People who let their dogs crap on my lawn)" on the same character if you so choose. Just remember, you're spending 5000xp on each talent and you do NOT get a refund if your new prejudice overlaps with an old one. (Removing a prejudice also does not refund the experience, by the way.) Extreme prejudice also retroactively reduces pre-existing penalties from these sources. Just be aware that if they pick up on it, things can go very badly for you very quickly. This penalty and the experience cost both make this talent undesirable if you aren't intending to go be a complete monster to that group, and the description and title make it clear where this falls morally. (This way, even the way around it makes a point about the actions in question and encourages roleplay. Hopefully.) There is also the "sociopath" trait that allows you to ignore morale damage from your crimes entirely at the expense of not having a will score. (Also, it requires you to admit you're playing a sociopath, and NPCs that pick up on you being a sociopath react about as well as you'd expect, so that could be problematic.)

There are also, however, abilities that exacerbate this. Children, for example, have an ability that doubles morale damage (before will) for any actions taken against them, and babies have an upgraded version of that ability, for quadruple moral damage. This is specifically there to stop the "lawful good" types from killing children in their genocide of any species they have decided don't have the right to live. (Like in the orc example above. I've actually had that happen in multiple D&D groups, the players felt such actions were entirely justified and eagerly rationalized genocide because the victim's race says "often chaotic evil". Because, you know, the extrajudicial slaughter of children is totally not chaotic or evil when the PCs do it, and it totally makes sense that the paladin and cleric are not losing their powers right now. I get not wanting to rockfall the party, I don't do that either, but do SOMETHING.)

This way, players are free to be jerks and commit minor offences when they feel it is necessary, but violence is discouraged, other options (which inevitably involve roleplay) are encouraged, players who go off the deep end are heavily penalized, and players who want to minimize this penalty must admit their character is a vicious bigot or a sociopath.

So, those are the rules and what they're intended to do. I can write examples if need be. How effective do you think it'll be if I need it, and what are some ideas on how to make it more effective at discouraging sociopathic PC behaviour?

LCP
2016-11-21, 01:17 AM
Seems a little harsh if any mass combat is expected. If you were simulating Aragorn at the Black Gate with this system, does he take (mortal enemy multiplier)*(self defence multiplier)*(super high murder penalty) for every orc he kills? Even if the mitigating multipliers are very small numbers that's going to stack up.

I'd also point out that by writing the option of being a sociopath into your rules you are kinda legitimising that choice. If what you actually want to do is discourage such behaviour then I think probably a chat with the players beforehand will do a better job than this system.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 01:37 AM
Seems a little harsh if any mass combat is expected. If you were simulating Aragorn at the Black Gate with this system, does he take (mortal enemy multiplier)*(self defence multiplier)*(super high murder penalty) for every orc he kills? Even if the mitigating multipliers are very small numbers that's going to stack up.

1. Mass combat is not expected within this system because there are no mass combat rules and doing individual turns for each of several thousand characters would take eternity and a half. This is strictly a small scale combat game, designed for 1-4 players (usually 2).

2. Even if mass combat were to happen, one person is seriously not going to kill dozens by themselves in a system like this.

3. Aragorn likely would have high resolve, extreme prejudice and possibly iron will. The morale damage he'd be getting hit with would likely be (if these were my orcs, rather than Tolkein's very different ones) 10-20 per orc, and his will would definitely be above 20 based on his personality (what little there was) in the books and movies, so he's not taking morale damage.


I'd also point out that by writing the option of being a sociopath into your rules you are kinda legitimising that choice. If what you actually want to do is discourage such behaviour then I think probably a chat with the players beforehand will do a better job than this system.

I have much less issue with a character being a sociopath if the player owns it. My biggest objections are to supposedly good and heroic characters being vicious bigots with no empathy or morals, and players derailing the game with idiotic and pointlessly destructive actions. Providing a player a way to play an evil character, as long as they cop to it and behave in a manner that is not massively disruptive to the game, is fine.

LCP
2016-11-21, 12:36 PM
Fair enough on all points.

In that case my only other thought is: if this is a rule for the mental stress of doing bad things, it seems odd not to simulate the mental stress of having bad things done to you. Are you going to ding characters' morale for things like seeing a scary monster, or personal suffering, or witnessing the suffering of others? Your list of triggers seems quite well thought out but also has quite a limited scope.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 04:28 PM
Fair enough on all points.

In that case my only other thought is: if this is a rule for the mental stress of doing ba8d things, it seems odd not to simulate the mental stress of having bad things done to you. Are you going to ding characters' morale for things like seeing a scary monster, or personal suffering, or witnessing the suffering of others? Your list of triggers seems quite well thought out but also has quite a limited scope.

Yes, actually. I do have such rules, and I also have morale being damaged by divine spells (note: not the same as D&D divine spells) to inflict their effects. In fact, the latter use is actually not optional, divine magic needs to break morale to do anything and without morale it would be extremely overpowered.

druid91
2016-11-21, 04:36 PM
Extreme Prejudice (Anyone I perceive as a threat to the forces of good, now or in the future.)

You're now back to noble heroes slaughtering orcish infants to prevent them from spreading. This is attempting to police player behaviour with mechanics and such things generally don't work.

And in the end, the idea that everyone should be emotionally crushed by having to kill an EVIL person or monster or whatever... is kind of silly? The idea that you're a vicious bigot for stabbing a necromancer in the face BEFORE he has a chance to kill you...

LCP
2016-11-21, 05:28 PM
And in the end, the idea that everyone should be emotionally crushed by having to kill an EVIL person or monster or whatever... is kind of silly? The idea that you're a vicious bigot for stabbing a necromancer in the face BEFORE he has a chance to kill you...

That was my first reaction too, but if you read the explanation of the Aragorn example above it seems like the flat reduction from the player's Will (Resolve?) score is intended to allow suitably hard-bitten PCs to carry out these kinds of gruesome-but-justified actions on the regular without accumulating trauma debuffs. Providing all the numbers are calibrated right, the only people who are going to suffer psychological upsets from stabbing Evil McEvilface before he can stab them are characters who are mentally unprepared for stabbing people... which feels roughly right. If a cliche slasher movie villain broke into my house and tried to kill me, and I successfully defended myself by killing them with a kitchen knife or whatever, then I imagine I would still be pretty traumatised after the fact.

Whether player characters should be like ordinary people in that respect is a question regarding the other parts of the system, which we don't have much information about - but the OP does say its scope doesn't include mass combat. Including such a system in the first place is I think a choice of design philosophy that has to be heavily informed by the kind of game you want to run - but given that that choice has been made, the system seems to do what it's intended to.

It does feel like there's a lot of context we're missing though.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 06:01 PM
Extreme Prejudice (Anyone I perceive as a threat to the forces of good, now or in the future.)

At this point, you should just take "sociopath". It better fits what you're trying to do, mechanically and thematically.


You're now back to noble heroes slaughtering orcish infants to prevent them from spreading. This is attempting to police player behaviour with mechanics and such things generally don't work.

And in the end, the idea that everyone should be emotionally crushed by having to kill an EVIL person or monster or whatever... is kind of silly? The idea that you're a vicious bigot for stabbing a necromancer in the face BEFORE he has a chance to kill you...

There's that word again. I don't think you get it. Evil is not a thing, there is no mystical bad force that makes people cackle, twirl their mustaches and try to take over the world. "Evil" is just a shorthand we use for things we don't like. It's subjective, and your idea of evil can be literally anything, and holds no value on its own. There is no such thing as an evil person, there's just people you hate and it's a lot quicker to say "evil" instead of explaining why you hate them or think what they're doing is wrong. There are plenty of people out there who think you are evil, if it's okay for you to kill somebody because you think they're evil, then it's only fair these people get a pass if they kill you. Otherwise, you're putting yourself on a pedestal and declaring that your opinion is objective and factual when it is neither of these things.

Good is also not a thing. It too is just a short hand that we use for things we like. Saying somebody is good holds as much weight as saying the same of a cup of coffee. It is your opinion of the quality of their character, and somebody else will always disagree. Who is right when one person says "Look at them, they're feeding the homeless. They're a good person.", and the other says "No, they just ordered mandatory overtime for their entire department, during the holidays. They're just trying to appease their conscience."? Neither of them. They both have opinions of the subject's character. If the first man was, for example, to kill the subject's HR investigator so that they wouldn't lose their job and could keep feeding the homeless, THEY WOULD BE A MURDERER. It does not matter that they were protecting what they saw to be a good person, or that they did it to allow them to continue what they saw as a virtuous action, it's still murder. These morals do not change just because you're in a fantasy setting.

It's not "silly" to feel guilty for resorting to violence, especially if you didn't even try to find another solution. That's a natural human reaction to having done something you instinctively know is wrong. You have those instincts for a reason, because we're social beings and society does not function if we go around killing eachother. I get that humans are very good at ignoring their instincts, but perhaps you should try listening to them for a change.

And if your idea of "evil" is "anything that could conceivably be a threat to me", then you should kill yourself and everybody else around you. Everybody is a threat to you, constantly, at all times. Anybody who felt the need could kill you or anybody else at any time, with very little effort. If your own mother took leave of her senses, which happens sometimes, she could have killed you in your sleep at any point while you were living there. Even today, somebody could break into your home at any time to steal your stuff, and if you confront them they may have that same paranoid streak you do and resort to violence. While you're at the store, somebody might have the paranoid delusion that you are possessed or some crap and attack you. Only a paranoid lunatic would think "Kill them before they can kill me!" about people who have not actually tried to kill them.

So, how about instead of stabbing that necromancer in the face, ask yourself: "Is there something else I can do? Have they actually hurt anyone? Do they really deserve to die? Who am I to pass this sentence?" And then, try talking to them instead. See if you can find a different solution. They want to practice their craft, the people around here don't want them to, that's almost certainly why you're here. Convince them to go practice somewhere else, broker an agreement, even if you need to threaten, bluster or use force it's better than just murdering them, and even if you do end up having to kill them, at least you tried. Even if they have actually inflicted harm and punishment needs to be delivered, ask yourself if they really deserve the death penalty, because they probably don't. Even if you come to the conclusion that they do, that shouldn't be your call, so try to bring them in alive, if you can, and leave that up to a local authority if one exists that will be more fair than one person's opinion. Just remember that bringing them in only really applies if the local authorities will give them a fair trial, otherwise you may as well have just murdered them and bringing them in is just handwashing.

If it still seems silly, what I'm saying, that's it's wrong to not give people a chance before killing them based strictly on your opinion of their character and your limited perspective and incomplete information of events that may or may not have actually happened, then I think I'd rather not discuss this with you further.


That was my first reaction too, but if you read the explanation of the Aragorn example above it seems like the flat reduction from the player's Will (Resolve?) score is intended to allow suitably hard-bitten PCs to carry out these kinds of gruesome-but-justified actions on the regular without accumulating trauma debuffs. Providing all the numbers are calibrated right, the only people who are going to suffer psychological upsets from stabbing Evil McEvilface before he can stab them are characters who are mentally unprepared for stabbing people... which feels roughly right. If a cliche slasher movie villain broke into my house and tried to kill me, and I successfully defended myself by killing them with a kitchen knife or whatever, then I imagine I would still be pretty traumatised after the fact.

LCP's right on the money here.


Whether player characters should be like ordinary people in that respect is a question regarding the other parts of the system, which we don't have much information about - but the OP does say its scope doesn't include mass combat. Including such a system in the first place is I think a choice of design philosophy that has to be heavily informed by the kind of game you want to run - but given that that choice has been made, the system seems to do what it's intended to.

It does feel like there's a lot of context we're missing though.

The game is based around small parties who are intended to be fairly ordinary people. Their job as "adventurer" will usually just mean being a prospector or a courier, sometimes an expeditionary or a messenger, often just somebody picking jobs like those off a bulletin board in the town hall. Occasional thuggery does come up, but mostly in side quests. That leaves plenty of room for plot, of course, there's no telling what a prospector or expeditionary might find, or what a courier or messenger might be carrying, but that's who you are. You're generally NOT a warrior, and if you are it's secondary to whatever else you're doing. Those jobs are all very definitely not safe, and you will be armed and likely wearing protective clothing or (if you can afford it) actual armour, but that's not because you're planning on killing anything so much as it just being a possibility in your line of work. Any of these jobs may incur an attack from local wildlife, being a prospector or courier puts you at risk of being robbed, expeditionaries are often attacked by locals who want their lands to remain uncharted (and thus uncolonized by whoever the expeditionary works for) and both couriers and messengers are running the risk that somebody really doesn't want their message (or package) being delivered. (In other words, every one of these jobs is a plot hook.)

druid91
2016-11-21, 06:54 PM
At this point, you should just take "sociopath". It better fits what you're trying to do, mechanically and thematically.



There's that word again. I don't think you get it. Evil is not a thing, there is no mystical bad force that makes people cackle, twirl their mustaches and try to take over the world. "Evil" is just a shorthand we use for things we don't like. It's subjective, and your idea of evil can be literally anything, and holds no value on its own. There is no such thing as an evil person, there's just people you hate and it's a lot quicker to say "evil" instead of explaining why you hate them or think what they're doing is wrong. There are plenty of people out there who think you are evil, if it's okay for you to kill somebody because you think they're evil, then it's only fair these people get a pass if they kill you. Otherwise, you're putting yourself on a pedestal and declaring that your opinion is objective and factual when it is neither of these things.

Good is also not a thing. It too is just a short hand that we use for things we like. Saying somebody is good holds as much weight as saying the same of a cup of coffee. It is your opinion of the quality of their character, and somebody else will always disagree. Who is right when one person says "Look at them, they're feeding the homeless. They're a good person.", and the other says "No, they just ordered mandatory overtime for their entire department, during the holidays. They're just trying to appease their conscience."? Neither of them. They both have opinions of the subject's character. If the first man was, for example, to kill the subject's HR investigator so that they wouldn't lose their job and could keep feeding the homeless, THEY WOULD BE A MURDERER. It does not matter that they were protecting what they saw to be a good person, or that they did it to allow them to continue what they saw as a virtuous action, it's still murder. These morals do not change just because you're in a fantasy setting.

It's not "silly" to feel guilty for resorting to violence, especially if you didn't even try to find another solution. That's a natural human reaction to having done something you instinctively know is wrong. You have those instincts for a reason, because we're social beings and society does not function if we go around killing eachother. I get that humans are very good at ignoring their instincts, but perhaps you should try listening to them for a change.

And if your idea of "evil" is "anything that could conceivably be a threat to me", then you should kill yourself and everybody else around you. Everybody is a threat to you, constantly, at all times. Anybody who felt the need could kill you or anybody else at any time, with very little effort. If your own mother took leave of her senses, which happens sometimes, she could have killed you in your sleep at any point while you were living there. Even today, somebody could break into your home at any time to steal your stuff, and if you confront them they may have that same paranoid streak you do and resort to violence. While you're at the store, somebody might have the paranoid delusion that you are possessed or some crap and attack you. Only a paranoid lunatic would think "Kill them before they can kill me!" about people who have not actually tried to kill them.

So, how about instead of stabbing that necromancer in the face, ask yourself: "Is there something else I can do? Have they actually hurt anyone? Do they really deserve to die? Who am I to pass this sentence?" And then, try talking to them instead. See if you can find a different solution. They want to practice their craft, the people around here don't want them to, that's almost certainly why you're here. Convince them to go practice somewhere else, broker an agreement, even if you need to threaten, bluster or use force it's better than just murdering them, and even if you do end up having to kill them, at least you tried. Even if they have actually inflicted harm and punishment needs to be delivered, ask yourself if they really deserve the death penalty, because they probably don't. Even if you come to the conclusion that they do, that shouldn't be your call, so try to bring them in alive, if you can, and leave that up to a local authority if one exists that will be more fair than one person's opinion. Just remember that bringing them in only really applies if the local authorities will give them a fair trial, otherwise you may as well have just murdered them and bringing them in is just handwashing.

If it still seems silly, what I'm saying, that's it's wrong to not give people a chance before killing them based strictly on your opinion of their character and your limited perspective and incomplete information of events that may or may not have actually happened, then I think I'd rather not discuss this with you further.

Firstly, that was my point. Sociopath negates your will defense, which also works on divine magic as I recall you saying. Instead, a sufficiently broad application of prejudice get's effectively the same result without the gimp.

Secondly, the human psyche doesn't work that way. As evidenced by the fact that we have a thousands of years long history of murdering one another. We might feel bad about killing someone on the in-group, but if you're not part of that in-group, while most probably wouldn't jump straight to murder (And indeed this is largely because of our modern moral sensibilities.) but if it came down to it, it wouldn't be a problem.

Thirdly, why are you making an appeal to subjective ethics, while at the same time enforcing your own personal morality as the objective ethics of the game world? Just because subjective ethics exists, and two people can have wildly different moral views, does not mean those people have to accept the others world view is different and leave them alone or that doing so is even instinctive. In fact, the reverse is instinctive. To shame or destroy those who do not conform to your ethical views. As evidenced by your final paragraph.

And finally, yes it is silly to surrender the tactical initiative to an enemy. Or possible enemy in order to attempt to negotiate. Most often the most successful attacks happen because you have some element of surprise. Surrendering that in order to conduct diplomacy....

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 07:19 PM
Firstly, that was my point. Sociopath negates your will defense, which also works on divine magic as I recall you saying. Instead, a sufficiently broad application of prejudice get's effectively the same result without the gimp.

Not quite. It is still possible to receive morale damage through extreme prejudice, and minimizing this chance means pumping points into resolve and possibly iron will. Sociopath costs no experience, and completely eliminates all chance of ever feeling bad about anything you did because you have no empathy.


Secondly, the human psyche doesn't work that way. As evidenced by the fact that we have a thousands of years long history of murdering one another. We might feel bad about killing someone on the in-group, but if you're not part of that in-group, while most probably wouldn't jump straight to murder (And indeed this is largely because of our modern moral sensibilities.) but if it came down to it, it wouldn't be a problem.

1. Explain that to a soldier who can't get the image of their atrocities out of their head.

2. That's what extreme prejudice is. Did you miss that part?


Thirdly, why are you making an appeal to subjective ethics, while at the same time enforcing your own personal morality as the objective ethics of the game world? Just because subjective ethics exists, and two people can have wildly different moral views, does not mean those people have to accept the others world view is different and leave them alone or that doing so is even instinctive. In fact, the reverse is instinctive. To shame or destroy those who do not conform to your ethical views. As evidenced by your final paragraph.

Again, if you want to admit to being that guy, that's what the talent is for. And if you don't see anything wrong with that, you should have no problem saying so.


And finally, yes it is silly to surrender the tactical initiative to an enemy. Or possible enemy in order to attempt to negotiate. Most often the most successful attacks happen because you have some element of surprise. Surrendering that in order to conduct diplomacy....

:thog: Talk bad, Thog smash!

druid91
2016-11-21, 07:41 PM
Not quite. It is still possible to receive morale damage through extreme prejudice, and minimizing this chance means pumping points into resolve and possibly iron will. Sociopath costs no experience, and completely eliminates all chance of ever feeling bad about anything you did because you have no empathy.



1. Explain that to a soldier who can't get the image of their atrocities out of their head.

2. That's what extreme prejudice is. Did you miss that part?



Again, if you want to admit to being that guy, that's what the talent is for. And if you don't see anything wrong with that, you should have no problem saying so.



:thog: Talk bad, Thog smash!
Something you want to do anyway because Will allows you to defend against other things.

Except you characterized that as essentially being some bizarre mutant when it is the default of humanity. It's only in relatively modern times that that sort of thing isn't completely normal. And again, you got people in ye olden times who would do horrifying things to each other to the point where it took going WELL ABOVE and beyond the norm to actually get a psychological effect. Modern soldiers are relatively normal peaceful people who are suddenly dropped into hellish warzones, and aren't made to dehumanize their foes.

Again, the attempt to shame someone who disagrees. I don't agree that recognizing an enemy as an enemy and not going out of ones way to be a suicidal pacifist (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuicidalPacifism) in order to negotiate with EVERY enemy, regardless of how much danger it puts you in is anything CLOSE to being either a sociopath or a violent bigot. Squads of soldiers don't go up to an enemy camp, and ask them very nicely to leave and then attack when denied. They just attack.

Sometimes Violence is indeed the answer and you don't need to try anything else first.

Amechra
2016-11-21, 08:06 PM
I like this decidedly less than something like Unknown Army's Stress Gauges (http://fading-suns.mapache.org/u/stresses.pdf), which incorporate psychological hardening directly into the normal procedure.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 08:09 PM
Something you want to do anyway because Will allows you to defend against other things.

Except you characterized that as essentially being some bizarre mutant when it is the default of humanity. It's only in relatively modern times that that sort of thing isn't completely normal. And again, you got people in ye olden times who would do horrifying things to each other to the point where it took going WELL ABOVE and beyond the norm to actually get a psychological effect. Modern soldiers are relatively normal peaceful people who are suddenly dropped into hellish warzones, and aren't made to dehumanize their foes.

Again, the attempt to shame someone who disagrees. I don't agree that recognizing an enemy as an enemy and not going out of ones way to be a suicidal pacifist (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SuicidalPacifism) in order to negotiate with EVERY enemy, regardless of how much danger it puts you in is anything CLOSE to being either a sociopath or a violent bigot. Squads of soldiers don't go up to an enemy camp, and ask them very nicely to leave and then attack when denied. They just attack.

Sometimes Violence is indeed the answer and you don't need to try anything else first.

Let me quote a fellow who may have a little more experience in regards to the merits and applications of violence than either of us.

"I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes." -Douglass MacArthur

Hm. Seems like he doesn't agree with you. Let's get a second opinion.

"I went into the British Army believing that if you want peace you must prepare for war. I believe now that if you prepare for war, you get war." -Frederick B. Maurice

Well, maybe it's just an outlier. Let's try again.

"War in our time has become an anachronism. Whatever the case in the past, war in the future can serve no useful purpose. A war which became general, as any limited action might, would only result in the virtual destruction of mankind." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Funny thing is, it seems most prominent generals hold this stance. Their lives were dedicated to the execution of violence to resolve disputes, and they almost universally agree that it was a terrible idea and other methods should have been implemented instead. Well, that's just war, though. Let's poll some people on smaller applications of lethal force.

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." -Isaac Asimov

"No matter what someone else has done, it still matters how we treat people. It matters to our humanity that we treat offenders according to standards that we recognize as just. Justice is not revenge — it's deciding for a solution that is oriented towards peace, peace being the harder but more human way of reacting to injury. That is the very basis of the idea of rights." -Judith Butler

"Victory won by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary." -Mahatma Gandhi

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -Martin Luthor King, Jr.

There's also a quote from Rich Burlew on the matter of cycles of violence, but for the life of me I can't seem to locate it.

I'm not a pacifist, I want you to understand that. I'm just not a psychotic, homicidal lunatic who thinks it's okay to go around killing people without ever trying to do anything else. I've never argued you should never resort to violence, just that it should never be your first option, and that having to resort to it represents a failure on your part to find another solution. Failure is human, and often you may not be able to find another solution even when one exists, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. I do understand your viewpoint, I've given my argument as to why I think it is poorly thought out, and so have these people. Whether you listen to us, or continue to insist that violence be the first resort rather than the last, is up to you.


I like this decidedly less than something like Unknown Army's Stress Gauges (http://fading-suns.mapache.org/u/stresses.pdf), which incorporate psychological hardening directly into the normal procedure.

Well, I gave the option to players. I can look into a more automatic method, but I largely did it like this because it gives more flexibility in how players respond to it. Not everybody hardens, afterall. Other people permanently alter their behaviour to avoid further trauma, and others still simply break. All are interesting from a roleplay perspective.

druid91
2016-11-21, 08:25 PM
I'm not a pacifist, I want you to understand that. I'm just not a psychotic, homicidal lunatic who thinks it's okay to go around killing people without ever trying to do anything else. I've never argued you should never resort to violence, just that it should never be your first option, and that having to resort to it represents a failure on your part. I do understand your viewpoint, I've given my argument as to why I think it is poorly thought out, and so have these people. Whether you listen to us, or continue to insist that violence be the first resort rather than the last, is up to you.



Well, I gave the option to players. I can look into a more automatic method, but I largely did it like this because it gives more flexibility in how players respond to it. Not everybody hardens, afterall. Other people permanently alter their behaviour to avoid further trauma, and others still simply break. All are interesting from a roleplay perspective.

Quoting political figures is against the politics ban. So to address the only fictional example you present. Isaac Aasimov's characters in the foundation series are both absurdly lucky and terribly stupid. Their antics only succeed because everyone around them is idiotic to the Nth degree.

And two, you don't have to be a psychotic homicidal lunatic to go "Hmmm, this is a dangerous world and not the modern world. People actually get robbed and murdered enough in my line of work to justify carrying weapons and armor. Perhaps I should act like it and not just bumble up to people saying 'Parley?'"

Avianmosquito
2016-11-21, 08:41 PM
Quoting political figures is against the politics ban. So to address the only fictional example you present. Isaac Aasimov's characters in the foundation series are both absurdly lucky and terribly stupid. Their antics only succeed because everyone around them is idiotic to the Nth degree.

All people are political figures, because all people have political views. Aside from Eisenhower, none of them are politicians, and when he said that he wasn't a politician either. This is ethics, it's an entirely different field.

Also, one of them would have been the owner of the site, but despite knowing it's a quote from somewhere in the Redcloak thread, said thread has 23 pages and I'm having a devil of a time finding it. I may be wrong, and it just seems like the right thread because a different quote from him on that thread was the original reason I felt comfortable joining this forum (only the later find it was unrepresentative of the stances of the actual users), but I do think the quote I'm looking for is somewhere in there.


And two, you don't have to be a psychotic homicidal lunatic to go "Hmmm, this is a dangerous world and not the modern world. People actually get robbed and murdered enough in my line of work to justify carrying weapons and armor. Perhaps I should act like it and not just bumble up to people saying 'Parley?'"

Or maybe you should still try to avoid violence as much as possible because going around picking fights you don't need will send you to a well-deserved early grave? I mean, by all means, have your weapon out and ready if you think you might need it, but having it out does not prevent you from trying to talk your way out of a fight, and avoiding a fight is better for both would-be combatants. Again, I'm NOT a pacifist. My principle is of non-aggression, not pacifism. There is world of difference between the belief that violence is only acceptable when used defensively and the belief that violence is never acceptable. I am in the former camp, not the latter.

Whatever the case, this is not what this thread is about and I already said I am not looking for this kind of argument in my original post. Can we please stop now?

Amechra
2016-11-21, 11:37 PM
Let me try again:

Your mechanic for remorse is bad - it's just hit-points and damage by another name.

Some things that seem particularly off:

1) Forcing players to pay XP to opt out of the system - especially since it's pretty much a mandatory cost for anyone who wants to play a career mercenary or the like. Granted, I'm unsure how much 5000xp is, but if it's as much as I think it is, you're saying that someone who swears an oath of vengeance against orcs for burning down their village has a sizeable XP deficit facing them down.

2) Giving kids a special ability that doubles "morale damage" is... an interesting choice. You aren't just factoring youth into the initial calculations (you, know, like you did murder)?

3) It's pretty fiddly - one of the reasons I linked the stress gauges is that they do something close enough to what you want in a way that doesn't take a lot of book-keeping.

4) The flat "no aiming for murderers!" rule is... well, from the context, I think it'd almost be appropriate to pull out the doll and ask you where the kill-crazy players touched you. More importantly, it brings to the fore one of the central problems with this:

Morale breaking only gives combat penalties. Which is absurd. What's more, they look like the kind of thing you can build around (then again, I'm not sure of the particulars of your system).

=---=

Ultimately, it's bizarrely lacking in nuance - it's pretty blatant this is a "I have a chip on my shoulder from all those times you killed orc kids, guys" kind of rule.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-22, 12:14 AM
Let me try again:

Your mechanic for remorse is bad - it's just hit-points and damage by another name.

Some things that seem particularly off:

I chose a system so similar to a health pool for a couple reasons. First, it works well for its only non-optional role (resisting divine magic). Second, because it suppresses the instinct of many players to dismiss the idea of psychological damage as some sort of personality defect, a mark of a weak person, a "*****" if you will, instead making them look at it more like actual injury. Finally, I chose it because it was simple and wouldn't hurt the flow of the game. Can your alternative do these things? If it can, or if a hybrid can, I'm willing to make the change. Tell me where I'm misreading it, because it doesn't seem to.

If you don't like it, fair enough, but your arguments as to why you don't like it are the exact reasons I chose it. Yes, it works much like health and damage, it's supposed to.


1) Forcing players to pay XP to opt out of the system - especially since it's pretty much a mandatory cost for anyone who wants to play a career mercenary or the like. Granted, I'm unsure how much 5000xp is, but if it's as much as I think it is, you're saying that someone who swears an oath of vengeance against orcs for burning down their village has a sizeable XP deficit facing them down.

For context, a young adult starts the game with 200,000 experience. A typical quest awards 10,000 and larger quests (each act of the main story, pretty much) awards 100,000. 5000 is not much. It also isn't opting out of the system entirely, as I noted above, and the system itself is optional so that GMs who are sure that their players are going to roleplay can choose not to use it. (I've NEVER used it before, my players don't need it.)


2) Giving kids a special ability that doubles "morale damage" is... an interesting choice. You aren't just factoring youth into the initial calculations (you, know, like you did murder)?

Would that be simpler? It's the same multiplier either way, it's just where it's written down in the rules. I can move it pretty easily.


3) It's pretty fiddly - one of the reasons I linked the stress gauges is that they do something close enough to what you want in a way that doesn't take a lot of book-keeping.

I read the stress gauges. It seems to me to involve just as much book-keeping as this system. Perhaps each seems simpler to us because we're more familiar with our preferred system than the other one? I don't know Unknown Army at all, this is the first I've heard of it.


4) The flat "no aiming for murderers!" rule is... well, from the context, I think it'd almost be appropriate to pull out the doll and ask you where the kill-crazy players touched you. More importantly, it brings to the fore one of the central problems with this:

If you're taking aim to kill somebody and you can't get the image of the last victim out of your head, it's going to throw off your aim.


Morale breaking only gives combat penalties. Which is absurd. What's more, they look like the kind of thing you can build around (then again, I'm not sure of the particulars of your system).

Actually, no. Trauma penalties generally deplete your ability to do the thing that caused them, if you got a trauma from a different source, it would not affect combat. If your trauma is "Guilt (Theft)", (which is actually written as just "Theft", but it's in the "Guilt" group), it hampers stealth and that makes it harder to steal. If your trauma is "Shock (Betrayal)", it diminishes diplomacy so you have a harder time making agreements people could go back on. So on. This is also the mechanism through which divine magic (which is mind-affecting) works, it depletes morale to inflict traumas, and the trauma is the actual spell effect. It is also how torture works, inflicting a trauma called "Learned Helplessness". I kept it to one trauma, one effect for simplicity but if I need to add in more to better fit real symptoms, I can do that. A while ago, all "Guilt" and "Remorse" traumas also diminished your ability to bluff, but that was scrapped for simplicity. (And can be brought back.) There are other potential effects I can add that would make it more realistic, but I don't want to be back where I started with each trauma having six or seven effects.


=---=

Ultimately, it's bizarrely lacking in nuance - it's pretty blatant this is a "I have a chip on my shoulder from all those times you killed orc kids, guys" kind of rule.

It's an optional rule for a reason. I only want to use it if using it turns out to be necessary, and its only purpose is to force players to play their character the way their character is described, or change the description to match how they're playing them. My game doesn't have an alignment system, or I'd just use that, because that's the only thing alignments are good for. (Outside of that, they cause more harm than good.) I don't LIKE having to include this stuff in rules, it's just that a lot of players don't roleplay, they don't care about the world or the plot, so only something included in the mechanics can actually discourage them. If I knew the players were capable of actually roleplaying, I would keep will and morale strictly for resisting mind-affecting attacks like divine spells and torture. (And potentially as a sanity mechanic, I've got a few monsters who may or may not have a sanity-damaging effect in the final game.)

druid91
2016-11-22, 03:36 PM
If you're taking aim to kill somebody and you can't get the image of the last victim out of your head, it's going to throw off your aim.


Lindybeige on this subject. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zViyZGmBhvs)

Avianmosquito
2016-11-22, 06:29 PM
Already seen it. And I think rather than listening to a dancer once again tell us how he believes other people think, I'd rather spend this time to take another crack at Pikachu and Snorlax.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-23, 03:45 AM
I have made a few changes. I handed this over to a friend of mine, who I should have just handed this to from the beginning, and he did a LOT of math on it and gave me back a sheet with examples of how it functions now and how he thinks it should function, and that involved altering the multipliers and putting limits on the scope of Extreme Prejudice. His comparison sheet has swayed me, so here's the result.

I have changed the combat multiplier from 0.5 to 0.25, but the self-defence multiplier has remained the same. An extra stage has been added in on each side of neutral (names pending), moving the enemy multiplier down to 0.25 and mortal enemy to 0.125, while also moving friend up to 4 and loved one up to 8. As a result, you can take at a minimum 1/32 morale damage before will, and have functionally zero chance of taking morale damage.

Additionally, Extreme Prejudice has been altered.

Extreme PrejudiceŽ allows you to avoid any morale damage, guilt, or general bad feelings after wronging somebody by dehumanizing your victim. Extreme PrejudiceŽ: Pretend they're not people, and you don't have to care.

Extreme PrejudiceŽ may only apply to one of the following: Species, breed, creature type, template type, religion, sect or political organization. Extreme PrejudiceŽ can be taken more than once to target additional groups. Being a member of one of these groups does not prevent you from taking Extreme PrejudiceŽ against yourself. Ask your GM if an unlisted group qualifies as one of the above. Extreme PrejudiceŽ is not for everyone. If you are caring, tolerant, or may become tolerant, you shouldn't take Extreme PrejudiceŽ. Side effects may include loss of friendships, additional conflict, stress, violent tendencies, blame-shifting, paranoia, delusional behaviour and inability to take responsibility for your own actions. Keep Extreme PrejudiceŽ out of reach of children. If you experience an erection lasting longer than four hours...

*SIGH*

Yep. That's the joke I went with. I had more than that, you know. I had them written out and everything, examples of this talent in action with little satirical quotations from each character, *I* at least thought they were pretty funny, funnier than the joke I ended up having to go with. I figured since there was so much conflict in this thread, a little humour would be just the thing to lighten the mood. But then I realised my black comedy would just offend somebody's delicate sensibilities and we can't have that, because never being confronted with anything you don't like is how healthy people grow.

Whatever. Those are the changes. This grumpy old man is going to go write something else now.

PotatoGolem
2016-11-23, 11:05 PM
The main issue I see here is that you're trying to address an out-of-character issue (your players are playing in a way you don't enjoy) with in-character fixes (penalizing their characters). That seems likely to just cause more problems. As a fellow DM who doesn't like to DM murderhobo games, some alternative suggestions:

1) Talk to your players. Explain that you don't like to DM murderhobo games, and ask them not to play murderhobos. I've found this resolves the issue 85-90% of the time, closer to 100% if you're all friends and no longer teens.

2) If 1 fails, be very, very graphic in describing what's happening and the consequences thereof. Don't just say they're killing kids. Make them feel that they're killing children. Decribe the sight, the sound, everything. If your players aren't sociopaths, this will usually make them feel bad.

3) Quit. Don't DM games you don't enjoy.

Trying to punish players for playing the game in the way they enjoy is a really bad idea. From your posts, it doesn't sound like you're trying to make new rules to make a game you'll all enjoy. It sounds like you're bitter and trying to punish them for playing the game wrong. All that's going to do is make them bitter as well and 1) hurt your friendships and 2) end the gaming group. If you don't care about ending the gaming group, then just be mature and respectful and say you're not having fun and would like to stop playing for a while.

Avianmosquito
2016-11-23, 11:25 PM
The main issue I see here is that you're trying to address an out-of-character issue (your players are playing in a way you don't enjoy) with in-character fixes (penalizing their characters). That seems likely to just cause more problems. As a fellow DM who doesn't like to DM murderhobo games, some alternative suggestions:

1) Talk to your players. Explain that you don't like to DM murderhobo games, and ask them not to play murderhobos. I've found this resolves the issue 85-90% of the time, closer to 100% if you're all friends and no longer teens.

2) If 1 fails, be very, very graphic in describing what's happening and the consequences thereof. Don't just say they're killing kids. Make them feel that they're killing children. Decribe the sight, the sound, everything. If your players aren't sociopaths, this will usually make them feel bad.

3) Quit. Don't DM games you don't enjoy.

Trying to punish players for playing the game in the way they enjoy is a really bad idea. From your posts, it doesn't sound like you're trying to make new rules to make a game you'll all enjoy. It sounds like you're bitter and trying to punish them for playing the game wrong. All that's going to do is make them bitter as well and 1) hurt your friendships and 2) end the gaming group. If you don't care about ending the gaming group, then just be mature and respectful and say you're not having fun and would like to stop playing for a while.

This is fair enough. I've got to keep morale and will for other things, but this won't really change that. The big question now is what to do with the "sociopath" trait and "extreme prejudice" talent. I still want to keep those, and they should net some form of in-game benefit. Extreme Prejudice could easily be converted into this game's version of Favoured Enemy, but Sociopath is much harder to convert into something useful. I don't know, I just don't care anymore.