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    Default Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Okay, so I had this idea:

    I've seen this trend in my party for characters to make decisions first based on what is advantagous for their characters and to explain how it fits in their background/character/alignment afterwards (I'm not immune to this). What I want to do is set up scenarios in which characters are confronted with what's the same decision twice, once in a situation where it's to their advantage and once in a situation where it's to their disadvantage. They should not be aware that it is the same decision (it should not be obvious at first, tho it should be when explained).

    This way you can reward those that play consistently and 'prove' that a player is making decisions based on metagame factors.

    What I am still working on is concrete ideas: seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice. Anyone has any ideas on that?

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    I wouldn't worry too much about trying to catch someone meta-gaming unless it's really detracting from everyone's fun. I'm a bit of a carrot & stick DM myself, but for metagaming issues it's usually best to leave the stick & give juicy rp bonus xp-carrots. Little nudges are almost always more effective in the long-run than big pushes, especially if you trying to avoid bad blood between friends.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Okay, so I had this idea:

    I've seen this trend in my party for characters to make decisions first based on what is advantagous for their characters and to explain how it fits in their background/character/alignment afterwards (I'm not immune to this). What I want to do is set up scenarios in which characters are confronted with what's the same decision twice, once in a situation where it's to their advantage and once in a situation where it's to their disadvantage. They should not be aware that it is the same decision (it should not be obvious at first, tho it should be when explained).

    This way you can reward those that play consistently and 'prove' that a player is making decisions based on metagame factors.

    What I am still working on is concrete ideas: seperate scenario's that are tailored to specific alignments and have the same inherent decision making while being different enough for players not to notice. Anyone has any ideas on that?

    Psychology has a famous example: Most people would agree that they'd let one die to save more than one. One would sacrifice one person to save five. However, how people decide on a comparable situation alters when the problem is rephrased thusly:

    Quote Originally Posted by Judith Jarvis Thomson
    A tr[uck] is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you - your only way to stop the tr[uck] is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five.
    Given the controversy over just this, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments. Given the controversy over alignments, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments.

    For a great dissertation on alignment, check out the corresponding chapter in the Tomes (A.K.A. Dungeonomicon, but I think it's actually in one of the other tomes compiled in the .PDF). You know what, the dissertation is too good to not quote here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tomes > pages 27-28 > Chapter 4: Alignment
    Unlike the Revised Necromancer Handbook, which is a compilation of the Necromancy rules as they stand, what you are reading now is the rules for Necromancy as they should be. We feel there is a need for this because despite (or let's not kid ourselves, because of) the considerable amount of space spent given over to Necromancy in officially sanctioned products, the classical Necromancer does not function under the rules as written. Vampires can't run or be staked, there aren't any prestige classes that make you any more of a necromancer than you are with the base classes, and honestly no one even knows how the basic necromancy spells work. Not because they are stupid, but because the rules for such things are contradictory in several key places.

    4.1 The Morality of Necromancy: Black and Gray
    The rules of D&D attempt to be all things to all people, and unfortunately that just isn't possible if you're trying to make a system of objective morality. By trying to cater to two very di erent play styles as regards to the moral quandaries of the use of negative energy, the game ends up catering to neither - and this has been the cause of a great many arguments for which there actually are no possible resolutions. Ultimately therefore, it falls to every DM to determine whether in their game the powers of Necromancy are inherently evil, or merely extremely dangerous. That's a choice which must be made, and has far reaching implications throughout the game. That's an awful lot of work, and most DMs honestly just don't care enough to be bothered with it, and I understand. Fortunately, we have collated those changes for you right here:

    4.1.1 Moral Option 1: The Crawling Darkness
    Many DMs will choose to have Negative Energy in general, and undead in particular, be inherently Evil. So much so that we can capitalize it: Evil. And say it again for emphasis: Evil. That means that when you cast a negative energy wave you are physically unleashing Evil onto the world. When you animate a corpse, you are creating a being whose singular purpose is to make moral choices which are objectionable on every level.
    That's a big commitment. It means that anyone using Inflict Wounds is an awful person, at least while they are doing it. The Plane of Negative Energy is in this model the source of all Evil, more so than the Abyss or Hell. It's Evil without an opinion, immorality in its purest most undiluted form.

    4.1.2 Moral Option 2: Playing with Fire
    Many DMs will choose to have Negative Energy be a base physical property of the magical universe that the D&D characters live in - like extremes of Cold or Fire it is inimical to life, and it is ultimately no more mysterious than
    that. An animate skeleton is more disgusting and frightening to the average man than is a stone golem, but it's actually a less despicable act in the grand scheme of things because a golem requires the enslavement of an elemental
    spirit and a skeleton has no spirit at all.
    The Plane of Negative Energy in this model is precisely the same as all the other elemental planes: a dangerous environment that an unprotected human has no business going to.

    Implications
    It's not actually enough to simply make a sweeping generalization about the morality of Negative Energy and leave it at that. Like a buttery flapping its wings, such changes will eventually cause Godzilla to destroy Tokyo. Or
    something like that, I stopped math at Calculus.
    Last edited by NiteCyper; 2012-07-27 at 11:25 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    I have a question. But first of all lets examine the concept of reward; Reward is encouragement to act in a particular way. By rewarding particular actions you can produce the kind of gaming that you want to play. It looks like that's your intention.

    How secret is it meant to be?

    I think that as soon as you demonstrate that you reward that particular behaviour then the player will be very aware of choices that are similar to other choices with a different perspective. The conflict (and trust me it's still a good one,) is whether the reward is worth the in fiction consequences of the characters disadvantaging themselves.

    If it's a total secret that that's what you are doing then the players cannot use that knowledge to inform their choices and consequently aside from occasional mystery rewards nothing changes.


    I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.
    Attempting to say controversial things that everyone will agree with.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    @kelb_pantera:

    Well, that's the idea. I want to hide a big juicy reward in good role-playing. But I don't want it to be vague, ("I feel like you are playing your character well as opposed to them (which is always implied) so here's a reward!") because that will create resentment with players that also feel like they are playing "in character". I want to be able to very directly point out OOC that a player actually sacrificied something to play out their characters and the people that don't get a reward did not in case of a discussion.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    @Totally_guy:

    I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.
    That's actually a good idea. I think I'll use this.

    It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 01:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Given the controversy over just this, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments. Given the controversy over alignments, I don't think that it's such a good idea to encourage a focus on alignments.
    The kind of example you give seems perfect in that it shows that a lot people are not consistent in their decision making and trying to enact something similiar would make for interesting D&D.

    I do agree that a focus on alignments might not be the best idea, I'll try to get every player to write down on their own a personal philosophy of some kind. Still means I need ideas however.

    As to the part you quote, we tend to make a distinction between actual evil and actual good (which your alignment represents) and the forces of evil and good (inflict spells are a force of evil, so a Paladin may not use them since he follows the code of someone that's a force of good, but inflict spells are not actually evil, so if you do nothing but inflict spells all day it won't change your alignment one bit. Similiarly solars can do the most evil stuff imaginable when following orders and won't care at all because they don't think for themselves being a force of law and good and not a actual lawful good being.).
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 01:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Alignment is supposed to be descriptive, not predictive. Its not supposed to determine what a character will do, but more describe what he did do.

    When you look at a particular act, and you say "a good character wouldn't act like that," you're ignoring the fact that good characters don't only do good things. People make mistakes and are inconsistent. A character may do something terrible one moment, and wonderful the next, and that may be completely consistent within the character's persona.

    In two seemingly identical situations, a character may act one way once, and the other way the next, and still be consistent. In the truck/fat guy example above, I could see the character throwing the fat guy if hes a stranger, but not throwing the fat guy if he's family. I'd rather have my players weighing decisions on context, then acting unilaterally.

    its not your job, nor is it desirable, to try to force every act to align with the character's alignement.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totally Guy View Post
    I think that as soon as you demonstrate that you reward that particular behaviour then the player will be very aware of choices that are similar to other choices with a different perspective. The conflict (and trust me it's still a good one,) is whether the reward is worth the in fiction consequences of the characters disadvantaging themselves.

    If it's a total secret that that's what you are doing then the players cannot use that knowledge to inform their choices and consequently aside from occasional mystery rewards nothing changes.
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-leg...ml#post5778559
    Quote Originally Posted by EN World "NiteCyper"
    Quote Originally Posted by EN World "Greenfield"
    I tend to give RP bonuses for exceptional play. So if the 8 Int character keeps acting like the 16 Int player, it will be noted, pointed out, and he'll lose out on that Exp.
    While novel, this can be rebuked for the possibility of undesirable shaping.

    "Dude, what are you doing? You aren't supposed to bla-bla-bla."
    "But my last DM rewarded us for it." You are deciding what is good roleplay, passing judgment on a player's roleplay efforts, and connecting what roleplay that you like, to power. Moot if you play for just the numbers, but otherwise...

    Intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic
    When children were told to finger-paint explicitly for a reward, when later they were posed with the opportunity to fingerpaint, they were less likely to do so of their own volition. That is the consequence of extrinsic motivation called motivation crowding theory.

    When fingerpainting children were given a reward because they were finger-painting without foreknowledge, they were more likely to fingerpaint of their accord. They didn't start finger-painting FOR a reward, they did it because they wanted to and then were rewarded for their innate desire. That's intrinsic motivation.

    So, while RP XP isn't all bad, pointing out that one'll lose out on RP-XP extrinsically-motivates (and thus motivation-crowds), making players less likely to RP without the promise of a reward. One can decide to only reward for successively better RP-performance. Do not be so hasty in giving your horse-players a lick of that salt-cube of power, lest ye are nipped in return for more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Totally Guy View Post
    I think that the alignment system from D&D is a little too subjective to write decisions around (which is why you see the act now - justify later pattern). It might work better if a player were to write his own personal philosophy ("I never leave a man behind!") and then when the player is confronted with a decision on that philosophy that's when you can engage the reward mechanism.
    That's actually a good idea. I think I'll use this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    I'll try to get every player to write down on their own a personal philosophy of some kind.
    Hopefully, you don't try to enforce this too hard resulting in the stifling of character development. It encourages the player to disguise ulterior motives better. Honestly, that to me is just roleplay(ing XP).
    Last edited by NiteCyper; 2012-07-23 at 02:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    @ zerter: You're absolutely right, in that being vague will end very poorly; and I thoroughly agree with totally_guy, that its a good idea to get the players to define their characters outlook for you. In fact, rp rewards for character consistency would be nearly impossible to give without a clear definition of the character, though rp rewards for dramatic acting are still easy to drop.

    I actually require my divine caster characters' players to provide me with their characters' philosophical outlook, if they don't pick a patron deity.

    Meta-gaming can be irritating, but if everyone's having a good time, you probably shouldn't worry about it over-much.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-07-23 at 02:14 PM.
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    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Your last sentence doesn't make sense. Without parentheses, it becomes:
    Uh... that seems like a perfectly logically sentence to me... You not being able to follow my "insane troll logic" does not make the logic any less logical.

    Hopefully, in trying to enforce this too hard, character development isn't stifled. It encourages the player to disguise ulterior motives better. Honestly, that to me is just roleplay(ing XP).
    What Synova said
    I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.

    Because I'm me I'd like that to be in a original way and this seems like a good way to do that because you're basically playing your campaign as normal and at some point you're saying, "Hey guys, even though we had a perfectly normal session there was actually an additional layer of thought behind it." Which in my book is good DMing, but that might just be insane troll logic.

    I also don't worry about meta-gaming really, we have great sessions and when not DMing I tend to be the worst meta-gamer in the group. I just want to (slightly) encourage people to play in-character.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 02:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.
    The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".
    No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions. We don't have any scenario's yet but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.

    I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.

    I gotta go by the way, but I'll be back later today.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Anyone has any ideas on that?
    Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good. I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    How do you sustain that dynamic?
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    I think I should clarify my position on what is bad metagaming vs. what is unacceptable metagaming.

    Bad metagaming is things like playing your character smarter than his int would indicate or choosing not to charge because the dm said the enemy readied an action, even though you've built a charger that has otherwise been fighting with reckless abandon. While these are annoying, they should be neither punished nor rewarded, though a discussion might be in order.

    Unnacceptable metagaming is things like saying, in character, "That's a troll! we need to use fire or acid, otherwise we won't be able to kill it." right after hearing the description even though your character has no ranks in any knowledge skills and you didn't even roll the dice; or having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party. These are the kinds of things that should be actively discouraged. I do however feel that these things should be discouraged by rewarding their opposite behaviors, rather than by punishing them directly.

    These are your friends, not your children, after all. (usually)
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-07-23 at 02:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions. We don't have any scenario's yet but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.
    You can't flesh out a full personality in a couple of lines on a piece of paper. Character definitions/bios/etc are skeletons. The real character is what is in their head.

    I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.
    No, they're not free to go against what they have on the page, because you're penalizing them for that.

    Forget whats on their sheets. Put them in situations where they have to make interesting decisions, and then watch the fallout.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Trying to catch your players in a trap to prove to them they are roleplaying poorly may detract from their fun or upset them. If you feel they are metagaming, bring it up a bit but let the players control their own characters. As long as the story works and everyone is having a good time a DM doesn't need to worry too much about alignment.

    Besides, roleplaying should go 'what would my character do' before 'what would my alignment do' otherwise you, as the DM, limit certain types of personalities and motivations and inadvertently encourage shallow characters. Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.

    A good character is just as vulnerable to this and to say, "That isn't a good action so a good character shouldn't do it" or something similar takes away the possibility of much character development. Unless it is something like slaughtering a peasant, I think it best to just leave it.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    I wouldn't worry too much about trying to catch someone meta-gaming unless it's really detracting from everyone's fun. I'm a bit of a carrot & stick DM myself, but for metagaming issues it's usually best to leave the stick & give juicy rp bonus xp-carrots. Little nudges are almost always more effective in the long-run than big pushes, especially if you trying to avoid bad blood between friends.
    This. Giving reliable little bonuses for roleplaying your char well, even when it's not mechanically advantageous to you will make your players happy(and at least a little tempted to pursue the bonus xp nuggets).

    A bigger "you're hypocrites" scenario will lead to all manner of justifying why they are not, in fact, hypocrites, and justifications as to why both decisions were reasonable for their char(and who knows, they might be).

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Totally Guy View Post
    How do you sustain that dynamic?
    I'm not sure what you mean, but I hope the elaboration in this post, which reinforces ideas that I've made previously, suffices to answer.

    It's funny how empty that quotes of my posts are because the Giant in the Playground Forums quoting doesn't quote nested quotes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    I kind of feel like you two are thinking this will be some kind of very big deal. All I want to do is run a campaign like I usually do (in which players always have the freedom to do whatever they want) and at some point in the campaign basically say, "Hey you know what, I think you've been playing your character very well, here's a reward.". It won't be game breaking or anything, it's just meant to make people think for a moment. The thing is, I don't really make much of a issue out of alignments or personal philosophy ever, that's maybe why I'm looking to have the party reflect on how do they handle that once.

    Because I'm me I'd like that to be in a original way and this seems like a good way to do that because you're basically playing your campaign as normal and at some point you're saying, "Hey guys, even though we had a perfectly normal session there was actually an additional layer of thought behind it." Which in my book is good DMing, but that might just be insane troll logic.

    I also don't worry about meta-gaming really, we have great sessions and when not DMing I tend to be the worst meta-gamer in the group. I just want to (slightly) encourage people to play in-character.
    1. Sorry about the insane troll logic comment, I've taken that down since I understand that paragraph. Let me reassert and elaborate on how the following still doesn't make sense (of the two paragraphs of yours that I initially didn't understand):

      Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
      It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.
      I'm sure that by "intent" you mean "intend".
      By "than will be", do you mean "then if I am"?
      By "and then explain the logic why", do you mean ", I will explain the logic as to why"?

    2. My point about motivation-crowding still stands, though you may have missed it due to my constant reconstruction.

      Here's an example of it: When I was in elementary school, we had a yearly raffle. Raffle tickets were earned by doing good deeds with the easiest and most common source of tickets stemming from the disposal of litter on the grounds, and being spotted by a supervisor while doing so. Looking back on it now, it definitely suffered from the motivation crowd theory. If there was litter in front of me and no supervisor around, I'd think "why throw this away when there's no supervisor around to give me a raffle ticket for disposing of it? I could not dispose of it and save until there is one." At that point, the system has backfired. The problem is due to, but I don't want to go into detail about, schedules of reinforcement.

      A second and perfect example is the Underdome in Borderlands. Killing enemies normally rewards XP and has a chance of dropping gear. But, in the Underdome, kills do not reward XP, and on average, the loot that appears (not from the enemies) at the end of five waves (which you may not necessarily reach, being a binary check) is bad.

      Now, to bring it back to D&D, players may suffer from the same problem. The two main sources of entertainment for playing are crunch and roleplay. Combat is rewarded with goods and martial glory. We don't know what those goods are until we loot the bodies. We are rewarded for martial prowess with martial glory. This is all known to rely on the encounters generated by the DM themself. Too weak or too powerful enemies = bad combat.

      I can only recall the DM encouraging roleplaying by roleplaying themself. Rather than using extrinsic motivation, the DM intrinsically motivates by making an example. Provide me with a good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward? Avoid the grey area that is social interaction that is supposed to be covered by the skill system (as via Diplomacy, Bluff, etc.).


    Quote Originally Posted by Synovia View Post
    The problem is, they know their character better than you do, so what you're really saying is "You know what, I think you've been playing your character how I think he should be played, so heres a reward".
    This supports what I quoted of myself in EN World in this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    No I am not because I am letting them define their characters before they make the decisions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synovia View Post
    You can't flesh out a full personality in a couple of lines on a piece of paper. Character definitions/bios/etc are skeletons. The real character is what is in their head.

    >implying character definition is not an ongoing process

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    I'd also like to point out that they remain completely free to go against their own definitions (or experience character growth, call it what you want!), it's just that the one or two players that write down a character philosophy and follow it will get a IC reward once, which somehow seems to be this incredibly bad thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synovia View Post
    No, they're not free to go against what they have on the page, because you're penalizing them for that.

    Rewarding being predictable and not rewarding character development is a bad thing. Another way to look at what you're doing is asking someone to write a story, and then giving them a treat based upon whether or not that you think it's good.

    You can make or break someone in a way that they shouldn't necessarily be affected by a D&D game (I'm talking about their self-worth as a writer), and unless one possesses serious literary credentials, I don't think that you should be trusted with that power. It's not something that should be done without serious credentials, because otherwise it's an out-right, pretentious ****-move.

    The player is being encouraged to fit the personality to do what they want into their background. That sentence sounds like what you intend, but I mean to point out the flaw in creating a character that is narrow in code of conduct. The chaotic player will be rewarded more easily because they can do what they want and explain it as being cuckoolandy after the fact. They could be doing something along the same lawful vein, but just explain that it's being done for different reasons each time. Even adhering to chaos is lawful in its own way.

    Quote Originally Posted by FistsFullofDice View Post
    Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good.
    That refers to delayed/deferred gratification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    I think I should clarify my position on what is bad metagaming vs. what is unacceptable metagaming.

    Bad metagaming is things like playing your character smarter than his int would indicate or choosing not to charge because the dm said the enemy readied an action, even though you've built a charger that has otherwise been fighting with reckless abandon. While these are annoying, they should be neither punished nor rewarded, though a discussion might be in order.

    Unnacceptable metagaming is things like saying, in character, "That's a troll! we need to use fire or acid, otherwise we won't be able to kill it." right after hearing the description even though your character has no ranks in any knowledge skills and you didn't even roll the dice; or having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party. These are the kinds of things that should be actively discouraged. I do however feel that these things should be discouraged by rewarding their opposite behaviors, rather than by punishing them directly.

    These are your friends, not your children, after all. (usually)
    I agree on the difference that you define (inferrable which is a real word, spell-checker).

    I do not agree with your feelings on your method of motivation. You have the misconception that punishment is something that belongs to a particular demographic. Rather than by demographic, the form of motivation (A.K.A. operant conditioning) should be categorized by such as the behaviour to which it is applied and the (expected) outcome.

    What should be known is that punishment is only effective to "reduce[] the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future". It is not to be used to encourage. See also negative reinforcement which can be confused with punishment. Punishment is the application of pain/displeasure. Negative reinforcement is the removal of pleasure.

    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ View Post
    Trying to catch your players in a trap to prove to them they are roleplaying poorly may detract from their fun or upset them. If you feel they are metagaming, bring it up a bit but let the players control their own characters. As long as the story works and everyone is having a good time a DM doesn't need to worry too much about alignment.

    Besides, roleplaying should go 'what would my character do' before 'what would my alignment do' otherwise you, as the DM, limit certain types of personalities and motivations and inadvertently encourage shallow characters. Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.

    A good character is just as vulnerable to this and to say, "That isn't a good action so a good character shouldn't do it" or something similar takes away the possibility of much character development. Unless it is something like slaughtering a peasant, I think it best to just leave it.
    I agree with SowZ.

    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ View Post
    Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.
    SowZ essentially brings up that the issue is also about communism vs. capitalism and enlightened self-interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    This. Giving reliable little bonuses for roleplaying your char well, even when it's not mechanically advantageous to you will make your players happy(and at least a little tempted to pursue the bonus xp nuggets).
    I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
    "What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give me two more treats."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FistsFullofDice View Post
    I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    We don't have any scenario's yet
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    but the idea is that it is obvious that they go against the way their characters have been defined by themselves. I am looking to take everything into account and be careful when doing this that's why I'm investing the effort to get input from other people, because I realise that's not an easy thing to do.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    To follow up on Totally Guy's post, Burning Wheel does exactly what he suggests.

    Character-defining things (beliefs, traits, instincts) generate a second award path from the typical advance-for-doing-stuff mechanics. These rewards (philosophically similar to fate points) are, in a lot of ways, the meat of the system, and they really define how characters can pull themselves along.

    So, BW manages to avoid a number of these issues in interesting ways.

    1) Characters are awarded for going along with their Instincts and Traits *when doing so is a detriment*.
    2) Characters are awarded benefit for pursuing their Beliefs. They can also be awarded benefits for *breaking* their Beliefs - if doing so is done in a way that reinforces said Belief. This would be like Batman struggling with a decision to kill a villain to save a city. Doing so would go against his Belief, but in this case "the exception proves the rule" as most would have no issue with this.
    3) Two of the three categories are defined by the players themselves, and *can be changed* to show character growth.
    4) Traits are periodically voted on/off based on how the character has been played. If you have the Cowardly trait and don't play it up, you lose it.

    The end result is, in my experience, a system which is much more focused on actual roleplaying than most. This seems to be pretty common with BW players.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by NiteCyper View Post
    I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
    "What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give
    It can absolutely go too far...but balance in terms of what you reward definitely has to be a thing. Reward only combat, and things tend to skew towards combat solutions. Reward only talking, and pretty soon we have sob stories for xp.

    I like to reward cleverness, creative solutions, flavorful actions, and of course, completing challenges. The exact mix is of course up for debate, but you'll want to balance them in some way.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    For me, roleplaying is its own reward. I do it because I enjoy it. Some players do it for the same reasons, other players don't have as much fun with it. IF a player has less fun with it, I don't punish them for focusing on what they enjoy. For this reason, I don't give roleplaying XP. I make sure players roleplay 'enough' that it doesn't take the players who do enjoy rp out of it. But I won't punish or reward people for being better at developing the story or better actors. At least not in D&D, where the game itself doesn't encourage that.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NiteCyper View Post
    I've been talking about motivation-crowding discouraging players from roleplaying. At the other polar extreme, "pursu[ing] the bonus xp nuggets" too much can also occur.
    "What? I get a treat every time I jump through the hoop? My character does this because bla-bla-bla. The next thing that he's going to do, he's going to do because bla-bla-bla. Now, give me two more treats."
    It can absolutely go too far...but balance in terms of what you reward definitely has to be a thing. Reward only combat, and things tend to skew towards combat solutions. Reward only talking, and pretty soon we have sob stories for xp.

    I like to reward cleverness, creative solutions, flavorful actions, and of course, completing challenges. The exact mix is of course up for debate, but you'll want to balance them in some way.
    I should've added that the important thing to fix the possibility of that situation is to intrinsically motivate instead of extrinsically.
    Extrinsic motivation reward: The player does it for the reward.
    Intrinsic motivation reward: The player does it for its own sake and is rewarded.

    That situation is a Skinner box, where the lab rat is the player, the pressing of the lever is having the DM recognize roleplay that deserves XP, and the food dispenser (or electrode inserted into the pleasure center) is XP. Yay, science!

    Another pithy explanation: Determining combat effectivity is straightforward. There are definite numbers to go by. Determining how good roleplay is isn't. Compare ice sculptures to oil paintings to graphic designs to the art of, even, throwing a baseball. There is the curveball, slider, and slurve. One may throw the best curveball while another throws the best slider. They're styles, and the debate of which is the best could probably never end.

    Of course, picking out particularly good or bad examples isn't hard. I mean, let me be clear, I just typed a sentence that can't be wrong, ipso facto. But, outstanding instances of excellence are what normal roleplay XP is for. The system the OP (Zerter) proposes can succeed, but only, and I say again, with sufficient literary merit and adhering to the proper form of psychological motivation. Not that extrinsic motivation is impossible, but motivation-crowding is immoral (unless the player is an addict).
    Last edited by NiteCyper; 2012-07-23 at 04:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Check out the Dungeon World character sheets for a decent interpretation of XP for alignment use. The Kickstarter for this game did really well.

    Cleric:
    Good: When you put the dead to rest or bring a friend back from the brink mark XP.
    Evil: When you disturb the dead mark XP.

    Fighter:
    Good: When you defend those weaker than you mark XP.
    Neutral: When you defeat a worthy opponent mark XP.
    Evil: When you kill a defenseless or surrendered enemy mark XP.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Okay, first of all. I am now thinking about fleshing this out even more and making it a actual game between two high beings that have a bet of some kind. This way if a player gets rewarded and another player wants to open a discussion it can be held IC and if the player makes a valid point the being can reward him as well. Also I can just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic AND I can have an literal deus ex machina which adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!

    Personally I enjoyed fallout's idea on karma. Bad karma gave a large immediate bonus but long term more places where closed to you and you lost out on alliances. Where as good karma you lost out on a few riches and immediate gain but everyone would help you out and just give you stuff because you were good. I think those two separate ideas were a very cool take on the effects of your actions and are a good long term plan for reinforcing good behavior. A point system where you marked per character their actions in the view of good/evil and lawful/chaos would accurately keep track of that and allow you to show the effects over time that would make them play an alignment for its individual benefits.
    A good contribution, though I use it to some extent already. Not based on good/evil but more in the sense that doing good stuff for people will be activally remembered by those people (I make sure of that) and doing bad things to people or society can come back to bite you in the ass (people will come looking for revenge if it makes sense for them, you can be put on wanted posters if linked to a crime leading to... stuff.).

    I'm sure that by "intent" you mean "intend".
    By "than will be", do you mean "then if I am"?
    By " and then explain the logic why", do you mean ", I will explain the logic as to why"?
    It's not meant to be secret, I intent to 'play this out' (with the reward coming in-game in a logical manner to the specific player without me specifically pointing out that there's a OOC logic behind it) and than will be asked to defend it as players feel they are being set behind (I have a predictable party) and then explain the logic why.
    Okay, I don't really understand what you mean. I'll believe you when you say the sentence is not build right so I'll try to break down what I am saying:

    It's not meant to be a secret --> I mean: the players are not supposed to know the scenarios are also (also meaning that they will be logical scenarios in the campaign world consistent with their adventure/quests/whatever) set up to test if they play their characters consistently, but,

    After I play out the scenarios ("I intent to 'play this out') there might be one or more players that receive a reward while others do not, the players that do not receive a reward will most likely complain about it and then it was my intention to explain the OOC logic. Meaning it is set up as a secret initially but it is meant to be explained eventually and therefore is not really a secret.

    I can only recall the DM encouraging roleplaying by roleplaying themself. Rather than using extrinsic motivation, the DM intrinsically motivates by making an example. Provide me with a good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward? Avoid the grey area that is social interaction that is supposed to be covered by the skill system (as via Diplomacy, Bluff, etc.).
    See the thing is, I don't disagree with you. It's just that I want to put in a reward one time and see what happens and I want to do that in a thought out manner. This for any number of reasons: the guy that's always role-playing well but seeing the meta-gamers get the mechanical rewards all the time might get some satisfaction out of it (this is not really as strong in my campaigns as in others, but still), it might make players reflect, it might lead to an interesting discussion in which I have to concede that I was wrong (which makes the players happy as well. See what I did there? No you did not because you're too happy basking in the glow of the discussion you just won!).

    >implying character definition is not an ongoing process
    Yeah, I'm really just using it as an example. Of course the characters will get more fleshed out, I'm not really sure what the point of discussing this here, no one is argueing that characters are set in stone.

    Rewarding being predictable and not rewarding character development is a bad thing. Another way to look at what you're doing is asking someone to write a story, and then giving them a treat based upon whether or not that you think it's good.

    You can make or break someone in a way that they shouldn't necessarily be affected by a D&D game (I'm talking about their self-worth as a writer), and unless one possesses serious literary credentials, I don't think that you should be trusted with that power. It's not something that should be done without serious credentials, because otherwise it's an out-right, pretentious ****-move.
    The thing is, I reward character development all the time. I make sure to reward character development because I would marry character development if that would not be something that makes no sense at all. You're acting like this is the norm for me even though I come to this forum and make a post about something new that I want to try (indicating you know, that it's not.). Doing new stuff because I want to grow and see if I can give the players a more filling experience, that actually sounds like character development to me!

    Also I'm not really going into the personal sphere with this which is where you're headed once again, so I'll just concede that I am extremely arrogant and pretentious.

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    Anyway, it may NOT be poor roleplaying that the characters are being morally flexible or changing their behavior when they have something to gain from it. In real life, people will do things they would normally consider wrong if they have something to lose or benefit from.
    I agree with this, that's why the scenarios need to be set up in a way that makes sure it can't be explained away like that. But hey, if there's an argument and they end up winning it, that's rewarding as well.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    @ nitecyper: Do you think you could simplify what you're saying a bit? I'm sure if I take the next hour or two to process it, I'll figure it out, but I suspect I'm not the only one that doesn't understand at a glance.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Okay, first of all. I am now thinking about fleshing this out even more and making it a actual game between two high beings that have a bet of some kind.
    High beings, like Boccob, Heironeous, Pelor, Wee Jas, etc., the deities a character worships?
    A bet of some kind, like the fate of middle-earth balance of the Material Plane?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    This way if a player gets rewarded and another player wants to open a discussion it can be held IC and if the player makes a valid point the being can reward him as well. Also I can just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic AND I can have an literal deus ex machina which adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!
    I won't fault the scapegoat of being able to "just blame the NPCs for any faulty logic". That IS flavourful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Deus ex machina [...] adds ANOTHER layer of fun to the entire thing!
    Deus ex machina? Yeah, fun! ^^;

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    See the thing is, I don't disagree with you. It's just that I want to put in a reward one time and see what happens and I want to do that in a thought out manner. This for any number of reasons: the guy that's always role-playing well but seeing the meta-gamers get the mechanical rewards all the time might get some satisfaction out of it (this is not really as strong in my campaigns as in others, but still), it might make players reflect, it might lead to an interesting discussion in which I have to concede that I was wrong (which makes the players happy as well. See what I did there? No you did not because you're too happy basking in the glow of the discussion you just won!).
    1. You don't disagree with me? Looking back, I disagree with myself. I answered my own question: "A good example of a case where a DM has successfully encouraged good roleplaying with an in-game reward" is commonly XP rewarded to intrinsic motivation.

    2. You made a big leap by falling back to the "social experiment" defense. That wasn't present before.

    3. Yes, I did see what you did there. Being wrong on purpose to incite the players and so the players can call you on a fallacy.

    4. Thanks for making me LOL.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    Yeah, I'm really just using it as an example. Of course the characters will get more fleshed out, I'm not really sure what the point of discussing this here, no one is argueing that characters are set in stone.
    The argument isn't that "characters are set in stone" but that your system immorally encourages those "characters [who] are set in stone". At least two people argue such that you've been implying otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    The thing is, I reward character development all the time. I make sure to reward character development because I would marry character development if that would not be something that makes no sense at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerter View Post
    You're acting like this is the norm for me even though I come to this forum and make a post about something new that I want to try (indicating you know, that it's not.). Doing new stuff because I want to grow and see if I can give the players a more filling experience, that actually sounds like character development to me!
    1. No, I'm not acting like this is the norm for you. By the very fashion in which you've engaged this topic, you've given the impression that this is a new thing that you want to try and not the norm (for you).

    2. Again the "social experiment" defense which wasn't present before. I'm not saying that it's bad, but that it could've come up sooner.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    @ nitecyper: Do you think you could simplify what you're saying a bit? I'm sure if I take the next hour or two to process it, I'll figure it out, but I suspect I'm not the only one that doesn't understand at a glance.
    I don't think that that I could simplify (other than using smaller words), but I could elaborate more, but that would take ages. Elaboration would simply consist of doubling each sentence; Simplifying means writing more.

    I can't believe this hasn't rolled over to a second page yet.
    Last edited by NiteCyper; 2012-07-27 at 10:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    High beings, like Boccob, Heironeous, Pelor, Wee Jas, etc.?
    A bet of some kind, like the fate of middle-earth balance of the Material Plane?
    Something like: you got Bob the Solar and you have John the Pit Fiend. Their day jobs are spend fighting an endless war against each other for the very soul of existence, but at night they play poker in the same place (the 'glass deer' gambling establishment at the astral plane which is run by a bunch of hyperactive, hypergreedy, goblins, the characters know the place from a previous campaign) and share laughs. One day they get into a discussion and make a bet: the stakes? As always: a gold piece. The reward for the player? A solar's smile. +2 on charisma based skills when interacting with good beings all of which subconsiously react to the solar's approval of the character.

    The argument isn't that "characters are set in stone" but that your system immorally encourages those "characters [who]] are set in stone". At least two people argue such that you've been implying otherwise.
    That's true. I'm just trying to say thats not really the case in the entire campaign, just as far as this one event is concerned.

    Again the "social experiment" defense which wasn't present before. I'm not saying that it's bad, but that it could've come up sooner.
    Well, I was not really looking to defend what I wanted to do when I made the original post, I just wanted ideas basically. Though I guess it is good I know this subject might raise some discussion at the table.

    I'm going to bed by the way, *yawn*.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2012-07-23 at 06:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Help me with an idea to reward good alignment role-playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Unnacceptable metagaming is [...] having a character jump off a cliff because, "it's only 10d6, and it'll be faster than climbing. I've got a healing belt after all," when there's nothing chasing the party.
    Actually, this depends on the character(s). I've played some before that would just fall off the cliff rather than climb down, because for them the pain and injury of hitting the ground is overshadowed by getting to their destination faster. Of course, it only makes sense if the entire party does it, or else they just sit at the bottom waiting.

    (Besides, jumping off a cliff is viable from caster level 4 in most parties.)
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