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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I think part of that issue is that most systems don't explain what "illusions" are supposed to be or do. One place I don't recall seeing these basic level "illusion debates" is the HERO system, where the limits are more explicit and the system tells you that a 60 point illusion power needs to have the same level of game effect as a 60 point fire power. D&D, by not having any sort of power level metrics for magic (ok, 4e did for combat magic), has a tendency to put crap spells an op spells at the same levels which confuses things a bit.

    I should try sometime a copy/paste between some D&D illusion/other spells to see what the effect is.
    D&D and its wider playerbase never seemed able to decide if illusions are psychic, or optical/etc.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    D&D and its wider playerbase never seemed able to decide if illusions are psychic, or optical/etc.
    This is easiest to see by D&D explicitly making both types of illusion spells. I think Illusion started as optical and then psionics encouraged the addition of psychic illusions too.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Well, we have:
    Figment,
    Glamors,
    Patterns,
    Phantasms,
    And Shadows,

    Figments are real in the sense of being a physical effect but cannot effect anything, usually a visual effect and always effect a defined area.
    Glamors are similar but attach to a creature or object, acting as a disguise.
    Patterns are visuals designed to overwhelm or confuse rather than deceive. They can charm, confuse, blind or any number of related conditions.
    Phantasms are psychic effects, they cannot be observed outside the intended target. The are usually made to evoke fear, but any emotion is fair game and can cause similar deceptions as figments.
    Shadows are not illusions in the strictest sense, but rather energy from the shadow plane shaped to create a temporary effect. They can be partially disbelieved because of how shadow stuff respons to emotion but will still have physical effects to to being a true effect to some degree.

    At least that is how 3.5 did illusions. 5e uses the terms in places, but they have lost cohesion somewhat.
    Last edited by Witty Username; 2021-08-22 at 07:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    All of the illusion spells with hard-coded mechanics are supremely easy to adjudicate - but many of them are not. There's no mechanical dial that counts down 'how long until these orcs decide to test if the wall the wizard conjured in front of them is made of rock or pixie-dust,' which can easily lead to standstills or totally one-sided affairs or other various horror stories. It's weird that a system (D&D 3.5 specifically) just leaves all of its simulationist modelling at the door when it comes to these sorts of spells. They function purely by fiat.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Witty Username View Post
    Illusions are one of my favorite concepts in magic. Fundamentally, it is the weakest form of magic, it is the only one defined by not actually doing anything. But it is about belief, if they act like the illusion is real, it doesn't matter. Also, illusions are free form rather than concrete. I really like this dichotomy of limitless and powerless.
    A lot of the time you create awesome effects and manipulate situations to your advantage. Some times you get punched in the throat and beaten to a pulp. Creativity and cunning are they things that keep one from being the other.

    As for hard to adjudicate, I feel like that depends on the player and gm. Illusions can be hard to wrap ones head around. A player unaware of how to use an illusion effectively or falls into patterns will be pretty easy. The more creative the player, or with a scarier level of experience can be much more difficult. I would keep in mind that different creatures will react in different ways to the same thing. An illusion of a stone wall will work well against goblins, poorly against an ogre simply because of temperament. Also, most creatures don't have a good idea of what magic is, but a wizard should have a keen eye for your bull****.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    D&D and its wider playerbase never seemed able to decide if illusions are psychic, or optical/etc.
    Both, it seems.
    Donde esta nuestra OP, I wonder?
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Donde esta nuestra OP, I wonder?
    No idea. I asked a clarifying question 1 week ago and they fell silent.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    I can see how the Negativity Bias can cause people to be more inclined to change rule X if it ruined the game once and provided minor value the rest of the time. The Bias causes one to register the negative more readily and dwell on it more. Thus the times when the rule was bad will be noticed more readily, feel worse, and impact the session longer. Mentally accommodating for the Negativity Bias can decrease its impact/frequency, however the outcome post Negativity Bias is a real emotional state. We can still make rational decisions using the "rule W in circumstance X causes negative emotional state Y in player Z". The prima facie rational response, with respect to RPG enjoyment, is to be a satisficer rather than an optimizer. The prima facie rational response of a satisificer to a rule that sometimes ruins the game and generally provides a minor benefit is to remove/change that rule to increase the number of successful sessions even if it lowers the ceiling on those successful sessions.

    So the phenomena that I see defined as "reacts to outcome of the Negativity Bias by removing/changing rules that ruined sessions" is real, but it is a rational response and does not mention Learned Helplessness. So I can say this phenomena is real, but I need clarification about which phenomena you were asking about. If you intend "Trauma-based game design" to be the product of those 2 cognitive phenomena rather than the response of the rational satisficer to the outcome of the Negativity Bias, then I would appreciate clarification.
    So, initially, my line of thought on hearing about the rational satisficer was
    Having real swords at the table for D&D, and real guns at the table for ShadowRun, added to the ambiance and immersion. Until one day, when pappy wandered downstairs drunk, and shot Kenny.
    But then I thought,
    Just role-playing was fine, until that one time My Guy ruined the game.
    So I think I'm a fan of the rational satisficer response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    With stealth its the "roll until you fail" thing because (i think) the writers assume the dms know how iterative probability works. And i fully admit to doing the illusion & charm fails too, back long ago.
    I'm a fan of this minigame, of the "it's not so much *if*, but *when* you'll be spotted", "how much are you willing to risk / how well can you measure risk vs reward" minigame. There's so much more tension and building of stakes than a simple "one and done" roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Exactly. I'm not going to stretch spells; they're already powerful enough. I'll give them their full written weight, but nothing else. And I'll do it in a magic aware context. You're not the first people to cast spells.

    For charm person, the target (assuming a failed save) won't care that you cast a spell. Other people around, seeing the spell and the change in behavior? They're gonna know something hinky is up, even if not exactly what. May not be initiative (unless they were already on the edge of it anyway), but they're not going to react well, generally.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Yeah. In context, this is fine for this case. It'd be less fine if that were the long-standing "everyone knows exactly what to do and knows exactly what everything does (ie has the rulebook in front of them)" policy. At least IMO. People should react based on what they know or could assume.
    So I invent a new spell, that shows people their heart's desire, or the paradise I'm creating, or some such.

    I try to use it on your world.

    I cast a spell, the target gets a blissful expression, and is then more friendly towards me.

    And everyone else hates me. Because they saw me cast a spell, and someone's behavior changed.

    Good to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    There's no mechanical dial that counts down 'how long until these orcs decide to test if the wall the wizard conjured in front of them is made of rock or pixie-dust,' which can easily lead to standstills or totally one-sided affairs or other various horror stories. It's weird that a system (D&D 3.5 specifically) just leaves all of its simulationist modelling at the door when it comes to these sorts of spells. They function purely by fiat.
    There's also no mechanical dial that counts down 'how long until the PCs decide to test if the wall the wizard conjured in front of them is made of rock or pixie-dust. It functions purely by role-playing.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, initially, my line of thought on hearing about the rational satisficer was
    Having real swords at the table for D&D, and real guns at the table for ShadowRun, added to the ambiance and immersion. Until one day, when pappy wandered downstairs drunk, and shot Kenny.
    But then I thought,
    Just role-playing was fine, until that one time My Guy ruined the game.
    So I think I'm a fan of the rational satisficer response.
    Another example
    Situation: A player frequently brought homemade snacks, and one day someone had an airborne peanut allergic reaction.
    Reaction: The player avoids peanuts in their D&D snack recipes and brings an ingredient list.
    Outcome: The brownies still taste great. The sessions are still enjoyable. The player chose to do a little extra work and thus slightly decreased their net enjoyment, but they still considered the sessions to be enjoyable. As a result there were fewer bad sessions and more good sessions.

    Increase the number/frequency of good sessions and decrease the number/frequency of bad sessions. Accept any session that is "good enough" as a good session for this metric. There is no point in optimizing the perfect session if it converts some good sessions into bad sessions.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-23 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    There's also no mechanical dial that counts down 'how long until the PCs decide to test if the wall the wizard conjured in front of them is made of rock or pixie-dust. It functions purely by role-playing.
    Right, they're badly designed spells. Saying 'well, they operate on pure fiat for everyone' isn't a refutation of my point about how them operating on pure fiat is bad.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So I invent a new spell, that shows people their heart's desire, or the paradise I'm creating, or some such.

    I try to use it on your world.

    I cast a spell, the target gets a blissful expression, and is then more friendly towards me.

    And everyone else hates me. Because they saw me cast a spell, and someone's behavior changed.

    Good to know.
    People will react based on their experiences and their take on the situation. And that depends on the situation. Just as an analogous situation would be in the real world.

    Yes, you might get the initial "what the heck did you do!" reaction. And the law might (justifiably) treat any non-consensual magic as a hostile action. Just like if you go and inject someone on the street with a (hypothetical) non-addicting[1] "pure bliss" drug without their prior consent. That's assault (at minimum). Doesn't matter if later, they liked it.

    So I'd say that in general, casting spells on people without their prior, knowing consent is a no-no and likely to get at least a negative, if not hostile, reaction from onlookers. It's a form of assault, and in a world with real magic, it's a form of assault with a deadly weapon. Casting a spell without notice and consent, in anything like a settled, lawful area, is akin to pulling out a gun and waving it around in the real world. Does that put a crimp in magical street shows? Absolutely. Feature, not bug, as far as the societies are concerned. And the default in any sane society is going to be "suspect bad things, then verify". And I'd suspect that mind altering magic is very high up on the "don't do that without ample warning, signed consent, and verification" list. And yes, people in a magical world will recognize spell casting, even if they don't recognize the spell itself.

    Do it in a "bliss parlor", where the whole point is that people come and pay for the experience? No one's going to care. In fact, you'll probably get more business.

    Any other option makes for incoherent settings where people don't act anything like real people would.

    [1] which is a contradiction--any such thing is inherently incredibly addicting.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Increase the number/frequency of good sessions and decrease the number/frequency of bad sessions. Accept any session that is "good enough" as a good session for this metric. There is no point in optimizing the perfect session if it converts some good sessions into bad sessions.
    +1 to this.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    So I'd say that in general, casting spells on people without their prior, knowing consent is a no-no and likely to get at least a negative, if not hostile, reaction from onlookers.
    Unless it's a healing spell, I suspect. we had an RP bit more than once in your game, I think, where I got one of our fallen foes up with a healing word right after they dropped to zero ... My most recent recollection was that dragon during the night of the 20's and 1's (feeling gravity's pull)

    Interestingly: Revivify does not require consent of the soul. Raise Dead does. (and so does Resurrection)

    Funny anecdote: in my brother's game, the rest of the party got into an argument that turned bloody. Three of three non PCs dropped and my Life Cleric immediately used her channel divinity to get them up. But one stayed dead. (DM was a bit surprised that I did that, but he rolled with the idea). (I was pissed at my party mates for not doing the 'knock out' thing, I can tell you that, IC).

    What did I do? I talked the rogue and the dwarf party leader into us three going to the widow's house and offering an apology and a weregeld. (We ended up giving her 200 GP). I also took that opportunity to cast continual flame on my mace (I burned a ruby on that, well spent thinks I). I gave that mace to the now fatherless child - told him it was a symbol/memorial of his father's love for them always burning brightly.

    The DM really liked that touch.

    The three murderhoboes thought I was wasting money but I think they got the message.
    (That life cleric ended up retiring from adventuring and living in that town, for an unrelated reason: she got pregnant)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-08-23 at 03:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    All of the illusion spells with hard-coded mechanics are supremely easy to adjudicate - but many of them are not. There's no mechanical dial that counts down 'how long until these orcs decide to test if the wall the wizard conjured in front of them is made of rock or pixie-dust,' which can easily lead to standstills or totally one-sided affairs or other various horror stories. It's weird that a system (D&D 3.5 specifically) just leaves all of its simulationist modelling at the door when it comes to these sorts of spells. They function purely by fiat.
    That's not just illusion spells though. For example, I frequently but heads with my players over just how long a monster will stand there ineffectually whacking at something that has a protection spell up on it before moving on to find a squishier target.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    That's not just illusion spells though. For example, I frequently but heads with my players over just how long a monster will stand there ineffectually whacking at something that has a protection spell up on it before moving on to find a squishier target.
    Well, probably twice for most people and predators. The first ineffective hit could be a fluke, the second hit is confirmation. Creatures that are dumb, unwise, or enraged will strike at least once more. After that I'd make some sort of int/wis/skill/morale/'combat experience' test to see what they do, which test would depend on the creature's archtype and the nature of the defense.

    For your players I'd consider mechanizing it into an add on to a morale check system or something.

    D&D 5e has a problem with the charm/mind control spells called "sorcerer subtle spell", which I keep seeing used as the reason nobody else can ever get away them. DMs use it to soft ban charms (unless sorcerer & subtle of course) because the target knows a spell was cast and they know they changed their attitude to the caster, therefore they know they're under mind control. That might not be how some people think it should work, but its what I kept seeing happen.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    I can see how making the casting visibility a factor could be seen as shutting down enchantment, but what about when it's just parity between PC and NPC reactions?

    GM: The merchant you're questioning mutters something in draconic and makes a strange hand motion. Bob, make a Will save.
    Bob: Failed.
    GM: You have the strong feeling that this guy is trustworthy and you should stop hassling him.
    Bob: Guys, I think we're questioning the wrong person. He's obviously innocent.
    Other Players: Ok, well he obviously used a charm spell. We tell him to dispel it and not try anything like that again or else.
    GM: No, you have no reason to suspect anything like that.
    Players: Bull****! (and they would be right to say this, IMO)

    I do personally rule (in 3.x) that if you fail the save against an enchantment it suppresses noticing the casting, but that doesn't prevent other people from noticing what happened, or the target from remembering it once the enchantment wears off. IIRC, the text is ambiguous about this point.

    Some ways to avoid this:
    * Silent Spell and cast from hiding.
    * Silent Spell, get the target alone, and cast when they're not looking at you.
    * Sneak into the target's room and cast it on them while they're asleep.
    * That feat (I think) which lets you blend components into a performance.
    * Make an excuse for casting a different spell, hope nobody is good at Spellcraft.
    * Pretend you're casting the spell on a different target who's in on the scam.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-08-23 at 06:27 PM.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    I can see how making the casting visibility a factor could be seen as shutting down enchantment, but what about when it's just parity between PC and NPC reactions?

    GM: The merchant you're questioning mutters something in draconic and makes a strange hand motion. Bob, make a Will save.
    Bob: Failed.
    GM: You have the strong feeling that this guy is trustworthy and you should stop hassling him.
    Bob: Guys, I think we're questioning the wrong person. He's obviously innocent.
    Other Players: Ok, well he obviously used a charm spell. We tell him to dispel it and not try anything like that again or else.
    GM: No, you have no reason to suspect anything like that.
    Players: Bull****! (and they would be right to say this, IMO)

    I do personally rule (in 3.x) that if you fail the save against an enchantment it suppresses noticing the casting, but that doesn't prevent other people from noticing what happened, or the target from remembering it once the enchantment wears off. IIRC, the text is ambiguous about this point.

    Some ways to avoid this:
    * Silent Spell and cast from hiding.
    * Silent Spell, get the target alone, and cast when they're not looking at you.
    * Sneak into the target's room and cast it on them while they're asleep.
    * That feat (I think) which lets you blend components into a performance.
    * Make an excuse for casting a different spell, hope nobody is good at Spellcraft.
    * Pretend you're casting the spell on a different target who's in on the scam.
    I'm totally ok with the players calling BS on that. Because it is. Open spellcasting is obvious, and unless it's clear what the spell is, it's not friendly by default. The PC, if the save fails, is bound by it, but no one else is.

    To say otherwise it's to give magic way more power than it deserves and more than it says it has. Restrictions and limitations are there for a reason and shouldn't be waived unless there's a darn good reason in fiction.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Clearly, I failed in my description. My so-called "bliss" spell was intended to connect to the "illusion" conversation more directly, and be misidentified as mind control. It was more like "a picture of paradise". Or, more to the point, the "spell" was intended as a… word… as a "substitute", as a "stand-in" for "words" or "ideas" (the way "guardians of the galaxy" is a stand-in for dysfunctional families).

    So my subtext was, "give someone an idea that makes them happy / improves their life, get punished for it".

    Just as magic can heal or harm, so, too, can words help or hurt. Yet it's not exactly normal culture to assume anyone speaking or writing is performing the equivalent of waving a gun around.

    I don't know that it makes an incoherent setting for the populous to assume that all ideas are bad, but it certainly doesn't sound like an optimal one.

    Obviously, I view and use magic much more as a tool than a weapon compared to your average adventurer.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Clearly, I failed in my description. My so-called "bliss" spell was intended to connect to the "illusion" conversation more directly, and be misidentified as mind control. It was more like "a picture of paradise". Or, more to the point, the "spell" was intended as a… word… as a "substitute", as a "stand-in" for "words" or "ideas" (the way "guardians of the galaxy" is a stand-in for dysfunctional families).

    So my subtext was, "give someone an idea that makes them happy / improves their life, get punished for it".

    Just as magic can heal or harm, so, too, can words help or hurt. Yet it's not exactly normal culture to assume anyone speaking or writing is performing the equivalent of waving a gun around.

    I don't know that it makes an incoherent setting for the populous to assume that all ideas are bad, but it certainly doesn't sound like an optimal one.

    Obviously, I view and use magic much more as a tool than a weapon compared to your average adventurer.
    Doesn't matter. Use magic without asking and it's assault. Plain and simple. Doesn't matter what it is. Helpful, harmful, doesn't matter. And mind affecting magic should always be presumed to be harmful.

    Yes, magic is a tool. But if you go around applying tools to people without their consent, that's not a good thing. Nor should you expect to get a good reaction. Even if you're intending to help.

    And there's a huge difference between words (which are of limited harm unless accepted) and magic, which...well...can destroy your mind. Or kill you. Or make you do things you didn't want to do. Magic is and must be considered to be on the same status as a weapon, because in many cases it is. Starting to cast a spell without consent is isomorphic to pulling a sword. Even if all you're doing is slaying that pesky snake. It's still something you have to ask permission for.

    And this goes exponentially more if it's already a tense scenario, which was the presumption of this sub-thread. Cops pull you over and you start shouting at them in words they don't understand, when they know that other people who shout those words summon monsters, create fireballs, dominate minds, etc? That's identical to pulling a weapon and you should expect to get attacked. In a world with magic, especially when not everyone can trivially identify what you're casting until it's too late (and not even then), magic is a threat. Inherently.

    Even if injecting someone with drugs would make them feel better, doing it without consent is still assault at best, attempted murder at worst. It's not your right to do that. It's a gross violation of all sorts of human rights. And mind control magic is inherently suspicious, if not downright nefarious. Even if you're doing it for good reasons, it's still very close to evil if not over the line.

    I'd say that any setting where this isn't true is an incoherent one, one that cannot be stable by its own standards. Given powerful magic, casting a spell must be a threat. Or else the setting is dominated by morons and will have fallen apart or fallen in thrall to those spell-casters.

    Edit: the sub-text only holds if ideas can take over your mind without your consent. Which they can't, not in any normal sense. Ideas need to be accepted and implemented to take effect. Magic...does not. It just happens if you fail your save. Ideas aren't truly viral infections. Being told an idea, in and of itself, cannot change your life. Only accepting it (consciously or not) and acting on it can. Magic, well, can change your life. Mostly for the worse.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-08-24 at 10:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Edit: the sub-text only holds if ideas can take over your mind without your consent. Which they can't, not in any normal sense. Ideas need to be accepted and implemented to take effect. Magic...does not. It just happens if you fail your save. Ideas aren't truly viral infections. Being told an idea, in and of itself, cannot change your life. Only accepting it (consciously or not) and acting on it can. Magic, well, can change your life. Mostly for the worse.
    Technically, this is only so far as we know. It may in fact be possible to use sensory information as a direct mental attack, and this idea appears in certain forms of science fiction, particularly in those wherein characters possess mental architecture optimized for network interfacing, ie. 'cyberbrains.' Ghost in the Shell contains several famous examples, and the idea is basically the entire premise of Snow Crash. This has appeared in gaming in Eclipse Phase as the 'basilisk hack.'

    But, yes, when this sort of thing appears in science fiction it tends to be illegal as it gets and also mental security is considered incredibly important. Snow Crash is illustrative in that the coalition to stop the release of the neurolinguistic hacking virus is comprised of basically every significant interest group on the planet
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Clearly, I failed in my description. My so-called "bliss" spell was intended to connect to the "illusion" conversation more directly, and be misidentified as mind control. It was more like "a picture of paradise". Or, more to the point, the "spell" was intended as a… word… as a "substitute", as a "stand-in" for "words" or "ideas" (the way "guardians of the galaxy" is a stand-in for dysfunctional families).

    So my subtext was, "give someone an idea that makes them happy / improves their life, get punished for it".

    Just as magic can heal or harm, so, too, can words help or hurt. Yet it's not exactly normal culture to assume anyone speaking or writing is performing the equivalent of waving a gun around.

    I don't know that it makes an incoherent setting for the populous to assume that all ideas are bad, but it certainly doesn't sound like an optimal one.

    Obviously, I view and use magic much more as a tool than a weapon compared to your average adventurer.
    I am with PhoenixPhyre on this one.

    It would be different, if
    a) dangerous mind control magic is impossible
    or
    b) It is so trivially easy to identify spells that harmless spells are recognized as harmless by everyone.

    If one of those is given, such spellcasting might still be against local ettiquette or law but would not be treated as attack.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Doesn't matter. Use magic without asking and it's assault. Plain and simple. Doesn't matter what it is. Helpful, harmful, doesn't matter. And mind affecting magic should always be presumed to be harmful.
    I disagree with the general statement. There are situations where the crime is in not using magic. Healing magic used to save someone's life is not assault. If someone goes into anaphylactic shock and I use an Epipen on them, I didn't assault them, even if I didn't ask consent beforehand. Neither do I assault someone by administering CPR. In the same vein, a healing spell on someone who got stabbed, run over by a carriage or fell from a tree is not assault.

    There are also borderline cases; what if someone is trying to commit suicide? Is featherfall on someone trying to jump from a building assault? What about reverse gravity instead? How about something like suggestion? In a modern world, there would probably be a whole branch of law dedicated to the lawful and unlawful uses of magic. Hm, this is actually an interesting setting to explore...

    Admittedly, I'm from a country where not helping a person in distress is considered a crime, so I might be biased here.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    Neither do I assault someone by administering CPR.
    I wouldn't be particulary surprised (disappointed though) if people have been charged with assault for doing just that.

    However, as far as magic goes, the essence of the arguement is in the "not knowing until its too late". If someone asked me for a drink, and I pulled a gun on them, the arguement of "its a water pistol" is one I would expect to be making from face down on the pavement with several people on top of me.

    While I certainly could appreciate the idea of a setting where magic has certain colours or other special effects, such that a healing spell can be obviously differentiated from a Fireball from the first word of the invocation, that's not the base assumption (hence the long discussions on how to handle Counterspell), so any 'friendly' spell cast really needs to be prefaced with "I am about to do x, is that cool with you".
    Last edited by Glorthindel; 2021-08-25 at 06:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    There are also borderline cases; what if someone is trying to commit suicide? Is featherfall on someone trying to jump from a building assault?
    I agree with you about the healing, but, some will argue that casting that featherfall on them violated their right to make a choice ... but that topic is loaded. Maybe we ought to step away from that. (And there are some cultural norms that vary on that score). I had to tread very carefully here when someone asked for 'advice on how to suicide my PC that I don't like anymore such that the DM can't save me from myself' - I had fun writing the answer, but the topic itself is such a minefield that a mod gave me a number of "uh, careful!" comments before they were happy with how I framed the answer.
    Admittedly, I'm from a country where not helping a person in distress is considered a crime, so I might be biased here.
    There's not an absolute standard, yeah, which makes this conversation difficult.
    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I wouldn't be particularly surprised (disappointed though) if people have been charged with assault for doing just that.
    Lawyers gotta lawy - though where I am from Good Samaritan statues usually protect the one offering aid.
    However, as far as magic goes, the essence of the argument is in the "not knowing until its too late". If someone asked me for a drink, and I pulled a gun on them, the argument of "its a water pistol" is one I would expect to be making from face down on the pavement with several people on top of me.
    Yeah.
    so any 'friendly' spell cast really needs to be prefaced with "I am about to do x, is that cool with you?"
    It ought to be, but remember that the sub culture of geek gaming includes incentives for murder hobo behavior. And not just in TTRPG's. If we look at the related game forms like Grand Theft Auto, Halo, etc, and the joy of ganking in games going back to Ultima Online, these all inform a gaming culture of doing unto others without asking as a norm.

    I remember when WoW came out; they recognized that styles and tastes differ, so you found co-op servers, pvp servers, and RP servers. Not sure if that's still how it works, I have not WoW'd in a long time.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Honestly the whole "magic; legal or illegal" thing isn't central to the point of this thread.

    I have 20 years of people crapping on illusions and charms in & because of D&D*. I can't fix people, but I can write rules. So in my DtD40k7e revision there's a page with one column on mind control magic and one column on illusions, with basic "how to be fair between DMs & players" details and advice**.

    Others have a view from recent D&D editions that magic in general, or perhaps just the D&D wizard class, needs to be stomped on and made to fail in any rule-lawyer way possible.

    * its from all sides, players & dms, trying for too much & ******* stealth nerfs/cheats.

    ** basically because its not d&d magic/wizards "energyball = dominate = major illusion = animate dead = ploymorph = dispel = portal gun". A 3rd level spell is a 3rd level spell and should have a 3rd level effect, which isn't happening if you screw over two of the schools.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Magic is and must be considered to be on the same status as a weapon, because in many cases it is. Starting to cast a spell without consent is isomorphic to pulling a sword. Even if all you're doing is slaying that pesky snake. It's still something you have to ask permission for.

    And this goes exponentially more if it's already a tense scenario, which was the presumption of this sub-thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    If someone asked me for a drink, and I pulled a gun on them, the arguement of "its a water pistol" is one I would expect to be making from face down on the pavement with several people on top of me.

    any 'friendly' spell cast really needs to be prefaced with "I am about to do x, is that cool with you".
    When someone asks me, "where's the nearest gas station", and I look it up on my phone, I don't ask, "I'm about to check for you - is that OK?".

    However, in a tense situation, where the police maybe already have their guns out, if I go to pull out my phone when they ask me a question, I might well get shot.

    A spell is a tool. A setting which over-focuses on the "weapon" potential of spells… I won't say it's incoherent, but… more like ignorantly superstitions, burning women with cats as witches.

    That… doesn't make it wrong. If I teleported 100 people through time to stand before 100 random dark ages nobles, or 100 peasant groups, and pull out various tools, it might be the case that 100/100 of them would rapidly meet violent ends. But I wouldn't call history "incoherent" if some of them survived their unannounced tool-wielding.

    It's actually a really narrow band, where the society knows enough about magic to recognize it, but not enough to recognize it, and believes in it as a weapon, that even could produce an expectation of a violent response without being incoherent. I know that most of my settings emphatically do not live in that band - either by the general public not recognizing magic, by it being so prolific that everyone has heard all the common spells repeatedly like songs on the radio (standard 3e), or by it being a ubiquitous part of everyday life (or a sign of nobility, or only used as "art", or…) rather than a weapon of some sketchy "adventurer" cast.

    As to the tenor,

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I think the closest to 'learned helplessness' I've experienced at rpg tables is a long running tendency of D&D players to avoid illusions, charms, and stealth* because DMs keep punishing for the use of those abilities by players.

    I suppose that means any advice/rules covering those things and trying for a more structured & fair game play could qualify as trauma based? I mean, the ideal solution is training DMs & players not to be *******s about it. But 30 years in I still see it happening, meaning the "people solution" either isn't working or isn't implemented.

    *unless the character can be over-built for stealth to the point they can't fail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    With stealth its the "roll until you fail" thing because (i think) the writers assume the dms know how iterative probability works. And i fully admit to doing the illusion & charm fails too, back long ago.

    Mostly its that the character took the opportunity cost to get & use an illusion/charm rather than just another fireball or other blast spell. Therefore, assuming they aren't supposed to be trap options, they should be roughly as effective as the blasts just in a different way. But to this day (ok, this year, haven't gamed in weeks) i still hear "illusions don't say they cast shadows so auto-disbelieve in light" and "doesn't say npcs can't perceive the spell so they know you cast charm on them, roll initative" from new dms or "casters are op" people. Sometimes i go to the flgs and hang around the organized play tables to remind myself who to avoid.

    The intro to this concept was quite tenor-neutral. So it is certainly not the case that a "tense scenario" is "the presumption of this sub-thread".

    Further,

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Exactly. I'm not going to stretch spells; they're already powerful enough. I'll give them their full written weight, but nothing else. And I'll do it in a magic aware context. You're not the first people to cast spells.

    For charm person, the target (assuming a failed save) won't care that you cast a spell. Other people around, seeing the spell and the change in behavior? They're gonna know something hinky is up, even if not exactly what. May not be initiative (
    unless they were already on the edge of it anyway
    ), but they're not going to react well, generally.

    (Emphasis added) - looks like at one point you knew that.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    When someone asks me, "where's the nearest gas station", and I look it up on my phone, I don't ask, "I'm about to check for you - is that OK?".

    However, in a tense situation, where the police maybe already have their guns out, if I go to pull out my phone when they ask me a question, I might well get shot.

    A spell is a tool. A setting which over-focuses on the "weapon" potential of spells… I won't say it's incoherent, but… more like ignorantly superstitions, burning women with cats as witches.
    There are particular effects that incentivize people to develop caution as a defense or even survival mechanism. That caution can mistake perfectly safe tools that happen to have the same signs that the survival mechanism is using to defense against the dangerous threat.

    "Effect can change the mental state of target without clear and verifiable method & limits" is one of the signs that survival mechanisms against mind control look for as warning signs.

    I recently encountered some clickbait. The contents were junk but the promise was a story premise of "Dangerous AI in a box tells jokes". That story premise was going to be an interesting read primarily because it triggers a warning sign of "AI in a box communicates".
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-25 at 03:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    A spell is a tool. A setting which over-focuses on the "weapon" potential of spells… I won't say it's incoherent, but… more like ignorantly superstitions, burning women with cats as witches.
    We were not talking about every spell. We were talking about a spell cast on a stranger. And the stranger changing behavior afterwards.

    Well, yes, that is in pretty much every not contrieved situation something hostile.

    It's actually a really narrow band, where the society knows enough about magic to recognize it, but not enough to recognize it
    No, that is not a narrow band, that is supercommon. It is usually some kind of action or skilltest or something to identify a spell which requires expert knowledge while recognizing spellcastingitself is trivial due to very obvious gesture, recitations or even side-effects.
    In fact, of all the fantasy games i have played i can't remember a single one that does not life in that "narrow" band (mostly by writing drules making it difficult to identify spells).

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Yeah, I don't find it odd that people would be upset by unexplained spellcasting.
    In a science fiction setting, if someone pointed a small device of unknown purpose at you, would you be alarmed? I probably would.
    And you'll notice that doctors don't go around suprise-injecting people with things, even if those things are completely harmless.

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Yeah, I don't find it odd that people would be upset by unexplained spellcasting.
    In a science fiction setting, if someone pointed a small device of unknown purpose at you, would you be alarmed? I probably would.
    And you'll notice that doctors don't go around suprise-injecting people with things, even if those things are completely harmless.
    This

    And you (Quertus)'ll note that none of us have said that the reaction would be unrecoverably hostile. Upset? Demanding explanations? Wary? Surprised and not pleased? Sure. But unless you were already on the brink of hostilities, you can likely talk your way out of further problems. Not a great look, but not "roll initiative", at least not by default.

    Charm spells work best if you have the target alone (at least without any of his allies around). They're much less use if the target has a bunch of his friends around. Note that this is something that "mundane" diplomacy/bluffing/intimidation doesn't necessarily suffer from--you can persuade a bunch of people with about the same effort as persuading one person, and as long as you're diplomatic about it, you're much less likely to cause hurt feelings. Spells are a blunt tool, trading higher power and less effort for much higher potential downsides. And that's how it should work.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    When someone asks me, "where's the nearest gas station", and I look it up on my phone, I don't ask, "I'm about to check for you - is that OK?".
    Go through all your phones functions, how many of them can kill a person within six seconds of activation. Unless you have something really worrying going on with your battery, I would guess its a low number.

    Likewise, how many of those functions can seriously harm someones reputation, or cause some form of (non fatal, but still significant mental) trauma in the same number of seconds. Ah, we actually have some here, most notably the camera function and possibly a voice recorder. As a frequent reader of r/aita, I can tell you not a week goes by where there isn't a story of someone getting bent out of shape because someone else was holding a phone near them and they thought they were taking a photo or video when they weren't. Seems phones aren't universally harmless, and can cause adverse reactions due to misunderstanding, and they can't kill people (dodgy battery possibly not withstanding).

    Then lets go through the spell list. How many of them can kill within six seconds of activation? Personally, I am not going to bother counting, but I would be surprised if it wasn't in the 40-60% band. Likewise, how many can cause negative effects on the target (I would guess up to 75%). When somethings most common function is to cause harm, the fact it can also be beneficial occasionally is not going to offset a base wariness at its use.

    Sure, context matters, and i am sure someone dressed in the robes of the local Priesthood of Healing is going to have a bit more freedom than some random with a staff and robe. Just like someone dressed as a paramedic would have a bit more freedom waving random needles around than a skinny goth with red-rimmed eyes and a twitch. And I certainly get questioned a lot less holding a camera phone on a building site than I did the time i was doing so on the edge of a girls high school sports field (this actually happened - I am an architect and was working on a science building extension - probably didn't help my demeanor that I was very aware of how dodgy I looked!).

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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    We were not talking about every spell. We were talking about a spell cast on a stranger. And the stranger changing behavior afterwards.

    Well, yes, that is in pretty much every not contrieved situation something hostile.
    Having done effectively just that in numerous settings, I can say that it was neither contrived, nor did the setting feel incoherent when the onlookers didn't immediately check whether they had "form angry mob" on their character sheets when a character did something obviously magical, and someone's behavior changed.

    Heck, just look at Gandalf for… how many examples of that?

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Yeah, I don't find it odd that people would be upset by unexplained spellcasting.
    In a science fiction setting, if someone pointed a small device of unknown purpose at you, would you be alarmed? I probably would.
    And you'll notice that doctors don't go around suprise-injecting people with things, even if those things are completely harmless.
    Ah, but you're missing context: someone pointed a device you don't recognize at your friend / at a stranger, and they look happy about this fact.

    IME, people don't usually randomly murderhobo doctors just because they don't recognize the drugs they are injecting someone with.

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