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View Full Version : Tycho on Player "Classes"



Hairb
2008-09-05, 08:52 PM
From today's newspost at Penny Arcade:

What's interesting to me about Gabriel's approach is that there's really no metagaming. That is the dork term for playing the game as though you're "playing a game" as opposed to "playing a role." This is tolerated to varying degrees by every gaming group, and the ground rules of a particular cadre are present psychically even when they are not made explicit. Gabe genuinely plays roles with more savvy than most people I've had at the table. Much like the party being modeled on the board, the player group needs a few established "classes" in play to genuinely flourish: you need the Actor, the Comic, the Interpreter, and the Human Abacus to meet the challenges games like this present. Relatively few of those challenges actually occur in game.

How true is this for your gaming group? In all honesty, I prefer having someone else do the crunchy legwork, although I wouldn't say a group needs all these roles filled.

AstralFire
2008-09-05, 08:55 PM
From today's newspost at Penny Arcade:


How true is this for your gaming group? In all honesty, I prefer having someone else do the crunchy legwork, although I wouldn't say a group needs all these roles filled.

I theoretically don't think a group needs that, but my most successful group ever does.

I tend to play Human Abacus/Actor, one of my PCs is an Abacus, we have two comics, one interpreter/actor, one interpreter and one guy who gets angry.

Hairb
2008-09-05, 08:59 PM
and one guy who gets angry.

Angry at what, exactly?

Knaight
2008-09-05, 09:02 PM
The human abacus depends on the game, and the interpreter the GM and player communication in general. That said its nice to have an actor and a comic. Or a comic actor, which is where I fall into(and I GM, which probably changes a lot). The setting know it all is also fun(yeah, like I'm going to stick exactly to every aspect of the mythology. You keep thinking that.)

Hairb
2008-09-05, 09:07 PM
The human abacus depends on the game, and the interpreter the GM and player communication in general. That said its nice to have an actor and a comic. Or a comic actor, which is where I fall into(and I GM, which probably changes a lot). The setting know it all is also fun(yeah, like I'm going to stick exactly to every aspect of the mythology. You keep thinking that.)

In a highly detailed setting like the WotC/ TSR published ones, a player who you can take cues off of for setting details is really useful too.

Knaight
2008-09-05, 09:23 PM
Oh definitely. If the players want to indulge their creativity in thought exercises and blabber on about all the details of mythology and stuff, I'm more than willing to incorporate anything they know, that I don't that I think works. Although considering that they have managed to create BBEGs before(lets just say it involved spirits, blessings, and force/manipulation magic. Not a bright idea on the players part, gold for me.) The creative player who unintentionally adds details are great.

Vortling
2008-09-05, 09:31 PM
I vary between Comic and Actor and my players do as well. I only have one player who does the Human Abacus. I wouldn't say they're all needed but the more Comics and Actors you have the crazier it will be.

TheThan
2008-09-05, 09:41 PM
Now I want to play an awakened abacus that communicates with math. It takes a Int checks to figure out what hes saying.

too bad i bombed math class in high school

monty
2008-09-05, 09:42 PM
Now I want to play an awakened abacus that communicates with math. It takes a Int checks to figure out what hes saying.

too bad i bombed math class in high school

I assume that it will be Lawful Neutral?

Lord Tataraus
2008-09-05, 09:45 PM
Hmm...interesting, let's see...

My group has 1 Human Abacus, 1 Actor/Comic, 1 Semi-Actor (he is on and off), and 1 Interpreter...I guess we work pretty well! Though the Comic is a hard one since everyone contributes, though one a lot more so than others.

monty
2008-09-05, 09:48 PM
Yeah, my group is pretty much all comics. As the only one with a firm grasp of the rules, I'm also the only abacus. Couple of actors, but most of the group doesn't do much serious roleplaying.

arguskos
2008-09-05, 09:48 PM
Heh, lessee, my group has a terrible composition:
Me: Actor/Human Abacus
Player 1: Human Abacus (but totally apathetic in all ways, so meh)
Player 2: Comic
Player 3: Human Abacus/Comic
Player 4: Actor

I feel like my group is defective... >_>

-argus

Knaight
2008-09-05, 09:57 PM
Heh. Everybody in my group is primarily actor comic, no human abacas, except for me, and I GM. Although everybody leans harder to comic than actor, except for me. Well that and we have our powergamer/know it all setting guy. Now thats defective.

arguskos
2008-09-05, 10:01 PM
See, I hate optimization at the table. And they all go out of their way to optimize. Sorta pushes my buttons in all the wrong ways. Though, I do have to say, it is nice they can all count correctly. I had a player once who failed at being able to count his Base Attack Bonus (he was a Beguiler/Assassin)... that was fun. He thought he was attacking with a BAB of +12 (we were level 12).

-argus

Mando Knight
2008-09-05, 10:20 PM
I'm a Human Abacus, with a prestige class called "Human TI-89." I'm not very good with role-playing, so I have a bit of a problem with the other two, but Actor is closer than Comic.

Seriously, I do vector calculus just for fun.
Ain't got a gat, but I've got a soldering gun!

monty
2008-09-05, 10:26 PM
Seriously, I do vector calculus just for fun.
Ain't got a gat, but I've got a soldering gun!

Dammit, now you've got that song stuck in my head.
Happy Days is my favorite theme song/I could sure kick your butt in a game of Ping-Pong/I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on/I'm fluent in Javascript as well as Klingon

Sholos
2008-09-05, 11:28 PM
What is the "interpreter"?

Lord Tataraus
2008-09-05, 11:30 PM
What is the "interpreter"?

That's for you to interpret :smalltongue:

Sholos
2008-09-05, 11:53 PM
That's for you to interpret :smalltongue:

:smallsigh:

Can I get a real answer now?

Hairb
2008-09-05, 11:57 PM
:smallsigh:

Can I get a real answer now?

I'm guessing he's either refering to a mediator between the goals of the other players, or someone trying to explain or understand mechanics through story.

Sholos
2008-09-06, 12:04 AM
That's makes sense. I guess I fit into an Interpreter/Abacus role, then. I'm always looking at situations to see how I can work them (not very good at it, but I try), but I also believe very much in fluff.

AstralFire
2008-09-06, 03:25 AM
Angry at what, exactly?

Uh, pretty much everything. It's never a long-term anger. I think a more accurate description is that he whines. But at this point he even disparages himself for it, so we sort of take it all in fun.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-09-06, 06:54 AM
I'm guessing he's either refering to a mediator between the goals of the other players, or someone trying to explain or understand mechanics through story.

I think this is partially true. The Human Abacus is the one I see doing most of the rules stuff, making sure people's numbers are up to snuff (and occasionally calling the DM on rules, or reminding him of ones he has forgotten).

The Interpreter is my favorite player to have as a DM. He/she is the one who translates the game from GMspeak to playerspeak. So when I say, "You are approached by Glabrius," he turns to the players and says, "the guy in a red cloak," and they all change from confused to enlightened.

When I play, despite the fact that I am adept at DMing, I make a poor interpreter. This is because I am certainly an Actor, and it gets in the way of my acting to call Glabrius "Red Cloak Guy." I'm usually forced into a Human Abacus role as well, since no one else wants to do that.

The New Bruceski
2008-09-06, 06:11 PM
I think this is partially true. The Human Abacus is the one I see doing most of the rules stuff, making sure people's numbers are up to snuff (and occasionally calling the DM on rules, or reminding him of ones he has forgotten).

The Interpreter is my favorite player to have as a DM. He/she is the one who translates the game from GMspeak to playerspeak. So when I say, "You are approached by Glabrius," he turns to the players and says, "the guy in a red cloak," and they all change from confused to enlightened.

When I play, despite the fact that I am adept at DMing, I make a poor interpreter. This is because I am certainly an Actor, and it gets in the way of my acting to call Glabrius "Red Cloak Guy." I'm usually forced into a Human Abacus role as well, since no one else wants to do that.

I think it also involves sorting out rules tangles.

*jargon about opportunity attacks and combat challenge interrupt attacks and such*
Interpreter: "basically if you mark the guy you're going to get to hit him when he tries to move. He gets to choose which bonuses you get."

Townopolis
2008-09-06, 06:39 PM
I thought of it as such: The interpreter knows the rules, the abacus keeps track of all the numbers, so something like...


Actor: With a roar of fury, I charge the orc chieftain, axe held high above my head until I bring it down in a bone-shattering, skull-splitting sweep.

Interpreter: Actually, if you charge to this square instead of that, you'll be flanking him for +2 to attack, and they're both the same distance from your starting position so you can technically pick either one and be legal.

Actor: Ok, and I'm power attacking full... *rolls a 13*

Abacus: 36 to hit.

DM: What?!

Abacus: Yeah, see he's got +2 for flanking, +2 for charging, +14 from my bard song, +9 from strength, +5 from his weapon, and +1 from haste.

Interpreter: Also, don't forget that the chieftain doesn't get his DEX bonus to AC because he's standing on grease.

AstralFire
2008-09-06, 06:47 PM
I think we need an interpreter to tell us what Tycho meant by the term.

Tokiko Mima
2008-09-06, 08:15 PM
Don't *really* successful groups also need a chef/supply officer? :smalltongue:

monty
2008-09-06, 08:18 PM
Don't *really* successful groups also need a chef/supply officer? :smalltongue:

We do. It's "whoever brought money for pizza and drinks." Hopefully, it's multiple people.

AstralFire
2008-09-06, 08:20 PM
Don't *really* successful groups also need a chef/supply officer? :smalltongue:

+1 Advantage Online.