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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    You really don't see the difference between the natural flow of a conversation where someone might lose patience with you and the GM cutting you off after a certain time as decided by your character's skill level? Even that is probably a lesser problem, working against the clock like that might be kinda fun. The big issue is that someone with lacking social skills isn't guaranteed to come up with something convincing even with extra time and help from others. So the player behind the charismatic bard spends five minutes going "uhm, well..." while the one behind the uncharismatic barbarian spends 30 seconds on a brief rousing speech.

    Yes, it can be done but I'm not sure if it actually solves the problems. (That said, now I'm kind of curious to try something like it. Should be interesting, at least).
    You might have as well asked me "you really don't see the difference between lifting a 1/2 kilo weight and a 100 kilo weight?" Of course I can see the difference, me seeing the difference is vital for me to invent systems of the type we're discussing. Remember, the point of keeping time is so you can do task difficulty conversions between asymmetric players and asymmetric characters in a measured way. Not keeping time doesn't do away with the time component of real conversation, it just means that you've swapped a visible clock for the unseen internal clock of the game master.

    Guaranteeing anyone's success or failure is not something that's being attempted here. We're altering the time component of a conversation to make it easier or harder for a player, depending on their personal qualities and character they're playing. If the unskilled player fails despite all the help or the skilled player succeeds despite a massive handicap, that's life. A single instance of this happening doesn't even prove the conversion factor is wrong. At most, if the issue persists, you move the players to the next skill bracket, increasing amount of help given or worsening the handicap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat
    Right, probability math is hard (and I am indeed no master of it). But you don't have to be good at it to roll dice. The only thing the player really has to know is that rolling over (or under) X means they succeeded.
    Sure, the low bar to pass for playing dice games is that one symbol means you win and the other means you lose. This doesn't mean you're any good at dice games. Similarly, the low bar to pass for playing language games is being able to notice if the words you say make other people do what you want - but that doesn't mean you're any good at picking the right words.

    As a side note, if your understanding of dice is at this level, please never gamble.

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying math isn't useful when playing in general. Quickly working out how big your chance of pulling something off is certainly handy. But the player knowing math won't actually make it more likely for them to succeed with a roll.
    NichG beat me to it, but to reiterate: this is only true of the roll taken in isolation. The moment you add any kind of betting, resource or point modifier mechanic, it ceases to be true, and now math skills have influence over how likely the player is to succeed. Again, it's possible for the mathematical underpinnings to put a cap on how great the influence is. Maybe the best player can only beat the second best 66% of the time, or maybe contests between equal characters reduce to a 50/50 chance. But the version where every action reduces purely to the independent random chance is actually a special case, the roleplaying game equivalent of Snakes and Ladders. You should ask yourself if that's even worth pursuing, and why.
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2021-11-23 at 01:07 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Attack rolls, armor class, and hit points exist because you can't really resolve a sword fight by describing where each characters are awinging their swords and how they move all their limbs to get them out of the way. That just doesn't work, and so we do a die roll that decides for us what happens.

    You can perfectly do a conversation or negotiation verbally. Replacing that part of the game with stats and dice is unneccessary.
    That's been my experience, for the most part.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    True, but I think that's the conundrum: what about the person who wants to play the silver-tongued charmer in the game but in real life has real problems with summoning up the confidence to ask whether this seat is taken? Why do they have to struggle through conversation in the game while the guy who's never picked up a barbell in his life gets to play the 20 STR fighter who can use the Halfling as a club without having to demonstrate his physical capacity to do so?
    I actually think this always brought up player type is extremely rare, if it even exists at all.

    In the games I run, players are not judged by their theatrical performances, and NPCs respond to what the players seem to mean to say, and I don't start nitpicking their rethoric for debating. I don't make any bad performances when playing all the NPCs either. Simple tell me what you want to say to the NPC, and I'll consider what that NPC would think about the content of the proposal or request.
    I feel confident enough in my ability to understand what the players want in a scene, and when I'm not sure I simply ask them if I understood them right. And my job as GM is to help the players getting the results they want, not to obstruct their ideas.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    You might have as well asked me "you really don't see the difference between lifting a 1/2 kilo weight and a 100 kilo weight?" Of course I can see the difference, me seeing the difference is vital for me to invent systems of the type we're discussing. Remember, the point of keeping time is so you can do task difficulty conversions between asymmetric players and asymmetric characters in a measured way. Not keeping time doesn't do away with the time component of real conversation, it just means that you've swapped a visible clock for the unseen internal clock of the game master.
    Right, but what I'm saying is that even if we manage to figure out the "right" amount of time for each player, taking into account both the player's skill and the character's, I very much doubt we can get fitting results each time. A person who can lift 100 kilos today can probably lift about the same amount tomorrow, but two different social situations have so many parameters that you'd pretty much have to recalculate the allotted time for each situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Guaranteeing anyone's success or failure is not something that's being attempted here. We're altering the time component of a conversation to make it easier or harder for a player, depending on their personal qualities and character they're playing. If the unskilled player fails despite all the help or the skilled player succeeds despite a massive handicap, that's life. A single instance of this happening doesn't even prove the conversion factor is wrong. At most, if the issue persists, you move the players to the next skill bracket, increasing amount of help given or worsening the handicap.
    So what you're saying is that, given enough time, anyone can perform well at social skills? That feels very simplified, at best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Sure, the low bar to pass for playing dice games is that one symbol means you win and the other means you lose. This doesn't mean you're any good at dice games. Similarly, the low bar to pass for playing language games is being able to notice if the words you say make other people do what you want - but that doesn't mean you're any good at picking the right words.
    What sort of dice games are we talking about here? If it's like craps or something like that then sure, you're right. But in D&D or some similar RPG? I'd place math pretty low on the list of possible ways to be good at it. If we give identical characters to someone with a PhD in mathematics and someone who dropped out of high school and have them fight it out, I doubt the former would have any noticable edge.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I do agree with this. As I've mentioned earlier in the thread (or was it the other thread? They kinda blur together), as a GM I instinctively want to reward a player for acting it out well and as a player I do take advantage of my OOC traits (though I usually play characters who are talkers, so probably not too much). Why I'm arguing so much in favor of erasing (or at least diminishing) player skill in this area is partly because I like playing devil's advocate and, more importantly, because I think not doing it at all can lead to problems (both IC and OOC) that we should at least be aware of or at best fix.
    What I was getting at is that some of these 'problems' are actually features. It's not necessarily 'we want X, but have to sacrifice Y, let's try to sacrifice less if we can'. It can be 'actually, for this project losing Y would be good'.

    E.g. there are projects for which 'a player who is less socially savvy will be less successful at playing a social manipulator' is a positive thing, not just a trade-off. For example, Mafia, Werewolf, Among Us...

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    What I was getting at is that some of these 'problems' are actually features. It's not necessarily 'we want X, but have to sacrifice Y, let's try to sacrifice less if we can'. It can be 'actually, for this project losing Y would be good'.

    E.g. there are projects for which 'a player who is less socially savvy will be less successful at playing a social manipulator' is a positive thing, not just a trade-off. For example, Mafia, Werewolf, Among Us...
    Fair point. I was arguing under the assumption of every type of player being able to play every type of character being the goal, if probably a unreachable one, but it's true that it doesn't have to be. Mafia/Werewolf games is an interesting example, since some people prefer games with few or no powers (so basically all social deduction) while others prefer power-heavy games (so more rule mechanics), which I suppose could be related to the issue at hand.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Right, but what I'm saying is that even if we manage to figure out the "right" amount of time for each player, taking into account both the player's skill and the character's, I very much doubt we can get fitting results each time. A person who can lift 100 kilos today can probably lift about the same amount tomorrow, but two different social situations have so many parameters that you'd pretty much have to recalculate the allotted time for each situation.
    One of the easiest ways to see if a person can lift the same weight after a day's recovery, is to make them lift it again after a day's recovery. One of the easiest ways to see if the time allotment for one social case fits for another is to use the same time allotment for that other case.

    In short, constantly recalculating would in fact be dumb and contrary to the point. Remember, again, you're taking time in context of a real on-going conversation. Just like laws of physics take care of modeling metabolic stress and recovery in case of lifting, the actual shift in discussion topic and available information cover many of the things you think you need to recalculate for a conversation. Nevermind that, in line with the physical analogy, in the same vein you'd have a range of weights for lifts of varying difficulty, you'd have a range of time allotments for conversations of varying difficulty. Task-to-task adjustments hence don't need to be more difficult than basic arithmetic for picking target numbers for dice.

    Which brings me to a very basic point: dice aren't guaranteed to produce fitting results each time either. The statistical distribution of roll results and their accompanying modifiers have to be well-calibrated for them to work even most of the time. Which is why games set up in tradition of revised Kriegsspiel, such as D&D, have a human game master serving as final arbiter of game events. That includes authority to overrule dice.

    So, I'm not concerned with getting a good fit each time. I'm only concerned with getting it a good fit more often than dice, which I'm confident people actually socializing will do when it comes to social skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat
    So what you're saying is that, given enough time, anyone can perform well at social skills? That feels very simplified, at best.
    No, I'm saying that if someone consistently performs against expectations of their initial skill bracket, you can adjust their skill bracket. Though, since the players would be actually be socializing, yes, they would eventually improve in their actual conversation skills. Just like, if they keep lifting things, there's a good chance they will improve in physical strength. This really shouldn't be an exotic concept. Children learn social and verbal skills through play. What makes you think you can't?


    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat
    What sort of dice games are we talking about here? If it's like craps or something like that then sure, you're right. But in D&D or some similar RPG? I'd place math pretty low on the list of possible ways to be good at it. If we give identical characters to someone with a PhD in mathematics and someone who dropped out of high school and have them fight it out, I doubt the former would have any noticable edge.
    Now you're just pulling my leg.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I think we are over-thinking this a lot. Here is how it works at my table when the socially awkward person plays the group Face with amazing interpersonal skill.

    Player: I am going to try and bluff my way into the party and bypass the guards.

    GM: Okay, how do you plan to do that?

    Player: We are all going to walk up and fast talk him that we are invited guests.

    GM: All right, with the Orc and the Halfling, all of you? Do you have any props or papers or anything?

    Player: Um, I guess I am going to wave the scroll that the Wizard gave us around like it is important.

    GM: Anything else?

    Player: That's all I got.

    GM: Okay, let's roll it out and see how well you do.

    Player: I got X amount of success, is that enough?

    GM: Barely, tell me what it looks like....

    Player: Hmmm, I walk up and start to pass by when the guard drops his halberd to block my path. I look at him startled, and pull out the scroll and start wavering it around, loudly trying to shame him about not knowing who I am. He blushes and glances around unsure what to do....

    GM: Got it. Looking sheepishly, the guard slowly raises the Halberd and shuffles his feet. He mumbles something you can't make out exactly, but it sounds like an apology and a welcome.

    This is the intersection of role-play and roll-play that many people struggle with. In the example above, no one had to be a silver tongued devil in real life (because we aren't) and the character's abilities mattered. All the player needed to do was provide the general pre-text/plan, any possible modifiers, and a general idea of what they wanted to accomplish. This gives the GM enough space to determine what the target number is for success. Then the players and GM narrate what the scene looks like.

    Pretty simple really. Of course, we can also make it a series of actions in a more important discussion, but the key part is determining what the player is intending to do, what makes it easier/harder, and then roll like a normal skill check. The RP can come after, and even reveal the eventual success.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I actually think this always brought up player type is extremely rare, if it even exists at all.

    In the games I run, players are not judged by their theatrical performances, and NPCs respond to what the players seem to mean to say, and I don't start nitpicking their rethoric for debating. I don't make any bad performances when playing all the NPCs either. Simple tell me what you want to say to the NPC, and I'll consider what that NPC would think about the content of the proposal or request.
    I feel confident enough in my ability to understand what the players want in a scene, and when I'm not sure I simply ask them if I understood them right. And my job as GM is to help the players getting the results they want, not to obstruct their ideas.
    I totally agree with this, except in the case of one of our players who loves nitpicking semantic arguments, in which case he gets no slack.
    If I give our shy player ten seconds or two minutes to make an argument they will probably make a huge mess feeling like they have to fill up the while two minutes and start waffling, so I can't see that approach working.
    Instead, we have an IC conversation and if it was convincing they'll probably succeed. If it was terrible then I'll check what they were trying to do and go for a skill check, and if they blurt out all the group's secrets... Well that'll probably cause issues.
    Last edited by Aliess; 2021-11-24 at 03:29 AM. Reason: Killed the accidental quote train

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    If the chap who can't carry a tune in a bucket wants their bard character to try to win an Elvis impersonation contest you don't require them to know the words to the songs or sing them.

    If the clutzy player wants to play an acrobat you don't judge the character's tightrope walking on the player's sense of balance.

    If the "what's cpr?" person wants to play a character thats a skilled surgeon you don't require them to explain the heart transplant operation.

    If the couch potato wants to play a strong character you don't judge the character's lifting by the player's muscles.

    If the shy person who stammers when they lie wants to play a fast talking con artist you should make them fast talk you in order for their character's high stats & skills to work.

    One of these things is not like the others.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I very specifically explained how you can do the weight-lifting part by actually lifting weights, because the argument you're trying to make begs the question.

    You don't require your players to do this or that, because you didn't think or didn't care to make a playable game out of the relevant activity. You could have and require your players to actually sing - a karaoke game is not exotic at all as an idea. You could have your players balance on a board, there's several different boards suitable for this purpose you can buy from a sports store. You could have your players describe a medical operation and the score the result - this one is well within spoken or textual format for traditional tabletop games.

    These things you are not requiring from your players are fundamentally doable and capable of being turned into games, which means they are also viable building blocks for roleplaying games. Stop taking for granted that just because you aren't requiring them for your game now, you shouldn't require them for a different game.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I very specifically explained how you can do the weight-lifting part by actually lifting weights, because the argument you're trying to make begs the question.

    You don't require your players to do this or that, because you didn't think or didn't care to make a playable game out of the relevant activity. You could have and require your players to actually sing - a karaoke game is not exotic at all as an idea. You could have your players balance on a board, there's several different boards suitable for this purpose you can buy from a sports store. You could have your players describe a medical operation and the score the result - this one is well within spoken or textual format for traditional tabletop games.

    These things you are not requiring from your players are fundamentally doable and capable of being turned into games, which means they are also viable building blocks for roleplaying games. Stop taking for granted that just because you aren't requiring them for your game now, you shouldn't require them for a different game.
    I will take it for granted because I don't want to play myself. I want to play whatever character. That's the point of playing the game.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Your skills as a real human are what you're using to model your character, however you do it. The idea that you play your character better by relying on basic arithmetic and probability can and should be questioned.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Your skills as a real human are what you're using to model your character, however you do it. The idea that you play your character better by relying on basic arithmetic and probability can and should be questioned.
    Have you tried playing D&D using RL weight lifting to replace the character strength scores? Maybe you replaced the intelligence scores with subject matter quizzes? Or perception checks with eye tests? How did it go? Did all the players love filling out a Forgotten Realms history quiz every time you called for an intelligence:history check?

    Edit: not snark, really am curious if you've tried it. If not then please do try it and let us know the results.
    Last edited by Telok; 2021-11-24 at 02:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    I had a GM once who offered that players could do push-ups for post-hoc bonuses to those sorts of rolls. No one in the group took him up on it, but no one in the group minded the existence of the option. With the same GM there was a rule that you could 'challenge Death' to contest a permanent character loss event, and it was an OOC challenge of your choice against the GM, with the other players acting as judges if the challenge needed one (in my case, a high speed Minecraft dungeon creation contest which I lost).

    There are lots of ways to play games out there.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-24 at 02:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Your skills as a real human are what you're using to model your character, however you do it. The idea that you play your character better by relying on basic arithmetic and probability can and should be questioned.
    What do you mean by "better"?

    + Better for the enjoyment of the players around the table? There is definitely no consensus on that, as not everyone appreciate the "social RP" aspect of RPGs to the same degree. It will be much much better for some and much much worse for others.
    => It's like the GM coming with a Rubic's-Cube-like puzzle for the RPG, some will love it, other will be like "Can we go back at playing the game rather than doing this weird thing? If that's really part of the quest, I can roll for Int to solve it, and if it fails someone can use a divination spell".

    + Better as in "you can do more things and are better are doing those"? That's heavily dependent on the GM. For example, when you are rolling for social skills without giving any argument and succeeding, it might be resolved as the GM coming up with the best argument they can for your character and using it against his NPCs. So as long as the GM is better at crafting arguments than you, you're probably better off.

    + Better as in "better for immersion". Everything that makes you behave directly like the character you play is usually better for immersion, so that's a fair point. Though it's not universally true as it sometimes pushes you toward the uncanny valley where it makes non-immersive facts even more prominent. For examples, discussions that features multiple languages are always kind of weird to RP as the peoples around the table only use one language, while they tend to work very well when peoples are just describing at a higher level what they mean and how they intend to communicate through the barrier language.

    + Better as in "matches better my vision of what is playing a character well means", then sure, that's subjective so I cannot object.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    What do you mean by "better"?

    + Better for the enjoyment of the players around the table? There is definitely no consensus on that, as not everyone appreciate the "social RP" aspect of RPGs to the same degree. It will be much much better for some and much much worse for others.
    => It's like the GM coming with a Rubic's-Cube-like puzzle for the RPG, some will love it, other will be like "Can we go back at playing the game rather than doing this weird thing? If that's really part of the quest, I can roll for Int to solve it, and if it fails someone can use a divination spell".

    + Better as in "you can do more things and are better are doing those"? That's heavily dependent on the GM. For example, when you are rolling for social skills without giving any argument and succeeding, it might be resolved as the GM coming up with the best argument they can for your character and using it against his NPCs. So as long as the GM is better at crafting arguments than you, you're probably better off.

    + Better as in "better for immersion". Everything that makes you behave directly like the character you play is usually better for immersion, so that's a fair point. Though it's not universally true as it sometimes pushes you toward the uncanny valley where it makes non-immersive facts even more prominent. For examples, discussions that features multiple languages are always kind of weird to RP as the peoples around the table only use one language, while they tend to work very well when peoples are just describing at a higher level what they mean and how they intend to communicate through the barrier language.

    + Better as in "matches better my vision of what is playing a character well means", then sure, that's subjective so I cannot object.
    I read their post as more "the idea that 'the only permissible way to improve your character's performance at something is to be better at the arithmetic of character building and statistical decision making' is an implicit assumption behind a lot of common RPGs that gets taken for granted, and that assumption should be questioned"
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-24 at 03:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Your skills as a real human are what you're using to model your character, however you do it. The idea that you play your character better by relying on basic arithmetic and probability can and should be questioned.
    Your games must be very interesting when someone goes to a brothel.
    Last edited by Pex; 2021-11-24 at 04:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I read their post as more "the idea that 'the only permissible way to improve your character's performance at something is to be better at the arithmetic of character building and statistical decision making' is an implicit assumption behind a lot of common RPGs that gets taken for granted, and that assumption should be questioned"
    Check my translation, I want to be sure its accurate.

    "The assumption that numbers on the sheet plus the dice should be the maximum and minimum of the character's capabilities should be challenged."

    With an unspoken corollary that rp or the player's personal knowledge & abilities should be used to affect the determination of the outcome? Because this whole semi-sidetrack came from a post(s) about ignoring the character stats and basing all social encounters or conflicts on the quality of the player's rp. Yes?
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Check my translation, I want to be sure its accurate.

    "The assumption that numbers on the sheet plus the dice should be the maximum and minimum of the character's capabilities should be challenged."

    With an unspoken corollary that rp or the player's personal knowledge & abilities should be used to affect the determination of the outcome? Because this whole semi-sidetrack came from a post(s) about ignoring the character stats and basing all social encounters or conflicts on the quality of the player's rp. Yes?
    I'm not sure it captures the same thing. Vahnavoi has been talking about the concept of games of skill, where the game tests or challenges some aspect of its players, and has indicated that the 'strong character' limit of RPGs is a bit of an illusion because at the end of the day it's still a game of player skill, it just makes particular choices about what skill and when and how that skill should be tested. E.g. instead of the best barbarian warrior corresponding the player with the strongest arm and best skill with a sword, the best barbarian warrior corresponds to the player with the most extensive rules knowledge to put together an effective barbarian build (take Lion Totem, Leap Attack, Shock Trooper, use a 2h weapon, etc), the ability to perform inference to accurately estimate an enemy's AC from hit/miss data, and the ability to perform on-the-fly multivariable optimization to determine the ideal amount of power attack to deploy. Which are still player skills, they're just different ones than the skills the fictional character is expressing. And which have a much bigger impact on success and failure than the random element of a die roll, since e.g. an ubercharger vs a sword-and-board can be something like a factor of 20 difference in damage per round.

    But that's not from a perspective of 'its bad that it's a game of skill and tests the player skills', its from a perspective of 'part of game design is making a choice about what player skills you want that game to be about'.

    So I take the 'and that should be challenged' bit to refer to that. That people are approaching this as 'all player skills must be erased!' but are implicitly protecting a certain set of player skills which they think are fair game. And while that set of player skills is a choice one could make about what a game should engage with, its not a unique choice just because a lot of RPGs happen to make that particular choice and not others. So I don't think the corollary is 'rp or the player's personal knowledge & abilities should be used to affect the determination of the outcome'. I think the corollary is that it's equally as valid of a choice to decide that this game will use a player's personal knowledge, or a player's ability to RP, or a player's ability to win an eating contest, or really anything when approaching the design of an RPG.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-24 at 04:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    If the chap who can't carry a tune in a bucket wants their bard character to try to win an Elvis impersonation contest you don't require them to know the words to the songs or sing them.

    If the clutzy player wants to play an acrobat you don't judge the character's tightrope walking on the player's sense of balance.

    If the "what's cpr?" person wants to play a character thats a skilled surgeon you don't require them to explain the heart transplant operation.

    If the couch potato wants to play a strong character you don't judge the character's lifting by the player's muscles.

    If the shy person who stammers when they lie wants to play a fast talking con artist you should make them fast talk you in order for their character's high stats & skills to work.

    One of these things is not like the others.
    If the person who just can't grok tactical positioning wants to play a character who's a veteran soldier, you don't do make them personally decide where to move / stand in combat.

    If the player who's bad at planning and predicting anything wants to play a genius Wizard, you don't do make them choose which spells they're preparing.

    Some other things that are decided by the players' mental abilities rather than their characters:
    * Which route to take through a dungeon / other dangerous area.
    * In a sandbox environment, which goals to pursue and in what order.
    * Who to ally with in a political / factional situation.
    * What gear to prioritize, how urgently to seek it, and how much to pay for it in the case of an auction or other non-market-rate situation.
    * If in command of others, then when to deploy them and with what orders.

    This varies by system, but no system I've seen has left things 100% up to the characters' abilities, nor does it seem beneficial to do so.

    It ultimately comes down to what kinds of player activity do you (meaning the whole group) find interesting to play out, and what kinds would you rather abstract? Any answer here is valid.

    So, "I don't like playing out social interaction and would rather abstract it" - totally valid preference. "Playing out social interaction is objectively wrong" - no, that statement is what's wrong.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-11-24 at 07:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Have you tried playing D&D using RL weight lifting to replace the character strength scores?
    No, because TSR made a company-level decision to disavow live-action roleplaying in the 80s. When I want to do a roleplaying game where you really lift things, I will be playing outside with the LARP crowd. Naturally, in any LARP, the player using their real strength to model their character's is the default, because how the player physically moves is the model how their character moves.

    Said LARP crowd is doing fine, they have both a non-profit association and a for-profit business wing and have been co-operating with conventions, medieval faires, scouts and schools for years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Maybe you replaced the intelligence scores with subject matter quizzes?
    I've run my tabletop games for 10 years with the explicit rule that INT only affects languages known, spellcasting and saving throws. Every query, question and puzzle, players have to use their own wits for. It's worked just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Or perception checks with eye tests?
    It should be obvious that in any LARP, the player's eyes are their character's eyes, and there are obvious physical means to alter what they see, so. At the tabletop, I primarily replace visual information with verbal description, save for when I'm using maps, drawings, photographs or miniatures. If I'm doing the latter, then obviously, if the players can't see a thing, neither can their characters. The only random perception checks I do are surprise rolls, because a random result models surprise well enough, and search rolls, where the point is to tell how much in-game time it takes for characters to figure out everything I'm describing, when in-game time is meant to flow faster than real time.

    Works fine. Works better than the type of perception check you're likely thinking of. When I did use them, players constantly wanted to make rolls, because they were paranoid of missing things if they didn't. I much prefer them listening to me in anxious silence because they're paranoid of missing things if they don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok
    Did all the players love filling out a Forgotten Realms history quiz every time you called for an intelligence:history check?
    I don't play in Forgotten Realms. I also don't use history checks What player characters can know of my game setting's history is either freely told to the players by me, or included in a campaign booklet and a folder full of notes from other players, which they can freely peruse. They ignore said sources at their own peril.

    Works fine. The players who don't want to pay attention to setting history have freedom to stay ignorant and don't tend to complain if they get into trouble for it. Generally, though, player feedback has been that my setting and its history are actually interesting and good, so they are happy to pay attention to it.

    Are these sufficient answers?

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    What do you mean by "better"?
    Any notion of "better", including all the ones you listed. Whatever goals you have for a game and however you are evaluating them, you ought to ask if sitting around a table doing basic arithmetic and rolling dice is actually better for them than other methods. Don't take for granted that basic arithmetic and die rolling are "playing your character" while trying to act like your character is "playing yourself".

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Your games must be very interesting when someone goes to a brothel.
    Pointless blue text. LARP crowd figured out how to physically simulate sex, without actually having sex, years ago. On the tabletop, the last two players who had their characters boink in my game, actually did boink, as can be inferred from them having a kid now. The joke is on you, if two people decide to simulate sex in a closed room with no other observers, by having sex in a closed room with no other observers, it doesn't affect the rest of the game in any way. Unlike me verbally describing the whole event in vivid detail, which I'm willing and able to do, so my players don't try their luck anymore unless they really want a steamy erotic audio play..

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    No joke on me. It's fine with me you walk the walk of the talk you talk, but that's your preference not the One True Way.

    I support knowledge checks for PCs because PCs can know things the players don't so wouldn't even know to ask. It's also the game part of the game when they don't automatically know everything nor automatically know nothing. It takes DM bias out of the equation, so that the players can play their characters the way they want to not the way the DM wants them to. It's also a game, not homework, so even when I as DM do handout some game lore I don't need the players to memorize it as gospel. If they do remember something, great, but I'll have the roll to see if the character knows when the player forgets. After all, they have lives and more important things to remember than some obscure sentence I wrote. If it's pertinent to the character to know something no roll needed that can happen too.
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Slightly absurd meanderings about deadlifting aside, a few immediate points:

    1) RPG combat usually has very binary outcomes. Social interaction (RPG and otherwise) often does not. Systems that try to make it "dead/not dead - the conversation" are typically weak as a result. There's no shame in not liking a bad system. Just don't toss the baby out with the bath water.

    2) Despite this, it should be readily apparent to anyone that there is only a very slender portion of human interaction where the raw words, ideas, and econ style utils are actually the defining feature of if it worked or not. We know full well that looks, tone, voice, non verbal posture, tribal signalling, social context, and plethora more factors between the parties are involved. Any system that relies on the player as his own pure social combatant rather than using some sort of mechanics is rather missing the point about what makes someone good at influencing people...especially since the GM as the ultimate arbitrator almost certainly does not reflect the actual social headspace of the target.

    3) But the player! We all like to think that WE would never be socially beaten. We are, of course, mostly wrong. You shouldn't have to look too far in your life for an example. It's a bit foolish to think that somehow our PCs would be immune just because we can see a situation condensed into the bare framework. But the only way to allow for PCs to be beaten is to have mechanics...

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    2) Despite this, it should be readily apparent to anyone that there is only a very slender portion of human interaction where the raw words, ideas, and econ style utils are actually the defining feature of if it worked or not. We know full well that looks, tone, voice, non verbal posture, tribal signalling, social context, and plethora more factors between the parties are involved. Any system that relies on the player as his own pure social combatant rather than using some sort of mechanics is rather missing the point about what makes someone good at influencing people...especially since the GM as the ultimate arbitrator almost certainly does not reflect the actual social headspace of the target.

    3) But the player! We all like to think that WE would never be socially beaten. We are, of course, mostly wrong. You shouldn't have to look too far in your life for an example. It's a bit foolish to think that somehow our PCs would be immune just because we can see a situation condensed into the bare framework. But the only way to allow for PCs to be beaten is to have mechanics...
    These both fall under the fallacy of thinking of social interaction as combat, where someone is victorious only if the other person is beaten.

    A player can absolutely get a deal which they think is good at the time, but where later they realize they could have gotten better. Or, it's good for them but turns out to help their enemy. Or it seems good, but in the end they regret it. Similarly a player can refuse to deal and in the end lose more from that refusal and how it's perceived by or informs the behaviors of third parties than if they compromised.

    It only seems like you can't lose if you get to choose what you do if you force things into a simple picture of 'to agree is to lose'.

    But the richness of social interactions is that they can be a lot more than that. That's the payoff for not abstracting them down to a question of 'resolution'.

    Simple example: two people are in conflict but are both dealing with a third who will reward them both (but not equally) only if he believes them to be friends.

    Another example: two people each have resources which are low value to themselves but potentially very valuable to the other. If they can agree to a trade, both sides are better off, but if they reveal the true value they ascribe to the resource they may get a worse deal.
    Last edited by NichG; 2021-11-25 at 12:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Are these sufficient answers?
    Well I think you missed the point on a fair bit of it with the LARP references, but I think I understand how you run your table top games. You're closer to the old school runs where it was mainly player skill vs the dungeon with the characters being the functions that the players use to affect the game state. Despite your talk you probably don't make the players use their own RL strength or dexterity to determine how hard the characters swing swords or walk tightropes. What you are doing is having the players use their RL mental and social abilities in place of the characters' abilities, having relegated those portions of the character to... I think you said languages, saves, and spell DCs right?

    And kiddo bedtime so you get half a post with no poibt
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    As with everything else in the rules, my approach is to take it if it adds to the game, ignore it if it doesn't, change it if i don't like some interactions.
    In practice i use a mixed system, where a social encountrr is resolved by a mix of actual conversation and rolls.
    To compensate for player's fast talking ability, i try to judge the argument and not how it was presented. And i require some kind of sensible argument to sway an npc, just like somebody exemplified that nobody would jump off a cliff if asked to "just do it", but they would if you xan persuade them they can fly.
    As an example, last session a new villain was attacking a major city, and a high level npc party was preparing to engage. The players, being genre savy, figured i was going to use those npcs to invoke the worf effect, so they tried to persuade the npcs to not go.
    I figured it could never work. Those are high level npcs, supremely confident in their skills, and they repelled attacks for decades. Why would they listen to those much weaker guys and abandon their turf without a fight? Especially a fight when they'd be 6 on 1.
    And one player said "look, she's been probing at your defences for decades, and she knows what you can do, and she's still attacking frontally. Can she be that stupid? She must have a plan."
    And hey, it was a good argument. In any kind of game, when a player makes an appoarently suicidal move, a savy opponent will look hard for traps.
    I decided it was a good argument, and it would require an easy roll - on someone less confident, it may have required no roll at all. I also decided that, no matter how good the roll, those guys wouldn't just abandon their city - and let thousands of civilians die - without at least trying to fight; that's not what high level characters do.
    But with the succesful diplomacy those npcs were more cautious and more ready to escape the moment things started to go awry, so i changed the outcome from "1 dead, 5 captured alive and ensalved by the bbeg" to "3 of them managed to escape to fight another day".
    The key is thAt the players must find arguments that could work. There's a lot of dm fiat but at leaSt it prevents the really silly stuff
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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    1) RPG combat usually has very binary outcomes.
    Yeah, victory or total party kill.

    Were you talking about single attack rolls? I think that makes more sense. I think binary outcome systems tend not to represent large interactions very well in any case. So a binary test might work well for presenting a single point, but not so much for an entire conversation.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    No joke on me. It's fine with me you walk the walk of the talk you talk, but that's your preference not the One True Way.
    Pointless remark. I'm not arguing for my preferences, I'm arguing against specific logical fallacies. I'm not arguing for "One True Way", I'm arguing for checking if your way has any actual merit. As far as yours go, the idea that dice eliminate game master's biases is wrong, in the same way and largely for the same reasons Batcathat's idea of dice eliminating player skill was wrong. Dice do nothing to eliminate a game master's biases as long as they call the rolls; if you say rules call the rolls, now you've swapped the game master's biases for a game designer's; if you say players call the rolls, now you've swapped the designer's biases for the players'. It's a thorny problem which for games is most often solved by selecting a single person who is perceived as fair and has the greatest knowledge of a game's rules to serve as a referee, which is precisely what a game master position is supposed to be - raising the question why their judgment wasn't sufficient in the first place? I can name at least one game designer, Ville Vuorela, who, after entertaining this question seriously, went and made a diceless system to pretty much prove the point. (See: STALKER RPG, by Burger Games)

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Well I think you missed the point on a fair bit of it with the LARP references, but I think I understand how you run your table top games. You're closer to the old school runs where it was mainly player skill vs the dungeon with the characters being the functions that the players use to affect the game state. Despite your talk you probably don't make the players use their own RL strength or dexterity to determine how hard the characters swing swords or walk tightropes. What you are doing is having the players use their RL mental and social abilities in place of the characters' abilities, having relegated those portions of the character to... I think you said languages, saves, and spell DCs right?
    I always bring up live-action roleplaying when this kind of discussion happens, to disabuse habitual tabletop players of a basic category error: namely, that if a tabletop roleplaying game ceases to be a tabletop game, it ceases to be a roleplaying game. When in actuality the limitations for what you can do in the tabletop are limitations of that physical situation, not of roleplaying games in general. And I play more than type of roleplaying game, not all of which stay at the tabletop.

    The point specific to you is the one about D&D: there is a historical reason, and related semantic and legal reasons, why it makes no sense at all to call a game D&D when it starts involving physical effort. I'm trying to get people think outside what it current mainstream design paradigm of D&D, not redefining D&D.

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    Default Re: Gaming Religion Crisis of Faith III - Social Combat (vs HP)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Pointless remark. I'm not arguing for my preferences, I'm arguing against specific logical fallacies. I'm not arguing for "One True Way", I'm arguing for checking if your way has any actual merit. As far as yours go, the idea that dice eliminate game master's biases is wrong, in the same way and largely for the same reasons Batcathat's idea of dice eliminating player skill was wrong.
    Which you still haven't proven in any way, shape or form. Again, I'm not saying that being good at math can't be useful in the game at large, but unlike being good at talking (in a game where social situations are decided by what the player says) it doesn't actually directly affect the outcome of a specific situation.

    Let's make an example, the party attempt to talk their way past some guards and it's decided by either A) skill roll or B) the player talking.

    In A) the outcome is basically completely dependent on the character's skill value and random chance. The player's skill doesn't really come into it, whether at talking, math or something else.

    In B) the outcome depends at least in part on the player's skill at talking, with some rules like the ones you suggested it can also in part depend on character skill.

    Yes, the player's math skills can be useful. No, it won't directly help them trick the guard, unlike their social skills.

    You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but if you're going to say I'm wrong like it's actual fact, you need some actual evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    I always bring up live-action roleplaying when this kind of discussion happens, to disabuse habitual tabletop players of a basic category error: namely, that if a tabletop roleplaying game ceases to be a tabletop game, it ceases to be a roleplaying game. When in actuality the limitations for what you can do in the tabletop are limitations of that physical situation, not of roleplaying games in general. And I play more than type of roleplaying game, not all of which stay at the tabletop.

    The point specific to you is the one about D&D: there is a historical reason, and related semantic and legal reasons, why it makes no sense at all to call a game D&D when it starts involving physical effort. I'm trying to get people think outside what it current mainstream design paradigm of D&D, not redefining D&D.
    This is a good point. I'm occasionally annoyed with the forum's frequent assumption that every RPG is D&D, but I hadn't considered this even more basic assumption.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-11-25 at 09:31 AM.

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