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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    . Forgive me, but "the only possible valid response, else the setting is incoherent" is an exaggerated version of PhoenixPhyre's original post and I am making a milder initial claim.
    Are you sure? Here's the relevant quote:

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Any other option makes for incoherent settings where people don't act anything like real people would.

    I know that reading comprehension isn't my strong suit, and that you're one of the sanest people on the Playground, so I have to accept the possibility that I've misinterpreted things here. If I have, care to step me through how that doesn't say what I thought it did?

    Also, note the reference to "real world people". This is why my claim that the fact that people IRL don't football tackle you for speaking strange words and wiggling your fingers, demonstrating that it is a matter of *setting*, of culture and beliefs, not simply "humans must act this way, else your setting is incoherent" is relevant.

    Speaking of… imagine a being appeared IRL, and claimed omnipotence (and omniscience, and…). After years or decades of the best minds on the planet - or, why not, *everyone* on the planet, because it can handle billions of conversations and demonstrations simultaneously - testing it, its claims remain unfalsifiable.

    Obviously, by definition of "omnipotence", this being is capable of mind control.

    After all this time, it takes an action, and Bob seems inexplicably happy. Do you enact mind control protocol? Why / why not?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Are you sure? Here's the relevant quote:

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    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. -snip-

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

    I know that reading comprehension isn't my strong suit, and that you're one of the sanest people on the Playground, so I have to accept the possibility that I've misinterpreted things here. If I have, care to step me through how that doesn't say what I thought it did?

    Also, note the reference to "real world people". This is why my claim that the fact that people IRL don't football tackle you for speaking strange words and wiggling your fingers, demonstrating that it is a matter of *setting*, of culture and beliefs, not simply "humans must act this way, else your setting is incoherent" is relevant.

    Speaking of… imagine a being appeared IRL, and claimed omnipotence (and omniscience, and…). After years or decades of the best minds on the planet - or, why not, *everyone* on the planet, because it can handle billions of conversations and demonstrations simultaneously - testing it, its claims remain unfalsifiable.

    Obviously, by definition of "omnipotence", this being is capable of mind control.

    After all this time, it takes an action, and Bob seems inexplicably happy. Do you enact mind control protocol? Why / why not?
    I expanded the relevant part of the quote.

    My reading was, PhoenixPhyre was saying something like:
    You will get some people reacting with shock.
    Generally the nonconsensual magic would be seen as assault. (They compared it to nonconsensual drugging someone IRL)
    Generally the nonconsensual magic would be a no-no and the reaction would likely be some kind of negative reaction. (They now compare it to assault with a deadly weapon IRL)
    Any setting that ignores the assault aspect without changing the context to remove the assault aspect would be an incoherent setting.
    End of reading:

    So I don't see them saying there is going to be only 1 reaction or that the reaction will be universal. I do see them saying there are assault like elements that will cause people to generally treat it negatively. Personally I would soften the claim by saying that populations that didn't treat it with caution were less likely to persist than ones that did.


    IRL if Charlie seeks Alice drug Bob without Bob's consent, Charlie is likely to view that as a no-no and probably treat it as assault. IRL weird words don't have power, so the football sneeze is a flawed analogy. However, as I said before, I don't think the IRL examples are safe to discuss in depth.


    In your "there exists credible evidence of an omnipotent creature that could mind control" example. I have already enacted some degree of anti-mind-control procedures before Bob's inexplicable mental change. If I faced an AI in a box (a lesser threat) then I would enact precautionary anti-mind-control procedures.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-30 at 09:11 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    EDIT: don't forget that you're role-playing an ignorant peasant. "Charlie knows mind control exists, but, because Bob's eyes didn't change color, Charlie knows that Alice didn't mind control Bob" is, IMO, a perfectly valid potential thought process, whereas I'm opposing the claim that Charlie believing such & acting accordingly would make the world incoherent.
    As a sidenote, the "ignorant peasant" -- the idea that the average "medieval" person was an utterly illiterate, ignorant, moronic, abject dirt farmer -- is very much a sad trope of fiction and the bad scholarship of a former century.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    IRL if Charlie seeks Alice drug Bob without Bob's consent, Charlie is likely to view that as a no-no and probably treat it as assault.
    This is probably the best analogy. The only place that it's a little missing is that there's a lot of subtle ways to get Alice to not drink the drugged drink, as that is an indirect and not-immediate action, while casting a spell on someone is immediate and direct. But it's likely the closest real-world analogy we have, and the places where it fails should be pretty apparent as performing actions that would be applicable to the drink wouldn't actually stop the casting.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Perhaps part of the issue is that the lowest common denominator of D&D isn't exactly consistent between its rules, its fluff, its adventures, and its novels.

    Its current rules say that all casting is automatically recognized as such and anyone can check to identify spells. The fluff does stuff like bards "weaving spells into songs" while performing, or wizards using spells in social settings like its normal and ok. The adventures have things like npcs emulating sorcerer subtle spell with stealth and of course the novels & such are all over the place. And you know there should be a "find lost car keys" type spell thats vastly more common and popular than Magic Missile, but the PH only really has combat & adventure spells.

    I think its understandable how some people can want or assume certain things about magic that violate actual rules in LCD D&D. So what do? Write out rules for stuff? Put in some world building or adventure advice? Make a checklist of rulings DMs are going to have to make? Just let there be play traps for people to hit? Learn for other games that don't have similar problems?
    That might require D&D to have an explicit specific setting, instead of the implicit setting of the rules and fluff, as a base of spelled-out (no pun) facts and assumptions to start from.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  6. - Top - End - #126
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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
    As a sidenote, the "ignorant peasant" -- the idea that the average "medieval" person was an utterly illiterate, ignorant, moronic, abject dirt farmer -- is very much a sad trope of fiction and the bad scholarship of a former century.
    Irrelevant. In D&D, the average peasant is illiterate through 2e, and literature in 3e (and after?). The observer - "Charlie" - is definitionally ignorant, by scenario design.

    If you prefer, we can go with a more modern example, and have someone who could mistake a CD-ROM drive for a cup holder to give us computer security advice .

    Because that's what we're really talking about here: someone so ignorant about something (depending on edition or IRL year) somewhere between arcane and ubiquitous like computers (magic) as to be unable to identify their individual parts (spells) has to make a decision regarding how to react to potential security threats (the casting of a spell).

    Which, even granting that the question had been asked / this isn't happening invisibly over wifi (they recognize the spell as a spell (or at least something out of the ordinary) in the first place - which *I* think should be common, but…) may violate the initial premise.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    I expanded the relevant part of the quote.

    My reading was, PhoenixPhyre was saying something like:
    You will get some people reacting with shock.
    Generally the nonconsensual magic would be seen as assault. (They compared it to nonconsensual drugging someone IRL)
    Generally the nonconsensual magic would be a no-no and the reaction would likely be some kind of negative reaction. (They now compare it to assault with a deadly weapon IRL)
    Any setting that ignores the assault aspect without changing the context to remove the assault aspect would be an incoherent setting.
    End of reading:
    Charlie cannot confirm that the magic was non-consensual, only that he cannot personally confirm consent.

    "Good Samaritan" laws (and… "required aid?" laws) really complicate this, and either make "drugging someone" a dodgy example, or help prove my point, depending on your PoV.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    So I don't see them saying there is going to be only 1 reaction or that the reaction will be universal. I do see them saying there are assault like elements that will cause people to generally treat it negatively. .
    "The setting will treat it like assault, else it is incoherent"? That's slightly different from what I read, but I can see that as a valid interpretation of those words.

    So, how would people respond to nobility or a police state or an omnipotent being assaulting someone?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Personally I would soften the claim by saying that populations that didn't treat it with caution were less likely to persist than ones that did.
    That claim is, at least, much more easily proved false. Or, at least, not universally true, for all possible settings and all possible ranges of and all possible practitioners of magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    IRL if Charlie seeks Alice drug Bob without Bob's consent, Charlie is likely to view that as a no-no and probably treat it as assault.
    IRL, that scenario? Full of false positives and false negatives, and with people acting when they shouldn't, and not acting when they should. Complicated further by the… uh, "non-uniform" existence of "Good Samaritan" and "mandated aid" laws, plus other cultural… differences.

    I can't even begin to evaluate how closely the probability curves through various IRL cultures cleave to responses to general "assault" on this one.

    I can only say that *my* response could vary *greatly* between "injection" and "assault" under various circumstances. Similarly, drawing a gun and drawing a needle in my vicinity could produce markedly different responses.

    So… I'm not buying it. Even before the possible cultural differences of "how are spells viewed by this culture" are factored in.

    (Of course, maybe I'm weird. Or maybe I have *too much* experience with both guns and medicine (my mom & sister are both nurses), and so maybe my opinion should be disqualified as not representative of an ignorant peasant.)

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    IRL weird words don't have power, so the football sneeze is a flawed analogy. However, as I said before, I don't think the IRL examples are safe to discuss in depth..
    In the world of Harry Potter, muggles don't football tackle people for saying strange words and wiggling their fingers. Safer? (It probably *shouldn't* be, but… I'm not sure why it's not safe in the first place to properly evaluate the question)

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    In your "there exists credible evidence of an omnipotent creature that could mind control" example. I have already enacted some degree of anti-mind-control procedures before Bob's inexplicable mental change. If I faced an AI in a box (a lesser threat) then I would enact precautionary anti-mind-control procedures.
    Interesting.

    This being had demonstrated no holes in its abilities to know everything, and to resculpt reality at will.

    I'm left drawing a blank what anti-mind-control procedures would look like, or what function they would serve, in such a scenario.

    (Being what I consider paranoid, I would have implemented such early on, but… if it demonstrated what *I* consider omnipotence + omniscience… I don't really have a… a counter, or even a response, to malign intent)
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-08-30 at 03:55 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    In the "omnipotent being" case, I can't think of any anti-mind control measures that would be effective, but that's different than not noticing the possibility of mind control.

    I'm not saying that most people's response to "Wait, did he just cast a spell on Bob?" would be to attack - that depends a lot of the situation and how confident they feel confronting the caster; IIRC the original question was just "Would it be noticed and potentially screw up the intended interaction?"

    So sometimes it might work out fine for the caster:
    A: "Hello, I need a horse, as quickly as possible."
    B: (scowling) "In a hurry, eh? Well then ask nicely and maybe I'll sell you one for ... let's say 500 gold."
    A: (waves hands) "Laed doog a'em evig, dneirf tseb ruoymi"
    B: (suddenly cheerful) "Hah, I was just messing with you, pal. How's 50 gold sound?"
    C: (gets really nervous) "Oh, uh, yeah, the horses are out in, uh, in that barn. Why don't you, uh, go have a look and pick which one you want."
    As soon as A leaves to the barn, C runs to warn people ...
    C: "Oh ****, oh ****, that new traveler's got the evil eye! Better get her what she wants quick so she leaves soon, before anyone else gets cursed!"

    Other times it'll be more of a problem. Probably not something to do to anyone you want a longer-term friendly relationship with.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-08-30 at 04:32 PM.

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

    The in-universe response of the 'common people' to magic, like any other supernatural element, will depend on both how common that element is, and how accurate the knowledge they possess happens to be (ex. the common person in the modern world has a deeply skewed understanding on how anti-personnel explosives work due to the impact of Hollywood and video games).

    The commonality of magic varies immensely in various D&D settings and many other fantasy systems with identifiable 'spellcasters.' In D&D 3.X, magic is so common that almost everyone knows a spellcaster personally, because even a 100-person hamlet has a 1st level Adept, Cleric, or Druid in residence. That's probably the high water mark for magical exposure. In that situation almost everyone will recognize a spell being cast because everyone's seen spells cast on the regular basis. However, this is absolutely not universal. 2e Dragonlance operated under the assumption that the entire setting probably contained maybe 100 arcane casters in total, so most of the population had never seen a wizard, much less seen them cast a spell in public, and there were no divine casters at all in the main timeframe.

    All of this illustrates that the reaction of people to magic being cast, a mechanically important aspect of spellcasting, depends on the world-building. As ever, world-building impacts mechanics and vice-versa.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    In the "omnipotent being" case, I can't think of any anti-mind control measures that would be effective, but that's different than not noticing the possibility of mind control.

    I'm not saying that most people's response to "Wait, did he just cast a spell on Bob?" would be to attack - that depends a lot of the situation and how confident they feel confronting the caster; IIRC the original question was just "Would it be noticed and potentially screw up the intended interaction?"

    So sometimes it might work out fine for the caster:
    A: "Hello, I need a horse, as quickly as possible."
    B: (scowling) "In a hurry, eh? Well then ask nicely and maybe I'll sell you one for ... let's say 500 gold."
    A: (waves hands) "Laed doog a'em evig, dneirf tseb ruoymi"
    B: (suddenly cheerful) "Hah, I was just messing with you, pal. How's 50 gold sound?"
    C: (gets really nervous) "Oh, uh, yeah, the horses are out in, uh, in that barn. Why don't you, uh, go have a look and pick which one you want."
    As soon as A leaves to the barn, C runs to warn people ...
    C: "Oh ****, oh ****, that new traveler's got the evil eye! Better get her what she wants quick so she leaves soon, before anyone else gets cursed!"

    Other times it'll be more of a problem. Probably not something to do to anyone you want a longer-term friendly relationship with.
    Note: I explicitly disclaimed the idea that the default response would be to attack (or even become truly hostile). Much more likely are
    * Some form of surprised reaction (including, but not limited to, panic)
    * muttering or grumbling
    * negative attitude change of some variable magnitude.
    * suspicion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The in-universe response of the 'common people' to magic, like any other supernatural element, will depend on both how common that element is, and how accurate the knowledge they possess happens to be (ex. the common person in the modern world has a deeply skewed understanding on how anti-personnel explosives work due to the impact of Hollywood and video games).

    The commonality of magic varies immensely in various D&D settings and many other fantasy systems with identifiable 'spellcasters.' In D&D 3.X, magic is so common that almost everyone knows a spellcaster personally, because even a 100-person hamlet has a 1st level Adept, Cleric, or Druid in residence. That's probably the high water mark for magical exposure. In that situation almost everyone will recognize a spell being cast because everyone's seen spells cast on the regular basis. However, this is absolutely not universal. 2e Dragonlance operated under the assumption that the entire setting probably contained maybe 100 arcane casters in total, so most of the population had never seen a wizard, much less seen them cast a spell in public, and there were no divine casters at all in the main timeframe.

    All of this illustrates that the reaction of people to magic being cast, a mechanically important aspect of spellcasting, depends on the world-building. As ever, world-building impacts mechanics and vice-versa.
    I'm going off of 5e, where the default is "everyone recognizes spellcasting as spellcasting" and "no one[1] recognizes what spell it is". My own personal setting has common (but low-powered) magic--a large chunk of everyone can cast cantrip-level magic[2] but very few can cast spells above 5th level, with exponential decline between the two.

    In most of the "civilized" nations, one of the capital-level crimes is "use of mind-affecting magic on citizens for personal gain except in clear self-defense". Since imprisoning a caster is hard, your choices are permanent exile (ie kill on sight if you come back) or death. And that's policed; accusations of use of such magic are taken very seriously and detect magic is one of the more commonly-known spells among guards and enforcers. Because the ruling classes want to make it very clear that it's a bad idea to try to influence people (ie them) that way. Even registered adventurers, who stand outside the normal laws in many ways (by international agreement) are subject to that law.

    [1] by default recognizing a spell is impossible for everyone; there is an optional rule that puts it at an Intelligence (Arcana) check of DC 15 + spell level. So "rounding error" know what spell it is, even in best-case.
    [2] most common "spells" aren't really spells in the normal sense--they're chants that have a small effect (e.g. acting as a mild bug repellant for livestock, making weeds glow slightly to the user's sight, make wheels roll slightly more smoothly, etc) while the user is chanting[3] or rituals enacted by trained (but otherwise non-magical) people that have longer-lasting effects such as "reduce the chance of livestock birthing troubles" or "bind the thatch of this roof together so it's more waterproof and durable".
    [3] anyone with the appropriate training (which most people receive as part of their apprenticeship/training in a field, learning the common "secret chants" of the field) can do this, the only restrictions being how long your voice holds out.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    In the world of Harry Potter, muggles don't football tackle people for saying strange words and wiggling their fingers. Safer? (It probably *shouldn't* be, but… I'm not sure why it's not safe in the first place to properly evaluate the question)
    Forums have rules. That is why I am avoiding digging into the IRL comparisons.

    The world of Harry Potter had the government of the country fall because too few people listened to Moody.
    The world of Harry Potter also uses extensive mind control to fool the muddles into not realizing direct mind control is a real threat in their world. (Basically magical Britain uses mind control to fool muggle Britain into thinking there are in IRL Britain.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Charlie cannot confirm that the magic was non-consensual, only that he cannot personally confirm consent.
    While Charlie cannot confirm, the scenario as you communicated it to PhoenixPhyre implies Charlies perceives a lack of consent. While that is not enough to confirm it was non-consensual, it is evidence that nudges Charlie towards acting as if it were hostile mind control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "Good Samaritan" laws (and… "required aid?" laws) really complicate this, and either make "drugging someone" a dodgy example, or help prove my point, depending on your PoV.
    I am not digging into this topic on this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "The setting will treat it like assault, else it is incoherent"? That's slightly different from what I read, but I can see that as a valid interpretation of those words.

    So, how would people respond to nobility or a police state or an omnipotent being assaulting someone?
    Yeah that different reading softens the claim significantly.

    People will probably respond in a variety of ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    That claim is, at least, much more easily proved false. Or, at least, not universally true, for all possible settings and all possible ranges of and all possible practitioners of magic.
    I believe it generally holds that societies that face a threat but are relatively less prepared to defend against that threat will have a worse defense against that threat. Assuming it is an existential threat, having a worse defense decreases the chance the society will persist.

    This might not be universally true, but I believe it will hold for the vast majority of cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    IRL, that scenario?
    I am not digging into this topic on this forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Interesting.

    This being had demonstrated no holes in its abilities to know everything, and to resculpt reality at will.

    I'm left drawing a blank what anti-mind-control procedures would look like, or what function they would serve, in such a scenario.

    (Being what I consider paranoid, I would have implemented such early on, but… if it demonstrated what *I* consider omnipotence + omniscience… I don't really have a… a counter, or even a response, to malign intent)
    I do not pretend a fly can avoid being squashed, but it will still try to avoid being squashed. I don't expect to come up with good procedures for this scenario, but I would have enacted the best I could think of.

    In that particular example, I suspect the main benefit would be possibly recognizing when you/another were affected and recognizing the scope of what is affected. That might give you a final moment of agency.

    There is an alternative. An Omniscient Omnipotent being with an intent has 1 weakness. Their intent is their weakness. As long as they satisfy their intent, you might be able to affect the outcome of details they find irrelevant.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-30 at 09:46 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
    Irrelevant. In D&D, the average peasant is illiterate through 2e, and literature in 3e (and after?). The observer - "Charlie" - is definitionally ignorant, by scenario design.
    OK, but then you're also stuck with the by-the-book fact that spellcasting is really freaking obvious without special abilities that mitigate that.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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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
    OK, but then you're also stuck with the by-the-book fact that spellcasting is really freaking obvious without special abilities that mitigate that.
    A) obvious in some editions / at some tables, not universally (but obvious in most/all *my* settings, so I'm not strongly objecting)

    B) obvious, yes, but not obvious *as spellcasting* (in most editions). Thus, "Gesundheit". Or speaking to Bob in his native language. Or saying the gobbledygook password to your secret society. All of which would look the same to the ignorant Charlie

    The original complaint was about GMs treating the spell unfairly. Everyone ignoring these details is simply proving that point.

    People complain about Rogues having a "roll until you fail" model for stealth, or casters having a "roll to cast + roll to target + roll to resist" model of Iterative chance of failure, but seem to ignore the multiple layers of potential failure inherent in processing information, from inattentive (didn't notice) to self-doubt ("did I really just see that?)) to "CD-ROM cupholder" level misconceptions ("his eyes didn't change color, so it couldn't have been mind control") to straight up irrational logic leaps.

    Oldtrees1 claimed that I was making strong claims. To my mind, I haven't been making claims (at least not at that level) yet, mostly just trying to present ideas so others can do their own thinking, form their own opinions. But now I'll make a claim, intentionally at the same level as the previous one:
    Humans rarely behave as truly rational actors; ignorant humans even more rarely. Any setting which does not take this into account makes for incoherent settings where people don't act anything like real people would.

    Also, having thought about it more… while I can't (and maybe shouldn't?) analyze how various IRL societies statistically respond to witnessing various forms of "assault", I *can* comment on the *individuals* whom I know how they tend to respond to witnessing various forms of assault. And, like me, they don't respond to different forms the same way.

    So I think claims that casting will be treated like assault are meaningless at best, and more likely inaccurate and/or misleading. Even a society that defaults to treating casting as a form of assault will need to evaluate it as is own thing, not simply crib behaviors from an existing thing, to be consistent / coherent / etc.

    As for the closest thing to use as a parallel? Best I've got so far is, Charlie (who just broke the cupholder on his PC) sees Alice sitting at Bob's desk

    As far as cost/benefit analysis goes… how does one measure the risk of "Alice gets a good deal on a horse" vs the risk of "Charlie alienates the Healer's Guild, and the town dies to the plague" or "Alice gets a good deal on a horse" vs "the world ends"?

    Personally, I suspect that the numbers will show that those who treat beings of power (especially PCs) well will generally fare better than those who don't.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-08-31 at 11:43 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The original complaint was about GMs treating the spell unfairly. Everyone ignoring these details is simply proving that point.
    People just object to the idea that this is unfair treatment. How does that prove that this is indeed unfair ?

    That we don't get this discussion about "stealth until fail" seems to suggest that these things are indeed considered to be different regarding fairness.

    Humans rarely behave as truly rational actors; ignorant humans even more rarely. Any setting which does not take this into account makes for incoherent settings where people don't act anything like real people would.
    I don't play NPCs differently from PCs. I consider what they know/perceive, what their goals and character traits are and decide what the most fitting reaction is. Is this rational ? Who cares.


    As for legality of specifically mind control, i tend to judge it less as assault and more as coercion. There might be specific laws about it on top of that.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-08-31 at 04:04 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
    Oldtrees1 claimed that I was making strong claims.
    I don't think I claimed anything of the sort about your claims. Even then, the majority of your argumentation was several counterclaims and example scenarios. I don't think it would make sense to measure the severity of your claims.

    I did make claims about the severity of PhoenixPhyre's and my claim. Especially in relation to your initial reading of PhoenixPhyre's claim. For example the claim "The moon is made of cheddar cheese" is a more extreme claim than "The moon is made of cheese".

    Part of my goal was to clarify what part was not in disagreement (especially how there are a various responses). For example you now made the claim that "Humans rarely behave as truly rational actors; ignorant humans even more rarely. Any setting which does not take this into account makes for incoherent settings where people don't act anything like real people would." which is a reasonable claim. I don't disagree with it.

    And with that claim as a premise, I would still suspect societies to take some imperfectly rational precautions to existential threats whose potential they are aware of. Part of those precautions might cause false positives if someone casts a benign spell in a way that mimics the warning signs of the threat.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-31 at 09:08 PM.

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

    I agree that people[1] are often irrational. But people also fear the unknown, the different. And magic is both unknown and different. And fear doesn't make people react better (more favorably) than is rational, it makes them react worse (less favorably) than is rational. So calling out irrationality only makes my point stronger, as far as I can tell.

    * Magic happened
    * I've heard of magic doing horrible things [even if those things aren't necessarily true; bad rumors spread way faster than good ones]
    * <rational response> Well, it doesn't look like this was a horrible thing, wait and see
    * <fear/irrational response> Run away/panic/react badly

    [1] not just ignorant people--those who believe they're educated are often just as irrational as uneducated people, just in different ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I agree that people[1] are often irrational. But people also fear the unknown, the different. And magic is both unknown and different. And fear doesn't make people react better (more favorably) than is rational, it makes them react worse (less favorably) than is rational. So calling out irrationality only makes my point stronger, as far as I can tell.

    * Magic happened
    * I've heard of magic doing horrible things [even if those things aren't necessarily true; bad rumors spread way faster than good ones]
    * <rational response> Well, it doesn't look like this was a horrible thing, wait and see
    * <fear/irrational response> Run away/panic/react badly

    [1] not just ignorant people--those who believe they're educated are often just as irrational as uneducated people, just in different ways.
    There is, in fact, a strong argument that, once the existence of magic is postulated, the wizards will either: 1. be constantly on the run from those who wish to purge them as monstrous abominations, 2. hide behind some sort of complex masquerade, or 3. be essentially forced to use their phenomenal powers to take either implicit or explicit control of the world in order to avoid oppression by the masses. Peaceful D&D style coexistence is probably the least likely scenario.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    There is, in fact, a strong argument that, once the existence of magic is postulated, the wizards will either: 1. be constantly on the run from those who wish to purge them as monstrous abominations, 2. hide behind some sort of complex masquerade, or 3. be essentially forced to use their phenomenal powers to take either implicit or explicit control of the world in order to avoid oppression by the masses. Peaceful D&D style coexistence is probably the least likely scenario.
    Depends a lot on what magic can do. People will react quite differently to others manifesting mind control or healing powers.
    Then fear is not the only thing to react, there is also greed. Poeple trying to get magic or control magic is pretty much as likely.

    Therefore fully embedded and respected magic users doing things society wants from them but also operating under clear limits of what is acceptable magic use with anyone not willing to fill that role being shunned and hunted down seems the most likely outcome. Those official, conform mages would obviously help hunting and punishing those criminals that give their profession a bad reputation.

    But the most important thing is that magic should never be "the unknown" if it is used for thousands of years. It might be too complicated for a layperson to understand any details or might require privileged education to master, but it is still just a job. A layperson might not know how a wizard uses a mind control spell, but neither does he know how a blacksmith makes a sword. But that doesn't make either inherently strange or unknown.

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

    Congratulations, after a really long sidetrack, you've finally come back to a situation where negativity bias and trauma-based behaviours are relevant.

    Shortly, because of the bias, bad magic-users and bad uses of magic are more memorable than good ones. If the good doesn't exist in much greater quantities than the bad in early stages of magical development, it's easy to reach a situation where muggles will try to avoid or eliminate all magic use based on past traumas.

    I had a longer post written to answer OldTrees1 and Max_Killjoy, but I gave up on it since it was taking too long to write and this thread got sidetracked by the magic discussion.

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

    This also slightly touches on why the martial/mundane balance discussions will never find a happy medium. Because the magic side of the equation is affected by radically different invisible biases and considerations, while the mundane one is pretty solidly fixed in one place.

    It makes a huge difference to magical 'balance' if you play in a game where you can freely cast spells in a busy street without anyone remarking about it, compared to playing in a game where doing so will get you pelted with fruit, or get the guard called on you. These sorts of considerations are largely aside from the rules, so will vary tremendously by table, and it is impossible to completely gauge a Wizard's power level when at one persons table a Wizard can supposedly freely cast Charm spells on Merchants, City Guards, and Kings in front of witnesses, and face no repercussions, where at mine, doing so will have the Wizard face a panic, arrest, and execution respectivly for doing the same action.
    Last edited by Glorthindel; 2021-09-01 at 04:01 AM.

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

    I don't think this is really about the magic.

    If a warrior used his sword on the merchant to get his wares for cheap, the reaction would be pretty much the same.

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

    You are correct, but due to forum rules you can't examine various bans on mundane weaponry in much detail, no matter how good examples they'd make.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    [1] not just ignorant people--those who believe they're educated are often just as irrational as uneducated people, just in different ways.
    Plus a bunch. As for the
    If a warrior used his sword on the merchant to get his wares for cheap, the reaction would be pretty much the same
    that really depends on the cultural context.
    The armed and armored horseman of the feudal system had at least the threat of force behind some of his ability to intimidate or threaten any "not armed horseman" during that period to include a merchant. While it likely wasn't that frequent, it was an option.
    Spoiler: For those interested in history of stuff like this
    Show
    (Some very good stuff on that in a book by Thomas Asbridge in his study of William Marshall; the book is The Greatest Knight although he was covering the period after the feudal period had transitioned into the Middle Ages (contemporary to Henry II's Angevin Empire/Kingdom) which can be compared and contrasted to the Carolingian era (and the century before Charlemagne, for a more chaotic feudal cultural / social situation).
    Going a bit later in time I'd suggest something along the lines of how nobles (who had the social right and expectation to bear arms) threw their weight around (The movie Rob Roy with Liam Neesom, Tim Roth, and Jessica Lange comes to mind to illustrate - but it's not a documentary )

    Reactions to the supernatural varied, particularly if one weighed as much as a duck .... (Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference there)

    I think I posted something here at the playground about my D&D head canons in re arcane magic: in the version of the world of Greyhawk that I am DMing presently, wizards are rare and spell casters in general are treated with suspicion as soon as one gets outside of metropolitain areas like large walled towns and cities. Wizards in particular, and artificers, were the targets of a purge/widespread pogrom a few centuries before the players are active, a purge led by the dragon clans. I'll see if I can find a link.
    The provincial sorts, like the people living and farming and fishing around the Saltmarsh area in Keoland, are suspicious of arcane magic wielders. They put up with the local cleric (NPC priest, storm deity) and a local druid (NPC druid) because they provide something to the community and don't interfere with day to day life and commerce.

    The PC druid player, when I described the ship's mage from the Sea Ghost being executed publicly (along with two of the smugglers/pirates) after the PCs captured her and turned her over to the Town Council, was taken aback by that and asked me directly: "Wait a sec, what is the attitude of the people toward those who are magic users?"
    One of the players started to begin a rant about capital punishment and I cut him off rather quickly, saying something like:

    "Salt Marsh is not a 20th century {pick a Western Democracy} major city - the King's justice is meted out by his representative here, or the Lord/Nobleman down in Seaton. Do not drag your anachronism into this setting; it doesn't fit. These smugglers were also slavers, and the flesh trade carries with it a hanging if caught. The King's Justice was administered."
    Spoiler: Saltmarsh Spoiler stay out of you are a PC playing that adventure!
    Show
    The party is not yet aware that a member of the town council heavily lobbied the King's representative for the hanging since - he's involved in that very trade and needs to keep stool pigeons quiet/dead

    The party had run into, already the "you are not from around here" attitude from most Salt Marshers (with a few exceptions), the original cleric had been messily assassinated (the player had to drop out, so I asked him "make your PC an NPC or kill him off?" and the player chose "kill him off", so I set that up) so spell casters being held in less than high repute was already understood. (The PCs have still not solved that mystery...)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-09-01 at 08:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I don't think this is really about the magic.

    If a warrior used his sword on the merchant to get his wares for cheap, the reaction would be pretty much the same.
    Oh, absolutely, but you wouldn't get people claiming that the reaction would be an unfair over-reaction in that case!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    Oh, absolutely, but you wouldn't get people claiming that the reaction would be an unfair over-reaction in that case!
    Because only magic is special. Magic can do anything, and how dare you put restrictions on it! I won the game by selecting wizard as my class, don't you know?

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    Really really struggled over whether to make that blue or not...
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    Default Re: Negativity bias, trauma-based game design and learned helplessness in metagames

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Because only magic is special. Magic can do anything, and how dare you put restrictions on it! I won the game by selecting wizard as my class, don't you know?

    Spoiler: Snark
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    Really really struggled over whether to make that blue or not...
    I don't think anyone claimed a mage tossing fireblast around & intimidating a merchant doesn't get grief similar to a warrior waving a sword & intimidating a merchant.

    I thought the question was more if some guy across the street mumbles fake Latin & sticks their finger in their ear 3 times, then crosses the street & the mercant gives them a free lunch, does that start a lynch mob?
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    I've had actual situations in games where people have argued that a fireblast to the face is but a way to gain someone's attention and no grounds for a hostile reaction.

    That argument was based on the foreknowledge that the characters being fireblasted couldn't be injured by it. I did my best to explain that at most, this flies between friends who implicitly trust each other and are willing to assume best of intentions. It does not fly between strangers and especially not between outright enemies. At best, such gesture could be considered a warning shot, most often it would be considered attempted assault.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I've had actual situations in games where people have argued that a fireblast to the face is but a way to gain someone's attention and no grounds for a hostile reaction.

    That argument was based on the foreknowledge that the characters being fireblasted couldn't be injured by it. I did my best to explain that at most, this flies between friends who implicitly trust each other and are willing to assume best of intentions. It does not fly between strangers and especially not between outright enemies. At best, such gesture could be considered a warning shot, most often it would be considered attempted assault.
    If he fires one I'll fire on
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    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-09-01 at 02:32 PM.
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    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    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 PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Because only magic is special. Magic can do anything, and how dare you put restrictions on it! I won the game by selecting wizard as my class, don't you know?
    You may be sarcastic, but there are plenty of posters in the 3e/pathfinder forums who believe that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffWatson View Post
    You may be sarcastic, but there are plenty of posters in the 3e/pathfinder forums who believe that.
    Hence my spoiler about my struggles with deciding whether to be blue or not.
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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 thought the question was more if some guy across the street mumbles fake Latin & sticks their finger in their ear 3 times, then crosses the street & the mercant gives them a free lunch, does that start a lynch mob?
    That's the crux of the issue though, you have granted the Wizard several benefits that he does not have - spellcasting is not subtle, so the somatic component there is dodgy, and mumbling is straight out (and depending on the spell, you have possibly given him a free range bonus and removed the material components too). That Wizard is clearly and visibly spellcasting, and that changes the scenario significantly - in the analogy he as the very least has his sword in his hand (and very possibly a very large cannon).
    Last edited by Glorthindel; 2021-09-02 at 05:50 AM.

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