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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Elbeyon's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Y'know, SAGA edition's split of hp into ... a term I forget and Wounds ...
    In the edition before that they had wounds and vitality. People had wounds equal to their con to represent their meat points. Vitality was figured how hp is figured in most games. People would take damage to their vitality before they actually got hurt. Vitality was also used to represent stamina and such, so Jedi used vitality to use the force. Vitality also healed on an hour basis so a person could rest and recover without any medical assistance.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I fail to see how morale and retreat rules apply when they almost universally come into play when the battle is already decided. Adding them doesn't impact risk most of the times - it impacts resource drain.



    That's a pretty reasonable option.
    To me, "morale" and fleeing are helpful to make enemies seem like people and to reduce "fight to the death" narrative fatigue, but they shouldn't be there to make a fight easier (or on the other end, to gatcha people with reinforcements). But either way, i don't see how having them or not having them incentivize or disincentivize the Paladin to throw his sword (makes my week every time).

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernPhoenix View Post
    To me, "morale" and fleeing are helpful to make enemies seem like people and to reduce "fight to the death" narrative fatigue, but they shouldn't be there to make a fight easier (or on the other end, to gatcha people with reinforcements). But either way, i don't see how having them or not having them incentivize or disincentivize the Paladin to throw his sword (makes my week every time).
    It doesn't incentivize "risky" behavior at the atomic action level.

    It can incentivize risky behavior at the macro level - if you know that getting into an encounter that goes poorly will result in a TPK, you have a huge incentive to ensure that every encounter you get into cannot go poorly - CAW at the extreme level.

    In this scenario, the cost of planning/scouting/etc. is minimal. The danger of not doing so is potentially extreme.

    However, if you know that getting in over your head will result in story consequences, depleted resources, etc., then the risk of not planning becomes more manageable, and it's not such a no-brainer to not make a move until you have ensured that there's no real risk.

    Also, if by "fight to the death narrative fatigue" you mean the stress of constantly being in fights to the death? That is, practically, not what I have seen. By de-emphasizing fight to the death in favor of greater story stakes, failure can be more regular, and that has increased the tension rather than decreased it.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-10 at 01:59 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    It doesn't incentivize "risky" behavior at the atomic action level.

    It can incentivize risky behavior at the macro level - if you know that getting into an encounter that goes poorly will result in a TPK, you have a huge incentive to ensure that every encounter you get into cannot go poorly - CAW at the extreme level.

    In this scenario, the cost of planning/scouting/etc. is minimal. The danger of not doing so is potentially extreme.

    However, if you know that getting in over your head will result in story consequences, depleted resources, etc., then the risk of not planning becomes more manageable, and it's not such a no-brainer to not make a move until you have ensured that there's no real risk.

    Also, if by "fight to the death narrative fatigue" you mean the stress of constantly being in fights to the death? That is, practically, not what I have seen. By de-emphasizing fight to the death in favor of greater story stakes, failure can be more regular, and that has increased the tension rather than decreased it.
    If you're talking about having a more clear system for Players to retreat, then yes i can obviously see how that helps encourage risky behavior. 5Es mechanics for this are a weak spot, and while i generally just let people retreat unless there's a very good reason for them not to be able to, i can see how newer DMs could benefit hugely from a better thought out system than 5Es chase rules.

    And by "fight to the death narrative fatigue", i just mean the impression or feeling that every "enemy" is a robot or board game piece every fight being to the death can create.
    Last edited by NorthernPhoenix; 2020-09-10 at 02:08 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    I feel that for a risk to seem worth it, it needs to appear necessary for success.

    Give the players options to chose between a safe approach that comes with a high chance of meaningful failure and defeat, and more dangerous paths that would lead to a decisive victory if they can pull it of.

    A risk is worth it when the alternative seems less desirable.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Action Points, Hero Points, Fate Points, Inspiration, whatever you want to call it in your system. Hand them out during play as a reward for risk taking and cinematic moves in play.

    Example 1: Robin declares that she wants to swing by the chandelier over the top of the battle in the Sheriff's Great Hall to reach the evil sheriff on the other side. Great, that's risky and wonderfully cinematic. You call for a DC 15 Athletics check and reward the PC with a hero point that they can choose to use then and there or save till later. She has +5 on Athletics and uses the Hero point to add +8 to her roll.

    Success: She lands before the evil sheriff, bypassing the melee and the sheriff's defenders.
    Failure: She slips from the chandelier and land at the edge of the fighting. She'll have to battle through the defenders to reach her nemesis.

    Example 2: The Man Spider slings his way across the broken train tracks forwards the oncoming train. He decided that the best way to stop it is to throw webs at the buildings on either side of the tracks and use his body to anchor them. This is a feat of great strength that required a high check. The hero knows that he will have to put everything into this effort if he has a hope of success. The game master grants him a bonus that he can use on the roll or keep for later but asks for three strength checks.

    Complete Success (three successes): The hero stops the train in time.
    Partial Success (two successes): Through great strength and perseverance the hero stops the train. In the process he tears off the facades of several buildings causing tens of thousands of dollars in property damage and strains his arms in the process taking some slight damage.
    Partial Failure (two failures): Although the hero manages to stop the train at the last moment he does so at great cost. He suffers a dislocated shoulder and passes out from the strain leaving him temporarily at the mercy of his enemy.
    Complete failure (three failures): The heroes webs snap almost immediately, dragging him off to one side and leaving him dangling while the train surges on. He'll have to come up with a different plan or hope that his allies have something up their sleeves.

    Example 3: The Eldritch Engine crackles with electricity as it builds power. If it explodes it will unleash dark, necromantic power across the land. Annie the Artificer declares that she is going to disable the engine with her adamantine wrench of smashing while her allies keep the necromancer's hoard at bay. She knows she can do it but that the explosion will almost certainly kill her. Annie could have opted to spend more time disabling the Eldritch Engine but that would take ten rounds of checks (which she is sure she can succeed at) and she does not know if her allies can hold off the hoard for that long. The DM grants her inspiration for her selfless heroism and she strikes. BOOM! The room fills with flame and shrapnel. Being right next to the blast she takes 100 damage. Everyone in the next 20 feet takes 50 damage and everyone in the next 20 feet takes 25, etc, etc. Damage is halved on a successful Dexterity Save. Annie uses her Action point to roll with advantage on her save, diving aside at the last moment to avoid the worst of the blast. The front ranks of the undead are decimated and the necromancer's plans are in tatters.

    Whatever you call it, a temporary bonus mechanism exists in a lot of systems, use it to encourage heroism by handing them out at the point where the player declares their intention to do something really heroic.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by hoverfrog View Post
    Action Points, Hero Points, Fate Points, Inspiration, whatever you want to call it in your system. Hand them out during play as a reward for risk taking and cinematic moves in play.

    Example 1: Robin declares that she wants to swing by the chandelier over the top of the battle in the Sheriff's Great Hall to reach the evil sheriff on the other side. Great, that's risky and wonderfully cinematic. You call for a DC 15 Athletics check and reward the PC with a hero point that they can choose to use then and there or save till later. She has +5 on Athletics and uses the Hero point to add +8 to her roll.

    Success: She lands before the evil sheriff, bypassing the melee and the sheriff's defenders.
    Failure: She slips from the chandelier and land at the edge of the fighting. She'll have to battle through the defenders to reach her nemesis.
    Such an incentive is at the very least questionable because there is no guarantee they will spend the point towards such risky undertakings. Iíll flub the chandelier attempt, pocket the point and spend it later to sneak in full plate mail. 6e shadowrun has a similar degree of weirdness with its edge attribute, but thatís more passive stats than encouraging PCs to attempt suicide for use-anywhere roll boosters.
    Last edited by Xervous; 2020-09-14 at 11:21 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    At the atomic move level-

    One of the problems is that if a "risky" move is actually "better", it won't be perceived as risky.

    Look at Power Attack. Yes, it's a lower chance to hit, but in most cases (and people know where this break is) it's mathematically advantageous to use it. So it's something that at first glance appears risky, but actually isn't, and at some point people realize that.

    So overall you can make "risky" moves valuable by making them actually more rewarding than the "safe" move.

    To actually make people do "risky" things I think you have to put them in a place where the safe move isn't viable... like, the Ogre will kill you next turn. The safe move will definitely not do enough damage to kill the Ogre, but the risky move might... even though it's less optimal in the long run.

    But a lot of it really depends on what people mean by risky - are you looking for "cool and cinematic" where the feel comes from the cool things that are happening, or are you looking for "actually has a chance to fail" where the feel comes from the actual stakes in play?
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    To actually make people do "risky" things I think you have to put them in a place where the safe move isn't viable... like, the Ogre will kill you next turn. The safe move will definitely not do enough damage to kill the Ogre, but the risky move might... even though it's less optimal in the long run.

    But a lot of it really depends on what people mean by risky - are you looking for "cool and cinematic" where the feel comes from the cool things that are happening, or are you looking for "actually has a chance to fail" where the feel comes from the actual stakes in play?
    Even the immediacy example is one where the immediacy has made it the LEAST risky move.

    If what you're really after is forcing "risky choices," you need to give limited (but not no) information where the players have awareness of what the unknowns are, and then put pressure on to make a choice in a limited time with definite opportunity cost. In poker, you might know roughly the odds that the other guy has the Queen he needs to make the one hand that can beat yours, but you don't know how the cards have been dealt. It's a risk to pay in to call, and a risk to fold.

    But I think your last paragraph is more to the point of what is really being sought in these sorts of threads: "cool and cinematic" action. It looks and feels "risky," because we know that, IRL, it would be. But it's kinetic and it looks amazing, and watching it in a theater we'd also know that the hero is going to pull off the maneuver even if we're on the edges of our seats because it's so thrilling.

    This is why Exalted's stunting system works so well to encourage this kind of thing. When you allow stunts to modify the environment in ways that might technically be against other rules (for instance, smashing through a column to catch a target by surprise from an unexpected angle would theoretically require attacking the column and would certainly slow your swing, but in a cinematic, rule-of-cool sense, you can just let it happen and grant a 2-die stunt bonus for it), you encourage creativity and dramatic descriptions and actions.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Part of the issue is cost discrepancy between the GM and the players.

    If a GM has the characters under his control do something risky, it doesnít matter if they fail. Thereís another faceless mook in the line to replace him, beloved NOC dies a heroic death while inspiring the heroes, BBEG turns out to have been a puppet for the real BBEG, and so on. The GM rarely has too much invested in any ine of the numerous characters under their control.
    The players on the other hand have one character they have devoted significant time and effort into developing. If that character fails in their task they risk blowing the sceneís objective, if the character is severely injured the player is reduced to being a bystander for at least the rest of that scene, perhaps longer. If the character dies, well ...

    So itís easy for a GM to say the players should take more risks, because for the GM taking risks has low costs. For the players the cost of risks are exponentially higher.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Part of the issue is cost discrepancy between the GM and the players.

    If a GM has the characters under his control do something risky, it doesnít matter if they fail. Thereís another faceless mook in the line to replace him, beloved NOC dies a heroic death while inspiring the heroes, BBEG turns out to have been a puppet for the real BBEG, and so on. The GM rarely has too much invested in any ine of the numerous characters under their control.
    The players on the other hand have one character they have devoted significant time and effort into developing. If that character fails in their task they risk blowing the sceneís objective, if the character is severely injured the player is reduced to being a bystander for at least the rest of that scene, perhaps longer. If the character dies, well ...

    So itís easy for a GM to say the players should take more risks, because for the GM taking risks has low costs. For the players the cost of risks are exponentially higher.
    There are a whole lot of assumptions in this that simply aren't true for everyone.

    Most campaigns I have been a player in have had a very high rate of attrition, where I went through multiple PCs. Particularly when playing OSR games - it can be wise to wait until your character survives to a higher level before bothering to invest too much in it.

    On the flip side, as a DM I have had NPCs that I liked so much I carried them over between campaign worlds. And their demise was a big deal to me.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Part of the issue is cost discrepancy between the GM and the players.

    If a GM has the characters under his control do something risky, it doesnít matter if they fail. Thereís another faceless mook in the line to replace him, beloved NOC dies a heroic death while inspiring the heroes, BBEG turns out to have been a puppet for the real BBEG, and so on. The GM rarely has too much invested in any ine of the numerous characters under their control.
    The players on the other hand have one character they have devoted significant time and effort into developing. If that character fails in their task they risk blowing the sceneís objective, if the character is severely injured the player is reduced to being a bystander for at least the rest of that scene, perhaps longer. If the character dies, well ...

    So itís easy for a GM to say the players should take more risks, because for the GM taking risks has low costs. For the players the cost of risks are exponentially higher.
    This is generally true.

    That's why a huge part of the GM's job, if they want failure to be a thing, is to ensure appropriate costs of failure. Failure needs to be a matter of complications and not crushing defeat if you want players to be tolerant of it.
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  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    This is generally true.

    That's why a huge part of the GM's job, if they want failure to be a thing, is to ensure appropriate costs of failure. Failure needs to be a matter of complications and not crushing defeat if you want players to be tolerant of it.
    Failing forward. For some value of "forward." More failing interestingly. Failures should move the narrative in some direction. Only in the most extreme cases should it bring the narrative to an abrupt end.
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  14. - Top - End - #74
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Failing forward. For some value of "forward." More failing interestingly. Failures should move the narrative in some direction. Only in the most extreme cases should it bring the narrative to an abrupt end.
    Yup. And, to be explicit, "failing forward" should not always mean "succeeding, but with some trivial complication" (just because that's the strawman version).

    It often means "failure", but in such a way that hte failure creates complications rather than a stoppage.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Fail Forward avoids the TPK/stuck situation, but I don't know that it encourages risky behavior - it depends on what kind of mood/style the players are going for.

    Personally speaking, if I get a result like "Yes, you hacked the system, but in the process you accidentally exposed your friend's info and they got blamed - they're now a wanted criminal and/or dead" - that's not a partial success. That's a major ****ing failure, in many cases worse than just having failed entirely.

    Now does that mean I'll avoid it? Depends on the campaign. If we're playing Fiasco or something with a similar vibe, where the point is to be playing as trainwrecks-in-progress who probably get a bad end, then sure, full speed ahead. If it's a more "traditional" setup, with the player usually sharing the same goals as the character, then no, I'm gonna treat methods that produce that result as "probably a bad idea" and find another way if possible.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2020-09-15 at 03:56 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Fail Forward avoids the TPK/stuck situation, but I don't know that it encourages risky behavior - it depends on what kind of mood/style the players are going for.

    Personally speaking, if I get a result like "Yes, you hacked the system, but in the process you accidentally exposed your friend's info and they got blamed - they're now a wanted criminal and/or dead" - that's not a partial success. That's a major ****ing failure, in many cases worse than just having failed entirely.

    Now does that mean I'll avoid it? Depends on the campaign. If we're playing Fiasco or something with a similar vibe, where the point is to be playing as trainwrecks-in-progress who probably get a bad end, then sure, full speed ahead. If it's a more "traditional" setup, with the player usually sharing the same goals as the character, then no, I'm gonna treat methods that produce that result as "probably a bad idea" and find another way if possible.
    Fail forward doesn't just mean "success at a cost" though. It can also mean "failure", just not in a "TPK/game stalls" way. "Okay you alerted the people in the computer and now there's extra heat.

    Also, it's almost like you can vary the intensity of the consequences in a Fail Forward situation. It doesn't have to be THE WORST THING EVER and, in fact, probably shouldn't be on every roll.
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  17. - Top - End - #77
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Blades in the Dark has the only effective mechanic Iíve seen for curtailing planning.

    Essentially, planning isnít allowed. The game starts, and the heist starts.

    BUT when you find yourself in a situation where youíd have wanted to set something up, you are allowed to call for a flashback. Want to slip by a guard, call for a flashback where you set up the bribe to get them out of the way.
    I consider myself an author first, a GM second and a player third.

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  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Also, it's almost like you can vary the intensity of the consequences in a Fail Forward situation. It doesn't have to be THE WORST THING EVER and, in fact, probably shouldn't be on every roll.
    Sure, no disagreement there.

    Just IME, those type of "in the immediate term no problem, in the long term it's very bad" consequences are what I've seen recommended in a number of discussions and even official advice. Because for some players, that is fun. And I'm not saying it's inherently bad, just that to me it's not any more appealing than "fail hard" in terms of whether I want to risk it or not.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2020-09-15 at 07:40 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Sure, no disagreement there.

    Just IME, those type of "in the immediate term no problem, in the long term it's very bad" consequences are what I've seen recommended in a number of discussions and even official advice. Because for some players, that is fun. And I'm not saying it's inherently bad, just that to me it's not any more appealing than "fail hard" in terms of whether I want to risk it or not.
    For me it just depends on the scene and the tension we've got going.

    Stakes of a single action tend to be fairly low. Like, one bad roll leading to a complete disruption of the game probably isn't warranted.

    Stakes of a scene can be higher. Like, if you don't get the necessary MacGuffin from the bad guys, they'll be one step away from finding the Wark of the Smovenant, and now you'll have to infiltrate their base to stop them. Which is going to be harder than just going and finding the damn thing yourself.

    Of course, I'm mostly running Fate these days, so a lot of that boils down to "where do you spend your Fate Points", so you can pretty much always win a scene if you want to badly enough, though that means you probably won't be able to win a later one. At the minimum, that gives you some agency beyond "oh, I had a bad roll, better suck it up" and I think that makes it a bit easier to swallow.

    There also does seem to be a reasonably sized contingent of RPG players that just can't stand losing at all, under any circumstances. This obviously wouldn't work for them.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-16 at 09:13 AM.
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  20. - Top - End - #80
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How to encourage risky gameplay

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post

    There also does seem to be a reasonably sized contingent of RPG players that just can't stand losing at all, under any circumstances. This obviously wouldn't work for them.
    That's definitely true, and i think discussing and sharing ways to help players break out of this habit or mentality is one of the most helpful and useful things about threads like this.

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